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Activists protest MR contesting election

July 11 (AP) About 300 civil rights activists have staged a protest opposing former President Rajapaksa's efforts to re-enter politics. Demonstrators shouted slogans and waved black flags in Colombo, Friday, to condemn Rajapaksa's decision to contest next month's parliamentary election. Rajapaksa's govt was accused of corruption, rights violations and nepotism. He lost the Jan. 8 election to Maithripala Sirisena, who won on a pledge of full-scale political reforms. more..

Jaffna sees sharp fall in number of voters

July 11 (Hindu) The Jaffna electoral district in the Northern Province has witnessed a sharp drop of over 25% in the number of voters. According to the 2010 data, this electoral district, covering Killinochchi, too, had about 7.21 lakh voters, which fell to 5.29 lakh in 2014. The steep decline arouses curiosity as the Eelam War IV was over in May 2009, over a year before the release of the 2010 data. more..

'39,000 acres of forest lands being destroyed'

July 11 (CT) Environmental organizations charge that 39,000 acres of forest land in four zones, which come under the purview of the Forest Department, are at the risk of being destroyed due to the development of a new Mahaweli Zone. They claim that the development of the new zone began in 2013, and that as a result of the forest land being cleared, a number of animals will lose their habitats and catchment areas face the risk of being dried up. Wetlands Heritage Environment Organization more..

TISL to monitor misuse of State property during Parliament election

July 11 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said yesterday it would commence its Program to Protect Public Resources (PPPR) which monitors and investigates abuse and misuse of public property by political parties, candidates, officials and public institutions during the forthcoming Parliament election 2015. The Program to Protect Public Resources will be formally launched on 13 July. TISL’s present initiative is a continuation of election monitoring activities more..

'Growth to reach 7.2% despite infrastructure lull'

July 11 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has placed highlighting Sri Lanka’s potential to the business community high on the new administration’s agenda, as well as the issue of addressing several of the anomalies found in past reporting. Speaking during an interview he gave to the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG), Karunanayake said that while the country faced challenges, including more..

Treasure hunters in Police net

July 11 (CT) Two groups of treasure hunters were taken into custody on Thursday, Police said. Police Media Unit said that Police arrested four suspects who were making an excavation in Gampola on Thursday. The suspects were arrested during a Police raid conducted following a tip-off. Equipment used for excavating was also taken into custody. The suspects are aged 23, 72, 34 and 43 years. They have been identified as residents of Dambulla, Serunuwara and Dalpitiya. more..

Three new SLFP Organizers appointed

July 11 (PSL) Three new SLFP organizers received their appointment letters from President Maithripala Sirisena today (9). Accordingly, Chamara Dahanayake was appointed as the SLFP organizer for Budulla- Passara while Nandimithra Ekanayake was appointed for Matale-Rattota. Sumith Samanadasa received his appointment letter as the SLFP organizer for Haputale. Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva also participated at this occasion. more..

Sirisena isolated, may opt to stay neutral in Aug 17 election

July 11 (ENS) Given the enormous pressure he is under to give party nominations to discredited former President Rajapaksa and his corrupt cohorts to fight the general elections, President Sirisena is feeling helpless, say civil society activists who met him on Wednesday. When the activists vehemently protested against the grant of nomination to Rajapaksa, Sirisena told them that he was isolated in the SLFP and UPFA, more..

India to provide Tsunami warning in Sri Lanka, Seychelles

July 11 (ENS) India has extended its early tsunami warning services to Sri Lanka and Seychelles with the launch of integrated ocean information services at the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) Ministerial conference. Inaugurating the 2nd Ministerial conference of RIMES, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the 2004 tsunami caught India unawares but today we are much better equipped and New Delhi has now world class early warning systems more..

UNP forms new alliance to contest against UPFA

July 11 (AD) A new political alliance headed by the UNP, under the name of United National Front for Good Governance, is to contest the parliamentary election on August 17 with sections of the SLFP and JHU. Several prominent figures of the SLFP who had not signed UPFA nominations, the JHU which was recently rebranded as the United National Front for Good Governance as well as certain left-leaning parties are set to join under the elephant symbol of the UNP. more..

8 Jan coalition to regroup for continuity of Yahapalanya sans Maithri

July 11 (FT) Talks began in earnest yesterday to re-forge the broad opposition coalition that ousted President Rajapaksa in January, with the UNP in the lead and several top SLFP members, JHU and Sarath Fonseka’s DP also tipped to join. Former Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said negotiations were on to contest as an alliance called Yahapalanaya Sandhavu Eksath Jathika Peramuna (United National Front Good Governance) more..

The Terrorism of heroin

July 11 (DM) Launching a national war for the eradication of narcotic drugs and the curbing of liquor or tobacco abuse President Maithripala Sirisena declared on Thursday that any politician found to be involved in the narcotics trade must be removed from politics. President, speaking at a national ceremony in Ja-ela to mark the National Drugs Eradication Month, said tough action would be taken against any politician found to be involved in the narcotics or illegal liquor trade. more..

Do not ignore the voters who are over 60

July 11 (DM) The national census in 2012 counted 2,520,573 persons who were over 60 years, which was of 12.4% of the total population. Of these older persons, 56% were women. When the census was taken, more than three quarters of the older persons (78%) were aged between 60 and 74 years. This means most are still active and potentially productive. However, the census also found that only 25.6% are economically engaged and 55% of those who are productive are self-employed. more..

Motor Traffic Department applies brakes on illegal vehicle assembly points

July 11 (ST) Police are cracking down on illicit vehicle assembly points around the country after the Department of Motor Traffic received information of such assembly points. The department has granted approval to only seven companies to assemble and distribute vehicles in the country. However the department has received information that several illegal plants are producing vehicles by assembling spare parts. more..

SC decides to suspend hearings of FR application by Sampur residents

July 11 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday, decided to suspend the hearing of the Fundamental Rights application filed by the residents of Sampur, whose lands were declared as a High Security Zone by the govt. The residents filed a FR application seeking a Court order allowing them to resettle in their lands which were taken over by the govt after being declared as a High Security Zone. The Court decided to suspend the hearing, more..

Watchdog or Lapdog?

July 11 (SL) The past few weeks had been, undoubtedly, an eventful period for capital market watchdog – Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka. In addition to the scrapping of the licence of Lanka Rating Agency (LRA) – one of three credit rating agencies operating in the country and the revelation that an investment advisor being fined over Rs 1 million to compound an offence to manipulate share market, more..

Not a single Lankan affected by MERS

July 11 (DN) Not a single Sri Lankan has been affected by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), said Health Services Director General Dr. P.G Maheepala. Officers at the BIA Health Office which is attached to the Health Ministry are on alert to take note of any arriving passenger suspected to be infected with MERS Coronavirus" he said. "The health office desk at the airport will identify such incoming passengers more..

Chamal thanks Parliament staff

July 11 (DN) Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that he was able to carry out his duties of Parliament to the satisfaction of everybody thanks to the cooperation extended to him by the Parliament staff. He said so addressing a felicitation ceremony organized by the Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayaka and the staff to appreciate the services rendered by former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, more..

Go-slow strikes huge blow to tea production

July 11 (NS) Sri Lanka’s Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) say that the ongoing go-slow token action by workers had resulted in a loss of at least 84 percent in daily productivity and a staggering daily loss of Rs. 130 million. The RPCs produced nearly 8 million kilograms of made tea every month and daily production had dropped drastically by over 80% and warned that the recovery process would take months. more..

Arun dropped, Pilleyan in, Karuna seeks national list slot

July 11 (Island) The UPFA has deprived chief SLFP organiser for Batticaloa electorate Arun Tambimuttu of an opportunity to contest parliamentary polls. The district comprises three electorates, namely Batticaloa, Kalkudah and Padirippu. Tambimuttu appeared before the UPFA nominations board headed by coalition’s General Secretary Susil Premjayantha last week. more..

Paranavitana resign as Media Ministry Secretary

July 11 (AD) Karunaratne Paranavitana has resigned from his position as the Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information, with effect from Friday. Paranavitana stated that he resigned from the position based on policy decisions. He stated that President Maithripala Sirisena has accepted his letter of resignation yesterday. It was reported yesterday that Paranavitana had turned down nominations more..

Video: Rajitha confirms new alliance

July 11 (AD) Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Dr Rajitha Senaratna today said that they will not reverse the promise made to the public at the recent Presidential Election, to establish good governance within the country. He stated that for this purpose a group of former UPFA MPs including him have decided to contest the forthcoming General Election under the United National Front for Good Governance. more..

UNP agrees to register United National Front

July 11 (CG) The UNP today proposed and later agreed to register the United National Front (UNF) after the August 17 Parliament election. The UNP, at a special convention, agreed on the proposal to also contest the Parliament election next month as the UNF under the elephant symbol by including members from other political parties who have extended support to the UNP. Proposal was made by UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim more..

RW-MR battle

July 11 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has taken up UNP Leader and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe's challenge by coming forward to contest the forthcoming general elections due on 17 August 2015 on the SLFP-UPFA ticket. Nevertheless, at the time Wickremesinghe made this challenge, he may not have had known that Rajapaksa would get nominations on the SLFP-UPFA ticket, SL's largest coalition party, an issue which was confirmed only eight days ago more..

Will the real Sirisena stand up please?

July 11 (CT) Nalaka Gunawardena, social media guru, recently tweeted about a monumental gaffe by ‘The Hindu’ which carried a picture of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the company of fellow presidential candidate Arachchige Rathnayake Sirisena. The picture had been used to decorate a story titled ‘President Sirisena’s position on Rajapaksa’s nomination remains unclear’. It is well-known that A.R. Sirisena contested or was persuaded to contest (for whatever more..

First the Party, then the Country

July 11 (CT) First a card carrying member of the SLFP, then a Sri Lankan – that’s what President Maithripala Sirisena proved to be in the end. That can also be so for many politicians in the UNP, JVP, JHU or any of the plethora of parties and alliances contesting elections in Sri Lanka. We need to advocate voting for principles over parties in the forthcoming elections. When President agreed to give nominations to the very person more..

Kamal complains of move to oust him

July 11 (Island) Popular actor and Ratnapura District UNP candidate Kamal Addararachchi said that there was pressure exerted by a senior member of his own party to withdraw his candidature as she felt that he was a big threat to her at the forthcoming general election. "The party senior who thinks that the Ratnapura seat is a family heirloom has already sent messages via third parties to this effect," he said. "My objective is to serve the people of Ratnapura after obtaining more..

Is nothing sacred in our country?

July 11 (ST) Treasure hunting has been rampant in the recent months with even some of the well-known and historic temples not being spared. In one case reported to police this week, the famous Thotagamuwa Rajamaha Viharaya in the Meetiyagoda police area in Galle was robbed. Venerable Thotagamuwe Sri Rahula Thero -a literary giant who authored such famous literary works during the period 1430 to 1440 such as the Paravi Sandesaya, Selalihini Sandesaya and more..

Flu cases on way down

July 11 (ST) The Health Ministry said the seasonal influenza that had become an epidemic in recent months, claiming 44 lives, is subsiding and that patients reporting to hospital with the flu symptoms have decreased. The Epidemiology Unit (EU) of the Health Ministry said that although four more deaths were reported last week – and one is a confirmed H1N1 flu virus case – the number of patients reporting with more..

Transfer lists: Docs to take up political interference with Polls Chief, health bigwigs

July 11 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) said that it would complain to the Elections Commissioner and the Director General Health Services (DGHS) against the distortion of the doctors transfer lists by the Health Ministry. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Naveen Soysa said the lists had been made according to the needs and vacancies in hospitals in the country. However, the transfer lists and post intern appointments had been interfered with for political reasons. more..

Fish dying in Kandy Lake

July 11 (DN) Shoals of fish in the Kandy Lake are dying due to the water being polluted. Is is said that polluted water and garbage dumped into the lake by residents and hotel staff are the main cause. Dr. Padmakantha Waduragala of IFS in Hantana said their attempt to launch a survey and research over this issue has not been approved by the Irrigation Department. "There are many schools in the vicinity while a large number of people visit the Dalada Maligawa. more..

Empowering rural schools with speed!

July 11 (FT) The bell rang signalling that it was their mathematics lesson. Unlike previous lessons, that day’s lesson was interesting for them as it was a web aided mathematical lesson taught using computers. They rushed into the computer lab which was neatly arranged with rows of the latest desktop computers. Before their teacher H. Leela, who has 37-years of teaching experience as a Mathematics teacher, grade six students more..

FR case against Samurdhi Minister

July 11 (Island) A fundamental rights violation petition filed by a group of Samurdhi beneficiaries against Minister of Samurdhi, Sajith Premadasa and a few other respondents will be supported for leave to proceed on July 15, 2015. The petitioners have complained that the Minister has allocated Samurdhi funds to outsiders at the expense of Samurdhi beneficiaries. They said the Financial Crimes Investigation Division had not responded when they tried to lodge a complaint with it. more..

Interviews for Korean jobs

July 11 (DN) Interviews for those who have passed last month's Korean Language Proficiency Examination (KLPE) will be held from July 13 to 17 at nine Foreign Employment Bureau training centres island-wide. The interviews will be held at the regional centres in Anuradhapura, Kandy, Ratnapura, Kegalla, Kadawatha, Matara, Galle and Tangalle and at the head office in Battaramulla. The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) said 4,294 candidate have passed more..

India happy with assistance given to SL

July 11 (CG) India has noted that it has been assisting Sri Lanka in various sectors through development assistance programmes. High Commissioner of India Y.K. Sinha and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera jointly inaugurated a Language Lab in Akuressa on at a function held at Nilwala National College of Education, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said. more..

MR ready to protect MS

July 11 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa is prepared to protect President Maithripala Sirisena from those who claim that he had betrayed the people's mandate given to him at the presidential election, by giving nomination to Rajapaksa, reliable political sources said. Rajapaksa had already discussed this issue with seniors in the SLFP and the UPFA, sources added. The party leaders in the Alliance had pointed out to Rajapaksa that President Sirisena gave him nomination due to more..

TNA accused of ordering political transfers

July 11 (Island) Several school principals in the Kilinocchi District have been transferred since the declaration of the General Election, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) says. Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalaya Principal A. Pangayatchelvan has told CMEV that he received a letter of transfer from Zonal Education Director on 3rd July 2015. Although he received the letter on July 3 it had been dated 29th June. According to Pangayachelvan following protests by more..

Pakistan all-rounder Hafeez fashions win over Sri Lanka

July 11 (CI) There was a big cloud hanging over Mohammad Hafeez ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla. He had managed only returns of 98 runs and three wickets in four innings before missing the series-deciding Test in Pallekele to undergo tests on his bowling action. He replied by getting impressive drift, turn and bounce, claiming his personal best figures of 4 for 41 in 10 overs, including a maiden before more..

Provincial journalist receives death threats

July 11 (ST) Provincial journalist Augustine Fernando has received death threats for exposing the activities of some individuals illegally charging parking fees on Weavers Road in Chilaw. Residents living down Weavers Road in Chilaw complain that certain persons are using the road as an illicit parking lot for visitors to the District General Hospital. They added that they are unable to take action against those parking their vehicles along the road as unknown individuals are more..

Sri Lanka cuts cooking gas price, promises lower rice

July 11 (EN) Sri Lanka is cutting the price of a 12.5 kilogram gas cylinder by 100 rupees, and rice was also promised at a lower price, the state information office said. A cylinder gas by state-run Litro retailed at 1,596 rupees Saturday morning. The information office, in a text message also quoted Minister Ravi Karunanayake as saying that the price of rice will also be brought down to 60 rupees a kilo. Sri Lanka's rice prices are higher than several Asian nations because more..