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Paranavithana likely to sign nominations today

July 12 (AM) Former Secretary to the Mass Media and Information Ministry Dr. Karunaratne Paranavithana will sign nominations today to contest the general election from Ratnapura District. Paranavithana resigned from his post on a policy decision. However, it was widely speculated that he resigned to contest the election. A past pupil of Lellopitiya Dipitigala Maha Vidyalaya and St. Aloysius Vidyalaya, Ratnapura, Paranavithana obtained his Bachelor of Arts with hounours more..

SLFP to probe members who backed the elephant

July 12 (CG) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) said that it will initiate an inquiry against several SLFP members who have agreed to contest the August parliamentary elections with the ruling United National Party (UNP). An opposition member on the grounds of anonymity said that the SLFP would seek an explanation from the defected members and a party inquiry would be initiated to ascertain if the members could continue under the SLFP membership. more..

Major political realignments as nominations end

July 12 (ST) The bitter truth which some disbelieved, others hoped was untrue and yet others dismissed as impossible was officially confirmed as a reality this week. President Sirisena has given his blessings to former President Rajapaksa to contest from the UPFA for the Kurunegala District. He has also done so for Rajapaksa’s close allies to contest from different districts. Rajapaksa also submitted names to be added to UPFA National List. more..

Sirisena Isolated: New Yahapalanaya Front emerges to stop the return of the Old Regime

July 12 (Island) Most political societies, to generalize Marx’s writing in 19th century France, are accustomed to circumstances that enable grotesque mediocrity to play a hero’s part. But over the last two weeks SL politics witnessed the spectacle of grotesque mediocrity playing out grotesquely mediocre roles in brokering and nominating candidates for the parliamentary election. There was no heroism, not even hero acting. Manifest blackguards thumped at every scintilla of more..

Change: The Eternal Truth

July 12 (Island) Why should we have expected consistency in President Sirisena? However, the sad fact is that we did expect consistency in his leadership to declared objectives, in the coalition’s national perspective to set up a national govt with MPs of credible moral temperament. We were given to understand quite unequivocally that the President will not tolerate persons with tarnished reputations. People who supported the President assumed that many of the sitting MPs will not get more..

SSC’s blackball bouncer, Aluthgamage out

July 12 (ST) He may have been the all-powerful Sports Minister of yesteryear, but the prestigious SSC doesn’t think he is fit and proper to be made one of its members. Ex-Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has been black-balled from becoming a member and entering the hallowed portals of one of the country’s oldest clubs at Maitland Place in Colombo. In a dramatic turn of events at this week’s Executive Committee more..

Foreign teams to observe polls

July 12 (CG) Teams from three international bodies, the European Union, the Commonwealth and Federation of Election Monitoring Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) will send missions to observe the forthcoming parliamentary election, Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said. EU and the Commonwealth have already confirmed their participation while confirmation from the FEMBoSA is expected shortly. more..

HRCSL proposes forming committees

July 12 (SL) Committees are to be appointed at the district level to take decisions on allocating public grounds and public spaces for political meetings during the elections in a fair manner. Legal Secretary and Media Spokesman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), Nimal Punchihewa said that the HRCSL proposed to the Election Commissioner about appointing committees at the district level to allocate public space for more..

CSE signs MoU with Maldivian counterpart

July 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maldives to explore opportunities for cooperation between the two Exchanges. Chairman of the CSE Vajira Kulatilaka said the CSE is extending its reach beyond borders to cooperate commercially with its peer exchanges in the region, to collectively uplift the performance of regional Exchanges. more..

Rs. 15 billion worth imported rice procured sans tender process during previous govt

July 12 (Island) In a shocking revelation, Lanka Sathosa – the state-run venture now in the red – had imported 261,474 metric tons of four slow-moving varieties of rice worth more than Rs. 15 billion mostly on regular instructions of the Treasury during the tail end of the previous regime, without calling for open tenders. Under credit facilities from People’s Bank and Bank of Ceylon, 236,000 metric tons had been procured more..

Big or small – all parties will be invited to join political Front

July 12 (Island) Stressing on the need for a broad political Front to honor the unfulfilled pledges flowing from Maithri rule, Power and Energy Minister, Champika Ranawaka said that political parties, whether big or small, will be invited to join the common movement to forge ahead with the good governance policies and bring about the meaningful change people anticipated through their mandate on January 8. more..

10 ex-LTTE cadre vying for seats in Jaffna-Kilinochchi district

July 12 (ENS) Crusaders for Democracy (CFD), an organization of ex-LTTE cadre and their supporters, will be putting up ten former militants in the Jaffna-Kilinochchi electoral district for the August 17 parliamentary elections, CFD coordinator N.Vithyatharan said. Following the rejection of their applications by the TNA, the most popular party in the Tamil-speaking areas of North and East, CFD decided to put its candidates more..

US tells Wigneswaran to work with govt, scale down genocide talk

July 12 (ST) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran received tough tuition from the US State Department during talks last Thursday, the Sunday Times learns. He was asked to soften his genocide rhetoric and instead work with the Central Govt in matters relating to reconciliation and the development of the province. Chief Minister is on a tour of the US and Britain. He had, however, obtained permission from President Sirisena more..

Stage set for political showdown

July 12 (ST) Nominations tomorrow for the August 17 parliamentary elections will see the emergence of two principal contenders in most districts — the UPFA and the UNP. That it would be a one-on-one battle became clear as the two sides concluded their nomination lists last night. A few have been handed over earlier. “We are coming forth with one list of candidates as the UPFA,” Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, General Secretary more..

MOU signed between UNP and UNF partners

July 12 (CG) A MOU was signed at Temple Trees this morning between the UNP and its partners in the United National Front (UNF) for Good Governance. UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickreme and UNP General Secretary Kabir Hasheem signed the MOU on behalf of the UNP. JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka and JHU Chairman venerable Athureliya Rathana more..

The Quest for Commonality

July 12 (Island) In the year 1933 at the Pen Club in the city of Buenos Aires, two poets, the Chilean Pablo Neruda and the Spaniard Federico Garcia Lorca, resurrected a third, Ruben Dario.  They set up the dead poet Dario among the crowd that had gathered at the Pen Club in a manner inspired by a particular pass in bullfighting called al alimón in which two bullfighters cite the bull while grasping either side of the same cape. Neruda and Lorca played with the cape of memory and more..

A House in Jaffna

July 12 (Island) Vimila Velthas lays out lunch on the table in the courtyard. She has prepared a traditional Jaffna meal – yam, coloured orange with the heat of chillies and cooked till creamy, a spicy fish and eggplant curry served with fat grains of red rice. Velthas presses her guests to eat more and scoffs gently at the modest size of their servings. In the job she has held for the last six months, the 60 year old’s many loves – books, theatre, art, food and people – are combined.  more..

CFD fields 'untouchables' for election

July 12 (CT) Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, 56, a journalist who was abducted in a white van for his alleged links with the LTTE but released later due to international pressure and found not guilty by the govt has launched a political party Crusaders for Democracy (CFD), bringing 18 rehabilitated ex-LTTE militants to mainstream politics and grooming them to contest the forthcoming General Elections. more..

Nirmala Kothalawala resigns from electoral politics

July 12 (AM) Former Deputy Minister Nirmala Kothalawala announced his decision to quit electoral politics today. He said that he took this decision after considering the recent event in Sri Lankan political scene. However, he said that he will not completely resign from politics and will continue to argue for his political ideas. Kotelawala entered electoral politics in the 1990s. In 1997, he became Chairman of Dodangoda Pradeshiya Sabha in Kalutara District. In 1999 he entered WPC more..

Over 70 arrested during demo in India over Lankan refugees

July 12 (CG) Over 70 protesters were arrested in Vellore, Tamil Nadu yesterday during a demonstration staged over several demands. including the closure of all special camps for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. Seventy-three persons comprising 65 volunteers of the Naam Thamizhar Katchi and eight of the Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) were arrested as they attempted to lay siege to the Central Prison for men as part of a state-wide agitation. more..

SLT integrating all subsidiaries under new Group CEO

July 12 (ST) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) operations have been rearranged under the new management by integrating all subsidiaries including Mobitel with the holding company. Board of Directors of the company has decided to bring those subsidiaries under the purview of the new Group CEO Dileepa Wijesundera, recently. This decision was announced by Chairman SLT Kumarasinghe Sirisena more..

Lifebuoy offers children the chance to learn from Kumar Sangakkara

July 12 (Island) Lifebuoy, called out children from all over the island to join Kumar Sangakkara at a cricket coaching camp and learn from the master himself. To avail this once in a life time opportunity, one simply has to send in 3 Lifebuoy Total 100g wrappers with Kumar Sangakkara’s image on the reverse. Lifebuoy will be picking 60 lucky winners at two raffle draws taking place on 12 July and 14 August. "These children are not only the future of cricket but of our nation as well. more..

Red alert for illegal drugs

July 12 (SO) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has asked all officers manning entry points to the country to be extra vigilant for possible illegal imports of drugs posing health risks to consumers. Instructions to seize suspicious packages and take punitive measures against offenders caught red handed, had been given to all officers at entry points. Recent raids by the CAA had revealed imports of new products with claims enhancing brain power and sexual performance were increasingly sold to more..

President visits SLAF base in Katunayake

July 12 (MoD) President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces visited the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Base, Katunayake yesterday. Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. BMUD Basnayake and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force Air Marshal GP Bulathsinghala accompanied the President during the visit. At the outset of the programme, President Sirisena was accorded more..

'MR’s nomination has benefited the UNP'

July 12 (DM) Former president Rajapaksa’s nomination to contest the general election benefited the UNP, Minister John Amaratunga said. He said many SLFP front-liner including ministers had decided to join the UNP but had missed out on the nominations because by that time the list of candidates had been finalised. He said that President Sirisena’s decision to satisfy the SLFP by giving nomination to the former president has directly and indirectly benefited the UNP. more..

Vehicle movement restricted in city tomorrow

July 12 (DM) Vehicle movement would be restricted in Narahenpita and Elvitigala Mawatha areas from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow as handing over of nominations is expected take place at the District Secretariat office in Colombo. Vehicle movement would be restricted from Havelock Road Colour Lights Junction on the Baseline Road to Narahenpita Junction, Park Road to Elwitigala Mawatha Colour Lights Junction and Nawala Junction to Narahenpita Junction on the Baseline Road. more..

Upmarket liquor licences under review, hoteliers protest

July 12 (ST) The licences of 412 liquor outlets – including those in star class hotels, upmarket restaurants and sports clubs – are being reviewed following a directive by President Maithripala Sirisena to the authorities to crack down on those violating the standard regulations. Presidential Secretary P.B. Abeykoon said the Excise Department and the police had been directed to conduct the review and report back to more..

Filipina beaten to death by SL colleague

July 12 (GT) A Filipina maid assistant was killed due to the critical injuries she had sustained as a result of beatings and torturing by her colleague who worked in the same house in Al Faseel suburb in Fujairah. Lieutenant Col Dr Saeed Al Hassani, the Acting Head of Media and Public Relations in the General Directorate of Fujairah Police, informed that the operations room received a tipoff that Fujairah Hospital received a body of a Filipina woman. The initial examination by the emergency doctors more..

Vasu upset

July 12 (CT) Former MP and Leader of the DLF of the UPFA, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, said that he is upset because only he has been granted nomination from the Ratnapura District although seven candidates from his party applied for nominations from seven districts. Although nominations had been requested for six candidates from six districts including Colombo, Gampaha, Moneragala, he pointed out that a situation has arisen where none of them will be given nominations. more..

D Day tomorrow as NMRA and CDDRA end tug of war

July 12 (ST) The tug-of-war between the much-awaited National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) and the Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) chief is set to end tomorrow. While the NMRA began functioning on July 2, with a concerted effort to clear the massive backlog that had come from the earlier system, CDDRA Director, Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, has been unwilling to hand over and leave, more..

FCID to be legalised: Ranil

July 12 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) that was set up to investigate into the corruption and frauds would be legalised to continue the investigations after August 17. He made this comment addressing his UNP special convention which adopted a resolution to work as a broader political front to pursue good governance and democracy. He also promised power devolution to the island’s provinces as part of more..

Sri Lanka should stop auctioning non-existent resources for elections: Pathfinder

July 12 (EN) Sri Lanka should stop auctioning non-existent resources for elections, which will result in hardships for the poor later, a think tank has said, as higher spending on state worker salaries is beginning to pressure the credit system. Pathfinder Foundation, a Colombo-based think tank said a budget in later 2014 which was again revised in January 2015 had seriously undermined state finances. It could be further worsened by self-seeking, anti-people promises made in more..

'Mahinda has majority support in SLFP'

July 12 (CG) SLFP member S B Dissanayake says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has the support of a majority of the members in the SLFP. Speaking in Kandy, Dissanayake said that the defection of a few SLFP members to support the UNP will not hurt the party. He said that while there are a few SLFP members who are supporting President Maithripala Sirisena, there is a majority of SLFP members who still back more..

British Council enhances international learning

July 12 (Island) This year, 144 schools from remote and urban areas of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Badulla, Bandarawela, Colombo, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kandy, Ratnapura, Kegalle and Kurunegala received the ‘British Council International School Award’ at the awards ceremony held at the Eagles Lakeside banquet hall in Attidiya, Dehiwela, yesterday. The Secretary to the Education Ministry, Upali Marasinghe was the chief guest. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of more..

No nominations for Earl from UNP

July 12 (AD) The nominations has not been given for former MP Earl Gunasekara to contest at the August election under the UNP ticket, it was reported. Earlier, Gunasekara said that he would defect from the UPFA and join the United National Front for Good Governance to contest the election under the UNP ticket. “I will resign from politics, if nomination is not given for me from the UNP,” Gunasekara said. It was reported that the UPFA, in the first place, had agreed to give nominations more..

Left breakaways join UNFGG

July 12 (DM) The United Left Front (ULF) formed by breakaway groups of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party, the Communist Party and the Democratic Left Front, will contest the upcoming general elections with the UNP led alliance, its chairman Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said. In a statement issued to the media, the ULF said that it will align itself with the SLFP breakaway faction which "is opposed to the candidature of Mahinda Rajapaksa." more..

'Ready to face consequences; Ranil has got it all wrong'

July 12 (LBO) Former Chairman of COPE, DEW Gunasekera says that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has got it all wrong with regard to the interim report of the sub committee of COPE on the recent bond investigation. “This is not the first time that I have issued a COPE report, there have been many other instances and the UNP has praised me for it,” “I am ready to face the consequences if I have done anything wrong.” He made these comments while addressing a gathering at more..

IGP urged to ensure security for former President

July 12 (CG) Office of former President Rajapaksa has written to IGP N.K. Illangakoon, raising fears over the security of former President Rajapaksa. Rohan Weliwita, the media secretary of the former President, told the IGP in the letter that there was a concern over the failure to provide police security to Rajapaksa at an event in Hambantota yesterday. He said that top police officers in Hambantota had been informed in advance about the events Rajapaksa was attending in the area yesterday. more..

CPC loses millions in fishing coupon scam

July 12 (ST) A fresh investigation has been launched into how the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) lost millions of rupees through the issuance of duplicate fuel subsidy coupons to fishermen. The Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources sent a team to the CPC last month to inquire into such a scam that allegedly occurred through a popular fuel station in Trincomalee. CPC has suspended payments to the Erakkandy Fuel Mart pending invesigations. more..

Sri Lankan Navy hunts down Kerala ganja smugglers

July 12 (DC) Kerala ganja, smuggled through the sea, reaps rich dividends in Sri Lanka, though the Sri Lankan Navy has foiled a series of smuggling attempts recently. In the latest instance, four persons who were smuggling 28 kilograms of ganja were held in a joint operation by the Sri Lankan Navy and local police from the sea off Thalaimannar coast the other day. This was the fourth seizure of Kerala ganja in Sri Lanka this year alone. more..