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Video: Excise revenue had increased: Ravi K

July 16 (DM) Excise Department had collected a monthly revenue of Rs. 9,900 million as fines in April this year while it had only collected Rs. 3,300 million as fines in November last year under the rule of the previous govt, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He said the revenue collected in April this year is a clear indication to prove that the Department had increased its revenue during the rule of the new govt. more..

Sri Lanka expects bumper paddy harvest

July 16 (EN) Sri Lanka’s govt has allocated six billion rupees to begin buying paddy from farmers at fixed prices during the forthcoming Yala harvest where a bumper crop is expected. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the Paddy Marketing Board will buy paddy directly from farmers in the Yala season. Cabinet of ministers this week approved a proposal made by Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, to buy Keeri Samba rice and Samba rice for 50 rupees a kilo and Nadu rice for 45 rupees a kilo. more..

Sri Lanka allocates more funds to support tea floor price

July 16 (EN) Govt has approved almost four billion rupees in extra funds to support a tea floor price scheme for small farmers hit by a plolonged slump in global commodity prices. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the extra funds were approved by the Cabinet of ministers to maintain a guaranteed price of 80 rupees for a kilo of green leaf supplied by farmers. The funds were sought by Minister Lakshman Kiriella to extend the floor price scheme by two months till September when more..

Video: Cabinet approval granted for export of Wallapatta

July 16 (DM) The cabinet approval was granted to the proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena as the Mahaweli Development and Environment Minister to promote the exportation of Gyrinopswalla (Wallapatta) plant and cultivate the plant based on its commercial value, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said today. He said an official would be appointed to issue a permit to allow the possession and transportation of the plant. more..

EK flight diverted to CMB due to medical emergency

July 16 (DM) An Emirates flight from Dubai to Sydney was diverted to the Bandaranaike International Air (BIA) Port, Katunayake yesterday evening due to a medical emergency onboard, the airlines said. A spokesman said: “Emirates flight EK412 from Dubai to Sydney on July 15 was diverted to Colombo due a passenger medical emergency.” “The sick passenger was assisted off the aircraft for medical attention. The flight continued to Sydney with minimum delay,” airline said. more..

Sri Lanka to build flyovers with Euro 53mn credit from Spain

July 16 (EN) Sri Lanka will construct a four-lane flyover in the capital Colombo and two others on a key highway leading to the north central area with a 53 million Euro credit from Spain, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. A four-lane flyover will be built over an intersection in the Colombo suburb of Rajagiriya to ease traffic congestion. Two-lane flyovers will be built over Ganemulla and Polgahawela railway crossings. Govt of Spain will give 37.56 million Euros covering 70% of the project more..

FCID cannot summon UPFA candidates before polls: Susil

July 16 (AD) The UPFA today briefed the Election Commissioner regarding the various problems allegedly faced by the party, such as the lack of security ex-MPs and the summoning of candidates before the FCID, ahead of the General Election. A problem has arisen regarding the security of the UPFA’s leaders as security provided to UPFA candidates including former Ministers have been removed, party’s General Secretary more..

SEC should not hunt investors, firms like a policeman: former Chairman

July 16 (EN) Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should not hunt investors and companies and the practice had dealt a blow to corporate governance, a former regulator said, as the watchdog resumed stalled investigations into market scams. "This is where corporate governance has been dealt the biggest blow (kaney pahara)," Udayasri Kariyawasam, a former Chairman of the watchdog told reporters in Colombo. "The SEC is the market regulator. more..

Kalawana OIC among 3 cops suspended

July 16 (AD) Three police officers including the OIC of the Kalawana Police Station have been suspended for allegedly neglecting duties. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the Kalawana OIC, a Sergeant and a Constable were suspended effective from Wednesday. He stated that the officers in question had failed to control the violent behavior of two groups of individuals inside the police station. On July 14, a clash had reportedly occurred between two groups of political supporters more..

UK notes improvements but has concerns

July 16 (CG) The human rights situation in Sri Lanka improved during the first half of 2015, although some concerns remain, a British Foreign Office report on human rights said. The report said that following the election of President Sirisena in January and the appointment of a new govt, Sri Lanka took a number of positive steps to address human rights and democracy concerns, including establishing new institutions more..

Four English newspapers snub press commission

July 16 (CG) Four English language newspapers did not co-operate with the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCCSL), which is a voluntary self-regulatory body of the newspaper industry having the support of the Newspaper Society, Editors’ Guild, Free Media Movement, Working Journalists Association and other media unions, the PCCSL said in its annual report. PCCSL received 291 complaints last year, hosted an International Conference on more..

Senior citizens get support to get into business

July 16 (CG) Expolanka group said it had started a microfinance program project in collaboration with HelpAge Sri Lanka (HASL) to fund senior citizens to embark on entrepreneurship projects of their own. The project aims to help senior citizens be self-employed, independent and continue making an economic contribution at a time the island’s society was aging. “If senior citizens are not contributing to the national economy, the growth of Gross Domestic Product will slow down,” statement said. more..

Over a million sign petition against Sri Lanka

July 16 (CG) Over a million people from around the world have signed on to an appeal to urge the UN to Refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court. Signature Campaign in fifteen languages was launched about four months ago by the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE). Signature Campaign observes that the presence of the former Commander of the Sri Lankan military in the present Govt, and potential culpability of more..

Network horror in Yala

July 16 (DM) Mobile phone networks would be disconnected for visitors within the Yala National Park for a week from July 20 considering animal safety. Wild Life Department Director General H.D. Rathnayake said that after studying the method, the department would decide to whether to continue the programme or not. He said that the regulation was taken into consideration following a string of complaints where animals’ safety dragged in to danger by some visitors. more..

People should be united: ACMC

July 16 (CT) People should get-together to change the fate of Sammanthurai and join to support the political revolutions and good governance of President Maithripala Sirisena, to prosper in all aspects, said. Dr. S.M.M. Mohamed Ismail, the candidate of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) for the Digamadulla District and former Vice-Chancellor of the South-eastern University of Sri Lanka, just after handing over nominations, at the Ampara Kachcheri on Monday. more..

Video: Susil comments on enjoining order

July 16 (DM) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said the enjoining order issued by the District Court against the UPFA Central Committee had been obtained without knowing the facts as the petitioner was immature. “We had earlier decided to have a meeting of the Executive meeting of the SLFP at 4 pm and informed party leader President Sirisena. But he instructed us to postpone it and we agreed. more..

WB laments public sector accounting standards

July 16 (DN) Sri Lanka’s corporate reporting standards are of a very high standard and is the best in the region,a senior World Bank official said. Speaking at the launching of the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes Accounting and Auditing (ROSE) to be put out next month, Senior Financial Management Specialist, Jiwanka Wickramasinghe said this was due to the high standard of education. The work done by the Chartered Institute of Accountants (CA) and more..

Veteran musician Wilbert Anthony passed away

July 16 (GDI) Veteran musician Wilbert Anthony had passed away this morning at his residence in Negombo. He was 72 at the time of his death. The funeral will be held on coming Saturday Kadolkale Thaladuwa Roman Catholic Cemetery in Negombo. Several popular songs including Kavaiyanage rasa hangum, Kungkuma Chandana, Bambaru Mathwela, Sudu sela agin, Nomaga Noyan Puthe has sung by Wilbert Anthony and he showed talent as an actor in few of films which he sung for. more..

Prof. Nalin sees RAW agent in UPFA National List

July 16 (CT) The Voice for a Just Society (VJS) alleged that the President had nominated a member of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), as a National List candidate of the UPFA. Speaking at a VJS media briefing at Abhayaramaya Temple, Professor Nalin De Silva alleged that President Maithripala Sirisena had nominated a member of the Indian Intelligence Service, as a National List candidate for the UPFA. more..

'Loans obtained from China will not be cancelled'

July 16 (CG) The govt said that it had no plans of cancelling loans obtained from China and added that such loans were vital for the development of the country. Cabinet Spokesperson Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the govt was renegotiating the terms for the Chinese loans which had been obtained but had no plans to exit from such loans. “We are only renegotiating the terms of the Chinese loans. We have absolutely no plans to retire from them,” he said. more..

Police reports against Wele Suda displaced

July 16 (AD) Attorney General today sought more time from the Colombo High Court to decide on whether to proceed with the case filed against suspected underworld kingpin and drug trafficker, Wele Suda. Attorney representing the defendant had previously informed the court that the police investigations report pertaining to the case has been displaced and that therefore it is unable to continue with the hearings. Accordingly, attorney requested that his client be released. more..

EC says can't reduce MR's security

July 16 (DM) Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya ruled out the legal possibility for him to reduce the security and other privileges assigned to Mahinda Rajapaksa as the former President despite him being a candidate at the upcoming polls contesting from the UPFA. He made this remark in response to UNP Candidate Akila Viraj Kariyawasam who complained about the possible abuse of such privileges by more..

Titanic: President’s metaphor for the first 100 days

July 17 (CT) President’s metaphor was valid both as noun and adjective. His party the SLFP was the Titanic heading for collision with the Rajapaksa iceberg. Keeping the former warlord appeased until the 19th Amendment was enacted was indeed a titanic task. Radiating a sense of relaxed detachment President Maithripala Sirisena explained why he remained silent while the UPFA general secretary announced the done deal of nominating ex-president Rajapakse for more..

President repudiates Rajapaksa as UPFA prepares for second defeat

July 17 (Island) In a widely viewed televised address to the nation after the close of nominations for the parliamentary elections, President Maithripala Sirisena, repudiated any political rapprochement or partnership with defeated President Rajapaksa, whom he probably correctly predicted would lead the UPFA to a second ignoble defeat in six months, having been defeated by President Sirisena, at the start of the year and accordingly needs to be recognized as defeated President Rajapaksa, more..

A retreat into a time for deeper contemplation

July 17 (SO) A voice calls out the Adhan - the call for prayers - sometimes melodious, at other times just the reverse. The call is always welcomed. It ushers in important times in our prayer. During Ramadan it is no secret that most adherents wait for the evening call. It is the breaking fast time, iftar as it is known in Arabic. I was indeed amused to read in the June 22 issue of an English daily, an article referring to iftar where the writer talks more..

Many journeys, but going nowhere

July 17 (FT) Gamana – in English Journey – must be one of the most overused words on our political platforms, TV talk shows or even literature. ‘We will not stop our Journey! Anyone can join our Journey! Let us keep going on this Journey! There is a distinct potency in the usage of the word, irresistible, powerful, all-conquering, the people are on the move. Being a reference to a political, social or cultural progression, the Journey of the political lingo is necessarily vague in definition. more..

Hacking the hackers: Surveillance in SL

July 17 (GV) “It was sometime in April 2013, that I wrote my last blog post. Titled And Then They Came For Us, or something along those morbid lines, the piece was a commentary of sorts based on tweets, photographs and Facebook updates sent out by friends attending a peaceful vigil at the center of Colombo, when marauding the monks disrupted their activity. In the aftermath, as a mini-war broke out online with images of participants shared at a furious rate by the disruptors, more..

President breaks silence

July 17 (CT) President Sirisena's decision to break silence and announce his stance on former President Rajapaksa has invigorated one campaign while deflating the other. UPFA campaign now finds itself stranded without the Executive's support and looks to former President for direction. UNP alliance in the meantime believes that the move to get Rajapaksa to head the election campaign has sealed their victory. more..

The identity blues of the SLFP

July 17 (NS) In 2010, the UPFA obtained 144 seats and a parliamentary majority. There were those who voiced concerns. Some yelled End of Democracy! Others hoped for the best. This majority after all was obtained through a system that confers virtual dictatorial powers on the man at the top and his party. To be sure, some of those who protested this had themselves been beneficiaries of a party-majority before, i.e. when the UNP ruled throughout the 1980s. more..

Preserving Chitrasena

July 17 (NS) Chitrasena did not pass on 10 years ago. He was not taken out or marginalised after death for the simple reason that he can’t be. This is not (only) because people love and continue to love him. Not only because what he left behind sticks to collective memory so brilliantly. This is also because there are those who will continue his journey. Like Vajira, an icon on her own right. Or Upeka, leading the second and third generations. I spoke with both Upeka and her niece Heshma Wignaraja more..

Spreading culture of getting high

July 17 (NS) Fulfilling the govt’s pledge to protect future generations from the drug menace, the National Program for Drug Eradication was launched this week under the theme A Drug free Nation with raids and drug related awareness programs being heightened during the time period lasting till August 9. It was during one such raid that 700 bottles of soft drinks, which had been laced with intoxicants, were found in more..

Removing sheep skins from political wolves

July 17 (CT) Following the defeat of the UNP by Mr. SWRD Bandaranaike’s MEP, my late brother Wimaladharma Jayaweera (former Co-ordinating Secretary to the late SLFP Minister Mr. C.V.Gunaratne) wrote an article titled Battalu Hum Galaweema (Removing the Sheep Skins) which was published in the Lankadeepa Newspaper in 1956, explaining how SWRD was managed to unite the forces of Pancha Maha Balawegaya – the five great forces of the Buddhist Clergy, the Ayurvedic more..

Editorial: Black July

July 17 (Island) April is the cruelest month, T. S. Eliot tells us in The Wasteland. But, in this blessed land the cruelest month is July, when two incidents of mindless savagery occurred—the sacking of about 100,000 strikers (1980) and the anti-Tamil pogrom (1983), both under the J.R. Jayewardene government which promised to create a righteous society. And, the prominent members of that repressive regime which created conditions for hundreds of Tamil civilians to be massacred more..

The Darley Road rebellion

July 17 (FT) Pictures taken at SLFP’s Darley Road headquarters on Wednesday have a déjà vu quality about them. Mahinda Rajapaksa sits at the head of the table, in the biggest chair in the room. He is flanked by two General Secretaries of SLFP and political coalition it leads, UPFA. In one picture, SLFP General Secretary Anura Yapa stands like a sentinel on Rajapaksa’s left, a slightly deferential air more..

I wanted to attack: Kusal Perera

July 17 (CT) Kusal Perera is often compared to former Sri Lankan dashing opener Sanath Jayasuriya. Kusal with his flashy innings' had given a good imitation of Jayasuriya's strokes. He has become the biggest crowd attraction in the limited over game even though he still hasn't nailed a permanent position in the team. Perera took his game to a whole new level yesterday when he equaled Sanath Jayasuriya's fastest ODI fifty in 17 balls while finishing with a 25 ball 68 more..

Angelo’s embarrassment

July 17 (Island) Sri Lanka cricket captain Angelo Mathews summed up his team’s fielding during the second One Day International against Pakistan at Pallekele on Wednesday as embarrassing! We thought that Sri Lanka suffered that embarrassment long before. Early this year, at Basin Reserve in Wellington, Sri Lanka snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against New Zealand due to their horrible fielding. The World Cup followed soon after that Test series. more..

Around a quarter of SL undernourished: IPS

July 17 (Island) Household food insecurity is an issue in the country. About 5.2 million people or the equivalent of a quarter of the population were estimated to have been undernourished in 2014. Meanwhile, depth of food deficit was about 216 Kilocalories per person per day in 2014, Dr. Saman Kelegama Executive Director-IPS said. "By virtue of the fact that none of these parameters is static, any policy or strategy to solve more..

Renewal of US GSP: What it offers

July 17 (IPS) President Obama signed the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 on 29 June 2015 authorizing the renewal of the US GSP scheme, almost 2 years after it expired. The scheme, instituted in 1974 and renewed periodically is designed to promote trade in developing countries. It provides exporters of 122 countries duty free access to the US market for selected products. There have been many renewals (6 so far since year 2000) and as highlighted in a recent article, more..

Chinese businesses invited to set up manufacturing units

July 17 (Island) Sri Lanka invited Chinese businesses to come and set up manufacturing units in the Island nation by forming joint ventures with the local partners. This invitation was made by the President of the Sri Lanka - China Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Navindra Abeysekera, when he chaired a networking session held between a group of visiting Chinese businessmen and SL businesses. The delegation from Guangdong Province in China more..

'Xinhua Silk Road meets Sri Lanka's demand for information'

July 17 (Xinhua) Xinhua's new Silk Road information service is providing Sri Lanka with much-needed information to promote its exports to China, Sri Lanka's Commercial Counselor to China Ruwanthi Ariyaratne said. China Economic Information Service, a unit under China's state-owned Xinhua News Agency, Thursday launched its latest Xinhua Silk Road information service in both Chinese & English, which will be committed more..