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Cabinet Decisions: 17.07.2015

July 17 (DN) The proposal made by President Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as the Defence Minister, to establish a general procedure to award the Prashansaneeya Seva Padakkama to officers and other ranks in the tri forces as a gratitude towards the long, admirable, preferential and invaluable service, according to the recommendations made by board consisted of senior officials of three forces, was approved by the Cabinet. more..

Foreign remittance on your mobile!

July 17 (FT) Dialog Axiata Plc in association with Etisalat and Hutch yesterday rolled out a secure and convenient service of receiving foreign remittances direct to the mobile wallet – eZ Cash in partnership with global specialist HomeSend in a joint industry effort to enhance formal sector transactions. Overseas remittances at $ 7 billion is the biggest foreign exchange earner but a considerable amount still comes via informal channels outside the banking sector. more..

New joint mechanism to regulate independent media taking shape

July 17 (Island) Chairman, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), Justice Priyantha Perera strongly advised both print and electronic media against favouring a particular party or candidate at the forthcoming Aug.17 parliamentary polls. Justice Perera was addressing members of a special committee formed to monitor privately-owned media, at a meeting presided over by EC Mahinda Deshapriya, more..

Ranil to SLFPers: Decide whether to support MS

July 17 (DM) SLFP members should decide whether they were going to support President Maithripala Sirisena, who had made his stance clear, to continue with his good governance policies, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Mr Wickremesinghe said at an election rally in Katana today that the president had clearly opposed the candidature of his predecessor and that the SLFPers had been confused by his stance. "Can a confused lot govern the country?" he asked. more..

Many tried to impede my progress: Malsha

July 17 (DM) "The way I do politics has become an issue for many, and there were many who attempted to keep me from being involved in active politics," said Malsha Kumarathunga, who was contesting in the Colombo District under the UPFA said. Addressing an election rally held in Kirulapone after the opening of an election office, she said that there was much gossip spread about her since she stepped into politics." I have worked honestly as a member of the Western Provincial Council. more..

'White vans are tourist vans today'

July 17 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said white vans used to abduct people have been converted to tourist vans under good governance. He said the people were today experiencing what the govt established under good governance within the 100 day programme while eradicating corruption. "No one is abducted or goes missing under good governance," PM said. He was addressing an election rally organised to more..

Politics a downside for SL: ADB Outlook

July 17 (FT) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has opined that politics remain a downside risk for Sri Lanka’s growth prospects. In its latest Asian Development Outlook (ADO) Update released yesterday whilst GDP growth forecast for Sri Lanka has been retained (at 7% for 2015 and 7.3% next year), political factors present some downside risks. “Political transition in Sri Lanka causes private investors to take a wait-and-see approach to new investment,” ADO said more..

'Golden Key depositors to be paid July 24th'

July 17 (LBO) Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake said that all the Golden Key depositors will be paid on 24th of July. “We are paying the Golden Key depositors on 24th,” the Minister said Thursday. “The exact amount to be paid has not yet been decided yet,” Golden Key Credit Card Company collapsed with debts of 26 billion of which 12.7 billion is capital and 13.2 billion is interest according to initial findings of a Supreme Court appointed committee of chartered accountants. more..

JVP wants nothing but Mahinda’s scalp

July 17 (Island) JVP blasted President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for betraying the people’s mandate given on Jan 8th as both of them had failed to prevent former President Rajapaksa from making a comeback. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that former President Rajapaksa and his corrupt administration had been politically defeated by the people at the presidential election, but more..

Lanka de Silva is new SL Women's coach

July 17 (CW) Former Sri Lanka international Lanka de Silva has been appointed as Sri Lanka Women's coach and will take on his new role with immediate effect. The news comes after Shashikala Siriwardene replaced Chamari Atapattu as captain last month meaning an all-new leadership team will be in place when they head to New Zealand for their latest round of the ICC Women's Championship later this year. They have currently won three out of nine matches, most recently losing more..

UPFA candidate assaulted; police missing in action

July 17 (Island) UPFA candidate contesting the forthcoming Parliamentary election, Priyantha Atukorala, had been assaulted, his cut-out in front of his campaign office destroyed and his vehicle damaged by UNP Opposition Leader of the Kalawana PS, Janaka Molligoda, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said yesterday. The assailant had also shot into the air, the polls monitors said. CMEV said that the police had so far failed to make any arrest more..

'Sri Lanka to reduce fuel price if world oil prices drop'

July 17 (LBO) Govt will consider a further reduction in the fuel price if oil prices in the world drop, the Finance Minister said. “If the world oil prices drop then we will also reduce the fuel prices in the country but the prices have not dropped yet,” Ravi Karunanayake, Finance Minister said. We won’t do this as an election bribe, he said. “See when the gas prices dropped in the world market we reduced the price accordingly,” more..

FR case to be filed against MR

July 17 (CT) A fundamental rights petition will be filed in the Supreme Court today demanding that special privileges given to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, including security, be revoked for the duration of the general election. Complainant is NSSP National List nominee, Attorney-at-Law, Senaka Perera. The respondents are the Election Commissioner, the Returning Officer of the Kurunegala District, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Defence, President Maithripala Sirisena, more..

Dengue cases exceed 17,000 this year

July 17 (DN) The total number of dengue cases reported within this year has exceeded 17,000 by July 16, Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry sources said. According to the sources, the highest number of dengue patients had been reported from the Colombo district which is 5,017 while the second highest number of dengue cases had been reported from Gampaha district which is 2,307. Batticaloa district recorded 1,271 dengue cases during the same period. more..

CBK to join Good Governance Front

July 17 (DN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is likely to align herself with the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) next week. Kumaratunga, who left for the UK after the UPFA decided to give nomination to former President Rajapaksa, is expected to return to the country after July 19, her Private Secretary said. Following her return, Kumaratunga is likely to extend her support to UNFGG campaign. more..

JVP goes to HRCSL over MR's privileges

July 17 (CT) The JVP will today seek the immediate intervention from the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to order a cessation of privileges afforded to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, for the duration of the general election campaign. The JVP noted that Rajapaksa was seeking election to Parliament as an ordinary member of Parliament, but was nevertheless enjoying a large amount of privileges accorded to him by the State in his capacity as a former President. more..

EFC willing to recommence wage negotiations

July 17 (CT) The Employers Federation of Ceylon said yesterday that it was willing to recommence the negotiations with the estate trade unions following the talks ending in a stalemate on Wednesday. We are willing to recommence the negotiations with the estate trade unions since the deadlock on Wednesday but it has to be the choice of two alternatives that we have proposed, either the proposal on productivity or the one on revenue sharing basis, like the tea small holders, more..

Polls chief stops telecast of President’s special speech

July 17 (Island) Elections Secretariat has requested both state and privately-owned electronic media to refrain from telecasting President Sirisena’s address to the nation last Tuesday on the basis of it being inimical to political parties as well as candidates in the fray at the polls. After having received several complaints, EC has written to heads of electronic media institutions requesting immediate suspension of the telecast. more..

Justice in its highest dimension

July 17 (DM) With Sri Lanka entering into an intensive campaign for the crucial General Election on August 17, we mark an important and significant day today—the World Day for International Justice. Before going international, we first need to focus on national justice. During the past five years, specially after the enforcement of 18th Amendment which among other things took away the independence of the Judicial Services Commission, Sri Lanka has seen a breakdown of the rule of law more..

At least 40 to 50 seats urgently needed for recognised women in Parliament

July 17 (DM) Sri Lanka’s population has a majority of women according to the 2012 Census Survey. Of a population of 20,271,464, 52% are female and 48% male. For the 52% population of women in Sri Lanka, only 13 women were Members of Parliament (MPs) out of 225 seats in the last Parliament (2010-2015). This was less than 6% in Parliament. Currently only 4.1% of seats in the Provincial Councils (PC), and 2.3% of seats in the Local Govt (LG) bodies are represented by women. more..

Flat form tolks!

July 17 (CT) Leader of the BJP Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said, "Today the leader of the country has become a kottu roti. Chandrika is hammering from one side while Mahinda is doing the same from the other side." "President Maithripala is a gentleman. He is working towards achieving good governance. But politically he is a destitute. Therefore, the country too has become destitute today," the Thera said. more..

Industry unites to celebrate 150 years of Ceylon Tea next year

July 17 (FT) Sri Lanka tea industry is reaching a milestone of 150 years in 2017. Sri Lanka Tea Board along with the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association and other industry stakeholders are planning a grand scale celebration of 150 years of Ceylon Tea during 2017. Sri Lanka is one of the top tea growing and exporting countries in the world and the tea industry provides direct and indirect employment to around two million people more..

Precious ladies have suffered from experts’ makeovers

July 17 (ST) The Sigiriya ladies were a major media story this week with reports that flash photography was spoiling the masterly frescoes and tourists were jaywalking on the ancient walls but the real problem comes from the experts. “Right now, what you see in Sigiriya is the damage done by the people who attempted to preserve the murals 30 years ago,” said Director of Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology Prof. Jagath Weerasinghe. more..

Gem and jewellery or cave of corruption!

July 17 (SL) National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA), which issues gem mining licences, has been accused by its employees of being converted into a den of corruption during the former regime. The NGJA is now facing allegations of issuing illegal gem mining licences to persons with right connections to the subject minister and the family. Saminda Premajayantha, son of former Minister Susil Premajayantha, more..

China still top lender to Sri Lanka

July 17 (EN) China maintained its lead as the biggest lender to Sri Lanka providing US$ 98.7 million in the January – May 2015 period, govt data showed. Total commitments made by bilateral lenders and multilateral lending agencies to Sri Lanka to support its public investment program during January to June 2015 came to US$ 213.6 million. Project loans amounted to US$ 211.2 million and grants US$ 2.4 million, the data showed. more..

UNP threatens to withdraw presidential retirement benefits if MR re-enters parliament

July 17 (Island) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe PC has warned former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the latter would be deprived of privileges he is currently enjoying as an ex-President in case of being elected an MP. Minister said that Mahinda Rajapaksa had the prerogative to decide whether he wanted to resume a parliamentary career afresh at the expense of perks and privileges available to him. more..

Resumption of fish exports to European Union by early next year

July 17 (Island) The govt said that it was confident that because most issues raised by the European Union regarding unregulated fishing practices had been addressed, fish exports to the EU could resume early next year. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the EU’s concern with regard to the need for legislation combating illegal fishing was being addressed in the govt’s action plan which had dealt with 30 of the 36 issues raised. more..

'India wanted Sri Lanka to stop Colombo Port City'

July 17 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that India’s National Security Advisor had requested the former Sri Lankan govt to stop the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project as it would pose a threat to that country’s security. Rajapaksa stated that when the BJP govt of India came to power, it was his responsibility to meet and hold talks with his Indian counterpart - National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval. more..

UPFA officially launches election campaign

July 17 (Island) UPFA officially launched its election campaign under the theme, Let’s Power the Nation-Let’s Start Afresh yesterday at the Opposition Leader’s office. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said that despite President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement on Tuesday, UPFA was going ahead with its campaign with the inaugural meeting taking place in Anuradhapura today and former President more..

JVP files petition with Human Rights Commission against MR

July 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Marxist JVP on Friday filed a petition with the Human Rights Commission against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s use of state vehicles and security. The petition filed by JVP Kurunegala District team leader Namal Karunaratne points out that the human rights of other candidates (Right to equality) are being violated by former President’s use of state owned properties. more..

T-Bond scandal

July 17 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena speaking to the media on Wednesday had criticized Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran over the recent Treasury (T) Bond fiasco. He had told Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to remove the CB Governor. CB comes under the purview of Wickremesinghe. The scandal involved Mahendran's son-in-law Arjun Aloysius, whose family firm Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer, allegedly bought T-Bonds, of a 30-year tenure, more..

India to conduct feasibility study for India-Sri Lanka project

July 17 (BS) The Union govt is planning to conduct a feasibility study for the Rs 23,000 crore road connectivity between India and Sri Lanka, which the centre is proposing. Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari today said that the Govt is considering to establish road connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. He was speaking after laying foundation stones of the National Highway projects in Madurai and in Kanyakumari district today. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Stocks close at highest in nearly 7 weeks

July 17 (Reuters) Stocks closed at a near seven-week high on Friday led by select shares in heavy trade as hopes of political stability after the polls lifted sentiment. Foreign investors however cut holdings in blue chips, with net outflow of 906.9 million rupees on Friday reversing year-to-date net inflow for the first time since Feb.2. Foreign investors have sold a net 762.9 million rupees worth of shares so far this year, with outflows for past 37 sessions alone reaching 6.7 billion rupees. more..

What may be the mood of Tamils at polls

July 17 (CT) Prevailing wish of the country is to put the past behind. A rare unity of purpose that obtained in January is needed again. For nearly a century, Sinhala Tamil ill-will, erosion of cordiality, loss of trust and growth of enmity have plagued the nation’s polity. Now they have begun to thaw. Making them thaw further needs a fresh political ethos. The past was riven with debate as if arguments well phrased or ideally rephrased can change the course of the future. more..

Video: Obtaining enjoining order blow to freedom of information

July 17 (DM) Former UPFA MP Rajiva Wijesinha said that the obtaining of an enjoining order, preventing the publication or circulation of the COPE sub committee draft report on the sale of Central Bank bonds, was a huge blow to the freedom of information. “We cannot speak about the COPE report till July 23. We accept that. We believe that it would make people realise that deputy minister of justice is obstructing freedom of information. more..

Litro taken to court for allegedly buying Iranian gas

July 17 (Island) Nishantha Dharmapriya of Nugegoda has complained to the Supreme Court alleging that Litro Gas Lanka Limited imported Liquid Petroleum Gas from Premax Company, which got their supply from Iran, which was subject to United States sanctions. The petitioner said that great loss and damage would be caused to Sri Lanka internationally due to having trade links with a company linked to Iran. The petitioner requested the court to issue an interim order restraining more..

Ensuring dignity and safety of Tamil women priority: TNPF

July 17 (CT) To ensure the dignity of Tamil women and their safety, Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) has fielded a significant number of Tamil women candidates in the North and East, according to TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. Flinging accusations at Tamil MPs of the post-war period, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam speaking at an election rally at Thalayady in the Vadamarachchi region said that with the end of the war, women in the N&E were facing enormous problems. more..

Several Welikada prison officials involved in 2012 massacre

July 17 (CT) "Who watch him lest himself should rob the prison of its prey," questions Oscar Wilde in The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The trio of former Magazine Prison, Superintendent Emil Lamahewage, Welikada Prison Warden, Nimal Shantha and Prison Superintendent (since July 2014) and at the time of the Welikada Prison massacre a Jailor attached to the Intelligence and Security Division of Prison Indika Sampath, more..

'National Identity cards a must for voting'

July 17 (DN) Those in need of their National Identity Cards (NICs) to vote at the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections 2015, should apply for their NICs on or before the 25th of this month. Commissioner General of Registration Persons Department R.M.S. Sarath Kumara, has instructed in a circular, that all Divisional Secretaries and Grama Seva Niladharies countrywide, must educate their respective householders on this matter and encourage them to apply for their NICs more..