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Plantations say wage hike will cost Rs18bn

July 17 (EN) Sri Lanka’s regional plantations companies (RPCs) said a 1,000 rupee daily wage demand by workers would cost them a massive 18 billion rupees annually and was unaffordable when commodity prices were low and many firms making losses. Talks between the RPCs and labour unions on renewing a two-year collective agreement governing wages have been stalled as both sides were unable to reach agreement. The Planters’ Association,, which represents the RPCs, more..

UNP slams UPFA over statements on polls

July 17 (CG) UNP slammed the UPFA over some statements made with regards to Parliament election. UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim said that the statements recently made by the General Secretary of the SLFP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and two other stalwarts of UPFA Prof. Nalin de Silva and singer Madumadhawa Aravinda, clearly indicate the extent of the frenzy UPFA followers are driven into, more..

'Racial political parties should be banned'

July 17 (DM) Political parties representing communities and religions should be banned in Sri Lanka to ensure national reconciliation in the country, Chief Incumbent of the Rangiri-Dambulu temple Ven. Inamaluwe Sumangala Thera said. Ven. Sumangala thera expressed these views when former MP Prof. G.L. Peiris visited him at the temple. The Thera said it was the racial political parties that instigate racism in the country and pointed out that the political parties should be able to more..

Cops put the brakes on UPFA candidate’s vehicle parade

July 17 (AD) The vehicle parade of a certain UPFA Colombo District candidate and his supporters, engaged in election campaigning, was dispersed following the intervention of the police. The parade which was heading towards Hanwella on the Colombo- Avissawella road at around 6.00pm yesterday was dispersed at the Puwakpitiya Town, police said. License plate numbers of around 20 vehicles that took part in the parade were jotted down by the police while legal action more..

Sri Lanka domestic borrowings spike, revenue deficit wide up to May 2015

July 17 (EN) Sri Lanka's domestic borrowings were sharply up, and the deficit in the current account was also wide amid high spending on salaries and subsidies, despite a sharp recovery in tax revenues in five months to May 2015, official data showed. State revenues climbed 18% to 502 billion rupees in the first five months of the year, with tax revenues climbing 18.5% to 457 billion rupees, a pre-election fiscal report showed. more..

EC spells out the do's and don't's

July 17 (DN) EC Mahinda Deshapriya said that supporters of any political party can participate in house to house canvassing except the candidate and family members. He said that the maximum number of supporters who can go house to house canvassing should be less than 15 and they can distribute handbills promoting their party and candidates. "These handbills should have details with regard to details of the person who printed them and the place where they were printed," more..

Kindelpitiya abandons DP for TULF

July 17 (Island) Western Provincial Councillor Susil Kindelpitiya, who, having been elected on the Democratic Party ticket, joined the TULF to contest the forthcoming general election said that he had received step motherly treatment from his former party. Addressing a news conference, the DP member said good governance was merely a slogan for all main stream political parties to gain votes and the leaders of those parties spread falsehoods and misled the masses." more..

Waste oil leakage from the Chunnakam power plant caused water pollution?

July 17 (Island) Latest report on water samples reveal that the oil and grease content in well water in most parts of Jaffna Peninsula is decreasing, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) says. CEA Chairman Prof. Mervin Lal Dharmasiri said that his officials were paying close attention to the allegations of water pollution caused by the Chunnakam Power Plant in Jaffna. Water samples were collected from schools, temples, more..

Politicians should retire when their time is up: Sumangala Thera

July 17 (DM) Malwatta Chapter Mahanayaka, Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera said politicians should think of retiring at the correct time as politics is not a profession one does for a lifetime. The Thera made this comment when deputy minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe visited the Malwatta temple in Kandy today to seek the blessings of the prelate. The Thera also said the Elections Commissioner was a good Public Servant who performed his duties impartially. more..

UNP to usher in prosperous era: Sajith

July 17 (DN) Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa said the UNP has launched a strong election campaign in the Hambantota district to usher in an era where fruits of development and progress will percolate to the masses. This would be the most democratic election campaign conducted in the district sans thuggery, intimidation, coercion, bribery and corruption. He was addressing a UNP election meeting held at Ranasinghegama, Katuwana recently. more..

SL signs US$1.1bn currency swap with India

July 17 (PTI) Reserve Bank on Friday signed a special currency swap agreement with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka that will allow the latter to draw up to USD 1.1 billion. Under the arrangement, the Sri Lankan bank can draw up to USD 1.1 billion for a maximum period of six months. This special arrangement is in addition to the existing Framework on Curency Swap Arrangement for the SAARC member countries. more..

Hafeez fails ICC test, banned for 12 months

July 17 (PTI) In a major setback to Pakistan cricket, all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez was today banned from bowling in international cricket for 12 months after he failed an independent assessment of his suspect action. The assessment was carried out at the Sri Ramachandra University in Chennai on July 6 and the ICC said that Hafeez's bowling action was found to be illegal. The off-spinner, since being reported for a second time during the Test series against Sri Lanka, more..

Sri Lanka becoming global distribution hub

July 17 (Nikkei) Sri Lanka's strategic location has allowed it to grow into a key international distribution base. Its free trade agreement with populous neighbor India has made the once war-torn island nation attractive to logistics companies and manufacturers. Expolanka Holdings has an international distribution center next to BIA in Colombo. Textiles from Vietnam and Bangladesh are brought to the center, sorted out by destination and then loaded on to cargo planes & ships. more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayake

Guidelines issued to protect human rights defenders

July 17 (CG) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has issued guideline for state authorities to ensure the protection of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) including ensuring their freedom of association. HRCSL noted that Human Rights defenders act as the voice of vulnerable person or group or community or society and engage to ensure universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. “They work very hard, for example; they document violations, more..

Video: UNP defends restraining order on COPE report

July 17 (DM) UNP today defended the court order restraining the publication of the report by the COPE on the sale of Central Bank bonds saying the report was not an official document. Kandy Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Colombo District UNP Candidate Rosy Senanayake told a media briefing that COPE had never issued an official report. Mr. Kiriella questioned as to why the report was not presented in parliament on June 26 even though the matter was listed in the order paper. more..

Willing to make any sacrifice to protect SLFP: Mahinda

July 17 (AD) Former President Rajapaksa says that he is willing to make any sacrifice to protect the SLFP and that although he has not betrayed the country or the people, the finger is being pointed at him. Addressing the inaugural election rally of the UPFA at Salgadu Stadium in Anuradhapura today, Rajapaksa said that following his defeat at the Presidential Election, large numbers of people came looking for him more..

Trade deficit widens despite fuel price decline

July 18 (ST) Although the recent steep decline in international fuel prices reduced oil import expenditure significantly, the trade deficit increased in the first four months of this year. This was mainly due to lower export earnings. Tea export earnings declined by as much as 13 percent to only US$ 437 million in the first four months of this year. Fish, rubber manufactures and garments exports too declined. A decrease in fuel prices is a significant advantage to the Sri Lankan economy more..

State terror in Sri Lanka: Why did the future President go to a coconut estate?

July 18 (CT) A recent article by Dharisha Bastians in Daily FT titled Revolution Betrayed begins with an evocative paragraph. “On 8 January 2015, once he had cast his vote in Polonnaruwa, Maithripala Sirisena and his family made their way to remote coconut estate in Kurunegala. The movement occurred at dusk, when the waning light helped to hide the small convoy of vehicles carrying the future first family to their refuge for election night. When he made the decision to contest more..

Another shot against polio

July 18 (SO) Last week the Epidemiology Unit introduced the new injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) for 4-month-old infants, as part of its national Expanded Immunization Programme (EPI) to completely eradicate poliomyelitis (polio) from SL. Sri Lanka had been free of polio since 1993 and the South East Asian region since March last year. However, given the contagious nature of the polio virus, which invades more..

Lonely Politics – Maithri Style

July 18 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is an untouchable in the eyes of President Maithripala Sirisena. He made his bold and unexpected statement on the 14th of July. “He does not approve of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s candidature at the forthcoming general elections as a UPFA contestant; yet, he is willing to relent to popular demand of his coalition partners in the UPFA and let him contest but not with his blessings”. Attempts by the UPFA to discard Maithripala Sirisena from more..

Our MPs already have an advanced level, no?

July 18 (ST) Last Sunday this newspaper reported the views of school principals, teachers and students who expressed their displeasure (to understate it) at the postponement of the GCE A/L exam because of the impending parliamentary election. Their views are understandable, especially the criticisms of those due to sit the exam. They believe — and who are we to contradict them — that the momentum they had built up and the planning that went ahead have now been badly and sadly more..

Confidence meets Dynasty in Hambantota

July 18 (CT) Hambantota has been in the limelight, for more than a decade be it as a place for failed mega projects or as the legacy of the former first family and this general election sees the comeback of one of the lesser known Rajapaksas- Nirupama Rajapaksa. She was recently appointed as the organizer for the Mulkirigala electorate in Hambantota. Ceylon Today interviewed Nirupama Rajapaksa as she climbs to prominence and more..

Lessons for no learners

July 18 (NS) Must teach Ranil a lesson, that was how a SL voter thought loud to his companion while having his fitness walk one morning, standing on a side of the walkway blaming Ranil for what he had done or not done. It was just six months ago an over-confident politician was sent home, forgetting all the good things that happened during his time, for the glaring blunders that made the voters to teach him a lesson. In SL Politics, Teaching Lessons has become the standard norm. more..

Another day, another election

July 18 (NS) There are Democracies and there are Democrazies. One person has already lost his life in Nivitigala in this cycle. In Hambantota, Mr. Premedasa’s facebook page shows torn down posters and banners. Why is there so much personal animosity between partisan supporters that the same people who go to Temple, Mosque, Church or Kovil regularly then start getting mad at each other and start beating people up and even killing them over a damned ballot? more..

On Jaffna Library sparrows and pallbearers

July 18 (NS) History is version. So is truth. That was what a PM (here) observed when he wrote that truth was relative, and that yesterday’s truth might become tomorrow’s fiction or vice-versa. Naturally enough, opinion gets scripted into incident, which is why it becomes difficult to reconcile differing versions of the same event. The Jaffna Public Library burning is one example. It’s been more than three decades. more..

Editorial: A Sisyphean task

July 18 (Island) The bane of this country is that it has too many people’s representatives and too many elections. But, that is the cost of democracy a society has to bear. The only remedy for flaws in democracy is said to be more democracy! So, one is left with no alternative but to exercise one’s franchise and keep one’s fingers crossed. Que Sera, Sera … With election fever running high, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya and Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of SL more..

A betel hijack at the Wayamba Lion’s Den

July 18 (Island) The strength of our unity today is such that we can even hijack an aircraft - former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa at Hambantota. With just one month left for the general election, it seems that politics is taking to the skies. The terrestrial campaign is obviously not enough for what is turning out to be a hectic campaign among the forces of betel leaf and the elephant. Vichaara Janamaadhya, who is covering the campaign for what is believed to be the independent media more..

Ramazan and its Significance

July 18 (Island) The holy month Ramazan is sacred as mentioned in details in the Quran and Hadith. This is the third pillar of the five basic principles of Islam and is better known for its fasting during the entire month every year, and it is also the month in which the holy Quran was revealed. Al Quran sura Al Baqarah verse 2:183. O you who believe ! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may more..

Ranathunga into finals

July 18 (CT) High Jumper Dammika Ranathunga advanced to the finals as he jumped 2:08 m in the qualifying round of the 9th IAAF World Youth championship continued at Cali Colombia yesterday. Ranathunga started jumping at 2:00 m and took two attempts each to clear 2.00m, 2.04m and 2.08m, where he qualified for the finals after finishing fourth in the qualifying round (heat A) and 8th place overall. Ranathunga jumped 2:12m for his Silver medal at Asian Youth Championship in May, more..

Applying the racism paradigm

July 18 (Island) I will now apply the racism paradigm that I have sketched out above to what seem to me to be the essentials of the Tamil ethnic problem as it prevails today. I must clarify that when I use the term Tamils in the present context I am referring not to all Tamils but to their broadest segment as represented by the TNA. They insist that a political solution should be based on a very broad measure of devolution going well beyond 13A to federalism, and if possible even beyond that. more..

Truce in tea plantation wage dispute; normalcy in many estates

July 18 (Island) Chairman Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) Roshan Rajadurai said that although there was no agreement or conclusion to a protracted dispute between tea trade unions and Regional Plantation Company managements on tea worker wages, routine work was restored in the plantations. There were some pockets of resistance to a resumption of work on the part of some workers who were unsure of their unions' stance, more..

Eid ul-Fitr is said to be the most popular festival

July 18 (Island) Amongst the many Muslim festivals in the country, it is Id-Ramzan which is said to be the most popular festival and holds great religious significance to Muslims across the globe. Id-Ramzan is also known as Eid ul-Fitr and sometimes plainly referred to as Eid. It is said to be most holy month in the Islamic calendar. The main reason for it being pronounced as the most scared month is because it is been said in the holy book, Quran that it was during these thirty day when Prophet more..

First female boss of Freight Forwarders Association calls for out of the box thinking

July 18 (FT) The global logistics industry was estimated to be a whopping $ 4 trillion+ in 2014. This represented 10% of the global GDP. The Indian subcontinent logistics represents $ 200 billion+. Given the region’s current economic growth and forecast in the medium term, our industry can be very positive that the opportunities for us in Sri Lanka are on the brighter side. Indian subcontinent is known as a high growth area for the world’s population where an emerging middle class more..

Sri Lanka and China wrap up Silk Route 2015 military exercise

July 18 (TD) China and Sri Lanka concluded their second-ever joint military exercise last week. Exercise Silk Route 2015, likely named so for its concordance with China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative, in which Sri Lanka is a partner, incorporated a 43-member Chinese People’s Liberation Army contingent and soldiers from the Sri Lankan army. According to a statement released by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense, more..

Sharmal and Harshana cruise to victory on day one

July 18 (DN) Sri Lanka's emerging players Sharmal Dissanayake and Harshana Godamanne emerged victorious on day one of the Sri Lanka - Lebanon Davis Cup Tie 2015 which began at SL Tennis Association Courts yesterday. Sharmal defeated Lebanon's Jad Ballout easily in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 2-1. Later Jad conceded a walkover in the fourth set. The experienced Harshana had no difficulty in overcoming Lebanon's Hady Habib also in straight sets by 7-5, 6-3, 6-3. more..

Eid reminds contribution of Islam to nation building: President

July 18 (PSL) As Muslims throughout Sri Lanka and the World celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, I am most pleased to extend my wishes to them. The last month has been a time of fasting, spiritual revitalization, and helping those in-need. While the Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, the return of the soul to the pristine state of cleanliness and purity, it also reinforces the common human values that unite the humankind. Sri Lankans share a rich heritage of world religions and, Eid reminds us of contribution of the Islam more..

Sri Lanka caught in a debt trap: Report

July 18 (NS) Sri Lanka is one of 22 countries currently in govt external debt crisis, a new analysis by the Jubilee Debt Campaign undertaken with the assistance of the European Union revealed last week. According to the July 2015 report titled The new debt trap Sri Lanka has been included amongst countries such as Greece, Armenia, Belize, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gambia, Grenada, more..

Sachith proves his worth

July 18 (CT) Kandy's all-round cricketer Sachith Shanaka Pathirana, or commonly known as Sachith Pathirana (born 21 March 1989) nicknamed Podda, made his home town proud playing in the 2nd one day against Pakistan at Pallekele International Stadium. As a debutant, he did his best in front of his home town crowd, and the happiest were his mother Kumari and father Janaka Pathirana, former Sylvestrian and Kandy Youth Sports Club cricketer. Sachith's entry into the national side was more..

Sri Lanka ratifies UN Electronic Communications Convention

July 18 (Island) The ICT Agency (ICTA) led efforts to get Sri Lanka ratify the UN Electronic Communications Convention bore fruit, when Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr Rohan Perera deposited the Instrument of Ratification in New York recently. This is sequel to approval from the Cabinet of Ministers obtained in June. The cabinet approval authorized the ministry of Foreign Affairs to deposit the Instrument of Ratification at UN Treaty Office more..