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SL to blacklist firms violating Customs law

July 18 (EN) Sri Lankan exporters and importers who break the rules will be blacklisted for life once better systems that improve surveillance and speed up clearance are put in place, Minister Ravi Karunanayake warned. Only 10-15% of the trade who on a daily basis are known to be trying to abuse the system for their own short term benefit. “Our revenue collected is far less than what we anticipated,” he told the annual general meeting of the Import Section of the CCC. more..

Assassin in UPFA nomination list: Karuna

July 18 (CT) Deputy Minister V Muralidharan (Karuna Amman) said that he has tangible evidence of a number one murderer who has been granted nomination for the forthcoming parliamentary election by the UPFA. He accused the Secretary of the UPFA of having granted nomination to this individual according to his exclusive will. He suggested that this "individual is directly connected to the assassinations of Joseph Pararajasingham, Nadaraja Raviraj, Chandranehru and more..

No barrier to Mahinda becoming PM: Ex-CJ

July 18 (Island) There was no legal barrier to former President Mahinda Rajapaka becoming PM according to the Constitution, former CJ Sarath N. Silva said. Addressing the UPFA inaugural election rally, Silva said that according to the Constitution a person who commanded the confidence of MPs should be appointed the PM. Responding to President’s recent statement that he (Sirisena) would not appoint former President more..

Ifthar at Washington Embassy

July 18 (SLE) Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Washington DC celebrated the traditional Iftar on Friday, July 10th. The event was attended by a large gathering of guests from the Sri Lankan-American Muslim community, representatives from the State Department and other Sri Lankan community leaders. In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said, “The idea of Iftar is sharing and to let those fasting know that we have a physical space where we get together, more..

Unbalanced Pakistan face resurgent SL

July 18 (CI) On Wednesday night Sri Lanka reached back through history and produced a win of late 1990s vintage. There was the precocious left-handed opener laying waste to new-ball bowlers, significant contributions from the rest of the top order, a captain entangling himself in yet another run-out, and a cool hand from lower down, to complete a big chase. This Sri Lanka team has far to go before comparisons can be drawn with last year's ODI outfit, let alone the class of '96, more..

Opposition's war on Mangala's oral brigades

July 18 (EN) Sri Lanka's main opposition launched its parliamentary election campaign declaring war against an alleged group of 5,000 young men and women deployed to discredit former president Rajapaksa. UPFA affiliate Wimal Weerawansa told the inaugural campaign rally at Anuradhapura that Minister Mangala Samaraweera has recruited 5,000 youngsters to attack the opposition via word-of-mouth. more..

Former Sri Lanka based US diplomats get top awards

July 18 (CG) Two former Sri Lanka based US diplomats are among the winners of the 2014 Human Rights Awards, the US Satte Department said. The State Department said that Michael Honigstein and Michael Ervin are the recipients of the Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award, while Azimjon Askarov of Kyrgyzstan and Foro Penal, a Venezuelan NGO, are the recipients of the Human Rights Defender Award. Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award more..

Brain dead accident victims’ kidneys to save lives: Health Ministry pilot project

July 18 (ST) The time has come for driving licences to indicate the driver’s willingness to donate his/her kidneys in the event of death by accident. In Australia it is in place said Dr. Anura Abeysinghe, coordinator of a pilot project, at a discussion held under the auspices of the Health Ministry. Dr. Abeysinghe said that in 2014 alone there were 2,400 road deaths, while this year it is projected to be 2,700. Of these fatalities, kidneys of 40% of them could have been used to save more..

Schoolchildren fed drugs through laced soft drinks in new criminal push

July 18 (CG) Separate incidents this week in which schoolchildren became ill after consuming laced soft drinks reinforce concerns of drug pushers leading youth into addiction through sweets and fizzy drinks doctored with hallucinogenic substances. Three schoolgirls from a reputed school in Maharagama suddenly became ill on Thursday after consuming a soft drink purchased from a shop near their school, police said. more..

STF to play crucial role in curtailing violence at the upcoming polls

July 18 (ST) Special Task Force (STF) will be entrusted with additional responsibilities in handling security for the upcoming Parliamentary elections. Public Order Ministry secretary T.M.K.B. Tennkoon said that in contrast to previous security arrangements the STF will be made use of to prevent election related violence. “Due to the intensified competition for this election we expect an increase in violence and therefore we are taking additional precautions,” he said. more..

Defence Secretary, officials discuss North land issue

July 18 (CG) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence B M U D Basnayake and a delegation from the Ministry of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Affairs had talks today on the resettlement programmes of displaced persons in the North and the release of land held by the military. Basnayake, who assumed duties after President Maithripala Sirisena was voted to power, undertook his first formal visit to the North during today, together with the tri-service Commanders. more..

Polls Chief admits difficulty in reining in partisan social media

July 18 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has said that reining in social media contravening election laws in the run-up to the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls will be an extremely challenging task. Therefore, all concerned, including the media should realise the limitations experienced by the Elections Secretariat in handling the particular issue, Deshapriya said. He was addressing members of newly set up more..

Of media and mediums

July 19 (SO) The jewels of autocratic ambition and superstition are much in display once more after a brief respite post January 8. But, just as much as occult paraphernalia is again clutched and brandished, there is a reassuring counter-balance: the paraphernalia of cyberspace and telecommunications, the iconography of Facebook and Twitter. Even as fetish mini-sceptres and auspicious gemstones are flaunted on one side of the on-going contest for governmental power, more..

Sustaining the hard won freedom!

July 19 (SL) Those who pave the way for a change are called revolutionaries. Normally for the ruling class these revolutionaries are thorns in the eye, for it is the revolutionaries who fire the first salvo when changing a regime. Usually only a fraction of individuals in a country become revolutionaries. However, during recent years a new trend has emerged where the majority of the global population have transformed into revolutionaries in ousting corrupt and tyrannical regimes. more..

'MS should be popular at SLFP hqrs, not at Sirikotha'

July 19 (SL) Former Minister Dullas Alahapperuma launched a scathing attack on President Sirisena's recent speech. He said President should continue to maintain his popularity at the SLFP headquarters and not at Sirikotha. Alahapperuma, a one-time media personality with a flair for eloquent political speeches is today an ardent campaigner of Bring Back Mahinda campaign. more..

Don’t let Yahapalanaya go the way of Dharmishta

July 19 (Island) With less than a month to go before the general election, the battle lines have been clearly drawn and there is little doubt in anybody’s mind that the results will determine whether Mahinda Rajapaksa or Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the PM of the country. President Sirisena is on record saying he will not appoint Rajapaksa prime minister, but there is very little he can do about it if the UPFA emerges the biggest single force at the conclusion of the election. more..

The multi-bond circus

July 19 (NS) Colombo District Court has issued an enjoining order preventing the publication or circulation of the COPE sub-committee report on the Central Bank bond issue until July 23. This order is sequent to a petition filed by Sujeewa Senasinghe (UNP). We can still talk of bonds. There’s still a word called cope. There are no enjoining orders from the courts preventing us from writing about such things. For now. There are bonds between man (women too) and the earth, Chief Seattle tells us. more..

'MR and his clan of rogues will be rejected'

July 19 (SO) One of the main architects of Jan 8 silent revolution, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne is noted for his advocacy on democratic rights and plural politics. He asserts that his interest always lies in the country and not the party which comes second to him. He said President Sirisena's recent speech would have a crippling impact on the UPFA's election campaign as the President has explained his stance clearly to the nation. more..

President down but not out

July 19 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena created a record this week. He is the first political party president in this country to have taken his own party to court. There have been numerous instances in which party deputies have gone to court against the leadership – J.R. Jayewardene (UNP), Maithripala Senanayake (SLFP) a few decades ago and some more recent examples where party leaders were made respondents in actions filed by dissidents in the party, but subject to correction. more..

Maithri, don’t cast pearls before swine

July 19 (ST) My Dear Maithri, I didn’t think I would be writing to you again so soon but I feel I must, after hearing what you had to tell us the other day when you tried to explain to the country why you were forced against your better judgment to give nomination to Mahinda maama to contest the upcoming elections. It was obvious that you were quite upset when people who voted for you began calling you a traitor and accused you of betraying the ideals of Yahapaalanaya although more..

'EPDP: The counterpoint to TNA'

July 19 (SO) Leader of the EPDP, former Minister Douglas Devananda says that his party has decided to go solo at the forthcoming general election, without contesting the election under UPFA as done earlier. Claiming that there are a number of outstanding issues affecting the people in the North and East, Devananda said that the party would remain committed to working for the people's welfare. EPDP is a North-based political party more..

MR's campaign opener

July 19 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, targetting to once more win a seat in Parliament, a feat which he first accomplished 45 years ago from Beliatta, began his campaign from Anuradhapura on Friday. Rajapaksa, the de facto prime ministerial candidate of the SLFP- led UPFA coalition, aiming to win the 17 August 2015 general election, for himself, this time from Kurunegala, and also for his party, however scrupulously avoided mentioning President Maithripala Sirisena, his strongest critic more..

President Sirisena’s faux pas

July 19 (Island) UPFA’s inaugural rally in Anuradhapura was a big event. It was certainly bigger than either the Nugegoda and Kurunegala rallies of the bring back Mahinda campaign. It was at least as big as the previous rally held in Matara, if not slightly bigger. As far as inaugural rallies go, size does matter. One thing that can be said is that last Friday’s UPFA show was way bigger than the UNP’s inaugural rally in Kandy. The UNP prefers to kick off their campaigns either more..

'Basil and Susil removed my name'

July 19 (CT) A close confidant of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former National List MP and Vice President of the SLFP, V Muralitharan aka Karuna Amman says the UPFA cheated him, the man who helped immensely to win the war. "If not for me, the people in the South would not be able to walk about freely, as I was the one who contributed mostly to win the war," former LTTE militant told Ceylon Today. more..

UPFA nominations drama at Keppetipola Mawatha

July 19 (SO) The UPFA, with the launch of its election campaign, had a tumultuous week with the party leader, President Maithripala Sirisena, making a fiery statement over the party’s nomination. Apart from the President’s statement, the party had to deal with a myriad of issues with regard to nominations for the Parliamentary election. The party was divided into various factions internally and every group tried to increase its quota in every district. While loyalists of Chandrika Kumaratunga wanted to ensure more..

Sirisena checkmates MR, supports good governance

July 19 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena, last week, broke the deafening sound of silence he maintained for several weeks by re-aligning himself with the mandate and forces that voted him to office at the Jan 8th Presidential polls in hope of a positive change in the country. Last week, it seemed like Sirisena had managed to checkmate Mahinda Rajapaksa. This column, last week, stated that Sirisena is scheduled to make a statement after the conclusion of nominations on the 13th, more..

'Private sector has a major role to play'

July 19 (NS) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says that the party will build a regime which will be a force in the govt which the people will elect on August 17. Leftist party, which has been in active politics during the past five decades, invites people to decide whether they need a mere regime change or a real change that can design a development program for the country. Dissanayake also stressed that they will not bring more..

Campaign: a mahinda-ranil battle

July 19 (CT) There was storm in the political centre stage in the week gone-by. The move to grant nomination to Mahinda Rajapaksa caused utter confusion in the minds of 6.2 million voters who elected Maithripala Sirisena to Office and Maithri was at the receiving end just a few days in the run up to nominations. As Mahinda handed over his nomination at Kurunegala, the people and the social media launched fierce attacks on Maithri calling him a traitor after the infamous Ehelepola. more..

Hathurusingha has transformed Bangladesh cricket

July 19 (Island) In just over a year, the way Chandika Hathurusingha has transformed Bangladesh cricket has been truly amazing. The former Sri Lankan opener was appointed as Head Coach of Bangladesh in May last year and many predicted a turnaround for the lowest ranked cricket team in the world, but the success they have enjoyed in recent times was hardly imaginable then. When he took over, Hathurusingha was asked about his immediate target and entering the more..

Differences between Rajiva & Liberal Party in the open

July 19 (Island) Differences between the Liberal Party and Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha have been brought to the public domain by a news release issued on Friday by Mr. Kamal Nissanka, Secretary General of the Liberal Party. But Wijesinha refuted the allegations against him as mere nonsense and utterly baseless. Nissanka said that they had no MOU with the UPFA and that though Wijesinha was the leader of the party for 2014, they had not more..

Every Sri Lankan win will hurt Pakistan

July 19 (NS) When Pakistan ran up 287-8 batting first in the second One-Day International at Pallekele on Wednesday they would have given themselves a very good chance of going 2-up in the five-match series for they had the bowlers to exploit the conditions and restrict the Sri Lankan total. However they were quite surprisingly hit by a cyclone in the form of Kusal Perera who mauled their bowling to the tune of scoring the quickest ODI fifty by a Sri Lankan off 17 balls and more..

SL prefers to go with same team

July 19 (CT) Cricket will move to the home capital today when Sri Lanka takes on Pakistan in their third ODI to be played at the R. Premadasa Stadium Colombo which will be underway at 2:30 p.m. As for home team skipper Angelo Mathews Sri Lanka prefer to go to battle with the side unchanged that won the second ODI at Pallekele. "There will be no change in the batting lineup. We have to look at the pitch before changing bowlers but I believe we can play with a similar bowling unit more..

Attempt to conceal evidence

July 19 (SL) Deliberate attempts to hide the facts involving the death of rugger player Wasim Thajudeen over the past one-and-a-half years have now come to limelight, CID source said. Although the police confirmed that Thajudeen had died as a result of a fire in the vehicle he was travelling, the Govt Analyst’s report had stated that carbon monoxide had not been found in Thajudeen’s lungs, which contradicted with post mortem report. more..

Political parties set to release polls manifesto

July 19 (CG) Most political parties contesting the election will be releasing their election manifestos this week. Former UNP MP Gayantha Karunatilake said that the election manifesto of the UNP, expected to be released over the next few days, will promise employment, relief to the public and more development projects. He further said that the masses have already decided to vote for a UNP led govt to carry forward the good governance established on January 8. more..

TISL rejects allegations on EU funds

July 19 (SL) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) denied allegations that it had received funds from the European Union for personal use. TISL received EU funding to use at the forthcoming election related matters, says TISL Executive Managing Director Shan Wijetunge. Wijetunge made the statement responding to a query from The Sunday Leader over the media news that European Union has donated Euro 1.2 million to the civil movements of Sri Lanka. more..

Cannabis in CM’s police vehicle

July 19 (ST) A surprise Excise raid on an official vehicle of Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Mahipala Herath at Polgahawela yesterday revealed that it was transporting cannabis or Kerala Ganja. But the Chief Minister told the Kegalle Police three hours later that the jeep was stolen. The vehicle belonging to the inner security detail of the Chief Minister was carrying two kilograms of imported cannabis (ganja). more..

'Secret pacts won’t solve Tamil problems'

July 19 (SO) The problems of the Tamils cannot be solved through secret pacts signed with other political parties like the TNA had done and the attempts to address the Tamil issues should always be open to the Sinhala community in the South if such attempts are to be successful, EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said. He said that none of the attempts to solve the ethnic problem through secret pacts and deals by political parties had ever been successful as they had no people’s backing. more..

BBS says no to controversial personality

July 19 (SO) The BBS now converted itself into the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP) has denied candidacy to a controversial personality who has now joined the Jana Setha Peramuna (JSP), headed by Ven. Bellanwila Seelarathana Thera. Vijitha Rohana Wijemuni, the Naval Rating who rifle-assaulted visiting Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi on July 27, 1987 during a presidential guard of honour in Colombo, said that the BBS has changed its original policies for expediency and the benefit of the few. more..

Presidential Commission to expose mega frauds

July 19 (SO) Govt funds may have been used to organize a public rally in support of former President Rajapaksa’s presidential bid in December last year, according to evidence now being led at the hearings of the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Large Scale Corruption and Fraud, which began hearings last Thursday. No proper procedure seems to have been followed in these dealings, according to testimony. more..

Expo Lanka sees profits dip, divests non-core businesses

July 19 (Island) Expo Lanka Holdings PLC., now controlled by a Japanese conglomerate, has seen both turnover and earnings dip in the year ended March 31st 2015, but remains upbeat about its future prospects. The company recently released its most comprehensive annual report since founding in 1978 and listing in 2011. In 2014, SG Holdings of Japan bought a 30% stake of Expolanka Holdings to aiming at the controlling 51% in the mandatory offer that followed. more..