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Code of conduct to restore the dignity of Parliament

July 20 (DM) In this era of democracy, the freedom of expression and free media, when a thousand flowers are blooming, more than ever before, the sovereign people are checking on the qualities and qualifications of candidates for the General Election. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, effectively implementing the new powers given to him by the 19th Amendment, told a media conference last week, he had asked polls officials to shoot candidates and their supporters. more..

Smart slum or smart city?

July 20 (DM) The city of Colombo has evolved as the commercial power house, the political nerve centre, and the city of social elite of the country over the past few centuries. Centrality of Colombo in the socio-economic map of Sri Lanka is hardly likely to change in the foreseeable future, and hence the Future Colombo will continue to occupy a prime place in the national development dialogue. What is the type of city that we as a nation should envision for Colombo in 10 years? more..

Somawansa now targeting PC and LG polls

July 20 (SL) Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, who has been forced to alienate himself from active politics recently, is now looking at Plan B in what is seen as an attempt to resume his political career. After leaving the JVP Amarasinghe announced plans to form his own political party and contest the parliamentary elections. However, he abandoned those plans and decided to work with the JHU after the JHU more..

SL linked to UK kidney transplant racket

July 20 (CG) Investigations have found that a fixer in Sri Lanka is organising kidney transplants for British Nationals using social media. Criminal gangs are cashing in on the poor and terminally ill by setting up deals to flog kidneys for transplants. And some penniless people are so desperate for money just to survive they are willing to sell their organs on Facebook for as little as £1,200. more..

'If you can’t change govts, change people'

July 20 (Island) The time had come for Sri Lankans to learn from German poet, playwright and theatre director Bertolt Brecht, who once said if we could not change govt, we must change the people, says General Secretary of the Frontline Socialist Party Senadheera Gunathilake. Speaking at the opening of the FSP’s Kegalle office, Gunathilake said: "Everybody talks only about the part of the problem. more..

National List of main political parties a hotchpotch of sorts

July 20 (ST) The National List nominees of the main political parties contesting the poll include former MPs, academics as well as members of the clergy. The UPFA National List includes several former legislators including A.H.M. Fowzie, G.L. Peiris, Tissa Attanayake, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Dilan Perera, Reginold Cooray, Jeewan Kumaratunga, Tiran Alles, Faizer Mustapha, J. Sri Ranga, Prof. Rajiv Wijesinha, Tissa Vitarana, more..

'Those who should be in prison enter parliament thanks to preferential vote'

July 20 (Island) Those who deserved to be in prison entered Parliament thanks to the preferential voting system, former Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said. Addressing a meeting, he said that people abhorred the preferential voting because it helped misfits get elected. He said: "For the first time in the country’s history the Central Bank has been removed from the purview of the Ministry of Finance. The PM oversees it. Why did he remove more..

PM promises outright ownership of land for Swarna Bhoomi deed holders

July 20 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday promised full title deeds to ensure outright ownership of land to those who currently possess legal permits and Swarna Bhoomi deeds for their lands, which were given under state grants. The Premier said that such deeds granting outright ownership will be provided within one year after the convening of a new Parliament following August 17 General Election. more..

Sri Lankan hotels more expensive than regional rivals

July 20 (EN) Sri Lankan hotels are generally more expensive than competitors in the region with other Asian destinations offering better value-for-money, according to a report. “In comparison to other regional countries, Sri Lanka is generally on the higher end of the spectrum,” Bartleet Religare Securities (BRS) said in a report. The present shortage in supply helps hoteliers demand a higher price for accommodation. more..

Colombo Port City contract agreements to be revised

July 20 (DN) The contract agreements on the Colombo Port City Project will be revised to prevent any negative impact on Sri Lanka and other neighbouring countries, especially India, before resuming work, Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe said. He stated the project agreements with the Chinese company drawn under the previous govt had blatantly violated the laws and regulations of the country. more..

'No constitutional barrier to MR becoming PM'

July 20 (Island) Former UPFA Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris said nowhere in the constitution was it stated that a former President could not become the Prime Minister. The President had to appoint the MP who commanded the support of a majority of parliamentarians, he added. Therefore, President Maithripala Sirisena could not say that he would not appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, Prof Peiris said. more..

No poll ticket for Rajiv attacker: BJP

July 20 (ENS) The radical Sinhalese-Buddhist party, the Bodu Jana Permuna (BJP), has refused to give an election ticket to Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva, who had hit Rajiv Gandhi with his rifle butt when the then Indian Prime Minister was reviewing a Guard of Honor at Colombo on July 30, 1987 after signing the controversial India-Sri Lanka Accord. CEO of the BJP, Dilantha Vithanage, said that Wijemuni was not given a ticket to fight more..

Polls campaign: Stop mudslinging

July 20 (CT) Political leaders who are successful are those who have an optimistic attitude. They inherit the right kind of flexibility in thoughts, quick learning attitude and are emotionally balanced. Such balanced political leaders have the ability to cope up with uncertainty and imperfection. Even if they see personal shortcomings of their rivals, they refrain from making derogatory comments. They are the political leaders who like to groom others, respect people and treat others as humans. more..

A bridge to India or keep the Hindian at arms length?

July 20 (CT) Ex-diplomat K. Godage has recently written to the Island pointing out the strategic dangers of building a land bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka. KG has emphasized the threat to the sovereignty of Sri Lanka from such a bridge. The wars in Afghanistan feeding Pakistan with Jihadists, Muslim-Hindu and Sikh antagonisms etc., have made India a free market for arms, narcotics, and Jihadists. These too can travel freely over a bridge and add to Lanka’s existing problems. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Call to release Welikada report

July 20 (CT) A Court order will soon be obtained to exhume the body of Mohamed Wije Rohana, one of the prisoners killed during the Welikada Prison massacre to prove that he died due to shots fired at point-blank range. Former political prisoner and eyewitness who testified before the Committee of Inquiry into the Prison Incident (CIPI) 2012 Sudesh Nandimal called on the govt to release the complete CIPI report to the public domain. Organization to Protect Human Rights of Prison Detainees more..

AHRC queries law's delays

July 20 (CT) The claim that cases are postponed due to a heavy workload is untenable, Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said. Director of Policy and Programmes, AHRC and the Asian Legal Resource Centre and Right Livelihood Award/Alternative Nobel Prize Winner Basil Fernando said if proper technical arrangements are made for keeping Court records, it would reduce the time taken for adjudication. The technology needed for such work is fairly inexpensive. more..

Shell Gas comeback bid to jeopardize state run Litro Gas?

July 20 (CT) Shell Gas, the largest player in the Sri Lanka’s gas industry at one point, is set to return to the country’s market by edging out Litro Gas, the state run gas company. A delegation from Shell is scheduled to hold discussions with Lankan authorities on Monday over the comeback bid, CT is now in a position to reveal. However, it learnt that Shell has got the green light to re-enter into Lankan market without a proper tender procedure. more..

Sri Lanka needs Rs 1.7trn in transport investment over 20 years

July 20 (EN) Sri Lanka needs to invest up to 1.7 trillion rupees over the next 20 years to modernise its neglected transport system, according to a study done by transport authorities with foreign expertise. The investments are needed for bus, rail, monorail, road widening and improvement, and transport demand management systems. Such a massive sum was required because of the neglect of public transport systems over the past three decades which has led to worsening more..

Lanka IOC targets to sell 10,000 mt bunker fuel in Trincomalee by end-2015

July 20 (Platts) Sri Lankan bunker supplier Lanka IOC, which commenced bunkering operations from its Trincomalee oil terminal on the east coast of Sri Lanka late June, is targeting to sell 10,000 mt of 380 CST fuel oil and marine gasoil by the end of this year, an official at Lanka IOC said. Lanka IOC, the subsidiary of Indian state-owned Indian Oil Corp., has sold more than 4,000 mt of both 380 CST fuel oil and MGO since it began bunkering operations at Trincomalee on June 25. more..

Rosy, Sudarshini trade fire over CB bond issue, corruption

July 20 (Island) State Minister Rosy Senanayake urged former President and Kurunegala District UPFA candidate, Mahinda Rajapaksa to name those who had received his protection during 2005-2014 period. Colombo District MP and Minister Senanayake said that since his defeat at the January 8 presidential poll the former President had publicly admitted at least thrice that he even more..

Sri Lanka shares rise to near 7-week high; earnings awaited

July 20 (Reuters) Shares edged up to a near seven-week high on Monday as expectations of political stability after the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls lifted sentiment, while some investors awaited a number of key earnings results. The main stock index was up 0.07% at 7,167.23, the highest level since June 3. "The market is positive, but it is not as positive as last week. It looks like it is losing the steam," said Dimantha Mathew, a research manager at First Capital Equities. more..

President’s statement turns UPFA campaign topsy-turvy: SB

July 20 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement on the party’s nominations has turned the UPFA campaign topsy-turvy, UPFA Kandy district candidate Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. “We need to realize that the President’s statement is disadvantageous to the party at this juncture,” the Minister added. “He has been disparaged frivolously by some parties ever since bruising nomination fights started within the party,” Dissanayake said. He made these remarks while speaking to more..

Video: PM influencing FCID during election campaign: Susil

July 20 (DM) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha today said the PM headed Parliamentary Sub-Committee was influencing the harassment of political opponents through the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) during the election campaign period. Commenting on the FCID questioning of WPC Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga over a land deal, Premajayantha said sub-committee should more..

CM’s driver on ganja run in blue vehicle disguised as police jeep

July 20 (Island) The vehicle allegedly used by the driver of Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Maheepala Herath to transport cannabis had been disguised as a police jeep. Recently established Special Crimes and Intelligence Division of the Excise Department in the early hours of Saturday seized the vehicle while it was on its way from Kegalle to Molagoda. Authoritative sources said that those who had been deployed for the mission had taken into custody the vehicle along with the suspect and more..

Kovil burglary inside job

July 20 (Island) The Mahawela police nabbed three persons including two alleged priests (poosaries) who tried to sell two statues of gods stolen from a kovil at Hpaugahalanda, Mahawela in Matale. Police recovered the two statues of Gana (Ganesha) statue weighing 35.355 kilos with a height of 22 inches and Patthini weighing 15.550 kilos with a height of 19 inches. The price of the statues has not yet been estimated. Police also recovered the gold jewellery that adorned the statues. more..

Police arrest 4 people over violent clash

July 20 (CG) The police today arrested four people over the violent clashes which erupted at the ODI cricket match played between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Cricket stadium last night. The clashes resulted in several people including police officers being injured and the game being temporarily suspended for over half an hour. Riot police were called in to protect the players and bring the situation under control. more..

India says ties with Sri Lanka focused on reconciliation

July 20 (CG) India says its relationship with Sri Lanka is focused on national reconstruction and reconciliation in the country. This was said by Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar while delivering the 21st IISS Fullerton Lecture. Jaishankar said that the ties with Sri Lanka after elections in both countries have increasingly focused on their national reconstruction & reconciliation. On India’s relations with China, he said the changes are more nuanced, more complex but no less significant. more..

Those who cannot defeat MR want his security reduced: NFF

July 20 (AD) A plan is underway to put the former President’s life in danger through reducing his security, Spokesman of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Mohammed Muzammil, said. The observation was made at a press conference held in Colombo on Monday. He pointed out that it was upon a request from the intelligence that the govt had to assign more security personal for the former President’s security detail, not due to a political influence. more..

Gotabhaya tapped witchcraft: astrologer

July 20 (EN) Former defence secretary sought help from sorcerers to secure the re-election his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa at January presidential elections, an astrologer who accurately predicted his defeat has said. Blind astrologer Indika Thotawatte shot to fame when he insisted on a private television channel last year that Rajapaka was headed for a major defeat despite all his other fellow seers predicting a resounding victory. more..

51 civil society orgs join UNFGG

July 20 (CT) Fifty-one civil society organizations will be signing a 12-point common public mandate for a fair, democratic and people friendly Constitution with the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) this week. PM and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will be signing on behalf of the UNFGG in this move which has been approved by National Movement for Social Justice LeaderVen. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, Attorney-at-law Lal Wijenayake added. more..

SLTB to showcase the best of Sri Lankan Tea

July 20 (eTN) With Indian consumption of Sri Lankan tea rising rapidly, the Sri Lanka Tea Board has reserved a special pavilion at the 3rd edition of World Tea & Coffee Expo (WTCE) 2015 being held at Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, from 1st Oct 2015 to 3rd Oct 2015. Under the aegis of the Sri Lanka Tea Board a number of companies shall be showcasingvarious kinds of bulk and packet Teawith a view to increase bilateral trade with India. During the current year itself, Sri Lanka has exported more..

China notes submarines in Lanka not a threat

July 20 (CG) China says reports which suggested India had warned Sri Lanka about the visit of Chinese submarines to Sri Lanka were “unfortunate” and that Chinese naval vessels in the international waters of the Indian Ocean should not be taken as a threat. Zhou Bo, honorary fellow at the Academy of Military Science, the top Chinese Peoples Liberation Army think-tank in Beijing said that India, like China, is growing with strength more..

Sri Lanka to set up terminal for cruise ships

July 20 (EN) A cruise terminal is to be set up at Colombo port given the increasing number of calls by cruise vessels, according to Lakdas Panagoda, chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). This was one of the initiatives taken by the SLPA during the new administration in the past six months, he said. The SLPA plans to convert the Bandaranaike Quay of Colombo port into a “fully-fledged international cruise terminal,” Panagoda told the annual general meeting of more..

Prasanna Ranatunga appears at FCID

July 20 (AM) Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga and his wife appeared at the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division to give a statement on an alleged financial fraud regarding a land deal. Ranatunga was to appear at the FCID earlier on July 9 but failed to appear. Meanwhile, the UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha wrote to the Elections Commissioner saying that Prasanna Ranatunga is unable to appear at the FCID until July 13 more..

Sri Lanka growth rate to be below 6% in 2015 under new GDP base: Deputy Governor

July 20 (EN) Sri Lanka will be challenged to show a 6% growth rate under the newly revised method of estimating GDP Deputy Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said. SL has published revised GDP measurements under a 2010 base year, compared to the earlier 2002, which has captured a number of new activities which were not counted under the earlier system. As a result total output of GDP has been revised up, more..

Sri Lanka’s greatest wealth is the diversity seen in its people: Nonis

July 20 (AD) Sri Lanka is a microcosm of the commonwealth, where there is enormous economic disparity. He stated that in order for Sri Lanka to flourish, we must strive towards a knowledge driven economy and embrace the change of development, Former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK Dr Chris Nonis says. He said this at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the MBA Alumni Association of the University of Colombo was held last week, at the Hilton Residency in Colombo. more..

'Will seize the mace if MR not made PM'

July 20 (DM) UPFA Kurunegala District candidate Salinda Dissanayake today said their team would run around Parliament carrying the Mace if the UPFA won the Parliamentary elections but former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not appointed Prime Minister. Mr. Dissanayke expressed these views at a UPFA election rally in Polpithigama where Mr. Rajapaksa was also present. The former President is contesting from Kurunegala District under the betel leaf symbol of the UPFA. more..

Tamil party to push for political solution

July 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's main minority Tamil political party, TNA, on Monday said it will push for a permanent political solution to issues faced by the Tamils, following the August 17 parliamentary election. TNA member and former MP Suresh Premachandran said a resolution for the Tamil issue is what the Tamils have been calling for over a long period of time and that will be one of the key issues raised at the polls campaign. more..

The Rajapaksa syndrome(s)

July 21 (CT) The downfall of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is one of the most significant recent political events took place in the south Asian region. Even though Mahinda Rajapaksa was democratically defeated by citizens of this country on 8th of January, we can still see how Rajapaksa ideology is being functioned in the contemporary Sri Lankan society. Unlike other SL political leaders, Rajapaksa was quite successful in creating die hard Rajapaksa follower base in every strata of the society. more..