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Rajapaksa 2.0

July 23 (FT) Boy-like astrologer rose to fame country-wide after he accurately predicted former President Rajapaksa’s electoral defeat in January. Astrologers being a threatened species during the Rajapaksa years, every other soothsayer on a show aired on a TV channel before the January presidential poll predicted a narrow win for Rajapaksa. Thotawatte disagreed. Victory of Maithripala Sirisena on 8 January, the blind more..

Ahmed Shehzad: The good, bad, and lucky

July 23 (CI) Ahmed Shehzad dived forward at deep square leg to take a catch off Lahiru Thirimanne in the 40th over, but perhaps confusing the green of the outfield with the green of his outfit, felt that he had his body under the ball the whole time. Those with a firmer grip on the physical boundaries of Shehzad's body did not buy it. Having watched the ball slip out of Shehzad's grasp and roll along the field and even bobble up to strike Shehzad's chin, Thirimanne calmly completed the single more..

Editorial: Crouching Tigers

July 23 (Island) Disturbing news has come from India; the LTTE is said to be returning to its old ways. A Tiger cadre, arrested in Tamil Nadu with 75 cyanide capsules, 330 gm of cyanide, GPS equipment, Sri Lankan driving licences and mobile phones, was planning to return to Jaffna with the help of two friends, the Indian police as said. Why does an LTTE combatant who fled to TN in 2009 want to come back with so many cyanide capsules at this juncture? more..

'Executing under pressure concerns us'

July 23 (CI) Sri Lanka coach Marvan Atapattu said Lasith Malinga's lack of penetration, and the bowlers' failure to execute plans has paved their path to decline, though the plans themselves remain robust. Sri Lanka had run hot in the first six months of 2014, winning all of their limited-overs tournaments, including an Asia Cup, a World T20 and an ODI series in England. However, they have been much poorer since January more..

'Tamil leaders are propagating communalism'

July 23 (CT) Political solutions to problems pertaining to the welfare of Tamil people could be found only by joining the political parties at national level, said Attorney-at-Law Karikalan Thandayuthapani, a Tamil candidate contesting from the UPFA in the Trincomalee district. Thandayuthapani further added the TNA or any other Tamil parties could not assist the Tamil people in finding a lasting political solution to the ethnic issue at the national level. more..

Rajapaksa treads a different path

July 23 (Hindu) History is not kind to those who seek a second innings in electoral politics after defeat. Neither Winston Churchill, as the U.K.'s PM in the early 1950s, nor Indira Gandhi, as India’s Prime Minister in the 1980s, had a glorious second spell. Yet, former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has decided to contest in the next month’s Parliamentary elections, is making a determined bid to succeed where the other two leaders could not. more..

Pakistan seal ODI series in Sri Lanka

July 23 (CI) For the third time in the series Pakistan denied those expecting drama and nerves and inexplicable events normally associated with Pakistan cricket. They first refused to let SL get away despite a seemingly effortless 100-run second-wicket stand and dragged them down to 256, and then Ahmed Shehzad followed it with a ruthless chase of a target that could have been tricky on a dry turning surface. more..

Exports to India: Putting the free back into the free trade agreement

July 23 (DM) Free trade agreements (FTAs) are expected to reduce trade barriers and facilitate the expansion of trade between the partner countries. Sri Lanka and India entered into an FTA in 1998 and it came into operation in 2000. The India Sri Lanka FTA (ISFTA) eliminated the barriers of import tariffs for a large number of products traded between the two countries. Processed food products are among the products Sri Lanka can export duty-free to India. However, despite duty-free access, more..

Principal, teacher remanded for allegedly making indecent proposals to student

July 23 (Island) The principal and an assistant teacher of Gannoruwa Junior School were remanded till July 30 by the Kandy Chief Magistrate A.M.A. Wasantha Kumara on a B report filed by the Peradeniya police following a complaint of sexual harassment of a 15-year-old female student of the school. The complainant has told police the principal and the assistant teacher continuously made sexual overtures and sent her SMS messages causing her embarrassment. more..

Sri Lanka Badminton Association suspended

July 23 (CT) Badminton World Federation (BWF) yesterday suspended the international membership of the Sri Lanka Badminton (SLBA) Association with immediate effect. International governing body of Badminton has officially sent a letter to Director General of the Sports Ministry, and they stated that in accordance with clause 13.1 of BWF constitution, a suspended member of the BWF will be deprived of more..

Rejection of nomination list challenged

July 23 (Island) Sagara Kariyawasam the secretary of the Our Sri Lanka Freedom Party, has filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal to quash the decision of the returning officer for Jaffna, N. Wedhanayahan to reject the nomination list of the petitioner’s party to contest the electoral district of Jaffna, at the parliamentary poll scheduled for August 17 2015. The petition said that the aforesaid nomination paper came within the prescribed Section 15(3) of the Parliamentary Election Act more..

AMW to grow jet ski market with fractional ownership

July 23 (EN) Associated Motorways, a unit of Dubai-based Al Futtain group is planning to grow the market for jet skis using a shared ownership concept amid expanding tourism and greater interest in watersports after the end of a civil war. "You are not going to use it every weekend," AMW Managing Director Samantha Rajapaksa said. "You can get together with four of your friends and buy it." AMW has the agency for Japan's Yamaha whose marine division makes a range of watercraft. more..

Govt to pay Golden Key depositors from tomorrow

July 23 (FT) As per the proposal made by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake through his interim budget, govt is to begin the disbursement of payments to deposit holders of the defunct Golden Key Credit Card Company from 24 July. Cabinet gave approval last week for the payment schedule proposed by the Finance Minister in order to solve the longstanding issues faced by the GK depositors. more..

Pakistan pick Yasir, Irfan for SL T20s

July 23 (CI) Legspinner Yasir Shah, fast bowler Mohammad Irfan and pacer Sohail Tanvir have been recalled to Pakistan's Twenty20 squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka. Fast bowler Wahab Riaz, who had fractured his hand during the Tests against Sri Lanka last month, has also been named in the squad, but will be included only once he clears a fitness test. The PCB has drafted in uncapped left-arm fast bowler Zia-ul-Haq as a replacement if Wahab fails the test. more..

External sector remained stable in May 2015

July 23 (CT) Sri Lanka's external sector remained stable in May 2015. The deficit in the trade account in May 2015 narrowed compared to the previous month due to the month on-month increase in exports. However, on year-on-year basis, trade deficit during the month widened as expenditure on imports increased while earnings from exports recorded a marginal decline. Meanwhile, continued other foreign exchange inflows in the form of earnings from tourism, workers' remittances more..

'White van fiasco was a conspiracy to kill...'

July 23 (CT) Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that the UNP was behind the recent white van incident in Mirihana which allegedly was a threat to former President Rajapaksa's life. The UPFA Press briefing was also attended by UPFA National list nominee, Reginald Cooray and Faizer Mustapha, SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, and UPFA general election candidate, Thilanga Sumathipala. more..

TEA Chief wants industry to pull up socks

July 23 (CT) Tea industry needs to market itself in the light of the new trends in the world which is affecting the trade. With Sri Lanka producing only a fraction of the total tea produced, marketing of the Ceylon Tea is the way to go and only way to survive, a tea exporter said. Sri Lanka has been producing Tea for over a century. But we are not the most efficient in the production of tea. When compared to other countries producing tea, our product per acre is lesser than many others. more..

Sri Lankan police have launched an investigation into the death of an Indian

July 23 (IANS) Sri Lankan police have launched an investigation into the death of an Indian sailor whose body was found onboard a ship enroute to Fujairah from China. "The ship's agent has asked the police to conduct an investigation. The sailor is believed to have committed suicide. An inquiry will be held followed by a post-mortem examination," ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. The ship was asked to berth at the Colombo Harbour after the ship's agent requested the police to conduct an inquiry more..

Dispute over MR’s security: HRC refuses to intervene

July 23 (Island) Human Rights Commission of SL wouldn’t inquire into a complaint lodged by the JVP as regards special security and other privileges enjoyed by Kurunegala District UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as former President. Colombo District JVP candidate Sunil Watagala recently alleged that provision of such facilities was unfair by candidates from other political parties in the fray in more..

Six Chinese fined for begging

July 23 (DM) Six Chinese who pleaded guilty to the charges of begging near the Fort Railway Station and of obstructing the people there were fined Rs.100 each by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. They were arrested by the Fort Police after being informed that a group of foreigners were begging near the Fort Railway Station by obstructing public movement in the area. Police told the Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that the six Chinese -- Si Yang Sin, Sun Bautan, Si Dong Shing, Yang Sun Chin, more..

Five foreign missions get new ambassadors

July 23 (DM) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced the appointment of new ambassadors for five countries - France, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kuwait and Seychelles. A.L.T. Najimudeen has been appointed to Afghanistan, Yasoja Gunasekara to Bangladesh, Thilak Ranaviraja to France, Kandeepan Balasubramaniam to Kuwait and Tikiri Herath Gunathilake to Seychelles. MFA Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said the appointees would soon commence duties as more..

IS militant went in guise of doing relief work

July 23 (ENS) Sharfaz Muhsin alias Abu Seylani (37), the alleged Sri Lankan recruit to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who died in an air strike in Syria on July 12, had told his family prior to his departure for the Middle East war zone, that he was going to Turkey to do relief work among the victims of the war. Hilmy Ahamed of MCSL said, that Muhsin’s family appears to have believed him because he had done relief work in Sri Lanka more..

Armed rebellions no more option: JVP

July 23 (PTI) Marxist JVP party dismissed the notion of an armed rebellion as means to capture political power, saying that they have learnt the lessons. Addressing the launch of JVP's manifesto for the parliamentary election, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the party seriously regrets its violent past. "We have learnt the lessons over the years that armed struggles are no longer the viable options. Technology has developed; the militaries have improved and (are) better equipped," more..

‘No pressure from India on Port City project’

July 23 (Hindu) Sri Lankan govt denied reports that the Indian govt is exerting pressure on it to stall the $1.4 billion Colombo Port City Project. Responding to a query on whether the Indian govt is pushing Sri Lanka to suspend the Chinese-funded off-shore city project, Mahishini Colonne, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told reporters that it was not true. However, she declined to react to a recent comment of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Indian concerns about project. more..

JVP presents Accord of Consciousness

July 23 (FT) The JVP yesterday launched its Accord of Consciousness national program, which highlights the ways in which it expects to improve the county’s future. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, addressing a large crowd gathered for the party’s special summit held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium, asserted that the JVP’s Accord of Consciousness was not like other election manifestoes. more..

Climate change linked to poverty

July 23 (DM) Some sixty governors and mayors from around the world held a brainstorming summit in the Vatican on Tuesday and yesterday to work out ways to combat climate change and its effects on society’s most vulnerable people. Theme of the summit was Pope Francis’ recent historic encyclical tittled Laudato Si in which he said caring for Mother Earth was an urgent moral imperative and that fossil fuel-based global warming was putting hundreds of millions of poor people most at risk. more..

How do leaders abandon their conscience?

July 23 (DM) Towards the end of my presidency, a large number of Big Projects were envisioned, as a final legacy of my presidency. One of the most famous (or perhaps infamous) was the Norochcholai Power project. Project was envisioned by my government, and I persuaded the govt of China to give us credit on very easy terms. I signed this projects at a cost of US$ 280 Million, with a credit line of 1.2% above LIBOR. The Tender was awarded to a well recommended Chinese more..

'I did not demand pm post for MR, I remained neutral'

July 23 (DM) The former Deputy Minister Thilanga Sumathipala in an interview with the Dailymirror stated that Sri Lanka need to pay attention on a skilled labour force. He said he accepted the Minister’s post knowing that he would be able to work only for a shorter period of time. He further said although he inherited money from his father’s businesses he has nothing to do with gambling and was well within the March 12th Declaration. more..

Farmers from SL & NZ share dairy expertise

July 23 (DM) Sri Lankan dairy farmers recently met with ten New Zealand farmers in Gampaha to share knowledge, exchange ideas and discuss the challenges they face. New Zealand farmers were visiting Sri Lanka as part of their role as Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillors – a group of farmers who represent the Co-operative’s 10,500 farmer shareholders. During a tour of Fonterra’s state-of-the-art Milk Chilling Centre in more..

Controversy over helicopter deal

July 23 (SL) Violations of many regulations as well as alleged irregularities during the former Mahinda Rajapaksa regime are continuing to surface. The Ministry of Defence, under the former govt, had allegedly violated tender procedures by granting a Vietnam based company the right to overhaul Mi-17 helicopters for a higher cost by disregarding offers received for a much lesser price, The Sunday Leader learns. more..

Residents hope for miracle from candidates who talk rubbish

July 23 (ST) The accumulating heaps of garbage in Meethotamulla, a major dumping site for the Western Province, has reached a point where people in the vicinity struggle to live a normal life while officials point fingers at each another, more than a decade after the crisis was predicted. Colombo City has being struggling to dispose of its daily garbage in a sustainable manner. Former govt pushed on with beautifying country’s capital more..

Restraining order on GMOA lifted, but legal ambiguity remains

July 23 (Island) The GMOA said that the enjoining order given by the Nugegoda District Court preventing them from conducting their annual general meeting and election of office bearers on June 27 had been lifted. Nugegoda District Court had issued an enjoining order on June 26 restraining the GMOA from holding the election after Dr Deepal Attanayake had filed a petition claiming that there were several malpractices in the elections more..

Video: ​I just pushed him away: MR

July 23 (DM) Commenting on the Akuressa incident where former President Mahinda Rajapaksa seemed to be moving towards a supporter angrily, the ex-president said that he just pushed away an individual, a supporter of SLFP, who grasped his finger very hard. “A strong SLFP supporter clasped my finger. He seemed to be under the influence of liquor at the time. The grip was so hard that it could have broken my finger. more..

UPFA is not divided at all: Mahinda

July 23 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today denied that the UPFA is divided and said that the reason he did not form his own party to contest the election is because he was not ready to abandon the SLFP for his personal gain. Mr Rajapaksa held his first question-and-answer session since the Presidential Election defeat on his Facebook page today, answering a range of questions — from his vision more..

New GDP data shows bigger services role

July 23 (EN) The size of Sri Lanka’s economy was estimated at 2.7 trillion rupees in the first quarter of 2015, under a new method of calculating gross domestic product which also shows how it has diversified, with a bigger contribution from services. The rebased national accounts estimates, which takes 2010 as base year, against 2002 used earlier, shows the economy 5% bigger than under the previous calculation. more..

Enjoining order against COPE report lifted

July 23 (AD) The Colombo District Court today dissolved the enjoining order granted earlier preventing the publication of the COPE sub-committee report on the Central Bank bond issue. Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe had moved the Colombo District Court seeking an interim injunction preventing the publishing or circulation of the said report before it is handed over to the Speaker, citing that it was illegal. more..

Attanayake accuses Ranil of running a Royal regime

July 23 (Island) UNP was now being led by a Royal Regime which already had neglected the ordinary party members and supporters comprising farmers, workers and fishermen, former UNP General Secretary and now national list nominee of the UPFA list for the forthcoming general election Tissa Attanayake said. Attanayake together with some of the UNP grassroots politicians, who had toiled hard to protect the party at more..

Our struggle will continue until there is justice to Tamils

July 23 (CT) It has been a heartening moment for World Tamils to see that the Million Signature Campaign launched by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) calling for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has reached its goal. This Campaign has played a significant role in internationalizing the Tamil struggle for Justice and in galvanizing Tamils around the world and their international civil society counterparts on the path to justice. more..

Terrorism, internationalized

July 23 (CT) Today is the 32nd anniversary of the Tinnaveli massacre of 13 soldiers by LTTE Leader V Prabhakaran that led to the July '83 riots and the spawning of Tamil terrorism for 26 years, before its elimination by the security forces on 18 May 2009. Prior to the July '83 riots, the economy was rearing to go, according to Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Uthum Herat (now deceased). Six years previously Sri Lanka opened up its economy with the election victory of the rightist UNP which more..

Sri Lanka to build naval base at Hambantota

July 23 (ENS) Cabinet approved a proposal by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, to do a feasibility study and prepare a plan to build a naval dockyard at the Chinese-built Hambantota port in the island’s deep south. Built with a Chinese loan of US$ 316 million in 2010, the port has been lying virtually unused. It received heavy flak from the UNP and the media after the COPE reported that only 6 ships had called in 2011, and 18 in 2012. more..