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Don’t be fooled by election promises

July 28 (DM) Several main political parties have launched their manifestos for the August 17 general election. It is interesting to note that these manifestos have been published halfway through the election campaigns in spite of the fact that the political parties were well aware since the beginning of this year that a general election was likely to be held after April. This points to how serious the political parties are in the matter of manifestos, which are going to the unsigned covenants more..

Value commitments of our next Cabinet should change

July 28 (DM) I trust that most of you will no doubt hope, agree and commit to ensure, that the next parliamentary elections in August 2015, will elect fit and proper leaders and legislators, committed to maintain the democratic and pluralistic values we have experienced in Sri Lanka since 8th Jan 2015. We should collectively and publicly emphasize, that the changes seen in the application of democratic freedoms, human rights, harmonious co-existence of diverse groups in society, upholding rule of more..

'I apologize for defecting unexpectedly'

July 28 (DM) Upeksha Swarnamali, popularly known as Paba is a woman striving to make a change in the political arena. Amidst many criticisms and mud-slinging she has been able to battle her way through to the post of co-organizer for the Divulapitiya electorate. In a candid interview, Upeksha spoke about her political career, how she would work to protect the rights of women and her future political aspirations. more..

Sticks and stones broke cricket’s bones

July 28 (ST) Sri Lanka, a land of cricket enthusiasts, in times past bore defeat or celebrated victory in harmless ways. So when two specatator groups clashed in Block D of the R. Premadasa stadium, which is right in front of the Masjidus Salam Jumma Masjid mosque, during the third one-day international match last Sunday between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, there was widespread shock. more..

Mismanaged mess at the Ports Authority

July 28 (SL) Recent revelations at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) bear a drastic contradiction to the common sentiment that the profit making govt institution makes an effective contribution to the country’s economy. The Sunday Leader engaged in an investigation regarding several alleged fraudulent activities and irregularities that have taken place at the SLPA, as it is the right of the public to know the operations and more..

Video: Rajapaksa promises new constitution within 6 months

July 28 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today reiterated that that the UPFA has not divided into two factions. Only one faction exists and that is the anti-UNP faction, he said. The UPFA is not a cauldron of porridge like the UNP, he said, delivering a speech at the launch of the UPFA election manifesto at Henry Pedris Ground in Colombo. The UPFA election manifesto is titled A Guarantee for the Future. more..

Nalin files FR case over non-release of COPE report on bond scam

July 28 (Island) Prof. Nalin de Silva has sought the intervention of the Supreme Court to require former Chairman of COPE D.E.W. Gunasekera to file an affidavit in court, along with the Interim COPE report, declaring that it is a true copy of the Interim COPE report on the controversial 30-year bond issue by the Central Bank. Gunasekera has been named as the second respondent in the case filed last Friday. more..

UPFA asks UNP, JVP and JHU to reveal stance on TNA manifesto

July 28 (Island) The UPFA demanded the UNP, JVP and the JHU to reveal their stance on the manifesto launched by the TNA for the forthcoming general election. Former Minister and SLFP Vice President Dullas Alahapperuma said the TNA was once again pursuing its separatist goal. "Some leaders of the TNA are committed to democratic politics, but once again the racist forces have wrested control of the party" he alleged. more..

UNFGG will not let down 5.7mn voters voted for MR: PM

July 28 (DM) UNFGG will take care of the interests of 5.7 million people who voted for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa if elected to office on August 17, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Speaking at an election rally in Galigamuwa, Mr. Wickremesinghe said UNFGG will take care of the interests of 57 million people as they are innocent and cannot be blamed for the wrong doings of those who ran the previous regime. more..

China's Sri Lankan port ambitions persist

July 28 (TD) China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), a subsidiary of the state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), has proposed the construction of new facilities at Hambantota Port. According to an IHS Maritime 360 report, CHEC proposal focuses on the construction of a new shipbuilding and repair dockyard. The proposal is part of the third phase of the construction of Hambantota Port. more..

Youth will defeat MR’s PM aspirations: UNP

July 28 (Island) A large number of youth had voted against Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last presidential Election and more would do so at the August 17 general election, the UNP said. Minister Lakshman Kiriella, addressing a campaign meeting in Kandy, said that Mahinda Rajapaksa was trying to woo the youth by making bogus promises, but they were now politically mature and would not fall for his tricks once again. more..

Free Wi-Fi across the island

July 28 (EN) Sri Lanka has signed a deal to deploy Google Loon high altitude floating telecom tower balloons full broadband internet coverage to the entire country. "Hopefully in a few months every person and every device on the island will be covered by 3G (third generation," Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said in his twitter feed. Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the Google Loon balloons will cover every village more..

Curiouser and curiouser!

July 28 (CT) The STF protection being provided to National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) Chairman Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe because of alleged death threats faced by him, ostensibly from the country's drug mafia. Originally, the alleged channels of narcotics in to the country were by tourists. Such inflows apparently exacerbated after the country opened up its economy in 1977 when tourist arrivals virtually hit the ceiling compared to previous years. more..

Human rights challenges in Asia-Pacific: Does Sri Lanka show a way out?

July 28 (CT) Let me begin by briefly overviewing the general status of Asia-Pacific on key issues of human rights. This region with 45 countries and territories is home to over 4.3 billion people, and is most complex in terms of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. Therefore, any attempt to generalize is not an easy task. Depending on their priorities or the way they perceive human rights, different international human rights organizations appear to differ on their assessments. more..

Rajapaksa ready for struggle in Sri Lanka comeback bid

July 28 (Reuters) Former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed on Tuesday to reclaim power in a general election, eight months after he was ousted as president, saying he was ready for struggle against an international war crimes investigation. Defeated by erstwhile ally Maithripala Sirisena in January, Rajapaksa wants to turn the tables at the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls, setting his sights on the post of PM that has been more..

Shares rise, hover near 2-month closing high

July 28 (Reuters) Shares rose on Tuesday, hovering near their two-month closing high hit on Friday, as expectations of strong corporate earnings and political stability after the parliamentary polls next month lifted investor sentiment. The main stock index ended firmer 0.19%, or 13.84 points, at 7,261.07. On Friday, it had closed at its highest since May 25. Gains were led by large caps such as John Keells amid block deals. John Keells rose 0.67%, Ceylon Tobacco Company 1.72% more..

WHO award for Health Minister

July 28 (Island) The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) announced that Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to be the winner of the WHO Director General Special Recognition Award on World No Tobacco Day from the South Asian Region. The NATA said that President Maithripala Sirisena had also won the award two years back when he was the Health Minister. The Citation for the award mentions the significant role played by more..

Video: MR promises new Constitution under UPFA Govt

July 28 (DM) Kurunegala district UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa today said a new Constitution and electoral reforms would be enacted in the short term under a UPFA govt if the party won the general election. Addressing party supporters at the launch of the UPFA election manifesto at the Hendry Pedris Grounds in Colombo, Mr. Rajapaksa said the 12-point manifesto envisages accelerated development in the economy, housing, more..

Missing Persons Commission appoints Investigative Team

July 28 (Island) The Presidential Commission Inquiring into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons announced the appointment of senior experienced five-member Investigative Team to carry out investigations into complaints made by the relatives of missing persons based on oral evidence recorded during the conduct of Public Sittings by the Commission. Secretary to the Commission H.W. Gunadasa in media statement said: "Cases that will be referred to the Investigative Team more..

Cargills brands bolster June quarter profits

July 28 (EN) Sri Lanka's Cargills (Ceylon) reported a net profit of 390.6 million rupees in the June 2015 quarter compared with a loss of 145 million rupees a year earlier with fast growth in branded products. Earnings per share for the quarter were 1.74 rupees against a loss per share of 65 cents the previous year, a stock exchange filing said. Group sales rose 9% to 17.1 billion rupees in the three months ended 30 June 2015 from a year ago. Cargills Ceylon, part of the CT Holdings group, more..

President cancels SLFP memberships of five

July 28 (AD) President has ordered to cancel the SLFP memberships of Rajitha Senaratne, S.B. Navinna, M.K.D.S. Gunawardene, Arjuna Ranatunga and Hirunika Premachandra, President’s Media Unit said in a statement today. Statement said that the President, who also is the Chairman of the SLFP, decided to cancel these memberships for violating the terms of the SLFP’s constitution. M.K.D.S. Gunawardene, Rajitha Senaratne, more..

Opposition talks rubbish: Kiriella

July 28 (Island) The Opposition had nothing to tell the people now and therefore it was talking rubbish, Kandy district UNP candidate and Plantation Industries Minister Lakshman Kiriella said, addressing a propaganda meeting at Poojapitiya in Harispattuwa. The UNP was the only political party that was capable of finding solutions to problems of the youth in Sri Lanka. The other political party misled the youth with false promises, minister Kiriella told the meeting. more..

Bomb found near Katunayake SLAF camp

July 28 (DM) An unexploded bomb, believed to have fallen off from the LTTE aircraft shot down in 2009 by Sri Lanka Air Force at Katunayake, was found in a swamp close to the SLAF Camp yesterday. Air Force Spokesman Gehan Senaviratne said RDA employees had discovered the bomb while carrying out road construction work in the area. “The bomb was inside a plastic barrel in the swamp some 50 metres away from the location where the LTTE aircraft was shot down. more..

Sri Lanka opposition not to go beyond 13A for ethnic solution

July 28 (PTI) UPFA today pledged to limit its quest to find a solution to the island's ethnic conflict within the India-backed thirteenth amendment (13A) of the Constitution. "We aim to arrive at a solution acceptable to all by strengthening the provincial and local govts by not venturing beyond the 13A," the UPFA manifesto for the parliamentary election released here today said. Previously the UPFA under ex-president more..

Hirunika Premachandra gives indication of possible political move

July 28 (AM) WPC member Hirunika Premachandra gave an indication of a possible political move as a response to the news that her SLFP membership has been suspended, adding that she can now stand with both feet on the same side. Premachandra said that she was having mixed feelings on the news. She was feeling sadness since she had entered politics from a left-wing movement. She said that during the past few weeks, she felt like standing with her feet on two sides. more..

'Kalam’s death an irreparable loss'

July 28 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena says the death of the former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam is an irreparable loss not only to India but to the entire world. He said that Dr. Kalam was a man of firm conviction and indomitable spirit and was seen as an outstanding statesman of the world. “I am deeply saddened by the demise of former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, an outstanding visionary, a great teacher and an unparalleled human being. more..

110 civil society groups align with UNFGG

July 28 (DM) Some 110 civil society organisations and trade unions today signed a 14-point people’s pledge with the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) for a fair, democratic and people-friendly Constitution. PM and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe signed the agreement on behalf of the UNFGG under the patronage of NMSJ Leader Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, Ministers Karu Jayasooriya, more..

Why Rajapaksa as SL PM is bad for India

July 28 (DO) There is unprecedented political flux in Sri Lanka with just about three weeks to go for parliamentary elections. By throwing his hat in the ring, former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa has contributed hugely to the churning. Nobody is quite sure what the August 17 play of dice throws up. Moreover, the timing of the elections is significant as the UN report on human rights abuse by the Sinhala army in the last phase of the military campaign against the LTTE will be tabled at UNHRC more..

Vaas’ tips boost Desert Cubs in Australia

July 28 (GN) Former Sri Lanka pacer Chaminda Vaas inspired youngsters from the UAE’s Desert Cubs Cricket Academy with valuable tips on adapting their performances to the green-topped pitches of Australia. The left-armer, who was known for his ability to swing the ball in all conditions and trap batsmen with his variety of deliveries, mixed freely with the youngsters during training sessions and matches. Answering queries from the youngsters who were training at the more..

Friendly ties with India to be bedrock of Rajapaksa’s foreign policy

July 28 (ENS) Friendly ties with India and other Asian countries will be the bedrock of the foreign policy of the UPFA, whose de jure leader is President Maithripala Sirisena and whose de facto leader is former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. UPFA released its manifesto for the August 17 parliamentary elections here on Tuesday in the presence of Rajapaksa. Sirisena was not present, but a copy of the manifesto was handed over more..

Wasim Thajudeen's Death: Magistrate's court calls for full post-mortem report

July 28 (AM) Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris today (28) ordered JMO Ananda Samarasekara to submit full post-mortem report on the death of former Sri Lanka rugby player and Havlocks captain Wasim Thajudeen to the court before September 10. Furthermore, the Additional Magistrate directed the CID to obtain legal advice from the AG on the possibility of calling several doctors as expert witnesses for the magisterial inquest. more..

Dushmantha Chameera likely to miss first Test against India

July 28 (CI) Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera is expected to miss SL's first Test against India in Galle Aug 12-16 because he has not recovered fully from a side strain that kept him out of the third Test against Pakistan and the five-match ODI series. "We were unfortunate to miss Chameera in the Test and in the ODIs, he would have definitely been a determining factor had he been fit," chief selector Kapila Wijegunawardene said. "Chameera is being monitored closely and undergoing treatment. more..

Anura Disanayake at JVP Special Convention

The unfinished war against SL’s Tamils

July 28 (TD) The International Truth and Justice Project – Sri Lanka (ITJP) releases a new report today. The report, A Still Unfinished War: Sri Lanka’s Survivors of Torture and Sexual Violence 2009 – 2015, is the product of extensive research and builds upon the organization’s past work. Importantly, it includes abuses which have occurred since Maithripala Sirisena was elected president in early January, when he unseated two-term incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Welegedara quits, migrates to Australia

July 28 (DM) Pace bowler Chanaka Welegedara has decided to migrate to Australia after being cold shouldered by the national selectors during the recent home series against Pakistan. Suresh Murugaser, Vice President and chairman of cricket at Sri Lanka’s leading cricket club Tamil Union which Welegedara captained last season said that the club hosted a farewell dinner to the left arm paceman on Monday night. “It was a sad day for the Tamil Union last night, when we had a farewell dinner more..

Hakeem regrets remarks against him by TNA leader

July 28 (CT) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem, said he felt sorry for the derogatory remarks made by TNA leader against him comparing the late founder leader of SLMC M.H.M. Ashroff and the current leadership of the SLMC mentioning the founder leader as the true leader of the Muslim community and saying that the present leadership of SLMC has been working against the political aspirations of the Muslim community. more..

Hunt on for Lankan-born international drug kingpin

July 28 (NS) Concluding a two year long investigation into an international drug ring, the Anti-Narcotics Bureau has identified Sri Lankan-born Mubarak Mohamed Mujaheed as a main drug kingpin in Sri Lanka. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara they are currently in the process of issuing a ‘Red Notice’ while an open warrant has also been obtained from the courts in order to arrest the suspect who is currently residing in Malaysia. Suspect had also at times supplied heroin to Vele Sudha he said. more..

ISIS militant’s family leave for Pakistan

July 28 (DM) The family members of the alleged Sri Lankan ISIS militant who was killed in Syria had left the country for Pakistan, police investigations had revealed. Police said the man’s wife and their five kids were among those who left for Pakistan. The 37-year-old Abhu Shuraih Sailani, who graduated in Sharia Law from a university in Pakistan, had reportedly joined the ISIS and killed while fighting in Syria. Sailani was a karate instructor residing at Galewela & was principal of a private school. more..

'Malinga still good enough to lead T20 team'

July 28 (WA) Out-of-form bowling star Lasith Malinga may have rightly been dropped for the final ODI against Pakistan, which Sri Lanka won emphatically by 165 runs, but selectors believe the 31-year-old bowler with a sling-arm action is still good enough to lead the national side in the two-match T20I series against Pakistan. After he conceded as many as 246 runs in 4 matches & having managed just 4 wickets more..

The re-based national accounts: What does it mean?

July 29 (CT) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS), the official statistical agency, has recently uploaded into its website, an undated report on Rebasing National Accounts Estimates. DCS uploads into its website similar reports regularly, at least a few in a month. Only a very few of them would usually come under public scrutiny as closely as the above report has over the last few weeks. Indeed this Re-basing report came into public notice, not through the DCS website, more..