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IoT apps, Tuk Tuks take centre -stage at local TADHack

July 4 (ST) While smart home apps, supported by IoT (Internet of Things) functionality, and to a lesser degree Tuk Tuk (trishaw)-related apps appeared to be the standard fare at this year’s TADHack telecom application development hackathon, it was ultimately a car park mobile payments system that took home the big money, US$ 1,000, at this recently concluded competition. The aptly named Car Park M-Pay system is a location-based app that can be used by private homeowners to more..

Extra baggage? New exclusive offer from Emirates for students departing Colombo

July 4 (Island) Emirates, a global connector of people, places and aspirations, is supporting students travelling for higher education from Sri Lanka to the USA, Europe or Australia, with an extra baggage allowance on outbound travel till end November. Available for travel booked online on this exclusive extra baggage allowance allows students travelling to USA one additional bag of up to 23kg, while students travelling to Europe or Australia receive more..

Constitutional Council holds first meeting

July 4 (FT) The Constitutional Council, established by the historic 19th Amendment enacted in April, held its first sitting in Parliament yesterday with former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa assuming the chair. The meeting was held at 10 a.m. at the Speaker’s official gallery. Speaker Rajapaksa, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva attended as the Council’s ex-officio members, while more..

Fairway Aviation Academy launched

July 4 (DM) Aviation is today one of the most rapidly proliferating fields characterized by high - tech advancements and savvy innovations. Fuelled by the global explosion of travel for business and tourism purposes, and transportation of goods among many other reasons, this blossoming industry offers lucrative job opportunities for those aspiring to become professional pilots. Fairway Holdings as part of its diversification strategy launches Fairway Aviation Academy with more..

'Rajiv Gandhi killers should be pardoned'

July 4 (DC) Justice Markandey Katju, a former Supreme Court Judge, on Friday triggered a new controversy. This time on the fate of Rajiv Gandhi killers. He said Rajiv Gandhi killers should be pardoned and set free now as they had been in jail for 24 years. Justice Katju, also a former Chairman of the Press Council of India, said that the assassins should be set free like Abdul Qadeer in Hyderabad jail, D.S. Bhuller in Tihar prison and Zaibunnisa Qazi in Yeravada jail. more..

'Foreign loans guaranteed to Sri Lanka'

July 4 (DN) Many countries have expressed their willingness to grant loans to Sri Lanka, said Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva. "Even though Parliament has been dissolved, govt need not refrain from borrowing money from foreign countries," he said. "Budget 2015 has granted approval to get certain loans till year's end. Seven countries have called for bids valued at US$ 500 million," he said referring to a statement more..

Only statements issued from SLFP head office are authentic

July 4 (Island) The SLFP  said that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to bring about electoral reforms would be given priority in the UPFA election manifesto for the forthcoming general election. Deputy Minister Thilanga Sumathipala said that as the UPFA leader, President Maithripala Sirisena, had stressed that it would be given priority as the previous Parliament failed to pass it. Sumathipala was addressing the weekly media briefing at SLFP headquarters on Thursday. more..

Dayasiri tells people of Wayamba to line up to topple govt

July 4 (Island) Wayamba Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera found fault with the government for not releasing funds for his provincial council and called upon people to line to send the govt home at the upcoming polls. Chief Minister Jayasekera, addressing a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a project to renovate Kaspangamuwa Bridge on the Kahadenigama-Koshena road recently, said that the government in power had made no contribution to the country’s development. more..

US restores GSP on Sri Lanka

July 4 (CT) US has restored Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) on Sri Lanka with effect from 26 June 2015, Department of Commerce said. "Department is pleased to inform that the US President signed into law HR 1295 on 29 June 2015 re-authorizing the US GSP Programme until 31 Dec 2017 providing preferential duty free entry into US market for nearly 5,000 products from 122 designated beneficiary more..

US Embassy celebrates Independence Day

July 4 (FT) United States Embassy in Sri Lanka on Thursday marked America’s Independence Day, which falls on 4 July, at a ceremony held at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama was the chief guest at the occasion, organised under the patronage of US Chargéd’Affaires ad Interim Andrew Mann. Marking the occasion, the acting ambassador raised a toast to Minister Amunugama, SL President Maithripala Sirisena and the enduring friendship between more..

Kotakethana murder accused refused bail

July 4 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge, Kusala Sarojini Weerawardene refused bail to the husband and wife, both accused of the murder of a 52-year old mother and her 17-year-old daughter at Katakethana in 2012. The two accused persons are Lokugamhewage Dharshana and his wife Rasika Chandani alias Batti. The deceased were Nayana Nilmini and Kavindra Chathurangani, both from Kotakethana. Accused had applied for bail on the grounds that their children were neglected. more..

COPE probe not to hang Mahendran: DEW

July 4 (CT) Former Chairman of the COPE D.E.W. Gunasekara said he has no requirement to hide the COPE Interim-Report containing important conclusions regarding the financial administration of the govt, and the Executive President now has the opportunity to obtain and review it. He has requested the President to do so. "The COPE investigation was carried out regarding the Treasury Bonds issue, not to hang the Governor of CB more..

Sri Lankan envoy keen on lessons from Pattanam find

July 4 (Hindu) Admittedly thrilled to be at the site of KCHR’s Pattanam excavations, in the ninth season now, with a range of artefacts alluding to an ancient port’s wide-ranging links across the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India Sudharshan Seneviratne said he would try to facilitate an academic exchange and a possible collaboration between India and Sri Lanka on Pattanam, as excavations at Sri Lankan sites in the past more..

Trade unions, civil organisations protest former president Rajapaksa’s nomination

July 4 (FT) Several trade unions and patriotic movements yesterday staged a protest against giving nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming election. The protest organised by the Purawesi Balaya organisation was held this afternoon outside the Colombo Fort Railway Station. Hundreds of protesters carrying placards and shouting slogans demanded that former President Rajapaksa not be allowed to contest General Election. more..

'I suggested Rs. 20b not Rs.10b'

July 4 (NS) Governor of the CB, Arjuna Mahendran made a shocking revelation that though he had initially suggested to officials in the Public Debt Department (PDD) of the Bank to accept Rs. 20 billion out of the Rs.20.708 billion worth of bids received at the controversial bond auction, officials at PDD however turned down his suggestion. Governor made this revelation yesterday despite the fact that he is already facing heavy criticism more..

‘I left with Ravi K’

July 4 (CT) Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran categorically denied yesterday that he left the country because of the COPE report on the Treasury Bond issue. He said addressing the media that he left the country to accompany Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who was on his way to Japan. "I left the country to accompany the Minister of Finance, who went to Japan to meet the Japanese Secretary of the Cabinet with several other senior officials. more..

SLMC meets with UNP officials over election

July 4 (FT) The members of the High Command of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) held a crucial discussion yesterday at the party headquarters Darusalam regarding the upcoming general election. Earlier in the day leader of the SLMC, Minister Rauff Hakeem, met PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Sirikotha. UNP Minister Kabir Hashim and the senior officials of the UNP also participated in the discussion. Sources said the discussion between UNP and SLMC was successful. more..

Mahinda to contest on UPFA ticket

July 4 (Island) UPFA yesterday announced that it had decided to field former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming general election. Former minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the district where the former President Rajapaksa would enter the fray would be announced shortly. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha had issued a statement yesterday afternoon that party had decided to nominate more..

Choose co-operatives, choose sharing and equality

July 4 (DM) Today July 4 is not only American Independence Day. But ironically it is the also the International Day of Cooperatives, in an era where giant transnational corporations are leading the armies of economic neocolonialism to continue the plunder of the resources of the Third World. In 1992, in the face of the onslaught by the transnational corporations, UN General Assembly proclaimed, the International Day of Cooperatives to be celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July. more..

A dialogue with stakeholders in education

July 4 (DM) Sri Lanka’s system of education is facing the challenge of making education relevant in the knowledge economy which is evolving in the context of the global economy. The kind of knowledge and skills in demand are significantly different from those that had currency a few decades ago: factual memory is replaced by reasoning; clear handwriting is replaced by fast keyboarding; punctuality as a behaviour is increasingly irrelevant in flexi-time work patterns; loyalty-seeking more..

LTTE toothless; where’s catch me if you can KP?

July 4 (DM) There was panic when my wife and I carrying our Sri Lankan passports reached the immigration desk of Siam Reap International Airport in Cambodia last week. Sri Lanka! Sri Lanka! shouted the immigration officer and his loud voice attracted a few other officers manning counters. After talking about something in their own language they separated us from other travellers and took us into virtual custody. more..

‘We cannot bring reforms the way we prepare instant food’

July 4 (DM) Professor Sarath Wijesooriya of the University of Colombo said that the decision that the public take at the upcoming general elections would be more crucial than the decision they made at the last Presidential election. Furthermore he stated that it was ironical that the President believed during the first six months of his tenure that he could make important decisions with politicians who were rejected by the people more..

Motor Cycles assembled with imported spare parts registered illegally

July 4 (SL) Adding twist to the significant malpractices that are taking place at the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) which has been ignored over the years, it has now been revealed how the officers attached to the New Registration Branch (Motor Cycles) are making millions of rupees by registering motor bicycles that have been assembled locally using imported used motor bicycle spare parts. more..

Pavement vendors have their way while pedestrians, shopkeepers have no say

July 4 (ST) Road users, mainly pedestrians in the city centre such as Pettah and Fort, will now be forced to share the pavements with hundreds of hawkers who were this week permitted to return to the area after they were evicted some two years ago. Colombo Mayor M. Muzammil gave the green light to these traders for a limited period owing to the oncoming Ramadan festive season in certain areas in Pettah and Fort, more..

'UPFA stifled efforts to raise TB limit'

July 4 (Island) Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran said that the February issue of 30-year bonds amounting to Rs. 10 billion at 11.73% was a direct result of the irresponsible behaviour on the part of a section of the UPFA resulting in bids at lower rates drying up. He said that UPFA by defeating a Bill presented by Finance Ministry to raise the limit on the issuance of Treasury Bills had given the wrong signal to more..

Sri Lanka to provide online tax filing

July 4 (EN) Sri Lanka is working on an online facility for people to file tax returns with support from Singapore, which will simplify tax payments, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. "Already I think the Singapore govt's inland revenue department is working with our tax department here in Sri Lanka to implement these types of computer based systems," Mahendran said. Online filing will make it more convenient to pay tax, he said. more..

No US visa for Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya

July 4 (DM) Retired Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, has reportedly not been granted a visa to visit the United States although his wife had been granted one in May this year. The visa applications had been sent to the US Embassy in May and the duo was scheduled to leave the country on a private visit on June 30. However, the passport of the former CDS was still at the embassy and had not been returned as yet. more..

Police will ensure security during polls

July 4 (DN) The Police will provide its utmost support to ensure security during the election period, said Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara Addressing the media yesterday. He said according to the Constitution, the election period started from mid night of June 27 until a week after the end of election on August 17. "Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne has been appointed as the police officer to monitor post-election violence," he added. more..

'January 8 revolution won't be reversed'

July 4 (AM) Breaking his silence over the issue surrounding Mahinda Rajapaksa's nominations, President Maithripala Sirisena today pledged that he will not let the return of family rule, adding that the silent revolution of January 8 will not be turned back. He made this comment at the ceremony to mark the beginning of the Matara-Hambantota stretch of the Southern Expressway. The event was held at Godagama in Matara. more..

Maithripala expected to make another U-turn

July 4 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena is expected to make another U-turn with regards to the decision on giving former President Mahinda Rajapaksa nominations to contest the Parliament elections. An official in the President’s office, who was to resign over Sirisena’s decision to give Rajapaksa nominations, had later held back his resignation after receiving an assurance that Sirisena may make another u-turn. more..

The bluff is called!

July 4 (CT) All the drama about will he won’t he is now over. He will and he has, President Sirisena has been compelled to give nomination to Ex President Rajapaksa from the UPFA (the coalition that has a majority in parliament) for the forthcoming general election. Whilst a loud cry of AIYO SIRISENA ! Will be emanating from certain quarters, there could also be another take on this. Rajapaksa and his cohorts have been making loud noises about how they can win if given nomination. more..

Hirunika to decide on her SLFP membership today

July 4 (DM) Western Provincial Councilor Hirunika Premachandra said that she would not remain in the SLFP if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was given nominations to contest from the party. She said she would make a decision on her SLFP membership today. “All the things we have spoken of during the previous presidential council election would become false if Mr. Rajapaksa was allowed to contest from SLFP. Therefore, I will not remain in the SLFP if he was given nominations and more..

Tony Ranasinghe: Greatest character actor and romantic lover in Sinhala cinema

July 4 (DBS) Sinhala cinema began moving away from Indian masala influence and started coming into its own in the sixties and seventies of the last century. Four great male actors made their mark in that golden phase of Sinhala moviedom. They were, in alphabetical order – Joe Abeywickrama, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Tony Ranasinghe. Alas! All four famous thespians are no more now. more..

How Rajapaksa is back to change Sri Lankan politics again

July 4 (CT) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that he would accept his loyal supporters demand to contest the forthcoming parliamentary election to be held on August 17. According to media reports, thousands of supporters who had gathered at his home ground in Medamulana cheered him when he said “I am not ready to reject the appeal you are all making.” He indicated that he would be rallying his supporters across all parties “for the sake of the country, more..

Intellectuals, professionals join hands to cleanse politics

July 4 (Island) A new organisation called Voice of Intellectuals and professionals (VIP) was yesterday launched at the National Archives Auditorium and its website under the same name was also launched. Launching the event, the convenor and prime mover of the organisation, former Vice Chancellor of Ruhuna University Prof. Ranjith Senaratne said the educational and professional background of the politicians of Sri Lanka is conspicuously poor when compared to that of the other countries more..

School kids sucked into addiction through laced soft drinks

July 4 (ST) A drink being sold outside schools to students contains a heavy dose of a chemical aimed at drawing the children into hard drugs, and health inspectors have been ordered to seize all stocks and charge the vendors. Reports are coming in from around the country of schoolchildren being lured into the drug habit through drinks and sweets laced with narcotics and even through medical drugs intended for more..

Women called upon to vote wisely, elect good politicians

July 4 (Island) The Deshaya Surakina Ekamuthuwa (Assembly to Protect the Nation) yesterday pledged to unite all women to elect political leaders who would work for the benefit of the people. Addressing the media at the National Library, President of the Deshaya Surakina Ekamuthowa (DSE), Shamila Gonawela said that present-day politicians and parties were driven by a desire to capture or retain power and they were not concerned about social wellbeing. more..

Tough for UNP

July 4 (CT) Yesterday's lead story of this newspaper quoting former SLFP MP and Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who said that President Maithripala Sirisena will not give nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general election on the SLFP-led UPFA ticket proved to be a red herring, considering yesterday's turn of events. Meanwhile, on Wednesday Rajapaksa said that he will be contesting the election, but stopped short of more..

CID to submit a report to Magistrates Court

July 4 (NS) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) will submit a report regarding the alleged assault incident against a domestic worker by Supreme Court Justice Sarath De Abrew to the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Court on Tuesday (July 7). The CID is expected to report details of the case to the Mount Lavinia Magistrate seeking a directive from the court for further action. The case was taken over by the CID on June 30. more..

Several SLFP members to join UNP in protest

July 4 (CG) Several SLFP members have decided to join the UNP in protest over the reported decision taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to give nominations to former President Rajapaksa. SLFP Treasurer S.B. Nawinna said that he has already decided to join the UNP to contest the Parliament election. Meanwhile, several others, including former MPs Arjuna Ranatunga and Hirunika Premachandra are having discussions with the SLFP leadership to decide their next move. more..