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Azhar extends his golden run

July 4 (CI) 3388: Runs scored by Azhar Ali in Tests in the last five years, the most for any Pakistan batsman. He has scored more runs than Misbah-ul-Haq (2933) and Younis Khan (3383). 1001: Runs scored by Younis Khan in Sri Lanka, making him the first Pakistan batsman to hit 1000 runs in Sri Lanka. The only other overseas batsman to have scored 1000 Test runs in Sri Lanka is Sachin Tendulkar (1155). 9: Years since Younis Khan was last run out in a Test - versus West Indies more..

Construction of Matara – Hambantota expressway launched

July 4 (CG) Construction work on the Southern expressway linking Matara and Hambantota, was launched today by President Maithripala Sirisena. President Sirisena unveiled a plaque at the site where construction will begin, in the presence of Govt Ministers and the Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang. The expressway will be linked to the existing southern expressway which connects Colombo and Matara more..

'Election financing from abroad may boost Sri Lanka rupee'

July 4 (EN) Sri Lanka may see a surge of foreign inflows to finance an upcoming election which boost the rupee, but it was not certain, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. He was responding to a question on a forecast made by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake almost two weeks ago that the rupee will appreciate to 130 to the US dollar in two weeks. "I think the Honourable Minister of Finance may be knowing something that you don’t," he told reporters. more..

'Fulfil obligations under Fiscal Manageent Act in the run-up to general election'

July 4 (Island) Former UPFA MP Prof G.L. Peiris has requested Treasury Secretary to issue a comprehensive report as regards the fiscal position of the country. Referring to what he called Pre-Election Budgetary Position Report, Prof. Peiris has sent the following letter dated July 2 to Treasury Secretary: "Section 16 of the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act. No. 3 of 2003, imposes on the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, within three weeks of the publication of the Order to more..

Sarfraz fights as Pakistan crumble against seamers

July 4 (CI) The discipline of Sri Lanka's seamers bore down heavily upon Pakistan, and Sarfraz Ahmed was left conjuring another revival act after another collective batting failure. Rain interrupted play frequently, and 20 overs were lost despite play being extended till light faded, with Pakistan trailing by 69 runs, and last man Imran Khan standing with Sarfraz. Sri Lanka's tail lasted only 3.5 overs into the morning, more..

No future govt can change plantation family land entitlement: Kiriella

July 4 (DN) As the govt decision to provide a seven perch block of land to every plantation worker family to build their own house has now become law, no future govt will be able to change this plantation worker entitlement, said Minister Lakshman Kiriella. Kiriella made this observation at a meeting attended by plantation workers at Rani Hall, Kodiellana, Nawalapitiya recently. He said apart from the resolution of the longstanding land and housing problem of plantation workers, more..

Maithri and Mahinda have betrayed their voters: JVP

July 4 (DM) JVP central committee member Sunil Handunnetti said they were not surprised by the decision taken to give nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa under the UPFA. This decision shows the rejuvenation of the vile politics and greed for power, he said. He further said that Mahinda Rajapaksa had betrayed the 5.8 million who voted for him while Maithripala Sirisena had betrayed 6.2 million of his voters. He said that Mr. Sirisena only wanted to secure his power more..

'Sri Lanka will never pose a threat to India'

July 4 (Rediff) Mahinda Rajapaksa, who lost the Sri Lankan presidency earlier this year, plans to contest the parliamentary election and likely become prime minister. He spoke exclusively to contributor Nitin A Gokhale. Q: Will you be a prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections? If yes, will you be the SLFP candidate? A: I will be contesting the parliamentary election with a view to forming the next govt. more..

Policemen can retire after 22 years service

July 4 (DN) The Cabinet approved to grant the opportunity for Police personnel to retire after 22 years of service, Minister John Amaratunga said. He said a survey revealed that 7,054 officers in the Police Department were willing to retire. Amaratunga said with this retirement, there will be vacancies for 17,000 personnel in the Police Department. The minister said this measure was taken to grant them the same facility enjoyed by the tri-forces. He said issues related to promotions and transfers more..

UNP calls for probe into Steel Corp. Dubai Marriott Hotel funding

July 4 (DN) The UNP said that investigations should be conducted to ascertain as to who truly funded the $ 48 million investment in Steel Corporation and $ 190 million investment on Dubai Marriott Hotel. Former UNP MP Ajith Mannaperuma raised the question as to how a Sri Lankan national named Nandana Lokuwithana who had invested in the twin facilities had amassed such a large sum. He said that Lokuwithana had gone to Dubai for an ordinary job a few years ago and could not more..

Video: Mahinda will contest from Kurunegala District: TB

July 4 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest the upcoming General Election from the Kurunegala District, says former Minister T.B. Ekananayake. Despite initial objections from President Maithripala Sirisena, it was reported yesterday that the UPFA has decided to give nominations to Rajapaksa to contest at the General Election on August 17. With the receiving of the written approval from UPFA General more..

UNP’s top priority, education and health

July 4 (CT) Former Deputy Minister, Harsha de Silva said the UNP will give top priority to develop the country's education and health sector after the forthcoming General Elections. Speaking at a media briefing he revealed that according to a recent World Bank report Sri Lanka is below countries such as Vietnam and Bangladesh in expenditures in the education and health sectors. He said the govt will pay serious attention to developing individual freedom and social justice. more..

SLMC still undecided on contesting with UNP

July 4 (AD) The SLMC says that it has still not taken a final decision regarding contesting the forthcoming election with the UNP. SLMC national organiser Shafeek Rajabdeen discussions on the matter have not concluded yet and that, however, the party is expected to reach a decision within the next couple of days. He stated that the Muslim Congress has already received an invitation from the UNP to contest the General Election together. However, Rajabdeen added that more..

SB Nawinne Joins UNP

July 4 (DM) Treasurer of the SLFP S.B. Nawinne had crossed over to the UNP, the UNP said today. Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said Minister S.B. Nawinne would contest the General Elections from the UNP. “We will also appoint him as UNP Organiser for Wariyapola in an event to be held tomorrow morning in Kurunegala,” Kariyawasam said. S.B. Nawinne was appointed as the Labour and Labour Relations Minister more..

Fonseka discussing possibility of alliance

July 4 (AM) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka's Democratic Party was in negotiations on forming an electoral alliance with some other parties over the last few days, informed political sources told Asian Mirror. The Democratic Party initially planned to contest the election on its own. Some potential candidates had even launched their individual poster campaigns across the country with the anticipation of contesting under the party's symbol, the flame. However, Fonseka recently said that more..

Ex-LTTE cadre to approach TNA

July 4 (ENS) Former militants of the LTTE and their supporters have decided to form a political party named Crusaders for Democracy and seek tickets from the TNA to contest the August 17 parliamentary elections. Militants and their supporters from the Northern and Eastern districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Batticaloa gathered outside the famous Nallur Kandswamy temple in Jaffna on Friday and took an oath to fight for the rights of the Tamil-speaking people more..

UNP raises suspicions on Premjayantha

July 4 (CG) UNP today raised suspicions on UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha. Former UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said that questions have been raised with regards to a meeting held at his residence with UPFA members. He said that despite the denials, it seemed clear that a secret meeting did take place at Premjayantha’s residence on Thursday night. TV footage also showed several prominent more..

Standing up for what is right

July 5 (SO) We, Sri Lankans, love to show off our country as the Light of Asia, the Dhamma Dveepa, the Thrice Blessed Isle, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and sundry other self-laudatory epithets. Amid all this syrupy self-labelling, we also had to face up to labels applied by others - labels quite denigratory. After the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom, for example, we became known the tear drop in the Indian Ocean. A little earlier we became known as the country with a Constitution more..

The greening of the media

July 5 (NS) The absence of media freedom and the violation of the rights of media personnel were a constant lament articulated by the then Opposition during the previous regime. The restoration of freedoms and the upholding of rights consequently was a key element of Maithripala Sirisena’s election campaign. He picked up the UNP’s gripe and ran. The UNP, for its part, in pledging support to Sirisena pledged to help him set things right in this regard. That was ages ago. more..

'Fraud, waste, malpractices: Mahinda, top officials should be held responsible'

July 5 (SO) Senior politician S.B. Dissanayake’s chequered political career is dotted with success and failure. Endowed with the unique talent of being able to wriggle out of temporary setbacks, he has made his place in politics secure. Minister of Rural Economic Affairs called for a clear majority for the SLFP-led UPFA coalition at the upcoming General Election to form a stable Govt under President Sirisena. more..

MR’s brinksmanship, MS’s compromise, RW’s consternation

July 5 (Island) The announcement on Friday evening by UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayanth to the effect that President Maithripala Sirisena has agreed to grant nominations to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa was greeted with anguish and fury by the yahapalana types. Much of the anger may stem from the suspicion that had been rankling in the minds of some following the secret meeting held between Sirisena and Rajapaksa just before Parliament was dissolved. more..

President waves white flag and capitulates

July 5 (ST) And so, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa threw his hat into the ring for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections with some pressure politics this week, the culmination of a long drawn-out, well-orchestrated campaign that saw his successor, President Maithripala Sirisena, eventually capitulate. The timing of Mr. Rajapaksa’s announcement from his hometown of Tangalla on Adhi Esala full moon poya day was carefully crafted. It is unlikely he would have declared more..

'JVP confident of winning more seats'

July 5 (SL) JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva says the party is confident it will receive a better representation in the next parliament and will eventually form a JVP led government in the immediate future as people are gaining confidence in the party and are looking for an alternative force. Q: The JVP directed heavy criticism targeting the previous regime, but people have noticed that when it comes to the interim govt, more..

Betrayal: why Maithri, why?

July 5 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because there are so many different questions to ask you and, judging by what happened last week, I think you owe us an answer, if only to protect your reputation as honourable man — which, by the way, helped you to win that all important election in January. Needless to say, Maithri, most of us were very surprised when it was announced that you and Mahinda maama had secret talks in the middle of the night. more..

Sinhala Buddhist vote

July 5 (CT) With the battle lines at this juncture drawn between Sri Lanka's two main parties, namely the SLFP-led UPFA and the UNP, where both parties derive their strength from Sri Lanka's overwhelmingly strong 75% Sinhala majority, it was the UPFA which won the majority of the electorates at the 8 Jan presidential poll, data published in this newspaper's 10 January 2015 edition showed. The leader of the UPFA then was Mahinda Rajapaksa, defeated by Maithripala Sirisena at that poll. more..

'Interim govt failed to meet Tamil aspirations'

July 5 (SL) During the last presidential election, votes from the North and East made a huge difference and played a decisive role in defeating the Rajapaksa regime. However, Tamils have expressed their disappointment as the interim govt has also been unable to meet the aspirations of the Tamils. Among those who backed the 100-day programme, many including TNA have expressed their disappointment on the progress more..

Re-dedication to ideals of The Sunday Leader

July 5 (SL) This issue of The Sunday Leader is of special significance because we re-dedicate ourselves to the basic objective of this newspaper: Unbowed and Unafraid – our motto which we carry on the front page of our publication. Unbowed and Unafraid of whom or what? The simple answer is to tell the truth, which is so easily said but quite a difficult task to accomplish. Great religious leaders, philosophers, politicians and ordinary folk, down the ages, have kept asking: What is the truth? more..

Maithri’s Catch 22: MR Vs. Political Hara-Kiri

July 5 (SL) The month of July dawned with a potpourri of political news flooding the media that is already feeling the heat of the 2015 general elections scheduled for this August 17th. The centre of many discussions was the stance of President Maithripala Sirisena on the issue of granting nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the next general election under the UPFA. Be that as it may, the announcement on Friday that Rajapaksa would be granted nominations to more..

Tectonic shift in Sri Lanka's gameplan?

July 5 (CI) There is no doubt that at present Sri Lanka are experiencing change. It's too early to tell if the team will be better off in coming years, or worse. For now, change is just change. But as SL fast bowlers claimed six wickets on a seaming pitch in Pallekele, one thing became clear: this change is strange. Ever since DS de Silva sent down his first legbreak in the 1982 inaugural Test, spinners had claimed island for themselves. more..

Azhar rues batting misjudgment

July 5 (CI) Ever since the Galle turnaround, Pakistan's batting has combusted time and again. Batting collapses aren't new to Pakistan cricket, but after falling from 32 for 1 to 152 for 7 in 37 overs on the second day in Pallekele, even Azhar Ali, the team's vice-captain, could not offer an explanation. Azhar, like several of his team-mates, was guilty of throwing his wicket away despite being one of the few batsmen settled at the crease. Before that, on a pitch that was not unplayable by any means, more..

'Run out of Younis was the turning point'

July 5 (NS) Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu believes the run out of Pakistan’s most experienced batsman Younis Khan shortly before lunch was the turning point of on the second day of the third Test played at the Pallekele International Stadium. “He is their main stay and the most experienced player. To get him at a crucial time, I mean just before lunch, by way of a run out, that put the whole (Pakistan) team down and lifted the morale of the opposition. That’s what happened,” more..

Housing project for public servants gets off the ground

July 5 (SO) Public servants throughout the country have been adversely affected by the housing problem. As a solution a housing project was launched in Galle in 2003. However, it stalled. “Today is a proud day for us as we are launching this housing project under our own govt after a lapse of over 12 years. It is our policy to provide housing facilities for public servants in each district and those who do not possess a house of their own are eligible to obtain a house,” more..

Did presidential election spending release cash & goods into economy?

July 5 (Island) Regnis (Lanka) PLC, the Singer subsidiary manufacturing white goods, producing a range of refrigerators and washing machines, and catering to over 100,000 customers annually has seen consumer demand opening up after a considerable slack period in the second half of 2014. "Perhaps the presidential elections of early January 2015 stimulated demand, as elections spending of an unprecedented scale released cash and goods into the economy for both rural & suburban markets to an extent not seen hitherto," more..

National Immunization program gets off to a smooth start

July 5 (SO) Sri Lanka's Expanded Immunization Programme (EPI) which this week introduced a new Injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) for four months old infants is progressing well with a positive response from the public, health officials said. Chief Medical Officer Public Health, Colombo Municipal Council Dr Ruwan Wijeyamuni said that the 16 CMC run Maternal and Child Health Clinics visited by over 90% of ante natal mothers in the city were now fully operative. more..

'Chameera most exciting bowler since Malinga'

July 5 (CI) Fast-bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake has said that 23-year-old Dushmantha Chameera is the most exciting fast-bowling find he had come across since Lasith Malinga. Ramanayake, a former SL seamer with 18 Test caps, was responsible for the emergence of Malinga, and he believes Chameera has the same raw material in him. "Chameera is the equivalent of Malinga at the start of his career, pace wise, more..

SL-B’desh to ink six agreements

July 5 (NS) Six agreements between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are under process and are to be signed or implemented in the near future. The details of the agreements were revealed by Counselor, Bangladesh High Commission, Borhan Uddin during a presentation session with the National Chamber of Commerce on June 30. Uddin, while highlighting the benefits of investing in Bangladesh also mentioned the agreements that were being worked out by both countries. more..

Locally assembled vehicle market stagnating

July 5 (SO) The Rajapaksa regime did not have an influence on the sale of locally assembled vehicles, which has been low right throughout due to high vehicle imports, Micro Holdings CEO Dr. Lawrence Perera told a gathering at the company’s 20th anniversary celebrations in Polgahawela, last week. Scoffing at accusations that he had close links with the former regime and benefited from it, Dr. Perera said that vehicle sales dropped from around 14% to 9% during the former regime and added that more..

CID to file legal action against Senarath

July 5 (SL) Legal action is to be filed against Gamini Senarath, the Chief of Staff of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the CID for alleged money laundering. The CID has already filed the ‘B’ report in the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court against Senarath and has requested the court directions to all financial institutions and banks in the country to give details of bank accounts of the Senarath family for further investigations. more..

Mahinda wins the day as Maithri has his way

July 5 (CT) There are no permanent friends or foes in politics, it is said. The centre stage of politics wonders what's happening behind the screen. Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists did not give up the battle to seek nomination to Mahinda. While the centre stage was kept in suspense about the issue, Susil Premajayantha on Friday issued a letter stating that the UPFA has decided to give nomination to Mahinda and that the decision was taken at a meet presided over by President Sirisena, more..

Polls Chief says: No proxy candidates

July 5 (SO) EC Mahinda Deshapriya will issue a fresh decree to guide independent candidates and independent parties aspiring to contest the forthcoming general election, to stop them from becoming proxies of other candidates. He said this was a disturbing trend, which they had observed in the past elections including the Presidential election. “We have learned that some independent candidates who enter the fray later turn out to be proxies of other candidates,” more..