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Sri Lanka Railways to buy more rolling stock

June 20 (EN) Sri Lanka’s railway department plans to buy more rolling stock fleet to meet increased demand and enhance passenger and freight services, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. The govt also wants to encourage a shift in transport from road to rail, he said. He said the cabinet of ministers had approved a proposal by Minister of Internal Transport Ranjith Madduma Bandara to buy 18 sets of diesel multiple units, 160 passenger coaches, and 30 oil tank wagons. more..

Sarfraz, Shafiq lead dramatic turnaround

June 20 (CI) A brilliantly unorthodox 96 from Sarfraz Ahmed and a seventh Test century from Asad Shafiq turned the Galle Test around on a fourth day that exposed Sri Lanka's bowling limitations. Having been five down and 182 behind at the start of the fourth morning, Pakistan were bowled out 45 minutes into the final session, having taken a 117-run lead. Their bowlers then struck twice to leave Sri Lanka a tricky job to more..

Devinuwara SLFP organiser axed over pro-MR meeting in Matara

June 20 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the SLFP leader, has replaced Devinuwara organiser Kanchana Wijesekera with Suneth Hendavitarana. Party sources said that Hendavitarana on Wednesday had received his letter of appointment from President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. Kanchana, son of one-time minister Mahinda Wijesekera had incurred the wrath of the new party leadership for his role in organising the recent rally at the Matara more..

Sri Lanka too acknowledged Russia’s victory over Nazism: Ambassador Karchava

June 20 (Island) Russia says its contribution to the Great Victory over Nazism was gratefully acknowledged worldwide including in Sri Lanka. The Russian Ambassador in Colombo Alexander A. Karchava addressing a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of his countries victory in the Great Patriotic War (June 1941-May 1945)said recently that the triumph over the plague of Nazism had been gained through courageous and heroic feats of Russian soldiers of the then USSR, more..

'Sri Lanka hasn’t reviewed its foreign policy'

June 20 (DM) Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera has not at any point during his interactions with the Japanese media, referred to a review of Sri Lanka's foreign policy relating to a specific country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced. Responding to questions that have arisen following Minister Samaraweera’s interview with NHK World News, MFA Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said more..

MC to get 3D glass cleaning machine

June 20 (NS) Ceylon Theatres will be putting to use a cleaning machine for 3D glasses from June 23. This will ensure the 3D glasses are washed, dried and packed properly so they are up to hygienic standard, CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said. He added that EAP Theatres will be also using a similar machine although the inaugural date is yet to be confirmed. The cleaning machine will kill bacteria and the glasses will be then packed individually. more..

Sri Lanka denies downgrading China

June 20 (ENS) The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry on Saturday denied that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had told the Japanese media that Lanka would review its China-dependent foreign policy and boost ties with other countries instead. “The Ministry wishes to clarify that the Minister did not, at any point, refer to a review of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy pertaining to any country during his interactions with the media, during the visit,“ a Foreign Ministry statement said. more..

'MR has not asked for a helicopter'

June 20 (AD) Reports that the govt has provided a helicopter for the use of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa are completely untrue, according to latter’s Media Coordinator, Rohan Weliwita. He says that apart from the helicopter journey from Colombo to Tangalle on January 9, which was officially used as the former President, up to date Rajapaksa has not obtained govt’s helicopter facility and neither has he requested for more..

20A: Rearranging of some electorates disturbs Bishops

June 20 (Island) The Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka (CBCSL) yesterday, while welcoming the salutary features of the 20th amendment to the Constitution, expressed its concern about the way some of the electorates were being planned to be rearranged with the possible effect of non-representation or reduced representation of the minority religious and linguistic groups in Parliament. A statement signed by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, President, CBCSL and more..

Homicide unit takes over investigation into Thajudeen's death

June 20 (AM) Homicide Unit of the CID has taken over inquiries into Wassim Thajudeen's death, informed Police sources told Asian Mirror. Homicide Unit is arguably the most capable unit in the CID and it consists of handpicked officers who are vastly experienced in investigating murders. Police Department sources said the Homicide Unit had been called in to carry out inquiries as circumstantial evidence had established that Thajudeen's death was a murder. more..

'Sirisena mulling role for Rajapaksa in poll campaign'

June 20 (ENS) President Maithripala Sirisena and the six-man unification committee of the SLFP will continue to discuss the role the party should assign to former President Rajapaksa in the forthcoming parliamentary elections so that the SLFP’s main adversary, the UNP, is defeated, Thilanga Sumathipala, Media Relations Secretary of SLFP, said. The committee comprising MPs Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, more..

Kiriella says UNP will not allow parliament seats to be increased at any cost

June 20 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella pledged Thursday that the UNP would not allow an increase of seats in Parliament at any cost. Addressing a meeting at Kadugannawa to distribute Rs. 100,000 each to 300 families of Yatinuwara for building of houses, Minister Kiriella claimed that the JVP, Tamil Organisations, Muslim Congress and Dinesh Gunawardena and others were against the increase of seats in Parliament. "So is the United National Party," said Kirielle. more..

President assures a radical transformation in the free education system

June 20 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena said govt would extend every possible assistance to the elected people’s representatives who work for the people, irrespective of their party politics. President made this promise at Neluwa, where he handed over a newly constructed school auditorium to the students. The remote places in areas such as Neluwa and Galle have been developed as the public representatives have worked in harmony despite their political affiliations. more..

Japan assures support to develop reconciliation in Sri Lanka

June 20 (DM) While lauding Sri Lanka’s effort to building a nation where diversity, openness and tolerance are cherished, Japanese Foreign Affairs Minister Fumio Kishida reiterated the continued support of Japanese Govt to the ongoing process of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. He assured the support to Minister Mangala Samaraweera who undertook a visit to Japan from June 17 to 20. more..

Urgent Ranil–Anura kumara Talks

June 20 (CT) A special discussion between UNP leader Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake is set for tomorrow. Informed sources said the discussion will focus on the 20th Amendment. Dissanayake is expected to raise issues pertinent to facts regarding his party's stance on 20A proposals which have been determined to beef up 20 A, abolish the preferential vote system in order to change the electoral system and prepare and apply more..

E-train from Veyangoda to Panadura

June 20 (DM) Cabinet has approved the construction of an electric train service between Veyangoda and Panadura, Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara today. The construction of the electric train service would be done in cooperation with the Railway Department, CEB and the Internal Transport Ministry. Cabinet Proposal to construct a monorail system linking Colombo to the suburbs was being studied, and the ministry was awaiting approval to commence it. more..

Corrupt school principals?

June 20 (CT) Education sector Trade Unions and parents of schoolchildren threatened legal action and protest demonstrations if the govt did not revoke the circular (05/2015) that has legitimized the charging of monies and if the govt failed to take action against school principals who charge for admissions. Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) noted that large-scale corruption was taking place in the admission of students to A/L classes more..

16 teams at American Football show in SL

June 20 (NS) Sixteen teams, including two from Jaffna, have entered the fray to contest the second EFLI Sri Lanka University Flag Football League on June 27 and 28 at the CR and FC ground Longden Place in Colombo. The tournament is a version of American Football and will be played for the SAGT (South Asian Gateway Terminals) Trophy. The teams contesting are University of Peradeniya, Rajarata University, Kotalawela Defence Academy (KDA), Sabaragamuwa University, more..

Campaign to have clean, competent candidates launched

June 20 (Island) An initiative called Campaign for Clean and Competent Candidates was launched together with a website by a group of well-known scholars, professionals and entrepreneurs on Thursday to urge political parties to nominate only those with a clean track record to contest elections. The website is Rienzie Wijetillake, former Chairman of the Hatton National Bank said: "The need of the hour is to appoint the independent commissions expeditiously as some MPs more..

Private sector voices problems at second Doing Business Forum

June 20 (DM) The second Doing Business Forum was held yesterday, during which, in addition to finding solutions for problems faced by the private sector, the Finance Minister reiterated the need for state institutions to have a public relations section to make the govt more business-friendly. The forum was held to facilitate a dialogue between govt agencies and private sector. “These things (problems) can be taken on. more..

Drawing the electoral battle-lines

June 21 (SO) General elections loom. Although there are hurdles that need to be overcome prior to the actual dissolution of Parliament, the past week has seen the country’s two major political parties taking crucial decisions about their electoral strategies. Firstly, the SLFP seems to be slowly ridding itself of the image of a party seriously divided. After various internal negotiations, the leadership under President Sirisena has indicated that the party is consolidating around him. more..

No come back for political rejects

June 21 (SL) Despite Sri Lankan political rhetoric being rarely subtle and sophisticated in recent times we have noticed a tone of ambiguous subtlety and even obfuscation, particularly from the present opposition. An outstanding example is the call for the dissolution of parliament followed by a parliamentary election. Till last week every party and relevant politician was for the dissolution of parliament followed by an election, provided the 20th Amendment which would bring in a new more..

'This is not a panacea for all ills'

June 21 (SO) JHU National Organiser Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe has warned against the failure to pass the 20th Amendment, containing aspirational electoral reforms may result in a hung parliament and an unstable country. He alleged minority parties of scuttling the process. Q: What is the JHU’s stance on the govt’s decision to hold the forthcoming general election under the present system? more..

Ranil’s trumps

June 21 (NS) The joke was that Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe, regardless of stated political differences, were totally dependent on each other. In Mahinda’s case Ranil was the perfect Opposition Leader and he would have loved nothing better than having to go head-to-head with the man. The fact that Ranil shied away from such a confrontation on two occasion, gives credence to this view. Ranil needed Mahinda. The out-of-the-blue road work outside Sirikotha when more..


June 21 (Island) Last week’s announcement that Parliament’s High Post Committee has passed Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne’s nomination to be Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to Thailand have raised a number of issues that require comment. On Friday, The Island carried a reader’s letter titled Don’t malign public officers in vain based on the External Affairs Ministry’s announcement that present Additional Foreign Secretary (Economic Affairs) had been cleared of the allegations made against more..

'We are for changing electoral system'

June 21 (SO) JVP is fully supportive of changing the present electoral system in the country, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka said expressing the part’s views on 20th Amendment. Q: What is the stance of JVP to 20th Amendment, to change the electoral system ? A: We are strongly backing the idea of changing the present electoral system in the country. There were some proposals which we have been discussing. more..

Enough of 225 is enough

June 21 (ST) Much of the time and energy of most Honourable Members of Parliament these days has been directed to their blatant devotion to their self-preservation for the next six years. It’s 20A; 20A all the way around the length and breadth of the country. To hell with the much-needed Right to Information Law, which was promised within a hundred days of Jan 8, to festering garbage disposal issues as referred to in this space last week, or the vigorous pursuit of good governance. more..

Blue hot, blue cold: Confusion continues

June 21 (ST) My Dear Maithri, I am writing to you after some time because I — and, I think most others in this blessed Paradise of ours — are slightly confused about what is going, almost six months after you took on the top job ousting Mahinda maama from his pedestal after ten long years, much to everyone’s surprise. We all know you are batting on a wicket that is more difficult to bat on, than even the one in Galle. On the one hand, you have to be grateful to Greens who did all the hard work more..

Basil talks...

June 21 (CT) Controversial ex-Minister Basil Rajapaksa arrested and remanded over allegations and corruption and subsequently warded at the Merchants' Ward at the National Hospital, was released on bail following an order from the High Court of Colombo. Rajapaksa, though released on bail is yet warded at the hospital as medical specialists are treating him for a backache. To several questions raised regarding more..

The UNP’s prospects against Mahinda

June 21 (Island) The gloves are off. Though the main decision making bodies of the SLFP with President Sirisena in the chair appointed a six member team to negotiate a settlement with former President Rajapaksa, the president himself had informed Mahinda through an emissary that same night that he cannot be made the prime ministerial candidate or even given nominations but that he can work for the SLFP at the next election and that he (the president) will look after Mahinda. more..

Who’s rattling whom?

June 21 (SL) For the past five months plus several days the people of Sri Lanka have lived in a political abyss of despair. The 100-day govt has delivered some price cut, achieved a very watered down version of the 19th Amendment, got itself embroiled in an epic battle of wits over Bond gate the infamous 30-year treasury bond and is struggling with the 20th Amendment. Electoral reforms envisaged therein have led to acrimonious mini battles between the minority parties and the somewhat bigger more..

Venomless Sri Lanka let it slip again

June 21 (CI) Lord's 2014 - Sri Lanka bowl first and claim the first four England wickets for 120. The score is 209 when the fifth falls. Yet, Joe Root and Matt Prior rally, put on 171 together, before the England tail plunges the knife deeper. The eventual first innings score is 575. The last five wickets had cost 366. Sri Lanka have effectively been batted out of the match. At Headingley a week later, Sri Lanka have England on the run. more..

Shafiq, Sarfraz reaffirm team transition

June 21 (CI) For a team like Pakistan which is going through a transition, nothing could have been better than two relatively young batsmen staging a terrific turnaround. Pakistan were reeling at 96 for 5 on the fourth day, but Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed partnered to convert a position of worry into a commanding one by the end of the day. Pakistan's Test team has relied on the experienced hands of Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, both at the end of their respective careers. more..

Marvan backs younger players to save Test

June 21 (Island) With the Galle wicket offering a plenty of assistance to spin bowlers, Sri Lanka were looking up to star batsman Kumar Sangakkara to save the first Test against Pakistan. But his dismissal in the penultimate over of Sri Lanka’s second innings yesterday has placed a massive task on the rest of the team to draw the game. Sri Lanka had a first innings deficit of 117 runs and finished day four on 63 for two and were still trailing by 54 runs. more..

Chinese suppliers demand over Rs. 127 mln

June 21 (ST) SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) was slapped by another Rs.127-million bill and frantic officials were looking at ways to reconcile it as Chinese suppliers demanding this sum were banging at the gates of SL Embassy in Beijing. SLTPB has been hit with this huge amount for supplies made during the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) in 2013 and China International Trade In Fair for Services more..

Wildlife attractions at risk, hotelier warns

June 21 (EN) Serendib Hotels, part of the Hemas Holdings group, has joined calls for more control of visitors at the island’s wildlife attractions saying overcrowding was threatening their survival. “At present, the overuse of our resources has become a critical issue,” the hotel group’s chairman A.N. Esufally has said. “I cannot overemphasize the importance of stricter controls to preserve the country’s resources and protect what is rightfully our legacy,” he told shareholders. more..

Kilinochchi Sports Complex will function before September

June 21 (GDI) The completion of renovation of the Kilinochchi Sports Complex will be complete before end of September, 2015. The sports complex which boasts to have three separate grounds is estimated to complete at a cost of 325 million rupees. According to the design, the complex will be able to hold practice sessions of all sports importantly cricket, rugby, football and athletics. An eight-lane 400 meter sprint strip in accordance to the international standards more..

Huge losses for CPC: Cabinet approves new pricing formula

June 21 (ST) CPC continues to be in the red with losses of around Rs. 6.9 billion up to May 2015. The deficit is a result of selling fuel at prices below cost — up to 25 rupees for a litre of petrol, they revealed. Similar losses are being made on diesel and kerosene. Situation has worsened due to a slight pickup in the global oil market. CPC also pays steep customs and excise duties on petrol and diesel. more..

Construction industry mired in labour woes

June 21 (CT) The construction industry is currently going through one of the worst labour shortages in recent history. With the construction boom in full swing if the problem of the shortage of skilled workers is not addressed the industry will fall into a severe situation which might have to consider the importation of labour. A senior industry specialist said that the construction industry at the moment is suffering from an acute shortage of labour, both skilled and unskilled. more..

Royal College clinch the rugby double

June 21 (SO) Royal College, Colombo, clinched the rugby double - wining the Division 1 Under 20 Schools Rugby Singer League and the Major Milroy Fernando trophy, when they beat unbeaten Isipathana College comprehensively by 21points (3 Tries, 2 Penalties) to 8 (1 Try, 1 Penalty) at the Royal Sports Complex in Reid Avenue, yesterday. Winners led 16 points to 8 at half time. The match got off to a rousing start, with both teams engaged in a hectic battle for supremacy and more..