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Permanent Committee on Media: Polls Chief

June 22 (CT) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has decided to appoint a permanent representative committee to make decisions on the activities of media during all elections to be held in the future. Deputy Head of the Media Division of the Elections Department Channa De Silva said the committee will be comprised of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, Elections Department, Ministry of Media and Information and representatives from all active media institutions in Sri Lanka. more..

Jayalalithaa seeks Modi’s intervention to get 31 TN fishermen released

June 22 (TOI) A day after 17 Nagapattinam fishermen were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy, TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa urged PM Narendra Modi to personally intervene to secure the release of all the 31 Tamil Nadu fishermen who have been in the custody of the Sri Lankan authorities. "This is to bring to your notice one more unfortunate incident in which 17 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, along with their more..

UPFA accuses govt of artificially holding down fuel prices with eye on polls

June 22 (Island) UPFA MP Manusha Nanayakkara yesterday said that the incumbent government was reeling under the heavy losses incurred by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation owing to recent price slashes. The CPC was incurring colossal losses daily and was on the verge of collapse, he said. The govt had already prepared a new price formula compatible with the world market prices, but was postponing the price revision in view of the forthcoming general election, he said. more..

Rajitha visits Basil in private hospital

June 22 (Island) Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne visited former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is currently being treated at a private hospital in Colombo on Saturday. Minister Senaratne visited his erstwhile colleague under treatment in a ward on the 7th Floor of the private hospital around 6 pm and engaged in a discussion that lasted more than two hours, sources said. Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna was also with Minister Senaratne. more..

Jellyfish: Indefinite bans if issue persits

June 22 (DM) The coastal belt in Matara including the bathers’ paradise Polhena Beach will be banned indefinitely for all local and foreign tourists if the on-going jellyfish issue persists that left five beach users with infected wounds today. An official at the Disaster Management Centre said that necessary instructions had been passed on to law enforcement authorities in Matara to warn & inform the public about the danger. more..

PM wants new Parliament to usher in changes affecting Youth

June 22 (DN) The UNP should emerge victorious at the next General Election for a brighter future for the country’s youth, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He was addressing a meeting of the organisers of the National Youth Front at Temple Trees yesterday. The Prime Minister said the biggest challenge before the country is to secure the future of the youth, adding that the January 8 revolution would only be completed after achieving this target. more..

Low pay for Sri Lankan security guards hits key industries

June 22 (EN) Private security guards are among the lowest paid workers in Sri Lanka, earning less than 1,000 rupees a day, leading to low morale and high turnover that affect key economic sectors, an association said. SL Security Providers Association said salaries of security guards were now lower than that of gardeners and carpenters. “Our security industry has been suffering from the effects of a situation that is fast spiraling out of control,” SLASSPA President Tissa Aluwihare said. more..

'There cannot be two leaders in a country'

June 22 (GDI) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said there cannot be two leaders in a country. “A country should be governed by one leader and he should be allowed to run its administration” the President said addressing an SLFP meeting in Nuwara Eliya yesterday. He further said he wishes to unite all groups in his plan to bring the change demanded by the public and that he will not entertain factions in the SLFP. more..

Hearing on disappearance of LTTE leaders

June 22 (Hindu) Relatives of LTTE leaders, including Nadesan and Pulitheven, will explain the circumstances that led to their surrender and their subsequent disappearance at a meeting to be held in Geneva on June 24. Meeting has been jointly organised by Pasumai Thayagam, founded by PMK leader S. Ramadoss, along with British Tamil Forum (BTF) and US Tamil Protection Council (USTPC). PMK spokesperson K. Balu and Arul of the Pasumai Thayagam will participate in the meeting. more..

BBS call on authorities to act on noodles

June 22 (CT) The BBS observed that local authorities had not taken sufficient action with regard to a certain brands of instant noodles popular amongst school going children and youth, despite a ban being imposed on the product in India. CEO of the BBS Dr. Dilanthe Withanage said the multinational company's product was found to be tainted with lead (plumbum), a chemical harmful to human health if ingested. BBS also criticized the fact that the halal certification had been granted more..

Mangala-GTF talks split tamil Diaspora

June 22 (DN) Talks between Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) have caused a split among leading Tamil Diaspora organisations. In response to the discussions between the Foreign Minister and GTF Spokesman Suren Surendiran in the presence of several other parties including former Norwegian peace envoy Eric Solheim, Senate of the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) more..

Nominations: Ensure quality before quantity

June 22 (DM) With the dissolution of Parliament likely soon, perhaps even before the approval of the highly-disputed 20th Amendment, the focus now needs to be on the qualities and characteristics, the integrity and honesty of candidates being nominated – rather than whether the number should be 225, 237 or 255. President Maithripala Sirisena, pledging repeatedly and also going beyond party politics on vital issues, had been keen that the 20th Amendment outlining electoral reforms more..

Wimal Weerawansa wrong: Homophobia not a Lankan value

June 22 (DM) A couple of weeks ago, when Sri Lanka voted in a bloc of 80 countries at the UN General Assembly budget committee to defeat a Russian backed resolution against the U.N. Secretary-General’s decision to extend marriage benefits to same sex couples, it caused quite a controversy back home. Sri Lanka was the only South Asian country to vote against the Russian resolution, while our neighbours India and Pakistan voted in favour and others abstained. more..

'Broiler govt'

June 22 (DM) General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha in an interview hinted that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the UPFA. However, he said the role of the former President at the upcoming elections was not yet decided. He stated that the current govt of 100-days was similar to a broiler as it had no mechanism to keep going with the development projects. more..

Ganja destined for Sri Lanka

June 22 (SL) The enormous extent of the smuggling of Ganja (also known as Cannabis, Hashish and Marijuana) from India is evident from a recent seizure in Tamil Nadu. The media reported on June 16, that 685 kg of Ganja was found abandoned on the beach at Dhanushkodi in Ramanathapuram district and that it was bound for Sri Lanka. Last year 126 Sri Lankans and 11 Indian nationals were arrested by Sri Lanka Navy more..

Dissolution before no-faith motion?

June 22 (DM) Parliament will be dissolved prior to the debate on the no confidence motion already listed on the Order Paper, it is learnt. Already, three no confidence motions have been handed over against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Minister John Amaratunga. Of them, the no confidence motion against Mr. Karunanayake has been listed for debate in Parliament on July 6. more..

Cabinet nod to procure cranes for east container terminal

June 22 (FT) Cabinet approval has been given to call for tenders for four handling cranes and 12 gantry cranes required for an $ 80 million container terminal built by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The cranes will be required for the East Container Terminal (ECT) under the Colombo Port Expansion Project kicked off by the previous Govt. Currently 400m of the planned 1200m long terminal has been completed. more..

MR recalls how CBK and Anura abandoned SLFP

June 22 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa, who attended a lotus offering ceremony at the Sri Dalada Maligawa to mark the Piriven Day, recalled that Anura Bandaranaike and Chandrika Kumaratunga had fallen out with their mother and left the SLFP, but he had remained throughout with the party to protect it and to serve the people through it. He said many people had forgotten the reason for closing the road near Maligawa. more..

Sri Lanka to recover GSP+ after UNHRC sessions in Geneva: PM

June 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka will regain the GSP plus trade concession after the Human Rights Council sessions which are to be held in Geneva in September, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said. The European Union withdrew the concessions in 2010 expressing deep concern over alleged human rights violations said to have occurred during the last stage of Sri Lanka’s 30 year civil war. more..

Poisons centre docs throw the booklet at jellyfish

June 22 (ST) Sunny and humid days and the blue waters of the Indian Ocean gently lapping on the shore beckon a large number of men, women and children to take a swim or at least dip their feet in the frothy tide. “Certainly do, but watch out for those beautiful but venomous jellyfish,” warns Dr. Waruna Gunathilake, Head of the Toxicology & National Poisons Information Centre at the National Hospital in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka to purchase new fighter-jets?

June 22 (DM) Despite foreign media reports that claim Sri Lanka will be the first foreign buyer of the multi-role combat aircraft JF-17 Thunder, Sri Lanka Air Force says no decision has been made yet with regard to the procurement of the fighter jet. Air Force Spokesperson, Wing Commander Gihan Senevirathne said although both Pakistan and China have indicated the availability of fighter jet and proposals have been submitted more..

Maithri to strive for SLFP govt with MR, CBK

June 22 (DM) President Maitripala Sirisena, addressing Nuwara Eliya district committee of the SLFP, said that he would strive to form a govt led by the SLFP and include former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Kumaratunga in it. He said he would team up with all possible forces to form such a govt. He said his team would never leave room for party to split, and, if any other group tried to split it, people would take note of it. more..

Leave no room for UPFA govt: Ranil

June 22 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he would not leave room for the establishment of a UPFA govt. He said the 100 Day Period mandated by the people had ended at the moment. Addressing a get together of the UNP at Temple Trees, PM said a new stable Parliament is needed to get people’s friendly legislation passed smoothly without any hiccups. He said the govt can no longer go about withdrawing clauses of more..

SL’s China policy: Contrast & continuities

June 22 (CT) The title of the news story which broke in the Japanese media last week was entitled “FM: Sri Lanka to dilute dependence on China.” Any credible, substantive contradiction of the content of this report (and not just its title) by our Foreign Ministry must not take the form of remarks to the local press but a formal contradiction/correction seeking publicity in the (respected) Japanese media giant, the NHK, which carried the original story. The story says: “Sri Lanka’s foreign minister says more..

Sri Lanka metropolis to get integrated urban, transport planning unit

June 22 (EN) Govt plans to set up a multi-agency decision-making body for the Colombo metropolitan region to integrate transport and urban planning, an official said. “A multi-agency approach is required for the Colombo metropolitan region,” said Amal Kumarage, Senior Professor of the Moratuwa University’s Department of Transport & Logistics Management. “In urban areas, transport needs to be integrated with urban development. It needs to be planned by integrated body.” more..

A’pura tanks hold more water than in previous years

June 22 (DN) In comparison to the past Yala seasons water levels of all main reservoirs and minor irrigation tanks remain between 75 -100%. Total capacity of Kalawewa tank, largest reservoir in Anuradhapura district, is 101,500 acre feet and at present, the capacity is 100,500 acre feet. Also the water levels of Rajangane, Nuwarawewa, Tissawewa, Mahakanadarawa, Mahavilachchiya and Manankattiya tanks remain at 100% amidst more..

UNP's illegal order

June 22 (CT) Pavements are for pedestrians. They are not for any other use. Taxpayers' money has been used to build pavements for this purpose only. Pavements are not meant for drivers to park their vehicles or for pavement hawkers to do their business. It's in this context that Colombo's UNP Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil's illegal letter to the IGP is shocking. In a letter, he has directed the IGP to allow pavement hawkers to carry on with their business in Pettah and also to allow them to more..

Sri Lanka stocks close higher 0.06%

June 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s stocks closed higher at 0.06% with index heavy stocks showing gains, Monday, brokers said. The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 4.50 points higher at 7,039.65 up 0.06%. The S&P SL20 closed 6.41 points higher at 3,924.82 higher at 0.16%. Turnover was 489 million rupees, down from 635 million rupees Friday with 54 stocks closing positive against 79 negative. “Political uncertainty is keeping investors away,” Lanka Securities said. more..

Personal assets of GK directors will no longer be liable for acquisition

June 22 (Island) With the Attorney General’s Department undertaking to reimburse 41% of the holdings of Golden Key (GK) depositors, the personal assets of Lalith Kotelawala and eight other directors of this Ceylinco subsidiary will cease to be liable for acquisition for liquidation to raise funds for repayments, officials said. Deputy Solicitor General (DSG), Viraj Dayaratne gave a categorical assurance to Supreme Court on Thursday more..

Sri Lanka hosts Asia-Pacific aircraft accident investigation workshop

June 22 (Island) The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Sri Lanka will be hosting the 3rd Meeting of the Asia Pacific Aircraft Accident Investigation Group and Asia Pacific Regional Aircraft Accident Investigation Workshop of the International Civil Aviation Organization from Tomorrow to Friday at Ramada Hotel, Colombo. Forty five delegates from 20 countries including Sri Lanka will attend the important aviation activity of the Asia and Pacific region, which will take place under more..

Lawyers criticize MR and his allies for using religious places for political activities

June 22 (CT) Lawyers condemned the use of places of religious worship by disgruntled politicians for the purposes of political propaganda and political activities under the guise of religious ceremonies. Lawyers for Democracy noted that such practices violated the fundamental right to practice one's religion freely, without obstruction either physical or mental. Convener of Lawyers for Democracy Lal Wijenayake said the use of places of religious worship for political activities more..

Video: Hold fresh talks with stakeholders on 20A: JVP

June 22 (DM) The JVP today urged the government to withdraw the gazette notification on the 20th Amendment and have a dialogue with all political parties before preparing a set of fresh legislation. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a media briefing that the electoral system proposed in 20A is aimed at abolishing the multi-party system in the country and to replace it with a dual party system. more..

Joint Chinese - Sri Lanka Army Exercise Silk Route - 2015 begins

June 22 (MoD) The first phase of the 2nd joint Sri Lanka Army - People's Liberation Army Exercise - Silk Route - 2015 with the blessings of the Commander of the Army, got off the ground this morning (22) at Officer Career Development Centre (OCDC) at Buttala after a brief inaugural ceremony, headed by Major General Jagath Dias, Chief of Staff as the Chief Guest. Exercise - Silk Route - 2015, organized by Directorate of Training at the Army Headquarters more..

TB spreading rapidly among prisoners, estate workers

June 22 (Island) A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Health has found that Tuberculosis (TB) is fast spreading among prison inmates and estate workers. Lack of sunlight and proper ventilation in houses on plantations and overcrowded prison cells have been identified as the main causes of the rapid spread of the disease. Officials of the National Programme for Tuberculosis Control and Chest Diseases have commenced a project to visit estate workers’ houses and more..

Sri Lanka opposition asks govt to act on US report on LTTE

June 22 (PTI) Asserting that there is a threat to national security, Sri Lanka's opposition on Monday asked the govt to act urgently over a US report which said that the LTTE's international network and funding was intact. "The Govt should act on this urgently. There is a threat to national security," said G L Peiris, former foreign minister and UPFA MP. He said the govt should have convened a special cabinet meeting over the report. more..

Prosecute or release LTTE suspects, deputy minister demands

June 22 (Island) Deputy Minister Vijayakala Maheshwaran on Saturday demanded that the government take immediate action with regard to Tamil detainees in remand custody in Anuradhapura jail without further violating their human rights. "Produce them before courts and punish them if found guilty or release them if there are no charges, but do not keep them just as LTTE suspects," the Deputy Minister said addressing media soon after visiting the detainees on Saturday. more..

Borrowings to increase 103%

June 22 (CT) The govt which is on a dubious, trailblazing gargantuan borrowing path, is set to further increase its borrowings over its vis-à-vis by a gigantic Rs 441,371 million or by 103.1% when it's due to borrow Rs 24,000 million from the domestic market by selling Treasury (T) - Bills and T -Bonds this week. Such a borrowing would take up its domestic borrowings to a massive Rs 869,580 million equivalent to 8.9% of GDP as per last year's GDP figures. more..

Govt dispels fears over diaspora festival

June 22 (CG) The Govt today insisted that LTTE members living overseas and those who still have links with the LTTE will not take part in a diaspora festival scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in December. Deputy Minister Ajith. P. Perera said that while an open invitation has been extended to all Sri Lankans living overseas to attend the festival, individual invitations will be sent closer to the date of the event. Perera said that the event is more..

FCID questions Mahindananda Aluthgamage

June 22 (AM) UPFA MP and Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage was questioned by the police Financial Crimes Investigation Division this morning. He arrived at the FCID at 9.00am and was questioned until 12.30pm, Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. Aluthgamage was questioned on a complaint regarding carom and checkers boards worth Rs 39 million imported during his tenure as the Minister of Sports through his ministry. more..

Vehicle registrations up 82% in May 2015

June 22 (EN) Vehicle registrations rose 82% from a year earlier to 38,398 unit in May 2015 amid historically low interest rates which boosted credit and discouraged savings. Motor car registrations rose 205% in May to 5,999 units, an all-time record, sharply higher exceeding the 4,500 units a month seen during a credit bubble in 2011. Sri Lanka's car registrations started to pick up in the last quarter of 2011 as credit picked up, rising to 4,311 units in December from 2,411 units, more..