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Emirates A380 makes emergency landing in Colombo

June 26 (AFP) An Emirates A380 plane with more than 500 people on board made an emergency landing in Sri Lanka on Friday after pilots detected smoke in the cockpit, aviation officials said. The aircraft, which landed safely in Colombo, was 320 nautical miles east of the city when pilots made a distress call. "The pilots said May Day, May Day, and we activated all our emergency services and brought the aircraft to a safe landing," more..

Mahendran seeks overseas loans to reduce debt costs

June 26 (BN) Central bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is seeking concessional overseas loans to refinance costlier debt and reduce reliance on global bond markets. “We are looking at tens of billions of dollars” from lenders including the U.S., Japan and the EU, Mahendran said. Concessional credit will “eventually refinance most of the commercial lending the country has contracted in the last five to seven years.” more..

PMD denies Sirisena-Rajapaksa meeting

June 26 (AM) Presidential Media Division refuted reports of a meeting between President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Meeting reportedly took place at the Speaker's official residence. However, PMD said in a statement that the media reports were not true. Despite the denial, soures said that the meeting did take place. Furthermore, during the one-to-one meeting, Sirisena requested more..

Of Babies & Bathwater

June 26 (CT) Most, if not all, those reading the title of this piece will be aware of the old chestnut about throwing the baby out with the bathwater or throwing something of significant value out with the material that was contaminated in the very act of cleansing the infant. What has provoked this reference is the fact that there has been, for a considerable time now, a great hue and cry about the need to throw out most, if not all, of the current system of proportional representation (P.R.) more..

Dodangoda OIC arrested over accident granted bail

June 26 (Island) Dodangoda police OIC, Chief Inspector (CI) Lasantha Buddhika, who was arrested on Wednesday night for injuring three persons in an accident at Beruwala, has been released by the Kalutara Magistrate yesterday on a surety bond of Rs. 100,000. The car driven by the OIC of Dodangoda had tried to avoid a bus coming towards him on the wrong side of the road around 11.30 p.m. and then his car had collided with a trishaw and crashed into a wayside shop injuring three. more..

Daily mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka shares dip to 2-1/2 month low

June 26 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell on Friday to near 2-1/2 month lows due to foreign outflows, with diversified and telecommunication companies leading the drop as uncertainty around a parliamentary election hit investor appetite. Analysts expect the trend to continue until President Maithripala Sirisena dissolves parliament and goes for an election. Sirisena has said he will dissolve parliament once some crucial reforms, including an electoral bill, are passed. more..

Appeal to courts

June 26 (CT) Minister Rauff Hakeem vented out his frustrations over the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) in Parliament on Wednesday. 20A seeks to dilute and subordinate the present proportional representation (PR) system by not only reintroducing the now defunct first-pass-the-post system (FPPS) to decide on parliamentary representation, but also by giving it overwhelming precedence in deciding how per party seat allocations in Parliament would be made over PR. more..

Video: Elections Chief collects his pension card

June 26 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said today that even though he had retired from his post on June 6, he was unable to quit the service until a new commissioner was appointed according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Mr. Deshapriya said this when he arrived at the Pensions Department to obtain his pension card. He said he would function as elections commissioner more..

Sri Lanka to set up the Emergency Ambulance Health Protection Service

June 26 (Hindu) Sri Lanka will set up the Emergency Ambulance Health Protection Service on the lines of the Indian model of “108 Emergency Response Services.” This will be done, taking a grant of $ 8 million from the Indian govt. Initially, the service will be launched in Western and Southern Provinces with 88 ambulances. Under the Indian system, those who require emergency medical attention -pregnant women, infants, children, trauma (accidents, cardiac arrest and others) and more..

Yasir's record, and Mathews' running woes

June 26 (CI) 9: Matches in which Yasir Shah picked up 50 Test wickets, the fastest for any Pakistan bowler, beating Waqar Younis, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammad Asif, who needed 10 Tests each. 40.7: Kaushal Silva's career strike-rate, the lowest for any batsman who has scored at least 1000 runs since Silva made his Test debut in October 2011. Next on the list are Azhar Ali (41.2) and Ed Cowan (41.3). 54: Times Angelo Mathews has been involved in a run-out in international cricket, more..

Private sector to focus more on education

June 26 (EN) Sri Lanka’s private sector will focus more on improving the quality of education and ensuring youth are better suited to work in the corporate community, the new head of the island’s main business chamber said. “Educational and skill development is talked about a lot yet as an economy we tend to underestimate the economic impact it has,” said Samantha Ranatuga, chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. more..

Nurses threaten trade union action in South

June 26 (Island) Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) warned it would resort to a strike in health institutions under the Southern Provincial Council (SPC) if action was not taken by the Provincial Health Ministry to resolve some administrative issues. GNOA President, Saman Ratnapriya accused the administrator of the Tangalle Base of flouting the rules and regulations and acting in an arbitrary manner. He also accused him of trying to take revenge from its employees by more..

GMOA elections on June 28

June 26 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) annual election will be held on June 28 to elect new office bearers for 2016. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said that Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya would be contesting once again to become GMOA President while Consultant Physician at Nuwara Eliya District General hospital Dr. Upul Vidhanagama, too, would be his rival candidate to become GMOA Chief. Dr. Nalinda Herath, who is currently an Assistant more..

There should be a proper programme for Solid Waste Management: President

June 26 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized the need for proper programme for solid waste which is a major threat to the environment. He pointed out that every state and private institution should fulfill their duties correctly on this issue. President made these remarks yesterday at the Progress Review Meeting of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. Discussion related to Mahaweli Development more..

Sri Lanka mid-June forex reserves at US$7.6bn: Central Bank

June 26 (EN) Sri Lanka's official foreign reserves have recovered to US$ 7.6 billion by June 22, from 6.850 billion at the end of May. Foreign reserves were equal of 4.6 months of imports. Reserves haven been boosted partly with the help of a swap with India. Sri Lanka sold a US$ 650 million sovereign bond and US$ 338 million in floating rate bonds to the domestic market in June. Analysts believe a part of the bond proceeds had been converted but with state subsidies and more..

Enjoining order against GMOA election

June 26 (AD) Mount Lavinia District Court today issued an enjoining order restraining holding the election of the Govt Medical Officers’ Association, which was slated to take place on Saturday. The case was supported before the District Court Judge Sahan Mapa Bandara, who granted the Enjoining Order. Plaintiffs were represented by Upul Kumarapperuma with Udumbara Dasanayaka and Anjana Rathnasiri, instructed by Thushari Jayawardhana. more..

Mathews, Silva consolidate Sri Lanka's lead

June 26 (CI) Kaushal Silva's 80 and 77 from Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews helped Sri Lanka finish the second day of the second Test with a lead of 166 runs. The hosts will, however, be disappointed with a few of their dismissals on the day, which held them back from a more dominating performance. For Pakistan, Yasir Shah was the best bowler, picking up 5 for 95 - his second, successive Test five-for - and crossing a few personal more..

TNA wants political prisoners freed first

June 26 (CG) The TNA today called on the Govt to free Tamil political prisoners before holding a festival for the diaspora in Sri Lanka. TNA Batticaloa District Parliamentarian P. Ariyanenthiran said that the Govt has kept saying they will release the Tamil political prisoners but yet they have not been freed. He said that the Tamils cannot accept holding a festival for the Tamil Diaspora before measures are taken to release the Tamils in jail. Govt had recently said that it will be holding a major festival in Colombo more..

FCID files case against Prasanna Ranatunga

June 26 (DM) The FCID today filed a case against WPC Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga in the at Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, alleging that he had accepted a sum of Rs.15 million from a businessman to perform an official duty. The businessman had complained that Chef Minister Ranatunga had solicited a bribe of Rs. 64 million to issue a certificate on reclamation and development of a land belonging to the businessman, who hails from Moratuwa and accepted Rs. 15 million more..

Assessment of Bond-scam loss

June 26 (NS) Sri Lanka’s biggest ever economic scandal, Bond-scam of 27th Feb 2015 created a useful platform for researchers, analysts and opinion makers to analyse, debate and comment on this unsavoury subject for over 4 months. Since the primary analysis has already been done, the priority now seems to be to uncover the latent aspects of this scam so that the country could cut the losses and bring the master-mind more..

Rajapaksa also denies meeting with Sirisena

June 26 (AD) Reports published regarding an urgent meeting between former Mahinda Rajapaksa and incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena at the Speaker’s official residence are untrue, Rajapaksa’s Media Coordinator Rohan Weliwita said. Certain newspapers and websites had reported today that a secret meeting was held last night at the residence of Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, who is a brother of the former President. Statement from Rajapaksa’s aid comes after a similar release issued by more..

Mangala tells Mahinda to bring back Udayanga

June 26 (CT) Speaking about the illegal MIG helicopter deals and the former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge, Minister Managala Samraweera asked former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal his whereabouts. He said the previous regime had covered up international charges against Weeratunge for allegedly supplying firearms to Ukrainian nationals during his tenure as the Ambassador to Russia. "Several persons had said the illegal MIG helicopter deals had been more..

Pakistan get back review lost to umpire oversight

June 26 (CI) Pakistan have been given back the review they lost due to an umpiring oversight on the first day of the second Test at the P Sara Oval in Colombo. The review - which was used to refer an unsuccessful appeal against Kaushal Silva - was restored to Pakistan at the start of the second day, leaving them with the full quota of two reviews. The rare decision to compensate a team for suffering an umpiring error was made more..

Basil Rajapaksa attends parliament

June 26 (AM) UPFA MP Basil Rajapaksa arrived at the Parliament today, for the first time since the Presidential Election on January 8. Rajapaksa, who was the former Economic Development Minister, left the country immediately after the presidential election. He returned to the island in April but was arrested by the police FCID for alleged financial fraud in the Divi Neguma Department during his tenure as Economic Development Minister. He was in remand custody for over six weeks more..

Navy arrests 78 people heading to Australia

June 26 (CG) The navy arrested 78 people while they were attempting to travel to Australia illegally by boat, the navy media unit said. Navy Spokesperson Commander Indika Silva said that out of the 78 arrested, 17 were Sinhalese while 59 were Tamils. Silva said the illegal immigrants were arrested at 12.30 a.m., 65 miles off Kirinda and were taken to the Galle Harbour by Navy officials. Those arrested were then handed over to the Galle Police. more..

Former Indian President Kalam commend progress in Sri Lanka

June 26 (PSL) Former President of India Abdul Kalam praised President Maithripala Sirisena and the present govt for the strategies for increasing domestic food production, elimination of drug menace and environment protection. He made these observations when he met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today. Former Indian President was warmly welcomed by the President Sirisena at the more..

Sri Lanka signs loan agreements with OPEC fund for international development

June 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s govt has signed two loan agreements with OPEC fund for international development on Friday to obtain a part financing for rehabilitation of a A5 road corridor from Badulla to Chenkaladi. The road which is one of the major highways linking parts of the Central Province to Eastern Province geopolitical zones of the country which carries the bulk of the traffic between Batticalo and Peradeniya via Badulla, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. more..

Polls on August 17, Parliament on Sept 2

June 26 (CG) Parliament elections will be held on August 17, according to the gazette notification signed by President Maithripala Sirisena. The gazette which has been sent to the Govt printer also notes that the new Parliament will convene on Sept 2. President signed the gazette notification dissolving Parliament from midnight tonight. Elections Commissioner is scheduled to hold a media conference tomorrow where he will announce plans with regards to the polls. more..

Parliament dissolved from midnight tonight

June 26 (AFP) President Maithripala Sirisena Friday ordered the immediate dismissal of the parliament, clearing the way for a snap election 10 months ahead of schedule. "President signed a gazette notification a short while ago dissolving parliament with effect from midnight today," minister Rajitha Senaratne said. PM Ranil Wickremesinghem has pressed for early elections to increase the majority of his UNP, more..

Mahinda: Sinhala Caesar at gates of Rome

June 27 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa – two term President, vanquisher of V Prabhakaran, incarcerator of his opponent in his bid for a second term, manipulator of the judiciary, architect of the 18th amendment claims prescriptive rights over the party founded by SWRD Bandaranaike. Citing the 5.8 million votes he garnered, he insists that he is still the most potent leader in the SLFP led political alliance that is called the UPFA. He is patently the idol of the cash and carry political class. more..

Importance of India for Sri Lanka

June 27 (CT) The relationship between India and Sri Lanka is an inter twined historical bond. The underlying commonalities between the two nations and their geographical positioning, even after the historical geological drifts of which Sri Lanka is of miniscule part, have not changed the intrinsic relationship. In the post Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) scenario, ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka have slow phased the official relationship between the two nations. more..

Tony Ranasinghe: The Bard’s thespian

June 27 (SO) Shakespeare in Sinhala? The Bard’s dramas are complex enough even in the original language and it is certainly no easy task to translate them into any other language. Yet this is a feat that Tony Ranasinghe excelled in with remarkable success. Ranasinghe Hettiarachchilage Ignatius Anthony Silva, popularly known as Tony Ranasinghe, was better known as a veteran thespian who made the silver screen more..

Dealing with hidden agendas

June 27 (NS) I was shocked to see recent media reports quoting National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka (an academic body incorporated by Parliament) that the academy was not aware of any scientific evidence from studies in Sri Lanka and abroad showing that CKDs (Chronic Kidney Disease) is caused by glyphosate. In the meantime, the Government of Sri Lanka banned (vide gazette notification dated 11th June) the import of glyphosate, which is extensively used for more..

Scientific community leading CKD affected astra

June 27 (NS) I have read 8-10 articles in national newspapers as well as in several other sources during the last couple of weeks, emphasizing the importance of providing safe and clean drinking water to the people in CKD affected areas where the illness has been caused by non-traditional causes. After reading them, I felt that some, especially those who are writing from abroad, are unaware of what is happening in the ground, with respect to the CKD issue. more..

The great escapade: How Wijeweera's wife fled Ulapane Estate

June 27 (CT) Former leader of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP), Sarath Kongahage, in an interview with Ceylon Today made a wonderful disclosure. "When Wijeweera was taken into custody at the Ulapane estate on 12 Nov 1989, Brigadier Janaka Perera told Wijeweera's wife Chithranganie to go home as soon as possible. Chithranganie hired a van and set off with the children. more..

Mahinda determined to take the plunge

June 27 (NS) Since the pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa elements in the UPFA staged a rally in Matara – the first in post-Rajapaksa era in the deep south of the country – and attracted an impressive crowd, speculation has grown about Rajapaksa’s comeback bid and his potential chances. Usually when a govt is defeated, the new rulers are allowed a decent time interval before they are criticized for their lapses. After his defeat in January though, Rajapaksa has tried to fast track this process more..

The President’s moral obligations

June 27 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena has reason to be grateful to Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP. True, gratitude-reason is a two-way street, but we are talking of the President, what he owes and to whom. He might owe something to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga too but probably not as much as the lady believes. Rajitha Senaratne also helped. What checks were associated with this ‘support,’ their value, whether or not they were cashed and if cashed (in kind) what more..

NIE chief waves red flag Educational standards on the decline

June 27 (CT) National Institute of Education (NIE) Director General (DG) Prof. Gunapala Nanayakkara says, universities must offer choices and for that purpose they must develop more relevant courses of study. A dialogue between higher education and general education is much needed, he said. Q: What is your overall view on the education sector in Sri Lanka? A: We had a very good educational system in the past and more..

LTTE and Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism

June 27 (Island) This article is really an addendum to my three-part article on Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism in The Island of April 28, May 2 and May 9. I feel impelled to write this article because the political context has changed radically since I wrote the last one. At that time the LTTE was seen by me and practically everyone else as the rump LTTE, just a vestigial presence without much bite and vigour to it. We were mistaken. It has become clear that for quite some time there has been more..