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No more rogues in sri Lanka politics

June 28 (ST) My dear voter, I thought of writing to you because, now that Parliament is dissolved at last and elections are due, you will be the focus of attention of all those seeking high office over the next few weeks. For a short time, they will want to make you feel as if you are a king or queen, before they forget all about you. That doesn’t mean that you should take the next election lightly, dear voter. Remember, almost six months ago, you made a determined effort against all odds to cast more..

Five-star hotels feel competitive bite from new properties

June 28 (Island) Five star City Hotels are feeling the competitive bite of three and four star properties opening shop in Colombo with Asian Hotels and Properties, controlling the Cinnamon Grand and Cinnamon Lakeside Hotels seeing group occupancy down to 66% from the previous year’s 70%, Asian Hotels have said in their latest annual report for the year ended March 31st, 2015. "The room inventory within the city of Colombo witnessed substantial growth in the year under review, more..

Haunted by Sri Lanka row, fishers find Mangalore a safe choice

June 28 (TOI) Fisherman J Ashton has temporarily turned into a wedding hopper - five wedding feasts he has savoured and could do more. Originally from Thangachimadam, Ashton had come here on a holiday — a result of the fishing ban in Mangalore where he moved last year. Ashton is among nearly 10,000 fishermen who have shifted base from Ramanathapuram district to Mangalore after fishing conditions in Rameswaram more..

Money printing, 53% of excess liquidity

June 28 (CT) Central Bank (CB) on Friday lent Rs 11.03 billion to Govt by printing money, thereby stoking demand side inflationary pressure on the economy at Friday's trading. As a result, CB's book value Treasury (T) Bill holding increased by 43.57% to Rs 36.35 billion, a reflection of the total amount of printed money, in absolute terms, which CB has lent to govt. With market's excess liquidity at Rs 68.33 billion, printed money comprises 53.2% of market's excess liquidity. more..

US will work with Sirisena

June 28 (SL) US Embassy in Sri Lanka announced that they will continue to work with President Maithripala Sirisena as he has promised to address some long standing issues related to human rights. Referring to the US State Department’s recent report on human rights practices, US Embassy spokesman, Joshua Shen said that the report was looking back at the year 2014. He said that the US was looking forward to working with President Sirisena as this govt works to pursue a future more..

SLFP in crisis over MR’s role

June 28 (SO) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha is expected to join the pro-Rajapaksa group tomorrow, the Sunday Observer reliably learns. Party insiders worry that this expected move by a party stalwart could precipitate a wholesale shift by a number of MPs to the Rajapaksa camp thereby creating a major split in the party. UPFA General Secretary, who left the country before the dissolution, is presently in the US. more..

A Mahinda return could affect SLC

June 28 (TI) Word coming out of Sri Lanka is that Mahinda Rajapaksa, who lost the Presidential elections in January, is very keen to return as the country's PM, a position he held from April 2004 till Nov 2005, before getting to occupy the highest office. On Friday, President Sirisena dissolved Parliament and the general elections are set for August 17. That, incidentally, could lead to a tweaking of the dates for the India-Sri Lanka Test series there. more..

Central Bank likely to keep rates steady

June 28 (Reuters) Central bank (CB) is expected to keep its key policy interest rates unchanged at record lows on Monday, a Reuters poll showed. Central bank in April surprised markets with a 50 basis point cut to boost economic growth. Until April, rates were steady for 14 months. Eleven out of 12 analysts said they expected the central bank to leave the repurchase rate or standing deposit facility rate at 6%, the reverse repurchase rate or standing lending facility rate at 7.5%, and more..

Helitours to Jaffna with expired licence

June 28 (ST) Helitours, the Air Force’s domestic air service, has been ferrying passengers to and from Jaffna in an aircraft with an expired Certificate of Airworthiness on the basis that the passengers are responsible for their own lives. The CAA confirmed that the annual Certificate of Airworthiness for the Xian MA60 that Helitours operates to Jaffna has lapsed. CAA has sought assistance of the International Civil Aviation more..

A/Ls in 2 segments to accommodate polls

June 28 (ST) GCE Advanced Level (A/L) exam will be held in two segments to accommodate the General Election scheduled for August 17, said Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. Following this decision, the A/L exam will commence on August 4 as scheduled and go on till August 13, when it breaks to accommodate the General Elections. The exams will resume on August 24 and conclude on September 8. However, the Grade 5 Scholarship exam will be held as scheduled on Aug 23. more..

Austrian art curator who built a school in SL

June 28 (FT) Serendipity is what brought Kathrin Messner to Sri Lanka — appropriately enough, given the word’s origin. Coined by Horace Walpole in 1754, it stems from Serendip, the Persian name for the island. She and her late husband Josef Ortner had been searching all over the world for a second home in a place where their daughter could go to school. “When we first came to Sri Lanka, more than three decades ago, it was only for a vacation,” she says. “Then we fell in love with this country.” more..

NRFC fraud through fake emails

June 28 (ST) Fake emails have led to banks holding Non-Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC) accounts suffering losses of more than one billion rupees, a CID investigation has revealed. Detectives said they had found that fake emails had been sent to banks by people claiming to be NRFC account holders requesting funds to be transferred to accounts overseas. Funds amounting to more than one billion rupees from NRF accounts more..

Tony Blair and his wife to visit Sri Lanka

June 28 (Island) Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are planning to visit Sri Lanka on holiday in August. Although it is a private tour, The Sunday Island learns that the former British Prime Minister has been already asked to deliver a lecture while in Sri Lanka. According to diplomatic sources, Cherie Blair has organized the tour on a recommendation by Sri Lanka’s acting High Commissioner in London, Dr. Chanaka Talpahewa.   more..

Indiscriminate import of vehicles harming economy

June 28 (SO) India produces vehicles in keeping with the needs of the country and the purchasing power of consumers. The indiscriminate import of Indian vehicles and sub-standard commodities affects the economy and environment, Chairman, Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL), Mahinda Sarathchandra said. Singapore is a classic example of how Governments can regulate imports to suit their needs minimising damage to the environment, he said. more..

New powers under 19A: Polls chief warns public officials, candidates

June 28 (ST) As political parties begin their campaigns for the general elections on Aug 17, EC Mahinda Deshapriya warned that any public official who allowed the abuse of state resources at the elections could be jailed for up to three years or fined. He pointed out that under the 19th Amendment more powers had been vested in him. He told public officials “It is better to do your work properly than face punishment.” more..

MS-MR talks verdict Wednesday

June 28 (CT) Discussions between the supporters of President Sirisena and the faction backing former President Rajapaksa are still underway and are expected to come to a close on Wednesday, at which point a final decision would be taken. The two factions are scheduled to meet on Monday and hold several rounds of talks on the upcoming general election. Sirisena faction has offered the former President the opportunity to lead the SLFP and the UPFA campaign at the general election. more..

BBS to be reborn as BJP

June 28 (SO) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) will be reborn as the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), to field lay candidates at the forthcoming parliamentary elections, BBS CEO, Dilantha Withanage said. “We have already placed advertisements calling for suitable candidates and will soon commence countrywide election campaigns,” he said. The current political sphere does not have educated and visionary people and the BBS will seek to fill this political void by choosing one strong more..

COPE inquiry finds Mahendran had intervened in bond issue

June 28 (Island) A Special Parliamentary Investigation Committee that probed the alleged insider trading and favoritism in a recent mega treasury bond issue has established Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s direct intervention on behalf of his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius owned Perpetual Treasuries, sources familiar with the COPE process said. 13-member Committee named by Speaker has obtained direct, documentary as well as more..

Guaranteed price recipe for poor quality, Sri Lanka tea trade warns

June 28 (EN) SL’s tea trade has come out against a government guaranteed price scheme for tea leaves to help growers cope with the slump in prices, saying it would only encourage poor quality tea. Anselm Perera, chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders Association, said cultivators and black tea manufacturers should strive to improve quality at a time of lower prices globally to attract more buyers to the island. Producers must fine tune their production processes and improve quality so more..

President chief guest at Sri Lanka military academy passing out

June 28 (MoD) President Maithripala Sirisena, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces graced the Passing out Parade as the Chief Guest of the Cadet Officers of Regular Intake 80, Volunteer Intake 54A and Lady Intake 13A, held at Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) in Diyatalawa today (27). Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. BMUD Basnayake and Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva were also present at the occasion. more..

Week of suspense ends, but SLFP-UPFA still in turmoil

June 28 (ST) After toiling for weeks to win majority support from his SLFP and failing, President Maithripala Sirisena did the next best thing – he dissolved Parliament from midnight Friday. He had come under pressure and run out of options. That saves him the ignominy of further isolation from his own party, his minority UNP Govt and even the international community. Sri Lankans will now go to the polls on August 17 — a Monday. more..

What’s cooking in the Kitchen Cabinet?

June 28 (Island) With politics getting more spicy and bitter each day we have it from Minister Rauff Hakeem that there is a Kitchen Cabinet in operation today. The phrase goes back to the early days of US democracy, coming from the time of President Andrew Jackson, but there have been ginger groups and other special advisors to national leaders, and manipulators for them, who have been called kitchen cabinets, to separate them from the regular or Parlour Cabinet. more..

2nd chance for UNP!

June 28 (CT) Parliamentary dissolution which has been on the cards since President Maithripala Sirisena's election to office on 8 January, 2015, has at last taken place. According to the lead story on this newspaper's yesterday's edition, Sri Lanka's 14th Parliament was dissolved by a gazette notification, effective from midnight, Friday. Nominations for the next general election will be accepted between 6 and 15 July and elections will be held on 17 August, 2015. more..

VIP high as the sky; but no smiles for crew

June 28 (ST) Even the devas could not stop this self-acclaimed kingmaker to those from different political hues at different times from enjoying the real taste of paradise, not when every bit of it came free. The SriLankan Airlines Airbus A330 flight (UL 423) had taken off from Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok island airport, when he, imbibing too much into the old English tradition, called for a Whisky and Soda. So it was Black Label. more..

Bonanza for 300,000 pensioners from July

June 28 (ST) More than 300,000 public sector employees who retired before 2006 will be entitled to a pension increase, ranging from Rs. 3,000 to Rs 10,000 from next month, a senior official said. Circular announcing the increase was signed by Public Administration, Local Govt and Democratic Governance Ministry Secretary J. Dadallege hours before the dissolution of Parliament, following a recent Cabinet decision. more..

Sri Lanka lacks standards on permissible lead levels: MOH

June 28 (NS) Test results of samples of locally produced instant noodles released by the Industrial Technology Institute revealed that the samples rated well below permissible lead levels, confirming that the products were safe to consume. However, the report underscores the critical need for SL to develop its own regulations on permissible lead levels, since the tests results were compared to Australian standards. more..

Former President to contest as prime minister candidate: Aide

June 28 (Xinhua) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest as a prime minister candidate in the August 17 Parliament elections, a close aide of Rajapaksa said. Kumara Welgama, a former minister in Rajapaksa's govt, said that former president will look to contest under the betel leaf symbol of the opposition UPFA. "I can clearly state that Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest as the PM candidate," he said. more..

War widows pin hopes on new president

June 28 (AFP) Shunned, destitute and pushed into prostitution in some cases, Sri Lanka's Tamil widows have returned to northern Jaffna since the end of the separatist war only to discover they are not welcome even in their homeland. Now, six years after the war ended, the women who fled the fighting on the peninsula in their thousands are pinning their hopes on the nation's new president for a better future for their families. more..

'Lanka Sathosa will not be privatized'

June 28 (Island) Proposed plans to restructure Lanka Sathosa led to mounting speculation last week that privatization is on the cards, but the state-owned organization’s Chairman Kiran Atapattu ruled out any such move with a firm assurance that the giant commodity trading institution will continue to remain under govt control. "There will be no privatization and that’s final", says Atapattu. Restructuring doesn’t mean handing over more..

Sharp rise in use of performance enhancers among students

June 28 (SO) Health Ministry officials warned school children were now using different types of performance enhancers to do better at school examinations. "They come in the form of mouth sprays, drinks, and sweets," Head Poisons Information Unit, Dr. Waruna Gunethilake said. Referring to the recently banned spray, he said another mouth spray, which could also be consumed and resembled a popular brand of fizzy drink more..

SLPI partners with key stakeholders on child protection

June 28 (Island) The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) has partnered with the Ministry of Mass Media, the National Child Protection Authority, the State Ministry of Child Affairs, the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka, the College of Journalism and UNICEF on a campaign to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and violence against children. In this regard a media roundtable was hosted by the Minister of Mass Media to more..

US report on Matale skeletal remains: JVP doubts Carbon test

June 28 (CT) The JVP is preparing to seek a Court Order for another formal investigation into the skeletal remains which were discovered in the mass grave in Matale in Nov 2012. The JVP has rejected report on these bone fragments issued by Beta Analytics of Miami, Florida in the USA. They claim there are contradictions between the report on the skeletal remains issued by the American laboratory and the report submitted by more..

Cinnamon Grand says butter; medical experts say toxic fumes likely cause

June 28 (ST) Fresh questions are emerging about the incident at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel where several people fell ill during a reception to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, with medical sources pointing at the possibility of pest control fumigation gases being the cause. While the hotel in a June 22 statement says that butter served at the function “may have been the cause for concern” and directed the Sunday Times to more..

SAARC Energy Independence by 2030 to create livable Planet Earth – Dr. Abdul Kalam

June 28 (Island) Former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam emphasized the need of member countries in the SAARC region to come together to achieve energy independence by 2030. "All countries in the region have similar culture and environment. It is important that we come together as a region to get out of the dependence on fossil fuel and transform into renewable energy to make planet Earth a livable place", he stressed. The former Indian leader was delivering more..

Crusade + self-interest gives virtue a bad name!

June 28 (Island) It’s beyond question that football is, and has been, the most popular sport in the world for as long as one can remember – and that’s even before television came along when audience-participation globally ballooned to well over 1.3 billion for the 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (Brazil) World Cup finals. "This universal success comes at a price," wrote Gilbert Mercier, Editor-in-Chief of News Junkie Post. "At its best, football is a celebration of life, but more..

'Politicians have the lowest credibility'

June 28 (Island) Q: What made you quit a high profile office as the CEO of National Development Bank PLC (now known as NDB Bank) and take up politics which undoubtedly would have been challenging and at the same time entailed a colossal financial loss? A: When one makes a transition, it is the family that will bear the brunt and consequences of it. In my case too, the biggest challenge was not for me but for my family. more..

JNP to contest with MR

June 28 (DM) Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNP) will contest the next general election with former President Rajapaksa, its leader Wimal Weerawansa said. He said that his party would contest with the Former President no matter which party the latter contested from. Responding to a question raised by journalists as to whether Mr. Rajapasksa and himself will get nominations from the UPFA, the JNP leader said the final decision will be made by UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajanatha. more..

The August 17 Election Countdown

June 28 (Island) In the end the dissolution of the current parliament came rather swiftly, though not unexpectedly. The actual timing of the dissolution and the dates for nominations, polling and the opening of the new parliament may have come as a surprise, and speculations are afloat about the dissolution timing. Even an early opinion poll results are doing the rounds, indicating that the UNP would come on top with the largest number of seats, followed by the still un-named group more..

Arjuna Mahendran reveals art of Bondage

June 28 (Island) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran Friday detailed the mechanics of artificial price depression and how bonds, private placements and artificial interest rate manipulation alleging that these are all linked to the previous govt’s efforts at economic control. The Governor, who has been accused by the opposition of having made a bad call with respect to a Treasury Bond auction in February said, more..

Probe by FCID to continue despite dissolution

June 28 (CG) The investigations being carried out by the police Financial Crimes Investigations Divsiion (FCID) will continue despite the dissolution of Parliament. Minister John Amaratunga said that several people still question as to why more politicians have not been arrested over corruption. He said that the authorities need to first conduct comprehensive investigations and then arrest suspects only if there is concrete evidence to back corruption charges. more..