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Tie-up with UNP: Is Sirisena’s Achilles Heel

June 29 (ENS) If President Maithripala Sirisena is to marginalize the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction in the SLFP and gain full control over it, so that the party wins the August 17 parliamentary elections under his leadership, he has to distance himself from the UNP, which is now his ally and partner in the govt. The SLFP and the UNP are traditional rivals in the Lankan political arena. No SLFP leader can hope to retain the loyalty of more..

Rs 5 b CESS fund unutilized: CTTA

June 29 (DN) The CESS fund of nearly Rs. 5 billion collected from Tea exporters to promote Ceylon Tea brand globally is left unutilized, said Anselm Perera, Chairman of the Colombo Tea Traders Association. “Tea industry is facing a crisis as prices have dropped and this is the time a globe promotion is urgently needed, he said speaking at the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) Annual General Meeting in Colombo. The funds had been used so far only to promote Ceylon tea using more..

Lankan man in Italy critical after saving girl

June 29 (CG) A Sri Lankan in Italy is in critical condition after saving a girl from drowning. Sri Lankan man had jumped into a river in Rivolta d’Adda to save the girl who was being swept away by strong currents. He and several others formed a human chain to pull the girl to safety. The girl was rescued but the man who was right in front of the human chain, lost his grip and was pulled away by the currents. Rescue workers later found the Sri Lankan man and airlifted him to hospital more..

UNP gears up for polls with shifts and newcomers

June 29 (DM) The UNP has appointed its leadership council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya, who will be in charge of the party’s campaign for the general election this year, party sources said. Mr. Jayasuriya when contacted said he was asked to play a major role in the campaign for the forthcoming election. Therefore he said that he will not contest the election this year but would probably enter Parliament through the national list. more..

Live wire kills 26-year-old, injures 13 while hoisting flag pole

June 29 (ST) A 26-year-old married man was killed and 13 others were hospitalised after they were electrocuted during a flag-hoisting ceremony to mark a church feast in Grandpass, Police said. The incident took place around 6.30 pm when the flag pole, made of a raw arecanut tree, was being raised, came in contact with a high voltage live wire. The victim was identified as Koneshwaran from Wadulawatta, Grandpass. Krishnamani Selvaraj who witnessed the incident said he saw more..

Umpire shuts down papare band

June 29 (NS) The papare band that began playing music during the morning session of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at the P Sara Oval was suddenly asked to shut down by the umpire, an incident which is unheard of in cricket in Sri Lanka. The papare band has always been part and parcel of the Sri Lankan cricket culture but in this instance it is the first time they have been asked to stop playing during a match. An almost similar incident happened during England’s more..

President visits Eastern Naval Headquarters

June 29 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy has always always safeguarded the national security as its highest responsibility; SLN's pivotal role in defeating the thirty year long brutal terrorism will be written in the annals of the country paying due respect, stated President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing naval personnel at the auditorium of the Naval and Maritime Academy in Trincomalee on 28th June. more..

Sri Lanka holds rates at record lows, sees inflation comfortably below 4% in 2015

June 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank kept key policy rates steady at record lows on Monday, as expected, and said prospects of improved performance in advanced economies along with low inflation and low market interest rates would benefit local economic activity. It left the standing deposit facility rate (SDFR) and the standing lending facility rate (SLFR) unchanged at 6% and 7.5%, respectively. The commercial banks' statutory reserve ratio was unchanged at 6%. more..

Buddhist monk promotes peace through release of anti-nuclear manga in Sri Lanka

June 29 (Asahi) With his home country of Sri Lanka having been embroiled in decades-long conflicts, Thalangalle Somasiri felt moved after reading the manga series Hadashi no Gen (Barefoot Gen), which depicts the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The peace-loving Buddhist monk released volumes 1 and 2 of "Hadashi no Gen" in Sri Lanka this spring after translating them into Shinhalese, one of the country's widely spoken languages. Somasiri, 55, is the chief priest of more..

'Friday’s dissolution won’t save UNP'

June 29 (Island) Former UPFA Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris warned the UNP that the truth with regard to the Treasury bond issue couldn’t be swept under the carpet by dissolving Parliament. The UNP wouldn’t be able to suppress the findings made by a special parliamentary committee that investigated the alleged fraud for over a month, he asserted. Former Minister was addressing SLFP Kesbewa Balamandalaya yesterday more..

USJP ties up with Northern Kentucky Uni

June 29 (Island) World Class University Project (WCUP-2014) of the University of Sri J'pura, through the involvement of Prof. Ranil de Silva, initiated a joint venture between the USJP and the Northern Kentucky University with the signing of MoU between the two universities recently. "This unique achievement will provide an opening towards exchange of students, faculty members and researchers with the objective of offering courses and realizing research projects and more..

SLMC - TNA to go solo

June 29 (CT) SLMC and TNA are to contest without pacts with any major party for the coming general election. SLMC will contest under their tree symbol, party's General Secretary Hassan Ali informed the Commissioner of Elections a few days ago. UNP has also invited the SLMC to contest with them and this invitation will be discussed at a meeting of the High Command tomorrow. High Command will also decide on campaign planning and the appointment of the nominations committee, Ali said. more..

Bond scam: UNP rejects COPE report

June 29 (Island) Alleging that Chairman of COPE D.E.W. Gunasekera, had unfairly used unsubstantiated information available to a Special Parliamentary Investigation Committee that probed alleged insider trading and favouritism in a recent mega treasury bond issue to undermine the UNP, Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe insisted the report couldn’t be presented in Parliament for want of a unanimous agreement. more..

Sovereign people, choose wisely

June 29 (DM) With the dissolution of Parliament at midnight Friday after a tense week of speculation, conflicting reports and contradictions, the sovereign people of Sri Lanka will on August 17 get another opportunity to elect 196 members to represent them in the supreme legislative body. The widely respected Elections Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya, told a news conference on Saturday that under the 19th Constitutional Amendment, he had received new powers and more..

Bad news for democracy

June 29 (DM) That the current administration is sacrificing the economic future of the country for party political considerations is not just an allegation; it is increasingly becoming a fact. There is enough evidence to this effect in the suspended mega development projects and their adverse economic fallout, as evident in the downgrading of this year’s economic growth forecasts (From 8% to 6.9%). Given this context, one would not have expected the govt to give more ammunition to its critics more..

Controversial CIFL Chairman due soon: Alleged to have defrauded Rs. 1.6 Billion

June 29 (CT) Sri Lanka's failed Central Finance and Investments (CIFL) controversial former Group Chairman Deepthi Perera will come back to Sri Lanka soon, Presidents Counsel Tilak Marapana confirmed. Colombo Chief Magistrate, Gihan Pilapitiya, recently gave him a temporary court clearance for his visit, he said. "He was under an international arrest warrant for a while. As his lawyer, I appeared before the court more..

Maggi noodles promotions stopped but no impact on sales

June 29 (ST) Despite a major controversy over instant noodles in neighbouring India with an impact on consumption patterns, sales of this fast food in Colombo have been unaffected. Some supermarkets in Colombo confirmed that sales were unaffected, as health authorities this week declared as safe for human consumption, the samples of noodles tested for lead, a heavy metal. Lead level in instant noodle samples including the brand more..

JHU MP's coordinating secretary nabbed with drugs

June 29 (CT) A man calling himself JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera's coordinating secretary, an officer attached to the CID and two others were apprehended by Excise Department agents while travelling in two luxury vehicles, transporting pills containing narcotic drugs. The sting had taken place when the occupants in one of the vehicles had sold the drugs to an Excise agent whilst parked near World Trade Centre. more..

Sri Lanka initiates collaboration with CERN

June 29 (IL) Sri Lanka and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have entered into an agreement to begin cooperation between CERN and the scientific community in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka‘s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and the Director General of CERN, Mr. Rolf-Dieter Heurer, signed an “Expression of Interest’ (EOI) Agreement more..

Sri Lankans warned about H1N1 virus

June 29 (SL) Pregnant mothers, children under two years of age and elders above 65 years and those who have chronic diseases are being advised to take medication immediately if they get symptoms such as body aches, cough, sore throat, flue, headache, running nose and diarrhoea. These can be the symptoms of seasonal flue caused by the H1N1 virus, Senior Registrar Epidemiology Unit Dr Athula Liyanapathirana cautioned the public. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 114 in Global Peace Index

June 29 (DM) Sri Lanka ranked 114th on the global peace index conducted by an Australian-based Institute for Economics and Peace which measured national peacefulness in 162 countries. Bhutan ranked at 18th place, Nepal at 62, Bangladesh at 84, India at 143 and Pakistan ranked 154 with Afghanistan at 160. Iceland had retained its place as the most peaceful country in the world. “The most peaceful countries are Iceland, more..

MS appoints committee with MR supporters

June 29 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a committee headed by former minister S.B. Dissanayake to conduct talks with the group of SLFP and UPFA members who are backing former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, with a view to mending fences with them, party sources said yesterday. The president dissolved parliament last Friday and announced a general election. more..

Sri Lanka draw level with seven-wicket win

June 29 (CI) Sri Lanka negotiated a 153-run target, the threat of rain and a brief batting stutter to eventually ease to a seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Test at the P Sara Oval, levelling the series with one match to go in the series. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne's fifty and his 72-run partnership with captain Angelo Mathews for the third wicket was the calming influence in a chase that had got off to a frenzied start. more..

Police dissatisfied over mayor's decision

June 29 (DM) Police officers attached to Colombo city limits expressed their dissatisfaction over Colombo Mayor’s decision to allow pavement hawkers to conduct their businesses on certain streets in Pettah. Police officers who wish to remain anonymous said that this decision would lead to violation of several statutory laws of the country including the Penal Code, the Police Ordinance and National Thoroughfares Act. more..

'CB Governor came three times to the bond issuing room'

June 29 (LBO) Central Bank Governor has come three times to the bond issuing room that issued the controversial bond though he is not intended to come, leader of the JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka said. “COPE committee which comprised of JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi questioned each and every official and they have given oral answers,” “Arjuna Mahendran has come to the room 3 times on the day that issued more..

Fire at tourist hotel in Kalpitiya, 40 tourists evacuated

June 29 (FT) A fire broke out at a tourist hotel in Kalpitiya on Saturday, resulting in 40 foreign tourists being evacuated, according to Police. Kalpitiya Police and villagers doused the fire, the cause of which is not yet know, and the tourists were transferred to other hotels in the area. Police stated that the main building and 17 cabanas of the hotel had been gutted by the fire. No casualties were reported. Police are investigating the incident and have been deployed more..

Kidney research scientist decries conflict of interest on the part of some officials

June 29 (Island) CKD Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana said high ranking state officials and academics should never be permitted to hold posts in food and agrochemical companies. He said a group of university academics had decided to meet President Maithripala Sirisena to apprise him of the negative impact of allowing govt officials to work at private food and agrochemical firms. When national issues such as food poisoning or harmful ingredients of food surfaced more..

'Need to manage Chameera, Kaushal very carefully'

June 29 (CI) Dushmantha Chameera's pace and Tharindu Kaushal's turn was raw, but exciting, captain Angelo Mathews said, after his team completed a seven-wicket victory at the P Sara Oval. Chameera - on debut - and Kaushal - in his second Test - shared nine wickets between them, each playing a central role in Pakistan's lower-order collapses. Chameera consistently clocked the highest speeds in the match, though more..

Sanga's golden duck, SL's 50th home win

June 29 (CI) 92: Percentage of Test matches that have yielded a result at the P Sara Oval over the last 20 years, the best for any Test venue in the world (min. 10 Tests). There have been 12 Tests played at the P Sara Oval in this period with 11 of those having a winner. 6: Number of golden ducks for Kumar Sangakkara, the joint-most along with Sanath Jayasuriya, for any top-order batsman (Nos. 1 to 7) from Sri Lanka. This was also his sixth duck in Colombo - 3 at the P Sara and 3 at the SSC. more..

Candidates' suitability

June 29 (CT) Now that the dust has settled in respect over the controversy that raged as to when the 14thParliament would be dissolved by the President, with that dissolution now being history, there may be two issues that may be uppermost in the minds of the voter, now that, Aleaiactaest, that die has been cast, whether they liked it or not? The first and obvious question is which party would win the poll and be in a position to form the next govt? The second and not so obvious question more..

BBS to contest as BJP under Cobra symbol?

June 29 (DM) The BBS would contest the upcoming general elections under the name Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), BJP Leader Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said. The BBS would remain as it is but for upcoming elections it would affiliate itself with the Eksath Maha Sabha Pakshaya (EMSP) which is a registered political party. The EMSP would in future be called the BJP with a new symbol and new officials. more..

Parliament dissolved: An initial assessment

June 29 (CT) Parliament was dissolved on June 26, 2015 and the general election has been scheduled to take place on August 17. Under normal circumstances, attention would have turned to strengths and weaknesses of the ruling and opposition parties. This time, however, everyone wants to know what would be the next move of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, because his decisions and actions could very well determine the outcome of the election and the next govt. more..

Kiriella says no UNP nominations in Kandy District for those who deserted it

June 29 (Island) UNP would not give nominations to those who had deserted the party in the Kandy District, said Minister Lakshman Kiriella. Speaking at the Lak Wanitha Convention at the Kandy headquarters of the UNP Kiriella said the Opposition was in total disarray and that the SLFP led Opposition would suffer a severe defeat at the forthcoming general election. Those who had left the UNP would be denied party nominations to contest the forthcoming general election, more..

Sri Lanka piped water supply to be upped with US165mn World Bank credit

June 29 (EN) Sri Lanka's will boost access to pipe borne water to 450,000 people in several districts with a US$ 165 million credit, the international lender said. The project will provide safe drinking water to 450,000 people in Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi in the north, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla in the central hills as well as Monoregala, Kegalle and Ratnapura Districts. "Access to safe drinking water is critical to health outcomes, more..

Ranil challenges MR to defeat him

June 29 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe challenged former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to defeat him if possible after securing the prime ministerial candidature. Unless he can take up this challenge, Mr. Rajapaksa and his henchmen should stay confined to their houses and not contest, he said. He made this observation at a meeting in Dambulla. “I do not know whether he will accept the challenge or run away from it,” he said. He said LTTE leader Prabhakaran was no longer there to more..

Shares recover after election announcement

June 29 (Reuters) Shares recovered on Monday from a near 2-1/2 month low hit in the previous session after President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament and announced elections, but trading volume slumped due to the political uncertainty. Sirisena dissolved the parliament on Friday and scheduled the elections for Aug. 17, in an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms, ending a months-long deadlock. Main stock index ended 0.23%, more..

Kumar Sangakkara, SL’s Paul McCartney

June 29 (National) This is not a column so much as an admission that has been striving for years to be outed. I am not a fan of Kumar Sangakkara. I never have been. This being a family publication, there remains the extent of my opinion. On Saturday, Sangakkara confirmed he will be retiring from all cricket after the second Test against India later this summer. That will bring to an end a colossal career, of one of true modern greats. more..

Political leapfrogs ahead of nominations?

June 29 (FT) Ahead of nominations for the 2015 Parliamentary election that concludes on 15 July, several politicians are expected to change allegiances, political observers and analysts predict. Major splits are expected during election season, especially within the SLFP, with several senior party members expected to throw in their lot with the former President if he decides to contest elections separately. SLFP is in frantic negotiations to keep the party together at the forthcoming polls, more..

SL value-added tea exports slump this year

June 29 (EN) Sri Lanka’s value-added tea exports have slumped this year with tea bag shipments down 20% in the five months to May 2015 from a year ago, brokers said. Tea exports fell 2% to 123.7 million kilos in the Jan – May 2015 period from a year ago with earnings down 12% to 74 billion rupees, Asia Siyaka Commodities said. “In US dollar terms earnings have dropped 13.5% to a five year low of 562 million dollars,” they said in a report. Shipments of tea bags were sharply down more..

Sirisena under strong pressure for new polls

June 29 (DW) Sirisena issued the notice at midnight on Friday, announcing the election for the 225-member Parliament for Aug 17, some 10 months ahead of schedule. The new parliament would be convened on Sept 2, officials said. Sirisena's decision came after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe pressed for elections because the ruling UNP lacked sufficient majority to pass reforms. more..