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Pivithuru Hela Urumaya not to take part in APC

Nov 18 (DM) PHU announced that it would no longer take part in the All Party Conference (APC) convened to consult the political parties’ opinion on how to address UNHRC resolution on SL, claiming that the APC was only a media show. Writing a letter to President’s Secretary P.B. Abeykoon, PHU General Secretary MP Udaya Gammanpila said despite the mandate of the APC to consult opinion of all the parties, govt had more..

Fitch: Low prices, high wages challenge Sri Lankan tea companies

Nov 18 (Island) Depressed prices and high wages will continue to weaken the credit profiles of SL’s listed tea plantation companies (those that derive more than 50% of their revenue from tea), Fitch Ratings says. Combined leverage, calculated as net debt/EBITDA, of all listed SL tea plantation companies has risen to 9.9x at end Sept 2015 from 2.4x in 2013 as low prices and cost increases have significantly impaired the profitability and cash flow generation of the companies. more..

Bigger role to be given to Mahinda in SLFP

Nov 18 (CG) A bigger role is to be given to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the SLFP, the SLFP said. Rajapaksa, who is already an advisor in the SLFP, will have a bigger role in order to ensure the SLFP works as one group. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that there is no need for the SLFP to work as two groups. He said that Rajapaksa has a responsibility to play to ensure the SLFP wins future elections. Dissanayake said that President Sirisena has given more..

PM didn't caution Wijeyadasa: Ministry

Nov 18 (DM) Ministry of Justice and Buddha Sasana said today it was not Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who was reported to have been strongly advised by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the Avant-Garde controversy as reported by some media organisations. It said Minister Rajapakshe was away from the country from Nov 13 to participate in ceremony of bringing back sacred relic casket to SL from Thailand. more..

Over 140,000 affected by floods islandwide

Nov 18 (CT) Over 140,000 people have been affected by floods in many parts of the island due to incessant rain which have displaced several thousands. Over 140,000 people were affected though the number of displaced was much less. Rescue teams have been deployed to the worst affected areas providing relief items to the families who have been temporarily sheltered in schools and churches and over 700 Army personnel are conducting rescue and relief operations in more..

All party meeting to have a time frame

Nov 18 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena today said that the all party meeting, also known as the All Party Committee (APC) will have a fixed agenda and time frame. President was speaking at the second meeting of the APC at the Presidential Secretariat. In accordance with the agreement of the meeting, he instructed the relevant officials to give Sinhala, English and Tamil translations of the proposals of each political party to the parties attending the meeting, fulfilling the request made by more..

CC nominates members to 8 independent commissions

Nov 18 (FT) Constitutional Council headed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has nominated chairmen and members to eight independent commissions overseeing state institutions according to the provisions of the 19th Amendment enacted in April. Council has provided its lists of nominees for the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Police Commission, more..

Magistrate directs TID to amend plaint in Raviraj murder case

Nov 18 (Island) Colombo Magistrate Nirosha Fernando yesterday directed the Terrorist Investigation Division to amend the plaint in TNA parliamentarian N. Raviraj’s murder case. State Counsel Dilantha Ratnayake told the court that three of the six suspects were missing. But the Attorney General had decided to have the plaint heard in their absence. The Magistrate directed that the plaint be amended to be heard in the absence of three suspects. more..

Sri Lanka to focus on medical tourism

Nov 18 (DM) Inaugural meeting of the Council for the Promotion of Medical Tourism was held with the auspices of Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga recently. Meeting was attended by Dr. Rohan Wijesundera, who was appointed as the head of the council, Lanka Hospitals Chairman Dr. Sarath Paranavitane, Lanka Hospitals Director Keith Bernard, Vascular and Transplant Surgeon Professor Mandika Wijeyaratne, Nawaloka Hospitals Ltd Director Professor Lal Chandrasena, more..

Powerful TU tells govt: Hands off EPF, ETF!

Nov 18 (Island) Ceylon Federation of Labour has warned the govt not to go ahead with its proposed move to amalgamate the EPF and ETF to form a pension fund under a new management without the consent of workers. Deputy General Secretary of the CFL T.M.R. Raseedin has said that the trade union representatives pointed out to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at a recent a meeting that govt in attempting to amalgamate funds more..

MR asked to report to PRECIFAC tomorrow

Nov 18 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been asked to report to PRECIFAC tomorrow and on the day after to record a further statement in connection with the non-payment of money owed to the ITN. Mr. Rajapaksa was summoned by the commission on four previous occasions with regard to this controversy. The recording of the evidence of ITN Chief Internal Auditor Manjula Alagiyawanna had to be stopped abruptly when he appeared to be contradicting himself. more..

Colombo to have centre to monitor India

Nov 18 (Hindu) India’s ongoing diplomatic tussle with Nepal has been noted by Sri Lanka, prompting prevention plans to avoid confrontation with a more assertive India. Colombo’s civil society figures have revived the proposal to build the India Studies Centre (ISC), which was championed by the late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar to understand and correctly anticipate Indian policy behaviour to avoid any bilateral tensions. “It’s now more than ever necessary to understand more..

President to propose reforms to electoral laws and constitution today

Nov 18 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena will present a special cabinet paper today, proposing wide ranging constitutional reform, including the abolition of the executive presidency and major changes to the country’s electoral laws. President Sirisena, who swore upon the coffin of respected Buddhist Monk, Maduluwawe Sobitha last week that he would do everything in his power to abolish the presidency in accordance with more..

SC: Lawyer challenges appointment of more than 30 ministers

Nov 18 (Island) Supreme Court fixed for support on March 15, 2016, a fundamental rights violation petition filed by Attorney-at-law Unawatuna Aruna Laksiri complaining that the appointment of more than 30 cabinet Minister was a violation of the Constitution of SL. The petition explained that the appointment at issue was arbitrary and in violation of Articles 46 and 12(1) of the Constitution. Petition has cited as respondents President Sirisena and AG Yuvanjana Wijayatilake, more..

Rajitha rubbishes Wijeyadasa's alligations as baseless

Nov 18 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne has rejected Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe's allegations that Dr. Senaratne was found guilty of importing substandard drugs. He said he did not have any personal animosity against Minister Rajapakshe and that he had a cordial discussion with him at the recent cabinet meeting. “He remained silent at the cabinet meeting when I mentioned the Avant Garde controversy. But he gives interviews to the media. more..

Leaked audio tapes intensify Avant Garde scandal

Nov 18 (FT) Explosive revelations about ongoing Avant Garde controversy continue to shake the ruling Govt, with new audio tapes emerging yesterday that appears to implicate a senior aide to Minister Rajitha Senaratne as accepting a Rs. 5 million bribe from the chairman of the private maritime security company in the dock, Nissanka Senadhipathi. Minister Senaratne, who is presently overseas, then released an audio more..

Road terrorism and the breath of fresh air

Nov 18 (DM) With Sri Lanka’s traffic snarls and road tragedy victims reaching their worst-ever proportions, we joined the international community last Sunday in marking World Remembrance Day for the victims of road traffic accidents, the victims’ families and friends on whom such tragedies, deadly or fatal, have serious long-term repercussions physically, mentally and otherwise. This day is commemorated annually on 3rd Sunday of Nov to remember the many millions killed more..

Mahinda at 70: Historic leader, authentic hero

Nov 18 (DM) I’m sorry Mr. Boucher, what can I do if our terrorists aren’t Islamic? President Mahinda Rajapaksa to US Asst. Secretary of State Richard Boucher, May 2007 The terrorist barbarities wrought on Friday the 13th Nov 2015 in Paris remind us of the Tiger terrorist slaughter of civilians in Naiaru, Kokilai, Anuradhapura, Maradana, Pettah, Dehiwela, the Central Bank, Kebitigollawa, Arantalawa, Kattankudy and innumerable border villages— massacres which were more..

Public apathy, garbage pose dengue threat

Nov 18 (ST) Piles of bags left by the side of the road, empty yoghurt cups and curd pots along with the waste in which rain water collects are providing ideal mosquito breeding grounds raising the threat of dengue. The prevailing garbage situation particularly in the Western Province and also the negligence of the general public are the primary causes for the increase in the number of dengue patients, during these past few weeks, officials said. more..

New details surface on Eknaligoda murder?

Nov 18 (SL) Speculation is rife whether disappeared Lanka e-news journalist, Prageeth Eknaligoda was murdered at the Plantain’s Point army camp in Trincomalee and was buried there before the body was dumped at seas off Trincomalee. It is alleged that it was the Civil Defence Force personnel, who had buried Eknaligoda’s body, which is said to have come out of the pit due to flash floods and was later more..

'SL keen on sending skilled workers to Saudi'

Nov 18 (AN) Sri Lanka is in the process of increasing the share of skilled and professional workers among its citizens seeking employment in Saudi Arabia, new Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, who arrived here last week, said. Sri Lankan professionals such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants and ICT experts have found lucrative positions in the far east, western countries and some Gulf states including UAE & Qatar, more..

'AG’s Department impediment to anti-corruption drive'

Nov 18 (Island) The new govt’s anti-corruption drive had been severely hampered by the Attorney General, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera alleged at a meeting with a group of lawyers in Panadura on Monday. Perera accused the Attorney General’s Department of causing inordinate delay in high profile investigations into alleged waste, corruption and irregularities during the previous administration. more..

EU technical review team happy with Lanka’s progress in combatting illegal fishing

Nov 18 (Island) The European Union technical team here to review measures taken by Sri Lanka to clamp down on illegal fishing yesterday noted that there has been progress in the country’s efforts to combat the menace and that would lead to the lifting of the ban on the country’s fish exports to EU countries. At a meeting held with Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera at his ministry, Senior Consultant for EU C. Deben more..

Video: Executive Presidency to end with Sirisena’s term: Mangala

Nov 18 (AD) Minister Mangala Samaraweera says that the abolition of the Executive Presidency will come into effect after incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena’s term in office ends. He stated that President Sirisena will wield executive powers until his term officially ends and that they will be abolished after that. The minister stated that for the first time in history an incumbent President has taken steps to curtail his powers and more..

Maldives says won't do anything to harm ties with Sri Lanka

Nov 18 (Haveeru) Maldives has assured Sri Lanka of strong bilateral relations in a bid to mend ties that had been strained as a result a series of diplomatic spats between the two countries. Foreign minister Dhunya Maumoon said that the Maldives and Sri Lanka has even now a very strong relationship. She highlighted that the Maldives has always provided any assistance requested by the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Sri Lankan budget to avoid tough choices as risks mount

Nov 18 (Reuters) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will seek to boost tax revenues and rationalise spending in the new govt's first full-year budget on Friday, but analysts see him showing little commitment to fiscal consolidation. Coalition govt's formation in August helped complete a peaceful political transition after a long and bitter civil war, but the Indian Ocean island's young govt lacks a steady financial base to launch reforms. more..

UN expert group urges Sri Lanka to adopt bold steps

Nov 18 (OHCHR) “Sri Lanka has the opportunity to once and for all meet the rights and legitimate expectations of thousands of families of disappeared,” a delegation of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said today. “Families have waited too long - the time for action has come.” “The widespread use of enforced disappearances for many decades has left profound wounds more..

Cabinet approves proposal to cut President's power

Nov 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's cabinet Wednesday approved a proposal to abolish the executive presidency and transfer most of its power to Parliament. President Maithripala Sirisena submitted a cabinet paper seeking to abolish the executive presidential system. President also sought support for a new electoral system which was approved by cabinet. "It's my expectation to introduce a new electoral system which more..

PM’s economic policy statement; How Tamils can respond

Nov 18 (CT) Placed before the country is an economic vision spread across several sectors, crossing provincial boundaries and bridging ethnic divides. Reference to North and East in a bid to take them into the economic mainstream is a clarion call to the left behinders. It is significant it comes off the highest levels. The onus is now upon the Tamils to develop on the initiatives made open by the PM and to sail along. “We will pay attention to the imbalance in development on a geographical basis” more..

Symposium on Kidney disease and agrochemicals

Nov 18 (Island) A symposium on Emerging trends in agrochemicals and chronic kidney disease of unknown origin will be held on 21st November 2015 at the BMICH. Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne will be the Chief Guest. Foreign speakers at the symposium include Professor Herman Antrup PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Arhus, Denmark and Dr. Daniel A. Goldstein MD, more..

Yahapalanaya: Anura Kumara asks questions

Sri Lankan shares edge up; budget awaited

Nov 18 (Reuters) Shares edged up on Wednesday for a second straight session, led by blue-chip stocks, but trading volume was low as investors waited for direction from the budget later this week. The main stock index ended 0.06%, or 4.02 points, firmer at 6,981.97. Select strategic buying was there on lower scale, said Dimantha Mathew, research manager at FCE. Brokers said investors were also waiting for policy direction from the annual budget scheduled later this week. more..

Right Royal Ranil

Nov 18 (CT) Recently the media reported that the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, on his return from Singapore, had summoned a senior Cabinet Minister and reprimanded him over the comments made by that minister in the aftermath of former Law and Order Minister Tilak Marapana's resignation over the controversial Avant Garde Company issue. Premier has had a file containing media reports of the comments made by the minister to the media over the past few days when he reprimanded him. more..

Sri Lankan maid to be stoned to death

Nov 18 (DM) Govt had filed an appeal before the Riyad Court in Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Sri Lankan female domestic worker, who was recently sentenced to be stoned to death after being found guilty of having a clandestine affair, Foreign Employment Ministry said. The woman was married and having children in Sri Lanka, when she had convicted for adultery with a SL youth employed in Saudi Arabia. more..

JVP condemns Paris bloodbath

Nov 18 (CT) JVP vehemently condemned the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)'s attack on Paris, France and called on all wishing peace in the world to join together to fight terrorism. JVP noted that the attack and threat was a blow to the entirety of humanity and brought into question the future existence of the world. JVP observed that; 'The brutal attack on the night of 13 Nov, has claimed 129 innocent lives and injured over 350. Seven ISIS Members had carried out the attack on more..

Another eleven LTTE cadres re-remanded

Nov 18 (DM) Another 11 LTTE former cadres who were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) were ordered to be further remanded till Dec 3 by additional Magistrate Aruni Atigala today. TID officer Kapila moved to remand the suspects as they had not received instructions on the suspects from the Attorney General’s Department yet. Earlier on two occasions, 39 LTTE former cadres were released on strict bail conditions on the instruction of the Attorney General. more..

SLC releases seven players to play in BPL

Nov 18 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has agreed to release seven high-profile cricketers to play in Bangladesh Premier League, an about-turn from their stance last week. A desire to maintain a good relationship with BCB, and one-week postponement of SL's domestic one-day tournament have led to the change of heart. SLC's desire to see foreign cricketers - including those from Bangladesh - participate in its own city-based T20 league, more..

Udaya to Arjuna: Prove your brother’s appointment does not amount to nepotism

Nov 18 (Island) Pivithuru Hela Urumaya leader Udaya Gammanpila has challenged Ports Minister Arjuna Ranathunga to prove, if possible, that the appointment of the latter’s elder brother, Dhammika, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority does not amount to nepotism. Gammanpila said yesterday that nepotism could be defined as making appointments of individuals without the required qualifications and experience to govt offices due to family ties’. more..

Ensure transparency in Superior Court appointments: BASL

Nov 18 (CT) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called on those responsible to be mindful of the indispensability of appointments to high judicial office being offered only to those with flawless credentials. BASL urges that such appointments should not be determined on seniority alone but must also be based on proven efficiency of the candidates, their competence and integrity. The BASL insists that with vacancies in the Superior Courts (Supreme Court and more..

Video: Customs seize largest single detection counterfeit fags worth Rs.355mn

Nov 18 (DM) The largest single detection of illicit cigarette consignment in history estimated to be over Rs.355 million in value was seized by the Customs Post Clearance and Audit Division on Jan 9, 2015. Contraband had arrived in the country from Dubai on January 9, the day following the Presidential Elections was held. Consignment had arrived in a 40-foot container declared as chest freezers. more..