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Cart before the horse

Sep 9 (SL) The events that unfolded in the political scene of Paradise Isle last week what with the formation of the national govt and the inaugural session of the eighth House by the Diyawanna, saw many tongue-in-cheek moments as well. One such incident took place in the evening of the first Diyawanna meeting. Red comrade Anoo-ra had received a telephone call from the office of the one who chairs the opposing side. Caller had asked how the red comrade wanted the time allocated more..

'There are no more splits in the SLFP'

Sep 9 (SL) Despite an internal crisis in the SLFP during the recent past, the party posed a united front at the convention that was held under the leadership of President Sirisena. Among the large group of SLFPers who attended the ceremony, the presence of former President Rajapaksa on the stage next to the President was noteworthy. UPFA MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said there are no more splits in the party. more..

Why is Mahinda there?

Sep 9 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa's re-entry to politics, Parliament and how he plans his political future is the discussion in diplomatic circles, while it's the topic of the common talk in the town. India and United States views Mahinda's return to active politics with suspicion, while China has pinned hopes on Mahinda. When Mahinda was defeated at the January presidential elections, he accepted defeat bowing to the people's mandate given to Maithri and announced he would hand over more..

Sri Lanka Cricket at cross roads again!

Sep 9 (CT) Had I started writing this column a day earlier may be my conclusion would have been that a few heads were to roll in the Sri Lankan set up. However at the time of writing the man in the hot seat Marvan Atapattu had already resigned and once more it's the beginning of a new era. Sri Lanka was faced with a similar situation just after the Fabrice saga where the Sri Lankan's were virtually headless on an important tour. To his credit Atapattu was able to step up to higher ground guiding more..

A million jobs

Sep 9 (CT) Minister of Primary Industries, Daya Gamage is a first time Cabinet Minister and he has been tasked with the job of creating industries rather than running them. The goal: one million jobs. Chairman of Daya Group of Companies is a serial entrepreneur more than a politician and thus well equipped for the task. The question however is whether Gamage can take sleepy villages & turn them into a silicon valley. more..

Editorial: Careening juggernauts

Sep 9 (Island) Jumbos were all cock-a-hoop on Sunday, when they celebrated 69th anniversary of their Grand Old Party at Sirikotha. Their leaders waxed eloquent and President Sirisena’s presence added an air of camaraderie to event. There was a rapturous applause when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe took the podium and he did not disappoint the cheering audience. He made an enthralling speech, casting as he did, true to form, some barbs wrapped in humour, at the Rajapaksas. more..

Making National Govt genuine and effective

Sep 9 (Island) A National Govt has been formed. It is just a beginning that betokens much hope, especially in approaching national reconciliation, restoring the human dignity, freedom and equality and fair treatment of every citizen, creating an environment of justice and peace and eliminating every form of discrimination and corruption, and setting out on a planned reconstruction and development of the people and the country. The parliament is the body of representatives of more..

'Oil exploration to continue at a faster pace'

Sep 9 (DN) Sri Lanka has crude oil and gas deposits and these will be further explored to make Sri Lanka a self sufficient nation in crude oil, the new Petroleum and Petroleum Gas Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. He said tremendous investments have been made towards this endeavour and he will follow up on them. The history of oil exploration in Sri Lanka dates back to 1966 and upto 1984, the Soviet Union and more..

Nalanda firing range to be opened on Sept 11

Sep 9 (DN) The upgraded firing range of the Nalanda College, Colombo will be opened on Sept 11. The air rifle and air pistol firing range of Nalanda College, which consists of 10 targets was constructed in 1990. It has been upgraded and refurbished with 20 targets. Nalanda firing range was initiated as the first of its kind in a school on October 11 in 1993 under the guidance of then principal D G Sumanasekara and a former teacher of Nalanda College, V P Piyasiri. more..

Rajapakse factor after parliamentary polls

Sep 9 (EAR) August 2015 parliamentary elections have installed Ranil Wickremesinghe and his UNP in power. They have also ensured that Wickremesingh’s political cohabitation with the anti-Rajapakse liberalist President Maithripala Sirisena will continue. The UNP has secured a total of 106 parliamentary seats, through the direct nationwide election process and on the basis of party-wise proportional votes received. The UPFA, of which the SLFP is the dominant constituent more..

Ravi K, Harsha vow to put economy right, help investors

Sep 9 (FT) Govt yesterday promised it would put the economy right to achieve a sustainably high growth rate whilst helping investors. Sri Lanka’s current economic model is unsustainable and dramatic change is needed if the country is to improve the growth rate, according to MP Dr. Harsha De Silva. Speaking at an interactive luncheon meeting with former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, more..

Govt to create export ecosystem to dissuade economic migration

Sep 9 (Island) The govt’s economic vision encompasses retaining the local workforce at home and engaging them in manufacturing goods for exporting, thus boosting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and bringing more monetary rewards to the nation’s workforce," Member of Parliament, Eran Wickramaratne said at the Achievers’ Awards 2015 organized by the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) in Colombo. Delivering the keynote address Wickramanayake said, more..

Avishka appointed to assist U-19 team

Sep 9 (CT) Avishka Gunawardene, former SL explosive left-handed opening batsmen has been named assistant coach of the Under-19 Team. He will support Head Coach Roger Wijesuriya for the next two years. SLC officially announced the appointment yesterday and he will work with the team up to the World Cup in 2016. He made his Test debut against Pakistan during Asian Championship in 1999 with 43, which remains his highest individual score in his 6 Test match career. more..

SriLankan to breakevenin three years

Sep 9 (DN) SriLankan Airlines will stop borrowing from the Treasury from next year and may look at alternative funding, said SriLankan Chairman, Ajith Dias. "They (Treasury) may not fund us again," he opined. He said that they are now focusing on retiring heavy debt obtained previously and looked at a turn around. "This would be in three years time," he said. The Chairman said that they have already taken delivery of four new aircraft and more..

EAP Films partners Village Cinemas to set up cinema multiplexes

Sep 9 (DN) Village Roadshow of Australia and EAP Group of Sri Lanka signed up an MOU last week. Village Cinemas and EAP Films and Theatres will jointly look at opportunities to develop modern cinema multiplexes in SL. Under this MOU, both the companies are hoping to set up a joint venture in Sri Lanka, taking advantage of the SL govt's incentives offered for multiplex cinemas. It is envisaged that the Sri Lankan public will benefit by world class cinema offerings in both content and facilities. more..

China seeks to take ties with Sri Lanka to new height

Sep 9 (CG) Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China has sent a message of congratulations to Karu Jayasuriya on the occasion of his election as Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka. In his message of congratulations, Zhang Dejiang mentioned that China and Sri Lanka are good friends and partners. The two countries have enjoyed a good and stable bilateral relationship, the exchanges and cooperation in various fields more..

CB chief juggling different challenges

Sep 9 (ST) SL's Central Bank (CB) has vowed to continue to help improve the country's tax system and liberalise its monetary policies, despite economic and political challenges. CB governor Arjuna Mahendran said that he has his work cut out for him, particularly as he took up the position only in January. "International currency volatility is very damaging to a lot of emerging economies and commodity exporters like Sri Lanka. more..

Veteran hotelier roped in to help combat CKD

Sep 9 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday appointed Group Chairman of Galle Face Hotel Sanjeev Gardiner as the brand ambassador of the National Kidney Fund which was established in line with the sustainable program to control Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), according to the concept of the President. Australian-educated Sanjeev Gardiner, one of Sri Lanka’s youngest entrepreneurs hails from an illustrious family. Having acquired ownership of Galle Face Hotel in 1996, more..

Eyewitness account of elephant killing journalist

Sep 9 (Island) Priyantha Rathnayake, Derana provincial video journalist, who died under tragic circumstances yesterday, in the line of duty wanted to trail the rogue elephant to shoot its movements though his fellow journalist asked him not to get close as they were tired at the time, having tracked the animal for nearly two hours. Hiru TV Video journalist, Rasanga Niroshan, who was there with the victim at the time videoing the scene, said, "I asked Priyantha to stop videoing the animal, more..

JVP wants President to fulfil his promises to workers

Sep 9 (Island) JVP has requested an audience with President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss workers’ problems. JVP trade union wing leader K.D. Lal Kantha said that they had sent a letter to President requesting an appointment to discuss seven trade union problems. He said a the letter to the President had been copied to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Former MP said JVP had demanded the inclusion of all allowances of more..

NFF vows to regain parliamentary privileges

Sep 9 (FT) The NFF asserted that it would regain the parliamentary privileges it enjoyed as a constituent party of the UPFA. NFF District Leader and UPFA MP Udayashantha Gunasekara stressed that the Govt’s objective was to keep the Opposition quiet. “Parliament decided to remove the recognition of the UPFA constituent parties’ leaders. It will abolish all the privileges which party leaders have enjoyed. This obviously deprives the party of the opportunity to address the House. more..

West Indies set for 44-day tour of Sri Lanka

Sep 9 (CI) West Indies embark on a 44-day tour of Sri Lanka, which includes two Tests, three ODIs and two T20Is in October and November. The first Test begins in Galle on October 14, where West Indies have played only two matches in 2001 and 2010. They will only have three days to acclimatise to the venue. SLC interim committee had earlier said that the board was trying to reduce the costs it will incur by hosting games in Galle, as well as at other venues for the tour. more..

President launches Climate Change Adaptation action plan

Sep 9 (PSL) International Summit on Climate Change Adaptation (2015), organized by the Western Provincial Council commenced today (8) in Colombo under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. The summit, which commenced today, will continue until Sept 9. The representatives from 37 countries, including Africa, America, Europe, Asia and the Asia Pacific will participate in the event. more..

INTERPOL to assist Sri Lanka with On Casper rip off probe

Sep 9 (DN) The INTERPOL branch in India has agreed to assist the CID in its investigations into the alleged fraud involving the supply of the life saving anti-cancer drug On Casper to the Maharagama Cancer Hospital. On Casper is an essential drug given to children suffering from cancer. A local firm involved in drug imports is alleged to have committed a massive fraud through the supply of this life saving drug worth nearly Rs. 137,000 to the Maharagama Cancer Institute. more..

I suffered mental trauma: Wariyapola girl

Sep 9 (DM) Thilini Amalka alias Wariyapola Girl today said that she underwent mental trauma during the time she went to give a statement to the police over the incident. She was under the spotlight when a video went viral on social media where she slapped a man named Selva in the Wariyapola Bus stand. Thilini further said she was mentally harassed due to the reaction of the police. “It was not me who slapped him first. It was the time keeper and then my friend. I slapped him after they did. more..

New secretaries to ministries appointed

Sep 9 (CG) A new Defence Secretary has been appointed and he is among 44 new Secretaries to the Ministries named today. Karunasena Hettiarachchi was appointed as the new Defence Secretary. Secretary to the President P.B. Abeykoon announced the appointments at the Presidential Secretariat. The New Secretaries received their letters of appointment from the Secretary to the President. more..

FM orders action against BMW bully

Sep 9 (EN) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera ordered tough police action against a BMW driver who assaulted a senior Russian diplomat at the Arpico car park over the weekend. Russian diplomat met with the minister at his office Monday, but it was Samaraweera who raised the issue and initiated police action after apologising the diplomat on behalf of the country. A video posted on Facebook showed a BMW man abusing the Russian diplomat after blocking his car entering the car park of more..

'Inspection helps to identify problems'

Sep 9 (CT) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that his ministry was planning to draft a three-year action plan targeting the 2018 Olympic Games in the near future. He made these remarks addressing the media after an inspection tour of Torrington Sports Grounds yesterday. He visited the Torrington Playground, gymnastic complex, fitness gym and Sports Ministry museum with ministry officials. "This visit will help me to get an idea of the present situation within the Sports Ministry, more..

A teary-eyed SF lashes out at the Rajapaksas

Sep 9 (Island) DP Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has alleged that a national cricketer had requested him to switch his allegiance to the then President Rajapaksa in the run-up to January presidential election. In a live TV programme, Fonseka claimed that he had been offered a range of things, including 100 acres of land to quit the UNP-led alliance which backed common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena. more..

'New Constitution within two years'

Sep 9 (CT) Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that Govt was committed to introduce a Constitution suitable to the country within two years. Taking over official duties as Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana yesterday, he added that govt would take action to appoint a new Constitutional Council as per the 19th Amendment, following which Commissioners would be appointed to independent Commissions and they along with the institutions they represent would be empowered. more..

No privatisation of state properties under my ministry: Transport Minister

Sep 9 (DN) Newly appointed Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said he would not let anyone privatize the properties coming under his Ministry, and if somebody tried to do so, he would resign from his ministerial portfolio. The minster after meeting with Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) employees at the SLR Headquarters yesterday said that the public transport system should be developed not for the survival of the employees,but, also for the benefit of the passengers. more..

Avant Garde and KP issues: AG defends his position

Sep 9 (DN) In view of the recent media reports on the steps taken by Attorney General Y.J.W. Wijayatilake, P.C. with regard to the Avant Garde case, as well as the investigation and prosecution of Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingam alias Kumaran Padmanathan (KP), it has become necessary for the AG's Department to clarify its position on these two matters, so that the public is accurately informed of the facts, states the AG in a statement. more..

Looking ahead at UNHRC sessions

Aug 9 (DM) We are done with elections. We are done with crossovers and the securing of a majority that enables a relatively smoother functioning of the govt. We are almost done with ministerial appointments. There were a lot of hiccups and a lot of umbrage from certain quarters over how the particular outcomes were obtained, but by and large there’s general acceptance. It is unlikely that there will be riots on account of what some would argue are un-yahapaalanaya-like manipulations. more..

A National Govt will unify country

Aug 9 (DM) The new govt that takes office this week would indeed be refreshingly different from all those gone before. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe apparently intends to write a new page in the history of our country; he has very wisely taken a page out of the Donoughmore Report and the concept of shared power, from it. After 67 years of independence and three Constitutions and nineteen Amendments of the last 1978 Constitution, and from the experience gained from it, it is now generally accepted more..

‘I believe a single association alone cannot fight corruption’

Aug 9 (DM) Former Auditor General Sarath Mayadunne resigned his post as the JVP National List MP after making a special statement in the House last week. In a candid interview with the Dailymirror, Mayadunne explained what drove him to resign and he challenges faced by the country to eliminate corruption, an uphill task under the current context. Q: What made you resign as a MP from the JVP National List? more..

Millions spent on dubious welfare

Aug 9 (SL) The Social Services and Welfare Ministry under the former Rajapaksa regime had allegedly spent several millions of rupees from their annual allocations for the welfare of their party politicians. Astonishing revelations have now come to light on how the Ministry of Social Services, Welfare and Livestock Development in 2014 had allegedly spent millions of rupees to purchase spectacles, wheel chairs & walkers more..

Is a National Govt what we really wanted?

Aug 9 (DM) During the last few weeks the concept of National Govt was a topic widely debated. Concept of National Govt was embraced by 19th Amendment. After the General Elections govt has formed a National Govt. However there are many criticisms levelled against this concept. Main criticism is that MPs who were rejected by the public at the elections got into the Parliament and involve in the decision making process. more..

Blanket ban on asbestos and polythene will cause inconveniences, say manufacturers

Aug 9 (ST) President Sirisena’s announcement last week about banning the use of asbestos and polythene in SL by the end of 2018 is causing ripples of concern in the asbestos and polythene manufacturing industries. Manufacturers and importers argue that with no proper alternatives to the products, the construction industry and the public will be unduly inconvenienced in coping with their non-availability in the market. more..

Floating armoury: Gota says CID probed charges properly

Sep 9 (DM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said a thorough inquiry was conducted by the CID into the floating armoury belonging to the Avant Garde Company and it had come to the conclusion that there was no illegality or even procedural infirmity in his actions. “People who did not know about the work of the company and the international context in which SL created a floating armory and Sea Marshals, made allegations. more..

Mahanayakes hail Karu's appointment

Aug 9 (DN) The Malwatte and Asgiriya prelates yesterday commended the appointment of Karu Jayasuriya as the new Speaker of Parliament of the national unity govt. The two prelates said he is a highly respected and balanced national figure with experience and acceptable to all. They said Karu Jayasuriya has the ability to carry out his duties protecting the dignity and decorum of parliament. more..