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Editorial: Hapless farmers

Sep 10 (Island) Farmers’ protests against inordinate delays on the part of the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) to purchase their produce continue. There are still long lines of vehicles loaded with paddy near PMB purchasing centres. Out of desperation, govt pundits have adopted some unorthodox methods to solve the problem. Paddy has been stored at the newly built Mattala Airport. It is hoped that the govt won’t go so far as to use the Lotus Tower under construction as a silo! more..

Indian engineering firm L&T eyes US$ 450 million infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka

Sep 10 (PTI) Engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is expecting Rs 3,000 crore worth infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka as it seeks to expand its global presence, its chief A M Naik said today. "We are looking at expanding our global presence. There is an opportunity we are looking at in Sri Lanka. Almost three infrastructure projects worth Rs 3,000 crore are likely to come up and we believe that we have a good chance of getting them," Chairman AM Naik said. more..

Human rights, foreign policy and the battle for Sri Lanka’s soul

Sep 10 (FT) Sri Lanka's controversial human rights record comes up before the UNHRC in Sept, this time in the backdrop of monumental political changes in the island. New govt will be confronted with a much less hostile 47 member Council this month, with its international partners led by the US inclined to give Colombo's new political leadership more time to credibly address serious allegations about violations in war time more..

Sri Lanka’s Accountability Dilemma

Sep 10 (TD) With the opening of the UNHRC’s 30th session just days away, many Sri Lanka watchers are waiting to see how Colombo deals with the release of a major U.N. report focused on wartime abuses in Sri Lanka and its plans for handling accountability issues domestically. What will Colombo’s accountability mechanism actually look like? And is it actually possible for such a mechanism to work properly? What role, if any, will international actors play in such a process? more..

Making sense of 48 portfolios in new Cabinet

Sep 10 (FT) The increase of ministerial portfolios from 30 to 48 in the context of a National Govt has caused consternation all around. During the Rajapaksa presidency we had to watch with resignation the endless parade of ministers, including a minister for botanical gardens, being sworn in. Civil society seems to have forgotten how close the country was to a continuation of the Rajapaksa presidency to several decades or more. The victory of the present President in more..

Harsha to steer FP, Eran to handle SOEs

Sep 10 (NS) Sri Lanka’s top professionals-turned Parliamentarians Dr. Harsha De Silva and Eran Wickremaratne were today appointed as Deputy Ministers by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. Whilst Dr. Harsha de Silva was sworn in as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eran Wickramaratne was appointed the Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development. more..

I was sworn in as a Minister

Sep 10 (Island) I woke up to the ringing of both my cell phone and my landline. On one line was President Maithiripala Sirisena and on the other was PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. I had no choice but to speak to both of them at the same time without any cross connections. They didn't mind, too, because their sole purpose was to form a joint, coalition, national, whatever govt. When I spoke to Maithripala, Ranil listened attentively and vice versa. There were no secrets here at all, more..

CSE urges govt to list major SOEs

Sep 10 (ST) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is urging the government to go public with large state-owned enterprises (SOE)s such as the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) and state banks, officials said. “We are requesting the government to go public with these state institutions and the pension funds – Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF),” an official said, explaining that the CSE will present a budget proposal to back its request. more..

Jerome fancied for NZ tour?

Sep 10 (CT) If Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is unable to settle for a permanent head coach before Sri Lanka is set to undertake its tour of New Zealand later this year, newly appointed interim coach Jerome Jayaratne could well be in charge for that forthcoming series as well. Jayaratne, the 49-year-old current head of coaching at SLC, was chosen as caretaker successor after Marvan Atappatu resigned from his post sans giving any reason. more..

Yamani wins silver at C'wealth Youth Games

Sep 10 (Island) Ambagamuwa Central athlete Yamani Dulanjali won the silver medal of the girls’ 400 metres hurdles at the ongoing Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa on Wednesday. The athlete trained by Anura Bandara clocked 1:01.70 seconds to finish second behind Jamaican hurdler Junelle Bromfield (1:00.78secs) in the final. England’s Niamh Emerson was placed third with a time of 1:01.99 seconds. It was Dulanjali’s second international medal in four months more..

'Sri Lanka hoteliers cannot work in isolation'

Sep 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka hoteliers alone cannot make the industry to grow but with collaboration we can, Ajit Gunewardene, deputy chairman of John Keells Holdings said. “Tourism is a massive industry and we have barely begun. Before we destroy what is great, we believe this is the time to create something unique and sustainable for the country and the industry in the long-term,” he said. “We learnt that our competitors are our partners and we want to add value to their products. more..

'Sugathadasa track needs to be re-laid'

Sep 10 (DN) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that there are no other options except to re-lay the track at the Sugathadasa Stadium. Minister said so during an inspection tour of the stadium which is at a pathetic situation. The Minister looked stunned after seeing the track which had become totally unusable. “This is a sad situation. We can see that something had gone extremely wrong here. more..

About 1,000 MTs of paddy now at Mattala

Sep 10 (DN) Paddy storage at Mattala International Airport is progressing successfully. Around 1,000 metric tones of paddy purchased from farmers in Hambantota and Moneragala districts are stored at the storage. Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) Chairman M.D. Dissanayake said only 5,000 metric tonnes of paddy can be stored at MRIA and the PMB expects to utilize it. The decision to make use of space at Mattala Airport to store paddy purchased from farmers was only a temporary more..

Mendis continues fine form but Lanka Development XI fails to qualify for final

Sep 10 (NS) Kusal Mendis continued his fine form for Sri Lanka Development XI in the Moin-Ud-Dowla Gold Cup cricket tournament in Hyderabad scoring 47 and 58 but could not prevent his team from conceding first innings points to Oil and Natural Gas Company (ONGC) in their match played at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Sri Lanka Development could make only 249 in their first innings of which Mendis and Lahiru Milantha made 47 apiece and Angelo Jayasinghe top scored with 75 off 128 balls. more..

Sugar turns bitter for importers, sweeter for consumers!

Sep 10 (FT) Govt yesterday made sugar bitter for traders by slapping a Rs. 12 per kilo levy on imports with a ruling that the hike could not be passed on to consumers. Finance Ministry justified the move on account of falling prices of sugar in international markets in addition to safeguarding local producers. Without giving specific numbers, a ministry statement said the levy was imposed on account of lower prices in int'l markets more..

Special awareness session for MPs

Sep 10 (NS) An awareness workshop for Members of Parliament elected to the eighth Parliament will be held on September 10 and 11 at Committee Room No 1 of the Parliament. The program which is organized by the Secretary General of Parliament will begin at 9.00am and will run till 5.00pm on both days. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will chair the opening session where Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the Chief Guest, said by a statement issued by the Parliament. more..

She brought heroin in business class

Sep 10 (Island) Customs Narcotic Control Unit officers at BIA arrested a woman of Mattakkuliya with 200g of heroin with a street value of Rs. 2,500,000 concealed inside two chocolate slabs yesterday. They also arrested three others who had come to fetch her. Customs Spokesman said that the woman had aroused officers’ suspicion when she arrived from Chennai in the Business Class. Among the three arrested was the driver of the van that was to take the other suspects. more..

'Tamil question is not just an economic issue'

Sep 10 (Hindu) Tamil question cannot be settled by merely regarding it as an economic issue, Mano Ganesan, one of the three Tamil Ministers in the Sri Lankan govt, has said. “There are people who even now argue that by providing jobs to the youth, putting up more hospitals and promoting economic development there [in the Northern and Eastern provinces], the ethnic problem will be over. But it is not so,” the 55-year-old leader said, more..

KothuFest to celebrate Sri Lankan street food at Scarborough event

Sep 10 (IT) In Sri Lanka and parts of Scarborough, kothu roti is as well-known a street food as the hot dog. It’s also as versatile a dish as you’re likely to find, as at least 10 kothu vendors aim to prove during the area’s first KothuFest. “The possibilities are endless,” said Terrance Siva, a spokesperson for the outdoor event in Albert Campbell Square on Sunday, Sept. 13 from noon to 8 p.m. A Sri Lankan dish, kothu is known by aficionados in Scarborough’s Tamil-Canadian community more..

Amb. Stephen Rapp on Sri Lanka’s war crimes investigation

Sep 10 (JS) At the end of August, US announced that it would support Sri Lanka’s plan for investigating alleged war crimes that occurred during the final years of the country’s long-running civil war, which ended in 2009. This announcement signaled a shift in position for the State Department, which had long insisted on an international investigation. But, in the coming weeks at the UNHRC’s next session, the US will offer a resolution supporting Colombo’s proposed process for investigating more..

Another defeated SLFPer appointed cabinet minister

Sep 10 (Island) President Sirisena yesterday sworn in UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickreme as Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa as Minister of Irrigation and Water Resource Management (SLFP) and Faizer Mustapha as Minister of Local Govt and Provincial Councils (SLFP). With the new appointments the number of cabinet ministers has gone up to 46. more..

CC nominees not in Yahapalana line: Dinesh

Sep 10 (DM) The appointment of those with Cabinet portfolios to the Constitutional Council was against the principles of good governance, MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardane charged today. Gunawardane said there was agreement during the last Parliament to appoint MPs without Cabinet posts to the CC. He said the President, and the PM had appointed Cabinet Ministers as their nominees. He said the presence of Cabinet ministers in the CC would result in conflict of interests. more..

Govt confident of support in Geneva

Sep 10 (CG) Govt is confident of obtaining support in Geneva at the UNHRC. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha said that the international community had placed its faith on the new Govt following Presidential and Parliamentary elections. He said that he will be accompanying Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera to Geneva for talks with the international community. While in Geneva they will look to work on the proposed resolution seeking support for a domestic investigation more..

‘My govt cannot be toppled’

Sep 10 (Island) President Sirisena said that his national govt was strong and would run its full term even though some in Opposition had predicted that it would not last even a year. Addressing a ceremony to appoint three more Cabinet Ministers bringing total number to 46, President said that it was only wishful thinking on the part of some Opposition MPs who were going around claiming that they would topple his more..

Shasheendra before SPCI today

Sep 10 (CT) Former Chief Minister of the Uva Provincial Council, Shasheendra Rajapaksa has been summoned to the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Large Scale Corruption and Fraud today. He is due to be questioned on a complaint received regarding allocating to his friends and close associates, millions of rupees worth of commercial places belonging to the Mahiyangana Pradeshiya Sabha without following proper Tender Procedure. more..

Ravi K assures rupee will be brought to acceptable level

Sep 10 (Reuters) SL’s rupee, which is hovering near a record low after being floated by the central bank last week, will be brought to an acceptable level before too long, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The rupee fell for a fourth straight session to 138.80/95 per dollar on Wednesday, 0.36% weaker than Tuesday’s close of 138.30/50 and near the record low of 139 it reached on Friday after being floated. “We will ensure that before too long it will be brought back to an acceptable level,” more..

Yahapalanaya in full swing: Tragi-comic turn in latest round of ministerial appointments

Sep 10 (FT) The next installment of ministerial appointments to the National Govt yesterday took a tragi-comic turn, when a plethora of UPFA MPs facing serious criminal allegations took oaths before President Sirisena as state and deputy ministers. In a bizarre twist, UPFA MP Nimal Lanza, whose house was raided by the STF for drugs and illegal vehicles in Oct 2011 and Galle District MP Nishantha Mutuhettigama who was arrested more..

Take eco crimes to people’s court

Sep 10 (DM) The catastrophe facing Mother Nature because of environmental pollution was outlined by US President Barack Obama from Anchorage in Alaska where incredible changes are taking place, affecting not only the Arctic region but the whole world. “We are here today to discuss a challenge that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other – and that’s the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate”, he told Foreign Ministers from the Arctic region more..

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day

Sep 10 (DM) In the recent past we have read and heard over the media of many tragic deaths by suicide, of parents committing suicide after taking away the lives of their own little innocent and helpless children. The incidents of even students denying themselves the right to live are sad expressions of our times. Have these tragic occurrences stirred our individual as well as collective conscience to work towards rectifying the problem of suicide? more..

'Party became irresponsible for promises made to public'

Sep 10 (DM) Dailymirror had a candid chat with SLFP stalwart, former Minister Dullas Alahapperuma on current politics in the country. Q: Clearly your party is polarized by Mahinda loyalists and Maithree loyalists which resulted in the electoral setbacks to the SLFP. As a stalwart supporter of the Mahinda side, do you see any positives in this govt led by President Sirisena? A: I do see expediting of a reconciliation process more..

Terrified creatures stare out from pet shop cages

Sep 10 (ST) Environmentalists, wildlife activists and animal welfare organisations are pressing the new govt to pass an animal welfare bill to put an end to animal cruelty in pet shops. A high-ranking official of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said that none of the pet shops in Colombo had a licence to operate because their owners provided little or no care for the animal and birds kept for sale. more..

Sri Lanka ranks moderately on the Global AgeWatch Index

Sep 10 (GDI) While Switzerland is the best place in the world for older people to live, Sri Lanka ranks moderately on the Global AgeWatch Index shows a global ranking of world’s best and worst places to grow old. Sri Lanka is ranked at 46 overall out of 96 countries in the Global AgeWatch Index 2015 compiled by HelpAge International network of charities in partnership with University of Southampton in Britain. more..

CEB in a quandary

Sep 10 (SL) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would lose more than USD 135 million if they continued the work of Sampur Coal Fired Power Station, as they would not be in a position to start its commercial operations before 2020. The additional cost for carrying out the project was estimated by the CEB Transmission and Generation Planning Branch and had spelled out to the CEB Board of Management. more..

Sri Lanka no longer suicide capital of world

Sep 10 (Island) The Health Ministry said there had been a marked decrease in the number of suicides in the country since 1995, when the number had topped 9,000. A little less than two decades later the number had dropped to 3,000. Commemorating World Suicide Prevention Day today, a Health Ministry spokesman quoting WHO statistics said that almost 800,000 suicides occurred in the world annually. more..

New video seeks to add pressure on Sri Lanka at UN

Sep 10 (CG) The team behind the controversial Emmy-nominated feature documentary No Fire Zone – credited with playing a key role in convincing the international community to take action over the Sri Lankan massacres of 2009, in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians died – have today launched a new short film, Sri Lanka: The Search For Justice. Hard-hitting half-hour long video coincides with the long anticipated more..

JVP blames Western powers for worst refugee crisis since WW II

Sep 10 (Island) The JVP alleged that the Europe was now facing the worst refugee crisis since the World War II due to destabilisation of West Asia by Western powers. The International Affairs Section of the JVP, in a statement issued emphasised that the Western intervention was aimed at achieving its economic and political objectives at the expense of people living in the region. The entire region including Iraq situated east of Syria more..

AG under fire over KP & Avant Garde

Sep 10 (DN) A coalition of civil society movements including trade unions and the Puravesi Balaya lashed out at the Attorney General for taking arbitrary decision to conclude the cases filed against LTTE chief arms procurer, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP and the floating armoury of Avante Garde Security Services Limited. According to Puravesi Balaya Convenor Saman Ratnapriya, the AG has taken an arbitrary decision to more..

Army blocks probe at Giritale camp

Sep 10 (CT) The Homagama Magistrate has referred to the Attorney General a request made by the CID seeking permission to search the false LTTE camp at Giritale, revealed in investigations, which had been maintained by the Army. The search application is in pursuance of investigations conducted by the CID into the disappearance of Journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. When the Ekneligoda Case was taken up for more..

Politicians must make sacrifices: Ranil

Sep 10 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said politicians must make sacrifices if they genuinely want to serve the people. He said cabinet ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers had concluded the first phase of the National Unity Govt in its journey to make Sri Lanka the Center of Excellence in the next five years. Speaking at the ceremony held at Presidential Secretariat to mark the swearing in of state ministers & deputy ministers more..

Human-Animal conflict

Sep 10 (CT) Yesterday this newspaper reported of a case where a journalist (Priyantha Ratnayake) from our sister newspaper Mawbima was killed, while videoing a marauding elephant at Polonnaruwa. This is the second death of a journalist covering wild elephants reported from Sri Lanka. First was that of Lake House photographer Eric Swan killed by a marauding elephant at Polonnaruwa 64 years ago. Recently, a speeding vehicle allegedly killed a leopard at Yala National Park. more..