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Formula coming, oil price reduction soon

Sep 13 (ST) A new pricing formula taking into consideration the international fuel price reduction is to be submitted to the President soon, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. The formula would be discussed with the Finance Ministry before implementation. “Govt will take a decision regarding the reduction of fuel prices with the implementation of a new price formula. We expect the new pricing formula will be implemented within a month. There should be a basis for reducing prices. more..

Anxieties about RW’s visit to India

Sep 13 (Island) As the appointment of state ministers and deputy ministers gave final shape to the govt, it became clear that this can no longer be called a UNP led govt. In that sense the UNP is now worse off than then they were in the first 100 days of the Sirisena administration. The cabinet that was formed soon after Maithripala Sirisena assumed office was definitely a UNP-led government in every sense of the word with UNP ministers being numerically preponderant more..

Paranagama Commission probes abduction claims

Sep 13 (SO) Investigative team of the Paranagama missing persons’ commission, recently visited military camps in the North to interview the officers and verify claims of abductions, in the run up to the UNHRC sessions in Geneva. 5-member team comprising retired police officers, supervised by a retired High Court judge has been entrusted with digging deep into the cases of abductions, which needs further investigation before any more..

UDA assures investors it will repay Rs. 10 bln debentures

Sep 13 (ST) Urban Development Authority (UDA) assured investors that they can redeem their debentures by the due date – Oct 5. The assurance was given by UDA Chairman Ranjith Fernando in a response to last week’s Business Times story headlined UDA’s Cash Crunch pushes Rs.10 billion debenture in a quandary. “The UDA wishes to inform all debenture holders that arrangements have been made to redeem their debentures on the due date namely 5th October 2015. more..

Public urged to share details on fraud

Sep 13 (SL) The Presidential Commission of Inquiry for Fraud and Corruption (PRECIFAC) which is now conducting inquiries into large scale frauds that prevented revenue to the country, request the general public to forward details with solid evidence on similar frauds that had been taken place during 2010 and 2015. Secretary to the Commission, Lacille de Silva said that the PRECIFAC has now concluded many cases where corruption to the highest level had taken place and more..

Court bans sale or lease of CSN

Sep 13 (SL) The Kaduwela magistrate’s court has issued an interim order banning the sale, lease or temporary transfer of the CSN sports channel, which is speculated to be owned by the Rajapaksa family. The order was issued in accordance to a FCID submission under B/9823. The FCID, investigating as to how funding was received to start the channel, has been permitted by courts to summon its directors for questioning more..

Top ministers to be grilled over ITN fiasco

Sep 13 (SO) Several top ministers and parliamentarians are to be grilled in the coming weeks over the alleged non-recovery of payment, from former President Rajapaksa, owed to State-run ITN for publicity over the network during the 2014 -2015 presidential election campaign. The alleged financial manipulation, amounting to Rs. 115 million is currently being investigated by the Commission of Inquiry into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources, Privileges. more..

Malik in India on investment promotion tour

Sep 13 (CT) UNP Chairperson, and the new Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama will be joining PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in his tour to India on Sept 14. Minister Malik Samarawickrama will be visiting India along with the PM and Minister of foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera in order to promote Indian Investment in Sri Lanka. The inisters and the Prime Minister are expected to visit India tomorrow for a two-day visit from Sept 14 to Sept 16. more..

1,000 T56 guns given to paramilitary group: CID to arrest rebel turned politico

Sep 13 (CT) The CID has uncovered information regarding a large number of T56 rifles and pistols given to a paramilitary group by the previous govt. CID sources said, a former paramilitary leader who later took to politics has come under CID investigation and surveillance after details of this huge weapons transfer had surfaced. Top officials of the former regime had authorized the transfer of nearly 1,000 T56 rifles in addition to pistols to more..

Abuse of Russian Diplomat: Mangala orders tough Police action

Sep 13 (CT) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera Tuesday ordered tough police action against a man identified as Manjula Wijekoon who has been discovered as being responsible for abusing a Russian diplomat and his family at the Arpico Super Centre car park at Hyde Park Corner in Colombo on 4 Sept. Police have traced a video posted on Facebook that shows a man, driving a BMW vehicle, blocking the diplomat's car at the car park of Arpico Supermarket at Hyde Park more..

Leadership Training Course to be scrapped by new Minister

Sep 13 (Island) The leadership training course students entering universities had to undergo will be scrapped, Universities and Highways Minister, Lakshman Kiriella said. It is better to learn international languages rather than spend time and energy on leadership training courses, he told journalists after paying a courtesy call on the Mahanayake Thera of Asgiriya. This training course was introduced by former Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake. more..

UNHRC report: No names but strong indictments

Sep 13 (ST) The biggest international challenge for Sri Lanka will unfold in the coming week as the UNHRC receives the findings of the probe into alleged war crimes by troops and Tiger guerrillas. A copy of the report, which has already been provided to the Govt of Sri Lanka, is being kept a close secret until it is formally placed on the UNHRC’s official website anytime next week. However, diplomatic sources say the probe team has made strong more..

Sri Lanka’s Geneva month in a Europe awash with Syrian refugees

Sep 13 (Island) September has become Sri Lanka’s Geneva month. The 30th Annual Session of the UNHRC which begins tomorrow in Geneva is expected to be congenial to the new SL govt unlike the previous sessions that were decisively hostile to the now defeated Rajapaksa regime. But the broader European context to the 2015 UNHRC Session in Geneva, Switzerland, is the Syrian refugee crisis that is tearing apart the rest of Europe. Geneva and Switzerland once again stand more..

Two ceremony filled weeks

Sep 13 (Island) We Sri Lankans have been treated to much pomp and pageantry and witnessed very significant events this past fortnight. We watched the ceremonial opening of Parliament with the admirable man from Polonnaruwa being received with a 21 gun salute and blessed with the chanting of jayamnagala gatha and even more appropriately with the chanted reminder that the gods give rain in due season and enhance harvests when a just man rules. Even if weather gods ago awry and farmers queue more..

Audio: New Sri Lankan envoy in Canada promises all inclusive approach

Sep 13 (LR) Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Canada Ahmed Jawad has promised an all inclusive approach to the diaspora living in Canada. Mr. Jawad, a career diplomat presented his credentials to the Governor General of Canada David Johnston in Ottawa. “The new vision of the govt led by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremasinghe is to follow an all inclusive approach,” High Commissioner Jawad said. more..

White House meeting for Sirisena: Ask Corea without hiring PR firms

Sep 13 (ST) With Sri Lanka strengthening its political and diplomatic relations with the United States after a long hiatus, there are rumours that the Govt is trying to pull off an official State visit to the White House by President Maithripala Sirisena. In the US, such State visits are primarily meant for close American allies such as Israel and South Korea, Western allies such as Britain, France and Germany or emerging more..

Megapolis Authority to redesign Kandy, Galle, Trincomalee, Jaffna towns

Sep 13 (ST) A Megapolis Authority with powers of redesigning four main towns outside the Western Province is to be set up under the purview of the newly established Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development. Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said that Kandy, Galle, Trincomalee and Jaffna would be developed on plans worked out by the Authority. more..

Pre-hearing flap over National List challenge in Supreme Court

Sep 13 (Island) Nagananda Kodituwakku, the lawyer for former Minister Dew Gunasekera who challenging the appointment of National List MPs to the sitting Parliament, has in papers filed on Friday in the Supreme Court, claimed that there have been two Bills "concerning the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in circulation in Parliament, where in one Bill supported by the (then) PM there was no such provision more..

Indian backing expected for domestic inquiry into accountability

Sep 13 (Island) Sri Lanka is undertaking two major initiatives ahead of the presentation of a war crimes report during the ongoing Geneva human rights sessions. The Maithripala-Ranil govt wants the Geneva-based UN. UNHRC to back US-led proposal to enable the country to launch a comprehensive domestic inquiry into accountability issues. PM’s 3-day visit to India will commence tomorrow. more..

No evidence of ISIS operations in Sri Lanka

Sep 13 (CG) The Defence Ministry says there is no evidence to back claims that the ISIS terrorist group was operating in Sri Lanka. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that while there were reports of a Sri Lankan man joining ISIS, there is no concrete evidence to suggest the group was operating in Sri Lanka. “We condemn the operations of ISIS,” he added. The new Defence Secretary was speaking to reporters more..

SL frees Indian fishermen ahead of PM's visit

Sep 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka announced Sunday 16 Indian fishermen would be released to coincide with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi, his first overseas trip since winning last month s general election. The fishermen, from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters, will be freed as a goodwill gesture ahead of the visit starting Monday, his office said in a statement. more..

Tamil refugees are neither here nor there

Sep 13 (Hindu) At a time when efforts are on to send SL Tamil refugees to their country, opinion is divided on whether hill country Tamils of Indian origin (in plantations) should be persuaded to go back or conferred with Indian citizenship. Of one lakh SL Tamil refugees now residing in India, almost 30,000 of them are Tamils who worked in plantations. “These refugees sold all their possessions and came to India. more..

My role in Uva recognized by PM says Harin

Sep 13 (Island) Minister Harin Fernando declared that Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe rewarded him with a ministry due to his spearheading role in bringing the Rajapaksa rule to an end. He was referring to leading the UNP campaign in Badulla at the last Uva Provincial Council polls in his capacity as the Chief Ministerial candidate. Minister pointed out that none of his colleagues such as Dr Harsha de Silva, more..

Chinese envoy assures Sri Lanka on economic stability

Sep 13 (CG) Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang has assured Sri Lanka that China’s economy remains stable and still has a huge potential. He said that despite the economy facing a downward trend it is still within the required range and management and that the driving force for the downward trend is the global economy. “Sri Lankan friends also questioned, has Chinese economy faced crisis? Will it head for a hard landing? more..

Indo – Lanka Relations: Building confidence and boosting bilateral cooperation

Sep 13 (Island) A series of high level visits during the course of this year have formed the basis of attempts to re-set Indo-Lanka bilateral relations. There has been an exchange of visits involving President Sirisena, Prime Minister Modi and Foreign Ministers Samaraweera and Swaraj. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s forthcoming visit will be the first after the Parliamentary Elections, which have completed the transition to a new political dispensation. more..

Witnesses and Victims Protection Bill: Activated and will be empowered

Sep 13 (CT) Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said, the Witnesses and Victims Protection Bill was activated with effect from 15 Aug and will be empowered. Accordingly, by issuing the gazette notification in connection with the Witnesses and Victims Protection Bill on 15th August, it has been declared, the Minister said. Although the Bill on Witnesses and Victims Protection was passed in Parliament on 19th Feb it has not been implemented up till now. more..

Wimal Weerawansa

Sri Lanka plantations say survival depends on new work model

Sep 13 (EN) Plantations industry has called for labour unions to accept a proposed revenue sharing, saying losses from prolonged low prices and high production costs cannot be sustained for much longer. Roshan Rajadurai, chairman of Planters’ Association which represents listed regional plantations companies, said current price slump was the longest period of depressed prices for over 50 years. “Attendance-based model is archaic and needs to change to a productivity-based more..

Minuwangoda mishap: Drivers of two buses released on bail

Sep 13 (Island) The drivers of the two private buses involved in the Minuwangoda accident, which killed five Presidential Security Division (PSD) officers and injured four others, were released on bail on Friday. They were produced before Minuwangoda Magistrate Ruwan Pathirana, who released them on sureties of Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 50,000, respectively. The hearing was put off for Sept 30. The defender jeep had collided head-on with a bus when it attempted to overtake another bus. more..

Shashi Weerawansa could face arrest

Sep 13 (SL) In the event Shashi Weerawansa, wife of MP Wimal Weerawansa, is found guilty for using forged documents to obtain a diplomatic passport and using a forged national identity card (NIC), which is a punishable offence under the Penal Code, she will have to serve a prison sentence, it is said. CID has completed investigations into Shashi Weerawansa’s forgery scam and the report has been sent to AG’s more..

How to progress on the National Question

Sep 13 (Island) Today’s papers will see a surfeit of gossip on who’s who and horse trading re ministerial appointments. Their number has turned good-governance into a term of derision, but Sirisena and Ranil (S&R) have thickened their hide after the elections. Repeated flops in the courts, Avant Garde the most recent, confirms the incompetence of the CID and the AG’s Department and aggravates worries about the state machine (and S&R?) conniving with the old-time crooked leaders. more..

Over 60,000 houses for displaced

Sep 13 (SO) The main priority of my Ministry is solving the housing problem of the displaced and homeless families of the Northern region, Minister D.M.Swaminathan said. He said discussions have already commenced with the European Union (EU) to obtain a 15-year-soft loan to construct 60,000 houses with wells, solar panels and other infrastructure facilities. Proposals on this will be submitted to President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and Cabinet for approval, more..

Is the AG’s Dept merely a political tool?

Sep 13 (CT) Magisterial inquest into the floating armoury, owned by the security firm Avant Garde, being terminated earlier this week by Colombo Magistrate Courts in accordance with instructions of the Attorney General (AG); and the statement made by the AG's Department asserting that there was no evidence to prosecute chief arms procurer of the LTTE, Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) on 31 Aug, has drawn considerable flak on AG's Dept more..

NMRA under fire over seeking allowances for its committee members

Sep 13 (Island) The newly-created National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has drawn flak over moves to seek from the govt substantial monetary allowances to its committee members, but the institution’s head defended the action saying "professionals need to be paid for handling work outside their line of duty". NMRA’s Chairman, Prof. Lal Jayakody has made a written recommendation to the Finance Ministry that members of its diverse committees plus referees be paid more..

Kapuge Memorial Concert held under the patronage of President

Sep 13 (PSL) A musical programme titled Kapugeta Heththewai to commemorate the legendry artist Gunadasa Kapuge was held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the BMICH yesterday (11). The memorial concert was organized by the Gunadasa Kapuge Commemoration Committee and son of late Kapuge sang songs of him at the musical concert. Expressing his views President has said that no one can ever forget humanist like Kapuge and such artists are needed for this era. more..

Callum ready to discuss evidence

Sep 13 (SL) The director of a controversial film No Fire Zone says he is ready to discuss the evidence he has with the Sri Lankan govt in Geneva. No Fire Zone Director Callum Macrae was in New York and five Latin American countries last week promoting a new film, also on Sri Lanka which seeks support for an international mechanism to address alleged war crimes. “I would be delighted to meet with new Sri Lankan govt in Geneva. more..

Poverty snatches away infant’s life

Sep 13 (CT) This is a tragic story. The life of a two-month-old infant was snatched away before he had the chance to play with his elder brothers. He did not have the chance to grow up, run around the house with his brothers and be mischievous. He did not even have a name. Wijekoon Mudiyanselage Gunathilaka was a resident of Jayasiripura, Vijayapura in Anuradhapura. He was in love with Nadeesha Upamali and wanted to build a life with her. He married her and built a house. more..

Police unable to strictly implement speed rules

Sep 13 (SL) The main reason for the fatal accident involving a Presidential Security Division (PSD) vehicle that resulted in the death of five personnel had clearly been due to improper overtaking and speeding, according to the police. Speaking to The Sunday Leader the police media spokesman SSP Priyantha Jayakody said that although there are speed limits imposed, it is difficult to strictly implement these regulations, especially for VIP vehicles. more..

CEPA will not be discussed during PM’s India visit

Sep 13 (CG) The proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Sri Lanka and India will not be discussed during PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India. PM’s office said that Wickremesinghe will discuss domestic issues as well as regional security with the Indian leaders. Wickremesinghe will meet Indian PM Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, more..

Ministry subjects and functions to be worked out within a week

Sep 13 (ST) The allocations of subjects and functions to ministers and state ministers will be finalised within a week. Even though 43 Cabinet ministers and 19 state ministers have been appointed, the areas which will come under their purview have not yet been finalised due to last minute hitches in the allocation of subjects and functions in a manner that they do not overlap. There are several cabinet and state ministers who have been entrusted with the same subjects more..