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Gota, Namal at FCID

Sep 14 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa arrived at the FCID this morning after they were summoned to record statements over various allegations. Gotabaya was summoned in connection with a financial transaction of Rs. 90 million which had taken place when constructing the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial Museum in Medamulana. Meanwhile, MP Rajapaksa had been summoned with regard to a case involving the Hi-Corp Company. more..

Sakvithi indicted in HC

Sep 14 (DM) Attorney General (AG) today served indictments on Sakvithi Ranasinghe and 10 other accused for committing a criminal breach of trust with regard to Rs. 1,628 million worth funds of the depositors at Sakvithi Housing and Construction (Pvt.) Ltd between 2006 and 2008. The AG filed indictments when the case against Sakvithi and 10 others was taken up before High Court Judge Lalith Jayasuriya. The indictments were served on the accused and the case was fixed for Nov 5. more..

Don’t judge us: Mangala tells int’l community

Sep 14 (AM) Sri Lanka govt proposes a political settlement through the adoption of new constitution, amending penal code to prevent hate speech, judicial reforms, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Addressing the inaugural session of UNHRC, Samaraweera asked the Council not to judge SL based on past broken promises. He asked from all those who have doubts about a process of accountability to have no fear about failures. more..

BMW bully arrested

Sep 14 (EN) A magistrate today remanded an alleged drug dealer Manjula Weerakoon who is wanted by police in connection with an assault on the deputy ambassador of Russia. Suspect had sought anticipatory bail which was denied by Colombo Fort Magistrate. The police arrested the man soon after the bail hearing and produced him before the same magistrated, who ordered that he be held till Sept 17. Magistrate agreed with the police that allegation was a serious one more..

National Security will be further strengthened: Defence Secretary

Sep 14 (GDI) We never disregard the National Security. We look forward to further strengthen the National Security while safeguarding sovereignty of the country, said secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. Karunasena Hettiarachchi yesterday. We are committed to foster peaceful coexistence amongst the different ethnic communities in the country while paying attention into land, education and health issues together-with the respective authorities. Secretary expressed these sentiments more..

Sri Lanka plans South Africa-style commission to confront war crimes

Sep 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's new govt said on Monday it was setting up a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation commission to look into atrocities during its long civil war, as it came under renewed pressure to prosecute perpetrators. South Africa, which confronted its own apartheid-era crimes through such a body, would advise the island nation on how to use the commission to help victims and to track down missing people, more..

Sambanthan & Crisis of the opposition

Sep 15 (CT) Once, Tamils were more Sri Lankan (or rather Ceylonese) than the Sinhalese. When the Kandyan National Assembly and Bandaranaike were demanding a federal setup in SL, resistance came from Tamil leaders. Although, G.G. Ponnampalam’s 50-50 demand entailed an unfair equation it was still a Colombo-centric formula. Even today, Tamil political leadership is extremely Colombo oriented and spends more time in Colombo than in their electorates in the North & East. more..

Hopes & fears of good governance regime

Sep 15 (SL) After a delectable lunch hosted by the President, new State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of the regime were sworn in at the Presidential Secretariat. Some of the new appointments from among the ranks of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party have caused much consternation among the proponents of the new order, especially since they are accused of being the very antithesis of good governance. Perhaps only the two Silvas – Duminda and Mervyn were missing from the list, more..

Pro LTTE groups push for international war crime probe

Sep 15 (SO) Over 15 pro LTTE diaspora groups pushing LTTE ideology of a separate state will have their representatives in Geneva armed with another short film highlighting genocide claims, during the crucial UNHRC 30th sessions which will open tomorrow (14). A source revealed that these groups, posing as neutral human rights lobbies have planned a massive campaign, demanding an international probe on SL, more..

SLMC Amphibians inside UNP’s Elephant kraal

Sep 15 (CT) Amphibians are at home in two or more places but are native to none of them. This has been the unfortunate saga of the SLMC since its emergence as an independent political party in the 1990s. When it originated the party leaders proclaimed that they would be the sole representatives of the Muslim community in SL and that they would live and die for that community. But the reality was totally different. In trying win parliamentary seats, ministerial positions more..

A plea for planning and a Vision 2020: Tough economic challenges

Sep 15 (ST) The need for planning and a holistic vision for the country’s development was the key message of Dr. Lloyd Fernando’s comprehensive paper provocatively titled 5-Point Plan and the 10-Point Agreement presented at the Roundtable discussion organised by the Gamani Corea Foundation in collaboration with the Marga Institute at the BMICH on Aug 31st. Dr. Fernando proposed a National Planning Council chaired by PM Ranil Wickremasinghe, serviced by more..

'The body of Prabhakaran shown on TV was not him'

Sep 15 (CT) Chennai based man of many faces, Prof. Emeritus best known as Kargil M. Subramaniam, former Indian Naval Marine Commando involved in covert operations for India, claims that the body of the man exposed as LTTE leader Prabhakaran was in fact not him and that there were more chances that Prabhakaran, his wife and daughter may have been killed in the white van that was ambushed a few days before more..

The Good, the Bad and the Uncouth

Sep 15 (GV) There is change, and for the better. The presence of the leader of the SLFP at the UNP Convention was something unimaginable even a year ago. Maithripala Sirisena was the Chief Guest at the annual gathering of the UNP and that was a sign of new times, a movement towards a more tolerant and inclusive political culture, an indication that Sri Lanka has changed positively. A Tamil as the leader of opposition too was unimaginable just a year ago. more..

Meddle, muddle and mess up Middle East

Sep 15 (ST) Even kids acquainted with the English alphabet know that the letter C follows B. It seems that in English politics the same is true with Cameron seemingly anxious to follow the gung-ho Blair into the Middle East quagmire that the onetime PM opened up with his illegal invasion of Iraq more than 12 years ago. Blair’s foreign policy faux pas, surely the worst since the failed Suez attack some 60 years ago, has led to vicious sectarian violence unheard of in the days of Saddam Hussein. more..

'People first ministry second'

Sep 15 (CT) UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana holds the distinction of being the only MP who obtained the highest number of preferential votes in a district not to be awarded any ministerial portfolio in the current Parliament. Pathirana also obtained the highest preferential votes from Matara in 2010. Ceylon Today sat down with Pathirana to discuss about his exclusion from ministerial posts and also his political future. more..

Editorial: Piscatorial imbroglio

Sep 15 (Island) TN politicians made a hue and cry when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, in a TV interview, early this year, that the Indians engaged in illegal fishing in Sri Lankan waters could be shot! His statement was made out to be a threat. A group of MPs led by AIADMK leader, M. Thambidurai, called upon the Indian govt to take serious note of PM Wickremesinghe’s statement. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had to make a suo motu statement in the House to defuse tension. more..

It’s time for long term plans

Sep 15 (CT) According to Chandika Hathurusinghe, he is very happy with his present job at this moment. Why should he be not happy? After getting the Bangladeshi team all spruced up and doing well, why should he not be happy. Bangladesh appreciated what this Lankan has done for them and has given him job security with long term plans for him with Bangla cricket. That would not only make any coach happy but proud of himself for achieving such levels at his job & making boss happy. more..

Intellectuals comment on the National Govt

Sep 15 (SL) Last few months Sri Lanka had election fever, the heat remained even after the election as a novel concept to Sri Lankan political culture was born. As the two main political parties in the country were unable to secure a majority to form a government; a national government was formed with the contribution of both parties. Accordingly, the ministerial portfolios of the new government were allocated last week. more..

Govt's credibility suffers despite ongoing transition to better governance

Sep 15 (Island) Virtual non-existence of an environment of threat, especially pertinent to ethnic and religious minorities, and the non-stifling of dissent by opposition and civil society groups is continuing, much to the credit of the new govt. However, the dawning of a society in which good governance alone will prevail continues to remain in question. Soon after the general election came the first blow to the new govt’s credibility with the appointment of defeated candidates on NL. more..

SL exports' global share lower than pre-independence era

Sep 15 (DN) Sri Lankan exports are extremely low and it's definitely below the world market share that prevailed before Independence, Sri Lanka Exporters' Association President, Sarada De Silva said. He said that currently the exports have come down from a 31% of GDP to 15% and this is very alarming. Speaking at an event organized by by Verité Research together with the National Chamber of Exporters he said exports are being dominated by both Apparels (44%) and Tea (15%). more..

Mangala Samaraweera at UNHRC

New Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Viet Nam presents credentials

Sep 15 (FT) Ms. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake presented her Credentials as the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Viet Nam to Truong Tan Sang, President of Viet Nam recently at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi. Ambassador Dissanayake was received at the Presidential Palace by a Guard of Honour. Following the presentation of Credentials, Ambassador briefed President Sang on the recently concluded general elections, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy and more..

JKH acquires golf course in hill country for Rs.1bn

Sep 15 (DM) John Keells Holdings (JKH) announced it acquired a controlling stake in Rajawella Holdings (RHL) with a total investment of Rs.1.04 billion. With this purchase, JKH, together with its subsidiaries, increased its shareholdings in RHL from 16.9% to 51%. The total investment comprises a partial buyout from existing shareholders, an infusion into RHL, and a release of an existing sublease of land held by the JKH Group valued at Rs.161 million in exchange for shares. more..

Shashi Weerawansa diplomatic passport inquiry: AG faults CID

Sep 15 (DN) Giving a new turn to the controversy surrounding the investigation into Shashi Weerawansa's diplomatic passport, the Attorney General's Department denied the CID's claim that it had no received instructions from the AG's Department in connection with the case, to date. The CID, on Friday, informed Colombo Chief Magistrate that Shashi Weerawansa, wife of UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa had obtained more..

Bridging the trust deficit

Sep 15 (Hindu) Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived in New Delhi yesterday on a three-day bilateral visit, his first international visit after taking over as Prime Minister last month. Mr. Wickremesinghe’s UNP together with its allies secured a near-majority in the parliamentary election last month. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena engineered a division in the ranks of the SLFP, thus effectively isolating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Stax to woo Singaporean investors to SL

Sep 15 (NS) Global strategy consulting firm, Stax Inc. is set to highlight and present the Sri Lankan advantage at an event to be held in Singapore today at The Tower Club. Tagged Investment Opportunities in resurgent Sri Lanka, the event is to be held in collaboration with the Singapore Sri Lanka Business Council (SLBA), The Singapore International Chamber of Commerce (SICC) and the International Enterprise (IE). The program will be lead by Rafi Musher – CEO of Stax more..

Dayasiri to have powwow with team: Ready to pick Arjuna’s brains

Sep 15 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera says he will be shortly having a meeting with members of the SL team to give ear to the views of players concerning cricket in general in the country. Minister said he will also be meeting players exclusively without the participation of any SLC interim committee officials, in an effort to get the correct picture of where the team stands currently. "I will be meeting Angelo (Mathews) and the boys," more..

South Asia Textile Industries Lanka in Rs. 1 billion expansion programme

Sep 15 (Island) Leading Sri Lankan textile manufacturer South Asia Textile Industries Lanka recently kicked off a highly ambitious expansion programme, having already begun investing what will ultimately be over Rs. 1 Billion, in total, in the latest 5th Generation Hybrid/Nano technology used in state-of-art textile machinery in all its divisions. These upgrades, comprising high-speed knitting machines from SANTONI Italy and UNITEX Singapore, will be capable of more..

Raja-Mandala: A bridge to Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (IE) Call it the Ram Setu or Hanuman Bridge, the stretch of low-lying banks that connect India to Sri Lanka across the Palk Strait is very much part of the subcontinent’s Ramayana lore. Lord Ram, the story goes, built this bridge with the assistance of Hanuman’s monkey army, walked into Lanka to rescue his consort Sita from King Ravana. That the story has little basis in science is beside the point. What is interesting is the possibility that New Delhi and Colombo can now turn more..

Sri Lankan PM reaches India

Sep 15 (Hindu) SL Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived in India on a three-day official visit, his first trip abroad after he assumed office last month. It is being seen as an attempt by Sri Lanka to reassure India’s concerns of growing Chinese strategic presence in the island nation. The issue of frequent clashes over fishermen and conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) are more..

Sajith vows to complete 50,000 houses

Sep 15 (FT) Minister Sajith Premadasa asserted that Govt would complete a project to construct 50,000 houses within the year. After assuming his duties at the ministry, Premadasa stressed that providing shelters to the poor was one of the main objectives of the Yahapalana Govt. “The 100-day caretaker Govt promised to build 50,000 houses all around the country. We are already working on 35,000 houses. We pledge to complete our target of 50,000 houses by the end of this year,” he asserted. more..

Swire offers UK support to Sri Lanka

Sep 15 (CG) British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth office, Hugo Swire, offered the support of British Govt to help Sri Lanka implement the recommendations of the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Speaking during UNHRC sessions, Swire said that he listened closely to the statement made by Minister Samaraweera to the Council and was encouraged by SL’s willingness to engage with the international community, as it seeks to deliver lasting peace. more..

Lalith Weeratunga Indicted

Sep 15 (CT) The Attorney General (AG) had filed action in the High Court of Colombo against Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the former President, and Anusha Palpita, former Director-General of Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) for misappropriating Rs 600 million from TRC. They have been charged expending the said quantum of money from TRC stating that the money is for distributing sil redi for devotees. more..

Welgama declines President’s offer

Sep 15 (CT) UPFA MP Kumara Welgama has declined the presidential offer for the post of Chairman of the Kalutara District Development Committee. MP said, "There was a letter from the Secretary to the President, Abeykoon stating that they are offering the post of Chairman of the Kalutara District Committee, provided I support the National Govt. But, I have been against the National Govt from its very inception in January. However, I thanked him for this offer and more..

'Tea industry might survive with new pay model'

Sep 15 (LBO) Planters Association says that tea industry, which is in a revenue crisis, might have a chance to survive if its new productivity-linked wage model presented to employees is accepted by them. “The employers’ ability to pay is a very important and critically fundamental aspect when labour wages are negotiated,” Roshan Rajadurai, chairman of the Planters’ Association said at the AGM. “The archaic and the century old model of attendance based wages that was suited for more..

TNA wants foreign judges for domestic war crimes probe

Sep 15 (Island) TNA called for the inclusion of foreign judges in the proposed independent domestic investigation into allegations of war crimes against Sri Lanka and the LTTE. Deputy General Secretary of the TNA, M.A. Sumanthiran MP, speaking to The Island over the telephone from Geneva, said that only international participation in Sri Lanka’s accountability process would make it truly independent and credible. more..

Wildlife officers going wild to prevent minister taking up office

Sep 15 (CT) Wildlife Department officials are planning on staging a protest to prevent the newly appointed Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister from taking up office in the Wildlife Department. Some senior wildlife officers are planning on staging the protest at the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) premises next week to blacken Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera's name and prevent him from coming to the DWLC office. "Wildlife officers are making excuses more..

Sri Lanka win the Best Stall at China Xi'an Tourism Expo 2015

Sep 15 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourism together with the Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing participated at the China Xi'an Silk Road International Tourism Expo 2015, where Lanka won the Best Stall Award at the exposition. China is currently topping the list for the second month running with a performance of 24,734 visitors in August at a growth of 73.3% and a cumulative growth of 76.8% recording a 144,439. The main objectives of China Xi'an Silk Road International Tourism Expo (CXSRITE) is more..

'A duty-free car permit could be obtained for being an MP for few hours'

Sep 15 (Island) Former Auditor General S.C. Mayadunne yesterday revealed that elected and National List members were entitled for a duty-free vehicle permit even if they resigned immediately after having taken oaths as a member of parliament. Mayadunne said that he, too, was offered such a permit in spite of him resigning the JVP National List seat on the second day of the eighth parliament. more..

Outbreak of Hepatitis A epidemic in Moneragala

Sep 15 (Island) Faecal contamination of drinking water supplies in the Moneragala District has caused an outbreak of Infective Hepatitis (Hepatitis A) epidemic. Deputy Provincial Director of Health, Dr. K. Adikari said that 106 patients had been reported since Sept 7. Affected persons were being treated at the Moneragala District General Hospital, he said. The situation had arisen because the Moragala Oya from which the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) and more..