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Stop witch-hunt against army intelligence personnel: BBS

Sept 2 (DM) BBS Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera called on authorities to stop hunting army intelligence personnel for the benefit of foreign parties, and protect law abiding Sri Lankan army personnel instead. “It has come to our notice that international conspirators and those working for many NGOs want to portray the law abiding SL army as being atrocious killers. Several army intelligence personnel had been arrested without more..

Will UN report bring justice for war victims?

Sept 2 (IRIN) Thavarasa Utharai says she isn’t exactly sure where Geneva is, but she is anxiously awaiting a report soon to be made public in the Swiss city that is expected to expose war crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war. After acceding to the Sri Lankan govt’s request to delay the report by six months, the Geneva-based UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is scheduled to finally release results more..

Dates for PM's Delhi visit yet to be finalised

Sept 2 (ENS) India and Sri Lanka are working to fix the dates for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to make New Delhi his first foreign port of call this month itself. Sources said that there had been exchange of dates for Wickremesinghe’s visit. “It could take place within the next two to three weeks,” said a senior diplomat. This will be the first overseas visit of Wickremesinghe since he was appointed PM after the surprise win of more..

Tharindu Kaushal reported for suspect action

Sep 2 (CI) Offspinner Tharindu Kaushal has been reported for a suspect illegal bowling action following the third Test against India that ended at the SSC on Tuesday. Kaushal, 22, will have to undergo a test on his action at an ICC-accredited facility within 14 days but he can continue bowling in international cricket until the results are out. Kaushal has played 6 Tests and 1 ODI, having made his international debut in Dec 2014. more..

Migrant labour rights

Sep 2 (CT) While elsewhere in the world illegal migrants are dying in their hundreds trying to flee conflict areas in the Middle-East (ME), in a tragi-comic turn of events, legal, labour migrants from this part of the world serving in the ME are also becoming casualties not due to war, but due to other circumstances beyond their control. And the Colombo Govt is seemingly not doing anything about it. Yesterday, this newspaper reported of a fire at an oil prospecting company's more..

President’s vision & effective risk management

Sep 2 (CT) Dear Mr. President, You have yesterday, during the opening session of the 8th Parliament, in announcing the Policy Statement of the new National Unity Govt, clearly articulated the vision of ushering in reconciliation, mutual understanding, sustainable and equitable socio economic development and religious harmony, realized through a new political culture of consensus politics, where key national policies and practices of compassionate governance will remain more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Free Wi-Fi zone at Viharamahadevi Park

Aug 2 (GDI) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has taken measures to install a Wi-fi zone at the Viharamahadevi Park to provide free Wi-fi facilities to people visiting it. The CMC said the project would begin on Thursday (3), at the Viharamahadevi children’s theme park. Wi-fi facility and the equipment were provided by the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) on a request by the CMC. Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammi and SLT Chairman will inaugurate the Wi-fi zone for the use of the public. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.8%

Sep 2 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed down 0.8% on Wednesday for the third consecutive session with investors continuing to take profits, brokers said. The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed down 58.36 points at 7,240.39 down 0.8%. S&P SL20 closed 26.05 points lower at 3,981.27 down 0.65%. “Investors continued to take profits from the market for a third consecutive day from the index heavy stocks,” Lanka Securities said. Turnover was 662 million rupees, more..

Rajapaksa vanity airport takes off as Sri Lanka rice hub

Aug 2 (EN) White-elephant Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MIRA) was turned into a paddy storage warehouse today in a bid to reduce operational costs of the facility that failed to take off as an airport. The $210 million MIRA at his home constituency of Hambantota was used only by Fly Dubai budget carrier which operates five weekly flights. "A cargo terminal was released to the PMB to be used as their go down," official said. more..

Sri Lanka urged to toughen fines for accounting abuses

Aug 2 (EN) A World Bank review of Sri Lanka’s accounting regulations and practices has called for tougher sanctions on firms which don’t comply with accounting and auditing standards. The report on the Observance of Standards and Codes, Accounting and Auditing (ROSC A&A) aims to raise corporate financial reporting standards on the island to improve its investment climate and competiveness. The report said sanctions that Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards more..

No justifiable reasons to arrest Tiran Alles: SC determines

Aug 2 (AD) The Supreme Court today determined that no justifiable reasons to arrest former MP Tiran Alles; cannot be arrested until final determination of the Fundamental Rights petition filed by him. Alles filed the FR petition seeking an order to prevent his arrest in connection with an alleged financial misappropriation amounting to approximate Rs. 640 million, Ada Derana court reporter said. The police on April 9 also recorded a statement from the MP in this regard as well. more..

Costly US PR project: CB intends to conclude probe within month

Aug 2 (Island) Central Bank has launched an investigation into multimillion US dollar payments made by the previous govts to various international public relations firms, particularly those based in the US. A senior Central Bank official said that an investigation was underway to ascertain the payments. "We hope to conclude the inquiry within a month. Thereafter, the case will be referred to law enforcement authorities," more..

Two arrested with Rs 7.1 mn worth of foreign currency

Sep 2 (Island) Customs at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) thwarted an attempt by two Sri Lankans to smuggle out foreign currencies worth over Rs. 7,185,000 to Singapore. Customs Spokesman Leslie Gamini said that the smugglers aged 29 and 34 were from Watawala and Ragala and USD 22,000, Euro 25,900 and Swiss Franc 4,500 had been taken into custody. The smugglers were estate workers and they were not frequent travellers as this was the first such detection, more..

JVP blames govt for shortage of warehouse space

Aug 2 (Island) The JVP-affiliated All Ceylon Farmers’ Association (ACFA) yesterday alleged that the paddy storage problem had been cropping up every year as the state-owned warehouses built during the 1960s and 70s had been given to private sector. ACFA National Organiser Namal Karunaratne told The Island that there had been enough space to store paddy in those days, but today the government could purchase only five per cent of the country’s paddy harvest. more..

Chandrika to meet Modi in Delhi this week

Sep 2 (ENS) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, is to meet Indian PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of an international Hindu-Buddhist conference to be held in New Delhi between Sept 3 and 5. Modi will inaugurate the conference on Global Hindu Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness organized by the pro-BJP Vivekananda International Foundation, the Tokyo Foundation and more..

Mano wants Sambandan as opposition leader

Sep 2 (AD) The post of Leader of the Opposition should be given to TNA leader R. Sambandan, Tamil Progressive Alliance leader Mano Ganesan says. “It will definitely bode well for the country’s political atmosphere,” Ganesan added. He said that the TNA would also get an opportunity to be a part of national politics with R. Sambandan be elected as the Opposition leader. Earlier, the ITAK in a statement said “It has been announced that a National Govt has been formed and more..

Protesters block first paddy stocks entering Mattala

Sep 2 (AD) A protest is currently underway near the Mattala Airport, blocking lorries from entering the premises with the first stock of paddy to be stored at the airport. The storing the surplus paddy harvest of Hambantota district at unused warehouses at the Mattala Airport commenced today. One lorry carrying paddy stocks, which are to be stored at an unused section of the airport, had entered the premises this morning, however protesters had prevented two more lorries from entering. more..

National organisations see govt doing dirty work of US

Sep 2 (Island) National govt of a UNP-SLFP nexus would do the dirty work in the US agenda to prosecute the country’s military personnel and political leaders on trumped up charges of human rights violations and war crimes and it was the price they had to pay for liberating the country from terrorists, Chairman of FNO Dr Gunadasa Amarasekera said. He said all those who were hell bent on prosecuting our soldiers and more..

President urged to bring together all state-run environmental outfits

Sep 2 (Island) Environmentalists urged President Maithripala Sirisena to attach all institutions related to the environment currently under several ministries to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Spokesman of the Collective of Environmental Organisation Sajeewa Chamikara said that during the last ten years institutions on the subject of environment had been placed under several ministries for political reasons. "President Sirisena has clearly stated that more..

Chinese tourist arrivals hit new high in Sri Lanka: But will they keep coming?

Sep 2 (WSJ) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has been riding a record-breaking surge of Chinese tourists, which has helped fuel a building boom of new restaurants, resorts and casinos. With China’s economy now stumbling, industry insiders in the South Asian island nation are wondering whether the five-year old wave is about to recede. “We are hoping it is a phase that will blow over,” said Althaf Ali, vice president of sales and marketing at Aitken Spence Hotel Managements more..

Sampanthan faces resistance for opposition post

Sep 2 (CG) Some members of the UPFA today raised concerns over attempts to make TNA the main opposition in Parliament. Fourteen UPFA members including former President Rajapakse now sit in the opposition benches opposing the National Government while the TNA has 16 seats. The TNA this week claimed that R. Sampanthan must be recognized as the leader of the opposition in accordance with more..

Is the US backtracking on Sri Lanka's post-war accountability process?

Sep 2 (OD) Things are moving fast in Sri Lanka since the election. 10 days ago, straight after the Sri Lankan election, Erik Solheim and I wrote of the hopes and challenges ahead. Already now, there have been important developments – notably with regard to the upcoming 14 Sept – 2 Oct UNHRC session in Geneva. In particular indications of a shift in US policy – or at the very least emphasis – with respect to its oft-voiced earlier demand for an international investigation more..

As Insufficient facilities in Zoo: 400 Tortoises to walk free

Sep 2 (CT) Following a Court decision the Dehiwela Zoological Gardens has been ordered to release to the natural environment all tortoises in its possession, after retaining a few, as species exhibits, from the population of tortoises which are being housed presently within its premises. The Court order came in response to a letter sent to Court by the staff of the Zoo, that there is a risk to the lives of the tortoises since there are insufficient facilities to keep to keep such a large number more..

Environmentalists cry foul over killing of endangered leopard

Sep 2 (Island) Environmentalists accused wildlife authorities of attempting to hush up the investigations into the death of a Leopard inside the Yala National Park in the early hours of last Sunday. Spokesman of the Collective of Environmental Organisations Sajeewa Chamikara said that the animal had been run over by a fast moving vehicle in Block 01 of National Park. "We have very credible information that a private more..

CaFFE reiterates call to abolish the PTA

Sep 2 (CG) The Campaign for Free and fair Election (CaFFE) believes that Sri Lanka can’t become a nation with a rule of law until the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is abolished as it has the same suppressive powers of the Emergency Laws which were lifted in 2011. Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, the Executive Director of CaFFE said that the PTA effectively makes all the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) invalid. more..

Human traffickers using other avenues: Navy

Sep 2 (CG) Sri Lanka navy says with assistance from the Australian govt on capacity and capability enhancement, Sri Lanka has been able to almost stop human trafficking operations to Australia. However the navy says traffickers are using other avenues possible, like allowing the migrants to fly to another country and to transfer by boat to Australian shores. Rear Admiral D.M.B Wettewa of the Sri Lankan Navy said this while speaking on the last day of the two day Defence Seminar today. more..

Island wide crackdown on child labour

Sep 2 (CT) Gathering of information regarding children all over the country with the objective of preventing children under 14 years of age being employed and to put a stop to employing children between the ages of 14 and 18 in dangerous jobs, has commenced. The Department of Labour and the Ministry together with Child Development Committees at district level are jointly engaged in this census of information more..

Contamination of Kelani River

Sep 2 (CT) National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) said that along with the Central Environment Authority (CEA) and the Police, it would institute legal action against beverage manufacturing factories which have violated environment/health laws by releasing contaminated oil and other effluent substances to the Kelani River which supplies water to the Ambatale pumping station for human consumption to a vast area. The incidents caused an immediate suspension of more..

Leptospirosis rises in Gampaha

Sep 2 (CT) Epidemiological Unit of the Gampaha General Hospital said that during the past few months 2,301 patients suffering from Leptospirosis (Rat Fever) have been reported from across the country and warns the public to obtain immediate treatment as symptoms such as high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle pains and red eyes could be symptoms of Rat Fever. In a report issued by the Epidemiological Unit, it has been stated that the most number of Rat Fever patients more..

'My journey is slow, but no turning back'

Sep 2 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena today said that the time has come to subject the SLFP to complete reorganization and to build it under a fresh image. Chairman of the SLFP was addressing party’s 64th anniversary celebration held at Rajarata Navodya Grounds in Polonnaruwa. Responding to critics of his leadership, President stated that his journey forward is not fast paced and that there will be no turning back. more..

The story of the failure of separatism

Sep 3 (CT) Any discussion on the politics of Sri Lanka has separatism as its background. Try saying that the Tamil people who live in the island have certain specific problems because they are Tamils and you will immediately be called a separatist. That you may not be inspired by that idea will be irrelevant. We have been conditioned by our political masters and authoritative texts of history that any issue to do with this part of our population is about ganging up with their mates across more..

Tamil poets on good governance

Sep 3 (CT) Thiruvalluvar (Circa 2nd century AD) in his great work Thirukkural, has weighty things to say on Good Governance. Written ostensibly to reform the world and to sustain the scheme of values and of ethics and morals, it continues to benefit humanity through its 1330 couplets. It yet remains the greatest didactic work in Tamil. To the poet, the excellence of the citizen composing the quality of the state is central to Good Governance. The King at the pinnacle of authority needs more..

Tainted elixir!

Sep 3 (SO) Is the water we drink fast becoming a cocktail of deadly contaminants? The question isn’t rhetorical. Recent news stories about alleged gasoline leaks and effluent discharge into rivers make the question pertinent, as do some of the edgy water experience related here. Quintas (real name withheld) a resident of Wattala: “I usually drink water only from my filter. But when the water ran out, I drank it straight more..

MR mulls retirement while PB does a Bolt!

Sep 3 (SO) The grapevine is abuzz with the news that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is planning to bid adieu to his political career in three months. The former President had made this revelation to President Maithripala Sirisena when the two met for a closed-door discussion last Sunday at the President’s residence. Rajapaksa had said his sisters, Preethi and Gandhini, had urged him to stay out of politics and go into retirement, for good. Speaking of his future plans at the meeting, more..

Politics, Cricket and Diplomacy

Sep 3 (SL) Diplomats and former diplomats consider the Foreign Service as the exclusive preserve of their tribe though without much success. We are surprised that proposals of two colourful names outside the service to a plum post in the Foreign Service – High Commissioner to London – have not resulted in protests of Keep-off-the-Grass by the diplomatic tribe. These are heady times following elections and appointments made by Yahapalanaya govt to key posts in state services more..

LSSP will take its journey forward

Sep 3 (CT) Leader ofLSSP and former Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana says that they could not represent Parliament in 1977 as well. "But our political journey was not halted. We will get together with the people and take forward our political philosophy". Q: Are you happy or sad with the result obtained at the election? A: We cannot be happy. Our expectation was to establish a govt of the UPFA. We believed that Alliance would be more..

Challenges for the new team

Sep 3 (NS) Counting of votes which had become an essential ritual in gauging what the people’s want is over and for the first time in the history of parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, the voters have not been carried away by emotions as expected. Although the campaigning showed its primitive nature as the main strategy to convince the voters depended more on the allegations leveled against the contenders than on the real problems of the nation and the solutions proposed. more..

Editorial: Farmers in a paddy

Sep 3 (Island) UNP-led govt never misses an opportunity to ridicule former President Rajapaksa’s development strategy. It is now using the Mattala Airport for storing paddy! Rajapaksa did an Ozymandias while in power. He got the Chinese to dig up land in Hambantota to construct a port and had them fill the sea off Colombo to build a city! The monstrous Lotus Tower continues to rise in spite of his fall. At other airports we have jet engines roaring, but Mattala is as quiet as a hermitage more..

Coca-Cola Incident: Are we the next Plachimada?

Sep 3 (GV) On Aug 17th, the Coca Cola factory in Sri Lanka leaked diesel fuel into the Kelani River, polluting the water supply for millions of Sri Lankans living in suburban Colombo. The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational company that is a global leader in the beverage industry. Although the company is a universally recognized, iconic institution, over the past few years, it has been involved in more..