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Editorial: Opposition within Opposition

Sep 4 (Island) TNA MP R. Sampanthan has been appointed the Opposition Leader and JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake the Chief Opposition Whip. Predictably, UPFA MPs have let out a howl of protest against these two appointments. Karu Jayasuriya must now be aware what it is like to be the Speaker. He has told Parliament that the UPFA had not staked any claim for the Opposition Leader’s post. But, a group of UPFA MPs has told the media that they, in a letter signed by 56 MPs, more..

Local gems fail to shine

Sep 4 (FT) Despite local gem exports increasing by 135% in the last five years from just $ 70 million, the industry has failed to exploit its true potential through value addition. MP Kabir Hashim speaking at the opening ceremony for Facets Sri Lanka 2015 insisted the gem and jewellery industry had not been properly exploited in Sri Lanka. Hashim, himself in the gem cutting business in the past, added that more..

More than 100,000 letters in toilet pit

Sep 4 (DM) A large number of letters including airmail, ordinary letters, post cards and propaganda material of politicians who contested the recent general election were recovered from an abandoned toilet pit in the Moratuwa post office this morning. Post Master General Rohana Abeyratne and several senior officials of the Postal Department and the police visited the scene on information from the public and recovered the stock of letters from the toilet pit. more..

Central Bank expects rupee to stabilize in forex markets

Sep 4 (EN) Central Bank said it expects the rupee to stabilize in foreign exchange markets "in line with sound macroeconomic fundamentals and movements of other currencies of major trading partners." The Central Bank said it had received US$ 1.1 billion from a swap arrangement with the Reserve Bank of India on Sept 03. "With the enhanced level of official reserves, CBSL expects that the exchange rate would stabilize in line with sound macroeconomic fundamentals more..

Disappointed with people’s mandate: Mayadunne resigns

Sep 4 (Island) JVP National List MP Sarath Mayadunne resigned from his seat after making a speech in Parliament. Soon after resigning from the MP post, Mayadunne said that he expected the JVP to fill the vacancy with a suitable person whose name had not been tarnished with corruption or fraud. He had no role in the naming of a person to fill the vacancy, Mayadunne said. Addressing parliament, Mayadunne earlier more..

Why small states matter in international politics: The case of Sri Lanka

Sep 4 (BI) Sri Lanka occupied little thought throughout the West for much of the period since independence in 1948. In the last few years, however, Sri Lanka began to feature as a country of strategic relevance to great powers, particularly China and the United States. Sitting at the center of the Indian Ocean, halfway between China and the key energy resources in the Middle East, Beijing has sought to influence politics on the island. But it has suffered blows this year, more..

Career and Skills Summit coincides with President’s ambition: British HC

Sep 4 (Island) The Career and Skills Summit which is to be held in Colombo encompassing 75 top companies across 7 industries with prospective job offers for skilled UK graduates and youth with UK qualifications seems to coincide with President Maithripala Sirisena’s ambition to develop the human capital of young Sri Lankans, James Dauris - British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and Maldives said Wednesday. When the British Council launched ‘Opportunities’ more..

Atapattu resigns as Sri Lanka coach

Sep 4 (CI) Marvan Atapattu has resigned as Sri Lanka coach, SLC has announced. His resignation was accepted by the board. Neither the board, nor Atapattu has offered a reason for the decision. Atapattu had officially held the position since September last year, but had effectively been head coach since April 2014, after Paul Farbrace's departure. Before that, he had worked as batting coach of the team since 2011. more..

Wimal Weerawansa slams President

Sep 4 (CG) NFF leader and UPFA Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa today slammed President Maithripala Sirisena over some of his actions, including with regards to the opposition leader post. Speaking in Parliament today, Weerawansa said that the President has continuously worked against the UPFA at the Parliamentary elections. He said the President never took part in UPFA election rallies or attended press conferences in support of the UPFA ahead of election day. more..

Fitch maintains Ceylon Income Fund on rating watch negative

Sep 4 (DN) Fitch Ratings has maintained the (A(lka)) National Fund Credit Quality Rating of the Ceylon Income Fund on Rating Watch Negative. The National Fund Volatility Rating is V-NR. The maintenance of the RWN is driven by an increase in the proportion of the fund rated only by Lanka Rating Agency (LRA) following redemption activity in the fund. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka issued a statement in July 2015 saying that LRA is not entitled to assess, more..

Sampanthan moots new scheme for devolution of power

Sep 4 (ENS) R. Sampanthan, TNA leader and the new Leader of Opposition, has suggested that substantial power be devolved to three to five regions in the country to enable their Chief Ministers to serve the people in the best possible manner. Sampanthan said: “I was thinking to myself this morning, rather than having so many ministers at the Center, why can’t we have 3-5 regions in this country more..

First genuine National Govt: Mangala

Sep 4 (Island) In the wake of TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s appointment as the Leader of the Opposition, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera declared that the Maithripala Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration was the first genuine National Government in post-independence Sri Lanka. The following is the full text of the statement issued by Minister Samaraweera: "Today, the 3rd of Sept 2015, will be remembered as a red letter day in Sri Lanka’s political history. more..

Man hangs himself in police cell

Sep 4 (CT) A 44-year-old suspect, a resident of Eppawela, has committed suicide by hanging whilst being detained at the Thirappane Police. The Police Media Unit informed that the suspect had been arrested on Wednesday (2) evening at 6 p.m. with Kassippu. The suspect was arrested on charges of bootlegging moonshine liquor and was to be presented at the Anuradhapura Magistrate's Court on charges for the possession of illicit alcohol, on Thursday (3). more..

Video: Gota, Duminda grilled for 3 hrs

Sep 4 (DM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former MP Duminda Silva and two others have been questioned by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources, and Privileges (PRECIFAC) for more than three hours this morning. They have been asked to appear at the PRECIFAC tomorrow as well. more..

'Will hand over KP to India for any probe'

Sep 4 (DM) Former minister John Amarathunga said the govt will be compelled to hand over former chief international arms procurer for the LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan if India wanted him in connection with the killing of former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi. Mr. Amarathunga said it had now been revealed that all evidence against Kumaran Pathmanathan who provided the funds to the LTTE and nourished it had been completely destroyed during the Rajapaksa regime. more..

'No previous govt had such overwhelming two-thirds majority'

Sep 4 (Island) Former UPFA Southern Provincial Council member and convenor of an organisation representing the interests of the armed forces, Maj. Ajith Prasanna said that the UNP-SLFP coalition was meant to achieve a two-thirds majority in parliament. He described accommodating TNA leader R. Sampanthan, MP, as the leader of the Opposition as a key element in the joint UNP-SLFP strategy. Prasanna had been with the Sixth battalion of the Sinha Regiment (6SR) at more..

Parliament approves expansion of Cabinet from 30 to 48

Sep 4 (Island) A resolution moved by the govt seeking the approval of the House to increase the number of ministers from 30 to 48 was passed in Parliament with a majority of 127 votes. The resolution moved by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said: "Whereas UNP which obtained the highest number of seats in Parliament has formed a national govt, Parliament determines in terms of Article 46(4) of Constitution that the number of Ministers in more..

Ex JMO writes to Magistrate on Thajudeen’s autopsy

Sep 4 (DM) Ex Colombo JMO Prof. Ananda Samarasekera alleged that the present JMO had intimidated and pressurized doctors who conducted the first autopsy on the body of ruggerite Mohamed Waseem Thajudeen. In a letter addressed to Colombo Additional Magistrate, Dr, Samarasekera said he could not expect an impartial second post mortem examination report from the present JMO on Thajudeen’s death. Dr. Samarasekara also said he conducted the first postmortem examination more..

TNA agrees to give post of Chief Opposition Whip to JVP

Sep 4 (Island) The TNA has agreed to give the post of Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament to JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, party sources said. When the post of the Opposition Leader was obtained by a party usually the post of Chief Opposition Whip, too, went to the same party. Yet, the TNA had decided to hand that opportunity over to the JVP, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said his party would accept the position because it belonged to Opposition. more..

Released mails reveal Sri Lankan fury, debate over Clinton's rape remarks

Sep 4 (ENS) The recently released emails of US presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, reveal that Sri Lanka’s strong reaction to the then secretary of State, Hillary Clinton’s 2009 remarks over use of rape as an instrument of war unleashed an intense internal debate, which ultimately led to a partial retraction. On Sep 30, 2009, Clinton said at UNSC that rape had been “used as a tactic of war before in Bosnia, more..

SLFP tells Speaker it does’nt want Opposition Leader’s post

Sep 4 (Island) The new UPFA General Secretary Prof. Vishwa Warnapala informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya that the SLFP did not want the post of Opposition Leader since it was a member of the National Govt. Prof. Warnapala had, in his communication to the Speaker, said that 82 of the 95 UPFA MPs were from the SLFP. He had also pointed out that in view of the MoU with the UNP establishing a national govt, it was not possible for SLFP to also function as main Opposition more..

Paddy storing at Mattala, an act of revenge against the Rajapaksas: Namal

Sep 4 (DN) Condemning govt's decision to allow using Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport's storage facilities to store paddy, Namal Rajapaksa MP said that this was done as an act of revenge against the Rajapaksas. He said Mattala airport was one of the most successful development initiatives launched by the previous govt. He said that the airport built according to the latest international technical know-how was for the benefit of the present and future generation. more..

Video: Culture of excessive number of ministers must end: Sampanthan

Sep 4 (AD) Sri Lanka’s new Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan today said that while a national govt in the present context in the country may be a national need, it would have been better if the two parties would have been able to come together without an increase in the number of ministries. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today recognized the TNA Parliamentary Group Leader as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament. more..

Stop manufacturing illnesses without building hospitals

Sept 4 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena, in his widely-acclaimed policy statement at the ceremonial opening of the new Parliament on Tuesday, pledged that the social justice and sustainable development policies of the new National Govt would give high priority to national food production, environmental protection and rural economic development. Some important insights on these and related issues were given at a seminar held on August 27 by the Organisation for Good Living Practices. more..

The ceremonies are over, now walk the talk

Sept 4 (DM) In a policy statement to mark the ceremonial opening of the new Parliament on Tuesday -- more so the ceremonial beginning of a new era and a new political culture -- President Sirisena outlined the vision and goals of the first fully fledged National Govt since Independence. The House was packed with leading dignitaries and diplomats with former President Rajapaksa occupying a front seat and possibly reflecting on the truth and realities of a proclamation of more..

EU to partner with SL to face challenges

Sep 4 (CG) On its way to concluding the EU Election Observer Mission (EOM) to Sri Lanka which witnessed a well administered 2015 Parliamentary elections, the EU EOM on today distributed a wide variety of equipment to Sri Lankan civil society members. Accepting that civil society must be able to relay and receive information in an effective manner, not only during emergency operations but also in their day to day tasks, more..

Video: Don’t act like monkeys, says PM

Sep 4 (AD) The decision on the opposition leader post sparked uproar in parliament when MP Wimal Weerawansa this morning (3) questioned the government on the validity of the new appointment. This came after Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced that TNA parliamentary group leader and Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan has been appointed for the post. Weerawansa questioned that on which basis more..

GTF appreciates Sampanthan’s appointment, praises Prez, PM

Sep 4 (Island) Welcoming the appointment of TNA Chief R. Sampanthan, MP, as the Leader of the Opposition, the UK headquartered Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said that in Tamil speaking people’s struggle to achieve equality, justice, peace, respect and prosperity through democratic means, the step of appointing the new Speaker of Parliament in line with constitutional and parliamentary conventions more..

Coca Cola to settle oil leakage loss with Water Board

Sep 4 (DN) According to National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) estimates, the damage caused to the board by the recent oil leakage to the Kelani river is over Rs. 170 million. The Coca Cola Company has already expressed its willingness to pay the full damage after holding further discussions with the National Water Supply and Drainage Board. The leakage of oil into the Kelani river was discovered on August 17. more..

Video: Terrorism cause of unresolved issues says CBK

Sep 4 (CG) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said that terrorism was extreme manifestation of long unresolved issues and inclusive and sustainable development was key to resolve such conflicts. She says treating all communities as one was very important. She also said that to overcome conflict there must be engagement to address root causes for the conflict. Kumaratunga was speaking in New Delhi more..

Sanga yet to get official invite to be envoy to UK

Sep 4 (PO) Kumar Sangakkara is yet to receive the official proposal to be the Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to UK. The 38-year-old former wicket-keeper and the left-handed batsman was offered the post by his country’s president Maithripala Sirisena during his farewell Test match which ended on Aug 24 at P. Sara Oval in Colombo. “At present Sangakkara is playing the County matches (for Surrey) in London. more..

PNM faults SLFP for forfeiting its responsibility to people who elected them

Sep 4 (Island) The Patriotic National Movement (PNM) alleged that the appointment of TNA leader R. Sampanthan as the Leader of the Opposition reflected the failure on the part of the SLFP to recognise its hallowed responsibility to represent those who had exercised their franchise for the coalition. The SLFP leadership had conveniently forgotten that over 4.7 mn people who voted for the SLFP-led coalition never more..

PM promises solution to paddy crisis after discussions with President, all party leaders

Sep 4 (Island) Action to resolve the prevailing paddy crisis would be taken through discussions with President Sirisena and all party leaders, PM Wickremesinghe told Parliament. In the meantime, govt had requested all private traders to pay a reasonable price to the farmers for thier produce, he said. PM Wickremesinghe said so while responding to questions raised by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on the crisis more..

JVP nominates Bimal Ratnayake as NL MP

Sep 4 (AD) The JVP has nominated Bimal Ratnayake as a National List MP for the seat vacated due to the resignation of S. Mayadunne, JVP Secretary Tilvin Silva said. Ratnayake contested the rElection from the Gampaha District, however failed to secure a seat in Parliament. Former Auditor General Sarathchandra Mayadunne yesterday resigned from his seat after making a special statement in Parliament. more..

New Ministers sworn in

Sep 9 (AD) The swearing in ceremony of the new Cabinet of the National Govt commenced at the Presidential Secretariat. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was the first to take oaths as the Minister of National Policy and Economic Affairs before President Maithripala Sirisena. In total 42 Cabinet Ministers including Wijedasa Rajapaksa and D.M. Swaminathan, who have already been appointed as ministers, were sworn in today. more..

Tamil question

Sept 4 (CT) Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, 82, Leader of TNA and a Member of the Federal Party, a constituent party of the TNA, was appointed as the Opposition Leader in SL's 8th Parliament under the present Constitution and its 15th since the eve of independence, yesterday. TNA derives its vote base largely from the Tamils living in the North and East of the country. Sampanthan first entered Parliament in 1977 on the TULF ticket, representing the Trincomalee constituency more..

Whither the Republic?

Sept 4 (CT) Over the last two weeks or so, in the immediate aftermath of my singular statement on the National List issue, I opted for a self-imposed media silence, politely refraining from commenting on many matters to our colleagues in the Press; I express my sincere gratitude to all of you for that kind courtesy and understanding extended, for allowing me that little window of space. I was silent, primarily, as I did not wish to be misunderstood (or misquoted), that my stand which was taken on principle more..

Purified water projects for kidney patients

Sept 4 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says, as a govt he expects to initiate a project within next two years to supply purified water to the people in the areas where there is a threat of spreading kidney diseases. The President made these remarks at a ceremony to offer a water filter which has the capacity of filtering 24000 liters per day for kidney patients at Sudarshanarama Temple in Thalakolawewa, Medirigiriya today (3). more..

Stocks down 0.4%; Low investor activity

Sep 4 (LBO) Stocks closed down 0.42% on Friday with low investor activity and most of the banking sector stocks making losses. All Share Price Index closed down 30.39 points at 7,215.11, lower 0.42%. S&P SL20 closed 22.63 points lower at 3,956.21 down 0.57%. Turnover was 540 million rupees, down from 566 million rupees, Thursday with 40 stocks closing positive against 103 negative. Main index showed losses in Ceylon Tobacco Company closing at 961 rupees down 18.50 rupees. more..

Sri Lanka mulls freer trade in Gems, Tea

Sep 4 (EN) Sri Lanka’s new govt is considering further opening up the economy and allowing more trade in commodities like gems and tea that now are protected against imports, a ruling party legislator said. Harsha de Silva, former Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, said the business community should think afresh and consider the prospects of speeding up economic growth by the island becoming a trading hub. “What about the hub concept?” he asked more..