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Splendour outside window, squalor inside

Sep 5 (ST) The first class observation compartment of the Badulla train is highly favoured for its panoramic views of the scenic beauty enroute. But its popularity is under threat. Passengers are taken by surprise by the poor state of the compartment, with seats falling apart, upholstery missing in parts, an unpleasant smell and unclean toilets. Travellers complain they have to spend more than 10 hours in a poorly maintained compartment lacking proper lighting or air-conditioning despite more..

'We will not forget what China has done'

Sept 5 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka will maintain the close relationship with China that provided strong support to help SL end its 30-year civil war with the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009, a leading military officer has said. "Without China's support we would have not been able to finish the war, basically," Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka said. China is one of Sri Lanka's oldest and strongest friends and the nation provided assistance more..

Madhushanka Disappearance: Top cop covered by Police sleuths?

Sep 5 (CT) The Association of Families of the Disappeared yesterday (2) staged a protest opposite the Fort Railway Station against non-action of the Yahapalanaya (good governance) Government to properly investigate the disappearance of Sinhalese and Tamil individuals, claiming this to be vital to transparency in establishing the rule of law. President of the Association of Families of the Disappeared and the Right to Life – Human Rights Centres, Brito Fernando, said more..

Gota, Duminda to appear before PRECIFAC on Sept 17, 18

Sep 5 (DM) Former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Duminda Silva and seven others would be summoned before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources, and Privileges (PRECIFAC) on Sept 17 and 18 for further questioning. Commission Secretary Lacille De Silva said they hoped to finish recording the evidence within next two hearings. Evidence was recorded from employees of more..

The mysterious passenger - true story

Sep 5 (CT) It was 26 Dec 2004. The thick darkness of dawn was felt all over Sri Lanka as well as in the village of Thelwatte on this Unduwap Full Moon Poya day. Those who had come to observe Sil on Poya day at the temple also felt some mysteriousness. Unlike other days the environment seemed to be covered in extremely thick darkness. There was no sign of the rising sun in the sky either. When the Express train plying from Colombo more..

Polonnaruwa paddy not infected by pests

Sep 5 (GDI) Food Security Ministry has announced that pests have not damaged any of the paddy stocks purchased from the Polonnaruwa District during the Maha cultivation season. It was reported in the media recently that pests have damaged paddy stocks purchased by Cooperative Societies during the Maha season from the Polonnaruwa District. Taking cognizance of this report, PM’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake informed the Polonnaruwa District Secretary and more..

Sampanthan's appointment helps Sirisena checkmate Rajapaksa

Sep 5 (ENS) The appointment of TNA chief R.Sampanthan as Leader of Opposition in the parliament on Thursday, has helped President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe checkmate former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s efforts to come back to the political center-stage. Although 55 MPs of the UPFA had handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and UPFA Chairman Maithripala Sirisena, a signed petition requesting them to appoint Kumara Welgama as more..

'SL would have experienced massive killings if Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to power'

Sep 5 (ET) Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tenure as the President of Sri Lanka ran a police state and if he was successful in returning to power as PM in recent parliamentary polls the country would have experienced massive killings of innocents, according to Chandrika Kumaratunga, former President of SL. Kumarantunga, who played a key role in unseating Rajapaksa in last January's Presidential polls, that her visit to India more..

PM to visit India on Sept 14

Sept 5 (AM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will be in New Delhi on a three-day visit from Sept 14 to 16. Wickremesinghe will be having meetings with Indian leaders including PM Narendra Modi on Sept 15 and leave the next day, the report said further. Meanwhile, President Maithripala Sirisena will be visiting India from Oct 8 to 10. This visit is linked to promoting Buddhism as a link between Asian countries. PM Modi, hailing from the ancient Buddhist center of Vadnagar in Gujarat, more..

Kaushal’s action to be tested in Chennai

Sep 5 (NS) Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal who was reported for a suspect illegal bowling action at the end of the third Test against India at the SSC last Tuesday will leave for Chennai on Sept 13 to have his action tested at the Sri Ramachandra University which is an ICC accredited centre. Kaushal will be accompanied by Sri Lanka Cricket’s Head of Coaching Jerome Jayaratne. Kaushal, 22, has played six Tests and one ODI for Sri Lanka, having made his international debut in Dec 2014. more..

'Knowledge of medical professionals would be a great help for progress of mankind'

Sep 5 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena said that the awareness on keeping up to date with latest medical inventions as well as medical researches and studies among medical professionals, would be of great help for the progress of mankind. President made these observations addressing the Annual Conference of the Anesthesia Professionals, held at the National Hospital in Colombo. more..

JVP raised Coca-Cola issue with all relevant authorities: Lalkantha

Sep 5 (AM) JVP Politburo Member K.D. Lalkantha refuted allegations that it has been inactive on the water pollution incident in the Kelani River, adding that the party has raised the issue with all relevant authorities. He said that the JVP contacted all relevant officials, govt institutions and the political authorities, requesting a speedy solution to the problem. The relevant institutions gave an assurance that the issue would be resolved quickly, Lalkantha said. more..

Team of Newcastle vets on a mercy mission to help dying dogs in Sri Lanka

Sep 5 (CL) Three veterinary angels of mercy have returned from a mission to Sri Lanka to help poorly dogs. Vets Mandy Ball, Janey Lowes and Amy Steel, along with nurses Claire Walker and Rebecca Lawrence, spent two weeks in Sri Lanka neutering, vaccinating and treating diseased and neglected stray dogs that roam the country. The visit was set up a year ago by their colleague Janey Lowes who has been volunteering in Sri Lanka for almost a year, where she has organised more..

'National govt label is to conceal the need of splitting ministries among themselves'

Sep 5 (LT) The national govt labels are to conceal the foul smelling need of splitting ministries among themselves states the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka. Speaking further he said, “Rajapaksa regime was brought down on 8th January not only because of personal weaknesses of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. The regime was brought down because the moves were a hindrance to the country as well as the people. more..

Leader of the Opposition

Sep 6 (SO) Will 2015 be a year of pivotal politics for Sri Lanka? It is possible to read into the political events that have swept through this island many significant developments or, at least, the portents of developments. The shift in the presidency has been hailed by political scientists as well as commentators as a shift from a culture of superstition-ridden, feudal-type politics to a culture of modernist, republicanism. How far this change will go, remains to be seen. more..

Sirisena’s great political feat

Sep 6 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena together with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe accomplished a great political feat on Friday by setting seal on a National Govt with the swearing in of the cabinet of ministers. When Maithripala Sirisena broke ranks with his party ten months ago and was declared a Common Candidate at the presidential election, he was a little known politician. His proposal for a national govt was not rejected but not taken seriously as well. more..

KP, Cabraal and Mahendran cases: Masses bewildered over sudden turn of events

Sep 6 (SO) There is a discernible shift in the legal position relating to certain controversial characters who had been accused of serious crimes. People are bewildered as to how this volte-face took place. We sought the views of Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe on this matter. Q: How is it that the Attorney General (AG) is now taking up the position that KP didn’t carry out any terrorist activity? more..

TNA’s Sampanthan Opp. Leader, much to the chagrin of UPFA rebels

Sep 6 (ST) As to who should get the coveted Post of Leader of the Opposition in the 8th Parliament of SL, was the subject of much debate, after the two main parties, UNP and SLFP, main constituent party in the UPFA, decided to form a national govt at the conclusion of the Aug 17 General election. The ITAK with 16 MPs staked a claim to the post early on, but the SLFP too said it would vie for the post, while so did a group of UPFA MPs who wanted to function separately in Parliament. more..

Vallibel One has grown into a diversified conglomerate

Sep 6 (Island) Vallibel One, the Dhammika Perera holding company with strategic investments in financial services, tile and sanitary ware manufacturing and leisure has grown into a highly diversified conglomerate, the company’s recently released annual report said. Its sector-specific operations are carried out through several subsidiaries - Royal Ceramic Lanka, LB Finance, Delmege Ltd and Greener Water Ltd. Further, company owns 22.2 % of Waskaduwa Beach more..

'We will oppose issues that are not in the national interest'

Sep 6 (SL) Speaker announced last Thursday, TNA leader R. Sampanthan as the Leader of the Opposition. Speaker’s announcement was made when the House met at 9.30 last Thursday. Speaker stated in Parliament that R. Sampanthan was appointed as the Opposition Leader as there was no request made by UPFA with regard to the post. However there were opposing views with regard to his appointment. more..

Economy & Reconciliation

Sep 6 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake are in for a rough ride. On the very day they accepted their new portfolios of National Policy & Economic Affairs and Finance respectively, key portfolios dealing with the economy, the exchange rate (ER) plunged sharply by between 2-2.4%, or by between Rs 2.75 to Rs 3.25, where such a steep drop was last seen 3½ years ago on 9 Feb 2012, when the shadow of IMF was hovering large over SL's economy then. more..

The noise that the Speaker made

Sep 6 (ST) My dear Karu, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on your appointment as Speaker of the House. It is a just reward for your long years of service to the country and, looking at the new Parliament we have just elected with so many old faces, it is hard to think of someone more suited for this job. I hope, Karu, that you are not disappointed at not being appointed a minister. Watching the Cabinet finally take oaths on Friday was like watching a mega teledrama: more..

'It’s not a national govt but a coalition'

Sep 6 (SL) JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva says the party is still of the view that according to the Constitution of the country, the government that is formed is not a national government but a coalition government which is formed by a few political parties in parliament only with the intention to increase the ministerial portfolios to satisfy those in the government but not for the benefit of the country and its people. more..

The long march begins

Sep 6 (Island) Readers absorbing the news of yet another jumbo cabinet may well have thought with celebrated French journalist and novelist, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, that the more things change, still they remain the same. The size of the yet incomplete cabinet would have surprised nobody. The cobbling together of the so-called national govt required the farming out of ministries, and along with them money making and patronage dispensing opportunities to those so minded more..

Cabinet formation: Sirisena loyalists get the best jobs

Sep 6 (Island) When the cabinet was sworn in last Friday, what many people suspected would happen, did happen. The formation of the cabinet was delayed in a manner unprecedented in the political history of this country because of the bargaining that was going on between the Sirisena faction of the SLFP and the UNP. Clearly in the deals that were struck, the UNP has been seriously short changed. Even though it is said that the 42 ministries that were distributed on Friday had more..

'All concerns were addressed before forming the govt'

Sep 6 (SL) Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that UNP and SLFP have already addressed the concerns that prevailed before forming the national govt and have reached a consensus related to those matters of concern. He also dismissed the concerns over the national govt raised by the JVP which according to JVP was defined as a coalition govt. Kiriella stated that as far as the UNP is concerned what more..

MR lying low?

Sep 6 (SO) By taking part in the SLFP’s 64th anniversary ceremony at President Sirisena’s hometown, Polonnaruwa, former President Rajapaksa showed that he is more thick-skinned than most politicians of his era. On the one hand, the anniversary ceremony was held in the hometown of President Sirisena. As if to drive a point home, the organisers invited as keynote speaker Professor Sarath Wijesuriya, a staunch critic of the Rajapaksa administration and a key member of more..

Beginning of a new political culture

Sep 6 (SL) Sri Lanka’s 8th Parliament was sworn in this past week under the leadership of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The parliament swearing in was a pre-cursor to the eventual finalisation of the national government with the swearing in of the cabinet, comprising of UNP and SLFP Ministers. With negotiations between the UNP and the SLFP regarding the national govt being finalised at the start of the week, attention turned to the cabinet and the post of Opposition Leader. more..

'People don't need MPs of my calibre'

Sep 6 (CT) Former Auditor General Sarath Mayadunne who entered Parliament on the JVP National List and resigned his seat last Thursday said the people did not want representatives of his kind in Parliament. He said his priority was to fight against corruption. He lamented that the people had endorsed corruption at the last general election by returning corrupt candidates to Parliament. Q: Why did you resign from more..

Checks and balances are vital

Sep 6 (ST) One of the significant aspects one notices when a President visits Parliament – not as a Minister of Finance, but as the President, is where he sits. He occupies the Speaker’s chair — and the Speaker comes down from his pedestal to take a seat below the President. Clearly, it denotes who the Boss is; the supremacy of the Executive President over Parliament. 19th Amendment which was passed a few months before the August General Elections has not changed that supremacy more..

New minister wants a sporting nation

Sep 6 (SO) New Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera may not be the firebrand he appears to be but he could mean serious business as he sets out to make Sri Lanka in his words a sporting nation while declaring that the Sports Law will be implemented to the last letter to avoid conflict with international governing bodies. Claiming to still be the Kung Fu fighter he was as a teenager, Minister Jayasekera said he will brook no nonsense and leave no room for lethargy while more..

Haturusinghe as head coach?

Sep 6 (ST) Former Sri Lanka Shadow Coach Chandika Haturusinghe is likely to join SLC as its Head Coach before next month’s West Indies inbound tour. The move to get Haturusinghe, who is at present coaching the high-riding Bangladesh team, was in the air for the past few weeks and it gained momentum after the incumbent coach Marvan Atapattu tendered his resignation to SL cricket authorities, and it was accepted. more..

Vehicle registrations set to surpass 2011 record

Sep 6 (SO) Vehicle registrations across all sectors increased 93 percent to 344,570 from January to July this year compared to 178,439 registered in the corresponding period last year, motor traders said. Past Chairman, Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), Tilak Gunasekera said growth figures this year will outdo 2011’s registration of 525,421 vehicles. “We are confident that vehicle registrations will reach around 6,000 units by the end of this year. The low import duty, interest rates, fuel cost more..

Sri Lankan cricketers under fire for skipping team bus

Sep 6 (Island) The players of the national cricket team have come under intense criticism for regularly skipping the team bus and arriving at match venues in their private vehicles. Throughout the last two series against Pakistan and India, Sri Lanka’s cricketers were seen driving to the venue - even on match days - in their luxury vehicles behind the team bus. When this was brought to the notice of a Sri Lanka Cricket official, he admitted that the situation had got out of hand and more..

Seeman to take LTTE struggle forward

Sep 6 (CT) South Indian film director, actor and Leader of Naam Thamilar Katchi, Senthamilan Seeman, is on record fanning the LTTE, protesting and going to prison for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. Seeman and wife Kayalvili welcomed Sulochana Ramiah Mohan of Ceylon Today to his Chennai residence in a warm manner. He is a welcoming host and his wife even goes to the extent of cooking a meal for his visitors more..

Past athletes to do a special lap

Sep 6 (ST) A dozen athletic greats of yesteryear met last week at the auditorium of the Director General of the Ministry of Sports, to officially launch the National Champions of Sri Lanka Athletic (NCSLA) spearheaded by former national long jump and triple jump champion Gregory de Silva. The inaugural meeting was attended by De Silva, who is the founder General Secretary, former top athletes A.S.M. Khan, Wimalasena Perera, Janendra Fernando, Prince Barthelot, more..

Sri Lanka wins both preliminaries on day one

Sep 6 (ST) Sri Lanka will take on Malaysia in the Cup quarter-final of the first leg of ARFU Rugby Sevens Series after winning both their pool games in Beijing, yesterday. If Sri Lanka wins the game against Malaysia they are set to take on the winner of the second Cup quarter-final between Hong Kong and China. The other two knockout games are between South Korea and Kazakhstan and Japan and the Philippines. Yesterday turning out from Pool ‘B’ Sri Lanka beat Kazakhstan 24-12 and more..

EAM spent billions on foreign jaunts

Sep 6 (SL) Ministry of External Affairs (EAM) had incurred expenses to the tune of over Rs. 9 billion in 2014, documents seen by Sunday Leader revealed. Some ministries of the former regime had been accused of being involved in widespread fraud and corruption. EAM is alleged to have been among the most corrupt, when taken into account the extravagant travelling patterns and lavish spending of its previous administration. more..

NITF evaluates bids to link up with a foreign re-insurer

Sep 6 (ST) Sri Lanka’s sole re-insurance agency, National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) will soon be linking up with a foreign re-insurer to get appropriate re-insurance protection in the event of a major natural disaster. “NITF has called for expressions of interest from world renowned re-insurers and the response for it was highly positive”, Manjula de Silva, Chairman of NITF said. “At least 20 re-insurance companies have sent their bids and we are in the process of selecting one of them,” more..

Govt securities market: Foreign exits exceed Rs 100B

Sep 6 (CT) A massive Rs. 25 Billion (Rs 24,751 Million) was drained out from the govt securities market due to continued foreign investor exit in the week ended Wednesday, taking such exits in the 20 weeks to Wednesday to Rs 114,722.75 million. Such foreign exits are currently caused due to the expectation that the Federal Reserve System would raise its near zero interest rates, last increased nine years ago, due to the recovery of the US economy, as early as this month. more..