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Kabir Hashim

Pressure mounts on govt to meet UNHRC commitments

July 10 (Island) After the talks on VAT with the representatives of regional chambers of commerce broke down earlier this week, anti-VAT hartals broke out in the Ratnapura and Hambantota and it appears as if things will build up into a countrywide showdown if the govt does not take a step backwards. In places like Ja-ela & Ampara town, governing parties had tried to use their influence to blunt campaign by persuading some shopkeepers to keep their establishments open. more..

MR ditches his own Shadow Cabinet

July 10 (SO) The shadow cabinet, announced by the UPFA dissident group in Parliament turned into a farce in less than 24 hours with its Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning from his portfolio, causing embarrassment to the group which calls itself the Joint Opposition and supports the former President. An annoyed and disappointed Rajapaksa, informed the Joint Opposition group, on Friday, that the so-called shadow cabinet had distorted his ideas. more..

Will Maithri succumb to int'l pressure?

July 10 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena reiterated his pledge to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country above anything else stressing that he will not allow any foreign Court, Judge or organization to meddle in the country's internal affairs relating to governance or the Judiciary. The President, in a clear statement at the 70th National Upasampada Vinayakarma (Higher Ordination) ceremony of Ramanna more..

SLC Chief backs captain Mathews

July 10 (Island) SLC chief Thialnga Sumathipala put a firm end to speculation that Angelo Mathews will be replaced as SL captain ahead of the upcoming bilateral series against Australia when he firmly backed the under fire skipper. SL cricket has hit new lows under Mathews and since 2015 the team has suffered home series defeats to India and Pakistan and were humiliated in England and NZ. This year the team entered both the Asia Cup and the World T-20 as defending champions, but more..

Australia - Sri Lanka rivalry to resume

July 10 (Island) There's simply no break for the national cricket team. Sri Lankans finished their two month long tour of England earlier this week and next week they will be back at training preparing for the bilateral series against Australian tourists. Australia's captain Steven Smith has already arrived in the island and the first batch of players will arrive today followed by the second set tomorrow. Can Sri Lankans improve their disastrous record against one of the finest cricket teams more..

‘Colombo’s implementation of UN resolution remains poor’

July 10 (Hindu) Nine months since the adoption of a resolution by the UNHRC the implementation of a majority of commitments made by the Sri Lanka govt on accountability and reconciliation fronts has been poor, a think-tank has found. In its study, Verité Research said there had been 36 commitments in five broad areas — transitional justice and reconciliation; rights and rule of law; security and demilitarisation; power-sharing; more..

Darren Lehmann hopes tour will spark a sub-continent renaissance

July 10 (Age) Coach Darren Lehmann hopes the three-Test tour of Sri Lanka will lay the groundwork for an Australian renaissance on the sub-continent. Australia has only the one Test win in Asian conditions in the past decade – against Sri Lanka in Galle in 2011, which was enough to secure a series win. That has been their only series win in their past five attempts. In what will be another hectic 12 months for the world champions, the home summer will be followed by a four-Test series in India, more..

SLSRFA decides final at Racecourse

July 10 (SO) Following the intervention of Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam the controversy surrounded Milo inter-schools President Trophy knockout rugby final between Isipathana and Royal is scheduled to take place at the Race Course on July 13 commencing 4.30 pm. The issue of when and where to play the final has been in debate for almost a week with SLSRFA unable to come to a strong and decisive decision after Isipathana had requested for a change of venue for the final. more..

Manjula given another life

July 10 (ST) They to ascertain if one of them could manage to break the timing barrier at the ongoing 94th National Athletic Championships which is being manually conducted. By yesterday, at the MR Stadium in Diyagama, the second day of the annual track and field meet of SL, the events meandered without even a single meet record. Kumara, whose personal best was 2.27m, cleared 2.17 and 2.24 in his first attempt, more..

Ongoing refurbishing hurt Hilton profits

July 10 (Island) Hotel Developers (Lanka), the owners of the Colombo Hilton, now fully owned by the govt has seen an earning downturn attributable to ongoing refurbishment in the nine months ended Dec. 31, 2015, when the after-tax profit declined to Rs. 26.6 million from Rs. 122.6 million a year earlier. This was despite the average room rate growing to Rs. 20,326 from Rs. 18,588 during the comparative period the previous year. Occupancy was down to 38% from 43% a year earlier. more..

Pettah lands for Megapolis transport hub

July 10 (SO) Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development has sought Cabinet approval for three major projects for immediate implementation. The three projects are public transport improvement, waste management and flood reduction interventions within the Western Megapolis region. Cabinet approved Rs. 8.2 billion for 2016 to implement eight projects under the storm water drainage improvement plan. “We expect Cabinet nod for implementation of transport project more..

COPE splits over TB issue

July 10 (CT) A clear divide among the members of COPE was seen last week, with regard to Treasury Bond (TB) scandal and former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran, when the UNP members of COPE attempted to exonerate the former CB Governor while the others, particularly the JVP, rejected claims made by the UNP group. When the COPE, presided by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, met on Tuesday, a presentation was more..

CID re-opens Sajin files

July 10 (SL) The CID has reopened investigations into a fraud case involving former MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena. Gunawardena was granted bail last Friday when he was produced in court. He was arrested by the CID last month for allegedly extorting money from a businessman. The former Foreign Ministry Monitoring MP was also arrested by the CID in May last year over a fraud case. He was arrested over allegations of misusing vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat. more..

Ranaweera to make revelation

July 10 (SL) Former CID Director SSP D.R.L. Ranaweera is said to be evading the CID in the investigations over the murder of former national team rugger player Wasim Thajudeen. Ranaweera had been summoned before the CID but he had failed to appear. He had told the CID that his wife was not well and as a result he could not appear on the date he was noticed to appear. Ranaweera had however given an undertaking to appear before the CID on another date and make a statement. more..

Yahapalanaya: Corruption galore at SLC

July 10 (CT) The govt's failure to appoint a high powered financial governing body, to scrutinize all large scale financial expenditure at Cricket Board, is bound to bring further losses to Sri Lanka Cricket. Had the govt, as promised earlier, been able to appoint such a financial governing body, all large scale tender evaluations as well as other expenses approved by Executive Committee in the guise of cricket development, more..

More JO members reject Shadow Cabinet

July 10 (SL) More Joint Opposition MPs have reportedly raised objections to the formation of a shadow cabinet. On Friday Joint Opposition MP Lohan Ratwatte said he had refused to be part of the shadow cabinet. Two other MPs including Premalal Jayasekara have also refused to join the shadow cabinet. Meanwhile Joint Opposition member Dullas Alahapperuma said that the shadow cabinet is only a form of a training being given to the opposition parliamentarians. more..

ETCA yet to be negotiated: Indian DPL

July 10 (SO) There is no draft Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) as yet. What has been exchanged between the two govts is a framework and negotiations will begin shortly. The framework is a guide to the agreement covering trade in goods and technical assistance, First Secretary, Indian High Commission Kartik Pande said on Monday. He said that the ETCA agreement was proposed by Lankan PM in Sept last year and negotiations will start in due course. more..

National Audit Bill grants sweeping powers to AG?

July 10 (SL) The proposed National Audit Bill grants sweeping powers to the Auditor General with some provisions charged of being draconian by certain quarters. A copy of the final draft of the National Audit Bill was submitted to the Office of the PM by Legal Draftsman on 14 June 2016. The new Act granted sweeping powers some of which breached accepted global best practices and norms, a source at AG’s dept, said. more..

Separate funding for Megapolis Project raises concerns from Treasury

July 10 (ST) Govt is planning to set up a separate fund to implement the Western Region Megapolis Project with a gigantic investment of US$44 billion, not without problems however. The Ministry of Finance is raising concerns over the issue citing the practice of all funds for govt projects coming from and being managed by the Treasury. There was only one instance in the past where a project deviated from this practice and that was the Akuregoda Defence hq building project fund more..

Fresh probe on Wele Suda, former IGP, MP links

July 10 (SL) A fresh investigation has been launched into the links between notorious heroin dealer Wele Suda and a former IGP as well as a former parliamentarian. The CID had investigated the links but the probe had later taken a back seat. CID sources told The Sunday Leader that the CID has now been ordered to launch a fresh investigation into the case. Initial investigations had revealed that Wele Suda had given money to construct a new house for the former IGP. more..

Govt-Air Force dispute over management of domestic airports

July 10 (ST) Govt has made a policy decision to transform domestic airports run by SL Air Force for civilian operations but Batticaloa facility which was recently re-furnished at a cost of Rs. 1 billion to be re-opened today – is still under military control. Opening is expected to be graced by President while Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, under whose purview civilian airports come, is a doubtful attendee due to the issue of SLAF more..

SriLankan to re-lease 3 old A330 – 300 to PIA

July 10 (ST) SriLankan Airlines is in talks to re-lease three A330 aircraft to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), officials at the national carrier said. This is a part of the restructuring of the debt-ridden airline by the Ministry of Public Enterprise and Development. “The lease payments of these three aircraft (leased out a long time ago) were too much for the airline,” an official said. He said that these are to be disposed of in order to accommodate part of the new fleet. more..

PM likely to visit Tirupati and Guruvayur

July 10 (PTI) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to offer worship at the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara near in Tirupati and the Sri Krishna temple at Guruvayur in Kerala soon. Talari Ravi, PRO of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) which manages the country's richest hill temple, said that Lankan PM expressed his desire of visiting the hill shrine and the Krishna temple at the earliest. PM disclosed this to TTD Chairman Chadalavada Krishnamurthy when more..

Alternative COPE report on bond issue on the offing: Is UNP involved in Bond scam?

July 10 (SO) If COPE members fail to arrive at an understanding on the Auditor General’s report on the Bond issue, a section of MPs representing the committee may present an alternative report on the Treasury Bonds issue to Parliament, informed political sources said. The UNP MPs representing the committee have already stated that they Auditor General’s report on the Bond issue is flawed as it lacks experts’ viewpoints on the matter. more..

Handunnetti throws challenge to Kiriella: 'Come up with better option'

July 10 (SO) COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti challenged Minister Lakshman Kiriella to come up with a better option than that of the Auditor General (AG) on the controversial Treasury Bond scandal and argue the issue on logical grounds. Minister Kiriella said “AG's report on the CB Treasury Bond issue was flawed as he had not sought an opinion from financial experts and economists before compiling it.” No UNP MP in COPE has however expressed any opposition to the report, more..

New US embassy complex to come up on 6-acre seaside in Kollupitiya

July 10 (SO) US State Department has given a US$ 155 million contract to a US construction for building a new embassy complex in Colombo. Alabama-based Caddell Construction Co. has received its 26th contract with the U.S. State Department after being awarded the design and build contract for the new U.S. Embassy in SL. Montgomery-based firm will be developing the 6-acre seaside site in Colombo, adjacent to the existing embassy building in heart of Colombo's elite Kollupitiya district. more..

President responds to widespread protests: VAT relief for the people

July 10 (ST) Countrywide protests over living costs, the result of the increase in VAT, appear to have spurned the Govt into action. President Sirisena was to initiate a string of measures after Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting where issues arising out of this situation figured prominently. He told ministers that they should put on hold overseas visits, return to their electorates and counter the fallout from the protests. more..

Central Bank lesson: Public Pressure can right govt wrongs

July 10 (Island) It would be too trite to say that all is well that ends well. For some, the Central Bank governorship did not end well at all. For the new Governor, it is only the beginning. There have been all round commendations for Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, far too all round perhaps for the liking of some in the government. The lunatic (f)lies about LTTE connection have been swatted away quite gallantly even by those who usually have opposition ointment ready for political flies. more..

Governor of the Central Bank: Why the Crisis?

July 10 (Island) The dignity and the position of a Governor of a CB has been brought to its lowest level as the Legislators have been embroiled in arguments on certain ethical issues relating to the previous holder of the position of the Governor of the CB. Some political parties and prominent civil society activists in the country had also expressed opposition to the reappointment of the previous Governor based on investigations of certain alleged fraudulent actions of the then Governor. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

July 10 (ST) The Commanding Officer of an Army unit is in hot water after he failed to recall four soldiers attached to a retired Major General. The fact that these four soldiers were working in a guest house owned by the retired officer, who served in key locations, came to light when Army Commander Lt. Gen. Crisantha de Silva received a telephone call. The caller, one of those who were deployed at the Guest House in the outskirts more..

Litro Gas tender under a cloud, Minister orders independent probe

July 10 (ST) The Ministry of Public Enterprise Development will commission independent procurement specialists to investigate the recent award of a lucrative gas tender to a Singapore-based company by Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. “I am not happy with what happened,” Minister Kabir Hashim said. “I have received complaints that the process was not transparent. However, the Board of Directors of Litro is defending it. more..

Nonis takes Daya, Shraepathi, Mano to court over Mackwoods saga

July 10 (CG) The battle for control over Mackwoods Securities (Pvt) Limited intensified with Dr. Chris Nonis, Chairman of the Mackwoods Group filing an action against the nominees who unsuccessfully sought to be appointed as Directors of Mackwoods Securities. The outsiders who sought to be appointed as Directors, Daya Ratnayaka, former Commander of the Army, Mano Tittawella, and Director of Trico Shraepathi Attanayake more..

Supreme Court terminates contract

July 10 (CT) Ranawaka Arachchige Patali Champika Ranawaka is a prominent Minister in the Yahapalana (good governance) Govt. He is a fiery speaker on the eradication of corruption. He is an electrical engineer by profession and was Minister of Power and Energy from 12 January to 17 August 2015. Ranawaka was given that portfolio with great expectations that he would render an excellent service to country more..

Cooking oil scam

July 10 (CT) A Sri Lankan kitchen without a bottle of cooking oil is indeed hard to find. Nowadays, palm oil is widely used in kitchens due to its affordability, versatility of use in a variety of foods and due to the uninterrupted supply of the product. It also includes healthy elements, is unique in composition and comes in a variety of products. What if the bottle of cooking palm oil you purchased from the grocery is also a sample of more..

Why we need to pay VAT: Pakistan JF-17 Fighter Jet deal going through

July 10 (CT) Sri Lanka will be shortly concluding the purchase deal with Pakistan for supply of 10 JF -17 Thunder multi-role Fighter Jets, developed in a joint Sino-Pakistan venture, with delivery expected early 2017. Pakistan has stationed Brigadier Muhammad Bashir in Colombo to work out the details of the deal. That will include finance arrangements, sources confirmed. The deal to purchase this stunning new multi-role fighter more..

‘SAITM graduates unqualified to treat the sick’

July 10 (SL) President, Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), Prof. Carlo Fonseka is adamant that Medical Council registration would not be given to students who have passed out from the SAITM. Prof. Fonseka who is a reputed medical specialist said that he does not want to give SLMC recognition to those who have not followed proper clinical training and thus put the patient’s life at risk. SLMC is the body that regulates more..

TN fishermen put their lives on line for a good catch

July 10 (Hindu) When they set out to sea they know that they will be fishing in troubled waters, literally. But it is a Hobson’s choice for them. The IMBL is the divider between loss of livelihood and imprisonment in Sri Lanka for about 3,500 who head towards the east in the Palk Bay from the Rameswaram fishing jetty. If they trespass into Sri Lankan waters, they are harassed and arrested by the SL Navy. more..

Kremlin-style re-structuring project under Megapolis Plan

July 10 (SO) In a Kremlin-style restructuring project under the Master Megapolis Plan, 113 govt institutions will be shifted to Battaramulla. President's House and the Secretariat will be set up close to the reclaimed land near Parliament and the PM's residence and office complex will be on the other side. Cabinet secretariat and offices of independent commissions will also be set up close by, bringing the more..

Land found for landless IDPs in Vavuniya

July 10 (Hindu) The govt has said it has found land for all 97 landless families of internally displaced persons, who have been living at the Poonthottam welfare camp in the Vavuniya district of the Northern Province. Forty acres of forest land in Puliyankulam of Vavuniya has been earmarked for 31 families. A decision to this effect was taken at a recent meeting chaired by President Sirisena. Already, for 66 families, 60 acres of land in more..