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Sri Lanka could join Bangladesh, Zimbabwe in second tier of Test nations

July 1 (AFP) Test cricket's newest nations are in despair at plans to split the format into two divisions, fearing it could undo decades of hard-fought progress on the field and kill interest in the game. Cricket's governing body the ICC is meeting in Edinburgh this week to debate proposals for the seven top-ranked teams to establish a de facto premier league in a bid to boost waning interest in Tests. more..

Sri Lanka's latest status symbol, a baby elephant

July 1 (AFP) Expensive and high-maintenance, baby elephants have become the ultimate status symbol for Sri Lanka's wealthy elite -- a trend that has horrified conservationists and prompted a government crackdown. Elephants are venerated in mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka and capturing them is illegal. Yet authorities say more than 40 have been stolen from national parks over the last decade and are being kept as pets. more..

Proliferation of illicit firearms triggers crime wave

July 1 (ST) Three days ago, a man was shot dead in broad daylight opposite the Mahara Magistrate’s Court. There were dozens of witnesses. Two weapons, a T-56 and a 9mm pistol, were used​ in a gruesome murder which showed illicit weapons are still in circulation. On June 17, a second General Amnesty (GA) of the Govt for the surrender of illicit firearms came to an end. 529 weapons were surrendered during first GA, more..

Sri Lanka's budget deficit narrows 14% in first four months of 2016

July 1 (EN) Sri Lanka's budget deficit fell 14% in the first four months of the year to Rs. 233.4 billion, down from Rs. 271.6 billion a year earlier, with tax revenues rising faster than spending amid an effective wage freeze. Revenues rose 20% to Rs. 472.7 billion, with tax revenues up 22% to Rs. 441.2 billion and non-tax revenues down 9% to Rs. 31.5 billion. Current spending rose 7% to Rs. 559.7 billion. more..

Canada tells Sri Lanka to put forward viable political solution

July 1 (CG) Canada says it continues to encourage the SL Govt’s efforts to advance reconciliation and accountability in the country as well as present a viable political solution in order to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankan citizens, regardless of language, religion, or ethnicity. The views were expressed by High Commissioner Shelley Whiting, in a message to mark Canada Day which falls today. more..

US keeps Sri Lanka on watch list in human trafficking report

July 1 (CG) The US has kept Sri Lanka on a watch list in the latest human trafficking report released by US Secretary of State John Kerry today. The report states that Sri Lanka is primarily a source and, to a lesser extent, a destination country, for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Some of the Sri Lankan men, women, and children who migrate to the Middle East, Southeast Asia, & Afghanistan more..

'Constitution won’t permit foreign judges in war crimes court'

July 1 (Island) Attorney-at-law Chrishmal Warnasuriya yesterday emphasized that foreign judges couldn’t be included in proposed war crimes court under any circumstances. Warnasuriya said that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s recent declaration that foreign judges were needed in the proposed hybrid court due to lack of credibility in the domestic justice system wasn’t acceptable. more..

Govt faces first major threat to unity

July 1 (EN) Sri Lanka's uneasy cohabitation between President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe faced its toughest test Friday over the replacement of controversial central bank chief Arjuna Mahendran. Sirisena was forced to eat humble pie as he failed to deliver on a promise Wednesday to name a new Governor as Wickremesinghe stood his ground defending his school-buddy Mahendran over anyone else, more..

Put this longevity to good use!

July 1 (CT) One, if given the time and the proper circumstances, cannot help but wonder how complex life can be. American author E.B. White superbly writes: There's no limit to how complicated things can get, on account of one thing always leading to another. When did things get so complicated, anyway? One cannot but wonder. Recently the Department of Census and Statistics reported that the life expectancy for males & females in the country has increased since 2012, more..

Sri Lankan shippers say new rule abused to levy unfair fees

July 1 (EN) A new global rule requiring verification of container weights is being abused by some companies which move freight to levy extra charges and make unfair profits, the head of the Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council (SLSC) said. Sean van Dort, chairman of SLSC, said unfair trade practices were continuing despite govt regulations being gazetted that prohibit such charges. “Unfortunately a handful of shippers had not read the gazette notification and have become victims of their own ignorance,” more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon: Catch me if you can!

Sri Lankan shares snap nine sessions of falls on bargain hunting

July 1 (Reuters) Shares rose for the first time in 10 sessions on Friday as investors bought beaten-down equities. The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.06% firmer at 6,287.09, after shedding 2.83% in the nine sessions through Thursday. It lost 1.3% this week, its third straight weekly fall. "We saw some bargain hunting in the market. It's a fresh month and investors were on the buying side after the margin covering at the end of the month," said a stockbroker asking not to be identified. more..

Docs on four-hour token strike next Monday over six issues

July 1 (Island) The GMOA warned it would stage a four hour token strike on Monday morning over six issues including an alleged attempt to amend the doctors Service Minute without consulting relevant stakeholders. GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen de Zoysa said the union would also protest against the govt moves to go ahead with moves to sign the Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) without formulating a national policy on international agreements. more..

An anatomy of arrogance: Bankrupting SL

July 1 (CT) It is doubtful that our PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has read Leon Trotsky. However, I think the Constitutional Scholar and member of Parliament Mr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne PC has read Trotsky who famously said that the “depth and strength of human character are defined by its moral reserves”. In those idyllic times of hope in January 2015, I remember calling Mr. Wickramaratne to express my utter alarm, more..

Ostentatious Iftars & Obnoxious poverty

July 1 (CT) Islam, like Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism advocates simplicity in life and abhors ostentation and arrogant display of personal wealth. Among Islam’s celebrated five pillars namely, the confession of faith, daily prayers, fasting, obligatory charity and pilgrimage to Mecca, fasting from pre-dawn to dusk for thirty days during the month of Ramadhan represents material sacrifice for the sake of the Divine. By avoiding food, drink and physical and sensual pleasures more..

Fonterra, Peradeniya Uni, CRI team up to develop dairy industry

July 1 (Island) Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka signed a tri-partite MOU on with the University of Peradeniya and the Coconut Research Institute (CRI) to develop dairy industry in Sri Lanka. Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka said that it would assist in building a more productive and sustainable Sri Lankan dairy industry. The joint research project will help produce fodder in different conditions providing the local dairy industry with much scientific information on how to improve the quality thereof. more..

Shivajilingam calls for an OHCHR office in North and East

July 1 (CG) TNA, NPC member M K Shivajilingam has called for the establishment of an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the North and East. In a statement to the UNHRC, he said the Tamil people in SL have suffered tremendously for the last 70 years, and today more than ever, they are counting on the UN and int'l community to give them justice and their political rights, more..

Mahinda’s new political force not a challenge for UNP: Nalin

July 1 (AD) New national political force which is to be created under the leadership of former President Rajapaksa will pose absolutely no challenge to the UNP, MP Nalin Bandara said. We will be able to see whether there is a political force surrounding Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next election, he said. “I know that the forces around him will never be able to form a govt.” He claimed that former President’s only intention is to exact revenge from President Sirisena and to impede his work. more..

Constable cook who stole drugs from police hospital in the soup

July 1 (Island) A Police Hospital constable cook was arrested on Wednesday night by the Narahenpita police while he was running away with a stock of drugs worth nearly Rs 500,000 stolen from the Police Hospital. According to investigations conducted so far the suspect had stolen medicinal drugs four times earlier and sold them to the brother of another employee serving at the police hospital, a top ranking police officer said last night. The officer said that the Police Hospital authorities more..

Video: Prof. Fonseka to resign if SAITM students are registered

July 1 (DM) Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) Chairman Carlo Fonseka said he would resign if those who pass out from the SAITM in Malabe were given provisional registration to practice as doctors in Sri Lanka. He said this during a meeting held with GMOA. GMOA Treasurer Nalinda Herath said that Prof. Fonseka told them that SLMC stance on SAITM controversy remains unchanged despite any political interference. more..

Parents, teachers protest against Thewarapperuma’s behavior

July 1 (CG) Parents and teachers of a school in Mathugma today staged a protest against behaviour of Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma. He attempted to commit suicide inside the school in Mathugama yesterday in an attempt to force the school to admit some students. He tied himself to a ceiling fan and attempted to commit suicide. He was later taken to hospital. Minister had earlier staged a fast against the refusal to allow a group of students to be admitted to the school. more..

Namal pumped billions into listed companies

July 1 (CT) FCID yesterday informed Colombo Additional Magistrate that it has launched a probe into documents belonging to a few firms listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in which UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa is alleged to have invested billions of rupees earned in the recent past using his official as well as political clout. The FCID informed Court that many other documents, belonging to MP Namal Rajapaksa's twin firms NR Consultancy and Gower's Cooperate Service Private Limited, more..

Sri Lanka March 2016 trade gap widens 20%

July 1 (EN) Sri Lanka’s trade deficit expanded by 20.2% to US$ 621 million in March 2016 from a year ago with both exports and imports down, the central bank said. However, cumulative trade deficit during the first three months of 2016 contracted by 2.2% to US$ 1,867 million from the same period of 2015. Earnings from exports declined by 11.2% to US$ 945 million in March 2016 from US$ 1,065 million recorded in Mar 2015, more..

Athletes shocked over poor organizing

July 1 (CT) Poor organizing and management was once again highlighted at the ongoing Western Province (WP) Schools Athletics Championships continued at Diyagama. The athletes were shell-shocked about the poor facilities at a provincial competition, which is a bottle neck for them to get the opportunity to compete at the All-Island Schools Games. Young high jumpers (Under-15 Boys and Under-13 girls) had to wait nearly an hour near the high jump mattress, only to find out more..

Sri Lanka puts gas at heart of energy plans

July 1 (IFE) Sri Lanka is keen to integrate gas into its energy mix despite facing setbacks in domestic exploration and production. Since the discovery of gas off the coast of the Kalpitiya peninsula in the Gulf of Mannar in 2011, the Sri Lankan govt has promoted the new discovery as a profitable resource to boost private investment and create jobs in the country’s energy sector. According to a 2015 study by Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS), more..

Video: Govt will not allow functions of 23 LG bodies to cripple: Faiszer

July 1 (AD) Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Govt Faiszer Musthapha today said that the govt will not allow the functions of the 23 local govt bodies, of which the official term expired from midnight yesterday, to be crippled in any way and that it will make sure they run smoothly. He said that the govt hopes to hold the LG elections as soon as possible after the Delimitation Commission completes its work. more..

Killing of rare animals goes viral on social media

July 1 (DM) Some photographs of some men killing rare and protected wild animals went viral on social media on Thursday. They showed the men with weapons and sharp objects brutally killing wild animals such as deer, wild boars and porcupines. The incident is reported to have occurred in a tea estate situated at the Hanthana, a world heritage site in the Panvila Police Division. Meanwhile, the Panvila Police have launched an investigation into the incident and initial investigations more..

Sri Lanka Ports Authority debt Rs 234 Bn, loss forecast in 2016

July 1 (EN) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) made a pre-tax profit of Rs4.6 billion in the first four months of 2016 but should introduce a debt management system given its huge debt of Rs 234 billion, the finance ministry said. The SLPA is forecast to make a loss of Rs3.5 billion in 2016, down from loss of Rs9.6 billion in 2015, the finance ministry said in its mid-year fiscal position report issued under the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act, No. 3 of 2003. more..

Navy to look into Yoshitha after financial probe is over

July 1 (DM) Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa was under investigation for financial crimes and therefore other allegations allegedly done as a Naval Officer would be investigated by SL Navy, after the conclusion of the civil case on financial crimes, Navy Spokesman Captain Alevi Akram said. Responding to a question raised by a journalist as to why SL Navy treats Lt. Rajapaksa and Lt. Commander K.C Welagedara differently, more..

Video: Udaya Gammanpila released on bail

July 1 (AD) UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila, who was arrested and remanded last month on charges of using a fraudulent Power of Attorney to sell the shares of a company, has been granted bail by Colombo Magistrate’s Court. He was ordered released on a cash bail of Rs 25,000 and three personal bails of Rs 500,000 each by Colombo Fort Magistrate. PHU leader was arrested by the by the Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) at his office in Pagoda Road, Nugegoda on June 18 more..

Sri Lanka need perfect game: Maharoof

July 1 (PA) Sri Lanka believe they need to come up with a perfect game to get the better of England in the final Royal London Series match. Angelo Mathews' team have already added one-day international series defeat to their 2-0 reverse in the preceding Test matches, whatever happens in Cardiff on Saturday. If they can reduce the arrears to only 2-1, though, they will stay above England in the ICC rankings - as well as salvaging some pride and confidence. more..

Justice for crimes committed by both sides vital for reconciliation: TNA

July 1 (DM) TNA today reiterated that justice for crimes committed in the past by both the Sri Lanka military forces and the LTTE is a necessary precondition to achieve meaningful reconciliation. Issuing a statement on the oral update of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the UNHRC on the implementation of the Resolution on Sri Lanka, TNA said the full implementation of operative paragraphs 6 & 7 more..

Japan provides Rs2.4bn aid for Sri Lanka’s maritime safety

July 1 (LBO) Japanese govt has granted JY 1,830 million (Rs2.4bn) to Sri Lanka for the implementation of a maritime safety capability improvement project. The project aims to contribute to the improvement of the maritime safety capability of Sri Lanka Coast Guard by enabling them to procure two petrol vessels to ensure safe navigation of vessels, anti-piracy, transnational crime countermeasures and prevention of destruction of marine environment and resources. more..

Media Ministry denies issuing statement on CB Governor

July 1 (DM) The Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry a short while ago rejected issuing a statement regarding the appointment of the next Governor of the CB. In a statement, Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage said several media institutions had published a news item quoting a press release which was allegedly issued by the Govt Information Department. “No such statement had been issued by the Government Information Department, Ministry or the Govt,” he said. more..

New Governor to be appointed after Ravi K returns

July 1 (AD) The new Central Bank Governor will be appointed only after Minister Ravi Karunanayake returns to the country, Govt sources said. According to the Monetary Board Act it is mandatory to receive the recommendation of the Finance Minister to appoint a new Central Bank Governor. Ravi Karunanayake is scheduled to return to the country from a visit to Japan on Monday, his Parliamentary Secretary said. more..

Sinhala place names in ancient Jaffna

July 2 (Island) Place names in ancient Jaffna were Sinhala. British administrators working in Northern Province recognized this fact and said so in their reports. Henry Parker, an irrigation engineer, presented a series of Sessional Papers to the Legislative Council in 1886 on the subject of irrigation in the Northern Province. In addition to irrigation, he had also looked into the historical information available on places he was working in. He found that Tamil place names had been more..

Editorial: Hussein’s bombshell

July 2 (Island) There is a pressing need for most parliamentarians to go back to school if what they do and say, especially during parliamentary debates and political cockfights on television, is anything to go by. Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma did so the other day; he rushed to a primary school in his electorate—unfortunately not to catch up on what he had missed out decades ago, but to teach the teachers and the education officers a lesson of sorts. more..

Right to Information: A new journey begins

July 2 (SO) On June 24, Parliament unanimously adopted the Right to Information (RTI) law. This marks the culmination of over two decades of advocacy by civil society groups and journalists. It also fulfills a key promise of the yahapalana govt. Passing the law was no easy task, as it went through a year of drafting, judicial review by the Supreme Court, and considerable political scrutiny. The govt and other political parties in more..

Information highway: Open sesame

July 2 (DN) Right to Information (RTI) Bill was passed unanimously in Parliament last week. Considering its long history of almost two decades when attempts to introduce it were thwarted by various means this signifies a historic victory for democracy. It is necessary to understand the political importance of this victory. Firstly, it points to the maturity of democracy in the country. It is debatable whether RTI would have seen the light of day if Jan 8th people’s verdict was different. more..

Wronged, without remedy!

July 2 (DN) A report in the Economist of the week covering from March 24 to April 1 titled For my next trick reveals in a startling way how medical trials conducted by giant pharmaceutical companies, among others, swap their findings midway with a different lot of findings which leads to deception and misleads everyone concerned. A stand out example according to the Economist was the case of a drug named Paxil, a supposedly blockbuster anti-depressant. more..