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Marikkar Ramdas: The Brahmin who transformed Into a Muslim

July 16 (DBS) Sadness spread among numerous fans of SL origin scattered widely in different parts of the globe as news of the demise of the popular artiste reached them. S. Ramdas, known as Marikkar Ramdas was a radio, stage and screen actor cum writer who was a household name in Tamil speaking homes of the island during the last quarter of 20th century. He had been inactive as an artiste for more than a decade now but more..

Former Opposition leader of Wennappuwa PS arrested for poaching

July 16 (ST) Three suspects, including the former Opposition leader of the Wennappuwa PS in Chilaw, were arrested by officers of the the STF from the Meepilimana Kande Ela STF camp while attempting to transport the body of a Sambar (deer) which they had allegedly shot within the Meepilimane Kande Ela reserve. It is alleged the trio had been involved in the illegal trafficking of poached game from the reserve to hotels in more..

'No room for thieves at Colombo Port'

July 16 (DN) Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga stressed that he will never allow anyone to harm the smooth functioning of the port, since the port sector is considered the heart of the country’s economy. "No room will be left for unruly persons to disrupt the peaceful working environment of the port and bring disrepute to the port," the minister said participating in an awareness programme for employees at Colombo Port. more..

Proposed National Audit Act: Boom or bane?

July 16 (SL) With the proposed National Audit Act being brought to the table, proponents and opponents of the Act have intensified their respective campaigns. In fact, the trade unions of the Auditor General's Department have threatened that in the event the Bill is further delayed, they will be compelled to boycott audit duties and resort to trade union action. The scope of an audit carried out by the AG includes more..

High time to enforce direct taxes

July 16 (SL) It is high time that the Sri Lankan Govt shifts to direct taxes instead of indirect taxes because of the contraption going on adding an extra burden and putting pressure on the general public. With the amendment to increase the VAT from 11% to 15% effective from 2 May 2016, the middle class sector got adversely affected since they were the ultimate victims with the burden of soaring prices of essential goods due to increasing the VAT. more..

'95% of SL Tamils want federal constitution'

July 16 (SL) 95% of Tamils living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, have asked for a federal constitution, says S.Thavarasa, a member of the govt’s Public Representations Committee (PRC) which interviewed thousands of Lankans on what they would like to see in the new constitution that is to be drawn up soon. Refuting the reported contention of PRC chairman Lal Wijenaike, that most Tamils did not seek federalism, more..

Billion-rupee eco-tourism hotel project in Delft Island falls apart

July 16 (ST) A billion-rupee project to erect an eco-tourism hotel on remote Delft Island in the North has been vetoed by the PM’s office even after developers spent four years finishing paperwork. Proposed by a local company called Palk Bay Resorts Ltd, the venture was backed by the Northern Provincial Council and the BoI. But the Prime Minister recently decided it should be shifted elsewhere, BOI sources said this week. more..

Pre-paid bus travel scheme to end many woes

July 16 (Island) Prof. Amal Kumarage of the Moratuwa University and former Chairman of National Transport Commission on Thursday said the introduction of the new pre-paid card system in private buses to be launched as a pilot project in Kandy would help end the commuter woes to a great extent. Asked how long it would take to introduce the system to other provinces, he said, it would take at least one year. more..

Army intelligence officer arrested over Lasantha’s murder

July 16 (CG) An army officer has been arrested over the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickremetunga, the police said. The officer, identified as P. Udalagama, is attached to the army intelligence unit, the police added. The suspect was presented before the Mount Lavinia magistrate and detained for 48 hours. Lasantha Wickrematunge, the Chief Editor of the popular English weekly The Sunday Leader, was assassinated on 8 Jan 2009 more..

We have merely reported the views of the public: Wijenayake

July 16 (DM) Public Representations Committee (PRC) on Constitutional Reform said it had not made any recommendations on federalism, the state religion and homosexuality, but had merely reported the views of the public on such issues. Committee chairman Lal Wijenayake said they had only reported the views of the people who had presented their submissions to PRC. “No one wanted federalism and therefore more..

National plan needed for sport

July 16 (CT) Most of SL schools are in the Cadet Corps and participate in the Diyatalawa Camp in the battle for the Herman Loose Trophy. During their annual meeting to select the best cadetting abilities of these schoolboys rifle shooting is one of their events. There must be a way of giving the sport of shooting more emphasis. It must be promoted into the school syllabus to train students at school level. Teaching should be done properly to harness them while still young and blood them in the sport. more..

Disarmament is a must for reconciliation

July 16 (CT) It seems that almost one and a half years have gone by after the National Unity Govt (NUG) came to power in early 2015, but still SL is distanced from the international disarmament community. This is a serious issue for the ongoing reconciliation process and its human rights record by peace-loving people of Sri Lanka as well as peace-loving people around the world against the use of certain prohibited weapons, such as Anti-personnel (AP) Landmines and Cluster Munitions. more..

Ada Cartoon

Duty of care: A much needed inclusion in the animal welfare bill

July 16 (CT) The proposed Animal Welfare Bill has been welcome news for Animal Rights activists who have been clamouring for the introduction of stricter legislation to replace the anachronistic Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance of 1907. Bill intends to strengthen the laws on animal cruelty as well as try and clearly define the offences and to bring forth stronger penalties to those who commit the aforementioned offences. In the draft Animal Welfare Bill it states that more..

Dandy robbers caught after 27 heists

July 16 (Island) Three members of an organised robber gang were arrested in the Wattala and the Pettah police areas by a team of police officers attached to the Athurugiriya police station early this week. The three suspects from Grandpass, Deltota and Madolkele had posed off as persons of high social class and relieved men of their gold chains after befriending them. They had carried out 27 such robberies at Biyagama, Weliweriya, Malwathuhiripitiya, Kirulapone, Dehiwala, more..

Turkey: Mass arrests after coup bid quashed

July 16 (BBC) Some 2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested over an attempted coup that is now over, says Turkey's PM Binali Yildirim. In a night he called a black stain on Turkish democracy, he said 161 people had been killed and 1,440 wounded. Explosions and gunfire were heard in Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere overnight & thousands of Turks heeded President's call to rise up against coup-plotters. more..

Joint Opposition drums up votes

July 16 (CT) The Joint Opposition has decided to seek the support of several political parties in order to defeat the VAT Amendment Bill in Parliament. A senior member of the JO said, that MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Pavithra Wanniarachchi have been appointed to harness votes from Ministers and MPs of the SLFP. President Sirisena had stated publicly that people will not be burdened with VAT amendments, but JO sources claimed that Ministers of the SLFP will not hesitate in more..

Kandy police launch mobile service

July 16 (Island) Acting chief of Public Relations, Kandy police, Woman Sub Inspector Dewindi Wickremasinghe addressing the mobile police service at Tennakumbura Vidyaloka Vidyalaya advised the public to make the best use of the services offered by the police. The public was expected to call over at the police stations of their respective areas spending time and money, but now the mobile police service would be a boon to the people, W.S.I. Wickramasinghe said. more..

Kabir Hashim refuses to fly business class on Srilankan flight

July 16 (CG) Minister Kabir Hashim may have set a bad precedent for his cabinet colleagues and directors of the national carrier Sri Lankan airlines who travel business class at tax payers’ expense. When Kabir Hashim and his wife Nazly travelled to neighbouring India this week, they boarded a Sri Lankan flight, but refused an upgrade to business class even though he is the minister in charge of the airline. more..

No reports of Sri Lankans in Turkey affected by attempted coup

July 16 (CG) There are no reports of Sri Lankans in Turkey being affected by the attempted coup last night, the Foreign Ministry said. The Ministry said that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Turkey is in touch with the relevant officials to gather information on the safety of the Sri Lankan community in Turkey. Meanwhile the Turkish Embassy in Colombo said that the situation which unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected govt. more..

PM at Kataragama Esala Festival

July 16 (ITN) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe arrived at Kataragama Kirivehera premises to attend the Esala procession festival. He took part in religious observances and received the blessings of the Maha Sangha. PM called over on Chief Prelate of Kirivehera Raja Maha Viharaya Venerable Kobawaka Dhamminda thero. Discussions were also held on the development activities of the South. Maha Sangha chanted Seth Pirith and invoked blessings on PM who took part in religious more..

Dual citizenship for 25,000 by year’s end

July 16 (CT) The dual citizenship will be granted before the end of this year to approximately 25,000 Sri Lankan applicants with more applications continuing to pour in. More than 12,000 from among 24,000 applicants who have sought dual citizenship have been granted citizenship claim certificates to date. Another 3,500 from among the applicants have been selected as being eligible for dual citizenship. more..

I am not a cheater: Thalatha

July 16 (DN) Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Atukorale denied allegations by various groups that she cheated Rs. 300 million from the insurance scheme introduced for foreign employees. She said some people were slinging mud at her to fulfill their ulterior motives. “I am ready to face any challenge since I haven't done anything wrong,” the minister said. Atukorale said the insurance scheme was introduced as a relief for those who have to face issues while working in a foreign country. more..

Former CJ to meet PM, Mangala for talks?

July 16 (CT) It is learnt that former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayaka who was removed from her post under the watch of former President Rajapaksa, but was reinstated by the Sirisena govt, is expected to meet PM Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on 18 and 19 July in Singapore. The trio have received exclusive invitations to participate in the South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) at the Singapore Raffles Urban Convention Center. more..

Media movement calls a stand up against suppression

July 16 (Island) Media Movement for Democracy (MMD) has called upon all journalists and media organisations to protest against govt’s move to suppress the media and harass journalists. Convener of the MMD, Chandana Sirimalwatte has said that the govt that came to power promising to safeguard freedom of expression and right to information is now threatening media organisations and journalists critical of it. more..

Action against private hospitals not recording dengue patients’ details

July 16 (DN) Stern action will be taken against private hospitals which do not record details and report dengue patients, Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. "Records are maintained of all dengue patients receiving treatment at state hospitals. This is essential to implement dengue control activities," he said. Dr. Mahipala said arrangements have also been made to control dengue breeding at construction sites through a safety officer. more..

Ailing JEDB seeks better price for contested prime land in Colombo

July 16 (EN) Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB), an ailing state farming company, is trying to sell a contested prime land in the capital to an investor to raise cash to settle worker's dues, officials said. Upul Jayasuriya, Chairman of BoI said a private company that now has a long-lease on 24 perches in a 257 block of prime land has gone to court to prevent its sale to a another party. The firm which runs a workshop on the land in Vauxhall Street in Colombo. more..

Ex-Servicemen’s Job Bank for constructive redeployment into labour market

July 16 (ST) An initiative to recruit retired Service personnel into public institutions on contractual basis, commenced this week, with State Ministry of Defence advertising the establishment of an Ex-Servicemen’s Job Bank. The initiative, first proposed by President Sirisena in his capacity as Minister of Defence, was approved by Cabinet in March. It will see the establishment of a database for retired Officers & other ranks from Tri-Forces. more..

Paddy harvesting in full swing in Ampara

July 16 (DN) The harvesting of the Yala season commenced in the Ampara district. Harvesting is in full swing in Addalaichenai, Akkaraipattu, Alayadivembu, Thirukkovil, Pottuvil, Irakkamam and Sammanthurai Divisional Secretariat areas. 58,500 hectares were brought under paddy cultivation in the district. Some farmers cultivated paddy field without the approval of Irrigation Department depending on rain water. Paddy farmers get a yield of 100-120 bushels per acre. more..

MR’s Paada Yaathra to grab power

July 16 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena is learnt to be arranging an impressive event to launch a programme aimed at wresting greater control of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party by depositing treasures at the bottom of the Kaluganga Reservoir which belongs to the Moragahakanda Project on 25 July, while former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will on 28 July launch his grab with a paada yaathra from Kandy to Colombo, with or without the blessings of astrologers. more..

Monthly allowance for Aranayake victims

July 16 (DN) Each family affected by the Aranayake landslide will be given a Rs. 12,000 monthly allowance, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. Cabinet paper in this regard will be presented to Parliament on July 20 for approval, he said. Under this, families depending on agriculture, whose income was completely affected will be granted a monthly allowance of Rs. 12,000. The families still in relief camps will be given Rs. 400,000 initially more..

X-Ray worker bungled Barium test?

July 16 (CT) Colpetty Police who carried out investigations into a complaint about the death of a patient in a private hospital have discovered that death was allegedly because of complications arising out of a non-qualified worker in X-ray Room erroneously performing a Barium Contrast Test which should have been done by a qualified Radiologist. Rare misadventure has led Police to seek advice of the AG about an appropriate legal course of action to be taken in circumstance. more..

Mother kills baby just after birth

July 16 (CT) Peradeniya Police arrested a woman, 32, who had killed her new born baby and dumped its body into a lavatory pit behind her home. Police said that the woman, who has two other children aged 12 and 8 years, had concealed her pregnancy from her husband and family as well as the Family Health Worker of the area. This woman had given birth to the baby on 11 July when her husband, who is a bus driver, had gone to Jaffna on a hire, and thrown the body of the new born baby more..

SL will hope Herath can stop the Aussies

July 16 (IC) Every time SL's indefatigable spin-veteran Rangana Herath is reminded he is on the doorstep of retirement and about to be resigned to obscurity, he surprises again with a match or series-winning performance. Ahead of Australia's tour, he is again desperately needed. Herath is a mild-mannered, diminutive bank clerk in one life and one of the most fiery and combative cricketers on the planet in another. more..

VAT has to happen, properly

July 17 (SO) Govt's response to SC's suspension of the VAT and NBT may seem a bit of a fumble, but, given the complexity of pushing through tax changes in a finely-balanced coalition govt, the process is necessarily a tortuous negotiation. More importantly, it is a break from tradition when past regimes either got stones thrown at judges' homes or, ensured that new Bench appointments excluded non-conformist judges or, worse, rigged an impeachment that humiliated and removed the CJ herself! more..

Now is the moment Sri Lanka!

July 17 (SL) The cry for making Sri Lanka a ‘hub’ for many things was common place when the Rajapaksa regime held sway. Visions of international hubs to be established here ranged from Information Technology (IT) to Theravada Buddhism. What happened to those grand visions is anybody’s guess. But the thinking was certainly on correct lines because of this country being located strategically on sea routes of the Indian Ocean. Unknown to most Sri Lankans initial steps to more..

Autonomy for 'varsities, fees for courses

July 17 (SO) Charging fees for academic programs with a high market demand and giving universities more autonomy, are among the proposals recommended by the Asian Development Bank in a study on modernizing the higher education system. Key recommendations include, implementation of a national quality assurance system, effective financing schemes, encouraging public-private partnerships, and more..

Editorial: Terror in Nice

July 17 (Island) President Mathiripala Sirisena has joined the entire civilized world in condemning the terror attack in Nice that has stunned not just France and Europe but the whole world with the exception of a few pockets of terror backers. We as a nation which not so long ago emerged victorious from a war with a terrorist group masquerading as freedom fighters can fully empathize with the grief of families of victims of the horror unleashed on Bastille Day. There was so much the LTTE did reminiscent more..

ISIS catches our intelligence men napping

July 17 (CT) In the immediate wake of the March ISIS slaughter in Brussels, SL's Defence Secretary as well as Military Spokesman in separate statements said, "the security forces are on 24/7 high alert over the activity of ISIS militants". On 30 March Hettiarachchi said, "Govt is capable of handling the security. According to reports, family members, relatives and friends of those connected to ISIS are in SL, but they have not received a report that ISIS members are in the country." more..

'Govt’s objective is to get to the truth'

July 17 (SL) Minister Navin Dissanayake believes that SL has the competence and the credibility with local personnel to carry out any investigation. He says that the objective of the govt is to get to the truth and not to suppress things like the earlier govt. “We are an independent and sovereign nation and other nations have to respect that. I think this issue could be easily resolved by having two Commonwealth judges as observers to more..