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18,400 deserters respond to amnesty offer; hunt on for another 18,400

July 17 (ST) Military deserters who failed to surrender during the amnesty that ended this week will be tracked down and arrested in a countrywide operation involving the military and the police, officials said. The move to launch the countrywide manhunt comes after almost half of the armed forces personnel who were listed as being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) surrendered during the month-long General Amnesty period. more..

Lord Naseby accuses UK, US of double standards over Sri Lanka

July 17 (Island) Lord Naseby said it was unfair to demand Sri Lanka govt to have foreign judges to investigate alleged war crimes, while the UK was using its own judges to inquire into the Iraqi invasion by the British govt. Speaking at the House of Lords on the Chilcot report on the invasion of Iraq by the British govt and the then British PM, Tony Blair, Lord Naseby said that he was surprised to see UK and US govts endorsing recommendation of more..

What options for Jaffna economic revival?

July 18 (Island) Sometimes countries rise phoenix like from the ashes of devastation and war; the best known are Germany and Japan after WW2. Others like post-crisis Central African basket-cases remain depressed basket-cases. Northern Province, unlike the East which is picking up smartly is near the bottom end of the spectrum. I spent the last three days in conversation with a Tamil businessman-entrepreneur who is keen on doing something to revive the North, especially Jaffna Peninsula, more..

Editorial: Tourism and terrorism

July 18 (Island) The world has rightly pledged solidarity with France in the aftermath of the savage terror attack in Nice on the Bastille Day. Many countries including the US and Russia have even called for tough action against terrorism, which has demonstrated remarkable resilience. But, mere condemnations and calls for action are not enough. There has to be a truly global effort to eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations. What has stood in the way of efforts being made to more..

Food importers hit by price control, Govt firm

July 18 (SO) Claiming massive losses due to the new price controls, essential food importers are threatening to stop imports but, govt authorities say they will import via the state-owned CWE and take errant traders to task. Reacting to the sudden slapping of maximum retail price controls on a range of essential foods, sugar importers say they, alone, could face losses ranging from Rs.750 million to Rs. 900 million. more..

Asking hard questions from yahapalana govt

July 18 (ST) As fashionable as this may seem at the moment, truth-telling in Sri Lanka should not be confined to the Northern conflict, its victims and its perpetrators. Rather, this effort needs also to be applied to properly understanding the undermining and near-collapse of democratic institutions in the South during the past two decades. Indeed, the first and the second issues are closely intertwined. It is precisely because Southern national justice institutions failed so spectacularly that more..

Shadow cabinet hits the buffers

July 18 (ST) JO’s shadowy world of make believe vanishes in a puff of scorn but one vital question still remains: Whose bright idea was it? In the manner of little children with nothing to occupy their time but play games of Let’s Pretend saying to one another Now today you be thaththa, you be amma, you be nanda, you be mama, before eating their sellam buth, the Joint Opposition last week decided to play their own game of pretence and appoint each other as minister of this and more..

'Policy of forgive & forget is ideal solution'

July 18 (SL) "Foreign policy of the present govt has helped SL to rebuild its image internationally,” Minister S.B. Dissanayake says. He further said that most of the problems could be solved by a policy of forgive and forget. Q: As a member of both former and present govts, how do you compare the present foreign policies with that of previous? A: During the latter part of the Rajapaksa govt, our country faced a great danger. more..

The Prema-Chandra Athukorala Chinthanaya

July 18 (CT) SL born economist of international repute and Australian National University Don, Prema-chandra Athukorala, offered a new economic policy strategy for Sri Lanka recently. He did so in a series of presentations made before a number of select audiences starting from the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a few months ago. In his presentation at IPS, he offered the choice to Sri Lanka: join the global production sharing chain or eternally remain as a lower middle income country. more..

Will SL learn from birth place of Buddha?

July 18 (CT) What is a constitution and what is its purpose? Stated simply, a country’s constitution is the fundamental laws and principles of a country or state on which all other laws are based. All permanent organization of individuals, whether public or private, must have basic rules or laws for its establishment and for the conduct of its activities. A country normally has a centre and local governmental systems of govt and both rests on constitutions. more..

JVP press conference

Launch of Grandfather’s Letters edited by C. Anjalendran

July 18 (Island) The International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) and Perera–Hussein Publishing House launched ‘Grandfather’s Letters: a series of politically motivated letters to the grandchildren by C. Suntharalingam, the outspoken and controversial member of independent Ceylon’s first Cabinet, on 12 July at the Barefoot Café grounds. And thus the gathering of very many: members of the Suntharalingam extended family, relatives, friends and well wishers including the PM. more..

UNWTO hails Sri Lanka’s progress

July 18 (FT) United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) commended the efforts taken by the Sri Lankan Govt to promote peace, tolerance and acceptance among all communities while asserting that the country’s reconciliation process was headed in the right direction. “Tourism is not taken seriously for peace and reconciliation in many parts of the world but I am glad that Sri Lanka is doing it now,” UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai told journalists more..

Licences for mini solar power plants

July 18 (DN) Licenses will be issued to SME entrepreneurs for the first time to set up mini solar power plants in the country. SLSEA Chairman said the power generated from these plants will be purchased by the govt at attractive prices. “We hope this move would encourage even the smaller companies and individuals to set up solar power plants and also help the nation to produce energy at reduced prices.” more..

On Silan Kadirgamar, Marxist, Humanist, Activist and Academic

July 18 (Island) Silan Kadirgamar, lecturer, Marxist, non-Marxist, humanist, activist, and one of the founder members of MIRJE and its strongest voice in Jaffna, passed away last year on July 25th in the 81st year of his life. Recalling my memories of him, on the first anniversary commemoration, to be held in Jaffna on the 16th of July this year, and the subsequent conference on Social Justice and Post War North, which focussed on gender, caste and class, I am once again overwhelmed, more..

'Lanka Sathosa selling 12 consumer items below stipulated prices'

July 18 (Island) While the Ministry of Industry and Commerce announced price controls on 16 essential consumer items, including dhal, sugar, potatoes, imported onions and full cream milk powder, Lanka Sathosa said they will be selling 12 such items below the stipulated prices. The new prices are effective immediately. These consumer items will be made available in all Sathosa outlets. "Since we have turned Lanka Sathosa into a profitable organization during the last several months more..

Milinda Siriwardana to lead Sri Lankan XI

July 18 (CI) Left-arm spinning allrounder Milinda Siriwardana will lead the Sri Lankan XI in the three-day practice match against Australia, which begins on Monday in Colombo. Also in the XI are seam-bowling allrounder Dasun Shanaka, who made his Test debut on the recent tour of England, spin-bowling allrounders Shehan Jayasuriya and Chaturanga de Silva, and pacers Dilhara Fernando, Vimukthi Perera and Nisala Tharaka. more..

Indonesia drub Sri Lanka in Davis Cup

July 18 (Island) Indonesia beat Sri Lanka 5-0 hampering all hopes of the Lankans to remain another year in Group-II Davis Cup – meaning the sixth year in a row – in the 2016 Relegation Play-off between the two countries in Gelora Manahan Tennis Stadium Complex, Surakarta, Indonesia on Sunday, July 17. Sri Lanka as a result will be demoted to Group-III in 2017 in the four-group Asia-Oceania Zone in this BNP Paribas sponsored world cup men’s international tennis. more..

Hayleys Advantis unveils international distribution centre

July 18 (Island) Advantis Free Zone (AFZ) recently launched their second and brand new international distribution centre, Venus, one of the most sophisticated international distribution centres to be established in the country to date. The facility which caters to all green channel free zone operations with absolute convenience, is the largest facility of its kind in Sri Lanka, with Ground +7 high racking capabilities. Speaking about the new facility, Chairman of Hayleys PLC more..

China's IZT may get Mattala Airport for Silk Road Station

July 18 (EN) IZT, a Chinese information technology company that builds financial infrastructure to popularize Renminbi on Silk Road Stations along China's One Belt One Road initiative is on track to get Mattala Airport. SL called for offers from investors to run and operate the airport with bids closing on Aug 12. Arrangement are being worked out with China's IZP group to operate Mattala Airport following a visit by minister more..

Hand grenade found in private school

July 18 (DM) A live hand grenade manufactured in a foreign country was recovered from a swimming pool of an international school in Nugegoda today, police said. The police who searched the premises following information received by them had found the grenade and called the bomb disposal unit of the army who had detonated it at a nearby playground. The police are investigating as to how the bomb which could have wreaked havoc unless recovered by the police had come to the swimming pool more..

Salawa blast: Half payment next week

July 18 (DN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that 90% of damage assessment to civilian property in the Salawa Army camp fire has been concluded and compensation on the estimated damages will be paid to the victims, starting next week. The minister said 50% of the estimated damages will be paid next week and the balance within a short period. According to the concluded assessment, it has been estimated that a damage of less than one million rupees had caused to 1,794 property. more..

Standard Chartered CEO upbeat over SL

July 18 (FT) Standard Chartered Bank Group CEO Bill Winters expressed optimism over Sri Lanka noting that the country was well positioned to be a financial and logistics hub and the global giant will continue with its investments. Winters one-day stay in Sri Lanka was a landmark event as he was the first global CEO of Standard Chartered Bank to visit the country despite the Bank being in operation here since 1892. more..

Call to replace plastic bottles with glass

July 18 (SO) Two giant Indian investments in SL – Primal Glass and IOC have come together to educate people on the dangers of using water in plastic bottles. This educational project was carried out recently by the Believers in Glass movement in collaboration with Piramal Glass Ceylon and IOC. As part of this initiative, the Believers in Glass initiative distributed glass bottles free for water storage in vehicles at IOC petrol stations. Campaign called Don’t drive and drink toxic water more..

PM moves for pay hike to Bribery Commission DG

July 18 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will present a motion in Parliament to revise the salary of the Director General (DG) of the CIABOC Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, to be on par with the entitlements of an Additional Solicitor General (ASG). She will also be entitled to telephone and fuel allowances of a Ministry Secretary, as well as house rent allowance, provided no govt official quarters are allocated. The motion to be presented by the PM states, the Cabinet has granted more..

Jayalalithaa urges Modi to ensure release of TN fishermen

July 18 (TOI) TN chief minister J Jayalalithaa has written to PM Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to secure the release of 77 fishermen and their 102 fishing boats, apprehended by SL navy. In a letter to PM, Jayalalithaa also pointed out that SL navy has "escalated the frequency and magnitude of incidents of abduction of our fishermen and seizure of boats & fishing equipment undeterred in recent days." more..

SC sets aside 48 promotions to posts of Excise Sergeants

July 18 (FT) Supreme Court set aside the impugned 48 promotions to the post of Excise Sergeants pursuant to the Writ Petitions filed by 28 aggrieved Excise Guards who challenged the purported merit based scheme of recruitments. The Court held that the fundamental right to equality of the Petitioners has been infringed by the Commissioner General of Excise and awarded the petitioners the cost of Rs 5,000 each and Rs 100,000 as compensation. The matter was taken before the Bench more..

Tragic incident in Bambalapitiya in 2009: Suspect still in remand custody

July 18 (DN) Revealing another aspect of a tragic incident, it was transpired in Court that a suspect who had been arrested in connection with the drowning of a mentally unstable youth off the Bambalapitiya beach in 2009, is still being held in remand custody for over six years, failing to fulfill his bail conditions while the others including policemen who were directly involved in the incident were out on bail at the commencement of the inquiry. The suspect Pathirage Raja, more..

Bid to reverse SC ruling on Singarasa case meant to pave way for foreign judges: GL

July 18 (Island) Joint Opposition (JO) and a section of the civil society have taken a common stand on the alleged move to do away with judicial power in terms of SL’s Constitution being exclusively vested in courts set up in accordance with existing laws. Former Minister G.L. Peiris has explained the JO’s strong stand against the proposed ratification of the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR), more..

Foreign Minister explains govt’s 3-pillar strategy at COYLE meeting

July 18 (FT) In his opening statement at the General Meeting, Chairman of the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) Kasun Rajapaksa applauded the Foreign Minister on his contribution in improving relationships with the West while inquiring about the impact of Brexit on the SL economy and particularly the business sector. COYLE met with Minister Mangala Samaraweera to discuss issues relating to developing a comprehensive framework for rehabilitation & development of country’s more..

Hand picked committee to draw up draft for Independent Media Commission

July 18 (Island) At a recent discussion among invited representatives of media organisations held at the Department of Govt Information (DGI) it was decided to prepare a preliminary draft for the appointment of the proposed independent Media Commission with the objective of developing an ethical media culture in Sri Lanka, a press release issued by the DGI said. A five-member committee was appointed to prepare the draft. Wijayananda Jayaweera, former Director Communication Development Division, more..

Jaffna university clash: Tough action against those involved

July 18 (DN) The students involved in the brawl at the Jaffna University on Saturday, will be dealt firmly under the law, UGC Chairman Prof. Mohan de Silva said. He said the Police crime inquiry into the incident has been commenced by the Jaffna DIG, while the Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University has been instructed to commence a preliminarily inquiry to take disciplinary action against the students involved in the fight. more..

Daya Group gets four seats on Blue Diamonds Board

July 18 (FT) The diversified Daya Group secured four seats on the board of Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide (BLUE) last week. The appointment of four directors, including Daya Group Director P.M.K. Gamage and Sudath Jayasundera, was made at a board meeting on Friday after the market was closed. The newly-constituted board also met on Friday. A formal disclosure is likely to occur today. Promodya Gamage purchased 4.16 million shares or over 2% of BLUE on 12 July, more..

Australian tourist describes horrifying wasp attack at Sigiriya heritage site

July 18 (MO) An Australian couple were among a panic-stricken tour group that was attacked by a swarm of wasps while climbing Sri Lanka’s Sigirya Rock. Sue Lalor and husband Peter were nearing the top of the 200metre landmark when a stampede of screaming people ran down the narrow staircase towards them. They bolted towards an overcrowded safety cage installed as protection against the frequent attacks but it was so full Peter got trapped outside. more..

No Phobia on taking Chinese money: PM

July 18 (BN) SL is agnostic about what countries it accepts foreign investment from, including China, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "There is no phobia," he said. “Basically, any agreement with China will be to accommodate everyone in investments, any agreements with India will accommodate everyone. Agreements with S'pore or Japan will be that way. We have no problem with all our friends.” more..

India to develop Palaly as regional airport

July 18 (ST) India is carrying out a feasibility study on Palaly airport to assess its suitability to be utilised as a regional airport. This airport is now a SL Air Force-run facility and is used for military and civilian flights in SL. Airport Authority of India (AAI) is now carrying out a feasibility study on the Palaly airport to see how it could be developed, CAA Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri said. About 4 months ago, an AAI team visited Palali to ascertain how airport could be developed as a regional airport, more..

Video: Missing Uni. students rescued

July 18 (DM) Five university students who were missing since last evening at Saptha Kanya (Seven Virgins) were found by the Army this morning. Four undergraduate students from the Kelaniya University and a student from the Kothelawala Defence University were reported missing during a hiking trip, due to bad weather, in the mountains yesterday. Army personnel attached to the Lakshapana Camp commenced search operations yesterday and students were rescued this morning. more..

IGP predicts high-level arrests

July 18 (CT) While noting that he is committed to strengthening good governance, IGP Pujith Jayasundara said those who never imagined being caught will go behind bars in the near future for the crimes they have committed. "Police now work according to the requirements of the public only. Now there are no attempts to influence the Police," he said. IGP also said that those who engaged in large-scale corruption and more..

Truck attack in Nice and War on Terror

July 18 (DM) Terrorists struck in France again last Thursday, the third time in two months. The US, France and the UK have spent billions of dollars since George W. Bush declared his so-called War on Terror in the aftermath of the bombing of the World Trade Centre on Sept 11. In truth, another term for militant Islamists, who have taken up arms to rid their counties of foreign domination and the killing of innocent civilians? The Bush-Blair adventure in Iraq -- based on more..

Why VAT protests are not just about VAT?

July 18 (DM) In the not so distant past in this country, a President pushed through the House of Parliament an Amendment to the Constitution in order to immortalize his reign, to concentrate powers of the state in his office and to turn Parliament into a rubber stamp. He orchestrated a crossover of the Opposition MPs to secure the required two third majority in the House, and MPs in his party complied with his wish like good sycophants. Few outside the House dared to protest, more..