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Ranil refuses to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa

July 22 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had turned down a request from a group of UNP and SLFP regional politicians to remove the words, Mahinda Rajapaksa from the name boards of Mattala International Airport and Hambantota harbour. Some of the regional politicians were from Hambantota. Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota was ceremonially opened on 18 November 2010. China's Shan Dong Dongming Petrochemical Group is planning a refinery more..

Norwegian support sought

July 22 (CT) The govt is seeking help from a Norwegian academic to explore electoral reforms, prior to the tabling, of the 20th Amendment, in Parliament, said State Minister Dilan Perera. He said the got was studying many European models before the 20A is tabled in the Parliament. “Last year, the President promised to pass the 20A along with the 19A. However, that promise did not go through. So we hope to put it across at least this year. Norwegian has a few suggestions. more..

US ship New Orleans to arrive in Sri Lanka

July 22 (LBO) USS New Orleans (LPD 18) with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will arrive in Sri Lanka for a port visit on July 24. The ship and embarked MEU are in SL to increase bilateral ties with SL Navy and provide U.S. support and training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. “21st century is in many ways Indo-Pacific century, and SL is well-positioned to take advantage of its strategic location,” more..

Court suspends re-designation of BOI officials

July 22 (Island) Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz on Wednesday suspended till, August 3, the decision and directions implemented by the Director General of the BOI, and the Secretary to the Ministry of Development strategies, to re-designate the BOI employees, without considering the infrastructure of the institution. The petitioner is H.L. Piyatissa the President of the J.S.S. of the BOI. The respondents were ordered to be present in court on August 3. Attorney-at-Law Wanna Senadheera and more..

Fmr. Immigration Chief Control Officer convicted for not declaring assets

July 22 (DM) Former Chief Controlling Officer of Immigration and Emigration Department, Jayasinghe Aarachchige Jayasena who was indicted by the Bribery Commission in 1996 over charges of illegally acquiring funds, was convicted by the Colombo High Court today. Judge Kusala Weerawardena, imposed a fine of Rs. 6.6 million and a two years rigorous imprisonment suspending it for ten years. Bribery Commission had indicted the former Chief Controller for failing to disclose more..

Opposition raises concerns over submissions sought from diaspora

July 22 (CG) The joint opposition raised concerns over a call for submissions from the Sri Lankan diaspora on a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to take the reconciliation process forward. MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that the submissions had been called for by the Foreign Ministry without informing Parliament. He read a notice issued by the SL Embassy in US which states that the Consultation Task Force more..

IFC, Sampath Bank boost trade finance for SMEs

July 22 (DN) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Sampath Bank to provide trade financing for SL exporters to help them access global markets and boost the country’s trade. IFC will support bank’s trade-finance business by partially or fully guaranteeing the payment risks of its clients. IFC’s Global Trade-Finance Program promotes trade among emerging markets, complementing the capacity of banks to ensure liquidity of export-oriented small & medium more..

Regulating Private Health Service: AMS questions Rajitha's wisdom

July 22 (Island) Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) yesterday said it was not in agreement with Health Minister, Dr Rajitha Senaratne's efforts to regulate the private health service. AMS Spokesman, Dr Asoka Gunaratne said the time duration stipulated by the Health Ministry for examining a patient was an issue as a politician was not competent enough to decide how long a doctor should examine a patient. He said some ailments could be diagnosed within 2-3 minutes more..

PM Ranil Wickramasinghe

Malaysia mulls request to send Bahasa teachers to Sri Lanka

July 22 (NST) Malaysian will consider sending Bahasa Melayu teachers to serve in Sri Lanka as an effort to assist the Malaysian Muslims residing here in re-learning the national language. Deputy PM Datuk Hamidi said initiatives will be made following a request by the Sri Lanka chapter of the Malay World Islamic World (DMDI) who wanted the teachers to help revive the Malay culture and language. "Sri Lanka has some 70,000 Muslims from Malaysia who have been living here for a long time. more..

Sri Lanka introduces welfare register to reduce ghost beneficiaries

July 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s project management and monitoring department with ICTA has prepared a single window for an integrated social welfare register, based on the recipient’s unique NIC number. 80% of data has currently been uploaded to the system and further refining is in progress. “Once the program is completed, it will be very useful in streamlining social welfare handouts, better targeting and reducing ghost beneficiaries, if any,” the Ministry said. more..

New World Bank Country Director in SL

July 22 (EN) Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, the new World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives is visiting Colombo this week to meet with the Sri Lankan govt and other development partners. She will discuss the status of the World Bank Group operations and how the bank can continue to support the country’s development priorities in the most impactful manner. During the 4-day visit, Riddihough accompanied more..

Sri Lanka to release 73 Indian fishermen

July 22 (PTI) At least 73 Indian fishermen held by Sri Lanka for allegedly fishing in their waters will be released, fisheries ministry officials said here today. The ministry has made the necessary recommendations for the release of the fishermen following interventions by Indian High Commission here, officials said without indicating when they would be freed. They had been held for allegedly poaching in violation of the Sri Lankan side of IMBL between July 6-21. more..

Cocaine haul now weighs 300 Kg

July 22 (DM) The weight of the cocaine haul which was discovered yesterday is now 300 Kgs with the additional cocaine quantity found at the site afterwards, Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) said. PNB Director SSP Kamal Silva said the haul had initially been weighed in at 274Kg when it was seized. “Investigations are still underway. The cocaine has been valued at Rs.6.5 billion,” he said. The drug was found inside a sugar container in the Peliyagoda container yard by the Customs last evening. more..

'SL keen on more investments from Malaysia'

July 22 (Bernama) Sri Lanka expects more investments from Malaysian entrepreneurs to the South Asia's island state, Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said. He said this was expressed by several SL leaders during his two-day visit here. Ahmad Zahid, who called on President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe yesterday and today, respectively, said most of the leaders are keen on more investments from Malaysia. more..

Ward system, best formula for local elections

July 23 (NS) President Sirisena recently vowed to have the next local govt elections only on ward system based on the first-past-the-post (FPP) voting. His bold statement, if put into practice will certainly do some good towards cleaning Sri Lankan politics as it is now the time for the much maligned PR system to go out. This could be a good starting point. PR system has been frowned upon and criticized by many as it has often destroyed even the unity among members of same political party. more..

Jaffna Uni student conflict was insane!

July 23 (CT) When you come to think of it, the Sinhala-Tamil student conflict at the University of Jaffna last weekend was insane. This was all pretentiously about welcoming new students to a faculty of undergraduate studies. This said faculty is not about performing arts, let alone physical prowess, but about Science. But the conflict was ostensibly about drum and music (Thavil and Nathasvaram) and cultural dancing (the Kandyan type!). more..

Social media to the rescue

July 23 (SO) The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife will introduce stringent laws to deal with the rapidly increasing poaching of wild animals, following the arrest of six persons for killing wild animals in the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These pictures were widely circulated on Facebook recently. Environmentalists are of the opinion that there is no increase in hunting incidents in Sri Lanka, but an increase in more..

Untold Stories of Black July

July 23 (GV) July 23. The date has an awful significance for some, and has been blotted out by time for others. On that date, in 1983, a group of LTTE militants killed 13 Army soldiers. The attack brought simmering tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamils bubbling to the surface. The result: mobs of Sinhalese set upon and brutally attacked hundreds of Tamil civilians, and set fire to their property. GV has consistently recorded the deep impact that Black July had on Sri Lankans. more..

Will nearest school, best school program reduce demand for popular schools?

July 23 (CT) The ministry of education recently launched the The Nearest School is the Best School (ලඟම පාසල හොදම පාසල) program. According to ministry of education, the main objective of this program is to select two schools from each divisional secretarial division and develop them as Smart Schools by providing required physical and human resources as in current leading and popular public schools, thereby minimize the demand for these popular schools. more..

Premechandran on northern problems and govt inaction

July 23 (FT) Q: What is the latest with regard to the Jaffna University clash? A: I do not know why this much of exposure is given to this drama. Earlier there were three incidents in the Eastern University. There was some misunderstanding and as a result a brawl took place between Tamil and Sinhalese students; they were both assaulted and Tamil students were hospitalised. These things have happened earlier. This is not the first time. more..

Kandy March II

July 23 (CT) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan made a timely warning at a meeting held in Mannar on the intended Kandy march to be staged by the Joint Opposition (JO) against the present govt. Sampanthan was speaking at an interactive discussion in Mannar last week where he came across several mind boggling questions on the present state of Tamil politics and on the failures of the present govt in fulfilling the pledges made by it with regard to political aspirations of Tamils. more..

Sparks of communal hatred

July 23 (NS) Last weekend’s clashes between two student factions of the Jaffna University send a stark reminder to the nation that although the war against terrorism is over, there are many in this country who would wish to reignite the sparks of communal hatred. The clashes erupted between students of Science faculty and the Arts Faculty of the Jaffna University during a welcoming ceremony for freshers and had definite communal undertones: it was reported that Sinhalese students more..


Trade and FDI needs a one-stop-shop, not one more stop

July 23 (FT) Many foreign investors I engage with want Sri Lanka to emulate Ireland, or even Vietnam, because they tell me the attractiveness of a country to foreign investors and the feasibility of individual investment projects is not only linked to a country’s policy environment. According to them, the practical administrative implementation of these policies are far more important to attract investment. It is no secret that our administrative procedures pose serious obstructions even with more..

Access Engineering net up 5.1%, IPO for SML Frontier planned

July 23 (LBO) Access Engineering said group net profits grew 5.1% to 2.46 billion rupees in the year to March 2016, with the civil engineering firm facing a slow down in the global and local economy. The company showed a better performance with a 19.1% growth in net profits — group revenue grew 6.7% to 17.6 billion rupees. Earnings per share rose 5.1% to 2.47 rupees and share closed on Friday at 23.20 rupees. Earnings per share is down from a high of 2.83 rupees in 2014. more..

'Govt not taking political revenge from Rajapaksas'

July 23 (CT) Q: Are you satisfied with the govt's attention on corruption allegations and the action being taken against them? A: Firstly, I have to remind that the current govt was elected by the people to implement the law and they also wanted to remove the regime that corrupted the country and brought SL to its knees. When the people voted in the new govt they expected the new govt to satisfy them by probing corruption allegations more..

PM commends MP’s responsible conduct

July 23 (DN) The shadowy wheeler-dealing behind the coal procurement tenders has gradually come out as a result of the fresh controversy surrounding the coal tender for the year 2015. This was not the first time allegations of massive corruption and fraud were raised on the coal importation, which is no doubt a multi-million dollar matter in Sri Lanka. It is now widely suspected that corruption and fraud had been an inherent quality found in all tenders up to 2015 to supply coal to Norochcholai plant more..

PRECIFAC grills Sudath Silva

July 23 (CT) PRECIFAC Wednesday questioned Sudath Silva, President's official photographer, over his alleged covering of a propaganda meeting, of former President Rajapaksa, at Shalika Grounds, Narahenpita, during the Presidential Election campaign in January 2015. Silva continues to serve as the official photographer for incumbent President Sirisena. Meanwhile, actor Lal Kularatne and his wife Sriyani Perera were also summoned to Presidential Commission more..

Krrish seals deal on $650m project

July 23 (FT) Beleaguered Indian real estate company, Krrish Group has finally sealed the $650 million controversial mixed development project deal. The project, which was initiated under the previous Govt of former President Rajapaksa, drew allegations of pay-offs to politicians and officials to get the project off the ground. MP Namal Rajapaksa was arrested for misappropriating Rs.70 million given by Krrish more..

Basil Rajapaksa case fixed for Dec 6

July 23 (FT) Colombo High Court Judge yesterday fixed the trial of the case on misappropriating Rs.29 million from Divi Neguma funds against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa on 6 December. The order was given when the Court took the case yesterday morning after considering the counsel’s request made behalf of Rajapaksa that he could not appear before court because he was in custody over a separate inquiry. The alleged misappropriation of Rs.29 million was filed in courts alleging that more..

Talks alone can solve fishermen issue, says Dy High Commissioner

July 23 (Hindu) A political solution has to be found for the problems facing the Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait, India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka A. Natarajan said here on Friday. Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop at the Tamil University here, Mr. Natarajan said that internal strife on the Island Nation in the past 30 years kept the Lankan fishermen away from the seas but with peace returning to Sri Lanka, their fishermen too have come out in a significant manner. more..

Military to take legal action against 18,847 deserters

July 23 (FT) The armed forces are to take legal action against 18,847 deserters who did not reported for duty during the one-month general amnesty period given to them to report to their posts in Tri Force. Defence Ministry declared a general amnesty from 13 June to 13 July to grant legal clearance to those who had reported back to the military. “Responding to general amnesty, 16,920 deserters, who had reported back to army, more..

Finance Minister pays courtesy call on Colombo Archbishop

July 23 (FT) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake paid a courtesy call on His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo yesterday at the Archbishop House in Colombo. The current economic development activities of the country were discussed during the meeting between His Eminence and Karunanayake. At the same time, attention was drawn to the ongoing construction of housing to solve the housing problem of the shanty dwellers in the city. more..

DPM Zahid announces US$100,000 donation for Islamic Centre in Colombo

July 23 (Bernama) Malaysian Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced a US$100,000 donation from a foundation to establish an Islamic and Malay centre in this capital of Sri Lanka. "The centre can help more than 70,000 Muslims and Malays to gather and conduct various activities such as learning the Malay language," he said. Earlier, Ahmad Zahid met representatives and members of the Sri Lankan branch of the Malay World Islamic World (DMDI) based in Melaka. more..

e-Visa implementation for Sri Lankan tourists to be finalised in Nov

July 23 (NST) An agreement has been reached to implement e-Visa for Sri Lankan tourists visiting Malaysia and this is expected to be finalised in November, said Deputy PM Datuk Seri Hamidi. Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, expressed the hope that the matter could be finalised when Malaysia attends an international meeting in Sri Lanka in November. “Although we have had a soft launch of e-Visa system, we hope to finalise more..

German contribution to enhance SL’s future in vocational training

July 23 (DM) In February this year, President, Maithripala Sirisena invited German investors to take advantage of the increasing economic opportunities in Sri Lanka at a media briefing during his visit to Berlin. He spoke of the long-standing partnership between Germany and Sri Lanka, which spans over five decades, and cited the contributions made to Sri Lanka’s vocational training development as an excellent model of cooperation between the two countries. more..

Women to Watch: Nayomi Munaweera

July 23 (KQED) Nayomi Munaweera’s family fled war-torn Sri Lanka when she was just three — first to Nigeria, and then, in 1984, to Los Angeles. But the civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamils stayed with her, and serves as the backdrop for her excellent debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, and her brilliant follow-up, What Lies Between Us. Munaweera describes Sri Lanka’s culture of war with vivid detail, partially the result of memories shared by her family. more..

Court orders fresh probe

July 23 (DN) Colombo High Court ordered the Colombo Chief Magistrate to conduct a fresh inquiry into the release of 15 elephants to their owners on bond. High Court Judge ordered the Chief Magistrate that this inquiry be held separately in respect of each elephant. Judge Waidyatilleke made this order consequent to a revision application filed by AG challenging the Chief Magistrate’s order on legal grounds. more..

Kiriella offers five posts for JVP

July 23 (DM) While denying media reports that a Buddhist monk named Ven. Wattappola Rahula Thera was appointed as a consultant to the road development project, Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament he was even ready to offer five such posts to the JVP which raised the matter. JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa made this allegation during question time of the House the other day. In response, Minister said wide media publicity had been given to it, but it was a total falsehood. more..