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Sri Lanka raises policy rate to 8.5%

July 28 (EN) Central bank Thursday raised to 8.5% its Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR), the policy rate at which cash in injected to the banking system. %he Central Bank Monetary Board also decided to raise the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) to 7%. The 50 basis point rate hike came after the central bank held its key interest rates steady for five straight months. “ . . .further tightening of monetary policy is required to more..

Australia pay for leaving door ajar

July 28 (CI) Kill the other guy before he kills you was a line beloved of Jack Dempsey, the world heavyweight boxing champion of the early 1920s. Dempsey's phrase is known to plenty of sportsmen, and Allan Border once used it to describe how Australia squandered the advantage of hosting the 1992 World Cup. Border is present in Kandy to watch this match, and was unimpressed by the visitors' batting effort on day two, which happened also to be his 61st birthday. more..

Nalanda Principal granted bail

July 28 (DN) Nalanda College Principal and Deputy Principal who appeared in Courts on notices were yesterday ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Additional Magistrate for allegedly threatening a student of the college. Nalanda College Principal Ranjith Jayasundara and Assistant Principal P.R. Rodrigo were ordered to be released on two sureties of Rs.50,000 each. At a previous occasion, the Court had issued notices on suspects to appear in Court regarding the incident, more..

Mendis 169* propels SL lead towards 200

July 28 (CI) Kusal Mendis had one first-class century before today. He walked to the crease at 6 for 2, after a wicket fell on the third ball of the morning. SL were 80 short of making Australia bat again. Mendis had survived only seven deliveries in the first innings. The ingredients were all wrong, but like the world's greatest chef he worked his magic and fashioned them into something delicious. SL fans could only have dreamed more..

Four parties take bid document for MRIA

July 28 (EN) Four parties have taken bid document to invest in and manage Mattala airport in the South of the island. The airport which was built in the middle of a shrub jungle displacing elephants and migrant birds, draws hardly any traffic. The airport comes with all freedoms of the air, indicating that a foreign airline could be based at the airport and operate to any third country without touching down in the home country, or operate between two or more domestic airports. more..

2nd-youngest to score 150-plus against Aus

July 28 (CI) 1: Number of batsmen to score 150 or more in a Test innings against Australia at an younger age than Mendis' 21 years and 177 days. Graeme Pollock scored 175, at the age of 19 years and 331 days, at the Adelaide Oval in 1963-64 is the youngest to score 150-plus against Australia. 0: Number of Sri Lankan batsman who scored a Test century against Australia at a younger age than Kusal Mendis. The previous youngest was Romesh Kaluwitharana who hit unbeaten 132 at more..

Video: Night races then, micro hospitals now: PM

July 28 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that under the good governance govt today micro hospitals will be dispatched from the location, previously used for night races under the former govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was speaking during the ceremonial launch of the of the emergency ambulance service, implemented through grant assistance of around US$ 7.55 million from India, at Galle Face Green in Colombo. more..

Video: Navy assists repatriation of 77 Indian fishermen

July 28 (DM) The Sri Lanka Navy today assisted in the repatriation of 77 Indian fishermen released from the Sri Lankan custody. As per the request of the Indian govt, the 77 fishermen who were apprehended on charges of poaching in Sri Lankan waters were released and handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ships in the International Maritime Boundary Line North of Kankasanthurai. SLNS Ranagaja, P 481 and Coast Guard Craft CG 47 were deployed for the mission. more..

Australia may need reinforcement after O'Keefe injury

July 28 (CI) Adam Zampa or Jon Holland may soon fly to Sri Lanka to replenish Australia's spin stocks after Steve O'Keefe suffered an injury to his right hamstring on day three of the Pallekele Test match. In a bad sign for his prospects of being fit in time for the second Test in Galle next week, O'Keefe was unable to complete his 17th over before leaving the field, and did not re-emerge for the remainder of the day as the hosts motored to a substantial lead. The young batsman Kusal Mendis prospered more..

Video: Modi says Indian cooperation must happen as per Sri Lankan aspirations

July 28 (LBO) Indian PM Narendra Modi today said that India’s development cooperation with SL must happen as per aspirations of Sri Lanka. He said India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka enjoys a wide spread of projects through out SL in different areas of economic activities. “But it must happen as per your aspirations,” Modi said. “It is for this reason that our cooperative projects rely on the choices & priorities set by the people, more..

Video: America will finally catch up with 1960 Sri Lanka: Stephen Colbert

July 28 (DM) Hillary Clinton could be the first female president and America will finally catch up with 1960 Sri Lanka, said Late Show host Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert, on Tuesday’s post-DNC Convention show, celebrated Hillary Clinton’s breaking the penultimate glass ceiling to become the first woman to receive the nomination of a major political party. Colbert noted that Clinton’s historic achievement marks the end of the line for runner-up Bernie Sanders. more..

Swiss Ambassador puts onus of reconciliation on all stakeholders

July 28 (Island) Swiss Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn said that reconciliation was not the responsibility of the govt, but all stakeholders. Swiss constitution quite rightly had spelt out that all citizens should take responsibility for reconciliation, he said. Addressing the media on the 60th anniversary of Swiss-SL diplomatic relations in Colombo, Ambassador said "Today’s younger generation in Sri Lanka had the advantage of not living in a war torn more..

US seeks to strengthen relationship with Sri Lankan military

July 28 (CG) The United States says it wants to strengthen its relationship with all of the different facets of the Sri Lankan Govt, including the military. The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap said that there has been a very good development of relations between the US and SL ever since the democratic, free and fair election of Jan 2015, and that also includes the democratic, free and fair election of Aug 2015. more..

GMOA to draft national policy on int'l trade agreements with other professionals

July 28 (Island) GMOA said it would come up with a National Policy on trade Agreements prepared by the country’s intellectuals. GMOA Ex-Co member, Dr Nalinda Herath said the union in collaboration with several other categories of professionals had initiated the programme on Tuesday during a brainstorming session the proposed move to come up with a policy for the country. Although the govt had accepted that it should have a protective policy in place before entering into any bilateral more..

New USAID mission director signals surge in U.S. development assistance in Sri Lanka

July 28 (USE) Signaling a surge in U.S. development assistance for Sri Lanka, the newly-arrived Dr. Andrew Sisson official assumed duties yesterday as the USAID Mission Director to SL and Maldives. U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap administered the oath of office in the presence of his wife Karen Levine and the entire USAID mission at the Embassy of the United States of America. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Sisson manage U.S. foreign assistance to Sri Lanka at a time more..

FCID names Namal, five others over Hello Corp transaction

July 28 (DM) The FCID-on a directive of Attorney General had today named Namal Rajapaksa and five others as suspects over purchasing shares of Hello Corp. using ill-gotten funds of Gowers Corporation, which is headed by Mr. Rajapaksa. The FCID filing a B report informed court that the suspect Namal Rajapaksa had dealt with a company named Boston and had given Rs. 15 million and another Rs.30 million through more..

NGOs, too, open for public scrutiny

July 28 (Island) Right to Information (RTI) Act would give the public as well as the media unhindered access to projects undertaken by local NGOs receiving direct and indirect funds from the govt and external sources, Transparency International SL representative Shan Wijetunga said. Responding to a query regarding the RTI Act's impact on the NGO community, Wijetunga acknowledged that a spate of allegations had been directed against various NGOs, particularly after Dec 2004 tsunami. more..

15 students awarded Chinese scholarships

July 28 (Xinhua) 15 Sri Lankan students will go to China to further their studies after being awarded Chinese Govt Scholarships. The 15 students, selected from some 1,000 applicants, have been nominated to receive the postgraduate or undergraduate scholarships, in the fields of science, arts, management, medicine and engineering, D. C. Dissanayake, secretary of the Higher Education, said in a speech introducing the general situation of the scholarship, after awarding scholarships more..

Port City Project: Two more hectares in lieu of losses incurred

July 28 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted separate Cabinet papers outlining plans for the resumption of the project and the reclaiming of a landmass of 262 hectares from the sea adjoining the Colombo Port. Project was launched by the Rajapaksa Govt in 2014. Later, new govt suspended the project saying it needed to be reviewed but later decided to go ahead based on a fresh agreement. more..

China just asked for 15,000 acres of land in Sri Lanka for a million worker SEZ

July 28 (Forbes) China just requested 15,000 acres of land in southern Sri Lanka for the creation of a special economic zone that will reputedly create one million jobs, according to the country’s Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade. 15,000 acres is roughly 60 square kilometers, which is significantly larger than Hartford, Connecticut or Providence, Rhode Island. This expanse of land, if granted, will be in the Hambantota region, which has been a punchline of more..

Mahendran appointed as advisor to PM

July 28 (LBO) Former Governor Arjuna Mahendran has taken up an appointment as an advisor to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the area of investments, a government official said. Mahendran did not seek re-appointment for the position of Central Bank governor last month as a COPE investigation into treasury bond issues had not been completed. President Maithripala Sirisena subsequently appointed Indrajit Coomaraswamy as the Governor of the Central Bank. more..

Video: JO protest march reaches Hingula

July 28 (AD) The protest march (Jana Satana Paada Yathra) commenced by the Joint Opposition has concluded its journey for today as it reached Ganetanna area in Hingula a short while ago. The protest march is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on 1 August. Thousands of people were seen engaged in the march which started from near the bridge in Peradeniya along the Colombo-Kandy road this morning. more..

Crossed paths

July 29 (DN) Sri Lankans, or at least their politicians, want history to repeat itself. 59 years after an infamous political march from Colombo to Kandy was staged, the country’s opposition is again trying to re-enact the event, albeit with some differences. It was fifty nine years ago, on October 4, 1957 to be precise, that the UNP, of which J.R. Jayewardene was then the de-facto leader, staged a protest march from Colombo to Kandy to protest the signing of Bandaranaike-Chlevanayakam Pact more..

In the name of sanity & reason

July 29 (CT) Malinda Seneviratne has an eye for comment. He knows the political so much that he can engage in debate and win, and what’s more without resorting to emotion and rhetoric. That’s rare, one can conclude. Consequently it’s difficult to imagine him playing second fiddle to anyone, politician or ideologue. He has his views and I don’t agree with many of them, but the fact of the matter is that lapdog is a word no one can tag on him. And why? Because of the one weapon more..

'New MoU for stronger coalition govt'

July 29 (SO) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that the govt is not perturbed by the much- hyped protest march of the Joint Opposition (JO) which is trying to score brownie points over the VAT issue. He said the fanfare of the JO is short-lived because the govt has decided to continue their cohabitation till 2020 and a new, stronger MoU will be agreed upon shortly, to deliver on people’s mandate of Jan 8, 2015. more..

Jaffna Uni: When entitlement is rejected

July 29 (GV) On the 16th of July, a clash happened between students at Jaffna University over the inclusion of Sinhalese cultural spectacles in the welcome event. Below is a brief of the events but a more in-depth report of the goings-on can be found on DBS Jeyaraj’s blog. The background to this skirmish is a freshers’ welcome at the Science Faculty (16 July). The organizing student committee of Science Students Union had planned a march with traditional Tamil welcome drums & music more..

Clash at Jaffna University: Conversations on Culture & History – Part II

July 29 (CT) In the aftermath of the clash at the University of Jaffna, as a way of justifying the Tamil students’ refusal to have Kandyan Dance at the opening procession, some nationalist commentators are busy crafting distorted accounts of the history of political activism within the campus that favors Tamil nationalism and the LTTE over other ideologies and actors. The history of the University of Jaffna is as complex as the history of any other place. It was driven by various forces that more..

'People are not fools, they understand perfectly'

July 29 (SL) TNA NPC member M.K. Sivajilingam claims that present govt is postponing the elections for fear of losing. He said that there is no point in bringing in any more amendments to the constitution and the govt should draft a new constitution. He said that if a referendum is required, then govt should take measures to do so and get the mandate of the people. However he said that the UNP is afraid of the SLFP patching up, more..

Editorial: Pada Yathra

July 29 (Island) Joint Opposition’s claim that the aim of their Kandy-Colombo Pada Yathra, which commenced yesterday from Getambe, is not to topple the govt, is not true. Minister Rajitha Senaratne got it right when he told the mediathat a protest march couldn’t bring down a govt. But, the fact remains that such an event has the potential to set in motion a process of dislodging a govt. UNP’s successful Jana Bala Meheyuma protest campaign against CBK govt in 2001 is a case in point. more..

Do international(ized) prosecutions work?

July 29 (CT) Transitional justice is for societies that have undergone a violent and turbulent episode in its life. The idea is, when there has been a conflict, that society must make a transition into a better future. In the process, justice must be done by the victims. This requires the past to be reconciled with and future to be made on a platform of social justice and cohesion so that the past will not come back to haunt the future. Usually, a transitional justice framework entails non-judicial mechanisms more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Pada Yatras were once marches for freedom led by Mahatma Gandhi, but today…:

July 29 (SO) Pada Yatras, as practised by Mahatma Gandhi against the British authorities in India was a political weapon of non-violence, though at times, brawls and skirmishes took place among its supporters and opponents. SL had its first experience when UNP stalwart J.R.Jayawardena led a Pilgrims March in 1957 to Kandy, to protest against Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact despite it being called off half way at Imbulgoda from where hailed Imbulgoda Weeraya, one time Mao more..

Govt of MS and RW needs to get the govt to function

July 29 (FT) According to Presidential sources the proposed Pada Yathra of the Joint Opposition helped the PM and the President to unify to prevent the Rajapaksa clan clawing back and getting control and dictating to the Govt. Pada Yathra, a popular vehicle to mobilise disgruntled supporters of the Govt, is a successfully-tested political strategy very close to the heart of the former President. The movement was steadily gathering momentum much to the embarrassment of the President. more..

Deans of Medical Faculties to intervene in SAITM dilemma

July 29 (DN) A long term solution to the SAITM issue is in the offing as the Ministry of Higher Education along with the Deans of Medical Faculties in Sri Lanka have agreed to look to a solution through a public- private partnership between SAITM and the govt. The State university student unions and the SLMC however have continued to protest against SAITM, the former against it being a private facility and more..

Sri Lanka U-20s scrum down in Malaysia

July 29 (Island) In a bid to conquer Asian rugby, the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) will send country’s Under-20 sevens team to Malaysia to battle it out for regional supremacy in the Asia Under-20 Sevens Rugby series which will be played on July 30 and 31. Sri Lanka has appointed Kevin Dixon as the captain of the side while Omalka Gunarathne has been named the vice captain. Dixon is a former St. Peter’s captain who led his side to inter school sevens title glory last year before more..

Constitutional death-trap or JO’s death-throe

July 29 (DN) The so-called Joint Opposition or the Mahinda Rajapaksa band in popular parlance is engaged at this moment in a decisive exercise – a marathon mass walk (paada yatra) from Kandy to Colombo, to protest against the proposed new Constitution or Constitutional reform process which they identify as a death-trap. Leaving aside the debatable question whether this exercise was a success or failure we would like to analyze the overt and covert objectives of the exercise. more..

Had to convince Murali to attack: Mahela

July 29 (CI) Former captain Mahela Jayawardene has revealed that one of the biggest challenges he faced during his tenure as captain was to convince Muralitharan to overcome his defensive mindset as a bowler. According to Mahela, Murali, who is the highest wicket-taker in Test history with 800 scalps, tended to be a bit stubborn about his methods and needed cajoling from captains to employ more aggressive tactics. more..

Ashan, Coughlin impress between delays

July 29 (CI) A second day of rain prevented England U-19s' bowlers from making significant headway in their efforts to force victory. The Sri Lankans lost four wickets in a truncated day's play - leaving a draw looking the likeliest result. Sri Lanka had started day three at Fenner's on 96 for 2 with Charith Asalanka and Avishka Fernando looking to build on yesterday's steady start at the crease. George Bartlett, who had complained of a knock to his hand during the warm-up, more..

JKH posts Rs. 3.58 b PBT in 1Q; 17% growth

July 29 (FT) SL’s largest conglomerate, John Keells Holdings (JKH) posted a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 3.58 billion in the first quarter of 2016/17, which is a 17% increase over the Rs. 3.05 billion recorded in the previous year. Profit attributable to equity holders at Rs.2.37 billion is an increase of 9% over the Rs. 2.18 billion in the corresponding period of previous financial year. Revenue at Rs. 22.73 billion for the period under review is an increase of 8% over Rs.21.10 bil recorded in previous year. more..

Mendis' triumph over improbability

July 29 (CI) Kusal Mendis' first run after lunch takes him to 87. It is 13 short of a hundred. It is the number men in the opposition will say is unluckiest for a batsman. But Mendis doesn't know that. Or at least, he doesn't play like he does. Soon, he squirts a single to square leg. Soon after, he puts a Josh Hazlewood ball through midwicket with that homespun punch-pull. When he sweeps Nathan Lyon for six in the following over, more..