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Technology initiative for tea trade

June 12 (SO) The Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s participation in an initiative in Sri Lanka’s tea plantation sector to automate the process of procurement of tea leaves and settlement for bought leaf will result in sophisticated technology and banking services reaching a largely under-served segment. The bank has been designated as the Preferred Bank for the issue of the first Hybrid Debit Card coupled with Sony FeliCa Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, more..

Ranjan rejects offer

June 12 (CT) Deputy Minister of Social Services, Welfare and Livestock Development, Ranjan Ramanayake said that he had "rejected the financial offer made to MPs to purchase new tax -free vehicles". "We have asked the public to tighten their belts to pay back the debts of the previous govt so I feel it's up to us to also set an example with austerity. That is why I refused this on the very day this estimate was approved and immediately sent a letter to the Ministry rejecting it," he noted. more..

Lankaputhra Bank slips show in Chairman drama

June 12 (ST) Embroiled already in controversy over allegations of corruption by Rajapaksa regime at state owned Lankaputhra Development Bank (LDB), its present Chairman Lasantha Goonewardena’s appointment has been invalidated by the Central Bank, a year after assuming office. Bank Supervision Department of the Central Bank in a letter addressed to CEO of the LDB rejected the appointment of Lasantha more..

Police to raise objections on Gamage issue with JSC

June 12 (SL) The Police Department is to officially raise objections with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) over the controversial actions of the Gangodawila Magistrate in the case involving the possession of an elephant using allegedly forged documents by Additional Magistrate of Colombo, Thilina Gamage. The CID is to lodge the complaint with the JSC through the Police Department. Gangodawila Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne recently granted bail to Gamage when more..

Confusing signals at Lankaputhra Bank

June 12 (ST) Confusion reigns at institutions like the Lankaputhra Development Bank (LDB) where an appointment made by the Treasury has been rejected by the Central Bank and questions regarding its validity are being posed to the Public Enterprises Ministry who is in charge of loss-making state institutions. With subjects and ministries being changed there is more confusion with the LDB Chairman Lasantha Goonewardena claiming that he is appointed by the Treasury, more..

Ex-LTTE exiles willing to testify: Survey

June 12 (Hindu) Many former members of the LTTE, now in exile in Europe, are willing to participate in the proposed transitional justice mechanism in Sri Lanka relating to the alleged violations of human rights during the final phase of the civil war, provided their safety and anonymity are guaranteed. This is among the findings of a survey undertaken by the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), Sri Lanka, which is affiliated to more..

Udayanga ordered to appear in court

June 12 (SL) SL’s former Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga has been noticed to appear in court next month over financial irregularities said to have taken place in a transaction to purchase MIG-27 aircraft for SL Air Force. Transaction had taken place when Weeratunga was SL’s Ambassador to Russia at the time Mahinda Rajapaksa was President. An investigation into MIG deal is currently underway and irregularities in the deal were first exposed by Sunday Leader. more..

Senanayake implicated In Welikada murders?

June 12 (SL) Former Senior DIG of Police, Anura Senanayake is likely to be implicated in the case on the attack and murder of inmates in the Welikada Prison in 2012. It is further learnt that another senior officer attached to the Police Narcotics Bureau is also implicated in the Welikada murders. CID, which conducted initial investigations into the incident at Welikada in 2012, had at the time uncovered the alleged involvement of the former senior DIG and the senior officer of the Narcotics Bureau more..

Salawa: The inside story distant drums of anarchy?

June 12 (CT) Two basic questions are on every person's mind about the virtual sense of anarchy that reigned for well over 8 hours after the massive arms and ammo dump at the Army's southern nerve-centre base on Kosgama, Salawa rent the area apart over an area of about a kilometre in circumference. Homes by the score and sundry buildings were reduced to rubble with potentially death-dealing shrapnel spewed over a larger more..

Study to estimate Salawa damage underway: Finance Ministry allocates Rs 100M

June 12 (SO) The Finance Ministry on Friday allocated Rs.100 million to provide compensation for those affected in the Salawa Army camp ammunition dump explosion. Secretary to the Treasury Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga said, funds were released to the Disaster Management Ministry with no restrictions to urgently compensate those who have been rendered homeless after the unexpected calamity last Sunday. A systematic study to estimate the cost of the total disaster including more..

Army engineers complete repairs to 51 affected homes in Kosgama

June 12 (SLA) Army troops, engaged in day and night cleaning, repairs and restoration commitments in Kosgama areas for explosion-affected civilians, in what could be considered a significant phase in the restoration of normalcy in public life, completed repairs to 51 houses by Saturday morning and enabled the occupants to return home. Entire re-thatching of roofs, replacement of damaged tiles, asbestos or tin sheets, repairing or replacement of rafters or sloping beams, more..

President promises urgent action to reduce CoL, vows to strengthen economy

June 12 (ST) For President Maithripala Sirisena, an afternoon siesta is not an affordable luxury. On rare occasions, when the rigorous routine of his office compels the need for some rest, he seizes the opportunity. Last Sunday was one such occasion. Yet, he was mindful of the engagement at 5 p.m. at his official residence at Paget Road, a tree lined area. It is a stone’s throw away from the 88-year-old historic Senior Police Officers Mess more..

The Salawa Jaalawa (Inferno)

June 12 (Island) June 5 is a special day that always made me happy since my marriage - it was the day that my eldest daughter was born. Sunday, June 5, 2016, was no different till evening. Then came the news of the Salawa inferno, the day that changed the lives and destiny of most people in that little hamlet. The conspicuous landmark in the area, the military camp is now in ruins as much as the lives of the people who lived in the area. My intention is not to write about the harrowing story more..

What Yahapalanaya means to me

June 12 (Island) A question asked of me by many, has been "What does Yahapalanaya or good governance mean to you?" It does seem that it means different things to different people; so I thought that I would venture to state my own definition and invite others to favour us with their thoughts and what they expect Yahapalanaya to deliver; but before that I wish to recall the words of our first PM D.S. Senanayake on our first Independence Day in 1948: more..

MP status only for Rajapaksa in Japan

June 12 (ST) A request for protocol and other assistance by former President Rajapaksa during a ten-day private visit to Japan was rejected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Only courtesies extended to an MP were afforded to Rajapaksa and MPs in his entourage, a Foreign Ministry source said yesterday. An official in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Tokyo, and not the Ambassador received them, the source added. more..

Joy riding with public money: Many Lankan Ministers to take wing to London

June 12 (Island) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva and Deputy Chief-of-Staff at the PM’s office, Mrs. Rosy Senanayake are scheduled to meet with the Sri Lankan community in London on Wednesday. The meeting has been arranged by the Sri Lankan High Commission, but the invitations sent by the mission does not make specific reference to the subject to be discussed. Speculation is rife that the two govt members will be in London to support more..

Vehicle mania gets short shrift

June 12 (CT) Last Tuesday the govt sought approval from Parliament to purchase 32 brand new vehicles at a cost of Rs 1,175 million for the use of 30 ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers of 22 ministries. Among the public representatives who have sought the 32 vehicles are Ministers Sarath Fonseka, Mahinda Samarasinghe, and Harin Fernando and his Deputy Minister Tharanath Basnayake. more..

SAITM students in a quandary

June 12 (SO) The SAITM which has been gripped in controversy over the last few years has been dealt a fresh blow with the apex professional body, SL Medical Council refusing to register the college's first batch of graduates. A student of the college who had gone to the SLMC to seek registration was verbally refused citing that even if the students duly filled out forms and made written requests, it was not to be accepted. more..

Qualified Tamils don't get Lankan govt jobs

June 12 (ENS) R.Sampanthan, chief of the TNA and Leader of Opposition, complained in parliament, that qualified Tamils are not getting govt jobs. Sampanthan said that while Muslim leaders recruit Muslims; Sinhalese leaders get jobs for Sinhalese; and the few Tamils who are in power, recruit some Tamils; qualified Tamils are unable to get into govt service. Discrimination against the Tamils has been more..

Post flood conditions stable

June 12 (CT) There is no risk of an epidemic breaking out at any of the established welfare centres in the flood affected areas of the country, the Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala said. Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Division Dr. Sarath Amunugama said though there were no outbreaks of any disease, they were being constantly vigilant about the possibility at all the centres. more..

Govt tight-lipped over Mihin Lanka closure

June 12 (SO) The Govt was tight-lipped on speculation in airline industry circles that Sri Lanka’s loss-ridden budget airline Mihin Lanka is to wind up. Minister Eran Wickramaratne however, refuted rumours that the govt has taken any decision to liquidate the company. “We have not taken any decision to wind up anything,” he said when contacted. Industry sources indicated speculation, including questions being raised by more..

Crucial Maithri, Mahendran talks this week

June 12 (CT) Amidst mounting pressure on the govt to remove Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, who is facing various charges including an alleged involvement in a Treasury Bond scam, President Sirisena has scheduled a crucial closed-door discussion with the troubled official this week. According to well-informed sources, President is likely to request Mahendran to step down so as to pre-empt more..

Floods: 2,500 canal-bank squatter families to be evicted

June 12 (ST) Nearly 2,500 squatter families living close to canals in Colombo are to be evicted as they have been identified as one of the main causes of the flooding of the city and its suburbs, an official said. The squatter families will not be offered compensation or alternative locations, Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLRDC) Chairmnan W.M.A.S. Iddawala said. more..

President says technical assistance only if necessary, but no foreign judges

June 12 (ST) President Sirisena made clear that any technical assistance to the proposed inquiry into alleged war crimes would be without any commitments or conditions attached. His remarks came on the eve of the UNHRC’s 32nd sessions which begin in Geneva tomorrow. A resolution co-sponsored by the US and SL called for the establishment of a judicial mechanism of Commonwealth & foreign judges, defence more..

The economy: A practicable approach

June 12 (Island) Last week I reflected on a realpolitik approach to one of our two intractable problems, the national question, and suggested that a frame of mind of pragmatic compromise provided it met certain minimum conditions was a way forward. One of the condition is that certain minimal provisions be worked into the new constitution, if not explicitly at least in layered detail, to ensure reasonable devolution of power even if the regressive word unitary is nailed to the masthead. more..

In the name of Good Governance

June 12 (Island) One of the cornerstones of Yahapalanaya, President Sirisena’s battle cry during his Presidential election campaign, was Good Governance. Improvements have been observed in some areas in comparison to the pre Jan 9, 2015 era namely freedom of press and freedom of expression. However, matters in many areas such as Good Governance, Rule of Law, Transparency and Accountability remain unsatisfactory. It has been reported that President Sirisena prior to more..

Ada Cartoon

Comment: Sinhala film - Let Her Cry

June 12 (Island) Excellent is my one-word comment on the film Ege Esa Aga, translated obliquely to Let Her Cry. The film had its world premier at the Tallinn Black Nights International Film Festival. It had only a short run from 20 May to 10 June at the Regal Cinema. I was further shocked to hear it was a stop-gap film shown between two others - blockbusters we suppose of the usual genré of Sinhala films. It may be shown later, I was told. Was its short run due to its being subtitled in English more..

Military involvement in Tennekoon’s attack

June 12 (SL) The probe on the attack on former Editor of the Rivira newspaper, Upali Tennekoon has found that the attack had allegedly been carried out by a group of members attached to the Military Intelligence Unit. Tennekoon was attacked while travelling with his wife in 2012, a few days after the murder of the founding Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge. Sunday Leader learns that the investigators probing Wickrematunge’s murder case has found more..

The trappings of office

June 12 (Island) An investigation will be conducted on the import of super luxury motor vehicles, racing cars and motor cycles and action will be taken to recover pertinent taxes. Voters have short, or more accurately, selective memories. First sentence is from the English version of the then Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s manifesto, released late Dec 2014. On Jan 9, 2015, standing with a euphoric, even incredulous more..

LNG will hike up electricity price

June 12 (SL) Electricity consumers will have to pay a higher price – at least four times more than that of the current cost – if the govt decides to switch to renewable energy, senior CEB engineers said. They said it will cost the CEB Rs. 10 billion annually if the proposed Sampur coal power plant is converted into a plant that produces Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The CEB is concerned over the move to prepare the much discussed long term power generation. An official questioned as to how they more..

Electric fences but no electricity!

June 12 (ST) In villages bordering elephant-infested jungles, electrified fences have been put up to prevent elephant infiltration. Unfortunately the scheme has not been successful, as the fences have not been maintained after installation. The problems facing residents of Gedigaswalana in Sigiriya is a case in point. Villagers complain that though an electric fence was set up two years ago to protect the village from elephants, no electricity has passed through it over the past two years. more..

Mass bleaching of Sri Lanka coral reefs

June 12 (EN) Higher than normal ocean temperatures off Sri Lanka’s coast is threatening to damage the best coral reefs in the island, according to surveys done by marine scientists of the NARA. “Underwater surveys shows widespread bleaching or whitening along the reefs, especially in shallow depths (of less than 10 meters) in the south and south west coast and also reported in Jaffna and Bar Reef in Kalpitiya,” a statement said. more..

SLFP unlikely to take disciplinary action

June 12 (SL) The SLFP is unlikely to take disciplinary action on its members who voted for the no-confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. SLFP treasurer S.B. Dissanayake said the SLFP Working Committee will meet to discuss several matters including the vote taken last week. However, he said it is unlikely that action will be taken since the party is keen on uniting those who extended support to the joint opposition. He said SLFP General Secretary Duminda more..

Paranagama commission to be disbanded next month

June 12 (SL) Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP) will be disbanded on July 15, 2016. The move comes as cabinet had last week approved the establishment of an office for missing persons, which will help several thousand families of missing persons across SL to ascertain the fate of their loved ones, and the circumstances under which they went missing. Chairman of PCICMP, Maxwell Paranagama said that following more..

Luxury vehicles for ministers: Funds were given in April

June 12 (ST) Amid growing protests against the Govt’s now-suspended move to allocate a huge amount for the import of luxury vehicles for ministers and deputies, it has been now revealed that the Treasury had transferred the funds in April, while the supplementary estimate was presented last Tuesday. Treasury had transferred billions of rupees — including around Rs. 1.17 billion for the purchase of vehicles for more..

Husbands’ infidelity lead wives to give up family life

June 12 (DM) Wives of two veteran politicians going through marital difficulties are about to enter a religious order, they say. The two ladies highly disillusioned over the infidelity of their husbands have decided that enough is enough and they have no other alternative than to take to cloister. One of the two ladies is residing in the city and the other is living in a European country with her children. One of the lascivious politicians is a onetime aspirant to the second highest chair more..

Army says it will remain in the North and look after the Tamils

June 12 (CG) The army will remain in the North and look after the Tamils, a senior army officer has said, virtually rejecting Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran’s demand of withdrawal of military. “We are here to look after you, we will attend to all your needs,” military chief in the north Mahes Senanayake said. He said that his job as the security forces commander in the north is to prevent a recurrence of conflict by looking after the Tamil community. more..

'Action against jumbo will affect Peraheras'

June 12 (DM) The steps taken by the Wildlife Conservation Department and the environmental authorities regarding the owners of elephants were questionable, Chancellor of Sri J'pura University and Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara Ven. Bellanvila Wimalarathana Thera said. He told the media during a meeting to organize the Esala festival that the temples were facing hardship for want of elephants for more..

Imposing edifice opens its doors

June 12 (CT) Fort in Colombo is known for its historical and political prominence in the entire city. It is there the Presidential House is situated. Last Wednesday the Presidential House was opened to the public under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena. The inaugural opening drew a lot of visitors including politicians and schoolchildren. "I have never seen a building so large. It's like a fairy tale," said a highly enthused Shyamali, a 17-year-old schoolgirl. more..