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COPE flouting AG guidelines: Senior ministers

June 15 (DN) When the Attorney General’s Department has clearly laid down the strategy to be adopted in releasing secret data of the Central Bank to outside parties, the COPE is acting in contravention of this strategy laid down by the AG’s Department, a group of senior ministers complained to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on June 14. Three senior ministers handed over their complaint to the PM along with documents to more..

Govt tells postal workers to stop TU action and come for talks

June 15 (Island) The govt requested postal workers now on a work- to-rule campaign to stop trade union action and come for talks. Minister of Posts, M.H.A. Haleem said he had raised the issue at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. President and PM had directed Minister Ravi Karunanayake to solve the issue, he said. "Finance Minister gave me an appointment to meet him at 11.30 am today to discuss the issue with trade unions," more..

Public Servants' Concessionary Vehicle Permits increased

June 15 (DM) Govt has increased the concessionary vehicle permits to Public Servants from the current US$25,000 to US$45,000 in a new circular to be issued shortly by the Treasury's Trade and Investment Policy Department. This follows the recent cabinet decision to re-introduce concessionary vehicle permits (CVP) to public servants. The govt suspended the CVP in November citing the huge drain on foreign exchange, more..

Measures to issue E- passports next year

June 15 (DN) Immigration and Emigration Department is taking measures to issue E- passports early next year preventing the possibilities of forgeries, Minister S.B. Navinna said. He made this observation yesterday at the ceremonial launching of Sri Lanka Visa Stickers and introduction of On Line Passport Application filling facility. The launching ceremony was held at Immigration & Emigration Dept auditorium. more..

GMOA doctors to leave the country

June 15 (DM) The GMOA warned that doctors would be compelled to leave the country unless the difficulties they face when admitting their children to national schools were resolved. GMOA General Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that children of govt doctors were discriminated by the relevant govt authorities. He alleged that they were bent on taking revenge on the doctors through their children. He said however, more..

Former JVP leader Somawansa passes away

June 15 (AD) Former leader of the JVP and General Secretary of the People’s Servants Party, Somawansa Amarasinghe has passed away at the age of 73. He had passed away at his residence in Rajagiriya. Responsible for rebuilding the JVP after almost all of its top leaders were eliminated in 1989/1990, Somawansa continued to be the leader until his retirement in February 2014. He held the leadership for nearly 20 years. more..

Where were UK experts in our hour of need?

June 15 (CT) British High Commission has confirmed staff from Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in UK has been training members of CIABOC and FCID staff in “enhancing investigator’s capability to engage in international cases through legal advice, exchanges and English language training”. Recent news reports indicate UK has offered a team of experts to work with CIABOC and specialized police training for those in the FCID. The offer has been confirmed by the spokesperson of British HC. more..

TULF asks President to treat people of North and Salawa victims alike

June 15 (Island) Appreciating the govt’s move to compensate the Salawa victims, the TULF has requested the President to consider compensating thousands of Tamils who returned after the war and found their houses almost reduced to rubble. The TULF has suggested that, if funds are not avaialble, the gold taken over by the military during the Vanni war be used for that purpose. "In fact the Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims are all sons and daughters of Mother Lanka and the govt should treat alike more..

Living a high life on peoples' sweat & tears

Zeid, Ukraine and the Eelam lobby

June 15 (CT) There are two aspects to the manner in which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Hussein seems to view what is broadly called The Tamil Problem, in SL. His views and opinions are a mirror-image of TNA Leader R. Sampanthan's. They are a mirror-image of the opinions of the pro- separatist Tamil Diaspora. All these opinions and so-called convictions lack one thing: Balance. We are not arguing against all that is right and just in many of their collective more..

Sri Lankan shares hit near 7-wk closing low

June 15 (Reuters) Shares ended weaker for a second straight session on Wednesday, their lowest in about seven weeks, as concerns over rising interest rates and foreign fund outflows weighed on sentiment. Investor sentiment also took a hit after the govt decided to reintroduce a capital gains tax, dealers said. Cabinet approved a proposal to reintroduce a capital gains tax, according to an official document released on Wednesday that said the failure to tax appreciation more..

Kithuruwan, Ramith in trouble after brawl

June 15 (DM) The careers of promising cricketers Kithuruwan Vithanage and Ramith Rambukwella are in jeopardy with Sri Lanka Cricket pursuing disciplinary action against the duo over a breach of discipline. Both are most likely to be withdrawn from the forthcoming Sri Lanka ‘A’ tour of England as Sri Lanka Cricket is serious about upholding discipline. Former Test cricketer Vithanage known for his off-field frolics rather more..

Police use teargas to disperse protest at Fort

June 15 (AD) Police use water cannon and teargas and to disperse a group of Kelaniya University students who were protesting at Lotus Road, Fort. The students were conducting the protest defying a Court order. The protest march organized by the Inter University Students’ Federation against the arrest and remanding of a group of Kelaniya University students. The protest march was scheduled to start from the Technical Junction and go up to the Presidential Secretariat. more..

SL govt interested in buying cement plant

June 15 (GC) The Industry and Commerce Ministry has expressed its interest in buying the local operations of LafargeHolcim. Government sources have said that discussions are now on-going within the administration. The multinational cement producer announced in early June 2016 that it was selling its subsidiary Holcim Lanka. The company was originally state-owned before it was privatised. "The govt is willing to negotiate to buy it at a reasonable price. more..

No official residence for Opposition Leader

June 15 (DM) Govt is yet to provide an official residence to Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan despite several ministers occupying official residences while having homes in Colombo and in the suburbs, a senior official said. He said this was an injustice meted out to Mr. Sampanthan. “There are dozens of large houses and mansions under private or govt ownership reserved as official residences in Colombo and most of them more..

International Day of Yoga 2016 to be celebrated at Duraiappah Stadium

June 15 (Island) High Commission of India announced the completion of renovation of the Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna. "To commemorate this special occasion, Narendra Modi, PM of India will join, through digital video conferencing, President Sirisena, at the renovated Duraiappah Stadium on June 18, to dedicate it to the people of SL. The International Day of Yoga 2016 will also be celebrated on the occasion, with the participation of thousands of Jaffna residents." more..

Questions over Aluthgamage's appointment to COPE

June 15 (DM) JVP MP and COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti said the members of the committee would have to work with MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage the newest member to appointed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. “It is the Speaker who appoints members to the COPE when political parties represented in Parliament nominate MPs to the committee. I won't express any views on the appointment of Mr Aluthgamage,” he said. “The responsibility of nominating MPs of good more..

Sri Lanka brings back Capital Gains Tax

June 15 (PTI) Sri Lanka said it will reintroduce capital gains tax as the Govt of President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, struggle with the perilous situation of its public finances. The govt did not announce when the tax would become effective, nor did it reveal the taxation rate and to what it would apply. In 2002, a 25% tax applied to real estate transactions was abolished. At the time also the govt was led by Ranil more..

GII: SL ranks 85th out of 141 economies

June 15 (DN) SL had been ranked 85th out of 141 economies in the Global Innovation Index (GII) by the end of last year which shows a remarkable improvement compared to previous years. Sri Lanka was ranked 105th in 2014 and has come 20 positions forward. GII is one of the pioneer innovation indexes, measuring innovativeness across the globe. “Although SL has made great advances in innovation in some economic sectors the country still lags far behind its more more..

Govt opens capital account to help those exposed by Panama Papers: GL

June 15 (Island) Former Minister, G.L Peiris alleged that govt’s decision to open the capital account was to protect those exposed by the Panama Papers. The capital account was being liberalised for the first time in SL’s history since 1948. "Why is this strange decision at this time? Obviously, there is going to be net loss to the economy," he said. Prof. Peiris stressed that SL was today in a situation where on a weekly basis more money was going out of the country than funds coming in. more..

'No CCTV evidence to show Patali in vicinity of Rajagiriya accident'

June 15 (DM) Police today told Court that according to the report sent by the Moratuwa University, the CCTV footage on the Rajagiriya accident in which Minister Champika Ranawaka’s vehicle met with an accident, shows no scientific evidence to prove that the minister was anywhere in the vicinity. Police denied allegations made against them by the aggrieved party’s counsel and told the court that it had carried out a fair and broad investigation. more..

Govt responds to accusations directed at CB

June 15 (Island) The Information Department in a press release issued yesterday said "Our attention has been drawn to recent media reports which implied that the Central Bank has not provided information to the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). According to the reports the Auditor General’s Department has requested information from the Central Bank so that it could forward them to the COPE but that the request had been turned down. This is not true. more..

Thondaman to join govt

June 15 (DM) The Ceylon Workers Congress led by Arumugan Thondaman, which functioned as a constituent party of the UPFA supporting the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is to join the United National Front govt sometime next week, UNP sources indicated. With this proposed joining of the CWC with the UNF, its leader is tipped to be appointed as a Cabinet Minister. Govt sources also indicated that a Deputy Minister post is also to be allocated to the CWC. more..

Sri Lanka: Muslims remember Buddhist hardliner attacks

June 15 (AJ) For those who live in Muslim-majority Dharga Town on the southwest coast, life will never be the same again. While peace and tranquility now blanket this quiet town as residents observe the holy month of Ramadan, the scene was sharply different two years ago when Buddhist mobs launched a violent rampage against Muslims and their property. "I can never be normal again. I live in perpetual fear," said Nasir Zarook, 28, more..

Turkish Foreign Minister discusses ways to boost bilateral relations

June 15 (CG) Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuþoðlu had talks in Sri Lanka today and looked at ways at boosting bilateral relations. He met President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera separately as well as other Govt Ministers. During talks with the President the President urged Turkey to increase investments in SL and the visiting Turkish Minister briefed the President on the steps the Turkish Govt could more..

FCID grills Yoshitha for bank transactions

June 15 (DM) Head of Carlton Sports Network Yoshitha Rajapaksa was summoned by the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division today to record a statement. Yoshitha who arrived at the FCID office at 10.30am was asked about the transactions of his bank statements and other assets until he was permitted to leave around 3pm, sources said. Also MP Namal Rajapaksa who was being summoned by the FCID had reportedly asked for another date to appear to give a statement. more..

Sri Lanka's economy grew 5.5% in 2016 Q1

June 15 (EN) SL's economy grew 5.5% in the first quarter of 2016 from a year ago, led by industrial activity, especially construction. GDP for the first quarter of 2016 at constant (2010) prices rose to Rs 2,088,024 million from Rs 1,978,609 million in the first quarter of 2015. The industrial sector, which contributed 31.6% to GDP, grew 8.3% in the first quarter of 2016 from the year before, followed by services, grew 4.9% more..

Video: Rajitha doesn’t think CB governor’s term will be extended

June 15 (AD) Minister Rajitha Senaratne today said that he does not believe the term of Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran will be extended when it ends on June 30. Responding to questions from reporters he said that it is in the hands of the President and that he would take the necessary step. “I was against since his appointment,” he said, adding that he raised objections to the decision to appoint Mr Mahendran to the post from the day it was proposed to the Cabinet. more..

Suspects arrested over cocaine haul ordered detained for 7 days

June 15 (AD) The three suspects arrested in connection with the 80 kilograms of cocaine found inside a container have been ordered to be detained by the Police Narcotics Bureau for another 7 days after being produced at the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today. The cocaine, with an estimated street value of Rs 1.2 billion, were found in three bags inside a container of sugar which had arrived from Brazil at the Orugodawatta container yard. one of the suspects is a director of more..

Deal with Ukraine to extradite criminals

June 15 (CG) Govt today said that cabinet has approved a proposal to reach an agreement with Ukraine to extradite criminals. Govt said that a proposal made by President Sirisena, in his capacity as the Minister of Defence, to enter in to an agreement with Govt of Ukraine on extradition of criminals, was approved by the cabinet. The agreement will provide the opportunity to request the authorities in Ukraine to receive criminals more..

Several containers aboard a ship on fire

June 15 (DM) Several containers onboard a ship birthed in the Colombo Port has caught fire, the Fire Brigade said. Fire brigade vehicles were rushed to the scene while the fire brigade stationed at the Port had also begun the task of putting out the fire. Meanwhile, South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) said in a statement that the fire was reported in a container onboard a vessel berthed at SAGT. A container on board a vessel berthed at SAGT was detected to be on fire this morning. more..

Fake passport racket busted, 3 Lankans held

June 15 (PTI) A fake passport and visa racket has been busted with the arrest of five persons, including three Sri Lankan nationals, and fake visa and stamps seized from them, police said today. A special team arrested three persons, who were the main accused, yesterday after probing into a tip-off that they were allegedly helping fellow Lankans and others procure fake passports as well as visas through fraudulent means. They were identified as P Krishnamurthy V Rajan and S Muralitharan. more..

Former Governor Alavi Moulana passes away

June 15 (AD) Former Governor of the Western Province and trade union leader Alavi Moulana has passed away at the age of 84. He had recently undergone surgery for liver complication and was receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo. The funeral will be held at the Dehiwala Jummah Mosque at 3.30 pm tomorrow. The veteran politician had entered politics in 1948 as a trade unionist and went on to serve as more..

Visiting the Veddahs, 1899

June 16 (ST) Between the early research on the Veddahs by the Swiss naturalists Fritz Sarasin and his second cousin Paul Sarasin from 1883 to 1907, and the more scholarly achievements of the British husband and wife team, Charles and Brenda Seligmann, evident in The Veddas (1911), there was a visit to the tribe by another, but this time unrelated, pair – the Americans H.M. Hiller and W.H. Furness. Their account was published as Notes of a Trip to the Veddahs of Ceylon (1902). more..

Distorting history to promote Tamil politics

June 16 (CT) One of the main obstacles standing in the way reconciliation, based on a reasonable and lasting solution, is the refusal of the Jaffna Tamils to face the realities of their history. By and large, the average Tamil knows only two kinds of history : 1. a distorted view of the Mahavamsa – the main target of the anti-Sinhala-Buddhist propaganda campaign launched by G.G. Ponnambalam in the thirties and 2. glorified tales of a Tamil kingdom and Tamil culture, which they claim preceded more..

Animal Sacrifice: A ritual or business ?

June 16 (DN) In a quest to overcome his troubles and appease the Gods, Revathi’s* father, who was a successful businessman from Jaffna, was of the firm belief that the Gods would wipe away all his tears if an animal was offered as a sacrifice on an auspicious day. “My father believed that sacrificing an animal was similar to thanking God for all what he has been provided,” said Revathi. She said that they used to visit Bhairava Hindu more..

Inside Blood Bank on world blood donor day

June 16 (GV) June 14 marks World Blood Donor Day. Groundviews takes a look inside Sri Lanka’s National Blood Transfusion Service, to better understand the process of blood donation – and how it showcases the best of Sri Lanka’s spirit. On the radio, you'll often hear the announcement "O negative blood urgently needed, please contact us if you can help." You might occasionally see requests for blood from desperate families seeking help for their loved ones on social media. more..

SL’s foreign policy trends since Jan 2015

June 16 (GV) My views expressed here today do not represent positions of any political party, or any power center. I do not have any personal or political stake either at the ways in which how the government makes its foreign policy decisions or conducts its policies. Not being a political insider, I am not privy to valuable political gossip that can help place in context, and even alter, most of the points I would be making in this presentation. I am only a student of politics, and not a political actor, more..

What happened with no-confidence motion?

June 16 (CT) We didn't discuss this issue with the TNA - UNP MP Nalin Bandara. Q: What is the stance of the govt on the defeat of the no-confidence motion against the Minister of Finance? A: It was a huge victory. We knew this would be the result. This no-confidence motion was brought at the behest of the joint gang to continue their existence. The no-confidence motion brought against the Minister of Finance can be identified as more..

A new era for the US–Lanka relationship

June 16 (HF) My name is Lisa Curtis. I am Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. The views I express in this testimony are my own and should not be construed as representing any official position of The Heritage Foundation. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sympathy for the victims of the severe flooding and landslides which wracked Sri Lanka last month. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost their lives in the disaster as well as more..