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Sri Lanka to build first LRT for Colombo with Japan finding: PM

June 19 (EN) Sri Lanka will build the first light rail transit (LRT) line in Colombo to ease traffic congestion with funding from Japan which has agreed, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. There have been suggestions to build a monorail (which is smaller) and also open it for private investment, though there have been concerns over viability and traffic volumes. Others have also called for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) which can be more..

Deputy Minister visits London to promote Sri Lanka Tourism

June 19 (Island) Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando who was in London last week, met with a large number of tour operators in the UK, in a bid to promote SL Tourism. He said he was successful in negotiating with one of the leading tour operators in the world, Thomas Cook to have charter flights to Sri Lanka. "I have the blessings for it from PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, and if everything goes according to plan, the first charter flight from the UK to Sri Lanka would take off mid 2017", he said. more..

Queen to honour young person from SL

June 19 (LR) Queen Elizabeth II will present a Queen’s Young Leaders Award to an exceptional young person from Sri Lanka at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London next week. As the Commonwealth celebrates The Queen’s 90th birthday, this year’s Award winner, 28-year-old Nushelle De Silva, has been recognised by The Queen for taking the lead in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in her community. As a Queen’s Young Leader, more..

National Audit Bill diluted: Unions

June 19 (CT) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe stresses the proposed National Audit Bill will not be productive if the surcharge powers are removed it. He expressed these views in the context all trade unions of Department of Auditor General protested in unison against removing several key clauses in the Draft Bill to make it less powerful. He said, the strength of the proposed Audit Bill lies on the powers to impose surcharges. more..

Certain public officials undermining govt’s relief efforts to the disaster affected: Ravi K.

June 19 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that certain public officials have shirked their responsibility in implementing the relief mechanism despite the government giving guidance to provide necessary relief to people affected by the recent floods, landslides and the emergency situation following the blaze at the Salawa Army Camp. "We will not allow the inefficiency on the part of public officials to disrupt the lives of disaster affected people", he noted. more..

Sri Lanka exhibits sacred Buddhist relics from Taxila on Poson Poya

June 19 (DT) The most sacred relics of Lord Buddha from Taxila are currently on display for general public in Thanthirimalaya Rajamaha Viharaya, Thanthirimalaya, Anuradhapura for two days on the occasion of Poson Full Moon Poya Day being commemorated on Sunday. The sacred relics include two holy bone relics of Lord Buddha, a golden casket containing the relics and a stone reliquary in stupa shape. The relic casket of steatite with a miniature gold casket inside, more..

Eranga's bowling action ruled illegal

June 19 (CI) On the same day that Sri Lanka fast bowler Shaminda Eranga was hospitalised for experiencing an elevated heartbeat, he was also suspended from bowling in international cricket for an illegal action. Eranga was reported for a suspect action after the second Test against England at Chester-le-Street in May. He was evaluated at Loughborough on June 6 and results showed his elbow exceeded permitted 15 more..

Indonesia allows SL boat to land temporarily

June 19 (AA) Just over a week after Indonesia ushered a boat filled with Sri Lankans out to sea, the asylum seekers on board have finally stepped on dry land -- but not in Australia where they wanted to be, back in Indonesia. The head of the immigration division of Indonesia's law and human rights ministry, Achmad Samadan, said on Sunday that the local govt had given them food and tents for temporary shelter. "All their needs have been fulfilled, be it food or drinks," Samadan said. more..

SLGTI established at Kilinochchi with Euro 8.7 million funding from Germany

June 19 (Island) The Sri Lanka German Training Institute (SLGTI) will be opened at Kilinochchi July 18 with Euro 8.7 million funding from the Federal Republic of Germany. Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the establishment of the SLGTI is sequel to bilateral relations between the governments of Sri Lanka and Germany. This Training Institute will be opened by President Maithripala Sirisena. War ended in 2009 resulting in the development of the North and East. more..

PM agrees to suspend re-appointment of Mahendran as CB governor

June 19 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed not to re-appoint Arjuna Mahendran as the Governor of CB until the investigation launched by the COPE against him concluded. Convener of Puravasi Balaya, Saman Ratnapriya said the decision was made during the meeting held yesterday between PM and Puravasi Balaya movement. Following a 2-hour long discussion, PM had agreed with their proposal not to more..

A double-crossing regime arrests a double-crosser

June 20 (CT) Udaya Gammanpila is a politician. That’s as bad a character certificate that one can get. He is a pompous, self-righteous politician whose principal edge is the ability to justify any position (even the total opposite of the one taken a day before) with a turn of phrase, random examples taken out of context and pure and simple gumption. He’s a man or immense ego and one so large that he himself doesn’t know when he goes overboard with it. more..

Honesty & integrity of the guardian treasurer of the nation

June 20 (CT) Citizen is expected to be given their cherished Nation to the hands of honest leaders of integrity on trust for a limited period to administer the Nation on trust as Temporary Trustees. Some trustees are elected, some appointed. President PM and Speaker are elected and the Chief Justice, Auditor General Attorney General and the Governor Central Bank are appointed. Appointments should be made with utmost care and trust to select the best candidate of integrity and honesty. more..

'Access to information leads to good governance'

June 20 (Island) Access to information not only benefits media, but also paves the way for good governance and ensures transparency, UNP MP, Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratna said. Clarifying a common misconception that the much anticipated Right to Information (RTI) Bill would only serve the purpose of media, he said it would lead the way for good governance, while ensuring transparency and more..

Does an apology suffice where torture is alleged?

June 20 (ST) In 2002, Supreme Court declared in a fairly run of the mill case that “the state is responsible for the law. The law is made for the protection of all citizens rich and poor alike. It is therefore the duty of the state to make its machinery work alike for the rich and the poor’ (Don Sripati v. Sub-Inspector Wijesinghe and others, SC (FR) App. No. 213/2001, 31.05.02). Admirable sentiments, articulated at a time when the Court took an interventionist stand in protecting rights. more..

One small Everest step for Jayanthi, a giant leap for Sri Lanka’s womankind

June 20 (ST) Exactly a full moon ago on the night of Vesak just before the break of dawn, a lone Sri Lankan woman was on the verge of realising the Everest of her lifelong elusive dream. Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala, aged 36, was staring death in the face at 27,000 feet above ground zero, her eyes determinedly fixed and gazing at that almost unassailable crag of mountain top ominously known as the Death Zone, from whose treacherous bourn few bore hopes of returning. more..

'Big attitude change will take place after RTI is enacted'

June 20 (SL) Deputy Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Karunaratne Paranawithana said that the media and the people should not expect a free flow of information the day after the Right to Information bill is presented in parliament on the 23rd of this month. He said that there will be a big attitude change after the RTI is enacted. However he said that change will not happen overnight and the public officers more..

A good vehicle is not enough

June 20 (SO) This feline who is affected by what affects the ordinary people of this country and then gives vent to bristling in voice and the written word, held herself at bay regarding the shocking allocation of one billion and more solid bucks to import very expensive SUVs and suchlike for 30 ministers & deputies. As everyone and his grandfather has been saying, it’s worst time for this kind of extravagance and it is sheer extravagance, with epithets useless, shocking, senseless, vulgar added on. more..

EP to focus on SL environment

June 20 (SL) A report was submitted to the European Parliament (EP), Brussels, Belgium detailing damages done to the environment in the name of development projects in Sri Lanka. It was submitted expecting support from EP to get the focus of the govt to stop projects that harm the environment. Director of Centre for Environment and Nature Studies (CENS) and Ecologist, Ravindra Kariyawasam, has submitted the report to the Minister of Agriculture & Foreign affairs, more..

Chrishmal Warnasuriya

SL High Commission clashes with the Community in Toronto

June 20 (Island) Last week we brought to light some of the politics and the backstabbing by the Sri Lankan Mission in Ottawa against its own Consul General in Toronto and more. High Commission in Ottawa had become very unpopular. Those at the helm of it were keen on relaxing rather than working. There was no good team and most of them were tale carriers and a group concerned about only their own interests. With Toronto leading the way in the battles against the LTTE in Canada, more..

How to beat dolour with single dollar

June 20 (Island) The practice of running on one’s sword is as old as the hills. Brutus resorts to it in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It was the Japanese who introduced hara-kiri, defined as cutting open one’s stomach with a sword to avoid losing honour. But, former President Rajapaksa, currently in the land of Samurai, has said he is ready to take his own life in a different manner. He has said he would slit his throat if it could be proved that he has stolen a single dollar. more..

Old soldiers never die…

June 20 (CT) The year 2016 has been a harrowing year for celebrities, politicians and sundry VIPs the world over. The experiences in Sri Lanka resonated with that global fact. Sandwiched somewhere between this phenomenon [because usually politicians and VIPs have it so good as a norm] SL leftist politics suffered a very great loss with the death of former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, who was one of Sri Lanka's more..

Build Sampur coal plant or face the consequences

June 20 (Island) At a forum organized by the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies on the 16th June, Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya (TS) reportedly warned of dire consequences unless the Indo-Sri Lanka joint venture at Sampur was launched immediately. He has further said that "Sri Lanka couldn’t go for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant instead of a coal-fired plant after having reached vital stage of the Sampur project" (The Island, 17.06.2016). more..

ICC draws up proposals for major ODI revamp

June 20 (CI) The ICC is pushing for the creation of a new ODI league for the world's top 13 countries to give 50-over cricket new context and relevance. Plans are well-advanced to create a new league from 2019 for 13 nations - believed to be the ten Test teams, Afghanistan, Ireland and one other Associate, with Nepal advocated by some as a favoured option in a debate that still has some way to run. The league will see all countries play each other over three years, more..

Get him or let him go!

June 20 (CT) This is not the first time the govt woke up from a dream to arrest former envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, the man in the centre of an alleged arms deal racket with Ukrainian rebels. The govt got its approval from the Cabinet to sign an extradition treaty between SL and Ukraine in order to get down Weeratunga to probe his alleged dealings. Govt said it will ask the Ukrainian authorities to extradite criminals more..

Australian naval ship HMAS Perth arrive at the Port of Colombo

June 20 (SLN) Australian naval ship, HMAS Pertharrived at the Port of Colombo on a goodwill visit on 19th June 2016. They were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. The ship is scheduled to stay in the Island nation till 23rd of this month and the ship crew will engage in a wide range of events conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy with the intention of strengthening friendship and solidarity of the two Navies. more..

Sri Lanka beat Mexico 22-19

June 20 (Island) Sri Lanka defeated Mexico 22-19 in their Shield semi final final match of the Monaco Sevens in Stade Louis stadium in Monaco yesterday. Tuskers scored four tries as centre Kanchana Ramanayake crossed the try line twice while scrum half Srinath Sooriyabandara and Jason Dissanayake also chipped in with tries. Lankans were beaten 33-14 by Morocco in their Bowl Championship quarter final match. Morocco led 14-0 at halftime. more..

Billion rupee coke bust

June 20 (SO) With the detection of the largest quantity of cocaine smuggled into the country, questions are being raised whether SL is becoming a transit point for the smuggling of this high class drug. The country has already been identified as the Indian Ocean hub in the heroin smuggling network. Till now detection of cocaine, a drug with a high market value, used by the affluent in society, has been limited to small quantities. more..

Sri Lankan community holds first celebration in St. John's in Canada

June 20 (CBC) Sri Lankans living in St. John's gathered at Memorial University Sunday to celebrate several big events in the Buddhist calendar. The celebration — the first of its kind in the province — included music, meditation and food. It honoured June's full moon, which is the day organizer Sisira De Silva says Buddhism first arrived in Sri Lanka. De Silva, the president of the Sri Lankan Buddhist and Well-Wishers Community of Newfoundland and Labrador, said more..

Korean assistance to construct houses for Sri Lankan fishing families

June 20 (FT) A Korean fisheries sector delegation visiting Sri Lanka has consented to provide financial assistance to construct houses for fishing families under a project proposed by the State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi. The President of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Korea Kim Im Kweon has presented a $ 128,000 grant for the initiation of the first phase of the fisheries housing project to State Minister when the Korean delegation made an inspection visit to Tangalle. more..

Tea industry neglected claims CTTA

June 20 (FT) Despite the tea industry being a major contributor to the national economy, a key stakeholder on Friday charged that the focus of relevant authorities and decision makers on outstanding issues has not been very positive. “Our compelling pleas for vital decisions have not been considered with sufficient importance hence are neglected,” Colombo Tea Traders Association Chairman, Anselm Perera said. more..

All good in Great Britain

June 20 (CI) Our correspondent spots the lesser spotted non-golfing cricket commentator, has fisticuffs with a machine, and gets in on some free guided tour action. May 15: Minutes after I arrive on British soil following a long flight, people are looking at me like I am a miscreant. I had put £20 into a vending machine that sold pre-loaded SIM card packs, only for the machine to swallow the money without properly releasing my purchase. I looked around for help initially, more..

Rathana Thera calls on JVP groups to reunite

June 20 (DM) MP Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera called on all the break-away groups of the JVP to get together again to build the country and said that he too was willing to join such an effort. Speaking at the funeral of the former JVP leader and the leader of the Janatha Sevaka Pakshaya, Somawansa Amarasinghe at the Borella Kanatte cemetery, the Thera said that Mr. Amarasinghe brought in two aspects to the Sri Lankan leftist politics, internationalism and patriotism. more..

Mathews tells Sri Lanka to up their game

June 20 (AFP) Captain Angelo Mathews said his side will have to be at their best to beat England in the five-match one-day international series which starts on Tuesday. Mathews was speaking after overseeing a 2-0 ODI series victory over Ireland in Malahide after the second match was won by an emphatic 136-run margin on Saturday. Opening batsman Kusal Perera, who would have missed the tour had a drugs ban not been more..

Litro Gas says saved Rs 1.7 b via transparent LPG contract award

June 20 (FT) Litro Gas, the largest national importer and market leader of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in SL, has made an enormous saving of Rs 1.7 billion from an unprecedentedly transparent tender award for the first time in the company’s history. Litro’s existing LPG contract expires on 31st of Aug 2016 but with current demand forecasts, Litro expects the contract to expire end-June 2016. LitroGas advertised the tender for the supply of gas in newspapers of most important more..

Fight, flags and favourites: Sri Lanka’s Cricket parody

June 20 (ST) Win or lose, we booze. On hearing that we feel lighthearted and we indulge in it – even if the consequences could be dire. Yes, there are some guys who love to live at the edge and I feel Lankan cricketers Kithruwan Vithanage and Ramith Rambukwella are two such characters. Yet, like the bear who told the man not to trust the friend who climbed the tree, now Kithruwan is holed in the dungeon while Ramith will board the flight to join England ‘A’ tour with an unblemished record. more..

Vehicle tax hits importers

June 20 (CT) Imposing a tax on vehicles has been the biggest controversy during the past few weeks because the Vehicles Importers' Association (VIA) believes it is not reasonable to increase vehicle taxes suddenly. Even though the 2015 interim budget decided to increase taxes on large luxury vehicles, according to VIA the prices of all vehicles, except motorcycles, will increase due to the new tax amendment. more..

UNP infighting surfaces at Litro

June 20 (Island) A tussle between Finance Ministry and State Entrepreneurship Ministry has once again surfaced with sections of the employees of Litro Gas Company alleging a move to effect changes to its board of directors, who helped save Rs.1,700 million via the last LPG gas agreement. A bigwig in the State Entrepreneurship and Management Ministry is behind this move as the present board of directors had been instrumental in awarding the contract to import LG gas to the most suitable bidder more..

MR says he may contest for Premiership

June 20 (DN) Former President Rajapaksa has hinted that he may stake a claim for the PM’s post at the next general election. The Japanese Times reported that when asked about future plans, Rajapaksa had pointed out that now he is barred from seeking a third term as president. The article goes on to say “but, flashing his signature smile, he did not rule out running for PM and replied: “Politicians never retire.” On the war and Tiger leader Prabhakaran’s role, more..

Welikada Prison land to be sold

June 20 (Island) Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said the govt was planning to sell the land where the Welikada Prison stands in Borella by shifting the jail to Millaniya in Horana. He said the prison now occupies an area of about 48 acres in Borella town which could be developed. The inmates would be shifted to a new facility at Millaniya, Horana where, a vocational training centre, too, would be set up for their use. more..