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Sri Lankan shares close at 8-wk low; rates decision awaited

June 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session on Wednesday to hit a more than 8-week closing low as investors turned cautious ahead of a monetary policy rate announcement by the central bank later in the week. The central bank will announce June monetary policy rates at 1230 GMT on Friday and the market broadly expects rates to be left steady for a fourth straight month, although a possible rate hike is not ruled out. more..

Mahindananda demands Rs. 500 Mn each from Ranjan, Ananda

June 22 (DM) Joint Opposition MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage today sent a letter of demand to Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and Kandy District MP Ananda Aluthgamage demanding Rs. 500 million each, over alleged defamatory remarks made against him. Mr. Aluthgamage said he would take legal action against the duo, if they failed to pay the amount within two weeks. Deputy Minister Ramanayake on Tuesday at a news conference alleged Mr. Aluthgamage had used more..

I never said Mahinda siphoned off money - Rajitha

June 22 (AD) I never said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa siphoned off money, Minister Rajitha Senaratne says. “I asserted that Rajapaksas were behind this, and as well as it was those who were around him involved in this,” he added. Former President Rajapaksa earlier said that he will cut his throat if the authorities find evidence to prove this. “They say I have stolen $18 billion, but if they find evidence of even $1, I will cut my throat,” he said more..

Japanese fishing vessels to boost local industry

June 22 (Island) Japanese fishing vessels with modern technology would be brought to Sri Lanka to develop the country's fisheries industry, the State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi said. This was revealed during a meeting held between State Minister Wedaarachchi and a special Japanese delegation to SL at the Fisheries Ministry in Colombo. Accordingly, the Japanese fishing vessels would be provided to Sri Lankan fishermen under the community based management programme, more..

Cabinet to cancel architects’ consultancy in defence HQ deal

June 22 (EN) The govt has decided to cancel a consultancy given to an architects’ firm to build a new military headquarters complex without competitive bidding amid concerns over financial irregularities, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Payment made to the architects, Muditha Jayakody Associates, for consultancy services in the Akuregoda Security Services Headquarters building project in the Battaramulla suburb of Colombo, are being reviewed, he said. more..

FM promises to reply today

June 22 (Island) JVP accused the govt of having borrowed twice the amount approved by the Appropriation bill for the year 2015. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake raising a point of order said excessive borrowings had been noted by the Auditor General on page 365 of the Annual Report of Finance Ministry presented to Parliament yesterday. Dissanayake charged that according to the Annual report of the Finance Ministry, which had been tabled in the House, Parliament had approved more..

B’desh CB hacking: CPU, mobile phones to be sent to Moratuwa Uni.

June 22 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate today allowed the CID to send a CPU of a computer and two mobile phones recovered following investigations into the $20 million transfer by hacking from the Bangladesh Central Bank to Shalika Foundation, to Moratuwa University. The alleged productions were recovered by the CID in the possession of two individuals namely one Jayadewa and one Niluka. The CID, filing a 'B' Report in Court, informed that it had recorded five statements more..

'Tamils in Sri Lanka need a federal solution'

June 22 (PTI) The grievances of minority Tamils in SL can only be addressed through a federal system of governance and the merger of north and eastern provinces, Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has said. CM said he had conveyed this to the Colombo-based ambassadors, including those from EU, during his recent engagements with them. Tamil issue should not be seen by the govt from the view point of the nationalist extremists more..

Civil society irked by Sajin's VIP security

June 22 (Island) National Movement for Social Justice Convener Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya yesterday expressed dismay at former UPFA MP Sajin Vas Gunawardena being provided with VIP security. Responding to a query on Sirasa Pathikada programme, Prof. Wijesooriya revealed that the civil society had had an opportunity to take up the issue with President Maithripala Sirisena. He said that provision of VIP security to Gunawardena couldn't be justified under any circumstances. more..

Sri Lanka boat building to revive with end of fisheries ban

June 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s boat building is expected to revive with the withdrawal of a ban on fish exports by the European Union, an industry official said. “The boat building industry was severely affected by the ban,” said Neil Fernando, chairman of the Boat Building Technology Institute and head of Neil Marine, a boat builder. “There had been very little investments in building large fishing vessels due to the ban,” he told a news conference held to announce a boat show more..

Video: SC allows petition challenging VAT increase

June 22 (DM) Supreme Court today granted leave to proceed with the rights petitions challenging the intended imposition of additional liabilities pertaining to multi-stage tax called the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Nation Building Tax (NBT). The Bench comprising Chief Justice K.Sripavan, Justice B.P.Aluvihara granted leave for the alleged infringement of the fundamental right to equality. Senior Deputy Solicitor General Farzana Jameel with more..

President takes oath to eradicate child labour

June 22 (Island) President Sirisena will take an oath today to eliminate Worst Forms of Child Labour in the country at the BMICH, when the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations commemorates World Day Against Child Labour there. World Day Against Child Labour fell on June 12. President will take the oath to show the country's commitment to the decision taken by International Child Labour Conference held in the Hague, Netherlands in 2010 to eliminate child labour by 2016. more..

First flag pinned on President, marking Flag Week of National Housing Day

June 22 (PSL) The first flag, launching the Flag Week to mark the National Housing Day which falls on June 23, was pinned on President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremasinghe. The function was held at the President’s Office. Minister Sajith Premadasa officially pinned the flags on President and PM. June 23rd has been declared the National Housing Day, marking the birthday of Former President Ranasinghe Premadasa, founder of the National Housing Development Authority. more..

Video: I’ll go home tomorrow, if allegations proved: Arjuna

June 22 (DM) While rejecting the allegations made by the Joint Trade Union Collective of the Ports Authority, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said today he would resign from politics and go home tomorrow if it was proved he had defrauded a single rupee. He said the union leaders did not have the backbone to go to the Police, FCID or the Bribery Commission instead of making false allegations against him because they did not have any evidence of fraud. more..

Eminent Indian violinist called on President

June 22 (GDI) Professor V. Balaji, an eminent Indian violinist of Varanasi University, accepting an invitation called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence today (22). The invitation has been extended by the President Sirisena according to a request made by the Prof. V. Balaji to perform before the President Sirisena, during the State Music Awards Ceremony yesterday (21),where he participated as a special guest. more..

FTZ workers complain of harassment by employers, plan protest today

June 22 (Island) Collective of Independent Workers Unions (CIWU- Swadina Wurthiya Samithi Ekathuwa) warned that they would protest today against alleged intimidation by certain sections of employers in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ). Joint Secretary of the FTZ and General Services Employees Union (FTZ&GSEU), Anton Marcus accused relatives of a powerful govt minister, and sections of the employers and manufacturers of the Katunayake FTZ of intimidating trade unions and more..

Lady doctor, lawyer arrested for biting two WPCs

June 22 (DM) A lady doctor of a Govt hospital, and a lady lawyer had been taken into custody by the Welikada Police for obstructing the duty of two women Police Constables by biting them. It is alleged that the lady doctor, who entered the Police station had compelled the Crime Branch OIC to arrest a suspect, who she believed had burgled her house and to recover the stolen goods. However, Police officer explained that the suspect, more..

PM urges opposition to back Constitutional amendments

June 22 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today urged the opposition to support the proposed Constitutional amendments in Parliament. Speaking in Parliament, PM said that the Right to Information Bill which will be presented to Parliament tomorrow will be important to ensure good governance. He said the opposition must back the Right to Information Bill and other amendments to the Constitution. The long-awaited amended to the Right to Information Bill (RTI) will be moved in Parliament more..

Govt earns Rs 105,350 million from taxes on liquor last year

June 22 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament that the govt had earned Rs. 105,350 million tax revenue from hard liquor and malt liquor production in the country in 2015. In answer to a question raised by UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena, Minister said that the country had produced 52 million litres of hard liquor and 126 million of malt beer litres in 2015. The govt had earned Rs. 80,711 million from hard liquor and Rs 24,639 million from beer as excise income, more..

Indonesia working with Sri Lanka to repatriate migrants

June 22 (AA) Indonesian authorities revealed Wednesday that they are coordinating with the Sri Lankan embassy to repatriate more than 40 ethnic Tamil who have been stranded on Sumatra island for over a week. The chief of the immigration office in northern Aceh province told Anadolu Agency, “through the Directorate General of the Immigration Office in Jakarta, we communicated with the Sri Lankan embassy so we can decide on further action." more..

Students awarded certificates for Pakistan-Sri Lanka friendship anthem

June 22 (PHC) High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain presented Certificates of merit to the students of Pakistan Culture Education & Urdu Language Center, in Colombo today, for rendering meritorious service on account of developing, composing and presenting the first ever Pakistan SL friendship Anthem. The premier Anthem praising Pakistan SL enduring friendship was launched in Urdu, Sinhala & Tamil languages for the first time in Jan 2016 more..

Minister Hakeem and Dy Minister Cassim cause furore in CPC

June 22 (Island) Central Provincial Council at its meeting yesterday strongly condemned the action taken by Minister Rauf Hakeem and Deputy Health Minister Faizer Cassim to hold a meeting at the Central Province Health Ministry in Kandy without informing Minister Bandula Yalegama of the event. Provincial Minister Yalegama, in a statement at the meeting of CPC, said that Minister Hakeem and Deputy Minister Cassim had acted in an unethical and high handed manner. more..

President Sirisena’s second visit to Beijing to boost China-Sri Lanka ties

June 22 (AT) While this may be good news for both countries, observers in Sri Lanka view President Maithripala Sirisena’s pro-China tilt as an act of desperation after his administration had failed to bring in substantial foreign investments. The govt’s U-turn on Colombo Port City Project by giving it green light in March this year has angered greens who view it as a sellout to China. Taking a leaf from his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa’s book, more..

The story of the escapee Genie

June 23 (CT) It was a day in the year 1976. A teen aged boy returning from his calculus class stops his bicycle at a political rally and listens to persuasive arguments from the stage. It was, in the eyes of the young boy, emotional, narrow minded nationalistic thinking at its very worst. “It is all the fault of the other,” the young boy heard the speaker lament. “It is all because of them, it is they who have controlled our economy, sent troops and bombs to suppress us, more..

Brexit & Sri Lanka: Some thoughts from trinidad

June 23 (CT) Brexit, a portmanteau word combining Britain and Exit, is about tomorrow Thursday’s plebiscite in Britain over whether Britain should stay in or exit the European Union. As a student in the early 1970s I remember Conservative British PM Edward Heath convincingly speaking on BBC news (which often preceded movies in Sri Lanka) about the advantages of membership in what was then the Common Market. A plebiscite in 1975 after joining won a 65% approval to stay. more..

Ailing sound system waiting to be replaced

June 23 (SO) Parliament's amplified sound system is 15 years old, and the electronic voting system 18 years old, and neither system is fully functional today. The sound system is now outdated whereas, the electronic voting system has never been used properly. The Treasury has allocated Rs. 100 million to instal a brand new microphone system in Parliament in place of the existing system. Tenders were called for a new microphone system even before the recent more..

Maithri Vs Mangala: war on Foreign Policy

June 23 (CT) Some weeks ago, an application was received, requesting to allocate a hall of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, to hold a conference. Maithripala Sirisena was mentioned as the chief guest in it, and this conference was organized by an officer of the Presidential Secretariat. Kadirgamar Institute after receiving the approval forwarded same to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which comes under the purview of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Of flagrant spending and good governance

June 23 (NS) Although there was a public outcry against it initially, the issue of importing vehicles for ministers seems to have died a natural death and swept off the front pages, especially after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered that the imports be suspended until those affected by the recent floods, landslides and Kosgama blast were compensated. The chances are that once the public debate gives way to the next hot topic of the day, the imports will go ahead. more..

'FCID would soon be redundant'

June 23 (CT) JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa says if the Govt does not extend the tenure of the FCID through a Cabinet Paper prior to 30 June, the FCID would be rendered inactive. Q: What is the consensus of the JVP regarding the explosion at the Armoury in Salawa which occurred recently? A: A review has to be done regarding the security and war environment which exists in a country subsequent to ending a massive and long term war in that country. more..

Healing from the horrors of war: The amazing effects of Yoga on PTSD

June 23 (GV) If only political leaders knew the horrors of war first hand, they might find other ways to solve differences, to meet threats – perhaps go to the root causes of the conflicts that stem from crucial conversations about identity, rights and privileges – listen, seek to understand and compromise in the common interest – anything to stop the guns from coming out. Then again, war has become an economic machine – run by the Military Industrial Complex, more..

Sampur in the Spotlight after Indian RTI Request

June 23 (GV) The Sampur power plant project has come under further scrutiny, following a project synopsis released by the Public Information Officer of NTPC Ltd, India’s largest energy conglomerate. Among other things, it was revealed that environmental clearance for the project was still awaited as late as Feb 2015. Clearance has been given to the project to proceed despite concerns raised by environmentalist groups, including a Fundamental Rights case filed by more..

Gevindu Kumaratunga

Editorial: Fleecing the sick

June 23 (Island) It never rains but it pours, as they say. The family of SLFP stalwart Alavi Moulana, who recently went the way of all flesh after being ill for sometime, is faced with a double whammy, we are told. They are left with a thumping bill for his hospital stay. Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne is reported to have blown a gasket as he like many others seems to think that the bereaved family has been fleeced. One of our readers has, in a letter we publish today, more..

Legacy that cannot be belittled

June 23 (DN) The sudden demise of former JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe last week removes the last of the Old Guard of the JVP from the political stage. Amerasinghe was an unsung hero for most of his political life as he was indeed in death: when he passed away he had left the JVP which was not even accorded pride of place at his funeral. Amerasinghe was still active in politics at the time of his passing. He had undergone bypass surgery several years ago but was relatively well. more..

Eighteen months of yahapalanaya: In retrospect

June 23 (Island) As the yahapalanaya govt reaches the significant milestone of a year and a half, it is, perhaps, a worthwhile exercise to look back on the performance of an administration which held out abundant promise to the public on multi-faceted Change, and to assess the degree of fulfilment of that promise. Daily events involving almost every identifiable group across the country’s social spectrum now provide more..

Minister warns trouble makers

June 23 (CT) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara called for tough action and a possible ban from sports for schools that violated discipline in sports following the incident-filled rugby encounter between Dharmaraja College and St. Joseph's College last week, which ended in a free-for-all where some of the players ended in hospital. "I will discuss with the Education Minister regarding the inquiry. I believe we need a system where schools should be banned from more..

Tilvin hints at a deal between Ranil and Mahinda

June 23 (CT) General Secretary of the JVP, Tilvin Silva has accused PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa of striking a deal in an effort to safeguard the former first family and extended family from serious legal action against corrupt deals carried out during the former President’s tenure. Silva claimed that the best deal under the current govt is between Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa, where they have both come to an understanding that, more..

During elections: PM calls for banning Advertising by candidates

June 23 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament suggested including a Clause in the new Constitution to give power to Parliament to either ban media advertising by candidates vying for elections or to impose a ceiling for political parties on such expenditure. He said such a system had been adopted in some European countries. He was moving a Resolution on the media guidelines to be followed by the Electronic and Print Media during Referenda and Elections. more..

Olympian Kulawansa insists need to tap talent at grass root level

June 23 (Island) Former Olympian Sriyani Kulawansa insists that talent identification at grass root level is the key to address the dearth of talent at the top level. The famous hurdler, who dominated regional athletics events with the likes of Damayanthi Dharsha and Susanthika Jayasinghe is now attached to Ministry of Education where she is a project officer for athletics. With just 43 days to go for the Olympics there is only one female athlete who has qualified for the Rio Olympics. more..

Dias says experts have closely watched bowling actions of U19s

June 23 (Island) Former SL cricketer Roy Dias said that the bowling actions of SL Under-19s have been closely watched by the experts ahead of the team's home series against South Africa Under-19s. "Most of the bowlers had been scrutinised before the selectors picked them. Specially Simon Willis had been looking at all the bowlers," said Dias who will commence his first assignment as Sri Lanka Under-19s coach with the team's first match at P. Sara Oval on Thursday. more..