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‘I cannot host diplomats and foreign officials in a normal boutique’

June 26 (Island) Expressing optimism that the ongoing COPE investigation will help clear his name, CB Governor, Arjuna Mahendran said that he returned from overseas to serve his motherland, and the President would decide whether he should continue in his job or not. He confirmed that he has decided not to seek an extension of his term until COPE clears his name. "COPE is the best forum I could prove my innocence. more..

CB Governor: PM to reveal behind-the-scene secrets

June 26 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is to make several disclosures on matters related to Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, sources close to him said yesterday. Sources said he would make a disclosure on a certain person who had been behind publishing several reports on the Central Bank Governor. They also said the Prime Minister was to call for explanation form a certain UNP MP who is alleged to have been behind the publishing of reports on the Governor. more..

AG's report on controversial bond issue will be submitted to COPE on 29 June

June 26 (CT) AG's report on the controversial Treasury Bond issue will be submitted to the COPE on 29 June. COPE members are to have a discussion to decide whether JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti should continue as Chairman of COPE or not. During the debate on the Right To Information (RTI) Bill, Minister Lakshman Kiriella brought into question MP Handunnetti's ability to function independently of influences in carrying out his duties as COPE Chairman. more..

Sirisena insists executive presidency should be abolished

June 26 (ST) Whether it would be electoral reforms or a new Constitution for SL first is becoming a contentious issue between the two main partners of the Govt – SLFP and UNP. SLFP wants a 20th Amendment that will incorporate the electoral reforms to be presented in Parliament first. Its finer parameters are yet to be worked out. On the other hand, the UNP is in favour of these reforms being incorporated in the new Constitution more..

Listening to discontent

June 26 (Island) "What has he done for Sinhala-Buddhists? From the time he was elected, much of what he has done has been for Tamils and the North. Then look at the Muslims Sir, they are now all over, doing what they want. On the one hand there is Sampanthan, he is respectable. But is the President doing anything to stop terrorism from rising again? I now think the Rajapaksas were better – at least you knew what they were. Today Sir, we don’t know who is telling the truth." more..

Future of Japan-Sri Lanka commercial ties

June 26 (Island) Speech of Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama at the 19th Joint Committee Meeting of the Business Forum of SL-Japan and Japan-SL Business Cooperation Committees in Colombo last week. "It gives me great pleasure to be here at this meeting especially because over thirty years ago I joined Lalith Athulathmudali in Tokyo when we first established the Chamber of Sri Lankan and Japanese Commerce. Some of the original participants are here with us at this meeting, more..

Lanka Sathosa restructuring in the pipeline to curb mounting losses

June 26 (Island) The restructuring of Lanka Sathosa is on the cards as the govt-owned retail chain of supermarkets continue to suffer substantial losses placing a huge burden on the cash-strapped Treasury, trade officials said. With average losses in 2016 running into around Rs. 60 million per month, there appears to be no other viable option than a shake-up to turn around this key state-run institution, they pointed out. more..

Capital outflow near US$600mn in 2016 1Q

June 26 (EN) Sri Lanka has seen capital outflows of nearly US$ 600 million in the first quarter of 2016, with sales by foreign investors in Treasury bills driving the flight, though in the second quarter a deal with the IMF is expected to boost confidence. The central bank said outflows from rupee govt securities, the stock exchange and long term government loan market reached US$ 595.7 million in the first quarter of 296. more..

Govt gives confusing signals on local polls

June 26 (Island) While the government was yet to give a clear date on which Local Elections would be held, the UNP has launched a drive to enroll three million new members. Leader of the UNP and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at meeting in Colombo on Thursday, with his party’s rank and file, urged them to go to their respective villages and begin recruiting three million more members, especially from among the youth. more..

SL expats in UK strongly divided on Brexit

June 26 (Island) In spite of a strong campaign by three SL ministers in the run-up to the referendum in support of David Cameron in his bid to stay in the European Union, they could not make a positive impact as the British PM conceded defeat last Friday and offered his resignation. Ministers Harsha de Silva, Harin Fernando, Susil Premjayantha and PM’s spokeperson Rosy Senanayake were in London talking to the SL expatriate community more..

New warning on mosquito breeding grounds

June 26 (SL) Medical experts warn the public to be cautious about mosquito breeding grounds especially in the areas that were affected by the recent floods as they fear there is a high probability for an increase in the number of patients in the coming months. Countrywide, 19,731 cases were reported during the first six months of this year. Nearly 47.61% of dengue cases were reported from the Western province. more..

Senadhipathy threatens to sue Rakna Arakshaka for billions

June 26 (SL) Chairman, Avant Garde Maritime Services, Nissanka Senadhipathy has informed the Chairman of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (RALL) in writing on Friday that RAAL had failed to clarify the ownership of the weapons on board the MV Avant Garde ship and inform the AG’s Department and other relevant institutions. Hence, Senadhipathy stated in the letter that, due to the lapse on the part of RALL, more..

Yahapalanaya: Road contracts: Minister Gamage’s company change

June 26 (ST) Minister Daya Gamage admitted that a firm connected with his Daya Group of companies had won contracts for two road rehabilitation projects costing the taxpayer Rs. 3.6 billion but said it was wholly under his son. However, it is revealed that he had changed the name of Daya Construction into Olympus Construction on Jan 6 2014. He named his son Chamindra Gamage as the new chairman. more..

'I ended war with LTTE to achieve reconciliation'

June 26 (PTI) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa accused the govt of a political witch hunt against him and to wipe out the legacy of his regime that had ended the separatist war with LTTE with an aim to achieve reconciliation with the minority Tamil community. He said the current govt under President Maithripala Sirisena is attempting to wipe off from public memory his legacy of ending the war waged by the LTTE. more..

Tax net widens: 300 Revenue Officers to go after tax dodgers

June 26 (ST) The Govt is to position Revenue Officers countrywide in a bid to widen the tax net and collect more revenue. “Some three hundred of them will be tasked to identify those eligible to pay taxes,” Treasury Secretary R.H.S. Samaratunga said. He said their main task would be to ensure that proper assessments were carried out, persons evading taxes identified and directives to increase the revenue yield carried out. more..

Brexit fallout: Sri Lanka moving fast to strike deals with Britain

June 26 (ST) Sri Lanka, facing the fallout of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, is set to negotiate a new trade agreement with Britain. Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva, who played a prominent role in the Govt’s ultimately failed campaign to persuade Sri Lankans in Britain to vote to remain in the EU, said Sri Lanka would now look to finalise a new trade agreement with Britain soon. more..

Addicts consume Rs. 7.3 billion worth of drugs annually

June 26 (Island) Incoming Governor of Rotary District 3220, Senaka Amerasinghe said that the inroads made by narcotics into Sri Lanka was alarming and that the public must take note and protect their children. Ms. Darshini Guniyangoda of SL Anti-Narcotic Association (SLANA) stated that the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) had said there were approximately 100,000 heroin addicts. Research carried out in 2002 indicated there were between 240,000 to 300,000 drug users. more..

Diving for adventure, excitement and more

June 26 (Island) It was April, 1942. The storms of the World War II were gathering in the south-east of then Ceylon. Another massive invasion led by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo was imminent. Fear was lurking that it would be another Pearl Harbour-like tragedy. Then, in what the wartime British Premier, Sir Winston Churchill later called "the most dangerous moment of World War II", the Japanese unleashed a wave of air strikes over the east coast of the island on April 9, 1942. more..

'Body shown was not Prabhakaran’s'

June 26 (CT) TNA NPC member M.K. Sivajilingam making a startling revelation said, "If the govt wants to conduct a DNA test of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, his brother Manoharan who is in Denmark and his sister who is in Canada are ready to help. I can coordinate them." Q: What is your name? A: Mahalingam Kanakalingam Sivajilingam. Q: What is your father's name? A: Kanakalingam Mahalingam. Q: Mother's name? Indra Devi. more..

President Premadasa’s Urban Commitment

June 26 (Island) President Premadasa’s Urban Commitment is highly relevant in today’s Megapolis discourse in particular, and in development discourse in general. He had a concrete vision-mission for the accelerated development of the whole country in spatial-societal senses, with the preeminent priority of overcoming multifaceted poverty as the structural entry point for breaking through into wider development. This is an indubitable truism as a preliminary premise. more..

Colour codes on all soft drinks gazetted

June 26 (DM) All soft drinks will have mandatory colour codes given by the Health Ministry following a gazette notification, with effect from August. The taxes applied for the sugar production would also be increased, the ministry stated. According to the colour codes - if the soft drink with 100 ml contains sugar higher than 11g, theRed colour should be used on the surface and if the sugar amount is between 2g and 11g, the Yellow colour should be displayed. more..

Dutch Charity takes Sarvodaya to court over alleged fraud in tsunami housing funds

June 26 (Island) A Charitable Foundation based in The Netherlands has filed a plaint in the Moratuwa District Court against Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya, largest local NGO headed by Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, to recover Euro 100,000 in donor funds channeled to build houses for the tsunami-affected, which had been allegedly defrauded. The action has been filed by Lakshman Perera, power of attorney on more..

National Archives digitizes iconic Times Collection

June 26 (Island) In a bid to further conserve the iconic Times of Ceylon Collection, preserved at the National Archives, an ambitious project was recently launched to digitize it entailing an investment of about Rs. 5 million. This priceless collection which consists of publications, indices to events and personalities, photographsand newspaper clippings which originally belonged to the now defunct Times Newspaper Group is one of the most sought after collections by the researcher more..

Law enacted to return encroached lands in North and East to owners

June 26 (Island) On the initiative of President and PM, Prescription (Special Provision) Bill which was shelved for a long period had been revived by the govt. The objective of this Bill is to provide relief to the people who were forced to abandon their properties due to the situation that prevailed in the country from May 1983 to May 2009 and to enable them to claim titles for their properties due to prescriptive actions of the illegal and encroached occupants, Secretary Ministry of Prison more..

Man who knocked down my son has Never visited him: Parents

June 26 (CT) Do you remember Sandeep Sampath? Some forget things so easily. Others also want to forget him, but the nation remembers Sandeep. We cannot forget him. Therefore, we visited him. On 27 June, 4 months passed after Sandeep's accident. What is his situation now? Question: That is the question asked by millions of people of the country. Therefore, we have to report it. He was unconscious after the accident. more..

LNG tender for Sampur to be called

June 26 (SO) Sri Lanka is expected to go for an international bidding process for the accelerated construction of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Power Plants in Sampur, Trincomalee, Tenders will be advertised as early as July 15, Secretary to Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy Dr. B.M.S Batagoda, said. “President Sirisena requested that we shelved plans for the 500 megawatt coal power plant and pursue all options for an LNG plant as fast and as early as possible,” he said. more..

Rohitha transferred to general ward

June 26 (SO) UPFA Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena who was admitted to the ICU of a private hospital in Colombo on Friday (24) due to injuries sustained during a Joint Opposition’s protest held in Colombo Fort was transferred to a general ward on Saturday (25) apparently due to his condition not being serious. The condition of MP Abeygunawardena is not reported to be serious but the injuries sustained on the forehead have impacted on one eye. more..

2nd stage of Virusara Privilege Card

June 26 (Island) Discounts at supermarkets, no standing in queues at counters, preference fares for bus and train travel and a wide range of benefits, including reduced interest rates on bank loans, are all part of the bonanza offered to war heroes through the Virusara privilege card. President Sirisena will inaugurate the second stage of the Virusara privilege card at Polonnaruwa tomorrow, where 15,000 cards would be more..

Pakistani nabbed with 5 kg heroin at BIA

June 26 (ST) A Pakistani national was arrested with 5 kg of heroin at the BIA yesterday, on arrival from Doha, Qatar. The heroin had been packed in two bags and placed in specially made fake bottoms. He had claimed the bags contained fancy items. Suspect, Roided Khan, was produced before the Negombo Magistrate and placed under arrest on a Detention Order, for a week. He was identified as a drug smuggler based in Rawalpindi, and operating between Pakistan, Qatar and Sri Lanka. more..

Govt has exceeded the borrowings limit: JVP

June 26 (AD) The Govt has exceeded the approved borrowing limits, JVP Propaganda Secretary, MP Vijitha Herath says. The observation was made during a press conference held in Battaramulla this afternoon. Herath also went on to say this has also been mentioned in the govt audit report. “The Govt has exceeded the approved borrowing limit by 100 per cent. The allocated amount was Rs.1780000 million. But it had obtained Rs.3549805 million,” he added. However, PM assured more..

Response to Brexit: SL to turn towards Asia

June 26 (DM) Sri Lanka will turn towards Asia as uncertainty had gripped Europe with the decision by UK to leave European Union (EU), PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. PM who was speaking at a UNP membership drive in Galle said Sri Lanka will have to go for trade ties with Asian nations in the South and South East Asia. "We have already planned to sign Economic Technology Cooperation with India and more..

Veteran cinematographer passes away

June 26 (DM) Veteran cinematographer, film director and producer M. S. Ananda passed away at the age of 83, late on Friday and his funeral will take place at the Borella General Cemetery at 3 pm today. His remains now lie at the Jayaratne Funeral parlour in Borella. Ananda was the cinematographer of renowned Sinhala movies like Nidhanaya, Golu Hadawatha, Madol Duwa, Gehenu Lamai, Akkara Paha and others while he directed films including Prawesam Wenna, Mage Nangi Shyama, more..

Media veteran Athaudahetti ITN chair

June 26 (SO) Media veteran and long-time Media Secretary to UNP Leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Saman Athaudahetti, has been appointed as Acting Chairman of the Govt-owned Independent Television Network (ITN). In addition to his long tenure as media relations coordinator to the party leader and premier, Athaudahetti has been in the Sinhala media field as a scriptwriter, novelist, lyricist, travel writer and producer over a 40-year period. more..

Police seek Interpol assistance in Gammanpila forgery case

June 26 (ST) Police is seeking Interpol assistance to question two Australian nationals who reportedly signed as witnesses to a forged affidavit allegedly used by UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila to sell shares held in a local bank by an Australian company. police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) will either request the witnesses to personally call over to record their statements or, use skype facilities to record their statements, more..

Disabled former soldier fights battle on a different front

June 26 (Island) A valiant soldier he was, fighting the brutal LTTE in the northern front way back in 2008 when a blast shattered his life and his dreams. W.P. Anura Kumara of the Gemunu Regiment lost his left arm and leg in a pressure bomb explosion while on active duty in Mullaitivu. He had served there for nine years and it was on that unfortunate day, December 15 that the blast left him disabled and wheel-chair bound for the rest of his life. "After a long stay in hospital, I was retired more..

BASL mulls contempt action

June 26 (CT) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has decided to monitor various websites, website posts and other online publications which have been disparaging SL Judges of late. The decision was taken at the fourth meeting of the BASL. The matter had been brought up by former President of BASL, Upul Jayasuriya, who had stated that there have been certain remarks which had been posted on Facebook, attacking State Counsel Dileepa Pieris, who appeared in the Thilina Gamage case. more..

AG reassures report 100% accurate

June 26 (CT) Auditor General (AG) Gamini Wijesinghe re-assures the 100% accuracy of the report he submitted stating the govt has taken Rs 3,350 billion as local and foreign loans exceeding the approved credit limit of Rs 1,780 billion. AG said that the Ministry of Finance had erroneously interpreted the 2014 No. 14 Appropriation Bill, which marked the upper ceiling of govt credit for year 2015. Quoting the AG's report, JVP Leader Anura Kumara more..

Greek meets Greek

June 26 (DM) A political authority in the highest echelons has a sibling who has prospered as a businessman. Theirs is an original Blue party family. This sibling’s paddy business flourished during the regime of the former strongman whose patronage was readily available. However, later he used all his might to help his own to reach a dizzy height to usher in yahapalanaya. However, the businessman, a grateful man, has not distanced himself from the former strongman or the latter’s inner circle. more..

Is Sri Lanka’s foreign minister on autopilot?

June 26 (TD) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera recently spoke at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo. Samaraweera has again presented a very optimistic assessment of the current state of affairs in the war-torn island nation. The foreign minister is right to note that recent political developments have presented the country with an unforeseen opportunity. And he, importantly, highlights the passage of 19th amendment to constitution, more..

Sri Lanka denies cluster bombs found in war zones were government weapons

June 26 (TD) The Sri Lankan govt has denied reports of the discovery of cluster bombs in formerly war-hit areas of the country by questioning the evidence and rejecting the suggestion that govt forces used the weapons. Responding to questions over a Guardian report, which produced for the first time pictures of the bomb casings and cluster munitions, a cabinet spokesman denied any connection to Sri Lankan govt forces. more..