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Wimal admits to mass grave in North but rebuffed by Malwatte Mahanayake

Sept 18 (SO) President Maithripala Sirisena hosted a dinner for some leading civil society activists and trade union leaders, at the President’s House, on Wednesday night. Leaders of the National Movement for a Just Society, Puravesi Balaya and some prominent trade unions attended the event. Most of them were instrumental in President Sirisena’s successful election campaign in January, last year, and had strong links with the ruling alliance. more..

'JHU totally disatisfied with anti- corruption campaign'

Sept 18 (SO) Minister Champika Ranawaka explains how the JHU contributed to change the course of successive govts and why it should be considered a leading political force in the country, on the eve of JHU’s 13th annual convention. Q: The JHU seems to have lost its identity within the UNF. JVP faced a similar crisis when they fell in line with the Common Candidate but have managed to regain their status more..

A constitutional legacy

Sept 18 (ST) My dear JR, I thought I must write to you because yesterday was your 110th birthday, even though you left us twenty years ago. If you were still around, you would have marvelled at the changes that have taken place since your departure, though some say that nothing has really changed. JR, you seem to be the only leader of our country who is not remembered with fanfare although ironically, you are also the leader who was in charge for the longest period of time. more..

Toxic gas attack in Paris

Sept 18 (CT) A week after Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia Ibrahim Sahib Ansar was attacked at the Kuala Lumpur Airport by a group of five persons believed to be the sympathizers of the now defunct LTTE, a meeting attended by TNA MP and Leader of ITAK Mavai Senathiraja came under toxic gas attack in Paris last Monday. Despite France proscribing the LTTE, the political activities of the outfit were carried out extensively in Paris until its collapse in 2009. more..

Face the nation

Govt set to lose VAT battle either way

Sept 18 (Island) Govt is set to reintroduce VAT legislation in parliament. They can easily get it passed because they have the requisite majority and by now a certain understanding appears to have come about between the UNP and the SLFP (Sirisena faction) about the VAT increase. Island reported that the Federation of Traders Associations were to meet President Sirisena in the third week of August, but that meeting was put off because the President had just returned from more..

Non Alignment: Will SL abandon principles

Sept 18 (ST) Not many seem to have noticed it; nor would any to have missed the news; but the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) began its 17th Heads of Govt summit yesterday. Sri Lanka, a one-time chairperson of the now 120-member nation Movement, the second largest grouping to the United Nations Organisation, was not represented by either the President or the PM, nor the Foreign Minister who instead was in the US capital speaking at a seminar on the Oceans. more..

Why maithri plans crucial meeting with PM?

Sept 18 (CT) President questioned those who criticize him and govt what would have been the situation of the country if 8 Jan transformation had not taken place. "Without experiencing that eventuality, some people criticize the actions taken by the govt to face critical economic crisis & issues raised by int'l community", he said. He invited them to provide possible solutions for issues instead of criticizing. more..

Cricket scores where politics failed

Sept 18 (NS) A devastating war in Sri Lanka may have ended seven years ago but if not for a band of former cricketers and an ex-administrator of the sport, the lives of countless numbers of young boys and girls in the once battle-scarred region would have been utterly hopeless to the say the least with politicians still bickering for a long-term solution and very little or nothing to look forward to. Come Sept 21 and for the fifth time the northern region of Sri Lanka will be bustling with cheer-leading more..

Priyantha to take over as SLRFU CEO

Sept 18 (ST) After a lapse of nearly two years, the SL Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) will employ a CEO with the appointment of former SL skipper Priyantha Ekanayake. Ekanayake will officially take over his new role from Dec 1, according to the Secretary of SLRFU Nazim Mohamed. “The appointment of Priyantha is solely with the interest to take the game of Rugby to the next level. We all know how capable he was as a player and captain at schools, club, national and int'l level and more..

New Cricket contracts by end September

Sept 18 (ST) Upon the maiden 3-0 series victory over the Australians, SL cricketers will sign their contracts before the end of this month. SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said; “We have handed over the drafts to the cricketers and in all probabilities we should be able to finish signing the contracts before the end of the month. Our cricketers will be leaving for Zimbabwe by mid Oct and all the nitty-gritties should be completed more..

Army sweeps the board at Rowing Nationals

Sept 18 (SO) SL Army dominated both Open Men’s and Women’s Championships to win the Gregory de Silva Trophy while Royal College Colombo and Ladies College clinched the Schools’ Boys and Girls Championships respectively at the 31st SL National Rowing Championship which ended at the Diyawanna Rowing Centre, Battaramulla. SL Army men won three gold medals and two silver medals in the Open Championship and a gold, four silver and four bronze medals in the over 18 category. more..

Chasing Olympic dreams ignoring India

Sept 18 (NS) The controversies associated with the SL contingent that went for the Rio Olympics and the lack of scientific knowledge in the country’s sports scene were hot topics highlighted at the latest monthly public lecture conducted by Save the Sports SL in Colombo on Wednesday. The session held under the title Olympics and the white elephant saw four leading sports personalities express their views on how the island can revamp its dilapidated ports structure. more..

The mighty have fallen

Sept 18 (Island) Singapore’s irreplaceable leader Lee Kuan Yuw once warned, "Public servants must maintain a spirit of honesty and self-sacrifice. If you want to earn money then go into business. Anyone who doesn’t heed the warning will be punished." His zero tolerance on corruption is one main reason for Singapore becoming a developed country. In mid 1980s, upon receiving a complaint of corruption against more..

Lankawe Mehema Wenne Nehe …

Sept 18 (ST) Glancing through the pages of a Sunday newspaper on Sept 11, my attention was drawn to a govt notice calling for public representations on the 2017-2021 National Action Plan for Human Rights. Ok, this is great, I thought. Here is a govt that not only talks of transparency but makes it happen day-in-day-out. I was about to rally the troops (ask human rights groups whether they would be meeting to discuss some proposals to be presented) when I checked the closing date more..

Batting for Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (IE) There was something about former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga that endeared him to my family. Maybe, it was his portly frame and easy approach to the sport. When Sri Lanka played against India, often an uncle or aunt or grandparent would shake his head from side to side, eyes closed, in a manner reserved for Carnatic music appreciation when the TV cameras focussed on Ranatunga running in a most ungainly manner, and say, Tcha, he’s a very good man. more..

German investors to the rescue of failed CIFL

Sept 18 (ST) The battered depositors of failed finance company – Central Investment and Finance Co Ltd (CIFL) – appear to be on luck’s way when on Thursday a 5-member delegation from Vandell Financial Services SA, Germany arrived in Sri Lanka, partly with the intention of investing in and bailing out the local finance company. German investors would be infusing Rs. 5 billion to revive CIFL. more..

LIOC diversifies into petrochemicals

Sept 18 (SO) The Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) is getting into new areas such as petrochemicals as it seeks to diversify its business, LIOC Managing Director Shyam Bohra said. “We have already received all the approvals and will soon start,” he said. “We will be importing the products and tying up with suppliers globally and expand in the market.” The company, a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation, which last week announced big new investments to expand more..

Bring evaders under tax net: Biz community

Sept 18 (SO) The business community and consumers do not have to worry about the increase of VAT to 15%, as it is only a temporary measure until the house is put in order, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said. He said the tax system currently implemented in the country is confusing and added that it has to be simplified for the benefit of the people. “We are in consultation with economists of Harvard Kennedy School of Economics to formulate a robust economic system. more..

More SL women imbibing brew that cheers!

Sept 18 (CT) Consumption of alcohol in SL is a much debated subject which is viewed in different and contradictory terms & perspectives. In the modern society where breaking away from the tradition is trending among the youth, there is a general tendency to consider alcohol as a harmless beverage as long as it is not overdone and one does not become an addict. There is also a tendency to consider liquor with a low percentage more..

26% of China’s tea imported from Sri Lanka

Sept 18 (CT) No less than a quarter of tea imports to the world's largest tea market are Ceylon Tea and Ceylon Tea is also the first international branding hit for Sri Lanka in modern times. "Ceylon Tea became the first Sri Lankan commodity to create international country branding success for Sri Lanka in modern times" said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 11 Sept addressing Vice-Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Zhang Xiulong. He was in discussions with Vice-Chairman Xiulong more..

SLFPers in JO against party split

Sept 18 (SO) UPFA General Secretary and Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, the SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition (JO) should accept President Sirisena’s invitation at the SLFP Convention to join the SLFP and commit themselves to strengthen the party and ensure its victory, if they are true SLFPers. At present, discussions are being held between the two factions at an unofficial level, but it is rather premature to comment whether the ongoing discussions will be a success or not, more..

Red-tape keeps Lankan refugees from crossing the blue sea

Sept 18 (ENS) They risked their lives to reach the shores of India when the conflict between the rebels and army simmered in Sri Lanka. Seven years after the war ended, the journey back is not as dangerous, but equally arduous, as many of them now realise now. Little wonder then that the desperate ones are willing to undertake the risk of crossing the sea illegally. A Lankan Tamil refugee who wished to return had to submit several more..

Teargas disrupts TNA Paris meeting: TNA tells diaspora don’t disturb SL process

Sept 18 (SO) A teargas attack that disrupted a Tamil diaspora meeting in Paris last week has prompted a call by TNA leadership for the diaspora to refrain from violence that could disturb the on-going peace process in Sri Lanka. A senior TNA MP has called on radical elements in the Tamil Diaspora not to indulge in such violence because it would disturb the current moves for a political settlement of the ethnic conflict. TNA MP Mavai Senathiraja said violence by elements within global Tamil diaspora more..

CDC-Pakistan, CDS-Sri Lanka sign MoU

Sept 18 (PO) Colombo—Central Depository Systems Pvt Ltd (CDS) a fully owned subsidiary of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Central Depository Company of Pakistan (CDC) recently entered into a MoU regarding strengthening cooperation on mutual development and knowledge sharing. The MoU was signed at the backdrop of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the CDS, which was attended by the chairman of the ACG, Muhammad Hanif. more..

'Coming from a Zika country? See a doctor'

Sept 18 (ST) If you have been in a country with active transmission of Zika, get yourself checked by a doctor on your return. This is the message being sent out to expectant mothers by the health authorities. While stressing that there is no reason to panic, Consultant Epidemiologist Dr. Samitha Ginige, said that earlier people who had been travelling in Zika-affected countries were advised to seek medical attention if they had more..

Rs 592m for FM Fonseka’s new ministry

Sept 18 (ST) The Govt will seek Parliamentary approval for a supplementary sum of over Rs 592 million to cover expenses of the newly established Ministry of Regional Development functioning under Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. Of this amount, about Rs 469 million is for recurrent expenditure, while about Rs123 million is for capital expenditure. The money will be drawn from the Budgetary Support Services and Contingent Liability Project of the Department of National Budget, more..

Prez to attend key economic meetings in Goa

Sept 18 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena will attend two key economic meetings in the western Indian coastal town of Goa next month. One is the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Trade and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC). The other is the BRICS, an economic grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. He will leave Sri Lanka on Oct 18. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will travel to New Delhi from Oct 4 to 6 for the World Economic Forum meeting. more..

Top schools for doctors’ children: Akila says No to Rajitha’s Yes

Sept 18 (ST) The ongoing dispute over admitting doctors’ children to popular schools continues, with the Education Minister taking a tough stand, but the Health Minister appearing to take a softer line. ”The doctors’ request is unacceptable and cannot be acceded to,” Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said after the doctors met with Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne to resolve the dispute by getting admission to the children. more..

Over 160 people donate blood during SLFC campaign in Qatar

Sept 18 (GT) More than 160 people donated blood at a blood donation drive organised by Sri Lankan Friends’ Club (SLFC) recently. Accompanied by an awareness campaign, the blood donation drive by the SL expatriate community members was well received. A regular feature of SLFC activities, the blood donation campaign is part of the club’s motto of giving back to society. The donated blood ends up at public health facilities in the country to be used during medical emergencies. more..

Plantation firms call for equal treatment of producers

Sept 18 (EN) Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs) have urged govt to treat both them and small farmers alike when giving concessions and subsidies to compensate for low commodity prices, and end discriminatory treatment. Roshan Rajadurai, Chairman of Planters’ Association of Ceylon, which represents RPCs, said the plantation industry in the last two years has been facing its most challenging and toughest times. The rapid unexpected decline in the oil prices and more..

PM hires US company to make Sri Lanka a vibrant social market economy

Sept 18 (ST) The troubled national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, where a head-on battle is under way between the management and the pilots, has received further life support again. This is after Treasury funding for the financially crashing airline was to be stopped from October this year, as revealed in these columns on March 27. Notwithstanding this, an undisclosed amount was provided to the airline just a month ago. more..

On Blasts from the Past

Sept 18 (Island) It should have been a time of confidence. The long Eelam War had been won, the opposition was floundering and the Rajapaksas were at the acme of their prestige and popularity. Sumanadasa Abeygunawardane, the astrologer (whose pleasing predictions were rewarded with directorships at the NSB and the ETF and an advisor-post at the ITN) proclaimed the verdict of the stars: "President Rajapaksa and the Rajapaksas will rule this country for a long time…. more..

Thoughts on graciousness and experience

Sept 18 (Island) Within the country we have recently had the two major political parties celebrating anniversaries of their founding; the SLFP younger by five years. I had thought the UNP was beyond the Biblical age of three score and ten since we older ones remember D S Senanayake, but as historically narrated, UNP grew from amalgamation of Ceylon National Association CNA (founded 1888) and Ceylon Reform League (founded 1917) to form Ceylon National Congress (CNC) Dec 1919. more..

Sri Lanka give training to housemaids

Sept 18 (GN) Domestic workers from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, who constitute a large proportion of housemaids in the UAE, are receiving occupational training before they go for foreign employment. More Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi housemaids have been coming to the UAE in recent years due to the shortage of housemaids in the market following a ban imposed by some other Asian nations on emigration of housemaids. more..

Tea branding for Dilmah hits Rs.2 billion

Sept 18 (NS) Premier branded Tea, Heavyweight tea merchant Dilmah is spending Rs. 2 billion on branding and promotions according to the company’s latest financials. Ceylon Tea Services Chairman Merril J. Fernando says Dilma Tea invests approximately two billion rupees per year in advertising and promoting the 100% pure Ceylon tea, and that every cent of investment only benefits country’s tea industry in general. more..

US lobbyist hired during Rajapaksa era escapes punishment

Sept 18 (ST) A further insight into how foreign lobbying firms work and those who operate for them purely for the lure of money is given in the US website Free Beacon. The revelation in this website is an eye opener for those who extol the virtues of private lobbying firms and discount the role of SL diplomatic missions overseas, spending valuable foreign exchange in the process. A top bundler for Hillary Clinton and President more..

Divineguma entrance exam beset with problems

Sept 18 (ST) A proposed exam to be held today to select Development Assistants – Grade III for Divineguma Dept has run into problems, with complications in the admission process. Exam was to be conducted in various parts of the country, but some of the applicants had yet to receive their admission cards, while some had been assigned distant exam centres, and others were uncertain whether they had been selected to more..

Flood victims languish in tents

Sept 18 (CT) The sun was blazing above our heads and its rays fell on us mercilessly like hot, sharp needles. Even the breeze did not help reduce the heat. We were standing in front of the entrance of the Umagiliya Grounds, which is, according to the Divisional Secretary, the only playground that belongs to Kolonnawa division. 300 metres ahead of where we had got off from the vehicle, there were eight sky blue tents. more..

TB strangling more patients

Sept 18 (NS) Tuberculosis (TB) is on the rise in the City of Colombo, especially in Colombo North and Maligawatte, with 589 cases reported during the past eight months. The CMC said that one of the main reasons for the spreading was due to people with prolonged cough not seeking treatment or medical testing. In 2013 there were 560 cases followed by 570 cases in 2014. Last year there were 667 cases. more..