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'Religious leaders behind theft and fraud'

Aug 13 (SL) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said he has never acted in a manner that would tarnish the image of the party or bring discredit to the party. He urged the people to assist the govt in taking the country forward towards prosperity, having taken over a country that was burdened with a huge debt. However, he said the majority of the country’s theft and fraud is committed by religious leaders, secondly those in legal more..

Why this controversy over elections to PCs

Aug 13 (ST) While a new Constitution is on the drawing boards, a 20th Amendment to the existing (1978) Basic Law is creeping up for passage in the interim. 20th Amendment was meant to be on Electoral reforms, but this appears to be a hurried move to offset the need to hold Provincial Council elections that are looming in at least three areas, viz., East, North Central and Sabaragamuwa – something sections of govt are averse to holding, given its current standing with the electorate. more..

A time to plant, a time to reap

Aug 13 (ST) My dear Ravi, I do apologise for writing to you again so soon – especially after writing to you a fortnight ago and writing to your spouse only last week. I don’t think you will be annoyed though, because very few people will visit you, talk to you or write to you now, now that you are no longer a top minister! Ravi, I am not sure whether I should commiserate with you or congratulate you. At first I thought it should be the former because, after all, it is not every day that more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Monaragala

Ravi’s ouster: Yahapalanaya devouring its own rear end

Aug 13 (Island) Two momentous events that will have far reaching implications for the yahapalana govt took place last Thrusday. Because of the drama surrounding Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation from the position of Foreign Minister, the other even more important event which took place later that evening, went almost unnoticed. Yet this second event will have a more immediate and drastic impact on the yahapalana govt than even the resignation of Ravi K. This was the dissension that more..

Yahapalanaya’s collective sigh of relief at Ravi K.’s brouhaha-exit

Aug 13 (ST) Resignation of Ravi Karunanayake from his ministerial post on Thursday, just days before the Govt of national unity celebrates its second year in office, helped defuse a crisis that has shaken the yahapalanaya govt to its roots and tested its commitment to uphold principles of good governance. Despite his exit from the inner circles of Govt, Mr Karunanayake, who announced his resignation in a statement to the House, remained defiant while professing his innocence, more..

President Maithri looking for a Foreign Minister as ministers wage a war on AG

Aug 13 (CT) It completed 12 years on Saturday, since the country lost one of its finest Foreign Affairs Ministers Lakshman Kadirgamar to a bullet of an LTTE sniper. It remains a fact that his successors were far from being on par with Kadirgamar in executing duties as the Foreign Minister or gaining international as well as local respect and recognition. However, the office once treated as one of the prestigious institutions in the country, more..

Highest opening stand by a visiting team

Aug 13 (CI) Stats highlights from a banner day for Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul in Pallekele. 7 - Number of consecutive fifty-plus scores for KL Rahul in Tests. He equalled the record of Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Rogers for the most consecutive fifty-plus scores. Rogers and Rahul are the only players to have not converted any of their seven fifties in that sequence into a hundred. 188 - Opening stand between Dhawan and Rahul, more..

Sharmal retains Men’s Singles title

Aug 13 (ST) Top seeded Sharmal Dissanayake kept composure and outclassed third seeded Sankha Athukorala to retain the Men’s Open Singles title with a convincing win in the final of the 102nd National Tennis Championship at the SLTA tennis courts in Greenpath, Colombo. Marauding Sharmal was too good for his opponent as he cruised through to victory with identical scores of 6-0, 6-0 in the three set finale. Sankha who earlier won the doubles title partnered by Yasitha de Silva was aiming to more..

SL hit back after Dhawan 119, Rahul 85

Aug 13 (CI) The first half of the day produced a massive opening partnership, a seventh successive 50-plus score for KL Rahul and a second century of the tour for Shikhar Dhawan. Then, Sri Lanka hit back through their trio of left-armers, the orthodox spin of Malinda Pushpakumara, the unorthodox spin of Lakshan Sandakan, and the swing of Vishwa Fernando. India scored 188 without loss in the first 39.2 overs more..

The lost mystery

Aug 13 (Island) The often asked question by visiting journalists from India who are covering the ongoing series is what happened to Ajantha Mendis. It has been almost ten years since Mendis stunned the Indians in the bilateral series between the countries in 2008 taking a World Record 26 wickets. He broke Sir Alec Bedser’s record for most wickets in a debut series that had stood for more than 60 years. Since that series,  which Sri Lanka won 2-1, they have not been able to beat India in a series. more..

Is there a jinx on our cricket?

Aug 13 (Island) At the end of the second Test against India, the image of SLC is wallowing in the doldrums – possibly as never before. In the current Test rankings (as at Aug 7) Sri Lanka is at No.7 – out of 10 teams. In the ODI rankings we are at No. 8 out of 12 participating teams, and finally, in the T20 competition Sri Lanka is ranked No.8 out of 18 teams. The only Test-playing nations below Sri Lanka are Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Then add on the results of the 2 past Tests against India: more..

‘I was devastated when things did not work’

Aug 13 (ST) Graham Ford who stepped down as Sri Lanka coach, ending his second tenure with the side after 15 months said that he was devastated at the circumstances which led to his resignation. “I was devastated when things did not work out for me at SLC,” said Ford responding to the ST from South Africa. However, Ford refused to discuss those circumstances which led for his resignation in public. more..

Ravi’s dramatic withdrawal prods AG’s Dept to gee-up

Aug 13 (SO) Responsibility and irresponsibility - Last week´s events in our resplendent island can be used as a perfect example of the dichotomy between responsibility and irresponsibility. As former Finance and Foreign Minister, Ravi Karunanayake strode in the parliament chamber to make his resignation speech; the nation was already appraised of the decision. The former minister´s meeting on Tuesday morning with the President and PM was a much discussed item within political circles more..

Pallekele: Still cutting its teeth as a Test venue

Aug 13 (ST) It may surprise one and all to know that Pallekele has staged a mere five Test matches in a span of nearly seven years. There were a few two test tours, during which the Kandy venue invariably lost out. Spin-friendly Galle was always a first choice as the hosts liked to get off the blocks, fire the first salvo, in a truncated series. Quaint, old fashioned Asgiriya had her charms. Accessibility was a factor in her favour. Yet the draw backs outweighed the advantages. Media box was cramped and more..

Sri Lanka to move on market pricing fuel

Aug 13 (EN) SL is in favour of formula pricing fuel to reflect international prices, a minister said, which is long required move to reduce the risk of balance of payments and currency collapse, when prices move up. "Finance minister Mangala Samaraweera will be introducing pricing formulae to reflect international prices and give the benefit to consumers," Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. Pricing formula on one side lowers fuel more..

Wijeyadasa denies charge

Aug 13 (DM) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe denied allegations that he had breached the collective responsibility of the Cabinet by criticizing a decision taken by it. He was recently criticized by several ministers over a statement he made with regard to regaining of the Hambantota Port.   The minister said it was not a criticism but a comment made to retrieve a national asset.   “The Cabinet decision was to lease out the Hambantota Port and I didn’t challenge or criticize it.  more..

Sri Lanka struggles with debt trap

Aug 13 (ST) SL appears to be entangled in a skyrocketing debt issue as the country’s revenue has become inadequate to bridge state expenditure during the 1st quarter this year. Govt has resorted to heavy borrowings more than its revenue during the first four months this year risking its external debt profile, economic experts said. Therefore SL has no alternative other than tapping international capital markets once again to raise urgently needed funds through syndicated loans, they added. more..

Governance levels unlikely to improve: Poll

Aug 13 (ST) Not many people believe Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s resignation would improve governance and accountability levels, a poll conducted through email on Friday, reveals. But it was noted that this is a landmark development in Sri Lankan politics where an accused (not proven guilty yet by a court of law) has resigned. Some respondents commended the former minister for his bold move. more..

Railway guards on strike over bed bugs

Aug 13 (NR) Railway guards commenced a strike at 10am today in protest of authorities not taking measures to eradicate bed bugs in their restrooms. Chairman of the Railway Guards Union, PMCB Pieris said the conditions of the restrooms are unacceptable. He added authorities have not intervened to rid the restrooms of this menace adding the union was promised the matter would be to today yet they had been informed the matter would not be addressed. more..

A spectre of graft haunts Sri Lanka

Aug 13 (Hindu) Corruption scandals seem to be following Sri Lanka’s national unity govt like an afternoon shadow, growing with time. The first blow came in relation to a bond sale at the Central Bank in February 2015, barely a month after the govt was formed on an anti-corruption platform. Former Governor of the Bank Arjuna Mahendran, who was hand-picked by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for the job, was accused of sharing confidential information with his son-in-law’s firm, and more..

First autopsy report on Lasantha murder issued to mislead probe

Aug 13 (SL) It has now proved that the first autopsy report of the Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper, Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge had been issued to mislead investigations, similar to that of Wasim Thajudeen. On Thursday (10), second postmortem report of Wickrematunge was produced before the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate which stated the cause of death was due to stab injuries with a blunt weapon. more..

Nivard Cabraal clarifies picture on his relations in banking

Aug 13 (Island) Much has been said by certain interested parties about my sister, Siromi Wickramasinghe being appointed as the Chairman of the HDFC Bank by the previous govt. In that regard, I can only say that she was a fit and proper person to hold that position, having risen to the rank of a Deputy General Manager of the Hatton National Bank in an impeccable banking career. As I have already informed COPE, there were several other relations who also served on boards of banks more..

Colombo-Trinco economic corridor to boost exports

Aug 13 (SO) Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) in collaboration with Asian Development Bank (ADB) held a dissemination seminar on the Colombo-Trinco Economic Corridor (CTEC) to share the final policy consultation paper with the SL govt. Officials from the Ministries of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Industry and Commerce, Development Strategies and International Trade, SL Customs and other relevant ministries and organizations participated. more..

Parliament Mafia: Stymied FCID to be shuttered soon

Aug 13 (SO) The FCID will be dismantled and shuttered very shortly on the orders of the Govt. Its staff will return to the CID and the Bribery Commission respectively, a Senior FCID official said. The source said the FCID was struggling to conclude 62 high profile financial corruption cases. He added that their expertise is not used as expected and most of the charge files are collecting dust at Attorney General's (AG) Department. more..

Armed gang opens fire at STF vehicle

Aug 13 (AD) A group of unidentified armed-men who arrived in two vans have opened fire at a vehicle belonging to the STF in Kurana, Negombo.  A shootout between the suspects and STF personnel had ensued. Four suspects from the gang have been arrested while two of them are said to be injured. They were admitted to the Seeduwa Hospital and later transferred to Ragama Hospital. One of then is reportedly in critical condition. None of the STF personnel in the jeep were injured more..

SEC after Perpetual Treasuries’ spoils

Aug 13 (ST) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is probing some trades that under-fire Perpetual Treasuries PLC had done during 2009 to 2015, informed sources say. This is in a bid to ascertain whether there was any price-pushing and dumping the shares on the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), they said. Perpetual Group has been in a media blitzkrieg owing to the infamous bond scam which saw Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake resigning on Thursday. more..

Danger of another Uma Oya in Central Expressway

Aug 13 (ST) Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has approved construction of the third section of Central Expressway (CE III) without the required geological surveys in areas where three tunnels are to be bored — even after the Uma Oya disaster. Licence was granted due to Highways Ministry’s urgency to sign the agreement with the developer. “the CEA was told to place conditions on the approval and to give it quickly” more..

Cabraal says he’d be happy to appear before Bond Commission

Aug 13 (Island) Former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that he would be delighted to appear before the Bond Commission and testify before it. "I observed that certain Members of Parliament had suggested that I be summoned before the Bond Commission," Cabraal said in a statement. "In that regard, I wish to state that I would be very happy to give evidence before the Bond Commission and respond to any questions the Commission may wish to clarify." more..

SLFP opposed to postponing PC polls

Aug 13 (DM) The SLFP resolved to oppose the proposed postponement of the provincial council elections till 2019. The party's central committee took this decision at its meeting on Thursday with President Maithripala Sirisena in the chair. The decision was taken despite the UNP-SLFP govt having prepared a Bill which provides for hold elections to all nine provincial councils on a single day. North-Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern PCs will end their terms of office by Oct 1, more..

Crackdown on MR and family imminent

Aug 13 (ST) It was like the old Sinhala adage of falling from the tree only to be gored by a bull or a double whammy as they say in the West. The UNP, battered and bruised by Ravi Karunanayake saga, was in for more embarrassment. SLFP Central Committee decided unanimously Thursday night that elections be conducted to Provincial Councils (PCs) in Sabaragamuwa (term ends Sept 26), Eastern Province more..

The Resignation: Nothing to be proud of, or to boast of ushering a new culture

Aug 13 (Island) Ravi Karunanayake was defiantly proud of his decision to resign from his portfolio, asserting in parliament that he was doing it for the sake of the govt and good governance. No sooner, the PM was on his feet claiming credit for ushering in a new culture, where Ministers will resign without interfering with the judicial process. There was nothing to be proud of, for he had no alternative but to resign. Pressure was not only on the Minister to resign, but also on the President to fire more..

Beyond a resignation

Aug 13 (Island) SL has never had a Foreign Minster resign over allegations of corruption. But the once unthinkable happened last week. Many, including in govt and from the ruling party, supported the resignation of former Foreign Minister on the grounds that what is now in the public domain around his dealings with Arjun Aloysius, subject to a convenient partial amnesia, was deeply detrimental to govt. Note that what’s flagged as embarrassing or wrong isn’t what was purportedly done, more..

PM & and his Cronies bankrupting Sri Lanka: Corruption continues despite Yahapalanaya

Aug 13 (Island) The good governance administration that came into power promising to wipe off bribery and corruption in order to provide relief to the people, continues to give relief to the able but not to the poor masses. Startling revelations have now come to light as to how the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade is attempting to aid and abet a leading steel manufacturing company in Colombo suburbs more..

Ravi misses vital BIMSTEC meeting, Wasantha rushes to Kathmandu

Aug 13 (ST) Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake resigned from his portfolio on Wednesday, just hours before he was scheduled to board a flight to Bangkok and thereafter catch a connecting flight to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu. He was to lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the 15th ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC — the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi- Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). more..

Vaas bemoans Lanka’s first class system

Aug 13 (SO) Sri Lanka’s interim fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas bemoaned the country’s domestic first-class system and warned that unless pitches are made to suit fast bowlers they would soon become a dying breed. “We can’t be satisfied with the way first-class cricket is played. We need to make first-class cricket work for fast bowlers. We talk a lot about what ails first-class cricket, but no matter how much we talk, more..

Crippling islandwide strike imminent

Aug 13 (CT) CPC Trade Unions issued a veiled threat, meant to reach govt hierarchy of harnessing key economic services of energy, water supply & ports to launch a major crippling islandwide strike of proportions that will bring the country to a grinding halt "if President reneges on assurances given to CPC TUs at the last meeting with him." It's been 2 years since some of the investigations were referred to AG's Dept for more..

State minister of foreign affairs attends BIMSTEC ministerial meeting in Kathmandu

Aug 13 (PW) State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake attended 15th Ministerial Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical & Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in Nepal, on 11 Aug. Meeting marked 20th Anniversary of BIMSTEC and provided an opportunity for the leaders to take stock of the achievements and failures of the BIMSTEC during the last 20 years. more..

Jaffna violence: Sword-carriers among more suspects snared

Aug 13 (ST) The police arrested more suspects this week in the North in operations against anti-social activities and criminal gangs. At least 13 suspects were snared for their alleged involvement in the recent attack on two police constables of the Kopay police station in Kokkuvil area, Jaffna, police said. All suspects were produced in court and remanded in custody until August 22 by the Jaffna Magistrate. more..

'Financial crimes: Special Courts, a must'

Aug 13 (SO) Minister Mano Ganeshan expressed concern regarding the delay in investigations into financial crimes and said that time has come to set up special courts to conduct financial crime cases. SPECIAL courts shall be named for FCID &/all -Financial crimes w/out further delay. All accused can go there to PROVE their PURITIES. When this issue was taken up in the Cabinet previously, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe more..