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Following continued arrests of gang members by the TID: Ava, gone?

Aug 15 (SO) The attack on two policemen on July 30 in Kopay was perhaps the last nail in the coffin for the feared Jaffna based criminal gang, Ava. Following the attack carried out by gang members in several striking raids across Jaffna and Colombo, the Police along with the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) and the Special Task Force (STF) arrested 17 members of the group in a short span of time. more..

Balance of payments surplus despite large trade deficit and lower remittances

Aug 15 (ST) A balance of payments surplus of about US$1.6 billion was achieved in the first five months of this year in spite of the trade deficit increasing sharply, workers remittances decreasing and a slowing down in tourist earnings. This was owing to significant foreign borrowing and inflows of capital. External reserves increased to US$6.8 billion by the end of July. With expectations of further capital inflows there is no likelihood of a balance of payments crisis. more..

From the penthouse to the dog house

Aug 15 (ST) All that goes up must come down was considered a truism from the days of yore. The apple that descended on the Newtonian dome-probably a fable anyway- had obviously got Sir Isaac thinking. So was born what is called the law of gravity. Those untutored in physics were often told by elders not to walk under coconut trees in case a nut falls on their pate. But there are nuts that ignore such advice and one day pays the price for discarding their school texts which more..

'Sri Lanka should gain from OBOR'

Aug 15 (CT) Dr. Kanishka Jayasuriya, professor in politics and int'l studies at the Murdoch University of Australia, spoke to Ceylon Today regarding the recent evolutions in the global geo-economics scenario and how Sri Lanka can benefit from it. Q: One of the major discussions in the world on international politics and economy is China's One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative and SL has been a part of it. How do you see the politics of these more..

Democracy galore but no strong government

Aug 15 (NS) Much anticipated resignation of foreign minister Ravi Karunanayake took place on Thursday, ending weeks of speculation. Irrespective of whether it was forced or voluntary, resignation itself was a salutary move. Whenever high officials are accused of wrong doings and investigations begin, in most established democracies it is customary for them to resign, facilitating impartial enquiry. On the contrary, in the last several decades in our country, irrespective of more..

The shadows in the Bond Scams

Aug 15 (CT) Last week Ravi Karunanayake resigned from his post of Foreign Minister. However, it was not because of his alleged link to the infamous CB bonds scam, but pressurized by the controversy generated by an apartment his family had purchased. Astute onlookers feel the pressure for his resignation came too soon as it might shift the focus from the scams' masterminds. Meanwhile, two meddlesome individuals continue to watch from the shadows. That's, Prez Sirisena & Keshap. more..

Face the Nation: Corruption

Imperatives under Article 83 for a new constitution

Aug 15 (Island) MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne P.C. during the course of an interview had stated: We must go for a referendum if we are to introduce a new Constitution. For example, if we want to change even a comma in Article 83 of the Constitution, we must go for a referendum. Article 83 requires 2/3 approval of Parliament and approval by the People at a referendum in order to abolish the executive presidential system and introduce a new Constitution. more..

Editorial: Throttling dissent Yahapalana way

Aug 15 (Island) Yahapalana govt is apparently in the suicidal mode. It is planning to move two no-faith motions against Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe and Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Mustapha. This is an interesting turn of events. A motion of no-confidence is long overdue against Minister Mustapha, who keeps postponing local govt elections on some flimsy pretexts albeit at the behest of his political masters who suffer from polls phobia. more..

'Would pay to watch Kohli, de Villiers bat'

Aug 15 (WI) They called him Mad Max as much for his driving of the cricket ball as his love for fast cars, but Aravinda de Silva was as brilliant a batsman as they came – correct, orthodox, easy on the eye and with so much time on his hands that you could not but marvel. The man who put Sri Lankan batting on the world map – with all due respect to Duleep Mendis and Roy Dias – conjured a brilliant 66 in the 1996 World Cup semifinal more..

Why are Tamil Medium junior school students doing so abysmally in Sri Lanka?

Aug 15 (LBO) At my usual breakfast haunt in Jaffna I pay Rs40 for two fresh dosai with all the spicy pol sambal and tasty sambar I can eat (tea is an extra Rs30). I pay many times more for two dosai with accompaniments at a fancy Colombo 5 star hotel I know. The difference isn’t the dosai. Both places provide great dosai. The difference is in how it is delivered. In one the food is served on a cling-film wrapped metal plate by a scruffy man with a wide grin, in the other everything from more..

Where does India's rout of Sri Lanka rank in their history?

Aug 15 (CI) India's 3-0 series win against Sri Lanka is among their most dominant ever, across all conditions. They had first-innings leads of more than 300 runs in all three Tests, and their lowest score in a completed innings was a good 101 runs more than Sri Lanka's highest in the series. In general, they outplayed Sri Lanka in all facets of the game. So, where does this rank among India's clean sweeps over the years? We take a look based on a simple statistical measure more..

Worst series loss of my career: Chandimal

Aug 15 (CI) In a year of woe for Sri Lanka, another captain has labeled another series loss the worst of his career. Dinesh Chandimal, in only his second series at the helm, lamented the 0-3 beating at India's hands. Barely a month ago, Angelo Mathews had said the ODI series loss to Zimbabwe had been one of the lowest points of his own career, and not long after he ended up stepping down. Chandimal's despair is understandable, more..

HNB Group records Rs 13.4 billion PBT

Aug 15 (Island) HNB Group recorded a profit before VAT and Tax of Rs 13.4 Bn for the first six months of 2017 posting a year on year (yoy) growth of 13.8% while the Group PAT increased by 7.5% to Rs 7.5 Bn. The Bank posted a profit before VAT and tax of Rs 12.5Bn during the 1H of 2017 recording a growth of 15.8% yoy. The profit before tax for the Bank grew by 10.1% yoy to Rs 10 Bn while post-tax profits grew by 11.3% to Rs 7.1 Bn for the period. A press release said more..

Teen lands job after Police Constable buys clothes he allegedly tried to steal

Aug 15 (LR) In as story that has made international headlines, a teenager who wore the shirt and tie that a Toronto police officer bought for him after he allegedly attempted to steal them for a job interview has been hired. Const. Niran Jeyanesan thought he was responding to a routine shoplifting all last week at a Walmart in the city’s north end. The 18-year-old who had allegedly attempted to steal some clothes had picked out a long-sleeved shirt, a tie and a pair of socks. more..

Deeply moved buddhist monk invokes blessings on Jaffna HC Judge

Aug 15 (SLA) In what could be considered as a very genuine gesture of deep empathy for others and a symbol of appreciation for the concerns, displayed publicly by the Jaffna High Court Judge when his escorting Police Sergeant, Sarath Hemachandra, was gunned down recently in Jaffna, the deeply-touched soldier-turned Buddhist monk at Buddangala monastery, Ven Buddangala Ananda Nayake Thero met the Jaffna-based more..

Players mature quickly under new team culture: Kohli

Aug 15 (CI) This Indian team has rid itself of a culture in which newcomers were picked upon and judged, according to Virat Kohli. Though he didn't specify whether that culture was something that existed in teams before his captaincy, or the one that Anil Kumble coached (and of which Kohli was captain), assessment has the potential to be interpreted as a dig at a previous tenure. Though the whitewash of SL could be seen as a continuation of a sterling run of Test successes, more..

PM says people’s support is essential for good governance

Aug 15 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that people’s support is essential to move forward the govt’s good governance program. Premier said some people are blaming the govt as to why it has not created good governance fulfilling the pledge given during the election. However, the present administration has launched a process of good governance. Normally if politicians are under accusations, then he or she should resign from the post, he said. more..

UNP calls on Prez to act on Justice Minister

Aug 15 (FT) UNP yesterday called on President Sirisena to take action on Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe who has compromised collective responsibility of the Cabinet. Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe has been under fire for a number of controversial statements he made on Govt’s move to lease Hambantota Port, leading to a number of UNP Ministers threaten him with No Confidence Motion. more..

COMBANK posts strong 2Q performance

Aug 15 (DN) Commercial Bank has reported that profit before VAT and NBT grew by a healthy 22.09% to Rs 12.687 billion for the six months ending June 30, 2017, during which VAT and NBT paid by the Bank shot up by as much as 51.21% over the corresponding six months of 2016 primarily due to an increase in the VAT ratio. Second quarter profit before tax was up 20.56% to Rs 5.203 billion, as a result of which the Bank’s PBT for the six months grew by 17.19% to Rs 10.425 billion, more..

SL to regulate Ayurveda, improve research

Aug 15 (EN) Sri Lanka will introduced legislation to upgrade the Ayurveda department, ensure minimum standards of traditional healing with a new push to ensure better quality research, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Ayurveda department under his ministry will be upgraded within a few months in line with the directorate of medical services which handles allopathic medicine, minister announced in Colombo. He was also proposing a medical council to govern traditional medicine practitioners more..

Video: 'MR & family should be sent to PCoI'

Aug 15 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa and his family should be produced before a Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) over the allege misconduct which occurred in connection with Avant Garde and several other cases, JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said. He said so far Mr. Rajapaksa was claiming that present govt was taking revenge on him, however this govt has set a good example by not protecting more..

Video: President calls for expediting Polonnaruwa Museum

Aug 15 (AD) A discussion was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena to review the progress of the construction works of the Polonnaruwa Museum and Information Centre at the Polonnaruwa New Town at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday. The construction work iss carried out under the District Development Project of Pibidemu Polonnaruwa (Polonnaruwa Awakening) by the President’s Program for Rajarata Nawodaya (New Dawn to Rajarata).  more..

CTC’s first half impacted by booming illicit trade

Aug 15 (FT) Ceylon Tobacco Company’s first half results have been impacted by booming illicit trade with CTC’s after tax profit down 3% to Rs. 2.95 billion. During the first six months of the year, excise revenues declined by 3.7% to Rs. 43 billion compared to the same period last year. Total tax revenue to the Govt during the first six months amounted to Rs. 52 billion, falling short of Rs. 8 billion of the potential of Rs. 60 billion the Govt could have received from legal cigarettes. more..

Ten petitions to be filed in SC against 20A

Aug 15 (Island) Political parties and civil organisations are planning to file ten petitions against the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution when the Bill is presented to the Supreme Court. The amendment which has been gazetted by the govt seeks to provide for holding elections of all provincial councils on a single day. Among the parties getting ready to challenge the bill in the SC are the JO, PAFFREL & CaFFE. more..

NFF explains its stand to prelates

Aug 15 (Island) NFF leader MP Wimal Weerawansa told the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters that his party had pulled out of the constituent council as the govt was trying to introduce a new constitution without heeding the views of the Mahanayake Theras of three Nikayas, who were of the opinion that a new constitution was not the need of the hour. He told the prelates that he had called on them to explain his party’s position on the constitution making project. more..

Brokers propose temporary licence freeze to SEC

Aug 15 (FT) The stock broking industry has proposed a temporary freezing of licences to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of those who are facing financial difficulties. The proposal, backed by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), has been placed before the SEC for consideration and discussion with the industry. There are 27 members of the CSE, of whom 12 are trading members.  CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena said that considering more..

Two Bus Priority Lanes to commence operations today

Aug 15 (DN) Two Bus Priority Lanes operating from Kurusa Junction in Moratuwa to Katubedda junction on Galle Road and another priority bus lane starting near the Savoy Cinema, Wellawatte up to Bambalapitiya junction will commence today in a bid to provide faster public transport on Galle Road up to Colombo Fort. These two bus priority lanes will be the first two of nine nine Bus Priority Lanes (BPL) to be implemented. more..

India to Sri Lanka: Forget China, we want your empty airport

Aug 15 (Forbes) An Indian company has emerged with a bold plan for taking over Sri Lanka's struggling Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA). The proposal, which would see India pumping $205 million into the airport for a 70% share for 40 years, was approved by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and sent on to the country's cabinet for review. While Sri Lanka has received a total of eight proposals from various other parties -- including China -- to take over the airport, more..

Elite Ranji side can defeat Sri Lanka right now: Sunil Gavaskar

Aug 15 (SK) Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar stated that the current Sri Lankan Test side would find it difficult to beat an elite Ranji team right now. Dinesh Chandimal's team is in shambles in the third and final Test against India at the end of day two. "To be frank, you can't call this a Test match. The Indian team hasn't been tested at all. A Ranji team in the elite status can beat this Sri Lankan side," said the batting great in the post-match discussion on Sony Liv. more..

Bond probe commission vested with powers to examine data in phones, laptops etc

Aug 15 (Island) On 26th July, this Commission of Inquiry issued an Order under section 7 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act No. 17 of 1948, as amended, (the Act) directing Mr. Arjuna Mahendran to produce his mobile communication devices (such as mobile phones & tab devices) and mobile computer devices (such as laptops) and to submit an Affidavit containing information pertaining to use of these devices. more..

Google adds Sinhala and Tamil to speech recognition option

Aug 15 (RM) Ever since I was a kid, I found it fascinating that you could dictate actions to your PC via voice commands. That feature soon found its way to smartphones and today, most if not all of our tasks can be carried out by a simple voice command. From setting an alarm, to playing a song, to navigating to your favorite restaurant, all of this can be done without ever needed to type anything on your phone. In fact, according to a paper published at Stanford University, using more..

Mangala says SVAT to stay

Aug 15 (FT) Finance Ministry said it would continue with Simplified VAT (SVAT), following high level Govt discussions. The continued implementation of SVAT came under confusion following the publication of the proposed Inland Revenue Bill and private sector stakeholders had raised concerns to their govt counterparts.  “Minister of Finance pointed out that Department of Inland Revenue is not ready to abolish the SVAT system without inconveniencing exporters & disturbing cash flow of entities. more..

Video shows IGP manhandling Police staff

Aug 15 (DM) A video posted by Lanka e News (LEN) was circulating on social media showing IGP Pujith Jayasundara manhandling two minor staffers of Police Headquarters, who claimed to have disobeyed departmental rules of performing the morning meditation. Although the video has been posted on the LEN website following a written description pertaining to the visuals it carried, actual incident depicted on footage more..

Debate on strategic investments: So much baloney about sovereignty

Aug 15 (DM) Recently, many folks were bragging about our strategic location astride the key maritime routes in the Indian Ocean while at the same time complaining that any partnership with foreign entities on those matters was tantamount to a sellout. In a sense, they are pursuing a national pastime that is dating back to the early years of independence.    Every country in the world has some sort of strategic value and those who have little of it, have augmented it by entering into alliances, more..

GOP rise against White supremacism corners Trump

Aug 15 (DM) Charlottesville, Virginia did what others could not. It has jolted the otherwise insipid Grand Old Party from its slumber to the violence unleashed by the Swastika sporting white supremacists shouting “Hail Trump” slogans. The white violence on Saturday against the anti-supremacists, which included the ramming of a car killing a woman and injuring 34, was an act of terrorism. Having come to office on a wave of white nationalism and still riding on it, President Donald Trump more..

'Indian govt should also take action to prevent illegal fishing'

Aug 15 (DM) Prof. Alfred Soons is an Emeritus Professor of Public International Law at the Utrecht University. He is an expert in the Law of the Sea. Currently he is a member of the Advisory Body of Experts on the Law of the Sea of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UNESCO. He also serves as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council of Netherlands Defence Academy and is an Adjunct Prof. of Int'l Law more..

'Considerable gap between rulers and people'

Aug 15 (DM) Senior Lecturer of Mass Communication Professor Ajantha Hapuarachchi of the Colombo University Journalism Unit in a recent interview with the Daily Mirror shared her views on constitutional reform, religion in government and media regulations. Q: What are the factors serving as obstacles to formulating a new constitution? A: The most contentious issue is the govt’s stability. more..

'No state land sold to any foreign hand'

Aug 15 (DN) After the land transaction with Shangri-La, no public property was sold to any foreign individual or an overseas state, remarked Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. He was making key note address at Galle district SLFP convention. “Today, all party members can boast of an unblemished and genuine SLFP. We could on principal end enduringly the direct sale of state property to foreigners or any foreign state. more..

Civil society puts govt on notice

Aug 15 (SL) Civil society has warned the Govt that they will face the same fate as the former Govt if it fails to fulfil its promise to crackdown on powerful members of the former regime over their involvement in corruption and crime. The local civil society backed Maithripala Sirisena at 2015 Prez elections to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa from power and since then Rajapaksa and his family faced have allegations more..