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Tea auction sees good demand

Aug 19 (FT) Tea auctions this week had good demand, tea brokers said yesterday with a total of 7.5M/kgs coming under the hammer with positive demand from the Middle East. Ex-Estate offerings totalled at 0.9M/kgs. Quality of teas from the Western, Nuwara Eliya and Udapussellawa Districts showed no significant change whilst teas from the Uva Planting Districts were improved with a small selection of teas from the Malwatte Agro Climatic Region possessing seasonal quality/flavour.  more..

'HR, FDIs, Tourism: Govt's main focus'

Aug 19 (DN) Human rights and foreign investments were the key focus as newly appointed Foreign Minister, Tilak Marapana took office. “If we want investments and tourism to flourish we need to project an image that we take our human rights obligations seriously. We want friendly relations with all countries,” he said. “I have received this position most unexpectedly under unfortunate circumstances but I will do my best to fulfil more..

For whom the bells toll

Aug 19 (DM) Today we mark the United Nation’s World Humanitarian Day to pay tribute to aid workers or first respondents who risk their lives in humanitarian space and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world. This comes the day after the Barcelona horror where a van, suspected to have been driven by a teenager, killed 13 people and injured about 100 when it ploughed into a huge crowd at the popular tourist resort of Las Ramblas. more..

Imagine Dracula in Charge of the Blood Bank

Aug 19 (DM) The words of the once Australian opposition leader Andrew Peacock, Dracula in charge of the blood bank were occasioned by the appointment of Mic Young, a former minister who had been exposed as having sold state secrets to Soviet Spies, as a member of the Govt Security Commission. The disbelief and indignation at this dubious appointment was obvious. It is needless to say what happens when Dracula is appointed in charge of the blood bank. more..

Ravi, Wijeyadasa and Marapana: Manifestation of govt’s moral predicament

Aug 19 (DM) Minister Ravi Karunanayake resigned from his Ministerial post on Aug 10 following pressure exerted by members of his own govt over his seeming connection to bond scam that was exposed during the proceedings of Presidential Commission said.  He was replaced by Tilak Marapana, who also resigned as Law and Order Minister 21 months ago after being beleaguered by members of his own govt more..

Travelling becomes TORTURE as buses blare out degrading music

Aug 19 (DM) When commuting in a bus jam-packed with hundreds of passengers smelling of sweat and struggling to maintain their balance, what tests our patience more than these inconveniences is the deafening music that blares from the vehicle’s stereo set-up.  Question posed by many annoyed commuters is who needs this music? Conductors or the bus drivers are sure to enjoy the music played for their entertainment. more..

Explosives killing hundreds of elephants, protection handicapped

Aug 19 (ST) A four-year-old elephant, which had suffered severe injuries after biting an explosives-packed device used to hunt wild animals for human consumption is fighting for its life. The illegal device commonly known as —hakka pattas — a mixture of explosives with lead and ball bearings inserted into a piece of pumpkin had been placed in a location in Hambantota. It is at that site where the wounded animal had been more..

Welcome rain brings some relief, but not enough to end drought

Aug 19 (ST) While torrential rains this week brought much needed relief to several drought-hit regions, officials warned that the drought itself is set to continue at least until the beginning of October. A'pura, Polonnaruwa, Trinco and Mullaitivu districts all received heavy rainfall over three days this week, resulting in significant improvement in some areas affected by drought. The most striking example was in Trincomalee district. more..

Federalism is not Separatism rules SC

Aug 19 (DM) The month of August saw a flurry of hectic political activity in SL. The statement made by controversial Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the Presidential Commission of inquiry followed by his resignation, the move to postpone PC polls by way of the 20th amendment, the revolt within UNP ranks against the conduct of maverick UNP Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and fast-tracking of probes concerning allegations more..

'Policemen should give priority to fitness'

Aug 19 (Island) Policemen should give priority to fitness and not meditation says Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera. Jayasekera who recently criticised some national cricketers over their fitness levels told a news conference, that guardians of the law should be fit and energetic if they were to chase and catch thieves. What should be made mandatory for all police personnel was the morning drill and not meditation, he said. more..

8 SSP’s of Police force promoted as DIG’s

Aug 19 (NR) Eight Senior Superintendents of Police have recently received promotions as Deputy Inspector Generals of Police. These promotions were granted by the IGP under the approval of the National Police Commission. Accordingly, SSP Ravi Peiris of the Anuradhapura Division, SSP M A E Mahendra of the Kandy Division, SSP P C De Silva in charge of the Police Medical Division and SSP J I D A Gunathilaka in charge of more..

'Diaspora misled by separatist politics'

Aug 19 (NS) I think that the govt is treading a progressive path. However, there are problems and issues pertaining to the minorities. They should be solved through negotiations. That is the correct way to approach them. But I would like to see the issues addressed at a much quicker pace. Antonythasan Jesuthasan is known for his recent role in the award winning film Dheepan. Apart from that, he is an author and a political activist. more..

Rs 128 million spent on survey: Samurdhi union demands reimbursement

Aug 19 (CT) The Samurdhi Development Officers' Union demanded that Minister S.B. Dissanayake reimburse the Rs 128,250,000 spent on the Samurdhi Benefits Survey, which was suspended by the govt on Wednesday. The Union, in a statement, stressed that the large sum of money spent on the survey, which has been suspended by the govt after strong opposition from Samurdhi beneficiaries, more..

Listless unity govt gropes for direction: United only in corruption

Aug 19 (EN) Forcing Foreign minister Ravi Karunanayake to step down avoided a showdown between the President and the PM, but the duo faces more challenges as their listless coalition looks for direction. President Sirisena had his way when Karunanayake was forced out after he was linked to controversial bond trader Arjun Aloysius, but the troubles have only escalated to a new level within the coalition. more..

Be consistent in taxation

Aug 19 (CT) The Ministry of Finance announced several tax cuts and relief programmes on Thursday, which would have a direct impact on the ordinary citizens of the country. Accordingly, the telecommunication levy imposed on internet services has been done away with while the duty on motorcycles, single cabs and mini trucks has been reduced. Although these tax cuts benefit people, a sudden decision to revise taxes is a reflection of inconsistency in govt's tax policy. more..

Anti-Corruption Band Wagon

Aug 19 (CT) These days almost all the media outlets in Sri Lanka are up in arms about the alleged corrupt activity performed by none other than the former Foreign and Lotteries Board Minister, Mr. Ravi Karunanayake. Numerous TV programmes, news headlines, editorials in the newspapers, and articles written by academics and others focus their attention on this alleged illegal activity carried out by one of the powerful ministers in Yahapalanaya govt. Why are we surprised about this story? more..

අනාථ දරුවන් වෙනුවෙන් හඬක් නගන අනාථ දරුවා

Concerns raised over companies misusing govt tax concessions

Aug 19 (NF) Former Chairman of the Board of Investors, President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya says that certain companies are misusing the tax concessions that are granted by the govt. He notes that the current govt too has failed to take the relevant steps regarding it. The Ceylon Steel Corporation Ltd. entered into a supplementary agreement with the BOI in June 2011, under the Strategic Development Projects Act. Thereby, a ten-year tax holiday was granted, more..

National Hospital enters digital age

Aug 19 (Island) National Hospital, Colombo has digitalised the procedure of submitting blood test reports to its patients. Modern laboratory services were carried out with a minimal amount of paperwork. The doctor, the patient or the customer in cases of private health institutions were able to receive his or her blood test results on his or her mobile phone or via the internet. The required equipment to introduce the technology had been handed over to countrywide hospitals. more..

Syrians seek refuge in Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (ST) A group of Syrians including children have taken refuge in SL, UNHCR said. Six children were among those who have sought refuge from war-torn Syria, the UNHCR said without disclosing the number of adults. The number of foreign nationals seeking refuge in SL has been on the rise with 312 asylum seekers registered with UNHCR this year raising the total to 677. Most of them are from Afghanistan & Pakistan. more..

Rohit not thinking too much about vice-captaincy

Aug 19 (CI) Rohit Sharma has never officially been a part of the Indian team's leadership group, not even in limited-overs cricket, where he has established himself with consistent performances. Now, after ten years in international cricket, Rohit has been named the vice-captain of the Indian team for their five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka that starts on Aug 20. "It's an honour to be appointed vice-captain. Ten years ago, I was only thinking about playing for India. more..

Cell phone rings in court: HC suspends lower court sentence

Aug 19 (ST) Kandy High Court has suspended a one-month prison sentence a magistrate imposed on a man after his mobile phone reportedly rang while the court was in session. Kanishka Dilshan Fernando obtained the reprieve when his revision application came before Kandy’s High Court judge Sarojini Kusala Weerawardene. Mr. Fernando’s attorney told the HC judge that Matale magistrate had imposed the sentence on his client without reading out the charges. more..

I saved Daham and his Veyangoda underworld, President won’t touch me: IGP

Aug 19 (CT) IGP Pujith Jayasundara who was accused of threatening his subordinates told a bunch of his close friends that he was not 100 % but 1000% sure that President Maithripala Sirisena would not take any action against him. A leaked video going viral on social media shows IGP Jayasundara abusing his powers in an incident that had taken place a few months ago, on 17 April 2017. The IGP is seen assaulting a lift operator more..

Cancel civic rights of the corrupt including ministers: Ranjan

Aug 19 (DM) President and PM should work towards cancelling civic rights of all the corrupt persons including the ministers in the present govt, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. He said both president and PM should follow the example of their predecessor late PM S W R D Bandaranaike who tool a way the civic rights of some of his own ministers. “Late PM Bandaranaike took away the civic rights of several Ministers thorough Walter Talagodapitiya Commission more..

Deprived school in Poonakari receives bicycles under reconciliation initiatives

Aug 19 (FT) Deprived school children in Mulankavil Maha Vidyalayam and Nallur Maha Vidyalayam in Poonalari Divisional Secretariat experienced difficulties in attending schools due to transport problems. Based on the request made by the Principals and the Divisional Secretary, on the advice of Northern and Eastern Provinces Development Committee which functions under the guidance of PM, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation has provided 85 bicycles to more..

SL cursed with corrupt & incompetent leaders

'Prepared to face no confidence motion'

Aug 19 (NR) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha says he is prepared to face a No Confidence Motion at any given time. He noted he has never acted in a manner which would protect the corrupt. Speaking to media after meeting with Chief Prelates of Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters Minister said he has responded to all allegations levelled against him adding they are completely unwarranted. He stated he was involved in active politics because of his love for the people adding he has support of the people. more..

'SAITM only signed LoI to hand over NFTH'

Aug 19 (DM) The SAITM admitted it had only signed a Letter of Intent with the govt as part of the process of handing over the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH). SAITM Registrar Husni Hussain said that the Health Ministry was now operating the NFTH. “SAITM, Ministry of Health and Bank of Ceylon (BoC) have signed a Letter of Intent in this respect. Legal proceedings are still underway with regard to the final agreement which is due to be signed soon,” she said. more..

Qatar gives on-arrival visas to 80 nations, but not Sri Lanka

Aug 19 (ST) Qatar last week opened its doors to nationals of 80 countries to visit the oil-rich country, visa-free, however Sri Lanka has been omitted from the list. Move came in the wake of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and UAE imposing a boycott on Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and maintaining close links with Iran. Boycotting countries have cut off all transport links with Qatar, preventing the six-nation Gulf Cooperation more..

Can ailing Sri Lanka spring a surprise?

Aug 19 (CI) India were monumentally dominant in the Tests, while Sri Lanka are in turmoil and have a new full-time limited-overs captain, but if there is still a wisp of hope that the ODIs will be competitive, it is based on the outcome of the Champions Trophy match between these sides. Remember that? It seems so long ago now, and so difficult to imagine. But it's true. SL did defeat India on June 8, after orchestrating a record tournament chase. The way, unsurprisingly, was led by Kusal Mendis. more..

Grade five scholarship exam tomorrow

Aug 19 (Island) Grade Five Scholarship Examination will be held tomorrow at 3,014 centres countrywide. Among the 356,728 candidates are 562 children with special needs. There will 28,000 officials to conduct the exam, scheduled to commence at 9.30 am. All candidates are requested to be seated in examination halls by 9.00 am. The number alloted to the candidates should be worn on the left side of their dress. Parents will not be allowed to visit the examination centres even during more..

Sri Lanka need giant-killing act against India

Aug 19 (WI) Sri Lanka set off into the unknown in 2015 when Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene packed away their ODI jerseys. Two years on, the team is still at sea. Fortunately, every transition has a destination, and Sri Lanka will be praying for the ride to end now. Unfortunately, they’re up against India, and they could be in for another rough-weather session, starting with the first of five ODIs in Dambulla more..

'I will not withdraw Lotteries Board petition'

Aug 19 (NR) UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena says the petition filed before the Supreme Court after the National Lotteries Board and Development Lotteries Board were takeover by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not be withdrawn. MP said he intends to obtain a legal interpretation over the handing over. TNational Lotteries and Development Lotteries Boards that operated under the purview of the Ministry of Finance was set up under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in June. more..

Why not finish Wimal Weerawansa?

Aug 19 (CT) There is much speculation amongst the public, who voted in droves, to change the ugly and downward spiralling political dynasty of former numero uno Mahinda Rajapaksa as to the delay in bringing the plunderers to Court. The longer it takes to do so, the greater is the chance of obfuscating the issue with patriotism or some such nonsense. Here are some of the theories that abound. President Sirisena is being pilloried by the SLFP MP’s who want him to run for President the next time. more..

Bhutanese Medical students in Sri Lanka asked to return home

Aug 19 (KO) The Bhutanese Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE) has issued a statement requesting all Bhutanese undergraduate students currently studying medicine to return home, should the ongoing strikes continue beyond the month of October.  The Bhutanese govt had grown increasingly apprehensive on the political situation within the country and how in turn it would affect the Bhutan nationals studying in SL. more..

Car plunges into river Two dead, three critically injured

Aug 19 (CT) Two persons were killed and three seriously injured when the car they were travelling in veered off the road and plunged into the Gurugoda Oya on Thursday, Police said yesterday. A father and his son were killed while three female passengers were seriously injured in the incident, Police added. The incident occurred near the Pitagaldeniya Bridge on the Kegalle –Avissaswella Road. The injured were admitted to the Kegalle General Hospital in a critical condition. more..

SL need to forget Test drubbing: Tharanga

Aug 19 (ITV) SL ODI skipper Upul Tharanga said that they will have to quickly forget the 0-3 drubbing in the Test series and draw confidence from their win over India in the Champions Trophy.  "We have got to forget the Test series and the mistakes we made. We are heading for a new format and are looking forward to it. That's the most important thing," Tharanga said on the eve of the first ODI of the five-match series.  "India have been very consistent in the last three-four years. more..

Govt under flak over Glyphosate

Aug 19 (CT) Govt came under flak from environmentalists and nutritionists for attempting to relax the ban on Glyphosate, with groups asserting that the drawbacks of the chemical were numerous while the benefits were minimal. President of Lanka Organic Agricultural Movement Tilak Kariyawasam, said that Glyphosate was an internationally banned substance and SL exports, especially to Europe, would be rejected more..

Capitalism at the grassroots

Aug 20 (SO) At last, small biz gets the attention it needs! Most people think that Capitalism means Big Biz. But that is not, at all, how today’s globalized economy works. The market economy thrives only when the whole society is imbued with the spirit and dynamic of entrepreneurship, and the small person is availed the opportunities and facilities to do business as much as the big corporates. Last week’s reduction in import duty for certain small vehicle types and more..

Wanted: Positive results not political antics

Aug 20 (SL) We reiterate once again that it is time the Yahapalanaya govt gives serious consideration to settle down and bring about tangible results for the benefit of the people who elected them to power on a clear mandate. Members of this govt are well aware that what the consequence of defeat would imply for them and their supporters. It could be argued that within two-and-a-half years they have obtained substantial results on some crucial issues that faced the nation. more..