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Editorial: Wijeyadasa goes, rot remains

Aug 24 (Island) Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has lost his ministerial portfolios. The govt would have us believe that he has been sacked because he violated the collective responsibility of the Cabinet by criticising the controversial Hambantota Port deal. But, the main reason for his ouster was that he resisted pressure from his political bosses, who are hell-bent on throwing some of their opponents behind bars before the next election, to coerce the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Department more..

Is SLC trying to suppress media freedom?

Aug 24 (DN) Sri Lanka pre-match media conference took a new turn at the Pallekele Int'l Stadium where the media men covering it were asked to restrict their questions to just four and all of them pertaining only to the second ODI between Sri Lanka and India starting today. Those were the strict instructions given to the media manager by SL Cricket’s executive co-ordinator management committee Vrai Raymond who made a surprise visit to the conference and was trying to control more..

Corruption cases to be revisited by new Justice Minister, says Rajitha

Aug 24 (FT) Cases filed against bigwigs of the previous regime may be refiled under fresh charges with the appointment of the new Justice Minister, Rajitha Senaratne said. Pointing out shortcomings in some of the cases that have already been filed, Senaratne said that some of the cases may be refiled under different laws. “There is a problem such as this. Avant Garde case is likely to be filed again under a weapons ordinance, which is currently under more..

Sri Lanka have dropped nine catches off Malinga since his return

Aug 24 (Island) Interim Coach Nic Pothas has backed struggling fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who has come under heavy criticism for a series of mediocre performances in recent months. Malinga, who returned to ODI cricket after a layoff of 18 months, has been well below par. He has taken only seven wickets in nine games since his return from injury but Pothas felt that numbers don’t do justice to Malinga’s performance. "Malinga is a leader in the change room and more..

'The Sathyagraha was a success'

Aug 24 (CT) We organized the Sathyagraha while people were suspiciously looking at clouds of corruption that appeared again. People assumed two years back, those dark clouds of corruption and brutal crimes have drifted with the defeat of the Rajapaksa fascistic government. Now they are suspicious. Are they descending again and are any successors of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime fill the vacancy. They were wondering with not only a sense of disgust but one of bitter dejection. more..

'Tax file for all eligible persons on the cards'

Aug 24 (DN)  A tax file will be opened for every eligible person in the country in the near future. Department of Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner General Nadun Guruge elaborating on the department’s plans for doubling the tax revenue to Rs 1,200 billion by 2020, said that they will be guided by three concepts which are broadening the tax base of income tax, NBT and VAT, increasing the revenue & improving the quality of service more..

Harsha says stock market doing well

Aug 24 (FT) Setting a new record, Rs. 26.7 billion in net foreign investment has been channelled during the last eight months through the stock market.  According to Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, the Govt has identified necessary changes, which will help to increase net foreign inflow on the stock market and capital markets. “In 2015, foreign investors withdrew Rs. 5.3 billion from the stock market against and Rs. 383 million was received as fresh investment. more..

No legal action on polythene ban till January

Aug 24 (FT) Cabinet this week decided to defer taking legal action on the polythene ban till January next year, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. However, the ban on the use and production of polythene will be effective from September this year, he said. “This is to give lead time for those who are engaged in the industry to find other employment,” he said. A proposal by PM to defer the ban by one year, highlighting that an immediate ban will affect around 30,000 employees engaged in related more..

Upcountry MPs welcome increase in number of LG bodies in Nuwara Eliya

Aug 24 (Island) The govt’s decision to increase the number of local govt bodies in the central highlands through the Local Govt Amendment Bill scheduled to be presented to parliament today would strengthen democracy, TPA MPs said. Minister Mano Gansean said, "President and the PM agreed to grant our demand for increasing the number of local government bodies in the Nuwara Eliya District, which currently has only eight more..

‘Rupee depreciation stemming from low exports and stuttering FDIs’

Aug 24 (Island) Sri Lankan rupee depreciating against the US dollar is the long tern consequence of successive govts' failure to increase exports and bring foreign direct investments into the country. Therefore, the rupee will further depreciate against the dollar towards the end of the year, Professor of Economics, University of Colombo Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne said. "The, rupee  has been affected and now stands at Rs. 155 per US dollar, Abeyratne said. more..

Sri Lanka India Society recall deep ties between the two countries

Aug 24 (FT) Sri Lanka India Society held their 70th Indian Independence Day celebrations recently amidst a distinguished gathering of invitees on the North Lawn of the Taj Samudra. Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama was the Chief Guest, while the Guest of Honour was Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner for India in SL. Suboroto Bagchi, India’s best-selling business author and much-admired entrepreneur who co-founded Mindtree, a $ 500 million global IT service company more..

Video: Not sure if Wijeyadasa would resign if not sacked: Ajith P. Perera

Aug 24 (DM) Responding to a statement made by former Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe about his removal, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said it was debatable as to if the former minister would have the temerity to remain in the post held by him if he had not been asked to resign. He said that in that case former Minister Rajapakshe could have resigned when the Cabinet, of which he was a part of, took a collective decision on more..

Sri Lanka has performed relatively well: WTO

Aug 24 (CT) The World Trade Organization (WTO) in its latest Trade Policy Review(TPR) on Sri Lanka has while crediting the plus factors of the economy also pointed out shortcomings such as widening of the merchandise trade deficit even though exports and imports grew in absolute terms over the review period, the weak fiscal performance, low FDI attractions, no new development in Intellectual Property rules during the review period, regular changers in the additional levies and charges more..

Tourism sector eyes $ 7 b earnings by 2020

Aug 24 (FT) Tourism officials said the three-year ambitious Tourism Strategic Plan strives to be Sri Lanka’s top net foreign exchange earner, with a target of $ 7 billion in earnings in 2020. SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella said the vision is to be recognised as the world’s finest island for memorable, authentic and diverse experiences. Noting that the Tourism Strategic Plan 2017-2020 included several high level objectives, he stressed that the tourism industry and more..

CID probe on People’s Merchant’s missing Rs 2,220 million

Aug 24 (DN) People’s Merchant Bank has called in the CID to unravel the mystery behind Rs. 2,220 million which had gone missing from its funds during the Rajapaksa regime making the institution bankrupt. The Bank’s management had also discovered a sinister plan hatched to make the Bank inactive and build a 30 storeyed building at its land housing the head office at Navam Mawatha, Colombo. more..

Hyderabad kidney racket: Police yet to grill Sri Lankan doctor

Aug 24 (DC) Sleuths of the Hyderabad Central Crime Station are yet to interrogate the Sri Lankan nephrologist Dr Monik Tervin Sanjeewa, who was accused of doing 58 kidney transplantations with paid donors coming from Hyderabad, Nalgonda and Guntur districts, and other parts of India. In India, donors have to be related to the patient they are donating the kidney to in order to stop poor people from selling their kidneys for money and endangering their own health. more..

Death of female student; suspect nabbed

Aug 24 (DN) A 17-year-old female student was yesterday found dead at her house in Saliya Ashokapura in the Giribawa area. The deceased was an A/L student studying at Giribawa Maha Vidyalaya. According to Police, they suspect that a youth in the neighbourhood had entered the girl’s house while she was watching television, dragged her into a room, raped and murdered her. “The dead girl’s mother was visiting a nearby house when the incident is said to have taken place,” more..

'I am no American agent'

Aug 24 (DN) In his first press appearance as Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah speaking of past controversies said that under his leadership the slate will finally be wiped clean. He immediately faced questions about rumours that he is an agent for the US govt, an accusation frequently thrown at him by members of the previous regime. Sinniah worked briefly at American Embassy in Colombo as a security specialist. more..

Port City land auction of first plot next year

Aug 24 (CT) The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development plans to auction the first plot of reclaimed land, of the proposed Port City Project in Colombo, next year. Ministry states that having changed the previous agreement, Govt would draw up the new agreement, in a manner that is conducive to the country and will implement its contents while not being pressured by anyone. The ministry also plans to introduce seven light railway tracks connecting Colombo City & its suburbs more..

Sri Lanka’s computer literacy 27.6% in 2016

Aug 24 (DN) The percentage of computer literate population over the survey periods has been gradually increasing. Overall computer literacy reported in 2016 for Sri Lanka is 27.6%. The survey results show an increase of 7.3 percentage points from 2009 to 2016 Urban sector shows the highest computer literacy rate (39.2%) among residential sectors. Computer literacy rate for rural and estate sectors are 2 6.1% and 10.4%, respectively. Among the provinces, more..

Geneva Resolution: Steering Committee loses two key members before its first meet

Aug 24 (Island) A high powered Cabinet-appointed committee, tasked with coordinating and monitoring the implementation of 2015 Geneva recommendations has lost two of its key members, Ravi Karunanayake and Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, even before its inaugural meeting. PM named a 7-member committee on June 19, 2017 to ensure the timely implementation of the Geneva Resolution more..

Rs 25,000 fine for reckless driving, walking across rail tracks

Aug 24 (DN) A fine of Rs 25,000 will be imposed shortly on those who drive or walk across railway crossings recklessly, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. De Silva said new laws are being formulated to increase the fine in this regard. He made this observation in Parliament yresponding to a question raised by UPFA MP Douglas Devananda. “Even in the level crossings protected by bell and light system and gates, some people carelessly drive or walk across risking their own safety. more..

Selling Sri Lanka: No decision on leasing highways: Kiriella

Aug 24 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the govt received unsolicited proposals from some Chinese and European companies to manage three of out expressways but this matter was still to be considered by the Cabinet. He said this in the wake of allegations by some opposition parties that the govt was planning to lease the expressways to a Chinese company. “We have not decided on anything yet. In case we do, we will advertise the project calling for more proposals,” more..

Hunter gets hunted: Rajitha’s personal medical bill Rs 10 M: JVP

Aug 24 (CT) JVP in Parliament charged the Govt was boasting of high level State medical facilities, while its own Health Minister seeks medical treatment in a foreign nation. Leader of the JVP, MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, while moving an adjournment motion on the plight of those affected by the prevailing drought, said that affected farming families were suffering due to a lack of medicines at State Hospitals. more..

Listen to the Ocean

Aug 24 (DM) Though divided on many issues, the National Unity Govt is to stay together at least till 2020, largely for the survival of the two major parties though there will also be benefits for the common good of the people. Thankfully the UNP and the SLFP have no disputes on one major issue -- the restrictions on the use of plastics, silli silli bags and polythene lunch sheets, though some polythene producers protested this week. Over the weekend, media reports said that from more..

Legislator’s executive presumptions

Aug 24 (DM) There was a time when separation of powers was intensely discussed. It was over a question of territoriality, in particular the transgressions. The focus was the Chief Justice and the debate was about executive overreach and legislative complicity. Examples of judicial transgressions were also thrown around at the time, i.e. cases when a Chief Justice played executive. Unfortunately, dispassionate intellectualism was evidenced more in its absence; more..

‘Unity Govt further important in the interest of the country’

Aug 24 (DM) In the wake of the national Unity Govt completing two years, UNP MP Ajith Mannapperuma spoke about the current status of the Govt and how the country should move forward. Q: As a UNP MP, how do you view the future of the Unity Govt with the two-year period announced in the MoU concluding? A: President & PM made a clear departure from hostile politics that the two parties were engaged in for more than 60 yrs. more..

‘People are also against the postponing Elections’

Aug 24 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshappriya said that his office had no intention of Gazetting any election before Sept 30th. He further said that his office will authorize the list of voters only on Sept 30th. He said that if any election is conducted following the specifications mentioned in the list of voters for 2016, as many as 300,000 voters who are under the age of 19.5 years will be denied of voting rights. more..

Kurana shootout: Police on manhunt for three more dangerous criminals

Aug 24 (ST) Police are hunting for a dangerous underworld gang allegedly connected to the four suspects arrested following a gun battle with the STF last Saturday. Investigations have revealed that four more gang members were in a separate van but made good their escape when they saw the STF confronting those inside the other vehicle. One of them was arrested this week in Peliyagoda along with a T56 firearm. more..

Light at end of the tunnel for victims of political vengeance

Aug 24 (SL) The govt has taken measures to pay compensation to those subjected to political vengeance. Minister D.M. Swaminathan said as a first step 1,565 persons subjected to political vengeance will be compensated by December this year, in response to queries made by Sunday Leader. Compensation will be paid to the UNP activists who have had to face numerous political harassment more..

Prez calls for a drug prevention programme

Aug 24 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena directed the heads of law enforcement authorities to implement a special program, led by the police and tri-forces to prevent spread of illicit drugs in the country. President gave these instructions at a special meeting held yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss illegal drug prevention. President pointed out although the laws have been strictly made to prevent sale more..

Govt should keep its promises: Rathnapriya

Aug 24 (CT) President of the National Trade Union Front (NTUF) Saman Rathnapriya noted that the govt should keep its promises to bring about changes in the system but so far they have neglected it, not even bringing the corrupt individuals of the former govt to book as yet. The NTUF spoke on the govt's promises they made to the masses before coming to power, that they would completely overhaul the system. more..

'Ranil could have got two-thirds majority in early 2015'

Aug 24 (Island) The UNP and SLFP said that they were committed to continuing with the national govt for its full term. What is the alternative? asked SLFP spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekera. Pointing out that Parliament could not be dissolved until 2019, Jayasekera said that there was nothing wrong with SLFP MPs being critical of some of their UNP counterparts who were leveling baseless allegations against them. more..

GMOA warns of brain drain if taxation mania continues

Aug 24 (Island) The GMOA urged the govt to have broader discussions on the new Inland Revenue Bill as its provisions would severely affect a large section of the public. GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that according to information the union had received regarding the new Bill to be tabled in parliament tomorrow it would propose an annulment of all tax exemptions. Further, it had proposed to levy large taxes more..

Onboard Security Operations handed over to Avant Garde on a platter: Navy Commander

Aug 24 (DN) Navy Commander Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah said the Onboard Security Operations was handed over to Avant Garde on a platter by the previous govt. Elaborating on the Avant Garde issue yesterday, during his first press briefing since taking office as the Navy’s 21st Commander, he said long before Avant Garde came into the equation, the Navy was running this operation for nearly two years. more..

JO sign no-confidence motion against Rajitha for alleged corruption

Aug 24 (AM) The JO this morning signed a no-confidence motion against Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneratne alleging his involvement in several cases of corruption. Members of the JO including MP Namal Rajapaksa, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa and JO Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena signed the document in Parliament. MP Shehan Semasinghe said the no-confidence motion would be submitted to the Speaker  very soon. more..

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Aug 24 (CT) Kataragama Devale's early morning pooja which starts at 4:30 a.m. daily except on Saturdays was delayed for the first time in its history on Tuesday. For devotees of the shrine this is a supremely sacred ritual that has been held for millennia. This time an apparent squabble between the Chief Kapurala of the Devale Somapala Ratnayake and its Basnayaka Nilame D. P. Kumarage was the reason for the holdup. While thousands of devotees who had risen in more..

Kandy Hiway: Series of political blunders

Aug 24 (CT) The Kandy Expressway, also known as the Northern Expressway and the Central Expressway (name keeps on changing), was first proposed in the early 1990s, taking a route over the Kelani River’s northern flood plain and was challenged over environmental issues; accused of building a dam disturbing rain water flow, thereby creating floods. RDA was unable to meet the accusations and the proposal had to be abandoned. In the next attempt, a feasibility study more..

Chandra Jayaratne

Court charges Fmr District Judge Ranjan Somasinghe

Aug 24 (NR) Colombo High Court today filed charges against former Moratuwa District Judge Ranjan Somasinghe. The Indictment was filed over a case filed by the CIABOC over the former District Judge acquiring money and land valued at 2.4 million rupees that cannot be drawn from a salary of a judge. The case was filed over his failure to declare how he obtained the land and money. Colombo HC Judge Piyasena Ranasinghe ordered that the former District Judge be released on more..