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Govt to take up matter with Envoys

July 16 (CT) The govt will shortly be talking to several heads of foreign missions after travel advisories warning of a terrorist threat, among other adverse issues has placed the country in poor light and threatens to scare off foreign visitors, a senior official said. He said that Sri Lankan Envoys based in those countries have also been alerted and instructed to take up the matter with the relevant authorities at the highest level, more..

Lanka doctor among 14 indicted in largest ever US medicare fraud

July 16 (ST) A US-based Sri Lankan-origin doctor is among 14 people charged in California for allegedly participating in health care fraud schemes. Dr. Kanagasabai Kanakeswaran was indicted late last month on one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for health care referrals and four counts of receiving kickbacks for health care referrals, the US Department of Justice said. Dr. Kanakeswaran is an internist more..

Involving Sanga, Mahela or me won't help Sri Lanka: Murali

July 16 (TOI) These are tough times for Sri Lankan cricket. The team recently lost a five-match One-day series against minnows Zimbabwe, resulting in the resignation of skipper Angelo Mathews across all three formats. To make matters worse, they will be up against India - the No. 1 ranked side in Test cricket - next in a full-fledged tour that includes three Tests, five ODIs and one T20. more..

Amend the enforced disappearance bill

July 17 (CT) They are phantoms and apparitions condemned to the Nacht und Nebel (night and fog) of memory – the disappeared, ceasing to exist as persons but existing as nonpersons or Orwellian unpersons, denied access to the human bondage of their flesh and blood, exiled to an erasure as a certificate of absence, a document issued as a face saving gesture by an apathetical Govt to be clutched by needy hands for the purpose of establishing identification, to be used in order for more..

Caste in Jaffna: Mirage by K. Daniel

July 17 (CT) This novel depicts and indicts caste among the Tamils of SL as Daniel (1927-1986), an apostate or a convert from (religious) Catholicism to (secular) Marxism, observed and experienced it. “This particular novel takes place in the village where I was born and grew up… All the characters who pass through it were people I saw with my own eyes. Some are still living. Each incident that occurs in the novel actually happened” (p. xiv):  it’s an instance of the novelist as witness & testifier. more..

Disrupted lives of families who sacrificed for Uma Oya project

July 17 (SO) “I was a prosperous farmer cultivating my farmland, able to even lease and cultivate other’s farmland at Kotawara, before the village was acquired for the Uma Oya project. I was quite well off ,that I even hired manual labour to assist me in my fields, but today, I have to toil in other people’s fields to earn a living” lamented Sunil Rathnayake, 53, now residing in Uma Nadi New Village in Welimada. more..

Cold feet as Sirisena’s hot seat starts to heat, rattle and rumble

July 17 (ST) Well, as they say, better late than never. Especially when one realises that one’s 5 year tenure on the nation’s throne has reached the half way mark, giving rise to a mid life crisis as the leaves of one’s popularity start to fall with the coming of Autumn. Last week’s President Sirisena’s cabinet outburst against his coalition partner the UNP had all the markings of regret of a misspent presidential spring and summer. But with all due kindness to him, his presidential birth more..

Chronically chaotic govt & its far worse foes

July 17 (ST) When disreputable elements engage in fear-mongering, one can only react with disdain. That said, this is a time where the line between the reputable and the disreputable runs very thin on the ground. Therefore it may be conceded that these are distinctions veritably without a difference. Nonetheless, it is hard to remain quiet when former Minister of External Affairs and surely one of our most eagerly ambitious politicians, GL Peiris expounds with great gusto more..

'SLFP will stay'

July 17 (NS) General Secretary of the UPFA and Minister Mahinda Amaraweera spoke to the Nation regarding rumours of a sizeable number of SLFP MPs moving out of the Govt and joining the Joint Opposition (JO), the proposed new fisheries law and plans concerning the disastrous Uma Oya project. Q: How is the Party and Alliance addressing the multitude of voices within the SLFP and JO talking about taking leave from govt? more..

Politics is the art of the possible

July 17 (SL) There were reverberations in the body politic of Sri Lanka last week when reports said that the usually reticent President Sirisena had told his cabinet that if he had the opportunity to appoint ministers in charge of two particular portfolios, some leaders of the former regime would have now been behind bars. What he meant needed no further elaboration even to the man-on-the-street. He had thrown a cat among the pigeons but there was no visible response last week. more..

Where from here, unity and govt?

July 17 (SL) Come September and the question would be upper-most in the minds of everyone, more than Constitution-making, economy and whatever: Where from here, the unity Govt, the unity of the Govt, and possibly, the Govt itself? There is a caveat, thankfully. President Sirisena should convince his so-called rebellious MPs to fall in line, and also convince the party and the nation about the seriousness that he and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP attaches to the business of governance. more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Gampaha

Sri Lankan among 3 held for fake credit card scam in India

July 17 (BM) The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police have arrested three people, including a Sri Lankan, in a fake credit card scam. Investigators recovered 144 fake credit cards from them. They would reportedly get the card details of users in the US, Japan and other foreign countries, create fake cards and use them to make online purchases. The three accused are Divyan, from Jaffna, Nawaz Sherrief, 22, of Kanakanagar, and Nadeem Sherrief, 30, of HBR Layout. more..

UN Rapporteur wants a new order in SL

July 17 (Island) The visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Countering Terrorism, Ben Emmerson QC, a British national, was newsworthy in the extreme. Firstly, it exposed the promise made by PM to appoint a Special Prosecutor. This promise is stated in the official statement issued by Emmerson, which is posted on the UN website, and was also read out by him at the media conference and seen and heard by anyone who watched the TV news a few days back. more..

Major breakthrough in MiG deal investigation

July 17 (Island) Following The Island’s three part Special Report on The Rajapaksa Govt’s controversial MiG deal, we reliably learn that the Ukrainian authorities have reopened their investigation into this transaction which took place in 2006 between the SL Air Force and the Ukrainian state owned enterprise UKRINMASH. FCID has said it contacted Ukrainian Justice Ministry through SL Justice Ministry & Ukrainian authorities more..

Editorial: Blacking out dissent the UN way

July 17 (Island) Torture must not be tolerated in the civilized world. The UN, as the apex world body, is duty bound to protect people against such crimes the world over. However, it has to ensure that its high-ranking officials tasked with that noble mission carry out their duties and functions properly without bringing it into disrepute. They must be asked to keep an open mind when they initiate inquiries without succumbing to their prejudices and pressure from powerful nations which more..

Davis Cup Zone III Tennis from today

July 17 (ST) Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Asia/Oceania Zone Group III will get underway from tomorrow at the SLTA Courts in Greenpath. The tournament, featuring nine countries, will end next Saturday, July 22. After their unexpected defeat in the Zone Group II last year at the hands of Indonesia in Jakarta, Sri Lanka has been relegated to the Zone Group III this year. Sri Lanka has been a unit that has been in the Zone Group II since 2010, before dropping out from the group. more..

US$6 mln for tourism global promo push

July 17 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry’s long overdue global promotion campaign will get a further boost with the planned investment doubling to US$6 million. The original budget for the global campaign was US$3 million but Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara said that they would increase this figure as the current amount is not sufficient. In this respect, he pointed out that they were more..

ODI series win helped us mentally: Waller

July 17 (CI) There is growing excitement in the Zimbabwe camp about a strong match position, which could turn into a historic win. Zimbabwe have lost 12, and never won a Test against Sri Lanka. Although the pitch is not quite as spin-friendly as was expected, a lead of 262, with four wickets in hand, translates to an excellent position. Malcolm Waller, who was involved in the unbeaten 107-run stand that helped transform Zimbabwe's situation, said confidence bred by ODI series victory more..

Needles used to paralyse 23 dogs, several cats

July 17 (DM) Animal activists expressed outraged today after a video of at least 23 dogs and several cats being stabbed with what looked like needles containing a toxic substance of some sort by persons inside the process of the University of Moratuwa, went viral on social media last Saturday. A student of the Moratuwa University had released three video recordings which appeared to show the university authorities sticking needles into these animals thereby rending them unconscious, more..

What’s happening with constitutional reforms?

July 17 (Roar) Constitutional reform has been on the cards since Jan 8, 2015 when then Common Prez Candidate Maithripala Sirisena came into power, promising to usher in a new era of inclusivity and fairness for all Sri Lankans. In the run up to polls, Sirisena’s campaign—at least the UNP side of it—made allusions to a new constitution, though his actual manifesto only spoke of amendments to existing constitution. more..

Program to enhance health of pregnant women, under President’s patronage

July 17 (PSL) A special program to deliver nutrition packs and dry rations among the pregnant women was held today (16) at the President’s House in Kandy, under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. The program was organized by the Central Province Governor’s Office with the objective of enhancing the maternity health in the province. President symbolically delivered packs of dry rations and nutrition packs among the pregnant women. Nearly 10000 packs of dry rations and more..

Rupatadine to control Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever

July 17 (SO) Medical experts attached to J'pura University Medical Faculty are researching on a drug that would probably block fluid leakage among patients suffering from Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever (DHF). Rupatadine which is widely used to treat certain allergic conditions had shown positive results, according to Prof. Neelika Malavige, Immunologist and Director of the J’pura Medical Faculty’s Centre for Dengue Research. “We have found a way to block fluid leakage in DHF more..

Raza & Waller stretch Zimbabwe's lead to 262

July 17 (CI) All through the tour, SL have had Zimbabwe cornered, and games have threatened to follow a familiar, one-sided form. Yet all through the tour, Zimbabwe have found ways of resisting, of stubbornly holding out, and eventually fighting back. Day three at Khettarama saw perhaps their most impressive turnaround yet. Having eked out a 10-run first-innings lead in the morning, Zim found themselves 23 for 4, then 59 for 5. more..

Central bank buys US$136mn in June

July 17 (EN) Central bank bought 136 million dollars of foreign exchange from commercial bank and there were no sales in June. Sri Lanka's forex reserves rose 193 million dollars to 6,953 million dollars in June. In May the central bank bought 183.4 million dollars from banks and sold 35 million dollars. The data do not track official flows. In May the central bank brought down its Treasury bill stock from around 250 billion rupees to 211 billion, sterilizing the purchases. more..

Mangala Y, Dumindra appointed to BOI Board

July 17 (FT) Top professional Mangala Yapa has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the BOI along with Dumindra Ratnayaka re-appointed. Last week the Chairman and Board of Directors of the Board of Investment resigned for President Sirisena to reconstitute the Board. Ratnayaka is so far the only member from the previous Board to be re-appointed. Others in the previous Board were Upul Jayasuriya PC (Chairman), Buddhi Keerthi Athauda, Manoj Cooray, and M.A. Neeth Udesh. more..

Attack on medical undergrads: Parents to report govt to UNHRC

July 17 (Island) Parents of undergraduates in remand custody over alleged forcible entry into the Health Ministry during a recent protest against SAITM threaten to go before Geneva Human Rights Commission if the govt fails to have them released. Addressing a press conference the parents said that they had evidence to prove that their children were being held on false charges. Press conference jointly organized more..

Made-in-India warship to be largest in Sri Lankan Navy’s fleet

July 17 (HT) Sri Lankan Navy is on the verge of commissioning its largest warship, which has been built in India under a Rs 1,000-crore contract inked four years ago for two such vessels. The manufacturer, state-owned Goa Shipyard Limited, will deliver the first offshore patrol vessel to the Sri Lankan Navy at a ceremony at the yard on July 22. The 105-metre long warship, with a displacement of around 2,400 tonnes, is expected to be commissioned into the SL Navy on Aug 2. more..

No restrictions on taking out investment returns: CB official

July 17 (SO) There are no restrictions on remitting out investment returns made through the Securities Investment Account (SIA), Exchange Controller Yvette Fernando said. In an official clarification following last week´s report Changing perceptions in investment landscape, Controller stated that Central Bank has issued directions to authorised dealers, i.e., licensed commercial banks, prescribing the eligible persons to open SIAs and permitted credits and debits to SIAs. more..

Hambantota Port deal signing next month

July 17 (DM) Govt had, more or less, finalised the agreement for leasing out Hambantota Port to China Merchants and was planning to strike the deal shortly, sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday. Two separate companies would be formed to deal with administrative and commercial operations of the port. The majority equity of the company to be formed for administrative operations would be vested with the Sri Lankan side. more..

Bogus Police team busted

July 17 (CT) A bogus Police team was busted at a location in Gampaha after they allegedly kidnapped a prominent businessman from Panadura three months ago. Three persons of the four-member gang were rounded up by sleuths from the Kalutara District Crimes Detection Bureau. The suspects clad in Police uniform had abducted the businessman after claiming they were from the Peliyagoda Crimes Division Unit. They later released the businessman unharmed after relieving him of cash and more..

Sri Lanka moves closer to coveted China breakthrough

July 17 (FT) No less than six exhaustive sessions of official talks have been wrapped up todate in Sri Lanka’s pursuit of the coveted Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the world’s second largest economy. “Our talks with China are progressing smoothly,” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on Friday in Colombo, addressing the launch event of the first-ever product exhibition in Sri Lanka by China’s Guangxi Zuang Autonomous Region at Colombo’s SLECC.  more..

‘UNP back-benchers will guard Yahapalana govt’

July 17 (DN) UNP back-benchers will guard Yahapalana Govt at all cost, UNP MP Bandulal Bandaragoda said while accusing former President Rajapaksa of pulling the leg with talks of toppling the joint govt. He said the joint govt was solid and a change of regime was a pipe dream of an insignificant political group craving for power. MP was referring to the recent press report that some SLFP MPs had demanded the removal of PM more..

Behave or get out, Ranjan told

July 17 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has warned actor-turned politician Ranjan Ramanayake against criticizing the Govt and the Party Leader. "You cannot criticize the Govt while being in it. If you want to criticize then you must leave the Govt," PM sternly warned Ramanayake, who is the Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare. "While being in the party, you cannot attack the party or its leader, and if you want to do that, you can get out from the party and do it", PM said. more..

Govt takes over NFTH today

July 17 (CT) Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) will be taken over by the govt today at 10 a.m. at a ceremony attended by President Maithripala Sirisena. Cabinet decided a few weeks ago to nationalize the NFTH and convert it into a teaching hospital. NFTH will be nationalized and converted into an establishment similar to the Sri J'pura Hospital, which provides affordable healthcare for patients, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said in June. more..

Standing up against corrupt PM: Ranjan ready to go if ill-treatment continues

July 17 (Island) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said that he would not hesitate to leave the govt if he was continued to be short-changed. Asked to comment on the reports that PM had recently reprimanded him for being critical of the govt’s performance, Deputy Minister said that he was a man with a self-respect and it was in his nature to be critical when criticism was necessary. "I lodged many complaints more..

Taking over of NFTH will aggravate SAITM issue: Uni. heads

July 17 (DM) Govt’s move to take over the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) would aggravate the SAITM issue rather than resolving it, Federation of Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association (FFMTA) said. Prof. Mahinda Komalage said that taking over of the NFTH was a proposal of Dr. Neville Fernando and added that it was only he who would be benefitted from the move. “Neither the GMOA, university students nor medical faculty heads requested the govt to take over NFTH. more..

Central Bank probes about 20 of its officials over bond scams

July 17 (Island) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has commenced probing about 20 of its officials attached to the Employees’ Provident Fund Department for their alleged involvement in the Treasury bond scams. As part of these investigations, the CBSL had already sent them show-cause letters. Top CBSL sources said those officials had been asked to respond by July 20 and some of those who received the letters had written back seeking additional time. more..

CID claims Britisher provided vital info, identified phone seized by navy

July 17 (Island) Police headquarters claimed that the CID, probing the alleged involvement of a group of navy officers in eleven wartime disappearances, had recorded the statement of British national Mike Horgan, who allegedly witnessed one of the abductions. SP Ruwan Gunasekera said Horgan had been here to arrange for a victim, identified as Soosai, from Mannar to join a football team in the UK. more..

Lessons from the month of July

July 17 (DM) We Sri Lankans, like other inhabitants of this planet are first and foremost, citizens of this earth and in this context, creed, breed, high-born or menial should not matter. Yet our history has been regularly punctuated with incidents/actions which belie this eternal truth.    All of our leaders save one came from families of privilege effectively dividing the country between the privileged few and the toiling masses. When the exception was assassinated large sections among more..