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Will vet Sri Lankan soldiers similar to other countries: UN

July 20 (DM) The UN has said that when selecting soldiers for the UN peacekeeping mission, it would vet SL troops similar to soldiers from other countries, to ensure they were not involved in illegal activities in their home country. In response to a question that the UN was still recruiting SL troops to serve (the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission) in Mali despite some new findings by the UN that Sri Lanka's security forces were engaged in torture, Deputy Spokesman for the UN more..

Current govt ensured free vocational education: President

July 20 (PSL) President Sirisena says it is the current govt that extended the free education to the vocational education and freed the students from paying money for vocational education at some institutions. He recalled that before the election of the current govt, the students had to pay for some institutions which were under Ministry of Skills Development & Vocational Training. Prez was speaking at the World Youth Skills Day more..

Rail transportation along up-country line restored

July 20 (NR) Rail transportation along the up-country railway line that was hampered due to a train derailing has been restored. Rail transportation was authorised after a quality certificate was issued following a train engine with several carriages being deployed on a trial run. Railway services along the upcountry railway line were hampered last week due to the derailment of a night mail train. The train derailed between the Hatton and Kotagala railway stations. more..

Road transport planners develop low cost traffic forecast

July 20 (EN) Sri Lanka road transport planners have developed a new method to forecast future demand for road use drastically reducing the cost of surveys as part of measures to improve traffic flows and cope with worsening congestion.  There was growing interest in research among staff of the RDA, said Namalie Siyambalapitiya, director of planning at the RDA. “I’ve been working for 30 years in road and transport matters and have found it very difficult to encourage our staff to do research,” she said. more..

NFF proclaims UN official’s ill-famed statement a violation of sovereignty

July 20 (AD) National Organizer of NFF, Piyasiri Wijenayaka stated that no Sri Lankan citizen had asked UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson or anyone else to probe into the dark, closed chapter of the terror-stricken of LTTE. Issuing a letter to the Office of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN, released to the media, Piyasiri Wijenayaka made the declaration on behalf of the NFF, in response to a statement made by more..

Indian HC agrees to consider matching Korean proposal: Rajitha

July 20 (DN) Indian High Commissioner has agreed to consider matching the Korean proposal for Sampur LNG power plant, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said as questions over the feasibility of the power plant agreed to in 2016 came up for discussion in Cabinet. “We had a long discussion on the LNG plant. When Prez Sirisena visited India last year, he told Indian PM that Sampur 500 MW coal power plant cannot go through because as Minister of Environment, he cannot approve it. more..

Woman forced to wait to have womb removed due to power cut

July 20 (DM) A sudden one and a half hour power outage that occurred while doctors at the Wathupitiwala Base Hospital were operating on a forty-five-year old woman to remove her womb meant that the woman was forced to wait for one and half hours with her abdomen open for the operation to be completed. A gynaecologist, assisted by another doctor, began the operation at about 9.45 yesterday morning. However after the doctors opened up her abdomen more..

Prez signs Office of Missing Persons Act

July 20 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena signed the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Act a short while ago, President’s Media Division said. Tweeting at the end of the event the President said I signed the Office of Missing Persons Act today. This marks another step forward in Sri Lanka's path to sustained peace. Sri Lanka introduced a bill to establish the OMP on the 22nd of May and the Bill was gazetted on the 27th of May 2016. more..

2 Japanese naval ships arrive at Colombo

July 20 (SLN) Four (4) senior officers of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, who arrived in Sri Lanka today on a goodwill visit, called on the Navy Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe at the Naval Headquarters. Accordingly, Commander of Escort Flotilla I, Rear Admiral Yoshihiro Goka together with Commanding Officers of JMSDF ships Izumo and Sazanami Captain, Yoshihiro Kai and Commander Hirotaka Okumura held discussions with the Chief of Staff. more..

19 hour water cut in parts of Colombo

July 20 (AD) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board announced a 19 hour water cut from 11pm on Friday to 6pm on Saturday to several parts of Colombo. The water board said that the supply to Kotahena, Mattakkuliya, Grandpass, Thotalaga, Jayantha Weerasekaar Mawatha and Maligawatta Flats will be suspended during the aforementioned time period. This is due to urgent repairs being carried out on the main supply line from Ambatale to Elihouse, it said. more..

Australian assistance to combat dengue

July 20 (PSL) Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop announced a major Australian assistance to combat dengue fever. She made this announcement when she called on President Sirisena today. Recalling that President Sirisena made a special mention about the spreading of dengue and Chronic Kidney Disease in SL during his recent state visit to Australia, Ms Bishop expressed happiness more..

Dumping garbage at Muthurajawela: Court order extended till July 25

July 20 (DN) The Supreme Court today extended the interim order issued preventing the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) from dumping garbage at the Muthurajawela Sanctuary until July 25. Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Upaly Abeyratne issued the interim order preventing the CMC or any other authority from dumping garbage at Muthurajawela on July 6, pursuant to a fundamental rights petition filed by 35 five residents in the close proximity to Muthurajawela Sanctuary. more..

Sri Lanka must cut duties, ensure transparency, no corruption: EU envoy

July 20 (EN) Reduced import duties and taxes, transparent tenders and no corruption would make Sri Lanka more attractive to foreign investors wanting to invest to take advantage of its duty free access to Europe, European Union envoy said. Tung Lai-Margue, EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka, said the impact of the GSP Plus trade concession which Sri Lanka regained would be seen in the next few months just as the lifting of the fisheries ban led to a boom in fisheries exports within months. more..

GSP+, New technology will enhance country’s competitiveness: PM

July 20 (DN) The GSP+ concession is the lynchpin to build our outward-looking, export-oriented economy which will provide jobs and increase incomes, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He was delivering the keynote address at a forum organized by European Chamber of Commerce in SL, on Sri Lanka: The next Asian Economic Miracle? he stressed the potential of Sri Lanka’s economic growth through GSP+. more..

Sri Lanka dengue cases over four times previous average: WHO

July 20 (LBO) The World Health Organization says the current dengue epidemic is likely to have repercussions on public health in Sri Lanka, with a 4.3 times increase in the average number of cases reported. The WHO says from 1st Jan to 7th July in 2017, the Epidemiology Unit of Health Ministry has reported 80,732 dengue fever cases, including 215 deaths. “This is 4.3 fold higher than the average number of cases for the same period between 2010 and 2016,” the WHO said. more..

Rural dairy farmers raise production, incomes through USAID assistance

July 20 (USE) K. Mathanakumari, a single mother of three from Mullaitivu, faced many challenges to feed, clothe, and educate her children.  Despite her hard work trying to provide a better life for her family, Mathanakumari had difficulties gaining access to basic resources and techniques to improve production from her dairy farm. In April 2015, the USAID selected Mathanakumari to join the Supporting Opportunities in Livelihoods Development (SOLID) project, more..

President seeks Cabinet nod for State Dept. grant to empower CIABOC

July 20 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena this week sought Cabinet approval to obtain a grant of USD 235,000 (Rs. 35.25 million) from the US State Department to empower the CIABOC. Cabinet granted approval for the signing of a MoU with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the US State Department. CIABOC has often cited lack of resources and personnel to carry out investigations into the large number of more..

So who are we laughing at, really?

July 21 (CT) On Wednesday evening at Sooriya Village, while speaking on relationship-education, vulnerabilities of children, especially girls, in cyber space, what can be done, what is being done and what should be done, Hans Billimoria asked a question from the audience. Did you get Sanath’s video? He pointed to several men and each of them said ‘yes’. He went on to talk about consent. Respect. Knowledge. Had Hans asked Did you get Dayasiri’s video? or else more..

Miles to go before 2018

July 21 (DN) This followed months of dissatisfaction in both UNP and SLFP camps with President Sirisena complaining that corruption probes against Rajapaksa regime were stalled and reportedly a group of some 18 SLFP ministers and MPs wanting to quit govt ranks. There has been intermittent sniping among SLFP and UNP ministers for some time now but it appears that the prospect of upcoming elections - both local govt and provincial council, are pushing MPs to take up positions more..

Adhishthana Pooja: May Arhants come into being by the thousands

July 21 (NS) Ranjith had to climb the coconut tree three times a day to tap the toddy to make treacle for the Adhisthana Pooja. The whole process of tapping toddy, bringing it down and into the waiting arms of his wife, without letting the pot touch ground, heating it over a fire, in batches, in a specially constructed canopied and carpeted hut took approximately 40 days. What’s more being Christian Ranjith has taken over the task of more..

The TNA’s Emil Savundra method of constitution-making

July 21 (CT) There was a famous or rather, notorious fraudster in the UK in the 1960s. His name was Emil Savundranayagam—Emil Savundra for short. He defrauded fire, auto and marine insurance holders and wound up in jail, where he served six out of an eight year term –during which time he was also suspected of feigning/self-inducing a medical condition. He died fairly shortly after release. I recall my father Mervyn de Silva interviewing him as part of a special feature for the Sunday Times more..

The real SLFP – UNP MOU

July 21 (DN) In recent weeks, there has been quite a lot of political discussion on the topic of the political alliance of the two main political parties in the country, SLFP and UNP, which has joined hands to form the national unity govt we have today. Some members of the govt have voiced their frustrations over the alliance and are threatening to leave, while the senior political leadership is seeking to preserve the rainbow coalition which formed Yahapalanaya Govt in 2015. more..

'NFTH: A red herring exercise in deception'

July 21 (CT) MoU was signed on 17 July to transfer the ownership of Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) to the Govt. Under terms of the agreement NFTH will cease to retain its identity as a private hospital but will function as a State-owned health institution that will be administered by an independent Board of Directors with effect from 1 Aug 2017. With the acquisition of the NFTH, Minister Rajitha Senaratne stated that all connections more..

Constitution, equality and Beethoven’s ninth symphony

July 21 (GV) I’m responding to one aspect of the article by Dr Rohan Wickramasinghe published in The Island of 17 July. He poses the question as to what the aristocratic framers of the Indian and Sri Lankan Constitutions would have to say about the wish expressed in Lyrics to Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony ‘Ode to Joy’ to have beggars become brothers of Lords. I don’t feel equal to answer the question but I wish to comment on his statement that more..

Reactions to Ben Emmerson’s statement on torture, counterterrorism

July 21 (GV) On July 14, 2017 the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, Ben Emmerson released a statement at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka, where he met with detainees, activists, and the Attorney General, the Chief Justice and High Court Judges. Following his visit, there was some coverage in the media, with Daily Mirror and Sunday Times reporting on his statement. However, almost immediately, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe lashed out in response, more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Japan to extend $ 0.6 m for humanitarian demining in northern Sri Lanka

July 21 (FT) Govt of Japan has decided to provide a total sum of $ 611,710 (approx. Rs. 91 million) to Mines Advisory Group (MAG) for humanitarian demining in northern Sri Lanka. It is expected that the Project for mine clearance in support of livelihood development in Northern Province, Sri Lanka would contribute to the efforts of the Govt of Sri Lanka in making mine contaminated areas safe, enabling displaced people to return and to resume their livelihoods. more..

Editorial: Joint Opposition disjointing itself?

July 21 (Island) Joint Opposition (JO) is apparently busy disjointing itself. It emerged at a time when Parliament was left without a legitimate Opposition; SLFP and UNP had entered into a political marriage of convenience with the post of the Opposition Leader being given to the TNA on a platter and the JVP had got the post of the Chief Opposition Whip for services rendered to the yahapalana camp. With the govt and its allies thus consolidating their power on both sides of the House, more..

What’s happening to Sugathadasa Stadium

July 21 (CT) Laying of the synthetic track at Sugathadasa Stadium will be further delayed with the losing bidder of tender once again had appealed to Procurement Appeal Board (PAB) in a desperate attempt to prove that they are the rightful party who should be awarded the contract. The bid document required fulfillment of stringent conditions to qualify, including prior experience in laying at least 5 Class I Pull FUR tracks and 5 Class II tracks more..

Apollo tyres is now a full range player in SL

July 21 (Island) Apollo Tyres, a leading tyre major with an annual turnover close to US$ 2 billion, has now become a full-range player in the SL market with the introduction of its two-wheeler tyres. Rajesh Dahiya, Group Head, Sales, Apollo Tyres Ltd and Jagath Samarsekhara, CEO, Ideal Wheels & Tyres launched Apollo’s two-wheeler tyres in Sri Lanka in the presence of company’s business partners and customers. Since its introduction to the Sri Lankan market in 2011, more..

Kavinda knocks out Australia’s Benjamin

July 21 (DN) Sri Lanka’s Kavinda Sanjaya Bandara entered the quarter finals of the boxing competition of the Youth Commonwealth Games by knocking out Joseph Benjamin of Australia in the 46-49 kg weight category. He will now meet Wales’ James Nethan today. Kavinda an old boy of Nawalapitiya Central and Dheerananda MV, Pilimatalawa has won gold medal on two successive occasions in All Island Competitions and was adjudged emerging boxer in the school circuit. more..

Mitigation begins at Iranian-built Uma Oya hydropower tunnel disaster

July 21 (EN) Work on mitigating an environmental disaster from a tunnelling by a turnkey Iranian contractor on a hydro-electric project in Uma Oya river has begun. The sealing of an acquifer breached by a tunnel has begun under the advice of a Norwegian expert. Iran's FARAB Energy and Water Project Company, which was given the turnkey contract during the ousted Rajapaksa administration has been unable to seal more..

EU – Sri Lanka trade partnership: Is there scope for further expansion?

July 21 (Island) The European Union (EU) reinstated the EU GSP Plus facility to Sri Lanka with effect from May 19, 2017. This will provide opportunity for 66% of the total EU tariff lines/ products to enter into the EU on duty free basis. We thank the PM, European Union, Ministers and Ministries for all their effort. Importantly, this will provide Sri Lankan exports a level playing field with other countries such as our neighbours from Bangladesh & Pakistan, and several countries from Africa, South America more..

Tea needs hands-off approach

July 21 (CT) Minister Navin Dissanayake declared there are major challenges to overcome, to ensure the sustenance of the tea industry, including further deregulation and a reduction of govt involvement. "All future govts should move away from the tea industry and further deregulate it. It is essential for the business of tea to be carried out by businesses, with a pure business model." He revealed that SL Tea Board has to be aware of the tremendous competition nation faces from Kenya & other more..

Cherio coal!

July 21 (FT) The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka approved a long-term generation plan for 2018-2027 sans coal, following adjustments made to proposals submitted by CEB to reflect the cost for externalities.  The approved plans focus more on diesel with liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and renewable energy. “We will have to rely on diesel plants to meet the demand as they require the least time to set up,” more..

Sri Lanka’s long term economic performance is what matters: Prof. Abeyratne

July 21 (Island) The long term performance of the economy is the most important factor in achieving sustainable economic growth for Sri Lanka, Professor of Economics, Sirimal Abeyratne said. "Sri Lanka has addressed short term economic needs through instruments, such as, the new Inland Revenue Bill and GSP+. That has prompted the IMF to release the second tranche of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement that amounts to US$ 167.2 million to Sri Lanka," he said. more..

FACETS 2017 set to showcase the best of Sri Lanka’s gem & jewelry industry

July 21 (Island) SL Gem & Jewelry Association announced the launch of the 27th edition of the FACETS International Gem & Jewelry Exhibition, on July 19 at a press conference held at the OZO in Colombo. To be held from the 31st of August to the 3rd of Sept at the BMICH, FACETS is the premier event of the gem & jewelry industry of Sri Lanka. Following its inception in 1991, FACETS has gradually grown in scale and size to become one of the most popular exhibitions of its kind. more..

Customs creates history by launching online payment platform

July 21 (FT) Sri Lanka Customs created history yesterday by implementing a state-of-the-art online payment platform for Customs payments in partnership with the Central Bank. This landmark initiative was ceremonially inaugurated by Minister Eran Wickramaratne and CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy. Established more than 200 years ago in 1809, SL Customs is one of the oldest customs administrations in the world. more..

IR Bill to bring in and engage outsiders as tax officers

July 21 (FT) Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC, forewarned about the Inland Revenue Bill in the Supreme Court, stating that it is ambivalent and subtly bringing in persons known as other agents from outside as tax officers at a great cost, highlighting danger to taxpayers. He raised doubts on ambiguity and apathy in the impugned bill and scrutinised that it would open passage for siphoning classified information of taxpayers to ministers or outsiders, removing confidentiality more..

Contempt of Court case against Gnanasara Thera: DSG Dileepa Peiris gives evidence

July 21 (DN) Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Dileepa Peiris yesterday identified BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera in the Court of Appeal as the person who involved in the alleged offensive behaviour at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court on January 25 last year. DSG Dileepa Peiris gave evidence regarding the contempt of court action filed against Gnanasara Thera over his alleged offensive behaviour inside the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. more..