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Civil society receives Rs. 1.6 bn, courtesy the US

Jul 21 (Island) Sri Lanka civil society groups have received a staggering Rs. 1.6 bn recently to promote post-war national reconciliation. Since the end of the conflict, in May 2009, Western powers have granted billions of rupees to those engaged in the reconciliation process. The USAID on June 29 awarded approximately 1.6 billion rupees ($10,000,000) in grant assistance to Global Communities to engage local communities more..

Alleged threats on HRCSL Chief: Weerasekera welcomes probe

Jul 21 (Island) Former Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera welcomed a directive issued by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Office to initiate an immediate police inquiry into alleged threats directed at Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL). He said so, in response to The Island front-page news item headlined Alleged threats to HRCSL Chief: IGP directed to more..

Sri Lanka emphasizes increasing foreign employment opportunities

Jul 21 (IL) Minister Harin Fernando, emphasised that the Govt of Sri Lanka accorded priority to increasing foreign employment opportunities for Sri Lankans in semi-skilled and skilled categories, with a clear focus on diversification of labour markets. The Minister particularly highlighted the long-term productive contributions made by Sri Lankan labour migrants to the growth of Sri Lanka’s economy. more..

SL, Japan to enhance defense collaboration

Jul 21 (MFA) The 3rd Sri Lanka –Japan Dialogue on Maritime Security, Safety and Oceanic Issues was held on 19 July, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombo. The Dialogue forms an important pillar of cooperation envisaged in the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries concluded during the official visit of Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to Japan in 2015. more..

Death penalty harmful: Jayampathy

Jul 21 (CT) Implementing the capital punishment without establishing a mechanism to detect crimes properly would not do any good to the country, UNP National List Parliamentarian, President’s Counsel Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said in the Parliament yesterday (20). Dr. Wickramaratne, opening the debate on the Bribery (Amendment) Bill, added that a punishment is the final step of the judicial procedure. more..

Diplomacy, bribery, cover-ups

Jul 22 (SO) Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is not the only regime worldwide to be accused of bribing foreign politicians. Many other repressive regimes have done so in the hope that the bribed politician would help save their credibility with the govt of that politician’s country. Often, such bribed politicians have had to whitewash the record of that regime in the eyes of her/his govt. It is one thing for a govt to entertain and woo such influential foreign politicians in a transparent, public and more..

July ‘83

Jul 22 (CT) Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of the Sinhala-Tamil riots after 13 soldiers were ambushed and killed by the LTTE at Thirunelveli, Jaffna on 23 July, 1983. The events that followed thereafter sent Sri Lanka several years back economically to the advantage of countries like the Maldives, Thailand, Malaysia and some countries in Sub Saharan Africa and South America. SL lost the tourism services export market to the Maldives, high value foreign direct investments more..

'No decision yet on JO Prez Candidate'

Jul 22 (SO) Sharp divisions were highlighted this week within the Joint Opposition, over the question of who will be its presidential candidate in 2019. JO MP Kumara Welgama was thrust into the spotlight when he took aim against those aiming to bring about Hitler’s rule in the island’s south, a thinly veiled reference to former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential aspirations. more..

Bravo Mangala

Jul 22 (Island) Minister Mangala Samaraweera is a far too senior and experienced a politician to have made the gaffe he made a few days ago in saying that members of the Rotary and Lion’s movements are among drug dealers who are well accepted members of society. The drug barons were very much in the news at the time Samaraweera made his controversial, nay stupid, remark as Prez Sirisena had just gone public with his proposal to hanging convicted drug offenders running more..

Hauling the Rajapaksas before a Special High Court

Jul 22 (Island) In recent days, there has been much hype about the permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar that was instituted recently with the passage of amendments to the Judicature Act by the yahapalana govt. The openly stated purpose of these amendments that were brought to the Judicature Act was to expedite cases against members of the previous govt. From the news coming down the grapevine, we hear that the govt is indeed preparing to direct cases against more..

'Execution of death penalty is the need of the hour'

Jul 22 (CT) Although Capital punishment is in Sri Lanka’s book of statutes, no one has been executed since 1976. The recent decision by President Maithripala Sirisena to reinstate the death penalty for repeat drug trafficking has drawn both support and opposition. Former SC Judge and current CM of the Northern Province Chief Minister, C. V. Wigneswaran, supports the move, but with caveats. more..

Political stability vital for FTAs to work

Jul 22 (ST) While the world is at war on trade, and one-time proponents of free trade have turned to protectionism and vice-versa, Sri Lanka’s current dispensation has opted for free trade. The US has waged a trade war on the EU and on China both of whom have retaliated with tit-for-tat tariffs on imports from each other. Britain is in absolute turmoil over its exit strategy from the EU with senior ministers resigning in protest blaming their PM for not protecting local industry from the fallout. more..

Judgement will prevail, the hangman is here

Jul 22 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you were at the centre of the latest controversy to hit our land. Yes, I am referring to your announcement that you want the death penalty reinstated for drug trafficking, especially for those persons who are found to be doing so even while behind bars. To be honest, I was surprised when I heard you say that. We recall that although SWRD abolished the death penalty only to have it reinstated to hang his killer, more..


Political versus commercial decisions

Jul 22 (ST) Are we entering dangerous ground by having two super-powers – India and China — controlling two vital installations in one city? Some people think so, including Kussi Amma Sera while others sweep aside any danger of a fuse blowing between the two in Hambantota. “Indiawa saha Cheene, eka thenaka innakota, apita prasnayak wey-ida? (Will there be a problem when India and China are in one place),” asked KAS from her down-the-road neighbour Mabel Rastiyadu. more..

Sri Lanka, in these conditions, are too good for us: SA coach Gibson

Jul 22 (CI) Before this series, South Africa's lowest total in Sri Lanka had been 169. On this tour, they have now crashed to 126, 73 and 124 - a grand total of 323 runs, in a series in which opposition opener Dimuth Karuanaratne, by himself, has made 330 (and counting). Staring at a 2-0 whitewash two days into the second Test, South Africa are still at a loss as to how it all went so horribly wrong, but the only thing they know for sure, is that right now, it hurts. "We've got very capable batsmen - more..

Anti-India campaign resumes over Mattala Airport deal

Jul 22 (CT) Heated words were exchanged in Parliament on Thursday over the discussion paper of the Constitutional Amendments prepared by the Expert Panel. UPFA MP, Dayasiri Jayasekara noted that the Expert Panel had been divided on its Report and that four out of its 10 members had not signed it. “It is said that only MPs, Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, M.A. Sumanthiran and more..

A damp squib with a smattering of mud

Jul 22 (ST) UNP-sponsored debate in Parliament, on Thursday, based on a New York Times (NYT)-article in June, titled How China Got SL to Cough Up a Port, resulted in another damp squib, with the debate’s sponsors unable to cough up sufficient numbers to retain a Quorum in the House, to sustain the debate till the end of its scheduled time. There were early signs when the debate began, it was not going to yield any new or useful information, given large number of vacant seats in Chamber. more..

The case for scrapping the toss

Jul 22 (CI) Scenario One: Team A, the home side, win the toss, and knowing that the pitch is likely to get spicier on days two and three, decide to bat first. As expected, the second-day pitch is tougher for batsmen and Team A lose their last 7 wickets for 88 runs. Thankfully, though, their top order had scored so heavily in relatively friendly conditions the previous day that their total is a very healthy 426. They also have an attack perfectly suited to exploiting day two's conditions, more..

Dimuth Karunaratne builds lead after spinners rout South Africa again

Jul 22 (CI) Think Galle, and now think of how things could have become more galling for South Africa. That's what happened on the second day at the SSC, where SL took significant strides towards a series win. SA succumbed to their second-lowest total in SL, a mere seven days after they had slumped to their lowest on the island, to concede a first-innings lead of 214 runs. SL's spinners ripped through them for a 3rd time, more..

I consider myself a mystery spinner: Akila Dhananjaya

Jul 22 (CT) Spinner Akila Dhananjaya is categorized as an off spinner but he again proved that there is variety which included a leg spin that sent the SA batsmen reeling claiming his second five wickets haul (5-52) and bowl out the visitors for just 124 runs in their first inning. “I introduce myself as a mystery bowler. I bowl off spin, leg spin and also the googly,” said Dhananjaya after the second day. To top that Dhananjaya looked matured with the bat as well and added an unbeaten 43 in the partnership of more..

Rugby model caught in a final scrum

Jul 22 (SO) SL women’s rugby player Thilini Senanayake is caught up in two world’s, forced to decide between a modelling career and married life after hanging up her boots. But for Thilini her present situation is nothing strange as she was able to make it to the Sri Lanka rugby team and climb the social ladder overcoming many a hurdle after leaving her village in Anuradhapura as a teenage girl of 16 years. “I am been persuaded so much by my home folks to enter married life and give up more..

Would slinger Malinga be left in the lurch?

Jul 22 (ST) Now it all leads up to Slinger Malinga will not be getting an official farewell from Sri Lanka Cricket. Lasith Malinga — the former captain of SL’s T-20 segment will no more don the national blue cap officially it seems. SL’s chief cricket selector Graeme Labrooy says that farewells are not on in their framework anymore. When asked if the T-20 match between SL and SA would be used to accord a farewell to the former fast bowler more..

Sri Lanka in 2-1 win over World Champs India

Jul 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Visually Handicapped team scored a memorable 2-1 ODI series win over world champions India, in their inaugural bilateral Cricket series at the BRC Grounds last Tuesday. In this three 40-over match series tL cricketers gave a fine display in all 3 departments of the game. The first match was highlighted by a hat-trick by Sri Lanka’s deputy skipper Dinesh Mathugama (B2) which mainly helped the Lankans gain a 2-wicket win on the D/L method. more..

Lion back in profit after two tough years

Jul 22 (Island) Lion Brewery (Ceylon) has emerged from what its MD/CEO Suresh Shah called two incredibly tough years it had endured since 2015 and returned to profit on the back of a rational excise policy that is helping consumers to drink better while contributing more to govt coffers. Lion which lost Rs. 1.45 billion rupees in the financial year ended Mar. 31, 2017, has returned to profit with an earning of Rs. 1.84 billion in the following year translating to an earnings per share of Rs. 22.97 against more..

WHT implementation baffles tax payers

Jul 22 (ST) The public has been baffled by the implementation of Inland Revenue Act (IRA) since there are still grey areas in the Act including the effective date of the 5% withholding tax (WHT) despite over 100 amendments to the original draft. The Inland Revenue Department’s (IRD) implementation of WHT has created confusion and concern among taxpayers and the public bringing the present administration into disrepute, more..

Nationality question puts SL native in a fix

Jul 22 (Hindu) A writ petition filed in the Madras High Court has brought to light the plight of a 45-year-old woman employed as a waitress in Italy. She was made to shuttle between airports in India and SL twice within two days last month due to doubts over her nationality. She has not been allowed to step out of the Anna International airport here since June 24. Dismissing a writ petition filed by law student, P. Divya, demanding her mother’s release from the custody of immigration officials, more..

Mathematics of fuel pricing

Jul 22 (ST) Sri Lanka is implementing a fuel pricing formula to determine the price of petrol and diesel through a special committee of senior public officials ending the earlier practice of fixing the prices in an ad hoc manner by the govt. A special committee headed by the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury and representatives of the President, PM, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Public Enterprises and Fiscal Policy Department has been entrusted with this task. more..

Karu vacillating on Opposition Leader post

Jul 22 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was undecided as to who the next Leader of the Opposition will be. This is a sequel to a 20-member delegation from the JO meeting Speaker in his Chambers last Wednesday requesting him to re -appoint JO leader, Dinesh Gunawardena to the post. “I have still not received a request in writing. Just because 20 MPs make a request, this does not mean that I can hand over the post of Leader of Opp. on a platter, more..

SPC conceals details of Knuckles other projects: MONLAR

Jul 22 (DM) The Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform (MONLAR) yesterday said the State Plantations Corporation (SPC) was attempting to conceal the details of other projects attached to the Knuckles mountain range, though two such projects had already been scrapped. The Corporation last week said it had withdrawn some projects attached to the mountain range after finding out that the land set aside for those projects were located within the Knuckles conservation area. more..

Chaminda smashes Para Games world record

Jul 22 (SO) Para athlete champion, Chaminda Hettiarachchie extended his heroic performances to beat a world record distance with 62.15 meters at the National Para Championships concluded yesterday at Sugathadasa Stadium. Hettiarachchi who competes in the F44 event category which is classification of lower limb competing without prosthesis affected by limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement, more..

Tea-oil deal with Iran to overcome sanctions issues

Jul 22 (ST) SL Tea Board has proposed that the payments due from Iran for tea purchases from SL be offset against the US$ 250 million that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes to Tehran for oil. The proposal was made to the Central Bank in the wake of fresh regulations SL’s Foreign Ministry has issued in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1737 of 2006 and 2231 of 2015. Resolution 1737 establishes more..

Three trials-at-bar: Rent out building if no space: JVP

Jul 22 (DM) Govt should set up the proposed three permanent trials-at-bar at least by renting out a building, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said. He said the excuse made by the govt for the delay in setting up these special courts was limited building space. "If the govt was unable to find building space, how can it govern the country, develop the economy and prevent crime? If it can rent out buildings for millions of rupees to house ministries, then why can’t it do the same thing for a worthy cause? more..

'UNESCO threatens to withdraw world heritage status of three SL sites'

Jul 22 (DM) UNESCO has warned that it will remove the world heritage status given to Sinharaja, Dambulla & Galle Fort if they are not preserved properly, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told Parliament. He made this statement during a heated argument on the proposed demolition of the Rajapaksa pavilion at the Int'l Cricket Stadium in Galle. “We have decided to demolish the pavilion because UNESCO has mentioned that unauthorised structures in Galle Fort are not removed. more..

Bribes to British MPs: Probe calls in Sri Lanka parliament

Jul 22 (EN) Disciplinary action against a British MP who admitted accepting luxury holidays from Sri Lanka has triggered an investigation into five other UK legislators who were allegedly bribed by the former regime. Govt MPs told the parliament that an admission by Ian Paisley, who faces suspension from the House of Commons for 30 sittings, has opened a can of worms at the foreign ministry. “There are at least five other British MP’s more..

More bonus seats; 50:50 ratio for PCs

Jul 22 (ST) Delimitation Commission has proposed to increase from two to five the number of bonus seats for provincial councils to ensure more stability in the PCs. Delimitation Commission Chairman K. Thavalingam on Friday briefed political party representatives on the proposal. The meeting was presided over by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Commission is recommending that distribution of bonus seats for each province should be based on a mechanism that would ensure representation more..

Mahinda to visit Delhi

Jul 22 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa will visit New Delhi in September to speak on India-SL relations. Disclosing this, Dr Subrahmanyam Swamy, a member of the Rajya Sabha and a senior leader of India’s ruling BJP, said: "I have invited him to visit New Delhi to speak on relations between our two countries on Sept 12." Dr Swamy, an unabashed admirer of Rajapaksa, holds the SL leader in high esteem because he successfully wiped out LTTE by defeating them militarily more..

Video: Death penalty will be implemented despite any objections: President

Jul 22 (AD) President Sirisena reiterated that he will carry out implementing the death penalty on those convicted but still involved in drug trafficking from prisons, even amidst any obstacles. Prez stated that the front page of a certain newspaper had carried an article claiming that the govt was going to reverse its decision on implementing the death penalty. “That is completely untrue. No matter what kind of objections more..

Austin Fernando tipped to be named Sri Lanka’s HC to Delhi

Jul 22 (Island) Former Secretary to the Prez, Austin Fernando is tipped to be named as SL’s High Commissioner to New Delhi. However, a Foreign Ministry official said that there is a due process to be adhered to in appointing an Ambassador or a HC and therefore, it was too premature to comment on speculation. After a person is nominated as Ambassador/HC, the name has to be forwarded to the Committee on High Posts in Parliament, which will then advertise the nomination and more..

Legal action against nearly 500 dons who broke the bonds

Jul 22 (ST) Legal action is to be filed against nearly 500 university lecturers who went overseas for higher education and have not returned to their universities, in keeping with the bonds they have signed, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe warned. He said that those who had violated their contracts had been informed of the decision, but most of them had ignored the warnings sent by the UGC. “Most of them who had gone for higher studies abroad have obtained employment in the same university more..