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Sri Lanka probes WFP over tsunami SUV gifts

July 7 (AFP) World Food Program is being investigated in Sri Lanka for gifting luxury duty-free vehicles to a charity headed by former president Rajapakse's wife. Police said an investigation into an accident involving a sports utility vehicle revealed that it was one of two SUVs to be given as a donation by the UN agency to Shiranthi Rajapakse's Siriliya Saviya Foundation and that neither party had paid import taxes which can be up to 350%. more..

Tiran Alles’ FR application fixed for support on July 10

July 7 (Island) Supreme Court fixed for support on July 10, the fundamental rights violation petition, filed by Tiran Alles, alleging imminent, illegal arrest. Additional Solicitor General who appeared for the IGP and the Director of the CID, gave an undertaking to the Court that Alles would not be arrested until July 10. The status quo would remain the same, he assured. Alles has said that the CID says he is suspected of having financial transaction with the LTTE. more..

Rajapaksa returns to test Sri Lanka's democracy

July 7 (LI) The re-emergence of Sri Lanka's controversial former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the leader of the main opposition alliance in the country's general elections in August, and as potential prime minister, appears to signal the end of the country's brief democratic honeymoon and a return to divisive politics as usual. Six months after his stunning victory in presidential election, Maithripala Sirisena faces a renewed challenge from the man he ousted. more..

Sri Lanka drop Herath for Pakistan ODIs

July 7 (CI) Uncapped left-arm spinning allrounders Milinda Siriwardana and Sachith Pathirana have been called up to Sri Lanka's squad for the five-match ODI series against Pakistan. Test spinners Rangana Herath and Tharindu Kaushal have been left out, as have seamers Nuwan Kulasekara and Dhammika Prasad. In addition to the new allrounders, Sachithra Senanayake and legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna serve as the squad's frontline spin options. more..

Amarasekera et al given time to file written submissions

July 7 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday granted parties time till October, 9, 2015 to file written submissions in respect of the preliminary objections raised by the parties cited as respondents in five petitions filed by Gunadasa Amerasekera and four others. The petitioner has said the TNA and the Illangai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) has said during the provincial council polls, in the North, that they would work for a separate Tamil state in the North. more..

Younis and Pakistan break fourth-innings records

July 7 (CI) 382: Pakistan's total was their best in the fourth innings of a Test and also their highest successful chase. It was also the sixth highest successful chase overall in Tests. 171: Younis Khan's score was the the highest by a Pakistan batsman in the fourth innings of a Test. It was also the fifth highest individual score in a successful chase, behind efforts from Gordon Greenidge, Arthur Morris, Don Bradman and Mark Butcher. 7: Number of wickets by which Pakistan won this Test, more..

'Defeat will take a lot of time to digest'

July 7 (CI) Sri Lanka did not imagine they could lose the match at lunch on day four, Angelo Mathews admitted after Pakistan strode to a seven-wicket win in Pallekele, to complete a 2-1 series victory. Mathews had been instrumental in Sri Lanka's third-innings 313, which set up a lead of 376. However, Pakistan chased down this target with ease, inside four sessions of batting. Sri Lanka's seamers had claimed two early wickets in the Pakistan chase, more..

GMOF: Rajitha trying to appoint health officials arbitrary

July 7 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has vehemently opposed what it calls an arbitrary attempt to appoint two deputy directors general (DDGs) in the govt health service. Welcoming the creation of the two new positions, namely that of DDG Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) and the DDG Medical Supplies Division in the Health Ministry a GMOF member said his organisation took exception to the manner in which the Health Minister was trying to appoint two officers. more..

Sri Lanka shares fall to over-12-week low

July 7 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell to their lowest in more than 12 weeks on Tuesday led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc as political uncertainty dented investor sentiment ahead of parliamentary elections. The main stock index ended 0.31% weaker at 6,967.78, its lowest close since April 10. The day's turnover was 713.5 million rupees ($5.34 million), less than this year's daily average of 1.07 billion rupees. Shares in John Keells Holdings fell 1.1% more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

MR's PM ambitions

July 7 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa after having been given nomination to contest the 17 August, 2015 General Election under the UPFA ticket on Friday, in probably his first interview to the media, reproduced by this newspaper on its yesterday's edition, revealed his prime ministerial ambitions. In a 10 questionnaire interview with, an Indian website, he sidestepped the first question as to whether he would be the SLFP led UPFA's premier candidate, more..

Return of the redeemer & road builder

July 7 (CT) Contemplating a return of Mahinda Rajapaksa is a gut churning and an offensive experience to those in possession of even a minuscule awareness of the value of autonomy and freedom of the individual. Nevertheless, we must come to terms with the materiality that Mahinda Rajapaksa is an exceptional politician who continues to retain a substantial reservoir of mass support and adulation. The return of the redeemer and road builder to that exalted status of the supreme law giver more..

PM promises new probe over bond scam

July 7 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said a new parliamentary probe will be initiated into a controversial bonds sale where a firm connected to Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran's son-in-law benefitted. "When the next parliament meets, three months will be given for a select committee to probe this and three or four other frauds at the Central Bank," Wickremesinghe said. He said if Perpetual Treasuries, the company more..

Pakistan win series with record chase

July 7 (CI) Younis Khan's epic, unbeaten 171 led Pakistan to their highest successful chase, the second highest in Asia for any side, and the sixth highest in all Test cricket. It also gave them their first series win in Sri Lanka since 2006, and catapulted them to third in the ICC Test rankings. The feat required the highest fourth-innings partnership for Pakistan, 242 between Younis and Shan Masood, who fell on the more..

If UPFA nomination foils; Mahinda prepared to contest through budding flower

July 7 (AD) In case former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is unable to contest the upcoming General Election under the UPFA due to a breakdown in the Mahinda-Maithri collaboration, Rajapaksa is scheduled to contest under the Our Sri Lanka Freedom Front (Ape Sri Lanka Nidahas Peramuna) with the symbol of a budding flower. The party which was formerly named Sri Lanka National Front with the symbol cricket bat recently more..

‘I am better qualified than any other politician to contest polls’

July 7 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says that she has a right and qualifications to contest elections more than many other politicians. She said: "I have not done anything wrong. I have not committed theft. I don’t have blood on our hands. Therefore, I am better qualified than anyone else to contest elections." She said some politicians were boasting that they had made SL the miracle of Asia, more..

Sigiriya frescoes under threat

July 7 (DM) Sigiriya which is one of the most valuable historical monuments of SL with locals referring to it as the Eighth Wonder of the World is under threat because of human activities. This ancient palace and fortress complex has significant archaeological importance and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Appearance of cracks on some of the frescoes, signals an imminent danger to this world heritage site. more..

Equal health facilities for estate community?

July 7 (Island) Health care facilities should be made available to the estate community of the country without any discrimination, Minister Palani Digambaram stressed. He was addressing a workshop on the Health and Nutrition Status of the plantation Community. He noted that the health statistics for estate sector was inadequate due to lack of qualified doctors on the plantations and successive govts more..

Helitours hit more storm clouds

July 7 (ST) Helitours, the Air Force’s domestic passenger carrier, could have been giving indemnity forms to paying customers for several reasons —including the fact that it often flew them on a Harbin Y-12 aircraft not cleared to transport civilians. Another reason could be that insurance policies taken out on any of the company’s airplanes had run out or did not cover its paying passengers. It was also possible that certain flights were more..

MR’s Aide faces money laundering charges

July 7 (SL) CID files B report against Gamini Senarath at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. The Chief of Staff of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to face legal action shortly for alleged money laundering, the CID said. Highly reliable sources at the CID said that the CID has filed a ‘B’ report in the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court against former president’s Chief of Staff, Gamini Senarath. more..

'TNA is the only party fighting for the rights of the Tamil people'

July 7 (FT) Before contesting the election, Mahinda Rajapaksa needs to prove that he and his family are not corrupt, notes TNA strongman Suresh Premechandran. “If he (Rajapaksa) comes to power, he will safeguard his entire family and protect them from all the allegations against them,” Premechandran said, adding, “We supported Sinhalese people to bring a change in the govt. Now it is up to the Sinhalese people to decide more..

'Mahinda Rajapaksa contesting General elections: A joke to think it’s a challenge'

July 7 (DM) Taking on the mantle of UNP General Secretary, after Tissa Attanayake; Kabir Hashim spoke of the crowds gathering around Maithripala Sirisena, the bond issue and discussions between the UNP and other parties, the Minister of Highways and Investment Promotion is to contest the general election from the Mawanella Electorate in the Kegalle District. Q: What are the UNP’s slogans for the general election? more..

Rajapaksa’s political comeback: Some moral and practical questions

July 7 (DM) Now that the SLFP has decided to grant nomination to ex-President Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general elections, a sense of gloom has dawned on certain quarters of the public who genuinely loath the long-term effects of the ex-President’s political comeback. Such sentiments are quite understandable. A sizable portion of the total 6.2 million people who voted against the authoritarian ex-President now fear that he would roll back democratic reforms more..

Political atmosphere clouded in confusion

July 7 (DM) Confusion reigns over the political atmosphere these days with political parties doing one thing today while reversing it tomorrow. In the meantime there are signs of unexpected political alliances emerging not based on principles but with the sole intention of facing the August 17 parliamentary election. On June 30 the media carried a news item that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to be given nomination to contest the election under the UPFA by the President more..

TNA not to allow ex-LTTE members to contest polls

July 7 (CT) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said that he will not work with former LTTE cadres and implied that the party will not give nominations to former LTTE cadres. Speaking at the special meeting among the important leaders of the TNA and the former LTTE cadres in Vavuniya, Sampanthan further told the Crusaders for Democracy Party (CDP), led by former LTTE cadres that they will not be entertained in TNA. more..

Attempt to drive MR away feared: Dispute over UPFA nominations persists

July 7 (Island) Rival factions within the UPFA had failed to iron out their differences and fresh problems had cropped up as regards nominations for the members of the coalition’s rebel faction loyal to former President Rajapaksa. Efforts were being made to deny the key members of the rebel faction nominations, sources said, alleging that a plot was being hatched to drive away Rajapaksa, thereby leaving him with no alternative but to field a separate team at the August 17 general election. more..

UNP exposes MR’s Rs. 9.4 m unpaid 5-star breakfast bill

July 7 (FT) The UNP revealed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family had ordered breakfast worth Rs. 9.4 million from the Hilton and not paid the bill. Former UNP MP Nalin Bandara addressing the ‘expose’ media briefing at Sirikotha claimed that former Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga had signed this order instead of ex-President Rajapaksa. “Former President Rajapaksa and his family have spent Rs. 9,481,502 for a breakfast and they did not pay it back. more..

President Sirisena’s position on Rajapaksa’s nomination remains unclear

July 7 (Hindu) There seems to be lack of clarity about President Maithripala Sirisena’s position on the SLFP-led UPFA’s move to provide former President Rajapaksa with a ticket to contest in the parliamentary polls. Ever since the UPFA general secretary Susil Premajayantha’s statement was made public on Friday last, announcing nomination of Mr. Rajapaksa, silence has been the response of the President. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism seeks top global ad agency for Rs. 200 m push

July 7 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourism announced the 200 million EOI to search for a top global Ad agency after a lapse of five years. This is in the back drop of winning a multitude of awards globally this year at many a Global Travel Fairs and visitor arrivals crossing 830,051 at a growth of 14.1% in the first half of 2015. At at now the Sri Lankan Tourism strategy has been essentially driven by a PUSH marketing strategy with initiatives in key markets such as B2B road shows with private sector, more..

Hakeem calls for urgent program to overcome garbage disposal obstacles

July 7 (FT) Since there have been many complains with regard to the problems arisen in the disposal of garbage in and around Colombo City, Minister Rauff Hakeem pointed out that a program should be brought underway with the assistance of the local govt authorities. A special discussion was held under the patronage of Hakeem at the at the Ministry to look into the problems and obstacles that has arisen with regard to the dump-yard in Meethotamulla. more..

July turns jittery

July 7 (FT) President Sirisena, beleaguered and facing strong criticism about his decision to grant nominations to his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, has asked confidants for a 48-hour grace period ending tomorrow. President Sirisena, who has maintained a stony public silence on the issue of nominations for the defeated President, has sought privately to calm the fears of some of the leaders of opposition movement more..

TNA Casanova off the hook

July 7 (Island) No complaints had yet been made to the Mallawi police regarding a former TNA PS member, who is alleged to have had sexual relationships with dozens of women in the area, Police Media Unit said. Police, however, had been able to recover a video clip and some pictures of the said TNA PS member and also a statement from the husband of a woman who committed suicide in Feb 2015, fearing that the video clip would reveal her clandestine tryst with the politician. more..

Somawansa vows to stop Rajapaksa from entering parliament

July 7 (Island) Ex-JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would not be elected to parliament at the forthcoming general election and he would mobilise forces to thwart the former President’s attempts to enter Parliament. "Mahinda Rajapaksa receiving nomination to contest the next general election consequent to a similar plan by corrupt elements of the SLFP to make a comeback and that would lead to bloodletting," former JVP leader said. more..

Granting MR nominations: ‘President Sirisena should come clear’

July 7 (DN) President Sirisena should make a clear statement on whether he has agreed to give nominations to former President Rajapaksa from the UPFA since the people have not been formally informed of the decision, Puravesi Balaya co-convener Saman Ratnapriya said. President Sirisena will be going against the public mandate he received at the Jan 8 polls, if he gives nominations to former President Rajapaksa more..

Missing Dornier: Coast guard in touch with Sri Lanka

July 7 (GDI) Coast Guard authorities are in touch with Sri Lanka as part of their search efforts to locate the Dornier plane which went missing nearly a month ago, the mother of a missing crew member said in Chennai today. "Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral H C S Bisht has informed me that Sri Lankan authorities have been requested to alert India if they sight the aircraft or its crew," Padma Shankari, mother of Deputy Commandant Suresh Subash told PTI. more..

SriLankan Airlines, Airberlin and NIKI codeshare mulls boost in tourism

July 7 (Island) A new codeshare agreement between SriLankan Airlines, Airberlin the second largest airline in Germany and its subsidiary NIKI was announced on July 2, paving the way for increased tourism potential between Sri Lanka, Germany and Austria. The three airlines are set to offer daily codeshare flights between Berlin, Vienna and Sri Lanka via Abu Dhabi, which are now available for sale. Airberlin and NIKI will apply their flight numbers to SriLankan Airlines’ daily flights more..

 Pakistan in SL