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Economic growth surpassed Govt’s modest expectation: PM

July 17 (DN) The country has achieved an admirable economic growth rate of 4.7% surpassing the govt’s modest expectation of 3 to 3.5% in the wake of natural disasters and a heavy debt trap, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “This gives us hopes of the growth rate reaching 5% soon,” PM said. PM made this observation presiding over a meeting to review the progress of disaster relief activities in the Galle district on July 14. more..

Petroleum Ministry, LIOC to discuss use of oil tanks

July 17 (ST) The Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development is to commence discussions next week with Lanka Indian Oil Co. (LIOC) for an agreement on the use of oil tanks at the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) wants to use some of the oil tanks at the farm, which is currently under the IOC, to store fuel as its current fuel storage capacity is low, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. more..

Probe dispensation of US funds in Colombo before prez polls: Former UN staffer

July 17 (Island) One-time UN staffer at its Colombo mission and former presidential spokesman Mohan Samaranayake said that dispensation of US funds here leading to the change of govt in Jan 2015 should be thoroughly investigated. Samaranayake underscored the need to identify those who had received funds in the run up to presidential and parliamentary polls in Jan and Aug 2015. He said that the then US Secretary of more..

Drama in the high seas Navy in jumbo rescue operation

July 17 (CT) SL Navy broke into the limelight after a drama in the high seas to rescue an elephant that had been swept away by strong currents off the coast in Kokilai, Mullaithivu on Tuesday. Some 100 naval personnel were pressed into the rescue operation that lasted 10 hours before the elephant could be plucked out from a watery grave. Lt. Commander Dhanusha Perera and his men were on a routine patrol on the watch for more..

Controversy over Kerawalapitiya LNG plant tender

July 17 (SL) Standard Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC) spelled out its stance at a briefing to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM), to set aside five tender bidders selected for the construction of the 300 MW Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Combined Cycle Plant at Kerawalapitiya, and was to be award it to Samsung Korea. Chairman of SCAPC, G.S. Withanage was stressing technical know-how more..

Kudos from Rajitha to media

July 17 (DN) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne yesterday offered a special bouquet to all media institutions for rallying around his Ministry’s call and helping in the dengue eradication programme launched by the Ministry. He said all media institutions set aside commercial gain and devoted their programmes to educate the people and rally support for the dengue eradication programme and he wished to thank them more..

'There is a need to change the Constitution'

July 17 (DM) Tamara Kunanayakam was the recipient of Inspirational Woman of the Year Award in this year’s Top 50 Professional and Career Women Awards organized by Women in Management, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group. The 50 winners from Sri Lanka and the Maldives received their awards at a glittering ceremony held at Hotel Taj Samudra on Friday. more..

Cemeteries as Caste-Markers

July 17 (DM) In caste-ridden societies, dominant castes claim privilege through birth, but as evident from recent caste conflicts in Jaffna, death provides no relief from caste, and places of cremating the dead are also sites of caste oppression. Since late last year, there have been increasing agitations against upper caste cemeteries located within oppressed caste villages. While many of these cemeteries were not used for years if not decades during the war, efforts to again 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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

‘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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..