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Army optimistic of more opportunities to serve on UN missions overseas

Aug 30 (Island) The Sri Lankan military is prepared to play a bigger role in peacekeeping missions under the United Nations (UN) flag, Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Crisanthe De Silva said. "As a professional army, we are optimistic of more opportunities to serve in overseas stations on UN assignments", he stressed. The Sri Lankan armed forces and the police have earned plaudits from the UN for a job well done, he stressed. more..

Call for fresh probe on Kadirgamar murder

Aug 30 (CT) In a dramatic turn of events after a decade of the reported LTTE killing of Lakshman Kadirgamar, daughter Ajita and family members are to urge the authorities to initiate a fresh probe into the murder. Former Minister was assassinated reportedly by LTTE gunmen on 12 Aug 2005. His daughter, Ajita Kadirgamar, opined that though belated the family was now planning to urge new govt to launch a comprehensive probe more..

The public relations rip off to US lobbyists

Aug 30 (ST) The payments were so covertly done that neither Cabinet nor Parliament knew of them. As with many other transactions, the cabal that struck deals for key members of the previous regime played the cards close to its chest. But in July-Aug 2014, Sunday Times revealed that the SL Govt had signed up with several lobbyists and public relations consultants in the US through a go-between named Imaad Zuberi. more..

Excavation of Mannar Mass grave to begin

Aug 30 (SL) The Mannar Magistrate has ordered to excavate the suspected mass grave in a well in Thiruketheeswaram closer to the site that was previously excavated. The excavation is to begin on Oct 7 this year with the Department of Forensic Medicine, Department of Archeology, and the Survey Department. The Mannar Magistrate visited the well close to the previous suspected mass grave site last week. more..

'Water safe to drink despite oil spill'

Aug 30 (SO) National Water Supplies and Drainage Board confirmed that the water distributed in Colombo is perfectly safe for consumption despite the oil leak detected last week in the Kelani River. Ambatale water treatment plant is clean from oil residue and has restarted its normal functions by late afternoon on Friday. The water treatment plant suspended its operations to clean the system and it has been completed. more..

Geetha being screened before P'ment role

Aug 30 (ST) She was at one time heart throb of the Sinhala cinema and described by her fans as the glam girl of the silver screen of yesteryear. She plunged into the world of politics from the cinema world and just two weeks ago, voters in the Galle District decided that she should become an Honourable MP by electing Geetha Kumarasinghe on the UPFA ticket. Yet, the road to the Parliament complex in the middle of Diyawanna Oya is more..

Karuna denies helping the army defeat LTTE

Aug 30 (CG) Former LTTE eastern commander V Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman has denied claims that he helped the army defeat the LTTE. Karuna Amman said that the LTTE became weak after he defected from the outfit with several other LTTE members. However he insisted that he was never directly involved with the army in the war to defeat the LTTE. “There was no need for me to tell the army where LTTE had camps. more..

'Bribery commission will not be dissolved'

Aug 30 (SL) Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe says the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption will not be dissolved under any circumstances. He added that despite the inefficiency and the allegations levelled against the Commission, it is an important institution established to investigate bribery and corruption. “We will not dissolve the commission under any circumstances. more..

First informal meeting on SL on Sept 17

Aug 30 (CG) An informal meeting will take place to gather support for Sri Lanka on the sidelines of the 30th session of the UNHRC on Sept 17 at the UN building in Geneva. The US last week set in motion an operation to seek support for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva and the process will see heightened diplomatic activity as d-day nears for Sri Lanka at the Council. US Ambassador to Geneva Keith Harper informed the UNHRC at its more..

‘Golden opportunity for Tamil refugees to return’

Aug 30 (Hindu) Given the prevailing political situation in Sri Lanka, the time has come for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in TN to return home, said S.C. Chandrahasan, founder of the Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation (OfERR). “It is a golden opportunity for the refugees to return home especially when there is an effort to form a national govt in SL. The time has come to reap the benefits of our blood-stained struggle,” he said. more..

Why the poor JVP showing?

Aug 30 (Island) Many, this correspondent included, expected the JVP to poll well and win 10 to 15 parliamentary seats – some people said 20+ even when they were sober! On votes, yes expectations have been borne out (544,000, its second highest since 815,000 in 2001). On seats we were wrong because of inattention to nitty-gritty details; intra JVP-UNP swings, peculiarities of the district-wise PR system, and UPFA abstentions. I will make amends for this lapse and present a more more..

The politics of Good Governance and Ethno (Sinhala/Tamil/Muslim) Nationalisms

Aug 30 (Island) In the January presidential election, having been let down by astrology and political machinations, then President Rajapaksa invoked the spectre of nationalism and national insecurity to shore up his sliding support among the Sinhalese. His efforts fell short by 400,000 votes. He and his supporters blamed the shocking defeat on Western conspiracy and minority voters who voted virtually en masse for Maithripala Sirisena. In the August parliamentary election, more..

Squabbling for portfolios as home grown democracy takes root

Aug 30 (ST) A senior politician, now with the UNFGG, was on a visit to the Greater Colombo suburbs to say thank you to his voters. At one of the meetings, a supporter who is an engineer by profession, rose to his feet after their MP had spoken. He asked Sir deng yahapalanaya thiya nikam palanayakwath nehe ney or Sir, leave alone good governance there is not even ordinary governance now. more..

Military denies claims intelligence compromised

Aug 30 (SL) SL Army has rejected claims that important names and information of some members of the Military Intelligence Unit have been obtained by the LTTE Diaspora groups that are in operation abroad. Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera said the Military is unaware of names or any information of members of the Intelligence Unit or its operations being leaked to any third party. “Our intelligence units operate 24 hours efficiently, and we have not received any threat to our security,” more..

Two suspects in Thajudeen murder in Italy

Aug 30 (SL) Two suspects wanted over the murder of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen are said to be in Italy, CID said. The two suspects who are in Italy have been identified and steps are being taken to bring them down to Sri Lanka. The sources further said the two suspects are close to a VVIP of the former government and are believed to have fled the country before the new Government took office. The body of Wasim Thajudeen was exhumed on August 10 at the Dehiwala Muslim burial grounds. more..

Omanthai CheckPoint removed

Aug 30 (CT) Vanni Security Forces Headquarters said that with effect from yesterday all checking of persons has been halted at the Omanthai Checkpoint in Vavuniya on the A-9 road. This Security Checkpoint was established on 22 March 2002 with the objective of stabilizing the security situation in the South and the North. With the halting of checking of persons at this barrier, persons travelling from the North to the South more..

Only CP MP to go it alone

Aug 30 (ST) Sole Communist Party member elected to parliament will remain as an independent member, party leader D.E.W. Gunasekara said. CP contesting under the UPFA returned only one member — Chandrasiri Gajadeera from the Matara district. Mr. Gunasekara said his party saw the UPFA as being non-functional now and therefore the CP member would function independently. “We will support some of the govt proposals wherever it is necessary and at the same time oppose more..

Marapana pulls out of CIFL defence team

Aug 30 (ST) Tilak Marapana, an influential member of the ruling United National Party, has pulled out of the legal team defending alleged CIFL head Deepthi Perera. When the case was taken up for hearing this week before Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya, Eranga Gunawardena, Attorney at Law told Court that Mr. Marapana, PC who appeared for Mr. Perera, has withdrawn from the case and asked for a fresh date. The case was postponed to September 1. more..

SLFP rejects TNA’s claim for opposition leader post

Aug 30 (ST) SLFP last night rejected a call by the TNA for recognition as the main opposition party in Parliament. The move was aimed at making R Sampanthan as Leader of the Opposition. “Opposition Leader’s post should be given to the party which has the highest number of members and are not supporting the National Govt,” Acting General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said. He said the person holding that office more..

SLFP 64 on Wednesday: Celebrations in Polonnaruwa

Aug 30 (SO) The 64th anniversary of the SLFP will be celebrated in Polonnaruwa on Sept 2, under the patronage President Maithripala Sirisena, the leader of the SLFP. Former SLFP leaders, including former Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa have been invited to attend the ceremony, while UPFA party leaders, heads of LG bodies and PC members have also been invited. An Ashirvada Pooja to invoke blessings on the party leaders and members will be held at more..

Sinhala Association in UK in London wants career diplomat appointed to London

Aug 30 (Island) The President of Sinhala Association in the UK, Douglas Wickramaratne has urged President Maithripala Sirisena to appoint a competent career diplomat to London. As the Sri Lankan mission in London has remained headless since the resignation of Dr. Chris Nonis in October 2014, the top ambassadorial position was offered to former State Minister for Child Development Rosy Senanayake, a defeated candidate in the last parliamentary poll, as reported. more..

Cases against Rajapaksa regime for money laundering

Aug 30 (ST) Several powerful politicians and top officials of the Rajapaksa regime are likely to be charged in the Colombo High Court on money laundering charges – however based on the Attorney General’s (AG) advice. They said the views of the AG have been sought on whether charges could be filed against former ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Mahindanada Aluthgamage, former Defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, more..

Galle doubtful as venue for West Indies Tests

Aug 30 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee is considering beginning the upcoming Test series against West Indies in Colombo instead of Galle, which has been the customary venue for a tour opener, because of the cost factor. West Indies, who last played a series in Sri Lanka in 2011, are set to tour again around mid-October. With the West Indies tour not generating big revenue for the SLC, chances are the interim committee would prefer playing the two Tests at more..

Singapore to help construct a velodrome

Aug 30 (ST) Contrary to reports released in Colombo before the Sri Lanka Cycling team left for the OCBC Cycling Championships in Singapore, Singapore Cycling Federation will only help to construct a velodrome in Sri Lanka. “We will certainly help to put up a veldrome at a suitable site. “We have no intentions in interfering in the internal affairs of the SL Cycling Federation”, stated an official when he greeted the Sri Lanka team on arrival at the Changi Airport on Friday. more..

Govt invests Rs. 650mn to tackle illegal fishing

Aug 30 (NS) Sri Lanka has spent a mammoth Rs.650 million for the installation of vessel monitoring systems (VMS), while incurring losses of approximately US$ 48 million in seafood exports till June this year when compared to the corresponding period last year. The cost to import the equipment had been completely borne by the Govt but an amount of Rs.2600 would have to be levied from each boat owner every month more..

Tax experts urge new Govt: Practise good governance, not reckless extravagance

Aug 30 (SO) Tax experts said that adherence to principles of good governance will save large amounts of public money which the previous regime spent extravagantly on non-lucrative projects, foreign tours, tamashas and maintaining jumbo cabinets and loss-making State entities. Senior tax consultant and Partner Gajma and Company, N.R. Gajendran said the new government should soon settle down to work and catch up on time to avert revenue shortfalls and expenditure over-runs. more..

The curious case of unorthodoxy in SL

Aug 30 (ENS) When Sunil Fernando chanced his eyes on Muttiah Muralitharan, he wasn’t even bowling off-breaks. He was more of a medium pacer who was stupefying his peers with his off-cutters with a jerky action. “He was turning the ball like a normal off-spinner and with some pace, and that too with a tennis ball,” he said. Fernando instinctively wondered how effective he can be if he slows his pace and give the ball more flight. So he bought him under his wings, and urged him to more..

Dilshan returns home after county flop

Aug 30 (DT) After being left out of the side for the current LV County Championship match against Kent, the 38-year-old has gone home to Sri Lanka and will not be coming back, though elite performance director Graeme Welch says there are no hard feelings on either side. Dilshan's brief time as Derbyshire's overseas signing has to go down as a huge failure. He scored only 69 runs in six Championship innings, hit one 50 in five more..

SL rugby cheats face hangman's noose

Aug 30 (SO) Rugby promoters have begun a crackdown on what they see as a shadowy side where a growing number of players they claim go after almost any available substance to boost physical strength on the field and then plead ignorance to escape punishment or even elude a puppet administration. Their first shot comes in the form of a booklet they put out on Friday that specifies the outlawed boosters and the subsequent repercussions it can have on the users. more..

Beijing heat will favour Niluka

Aug 30 (CT) After spending days of training here in Beijing, Marathoner Niluka Geethani Rajasekara will have her chance to shine in the Women's Marathon at the 15th IAAF World Championship which will be concluded today at the Bird's Nest, Beijing, China. Rajasekara who has a personal best of 2 hours 40 minutes and 07 seconds when she finished fifth in the last Asian Marathon Championship in Hong Kong, will be eyeing to compete with the world's best in her third outing at the marathon, more..

Anxious Sri Lanka seeks IMF facility again to tackle BOP crisis

Aug 30 (ST) According to Finance Ministry data, trade deficit has widened by 15.6% to around $4 billion while exports eased 4.2%, year-on-year, to $944 million in June. Export revenue also fell by 0.6%. State foreign borrowings totalled $3.8 billion while local borrowings through Treasury bonds and bills rose to Rs. 661 billion compared to a total of Rs. 445 billion for the whole of 2014, the data showed. more..

French Fine Dining and a Passion for the Dining Experience comes to Sri Lanka

Aug 30 (Island) As patron of the elite dining club The Nth Degree, headquartered in London, Niranjan Deva Aditiya MEP (Nirj) has always felt particularly blessed. As the only dining club associated with the world’s leading chefs, Nirj has had the unique opportunity to mix with and observe the best of the best. As he explains - "I have always had a passion for food, and it is through my association with the Nth Degree, and its Chairman Mr Robert Walton MBE, that I have been able to immerse more..

Hard bargaining over Cabinet portfolios

Aug 30 (SO) Aim for the moon and hit the stars was the SLFP’s rule when it negotiated for ministerial portfolios with the UNP to form a national unity govt. As soon as the party’s Central Committee gave its green light to form a national govt, the SLFP wanted 16 ministries out of 35. UNP, which secured 106 seats in Parliament, was expected to hold 19 ministries. However, as negotiations progressed, the total number of ministries saw an increase and it finally ended at 45. more..

Pujara halts Lankan hopes

Aug 30 (ST) A painstaking century by Indian opening batsman Cheteshwar Pujara and a solid half century by leg spinner Amit Mishra saved the visitors some blushes while also giving some insights into a possible series win at the end of the second day of the third and final Test at the SSC yesterday. Mishra and Pujara added 104 runs for the eighth wicket and brought respectability into the Indian total.go more..

UPFA politics in confusion; Ranil plays with patience

Aug 30 (CT) The delay on the part of UPFA to reach a consensus amongst them has delayed the formation of a Cabinet to establish a National Govt. President Sirisena seems not to rush, but play for time to put his house in order. Three UNP ministers namely Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and D.M. Swaminathan were sworn-in to meet international commitment of the country and the trio was scheduled to fly overseas to meet those engagements. more..

Sinhala booklet on anti-doping sees the light of day

Aug 30 (ST) A long overdue initiative that should have been made by the country’s sports hierarchy has now become a reality finally courtesy of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU). Headed by the forward-thinking Nazeem Mohamed the WPRFU launched the booklet on anti doping; Sri Lanka’s first ever on such an important subject translated into Sinhala. “This is a project that we kicked off last year. It was not an easy task; the whole project took a long process. more..