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Release of CCF report a political stunt: SJB

Jul 30 (FT) SJB rejected allegations of misappropriation of Central Cultural Fund (CCF) monies, calling the investigation a political stunt, timed to discredit SJB leader Sajith Premadasa a week ahead of the Parliamentary Election. “Sajith Premadasa has done nothing wrong. Investigation committee is led by a retired Judge. However, the fact that the committee includes the Legal Advisor to the President is problematic. more..

Schools will be closed on 4,5,6 and 7 August

Jul 30 (CT) Schools will be closed on 4,5,6 and 7 Aug in view of the 5 August General Election since more than 8,000 State-run schools are used as polling centres and vote counting stations. Education Ministry announced that about 60% of teachers would engage in Election duties and that the Election Commission has urged the Ministry to hand over the schools to them from 4 Aug night till 6 Aug for the counting of votes. Pre-school students in 16,620 pre-schools would resume academic more..

Ranil receives call from Mahendran

Jul 30 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe recently admitted receiving a telephone call from fugitive former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Responding to Chamuditha Samarawickrema on ‘Salakuna’ on ‘Hiru’, the former PM said that he had spoken with Singapore-based Mahendran. Asked when the conversation had taken place, the UNP leader said recently. Sri Lanka’s efforts to convince Singapore to hand over Mahendran have not been successful. more..

Video: Corruption and malpractices in public sector will be eliminated: Prez

Jul 30 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assures that all the corruption, malpractices and irregularities in the govt will be eliminated and establish an efficient public service in the country. Prez emphasized that bribery, corruption and irregularities in the govt sector will cease to exist and a govt dedicated to serve the citizens in a satisfactory manner would be established. Prez made these remarks during the election tour more..

CaFFE deploys special monitoring units at election violence hotspots in East

Jul 30 (Island) CaFFE announced that it would deploy special monitoring units at election violence hotspots. CaFFE executive director Manas Makeen said that CaFFE had identified 15 such hotspots in Digamadulla. The most dynamic hotspots were Akkaraipattu, Pottuvil and Sainthamaruthu in the Digamadulla district, he said. Not only has CaFFE deployed special monitoring units to those areas, but it has also requested the acting IGP to provide extra security to those places. more..

SL tea industry wages highest in region

Jul 30 (DN) Today brands have become even more important than products they represent. And strong brands are more than globally recognizable and they are critical assets that can make a potentially significant contribution to the local economy as well as set growth targets of any business entity. “A brand must be designed to suit resources because in turn it will help value creation in a big way. It is essential to design a brand that will be aligned with your resources. more..

'SJB will focus on reforms to spur growth'

Jul 30 (FT) SJB National Campaign Organiser Eran Wickramaratne struck a bullish tone ahead of next week’s General Election predicting a strong performance from his party, assuring they can deliver a clean cut from traditional politics as well as redouble attention on economic reforms and anti-corruption. Wickramaratne espoused the technocratic make-up of the SJB as among the party’s key advantages over its opponents, more..

Is SLT a state institution or a pvt company?

Jul 30 (ST) Is Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), a state owned company or a private institution? A fresh dispute has arisen over the status of SLT after the Ministry of Information and Mass Media decreed that, the legal status of SLT is an institution which functions as an entirely private company. This was informed to employees by SLT CEO Kiththi Perera recently following a decision taken at a meeting held at the Ministry under the direction of Presidential Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera more..

Shasheendra directed to apologise

Jul 30 (Island) Moneragala district Pohottuwa candidate Shasheendra Rajapaksa revealed that Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa directed him to publicly apologise after he ridiculed Jagath Pushpakumara and Dayasiri Jayasekera, contesting Moneragala and Kurunegala Districts, respectively, on Pohottuwa ticket for shedding crocodile tears on election platform recently. Shasheendra Rajapaksa predicted that the former Prez and SLFP leader, too, would soon cry in public. more..

CEA drags its feet: 240 British toxic waste containers still sitting in Colombo Port

Jul 30 (Island) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has not taken action to send back the hazardous waste containers to the UK. A senior govt official told The Island yesterday that the documentation process had commenced in May and the waste containers were to be shipped back by July. However, due to bureaucratic red tape it was halted and the top management of the CEA was now saying they would commence more..

Sri Lanka fails to sell 60% of bills at Treasuries auction

Jul 30 (EN) SL failed to sell 60% of the bills offered at an auction Wednesday under a price ceiling scheme that started earlier in the year as excess liquidity to triggered monetary instability. The debt office which is a unit of the central bank, offered 39.5 billion rupees of bills at the weekly auction and had sold only 11.9 billion rupees to real bidders. The debt office failed to sell 84% of the 12-month bills. It is not clear whether the balance would be bought by the central bank, more..

Dialog develops ICU of Homagama Base Hospital

Jul 30 (CT) Dialog Axiata has recently commenced immediate civil work for the expansion and provision of all equipment to establish a fully functional ICU at the Homagama Base Hospital. Funded entirely by Dialog Axiata, this is the second component of the pledged Rs 200 Million towards urgently required ICU capacity development in hospitals selected by the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services. The project will establish a fully functional ICU complex to accommodate 10 new beds more..

Sri Lanka’s hourglass frog is only an hourglass frog 77% of the time

Jul 30 (MB) Is an hourglass frog still an hourglass frog if it doesn’t have the distinctive marking on its back that gives it its name? That’s one of the interesting questions thrown up by a recent study that looks at, among other things, the various forms of a species of hourglass frog found only in SL. Taruga eques, also known as the montane hourglass tree frog or Günther’s whipping frog, was described in 1858 and inhabits more..

China donates 50,000 face masks to three-wheel drivers

Jul 30 (Xinhua) Chinese Embassy to SL on Wednesday donated a large number of face masks and posters raising the awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic to a leading union of local three-wheel drivers. In an event held at the Chinese Embassy in Colombo, Hu Wei, Charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy, handed over 50,000 face masks and 35,000 posters to Vice President of the All Island Three-Wheeler Driver's Union M. J. M Hameed. Hameed said that his union more..

Vanni Quarantine Centre: 165 civilians leave centre

Jul 30 (TM) A group of 165 civilians who were under quarantine at the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) facility in Vanni were released last morning (29) upon completing the procedure. This quarantine centre (QC) operated by the SLAF was established on the instructions of Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias in order to support the Govt’s efforts in controlling the spread of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka. These persons have been confirmed to be negative for Covid-19 through PCR tests. more..

COVID causes big 1Q loss but John Keells Holdings points to faster recovery

Jul 30 (FT) COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented Rs. 2.4 billion 1Q pre-tax loss at John Keells Holdings (JKH) which however pointed to signs of a faster than anticipated recovery strong enough to declare an early interim dividend. For the quarter ended 30 June, JKH Group revenue was Rs. 21.60 billion down by 32% from a year earlier. JKH ended the 1Q with a pre-tax loss of Rs. 2.43 b as against a profit of Rs. 1.36 b a year earlier. more..

SLT enters into agreement with SLPA to provide communication services

Jul 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the national ICT solutions and digital services provider, signed an agreement with the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) to provide communication services to SLPA. The agreement between the two companies was signed at the SLPA premises in Colombo. Agreement was signed by Chairman - General Daya Ratnayake and Managing Director - W.S. Weeraman on behalf of SLPA, and CEO Kiththi Perera and Chief Ent. & Wholesale Officer, Janaka Abeysinghe for more..

SLC seeks foreign coach for women’s team

Jul 30 (DN) SLC is still looking for a foreign coach for the Women's National cricket team said the secretary of the SLC Mohan de Silva. At the Exco meeting held on last Monday, the decision was taken to appoint Lanka de Silva as interim women's cricket coach. "But that is for a temporary basis and we are looking for a foreign coach as same as for the men's team," said the secretary of the SLC. This is the first time SLC is going to appoint a foreign coach for the women's team. more..

Funding Election: Whose money is it?

Jul 30 (DM) Money matters in SL elections. Despite constant public discussion about the massive costs of election campaigns in SL, there is a lack of credible data on the actual costs, the sources of funds, and the consequences of campaign financing on governance aftermath the elections. It is a famous secret that many shady deals are taking place in the desperate hunt of candidates for campaign cash. more..

Inaugural SL Women’s Chess Grand Prix 2020 : Sachini leads at end of sixth round

Jul 30 (CT) Former National Women’s Chess Champion (WIM) Sachini Ranasinghe of Nf3 Chess Club is leading the points table after the sixth round held on Monday (27) in the Inaugural Sri Lanka Women’s Chess Grand Prix 2020 being held at the Chess Federation of SL Headquarters. The first sporting event for women after the Covid 19 outbreak pits the country’s top players battling for supremacy from 25 July to 2 August for a total prize fund of Rs. 70,000/=. more..

FFSL President’s Cup 2020 : Football set for restart after five months

Jul 30 (CT) Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) is gearing to kick off the inaugural FFSL President’s Cup from 9 August with 20 teams competing for supremacy. The matches will be played at Race Course and Sugathadasa Stadium behind closed doors. The official draw for the inaugural invitational pre-sessional tournament took place at FFSL headquarters on Tuesday (28) in the presence of officials of the participating teams. The 20 teams are divided into five groups and more..

A future written in the past?

Jul 30 (FT) This day, 27 years ago, Sri Lanka was burning. During Black July, Sinhala mobs murdered not just Tamil men, women and children; they also killed prospects of peace and stability. They torched not just Tamil property, but also to prospects of economic development. Black July was the darkest episode in the post-Independent history of SL, a colossal failure in morality, decency and civility. more..

Key to the post-poll future

Jul 30 (CT) With the Nation inching towards the Parliamentary Polls on 5 August, indications are now beginning to be thrown up, over what is in store, post-poll. While Prez Rajapaksa will retain hold over matters security, his forte, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa will be saddled with finding a negotiated political solution to the national problem, that is the ethnic issue. The messed-up economy, an inheritance from the past, to which COVID-19 has added its share, may be the shared responsibility of both, more..

Editorial: Terrorists and their invisible handlers

Jul 30 (Island) There are many unanswered questions about the Easter Sunday carnage; the identities of the perpetrators of the terror attacks are known but the real mastermind of the bombings has not been identified. It was initially thought that the NTJ leader Zaharn Hashim had planned and executed the terror attacks. Former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Senior DIG (retd) Nilantha Jayawardena has said Zahran was not the mastermind the terror strikes. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

The road to a new political landscape

Jul 30 (DN) The final countdown to the General Election that will elect a new Parliament has begun. In just a week, an unprecedented poll, scheduled first for April and then postponed for June will finally be held, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has enveloped the entire world. The pandemic meant that the election campaign was conducted on a low key. Mass rallies were not held. In a break with tradition, the major parties will not be able to hold the traditional final rallies more..

Ocean Pollution

Jul 30 (CT) Recently, a garment factory operating within the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Seethawaka was caught dumping 19 gully-bowsers of toxic sludge into the ocean through the Madampitiya Sewarage Pumping Station – which is only designed to handle non-toxic waste. The pumping station is used by the CCC to dump the city’s non-toxic sewage some two kilometres off into the ocean. However, the garment factory in question had used the station to illegally dump toxic more..

'Nobody knows what happened to COVID Fund'

Jul 30 (DM) Veteran journalist, reputed TV presenter and senior attorney Sudath Jayasundara is one of the fresh faces to contest from Colombo District representing the UNP at the coming election. Starting as a lobby correspondent for Ceylon Daily News, Jayasundara graduated in law from the Colombo Uni and he worked at the Telshan Networks Limited (TNL) finally becoming one of its directors. more..

No big call for renewable energy in today’s political manifestos

Jul 30 (Island) All the political parties have now issued their manifestos. A large part of the govt’s foreign exchange budget goes for purchasing fossil fuels for generating electric power, and for feeding the fleet of vehicles, tractors, trains and other internal combustion engines used in SL. These total some 8-10 million engines. All this costs some US$ 5 to 6 Billion, approximating half the total export earnings. The burnt fuels are a major cause of sub-micron particulate dust, more..

Apples & Oranges: The need to stop playing the late H.L De Silva’s game

Jul 30 (CT) Did Neville Samarakoon and Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake understand the 1978 Constitution of SL? This question has bothered me for many years. I can clarify what I mean by referring to an incident that happened when I was a young lawyer. Some time after the adoption of the 1978 constitution, I attended a meeting of lawyers organized by the Bar Association of SL. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a public statement made by President Jayewardene to the effect that more..

BR invites private sector to join decade of development

Jul 30 (FT) A potential Govt formed by the SLPP would champion a business-friendly environment free from corruption and social ills, National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa said, calling on the business community to join in a decade of development. Rajapaksa highlighted that the economy would be a major focus of the Govt during the next five years, provided the SLPP wins the Parliamentary Elections on 5 August, and more..

Politics within politics

Jul 30 (CT) Politics is a dirty game in any part of the world. As far as Sri Lankan politics are concerned, a Prez Election takes place normally, followed by a General Election to establish a new Govt within the framework of democracy. The seventh President in Sri Lanka was Maithripala Sirisena whose term of office ended on 9 January 2020. The incumbent President Gotabaya Rajapaksa won with a majority of 52.25%, polling a total of 6,924,255 votes (nominated by the SLPP). more..

Sajith is the risk if/after two-thirds is defeated

Jul 30 (CT) The first priority for all who abhor dictatorship is to defeat govt attempts to grab 2/3rds on 5 Aug. No one can predict exactly but I have still to meet anyone who was sure the SLPP will succeed in its quest for 2/3. The response of the politically informed and the 3-wheeler chap is “No problem we (or they depending on the person’s side) will buy MPs”. If it’s a small number a simple cash transaction is envisaged but if 20 or more votes are needed Sajith Premadasa’s cross-over more..

WP schools show 65% student turnout

Jul 29 (CT) Turnout of students in Western Province schools is at 65%, while overall, about 75% students islandwide have returned to school. Academic activities were resumed for Grades 11, 12 and 13, but non-academic activities are temporarily halted in every school. He said that the turnout is low because of the fear among the community and he stated that it will take some time for parents and children to prepare mentally and visit schools. more..

Christians seek divine guidance ahead of poll

Jul 29 (UCAN) SL Christians are praying for divine guidance ahead of the upcoming general election. “It is a great responsibility for us as voters to do our part in casting our vote for a person who possesses the qualities that will keep us united and free as a nation,” said Father Reid Shelton Fernando, a prominent human rights defender who shared the prayer with the faithful. "As we are to elect our rulers to the task of governing, grant all the citizens of this country the guidance of your Holy Spirit, more..

12,500 families without electricity : CEB to provide solar power systems

Jul 29 (CT) The CEB is planning on providing solar power systems to 12,500 families that do not have electricity facilities even though the transmission system has been completed. Chairman of the CEB, Vijitha Herath, said that many people in remote areas are finding it difficult to obtain the facilities, because of the location of their residence. As a solution, steps were taken to provide each family with a solar power system free of charge under the Indian loan scheme and more..