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Video: Imminent MR faction exit a blessing for SLFP: Amunugama

July 2 (DM) Alluding to a certain split within the SLFP led UPFA, Minister Sarath Amunugama said the SLFP felt the situation came as a miserable pleasure because the gap created by the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction's exit, could be filled with educated youth in the nomination lists at the upcoming Parliamentary elections. He said when Parliament was dissolved last Friday, the SLFP had 127 members in Parliament. more..

SLFP needs Rajapaksa to win: Duminda

July 2 (AM) Former UPFA MP R. Duminda Silva said that the SLFP cannot win the forthcoming general election without the support of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking at a public meeting in Homagama, Silva hinted that he will contest forthcoming general election under the ticket of pro-Rajapaksa faction. He also said that his objective was to form a new SLFP govt under the leadership of Rajapaksa. Silva refuted all allegations against him and said he will not stop more..

Shares fall below key barrier; banks lead

July 2 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended at a 2-1/2 month low on Thursday, falling below a key psychological barrier of 7,000 points, led by banks and telecommunication shares as political uncertainty ahead of parliamentary elections weighed on sentiment. The main stock index ended 0.54% weaker at 6,982.80, its lowest close since April 15. The day's turnover was 435.6 million rupees ($3.26 million), well below this year's daily average of 1.06 billion rupees. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sirisena, Wickremasinghe & Rakapaksa Dilemmas

June 2 (CT) Political maize in Sri Lanka has further complicated after the dissolution of the Parliament without passing 20A which is a demand and a promise by Sirisena to the people agitated for a change. Whose decision was the snap elections and who runs the country is a mystery and known to few. Some say people now need a change for the changes made due to dissatisfaction and disappointment of the state of affairs today. Sirisena is in a dilemma sandwiched between more..

August polls: The need for women

June 2 (CT) It appears that while supposedly retired politicians and new aspirants scramble for nominations before the closing date on 15 July, the political parties in their fervour to return to power may forget one crucial factor. They may end up dashing the hopes of 51% of Sri Lanka's population, who expect that at least in this election the number of women in Parliament would increase from a measly 5.8% to at least 30%. This topic came into the limelight in the past few weeks when more..

DEW flaks Ranil and Sujeewa

July 2 (CT) Chairman of the COPE D.E.W. Gunasekera said recent statements made by everyone including PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe and former Deputy Minister, Sujeewa Senasinghe regarding the controversial Treasury bonds issue were all absolute drivel. We have obtained the telephone call records pertaining to conversations between Bank of Ceylon and Central Bank, plus 30 persons have given evidence under oath, more..

'Govt won’t stop foreign borrowings'

July 2 (Island) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said that it would be in Sri Lanka’s economic interests to continue with govt borrowings both onshore and offshore, in order to preserve the continued momentum of economic growth and to re-affirm the strong positive image in the minds of lending institutions that Sri Lanka was fast becoming a mature democracy where political events did not unduly affect the workings of more..

The Mystery over Maria

July 2 (DM) Sri Lanka has been a country that has always worked in line with its friendly allies to maintain and enhance ties as means of strengthening international relations. These ties include partnerships for import and export trade and other business initiatives which aim at the development of the country. While every country would fall prey to illegal offshore activities, it is nothing new to Sri Lanka. more..

'Why would MS give nomination to a rejected President'

July 2 (DN) If by chance former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was given nomination to contest forthcoming General Election by President Maithripala Sirisena, the political parties that supported him to dislodge Rajapaksa will be forced to take serious political decisions against the President, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. "Why would President Sirisena want to give nomination to a rejected President", asked Ranatunga. more..

Thajudeen’s phone records could not be retrieved

July 2 (AM) Filing an affidavit to court today, Dialog Axiata informed that it was unable to provide telephone records of Wasim Thajudeen to the CID due to technical and practical difficulties. The company said that it keeps records of telephone calls for only a duration of three months. Colombo Aditional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris asked the company to assist the investigations in whatever capacity possible. more..

Why Mattala could not take off: Here’s the plane truth

July 2 (ST) Since it opened two years ago, much was done to make Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport viable. Little or nothing has worked. Incentives have included rock-bottom handling, landing and parking charges. Businesses were offered exemptions on customs duty, exchange control and import-export regulations to set up shop in surrounding areas. Even liquor was cheaper at the duty free. more..

Polls chief’s intervention sought to stop formation of Drug Regulatory Authority

July 2 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has sought Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya’s immediate intervention to thwart the Health Ministry moving to establish a Drug Regulatory Authority (DRA) in violation of the Parliamentary Election law. The DRA is formed in accordance with the new National Medicinal Drug, Devices and Cosmetic Authority policy. GMOF Secretary Dr Jayantha Abeyratne more..

Swan symbol revived

July 2 (DM) The swan symbol may appear again on ballot papers at the August 17 general elections as the New Democratic Front (NDF) has conveyed its intention to contest the polls, party officials said. Mr. Maitripala Sirisena also contested the January 8 presidential election as the common Opposition candidate using the swan symbol of the NDF. Earlier, in 2010, Mr. Sarath Fonseka contested presidential election using the same symbol. more..

Selling at public or hawkers’ expense?

July 2 (SL) Heavy criticism was directed at the Colombo Mayor’s alleged decision to lift the ban imposed by the former regime on hawkers preventing them from doing business on the Colombo city pavements. During the last govt, UDA under former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa initiated several city beautification projects and they imposed the ban on hawkers of Colombo city from selling on the pavements. more..

President’s dilemma over MR

July 2 (DM) President Maitripala Sirisena displayed greater flexibility to the call by a section of the UPFA, the political combination led by the SLFP to nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Ministerial candidate. But he is under pressure from his loyalists not to do so. Now, the President is caught in a dilemma. He dissolved Parliament in a proclamation issued last Friday and declared the General Elections. more..

Heroin: Law makers become law breakers

July 2 (DM) Heroin is a grave menace that has gripped Sri Lanka at present. Numerous recent detections thwarted trafficking attempts though it earned an ill-repute to the country as the narcotics hub in the region. From an ex-PM to a former Police Chief the allegations were levelled against many for aiding and abetting the trade. Amidst authorities busy escorting the evading drug barons back to the country, a shocking arrest was made last week of a law enforcement officer who sold Heroin. more..

President Sirisena faces new challenges

July 2 (DM) Sri Lanka was again plunged into political turmoil and tension yesterday with the re-emergence of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who declared from his home base of Medamulana that he would be a candidate at the general elections on August 17. Mr. Rajapaksa made the announcement to a huge crowd including a large number of former ministers or MPs of the SLFP and the UPFA -- but he did not specifically say from which party or alliance he would contest. more..

MR waves Medamulana magic wand

July 2 (FT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ousted from office in January, set the stage for a major political comeback in his hometown of Medamulana yesterday, with the announcement that he would lead a faction of the SLFP to contest in the parliamentary election. A low drum-roll of firecrackers sounded in the distance, as thousands of supporters gathered in the leafy gardens of Rajapaksa’s Carlton House more..

Abuse of prescription painkillers on the rise

July 2 (CT) The Jaffna Medical Council (JMC) has warned about a growing trend of abuse of prescription painkillers in the peninsula. Addressing a media briefing The JMC said the majority of those who abuse prescription painkillers are the youths. Such addiction could have debilitating effects on the nervous system and the long-term abuse could also lead to death, the JMC representative explained. "Some are in the habit of taking a large amount of painkillers. more..

UNP to hold talks with Fonseka on polls

July 2 (CG) The United National Party (UNP) is to hold talks with Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka with regards to the Parliament elections. Fonseka said that he has been informed that UNP chairman Malik Samarawickrema will meet him in an attempt to obtain the support of Fonseka’s political party for the UNP at the election. The former Army Commander said that the Democratic Party led by him has already decided to contest the August 17 election independently. more..

I am not coming: Chandrika

July 2 (CT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga denied reports that she too would contest the election if former President Rajapaksa was to do so. She said, "Just because Mahinda Rajapaksa is going to submit his nomination to contest the election, it does not mean I am going to do the same. This is a lie. I have a party and the party has a chairman. The party also has discipline. I will not talk about it too much now. more..

Mihin Lanka ranked third best by Skytrax

July 2 (DN) Mihin Lanka has been ranked by Skytrax as the third best low-cost airline in Central Asia and India in 2015. Airline was launched in 2007 and strives to deliver quality service by adapting to passenger needs and maintaining the highest of standards. Airline has successfully evolved into a trusted brand for travellers within the region. Skytrax rank is based upon customer satisfaction survey results of product & staff service standards, more..

Rare conjunction of Venus and Jupiter

July 2 (DM) The two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter are visible after sunset pass extremely closer to each other from July 1, Astronomy and Space Applications, Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies Dr. Chandana Jayaratne said. “This rare conjunction event is visible from July 1 onwards provide a spectacular view in the Sky just after sunset on the western horizon as two bright objects which are closer to each other,” he said. more..

Alleged assault of domestic helper: SC Judge may face arrest

July 2 (DN) Supreme Court Judge Justice Sarath De Abrew who allegedly assaulted a domestic helper with a pistol butt may face arrest or criminal charges. CID which handles the case will report the details of the case to the Mount Lavinia Magistrate seeking a directive from the court for further action. Earlier the police sought to interview the SC judge in connection with the assault case, but refused to accede to the request. more..

Chief Inspector among six arrested over treasure hunting

July 2 (Island) IGP N. K. Illangakoon ordered the arrest of a Chief Inspector attached to a special unit coming under the Vavuniya Range for obstructing the duties of a team of policemen when the latter went to apprehend a group of treasure hunters. According to a senior police officer, six suspects now in custody had been hunting for treasure in the jungles of Vavuniya and the Chief Inspector who is also under arrest now had attempted to prevent the treasure hunters being taken onto custody. more..

MS must defeat MR: United Leftists

July 2 (CT) Members expelled from the Leftist parties attached to the UPFA urged President Maithripala Sirisena to give leadership to the civil society struggle and the victory achieved on 8 January. The United Left Front comprising members expelled from the LSSP (amounting to around 75% of the LSSP), the Communist Party of Sri Lanka and the Democratic Left Front called on Sirisena to get out of the corner he had got himself trapped in, in his attempt to save the SLFP. more..

‘Govt has not halted development projects’

July 2 (Island) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the govt has neither halted nor terminated any development projects. Responding to former SLFP MP Bandula Gunawardena’s allegations that about 2 million people lost their jobs due to the new govt abandoning development projects, Finance Minister claims that not a single development project or programme was terminated by the govt. more..

SL man with dud dollars nabbed at BIA

July 1 (CT) A Sri Lankan male was arrested by the Customs Officials at the Departure Lounge of the BIA yesterday with counterfeit foreign currency. Customs Media Spokesperson Leslie Gamini said that the suspect was a 59-year-old man from Rajagiriya attempting to take USD 85,000 to Singapore via flight SQ 469. The foreign currency which amounts to Rs 11,498,222 was concealed in his baggage when he was apprehended by the Customs Officials of the BIA. more..

Car broker caught extorting money

July 1 (Island) Kandy Chief Magistrate A.M.A. Wasanthakumara remanded till July 09 a car broker produced by the Peradeniya police for allegedly extorting Rs. 300,000 from a postmaster and a female employee of his institution while they were in a van at Gannoruwa near Peradeniya. Suspect, Indika Suraweera, was arrested by the police following a complaint by the postmaster that the suspect posed as a policeman in civvies and took photographs with his cellular phone and more..

TN fishermen seek release of 14 jailed in SL

July 2 (Hindu) The fishermen here struck work on Wednesday and observed a day’s fast, demanding the release of 14 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 2 and a compensation for 19 boats, impounded by the Lankan authorities but could not be salvaged. As a court in Sri Lanka had twice extended the judicial remand of the 14 fishermen, the fishing community and the family members of the arrested more..

Takeaways from Energy Symposium

July 2 (DM) It is now recognised that for developing countries like Sri Lanka, meeting the energy needs of an economy aspiring to achieve rapid growth, while ensuring environmental sustainability, is a key challenge. Energy Symposium held last week, organised by the Ministry of Power and Energy on the theme Energy Challenges in the Knowledge Economy, was an important effort in putting the energy agenda front and centre. There was an impressive range of technical presentations more..

CMC Veterinary Dept handicapped by shortage of staff

July 2 (Island) Veterinary Department of CMC complained of a dearth of Veterinary Supervisors and that had hampered the implementation of its programmes. Chief Veterinarian, Dr. I. Dharmawardane said that at present there were three Veterinary Supervisors whereas there should be approximately 20 for the Council to carry out its functions. A recent dog census carried out by it and the on-going cat census had been affected by the severe shortage of workers. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism takes high ground: $40 bn Silk Route initiative

July 2 (CT) In the backdrop of the $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that has been set in China for which $ 40 billion is been assigned for the development of the Silk Route, Sri Lanka Tourism took the high ground together with the SL Embassy in Beijing to launch an aggressive Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion in the top end Chinese province of Shandgon in the Quingdao city. Quingdao connects with Colombo city by more..

Australian Skye who chases the sun

July 2 (Island) I met The Fit Traveller- Skye on Instagram as we posted travel pictures and then on Twitter. She had a unique description of herself "Wellness • Nourishing Food • Luxury Travel Journalist roaming the globe to bring health conscious travellers the latest" And one day Skye Gilkeson was in Sri Lanka with her husband Andrew and we decided to meet. I wanted to know her story and of her travels and why she and Andrew had decided to travel for one year wanting to be more..

Can UNP win without Maithri?

July 2 (CT) When the election results were announced in the 1994 general elections, Chandrika Kumaratunge was in hiding at a secret location. She felt there were threats on her life. Only her confidantes were permitted to visit her. Those confidantes who were with her when the results were announced saw tears in her eyes. "See, having done such a massive campaign and the people's swing towards us we've got only 105 seats," she lamented with deep pain of mind. more..