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'New MoU for stronger coalition govt'

July 29 (SO) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that the govt is not perturbed by the much- hyped protest march of the Joint Opposition (JO) which is trying to score brownie points over the VAT issue. He said the fanfare of the JO is short-lived because the govt has decided to continue their cohabitation till 2020 and a new, stronger MoU will be agreed upon shortly, to deliver on people’s mandate of Jan 8, 2015. more..

In the name of sanity & reason

July 29 (CT) Malinda Seneviratne has an eye for comment. He knows the political so much that he can engage in debate and win, and what’s more without resorting to emotion and rhetoric. That’s rare, one can conclude. Consequently it’s difficult to imagine him playing second fiddle to anyone, politician or ideologue. He has his views and I don’t agree with many of them, but the fact of the matter is that lapdog is a word no one can tag on him. And why? Because of the one weapon more..

Crossed paths

July 29 (DN) Sri Lankans, or at least their politicians, want history to repeat itself. 59 years after an infamous political march from Colombo to Kandy was staged, the country’s opposition is again trying to re-enact the event, albeit with some differences. It was fifty nine years ago, on October 4, 1957 to be precise, that the UNP, of which J.R. Jayewardene was then the de-facto leader, staged a protest march from Colombo to Kandy to protest the signing of Bandaranaike-Chlevanayakam Pact more..

Video: JO protest march reaches Hingula

July 28 (AD) The protest march (Jana Satana Paada Yathra) commenced by the Joint Opposition has concluded its journey for today as it reached Ganetanna area in Hingula a short while ago. The protest march is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on 1 August. Thousands of people were seen engaged in the march which started from near the bridge in Peradeniya along the Colombo-Kandy road this morning. more..

Mahendran appointed as advisor to PM

July 28 (LBO) Former Governor Arjuna Mahendran has taken up an appointment as an advisor to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the area of investments, a government official said. Mahendran did not seek re-appointment for the position of Central Bank governor last month as a COPE investigation into treasury bond issues had not been completed. President Maithripala Sirisena subsequently appointed Indrajit Coomaraswamy as the Governor of the Central Bank. more..

China just asked for 15,000 acres of land in Sri Lanka for a million worker SEZ

July 28 (Forbes) China just requested 15,000 acres of land in southern Sri Lanka for the creation of a special economic zone that will reputedly create one million jobs, according to the country’s Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade. 15,000 acres is roughly 60 square kilometers, which is significantly larger than Hartford, Connecticut or Providence, Rhode Island. This expanse of land, if granted, will be in the Hambantota region, which has been a punchline of more..

Port City Project: Two more hectares in lieu of losses incurred

July 28 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted separate Cabinet papers outlining plans for the resumption of the project and the reclaiming of a landmass of 262 hectares from the sea adjoining the Colombo Port. Project was launched by the Rajapaksa Govt in 2014. Later, new govt suspended the project saying it needed to be reviewed but later decided to go ahead based on a fresh agreement. more..

15 students awarded Chinese scholarships

July 28 (Xinhua) 15 Sri Lankan students will go to China to further their studies after being awarded Chinese Govt Scholarships. The 15 students, selected from some 1,000 applicants, have been nominated to receive the postgraduate or undergraduate scholarships, in the fields of science, arts, management, medicine and engineering, D. C. Dissanayake, secretary of the Higher Education, said in a speech introducing the general situation of the scholarship, after awarding scholarships more..

NGOs, too, open for public scrutiny

July 28 (Island) Right to Information (RTI) Act would give the public as well as the media unhindered access to projects undertaken by local NGOs receiving direct and indirect funds from the govt and external sources, Transparency International SL representative Shan Wijetunga said. Responding to a query regarding the RTI Act's impact on the NGO community, Wijetunga acknowledged that a spate of allegations had been directed against various NGOs, particularly after Dec 2004 tsunami. more..

FCID names Namal, five others over Hello Corp transaction

July 28 (DM) The FCID-on a directive of Attorney General had today named Namal Rajapaksa and five others as suspects over purchasing shares of Hello Corp. using ill-gotten funds of Gowers Corporation, which is headed by Mr. Rajapaksa. The FCID filing a B report informed court that the suspect Namal Rajapaksa had dealt with a company named Boston and had given Rs. 15 million and another Rs.30 million through more..

New USAID mission director signals surge in U.S. development assistance in Sri Lanka

July 28 (USE) Signaling a surge in U.S. development assistance for Sri Lanka, the newly-arrived Dr. Andrew Sisson official assumed duties yesterday as the USAID Mission Director to SL and Maldives. U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap administered the oath of office in the presence of his wife Karen Levine and the entire USAID mission at the Embassy of the United States of America. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Sisson manage U.S. foreign assistance to Sri Lanka at a time more..

GMOA to draft national policy on int'l trade agreements with other professionals

July 28 (Island) GMOA said it would come up with a National Policy on trade Agreements prepared by the country’s intellectuals. GMOA Ex-Co member, Dr Nalinda Herath said the union in collaboration with several other categories of professionals had initiated the programme on Tuesday during a brainstorming session the proposed move to come up with a policy for the country. Although the govt had accepted that it should have a protective policy in place before entering into any bilateral more..

US seeks to strengthen relationship with Sri Lankan military

July 28 (CG) The United States says it wants to strengthen its relationship with all of the different facets of the Sri Lankan Govt, including the military. The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap said that there has been a very good development of relations between the US and SL ever since the democratic, free and fair election of Jan 2015, and that also includes the democratic, free and fair election of Aug 2015. more..

Swiss Ambassador puts onus of reconciliation on all stakeholders

July 28 (Island) Swiss Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn said that reconciliation was not the responsibility of the govt, but all stakeholders. Swiss constitution quite rightly had spelt out that all citizens should take responsibility for reconciliation, he said. Addressing the media on the 60th anniversary of Swiss-SL diplomatic relations in Colombo, Ambassador said "Today’s younger generation in Sri Lanka had the advantage of not living in a war torn more..

Video: America will finally catch up with 1960 Sri Lanka: Stephen Colbert

July 28 (DM) Hillary Clinton could be the first female president and America will finally catch up with 1960 Sri Lanka, said Late Show host Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert, on Tuesday’s post-DNC Convention show, celebrated Hillary Clinton’s breaking the penultimate glass ceiling to become the first woman to receive the nomination of a major political party. Colbert noted that Clinton’s historic achievement marks the end of the line for runner-up Bernie Sanders. more..

Video: Modi says Indian cooperation must happen as per Sri Lankan aspirations

July 28 (LBO) Indian PM Narendra Modi today said that India’s development cooperation with SL must happen as per aspirations of Sri Lanka. He said India’s development cooperation with Sri Lanka enjoys a wide spread of projects through out SL in different areas of economic activities. “But it must happen as per your aspirations,” Modi said. “It is for this reason that our cooperative projects rely on the choices & priorities set by the people, more..

Australia may need reinforcement after O'Keefe injury

July 28 (CI) Adam Zampa or Jon Holland may soon fly to Sri Lanka to replenish Australia's spin stocks after Steve O'Keefe suffered an injury to his right hamstring on day three of the Pallekele Test match. In a bad sign for his prospects of being fit in time for the second Test in Galle next week, O'Keefe was unable to complete his 17th over before leaving the field, and did not re-emerge for the remainder of the day as the hosts motored to a substantial lead. The young batsman Kusal Mendis prospered more..

Video: Navy assists repatriation of 77 Indian fishermen

July 28 (DM) The Sri Lanka Navy today assisted in the repatriation of 77 Indian fishermen released from the Sri Lankan custody. As per the request of the Indian govt, the 77 fishermen who were apprehended on charges of poaching in Sri Lankan waters were released and handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ships in the International Maritime Boundary Line North of Kankasanthurai. SLNS Ranagaja, P 481 and Coast Guard Craft CG 47 were deployed for the mission. more..

Video: Night races then, micro hospitals now: PM

July 28 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that under the good governance govt today micro hospitals will be dispatched from the location, previously used for night races under the former govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was speaking during the ceremonial launch of the of the emergency ambulance service, implemented through grant assistance of around US$ 7.55 million from India, at Galle Face Green in Colombo. more..

2nd-youngest to score 150-plus against Aus

July 28 (CI) 1: Number of batsmen to score 150 or more in a Test innings against Australia at an younger age than Mendis' 21 years and 177 days. Graeme Pollock scored 175, at the age of 19 years and 331 days, at the Adelaide Oval in 1963-64 is the youngest to score 150-plus against Australia. 0: Number of Sri Lankan batsman who scored a Test century against Australia at a younger age than Kusal Mendis. The previous youngest was Romesh Kaluwitharana who hit unbeaten 132 at more..

Four parties take bid document for MRIA

July 28 (EN) Four parties have taken bid document to invest in and manage Mattala airport in the South of the island. The airport which was built in the middle of a shrub jungle displacing elephants and migrant birds, draws hardly any traffic. The airport comes with all freedoms of the air, indicating that a foreign airline could be based at the airport and operate to any third country without touching down in the home country, or operate between two or more domestic airports. more..

Mendis 169* propels SL lead towards 200

July 28 (CI) Kusal Mendis had one first-class century before today. He walked to the crease at 6 for 2, after a wicket fell on the third ball of the morning. SL were 80 short of making Australia bat again. Mendis had survived only seven deliveries in the first innings. The ingredients were all wrong, but like the world's greatest chef he worked his magic and fashioned them into something delicious. SL fans could only have dreamed more..

Nalanda Principal granted bail

July 28 (DN) Nalanda College Principal and Deputy Principal who appeared in Courts on notices were yesterday ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Additional Magistrate for allegedly threatening a student of the college. Nalanda College Principal Ranjith Jayasundara and Assistant Principal P.R. Rodrigo were ordered to be released on two sureties of Rs.50,000 each. At a previous occasion, the Court had issued notices on suspects to appear in Court regarding the incident, more..

Australia pay for leaving door ajar

July 28 (CI) Kill the other guy before he kills you was a line beloved of Jack Dempsey, the world heavyweight boxing champion of the early 1920s. Dempsey's phrase is known to plenty of sportsmen, and Allan Border once used it to describe how Australia squandered the advantage of hosting the 1992 World Cup. Border is present in Kandy to watch this match, and was unimpressed by the visitors' batting effort on day two, which happened also to be his 61st birthday. more..

Sri Lanka raises policy rate to 8.5%

July 28 (EN) Central bank Thursday raised to 8.5% its Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR), the policy rate at which cash in injected to the banking system. %he Central Bank Monetary Board also decided to raise the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) to 7%. The 50 basis point rate hike came after the central bank held its key interest rates steady for five straight months. “ . . .further tightening of monetary policy is required to more..

Women and children 14 times more likely to die from disasters than men

July 28 (Island) Madhavi Malalgoda Ariyabandu of UNISDR revealed that according to the data from 141 countries affected by disasters between 1981 and 2002, 10,000 women died every year from weather-related disasters such as tropical storms and droughts, compared to about 4,500 men. Women, boys and girls were 14 times more likely to die than men during a disaster and women comprise 20 million of the 26 million people estimated to have been replaced by climate change, more..

Sri Lankan shares edge up ahead of policy rates announcement

July 28 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer on Thursday, snapping three sessions of losses as investors picked up diversified and manufacturing shares, while the market awaited directions on the country's economic policy. The benchmark Colombo stock index ended up 0.15%, 9.73 points, at 6,392.15. "There was institutional buying today, and the good thing is that we saw renewed interest from foreigners as well," said Yohan Samarakkody of SC Securities. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Fallout from the freshers welcome fiasco in Jaffna

July 28 (CT) The following record of the welcome event is compiled from the experiences of several members of the Science Faculty in Jaffna who were present. The event is a warning when taken alongside sectarian violence in other Lankan universities, recently in Sabaragamuva, Uva Wellassa and Eastern, where the response of the authorities has been constrained by factors, which include local prejudices and peer pressures, bias in the university security services and more..

The Rajapaksa factor

July 28 (CT) The previous and current govts in Sri Lanka have their own volition or for reasons of political expediency, been playing major roles in the emerging Big Power machinations to wrest control of the Indian Ocean. The enormity of the Indian Ocean power struggle behind the scenes is dominated by China's decade-old strategy to wrest control of the region by investing heavily in infrastructure projects in countries earmarked as virtual satellite States in its string of pearls strategy. more..

Lankans can apply for UK visit visas online

July 28 (DM) As part of a global rollout, a new visa application form, Access UK, has launched in Sri Lanka for customers applying for a UK visit visa. The new form will make it quicker and easier for customers to apply for their UK visa. Benefits include: -A shorter form, with questions logically ordered based on customer feedback -More local languages, although customers will need to provide their answers in English more..

'Salawa ammunition fire: Findings will not be swept under carpet'

July 28 (Island) The military said that the outcome of three separate inquiries into explosions at the Salawa Army Camp ammunition dump in Kosgama on June 5 , would not be swept under the carpet. The public will be informed of what exactly happened, Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera assured a Press Briefing in response to a question. When journalists said it was very rarely the findings of investigations into various incidents more..

Indian govt assisted Emergency Ambulance Service launched

July 28 (ST) Indian govt assisted Emergency Ambulance Service in Western and Southern Provinces launched today at the Galle Face Green in Colombo. Following a written request by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for assistance for setting of an emergency ambulance service in SL, the Indian govt agreed to support it. Commitment of Indian govt was formalized through a Letter of Exchange ceremony that took place in Sept more..

Video: Artificially creating sugar highs in market not helpful: CB Governor

July 28 (AD) CB governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy says that while stock market sentiment is presently subdued, he does not believe there are any quick fixes to the problem and that trying to create sugar highs by artificially boosting asset markets or growth will not help. He was addressing a gathering this morning, during his first visit to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) since assuming duties as the central bank chief. more..

Canada, Sri Lanka promise to strengthen cooperation

July 28 (Xinhua) Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion said on Thursday that Canada encourages Sri Lanka to take advantage of the current momentum to move forward on reforms, including those to strengthen good governance and economic stability. "It is clear that delays in the implementation of these critical reforms are not in the public interest," he said following talks with his SL counterpart Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Four council members of premier education body fired

July 28 (ST) At least four members on the Council of the National Institute of Education (NIE) have received letters informing them of their removal from the council. Prof. Jayadewa Uyangoda, Prof. W.D.W. Jayathilaka, Prof. D.S. Epitawatta and Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri are the recipients of these letters that have no formal explanation for their removal.It is learnt that Prof. Epitawatta had tendered his resignation much earlier, more..