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Coalition govt is crucial for new Constitution: Sampanthan

July 19 (AD) Leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan states that the continuation of the coalition govt is crucial to conduct a successful Constitution-making process. He stated this upon meeting with the visiting Singaporean Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Colombo. TNA leader had apprised the Singaporean Foreign Minister of the current political situation related to the Constitution-making process during the meeting. more..

SLFP says Unity Govt was imperative to stop bargaining power of TNA

July 19 (DN) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that had the SLFP not assisted the UNP to form unity govt, minor parties including the TNA, which would have assisted to form this Govt, may ask for a lion’s share. He said the unity govt obstructed the bargaining power of the minority parties. “There is political stability in the country owing to forming this unity govt. The political stability helps attract foreign investments,” he added. more..

'Tamil leadership should shun communal politics'

July 19 (DM) The Leader of EPDP MP Douglas Devananda, speaks about the current status of politics in the north and the country as a whole. Q: In the wake of political crisis in the NPC, what will be the future of politics there? A: Tamil people of this beautiful country always visualised Mother Lanka as a mother with two eyes, namely Tamil & Sinhala languages and with four limbs namely Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam & Christianity. more..

After successful first in heart transplant, Sri Lanka sets sights on lung transplants

July 19 (ST) With Sri Lanka’s first heart transplant being successfully performed to international standards at the Kandy Teaching Hospital on July 7, sights are now being set to initiate lung transplants. The heart-recipient, Pushpa Kumari, 37, from Dolahela in Anuradhapura is doing fine, having been weaned off the ventilator this week, while four more critically-ill patients with end-stage heart failure await donor hearts. more..

'New round of liberalization in next budget'

July 19 (EN) The govt is planning another round of liberalization in the next budget, making doing business easier but companies need to share a bigger part of the gains with workers, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Companies will be made more competitive with the proposed free trade agreements Sri Lanka plans to sign with big markets like China, Japan and India, apart from GSP+ deal giving duty free access to EU. more..

'TNA leadership not as robust as it could be'

July 19 (DM) In the backdrop of a crisis at the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), its Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, during an interview with the Daily Mirror, spoke about the current status of politics and the way forward. The crisis emerged after a team of members belonging to his own party placed a no confidence motion against him. Later, it was withdrawn following consultations with everyone concerned. more..

Bias in the Dias affair: A reflection

July 19 (SL) the initial shock at the response of a high ranking minister to comments made by a citizen on a recent talk show, soon shifted to the realisation of its seriousness. During the show Lakshan Dias presented some data on violence against some Christians and their places of worship. He named the source that had documented these incidents; many of which were on record at police stations where complaints had been made. more..

Scamming the Sinhalese

July 19 (DM) If you say one thing and do quite another, that’s deceit. If you stick one label on something but sell quite another, then that’s fraud - a criminal act. Going by what TNA’s MP M.A. Sumanthiran has said on the record, that’s exactly what the new Constitution is intended to do. The TNA MP says that the content of the Constitutional changes will be federal but the label will not say that. TV news showed Sumanthiran speaking in Jaffna, confirming that the Interim Report of more..

Stand-off in the land of Ven. S. Mahinda

July 19 (DM) As Indo-China border stand-off in Sikkim sector is dragged on for another week it’s worth recalling perhaps the only connection SL ever had with Sikkim, once an autonomous Buddhist land. It is this small beautiful land that gave birth to Pempa Tendupi Serky Cherin who was ordained in then Ceylon as Ven. Sikkim Mahinda or Ven. S. Mahinda and became a towering figure in the freedom struggle of his adopted land.   When Ven. S. Mahinda Thera was living in Ceylon, more..

Wartime disappearances: Ex-Commander among 50 navy officers grilled

July 19 (Island) Commodore D.K.P. Dassanayake, remanded in connection with wartime disappearance of 11 persons, neither functioned as Director Naval Operations (DNO) nor supervised special teams, commanded by two Lt. Commanders, R.P.S Ranasinghe (since then promoted Commander) & H.M.P.C.K Hettiarachchi allegedly responsible for the disappearances during the previous administration, more..

PM says need to plan economy adapting to climate changes

July 19 (ITN) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe has pointed out that attention should be directed to carrying forward the economy in the face of the climatic changes. PM made this reference joining in a programme for the distribution of water bowsers and tractors among areas plagued by the drought. PM said that this drought is not limited to SL. It is being experienced in India, Banglaldesh and several other countries. A severe drought is being experienced in certain parts of India than in Sri Lanka. more..

Indian woman held for Buddha image on dress

July 19 (Hindu) Sri Lanka police on Monday detained and questioned an Indian tourist who was wearing a dress with a print of the Buddha on it. Wearing the image of the Buddha remains a sensitive matter in the island where a majority practise Buddhism. In 2014, a British tourist was deported for sporting a tattoo of the Buddha on her arm. The 26-year-old tourist was on the island on a family holiday at a resort near Bentota, along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. more..

Another showdown before bond probe commission

July 19 (Island) Leader o Attorney General’s Department team of lawyers, Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera PC locked horns with Counsel Chanaka de Silva, who is leading the team of lawyers appearing for former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Tempers flared up while Counsel de Silva was questioning Deputy Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle on the content of an undated letter written by more..

Singapore firms keen on SL: Foreign Minister

July 19 (EN) Sri Lanka’s rapid development has attracted growing interest among Singaporean companies, visiting Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said. The two countries aim to conclude a Free Trade Agreement between them before the end of the year, he told a news conference after talks with Minister Ravi Karunanayake Tuesday. Balakrishnan is on an official visit to Sri Lanka from 17th -21st July and called on President Sirisena. more..

Ban on smokeless tobacco products

July 19 (FT) National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol has taken measures to strictly impose the banning of tobacco products in Sri Lanka in accordance with the Tobacco and Alcohol Act No. 27 of 2006 prohibiting non-smoking tobacco products. According to this regulation, no person shall manufacture, import, sell or offer for sale smokeless tobacco products, as well as any electronic cigarettes or any flavoured, coloured or sweetened cigarettes that contain tobacco. more..

Tamil journalists in fear after police visit office in Colombo

July 19 (JDS) Police in Sri Lanka has visited a Tamil media office in Colombo twice within four days in a threatening manner which indicates renewed efforts by state intelligence to suppress journalists who expose ongoing violations. On the 13th of July two police officers in uniform claiming to be from the community division of Wellawatte police station visited the IBC TAMIL TV office in Wellawatte requesting personal details of its staff. more..

Sensitisation workshops advocate reconciliation-friendly media

July 19 (FT) Three sensitisation workshops to advocate reconciliation-friendly media were organised in Colombo, Kandy and Kurunegala Districts for journalists by Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation. Over 150 journalists discussed the role of media in conflict transformation, reconciliation, and peace building. The Ministry under the direction of President has developed a Reconciliation Action Plan in which reconciliation-friendly media more..

Controversial stumping call leaves cricket world in a spin

July 19 (Yahoo) The final day of Sri Lanka's Test against Zimbabwe has been marred by a highly controversial stumping decision. Sri Lanka denied Zimbabwe their first series away win in 16 years by chasing down a record 388 to win the one-off Test by four wickets in Colombo. But after the match Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer bemoaned a third umpire decision to reprieve Niroshan Dickwella, a decision that aided Sri Lanka's record chase. The decision was tough, said Cremer, more..

Former Homagama Magistrate testifies against Gnanasara Thera

July 19 (Island) Magistrate R.K. Dissnayaka yesterday testified as the first witness at the contempt of court proceedings against the Venerable Galabodaatte Gnanasara Thera. He was the Homagama Magistrate on Jan. 25, 2016, when the Thera committed the alleged offence. At present, he serves as the Colombo Additional Magistrate. Senior Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya led the evidence. more..

Tourism and hotel school in Jaffna

July 19 (DN) To cater to the growing industry manpower requirements in the tourism industry, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) plans to commence a new facility in Jaffna by end 2017, SLITHM Chairman Sunil Dissanayake said. This is in addition to its existing campuses in Colombo, Anuradhapura, Kandy, Bandarawela, Ratnapura, Koggala and Kurunegala. SLITHM has already opened facilities in Hambantota, Passikudah, Negombo and Polonnaruwa. more..

'Several JO MPs want to ditch Rajapaksa'

July 19 (CT) UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera claimed that several Joint Opposition (JO) MPs were sending out feelers to the Party seeking to ditch the Rajapaksa-led JO and cross over to President Sirisena's camp in the SLFP. "Many in the Joint Opposition are fed up with protesting and carrying out demonstrations. They have indicated that they want to join us," Amaraweera added. He made this observation while addressing a meeting of SLFP organizers more..

Planters, estate staff and workers ignored in 150th year Ceylon Tea festivities

July 19 (ST) Given that planters, estate staff and workers are synonymous with the tea industry, having played a significant role in ensuring the tea industry survived for 150 years in Ceylon/SL, above is an event eagerly looked forward to by planters, staff on estates and workers who were the architects in ensuring tea plantations thrived or, more appropriately in context of SL’s industry, survived. more..

Point Pedro incident: Did Police officers abuse power?

July 19 (CT) On 9 July 2017, an unarmed civilian was killed when Police opened fire at a lorry that was allegedly transporting sand illegally mined. The incident took place at Manalkadu, Point Pedro. The victim was later identified as Yogarasa Dinesh who was only 25 at the time of his death. The incident shocked the residents of the area and sparked widespread protests and condemnation. Angry mobs surrounded the Point Pedro Police Station and pelted stones at it. more..

Japanese assistance for disaster relief efforts

July 19 (FT) In the wake of losses and damages caused by the recent flood and landslides in May, Peace Winds Japan and Plan International Japan, with the financial support from Japan Platform, implemented two short-term disaster relief projects to support the affected communities in Kalutara and Ratnapura Districts.  As the first part of the projects, emergency relief items were distributed to the flood affected communities on 13 July with the participation of the Embassy of Japan, more..

Refugees who helped Edward Snowden now look to Canada as their only hope

July 19 (TG) For two weeks they sheltered the world’s most wanted man, ferrying Edward Snowden between tiny apartments in Hong Kong’s poorest neighborhood. Now the four refugees are at the centre of a court battle in Canada, as lawyers frantically work to bring them and their children to the country amid concerns that they face grave reprisals over their actions. “It seems like the families’ connection to more..

Logistics experts push for professionalism in transport planning

July 19 (EN) Sri Lankan logistics professionals are pushing for a more scientific approach to transport planning, the lack of which has led to worsening traffic jams that are acting as a drag on economic growth. “For Sri Lanka to harness its potential as a logistics hub, we have to have indigenous processes that suit our situation, developed and managed locally,” said Amal Kumarage, senior professor in the Department of Transport and Logistics Management at the University of Moratuwa. more..

Police officers accused of killing Jaffna Uni students bid to move case out of North, East

July 19 (FT) Court of Appeals on Monday granted another date for five police officers who had been arrested in connection with the shooting of two Jaffna University students to file a counter objection on 3 August in regard to their appeal. The accused police officers are seeking the court to transfer their case out of Northern and Eastern provinces. They are also seeking the court to issue an interim order restraining the continuation of their case in the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court until more..

Henanigala Veddahs in peaceful protest

July 19 (CT) On the Full Moon Poya Day in July (8), we saw a protest which was different from the usual protests in Sri Lanka. It was held in Henanigala, Maduru Oya. The vast majority of the protesters were elderly and middle-aged men. A few young men and women were also seen. All the males were bare-bodied and had long hair and beards. They looked quite poor. Their faces did not express the usual wrath of angry mobs. more..

CB to liquidate six bad finance companies

July 19 (ST) The Central Bank (CB) after critically evaluating six finance companies that are in the dumps are likely to liquidate them after paying off depositors, a CB official said. “We’re trying to resolve this and many discussions on this have been going on for a while now. It’s taking a toll on all concerned parties – the depositors, the CB, etc. So we will be (soon) taking a decision on these firms,” he said. According to the official, six firms have been facing tough liquidity issues. more..

Dr. Neville Fernando insists hospital given to govt outright

July 19 (Island) Head of the SAITM Dr Neville Fernando yesterday reassured all concerned parties that the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital had been donated to the govt free of cost. Dr. Fernando said that however that since he had obtained a Rs. 3.5 Billion loan from the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and had only paid a little over one billion rupees of it, Bank had suggested that he use the term lease in order to ensure that he met the terms of the loan and paid all his dues. more..

Cremer proud despite rollercoaster of emotions

July 19 (CI) With Zimbabwe caving come so close to winning their first Test against SL, and fallen short, there was disappointment for captain Graeme Cremer. Disappointment about missing a vital stumping chance and two catches on day five. Disappointment that a third-umpire's decision Zimbabwe felt was straightforward, went against them. And even some disappointment that their next int'l assignment is as far away as Oct, more..

Editorial: The Speaker speaks out

July 19 (Island) Parliament of SL has come to such a pass that its members’ progeny are ashamed of identifying themselves as children of MPs. Some of the conceited MPs jealously guarding their privileges may want to charge at us for saying this. Let them be asked to hold their horses! We have only repeated what Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told a group of journalists at a workshop the other day. The worst that could happen to any parent is for his or her children to be ashamed of him or her. more..

Chandimal promises to play fearless cricket

July 19 (Island) Former great Aravinda de Silva always speaks of trusting your instincts and playing an aggressive brand of cricket that often upsets the rhythm of the opposition. As SL completed a stunning four wicket win chasing down a mammoth 388 run target to keep their unbeaten record against Zimbabwe intact, new captain Dinesh Chandimal echoed similar sentiments. "We’ve played on these kinds of pitches before in Sri Lanka, in India and Bangladesh. more..

Tax on abandoned lands nothing new

July 19 (CT) Western Provincial Council (WPC) has imposed a new tax on abandoned lands in the Western Province, taking another step towards controlling the dengue epidemic which has claimed 225 lives up to now. As soon as the tax was announced it had a rippling effect on both residents in the Western Province and politicians. According to the CM Isuru Dewapriya, it is not a new tax that the WPC introduced last week. more..

Sri Lanka sledgehammered by UN

July 19 (Island) Ben Emmerson, QC, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, while countering terrorism, is fully cognizant of SL’s long and complex history of ethnic tensions and the tremendous security challenges this has generated. For almost 26 years, SL dealt with violent acts of terrorism, committed by the LTTE, including suicide bombings and political assassinations, which culminated in a prolonged armed conflict more..

Devapriya stresses need for women’s cricket second string

July 19 (DN) Sri Lanka women’s cricket coach Hemantha Devapriya stressed the need of forming a second string to feed the national women’s squad and said that the recently concluded ICC Women’s World Cup provided a good opportunity to weigh our team’s ups and downs, so we can lay a strong foundation to produce a much better team in the future. He said so during a press briefing at the R. Premadasa Stadium attended by national women’s team members and SLC officials. more..