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2 Govt-owned plantations handover profits to treasury

Aug 20 (LP) Two govt-owned Sri Lankan plantation companies handed over their profits in 2013 to the Treasury at a function held at Temple Trees on Monday. Representatives of the two plantation companies - Chilaw Plantations in Puttalam and Kurunegala Plantations in Kurunegala handed over the checks to President Rajapaksa, who is also the Finance Minister. Chilaw Plantations made Rs. 40 million in profits while Kurunegala Plantations earned Rs. 20 million as profit last year. more..

Soththi Upali’s nephew arrested with tiny pistol

Aug 20 (Island) Mirihana Police Special Crime Prevention Unit officials nabbed a person with a tiny pistol while he was in a hotel at Galvana in Mulleriyawa on Sunday. The suspect is said to be a nephew of the late notorious underworld kingpin Soththi Upali. The 29-years-old suspect is from Udumulla Road in Battaramulla. The suspect has told police under interrogation that he kept the pistol with him as he had received information that there was a group of persons planning to kill him. more..

Sri Lankan e-Library Nenasala Program wins ‘International Access to Learning’ award

Aug 20 (FT) Sri Lanka’s e-Library Nenasala Program (eLNP) won the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2014 Access to Learning award of $ 1 million at a ceremony held in Lyon, France on Monday. The award was in recognition of eLNP’s thrust for providing free access to computers and the Internet to underserved Sri Lankans living in remote and rural areas. Govt of Sri Lanka launched the program as a way to boost digital literacy more..

Rights Violation petition over jailers’ promotions

Aug 20 (Island) Six Class (II) jailers of the Department of Prisons have complained to the Supreme Court by way of a Fundamental Rights Violation application that 20 other Class (II) jailers have recently been promoted to the rank of Class (I), though they presented false certificates at the selection interviews. The petition alleges that one of those promoted jailers is being probed for his alleged involvement in a drug related offence. The petitioners have also alleged that more..

Six Lankan universities among top 100 in South Asia

Aug 20 (DN) Complimenting the higher education sector development initiatives in progress, six Sri Lankan universities have been ranked among the top 100 universities in South Asia, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said so at a meeting with university lecturers and ministry officials at the Higher Education Ministry. Colombo University has been ranked 24th in South Asia while Peradeniya University and Moratuwa University have ascended to 31st and 32nd place in South Asia. more..

Packer's entry still uncertain

Aug 20 (CT) There is uncertainty over whether or not Australian casino tycoon James Packer would invest in a resort here in Sri Lanka. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, told journalists that mixed development projects by Australian billionaire and gaming tycoon James Packer and Sri Lankan gaming Mogul, Dhammika Perera, were still pending and that there was no new information on the matter. more..

Janus exits JKH

Aug 20 (CT) Janus, a US based foreign fund's exit from JKH, the market's biggest capitalized stock, took turnover to the highest level thus far experienced in the year-to-date, with a figure of Rs 8.2 billion, whilst also taking net foreign outflows (NFOs) in the year-to-date on a single day to a record Rs 4.5 billion. Previously, the highest turnover experienced by the market for the current calendar year was Rs 7.1 billion, which was on 9 May, helped that time by more..

No General Election for another year

Aug 20 (LP) It is reported that President Rajapaksa has stated there will be no General Election at least for another year. President Rajapaksa has mentioned this while addressing the Parliamentary Team meeting last night (18) at Presidential Secretariat Office. President Rajapaksa has also stated that as the ruling party, Govt Ministers and Parliamentarians should be more concern and responsible when according statements to media related to development projects. more..

Confident MR keen to cruise ahead

Aug 20 (FT) Brimming with confidence about being re-elected to serve an unprecedented third term in office, President Rajapaksa yesterday shrugged off his political rivals and appeared undeterred by the UN inquiry into allegations of war crimes quietly gathering steam in Geneva. “I will be still be here, I am planning for the next five years,” President told Colombo-based Foreign Correspondents at Temple Trees more..

Bouquets for Mahela

Aug 20 (DM) There will be many to praise cricketing legend Mahela Jayawardena’s silky cover drive or the crafty glance as he retired from the test cricket arena with 11,814 runs averaging just below 50. Coaches will no doubt ask their students to watch footage of Mahela playing his strokes so as to fine-tune their batting technique. There will also be enough people to compliment Mahela for his fielding, particularly as a specialist catcher in the slip cordon. At the same time his temperament more..

Gaveshana Charika: Its pluses and minuses

Aug 20 (DM) Gaveshana Charika literally means ‘investigative tours’. Taken in the literal sense, these investigative tours undertaken by a group of UNP MPs indeed sound very genuine though it is quite obvious to every man and woman on the street that the tagline is a politically-loaded catch phrase invented by the UNP essentially to render at least some rudimentary identity to an otherwise isolated mode of protest launched by the Party to satisfy a ‘suspecting’ public getting increasingly more..

Samanala power station upgrade stirs old controversies

Aug 20 (SL) The Ceylon Electricity Board’s call for bids to upgrade the Polpitiya or Samanala Power Station, has run into a storm which was described by power industry observers as “showing that old tricks die hard”. Included in the list of unhappy bidders is the successors to the mammoth company, GE Hydro the original suppliers of equipment to the Samanala Plant. One of the super power players also includes more..

TNA to seek Modi’s backing over 13A

Aug 20 (CG) The TNA says it will urge Indian PM Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj to push for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the constitution. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that the party will look to several key issues with the Indian Govt, including the 13th Amendment to the constitution, during a visit to New Delhi beginning tomorrow. Govt has refused to fully implement the 13th more..

‘Executive supplants parliament’

Aug 20 (DM) MEP leader, Minister Dinesh Gunawardane, in an interview with the Dailymirror, stressed the need to introduce new constitutional reforms that ensure more powers to Parliament in governance. Mr. Gunawardane, who is also the Chief Government Whip of Parliament says the present Parliament does not have enough power to participate in governance. He blames it on the introduction of the Executive Presidency. more..

CEB Chairman gets ok for Rs 30Mn vehicle

Aug 20 (Island) CEB Chairman W.D. Ganegala has received the CEB Board’s approval to purchase a luxury vehicle at a cost exceeding Rs. 30 million, The Island reliably learns. Trade unions of CEB question as to why the Board approved such a costly purchase in violation of rules issued by the Ministry of Public Administration and the Ministry of Finance regarding the purchase of official vehicles by the state sector. more..

Ranil flays MR’s panel

Aug 20 (Island) UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday demanded to know from the govt the complex issues that had arisen with regard to the proceedings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Disappearances and Missing Persons, causing the need to obtain services of a panel of experts. Opposition Leader said: "In answer to a question asked by me under Standing Order 23(2), more..

Sri Lanka export acceleration push begins

Aug 20 (FT) Exports, the lifeline of Sri Lankan economy, are a national priority. The urgency of the exports accelerating strategy is such that it could kick-start even before its full design cycle is over. Meanwhile, brand Sri Lanka packs hidden potentials that could be leveraged for national export growth. “At the end of the day the buck lands at somebody’s desk. Who is ultimately responsible? We can start implementing the export more..

Sri Lankans keen to host Modi: MR

Aug 20 (ENS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that Indian PM Narendra Modi should visit Lanka because Lankans are eager to host him. “People want him to come here. If the Japanese Prime Minister and the Chinese President can come here, why can’t the Indian PM come, people ask,” Rajapaksa told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association here on Tuesday. “I had invited him when I met him last. more..

Veddas’ votes are hunted, but they want to hunt too

Aug 20 (ST) Roads to the veddah village of Dambana are under construction. Sand piles and tar barrels line the way, and there are newly-planted electricity poles – but without wires. Posters in red, green and blue stand out among the poles and tar barrels. With the Uva PC elections around the corner, the people of this village are seeing sudden changes to their neighbourhood but they hold no high expectations of meaningful more..

'Non state actors pose a common challenge in the region'

Aug 20 (DN) Sri Lanka is concerned about non state actors that can destabilise countries, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam said. “We take every possible measure to ensure that non state actors do not have the capacity to harm the very social fabric of the country,” he said. He said Sri Lanka became a victim of actions perpetrated by non state actors. The non state actor, the LTTE played havoc in the nation, more..

Sri Lanka facilitates infrastructure to attract investors into rural areas

Aug 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka to open up five factories in every district in the county and to widen the facilities for investors who goes into the rural areas, a minister said. “It has come to a stage we can’t bring people from villages to town to employ in these zones,” Minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. “People who are in the villages do not come to towns anymore because they have found sources of income in the village itself,” more..

Colombo Bishop discredits Buddhist mob’s defamatory claims

Aug 20 (CT) Bishop of Colombo discredits defamatory claims made by the Buddhist mob that disrupted the meeting for families of disappeared, in reference to one of the Catholic priest. The Bishop of Colombo, Rev. Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey has criticised claims made by the mob that stormed in and disrupted a meeting that was held earlier this month for the families of the disappeared, in relation to a Catholic priest who was at the meeting. Issuing a statement on the issue on Monday more..

Increasing problems of world refugees: An empathy needed

Aug 20 (CT) There were two court hearings in Australia and Sri Lanka on last Thursday and Friday respectively that drew our attention to the legality or illegality of refoulement (sending back) of asylum seekers to the countries that they have fled from. None is conclusive yet. This is in a background of new refugee influx in Mount Sinjar and Turkish border (number not confirmed) from the reprehensible persecution by the Islamic State (IS) or new conflicts in Iraq. more..

'Observance of 1% of the Dhamma will free country of its ills'

Aug 20 (CT) The country needs to change the laws and as a solution the 'Buddha Dharma' should be made the law of the land, Opined Athuraliye Rathana Thera of the JHU. If the people of this country observe just 1% of the Dhamma, Sri Lanka will be saved, he said. If Sri Lanka was able to successfully wage a war against a brutal terrorist organization, why is it that it's not possible to wage an equally successful war against drugs? more..

Sri Lanka shares close up 0.3%

Aug 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shares closed near the key psychological barrier of 7,000 points on Wednesday recording the highest close since August 2011. All Share Price Index closed 18.51 points higher at 6,999.97, up 0.27%. The S&P SL20 closed 14.11 points higher at 3,862.61, up 0.37%. Turnover was 1.78 billion rupees, down from 8.19 billion rupees a day earlier with 113 stocks closed positive against 80 negative. Sampath Bank closed 4.20 rupees higher at 229.80 rupees more..

Peacetime blues in Jaffna

Aug 20 (CT) War, more often than not, acts as an escape valve for human emotions. All the pent up anger, hatred, dislikes and vengeance are unleashed on the enemy on the battlefront. When that mechanism comes to a cessation, a different dynamic takes its place and suicide it has been said has fast become the leading contender, substituting for the destruction of the enemy. We are sure psychologists, psychiatrists and social scientists would find more nuanced answers to this more..

Ban tells Lanka to help UN-led probe

Aug 20 (CG) UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon has urged Sri Lanka to assist the investigation on the war led by the OHCHR. Ban ki-moon’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that the Secretary‑General fully supports the High Commissioner for Human Rights and commends the leadership she’s demonstrated to assist Sri Lanka in advancing accountability and reconciliation. “Secretary‑General encourages Sri Lanka to more..

Sri Lanka rupee falls on foreign fund outflow

Aug 20 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee fell on Wednesday due to heavy dollar demand from banks to facilitate foreign selling in shares by a U.S.-based fund, though moral suasion by the central bank capped the depreciation. The rupee was at 130.18/22 per dollar at 0647 GMT after declining to 130.22 earlier in the day. It had closed at 130.13/14 on Tuesday. U.S.-based fund Janus sold shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings, resulting in a net foreign outflow of 4.52 billion rupees, more..

Yapa says no to Ranil’s invitation

Aug 20 (Island) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene yesterday said that he did not have any intention to re-join the UNP. He was responding to UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent invitation to its former members who left the party to re-join it. Wickremesinghe said special arrangment had been made for crossovers to return to the UNP’s fold. Addressing a press conference Minister Abeywaradane said he had already obtained the full membership of the SLFP. more..

'SL has addressed India's security concerns'

Aug 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka has addressed India's security concerns over its soil being used by extremists to infiltrate into TN, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said, a day after Colombo assured New Delhi that it will not allow any anti-India activities. "India had concerns over one particular country and some extremists from that country using Sri Lanka to infiltrate into TN. The issue had been raised with Sri Lankan govt more..

Study of veddahs’ pedigree, medicine etc. continues

Aug 20 (Island) Senior Professor of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Uni of Peradeniya, Prof. Malkanthi Chandrasekera said that she would continue with the study being carried out on the Sri Lankan Veddah population which was first initiated in 1993. She said that the study would be on the native treatment procedures followed by the Veddah communities and their pedigree. There were possibilities of changes resulting from intermarriages between Veddahs and other communities. more..

Country dragged towards immorality by rulers bent towards sin

Aug 20 (LT) The notification issued on 5th Dec, 2013 by the Mahanayakas - Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha SumangalaThera of Malwatta Chapter, the Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thero of Asgiriya Chapter, the Most Venerable Aggamaha Panditha Dawuldena Gnanissara Thera of Amarapura Chapter and the Most Venerable Napana Premasiri Thero of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya - to the President opposing the move to establish casinos in the country more..

Speed guns will be used after sign boards in place: Police

Aug 20 (DM) Radar guns to check speeding vehicles will come into operation after the sign boards indicating the speed limits are put up, the Police Headquarters said today. Clarifying the recent reports on speed limits, SSP Ajith Rohana said the traffic police would not be allowed to prosecute speeding motorists without proper confirmation of a vehicle’s speed. “According to some media reports police officers will continue to prosecute drivers, more..

GMOA to take up crucial issues with President

Aug 20 (Island) The GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said it would request President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint a Presidential Commission to probe the Private Medical Institution Regulatory Act (PMIRA). Dr. Padeniya said that the present PMIRA had not been amended for the last 50 years. The GMOA would request President Rajapaksa to conduct full investigation into the death of Dr. Mrs. Priyangi, because some Health Ministry officials had approved the Bambalapitiya more..

Colossal plunder at Railways

Aug 20 (LT) The govt has spent US$149 million to construct the northern railway line says the General Secretary of All Ceylon Railway General Employees’ Union S.P. Vithanage. He said Rs.340 million has been spent to lay a kilometer of the line. Speaking further the General Secretary of the All Ceylon Railway General Employees’ Union said, “The railway line spending such a colossal amount of money is being constructed by two foreign companies, IRCON and another indian more..

Video: 'MR has no authority to donate money'

Aug 20 (DM) UNP said that the President had no authority to announce 1 million US$ as assistance to be provided to the war victims in Palestine from public funds of Sri Lanka and that there was a procedure to grant approval for such grants to other countries. “President, out of nowhere, announced 1 million US$ as financial assistance to Palestine. The state head has no authority to announce grants to other countries more..

Sri Lankan Tamil arrested in Tamil Nadu

Aug 20 (Hindu) The Dhanushkodi police have arrested a Sri Lankan Tamil, who attempted to clandestinely leave for Talaimannar, and two others, including a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee who promised him a trip by boat. A patrol party arrested Antony Francis, 54, in the early hours of Tuesday as he walked back from Kothandaramarkoil after failing to make his trip. Francis, a native of Vavuniya, wanted to meet his family, but he was taken for a ride by Shanmugam, a refugee in Mandapam camp. more..

Rs 70 mil gold haul detected in Talaimannar

Aug 20 (Island) Acting on tip off the Talaimannar Police arrested three suspects with 11 kilos and 828 grammes of gold worth Rs. 70 million hidden in a van parked at a particular location in the Talaimannar village in the early hours of yesterday. They were four to five inch gold strips wrapped in pieces of cloth. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the three suspects were from Colombo, Wattala and Puttalam and it was the biggest ever haul of gold detected by the police. more..

Govt has made COPE a toothless body and DEW a mere actor: UNP

Aug 20 (AM) UNP MP Lakshman Kirirella said that the govt has made COPE a toothless body and there is no way to investigate into the findings of the COPE report. “With the abolition of independent committees that were set up under the 17th Amendment to the constitution, there is no way to conduct an independent inquiry into COPE findings. The present govt is fully responsible for that,” UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said more..

High court set for directions hearing on 157 Tamil asylum seekers

Aug 20 (Guardian) The high court will on Thursday hold a directions hearing on the legality of Australia’s month-long detention of 157 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers on an customs vessel. The Tamils are now being held in detention in Nauru after they were intercepted at sea by the Australian authorities in July. Their case was taken up by human rights groups when it emerged that the group, including 50 children, were held at sea for almost a month while Australian govt tried to have them returned more..