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Another top US State Department official to visit Sri Lanka

Aug 6 (CG) Another top US State Department official is to visit Sri Lanka for talks. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin will travel on August 8-12 to Burma and SL. He will be in Colombo on August 11-12 to meet with govt and business leaders to discuss opportunities for increasing two-way trade and investment. Rivkin will also lead State Deptís American Innovation Roadshow more..

CCTV Cameras to cover Parliament

Aug 6 (CT) Govt has decided to instal CCTV cameras at vital locations within and without the Parliament Complex. Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said a report had been submitted to him by Police suggesting the need to instal CCTV cameras at crucial locations both within and without the Parliament Complex. Police in a report had suggested that since public access to Parliament is allowed when Parliament is in session, it was important to ensure more..

FUTA backs non-academics

Aug 6 (NS) The Federation of University Teachersí Associations (FUTA) called on the Govt to set up a proper mechanism which would allow for those lobbying on behalf of their grievances to have their case properly and fairly heard and discussed. According to President of the FUTA, Dr. Rangika Halwatura, the demands (including of a salary hike) of the non-academics in the entire higher education system within the universities who are presently on strike, was justified. more..

Asgiriya Chapter calls for the right to equality for LGBTQIA

Aug 6 (NS) Asgiriya Chapter highlighted that groups with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) communities should have the right to equality and should not be marginalized, discriminated, exploited and oppressed. Chief Secretary of Asgiriya Chapter, Dr. Medagama Dhammananda said that such individuals more..

Doctors perform caesarean on dead mother, save infantís life

Aug 6 (DN) Doctors at the Mahamodara Hospital in Galle saved the life of an infant on Thursday night by performing a caesarean on a pregnant mother who had died in a road accident. The doctors performed the caesarean on the woman at the hospitalís OPD. The woman, who had been traveling from Penetiyana, Akurana to the Mahamodara hospital by a three wheeler to deliver a baby, had met with the accident at Samudra Mawatha. Thereafter, the woman had been rushed to the hospital more..

PRECIFAC probes Magampura Port expenses

Aug 6 (DN) The PRECIFAC is investigating into the allegations of misuse of state property, fraud and corruption during the water filling and opening ceremonies of the Hambantota Magampura Port in 2010. Rs. 138 million had been spent for the ceremonies. This includes a payment of Rs. 20 million to actor Jackson Anthony. Seven persons including former Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Banduwickrema, former manager Nihal Keppetipola and actor Jackson Anthony have been more..

President opens Siyasetha Sevana Housing Scheme for urban dwellers

Aug 6 (PSL) The Siyasetha Sevena multi housing scheme which was built for those who were living in the houses with less facilities in the area of the Colombo Municipal Council, was vested with people by President Maithripala Sirisena today (5). The housing scheme, built with an investment of Rs. 1330 millions consists of 266 housing units. The amount spent by the Urban Development Authority per one unit is Rs. 5 million. more..

Tender benders

Aug 7 (SO) The difference between 0.01 per cent and 1 per cent will cost the citizens of this country hundreds of millions of rupees in losses in a coal import contract. As this newspaper reports in columns on this page and elsewhere, that was the almost un-noticeable alteration that has apparently been surreptitiously made by some scheming individuals to a coal supplies import contract to service the country's struggling thermal power sector. Fraud is a typical instrument of more..

Govt must rule, not a mob

Aug 7 (SL) The duty of an Opposition in a democracy is to oppose. But the ways and means of opposing must conform to democratic traditions. Even though the democratic concepts of freedom of expression and freedom of movement permit staging of public demonstrations on roads and other public places they must conform to prevalent law and order and must not hinder public movement or implementation of govt policy. Primary duty of an elected govt is obviously to govern country more..

Water for Dry Zone farmers

Aug 7 (SO) Green Climate Fund (GCF), the main international funding body for climate action, last week, during its 13th Board meeting approved a funding facility of USD 38.1 million for Sri Lanka for its proposal on strengthening the resilience of Smallholder Farmers in the Dry Zone to Climate Variability and Extreme Events in SL. Sri Lanka's proposal prepared by Ministry of Mahaweli Development with the assistance of UNDP more..

Tea travails

Aug 7 (Island) SL, as is well known, lived for a long time from its tea industry which is today deep in the doldrums earning a fraction of what it used to do in what old timers are fond of calling the good old days. Tea is no longer the countryís main foreign exchange earner. Remittances mainly from blue collar workers, the majority slaving in inhospitable climes to break our of the poverty trap at home, and from the garment industry have long overtaken what tea brings into the country. more..

Of morality, profligac and a nation between

Aug 7 (CT) In a less publicized low profile event at the BMICH on 3 August, President Maithripala Sirisena in a short address underscored the rampant extent to which political immorality has permeated every strata of life in this country. In what was a veiled reference to the antics of the JO the President told a pretty large gathering at Asoka Vidyalaya that, I quote: "No one will be allowed to hide behind laws, rights or privileges to promote indiscipline or promote misbehaviour." more..

'Paada Yathra was nothing but a big joke'

Aug 7 (SL) JVP North Western Provincial Councillor and ACFF/ACPU National Organizer, Namal Karunaratne, is of the view that the Joint Opposition Paada Yathra is nothing but an attempt to stop the investigations going into their corrupt activities in the former regime. He said the JO is trying to show the officials of the various bodies who engage in investigations that itís only a matter of time until this govt is thrown out more..

Food Safety Issues rise in Colombo

Aug 7 (ST) This newspaperís News Desk has been following up on Public Health issues for some time, and their ongoing reports should raise concerns among Colombo residents, both the affluent, and the not-so, because of the declining standards in the monitoring of food establishments, from the humble buth kades to the restaurants of five-star hotels. There is a lot of debate about the delay in holding LG elections and whether the representatives of the countryís Municipalities, Urban Councils and more..

A tired march

Aug 7 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you after seeing you in the paada yathra last week Ė although, for you at least, it was more a jeep yathra than a paada yathra. Therefore, I hope you donít have blisters on your feet- something Maithri was very worried about, given his concern for your wellbeing. As you know very well, Mahinda maama, this is not the first time we saw a march of this nature. In fact, the first such march was held almost 60 years ago, when JR tried to march more..

Ravi Karunanayake

Falling tea prices & lower production hurt Ceylon Tea Brokers

Aug 7 (Island) Ceylon Tea Brokers, the countryís first stand-alone tea broking company to be listed on CSE, has posted a modest after tax profit of Rs. 25.94 million in the year ended March 31, 2016, down from Rs. 54.74 million the previous year, and the lowest in five years. "The sharp decline in tea prices reflected by the auction averages as well as the lower production figures contributed to the overall disappointing results compared to the previous two years," more..

Sri Lankaís once-tailor shop garment sector now makes its own brands

Aug 7 (ST) SL brands are quietly entering the global platform to compete with internationally renowned apparel wear with the latest being plans by Emerald to enter the African continent next year. A company that has completed 60 years in specializing in menís wear, Emerald will be entering Kenya and South Africa mid next year, Group Managing Director A.F.M. Ikram said on the sidelines of a media briefing held to announce its promotional plans to mark its anniversary celebrations this year. more..

Wiggy on dirty mission as PM Ranil plans to seal deal with China?

Aug 7 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena who met a group of students, academic staff and parents of Jaffna University last Friday in Colombo, requested the students to engage in studies without any fear and suspicion as the security and safety of the university has been assured. They discussed about the conflict that took place at the university recently, and the programme carried out for the security of the students. more..

Sportsman hyped and a Sportswoman griped

Aug 7 (SO) This cat is interested in all sports and if time permits, watches cricket matches. She is, however, passionate about justice and fair play and sports, as sports, should be indulged in similarly. She grew up in a right-thinking age when sports meant fair play; team games were played to give a good game to the opponents and spectators, not to win at any cost. Politicians were out of it then. This cat was Games Captain in her school in Kandy and that meant a whole lot of responsibility and more..

Uprising against VAT planned

Aug 7 (Island) JOís pada yathra which reached Colombo on Monday continued to be commented on by both the opposition and the govt during the week. JO was making obviously exaggerated claims about the participation (as marchers and spectators) saying that well over two million people participated in the pada yathra in one way or the other. Govt on the other hand was trying to portray the pada yathra as a flop. Truth lies somewhere in between. This pada yathra was no flop. more..

Sudden removal of professionals causes stir in education

Aug 7 (SO) The sudden removal of professionals in the National Institute of Education (NIE) Governing Council, a move independent observers dubbed unethical and arbitrary, questions the good governance policies of the Education Ministry. Late last week, frantic efforts were made at the Education Ministry to find fitting personalities to fill the vacant seats, with four names being proposed so far. The officials argue, more..

This team showed maturity says coach Sudath Sampath

Aug 7 (ST) Sri Lankan Sevens Rugby is on cloud nine after a scintillating performance by set of youngsters donning the Under 20 national jersey. The youngsters went on to lift the first leg of the Asian Sevens under 20 Championships at Johor in Malaysia last week. The team led by former Peterite Kevin Dixon started tournament with a bang by knocking off Philippines 22-5 and Thailand 31-5. Then after a fierce battle, the lads lost to the Japanese 14-19 in a close encounter. more..

MR to boycott SLFP confab

Aug 7 (SL) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to boycott the SLFP convention next month, sources close to the former President said. The SLFP is to hold a convention on September 4 in Kurunegala, the party announced last week. Several key decisions are expected to be taken at the party convention. When asked if Rajapaksa will be invited for the convention, SLFP Treasurer S.B. Dissanayake said that since Rajapaksa is an advisor of the party, he will be invited. more..

Nallur Festival commences on August 8

Aug 7 (NS) Divine worship has sustained mankind for centuries. Religious faith continues to enhance the lifestyle of the Northern people. Ancient SL once boasted of pancha ishwaram Ė five magnificent temples dedicated to Shiva along the coastal regions. Naguleswaram in the North, Ketheeswaram in the North West, Koneswaram in the East, Munneswaram in the West and Tondeswaram in the South. more..

Dissident SLFPers face the axe

Aug 7 (SL) At least 46 SLFP organisers are to be removed on disciplinary grounds as the Party continues to crack the whip on those working against the party leadership. SLFP sources said that the party organisers facing the axe include most of those who participated in the Paada Yathra organised by the joint opposition recently. SLFP Central Committee had on Thursday decided to take disciplinary action on several party members. Decision was taken when the SLFP more..

SL v Australia: Surveying the wreckage

Aug 7 (ABC) If you get a moment, it is worth watching some video of Steve Smith's press conference after Australia lost at Galle. His team more than lost, it was wiped off the field by SL in less than half the allotted time. It was urgent and relentless, a slow-motion avalanche, people running in treacle but without the time to think. In the presser, Smith looks poleaxed. Stunned. A fortnight ago he had never lost a match as captain, was handed the trophy for best team in the world, more..

Sri Lanka topples Singapore to meet Malaysian in 10th Asian Netball final

Aug 7 (ST) Sri Lanka created a major upset in the ongoing 10th Asian Senior Netball Championships in Bangkok, Thailand when they toppled reigning champions Singapore 36-30 in the first semi-final yesterday. Singapore was the reigning champions in 2012 and 2014 in the competitions held in Colombo and Singapore respectively. A close fight was witnessed in the game with SL taking the first quarter 10-7; more..

Nawa Kalakaruwo: A celebration of emerging artists and contemporary art

Aug 7 (Island) The 20th edition of The George Keyt Foundationís annual Nawa Kalakaruwo exhibition was opened last week at the JDA Perera Gallery, University of Visual and Performing Arts. The event is a celebration of Sri Lankaís emerging artists and contemporary art. Participants, who are selected from across the country, are chosen from the Foundationís annual Kala Pola and Young Contemporaries exhibitions. Since 1988, The George Keyt Foundation has more..

Govt stumped by coal fraud

Aug 7 (SO) The Paada Yaathra, organised by the UPFA rebel group last week, was a hot topic among SLFP seniors over the past few days with the party Central Committee deciding to initiate stern action against those who violated party discipline. Before the SLFP Central Committee meeting on Thursday night, a group of SLFP seniors held several rounds of discussion with the President over the partyís future course of action in the light of the rebel groupís Paada Yaatra. more..

Abolishing of room rates: Boon or bane?

Aug 7 (SL) With the govt recently announcing the abolishing of the minimum room rates imposed for Colombo City hotels with effect from April 1, 2017, the industry is yet to see the full impact of the end of the room rate regime. The imposition of minimum room rates came into effect under the then Rajapaksa regime following the conclusion of the three-decade civil war and the resultant boom in tourist arrivals. more..

MR visits Seoul Grand Zoo

Aug 7 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who left for South Korea on a six-day tour visited the Seoul Grand Zoo to see Sugala and Gajaba, the elephants presented to the Zoo by him in 2012. Sugala and Gajaba now have a baby elephant. President Rajapaksa was invited to name the baby elephant. The former president was accompanied by MP Dullas Alahapperuma, Bandula Gunawardena, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Piyal Nishantha, Lohan more..

Thriving dog meat trade in Kataragama

Aug 7 (CT) Places of worship are considered sacrosanct sites dedicated to those observing religious practices. Kataragama, one of the holiest places in Sri Lanka for both Buddhists and Hindus, draws a large number of devotees on a daily basis. However, in this holy town, a number of shady businesses are being carried out, supposedly unbeknown to the authorities. One such business is the illegal trade of game meat, such as wild boar and venison. more..

Chinaís No. 2 bank here soon

Aug 7 (CT) Bank of China, fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalization, and the second largest overall lender in China, will be established in Colombo to operate as its South Asian Headquarters. Bank of China is also the most globally-active of all China's banks and is China's most internationalized and diversified bank. It serves customers across the Chinese mainland as well as in 41 countries and regions and has hitherto more..

SL urgently needs a mini budget: JVP leader

Aug 7 (ST) Sri Lankaís 2016 budget has become a non-entity after eight months of its presentation in parliament following sweeping changes made to it by the PM in March this year and some amendments proposed by the President last year. The implementation of the tax proposals has been hampered due to the delay in the enactment of tax amendment bills in Parliament. This bitter truth in the current status of revenue collection in the country was disclosed by JVP Leader Anura Kumara more..

Independent port regulator for SL ports

Aug 7 (ST) The govt is looking at the possibility of establishing an independent port regulator. Sri Lanka Ports Authority Managing Director Sarath Premachandra said that there were plans to create an independent regulatory body to maintain quality competitiveness at the Colombo port among the three operators. He made this announcement during the International Trade and Logistics Ė Leveraging on Location session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit in Colombo. more..

U.S. to assist in drafting new SL Constitution

Aug 7 (Island) US says it wants to partner with the Sri Lankan military while assisting the govt in drafting a new constitution and meeting commitments it had made to the UNHRC with regard to accountability issues. UNHRC endorsed resolution has called for the establishment of an independent domestic mechanism to probe allegations of war crimes against previous Rajapaksa govt and LTTE especially during more..

Calls for compulsory voting

Aug 7 (NS) Election Commission of Sri Lanka (ECSL) has proposed amendments to the laws to expand the electoral register by way of a supplementary register and to bring in legislation to penalize those who intentionally fail to register as voters and fail to exercise their universal franchise. ECSL is presently in talks with the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education and have had several rounds of discussions to introduce politics, in relation to meaning of more..

Japan provides Waste Collection Trucks

Aug 7 (Island) Japanese Ambassador Kenichi Suganuma handed over 12 waste collection trucks to V.K.A. Anura, Commissioner, Colombo Muncipal Council (CMC), in the presence of Isura Devapriya, Chief Minister of Western Province, at an official handing over ceremony held at the CMC premises. Project for Upgrading Waste Collection Trucks in Colombo" under Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGP), was implemented by Solid Waste Management Division of CMC. more..

Prime candidate for FCID inquiry: Dumindaís ministry pays Rs 21 M building rental

Aug 7 (CT) Ministry of Agriculture is renting a building to house its offices at a monthly cost of Rs 21 million since 8 April 2016. Building is located at No. 288, Rajagiriya. However, despite enormous sum paid as rental every month, so far the building has not been put to any use. The ministry can only use the building after renovation, which will take at least a year. For that period too, ministry will pay the rental from public coffers. more..