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Esala Weerakoon to assume office as Foreign Secretary

Aug 1 (Island) Esala Weerakoon will assume office as new Foreign Secretary in Colombo today. Weerakoon has been SL High Commissioner to India for a little over eight months. He and his wife Krishanti flew back home on Saturday night. Ms Chitranganni Wagiswara completes her tenure as Foreign Secretary on Sunday. On Friday night, Indian Foreign Secretary Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar hosted a dinner for Weerakoon more..

March won’t save MR, others from criminal investigations: Purawesi Balaya

Aug 1 (Island) Joint convenor of Purawesi Balaya Gamini Viyangoda alleged that former President Rajapaksa had paved the way for int'l intervention by protecting perpetrators of about a dozen major incidents, including the killing of five students in Trincomalee in January 2006 and the massacre of 17 NGO workers at Muttur in August 2006. Purawesi Balaya campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential polls more..

Embers stirred in coal tenders

Aug 1 (DN) The govt has incurred an estimated Rs. 200 to Rs. 300 million loss from the three spot tenders awarded to Liberty Commodities Ltd during 2015/2016 to supply coal to the Lakvijaya Power Plant, Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda said. He said this was revealed during an internal audit carried out by the ministry. He said he had written to Lanka Coal Company (LCC) Chairman to more..

10 years since aid worker massacre in Muttur

Aug 1 (HRW) Sri Lankan authorities have not brought to justice those responsible for the execution-style slaying of 17 aid workers a decade ago this week, Human Right Watch said. On August 4, 2006, gunmen murdered local staff members from the Paris-based Action Contre La Faim (Action Against Hunger, ACF) at their compound in the town of Muttur, in eastern Trincomalee district. more..

SL envoy eyes LNG imports from Qatar

Aug 1 (GT) The SL ambassador said that he is exploring the potential benefits of his country importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. Ambassador WM Karunadasa said SL’s current LNG needs are met through imports from Iran and Iraq, among other suppliers, but not Qatar. “I plan to propose this during SL President Sirisena’s state visit to Qatar in latter part of the year. My aim is to push for signing of more agreements, more..

Court refuses to issue notice to 11 Joint Opposition MPs

Aug 1 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate today refused to issue notice to 11 Joint Opposition Parliamentarians for allegedly disobeying a court order and continuing a protest against the Central Bank Governor near the Regal Cinema. The police requested the court to issue the MPs’ notice via the Speaker of parliament, stating that the 11 MPs had allegedly disobeyed court order and continued the protest. more..

Another ministerial office rental scam under Yahapalanaya

Aug 1 (SL) Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation and Resettlement has come under fire for renting a building at a cost of Rs. 5 million per month which has remained unoccupied for nearly two months. It was alleged that a building located in Kollupitiya was selected by the tender committee two months ago as the ministry office; however the newly rented building seems to be unoccupied to date. more..

Paranagama awaits Maithri’s call

Aug 1 (CT) The need to establish an Office for the Missing Persons (OMP) would not have ideally arisen had the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP) was allowed to continue, Chairman of the Commission, Maxwell Paranagama said. While noting the Bill to establish an Office for the OMP was more of a political move by the govt to assert the latter's stability, more..

A divine call to end narcotic menace

Aug 1 (CT) His Eminence Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo has made a fervent appeal to end the narcotic menace in the island at an event held at Ragama last Saturday. Cardinal along with several other Catholic priests and a large number of church goers conducted a march also at Ragama to create awareness on the ill-effects of narcotics on the society. Awareness march conducted by Cardinal started at the St. Peter and Paul Church Ragama and concluded at Basilica Ground, more..

'Bopage is a Rajapaksa mole making govt unpopular'

Aug 1 (CT) Several senior Cabinet Ministers have complained to PM that Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage is acting like the Mahinda Abeysundara of the new govt. Abeysundara, widely known for his disastrous propaganda strategies, contributed to the downfall of Rajapaksa administration by making the govt unpopular among edicated, urban middle class voters. Abeysundara died a few months before former President Rajapaksa’s defeat at presidential election. more..

It's my turn now; don't bark; wait for your turn

'Got to be better at decision-making'

Aug 1 (CI) Australia's batsmen were guilty of poor decisions to squander their first innings advantage and begin the slide to defeat against Sri Lanka at Pallekele, while the left-arm spinner Jon Holland is all but assured of a Test debut in Galle. The coach Darren Lehmann offered these conclusions as he set about working with the captain Steven Smith to keep the tourists in the series and atop the world rankings. Lehmann has always emphasised the need for big first-innings runs, more..

Shariyah & Modernity

Aug 1 (CT) Muslim Personal Law (MPL) in Sri Lanka that governs the family affairs of the Muslims which specifically includes marriage, divorce and inheritance and exclusively applicable to the Muslims is supplementary to the general law of the country. There are such supplementary family laws like Kandyan Law and Thesavalamai Law that governs the family affairs of Kandyan Sinhalese and Jaffna Tamils respectively. The MPL derived from Shariah, a legal and customary system, more..

Video: Minister alleged to have 45 advisers should explain: Ranjan

Aug 1 (DM) The ministers do not need to have 45 advisers and if any minister who is alleged to have appointed such a large number should clarify the matter, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. He said that a minister should not appoint a large number of advisers and if anyone of them had appointed such a large number he should come out and reveal the real reason for doing so. “The present govt should not follow in the footsteps of more..

Case against Prasanna Ranatunga, wife and one other fixed for August 30

Aug 1 (DN) The case against former Gampaha district Parliamentarian Prasanna Ranatunga, his wife Maureen Ranatunga and one other, was fixed for August 30 today. The three are charged with threatening a businessman over the phone and demanding Rs.64 million from him. The Court was informed that the third accused Naresh Kumar Fareek was evading Court. Accordingly, Colombo HC Judge Manilal Waidyatilleke decided to conduct an inquiry in this, on next hearing date. more..

Is Paada Yathra targeted at forming family rule? Ruwan

Aug 1 (DM) The joint opposition’s Paada Yathra was not in any manner a challenge to the govt and the only question the government had to ask was whether their attempt was targeted at a comeback to form a family rule again, Defence State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said yesterday. He told the media during a spectacle distribution ceremony for school children held at the Bandaranaike Vidyalaya in Gampaha, that it was in question what the joint opposition’s Paada Yathra was meant for. more..

Sri Lanka to revamp, double refinery capacity: oil minister

Aug 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka plans to upgrade its sole oil refinery and double its capacity to boost output and to reduce the cost of importing refined fuels, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. SL is home to a single oil refinery, CPC's decades-old 50,000 barrels-per-day plant. It was originally configured to run on Iranian crude and SL had to import more refined oil products after U.S. sanctions caused it to stop crude imports from Iran. more..

FAO supports training of young medical practitioners in promoting healthy diets

Aug 1 (Island) The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is collaborating with the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM), Colombo, to organize training for young medical doctors who are future leaders in the field of nutrition care in Sri Lanka. In August 2016, as part of the MSc in Human Nutrition course offered by the PGIM, learners will follow the FAO Education for Effective Nutrition in Action (ENACT) course on nutrition education. more..

In a desperate bid Rajapaksa calls PM to request ground for Jana Satana rally

Aug 1 (AM) Former President Rajapaksa gave a phone call this morning to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to request a ground for the Jana Satana Paada Yathra rally this afternoon, sources said. PM had informed Rajapaksa that he needed to speak to the President regarding the matter. Sources close to the PM said the latter then spoke to the President on Rajapaksa's request. After PM's telephone call, President Sirisena had instructed authorities to comply with the request more..

Video: Heavy traffic as JO Pada Yatra enters Colombo

Aug 1 (AD) Severe traffic congestion has been reported along the Baseline Road as the protest march being staged by the Joint Opposition is heading towards Dematagoda. The protest march, which has been dubbed Jana Satana Pada Yatra, commenced from Peradeniya on Thursday with the participation of Joint Opposition MPs and former President Rajapaksa. Final meeting of the march was scheduled to more..

Attempts to create rifts within Buddhist chapters to be probed: PM

Aug 1 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that the govt would appoint a presidential commission to investigate whether anyone had tried to create schisms within the various Buddhist chapters. "We will appoint a presidential commission to determine whether anyone tried to create divisions within the Malwatte Chapter," he said. “A person could be stripped of his civic rights if he is found to have worked towards a division within the chapters of the Maha Sangha." more..

Basil Rajapaksa further remanded

Aug 1 (AD) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who was arrested and remanded on charges of misappropriation of state funds, has been further remanded till August 8 by the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court. He was arrested by FCID on July 18 regarding the supply of building materials to district councils when he was a minister of Economic Development and remanded till Aug 1. Rajapaksa was admitted to the Merchants Ward of the National Hospital in Colombo more..

New Secretaries to 3 Ministries appointed

Aug 1 (PMD) New Secretaries have been appointed for three Cabinet Ministries and they received their letters of appointment from the Secretary to the President, P.B. Abeykoon at the Presidential Secretariat today. New Secretaries were appointed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Administration and Management and Ministry of Postal Services respectively. Asela Weerakoon has been appointed as more..

Foreign investors buy strongly into SL bonds

Aug 1 (EN) Foreign investors bought Rs9.4 billion in rupee bonds in the week to July 27, in a second week of strong purchases, as confidence returned in the wake of a successful bond sale and a deal with the IMF. The total stock of gilts held by foreign investors rose to Rs288 billion on July 27 from Rs279 billion a week earlier. In the week to July 20, foreign investors bought Rs19 billion of bonds. By the beginning of May 2016, foreign investor bond holdings was down to Rs220 billion. more..

Police turns down rescuer’s request

Aug 1 (DN) A man from Thalpe, who risked his life to save four foreigners from drowning in the sea, had reportedly spent several hours at the Karapitiya hospital in his underwear after Police had refused to accompany him in their vehicle, back to the village. The man who had led the residents in the rescue mission had accompanied the victims to the Karapitiya Hospital. However, Police had reportedly turned down a request by the man for transport back home, noting that they had more work more..

Aviation safety remains our top priority: Prez

Aug 1 (PMD) “My govt is committed without any reservations to upgrade, develop and maintain the domestic aviation industry in conformity with the applicable international standards. All possible measures will be taken for their effective implementation to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and economy”, said President Sirisena addressing 53rd Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation of Asia & Pacific States more..

Monk arrested over sexual assault on soldier

Aug 1 (AD) A monk has been arrested by Madampe police for sexually assaulting an army soldier over a period of 3 days. The police arrested a 25 year old monk who was residing in a temple at Sethsirigama, Madampe. The victim is a 25 year old army soldier attached to the Kanagarayamkulam army camp in Vavuniya who is a resident of Hikkaduwa. The victim and the monk had built a friendship over Facebook and over time had exchanged information using the social media website. more..

Sri Lankan shares end higher

Aug 1 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended higher on Monday driven by foreign buying in Commercial Bank of Ceylon on hopes of higher profits after the recent policy rate hike announcement by the central bank. Last week, the central bank raised its key interest rates by 50 basis points to more than two-year high each in a surprise move aimed at curbing stubbornly high credit growth that is adding to concern about inflationary pressures. Top-listed lender Commercial Bank rose 3.1% more..

'First day of pada yatra cost Rs. 18 million'

Aug 1 (DN) PM Ranjan Ramanayake said that first day of the Joint Opposition organised Jana Satana Pada Yatra incurred a cost of Rs. 18 million: “It has been revealed that an expenditure of Rs. 18 million has been incurred on the first day of pada yatra. The investigations pertaining to this will commence soon by the FCID. I am making these allegations with proof,” he said. He added that media should also engage in uncovering the wrongs more..

Sri Lanka has demand for higher yielding financial instruments: Nandalal

Aug 1 (LBO) Central Bank Deputy Governor says there is an ample demand among insurance companies, provident funds and other institutional investors in the country for higher yielding new financial instruments. Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe highlighted that Sri Lanka needs to further deepen the corporate debt market to fulfill the additional funding needs faced by local corporates. “There is likely to be plenty of demand among insurance companies, provident funds and more..

Wife axes husband to death after quarrel over mistress

Aug 1 (DN) A mother of three was arrested by Police at Thrikkovil, Ampara for murdering her husband with an axe. According to Police, the 42-year-old husband who arrived home intoxicated with alcohol had quarreled with his wife. The wife later is said to have attacked her husband with an axe while he was asleep. The wife told Police that her husband was having an affair with another woman and they had often quarreled over the matter. The wife had said she had come to know that more..

Case against Sudarman, Palpita, nine others, referred to AG

Aug 1 (DN) The case against former Deputy General Manager of the ITN Sudarman Radaliyagoda, former TRC Director General Anusha Palpita and nine others, has been referred to the Attorney General (AG) for advise. Police Children and Women's Bureau informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Thilina Gamage of the fact when the case was take up today. The case against the former Deputy General Manager of ITN, more..

Australia v SL 2nd Test: Groundsman bans Galle wicket pictures

Aug 1 (CT) The wicket for the second Test is expected to take spin but the local groundsman was doing his best on Monday to keep that a secret. Fairfax Media was at the picturesque coastal ground early for Sri Lankan training and headed to the centre wicket to check how the deck was shaping up ahead of Thursday's pivotal clash. But having watched Fairfax Media take a picture of a firm wicket still with a greenish tinge, the groundsman dashed out and ordered the photograph be deleted. more..

Committee report on controversial coal purchase handed over

Aug 1 (AD) The report of the three-member committee appointed to look into tender procedure for the purchase of coal for the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai has been handed over to Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. The committee comprising Prof. K.K.Y.W. Perera, Prof. Lakshman Watawala and Prof. Janaka B. Ekanayake was appointed by the minister on July 13. Minister says that the report will be presented to Parliament and relased to the media in the near future. more..

A fight by SL Tamil refugees demanding freedom and opportunities in India

Aug 1 (NM) Fleeing for their lives, Dharmalingam Raja and his wife made their way to TN in 1990 from SL, where civil war had broken out between LTTE and Lankan military. 26 years on, the refugee couple neither have any savings to return to the island-nation nor are able to lead a normal life in the Tamil Nadu. 57-year-old, Dharmalingam, a daily wage labourer and his wife Nageshwari live in a refugee camp in Chennai. more..

Containing communal conflict vital for economic development

Aug 2 (ST) The violence at the University of Jaffna on July 16th has brought to the forefront once again the need to contain communal conflict to ensure the progress of the economy. It is imperative to nip in the bud such communal tensions that could ruin economic growth once again. Another setback to the economy due to communal violence at a time when the country is grappling with a serious crisis in its external finances could be catastrophic. Ethnic conflict has been the most serious more..

Opposition protest march consolidates govt alliance

Aug 2 (CT) Determination with which the opposition parties pursued their protest march was not an indication of their strength. The march seemed to make little sense even as it wended its way down the hills from Kandy, last kingdom of Sinhalese to Colombo, present capital. Symbolism was apposite for one of the main slogans of the protest marchers was the betrayal of the country to foreign forces. There were many onlookers though relatively few of them joined in the march. more..

Are we poisoning our babies?

Aug 2 (SO) They come in different brands with beguiling names and claims: organic infant formula with iron; only organic DHA & ARA formula; Best milk to start life; the ideal milk with 22 nutrients for growing kids. Each of them has a different claim but their collective message to new mothers out there is quite simply, “We can provide your baby the right amounts of nutrients he needs from birth and beyond.” more..

Yes, enough is enough, Mr foreign minister

Aug 2 (CT) I write to refute a statement made with direct reference to me, by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in the course of his response to former President Rajapaksa in the newspapers of Monday August 1st 2016 under the caption Enough is Enough. I have no intention of replying to Minister Samaraweera’s counter-critique of President Rajapaksa’s critical remarks on the structure of the Office of Missing Persons. However, as a student of comparative international politics more..

Editorial: A welcome march

Aug 2 (Island) People usually don’t take kindly to protest marches, which are a public nuisance. They gnash their teeth and utter expletives when roads get congested. But, a walk we witnessed the other day was an exception. All right-thinking people must have welcomed it wholeheartedly. In fact, the public must be encouraged to take part in such campaigns for the sake of the country. A group of religious leaders, representing all faiths, staged a walk in Ragama on Sunday against the proliferation more..