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Sapugaskanda upgrade project suspended; alternative at Hambantota

Aug 14 (ST) A US$ 2 billion project to upgrade the Sapugaskanda oil refinery has been shelved, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Minister Chandima Weerakkody had submitted the proposal prepared by experts to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management. Mr. Karunanayake said the proposal was turned down as fundraising measures were not viable and a more viable one would be submitted later. Petroleum Ministry had proposed the formation of a limited company, more..

Australia lists Tamil Eelam in census

Aug 14 (ST) Angry protests from Sri Lankans domiciled in Australia and the High Commission there forced the withdrawal of Australia’s Bureau of Statistics (ABS), giving an option, particularly to those of Tamil origin, to declare whether they are from Tamil Eelam when responding to a query on their country of birth. This is for a national census now under way. The Govt agency has taken the step despite Canberra placing a ban on the LTTE. more..

Armed guards on trains to prevent attacks

Aug 14 (ST) Armed Railway guards were deployed on the Jaffna-bound train yesterday after a series of attacks including Friday’s tragedy where a passenger was killed when he was hit by a bottle thrown at the Vavuniya-bound train. Railways General Manger B.A.P Ariyaratna said that the Railways took this decision after a series of attacks, including an incident where a train passenger, an education officer, was killed when he was hit by a bottle which was thrown at the train. more..

Turkish Airlines and Garuda interested in SriLankan Airlines

Aug 14 (ST) Four airlines – Turkish Airlines, Hainan – China’s largest privately-owned air transport firm, Japan’s ANA and Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines – have shown interest in crisis-hit SriLankan Airlines which is looking for a partner. BNP Paribas and KPMG appointed as transaction advisors in Sri Lankan Airlines’ quest to find a strategic partner have tapped a number of foreign airlines in creating an appetite towards a partnership with the debt-ridden national carrier. more..

Huge projects on launch pad, but govt stuck in VAT trap for daily revenue

Aug 14 (ST) Govt’s controversial VAT increase was mired in a further controversy this week. SC determined that the VAT Amendment draft Bill was placed in Parliament violating the mandatory procedure laid down in the Constitution. It is a Minister who should introduce Bills or Motions in respect of fiscal matters, court said, noting that they are approved by the Cabinet. In this instance, to put it plainly, draft Bill did not bear a tag more..

What’s in a name? Port City Renamed

Aug 14 (Island) Whatever the name, Port City or Colombo International Financial City, the sweet smell of Chinese cash has proved irresistible to the new govt, just as it was to the old regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. After receiving a second cabinet approval on Aug 1, 2016, the old Port City project has been renamed and relaunched under a new Tripartite Agreement signed two days ago. The creation of the artificial landmass accretion betwixt the Galle Face Green and more..

A deeper state of mind

Aug 14 (Island) So he was glad the war was finished. But as for the notion of Eelam itself, that will never be gone, he said, looking suddenly intense, old and bitter. But we can’t speak of it; we have not the power. Those that have the power can say. What can we say? We can’t say. But it will never be gone. Mr. Arayappan, quoted by Mark Whitaker in his essay featured in Sri Lanka: The Struggle for Peace in the Aftermath of War, edited by Amarnath Amarasingam and Daniel Bass. more..

President to address NAM summit and UNGA next month

Aug 14 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena will be packing his bags next month to fly to two major talk-fests: The Non-Aligned (NAM) Summit in Caracas, Venezuela and the annual UN General Assembly sessions in New York. After participating in the 17th NAM summit on Sept 17 and 18, he will be heading to the UN where on Sept 21 he is scheduled to address the 71st session of the General Assembly. more..

Indian trawlers won’t be released, but talks to resume

Aug 14 (ST) Sri Lanka has rejected a fresh request from India to release 129 Indian fishing trawlers seized by the Navy for poaching — but has agreed to resume fresh talks between the fishermen associations of the two countries. A formal reply to the request has been sent in response to two requests from the Indian External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi. They were conveyed through diplomatic channels to Foreign Ministry which sought more..

Call to cancel confusing coal deals

Aug 14 (SL) The report of the three-member committee, appointed by the Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, on whether there was a loss or damage to the government due to the decision on the purchase of coal is out, but is causing confusion yet again in the energy sector. Minister Siyambalapitiya has informed parliament that no loss has been incurred through the controversial coal transaction. more..

Good news in pipeline from Uma Oya project

Aug 14 (Island) Iran and SL are one step closer to finishing the multi-million dollar Uma Oya project, one of the biggest development schemes in the South Asian island, despite the unexpected challenges that led to delays. The venture aims to provide water for drinking, industrial activities, irrigation schemes in southeastern SL and generate much needed hydro-electric power. Engineers have finished excavating a cavern 800m more..

Hydra-headed drug mafia

Aug 14 (CT) A momentous milestone marked the history of the SL pharmaceutical industry on 6 March 2015 when Parliament passed the much debated National Medical Regulatory Authority (NMRA) Act, under the standing order 43: (A) with a division of 68 Ayes and one Nays. After the circuitous decade-long discussion on the national medicine policy (which came to be known as Prof. Senaka Bibile policy), NMRA Act was a giant more..

COPE opens can of worms

Aug 14 (CT) The latest COPE report cites massive misappropriations of public funds and assets of an aggregate 19 public enterprises between the period 2013 and 2016. Many public establishments have violated management regulations. Except for a couple of them, others have not even considered the COPE recommendations. COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti, on 9 Aug tabled COPE report more..

Diplomat at embassy in US defrauds over US$ 100,000

Aug 14 (SL) A diplomat at the Sri Lankan embassy in the US had defrauded over USD 100,000 when the former govt was in office. The Ministry said that information in this regard had surfaced when investigating trips made to the UN by govt delegations in the past. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had last week tabled in Parliament a report containing details of trips made to the UN by govt delegations since 2005. more..

Top diaspora group tells govt to build on momentum

Aug 14 (CG) Global Tamil Forum (GTF) welcomed the passing of the Office of the Missing Persons Bill (OMP) in Parliament saying this is an important first step towards achieving accountability, justice and reconciliation in SL. “We commend the leadership shown by the govt in taking this initiative, which, if effectively implemented, could help thousands of families to trace and investigate about their missing loved ones and more..

No freehold land, but 83,000 jobs, US$13 billion in new financial city: Ministry

Aug 14 (ST) No freehold land will be granted to the Project Company of the Colombo International Financial Centre (CIFC) under the new tripartite agreement which was signed on Friday, the Government said. Issuing a statement to mark the signing of the agreement for the CIFC, formerly known as the Colombo Port City (CPC), the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry also said entire reclaimed area of 269 hectares more..

'Office on missing persons not aimed at targeting army'

Aug 14 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena has made it clear that his govt’s move to set up an office to find about 65,000 people reported missing during the civil war was not aimed at targeting the security forces but for the redressal of those affected by the strife. “Those who claim that this Office on Missing Persons (OMP) would betray the security forces, I would like to tell them that I am ready to meet them and argue our case,” more..

OMP Bill passed, Parliament failed

Aug 14 (Island) The highlight of last week’s Parliamentary proceedings was the passage of the Bill on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) on Thursday. The debate was obviously important for all parties. For the Govt, the passage of the bill meant coming good on at least one many promises it had made to the international community. For the JVP and TNA, it was a promise made to their respective constituencies, the most aggrieved in this context from 1971 to 2009. more..

Beware of Americans bearing assistance

Aug 14 (Island) Last week’s Sunday Island news report captioned U.S. to assist in drafting a new Sri Lankan Constitution is indeed food for thought. US Ambassador Atul Keshap, during a reception on board USS New Orleans, docked in at Colombo Port on a goodwill visit, had reportedly held sway of his country’s desire to partner with the SL military while assisting the govt in drafting a new constitution and meeting commitments it had made to UNHRC with regard to accountability issues. more..

Malnutrition now invasive !

Aug 14 (CT) Malnutrition is known as one of the dangerous sicknesses as it is the lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating food which should be consumed, or being unable to digest the food that one eats. Many children and women in the world are suffering from malnutrition and govt aid in many countries is found to be inadequate. In Asian countries such as India, China and Pakistan a lot of children and more..

Dankotuwa Porcelain boosts India sales

Aug 14 (EN) Dankotuwa Porcelain, a Sri Lanka based tableware maker said it boosted sales to India 19% in 2016, and is facing competition in export markets by changing designs and catering to emerging trends. Dankotuwa had merged operations with Royal Fernwood Porcelain, another SL based manufacturer. In 2016 the firm reported profits of 50 million rupees, up from a loss of 11 million last year. At group level it lost 15.9 million rupees against a 157 million loss a year earlier. more..

Shaun Marsh the Peter Siddle of 2016

Aug 14 (CI) A year ago, almost to the day, Australia played a dead Test against England at The Oval. The touring team had been through the darkest of midlands valleys in Birmingham and Nottingham, losing the Ashes in a pair of humiliating defeats that exposed the XI as wholly unsuited to the conditions. But with the urn gone and critics sharpening their caustic prose, the team responded with a far better display in that final Test. They were helped in part by the conditions - it is harder to green up more..

Aus counter strongly after Chandimal ton

Aug 14 (CI) As a sign of what was to come, the first hour of this Test was less accurate than a horoscope. When SL collapsed to 26 for 5, nobody would have predicted they would go on to the highest total of the series. Nor, for that matter, that Australia would then bat as well as they have at any time on this tour. But that was the case, for after those first 5 wickets tumbled in roughly an hour, next 11 hours of Test have brought only 5 more. more..

PromoLanka Group awarded top quality summit accolade in New York

Aug 14 (LBN) PromoLanka Group was awarded the BID International Quality Summit Award in the Gold category for 2016, at a ceremony held in New York. The award was received by PromoLanka Group Chairman and Managing Director Azad Mansoor during the BID International Quality Summit Convention- a gathering of professionals and business leaders from around the world to recognise excellence in quality management. PromoLanka is the only Sri Lankan entity offering complete more..

OMP is a part of a larger process of transitional justice: NPC

Aug 14 (Island) The passage of the Office of Missing Persons bill (OMP), albeit in controversial circumstances in Parliament, augers well for the forward movement of the reconciliation process. The National Peace Council welcomes the new law, and the legal foundation of the first of the four transitional justice mechanisms that the govt has pledged to establish. We are disappointed that the Joint Opposition members failed to cooperate with the parliamentary process, more..

I finished three-quarters of war, Rajapaksa only quarter: CBK

Aug 14 (AD) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says that around three-quarters of Sri Lanka’s war against the LTTE was already finished while she was in power and that her successor Mahinda Rajapaksa only had to finish the remaining quarter. “Some people say that the head of the previous govt won the war and therefore the country should be handed over to him once again,” she said, more..

Examination frauds: Principals, officials soliciting bribes to be taken to task

Aug 14 (SO) School principals or any official caught taking bribes to support exam fraud will be reported to the Bribery Commission says Commissioner General of Examinations W.M.N.J Pushpakumara. According to investigations into the two principals of St. Xavier’s College and Al Hira Muslim Vidyalaya, Nattandiya, it is not clear whether they accepted bribes to permit students of other districts to fraudulently appear as candidates from these two schools, Pushpakumara said. more..

Elderly Sri Lankan goes missing from Indira Gandhi International Airport

Aug 14 (PTI) An elderly Sri Lankan pilgrim has gone missing after landing here at the IGI airport along with Buddhist pilgrims, police said on Saturday. Ramanayaga Mudiyanselage Jayasekara, in his late 60s or early 70s, is a resident of Sri Lanka's Mahiyangana town. He had arrived at the T-3 Terminal of the IGI airport from Colombo at 6.45 PM on Thursday along with a group of around 80 pilgrims but was later found missing, they said. "The information about the man was conveyed to more..

Asia region will control global economy soon: Ranil

Aug 14 (DM) States in the Bay of Bengal and those in the Asian region in general will take control of the global economy soon, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Hunag Jifan, the Mayor of Chong-Jing said on Saturday. The duo came out with this remark when they met each other for a discussion in Chong-Jing over a week end. “Bay of Bengal states and the states in Asia in general such as India, China, Japan and Singapore will more..

A true brew sommelier has spoken

Aug 14 (ENS) He dreamt about it for a long time. His resolve was enviable. At 55, almost 30 years from the time he first grew passionate about teas, Merril J Fernando introduced Dilmah teas that cocoons the essence of SL’s finest. More recently, at 86, he gave an impetus to his entrepreneurial spirit by launching Dilmah t Lounge in Khan Market. It brings you a delicious array of tea, tea-based beverages and tea-inspired foods. Through it all, Fernando hopes to bring back integrity to tea. more..

OMP: 7 members to be appointed shortly

Aug 14 (SO) Shortly after the Speaker signs the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP) Bill, making it law, the Constitutional Council (CC) is expected to recommend seven members to the OMP to begin its fact- finding mission. Minister Wijeyedasa Rajapakshe said Govt was doing the groundwork to set up the OMP within the coming weeks. President Sirisena will appoint the members to the OMP including the Chairman within a fortnight after the CC makes its recommendations. more..

Norway, Sri Lanka renew commitment to revitalize relationship

Aug 14 (CG) Norway and Sri Lanka have renewed their commitment to revitalize the relationship between both countries. The commitment was made during the just concluded visit to Sri Lanka by the PM of Norway, Erna Solberg. PM commenced a two-day official visit on 12 Aug. This official visit took place in her dual capacity as PM of Norway as well as co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocacy Group, an appointment more..

Pakistan CJ commends Sri Lanka’s initiatives on reconciliation, unity

Aug 14 (AD) The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali today commended the govt of Sri Lanka for taking admirable initiatives to promote interfaith harmony, reconciliation and national unity between all the segments of society. Justice Jamali, who is currently visiting Sri Lanka, was the chief guest on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day of Pakistan which was celebrated at the Pakistani High Commission in Colombo. While speaking on the occasion, more..

They have coined a new nickname for him

Aug 14 (DM) A senior Betel leaf purohita at Diyawanna council has earned a new nickname. This purohita often enjoying a nap at public functions hails from a faraway district, but most of his time is spent in the city. Often referred to as lucky ladies’ man, this purohita, despite being past his sixties is known to have a terrible weakness for the fairer sex. It is no secret that this senior stalwart does not hesitate, given a chance, to make a pass at a female employee on the staff or a female colleague more..

SAITM issue: Deans denounce SB’s denigrating remarks

Aug 14 (ST) Deans of eight state medical faculties have taken strong umbrage over a claim by Minister S. B. Dissanayake that the facilities at some of the medical faculties are lower than that of the SAITM. “We, the undersigned, are dismayed and disappointed about the detrimental remarks made recently by Minister S.B. Dissanayake, comparing medical faculties of state universities with that of SAITM,” more..

Passing of Missing Persons Bill a significant step forward: UK

Aug 14 (AD) The UK has welcomed the passing of the Office of Missing Persons Bill in the Sri Lankan Parliament, hailing it as a “significant step” forward on the path to reconciliation. “Its implementation will help the families of people who are missing across all Sri Lanka’s communities to establish the fate of their loved ones and to foster reconciliation,” a statement said. “We recognise that the Office will face a significant challenge resolving many thousands of cases.” more..

Every day a life is snuffed out in brutal tit for tat killings

Aug 14 (ST) At least one person is murdered in the most brutal manner somewhere in the country every day, latest statistics compiled by Police Department reveal. During the past six months 286 were murdered with most of the victims being shot dead, slashed by sharp weapons or strangled. In the latest incident reported on Friday night a businessman driving his son back home in his jeep was shot dead in the Ambalangoda area. Gunman who was in a car shot the businessman and drove away. more..

JHU hails OMP Act

Aug 14 (DM) The JHU while hailing the passage of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill in the Parliament on Friday said that the Act should be used to find out the fate of thousands of soldiers and police personnel who had been missing from the camps and police stations in Northern & Eastern Provinces. Western Provincial Councilor of JHU Nishantha Warnasunghe said that even many former LTTE more..

COPE wants fresh ministerial probe

Aug 14 (CT) Latest COPE report reveals that Sri Lanka has lost Rs 10.2 billion in the infamous Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) hedging deal at the time that the probe into the scam began. The report adds that the loss would exceed Rs 15 billion with future commitments on the deal. COPE says in its report that even members of the new Board of Directors of CPC who were appointed in October 2015 had failed to conduct a financial probe into the loss incurred in the hedging deal. more..

Kalpitiya land fraud exposed

Aug 14 (ST) The Govt has reacquired 200 acres of state lands at Aalankudawa in Kalpitiya following allegations that some former Pradeshiya Sabha members and a Provincial Councillor had used forged documents to lease them out to investors, an official said. Kalpitiya Divisional Secretary Sunanda Prasanna Herath said he had instructed these lands should be maintained by the Govt and that they should not be leased without approval from the Secretary to the Lands Ministry. more..