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JO questions EU on its silence on threat to democracy under present govt

Aug 22 (Island) The Joint Opposition alleges Colombo-based Western diplomatic mission has been silent on PM Ranil Wickremesinghe publicly threatening journalists by name on several occasions. A top level Joint Opposition delegation during a meeting with Deputy EU head of mission in Colombo Godfrey Paul recently explained that those who had been issuing statements at the drop of a hat regarding such matters during more..

Paranagama Panel suggests domestic judicial mechanism & accountable amnesty

Aug 22 (ENS) The Justice Maxwell Paranagama Commission which went into the issue of missing persons and violations of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the last brutal phase of Eelam War IV, has recommended the establishment of a domestic, all Sri Lankan, Judicial Mechanism to investigate and try cases of violation, and also a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which could give more..

Scared of corruption charges?: Duminda wants Maithri to seek a second term

Aug 22 (Island) The only person, capable of contesting the next presidential election successfully as the SLFP candidate, is President Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake says. "Neither Mahinda Rajapaksa nor Chandrika Kumaratunga can contest another presidential election due to the 19th Amendment. Some may not want to hear that though there are many among us who like those two leaders. more..

Facing challenges from Rajapaksa, Sirisena seeks blessings of Lord Venkateswara

Aug 22 (ENS) Facing a major challenge from former President Rajapaksa to his authority as the Chairman of SLFP, a challenge which could affect his chances in the crucial local bodies’ elections to be held early next year, President Sirisena went on a 2-day pilgrimage to Tirupathi, which concluded on Sunday. Sirisena visited the shrine of Lord Venkateswara twice, accompanied by wife Jayanthi & son Daham. more..

'Exposing MIG deal resulted in Lasantha’s death'

Aug 22 (DN) Journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was mysteriously killed soon after he revealed the corrupt deal involving the purchase of MIG jets during the previous regime, Health and Indigenous Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. “Although the value of each MIG jet purchased was mentioned as 14.6 million euros, almost 7/5 million euros of it had been pocketed by a certain big wig of the previous regime,” the minister said. more..

Prasanna asks President why he hid vital information

Aug 22 (Island) Convener of the Joint Opposition and Gampaha District MP Prasanna Ranatunga said President Maithripala Sirisena had done something wrong by covering up the secrets of his political opponents. Addressing the media at Udugampola after attending a meeting with party activists, Ranatunge said: "Now the President threatens to reveal secrets and wrongdoings of his political opponents. That means he has kept such information secret for a long time. more..

Top level decisions need to be backed by education on the ground

Aug 22 (CT) The visit to SL of Norwegian PM Erna Solberg was significant as it confirmed that the long and positive relationship that Norway has had with SL is back on track. The two visits earlier this year of Foreign Minister Børge Brende and Foreign Secretary Tore Hattrem (who had been Norwegian ambassador to SL during the last phase of the war) signaled the change. Relations between the two countries got strained after the Norwegian facilitated ceasefire agreement broke down. more..

They will never get prosecuted

Shares slip from 3-month closing high

Aug 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares closed slightly weaker on Monday after posting a three-month closing high in the previous session as investors booked profit in beverage and telecom stocks. Colombo stock index ended 0.12%, or 7.65 points, weaker at 6,594.59, after adding 1.23% last week in its third straight weekly gain. "The market came down on a bit of profit-taking," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd, adding that more..

Waking up Thirupathi deity

Aug 22 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena attended the Suprapatha Seva the ritual which is carried out in the wee hours at the Thirupathi Venkateshwara temple daily and the particular ritual is performed to wake up Venkateshwara, the main deity of one of the richest places of worship in the world Thirupathi in the State of Andhrapradesh in India. The deity of Thirupathi is more popular with the Sri Lankan politicians than with the Indian politicians. Even former President Rajapaksa visited more..

Video: Why hiding secrets, Anura asks Prez

Aug 22 (AD) President Mathripala Sirisena must reveal the secrets that he knows, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says. He was referring to a comment made by President who warned the members of the former govt that information kept as secrets so far would be disclosed if a new political party is formed. “It is not a secret that the President was referring to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his comment. more..

Cement production, imports sharply up

Aug 22 (EN) Cement production rose 19.7 metric tonnes to 1.041 million tonnes in the first five months of 2016 and imports rose 18.4% to 1.888 million metric tonnes, which is usually indicative of a construction sector recovery. Up to May 2016, production and imports rose by 465,000 tonnes, up 18.9% from a year earlier to 2,928 million tonnes. In the first five month of 2015, domestic production and imports rose only 4.4% from a year earlier or 103,000 tonnes to 2.463 million tonnes. more..

Video: Colombo Magistrate grants bail to Namal

Aug 22 (AD) Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa and three others, who were in custody, have been granted bail. The suspects were released on bail after being produced before the Colombo Magistrate, today. Namal Rajapaksa and five others were earlier named as suspects over money laundering charges. The case was filed over the allegation of purchasing shares worth an estimated Rs.125 million from the company called Hellocorp. It was the second time he had been arrested. more..

Video: Reveal the secrets: Gammanpila to President

Aug 22 (DM) PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila challenged President Sirisena to divulge the secrets he knew about opposition politicians. Addressing the first anniversary celebration of the national unity govt, President Sirisena said he would disclose the secrets about some opposition politicians if and when they formed a new party. MP said the nondisclosure amounted to aiding and abetting in the wrongdoings. more..

2017 annual budget on Nov. 10

Aug 22 (DM) The govt will present the 2017 annual budget to Parliament on Nov 10, and allot one whole month till December 10 for the debate, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Minister Karunanayake said the govt had initiated the process of formulating the annual budget. President Maitripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mr. Karunanayake have already met. Minister said other segments concerned would be engaged in the preparation of the budget. more..

Sri Lanka expand its presence in Texas

Aug 22 (SLE) ”Sri Lanka is reinvigorating its representation in the United States as the bilateral relations and people to people ties between the two nations are on an exponential growth trajectory” SL’s Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam said speaking at an event organized by the World Affairs Council in Dallas-Fort Worth to welcome Susantha Shan Halamba as the new Honorary Consul for SL to the state of Texas. The govt of Sri Lanka has decided to expand its presence in Texas more..

CM Wigneswaran boycotts Investment Forum organized by Governor

Aug 22 (ENS) CM Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, boycotted the Int'l Investment Forum organized by the Northern Province Governor Reginold Cooray in Jaffna on Monday. In a letter written to Cooray last week, Wigneswaran objected to the Governor’s organizing the forum without consulting him. He said that the elected representatives of the people of the Northern Province ought to have been consulted on more..

Video: Lakshman Yapa appointed Matara District SLFP leader

Aug 22 (AD) State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena was appointed by President Sirisena as the SLFP Matara District leader. He replaces UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma who resigned on August 19. Alahapperuma resigned as a protest against the removal of two SLFP organizers in his district. He is a key member in the Joint Opposition which backs former President Rajapaksa. Minister Abeywardene was given the letter of appointment by President at President’s Secretariat today. more..

Gamini Thilakasiri appointed Homagama Chief Organiser

Aug 22 (DN) Western Province Councillor, Minister Gamini Thilakasiri was appointed the Chief Organizer for the SLFP in the Homagama district. President Sirisena handed over the letter appointing him at President’s Office this morning. The position was vacated when UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena announced his resignation. Gunawardena cited as reason for his resignation President's decision to remove members of Joint Opposition from organiser posts last week. more..

Video: Probe into businessman's disappearance

Aug 22 (DM) Bambalapitiya Police said they had launched investigations into Sunday night's disappearance of 29-year-old businessman. His family members had complained to the Police that the businessman Sakeem Sulaiman had gone missing while outside his residence. Police said they had removed samples from the pools of blood found in the vicinity while his watch which was found near his residence more..

Ganesan wants list

Aug 22 (CT) Minister Mano Ganesan demanded for the list of names of those ex-LTTE cadres, who Tamil politicians claimed had been poisoned during rehabilitation after the war ended. He promised to investigate reports that former LTTE cadres, while in govt rehabilitation camps, had allegedly been forcibly injected with toxic substances, and as a result had died. Ganesan had requested Northern CM to submit the names of ex-rebels who had died under mysterious circumstances. more..

JO to hold special meeting today

Aug 22 (AM) A special meeting of the Joint Opposition will be held this evening with the participation of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. All the MPs who are representing JO have been invited upon to the meeting. Sources said that the meeting will consider the issue of participation for the anniversary celebrations of SLFP in Kurnegala early next month. Furthermore, the meeting is expected to discuss the sacking of JO members from SLFP organizer posts. more..

Video: Financial City: JVP asks why build on reclaimed land

Aug 22 (DM) JVP asked why the proposed Financial City could not be constructed inland instead of building it on land reclaimed from the sea. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that finding a block of land for this project in Colombo would not be that difficult. “There are enough spacious lands in Colombo City to build Financial City without doing so on land reclaimed from the sea and causing an environmental hazard,” more..

Abolishing minimum rates will disturb Sri Lanka hotel investments: hotelier

Aug 22 (LBO) Sharp fluctuations in hotel revenues will prevent long term planning and investment in SL’s hotel sector, especially if minimum rates are abolished, says Sanath Ukwatte, chairman of Mt. Lavinia Hotel. Tourism Development ministry said it plans to abolish the minimum room rates for both luxury and normal rooms imposed on city hotels with effect from 31st March 2017. This was following a recommendation by Tourism Advisory Council that minimum rates had now served its purpose. more..

Cooray finishes 34th

Aug 22 (CT) SL's flag bearer Anuradha Indrajith Cooray finished in the 34th position out of 155 participants with a performance of 2 hours 17 minutes and 6 seconds in Men's marathon event at the Rio Olympic Games continued in Brazil yesterday. Cooray who finished the first 5km in the 72nd position gradually improved his position during the latter part of the race. He was 54th at the half-way mark and 49th at 30km but within the next 10km he improved his position to 36th and more..

Malinga out of SA tour

Aug 22 (CT) Paceman Lasith Malings will be out of the forthcoming tour of South African and will not be fit until next year, sources close to SLC confirmed. The former Sri Lanka Twnety20 Captain was injured for a major part of last year and a half as he played with a lot of pain during the previous ICC World Cup and also played only one match at the Asia Cup before he was ruled out from the World T20 early this year. more..

TISL in crisis: Staff alleges procedure violation, nepotism, penalization of staff

Aug 22 (CT) Sri Lankan Chapter of the global anti-corruption body, Transparency International (TI) appears to be battling a corruption crisis of its own with long standing staff members of the local chapter leveling serious allegations of corruption and malpractices at TI Sri Lanka (TISL). In a letter addressed to TISL Chairman, Lakshan Dias, three staff members, Shan Wijetunge (Senior Manager, Advocacy & Public Relations), Ananda Jayasekara (Programme Manager) and Jagath Liyana more..

Muzammil nominated for high commissioner post

Aug 22 (DM) Former Mayor of Colombo, A J M Muzammil has been nominated for the post of Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia, informed sources said. Mr Muzammil, when contacted confirmed that he had been nominated for the post. He said his name had been sent to the High Posts Committee in Parliament for approval. However, he said he would claim his due place at the next local govt elections and would contest for a seat in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). more..

Lankan Army demining team receives international recognition

Aug 22 (SLA) US-based Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), engaged in provision of technical support for clearance of landmines world-wide, has selected the Sri Lanka Army’s Mine Detection Dog (MDD), Alvin and its handler, Lance Corporal G.N.W.M Nawarathne of 7 Field Engineer Regiment, Sri Lanka Engineers as the MLI’s Team of the Year - 2016’ to receive the MDD Award of the Year - 2016 during the Clearing the Path Gala celebration more..

Sri Lanka nation-wide inflation decelerates to 5.8% in July 2016

Aug 22 (EN) Sri Lanka's rate of inflation, as measured by National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), decelerated to 5.8% in July from 6.4% in June on year-on-year basis. “Both Food and Non-food categories contributed towards the year-on-year inflation in July 2016,” Department of Census & Statistics said. The change in the NCPI measured on an annual average basis increased to 3.4% in July 2016 from 3.1% in June 2016. It was the first time in 6 months that the NCPI slowed down. more..

Alleged deaths, illnesses of ex-LTTE cadres: Five member committee to assist probe

Aug 22 (DN) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has appointed a five member medical committee to assist in an investigation into the alleged deaths and illnesses of some ex-LTTE cadres during and since their time in rehabilitation. The Chief Minister appointed the committee heeding a call by the provincial health ministry to assist in the probe which is yet to take off the ground. The five member team is led by Dr. Sivan Sudan. Sub-committees are to be appointed to assist more..

National Policy Document on rehabilitation recommends comp. legal framework

Aug 22 (ENS) Ministry of Rehabilitation has recommended, through its National Policy Document, the enactment of a comprehensive law that addresses all displaced persons and communities in order to be prepared for any eventuality in the future. The comprehensive policy document has recommended recognition and registration of conflict-affected IDPs; return of lands taken by the military and the govt; more..

Looking for the missing

Aug 23 (DN) Office of Missing Persons (OMP) was legislated. It has elicited words of appreciation from several quarters. In doing we may forget similar inquiries from the past. The JVP commenced its second insurrection in the South, purportedly in protest against the Indo-Lanka Accord. This was a result of the JVP being falsely implicated for the riots of July 1983 which either gave the leadership a very good reason to go underground or they were simply driven underground to survive as a party. more..

SL’s Election Commission undermined

Aug 23 (Island) Independent Commissions have been long sought by the public. Their rationale is that certain decisions ought to be made independently of political considerations and, therefore, are best done by those not beholden to their political masters. Rulers have favoured centralization while advocates for democracy preferred decentralization. 17th Amendment of 3 Oct 2001 provided for a Constitutional Council (CC), which would recommend people for more..

Eco-impact warning: Coal imports under fire

Aug 23 (SO) Startling revelations have surfaced in a study by an independent committee appointed to probe the procurement of coal for Lak Vijaya plant indicating that there had been complete disregard for environmental impacts & arbitrary change of technical specification during the bidding process. Committee has recommended that future supply of coal be undertaken through a fully revised procedure and framework. more..

Editorial: Foremost place for Buddhism

Aug 23 (Island) The govt continues to draw heavy flak from its critics for an alleged attempt to do away with the constitutional provision (Article 9) which gives the foremost place to Buddhism when it formulates a new Constitution. Ruling politicians insist that there is no such move and their detractors are on a sinister campaign to propagate a diabolical lie for political reasons. Minister Gayantha Karunathilake told the media on Sunday that Buddhism would continue to be more..

Where oh where is that code of conduct?

Aug 23 (ST) It was meant to be a happy and festive occasion. It was the mid-April Sinhala and Tamil New Year this year. It could not have been entirely happy for some households which probably had to dig deep into their pockets and even savings to provide the traditional feast and new clothes for their families, so intrinsic to the annual celebrations. Shortly before parliament recessed for that extended holiday and the peoples’ representatives went their separate ways to feast and feast on others, more..

'Rajapaksa group rouses racists'

Aug 23 (ST) JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake is of the view that the OMP bill passed last Tuesday is a step taken in the right direction and that the govt should have established a truth and reconciliation commission right after the war ended to deal with the grievances people had at the time. Instead, he said, govt let them fester. He said that mistrust they have in central govt now deepened. He added that it is not so easy now to erase more..

UNP-SLFP clash leave two hospitalised

Aug 23 (Island) Two persons were hospitalised following a clash between supporters of Katana SLFP Electorate Organiser Deputy Minister Sudarshani Fernandopulle and UNP WPC Member Rose Fernando yesterday. The incident occurred when a group of Deputy Minister’s supporters arrived at Katana to repair a road. When contacted for comment Deputy Minister said that group of her supporters was repairing the Father Peo Road in Katana when supporters of Rose Fernando more..

Wele Suda’s agent arrested with heroin

Aug 23 (Island) Colombo District anti-vice squad nabbed a drug dealer known as Wellawatte Nisha, one of the main accomplices of notorious drug kingpin Wele Suda currently serving a jail term. At the time of his arrest at Weluvana Road in Wellawatte, the suspect had heroin with a street value of Rs. 100,000, Police said they had acted on a tip-off. According to police suspect has divulged that he received the narcotics from a friend of Wele Suda, who operated from behind bars. more..