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Matara MP blames simmering crisis on new SLFP leadership

Aug 27 (Island) UPFA MP Kanchana Wijesekera said that SLFP shouldn’t have accepted ministerial portfolios in UNP-led govt under any circumstances. Had those elected on the UPFA ticket at parliamentary polls remained in the Opposition, SLFP wouldn’t be in a sorry state today, he said. MP alleged that the party had suffered a debilitating setback due to a section of the parliamentary group accepting ministerial more..

Amid Smith departure polemics, Warner takes the reins

Aug 27 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene wondered on Twitter whether previous Australia captains would have left a tour early, as Steven Smith has done. Graeme Smith has echoed those sentiments publicly. Angelo Mathews was typically diplomatic, but as he prepares to play a side led by David Warner now, even he admits to being perplexed. "I think they have their own player management system, but honestly, if it was me, I wouldn't have [left], because it's a tough tour," he said. more..

Concept of human rights intrinsically interwoven with rule of law: Justice Minister

Aug 27 (DN) “The concept of human rights is intrinsically interwoven with the rule of law. Unless there is a system of upholding the rule of law in a country, you cannot have any legitimate expectation that human rights or fundamental rights will be protected,” said Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, the chief guest at Friday’s sessions of the International Conference on Human Rights, Citizenship, and Democratization, an event that marks the 25th anniversary of the CSHR. more..

'Dilshan contributed as much as Sanga and Mahela did'

Aug 27 (CI) Captain Angelo Mathews has put Tillakaratne Dilshan's contributions on par with those of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, ahead of Dilshan's final ODI in Dambulla on Sunday. Dilshan was the fourth SL batsman to 10,000 ODI runs, and he has the third-highest number of hundreds with 22. "Dilshan has been an absolute brilliant servant for Sri Lankan cricket over the past 17 years," he said. more..

Sour grapes, or . . .?

Aug 28 (SO) When Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran did not turn up, last week, for the very first international investor gathering to be held in Jaffna, outwardly his seeming boycott looked like an action akin to that old adage about sour grapes. That is, the Chief Minister - it is speculated - did not attend because he felt that the Provincial Governor, acting on behalf of the central Govt, had upstaged him in a most important area of economic activity, namely, the mobilising of vitally needed more..

Australian media allegations shock Sri Lanka

Aug 28 (Island) The news that shook everybody up last Wednesday was an article titled "Australian companies linked to bribe scandals in Sri Lanka and Congo" which appeared simultaneously in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald websites both of which belong to the Australian media company the Fairfax Group. Within the hour it had gone viral in Colombo with people alerting one another about the article over the telephone and sharing the article over social media. more..

'Differences have been overcome'

Aug 28 (SL) Deputy Minister of Petroleum Anoma Gamage believes that the unity govt has succeeded in overcoming their differences and benefiting the people greatly during the past year. She said that in her ministry, corruption has been controlled, and they are working according to a plan to improve the overall performance and productivity of the Ministry. She further said higher authorities of the govt are now taking measures more..

The nedd to stop insulting Tamil intelligence

Aug 28 (CT) The boycotting of the Raginold Cooray (read as MS/RW) brainchild, to wit, Jaffna Investor Forum last week, by Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran suggests that the TNA has a strong point that it wants to convey to those who still persist in not wanting to acknowledge the fact that the Tamils as a whole resent the slightest hint of any move by Colombo to disrupt the resurgence of Tamil Nationalism in the North. Not everything that is said and done by the TNA is wrong. more..

The Presidential take on investigations

Aug 28 (Island) Investigation is all about unearthing the unknown. Sometimes you know what you are looking for and you investigate because you suspect that the exercise will yield it. Sometimes you just dig, hope to make a strike – like people looking for precious stones or gold. Sometimes you strike a vein and you work it to exhaustion. It’s all part of the exercise. Two investigations made headline news over the past week. The first was a revelation by an Australian investigation and more..

SLFP rebels: How many will break away?

Aug 28 (SO) Internal crisis in the SLFP has taken a new turn due to the recent decision by the party hierarchy to sack some of its stalwarts from organizer posts and appoint political neophytes in their place. SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition (JO) allege, nationally known figures have been replaced with, either defeated candidates or politicians who have got fewer preferential votes at PC or PS levels, to weaken the SLFP and more..

Hail and farewell with UNanswered questions

Aug 28 (ST) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visits Sri Lanka on Wednesday for what is a virtual farewell call as he completes his term of office at the helm of the 193- nation world body. According to reports he is now a possible contender for the Presidency of his native land, South Korea. His last visit to Sri Lanka was under different circumstances. Sri Lanka had just ended a military campaign for a separate state; bloody and bruising, it also hurt the pride of Western powers more..

Lucky we didn’t dance to your tune

Aug 28 (ST) My dear Ban Ki Moon, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you would be visiting us again this week after seven long years, especially since there has been a lot of talk about how the UN has been dealing with our country after the end of the war, what with all these stories about so-called war crimes. You may notice a few changes since your last trip, Ban. Your last visit was soon after the war ended. There was a sense of euphoria because a thirty year conflict more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Attempt to halt corruption probes on Rajapaksa Regime

Aug 28 (SL) Sri Lankans love to gossip. From the village kopikade (coffee shop by the road) to office canteens, Colombo’s more exclusive water holes and the sitting rooms of Colombo 7 and now the plusher residential suburbs, what do we do: Gossip. Don’t blame imperialists, neocolonialists and the whole disgusting tribe into the conversation. Gossiping is a Sri Lankan national trait as seen by that apt Sinhala saying: Rata wata weta bendath kata wata weta badinda bae. more..

Wigneswaran boycotts Jaffna international Investor Forum

Aug 28 (SO) Northern Province Investor Forum, held last week, was a landmark event for the Jaffna peninsula for many reasons. It was the first time the business and financial community gathered in Jaffna to support the region’s economic development. Coming out of a three-decade long war and years of military occupation, such an event, needless to say, was a great opportunity for Jaffna to reinvent itself as a potential economic hub. The investor forum also coincided with the famous Nallur festival more..

Maithri in trouble over burqa: Plans stern action

Aug 28 (CT) President Sirisena was scheduled to visit Polonnaruwa last Thursday to commence many programmes. All relevant govt officials had already reached Polonnaruwa to make the necessary arrangements and were in for a shocker when the officials from President's Secretariat informed that President Sirisena has cancelled all engagements planned. President's Polonnaruwa programmes included laying of more..

I had sleepless nights as captain: Dilshan

Aug 28 (Island) Former captain Tillekeratne Dilshan said that the ten month stint he had as Sri Lanka’s captain was the toughest of his career. He revealed this in an interview with The Island on the eve of his last ODI at Dambulla. Dilshan will retire from international cricket on September the 9th when Sri Lanka take on Australia in the second T-20 International at the RPS. Captaincy was thrust upon Dilshan after Kumar Sangakkara’s decision to quit following the 2011 World Cup. more..

Sell out crowd for third ODI

Aug 28 (Island) As the five match ODI series between Sri Lanka and Australia moves out of Colombo, SLC announced that tickets for today’s third game at Dambulla Int'l Stadium has been sold out. There’s very little that Sri Lanka did wrong in the second ODI in Colombo, which they won by 82 runs and they will be looking for the momentum to continue. The SL spinners and their batsmen enjoy conditions in Dambulla and the hosts have won more than 70% of their games at Dambulla. more..

Taxing Sri Lankans is essential but questions over proper use: Poll

Aug 28 (ST) While there were strong views expressed on taxation and its ineffectiveness in a joint BT-RCB poll this week, a cross-section of respondents agreed that taxes are essential and the govt has a right to tax the people. Given the attention to taxes, VAT included, and its management in recent months, RCB took to the streets of Colombo & Galle and through email to assess public opinion on taxes. more..

Sri Lanka now a fully endorsed side

Aug 28 (CT) Sri Lanka continues not only to dream but also live it in the current series against Australia. A team that appeared to be yearning and crying out for heroes to emerge seems to have them in abundance. The country was raving about Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan not so long ago, and now they have got another one in Amila Aponso the left-arm spinner. It's definitely a period of excitement and anticipation for this cricket crazy nation. more..

Just how good was Dilshan

Aug 28 (Island) Popular American broadcaster Vincent Scully once described statistics brilliantly. He said, ‘statistics are used much like a drunkard uses lamppost; for support rather than illumination.’ When people discuss about the greats of Sri Lankan cricket, a few names automatically come to the mind for their impact on the sport is huge. We have had batsmen whose feats are truly bradmansque while some of our bowlers have reached the top of the world. more..

Netherlands, Chinese for BIA runway overlay

Aug 28 (ST) Govt would be soon signing an agreement with consultants hired to carry out repairs at the BIA during the Jan 6 – April 6 (8.30 am to 4.30 pm) closure next year. Airport and Aviation Services (AASL) Executive Director Johanne Jayaratne said that they would be signing a consultative award with Netherlands Airport Consultant (NACO). Consultants for project had been selected through a competitive more..

LSEG eyes SL capital markets system

Aug 28 (SO) London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), a leader in global markets infrastructure, is keen on developing markets infrastructure business in Sri Lanka when the country is ready with such initiatives. LSEG is currently in the process of setting up the new headquarters of the group’s Business Services Division at the Expert City precinct, formerly known as Tripoli Market. “Given the focus that we have in Sri Lanka, it is pretty much a home market for us now. more..

'VAT delay causes huge losses to govt'

Aug 28 (SO) The govt has to come up with reforms on Value Added Tax (VAT) soon to meet its revenue target for this year, according to several experts. The revenue for this year has been revised to Rs. 1.87 trillion, an 8.2% less than the original target of Rs. 2.03 trillion. The govt’s revenue last year was Rs. 1.41 trillion. An economist said the delay in implementing the revised VAT, which should have come into force on April 1, has caused substantial loss to the govt. more..

Major financial institution on the verge of collapse

Aug 28 (SL) A major financial institution is on the verge of collapse owing to the failure by Central Bank to closely supervise its operations. The financial institution, which operates with an island-wide network, was earlier under the Ceylinco Group but is now managed by the CB. Poor management of the financial institution by directors appointed by the CB is threatening to derail the operations of the company. more..

Book Review: Caught by the tiger

Aug 28 (Hindu) When Ranil Wickramasinghe, the then leader of opposition in Sri Lanka, raised the issue of 22 Sri Lankan soldiers being held captive by the LTTE in the mid-1990s in Parliament, President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared that she was not aware of such a group. For Commodore Ajith Boyagoda, the senior-most officer among the captives, who had written a letter to the opposition leader through Red Cross, requesting him to raise the issue with the govt, more..

Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thera is again elected as the Mahabodhi President

Aug 28 (ITN) The Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thera has again been elected as the President of the Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society. He was unanimously elected at the election held today. The election process was held at the Aggrashravaka Maha Vihare at Maligakanda in Colombo, under the patronage of the Most Ven. Ittepane Dhammalankara Thera, the Mahanayake of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Saamagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha. Expressing his view on the occasion, more..

Controversial Rs 700M IT deal of People’s Bank

Aug 28 (CT) The govt last week suspended a Rs 700 million IT project temporarily, in response to strong opposition voiced last Thursday by three members of the Board of Directors of the People's Bank. They had emphasized strongly that the tender had been granted to the bidder within an inordinately short time period and well outside the parameters of established State tender procedures. more..

SLFP takes soft line on dissidents

Aug 28 (ST) Disciplinary action will not be taken against SLFP members who choose not to attend the party’s 65th Convention in Kurunegala next Sunday, SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said. He said attendance at the convention was purely voluntary. However, he emphasized that all those involved in the party would be invited to attend. Accordingly, all party organizers, PS members, PC members, current and former Ministers and MPs have all been more..

Seven High Priority Agro-Zones soon

Aug 28 (CT) Minister Daya Gamage said he is willing to establish seven Agricultural High Priority Zones in Kurunegala, Matale, Ampara(Ugana), Ampara (Dehiaththakandiya), Kilinochchi, Jaffna and Galle districts before the end of 2016. He added that the govt's accent on greater agro-industrial development had seen a drop in imports of agricultural products parallel to 2014, import expenditure had decreased in 2015 and the present govt is on account of broadening exports more..

SL’s luxury condos laundering black money

Aug 28 (Island) Colombo, Sri Lanka’s branch of HSBC bank has revealed that luxury apartments coming up in Colombo have become a favourite investment for dealmakers with unexplained wealth. In a study of the Colombo condominium market, bank’s beyond Money magazine in its latest issue reports that the supply of luxury apartments in the capital will double by 2018 and raises questions of sustainability. more..

JO to hold alternative SLFP anniversary

Aug 28 (SL) SLFP Joint Opposition (JO) members are to hold an alternative SLFP anniversary next month. SLFP JO member Ranjith de Zoysa said that a proposal was made to hold an alternative SLFP anniversary event to that being organized by SLFP members in the govt. He said the proposal to hold the alternative event next month was made following the recent actions of the SLFP leadership. “We have not taken a final decision yet. We are to have talks and will decide soon,” he said. more..

PM reveals how Rajapaksa regime directed funds allocated for tourism to LG polls

Aug 28 (ITN) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe revealed in Welimada how funds allocated for tourist promotion was spent by the Rajapaksa regime for Local Govt polls via welfare societies. PM emphasized that it is now confirmed that the funds given for the Welfare Society of the Tourism Board for the promotion of tourism were used for the Local Council poll. PM was speaking at the UNP membership programme in Welimada. PM said that the last Local Govt poll was held in Uva. more..

Ban Ki-moon to help reconcile conflicting interests during Sri Lanka visit

Aug 28 (ENS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will do his bit to reconcile conflicting interests in Sri Lanka during his three-day visit to the island beginning on Aug 31. From his program it appears that he will press for unity and cooperation between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils; between the predominantly Tamil North and the predominantly Sinhalese South; and between CM C.V. Wigneswaran and leaders of TNA. more..

SLAF appeals: Kites to be flown below 200ft

Aug 28 (SO) Air Force seeks public assistance to take safety measures in flying kites around areas in close proximity to airports and selected landing helipads. According to Air Force, kites flown in the vicinity of Ratmalana and Katunayake airports poses a threat to aircraft, especially the light aircraft. Air Force Spokesman said, flying kites in the vicinity of airports or selected landing helipads is potentially dangerous to aircraft or helicopter particularly during taking-off and landing. more..

Monitoring MPs to track minor projects

Aug 28 (CT) The govt will shortly be appointing Monitoring MPs to track progress in some 36,000 islandwide minor development projects being finalized by the govt. The plan is being implemented on the orders of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Of the 36000 development projects being primed for take-off, the govt has allocated a sum of Rs. 1 million each for 21000 of them while 15000 of those projects will receive funding under budgetary supplementary provisions. more..

Hambantota bunkering: Two big loss- making ventures also in the running

Aug 28 (ST) Two loss-making Govt ventures are among those which have submitted bids to carry out bunkering operations at the Hambantota oil tank farm. Bids were submitted for bunkering by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd. (CPSTL) as well as Adani Bunkering and John Keells Holdings-World Fuel Services joint venture. Based on what is in the public domain, more..

Rajapaksa loyalists to form new party with Mahinda at the helm

Aug 28 (ST) SLFP dissidents are to form their own party with former President Rajapaksa as their leader. However, a decision is yet to be made on the name which may be similar to the SLFP. The decision to form their own party was taken on Thursday when the committee named by Mahinda Rajapaksa to study matters arising out of the suspension of his loyalists met at their office Battaramulla. The committee comprises Basil Rajapaksa, Dullas Allahapperuma, more..

Govt to continue with controversial Swiss Singapore tender

Aug 28 (SO) Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy will continue to procure coal for the Lakvijaya Power Plant from Swiss Singapore at a rate of USD 58 Per metric ton until the contract expires in April next year, Secretary to the Ministry Dr. Suren Batagoda said. "We will continue to purchase coal at the stipulated rate from Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprise until 30 April 2017 when the contract ends," he said adding that the Ministry was awaiting instructions from the Cabinet more..

SLFP split at hand;Sirisena holds urgent talks with CBK and party seniors

Aug 28 (ST) Economic and political issues continue to predominate the Govt agenda. Uppermost among them is legislation to give legal effect to the VAT which was raised from 11 to 15 % in March this year. Consultations are under way with the AG’s Department to re-introduce the Bill in Parliament. It was on hold after two Supreme Court rulings – one saying that the way VAT was introduced was illegal. more..