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Video: Saudi delegation in Sri Lanka for high-level talks

Sep 9 (AD) The speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council, the consultative assembly of Saudi Arabia, Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh, arrived in Sri Lanka on Sunday for an official visit to the country. Upon his arrival in the capital Colombo, Al-Asheikh was greeted by the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya, who had made the invitation, along with the Saudi ambassador to SL, Abdul Al-Harthy, and a number of officials. more..

At the Prez Poll can EPDP chief Douglas get Tamil votes for Gota?

Sep 9 (DM) Ever since the name of Gotabaya Rajapaksa began to be bandied about as a potential candidate at the presidential elections, doubts have been raised as to whether the former defence ministry secretary could win at the hustings. This skepticism has intensified in recent times after former Prez Mahinda Rajapaksa formally announced his brother’s candidacy at the SLPP Convention on Aug 7 this year. more..

Stalemate on symbol

Sep 9 (TM) Talks between the SLFP and SLPP on forming a political alliance have hit a snag over the failure by both parties to reach a consensus on the symbol of such an alliance. The SLFP team is resolute in its stance that it cannot contest under the SLPP’s flower bud symbol while the SLPP maintains that the proposed alliance should retain the flower bud symbol as it is a well-known political symbol. more..

Sajith camp remains defiant

Sep 9 (TM) UNP Deputy Leader Minister Sajith Premadasa is to remain defiant in his decision to contest the next prez election as the candidate of the UNF. A member of Premadasa’s camp, Non-Cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera said that they will prove to the party leadership, in numbers, as to why Premadasa must be picked as the UNF prez candidate. He said that while PM’s name is expected to be nominated more..

Political developments hot up on eve of nominations

Sep 9 (ST) This week’s two major political developments over the presidential election took Sri Lankans by surprise and portend a major change in alignments. One is the declaration by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would be the UNP candidate. On Friday he told a meeting of party leaders he would obtain approval from the Working Committee, the main policy-making body, and launch his campaign. more..

Penal Code amendment to axe Queen and replace with Republic

Sep 9 (FT) Nearly half a century after the country became a Republic, Parliament is set to amend the Penal Code to do away with the words that link the country to its colonial past. Words that will be consigned to the legal dustbins of history once the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill becomes law will include Queen, Ceylon, A Police Vidhana, Governor General, etc. Under the amendment Bill, the word Ceylon, wherever it appears in Penal Code, more..

Singapore awaits extradition docs

Sep 9 (TM) Singapore is yet to receive the request seeking the extradition of former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran over CB Bond Scam. Prez Secretariat forwarded the documents signed by President Sirisena to the Foreign Ministry to be submitted to the Govt of Singapore, a spokesman of the Prez’s Office said. However, an official at SL High Commission in Singapore said that they had not yet received the documents. more..

I will contest no matter what : Sajith

Sep 9 (DM) “I will contest for the presidential elections no matter what. I will not take a step back even by a millimeter in this regard,” said UNP deputy leader and Minister Sajith Premadasa. He said this at a function in Colombo on Sept 7. He was addressing the local govt members of the UNP. He made such remarks amid reports that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed his intention to contest the elections. Mr. Premadasa said, more..

Opposition Leader's concern over UNP!

Sep 9 (CT) The whole country remains clueless over what has really gone wrong with the UNP which is the premier Party to be established in independent Sri Lanka. Former Prez and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa has even regretted over the present sad state of the UNP which was not in a stable position to announce its Prez Candidate for the forthcoming Presidential Election in 2020. Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being the leader of newly-formed SLPP regretting over more..

Ravindra Fernando does it again

Sep 9 (FT) Perhaps, it is only the LSE based economics don – the late Harry G. Johnson – who might have beaten Ravindra Fernando, emeritus professor of forensic medicine and toxicology of the Colombo Medical School, off his book publishing track. Johnson was famous for completing a scholarly article or a book, while crossing the Atlantic on a plane. Not to be outdone, Ravindra Fernando has also earned fame for publishing several books in a row. It was only three months ago that more..

Shamindra Ferdinando

Australians affected by Easter attacks can seek compensation

Sep 9 (Island) Suicide bombings in SL, on 21 April, have been declared terrorist acts by Canberra, and Australians can seek a one-off payment of up to $75,000 each. Australian residents who were injured or lost a family member in Easter Sunday bombings can apply to the federal govt for compensation. Home affairs minister, Peter Dutton said, the eight suicide bombings on 21 April had been declared terrorist acts for the purpose of the Australian victim of terrorism overseas payment scheme. more..

Manoj Sirisena nominated to fill Gajadeera's vacancy in Parliament

Sep 9 (ST) Manoj Sirisena has been nominated to fill the vacancy in Parliament following the demise of Chandrasiri Gajadeera, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara said. Mr. Sirisena had previously served as a provincial minister in the Southern Province. Gajadeera, who represented the United People's Freedom Alliance of which the SLFP is a constituent party, passed away while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo last week. more..

FSP names Duminda Nagamuwa as Presidential Candidate

Sep 9 (AD) Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) has named the party’s Propaganda Secretary Duminda Nagamuwa as their candidate for the upcoming prez election. This was announce during the FSP rally which is currently underway in Colombo. Nagamuwa had also contested at the 2015 prez elections under an alliance formed by several leftist parties. He joins Anura Kumara Dissanayake of the JVP and more..

Japanese packaging firm to set up plant

Sep 9 (EN) Japan’s Sugano Packing Materials Co., Ltd., is to set up a plant in Sri Lanka to make flexible packaging that will be used partly by tea exporters, the Board of Investment said. The packaging produced in the plant in Ja-Ela, north of Colombo, would be mainly flat bottomed bags, a statement said. Sugano, which will import a large pouching machine to manufacture the bags, will invest 7.5 million US dollars in the plant, the investment promotion agency said. more..

Pathfinder Foundation in dialogue with CIIS

Sep 9 (FT) China Institute of International Studies (CIIS) Vice President and Senior Research Fellow Dr. Rong Ying together with two other Assistant Research Fellows met with the leadership of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) early this week. PF Founder Milinda Moragoda while warmly welcoming Dr. Rong and his colleagues, expressed the timeliness of working together to promote socioeconomic development of Sri Lanka as well as other countries in the region. more..

Ranil says will not resort to racism to win presidential election

Sep 9 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that he will never resort to racism to capture power. Declaring that he was not a Bokku Karaya – Drain Builder, PM said, last week, that he was focussed on developing the entire country and its people. He said that those who had run short of ideas, mounted public stages and whipped up racism by mouthing hackneyed slogans such as Rata Jathiya Arakshakeranawa, more..

19 university students arrested over ragging incident further remanded

Sep 9 (AD) The 19 students of the University of Ruhuna who were arrested recently over a ragging incident have been further remand until the 23rd of September. They were produced before the Chief Magistrate of Isuru Nettikumara today. The suspected students were taken into custody on the 6th of Aug over inhumane ragging of a freshman of the Ruhuna Uni. The student, who was allegedly ragged, had released a video on social media about his harassment and subsequently revealed more..

Another White Elephant for SL health sector

Sep 9 (CT) In the climax of catastrophes in the health service due to non-availability of nearly 300 essential medicines in the country, Ministry of Health has initiated another white elephant project. The project of drones to transport essential medicines and blood is an extremely costly project which the govt has already initiated. Zipline, the US company to which the project is granted has already advertised for recruiting flight operators for Sri Lanka drone delivery. more..

'No 1 & 2 must work together for UNP to win'

Sep 9 (RN) Calling for unity in the increasingly fractured UNP, Minister Navin Dissanayake said that, if the party is to win the upcoming prez election, its top two leaders must work together. Without naming names, he said that it is vital that the No. 1 and 2 of the UNP resolve their differences and find a way to work together in the run-up to the polls. “In the UNP, there was always room for the party leader to be its prez candidate. more..

'90% of vocational training courses free of charge'

Sep 9 (RN) In addition to the free education provided to school and uni students, some 90% of vocational training courses are conducted free of charge under the present govt, Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranawithana said. He said that over the past few years, the number of students enrolled for vocational training courses has increased. “When this Govt came into power in 2015, we decided that in parallel to free education the students receive, they should also receive free vocational more..

Sri Lanka approves hotels with investments of US$23.3mn in June

Sep 9 (EN) Sri Lanka’s tourism regulator has approved 16 new hotel projects worth US$ 23.30 million in the second quarter of 2019, most of which did not start construction following the Easter Sunday terror, official data showed. All new hotels approved will have less than 49 rooms each, a SLTDA report said. Four hotels approved are in the Gampaha District, north of the capital Colombo, while three each are in the Galle and Matara Districts, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. more..

Two army deserters arrested over series of robberies

Sep 9 (DM) The Kelaniya Division Crimes Investigations officers had uncovered a series of robberies in Kadawatha, Kiribathgoda and Wattala areas following the arrest of two army deserters in Peliyagoda. Initially, the police arrested a 43-year-old suspect, Samantha Ariyasena, who is a resident of Kekirawa in possession of five grammes of heroin in Peliyagoda on Sunday. He was arrested following the information given more..

Open economy leads people away from religion: Cardinal

Sep 9 (DM) Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said on Saturday that the open economy had created a consumerist society which had, in turn, led people to deviate from religion. He said this at Kalamulla after blessing the new wooden altar at the church. Cardinal said Jesus Christ sacrificed his life to save people from sin and what he did at the Last Supper continues even today among Catholics who gather around the altar to help develop spiritual relationship among them. more..

No room for politically aligned polls monitors: EC

Sep 9 (DM) The Elections Commission (EC) has said key officials of election monitoring groups found engaging in political activities will be removed from election monitoring at the upcoming presidential election. In a letter sent to political party secretaries, the EC said only the PAFFREL and the CMEV have been permitted to monitor the election and enter polling booths. It said the other monitoring groups would function as external or mobile monitors. The EC in its letter said more..

Video: Easter attacks weren’t caused by disabling intelligence service: Ajith Colonne

Sep 9 (AD) Ajith Rohana Colonne, former Deputy Director and Advisor on Intelligence Analysis at the State Intelligence Service, stated that he rejects the charges against intelligence units following the Easter Sunday terror attacks. He stated that the main reason behind the Easter attacks is the lack of a national security policy. He pointed out that although intelligence officers have performed their duties to letter, more..

Video: Kanjipani Imran remanded for threatening cop

Sep 9 (AD) Notorious drug trafficker Mohamed Najim Imran alias Kanjipani Imran has been ordered remanded until September 20 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. This was in connection with the threatening of a police officer over the phone. The accused had allegedly threatened an Inspector of Police (IP) attached to Keselwatte Police. The court also granted approval to forward the recording of the phone call, during which Kanjipani had threatened the policeman, more..

PCB worried over unavailability of senior SL players for home series

Sep 9 (PTI) The continued refusal of senior Sri Lankan players including captain Dimuth Karunaratne, Lasith Malinga and Angelo Matthews to tour Pakistan for a limited over series later this month has left the PCB authorities worried. Though the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has made no official comment on the senior Sri Lanka players' availability, sources in the board said they are in touch with the Sri Lankan board officials and Sports Minister Harin Fernando. more..

2,400 admin workers on sick leave tomorrow

Sep 9 (RN) Some 2,400 administrative workers affiliated with the Sri Lanka Administrative Service Association (SLAS) will go on sick leave tomorrow and, on Wed, engage in a protest campaign in Colombo demanding a permanent solution to unresolved salary anomalies and related concerns. It is anticipated that the planned trade union action will disrupt work in all district and divisional secretariats as well as more..

Jayawickrama Perera appears before PCoI

Sep 9 (AD) Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera has appeared before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate and inquire into serious acts of fraud, corruption, and abuse of power, state resources, and privileges. Minister appeared before the Commission to record a statement with regard to an investigation on financial fraud in the Mahapola Board of Trustees. However, he had requested the Commission give him another date to submit the relevant documents more..

SL born hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam is released from prison two years early

Sep 9 (BN) Raj Rajaratnam, the mastermind of what prosecutors said was one of the largest hedge-fund insider-trading rings in U.S. history, is out of prison -- almost two years early. And he’s been out for more than six weeks. Rajaratnam, whose Galleon Group LLC once managed more than $7 billion, has been living with his family on a quiet block of Manhattan’s East Side since July 23, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He’s mostly confined to his apartment for the remainder of his sentence, more..

Casino Mogul Ravi Wijeratne to foray into Construction via buying MTD Walkers

Sep 9 (AD) SL’s one of the two Casino Moguls that had dominated the Gaming Industry for over 30 years in the island, Ravi Wijeratne, Chairman-owner of conglomerate Rank Holdings, who operates a port, builds real estate, handles waste-reclamation and is building hydro and wind energy plants will soon foray into mega scale booming construction industry in SL through buying Malaysia’s MTD Capital Bhd owned more..

Making best use of SL’s strategic location

Sep 10 (CT) There is increased competition between the global big powers in the India Ocean. The four main protagonists are India, the United States, China and Japan. The challenge to Sri Lanka is how to maximize the benefit to itself from this situation without being overwhelmed by pressures that may be brought to bear upon it. Sri Lanka can become a beneficiary of competition as it has in the case of the USD 480 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States. more..

Navin’s unbeaten fifty

Sep 10 (CT) The year was 2000; it was either end of August or beginning of September. I was living in Los Angeles, California in the United States. I was driving to work and was about to enter 118 Ronald Reagan Freeway. My phone rang and from the country code flashing on my screen I knew that it was from Sri Lanka. It was Navin Dissanayake, Gamini Dissanayake’s eldest son. He said that he intended to hand in nominations for the forthcoming elections scheduled for October 10, 2000. more..

'I have a vision for my country'

Sep 10 (CT) Venerable Maha Sangha and religious dignitaries, The 5th Executive President of Sri Lanka, HE Mahinda Rajapaksa, dear guests, members of Viyathmaga, Media Personnel, Representatives of National Organizations, all Sri Lankans residing in and out of Sri Lanka who are connected with us at this moment, my friends, The objective of any govt should be to develop a prosperous nation more..

Exports and Imports?

Sep 10 (Island) According to CB reports SL’s external debts in 2014 was Rs. 5633 billion and it has increased to Rs. 9559 biilion in 2018. PM Ranil Wickremesingha at a meeting held recently highlighted the need to increase export earning to settle the county’s debts. But, what we are going to export is the main question. CB report indicate that neither the earnings from our main exports tea, rubber coconut and the so called minor export crops nor their production has not increased more..

This dirty game called politics

Sep 10 (ST) Save us from our politicians is a constant prayer that is heard from a disgusted public, be it in Sri Lanka or the UK. More so in that country like no other that is known by other epithets, too. But they are better left unsaid in case one is accused of being unpatriotic by pseudo-nationalists hitting the high decibels with their constant refrain that includes some praise to Adolf Hitler and Nazi gauleiters, both foreign and local. Thankfully here in the UK, Hitler is a dirty word like politician, more..

No risk to party unity: Harsha

Sep 10 (TM) UNP Minister Harsha De Silva said that UNP Dy Minister Sajith Premadasa was the obvious choice for their party’s prez candidate. Q: Why is the UNP taking so long to select a prez candidate? A: Our party is a democratic entity and therefore, many the last years since the party was established in the 40s, our constitution provides for a mechanism on how to select a candidate and we will democratically select more..

Politicking hits centre stage

Sep 10 (TM) With less than two weeks for the Election Commission (EC) to receive the power to announce the prez election due to be held towards the end of the year, country’s political parties and politicians are engaged in real-time politicking both day and night. The crisis with the UNP over deciding its candidate at the next prez election continued intensely last week with Party Leader PM Ranil Wickremesinghe agreeing to discuss the issues in a one-on-one meeting with UNP Deputy Leader more..

Lead by example

Sep 10 (TM) There is nothing SL politicians love more than being in power. They will not think twice about resorting to any third-degree activity just to stay in power. These days, with the election season slowly creeping upon us, politicians of all hues are jostling with each other, daggers drawn to secure nomination to contest. While two parties have already named their prez nominees, namely the SLPP and JVP, the two main parties that have alternatively governed SL since more..