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Akila denies rift within UNP

Sep 18 (FT) UNP General Sectary and Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam denied a rift existed within the party and charged that attempts were afoot to create a false impression of discord within the UNP. He stated that certain parties were attempting to mislead the public by falsely creating the impression of a rift within the party. However, he stressed that there was no such splintering and insisted that the UNP was working to declare the most suitable person as the party’s prez candidate. more..

SL needs recalibration for growth leap: PM

Sep 18 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that for Sri Lanka to see exponential growth, it has to make a clean break from the inward-looking policies of the past, recalibrate and move towards increased productivity and competitiveness, underpinned by a new system of governance. Speaking as the Chief Guest at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019, titled Re-calibrating SL’s Economic Trajectory: Towards 2025, more..

Sirisena's support to Rajapaksa family will help China's designs in SL, says expert

Sep 18 (ANI) Amid growing tussle for power between Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, the upcoming prez elections in Sri Lanka may lead to an alliance between SLPP and SLFP wherein experts believe that Sirisena's support to Rajapaksa family will help China's designs in SL. Experts have predicted this new alliance between President Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa's family expecting that Maitripala may not seek a second term in view of unprecedented constitutional crisis last yr, more..

Sri Lanka and IAEA sign Country Programme Framework for 2019-2025

Sep 18 (AD) Director General of SL Atomic Energy Board T.M.R. Tennakoon and IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Dept of Technical Cooperation Mr Dazhu Yang signed Sri Lanka’s Country Programme Framework (CPF) for the period of 2019–2025 on the margins of the IAEA 63rd General Conference taking place from 16-20 Sept in Vienna, Austria. A CPF is the frame of reference for the medium-term planning of technical cooperation between a Member State and more..

Ex-TRC Director General Palpita denies President’s allegation

Sep 18 (Island) Former Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita denied President Maithripala Sirisena’s allegation that Rs. 2 billion paid by the SL govt, in 2012, to Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co. Ltd (ALIT), China, for the construction of the Lotus Tower had disappeared from the books. Palpita said that the construction of the Lotus Tower commenced in 2012 more..

Docs again on strike today over unresolved issues

Sep 18 (Island) The GMOA, yesterday, assured that they would attend to all emergency services today despite their strike action, urging authorities to attend to their grievances, which had led to the series of strike action. GMOA Executive Committee Member Dr. Prasad Colombage told The Island that notwithstanding the strike they would attend to services at National Hospital, Cancer Hospital, Army Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Renal Special Unit and routine services. more..

Restructuring SriLankan: Ministers told to submit views on Eran’s proposals

Sep 18 (DM) At yesterday's Cabinet meeting, President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have asked the ministers to submit their views on the recommendations made by State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne on restructuring SriLankan Airlines on the basis of a public-private partnership. The State Minister in his report to the ministers outlined the financial position of the national carrier and pointed out that the amount owed by SriLankan to the state banks & CPC more..

Rs. 2 billion loss in Lotus Tower project: Minister Harin, JVP, demand immediate probe

Sep 18 (DN) Minister Harin Fernando yesterday demanded an immediate investigation into the loss of Rs. 2 billion in connection with the construction of Lotus Tower. Minister Fernando’s comments came in the wake of statement issued by the Presidential Media Division stating that there was no record of Rs. 2 billion paid as an initial deposit to a Chinese company that was supposed to have been involved in the project. more..

Corruption rises above Lotus Tower?

Sep 18 (DM) While the fireworks were illuminating and banging the Colombo’s skies during the celebrations for official opening of the 350-metre high Lotus Tower, the tallest structure in South Asia, President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell by revealing the country in a live telecast a startling fraud that had allegedly taken place at the beginning of the construction of the tower. He said that while the opening of the Lotus Tower was a positive development for Sri Lanka, more..

Vision of our lawyers and the brilliance of our civil servants

Sep 18 (DM) Legislation is one of the most important instruments of govt in organising society and protecting citizens. It determines amongst others the rights and responsibilities of individuals and authorities to whom the legislation applies. If legislative changes to our land laws were to be made with foreign grants, it is imperative that there should be legal scrutiny, research and revision of the existing statutes by legal professionals from Sri Lanka. more..

Officials get kickbacks from dairy multinationals: Pelwatte

Sep 18 (TM) SL’s largest dairy producer, Pelwatte Dairy Industries Ltd. alleged that govt officials receive certain benefits from multinational dairy companies in return for the protection and promotion of their products in SL. Pelwatte Dairy Industries Founder Chairman Ariyaseela Wickramanayake noted that despite sufficient local milk production that could cater to local demand, govt officials keep supporting the importation of milk powder. more..

Petitions against more than 35 per class at Royal via illegal admissions

Sep 18 (ST) Two petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) against the continuing illegal practice at Royal College, Colombo, (RCC) where students are admitted to classrooms, through an adhoc manner outside the regular admission process, in excess of the cap rate, in violation of a Court order to have 35 students per classroom. Petitioners, Kamal Abeysinghe and Mithila Mendis, past pupils of RCC who actively engaged in more..

Video: GMOA token strike disrupts hospital activities

Sep 18 (AD) The GMOA has launched an island-wide token strike today. The executive committee member of the GMOA, Dr. Prasad Colombage said their 24-hour strike will come to an end at 8 am tomorrow (19). The govt medical officers launched the strike to urge the authorities to heed their demands including the removal of salary anomalies. The strike has interrupted the services at many govt hospitals across the country, more..

2019 prez poll: SLPP confident whoever received UNP nomination

Sep 18 (Island) SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris on Monday (16) emphasized that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, its deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya vying for UNP presidential nomination were members of the failed and disastrous administration. Therefore, the SLPP certainly wasn’t concerned about who finally faced SLPP candidate, wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, he said. more..

ITN Chairman refutes SLRC Chair's allegations

Sep 18 (CT) Acting Director of Independent Television Network (ITN), Kalum Mahirathna claimed that SL Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) Chairperson, Inoka Sathyangani had made several false allegations on his appointment as the new Chairman. Mahirathna said he was legally appointed Chairman of SLRC by State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene following which the Ministry Secretary, drafted a letter confirming more..

Video: Disabled war heroes’ protest enters day eight

Sep 18 (AD) The protest staged by disabled war heroes and the families of the fallen, calling for solutions for salary issues and fulfilment of several other demands, is continuing for the eighth consecutive day today. The protestors staged their protest in front of the Colombo Fort railway station on the 11th of Sept. The protestors marched up to the Presidential Secretariat at around 6 pm yesterday but they had to turn about as more..

I’m ready to introduce new constitution: PM tells TNA

Sep 18 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the parliamentary group of the TNA yesterday that he was ready to introduce a new constitution within a year based on the consensus reached at the Constitutional Assembly (CA). Flanked by Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, the PM called for a special meeting with the TNA MPs in the parliamentary complex in view of the presidential election. more..

Chairman of SLIIT grilled by PCoI over questionable deal

Sep 18 (Island) Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT,) Professor Lakshman L. Ratnayake, yesterday, told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) investigating corruption in the current administration that there had been no resolution by the board of Mahapola Education Trust Fund (METF) on the agreement between the Trust and Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), in 2015. more..

Weapons hidden by Zahran’s group recovered in Palamunai

Sep 18 (DM) Police officers have recovered a stash of weapons and explosive material believed to have been hidden by members of NTJ leader Zahran Hashim’s terrorist group at Palamunai, Ampara. A T-56 assault rifle, a magazine, 30 bullets and materials used for explosives have been recovered by the Police. Explosive material recovered include 7 detonators, 4 gelatnite sticks, electrical wires, ammonia & urea. more..

Video: COPE briefed on how Hizbullah used Batticaloa Campus accounts

Sep 18 (AD) The former Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, who appears as the owner of the Batticaloa Campus and the HIRA Foundation, had allegedly pressurized Bank of Ceylon to open accounts at his discretion. This was revealed at the COPE when it convened yesterday. Reportedly, former Governor Hizbullah and his son Hiraz Hizbullah had not appeared before the Committee yesterday although they were more..

Private or State hospitals? State, of course!

Sep 18 (FT) For those of us who can afford them, the question is often raised whether we should go to the neighbourhood private hospital or State hospital when sick. The purpose of this article is to share my experience over my lifetime in always choosing State hospitals. The advantages of private hospitals are manifold – relaxed visiting hours, private rooms, the ability to have a sit-in friend for the night in the room, clean toilets, no-queuing at the dispensary for medicines, etc. more..

Regulating higher education & its products

Sep 18 (CT) In the UK, if an aggrieved patient is not given a fair hearing by the UK General Medical Council, UK's health regulator, he could always then appeal to the Care Quality Commission, the overarching health regulator in the UK for redress, but in Sri Lanka, not a single doctor has been convicted. This was said by UGC Chairman Mohan de Silva, addressing a forum at the BMICH on Monday. He was speaking in the context of the Govt's acceptance of a UGC proposal to more..

Sri Lankan ගුවන් සමාගම: කෝප් කමිටු විමර්ෂණය

Senadhipathi to be tried in absentia

Sep 18 (DM) Trial against Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd Chairman Nissanka Senadhipthi has been fixed for Oct 22 and will be heard in the absence of the accused. HC Judge Sashi Mahendran made this order in the bribery case filed by the Commission to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption on charges of offering a bribe of Rs.35.5 million to Major General Palitha Fernando (Rtd) by Avant-Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi consequent to the Avant-Garde more..

Kalu Ganga in danger of bursting its banks at several locations

Sep 18 (Island) The water level in the Kalu Ganga was on the rise and Ratnapura, Ellagawa, Millakanda, and Putupaula had been identified as vulnerable to flooding, Hydrology Division of the Irrigation Department said. The water levels of several rivers had risen due to the heavy rainfall prevailing in the country. Rains would continue. Water levels were at 6.10 metres just slightly lower than the minor flood level of 6.50 metres, according to the 3.30 p.m. report of Irrigation Dept. more..

MR hits back over Lotus Tower fraud allegations

Sep 18 (DM) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa in a statement said that the Auditor General in April 2019, published a 670 page special report on the Lotus Tower project, but it made no mention at all of a Chinese contractor who disappeared with Rs. 2 billion. “What this indicates is the remarkable ability that the yahapalana leaders have to concoct complete falsehoods in a manner that suits the occasion. more..

Govt lost Rs 11 B: Abeygunawardana

Sep 18 (CT) The Govt lost Rs 11 billion, because of their inability to take the Lotus Tower Project forward, claimed MP Rohitha Abeygunawardana, yesterday. "The Govt has suffered a loss of Rs 11 billion, thanks to their attitude towards the Lotus Tower Project. They have always had a vengeful attitude towards every project started by the previous Govt. So, the Lotus Tower was no different. If you go through the financial records of the Lotus Tower Project, this loss will be evident. more..

Ex-Minister H.R. Mithrapala passes away

Sep 18 (AD) UPFA Kegalle District Parliamentarian former Minister H.R. Mithrapala passed away today (18) at the age of 73. Family sources said he had been receiving treatment at the Karawanella Hospital at the time of his death. Mr Mithrapala, who was born in 1946, was an attorney-at-law by occupation. From 2007 to 2015, Mr Mithrapala served as a minister and a deputy minister. The family said the funeral services of the late minister will be announced soon. more..

'Lotus Tower revelation will not affect talks with SLPP'

Sep 18 (RN) President Sirisena’s recent remarks about alleged corruption in the Colombo Lotus Tower project will not affect ongoing talks between the SLFP and SLPP, a spokesman said. UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amarawee said that the unexpected statement would have no bearing on the discussions for a common alliance between the two parties as the Prez had not named any names in his revelation. more..

Sri Lanka to give subsidies to develop domestic air routes

Sep 18 (EN) Sri Lanka’s tourist promotion office will give subsidies to domestic airlines that operate scheduled services to selected destinations, the state information office said. SL Tourist Development Authority will provide viability gap funding (VGF) of between 100 to 150 dollar per flight for airlines for one year to fill the differences between costs and revenue. The funds will be provided on a model development by Sri Lanka’ National Agency for Public Private Partnerships. more..

Term of PSC probing Easter Attacks extended

Sep 18 (NR) The term of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday attacks, has been extended, until the 31 of Oct. Parliament today approved the resolution presented by Minister Lakshman Kiriella. The term of PSC was due to end on the 30th of Sep. Meanwhile, members of PSC probing the Easter Sunday attacks are expected to record a statement from Prez Sirisena pertaining to the April bombings, by visiting the Head of State at Prez Secretariat in the near future. more..

Kiriella contradicts Mangala, claims no liquor licences have been issued by govt

Sep 18 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament that the present govt had not, so far, issued a single liquor licence. During a heated argument Minister stated that the media were carrying baseless news items in view of upcoming elections. Kiriella said so, responding to a question by Chief Opposition Whip Mahinda Amaraweera, who asked the govt to hold an investigation into the news items published in the newspapers more..

Court orders to bury Kingsbury bomber’s remains at Borella cemetery

Sep 18 (AD) Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court has ordered for the remains of NTJ suicide bomber Mohamed Mubarak, who blasted himself at the Kingsbury Hotel, to be buried at the Borella cemetery as relatives have refused to accept his remains. The court had issued this directive to the Thimbirigasyaya divisional secretary today. CID had informed the Fort Magistrate that the relatives of the suicide bomber had refused to accept his remains. Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake has more..

Objecting to illegal recruitment drive: CPTSL Chair removed

Sep 18 (CT) Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL) and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), P.W. Witanage has been removed from the chairmanship of CPSTL for allegedly being against the unauthorised recruitment of workers to CPSTL and CPC. It is envisaged that the recruitment process was carried out with a view to gain votes at the upcoming Elections, a top source said. Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development is under Minister Kabir Hashim. more..

Over 35,000 govt executive officers to go on strike next week; GMOA threatens own strike

Sep 18 (RN) Over 35,000 executive-level govt workers are set to go on strike on Monday (23), demanding a swift resolution to anomalies in salaries and allowances. Joint Committee of Govt Executive Officers said that one of the main reasons for the strike action is that the GMOA has been excluded from an agreement reached with the agitating trade unions to pay an overdue allowance. Committee Secretary H.L. Udayasiri accused more..

Four-member committee to pick UNP’s presidential candidate

Sep 18 (AD) The UNP has appointed a four-member committee to decide on its presidential candidate, says State Minister Ajith Mannapperuma. The committee comprises Ministers Kabir Hashim, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Rajitha Senaratne and prime-ministerial adviser Dinesh Weerakkody, he stated. The committee will submit a proposal to the Working Committee of the UNP on the most suitable candidate from the party to contest in the presidential election, state minister added. more..

AG informs Speaker: Sack Hisbullah as MP

Sep 18 (CT) Attorney General has informed the Speaker that he should take legal steps to cancel M.L.A.M. Hisbullah's parliamentary membership, as it was illegal for him to have signed agreements on behalf of the Hiraa Foundation while being a MP, with retrospective effect. AG Dappula de Livera has informed the Speaker thus, taking into consideration facts submitted by the Parliamentary Education Monitoring Sectoral Committee and other institutions. more..

Sri Lanka to hold presidential poll on Nov. 16

Sep 18 (AP) State media say Sri Lanka will hold its presidential election on Nov. 16. State television Rupavahini announced that nominations will be accepted on Oct. 7. Under the law, the election must be held between Nov 8 and Dec 8. Sri Lanka has a strong presidential system of govt, with the president being the head of state, head of govt and head of the armed forces. A PM is in charge of Parliament and the Cabinet. more..

Citing several anomalies CEA threatens TU action

Sep 18 (CT) The Cultural Employees' Alliance (CEA) for the Cultural Identity of Sri Lanka, warned that they would engage in strict trade union action, if the Ministry of Cultural Affairs did not provide them with solutions for issues they have been facing for years, within 14 days. Co-Convener of the Alliance, Chandana Sooriyaarachchi, yesterday said they requested discussions and meetings with the subject Minister, and added that he had rejected them on several occasions. more..

Sri Lanka govt performance audit, action tracker mooted by Ceylon Chamber

Sep 18 (EN) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has proposed an action tracker for all SL govt initiatives and mandatory performance audits along with a sound public communication strategy to try to revive the island economic growth. The proposals are in the chamber’s draft 2020-25 Economic Acceleration Framework launched at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit this week. Hans Wijayasuriya, the head of the chamber, said the framework was focused on re-calibrating Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory. more..