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A new trade policy for Sri Lanka

Aug 26 (FT) Sri Lanka desperately needs a new global economic strategy as part of a broader strategy for national renewal. It needs a decisive shift to markets and globalisation. A prospering, globalised market economy is the sturdiest foundation for a genuinely open society Untitled-7– for constitutional liberalism, the rule of law, ethnic peace and balanced international relations. Without it, all else fails. more..

Gemfields UK begins gem trading in SL

Aug 26 (ST) After more than two years of vigorous groundwork and clearing all legal barriers while dispelling local concerns of engaging in gem mining, UK-based Gemfields Plc, one of the world’s largest coloured gem producers, is now ready to begin gem trading in Sri Lanka, officials of the company announced. Gemfields and East West Gem Investments (EWGI) established a gemstone trading company called Ratnapura Lanka Gemstones Ltd, a company approved by the BoI in 2014. more..

Submission on LGBTIQ persons and transtitional justice mechanisms

Aug 26 (GV) We present this submission as individuals self-identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ), as family members and friends of LGBTIQ people, and as individuals/communities coming forward in support of Sri Lankans who wish to acknowledge and break the silence surrounding a people whose rights have been denied through the mechanisms and institutional structures of a democratic state. more..

Ranjan Ramanayaka

Buddhism has made co-existence possible

Aug 26 (CT) However, after the democratic revolution started with the January 2015 Presidential Elections, Sri Lanka is considered by some, as a good role model of peaceful co-existence, where unity, peace and harmony among the people take the foremost place. Of course, still there are many issues here that need to be addressed in nationality relations. But the good thing is the government is aware of them, though some sensitive issues require careful attention. more..

Editorial: Of that bombshell

Aug 26 (Island) The govt usually loses no time in denying reports it considers false or detrimental to its interests. But, it, for some reason, did not act promptly regards reports in the widely circulated Australian newspapers, Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Age, on a very serious allegation against President Sirisena on Wednesday. President’s Office took more than twenty four hours to issue a denial. Reports, based on the subject of an Australian Federal Police probe more..

'Current SLFP leadership doesn’t know Bandaranaike philosophy'

Aug 26 (FT) The SLFP is today controlled by people who do not understand the Bandaranaike philosophy, otherwise they would never ally with the UNP, said Joint Opposition bigwig MP Dullas Alahapperuma, in an interview with Daily FT. Alahapperuma, who resigned from his Matara District SLFP leadership early this week, said the Joint Opposition would continue to protest against the removal of party stalwarts. more..

Bouquets for Rajapaksa, brickbats for Maithri-Ranil over Tamil prisoners issue

Aug 26 (CT) Speech made by Hon. R. Sampanthan on Tuesday in Parliament on the issue of political prisoners and their release: Sir, I move, “Govt has consistently undertaken to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act in view of the several obnoxious provisions contained in the said Act. Several Tamil persons are held in custody under the provisions of the said Prevention of Terrorism Act for various offences arising out of the armed conflict. It is 7 years since armed conflict came to an end. more..

Battle of the blues

Aug 26 (DN) The axe on dissenters in the SLFP has finally fallen. Will this give rise to the much hyped birth of a new political movement and a division of the party? That is the big question echoing in the corridors of power as the country’s second single largest party grapples with internal turmoil. Last week, after a long period of watchful expectation and masterly inactivity, President Sirisena took the plunge. In his capacity as leader of SLFP, he sacked more than a dozen stalwarts of JO, more..

National Netball coach speaks out

Aug 26 (CT) National Coach of SL Netball team Deepthi Alwis spoke to Ceylon Today after the Asian Championship which was held recently in Bangkok, where Sri Lanka ended up as runner-up after losing to Malaysia in the final. Q: What are your thoughts on the performance of the team at the recent Asian Championship? A: I'm really happy we were able to win against the defending champions because at the last two more..

Local Ownership as a Catalyst

Aug 26 (CT) This is the first of a four-part piece examining the element of local ownership in the transitional justice and reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. The several instalments of this piece will look at the issue of local ownership through a critical appraisal of the govt's initiatives. They will consider the resolution co-sponsored by the govt in Geneva, some of the domestic initiatives of the govt such as consultative task forces, public representations committees and passing of legislation, etc., more..

Rise of food commodity prices

Aug 26 (DN) The international prices of a basket of food commodities rose by 4.2% in June, representing the largest monthly increase witnessed over the past four years, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said. According to the FAO, its Food Price Index (FFPI) released in July averaged 163.4 points in June 2016, 6.6 points (4.2%) higher than in May, and one percent below the corresponding month last year. Not only did the June increase mark more..

President dismisses corruption allegations

Aug 25 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena today denied any wrongdoing following an Australian media report that claimed his adviser had allegedly demanded a kickback to approve a project during his tenure as Cabinet minister. The SMH had carried a story on an Australian police investigation that Sirisena's Coordinating Secretary had demanded a kickback to approve a project when he was a minister in Cabinet in 2011. more..

I gave MR Nobel nomination forms: Rajitha

Aug 25 (CT) In what appears likely to be yet another dramatic revelation of what took place during the Rajapaksa regime, Minister Rajitha Senaratne disclosed it was he who gave the application form for the Nobel Peace Prize nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said at yesterday's Cabinet media briefing that he had personally handed over the application form to the former President, in a bid to assist him in his crusade to become Asia's Nelson Mandela. more..

Sri Lanka wants Indian subcontinent firm involved in $400 mln port contract

Aug 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is seeking a consortium that must include a company from the Indian subcontinent to bid for a $400 million contract to build a port terminal. The move to include an Indian subcontinent firm could neutralise growing Chinese influence in Colombo's port. Arjuna Ranatunga, SL's ports minister, said at least a 20% stake in consortia bidding for the Colombo East terminal construction contract must be held by a firm from the Indian subcontinent. more..

Video: JO urges local inquiry into Aussie reports

Aug 25 (DM) The joint opposition requested President Maithripala Sirisena to call for a local investigation regarding the news reports in the Australian media involving the name of President Sirisena over a bribery investigation conducted on a company there. JO member MP Wimalaweera Dissanayake said it was not good for the country when the president is being accused of such an act and more..

Mano Tittawella neither Secretary nor member of OMP: SCRM

Aug 25 (DN) Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), in a statement, said that Mano Tittawella was neither Secretary nor member of the Office on Missing Persons, but was instead Secretary General of SCRM, effective March 29, 2016. Statement: This is to confirm that Mano Tittawella was appointed the Secretary General of SCRM from 29th, March 2016. SCRM is the apex body created by Cabinet in Dec 2015 to coordinate all reconciliation related activities in SL. more..

Colombo East Container terminal, CEB, SLTB earmarked for privatisation: Mahindananda

Aug 25 (Island) Former Cabinet Minister and UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage alleged that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was planning to privatise 75% of the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port. He told the media that Premier Wickremesinghe had revealed the privatisation plan at the Tuesday’s COPE committee meeting in Parliament. Aluthgamage claimed that not only the SLPA but also the CEB, SLTB would be privatised in the near future. more..

'President's office will issue statement on Aussie media reports'

Aug 25 (DM) Presidential Secretariat will issue a full statement in the days to come on the news reports published in Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the ABC among the Australian media on an alleged attempt to obtain a financial donation from an Australian company for political work by a coordinating secretary of President Maithripala Sirisena when he served as Minister of Mahaweli Development and Irrigation in 2009, more..

TNA warns of campaign against Certificates of Absence

Aug 25 (CG) The TNA today warned of a mischievous campaign against the Certificates of Absence. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran told Parliament today that families of those missing are being misled not to accept the Certificates of Absence. He was speaking on the Registration of Deaths (Temporary Provisions) (Amendment) Bill. Sumanthiran said that the Certificates of Absence does not mean investigations into the missing will not move forward. more..

Helicopter flying two ministers makes emergency landing

Aug 25 (DM) A helicopter carrying Ministers Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake to Nuwara Eliya made an emergency landing to a vegetable plot in Katumanne, Seetha Eliya today. They met with this incident while traveling to Nuwara Eliya. It had been scheduled to land at the Race Course Ground at Nuwara Eliya. Helicopter was flying low due to the mist this morning when the pilot saw high tension electric wires in the area, and decided to make the emergency landing. No one was hurt. more..

CID told to take action against elephant racketeers

Aug 25 (DN) CID had been instructed to take legal action against those Wildlife Department officers who are involved in elephant rackets, Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said. He also said AG and Public Service Commission have also been informed, so that they could take measures against such errant officers. He added that govt would not protect any person who is found involved in elephant rackets. more..

Samaranayake cleared of fixing allegations

Aug 25 (CI) Anusha Samaranayake, a SLC fast-bowling coach, has been cleared of the fixing allegations over which he had been suspended in February. SLC had launched an inquiry about Samaranayake's role in the fixing-related approach of more than one SL cricketer last year. However, ICC has since informed SLC that there is no evidence Samaranayake has breached its Anti-Corruption Code. Despite this, Samaranayake's role with SLC remains in hiatus, more..

Video: Army leaves Kudiyiruppu Camp

Aug 25 (DM) Army has evacuated the Kudiyiruppu Camp which was in the hands of the army for the past 26 years. Camp which belonged to the Vanni security headquarters contributed immensely to provide security to the Sinhala and Tamil people during the war. Vavuniya District Secretary Rohana Pushpakumara said the army has taken steps to hand over the building where the camp had been set up to the Vavuniya district secretary. This building which belonged to Vavuniya district secretary more..

Video: No decision to remove army camps in North: Army Commander

Aug 25 (DM) While denying the statement made by a MP, Army Commander Lieutenant General Crishantha de Silva said that there was no decision to remove any Army camp in the North. “No decision has been taken to remove Army camps in the North and there is no truth behind this claim,” he said. While addressing media at Colombo Defence Seminar 2016 he said Army would take any measure to ensure National Security. more..

Thisara Perera fined, Starc reprimanded for breaching ICC Code of Conduct

Aug 25 (CC) Thisara Perera has been fined for breaching ICC Code of Conduct as he used some language and gestures mocking the Australia batsman David Warner. Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc was reprimanded in a different incident for throwing the ball towards batsman during second ODI match in Colombo on Wednesday. Sri Lanka won the second ODI by margin of 82 runs to level the ODI series against Australia. Both the players admitted the offences and accepted the sanctions more..

'More SLFP organizers to quit soon'

Aug 25 (CT) Joint Opposition (JO) and SLFP Ratnapura District MP Janaka Wakkumbura confirmed his resignation as SLFP organizer for Kalawana electorate with effect from yesterday. He announced this decision after a proposal calling for his resignation as Kalawana Organizer was approved at an SLFP central organizations meeting held at his residence in Elapatha yesterday. "They asked me to step down and I will respect their decision," he said. more..

Five Lankans drowned in London

Aug 25 (MO) These are the first pictures of five best friends - including two brothers - who drowned off Camber Sands on the hottest day of the year as beachgoers today urged the police to reveal more about their mysterious deaths. Three victims were pulled from the sea off the East Sussex beach yesterday afternoon and emergency services tried and failed to revive them in front of thousands of horrified holidaymakers. more..

President may have referred to SLFP secrets: Rajitha

Aug 25 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena may have referred to political secrets of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, when he threatened to reveal such details recently, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Responding to questions during the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing, Senaratne said that the secrets the President had spoken of, may not pertain to the ongoing criminal investigations against some members of the Rajapaksa family, but matters relating to the SLFP. more..

Customs seeks AG’s advice to act against illegally assembled vehicle racket

Aug 25 (Island) Customs Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) had sought the advice of the Attorney General in respect of its raid conducted on July 11, and detection of 62 illegally assembled vehicles in Minuwangoda. Following our expose the consignee has sent letters of demand to the Director of Customs CIB, all the officers who had participated in the raid and this newspaper. Officers involved in the raid told The Island that they had obtained a court order for conducting the raid. more..

Millionaire’s murder: 5 businessmen barred from leaving country

Aug 25 (AD) Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris today issued an order preventing overseas travel of 5 businessmen in connection with the murder of Bambalapitiya-based businessman Mohamed Shakeeb Sulaiman, who was found dead in Mawanella after allegedly being abducted. The court order preventing them from leaving the country was issued by the court after considering a request made by the CCD. more..

Alleged move to sell state ventures irks NGOs

Aug 25 (Island) Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) claimed the govt was planning to sell several profitable state ventures including Litro Gas, Colombo Hilton and Lanka Hospitals while delaying probes into financial corruption. Its adviser Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said the govt had still not set up Procurement Commission under 19th Amendment, but was prepared to sell govt institutions underhand. "Litro Gas made a profit of Rs. 9 billion annually," he said, noting that the expected income from more..

Injured Coulter-Nile out of Sri Lanka tour

Aug 25 (CI) Fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile has been ruled out of the remainder of Australia's tour of Sri Lanka with an injury to his lower back. Australia have named a 13-man squad for the two T20s that round out the tour, with wicketkeeper Peter Nevill retaining his place and allrounder Glenn Maxwell and batsman Chris Lynn set to join the group. But Coulter-Nile, who played in all four of Australia's matches at the World T20 in India earlier this year, will not be part of the series more..

Dilshan to retire from ODIs and T20Is

Aug 25 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan has confirmed he will play his final ODI in Dambulla on Sunday, third of the series against Australia, and his last T20 in Colombo on Sept 9. His retirement comes in the wake of significant pressure from selectors. Dilshan's own performance has been outstanding over the past few years - he averages 49.18 in ODIs since the start of 2013, and had his most successful ODI year in 2015, more..

OMP now a sword of damocles

Aug 25 (CT) President Sirisena's swift response to resignations by the SLFP's Matara and Homagama leaders, replacing Bandula Gunawardena and Dullas Alahapperuma with Gamini Thilakasiri and Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, respectively, made evident the fact that the SLFP leader is not short of options when it comes to a matter of crisis management in the Party. We've been stressing the inevitability of this major split in the Party ever since President Sirisena took that stunning step to more..

Stocks end steady; turnover moderate

Aug 25 (Reuters) Shares ended steady on Thursday in moderate trading volume as local buying boosted by positive sentiment was offset by foreign outflows and selling for month-end settlement. Sentiment has been positive after the authorities started to take some bold steps to counter a balance of payments and credit problem. Sri Lanka's new govt is drafting reforms aimed at simplifying taxes, widening the tax base and increasing compliance, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Wednesday, more..