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Sri Lanka national govt heading for still birth

Aug 25 (EN) President Sirisena's attemnpt to form a national govt with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's UNP appears in serious trouble. Sirisena who is struggling to secure control over the SLFP offered his MPs the option of joining a national govt, but there were fewer takers. The move also led to intense heartburn within the ranks of the UNP which was unhappy about sharing a pie they were ready to enjoy after remaining in the opposition for two decades. more..

Sajin Vass further remanded

Aug 25 (AD) UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, who was arrested for allegedly misusing vehicles belonging to the President Secretariat Office, has been further remanded until September 8 by the Fort Magistrate’s Court, today. A bail application, which was filed by a Counsel on behalf of former UPFA MP Gunawardena, was also dismissed by the Colombo High Court earlier. The CID summoned Gunawardena to record a statement on May 11 where he was subsequently arrested. more..

Presidential Commission probing corruption opens to electronic media

Aug 25 (Island) The electronic media will be allowed to cover proceedings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry that Investigates Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC), henceforth for the purpose of informing the general public. "The members of the Commission are fully aware that the public will not be able to see how the process is being handled by the Commission in regard to their petitions," more..

Gajen branded as racist: Two state one country concept

Aug 25 (CT) Leader of TNPF - main constituent of ACTC Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam could not mange to win a single seat at the last week’s parliamentary elections which he claims that the TNA ‘misled’ the people and robbed his chances of winning at least two seats. The Tamils are ‘happy’ in the North, that they have finally given into the TNA ‘fully’ when from its usual song of 13A and a unitary state went further calling for a federal govt. more..

Sri Lanka IOC unit seeks bonded storage to boost bunker business

Aug 25 (EN) Lanka IOC, a unit of Indian Oil Corporation said it is seeking approval to have bonded storage at its facilities near Sri Lanka's Trincomalee port to boost bunkering business. Bonded storage allows material oil to be imported without paying customs duty. Indrajit Bose, Chairman of Lanka IOC told shareholders in the annual report that potential business of 8000 metric tonnes of 380CST fuel oil and 500 metric tonnes of marine gas oil per month from vessels transiting the Bay of Bengal. more..

Shares fall to 1-mo low on global selloff, margin calls

Aug 25 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell to a near-one-month low on Tuesday as foreign investors exited risky assets on fears of a China-led global economic slowdown and panic selling by local investors for month-end settlements and margin calls. The main stock index was down 1.09%, or 79.81 points, at 7,251.28 at 0654 GMT, its lowest level since July 28. The index has fallen 2.9% in the last two sessions, mainly on concerns of a global selloff. Turnover stood at 749.1 million rupees. more..

Ceylon Today Cartooon

Hon. Karuna Amman: The one even above the God

Aug 25 (CT) I know a mother whose son went missing. She is from Neerveli, Jaffna. The pain is gruesome. It is not something like your loved one getting killed, where you have no choice but to accept the reality and come over the grief and move on. But having someone from your family missing (enforced) is terrible. It just leaves you some questions. First whether your loved one is alive or not? If alive, where is he/she? Is he/she being treated well or being tortured? more..

No more Kattankudys

Aug 25 (CT) Where there is no law, terror reigns. It's the law of the jungle that then takes precedence. Due to alleged internecine fighting in the Muslim dominated area of Kattankudy in the East last Friday; that had led to three persons, including a pregnant woman having had to be hospitalized. The clash had ostensibly been between SLMC supporters and UPFA supporters of M.L.A.M. Hisbullah, an SLMC renegade, where the latter had been appointed on the UPFA National List to more..

Sri Lanka briefs U.S. on domestic human rights mechanism

Aug 25 (Hindu) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday briefed two top visiting U.S. State Department officials about the measures taken by the govt to address the human rights concerns following the over three-decade-long civil war with the LTTE. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal and Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour more..

Fisheries Ministry predicts lifting of EU ban before year end

Aug 25 (Island) Fisheries Ministry predicted that the ban imposed by the European Union (EU) on Sri Lanka’s fish exports would be lifted before the year end. Fisheries Ministry Secretary Nimal Hettiarachchi said that the reason for the continuing decline of the seafood exports was due to the EU ban though there were alternative fish export markets in countries like Russia. Seafood exports declined by 36% in the first half of this year. more..

Mervyn noticed over white vans

Aug 25 (HN) The Colombo Chief Magistrate Justice Gihan Pilapitiya issued notice to former minister Mervin Silva today, to appear before court on the 11th of November in order to provide evidence regarding the abduction of people using white vans and their disappearance afterwards. This order was issued as the three Habeas corpus cases filed by the relations of three residents of Modara abducted in this manner, were called today. more..

Susil resigns as UPFA General Secretary

Aug 25 (AD) Susil Premajayantha on Tuesday tendered his resignation letter to the President as the General Secretary of the UPFA. “I am disappointed as some of the coalition partners of the UPFA tend to mislead the people with media statements and press conferences. I am too disappointed with the acts of some UPFA members who show no intention of protecting the party,” Premajayantha said in the letter. more..

Blair assures to appear on behalf of SL

Aug 25 (AD) Former British PM Tony Blair has assured to appear on behalf of Sri Lanka in eliminating misconceptions in the world. He gave this assurance during a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena. Blair who is on a private visit to Sri Lanka met President Sirisena at the President’s Office. He appreciated the initiative taken by the President for the conduct of the elections in a free and peaceful environment. more..

Trio takes over Taprobane Holdings

Aug 25 (FT) Adding excitement to an otherwise bearish Bourse, a joint venture firm powered by three big names yesterday bought a 31% stake in diversified entity Taprobane Holdings for Rs. 1.7 billion, triggering the takeovers code. CHC Investments Ltd., which is a joint venture equally owned by Galle Face Hotel Group fame Sanjiv Gardiner, bond market specialist and investor Ajit Devasurendra & diversified family business more..

'Kumar & Mahela were driven by healthy rivalry'

Aug 25 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara was driven by a "healthy rivalry" with Mahela Jayawardene, former Sri Lanka coach Tom Moody has said. Both men have retired as Sri Lanka's two highest Test run scorers - Sangakkara sits atop the list with 12,400 runs. The pair had bloomed during Moody's stint as coach, and memorably struck a world-record 624 runs together against South Africa in 2006. Sri Lanka drew Test series in England & NZ, more..

Ho hum, another election, said stay-home Jaffna voters

Aug 25 (ST) On Monday, the people of Jaffna began their day-to-day businesses, apparently forgetting it was election day and that they should be heading for the polling booths. It took nearly one hour after the polling booths opened at 7am for people to flock in numbers to cast their votes. Voting went well until mid-afternoon when an unexpected downfall of rain occurred, interrupting everything. more..

COI expedites probe on Rakna Lanka

Aug 25 (SL) Questions have been raised as to why former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is dragging his feet to give a statement to the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into Fraud and Corruption, regarding serious allegations of misuse of state power in relation to Rakna Arakshaka Lanka – the then govt-backed security firm, which was launched whilst he was in office. Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Defence more..

'MR’s comeback affected us'

Aug 25 (DM) Former JVP Provincial Councillor K.D. Lal Kantha said the party could not achieve the expected results at the General elections as it was as crucial as the Presidential election. Unlike other general elections, people had to decide whether to appoint former President Rajapaksa as the PM or not. He said although there were issues with regard to the national list within the party, the two members who were appointed more..

The curious case of Manapa votes

Aug 25 (DM) Our choices for elected representatives are always a matter of curiosity. What qualities and credentials are we looking in them? A safe guess would be that we didn’t want them to be murderers, fraudsters and crooks. But, take a look at some of those people who polled the most number of preferential votes in certain districts, you will find that logic does not count anymore. Chief Minister who is being investigated by CID and FCID topped UPFA preferential votes from more..

Nisha Biswal can help or make things worse

Aug 25 (DM) he importance of Assistant Secretary of the USA for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal’s visit to Sri Lanka cannot be over-emphasised. Firstly, this is her second post-election visit to Sri Lanka, having come here immediately after President Maithripala Sirisena took office. Secondly, she is visiting a Sri Lanka, whose foreign policy orientation is starkly different to that which existed during the tenure of Sirisena’s predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

27 more Cabinet Ministers to be sworn in today?

Aug 25 (Island) About 27 more ministers are expected to be sworn in today before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat. President appointed Mangala Samaraweera, Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa and D. M. Swaminathan ministers of Foreign, Justice and Rehabilitation respectively. Explaining Srisena’s decision to appoint three Ministers yesterday, Presidential sources said that it was because more..

IUSF lodges complaint at CID: Mysterious deaths of two undergrads in 2010

Aug 25 (CT) The IUSF lodged a complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department in Colombo Fort calling for a special investigation into the deaths of two undergrads in 2010. Convener of the IUSF Najith Indika said that Janaka Bandara, an undergraduate of the University of Kelaniya and Sisitha Priyankara, an undergraduate of the University of Ruhuna, had died mysteriously on 27, September 2010 in the Imbulgoda area during a massive protest action. more..

Saman Ekanayake appointed Secretary to PM

Aug 25 (DN) Saman Ekanayake has been appointed as the Secretary to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe. He received his appointment letter from President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. He served as Secretary to the Prime Minister earlier as well. He is a special grade officer of the Sri Lanka Public Administration Service. He a graduate from the Peradeniya University and obtained his MA from the Sri Jayawardenepura University on Public Administration. more..

'No legal basis for an int'l investigation'

Aug 25 (DM) Asserting that there was no legal basis for an international investigation within Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there should be a domestic inquiry into the alleged violations of human rights in Sri Lanka. In an interview with India’s The Hindu, the day after he assumed office, Mr. Wickremesinghe said that it should be a domestic inquiry as Sri Lanka wasn't a signatory to the Statute of Rome. more..

TNA picks National List MPs

Aug 25 (CT) The TNA yesterday nominated K. Thurairatnasingham from the Trincomalee District and Shanthi Sriskandarajah from the Vanni District as National List MPs. The TNA coalition which contested under the ITAK ticket secured a massive victory in the North and East at the recent general election. ITAK secured five seats from the Jaffna District, four seats from Vanni, three from Batticaloa, and one each from Trincomalee and Ampara at the recent election. more..

Kandy pageant begins tonight

Aug 25 (Island) The first of the five Randoli Perahera of the Kandy historical Esala Perahera parades the streets of Kandy tonight. Randoli Perahera tonight begins from opposite the Sri Dalada Maligawa at 7.42 p.m. and will proceed along Dalada Veediya, D.S. Senanayaka Veediya, Temple Street, Deva Veediya, Sir Bennet Soysa Veediya, E. L. Senanayake Veediya and Raja Veediya. The final Randola Perahera will be held on Aug 29, night according to the Perahera programme more..

'Don't blame me for NL appointments'

Aug 25 (DM) Former UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said he was not involved nor consulted when selecting the party's National List (NL) nominees for appointment to parliament. He said as such it was unfair for the UPFA's constituent parties or defeated UPFA members not appointed to parliament on the national list to critisise him. He said enjoining order preventing him from functioning more..

Tea export to Iran to begin soon

Aug 25 (DN) Sri Lanka will once again commence exporting tea to Iran, Colombo Tea Trader’s Association Chairman Anselm Perera said. He said that this will be from November. Iran was the second largest buyer of Sri Lankan tea importing 50 million kilograms per year which amounted to US$ 350 million in revenue. “Though the US sanctions on Iran were lifted last month it takes some time for the banking system to get in to place. There was a ban for Iranian companies to disperse more..

Sanga to discuss diplomatic role with President

Aug 25 (Island) Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara said that he was surprised to be offered a top diplomatic post on the day he retired from international cricket. President Maithripala Sirisena was the Chief Guest during Kumar Sangakkara’s farewell Test and after presenting the former captain a memento, the President offered Sangakkara the vacant High Commissioner post in London. The suggestion was met with thunderous applause by the spectators. more..

UPFA vows to serve people from opposition with former President

Aug 25 (Island) UPFA constituent parties said that they were ready to continue their struggle with former President Rajapaksa as their leader even as a new political force if the SLFP opted out of the alliance. Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa said President Maithripala Sirisena’s underhand acts in the run-up to the election was reason for the defeat of his own alliance. NFF leader said that they would function as Opposition in Parliament more..

'High hotel charges hinder promoting Lanka'

Aug 25 (DN) Travel personality based in Britain, Nissther Annis of Lanka Travel and Tours says high priced hotel charges in Sri Lanka is a big hindrance to promote UK and other European tourists into Sri Lanka. “Sri Lankan hotel prices are very high and over priced when compared to other markets like the Maldives and Thailand in the region. This has resulted in difficulty in promoting British and other European tourists into the country,” Annis said. He said at one time British tourist arrivals topped more..

NSB profits soar to Rs. 6.2 b in first half

Aug 25 (DN) National Savings Bank (NSB) recorded the highest half yearly profits in its history with an impressive Profit Before Tax (PBT) growth of 68% as compared to same period last year. The profitability for the first half for 2015 reached Rs. 6.2 billion with the increase mainly fuelled by growth in its traditional lines of business. Profit After Tax (PAT) was reported at Rs. 3.9 billion for the first half of 2015. These profits were reported following prudent provisioning policies adopted for more..

Further review of 19 A, presidential powers underway

Aug 25 (Island) The original draft of the 19 Amendment provided for the formation of a national govt only once after the recently concluded parliamentary polls and that provision had been done away with as demanded by the SLFP-led UPFA in the last parliament, authoritative sources said. Instead, the UPFA wanted the clause that dealt with national govt to be a permanent feature, sources said, adding that more..

MATRADE eager to finance Sri Lankan projects

Aug 25 (Island) Malaysia's MATRADE says it is ready to work with Sri Lanka in the areas of property development, monorail, railway infrastructure development, port operations, real estate, and also constructions of resorts. This was announced by MATRADE, when they met a group of Sri Lankan businessmen at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was organized by Sri Lanka Malaysia Business Council and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. more..

Low hanging fruit for the new regime

Aug 25 (PF) At the conclusion of the parliamentary election a new govt has been formed under the Premiership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. It is important to emphasise the need for introducing immediate policy reforms to accelerate economic growth and development. The new govt’s manifesto sets out a major reform program. In this regard, the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has frequently highlighted the need for macro-economic policy adjustments as a pre-condition for sustained growth. more..