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Sri Lanka's rights situation improved but challenges remain:report

July 23 (PTI) SL's human rights situation continued to improve during the first half of this year with reconciliation efforts made by the administration but challenges still remain, according to a UK govt report. "Past 6 months have seen an improved environment for civil society and human rights defenders. Challenges remain particularly in the north and the east," British Foreign Office's Human Rights Priority Country report has said. more..

Jaffna Uni violence: What really happened

July 23 (DBS) Violence reared its ugly head again in Jaffna on Saturday July 16th when student groups fought each other within the Jaffna varsity precincts in Thirunelvaeli known generally as Thinnaivaeli. It was basically a confrontation between two undergraduate factions of the Univ of Jaffna. There was also an ethnic dimension to the incident as one of the clashing factions was Sinhala and the other Tamil. more..

Sri Lanka tea meets SFDA specifications

July 23 (AN) Sri Lankan tea fulfils the specifications of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), a visiting island official, who was leading a delegation to the capital, said here. Hasitha De Alwis, director of international promotions at Sri Lanka Tea Board, said that the SFDA told the visiting delegation that Sri Lankan tea is of high quality and it meets the specifications of both the SFDA and the Gulf Standards Organization. more..

Dr. Death bleeding patients dry

July 23 (SL) Startling revelations have emerged on how a certain consultant at Sri J'pura General Hospital (SJGH) is making money from patients who come for neurosurgery, in addition to the professional charges. Allegations have been levelled at the consultant neurosurgeon for making money from patients who came for neurosurgeries over the past few years. Although this was brought to the notice of then Health Ministers more..

US game plan in Sri Lanka Biswal, Malinowski playing Chinese chequers?

July 23 (DM) After yet another visit by two US Assistant Secretaries of State, Nisha Biswal and Tom Malinowski one cannot help noticing the proximity of the visit to that of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi just four days before. The most notable aspect of the US officials’ trip has been a change in tone (rather than substance) of their public remarks. While there has not been any turnaround from the professed concerns with human rights, reconciliation and accountability, more..

The health sector is sick

July 23 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne, proudly boasting that he believes SL has one of the best health services in the region, on Thursday received a WHO certificate declaring SL as a filaria-free country. He says SL will also soon receive a WHO certificate declaring that we are a malaria free country. While these certificates are healthy signs, the dengue epidemic continues to rage though even the Armed Services have been deployed for the war against mosquito and dengue breeding sites. more..

In Sri Lanka, former Marxist insurgents are the most active MPs

July 23 (ENS) A SL Marxist party, which had tried to overthrow bourgeois democracy twice in the last 45 years, is today wedded to the norms and practices associated with Westminster system, setting an example to parties which have traditionally laid claim to being democratic. JVP, which had staged two insurrections, one in 1971 and the other in 1989, and was banned twice, in 1971 & 1983, is today most active parliamentary more..

Govt to limit Tuk Tuk imports; introduce seat belts

July 23 (AD) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva says that a bill will be introduced to Parliament in the future to enforce laws with regard to fixing seat belts for the safety of three-wheeler passengers. Addressing an event held in Colombo today to unveil a new three-wheeler improved with safety features, he stated that this will be done with the safety of the public in mind. He also said that the import of three-wheelers, also popularly known as Tuk Tuks, to the country would have to be limited as more..

Body of Sri Lankan expat worker to be buried in Saudi

July 23 (DM) Consular Affairs Division of the Foreign Ministry said they had got approval from the family of Mohamed Shihabdeen (32), a Sri Lankan expatriate worker who was allegedly stabbed to death by his room-mate in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia a few days ago, to bury his body in Saudi according to Islamic religious traditions. Mr. Shihabdeen, a resident of Kekirawa, had been working as a glass cutter in a private firm in Yanbu. Victim’s body would be buried after police investigations more..

‘Certain politicians resorting to various gimmicks’

July 23 (DN) Those who fall sick when in remand become very healthy overnight to join protest walks, once they are granted bail, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said. He was speaking in Parliament in response to a question raised by JVP MP Nalin Jayathissa during the round of questions for oral answers. MP said FCID was under Minister Sagala Rathnayaka. “When politicians are remanded they are admitted to Prisons Hospital more..

Court extend remand of 49 TN fishermen

July 23 (PTI) Two courts in SL extended till August 3 the remand of 49 TN fishermen, arrested by the Lankan navy for allegedly fishing in their territorial waters. Rameswaram Fishermen's Association President P Sesuraja said the 49 fishermen were among the 77 fishers arrested in June and July by the island nation's authorities for allegedly fishing in their territorial waters. A court in Mannar, extended the judicial custody of 28 fishermen from Rameswaram till Aug 3, he said. more..

CID gets confessions from Sgt. Major

July 23 (CT) Startling new information has emerged from an examination of a cell phone that will weigh heavily in the case relating to the killing of former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. Sources said, startling evidence had been uncovered following a thorough examination of this cell phone belonging to a security officer , allegedly involved in the Wickrematunge killing, by officers of the CID and the TID. CID sources said they had examined five cell phones more..

Singapore company to develop Trincomalee Port and Hinterland

July 23 (ENS) Trincomalee harbor, which is one of the best natural harbors in the world, will be turned into a modern one with a technologically advanced hinterland with the help of the Singapore company, Surbana Jurong, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Singapore. Surbana Jurong, with 40 years experience in infrastructure development, will prepare a Master Plan for Trincomalee harbor and its environs, more..

Malaysian firm starts work on $ 30 m lubricant manufacturing plant

July 23 (Bernama) The collaboration between Malaysia's Hyrax Oil and Sri Lanka's National Oil Company, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) testified the commitment and good relationship not only between the business communities of the two countries but also at govt to govt level, said Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. The Deputy Prime Minister said the initiative was also a testimony of Malaysia and Sri Lanka's strong and continuous stable bilateral relationship. more..

Agalawatte Plantations PLC employees oppose takeover by Browns Group

July 23 (CT) With Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcing the withholding of sale proceeds of Agalawatte Plantations this week, employee representatives all six estates of Agalawatte Plantation say they will oppose the gaining of effective control by the buyer Browns Group till the SEC clears out the imbroglio. “Nearly all of Agalawatte Plantations PLC employees from all six estates belonging to the Company oppose the illegal takeover of Agalawatte Plantations more..

Paranagama Commission: NGOs behind disbanding?

July 23 (NS) Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints of Missing Persons observed that they had not been provided with a reason or reasons for the disbandment of the Commission and observed that such had been the agenda of certain NGOs which had prevailed at the UNHRC. Chairman of the Commission, Maxwell Paranagama also noted that their work had yet to be completed, more..

Aquarium fish exporters in reef clean-up

July 23 (EN) SL exporters of tropical fish plan to start a reef cleaning campaign to protect the habitat of their export product for which there is growing demand in world markets. Coral Reef Enrichment Program, an effort to protect the marine fish habitat in coral reef Ecosystems around the country’s coast, will start in Trinco on 17 Aug, said Sathyendra Wijayapura, head of the committee in charge of the clean-up. Ornamental fish exports earned $17 million in 2015, half from fish in inland waters more..

Kiriella offers five posts for JVP

July 23 (DM) While denying media reports that a Buddhist monk named Ven. Wattappola Rahula Thera was appointed as a consultant to the road development project, Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament he was even ready to offer five such posts to the JVP which raised the matter. JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa made this allegation during question time of the House the other day. In response, Minister said wide media publicity had been given to it, but it was a total falsehood. more..

Court orders fresh probe

July 23 (DN) Colombo High Court ordered the Colombo Chief Magistrate to conduct a fresh inquiry into the release of 15 elephants to their owners on bond. High Court Judge ordered the Chief Magistrate that this inquiry be held separately in respect of each elephant. Judge Waidyatilleke made this order consequent to a revision application filed by AG challenging the Chief Magistrate’s order on legal grounds. more..

Women to Watch: Nayomi Munaweera

July 23 (KQED) Nayomi Munaweera’s family fled war-torn Sri Lanka when she was just three — first to Nigeria, and then, in 1984, to Los Angeles. But the civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamils stayed with her, and serves as the backdrop for her excellent debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, and her brilliant follow-up, What Lies Between Us. Munaweera describes Sri Lanka’s culture of war with vivid detail, partially the result of memories shared by her family. more..

German contribution to enhance SL’s future in vocational training

July 23 (DM) In February this year, President, Maithripala Sirisena invited German investors to take advantage of the increasing economic opportunities in Sri Lanka at a media briefing during his visit to Berlin. He spoke of the long-standing partnership between Germany and Sri Lanka, which spans over five decades, and cited the contributions made to Sri Lanka’s vocational training development as an excellent model of cooperation between the two countries. more..

e-Visa implementation for Sri Lankan tourists to be finalised in Nov

July 23 (NST) An agreement has been reached to implement e-Visa for Sri Lankan tourists visiting Malaysia and this is expected to be finalised in November, said Deputy PM Datuk Seri Hamidi. Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, expressed the hope that the matter could be finalised when Malaysia attends an international meeting in Sri Lanka in November. “Although we have had a soft launch of e-Visa system, we hope to finalise more..

DPM Zahid announces US$100,000 donation for Islamic Centre in Colombo

July 23 (Bernama) Malaysian Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced a US$100,000 donation from a foundation to establish an Islamic and Malay centre in this capital of Sri Lanka. "The centre can help more than 70,000 Muslims and Malays to gather and conduct various activities such as learning the Malay language," he said. Earlier, Ahmad Zahid met representatives and members of the Sri Lankan branch of the Malay World Islamic World (DMDI) based in Melaka. more..

Finance Minister pays courtesy call on Colombo Archbishop

July 23 (FT) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake paid a courtesy call on His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo yesterday at the Archbishop House in Colombo. The current economic development activities of the country were discussed during the meeting between His Eminence and Karunanayake. At the same time, attention was drawn to the ongoing construction of housing to solve the housing problem of the shanty dwellers in the city. more..

Military to take legal action against 18,847 deserters

July 23 (FT) The armed forces are to take legal action against 18,847 deserters who did not reported for duty during the one-month general amnesty period given to them to report to their posts in Tri Force. Defence Ministry declared a general amnesty from 13 June to 13 July to grant legal clearance to those who had reported back to the military. “Responding to general amnesty, 16,920 deserters, who had reported back to army, more..

Talks alone can solve fishermen issue, says Dy High Commissioner

July 23 (Hindu) A political solution has to be found for the problems facing the Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait, India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka A. Natarajan said here on Friday. Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop at the Tamil University here, Mr. Natarajan said that internal strife on the Island Nation in the past 30 years kept the Lankan fishermen away from the seas but with peace returning to Sri Lanka, their fishermen too have come out in a significant manner. more..

Basil Rajapaksa case fixed for Dec 6

July 23 (FT) Colombo High Court Judge yesterday fixed the trial of the case on misappropriating Rs.29 million from Divi Neguma funds against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa on 6 December. The order was given when the Court took the case yesterday morning after considering the counsel’s request made behalf of Rajapaksa that he could not appear before court because he was in custody over a separate inquiry. The alleged misappropriation of Rs.29 million was filed in courts alleging that more..

Krrish seals deal on $650m project

July 23 (FT) Beleaguered Indian real estate company, Krrish Group has finally sealed the $650 million controversial mixed development project deal. The project, which was initiated under the previous Govt of former President Rajapaksa, drew allegations of pay-offs to politicians and officials to get the project off the ground. MP Namal Rajapaksa was arrested for misappropriating Rs.70 million given by Krrish more..

PRECIFAC grills Sudath Silva

July 23 (CT) PRECIFAC Wednesday questioned Sudath Silva, President's official photographer, over his alleged covering of a propaganda meeting, of former President Rajapaksa, at Shalika Grounds, Narahenpita, during the Presidential Election campaign in January 2015. Silva continues to serve as the official photographer for incumbent President Sirisena. Meanwhile, actor Lal Kularatne and his wife Sriyani Perera were also summoned to Presidential Commission more..

PM commends MP’s responsible conduct

July 23 (DN) The shadowy wheeler-dealing behind the coal procurement tenders has gradually come out as a result of the fresh controversy surrounding the coal tender for the year 2015. This was not the first time allegations of massive corruption and fraud were raised on the coal importation, which is no doubt a multi-million dollar matter in Sri Lanka. It is now widely suspected that corruption and fraud had been an inherent quality found in all tenders up to 2015 to supply coal to Norochcholai plant more..

'Govt not taking political revenge from Rajapaksas'

July 23 (CT) Q: Are you satisfied with the govt's attention on corruption allegations and the action being taken against them? A: Firstly, I have to remind that the current govt was elected by the people to implement the law and they also wanted to remove the regime that corrupted the country and brought SL to its knees. When the people voted in the new govt they expected the new govt to satisfy them by probing corruption allegations more..

Access Engineering net up 5.1%, IPO for SML Frontier planned

July 23 (LBO) Access Engineering said group net profits grew 5.1% to 2.46 billion rupees in the year to March 2016, with the civil engineering firm facing a slow down in the global and local economy. The company showed a better performance with a 19.1% growth in net profits — group revenue grew 6.7% to 17.6 billion rupees. Earnings per share rose 5.1% to 2.47 rupees and share closed on Friday at 23.20 rupees. Earnings per share is down from a high of 2.83 rupees in 2014. more..

Trade and FDI needs a one-stop-shop, not one more stop

July 23 (FT) Many foreign investors I engage with want Sri Lanka to emulate Ireland, or even Vietnam, because they tell me the attractiveness of a country to foreign investors and the feasibility of individual investment projects is not only linked to a country’s policy environment. According to them, the practical administrative implementation of these policies are far more important to attract investment. It is no secret that our administrative procedures pose serious obstructions even with more..


Sparks of communal hatred

July 23 (NS) Last weekend’s clashes between two student factions of the Jaffna University send a stark reminder to the nation that although the war against terrorism is over, there are many in this country who would wish to reignite the sparks of communal hatred. The clashes erupted between students of Science faculty and the Arts Faculty of the Jaffna University during a welcoming ceremony for freshers and had definite communal undertones: it was reported that Sinhalese students more..

Kandy March II

July 23 (CT) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan made a timely warning at a meeting held in Mannar on the intended Kandy march to be staged by the Joint Opposition (JO) against the present govt. Sampanthan was speaking at an interactive discussion in Mannar last week where he came across several mind boggling questions on the present state of Tamil politics and on the failures of the present govt in fulfilling the pledges made by it with regard to political aspirations of Tamils. more..