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Will a pro-Gota officer head the Army during elections?

Aug 17 (RN) Prez Sirisena will be making a crucial decision in the next few hours as to whether he will keep Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake on as the Army Commander over the coming months or whether he is going to change commanders as the elections approach. He may have to choose between keeping Senanayake or appoint Maj General Shavendra Silva, seen as a pro-Gotabaya Rajapaksa officer. more..

Wildlife minister demands action against elephant mistreatment

Aug 17 (EN) Minister John Amaratunga said that he has demanded action against those responsible for including the skeletal elderly elephant Tikiri in the annual Esala Perahera festival. "I have noted with concern media reports of a 70-year old elephant named Tikiri that has been used in the Esala Perahera while her health condition, according to published photographs, appears to be bad," he said. "I have been informed that elephant had collapsed," he said, wishing the animal to recover soon. more..

CBK to dispel SLFP’s blues

Aug 17 (Island) Former President and one-time SLFP leader Chandrika Kumaratunga has expressed her readiness to revitalise the party, founded by her father. She has announced that she would revive the party, which according to her, is being manipulated by other parties. She has conveyed her decision to party seniors, according to party sources. The former president visited the SLFP headquarters, on Darley Road on Thursday, and met several senior party men and more..

Sri Lanka begins building Light Rail system

Aug 17 (EN) Sri Lanka's first Light Rail Transit (LRT) system which runs a 16 km stretch from the suburb Malabe to Colombo has begun construction. "We have now begun the first stage of the Malabe-Colombo LRT system," Megapolis and Western Development Ministry said in a statement. "According to the engineering plans, bore hole testing is currently being done on locations where pillars are being built." more..

Crucial talks on UNP alliance formation today

Aug 17 (FT) UNF Party leaders are set to meet today to discuss amendments to the proposed constitution of the new alliance, after failing to reach a settlement during Tuesday’s meeting. Conflicting reports surfaced following Tuesday’s party leaders meeting regarding the possible prez candidate, but the UNP senior members maintained that no final decision has been reached on the candidate nor the criteria for selection. “The meeting on Saturday will be to discuss amendments on the alliance, more..

OMP to open office in Jaffna

Aug 17 (TM) The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) which is mandated to search for and trace the fate and whereabouts of missing and disappeared persons in Sri Lanka, will open a regional office in Jaffna on 24 August. This will be the 3rd regional office it has opened during the year apart from its offices in Matara and Mannar. “The regional offices shall ensure greater access to the OMP by families of the missing and disappeared.” OMP, Chairman, Saliya Pieris said in a press release. more..

Video: Refrain from making statements detrimental to national security: President

Aug 17 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena has requested everyone to refrain from making statements which are detrimental to the national security of the country. He made these remarks participating in a ceremony to bestow Rana Parashuwa and the Regimental Rana Purashuwa to the SL Army Special Forces to mark the presentation of the President’s and Regimental Colours, today (16), the PMD said. more..

Navy recovers 1.05 kg of drug ICE in Thalaimannar

Aug 17 (SLN) SL Navy recovered a haul of drug ICE during a raid carried out at Urumale area in Thalaimannar today (16). This haul of drug ICE 1.05 kg in weight, which was hidden in the beach was recovered during a special raid conducted by North Central Naval Command and it is due to be handed over to Thalaimannar Police for further investigation. Accordingly, only within up to date this year, apprehending 452 kg of heroin, 2397 kg of Kerala Cannabis, 3 kg of local cannabis, more..

UN Rapporteur appreciates govt efforts post-Easter attacks

Aug 17 (MFA) UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed called on Minister Tilak Marapana at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commencing his official country visit to Sri Lanka from 15- 26 Aug. The Special Rapporteur is undertaking this visit in response to the standing invitation extended to all thematic UN special procedures mandate holders by SL in 2015. This is the 10th such visit by a special procedures mandate holder to the country in the past four years. more..

Five more suspects arrested over Madampitiya murders

Aug 17 (AD) Five more suspects have been arrested in connection with the hacking to death of two underworld figures at Madampitiya, police said. The suspects were arrested by STF personnel while they were fleeing in a three-wheeler at Hunupitiya in Wattala. They are to be handed over to Mattakkuliya Police for further investigations. This brings the number of suspects arrested over the double murder to 8. more..

23 more acres used by the Army released to Kilinochchi District Secretariat

Aug 17 (SLA) Kilinochchi troops in another gesture of goodwill and reconciliation took steps to release a land patch of 23.05 acres including the buildings, owned by govt permit holders in Krishnapuram, Kilinochchi during a simple ceremony on Thursday. Documents belonging to those buildings and surrounding lands that were acquired by the troops during the war for peace were thus delivered to Kilinochchi District Secretary, Mr. S Arumenayaham by Major General Vijitha Ravipriya, more..

Video: A minor who received Zahran’s weapon training confesses

Aug 17 (AD) The 16-year-old son of NTJ leader Zahran Hashim’s second-in-command Naufer Moulvi was arrested in Ampara yesterday (16). The suspect is a resident of Ekunugolla area in Kurunegala. Preliminary police investigations have revealed that the suspect had received weapon training along with Zahran Hashim at the Nuwara Eliya camo. The suspect had confessed that his father, Naufer Moulavi, had taken him to the camp in Nuwara Eliya and gave him training on bomb-making. more..

Nimali establishes new national record in 1500 metres

Aug 17 (Island) Nimali Liyanarachchi produced the suprise of the day when she established a new Sri Lanka record in the women’s 1500 metres as the 97th National Athletics Championship commenced with a few twists to the script at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday. The 800 metres specialist, clocked four minutes and 15.86 seconds to slash almost a second off the 2012 record held by Champika Dilrukshi. more..

Pan Asia Bank reports Rs.753mn PAT during 1H’19 amid challenging conditions

Aug 17 (Island) Pan Asia Banking Corporation reported Rs.753.7 million in profit after tax for the six months ended in June 30, 2019 (1H’19) as the bank ploughed through a period mired with multiple challenges. In the quarter ended in June 30, 2019 (2Q’19), the bank reported earnings of Rs.481.6 million, down 5% from the same quarter last year while the NII for the period was Rs.1.42 billion, a decline of 5% from a year ago. Bank which carried the title of Fast Growing Commercial Bank more..

16 million NICs to be re-issued from year end

Aug 17 (ST) Dept of Registration of Persons (RoP) will re-issue 16 million National Identity Cards (NIC) from December this year, with the new document containing the facility to check the holder’s fingerprints. The new NICs will have several security features, enabling selected agencies to verify the authenticity of the card holder. The card holder’s fingerprints, obtained by the Dept, will be stored in a database, which could be verified by State agencies such as Immigration and the Police. more..

PETA calls for bill of rights for SL elephants

Aug 17 (EN) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called on SL to introduce a bill of rights for elephants, after the elderly jumbo Tikiri was paraded in a cultural festival, following which she collapsed. "It's time for SL to introduce a Bill of Rights for elephants – one which frees them from chains, spares them bullhooks and beatings, prohibits them from being taken from the wild, and fosters a world more..

Bad debt, interest costs bite into Nations Trust Bank June profits

Aug 17 (EN) Net profits at Nations Trust Bank (NTB) for the June quarter fell 32% to 641.2 million rupees from a year earlier on rising interest costs and bad debt. Group earnings for the quarter were 2.26 rupees a share, while for the six months to June earnings were 4.98 rupees a share. Interest income in the June quarter grew 14% to 10.2 billion rupees from a year earlier while interest costs grew at a faster 16% to 6.2 billion rupees and and net interest income grew at a lower 10% more..

ComBank improves Q2 earnings despite mounting challenges

Aug 17 (DN) The Commercial Bank Group has reported operating profit before impairment charges and taxes of Rs 19.476 billion for the first half of 2019, a 9.45% increase over same period of 2018. SL’s benchmark private bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, its subsidiaries and associates recorded gross income of Rs 73.587 billion for the six months ending June 30, 2019, an increase of 13.31% over the figure for the corresponding period of 2018, restated as Rs 64.944 billion more..

SL manufacturing, services activities grow

Aug 17 (EN) SL's manufacturing and services activities grew in July 2019 from a month earlier. Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) compiled by CB showed the manufacturing sector PMI growing 1.8 points to 55.7 (an index value over 50 indicates a growth from the earlier month). "This expansion in manufacturing PMI is mainly attributable to the significant increase in new orders and subsequent increase in production, more..

'NZ happy to set anything above 200'

Aug 17 (CI) Any lead in excess of 200 could be a winning one for New Zealand on a wearing Galle pitch, Tom Latham has said. SL wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, meanwhile, feels any target below 225 could be chaseable. New Zealand are currently 177 runs ahead, with three second-innings wickets remaining, with BJ Watling and William Somerville unbeaten overnight. The second new ball is due in four overs. "I think anything above 200, we are not too far off from that," more..

Advocata lauds opening of COPE to media

Aug 17 (RN) Advocata is saying the opening of the hearings of the COPE to the media is a timely initiative in a greater attempt to promote transparency and accountability of State-Owned Enterprises. In a statement, Advocata, a Colombo based think tank, commended the decision of Speaker, Karu Jayasuriya for officially announcing the ceremony to mark the opening of the COPE sessions to the media. COPE is a key committee that oversees SOEs in Sri Lanka. more..

New Zealand stretch lead to 177

Aug 17 (CI) Lasith Embuldeniya did his best Rangana Herath impression on a wearing Galle track that raised puffs of dust, but BJ Watling combated his left-arm threat and put NZ right back into the game. While both Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor were out cheaply, playing a long way in front of their body or away from it, Watling was immovable. He simply did his thing: played close to his body, defended stoutly, and even read more..

Who's the New Zealand of New Zealand? BJ Watling

Aug 17 (CI) If New Zealand are the team that do great things that barely get noticed in the wider cricket world, BJ Watling is the New Zealand of New Zealand. Pull up to a cricket ground when he is in action and watch him closely. Take in his every movement, observe every run he scores, note the difficult takes and the fine catches, drink in his cuts and pulls, revel in Watling, breathe Watling in. Then go home and describe Watling to a friend. He was vital to the team's cause, and more..

Softlogic plunges to losses in June amid rising finance costs

Aug 17 (EN) Softlogic Holdings made 752.6 million rupees in net losses in the June 2019 quarter from a 49.7 million rupee profit a year earlier on higher finance costs and slower revenue growth following the Easter Sunday attacks. Softlogic made a loss of 63 cents per share. Group-level revenue grew 7.1% from a year earlier to 17.1 billion rupees in the June quarter while cost of sales rose 5.8% to 10.7 billion rupees and gross profits grew 9.6% to 6.4 billion rupees. more..

Rise of family power and memories

Aug 17 (Island) Sajith Premadasa, with his black T-shirt and huge Indian-politico garland at Badulla, is certainly making a massive pitch to be the UNP’s next candidate for the Prez poll. His spread of villages and towns in the country has passed its 250th, and is racing ahead to keep alive his paternal memories of Gam Udava. Gam Udava politics and memories of his father are certainly good for his loud backers in the green bandwagon. more..

Editorial: Drinking tea with suspects

Aug 17 (Island) The govt is going hell for leather to expedite certain court cases, which have been dragging on, with police investigations making tardy progress. The prospect of having to face elections before the year end seems to have jolted the govt into action. Better late than never! PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has recently said, in Jaffna, that a probe is underway to find those who drank tea with some Easter Sunday terror suspects. Such elements must be brought to justice if there is evidence more..

Curse of stagnation in dry zone agriculture during war and peace

Aug 17 (Island) Nearly a 30-year period of colossal military expenditure and immense loss of life and property in the process of defeating one of the most brutal terrorist gangs in the world, amid a war-battered economy, ended in 2009. Since then, rehabilitation and reconstruction remained painfully costly and slow amid increased repayment of foreign and domestic borrowings to meet defense and nation’s production expenditure incurred during the war. more..


Awaiting the next step

Aug 17 (DN) After many months of speculation, at least one aspect SL’s next prez election has now been finalised: the candidacy of the SLPP. That was bestowed on Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary and brother of former President Rajapaksa at a grand ceremony at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo on Sunday. The younger Rajapaksa was anointed as the chosen successor to elder brother Mahinda amidst an event that was carefully choreographed, much to the delight more..

Prez to backseat, if PC elections come first

Aug 17 (DN) While the race for next President has already commenced with the announcement of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as main opposition candidate for the presidential election slated for Dec 2019, the Supreme Court is to decide next week if the Provincial Council elections could be held prior to that. On the advice of President Maithripala Sirisena, the Attorney General Dappula Livera has sought a determination from the Supreme Court to conduct early Provincial Council polls. more..

Dressing up the favoured ones

Aug 17 (ST) Two magnificent bull elephants chomp kitul trunks in torpid indulgence in the afternoon near Kandy Lake, lazily enjoying this natural state, ears flapping, till the dusk brings mahouts to tog them up. They are Miyan-Raja and Buruma-Raja, gifts from Myanmar to the Kandy Dalada Maligawa. Two perfect storybook specimens- with the much valued, dotted fading of skin pigment (gomara) & classic contours more..

Past haunts presidential hopefuls

Aug 17 (DM) On the eve of the 1988 presidential election, it was rumoured that J.R. Jayewardene – who had by then assumed office twice as President – was planning to re-contest despite the Constitution introduced by him in 1978 provided for an individual to hold presidency only twice. The Constitution says: “No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the people shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the people.” And Jayewardene was said to have argued more..

Presidential poll: A holistic view of security

Aug 17 (DM) The upcoming presidential election is likely to be decided on one key issue – security. The candidate who the voters will perceive to be the most suitable to ensure their security and that of the country will win the election and become the president, the head of state, the head of govt and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Security is a condition that assures an individual, a community, a state, a region and the humanity at large freedom from fear and need. more..

Tuition replacing mainstream education?

Aug 17 (CT) Although the tuition class system was once a business enterprise, it has now become an educational requirement, which represents the need to develop competitive skills to pass examinations. Nowadays, it is impractical to suspend or restrict tuition classes as it is seen as a necessity. Tuition classes are seen as much effective at preparing students to pass exams. It is also well known that there are many more..

MMDA reforms: Don't give up

Aug 17 (CT) The Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) must be amended to allow for women to be Quazis (Judges) in the Quazi Courts of Sri Lanka! It is our Islamic right as Muslim women, it is our fundamental right as SL citizens! Dear sisters and brothers of Muslim Women's Development Trust (MWDT), Islamic Women's Association for Research and Empowerment (IWARE), Muslim Personal Law Reforms Action Group (MPLRAG) Muslim Women's Research & Action Forum (MWRAF), more..

Tamils embraced citizenship

Aug 17 (CT) We have to look into the past again and again to seek a way forward because we in SL had a war on nationality basis for a long period and suffered. On the other hand in a situation of globalisation, it has created a world that is not only economically tied together, but also continuously seeks social and political arrangements. UNO is not anymore a playground for the mighty. It has come to be, in a sense an int'l organisation for humanity with influence and respect. more..