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'Govt must expand Rs. 2,500 salary hike to semi-govt, private sectors'

Aug 16 (FT) Joint Opposition called on the Govt to expand the allowance of Rs. 2,500 to include semi-Govt institutions, authorities, the private sector, and the plantation sector as it would boost consumption and drive economic growth. Speaking to the media at the Opposition Leader’s office, MP Bandula Gunawardana criticised the Govt for treating semi-Govt employees and plantation sector workers differently, insisting they deserve equal increments and allowances. more..

Video: We are now looking for those who drank tea with terror suspects: PM

Aug 16 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that every person connected to the Easter Sunday terror attacks are currently in custody and that authorities are now on the hunt for the individuals “who drank cups of tea with them.” Addressing an event in Jaffna today (15), he said that opposition MPs of the SLPP are claiming that the country was much safer under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and that they intend to reestablish that in the future. more..

Gota should have good associates

Aug 16 (CT) SLPP Prez Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa should be vigilant about who he will associate with, in order to set up a strong future Govt led by him, said Ven. Professor Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera. Speaking at a Media briefing convened by Global SL Forum (GSLF) to present the policy framework for the Prez Candidate by the GSLF's Executive Committee, he said they will be attentive about Rajapaksa, and who he is associating with, to set up the Govt and regain power. more..

AG raises concerns over delaying investigations of five high profile cases

Aug 16 (DM) Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC had instructed the acting IGP to expedite the conclusion of investigations relating to five high profile cases without further delay as the investigations of these cases had not been concluded so far despite the continuous reminders by the AG. AG had instructed to send completed extracts (All materials of the investigations) of the investigations of Lasantha Wickrematunge murder case, Waseem Thajudeen murder inquiry, more..

Sajith will be backed by UNP team: Harsha

Aug 16 (FT) Non-Cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva defended UNP members backing Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa insisting it was not their intention to discard UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe but rather to create a credible group of people capable of taking the country forward. Responding to questions from reporters, Dr. de Silva defended PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as a person with great knowledge and vision who had protected the UNP and taken it forward during crucial times. more..

Immigration issues mount for Sri Lanka presidential hopeful

Aug 16 (EN) Opposition presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa faced another challenge Thursday as he was not included in an official list of those who had renounced US citizenship, a pre-requisite to contest upcoming elections. The US Federal Registry, Sri Lanka’s equivalent of a govt gazette, gave names of 612 individuals who had successfully expatriated between April 1 and June 30, 2019, the period during which Rajapaksa too purportedly gave up his US citizenship. more..

Video: Everyone should come together to create a better country: President

Aug 16 (AD) While ensuring the prevailing freedom and the democracy in the country, everyone should come together to create a better country and a virtuous future generation, President Sirisena said. Prez made these comments addressing a gathering of youth followed by the opening of SMART SRI LANKA Vocational Training Institute in Katugatota today (15). The institute was established with the objective of empowering the youth with skills and talents to face more..

ADB approves $160 m in first loan to railway sector

Aug 16 (FT) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $160 million loan to modernise the operations and improve the efficiency of SL Railways, the country’s railway operator, by upgrading its infrastructure and technical capacity, it said in a statement. This is ADB’s first loan in SL’s railway sector. “There is a need to improve public transportation in SL to serve a growing population, expected to reach 25 million by 2050,” said ADB Transport Specialist Johan Georget. more..

MR no longer an SLFP member: Amaraweera

Aug 16 (DM) While stressing that Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa was no longer a member of the SLFP as he had obtained SLPP membership and become its leader, MP Mahinda Amaraweera said they would not take any disciplinary action against Rajapaksa because it would hamper the talks between SLFP and SLPP. He said that Mahinda Rajapaksa quitting SLFP was a matter of concern. “According to the SLFP Constitution, if an SLFP member obtained membership of another party, his or her party membership would be annulled,” more..

Private sector should be involved in deciding price controls: Harsha

Aug 16 (FT) In an effort to improve data-based policy making, Non-Cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday said an Analytics Unit has been established to act as the brain of the Govt, to find solutions to deal with cost-of-living issues, beyond slapping arbitrary price controls. Dr. de Silva, speaking to media, pointed out that the Govt’s preferred method of dealing with high cost-of-living was to introduce price controls on random goods, more..

Will support candidate who can face Islamic extremism firmly: Rathana Thera

Aug 16 (DM) MP Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera said he would support, at the next presidential election, the candidate who could face Islamic extremism firmly. The Thera said that the presidential election should be held without delay and added that people would respond to the govt for failing to address the Islamic extremist issue. “Whoever was nominated as the presidential candidate, we will support the one who can address Islamic terrorism firmly. Madrasas should be abolished. more..

New UNDP Resident Representative for SL takes office

Aug 16 (TM) Robert Juhkam presented his credentials today (15) to Minister Tilak Marapana, officially taking office as the new Resident Representative for UNDP in Sri Lanka. Prior to his appointment in Sri Lanka, Juhkam served as the Strategic Planning Advisor at the UNDP Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy in New York, U.S.A for 5 years, where he was leading a global team of partnerships advisors across five Regional Hubs to diversify UNDP’s strategic partnerships. more..

PM in Jaffna: Rajapaksas want power to protect themselves, not country’s security

Aug 16 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, in Jaffna, yesterday, that the SLPP Prez candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa had asked for another mandate from the people, saying that they wanted to strengthen the country’s security, but when they were in power they protected only themselves and those close to them. Speaking after opening a building housing the Jaffna Thirunelveli Economic Center, PM recalled that Tamil politicians more..

Documents on GR renouncing citizenship will be presented if needed: NR

Aug 16 (FT) MP Namal Rajapaksa said that proof of SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s renunciation of citizenship will be presented when needed. Tweeting in response to Non-Cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva’s query on twitter after Rajapaksa’s name was not included in the official US Govt publication Quarterly Publication of Individuals, Who Have Chosen To Expatriate, or renounce US citizenship, in the 2nd quarter of 2019, covering 1 March to 30 June. more..

Central Bank to survey household creditworthiness

Aug 16 (EN) An islandwide survey will be conducted to measure the creditworthiness of SL households, central bank said. The Islandwide Household Sector Creditworthiness Survey 2019 will be conducted to improve the central bank's macroprudential surveillance framework, an advertisement published on newspapers on August 15. "The main objective of this survey is to establish a comprehensive database on the household sector information that would enable the assessment of indebtedness, more..

Five-judge bench appointed to decide on PC polls

Aug 16 (FT) A five-judge bench has been appointed to consider whether the Provincial Council elections can be held without a delimitation report, as requested by President Maithripala Sirisena. Accordingly a five-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, and consisting of Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Prasanna Jayawardena, and Vijith K. Malalgoda will take up the President’s request on 23 August. more..

Qualified audit opinion on Sri Lanka airport operator over Mattala

Aug 16 (EN) SL’s auditor general has issued a qualified opinion on the annual accounts of Aviation Services (SL) Limited (AASL), which runs civil airports, over continued losses at the southern Mattala airport. There had been a downturn in the operations of Mattala Rajapaksha Int'l Airport (MRIA) from the time it opened, Auditor General W.P.C. Wickramaratne said, according to the company’s 2018 annual report. “... presently there are a few int'l flight movements and domestic flights.” more..

Physics scholar's chemistry discovery to save US$1mn for apparel industry

Aug 16 (Island) Dr. Dilushan Jayasundera, principal investigator-projects and senior lecturer (Physics) of the Uni of Colombo has developed a revolutionary filter technology in which he uses waste from the aluminium industry to treat waste water in the apparel industry. "It's about using waste from one industry to treat waste of another industry which doesn't come under physics though", Dr. Jayasundera quipped. Ranil Vitarana, Chief Innovation Officer of MAS Holdings said more..

Govt to call RFPs for $ 500 m Samurai bond

Aug 16 (FT) Govt will soon issue Request for Proposals (RFPs) to raise $ 500 million via Samurai bonds, which will be used to bolster reserves and finance debt repayment, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said yesterday. To call for RFPs, a tender board approved by the Cabinet has to be appointed. “We are about to call for RFPs for the $ 500 million Samurai bond. For that, the tender board has to be approved by the Cabinet, and it may take one or two weeks to get through more..

Skipper Asalanka hopeful of repeating South Africa success in Bangladesh

Aug 16 (DN) SL’s Emerging cricket team left for Bangladesh yesterday to play 3 one-dayers and 2 unofficial tests. The series will begin from August 19 with the ODI leg and conclude on Sept 6. The team is scheduled to return on Sept 7 after a 23-day tour. Charith Asalanka who led SL Emerging team to be crowned champions in the 50-over tri-series held in South Africa will captain the side to Bangladesh. “I want to thank SLC for this opportunity as this is our second Emerging tour for the year. more..

National Tennis Championship: Anjalika, Janali into Finals

Aug 16 (CT) Anjalika Kurera and Janali Manamperi booked their places in the main event, the Women's Singles final of the 104th National Tennis Championship 2019 after they defeated the defending champion Anika Seneviratne and Rukshika Wijesuriya in the semifinals by 7/6 (8/6), 2/6, 6/3 and 3/6, 7/6(5), 6/2 respectively at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association hard courts. Rising tennis sensation Anjalika Kurera will look to be ruthless coming into the tie. With many remarkable junior and senior titles more..

Suranga Lakmal the bowler and batsman

Aug 16 (DN) If Sri Lanka is to turn the first cricket Test against New Zealand in their favour a lot will depend on Suranga Lakmal who is responsible so far for keeping his team in the game without allowing it to drift too much towards the opposition. When play began yesterday with New Zealand resuming at 203-5 and looking to build on it, it was Lakmal who shut the door on the visitors by sending back both overnight batsmen Ross Taylor and Mitchell Santner in his opening spell more..

97th National Athletics Championship: It’s do or die

Aug 16 (Island) From a 15-year-old’s heroics challenging veterans in the women’s high jump to the mouthwatering contests in the sprints and middle distance events, many are the scintillating duals and sub plots to watch at the 97th National Athletics Championship starting at the Sugathadasa Stadium today. Despite not receiving sponsorship backing, the annual event is likely to attract the interest of the enthusiast as the top performers will also win spots in the team for the regional Olympics or more..

Ajaz Patel follows the Herathian template to turn Galle Test

Aug 16 (CI) Much like the Sri Lanka seam bowler, the New Zealand spinner is a second-class citizen. If you're not bowling with the seam upright and at at least 120kph, the place is practically designed to make you feel insecure. Early in the summer, pitches can be virtually indistinguishable from the outfield. In the stereotype of New Zealand, cows and sheep in neighbouring paddocks line up at edge of grounds and bleat longingly at the unused grazing opportunity that is the pitch block. more..

Ajaz Patel's five-for keeps New Zealand in the hunt

Aug 16 (CI) Ajaz Patel hasn't had the bowling opportunities he'd like when back home, but when he's been called upon overseas since his debut late last year, he's generally been a machine that delivers sharp-spinning deliveries mixed with dollops of drift and subtle changes in lengths. On surfaces like in Galle that offer bite, he can be more than a handful, as SL found out on Thursday. His second Test five-for triggered a slide, SL slipping from a comfortable 143 for 2 to 227 for 7 at stumps. more..

For Them, by Them, all for Them; and others vying

Aug 16 (Island) Democracy is a system of govt by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. That is the form of govt we in SL have. It was truly thus soon after we gained independence from British rule in 1948. We oldies remember how candidates paid for their elections, some with assets, but those without, borrowing or launched forward by pooled money. Once in govt they did what they had to do; visit their electorates, more..

Editorial: Follow money trail

Aug 16 (Island) Some polls monitors have called for a ceiling on election campaign expenditure. This, we hear in the run-up to elections like koha’s mating call during the Avurudu season. But nothing happens thereafter and the issue is forgotten. Politicians and moneybags carry on regardless, and corruption thrives. The Election Commission (EC) takes pride in the fact that a wealthy candidate who spent more than Rs. 40 million at the last local govt polls finds himself in hot water. H more..


Zoo to fly in new animals

Aug 16 (SO) In our childhood, we listened to the story of a tortoise flying with the help of two cranes. How can a tortoise fly?, we kept asking mother. She did not know how to answer our questions. Yet, she did not stop telling us stories and we found many other animals who cannot fly in the real world but in her stories they flew. Animals do fly from one country to another quite often. Instead of cranes and sticks, now they get on board and fly by way of an aircraft. more..

Presidential Election 2020: Gotabaya Rajapaksa versus Sajith Premadasa

Aug 16 (CT) The SLPP held its first national convention at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on 11 August 2019. Undoubtedly, it was a colourful and splendid event. At the convention, two decisions of importance were announced. These decisions are Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) would be the Leader of the SLPP and Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) will be the Presidential Candidate for 2020. Whatever I write below, there are two things to be praised. The convention started on time and ended on time. more..

Garbage disposal at Aruwakkalu, a hot mess

Aug 16 (SO) Amidst an Appeal Court order to the heads of Wanathavilluwa Pradeshiya Sabha to allow the disposal of Colombo Municipal Council’s (CMC) garbage at the Aruwakkalu garbage dump without obstruction, its chairman vowed to closely monitor the site. The CMC was forced to transport about 600MT of garbage (roughly 200MT of non-recyclable and 400MT degradable) to the Rs. 19 billion Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill site. Through a letter dated Aug 2 the Secretary to more..

Alliance partners at a loss over UNP’s internal crisis

Aug 16 (DM) Minister Sajith Premadasa took a step further in staking a bid for presidential candidacy- that is by holding a rally in Badulla on Aug 12. It is still uncertain whether he will receive nomination with the blessing of the party leadership. Let alone, the Badulla rally virtually turned out to be his maiden public event in view of the presidential elections. And, he outlined his policies in a broader frame at the event. Interesting to note here is that he is advocating more..

Election promises and what must be changed

Aug 16 (DM) We have read much about what potential election candidates and Pohottuwa party’s Gotabaya Rajapaksa have had to say these days. Now its the turn for these prez hopefuls to read the minds of voters and check out their needs. Given that SL is debt-ridden, country’s citizens are concerned about lawmakers spending lavishly on elections propaganda. Right now we see many posters bearing the picture of Gotabaya Rajapaksa decorating the walls of Colombo and the suburbs after SLPP announced its election candidate. more..

'No comment on winning candidate'

Aug 16 (TM) UNP National Organiser, Minister Navin Dissanayake asserted that the UNP was a democratic party, both within and without, and that it had several potential presidential candidates who could face the possible SLPP candidacy of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, he refused to comment on who the best candidate would be. In addition, Minister said that national security could be given priority while simultaneously upholding the democratic and human rights of the citizenry. more..

State of the race

Aug 16 (CT) Sri Lankans will face a presidential election in about four months. However, no major political party was in a hurry to announce its candidate for the race. Now, the first name is out. On August 11, 2019, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) announced that it is fielding Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its presidential candidate. Although it was apparent that Gotabaya will be the party’s nominee, unnecessary suspense was built up until the party’s national convention. more..

Will Ranil Short-Circuit Sajith?

Aug 16 (CT) The run-up to the Presidential Election due shortly is throwing up a range of possibilities some of which are cause for concern. Irrespective of who wins or loses, the prospects for the country are bleak. The country will limp along as it has done for 71 years since independence from one catastrophe to another. Due to a multitude of reasons, big power politics will not allow the country to be a classic basket case. None of our leaders of the past or for that matter more..