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MR’s Seychelles visit cost over Rs.100 mil

Aug 21 (SL) Two official visits undertaken to Seychelles by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa cost govt over Rs. 100 million. A report on the two overseas visits was handed over to the govt last week by SL Commission in the Seychelles. In 2013 Rajapaksa led a delegation to the Seychelles which included his son, MP Namal Rajapaksa. Cost for that tour is estimated at Rs. 50 million, according to information communicated to the govt, more..

Rosy to be new Colombo Mayor

Aug 21 (SL) Former Parliamentarian Rosy Senanayake is to be appointed as the new Mayor of Colombo, well informed sources said. Senanayake, who is now attached to the Prime Minister’s office, will replace A. J. M. Muzammil. Muzammil is to be appointed as Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Malaysia. When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Muzammil said that the process to appoint him as a High Commissioner was underway but nothing had been finalized yet. more..

Ten parties eye SriLankan Airlines

Aug 21 (SO) Ten parties have shown interest to invest and manage the operations of SriLankan Airlines, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. The time stipulated for parties to express interest will close by the end of this month. They will be given time to submit proposals and by the end of this year the managers will be shortlisted and thereafter a partner will be selected to operate the airline. The losses of the Airline has been halved as at end March this year, Wickramaratne said. more..

Abrew's death: Was it a fatal fall?

Aug 21 (CT) SC Judge Sarath Abrew had to leave the job because he was accused of serious sexual violence against his female domestic aide. He surrendered to Court when CID was about to arrest him. AG indicted him in Colombo High Court pertaining to the sexual harassment allegedly conducted on or around 16 July 2015. The case was to be heard on 14 Sept. A group of lawyers led by a President's Counsel more..

Amila Aponso set to make ODI debut

Aug 21 (Island) During their tour of SL, Australia have been caught off guard by relatively unknown players, who have had a devastating effect in the series. A team that does lot of homework on the opposition players, Australia had little video footage to analyze the likes of Lakshan Sandakan and Dhanajaya de Silva. Trend is set to continue as the hosts are set bring in left-arm spinner Amila Aponso to the equation for today’s first ODI between the countries at the R. Premadasa Stadium. more..

Anuradha Cooray to run marathon today

Aug 21 (SO) SL will pin its last hope at the XXX1th Olympic Games on its veteran long distance runner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray who will be competing in the men’s marathon to be worked off here today. This will be the third time that the 38-year-old will be competing in an Olympic marathon race, having done so in Athens 2004 and London 2012. London-based Lankan runner said his preparations for the 2016 Rio Games are much better than what he had done for last Olympic Games 4 years ago. more..

Govt seeks interim alternatives to VAT

Aug 21 (SO) Achieving the govt’s revenue targets for this year will be an uphill task due to the delay of nearly five months in implementing the revised VAT to bring in the much needed revenue to State coffers, economic analysts said. However, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said the govt will resort to other income measures to minimize the revenue slippage during the past few months. ‘We will have to collect other revenue to provide more..

New twist in Agalawatte Plantations drama

Aug 21 (ST) Agalawatte Plantations’s sale that has drawn fire has seen a new twist to the drama with two ministries raising vital questions over not being consulted in the transaction and the non-payment of EPF dues of workers. Last week, Ministry of Plantation sent a letter to Agalawatte Plantations clarifying how the transaction, now contested in court, went through without the golden shareholder’s nod. The golden share in plantation companies is held by govt and has wide powers. more..

Sri Lanka to spend over $2 mln for law firm’s 3-mth legal expertise

Aug 21 (ST) The Govt has approved a sum of US$2.3 million to be paid to global law firm Baker & McKenzie as legal services to, among other things, prepare new laws on a range of topics including real estate. At a recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM), it was agreed to pay the professional fee of US$ 2.3 million for 12 weeks to Baker & McKenzie subject to Cabinet approval for its expert services over a 3-month period. more..

Professionals walk out but keep options open on ETCA discussions

Aug 21 (ST) The newly-formed joint professionals’ body, United Professionals Movement (UPM) which last month walked out of discussions with the Govt on the controversial ETCA, is nevertheless keeping its options open. UPM President Palitha Abeywardena said they would continue to engage the govt in discussions to ensure Sri Lankan professionals are unaffected by the proposed agreement with India. more..

Promoting the King of nuts

Aug 21 (Island) True to its name King coconut, this panacea of nature is a beverage fit for a king. Scientifically called Cocos nucifera and thembili for the Lankan, is an ayurvedic antidote to many an ailment, an offering to the Sanga at an alms-giving, a thirst-quencher, an embellishment in cultural pageants, an offering in pooja and the traditional welcome-drink for the tourist arriving in this sun-kissed island. From the humble wayside thembili seller to the star-class hotel, more..

Do we Need Private Medical Colleges?

Aug 21 (Island) Our education system is a web of contradictions. We enjoy free education since 1938. Even uniform material is provided free. Our exams however lean more to eliminate than to qualify. Parents thus spend considerably on private tuition, almost from grade one onwards. Still, less than 30,000 enter tertiary education annually, while over 100,000 eligible are denied. Though rich with natural resources and sharp-thinkers, our main foreign exchange comes from more..

Ford prefers Lankans to be the underdogs

Aug 21 (ST) Suddenly there are some new kids on the block and a thousand questions are being asked. Now everyone wants to know as to who would be opening the batting. They are keen to find out if veteran Tillekeratne Dilshan would really be opening the inning with Danushka Gunatilleke and who would be batting at number 3 – is it Kusal Mendis or Kusal Janith Perera, as the young Lankans embark on their mission ODI more..

Coming of age of Chandimal

Aug 21 (Island) Our splendid sports reporter Reemus Fernando had told us plenty about this raw talent from Ambalangoda called Dinesh Chandimal. Later a lot was heard of him as he represented Ananda College. When the selectors picked him to represent Sri Lanka Board President’s XI against touring New Zealanders at the age of 19, we rushed to the Colts Cricket ground to see how the next biggest thing in SL cricket would fare against Tuffey, Martin, Oram and Vettori. more..

‘Get on with the job; I will support you with funds’

Aug 21 (Island) Primary Industries Minister, Daya Gamage, said the spice trade should in effect be a one billion dollar foreign exchange earner, but mainly because of reduced production, the trade has not emerged into that level of exports. He was speaking as the chief guest at the Spices and Allied Products Producers & Traders Association (SAPPTA) AGM. He said that although the plantation sector could make a significant contribution towards spice production, more..

Why Maithri suddenly went to India after Matara Rally?

Aug 21 (CT) As the unity govt of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe completed one year, President Sirisena who is the Chairman of the SLFP took measures to appoint 40 new electoral and district organizers removing popular yet, rebellious former organizers from their posts. This was described by many as a move to fuel already soured relations between Rajapaksa & Sirisena camps within more..

Ravi K defuses traders’ revolt

Aug 21 (Island) The biggest and most immediate challenge facing this govt is getting the VAT amendments passed in parliament. How this is handled may well determine the continued existence of the govt. If they don’t increase tax revenue, Sri Lanka may well get shut out of the IMF programme which will result in the private credit markets also refusing to lend to Sri Lanka, leading in turn to a sovereign default. Opposition to VAT amendments comes from the trading community more..

SLFP purges pro-MR rebels

Aug 21 (SO) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa, in May, this year, appeared in a TV show where he was asked about the SriLankan Airlines stewardess working for the Presidential Secretariat, under the Rajapaksa administration. It was widely alleged that the stewardess, namely Nithya Samaranayake, worked for the young MP, while receiving a salary from SriLankan Airlines. During the TV show, MP, who, at one point, was the head of the SLFP youth wing, came up with a very loose explanation. more..

Office of Missing Persons: What is behind?

Aug 21 (SL) The govt passed the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill in parliament recently. Before and during the process, there were heated debates about the issue in parliament and amongst society. The controversy over this the OMP is still at large. While some say that the OMP is an attempt to take certain politicians and army personnel to the gallows, some others say that it is a positive step taken towards the long sought more..

Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara Randoli perahera

Aug 21 (NS) Ancient temples have intrigued us as sanctuaries for solace to thousands of Buddhist devotees. According to the Sinhala Bodhivamsaya, 32 saplings of the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura were planted at sites across our island. One such sapling was planted that blossomed into a vibrant tree at Bellanwila. During the 15th Century reign of King Parakaramabahu VI the Kingdom of Kotte sustained many temples, including the Bodhi tree at Bellanwila. more..

Dambulla’s World Heritage status to be annulled?

Aug 21 (SO) This feline was not one bit surprised on receiving an email sent by a friend in Australia with the following news: ‘The UN’s cultural agency expressed concern Wednesday over the poor maintenance of a centuries-old cave temple in Sri Lanka, which risks being struck off the list of world heritage sites. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said she raised the maintenance issue at the Golden Temple of Dambulla with local authorities during her visit to the island’. more..

Face The Nation

Ruling sans some Blues

Aug 21 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on completing a one year yahapaalanaya partnership with the Greens but then, you seem to have celebrated already in style – sacking a dozen or so Blue stalwarts from their organiser posts! I know that you had a hard time during the past year. Even the election in August last year was very challenging. Why, you had to tell your Blue voters that even if they won the election, you wouldn’t be appointing Mahinda maama as more..

The harmonious balancing of power

Aug 21 (ST) LAWASIA conference concluded this week in Colombo, its jubilee celebrations marked with a Colombo declaration signed by Asia Pacific Region Chief Justices calling for a further commitment to the Separation of Powers between the Executive (Govt), the Legislature (Parliament) and the Judiciary (Courts). Coming as it did in Colombo in the backdrop of a missive from the Executive reminding the Judiciary that the Legislature was supreme and not to be trifled more..

'We’re giving govt our fullest support'

Aug 21 (SL) PLOT leader and TNA MP D. Sidharthan says he has confidence in the current regime that it will deliver justice to the Tamil people. He said that even though the govt has good intentions, they implement these mechanisms extremely slow, so the Tamil people are fast losing faith in the govt. He said that the passing of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill was also a good sign that govt is doing its best for Tamil people. more..

The wages of vengeance

Aug 21 (Island) Power: one either has it or does not have it. Power: one either wants it or eschews it. Politicians are all about power, whatever they may say in manifestos, whichever way they read mandates, whatever rhetoric is used to prove otherwise and however solemnly the relevant pronouncements are made. If the above was not the case and if the voters of this country truly believed that politicians embodied the dictum practice what you preach (and vice versa) President more..

Not who split the party but who can bring unity?

Aug 21 (SL) President Sirisena and ex-president Rajapaksa are now engaged in a finger pointing exercise of: Who Sir? Me Sir? Not I Sir. Who then Sir? over who split their party. This is a futile exercise to go through in this country where no one admits his mistakes. A better trend of the debate would be on who could unite the party and lead it to victory at elections not only for the sake of the party but for the benefit of Sri Lanka. How and why Rajapaksa lost the Presidential election and more..

Unity Govt turns one year: Certainly, not a bed of roses

Aug 21 (SO) Exactly one year back on Aug 21, 2015 history was created in Sri Lanka, politically, when the two main parties reached a consensus to govern and make the country prosper, together. This was a fresh experience for the people. One of the salient features of good governance (Yahapalanaya) was that President Sirisena as pledged in his political manifesto took measures to prune the powers of Executive Presidency more..

The reality of the SLFP split

Aug 21 (CT) Ever since the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt took office there's no denying the fact that all citizens of this country have become more acquainted with more facets of liberty than of tyranny. The former regime functioned under no less a tag of a socialist democracy than the open now in power. Where the former thwarted every attempt by sections of society concerned with a return to human accountability to the people and transparency in governance through the mechanisms of more..

Tying the knot

Aug 21 (SO) When the UK decided, by a narrow margin in popular vote, to exit from the European Union, it became clear to the Brits that breaking away could not be as simple as the Yes or No vote in the referendum. The Brexit will require a painstaking and, to some, painful, process involving careful dis-entanglement from a myriad - literally tens of thousands - of laws, by-laws, regulations, covenants and institutional procedures through which the UK has engaged with more..

Sri Lanka keen to build a team for the future

Aug 20 (CI) In high spirits after the unexpected 3-0 whitewash in Tests, Sri Lanka wish to find similar joy in the one-day format, but are also looking well beyond the series at hand. Coach Graham Ford has repeatedly said SL are on the hunt for long-term players. Ahead of the first ODI, Angelo Mathews echoed those sentiments, as he prepares to lead another relatively youthful XI. "Our long-term goal is the 2019 World Cup, but more..

Ailing Australia seek respite in ODIs

Aug 20 (CI) If ODIs and Tests occurred in parallel universes, Australia might be the pre-series favourites. They have been generally good in this format this year, defeating India 4-1 at home, and winning four out of seven completed matches in the Caribbean to claim that tri-series - though there was a series loss in New Zealand. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have been uniformly terrible - their top order has been unsteady and a toothless attack has gummed its way around the planet. more..

Sirisena Backtracks: President's threat to MR camp removed from official video

Aug 20 (AM) The video of President Maithripala Sirisena's speech at the UNP-SLFP govt's first anniversary rally in Matara was uploaded on his official Facebook page and Youtube channel, with his threat to reveal secrets removed. Sirisena, in his speech yesterday, said that the good governance government will continue to govern the country till 2020. He also added that those who crowned corruption in the country will never be let to govern it in the future. more..

President reads riot act to Rajapaksa loyalists

Aug 20 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena marked the first anniversary of his national unity govt by firing dire warnings to detractors and ordering a purge of his SLFP. President Sirisena threatened to reveal secrets of his rivals within the SLFP if they tried to form a new break away political party. "They are threatening to form a new political party. Let's see them do it," President said in a hard-hitting speech at Matara more..

President to visit Tirumala today

Aug 20 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena is likely to reach Tirumala - the sacred abode of Lord Venkateswara, in India today to participate in the Suprabhata seva, The Hindu News Paper reported. According to a communiqué from the State government, the President is scheduled to reach the town at 8 p.m. on Saturday. After an overnight stay, the President and his entourage are likely to participate in the Suprabhata seva inside the hill temple in the wee hours of Sunday. more..

Thajudeen killing footage sent to Canada

Aug 20 (Island) Colombo Additional Magistrate gave permission to the CID to send CCTV footage obtained from cameras in and around the place where ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen was murdered to a Canadian computer analytical institute to get an expert opinion on those recordings. The CID informed the court that the police had obtained CCTV footage on the date and its surrounding dates pertaining to the death of the rugger player and arrangements had been made to obtain more..

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