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Hearing of FR petitions against Pujith and Hemasiri postponed

Jul 12 (AD) Supreme Court postponed the hearing of the Fundamental Rights petitions filed against former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernanado and IGP Pujith Jayasundara until July 25. A 7-judge bench of the SC today commenced hearing the petitions filed by 12 parties against IGP and former Defence Secretary, claiming that they had violated fundamental rights by failing to prevent the Easter Sunday attacks. more..

SL Muslims to field first separate Muslim candidate in coming Presidential election?

Jul 12 (AT) For the first time in SL Presidential elections history, a Muslim candidate who will not represent any mainstream political party but will only represent the Muslims of the country, is set to come forward as a candidate. Well informed Muslim political sources said that all Muslim political parties will back a separate Muslim Prez candidate who would likely be nominated by the SLMC on behalf of all Muslim parties. more..

New Commission to revise electricity tariffs

Jul 12 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament that he plans to appoint a new Commission to revise electricity rates. Karunanayake, who had earlier submitted a Cabinet paper to trim the powers of Public Utilities Commission, which has to approve any increase of power prices, said that generating costs were uneven, & even though PUCSL had recommended new tariffs, some of them were not feasible. more..

Govt mulls trading in electricity with India

Jul 12 (DM) The govt has initiated action for trading in electricity with India by interlinking the two grids, an official said. Initial discussions were conducted and the ADB would be assigned to do a feasibility study in this regard. A steering committee co-chaired by Power and Energy Ministry Secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda and his Indian counterpart Ajay Kumar Bhalla has already been established to execute this programme. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to promote science, technology, help innovators find investors

Jul 12 (EN) Sri Lanka’s ministry of science, technology and research will hold an exhibition, ShilpaSena, to promote science among the public and help innovators find investors to fund the manufacture and marketing of their products. “The main objective is to create a platform to pass the knowledge to the general public and to connect innovators with the private sector and entrepreneurs for more business opportunities,” more..

‘Govt’s craze to grant land deeds a ploy to eventually dispossess poor’

Jul 12 (Island) Many organisations that fight for the cause of the public said that the govt had put them in a tricky situation over the distributing of land with an ulterior motive, according to the whims and fancies of IMF and World Bank. Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) said that it was not in a position to force the govt not to give lands. CEJ Executive Director, Hemantha Withanage said that giving land titles to people was necessary. more..

'2019 prez poll won’t end political turmoil'

Jul 12 (Island) The country was in such a deep political crisis that the forthcoming 2019 presidential election wouldn’t restore stability, General Secretary of the Communist Party Dew Gunasekara said. He warned of dire consequences unless political parties represented in parliament took remedial measures urgently. Gunasekara said that he hoped that the national leadership would adopt a novel approach to tackling national issues. more..

Seven strikes are too much: Public reacts

Jul 12 (ST) As the seventh strike in six months by rail staff ended this week – a stoppage in solidarity with a worker facing reprimand after being reportedly found drunk on duty – the public’s frustration boiled over. Strikes, some lasting two days, derailments due to poor maintenance of tracks, accidents and delays have plagued commuters all year. Wednesday’s 35-hour strike was the third in three consecutive weeks. more..

Squatters to be moved at cost of Rs1.7b to resume oil pipe-laying

Jul 12 (ST) After tense encounters between squatters and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation which is struggling to complete the last stage of an oil pipeline from the Colombo Port to the Kolonnawa storage facility, 389 squatter families in Bloemendhal will be relocated at a cost of Rs 1.7 billion. The treasurer of the Executive Officers Union of the CPC, Manu Jayawardena, said squatters had complained to Minister Ravi Karunanayake, more..

Open Challenge to all aspiring Presidential Candidates

Jul 12 (DM) There are many who aspire to be the next Prez in a few more months. While main political parties are desperate in deciding who their presidential candidate should be and in what political alliance if any, there are also individuals staking a claim for the presidency from a distance. They all claim they have the magic answer to solve all problems. While talking about all problems and solutions to them, more..

Presidential Problem

Jul 12 (DM) Prez Sirisena after assuming office in 2015said that he would be in the office only once and that he would not contest another Presidential election. He readily agreed to reduce the tenure of the President from six years to five years through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was adopted on April 2015. He also pressurized the loyalists of the former President Rajapaksa who were then under his wings as members of the SLFP to vote for that Constitutional Amendment. more..

In search of a leader to lift the nation

Jul 12 (DM) SL’s voters have in the past ended up with leaders whom they don’t eventually want. This is because the majority of the people don’t really know what they want in life. In the past the public, who made up the majority, were from the down-trodden masses and they were the ones who had the power to elect a president. The voters who belonged to this section were mostly wrenched in poverty. Their basic intention was to find some means to survive the 30 days in a month. more..

Muslim MPs decide to take up ministerial posts again

Jul 12 (AD) All Muslim MPs who resigned from their ministerial portfolios have decided to accept their previous positions once again, MP Amir Ali said. At a press conference on June 3, all Muslim cabinet, non-cabinet, state, and deputy ministers announced that they would resign from their portfolios. MPs said their resignations would allow investigators to probe the claims without interference. However, the 4 ministers and 5 junior ministers only resigned more..

Three held in UK for illegally importing diazepam tablets from Sri Lanka

Jul 12 (WO) Three men imported more than 350,000 illegal diazepam tablets from Sri Lanka to Wales. Paul Jones, Paul Roche, and David Clark were caught as part of Operation Etna to tackle the supply of Class C drugs into the UK and their onward distribution in the Bridgend area. The defendants were responsible for the importation of more than 350,000 diazepam tablets – used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and fits – with a potential street value exceeding £32,000. more..

Special Mass in Rome to remember Easter Sunday victims

Jul 12 (DN) Colombo Archbishop Malcolm, Cardinal Ranjith at a special Mass in Rome to commemorate the victims of the Easter Sunday bombings, said this is a golden opportunity for Sri Lanka to rise again and unite as a nation. The Sunday Mass was organised by the community of Monsignor Neville Joe Perera in Rome on July 7. “Let us make a new Sri Lanka that rises steady and strong from the ashes,” the Archbishop said. He encouraged the faithful to respect the tremendous diversity more..

MLA amendments to be reviewed by committee of economists

Jul 12 (FT) The proposed amendments to the Monetary Law Act (MLA) are to be reviewed by a committee of economists, after President Sirisena voiced concerns about the proposed changes. In a memorandum to the Cabinet, the President said that before the amendments to the MLA are submitted to the Legal Draftsperson, it must go through a broader stakeholder dialogue & consultation process. more..

Info on 21/4 mastermind: AG’s Dept denies monk’s claim

Jul 12 (CT) Attorney General’s Department denied claims by Ven. Magalkande Sudaththa Thera that the Attorney General was previously informed about the mastermind of the 21 April, Easter Sunday terror attacks, Zahran Hashim, but had failed to take action. The monk yesterday submitted a letter in this connection to the Attorney General’s Department claiming that the Kattankudy Police Officer-in-Charge had submitted a 300-page document in this connection on 7 June 2017. more..

SLPP requests parties working under JO banner to participate

Jul 12 (DM) Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) extended a formal request to the parties working under the banner of the Joint Opposition to participate in its maiden convention to be conducted on August 11, a party leader said yesterday. The SLPP will announce its presidential candidate at this convention. The party leaders met with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday evening, where they decided to support the no confidence motion moved by the JVP against the govt. more..

Opposition Leader accuses govt of trying to rob EPF funds

Jul 12 (Island) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that the govt had brought about a draft bill to amend the Finance Act to remove the Central Bank from the purview of the Finance Ministry. Addressing a press conference, he said that the govt was trying to take control of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). Central Bank had been under the Ministry of Finance as per the provisions of the Finance Act, he said. more..

A 2000 unit ceiling on power consumption for institutions

Jul 12 (DN) Any institution, which consumes more than 2,000 units, will have to obtain 25% of that power from renewable energy sources in the future, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He said the Ministry has decided on the above step to further promote the Sooryabala Sangramaya programme (a programme to promote solar energy launched in 2016). He said obtaining 25% of power from renewable energy sources would be made compulsory for institutions which consume more..

'CEB will go ahead after informing Police'

Jul 12 (DM) CEB will inform the police and would then go ahead with erecting electricity posts to provide power to the Kuragala Temple, Minister Ravi Karunanayake told parliament. “We will inform the police and go ahead with erecting electricity posts to provide power to the Kuragala Temple, as initially, we have got permission from the Department of Archaeology to do it,” he said. “I cannot say anything about the blocking of Iraj’s Facebook fan page as the TRC should clarify the matter,” more..

CB revises growth to 3%

Jul 12 (FT) Central Bank said it has revised growth down to 3% from 4% earlier in the year, but kept policy rates unchanged on moderate inflation, international rate cuts, and expectations of lending rates declining in the coming weeks, to boost economic expansion. CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Thursday remained optimistic about Sri Lanka’s growth prospects in 2019, but acknowledged positive sentiment and more..

Central Bank may cut floor rate in August

Jul 12 (EN) Central bank which is propping up overnight rates a little above the 7.5% floor policy corridor with overnight liquidity withdrawals may cut the floor at the next policy meeting, Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said. At the July 11 meeting the central bank kept the floor rate, which is now active, amid a private credit collapse that came in the wake of monetary instability in 2018, unchanged. "It's a wait and see policy the (rate setting) Monetary Board has taken," more..

SLBFE brings down 858 expat workers

Jul 12 (CT) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) states that following its intervention, It had been able to bring down 858 Sri Lankan women expatriate workers who had been put up at Suraksha houses maintained by the labour units attached to overseas embassies. Issuing a press release, the SLBFE stated a majority of these expat workers, numbering 588, had returned to the country after they were put up at Suraksha houses run by the Kuwait Embassy. more..

CPC up in arms over fuel price formula

Jul 12 (CT) A top official from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) said that due to no official from CPC being involved in the formulation of the fuel pricing formula, the CPC has to date not given its approval to the formula. He pointed out the CPC will not bear the losses brought about by the implementation of fuel price formula, which had been drawn up with the involvement of 4-5 officials of Ministry of Finance. more..

Apparel exports post 5 year highest growth

Jul 12 (DN) Apparel exports of Sri Lanka has achieved the highest growth rate recorded in the past five years accounting for a 6.38% growth in May against last year and a compound growth rate of 8.7% for the period from January to May against the same period last year. Chairman, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA), Rehan Lakhany said that so far they are proceeding successfully on the track to achieve the target of US $ 8 billion by 2025. more..

ARTDO Conference in Colombo, tremendous boost for tourism: Gomes

Jul 12 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourism is recovering faster than expected as the arrivals from 1,200 per day in April has shot up to 2, 200 in May and to 3,200 per day in June, said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Kishu Gomes. Gomes said that they also expect more arrivals to pick up towards the mid year and also subsequent to further relaxing of travel advisories especially by Russia which would happen when the state of emergency is lifted by the govt. more..

Low quality cows shipped from Australia: Investors allege a cover-up

Jul 12 (Island) A team of auditors from Export Finance Australia has arrived in Sri Lanka to cover up the fact that inferior cows were sent here from Australia under an agreement with Wellard Rural Exports Pvt. Ltd., Australia, under the guise of providing high-yielding pregnant milch cows, investors who took part in a controversial project said. Amal Suriyage of Lammermoor Estate in Maskeliya, who filed a complaint with PCoI, more..

England reach Cricket World Cup final with thrashing of Australia

Jul 12 (CI) How does that old song go again? Thirty years of hurt? Make that 44 and counting (and contrary to the lyrics, England's cricketers certainly gave up dreaming for at least 20 of those). But suddenly it's all up for grabs. On home soil, with the wind behind their backs and the fates screaming in their favour. Is it coming home this time? If you don't believe it now, you truly never will. One thing is for sure. New Zealand await in the World Cup final at Lord's on Sunday, more..

Sirisena and Madurangi to lead SL at Commonwealth TT Championship

Jul 12 (DN) Two experienced paddlers Rohan Sirisena and Ishara Madurangi will lead the Sri Lanka Table Tennis team for the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships scheduled to be held from July 17 to 22 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadum, Cuttack, Oshida, India. Four men and four women were selected to play in this tournament after the Selection Committee held two trials at S. Thomas’, Mt. Lavinia gymnasium. more..

Sri Lanka banks considering relief for Rs. 101 billion in tourism debt

Jul 12 (EN) Sri Lanka banks may give relief about 100 billion rupees in hotel borrowings for one year to help the tourism industry recover from the Easter Sunday attack, official said. Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that there have been 3,641 requests to banks for a moratorium. "The amount considered for moratorium is 101 billion rupees and so far 945 requests have been approved and 2,696 are under process for approval." more..

UK’s slavery laws are having unintended consequences for women's freedom in SL

Jul 12 (SBS) Modern Slavery Act was seen as a big achievement for combating the issue of forced labour. But since it was passed by the UK govt in 2015, many have pointed out its shortcomings - in particular, how the legislation helps cover up serious forced labour issues, all the while making citizens who are concerned about the problem feel better. Less well known is how Article 54 of the act, which assigns British companies the responsibility to clean up their global supply chains, more..

Biz community concerned over losing trade concessions

Jul 12 (SO) The govt should address the rising crime rate in the country by other means and not at the expense of losing the GSP Plus concession which deprive exporters the opportunity to access a large market, exporters and trade chamber heads cautioned. EU is Sri Lanka’s second largest trading partner after India, absorbing 31% of Sri Lankan exports in 2015. Textiles and clothing accounted for about 61% of Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU followed by food products with 12.3% in 2016. more..

Prosecutors say tests needed before Sri Lanka sterilization case can proceed

Jul 12 (Reuters) Sri Lankan prosecutors said on Thursday tests would be needed to establish whether a Muslim doctor had sterilized Buddhist patients, while there was no evidence to support other charges against him of links to terrorist groups or money laundering. The case of Shegu Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi has become a focus of national attention in Sri Lanka since he was arrested in May and more..

Harshana, Sayuni crowned champions

Jul 12 (CT) Harshana Thilakarathne (Maliyadeva College Kurunegala) and Sayuni Jayaweera (Dharmasoka College Ambalangoda) emerged winners of the SL Chess Nationals and Women’s National Chess Championships 2019 respectively at the Chess Federation Headquarters in Nugegoda recently. Harshana Thilakarathne won the National Chess Championship Trophy with the Gold Medal and Rs 100,000. Isuru Alahakoon (SL Navy) finished in 2nd place to win Silver Medal & Rs 50,000. more..

Editorial: Pact trap - II

Jul 12 (Island) The PM’s Office has taken the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to task over the latter’s comments on the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared, in Parliament, that the govt will never enter into agreements that are detrimental to Sri Lanka’s interests. He has torn into those who erroneously claim that the SOFA was signed a couple of years ago. It has not been inked. In fact, the govt has baulked at signing it due to protests. more..