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CID links Army spies to several high–profile Rajapaksa era murders

July 27 (SL) The unexpected arrest and detention last Friday of one of the Army’s high ranking non-commissioned intelligence officers- Prema Ananda Udalagama, has drawn much attention to the CID inquiry into the assassination of The Sunday Leader founding editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. Warrant Officer Udalagama is the first person to be arrested by the CID task force that took over the inquiry in September 2015. more..

Is Free Education a boon or a bane?

July 27 (DM) Recently we witnessed a prominent civil society activist expressing views in favour of the privatisation of education at a meeting organised by Purawasi Balaya garnering displeasure from a large section of the audience. Who really are those in Purawasi Balaya? After campaigning against the Rajapaksa regime, they continue to support the current govt’s political, social and economic policies promoted especially by the ruling coterie who believe in neo-liberal fundamentalism. more..

Special HC for cases of financial crimes

July 27 (DM) A multitude of civic action movements played a major role in mobilizing people power for the silent revolution on January 8 last year. Many of them are now complaining that the new national govt is moving too slowly in implementing its main pledge to bring to justice to the former regime’s VIPs who allegedly plundered billions of dollars in public money. Movement for a Just Society and its Convener Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya had been in the forefront of a campaign for the toppling more..

India & China to get special economic zones

July 27 (ENS) India and China will be allotted Special Economic Zones in Sri Lanka for them to set up industries, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. “Indians will be setting up pharmaceutical and auto parts industries in their zone. The Chinese have asked for 15,000 acres of land in the Hambantota area in the Southern Province for their zone, and we are in the process of acquiring the land. more..

Struggle for unity, not separation: JVP

July 27 (CT) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake appealed to the people in the North to struggle for the unity in the country instead of voicing for separation. JVP Leader was addressing a literary festival, organized by a group of young socialists in Jaffna, at the Jaffna Trimmer Hall. He said: "The need of the hour in the country is to strengthen unity by bringing together all three communities. The struggle in the country should be against the capitalists and not for separation. more..

Oncologists refuse to use Russian drugs

July 27 (DN) Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne stated that he had received complaints in connection with some doctors attached to the Maharagama Cancer Hospital not using cancer drugs imported from Russia. Minister will look into the issue. Minister Senaratne also said that earlier, a single dose of this drug which cost Rs.250,000 now costs only Rs.65,000, but, the quality is 100 percent according to Prof. Asitha de Silva who did the test on the quality of the drug. more..

Media regulations in the pipeline: Mahinda

July 27 (Island) The govt would have to introduce new legislation to regulate the media, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. He said the govt could not allow journalists to enjoy the freedom of the wild ass and a new bill would be introduced soon. "PM, too, mentioned this at Cabinet meeting. It is not our intention to deprive the media of freedom, but we need journalists to exercise their rights in a more responsible manner". more..

Master plans for Hambantota, Trincomalee and Kandy to open up investment

July 27 (DN) There will be a slight shift in the Govt infrastructure development master plan, CB Governor, Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. Making the opening remarks at National Development Cooperation and Economic Policy Dialogue between SL and Japan, he said some of the old plans will be realigned. He said that Master Plans have been drawn up for Hambantota, Trincomalee and Kandy and these will open more investment opportunities for foreign investors and the private sector. more..

Kalansooriya admits offering resignation but says he will continue

July 27 (AM) Govt Information Director General Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya said he would continue in the same position, following requests made by President and PM. Earlier, there were speculations that Kalansooriya had tendered his letter of resignation due to some differences of opinion over a media report published by a newspaper, last weekend. However, Kalansooriya, issued a statement on his official Facebook profile, this afternoon, clearing the air on the matter. more..

CP splits over JO march

July 27 (CT) Communist Party (CP) is split over the Joint Opposition (JO) organized Paada Yathra from Kandy to Colombo tomorrow. CP Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera said its politburo has decided not to officially support the protest march organized by the JO. He said that comments made by certain persons who are engaged in the protest march have been detrimental to country's efforts at promoting coexistence among different communities. more..

Ill-fated migrant workers compensated

July 27 (DN) Family members of migrant workers who were injured or killed abroad, were presented wage dues and compensation by Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara and Consular Affairs Senior Director General Sudantha Ganegama Arachchi. At a ceremony at the Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday, 49 relatives of the affected migrant workers accepted Rs. 70 million. It was the third such ceremony this year. Most recipients hailed from rural areas. more..

Fury of a jilted lover

July 27 (DM) A film star is poised to make a sensational expose about a bigwig in the Blue party who is quite articulate about maintaining discipline in the party. The film star had been on intimate terms with the Blue party bigwig for a long time, they say. She is livid that her lover had gone back on a solemn promise made to her. The Blue man had jilted the film star when he fell under the charm of a much better catch, they say. On being told about her ex-lover’s new catch, the film star is more..

Draft policy on protecting whistle blowers

July 27 (Island) The first national draft policy to protect whistle blowers in Sri Lanka was launched in Colombo yesterday to encourage individuals with knowledge of corruption to step forward. Transparency International SL Senior Manager- Communication Shan Wijetunga said draft Whistle Blower Protection Policy (WBPP) would be handed over to President, PM and all other Ministers as well as to all political parties soon. more..

CB pledges to consolidate macroeconomic policies to attract investment

July 27 (FT) Freshly-appointed Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy insisted that his institution would do its utmost to improve macroeconomic fundaments in Sri Lanka, thereby promoting the investment climate for foreign companies. Addressing the Japanese delegation at the Consultation on National Development Cooperation and Economic Policy Dialogue between Sri Lanka and Japan, Dr. Coomaraswamy recalled that Sri Lanka missed out on the chance to more..

Sri Lanka seeks priority access for tea, apparel in India, China

July 27 (EN) SL’s govt is giving priority to getting duty free access to the Indian and Chinese markets for its main exports like tea and apparel in talks on free trade deals staring next week. K G Weerasinghe, a member of the negotiating team for trade deals and a former director-general of commerce, said talks starting next week will first work out the framework for agreements and then go into details. The requirements of export companies seeking greater access to overseas markets more..

SLC is letting down Sri Lankan cricket

July 27 (CI) At Pallekele, following an embarrassing 48 hours for SL's cricket administrators, Dimuth Karunaratne misses and angled ball, Kusal Mendis misses a straight one, Kaushal Silva edges to slip, and the cricketers themselves are perhaps beginning to feel embarrassed. By lunch, the team is 84 for 5. Soon thereafter, they are 117 all out. SL team has very many faults, but dishonesty is not among them. more..

World Construction Symposium on July 29

July 27 (DN) The Green Construction Awards - 2016 organized by The Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) was held on June 30, at the Ramada Hotel in Colombo. At this annual event, awards presented to the Best Green Constructions, Green Construction Products, Green Construction Services and Green Construction Training Managers. Parallel to this key awards ceremony, Ceylon Institute of Builders and the Building Economics and Management Research Unit, Department of Building Economics, more..

‘Financial firms 300% more prone to hacking than businesses in other industries’

July 27 (Island) Hackers target financial service firms 300 percent more than businesses in other industries, Praveen Sasidharan-Director Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said in Colombo on Monday. Sasidharan said this during his presentation at a workshop on Cybersecurity at the Taj Samudra Hotel. SJMS Associates, an independent correspondent firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, hosted this Cyber risk event in Colombo more..

Video: MOD is in the process of introducing pension scheme

July 27 (DM) Ministry of Defence said that they were in the process of introducing a pension scheme for retired disabled tri-force members and police personnel but said an exact time frame cannot be revealed at this level. A group of retired disabled military and police personnel launched a protest on Monday urging President to intervene in proposed pension scheme. “Procedure to introduce the pension scheme could take some time. more..

Who is the VVIP to be arrested according to IGP’s prediction?

July 27 (CT) IGP Pujith Jayasundara made a most intriguing remark recently. He said, in the future those whom none would have even dreamt of are going to be taken into custody. The crucial question is: who are these culprits who cannot even be unimagined of and are beyond the dreams of any law abiding citizen? While this has evoked the curiosity of the people, it also appears that the pro- Mahinda group has been rattled by the IGP's announcement. more..

Sweet success for Lanka Sugar from bitter losses

July 27 (DN) Sri Lanka Sugar Company has earned a profit of Rs. 321 million within the first three months of 2016. In 2015 this company had suffered a loss of Rs1000 million and in 2014 it narrowed to Rs. 211 million. Even though the company was a loss making entity in the past by the first quarter of 2016 it has earned a profit of Rs 321 million. This achievement was mainly due to strictly adhering the guidelines given by the political hierarchy. Pelawatte & Sevanagala sugar factories operate under more..

Petition in Court to unseat Geetha

July 27 (CT) J.C. Weliamuna, Counsel for the Petitioners of a writ application challenging the election of actress Geetha Samanmali Kumarasinghe to Parliament told Court that when she tendered her candidature application to contest a seat in Parliament at the last General Election she was not eligible to do so. Counsel submitted that it is a constitutional disqualification for anyone holding dual citizenship to contest a local election. more..

Tuk-tuks cause 172 fatal accidents in 6 mo

July 27 (Island) The National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) revealed that 172 fatal accidents involving three wheelers had been recorded from Jan. 1 till June 30 this year. The number of fatalities recorded in them were 183. The total number of fatal three wheeler accidents recorded last year was 327, while the number killed was 374. He said a majority of the fatalities were due to passengers being thrown out of the vehicle during accidents resulting in head injuries. more..

Four things Australia got right, and one they got wrong

July 27 (CI) A dominant opening day for Australia at Pallekele ran more or less to the script the tourists were hoping to stick with. Features included an even bowling performance, alert fielding and the foundations of a batting platform set, before rain ended the day ahead of schedule. In rounding Sri Lanka up for a mere 117, they also avoided falling behind in the match as they did against Pakistan in the UAE in 2014. This means Steven Smith's side are in the position they are most comfortable more..

Video: Moragahakanda-Kaluganga project was started by us: MR

July 27 (DM) The initial steps of the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga project was started under Mahinda Chinthanaya and it was under one of our main programmes, former president Rajapaksa said. “The project had already been initiated and the relevant funds from China had also been granted for the construction. Govt had nothing to do with the initiation of the project. Those are all our measures,” he said. However, we are looking forward to more..

Who monitors the monitors?

July 27 (Island) The UN system that operated during the genocide in Rwanda was the Human Rights Commission. UN system that operated in 2009 when the LTTE took Civilians hostage was the Human Rights Council. In 2009 the Human Rights Council did not realize that the provision in its mandate for protection included not only prevention but also to meet emergencies. Unlike in Rwanda the Council had not 100 days, but nearly 5 months to marshal combined influence of several democracies more..

SL's shortest innings after electing to bat

July 27 (CI) 34.2: Number of overs that Sri Lanka's first innings lasted, which is their shortest after electing to bat. Before this, they had lasted 38.4 overs, bowled for 95 against South Africa in Cape Town in 2000-01. 1: Number of lower totals for Sri Lanka against Australia at home, than the first-innings 117. They were bowled out for 105 in Galle in 2011. Tuesday's total is the lowest total by any team in Pallekele. SL themselves had previously made 174 against Australia in 2011. more..

RPCs eye signing productivity based Collective Agreement

July 27 (FT) Based on the undertaking that a productivity-based wage agreement will be signed by August for the remuneration of estate workers, Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs) signed a loan agreement with SL Tea Board to obtain the funds provided by Govt for the payment of an interim allowance to workers. Funds were provided through State Banks to the Tea Board in order to facilitate payment of Rs. 100 per day more..

Clash at Jaffna University: Conversations on Culture and History

July 27 (Island) The recent clash at the University of Jaffna has triggered discussions on the university as a multicultural space and the role it ought to play in building bridges between the communities in SL. At one level, this clash mirrors the warring nationalisms in the country. Nationalisms in general hinge on an exclusivist logic where a particular territory despite its social, cultural and economic heterogeneities is identified exclusively with a particular community/nation, more..

Keeping ethnic conflict from getting back to centre stage

July 27 (CT) The ethnic fault line in society was exposed in the clash between two groups of students at Jaffna University last week. The immediate cause of the dispute was a late request by Sinhalese students at the university to perform the traditional Sinhalese Kandyan dance at a ceremony to welcome incoming new students. This request was turned down by the organizers of the event. However, the following day when the event took place a Kandyan dancing troupe made more..

Mano Ganeshan

Editorial: Ingratitude!

July 27 (Island) It must have shaken the conscience of every right-thinking Sri Lankan to see dozens of disabled military personnel lying on a city road for a couple of days, demanding solutions to their problems related to pensions and compensation. Attempts are being made in some quarters to call the legitimacy of their demands into question. The dispute that drove them to a street protest is not of recent origin, we are told. Opinion may be divided on the protesting disabled warriors’ demands. more..

Unity govt geared for a full term

July 27 (DN) Both the Govt and the Joint Opposition (JO) have ramped up its political activities recently with the Joint Opposition, basically a faction of the UPFA, planning a pada yathra or a long march down from Kandy to Colombo, scheduled to begin towards the end of July. The march is in the context of an ongoing attempt by former President Rajapaksa’s sibling Basil organising essentially a new party, gathering together local government level activists and politicians, with an eye on more..

'New Constitution: Certain issues to be sorted out'

July 27 (SL) UPFA member and Minister, Dayasiri Jayasekera said that although govt wants to bring in a new constitution, there are certain issues that need to be sorted out before such a decision can be taken. He said that even with regard to the holding of the LG elections, govt had obtained the approval of the parliament to hold the elections under the new system. However, there were unexpected issues such as the delimitation. more..

Black July 1983 anniversary : Move beyond memories towards reconciliation

July 27 (SO) The country should engage in more efforts for inter-ethnic reconciliation and peace-building to bridge the gulf between communities, say both civil society activists as well as govt leaders, as Sri Lanka remembers the largest ever inter-ethnic rioting in modern Sri Lanka that occurred in July 1983. 33 years following the fateful events now known as Black July which engulfed many parts of Sri Lanka in flames and turmoil, the country is slowly coming to terms with the tragedy as more..

Ranil’s attack on Kesara & The Yahapâlanaya media freedom bluff

July 27 (CT) Ranil Wickremesinghe’s views on media freedom are two-faced. One, when in the opposition and one when in power. One sports a smile and the other a scowl. This two-facedness, if you will, is not Mr Wickremesinghe’s preserve. It’s part of the political culture. In general those in power mimic those they replaced and those who are replaced mimic those who replaced them. On most counts. It is typical for the Opposition to champion media freedom and for those in power to curb more..