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How will Ranil defend his “Gestapo” against mounting legal challenges?
Appeals Court to hear three writ applications against the FCID on July 7

How will Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe defend the creation of the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), dubbed a “Gestapo,” responsible for the sweeping arrests of a number of politicians of the Rajapaksa regime for alleged financial crimes?

“We will find out next Tuesday, July 7,” said Attorney-at-Law Dharshan Weerasekera who last week filed a writ application on behalf of petitioner Athula Parathapa Kumarapperuma seeking the closure of the controversial police unit on the grounds that it contravenes the Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code, the Penal Code, and the Police Ordinance. (Lankaweb)




Sri Lanka will never pose a threat to India, says Mahinda
‘We have nothing to gain by helping any other country to become a threat to India,’ former Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is on the comeback trail, has said.

Rajapaksa, who lost the Sri Lankan presidency earlier this year, plans to contest the parliamentary election and likely become prime minister has made the observation during an interview with the Rediff news agency. (Ada Derana)

COPE chief rejects bias charge over bond probe; defends experts
The head of a parliamentary committee that probed a scandal in bond auctions defended experts who had supported and rejected comments attributed to a deputy minister which appeared to discredit experts who assisted the committee.

Media reports, which had not yet been denied, published comments attributed to a junior minister, from the ruling party, questioning the integrity of W A Wijewardene, an expert witness to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) who was an ex-Deputy Governor of the Central Bank. (economynext)

JHU breaks ranks with UPFA, UNP
Accusing both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinhe of failing to fulfil their obligations, the JHU yesterday quit the SLFP-led UPFA.

JHU spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe yesterday said that the party had done so following President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to field former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the UPFA ticket at the August 17 general election. (The Island)

JVP claims the greatest political betrayal
President Maitripala Sirisena made the greatest political betrayal in recent political history by agreeing to give nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) charged today.

Addressing a press conference, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said Mr. Rajapaksa unsuccessfully tried to bribe his way to victory at the January 8th Presidential Election, but 6.2 million people voted against him . (The Island)

Polls will be free and fair
With the two main political parties, UNP and the SLFP ready for a do or die battle to secure power in Parliament on August 17, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, in an interview with the Sunday Observer said his office will do whatever possible to ensure the upcoming parliamentary polls ara free and fair and violence-free.

He said the Elections Department machinery will swing into full operation nominations close on July 13, to bring down illegal hoardings and cutouts, and punish offenders. According to him the police has been issued firm orders to arrest and put behind bars those who violate election laws. (Sunday Observer)

Prez Sirisena and I want SLFP to remain united-Mahinda
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that his successor Maithripala Sirisena and he wanted the SLFP to remain united.

In an interview with Rediff.com, the former President said: "As for President Sirisena, I maintained good relations with him during and after the presidential election. Going your separate way at times is a part of politics. President Sirisena and I have been members of the SLFP for decades and we both want to see the SLFP remain united." (The Island)

President claims ignorance over Mahinda nomination
President Maithripala Sirisena, who is facing intense criticism over accommodating his nemesis Mahinda Rajapaksa in the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), appears to have made a second U-turn in as many days.

President Sirisena reportedly agreed to name former strongman Rajapaksa as a UPFA candidate to face the August 17 parliamentary election, but even 24 hours after the initial announcement, he himself remained silent. (economynext)

Mahinda will contest from Kurunegala District - TB
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will contest the upcoming General Election from the Kurunegala District, says former Minister T.B. Ekananayake.

Despite initial objections from President Maithripala Sirisena, it was reported yesterday that the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has decided to give nominations to Rajapaksa to contest at the General Election on August 17.(Ada Derana)

Nawinne crosses over
The Treasurer of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) S. B. Nawinne had crossed over to the United National Party (UNP), the UNP said today.

UNP Assistant General Secretary and Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said Minister S.B. Nawinne would contest the General Elections from the UNP.(Daily Mirror)

Construction of Matara-H’tota segment of expressway inaugurated
The construction work on the extension of the Southern Expressway from Matara to Hambantota, which is funded by China, was inaugurated by President Maithripala Sirisena and the Chinese Ambassador this morning.

The expenditure for the construction of the 75-kilometer segment is estimated at Rs. 45 billion.(Ada Derana)

U.S. forced to retreat with re-emergence of Rajapaksa
With the removal of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration in January and bringing in America's most trusted ally Ranil Wickremasinghe as the prime minister with considerable authority under the new president Maitripala Sirisena, the United States had in its agenda to leverage March 2007 Access and Cross Servicing Agreement and sign a Strategic Framework Agreement with Sri Lanka.

With that agreement similar to the one signed with Singapore, the US Pacific Command (PACOM) and US Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) could have had the ability to wield enormous influence in Sri Lanka and subsequently throughout the Indian Ocean to meet the growing Chinese economic and military threat. (Asian Tribune)

Sri Lanka to provide online tax filing; help from Singapore
Sri Lanka is working on an online facility for people to file tax returns with support from Singapore, which will simplify tax payments, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said.

"Already I think the Singapore government's inland revenue department is working with our tax department here in Sri Lanka to implement these types of computer based systems," Mahendran told reporters. (economynext)

Harin Fernando believes Sirisena 'Has A Plan' in granting nominations to Rajapaksa
Uva Province Chief Minister Harin Fernando said President Maithripala Sirisena must be having some plan in awarding nominations for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

He also said that he will wait for 24 hours and observe the developments. However, if there was no change in the situation, he will stick to his stance and quit politics, Fernando said.(Asian Mirror)

Foreign loans guaranteed to Sri Lanka - Dr. Harsha
Many countries have expressed their willingness to grant loans to Sri Lanka, said Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva.

"Even though Parliament has been dissolved, the government need not refrain from borrowing money from foreign countries," the Deputy Minister said.(Daily News)

Removing the ban on some Tamil diaspora organizations listed as ” Foreign Terrorist”
Sri Lanka’s ebullient Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera is currently in the forefront of a move to review and possibly remove the ban imposed on certain Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora organizations and individuals designated as “terrorist” under provisions of the United Nations Act No 45 of 1968.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) and 15 other organizations functioning on foreign soil were proscribed as foreign terrorist organizations by Gazette Extraordinary 1856/41 of March 21st 2014. Apart from these 16 entities , a further 424 individuals with suspected LTTE links who were living in 19 countries including Sri Lanka were also listed.(DBSJEYARJ.COM)

Constitutional Council holds first meeting
The Constitutional Council, established by the historic 19th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in April, held its first sitting in Parliament yesterday with former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa assuming the chair.

The meeting was held at 10.00 a.m. at the Speaker’s official gallery. - See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/441249/Constitutional-Council-holds-first-meeting#sthash.KeV8P0ra.dpuf(Daily FT)

Checks and balances in parliamentary system
The State Council had been set up and achieved a lot but by the forties the Sri Lankan political leadership wanted more.

Since, unlike in India, there had been a loyal service to the British war effort by Ceylonese political elite, as represented by the Board of Ministers. (CEYLON TODAY)

Don’t let Rajapaksa make a comeback - Sobitha Thera
The President of National Movement for Social Justice and Chief Incumbent of Naga Viharaya, Pita Kotte, Ven. Madululuwawe Sobhitha yesterday said people had no trust in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had betrayed the masses on two occasions as by creating a political culture of rampant thuggery, corruption and mayhem and he wanted to return to the political arena to continue his dirty game.

The Thera, addressing a news conference at Naga Viharaya, Pita Kotte said a corrupt, power hungry Rajapaksa was trying to take the masses for another ride. "He was President for two terms and if he really wanted to correct his mistakes he could have done it then," the monk said.(The Island)

UPFA decides to give nomination to Mahinda Rajapaksa
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has decided to give nominations to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest at the upcoming General Election on August 17 under the UPFA ticket.

A statement issued by the UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha states that as discussed at the UPFA party leaders’ meeting held last evening (02), a decision has been taken to give nominations to the former President to contest the 2015 General Election from the UPFA..(Ada Derana)

Experience Sri Lanka with Commandos
All-set to launch Sri Lanka's much awaited thrilling '4 x 4 Expedition' titled 'Experience Sri Lanka with Commandos', organized by the Sri Lanka Army Commando Regiment (CR) on 2nd August 2015. It is going to be showcased for the 2nd occasion this time.

Major General Prasanna Silva, Colonel of the Regiment, CR, said while addressing a special media gathering at the Nelum Pokuna auditorium yesterday (2nd Thursday, July 2015). (Ministry of Defence )

'Don't list de Abrew'
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has written to the Chief Justice asking him not to list Justice Sarath de Abrew to hear cases until investigations against him are over.

The Bar Association has also asked other judges to prevail upon de Abrew to step down from the Bench until the end of the investigations.(Daily News)

JVP COPE committee member refutes UNP claims on Treasury bond report
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday charged that the United National Party (UNP) MPs should refer the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) sub-committee report into the Central Bank Treasury bond issue, before make false comments over it.

Attacking statements mDFT-1-1018ade by UNP MP and Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe, JVP Parliamentarian and COPE sub-committee member Sunil Handunnetti refuted claims that the COPE report had failed to produce evidence of any fraud in the Central Bank.(Daily FT)

UNP invites CBK to contest on its ticket
The UNP yesterday expressed its readiness to invite former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to contest the upcoming parliamentary polls on its ticket.

Senior Vice President of the UNP, Plantations Minister Lakshman Kiriella, addressing a press conference at the UNP Headquarters Sirikotha, said that the UNP was willing to give nominations to former President Kumaratunga if she was planning to contest the August 17 General election. (The Island)

MS to take final decision on MR today
President Maithripala Sirisena had reportedly told a UPFA party leaders meeting yesterday that he was not in favour of making former president Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime ministerial candidate or the group leader of the UPFA at the forthcoming general elections. However he had informed the UPFA party leaders that he would inform them whether former president Rajapaksa would be given nomination from the UPFA by 10.00 am today.

At the meeting, party leaders such as Dinesh Gunawardane, Vasudeva Nanayakkara,and Prof. Tissa Vitharana had insisted that Mr. Rajapaksa be nominated. (Daily Mirror)

COPE report on bond scam: DEW to go public today
The on-going controversy over the investigation carried out by a special 13-member committee into alleged Central Bank bond scam has taken a new turn with former Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Dew Gunasekera deciding to go public today.

The Gunasekera committee was the first in the country’s parliamentary history appointed to inquire into a specific transaction. (The Island)

Rajapaksa's political comeback fails
Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa's attempt to stage a political comeback and become prime minister suffered a setback today when talks within the ruling UPFA to let him lead the campaign in the general elections failed.

"The talks to make him (Rajapaksa) lead the polls campaign completely failed," said Vasudeva Nanayakkara, a Rajapaksa loyalist. (dna)

Mahinda to contest under the UPFA ticket, says Bandula
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will likely contest under the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) ticket at the forthcoming general election, Parliamentarian Bandula Gunawardena said.

“Rajapaksa has already declared that he will lead the campaign. The opposition leader has also agreed to give us nominations under the UPFA ticket. We will contest under the guidelines of the former President” he told Ada Derana. (Ada Derana)

Prasanna to join MR bandwagon, even sans SLFP
Chief Minister of the Western Provincial Council Prasanna Ranatunga said today that he would contest the upcoming general election together with former Prsident Mahinda Rajapaksa, whether the latter contests from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) or separately.

Mr. Ranatunga said he would contest from the Gampaha District. (Daily Mirror)

Upcountry Tamil party to contest under UNP
The Up Country People's Front, a party representing the Indian origin plantation Tamil population in Sri Lanka has decided to contest the upcoming parliamentary election with the United National Party, its leader V. Radhakrishnan told reporters in Hatton.

The Central Working Committee of the party has granted approval for the party to contest the upcoming general election together with the United National Party. The executive committee has taken this decision when it met at Hatton on Wednesday. (Colombo Page)

'Respect individuality and security,' Says Sri Lanka
Any country that makes foray into the Indian Ocean region should take into account “geo-political realities” and also the “individuality and security” of countries in that region, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to India Sudarshan Senevirante has said.

The High Commissioner was replying to a question from 'Express' during a press conference here on Thursday. When asked about China's increased military presence in the Indian Ocean region. (Indian Express)

SC Judge may face arrest
Supreme Court Judge Justice Sarath De Abrew who allegedly assaulted a domestic helper with a pistol butt may face arrest or criminal charges.

According to Police Media Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara, the CID which handles the case will report the details of the case to the Mount Lavinia Magistrate seeking a directive from the court for further action. Earlier the police sought to interview the Supreme Court judge in connection with the assault case, but refused to accede to the request(Daily News)

Fishermen seek release of 14 jailed in Lanka
The fishermen here struck work on Wednesday and observed a day’s fast, demanding the release of 14 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on June 2 and a compensation for 19 boats, impounded by the Lankan authorities but could not be salvaged.

As a court in Sri Lanka had twice extended the judicial remand of the 14 fishermen, the fishing community and the family members of the arrested fishermen observed a fast in front of the bus stand here, urging the Centre to secure their release when their remand period would end on Friday. (The Hindu)

FLSP contesting election to create different discourse
The Frontline Socialist Party officially announced that it will contest in the forthcoming general election.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, FLSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said that the party was contesting the election to point out the real issues faced by the public.(Aian Mirror)

Govt. won’t stop foreign borrowings
Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran yesterday said that it would be in Sri Lanka’s economic interests to continue with government borrowings both onshore and offshore, in order to preserve the continued momentum of economic growth and to re-affirm the strong positive image in the minds of lending institutions that Sri Lanka was fast becoming a mature democracy where political events did not unduly affect the workings of her rapidly evolving economic structure.

The Governor was responding to our news report headlined ‘Halt foreign borrowings till polls are over – Opposition’ in yesterday’s edition of The Island on the basis of a statement made by Prof. Peiris. (The Island)

I am not coming – Chandrika
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga yesterday denied reports that she too would contest the election if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was to do so.

I will not talk about it too much now. How can my private secretary issue such statements? His statement is false." (CEYLON TODAY)

Sri Lanka's income at Kunming Fair in China surpasses $ 2 million
Sri Lankan biz, facilitated by Export development Board (EDB), performed strongly at the recent 23rd China Import & Export Fair held in Kunming, China earning an income surpassing $2 million.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said some eager Lankan firms having been asked by keen Chinese firms to stay back and conclude initial agreements for future biz are still continuing business deals in China after the expo. (Colombo Page)

New appointments to Drug Regulatory Authority during election period?
Ada Derana has reliably learnt that the unlawful appointment of a new board of officials during the pre-election period is to take place tomorrow in connection with the establishing of the Health Ministry’s National Drug Regulatory Authority, abolishing the existing Medical Technology and Supplies Directorate and the National Drug Quality Assurance Laboratory.

According to sources, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the proposed National Drug Regulatory Authority are to be appointed. Professor Lal Jayakody is to be appointed as its Chairman while Professor Krishantha Weerasuriya is to be made the CEO. (Ada Derana)

Election Chief prepares districts secretaries for elections
Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya Wednesday met with the Secretaries of the island's districts to prepare them for accepting nominations for the upcoming elections.

The Commissioner and the District Secretaries held a special meeting at the Elections Secretariat Wednesday to discuss the arrangements with respect to the elections including the acceptance of nominations. (Colombo Page)

We will contest at the General Election, says Mahinda
We will contest at the next General Election and form a new government, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at his home in Medamulana this morning (01).

“The fight that started in Nugegoda has become a major driving force in the country. I have no right to reject the request by people to protect the country and the party. The economic progress that has been stalled will be rebuilt and reenergized,” Rajapaksa said. (Ada Derana)

UNP providing jobs violating election laws: Dinesh
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) Leader Dinesh Gunawardena today alleged that the UNP was providing jobs through all the ministries, thus violating the election laws and disregarding the agreements to uphold the election laws.

Mr. Gunawardena told media outside the election secretariat after making a complaint to the Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya that jobs were given without even considering the employee abilities and observing due procedure. (Daily Mirror)

MR to make special statement today
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due to make a special statement from Carlton House at Tangalle today (01) regarding the political stance he will adopt at the forthcoming election. He will make this statement subsequent to the Dhamma Sermon that is to be delivered today at the Carlton House on behalf of Esala Full Moon Poya Day.

Prior to the former President making the statement, the committee of party leaders of the Alliance are due to offer Mahinda Rajapaksa a sheaf of betel and invite him to contest the Parliamentary Election as the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the United People's Freedom Alliance. A procession of vehicles has been organized from Dondra in Matara this morning by the Joint Opposition to the Carlton House to make this invitation. (CEYLON TODAY)

UNP seeks majority at the election
The minor party of Sri Lankan government, the United National Party , seeks to be the majority party in a new government that would be formed after the general election.

Speaking at a rally in Hiniduma Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilaka said the UNP will commence its campaign for the upcoming parliamentary election on August 17 with the conduct of the UNP special convention. (Colombo Page)

China-funded power plant transforms towns in Sri Lanka
A.W Rajarathna, a resident of Puttalam, situated in the northwestern province of the country, is a happy man today. After suffering years due to the shortage of electricity in his small home, he now gets an uninterrupted supply making his life easier.

"Today, kerosene lamps have been replaced by electric lights glowing in the dark," Rajarathna said with a welcoming smile. A farmer, he lives with his wife and 14-year-old daughter in the Minya Village, in Narakkalliya, Puttalam, a small village where 12 other families reside. (Shanghai Daily)

Halt foreign borrowings till polls are over – Opposition
The Opposition has called upon the government to refrain from taking any further action with regard to foreign borrowings until the conclusion of the August 17 elections.

UPFA National list MP Prof G. L. Peiris, in a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank, yesterday asked them to "act in the best public interest and ensure that the management of public finance, the economy and external debt will not be permitted to get further deteriorated during the ensuing 6-8 weeks." (The Island)

War-ravaged north calls for more private investments
Sri Lanka's war-ravaged north has called for private investments in many key areas including construction and healthcare, an official said here on Tuesday.

Governor of the Northern Province, G S Palihakkara was quoted by a local media report saying that although some commendable work on infrastructure had been done in the north and east, these projects alone could not achieve enough in terms of enhancing household incomes. (Shanghai Daily)

CID to investigate Sri Lanka Supreme Court Judge accused of assaulting a maid
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Sri Lanka Police has been instructed to conduct an investigation into the charges of assault against a Supreme Court judge.

Supreme Court Judge Sarath De Abrew has been accused of assaulting a female maid in his domestic staff and the judge has declined to give a statement to the police regarding the accusations, Police Media Spokesman Assistant Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekara said. (Colombo Page)

Mahinda has not been declared as the PM candidate - PMU
There are no arrangements in place to name a Prime Ministerial candidate from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) thus far, the President’s Media Unit said on Tuesday.

The NIE quoted President Maithripala Sirisena of saying through a press release that he had not found any of the applicants for an SLFP ticket suitable to be declared the Prime Ministerial candidate. Specifically mentioning the former President, the SLFP Chairman said that Mahinda Rajapaksa has not been declared or accepted as the Prime Ministerial candidate thus far. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka shares end weaker; pre-poll uncertainty weighs on sentiment
Sri Lankan shares fell on Tuesday, hovering near 2-1/2 month lows, led by large caps such as Nestle Lanka Plc as political uncertainty before parliamentary elections weighed on sentiment.

President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday and scheduled elections for Aug. 17, in an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms. (REuTERS)

World Bank lending US$ 165 million to Sri Lanka to provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation
The World Bank Board has approved a US$ 165 million credit for Sri Lanka to provide safe drinking water and improved sanitation in several districts.

Funding will be provided to increase access to piped water services and improved sanitation in the Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Monaragala, Kegalle and Ratnapura Districts. (Colombo Page)

Looking to Sri Lanka's parliamentary election
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena recently dissolved parliament. The election will be held on August 17; a new parliament will gather on September 1.

Yet what happens next is still far from clear. (Huffington Post)

UPFA agrees to nominate MR
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) has finally agreed to nominate former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a candidate at the August 17 general election under the betel symbol, a party leader said. (Daily Mirror)

Rajapaksa to be briefed on Sirisena’s decision
Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva has met with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kandy this morning, political sources revealed to Ada Derana.

At this meeting, Rajapaksa was briefed on the decisions taken at the discussion held last evening with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and the opposition leader. (Ada Derana)

Lanka challenges: Parliament poll, LTTE network
The upcoming election to the Sri Lankan Parliament, slated for August 17, is yet another high-stakes gamble for not only President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe but also former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sirisena’s dissolution of Parliament, which he had promised on April 23 after 100 days in office, comes 10 months before the term of the 225-member House was to end. In the normal course, elections were due only in April 2016. (dna)

Sri Lanka takes 114th position in Global Peace Index
Sri Lanka takes the 114th position in the Global Peace Index for the year 2015. Sri Lanka was placed 105 last year and has been downgraded by nine positions this year.

The Global Peace Index is annually released by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The Institute is based in Sydney and New York and comprises of 162 countries(News 1st)

A splitting Lanka Freedom Party!
President Maithripala Sirisena is expected to make a crucial decision today as to whether he will offer his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa a slot on the SLFP ticket, and allow his party to contest with other constituent parties in the former ruling alliance that have been staunch critics of his six-month-old administration.

The SLFP Committee of Six, tasked with uniting the two warring factions of the SLFP, submitted its report to President Sirisena yesterday with their observations and recommendations.(Daily FT)

UN closes down humanitarian office in Sri Lanka
The United Nations is downsizing its humanitarian staff in some Asian countries where governments have stepped up with funds and manpower after a decade of massive floods, storms and earthquakes.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) will close in Papua New Guinea this month and Sri Lanka by the end of the year, while “radically downsizing” in Indonesia, said Oliver Lacey-Hall, the outgoing head of OCHA’s Asia-Pacific office in Bangkok.(Ada Derana)

SLFP nominations for Mahinda: Talks inconclusive
Talks between President Maithripala Sirisena and SLFP stalwarts over accommodating former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the SLFP nomination list at the next election ended without a conclusion last night.

During the meeting however, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa had insisted that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be nominated as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the UPFA. (Daily News)

GL, Mahendran trade fire over bond scam
The Opposition yesterday alleged that the Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran had received instructions from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as regards change of established procedures in the run-up to the controversial bond issue and such interventions were contrary to existing regulations.

Prof. Peiris told The Island that CB Governor himself had admitted premier Wickremesinghe’s intervention when he appeared before the special parliamentary committee tasked to investigate the controversial bond issue. (The Island)

Sri Lanka Tourism sees online bookings exploding
On the backdrop of 2014 registering 15.1mn guest nights with tourism receipts recording $2.2 billion, the informal sector is coming out at a staggering 7.3mn guest nights said the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Rohantha Athukorala which is almost touching the fifty percent mark as per the analysis done by the country’s top analysis JB Securities.

This will further grow, given the explosion of the on line booking companies and more travellers wanting to book online he said addressing the Annual General meeting of the Guides Association of Sri Lanka where he was the Chief Guest at the event.(eTN)

Harin vows to give up politics if MS joins MR
I will resign from politicsiIf President Maithripala Sirisena joins former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Uva Chief Minister Harin Fernando said.

“I firmly believe that President Maithripala Sirisena will never stoop to second class political activities. The former president is attempting to come to power so that he could take revenge from the people and his opponents and not to develop the country,” he said at a meeting in Badulla.(Daily Mirror)

Man arrested at BIA with Rs 16.9M foreign currency
A Sri Lankan national has been arrested by the Customs this morning (29) at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) for trying to smuggle out Rs 16.9 million worth foreign currency.

Customs Media Spokesman Leslie Gamini said that the 37- year- old resident of Dehiwala was scheduled to board a flight bound to Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. (CEYLON TODAY)

Rajapaksa to launch campaign On July 6: Salinda Dissanayake
Former Kurunegala District MP Salinda Dissanayake stated that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa will launch his election campaign on July 6.

He made this revelation at the SLFP Hiriyala Bala Mandala meeting at Ibbagamuwa yesterday. (Asian Mirror)

Sri Lanka seafood exports drop 41% on EU ban
Sri Lanka's seafood exports, which have been in decline since October 2014, fell further in April 2015, reports Colombo Page, citing data from the country's Central Bank.

Earnings from seafood exports dropped 41.2% in April 2015, amounting to $14.1 million, compared to $ 23.9m earned in the corresponding month in 2014. (undercuttent news)

Sri Lanka shares recover after election announcement
Sri Lankan shares recovered on Monday from a near 2-1/2 month low hit in the previous session after President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament and announced elections, but trading volume slumped due to the political uncertainty.

Sirisena dissolved the parliament on Friday and scheduled the elections for Aug. 17, in an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms, ending a months-long deadlock. (REUTERS)

BBS to contest election as BJP under Cobra symbol?
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) would contest the upcoming general elections under the name Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP), BJP Leader and BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said today.

He said the BBS would remain as it is but for upcoming elections it would affiliate itself with the Eksath Maha Sabha Pakshaya (EMSP) which is a registered political party. The EMSP would in future be called the Bodu Jana Peramuna or the BJP with a new symbol and new officials.(Daily Mirror)

‘Parliament was dissolved to prevent COPE report on bond issue’

National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa said Parliament was dissolved to prevent the COPE report on Treasury bond issue from being tabled in Parliament.

“It was quite evident that the findings of the COPE Committee were disadvantageous to the government,” Weerawansa said, addressing a press briefing held at the NFF headquarters yesterday. “Initially, the UNP said it would only remain in the government for 100 days. After some time, they showed that they were willing to remain in the government after 100 days, without dissolving Parliament. When COPE started investigating into Treasury bond issue, the UNP suddenly wanted Parliament be dissolved. (Daily News)

Friday’s dissolution won’t save UNP
Former UPFA Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday warned the UNP that the truth with regard to the Treasury bond issue couldn’t be swept under the carpet by dissolving Parliament.

The UNP wouldn’t be able to suppress the findings made by a special parliamentary committee that investigated the alleged fraud for over a month, Prof. Peiris asserted. (The Island)

JHU MP's coordinating secretary nabbed with drugs
A man calling himself Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera's coordinating secretary, an officer attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and two others were apprehended by Excise Department agents while travelling in two luxury vehicles, transporting pills containing narcotic drugs.

The sting had taken place when the occupants in one of the vehicles had sold the drugs to an Excise agent whilst parked near the World Trade Centre in Colombo Fort. The drugs are said to have been smuggled from abroad and were to be sold secretively at nightclubs and beach parties. (CEYLON TODAY)

Bond scam: UNP rejects COPE report as biased
Alleging that Chairman of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) D. E. W. Gunasekera, had unfairly used unsubstantiated information available to a Special Parliamentary Investigation Committee that probed alleged insider trading and favouritism in a recent mega treasury bond issue to undermine the UNP, Deputy Justice Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe insisted the report couldn’t be presented in Parliament for want of a unanimous agreement.

Colombo District MP Senasinghe, who represented the UNP in the 13-member committee, said that he had strongly objected to the tabling of the report due to serious flaws therein. (The Island)

NFF to contest general election with former President
The leader of National Freedom Front (NFF) will contest the next general election with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, its leader Wimal Weerawansa said today.

Speaking at a media briefing, the former minister of Rajapaksa government and a staunch supporter of Mr. Rajapaksa said his party would contest with the former president regardless of the party from which he would be nominated. (Colombo Page)

COPE inquiry finds Mahendran had intervened in bond issue
A Special Parliamentary Investigation Committee that probed the alleged insider trading and favoritism in a recent mega treasury bond issue has established Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s direct intervention on behalf of his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius owned Perpetual Treasuries, sources familiar with the COPE process said yesterday.

The 13-member Committee named by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has obtained direct, documentary as well as circumstantial evidence to prove Mahendran’s role in the flawed process. The entire investigation took place in the presence of the Auditor General to ensure legitimacy to the process at the highest level these sources said. (Sunday Island)

Sri Lanka's ex-prez Rajapaksa plans to return to politics as PM
Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa plans to return to mainstream politics as the prime ministerial candidate of the main opposition party, his close associate Kumar Welgama said on Sunday.

"He will be the prime ministerial candidate of either the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) or the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA)," Welgama said. (Hindustan Times)

MS-MR talks verdict Wednesday
Discussions between the supporters of President Maithripala Sirisena and the faction backing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa are still underway and are expected to come to a close on Wednesday (1 July), at which point a final decision would be taken.

The two factions are scheduled to meet on Monday (29) and hold several rounds of talks on the upcoming general election. (CEYLON TODAY)

Ranil Wickremesinghe challenges Rajapaksa to contest election
UNP leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe challenged former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the forthcoming general election without running away from the contest.

Speaking at a meeting in Galewela, the UNP leader said that the people defeated the former Rajapaksa regime on January 8. (Asian Mirror)

No nominations for those who left, says Kiriella
Minister Lakshman Kiriella asserted that the United National Party (UNP) will not give nominations for those who left the party at the presidential election. (Ada Derana)

I have a Presidential mania: Somawansa /B>
I have a Presidential mania and not a mania for Parliamentary membership, the former leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Somawansa Amarasinghe said.

"“I have a Presidential mania, but it is aimed at the abolition of executive presidency as stressed by our leader comrade Rohana Wijeweera” Amarasinghe stated while addressing the first convention of his newly formed party, Janatha Sevaka Paksaya (JSP).(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka to invite foreign observers for parliamentary polls
Sri Lanka will invite foreign observers for the parliamentary elections due to take place on August 17, election monitors said on Saturday.

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said they are going to invite at least 50 foreign observers to monitor the elections which will produce a new Sri Lankan parliament. (Pakistan Today)

Haunted by Sri Lanka row, fishers find Mangalore a safe choice
Fisherman J Ashton has temporarily turned into a wedding hopper - five wedding feasts he has savoured and could do more. Originally from Thangachimadam, Ashton had come here on a holiday — a result of the fishing ban in Mangalore where he moved last year.

Ashton is among nearly 10,000 fishermen who have shifted base from Ramanathapuram district to Mangalore after fishing conditions in Rameswaram became too hostile and untenable. Instead of facing off with the Sri Lankan Navy, (Times of India)

Sri Lanka's war widows pin hopes on new president
Shunned, destitute and pushed into prostitution in some cases, Sri Lanka's Tamil widows have returned to northern Jaffna since the end of the separatist war only to discover they are not welcome even in their homeland.

Now, six years after the war ended, the women who fled the fighting on the peninsula in their thousands are pinning their hopes on the nation's new president for a better future for their families. (Jakarta Post)

Rajapaksa’s plans for polls
Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is keen on getting the views of leaders and members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the party’s allies before taking any decision about his participation in the Parliamentary polls, Dilan Perera, SLFP spokesperson, said on Friday.

“He is willing to do anything to keep the party united,” the spokesperson replied, to a query whether the former President would agree not to contest in the elections on the condition that most of the party tickets was given to his supporters. (The Hindu)

Maithri and Mahinda rally support for upcoming polls
The dissolution of Parliament became imminent yesterday when President Maithripala Sirisena asked Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs holding perks in his government to get ready for the general election.

For the first time, the President put forth his direct words on the planned dissolution . He summoned all these members including Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Labour Minister S.B. Navinna , Land Minister M.K.D.S. Gunawardane and others for this meeting amid heightened pressure by other parties including the United National Party (UNP), to dissolve Parliament for a general election (Daily Mirror)

LTTE and Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism
This article is really an addendum to my three-part article on Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism in The Island of April 28, May 2 and May 9. I feel impelled to write this article because the political context has changed radically since I wrote the last one.

At that time the LTTE was seen by me and practically everyone else as the rump LTTE, just a vestigial presence without much bite and vigour to it. We were mistaken. (The Island)

Somawansa Amarasinghe launches new party
Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe launched his new party this morning at New Town Hall in Colombo.

Interestinghly, this inaugural party convention is held only a day after the dissolution of the parliament. (Asian Mirror)

Sri Lanka ahead of India in well-being; Panama is No. 1: Gallup
Sri Lankans and Myanmarese are happier than Indians, finds a Gallup poll. But India is better placed on a well-being index than China, Nepal and Pakistan.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Global Well-Being Index, 2014, India was ranked 70 out of 145 nations. The poll found only 17% of Indians interviewed were satisfied with their lives. Compared to this, 7.9% in China were satisfied. Last year, India was placed 71 out of 135 nations, with 16% saying they were satisfied, Business-Standard reported. (Daily FT)

Elections Commissioner ready to retire, but has to wait
Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, who has reached the age of retirement, says that he will continue to function in his post until the Elections Commission is established in line with the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Deshapriya today visited the Department of Pensions on order to obtain the documents required for his retirement and made preparations for his impending retirement. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka parliament dissolved with effect from Friday midnight - govt spokesman
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved parliament with effect from Friday midnight, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told Reuters. (REUTERS)

2015 General Election to be held on August 17
The Government Printer says that the General Election for a new Parliament is to be held on August 17, 2015.

The Government Printer has confirmed that he has received a gazette notification dissolving the Parliament with effect from midnight today (June 26). (Ada Derana)

MR says will contest only from SLFP
"I will contest the next election only from the UPFA led by the SLFP", stated former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the committee which was now attempting to unite the SLFP, sources said.

These sources also indicated that the former President had not requested for the candidacy of the premier. He had stated so to this committee when they met yesterday at his residence in Mirihana. (Daily Mirror)

MR has more security than MS, says PM
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said in Parliament that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was using more security apparatus including a highly sophisticated bullet proof Benz car than even the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena.

The Premier said that a posse of 105 policemen including three ASPs and 104 soldiers including a colonel had been detailed to provide security to the former President.(The Island)

MS, MR meet again
President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa met at a neutral location last night (25). The meeting lasted for one-and-a-half hours.

The former President had called 87 MPs and 11 party leaders to Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga's house before proceeding to the meeting with President Sirisena.(CEYLON TODAY)

Army soldier sentenced to death over Mirusuvil massacre
A Sri Lanka Army soldier who was found guilty for the killing of 8 civilians in Mirusuvil, Jaffna nearly 15 years ago has been sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court today.

The murders occurred on 19 December, 2000 when eight internally displaced refugees returning to inspect their property were arrested in the village of Mirusuvil.(Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka tourism beat 52 countries
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said: " Overall numbers are at a commanding 14.5% growth at 714,584 visitors as at May 2015 with overall tourism receipts crossing the $1billion dollar mark as per Central Bank Data.

The overall momentum in the leisure sector is strong at 4.1 billion rupees in FDI that was signed as per the release of the BOI" (eTN)

Sri Lanka Central Bank clarifies governor's appointment and the currency notes
Sri Lanka Central Bank today clarified the position on the validity of the appointment of the present governor, and validity of the currency notes issued by the Bank on 04 February 2015.

The Central Bank is a statement said it wishes to clarify the issues in view of "frivolous allegations" appearing in certain media. (Colombo Page)

MS residence for MR: PM
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today that plans were afoot to assign the Wijerama Mawatha residence currently occupied by President Maitripala Sirisena to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as his official residence

The Prime Minister was responding to a question by MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardane on the inadequate security both in terms of personnel and vehicles to Mr . Rajapaksa.(Daily Mirror)

They called me a racist when I talked about LTTE’s reemergence - Mahinda
Those opposition members who accepted ministerial portfolios now contribute to the evil acts of the present government, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa charged.

The observation was made at a special meeting held in Diyatalawa.(Ada Derana)

Basil Rajapaksa to attend parliamentary session in evening?
The UPFA parliamentarian and former minister Basil Rakapasa has left the private hospital which he was receiving medical treatments this evening.

Rajapaksa also met his brother, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa a short while ago, trusted sources said.(Asian Mirror)

8 Indians nabbed in Sri Lanka for smuggling gold: Report
Sri Lanka arrested eight Indian Nationals today for smuggling gold weighing 903 grams, media reported.

The customs department said it arrested nine people, including eight Indian Nationals, at the Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Xinhua reported. (NDTV)

Hakeem drops a bombshell
“Kitchen Cabinet running country”
“Sending former President Mahinda Rajapaksa home was a great mistake,”
Urban Development Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday said in Parliament that there was a dictatorship of a small group within the Cabinet of Ministers that prevails against minor and minority parties.

Participating in a debate on electoral reforms taken at the time of adjournment of the House, the Minister said the country was being run by a ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ of close associates of the President. ( Daily News)

Sri Lanka says domestic mechanism to probe war crimes to be in place before September
The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said that it hoped to put in place a domestic mechanism to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during the final stages of the country's 30-year civil war before September.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists in capital Colombo that the government was in the process of working out the contours of the domestic mechanism and hoped to put it in place before the UN Human Rights Council sessions in September. (Shanghai Daily)

Politicians shouldn’t waste public money for banners & cutouts - President
Politicians should not waste public money for the banners and cutouts for their election campaigns. They should spend that money for the welfare of the people instead, said President Maithripala Sirisena.

He pointed out that the politicians of the former governments used the money of state organizations to promote their personalities. They spent thousand billions on that regard, the President said. (Govt. News potal of Sri Lanka)

Somawansa Amarasinghe to launch his party on Saturday
Former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe stated that he will launch his party at the New Town Hall on Saturday, June 27, at its inaugural convention.

Speaking to Asian Mirror, Amarasinghe said that his intention is to form a broad, progressive alliance. He pointed out that the UNP is building up one alliance with the SLMC, TNA and other groups. Mahinda Rajapaksa is also building an alliance, Amarasinghe said. However neither of these alliance are good for the country, Amarasinghe added. (Asian Mirror)

A closer look at the drug trade in Sri Lanka – Is there a link between Heroin and the prisons?
Information that came to light over the recent past bear testament that prisons have transformed into another place where the trade of heroin other drugs takes place. Prisons officials speaking to Newsfirst stated that prisons surrounding the city of Colombo have fallen victim to this menace.

Since 2010, the Intelligence Unit of the Prisons Headquarters have discovered 1.5 kilogrammes of drugs in prisons. (News 1st)

Sri Lanka says domestic mechanism to probe war crimes to be in place before September
The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said that it hoped to put in place a domestic mechanism to investigate allegations of war crimes committed during the final stages of the country's 30-year civil war before September.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists in capital Colombo that the government was in the process of working out the contours of the domestic mechanism and hoped to put it in place before the UN Human Rights Council sessions in September. (Shanghai Daily)

Opposition concerned about Rajapaksa's security
Sri Lanka's main opposition party on Wednesday raised concerns regarding the security of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and urged the government to address the issue urgently.

Opposition Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader Dinesh Gunawardena, speaking in parliament, accused the government of failing to provide facilities to the former president, Xinhua reported. (Shanghai Daily)

US report used with ulterior motives: Ruwan
State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said that statements portraying ‘danger to national security’ citing a recent report by the US State Department were baseless and made by persons with ulterior political motives.

In a release issued to the media, Wijewardene said that elements were using a report of the United States State Department as a base for such false notions. (Daily Mirror)

SLFP will suffer absolute defeat if Mahinda contests - SB
Minister of Rural Economic Affairs S.B. Dissanayake says that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) would suffer an absolute defeat if former President Mahinda Rajapaksa contests the upcoming General Election.

Responding to a query from a journalist at a press conference held at SLFP Headquarters in Colombo today, he stated that the party would especially lose the minority votes if Rajapaksa contests the polls. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka's growth offsets political debility: Fitch
Sri Lanka's 'BB-'/Stable rating reflects high and less volatile real GDP growth compared with peers, Fitch Ratings said in its Asia Pacific Sovereign Overview for the second quarter of 2015.

The rating reflects a favorable level of basic human development against persistent political uncertainty, weak public finances and a frail external liquidity position. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka says war crimes probe delayed by elections
Sri Lanka's proposed war crimes investigation has been delayed by several months until September as the government focuses on impending parliamentary elections, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said Wednesday.

Samaraweera said he hoped the composition of the investigating team along with its terms of reference would now be finalised just before the UN Human Rights Council's session in September in Geneva. (Yahoo News)

Sri Lanka open tender for 16 container handling cranes for Colombo Port
Sri Lanka open tender for delivery of 16 container handling cranes for East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port.

The tender includes orders for 12 gantry and 4 handling cranes, approved by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping and government. (MARITIME NEWS)

Speaker hints at imminent dissolution of parliament
Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa raised speculations on the imminent dissolution of parliament a short while ago when he made a slip of the tongue during an exchange in parliament.

Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva tweeted: "In cross talk a little while back about answering a question in Parliament tomorrow speaker said IF there is a Parliament tomorrow!" (Asian Mirror)

Hakeem in double jeopardy
Minister of Urban Development Rauff Hakeem today hit out at his Cabinet colleagues for preventing him from speaking on electoral reforms inside the Cabinet.

He alleged that there are those with presidential dreams who are doing this. (CEYLON TODAY)

Sri Lanka attempts to weaken funding networks of LTTE
The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday said it was in the process of strengthening diplomatic ties with countries that have worked with Sri Lanka in the past to weaken the financial and support networks of the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told journalists in Colombo that the government was firm in its resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Xinhua reported. (Business Standard)

Auto exports to Sri Lanka jump four-fold in May: EEPC
Sri Lanka, Italy and Spain provided traction to India's automobile exports while Mexico, the UK, Algeria and Bangladesh witnessed a major slowdown in shipments in May, engineering exporters' body EEPC on Wednesday said.

The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) said automobile exports to Sri Lanka jumped nearly four-fold to USD 56.54 million in May from USD 14.58 million in the same month last year. (Economic Times)

FINA suspends newly-elected aquatic committee of Sri Lanka
FINA, the international swimming federation that governs the sport, has suspended the newly elected committee of the Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) and has decided to retain its links to aquatic activities in Sri Lanka through the existing office bearers prior to the conduct of elections.

SLASU is the Sri Lankan affiliate national federation of FINA since 1977. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka media issued guidelines for reporting on child victims of abuse and violence
Ethical guidelines have been issued to Sri Lankan media on reporting about crimes of abuse and violence involving children.

The Ministry of Media and Information had released the guidelines yesterday, state-run Independent Television Network reported. (Colombo Page)

Therapedic signs licensee in Sri Lanka
Mattress licensing group Therapedic International, with headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, has inked an agreement with Comfort World International for the manufacture and marketing of Therapedic-branded mattresses in Sri Lanka, the Republic of Maldives and the Republic of Seychelles.

Founded in 1998, Comfort World is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and has been making beds for three years. (Bed Times)

US wants to build lasting peace and fellowship in Sri Lanka
The United States wants to build a lasting peace and fellowship among Sri Lanka's various religious and ethnic groups, President Barack Obama's ambassadorial nominee for Sri Lanka told lawmakers on Tuesday.

"We want to help build a lasting peace and fellowship among Sri Lanka's ethnic and religious communities, including credible justice, accountability and reconciliation that can facilitate closure for those who suffered and lost loved ones during the war," Atul Keshap, the nominee for US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during his confirmation hearing.(Zee News)

No decision to withdraw Army camps from North, East: Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan Government has not made any decision to withdraw military camps from war-torn north and east provinces of the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today

ickremesinghe said the decision to withdraw camps is left to the Army to take.(Outlook)

Major revolution in Sri Lanka after parliamentary elections, PM says
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe today announced that he will reveal the details of a program to revolutionize the country after the Parliamentary elections.

The Prime Minister says that an economic reform tenfold superior than the reforms introduced in 1977 would be launched at the end of this year. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka denies reports of buying JF-17 Thunder jets from Pakistan
Sri Lanka has denied reports of being the very first foreign buyer of JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan, according to a report published in Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror.

The aircraft is state-of-the-art fighter air planes that are manufactured jointly by China and Pakistan. (Geo-TV)

Katunayake Airport: Main gateway for drug arrivals in Sri Lanka
This week, a Pakistani national was arrested at the Katunayake Airport for the possession of narcotics. Customs reported that 390 grammes of heroin was discovered in the abdomen of the Pakistani national.

The Katunayake Airport has been identified as the main gateway for drugs to be brought in to the country. Drugs such as heroin and Kerala ganja enter in to the country mainly through the Katunayake Airport and the Colombo Harbor and on many occasions large hauls of these drugs have been seized by customs. (News 1st)



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