Archive | June, 2015

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Ceylon Chamber of Commerce limits President’s term in office

Posted on 29 June 2015 by admin

Ceylon Chamber curtails powers of Chairman Sri Lanka’s oldest business chamber, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, too has introduced an amendment to their constitution similar to Sri Lanka’s constitution. This too is to limit the number of times the Chamber President can hold office. The Chamber’s former Chairman, Suresh Shah, said they have decided to restrict the term of its Chairman. “We want to give more autonomy to our secretariat,” he said. Traditionally the outgoing Chairperson was also offered a post, but this clause has been taken off. “Previously, the restriction was by way of tradition. The immediate Past President will no longer be an office bearer. In a sense, we have had our own 19th amendment!” Authority was now transferred from the office bearers to the Secretariat and a nine-member board has replaced the four-member committee. The direction and agenda of the chamber will be set by the Chief Executive and the Secretariat. “The Chamber Rules now restrict the Chairperson to two terms of a year each.”

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Golden Key depositor suffers heart attack in court premises

Posted on 29 June 2015 by admin

An unhappy Golden Key (GK) depositor suffered a heart attack soon after the hearing in the case in the Supreme Court on Thursday, other depositors said. After hearing the state submissions in the case which further delays the payment plan, President of the G.K. Depositors Society Wasanatha Gunathilaka had collapsed in the court premises and was admitted to a private hospital for treatment of a sudden heart attack, Dushanathi Hapugoda, President, All GK Depositors’ Association told the Business Times. On Thursday, Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Viraj Dayaratna appearing on behalf of the Attorney General sought a further date to submit the government’s full proposal to repay 41 per cent of the deposited money of GK depositors. Last week, the cabinet had approved Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal to repay depositors with deposits up to Rs. 2 million within a month. This delay bemused the GK depositors who were at the court house at that time expecting some redress from the new government in accordance with the pledge given by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. Most of the depositors present in court were disheartened as they came to hear the details of the new payment plan and the report on the cabinet approval, she said, adding that the Central Bank has decided to appoint a new board of directors to the GK Company replacing the existing board.

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Sri Lanka comes back strong to win 2nd Test and level series

Posted on 29 June 2015 by admin

Dimuth Karunaratne hit 50 off 56 balls as Sri Lanka trounced Pakistan by seven wickets in the second Test in Colombo on Monday to square the three-match series 1-1. Chasing 153 to win, the hosts made light of a delayed start of 30 minutes due to a wet outfield and raced to victory in 26.3 overs before lunch on the fifth and final day at the P. Sara Oval. Karunaratne and skipper Angelo Mathews added a brisk 72 for the third wicket after two wickets had fallen with the score on 49 to raise Pakistan's hopes. Mathews remained unbeaten on 43, sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 32 with Lahiru Thirimanne, who hit the winning boundary off leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

The win ended Sri Lanka's three-match losing streak at the P. Sara Oval and set up a potentially thrilling finale when the third Test begins at the Pallekele stadium near the popular hill resort of Kandy on Friday. Mathews said it was a very good comeback by his team after losing the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets. "The boys showed a lot of character after that defeat," he said, adding it was important to go for quick runs in the second innings because of the threat of rain. "We wanted to bat positively because we were not sure about the weather," he said. "We gave the boys the green signal to play freely because it is easy to get bogged down." Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said being bowled out for 138 on the first day after electing to bat had cost his team dearly.

"That session from lunch to tea on the first day really dented us because we lost all our main batsmen in that period," he said. "It made all the difference in the match. "The batting in the first innings is not consistent enough and that is a big worry for us. We put up a big score at Galle and here we collapsed from 74 for three to 138 all out. "The bowling has been good, especially Yasir who now has 54 wickets from his first nine matches. He is a match-winner, but the injury to Wahab (Riaz) was a big blow." Pakistan pace spearhead Wahab suffered a hairline fracture of his left hand while batting on the first day and has been ruled out of the series. "Hopefully we will recover from this loss and try and win the final Test," said Misbah. Kithuruwan Vithanage, promoted to open the batting in place of Kaushal Silva, smashed four boundaries and two sixes in an aggressive 34 off 23 balls. The left-hander contributed a major share of the 49-run opening stand with Karunaratne, when Pakistan hit back with two wickets off successive balls. Vithanage holed out in the deep off the last ball of left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar's second over after striking two sixes earlier in the over.

Veteran Kumar Sangakkara, playing his last Test match against Pakistan, fell to the first delivery he faced, caught at short-leg by Azhar Ali off Yasir. Sangakkara, 37, Test cricket's leading current run-getter, said on Saturday he will appear in only the first two Tests against Pakistan and play two more against India in August before retiring from the international game. Karunaratne had hit four boundaries when he was leg-before to Yasir with 32 runs still needed for victory, but vice-captain Thirimanne partnered his skipper to a facile win.

Hard-working Sri Lankan seamer Dhammika Prasad was named man of the match for his seven wickets in the Test. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by seven wickets to level the series 1-1. Needing 153 after a delayed start, the hosts romped to 153-3 in 26.3 overs to beat the threat of rain and get home for lunch with Thirimanne hitting the winning boundary. Karunaratne led the run-chase with a fluent 50 while a promoted Vithanage cracked a breezy 34 off 23 balls wth four boundaries and two sixes. There was some concern when Sangakkara fell for a golden duck but skipper Mathews steadied the ship to guide them past the line remaining unbeaten on 43. Karunaratne has to go after being adjudged leg before playing across to Shah with the decision being upheld after a review. SL 121-3, 20.2 overs. Dimuth Karunaratne lbw b Yasir Shah 50 (57b 4×4 0x6) Karunaratne has completed a fluent half century to put Sri Lanka on course to victory. Karunaratne and Mathews have added 50 off 62 balls as Sri Lanka are doing it easily. Karunaratne gets a boundary with a reverse sweep off Shah while Mathews has punched Shah magnificently through the covers for a boundary. SL 76-2, 12 overs.

It's game on as Sangakkara is out for a golden duck being snapped up at short leg off Shah. SL 49-2, 7.1 overs. Kumar Sangakkara c Azhar Ali b Yasir Shah 0 (1b 0x4 0x6) Vithanage is turning it on slamming two consecutive sixes off Babar before holing out to midwicket. SL 49-1, 7 overs. Kithruwan Vithanage c Mohammad Hafeez b Zulfiqar Babar 34 (23b 4×4 2×6) Sri Lanka are in cruise control with Vithanage pulling Shah to the square leg fence. S 36-0, 6 overs. Vithanage survives the first ball from Babar as Sarfraz misses a stumping chance. SL 31-0, 5 overs. Vithanage makes his intentions clear flicking the first ball he faced from Junaid to midwicket for a boundary. SL 11-0, 1 over.

Sri Lanka open with Vithanage and Karunaratne who punches the first ball from Junaid to the fence through mid-on. Heavy overnight rain has caused a delay to the start of proceedings on the final day with Sri Lanka needing 153 to level the three-match series. Seamer Dhammika Prasad claimed four wickets to put Sri Lanka on top in the second Test in Colombo on Sunday despite a defiant century from Azhar Ali. Pakistan, who trailed by 177 on the first innings, were bowled out for 329 in their second knock by tea on the fourth day to leave the hosts a target of 153 runs to level the three-match series. But heavy rain washed out play in the final session, setting the stage for an absorbing final day on a wearing P. Sara Oval – provided the forecast of more bad weather proves wrong. Pakistan won the first Test in Galle by 10 wickets.

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Former British PM Tony Blair, and family due in Sri Lanka

Posted on 28 June 2015 by admin

It has been reported in the local Sri Lanka media that Britain’s former prime minister Tony Blair is due on a two-week visit to Colombo. The Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry has dubbed it “a private holiday.” Mr. Blair and his family including wife Cherie Booth QC are expected to arrive in August but the precise date is yet to be confirmed. On June 17, I inquired from the Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry whether it was correct that Tony Blair was due to visit Colombo, the purpose of the visit, whether he had been invited by Sri Lanka and if so by whom, and when and for what purpose.

Confirming the visit, the Foreign Ministry said it was a private visit for a holiday in the south of the island and no one in authority had invited him to Colombo. Meetings with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have been requested while he is expected to be hosted to lunch by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

Ms. Blair earlier met then High Commissioner to London, Dr Chris Nonis, to explore any possible avenues for her consultancy Omnia Strategy LLP established in 2011, to be involved in Sri Lanka. This was the time when several western nations including Britain were carrying out a sustained diplomatic onslaught against Sri Lanka on human rights abuses.

Meanwhile, Ms. Blair’s legal consultancy earlier this month signed a deal with the Maldivian Government which is facing international condemnation for human rights abuses.

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President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament (June 26) calling for an election on August 17

Posted on 26 June 2015 by admin

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has dissolved parliament, paving the way for an early general election.

“The president signed a gazette notification dissolving parliament with effect from midnight today,” government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said.

The general election was not scheduled for another 10 months.

Mr Sirisena defeated incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa in presidential elections held in January.

The president’s decision to dissolve parliament came shortly after a spokesman for the United National Party (UNP) said it had formally requested him to do so.

The UNP was the main party behind Mr Sirisena’s presidential bid and its leader, Ranil Wickremesingha, is the country’s prime minister.

Sri Lankan law dictates that elections be held between 52 and 66 days after the dissolution.

Government sources told the BBC that the election will be held on 17 August.

Sri Lankan election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya is scheduled to hold a news conference on Saturday where he will announce the dates.

The dissolution of parliament ends the term of the coalition government that was appointed for a 100-day period after the presidential election result. However, it exceeded that time limit as it sought to implement key constitutional reforms.

Former President Rajapaksa is expected to use the elections to stage a political comeback. He has previously announced that he intends to be the new prime minister.

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Sri Lanka Parliament dissolved on June 26 – Elections will be held August 17

Posted on 26 June 2015 by admin

Colombo, Sri Lanka- The Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, has dissolved his country’s Parliament, 160 days after assuming office in January this year.

It was also announced on Friday night that the Parliamentary elections will be held on August 17, while the new Parliament is scheduled to meet on September 1.

The dissolution ends weeks of speculation after the President promised to dissolve Parliament 100 days after his victory in the January presidential election.

Despite his pledge, the president delayed the dissolution as he attempted to repair the cracks caused in his own party following his defection to the opposition.

Despite hailing from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which holds the majority in the current Parliament, President Sirisena has been governing with the support of the United National Party (UNP) who nominated him as the opposition presidential candidate back in December 2014.

‘Fresh mandate’

Minister of Plantations, Lakshman Kiriella, told Al-Jazeera that the UNP welcomed the news of the dissolution and was fully prepared for the elections: “We promised the people we would govern for 100 days, we have delivered on many of our promises and now we will seek a fresh mandate from the people during this election.”

Opposition leader, Nirmal Siripala de Silva, said they were disappointed that “the electoral reforms could not be introduced prior to the election, but we are ready for the election and will secure the people’s mandate once again.”

However, political pundits have welcomed the news of the dissolution stating that the political uncertainty in the country will now come to an end.

Jehan Senanayake, a political writer and analyst, said “Maithripala Sirisena has attempted to quash the influence of his predecessor (Mahinda Rajapaksa) while also attempting to re-unite his old party.

“This has seen members of the opposition join the new government, while their party sat in the opposition benches. A fresh mandate for the Parliament was needed.”

Members of the Opposition have spent the last 100 days pushing for the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa as the SLFP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, however, President Sirisena has continued to publicly state that the former President will not be given nomination.

Source: Al Jazeera

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Sri Lanka Customs instructed to stop Maggi Noodles imported into the country

Posted on 25 June 2015 by admin

Colombo,24 June, (Asiantribune.com):
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has instructed the Sri Lanka Customs to stop consignments of rejected Maggi Noodle from India being released to the importers because they are said to contain high levels of Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG).

Maggi Nooodles said to contain high levels of Mono Sodium Glutamate (MSG).

The Indian High Commission had requested the CAA to ban the import such noodles to Sri Lanka from India.

“Responding to the written request, CAA Director General J.M.A. Douglas has written to the Customs asking it to prevent any Indian-rejected noodles entering the country for the safety of consumers. Both Singapore and Nepal had already banned the import of Maggi instant noodles from India,” CAA Spokesman Udayajeewa Ekanayake said.

Indian Central government had banned 27,000 tons of Maggi noodles found with MSG and high levels of lead (Pb). The government had directed the relevant company to immediately destroy the banned consignments. –

Earlier, Health Service (DGHS) Director General Palitha Mahipala directed that samples of Maggi Noodles, particularly popular among children and other varieties of noodles be tested at the Industrial Technical Institute (ITI) to determine their lead content.

Dr. Mahipala’s directive comes in the wake of the multinational global food giant in India deciding a fortnight ago to temporarily take the Maggi brand of noodles off the shelves countrywide.

The directive came after several Indian states banned the product which is alleged to contain high levels of lead-making it unsafe for human consumption.

Indian states, including Uttarakhand, New Delhi, Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir have either banned the noodles or are conducting further tests to confirm whether the product contains higher than the permissable level of lead. However, the food giant said in a statement that Maggi noodles were “completely safe” and had been a trusted snack in India for more than 30 years.

“The trust of our consumers and the safety of our products is our first priority. “Unfortunately, recent developments and unfounded concerns about the product have led to confusion among the consumers to such an extent that we have decided to withdraw the product off the shelves, despite the product being safe,” the company said in a statement.

The samples Maggi noodles have already been sent to the ITI for tests and other samples will follow.
Dr. Mahipala said the next step would be decided on the receipt of the test report.

– Asian Tribune –

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Thomian cricketer L.S. Perera’s funeral on Saturday

Posted on 25 June 2015 by admin

The funeral of former S. Thomas’ cricketer L.S. Perera – better known as L.S. – will take place on Saturday. Llasa Perera played for S. Thomas’ College from 1962-1964. He was vice-captain to Premalal Goonewardene in 1964. That year S. Thomas’ beat Royal in the annual Battle of the Blues. His contribution to S. Thomas’ cricket was outstanding. Having left the country in the late 1960s, L.S. supported S. Thomas’ cricket in a massive way through the UK OBA of which he served as President for three years.

He will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by his wife Rohini, son Johann, daughters Ruth and Anoushka, his team mates and friends. The remains will be at Raymonds Funeral Parlor from 12.00 noon Friday.
A service will be held at St. Thomas’ College Chapel at 3.00pm. Cremation will be on Saturday at 5.00pm at Borella Kanatte.

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Diaspora Festival for all Sri Lankans – Foreign Ministry

Posted on 25 June 2015 by admin

The Diaspora Festival that had been planned for the end of this year in Sri Lanka was not specific to any community but a national event, the Foreign Ministry said. Spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry Mahishini Colonne said that by diaspora it was meant Sri Lankans of all communities domiciled abroad and not just Tamils. She noted that the festival was aimed at forging national reconciliation in the post war era in keeping with the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) which had been established by the previous government.

In the true spirit of reconciliation it was envisaged to make the festival an annual event in which Sri Lankans living aborad could return to the land of their birth at least once a year to renew old friendships and celebrate as one nation, she added.

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Toronto gears upto JPAA Canada Fellowship Nite with Tyrone Le Mercier as Guest of Honour

Posted on 24 June 2015 by admin

There is only one joint association in the world for past students of St. Joseph’s College and St. Peter’s College, Colombo. The joint Josephian-Peterite Alumni Association of Canada was formed in 1984, and is in its 31st year. Popularly known as JPAA Canada, the association was the first of its kind to be formed in Canada with a combined Royal/Trinity/S. Thomas’ group getting together in the late eighties. One must remember that up until the mid eighties there were not many Sri Lankans domiciled in Canada.

JPAA Canada conducts a Fellowship Nite on the last Friday of June every year as a prelude to the “Big Match” Cricket Festival taking place on Canada Day July – 1. This year is no exception with former Peterite Cricket Captain of 1963, Tyrone Le Mercier and his wife Jean flying in from Melbourne for the event.

Other Sri Lankans living in Toronto who attended other schools such as Royal, Trinity, S. Thomas’, St.Anthony’s College Kandy will be joining the Josephians and Peterites to celebrate this joint event. Popular DJ-Rohan will provide dance music at the event.

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