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'MR has no chance of contesting again'

Aug 20 (DN) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is not qualified to contest the upcoming Presidential election, Higher Education Minister Wijeyedasa Rajapakshe said. He said that according to the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, a former President is barred from contesting any Presidential election. The provisions stipulate that no President can hold the Executive Presidency for more than two terms. more..

Train fares up 15 % from October

Aug 20 (CT) Railway fares are to be increased for the first time in over a decade. The fares will go up by 15% with the next month, according to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation. Secretary to the Ministry G.S. Vithanage said that the proposal to increase the fares were in discussion for the last two to three months. He noted however that a final conclusion has not yet been reached. According to him, the fare increase would likely be imposed by Sept and implemented by Oct. more..

Glyphosate: First shipment due in October

Aug 20 (SO) Glyphosate, which is currently a subject of fierce controversy world over will once again be in use in the plantation sector as the preferred weed killer with the first batch of imports expected in October since the ban on the weedicide was lifted mid this year, a top official of the CPC said. CPC Agro Chemical Manager Suranga Perera said around half a million litres of Glyphosate will be imported by end of next month or early October for tea and rubber plantations. more..

Now, Wiggy locks horns with Reggie

Aug 20 (Island) The Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray has denied allegations that he was planning to construct two Buddhist temples in one-time LTTE stronghold Kilinochchi soon after the dissolution of the TNA run Northern Provincial Council later this year. Cooray, a former MP said so in response to Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s recent declaration in Jaffna print media that the Governor’s Office was more..

Kofi Annan death: World leaders honour former UN chief

Aug 20 (DM) World figures have been paying tribute to former UN secretary-general and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan, who has died at the age of 80. Current UN chief Antonio Guterres hailed him as a guiding force for good and Russian President Vladimir Putin described a remarkable person. President Sirisena said Kofi Annan was a visionary leader whose work reshaped international efforts to ensure peace and stability across the world. Generations to come will benefit from his hard work. more..

If they resign to become independent: JO seats come under threat

Aug 20 (CT) In order to obtain the Opposition Leader’s post in Parliament, the JO is planning to leave the UPFA. Responding to these reports, Constitutional Law Expert, President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva said that the seats of JO MPs would come under threat if they were to resign from the Party on whose ticket they were elected to the Parliament. When queried whether it is possible for the MPs to resign from their party with the intention of becoming independent MPs, more..

Finance minister slams neo-feudal bar on youth entry to service sector

Aug 20 (EN) Finance minister Mangala Samaraweera has slammed a shocking neo-feudal law barring unemployed youth from entering the service sector, which showed graphically how state intervention can rob economic freedoms and harm society in general less vocal and weaker sections in particular. SL's elected ruling class backed by a neo-feudal urban elite who saw shrinking manual workers and their wages going up mooted more..

'Interested parties creating fake news to facilitate yahapalana operation'

Aug 20 (Island) National Movement of Web Journalists has alleged that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt is targeting the social media. In a statement issued by its Chairman Chaturanga Alwis and Secretary Hasitha Mannaduwa, the grouping alleged that those receiving benefits from the government, the Opposition and various cliques were propagating lies to facilitate ongoing operation against the social media. According to them, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had more..

Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA seen as promoting e-commerce with ASEAN

Aug 20 (Island) A free trade deal with Singapore will enable to attract Singapore investors and also help to promote e-commerce to penetrate the ASEAN region, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy said. "Since it has the biggest negative list for Sri Lanka it could get economic advantage for the country and also the agreement has a well structured chapter on investment, the Governor told the media at the recent monthly monetary review meeting. more..

Lawyers watch CID question ex-President over journalist abduction

Aug 20 (EN) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had his key lawyers by his side as a team of CID officers interviewed him for three hours in connection with the 2008 abduction and torture of Nation journalist Keith Noyahr. Sources on both sides said the former president began the interview by offering short eats and tea and the meeting went off cordially despite dozens of Rajapaksa loyalists demonstrating outside more..

‘Country needs to increase high tech exports’

Aug 20 (DN) Sri Lanka exports only one percent of high tech products and to address the widening trade gap the country will have to increase its high tech exports, National Science Foundation (NSF) of Sri Lanka Chairperson Prof Sirimali Fernando said. Addressing a gathering summoned to announce the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the NSF in Colombo recently, she said the recommendation was that a country should spend at least one percent of its GDP on research. more..

Another 500 acres of military-occupied North-East lands to be released

Aug 20 (ST) Some 500 more acres of military-occupied North-East private lands, including those located in the High Security Zones, are to be released. Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry Secretary P. Suresh said the Govt would allocate Rs 780 million to relocate the existing military camps and release the military occupied private lands to their rightful owners before December. He said that at a meeting on Friday, Treasury officials agreed to release the funds to complete the relocation more..

China projects steam ahead

Aug 20 (FT) China is confident of completing their multiple investments in southern Sri Lanka with the fourth phase of the highway from Mattala Airport to the Hambantota Port and the Matara-Beliatta railway extension likely to be completed by January 2019, top officials said. The railway project, funded by a $ 278 million loan from China EXIM Bank, is being built by the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). more..

Abeysinghe sets up new SL swim record

Aug 20 (DN) Matthew Abeysinghe created a new Sri Lanka record of 1:0.97secs erasing his own previous record, but had to drop out from the event finishing 12th in the men’s 200m freestyle swimming preliminaries at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta yesterday. 34 swimmers competed in the preliminary round. Abeysinghe said that was sad that he couldn’t qualify for the next round, but as this is not his main event he hopes to perform well in the 100m, 50m freestyle events and more..

Trade Adjustment Programme draft released by Ministry

Aug 20 (FT) International Trade and Development Strategies Ministry has released an outline for implementing the long-awaited Trade Adjustment Programme (TAP) for stakeholder feedback that details how domestic enterprises would be supported through regulatory and policy reforms as well as specific schemes of grant support. The document, which has been posted on the ministry website, is open to private sector and other responses till Thursday. more..

Pharmaceutical industry calls for transparent pricing mechanism

Aug 20 (SO) SL Chamber of Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) has called upon the govt to establish a fair and transparent pricing mechanism which factors the impact of US Dollar appreciation against the Rupee, similar to pricing formulae applied on petroleum products and domestic LPG. The organisation said in a statement, a fully resourced quality assurance laboratory, a primary pre-requisite in other countries, more..

Sri Lanka could face refinancing risks over next 5 years: Moody’s

Aug 20 (FT) Due to significant debt repayments from 2019, Moody’s Investor Services yesterday warned Sri Lanka remained exposed to higher external refinancing risk over the next five years, particularly if external financing conditions tighten and the currency depreciates. The credit profile of SL (B1 negative) is supported by the authorities’ progress in implementing their reform program, which entails fiscal consolidation and a build-up of foreign exchange reserves, the agency said. more..

Electronic document attestation system to divisional secretariat level to be expanded

Aug 20 (MFA) With a view to expanding the document attestation services provided through the Electronic Document Attestation System (e-DAS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Divisional Secretariat level, a MoU was signed between the Ministries of Foreign and Home Affairs on 16 August 2018. Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prasad Kariyawasam and Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs S.T. Kodikara signed the MoU in the presence of Minister Vajira Abeywardena, more..

Battle lines drawn over fate of minimum room rates

Aug 20 (FT) Confident of resilience built by strong postwar growth, SL Tourism Development Authority yesterday stuck to removing a nine-year-old minimum room rate scheme for Colombo hotels, despite a proposal by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga to discuss the issue in November and protests by hoteliers, setting the stage for a potential standoff between stakeholders. SLTDA Director General Upali Rathnayake insisted more..

Towards sustainable management of reservoir watersheds

Aug 20 (Island) The completion of the first stage in construction activities of the Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Multipurpose Development project is expected to provide irrigation facilities to over 82,000 ha of farm lands for both Yala and Maha cultivation seasons and domestic and industrial water to the dry zone areas of the North Central, North-western and Northern Provinces during its implementation in the coming years. Under the second stage of the project, which is already underway, more..

Govt removes telecom floor rates

Aug 20 (FT) Govt has removed floor rates for call charges to promote cost optimisation and assist the industry to expand their market share, a top official said yesterday. The move is targeted at bringing more benefit to telecom users as well as companies, Minister Harin Fernando said. Letters informing of the changes were sent to all the operators by the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) last week. According to Fernando, the move will result in cost optimisation and allow more competition. more..

Anika, Sharmal win first round

Aug 20 (CT) Up and coming tennis sensation, Anika Seneviratne and SL’s top-seeded tennis player Sharmal Dissanayaka won their first round matches and advanced to the round of 32 at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia yesterday. Anika, who was at the centre of controversy regarding her selection, justified her inclusion in the team on her maiden appearance at the Games as she beat Ariun-Erdene Erdenebileg of Mongolia 2-0 more..

Reversing negative export trends

Aug 20 (ST) If an economy is growing without export growth, economists know that there are enough reasons to doubt such growth. At least they know that economic growth in the absence of export growth is not going to last long. Sri Lanka has been there for many years now. After long years of silence, I am happy that Sri Lanka is back to talk about exports. A few weeks ago the SL govt launched its official document of export strategy – the Export Strategy of Sri Lanka (NES). more..

EPF wants more money for divestment

Aug 20 (CT) Weligama Hotel Properties Ltd, the property owners of Weligama Bay Marriot Resort & Spa divestment process might get further delayed due to valuation dispute with the minority stakeholder the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has requested fresh valuations from the East West Properties PLC management before divesting its 11.1% stake to the Singapore’s HPL Hotels & Resorts Pte. Ltd, a Senior CB official said. more..

Top SriLankan Airlines official faces arrest

Aug 20 (ST) A onetime top official of SriLankan Airlines under the previous regime is now facing arrest. The move comes as the net is closing in on him after an investigation that is nearing completion by the FCID. The FCID probe has revealed that the official concerned, whose name and alleged irregularities had already surfaced at the PCOI now probing SriLankan Airlines, had amassed foreign currency to the tune of nearly rs. 10 million more..

Edtorial: Comic relief from committees

Aug 20 (Island) One of the few things the present govt does expeditiously is appointing committees. One has lost count of the number of various committees, appointed during the last three years or so. There must be several dozens of them. The only purpose they serve is providing the public, in dire financial straits, with some comic relief. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga is batting for the Band-Aid committee brigade. He has reportedly said a committee has been appointed to study more..

Are you keeping the pampered Jades of Lanka happy enough?

Aug 20 (ST) Poor sods. Do they understand the responsibility thrust upon them when they become the people’s representatives. Do they not have a clue of their duties or their obligations that necessarily come appended with the job they are expected to do. For them it’s a one way easy street to traverse and arrive at the Eldorado of their dreams at the people’s expense. All take and no give. All talk and no deed. But, pause for a second, before you fling the first stone of judgment. more..

මහින්ද තම වහලුන්ට ඉගැන්වූ පාඩම

Self belief cause of Sri Lanka resurgence

Aug 20 (CT) Getting this column together once again becomes a relief, the obvious reason being of course the manner in which the South African tour of SL ended. Whilst the pendulum did swing to the opposite way after the Test series, the manner it returned and stayed firmly with the hosts at the end was a very impressive factor. I am a firm believer that in cricket the momentum is a big aspect in winning and losing. It was quite prevalent in the last 3 games ie two 50 over games and the T/20. more..

Will the wheels of justice stop in their tracks?

Aug 20 (SO) General Secretary and de facto head of the BBS, Galagoda-aththe Gnanasara thero was recently sentenced to nineteen years imprisonment by the Court of Appeal, to be completed in six years. This follows a previous six-month prison term imposed on him by the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. While the former sentence was for charges of contempt of court, the latter was for threatening Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda at the more..

'Devolve power to districts not provinces'

Aug 20 (CT) State Minister Wasantha Senanayake’s proposal for power to be devolved to districts instead of to Provincial Councils (PCs) is interesting. He feels the PCs have failed to live up to their expectations. TNA’s disinterest in holding the impending PC elections in the Northern Province may perhaps be an indication of this fact, Senanayake assumes. As a strong believer in devolution, Senanayake thinks PC’s failures more..

Marking a sombre and reflective anniversary

Aug 20 (ST) The three years during which Sri Lanka breathed (or was it gasped?) in freedom’ seems to be the rather messily translated refrain which the UNP at least is trumpeting to all and sundry as this month (August 2018) notes three years of the National Unity govt being voted into power. On its part, the other coalition partner, the remnants of the SLFP and President Maithripala Sirisena is markedly silent in its celebration of this anniversary, in equal parts sullenly and awkwardly so. more..

Land powers and public finance

Aug 20 (Island) Under the provisions that were introduced to our present Constitution by the 13th Amendment, rights in or over land, land tenure, transfer and alienation of land, land use, land settlement and land improvement, was said to be a subject devolved to the provinces. However, according to Appendix II of the 9th Schedule of the Constitution, State land shall continue to be vested in the Republic and may be disposed of in accordance with the powers vested in Prez more..

Politics of a railway strike

Aug 20 (SO) Controversy and confusion raged around the wildcat train strike of the Station Masters, Engine Drivers, Train Controllers and Train Guards, a week after it concluded. Opinion within the collective differed on strike action with some willing to continue and others commenting that they need to get something out of it as the waters have gone over our heads. Refusing to take up responsibility some unions blamed the Govt more..

National & Sub-national planning approaches in Sri Lanka (1948 – 2018)

Aug 20 (CT) Development planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation at national and regional levels assume high significance in contemporary society as they involve economic development, poverty alleviation, social engineering and preservation of quality of life at national and regional levels. Involvement in efficient economic development planning & implementation at various administrative units has been part of state responsibility at varying levels since more..

Singapore Miracle: How Sri Lanka could benefit from Trade with Singapore

Aug 20 (CT) According to a media report released by President’s Media Division, a committee of experts has been appointed by President to examine and report on the practical impact and use of the proposed officer policy guidelines and recommendations on framing SL’s future trade policy. Choice of the five experts, it appears, has been done carefully drawing on the multitude of expertise which they possess not only on trade but also on all other aspects of economic policy. more..

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