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Sri Lanka ‘BB-’ rating reflects global trust in govt process: Harsha

Apr 24 (FT) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva asserted that Fitch Ratings’ affirmation of Sri Lanka’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default rating at ‘BB-’ by Fitch Ratings reflected the international investor community’s confidence in the country’s economy. He argued that even though Opposition parties were engaged in unsubstantiated criticism as to the outcomes of 100-day program, neutral international agencies and investors have only projected a positive outlook more..

UNP: A repetition of 2001-2004

Apr 24 (Island) The former general secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake crossed the floor of the house and joined Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign largely in protest at his party deciding to support Maithripala Sirisena as the common opposition candidate. The fear that he publicly expressed before the election was that if the common candidate wins, the UNP may be left in the lurch. more..

Coal: Answer to energy crisis!

Apr 24 (CT) The CEB first proposed to establish a coal power plant in 1985. The CEB chose a site in Trincomalee, close to the sea, and forwarded their proposal to the Coast Conservation Authority (CCA) for approval. The CCA opened the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project for public opinion and a number of intellectuals and other stakeholders presented their objection pointing at the 'unacceptable' environmental degradation. After the Environment Foundation Limited and more..

Editorial: ‘Mediterranean cemetery’

Apr 24 (Island) In 2007, more than 10,000 wildebeest drowned in a bizarre mishap while trying to cross a river in Kenya during annual migration. That massive die-off was attributed to what environmentalists dubbed a ‘migration pile-up’. Lemmings also die in their thousands while migrating. But, what is this world coming to when humans die like wildebeest or lemmings in search of food, water and shelter? It was with shock and dismay that the whole world watched the more..

'Navy had no hand in Raviraj killing'

Apr 24 (CT) Former Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda said, the LTTE was strengthening the Sampur area, so that they could take control of the Trincomalee Harbour, which was of strategic importance to Sri Lanka. "If the Navy in Trincomalee was neutralized, then Jaffna would have fallen. Fortunately, realizing this situation, then President Chandrika Kumaratunga dissolved UNP Govt more..

CEB SMS to inform of power cuts, bill details

Apr 24 (DN) The CEB is taking measures to make clients aware of power cuts, details of the bill and other data through SMS to increase the quality of the service, CEB Additional General Manager Bandula Thilakasiri said. He said under the first phase of the programme, the CEB has taken measures to inform clients in Colombo and suburbs about power cuts for service supply and maintenance. Clients will also be informed about disconnection if bills are not settled. more..

Army men rescue Hindu priest

Apr 24 (CT) Timely action of the Army personnel, serving in the Thunukkai, Mallavi has saved the life of a Hindu priest when his vehicle skidded off the road last Sunday. Hindu priest Sharma's vehicle, which was driven by his driver Pavinasan, skidded off the road, injuring the priest and the driver. Noticing the mishap, the Army personnel patrolling the area immediately rushed to the scene and moved the priest and his driver from the vehicle. Later, the Army men rushed them to more..

Govt to revive Paranthan

Apr 24 (CT) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen invited the local and the global private sector to invest between US$ 300- 400 Million to revive the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals Company, successors to the Paranthan Chemicals Corporation. He also told officials that the govt was looking to restore the northern factories of Paranthan Chemicals soon and that they could commence operations promptly when more..

Voith modernises hydropower plant in SL

Apr 24 (NWT) Until mid-2017, Voith will supply electro-mechanical equipment for Polpitiya's two 37.5 megawatt generating units and the accompanying spherical valves, overhaul the spiral cases and draft tubes, as well as take over the erection and commissioning of the plant. Voith Financial Services has structured the financing of the project. This modernisation will significantly increase Polpitiya's performance. In 1969, the plant was connected to the grid for the very first more..

Commercial Bank launches Millionaire's Account

Apr 24 (DN) A new, aspiration targeted investment plan that enables account holders to build up a minimum balance of Rs. 1 million within a specific period without a high initial investment, has been launched by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon, the largest private sector bank in Sri Lanka. The first savings product of its kind in the local banking sector, the Commercial Bank Millionaire's Account guarantees the depositor a balance of Rs. 1 million or multiples of Rs. 1 million up to more..

'If doing my duty on behalf of 1.4 m Samurdhi beneficiaries is wrong, I am ready to...'

Apr 24 (FT) “All Divi Neguma funds were spent for the people’s welfare and if doing so is wrong I am ready to face any challenge on the people’s behalf,” former Minister Basil Rajapaksa told the media when he was produced before the Kaduwela Magistrate on 22 April. He pledged he would campaign for “a people’s regime instead of a regime which has now emerged in the name of good governance but is doing the opposite”. more..

Frittered and frazzled

Apr 24 (Economist) The date should have been one to celebrate: April 23rd was the hundredth day since Maithripala Sirisena formed a government after winning a fraught presidential election, in January, as the head of a broad coalition of parties. The surprising victory was rightly feted as a democratic triumph. It ended nearly ten years of authoritarian, nepotistic rule by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man who in 2009 inflicted a military defeat on Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Buddhist flags worth Rs 1 million confiscated

Apr 24 (DN) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) confiscated 50,000 Buddhist flags worth of Rs. 1 million which did not confirm to standards. They were seized from shops located at People's Park Building Complex in Pettah yesterday. The CAA will raid shops which sell Buddhist flags, Vesak decorations and Atapirikara that fail to conform to standards during the Vesak festival which falls next week. The CAA has received a number of public complaints regarding traders more..

I will not allow a handful to hinder govt's progressive steps: PM

Apr 24 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would not allow a handful of persons to hinder the progressive steps initiated by the govt. The PM observed the people gave a mandate for President Maithripala Sirisena on January 8 to produce the thieves before court, investigate corruption charges and implement the 19th Amendment to Constitution. He said if those in the current Parliament are against these moves, more..

'India, Sri Lanka on same frequency in political, economic ambitions'

Apr 24 (Island) India and Sri Lanka are on similar frequency in terms of huge political expectations and preferred economic reform and everyone is hoping that remaining political uncertainties in Sri Lanka will be cleared after the general election, paving the way for lasting good change, Tarun Rai, CEO, J. Walter Thompson (JWT), South Asia said in Colombo. Tarun said so at a media briefing where he discussed JWT’s plans for Sri Lanka and the South Asia region. more..

jLanka launches ePro1000 smart meter, a first in Sri Lanka

Apr 24 (DN) jLanka Technologies introduced the ePro1000 smart meter, Sri Lanka's first ever electricity consumption monitoring smart meter in Colombo. CEO Dr. Mayura Jayasoma said the investment for the project will be Rs 65 million with Rs 15 million spent already in research and development in the last 18 months. They intend to be competitors in energy management solutions and had plans to initially expand into Asia markets with their innovative product. more..

Dilution of Executive Presidency, electoral reforms before next General Election: Govt

Apr 24 (Island) With the Cabinet of Ministers having approved the proposed electoral reforms, the govt said that both the 19 and 20 Amendments to the Constitution would be enacted before the next General Election. Asked if the 19A and 20A Bills would be presented to Parliament separately or together as demanded by the SLFP, Minister Rajitha Senaratne replied that it did not matter since it was a technical issue. more..

Divineguma Additional DG also remanded

Apr 24 (Island) Kaduwela Magistrate yesterday remanded till May 05 Additional Director General of Divi Neguma Bandula Thilakasiri over financial misappropriation alleged to have taken place during his tenure. He was produced before the court by the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID). On Wednesday evening, FCID arrested former Minister Basil Rajapaksa over alleged misappropriation of Divineguma funds and the police charged him under the Public Property Act. more..

Ex-FM's passport further impounded

Apr 24 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya, has ordered the Chief Registrar of Court to retain in a secure place in court, the passport of former minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Bogollagama's passport was impounded after a hearing into a bribery case in which he is cited. The Bribery Commission has filed a case against former Minister for allegedly having forced the Director General of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka to pay a sum of Rs 1,546,641 in addition to more..

Swiss expert here to unravel clandestine accounts

Apr 24 (DN) Gretta Fenner, a Swiss expert, has arrived in Sri Lanka to assist the Sri Lankan govt in its investigations into clandestine Swiss bank accounts belonging to Sri Lankans. The Swiss expert has visited the country following a request made by Sri Lankan authorities to the govt of Switzerland. This issue drew the attention of Sri Lankan authorities in February, this year, when a cache of leaked Swiss bank files analysed by more..

Sri Lankan prisons give unfair privileges to politicians: Eran

Apr 24 (EN) A Sri Lankan deputy minister acknowledged that prisons give special privileges to politicians and other 'distinguished' persons not accorded to ordinary citizens, saying it was unfair and must be changed. "It is unfair," declared deputy minister Eran Wickramaratne. "It will not cost much to improve the conditions in our prisons." He was replying to a question on whether special privileges had been given to former minister Basil Rajapaksa, in the ousted Rajapaksa regime who more..

Peter Hill to leave SriLankan for Fiji Airways

Apr 24 (DM) Former SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill, who rejoined the national carrier in an advisory capacity this February, will be leaving his position to head Fiji Airways. “Yes, he’s leaving because he was offered this position,” SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias said. Hill was the CEO of SriLankan from 1999 during its management by Emirates. However, his work visa was revoked in 2007, when he had refused to let former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and 35 close associates more..

Gunning for Gota!

Apr 24 (FT) Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption became the site of dramatic scenes again, when the former Defence Secretary and ex-Presidential sibling Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived at its offices on Bauddhaloka Mawatha last morning. Waving distorted versions of the National Flag and defying a Court order by Colombo Chief Magistrate banning demonstrations in front of the Commission, more..

Sirisena defends return of land to minorities

Apr 24 (Hindu) President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday night defended the new govt’s policy of returning private land, once used by the security forces, to legitimate owners, especially in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, where Tamils and Muslims are present substantially. In his 30-minute-long address to the nation through the electronic media to coincide the completion of 100 days of the govt, Mr Sirisena, said the 30 year conflict (with LTTE) should not raise its head again. more..

No plaint of SL Navy hurling petrol bombs

Apr 24 (ENS) The Indian govt did not get any complaint against Sri Lankan navy hurling petrol bombs at Indian fishermen, Minister V K Singh informed the Rajya Sabha. The written reply by the Minister of State was a direct contradiction of reports in media in TN, which quoted police sources as saying that Lankan naval personnel had tossed petrol bombs on fishermen last month. “As per records available with the Govt, no complaint has been received regarding alleged incident of more..

SLFP central committee decides to support 19th amendment

Apr 24 (ENS) President Maithripala Sirisena and the Central Committee of the SLFP torn by serious differences this far, closed ranks on Thursday to face the emerging challenge from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In a surprise move, the SLFP’s Central Committee unanimously agreed to support the 19th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, a project close to Sirisena’s heart. Previously, the Central Committee had more..

Court wants CID Report on Sajin's Case probes

Apr 24 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya ordered the CID yesterday to expedite investigations into the case against MP Sajin de Vaas Gunawardena who is accused of earning money through improper channels and having purchased houses, lands, vehicles and aircraft using those monies. CID had launched investigations under the Money Laundering Act according to a complaint filed against the parliamentarian by the Convener of the Anti-Corruption Campaign more..

Catholic Bishops call for passing of 19A

Apr 24 (Island) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has reiterated its support for immediate curtailment of dictatorial features in the Constitution by enacting the 19 Amendment to the Constitution. The following is the full text of the statement: "The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is a step in the right direction in the effort of Mother Lanka as it attempts to curtail the unlimited powers of the Executive Presidency and to ensure that democratic structures for Good Governance are established. more..

Message of Maithri for Motherland!

Apr 24 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday appealed to all political parties represented in parliament to vote for the 19 Amendment to the Constitution. The President emphasized the importance enacting the 19 Amendment in accordance with the ruling given by the Supreme Court recently. President was addressing the nation on television to mark his govt completing 100 days in power. more..

Protests and the rule of law

Apr 24 (DM) The breakdown of the rule of law and the serious damage caused to the independence of the judiciary were among the main factors that led to the disillusionment of the public and the defeat of the previous regime on Jan 9. Bauddhaloka Mawatha especially the stretch where the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption is situated has become the latest protesting point for pro-Rajapaksa allies. The latest protest was conducted yesterday even after the police had obtained more..

Minimising fraud, corruption and restoring ethics

Apr 24 (DM) Corruption is the misuse of political or bureaucratic power. Fraud is an intentional act or an omission designed for the purpose of deceiving others, which results in the victim suffering a loss while the perpetrator gains. In Sri Lanka, both govt and private sector organisations are constantly facing fraud risks. Due to fraud, there have been massive losses in numerous sectors causing irreparable damages and consequences to the people and the public sector. more..

Bringing down the cost of living

Apr 24 (SL) Bringing down the cost of living by reducing prices of some essential goods was one of the govt’s promises during the last election campaign which had a clear appeal on ordinary people. At present the govt boasts of having fulfilled their promise even though some opposition members have been mocking at certain economic policies of the govt. PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said that more..

Nearly 1700 people sign up for free Wi-Fi within first five days

Apr 24 (Island) Only 1693 people had been registered in the first five days to receive free Wi-Fi facility launched by the govt. At the end of March the govt launched the first phase of the free Wi-Fi facility at 26 locations covering eight districts. Kandy, Colombo Fort, Polonnaruwa, Matara, Jaffna, Galle, Peradeniya, Katunayake, Ratnapura and Dehiwala, were among the first areas to get the free service which was an election pledge of President more..

Govt hedges on its incomplete 100-day programme as deadline looms

Apr 24 (ST) Any unfulfilled promises in the govt’s 100-Day programme will be delivered following Parliamentary elections expected in June, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva said. The comments came as Govt’s ambitious 100-Day programme reaches its deadline. Even though Govt has failed to fulfill some of its pledges completely, due to lack of time, it has taken sufficient measures to address important issues immediately. more..

'Our foreign policy is based on practical realities, not on ideological fantasies'

Apr 24 (DM) Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera, in an interview, said the new govt managed to reset the country’s foreign policy to the centre while having excellent relations with the major power centres of the world including the US, China and India. He said the govt would be ready with the domestic investigative mechanism by late July to look into allegations of human rights violations and accountability issues. more..

Wigneswaran seeks release of 3 Indians in Premananda case

Apr 24 (TOI) Chief minister of Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority Northern Province C V Wigneswaran has requested PM Narendra Modi to release three life convicts in the sensational Swamy Premananda case. The three -Kamalananda, Balan alias Balendiran and Sathis alias Sathishkumar - were convicted and sentenced along with Premananda for raping 13 girls, including minors, and conspiring to murder an inmate more..

New govt’s policies have created positive environment: Ban Ki-moon

Apr 24 (AD) Welcoming the new Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that a positive environment has been created by the policies of the new govt in Sri Lanka for a greater collaboration with the UN and the international community. The new Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in New York, Dr. Rohan Perera presented his credentials to the Ban Ki-moon, more..

Hambantota port loan capital repayments to China begin

Apr 24 (EN) Capital repayments of Chinese loans taken to build Hambantota port in southern Sri Lanka start this month, greatly increasing the financial burden on the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, an official said. SLPA Chairman Lakdas Panagoda said the authority was taking a fresh look at the building of a container terminal in the second phase of the port construction, given its lack of business and huge debt burden. more..

BBS a Western conspiracy: MR

Apr 24 (EN) Sinhala nationalist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) was a Western-backed conspiracy to alienate minority Muslims and defeat his govt, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has said. He said that neither he nor his defence secretary brother had anything to do with the BBS despite popular belief that the Rajapaksas were behind the group. "Look at where the BBS travelled (Norway and the US)," Rajapaksa said. more..

SL up 5 notches in World Happiness Report

Apr 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's happiness has climbed five places to rank at 132 position bagging 4.271 points in the latest World Happiness Report published on Thursday. The country was ranked 137th in the second edition of the report published in 2013. Switzerland topped the ranking while Iceland bagged the second place in the 2015 report. The World Happiness Report reviews the state of happiness in the world today and more..