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'Tourism, pivotal sector in country’s economy'

Apr 28 (Island) Minister Navin Dissanayake said that tourism was a pivotal sector in the country’s economy and the govt would provide all encouragement and assistance to develop the industry. "There was a plethora of investment opportunities created by the burgeoning tourism industry and it augurs well for the country’s economy," he said. Dissanayake said tourism fairs of this nature would help the small and medium sector service providers immensely and more..

Review on diaspora ban underway

Apr 28 (CG) Govt says the review process on the ban imposed on some diaspora groups is underway. Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who had said in March that the ban imposed by the former Govt on diaspora groups and individuals will be reviewed, today informed parliament that the process is underway. “I spoke that day about initiating a process to review the individuals and entities in the diaspora community who were more..

Won’t give up on Kolonnawa: Duminda

Apr 28 (DM) UPFA MP Duminda Silva said today he would continue the development work he had started in Kolonnawa despite the mud-slinging campaign against him. He told media after his court appearance in the case where he is one of the accused in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. Mr. Silva said false allegations were levelled against him but he would not be distracted by such allegations. “I believe people are with me,” he said. Mr. Silva assured he would support the 19th more..

President was uninformed on FCID gazette

Apr 28 (AD) It has come to light that President Maithripala Sirisena was unaware concerning the establishment of the newly formed police unit Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID). The FCID was enforced by an extraordinary gazette notification issued in February. This was revealed and discussed at the SLFP Parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday afternoon, a party source said. Special police unit has been established via a subcommittee appointed by PM Ranil more..

19-A passed with 2/3 majority

Apr 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka's parliament voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to curb the power of the presidency, restoring a two-term limit and reviving independent bodies to manage key institutions such as the police and the judiciary. A total of 215 out of the 225 lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment which restores presidential term limits, reversing a change by former strongman Mahinda Rajapakse who scrapped them after being more..

Maithiri’s 100 days lack luster performance

Apr 29 (CT) Maithiri’s much publicized vote catching 100 days promised actions commencing from January 8 started with a whimsy and has ended with a whimper, much to the disappointment of all Sri Lankans. However, some actions have been taken and/or initiated and the noteworthy step is the introduction of the 19th amendment. Reviving the independent police judicial and public service commissions and reducing the powers of president without abolishing it as promised and more..

A season of light, A season of darkness

Apr 29 (CT) We live in times of hope and despair. That is to be expected. The opposition seems to have succeeded in enlarging the composition of the Constitutional Council under the 19th Amendment. The opposition insistence on elected members of Parliament instead of independent members appointed by political parties though flawed is understandable. In the light of the good governance practices of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last one hundred days, opposition position has more..

Duped, deceived and defrauded

Apr 29 (SO) Who took the money? is a question frequently asked these days by many. Each day different personalities become suspects and get questioned by the investigators. The list of financial frauds coming under scrutiny is getting larger. Never in the history Sri Lanka has seen such a drama created by a list of fraudulent financial transactions making the newly established FCID of the Police the busiest office in the country. more..

Hate Speech Law for Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne announced that the govt plans to revise the Penal Code to make hate speech a crime, a crime punishable by a two-year prison term. The LLRC had asserted that hate speech had exacerbated ethnic and religious tensions in Sri Lanka. Kigali, capital of Rwanda is the safest city in Africa today. Twenty years after the genocide in which 800,000 people were slaughtered, Rwanda has transformed into a peaceful and prosperous nation. more..

Borella Vs Microsoft: The story of Cinergix

Apr 29 (NS) Sri Lankan and Australia mix quite a lot. Education. Immigration. Cricket. That second cousin, twice removed, who Skypes every Wednesday. A sizeable set of industries with large commercial interests in the other country. And then there’s Cinergix: a Sri Lankan company registered in Australia (or an Australian company working mostly out of Sri Lanka – whichever you prefer). Cinergix’s software, a diagramming tool called Creately, is used by PayPal, Ebay, Amazon, IBM, more..

'Armed struggle destroyed Tamils'

Apr 29 (CT) Leader of People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and Northern Provincial Councillor Tharmalingam Sithadthan said, there are allegations against his organization on killings and abductions. If the allegations are proven the culprits should be punished. There is no second question about it "I have no problem about it. However, as an organization we never allowed such acts," he said. more..

Junius Richard to Percy Mahendra and Wessanthara Sirisena to Nimal Siripala

Apr 29 (CT) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva yesterday in Parliament described President Maithripala Sirisena as the modern day Wessanthara who was ready to sacrifice his executive powers. This statement of Nimal Siripala clearly defines that President Sirisena is a leader devoid of Thanha (Greed) unlike his predecessors in that office. The President himself bears the name Maithripala. In the true sense of his name he is a man with compassion. more..

Confusion reigns supreme in economic direction

Apr 29 (NS) Despite the newly installed govt marking the end of 100 days on April 23, there have been serious lapses in transparency along the way while questions have only confounded on the economic front, fueling uncertainty, business community analysts said last week. Although the interim Budget presented in Parliament on January 29 was a populist one with many price reductions on essential goods, the govt is yet to clearly explain how it would realistically raise revenue more..

'No difference between Mahinda and Mugabe'

Apr 29 (CT) The debate on the bill of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution thus far has deepened the rift within the SLFP and the last two weeks in Parliament it was obvious that all was not well in the blue camp. As the President seeks to introduce reforms, many in his party strongly opposed it. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said reforms would clean up the party and put it on the path envisioned by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. more..

Editorial: Happy?

Apr 29 (Island) Sri Lankans may have thought they were a very happy lot. But, they stand corrected. The latest World Happiness Report (WHR) has ranked Sri Lanka 132nd among 158 countries. Switzerland is the happiest nation in the world followed by Iceland and Denmark in second and third places respectively, according to the happiness survey. Of the SAARC member states, only Bhutan (79) and Pakistan (81) are among the first 100 nations. more..

‘Strengthening South-South Cooperation to promote world peace and prosperity’

Apr 29 (Island) May I begin by thanking on behalf of my President, His Excellency Maitripala Sirisena, His Excellency the President, Govt and people of Indonesia for organizing this landmark meeting and their gracious hospitality. Sri Lanka is proud that it was host to the Colombo Powers Conference in April 1954. In Colombo, the Prime Ministers of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and Pakistan met and decided to convene the Asian-African Conference in Bandung in 1955. more..

Prolonged debate over duty free vehicle permits for SL expat workers

Apr 29 (ST) Finance Ministry is weighing the pros and cons over the issuance of guidelines and the relevant circular to implement the duty free vehicle permit scheme for Lankans working overseas. Former President Rajapaksa’s 2015 Budget proposed concessionary permits similar to those given to public servants to Lankans working abroad to import a motor vehicle limited to 60% of foreign exchange they remit to SL banks. more..

Main, man for SLC Head of Strength and Conditioning

Apr 29 (CT) Michael Main, Head of Strength and Conditioning at Hampshire county cricket team under ECB, will join Sri Lanka Cricket in the same position Ceylon Today reliably learns. This will be following the end of contract of the current Strength and Conditioning coach Darshan Weerasinghe which is to end on the 30th of this month. According to a source, Main will be paid around USD 8,500 monthly. Main had been recommended by current national coach Marvan Atapattu. more..

Anti-Doping tests on horses are valid according to legal advice

Apr 29 (DN) Attorney General says that doping tests can be conducted for the horses according to the Anti-Doping Act when they take part in horse races in Sri Lanka in reply to a query by the Sri Lanka Anti Doping Agency. In the future, Anti-doping tests will be carried out at all horse races in Nuwara Eliya or any other town in Sri Lanka as they have received the greenlight from the Attorney General, said the president of the Sri Lanka Anti Doping Agency Professor Arjuna de Silva. more..

Colombo Port kicks off East Terminal

Apr 29 (FT) The Colombo Port saw the launch of the first phase of the East Terminal by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority on Monday. The total length of the East Terminal of Colombo South Port is 1200m. At present, construction activities of 400m out of the total length has been completed. SLPA’s investment through local inputs is $ 80 million. The terminal has a draft of 18m. The first vessel to call at the terminal was more..

Black Tea inroads to China

Apr 29 (CT) Sri Lanka's Black Tea exports into the Chinese market will receive a major boost with the Sri Lanka Tea Board deciding to establish an office in the Chinese capital of Bejing. "This is going to be a very positive move where we could build on the present 4 million kilos of Black Tea that we are exporting to China where we will open the tea promotions office within Embassy premises," Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman, Y.G. Wijeratne told Ceylon FT yesterday. more..

Global giant J.P. Morgan opens representative office in Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (FT) J.P. Morgan has announced that it has obtained approval from the Central Bank of SL (CBSL) to open a representative office in the country. It enables the bank to provide its financial institution (FI) clients in Sri Lanka with enhanced banking services backed by its global solutions. J.P. Morgan first began servicing its clients in Sri Lanka with a correspondent banking relationship with the CBSL in 1985. The new operation represents a key step in building the firm’s presence in SL. more..

For restructuring of Sri Lanaka Cricket: Mahela presents proposals

Apr 29 (CT) Retired cricketing legend Mahela Jayawardene, had fully prepared his proposal to re –structure cricket in Sri Lanka from grass roots level, which will ultimately bridge the gap between international and domestic level of cricket in Sri Lanka in every aspect, from player to coach and administrator. Jayawardene who is working as honorary cricket committee member under current interim committee more..

CSE takes over SAFE chairmanship

Apr 29 (Island) The chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was unanimously elected as the chairman of the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) at the Annual General Meeting of SAFE concluded on April 26. Accordingly, the CSE chairman Vajira Kulatilaka succeeds Dr. Muhammad Abdul Mazid as the chairman of SAFE for a two year term of office. Dr. Muhammed Abdul Mazid, chairman of the Chittagong Stock Exchange and Nayan Mehta, CFO of Bombay Stock more..

March tea output up 17.5% on better weather

Apr 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea output gained 17.5% in March from the same month a year earlier, helped by favourable weather conditions, helping to lift first-quarter production by 7% on last year. "Good climatic conditions are the main reason. Good sunshine and favourable climatic conditions helped the production in March," S.A Siriwardena, director general of Sri Lanka Tea Board, said. The island nation's annual tea output fell 0.6% in 2014 from a year earlier, missing the annual forecast. more..

'Mahinda wooing minority voters by attacking BBS'

Apr 29 (Island) The BBS lashed out at former president Mahinda Rajapaksa for pointing the finger at it for his defeat at the last presidential election. Responding to a statement made by former President Mahinda Rajapksa, Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said that the organisation would stop supporting any candidates in the future as BBS itself would form a new political party soon. "We will introduce a national leader. more..

Sri Lanka mulls replacing kerosene subsidy with coupons to prevent adulteration

Apr 29 (EN) The head of Sri Lanka’s sole oil refiner, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), has suggested replacing the govt’s direct subsidy on kerosene for poor people with coupons to prevent adulteration. The practice of mixing petrol with kerosene, which is sold at a heavily subsidized price, in fuel stations is a serious problem in the island, said J R Wickramasinghe, Chairman of the CPC. “Adulteration of products with kerosene is an islandwide problem caused more..

JAAF salutes Parliament for passing 19A

Apr 29 (FT) Chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) on behalf of its constituent members commended the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution last night. It said it saluted and congratulated President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and all the representatives of the people of the Legislature for showing and proving the existence of democratic ideals and traditions to the global community not just with words but also through deeds. more..

Team leaves for SL to salvage more boats

Apr 29 (Hindu) A team of 76 fishermen left for Sri Lanka on Tuesday to bring back 16 boats detained in Karainagar since June last. Escorted by an Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship, the team left the fishing jetty here in 14 boats and was handed over to the Sri Lankan navy at the IMBL in the afternoon. The team would salvage 14 of the 30 boats anchored in Karainagar and Talaimannar ports and return by Friday. more..

Finance Minister gives thumbs up for economy

Apr 29 (DM) The current situation of the country is extremely friendly towards foreign investment, according to the Finance Minister, who said that this year’s economic growth would hover around 7%, cementing the outlooks given by multilateral organisations. “It could be said that the present economic climate is equally good or better than our climatic conditions, which are envied the world over,” Ravi Karunanayake said. He said that the growth rate would remain between 6-8% till 2025 more..

Troubled SLAF aircraft returns from Kathmandu

Apr 29 (Island) Air Force Spokesman, Wing Comdr. Gihan Seneviratne said that the troubled SLAF flight C130 Hercules had landed at the Katunayake Air Force Base at approximately 2 pm yesterday having left Kathmandu around 8.45 a.m. after a one day delay. Responding to allegations levelled by the GMOF, he said, the SLAF flight had been deployed to ferry relief teams. The total number of passengers aboard the flight had been 46 and included the girls’ Under-14 football team that more..

Prof. Peiris contradicts Ranil’s accusation, insists impossible to work with PM

Apr 29 (Island) Former Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, alleged that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had undermined their efforts to reach a consensus on the 19 Amendment and the Right to Information Bill. Stoutly contradicting Premier Wickremesinghe’s claim that he had, on behalf of the SLFP, proposed the PM stand for the President in case the latter was either away from the country or indisposed as reported in April 28 edition of The Island, more..

R. Premadasa Stadium to get indoor nets, swimming pool

Apr 29 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee has taken steps to build indoor nets and a swimming pool at the R Premadasa Stadium in Khettarama, where the national side conducts much of its training. Khettarama currently has 18 practice pitches, and also houses Sri Lanka's Max Cricket Academy, but many of these facilities are out of use during the monsoon months. "We're thinking we would like to start work on the indoor nets and swimming pool by June," more..

BBS cites TNA, Catholic Church, Sobhitha Thera & Int'l Community as 19A conspirators

Apr 29 (CT) The BBS charged the 19th Amendment was being brought as a result of a political contract to appease the Tamil Diaspora, the TNA, Catholic Church, National Movement for Social Justice led by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, Purawesi Balaya and the International Community. The 19th Amendment and the 20th Amendment which are being brought in a hurried manner without proper scrutiny or study will endanger the historic race, the Sinhalese Buddhists, the BBS alleged. more..

PM announces setting up of Serious Fraud Office

Apr 29 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that govt would set up a special bureau similar to Serious Fraud Office of the UK to probe financial frauds. Many countries in the world had institutions to investigate financial crimes of serious nature and not having a similar one here was a severe hindrance to punishing the fraudsters. Identifying that lacuna the govt set up the Police Financial Fraud Investigation Division more..

House approves leave for Basil

Apr 29 (CT) Parliament yesterday approved leave for MP Basil Rajapaksa for another three months. A motion seeking leave was moved in the House by Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva and seconded by Chief Opposition Whip W.D.J. Seneviratne following which the House approved leave for Rajapaksa starting from 28 April 2015. Former Minister Rajapaksa was granted leave of absence from Parliament for three months on a previous occasion on 18 February, more..

Kumarage new K'gama Basnayake Nilame

Apr 29 (DN) The new Basnayaka Nilame for the Ruhunu Kataragama Devalaya was elected at the Moneragala District Secretariat office auditorium with the participation of Buddhist Affairs Ministry Commissioner Chandra Premalal Gamage yesterday. Don Piyatissa Kumarage, 60, a businessman from Kandy was unanimously elected uncontested. His name was proposed by Kataragama Kirivehera laymen's caretaker (Gihibarakaru) Weerakoon Sirithilaka. more..

'19A diluted'

Apr 29 (CT) JVP MP, Anura Kumara Dissnayake during his speech said that the current draft of the 19 Amendment was not on the basis of further establishing democracy but a power struggle between two camps. Dissanayake, while making his speech during the debate on the 19th Amendment in Parliament said that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was aiming to attain a govt led by him as the PM and was interested only in more..

Drop charges against former CJ: Counsel

Apr 29 (DN) Former Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake had not opened any bank account with the National Development Bank (NDB). Hence we requested the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to drop all charges in all three cases filed against her stating that she has not declared details of her bank accounts at the NDB, President's Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetti said. He was representing former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake in Court yesterday. more..

Historic victory: President

Apr 29 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena in a message hailed the approval of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in parliament, by a two thirds majority as a historic victory achieved by the Sri Lankan society as a whole. The President thanked the Maha Sangha, other religious leaders, political parties and civil society organisations who supported the struggle for constitutional reforms during the last 37 years. While mentioning that main candidates who contested five past more..