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Harry J cries foul over state inaction related to illegal alcohol trade

Aug 29 (DM) Illegal alcohol manufacture is continuing to thrive with the aid of public officials as the state refuses to take action against provided information, said Distilleries Company of SL (DCSL) Chairman Harry Jayawardene. “We are sorry to witness the continuation of unfair and illegal practices in the industry, taking place under the very nose of the enforcement authorities,” business magnate said in his annual review this week. more..

SINGER Fashion Academy empowers over 60,000 local entrepreneurs

Aug 29 (Island) Addressing the critical need of empowering young Sri Lankans to secure sustainable livelihoods through self-employment and entrepreneurship, SINGER Fashion Academy has produced over 60,000 young people skilled in professional dress-making and fashion design thereby enabling them to be self-employed or enter the garment industry as skilled workers, Kumar Samarasinghe, Sales Director-Singer (Sri Lanka) said in Colombo on Wednesday. more..

Sri Lanka BOP pressured by consumer spending, external woes

Aug 29 (LBO) Post-war stimulus packages by Sri Lanka’s government have pushed up consumption demand which is now having an adverse impact on the trade deficit and balance of payments. This is one reason for the negative BOP position so far this year, Shiran Fernando at Frontier Research said. “We are in consumption overdrive. Fiscally you had two budgets full of stimulus that increased purchasing power of consumers,” Fernando told Lanka Business Online. more..

Latest OBG research report says Market forces to drive Financial Consolidation

Aug 29 (CT) The coming year looks set to bring further consolidation to Sri Lanka's financial sector, with market forces expected to drive the trend, in lieu of the govt-led policy of the previous administration, a global publishing and research and consultancy firm, said. Oxford Business Group (OBG) releasing its latest Sri Lanka country report had stated that, "Although the in-coming govt is expected to formulate a new policy more..

SL expedites Volkswagen assembly plant

Aug 29 (ST) Sri Lanka will expedite the setting up of a Volkswagen automobile assembly plant in Kuliyapitya considering it as high priority under the new govt, officials said. Although it has been planned to commence operations within a time span of two years following the signing of the agreement recently between the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and Senok Automobile and Volkswagen AG, the local company plans to launch the project as early as possible with the assistance of more..

SL cracks down on illegal ethanol imports

Aug 29 (ST) Sri Lanka’s revenue from excise duty jumped by 123% to Rs. 251.6 billion in the first seven months this year due to a state crackdown on illegal ethanol exports by reducing corruption and tax evasion, official sources revealed. The estimated loss on unpaid taxes through ethanol imports was over Rs. 60 billion per annum in the recent past while this year the Customs has already collected 73% of the full-year target of excise revenue. Much talked illegal ethanol import racket which has more..

Life around the bend in Sri Lanka

Aug 29 (IE) If Muttiah Muralitharan was a young upcoming spinner coming through the ranks in Sri Lanka today, there’s a good chance he might have never even made it to international cricket. For long the island has been renowned for producing spinners that have both charmed and mesmerised the cricket world. At the same time, these spinners have also routinely come under extreme scrutiny with regards to legitimacy of more..

DMK, PMK condemn U.S. stand on Sri Lanka

Aug 29 (Hindu) U.S. govt’s decision to support the new SL govt’s plans for a local inquiry into alleged wartime atrocities has evoked strong criticism from DMK leader M. Karunanidhi and PMK founder S. Ramadoss. “The U.S. govt’s move looks as if it wants to cover up the war crimes. I hope it will not happen. If Sri Lanka is allowed to conduct its own inquiry, DMK will strongly condemn the U.S.,” Mr. Karunanidhi said. Dr. Ramadoss said that though he was pained by decision of US govt, more..

Army campaign underway to make environment green

Aug 29 (NS) A tree planting campaign under the theme of Prevent disaster through greenery by Sri Lanka Army Security Forces Headquarters West gets underway at Preethipura beach, Wattala on September 7. The program which is supported by the Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Department, Forest Conservation Department, ecologists and environmentalists, SFHQ West Commander Major General Ubaya Medawala announced at a press briefing at Panagoda. more..

Sanga: Just what every sportsman needs; a grumpy dad to say how useless they are

Aug 29 (Independent) If you don’t remember The Fast Show’s brilliant Competitive Dad character, don’t worry, you shouldn’t need to linger too long in any public park around the country before one comes along. That his two boys were not yet 10 years old didn’t prevent Competitive Dad from mercilessly pulverising them at whatever that week’s sporting contest happened to be, much to the dismay of his rather feeble wife. more..

Foreign liquor outlet close to Dalada Maligawa raided

Aug 29 (DN) Excise Department officers raided a foreign liquor sales outlet in a supermarket at D.S. Senanayake Mawatha, Kandy and arrested one person with 20 bottles of foreign liquor. Officials said the liquor outlet was located close to the Dalada Maligawa, adding that Kandy Perahera passes the outlet. All liquor outlets in Kandy town were closed on the direction of Excise Department Commissioner General L.K.G. Gunawardena in view of the Kandy Perahera. more..

Asian Sevens Series: Fazil's recovery vital

Aug 29 (CT) Sri Lanka Sevens skipper Fazil Marija and the best player at the recently held inter-club sevens tournament Richard Dharmapala who are recovering from injuries are scheduled to face a fitness trial on 31 August ahead of the Asian Sevens Series, which kicks off in China on 5th and 6th of September. Both players were included in the 16-member squad announced on Wednesday after a trial. But they did not take part in the trail which was held at the Race Course, due to injury. more..

Chamal to join National Unity Govt

Aug 29 (DN) Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa is to join National Unity Govt. Rajapaksa said he would stand along with the position of SLFP Party Chairman and President Sirisena on forming a Unity Govt. He said he was willing to give necessary strength required to form a govt to carry out the functions of the state uninterruptedly. "Politics is an ideology and a discipline. We have to abide by Party leader's decision," more..

CHEC to supervise EIA on Port City

Aug 29 (NS) The project company of the Colombo Port City, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) last week said that it would supervise the production of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report following the inability of the relevant govt agencies to fund the process. The interim govt had previously directed the company to upgrade some of the environmental reports related to the project to a supplemental EIA in order to append the existing EIA. more..

CB likely to keep rates steady on Monday

Aug 29 (Reuters) The Central bank is expected to keep its policy interest rates unchanged at record lows on Monday. Central bank governor last month said that there could be a significant cut if a stable govt was elected, but as of Friday afternoon, however, a stable coalition govt had not been formed following the Aug 17 election. Eleven out of 13 analysts surveyed said they expect the central bank to leave the repurchase rate or standing deposit facility rate (SDFR) at 6%. more..

JVP National List MP to resign?

Aug 29 (NS) There are reports that JVP National List MP, former Auditor General Sarathchandra Mayadunne, is due to resign from his position as an MP when Parliament convenes. According to reports, Mayadunne is due to resign from his position after making a special statement in Parliament. JVP secured two National List MP slots. Mayadunne’s name was first on the JVP’s nominees on its National List and was also the most more..

UOM Department of Materials Science & Engineering celebrates Ruby anniversary

Aug 29 (CT) Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSc &E) of the University of Moratuwa celebrates its 40th anniversary today the 28 August 2015. The Head of the Department, Dr. S. U. Adikary said that a function has been arranged at 4:30 p.m. today at the Winchester Ballroom-Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo for staff, students and invitees. The distinguished invitees include several CEO's of Blue Chip Companies in Sri Lanka who will be gracing the occasion. more..

Forged stamps on envelops of English teaching academy

Aug 29 (NS) The Special Crimes Investigation Unit of the Gampaha Police has commenced investigations into the discovery of 513 envelopes which were pasted with forged stamps amounting to over Rs.23,000. The envelopes all contained the name of a prominent English language teaching academy in Nittambuwa. Investigations commenced after a complaint was made to the Gampaha Special Crimes Investigation Unit by the Postmaster of the Nittambuwa post office regarding more..

Conflicting opinions on appointing Opposition Leader

Aug 29 (FT) No cabinet appointments or appointment for post of Opposition Leader have been made even though two weeks have passed since the conclusion of general election. However, there has been a lot of speculation as to which party is the Opposition and who has the right to hold the post of the Opposition Leader. SLFP spokesperson Dilan Perera has been quoted in the media in his personal capacity that he believes that TNA more..

Govt deploys Additional staff for paddy purchasing

Aug 29 (NS) Paddy Marketing Board is to deploy additional staff to paddy purchasing centers in order to expedite the process of purchasing and rectify the current situation. According to Paddy Marketing Board Chairman M.B Dissanayake officers of the Civil Defense Force as well, as Development Officers attached to District Secretariats will be deployed to paddy purchasing centers facing difficulties in making purchases due to the hundreds of farmers gathering at more..

PM to appoint a committee of intellectuals to formulate constitutional reforms

Aug 29 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe plans to appoint a committee comprising intellectuals in the country to formulate the constitutional reforms. Committee will function under the directions of the PM. Committee will consist of several intellectuals including former Head of Dept of Political Science at Uni of Peradeniya Prof. M.O.A De Soyza and President’s Counsel Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne. PM has earlier announced that govt will formulate a new constitution within more..

No need to present report on missing persons to UNHRC

Aug 29 (NS) Govt is unlikely to present the interim report, compiled by Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (PCICRMP), at next month’s session of the UNHRC in Geneva. Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said the question of presenting interim report to UNHRC would not arise as the United States had already pledged to introduce a resolution in support of Sri Lanka more..

Crisis of turning human beings into unpeople

Aug 29 (DM) Human trafficking and human slavery compounded by long-drawn wars, violence and persecution mainly in Iraq and Syria have set off the biggest refugee crisis in world history. On Wednesday two more horrifying events were reported. As Austria opened a summit on Thursday on asylum seekers crossing into the European Union en masse through western Balkan nations, the bodies of up to 50 refugees were discovered in a truck along a highway few miles from Vienna. more..

Praise from British MPs for new SL govt

Aug 29 (DM) News of Ranil Wickremesinghe securing a 4th Term as Sri Lanka’s PM has been greeted with enthusiasm and expectation in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party which has historically enjoyed a close relationship with the UNP. British PM, David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, which defied pollsters and won an overall majority at Britain’s May General Election, sent an official tweet from No.10 Downing St. praising Sri Lanka for a peaceful General Election, more..

Can we ever rely on official data?

Aug 29 (DM) It was sometime in mid last year I was having dinner with a former World Bank senior official where he started humiliating me and my journalist colleagues in a friendly tone saying that we were not performing our duty as demanded by society. Govt was lying even in its official statistics but the fourth pillar of democracy that should highlight these misdoings of the regime in the larger interest of public was keeping more..

'Offshoot achieved better results than JVP'

Aug 29 (Island) Breakaway JVP faction, the NFF said that it had done better than the JVP at the Aug. 17 polls. NFF spokesperson Mohammed Muzammil said that under Wimal Weerawansa’s leadership the party had secured five parliamentary seats in Colombo (Wimal Weerawansa), Anuradhapura (Weerakumara Dissanayake), Kalutara (Jayantha Samaraweera), Matara (Niroshan Premaratne) and more..

Making candidates account for campaign funds a must during polls: PAFFREL

Aug 29 (DM) Local election watchdog PAFFREL said strict election laws should be introduced to make it compulsory for candidates to maintain only one bank account for election campaigning. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said candidates should declare the account to the Elections Commissioner and must also be required to reveal their campaign expenses once the election was over. more..

War crimes probe: UK says fully committed to UN process, follow-up action

Aug 29 (Island) The British govt said that its position vis-a-vis the investigation undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) into alleged war crimes accusations hadn’t changed. The British HC in Colombo was responding to a query by whether the US had consulted UK regarding its decision to back Sri Lanka’s domestic investigation into alleged war crimes accusations and whether UK would more..

Bold reform process vital for economic growth

Aug 29 (SL) With the 2015 general election coming to a conclusion in the process electing the 8th Parliament, the immediate issues that draw the attention of the business community is towards the economic agenda of the new govt. Especially at a crucial time where many state-run financial organizations and business chambers are raising concerns claiming that the country’s economy faces many challenges, more..

Defeated members creep into House amidst strong protests

Aug 29 (ST) An unprecedented number of defeated electoral candidates, predominantly from the Maithripala Sirisena-led UPFA, have leapfrogged into Parliament through the National List. Out of 12 UPFA National List MPs, seven had failed to garner sufficient support at the Aug 17 general election to enter Parliament. They were edged out by candidates from the same alliance that had polled more votes, but they will now gain more..

No glitches at BOC in Seychelles

Aug 29 (DM) Bank of Ceylon Chairman Ronald Perera said the Seychelles branch of the BOC was functioning smoothly and there were no any grey areas in its setting up process in Jan 2014. Bank had launched an inquiry on the circumstances that led to the establishment of the branch because of allegations of wrong doings. ”We inquired into allegations that the BOC branch in Seychelles was established in haste and with more..

MR govt paid US$ 6.5 million to lobby firm

Aug 29 (CG) The former Sri Lankan Govt, over a 5-month period in 2014, allegedly paid USD 6.5 million directly and indirectly to US-based WR Group and a private equity fund manager, Imaad Zuberi. Zuberi, age 45, is a an elite political fundraiser. He was among the top tier of bundlers for US President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, meaning he delivered $500,000 or more in contributions. more..

Army investigating C-4 video content

Aug 29 (Island) Army headquarters said that the Military Police were in the process of closely checking Channel 4 News video footage in a bid to establish whether those in uniform were actually Sri Lankan troops. Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera emphasised that the investigation had been launched in 2013 on a directive issued by the previous govt. He said that it was an on-going process. more..

Govt seeks shift from focus on human rights

Aug 29 (CG) Govt has urged the international community to focus on other issues in Sri lanka and not just the human rights issue. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told the diplomatic community based in Sri Lanka that for far too long now, Sri Lanka’s relationship with the international community has been dictated by human rights. “I can confidently say that Govt is committed to address human rights and more..

A victory for cosmopolitanism over narrow nationalism

Aug 29 (CT) It seems Sri Lanka has become enlightened, at least partly. It has taken a small but a firm step to move away from narrow nationalism towards cosmopolitanism. This is not a wishful thinking of a perennial optimist but what is revealed by election results. Both the presidential elections in Jan and the parliamentary elections in Aug 2015 confirm a certain maturity of voters towards this direction. Let me at the outset define or explain what cosmopolitanism means. more..

Accountable Govt

Aug 29 (CT) National Govt or national unity govt, whatever the name of the new govt to be vis-ŕ-vis the 15th Parliament due to open on Tuesday, is however yet to see the light of day! This is despite the fact that nearly a fortnight has elapsed since the holding of Sri Lanka's last general elections to date, conducted on 17 August 2015. The crux of the problem was that the UNP which won 106 out of the 225 seats proffered was seven short of a simple majority. more..

Finding peace in post-war Sri Lanka

How much moral Petrol is left in Ranil’s car?

Aug 29 (CT) Ranil Wickremesinghe beat all odds and topped the list of preferences – a feat that was considered impossible earlier. At the base level, shorn off the rhetoric and the tinsel, it is an achievement that reflects the combination of national, international – and even some anti-national – forces. It has triumphed as the new force, replacing the preceding Mahinda magic. Wickremesinghe has done what his uncle, the Yankee Dicky did, rather late in his day. more..

An open letter to President, PM & all leaders

Aug 29 (CT) It was most encouraging to read the message to the nation by the re-elected PM Wickremasinghe, after a lengthy dialogue with President Sirisena. We commend your vision to build a new Sri Lanka in the coming sixty months, founded on the values of good governance and democracy, social justice, equality and accountability in what you hope would be a promise-keeping and NOT just promise-making era. In writing this we represent the largest minority of more..

Govt gets tall order from health sector union

Aug 29 (Island) Sri Lanka Society for Medical Laboratory Science (SL-SMLS) outlining the challenges faced by the recently appointed Ranil Wickremasinghe govt, said that govts of the last 20 years had allocated less than half the funds of the country’s total health expenditure requirement. In an open letter to Premier Wickremesinghe, SL-SMLS Chiarman, Ravi Kumudesh said that those allocations were not made keeping in mind more..