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No Parliament Jokes I’m One shot in real life

June 18 (CT) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake's politics is no different to the characters he portray in his movies. There is drama, revelations and action which keeps him constantly in the limelight. The question however, is whether his tactics have an impact as he said on exposing the rogues. Q: Your uncle Prof. Carlo Fonseka in an interview has said that you are naïve and not very intelligent on politics? more..

Urgent: A Maithri Mahinda Reconciliation

June 18 (Island) The overwhelming success of the Matara rally has demonstrated beyond any doubt that the pro-Mahinda forces have decisively turned the tide against the status quo. It is not against the presidency of Mr Maithripala Sirisena. He is secure as president for the next five years, but at present he has to work with a group of allies who are at cross purposes with each other – the more powerful (by default) among them being his competitors rather than collaborators in so-called yahapalanaya more..

Curtain falls on an intellect actor!

June 18 (CT) Gentleman actor, Tony Ranasinghe is no more. When I had a long chat with him over the phone, a few weeks ago, Tony was relaxing and I never dreamt that his exit would occur so early though he continued to suffer from a spine ailment over a period of time. The death of Tony brings the curtain down on the legendary trio of the golden era in the Sinhala film industry: Gamini Fonseka, Joe Abeywickreme and Tony Ranasinghe. Gamini and Tony were bookworms. more..

Help Violinist Ruwan Weerasekera

Sri Lanka tourism authority mulls regulating visitor flows

June 18 (EN) Sri Lanka’s tourism authority is considering ways to better control the flow of visitors to tourist attractions to ensure their carrying capacity is not harmed by increasing numbers of domestic and foreign travellers. “Carrying capacity at our tourist sites is important. We have to look at how to control capacities in future,” said Paddy Withane, chairman of the SLTDA. “The numbers of visitors are increasing – there’s more travel in the country with the growing middle class,” more..

Bring Back that Fountain Cafe

June 18 (Island) Once upon a time, I worked down Vauxhall Lane in Colombo 2. Travelling from Ratmalana, I used to get down at Galle Face Court and walk to my office. There was a reason for it; to have breakfast at Elephant House’s Fountain Cafe, followed by a fresh glass of milk. I would then make a second trip there around midday to have lunch. Going to Fountain Café was a part of my daily routine. Owned by Elephant House, food served at this café was fresh & the best in town. more..

The emerging crisis of cohabitation

June 18 (FT) As the Sirisena-UNP cohabitation crosses the six-month mark, the minority Govt formed on 9 Jan faces a struggle for survival against an increasingly assertive SLFP. At the mercy of the presidency once again, the UNP looks set to relive its 2003 nightmare, when then SLFP President Chandrika Kumaratunga ended an uneasy political cohabitation with an elected Ranil Wickremesinghe administration by grabbing 3 key ministries more..

Why US interest to trace stolen SL money?

June 18 (CT) After Maithripala Sirisena won the presidential election, he made his first visit to India to meet Indian Premier Narendra Modi. At that meet, Maithri appealed to Modi to assist him to recover monies stolen by certain Sri Lankan politicians of the previous administration hidden in other countries. He also asked Modi to help set up a financial intelligence unit in Sri Lanka. He told Modi that he had information that such stolen funds had been deposited in St. Martin's Island, Hong Kong more..

Editorial: A tale of two cities

June 18 (Island) French PM Manuel Valls has got into hot water for taking a govt jet to Germany to watch the Champions League football final recently. Accompanying him on the junket were his two sons. The Opposition accused him of wasting public funds. Valls’ knee jerk reaction was to try to justify his action. France was scheduled to hold Euro 2016 Championship and he had been to Berlin for a discussion with some Union of European Football Associations officials, he claimed. more..

Local communities take lead on mangrove conservation in Sri Lanka

June 18 (IPS) Weekends and public holidays are deadly for one of Sri Lanka’s most delicate ecosystems – that is when the island’s 8,815 hectares of mangroves come under threat. With public officials, forest rangers and NGO workers on holiday, no one is around to enforce conservation laws designed to protect these endangered zones. Except the locals, that is. Residents of the Kalpitiya Peninsula in the northwest Puttalam District more..

Slander continuing despite being cleared says OMACX

June 18 (Island) The allegation that OMACX Healthcare (Pvt) Ltd. pilfered and re-sold Oncaspar was found to be absolutely baseless through a proper legal procedure, but certain elements with vested interests continue to slander the company through a malicious media campaign to tarnish its image, Nuwan Fonseka, Director OMACX Healthcare told the media in Colombo. "Oncaspar is a life-saving oncology drug used to treat children suffering from leukaemia. more..

NDB, Seylan could create Sri Lanka's third largest private bank

June 18 (EN) A possible merger of NDB Bank and Seylan Bank could create Sri Lanka's third largest private bank with 521 billion in assets and 8.8% of loans and 7.5% of deposits in the country. Srimal Liyanage, analyst at Asia Securities said that it made sense for both NDB Bank and DFCC Bank to take-over Seylan. NDB already had a 10% stake in Seylan Bank. NDB's deposit base had a large fixed term share, while Seylan had a high current and savings accounts share, more..

150 year-old Kelani railway bridge to be replaced soon

June 18 (ST) The new Sirisena-led administration has shot down an unsolicited proposal for the replacement of the 150 year-old Kelani railway bridge, which lasts (usage-wise) only till 2022. General Manager Railways Vijaya Amarathunga said that they are in the process of replacing the aging bridge on the Kelani river. The old Kelani railway bridge on the main line was officially opened on October 2, 1865 and more..

The Kotakethana frame-up

June 18 (Island) The prosecution in the Kotakethana double murder case was in possession of the sworn statement of the accomplice, who had made a full disclosure with gruesome details to the lady Magistrate presiding over the Magistrate Court of Pelmadulla. The accomplice who was originally the fourth accused revealed to the Magistrate how the three accused had committed a gruesome murder. The first accused dealt a blow on the elder woman and pushed her causing more..

Govt borrowings to top US$ 2.5B

June 18 (CT) Govt plans to raise US$ 800 million by raising a US$ 500 million three year loan by the External Resources Department (ERD) and another US$ 300 million by selling one year and 10 months, three years and seven months and five year Sri Lanka Development Bonds (SLDBs) respectively. These announcements were posted on the ERD website and in an advertisement by Central Bank (CB) published on these papers yesterday. The ERD proposal closes on 25 June, more..

'I’m a victim of my own transparency'

June 18 (NS) The Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Arjuna Mahendran last week denied any wrongdoing in the controversial Rs. 10 billion Treasury bond auction and asserted that he was ready to face any inquiry to prove his innocence. In a wide ranging interview, the governor who acknowledged he is a Singaporean citizen claimed he had become a victim as a result of attempting to ensure more transparency in more..

FTAs with USA, China to increase exports

June 18 (DN) The govt is considering signing several Free Trade Agreements including USA and China to increase exports and to help and develop small companies. Minister Ravi Karunanayake said the govt will take every effort to strengthen fiscal policies by increasing govt revenue and reduce govt expenditure to have more stability in the economy by making the Balance of Payment (BOP) more favourable. Karunanayake speaking at the CIMA Business Leaders Summit 2015 held more..

JVP on protest march today

June 18 (CT) JVP will be having a protest march today demanding that the govt respect the people's mandate by fulfilling the many promises made to the masses, which they have presently put on the backburner. Where are the independent commissions, Right to Information Bill, Code of Conduct for MPs and National Audit Commission? JVP queried. Why is the National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) not being empowered & NMDRA Act not being more..

Banks bullish on growth

June 18 (FT) Sri Lanka’s banks are set to hit a growth stage, having withstood the global credit crunch, on strong asset consolidation and diversification, an analytical report showed. In 2014, total banking assets grew by 17.3% YoY to Rs. 6.97 billion and accounted for 71.3% of the country’s nominal GDP. Growth was led by rupee lending activities mainly funded by deposits. Loan growth picked up towards the end of the year, more..

First touchdown of Colombo flight

June 18 (TOI) A Mihin Lanka flight touched down at Kolkata airport on Wednesday afternoon, marking the commencement of direct flight services between the city and Colombo. The thrice-a-week flight by the sister carrier of SriLankan Airlines will connect the cities on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The first Mihin Lanka flight landed in Kolkata on Wednesday with 67 passengers at 2.05pm, while the flight departed from the city with 107 passengers at 3.20pm. more..

‘No Army camp closed down this year’

June 18 (GDI) The Army Headquarters categorically denies recent reports that have been published in certain Media to the effect that 59 Army camps have been closed down in Jaffna since January 2015 and wishes to place the factual position in its correct perspective. Since the termination of the Humanitarian Operation on 19 May 2009, the Army Headquarters has regularly reviewed the security situation, and troop deployment has been adjusted accordingly. more..

NZ couple help Sri Lanka's environment

June 18 (Stuff) A Hamilton couple are using their environmental prowess to help a world-renowned Sri lankan company conserve it's own country's environment. Professor Bruce Clarkson was surprised to get an email from Dilhan Fernando, the son of Dilmah Tea founder Merrill J. Fernando, seeking advice. Clarkson, dean of Faculty of Science and Engineering at Waikato University, had led a research programme looking at more..

NDB debenture issue 2015 oversubscribed

June 18 (FT) NDB already having structured and placed the largest corporate debenture issue to be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, yesterday saw another similar sized debenture being successfully oversubscribed and closed on the opening day itself. The rated unsecured subordinated redeemable debentures with a face value of Rs. 100 each, amounting to Rs. 10 billion with a five-year tenure was assigned a rating of ‘A+ (lka)’ by Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd. more..

Ranil summons emergency meet

June 18 (CT) The Working Committee of the UNP has summoned an emergency meeting for 9.30 a.m. tomorrow, reportedly with several matters leading to vital political decisions scheduled for discussion. It is learnt that Party Headquarters has issued a special notice impressing on all members of the Working Committee, their compulsory participation in this meeting, stressing that absence to do so for any reason must also be compulsorily conveyed to the Party Leader more..

MR riding artificial wave: Ranil

June 18 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that former President Rajapaksa, who has demanded that he be named the SLFP’s PM candidate, is riding an artificial wave which is bound to subside soon. Addressing journalists, Wickremesinghe, in a relaxed mood, said that the much hyped Bring Back Mahinda campaign was superficial. "Mahinda Rajapaksa is floating on an artificial wave which would not last long. more..

Dangerous levels of lead found in paints

June 18 (DN) Certain paints in the Sri Lankan market contain dangerous levels of lead which is as high as 44,000 PPM. But according to the regulations published by the CAA producing, selling or storing enamel paints with more than 600 PPM of lead is illegal, the Executive Director of Centre for Environmental justice (CEJ) Hemantha Withanage said. Launching ‘the National Report 2015 on lead in new household enamel paints in Sri Lanka’ during a media conference held at SLFI, more..

SC lists Johnston’s FR petition on July 15

June 18 (Island) The fundamental rights violation petition filed in the Supreme Court by Johnston Fernando former Minster of Cooperatives will be supported on July 15, 2015. When the petition was called before the Court yesterday the petitioner was told to notify the respondents about his petition and be present in court on July 15. The petitioner has claimed that his recent arrest by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division was arbitrary and unlawful. more..

Maithri says Mahinda won’t be UPFA’s PM candidate

June 18 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena will never field former President Mahinda Rajapakasa as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate, according to highly placed SLFP sources. In response to calls from some SLFP stalwarts at a meeting, presided by President Sirisena, for naming Rajapaksa the UPFA prime ministerial candidate, a six-member committee was appointed on Tuesday to study the issue. more..

Influenza takes heavy toll despite precautions in place

June 18 (Island) Over 461 Influenza A (H1N1) laboratory confirmed cases had been reported from January to the second week of June, the Epidemiology Unit (EU) said yesterday. There had also been 24 death due to the flu within this period. The EU said that patients belonged to all age groups while a majority of those who had died were between 20 and 60 years. Infants below two years, pregnant women and adults above the age of 60 are in the high risk group. more..

NHRC seeks report on Kandhamal kidney sale

June 18 (ENS) Taking stern note of rising incidents of kidney sale in the State, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Government on the latest happening where a poverty-stricken Dalit youth of Kandhamal parted with his organ for money. The Commission has directed the Collector and the SP of Kandhamal to file their reports within four weeks. The directions came in response to a petition filed by rights activist Akhand demanding action against more..

President tells minority parties: Dissolution sooner than expected

June 18 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena has told the leaders of several minority political parties that the parliament will be dissolved sooner than expected. The President has noted this when he met the leaders of the minority parties at the Presidential Secretariat to discuss issues related to the proposed 20th Amendment, yesterday. Mano Ganeshan Leader of Tri-party Union, Tamil Progressive Alliance more..

A win-win solution for 20A

June 18 (DM) The conflicts within conflicts, the contradiction and confusion over the electoral reforms proposed in the 20th Amendment appear to have brought Yahapalanaya Govt and Parliament to a dead end with the UNP working committee deciding to ask for an immediate dissolution of Parliament. President Maithripala Sirisena, clearly trying to emerge as a statesman by going beyond petty party politics and putting the country first, finds himself on a political tightrope. more..

Space Technology: A strategic imperative for development

June 18 (DM) The term space technology, or space technologies, is commonly used to refer to the diverse, inter-disciplinary bundle of core technologies involving the development and operation of artificial satellites, spacecraft, launch vehicles and space stations as well as the related support infrastructure, equipment and technological processes. Naturally, the things referred to in this description are so distant from our day to day life; both physically and psychologically, more..

Mix Fix

June 18 (DM) Amidst confusion over the 20th Amendment and tug-of-war by different parties to reach a solution, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratna is of the view that a mixed proportional system, where vital issues would be solved through the electoral reforms is the way forward. An expert on economy, he describes how his govt is faced with a challenge to protect the country’s name amidst heavy loans taken at more..

MSG: The other taste that makes a difference

June 18 (ST) In the eye of the storm is monosodium glutamate (MSG), with the international jury over the years being sharply divided whether it is good or bad. While some international experts have given MSG, a flavour-enhancer, a clean bill of health, others have condemned it as causing serious illness. Sri Lanka has been pushed into looking closely at MSG, as India banned Maggi noodles, a product of multinational Nestle, more..

Cement Corporation on the verge of closure

June 18 (SL) The Sri Lanka Cement Corporation (SLCC) is on the verge of becoming completely dysfunctional due to lack of funds generated to run the corporation. The Cement Corporation factories located in the Kankasanthurai (KKS) came to stand still in 1990 during the war and the premises where the factories located came under the army control within the KKS High Security Zone. SLCC claimed that even after the war more..

Sri Lanka Tourism – Air India tap into Trade Tourism

June 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s tourism promotion bureau and Air India signed a joint promotion to target the top end of Delhi outbound traveler into Sri Lanka, a statement said. India is the biggest tourist arrival market for Sri Lanka with Indian arrivals clocking in a 38.2% growth in May and cumulative growth at 26.8% crossing 119,593 arrivals for May 2015. “Trade between the countries have crossed four billion dollars which means more..

Sri Lanka collectively punishes consumers for food adulteration by suppliers

June 18 (EN) Sri Lanka has hiked a tax on imported edible oil, punishing consumers of vegetable oils with higher prices in a bid to discourage suppliers who were also cheating customers with adulterated coconut oil. Finance Ministry said an import commodity levy has been raised to Rs 110 a kilo from Rs 90, because some suppliers were found to be mixing vegetable oils with coconut oil and passing them off as coconut oil. more..

Golden Key case: Govt will repay up to 41%, says AG

June 18 (AD) The State Counsels today apprised the Court of Appeal that the govt will repay up to 41% of the moneys deposited with the bankrupt Golden Key Credit Card Company which belonged to former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala. The State Counsel further informed the Court that the cabinet approval has already been granted in this regard. Earlier, the Finance Minister also gave an assurance to repay more..

SLFP faults UNP for failing to manage economy

June 18 (Island) The minority UNP govt had been clamouring for an early general election because it was obviously unable to sustain the administration, the SLFP alleged. The SLFP accused the UNP of causing instability in every sector and playing politics with national issues at the expense of the national economy as well as foreign policy. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha, more..