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SLT's first-quarter net profit doubles

May 14 (EN) Sri Lanka Telecom said group net profit for the March 2015 quarter rose 201% to 1.6 billion rupees from the previous year with sales growth boosted by revenue streams like data and broadband. Basic earnings per share for the quarter were 93 cents, a stock exchange filing said. SLT group sales rose 9% to 16.7 billion rupees during the first quarter of 2015 from the year before while operating costs remained at around 11 billion rupees. more..

Three private power stations to be closed

May 14 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka today said the operations of three private thermal power stations would be closed down as a measure of energy conservation. He said the power stations situated in Matara, Puttalam and Embilipitiya would be closed down in coincidence with the energy conservation month declared by his ministry. However, the Kelanitissa Power Station will remain as a main power post. more..

14th May: A red letter day in the tapestry of Sri Lankan left politics

May 14 (LT) The 50th anniversary of JVP (Peoples Liberation Front) falls on 14th May. JVP successfully completes half a century of her existence as a formidable political force in Sri Lanka pushing other major political parties to the rear. Even though it was unable to realize the sublime objective of the proletariat socialist revolution, I firmly believe that it has bestowed substantial achievements to the general public of mother Lanka. In its body politics in SL there are many a misdeed they have done more..

Pre-interns to go through emergency casualty treatment training

May 14 (Island) Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry has commenced a casualty treatment training programme for pre-intern medical officers. Director General Health Services Dr Palitha Maheepala said that all pre-interns recruited by the Ministry were being trained to handle accident casualties. Most hospitals had been equipped with Treatment Required in Acute General Emergencies (TRIAGE) at OPDs and it was important to train OPD doctors on latest emergency medicine more..

Govt team in special discussions with Emirates CEO

May 14 (AD) A group of high officials from Sri Lanka’s civil aviation sector met Emirates Airline’s CEO Tim Clark in Dubai recently for consultations to develop the island’s aviation services and its allied industries, said very reliable sources. The main objective of this meeting was to draw up a policy to develop the island’s aviation services and its allied industries from Tim Clark who has wide experience in the airlines sector. more..

Nepotism and financial irregularities in Wimal’s ministry

May 14 (Island) The panel investigating the alleged irregularities which are said to have taken place in institutions which came under Minister Wimal Weerawansa during the UPFA govt, said there had been financial irregularities to the tune of several million rupees and rampant nepotism. They said the former minister Weerawansa had gone out of the way to provide a taste of luxury to his kith and kin circumventing rules and regulations at the expense of the tax payer. more..

SL develops cheap rainfall forecasting device

May 14 (Xinhua) Scientists in Sri Lanka have developed mobile weather stations capable of capturing and transmitting near real-time rainfall data. Equipped with atomic clocks for precise time and date readings, the devices log on to global positioning satellites (GPS) automatically. The devices are based on open-source technology and rely on local materials. At US$ 250, they are far cheaper than standard, WHO-certified versions that can cost upwards of US$ 10,000. more..

'Dubai Marriot Hotel is not mine'

May 14 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today rejected allegations that he invested millions of dollars in the Steel Corporation the Marriot Hotel in Dubai by using businessman Nandana Lokuwithana as a front man. Marriott Al Jaddaf Hotel in Dubai is the first ever five star hotel built and owned by a Sri Lankan living overseas. Owner of the property, Lokuwithana, had reportedly invested US$ 225 million (Rs. 2.9 billion) more..

Weliamuna inquiry costs three Supreme Court judges’ combined annual salaries

May 14 (CT) “The money spent for Sri Lankan airlines is very large. If we are looking at it comparatively, it will come to more than the salaries of three Supreme Court Judges for an entire year.” a judge told Colombo Telegraph. The first govt-commissioned inquiry into the previous govt’s corruption and malpractices, the Weliamuna inquiry has cost taxpayers Rs 3.5 million. “What is the exact use for which this amount of money was spent? It is just a report as a propaganda exercise. more..

Docs remind President election promise to ban toxic chemicals

May 14 (Island) GMOA expressed shock at authorities allowing some agrochemical companies to import carcinogenic herbicide (glyphosate) in bulk. GMOA National Health Issue Sub-Committee member Dr. Chinthaka Wijewardena said before the Presidential election, the incumbent President in his election manifesto had stated that all the agrochemicals which had been causing renal failure and CKD would be banned. But, so far no action had been taken to carry out that pledge, more..

'I was offered bribe to cover up Avant-Garde issue'

May 14 (AD) Minister Rajitha Senaratne claims that he was offered a bribe of Rs 20 million per month in order to cover up the ‘Avant-Garde’ issue. He stated that the individuals who attempted to bribe him earn a monthly income of around Rs 250 million. Refusing to divulge any names, Dr. Senaratne alleged that because the attempt to bribe him had failed they had spread a story accusing his son of detaining an underage girl. more..

Sri Lanka's economic growth to remain at 7.5% in 2015: ESCAP

May 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s will maintain high growth rate of 7.5% in 2015 on continued strength in private consumption, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said. “Growth is expected to remain at the high rates of 7.5% in 2015 and 7.6% in 2016 on continued strength in private consumption,” Siuvojit Banerjee, Economic Affairs Officer said. “Sri Lanka growth performance has strengthened since the civil war ended in 2009, in part due to reconstruction more..

UNHRC wants resumption of Indo-Lanka ferry service

May 14 (PTI) UN refugee agency today appealed for the resumption of ferry services between India and Sri Lanka saying it would help in the return of SL Tamil refugees from India. "We look forward to the resumption of the ferry service between India and Sri Lanka that would be of enormous support to those who wish to return," said Golam Abbas, representative of the UNHCR. Yesterday, over 40 refugees left for Sri Lanka voluntarily from Chennai & Tiruchirappali under the aegis of UNHCR. more..

May 19 no longer Victory Day: It’s Remembrance Day

May 14 (PTI) May 19, which was celebrated as Victory Day by the Rajapaksa govt, will from this year onwards be observed as Remembrance Day to recall the sacrifices of all those who had fought to maintain the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka irrespective of their ethnicity, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. In a bid to take this message of unity to interior of the island, function this year will be held, not in Colombo, but more..

John Kerry, War Crimes & The other Kerrey

May 15 (CT) Kudos to the new Govt in Sri Lanka for being pragmatic but that should not mean its leaders should be blissfully ignorant about excesses committed by the only superpower in the world. Ranil Wickremesinghe who is widely respected as being well informed, President Maithripala Sirisena, and Minister Mangala Samaraweera should be aware that when he spoke in front of the Fulbright Senate committee on foreign affairs he unequivocally and categorically stated that more..

Higher voter turnout for Mahinda: Due to enthusiasm, war or jilmart?

May 15 (CT) In 2015 Presidential Election, there was a higher turnout in electorates that favoured Mahinda Rajapaksa. Maithripala Sirisena’s surprising election victory has been explained by many on the grounds that he was supported more enthusiastically in certain regions and by certain groups and that this enthusiasm had spurred his supporters to vote in larger numbers. On the other hand, some of Rajapaksa’s supporters were supposed to be less enthusiastic and fatigued more..

Come to Bombay of the ’60s right here in Tissamaharama

May 15 (ST) Inside the Bombay Velvet night club, the jet set of the city listen enthralled as the sultry voice of a songstress fills the air while outside, along the tarred well-lit roads, vintage cars and trams buzz by. It’s the swinging sixties in the city of Bombay (present day Mumbai); India’s city of opportunity where millions migrate each year seeking a better life and where along with larger than life celluloid stars, criminals mingle and more..

King Parakramabahu VI’s descendant found in Taiwan

May 15 (CT) Irrespective of how hard she tries to hide them from us, History ultimately yields her secrets to us and thankfully, very many of them add wings to our imaginations and take us on fantastic astral trips to forgotten islands and idyllic times. Some of the flights of fancy are however take us to hard historical facts and even international relations. Call it the romance of history if you must. Recently we met an individual who amazed us with some amazing historical facts. more..

Over a cup of coffee

May 15 (CT) The city of Colombo, the commercial hub of Sri Lanka, has quite a lot of places to meet your friends, if you have the cash. From a cup of coffee early in the morning from Coffee Bean, to a Screwdriver at Floor by O, Colombo offers various places to relax before and after a long day. They say a cup of coffee can cure anything from heartbreak to hangovers. However, for us, the Travelling Chaos duo, coffee is life and life is coffee. So one day we decided to travel from one coffee place to more..

Keeping the president secure

May 15 (CT) The President's Security Division has been the subject of discussion over the past few days after the media highlighted the case of a bodyguard who is alleged to have made an unauthorised entry into an enclosed venue in Angunukolapelessa where President Maithripala Sirisena was attending a function at that time. I do not wish to dissect or comment on this incident since it is under official investigation. more..

The 19A Process, content and consequences

May 15 (NS) After a prolonged struggle and negotiations among several political parties, the 19th Amendment was enacted with an overwhelming majority on April 28, 2015. The way the process was carried out indicates that Sri Lankan political leaders still retain the capacity to negotiate and get things done. Kudos to the parties, that were involved in the process because the amendment faced the prospect of complete derailment, while it was being negotiated. more..

Shotgun Somay fires a popgun warning

May 15 (NS) History is replete with people short in stature, but with lofty ambitions, who have had an indelible impact on the world. Even in an era that has seen the evaporation of countless racial and gender stereotypes, short people are routinely portrayed in popular media as jealous, conniving liars, aspiring to achieve their ends by any means. Hey, remember that Somawansa Amarasinghe guy? You know the shadowy tiny, old man who had been lurking behind the JVP even when in exile. more..

Freedom Party Blues II

May 15 (FT) Mahinda Rajapaksa, defeated in an unprecedented third bid for presidency, is living in a bubble - again. This bubble is a skillful construct of his most faithful acolytes. It is inflated by weeping masses at his door, fawning supporters dogging his every move and large, raucous crowds at rallies begging for his return to power. Acrimony between incumbent presidents and their predecessors has become something of more..

Electoral reforms and reformed elections

May 15 (DM) It seems that elections are to be held shortly. UNP has been calling for elections and so are the others now. However, the loudly promised and widely publicised electoral reforms during President Sirisena’s election campaign, hangs on a thread. Today it is elections with or without electoral reforms, i.e. with or without the much talked of 20th Amendment. It was all supposed to happen within the first 100 days of the Maithripala Sirisena presidency. more..

Global investment info giant Euromoney in Sri Lanka

May 15 (DN) Created in 1969, Euromoney magazine started covering the re-emergence of the international cross-border capital markets and today has a 12 million strong readership across the global investment world. Sri Lanka has clinched the attention of one of the largest global banking-investment media and confab institutions For the first time-and its benchmark global investment publication is ready to start off its Lankan experience with no less than an international investors more..

'It is unwise to rush through electoral reforms'

May 15 (DM) Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, in an interview with the Daily Mirror, says the govt should not rush into the evolution of electoral reforms, as it is an exercise requiring wider consultations among the stakeholders concerned. Citing the preferential voting system as the cause of many ills, he said there was universal agreement to do away with it. Excerpts of the interview; more..

NDB Bank ups 1Q profit by 30% to Rs. 1.6 b

May 15 (FT) National Development Bank has concluded the first quarter of 2015, posting a Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 1,558 million. In a statement NDB said the PAT translates to a 30% growth compared to the first quarter of 2014, alluding, promising performance for the year ahead, and affirming the ‘Best Bank in Sri Lanka’ status conferred on NDB by the prestigious Global Finance Magazine of USA. The bank’s total operating income before impairment charges for loans and more..

Safeguarding Sri Lanka’s natural heritage

May 15 (DM) The Federation of Environmental Organizations (FEO) of Sri Lanka is a non-political, non partisan organization that provides a platform for connecting interest groups with a patriotic interest in safeguarding Sri Lanka’s natural heritage through conservation and advocacy. The FEO has noted with pleasure your commitment to safeguard the environment of Sri Lanka by ordering the immediate stop to unregulated clearing of forests north of Wilpattu National Park. more..

Sugath new head of SLAA

May 15 (CT) Sugath Thilakaratne has been elected as the new President of Sri Lanka Athletics Association (SLAA) at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held yesterday. He will serve his inaugural term in office from 2015 to 2017. The newly elected honcho of the SLAA collected 83 votes with his rival to the post Upali Kumarasiri – a retired DIG polling just 24 votes out of a total of 107 votes. more..

Late strikes restrict Sri Lanka A to 327

May 15 (CI) Sri Lanka A's lower-order collapse enlivened a short second day's play at Pallekele, where only 32.1 overs were possible. The hosts had progressed to 311 for 5, having begun the day on 244 for 4, but lost their last five wickets for 16 runs to finish on 327. Left-arm spinners Imad Wasim and Zafar Gohar were the visitors' main destroyers - Imad finishing with 4 for 44. Pakistan A's opening pair was unbeaten for 0 after 2.1 overs, when play was stopped. more..

SL rubber needs modernization for survival

May 15 (DM) The Sri Lankan rubber industry is currently in crisis with the NR (natural rubber) process at critically low. The only answer is modernization of the industry. NR today accounts for something like a third of the world’s production of all rubbers and nearly 85% of the output comes from Southeast Asia. Technical and economic problems that have manifested themselves in the past in relation to production and marketing of NR vary somewhat among producing countries more..

Mathews stays Test, ODI skipper

May 15 (WI) Angelo Mathews has been reappointed captain of the Sri Lankan Test and One-Day International teams, Sri Lanka Cricket said on Thursday (May 14). The national selectors have also retained Lasith Malinga as the captain for Twenty20 Internationals. Mathews’s appointment will run till the end of Sri Lanka’s tour of England next year, while Malinga will lead the T20I team till the end of the 2016 World T20 in India. more..

Employees fund sells 11% stake of Ceylinco Insurance for Rs. 3.5 b

May 15 (FT) An employee fund and the largest shareholder of Ceylinco Insurance divested 11% stake in the company for Rs. 3.5 billion yesterday, boosting the market’s turnover to top Rs. 5 billion, the highest in eight months. Ceylinco Insurance Employee Share Ownership Trust of Ceylinco Insurance (CIESOT) Ltd., which owns a 23% stake, sold down 11% amounting to 2.2 million shares at Rs. 1,602 each through 6 crossings. Counter closed at Rs. 1,600, up by 3.37% or Rs. 52.10. more..

Cargills Saru Bima scheme makes major shift in farmers’ lifestyles

May 15 (ST) Cargills Saru Bima scheme is empowering farmer communities and their children while maintaining a bond with them integral to the company’s business model. The success stories are many. Over the years, the Cargills business model has brought benefits to producers and consumers alike – making a difference in lives that reach beyond business boundaries – to community empowerment and wellbeing – and a stronger nation. more..

672 vehicles imported by the previous regime lie idle at importers’ yards

May 15 (ST) 672 vehicles imported by the Treasury on the directions of former Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera under the previous regime are now lying idle at the yards of several local motor traders as the new govt has so far not cleared these vehicles for the use of ministries and affiliated institutions. The previous govt had imported 1665 vehicles including double cabs, motor vehicles, ambulances, vans under the leasing plan by more..

Sri Lanka to modernise Colombo city waste water system

May 15 (EN) Sri Lanka is to upgrade the waste water system of Colombo under a US$ 100 million loan from the Asian Development Bank, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Cabinet of ministers this week approved a proposal by Minister of Public Administration Karu Jayasuriya to properly plan construction of the waste water pump houses within the city limits of the Colombo Municipality. It also approved the award of related contracts for establishment of the new pumping stations more..

Solar Power for Kilinochchi farmers

May 15 (CT) Farmers in Kilinochchi were introduced to a solar powered water pumping system at an awareness programme conducted by the Army on Wednesday. Programme's objective was enhancing the economic benefits of solar power for farmers in all their irrigational activities instead of generating electricity through fuel. Programme was conducted at the Army's Harmony Centre in Kilinochchi. Genso Power Technologies organized this programme in collaboration with the 57 Division of the Army. more..

NPC to help ex-LTTE cadres

May 15 (CT) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has allocated Rs 40.3 million to enhance the livelihoods of former militant cadres and for the benefit of the families of political prisoners. NPC Minister B. Deniswaran said the move has been taken to support the families financially as the former cadres were struggling to initiate any income oriented ventures. "As the Tamil political prisoners are behind bars without any legal action, more..

‘Indo-Sri Lanka trade up 10-fold after FTA’

May 15 (Hindu) Trade between India and Sri Lanka has increased 10-fold after the Free Trade Agreement. But there is more to be explored, said Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka. At an interactive meeting organised by the India-Asean-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday, he said his concern was that more than 70 per cent of India’s exports to Sri Lanka were outside the FTA route. This needs to be addressed. more..

Wimal wants more time to study 20A

May 15 (CT) NFF Leader, Wimal Weerawansa has asked President Maithripala Sirisena to provide all political parties with more time to study the 20th Amendment, MP Weerakumara Dissanayake said. Dissanayake said Weerawansa sent a letter to the President apprising him of this need for more time to make a thorough study of the provision in the amendment. All parties should be provided with adequate time to study the amendments to obtain the opinions of experts and more..