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'There are still business risks in Sri Lanka'

May 2 (CT) The first resident Ambassador for Turkey in Colombo, Iskender Okyay says Turkey's Exim Bank has allocated US$ 350 million for Turkish investors to do business in Sri Lanka but it is still unused because there are still risks in Sri Lanka. Following are excerpts of interview. Q: Turkey is the newest foreign embassy in Sri Lanka which began operation in 2013. How do you rate the relationship between the two countries? more..

Sathyagaraya, astrology and the truth

May 2 (FT) 17 kilometres out of Abidjan, in a village on the great auto-route to Yamoussoukro, there was a schoolteacher’s house which from time to time blazed with mysterious fires. A reader had written to the paper that weekend with the suggestion that there was probably some escape of natural gas in the neighbourhood. But this letter headed A Scientific Solution was placed at the bottom of the right hand page. The main story, the reportage, was that the mystery of the fires at more..

Nihal Fernando: The legend will live on

May 2 (ST) Traveller, there is no path. You have to find your own. The line on the frontispiece of Nihal Fernando’s book, Sri Lanka – a Personal Odyssey, is typical of the author, as much as it characterises, at both literal and figurative levels, the life he led. SL’s most famous wildlife and nature photographer, the proprietor of Studio Times, passed away in his home in Colombo on Monday aged 87. To describe Nihal as a photographer would be an understatement. more..

President Premadasa’s dynamic policies in economic development & poverty alleviation

May 2 (FT) As one who had the opportunity to serve President Premadasa as the Chairman of the Greater Colombo Economic Commission and also as the first Chairman of the BoI from ’91 to ’93 and prior to that as the Chairman of People’s Bank, it will be appropriate for me to write about the economic developments undertaken during this period especially connected to poverty alleviation more..

Sri Lanka and its Diaspora: Misconceptions, opportunities and a survey

May 2 (CT) It is not really newsworthy to suggest many Sri Lankans today are skeptical about the Diaspora. For many Sri Lankans, the Diaspora is perceived to be exclusively Tamil and overwhelmingly supportive of the Tamil Tigers. This of course is not true. Many members in the Diaspora are Sinhalese and Muslim, vehemently opposing everything the Tamil Tigers stood for. Moreover rarely are criticisms of the Tamil Tigers by members of the Tamil Diaspora ever acknowledged by more..

Tamil lunatic fringe anti-Muslim racism

May 2 (Island) A clarification is required about the title of this article. I refer only to a narrow segment, a very narrow segment, of the Tamils, not the totality of them, or the generality or the majority of them. Does that very narrow segment of Tamils merit a two or three part article? I believe they do for several reasons. By and large the relations between Muslims and Tamils are quite satisfactory. In fact, I am told, that there is better rapport between Muslims and Tamils – Tamil-speaking peoples more..

Where faith flutters high

May 2 (ST) Walk into Deepaduttara on Baseline Road, Dematagoda, and what greets the eye is a group of five women seated in front of their sewing machines totally absorbed in their work. They only pause when a customer enters looking for a bulk of Bauddha kodi. Vesak flags that represent the Buddhist faith are seen everywhere during Vesak celebrations. In preparation for this time, Deepika Hemamali, owner of Deepaduttara more..

What’s ailing our Politicos?

May 2 (FT) Have you noticed that every time a politician is ordered by court to spend a few nights in a remand cell, he quickly ends up on a hospital bed? I really don’t know-and personally I don’t care – whether this speaks for the health of our politicians today or is a sad commentary on the status of our prison cells – but it sure needs to be looked into. Of course this was not of such urgency that it had to be included in the 100-day program of this Yahapalana Govt crowding out important pieces of more..

Speak John (Kerry), like Cochise

May 2 (NS) First of all, welcome to Sri Lanka. Don’t worry, it’s all heart and not courtesy. This country has embraced one and all. Invader, interferer, brigand, smuggler, embezzler, immigrant, condescending missionary determined to ‘save’ the heathen, marauder, city-sacker, control-freak, you name it, we got them all. This you must know: when we say ‘friend’ we mean it. It is not diplo-speak. We don’t refer to ‘long-standing friendly relations’ even as we plot control and extraction. more..

Sri Lanka budget deteriorates in 2014, raising new questions

May 2 (EN) Sri Lanka's budget in 2014 had deteriorated sharply despite an optimistic out-turn reported to parliament in late October, official data shows, while raising new question about reported deficit and national debt data in recent years. Central Bank's annual report said the overall budget deficit after grants rose to 6% of gross domestic product or 591 billion rupees, sharply up from 500 billion and 5% of GDP more..

Education Ministry interdicts Principal for incorrigible insubordination

May 2 (ST) Education Ministry has interdicted the Principal of Poramadulla National School in Hanguranketha, for enrolling students in violation of Ministry instructions, and failing to report to work despite his transfer to Provincial Education office. Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe said Ministry had received a number of complaints on admitting outside students to Grade 6, with most having very low marks at Grade 5 scholarship exam. “We were receiving complaints from parents. more..

Centre for small mammals on the cards

May 2 (Island) The govt will shortly endorse a proposal by world renowned zoo scientist Vasantha Nugegoda to set up a rare animal centre for small mammals. This centre would also function as a zoo for most of the nocturnal small mammals like the fishing cat, jungle cat and mouse deer. He said that three acres of land close to the newly opened open air zoo in Pinnawala would be utilized for small mammal conservation, which he terms as one most neglected areas in wild life protection. more..

Construction jobs at stake

May 2 (NS) Two of SL’s largest construction companies MAGA Engineering and Access Engineering have decided to retrench at least 20% of its current labor workforce on the back of the new govt stalling many construction projects. According to officials, infrastructure development had slowed down drastically under the present govt, which had focused on constitutional reforms and good governance. more..

Adidas sponsors Colombo Athletics City Marathon

May 2 (DM) World renowned sports brand adidas, recently sponsored the Colombo Athletics City Marathon which was held on 26 April 2015 at the Colombo Racecourse. The marathon covered a distance of 42.195 km and started from the Colombo Racecourse, covering High Level Road, Battaramulla, Borella, Colpetty, the Khan Clock Tower, Colombo Fort and ending at the Racecourse grounds. The event was conducted under four categories; full marathon (men and women), more..

Ensure academic freedom in Jaffna University: JUSTA

May 2 (CT) Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association (JUSTA) called upon authorities to take necessary steps to ensure academic freedom and freedom of expression in the University of Jaffna. “A discussion on a book is an academic exercise. An academic culture is nurtured by reexamining existing theories and beliefs, proposing new theories and discussing them openly. Stopping an academic exercise without any tangible threat to public order is a grave violation of academic freedom.” more..

Colombo University VC resigns

May 2 (CT) Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Dr Kumara Hirimburegama has resigned from the post with effect from yesterday. Colombo Uni Federation of Teachers’ Associations (CUFTA) had been demanding for VC Kumara Hirimburegama‘s resignation, since he was appointed as the Vice Chancellor. On an earlier occasion CT reported how the candidates for the post of VC fared at the voting by more..

Central bank allows fall in spot rupee

May 2 (Reuters) Central bank allowed a fall in the spot rupee on Thursday for the first time in two months, but defended it amid importer dollar demand ahead of a long holiday, while dealers expect the currency to remain under pressure from lower interest rates. Central bank allowed a 10-cent fall in the spot rupee to 133 per dollar after holding it at 132.90 since Feb, when it set a level beyond which it would not allow the currency to fall. Dealers, however, said spot rupee did not more..

UNDP aid for action plans

May 2 (CT) The Ministry of Plantation Infrastructure Development has formulated a 10-year National Plan of Action for social development of the plantation community and sought the assistance of the UNDP to support the National Plan of Action through its Technical Assistance Programme. The major objectives of the National Plan of Action (NPA) are to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in plantation community areas, especially in the estate sector. more..

Chennai sculptor creates Buddha statue

May 2 (Hindu) A large statue of the Buddha made by Chennai-based M. Muthiah Sthapathi was inaugurated at Rambadagalla Vidyasagara Temple, nearly 100 km from Colombo, on Thursday. It is considered one of the world’s largest sitting Buddha statues. “It is a monolithic creation, hewn out of a single rock and is 75 feet tall. In standing position, it can reach double its height,” said Muthiah Sthapathi, who returned to more..

India Vs China in Sri Lanka: Lessons for rising powers

May 2 (BI) John Kerry’s visit to Sri Lanka, the first by a secretary of state in 11 years, recognizes the country’s geopolitical importance. It also highlights the outcome of the recent tussle over the island state by two emerging global powers, a contest in which India has gained the upper hand over China. The struggle provides important lessons for rising powers as they begin a Great Game in Asia. Sri Lanka sits at the heart of the Indian Ocean, adjacent to major shipping routes, more..

Japan offers Higher Education MEXT Scholarships Programme for 2016

May 2 (ST) Japanese Govt is offering Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Technology scholarship opportunities to Sri Lankan students under its (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarships Programme 2016. Graduate Degrees are offered for Science (Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry), Electrical & Electronics (Electronics, Electrical Engineering, Information Engineering), Mechanics (Mechanical Engineering, Naval Architecture), Civil Engineering & Architecture more..

White collar terrorists on the loose

May 2 (NS) Treasury has lost approximately Rs 76 billion in 8 years between 2007 and 2014 in potential income due to weak and inconsistent taxation on tobacco products, Dr Nishan de Mel of Verité Research said. Dr. de Mel, speaking at the national summit titled Towards Tobacco Free Sri Lanka, pointed out that the excise tax rate had been lowered from 71% for the most sold brand in 2006 to levels lower than 60% in next 8 years. more..

Vasan deplores Sri Lanka stand on fishermen

May 2 (Hindu) Deploring Sri Lanka for threatening to open fire and arrest the Indian fishermen crossing the IMBL for fishing, Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) president G.K. Vasan has said threats and advises would not help to find a lasting solution to the vexatious issue. Talking to reporters here on Friday, Mr. Vasan regretted that no tangible solution was in sight for the Palk Bay conflict even after PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka and despite three rounds of talks between the fishermen more..

Weighing scales made mandatory from today

May 2 (DN) Weighing scales have been made mandatory in all retail stores across the country from today. The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has issued a gazette notice directing all traders to install weighing scales approved by the Measurement Units Standards and Services Department at their outlets. CAA Media Spokesman Udayajeewa Ekanayake told the Daily News this will enable the public to weigh their goods prior to purchasing them at trade outlets. more..

Rathana Thera, Basil in 5 hour pow-wow

May 2 (DN) JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera had met former Minister Basil Rajapaksa for a special discussion last week, Justice Ministry sources said. The meeting had taken place at the Merchant Ward of the Colombo National Hospital where the former Minister is undergoing treatment. The Minister was admitted to the hospital after the Kaduwela Magistrate's Court ordered him to be remanded for 14 days. more..

World class driving track installed to test drivers

May 2 (Island) A well equipped driving track to test drivers’ competence has been erected at the Werahera Motor Traffic Department at a cost of Rs. 100 million. For the first time in Sri Lanka an international standard driving track had been constructed within the Motor Traffic Department to test the competence of new drivers. If the new runway was proved to be productive, govt would erect them in all districts. Sri Lanka with a population of 21 million, had 5 million vehicles, more..

For the 1st time in Lankan history: Petrol dansala in Kotikawatte

May 2 (CT) A petrol dansala is to be held for the first time in the history of Sri Lanka at the Honda showroom in Kotikawatte on 3 May – Vesak Poya day. This petrol dansala is being organized by the Stunt Mania Group and an organization named Destiny DJ. The dansala will be held in two stages on Vesak poya day: from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Only motorcycles will be provided with petrol and the organizers expect to give a litre of petrol for each motorbike. more..

President vows to extend hand of friendship to all

May 2 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena said that unity of all communities was the only way for a better future. He also stressed the need to strengthen the SLFP. Addressing the SLFP May Day rally, President said he used his powers only for the good of the people and promised to do anything for the future of the country. He said that he would ensure the fundamental rights and human rights in the country at a level that no foreign more..

Atmosphere in Sri Lanka is breathtakingly fresh, says Global Tamil Forum

May 2 (ENS) The UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has described the political culture ushered in by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as breathtakingly fresh and has praised all Lankan political parties and their MPs for passing the 19 th Amendment to the Constitution. “Passing of the 19 th Amendment along with other steps taken to democratize the State and its institutions have significantly altered the unfortunate political culture and practices adopted more..

Special traffic plan for John Kerry's visit

May 2 (GDI) Sri Lanka police will enforce a special traffic plan in capital Colombo today in line with the US Secretary of State John Kerry's official visit to Sri Lanka. The traffic will be limited on several roads at certain times. On Saturday, May 2 from 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., the traffic along the Colombo-BIA expressway towards Kelaniya, Baseline road, Borella junction, D S Senanayake junction, Kinsey road, Horton place, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, road opposite Nelum Pokuna, more..

'Give another chance to the people'

May 2 (DM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake urged President to dissolve parliament soon and give another chance for the people to elect suitable MPs, while requesting the president not to listen to those who opposed him earlier including present Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala. Addressing the mammoth crowd at JVP May Day rally JVP Leader accused the coalition govt of displaying their inability to govern a country more..

Aspiring to be governed by Buddha Dhamma

May 2 (DM) In the afterglow of the all-party approval given to the crucial 19th Amendment on Tuesday to lay the foundation for a new era and a new political culture, millions of Buddhists in Sri Lanka and elsewhere will mark the thrice-blessed day of Vesak tomorrow. Vesak this year also comes about two weeks after the people of all races celebrated the National New Year, wishing each other happiness and prosperity. This wish would become a reality only if we lived the message of Vesak more..

Voter wants action

May 2 (CT) Minister John Amaratunge made a startling revelation when he said that though the previous regime suspended giving dual citizenship in 2011, it however, ended up giving citizenship to over 2,000 despite this suspension. (See yesterday’s edition of this newspaper). Sri Lanka reintroduced the granting of dual citizenship at the beginning of the year, i.e. at the tail end of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidency. (See State-owned Daily News issue of 1 Jan 2015). more..

Amendment has done its job: what next?

May 2 (DM) What will happen to the structure and methodology of governance in the post 19th Amendment period is the question asked by many these days. After a 12-hour debate on Tuesday, Parliament enacted the Constitutional Bill, but with a number of amendments proposed by the Govt and the Opposition alike. All in all, the Bill, in essence, reversed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution enacted during previous regime, more..

Police draw flak

May 2 (SL) The Police have come under severe criticism for their failed attempt to arrest one of the biggest financial fraudsters in the country. Although Sakvithi Ranasinghe became the biggest financial fraudster in 2008 and the law enforcement authorities did not leave a single stone unturned to arrest the culprit, it is shocking to understand the same efficient police have now failed to take action against the biggest ever woman financial more..

How JR Jayewardene Ushered in the Executive Presidency in 1978

May 2 (DBS) The successful passage of the 19th Constitutional amendment in Parliament with an overwhelming majority has resulted in the Executive Presidency ushered in by the 1978 Constitution losing some if not all of its powers. This in turn has focused the spotlight on the first Executive President of Sri Lanka –Junius Richard Jayewardene known generally as JR. As is well known it was JR who masterminded more..

Excise Dept. and Customs to jointly stop illicit entry of Ethanol

May 2 (ST) The Excise Department along with Customs will work together to stop the illicit import of Ethanol into the country. A joint meeting between these two state agencies is scheduled for next week to work out modalities Excise Commissioner L.K.G. Gunawardene said. Initial investigations have revealed that the bulk of the illicit ethanol was being brought into the country by certain importers of other liquid products more..

Employers allowed to include recent increments in minimum wage

May 2 (EN) Sri Lankan employers who have already granted pay hikes to workers this year can deduct these increments when raising salaries under new minimum wage laws to be enforced, a statement from the prime minister’s office said. The govt has said it will legislate a minimum wage of 10,000 rupees with the private sector also being asked to raise salaries after a pay hike to state workers. more..

Minister tells UPFA partners to take up non implementation of SC ruling with court

May 2 (Island) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, said that UPFA members, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Wimal Weerawansa should have moved the Supreme Court against those whom they deemed had failed to act on the Court ruling on the illegal Lanka Marine Services Ltd (LMSL) transaction during the UNP-led UNF administration (2001-2004). Minister Rajapakshe asserted that the Commission to Investigate more..

Ranil predicts UNP victory at general election

May 2 (Island) Addressing the UNP May Day Rally in Colombo yesterday, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the party rank and file to go back to their villages and immediately commence campaigning for the next General Election. Recalling his prediction more than a year before the last presidential poll that the UNP would be in power by 2015, Wickremesinghe said that some had dismissed it as impossible saying more..