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Wickremesinghe’s Delhi visit likely to strengthen India-Sri Lanka ties

Sep 11 (AT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to visit India between 14 and 16 Sep. This is his first official visit abroad since he was appointed PM in January by the new President Maithripala Sirisena. That Wickremesinghe – like Sirisena in February – chose Delhi as the destination of his first state visit should reassure India of the priority it enjoys in the Sri Lankan govt’s foreign policy agenda. Wickremesinghe can expect a warm welcome in Delhi. more..

Food taxes, malnourishment

Sep 11 (CT) While the govt is suffering from a financial crisis, whether the solution for this was Wednesday's increases in food import taxes is questionable. Govt on Wednesday levied a Rs 12 per kg import tax on sugar and Rs 10 per kg on potatoes respectively. A Finance Ministry circular which informed of these taxes, however, said that the sales control prices for packeted sugar remained unchanged at Rs 95 a kg and Rs 88 for bulk sugar, respectively. more..

'Haven't been approached to be SL coach'

Sep 11 (CI) Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has said that he has not been contacted to fill the Sri Lanka head coach position. It is understood that SLC is interested in pursuing Hathurusingha but no official approach has been made yet. There were reports earlier this month that SLC preferred him as their first-choice to replace Marvan Atapattu, who resigned on Sept 3, but Hathurusingha, in his first press conference more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.09%

Sep 11 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks closed down 0.09% on Friday mainly on concerns of exchange rate and balance of payment issues with some telecom and banking sector stocks showing losses, brokers said. The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed down 6.45 points at 7,153.49 lower 0.09%. S&P SL20 closed 10.40 points lower at 3,914.27 down 0.26%. Turnover was 474 million rupees, down 588 million rupees, Thursday with 56 stocks closing positive against 68 negative. more..

SL to award cloud computing tender soon

Sep 11 (EN) The Sri Lankan govt will soon award tenders for high capacity servers to host the proposed govt cloud computing network, the head of the Information Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) said. “We need a completely centralised govt cloud to be able to store large amounts of data,” said Muhunthan Canagey, chief executive of ICTA. The Lanka govt cloud network will have 145 terabytes of storage enabling govt agencies to store and share information, he told a GIS technology forum. more..

President guest of honour at Queen Elizabeth's coronation anniversary ceremony

Sep 11 (GDI) On 9th Sept Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second became the longest-reigning monarch in more than a thousand years of British history. To celebrate the historic event, the British High Commissioner James Dauris hosted a reception at his residence in Colombo, Westminster House. President Maithripala Sirisena, graced the occasion as the Guest of Honour. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga more..

U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. businesses to expand trade and investment

Sep 11 (USE) On Sept 10, U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap briefed a visiting delegation of U.S. business executives about opportunities to expand trade and investment between the U.S. and Sri Lanka. In his remarks to the visiting executives, Ambassador Keshap urged their companies to seize the golden moment of opportunity in Sri Lanka, and highlighted the enormous potential for U.S. companies at a time when the SL govt has made economic growth a key priority for its tenure. more..

Vehicle import cost goes up

Sep 11 (DM) Total vehicle import cost had gone up by eight to ten per cent due to the appreciation of the Japanese Yen against the Sri Lankan Rupee, Vehicle Importers Association of SriLanka (VIASL) President Indika Merenchige said. “Most of the used vehicles are imported from Japan and due to the appreciation of the Yen and dollar, the total import cost has now increased,” he said. Yen and the US dollar rate had been increased between 8-10% against the rupee during the past ten days, more..

'No arsenic in Colombo's drinking water'

Sep 11 (DM) NWSDB today assured that the drinking water in Colombo and the suburbs had not been contaminated with arsenic or any other toxic chemical despite public concerns to the contrary. NWSDB General Manager B.W.R. Balasuriya said there had been public concerens about the quality of drinking water sourced from the Kelani River. "Water from this river is treated at the Ambatale & Biyagama water treatment plants more..

No clean chit to KP in terror cases: AG

Sep 11 (ENS) Attorney General Y J W Wijayatilake has clarified that the former LTTE international wing leader, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, has not been exonerated of charges of terrorism. But, investigations into 46 of the 193 cases against him had revealed that he had no role to play in those acts of terrorism, Wijayatilake added. Wijayatilake said in a Writ Application filed in the Court of Appeal, 193 cases of terrorism in which KP was allegedly involved were cited. more..

Lankans adviced not to visit Lumbini

Sep 11 (DM) Sri Lankan Embassy in Nepal has requested Lankans planning to visit Lumbini to refrain from doing so until further notice. The advisory has been issued on the basis of the unrest in the area resulting from a series of protests by Indians. Every year thousands of Buddhist pilgrims visit Lumbini – the Buddha’s birth place. Ministry of Foreign Affairs said some 300 Sri Lankan pilgrims who were stranded in Lumbini, have managed leave the area safely and more..

Govt says no to international probe

Sep 11 (CG) The Govt says it will not agree to an international investigation on alleged human rights abuses and will instead go ahead with a domestic mechanism. State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene said this after he assumed duties at his office in the Ministry of Defence, amid religious observances. Addressing the gathering the State Minister thanked President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe for more..

MEP wants appointments made void

Sep 11 (CT) Former MP and Vice President of the MEP cum Trade Union Leader Somaweera Chandrasiri, who filed a Fundamental Rights Petition challenging the Parliamentary National List yesterday, filed an election petition in the Court of Appeal. Petitioner has cited EC Mahinda Deshapriya, Susil Premajayantha and 12 others as respondents. All candidates defeated at the recent Parliamentary Election and three persons who were appointed MPs through National Lists more..

USAID project garners prestigious international energy award

Sep 11 (LBO) Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum (LRWHF) this week received the prestigious 2015 Energy Globe National Award to celebrate its work on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and resource conservation initiatives. The project was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and USAID Mission Director Elisabeth Kvitashvili and former Minister for Water and Drainage Dinesh Gunawardena both attended the ceremony. more..

GMOA reaffirms position on SAITAM's medical degrees

Sep 11 (DN) GMOA demanded the govt not to recognize the medical degree offered by the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITAM) if it does not maintain required standards since 2011, GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said. "Then Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena appointed a five member committee to solve this issue. We agree with most of the content of the report issued by committee. more..

Sri Lankan man treated like an animal at UK detention center

Sep 11 (SKY) A Sri Lankan man who said he was arrested without explanation and held at a controversial centre has told Sky News he was treated like an animal. It comes as MPs call for radical changes to the system of immigration detention, as they debated the most far-reaching report yet into conditions for those facing deportation. House of Commons will address the findings, including evidence of sexual abuse of detainees and calls to end the detention of more..

FCID questions Salinda Dissanayake For not paying back bank loan

Sep 11 (CT) Former minister Salinda Dissanayake, who had obtained a loan of Rs 27 million from the Lankaputhra Bank on behalf of the Hiriyala Govijana company in 2007 and not paid it back, had been summoned to the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) for questioning on this incident. Acting Police Media Spokesman, SSP Priyantha Jayakody said that it has been disclosed that as a result of not paying back this loan, the amount now stands at Rs. 45 million including interest. more..

'Journalists should stick to the truth'

Sep 11 (DN) Journalists should regard the truth and the freedom to express the truth as their highest value making use of the given media freedom to the fullest, Parliamentary Reform and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said. He said journalists should write the truth. "Journalists should not attempt to misuse the freedom provided to them. "A special training programme will also be provided to journalists," minister said more..

Mixed reactions on portfolio swap

Sep 11 (DN) In what could be termed as an unprecedented development in the field of politics, Nimal Lansa who was appointed Deputy Minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs and Arundika Fernando, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, swapped their respective portfolios by mutual agreement. However, both deputy ministers who were appointed on Wednesday have not yet stated a reason for this portfolio exchange. Lansa will now be Home Affairs Deputy Minister and more..

Former Western Province opposition leader remanded

Sep 11 (AM) Former Western Provincial Council Opposition Leader Kithsiri Kahatapitiya was remanded until Sept 14 by Horana Magistrate Lochani Weerasinghe on the charges of keeping an elephant calf without proper registration. A female elephant calf was found in February this year from Kahatapitiya's house with injuries in two of her legs. The elephant was then produced before the Magistrate and was ordered to be handed over to National Wildlife Training Centre in Giritale. more..

Sri Lanka CEB sees US$13 bn investment in power plants over next 20 years

Sep 11 (LBO) Ceylon Electricity Board says the total estimated cost to implement the 2015-2034 long-term electricity generation plan is approximately US$ 13 billion. The generation plan says: “The total investment required for implementing the Base Case Plan 2015-2034 in the next 20 years is approximately US$ 12.96 Billion without considering the projects for which funds have already been committed.” more..

Tainted peace: Torture in SL since may 2009

Sep 12 (CT) Of the two terms which form the title of this August 2015 publication, the word taint etymologically comes from to dye. Among its current meanings one is, a corrupt condition or infection. Peace, the other term in the noun phrase, can be divided into two broad categories, negative and positive. Negative peace is merely the absence of overt war and can be an imposed, a Carthaginian, peace. Positive peace connotes harmony (product of justice), safety and a degree of well-being. more..

Champika Ranawaka’s moves

Sep 12 (CT) In his review of James Manor’s Expedient Utopian, Regi Siriwardena highlights S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s attitude towards authority and how this shaped him while in power. He infers that Bandaranaike’s clash with the UNP was symptomatic of a long line of personal clashes, alternating between rebellion and submission, which ended up with him courting authority and at the same time being indecisive enough to bend to popular pressure as & when it was expedient more..

Orienting new parliamentarians to best discharge their duties as legislators

Sep 12 (SO) In the country’s foremost lawmaking body – the Parliament – the freshers or the first-time legislators gathered last week in a committee room for their orientation – both to the House and the parliamentary practice. Introduced post the 1977 general election with aspects being added with the passage of time, all MPs who enter the House for the first time are given an introduction to the building, on accessing parliamentary more..

Mettasena looks at different tools to work with

Sep 12 (NS) People experience both good and bad times. And when people face bad times, some break down and some emerge stronger. Padmakumar Mettasena, a renowned photographer in the newspaper industry talking about his life journey and achievements said that art helped him to learn how to embrace both ups and downs in his life. Releasing his new book Panas Pas Dinak Thailanthaye (Fifty five days in Thailand) which was written based on his real life experiences in more..

Allow largest minority to be stakeholders in a new Sri Lanka

Sep 12 (DM) It was most encouraging to read the message to the nation by the re-elected PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, 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 largest minority of citizens more..

Sri Lanka needs a proper mechanism to implement laws: UK expert

Sep 12 (FT) Sri Lanka, which has sufficient environmental laws in books, needs to have a proper mechanism to implement those laws properly and it will be the challenge for the country in the coming decades, a top British environmental law expert said. Professor Veerle Heyvaert, an Associate Professor in Environmental Law at London School of Economics and Political Science, said that a lot of problems or more..

Let’s make our motherland proud

Sep 12 (DM) Sri Lankans, since Independence, have paid immensely for their fair share of absurdities – communalism, divisiveness, mistrust, antagonism, hatred, lack of mutual love and respect; affection, sincerity of purpose, and most importantly, our inability to stand up as a nation collectively to achieve political stability, sustainable economic growth and development. I would not hesitate to put the blame for this on petty communal-minded politicians, whether they be Sinhalese, Tamils more..

Imitation and the Sinhalese nation

Sep 12 (NS) Those who do impressions of other people are generally entertainers who enliven drab daily events or cosy social gatherings. They imitate people, and the famous or the notorious are generally grist to their mill. Most of these people have reasonable talent, and have never learnt their skills on doing impressions at any art school. However, doing impressions in a professional capacity is the stuff of consummate entertainers, mostly stand up comedians, and SL’s best more..

When can we expect a good Sinhala thriller

Sep 12 (DM) Some people never learn. Or they never grow up. I have been waiting to discover the classic Sinhala thriller since my school days. By now, with my hair turning grey, I should know better. But there I was, rushing into the Ritz cinema with ticket in hand to see Pravegaya, hoping against hope that this would finally be the classic I’ve been awaiting all these years. I’m late by a few minutes. But, as I find myself a centre seat more..

Ranil's Warning

Sep 12 (CT) PM and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered a four point message to first time UNP MPs who attended a training workshop recently. They were the need to work towards the betterment of one's electorate and not for one's own self; the threat of cancellation of decentralized budgetary allocations if newly elected MPs don't attend such training workshops; the importance of spending more time in the Parliament library to gather knowledge of parliamentary more..

PSD Defender accident: Bus drivers released on bail

Sep 12 (DM) The drivers of the two private buses which were involved in the Minuwangoda accident which killed four Presidential Security Division (PSD) officers and left four other PSD officers injured were released on bail. They had been released on Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 50,000 surety bails when they were produced before the Minuwangoda Magistrate. Hearing had also been extended till Sept 30. The defender had collided head-on with a bus when it had attempted to overtake another bus. more..

Karu Jayasuriya is the latest in a long line of illustrious Sri Lankan Speakers

Sep 12 (DBS) Karunarathne Jayasuriya popularly known as Karu Jayasuriya was elected unopposed on Sept 1st 2015 as the speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament. His name was proposed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and seconded by Nimal Siripala de Silva who functioned as leader of the opposition in the last days of the last Parliament. As is traditional the speaker elect was escorted to his seat by the proposer and seconder. more..

Surge in SL motor vehicle imports raises concerns, erodes into foreign reserves

Sep 12 (ST) The rapid increase in the imports of consumer durables including motor vehicles in recent months driven by credit available at low interest rates, among other things, has raised some concerns, the banking regulator said this week. Gross official reserves, which stood at US$7.5 billion at end June, are also estimated to have decreased to $6.8 billion by end July. “The Central Bank is closely monitoring these developments in order to ensure that credit continues to more..

CAA organises specialist expert group to plan, manage Sri Lanka’s airspace

Sep 12 (ST) The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAA) has identified the need for the formation of an expert group representing all key state organisations involved in local air navigation activities. The purpose of the new group is for planning, management and coordination of Sri Lanka airspace and the Colombo Flight Information Region under a National Air Navigation Plan which is to be developed in conformity with requirements in the ICAO Regional Air Navigation Plan more..

From economist to economic diplomacy!

Sep 12 (FT) Launching economic diplomacy, MP Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday began a fresh chapter as the Deputy Foreign Minister, pledging to link Sri Lanka’s economy to the global market. Assuming duties at the Foreign Ministry, Dr. de Silva recalled his days in the Opposition as a National List member when he was the protagonist of debates on the economy. As the main critic, Dr. de Silva welcomed the opportunity to more..

The theatre of law-enforcement

Sep 12 (NS) In a society where there is justice and it is reflected in the entire gamut of activities and processes that come under law and order two things can be expected. First, the crime rate will be low. Secondly, those guilty of wrongdoing will be brought to book. We don’t live in such a society. While it is fashionable to blast the Government or, if it’s a new Govt, the previous one, for crimes of omission and commission, we’ve certainly come a long way from the days of proxy arrests, more..

Victorious Lankan athletes return

Sep 12 (DN) SL athletic contingent which took part in the Thailand Open Track and Field Championships arrived in the island last morning. The junior athletes who competed at the championship at Thammasat University Sports Complex, Thailand, won five gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze medals. Accordingly, the Gold medal winners were Sahan Rajapaksha of St. Benedict’s College Colombo 100 m (boys) under 16 (11 sec), Nisahdi Abeyratne of Dharmashoka more..

SLC elections in December

Sep 12 (CT) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara yesterday has promised to have the Sri Lanka Cricket general election in December, this year. He made this comment after the official visit to the SLC Headquarters. "We are planning to meet SLC officials in the near future regarding the election after the return of the interim committee president Sidath Wettimuny, who is in overseas currently. The Minister also expected to have a meeting with more..

Indo-SL trade sees remarkable turnaround

Sep 12 (FT) With Indo-Lanka YoY annual trade showing a remarkable turnaround, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) made its entry into Sri Lanka yesterday with an Indian exporters fair staged in Colombo. It is reported that India now accounts for the bulk of the Colombo Port’s total container transhipments. “The Federation of Indian Export Organisations is proud to present the first Indian multi-product exhibition in Colombo. Indian-linked cargo now accounts for more..