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'Current regime is as corrupt as the former'

Apr 17 (SL) JVP MP Nihal Galappaththi says that the current regime is as corrupt as and no better than the previous regime. He says that the present Maithri-Ranil administration is the one that became most unpopular in the shortest period of time, and they too have sold the country to powerful nations, disregarding the plight of the people who voted for them. The bankrupt capitalist economic system can no longer take more..

The economic heat is on

Apr 17 (ST) The heat is indeed unbearable, but the suffering multitude will know that, at least by Vesak next month, the weather will be kinder. Whether the people will be able to look with similar anticipation on the economic front is doubtful. Many know, with the ending of the Avurudu season, hard times are ahead. Finance Minister had no time to observe the Nonagathe period when one is supposed to do nothing as it is an inauspicious time during planetary changes. more..

Govt struggles in debt trap

Apr 17 (CT) Sri Lanka's Central Bank (CB), amidst an emerging and serious debt crisis, is planning to raise up to US$ 3 billion, through International Sovereign Bonds in the international market this year. In a statement last Tuesday, the CB said the issuances in single or multiple tranches would be in US Dollar and Chinese Renminbi (Panda/Dim Sum) with a fixed coupon and medium to long term maturities where non-resident investors will be eligible to invest at the primary issuance. more..

JVP press conference

Malinga arrives for Mumbai Indians but unlikely to play

Apr 17 (CI) Mumbai Indians' premier fast bowler Lasith Malinga joined the squad on Friday evening, but he is unlikely to be available for selection immediately given the ongoing issues with his knee. SL pacer had missed Mumbai's first two matches of this IPL due to fitness concerns. Two days before the IPL started, Mumbai coach Ricky Ponting had had said that Malinga was likely to arrive at this stage, but would sit out at least the first half of the tournament to recover from a knee injury. more..

New Year With My Veddah Friends

Apr 17 (CT) A Pandol has been constructed by the Veddah tribe under the massive canopy of the blooming Heen Boviti and Bolidda trees in their jungle enclave. Nature had conspired to add a touch of glory with a carpet of Mee Mora petals, three inches deep, welcoming any passers-by. Erabadu buds peep out of their luscious leafy stems awaiting the arrival of the Prince of New Year. They waft invitingly in the breeze. Mango and cashew branches are laden with tender fruits, jostling more..

Bad moon rising

Apr 17 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you to see how you were faring this New Year. After all, unlike in the past, because of Yahapaalanaya now we don’t have national television broadcasting live from your home when kevum, kokis and kiribath is served at the auspicious time! It was interesting to see you and your family wearing different shades of Green for the New Year. Some say that this is the more appropriate more..

FFSL injects a score of Soccer coaches into the system

Apr 17 (ST) A two-week training programme was conducted for 21 local coaches by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) in collaboration with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at the Baddegana Football Complex. After the programme, held from March 20 to April 2, the 21 coaches, who are currently involved in local football, received the AFC ‘C’ License in Coaching. The programme was conducted by a qualified AFC Instructor from Iran, Nader Arabi, who stated that more..

Govt politicians provide contrasting views on West Asian labour migration policy

Apr 17 (ST) Contrasting statements by govt politicians on economic and state policy surprised the audience attending an event connected to the proposed Cinnamon Trading Academy at Kosgoda, near Bentota last week. Initially Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Special Projects deputising for President Maithripala Sirisena, speaking at the laying of the foundation stone for Stage 2 of the Cinnamon Training Academy at Kosgoda, said they were proud that Sri Lankan women working in West Asia more..

Panama Papers: The Lankan connection

Apr 17 (SO) In the biggest information leak in history – the Panama Papers – an investigative journalistic effort by the US- based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has made disclosures on offshore companies and tax evasion records of some of the most rich and famous people in the world, as well as companies. Yet, in these disclosures, derived from tax records leaked from a Panamanian more..

Nestle sustains high dividend record on CSE

Apr 17 (Island) Nestle Lanka, one of the highest dividend paying companies quoted on the CSE, has closed 2015 with revenue up 9% from the previous year to Rs. 35.9 billion of which Rs. 6.7 billion went to the exchequer and Rs. 7.2 billion to the rural economy and an earning per share of Rs. 76.77 the bulk of which is being paid out to its over 5,000 shareholders. "In the light of your company’s consistent and solid performance, your directors were pleased to declare more..

Sri Lanka, in an unusual move, promotes visitors to China

Apr 17 (ST) SL’s top state tourism chief found himself, recently, in an unusual position of promoting travellers to another country, besides SL. When a delegation from the tourism authority of Guangdong Province in China visited SL to promote tourism in that region, SL Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana was invited as the chief guest at an event where some travel agents were also invited. “I find this an interesting moment where I am promoting visitors to China compared to inviting them here,” more..

Video: Weapons stolen from Laggala police station recovered

Apr 17 (AD) T56 rifle and 5 revolvers stolen from the Laggala police station on Thursday have been discovered near the water tank of a temple in Laggala. Following a search carried out based information received at 6am this morning (16), police officers found the firearms near a water tank in the premises of the Sandagala Viharaya in Wellewela, around 5km from the Laggala police station. Police suspect that individuals who stole the guns more..

Work life takes Sonakshi Sinha to Sri Lanka

Apr 17 (DC) Sonakshi Sinha definitely knows how to perfectly blend work with pleasure. The actress has headed to Sri Lanka for a shoot and her pictures are giving us some serious vacation goals. Her picture spree started with a pouting snap that was captioned, "Pouting tiger... Sleeping dragon. En route to location in #SriLanka for a shoot! Yipppeeee! #colombo #roadtrip #sonastravels." Sonakshi then shared a snap of herself wherein she is seen enjoying pool time. more..

Openly hidden

Apr 17 (Island) I teach social media verification, and recalled during a class I am teaching this week some of the content that came my way in the first half of 2009. The media landscape in general, and social media in particular, wasn’t then what it is now. Self-censorship was the norm, and high. Mainstream media, out of fear of violence or forcibly through the strict control of advertising revenue, accepted and published the govt’s propaganda without question. Social media was still a novelty – more..

Malinga leaps into another controversy

Apr 17 (ST) Once again is it a case of fast bowler Lasith Malinga testing the resolution of SL or him trying to match the haughty SLC administration on his own standards. Now it is reported that the injured national speed merchant Malinga who was specifically asked to refrain from taking part in the IPL tournament where he is turning out as a member of the Mumbai Indians is in India at present and is taking part in their training sessions. more..

MR assures President of some support

Apr 17 (SL) A meeting between President Maithripala Sirisena and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa took place last week, following discussions the latter had with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the PM’s Office in parliament recently. According to the sources, during his meeting with the President, Rajapaksa had agreed to support the govt on certain political issues and discussed the proposed plan to have a relationship with China and also certain acts to be presented in parliament. more..

SL Army to respond to HR report

Apr 17 (SL) Sri Lanka Army will respond to a US State Department report on human rights, based on the decisions taken by the govt in this regard. Brig. Jayanath Jayaweera said that the military will act upon the instructions given to them by the govt, and that the govt will take a decision on the matter shortly. USDS report, while commending the progress made with regard to reconciliation in SL thus far, notes that several serious human rights violations had taken place last year as well. more..

Sri Lankan team in Washington for IMF talks

Apr 17 (ST) A top official level Sri Lankan team headed by Central Governor Arjuna Mahendran is currently visiting Washington DC for further talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on an economic programme supported by a 36-month Extended Fund Facility (EFF). These talks would be continued till both sides arrive at a consensus on terms and conditions as well as the amount of the fund facility, they added. more..

Crucial changes and decisions after Avurudu holidays

Apr 17 (CT) Withdrawing Army personnel from security contingent of former President Rajapaksa has been the talking point during the last few weeks and the situation hit its peak with incumbent President Sirisena joining the ongoing debate. A number of Rajapaksa allies as well as those who are now not in good terms with him criticized the move alike, saying no matter what his (Rajapaksa's) flaws are he should be given proper security as Head of the State who ended terrorism. more..

Poverty in Rural Agriculture: Case for niche marketing

Apr 17 (ST) What Sri Lanka needs is a marketing system that would address market identification and marketability of produce based on the principle of competitive pricing, quality and services. The strategy proposed in this study revolves around the activation of agricultural output via market identification and marketability analysis. The activator is the system identified as ‘Improved Marketing’, which initially would target 50% of the annual agricultural (fruit and vegetable) more..

Sampur: from coal to gas

Apr 17 (SO) The govt will hold discussions with India and Japan, to convert the proposed coal-fired power plant in Sampur, from coal to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), due to pressure on the Govt from energy and environment experts not to go ahead with further coal-fired power plants. Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy Dr. Suren Batagoda said the Govt hopes to move towards LNG power plants and and other possible more..

Inspection of Colombo eateries to continue

Apr 17 (SO) Food inspectors will visit eateries in Colombo city this week to ensure customers are not served stale food due to the long New Year break. "There are over 2,000 eateries and hundreds of wayside eateries in the 47 wards in Colombo city. Although our inspectors visited all of them before the News Year, they will re-visit them after the New Year to ensure they serve clean food," Chief Public Health Inspector, Colombo Municipal Council, Lal Kumara said. more..

1,056 drunk drivers nabbed

Apr 17 (CT) Police have nabbed 1056 drivers, most of them motorcyclists, under the influence of alcohol during the New Year holidays. 569 motorcyclists were arrested since the operation was launched on 13 April including 124 arrests on the 14 and 15 April. The source said 333 three- wheel drivers were arrested in addition to 52 car drivers, 30 lorry drivers and 30 van drivers. Police launched the special round-the-clock operation covering the entire island to nab drunk drivers on 9 April too. more..

VAT price bomb after May Day

Apr 17 (ST) Low and middle income groups will be worst hit by the Govt’s move to raise Value Added Tax (VAT) to 15% from May 2. Set to rise are their telephone, water and electricity bills. This is on top of their having to pay more for consumer items, medical bills and even private education. The budget 2016 had proposed a two-band VAT rate – 8 and 12.5% instead of a single rate of 11%. This was, however, not implemented. more..

Troubled Entrust sued by a client, others to follow

Apr 17 (ST) One client of Entrust Securities (Entrust) has taken the company to courts over non-payment of funds while some others are contemplating the same move, sources said. A former director at a top Colombo firm has sued Entrust for Rs. 100 million in the Colombo High Court. “There are others (clients) who are also planning similar action,” an informed source told the Business Times. This high-riding company, which received lot of backing during the tenure of the former Rajapaksa regime, more..

PRECIFAC to complain about Gota’s disappearing act

Apr 17 (SL) Heads of security institutions have decided to hold special round-table discussions on national security headed by the President and PM immediately after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations. Accordingly, a request had been made to both state leaders in this regard and already a favourable response has been received from the President. A leader of a security institution said that a report prepared by the Intelligence Unit, in response to certain comments by more..

Mittal’s 65,000 steel houses under fire from Lankan experts

Apr 17 (ST) The proposed steel houses for the war-affected have inadequate foundations, insufficient roof support, are at risk of corrosion, are poorly ventilated and have no hearth and chimney, Moratuwa Universtiy experts have found after a detailed technical study. The controversial dwellings — erected by the Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal — also have poor or non-existent capacity for extension or repair, more..

Red Cross ordered to accept Defender linked to Thajudeen murder

Apr 17 (SL) Colombo Chief Magistrate has ordered that summons be issued to the Director of the Sri Lanka Red Cross, to appear in court to accept the Defender belonging to the Red Cross, impounded over the Thadjudeen murder trial. The Defender had been acquired by the then Minister Felix Perera and handed over to the Siriliya Saviya organization, which functioned under the former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa. Investigations had revealed that the Defender had been re-painted more..

President participates in oil anointing ceremony

Apr 17 (PSL) The state oil anointing ceremony for the New Year was held today (16) at the Sri Pushparama Temple in Malegoda, Payagala, with participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. After the religious activities, the Chief Incumbent of the Thripitakacharya Ven. Malegoda Nanda Thero anointed oil to the President at the auspicious time, 10.41a.m. During this occasion, the Maha Sangha chanted pirith and blessed the President and the people of the country. more..

Economic focus on IMF, political focus on May Day rally

Apr 17 (ST) Concerns over Sri Lanka’s deteriorating balance of payments crisis have heightened after an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission concluded its staff level talks with the Govt last Monday. The reason – the two sides reached broad consensus on an Extended Fund Facility of US$ 1.2 billion for a 36 month period from the IMF. This is on the basis of assurances on fiscal matters the IMF received from the govt. more..

Sri Lankans don’t need offshore banking facilities

Apr 18 (SL) Well known tax adviser Double Entry Silva was addressing an urgent meeting of the Sri Lanka Tax Avoidance Union. “Some of you in the audience, prior to this meeting, told me that it was a crying shame that so few Sri Lankan names and organisations have appeared in the Panama Papers. We are now supposed to be a middle income country. How come we don’t have enough wheeler-dealers to have secret offshore bank accounts? Don’t we have Camerons, Putins, more..

Continuing need for civil society pressure on govt

Apr 18 (CT) The political reforms taking place at the present time are subject to a major constraint. This stems from the fact that the govt of national unity is a composite that includes a large number of members of the previous govt. Many of them were part and parcel of the misgovernance and ethnic nationalism of the previous govt. While a few of them joined President Sirisena in leaving the govt at the last moment, it is likely that they would be held legally and morally accountable if more..

'Bid to clean up mess of Rajapaksa regime'

Apr 18 (SL) MP from the Gampaha District, Dr. Kavinda Jayawardena says that the good governance regime has no issues with China and they only criticised the Chinese projects, purely because the previous regime had not gone about those projects in a structured manner. He says that the good governance regime is now trying to clean up the mess created by Rajapaksa regime, and this is not a task that can be achieved overnight. more..

Current economic crisis & The central bank

Apr 18 (CT) Sri Lanka’s current economic crisis is no more a secret today. In a previous article in this series, this writer drew the attention of economic policy makers to its threefold manifestation. It was manifested on the foreign exchange front, fiscal front and the money and credit front which all led to slow down the economic growth. The article under reference warned the policymakers that their response to the crisis was too short and too late. The crisis was hidden by both more..

Gratitude: An interesting concept

Apr 18 (SL) What follows is not an attempt at some intellectual exercise but some random thoughts that have arisen thanks to public perceptions and applications of the term gratitude and, on a more personal level, the practice of gratitude, in a variety of ways without any reference to what the sum total of cause and effect amounts to in the matter. It has now become, thanks to a shallow and irresponsible media, graven into the granite of Sri Lankan history that the Rajapaksas, more..

The kidney quandary

Apr 18 (SO) Three months ago, the Indian media exposed a thriving kidney trade between the two countries, shocking the Sri Lankan health sector and raising eyebrows about the organ transplant rackets and system failures. Indian media, quoting their police sources, named six Sri Lankan doctors who were allegedly linked to the racket together with six privately-managed hospitals. Reeling under intense scrutiny and more..

Sri Lankan accommodations dazzle visitors

Apr 18 (KH) The hotel industry in Sri Lanka is rising, adding to a growing list of international accolades from guidebooks and magazines, including the Lonely Planet and the National Geographic Traveler. Along with infrastructures being built across the country, its connectivity with the world has improved, and the country welcomes tourists from all corners of the globe. Hilton Colombo, located in the capital city’s business district, offers a wide range of accommodation, more..

Editorial: Sobering reality kicks in

Apr 18 (Island) Avurudu is thought to be the season of forgiveness. It is the time when people mend fences. But, this spirit of goodwill was conspicuous by its absence in the political sphere during the last several days of mirth. Politicians took their rivalries to the celestial level, so to speak. The Joint Opposition has claimed the Avurudu auspicious times were prepared in such a way that they were favourable to the govt and its leaders. Former President Rajapaksa is reported to more..

Mahinda Amaraweera