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Hausmann & govt in the hot seat

Feb 1 (CT) Economists are a funny species. You speak to two and get three opinions. But in today’s context, this may be a very fair statement about them. That is because when you speak to two of them, you are likely to get more than 100 opinions. This is not a new problem with economists. Kautilya, 4th century BCE guru on economics, gave a fine piece of advice to his king in the Arthashastra on how to tackle economists. Consult them because it is better than making decisions alone. more..

Editorial: Alice in Wonderland

Feb 1 (Island) Alice Akka, bedecked with jewellery she had bought by sending vetakolu and pothala to Tokyo about 15 years back, was on her way to a vegetable plot, to harvest some green chillies with a view to purchasing a Lamborghini when she fell into a rabbit hole. She hurtled down through a dark void for some time before having a pratfall like a cocky political leader who opts for a snap election only to suffer an ignominious defeat. Nursing her derriere and almost dazzled by a bright light, more..

Asela Sampath’s lonely crusade boomerangs!

Feb 1 (CT) National Organizer of Canteen Owners' Association Asela Sampath who was arrested by the Police last week, says that he went to meet the President to discuss shortcomings in the canteens and to inform the President about the low quality of food items sold in canteens. Q: What is the problem that compelled you to meet the President with the entire family? A: I am a person who exposes the shortcomings of the products more..

Media bashing begins: The honeymoon with new govt ends

Feb 1 (ST) Any journalist worth his salt knows only too well, the media is the darling of politicians only when they are out of power. When in power, unless one is absolutely willing to toe their line, journalists soon becomefoes from being friends. Hence, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe‘s outburst against journalists and several media organisations is not something to be surprised about, as the honeymoon between a new govt in power and the media is almost always short lived. more..

On mad monks and chaotic govt

Feb 1 (ST) Several wickedly problematic tragi-comedies are playing on Sri Lanka’s political stage right now, none of which are to the benefit of the country. The spectacle of mad monks running amok in the Homagama Magistrate’s Court abusing the magistrate, the lawyers and the wife of disappeared journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda during an ongoing court hearing this week was unprecedented, assessed even by the abysmal non-governance that prevailed during the Rajapaksa decade. more..

SL joins the global fight against ivory trading

Feb 1 (SO) Conservationists’ slogan apart, by practice, only elephants should wear ivory, seemed to be the idea behind a special ceremony in Colombo last Tuesday when a confiscated consignment of ivory was ceremonially crushed and later burnt. Even in a world, galvanised into action, ivory trading continues unabated. It still makes poachers and traders rich and elephants dead. Sri Lanka became 16th country to destroy ivory more..

Davos Forum, Sinha le and a monk remanded

Feb 1 (SO) This cat read the Sunday papers avidly – she means Sunday January 24 – to see how political columnists commented on Ranil Wickremasinghe’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Menika was really overjoyed to see the country’s Prime Minister being welcomed as an invited participant at the Forum. He met many global VIPs one to one. The meeting he hosted was very well attended. Menika saw him looking good and comfortable, well groomed and apparently relaxed whomever more..

In a Nutshell

Feb 1 (SL) Office of the once powerful official who defends Paradise Isle is no longer what it used to be. During the period of the former Kingdom, the one defended Paradise Isle with secretarial work wielded much power and found abode at an extensive official residence down Stanmore Way. However, those who had succeeded former secretary under yahapalana system however have not been so lucky. Kind-sena who is the newest soul to hold the office has not been lucky at all. more..


Independence not an accident: Inspiring examples from then Muslim leaders

Feb 1 (CT) A Small Island of many people, wrote S.J. Thambiah, in his lucidly written book, Sri Lanka–Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy, whose political machinery is running down in an environment of increasing fragmentation and factionalism. The hopes of yesterday…have become fast evaporating fantasies. Peter Kloos in Democracy, Civil War and the Demise of the Trias Politica in Sri Lanka, attempts to understand how and why such hopes and aspirations of more..

No more backing out at the hour of need, please!

Feb 1 (Island) I am not making an indiscriminate attack on all monk activists. The vast majority of them genuinely represent Buddhist interests while upholding those of the minority communities. I have no doubt that the monks of the Bodu Bala Sena organization belong to that category despite their raucous bluster. My idea is that it would be good if those of our monks who have decided to agitate against perceived or real threats to their peaceful existence were properly restrained, more..

Demand for fresh milk up 16%, supply shrinks

Feb 1 (SO) The annual demand for fresh milk in the country has increased by 16% while the supply is growing at a snails pace resulting in more imports of milk powder at a staggering cost each year, statistics reveal. Sri Lanka’s annual milk requirement is around 750 million tonnes while local production is around 300 million tonnes. Sri Lanka spends around US$ 400 million a year on imports of milk products a year. more..

Hitting the LTTE hard in Toronto

Feb 1 (Island) A youth in Toronto told me that the small plane which carried the banner saying ‘Protect Canada. Stop Tamil Tigers’ was sponsored by Ruwan Jayakody, a peace loving Sri Lankan Canadian living in Toronto. Sri Lanka should be thankful to Ruwan for digging deep into his pockets on behalf of Canada and Sri Lanka. Youth groups carried out their activities exposing and shamming the LTTE terrorists in Canada courageously. They said enough was enough. more..

Sri Lanka's road to economic liftoff

Feb 1 (FA) George Soros declared in January that the world is witnessing only the beginning of the decline of financial markets and only the beginning of Sri Lanka being the exception.The billionaire investor made the bold claim at a conference in Colombo one year after the country’s strongman president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was unexpectedly ousted by a broad coalition of former colleagues from his SLFP and the main opposition UNP. Under the stewardship of country’s new president, more..

Proposed economic agreement with India: Lessons from the recent past

Feb 1 (Island) If I am asked to isolate the single most potent factor underlying the anxiety felt by large sections of the Sri Lankan business community, I would answer without hesitation that central problem is the fear that practical considerations, as experience shows, often thwart the substance of contractual arrangements. Host of administrative and bureaucratic impediments which stand in the way of Sri Lanka deriving more..

2016: Ratifying the Trade Facilitation Agreement and the Year of Digital Customs

Feb 1 (Island) This blog is written to commemorate World Customs Day, which falls on Jan 26th 2016. The focus of this article is the reforms and preparations undertaken by Sri Lanka to ratify the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and some key initiatives undertaken by the Sri Lanka Customs in line with this year's slogan, Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement. WTO Members reached consensus on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Dec 2013, marking a significant more..

Fish up 5-17%

Feb 1 (CT) In a country like Sri Lanka where there are high incidents of malnourishment, policymakers need to know the deleterious nature of food inflation and take appropriate steps to arrest such a situation. In respect of flesh eating, a vital source of animal protein, the highest intake among Sri Lankans being fish, with other animal sources of protein such as chicken taking a backseat, in this connection, the prices of some sample prices of fish available at the Fisheries Trade Centre, more..

‘Traffic congestions burn Rs. 1 billion a day’

Feb 1 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka, keynote speaker at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka's (NCCSL) Meet the Minister discussion last week said, ‘Traffic jams burn approximately one billion rupees worth gasoline and other fuel products every day.’ Vehicle imports in 1950 were merely 5000 units each month. However, last year, 2015, recorded facts were that 60,000 vehicles were imported every month, and more..

Sri Lanka keen on tie-up to promote indigenous medicine

Feb 1 (Hindu) Health Minister Rajith Senarathne has called for a tie-up between his country and the govt of Kerala in promoting indigenous systems of medicine. Addressing the inaugural of the five-day Global Ayurveda Festival here on Sunday, he said it was important to strengthen and modernise these systems of medicine instead of relying only on modern medicine. Pointing out Kerala’s strengths in promoting and sustaining Ayurveda, he called for collaboration in research, more..

Top corporates pledge Rs. 700 m for MTI’s idea2fund

Feb 1 (FT) Sri Lanka’s top corporates from various industries have pledged in a total Rs. 700 million for MTI’s idea2fund. The investment pool of Rs. 700 million is to encourage budding entrepreneurs with business ideas to start up through the idea2fund platform. idea2fund, an initiative by MTI Corporate Finance was launched to promote entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. Having identified that access to funding and go-to-market advisory as the gaps in the start-up environment, more..

Megapolis project will develop Colombo into an economically powerful city: PM

Feb 1 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the $ 40 billion mega development plan launched to develop the capital Colombo and the Western Province will transform the capital city into one of the most economically powerful cities in the world. He said the aim of the Megapolis project is to allow Sri Lankans to enjoy all facilities that people in developed cities such as London, Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo enjoy. more..

Sixteen Sri Lankans among 351 players up for IPL auction

Feb 1 (DN) As many as 351 cricketers are set to go under the hammer when the 2016 IPL Players' Auction takes place in Bengaluru on Feb 6. However, only a maximum of 116 players can be bought at the auction. The full list of players short-listed for the auctions has been released. It includes 130 capped players, 219 uncapped players and two from Associate Nations. Out of these, 230 are Indians and 121 foreigners. List was trimmed down from the original list of 714 cricketers more..

SLT launches national cloud, Akaza

Feb 1 (SO) SLT launched the country's National Cloud, Akaza, raising the bar in cloud computing in SL. Akaza provides end-to-end cloud computing services enabling business organisations with enhanced agility, quick service delivery and cost efficiencies while providing maximum ROI and improved scalability. Akaza's technology integrates all its cloud services including IaaS, STaaS, PaaS, DaaS, SaaS & CaaS with business management platform of corporate enterprises. more..

ETCA to tap huge regional market

Feb 1 (DN) PM Narendra Modi's Make in India strategy will create opportunities for linking into new and expanding value chains in domestic as well as multinational companies operating in India for Sri Lankans, Minister Malik Samarawickreme said. Improving infrastructure in both countries is reducing transaction costs and thereby increasing the advantages of proximity, he said. Speaking at the Invest in East forum he said that more..

Sri Lankan expats all set to celebrate Independence Day

Feb 1 (GT) The Sri Lankan community in Qatar is all set to celebrate the 68th Independence Day (Nidahas Udanaya 2016) that falls on February 4. The celebrations are going bigger and better this year with the embassy of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Coordinating Committee (SLCC) planning cultural programmes. There would also be events for members of diplomatic community. A musical event has been organised on February 5 at Radisson Blu Hotel commencing at 5pm. more..

SEUSL staff don exercise gear to promote fitness

Feb 1 (CT) A large number of academic and non academic staff members of the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka (SEUSL) enthusiastically participated in the National Sports and Physical Fitness Promotion programme declared by the Ministry of Sports, National Youth Services Council and Presidential Secretariat and which was held at the Oluvil Campus Grounds recently. The department of physical education had made all the arrangements in this connection under more..

Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaath files FR

Feb 1 (DN) Sri Lanka Thawheed Jamaath, a Muslim Welfare Association has filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Defence Secretary’s decision to prevent the entry of TN Islamic scholar Jainul Abideen and two other priests for a function scheduled to be held last year. The petitioners had cited Immigration and Emigration Controller General, Defence Ministry Secretary, Muslim Religious & Cultural Affairs more..

Remembering Upali Wijewardene

Feb 1 (Island) The 33rd anniversary of the disappearance of Mr Upali Wijewardene, the Founder Chairman of Upali Group of Companies, falls on Feb. 13. Mr Wijewardene and party disappeared, while returning to Colombo from Malaysia in his private jet on May 13 1983. The Upali Group, its employees and sales agents islandwide have made arrangements to commemorate the anniversary with religious ceremonies such as Bodhi Pooja, more..

Omani Chamber keen to invest in Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (DN) Omani Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Said Saleh Said Al Kiyumi, who visited the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce during this week said, Oman is ready to look at big Sri Lankan projects to invest. Kiyumi and his team, who was in the country to attend the Eastern Investment forum said they are willing to look at projects in the areas of tourism, property development, SME development and many more. "We like to invest in big projects, which SL is planning to launch, more..

Sergeant Major and Corporal spill the beans

Feb 1 (DN) A Sergeant Major and a Corporal arrested in connection with journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda’s disappearance have given statements to the CID linking a senior official of the previous administration to the incident. They confessed to the Police that they got involved in the case as a Lieutenant Colonel attached to the intelligence wing - who is also in remand - dragged them into the incident saying it was an order more..

'Chilaw Plantation Company funds misused'

Feb 1 (DN) PRECIFAC in its investigations revealed that funds of the state-owned Chilaw Plantation Company had been heavily misused for the Presidential election, Uva Provincial Council and May Day propaganda campaigns. Even though it had been stated that the money was taken to provide relief measures to the displaced and provide aid to flood victims, the money had been spent for political propaganda campaigns. Investigating officers found out 17 irregularities more..

Suspect arrested with 20 kg of heroin

Feb 1 (Island) Acting on a tip-off the Ambalangoda police have taken a person into custody along with 20 kilos of heroin on Saturday night. Police identified the suspect as a resident of Madampagama, Kuligoda in the Ambalangoda police area. A senior police officer said that the suspect had been arrested near the govt hospital at Walawwatte, Madamagama. The suspect carried a parcel containing over one kilo of heroin. During initial interrogation, the suspect had claimed that more..

Joint Opposition not surprised

Feb 1 (CT) Joint Opposition stated that it did not come as a surprise to them that Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa was arrested and remanded last week. MP Ranjith De Soysa said that it had become a norm of late for the rule of law in the island to apply differently to individuals. Joint Opposition would be striving to ensure that the law was applied equally to all and was not manipulated or politically influenced in any way. more..

Shiranthi summoned by PRECIFAC today

Feb 1 (CT) Former first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa will be summoned to the PRECIFAC at 1:00 p.m., today, Director of PRECIFAC, Lacille De Silva said. He added yesterday that she was summoned to record a statement on a house which was transferred to her media consultant by the name of Milinda Ratnayaka. "The house is valued in the range of about Rs 5.5Mn, however it had been transferred to Ratnayaka simply for Rs 0.5Mn," he said. In mid 2015, she was also questioned by FCID more..

Apex Muslim body silent on women contesting polls

Feb 1 (Island) Female Muslim politicians are in a quandary as regards the forthcoming local govt elections as the apex body of Muslim organisations had not yet made known its position on Muslim women contesting polls. The govt had decided to allow 25 per cent of the seats to females and the All Ceylon Jemmiyathul Ulama’s (ACJU) silence on the issue was puzzling, said a Muslim politician. He added that as a result Muslim women were at a distinct disadvantage. more..

Tamil People’s Council calls for recognition of self determination

Feb 1 (CT) The Tamil People’s Council called for the recognition that Tamils constitute a distinct people with the inalienable right to self-determination in a draft set of proposals, calling for a political agreement prior to a constitutional enactment in Sri Lanka. The ‘Report of the Sub-Committee on Finding a Political Solution to the National Question’ was released at the Veerasingam Hall in Jaffna on Sunday. more..

Bridging economic growth and social justice

Feb 1 (DM) In what the govt described as the mega development project of the development year 2016, President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with Minister Champika Ranawaka presided at an Independence Square ceremony on Friday to launch a 15-year Western Province, and Megapolis Project. Though some Opposition critics or cynics say that in several other countries such Megapolis projects have failed or backfired, we need to think positively, more..

Responsibility, Autonomy & Geneva Resolution

Feb 1 (DM) The resolution co-sponsored by our govt at UNHRC is a mutual agreement entered into by Sri Lanka, as a Sovereign Member State of the UN, which recognises our responsibility to embark on a process of reconciliation among communities that will foster peace and prosperity. This resolution is an opportunity to do what is right, by ourselves and for ourselves, and for our future generations. Over the many decades, including the post-war period, there have been assassinations, abductions, more..

Integrating students to help reconciliation

Feb 1 (SL) As efforts are taken at various levels to bridge the differences between the communities in the country, one proposal which has now been made is to build mutual understanding among students. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has proposed integrating students from different backgrounds in each school in the country. She has proposed need to have students of different communities more..

Polythene ban: CEA gets tough

Feb 1 (DN) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) will take legal action against those who produce, store and sell polythene less than 20 microns from tomorrow. CEA Chairman Prof. Lal Dharmasiri said that the law on polythene ban would be strictly enforced throughout the country on the directives of President. Instruments to measure the micron levels were distributed to all provincial offices of the CEA. more..