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Path to the legislature

Feb 17 (SL) UNFGG has ruffled many feathers during its short span of roughly 13 months. While announcing that it would aim for the highest standards of good governance and transparency, the administration has now appointed defeated candidates to parliament, cabinet of ministers, appointed Rajapaksa lackeys and cronies back into top slots in the administration and failed to take significant concrete action against the majority of the masterminds behind nefarious activities. more..

SF & RW backtrack on democracy

Feb 17 (CT) A few weeks ago, Krishantha Cooray, member of the UNP’s Working Committee and a well-known mover-shaker of that party, especially when it comes to positioning the party in the media, wrote an article titled The Ranil-Factor in 2016 and Beyond. Krishantha correctly pointed out that defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa was just one necessary element in a longer and a broader struggle to establish democracy & good governance. “We are in the infant days of reform,” more..

'War violations probe is Sri Lanka's decision'

Feb 17 (SO) Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, may have been relieved that the kind of SL hospitality that his delegation received during his visit here last week was quite unlike the abusive welcome extended by some pro-govt activist groups and ministers of the previous govt when his predecessor, Ms. Navi Pillay, visited SL. Indeed, at the press briefing at the end of his visit, more..

Defeating the demons of our past

Feb 17 (SL) We will not allow anyone to do whatever they want in collaboration with Prince Zeid al-Hussein of Jordan,” said a firebrand MP Namal Rajapaksa at a meeting held in Lunugamvehera. Addressing a public meeting, former president Rajapaksa too expressed views similar to that of his son, on the arrival of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to SL. “Prince Hussein has come here and is looking for evidence,” shouted the one-time President at the top of his lungs, more..

New constitution: Need to address post-war challenges effectively

Feb 17 (CT) Ever since the political changes which ensued in 2015, there appears to be another social contract between the govt and the people of Sri Lanka in the forming. Clear signs are there in the horizon that people are now waking upto the reality that country needs a qualitative change of the political culture and a national reconciliation platform, in order to go forward, and that such changed realities are calling for their active participation, inclusion, and transparency to more..

Unless reformed, Police could be a threat to National Security

Feb 17 (CT) Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR) Keerthi Tennakoon wrote to President, PM and IGP last week of the need to immediately reform the Police. Tennakoon claims that unless the organizational culture of abusing power changes, it will not win the trust and support of the people, which is essential to overcome the current threats posed to national security. more..

Unassailable Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)

Feb 17 (DN) SLFP, throughout the period of its existence, successfully maintained organizational unity, comparable stability and continuity as the major political formation of this country and it, though experienced numerous political setbacks and difficulties relating to both organization and policies, overcame those challenges mounted by a segment of its membership on different occasions. Sometimes these things happened with the connivance of the party in power. more..

Icon ever-present

Feb 17 (DN) In the early afternoon of Feb 16, 1988, two assassins riding a motorbike visited the house of a politician loved by many Sri Lankans and burst a round of T56 bullets to his face. This attack saw the fall one of SL’s brilliant politicians in the most cruel manner right outside his house while his children Vimukthi, Yasodara and his beloved wife Chandrika Kumaratunga were at the house. This was the revenge taken by assassins who called this man a traitor and sent many death treats more..

Minister Champika Ranawaka

Geneva demands less intrusive and intimidating military presence in N & E

Feb 17 (Island) UNHRC has interpreted the first step in security sector reform as withdrawal of a section of security forces from Northern and Eastern Provinces. Northern Province comprises the administrative districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya. Eastern Province consists of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, didn’t mince his words when he called for the reduction of the military force, deployed in the two provinces, more..

Editorial: A simmering volcano

Feb 17 (Island) The riot police yesterday liberally used water cannon and tear gas to disperse a protest by thousands of unemployed graduates who took to the streets in Colombo, demanding jobs. Their protests are not of recent origin. Successive govts have attempted ad hoc remedies without addressing the root causes of the problem. The problem of graduate unemployment cannot be wished away. Nor can it be solved with tear gas, water cannon, road blocks and more..

Sri Lankans reject nepotism: Poll

Feb 17 (FT) Latest nationwide survey reveals that the public is dead set against nepotism. Outraged Sri Lankans have sharply criticised certain questionable appointments made by National Unity Govt. A whopping 79% of respondents feel that nepotism is an inalienable part of SL culture, with only 15% disagreeing with this view. An even greater number (87%) say that nepotism was rife during previous regime. more..

USD 700mn from JICA for BIA expansion

Feb 17 (Island) The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has approved US $ 200 million out of a US 700 million concessionary loan agreement for the expansion of the BIA. "Out of the total loan of US$ 700 million it has approved US$ 200 million and now we are in the process of selecting a suitable contractor to build the new airport terminal, which will increase annual air passenger movement/ capacity more than the double, JICA Chief Representative, SL, Kiyoshi Amada said. more..

Rising from the ashes, but much left to do

Feb 17 (LI) President Maithripala Sirisena has plenty of links to the country’s bloody past but now he needs to look to the future. He has five years left of a generous six year presidential term and will need all that time — and more — to introduce the reforms the country so urgently needs. Sri Lanka's civil war ended in May 2009, when the military under President Mahinda Rajapaksa crushed Tamil separatist forces in a series of bloody offensives in the country's north east. more..

CAA to impose higher fines

Feb 17 (FT) New amendments to the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Act are being studied by its Board before finalisation. The Consumer Affairs Authority Act No. 9 of 2003 has been criticised by several parties, citing it as outdated and urging its amendment since 2014. Half of the process has already been finalised while the remainder will be concluded in the near future, according to a top CAA official. more..

Whose SLFP is it anyway?

Feb 17 (HP) 2015 proved to be an unpredictable year for Sri Lankan politics. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the man who ended the country's civil war in 2009 was booted out of office by an unanticipated challenger, Maithripala Sirisena. Like Rajapaksa, Sirisena is a longtime member of the SLFP and was even a member of Rajapaksa's cabinet. Sirisena promised that he'd govern in a less authoritarian way than Rajapaksa and was backed by a diverse coalition. In order to win the presidency, more..

CSE to introduce risk-based capital adequacy requirement for stockbroker firms

Feb 17 (DM) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is in the process of implementing a risk-based capital adequacy requirement to all stockbroker firms which are members/trading members of the CSE and licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC). The risk-based capital adequacy requirement would replace the minimum net capital requirement of Rs.35 million, which is currently applicable to stockbroker firms. The net capital is derived by deducting more..

Govt ready to offer management of new East Container Terminal to private sector

Feb 17 (Island) SL Ports Authority is planning to hand over the management of Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal (ECT) to a suitable company, according to Ports and Shipping Ministry. Authority however will retain the controlling stake of 51% of ECT shares. Ministry Spokesman said that it had not been yet decided whether or not the management should be given to a suitable company after completing construction work more..

IFS Sri Lanka secures Bangladeshi textile giant Hamid Fabrics

Feb 17 (DN) The leading textile supplier to Bangladesh's large apparel industry automates its operations with an IFS solution focused on manufacturing and maintenance. IFS, the global enterprise applications company, announces that Hamid Fabrics of Bangladesh has chosen to deploy IFS Applications(tm) 9. The company will see a fully-fledged manufacturing, maintenance, finance, and distribution solution implemented at the company's head office and 3 mills in Bangladesh. more..

CB probe finds enough meat to act against top Entrust officials

Feb 17 (ST) A due diligence study conducted by the Central Bank (CB) on the affairs of troubled Entrust Securities PLC has revealed that there’s enough evidence to prosecute the company’s senior management, CB officials said. CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran was tight lipped on it but confirmed that the due diligence was concluded. He said a forensic audit that’s underway will reveal the exact position in the company after which a restructuring plan will be set by the CB. more..

Shooting rocks Balapitiya court

Feb 17 (Island) An unidentified gunman yesterday shot two suspects in a murder case opposite Balapitiya Magistrate’s  Court, killing one of them and injuring the other. Five suspects including the two victims had come to the court in connection with a case being heard there. Among them was a Buddhist monk. Three of them had been on their way to a tea kiosk across the street when they came under attack. One of them escaped unhurt. more..

Sri Lanka bailout

Feb 17 (CT) The World Bank group is planning to have a one-on-one discussion with the IMF delegation, which is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka late next month, sources close to both parties told Ceylon Today. "They will jointly evaluate our economy," they said. Depending on these discussions, the World Bank (WB) Group is planning to launch their budgetary support programme, which is currently being finalized by the Finance Ministry and the WB, sources said. more..

SL Navy denies attacking TN fishermen

Feb 17 (FT) Denying the alleged attack on Indian fishermen in the sea near Kachchativu, SL Navy said it was only apprehending those who crossed the country’s territorial waters. “SLN will never attack or do any physical harm to the innocent fishermen even when they cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). But we will take them into custody and will hand over them to the Police or the Department of Fisheries for further legal action,” SLN Media Spokesman said. more..

'Will sack Yoshitha if charges are proved'

Feb 17 (DM) Yoshitha Rajapaksa, a Lieutenant in the Navy, and currently in remand custody on charges of financial irregularities at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) would be sacked if found guilty of the charges, Navy said. Navy Spokesman Akram Alavi said the Navy was also conducting two investigations in connection with Yoshitha's alleged unauthorized overseas travel and his involvement in politics while being a naval officer. more..

'New Constitution, a timely need'

Feb 17 (DN) It is a timely need to introduce a new Constitution since the foundation of the present Constitution has cracked, President's Counsel and UPFA National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said. "As everyone expects, moves are being taken to introduce a most suitable Constitution to the country," he said. Dr. Wickramaratne said that Executive Powers along with Executive Presidency was further strengthened with passing of 18th Amendment more..

CBSL stops protecting Rupee

Feb 17 (CT) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) let go of protecting the rupee this week, with 'spot next' being quoted at Rs 144.35 to the US dollar in interbank spot trading yesterday, while there were 'spot' bids at Rs 144.10 both yesterday and on Monday. Nevertheless, it's not clear whether any trades were done at the new spot prices. Demand, however is building up, sources said. Previously, CBSL, using the twin instruments of moral suasion and selective selling of dollars more..

New Zealand PM to visit Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (Scoop) New Zealand PM John Key will make an official visit to Sri Lanka next week to highlight the growing commercial and political ties between the two countries. Mr Key will meet with President and PM as well as speak with a number of local businesspeople to promote New Zealand’s interests in the region. He will also lead a business delegation to focus on the significant opportunities to diversify trade between more..

Sri Lanka to move towards taxing capital: PM

Feb 17 (EN) Sri Lanka will progressively move to tax capital in the future and reduce dependence of taxing less rich people through import duties, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "Now 80% of the tax is paid by the poor and rich and the super-rich who own 80% of the wealth pay only 20%," PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said at a forum releasing a poverty analysis data by the World Bank, a multilateral lender. "When we were young our parent paid estate tax, wealth tax, capital gains tax." more..

SAG: Colourful ceremony marks end

Feb 17 (CT) The last Sri Lanka Golden hopes too went down the drain as all three female boxers had to be satisfied with Silver medals in the boxing finals at the South Asian Games. Five times World Champion Mary Kom beat Anusha Kodithuwakku in the fly weight (48-51kg) finals. Kodithuwakku was injured during the fight. Kodithuwakku's knee ligament had been damaged when Kom fell on top of her inside the ring, and the bout ended through a technical time out. more..

Ranil gives ultimatum to private sector

Feb 17 (FT) Holding fast to Govt efforts to reduce protectionism, tough-talking PM Ranil Wickremesinghe read the riot act to the private sector, telling them to get ready to do business with international companies or face broadened capital gains taxes. Speaking at the launch of the Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) conducted by the World Bank to identify the main constraints to sustaining progress in ending poverty and more..

Ruvini Dias Bandaranayake new MD at Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau

Feb 17 (FT) The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), the nation’s catalyst for tourism promotion, yesterday announced the appointment of Ruvini Dias Bandaranayake as its New Managing Director. Together with Chairman P.M. Withana, Bandaranayke will be expected lead the team at Sri Lanka Tourism to strengthen the country’s tourism industry and further develop Sri Lanka’s position in the world tourism ranks via various promotional and marketing activities. more..

Chandrika surprised at MR's participation at Vijaya Kumaratunge commemoration

Feb 17 (DN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunge said that it was strange to see former President Mahinda Rajapaksa participating at an event to commemorate late politician and artiste Vijaya Kumaratunge, as Rajapaksa did not even participate at Vijaya's funeral. Former President Rajapaksa participated in a event at the New Town Hall in Colombo to commemorate the 28th death anniversary of politician and famous actor Vijaya Kumaratunge yesterday. more..

Police use water cannon, tear gas to disperse jobless graduates

Feb 17 (Island) Police used tear gas and water canon to disperse a protest march by unemployed graduates at Lotus Roundabout yesterday as the protesters went past the Fort Railway Station in defiance of a court order. The protest march was originally scheduled to end at the PM’s office after handing over a statement to the PM’s secretary. Convener of the Combined Union of Unemployed Graduates, said that their march more..

PM warns private firms not to fund protests against trade deals

Feb 17 (EN) SL's private firms not to fund protests to stop a trade deal with India, but be prepared to compete with the world instead of being a burden on the poor, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "We expect the private sector to go and compete with the world," he said. "Don't just stay here and pay people to shout not to enter into agreements with India. When people go the streets in March you will learn a lesson." "Don't waste time going on streets. Media should also not waste time with the GMOA." more..

UNP no truck splintering SLFP

Feb 17 (CT) UNP says it will not approve the move by several members of the SLFP to divide the SLFP. Speaking at a public rally in Bandaragama, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said it is of paramount importance to have solid parties in the country. "We want the SLFP members to gather around President Sirisena. The country needs a party like the SLFP. However, cronies of Mahinda Rajapaksa are power hungry. They will do anything to grab power and escape prosecution," he said, more..

'Emergence of new party inevitable'

Feb 17 (Island) Former SLFP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa declared that emergence of a new political outfit was now a certainty. He asserted that the country needed an alternative political party against the backdrop of UNP, a section of SLFP, JVP as well as TNA pursuing a common strategy. Basil Rajapaksa was appearing live on television for the first time since President Rajapaksa’s defeat at presidential polls. more..

Corruption in Health Sector puts life at risk

Feb 17 (DM) With the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) getting back to work after its chairman Prof. Laal Jayakody and CEO Prof. Krishantha Weerasuriya agreed to come back to their posts, it is pertinent to look at some of the details about how international pharmaceutical networks function, what it does in Sri Lanka and what we as a country need to do to prevent undue influence on our health sector. Transparency International UK, British Chapter of more..

Geneva jazz, SLFP blues and Sinhala rage

Feb 17 (DM) I had a great time at the Colombo Jazz and Blues Festival and a bad one reading about the Consultational Task Force of NGO types to enforce the intrusive, US-driven Geneva resolution under the monitoring of a UN expert. “An eleven-member Consultation Task Force will enforce provisions of the US-backed resolution…Its work will be carried out with the help of a UN expert who will arrive in Colombo next week. He is Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, more..

Mawathagama youth turning out Rockets

Feb 17 (DM) When most of the developed countries are making a frantic effort to conquer the space with the use of Rockets, unmanned and with spacecraft carrying Astronauts, a youth from Sri Lanka living in Welikumbura Mawathagama is attempting to build a Rocket that could be sent to space. He is Thiwanka Dissanayake, presently a student at the Moratuwa SL German Technical Institute. more..

U.S. assists Sri Lanka Customs to develop trade potential

Feb 17 (USE) Legal experts from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Customs and Border Protection collaborated with 20 senior officials from Sri Lanka Customs in Colombo last week on reforming customs procedures to enhance trade. The effort seeks to improve efficiency and transparency for businesses, allowing Sri Lanka to develop more fully its export potential and advance investment opportunities. more..