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Thieves have field day at BIA

July 21 (Island) The BIA located in the high security zone has become a den of thieves with passengers belongings on the baggage carousel being stolen frequently. One of the victims who had access to the CCTV camera footage in the Airport, said that she had been able to recover her bag after tracing the suspect. The suspect’s house was raided by the police accompanied by the victim and the stolen bag recovered. "There have been about 76 complaints so far," an officer of BIA said. more..

PM to use Singapore expertise for Beira Lake development

July 21 (LBO) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the country is looking forward to using Singapore’s expertise for the Beira Lake and development of the surrounding area. Wickremesinghe made these comments during an observation tour around Singapore riverside. The PM said Sri Lanka is ready to use Singapore riverside development as a model to develop Beira Lake area, as he shared his views with experts and entrepreneurs who converted the one time polluted river. more..

Private tuition, seminars banned in the run-up to GCE A/L

July 21 (Island) All seminars, workshops and private tuition classes for students sitting the GCE A/L exam, scheduled to be held from August 2 to 27, have been banned with effect from July 27 midnight till August 27 when exam is scheduled to be over. The distribution of model papers, displaying banners or posters, delivering leaflets with material connected to the examination and home visits by private tutors were also illegal during the stipulated period. more..

Politics of the middle finger

July 21 (CT) ‘Coitus whilst concealing cojones is a risqué but a refreshingly apt Sinhala quip which ridicules blatantly obvious subterfuge of charlatans. Cojones in context is courage to do something. The absence of cojones implies undersupply of courage. The relevance of pithy expression compels me to use it to anchor this commentary on UNP led good governance of the past 18 months. There is nothing wrong with Arjuna Mahendran making a comeback in admiration of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Inflation accelerates to 6.4% in June 2016

July 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's rate of inflation, as measured by National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), picked up to 6.4% in June from a year ago, compared with a 5.3% increase in May. It was the highest NCPI inflation since June 2015 and the fifth straight monthly rise after falling 0.7% in Jan 2016. On month-on-month basis, the new National Consumer Price Index (NCPI), compiled using prices collected from all nine provinces with more..

Sri Lanka budget deficit of 4.7% of GDP for 2017 gets cabinet nod

July 21 (EN) Cabinet had approved a budget deficit of 4.7% of gross domestic product for 2017, down from a targeted 5.4% this year, in line with targets agreed with the IMF. Minister Ravi Karunanayake had proposed capital expenditure to 5% for 2017. Under a program agreed with the IMF, Sri Lanka is expecting to increase revenue and grants to 14% of GDP in 2017 from 13% in 2016. A planned value added tax hike imposed in May 2016 as part of measures to increase revenues, more..

Jaffna University safe for undergrads to return: Cooray

July 21 (Island) Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray invited undergraduates who had been forced to return to Colombo following last Saturday’s violent incident in the University of Jaffna to return to Jaffna and resume their studies. Cooray said the governt would assure their safety. He said, "They can stay back if they have no trust in the govt assurances." Asked why the govt had so far failed to take into custody a single person responsible for the violence Cooray said more..

No loss to govt on coal deal: Siyambalapitiya

July 21 (DM) Govt had not incurred any loss due to the coal purchasing deal as alleged by some people and a committee of experts had been appointed to look into the matter, Minister of Power and Energy Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He said there had been only one coal supplier to CEB between 2009 and 2015 and added that CEB had incurred millions in losses due to its inefficient and inconsistent supply. more..

The Kerala couple could still be here!

July 21 (CT) We wrote a few days ago that Indian intelligence men in Colombo claimed ISIS recruits from India were attending fundamentalist Islamic lessons at an undisclosed venue in Colombo because Sri Lanka had, according to an Indian report, become the preferred venue for such radicalized lessons on the extremist form of Islam propounded by the terror organization ISIS. China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been equally and most surprisingly, content to adopt the same more..

Elephant in Kartaragama under Wild life custody

July 21 (DM) A female elephant aged about six years was taken into custody by the Wildlife officers this morning at the Kataragama temple area. The raid was conducted after receiving a court order by CID and the wild life officers over information received by them. Information that an elephant was seen abandoned in the area after the Perahera festival was given to CID. Wildlife records indicated the elephant was registered under No.333 in the wild life records under the name Samadhi. more..

SriLankan Airlines has overpaid for A350-900 aircraft: Minister

July 21 (EN) State-run SriLankan Airlines has overpaid for Airbus A350-900 in a controversial deal struck during the ousted Rajapaksa regime, raising questions where the money went, Minister Kabir Hashim said. Loss-making carrier has been committed to pay US$ 1.4 million a month for Airbus A350-900 aircraft to aviation lease company AerCap, he said. Other carriers are leasing them for US$ 900,000 to 1,000,000 a month more..

Champika demands 1000 million rupees from Mawbima

July 21 (ITN) Minister Champika Ranawaka has sent letter of demand seeking a compensation of 1000 million rupees for the harm done to his image through several reports published in Mawbima daily newspaper. Letters of demand have been sent to Chief Editor, reporter and publication company of the newspaper, JVP and MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara. A report had been published in the Mawbima newspaper, under the heading Champika Ranawaka is responsible for the tender theft. more..

SriLankan Airlines may lease four planes to Pakistan

July 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's cash-strapped national airline is in talks to lease four of its Airbus A330 planes to Pakistan International Airlines Corp, months after cancelling an order for four Airbus A350 aircraft. State-owned SriLankan is aiming to reduce its debt and also looking for an international partner to help reverse years of losses. "A team from the airline is in Pakistan for negotiations. We will lease one A330, latest next month, on wet lease," Minister Kabir Hashim said. more..

UNP, SLFP confident marriage will continue for five years

July 21 (CG) The UNP and the SLFP today expressed confidence that the marriage between both parties will remain strong and that the cohabitation Govt will continue for five years. UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim said that while there were differences of opinion between both sides those issues were discussed and resolved. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that both parties did have issues among them more..

Video: Parents of 800 students not willing to send children to Jaffna uni

July 21 (DM) A Parents collective of the injured Jaffna University students said today they would not send their children to the university until the security of the students were guaranteed. The parents of over 800 Sinhala students wrote to the Vice Chancellor of the University saying that the students faced constant security threats. The parents also asserted the need to reinforce mechanisms to enhance mutual understanding between communities in the university. more..

Chidambaram calls for devolution of asymmetric powers in Sri Lanka

July 21 (CG) Former Indian Union home minister P Chidambaram called on the Indian Govt to practice what it had preached to SL for Tamil areas and urged the devolution of asymmetric powers. When Chidambaram was a Minister, then Indian Govt pushed for devolution of powers in SL under the 13th Amendment. Chidambaram, referring to the act that gives the Indian army special powers of detention said: “I must confess that we were not willing to overrule the defence establishment. more..

'Sri Lanka to respond to India after consulting its fishermen'

July 21 (PTI) Sri Lanka has received a number of proposals from India to try and resolve the fishing row, but Colombo will take a decision only after consulting its fishermen, the Fisheries Minister said here today. "We have not given consent to any of the proposals although there have been many" Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera told reporters. "No decisions will be taken without consulting our fishermen," he said. more..

Video: Former Sathosa Chairman arrested

July 21 (DM) Former Chairman of Lak Sathosa Nalin Fernando was remanded till July 28 by Colombo Fort Magistrate's Court today over the alleged misuse of state vehicles. He is allegedly involved in using Sathosa vehicles for the 2015 Presidential Election campaign. He is accused of transporting election related documents to Gampaha from the SLFP Headquarters and incurring a loss of Rs 37,888 to the government. Fernando is charged under the Public Properties Act. more..

Video: New Airport Terminal for BIA

July 21 (DM) Work on a new Airport Terminal that is capable of handling 20 million people will be begun at the BIA next year, Deputy Transport Minster Asoka Abeysinghe said yesterday. He said the new terminal would be built with a grant of US$ 800 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It is planned to complete the terminal within two years. “The terminal we have now can handle only about 6.5 million people but 8.5 million people use it. more..

2016 Yala rice crop be 6% below 3-year average: forecast

July 21 (EN) SL's rice production during the current Yala minor cropping season is expected to be 1.51 million metric tonnes, 6% below a 3-year average. Forecast from 2016 will be lower than 2015 but higher than 2014. In 2015, there was a bumper Yala harvest with a larger extent being sown. Dept of Agriculture of Uni of Peradeniya said at the end of June 2016, 379,882 hectares of paddy or 76% of targeted 502,923 had been sown. more..

Sri Lanka protests against violence in Indian controlled Kashmir

July 21 (Xinhua) Over 100 people gathered outside the UN building in Colombo on Thursday, demanding a UN probe to alleged human rights violation committed by Indian forces in Indian controlled Kashmir. The protesters expressed grave concern over the ongoing violence and killings in Kashmir and alleged that at least 50 civilians had been killed since July 8. The protesters further alleged that over 3,500 civilians, most of them lost their eyesight due to pellet guns, more..

Malaysia to study Sri Lanka's request for deportation of prisoners

July 21 (Bernama) Malaysia govt will look into Sri Lanka's request to have all Sri Lankan prisoners in Malaysia be deported to their country of origin. Malaysian Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Home Minister, said the Sri Lankan authority was still negotiating the matter with their Malaysian counterparts as there were 38 Sri Lankan prisoners currently serving their time in Malaysia under the Immigration Act, with 12 others still being held on remand. more..

Video: Buildings with unapproved floors to be fined: Faiszer

July 21 (AD) Minister Faiszer Mustapha says that he has instructed relevant authorities to impose a fine on individuals who have erected buildings with multiple floors despite obtaining approval for plans with a fewer number of floors. “Some people get plans approved for the construction of a three-storey building but they build 5 or 6 floors. Local govt institutions have had to provide services for those 5-6 floors.” more..

GSP plus facing Balagiri Doshaya?

July 22 (SL) United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) that came to power one year ago pledged to regain the GSP Plus trade concessions lost during the Rajapaksa regime. As of now, even though several discussions have taken place with delegations from both parties paying courtesy visits to their counterparts, the battlefront still seems idle in the case of physically bringing down the concessions. Sri Lanka has been knocking on the door for some time now, but more..

To my dear Jaffna University friends

July 22 (CT) My dear university friends, I am not interested in discussing here what happened at the university on Saturday or how the media and social media reported and responded to it in great haste. I would like to stand away from such exaggerated descriptions as They raised sticks,” They pelted us with stones, We were injured, The Police came, We said Sinhalese, We said Tamils. Now it is time for discussion and dialogue. Riding my bike down the Ramanathan lane last night, more..

Saving the Megapolis from floods: Rs 39.8 billion for 8 projects

July 22 (SO) New projects have been approved and existing ones accelerated, to double the storm water discharge capacity of the canal and tunnel network in and around the Colombo metropolitan region, envisaged as the new Megapolis, to protect the island's export manufacturing hub from the worst floods expected once in 50 years. The move comes in the wake of the unprecedented floods along Kelani River, more..

Is the Air Pollution Analysis for the Sampur Coal Plant credible?

July 22 (GV) As per modern myth, school texts, national atlases, and indigenous forecasters, the wind blows from the North-East over SL at the turn of the calendar year. Even the birds know it. The transcontinental migrants draft on the North-Easterlies and steer to hone in to Hambantota for the Siberian winters. However, the analysis of atmospheric pollution in EIA for the coal burning power plant proposed at Sampur presumes that the wind blows from South-East. more..

What the public did not know about VAT

July 22 (DN) The National Unity govt is finding out the hard way that governing in a coalition of the two major political parties, the UNP and the SLFP, is no walk in the park. It is only a couple of weeks since it averted a major crisis over the appointment of a Governor to the Central Bank. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was keen to retain the services of Arjuna Mahendran and President Maithripala Sirisena wanted to have a different person in charge of the country’s premier financial institution. more..

'I haven’t been ill treated by the UNP'

July 22 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said in an interview with Ceylon Today. "We are answerable to the people who elected us. We have to represent their interests in Parliament. We need our opinions to be included in the final proposals for us to extend our support in favour of them or we may have to resort to alternative measures". Q: You were entrusted with a portfolio which always makes news in the media; more..

Why China kept their FM’s visit a secret

July 22 (CT) The sudden visit made to Sri Lanka by Nisha Biswal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, was not without reason because reports received at her desk at the US State Department pertaining to the Maithri-Ranil govt during the last several months have not been savoury. Specially, the file relating to the cold war that prevailed between Maithri and Ranil over the issue of Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, may have been given precedence by more..

Editorial: Square pegs in round holes

July 22 (Island) JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa revealed in Parliament that 56 UNP supporters had been appointed RDA consultants and 54 of them had only passed the GCE O/L exam or studied up to Grade Eleven. Only two of those consultants had got through the GCE A/L exam, the House was told. Minister Kiriella had to admit that the newly appointed RDA consultants were party supporters. It was thanks to the efforts of such people that the UNP-led coalition had been able to win both more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Yahapâlanaya: Another corrupt govt that duplicates the former

July 22 (CT) A majority of the decisions that have been taken by the coalition govt since it came to power in 2015 appear to be contrary to the expectations of the people who helped its formation. A clear indication of this is the number of articles that are very critical to the govt now appearing not only on websites, but also in print media. Newspapers such as Daily Mirror, Island, Sunday Times, Ceylon Today, and Weekend Leader were earlier not engaged in openly criticising more..

In Sri Lanka, student aims for a more robust dialogue about sexuality

July 22 (CU) Themal Ellawala ’17, a psychology major at Clark University, returned to Sri Lanka this summer to research how culture, gender norms and stigma affect non-heterosexuals in the island nation where he grew up. Ellawala is interviewing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and others (LGBTQ+) who fall under this non-heterosexual umbrella in and near Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka. His research – which is supported by Clark’s Steinbrecher Fellowship more..

SLC targets better facilities and increased ticket sales for Tests

July 22 (CI) SLC has outlined an ambitious plan to increase the number of match-day tickets sold to 100,000 per Test series, over the next 4 years. SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said presently a three-Test series would draw an aggregate of fewer than 40,000 spectators, but the board aims to identify spectator-friendly Test venues and then improve facilities within those grounds to attract a larger audience. more..

Day 1: Land of Lamas, Buddhism & Beauty

July 22 (Island) We were woken up at 4 am to leave for the airport in Beijing. There were 64 of us from 40 countries flying out to Tibet. We got into two buses and were given food packs. I learnt after sometime to find out what was inside thanks to the symbols and photos of the items of food. All because I couldn't read Chinese! Sprawling city was enveloped in fog but many people could be seen jogging even at that time of the day. At the airport, I thought China did not need tourists at all. more..

Cycling finds security in Sri Lanka Telecom

July 22 (Island) Even though the bicycle is the poor man’s popular mode of transport, cycling as a sport has a higher financial bar to reach. This is one of the main reasons why Sri Lanka has struggled to make an impression on the world stage, despite a rich history. This is because many of our cyclists cannot afford to buy the required gear to race at the highest level of the sport. With very little govt patronage, the riders have strived hard under difficult conditions to survive over the years. more..

Rio Olympic contingent meets President

July 22 (PMD) Rio 2016 Olympic contingent met President Maithripala Sirisena at President’s Official Residence. While engaging in a cordial discussion with the sportsmen and women the President expressed his good wishes to them. He blessed them to bring victories for the motherland. Olympic Games in 2016 will be held in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil from 5 to 21 August with the participation of 10,500 sportsmen and women more..

Japan’s largest bank fund $ 1b road projects

July 22 (FT) Japan’s largest bank Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ will fund a $ 1 billion project to build the third phase of the central expressway and an elevated road connecting the Kelaniya Bridge to Rajagiriya. Cabinet approval was given on Wednesday for the Govt to borrow $ 1 billion at concessionary rates from the bank on a Cabinet paper submitted by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs. The loan, which has a repayment period of 15 years more..

Video: 'Don’t make SL a colony of the US'

July 22 (AD) An effort is underway to make Sri Lanka a colony of US, Convener of Jathika Emamuthuwa Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera says. He also went on to say the govt is conspiring to change the policies of the country amid international pressure. “They are eyeing to westernise the judicial system of the country as well,” he added. He pointed out that not only the policies, but steps have already been taken to amend the Constitution too according to the needs of foreign elements. more..