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Push to reinstate wildlife DG

June 12 (SL) A leading non-govt organisation expressed confidence that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe would do his utmost to bring back renowned scientist Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya as the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. Scientist Kamini Meedeniya Vitarana, the President of Ruk Rakaganno, said they hope that the Prime Minister will find a way to sort out the situation, referring the resignation of the Director General due to political interference. more..

Flexi working hours to ease traffic jams

June 12 (SO) The private sector will support the Govt’s decision to introduce flexible working hours as a solution to ease traffic congestion in the city. Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Samantha Ranatunga said the proposal will have huge support from the private sector. “We are not going to find a solution overnight for urban congestion; we need to take an initiative soon,” he said. The introduction of flexible and more..

Sri Lanka needs comprehensive system of trade agreements: Malik

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka now needs a comprehensive system of trade agreements as 50% of global trade is in fact dependent on trade agreements, the international trade minister said. Currently, Sri Lanka has trade agreements with India and Pakistan and in the future it is proposed to have an agreement with China. Minister Malik Samarawickrama told the SL Singapore business forum that efforts will be made to eliminate some of the tariffs in the near future. more..

Political parties to propose amendments to RTI Bill

June 12 (SO) Political parties will be permitted to propose amendments to the Right to Information Bill when it is presented in Parliament for the second reading debate, during the sessions starting from June 21. Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke said the Amended Bill was ready to be presented for the second reading in parliament. The historic RTI Bill which provided for the setting up of a Right to Information Commission and the appointment of Information Officers to all govt institutions more..

'SL needs special courts to try corrupts'

June 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka needs special courts to expedite trials of graft cases involving former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa's aides who were allegedly indulged in mass- scale corruption, a senior minister has said. "We need special courts to try these people. Now they go to court, apply for bail, then come out and ask us if we had been able to catch them. Some even go to higher courts to prevent their arrests," more..

Chinese write off US$ 163M

June 12 (CT) Parliament was informed Friday that Chinese investors in the Colombo Port City project had agreed to cancel the USD 163 million project delay losses they had earlier claimed as compensation. Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna made this statement in response to a query raised by UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila in Parliament. "The demand was made initially by the investors but they later decided to cancel it at discussions they had with the SL authorities. more..

'Never, another war in Sri Lanka'

June 12 (DM) Commander of the Security Forces in Jaffna, Major General Mahesh Senanayake asserted that there would never be another war in Sri Lanka. Briefing the media on the present situation in the North he opined that the presence of the army in the North had helped the citizens greatly and their services are greatly acclaimed. He said that despite this consensus building up the TNA politicians are clamouring for the removal of the army from the North claiming that more..

Salawa fire probes to dig deep

June 12 (SO) The twin police and military investigations launched into the Salawa military disaster is likely to dig deep into various controversies surrounding the Army’s major arms and munitions storage facility at the heart of last Sunday’s devastating fire, including an imminent govt audit of the Army’s weapons inventory. The other big question is over who was responsible for stockpiling of munitions in a population-dense more..

Educating & Persuading the public in economic hard times

June 13 (CT) Last week I reflected on a realpolitik approach to one of our two intractable problems, the national question, and suggested that a frame of mind of pragmatic compromise provided it met certain minimum conditions was a way forward. One of the condition is that certain minimal provisions be worked into new constitution, if not explicitly at least in layered detail, to ensure reasonable devolution of power even if the regressive word unitary is nailed to the masthead. more..

Buddhists! Wake up to protect novice monks!!

June 13 (CT) It was heard last week that a novice monk had been sexually assaulted and admitted to the Matara general hospital. But the temple, the hospital, the police and all other responsible authorities took very good care to cover up the incident. Newspapers that usually sensationalize the incidents of sexual assaults on women and children were totally silent on this act of violence. Why? Perhaps, it is better for the young monk’s anonymity not to get into a media uproar. more..

Salawa firestorm

June 13 (SO) As the vehicle approaches Salawa town, the orderly lines of buildings on either side of the road abruptly ends, and devastation begins. The newly erected tin wall can barely cover the destruction within the camp, and only ghost structures remain of the housing scheme opposite the camp. Salawa town resembles a battlefield, electricity wires hang loose close to the ground, and hardly a roof remains intact. more..

Hells Bells: Breakdown in national security

June 13 (SL) There was consternation at mess of the Gajamang Regiment. Brig Hapan Bung, SSC (Cl 1), RNAVir, JFNA DBLECROSS was furious and going berserk. Hells Bells, bloody hell, the dashed clowns have blown up the main ammo dump. Call this an army or a boy scouts’ brigade? If we are attacked now what are we to do with no ammo? Fight with Galkattas, provided the JVP guys sell that to us or ask the Thotalanga underworld for AK-47s? I mean the fellows should b court martialed, more..

Those many Chequered irons in the yahapalanaya fire

June 13 (ST) It is tragic but telling that within a relatively short period, lofty expectations regarding the performance of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government have dwindled into an abject murmuring of well, at least it is better than the Rajapaksa regime. As comforting as this may be to our bruised and battered ears, there is a singular danger in such complacency. Quite apart from the fact that Rajapaksa rule cannot be used to measure the performance of its yahapalanaya more..

Full List: Yahapalana Crooks robbing people's money: Remember their faces

June 13 (ST) For a people who had seen rain last month and fire last week, this Tuesday’s news that the Govt planned to spend over a billion bucks of the public’s money to buy 32 mega w cars for a handful of ministers with the price tag of each super vehicle ranging from 30 million to 50 million to 70 million rupees, came as a thunderbolt to strike their very bellies and churn the innards out in a vomit of disgust and opprobrium over their more..

Editorial: Toddy income and whisky lifestyle

June 13 (Island) Doomy speculation that SL’s economy is moving in the same direction as its Greek counterpart is not unfounded. The much vaunted IMF loan is bound to pave the way for more borrowings thus worsening the country’s financial woes. The worrisome prospect of the economy taking a turn for the worse cannot be wished away. But, the govt carries on regardless, bellowing rhetoric and pooh-poohing warnings. Its raison d’etre seems to be consolidating its powers while more..

Is it Kuveni’s curse?

June 13 (SO) I’ve been looking for clues and titbits in the daily newspapers regards the conflagration at the Salawa Army depot, actually how it started. Very judiciously, one newspaper on June 7 said this: ‘Kosgama Camp Fire (sic) Army in the dark: electric short circuit, lightning among possible causes’. The next day was this headline: ‘A tri-forces investigation committee was appointed and the CID too would conduct a separate investigation..’ On June 9 it read: ‘Blaze doused, tempers flare up in Kosgama’ more..

Face the Nation

Asian Infrastructure Plans: Challenges and Business Opportunities

June 13 (Island) The 21st century has been called the Asian Century. This is because Asia now is the driver of global growth and has seen economic changes which would not have been envisaged 50 years ago. Even so great disparities exist within Asia, particularly in the area of infrastructure development. Future will see large shifts in population which demand enhanced investment in infrastructure. To illustrate disparities in infrastructure within Asia, let us look at more..

JO’s no-confidence move backfires, but Unity Govt cannot rest on its laurels

June 12 (ST) The haste with which the Joint Opposition (JO) group in Parliament rushed to bring a No-Confidence motion against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, which, in effect, questions the legitimacy of the entire Government, only helped the UNP-SLFP unity Government to put to rest, speculation of rifts within its ranks, and put on a united front. The result was the motion being defeated by a majority of 94 votes, with 145 voting for and 51 against. more..

$ 62 m ADB boost to revive fisheries industry in North

June 13 (FT) On the request of Govt, Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided preparatory technical assistance to formulate a project to revive the fisheries sector in the four conflict affected districts of Jaffna, Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi under the Northern Province Sustainable Fisheries Development Project. $62 million ADB supported project intends to support Gurunagar and three identified feasible fisheries harbours in more..

Brother's spirit protecting sister

June 13 (CT) Gayathri lives in Dehiwala at her sister's house, occupying the upper floor, since her husband deserted her. Her own personal story is long and tragic, but she has been leading an independent life ever since by sharing her sister's accommodative house with her brother Prasanna. Prasanna suffered from polio for a considerable period of time but not seriously as he was supposed to have been infected with a type of polio known as Poliovirus – a post-polio syndrome, more..

Sri Lanka: Avoiding the road to Greece!

June 13 (Island) On the occasion, earlier in June, of the IMF Executive Board's approval of a USD 1.5 billion extended arrangement (meaning simply, an instalment loan) under the Extended Fund Facility for Sri Lanka, the Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendra made a public statement that "over the last decade export revenues have dropped drastically, amounting to less than 15% of GDP the govt was seeking to sell as much as USD 3 billion in bonds in 2016 ... rupee is trading near more..

Hundred eludes Hales, wickets elude England

June 13 (CI) England would have had two main ambitions on a bedraggled fourth day at Lord's. The first would have been to make incursions into Sri Lanka's second innings to prepare a route to victory and a 3-0 clean sweep in the series; the second, a maiden Test hundred for Alex Hales. Neither eventuated as SL continued to resist gamely in the final Test. Left with 12 overs to see out at the end of day, SL's openers clipped 32 more..

Anuradhapura, Mihintale and Tantirimale to host national poson festival

June 13 (Island) Arrangements are being made to hold this year’s national Poson festival in Anuaradhapura, Mihintale and Tantirimale from June 16 to 24. The national poson festival organised by the Anuradhapura National Poson Festival Committee would be held under the theme Dusirith duralamu (Let’s do away with misconduct) at the Jayasri Maha Bodhi and Atamasthana in Anuradhapura. Chairman of the committee District Secretary of A'pura D.P.G. Kumarasiri said more..

Pradeep unlucky to miss out on five-for

June 13 (CI) Coach, Graham Ford, said Nuwan Pradeep was unlucky to miss out on a five-wicket haul and a place on the Lord's honours board, given the quality of his bowling in the second innings. Pradeep finished with 3 for 37 from 15 overs, but had three clear chances missed off his bowling, and was also denied a wicket by an incorrect no-ball call. Pradeep had England's highest scorer Alex Hales dropped on 19 by second slip on Saturday evening; Hales was reprieved off more..

'Use technology for front-foot no-balls'

June 13 (CI) Coach, Graham Ford, has suggested front-foot no-ball calls be made purely via the use of technology, on a day in which his team was on the receiving end of an incorrect umpiring decision*. Nuwan Pradeep bowled Alex Hales in the 46th over of England's innings but was denied the wicket when umpire Rod Tucker immediately deemed the bowler to have overstepped. Replays showed a fraction of Pradeep's boot had more..

Listed firms 1Q earnings gain 16% to Rs. 61 b

June 13 (FT) Earnings of listed companies witnessed a sharp growth of 16% in the first quarter of 2016 to Rs. 61 billion as against a 5% improvement in the fourth quarter of last year. Capital Alliance Research attributed the strong growth due to weaker economic conditions during 1Q2015. Trailing twelve month (TTM) market earnings grew 3.3% year on year (YoY) to Rs.209.2 billion supported by low interest rates and improving disposable incomes driving consumption, more..

Shoes ablaze!

June 13 (CT) Two fires broke out in two different shoe factories in Kadawatha and Dompe on Saturday night where one factory was completely destroyed and the other one partially. The Police said that one fire broke out at a shoe factory located in Dompe, Giridara along the Hanwella-Kirindiwela road on Saturday evening. Two storeyed building was completely destroyed. The fire brigade of the Gampaha Municipal Council and members of the Army attempted to contain the fire, but more..

Malaysian company plans to set up motorcycle factory in Sri Lanka

June 13 (TS) DNC Asiatic Holdings Sdn Bhd, which has invested some RM10mil to develop the market for its Malaysian-made Demak motorcycles in Sri Lanka, has plans to set up manufacturing facilities there. The company would consider setting up a manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka once the Demak brand is firmly established with sizeable market share and annual sales of at least between 25,000-30,000 units in that country. more..

Business leaders befuddled by govt's tax reforms

June 13 (Island) The Cabinet at a special meeting recently approved new tax reforms, including the capital gains tax, to arrest the gradual decline of state revenue. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe submitted a paper at the special Cabinet meeting held in this regard with in-depth reference to the present status of the economy. The tax reforms are also intended to generate resources to meet budgetary requirements but the PM said these taxes would apply to only the wealthiest companies. more..

CB ordered to allow Auditor General to probe T-bond deals

June 13 (ST) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and his Deputy Governor P. Samarasiri came under fire this week over their refusal to allow the Auditor General access to information pertaining to allegedly tainted Treasury bond sales. On Wednesday, they were intensively questioned by the COPE over the refusal and eventually. Mr. Mahendran, who had been allowing his deputy to answer all the questions, responding to a question by COPE Chairman Sunil Handuneththi had more..

Govt reverses liquor licence policy for tourism’s sake

June 13 (ST) Having pledged to eliminate tobacco and alcohol menace from the country, the govt is now well and truly on reverse gear to promote liquor sales for the sake of tourist development in the country. This policy reversal came to light following the decision taken at a high level meeting of the govt think tank to relax the 500 metre requirement for issuing liquor licences to Tourist Board-approved hotels, restaurants more..

U.B. Wijekoon passes away

June 13 (Island) Former Minister U.B. Wijekoon passed away at the Kandy Hospital yesterday after a brief illness. He was 79. Born in Madovita, Welimada, Wijekoon Mudiyanselage Ukku Banda Wijekoon received his education Welimada Central College and later graduated from the University of Peradeniya in 1959. He entered the Ceylon Administrative service in 1960 and served as District Revenue Officer (DRO) in Vavuniya, Nuwara-Eliya, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts. more..

Turkish FM in town to sign key MoU

June 13 (FT) Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Mevlüt Çavusoglu will pay an official visit to Sri Lanka 14-15 June, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. During his visit to Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu will be received by President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya. He will also meet with Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Malik Samarawickrama. more..

PM: All those affected by armoury fire will be fully compensated

June 13 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that there was no truth in the rumours being spread by some persons with vested interests that the govt did not have sufficient funds to pay compensation to the people affected by the explosions and the fire at the Salawa Army camp. Addressing the affected people, during an inspection tour of the blast site, PM said that there was no need to stop any other projects as the govt had more..

War of words in debate on no-confidence motion against Ravi

June 13 (ST) The No-Confidence motion brought by the Joint Opposition (JO) group against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake was defeated by the Govt by a majority of 94 votes in Parliament on Thursday. Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake wound up the Debate and responded to some of the allegations leveled at him and the Govt. Both Govt and Opposition lawmakers spoke during the Debate. Following are excerpts of some of the views expressed during the day-long Debate. more..

CMC acquires Rs. 8,000 mn land over rate arrears

June 13 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council on Saturday acquired a land worth around Rs. 8,000 million at Barnes Place in Colombo as its owner had failed to pay the outstanding rates, CMC sources said. The land originally belonging to founders of Museaus College consists of three rood and 31 perches. It had been occupied by a businessman closely linked to a powerful politician who was a minister from Kelaniya during the previous regime. He recently crossed over to the govt. more..

Wigneswaran denies relying on Jayalalithaa to solve Tamil problem

June 13 (ENS) Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has denied that he is relying on TN Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa to solve the Tamil problem in his country. “When did I call upon her to find a solution to our problems? I congratulated her and called for closer collaboration. She responded positively. So what about it? If anyone is giving hidden meanings to mere courtesies, what I am supposed to do?” more..

Sirisena says message of reconciliation should target Sinhalese first

June 13 (ENS) President Sirisena has said that the message of ethnic reconciliation should be conveyed to the majority Sinhalese community first. “The message of the importance of reconciliation should be delivered to the Sinhala Buddhists in the South, than to those living in the North,” President said. Sinhalese live predominantly in South Lanka and the Tamils live largely in the North. Referring to the importance given to war victory by Sinhalese Buddhists in South Lanka, more..

NIFT-TEA Institute inks draft MoU with Sri Lankan establishment

June 13 (Hindu) The NIFT-TEA Knitwear Institute, promoted by Tirupur garment exporters, on Friday, has signed a draft MoU with the Sri Lanka Institute of Textile and Apparel under the Lankan govt, for utilising the Lankan expertise on production management. The draft MoU, signed in Colombo between the representatives of NIFT-TEA Institute and Sri Lankan institute, automatically gets implemented once the Lankan Govt gives the formal approval. more..