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'Sri Lanka should put purely commercial SOEs in Singapore-style holding Co'

May 8 (EN) Sri Lanka should only place state enterprises with pure commercial objectives in a planned holding company modelled after Singapore's Temasek, but should keep entities such as water and power out of it, economists said. Sri Lanka's state enterprises are a big burden on the people, making large losses, stifling competition and are being operated with special privileges, state bank credit and budget support given by more..

SriLankan pilots divided: Guild writes to Chairman

May 8 (ST) SriLankan Airlines pilots have declared that they have no confidence in their CEO Captain Suren Ratwatte over what they claim is his derogatory and unprofessional conduct. The accusations are contained in a letter Airline Pilots’ Guild of Sri Lanka (ALPGSL) President, Captain Renuke Senanayake, wrote to SriLankan Chairman Ajit Dias after the pilots held an extraordinary general meeting. more..

SLT chief bangs phone on critics

May 8 (ST) If ever he used his brother’s name or family connection, it was for the benefit of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and never for personal gain, SLT Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, younger brother of President Sirisena. He was responding to highly-publicised allegations that he would often drop his brother’s name at SLT to show power and that, as chairman, banked heavily on his family ties. “If there is even a single instance more..

Ex-LTTE doctor reveals horrifying last 2 days

May 8 (CT) The 30-year war and the gory events of it ended on 18 May 2009 but they are unforgettable and unforgivable. The Tamils who fled the island, the like-minded civil societies and the human rights activists started documenting each event in phases and tabled them at the UNHRC in the last seven years. Here is a man, an LTTE doctor who narrates what he saw during the last few days before the end of the war in Mulliwaikkal and more..

Did negligence lead to power outage?

May 8 (SL) The recent explosion at Biyagama sub-power station which led to a countrywide power outage occurred due to negligence, lack of maintenance and inspection by the CEB, a technical report developed by a panel of experts points out. An expert said that CEB engineers should have been more cautious in this regard as it directly comes under their purview. He said that in the past, engineers were very concerned about their more..

MPs’ movie time bungles vote

May 8 (CT) While there is an ongoing controversy over the results of the vote that was taken regarding the Supplementary Estimates on Thursday, it has come to light that the main reason for a lack of numbers on the govt side when the vote was taken was because a group of govt MPs had been enjoying a movie at the time. MP Wimal Weerawansa revealed that a host of govt MPs had been watching a movie when the vote more..

Longer life for Lankan fruits

May 8 (ST) The time is now ripe to discuss the headway made in extensive work to keep the freshness of fruit, especially mango, from tree to table. What started off as a three-country project, including the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) in Sri Lanka, to enhance the preservation of fruit, has now expanded to six, with the next goal being the commercial spread of the technology. “The technologies that we have developed, more..

Ghost worker bleeding CPSTL dry

May 8 (SL) The continuous renewal of the work contract of an employee at Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd. (CPSTL), despite him not working a day there from the time he was employed years ago, has raised eyebrows at CPSTL. The said employee was given employment at the CPC by the then Minister Anuruddha Ratwatte in 1995. The employee was attached to SLFP hq where he worked as a Secretary. more..

New laws soon for sustainable development

May 8 (SO) Sri Lanka will soon introduce a new law on sustainable development which will help move the country towards more innovation and future-orientated thinking to inspire better buildings and businesses, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. The new law will come into effect with the launch of the proposed Development Agency. With the introduction of this new law SL will become one of the first countries in Asia more..

SLC considers incorporation

May 8 (DM) The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced that it was engaged in a transformation of the establishment, leading to constitutional changes, and possibly incorporation. This was revealed at a meeting of the SLC Executive Committee, held at the SLC yesterday, where several important matters were ratified by the Executive Committee. A 5-year Corporate Strategic Plan has been envisaged, more..

Sampur coal-power is necessary

May 8 (Island) OK let me clarify the title which was chosen for brevity. It need not be at Sampur, it can be elsewhere. It need not be a 500 MW Indian plant and a 1200 MW Japanese plant (the two offers on the table) if better offers to be on-line within ten years can be clinched. If gas can be shown to be as feasible as coal, that too is fine. Written out in longhand what the title is attempting to say is that 1500 to 2000 MW of additional thermal capacity is needed, unavoidably needed, more..

Kabul to Colombo

May 8 (Island) After the end of the war and under the Rajapaksa regime, a few of us stridently opposed the integration of the military to backstop entirely civilian affairs - like hotel management and heli-tour operations. Some years ago, just after the Colombo Racecourse shopping precinct was opened and before the Good Market’s weekend throngs, I walked into what was then a curious beast - high-end lifestyle shops selling expensive electronics, clothes and lingerie, with no one more..

'Prasanna would be in ICU If my blow hit him'

May 8 (CT) Q: What exactly happened? A: If the public representatives wanted to oppose something they have a duty to simply oppose it from their own seats. All I did was protest against the shameful actions of the Joint Opposition. Q: Does that mean you struck first? A: No. I did not strike first. MP Prasanna Ranaweera came towards me, yelling in a shameful manner. I said, Malli, did you learn that from Professor Mervyn Silva? more..

Mega religious event

May 8 (CT) The blooming of the darling buds of May signifies the arrival of a sacred, cherished and revered festival celebrated in Sri Lanka by all devout Buddhists. It is during this very month that the age-old celebration of Buddhist religious practices, customs and traditions take place. With the imminent dawn of Vesak Buddhists commemorate the most predominant events in the Buddha's life which includes his birth, enlightenment and passing away. more..

Not as black as it is painted

May 8 (CT) Another May Day (International Workers' Day) has come and gone. Political parties and their affiliated trade unions were in a fierce competition to outdo each other by attracting the biggest number of supporters. The question was who drew the biggest numbers; whether it was the organizers of the rallies held in Galle or Kirulapone? Or, whether it was the UNP? However, those who celebrated the workers' day on 1 May (and the rest of the country who did not) were slapped with a significant increase more..

VAT increase

May 8 (CT) The govt's move to increase the VAT to 15% and the NBT to 2% has left the consumers reeling. Those who propelled the present govt to power seem highly disappointed about this tax increase. Among the goods and services affected by this tax increase are telecommunication services, private education and private medical care. It is the view of the general public the authorities should be more concerned about the task handed to more..

Anawilundawa wetlands under threat

May 8 (ST) The Anawilundawa Sanctuary, a bird-watcher’s paradise has a multitude of both resident and migratory birds and has been designated an international RAMSAR wetland (Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for the conservation of wetlands), is under threat from several different fronts. It has a total of 131 species of birds and 74 species of butterflies. It is also home to around 20 species of amphibians, 30 species of reptiles, more..

CEB engineers clash with PUCSL

May 8 (SL) CEB Engineers Union (CEBEU) is preparing to go head on with the power sector regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), saying they had already raised objections over the integrity and capability of the regulator. Union had informed CEB General Manager M.C. Wickremasekara that they were in support of electricity reforms, including establishing a fair and independent regulator. “However, if hasty decisions are taken, we would be compelled more..

Promised Yahapalanaya: Clearing or Laying Land Mines with Friends and Family?

May 8 (Island) A recent full page advertisement, carried out and paid for by the Ministry of National Policy & Economic Affairs headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was indeed thought provoking. Its headline was The Landmines that have Wrecked the Economy. The text stated "State-owned enterprises are heavily in debt to domestic and foreign banks to the tune of 1,042.8 billion rupees. The SriLankan Airlines share alone is more..

Differently-abled still denied their right to equality: Activists

May 8 (ST) Activists claimed that, while the Government is taking measures to enact Right to Information (RTI) legislation, the country’s differently-abled were still being denied their right to equality, despite Sri Lanka having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “Persons with restricted ability make up Sri Lanka’s largest and most disadvantaged minority,” said activist Dr Ajith Perera, a wheelchair user since 1992. more..

Top politico protecting Cop linked to Thajudeen case

May 8 (SL) A top govt politician is allegedly protecting a former senior police DIG linked to the case on the murder of Wasim Thajudeen. It has been revealed that the politician has spoken to the CID and managed to temporarily prevent the arrest of the police officer. Sources said that the politician has also attempted to arrange for a meeting between the police officer and a govt minister but that attempt had failed. CID sources said that if the former senior police DIG is arrested, more..

JVP denies reports of divisions among comrades

May 8 (DM) The JVP today vehemently denied the reports which said the party is cracking as a result of divisions among its top brass. “Some interested parties have created a false story that our comrades Tilvin Silva and K.D. Lal Kantha had fallen out with me and there will be another division in the party but we strongly denounce these claims as there is no divisions among us,” JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. more..

Police deny white van allegations

May 8 (SL) Police have denied claims that the white van culture is back and that people are being abducted by the security forces. Former police spokesman Ajith Rohana, who has been authorized to speak to the media following the suspension of the police media unit, said that some people have been arrested using legal means to be questioned on criminal matters. He said there have not been any reports to indicate that unlawful arrests or abductions by govt agencies are taking place. more..

Modi to Wipe the tears of Sri Lankan Tamils

May 8 (SL) Indian PM Narendra Modi has assured that his government will wipe the tears of Sri Lankan Tamils. Modi said this while addressing election rallies in Chennai and Hosur town in Tamil Nadu ahead of the Assembly polls. Modi said he was the first Indian PM to visit Jaffna and added that his govt would wipe the tears of Sri Lankan Tamils. He also said that 30,000 of the 50,000 houses to be built with Indian assistance in Sri Lanka had been handed over to the Tamils. more..

Is Champika dodging Mahara court issue?

May 8 (CT) B.I. Abdeen, Chairman of the Evergreen Environmental and Welfare Society (EEWS) urges Minister Champika Ranawaka to uphold the people's interests when the case relating to the inconsiderate breaking up of the Jogging Track in Wattala is taken up for hearing on 10 May in the Mahara Magistrate's Court. Joggers were taken aback when they saw a backhoe digging up the track on 26 March morning, more..

Gotabaya to appear before CoI tomorrow

May 8 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa will appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to give a statement tomorrow. The commission would record a statement from him with respect to the allegation on misuse of property belonging to SL Air Force, an official said. A statement would be reordered as to why he decided to deploy several navy soldiers for services at a house owned by former Minister Basil Rajapaksa in the USA as well, more..

Chief Justice dodges corruption case against him and predecessors

May 8 (CT) Chief Justice K Sripavan has failed to appoint a Bench to hear the judicial corruption charges made against him and three other former Chief Justices (Sarath N Silva, Shirani Bandaranayake and Mohan Peiris) and also against the incumbent President of Court of Appeal, Vijith Malalgoda, Colombo Telegraph can reveal today. This Writ Application (SC/Writs/03/2016) case was filed on 29th March 2016 by the Public Interest Litigation Activist Nagananda Kodituwakku more..

Rajapaksa to attend Yoweri Musaveni's swearing-in

May 8 (AM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will attend the fifth swearing-in ceremony of Uganda's long serving President Yoweri Musaveni on May 12. Rajapaksa's private secretary Uditha Lokubandara confirmed this to the BBC Sandeshaya. Meanwhile, a request by Rajapaksa's second son Yoshitha to visit Uganda was turned down by Kaduwela Magistrate. Yoshitha Rajapaksa has been imposed a more..

EPS Centre of HRD Korea in SL files insurance claims for returnee workers

May 8 (Island) Employment Permit System Centre of the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (EPS Centre of HRD Korea) in Sri Lanka filed claims for returnee workers who previously worked in South Korea and were not compensated for their Return Cost (Air Ticket) Insurance and Departure Guarantee Insurance. The Return Cost Insurance should be obtained by the worker to meet the expense of his/her return journey, while the employer gets the Departure Guarantee more..

Probe on demolishing doctor’s parapet wall in ownership dispute

May 8 (ST) Police investigations are underway to apprehend 20 suspects in connection with an incident where a parapet wall belonging to a doctor’s house in Mulgampola, Kandy was allegedly demolished over a dispute regarding ownership of a roadway leading to the house. The complainant doctor had lodged an entry that the owner of the adjoining property – a leading gem businessman in Kandy – was disputing ownership of the road leading to his house and that he allegedly more..

Megapolis project facing snags?

May 8 (SL) Despite many parties requesting the Western Region Megapolis Project to be accelerated in ordinate delays and personal agendas are impeding its expedition, top-notch policymakers said at a construction sector forum held recently. “We agree it’s late. I couldn’t agree more that we are (behind schedule) We have done our part. For example the transport sector accounts for about 70% of the projects under WRMP. more..

Czech Business delegation arrived in SL

May 8 (GDI) A business delegation from the Czech Republic led by the Ambassador Milan Hovorka arrived in Sri Lanka to explore opportunities for trade and investment. The delegation consisted of representatives of leading Czech companies such as Viktovice Power Engineering, Eldis, Fans, Skoda Doosan Power and Techno export. The sectors covered by the delegation were heavy machinery, radar systems, air traffic control, steel cylinders, vehicle and steam turbines, nuclear power more..

Spike in accidents in Nuwara Eliya district

May 8 (ST) During the past few weeks there has been an increase in the number of accidents in the Nuwara Eiliya district. More than 50 accidents have been reported in the Hatton area including Maskeliya, Norton Bridge, Hatton, Nallathanni and Ginigathhena. A total of five persons have died and around 50 people were injured in accidents. Negligence on the part of drivers was a leading cause in the spike of accidents. Driving under the influence of liquor, high speed driving and more..

Lightning kills four elephants in Sri Lanka

May 8 (AFP) Four elephants, including two calves, were killed by lightning just outside the Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary in one of the worst wildlife tragedies to hit the country in years. A female elephant, aged about 25 years, and two of her calves, aged 10 months and two years, and an eight-year-old female were found dead Sunday. "Villagers from neighbouring areas alerted the authorities and we carried out autopsies," more..

The Reform Agenda

May 9 (CT) It is recognised that a well-functioning public administration is a prerequisite for transparent and democratic governance. An effective public administration determines a govt’s ability to provide public services and foster the country’s development agenda and competitiveness at both central and provincial levels. In today’s context, the barriers to a more effective and efficient public service are many. Firstly, even though there is awareness of the need to reform the public sector, more..

Reintroducing repatriation requirement

May 9 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in presenting the Economic Policy Statement or EPS of his Govt in Parliament in November 2015, announced that the Govt would repeal the age-old Exchange Control Act or ECA. Instead, he said that the Govt would enact a new Foreign Exchange Management Act or FEMA. The main difference between the two legislations is that ECA treats exchange control violations as criminal offences, while FEMA would make them civil offences. more..

Interview: Rajiva Wijesinha

May 9 (TD) Professor Rajiva Wijesinha is a distinguished Sri Lankan writer, who is known for his political analysis and creative and critical work. In 2007, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed him secretary-general of the Sri Lankan govt secretariat for coordinating the peace process. In 2008, Wijesinha became secretary to the ministry of disaster management and human rights. Wijesinha has written for numerous outlets more..

The Supreme Court’s mind on RTI

May 9 (ST) Contrary to what certain media reports excitably proclaimed this week, SC’s Determination on the constitutionality of SL’s Right to Information (RTI) Bill held little surprises. In the main, the ruling did not pose formidable challenges to the basic integrity of the Bill. However, it did reflect a degree of judicial conservatism therein. First, let us look at the widening of exemptions to RTI. RTI Bill had included information constituting contempt of court among the general exclusions. more..

Joint Opposition draws first blood in Parliament’s black day of shame

May 9 (ST) Did rebel horde form unlawful assembly with vicarious liability attached to each? The joint opposition stands in the nation’s dock this morning accused of turning Parliament into a well of violence. With scant regard to the inviolable norms of the House, their leader by proxy Dinesh Gunawardena led the charge to the well of Parliament on Tuesday to demonstrate their protest over a speech being made by General Fonseka and thus caused the 14th Parliament’s first bloodletting when more..

'SLFP is an established party no one can break it up'

May 9 (SL) Minister Faizer Mustapha said that the SLFP is a well established party and that no one can break it up. He says that under the leadership of President Sirisena, the SLFP will emerge as a strong political force and all this turbulence within the party is nothing new and that every party goes through such turbulence. He said that president and PM are two capable and strong leaders and assured that current difficulties more..