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Demands, Threats and Action

May 9 (SO) This past week has seen these three loud, clear and magnified. The demands unreasonable; threats worse; and retaliation, the worst. This cat finds the demands of the so-called Joint Opposition (JO) silly and laughable, but like black humour, laughter here is not of the real ha ha kind but overlaid with malice, threat and danger. The JO have been making demands throughout the nearly nine months they have been in Parliament, and most of them set in motion on behalf of more..

Good governance gasping for breath

May 9 (NS) The name Nimal Bopage didn’t ring a bell a few weeks ago. However, this individual suddenly became the focus of attention when, as the newly appointed Secretary of the Media Ministry, he declared that the media should not identify a particular political group as the Joint Opposition. Bopage has had his fifteen minutes of fame. Unfortunately, he didn’t make the most of it. Now, he has been shown the door. The govt hopes that his removal as ministry secretary will bring more..

Thalatha Atukorale

DACC older than the Tea industry celebrates 160 years

May 9 (Island) DACC, the metaphor for the Dimbulla Athletic and Cricket Club, or better known as the Radella Club, is 160 years in existence, this year. DACC, is older than the Tea industry, and factually goes back to the days of Coffee; and opening thick forest tracts to establish the coffee industry in the hill country of Ceylon during those distant times. Gimhan Jayathilake, President DACC, confirmed the Radella Club was 160 years this year. Radella was, and is a traditional land mark in Hill country; more..

Editorial: Insidious crisis

May 9 (Island) A four-member committee appointed by the Speaker on Friday to probe last week’s voting fiasco is said to be examining the CCTV footage of parliamentary proceedings. The disputed outcome of Thursday’s vote on a supplementary estimate is only one facet of an insidious institutional crisis. It all began with a disastrous rock fall in SL politics way back in 1978, when a huge boulder called the executive presidency came rolling down from nowhere and landed on democracy, more..

Are labour laws not for FTZ workers?

May 9 (SO) The lives of the young men and women working in Free Trade Zones (FTZs) have been written about, analyzed and dissected since the establishment of these Zones in 1978. The workers in these vast export business parks are not covered by the island's otherwise stringent labour laws. Union activity is restricted and the enforcement of regulations covering overtime and minimum wage is lax. more..

Rugby: Sri Lanka beat Singapore 33-17

May 9 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Asian Rugby Championship defense got off to a decent start when they resisted an early scare from Singapore to beat them 33 (4-tries, 2-conversions, 3-penalties) - 17 (2-tries, 2-conversions, 1-penalty) in the opening match concluded at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday. It was Singapore who led 17-15 at half time. Having fielded a new look side which included Havelock second row Jason Melder at prop, the Tuskers took an early lead of 3-0 from a more..

Netball entangled in family once again

May 9 (CT) Sri Lanka Netball Federation (SLNF) is once again destroying the moral of the sport with some of the actions they have engaged in. The SLNF Selection Committee was appointed recently and a certain member of the committee being the wife of the elder brother of the National Coach Deepthi Alwis. Sandhya Jayasuriya Member of the new selection committee under the Chairperson Wimala Jayaweera, is the sister-in-law of the National Coach and it is known that more..

'We have the top bowling side in the world'

May 9 (CI) Sri Lanka are in a period of transition, having lost seven of 11 Tests they played in 2015. Sanath Jayasuriya, who returned as chief selector, little more than a year since he stepped down from the role, however, believed that the side had one of the best bowling attacks. "The one department we are really good at is bowling," he said. "We have the top best bowling side in the world - five fast bowlers and spinners who are all more..

Beard's dream debut shakes Sri Lankans

May 9 (CI) Not many, least of all the tourists, knew much of Aaron Beard when he ran in for the first ball of Sri Lanka's trip to England, but he certainly knew how to draw attention to himself. With wickets in each of his first two overs, the 18-year-old Chelmsford-born schoolboy began his first-class career in dreamy fashion as he picked apart Sri Lanka's top order. Beard, who has been with Essex since he was nine, ended with 4-62 as they were bowled out for 254. more..

‘Steep rise in exports needed to reduce trade deficit with Malaysia'

May 9 (Island) Although a trade deficit is not a bad thing with an important trade and foreign direct investment partner like Malaysia, the current bilateral trade deficit doesn’t correlate with Sri Lankan economy’s true ability to provide more goods and services to Malaysia. This became clear to the Sri Lankan business community when Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the Malaysian Minister of International trade and Industry led a trade and investment mission to Sri Lanka last week. more..

JVP press conference

BoC awards 95 scholarships to 2013 GCE A/L highflyers

May 9 (DM) BOC 18 Plus scholarships awards took place on 28th April at the Bank of Ceylon Head Office auditorium. This year BOC awarded 95 scholarships for eligible 18 Plus account holders currently studying in state universities, in recognition of their achievements in the 2013 G.C.E. A/L exam. Among the Bank’s 95 scholarships, 20 students were awarded the special merit awards as they have obtained the highest marks in those four streams- Science, Mathematics, Commerce and Arts. more..

Value of school uniform vouchers to be increased

May 9 (ITN) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says that the value of the vouchers of school uniforms would be increased from next year. He said this while attending a function to commemorate former Minister H.M.A. Loku Banda. The function was held at the auditorium of the Mahawa Wijayaba National School. He said that he has been able to save millions of rupees of public money at the Ministry of Education. When the voucher payments are increased, the students would be able to get more..

Confusion reigns: VAT sits on the mat

May 9 (SO) The increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) from 11% to 15% which was scheduled to be implemented on May 2 cannot take effect because tax reforms need to be sanctioned by a vote in Parliament and gazetted, officials at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) said. “The specific sectors which are to be taxed starting this week is still a grey area even for officials at the IRD,” a senior official at the IRD, said. more..

Sampath Bank ups 1Q pre-tax profit by 19.4%

May 9 (FT) Sampath Bank, the main entity of the Sampath Group, has registered a pre-tax profit of Rs. 2.5 billion for the period ended 31st March 2016, compared to Rs. 2.1 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2015, achieving a YoY growth of 19.4%. The post–tax profit of the Bank for the period under review has also improved by 21.5%, from Rs. 1.4 billion in Q1 2015 to Rs. 1.7 billion in Q1 2016. Sampath Group, which consists of Sampath Bank & 4 subsidiary companies, more..

'Unions ready to consider out-grower model'

May 9 (EN) Sri Lanka intends to try out an out-grower model on its tea plantations with labour unions having agreed to consider the proposal by management companies who want to raise productivity, Minister Navin Dissanayake said. He said he had been having meetings with different stakeholders in the plantations sector in recent months in an effort to resolve differences. “One of the demands of producers especially Regional Plantations Companies - of looking at more..

Bus fare hike in the pipeline!

May 9 (CT) Bus fares are likely to go up in July based on the National Bus Fare Policy, LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said. He said that although the price of diesel was not increased, the bus maintenance cost had increased during the last year. "According to the National Bus Fare Policy, the annual bus fare revision is to take place in July every year and it considered 12 factors affect the bus fare. Diesel is only one factor. more..

Let's wait and see!

May 9 (ST) A popular, or is it unpopular sportsman who has been in the bad books of the authorities concerned turned nasty when a certain section of the sport wanted to patch things up. “Go ahead with the punishment and I will take appropriate measures to curb it,” said the sportsman who has a lengthy past with his opponents, especially when it comes to banging the ball hard on the ground and doing a peculiar stance after the ball is delivered. Let’s see what he can do! more..

HIV AIDS steadily on the rise in Sri Lanka

May 9 (CT) The number of reported HIV AIDS cases rose to 2,377 after 68 new cases were identified in the first quarter of 2016, sources from the National STD/AIDS Control Programme told Ceylon Today. According to the National STD/AIDS Control Programme 1,505 of those identified victims from the cumulative cases are males. They added that while nine deaths were reported due to contracting the disease, the accumulation of reported AIDS deaths were a total of 376 thus far. more..

Esala to be new Foreign Secretary

May 9 (FT) Career diplomat Esala Weerakoon has been nominated as Sri Lanka’s next Foreign Secretary and is expected to take office on 1 June 2016. The letter nominating Weerakoon as the top bureaucrat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been sent to the Presidential Secretariat by Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Daily FT learns. The appointment of the Foreign Secretary will be made by President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Plate of rice, biriyani, kottu up by Rs10

May 9 (Island) Prices of rice, fried rice, biriyani and kottu had been increased by Rs. 10 with immediate effect following the recent VAT increase, Chairman of the All-Island Canteen Owners’ Association, Asela Sampath told The Island yesterday. He said that the VAT increase from 11 percent to 15% had compelled eatery owners jack up prices as there was no other way of recovering the loss. He said the prices of all bakery products except that of bread had been increased. more..

Proposed East Container Terminal not a white elephant: SLPA MD

May 9 (FT) Contrary to negative views from various parties, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Managing Director H.D.A.S Premachandra insisted that the proposed East Container Terminal (ECT) will be a lucrative. Premachandra was critical against the views of certain individuals who he claims are ex-spurts. “When I say ex-spurts the meaning of ex refers to has been and no more, they are not experts. This kind of viewpoints expressed by individuals who have no knowledge of the industry can do more..

TNA Chief invites Tamil diaspora to assist development of North & East

May 9 (FT) Leader of TNA R. Sampanthan has called on the Tamil diaspora to take part in the development of the North and East. The Opposition Leader made this request while participating in a ceremony to open a community centre in the Thennamarawadi area of Trincomalee District built with the assistance from the Tamil diaspora in Australia. Sampanthan said large-scale development plans in some areas more..

Nalin Aponso files FR case citing pressure from Ranatunga brothers

May 9 (FT) Nalin Aponso, the Deputy Chief Manager of Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the President of Nationalised Services Cricket Association has filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court citing that he was under continuous pressure at his work place by the Ranatunge brothers, violating his fundamental rights. The petitioner has filed his application through Sanath Wijewardana Attorney at law and the same will be supported by Senior attorney-at- law Saliya Peiris. more..

Anderson confident Sri Lanka won't crush him again

May 9 (AFP) England paceman James Anderson is optimistic that whatever happens in the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka neither he nor captain Alastair Cook will feel as crushed as they did during the tourists' 2014 triumph. The teams begin a three-match series at Headingley on May 19, the ground where, two years ago, Sri Lanka clinched a dramatic 1-0 win in what was then the second of a two-Test campaign when Anderson was dismissed off the penultimate ball of the match. more..

Judiciary to be moved against members skipping parliamentary sessions

May 9 (Island) Civil society organisations are planning to move the judiciary against elected members of parliament for repeatedly skipping parliamentary sessions. Convenor of NMSJ Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya said that civil society organisations had initiated discussions in the wake of the on-going controversy over the govt’s failure to secure approval for a supplementary estimate for want of members at the time vote was taken. more..

Technicians from SWIFT left Bangladesh Bank exposed to hackers

May 9 (Reuters) Bangladesh's central bank became more vulnerable to hackers when technicians from SWIFT, the global financial network, connected a new bank transaction system to SWIFT messaging three months before a $81 million cyber heist, Bangladeshi police and a bank official alleged. The technicians introduced the vulnerabilities when they connected SWIFT to Bangladesh's first real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system, said Mohammad Alam, head of the CID of Bangladesh police more..

Brawling MPs delighted by 7-day suspension

May 9 (Island) UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma (Kalutara) and UPFA MP Upali Ranaweera (Gampaha) said that he had gladly accepted one week’s suspension for his alleged involvement in last week’s clash in Parliament. The MP said he felt that one week’s suspension wasn’t enough. He preferred a longer suspension. Alleging that the Joint Opposition always caused trouble in Parliament, UNPer said that the grouping prevented other members from addressing problems. more..

Crackdown on Raggers

May 9 (DN) An External Committee is to be appointed to probe all ragging related complaints in the University of Kelaniya, VC Sunanda Madduma Bandara said. In a bid to arrest the escalating situation related to ragging at the Kelaniya University, the authorities have instructed all students to take ragging related complaints directly to the Police. “The decision to appoint an External Committee to examine the complaints more..

A matter of showing sincerity

May 9 (DM) SL’s former diplomat Udayanga Weeratunga is reported to be flying freely with two passports from country to country despite allegations of frauds and corruptions -- while the NNF Govt appears to be going slow in cracking down on those who have allegedly plundered billions of rupees from public money. This delay, whether for political or legal reasons is causing widespread concerns among the people who had rallied to bring about the people-power revolution with more..

Do we need this kind of a May Day ?

May 9 (DM) Had one compared the enthusiasm on this year’s May Day shown by the two factions of the SLFP with that of the Cuban Communist Party which is famous for its mammoth rallies on International Workers’ Day every year, he may have seen that the former had outsmarted the latter this time. But everybody knows that this enthusiasm of the SLFP leaders was not born out of the love for the toiling masses of the country. In fact it is nothing other than the manifestation of a power struggle more..

'UNP should form their govt'

May 9 (DM) With the lapsing of the May Day, the future of SLFP and related subjects were concerns that were taken in for a discussion with Minister S.B. Dissanayake. Q: What is the stance of the SLFP? A: Our party and the UPFA were defeated at the last elections. Our own party secretary walked out and contested for the post of Presidency, which he consequently won. He then became the leader of our party and formed more..

'SLFP following an anti-UNP passageway'

May 9 (DM) Following the May Day rally by the joint opposition, UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma was interviewed by the to know his views on the stance of the joint opposition subsequent to the Kirulapone rally. Q: As Matara District leader and Vice President of the party, do you have much responsibility towards the party? A: I love my party more than my life. There is no second question about it. It is not an issue, or suspicion that more..

Great hope resting on COPE

May 9 (ST) The COPE report on how taxpayers’ money was misappropriated by politicians is to be released before the end of the month, COPE Chairman, JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said. The corruption that took place at the CEB, Lankaputhra Development Bank and Sri Lankan Airlines are amongst those that will be made public while all state departments where corruption took place will be investigated separately and more..

Sri Lanka considering liberalising tea imports for blending

May 9 (EN) Sri Lanka is seriously considering a proposal to open up the tea sector and allow imports for blending with the aim of increasing export earnings, Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake said. The tea industry is going through a tough time but with the approach of its 150th anniversary it was time to reflect on the future, he said. “We must look at the tea industry as part of the global beverage industry,” he said. more..

Foreign criminals are targeting your ATM; two nabbed, more at large

May 9 (ST) As a countrywide operation is underway to hunt down the remaining members of a foreign gang involved in stealing credit and debit card information from automated teller machines (ATMs), detectives have advised ATM users, especially those in the Kandy region, to examine the machine before inserting the card. The warning comes following the detection of a skimming device attached to an ATM of a state bank in more..

'Govt to study UN rapporteur’s claims'

May 9 (DM) The govt said that it would study the statement made by UN Human Rights Expert Juan E. Mendez who slammed Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system, accusing police of sexually abusing suspects and still using torture seven years after the end of its ethnic war. When inquired, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that at the moment, he was unable to comment on UN Rights Expert’s statement on behalf of more..

Committee to begin probe tomorrow

May 9 (DN) The four-member Committee appointed by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to look into the controversy surrounding the vote in Parliament on a supplementary estimate of Rs 55 million will begin investigations tomorrow. The four-member committee includes Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, Justice Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, UPFA MP Chamal Rajapaksa, who is a former Speaker and Minister Rauf Hakeem. more..

Video: VAT on mobile call charges still minimal: Harin

May 9 (DM) The increase in the VAT on mobile network charges is not a huge burden on the people when compared with other countries, Minister Harin Fernando said today. He told the BBC that he would not attempt to justify the VAT increase but the Govt was compelled to do so because of the current economic situation in the country. “Sri Lanka has the lowest phone charge rates when compared with other countries. more..