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‘It’s a crime to make 200% profits on life saving drugs’

May 12 (Island) The govt pledged to provide an affordable quality healthcare system and build more universities. Minister Rajitha Senaratne told a news conference that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration had, in keeping with its election pledges, had already provided a fair percentage of the national budget for both health and education sectors. "We will further develop state educational and health facilities by increasing financial allocations as the economy grows." more..

The mild-mannered man who could solve Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife

May 12 (NYT) Leaders of Sri Lanka, an island nation at the foot of India, have repeatedly promised a political solution to the ethnic strife that has caused heartache and bloodshed for much of its nearly 70-year history since independence. Committee after blue-ribbon committee has recommended that the majority Sinhalese, primarily Buddhists who immigrated from India centuries ago, relinquish some political more..

SJGH patients hit by VAT

May 12 (CT) The patients who seek treatment from Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital (SJGH) are currently facing difficulties after hospital costs increased as a result of the imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT) of 15%, said the Chairman of the All Ceylon Health Service Union, Samantha Koraleaarachchi. This was stated in a letter sent to the Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Anura Jayawickrama on Monday (9). more..

Japan to supply patrol boats to Sri Lanka

May 12 (EN) Japan is to supply two patrol boats to Sri Lanka’s coast guard to strengthen its maritime surveillance, and search and rescue capabilities. Japan International Co-operation Agency will provide a grant of 1.8 million Yen (about Rs2.4 billion) for the project, Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said. The Govt of Japan has agreed to grant assistances including two 30-metre long patrol vessels to the Department of Coast Guard to improve its operations, he said. more..

Video: Killing stray dogs is not the alternative: Faiszer

May 12 (AD) Minister Faiszer Musthapha assured that govt will not resort to killing the country’s stray dogs in an attempt to resolve the issue and that an extensive dialogue is being carried out with relevant parties. During a recent Cabinet meeting he was instructed to submit a report within three weeks regarding the country’s stray dogs issue. “I can say with utmost responsibility that there is absolutely no programme to kill dogs,” more..

Got millions in advances on houses

May 12 (CT) A woman who is alleged to have posed as a Coordinating Secretary to Minister Sajith Premadasa to swindle millions of rupees was remanded until 20 May by Mount Lavinia Magistrate. She was arrested by the Wellawatta Police who produced before the Mount Lavinia Magistrate. The woman is alleged to have posed as a Coordinating Secretary to Minister Sajith Premadasa before swindling people of millions of rupees on promises of provide them with govt houses. more..

Hoteliers bet big on Northern Province's beaches, history for tourism growth

May 12 (CNBC) Untouched beaches, new instrastructure, history aplenty - Sri Lankan hoteliers are keen to show international tourists that there are upsides to holidaying in a former war zone. Jetwing chairman Hiran Cooray told CNBC he was confident the best growth prospects for Sri Lanka's hotel industry were in the northern and eastern parts of the country, rather than the capital Colombo. "Jaffna has some beautiful islands that haven't been well explored, there is an opportunity for more..

Video: Commemorating victims of war allowed, LTTE not allowed: Govt

May 12 (AD) State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene says that the govt has no issue with the commemoration of victims of SL’s war but any attempts to commemorate the LTTE will not be allowed. “LTTE is a terrorist group recognized by the world. We have no problem with the commemoration of those who perished during the war. I think that is a tradition in the world.” “However, we will not allow any LTTE flags or more..

TNA calls for probe into UN torture claims

May 12 (ST) TNA called on the govt on Thursday to take immediate action against investigators who were accused of torturing and sexually abusing suspects, seven year's after the end of the island's civil war. Leader of the main opposition group, the TNA, R. Sampanthan, said that recent findings by UN Human Rights Officials who had visited the country were disturbing and it was the responsibility of the govt to probe their statements and stop such old practices. more..

Basil released on bail

May 12 (AD) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who was arrested by the FCID this morning, has been released on bail after being produced at the Matara Magistrate’s Court. He was ordered released on a cash bail of Rs 50,000 and three personal bails of Rs 1 million each. Matara Magistrate also ordered the former Minister to appear before the FCID on every Sunday. The FCID arrested Basil Rajapaksa today after he arrived to give a statement regarding a land issue in Matara. more..

Sangakkara hopes Perera gets recall after doping U-turn

May 12 (AFP) Kumar Sangakarra on Thursday backed calls for Kusal Perera to be called up to the current squad after the talented batsman was cleared to play following an admission by officials that he had been suspended over a botched drug test. Perera was suspended during Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand last December, after a laboratory in Qatar, accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency said he had produced a positive result more..

COPE Chairman says Ministers shielding corrupt officials

May 12 (CT) COPE Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti says it has become impossible to take action against corruption and other large-scale vices taking place at ministries as ministers themselves and their henchmen are engaged in such acts. He said that at some ministries those engaged in corruption have been shielded by the ministers themselves. JVP MP asserted if the ministers are interfering in taking action against those involved in corruption at ministries and public institutions, more..

Events to mark remembrance of victims of final war begin

May 12 (CG) Events to mark the remembrance of victims of the final war began today. Northern provincial council (NPC) members and families of those killed during the final stages of the war attended the event held in the North today. The events will be held for a week at different locations with the final event set to take place at Mullivaikal. NPC member M.K Sivajilingham said earlier that there was an attempt to block the events but yet the events will go ahead as planned. more..

US working with Sri Lanka to implement UNHRC resolution: Biswal

May 12 (PTI) The US is working with Sri Lanka to implement the steps agreed to in the resolution the two countries jointly sponsored at the UNHRC last year, a top US diplomat said. "Our diplomatic relations are at an all-time high, and we are now working with Sri Lanka to implement the steps agreed to in the resolution we jointly sponsored at the UNHRC last year," said Nisha Biswal, Assistant Secretary of State more..

Demystifying Debt

May 13 (GV) Revisiting ties with China, a bailout deal from the IMF, and increases in VAT have been making headlines recently. What does this all mean from an economic standpoint, and is SL following the right tactics? We spoke to some economists to ask if they could unravel these issues. Those interviewed include Dy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, Economist, CCC Anushka Wijesinha, Economist Deshal de Mel & Economist, Frontier Research Shiran Fernando. more..

Colombo saw many minority Mayors

May 13 (DM) London has elected its first Muslim and non-White mayor, Sadiq Khan, a son of a Pakistani immigrant bus driver, who will now be the first Muslim mayor in a Western Capital. World’s media was effusive, noting how politics in the UK’s metropolitan hub has over the time transcended race, religion and the skin colour; One report called the new Mayor Citizen Khan, (After the main protagonist in Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece, Citizen Kane). more..

'We are the real SLFP'

May 13 (DM) Bandula Gunawardena, economic analyst and one-time deputy finance minister of UNP Govt expressed his opinion on current financial issues; what had caused them and how to overcome them. He also commented on a few other areas of financial and political interest. (Interview was conducted before VAT was increased) Q: What are your thoughts on the current state of economic affairs in the country? more..

Seychelles and The Sri Lankan connection

May 13 (SL) Seychelles is a small archipelago situated in the far west corner of the Indian Ocean, closer to the continent of Africa. Tourism and fishing are the two most important industries for the economy of Seychelles. In 2009, tourism was surpassed by industrial fishing as the highest foreign exchange earner. Licensing fees paid by foreign companies that trawl in Seychelles’ territorial water, are also growing. Seychelles is a Small Island Development State and does not have land more..

Editorial: Harin vs Anura

May 13 (Island) Minister Harin Fernando has torn into JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake for a snide remark on the govt. Addressing the media at Sirikotha on Wednesday Harin let out a stream of invective, recalling as he did some ugly incidents in the late 1980s, which the JVP wishes it could live down. On listening to him one may have wondered whether the JVP-UNP honeymoon was over. Harin and Anura were instrumental in installing the present dispensation in power. more..

'What I did was wrong'

May 13 (FT) Controversial Minister Palitha Thewerapperuma hails the decision to take disciplinary action against him but claims it would have been more appropriate if he was stripped off the Ministerial post or Parliamentary seat. “That would alert politicians who misbehave in the House and stop them from acting in such an irresponsible manner in the future,” asserts the Deputy Minister. “What I did was wrong. more..

New electronic media authority: A welcome initiative

May 13 (ST) The recent news item that the Govt was planning to introduce a new authority for the development of electronic media in Sri Lanka is a welcome and timely initiative. This move should also be viewed in the context of legislative provisions required for digitising the existing analogue television, and possibly radio, in the near future. Unlike analogue, a single digital channel, be it radio or television, can carry multiple programme channels from several content providers. more..

Commemorating the 23rd Death Anniversary of Lalith Athulathmudali

May 13 (DM) Developed countries are run by experts and professionals, no matter what political party comes into power. That is why these countries continue to grow. Many of the Asian countries on the other hand are run by mediocre people, who lack subject knowledge, or expertise. And that is why these countries remain underdeveloped”, so said a distinguished professor from Germany during my recent travels. I was speechless. I realised that the plight that we were in has been correctly more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

The forgotten files of abduction, assault and assassination

May 13 (DM) After the late Lalith Athulathmudali was killed in April 1993, many pointed fingers at the then President R Premadasa whose wrath the murdered man had earned by breaking away from the UNP along with Gamini Dissanayake and others to form the DUNF. President Premadasa vehemently denied involvement and publicly declared his innocence A commission was appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga to probe the assassination as part of an election pledge, even through more..

Case for US$ 3-4.5 bn in IMF funding

May 13 (Island) On April 22, the media announced the IMF's staff level agreement to make available $ 1.5 billion through the Extended Fund Facility to Sri Lanka covering a three-year period, when policy reforms under the Govt's ambitious economic reform agenda would be made to increase tax revenues, make public finance sustainable, enable smaller deficits, effect lower borrowing, ease the balance of payments crisis and reform State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), with cumulative effect of more..

Deep sea fisheries set to take off

May 13 (SO) The revival of the deep sea fisheries industry is imminent as the EU processes the ending of the ban on Sri Lankan fish product exports following SL's compliance with EU regulations, mainly the disallowing of foreign trawlers to use the SL flag to circumvent their own country EU export quota limits. The lifting of the ban will enable the rapid expansion of an export industry that, by 2010, prior to the ban, earned more..

Dialog March quarter net profit up 35%

May 13 (EN) Dialog Axiata said group net profit for the March 2016 quarter rose 34.7% to 2.7 billion rupees from a year ago. Sales rose 22% to 21.2 billion rupees in the quarter. Earnings per share were 33 cents up from 24 cents a year ago. Dialog said its mobile customer base was over 10.6 million subscribers. Dialog Television (DTV), the group’s digital pay television business, made a net loss of 182 million rupees in the quarter compared to a net profit of 139 million rupees a year ago. more..

Harshani creates Pole Vault SL record

May 13 (Island) Harshani Dharmarathna of Ratnayake Central, Walala praised the efforts of his school officials and his coach for helping her pursue one of country’s still developing disciplines in women’s athletics after she took under her belt the National women’s pole vault record on day one of the Junior Nationals at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium on Thursday. Dharmarathne cleared a height of 3.34 metres to improve the lowly national record by one centimeter. more..

India’s help sought to tackle drugs problem in Jaffna

May 13 (Hindu) In a recent meeting with a former Indian diplomat, leaders of fishermen from Jaffna raised the issue of the easy availability of drugs in the region, and sought India’s help to tackle the problem. Attributing the availability of illicit substances to the growing instances of crime, Jaffna District Fishermen’s Federation’s president N Ponnambalam said drug trafficking, especially smuggling of Kerala ganja, more..

NDB 1Q top line up; impairment charges hurt profits

May 13 (FT) National Development Bank PLC and its Group companies has commenced 2016 on a positive note, posting a 20% year-on-year (YoY) growth in gross income. NDB said the Group ended the first quarter with a gross income of Rs. 7,555 million, a Rs. 1,235 million increase over the comparative period of first three months of 2015. The Net Interest Income (NII) of the NDB Group was Rs. 2,064 million as compared to Rs. 1,984 million, a 4% increase over the comparative period. more..

Dhananjaya reaches qualifying standard with record-breaking feat

May 13 (Island) Greshan Dhananjaya realised a long held dream in qualifying for the IAAF Word Under-20 Championships when he beat favourite Chama Kumarasiri with a record-breaking performance in the Under-20 triple jump on day one of the Junior National Athletic Championship at Diyagama. The AL student of St. Joseph Vaz’s College, Wennappuwa cleared a distance of 15.78 metres to establish a new meet record and better the qualifying standard (15.6m) by 18 cm. more..

How Kusal Perera cleared his name from doping charges

May 13 (CI) A timeline of Kusal Perera's suspension and the case to have his name cleared, as told by SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala. Dec 6, 2015: Kusal Perera is having dinner in Dunedin ahead of SL's first Test against NZ, when he gets a call from the ICC instructing him to check his email. He does so upon his return to the hotel and learns that he has been provisionally suspended for failing a doping test. more..

Sri Lanka invited to Davos of Development

May 13 (AT) Sri Lanka has been invited to take part in the high profile global forum on inclusivity and development for the first time ever. “Your invitation comes at a time when Sri Lanka enters a period of major economic and social reforms” voiced a pleased Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 11 May in Colombo. Minister Bathiueen was addressing the CEO of Perak Malaysia’s Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR) Dr Mazalan Bin Kamis who called on the Minister to extend first ever official invitation more..

Pakistan may play their home series in SL

May 13 (IE) Unable to garner suficient revenues, a beleagured Pakistan cricket Board is mulling on options to shift their base from the UAE to Sri Lanka during their series against the West Indies, later this year. The board has been unable to make any handsome profits from its home series held in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah since 2009 mainly due to the high expenses involved in organizing these series in the Emirates, negligible gate money receipts and finding right sponsors. more..

Emotion-filled Kusal says: First priority is to get into the team

May 13 (DN) A relieved and emotion filled Kusal Janith Perera said that his first goal was to get back to the national team and the financial losses he suffered during the ICC ban was only secondary. Addressing a packed press conference Perera who was freed of the disciplinary charges brought against him and the provisional suspension imposed on him by the ICC said, “My primary goal is to get back into the team as quick as possible. more..

As a moving refugee’s tale, Dheepan brings family warfare from Sri Lanka to France

May 13 (NP) Just as the Cannes Film Festival is getting under way in the South of France, Canadian audiences have their first chance to see last year’s Palme d’Or winner from French filmmaker Jacques Audiard. The subject matter is equally timely; Dheepan tells the story of a trio of refugees struggling to make sense of and fit into their new home. When we first meet the title character, a Tamil Tiger played by Jesuthasan Antonythasan, he is looking tired and a little lost as more..

Govt passes the buck on taking action against raggers

May 13 (Island) The govt accused university authorities of failing to implement anti-ragging laws despite hundreds of freshers abandoning their university education, unable to bear torture being perpetrated in the name of ragging. State Minister Mohan Lal Grero, however, said that under the Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act anyone could be arrested for ragging but the govt refrained from doing so out of concern for students’ future. more..

Sri Lankan leader to visit India in delicate balancing act

May 13 (AP) Sri Lanka's leader was to visit neighboring India on Friday for a second state visit in 17 months, underscoring his island nation's delicate efforts to balance relations with regional superpowers India and China. President Maithripala Sirisena, returning to the region from Britain, was expected to arrive in New Delhi in time to join PM Narendra Modi for dinner. On Saturday, two men plan to participate in Kumbh Mela, more..

ICC’s full statement on Kusal Perera

May 13 (DN) In Nov 2015, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Qatar reported to the ICC that urine samples collected out-of-competition from Sri Lankan international player, Kusal Perera, had tested positive for 19-Norandrostenedione, an anabolic steroid prohibited under WADA’s Prohibited List. Pursuant to the ICC’s WADA-compliant anti-doping code, the full laboratory documentation packages in respect of each of the findings were reviewed by three members of the ICC’s more..

Aerial surveys to reduce disaster impact

May 13 (EN) Sri Lanka has given contracts to two international firms to do aerial surveys to mitigate the impact of disasters like floods and drought, climate-related hazards which pose a significant threat to the country’s economic and social progress. “There has never been a more urgent need for a comprehensive climate risk management programme to minimise economic losses and mitigate ensuing risk in order to make Sri Lanka resilient to these changes,” a statement said. more..