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Mahinda-Museveni Dialogue

May 17 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa, with a grant from the yahapalanaya govt took flight to Uganda a few days ago for its President Museveni’s fifth installation as President. While Mahinda was hanging around the palace waiting for the Palace guard to escort him, he confronted a young man named Boko- servant of the palace. Boko: Are you are the President of Sri Lanka, Sir. I recognised you with that red thing round the neck. We are most honoured to see you, your Excellency more..

A plague on both your houses

May 17 (ST) At a time when England is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare it would not be inappropriate to quote a line from a play that somehow seems to capture the political madness here and the country of my birth. A plague o’ both your houses cried Mercutio in his dying moments in Romeo and Juliet as he cursed the houses of the Capulets and the Montagues, two warring families. Mercutio’s curse obviously worked for the lives of the lovers Romeo and Juliet ended more..


Mega push to lure French tourists despite imminent UL pullout from Paris

May 17 (FT) Sri Lanka is bracing for a major push to woo French tourists investing Rs. 90 million to host a mega travel agents congress in October despite an imminent pullout from Paris by SriLankan Airlines later this year. Sri Lanka will be infusing Rs. 90 million to host 450 French travel agents at the Les Journées des Entrepreneurs du Voyages (JEV) congress formally known as Syndicate National Des Agents de Voyages (SNAV). 5-day congress will be held from 31 Oct to 4 Nov. more..

Eradicating Univ ragging: Are we serious?

May 17 (Island) The high level consultative dialogue on preventing ragging organised by the UGC last month was a step in the right direction and it was encouraging to note the commitment of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to eliminating ragging as reflected in his remarks at that meeting. However, as someone who has seen it all before and can look back on a lifetime of frustrating endeavor against ragging (an unfortunate euphemism for human torture at universities), more..

War, peace and victory celebrations

May 17 (SL) Seven years have passed since the guns were finally silenced marking the end of Sri Lanka’s 30 year war. Accordingly, for the seventh consecutive time, we Sri Lankans are preparing to celebrate the war victory. However, behind the colourful banners, the pomp and pageantry of victory celebrations, there are some issues that still remain unaddressed. Are we really enjoying the fruits of peace? more..

The economy and corruption– the nexus

May 17 (Island) According to Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by Transparency International in 2015, Sri Lanka is the 83rd least corrupt nation out of 175 countries in the world, meaning Sri Lanka is about half way in the list. While most European countries top the list as non-corrupt nations, African and Asian countries like Angola, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom as highly corrupt nations. Director of Economic Research of the Central Bank more..

Silenced Shadows

May 17 (GV) When I first travelled to Sri Lanka in the nineties, the country was still recovering from the shocking violence of mass disappearances in the late eighties. It was difficult for people to talk about this period and sometimes friends would close down, the memories were simply too raw. It was only years later that I learnt a close friend had lost half his school friends in 1989 – an event so shocking and so far from my own teenage experiences. more..

Sri Lanka, Germany ties get significant boost

May 17 (FT) Sri Lanka’s efforts to liberalise its economy and encouraging of a solid basis to establish close business to business (B2B) contacts are crucial to countries looking to expand investment opportunities, believes Uwe Beckmayer, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany. “Sri Lanka now has a very stable Govt which envisages on new economic base of good governance more..

NSB’s 1Q PAT up 28% to Rs. 2.35 billion

May 17 (DN) The National Savings Bank has posted a profit after tax of Rs 2.35 billion for the first quarter of 2016. Profit Before Tax is Rs.3.1 billion. The deposit base of the Bank has surpassed Rs.600 billion by end of March 2016 supported by the growth of both savings and fixed deposits. The Bank also witnessed a positive change in deposit mobilization mix during the first three months of the year. The total mobilization for the period was Rs. 20,265 million which consisted of more..

Yahapalanaya: One single tenderer wins all contracts

May 17 (DM) The authorities wanted to procure an assortment of goods for a state-run institution concerned with vocational training and invited separate competitive bids for four categories of items from prospective suppliers. Tenders from a number of suppliers were received, duly processed and finally – believe it or not - the contracts worth a total of Rs.386 million awarded to one and the same tenderer - a certain firm. An individual who functioned as head of a state-owned bank more..

Beyonce brand Ivy Park denies slavery in Sri Lanka factory

May 17 (IE) It has been alleged that Beyonce’s sportswear brand is made by workers who earn 44p an hour in squalid conditions. The range was created to support and inspire women, but its Sri Lankan workers earn just £4.30 a day, the tabloid claimed. Sun reported that Anti-Slavery campaigner Jakub Sobik has attacked Beyonce’s brand, saying: “With what is being described here, this is a form of sweat-shop slavery… more..

Govt planning economic reforms to enable SMEs to enter global value chain

May 17 (Island) Sri Lanka is in the process of reversing the legacy of policy framework which disproportionately favoured producing for our small domestic market as against selling to regional and global markets, Minister Malik Samarawickrama, said. "The govt has clearly had a deeply misguided set of policies when one consider that Sri Lanka’s domestic market amounts to only about 20 million people," he said at the 16th edition of the World Export Development Forum 2016 (WEDF) more..

Asian Bodybuilding Championships: Bodybuilders stranded

May 17 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has refused to sanction the participation of the bodybuilders for the forthcoming 50th Asian Bodybuilding Championships to be held from 18 to 21 May in Beijing China. "The selection for the Asian Championship was not conducted according to the proper selection process" he said. He further said: "Ministry had received complaints regarding the selection issue and I heard only six builders participated at the trials for selection. more..

Sri Lanka takes centre stage at G7 in Japan

May 17 (DN) The invitation to attend the G7 summit in Japan being a first in Sri Lanka history, will be an ideal opportunity for President, Maithripala Sirisena to present Sri Lanka’s development plans to the most powerful countries in the world. Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Asia and Pacific, Director General Ameer Ajwad said a delegation from Sri Lanka will be accompanying the President to Japan where he is to be the chief guest of the G7 summit more..

A house for every hill-country Tamil

May 17 (Hindu) A housing project for hill-country Tamils of Sri Lanka, launched recently, has come not a day too soon. Envisaging the construction of 4,000 houses, the project was cleared by the Indian govt over four years ago. It is a component of the larger housing programme funded by New Delhi in the Northern and Eastern provinces, hit hard by the civil war that went on for over 25 years. Of the planned 46,000 houses in the north and the east, 45,000 have come up. more..

I refereed according to rules: Rankothge

May 17 (CT) Senior Referee Aruna Rankothge who refereed the Second-Leg of the Bradby Shield rugby encounter between Royal College and Trinity College at Pallekelle Stadium on Saturday, said that he refereed the game in accordance with the rules governing the game and not to please anyone. "I refereed the game in accordance with the rule books and not to please either Royal who were the visiting team or Trinity, the hosts," Rankothge told Ceylon Today last night. more..

More Sri Lankan refugees arrive from India

May 17 (DN) 31 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India will arrive in Sri Lanka on May 19 under an UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme. They are scheduled to arrive from Chennai in a Mihin Lanka flight at 11.45 a.m. Minister D.M. Swaminathan following a discussion with the UNHCR, facilitated the process and increased the baggage allowance per person with the assistance of officials of more..

Prof. Halpe passes away

May 17 (Island) Prof. Ashley Halpe passed away on Sunday afternoon at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital. He was 83 at the time of his death. Prof. Halpe, an internationally known English scholar, author, poet and artist served the University of Peradeniya as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and the Head of the Department of English. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to art and culture he was honoured with coveted titles, Kalakeerthi and Vishvaprasadni. more..

We need Gota-like officials: Gammanpila

May 17 (DM) The service of officials like former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is felt all the more at this time when the city has been hit by flash floods causing many hindrance to the people, MP Udaya Gammanpila said. He said Gotabaya Rajapaksa era was the golden era of urban development without argument. “This is a fact everyone accepts in unison,” he said. Mr. Rajapaksa put an end to the practices of sticking posters on walls, putting banners on lamp posts and more..

Seven Indians to be charged for violating visa rules

May 17 (DN) Seven Indians arrested in the investigations into a kidney racket involving Indians and Sri Lankans are to be charged for violating visa rules, police told Court. Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) conducting investigations into the incident informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate that it would file charge sheets against the suspects for over staying without valid visas, at the next hearing date. more..

Inclement weather: IGP puts police on standby for emergency

May 17 (Island) IGP, Pujith Jayasundara has instructed all the SDIG, DIGs, Division officers and Officers-in-Charge (OIC) of all police stations in the country to get ready to face any emergency due to adverse weather conditions prevailing over the country and to help public in all circumstances. Police would act quickly to help public in any calamity that would hamper their livelihood and the public was invited to contact the nearest police station for remedial action. more..

'SOEs need reform on case by case basis'

May 17 (Island) The country’s State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) need reforms on case by case basis and one single solution may not suit every enterprise, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. "The institute will be dedicated to economic development through free-markets and will promote sound policy ideas compatible with a free society in Sri Lanka," he said at the launch of Advocata Institute, a new independent policy think tank based in Colombo, and its report on SOEs. more..

Govt to strip Gota of army security

May 17 (Island) Army security provided to former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too would be removed in stages according to the govt’s policy decision to hand over the VIP security to the police commandos, Defence Ministry said. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said the Police Special Task Force would ensure and take responsibility for the former Defence Secretary’s security without any lapse. more..

Chinese conglomerate eyes Sri Lanka’s mineral deposits

May 17 (Island) Boosting Sri Lankan mineral sector outlook, a global industry conglomerate from China mainland announced on May 12 that it is ready to take a lead role in Sri Lanka’s strategic minerals. "We are looking for outright purchase of any mineral sands and graphite production of Sri Lanka" said President of Beijing’s SSG International Holding Group’s Chen Hong on 12 May in Colombo. SSGIHG’s President Hong was addressing Minister Bathiudeen during his special courtesy call more..

Diabetes drug not contaminated; black patches external

May 17 (Island) Apropos our front page main news item on May 12, Fungus found in diabetes drug, Jayanetti and Sons (Pte) Ltd., the sole agent for Kausikh Therapeutics (P) Ltd. India, and the latter’s product, Metformin, in Sri Lanka has said: "As per the said article, Quote - the State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) awarded a tender for the supply of the particular brand to govt hospitals, -Unquote, We categorically deny supplying to the State Pharmaceutical Corporation more..

Converting Sampur project into LNG-powered plant: Modi responds positively

May 17 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has asked Indian PM Narendra Modi to convert the Sampur Power Station in Trincomalee from a coal power plant to one powered by liquified natural gas (LNG). Modi has responded positively to Sirisena’s suggestion, and asked his officials to discuss the issue promptly with their Sri Lankan counterparts, and move forward. This was revealed by SL High Commissioner more..

Navy assistance to protect Parliament complex from rising flood water level

May 17 (SLN) Amidst the extreme weather condition prevailing in the country, flood water has approached the Parliament Complex as the water level of Diyawanna Lake is on the rise. To control the situation two teams of 102 and 30 naval personnel were swiftly attached to the Parliamentary complex last night (15) and this morning (16) respectively. Naval personnel managed to contain the rising flood water, by erecting an embankment around the complex with sand bags. more..

Court allows Johnston to go abroad

May 17 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday granted approval to accused former Minister and UPFA and SLFP Kurunegala District MP Johnston Fernando to leave overseas for a week's duration. The former Minister stands accused for non-declaration of his assets and income. Colombo Chief Magistrate thus allowed the accused Johnston Fernando to leave for Singapore in order to seek treatment for his spouse Sonali Fernando from 20 to 27 May. more..

Stormy weather causes chaos

May 17 (Island) Several areas of Colombo went under water causing major traffic jams throughout yesterday due to heavy rains experienced during the last two days. Meteorology Department warned further strong winds during next few days along with 150mm of rain in many parts of the country. Three people have died and 4,186 people from 3,616 families in 11 districts have been affected by prevailing inclement weather. more..

Remembering those who died in the war should pave way for reconciliation

May 17 (DM) With May 19 marking the end of the 30-year war between the security forces and the LTTE, preparations are being made to separately commemorate those who died in the war. Govt has planned to mark the day, which was earlier called Victory Day on a lower key when compared with the hype during the previous regime, while various Tamil groups are amid controversy planning to commemorate those who perished in the war. more..

Enforce Sri Lankan laws as a means of stopping Indians poaching in our waters

May 17 (DM) This isn’t quite how the Indian press worded Narendra Modi’s request to Maithripala Sirisena when they met in New Delhi on Friday. The headlines in the Indian media said PM Narendra Modi had pushed for a permanent solution to the issue of Indian fishermen during his talks with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. The issue is of course illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by Tamil Nadu trawlers in SL waters. more..

Freshers’ dress code a non-issue: IUSF

May 17 (CT) Ragging in universities has been a hot topic in the last two weeks. Many ideas were expressed supporting as well as opposing it. In order to dig deep into the issue CT interviewed Lahiru Weerasekara, Convener of the IUSF. He demanded that the govt abolish the Prohibition of Ragging in Education Institutions Act as it is misused for student suppression. He noted, according to the Prohibition of Ragging Act more..

How cricket has helped heal SL's South

May 17 (CI) When it came to saying goodbye and signing the visitors' book at the MCC Centre of Excellence in Seenigama, I found myself writing something idealistic for posterity. It was along the lines of: "To dive into the pure, warm waters of Seenigama is to swim contentedly in an atmosphere of goodness." Not the sort of words that often spill from the pens of hard-bitten, ageing journalists? more..

Three flights re-routed from BIA

May 17 (CT) Three flights scheduled to land at the BIA have been re-routed to Cochin International Airport and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) yesterday morning due to bad weather conditions prevailing in the Katunayake area. Heavy rains and floods brought all aviation operations to a virtual standstill. A Jet Airways flight arriving from Mumbai at 12:25 a.m. was diverted to Cochin Airport, India more..

Petition challenging jumbo cabinet fixed for support on June 03

May 17 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday fixed for support on June 3, 2016, the petition filed by Dr. Sarath Weerasekera and Prof. Wimaladharma Abeyewickreme, citing President Sirisena as the first respondent. President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva appeared for the petitioners. Romesh de Silva PC appeared for the Cabinet of Ministers. Kanag Ishawaran PC appeared for PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Yahapalanaya: Aviation Minister Jayaratne’s Unqualified Daughter given high post at CAA

May 17 (SL) Director General, Civil Aviation Authority of SL continues to be in the public eye, aligning himself as he does, with successive govts in order to safeguard his position. This is despite the numerous malpractices he has allegedly been involved in over the years. It is surprising indeed that the good governance administration which came into power 17 months ago promising to take action against all state officials who more..

India can’t be trusted as genuine trade partner: GMOA

May 17 (DM) GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that his organisation was not against India but that the country can’t be trusted as a genuine trade partner. Addressing a forum under the theme Lets defeat the ETCA invader, he alleged India had already ruined Nepal and identified India as a dishonest and unfair trade partner. He said so called economic consultants who were promoting the Indo-Sri Lanka ETCA more..

Away from home FTZ workers badly hit by VAT on phone calls

May 17 (ST) Trade unions claimed last week that the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on telephone bills is a major blow to workers in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ). FTZ and General Services Employees Union General Secretary Anton Marcus said that while the VAT increase has pushed up the cost of living of the average worker the VAT on the telephone bills is affecting the workers most. more..

Death toll from heavy rain rises, over 200,000 people affected

May 17 (CG) The death toll from the heavy rain experienced since Saturday night rose to 11 as of this morning with six people missing and over 200,000 people affected. Of the 11 dead are a woman and two children who were among six people buried in a landslide in Kadugannawa early this morning. DMC said that people in 19 districts have been affected by the heavy rain and strong winds with Colombo and the surrounding more..