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Beedi smoking grows as price stick hurts cigarettes

Oct 9 (Island) While cigarettes have increasingly come under fire over health issues, triggering a sizable seven-rupee price revision per stick last week, the more deleterious beedi smoking has witnessed a disturbing spike that has translated into a windfall to the trade to substantially grow its market share. Tendu leaf imports, which stood at a negligible 20% in 2007, has sneaked its way up to a startling 43% in 2015, more..

Super luxury Aggressor Yacht operation gets green light to sail

Oct 9 (Island) The launch of Sri Lanka’s first weekly, five-star super-luxury liveboard charter under the new Aggressor branded Yacht operation has now been given the go-ahead by the govt after the multi-million dollar marine project virtually ran aground over issues of technical specifications. "We will be launching our maiden charter from Trincomalee on October 22", says David Home, the delighted local promoter. more..

Canada, Sri Lanka discuss fully-fledged Code Share Agreement

Oct 9 (CG) Canada and Sri Lanka have discussed and agreed in principal to have a fully-fledged Code Share Agreement, the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada said. The discussion took place on the sidelines of the 39th tri-annual Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which was held in Montreal, Canada. The Sri Lankan delegation was led by Ahmed Jawad, Representative of Sri Lanka more..

Trials to start for home-grown anti-venom

Oct 9 (ST) Researchers at the University of Peradeniya will next week begin clinical trials for new snake anti-venom that experts hope preclude the high rate of allergic reactions from imported medication. Indian-manufactured anti-venom serum is the main weapon used against the 50,000-plus snake bites recorded annually in SL but as venom varies in snakes of different countries the Indian anti-venom has limitations here. more..

SriLankan dismisses Weliamuna report

Oct 9 (ST) The controversial Weliamuna Report which accused SriLankan Airlines top officials and employees of financial misappropriation has been dismissed by the airline’s chief Ajith Dias. SriLankan Airlines chairman said there was no financial misappropriation with regard to the 15 persons mentioned in the Weliamuna report. Some of those against whom allegations were made are the former Chairman more..

Media pressure escalates against judges

Oct 9 (CT) President's Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya says the web mafia and certain media organizations have now developed into a critical state that they may have the potential to create serious problems in society. The Counsel further said, "When I exposed the web mafia for attacking judges, I brought the matter before the Bar Association. This was not long before Justice Shiran Guneratne's matter came up. more..

Mihin Air soars, cruises and nosedives

Oct 9 (CT) Mihin Air, the second airline and flag carrier which was commenced as a budget carrier, has soared, cruised and nosedived. It was only last week that the incumbent Chairman of the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, Ajit Dias, said that all the destinations of the budget carrier was to be taken over by the national carrier from 31 Oct. Therefore, all Mihin destinations which encompass Dammam, Riyadh, Jeddah, more..

Two Sri Lankan girls in Oman drown while taking a selfie

Oct 9 (TOO) Two Sri Lankan children drowned at Ain Garziz late on Saturday. One girl was studying in Indian School Salalah and the second child was studying in a private school. The accident happened when two families went for a picnic at around 6pm. According to sources, the girls were attempting to take selfie photographs when tragedy struck. “The girls went towards the spring, slipped while taking a selfie and fell into it. more..

Passenger handling capacity to increase from 6m to 15m

Oct 9 (ST) Annual passenger handling capacity at the BIA is expected to increase from its current 6 million to 15 million upon completion of the BIA Development Project, according to Airport & Aviation Services (SL) Ltd (AASL). Accordingly, hourly runway capacity will be 35 aircraft movements, up from the present 25 movements. The scope of the project consists of construction of a new multi-level terminal more..

Has CBSL facilitated another scandal? – Arbitraging & increase in money supply

Oct 10 (CT) The country must be unified to stop paying homage to political leaders elected to power or thrown out of power. They must be respected for what they have done or what they have been doing for the country. The character of the nation must be to stand up against any wrong doing professes by any leader. It is because of this character that Mr. Arjuna Mahendran had to leave the office of Governor of Central Bank even though PM Ranil Wickremesinghe strongly stood by him. more..

A comprehensive convention on international terrorism; A role for Sri Lanka

Oct 10 (CT) Sri Lanka fielded it’s ‘A’ team led by President Sirisena for the 71st UNGA in New York, attended by scores of Heads of State and Govt of its 193 member states. President Sirisena spoke of enough experience with a brutal war, of making people of SL the happiest people on earth and called on the international community to help his country on its path to achieving long-term peace. Reference was also made to Theravada Buddhism, though its relevance is questionable. more..

Over a cup of Tea

Oct 10 (SO) Despite the assurance given by plantation companies to raise the current daily wage of estate workers from Rs.620 to Rs.730, estate workers continue their protest demanding a daily wage of Rs.1000. Plantation sector trade union leaders claimed they are yet to agree on a final wage formula and that another discussion has been scheduled for Oct 13. Several rounds of talks held between plantation trade unions & employers more..

Media vs Good Governance

Oct 10 (SL) It came as a bit of a surprise last Friday when State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene accused a private newspaper of misreporting the facts over a document he tabled in parliament. His accusation then led to more ministers rising from their seats saying even their image had been tarnished as a result of the contents of the report as reported by the media. Media however defended what they had reported, and its stakeholders went and met Speaker after the matter was raised. more..

Americans don’t like Sinhalese?

Oct 10 (SL) Sunil Gavaskar, the former Indian cricket captain and TV commentator at a recent TV talk show was asked by an anchorwoman what he thought of the recent decision of the Indian Supreme Court to ban all politicians from the BCCI. Gavaskar, who apparently did not seem to go along with all the recommendations of the Supreme Court asked: Why ban only politicians in cricket? There are ministers in charge of ministries who are also totally ignorant about the subject. more..

Estate workers strike caused Rs 1B loss

Oct 10 (CT) Ministry of Plantation Industries says that the economy has suffered a loss of nearly one billion rupees due to the fortnight-long strike of the plantation workers who maintain their demand for an increase of their daily wage to Rs 1,000. Secretary to the Ministry said that the loss to the plantation industry would directly impact the national economy. "70% of the loss of Rs.1 billion would have come in foreign exchange more..

The new constitution that may never be

Oct 10 (Island) Gramsci spoke of the pessimism of intellect and the optimism of will. How does this relate to Sri Lanka today? The deafening silence around the process of constitution making, justified by key architects as inevitable in order for progress around tenacious issues to be made, indicates to all but the most delusional the reform process has little to no traction in the public imagination. This is a problem. Basic intelligence suggests a process as vexed as writing a new constitution, more..

Talk about a new party

Oct 10 (Island) One does not have to be an astrologer to say when malefic planetary combinations bother ruling party politicians. When the supposedly bad planets trouble them they go overseas and return when bad spells are over––of course, at taxpayers’ expense. As if the astrological problems troubling govt leaders were not enough, JO has stepped up its offensives on the political front. JO leaders have apparently decided that attack is the best form of defence. more..

Mahindananda Aluthgamage

5 billion buck bond bonanza: Gosh, didn’t they do well?

Oct 10 (ST) Perhaps it was beginner’s luck. Or how else do you explain the phenomenal killing made by a three-year-old company in the cut-throat world of bond business? But whatever the reasons may have been, the initial euphoria must be for the rest of Lanka’s 20 million people to take their beggared hands out of their cent less pockets and raise a round of applause that a local bond trader, hardly out of its bassinet, was able to soar above the competition and scoop jackpot of the century: more..

Judicial upholding of the right not to be violated

Oct 10 (ST) Last week’s affirming by the Supreme Court of a female school teacher’s constitutionally protected right to talk to the media in the face of prolonged sexual harassment and intimidation at a leading educational establishment in Colombo calls for a multipronged deterrent approach to an all-pervasive problem in SL. It is common knowledge that the complaint upon which the Court acted this time around is not rare. Indeed, this country ranks disgracefully high in South Asia more..

World to converge in Colombo this week to boost exports

Oct 10 (FT) Colombo will host a global forum for higher exports, with the event drawing over 300 participants, including several ministers, business leaders and professionals.  16th edition of the prestigious World Export Development Forum (WEDF) will be held in Colombo from 12-13 Oct with organisers anticipating around 350 registered foreign participants.  President will be the Chief Guest at the ceremonial inauguration more..

Forex reserves down to US$ 6.46bn Sept

Oct 10 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves fell US$ 138.8 million from a month earlier to 6.46 billion rupees in Sept 2016, from US$ 6.598 million. Official reserve assets include central bank's monetary reserves and also fiscal reserves held by the Treasury. Since monetary policy was tightened from around the first quarter of 2016 and the central bank stopped printing money to generate excess liquidity in money markets (finally sterilizing interventions more than 100%), more..

A dozen taskforces to push Sri Lanka up ease of doing biz rankings

Oct 10 (FT) Getting aggressive on improving investment, Govt has appointed a dozen taskforces, one for each pillar of the Ease of Doing Business rankings, under the purview of the Central Bank to move up the ladder and make it globally competitive. CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, delivering a lecture titled Development Challenges in Sri Lanka, organised by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka recently called on the private sector to support more..

Weliamuna calls for accountability on Airbus fiasco

Oct 10 (ST) J.C. Weliamuna, the chairman of a committee that probe corruption in SriLankan Airlines last year, has called for the people behind the decision to purchase four Airbus A350 super-luxury aircraft at an inflated price to answer for the dreadful crime.  ”There is no question that the people who took this decision (should) be held accountable in terms of criminal law,” said Mr. Weliamuna, a well-known lawyer, more..

Western Megapolis with more than a million residents could pollute Kelani river

Oct 10 (ST) The Kelani river is one of the backbones of Sri Lanka’s economy providing livelihoods to persons who live in close proximity to the river where over 10,000 small and large scale business are located of which only 3000 such businesses have an environmental pollution licence to operate there, said Dr. Ananda Mallawatanthri, Country Representative of IUCN Sri Lanka at a technical session of the Biodiversity Program held at the Ramada Hotel Colombo last week. more..

Ruble depreciation, chief among factors hitting Russia-Sri Lanka business links

Oct 10 (Island) Due to the current Russian economic crisis coupled with the ruble depreciation, trade and business between Sri Lanka and Russia have not shown any significant improvements in the recent past, president, SL-Russia Business Council Isuru Samarasinghe said. "But bilateral business would take off when Russia gets out of this crisis in the future, Samarasinghe said at the 13th Annual General Meeting of SL-Russia Business Council held at Russian Center Colombo. more..

Ruhuna University designs filter to counter kidney disease

Oct 10 (DN) For the first time in SL, Department of Civil and Engineering Department of Univ of Ruhuna, has designed a low cost filter to purify water. This project is being guided by Toyama Perpetual Univ of Japan. Dr. Sudhira De Silva head of Civil and Environmental Engineering said that this filter would be ideal for use in areas where there is high deposits of fluoride and high hardness of water known as a the main causes of CKDu. more..

British vet raises thousands to help Sri Lankan street dogs

Oct 10 (CL) They faced a short life of heart-wrenching abuse half way across the globe. But Sri Lankan street stray Mama and her puppy Angela look set for a happy new life in the UK – thanks to a tourist’s amazing act of kindness. Claire McNaney, from Chester-le- Street, spotted the tragic pair while she was staying in the resort of Aguram Bay with her husband James last June. She spent £470 for a vet to treat the starving strays before finding them shelter at an Animal SOS centre. more..

CB Governor outlines agriculture productivity challenges

Oct 10 (ST) South Asia is hot on the heels of East Asia to become the world’s next middle-income region. But to catch up its neighbours, South Asia and its firms – especially in industries such as light manufacturing, auto and agribusiness – will need to compete on a global scale, panellists at the World Bank annual meeting emphasised in Washington this week.  At the event it was highlighted that across South Asia, firms like Sri Lanka’s Dilmah, and India’s electronic firm Dixon and more..

JO wants referendum on ETCA

Oct 10 (Island) Appreciating the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt for putting off two proposed Bills in respect of Buddhism pending consensus in the wake of strong protests by the Maha Sangha, former Minister G.L. Peiris said that similar approach was required regarding controversial Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala recently announced in Parliament that more..

Govt purchases traditional paddy

Oct 10 (ITN) The Govt has commenced to purchase traditional paddy cultivated by the farmers in the Polonnaruwa District under the National Food Production Programme. The Government is to pay 70 rupees for a kilogram of traditional paddy. The programme is implemented on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena. Govt distributed 2400 kilograms of traditional varieties of paddy among 800 farmers free of charge and provided them with the facilities to cultivate the paddy. more..

Harin showcases SL’s digitalisation strategy at WEF India Summit

Oct 10 (FT) Minister Harin Fernando last week showcased SL’s key digitalisation strategy at the World Economic Forum hosted India Economic Summit in New Delhi. He was part of a high-profile panel focusing on Connected South Asia and how digital technologies can be fairly distributed to drive transformative impact for 1.7 billion South Asians. Overall theme of the WEF and Confederation of Indian Industry was Fostering an Inclusive India through Digital Transformation, more..

Sri Lanka cricket team attack mastermind killed in Afghanistan

Oct 10 (PT) Qari Ajmal — a leading Pakistani militant leader wanted for organising the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore has been killed in eastern Afghanistan. The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team claimed the lives of seven police officials and left seven players including Mahela Jayawaredene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana and Chaminda Vaas injured. more..

Ship owner loses Rs. 114 m so far through 1-year Avant Garde detention

Oct 10 (FT) Sri Lanka Shipping Company Ltd., which owns MV Avant Garde, has lost over Rs. 100 million owing to the detention of the vessel at the Galle Port. The loss has been disclosed in an affidavit submitted to the AG on Friday. The ship has been in detention for a year after it entered Lankan waters allegedly without prior Government approval with arms and ammunition on board which were under the custody of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd. (RALL), a fully-owned company more..

CEB Green Power Development project to be co-financed by ADB & AFD

Oct 10 (FT) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is to launch a development program to improve its transmission infrastructure and the efficiency of its medium voltage network with the help of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Agency France Development (AFD). Following Cabinet approval, which was granted last week, CEB will commence negotiations with ADB to finalise the terms for a loan facility to finance the project, said CEB spokesperson Sulakshana Jayawardana.    more..

'President, PM will not compromise country'

Oct 10 (DN) President and PM are making a genuine effort to steer the country towards development and prosperity by creating national and religious harmony. They would never take any decision harmful to the country or people, Most Ven. Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter said. He stated this when Speaker of National Council of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland more..

SL Tourism ready for WTM, UK road shows

Oct 10 (DN) SL Tourism Promotion Bureau for the first time will be hosting a number of road shows to be held in Manchester, Birmingham and London promoting SL as a tourist destination. These will be from Nov 2. These road shows will be held in parallel to the World Travel Market, (WTM) which is one of the leading global events in the Travel and Tourism Trade, attracting more than 35,000 visitors, 5000 exhibitors and around 2000 travel agents, including 200 tour operators more..

Rs. 3.5 mn robbery an inside job

Oct 10 (Island) Athurugiriya police recently arrested three persons who burgled a communication centre and made off with Rs. 3.5 million on September 25. One of the suspects is an employee of the communication centre, the police said. They are being interrogated. They are residents of Badulla and Athurugiriya. According to a senior police officer, the suspects had switched off the CCTV cameras installed in the institution and used duplicate keys to enter the place. more..

'Undue interference in my ministry'

Oct 10 (CT) Minister Mano Ganesan has complained to President and PM that the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is unduly interfering in the affairs of his ministry. Ganesan said he intends to conduct further discussions on the issue with the President, PM and Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara. He said, "My ministry is vested with all the authority to take decisions on the national languages of the country". more..

Showcasing the cultural colours of Sri Lanka

Oct 10 (GT) They left everybody stunned. Turning, twirling, swaying and skipping to the beats of Ceylon’s popular drums, the boys and girls from Sri Lankan army’s cultural troupe took the Doha audience through the island nation’s rich culture and history stretched over centuries.  Showcasing a piece of culture from the pearl of Arabian sea in dance and song, members of SL Army Band and Cultural Troupe delivered an enthralling performance to a packed house more..