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PMB paddy at cut rate for Aloysius’ liquor company

Apr 2 (ST) The Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) has sold paddy stocks stored at Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport at cut rate to W M Mendis and Co — a liquor manufacturing firm owned by the influential Aloysius Group, which is associated with the CB bond issue now under investigation. The paddy was hawked off to the company at Rs 24 a kg. PMB had bought the stocks for between Rs 38 and Rs 42 a kilogram. more..

Bureaucracy driving foreign investors away, stifling devolution: EP Chief Minister

Apr 2 (Island) Bureaucracy was driving foreign investors away and stifling devolution in the process, Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahmed said. He said that many entrepreneurs from around the world, including Asia and the Middle East, had visited the Eastern Province looking to invest in a wide range of sectors but had left in disgust due to the bureaucratic red tape that had driven them from pillar to post. "No file is moving without palms being greased", the Chief Minister alleged. more..

Video: Rajapaksa says his govt never decided to sell Hambantota port

Apr 2 (AD) Former President Rajapaksa today rejected allegations that the decision to sell the Hambantota Port was first made during his govt in 2014 and asserted that while he was in power they only took back what was already sold. “We never decided to sell anything during our time. I took back what had been sold. I can list all that we got back,” he said. He stated that what his govt wanted was establishing a company for the port and split the shares with the foreign investor more..

Sri Lanka-India finalise MOU for mega development projects

Apr 2 (ST) Sri Lanka and India will jointly make investments to develop the Trincomalee Port and establish a petroleum refinery and other industries there. They will also encourage Indian companies to invest in a Container Terminal in the Port of Colombo. These are highlights of a MoU to be signed this year between Sri Lanka and India for cooperation in economic projects. For Sri Lanka, the focal points for effective implementation, more..

As Gotabhaya is studying Donald Trump, Vasudeva flies a trial balloon

Apr 2 (Island) speculation about former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa coming forward as a presidential candidate at the next presidential election, whenever that is due - 2019 or 2020, depending on whose constitutional interpretation turns out to be convenient to the incumbent president. While he has not formally announced it, Mr. Rajapaksa has given every indication that he is more than inclined to enter the fray. He is not modest about his accomplishments more..

The LTTE, ISIS and the GMOA

Apr 2 (Island) Towards the end of its war to establish an independent state, the LTTE did not allow civilians to move out of those areas from which it was attacking the SL Army. It has been accused of deploying these hapless fellow citizens as human shields so as to discourage the security forces from firing in their direction or dropping bombs in their vicinity. LTTE took advantage of the fact that the govt was bound by its inherent obligations to its own people and in line with int'l humanitarian law. more..

Jaffna gets its Yaal back

Apr 2 (ST) The near three-decade-long separatist war not only left thousands dead and a larger number maimed but also destroyed many historic items of cultural interest. In the North, one such example was a musical instrument that gave the capital the Tamil name Yaal (Yazh) – a harp. A museum that held the remnants of this instrument was destroyed by war. Tamil name Yaalpanam, historians claim, was derived more..

Kandy air pollution placed in limbo

Apr 2 (CT) The focus on pollution in Kandy has been pushed into limbo owing to a clash of interests between politicians, certain individuals and religious factors. The politicians for their part are attempting to tap the Sinhala Buddhist vote through this issue while the problem at hand is ignored. A recent study carried out by Professor O.E. Illeperuma revealed that Kandy City topped the list in air pollution in the whole country. more..

Sri Lanka must take lead role in Indian Ocean region: Nasheed

Apr 2 (SO) If the recently formed Opposition coalition in the Maldives is elected to power, there could be an enhanced role for Sri Lanka in the geo-political landscape of the Indian Ocean region. Former President of the Maldives and the leader of the MDP, Mohamed Nasheed said that Sri Lanka must take a lead role within the Indian Ocean nations that also includes Seychelles, Mauritius, and the Maldives. more..

Multi-million dollar Uma Oya project moves closer to completion

Apr 2 (Island) Iranian contractor Farab has completed the construction of Dyraaba dam on Mahatotilla Oya River, a major landmark in the multi-million dollar Uma Oya irrigation and power project.   One of the biggest development and construction schemes in Sri Lanka, Uma Oya aims to provide much needed water and electricity to Sri Lanka’s arid southeast. Contract was awarded in 2008. more..

School uniform racket: Salu Sala seeks legal remedy

Apr 2 (SO) Salu Sala last week said it is not liable to pay the Rs 2.5 billion, demanded by an Indian marketing agency, for non-payment of dues for importing school uniform material on behalf of Salu Sala. Varcheswi Marketing Agency, the company contracted to supply the materials, had failed to provide the goods within the stipulated time. “Due to this delay we were unable to deliver the goods before voucher validity period ended. more..

Depression and mental health emerging concerns that affect over 800,000 persons

Apr 2 (Island) Director of the National Mental Health, Directorate, Ministry of Health, Dr. Chitramalee de Silva, said the problem of mental health affected over 800,000 persons across Sri Lanka. The problem was by no means contained, but growing among all age groups. However, the alarming fact for depression in those aged 15 years and older was an emerging stress factor affecting particularly low income families. more..

Call to regulate travel operators

Apr 2 (CT) Authorities were urged to regulate the large number of agencies handling pilgrimage tours to Dambadiva in North India following the deaths of three senior citizens earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry and industry sources said. Two elderly women and a man died of breathing difficulties caused by extreme cold weather conditions while on a pilgrimage to Buddhagaya-Dambadiva, in mid-March. more..

IMF trying to foist Ghana’s tax laws on SL?

Apr 2 (Island) The proposed new Inland Revenue Act has run into stiff opposition from key industry players, who described the controversial move to replace the existing law, as a "retrograde step that’s bound to create confusion and impinge on the overall revenue collection mechanism". Asserting that the proposed law departs from the very foundation and fabric of the existing Act, financial sector experts warned that if new proposals more..

NE housing row: Compromise solution for 6,000 prefab units

Apr 2 (ST) Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has granted approval for the construction of 6,000 prefabricated steel houses in the North and East by ArcelorMittal despite opposition by civil society groups and the TNA. The proposal will now go back to the Cabinet for ratification, authoritative sources said. The project has been in the pipeline since 2015 amid widespread protests. more..

Video: Ties with China not at India's expense: PM

Apr 2 (Wion) As part of the World Is One Global Leadership series, WION’s senior international correspondent Padma Rao Sundarji speaks to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. PRS: Mr Prime Minister, thank you for talking to WION for our new World is One Global Leaders series.Sri Lanka's current coalition government came to power in 2015 promising to improve relations with closest neighbour India. more..

Theatre of the absurd

Apr 3 (SO) Or is it Greek tragedy of attempted suicide, weeping females and fasting unto death for a noble cause, or so they believe? When we thought that the comedies enacted in Parliament were reduced and we could get back to normal living, there appeared a pseudo tragedy which is undoubtedly Theater of the Absurd though enacted and promoted by the chief protagonist and the chorus as a soul searing tragic drama. Menika had better stop talking in riddles. more..

Sushma Swaraj’s amnesia & Indian duplicity

Apr 3 (CT) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has recently made a strongly worded statement related to Sri Lanka’s national question in response to questions raised by a member of the CP of India. Reiterating India’s commitment to the protection of the rights of the Tamils in SL, Swaraj has been quoted in the media stating “The anguish with which the members have raised the issue (of crimes committed during the war of 2009), govt associates itself with the same pain.” more..

BIA grandeur accomplished before target date

Apr 3 (SO) The reduction in passenger movements and passengers handled during the resurfacing of the runway at the BIA has had no major negative impact on the country, Airport and Aviation Services, Chairman, Saman Ediriweera said. The difference in the reduction of passengers handled during Jan to Feb in 2016 and 2017 has been 5.25%, while in aircraft movements, difference in the reduction of more..

Alleged losses at EPF: MB will open itself to outside inquiry by playing slow mode

Apr 3 (CT) Media reports last week had referred to an alleged loss of Rs 9.5 billion at the EPF when it had made some scandalous deals with a primary dealer company now under investigations. The reports had disclosed the findings of a special investigating team appointed by the Monetary Board, on the losses that had been incurred by EPF when it had refrained itself from bidding at the primary auctions of Treasury bonds but buying them from the alleged primary dealer or more..

Trump-Yahapalanaya int'l conspiracy?

Apr 3 (SL) Koha is singing, Avurudhu is coming, TV is singing – Hari Joli…. No Poli but you newspaper fellows say that according to the World Happiness Report 2017 that Sri Lankans are less happy now than they were between 2013- 2015. SL is ranked 120 out of 155 countries between 2014-2016. In the 2016 report Sri Lanka is ranked 117 for the years 2013-2015 – a drop in happiness by three places or increase in unhappiness, JO Ker (Joint Opposition) activist told us with much happiness. more..

A folly compounded!: Dr. Palitha Kohona

Apr 3 (CT) Veteran SL diplomat, SL's former Permanent Representative to the UN and Secretary to the Ministry of External Affairs Dr. Palitha Kohona said UN Human Rights Resolution which SL cosponsored in March 2017, was a folly compounded. "The onerous nature of Resolution 30/1 and the likely negative reaction to it by the majority of the population, and the need for constitutional amendment to implement some more..

Whodunnit high noon duel between Gota and Fonseka

Apr 3 (ST) Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka fired the first shot. When CID detectives, probing the daylight killing of former editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, came to question him in January and obtain his testimony, he laid the blame squarely at the doorstep of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.  He claimed that a death squad run by military intelligence but who took their orders from Gotabaya was responsible. Last Monday, the CID presented his explosive testimony more..

Musings on a terrifyingly familiar counter-terror draft

Apr 3 (ST) Assessed even with the kindest eye, the potential of the proposed (and revised) new Counter-Terror Act (CTA) to legally validate intrusive acts of state officers is most worrying. If this version has been sent to the Legal Draftsman’s Department for conversion into the form of a Bill as we are informed, one can only hope for intervention of a peculiarly divine kind to prevent this draft being passed into law. As analysed last week in these column spaces, more..


Final Passage for McGuinness and Prabhakaran: Sharply Contrasting

Apr 3 (Island) The final journeys on this our earth for Martin McGuinness and Velupillai Pirapaharan have been sharply different: McGuinness’ mortal remains were borne in March 2017 by his very own with a massive crowd of IRA and other Irish around; Pirapaharan’s in May 2009 was borne by his deadly enemies with no Tamils present…. and, definitely, no Tamil Tiger fighters. Both were leaders of separatist movements, McGuiness and Sinn Fein challenging Great Britain and the English more..

Editorial: Burning down a parliament

Apr 3 (Island) Guy Fawkes must be spinning, nay doing backflips, in his grave. He made an abortive attempt to destroy the Parliament of England in 1605. He got hanged and quartered, and his body parts were dispatched to the four corners of the kingdom for his role in the Gunpowder Plot as a warning to others of his ilk. A little over four centuries on, Paraguayans have emulated him successfully albeit without gunpowder & a religious agenda; they set their parliament on fire more..

Thisara, Jayasuriya earn T20 call-ups

Apr 3 (CI) Kusal Mendis has been omitted from Sri Lanka's T20I squad for the two-match series against Bangladesh, while spin-bowling allrounder Shehan Jayasuriya has been called up. Also in the squad is Thisara Perera - who had not been in Sri Lanka's recent T20I squad to Australia - and opener Danushka Gunathilaka, who returns to the T20 XI after recovering from injury. Kusal Perera has also been named, but his participation is more..

World well aware of Finance Minister’s achievements: Chief Prelates

Apr 3 (DN) The economic development agenda of Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake is envied by certain factions of Sri Lanka but it has been recognised well at international level, Chief Prelates of the Malwathu and the Asgiri Chapters said. The two chief prelates said Minister Karunanayake is engaged in a specific mission in economic building in the country. The two Mahanayaka Theras expressed these views when the Finance Minister paid courtesy calls on the Theras more..

PEaCE condemns the attack on two girls’ schools in Colombo

Apr 3 (Island) Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEaCE), an organization committed to upholding the rights of all children in Sri Lanka, says that the staff and students of Yashodara Devi Balika Vidyalaya in Borella are still in shock at the unexpected attack by a group of about 50 boys from Mahanama Maha Vidyalaya on March 21, 2017. These students, on a big match parade, forced their way to the nearby Girls’ School, ostensibly to free one of their comrades held under duress more..

Aim at the stars and end up in the moon

Apr 3 (ST) Just a few days ago, the cricket buzz in this part of the world was a reported attempt by SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala to move to the hot seat at ICC after its Chairman Shashank Manohar decided to step down for personal reasons. But, sanity prevailed, and the ICC hierarchy managed to persuade Manohar to stay put until some important legislation is passed in June — and that saved the day for SL’s cricket. more..

FFSL legitimacy at risk

Apr 3 (ST) Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) is at the risk of losing its recognition as a legitimately appointed governing body by the FIFA if it fails to move forward with the Annual Congress or being placed under the authority of an Interim Committee. FFSL could not conduct its Annual Congress in 2016 after the most important Auditor General’s Report was delayed by months. Ending the delay the AG’s Department released the Report on Financial Statement of the FFSL on Sept 26, 2016 more..

Gura’s Mission Impossible

Apr 3 (Island) Cricket Manager Asanka Gurusinha has ambitious plans for the national cricket team. Run down as the world’s worst fielding team during the on-going bilateral series against Bangladesh, the Sri Lankans came up with a near perfect effort on the field in the series levelling third ODI at SSC on Saturday. The commitment that the Sri Lankans showed on the field was exceptional having given away nearly 40 runs in the crushing defeat at Dambulla the previous Saturday. more..

Thai company plans FTZ in Bandaragama

Apr 3 (DN) A Thailand based infrastructure company famous for setting up Economic Zones is planning to set up a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Bandaragama, said Deputy Director General, Board of Investments of SL Dumunda Ariyasinghe. He said that they have already began discussions with this company. “We met senior officials from this company when when BOI officials were in Thailand and they will now visit Sri Lanka soon,” more..

Sri Lanka to garner glare of German spotlight

Apr 3 (FT) Sri Lanka this week will come under Germany’s spotlight with the latter selecting Colombo for two key regional meetings while also seeing its Speaker of Parliament visiting the country. Following the official visit of President Sirisena to Germany in February 2016 and visits by numerous business and parliamentary delegations from Germany to Sri Lanka last year, the upcoming events this week will again underline the growing intensity of German-Sri Lankan relations. more..

Dialog launches Voice-over-LTE

Apr 3 (EN) Dialog Axiata said it was launching Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE), a skype like service that operates over its broad band network, for the first time in South Asia, giving high quality voice and video calling. The service will be available with Samsung JD and J7 devices, Dialog said. “Dialog is privileged to join hands with Samsung, to be the first to present next-generation technology of end-to-end IP-based voice communications to Sri Lankan customers," more..

Sri Lanka inflation hits 7.3% in March

Apr 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's inflation hit 7.3% in the 12-months to March 2017, the highest seen the 2012 currency collapse, data from the state statistics office show, as the rupee depreciated steadily amid stronger global commodity prices. Colombo Consumer Price Index rose steadily from Oct 2016 climbing from 112.1 points to 116.7 points in March 2016, data show. The index however well 0.2 points in March to 116.5 points. more..

Sri Lanka's link to gay pride flag

Apr 3 (EN) The man who created the Rainbow flag, which instantly appears identical to the Cooperative Society standard used in Sri Lanka too, has died in San Francisco, at the age of 65. American artist Gilbert Baker came up with the iconic eight-coloured banner for San Francisco's 1978 gay freedom day, a precursor to the modern pride festival, having taught himself to sew in his 20s. However, the flag of SL's Co-Op movement which began in 1906 has 7 stripes and only lacks the hot pink line more..

Standard Chartered’s Group CFO Andy Halford visits Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (FT) Standard Chartered’s Group Chief Financial Officer Andy Halford is on an official visit to the island. The Sri Lanka branch office said it was honoured to have the opportunity to showcase the franchise’s long local association with the bank’s top leadership.  Last year the bank hosted Group CEO Bill Winters in Sri Lanka. Halford, the global bank’s second in command, will meet with Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy and more..

‘Govt neglecting local businesses while mollycoddling foreign investors’

Apr 3 (Island) Minister Daya Gamage said that the current govt is neither giving any opportunity nor chance for local entrepreneurs to progress, which is one of the drawbacks of the govt in their forward march towards economic development. "The local entrepreneurs are the life blood of any economy, whose interests have not been protected by this govt. Unfortunately, previous govt too harassed local entrepreneurs, more..