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Overcome danger of open ended postponement of elections 

Aug 1 (CT) The postponement of provincial elections was not expected. The constitution states that provincial elections must be held on schedule. But the postponement was not surprising. Local govt elections have been postponed for over two years. Every few weeks there have been declarations by govt leaders that the conduct of LG elections is imminent. A fortnight ago, Minister Faizer Musthapha said that the govt and other party leaders have reached consensus to change more..

Inland Revenue Bill: Higher revenue through progressive taxation

Aug 1 (ST) The proposed Inland Revenue Bill would increase government revenue, simplify the tax system, broaden the tax net and make it more equitable. Revenue would be increased by eliminating tax exemptions, reducing tax evasion and tax avoidance and increasing certain tax rates. The new tax regime is a step towards a more progressive tax structure in which direct taxes would become more significant. Fundamental economic rationale for this Inland Revenue Act more..

40 years in retrospect: PM crosses Rubicon

Aug 1 (SO) Ranil Wickremesinghe, SL’s four-times PM and the futurist largely credited with forming a national govt with arch rival, SLFP - a first of its kind - has been in politics since the late ’60s. He got into active politics as a member of the Youth League of the UNP while in the university. Wickremesinghe, as a young university student, like many others, was not too happy with the educational reforms proposed by the Education Minister more..

Reforming Islam & The new world order

Aug 1 (CT) Ever since the current wave Militant Islamism led by Al-Qaeda burst out of Saudi Arabia, the birth place of Wahhabism, captured an int'l foothold and destabilised many a household and nation the call to reform Islam has become louder and louder. Although one can understand the emotional anxiety of the callers in the context of the horrific acts of violence and terror unleashed by Muslim extremists their emotions only demonstrate on the one hand the enormity of ignorance more..

Govt uses Joint Opposition theatrics to rush through Legislation

Aug 1 (ST) More and more people view the country’s Legislature with skepticism and that too, with good reason. This is mainly due to the lack of seriousness with which some of those elected to such high office, choose to conduct themselves, over and over again. This week saw a repeat of some of the disruptive methods that the JO group has now got accustomed to doing on a regular basis, to get their point across. This led to House proceedings winding up abruptly on two days. more..

'Bonds Scam: I have irrefutable proof of Ravi's involvement'

Aug 1 (CT) Following the disclosure to the Presidential Commission by the owner of an apartment at The Monarch Residencies Anika Wijesuriya (Director at East West Properties) that Ravi Karunanayake's luxury apartment was paid for by Arjun Aloysius, MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage in Parliament on 25 July demanded that Ravi Karunanayake step down from the portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs. more..

Editorial: Nightmares and flashbacks

Aug 1 (Island) What is unfolding on the political front reminds us of the J.R. Jayewardene era when trade union struggles, including the 1980 general strike, were brutally crushed and the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and draconian laws foisted on the public while national assets were sold for a song. However, the present-day rulers have gone a step further; they have surpassed JRJ who could only toy with the idea of rolling back the electoral map. He held a referendum in lieu of a general election more..

Foreign Direct Investment & Political Stability

Aug 1 (CT) There has been a lot of debate recently about SL's inability to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) despite its huge potential economically. FDI is an investment made by a company or individual in one country in business interests in another country, in the form of either establishing business operations or acquiring business assets in the other country, such as ownership or controlling interest in a foreign company. A country's ability to attract FDI more..

Face The Nation

CM Port on negative rating watch after Sri Lanka Port deal

Aug 1 (EN) China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPH), has been put on negative rating watch by S&P, a rating agency, after the firm announced a deal to buy Sri Lanka's Hambantota port. "We placed the ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications because we  expect CMPH's debt leverage to further deteriorate from the impact of its investment in Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka," S&P said. "The company already has little  buffer in the rating currently. more..

‘Initiatives in place to develop vibrant bond market’

Aug 1 (Island) In the year under review we faced many challenges which were successfully overcome and ended the year with significant achievements. Our efforts were essentially directed towards pursuing the core mandate of promoting, developing and maintaining a capital market that is fair, efficient, orderly and transparent. In the process we embarked on a series of initiatives to strengthen stakeholders trust and confidence in the capital market. more..

Galle mismatch symptomatic of wider malaise

Aug 1 (CI) Opposite the main gates of Galle Int'l Stadium is the Galle bus station. The buses almost all have Sri Lankan names, with speed racing or super express or similar terms added on. Wickremasinghe Speed Racing, for example. Tharindu Speed Racing, Dilshani, Chaminda. Although Vaas himself might disagree with words such as super express next to his name. Almost all Sri Lanka cricketers' names are covered. more..

Hayleys Advantis invests Rs3.2bln in new distribution center

Aug 1 (LBO) Hayleys Advantis said they will construct a Mega Distribution Center (DC) in Kotugoda with an 3.2 billion rupee investment for the first phase. The move is part of the company’s expansion strategy with emphasis on consolidating operations for greater efficiency. The Company broke ground for the 500,000 square feet center paving the way for the construction of the largest facility of this nature in the country, Friday. “We are proud to contribute towards govt’s vision of more..

Sri Lankan economy ideal for big data analytics, Pakistan expert says

Aug 1 (Island) The scale and diversity of Sri Lanka’s economy makes it an ideal candidate for the deployment of advanced data analytics according to world renowned, Pakistani-born, data scientist and recently appointed Director at SAKS Analytics, Dr. Zeeshan-Ul-Hassan Usmani. Addressing a gathering of Sri Lanka’s most innovative pioneers and aspiring practitioners in data analytics at a seminar organized by SAKS under the theme: Data Driven Excellence, Dr. Zeeshan elaborated more..

High altitude Sports training centre on

Aug 1 (ST) Despite concerns over projects financial viability, Ministry Sports on Friday signed the technical agreement with the French contractor—Ellipse Project SAS to construct the multi-billion rupee high altitude training center at the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse. The project includes indoor and outdoor training facilities at an altitude of 1868m (5708 feet) and will cost a staggering €75.5 million or approximately Rs 12.9 billion. more..

Governance wrapped in scented rubbish

Aug 1 (ST) The world might not think much of the inventive genius of Sri Lankans. But where else would you find politicians that can inflate their egos (besides other things) into unbelievable proportions with nothing more than hot air which can generate enough power to meet a temporary energy crisis caused by striking workers. Certainly there are other countries in which politicians and officials have been caught with their hands in the till or demanding that the till be filled before a job is done. more..

Ambalangoda: Sri Lanka’s talent mine

Aug 1 (ET) Can you imagine just how high-decibel the hype would be if India’s Test and limited-overs captains came from one school? Can you begin to think how famous a coach would be if he was the one who helped two of India’s biggest cricketers reach the peak, having taken them under wing when neither’s age was in double digits? Such things are almost impossible to understand given the pedestal cricket is put on in India, & given how much traction young players get in newspapers, in cricket. more..

Rs. 40 m paid for non-existent consul general

Aug 1 (DN) FCID informed the Fort Magistrates Court that a sum of Rupees 40 million had been misappropriated in the guise of paying for rent for Consul General office in Los Angeles. Making submissions before Magistrate Lanka Jayarathne, FCID informed court that the moneys had been paid, despite there being no appointment of a Consul General to Los Angeles. Instead two Military offices who were a part of more..

A little piece of Sri Lanka in Paris

Aug 1 (IOL) For many Paris visitors, the Eiffel Tower and  Notre-Dame cathedral are must visit spots, but if you want to step out to the unconventional, a trip to La Chapelle will do. La Chapelle, situated on the outskirts of Paris, is filled with all aspects of foreign cultures. What makes this spot special is that the mix of cultures is a fascinating way to discover a new Paris and a place where you can learn and explore. Colourful streets are filled with shops and restaurants reflecting SL & S. Indian culture. more..

What ..airport in a port?

Aug 1 (ST) It was like watching a recent clip on cable TV where, during a programme titled Funniest moments, a baby is seen laughing uncontrollably, gurgling with glee. That’s one way to describe Kussi Amma Sera who was in peals of laughter in the kitchen while reading the newspaper. It was so loud that I rushed into the kitchen to find her holding her hips and shouting, Mahattaya, buddu ammo through the fits of laughter. Mokkak de … mokkak de? I ask. “Mey balanna … mey balanna …. more..

Courts reject SLT’s application to prevent Dialog’s fibre network expansion

Aug 1 (FT) District Court of Colombo has refused the applications for enjoining orders sought by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) against Dialog Axiata (DAP). SLT had instituted proceedings against DAP on 5 June seeking to restrain DAP from providing any Fixed Telecom Services including Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) Active Solutions operations. While SLT sought to obtain ex parte enjoining orders, more..

Senasinghe says tax collection must move up to 20% of GDP

Aug 1 (FT) International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said the affluent class of Sri Lanka should be brought under the tax net as the majority of these individuals were not paying their due amount to the Govt. Speaking at the 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (EASL), he pointed out that tax revenue as a percentage of GDP should move from 11% to at least about 20%. “With the new tax laws we will be hit, especially the rich. more..

50% drop in natural rubber in 2016

Aug 1 (Island) Chairman Colombo Rubber Traders Association (CRTA), Sunil Poholiyadde said recently at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the CRTA that the current performance of the industry was not at optimum. Comparing crop performances in 2015 and 2016 he reported a 79 million kilo drop in production in 2016. Additionally, he also expressed surprise at a very nearly 50% drop in production of natural rubber. He confirmed that 70% rubber originated from rubber small holders, more..

CEB workers to strike: The lights will stay on

Aug 1 (CT) The CEB Joint Trade Unions Alliance is to launch an islandwide strike in the near future, to protest the Govt's failure to abolish the SAITM, the Ceylon Electricity Board Employees' Union General Secretary Ranjan Jayalal said yesterday. However, the unions claim that they will not let their action affect the general public. "We will find new methods for trade union action so that the general public will not be inconvenienced. more..

Landslide warning in Ratnapura

Aug 1 (DM) DMC issued a warning of possible landslides in Ratnapura and surrounding areas due to heavy rainfall that exceeded 100 mm in Sabaragamuwa province. Report issued by NBRO warned people living in the Kuruwita DS area and surrounding areas incluidng Eratana, Adavikanda, Devipahala, Kuruwita, Adiriyanwala, Sudagala, Luxshakanda, Keeragala and Dandeniya Grama Niladari Divisions to be cautious about pre-landslide signs and evacuate the area. more..

A Sri Lankan museum on Staten Island

Aug 1 (NY) Julia Wijesinghe has spent all eighteen years of her life on two islands: Staten Island and Sri Lanka. Her parents, both Sri Lanka-born, met on the Staten Island Ferry. They started a Sri Lankan restaurant called Lakruwana (which is also her father’s first name), on Forty-fourth Street, in Manhattan, and moved it to Bay Street, on Staten Island, thirteen years ago. It seats forty, received a good review in the Times, in 2013, and sometimes has a line waiting in front. more..

IGP rushes to Jaffna following attacks

Aug 1 (Island) Police claimed that they had apprehended seven out of the eleven member armed gang involved in the latest attack on two policemen at Kopai, Jaffna on Sunday including its leader, a former LTTE member. Six other members, too, were former LTTE cadres who completed the rehabilitation programme conducted by the govt for the LTTE combatants soon after the war. Injured policemen are being treated at the Hospital. more..

State agencies review Port City progress

Aug 1 (ST) 26 agencies associated with the Port City project met for the fourth review meeting and site visit last week. Department of Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management was the leading agency coordinating the review process while the following agencies were amongst the complete monitoring panel: Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Mahaweli Development, District Secretaries from Colombo, Gampaha, more..

Suwasariya to go countrywide after first year’s success

Aug 1 (DN) India-backed pre-hospital care emergency response ambulance service, Suwasariya on Tuesday marked its first anniversary with the managers of the programme and Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva announcing that moves are afoot to expand it throughout the island. PM has moved a proposal to the Cabinet stressing the importance of extending the emergency ambulence service. Suwasariya ambulance service is operational in Southern & Western Provinces. more..

Mangala responds to GL: ICC doesn’t have jurisdiction over Sri Lanka

Aug 1 (DM) The following is a response sent to us by Minister Mangala Samaraweera. International legal practitioners both here in Sri Lanka and overseas have expressed their utter shock at the purported opinion expressed by Professor G.L. Peiris, which isn’t only legally fundamentally flawed, but is also factually false. The question is if Prof Peiris has committed violence to the law in sheer ignorance of the law more..

Thirimanne makes a come back

Aug 1 (Island) Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal has been ruled out of the second Test against India with a back injury but veteran Rangana Herath has been retained in the squad, allaying fears that he will be out of the second Test at the Sinhalese Sports Club grounds on Thursday. Herath hurt his left middle finger while attempting to field in India’s second innings of the first Test in Galle. Herath did not bowl or bat on day four as Sri Lanka were beaten by 304 runs with a day to spare as more..

26 housemaids return to SL from Kuwait

Aug 1 (CT) 26 SL housemaids, who have allegedly been mistreated by their Kuwaiti employers, have flown back to SL yesterday after Minister Thalatha Athukorala intervened on their behalf. Housemaids claim that they have been kept beyond the termination of their employment contracts, were unpaid, and were subjected to harassment. Others were returning because of ill health. The housemaids were from Vavuniya, Jaffna, Trinco, Ampara, Kurunegala, A'pura, Kandy Districts. more..

'An Aloysius behind H’tota port agreement'

Aug 1 (DM) PHU said the Hambantota Port agreement signed with the China Merchant Company was corrupt and that it was evident an Aloysius was behind this deal. It said a 5-member committee had reviewed two proposals, one more favourable than the other, submitted by two companies to lease out the port but the govt had opted to the least profitable agreement. “China Merchant Company agreed to provide more..

Train strike from tonight

Aug 1 (Island) The railway Locomotive Drivers Union said powerset engine drivers would resort to trade union action from midnight today in protest against the recruitment of engine driver assistants without following proper procedure. Trade Union representative Indika Edangoda said about 100 trains would not operate during the strike. Drivers of the trains with Chinese-made carriages would also join the strike. They were also protesting against the faulty brake system in the powersets. more..

Sujeewa backs BOI, says Wijeyadasa has no clue

Aug 1 (FT) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe backed the Board of Investment (BoI), rejecting statements it should be shut down, and charged Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has no clue of the current status of the organisation. Senasinghe pointed out that the recent remarks by Rajapakshe that the BOI needs to be shutdown were made without knowing how hard the Govt has been working to restructure the institute to attract much-needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). more..

‘Mahendran threatened me to attach Saman Kumara to EPF front office’

Aug 1 (Island) Central Bank Assistant Governor R.A.A. Jayalath said that the then CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran had, on June 9, 2015, threatened him over the phone and asked him to attached Saman Kumara to the front office of Central Bank EPF Department. Jayalath said he had, as the EPF Superintendent at that time, attached Saman Kumara to the Risk Management Division of EPF Department the previous day. more..

Are all men equal before the law?

Aug 1 (DM) Three similar incidents that took place last week and should have drawn the attention of civil rights movements and human rights champions were simply swept under the carpet without at least being subject to public discourse. This was so, probably due to the recurrence of such incidents in short frequencies in the recent times and deemed by the society as normal. In the first incident, former President Rajapaksa’s second son Yoshitha, who had been summoned by the CID more..

Ravi K and the Penthouse: The acid test for Yahapalana integrity

Aug 1 (DM) This govt has routinely blamed the corruption of the former regime for the current economic hardships in the country. Now, how on earth did it manage to behave like nothing had happened after recent jaw-dropping allegations against its former Finance Minister cum incumbent Foreign Minister?  Last week, Anika Wijesuriya, a directress of a construction company told the Presidential Commission that Arjun Aloysius, director of Perpetual Treasuries, had paid more..

Making sense of alcohol policy

Aug 1 (FT) Alcohol abuse is very prevalent and a potent problem for many Sri Lankans, but what really fuels its cause and what we prescribe as remedy is far from what is posed for public discourse. Over the course of the last six months, as part of our ongoing research centring on the economic and social prospects for women, we had the privilege of engaging over 3,000 families in various parts of Sri Lanka and more..

'I can’t do wonders within two years'

Aug 1 (DM) Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale was offered the Woman of the Year award at the Top 50 Professional and Career Women Awards Sri Lanka 2017 on July 14. The International Finance Cooperating Institute presented this award to Athukorale in recognition of the services rendered by her towards the welfare and progress of expatriate workers abroad. more..