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Economic cost of natural disasters in SL

Aug 8 (IPS) Recent floods in Sri Lanka, triggered by the monsoon rains, affected over 700,000 people in 15 districts, killed over 200, fully destroyed over 2,000 houses and partially damaged around 12,529 houses. Sri Lanka has also experienced similar environmental crises due to droughts and landslides in recent years. Meanwhile, the Tsunami in 2004 that affected over a million people in Sri Lanka highlighted the country’s vulnerability to low frequency, but high impact events. more..

Rumesh Rathnayake to replace Vaas

Aug 8 (CT) SLC is mulling another change to their coaching staff, as newly appointed fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas is set to be replaced by former coach Rumesh Rathnayake. Vaas will be reappointed as fast bowling coach at under-19 level. When inquired further he said they had in fact taken this decision on Saturday regarding appointment of Rathnayake and Vaas. Vaas was appointed as fast bowling coach after Champaka Ramanayake tendered his resignation when more..

1,000 MW in new power plants up for grabs

Aug 8 (FT) Power and Energy Ministry has begun the process of procuring power up to 1,000 MW to meet the demands of the Long-Term Generation Expansion Plan (LTGEP). Under pressure from the Public Utilities Commission of SL to launch the long-term generation plan and thereby avoid a shortage, CEB has drawn up plans to call for bids for a number of renewable plants as well as a barge-mounted Heavy Fuel Oil plant. more..

GCE A/L Exam begins

Aug 8 (DN) The GCE Advanced Level Examination 2017 commences countrywide today at 8.30 am at 2,230 examination centres with the participation of 315,227 candidates. According to the Examinations Department sources, 28,000 invigilators have been deployed for the exam duties. The candidates are advised by the Examinations Department to report at their respective examinations centres by 8 am with their dully certified admission cards and the national identity cards. more..

Hiruni gives up after half way mark

Aug 8 (CT) Marathoner Hiruni Wijayarathne's IAAF World Championship campaign came to a disappointing end as she gave up the race after 22km in the women's marathon in London on Sunday. Hiruni had clocked one hour and 23 minutes at the 21km mark but could not proceed much further from there onwards. "I'm super disappointed in myself, especially since training was going so well. I won't let this bad result impact the future of my competitions for Sri Lanka," more..

SL Unions oppose USAID entry in labour reforms

Aug 8 (ST) Sri Lankan unions have strongly objected to the entry of a foreign party and the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade in labour reforms, saying this is the role of the Labour Department and the Ministry of Labour, and no one else. These objections have been raised in an August 3 letter to Nimal Saranathissa, Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Trade Union Relations & S'gamuwa Development, more..

People’s Bank creates history with launch of fully-fledged Digital Centre

Aug 8 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe whose vision is to enable the country with digital commerce recently inaugurated the country’s first Digital Centre at the historic People’s Bank building at York Street, Colombo 1. People’s Bank which is State owned with the opening of the fully-fledged Digital Centre achieves a unique milestone in its digitalisation drive and creates history in the country’s banking industry. This is a state-of-the-art banking centre on par with international standards and more..

‘Debt to GDP ratio of 68% okay for Sri Lanka’

Aug 8 (Island) 'Our research found that 68.22% debt to GDP ratio is the proper threshold level for Sri Lanka and is a good sign for the economy, but if economic growth comes down and public debt increases, it would have a negative impact on the economy. This implies that if debt to GDP ratio exceeds 68.22%, it will negatively affect GDP per-capita, Professor of Economics, N.S. Cooray said. 'The relationship between public debt and GDP per capita growth in Sri Lanka is non-linear. more..

Mangala’s secretary arrested with drugs!

Aug 8 (DM) Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s Media Secretary Asita Rajapakse said that it was Minister’s Public Relations Officer Sameera Manahara who was arrested by the STF in Mount Lavania on August 5. Mr. Rajapakse was responding to media reports that the Minister’s Private Secretary was arrested when a stock of narcotics was found in possession of one of those in the jeep. more..

SLC conducts crucial meeting at team hotel

Aug 8 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) conducted a series of meetings on Monday with the Executive Committee, support staff and team members at the Team hotel in Colombo, where it is expected some drastic changes will be made to the team, especially support and coaching staff, which comes in the wake of humiliating Test defeats against India. Sri Lanka lost both matches inside four days with India scoring 600 plus in both matches. Decisions of the team management had also come under fire, more..

Australia deports 13 asylum seekers to SL

Aug 8 (TG) Australian govt deported at least 13 asylum seekers to Sri Lanka on Friday, according to a press release from the Australian High Commission. “These non-citizens have been found not to engage Australia’s protection obligations, and have no lawful basis to remain in Australia,” said the statement. “Settlement in Australia will never be an option for anyone who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat”.  The deportation marks at least the second such move in as many months. more..

Awa gang leader, 5 others arrested

Aug 8 (Island) Police have, with the help of information elicited from former LTTE cadres nabbed in the aftermath of recent attacks on police and security forces in the North, uncovered clues of a well-established terror network operating in Colombo. Police had busted two cells of the network at Mattakkuliya and Pettah and nabbed three cadres including a top leader of Aava Group known as Sathyavel Nishanthan alias Nisha Victor, more..

TNA to meet President, PM

Aug 8 (CT) TNA hierarchy will meet President and PM tomorrow to discuss the security situation in the North. ITAK Leader Mavai Senathirajah said the Leader of the TNA R. Sampanthan had written to both the President and PM requesting for a discussion regarding the prevailing security situation in the North. "We will meet the President and PM during Parliament sittings on 9 August to discuss the recent arrests of youth, the prevailing security situation in the region, more..

NH closes Dengue ward as epidemic drops

Aug 8 (DM) National Hospital in Colombo will close down its dengue ward from this week citing that the spread of dengue was declining gradually, National Hospital Deputy Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe said. He said dengue patients being treated at the hospital had dropped to 185, in contrast to some 400 patients receiving treatment daily some time ago. He said though this ward would be closed, there were 16 other wards at the National Hospital that would treat patients with dengue fever. more..

SriLankan in talks with 3 airlines

Aug 8 (DN) Three airlines including Japanese Airlines are currently in negotiations with govt, in efforts to divest 49% of holding of SriLankan Airlines, Minister Kabir Hashim said. “Japan Airlines have already visited us, their representatives have already met with PM, and initial discussions have commenced,” Hashim said. Still, this does not mean anything has been established yet. He did not wish to disclose other two airlines. more..

Bond Scam: Ranil responsible says JVP

Aug 8 (CT) JVP alleged that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should accept responsibility for the whole Treasury Bond scam. General Secretary of JVP Tilvin Silva stressed that, while it is a must that Minister Ravi Karunanayake should resign from his post in connection with the CB Treasury Bond Fraud, PM Wickremesinghe cannot wash his hands off either. Silva pointed out the fact that PM appointed his close friend Arjuna Mahendran to the post of Governor of CB amidst all opposition. more..

Decision on Ravi K’s fate today

Aug 8 (FT) A decision on the future of Minister Ravi Karunanayake will be taken today. Party Leaders are scheduled to meet today at 2 p.m. in Parliament to decide on the no confidence motion submitted by 32 MPs. Issues concerning Karunanayake have surfaced it is learnt during a meeting between President and PM yesterday as well. Sources close to Karunanayake denied alleged meeting of President & PM on Friday as well as reports that Foreign Minister has been asked to resign more..

Parliament Mafia: No procedure for confiscated drugs

Aug 8 (DN) Following the absence of a proper procedure on disposing confiscated illegal substances by law enforcement authorities, a new legislation on the matter will be introduced before long, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. Following raids it is yet unclear as to what happens to the confiscated drugs, after it follows the process of being sent to Govt Analysts Department, or being held by the respective judicial body. more..

Iran ready to offer technical, engineering services to Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (IRNA) President Hassan Rouhani welcomed friendly and cordial ties with Sri Lanka, saying that Iran is prepared to render technical and engineering services to the country. He made the remarks in a meeting with SL Parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who arrived in Tehran on Saturday to attend Rouhani’s oath-taking ceremony on August 5. “Iran-SL ties have always been friendly and excellent and removal of sanctions today has created good opportunities for promoting more..

Drug bust at Mt. Lavinia: Two senior cops have got to do some answering

Aug 8 (Island) Police investigations have commenced against an ASP attached to security contingent of Minister Mangala Samaraweera and another senior official of Mount Lavinia police in connection with the Saturday night detection by the STF of a haul of drugs and contraband in a luxury vehicle. STF men on searching the vehicle at Hotel Road found a pouch containing the Police identity card and an ATM card belonging the ASP. They also took into custody 3,000 milligrams of cocaine, more..

Heat increases on UNP: Two more Cabinet ministers may testify

Aug 8 (CT) Heat on the UNP will increase this week as the Opposition's No Faith Motion against Minister Ravi Karunanayake gathers momentum. This morning Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will meet Party leaders to decide on a date for the motion filed by JO against Karunanayake to be debated and eventually voted on. Controversy erupted after it was revealed at the PCoI, that the rent for an expensive penthouse was more..

Decision should be taken in the best interest of the country

Aug 8 (DM) Two years after assuming office, National Unity govt is facing one of its biggest crises in the aftermath of the bombshell revelations made last Wednesday at the sittings of the Commission probing the alleged multi-million dollar bond scam in the Central Bank.  At the Centre of the crisis is the Minister Ravi Karunanayake along with the Perpetual Treasuries boss Arjun Aloysius who is one of the main figures in alleged bond scams. Media reports say both Prez & PM have urged more..

Liberalisation and Crony Capitalism

Aug 8 (DM) Negotiations and allocations for the 2018 budget are underway. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe states there will be another round of liberalisation with the budget.   Trade unions are mounting struggles against the privatisation-push and policies that favour the wealthy. And the Govt’s response is baton charges, water cannons, tear gas and even the military to run essential services.    Corruption continues as the dominant discourse on the economy as both the Govt and the JO more..

Ravi K and the political paralysis in Yahapalanaya

Aug 8 (DM) It is conventional wisdom that Minister Ravi Karunanayake should have resigned – or failing that be sacked -- after those earth shattering revelations that were made at PCoI into the bond scam. Instead, he has clung to his portfolio and foul-mouthed AG’s Dept while his political superiors, when not blaming media for holding Karunanayake accountable, seem to be scratching their heads, rather than acting to salvage more..

Herath to be rested for Pallekele Test

Aug 8 (CI) Rangana Herath will be rested for the third Test at Pallekele after pulling up from the second Test with a stiff back. Two players will be further added to Sri Lanka's squad to replace Herath and the already-injured Nuwan Pradeep. Though there is no injury to Herath as such, he has had a heavy workload over the past three weeks, in which he bowled 71.1 overs in the one-off Test against Zimbabwe, as well as more..

Apparel Manufacturing: A journey to riches

Aug 8 (CT) Numerous pieces have been written on the success of the SL apparel industry across all forms of media. The industry is valued at around $5 billion and employs approximately 15% of the country's workforce. What started as a flourishing industry in the 1980's under the protectionist Multi Fibre Agreement (MFA) has today evolved into a world class operation. SL is among the top-apparel producing nations more..

‘Referendum needed to implement final outcome of constitutional reforms’

Aug 8 (Island) Whether what is being envisaged is a new Constitution or amendments to the present Constitution of a mega kind, the people’s approval for such changes would be required at a referendum. Besides, the President has the popular mandate to hold such a referendum, particularly if the constitutional changes included the abolition of the executive presidency, MP, member, steering committee to Constituent Assembly more..

More arrests imminent in Navy youth abductions case

Aug 8 (DN) Evidence developed following the arrest of Navy Commodore D.K.P. Dassanayake has lead investigators to identify at least three more navy personnel suspected of involvement in the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths between 2008–2009. Dassanayake and five seamen were arrested in July and produced before Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on July 10 in connection with the abduction and more..

Chinese envoy: What does President want changed in Port Agreement?

Aug 8 (Island) Chinese Ambassador to SL Yi Xianliang says that he will have to clarify from President Sirisena what changes the latter wanted to the Hambantota Port Agreement. Asked by The Island on board the visiting Chinese PLA Navy  hospital ship, Ark Peace, which docked at the Colombo Port on Sunday, if China would accede to President Sirisena’s request to amend the recent Hambantota Port agreement between more..

Tax revenues up 23% to May 2017, current deficit down

Aug 8 (EN) Sri Lanka's tax revenues rose 23% to 697.8 billion rupees in the five months to May 2017 and current spending rose at a slower 10% to 769.3 billion rupees, sharply narrowing the revenue deficit from a year earlier. Finance Ministry data showed that the revenue or current account deficit fell to 26 billion rupees from 90.4 billion rupees a year earlier and the overall deficit was kept at the same level despite higher capital expenditure. more..

Shangri-La gets another mixed mega development project

Aug 8 (ST) The UDA is to lease out six acres of prime land on James Peiris Mawatha in Colombo 2 to Shangri-La for a mixed development project including condominiums, offices and shopping malls.  Sprawling block–located opposite the Beira Lake between Altair building and Abans Group’s Colombo City Centre development–will be given out for 99 years at Rs 12.5bn, UDA Chairman Jagath Munasinghe said. more..

Cabinet ministers may be fueling drug trafficking: NUTA

Aug 8 (AD) National Uni Teachers’ Association (NUTA) stated that there were rising suspicions among the public that cabinet ministers were aiding and abetting the trade of illegal narcotics. Issuing a letter to President Sirisena, Secretary of the NUTA, Senior Lecturer Channa Jayasumana commended President’s concern for the abuse of narcotics by students, and proceeded to present a few findings of the Association as well. more..

Cabinet meeting delayed amid step down speculation

Aug 8 (EN) President Sirisena has delayed today's weekly cabinet meeting amid speculation that Minister Ravi Karunanayake may step down. Tuesday meeting was initially put off for the evening saying President Sirisena was going to be in Kandy to attend celebrations relating to the annual pageant there. Thereafter, ministers were told by President's office that the cabinet meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday morning. more..

Chinese exporters still want US dollars, not Yuan from Sri Lanka

Aug 8 (EN) Sri Lanka is happy to expand trade with the Renminbi, but China's exporters still demanded US dollars, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "Chinese exporters want dollars, they do not want Yuan," Coomaraswamy told reporters after questioned why Sri Lanka was not trading more with Chinese currency, quoting recent remarks from the Chinese envoy to Colombo urging greater use of the Renminbi. "We are very happy to trade with the Yuan." more..

Employees may demand higher wages if prices in economy continue to go up: CB

Aug 8 (DM) The employees in SL firms may start to demand higher wages, after observing the higher price levels of goods and services stemming from weather-related supply-side disruptions, Central Bank cautioned. A limited portion of SL’s labour force has negotiated salary contracts, since a large section of the economy is in the informal sector, with labour drawing a wage. Major firms too tend to pay some of their staff in wages since such payments are harder to track to be liable for more..

UNP engineered Bond Scam


Aug 8 (CT) IMF wants tax revenue boosted to 15% of GDP by 2019, i.e. in another two years' time, according to the IMF's then Mission Chief to SL, Todd Schneider. Tax revenue, as at last year comprised 12.4% of GDP, one of the lowest in the world. It was also in June 2016 that SL entered into a 3-year extended fund facility (EFF) arrangement with the IMF valued at US$ 1.45 billion, which saw the immediate release of first tranche amounting to a little over $ 168.1 million then. more..

Govt pressing for Ravi's resignation

Aug 8 (DM) In the face of a no-confidence motion against Minister Ravi Karunanayake, govt is reported to be urging him to step down rather than face defeat in a vote. After the motion was handed over by the JO, govt members of the SLFP decided to vote in favour of the motion seeking to unseat the minister while a section of UNP had also decided not to support him if it came to a vote. Against this backdrop, govt leaders believe that it would be humiliating to the entire govt if more..

Interpol and SL Police to hold top level conference on counter terrorism

Aug 8 (DM) International Police (Interpol) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Police is to hold a top level regional conference in Colombo this week to discuss issues pertaining to countering terrorism and transnational crimes that affect South and Southeast Asia. Sri Lanka Police will host the three day workshop which will be held under the patronage of the Interpol from Tuesday (8) to Thursday (10) at the BMICH. more..

Toll free expressway access for ambulances?

Aug 8 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says a Cabinet proposal will be presented pertaining to granting toll free access for ambulances that commute along expressways. He said the proposal will be considered a national policy and the relevant Cabinet paper will be submitted before the Cabinet. Puttalam Hospital staff had informed Minister that ambulances utilise the expressway to transfer emergency patients to Colombo National Hospital adding as such health services had to pay more..