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‘Don’t use LTTE label on every incident’

Aug 13 (Island) Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake says that tagging the LTTE label on every incident happening in the north is completely misplaced as sporadic activity by subversive groups do not constitute a threat to national security. Asked about fears expressed of a resurgence of LTTE atrocities in the north in the backdrop of many violent incidents, he replied: "You mentioned the word LTTE, I didn’t. more..

Cabinet defers National Audit Bill for 24th time; says too much powers for AG

Aug 13 (ST) Cabinet this week deferred the National Audit Bill for two weeks after ministers from both SLFP and UNP agreed the Bill in its present form conferred too much power on the Auditor General. It was the 24th time the Bill came to the Cabinet but once again there was no nod for the Bill which has been opposed strongly by senior officials in public service, mainly ministry secretaries, who act as  Chief Accounting officers (CAOs) more..

Sri Lanka could get debt shock from SOE borrowings: IMF report

Aug 13 (EN) SL's state debt could move into a shock scenario rising to 10% to 94% of GDP if the central govt has to pay state owned enterprise (SOE) loans, an IMF report has found. The lack of price formulae for petroleum, market pricing electricity would increase the risk. "…[I]n a contingent liability shock scenario (the central govt becomes liable for additional debt of 10% of GDP in 2017), the debt to GDP ratio would initially jump to 94% more..

Protesting student; What he may have to say

Aug 14 (CT) It was just last week that 5 university students including the Convener of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF)- Lahiru Weerasekara were bailed out by the High Court of Colombo under strict bail conditions. The said order delivered by the High Court released the above students after having been in remand custody for nearly 50 days since their arrest after their purported forcible entry into the Ministry of Health and causing damage to public property thereof. more..

Is time running out for constitutional reform?

Aug 14 (CT) One of the most compelling items on the National Agenda currently is the question of  Constitutional Reform. And the most critical aspect of the Constitutional Reform process  must necessarily be the issue of the Executive Presidency. After a near 40 year experience with this all powerful institution there is general consensus that the institution must be reformed and the Executive Presidency abolished. Yet there are some  who argue to retain this institution. more..

Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s conflict of interest revealed at Bond Commission

Aug 14 (SO) Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) summoned its first key witness to the Treasury Bond Commission last week, in a move to build up a strong case for themselves against a series of evidence led by the Attorney General during the past five months in the fact finding mission. PTL CEO, Kasun Palisena testifying before the Commission for 4 consecutive days, explained the history and its financial achievements more..

Applaud only when the law holds corruptors responsible

Aug 14 (ST) For those who laboured long and hard to bring fresh cleansing winds to SL’s degenerate political culture in 2015, these are times of mortified reflection. Collective angst of UNP amidst a dismaying disarray and loss of public confidence beggars the imagination. Its MPs are filing no-confidence motions against its own ministers as well as those from the other half of (dis) unity alliance. And the very air is rendered hideous with their loud lamentations that Justice is not being done. more..

Editorial: Intimidating officials the yahapalana way

Aug 14 (Island) Police have recently withdrawn their ill-conceived ban on full-face helmets, which, they said, had stood criminals, especially bank robbers in good stead. But, those who robbed the Central Bank had not worn any helmets, we argued in these columns; instead they wore expensive bespoke three-piece suits and walked away with bags full of stolen treasury bonds worth billions of rupees, so to speak. Now, the govt says those racketeers are as innocent as newborns and more..

'PCs will continue until parliament decides election date'

Aug 14 (CT) The 5-year tenure of the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and the Eastern PCs expire circa Sept-Oct 2017. This has prodded the Opposition in Parliament to intensify its collective demand that the govt holds elections to these councils without any further delay, so as to uphold people's constitutionally enshrined franchise. Minister Faiszer Musthapha said that Parliament is yet to decide on a date to hold elections. more..

Sri Lanka: Paradise or Nut House?

Aug 14 (SL) That old advertising jingle of the seventies sung in a hybrid accent: Shree Lanker Paradise which occasionally keeps coming back to us raises the question: Where the hell am I? Paradise or some kind of nut-house? Hospitals, even, private hospitals are chock-a-block. Govt hospitals are overflowing and patients are two to a bed and under beds on the floor. The dengue mosquito has floored the nation. Meanwhile our patriotic doctors are worried. more..

Sri Lanka, China and Hambantota

Aug 14 (SL) In signing off around 70% of Hambantota Port holdings to a front company of the Chinese Govt, as against the originally proposed 80%, Maithiri-Ranil leadership has done more than what predecessor President Rajapaksa had done in his time. Whatever little might have been left open then have been sealed, and for good, and in China’s favour. Incumbent Ministers defending the present split-agreement, with one company with controlling stakes for Sri Lanka in port administration more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Badulla

Football- A tumultuous election, a silent aftermath, then a major uproar!

Aug 14 (ST) On July 1, the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) went to the polls. And, probably got the decision it deserves. The run-up to the elections was, to say the least, ruthlessly fought in the hinterlands of the sport; in the district Leagues which, every two years, gets the opportunity to kick a few butts. The Football poll, indeed, took the proportion of an inverted soap opera. To understand the tragic-comedy, one needs to go back a year or two. more..

In search of a proper Foreign Minister

Aug 14 (Island) Dr Sudath Gunasekera, in his opinion piece has stated the case of the need for a new Minister of Foreign Affairs and has proposed former civil servant and politician Dr Sarath Amunugama. The required attributes to hold the position, as described by Gunasekera, though not complete, cannot be faulted. Amunugama, no doubt, is one of the more able politicians found among the current lot. Nevertheless, he is tainted due to his association with the Rajapaksa regime. more..

Sri Lanka's glorious competence

Aug 14 (CI) As with life, or lovers in Game of Thrones, the emotions cricket elicits from us are relative. Take the India side. They are not, in normal circumstances, the least demonstrative bunch of men. When a wicket falls, Virat Kohli often races around the field fists clenched and vocal chords atremor, like he is being pursued by a machete murderer. Some of Hardik Pandya's celebrations are of such epic blockbuster more..

Toddy thief’s excuse

Aug 14 (Island) I have not laughed so loud, so long, since I listened to Wijedasa’s Vihulu Tahalu. Those of my vintage would fondly remember how expectantly we waited for that monthly masterpiece of humour by H D Wijedasa, normally a very serious person who was a producer in the Sinhala Service of Radio Ceylon, which attacked not only politicians of the day but also our idiosyncrasies as well, in equal measure. I feared I was turning into a grumpy old-man as I was not able to notice more..

Yahapalanaya wins the day

Aug 14 (ST) Even as many politicians from both sides of the political divide joined in to add voice to the nation’s chorus and let know to both President and PM, you can tell your cabinet minister there with you, he’ll have to go, this week’s welcome resignation of Ravi Karunanayake from his foreign minister portfolio served to strike a blow for the Yahapalana policies of this govt and redeem, to a certain extent, the faith, hope and trust the people had reposed in Sirisena when more..

Penthouse to Port: The Power-Money-Idiocy Nexus

Aug 14 (Island) Gajabinna is a Sinhala word for lies of elephantine proportions. A book named Gajabinnalankaraya (roughly translatable as In Praise of Mammoth-lies) did exist, according to the late DF Kariyakarawana. The book was in the form of a dialogue between two fictional characters and referred to a universe of impossibilities - horned-horses, furred-tortoises, wearable clouds and mirages in which one could bathe. more..

MR, SLFP JO members to take SLPP membership: GL

Aug 14 (SL) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and SLFP parliament members of the Joint Opposition (JO) have decided to join the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). SLPP Chairman, former Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris said that 22 SLFP parliament members have so far confirmed they will be accepting SLPP membership next month. He also said that former President Rajapaksa will be among those accepting membership in the new political party. more..

World XI to play Sri Lanka XI at RPS

Aug 14 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket has organized a charity match between World XI and Sri Lanka XI on the 8th of Sept at R. Premadasa Stadium. SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said that a host of retired and current cricketers from seven different countries will form the World XI while the Sri Lankan XI will also comprise former and present cricketers. Former captain T.M. Dilshan has confirmed his participation. Another former captain Kumar Sangakkara has ruled himself out more..

Only Divine intervention can save Sri Lanka

Aug 14 (CI) The second day of the Pallekele Test began with Sri Lanka in their most promising position of the series. It ended with them a long way down the forest path towards another massive defeat, with hardly a sliver of sunlight to be seen. Hardik Pandya slipped the blindfold on them, with a brilliantly paced maiden Test hundred that stretched India's first-innings total to 487; Mohammed Shami's new-ball spell applied the machete jab to more..

Tharanga’s inexplicable review

Aug 14 (Island) Upul Tharanga’s wretched run in the three match Test series against India continued yesterday as he was dismissed twice in a day to complete the series with just one half-century. Sri Lanka’s ODI captain has been dismissed in some strange ways and  even bizarre was his review yesterday after being caught behind. Sri Lanka resumed their first innings in reply to India’s massive total of 487 and Tharanga was the first man to be dismissed when he was caught behind more..

Business confidence recovers in July

Aug 14 (FT) Latest edition of LMD reports that business confidence moved up to 134 in July. This is the first time the unique index has crossed the 130 mark since Nov 2016 when Business Confidence Index (BCI) stood at 144. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant observes that the latest BCI reflects faith in improving fundamentals. He states in LMD: “Inflation hasn’t gone up for in last three months, lending rates have not increased although they haven’t dropped either, more..

National Payment Platform is not operated and developed by Total Pay: ICTA CEO

Aug 14 (FT) ICTA CEO Muhunthan Canagey reiterated that the National Payment Platform (NPP) is not owned, operated and developed by Total Pay. The National Payment Platform is intended to be an open platform for any FinTech to connect and develop applications which will serve the public to perform service online. It is proposed that NPP will be operated by ICTA or its subsidiary; ICTA is 100% owned by Treasury, more..

Fitch upgrades Sri Lanka Insurance Corp’s National Ratings

Aug 14 (DN) Fitch Ratings has upgraded Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Limited’s (SLIC) National Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating and National Long-Term Rating to ‘AA+(lka)’ from ‘AA(lka)’ and assigned a Stable Outlook. The agency has also affirmed SLIC’s international IFS rating at ‘B+’ with a Stable Outlook. The one-notch upgrade of SLIC’s National Long-Term Rating and National IFS rating reflects Fitch’s more positive view of the state’s 99.9% ownership in the company following a more..

Does China harbour strategic ambitions for Sri Lankan port?

Aug 14 (SCMP) Sri Lanka says it’s a way for it to help claw its way out of debt. China says it’s a strictly commercial deal for one of its state firms. But analysts say the Hambantota port on the southern tip of Sri Lanka is part of Beijing’s bigger push to challenge US naval dominance in the Indian Ocean and New Delhi’s influence in the region. Last month state-owned China Merchants Port paid US$1.12 billion to the Sri Lankan government for a 70% stake in the facility. more..

'Tea, rubber, coconut still have great demand in international market’

Aug 14 (DN) Sri Lanka’s traditional exports - tea, rubber and coconut - still have a great demand in the international market and those who are involved in these three industries should be encouraged to increase the expected export target, Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said. He made these remarks at the inauguration of the three-day international Coconut, Rubber & Tea (CRT) exhibition and trade fair more..

Private sector credit tops Rs. 4.5-trillion mark

Aug 14 (FT) Cumulative credit to the private sector has crossed the Rs. 4.5-trillion mark in June as this activity remains a key focus of both the Central Bank and the IMF. As at June, credit to the private sector amounted to Rs. 4,505 billion (Rs. 4.505 trillion) as against Rs. 4.425 trillion in May. As of June last year the figure was Rs. 3.8 trillion. Private sector credit growth in June was 18.6%, marginally down from 18.9% in May but sharply down from 28.2% a year ago. more..

We need someone to do a miracle: Hashan

Aug 14 (DN) Sri Lanka’s batting coach Hashan Tillakaratne whilst admitting that his team batted poorly yesterday was hopeful they would come up with a much better performance in the second innings today, the third day of the third Test against India at the Pallekele. Sri Lanka were shot out for a disappointing 135 in their first innings in reply to India’s score of 487 and after being forced to follow-on 352 runs in arrears were 19 for one at close in their second innings. more..

GTF complains of delay in addressing accountability issues by govt

Aug 14 (Island) Global Tamil Forum (GTF) expressed dismay that more than 8 years after the end of war, "Sri Lanka has yet to demonstrate that it is genuinely committed to addressing the accountability issues occurred during the armed conflict. Despite twice co-sponsoring UNHRC resolutions calling for comprehensive transitional justice measures, present coalition govt has not lived up to its commitments and more..

Sri Lanka Institute of Architects gearing to mark its 60th anniversary next year

Aug 14 (Island) Sri Lanka Institute of Architects celebrates its 60th anniversary in year 2018 and to make a memorable landmark in the history it will introduce virtual exhibition online on the web immediately after the conclusion of Architect 2018 Exhibition. It will feature the panorama view of individual stalls, photos of products on display and the copies of promotional literature. Everybody who misses the opportunity to visit the exhibition can leisurely visit the virtual exhibition by log into more..

Bar Association, residents ask SC to halt Uma Oya

Aug 14 (FT) A group of residents of Bandarawela and the Bar Association of SL have requested the Supreme Court to order the suspension of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project as it has been proved that the project was carried out without a proper environmental assessment report. The request to halt the project was made when the court heard a petition filed by residents against the project. The petition claimed that the fundamental rights of the residents more..

Continue to fool people: AG to act on 80 major corruption cases soon: PM

Aug 14 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe vowed that Attorney General would initiate action against more than 80 high profiled persons, including politicians, who have been charged with corruption. PM came out with this information when a group of people approached him outside the Dalada Maligawa, when he was coming out after attending religious ceremonies at the historic temple. Religious programmes were held at Dalada more..

Keen to take Sri Lanka to Pakistan: Thilanga

Aug 14 (CB) Thilanga Sumathipala, Asian Cricket Council development committee chairman, has said Sri Lanka will have no hesitation to travel to Pakistan after the ACC concluded their Annual General Meeting in Colombo on Saturday (12). He assured that Sri Lanka are ready to play at least one Twenty20 International in Lahore if all logistical and operational plans fall in place. The dates of the series haven't been announced yet but it's likely to take place in September. more..

Reining in talkative ministers

Aug 14 (ST) Hee … hee, cackled Kussi Amma Sera. Mey balanna, Mahattaya. Ekapaththakin atha ussanawa, aanith paththen atha bassanawa, she said, raising her head from the morning newspaper and pointing to a news story she was reading. The article in context was headlined: ‘I will return ownership of H’tota Port to the people: Wijeyadasa’, where Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe was reported to have said that the sale of the Hambantota Harbour to Chinese was wrong more..

GMOA to complain to CIABOC against Rajitha

Aug 14 (CT) GMOA will lodge a complaint with CIABOC tomorrow against Minister Rajitha Senaratne for misusing State funds. GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that funds of Health Ministry are utilized to maintain Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) without an agreement being signed between the Govt and SAITM which owns NFTH. "There was only a letter of intent signed between the Govt and SAITM more..

Sri Lanka says no tsunami threat following earthquake off Sumatra

Aug 14 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Center (DMC) said on Sunday there was no tsunami threat to the island country following a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which struck off Indonesia's Sumatra. The DMC had earlier in the day issued a tsunami warning for all the coastal areas in Sri Lanka as news of the earthquake reached Colombo. However, spokesperson for the DMC Pradeep Kodippili said the tsunami warning had been lifted and residents had been urged not to panic. more..

Port agreement signed before committee report: Susil

Aug 14 (DM) Several conditions favourable to the country had been recommended by the Cabinet Sub Committee appointed to study the contents of Hambantota Harbour Lease Agreement, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. “Decreasing the 99 year lease period, the ratio of shares to 50% or to a close proportion, security of the harbour, leasing on partnership basis with China, jurisdiction under SL are some of the amendment recommended by the committee,” he said. more..

Bond Scams: Saman Kumara predicted Deepa’s internal transfer

Aug 14 (Island) Interdicted Senior Assistant Director of the Central Bank Saman Kumara had informed Deepa Seneviratne of the Currency Department of her impending transfer to the Public Debt Department even before the Human Resources Department officially conveyed to her the then CB Governor Arjun Mahendran’s decision to move her. Sources said that Kumara, who was with the Public Debt Department at that time, more..

No more deals with the wheels of justice

Aug 14 (DM) Overall the widely-predicted but yet dramatic resignation of Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake last Thursday appears to have produced more positive than negative factors for the National Unity Govt and the UNP.  Ravi Karunanayake, who was earlier the Finance Minister resigned one week after a witness gave some apparently damaging testimony against him at the sittings of the Commission inquiring into alleged bond scams at the Central Bank. more..