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Tasty treats from Pettah’s streets

Aug 2 (Roar) Galle face might be your first inclination to look for street food in Colombo, but there’s a whole other world out there beyond its borders. Don’t believe us? Swing down to Pettah—the true ground zero for street food. Pettah is the heart of the city. Workers, labourers, drivers, shopkeepers, and every other kind of denizen in the city will go through Pettah at some point during the day. And rarely do they have time for more..

Religion, intolerance & economic prosperity

Aug 2 (GV) Some moons back, in the course of a conversation with an overseas-based Sri Lankan academic who was then in Colombo on a short vacation, I was struck by a remark he made on what he discerned as the growing religiosity of Sri Lankan society. He was of the opinion that Sri Lankans – broadly speaking – were becoming increasingly assertive of their religious identities, and reckoned that this development did not bode well for our future. The rising influence of religion, he felt, more..

Editorial: Waiting for Ravi

Aug 2 (Island) We thought Minister Ravi Karunanayake would come running, vaulting over gates and flinging doors open to have himself heard following last week’s damning allegations a female witness made against him before the presidential commission of inquiry probing bond scams. She, under oath, said that while Karunanayake was the Finance Minister the lease payment for his penthouse in Colombo had been made by Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries, more..

Selling Sri Lanka: Mahinda Samarasinghe

The need to reveal the public interest information: Re controversial penthouse?

Aug 2 (CT) The Public Interest Information re Controversial Penthouse will be answered by the relevant parties by responding to the undernoted questions: 1. Details of the respective Lessees, Tenants and Owners of the property, during the period January 2015 to June 2017, along with any relevant changes and effective dates of change? 2. If a Company was the Lessee, Tenant or Owner of the property during this time, a) Whether a private or public company? more..

A Special Rapporteur’s visit

Aug 2 (Island) The visit of Ben Emmerson Q.C., UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, to Sri Lanka from July 10 to 14 was concluded with a statement to the media in which he warned Sri Lanka of dire consequences unless the Govt fully implemented the Geneva Resolution 30/1. An Associated Press report in The Washington Post of July 15 states: …that even those as recently as late last year have been subjected to torture…. Continuing he had stated: more..

OMP spotlights the dark days of uncertainty

Aug 2 (SO) Office of Missing Persons Act (OMP) was made operative, by the President two weeks ago. Bill that was passed in Parliament and later certified by the Speaker, needed the President’s signature, as Minister in Charge of the subject to make the law operative. The day he did so, President twittered, I signed the OMP Gazette today. This marks another step forward in SL’s path to sustained peace. more..

Herath slips to third position

Aug 2 (CT) Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has leapfrogged Rangana Herath to wrest back the second position, while Ravindra Jadeja retaining the top spot after India defeated Sri Lanka by 304 runs on Saturday to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Angelo Mathews has gained two places to reach 17th position after scores of 83 and two at Galle, while batsman Dimuth Karunaratne (up three places to 36th) and pace bowler Nuwan Pradeep (up three places to a career-best 30th) more..

Sanath reminisces World Record partnership

Aug 2 (Island) Sri Lanka may not be enjoying the best of times in cricket in recent days, but there was a time when the Indian team feared the Sri Lankan side like the plague. It was on a day like this 20 years ago, India took on Sri Lanka in a Test match at R. Premadasa Stadium and the hosts went on to establish several World Records. Opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, the current Chairman of Selectors posted a career best 340 and was involved in a record partnership of 576 runs more..

Sri Lanka cuts import taxes on rice, maize wheat fish amid drought

Aug 2 (EN) SL has cut import taxes on maize, rice & fish, to bring down prices amid a drought, and also cut import taxes on wheat grain. A remaining 5 rupee tax on rice has been cut to 25 cents and it would remain in place until Dec 31. SL's domestic rice prices have risen after harvests halved amid a drought. A tax (special commodity levy) on imported wet fish has been cut by 50 rupees to 25 rupees for 3 months on the request of fisheries ministry. more..

Euromoney crowns NDBIB Sri Lanka’s Best Investment Bank

Aug 2 (CT) Repeating their feat for the sixth consecutive year, NDB Investment Bank was once again crowned as Sri Lanka's Best Investment Bank 2017 by Euromoney Magazine. Award was presented at an event held at the Island Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong attended by regional and global heavyweights in the banking industry. This Award has also propelled NDBIB as the winner of most consecutive awards by Euromoney in Sri Lanka. Euromoney has been the leading publication more..

Move to reopen road near Maligawa challenged

Aug 2 (Island) Diyawadana Nilame, Mahanayakes of Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters, and Basnayaka Nilames of the four devalas, have complained to the Supreme Court in their interventions, that the impending move to re-open the road near the entrance to Dalada Maligawa will cause disturbance to foundation of Sri Dalada Maligawa which is a world heritage site. Aforesaid interventions and also the Nilames of all the Devalas all over the country have taken up the same stand. more..

Cabinet agrees on way forward for sale of Hilton’s holding company

Aug 2 (FT) In a move akin to walking the talk on the much-publicised restructuring of State-owned non-strategic commercial entities, Cabinet approved the process on the sale of Hotel Developers (Lanka), company which owns Hilton Colombo. As per the agreed process, the controlling 51% stake of Hotel Developers will be sold through a Special Board of CSE to the highest bidder among shortlisted strategic investors. more..

‘BOC gearing to clearly outdistance rivals’

Aug 2 (Island) Bank of Ceylon (BOC), which has secured No.1 ranking in Sri Lanka by being repeatedly recognized as one of the top 1000 banks in the world, is gearing for a tremendous sprint to forge farther ahead of local rival banks that have reportedly recently entered the world league. "In the face of such competition we can't even retreat for a moment," BOC chairman Ronald C. Perera said in Colombo yesterday when the Bank celebrated its 78 years of service as Banker to the Nation. more..

Seylan posts strong 1H performance

Aug 2 (FT) Seylan Group recorded a net profit after tax of Rs. 2,310 million for the period which is an increase of 32% compared to the prior year corresponding period. Seylan Bank closed the first six months ending 30 June 2017 with a post-tax profit of Rs. 1,805 million, a growth of 2.87% compared to Rs. 1,755 million over 1H 2016.  The bank was able to record a moderate growth in core banking activities for the first six months despite challenging business environment more..

President Sirisena says no to PPP for Colombo Port’s East Terminal

Aug 2 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell saying that Colombo Port’s East Terminal will not be privatised or developed via PPP but will remain with SLPA despite an on-going exercise for non-state involvement. Speaking at the SLPA’s 38th anniversary, President assured East Terminal will not be handed over to any other party. Ceremony incidentally was held at the East Terminal premises itself. more..

People to People contact to further enhance friendly ties: Pak Envoy

Aug 2 (PHC) A 17-member Pakistan Army Rugby Team, which is currently in Sri Lanka to play a bilateral series with their counterparts in Sri Lanka Army under Army-to-Army sports exchange programme, visited the High Commission of Pakistan today.  On the occasion, the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan, Dr. Sarfraz Ahmed Khan Sipra congratulated Pakistan Rugby team for their good performance by winning both matches. He underlined that such visits would not only more..

Hirdramani factory in Sri Lanka's north gets top green stamp

Aug 2 (EN) Sri Lanka's Hirdramani group said its new factory in Puthukudiyruppu, in the north of the island, has got a top green standard from a US-based certification body. Hirdaramani Woven Puthukudiyruppu, factory has been given the LEED Platinum certificate by the US green building council, the firm said. Commenting on this significant achievement, Akshay Hirdaramani - Director, Hirdaramani Group said, “We are very proud of this accomplishment by the team at more..

'Signed Hambantota port agreement amended at president’s behest'

Aug 2 (Island) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that the Hambantota Port agreement, signed last Saturday between the Govt of SL and China Merchant Ports Holdings, had been amended and submitted to the Cabinet for approval once again. He said three amendments had been effected to the signed agreement on the directions of President Sirisena. President had ordered that a clause be included allowing more..

Waruna and Nimali took wing to worlds

Aug 2 (CT) Javelin Thrower Waruna Lakshan, middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi and her coach Sujith Abeysekara left the country on Sunday night to participate at the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championship to be held from 4 to 13 August in London, UK. Marathoners Anuradha Indrajith Cooray, who lives in London and Hiruni Wijayarathne who lives in the US, will join the team in London to make it a four member team for the event. SL will be competing in four disciplines more..

Central Province emerge champions

Aug 2 (DN) Central Province emerged champions of the SLC Under 23 Inter Provincial 2 day tournament conducted by SLC by beating. Western Province (North) on the first innings in the final at CCC grounds yesterday. Western Province (North) won the toss and elected to field. Central Province scored 293 runs in 76 overs. Nimesha Gunasinghe scored 80 runs in 137 balls with 9 boundaries and a six and Nuwanindu Fernando scored 76 runs in 78 balls with 5 boundaries and 5 sixes. more..

People asked if the Chinese are Crazy: Chinese Ambassador

Aug 2 (CT) Chinese Ambassador to Colombo Yi Xianliang yesterday said that many had asked him whether they (the Chinese) were crazy after the Chinese company, which constructed the Hambantota Port, had initially spent more than a billion dollars and later pumped in a further US$ 1.5 billion. He said that many asked him why the Chinese were spending on the same Port again and even if they had to do so, they could more..

Ravi at PCoI today- UNP to decide after he responds to allegations

Aug 2 (DM) The UNP is likely to take a decision on Minister Ravi Karunanayake based on his response to the allegations made against him at the PCoI, informed sources said. A large number of UNP MPs have sought a meeting with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is reported to have said the party should wait till Mr. Karunanayake makes his statement at the PCoI today. These MPs were of the view that the party should not support the minister, but were agreeable to PM's suggestion. more..

Another mosquito control programme

Aug 2 (Island) Health Ministry said it would launch a three-day mosquito control programme from Thursday to minimise the increase in the insect density due to intermittent rains. The number of dengue patients had topped 115,605 while the death toll had risen from 301 last Wednesday to 327 by the beginning of this week. During the mosquito control programme carried out from 27th to the 29 of last month 15,486 premises had been inspected. About 19,684 of them were found to have mosquito more..

Video: General elections only in 2020: Prez

Aug 2 (DM) The next general elections will be held in three years and those attempting to destabilize the country and disrupt public life through protests and strikes must realize they will not be allowed to change this govt until 2020, President Sirisena said. Delivering the keynote address at the 38th anniversary of the SLPA, he said govt had permitted trade union activities as they were integral parts of a democratic country. more..

Afghan woman flying around world in SL

Aug 2 (BNA) Kabul (BNA) Shaesta Waiz, the youngest woman to complete around the world solo flight landed in Sri Lanka on July 27th. The BIA welcomed the 29-year old Afghan aviator on a quest to become the youngest woman to fly around the world solo to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and aviation education to the next generation of promising youngsters. By the end of her 90-day voyage in her Beechcraft Bonanza A36 aircraft which more..

Agro Tech Park

Aug 2 (CT) "University students should be disciplined and cultured. They should not get involved in nefarious activities and break the law. Furthermore, they should not neglect their education. Education without discipline is of no use to anyone. We need to maintain discipline in society. In order to achieve this goal, the appropriate policies and procedures need to be put in place," said South Eastern University Vice Chancellor, Professor M.M.M. Najim. more..

Fairy tales for the people, Bond Scam money for them: SL to be a debt free by 2025: PM

Aug 2 (DM) The stage has been set for Sri Lanka to become a debt free nation, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. He made this statement during the opening of the new swimming pool at Prince of Wales College Moratuwa last evening. “Country may have borrowed funds for good things and bad things but borrowings came during the present generation. Therefore, it is the present generation which should settle them. more..

Works of Parliament Mafia: Confiscated cocaine ending up in the market again

Aug 2 (FT) A 3-member committee has been appointed to prepare necessary laws and regulations on how illegal drugs confiscated by law enforcement authorities are handled after investigations.  President Sirisena raised the question on the procedures followed to manage the confiscated illegal substances in Cabinet yesterday. However, Minister Sagala Ratnayake informed him that there were no set regulations or procedures on how the substances should be disposed of. more..

Video: One week period to examine Hambantota Port agreement: Samarasinghe

Aug 2 (AD) Minister Mahinda Samarasighe stated that President had decided to give the cabinet ministers a period of one week to examine the amendments made to the Hambantota Port agreement. He said that the initial amendments made to the agreement included the President being allowed to further amend the document and added that all parties involved in the agreement will be allocated under Ministry of Finance. Thhird clause will be added by AG’s department. more..

Forgotten Password: Commission to take legal action if he has told a lie

Aug 2 (Island) Justice Prasanna Jayawardena said that legal action would be taken against Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries if the latter had made a false claim that he had forgotten the password of his live Apple account while using it. The justice said so when Anuja Premaratna, PC, counsel for Aloysius, told the commission that his client had forgotten the password of the live Apple account. more..

Rs. 16 million a day to maintain parliament

Aug 2 (DM) With parliamentary sittings now being telecast live on national television and schoolchildren regularly coming to the public gallery to see what their so called supreme legislators are doing in Parliament, it is vital that strict discipline and a code of conduct be maintained. Last week we saw what many analysts describe as a disgraceful breakdown of discipline. It happened when Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, a widely-respected personality, put to a vote the essential services order more..

MR-RW confrontation in 2020 will do neither any good

Aug 2 (DM) Clash in 2005 between two untainted 21st century foxes in their prime was indeed a close call.   Aggregated vote difference between the candidates, stood at a meager 1.8% votes [ 48.4]; going for the second round preferences, winner vaulted over the cross bar at 28,632 votes. 8527 braved to vote in Jaffna District, notwithstanding LTTE prohibition amounting to 1.2% of the registered voters of 701,938 from 11 electorates. Wickremasinghe received 5524 more..

'Hambantota Port agreement has provisions disadvantageous to Sri Lanka'

Aug 2 (DM) Hot on the heels of the govt inking the Hambantota Port deal, D.J. Rajakaruna, Convener of the Joint Trade Union Alliance in the petroleum sector, speaks about its implications to the country and its economy at large. Q: There are various arguments about the viability of the Hambantota Port. How do you look at it as a trade union leader? A: Unquestionably, it is an economically viable port. more..

'Pharma companies working against me'

Aug 2 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senarathne alleges two pharmaceutical companies have obtained funds from various health associations in order to work against him. Health Minister noted the present govt was able to establish free health care for citizens during its tenure. He noted the reduction of prices of essential drugs was more of a relief to the public than the reduction in prices of essential goods. more..

Trade Unions raise the Red Card

Aug 2 (SL) Trade unions have warned that they will unite to take on the govt if the Essential Services Act is used against them. President Maithripala Sirisena made a proclamation last week in the form of an order under Section 2 of the Essential Public Services Act, No. 61 of 1979 which was published in the Gazette Extraordinary No. 2029/23 of 25th July 2017 throughout Sri Lanka with effect from 25th July 2017 declaring the services of more..

Mr. President and Mr. PM…people are hearing what you’re not saying!

Aug 2 (DM) Biggest issue before us isn’t that we aren’t listening. But that we are hearing what we don’t want to hear. People tend to pay more attention to the President and PM. They represent the respective partners of the coalition. President Sirisena is the de jure Leader of the SLFP. Question is whether or not he has the confidence of all the SLFP MPs. PM Ranil Wickremasinghe seems to be the undisputed Leader of UNP. more..

Demand for power increases by 10% due to dry climate

Aug 2 (AD) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya stated that there will be no power shortages or unplanned power cuts during the dry season.  He added that the govt has caught themselves in a challenging situation due to word being passed around regarding the frequent power cuts around the country.  Daily demand for electricity has increased by 10% compared to last year’s average, and this was due to dry climatic conditions more..

President gifts kastane to National Museum

Aug 2 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena will present the invaluable royal sword (kastane) received from Russian President Vladimir Putin, to the National Museum today. President Putin gifted the artefact belonging to the 19th century Kandyan era to President Sirisena during the latter's State visit to Russia in March this year. The release said: "President Putin, a known lover of antique weapons, graciously decided to part with more..

I don’t watch SL Cricket anymore: Capt Cool

Aug 2 (CT) Skipper of the 1996 Wills World Cup winning SL Cricket team-turned Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said last night that he does not watch Sri Lanka playing cricket anymore! Sri Lanka Cricket and the manner in which it is being administered and managed was so disgusting that I don't watch our national cricket anymore, he said. He also said that he preferred watching the recent England-South Africa Test series. more..