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India’s new envoy to Sri Lanka, Taranjit Sandhu, presents credentials

Jan 25 (ENS) Taranjit Singh Sandhu, new High Commissioner of India in SL, presented his credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena here on Tuesday. Among those present on the occasion were Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Deputy HC of India, Arindam Bagchi. High Commissioner Sandhu is a career diplomat with nearly thirty years of experience. Prior to his current assignment, he was Deputy Chief of Mission more..

Clarification on SriLankan Airlines A350 business plan and termination

Jan 25 (Island) We wish to clarify recent inaccurate news reports on returning the 3 x A350 aircraft. The total penalty paid was US$98Mn or LKR 14.7Bn not LKR150Bn as reported, a clarification issued by SriLankan Airlines stated. It adds: "Among the many challenges inherited by the present management of the national carrier, was the decision to order eight A350 aircraft by the previous management of SriLankan Airlines. "There was no existing business plan that supported the acquisition of this, more..

New model village Wijayabagama to be opened today

Jan 25 (Island) The new model village Wijayabagama in Polpithigama will be declared open by Minister Sajith Premadasa at 10 today. It will be the 17th model village vested in the people under the Uda Gammana scheme. The model village is in the historic Yapahuwa kingdom and the fertile land will be sustained by the water provided from the Hakvatuna Irrigation Project. Wijayabagama consists of 18 housing units and they had been built on land provided by more..

JVP questions why Prez Sirisena waited two years to probe bond scams

Jan 25 (Island) Perpetual Treasuries had recorded an excessive profit of more than Rs 13 billion during the 21 months from Jan 1, 2015 to Sept 30, 2016, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. He was moving an adjournment motion in Parliament on the COPE report on CB Bonds investigation. Perpetual Treasuries had purchased bonds worth of Rs 227 billion during the 14 months from Feb 28, 2015 to May 31, 2016. more..

Bloomberg ranks Sri Lanka among highest risk countries for investors

Jan 25 (DM) Sri Lanka has been ranked among the highest risk countries in the world for investors by Bloomberg, which analysed as many as 29 indicators covering financial, economic and political risks.  Bloomberg country risk score, which measures a nation’s risk on a monthly basis based on a range from 0 to 100, put Sri Lanka at a score of 12, indicating a very high overall risk relative to other nations. A higher risk score indicates a lesser overall risk relative to other countries. more..

WB unaware of potential loss in bond case

Jan 25 (DN) The World Bank(WB) has said that they are not aware of international best practices to accurately calculate the potential loss in the case of past bond auction. World Bank country Director Idah Pswarayi – Riddihough in a letter to the Secretary to the PM Saman Ekanayake has stressed that quantifying the loss accurately would require knowledge of the actual cost of the bond placement under non competitive allocation (a necessary counterfactual). more..

Bang-bang on Bond in Parliament

Jan 25 (FT) The opposition was unified in its scathing criticism of the Govt when the report of the COPE on the controversial CB treasury bond transaction was taken up for debate yesterday. The auction allowed a company linked to the son-in-law of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran to make millions in profits from sale of Govt securities. In Oct 2016, parliamentary oversight committee COPE found more..

Govt submits Rs 1.8 billion supplementary allocation for President

Jan 25 (Island) The govt yesterday submitted a supplementary estimate to parliament seeking the approval of the House to provide additional sum of Rs 1.8 billion to cover the expenses of the President. Out of the Rs 1.8 billion, a sum of Rs 200,000,000 is to implement the Pubudamu Polonnaruwa programme, a sum of Rs 1,540,000,000 to make accounting records of the loans disbursed with regard to the construction of Nelum Pokuna National Performing Art Theatre, more..

Jak, Croton, Tea leaf as food: Chef Pubilis non-committal

Jan 25 (Island) Internationally renowned Chef and an icon on SL Cuisine, Pubilis Silva said that various institutions and individuals had pressured him to popularise a cuisine based on the bud of the tea plant, he was not in a position to say anything without experimenting it. Pubilis said "Director General of Agriculture Department, Ruwan Wijekoon was attempting to pass the buck to me and obtain a comment from me to the effect that croton leaves could be introduced to our cuisine. more..

CB Governor requests IGP to probe criminal liability of Treasury Bonds auction

Jan 25 (DN) CB Governor Dr.Indrajith Coomaraswamy has made a complaint to the IGP asking to probe the criminal liability of the Treasury Bonds auction on February 27, 2015, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. Speaking at the adjournment debate in Parliament on the COPE report on CB Treasury Bonds investigation, Deputy Minister said the AG has already instructed CID to expedite the probe into this complaint. more..

Regional Consular Office of Foreign Ministry to be opened in Jaffna

Jan 25 (MFA) Following the vision of President and PM, of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery to the public, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will open a Regional Consular Office in Jaffna on Thursday.  The Consular Office which will be located at the District Secretariat in Jaffna, will be declared open with the participation of Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, Governor of NP Reginald Cooray, CM of NP, C.V. Wigneswaran, more..

Three Presidential Commission reports to be handed over to President today

Jan 25 (DN) PRECIFAC which has completed investigations into Sri Lankan Catering Services, Sri Lankan Air Lines, Lunuwila Coconut Research Institute and alleged fraud, corruption and abuse of state Resources Committed by former NCP Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith will hand over the three reports with its recommendations to President today. Reports with the relevant recommendations will be formally handed over to President by Commission Chairman Preethi Padman Surasena said. more..

President wants govt to acquire assets of Perpetual Treasuries if found guilty

Jan 25 (Island) President Sirisena is looking at the possibility of the govt acquiring the assets and funds of Perpetual Treasuries if the company is found guilty of causing a loss to the govt by CB Bond scam, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Parliament. Participating in the debate on the Treasury bond scam at the time of the adjournment of the House, he said that there had been a fraud in Perpetual purchasing treasury bonds. more..

The depth of human greed

Jan 25 (DM) Three weeks ago the world rang out the year 2016 and amid New Year’s eve dances, parties, and an explosion of fireworks and crackers heralded in 2017. Even in Sri Lanka the large numbers of people young, old and middle aged partied as the New Year dawned. It was, as the song goes, a time to dance and a time to sing.  But while large numbers danced, sang and welcomed in the New Year, for many, many others on this planet, it was just another day to struggle through.   more..

GSP Plus and Gay Rights When the homophobes have a field day

Jan 25 (DM) Last week, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene bragged at a media conference that the Cabinet had rejected a proposal to decriminalize homosexuality. Then, two youthful Parliamentarians from the ruling UNP rushed in to reassure that “Sri Lanka’s 2500-year-old Buddhist culture was non-negotiable for whatever, even to regain GSP Plus.” It should be clear to someone, who is not a bigot or an idiot, the type of buffoons who have dominated the decision making in this country. more..

'Govt will go on till 2020'

Jan 25 (DM) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says that the unity govt was productive for the country. He said it would serve its full term despite any odds. Q: How do you see the current political developments especially in the context of unrest between the two main parties? A: This is not a traditional form of governance in SL. For the first time, the two main parties- UNP and SLFP- have joined hands to form the national unity govt. more..

'Resignation is not the need of the hour'

Jan 25 (DM) JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, recently announced that he would function as an independent MP. The Thera explains the reason for his decision and his views with regard to the current political situation.   Q: Venerable Thera, What influenced your decision to be an independent MP?   A: This was not a sudden decision, but an idea I had in my mind for some time. I was watching closely more..

50% Lankan docs employed abroad

Jan 25 (CT) There are vacancies for 208 lecturers in nine faculties of the Universities of Moratuwa and Sri Jayewardenepura, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said in Parliament yesterday. Minister said that a large number of lecturers who had obtained their professional qualifications because of free education have left the country for greener pastures resulting in a dearth of lecturers in universities. more..

Govt to give seven perches to each estate worker family

Jan 25 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the govt was making arrangements with the Plantations Ministry to provide seven perches of land to plantation workers to create settlements for them where they laboured. Addressing the fourth Ministerial Consultation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) followed by the Senior Official Meeting at Cinnamon Lake Side Hotel in Colombo with the participation of Ministers more..

Undergrads stage multiple protests across country

Jan 25 (Island) Undergraduates of six universities conducted demonstrations yesterday countrywide against arresting of seven undergrads for organising a protest march to Temple Trees last Thursday. Convener of IUSF Lahiru Weerasekera said Thursday’s protest march was brutally attacked by police with tear gas, water canon and rubber bullets. The police also baton charged even student monks, he said adding that "yet they arrested more..

'Entrust Securities fraud ignored by Rajapaksa regime while sons were funded'

Jan 25 (EN) Ousted Rajapaksa regime stood idle while 12 billion rupees was robbed from bond investors at Entrust Securities, despite central bank examiners finding fraud, while the firm funded sons of the former President Rajapaksa. Minister Kabir Hashim said 12 billion rupees from pension funds, co-operative societies and other investors were robbed who had bought bonds from the primary dealer. more..

Udaya alleges move to put off PC polls, calls for new alliance with Prez

Jan 25 (Island) PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila has alleged that the govt was exploring the possibility of postponing forthcoming elections to North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern PCs by one year. He claimed that a member of the cabinet had told him about the move to put off PC polls. He alleged that the govt feared to face the electorate due to worsening economic crisis, hence the bid to put off PC polls. more..

Muslim boy ordained at Dimbulagala

Jan 25 (DM) For the first time in the history of the Dimbulagala Forest Monastery, a 7-year-old Muslim boy has been ordained, said Chief Incumbent Millane Siriyalankara Thera. Thera said the mother of the boy was abroad and his father Hameed Ismail had brought him to the monastery. He had been ordained as Rathnapure Siri Sudarshanalankara and resides in the forest monastery along with many Sinhala, Tamil & Veddah children who had more..

'Govt’s debt trap accusation an absolute lie'

Jan 25 (AD) Former Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nalaka Godahewa, says that the incumbent govt’s claim - since its inception - that people are being heavily taxed because Mahinda Rajapaksa led the country into a debt trap is an absolute lie. “J.R. Jayewardene took loans and built the Mahaweli. Premadasa took loans and built houses. Chandrika kept losing & fought the war by taking loans” more..

Ministry of Transport to go ahead with shady deal for railway coaches?

Jan 25 (AM) Questions have been raised whether the Ministry of Transport will go ahead with a shady deal to purchase railway coaches from India, which was once sidelined after revelations by the media. The deal was to take place under unfavorable terms without following the due tender process. Tenders were called in May 2016 year for the purchase of 160 railway coaches from India through the Indian Line of Credit provided by more..

GL Peiris: In most self-righteous & most outrageous form

Jan 25 (CT) Yesterday’s (24) Daily Mirror reported Professor GL Peiris (GLP) making a comically self-righteous and tragically outrageous statement that former Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, should not be allowed to attend any official state delegations, official meetings and take part in any official discussions. “Otherwise people get the notion that he is not guilty and that is why he is still engaged in State decision-making.” I was one of the many who welcomed GL’s entry into politics more..

SriLankan Airlines responds to footage that went viral on social media

Jan 25 (AD) SriLankan Airlines on Wednesday responded to the video recorded near the Madurai Airport in India which went viral on social media saying that its crew members had to crawl through a barbed wire fence due to an unavoidable reason. SriLankan Airlines spokesman Deepal Perera said the incident had taken place while a protest was being held outside the Madurai airport and surrounding areas that resulted in preventing access to the airport from its main entrance. more..

Senior Lawyer Gomin Dayasiri

Billions lost due to mismanagement: Namal

Jan 25 (NR) The much-anticipated debate on the report compiled by the COPE on the CB Bond issue was held yesterday. Speaking in Parliament, UPFA MP Namal Rajapakshe accused the govt of appointing multiple commissions to probe fraud investigation. MP said the govt had failed in its investigations and stressed the need of legal experts to punish those found guilty of the bond controversy. He said two years have lapsed however the present govt has only managed to compile reports. more..

Will promises also end up being axioms?

Jan 25 (CT) That, girls are raped, that two boys knife a third, Were axioms to him, who'd never heard; Of any world where promises were kept, Or one could weep because another wept. These words of Auden from the immortal 'Shield of Achilles' aptly define the rampant crime the world over, and so profuse in Sri Lanka, so very, very commonplace in fact, that they have become mere axioms to a society inured and desensitized by. This desensitizing has run deep to the extent that, more..

Sri Lanka: Cinnamon island

Jan 25 (NGT) The old man sits on the step, a stick in one hand and a blade in the other. As he scrapes the bark, the shavings fall onto the mat by his hip. Compost, he says, brushing the green-brown curls aside. Next, he takes up a brass bar, rubbing it up and down the stick to soften it. With a small knife, he scores two horizontal lines in the bark and, in one nimble movement, peels the outer layer away from the wood. more..

CAA earns Rs 90.2 million in fines

Jan 25 (DN) Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has earned Rs 90.2 million from fines, Chairman of CAA, Hasitha Thilakaratne said. He said that this income was obtained by conducting 21,819 raids by Authority officers. Changing the price and selling goods, selling goods exceeding the controlled price, and cheating and lying to consumers are some of the offences, fined for. In comparison to the income obtained from fines in 2015, an increase of Rs 22.3 million income has been recorded. more..

37 manpower workers arrested & granted bail

Jan 25 (NR) 37 manpower employees arrested for violating a court order and staging a protest opposite the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy have been granted bail. The group was released on bail following being produced before the Colombo Magistrates Court. Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered the suspects be released on a 100,000 Rupee surety bail each. The Police Headquarters said the group was arrested on charges of violating a court order. more..

Situation critical: 1 mil cry for water to drink

Jan 25 (ST) An estimated one million Sri Lankans are staring in the face of disaster as once again drought threatens their lives across the island. Farmers are accusing irrigation and agriculture officials of being unprepared for what is an annual occurrence. In some areas of the island, violence is being feared over access to drinking water. Some rain is expected in March, but whole communities are helpless. more..

Pillaiyan files FR challenging his long detention without charge

Jan 25 (DN) Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Eastern Province Chief Minister S Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, who is presently held in remand custody in Batticaloa over the killing of former TNA MP Joseph Pararajasingham. The petition was fixed for argument by a two-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan. The former Chief Minister had filed this petition in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration more..

Salvage 120 Indian boats from Sri Lanka in 2 months, HC tells Centre

Jan 25 (DC) Madurai Bench of Madras High Court directed the Secretary, Union Ministry of External Affairs to take appropriate steps within two months to salvage the 120 fishing boats of Tamil fishermen from SL govt. Advocate from Morepannai fishing village, Ramathapuram district had filed a petition before a division bench stating that the livelihood of the fishermen has been affected after SL Navy seized 120 fishing boats 80 boats belonging to fishermen of Rameswaram island recently. more..

COPE report on bond scam sent to AG

Jan 25 (AD) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed the Parliament today that the COPE report on the Central Bank bond issue will be forwarded the Attorney General. He stated that while the MPs had sought his opinion with regard to the next course of action on the report, he believes that a decision should be reached by the MPs themselves and that if they agree he would send the report to the AG. MPs had then agreed to more..

University application process online today

Jan 25 (GDI) University entrance application process will be launched online today. The University Grants Commission said that application forms can be obtained by logging in to Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Mohan De Silva said that the guideline to the application process has also been uploaded in the site for reference. The Chairman added that candidates can apply online at the ‘Nana Sala’ available in their respective area. more..

Video: Arrest Alagiyawanna and Ashu: Wimal

Jan 25 (DM) JO MP Wimal Weerawansa called for the arrest of Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna and govt MP Ashu Marasinghe - whom he accused of acquiring vehicles illegally. “I am on remand today, while those who really acquired vehicles by illegal means are free," he said in Parliament last afternoon "Alagiyawanna and Marasinghe should be arrested at once," he added. Alagiyawanna, who responded later, said he had acquired three vehicles legally and had documents to prove it. more..

'Govt reviewing tyre factory project deal'

Jan 25 (AM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the govt was reviewing the Horana Tyre Factory project deal after it received considerable flak from several fronts. He said that the PM was unaware of the identity of the investor till the morning of the day on which the work commenced. Investor is Nandana Lokuwithanage, the supposed nominal owner of the Marriot Hotel in Dubai, which is allegedly owned by Rajapaksa family. more..