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Experts from Facebook, Google coming to Sri Lanka for summit

Jan 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka is planning to hold a digital summit in March this year to boost the country’s global digital presence. It is expected that experts and executive officers of prominent companies such as Facebook, Google, Social Capital, Infosys and other internationally reputed corporate CEOs will participate in this event. One objective of the summit is to introduce the latest innovation and technologies by bringing top minds to Asia from Silicon Valley. It also seeks to position SL as an incubator to more..

Video: Tyre factory scam: PM came to know only in the morning: Rajitha

Jan 26 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said PM got to know about the investor of the proposed tyre factory in Horana only on the morning of the stone laying ceremony and was considering whether to go or not. PM decided to participate in the ceremony on Jan 5th as it was a major employment generating investment and the plaque had already been erected at the site. He also said govt would reassess the land value of the 100 acres given to more..

Indonesia to donate 10,000 MT of rice to SL

Jan 26 (GDI) Ministry of Rural Economic Affairs has taken steps to issue 90,958 MT of paddy of the Paddy Marketing Board at district level to private paddy mill owners and Lanka Sathosa to be processed into rice. It further considered that though Lanka Sathosa has already processed the paddy and a kilogram of rice is being sold through Sathosa outlets at Rs. 76/-, private mill owners have still not issued them to the market. Cabinet has decided to appoint a Cabinet Subcommittee more..

Like a lovers’ break-up: Rajitha

Jan 26 (CT) The anger MP Namal Rajapaksa has with Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius is akin to that of a jilted boyfriend's feelings when he sees his former girlfriend with a new man, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. "Arjun Aloysius was with the Rajapaksas when that family was in power. Arjun was with Namal on 8 Jan 2015 night and he helped Namal transfer his money from Dubai banks. They were best of friends and now Arjun has moved on. So Namal is angry, he is acting like a jilted more..

Auditor General under fire in Parliament

Jan 26 (FT) Auditor General took centre stage in Parliament as both the Govt and the Opposition stepped up to define the parameters of his powers after the contentious official released a decade’s worth of bond transaction details made by the Central Bank to COPE. Minister Ravi Karunanayke returned to the House on the offensive, slamming the AG for allegedly releasing the report to JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake, more..

Dilmah to get 155 perch Yala land

Jan 26 (FT) Tourism Ministry has received permission to allocate 155 perches of land next to Yala National Park to Wild Coast Tented Lodge, which is a venture of MJF Holdings. Allocation comes in addition to a seven-acre site already allocated to Wild Coast Tented Lodge in Sept 2012, according to Cabinet paper submitted by Minister John Amaratunga. Under the new measure the company will be given the land adjacent to Yala Block C on a lease of 50 years with the price more..

FCID to probe Rs. 4 billion missing from Nilwala project

Jan 26 (CT) FCID is to be instructed to investigate the irregularities that have taken place during the release of funds to the Gin Nilwala Diversion Project. A cabinet subcommittee, comprising Ministers Ravi Karunanayake, Rajitha Senaratne and Champika Ranawake, has made this recommendation to the Cabinet. "The subcommittee recommended to handover the case to the FCID which has to provide an interim report on the matter within two weeks, if investigation is not complete," more..

Video: CB Scam should be dealt with as a criminal case: MS

Jan 26 (DM) President Maithipala Sirisena said that he had found that the investigation of the CB bond scam was being carried out under civil law after the matter was referred to the Attorney General's department by the PM's office. He said it must be taken up as a criminal case. Rejecting the allegations against the AG, President said it was he who had appointed the AG who was regarded by the entire country as an honest official. more..

The war within

Jan 26 (DM) The way for a new Constitution has literally become rutted, rugged and rickety because the two main parties harbour stark differences even on some salient points such as executive presidency, the unitary character and power devolution. The UNP, as the main party in the govt, seeks the abolition of executive presidency whereas the SLFP led by President Sirisena is to retain it further. SLFP’s position became clear as and when its ministers announced, on several more..

Let us build a human economy

Jan 26 (DM) As political and business leaders met at Davos in Switzerland last week for the annual world economic forum, the international social justice movement Oxfam shook the world with a report showing how the gap between the rich and the poor has widened to obscene proportions.  Report came as the new US President Donald Trump in his inaugural speech last Friday, repeatedly proclaimed that his priorities would be America first, America first and America first. more..

International judges Dilemma

Jan 26 (SL) The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) has handed over the final report, which is a product of months of consultations with victims, citizens and civil society stakeholders among them. The ceremonial handing over of the important report, which is produced by a Task Force commissioned by the PM was neither to the Head of State nor to the PM, but to former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

Is Fisheries Minister counting his chicks before they are hatched?

Jan 26 (Island) Sri Lankan fish exports would enter the European Union (EU) member-countries with a 15% tax concession after receiving the GSP+ plus privilege, Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Sri Lanka exported a total of 13,932 MT of fish generating an income of Rs. 21,539 million last year. Out of the total fish exports, 1817 MT went to the countries of European Union and 515 MT to other European countries. more..

CM Wigneswaran’s appeal to President to save lives of hunger strikers

Jan 26 (ENS) CM of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, appealed to President Sirisena to send a senior minister post haste to Vavuniya to give some assurance to the men and women who are on a fast unto death that govt would take steps to address their demands regarding forced disappearances and political prisoners. In a letter to the President, he pointed out that hunger strikers, who are not even drinking water, more..

Harsha hails China as new white knight of free world

Jan 26 (DM) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva this week labelled Chinese President Xi Jinping as the new champion of trade and globalization of the free world, who would fill the vacuum created by US President Donald Trump with his inward-looking political and economic policies.  Delivering a rather flamboyant talk on the ascendancy of Trump as the US President and its repercussions during a meeting in Colombo, de Silva branded more..

Wimal ran taxi service with illegally obtained state vehicles: Rajitha

Jan 26 (Island) Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa not only illegally obtained forty state vehicles for the use of his family members and stooges, but also ran a taxi service, govt charged. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that it was due to a load of evidence that Court refused Weerawansa bail and further remanded him. Of the 40 vehicles belonging to SEC that Wimal illegally obtained, 14 were given to his relations & stooges, more..

Drones: Handy tool in trained, trusted hands

Jan 26 (ST) When police seized a drone that recorded the Hambantota port protests last week, it renewed the debate on whether to welcome this new kid on the block or to rope him tightly. While few view drones as a menace, their applications in different fields can open up new opportunities that had not been previously thought of. Professionals in different fields welcome this new kid on the block while more..

Sri Lanka to take loan from Russian bank

Jan 26 (CT) The govt is to obtain a US $ 50.09 million loan from Sberbank of Russia, a State-owned Russian banking and financial services company, to purchase equipment required by 250 Sri Lankan UN peacekeepers who are to be deployed in Mali, Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said. The interest rate is 3.2% per annum (at a fixed rate) and the repayment period is eight and a half years, including one and a half year grace period. more..

'UNP-SLFP hand in glove on corruption'

Jan 26 (FT) When it comes to corruption, country’s two main political parties are hand in glove, Opposition Leader R Sampanthan told Parliament, as he issued a fiery warning that corruption could pave the way for dictatorship and termination of democracy. He said neither of the two main parties had made honest endeavours to bring an end to corruption, and accused UNP and SLFP of colluding & protecting each other on corruption issues. more..

ACF piles on more and more charges

Jan 26 (Island) Ven Ulapone Sri Sumangala Thera, Head of the Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) yesterday said that former Governor of CB Arjuna Mahendran who is alleged to have swindled billions of rupees through bond scams talks tongue in cheek when he says that he doesn’t hold any post in the Finance Ministry but attends its decision making meetings. Monk said Minister Ravi Karunanayake was pretending not to know more..

Tamil Eelam removed from list of countries

Jan 26 (CT) While emphasizing that there is no govt in existence called the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), govt informed Parliament that both Denmark and Australia apologized and rectified inadvertent errors committed by legitimizing Tamil Eelam, as soon as Sri Lanka brought it up. "No country, no Govt, no member State of the UN, no international organization or legal entity recognized more..

Joblessness increases

Jan 26 (CT) Sri Lanka's labour force participation rate (LFPR) in the third quarter (3Q) of the current year declined over its 1Q figures, while unemployment increased, latest data showed. Whereas the LFPR in the review period decreased from 54.1% to 53.8%, a 0.3 percentage point or a 0.55% fall, unemployment rate in review period increased from 4.2% to 4.5%, a 0.3 percentage point or a steep, 7.14% incline. In numerical terms, the LFPR in 1Q 2016 numbered 8,318,667; more..

Peace and reconciliation require consistent, discernible & sustained momentum

Jan 26 (CT) Sri Lanka’s moment of truth is fast approaching. The expectation is that significant initiatives will be taken this year towards addressing the two issues that are vitally important to the Tamil people – a political resolution and accountability for war-time violations. What is equally important is to maintain a consistent, discernible and sustained momentum towards reconciliation, bolstered by actions that make practical difference to the day to day life of the people and on this aspect, more..

අලෝකෝ උදපාදී - අධ්යක්ෂ චත්ර වීරමන්

Govt continues its lies to safeguard Arjuna Mahendran

Jan 26 (CT) The position of the Director General of govt information department has become ethically untenable after his department was caught red-handedly lying about the alleged bond scammer Arjuna Mahendran. On Jan 24th, Govt Information Department in a statement denied that Mahendran holds any position in the Govt. However the very Information Department had published a news item on July 31, 2016 saying that Mahendran was part of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official more..

Demarcation report gazette in 5 days

Jan 26 (NR) Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils says it has completed the preliminary process to release the Gazette notification pertaining to the final Demarcation report. National Delimitation Commission submitted the final report to Minister of Local Govts and Provincial Councils Faizer Mustapha on the 17th of this month. The Elections Commission has urged the Ministry to release the Gazette promptly in order commence the process to conduct the impending Local Govt Elections. more..

Corrupt Vs Corrupt: Malik contradicts Rajitha

Jan 26 (DM) Rejecting claims made by Minister Rajitha Senaratne with regard to the Horana Tyre factory, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said he had informed both the President and the PM about the investor of the factory well in advance. “Both the President and the PM were aware of the investor since I, myself informed them well in advance,” he said. Minister said two cabinet papers one proposing the land & then giving details more..

Tahir reprimanded for Junaid Jamshed t-shirt

Jan 26 (CI) Imran Tahir, the South Africa legspinner, has been reprimanded by the ICC for a wicket celebration in which he revealed a t-shirt under his playing kit with an image of the late Junaid Jamshed, a one-time Pakistani pop icon and latterly a religious preacher, who was also popular among some former Pakistani cricketers. After dismissing Asela Gunaratne in the second T20I at the Wanderers, Tahir took off into one of his typical celebratory sprints and then pulled his more..

Priyankara Jayaratne wanted criminal investigations against him stalled: Govt

Jan 26 (Island) Minister Priyankara Jayaratne had quit his portfolio and crossed over to the Opposition, since the govt refused to stall criminal investigations against him, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He revealed that Jayaratne who was elected to Parliament on the UPFA ticket, had requested President Sirisena to intervene and stall the on going inquiries against him by the law enforcement authorities, which included corruption charges, but the President had declined. more..

Corrupt politicians bankrupting SL: Foreign debt repayments spikes to US$3.9bn in 2019

Jan 26 (CG) Sri Lanka’s debt servicing will double in 2019 to US$ 3,992 million, highest debt repayment to be paid by the island in a year, when compared to last year due to the borrowings of the previous govt. Total debt stock of Sri Lanka has gone up by 233% to Rs. 7,391 billion during the period from 2005 to 2014. In 2005 total debt burden was Rs. 2,222 billion and within 5 years by 2010 it increased up to Rs. 4,590 billion. more..

Some MPs laughing at me: Buddhika

Jan 26 (DM) UNP MP Buddika Pathirana today said he has been subjected to different kind of treatment in Parliament at times. Mr Pathirana came out with this remark when Speaker Karu Jayasuriya hailed him for raising oral questions on the cultivation of medicinal plants in Sri Lanka. “Raising oral questions about the cultivation of medicinal crops continuously is commendable" the Speaker said. “Thank you Mr Speaker but some MPs laugh at me for raising such questions. more..

President says divine help brought rain

Jan 26 (EN) President credited his spiritual drive for bringining heavy rains that effectively ended what could have been the worst drought in decades. Sirisena told a Buddhist temple ceremony that he mobilised all temples across the country with appeals to monks to organise religious events to invoke divine blessings to end the drought. "While asking temples and other religious leaders to pray for rain, I also took measures to mitigate the effects of the drought," the president said. more..

PM says missing persons may have left the country illegally

Jan 26 (ENS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament that as per police records, there is no information relating to persons who had allegedly disappeared during the ethnic conflict. However, they may have left the country illegally through unconventional channels, he added. PM’s statement assumes importance in context of a fast unto death in Vavuniya by kins of some Tamils who had allegedly disappeared more..

Submit comprehensive medical report on Duminda Silva: Magistrate

Jan 26 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate today directed the Prisons Department to submit a comprehensive medical report on suspect Duminda Silva to court on Feb 13. She further directed the suspect be examined by a neurological specialist at the Colombo National Hospital.  In response to a previous court order, the Prisons Department today filed Silva’s medical report and informed the court of the inability to produce the suspect due to his critical health condition.   more..

G.L. decries foreigners in decision making process

Jan 26 (Island) The JO has flayed the ruling Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition for making the diplomatic community an integral part of the decision making process. Former Minister G.L. Peiris alleged that the yahapalana leaders had been bending backwards to appease Western powers at the expense of vital national security interests. The top JO spokesman said that since the change of govt in Jan 2015, the present day rulers had been running the country the way the Westerners wanted. more..

'De-proscribe all Tamil Diaspora organisations, scrutinize only individuals'

Jan 26 (ENS) CM of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has appealed to the govt to de-proscribe all the Tamil Diaspora organisations and stringently scrutinize only select individuals. Wigneswaran was speaking at a function in Jaffna to inaugurate a consular section of the Foreign Ministry there. “Let me suggest not to embark on selective de-proscription but to de-proscribe all organizations and have a process of very stringent vetting more..

FR against COPE report fixed for March

Jan 26 (NR) Supreme Court today ordered the Fundamental Rights petition filed by Chief Incumbent of Nalandaramaya Nugegoda Thiniyawala Palitha thera pertaining to the Committee on Public Enterprises report on the controversy surrounding the Central Bank bond issuance to be taken up for hearing on the 7th of March. The order was issued by a three member bench comprising judges Eva Wanasundara, Anil Gunarathna and Prasanna Jayawardene. more..

Automobile market collapses by over 40%

Jan 26 (DM) Automobile trade in Sri Lanka is facing extreme difficulties due to the recent regulations introduced by the govt, former chairman of Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) Gihan Pilapitiya said. “The overall showroom traffic had dropped more than 40% and even most of these customers who walk in, go away without purchasing due to high pricing. In some cases certain vehicle showrooms have no customer visits at all in a day” he said. “Last week’s leasing regulations announced by more..

Sri Lanka still part of India’s neighbourhood first policy

Jan 26 (CG) SL continues to be a key part of India’s neighbourhood first policy, Indian High Commission in Colombo said today. HC of India and Indian expatriate community in Sri Lanka celebrated the 68th Republic Day of India today at India House in Colombo. High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu unfurled the Indian flag and inspected a Guard of Honour presented by a contingent of the Border Security Force. more..

HMK wants the govts to hoist Tricolour at Katchaitheevu

Jan 26 (PTI) Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) today said it would hoist the National Flag at Katchaitheevu, ceded to Sri Lanka by India, on the Republic Day tomorrow, if the Centre or Tamil Nadu govt failed to do so. In a memorandum submitted to the district collector here, IMK President, Arjun Sampath said that TN fishermen have the right to catch fish in Katchaitheevu area and also the right to worship at St Anthony Church there, as per an agreement between the two countries. more..

Avant Garde case: Ukrainian alleges being victim of political tug o’ war in Sri Lanka

Jan 26 (Island) Supreme Court will take up a fundamental rights application filed by Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov, Captain of MV Avant Garde against his arrest in early Oct. 2015 outside SL territorial waters and continued detention since then at the Galle remand prison, on Feb 3. Hearing has to be put off as notices hadn’t been received by all parties to the case. Reiterating that he had absolutely no political affiliations to any group or party in Sri Lanka, 49-year, father of one, more..