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SL to be promoted as int'l film location

Jan 29 (Island) Sri Lanka, the beautiful island with so many cultural values and geographical differences including ancient cities such as A'pura, Polonnaruwa, beautiful beaches such as Trinco and Galle, cultural and social differences such as Jaffna and Kandy etc.. has classified as a valuable destination for tourism. The unique feature is the ability of air travel to any part of the island in less than an hour. This has made to attract more international movie makers to use SL as more..

World Bank writes to Ranil on bond issue

Jan 29 (SL) World Bank has written to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe giving its opinion on the CB bond issue. The World Bank had given its opinion after the PM wrote to the bank seeking its input. World Bank was of the opinion that the govt has not suffered any losses as a result of the bond issue. Wickremesinghe had submitted to the World Bank all details pertaining to bond transactions in SL. WB had praised the govt on the actions taken to control debt and its tax reforms proposals. more..

Horana tyre factory: Land clearing suspended on President’s orders

Jan 29 (ST) The clearing of land in Horana for the setting up of businessman Nandana Lokuwithana’s tyre factory was suspended by BOI this week. Security officers were sent to the 100-acre site in Wagawatta on President’s instructions after he learnt the tycoon was levelling the earth before signing the lease with the BOI. Activity had started despite President sending a note via the PM’s office to the Cabinet Committee on more..

Maximum Retail Price set for six essential food items

Jan 29 (AD) The govt has imposed Maximum Retail Prices on Mysore Dhal, dried sprats (imported - Thailand) dried sprats (imported - Dubai), Green Moong, white sugar and potatoes (imported) with effect from yesterday (27). “Acting under the powers vested in it by Section 20(5) of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, No. 09 of 2003, the Consumer Affairs Authority orders that no manufacturer, importer, packer, distributor or trader shall sell, expose or offer for sale, display for sale the items more..

Controversy arises over eight containers of motor spare parts

Jan 29 (ST) Amid complex legal issues, Finance Ministry has directed the Customs to release eight containers carrying motor vehicle spare parts. The Ministry’s directive to release the detained containers was sent to the Customs’ Director General this week on the grounds that a Cabinet Sub Committee chaired by the Transport and Civil Aviation Minister had recommended the release of the spare parts containers. The Finance Ministry said the Sub Committee was giving effect to more..

Corruption continues: President must reverse the trend

Jan 29 (ST) The many challenges for President Sirisena, now in the early days of his third year in office, seem unprecedented if not too burdensome. Since assuming the SLFP leadership in 2015, his highest priority has been to reunify the party. That turned out to be a futile exercise. Thus, he urged SLFP Ministers who were summoned on Jan 3 to be told of his plans for 2017 to publicly expose the misdeeds of former President more..

Unity-govt in disarray, no thanks to divided opposition

Jan 29 (Island) It is really difficult to understate the difficulties that the govt seems so apt in getting into time after time. The govt’s difficulties are all self-inflicted. Joint Opposition is all for toppling the govt but sees no obligation to demonstrate how it would do things differently if it were to get a chance to govern again. For now, the JO has started doing what it does best – staging rallies. Nugegoda is its favourite point of departure, and this time it’s about Peraliyaka Arambuma. more..

Droning on

Jan 29 (Island) As the use and abuse of drones in Sri Lanka makes headlines, it’s worth reflecting for a moment some trends around their use in journalism. Maligned and feared, drones are the latest technology to be used by mainstream media in the country, especially by TV stations. The very name is often problematic -chiefly popularised by offensive, kinetic uses of UAVs in theatres of war like Yemen and Pakistan, mostly by Americans under former Presidents Bush & Obama. more..

Spokesperson: For whom or for what is he speaking?

Jan 29 (ST) Role of a spokesperson, as anyone literate would explain, is to speak on behalf of a group or entity he or she represents so the collective positions are understood in a positive way. However, that is not the case for loquacious Minister Rajitha Senaratne, official spokesperson of the Govt. More often than not, his public remarks have caused confusion and even chaos. It has thus raised serious questions not only on the former dental more..

Probe into Lasantha’s murder takes a twist

Jan 29 (SL) The investigation into the murder of founding editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge has taken a stunning twist after the CID interrogated Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, whose involvement in the high profile assassination has long been suspected. Field Marshal Fonseka, who is also the Minister for Regional Development, was summoned to the fourth floor of the CID headquarters and has been more..

SLC rocked by match- fixing allegation

Jan 29 (ST) In one of the most controversial incidents in the sports history of recent times, it seems that two leading cricketing clubs – Kalutara PCC and Panadura have been charged with match fixing allegations and would face dire consequences if the charges are proved. Premier ‘B’ tournament is recognised by the ICC as a first class tournament. Incident sparked off upon a protest made by Premier League ‘B’ division table more..

Group of Lankan Ministers, MPs in London

Jan 29 (Island) A group of Sri Lankan Ministers and MPs were in London to participate in some official ceremonies. Education Minister, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam attended the Education World Forum held in London from January 22-25. Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, Mahinda Samarasinghe, signed a Letter of Intent with University of Coventry on behalf of the National Institute of Business Management. more..

MR’s Nugegoda meeting a big joke: UNP

Jan 29 (CT) UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim described the Nugegoda meeting of the Joint Opposition on Friday at which former President Mahinda Rajapaksa appeared for the first time since the Parliamentary polls, as a big joke. He also said that Friday's meeting which was expected to bring in over 75,000 people and throng the city of Colombo, was an outright joke, where the total crowd was well less than 10,000. more..

4,000 differently-abled cry for relief

Jan 29 (CT) Recent reports from the Eastern Province reveal that there are over 4, 000 persons who were disabled during the three-decade-long war living below the poverty line with hardly any access to basic facilities. Yet the Eastern Provincial Council which is in charge of fulfilling the needs of the affected people claims that the govt had failed to allocate financial assistance. 4,000 disabled persons have been neglected by the authorities more..

Intelligence on alert following plot to kill Sumanthiran

Jan 29 (SL) Intelligence agencies have increased their activities in the North following a plot to kill TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran earlier this month. Rehabilitated LTTE cadres who have been released into society have been placed under close watch following the arrest of some former LTTE members in connection to the assassination plot. PM’s office sent a message to TNA MP about a serious security threat to his life that Sumanthiran needed to more..

Farmers demand Rs 50,000 per acre for crop damage

Jan 29 (ST) Farmers whose crop was devastated by the severe drought are demanding financial compensation of Rs 50,000 per acre, although the island has experienced patches of rain in recent days. A farmer group says 500,000 hectares of paddy had been abandoned because of the drought. Agriculture officials say there could be a rice scarcity because the area cultivated in the Maha season from Sept to March has diminished. more..

Central Expressway: Top Japanese team here to push through tender

Jan 29 (ST) A large Japanese delegation, headed by an adviser to Japanese PM, was in SL this week to push through a tender for the 3rd section of Central Expressway. Visit came amidst reports that Fujita Corp, Japanese construction company which offered a lower bid to build the road, has been struck down by a tender evaluation committee on grounds that it was unqualified to implement such a massive project. more..

Four ex-LTTE cadres held for plotting to assassinate Tamil MP Sumanthiran

Jan 29 (ENS) The Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) of the Sri Lankan police has so far arrested four former cadres of the LTTE for allegedly plotting to assassinate the moderate TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran, in Marudankeni in Jaffna district on January 13. The arrests, which were made on January 14, came to public notice only on January 28, as both the govt and Sumanthiran had chosen to keep the episode under wraps. more..

Igniting culture wars, dehumanising the LGBTIQ community

Jan 30 (CT) Two weeks ago, cabinet rejected a provision included in the draft human rights action plan that suggested taking prompt steps to prevent discrimination on the basis of a citizen’s sexual orientation. On 25 Jan, President Maithripala Sirisena, generally regarded in the West as pro-Western, if not a friend of the West than his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, openly admitted at a public event that it was he who personally binned the provision, more..

New Indian avatar pleads for Chinese understanding of her sovereignty

Jan 30 (CT) The Raisina Dialogue is a joint initiative by the Govt of India and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent think tank based in New Delhi. India has strived to organize the conference in the lines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. It is designed to be India’s primary conference on geo-politics and geo-economics. Its inaugural edition was held in March 2016 and was inaugurated by Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj. more..

'Our moves will not be advantageous to MR faction'

Jan 30 (SL) No member of JVP would ever engage in politics with the intention of earning money through fraudulent or corrupted practices, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. Pointing out that he is always prepared to respond in public to any allegation made against him about having any assets in foreign countries, he said that the JVP is embarking on a quest to rally the people towards the goal of forming a political force more..

Recalling those old and very same failures of justice

Jan 30 (ST) British poet and laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s mournful call that the old order change the yielding place to the new… is an ageless reminder of the loss of once cherished values in these uncertain times. The world now steps perilously into a future in which ancient demons of racial profiling, ultra-nationalism and rampant sexism are encouraged by a boastful and self-obsessed leader of the US, whose penchant for pummeling state policy and abusing opponents more..

Editorial: Contradictions galore!

Jan 30 (Island) The govt tries to promote itself as a good governance coalition. But, it is, in fact, a coalition of contradictions in that its constituents and leaders keep contradicting one another ad nauseam. What we hear from its top guns on crucial national issues has all the trappings of a babble of voices in a toddy bar; nay, it is more incomprehensible than shebeen gabble. Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, last Wednesday, tried to defend PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..

'UNP cannot manage country properly'

Jan 30 (CT) Minister Susil Premajayantha questions how many of the targets set by the budget presented in 2016 have been achieved so far? "If they are out to create a powerful Sri Lanka they need to set the targets for GDP, power and energy creation, agriculture production and various other sectors". Q: What do you think about the present political developments in the country? A: Well, present political developments are escalating more..

Whither Lanka? Coconuts in the bag (Koheda yanne? malle pol)

Jan 30 (SL) Whither humanity? Whither Sri Lanka? These are questions that the people have often been asking themselves in the past and doing it more intensively now. The difference between now and then is that in the past the people were divided in their opinion but were certain about the direction they were heading – to hell, heaven or nirvana or whatever it may be. Today the great majority are crying out loud about the uncertainty of the future direction of their country and the world. more..

Breaking the ice for the big party, or breaking the party, too?

Jan 30 (SL) By meeting with Govt-threatening former President Rajapaksa, six provincial Chief Ministers identifying with successor-rival Maithripala Sirisena faction of the SLFP have let the secret out. It’s now clear that they are all afraid of facing the much-postponed local govt elections across the country without Rajapaksa as their mascot as in the 2015 parliamentary polls – and certainly against him. To expect Rajapaksa to sign off on the dotted line without seeking his share of the political-cut more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

The hot air just got hotter with another commission to boot

Jan 30 (ST) After nearly 9 hours of Parliamentary debate on the now infamous Treasury Bond (TB) auction of Feb 27, 2015, what the public were treated to was the usual doublespeak from members of the yahapalanaya Govt, with their inability to speak in one voice on the subject, only lending credence to growing public perception that the Govt lacks serious commitment to fight corruption. The debate, which came by way of an adjournment motion titled more..

Quest to save Wildlife in Moragahakande

Jan 30 (Island) In an unprecedented act of animal rescue and translocation, the Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Zoological Department and the police lifesavers, spearheaded a successful mission in the inundating Moragahakande reservoir. This was the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and left many lessons for the future. There again, the timely intervention of the Wildlife Department has to be applauded for a number of reasons. more..

Who is helping Lokuwithana?

Jan 30 (CT) On 5 Jan 2017, foundation stone for what was then said to be the largest tyre-manufacturing factory in the country was laid under the auspices of PM Wickremesinghe. Investment of Rs 11.25 b was made for the factory which is based in Industrial Zone in Horana. However, information later revealed that the tyre-factory is owned by business tycoon Nandana Lokuwithana, very close ally of the Rajapaksa family. more..

Stassen Exports vs. HNB and others: Court calls for written submissions on 2 Feb

Jan 30 (FT) Commercial High Court last week directed all parties in case No. 59/2016/CO – Stassen Exports Ltd. versus Hatton National Bank Plc and 15 others - to tender written submissions on the preliminary objection on 2 Feb 2017 and fixed the order for 14 Feb 2017. This case came up on 26 January 2017 before Commercial High Court Judge Shiran Guneratne, for inquiry with regard to the application made by the first respondent, Hatton National Bank, and third respondent, more..

CSE to revamp listing rules on IPO cash but is it enough?

Jan 30 (ST) With new regulations, firms which aim to go public won’t be able to  raise cash at their whims and fancies, but these deterrents may not do the trick entirely. Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) aims to issue stringent directions on funds raised through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in their yet-to-come listing rules. “We’ll be issuing listing rules on using IPO cash for the precise purpose as stated in the firm’s prospectus. If a company wants to use the IPO funds for something else, more..

'No major FDI in North for last two years'

Jan 30 (DN) The govt, Northern Provincial Council and specially the Board of Investment (BOI) in Jaffna has virtually done nothing to promote foreign direct investments to the North, accused President of Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam, K. Vignesh. Speaking after the opening ceremony of inauguration of 8th Jaffna International Trade Exhibition, (JITF) he said that no major FDI had come in the last two years. more..

LANKATILES expands operations to India

Jan 30 (CT) To meet the rapidly growing demand for wall and floor tiles in the local market, LANKATILES recently entered into a successful strategic partnership with an Indian tile manufacturer Ambani Vitrified (Pvt.) Ltd. The successful venture has seen LANKATILES placing a large order with the expectation of releasing more quantities of 24" x 24" tiles to the market in order to meet the escalating market demand. These tiles will also comply with the standards imposed by SL Standards Institute more..

Two Sri Lankans caught smuggling US dollars out of Mumbai airport

Jan 30 (IT) Two Sri Lankans have been caught by the customs department from Mumbai airport while they were trying to smuggle out US dollars to Colombo. On examination, two Sri Lankan nationals Aathil Abdul Jabbar and Mohammed Ramzan were found carrying foreign currency notes of 31,000 USD equivalent to Rs 21.23 lakh while departing to Colombo by Jet Airways flight. Officials said the currency was cleverly concealed in pockets of three trousers which were kept in their hand bags. more..

Video: New Constitution would bring a federal solution: NFF

Jan 30 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena is likely faking the fact that he maintains an anti-UNP policy, NFF charged. NFF Deputy Leader Jayantha Samaraweera underlined that the govt members are eyeing to being a part of a drama in order to establish a federal country, sell country’s resources and to revoke the civil rights of former President Rajapaksa. President is also a part of this, but he is faking that he keeps an anti-Ranil more..

Fielding coach Pothas joins National team

Jan 30 (CT) Fielding coach Nic Pothas left the Under-19 squad in Paarl after they won the tri series and joined the National Squad ahead of their second ODI in Durban. Pothas, the former South African cricketer who was hired as Sri Lanka's fielding coach last July, wasn't part of the National team for the Test tour as he was assigned to the Under-19 team that played in the tri-series along with hosts South Africa and Zimbabwe. Manoj Abeywickrama was appointed as fielding coach of National team more..

Including Sandun was unavoidable: Manager

Jan 30 (CT) Young opener Sandun Weerakkody made his debut in the first ODI against South Africa on Saturday having rested for less than a day after taking three flights to get there from Sri Lanka. The 23 year old scored just five runs before becoming Wayne Parnell's second victim at Port Elizabeth and departed as Sri Lanka's second wicket in the match which SL lost by eight wickets. The move to open with debutant Weerakkody against the world number two ranked ODI team when more..

CIA assessed Rajiv Gandhi assassination five years before he was killed

Jan 30 (PTI) Five years before Rajiv Gandhi was killed in 1991, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had prepared a very detailed and thorough brief on what would happen if he is assassinated or makes an abrupt departure from the Indian political scene. A 23-page report, titled India After Rajiv ... was put out as early as in March 1986 for comments from other senior CIA officials. Sanitized report was declassified recently by CIA. more..

German Embassy Colombo funds Vote for a Woman project

Jan 30 (FT) On 17 Jan, Ambassador Jörn Rode participated in the opening ceremony of the Awareness Campaign Vote for a Woman, a project of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) which is funded by Germany. Ambassador Rohde stated that Germany was glad to assist in strengthening women’s participation and representation to achieve more gender equality in Sri Lanka. He highlighted how “women’s increased political participation is one pillar to change more..