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Rs. 2 billion to maintain 200 train compartments: Union

Jan 30 (DM) Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) has decided to pay Rs.2 billion to a private company for the maintenance of 200 train compartments, SL Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya General Secretary Nadira Manoj said. He said that Department has awarded a tender to a private firm called Tantri Trailers by ignoring Ratmalana Railway workshop employees who could have carried out maintenance work on compartments. more..

Video: Administrative officers protest against Ranjan’s remarks

Jan 30 (DM) Gampaha District Administrative Services Association (GDASA) today boycotted their official duties and staged a protest campaign against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake for verbally abusing the Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary in public recently. Union earlier demanded the withdrawal of the malicious statement allegedly made by Deputy Minister. He had verbally abused Divulapitiya Divisional Secretary M.M.S Herath over an incident involving soil excavation. more..

Case against Gammanpila: summons issued on Australian couple

Jan 30 (AD) The Attorney General has informed the Colombo High Court that summons have been issued to the Australian couple to appear in Courts with respect of the case against MP Udaya Gammanpila, Ada Derana reporter said. The Senior State Counsel apprised the court this when the case against Gammanpila was taken up for hearing on Monday. High Court Judge R. Gurusinghe has also requested a progress report in connection with the case on 13 March, reporter added. more..

Horana Tyre Factory: Rs.178 Million for 99-year lease

Jan 30 (DM) The selected investor will be required to make a one-time payment of Rs.178 million for the 99-year lease of the 100 acre block of land at Wagawatta in Horana for the construction of a tyre factory, the BOI said. It said the amount has worked out in line with the valuation of the Chief Govt Valuer. BOI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya rejected claims made by Minister Rajitha Senaratne that an acre of land had been leased out at more..

Huge improvement in shoe manufacturing

Jan 30 (GDI) Import of shoes to the country has reduced from 60% to 20% while the export of locally manufactured shoes has increased, Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said. He stated this at a meeting with a group of leather goods manufacturers at the ministry. In 2013, SL earned Rs. 3,800 million from the export of shoes while it increased to Rs. 11,700 million in 2015. Statistics reveal it as 307% increase compared to 2013. During first 8 months of 2016, SL earned Rs, 11,980 million from exports. more..

AITSU says its trade union activist is missing

Jan 30 (AD) A trade union activist of the All Island Telecom Services Union (AITSU) is missing since 28 Jan, its President Nimantha Wijesuriya says. He went on to say they could not locate the whereabouts of AITSU’s Deputy President who was last reportedly seen riding a motorbike to his house in Pannipitiya. “The IGP, President and the Prime Minister have also been informed about this,” he said. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Manpower workers also resorted to a protest as more..

Delays in court cases: CIABOC to reduce receipts in Bribery Raids Advance Accounts

Jan 30 (DN) The delay in court cases on bribery and corruption charges and appeals made by the convicted persons have led to a reduction in receipts in the Bribery Raids Advance Account of the CIABOC. Therefore, CIABOC sought the approval of Parliament to revise the minimum limit of receipts in the Bribery Raids Advance Account from Rs. 5 million to Rs. 1.5 million. Treasury makes an annual allocation to more..

Video: Delimitation Committee report to be gazetted within a month

Jan 30 (AD) Minister Faizer Mustapha has informed the Supreme Court that the Delimitation Committee report will be gazetted within a month, Ada Derana reporter said. This was informed when a Fundamental Rights petition filed by the PAFFREL was taken up for hearing on Monday morning. However, while clarifying the Delimitation Committee had to take some time to conclude its task, Minister Rajitha Senaratne earlier said the final draft will be gazetted on 31 January. more..

MR spoke of power devolution first: Kiriella

Jan 30 (NR) Minister Lakshman Kiriella says Former President Rajapaksa was the first to speak of the devolution of power beyond the 13th Constitutional amendment. He said the former President has no right to accuse the govt of any power devolution. He said former President charges the govt is attempting to divide the country by formulating a new Constitution. He noted as to how such a statement could be made when even a single line of the constitution had not been written as of yet. more..

Video: The guilty should be punished: SF

Jan 30 (DM) Those who had been accused of war crimes must be punished irrespective of their posts and statuses if found guilty, Minister Sarath Fonseka said. While speaking to the media at the Malwatte Maha Viharaya after meeting the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters in Kandy, he reminisced how an Army Major was sentenced to death after he was proven to have passed information to terrorists. more..

Mixing Entertainment with Business

Jan 31 (CT) For Sri Lanka, when it comes to politics and public entertainment, lines blur quiet a lot. Several politicians – most of them, rather – excel at entertaining the masses instead what they should be doing: being public representatives. These public comedians tend to create news every now and then with their misadventures and when it does, it's nothing but entertainment. Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake pulled off such one slapstick stunts recently where he scolded a govt worker, more..

Thanks, Homosexual govt

Jan 31 (CT) It was simply disgraceful listening to our members of the opposition speak in Nugegoda yesterday, but let’s get some facts straight. First of all, let’s be real about crowd size. MR was President of this country for almost a decade. Don’t be awestruck by the fact that he can bring 5,000 people to a rally. I mean this was a man who got 6 million votes in 2010 and and 5 million in 2015, if he can’t bring a fraction of that down to a supermarket car park that’s not normal, more..

'Ven. Rathana Thera should resign if he cannot abide by rules'

Jan 31 (SO) Minister Champika Ranawaka says, though the JHU, has criticisms on this govt, as a responsible member of the Govt they cannot talk as they wish, as they are bound to protect the govt. He says, the decision by Ven. Rathana Thera to act independently in Parliament has no impact on their party and asks the thera to resign from the his National List MP post given to JHU if he cannot abide by his promise to more..

Govt prepares to address issues in Mendez’ report

Jan 31 (SO) The report by the UN special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, on Sri Lanka, was made public last Wednesday. The report was the outcome of the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Sri Lanka from April 29 to May 7, last year. During his tour, Mendez visited detention facilities and military camps in the Southern Province (Boossa Prison, Boossa TID detention facility, Galle Fort military camp), Western Province (Kalutara South Senior Superintendent’s Office, Panadura Police Station), more..

They even hounded national cricketers who were heroes to the people

Jan 31 (SO) I watched with rising horror and disbelief a Parliamentary sitting on the 9.00 o’clock news on Tuesday this week – 24 Jan 2017. I kept getting more and more disturbed as I saw Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, and Namal Rajapaksa wax eloquent over the supposed thieving by the present govt and Ranil W’s chosen Governor of CB who is now ex and replaced by a person everyone approves of. This cat is certainly not going into the so called bond scam more..

The challenges in skills planning for school-leavers

Jan 31 (CT) With GCE A/L results out, very many youth who could not enter State Universities are looking to pursue professional training programmes. Ceylon Today spoke to Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, Chairman - Vocational Training Authority, about the courses they offer these youth. Q: GCE A/L exam results have been released. While some are selected for university entrance, the majority look to enroll in courses. more..

President Trump’s uncertain and unpredictable economic policies

Jan 31 (ST) Economic and foreign policies of the US impact globally. President Donald Trump’s changes in economic and foreign policies would have repercussions on the global economy and in turn have significant consequences on SL economy as the US is one of SL’s main export markets. However President Trump’s policies are yet uncertain and unpredictable. In President Trump’s inaugural address there were indications of Trump’s thrust in policies that re-echoed his electoral rhetoric. more..

Muslim boy, aged 7, made monk revolts the Buddha’s vinaya tenet

Jan 31 (ST) Dimbulagala chief incumbent hails it a historic event but will it be flashpoint to spark bigotry’s fires again? Perhaps it is his karmic destiny to enter the Noble Order of the Sangha and follow the path of the Buddha at so young an age. Or perhaps it is his father’s good fortune to have found a convenient 24/7 care centre free of charge to relieve himself of his paternalistic duty of having to fend for the boy whilst the mother’s working abroad in the Middle East as a house maid. more..

Face the Nation

In defence of the Auditor General: Govt should not blind Its third eye

Jan 31 (CT) The Auditor General of Sri Lanka, a position created by its Constitution, has been of late at the receiving end from political authorities. It is reported that his performance has been subject to severe criticism by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, followed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in Parliament recently. Alarmed by these ominous developments, the Editor of Daily FT had written a very strong editorial urging the civil society to protect the Auditor General and more..

No! To Nugegoda as a Nuremberg?

Jan 31 (FT) The crowd is large. The scenery is packed with storm troopers. The energy of the rally is tangible. In the street, banners defy the breeze. On stage, speakers define the new world order. On closer inspection, it appears to be the old order of things thinly disguised as a change for the better. In Nuremberg, under the National Socialist (Nazi) regime of the 1920s and ’30s, the aspiration was to usher in a Third Reich (the first two being the German states as the crucible of more..

Speaker a Rising Sun

Jan 31 (CT) Japanese Govt has decided that the Rising Sun Award be bestowed on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Rising Sun is the highest honour which is conferred by Japanese Govt on those who have made a valuable contribution towards int'l relations, promotion of culture, and welfare and development. This award has a history dating as far back as 1875 and was originated during the Japanese era of imperialism, & has continued more..

Thalatha Athukorale: Sajith a role model

Jan 31 (DM) Minister of Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa sets a good precedent to other ministers by not using the official vehicle given to him by the government and rejecting his ministerial salary, Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Athukorale today said. Attending a ceremony at Balangoda to lay the foundation stone to initiate the project Udaa Gammana she said that the minister is a role model who doesn’t owe anything to the country. more..

Snakes and ladders

Jan 31 (ST) What can you expect? The much-hyped, much-awaited bond debate in Parliament came and went like a whirlwind. Ending rather on a quiet note, more or less a damp squib. On the eve of the parliamentary debate, Buddhist monk filed a fundamental rights petition challenging the contents of the bond report by the COPE. The JVP saw some evil in this petition, accusing the govt of delaying tactics. Not to be outdone, President said he will appoint a special commission more..

Sri Lanka Customs faces modernisation challenge amidst workers protest

Jan 31 (ST) SL Customs faces the challenge of modernising its functions, overcoming age old customs being practised by employees of the department at present to earn much needed revenue for the country, the COPA report revealed recently. Protests of employees of the department are now mounting against a bill for a new Customs Act, to replace one of the world’s oldest Customs Ordinance and more..

Stax anticipates continued private equity interest in Sri Lanka through 2017

Jan 31 (FT) Stax, a global strategy consulting firm that advises leading private equity (PE) funds worldwide, noted that investment and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in Sri Lanka has increased over the past two years. An ongoing high level of activity is expected in the near-term, mainly fuelled by continued interest in the country’s healthcare, hospitality, education, and export sectors.  Stax noted that M&A trends in Sri Lanka mirror those in Asia—some of the largest PE deals more..

Nawala emerging as high end apartment hub

Jan 31 (LBO) Nawala, between Sri Lanka’s commercial capital Colombo and administrative capital Kotte, is seen as the next high-end residential apartment hub, as new infrastructure in and around the area will address issues related to traffic congestion, a research institute said. “Many new real estate developers have realised the potential of the area,” the Research Intelligence Unit (RIU), a firm specialising in real-estate, said in their quarterly report. more..

SAITM draws opposition’s ire

Jan 31 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Parliament this week remained silent in the House as Minister Lakshman Kiriella alleged that the former regime was responsible for the deaths of the late MPs. Minister made these remarks soon after the UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena raised an issue with the Chair concerning the legitimacy of the FCID. "The SLFP, the other major party in the govt, has officially more..

Bond of truth

Jan 31 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena is a man of compassion, who believes in the policy of, live and let live. However, he is a man who shows his anger whenever there is an injustice or allegations of malpractice. On Wednesday (January 25) he displayed that he would not hesitate to take hard decisions when required. The message he gave was that when it comes to the Central Bank bond issue, he would not hesitate to adopt the James Bond policy of Live and let die. more..

Sri Lanka returns to familiar hunting ground

Jan 31 (CT) After the heavy defeat in Port Elizabeth where Sri Lanka had no chance in the first ODI of the five match series against South Africa, the scene will now move to Durban, a place where Sri Lanka has fond memories both in ODIs and Tests. Durban which offers pitches that help spinners will be Sri Lanka's best chance for a win in the ODI series against South Africa who possess one of the strongest batting units. Durban's Kingsmead stadium is the place where SL had registered a win more..

We should jointly struggle to build nation, not for power: President

Jan 31 (PMD) “We should get together and jointly struggle not for the power but for solving problems by building the country”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. “Though some groups are fighting by demanding power, nobody can even think of getting the power before the decision of the people at an election to be held in 2020”, he added. “People can fight for political objectives during an election. But when a new govt, elected by more..

SriLankan’s A350 business plan & termination

Jan 31 (ST) SriLankan Airlines this week clarified reports appearing in the media on the penalty amount paid to return the three A350 aircraft. “The total penalty paid was US$98 million or Rs. 14.7 billion not Rs. 150 billion as reported,” the airline said in a statement to the media.  It said 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.  more..

$ 900m ADB loan to rehabilitate rural roads

Jan 31 (FT) Govt will borrow $ 900 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to rehabilitate and improve 4,000 km of road in four provinces. The loan, which was given Cabinet approval last week, is the second phase of the i-Road Project under the ADB which began in 2014. Roads in the Northern, Eastern, Uva and Western provinces will be rehabilitated under this agreement. Multi Tranche Financing Facility of $ 900 million will be disbursed in tranches commencing from Sept 2017. more..

'Tax burden to ease once economy improves'

Jan 31 (CT) Tax will be reduced to give relief to the people in the near future once the economy gains momentum through the current strategies, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He pointed out that the plan to build the economy of the country has already been in place under the guidance of President and PM. Minister expressed these views at the ceremony held to declare open a fully-fledged grain storehouse complex at more..

International Youth Alliance for Peace celebrates 3rd anniversary and volunteerism

Jan 31 (FT) International Youth Alliance for Peace commemorated its 3rd anniversary and celebrated the spirit of volunteerism. The Executive Team was appointed and young individuals with a desire to serve were awarded at the inauguration ceremony that was held on 25 January from 6:30 p.m. onwards at the DHPL Building, Colombo 2. The ceremony was attended by State Minister Mohan Lal Grero as the Chief Guest and MP Hirunika Premachandra as a special guest. more..

Pro-Tamil outfits up ante on war crimes probe

Jan 31 (Hindu) As a regular session of the UNHRC is set to meet in Geneva in March, VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan on Monday urged the Indian govt to sponsor a resolution at the council that would ensure that there is an international investigation led by international judges into the alleged war crimes in the final stages of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009. He said that VCK, SDPI, TVK, Tamil nationalist parties and Periyarite groups will soon protest outside Central govt offices to urge more..

CTC announces closure of two Leaf depots

Jan 31 (FT) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) announced it would be closing its leaf depots situated in Anuradhapura and Sigiriya. In December 2016 the company announced that it was considering the closure of four leaf depots due to the sharp drop in demand for tobacco leaf as a result of declining volumes. In the first phase CTC will wind down operations in A'pura & Sigiriya starting with the closure of the two leaf depots. more..

Eastern undergrads to return

Jan 31 (NS) Academic activities of the Eastern University which came to a complete standstill from Jan 20 this year would commence from Monday (31) after nearly a week of protest by students. Over 800 students had occupied the university premises protesting against the authorities following their decision to do away with hostel facilities to second and third year students of the Commerce department. University authorities had prevented the students from entering the premises. more..

Retired Professionals waiting to work for free

Jan 31 (NS) Organization of Professional Associations said that although there were retired professionals in the country who would be willing to work for the Govt free of charge in an advisory capacity, the State was not making use of the resource. Organization has sought a meeting with President Sirisena to address how professionals could contribute towards good governance. The Organization is presently engaged in a direct dialogue with the authorities with regard to more..

Mixed 2017 forecast for private sector

Jan 31 (FT) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), releasing its economic outlook for 2017, warned that the private sector could face growth challenges in a sluggish economic landscape peppered with drought, tricky external conditions and key internal structural reforms but was optimistic of an uptick in some exports.  Chamber in its new report titled Economic Review & Outlook 2017: Triumph through Turbulence, more..