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'SL to renegotiate oil tanks deal with India'

Jan 4 (DM) Govt will re-negotiate with India the agreement signed in 2002 with the hope of reacquiring at least 50 tanks for use by Sri Lanka, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. Outlining his Ministry’s 2017 programme he said the refurbishment and upgrading of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery (SOR) will be launched this year at a cost between US$1.8 billion and US$2 billion. He said on the completion the SOR will more..

All political parties should work for country’s progress: PM

Feb 4 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking at the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the Volkswagen motor assembly plant in Kuliyapitiya said that the people had to choose between providing jobs to the youth through foreign investments or handing the country once again over to a group which robbed the state of its resources. He observed that the people of the country had sacrificed immensely from more..

Minorities get a good deal from the Sri Lankan electoral delimitation panel

Feb 4 (ENS) SL’s minorities have got a good deal from Electoral Delimitation Committee, panel member Dr. Balasundaram Pillai said. “Minorities have a good deal whether the constituency concerned is to elect a representative on the Proportional Representation System or the First Past the Post System,” Pillai said. “Interest of the parties of the majority community has also been safeguarded,” more..

'Govt at the mercy of civil society outfits, social media'

Jan 4 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has alleged that civil society organisations as well as some social media had become so powerful they could even dictate terms to the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition. Minister de Silva said that those who had been operating certain websites from overseas and capable of hacking Facebook were running the country now. Senor SLFP Vice President was addressing employees at his ministry. more..

H'tota Port: Can't reject agreement out of hand, Mahanayake

Jan 4 (DM) Stressing the need to ensure transparency when entering into agreements, the Mahanayake of the Malwatte Chapter, the Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said that he could not approve or disapprove of the agreement to hand over Hambantota Port without first perusing it. He expressed these views when JO members, led by UPFA MP Chamal Rajapaksa, more..

President cancels visit to Jaffna due to unscheduled meetings in Colombo

Feb 4 (ENS) President Maithripala Sirisena has cancelled Wednesday’s visit to Jaffna. A spokesman of the President said that unscheduled meetings in Colombo led to the cancellation. “But he will be visiting Jaffna on Jan 25 or any other suitable date before that," he added. In Jaffna he was to have inaugurated an island-wide mobile app facility to get in touch with President and track the progress of requests more..

Trumps’ Presidency: A Global Crisis?

Jan 4 (CT) There's no doubt about the fact that political and corporate leaders in the west as a whole, and in many Asian, Pacific and South Asian nations, will watch with much anxiety the real foreign policy stances that US President-elect Donald Trump will opt for when he assumes office on 20th of this month. Certainly his lauding of Russian President Vladimir Putin's deft move in holding back retaliation against Obama's expulsion of 35 of Putin's top diplomats in Washington more..

Electing Sirisena as the President: Have we made the correct choice?

Jan 4 (CT) The expectations about the changes that could occur as a result of President Sirisena’s victory had led many people to believe that Sri Lanka will enter into a new phase under the Sirisena administration. Most people expected a change in the political culture that plagued the country with rising corruption and falling law and order. Since Sirisena was known to be a simple person with no direct links to political corruption or any other anti-social activities, more..


16 bank accounts of Udayanga Weeratunga to be frozen due to MiG fraud

Jan 4 (CT) Colombo Fort Magistrate today ordered for the immediate freezing of 16 bank accountants in local banks that belong to Sri Lanka’s former ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga. The order was issued after the FCID requested Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne to issue the order. The FCID is currently investigating a financial fraud case against Weeratunga, who is currently hiding overseas. Weeratunga is the first cousin of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Pressure will ease on CB if Finance Ministry takes over debt management: Governor

Jan 4 (Island) Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy said in Colombo pressure on his institution would ease if the Finance Ministry took over the responsibility of managing public debt, which was not a core-function the CB. In answer to a question from the media he said: "If you look at the international practices, you will see that in most countries the subject of public debt is handled by their finance ministries and in a few countries, it is done by independent bodies. more..

How did we fare in 2016

Jan 4 (ST) The year 2016 can be recalled as a year which SL did not achieve much internationally in a global sense.  The first event was the South Asian Games in India. Sri Lanka fielded a contingent of 484 athletes in 23 sports events. But we managed to win only 25 gold medals. This is one of the biggest setbacks in the history of Sri Lankan sports. However, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera described this performance as a huge achievement more..

New terminal to be constructed at BIA

Jan 4 (NR) Govt has decided to construct a new terminal at the Katunayake Int'l Airport. Minister Asoka Abeysinghe said construction activities of the terminal will commence in April. He said a new terminal will be constructed in order to increase capacity. The construction of the terminal will be carried out in collaboration with Japan adding the cost is estimated to be around US$ 600 million. After the terminal is complete, the capacity is expected to increase to two million. more..

Private sector must invest in development projects: CBSL

Jan 4 (NR) Governor of Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy says the initial drive to harness the country’s considerable potential must come from the private sector, particularly in the next year or two. Presenting the Road Map for 2017 themed Monetary and Financial Sector Policies for 2017 and Beyond, CB Governor said the Central Bank would not be hesitant to introduce new policies and plans depending on the requirements of the economy and as contingencies arise. more..

N&E Police solicit bribes from perpetrators & act with prejudice against abused women

Jan 4 (CT) Law enforcement establishment in Sri Lanka have openly acted with prejudice against sexually abused women in the North and East, by even going to the extent of telling a victim to marry the man who raped her, while the continuing culture of impunity has intensified sexual abuse against women and children in the North and East provinces. The 22 page report titled Women’s Access to Justice in the North & East of SL more..

Health Ministry website hacked

Jan 4 (DM) The website of the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine was hacked last night by an unknown group that called itself MCA or Muslim Cyber Army. Attempts to enter the website through its welcome page with three language tabs directs one to an interface with a Jihadist style armed Islamic group logo with the name Muslim Cyber Army written beneath it. The interface with the logo also carried the message: Hacked by Mr. Z and an Arabic phrase, followed by more..

Military deserters barred from leaving SL

Jan 4 (DM) Army, Navy, Air Force deserters who have not obtained legal discharge during the general amnesty period have been barred from leaving the country, Defence Ministry said. The general amnesty granted to the tri forces' personnel considered Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) to obtain legal discharge ended at midnight on Dec 31, 2016. Strict legal action would be taken against deserters who have not reported to duty during the general amnesty period. more..

CTF recommends inclusion of a foreign judge in judicial system

Jan 4 (NR) The Consultations Task Force (CTF) on Reconciliation Mechanisms has recommended including at least one international judge on every bench. Publishing the final report on public views and suggestions on the proposed structure and scope for the formation of a reconciliation mechanism, CTF recommended including key international standards pertaining to courts hearing war crimes cases. more..

False bomb threat: Schoolgirl arrested, warned and released on bail

Jan 4 (DN) Colombo Fort Magistrate today released on bail an eighteen- year-old schoolgirl, arrested for allegedly making a false threat that there was a bomb at the Colombo Fort railway station on Dec 26. Colombo Fort Magistrate ordered the schoolgirl released on two sureties of Rs.200, 000 and a severe warning not to repeat such offences, leading to disturbances to the public. A tense situation occurred at Colombo Fort railway station on Dec 26, 2016 after the passengers of more..

JO accuses ruling cabal of ruining national economy

Jan 4 (Island) The JO accused the govt of seeking more loans and selling state ventures to overcome the economic crisis, but it was marketing the entire exercise as an attempt to repay the loans obtained by Rajapaksa govt. JO MP Bandula Gunawardena charged that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cronies responsible for the Central Bank bond scams were bypassing the President, Cabinet of Ministers and the Public Debt Department of the Central Bank in borrowing money. more..

Sri Lanka to decriminalize forex transactions, relax exchange controls

Jan 4 (EN) SL will decriminalise foreign exchange transactions, replacing a draconian law that bans the use of foreign currency, which was brought when a money printing central bank started generating foreign exchange shortages after independence. SL would bring in a foreign exchange management law to parliament in 2017 and further relax exchange controls in the medium term, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. more..

Govt initiates Mobile Eye Hospital

Jan 4 (DN) A mobile eye hospital, created under the direction and guidance of former Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Mahipala, will commence serving the public soon. One million Sri Lankans have to undergo cataract surgeries in the next five years, Ministry sources said. The funds for this project were collected by holding musical shows, bicycle races and other such events. Many local private companies and NGOs have also donated to this project. more..

Ship with Sri Lanka crew detained in Vanuatu

Jan 4 (RNZ) Vanuatu's customs officials have detained a ship with an all Sri Lankan crew after failing to identify the ship's origin. The Acting Manager for Border Control Baddley Tari said the five crew and captain, who all speak English, said they have sailed from Japan to Port Vila. They said they were to deliver the ship to its new owner and are ready to fly out. Mr Tari said no one has tried to claim the ship which is estimated to be 20 years old. He said the man who was more..

JO lodges bribery complaint against Malik, Paskaralingam

Jan 4 (DM) The JO today lodged a complaint against Minister Malik Samarawickrama and PM's Advisor R. Paskaralingam with the Bribery Commission for allegedly selling the Hambantota Harbour to a Chinese company incurring a loss of Rs. 330 billion to the State. JO MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the govt had decided to sell the Hambantota Harbour in order to pay the debt amounting to Rs. 1.1 bil more..

Sri Lanka to set up science, technology and innovation coordinating authority

Jan 4 (EN) Cabinet has approved the setting up of a science, technology and innovation (STI) coordinating authority to co-ordinate the work of several research and development outfits, a spokesman said. The authority, proposed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, will facilitate the coordination of research and development activities administered by 21 ministries and about 80 research institutions, he said. The move aims to maximise return on more..

'Important changes in Parliament in 2017'

Jan 4 (NR) Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya says Parliamentary rules, regulations and standing orders will be subject to change in 2017. Speaking to media after calling on the Chief Prelates of the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters today, Speaker said the govt is hoping to introduce new methods and subject Parliament to a vast set of changes. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said the govt is hoping for a fresh start in 2017 in order to establish democracy in the country. Speaker said the govt has introduced RTI bill, more..

Sri Lanka to go ahead with ETCA with India

Jan 4 (Xinhua) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the island country was expecting US$ 2 to 3 billion worth of investment in 2017. PM said many international investors were now looking at Sri Lanka as a ideal investment hub. Wickremesinghe said that 2017 was a crucial year for investments to come in and this would pave the way for Sri Lanka to strengthen itself in the Indian Ocean region. more..

CPC ready to supply fuel for thermal power generation amidst worst drought

Jan 4 (Island) Amid growing fear of the worst drought in Sri Lanka since the early 1970s, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said his Ministry was ready to supply fuel to the CEB to generate uninterrupted electricity to the country. He said that all arrangement had been made by his ministry to supply oil to thermal power plants. Minister noted that his Ministry had been able to repair the Muthirajawela pipeline corroded due to salinity and transport oil from ships without any oil leak. more..

Release of first waters of Moragahakanda Reservoir is on Jan. 11

Jan 4 (ITN) The release of the maiden waters of the Moragahakanda Reservoir is slated to take place on the 11th of this month. Deputy Minister Anuradha Jayaratne who undertook an inspection tour revealed that all arrangements have been finalized for the event. The Moragahakanda Reservoir spans 29 square kilometres. The total cost of the project is estimated at 1200 million US Dollars. The construction of the dams of the reservoir has entered the final phase. more..

PM says Jaffna will be developed as a regional airport

Jan 4 (ENS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, Palaly airport in the northern district of Jaffna, will be developed as a regional airport, to serve not only SL, but also South India. India has been pressing for the development of Palaly as an international airport to improve communication links between North SL with India, especially Tamil Nadu. There had been an air service between Palaly and Madras and Tiruchi, before the ethnic conflict more..

Sri Lanka readying high powered delegation to Tehran later this month

Jan 4 (GDI) SL officials began work on formulating one of the strongest ever national business delegations to be flown to Iran at short notice on 3 January in Colombo. “President Maithripala Sirisena’s forthcoming tour of Iran could open many new opportunities for Lankan businesses” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 3 Jan in Colombo. He was addressing a team of officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce including the Dept of Commerce, EDB, BoI, Tea Board, more..

SL approves new rules for tourist businesses

Jan 4 (LBO) Tourism Development Ministry is drafting minimum criteria for specified tourist services so as to have appropriate regulation in the industry. Proposed critera will apply for guest houses, independent tourist restaurants, tourist shops, Ayurvedic tourist hotels, Ayurvedic tourist health care centers, spas and wellness centers and apartment hotels. Observers say the regulation should also apply to services provided by three-wheeler and taxi drivers, and retailers, more..

Army ordered to submit list of surrenderees

Jan 4 (PTI) A court in Sri Lanka has asked the army to submit by January 30 the list of persons who had surrendered to it during the final phases of the war with the LTTE in 2009 as it heard a case related to individuals who allegedly disappeared after surrendering. The Mullaithivu district judge M S M Samsudeen asked the army to submit the list by January 30, KS Ratnavel, an attorney said. more..

The Double Talk of President Sirisena, A betrayal of the Muslim IDPs

Feb 5 (CT) President Sirisena orders the expansion of the forest reserve by taking over the land allocated to the Muslim IDPs of Musali South, Mannar (Dec 2016). A minority of Buddhists and certain media organizations along with a few Environmentalists has succeeded in the SECOND ETHNIC CLEANSING of the Northern Muslims through the current Presidential order. President in June 2015 claimed that the Muslims had encroached and cleared large tracts of land more..

Premadasa exceptionalism & The years of Bandaranaike mediocrity

Feb 5 (CT) From 1989 to 2004, the years that witnessed the escalation of the war against Tamil separatists, the years that Sri Lanka had to deal with a multitude of gripping episodes of suicide bombers and diehard idealists, the years that whizzed past everyday life of ordinary men and women like a wind in a snow-swept Artic, the years that bore the ignoble insults of a nation mourning the death of border-village citizens, almost every other week, also witnessed the propelling more..

Katunayake FTZ in crisis as investors quit

Feb 5 (CT) A constant flow of foreign direct investments in the country was one of the key pre-election campaign pledges made by the present govt. It promised the creation of new projects to provide one million jobs. But, are those investments really flowing in? Are those jobs being created? What prevents investors taking advantage of the many concessions on offer? The investors hang on to their seats without grabbing more..

Editorial: What’s in a date?

Jan 5 (Island) Celebrities are prone to disturbances of all sorts which they have to learn to live with. They have to grin and bear it even when intrusions are made into their private affairs. This is the price they have to pay for being famous! Some of them are not spared even after they go the way of all flesh! It was reported last year that a group of archaeologists who used ground-penetrating radar to scan Shakespeare’s grave traced his skeletal remains sans his skull which more..

Tussle over delimitation

Feb 5 (DN) The impending LG election is one of the most important events on the 2017 political calendar. Although the election was scheduled for last year, the process was delayed as the govt decided to change the electoral system under which the election is held. Several complications relating to delimitation stood in the way of the proposed new electoral system and the govt said it would need time to resolve these issues: A Delimitation Committee was appointed, in Oct 2015, more..

'Foreign govt grants down in 2015/2016'

Feb 5 (CT) UPFA MP, Udaya Gammanpila, claimed that Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran felt indebted to the LTTE for her success in her political career. He made this comment in response to a statement made by State Minister Maheswaran, a UNP MP, who indicated that if slain LTTE leader Prabhakaran was alive, he would be the PM of Sri Lanka. He further noted that if UNPers were genuinely concerned by this comment, more..

Looking across the Palk Strait

Feb 5 (SL) With the none-too-unexpected death of Jayalalithaa Jayaram, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, a section of the Sri Lanka politico-strategic community may have once again returned their gaze across the Palk Strait. It’s as if to see whether they are looking for solutions for the nation’s domestic problems, or for justification(s) for not being able to do so. Neither is the case, however. Of course, there are bilateral concerns involving the Indian neighbour in which Tamil Nadu has a stake. more..