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Tories-DUP govt, good for Sri Lanka

June 11 (CT) The ruling Conservative Party headed by Premier Theresa May has fallen short by eight seats to have an absolute majority in the 650 seat House of Commons by winning only 318 seats at Thursday's election in UK. Arch rivals Labour came second; winning 262 seats. Reports say that May is having talks with the Northern Ireland based conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which won 10 seats to form a coalition govt. DUP is a spinoff of Ulster Movement of N. Ireland. more..

'It is not fair to criticise the PM'

June 11 (SL) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says it is not fair to critisise PM over the Hambantota Port issue. He also insisted there was no rift in the govt over the recent cabinet reshuffle. He said the party leaders in the cabinet agreed on the reshuffle. Q: What is your view regarding the recent Cabinet reshuffle? A:  I think it is something that was timely. If we look at our history, many previous govts have in fact done Cabinet more..

Realities of the Indian Ocean

June 11 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe received a clean bill of health from a New York-based hospital, enabling him to address an important UN conference this week on conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. The fact that PM was deemed hale and hearty is to be welcomed. It permitted him to attend a UN conference with direct and vital impact on SL. SL woke up early to the need to prioritise use and management of country’s marine resources. more..

For better or worse

June 11 (ST) My dear Theresa May, I thought of writing to you because I thought I should congratulate you on your party emerging as the largest party at your general election – although you didn’t win even a simple majority and in fact lost more than a dozen seats. You kept your own job – at least for now, so congratulations on that too! Theresa, we were shocked when you called for a poll with three more years left in your term. The opinion polls said you would get a landslide more..


Isn’t it time yet for Sri Lanka to say enough is enough?

June 11 (CT) With back to back terror attacks rocking London and Manchester, British PM Theresa May called that time has come to say enough is enough. Britain came under three terrorist attacks in the last three months. Premier May said that as terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalized online, but by copying one another more..

Reconciliation, religious harmony: Need of the hour

June 11 (SO) In a week when one of Sri Lanka’s biggest Buddhist festivals - Poson was celebrated, the peace-loving countrymen heeded to spread the message of love and kindness. In a Poson day message, the President said, our determination should be to commit ourselves to make a better world through the discipline of mind, body and word and to extend non-violent principles to human beings and animals; while the PM focused on the Buddha’s principles of nonviolence and more..

Sanga backs Graham Ford, reveals hard times during captaincy

June 11 (Island) Former great Kumar Sangakkara has moved from batting to commentating like a duck taking to water. The transition has been so smooth. Not that he has lost the golden touch with batting or anything. He made five First Class hundreds in a row and nearly got a World Record sixth before falling short by 16 runs. Sunday Island sat down with the former Sri Lankan captain for a chat during the Champions Trophy. more..

Gnanasara and the Muslim community

June 11 (Island) Even though police teams are supposedly scouring the country for him, the monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara has not been arrested as this goes to press. He is supposed to appear in courts tomorrow but it seems unlikely that he will. He has evaded two court appearances already and if he was going to make an appearance tomorrow, he may not have evaded courts on the previous two occasions. Rumours are rife that Gnanasara is being protected by a prominent minister, and more..

Australia knocked out of CT 2017 by England

June 11 (CI) As per a chorus in the Eric Hollies Stand cribbed from Three Lions and directed at Aaron Finch, Australia are going home. That they are doing so has less to do with damp English weather than the verve of the home side, personified by the pace of Mark Wood, the guile of Adil Rashid, the leadership of Eoin Morgan and the raw power of Ben Stokes. This was a meeting between a confident, aggressive England favoured to lift the Champions Trophy and an out-of-season more..

Sri Lankan Ranil Jayawardena wins UK election for the second time

June 10 (NA) Ranil Jayawardena of Sri Lankan origin has emerged victorious in the June 8 British parliamentary elections for the second time, bagging 65.5% of the votes cast in the Hampshire North East constituency. A traditional conservative Jayawardena had no difficulty in beating his nearest rival, Barry Jones of Labor. Jones got only 17% of the votes. Jayawardena came to the limelight in 2015  election (which he won), after a video more..

Mathews adamant on placing his bets on Malinga

June 11 (ST) Since coming back to the side after a two-year injury layoff from the 50-over game, Lasith Malinga has made little impact, but skipper Angelo Mathews believes the old warhorse must be a part of the playing XI when they meet Pakistan in a must-win game on Monday. The winner of Monday’s clash will qualify for the semi-finals but both teams -Sri Lanka and Pakistan are beaming with confidence following their shock wins against India and South Africa respectively. more..

Home truths from Harry on plantation woes

June 11 (Island) Harry Jayawardena, Chairman of Madulsima Plantations PLC controlled by Stassen Exports (47.58%) and Melstacorp (45.91%) has regretted very much that Madulsima’s directors were unable to declare a dividend for the 14th consecutive year in the annual report of the company. Though Madulsima has had a string of loss making years and carries Rs. 2.56 billion accumulated losses in its books, the company owns timber reserves valued at over Rs. 2.93 b. more..

Sri Lanka’s elusive housing logic

June 11 (Hindu) Recently, Cabinet cleared a proposal to build 6,000 prefabricated houses for war-affected families in the island’s Tamil-majority north and east. What ought to have been a basic, brick-and-mortar effort to rebuild homes has turned out to be a major controversy, as the government appears persistent to push a deal that it alone finds logical. Final stages of negotiation are on with steel giant ArcelorMittal, more..

Pakistan needs to maintain intensity in the field: Afridi

June 11 (ICC) Champions Trophy 2017 is alive and kicking after two stunning upsets. Pakistan’s win over South Africa and SL’s resounding victory, chasing a 322-run target against India, have instilled a lot of interest, with Group B now wide open. This reflects both the competitive format of the tournament as well as the fact that you can’t take any team for granted. It also means that the remaining two group matches – India vs SA and Pak vs SL – are now virtual quarterfinals. more..

Ministry Officials can only contest for Provincial and District Sports Associations

June 11 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara revealed that his Ministry has sent a circular to all National Sports Associations (NSA) to the effect that all Ministry officials are ineligible to contest for elections of NSA's, which contradicts extra ordinary gazette dated 5 May 2017. By extraordinary gazette dated 5 May 2017, paragraph (O) of Regulations 5(4) originally gazetted on 27 Oct 2016 was deleted. Paragraph 'O' stated any person working at Sports Min. cannot stand for election of NSAs. more..

Sri Lanka devises digital economic strategy with McKinsey assistance

June 11 (ST) SL is devising a digital economic strategy with the assistance of a worldwide management consulting firm in order to successfully face future economic and social challenges. A digital economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies. This ambitious initiative fundamentally seeks to ensure that public financial services are made available to citizens, in electronic form, by improving more..

Madras HC paves way for return of Sri Lankan refugee

June 11 (Hindu) The Madras High Court Bench here has paved way for the return of a Sri Lankan refugee who was convicted and sentenced to four-and-a-half months of imprisonment by a Judicial Magistrate court in Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district for attempting to travel back to his island nation in January last without a passport and other travel documents. Disposing of a habeas corpus petition (HCP), Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and P. Velmurugan directed the refugee, more..

Lankan apartments overpriced: Skyline

June 11 (DN) Skyline Property Developers (Pvt) Ltd which has invested Rs. 400 million for Skyline Kotte apartments at Bangala Junction, Kotte, has reached its final phase of construction. It will be unveiled by December, 2017. The property built by team of young engineers offers the 30-unit luxury apartment complex provides five-star living at an affordable price. A unique feature of the project is that it has being built without any pre-sales. “We invested Rs. 400 million with 65% borrowings and more..

Lankan maids in secret auctions

June 11 (CT) Sri Lankan runaway maids are being hired out in clandestine auctions in several West Asian countries, sometimes with the connivance of errant embassy officials, it was disclosed this week. Dubious foreign and local handlers, together with middlemen, are known to be behind the racket that has been in existence for a considerable period of time, officials conceded. They said maids who ditch their original sponsors more..

Lankan Paddlers return empty handed

June 11 (ST) Sri Lanka Table Tennis team returned to the island empty handed from the World TT Championship 2017 in Dusseldorf, Germany, held from May 29 to June 5. All the SL paddlers failed to go beyond the qualifying stage, as almost every single competitor was defeated in the Singles, Doubles and Mixed events of both Men and Women. The only Lankan win was when Chalitha Ranjana beat Doufesh of Palestine 4-2 in Round 1 of Men’s Singles, but went down tamely in Round 2 more..

Browns to sell 5 hotels

June 11 (ST) Browns Investments, controlled by the LOLC Group, plans to sell five of its hotels – The Eden Resort and Spa in Beruwala, Dickwella Resorts, The Paradise Resort & Spa in Dambulla, The Calm Resort and Spa in Pasikudah and Kosgoda Turtle Bay (still being built). The share price surge at Eden during the past two months was owing to the internal restructuring at Eden where Browns sought to bring Paradise and Dickwella shares under this company. more..

Sri Lanka plagued with a lame duck govt: Former CB deputy governor

June 11 (ST) SL govt at present is made up of birds – ostrich, lame duck and icarus while seeking to take a flamingo flight without addressing its own weaknesses, says W.A Wijewardena, former deputy governor of Central Bank. He said, “Govt acts like an ostrich because it’s defending wrong govt action tooth and nail when they are crystal clear to the rest of the world. Incapacitated govt through its own in-fights, more..

Japan’s Mitsui eyes infrastructure, energy sectors in Sri Lanka

June 11 (SO) Japan’s Mitsui and Co Ltd is returning to Sri Lanka with the intention of pursuing many business and investment opportunities in the areas of infrastructure and energy sectors. The company sees a lot of potential in the island’s infrastructure projects such as ports, roads and traffic and power sectors. They also plan to enter into the energy sector in Sri Lanka, especially to get into Liquefied natural gas (LNG), Chief Regional Officer of Colombo Office, Kohei Akiba said. more..

Lulu Group donates Dh367,000 to flood relief

June 11 (GN) To support flood relief and rescue operations after floods wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka recently, the UAE-based retail giant Lulu Group has donated an amount of US$100,000 to the National Floods and Landslide Victims Operation in Sri Lanka. S.J. Mohideen, Ambassador of SL to the UAE, received the cheque from Yusuf Ali MA, chairman of Lulu, in Abu Dhabi in the presence of senior officials of the Lulu Group and SL Embassy at its head office in Abu Dhabi. more..

In the grip of plastic rice scare

June 11 (CT) Sri Lanka, where 99% of the citizenry consumes rice as their staple diet, was recently caught up in a panic over a plastic rice scare. Rumours began circulating like wildfire when some social media users uploaded video clips to youtube, claiming that when they made balls of cooked rice, they bounced off hard surfaces as if they were made of rubber. Without stopping at that, some videos showed more..

Another Rs 38 B lost on free vehicle permits

June 11 (CT) The revenue lost on allowing concessionary vehicle permit schemes for public servants amounted to Rs 38.2 billion in 2016, Finance Ministry statistics show. According to the Finance Ministry Annual Report 2016, the revenue forgone due to concessionary vehicle permits was reduced in 2016, as it declined to Rs 38 billion from Rs 40 billion in 2015. The revenue forgone under concessionary vehicle permits amounts to two per cent of the total tax revenue raised in 2016. more..

MR holds secret talks with SLFPers in Japan

June 11 (SL) Former President Rajapaksa is said to have had secret talks with some SLFP members in Japan. Rajapaksa is making a desperate attempt to gather the support of some key SLFP members before MoU between SLFP and UNP expires in August. There have been reports UNP & SLFP will sign a new MoU in August to extend the working relationship in the govt. Rajapaksa is however keen to get the support of some disgruntled SLFP Ministers & Dy Ministers to strengthen JO. more..

Matara-Beliatta rail track: Lankan engineers signal danger

June 11 (ST) The Chinese company extending the railway line from Matara to Beliatta is not qualified for the contract and follows practices and standards that seriously endanger the lives of those who will travel on that track, an influential engineers’ union has said. The project is being carried out by China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation. It was an unsolicited proposal approved under previous administration. more..

CBSL’s reserves bleed $290M for debt servicing

June 11 (CT) Central Bank of Sri Lanka's (CBSL's) foreign reserves were left poorer by US$ 290.43 million (Rs 44,290.56 million) on Friday (9) to meet a foreign debt servicing commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), a study of the CBSL's press releases on the daily open market operations (OMO) showed. Such commitments are met from CBSL's foreign reserves and not from the interbank foreign exchange (FX) market so as to prevent depreciative pressure on the rupee. more..

PM and MP Rajapaksa return from tours to US, Japan

June 11 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who was on a personal visit to the United States returned to the country today. NewsRadio’s Airport correspondent said the PM’s flight arrived at the BIA around 4 this evening. PM Wickremesinghe met Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland. Former President MP Mahinda Rajapaksa who was on an invitational tour to Japan has returned to the country. more..

Special features in updated draft of new Constitution

June 11 (ST) An updated draft of a new Constitution has incorporated several new features but a cloud of uncertainty hangs over how soon political parties would be able to reach any consensus. Main among them are the two principal partners in the Govt – SLFP and UNP. Each seems to be waiting for the other to make its position known. The draft, in the form of an interim report, was originally formulated in November last year and more..

The British Election

June 11 (Island) Those of us who dismissed Jeremy Corbyn as an untimely infliction on the British Labour Party must now eat humble pie, huge portions of them. The good thing is that we on the left can also celebrate his electoral performance very heartily while eating the humble pie. Mighty kudos as well to the band of Sri Lankan cricketers for pulling off that stunner of a victory against India at the London Oval on the day of the British election. Whatever happens tomorrow against Pakistan, more..

Gods in government

June 11 (Island) Last Sunday, I wrote about how SL’s Minister of Disaster Management never returned hurriedly to SL to deal with the catastrophic flooding which hit the country last month, and instead, on his way back to the country from an international conference - ironically on disaster management - had an extended stopover in Dubai for indeterminable reasons. Last week, in coordination with colleagues at work, an RTI request was lodged in order to ascertain just what more..

Termination deal: SriLankan pays more than the bond issue loss

June 11 (ST) The country’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines, now in a deep financial crisis, will make its last instalment payment — the penalty for cancelling an order for three Airbus A 350–900 aircraft — this month. There is an irony over this total payment of US$ 146.5 million (Rs 22.4 billion), technically termed termination fee. Loss to the State is much more than the money known to be reportedly lost to CB due to the bond scam. more..

Christian affairs minister John under fire after he loses his cool

June 11 (SL) Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga came under fire last week after he lost his cool and threatened a journalist. Amaratunga defended his actions but others reminded the Minister that he needs to remain calm even if he is provoked. The Minister was seen on video being questioned about the dumping of garbage in Wattala and the allegations being raised against him in this regard. more..

Geetha Kumarasinghe dual citizenship case : Petitioner calls for fuller bench of SC

June 11 (SO) A motion has been filed in the Supreme Court by the Petitioner of the Geetha Kumarasinghe case seeking a fuller bench to hear the appeal. He has also written to the Chief Justice separately seeking an immediate investigation into the conduct and manner of which the Supreme Court appeal was handled by court officials. In this matter the Court of Appeal unseated MP Geetha Kumarasinghe, on the basis that more..

Bishop cautions nation on increasing religious intolerance in Sri Lanka

June 11 (Island) "Next year, 2018, Sri Lanka will be marking the 70th anniversary of our independence. This will be a milestone in our journey as a re-born nation. In our buildup to this event, it is important that we look soberly and honestly at the balance sheet of our successes and failures over the past seven decades, Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey, Presiding Bishop of the Church of Ceylon & Bishop of Colombo, more..

JO to donate June salary for relief operations

June 11 (SO) All 52 MPs in the Joint Opposition (JO) have decided to contribute their June salary to a special account to be opened by the JO, to assist post-disaster relief activities, UPFA MP Ranjith de Zoysa said. UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera had sent a letter to the JO that the June salary of all UPFA MPs will be deposited to a special fund to provide welfare assistance to the flood and landslide victims. more..

'GSP+ benefits will be short-lived'

June 11 (EN) Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa under whose tenure the country lost duty free access to the European Union said the benefits of the scheme would be short lived as incomes are expected rise. EU terminated GSP+ benefits to SL as the Rajapaksa the regime undermined rule of law, denied justice and freedom to citizens and while dissidents including journalists were murdered or disappeared. GSP+ has a threshold of more..