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'ETCA is being played very badly politically'

June 22 (CT) In recent past there has been a lot of discussion about the National Trade Policy. In the light of trade policy discussion, Ceylon Today interviewed Prof Razeen Sally who is Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Prof. Sally is also the Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), the main economic-policy think tank in his native Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: North: Is all well?

June 22 (Island) Sanity has prevailed at long last and the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), which was on the cusp of a crisis for weeks, has regained some stability. This wouldn’t have been possible but for the intervention of religious dignitaries, some foreign diplomats and the willingness on the part of CM C.V. Wigneswaran and Opposition and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan to grasp the nettle. Opinion, however, is divided on how the issue of the no-faith motion against Wigneswaran as well as more..

Aluthgama 3 years on

June 22 (GV) Dharga town is sleepy in the afternoon heat, especially at this time of year, the month of Ramadan. However, three years ago, in 2014, the streets were filled with smoke. Groundviews has written extensively on the aftermath of the violence in Aluthgama, which left 3 dead and 78 injured. Muslim-owned shops and places of worship were set ablaze. Photos of the damage showed charred walls, broken roof tiles and burned furniture. Groundviews was one of the few on social more..

M.A. Sumanthiran

Sri Lanka, the resplendent isle, the real of Indian ocean then & now

June 22 (CT) How times have changed! When DS Senanayake, SWRD Bandaranaike, Dudley Senanayake, Sirimavo Bandaranaike ruled SL, did the people go around glorifying them as larger-than-life superhuman entities? Did anyone try to deify them as worthy of obeisance and reverence? Did we see articles in newspapers specifically devoted to the worship of such personalities as some kind of weird idols that were somehow better than ordinary human beings? more..

Reading and falling in love: Did my phone take it away?

June 22 (Island) What happened to the saying Reading maketh and a full man? What will happen to the world when people read short messages on their phones? May be most of them are already doing it. That is why they just stare at this small gadget. I remember the times at airports when people read books , met and greeted people. Gone are those wonderful days people met, spoke, smiled, laughed and became friends at bus halts, railway stations, on the buses and during journeys by more..

Govt approves 2500 construction workers from Nepal, Myanmar

June 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s rapid expansion of construction in several economic sectors now impact millions of people in terms of employment and income. Its corresponding relevance to the country’s economy is the contribution to the GDP, directly and indirectly. Consequently, CCI regularly raises its concerns on the key issues which can sustain growth by avoiding the pitfalls in policy and in its intrinsic shortfalls. more..

A tiff within Sri Lanka’s Tamil polity

June 22 (Hindu) On the turbulence in the NPC. What was the recent crisis in Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in Jaffna? As many as 21 of the 38 members of the Provincial Council in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority north said that they had no confidence in C.V. Wigneswaran, their Chief Minister. The members’ move not only threatened his office briefly, but also signalled a possible split in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) that runs the Council. TNA is also Sri Lanka’s main opposition party. more..

‘Most foreign tourists to SL are backpackers’

June 22 (Island) Sri Lanka should promote high end tourists into the country because most tourists who arrive in the country do not even occupy a normal hotel. They are mainly backpackers, CEO, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka Laleenie Hulangamuwa said. "At this juncture we are in the process of addressing this issue to promote high end tourists into the country and to upgrade Sri Lanka to help classify it as a high spenders' destination while improving the infrastructure more..

Ranil drops Mangala from UNHRC resolution implementation monitoring body

June 22 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday submitted a cabinet paper to establish a ministerial central coordination and monitoring mechanism to implement UNHRC recommendations. Interestingly, the man who has done all the hard work re UNHRC resolution over the last two and a half years, former Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera has not been appointed to this vital committee. more..

Sri Lanka partners with Japan’s JCB for national banking cards

June 22 (DM) Japanese banking giant JCB International Co. Ltd. will be issuing Sri Lanka’s national banking cards in partnership with LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd’s LankaPay brand next year, it was revealed yesterday. “The partnership was approved last week by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank,” LankaClear CEO Channa de Silva said yesterday at the LankaPay Technovation Awards 2017. A JCB team was in town to exchange the partnership documents. more..

Women's CT 2017, Warm-up: India beat SL

June 22 (CC) India’s second and final warm-up match before the commencement of ICC Women’s World Cup saw them take on Sri Lanka. Asked to bat first, India managed to pile on 275 runs on the board with help of a sturdy 85 by skipper Mithali Raj. In reply, Sri Lanka managed just 166 runs as Indian bowlers drew life out their batting line-up. Penny-pinching bowling by the likes of Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Ekta Bisht and Shikha Pandey saw their opponents stifle for run in the middle and more..

Lasith Malinga says Sports Minister is a joke

June 22 (Island) Lasith Malinga made a scathing attack on Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara after Minister had questioned the fitness of Sri Lankan cricketers. After Sri Lanka’s disappointing Champions Trophy campaign last week, Jayasekara had said that SL’s players were the most unfit in the world. Malinga responded making a scathing attack on the Minister. "When parrots are on cage, monkeys outside are making noises. more..

SEC to decide fate of errant firms in public float by month end

June 22 (ST) Timelines to enforce new directions on listed company public float is fast approaching with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) meeting next week to decide on the fate of errant firms, informed sources said. The Colombo Stock Exchange’s (CSE) timeline to issue directions on non-compliance is end June. The Commission is to decide the penalties on non-compliant firms as well, the sources told the Business Times, declining to say what they were. more..

HC urged to dismiss PIL plea to extradite accused from Lanka

June 22 (Hindu) Rameswaram police have urged the Madras High Court Bench here to dismiss a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a direction to Central and State Govts to extradite SL Navy personnel who had allegedly shot dead 21-year-old fisherman K. Britjo on the high seas on March 6. In a status report filed before a Division Bench, Inspector of Police, Rameswaram Temple, said the investigators were yet to ascertain whether the incident took place in the Indian waters, more..

'Pakistan always supports Sri Lanka through thick and thin'

June 22 (TN) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka said Pakistan and Sri Lanka’s mutual long relationship is sustained by cultural heritage, economies, and common stand on international issues. “We are grateful for the unconditional and steadfast support we received from Pakistan. It is a matter of deep satisfaction that I was able to raise SL’s voice with Pakistan. They have stood by us through thick and thin,” more..

‘Use Colombo’s garbage as landfill for Financial City Project’

June 22 (DN) Finding a site to dump garbage is not an issue as there is a ready-made venue for the port city project in Galle Face said former President of Chamber of Commerce, Tissa jayaweera. He said that the port city project uses sand and rook to reclaim sea investing a lot of money and machinery. “Instead the port city project can use the sorted out garbage collected from Colombo and use in the filling of the land.” He said that though many consider garbage as an issue, more..

Anti-SAITM protest sends 92 to hospital

June 22 (FT) An IUSF protest yesterday in front of Health Ministry ended with 92 people being hospitalised, including six policemen who were deployed to control the situation.  Protest march turned violent after police charged at the protesting students with batons, teargas and water cannons to disperse them after they surrounded the Health Ministry.  Out of the 92 students arrested 55 were admitted to the National Hospital to receive further treatment, while the rest of the students more..

Geneva stand contradicted in parliament: JO

June 22 (Island) Alleging that the yahapalana govt had taken contradictory positions in respect of continuing UN interventions made in accordance with 2015 and 2017 resolutions co-sponsored by Sri Lanka, JO Leader Dinesh Gunawardena, demanded an immediate clarification from the UNP-SLFP coalition. He accused the govt of repeatedly deceiving parliament regarding its Geneva commitments. more..

Video: SB apologizes to Maha Sangha

June 22 (AD) A minister Wednesday apologized from the Maha Sanga after he was subjected to criticism during a media gathering organized by the Asgiriya Chapter. Minister S.B. Dissanayake said he regrets if the Maha Sanga have been disappointed about him and he would like to apologize from the monks and the Sanga Sabha. He also admitted to the fact that in several occasions he addressed Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero using only a part of the name. more..

JVP threatens to surround Isurupaya

June 22 (Island) Principals and teachers attached to the JVP trade union arm are planning to surround the Education Ministry next week in protest against the Ministry Secretary’s failure to give them a hearing to discuss outstanding issues. Convener of the Teachers – Principals Front and JVP Western Provincial Council member Mahinda Jayasinghe said they had asked for a discussion with the Education Secretary several times in the recent past but in vain. more..

Angelo can bowl at IPL, not for SL: Dayasiri

June 22 (Island) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that contrary to claims in certain quarters, captain Angelo Matthews had not been fit enough to play in the first group stage match of the recently concluded ICC Championship Trophy tournament. Asked why Matthews had been prevented from playing the first match, he said: "Angelo was unfit. He aggravated an injury by taking part in India's IPL tournament. more..

IFC gets nod to issue offshore rupee bonds

June 22 (FT) International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is a unit of the World Bank group, has been given the Cabinet green light to issue Sri Lanka rupee denominated bonds in offshore markets, top officials said yesterday.  If approved by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and other relevant bodies, the bonds will be sold in offshore markets and the proceeds will be used for lending in Sri Lanka, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka told reporters. more..

IUSF misled intelligence units

June 22 (DM) The police and other intelligence arms did not have an inkling of where the procession of the IUSF was heading yesterday until they reached their target and stormed the Health Ministry building Suvasiripaya on Deans Road, IUSF Convener Lahiru Weerasekara claimed. The ministry officials inside the building at the time the IUSF students rushed into the premises, where they remained for several hours, had been allowed to vacate the premises unharmed. more..

Prez likely to sack SriLankan airline board

June 22 (EN) President Sirisena is tipped  to sack the board of directors of Sri Lanka’s national carrier, but is expecting them to resign on their own in the wake of a ferocious grilling by the cabinet, an official source said. Ministers grilled Sri Lankan airlines Chairman Ajith Dias and his CEO Suren Ratwatte who were accused of mismanagement and misappropriation in a repeat of profligacy seen under former administration. more..

SL slip to number eight in ICC Rankings

June 22 (Island) Sri Lankan cricket has hit new lows following an update of the ICC Rankings for ODI cricket as the national cricket team slipped to number eight in the official rankings. Prior to the ICC Champions Trophy, SL were placed seventh and Pakistan were eighth, but an impressive show during the competition has helped Pakistan to secure the sixth spot while SL have slid down to eighth. Bangladesh are number seven. With this new low, SL are on the boarder line of relegation zone more..

Wiggy takes over Education, Agriculture

June 22 (CT) CM C.V. Wigneswaran will be temporarily handling the Ministries of Education and Agriculture following the resignation of the two Ministers who held those portfolios in a sequel to fraud allegations proved against them in addition to allegations of abuse of power. Ministers, T. Kurukularajah and P. Ayngraranesan handed in their resignations to the Chief Minister following positive findings of guilt by a Board of Inquiry appointed by the Chief Minister. more..

Attack on Uni. students: GMOA to launch indefinite strike today

June 22 (DM) Executive Committee of GMOA last night decided to resort to a trade union action that will lead to a countrywide token strike to begin at 8am today, GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said. Dr. Aluthge said the decision to launch an indefinite strike was taken for two reasons, firstly condemning the brutal attack on university students who protested at the Health Ministry building & secondly for not extending more..

Post flood damage assessment sent to IMF, World Bank: PM

June 22 (DN) The reports on post-damage assessment and economic impact of the recent floods and landslides have been sent to the IMF & WB seeking their support, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said making a statement in Parliament. PM said the Central Bank compiled a report on economic impact of the recent natural disasters while the National Planning Department compiled an assessment report on the damages caused by them. more..

Govt response to Asgiriya Prelate soon

June 22 (CT) The govt will within the next few days announce its response to the statement issued by Mahanayake of Asgiriya Chapter the Most Venerable Warakagoda Gnanaratana Thera, drawing attention to concerns about the threats to Sinhala Buddhists emanating from internal as well as external conspiracies. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the Venerable Thera had reprimanded certain politicians for talking disparagingly about all Buddhist monks in a disrespectful manner more..

Sri Lanka to extend US defence deal

June 22 (FT) The govt has decided to extend the Acquisition and Cross-Services Agreement (ACSA) with United States, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday. The proposed extension will amend the initial agreement signed between the two govts in 2007 but may not have a specific period or expiry date. However, either party could give 180 days’ notice in the event of termination. more..

The small problem of the big parties

June 22 (DM) How many times have we heard that there’s no room for any third party in SL politics? Third party as in an entity other than SLFP and UNP or else coalitions led by one of both. True, parties with extremely modest strength have on many an occasion effected change, played king-maker and even been part of govts; but always, always, it has been either UNP or SLFP that has dominated. Withdrawal of support or threats of support-withdrawal have often made the particular more..

Poorest countries doing most for refugees

June 22 (DM) On World Refugee Day, June 20, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. The United Nations says that this year, World Refugee Day also marks a key moment for the people to show support for families forced to flee. To do this, the UN Refugee Agency launched the With Refugees petition in June last year to send a message to governments that they must work together and do their fair share for refugees.    more..

'I don’t mix religious meritorious acts with politics'

June 22 (SL) A much talked about politician during the previous regime was Mervyn Silva. He was most noted for his outspoken and sometimes arrogant attitude. Yet despite criticism he always spoke fearlessly about what he believed in. With the defeat of the previous govt, Silva too faded away from the public eye and had been quiet for some time. However, he is back in the limelight. That is with the new political party that he is more..

SL hands over petition to UNHRC Chief

June 22 (DM) Retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara yesterday handed over a petition to UNHRC President Joaquin Alexander Maza Martelli requesting that action be taken against Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid al-Hussein and Special Rapporteur Monica Pinto for forcing Sri Lanka towards Constitutional Reform, basing their reports on false information and bias. Addressing the 35th session of UNHRC more..

Ali Baba at Cricket and Politics

June 22 (DM) Cricket did not bring fame and shame, as ousting terrorism did, by the euphoria and despair that followed. Cricket is a small–time game played earnestly by eight nations, while most people on planet earth face lethal terrorism - overcame it by getting the act right, ignoring advice from roaming busybodies presently recipients of smaller doses and reacting worse than the long suffered locals. Triumph at cricket brings satisfaction to all more..

Lives gone in a snap from an epidemic of selfie-obsession

June 22 (ST) Railway engine driver G G Hemachandra was on a routine run from Colombo Fort to Aluthgama last Sunday. Shortly after he passed the Kollupitiya Railway Station, about 100 meters ahead he noticed two children taking selfies. “I tooted the horn. As the train moved closer I saw a smaller child running away from the track and then the other boy jumping off the track to the opposite side," he remembered. more..

Moragahakanda hydro-electricity plant ready to generate electricity

June 22 (PMD) At present, all the testing works of Moragahakanda hydro-electricity plant, which will generate 25MW hydro-power to the national grid, have been concluded. The engineers say the electricity generation could successfully commence when the water level rises in the reservoirs during the upcoming rainy season. Moragahakanda plant built within a shortest period of time in the history of the country. more..

Pakistan court acquits two over Srilankan team attack case

June 22 (Dawn) An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Wednesday acquitted two accused in the Sri Lanka cricket team attack case. Obaidullah and Ibrahim Khalil had been accused of providing arms and training to the terrorists involved in the attack on a visiting Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 3, 2009. Seven people had been killed and 20, including seven Sri Lankan players, injured in the attacks. more..

Civil society accusers govt, JVP, TNA of delaying polls

June 22 (Island) For the first time ever in SL history, all ruling and opposition political parties excluding the Joint Opposition (JO) were intentionally delaying the holding of LG polls, Election Observers and Civil Society Organizations alleged. Addressing the media, they said the UNP, JVP and SLFP members supporting President Sirisena did not want to hold the elections and therefore they should be held responsible for more..