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Face the nation

Awards, recognitions and Sri Lankan creative writing in English

June 6 (GV) When speaking of the concerns we have as judges with regard to our experiences in judging the entries for the 2016 Gratiaen Prize, I am speaking on behalf of my fellow judges, Chandana Dissanayake and Ruhanie Perera as well.  These are our collective thoughts. Over two decades, the Gratiaen Prize scheme has been an important system in providing recognition to writers in Sri Lanka who write in English. And this should continue. more..

Websites, tabloids beware: BASL to take action

June 6 (Island) Second Meeting of the Bar Council which was held on 27th of May 2017 under the Chairmanship of Mr. U.R. de Silva PC, made some import decisions with regard to the continuous attack by websites, social media and tabloids of the judiciary of Sri Lanka. This decision was arrived as a result of Mr. Upul Jayasuriya PC, a former President of the Bar Association bringing to the notice of the Bar Council that certain organizations has insulted the Attorney General and more..

A major disaster awaiting: Kelaniya flyover trembling

June 6 (CT) When the flyover at Kelaniya was opened in May 2008, many people hoped that it would ease the traffic congestion at the Kelaniya railway crossing on Colombo-Kandy Road. It certainly did just that and for the past nine years, vehicles have been moving over the railway crossing uninterrupted by the moving trains. Now traffic flows steadily with no hassle, much to commuters' delight, but it is the residents' peace and quiet, or more..

CT 2017: So close, but rain denies Australia

June 6 (CI) After being on the fortunate end of a washout in their first group game, Australia were denied victory against Bangladesh at The Oval, where they were firmly in control of a small chase when it began to rain after 16 overs. They needed to play four more overs to ensure a result but the London weather did not allow it. The last action on the field, before the players went off at 6.43 pm, involved Steven Smith simply blocking five deliveries from Mortaza without attempting to score, more..

Joes, Visakha emerge overall team Champs

June 6 (CT) St Joseph College Colombo and Visakha Vidyalaya Colombo emerged overall team champions at the 43rd National Age Group Championships 2017 concluded at Sugathadasa Swimming Complex yesterday. Winners Josephians obtained 442.50 points and Visakha secured 445.50 points. Ananda College (373) and Lyceum International Wattala (284) in the boys category and Lyceum Int'l Wattala (379) and Mahamaya College Kandy (267) in the girls category secured more..

Mathews set to return after calf injury

June 6 (Island) Skipper Angelo Mathews went through a fitness test during training yesterday here in London and he is expected to be back for Thursday’s Group ‘B’ Champions Trophy game against India at The Oval. Sri Lankans trained at Lord’s nursery ground yesterday while a County Championship game was on at the main ground between Middlesex and Somerset. Mathews has not played any cricket after being forced to return more..

Thomian Kalana takes all ten wicket

June 6 (Island) S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia paceman Kalana Perera produced the rare feat of taking all ten wickets in an innings when he reduced S. de S. Jayasinghe College, Dehiwala to 27 runs to lead his team to a crushing nine wicket victory in a one sided Inter School Under-17 Division I tournament match played at Mount Lavinia on Monday. Perera clean bowled seven batsmen while the other three batsmen were given leg before wicket decisions. more..

Finance Ministry monitoring units to be disbanded

June 6 (ST) Recently established administration and revenue monitoring units at the Finance Ministry as well as personnel divisions of the former finance minister are being disbanded, removing its staff numbering around 20. Informed sources disclosed this decision was taken to avoid the duplication of work at the Ministry and Departments of Customs and Inland Revenue. The aim of this move is to plan and implement the economic policy reform programme enabling new Finance Minister more..

Japan intervenes in Central Expressway tender impasse

June 6 (ST) Japan has stepped in to firmly recommend Fujita Corporation’s eligibility in the construction of section 3 of the Central Expressway in the wake of uncertainty since Nov last year in awarding the tender. Shigeru Kiyama, Special Advisor to Japanese Cabinet, has informed SL high authorities including Minister Lakshman Kiriella that Fujita is a prominent civil works contractor, technically and financially more..

SL were warned 7 times about slow over rate

June 6 (Island) There were altogether seven warnings given to the SL team about their slow over rate during the 93 run defeat to South Africa in their opening match of the Champions Trophy tournament at The Oval. Umpires Ian Gould and Aleem Dar had constantly warned captain Upul Tharanga about the team’s horrendous over rate. Sri Lanka took four hours and seven minutes to bowl their 50 overs during the South African innings, 37 minutes more than the stipulated 3.5 hours. more..

Sri Lankan cement demand grows to 2021

June 6 (WC) Cement demand in Sri Lanka will moderate over the next five years, according to a new report, following average growth of 13% between 2010 and 2016. Cement demand reached 7 million t in 2016. The 2010 – 2016 boom in demand came on the back of significant investment in infrastructure, driven by an urgent need for reconstruction work after the end of the long-running civil war in 2009. Since 2015, however, demand has started to slow as corruption concerns more..

Dispute deepens as Ministers vie for office space

June 6 (DM) Dispute between State Enterprises Development Minister Kabir Hashim and recently appointed State Minister to the ministry Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has taken a turn for the worst over space issues. Under these circumstances Minister Abeywardena’s assuming of duties of the new ministry is to be further delayed, according to sources. Minister Abeywardena was due to assume duties on Friday (2). more..

SLT experiments on 5G LTE Advanced Pro Technology with Huawei

June 6 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), together with Huawei Technologies, has successfully carried out South Asia’s first comprehensive field trial of Pre-5G LTE Advanced Pro technology, laying the groundwork for the next generation of broadband technologies. SLT has continued to develop its modern infrastructure; complementing its access technology portfolio with FTTH (Fiber-to-the-home) and fixed TD-LTE (Time-Division Long-Term Evolution) on one hand while implementing more..

Reinsurance of NITF lapses, plans to pay from own funds

June 6 (FT) The National Insurance Trust Fund will have to cough up their own funds to pay compensation for property damage suffered during the recent floods and landslides as they had failed to sign the reinsurance agreements which lapsed two months ago. Govt has announced compensation up to Rs. 2.5 million for a fully damaged or partially damaged house under the National Natural Disaster and Emergency Relief Insurance scheme introduced in April this year. more..

Video: No trade union reps in Health Min Disaster Management Comm.: GMOA

June 6 (DM) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has ordered not to involve GMOA or any other trade union to the ministry’s disaster management committee meeting to prevent ministry’s disaster management process shortcomings from being exposed, claimed GMOA today. GMOA's Assistant Secretary Dr. Samantha Ananda said the ministry had decided not to involve any trade union after the GMOA exposed that more..

Sea waves encroaching Kalutara

June 6 (DM) Saltwater intrusion is common occurrence along the Kalutara lagoon boundaries now following the deepening of lagoon estuary. Remaining coconut trees behind the Kalutara South Railway Station are in the verge of destruction due to this phenomenon. Residents of the area say, over one metre of sand reef between the Kalutara lagoon and the sea has been washed away to the sea and it would cause serious threat to the environment. Area residents visited this area more..

Taiwanese medical team arrives in Sri Lanka

June 6 (CNA) A team from the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps has arrived in Sri Lanka to provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of serious flooding and landslides in the South Asian country. Liu Chi-chun said the medical team arrived in Colombo, the largest city of Sri Lanka, at midnight Friday. Torrential rains began to hit Sri Lanka late last month with the arrival of the monsoon season, triggering the worst flooding and landslides the country has seen in 14 years. more..

CEB to lose Rs 124 billion in three years

June 6 (CT) Adding to the precipitous economic situation in the country, CEB is estimated to incur losses amounting to Rs 124 billion in 2017-2019, Finance Ministry Annual Report shows. It is estimated that CEB will incur a loss of Rs 35b, Rs 41b and Rs 48b in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively. Report states that with the expected severe drought condition, it is expected that losses will exceed the estimated sum in 2017. more..

Hilton to extend its footprint in Sri Lanka

June 6 (DN) Hilton Hotels, one of the top four hotel chains in the world, extended its footprint further in Sri Lanka with DoubleTree by Hilton signing a management agreement with KDU Adventures (Pvt) Ltd. This is to manage the 140-­room DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila. The property is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. KDU Adventures will invest US $ 18 million in the project. The latest signing brings the current Hilton pipeline hotels in Sri Lanka to seven properties. more..

SL Scouts active in flood relief work

June 6 (FT) SL Scout Association the largest co-educational youth organisation in the country has mobilised many of their scouts and leaders to carry out relief work to those affected by the recent floods and landslides. Scouts from areas not directly affected have collected bottled water, dry rations, biscuits, milk powder, sanitary pads, diapers and medicines and distributed to those affected. In addition a large team of doctors who are scouts, Rover scouts from Kurunegala District, more..

WB forecasts accelerated growth for SL

June 6 (DM) Sri Lanka’s economic growth could pick up to 4.7% in 2017 and further up to 5% in 2018 on the back of a reform programme supported by IMF, but the downside risks stem from extreme weather conditions and external shocks, World Bank (WB) said in its latest report. Sri Lanka, last week, experienced its worst floods in 13 years, which killed 224 people with another 78 missing and over 700,000 people being affected. more..

President appreciates assistance by Chinese rescue team

June 6 (Xinhua) President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday appreciated the assistance by a Chinese rescue team in providing relief and aid to thousands of flood affected families in the country. Sirisena was on an inspection tour in the areas affected by the recent floods and landslides in the Kalutara district when he met with the Chinese Blue Sky Rescue Team who are currently on ground, assisting Sri Lankan troops in conducting cleaning operations and providing medical aid. more..

South Korean govt approves $ 200 m for Kandy tunnel

June 6 (FT) The Ministry of Strategy and Finance of South Korea has approved $ 200 million for the Kandy tunnel construction project. The project comprises four tunnels with a total length of 5.5 km from Suduhumpola to Tennekumbura via Bogambara and Ampitiya which will be the longest tunnel in Sri Lanka. Korea Eximbank will finance this project with a very concessional EDCF loan of 0.15% interest rate and a 40-year repayment period including a 10-year grace period. more..

SL named Asia's leading destination 2017

June 6 (AFP) Adventure-seekers & intrepid globetrotters looking to blaze new trails in Southeast Asia will want to consider adding Sri Lanka to their travel bucket list, after the country claimed the title of leading destination and leading adventure tourism destination for Asia over the weekend.  At the World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia 2017, which were held in Shanghai, Sri Lanka took the title of leading destination for the region, more..

Bimal flays Govt on bond issue

June 6 (CT) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake says that from the 2016 May report, issued by the Central Bank, it has been clearly acknowledged that massive corruption had taken place following the decision to allow Perpetual Treasuries to purchase bonds. The MP questioned as to why the govt continues to keep mum on the exact loss caused to the State – which was billions of rupees, when the 2016 Central Bank report had clearly admitted to the loss that had taken place. more..

Man shot dead in Mattakkuliya Close confidante of Kudu Roshan

June 6 (CT) A close associate of the notorious underworld figure Kudu Roshan was shot dead in Mattakkuliya yesterday, Police said. The 24-year-old victim was travelling in a three-wheeler with his wife and child when they were attacked by two gunmen on a motorcycle. Investigations had revealed that a T56 firearm had been used in the attack. The individual was pronounced dead on admission to the National Hospital in Colombo. The man's wife and child escaped unhurt in the incident. more..

CB didn’t provide info requested by COPE on bond sales: Harsha

June 6 (Island) Deputy Minister and COPE member Dr. Harsha de Silva, testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged bond scam, yesterday, said Central Bank had not complied with a COPE request for information on the controversial bond sales. He said that particularly the details of secondary market deals concerning the bond issues had not been made available to the COPE. more..

Disaster preparedness in a practical sense

June 6 (DM) The country is experiencing natural disasters nearly every year where we witnessed floods and landslides claiming many innocent lives in Koslanda three years ago and in Mawanella last year followed by several areas in Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern Provinces this year.    After a lapse of a few years, floods too showed their fury for two consecutive years, due to the overflowing of the Kelani Ganga last year and Kalu Ganga, Nilwala Ganga and Gin Ganga this year. more..

Mega Development causing Mega Disasters?

June 6 (DM) While the govt was swift to release money for relief and compensation for those affected by the recent floods, the tendency of politicians and bureaucrats has been to blame the victims for the disaster. Officials have attributed it to illegal constructions along river-bank reservation areas, and people’s refusal to comply with directives to evacuate danger-prone areas. “Those who build illegal constructions obstructing waterways should know they are building their own graves,” more..

SLFP unity a matter left for President Sirisena to decide: MR

June 6 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, prior to his departure to Japan, spoke about the current situation of the country in the aftermath of the Cabinet reshuffle and his plans for future politics. Q: How do you look at the current political climate in the context of the Cabinet reshuffle? A: It was not a reshuffle as such. It was just a change of a few heads. The one, dubbed as the best Finance Minister in the world, was more..

Health Minister promises to airlift urgently needed drug

June 6 (Island) Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said stocks of Dextran 40, the drug used to treat critical dengue patients would be imported from Thailand within the next few days. Drug stocks could not last for years as expected by the GMOA, the Minister said. Dextran 40 could not be purchased in the open market. It had to be purchased from the govt of Thailand. Minister accused the GMOA of spreading falsehoods regarding the dengue drug. more..

Corrupt prison officials aid drug lords

June 6 (SL) The prison surrounded by walls did not become an underworld itself just recently, but criminal activities were known to take place even within these confines for a long time. We have heard numerous stories of criminal activities happening within prisons over time. Most common are the drug lords who are caught and jailed and still carry on their activities even from within the prison confines unabated. more..

All gone in an instant

June 6 (ST) We are not beggars, the monk said, his voice quivering. We are merely helpless at this moment in time. Then he stopped speaking, hid his face behind his fan and wiped his eyes with the edge of his saffron robe. Ven. Pahiyangala Chandima Thera was delivering a sermon on Thursday at the seventh day alms giving of 22 villagers who died in a massive landslide during the early hours of May 26. more..

JO slams govt for its unpreparedness

June 6 (Island) The JO said govt’s unpreparedness and slow response had aggravated the situation during the recent natural disasters which caused widespread destruction in eleven districts. Declaring the recent flooding as the worst that hit the country after the boxing day tsunami of 2004, JO MP Dinesh Gunawardena stressed that disasters had exposed lack of preparedness on the part of govt machinery to manage disasters. more..

Nigeria to close down embassy in Sri Lanka

June 6 (PSN) The Federal Govt recently announced its intention to shutdown five foreign missions and embassies, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama. He did not name the affected embassies or missions, but Per Second News gathered that the embassy in Sri Lanka is one of the foreign mission penciled for closure. The high commission based in Colombo is the only Nigerian representation in SL. more..

Video: Riyal not being exchanged at BIA

June 6 (AD) All the state and private banks at the BIA, would not exchange any Qatar Riyal (currency) until further notice, BIA Duty Manager said. Central Bank had issued a notice and informed all the heads of state and private Banks not to exchange any Qatar Riyal until further notice. He further said most of the local banks exchange Riyal with Singapore banks and they also refused to exchange Qatar Riyal currencies. more..

HC indicts Namal on money laundering

June 6 (NR) UPFA Namal Rajapaksa and two others who appeared before the Colombo High Court following a notice issued by Court have been released on bail. The order was issued by Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulathunga. The case was filed by the Attorney General against MP Namal Rajapaksa for illegally generating cash amounting to 30 million rupees in a transaction carried out between more..

President instructs officials to implement a programme to remove flood debris

June 6 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the officials to implement a comprehensive programme to remove flood debris and waste from the recent floods and landslides. He has given these instructions participating in a meeting on waste management in Colombo and suburbs, held at Presidential Secretariat, today. President inquired into the progress of the waste management more..

Perpetual Treasuries makes billions selling bonds to state funds: bondscam inquiry

June 6 (EN) Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer, has made billions of rupees in profits selling bonds it bought from a controversial auction back to state managed funds, a commission of inquiry was told. Among the buyers who ended up with the bonds included the EPF, SL Insurance Corporation. Central bank official examined by a state attorney at a president commission of inquiry into so-called bondscams said more..