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Sri Lanka: Conditions precedent to FTAs

Mar 16 (Island) Structural Issues. "The average annual growth of exports in developing Asia has also declined sharply from 11+% to under 5% in 2000-2015, reflecting a fragile post-global financial crisis environment of weak import demand in advanced economies, moderating growth, re-balancing the economy in China and the rise of protectionism. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s average annual growth rate of exports is at half the average growth for other developing Asian countries" – more..

Boy racer Chandimal steers clear of trouble

Mar 16 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal has a big, booming cover drive, and everyone knows it. Mahela Jayawardene had one that purred like the engine of a Jaguar. Kumar Sangakkara's became so high class and epoch-defining he could have had the Rolls Royce Spirit of Ecstasy installed on his forehead. Chandimal's is more fast-and-furious than grace-and-finesse: a lowered Subaru Impreza with a flaming paintjob, more..

Bangladesh find their feet on the field again

Mar 16 (CI) Mehedi Hasan was a livewire in the field on the first day of the Colombo Test, but the hot weather can take the sting out of even the fittest player. Mehedi had taken one catch and two wickets, and had been bowling long and short spells. So when Dinesh Chandimal top-edged a sweep off Taijul Islam before the tea break, not many expected Mehedi, fielding at fine leg, to go for the catch. He did, running in a fair distance, and nearly pulled it off. As he got up with the ball more..

Media shocked by poor facilities at P.Sara

Mar 16 (CT) The state of the media box during the first day of the historic Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka at P. Sara Oval Stadium raised many eye-brows, as those responsible had failed in their duties to get it properly swept or cleaned before opening it up for the media, which included a large number of int'l media personnel who came to cover the match. On the eve of Bangladesh's historic 100th Test, Media personnel who came to cover the practice session and press conference more..

Mangala takes on Mahinda: Shame on you, Mahinda, shame!

Mar 16 (DN) Minister Mangala Samaraweera has taken on former President Rajapaksa in a strongly worded letter, accusing him of hypocricy and double standards: My initial inclination, when confronted with statements as inaccurate, inflammatory and erroneous as those contained in the media release issued by Mr. Rajapaksa, is to simply ignore them, as they would serve as the best self-indictment, more..

Ford praises Chandimal’s attitude and application

Mar 16 (Island) Coach Graham Ford praised Dinesh Chandimal’s attitude and application after the batsman fought tooth and nail to help Sri Lanka take the initiative in the second Test against Bangladesh after losing four wickets cheaply in the first session having elected to bat first. A stroke-maker, who is keen to keep the scoreboard ticking, Chandimal cut down his natural instincts with the side in trouble as he batted for over five hours and faced 210 deliveries to remain unbeaten on 86 more..

Manohar resigns as ICC chairman

Mar 16 (CI) Shashank Manohar has resigned from his post as ICC chairman after eight months in office, citing personal reasons. In a letter addressed to ICC CEO David Richardson, Manohar said: "I have tried to do my best and have tried to be fair and impartial in deciding matters in the functioning of the Board and in matters related to Member Boards along with the able support of all Directors. "However, for personal reasons it is not possible for me to hold the august office of ICC Chairman more..

Nationalist movements want FM out

Mar 16 (FT) Federation of National Organizations (FNO) has requested President Sirisena to immediately remove Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, claiming he acted contrary to President’s stance opposing an int'l probe into alleged war crimes committed by SL military. The FNO, a collection of 22 nationalist organisations, released a comprehensive report titled A factual appraisal of the OISL report more..

Sri Lankan Catholics prayed for missing Indians in Katchatheevu

Mar 16 (Island) Friday 10th, we left from Kankesanthurai jetty inside the Navy camp at 4 in the morning to be in Katchatheevu before sunrise. On board was Rear Admiral Piyal de Silva, Navy’s Commander of the Northern area. The sea was calm and we were told that we would get to the island earlier than expected. The journey was relaxing unlike my first visit to Katchatheevu. There was a slight drizzle on the way and I saw the most beautiful scene up in the sky when it was lightning. more..

Sri Lankan capital market to woo investors from Australia and New Zealand

Mar 16 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SL High Commission in Australia and with the participation of Stockbroker firms and Unit Trust Companies, will host a series of Invest Sri Lanka Forums in Australia and New Zealand. Forums, which are set to take place in Sydney (20th March), Melbourne (23) and Auckland (25) are conducted with the objective of promoting capital market investment opportunities more..

Economy grows 4.4% in 2016

Mar 16 (FT) SL’s GDP expanded by 4.4% in 2016, slowing from 4.8% a year earlier, due to a severe combination of drought and floods, and posted its weakest performance since 2013. Releasing the estimated GDP and other macroeconomic indicators for the fourth quarter of 2016 and for the year 2016, DSC, however, noted the year ended positively with the fourth quarter reaching 5.3% growth driven by more..

A bridge between two cities

Mar 16 (Hindu) If Varanasi is said to be one of the oldest inhabited cities of the world, A'pura is famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient SL civilisation. Even though miles apart, they both are cities of ritual, and are intrinsically interwoven into the life of the people who populate these complex geographies. Apart from being the popular pilgrimage and religious sites, a common thread that binds them together is — Buddhism. With Sarnath, place where Buddha preached his first more..

Lanka-Sino MoU to boost investment

Mar 16 (FT) Govt is to enter into a MoU for investment and cooperation on production capacity with its Chinese counterpart to boost investment opportunities between the two countries. National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China will sign the agreement with the Development Strategies and Int'l Trade Ministry. Cabinet-approved agreement will come as part of the MoU on comprehensive implementation of Investment, Economic & Tech Cooperation Agreement more..

'Delay unlikely in IMF third tranche'

Mar 16 (DM) Third tranche of IMF's US$ 1.5 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) would not be delayed in mid-2017 despite SL’s inability to meet the foreign reserve targets set by the programme, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “No, I don’t think so, not at all. If you look, 90% of the IMF statement commends SL for bringing the economy under very controllable limits in a very difficult year under an extensive fiscal policy success story,” more..

He is relieved of fears that haunted him!

Mar 16 (DM) Several parties from within yahapalanaya had reportedly put spokes in the wheel of the Sino-Lanka deal on the Magampura port and the purohita in charge of the subject of ports was one of them, they say. So the authorities in the highest echelons had decided to move this purohita out of this portfolio. Upon hearing about the move afoot to remove him from his current portfolio, the highly disconcerted purohita had met Number One to ascertain from the horse’s mouth itself more..

‘Put an end to bottom trawling’

Mar 16 (Hindu) The fishermen issue between India and Sri Lanka has a better chance of resolution if left to the fisherfolk on both sides, said R. Sampanthan, Leader of the Opposition in SL Parliament, on Wednesday. He said the govts should ensure an end to bottom trawling while leaving the issues of daily importance to the fishermen. “There is no space for violence in dealing with the fishermen’s issue between the two countries. As far as India is concerned, it must ensure that more..

U. R. de Silva elected BASL president

Mar 16 (DM) Attorney U.R. de Silva was elected president of Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) with a majority of 340 votes yesterday. There are 14,000 eligible to vote in the association. The outgoing president, Geffory Alagaratnam said that though the final tally showed that Mr. de Silva was the winner, an official announcement would be made today. Mr. de Silva will serve as president of the association for one year, more..

Cabinet nod to establish MCC office

Mar 16 (FT) Cabinet yesterday gave approval to establish a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Project Office to coordinate $ 700 million worth of investment over the next five years to Sri Lanka.  The funds are to be used for priority areas in policy stability, access to land and transport that have been identified as impediments for development by the MCC, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in the Cabinet paper. However, Sri Lanka has to work to prepare a Compact program, which will more..

Sri Lankan Muslim cultural program to be held in Saudi

Mar 16 (AN) Arrangements are being made to hold a Sri Lankan Muslim cultural program for more than 1,000 community members at the King Fahd Cultural Center on Friday. The event is organized by a group comprising 15 Sri Lankan Muslim organizations under the umbrella of the Sri Lankan Embassy, headed by Ambassador Azmi Thassim.  Thareek Thameem, one of the members of the organizing committee, said the program is open to all Sri Lankans irrespective of their faiths.  more..

PDD gave direct placements to stand alone Primary Dealers without MB approval

Mar 16 (DN) Public Debt Department (PDD) issued direct placements to stand alone Primary Dealers without the approval of Monetary Board from 2008 up to Feb 2015. With these direct placement issuances, PDD has raised volumes about Rs. 750–900 billion in just one year during the time span. It was questioned at the Commission as to how such large amounts of public funds were raised by the PDD with more..

Sri Lankan named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year

Mar 16 (CG) Co-founder of a foundation which supports persons with disabilities in SL has been named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2017. Krystle Reid co-founded Enable Lanka Foundation to break stereotypes and stigma, and was recognised along with three other outstanding regional winners in this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work. Through her foundation, Krystle and her team have helped disabled young people to secure more..

‘Profit-making Lanka Hospitals unlikely to be listed on CSE’

Mar 16 (Island) State owned Lanka Hospitals is unlikely to be listed on Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) but other much talked of state owned enterprises are likely to be listed soon, CSE chairman Vajira Kulatilaka said. "Lanka Hospitals is unlikely to be listed on the CSE because it is now making more profits than other entities. But it was initially intended to be listed by the govt, he said. Stock market is going through a major challenge and has planned several Road Shows overseas more..

We did not walk out: Gayantha

Mar 16 (DN) “We did not walk out in protest, we just went out for a discussion. When we returned, the Speaker had suspended Parliament,” Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said, denying reports that the govt MPs had walked out in protest at the Speaker’s inaction against the MPs of Joint Opposition in Parliament last week. He explained that the rumpus created by the MPs of JO was so great that their own MPs sitting on more..

Australia sends back 25 Lankans

Mar 16 (CT) Australia repatriated to Colombo 25 Sri Lankan nationals held in Australian refugee detention camps after failed bids to enter the country illegally. The refugees had been accused of attempting to illegally enter Australia via boat several years ago and were incarcerated in the detention camps. Since 2014 the Australian Govt banned illegal immigrants entering the country. 25 repatriated persons had travelled to Malaysia by air and then took a boat to get to Australia. more..

UDA’s attempt to take over Rajapaksa Foundation building: CA issues notice

Mar 16 (Island) Court of Appeal issued notice returnable on May 5, 2017 on the UDA, its Director General S.S.P. Ratnayake, Director of Land Development and Management, H.A. Dayananda and Carlton Sports Network, all of Denzil Kobbekaduwa Mawatha, Battaramulla. Carlton Sports Networks is housed in a building known as Rajapaksa Memorial, Education, Cultural and Social Services Foundation built on UDA land, at Battaramulla, leased for 30 years. more..

No UNHRC office in Colombo: Govt slams door on TNA feeler

Mar 16 (CT) The govt dismissed out of hand a suggestion, made by the TNA, to establish a permanent UNHRC office in Sri Lanka. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera made this statement when he was asked for comments about the govt's official response to the proposal, floated by the TNA, for an UNHRC Office in Colombo. "There is no need for such an office. We do not agree with every proposal made by the TNA," he emphasized. more..

Hour of the moderates

Mar 16 (DM) Countless examples can be drawn from world history to support the thesis that one of the necessary pre-conditions for the rise of extremism is the silence or indeed the silencing of moderates. There are also instances where moderates flirt with extremists in tirades against a particular enemy, usually an identity-based community, knowingly or unknowingly feeding the worst elements of their own community. Then, when the moderates fail to deliver the patently more..

Crisis legitimacy of political establishment

Mar 16 (DM) Democracy must not be confused with liberalism. This government may be liberal but it is not exactly democratic. Liberalism is laudably concerned with individual freedoms. Democracy is primarily about the character of govt as defined by the key variable of representation. Democracy is about being governed by chosen representatives of the people: govt of the people, for the people, by the people (Lincoln). If the governed aren’t freely and adequately represented more..

PC Polls: JO wants early elections, SLFP wants all to be on same day

Mar 16 (DM) The govt gave mind initially to conduct the elections to all the Provincial Councils (PC) on the same day. The elections were due first for the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern PCs this year as their terms are scheduled to conclude in the latter half of the year. Rather than having elections to them first, the government’s thought of conducting elections to all PCs on the same day either this year or next year. more..

Loss of PIA deal, Not really a loss

Mar 16 (SL) The reason for returning the SriLankan Airbus A330 by Pakistan Airlines is the end of lease term, according to SriLankan CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte. And SriLankan has not been selected in the latest round of bidding by PIA simply due to competitive bidding factors, said Ratwatte. “It is not surprising that regional airlines call SriLankan when they need to hire aircraft since we are one of the best and award winning operators in more..

Transiting from cricket to trade

Mar 16 (FT) Sri Lanka and New Zealand are planning to open high commissions in Colombo and Wellington to foster their budding economic relationship Building on an exchange of visits by top officials of the two countries, NZ Trade & Enterprise Regional Director for India, Middle East and Africa Tony Martin headed a trade delegation to SL earlier this month to foster business partnerships to expand the present $ 306 million trade relationship. more..

Fishermen playing deadly games with dolphins

Mar 16 (ST) Deaths of a dozen dolphins trapped in a beach seine net (ma dela) last Wednesday evening in Trincomalee has stirred strong emotions. A video captured by an onlooker shows some of the dolphins being hauled in while alive, contesting claims by fishermen that they had released some. Nine Trincomalee fishermen who were arrested were denied bail and are in remand custody. more..

Largest nurses union now warns of countrywide agitations

Mar 16 (Island) Following a 48 hour sick note campaign, the  Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) warned that it would stage a countrywide agitation within the next few weeks if the government failed to meet its demands.  PSUNU Chief, Ven. Muruttetuwe Ananda Thera said  that contrary to the claims by the  Chief of the rival Government Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA), the PSUNU strike had been a huge success. more..

'Govt focused on engaging with minorities'

Mar 16 (IL) The Govt says it is focused on engaging with minorities as an important component in the process of ensuring overall national unity and reconciliation. Speaking at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye SL’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said the govt is committed to ensure that all communities are able to more..

'India taking up fishermen issue with SL'

Mar 16 (IANS) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said India is taking up the issue of fishermen with the SL govt through diplomatic channels. She also added that the Sri Lankan govt has assured probe into the killing of an Indian fisherman allegedly by SL Navy. Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister said Sri Lanka has, however, denied the role of its navy in the killing. more..

Bond scam probe: Romesh de Silva, PC leads Mahendran’s team of lawyers

Mar 16 (Island) A team of lawyers appearing for the main respondent in the alleged bond scam, former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran was yesterday granted permission by the Presidential Court of Inquiry probing the issue, following a request made by the main Counsel appearing for Mahendran, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva under section 16 of the Presidential Commission Act. De Silva made the request three weeks more..

US invites countries to co-sponsor UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka

Mar 16 (LBO) United States State Department says it is pleased that Sri Lanka has agreed once again to co-sponsor a UNHRC resolution and applauds the administration of President Sirisena for continuing efforts to promote reconciliation. Issuing a statement the State Department invited like-minded UN members to demonstrate support for reconciliation and peace in Sri Lanka by adding their names to the list of cosponsors. more..

Video: No area of contention regarding bond sales: Finance Minister

Mar 16 (CNBC) Sri Lanka's finance minister on Thursday dismissed allegations of possible irregularities in govt bond sales that are now under investigation. "I give 100% guarantee there won' be any area of dispute there. It is only anarchists who are trying to fish in troubled waters," Ravi Karunanayake told CNBC. His comments come as a Sri Lankan commission probes possible irregularities in govt bond sales. more..

Hello Corp Inquiry: Travel ban on Namal lifted till Dec 31

Mar 16 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate Jeyaram Trotsky today temporarily lifted the travel ban imposed on MP Namal Rajapaksa till Dec 31, 2017, and permitted him to travel abroad. The suspect requested to travel to Hanoi, Vietnam to represent SL Lawyers Football Team at the ASIA Lawyers’ Football Tournament to be held between March 23a and 26, 2017. The travel ban was imposed on him over the two cases filed under Money Laundering Act on Namal Rajapaksa more..

I also want to witness the arrest of Thajudeen’s murderer: Anura

Mar 16 (AD) I also want to witness the arrest of the person whoever killed former rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, former DIG Anura Senanayake has said. He made the observation while speaking to the Colombo Additional Magistrate in open court when the case was taken up for hearing on Thursday. Senanayake has also pointed out his fundamental rights have been violated since his bail applications were rejected many times over the period despite he is charged with a bailable offense. more..