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Govt to reduce budget to 3.5% by 2019

Mar 17 (NR) Minister Ravi Karunanayake says SL govt has pledged its commitment to strong fiscal discipline in line with conditions stipulated for a bailout by the IMF. Speaking at the Finance Asia SL Summit, he said there should be a national vision to address burning issues in the economy, including fiscal-sector operations. Minister added the best way for Sri Lanka to move forward is through fiscal consolidation supported by reforms in tax policy and administration. more..

Sri Lanka: Three scenarios for the future

Mar 17 (FT) Last December I gave a lecture for Advocata Institute in Colombo on three scenarios for Sri Lanka’s future. Here are the three scenarios. Scenario One I call Drift, Scenario Two Take-Off, and Scenario Three Relapse. Scenario One: Drift: This is my assessment of Sri Lanka two years after the end of Rajapaksa rule, extrapolated to the future. How is Sri Lanka now? Better than it was under the Rajapaksas, but not by much. more..

Ukranian Captain's FR petition: SC grants leave to proceed

Mar 17 (DM) Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Eva Wanasundera and Nalin Perera today granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petition filed by MV Avant Garde's Ukrainian Captain challenging his arrest and detention. Court fixed April 4 to consider interim relief and fix the date of the hearing. Petitioner 49-year-old Gennadiy Gavrylov said he was arrested in October 2015 outside SL territorial waters and was being detained at the Galle remand prison. more..

Moragahakanda to add 25 MW to national grid by June

Mar 17 (Island) Construction work on the Moragahakanda Hydroelectric Power Station would be completed by June and 25 megawatts would be added to the national grid, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. During an inspection tour of the power station recently, Minister noted that the construction work of the Moragahakanda Reservoir had been expedited. The country’s worst drought during the last three decades had come to an end and if the reservoir gets filled 25 megawatt more..

Herath completes 1000 first-class wickets

Mar 17 (CI) Rangana Herath became the second player from Sri Lanka to take 1000 first-class wickets when he dismissed Mustafizur Rahman in Bangladesh's first innings in the Colombo Test. Muttiah Muralitharan, with 1374 wickets from 232 Tests, is the only other bowler from Sri Lanka with 1000 first-class wickets. Herath is the 12th bowler from the subcontinent to take 1000 first-class wickets and the first to the milestone more..

Lamentations of Thushara Indunil

Mar 17 (DM) Kurunegala District UNP MP Thushara Indunil lamented that the confrontational politics within the coalition govt was causing him frustration. He made these observations at a Kurunegala District convention of the March 12th Movement. He said that there were doubts being created among the people about the activities of the govt and that people were asking whether the govt was nabbing the rogues or whether the rogues were nabbing the govt. more..

Swaraj to meet aggrieved fishermen from TN

Mar 17 (PTI) Concerned over the reported killing of an Indian fisherman and arrest of many by SL Navy, Minister Sushma Swaraj will meet the aggrieved fishermen from TN, Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman has said. "Fishermen's representatives wanted to meet officials of the external affairs ministry. But the govt has made arrangements for them to meet external affairs minister herself. She (Swaraj) has come back to Parliament after recovering and is ready to meet them," more..

How SL commissions away the disappeared

Mar 17 (Roar) Parliament last year approved the establishment of a Permanent Office for Missing Persons (OMP), in an attempt to address the country’s ugly legacy of enforced disappearances that dates back to the ’70s, with the repression of the first JVP uprising. But for women like 55-year old Yogarasa Kanaharanjini, who is currently leading a 200-strong protest by relatives of disappeared in the war-scarred town of more..

Sri Lanka to sign tourism cooperation agreement with Russia

Mar 17 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka will sign a tourism promotion agreement with Russia during the visit of its President Maithripala Sirisena to that country later this month. Minister John Amaratunga said that there was a great potential to attract tourists from Russia to Sri Lanka. He said he would be a member of the presidential entourage to that country. Tourism is one of the key growth areas in Sri Lanka. He said China and India account for the most number of tourist arrivals to the country. more..

RADA case to be heard without second witness

Mar 17 (NR) Colombo High Court today ordered the case pertaining to the Reconstruction and Development Agency to be heard without the second witness. Court was informed by investigative bodies that the second witness in the case Former Financial Chief of the LTTE of the North and East Emil Kanthan was overseas. The case is being heard over the misuse of 20 million rupees of the Treasury that was set aside for the construction of houses destroyed during conflict with LTTE. more..

Boru Show?: National Honours – 2017 to be held under President’s patronage

Mar 17 (PSL) Investiture Ceremony of conferring National Honours on distinguished personalities, who rendered a noble service to the country and its advancement, will be held on the 20th of March, at the Nelum Pokuna Theater, under the patronage of President Sirisena. These awards are bestowed on the most distinguished persons who have made outstanding contributions to the country and its advancement. more..

Designated areas for protests identified: PM's office

Mar 17 (DM) The Ministry of Law and Order had now completed the exercise of identifying locations that can be permanently allocated for protests, sources from the PM’s office said. Sources said they had been instructed to do so by PM. “The locations chosen would be ones that do not inconvenience the public and are easily accessible by the those who want to carry out protests,” the sources added. However, the sources did not divulge the locations that had been selected. more..

2OR Buddhist Organization to assist Polonnaruwa Museum & Int'l Buddhist Uni

Mar 17 (PSL) A delegation of 2OR Buddhist Charity Organization called on President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss about its future philanthropic activities in Sri Lanka at the Presidential Secretariat today. The leader of the delegation Master Jun Hong Lu, President of Australia Oriental Radio and Television said that his charity organization is linked to more than 50 Buddhist charity institutions all over the world and would like to contribute to promote Buddhism and carry forward more..

Sri Lanka's war survivors hope new law will unlock state land holdings

Mar 17 (TRF) For almost two decades, Sivaraja Sivakumar has lived on a plot of land in the north of Sri Lanka - but he has no idea who owns it. The 43-year-old father of two from Sri Lanka's Tamil minority says he prays every day that he is the rightful owner, but cannot be sure. "I have no deed that says I am the owner, I have never had such a deed," he said. In 1998, young Sivakumar fled the northern town of Kilinochchi, more..

Korean grant to develop aquaculture sector

Mar 17 (GDI) Korea will grant Rs 375 million for the development of the aquaculture sector in the country as a result of the discussions held by State Minister Dilip Vedarachchi with the Korean Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries. The minister said that the money to be granted will be given to the National Aquaculture Development Authority to develop the sector. Korean National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives has agreed to donate two fisheries technical colleges and more..

Ravi dismisses irregularities in bond sales

Mar 17 (NR) Minister Ravi Karunanayake dismissed allegations of possible irregularities in govt bond sales that are now under investigation. He told CNBC, that he guarantees 100% there won’ be any area of dispute claiming it is only anarchists who try to fish in troubled waters. Minister said the issue was an inherited problem and that the govt will rectify any possible issues. He said there is no area of contention. President appointed a commission to investigate the sale. more..

Shakib's 116 gives Bangladesh control

Mar 17 (CI) Bangladesh made a memorable comeback in their 100th Test as their last five wickets nearly batted through the entire day. Shakib Al Hasan was at the centre of it all, making his fifth century in the format and ensuring his team took the first-innings lead for only the second time while batting second away from home. When they were bowled out for 467, Bangladesh had pulled ahead by 129 runs and had just enough time more..

USPG supports education programme in SL

Mar 17 (AN)  USPG is a church based charity working in direct partnership with Anglican churches around the world. Its Programmes Co-ordinator, Anne Bonger, has  visited an education programme run by the Church of Ceylon: I was recently in Sri Lanka to see a USPG-supported education programme run by the Church of Ceylon for the children of the country’s tea estate communities. The programme – called the Estate Community Development Mission (ECDM) – more..

Ravi demands Rs. 2 billion compensation from Bandula

Mar 17 (DN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has sent a letter of demand to MP Bandula Gunawardana seeking Rs.2 billion as compensation. The letter of demand was sent yesterday through his attorneys in response to a similar letter of demand sent to Minister Karunanayake by MP Bandula Gunawardana seeking compensation. Earlier, MP Gunawardana sent a letter of demand to Minister Karunanayake citing that he has been defamed by a statement made by Minister Karunanayake more..

'International pressure made Somali pirates release ship, crew'

Mar 17 (ENS) International military cum diplomatic pressure forced Somali pirates to release the oil tanker Aris 13 and its eight-man Sri Lankan crew without ransom and without injuring them in any way, Deputy Minister, Dr. Harsha de Silva, told the media here on Friday. He thanked the US Ambassador in SL, Atul Keshap, Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, UAE, US-led Combined Maritime Force based in the UAE more..

My SAITM Story

Mar 18 (CT) I am a proud product of Gateway College, Colombo. We were abroad as my father was working in the SL Embassy, Riyadh, KSA. Therefore, I had already started my education at the SL International School, Riyadh, in the Edexcel syllabus and therefore had to follow it when we returned to Mother SL. One ought to bear in mind, that getting entry into international schools are not as easy as they perceive. There are waiting lists almost similar to getting into state schools more..

Reading the real problem of SAITM

Mar 18 (CT) A variety of topics and headlines surface on the economic and social set up of SL from time to time. Learned people and others from different walks of life express their views based on the way such topics are highlighted in the Media. Whatever its final analysis may be, it is an essential feature of democracy. But it is necessary to re-analyse and revisit the particular issue, subject to such discussion in the country, to ascertain whether it is the Real problem, more..

Combating global warming: A citizens’ guide

Mar 18 (Roar) Anthropogenic global warming is an unfortunate reality. We have scientific facts, up-to-date trends of increasing temperatures, and even the most skeptical can feel a noticeable change in the climate. What we don’t often hear about is the specific impact that this phenomenon will have on Sri Lanka, and what we, as its people, can do to lessen it. Being an island, Sri Lanka will be severely affected by rising sea-levels. more..

Izsak-Ndiaye’s concerns & Mangala’s views

Mar 18 (CT) UN Special Rapporteur on Minority issues Ms Rita Izsak Ndiaye in her address at the ongoing UNHRC session in Geneva on Wednesday has emphasized the need of SL safeguarding the minorities and on fulfilling its commitments in implementing the UNHRC resolution. Rita Izsak Ndiaye, recalling her visit to SL in October last year, mentioned on the necessity of healing the scars of war in the Island. UN Special Rapporteur while emphasizing that Sri Lanka should grab more..

Trinity-Antonian centenary match spoiled by rain

Mar 18 (NS) Rain spoils the centenary cricket contest between Trinity College and St. Anthony’s College; only 106 overs were bowled over two days at the Pallekele International Stadium last week end.  Sad to say it rained on both days, wiping out most of the play. At the end,   it was the Trinitians who were most pleased.  There was not enough time for them to force a result but they had the Antonian’s on the ropes.  So, the  100th  Battle of the Blues ended  in a draw. more..

Foreign judges not an obsession for International Community: Paikiasothy

Mar 18 (NS) Q: What are your views on the sessions in Geneva? A: The latest Resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka is not a new one. Govt has already announced that it will get the extra two years it requested for the implementation of the Resolution which is UNHRC Resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka co-sponsored by Sri Lanka in 2015 Oct at the 30th session in Geneva. more..

Make way to change

Mar 18 (NS) Changes are inevitable. But, many fear change. They mainly fear change because they fear how change will affect them personally. Whether the change is good or bad, or whether it benefits many, does not enter into the initial equation.  We treat change with skepticism at first, and then begin to accept it gradually. As time goes by, we eventually become used to them. But, then new changes come in and the cycle continues. Change, when it is forced, is an unwelcome guest. more..

The Chamber: A forum for decorum

Mar 18 (NS) Parliamentary Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, in similarity to his recent predecessors, is having a heck of time controlling the increasingly crude, juvenile, disrespectful and overly combative behaviour of a clique of legislators. Chaos reigned in the Assembly last week and the sittings were suspended twice when the Speaker ordered the removal of a senior lawmaker for unruly behaviour in the House. Speaker Jayasuriya had ordered JO MP Dinesh Gunawardena to leave more..


Tamim, Imrul fined for breaching ICC Code of Conduct

Mar 18 (ICC) Bangladesh batsmen Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes have been fined 15 per cent of their match fee for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the second day of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colomboon Thursday. Both players were found to have breached Article 2.1.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game. Tamim showed his bat to the umpire during an appeal for lbw, more..

Learning in the College of Political Privilege

Mar 18 (Island) The very poor education level of members of parliament disclosed recently made us inquire into the trends in the education of future politicians. As the Joint Opposition is the loudest voice in parliament today we made our first inquiry from them. Nuugath Manthri Janavimana said they were taking action to ensure that their children will be the best educated to be in politics and come to parliament. Why, do you think that your children will follow you to parliament? more..

Spinners losing sting with old ball: Sandakan

Mar 18 (CI) The new ball remained key to the spinners' menace on this P Sara deck, said Lakshan Sandakan, after he took 4 for 140. SL were not particularly effective with either the first or second new ball, taking most of their wickets after the shine had worn off. But they did raise some close lbw shouts, and drew several mistakes from the batsmen, both early in Bangladesh's innings and soon after taking the second new ball. more..

NEDA gears for island-wide youth entrepreneur drive

Mar 18 (DM) Sri Lanka’s apex State operated entrepreneurship developer, the National Enterprise Development Agency (NEDA), is now on a major youth entrepreneur drive-and the latest node in Sri Lanka’s grassroots market linkage network to start operations will be serving the small time young farmers and fisher-folk in Northern Province’s Mannar district. “We encourage our youth not to be a burden on the public resources,” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. more..

Learned from Chandimal's first-innings knock: Shakib

Mar 18 (CI) Shakib Al Hasan was cagey about what drove him to recklessness on the second evening, but conceded he had done some hard thinking overnight before he resumed his innings where he went on to score a vital hundred on the third day of Bangladesh's 100th Test against Sri Lanka. Bangladesh had lost two quick wickets and would soon lose a third when he had arrived at the crease yesterday, and though they were in danger of being dismissed well short of Sri Lanka's 338, more..

The Perera era: End of an innings

Mar 18 (ST) Someone who always believed in luck, Nimal Perera, a powerful businessman during the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led administration, now says  he has ambitious plans to be a politician. On the back of stepping down from Chairman/Non-Executive Director at two Dhammika Perera-led firms – Horana Plantations and Vallibel One – as announced to the Colombo stock market, which followed his resignation as a director of more..

Editorial: Waiting for Godot

Mar 18 (Island) An otherwise outspoken Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya sometimes speaks in riddles, especially when he discusses the issue of much-delayed LG elections. A veteran public official, he must be having good reasons for not speaking his mind on sensitive issues though we want him to dance down the track and entertain the public. He presided over, perhaps, the most critical election in the post-Independence history of this country—the 2015 presidential polls, more..

Falsely framing the money shot

Mar 18 (FT) I am hardly an expert when it comes to finance. My best fiscal efforts have brought tears to my better half’s tender eyes. The most tough-minded fiduciary decision I have ever taken would have Keynes, Friedman, and Greenspan, nodding solemnly and agreeing that some men just don’t understand money. That probably has you smiling and wondering whether this is a column on subversive politics or the confessions of a self-made pauper. It is less of a laughing matter that more..

Kusal Perera, Thisara return to ODI squad

Mar 18 (CI) Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera were recalled to Sri Lanka's ODI squad against Bangladesh, but captain Angelo Mathews continued to remain unavailable due to injury. Other additions in the ODI squad included opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka - fresh from an excellent run for Sri Lanka A - but there was no place for either seam bowler Nuwan Kulasekara or legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay. more..

Jaliya Wickremasuriya gets bail

Mar 18 (ITN) SL’s former Ambassador to the US has been released on strict bail conditions. Court enlarged him on bail taking into consideration on his health situation. He was arrested by FCID on the 18th of Nov last year on charges of misusing state resources amounting to US$ 332,000 during the previous regime. It has been mentioned in the medical report submitted by Director of the Hospital that former Ambassador is receiving treatment and he is suffering from many illnesses. more..

Sun shines on Sri Lanka power policy

Mar 18 (FT) Treading in the footsteps of the rest of the world, the Sri Lankan Govt has decided to redirect its power policies from a mixture of hydro and coal to solar and wind power with a slew of new measures to subsidise home solar installations, purchase power at higher prices and build a floating solar farm.  Govt has earmarked Rs.3.5 billion to pay 50% of the interest incurred by home owners when applying for a loan to install a solar power grid onto their roofs. more..