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Shortcomings in Srilankan’s engineering unit

May 7 (ST) The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has put SriLankan Airlines on notice after finding shortcomings in its engineering division. If the airline fails to rectify these within six months, it risks losing the EASA certification which allows it to do maintenance checks for other airlines. The deficiencies were found when EASA conducted an audit of SriLankan’s engineering division. more..

How come Mahinda Rajapaksa needs more security than I do? – CBK

May 7 (CT) “I am not surprised that Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa is acting, as usual, as if the country owes him and his family special privileges that need not be given to any other Sri Lankan,” says former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Issuing a statement on the regularisation of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security detail, former President said; “In Sept 2007, 15 months after my retirement, President Rajapaksa and his brother more..

Hambantota deal: More major changes, 70-year lease on offer

May 7 (ST) The number of years that the Hambantota port is to be leased out to China Merchant Port Holdings Co Ltd (CMPort) could be brought down 70, instead of 99, authoritative sources said. A draft of the heavily-negotiated concession agreement was shared with the SLPA this week. The shareholding ratio could also be changed from 80:20 to 60:40, with 60% of shares allocated to CMPort and 40% to SLPA, sources said. more..

Birth, Enlightenment and Nirvana of Buddha

May 8 (ST) Morning had broken. The dawn the world and the heavens had for epochs waited to break upon the land, had finally come to pass. And on that Vesak full moon day 2640  years ago, in the year 623BC, the rising sun sheds its tender early morn light to reveal the scene of a royal litter emerging from the gates of Kapilavasthu, the capital of the Shakyas, in northern India. At the centre of this royal convoy, borne upon a golden palanquin, sits the queen of the domain. more..

GMOA demands

May 8 (SO) These thoughts and quotations came to mind as the announcement was made that the GMOA was poised to hold an island-wide strike on Friday (5), joined by several other TUs, like a teachers’ union. This is deplorable; the country can never get on with its development plans with these constant interruptions. Haven’t the big bods in the GMOA realized their strikes are counter-productive. The boomerang may hit the target – hurt the yahapalanaya govt & innumerable sufferers more..

'Our responsibility to prevent services being crippled'

May 8 (SO) Minister, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, has become the cynosure in the political as well as the media domain. Significance is added to this in view of the talk to appoint him to head a special unit to deal with any emergency situation. Q: The talk of setting up a special unit has gone viral today. Could you enlighten us? A: There is no such thing as an Army unit. What is expected is to prevent public utilities being crippled due to strikes, more..

A Popean caution and the counter-terror comedy of errors

May 8 (ST) In one respect, there may be a smidgen of truth in former President Rajapaksa’s bitter lament in the immediate wake of his election defeat in 2015. He complained that he was set on the wrong path at the urging of certain prominent political figures close to him who craftily crossed to the Maithripala Sirisena faction when they realized that his Govt was doomed. In particular, he blamed the JHU for the disastrous alienation of SL’s Muslim community following the Aluthgama riots more..

Anything that just costs money is cheap

May 8 (CT) In the Airline business, Cost-based pricing has become price-based costing. An expert analyst in Global Air Transport Dr. Julius Maldutis says it best. The price of an airline seat has no relationship to the cost of producing it, but rather reflects the degree and nature of competition. Costs and prices have gone their separate ways. In fact, the relationship has been reversed. Airline managements are seeking to lower costs in order to match prices. more..

'Piyasena Gamage wants me removed'

May 8 (CT) JO MP Geetha Kumarasinghe says defeated politician Piyasena Gamage wants to pull her down. "He was behind all this. He is waiting eagerly to occupy my seat in Parliament," she said. Q: What will happen next? A: I am waiting until I am delivered justice. I am a strong woman. I will not give up politics even if someone tries to drag me down. My decisions were in accordance with my conscience. more..

Editorial: Learn from China

May 8 (Island) Anything Indian goes under the present yahapalana dispensation as is common knowledge. Govt leaders shuttle between Colombo and New Delhi so frequently that when they get up in the morning they must be wondering which city they are in. They are known for their predilection for adopting Indian models from ambulance services to devolution. But, there are lessons that we can learn from China, as well, but, sadly they have gone unlearnt. more..

Save the Sinhala Program at Cornell Uni

May 8 (Island) Deepthi Kumara Gunaratne once alleged that I never studied at Harvard University.  He said that I might have been eating hoppers in some boutique somewhere near Harvard, at best.  He was essentially claiming that I had learned nothing at Harvard.  Someone else asked me once what I had brought back from Harvard and I said Harvard was too big to carry back to Sri Lanka, and, after a pause, added, Harvard was too small too. Not true, strictly speaking, but more..

Udaya Gammanpila

EU, GSP+ & Sri Lanka: Promoting or demoting human rights

May 8 (CT) The European Parliament in its session on 26th April, 2017 has voted in favour of Sri Lanka rejecting a motion tabled by 52 European Union members to deny the additional tariff concessions approximately 66% on several products including textiles and fisheries imported by European Union members numbering 28 countries. Sri Lanka is expected to net an income of 250 million Rupees an year due to this concession. The issues preceding the voting on April 26th 2017 deserve to be more..

A SAITM Solution: Take over Medical and allow other faculties to continue

May 8 (Island) There is no point in allowing the SAITM issue to continue for so long without a solution. The govt or the country should be able to resolve such problems within a reasonable time, let us say two months. The failure to do so is not good for the country and its normal functioning and much desired development. This is not to say that resolving such a problem is easy. But most difficulties are related to (1) the reluctance to give-in (2) unwillingness to face the reality (3) more..

Activist calls for early disclosure on conflict of interest, related deals

May 8 (EN) A governance activist has called for immediate disclosure of deal involving conflicts of interest or related parties by banks, non-bank lenders, insurance companies, stock brokers and primary dealers, as soon as they are planned. Chandra Jayaratne, a former chief of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said immediate disclosure was needed in the light of recent serious financial crimes and financial irregularities that has come to light. more..

Sampath Bank surpasses Rs 2B PAT in 1Q

May 8 (FT) Starting 2017 on a positive note, Sampath Bank surpassed the Rs 2 Billion mark to achieve a post tax profit of Rs 2.3 Bn for the quarter ended 31 March 2017. This registered an impressive 34.6% growth in comparison to the profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 1.7 Bn recorded for 1Q 2016. Profit before tax (PBT) too grew by 36.4% YoY and reached Rs 3.5 Bn in 1Q 2017. Sampath Group, which comprises of Sampath Bank and four fully owned subsidiary companies, more..

Southern beat Western to emerge champs

May 8 (DN) Southern Province emerged champions of the Super Under 19 Provincial limited overs cricket tournament when they beat Western Province South by 26 runs according to the D/L system in the final played at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday. The tournament was conducted by Sri Lanka Cricket. WP South winning the toss and batting first were bowled out for 189 runs in 49.1 overs with opener Kamil Mishara scoring 68 in 109 balls with more..

Experts urge cloud seeding to boost rainfall

May 8 (FT) Given the country’s prevailing drought and heat, experts are calling on Sri Lanka to pursue high technology cloud seeding, which has brought good results for many countries including most recently the UAE. Cloud seeding or weather modification is application of scientific technology to enhance a cloud’s ability to produce precipitation and generate 10-30% more rain. Seeding can be done either from the ground or from the air. more..

Farewell for outgoing Pakistan HC

May 8 (PHC) High Commission of Pakistan hosted a farewell Party in honour of the outgoing High Commissioner Maj. Gen.  (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain at Hilton Hotel, Colombo on 6th May. While addressing the gathering, the High Commissioner said that it has been an honour and privilege to represent Govt of Pakistan in this Beautiful Island. I have loved every minute of my work here and I am leaving with the hope that our strong relationship will achieve new heights in future. more..

Mahesh Abeyratne qualifies for Asian Masters Athletics

May 8 (DN) Veteran Army athlete, Colonel Mahesh Abeyratne has qualified for the forthcoming 20th Asian Masters Athletics Championship in Rugao, China to compete in two under-50 age category events, javelin throw and hammer throw. The meet will be worked off from Sept 24 to 28. Mahesh excelled at the recently held qualifying event, SL Masters Athletics Annual (Open) Championship by creating a new record for the under-50 hammer throw event throwing a distance of 41.95 m. more..

After TPG offloads SriLankan, Govt to approach individual airlines for PPP

May 8 (FT) With the Texas Pacific Group (TPG), one of the largest private equity investment firms in the world, offloading SriLankan Airlines from a negotiation for a public-private partnership, Govt is to approach individual airlines to bail out the debt-ridden national carrier. “We followed the initial process to ensure transparency, however unfortunately it did not work. TPG, the only credible party which bid, also terminated discussions more..

Dansel in Colombo only on CMC sanction

May 8 (DN) All dansel to be held in Colombo need to obtain the approval of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), the Health Department sources said. According to the sources, all dansel organizers in the Colombo city need to fill a form and obtain approval from the CMC prior to holding dansela. After filling the form, the department will conduct a field inspection and approval will be granted to all dansel which have met the required rules and regulations. more..

Abduction case: uncle, 2 women remanded

May 8 (AD) 26-year-old uncle and two other women who had allegedly involved in the Gampola child abduction case have been remanded until 18 May. The suspects were remanded after being produced before the Gampola Magistrate’s Court on Sunday. Two-year-old child who was abducted near the Gampola bus stand on May 3 was found in Batticaloa last morning. Investigation into the case took a new turn after police found that it was child’s uncle who abducted boy before fleeing area. more..

False rumors: CID to probe social media

May 8 (DM) Ministry of Health lodge a complaint with the CID against the social media websites which are publishing false information that HIV/AIDS is being spread by the health officials who visit homes to test blood samples for filariasis during night. Ministry officials have requested the CID to investigate into these websites. The Health ministry said in a statement that the Anti Filariasis Campaign (AFC) had lodge the complaint with CID more..

SL begin preparations for Champions Trophy

May 8 (Island) The national cricket team will head to Kandy today to begin a week long residential training camp at the Pallekele International Stadium as preparation for Champions Trophy tournament, that will be played in England and Wales next month. Captain Angelo Mathews is expected to join the team on Tuesday from India having completed his IPL duties. Sri Lanka Cricket will also open a new indoor cricket facility at Pallekele on Tuesday to help the training. more..

Surge of Australian interest in CSE following road show there

May 8 (Island) With the Colombo bourse now on a bull run posting a one-year closing high on Friday on the back of continued foreign buying, the Colombo Stock Exchange reported a surge of Australian buying following the recent Invest in Sri Lanka Forum conducted in Melbourne and Sydney. The daily average inflow from Australia has jumped to Rs. 23.22 million from an average of Rs. 0.87 million in the previous 11 months, a CSE statement said. There has been strong foreign investor more..

SLR fraudulent tender award to fake company

May 8 (CT) Sri Lanka has 758 unguarded level crossings which claim at least one human life each month. So far, the only solution to the problem was deploying the villagers who live nearby to guard these crossings under the co-ordination of Civil Defence Department. Sri Lanka Railway first called for global tenders in November 2011 under No: SRS/F 6919, with the intent of acquisition of security systems for use at these crossings. more..

NMCRP unhappy over Fin. Min’s tax increase

May 8 (DM) Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s alleged move to increase the tax on dates and raisins before the Ramadan festival is an encouraging sign for excessive profiteering from the consumers, the National Movement for Consumer Right’s Protection (NMCRP) claimed. NMCRP President Ranjith Withanage said Finance Minister has imposed a special tariff as Rs. 60 per kilo of dates and Rs. 230 per kilo of raisins after his colleagues has imported enough stocks for the festive season. more..

Fake passport racket: Another Lankan held

May 8 (DNA) The Sahar Police on Friday arrested another Sri Lankan national in connection with the forged passport racket case that was busted by Sahar police in March, arresting a total of eight foreign nationals including four British and four Sri Lankans. Earlier, four Sri Lankan nationals were held for using forged Indian passports bearing names of four British nationals to travel to the UK. It was later revealed that the four British nationals were also involved in the racket more..

Constitutional Reforms debate likely

May 8 (DN) A debate on Constitutional reforms by the Constitutional Assembly is likely to take place towards the end of June. The interim report of the Steering Committee headed by PM will be placed before the Assembly next month. A copy of the same would be handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena. The interim report, which deals with vital aspects of Constitutional reforms including the electoral reforms, devolution of power more..

Kiriella lauds non-strikers

May 8 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella paid a glowing tribute to the trade union leaders and members who had not backed the GMOA initiated strike last Friday. GMOA led strike was a politically motivated one and it had failed, he said. The right-thinking trade union leaders and members had not answered the GMOA’s call because they were well aware of the selfish motive of the leadership of the strike, Minister said, adding that the organisers of the unsuccessful strike more..

Senior citizen missing: Police to arrest wife, daughter

May 8 (DM) The Wattala Police have launched a search operation to arrest a mother and daughter in connection with the disappearance of a 65-year old man who had been a retired Port Authority employee, Police said. The two suspects had told the neighbours that the missing person had gone abroad but the Wattala Police OIC had received information that the person had gone missing and had launched an inquiry immediately. It was revealed during the investigation with more..

More loans to carry out corruption smoothly: ADB doubles lending to Sri Lanka

May 8 (FT) As promised by Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao during his visit to Sri Lanka last year, bank confirmed that it has doubled its lending capacity to $ 800 million this year. “Sri Lanka’s annual allocation was around $ 400 million per year and this year it has been increased to $ 800 million. We have just doubled the lending. This is the highest we have allocated to the country,” more..

'UNP will now focus on party reorganization'

May 8 (DM) The UNP will go ahead with the reorganization tasks of the party which was planned last December, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. The party planned a reorganization drive earlier during the year with the appointment of three deputy leaders but postponed it. "It was I who suggested that the reorganization should be postponed till the May Day was over. However we can go-ahead with it now. The time has come to think of younger members of our party," more..

SL border stone kept in Adam’s bridge area

May 8 (DM) A border stone with the words Sri Lanka inscribed on it and with the Island-govt's official emblem on top has been found to have been installed on the seventh of the chain of limestone shoals (islets) in the Adams Bridge area in the shallow seas off Dhansuhkodi, to apparently indicate Sri Lanka's maritime border with India. Adams Bridge or Ram Sethu (bridge over the sea) as found mentioned in the Indian epic Ramayana, comprises a chain of limestone shoals surrounded by more..

Mahinda loses 50 more bodyguards: JO alleges conspiracy against MR

May 8 (Island) 50 more police personnel attached to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security contingent were withdrawn yesterday. They include three Inspectors, five Sub Inspectors and three Women Police Constables. Police headquarters had named the personnel recalled from the former President’s security contingent. Yesterday’s reduction of police security followed last week’s removal of 42 officers and men. more..

Indian sand artist plans to create longest sand Buddha in Sri Lanka

May 8 (PTI) Noted sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik is all set to create the world's longest sand Buddha in Sri Lanka. Pattnaik said that he has been invited by the High Commission of India in Colombo to participate in the 14th International Vesak Day Celebrations organised by Government of Sri Lanka. Before leaving for Sri Lanka the renowned sand artist said he plans to create the world's longest sand Buddha near the Parliament house of the island country. more..

MR’s security detail first reduced, then restored

May 8 (DM) In a dramatic turn of events, only hours after govt decided to reduce the security given to former President Rajapaksa by a further 50 personnel, it was restored without an explanation being given on the about-turn. Initially, an order was sent to recall 50 personnel attached to the security detail of Mr. Rajapaksa. They had, in fact, been specifically identified. However, by late last night, order was cancelled. The reason for the change of heart was not known. more..

Opposition risks losing 11 seats after Geetha's judgement

May 8 (EN) Court of Appeal unseating Geetha Kumarasinghe could lead to a major shift in the balance of power with the UPFA possibly losing 11 seats in the 225-member parliament. May 3 decision of the court held that Kumarasinghe, a dual citizen of SL and Switzerland, was unqualified to be a candidate at the August 2015 parliamentary election and thus she should be removed from parliament. more..

Today is world red cross & red crescent day

May 8 (DM) Today, May 8, is World Red Cross Day, the birth anniversary of the founder of the Red Cross - Henry Dunant. Dunant the founder of the Red Cross was also the founder of the Int'l Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He was also the recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize. Red Cross day also celebrates the t role of the volunteers and their contribution to helping people in need.  By the end 1863, the year in which the ICRC was founded, the first voluntary aid societies more..