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'ETCA will destroy Sri Lanka’s IT sector'

May 9 (CT) The proposed Economic and Technology Corporation Agreement (ETCA) with India has caused many a controversy, and Secretary of the Society of Information Technology Professionals, Lasantha Wickramasinghe, explains how ETCA will affect the country's economy, and the reasons for opposing it. Q: What are the major reasons for IT professionals to oppose ETCA ? A: First, if you analyze the impact of more..

Confusions, confusions…

May 9 (NS) There was a time, during World War II, when it was said that careless talk costs lives. The war in our own country came to an end eight years ago but we saw plenty of careless talks last week. That was when Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne dropped a bombshell at the official Cabinet media briefing stating that President Sirisena had requested Former Army Commander and now Minister Sarath Fonseka to assume a special position that would enable him to deal more..

Politics of the ex-combatants

May 9 (NS) The TNA during its May Day rally announced that it would incorporate former LTTE combatants into the party. The announcement has received mixed responses from the Tamil political circles. Although the move is a welcome one, it should have come a long time ago when the former combatants were left to fend for themselves. The issues faced by the rehabilitated former combatants have been well documented over the years, and their grievances had been brought to the fore more..

'UPFA must decide on Rajitha'

May 9 (NS) A discussion the Rivira had with Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations, Senior Vice Chairman of the SLFP, W.D.J. Seneviratna regarding future actions of the SLFP and the prevalent political situation. Q: Joint Opposition (JO) MPs say that the SLFP May Day rally was a failure. No. The SLFP May Day rally was extremely successful. This time, we had two May Day marches. All everyone talks about is more..

Economic performance in 2016: An analysis

May 9 (ST) Economic performance is mostly judged by the annual growth in GDP. Accordingly, the lower economic growth of last year of 4.4% compared to 4.8% in 2015 is a setback. It is not this dip that is of significance. It is the inadequate performance in vital sectors and subsectors of the economy that should be the drivers of the country’s economic transformation that is disconcerting. There were some extenuating factors, especially in agricultural sector that caused the dip in growth. more..

Editorial: Curiouser and curiouser!

May 9 (Island) The govt has made a volte-face anent the latest cut in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security. It usually does not buckle under pressure where action against its political rivals is concerned. What really happened? On May 03, 42 police personnel attached to Rajapaksa’s security contingent were removed all of a sudden. Joint Opposition (JO) cried foul, claiming that it was the govt’s reaction to Rajapaksa’s successful May Day rally. more..

JVP press conference

SriLankan Aviation mulls major expansion drive in Mattala

May 9 (DN) SriLankan Aviation College, SriLankan Airlines training arm, is looking at a major expansion drive and is also looking at setting up an Aviation College in Mattala Airport. SriLankan Aviation College General Manager Primal De Silva said that they will set up this college from revenue within the company and also through bank loans. “We are ready to invest but need more aircraft movements at Mattala to fully engage in the project.” He said they have also acquired more..

A road death every 3 hours

May 9 (Island) Police statistics reveal that our roads are becoming deadlier by the year. Last year road deaths reached a startling total of 3,003, when compared to 2,816 deaths in the previous year. There were 2,440 in 2014. During the last decade or so there has been a tremendous increase in mobility and motorisation in the country. There has also been a rapid influx of unsafe modes of transport along with heavy pedestrian movements. For every person who dies several thousands are injured. more..

This Vesak celebration will be like no other

May 9 (ST) Vesak which marks the Birth, Enlightenment and the Parinirvana of the Buddha, is commemorated as no other religious event in Sri Lanka. This year, which is the 2561st year after the Passing Away of the Buddha, Sri Lanka hosts the United Nations Day of Vesak thus taking Vesak commemoration to a global dimension. Elaborate preparations are being made at the Sri Sambodhi Vihara, R.G. Senanayake Mawatha more..

Lankem Ceylon buys 100% stake in Kiffs

May 9 (Island) Lankem Ceylon has reportedly bought a 100 percent stake in Kiffs (Private) Ltd, a plastic bottle maker, for Rs.  225 million. The acquisition was made through J F Packaging, a 100% owned unit of Lankem, the firm said in a stock exchange filing. Kiffs was an associate company of Alliance Five, which makes janitorial brushes, sources said. Meanwhile, at the CSE, the All Share Price Index rose by 26.89 points and S and P SL20 went up by 25.8 points more..

Hiruni qualifies for World Championship

May 9 (CT) Woman Marathoner Hiruni Wijayaratne achieved IAAF World Championship qualifying standard when she clocked 2 hours 43 minutes and 31 seconds to win the 2017 edition of the Eugene Marathon yesterday, finishing 11th overall and first among the female runners. The IAAF World Championship qualifying standard is 2 hours 45 minutes and Hiruni is the first and only female athlete so far from Sri Lanka to qualify for the championship this year and only 2nd athlete more..

21 export-oriented agricultural zones

May 9 (Island) Post harvest loss of fruits and vegetables in SL is more than 40%. This is caused mainly by lack of proper transportation, poor storage facilities and flawed packaging systems, Minister Daya Gamage said. "Due to heavy post harvest waste of fruits and vegetables the Ministry of Primary Industries together with Agriculture Ministry, Ministry of Rural Industries & Fisheries Ministry will set up 21 export oriented agricultural zones more..

Six records at swimming nationals

May 9 (ST) Six new national records were established at the National and Sub-Junior Under 15 Aquatic Championships 2017 in progress at the Sugathadasa Stadium Swimming Complex. Three out of the four new records in Women’s 4x100m LC Medley Relay, Girls Under-15 4x100m LC Freesstyle relay, Women’s 4x50m LC Freestyle Relay and Men’s 4x50m LC Freestyle Relays were established by Visakha Vidyalaya and the other was by Killerwhale Aquatics in the Men’s 4x50m more..

SLC officials visit Kalutara, Matara

May 9 (DN) SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala yesterday visited the District Cricket Associations of the Southern Province together with several members of the Executive Committee. Executive members inspected the ground and infrastructure development currently underway at the Bandaragama ground and engaged in discussions with the officials of the Kalutara District Cricket Association led by Priyantha Algama, the general secretary prior to conducting a forum more..

Port City will take 30 years to complete

May 9 (ST) The Colombo Port City project is set to take nearly a lifetime to complete with a 30-year period given for its full completion for which marketing is getting underway at the moment to attract investors to the prime property. CHEC Port City Colombo Chief Sales and Marketing Director Liang Thow Ming said on the sidelines of a media briefing that the entire port city project would take 30 years to complete inclusive of buildings. more..

Nations Trust Bank 1Q profits up by 22%

May 9 (Island) Nations Trust Bank closed the first quarter with a post-tax profit of Rs. 725Mn, up by 22% over the corresponding period in the previous year with pre-tax profits increasing by an impressive 33%. Profitability growth was underpinned by a 9% growth in loans and advances during the period under review despite the narrowing of net interest margins. Net interest income increased by 18% as the volume growth outperformed the impact arising from the narrowing of NIMs. more..

Unstable policy vs unstable govt

May 9 (ST) It’s official: Sri Lanka’s main problem in attracting foreign investment or for that matter, doing business in the country, is inconsistent policies, not instability in the govt nor corruption, two areas the country seems to be slipping down the ladder, all the time. In Central Bank’s latest 2016 annual report released this week, policy instability, in other words inconsistent policies has been defined as the biggest deterrent in the business climate in Sri Lanka. In a special section on more..

Duty free shopping at BIA in danger of becoming monopoly?

May 9 (FT) Duty free shopping at the BIA is in danger of becoming a monopoly, industry analysts warned.  Following the retendering process for bids to operate the second space allocated for a Core Category Duty Free Shop at BIA despite protests by interested parties, operators now claim that the decisions taken may create a monopoly in the market as one of the bidders, DFS India, is a fully-owned company under Flemingo Duty more..

Sri Lanka Nestlé unit March net down 32%, drought hits demand, nut prices

May 9 (EN) The Sri Lankan unit of the Nestlé food multinational said March 2017 quarter net profit fell 32% to Rs862 million from a year ago with the prevailing severe drought affecting consumer demand and raising raw material prices. “Severe drought leading to depressed consumer demand, and a significant increase in raw material costs, has made the start of this year particularly challenging,” Nestlé Lanka Managing Director Shivani Hegde said in a statement. more..

Govt continues its love affair with luxury vehicles with another Rs 329 million

May 9 (ST) For a govt that came to power promising to cut back on extravagances and high spending of the past regime, there seems to be no letup in the massive amounts of money it is splurging on the import of luxury vehicles for its members. This week, for the third time in two months, the Govt sought Parliament approval for a sum of over Rs 329 million (Rs 329,831,000) to purchase vehicles for six Ministers, a Provincial Governor and for an official of the PM’s office. more..

Video: Wimal’s idea to hoist black flags may be right: BBS

May 9 (DM) The govt had done all the preparations to make this country a colony of India and it should be stopped, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said. Thera said MP Wimal Weerawansa may be trying to point out the reason, why we should hoist black flags during the visit of Indian PM Narendra Modiour and when our country becomes a colony of India. more..

Harin urges PM for new mechanism

May 9 (DM) Minister Harin Fernando urged PM to create a mechanism for the ministers representing various districts to work for their people of the electorate independently. " If we want to do something for the people in a particular district, we have to go to the Chief Minister in the Provincial Council. If some work is done it is considered as development work done by the Provincial Council. In the case of the Uva Provincial Council, SLFP gets the credit for the work initiated by us," more..

It was true, but said in lighter vein: Dayasiri

May 9 (DM) SLFP Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said the remarks he made prior to a news briefing with regard to the May Day speech by UNP Minister Sajith Premadasa, were done in a lighter vein though it was true. When contacted, the minister said it was wrong for media personnel to publicise his remarks because they were made off the record. “The manner in which some journalists behave is unacceptable. Though what I said was true, it was said in a lighter vein,” he said. more..

EU praises Lanka’s commitment to international obligations

May 9 (DN) Sri Lanka’s renewed commitment to respecting international rule of law and upholding its human, labour rights and environmental obligations has resulted in the European Commission recommending the reinstatement of GSP Plus, European Union ambassador in Sri Lanka Tung Lai Margue said. In a message to mark Europe Day 2017, he said Sri Lanka and European Union reset relationship more..

Meethotamulla tragedy Compensation provided to victims

May 9 (CT) Arrangements are being made to provide compensation to the families affected by the Meethotamulla tragedy, a senior official said. He said that compensation had already been provided to 99 families whose houses were completely destroyed in the incident. He stated that 50 new houses were provided to those who requested new homes, while Rs 250,000 for furniture and Rs 150,000 for rent were provided to each of the families that did not request new houses. more..

Ranil tells UNP Ministers to prepare for elections

May 9 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe called on all members of the UNP to prepare for future elections. Addressing the UNP Working Committee Meeting at Sirikotha, Wickremesinghe had stressed the need to broadbase and modernise the party with youth being given more responsibilities, sources said. The PM also urged the ministers to spend more time in their constituencies, look into the needs of the people and draw up development plans in consultation with them. more..

MP Handunetti believes Commission will uphold COPE recommendations

May 9 (Island) Chairman of the COPE, MP Sunil Handunetti, MP, testifying before the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged bond scam, said he believed Commission would grant approval for implementing the recommendations of the COPE report. He said the implementation of his committee’s recommendations had to be done in accordance with parliamentary responsibility for public finance. more..

Reshuffle rumours!

May 9 (FT) Political circles were busy last night responding to rumours of reshuffle within the coalition Govt today. One speculation was that coalition member SLFP will reshuffle its pack today and the other ally UNP will do it next week. Speculation was rife ahead of Cabinet meeting today. However sources close to President and PM Ranil denied any changes ahead of Indian Premier Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka to boost first ever Int'l Vesak celebrations on Thursday. more..

Man arrested for killing his 12th mistress

May 9 (Island) A 27-year man was arrested at Hiriwadunna, Habarana for killing his mistress on Sunday. He was taking her body in a mini truck presumably for disposal at the time of his arrest. The victim, Kanchana Dilrukshi (28), was a mother of one. She had been cohabiting with the suspect, police said. The suspect, a resident of Sinhagama, Habarana, had lived together with 12 mistresses including the victim since his wife left him a few years ago, unable to bear frequent beating more..

Corrupt probing Corrupt: No closure of Anti-Corruption Secretariat

May 9 (CT) PM's Office dismissed media reports that the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) is to be closed down, adding that no final decision has been taken in this regard. The ACCS, managed by PM's Office at Temple Trees, was set up after the presidential election in Jan 2015. It was to review anti-corruption work based on public complaints on bribery and corruption to different agencies. more..

President to unveil world’s first laser Vesak Pandal

May 9 (DN) The world’s first Vesak pandal erected with laser technology at Galle Face Green concurrent to the Colomtotha Vesak Zone will be unveiled for public view by President Maithripala Sirisena on Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, May 10. The laser technology pandal erected on a concept of Minister Arjuna Ranatunga will be exhibited till May 14. Colomthota Vesak Zone jointly organised by the Ports and Shipping Ministry, the SLPA and the Port Buddhist Association more..

Modi, Ranil to inaugurate Gangaramaya Vesak Zone

May 9 (DN) Indian PM Narendra Modi and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will inaugurate the Gangaramaya Vesak Zone on May 11, Indian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu said. He said that PM Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka would be a kind of pilgrimage. “The PM’s presence will add weight to the International Vesak Day celebrations,” he added. “We share a common heritage and you have seen Prime Minister Modi speaking on The Buddha,” High Commissioner Sindhu said. more..

Mahendran’s counsel seeks permission for representations against AG’s lawyers

May 9 (Island) Romesh de Silva PC, who appears for former Governor of CB Arjuna Mahendran, submitting a motion, requested Presidential Commission to allow him to make submissions objecting to the manner in which the counsel representing the Attorney General’s Department assisting the Commission were leading evidence. Head of the team of Counsel representing AG’s Dept Senior Additional Solicitor General more..

National Reconciliation Policy: Hope at last

May 9 (DM) At the historic January 2015 presidential election it was widely accepted that a huge minority community vote played a key role in the victory of Maithripala Sirisena.   Some two and half years later at a meeting on May 2, the Cabinet approved a National Reconciliation Policy presented by President Sirisena. This policy was drafted by the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) chaired by former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. more..

Why SL and South Asia can’t do a France

May 9 (DM) The French say they love revolutions. Yesterday they usurped one, electing 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron as the new President of the Fifth republic. Mr Macron’s victory – he won two-thirds of the popular votes in the second round against his far-right rival Marine Le Pen -- represents the most formidable response to xenophobic populist nationalism that led to Brexit and propelled those like Donald Trump to power. There are signs however, earlier in the Netherlands, more..

Dengue epidemic: Back to basics is needed to prevent the spread

May 9 (SL) I was alarmed by hearing that in the first four months of this year there have been over 39,000 dengue patients hospitalized. There may be thousands more who were treated by general practitioners. This number is usually what we have in a year and not four months! Colombo city itself has a 100% increase with over 2,000 patients. It is pertinent to look into the causes of this massive outbreak. more..

GMOA rejected by people being abandoned by some docs: Health Minister

May 9 (Island) Health Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne accuses the GMOA of being more interested in advancing its political agenda instead of helping control the spread of dengue. Dr. Senaratne, who was chief guest at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for a new six storey building for the Nurses Training School in Anuradhapura, on Sunday, said the doctors’ union should attempt to resolve problem through negotiations. more..

GMOA pushing towards indefinite strike

May 9 (CT) The GMOA is to decide about future trade union action today, during its General Committee Meeting. An indefinite strike is on the cards if the Government keeps on ignoring demands of the GMOA regarding SAITM. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that nearly 100 trade unions met yesterday to plan the future struggle against SAITM as the Govt response to their recent strike action was not satisfactory. more..

'SL does not want rupee to fall too quickly'

May 9 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank does not want to allow the rupee to fall too quickly, Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said on Tuesday, but suggested further weakness in the exchange rate is on the cards as policy makers sought a competitive currency. U.S. dollar inflows have helped the rupee stabilise after a sharp fall of around 14% in the last two years. The central bank, however, has been adjusting more..