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Money printing still high at Rs 207.03B

May 14 (CT) Central Bank, aided by inflows, retired Treasury (T)-Bills carrying an aggregate value of Rs 18,727.34 million from its holdings, thereby bringing down govt's liabilities on account of money printing (MP) by 8.3% to Rs 207.032.82 million, Friday (12) over Tuesday (9), data showed. Wednesday and Thursday (10-11) were market holidays on account of the Vesak festival. Due to these developments, GoSL's borrowing costs on account of MP shrank by Rs 215.87 million (3.39%) to Rs 6,152 million. more..

MPs’ attendance register now open to public

May 14 (ST) More than 2/3 of MPs attended sittings on May 3rd — from which date their attendance register was made public. Of the 224 MPs, excluding the Speaker, 173 MPs had attended sittings on the day, according to the attendance register. The move to make the MPs attendance register public was given approval by Parliament after Speaker suggested it as a remedy for poor attendance. Most of the complaints had come from JO and JVP MPs who accuse ministers of being absent more..

Selling Sri Lanka to survive: Hambantota Port grossly under-valued

May 14 (CT) The US$ 1.4 billion which was the value that China Merchant Holdings was to pay for the Hambantota Port for a 80% stake of the Private-Public Partnership company, has been declared as grossly undervalued by the 9-member Cabinet Subcommittee appointed by President chaired by Minister Sarath Amunugama. Subcommittee was appointed by the President to report on the Hambantota Port to Cabinet. more..

Lankan govt settling Sinhalese in Tamil-dominated areas: Activist

May 14 (ANI) Even as PM Narendra Modi announced construction of 10,000 houses for Tamils in Sri Lanka, noted Tamil activist Pazha Nedumaran on Saturday said that there were already 4000 houses built, but the government in Colombo has been settling Sinhalese people in those colonies. "Already 4000 houses have been built in Tamil areas. They are supposed to be given to the Tamils in Sri Lanka, but the Singhalese govt allocated these houses to Sinhalese. more..

PM and his friends taking SL from Bad to Worse: Prez pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

May 14 (SL) President Sirisena has pushed for a cabinet reshuffle despite strong objections from the UNP. Govt sources said that PM had urged the President not to go for a cabinet reshuffle. A cabinet reshuffle had been on the cards for several months but the move was eventually shot down as a result of differences of opinion arising between the SLFP and the UNP. UNP had insisted that no UNP Minister should be removed or shuffled around if at all can involve only the SLFP. more..

National Unity Govt problems may ease after Cabinet reshuffle

May 14 (ST) Most Sri Lankans are unaware of the customary rituals that precede business at a weekly ministerial or Cabinet meeting chaired by the President. It begins with religious observances followed by considering excuses for absence by ministers. Then comes the confirmation of minutes of the previous week’s Cabinet meeting together with matters arising from the one before that. more..

Modi’s Vesak visit goes well despite fears of being dogged by controversies

May 14 (Island) Indian PM Narendra Modi was in the island on Thursday and Friday as the government’s guest to mark Sri Lanka hosting the 14th UN Vesak Day celebrations. Mr. Modi had tweeted earlier that he was looking forward to celebrating Vesak, interacting with Buddhist spiritual leaders, scholars and theologians, visiting the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, and going to Hatton to open the new Dickoya Hospital and address a public meeting after that. He has done all that and more..

Is the Communist Party a step ahead?

May 14 (Island) It has been known for a while that a section of the CP, now a majority, and DEW himself were not happy with the way the JO was conducting itself. There are two issues, unwillingness to abandon the authoritarian elements of the JR Constitution which is now under review and will, perhaps, be replaced or amended, and secondly the loud racism in JO rhetoric. The CP’s decision to cut a path independent of the JO and hold its own May Day rally took me by pleasant surprise. more..

The white-vanning ordeal of journalist-activist Poddala Jayantha

May 14 (DBS) Well-known Sri Lankan Journalist – activist Poddala Jayantha was in the news last week when he sent a letter to the Director-General of Information Dr. Ranga Kalansuriya who is also the Secretary to the Cabinet Sub Committee on granting measures of relief to media persons who were subjected to various types of harassment and oppression during the period 2005 – 2015. Media reports said that copies of the letter had also more..

Welikada Pandal Men on death row in dazzling heights

May 14 (CT) Vesak in Colombo was so vibrant that it was like the entire world was here to celebrate. The best creation which displayed the colours of humanity among all the Vesak decorations was the pandal created by the inmates of the Welikada Prison in Borella. It was the tallest ever pandal to be made in the country. But this is not the only reason to value this pandal. Most of the prisoners involved in making it are those on death row more..

Report reveals details on Samyan muder

May 14 (SL) Minister D.M. Swaminathan has given his  approval on continuing the investigations being carried out by the three member committee appointed to investigate into the Kalutara Prison bus attack. In the light of the investigations explored so far, the minister has taken steps to provide a bulletproof bus ensuring the security of high profile underworld prisoners. It is noteworthy to highlight that more..

Case of the missing dogs

May 14 (CT) Sri J'pura University has become the talk of the town these days, after the Vice Chancellor (VC) took a decision to remove some community dogs from its premises and hired a pest control company to carry out the operation. While Animal Welfare Activists are shocked at the decision taken by the VC to remove the dogs in the most inhumane manner by getting the relevant officials to anesthetize and catch more..

PNB, Police join hands in battle against drugs

May 14 (SO) SL Police and Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) have been fighting a tough battle against the smuggling of drugs into the country, making great efforts to eliminate the menace from SL through constant raids and detections. This week marked two significant incidents in their war against drugs. The assassination attempt on the life of a well known PNB officer not only shocked the public but more..

Alleged fuel fraud: FCID to question former minister and his successor

May 14 (ST) A former Cabinet Minister from the plantation highlands is now under investigation by the FCID over the use of fuel for his official vehicle for more than a year. Detectives alleged he had utilised Rs 7.6 million unlawfully. At first fuel has been pumped from the Ministry’s funds. When it had been exhausted, Minister had directed a state enterprise coming under his Ministry to foot the bill, they said. more..

'No notice served on Respondents'

May 14 (SO) MP Geetha Kumarasinghe appeared jubilant walking out of the Supreme Court premises in Hulftsdorp, last Friday, where an interim injunction was awarded in her favour by the apex court of the country after considering an appeal. Investigations on whether Ms. Kumarasinghe was a dual citizen, in Sri Lanka as well as in Switzerland commenced as far back as the latter part of 2015, soon after more..

Drug traffickers hit back as raids intensify

May 14 (ST) The recent killing of a Policeman in an ambush at Piliyandala, came as Police began to step up raids on narcotics dealers and smugglers, a senior police official said. DIG Narcotics- Kamal Silva said that, within the past week, over 200 kg of heroin have been detected by Police, as part of major operation to seize narcotics. “As we intensify our raids, there is a backlash from those engaged in narcotics trade” more..

Piliyandala shooting: police released sketches of suspects

May 14 (DM) The Police today published sketches of two individuals to help identify suspects wanted in connection with the shooting incident where a Police officer was killed and several others were injured, when two gunmen opened fire in Piliyandala on May 9. The Police suspect that the suspects in the sketches had arrived on the motorcycle to carry out the shooting. They said that investigations had revealed that the suspects more..

Long-term visas to attract expat Lankans, foreign investors and students

May 14 (ST) Regulations are likely to be relaxed in the issue of visas to Sri Lankans currently holding foreign citizenship, investors, students and others. Minister S.B. Nawinna said the proposals, if approved by the Cabinet, would enable the Govt to provide visas ranging from two to five years, instead of short term visas as currently issued. The objective was to attract Sri Lankans domiciled overseas to return and stay here for longer spells, more..

New Indian expansionism & Sinhala-Tamil equation 

May 15 (CT) As the Indian TV station WION’s program Gravitas correctly reported, Modi Reshapes Sri Lanka Policy. What a reshaping it was and what a shape it has now taken! It has to be analyzed in all its dimensions and implications. Though my old teacher of international relations, Prof Shelton Kodikara, would surely have traced Modi’s Vesak discourse in Colombo back to the Indian Ocean-centric theories of KM Panikkar and thus posited a conceptual continuity, more..

National Reconciliation Policy is a welcome initiative

May 15 (CT) The recent formulation of a National Reconciliation Policy is a major step towards the objective of reconciliation, approved by the Cabinet, although we have not yet seen the full document. It is important that the Cabinet approval came on the 2nd May, just eight days before the Vesak day of this year. As predominantly a Buddhist country, the Buddhist philosophy could play a major role in reconciliation in SL, if the right efforts are taken in that direction. more..

Solar PV to the rescue

May 15 (SO) While the sun blazes down with all its fury on Sri Lanka, we, the unfortunates in this country are always pining for what we don’t have, but ignore the bounty that mother nature has given us. We even chose to do our best to throttle even the smallest efforts of the progressive few, to harness such bounty. It is unfortunate that such barriers are being erected by eminent people who should be able to see the bigger picture, more..

Wimal’s call to black out SL’s Light of Vesak

May 15 (ST) The  most venerable Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters to whose feet Wimal Weerawansa sporadically rushes with his ata pirikara gifts to gain their blessings and whitewash his image, should take careful note and be wary the next time the supposed penitent drops by with his platter of offerings begging for another round of religious cleansing. Ever since he broke away from the JVP ten years ago and joined the Rajapaksa creed of sinhale nationalism, more..

The menacing promise of the CTA, gift -wrapped for the future

May 15 (ST) Only the naïve would believe the rosily repeated plea by the European Union (EU) that the implementation of twenty seven international conventions is the only criterion for regaining the GSP Plus trade facility for Sri Lanka. Repetition does not make what is false, true though this is a well accepted propaganda strategy historically. Regardless, repeating a patently false claim is generally shrugged off as an unavoidable part of doublespeak. more..

Why a leaked counter-terrorism policy has civil society spooked

May 15 (Roar) It’s not something one easily forgets, says Ruki Fernando, as he recalls his arrest and detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), in 2014. Fernando was on a fact-finding mission in Kilinochchi, investigating a spate of PTA-related arrests in the war-affected area, when he was detained by Terrorist Investigation Dept. His int'l standing as an activist, lead to immediate local & int'l pressure. more..

Sri Lanka can do without saviours

May 15 (SL) Vesak Day is a day of sanctity even to the politically inclined Sri Lankans. Not only on Vesak but also on many religious occasions politicians turn up in enough numbers to crowd out the robed fraternity. The thirties and forties, when Marxists at Hyde Park bellowed: Religion is the Opium of the People are gone. In this age politicians seek the blessings of the religious dignitaries, the devas above and even the kattadiyas (devil exorcists) for political advancement. more..

May Day call and after

May 15 (SL) For a third year in a row since he lost the presidency in the Jan 2015 elections, Mahinda Rajapaksa-centric Joint Opposition has brought in more people to their May Day rally this year than their political rivals. Whether or not this will provide the much-needed impetus for Rajapaksa to defeat the incumbent Govt in Parliament, as he promised himself and his supporters ahead of the New Year, it definitely should make his divided detractors sit up and take notice even more than ever. more..

May Day: Anura Dissanayake Speech

Sri Lanka to exempt exports of IT, entrepôt trade, waste management from income tax

May 15 (EN) Sri Lanka will exempt from income tax several activities including, agriculture, entrepôt trade, solid waste management, information technology and business process outsourcing, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. A new inland revenue act (income tax law) is going to be presented to parliament shortly. International logistics, multi-country consolidation will be included in the so-called hub-activities like entrepot trade that will be exempt from income tax. more..

On India

May 15 (Island) Everyone has a story about India, even those who haven’t travelled to or within the country. Often, especially in the West, the most common references to India are anchored to accent, religion, sport, cinema or food. It is not surprising to discover the country first through travelogue, film, literature or devouring the ubiquitous British invention, chicken tikka masala, now served in India as well. As PM Modi visits Sri Lanka for Vesak, I recalled my own encounters with his country. more..

Cricket game plan: CEO has a role to play

May 15 (ST) I am glad to note that my Sunday Musings column headlined Are we working towards our game plan has been taken serious note of by Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva. A former Test Cap, de Silva has been involved with the game for quite some time, and holding the position of CEO since 2013. He was brought into the system as Cricket Operations Manager during Arjuna’s Interim Committee in 2008 more..

The most difficult Cabinet Reshuffle

May 15 (NS) Amidst international day of Vesak, visit of Indian PM Narendra Modi and other priorities, the much awaited cabinet reshuffle seems to have got further postponed. The reshuffle idea has been in the air as an imminent possibility now for several months. Each time speculation has been that it would happen before the New Year or before vesak or after some important foreign Visit by the President or the PM, but the reshuffle is yet to happen. Cabinet reshuffles are a common feature more..

Editorial: Dual-citizenship blowback

May 15 (Island) SLFP (Maithri faction) may not have thought its desperate move to deprive Joint Opposition (JO) of one MP would lead to such a huge blowback. It successfully moved the judiciary against UPFA MP and Mahinda loyalist Geetha Kumarasinghe on the grounds that she had been a dual citizen at the time she was nominated to contest the last general election. Govt which has not yet taken any action against Treasury bond racketeers went hell for leather to have more..

Arjuna no-balls GSP+ benefit with THC move

May 15 (FT) Amidst the good news of GSP+ being re-awarded to Sri Lanka through the hard work of the Govt, the Ports and Shipping Ministry has proposed an amendment to the famous terminal handling gazette which abolished anti-competitive practices in SL way back in 2013.  Cabinet last week approved a proposal by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to amend the 2013 gazette which exporters said was done on the pretext of more..

SL start campaign with win over Philippines

May 15 (DN) Sri Lanka led by Kandy Sports Club’s Roshan Weeraratne beat a battling Philippines by 24 points to 13 in their opening match of the 2017 Asia Rugby Division I Championship played at Ipoh, Malaysia on Sunday. At half time SL led 11-0 off a try and two penalties. SL’s 24 points came off one goal, a try and 4 penalties and Philippines off two tries and a penalty. All scoring for Sri Lanka was done by Kandy SC players Danushka Ranjan and Richard Dharmapala, more..

GSP+ to open 1,400 Sri Lankan products to 17 EU countries

May 15 (DN) The European Council granting the GSP+ tariff concession to SL allowing Sri Lanka to export over 1,400 products tax-free to the European market is a major victory for Sri Lanka. The Secretary and former President of Free Trade Zone Manufactures Association, Dhammika Fernando said that this is a result of good foreign policy maintained by the govt and credit should go for it. He said granting the GSP+ facility would allow buyers from 17 countries in EU to purchase more..

World Bank grants $ 100 m assistance to improve higher education

May 15 (FT) World Bank Board of Directors on Friday approved $ 100 million in financing to support SL’s higher education sector. This new initiative will help increase enrolment in priority disciplines, improve the quality of degree programs and promote research and innovation in the higher education sector. Building on experience in the higher education sector since 2003, new Accelerating Higher Education Expansion more..

GMOA holds emergency meeting today over grenade attack on SLMC

May 15 (Island) Executive Committee of GMOA will hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the latest situation following the lobbing of a hand grenade at the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) office. Unexploded grenade was later defused by the STF. President of GMOA, Dr Anuruddha Padeniya said that come what may they would not give up their struggle against the SAITM. "If someone thinks we can be intimidated into submission with such tactics they are mistaken. more..

Sri Lanka drops capital gains on shares, real estate targeted

May 15 (EN) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake confirmed that the govt will exempt capital gains on share transactions, but it will apply to real estate transactions under the new inland revenue act. Any capital gains on housing and property within a period of 10 years of acquiring the asset will attract a 10% tax, he said. The administration had argued that the property market has been giving huge returns in recent years thanks to the infrastructure added by the govt and it was only right that more..

Sri Lanka complete residential training camp

May 15 (Island) Sri Lanka’s cricketers returned to Colombo yesterday for a three day rest before departing to England for Champions Trophy on the 18th of May. Program that was spread across an intense schedule of sessions focused on training, strength training, conditioning, altitude training, team building, motivation, strategic simulation, analytical sessions, specialist sessions with the bat, ball & special attention to fielding. more..

DFCC posts 1Q 2017 PAT of Rs.1,373 mn

May 15 (Island) For the first quarter ended 31 March 2017, DFCC Group reported a consolidated profit after tax of LKR 1,373 million, which is a growth of 42% over the LKR 970 million in the comparable period of the previous year and a growth of 77% over the LKR 777 million in the previous quarter. DFCC Group comprises DFCC Bank and its subsidiaries - Lanka Industrial Estates, DFCC Consulting and Synapsys, Acuity Partners; the joint venture company and National Asset more..