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PATA summit begins on May 18 in Negombo

May 15 (DN) Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has confirmed a diverse and dynamic line-up of speakers and panelists to share their insights and knowledge at the four-day conference hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau which will take place on May 18 – 21 at the Jetwing Blue Hotel. Under the theme Disruption, Innovation, Transformation: The Future of Tourism, the event also features a half-day UNWTO/PATA ministerial debate where industry leaders and more..

MR’s talks with Indian PM confidential: GL

May 15 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s discussions with Indian PM Narendra Modi last Thursday were confidential, and could not be divulged, Prof G.L. Peiris said. "The discussions our former President had with Mr Modi are confidential. I hope you can understand," he said. "We are happy the meeting took place even though we put in a request at the last minute. Mr Modi graciously received us late at night," more..

Buddha’s teachings help to create a better world: Nepal President

May 15 (GDI) Nepal and Sri Lanka are excellent pearls hung in the Indian ocean which should have greater connectivity, said Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari addressing the closing ceremony of the 14th UN Vesak Day Celebrations held at the premises of the Temple of theTooth Relic (Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy this evening. She was the Chief Guest at the Closing Ceremony. President Bhandari said that in recent years high level visits and participation at forums such as SAARC more..

Govt revenue jumps 17% year on year in first quarter: finance minister

May 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's govt revenue rose 17% in the first quarter compared to a year ago, surpassing Colombo's expectations, due to higher tax collection, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Sunday. The govt raised its VAT from November last year, while implementing measures to help make it easier to pay taxes. Tax revenue rose 9.2% to 1.66 trillion rupees ($10.89 billion) last year, with the island nation achieving its 5.4% of the GDP budget deficit target from 7.4% in 2015. more..

PM meets Malaysia, Myanmar leaders

May 15 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday met with several world leaders on the sidelines of China’s Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and held bilateral discussions. Meeting with Malaysian PM Najib Razak, Premier discussed the background to create a free trade agreement between SL & Malaysia. During the meeting both leaders reached a consensus to promptly take initial action more..

India commits $ 318 m for SL’s railway sector

May 15 (SO) India has committed further assistance of up to $ 318 million to Sri Lanka’s railway sector, Indian PM Narendra Modi told lawmakers during his visit to Sri Lanka last week. “We will continue our development partnership. “We will be guided by your Govt. And, we will do so with the same level of transparency that we expect in our own country,” premier said. He also made reference to the agreement signed between the two countries on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. more..

Sajith on attempt to raise black flags

May 15 (Island) Minister Sajith Premadasa said that a group of Joint Opposition politicians had denigrated the Vesak festival by attempting to create public displeasure at Indian PM Narendra Modi visiting Sri Lanka to participate in the UN Vesak Day. Addressing a ceremony held at Samanabedda in Ampara to hand over the Mahathisagama housing scheme to the people, he said: "Our govt’s interaction with India always has one objective; that is to strengthen our nation. more..

'Tax relief to draw investments'

May 15 (DN) Govt yesterday announced a new investment incentives scheme and new income tax structure that will come into effect with the passage of the new Inland Revenue Act in Parliament. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, giving out details of the new investment relief approach of the govt, said significant tax exemptions and incentives have been granted to the investors depending on the size of the investment. more..

Neville Fernando Hospital under govt control

May 15 (DN) A notification to announce the bringing of the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) under govt control will be issued today, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. He said that he and Minister Rajitha Senaratne had yesterday signed the relevant document to bring the private hospital in Malabe under govt control. He said that the owner of the hospital Dr. Neville Fernando had agreed to vest the ownership of the hospital with the government without any reimbursement. more..

Pakistani arrested with 1 kg of heroin

May 15 (DN) A Pakistani national who tried to smuggle 1 kilogrammes of heroin worth Rs. 10 million into the country was arrested by officers of the Customs Narcotic Control Unit at the BIA yesterday. The Pakistani national who came to Colombo from Karachi via Dubai was nabbed by Customs officers when he was trying to pass through the green channel at the BIA. The heroin had been well hidden in the passenger’s shoe heel to avoid detection. more..

No Cabinet sittings till reshuffle: President

May 15 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena had stopped all Cabinet meetings until a Cabinet reshuffle sources said. President and PM had agreed to reshuffle the current Cabinet of Ministers after the return of the PM from China. They had also agreed upon the matter at a meeting they had had before the PM's China visit. Proposed Cabinet reshuffle has soured the relationship between UNP and SLFP in the govt. more..

SLMC attack: Still no breakthrough: DIG

May 15 (DM) Police had not made any significant progress in their investigations yet into the grenade attack on Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) last Friday night, Senior DIG Nandana Munasinghe said. Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) officers, who were conducting investigations, had taken statements from the security officers at the SLMC premises and probing on the motive of the attack, which might lead to arrests of suspects. Type- M4 live hand grenade had been lobbed into SLMC premises more..

SLPA, Industrial Zones: Survey to demarcate properties and premises

May 15 (DM) A Cabinet Memorandum had been submitted for preparing a survey jointly by the Law and Order and Southern Development Ministry and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) for clear demarcation of Hambantota Harbour and its properties and the Logistics and Industrial Zone, Minister Sarath Amunugama said. He has suggested this survey plan should be prepared to clear the controversies in the relevant Gazette notifications and survey plans of SLPA. more..

As protests continue to mount SAITM told: Stop new intakes

May 15 (CT) In light of the continuous protests against the SAITM, Govt has requested the SAITM management to halt enrolling new students to the institution. The request was made by Minister Lakshman Kiriella through the respective ministry asking SAITM management to halt student intake till several policy decisions taken by Govt on SAITM is implemented. Such policy decisions include listing of SAITM in CSE, more..

Macron's Victory

May 15 (DM) On Sunday, May 7, Emmanuel Macron, a centrist young former banker,  who had never held elected office, comfortably won the French presidential election; defeating Marine Le Pen of National Front who campaigned on an  anti EU, anti immigrant and pro-nationalist card. French voters rejected her far-right message and backed Macron’s call for centrist change. The political newcomer campaigned on a promise to open up France’s economy, strengthen ties to the EU more..

Mullaitivu Fisheries in troubled waters

May 15 (DM) The Mullaitivu fishing community went through tremendous devastation during the last phase of the war, the tsunami before that and decades of displacement. Almost every family has lost one or more persons, most of their homes were razed to the ground and their fishing livelihoods brought to a standstill for years. Yet the post-war period has not brought them respite. During the course of the war, the number of able-bodied fishermen in Mullaitivu had perished. more..

'This govt did not fall from the skies'

May 15 (NS) “The Anti Corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) is scheduled to get many files regarding the yahapalana (good governance) Govt soon. These include those pertaining to the import of vehicles and pharmaceuticals. Although the people want the ACCS, Govt does not,” – Sunil Handunnetti. JVP MP and Chairman of the COPE, Sunil Handunnetti speaks to Rivira with regard to more..

Playing football with Colombo’s garbage

May 15 (ST) The stupidest solution to the Meethotamulla garbage disaster is to move this mountain of muck, as suggested by some politicians, warn experts. Colombo seems unable to handle its day-to-day waste, so how will the Meethotamulla solid waste mountain be moved, asked many sources, warning that the consequences of such an attempt will be another fiasco. They were quick to point out that more..

The forgotten other

May 15 (Hindu) When PM Narendra Modi, on his recent visit to Sri Lanka, addressed a large gathering of hill-country Tamils in Norwood, Central Province, it marked a symbolic recognition at the highest level of the Indian govt of the role of the other Tamils. He became the first Indian PM to visit the hub of hill-country Tamils. He also announced that Indian govt would fund the construction of an additional 10,000 houses. more..

Govt looks for Airline partners

May 15 (SL) The govt is to negotiate with international airlines to seek a partner for SriLankan Airlines after a top US firm withdrew from talks to purchase a stake in the loss-making state-carrier. Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said that govt will have discussions with companies like Emirates which once operated SriLankan Airlines. “Direct talking with international airline companies will take place probably over the next few weeks, more..

Duality of Dual Citizenship

May 15 (CT) The issue pertaining to the matter of dual citizenship held by MPs, former and current, has attracted much public attention since it emerged in Parliament a fortnight ago. The matter that only concerned MP Geetha Kumarasinghe has now extended to other MPs and Provincial Councillors. And on a countless number of times Kumarasinghe has claimed that she is clueless about the technicalities of the issue. more..

GMOA’s strike postponed

May 15 (DM) GMOA’s indefinite strike that was schedule to be held today had been postponed following requests by other trade unions, GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said. GMOA had scheduled an indefinite trade union action starting today (15) demanding the closure of SAITM private medical college. He also said several trade union actions carried out by the GMOA had not been favourably responded by the Govt. more..

UN to review Sri Lanka’s rights record in November

May 15 (CG) Sri Lanka’s human rights record will come under review in November during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Burundi, Korea and Bolivia forma a Troika which will review and submit a report on Sri Lanka in November. The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of UNHRC, which provides more..

Eelam merchants stay mum on Narendra Modi’s Sri Lanka visit

May 15 (DC) The opposition cannons fell silent yet again as PM Narendra Modi visited SL — his second trip to the island nation in two years, to reinforce the traditional connect between the two nations. His two-day visit to SL (to attend the biggest Buddhist festival Vesak Day as its chief guest) at Colombo May 12-14, saw no strong reaction in the Dravidian state. Modi’s second visit comes at a time when China is trying to make more..

Central Bank clarifies reports on EPF, assistant governor transfers

May 15 (LBO) Central Bank, in a statement, has clarified media reports which state that an assistant governor and officers of the EPF Department were transferred over losses at the EPF due to irregular transactions. “Monetary Board of the CBSL appointed an internal investigation team to examine the EPF transactions in Govt Securities over the period 2013-2016,” statement said. “Having considered the preliminary findings more..

No computers attacked by global Ransomware virus in Sri Lanka: SLCERT

May 15 (LBO)Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team today said incidents of local computer systems being affected by the recent ransomware virus have not been reported to them so far. Chief Information Security Engineer Roshan Chandraguptha said that it is essential to follow precautionary measures to avoid such attack. “So far we haven’t received any reports of an infected computer in Sri Lanka. more..

The Dickoya Hospital & Muslim Leadership

May 15 (CT) India’s magnanimous and magnificent gift of a modern hospital at Dickoya built at a cost of 1,200 million Sri Lankan rupees is an act that should put all Muslim MPs and their Arab backers in shame. Although the hospital is located within the Hatton-Dickoya urban council area in the Nuwara Eliya Disrtrict, where the Indian Tamil community is heavily concentrated, yet, it is a gift to the nation as a whole and not to a particular community. The gift also represents the success of more..

To us all towns are one, all men our kin

May 15 (CT) Indian PM Narendra Modi graced the International Vesak Day celebrations in Sri Lanka in an admirable manner winning the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans. It was on the initiative of late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar Vesak was declared as an International festival by the UN to pay homage to Lord Buddha whose teachings led mankind to follow the right path to lead the right life. Modi's visit to Sri Lanka had inspired not only the majority Buddhists in the country, more..

රටේ වත්මන් දේශපාලන තත්ත්වය

China-Sri Lanka Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum to be held in Colombo

May 15 (DM) A 70-member high profile delegation led by Communist Party Secretary of China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Peng Qinghua, will arrive in Colombo this week on the invitation of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to attend the Guangxi, China-Sri Lanka Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum. The objective of the visit is to actively promote economic and trade cooperation between Sri Lanka and Guangxi. The 70-member strong delegation will include senior officials more..

Two Lankans arrested during brothel raid in Kuwait

May 15 (ATO) A man and a woman of Sri Lankan nationality were arrested from a brothel in Khaitan area. When Farwaniya securitymen received a tipoff about a SL expatriate who turned his apartment into a brothel, they monitored his movements. After confirming information, they raided the apartment and arrested him and a woman with him. During interrogations, suspect confessed that he brings clients to his apartment and offers them with services of flesh pleasure at a cost of KD5 more..

JO targeted Modi’s visit to achieve narrow goals: MS

May 15 (NR) President Sirisena says certain factions attempted to achieve narrow political objectives through the visit of Indian PM Narendra Modi. He refuted allegations that Indian Premier signed any agreements with SL during his stay. President said certain factions asked the public to protest with black flags during the Vesak festival, claiming that they were requested to do so due to the arrival of Indian PM Modi. more..

International body to propagate Theravada Buddhism: President

May 15 (PSL) A delegation of 2OR Buddhist Charity Organization called on President Sirisena to discuss about its future philanthropic activities in Sri Lanka at the President’s Official Residence. The leader of the delegation Master Jun Hong Lu, President of Australia Oriental Radio and TV announced a contribution of Rs 7.5 million for any Buddhist educational activities for youth. “This could be utilized for any youth educational activity of the President’s choice,” he said. more..

Sampanthan calls for India’s help to keep UNP-SLFP marriage going

May 15 (Island) Opposition and TNA Leader R Sampanthan said he had sought India’s help to ensure the continuation of the UNP-SLFP administration. He said that he had requested Indian PM Narendra Modi himself in Colombo to do so. That objective could not be achieved without the two main parties sinking their petty differences for the sake of the country, Opposition leader said. "I explained the prevailing political situation in the country to the Indian PM," he said, more..

'State doctors blocking education freedom of children'

May 15 (EN) Activists led by state doctors are threatening strikes over a private medical college and blocking the education freedom of children with the objective of supporting ex-President Rajapaksa's political faction, ruling party legislatures charged. UNP legislator Mujiber Rahman said, contrary to a misleading idea spread that private education is a new thing, it has a history of over 100 years. more..

NCP Governor rejects JO affidavits against CM

May 15 (NR) Governor of the North Central Province has rejected a petition signed by 17 councillors calling for the removal of the present Chief Minister of the Province Peshala Jayaratne. North Central Provincial Councillor SM Ranjith said majority of the councillors were in favour of him and therefore called for him to be appointed the Chief Minister. He said the councillors have not faith or trust in the present Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne and called for his removal. more..

FSP: What did Fonseka do to other captives held at Kantale camp?

May 15 (Island) Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP) demands to know what Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who boasted of having spared its leader Kumar Gunaratnam’s life in 1989, had done to other JVP suspects held in Kantale army camp. FLSP Central Committee Member Pubudu Jagoda said that Field Marshal Fonseka had recently claimed that the latter had spared Gunaratnam in 1989. "Fonseka says he, as the commanding officer of that camp, spared Gunaratnam because more..

Hong Kong rejects asylum for Lankans who sheltered Snowden

May 15 (AP) Hong Kong authorities have rejected asylum requests from a group of refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden four years ago, in what their lawyer said is retaliation for helping the former NSA contractor. Immigration officials in the southern Chinese city denied the applications by the four adults and three children from Sri Lanka and Philippines, Robert Tibbo said. Snowden hid out in Hong Kong for 2 weeks more..

Water Board turned profitable in 2016

May 15 (EN) National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS&DB) improved its financial position in 2016, making an operational profit, but is still believed to be facing difficulties in servicing loans owing to inadequate revenue. The NWS&DB made an operational profit of 1,733 million Rupees in 2016, in comparison to an operational loss of 65 million Rupees in 2015. Total revenue of the state water utility grew by 17.5 percent to 25.1 billion Rupees in 2016 mainly due to more..

Modi invites Mahanayakes to India

May 15 (DM) Indian PM Narendra Modi had invited the Mahanayake Theras of the Malwatte and Asgiri Chapters to visit India, it is learnt. Mr. Modi made this invitation when he called on them in Kandy during his short visit to the country in view of UN Vesak Day celebrations. According to sources, the Mahanayake Theras accepted the invitation. Mr. Modi undertook a tour of Sri Lanka for the second time on May 11 to attend the UN Vesak Day celebration conducted in Sri Lanka besides, more..