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Duty on 66% tariff lines to be removed: Harin

May 16 (NR) The got says Sri Lanka regaining the EU GSP+ consisting of the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines is a major victory for the country. Minister Harin Fernando said Sri Lanka will gain benefits amounting to 450 million Euros. Minister said the full removal of duties on 66% of tariff lines will create many opportunities for the Sri Lankan business community. Minister also cited reasons for Sri Lanka losing the GSP+ trade concession in 2010. more..

Sri Lanka backs India's concern over Kashmir in China's OBOR project

May 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka, which attended the just concluded Belt and Road Forum here, has backed India's concern over the Kashmir issue, saying it is difficult for New Delhi to accept the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as it goes through the heart of Indian interests. India, which skipped the high-profile meeting, would have joined very happily in the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative of China, said Sarath Amanugama, more..

Is security of India and Sri Lanka indivisible?

May 17 (Island) Indian Premier Narendra Modi declared in Colombo on Friday (12) that the biggest challenge to sustainable world peace today might not be necessarily from conflict between the nation states. Addressing international Vesak Day celebrations, at the BMICH, Modi asserted: "It is from the mindsets, thought streams, entities and instruments rooted in the idea of hate and violence. The menace of terrorism in our region is a concrete manifestation of this destructive emotion more..

The story of trespass & punishment

May 17 (CT) Thirukkurral is an amazing piece of work in Tamil literature, written by poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar, (one also uses Kurral and Valluvar, with the prefix Thiru adding a touch of holiness to them). He is thought to have lived some two thousand years ago. The work consists of 1330 couplets, arranged in 130 chapters spanning three major themes of virtue, wealth and love. The literary beauty of Thirukkurral is in the packing density of information. more..

One year after the floods, Lion roars back

May 17 (Roar) You enter the Lion Brewery in Biyagama by going up a steep ramp. This ramp is much steeper and higher than it was a year ago. This is one of the results of extensive flood-prevention work carried out after the waters of the Kelani River poured into the factory, last May. There is no branding visible from the main road. From the outside, the brewery looks like any modern industrial site. This is deliberate and is to comply with more..

Politics: A number game?

May 17 (NS) Politics is most certainly a numbers game but are numbers the be all and end all of politics? That was the question being posed in political circles last week, in the aftermath of the May Day rallies that were being portrayed as a show of the relative political strengths of the major parties. The reason for all this angst was the massive crowds that thronged the Galle Face Green where the Joint Opposition (JO) led by former President Rajapaksa held their May Day rally. more..

Modi fittest to participate as chief guest

May 17 (CT) The 2017 United Nations Vesak Festival was held on a grand scale in Sri Lanka with great pride, bringing a significant reputation to the Motherland. The entire country was lit up with Vesak illuminations. It was not a Sinhala Buddhist who submitted the great proposal that Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, on which the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing Away of the Buddha took place, be recognized as an international holiday. It was a great Sri Lankan. more..

'Remove the Lines'

May 17 (NS) Minister of Hill Country, New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development, Palani Thigambaram spoke to the Nation regarding the significance of Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visit to the upcountry, the issues faced by the estate and plantation workers, the current status of the collective agreement, and what they wanted by way of constitutional reforms. Q : What is the significance of Modi’s visit to the hill country? more..

Taking ties to new heights

May 17 (DN) The past week was critically important for Sri Lanka since it hosted two foreign dignitaries for the 14th International Vesak Day celebrations held in Colombo and Kandy. The celebrations initially inaugurated by Indian PM Narendra Modi ended with Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s presence at the closing ceremony in Kandy. The regional focus was on Sri Lanka due to the presence of the Indian Prime Minister to inaugurate international Vesak celebrations. more..

Editorial: Signalling left, turning right

May 17 (Island) Last week saw a dramatic turn of events replete with irony. Some Joint Opposition (JO) big guns let out a howl of protest and even called for a black flag protest against Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit, which, they claimed, would set the seal on some controversial trade and economic pacts between India and Sri Lanka. Former President Rajapaksa also declared that he would not attend any functions graced by PM Modi unless they were related to Vesak festival. more..

Samantha Vidyarathna

Attorneys-at-Law: They cross swords against injustice

May 17 (DN) Mohamed Nizam Kariapper was born in Kalmunai and hails from the historic and ancestral “Kariapper Family” from the Eastern Province. His father, the late M. H. Kariapper too was a lawyer who practised in Kalmunai and later became a judicial officer and retired as a Grade 1 District Judge. He had his primary education at a Buddhist temple in Kalmunai, which was later known as Kalmunai Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya. Having passed the Grade Five Scholarship Examination, more..

Political predators mistakenly called the JO

May 17 (CT) When the carcass of our polity is sprawled across the landscape of the country, when the carcass is well beyond recognition, when its heart has stopped beating, its nerves ceased to twitch and its blood has hardened so much so that it’s no redder, but eerily crimson, we know that the predators have done the job. Fortunately we have not arrived at that burial ground as yet. The heart of Sri Lanka’s polity is still beating; its nervous system is intact and its blood still redder than ever. more..

Rajapaksa govt’s controversial MiG deal

May 17 (Island) In 2006, reports appeared in the print media about alleged irregularities in the purchase of four MiG-27s from Ukraine and the overhaul of four other MiG aircraft which were already in the possession of the Air Force. Since the change of govt in January 2015, the new govt has shown an interest in investigating the so-called MiG deal and we have seen occasional reports in the media about the progress of the investigation. more..

Sri Lanka hold edge over UAE in 2nd match

May 17 (Island) Sri Lanka 15-a-side rugby team will be the favourites on paper when they go head to head against a little known UAE in their second match of the Asia Rugby Division 1 Championship in Ipoh, Malaysia today. Sri Lanka defeated Philippines in the first game by 24 points to 13 where centre Danushka Ranjan and wing three quarter Richard Dharmapala went on to score for the Tuskers. Ranjan is the captain of SL sevens team while Dharmapala is an integral part of that side. more..

Standard Chartered’s Regional CEO in SL

May 17 (Island) Standard Chartered’s Regional CEO for ASEAN and South Asia, and CEO of Standard Chartered's Commercial and Private Banking business globally, Anna Marrs, is on an official visit to the Colombo office. In April this year the branch office was honoured to have welcomed Andy Halford, Group CFO to the country, and Anna’s visit marks yet another significant high point of the Bank’s presence in Sri Lanka. Jim McCabe, CEO, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka, more..

Free Public WiFi for one miiion by end 2017

May 17 (DN) Speaking to Daily News Business at the launch of Disrupt Asia Start Up Conference and Showcase yesterday, ICTA CEO Muhunthan Canagey, said that they would add 500 more public Free WiFi Hotspots by the end of this year. Asked to comment on the taxes that were imposed at the 2015 budget for the ICTA sector he said that though additional taxes were levied to the users, Sri Lanka still remains the cheapest in the world. more..

Brunei training facilities for SL athletes

May 17 (CT) National Athletics team for the Asian Athletics Championship 2017 will get the chance to train in Brunei for 2-3 weeks on a class one synthetic track ahead of the Asian C'ships, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said, when he disbursed funds for the National Athletes' pool yesterday. "Since we don't have a proper synthetic track for training right now we decided to fund them for a training programme in Brunei on a top class track," he said. more..

Landmark MoA paves way for CIMA members to obtain CA Sri Lanka membership

May 17 (FT) The landmark Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed between two of the country’s leading accounting bodies has now paved the way for CIMA members to obtain membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA SL), national body of accountants. Accordingly, CIMA members who complete the necessary modules and the practical training requirements as stipulated by CA SL can obtain membership from CA SL and enjoy enhanced standing more..

Sports Ministry takes initiative to regularize supplements in Sri Lanka

May 17 (CT) The Sports Ministry has finally taken the initiative to address a much needed situation in National Sports: Regularizing supplements and drugs usage, confirmed Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara yesterday. The minister stated he had a meeting yesterday with all related parties such as Sri Lanka Anti Doping Agency (SLADA), Health Ministry, Sports Medical Institute, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board & Customs. more..

Batti airport to open for commercial flights

May 17 (ST) The Batticaloa airport, up to now accommodating only military-controlled flights, will be opening by end May for private jets once the regulator awards certification as an internationally approved facility. The domestic airport in Batticaloa will be given approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) next week to operate civil commercial flights. The Airport and Aviation SL will be running the airport once approvals are granted. Hoteliers and connected industries would benefit more..

PMI decreases 24.7 index points in April

May 17 (DN) The Manufacturing Sector Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), following the seasonal pattern, recorded 41.8 in April which is a decrease of 24.7 index points compared to March 2017. This indicates that the manufacturing activities contracted in April 2017, which is largely attributable to the decrease in the Production and New Orders sub-indices, following the significant increases observed in PMI for the month of March 2017. As highlighted by the survey respondents more..

CEB to introduce new payment system

May 17 (DM) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that CEB had introduced a new payment system for consumers to pay their electricity bill according to their daily usage but will not affect the ongoing bill. He said the consumers can join only if they like. The CEB and the LECO, had given an opportunity to its customers to identify a time pattern in which can be shift according to the Time of the day terrify. more..

'No money should spent on luxury vehicles'

May 17 (DM) JO said no money should be spent on luxury vehicle by the govt for the ministers’ use till Meethotamulla victims are fully compensated. Former Minister G.L. Peiris said 32 persons were killed in the collapse of the Garbage dump and 334 houses damaged. He said the priority should be given to these victims.  He said it was a sinful act to spend Rs. 70 million for a minister’s car.  He made these remarks following govt’s decision to allocate Rs.1.2 billion for luxury vehicles of ministers. more..

JO confident of capturing several provincial councils: GL

May 17 (DN) Joint Opposition said it was confident of capturing power not only in the North Central Province (NCP) but in several other provincial council’s as well, if the need arises. “The battle to capture power in the NCP is a sign of things to come” JO member Prof. G.L. Peiris said. He said the JO was confident of capturing power in the North Central province shortly although the Governor refused to entertain affidavits submitted by 17 pro-JO, UPFA MP’s calling for more..

Poor Norochcholai management led to opposition over Sampur coal power: Report

May 17 (ST) Local opposition to coal power generation in general, and the earlier proposed coal power plant at Sampur intensified largely due to poor track record of environmental management at Norachcholai – the only coal power plant in SL, a recent report of experts has said. “It is true that neither worst cases nor the best cases can be used to justify any position. Nevertheless, emphasis on improving environmental management at more..

MPs vehicles are for sale!

May 17 (LT) Any MP elected to parliament is given a vehicle permit to import a vehicle whose value doesn’t exceed US$ 62,500 (Rs. 10 million) and many MPs sell the vehicle immediately. Any MP getting down a vehicle valued at this amount would get a tax relief of Rs. 33,457,500. For example an MP importing a Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle would get this tax relief. In this transaction they earn about Rs. 30 million. Many MPs sell the document with the permit while others get down the vehicle, more..

Plan to honour Maaveerar Terrorists

May 17 (CT) Police Intelligence personnel have received information to the effect that various commemorative events have been planned in the North to honour terrorist leaders of the LTTE under the guise of observing War Heroes (Maaveerar) week which falls later this week. Maaveerar Naal was declared Great Heroes' Week by LTTE leader Prabhakaran in 1991. Police said information received pointed to plans by several Tamil MPs in North to honour LTTE leaders who had died, more..

NCPC in turmoil: Prez engineers split in SLFP rebel camp

May 17 (Island) One of the rebel SLFP North Central Provincial Councillors, Susil Gunaratne, has switched his allegiance to President Sirisena within hours of signing an affidavit requesting the immediate removal of Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne Bandara, a staunch Sirisena loyalist. The rebel group comprising 17 members loyal to former President Rajapaksa demanded CM be replaced with S.M. Ranjith, more..

Video: No intention of increasing electricity bill: Minister

May 17 (DM) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said there is no intention of increasing electricity charges under any circumstances. He said the CEB is now facing many difficulties on providing electricity due to the prevailing dry weather condition. “There is only 28% water capacity left at reservoirs for hydro power generation because of not having sufficient rainfall during North East monsoon between last Dec and March and during South West monsoon (from June to Oct),” the Minister said. more..

Contempt of Court case against Gnanasara Thera fixed for argument

May 17 (DN) Contempt of Court action filed against BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera over his alleged offensive behaviour inside the Homagama Magistrate’s Court amounts to Contempt of Court on Jan 25, last year was yesterday fixed for argument by the Court of Appeal. Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Preethi Padman Surasena and Justice H.C.J. Madawala fixed the case for May 24. At a previous occasion, Court of Appeal more..

Mahendran’s Counsel submits letter purportedly from FM without signature/date

May 17 (Island) When the sittings of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged bond scam resumed yesterday the head of the team of counsels assisting the Commission from the Attorney General’s Department, Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera PC brought to the notice of the Commission a document submitted to it by the Counsel looking after the interests of main suspect Arjuna Mahendran. more..

Gang attack on Kohilawatta Mosque

May 17 (CT) Kohilawatte Mosque, in Sedawatte, was attacked with stones and clubs, around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, by an unidentified gang, resulting in extensive damage. Police said the gang had however fled on being challenged by several persons who had been painting the mosque in preparation for the Ramadan fasting season. When area residents had informed them, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, MPs S.M. Marikkar and Mujubur Rahuman, as well as Members of the WPC more..

New National Agriculture Policy in the offing

May 17 (FT) Food and Agriculture Organization of UN Assistant Representative Dr. D.B.T. Wijeratne confirmed that it was in the process of formulating two policies for the Govt to strengthen the country’s agricultural sector and food security. “At present we are in the process of developing the new National Agriculture Policy and National Policy for Primary Industries,” Wijeratne stated at a workshop titled Challenges in Agriculture: The Way Forward organised by National Agribusiness Council. more..

NGOs blame SLFPers for President’s failure to fulfill election promises

May 17 (Island) Purawesi Balaya, a collective of NGOs which campaigned for President Maithripala Sirisena in the 2015 presidential race lashed out at SLFP members in the govt for not letting the President fulfil his promises made during the presidential election campaign. NGO collective claimed the govt had failed to implement many of its election pledges including the much-awaited constitutional reforms. more..

Cases against Malaka and Scotsman fixed for Oct 24

May 17 (DN) A case involving an incident where Malaka Silva, son of former Minister Mervyn Silva, had allegedly assaulted a Scottish couple at a nightclub in Colombo was yesterday fixed for Oct 24 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) conducting investigations into the incident had informed Court that they have sought AG’s advice regarding two counter cases. At a previous occasion, the Court decided to name Scotsman James Francis Casserly more..

Nawinne calls for report on dual citizen MPs

May 17 (DN) Minister S.B. Nawinne has instructed Immigration and Emigration Controller General to submit a report furnishing details of the MPs holding dual citizenship. He said that he requested the report in his capacity as the subject minister. He also said he asked the Department to peruse the records of 20 to 25 years to find out the details of MPs who are dual citizens. PHU Leader Udaya Gammanpila last week placed an RTI request with the Immigration and Emigration Department more..

CPC unions threaten major strike again

May 17 (CT) The Trade Unions Collective of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has warned PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that if the govt does not take steps to fulfil their demands in the coming week, they will once again launch a massive islandwide strike to press their demands. They have informed the PM in writing that the reason for this decision is that it has become obvious that promises given to them by PM have not been honoured more..

Power of positive thinking

May 17 (DM) World leaders have told us that while we keep our feet firmly planted on ground realities, we need to set our vision on the stars and have noble goals in life -- beyond selfish or self-centred agendas and ambitions. The essential factor for this is to allow ourselves to be filled and refilled with positive energy. This means positive thinking, positive words and positive actions. As we exercise the power of positive thinking, we will experience it more and more, more..

Who wants Yahapalanaya, desire a Rajapaksa?

May 17 (DM) Who wants the Yahapalanaya (good governance)? Not Sri Lankans, for sure. More thrive on mis-governance or are beneficiaries of serial corruption that has trickled down with the advent of free economy. They voted for Yahapalanaya because they were not for excessive corruption by a few - relations, friends and boot-lickers of the Rajapaksas. Families support irregularities if benefits flow to them like obtaining jobs outside the rules of meritocracy; some say, more..