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Sri Lanka: Drink in days of old

May 24 (NZH) We were not suitably dressed for such an auspicious occasion. Entry to the Temple of the Tooth Relic inner sanctum, a sacred Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka's crowded hill city Kandy, is an invitation-only affair. Visitors are expected to be correctly attired. Inside the temple, the dress code is white for purity. Through the connections of Priyanjith Panabokke, whose father had served on a powerful temple committee, we had a coveted pass to the holy of holies. more..

GMOA threatens indefinite strike

May 24 (Island) GMOA warmed that it would be compelled to resort to an indefinite strike if the govt did not submit to courts its proposed solution to the SAITM issue. GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen Zoysa said the govt doctors had appealed to the President to place before the judiciary the proposals put forward by Minister of Higher Education to resolve the SAITM issue, but to no avail. Ministry of Higher Education in April presented several more..

Setback in Sri Lanka for China’s silk road

May 24 (EAF) China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) sets the bar high. It strives to connect Asia, Africa and Europe with the aim of achieving mutual development. Sri Lanka, with its valuable geographic position in the heart of the Indian Ocean, is a crucial participant in Beijing’s newest endeavor. But China–SL ties seemed to reach a low point when in Jan 2017 violent protests erupted in which people expressed opposition to an industrial zone project funded by Beijing. more..

LuLu Group to invest US$ 1 bn on four mega projects here

May 24 (DN) UAE based retail giant LuLu Group has pledged to invest US$ one billion in SL for four mega projects within the next two years. The company also set up Y.A.S. Lanka, a BOI company at the Export Processing Zone at Katunayake recently. As their first investment of US$ 20 million the company inaugurated SL’s largest food processing and export unit that will source high quality products from SL and export to its large chain of hypermarkets in the Middle East and other countries. more..

Lankan Mission Heads: Ravi wants immediate report

May 24 (CT) New Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake will call for a comprehensive report on heads of all SL's diplomatic mission abroad. The report, which he will call for as soon as he assumes duties at the Foreign Ministry, will have to furnish complete background information on all serving diplomats including Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Deputy Heads of Missions and Consul Generals. more..

Lottery Dealers to Strike

May 24 (CT) All-Island Lottery Dealers' Association (AILDA) yesterday warned that if the National Lotteries Board (NLB) and the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) were to be placed under the jurisdiction of Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake, despite the fact that both boards collapsed under him previously, they will opt for trade union action shortly. Secretary of the AILDA SS Madurasinghe stated this in response to reports that a few authorities which previously functioned under more..

Lankan cagers leave for Malaysia today

May 24 (DN) Two four-member Sri Lankan boys’ and girls’ cager teams leave for Malaysia today to participate in the FIBA Under-18 3x3 Asia Cup Championship to be held from May 26 to 29 in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. The Lankan boys’ team will be led by Brent Thevakumara, an experienced player from the Asian Int'l School - Colombo and will include Shivanga de Silva (CIS- Colombo), Rukshan Atapattu (Royal College, Colombo) and Rashan Perera of Lyceum Int'l School - Wattala. more..

Finance Committee Skewers Ministers’ Cars

May 24 (CT) Chairman of the Public Finance Committee M.A. Sumanthiran informed Speaker that the Committee has decided to withhold its approval for expenses to purchase new vehicles for Ministers. While tabling the Committee's performance report, MP said that the committee has requested Director General of National Budget Department to provide the details of vehicles purchased for ministers since Jan 2015. more..

Optimism looms all over business circles

May 24 (DN) Business chambers hailed the appointment of Mangala Samaraweera as the finance minister and said that his experience as a senior minister for several decades will certainly help to create a better economy. President, National Chamber of Exporters, Ramal Jasinghe said that Mangala Samaraweera as the foreign minister did a creditable job by helping SL to regain GSP+ which would help to boost exports. “Through the new minister we hope to work more closely with more..

RADA case against Alles, three others fixed

May 24 (DN) The case against four including former MP Tiran Alles and former LTTE Financial Head Emil Kanthan in connection with the Rs.200 million fraud alleged to have taken place in 2006 was fixed for July 31 by Colombo High Court yesterday. High Court allowed the Attorney General to proceed with the controversial RADA case in absentia of former North and Eastern Provinces LTTE Financial Head Emil Kanthan. When the case came up before High Court Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi, more..

'We inherited a debt-ridden economy'

May 24 (CT) Newly appointed Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera yesterday compared the situation prevailing in the country inherited by the incumbent govt on 8 January 2015 to the Meethotamulla garbage dump. Moving seven resolutions under the Appropriation Act, the Finance Minister told Parliament: "I had serious misgivings when I accepted this portfolio. more..

Strict action against inciting communal tension: Govt

May 24 (DM) Cabinet decided to take strict action according to the law against elements that attempt to create communal tension and disharmony in the country, Govt said. Govt accordingly will instruct all Police stations to be vigilant on those who attempt to create tension among communities and apply law strictly on them. Cabinet Spokesman, Land and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka told a hastily convened news briefing in the Parliament Complex last afternoon more..

Cricket: No new Scotland heroics as Sri Lanka win easily

May 24 (AFP) Scotland were unable to back up their historic win over Sri Lanka as the Asian nation turned the tables with a nine-wicket victory when the teams returned to Beckenham on Tuesday. The Kent ground had seen Scotland record their first victory over a Test-match country in any format when they won Sunday's one-day tour opener by seven wickets. But Sri Lanka, using the matches as a warm-up for the Champions Trophy tournament in England and Wales that starts next week, more..

Can’t pin it all on Ravi K: GL

May 24 (DM) Govt could not possibly pin the entire responsibility of its economic failures and fiscal shortcomings on former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as he was not the source of the problem, the JO said. It said if the Govt was attempting to shy away from taking responsibility of all these failures by sacrificing Mr. Karunanayake, it would be a fiasco. “There is no denying that there were many criticisms over the way Ravi handled more..

SC to send determination to Speaker

May 24 (CT) The Supreme Court yesterday concluded the hearing of two special determination petitions filed against the proposed Bill titled Registration of Electors (special provisions), which was gazetted on 7.4.2017 and placed on the order paper of Parliament on 3.5.2017. The Court decided to send its Determination to the Speaker of the Parliament soon. The Supreme Court Bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justices Sisira de Abrew and Nalin Perera. more..

Parliamentary Select Committee to probe CB’s purchase of foreign assets under MR

May 24 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced in Parliament that a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) has been appointed to investigate into and report on alleged malpractices in purchases of the offices including premises, of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Brazil and the Office of the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York. The PSC will be headed by UNP MP J. M. Ananda Kumarasiri and includes 22 MPs. The other members of the committee are more..

SEC likely to come under Ravi as controversial liquor maker plans going public

May 24 (DM) Capital market regulator, SEC, is likely to come under the purview of the Foreign Ministry with the appointment for former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as the External Affairs Minister. This will be in addition to placing several other institutions such as the Development Lotteries Board, National Lotteries Board, Mahapola Scholarship Fund and SriLankan Airlines—which generally don’t come under more..

The re-emergence of the BBS

May 24 (DM) Who is a Buddhist? That’s a simple question but one that can yield innumerable answers. Innumerability of course can be explained and explained innumerably through reference to the Buddhist canon. The point is, labelling and self-labelling are both easy exercises. For the record, if you replace Buddhist with the follower of any other faith, again there can be many responses whose multiplicity can severally be explained drawing from the particular doctrinal canon. more..

Are doctors wasting public money spent on their education?

May 24 (DM) I was compelled to write this article after listening to some comments made by certain people on TV, and reading some articles published in newspapers,  regarding money spent to educate doctors; a hot topic these days (especially during trade union actions) used by many to condemn doctors.  “Doctors are educated with the taxpayers’ money. They should contribute to the free medical system of this country, serving the people who fund their education”. more..

'Teams will fear SL at Champions Trophy'

May 24 (DM) By his own admission Ranjit Fernando has lost count of the number of times he’s been the Manager of the national cricket team, one of the many roles he has played in his long association with Sri Lanka cricket. Having played, coached and commentated in that time, he was re-appointed as SL Team Manager in December last year and is among the contingent that travelled with the team to England for Champions Trophy. more..

SAITM under attack despite solution

May 24 (SL) The SAITM came under attack last week despite the govt reaching a solution on the issue. The Management of SAITM said on Friday they will be co-operating with the policy decisions presented by the govt and the suggestions made by President Maithripala Sirisena. Primarily among these is the recommendation to broad-base the institute’s ownership by listing it on the Colombo Stock Exchange. more..

'EU granting GSP+ concession to Sri Lanka: No one pretends the situation is perfect'

May 24 (DM) European Commission, legislative body of the European Union, granted GSP+ status to SL, providing enhanced market access to the EU under the special scheme which came into effect last week. While the govt hailed the opportunity for economic development, political and civil society groups have pressured the European Parliament to debate the restoration of the GSP+ tariff preferences to Sri Lanka, scheduled to more..

Suspect Army deserter, informant flee to India

May 24 (CT) Two of the chief suspects in the recent narcotics underworld gang killing of a Police Narcotics Bureau officer in Piliyandala have fled the country to TN by boat last week. An 11-year-old girl injured in the shooting died in hospital 11 days after a failed bid by hospital staff to save her life. Several Policemen were also injured in the attack. Minister Sagala Ratnayake revealed this in Parliament yesterday in response to being asked by more..

Central bank buys US$257.9mn dollar from forex markets in April

May 24 (EN) Central bank has bought US$ 257.9 million from forex markets in April 2017, with no sales, after also being a net buyer in March, official data show. When a central bank buys dollars, the rupee is prevented from going up. When a central bank buys dollars, rupees are printed into the interbank markets. Unless the rupees are mopped up by selling down the central bank's Treasury bill stock, more..

Eelam: From roar of a tiger to scream of a butterfly

May 24 (TOI) It has been eight years since the Sri Lankan civil war ended the bloody way it began with the demand for an independent Tamil Eelam in SL. Today, Eelam is heard only in the occasional slogans of a few regional parties like the MDMK, PMK and VCK and some fringe organisations and social media where a few young and restless try to reinvent the romanticism of a lost struggle. In public sphere, the cause doesn't more..

Cabinet approves 6,000 prefab houses in NE subject to beneficiary preference

May 24 (ST) Cabinet has approved a proposal to build 6,000 prefabricated (prefab) houses for the war-displaced in the North and East, on condition, the beneficiaries prefer them to masonry houses–an option the Ministry of Resettlement, ironically, never afforded them. Representatives of int'l steel giant ArcelorMittal–including a technical team–were in SL over the weekend for discussions in this regard, more..

‘True picture of CM Isura’s foreign jaunts hidden from parliament’

May 24 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament that party leaders should discuss the issue of provincial councils not sending information requested by Parliament and decide on remedial action. PM said so when there was an argument between Minister Faizer Mustapha and UNP MP S. M. Marikkar over the information provided by the WPC with regard to the number of foreign tours more..

SAARC, BIMSTEC inactive, ineffective: CBK

May 24 (BDN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has slammed the SAARC and BIMSTEC for not doing anything to solve regional crises. “Both regional organisations failed to resolve any political problems,” she said, delivering a lecture in Dhaka. “I would say (the regional groupings) are inactive and ineffective,” she said. She said that, during her time as SL President, she attended a summit in Maldives more..

3 bench Trial-at-bar to hear Vidya murder

May 24 (DN) Chief Justice Priyasath Dep has appointed a three member bench to hear the schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya murder case. The three member bench headed by High Court Judge Balendran Sashi Mahendran comprises Judges Annalingam Premashankar and Manickavasagar Chelian as its other members. The Chief Justice has also decided that the case should be heard in the Jaffna High Court. more..

Promotions, Demotions

May 24 (CT) Monday's Cabinet reshuffle centred round four key portfolios, though there was double that number involved. Those were Ports, going under the expanded version of Ports and Shipping, Media, Finance and the creation of a new portfolio called Development Assignments. In these aspects, Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga was demoted to be Petroleum Resources Development Minister, Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka to more..

TNA’s activities are not acceptable to the international community

May 24 (CT) It is high time now for the people of Sri Lanka to challenge the authority of the TNA, to act and speak on their behalf, on various matters be they political or otherwise. International Community that includes the UN agencies, European Union, Commonwealth, UNHRC and such others too should come out openly to back the people’s demand, to stop the TNA from functioning further. During these 13 years from 2004 TNA was shrewd enough, in not missing a single chance, more..

Lacille de Silva

Attacks on Muslim mosques and businesses a conspiracy against govt: Minister

May 24 (FT) The attacks on Muslim places of worship and businesses are a conspiracy against the Govt, a Minister says. Muslims in SL say that there have been intensified attacks in recent days in various parts of the country aimed at mosques and places of business. They say that since last April there have been at least 15 such attacks in various parts of the country. Minister Mano Ganesan says a conspiracy against the Govt is being launched with the backing of a number of organisations more..

Govt to prevent mosquito breeding in abandoned boats

May 24 (Island) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry has taken steps to destroy or cover old and discarded boats and canoes and fishing gear so that water will not collect in them facilitating mosquito breeding. In addition, abandoned fishing boats at fisheries harbours would also be destroyed or appropriate precautionary action taken to prevent them from being breeding sites of mosquitoes. Ministry had identified 176 boats left abandoned in fisheries harbours. more..

10 ministries in 1: More choices for deal making than before

If Muslims lose patience country will face dire consequences: EPC member

May 24 (DM) If the Muslims of this country are to lose their patience the country will face dire consequences, Eastern Provincial Council member, Shibly Farooq said. He said so at the monthly sitting of the of the Eastern Provincial Council. "The racial activities taking place in the country will pave the way for another blood bath. The majority of the Sinhala community do not approve racism. The proof of this mind set could be seen in the defeat of former President Rajapaksa. more..

Govt has ensured full freedom to stage protests: Amaraweera

May 24 (DN) "The govt has ensured full freedom to stage protests but the people at large blame the govt for inaction when the protests cause hindrance to their daily lives," Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. "The medical profession is so important it has no alternatives. I request members of the medical profession not to tarnish their image by demonstrating at every turn for minor issues that can be resolved through discussion and negotiation," he said. more..

President given grand welcome in Canberra

May 24 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Canberra this morning commencing a 3-day state visit on the invitation of the Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull. He was received by Official Secretary to the Governor General, Mark Fraser, Minister of Education, Senator Simon Birmingham and ýDeputy Secretary at Department of the Cabinet, Elizabeth Kelly, Australian High Commissioner of SL Bryce Hutchisson and more..

Reshuffling to take place among officials in state institutions: Lakshman Yapa

May 24 (AD) During the course of the next few days, ministry secretaries and other officials will be reshuffled amongst the state institutions with the intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena, State Minister of Finance, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena says. The Minister stated this today (24), upon addressing a media gathering. He elaborated that the President had paid attention towards the potential reshuffling as a means to strengthen the govt. more..

'Finance Minister post too big for my boots'

May 24 (DM) I was thinking that the pair of shoes I was offered was too big for me when I was given the Finance Minister post, new Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Making his maiden speech in the Parliament as the Finance Minister Mr. Samaraweera stated the Finance Minister post is a serious post which had been held in the past by political giants like J.R. Jayawardene and Dr. N.M. Perera. "That was why I felt this pair of shoes is too big for me" he said. more..