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'Mahendran’s decision led to unprecedented currency printing'

May 5 (Island) Central Bank Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, revealed yesterday that the Central Bank had been compelled to print a large amount of money in 2015 and 2016 as the then Governor Arjuna Mahendran opted for long-term bond auctions. Dr. Weerasinghe said that never in the history of the Central Bank had such a large amount of money been printed before. more..

Free outpatient care at NFTH for distressed public to face GMOA strike

May 5 (Island) Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) in Malabe, which currently operates under the management of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) will open its Out Patient Department (OPD) to the general public, free of charge today in view of the countrywide strike launched by the GMOA. The decision comes in the wake of the recent strike by the GMOA, which crippled the Healthcare Services of the country, particularly the OPDs of state hospitals. more..

Mahendran signs his way into fresh controversy

May 5 (FT) The legitimacy of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran signing a local currency note came under fire yesterday in Parliament. UPFA MP Bandula Gunwardena challenged the validity of currency notes bearing Mahendran’s signature while highlighting the court ruling on UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe’s dual citizenship. Gunwardena, tabling a Rs. 100 currency note issued with the signature of Mahendran, said: “Arjuna Mahendran is a Singaporean citizen. more..

Countrywide strike today: We are ready: Govt

May 5 (CT) Govt yesterday said that it was ready to meet any contingency or negative fall-out of the countrywide multiple trade union strike which is expected to cripple the nation's health, education, transport and other sectors. "We are a democratically elected sovereign government and we are ready to meet any contingency. We are ready to meet fire with fire," Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke said. more..

SL tourism arrivals up 17.5% in April 2017

May 5 (EN) Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 17.5% from a year earlier to 160,249 in April 2017 helped by a surge in European visitors as a partial closure of the airport ended. Western European visitors rose 40.9% with UK visitors up 48.6% to 17,841, Germany up 47.1 percent to 11,866 and Switzerland rose 43% to 2,691. From the smaller generating markets of Spain visitors were up 111% to 1,810, from Norway up 112% to 1,052, from Denmark up 92% to 1,310. more..

‘Over 250 key TUs not joining GMOA strike’

May 5 (DN) State Service National Trade Union Federation said 252 key trade unions will not participate in the trade union action launched by the GMOA together with several trade unions in the public sector. Udeni Dissanayake of the All Island Management Assistants Association asked the GMOA members where they were when the SAITM was established by the previous govt. He said this Association failed to utter a single world against the SAITM during the previous regime. more..

GMOA led token strike today

May 5 (DN) Over 30 trade unions in the health, education and transport sectors will launch a token strike on May 5 (today) at 8.00 am in protest against SAITM. The GMOA will make sure that no patient dies and all maternity and children’s hospitals will function as usual. The strike will not affect the functions of the Maharagama Cancer Hospital, all kidney treatment institutions, all accident wards countrywide, more..

The state of the Police and policing the state

May 5 (DM) When Maithripala Sirisena announced that he would run for President against Mahinda Rajapaksa, he was flanked on one side by Rajitha Senaratne. Sarath Fonseka is a Field Marshal, is an ex Army Commander and was the candidate that the Opposition fielded against Rajapaksa in 2010. Champika Ranawaka is the General Secretary of coalition that promoted Yahapalanaya in Aug 2015. He also represents President Sirisena in the CC. All three are Cabinet Ministers. more..

May Day done with: What Next?

May 5 (DM) Major venues were full of heads. But all heads are empty heads. My sorry conclusion on crowds at May Day festivals. May Day was undoubtedly a huge three cornered political competition among Sirisena, Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa. Competition was in filling parks they chose to have their May Day festivals in. The official SLFP/UPFA venue at Getambe, Peradeniya was the smallest of all venues. UNP had the fairly large Campbell Park & surrounding roads to fill. more..

Govt plays down fears of threat to Yala harvest

May 5 (SL) The govt has played down the threat to the Yala harvest in September saying steps have been taken to face any situation. The main harvest (Maha) in March 2017 declined by more than half and the secondary harvest (Yala) in September will also be significantly impacted, bringing hardship and suffering, and increasing indebtedness for poor families, WFP said in a country brief on Sri Lanka recently. more..

Sri Lankan workers and students oppose Maruti Suzuki frame-up

May 5 (wsws) Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) supporters in Sri Lankan are continuing the struggle to free the imprisoned Maruti Suzuki workers in India. Over the past week campaigners won support at the University of Sri J'pura and Colombo University as well as from workers near the Colombo Port. Hundreds of World Socialist Web Site articles more..

Sri Lankan scientist Malik Peiris elected to US academy

May 5 (TS) Renowned flu expert Malik Peiris has received one of the highest honors for a scientist. University of Hong Kong professor has been elected one of the 21 new foreign associates of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States. Peiris, chair professor of virology at the HKU School of Public Health, is a clinical and public health virologist, with a particular interest in emerging viral diseases at more..

JO believes in Rajitha’s version on SF appointment

May 5 (Island) JO alleged that a feeble attempt was now being made to save President Sirisena of embarrassment for proposing Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as head of security apparatus to deal with trade unions. Chairman of SLPP G.L. Peiris said that the govt was working overtime to deny cabinet spokesman Dr Rajitha Senaratne’s statement pertaining to the Field Marshal’s proposed appointment. more..

RTI can be game changer in Sri Lanka’s path to prosperity: World Bank

May 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s newly enacted Right to Information (RTI) Act if used effectively can be key for the country’s transition to upper-middle income status and to increasing its shared prosperity, a senior World Bank official said. “RTI law is a game changer in SL’s path to prosperity if used with a focus on development effectiveness,” Jan Walliser, World Bank’s vice president for Equitable Growth, Finance & Institutions, more..

Inland Revenue Act to be approved subject to amendment: Dayasiri

May 5 (FT) Cautioning against the unchecked verbatim adoption of foreign legislation, a senior Minister yesterday said that the proposed Inland Revenue Act was approved by Cabinet subject to amendment. Responding to questions raised at a forum held to obtain public opinion on international trade policy, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that the process of making amendments to the draft Act will need to be more..

Voices of Midwives: Excerpts from the EP

May 5 (UNPFA) Sri Lanka, with a free health care system has much to boast in the provision of reproductive health services. The country’s health indicators are often envied among its South Asian counterparts. This is a result of investing heavily in maternal health since the beginning of the last century, which has reaped positive dividends in lowering the maternal mortality, to the lowest in South Asia — an impressive more..

Kanchana disassociates himself from JO

May 5 (DM) UPFA Matara District MP Kanchana Wijesekera said today he had decided to temporarily disassociate himself from the joint opposition. In a Facebook post he said he had no intention of joining the govt or the Maithri faction of the SLFP or for that matter any other faction which supports the govt. “This decision was taken to obtain a better perspective of the prevailing situation. more..

Probe on FCID following complaints to PM, President

May 5 (DM) The IGP and the Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order have begun an inquiry into the activities of the FCID. Sources close to the PM said the inquiry had been had been launched after a series of complaints were received by both the Premier and President against the FCID. The objective of the investigation is to determine whether these complaints were valid and whether anyone was bringing any undue influence more..

President seeks clarification on Resettlement Ministry’s 6,000 prefabricated houses

May 5 (ST) Cabinet approval on a Resettlement Ministry paper to award 6,000 prefabricated houses to the war-affected of the North and East, was held up this week, after President Maithripala Sirisena sought further clarification. Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan has been promoting the initiative of steel giant ArcelorMittal since 2015. Its logistics partner is Kumarca Engineering & Management (Pvt) Ltd, more..

Numbers & Flashbacks

MAy 5 (CT) Émigré lankans to Lankans living, breathing, suffering politicians and garbage collapses within SL are talking about the May Day numbers. Joining that herd, this hypocritical émigré is also chipping in his 2 paisa worth into the Indo-US vs China tug-of-war experiment that is called the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; previously known as Republic of Sri Lanka and previous to that as Ceylon. Why don’t all the politicians really show they genuinely care for more..

Threat to national security

May 5 (CT) Today's Joint Opposition (JO)/ Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) sponsored one day strike may be a threat to national security. The JO/SLPP shadow leader is the SLFP/UPFA Kurunegala District MP and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. JO/SLFP/UPFA MP Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage speaking to reporters on Wednesday said that their strike is to show solidarity with the GMOA who are protesting against the establishment of SAITM, more..

Parliament Mafia exposed

Sri Lanka raises USD1.5 billion in international sovereign bond

May 5 (LBO) Central Bank, on behalf of the govt, has successfully priced a US$ 1.5 billion 10-year International Sovereign Bond on Thursday. The bonds have been rated ‘B1’, ‘B+’ and ‘B+’ by Moody’s Investors Service, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings respectively. “This marks SL’s eleventh U.S. dollar benchmark offering in the international bond markets since 2007 and is a clear testament of the international investor community’s continued support for SL through the years,” more..

World Bank VP visits Sri Lanka

May 5 (EN) World Bank's Vice President for Equitable Equitable, Finance, and Institutions Jan Walliser is on a two day visit to Sri Lanka to observe the reform process in the country. "Sri Lanka has made a strong commitment to implement comprehensive fiscal, economic, and governance reforms," he said in a statement. "I look forward to my meetings with the govt to understand how the World Bank Group can further strengthen its ongoing support for these initiatives." more..

Sri Lanka’s war general faces murder probe

May 5 (EN) Former army major general Kamal Gunaratne is under investigation over the murder of an employee at the Sri Lankan embassy in Brazil, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Gunaratne, who was sent to Brazil as deputy ambassador by then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, murdered an embassy employee Nimal Rupasinghe with the support of two other embassy staff members, he said. more..

Preliminary objections raised by Fowzie in corruption case turned down

May 5 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara turned down the preliminary objections raised by State Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation A.H.M. Fowzie today, regarding a corruption case filed against him and fixed the case for trial to be heard on July 27.  Bribery Commission filed a corruption case against the Minister for allegedly causing a Rs.1.07 million unlawful loss to the govt by misusing a vehicle belonging to the Disaster Management Centre. more..

GMOA Chairman issued notice to appear before Appeals Court

May 5 (DN) Two civil society activists yesterday filed a Contempt of Court action in the Court of Appeal against GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya seeking the Court’s Constitutional jurisdiction against Dr. Padeniya for allegedly undermining the Court of Appeal judgement dated Jan 31, 2017 which was delivered compelling the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register the MBBS graduates of the SAITM provisionally as medical practitioners in terms of Medical Ordinance. more..

SAITM related strikes are regrettable: Prez

May 5 (PMD) President Sirisena said it is highly regrettable that some people due to their political agendas have resorted to strikes when steps have been taken to solve SAITM issue. Speaking at a function today, he urged the medical students not to be political paws and to complete their medical education successfully for their benefit as well as for the sake of the nation. He assured that no student would be subjected to injustice. more..

Visakha, Lyceum on top after second day

May 5 (CT) Akalanka Pieris of St. Peter's College (27:45) and Onethra Weerasinghe from Mahamaya College Kandy (32:47) secured gold medals in the 50 M Backstroke men's and women's categories respectively on the second day at the Swimming Junior and Senior Nationals at the Sugathadasa Indoor Long Course Swimming Pool yesterday. Alvin Arulmaran (30:95) from Gateway College Colombo and Ganga Seneviratne (34:06) from Visakha Vidyalaya won the boys and girls U-15 more..

'Reduction of Mahinda security not politically motivated'

May 5 (DN) Minister Sagala Rathnayake said in Parliament today that the decision to reduce police officers from former President Rajapaksa’s security contingent was not politically motivated. “Even with the reduction, the former President has a security contingent of 187 personnel including 26 STF officers,” he told Parliament this afternoon. “The number of security officers to be appointed a VIP is based on an estimate” he said. Based on the estimate, 42 police officers were removed more..

President opens new administration building of Thamankaduwa DS

May 5 (PMD) President Miathripala Sirisena opened the new administration building of Thamankaduwa Divisional Secretariat today and bestowed it with the people. The Govt spent Rs 87 million to build this new administration building. The three-storeyed building was and on the third floor comprise of a hall with sitting capacity for 350. The Field Officer Division and the Social Development Division are more..

Sri Lanka’s ex-first lady spent millions to watch Vesak in Paris

May 5 (EN) Former first lady, Shiranthi Rajapaksa, spent 25 million rupees to watch Vesak, the biggest Buddhist festival in Paris while packing in a pilgrimage to Lourdes, a beloved shrine of the Catholics. She was representing Sri Lanka at the 2014 Vesak celebrations organised by the UNESCO in France and stayed in a super luxury hotel which charged 20,000 euro a night for the room only. She spent three nights there, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament. more..

Concerns raised over Sri Lanka abstaining in UNESCO vote

May 5 (CG) Concerns were raised in Parliament today over Sri Lanka’s decision to abstain from voting in a UNESCO resolution critical of Israeli Conduct in Jerusalem and Gaza. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said Sri Lanka’s decision to abstain from voting was unacceptable. This was the second time SL abstained from voting in a UNESCO resolution critical of Israeli actions in Jerusalem and Gaza. Last December SL abstained from voting on a resolution by UNESCO which more..

Station Masters Union calls off joining strike

MAy 5 (NR) Station Masters Union earlier in the day, accusing officials of pressurising employees to take on additional duties, warned all employees would engage in the ongoing trade union action if the issue was not addressed. Secretary of the Station Masters Union NUD Jayawardene said employees were being pressurised by officials to engage in work to which they weren’t assigned, in addition to their day to day duties. more..

Ranjan makes an appointment with Padeniya

MAy 5 (AM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake has made an appointment to consult Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, at Navaloka Hospital, this evening. Padeniya leads the GMOA which has launched an island wide strike in state hospitals today, against SAITM. Padeniya, a pediatric neurologist, came under severe criticism from social media circles this morning for working in private hospitals while the GMOA is on strike. In the wake of this controversy, Ramanayake made an online payment of more..

India to challenge Chinese monopoly on naval vessel supply to Sri Lanka

May 5 (SN) Amid increased Chinese presence in Indian Ocean Region, India has expedited supplying naval vessels to its neighbors to sustain its hold in the region. Once the naval vessel is delivered to Mauritius, India’s Goa Shipyard is expected to transfer an offshore patrol vessel to Sri Lanka next month. Mauritius was given the second Fast Patrol Vessel and SL is to get an advanced offshore patrol vessel (OPV). The ships to both the countries have been delivered months before schedule. more..

Ranawaka demands MR to reveal secret deal with LIOC

May 5 (FT) Minister Champika Ranawaka challenged former President Rajapaksa to reveal the secret deal with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) in 2013 to sell the Trinco oil tanks to India. Referring to an article published on 25 May 2013 in The Hindu newspaper, Ranawaka said according to the story it is evident that Rajapaksa had a some sort of deal with IOC to hand over over  ownership of the Trinco oil tanks since more..

China pledges further assistance to fisheries industry

May 5 (DN) The Chinese govt has pledged technical and training assistance to further elevate fisheries industry in Sri Lanka. The agreement comes after a meeting between Chinese Agriculture Acting Minister Chen Xiaohua and Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. While China is already assisting Sri Lanka in many fisheries and aquatic resources development projects, the Chinese Acting Minister had pledged to support the breeding centre to be built in Batticaloa, more..

Speaker on MR security:Says will respond after talks with President, PM

May 5 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he will soon make a statement in parliament on the withdrawal of former President Rajapaksa’s security after discussing the matter with President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The speaker said so when JO Parliament group leader Dinesh Gunawardene raised the matter in the House last morning. “The former President has said there are threats to his life and therefore removing his security is a dangerous move. more..

Video: 'I will not give up my US citizenship'

May 5 (CT) I will not give up my American citizenship, says Basil Rajapaksa. My children and wife live there, there is nothing to hide about it. I came to politics while keeping my American citizenship, he told BBC Sinhala service. Criticising the 19th Amendment he said that the sole purpose of the amendment was to block he and his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa. On April 28, 2015 the Parliament adopted the 19th Amendment. more..