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'People fleeing from hot water springs'

Nov 15 (Island) People living close to hot water springs across the country were planning to leave their homes following a study which revealed the potential of converting the geothermal energy from the hot water springs to supplement the national grid, JVP MP Nihal Galappaththi said in Parliament. MP told Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera: "We are not against producing energy from renewable sources. But, there are complaints from people living near the hot water wells. more..

Sri Lanka: Adopt timeline for action: HRW

Nov 15 (HRW) Countries at the UNHRC should press Sri Lanka for a time-bound action plan on reforms during its third Universal Periodic Review, which begins Nov 15, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Successive Sri Lankan govts, including under President Maithripala Sirisena, have failed to ensure accountability for serious rights violations and other important commitments. more..

JO trying to delay polls: UNP

Nov 15 (DM) The UNP pointed the finger at Joint Opposition (JO) for attempting to delay the polls for Local Govt bodies by filing a case in courts. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said that all the groundwork had been made to hold polls by the end of January next year. “Against this backdrop, the accomplice of the JO had gone to courts to get the election delayed. When there is no election in the horizon, they want elections. When the elections are announced, they go into hiding. more..

Govt defends beer-friendly budget despite concerns

Nov 15 (SL) Govt defended the beer-friendly budget despite concerns raised by some members in the Govt and Buddhist monks. Cabinet co-spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekara said that the public have been misled on the pricing formula for beer presented through the budget. He said the Govt is keen to discourage the consumption of hard liqueur. Fitch Ratings said this week that Sri Lanka’s beer industry will regain market share from hard liquor following the more favourable tax regime more..

McKinsey to prepare strategies for Sri Lanka’s Digital Economy

Nov 15 (LBO) Cabinet has selected worldwide management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company as the consultation company for the preparation of strategies for Digital Economy in the island. Minister Harin Fernando said the cost of this exercise is around US$ 1.425 million. In July this year, Cabinet approved a proposal to prepare suitable strategies for digitalising the economy and to implement the project to more..

Early stages of Sinhala-Tamil rift 1931-1970s

Nov 16 (CT) The factors promoting political agitation among the Sri Lankan Tamils since the 1920s, particularly the developments after Sri Lanka secured independence in 1948, have inspired a large literature.[1] Three turning points in the temporal progression of this agitation have often been marked: one in 1956 when an electoral transformation helped enshrine Sinhala as the language of administration and placed the majority Sinhalese peoples in a dominant position more..

A rabbit painted on moon surface

Nov 16 (CT) This is a response to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s critique of Mangala’s Budget. He describes it as a social war. Globalization is not global hegemony. It can be so construed by Wimal Weerawansa who has not read a book written in any language other than Sinhala. That is understandable. Some regard globalism with suspicion or absolute aversion due to a perceived threat of cultural oppression. A fear proven wrong by history. When Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka adopts more..

A death chase: GPS to curb reckless driving

Nov 16 (SO) Seven people lost their lives this week as a result of reckless driving when a private bus plying from Colombo to Jaffna overturned in the Madurankuliya area earlier this week. While reckless driving is one main reason for accidents, especially among long distance buses, in the first week of this month alone six serious bus accidents caused by reckless driving were reported killing 11 and injuring 61 individuals. more..

Colvin - Trotskyite, Humanist and the Wittiest

Nov 16 (DN) Colvin R de Silva, a multi-dimensional character was born 110 years ago in Ambalangoda on Feb 16. He had his preliminary education at St John’s College, Panadura, from where he entered Royal College, Colombo. Island’s number one criminal lawyer in 1940 and 50s, he vehemently opposed the Capital Punishment. He who defended murder suspects knew he could earn a higher fee only if the practice of hanging continued, but our humanist had other ideas. more..

Our Constitutional Conundrum: A Commentary

Nov 16 (GV) Sri Lanka’s current political debate on constitutional reform is significant for a variety of reasons. The Interim Report of the Constitutional Assembly has inspired a spirited opposition from Buddhist monks, reminding us of the similar opposition emerged in 1995 when professor G. L. Peiris unveiled the August 1995 proposal of the People’s Alliance government. Although Professor Peiris has changed his political beliefs beyond recognition, the leading Buddhist monks, more..

'UN compensation for Kuwait workers: Rs 3.2 B on migrant worker welfare'

Nov 16 (CT) Deputy Minister Manusha Nanayakkara stated that the balance of more than Rs 3.2 billion remitted by the UN Compensation Commission to pay migrant workers who worked in Kuwait in 1990 has been put to good use. In an interview he went on to note that many of these migrant workers were paid the due compensation, however, there were many who didn't come forward to claim compensation. more..

Closing the gender gap

Nov 16 (DN) According to the latest reports, Sri Lanka is ranked 109 out of 144 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index. The country has dropped nine places in comparison to last year. The Global Gender Gap Index is designed to measure gender equality. The Index ranks countries according to calculated gender gap between women and men in four key areas: Economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. more..

Dual Citizenship Fiasco

Nov 16 (CT) It appears Geetha Kumarasinghe (GK) has given up the fight having exhausted all possible remedies after the nomination of Piyasena Gamage (PG) the next in line on the list to Parliament, despite unforeseen and unfortunate personal tragedies. An energetic and committed MR supporter was trapped on the bait set for the Rajapaksa Clan to keep them away from active politics by MS and RW killing many birds with one stone by the hurriedly passed 19th amendment. more..

Mahinda Amaraweera

Sevangala Sugar factory will not hand over to Gamage

Nov 16 (DM) Sevangala Sugar factory will not be handed back to Daya Gamage and Company despite the govt's decision to repeal the Under performing and Under Utilized Enterprises Bill, minister Wijith Wijeyamuni De Soysa said. "I have discussed this matter with the Finance Minister and he assured me that Sevanagala factory will not be handed back to the private sector even if the govt repeals Under performing and Under utilized Enterprises Bill the said. more..

Editorial: Who killed Wijeweera?

Nov 16 (Island) Leader of the JVP trade union wing, Lal Kantha, has called for an investigation into attacks on protests against the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and the killing of JVP founder leader Rohana Wijeweera, in the late 1980s. Claiming that he once met the late Maj. Gen. Janaka Perera, in Anuradhapura, and the latter denied any involvement in the killing of Wijeweera, Lal Kantha has demanded to know who killed the JVP leader while in custody. more..

SL start Indian series with zero injuries

Nov 16 (DN) Injuries have been part and parcel of SL cricket team in recent years contributing largely to the poor standard of fielding. To say that injuries have been eradicated calls for some sort of appreciation. “Everyone is talking about injuries in cricket now finally after about 10-15 years we have zero injuries going into the Indian tour,” Prof. Arjuna de Silva said. “Today’s Test series SL is going into against India we have zero injuries. more..

Oil, corruption and knighthood

Nov 16 (Island) Last night I slept well and had a dream. I found myself before King Maithripala. I was on bended knees and he knighted me by placing his sword on my shoulders. "Rise, Sir Hemantha, you will be in charge of the oil industry." I was driven to Colombo suburb in a large limousine. As I reached there, workers and other officials, known to be sycophants and bootlickers of the hierarchy, came running and garlanded me. Then I was taken to a posh air conditioned office, more..

The Garrison Town

Nov 16 (Island) When smart and attentive Shammi Isanka sat opposite me in her army uniform and answered the many questions posed by me, I didn't realise she was a young medical doctor, and she held the rank of Captain. She is from Dickwella. Having studied at Southland College, Galle, she decided to join the army due to her parents’ influence. She is a direct enlisted officer who went to medical faculty and thereafter worked at the army Hospital at Narahenpita. more..

'Important to play five bowlers against good Test sides'

Nov 16 (CI) When India went to SL in July-August and beat them 3-0, they won by some staggering margins: 304 runs, an innings and 53 runs, an innings and 171 runs. Just over a month later, SL beat Pakistan 2-0. What changed in between? What did SL learn about themselves from those three massive defeats to India that allowed them to go to the sapping heat of the UAE and beat a team that had never lost a series there? more..

Now, psychiatrist asks Mangala not to reduce beer prices

Nov 16 (Island) Senior Lecturer of Sri J'pura, Dr Jayamal de Silva accused Minister Mangala Samaraweera, of using unreliable and unpublished statistics to justify a budgetary proposal to lower the price of beer and amend tax structures on alcohol. Dr. De Silva alleged that the scientifically unproven statistics were being quoted by the Minister in support of amending state policy on alcohol. No person consuming kasippu would start drinking beer due to the proposed price reduction, more..

Some bankrupt politicians slinging mud at me: Susil

Nov 16 (DM) Minister Susil Premajayantha charged that some bankrupt politicians have engaged in slinging mud at him after he spoke during the debate on the Constitution on Nov 1, 2017. Minister who was speaking at the second reading debate on the budget, said the allegation made by an MP that he was involved in bringing down inferior quality fuel was false. "The stock was brought down to the country when I was abroad. This was brought down by Secretary ministry of petroleum resources more..

Shangrila-La secures additional 3 ½ acres on 99-year lease

Nov 16 (Island) Hong Kong-based Shangrila-La Group has secured three and a half acres adjoining its latest hotel situated on 10 acres abutting the Galle Face promenade in Colombo. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday said the govt had re-negotiated with the Shangrila-La Group what he called a much better deal than the one struck by the previous administration. Jayasekera confirmed that the lease was for a period of 99 years. more..

HNB Group ups 9-month pre-tax profit by 4%

Nov 16 (FT) Hatton National Bank (HNB) continued its growth momentum to post a Group Profit before VAT and NBT of Rs. 20.7 billion while PBT to Rs. 16.8 billion (up by 4%) and PAT to Rs. 11.8 billion (up 5%) for the first nine months of the year while group assets crossed Rs. 1 trillion. PBT at the bank level surpassed Rs. 15 billion and PAT was recorded at Rs. 10.9 billion. Interest income of the bank grew by 33.5% year-on-year (yoy), supported by a 14.9% yoy growth in advances.  more..

Softlogic suffers loss in 2Q

Nov 16 (FT) Diversified Softlogic Holdings Plc has suffered a net loss in the second quarter whilst first half net profit had dipped by 99% though the group’s results from operating activities have seen strong positive growth. Group Revenue grew 6.4% to Rs. 31.1 billion during the first half of the financial year with the quarter also registering a similar growth of 6.5% to Rs. 15.9 billion. Group top-line for the six months was led by Retail (30.8%), ICT (26.4%), Healthcare Services (19.1%), more..

Govt fast-tracks H’tota Port payments

Nov 16 (FT) Seeking to fast-track payment from the $ 1.12 billion handover of the Hambantota Port, Cabinet has approved amending the Concession Agreement (CA) to revise the payment schedule between the Govt and the Chinese investor and bring it forward, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said yesterday. Cabinet paper was presented by Ports Minister   and approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday afternoon. more..

Laugfs Gas returns to profit in Sept quarter

Nov 16 (EN) Laugfs Gas group returned to profit in the Sept 2017 quarter with net earnings of Rs40 million, down 85% from a year ago, after three successive quarters of losses. Earnings per share of the liquefied petroleum gas distributor fell to 10 cents from 70 cents. The share was last traded at Rs23. CEO W.K.H. Wegapitiya attributed the lower profit to price controls, rupee depreciation and rising interest costs and said the company continued to lobby for a pricing formula. more..

Parliament not a place for jokers: Marikkar

Nov 15 (LR) The 14th CPA Canadian Parliamentary Seminar was an opportunity to share good practice with members on key issues—such as the importance of the CPA Codes of Conduct as a tool to help address the trust deficit in Parliaments, the importance of gender equality in parliament, and the essential role that an effective Committee can play. “We need to consider what we discuss in parliament and how we behave,” Marikkar said. “There needs to be a code of ethics that is strictly enforced.” more..

Ravi blames all woes on Central Bank

Nov 16 (Island) The Central Bank was blocking the country’s progress, former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament. He said those at the Central Bank were under the impression that they lived in a different world. "The Central Bank is expected to act independently. It has to act in accordance with the govt’s vision. President and PM were elected They expect Central Bank to follow the new govt’s programme. more..

Rs 50M allocation for street festivals, exhibitions

Nov 16 (CT) With the tourist arrivals target for the next three years moving gradually beyond reach, Govt plans to invest nearly Rs 50 million to carry out three international street festivals and exhibitions, along with the much-anticipated US$ 21 million tourism promotional campaign scheduled to start early next year. Minister of Mangala Samaraweera said the Govt would hold street festivals and exhibitions in Los Angeles, London and Mumbai during the coming year to coincide with more..

Sri Lanka seeks Saudi partners for its food and beverage produce

Nov 16 (SG) Department of Commerce of SL and the SL Tea Board, with the Embassy of SL in Riyadh, joined hands with the private sector companies in Sri Lanka to promote the country’s food and beverage products at the Foodex Saudi 2017 that kicked off on Nov. 12. The event will wind up today (15). Six Sri Lankan companies in the food and beverage sector are participating in the exhibition. SL’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mr. Thassim and Consul General in Jeddah more..

Corruption always win in Sri Lanka: MS wants to patch up with JO: Isura

Nov 16 (DM) President Sirisena wants to go forward as a party with the joint opposition (JO), Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said. CM said former President Rajapaksa and senior members of the JO still wanted to be a part of the SLFP although several new party members were opposed to it. “Several senior members of the JO including Mahinda Rajapaksa do not want to split the party. more..

SC to consider fuller bench for petitions against PC Elections’ postponement

Nov 16 (FT) Supreme Court ruled that it would consider fixing a fuller bench in respect of the five petitions complaining of the purported postponement of the Provincial Council elections on 27 Nov. The bench comprised Justices B.P.Aluvihara, Priyantha Jayawardane and Anil Gooneratne. Five petitioners including Prof. G. L.Peiris and MP Dulles Alahapperuma, who challenged the postponement of PC elections, have urged the SC to hear their petitions before a fuller bench. more..

Withdraw new tax policy on alcohol: GMOA

Nov 16 (DM) The GMOA urged the govt to withdraw the 2018 budget proposal on new tax policy and issue of licence on alcohol with immediate effect. Addressing a press conference, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that the procedure to introduce a new tax system and issue of licence on alcohol would create more tendencies among liquor users to consume more alcohol; consequently it would increase the liquor consumption which is now 20% of the total population. more..

Promoting HR cannot be done overnight: SL

Nov 16 (DM) Promoting and protecting human rights is a work in progress and it is not something that can be done overnight despite the most sincere of commitments, Sri Lanka told the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session of the country in Geneva yesterday. In the opening statement, Head of SL delegation, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said the UPR, to us, is a process that recognizes this fact. more..

Upsurge in sword attacks: Jaffna Police looks for links

Nov 16 (DN) Four individuals were hospitalised in Jaffna following a resurgence in two separate sword attack incidents which Police say were motivated on personal grounds. DIG K.P. Fernando of the Jaffna Range said that while most of the attackers used swords as their choice of weapon, the Police were still investigating any probable links. “So far, we’ve found that the motive in most of the cases were personal issues among the assailants and the victims,” he said. more..

India vs Sri Lanka: Organisers struggling to sell tickets for 1st Test

Nov 16 (IANS) There has been a slow demand for tickets ahead of India's first Test against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens starting here Thursday. The threat of rain for the first two days coupled with Sri Lanka being a relatively weaker opposition whom India recently blanked 9-0 across all formats in their own den meant spectators did not show much interest in the five-day affair. Despite the presence of star captain Virat Kohli and the fact that India are playing a Test after a gap of three months, more..

Corrupt probing the Corrupt: Sri Lanka will always govern by corrupt politicians

Nov 16 (CT) A comprehensive report submitted to the Working Committee of the UNP, on the progress made by law enforcement authorities in handling fraud and corruption cases, has concluded that shortcomings on the part of the AG's Department have resulted in creating a public outcry against the Govt's inaction in fighting corruption. The report submitted by Minister Sagala Ratnayaka has pointed out that even though 370 cases more..

Partners in Crime: WP CM claims bond scams took place under previous regime, too

Nov 16 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya alleged that bond scams happened even during the previous govt at former President Rajapaksa. Claiming that the present govt was not the sole culprits of bond scams, Devapriya said, "Bond scams happened under the previous government as well." CM Devapriya stressed that it was President Maithripala Sirisena who had exposed the bond scam and appointed a commission to probe the alleged scams. more..

Sri Lanka removes Tamil leader's name from govt institutions, India to take matter up

Nov 16 (PTI) India will take up with Sri Lanka the issue of reported removal of the name of a revered leader of Indian Tamils in the island country from govt institutions, Minister Sushma Swaraj assured DMK working president MK Stalin today. The assurance came after the DMK leader flagged the issue with Swaraj. "Requested the MEA @SushmaSwaraj to raise Indias concerns over the removal of Thiru. Savumiamoorthy Thondamans name from SL govt institutions with their govt. more..