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iflix Sri Lanka opens new office in Colombo

Nov 21 (DM) iflix, the world’s leading entertainment service for emerging markets, opened the doors to its new office in Colombo last week, giving further impetus to its rapid expansion into the hands and hearts of Sri Lankans island-wide. The establishment of its exceptional new local headquarters is a testimony to the long-term prospects and value that iflix sees in the SL market. iflix commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 2016, providing local subscribers access to more..

United in Corruption; Divided in Politics: PM speaks of secret debts of former regime

Nov 21 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the bond commission Monday that the former regime had kept big-ticket govt expenditure out of the budget to project a robust balance sheet to the IMF. Defending his decision to scrap the system of private placements and go for public auctions of bonds, he said it was difficult to assess the actual cash needs soon after coming to power in 2015. He said even a week ago, more..

Sri Lanka to test fuel before shipment, build more storage tanks

Nov 21 (EN) Sri Lanka will test fuel before it is imported and build more storage tanks to expand capacity and prevent shortages triggered by unexpected supply disruptions and hikes in demand. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga also warned that the govt would take over retail outlets that created an artificial shortage by refusing to sell fuel despite having stocks. “We are proceeding with new proposals regarding to importing and distributing fuel in the country,” he said. more..

JVP tells govt to take up bond scam case first before new HC and prove its bona fides

Nov 21 (Island) The JVP called on the govt to take up the bond scam case first before special High Courts to be set up to hear corruption cases. Party MP Vijitha Herath, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget, demanded that the govt take up the Treasury Bond case as the first in the newly established special court to fast-track the hearing of large scale corruption cases. Commending the move to set up three special Trials-at-bar to hear fraud & corruption cases, more..

Looters as Rulers: Ranil resolute before Bond Commission

Nov 21 (FT) The proceedings of the PCoI on the controversial bond issuance formally concluded yesterday with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe appearing before the Commission amidst an unusually large crowd of lawyers, journalists and a sizable gathering of senior PMs representing the ruling UNP. Making history as the country’s first sitting PM to appear before a PCoI, Wickremesinghe provided clarifications on more..

Parents of medicos say SAITM issue not solved 100%

Nov 21 (Island) Parents of the medical students of state universities and the SAITM said, at Getambe Rajopawanaramaya over the weekend, that the private medical college had not been solved 100%. A delegation of the combined union of the parents of medical students told the Chief Incumbent of Getambe Rajopawanaramaya on Saturday they expected the govt to honour its pledges. The parents told the prelate Ven. Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala that they were awaiting the arrangements for more..

Many health projects implemented in North with the contribution of SL Army

Nov 21 (PSL) Many development programmes are being implemented successfully under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena and with the contribution of Tri-Forces to uplift the living standard of the people in the North, who were affected by the three decade long brutal war. At present, a large number of projects which were implemented jointly with the Ministry of Health to improve the health facilities for the people in the North have been successfully completed and more..

Dappula and Sumanthiran battle at PCoI

Nov 21 (Island) Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera strongly objected to President’s Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran, MP, representing S. Pathumanapan, a Central Bank employee recently interdicted over his alleged involvement in the treasury bond scam, at the PCoI into controversial transactions in Feb. 2015 and March 2016. SASG de Livera, seated next to AG Jayantha Jayasuriya, raised more..

Great escape after Dickwella antics

Nov 21 (Island) The first Test between Sri Lanka and India came to a thrilling conclusion here at Eden Gardens yesterday as the hosts nearly pulled off a game that the Sri Lankans had dominated for most part. Set an imposing target of 231 in 47 overs, some excellent fast bowling by Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar denied Sri Lanka any chance as the openers were dismissed with the total on two. Both Dimuth Karunaratne and Sadeera Samarawickrama dragged on. more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 4

Nov 21 (Island) (b) Shouldn’t that due procedure have included approval of Monetary Board and a considered analysis backed by data and discussion with all relevant stakeholders? (c) As you were aware of the conflict of interest that Mr. Arjuna Mahendran had, did you not consider it prudent to verify and satisfy yourself that the due procedure has been followed? (d) In light of the procedure that was adopted by present Monetary Board in moving to a new system of issuing treasury bonds, more..

No phones were tapped: PCoI clarifies

Nov 21 (DM) Responding to insinuations by several persons, the Bond Commission issuing a special statement said no phones of MPs were tapped as alleged, and instead all the data revealed were from extracting data from the phones of Arjuna Mahendran and Arjun Aloysius. The statement stated that the extraction of the data was done on the orders of the Commission. The statement said that more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 3

Nov 21 (Island) "In 2015 and 2016, were the Minutes of Meetings of the Monetary Board, Board Papers and Reports considered by the Monetary Board and other Reports of the CBSL, submitted to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs (which is the Ministry under which the CBSL is placed), on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly or annual basis? If so, what was the information that was provided and how often was such information provided?" My reply is as follows- more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 2

Nov 21 (Island) If any further clarification is required from a legal perspective, the Attorney General would assist the Commission. [12] Question number 12 is as follows- "The evidence before this Commission of Inquiry suggests that, Ministry of Finance had identified that a substantial sum of money was required to fund payments which were then due to Contractors on account of road works and other projects and that these fund requirements may not have been previously accounted for more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 1

Nov 21 (Island) I, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the PM and Minister of National Policies & Economic Affairs of Temple Trees, Colombo 3 being a Buddhist do hereby solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm as follows, 1. I am the affirmant above named. 2. The PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE, INQUIRE AND REPORT THE ISSUANCE OF TREASURY BONDS more..

GMOA to take legal action against SLMC

Nov 21 (DN) GMOA will take legal action if the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) holds its election against the relevant rules and regulations without gazetting, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said. He said that strangely, Health minister’s public relations officer has also handed over his nominations for the election, while his term as a SLMC member ends today. Nominations close on 23rd. Dr. Aluthge said GMOA had already sent letters expressing their objection to all more..

Commission thanks Ranil

Nov 21 (DN) PCoI thanked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for appearing before it to provide some clarifications with regard to the answers furnished in reply to questions framed by the Commission and the officers of AG’s Department. Commission in a statement also thanked the PM for the detailed answers provided to all these questions and further questions. Commission said the PM readily agreed to appear before the Commission on a request made by Commission. more..

PM testifies before bond probe commission

Nov 21 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the govt hadn’t taken any policy decision to instruct the state-owned banks to make bids at the treasury bond auctions at lower interest (yield) rates. PM said so answering a question posed by Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, who led the Attorney General’s Department team assisting the PCoI probing treasury bond scams involving Central Bank more..

Significance of Article 9 of the Constitution

Nov 21 (DM) Article 9 of the Constitution has become the subject of much discussion. Could or should it be removed from the Constitution?   Article 9 reads as follows;   “The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14 (1) (e). (Emphasis mine). Critics allege that this Article leads to inequality. more..

Time to turn a new page

Nov 21 (DM) The latest budget is out, and the electronic media is going full-throttle interviewing the man and woman on the street to get his and her opinion. He or she is indeed a valid voice in the situation, they are the ones who are directly affected by the mangala mohotha of Minister Samaraweera. He sure is on a high and the budget has triggered a tendril of hope among the masses, maybe it could be termed as a beginning of a new page, which is so badly needed in today’s Sri Lanka. more..

'What’s now being exposed is the mafia behind it'

Nov 21 (DM) COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti said that the revelations of COPE members in constant contact with Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius was evidence of a mafia type organised crime ring. Q: As the Chairman of COPE, which investigated into the Bond Scam, what is your take on the recent revelations of phone calls between members of your committee and Arjun Aloyius? more..

Experts panel to find petrol-crisis culprits within three weeks

Nov 21 (ST) A three-member probe panel will, within three weeks, identify those who are responsible for the recent petrol crisis and submit its report to the Cabinet, Petroleum Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe said. He said the panel would likely be appointed tomorrow in consultation with Minister Arjuna Ranatunga. The appointment of an experts panel was recommended by Cabinet Sub Committee appointed by Prez Sirisena more..

Bond commission & Parliamentary privileges

Nov 21 (DM) Govt MPs and their peers in the joint opposition seem to agree at least on one thing; their opposition to the AG’s Department for revealing secret telephone conversations among govt members of the COPE and Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius. Since it is not about one missed call or two, but regular telephone conversations spanning over the period of COPE investigations into CB’s dodgy bond deal more..

Sri Lanka roadshow takes Perth by storm

Nov 21 (TW) Beginning in the Western Australia capital of Perth the first of three travel trade roadshows went off with a bang yesterday. Over 100 members from the travel industry including representatives from Australian travel agents and wholesalers met with Sri Lankan hoteliers, tour operators and tourism officials for a series of B2B meetings. Australia has delivered 8% increase increase arrivals to SL more..

Next round of ETCA negotiations set for next month

Nov 21 (SL) The next round of talks on the proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India is scheduled to take place next month. Minister Malik Samarawickrama told Parliament that six rounds of talks on ETCA have been completed. He said the key objective of ETCA is to resolve the implementation issues on the existing Free Trade Agreement with India. Minister noted the importance of the deal for SL, more..

The price of freedom: Sri Lankans cry out for help from Manus Island

Nov 21 (DM) The crisis on Manus Island continues as 421 refugees and asylum seekers refuse to leave the refugee processing centre on Manus Island to the alternative abodes provided. Twenty one among these refugees and asylum seekers are Sri Lankans. Since 2013 Australia has denied entry to anyone reaching its shores unofficially by boat. They were sent to refugee processing centres in Manus Island & Nauru. more..

Gintota divided into 3 for security: Police

Nov 21 (CT) IGP Pujith Jayasundara said that the Gintota incident could have been prevented by the Police had they acted sooner, but their failure to do so, was yet another black mark on the Police. The IGP added that in the future, such incidents would be prevented and added that stern action would be taken against instigators. Gintota will be divided into three zones and each division will be overseen by a different ASP, more..

Only 10 detained under PTA: Govt

Nov 21 (CT) Govt maintained that there are only 10 individuals currently detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) adding that all of them are suspects in serious cases of terrorism. Cases include the murder of Major General Janaka Perera, the suicide bomb attacks on former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, killing of 7 persons in the Wilpattu more..

Gamini Senarath, two others released on bail

Nov 21 (DN) Three suspects, including former President’s Chief of Staff  Gamini Senarath were today ordered to be released on bail by Colombo Fort Magistrate for allegedly misusing public funds by illegally investing Rs.4 billion from the Rs.18.5 billion approved by the Cabinet for a hotel project in 2012. While ordering the release of the three suspects -  Gamini Senarath, former SL Insurance Corporation Managing Director more..

Privilege Committee to probe phone tapping

Nov 21 (NR) Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya says the Privilege Committee will investigate the allegations that the Bond Commission tapped phone conversations of MPs. He informed the house of the decision during today’s Parliament session. A heated situation subsequently arose where MP Bandula Gunawardena said the Bond Commission stated that it did not phone tap any conversations involving MPs. more..

Liberalizing Shipping

Nov 21 (CT) Before President J.R. Jayewardene opened up the economy 40 years ago in 1977, the country had soaring double digit unemployment, corruption, cronyism, shortages, rationing and queues. Whatever local industries that functioned, were essentially catering to the local market. They were not good enough to produce goods for export as the quality of their products was questionable. Sri Lanka's exports then were led by the plantation sector, tea, rubber and coconut, more..

Today’s bonding with Bhagavad-Gita

Nov 21 (FT) We live in times of moral complexity. Whose deed is more pernicious, a burglar raiding the vault or the cop who wipes away the burglar’s fingerprints?  PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will appear before the PCoI today (20). Commission, according to a news report, has summoned Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya to lead the evidence of the Prime Minster. “The reason they have summoned me is due to the respect of protocol for the PM, who is the second citizen of the country. more..

Bond Scam

Sri Lanka's new trade policy has deadly Mercantilist myths

Nov 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's new trade policy published in the ministry of development strategies and international trade says a lot of home truths protectionism, but it also reinforces a dangerous Mercantilist myths that can hurt the poor and increase public discontent. Such beliefs can undermine the entire reform strategy like it did in the 1980s. An enduring myth in Sri Lanka has been that balance of payments crises are caused by trade deficits. more..

Vasu asks why CBK not being probed as per court order

Nov 21 (Island) UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara found fault with the govt for not continuing the investigations against former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the basis of a Supreme Court ruling on the Lanka Marine Services deal. MP Nanayakkara, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2018 under the expenditure heads of the Justice Ministry, said that he had filed a case before the Supreme Court with regard to the Lanka Marine Scandal in 2007. more..

A Sri Lankan’s Photograph of African Lionesses Captivates The World

Nov 21 (SLE) A Sri Lankan won the Grand Prize at the world’s preeminent nature photography competition. Lakshitha Karunarathna’s photo of a pride of huddling African lionesses was the Grand Prize winner of the 2017 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards held in Washington D.C. on Nov 16. Karunarathna accepted the award at a gala event at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. more..

Foreign investment to hit US$1.5bn this year

Nov 21 (EN) Foreign direct investments into Sri Lanka are expected to reach US$1.5 billion this year, almost double that of 2016, Board of Investment chairman Dumindra Ratnayaka said. “This year has been better, we expect almost double the investments of 2016,” he told a forum on new initiatives by the BOI held by the investment promotion agency and Council for Business with Britain. “But most of the investment is coming from existing investors expanding capacities and more..

Police Sub-Inspector commits suicide

Nov 21 (AD) A Police Sub-Inspector attached to the Mulleriyawa Police division committed suicide earlier today. Police sources confirm that the sub-Inspector shot himself using his own service pistol at the Police barracks in Mulleriyawa. It has been reported that the deceased Sub-Inspector named Premasiri took his life at 9.15am. Sub-Inspector Premasiri was due to appear in court for a human-rights violation trial today (21). Mulleriyawa Police is investigating. more..

Video: Trains come to a halt on main line and Kelani valley line

Nov 21 (DM) Train services on the main line had come to a standstill after a express train collided with a lorry at the Hunupitiya railway crossing this morning, the railway control room said. They said train services on the two rail tracks on both ways through Hunupitiya on the main line had come to a halt due to the accident. “Lorry had been thrown to the other line after the collision while the train was halted on the other line. more..

National consumer price inflation hits 8.8% in October

Nov 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's national consumer price inflation hit a high of 8.8% in October from a year ago, the Department of Census and Statistics said. National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) inflation reported for the month of Sept 2017 was 8.6%. A statement said that for the month of Oct 2017, the reported increase in inflation is mainly because of the comparatively lower price levels that prevailed in Oct 2016 particularly, prices of coconuts, rice and vegetables. more..

AirAsia's Tony Fernandes praises Sri Lanka, after reports of talks

Nov 21 (EN) Boss of Malaysia's AirAsia Tony Fernandes tweeted praise for Sri Lanka following reports that the budget carrier was in talks to set up a joint venture airline and help build a budget terminal in the island. "Applause to countries like Sri Lanka who realise that not one airport fits all," Fernandez said. SL's The Sunday Times newspaper said AirAsia had met senior ministers and a high powered economic policy committee to make the case for a joint venture airline. more..