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Sri Lanka to open gateways to East Africa, Bay of Bengal: Minister

Apr 12 (DN) Sri Lanka is working towards opening a gateway to East Africa via Colombo and a second gateway in Trinco which opens to Bay of Bengal,” said Minister Champika Ranawaka. “We will extend the Megapolis concept to Trinco as well. He also recalled that SL was the first in the region to open modern Free Trade Zones in Katunayake and Biyagama. Commenting on urbanization, he said it was inevitable. “This is not because we want to transplant people from rural areas into more..

JVP Press conference

Kollupitiya resident complains against high rise builder

Apr 12 (ST) Condo developers, the Blue Ocean Group has denied claims of wrongdoing on complaints made by some residents of their apartments that Blue Ocean hasn’t transferred their deeds. In one example, a resident of Kollupitiya, A. Priyantha owning four condominium apartments built by Blue Ocean Residencies has complained about the company’s poor construction, among other issues. “I have paid upfront for all four apartments – three at Blue Ocean Residencies Kollupitiya more..

Sri Lanka sells record US$ 2.5 billion in 5, 10-year sovereign bonds

Apr 12 (EN) Sri Lanka has sold US$ 2.5 billion from sovereign bonds selling 5-yaer bonds at 5.75% and 10-year bonds at 6.75%, at a time when new issue premiums were high in the market. SL raised US$ 1.25 billion in 5-year bonds and US$ 1.25 billion in 10-year bonds. Sri Lanka is raising money partly to early-settle so-called bunched up debt. Sri Lanka went to the market at a time when so-called new issue premium or the extra yield investors demand from new issues over existing bonds more..

PM requested to hold PC polls under old system

Apr 12 (DM) DPF leader and Minister Mano Ganesan said today they had requested PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to hold the upcoming provincial council election under the preferential voting system. He said they had made this request at a meeting parties representing the minority communities such as the SLMC, TNA, DPF, ACMC and EPDP had with the PM at Temple Trees. “The ward-based system has created more..

Financial sector stocks strengthen following CBSL’s lending rate decision

Apr 12 (Island) Central Bank announcement on increasing the lending rate by 25 Basel points, coupled with an anticipated five percent economic growth for 2018, had the effect of increasing financial sector, especially banking sector, stocks in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) yesterday, stock market analysts said. CB unexpectedly cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday, as policy makers sought to revitalise an economy growing at its weakest pace in 16 years more..

Traffic cops take more bribes during festive season: CMA head

Apr 12 (Island) Ceylon Motorcyclists Association (CMA) says that, according its research, traffic policemen took bribes from motorists to the tune of Rs 3.2 million, in 2016. CMA Chairman Chirantha Amarasinghe said that for each Rs. 500 the police collected as fines they pocketed Rs. 800 as most motorists would rather pay bribes and get the their licences back than face the hassle of visiting police stations and post offices to pay fines. He noted that CMA had received over 60 complaints daily more..

Govt plans to build 50,000 flats for low income families in Colombo

Apr 12 (FT) Govt plans to launch a project to build housing units in Colombo and suburbs for low income families, aiming to relocate families presently living in shanties, PM said. In the first phase, Govt expects to build 50,000 houses for low income families, and plans to find the funds needed to complete the project in the next few years, PM said. Speaking at a recent event, organised to lay the foundation stone for more..

Prisons chiefs replaced

Apr 12 (CT) Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Reforms has ordered the immediate transfer of heads of all the main prisons, islandwide, and the promotion of some senior officials, states a communiqué issued yesterday. Accordingly, prison heads in the Welikada, Magazine, Bogambara, Negombo, Angunukolapelessa, Matara and Kuruwita prisons have been transferred with effect from 16 April. The decision for the changes has been taken by more..

Sirisena gives job to Fowzie

Apr 12 (CT) The most senior member of the SLFP, State Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, has been picked by President Sirisena, as his special delegate, to resolve the crisis that has been triggered in the Party, following the 16 Ministers from the SLFP voting in favour of the recent No-Confidence Motion against the PM. Minister Fowzie had met with the PM yesterday evening and held special discussions. It is learnt that Fowzie met the PM on a special request made by the President. more..

Professionals oppose Sri Lanka-Singapore free trade pact

Apr 12 (Island) The recently signed Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) is a smokescreen for introducing Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA), National Joint Committee (NJC), comprising SL professionals, has warned, stressing the need for Sri Lanka to put in place a comprehensive domestic regulatory framework before entering into international agreements. more..

President Instructs to provide assistance to drought hit farmers

Apr 12 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed to commence a project to cultivate 600 acres of sorghum to provide relief to the farmers who are in a helpless due to inability to engage in farming because of severe drought in Puttalam District. In areas where even a single cultivation could not be completed during Yala and Maha, two harvesting seasons due to the failures in farming this project was implemented to provide assistance for more than 500 farmer families where more..

RTI reveals Lanka E News blocked on order from President’s Office

Apr 12 (GV) In Dec 2017, Groundviews received a list of 13 websites that had been blocked from 2015 onwards by the TRC, via a Right to Information request. The documentation uncovered the process that goes into blocking a website in SL. In at least four instances, the order came directly from the Presidential Secretariat, who via the Media Ministry made applications to block specific websites, often on the grounds of providing incorrect or false information about the President. more..

Delayed payment for LG polls duty allegation denied

Apr 12 (Island) Commissioner General of Elections R.M.A.L. Rathnayake denied allegations that those who had been deployed for the recently concluded LG polls were yet to be paid the stipulated allowance. Rathnayake said so when The Island brought to his notice CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin’s claim that teachers hadn’t been paid in spite of EC Mahinda Deshapriya’s declaration that all payments were finalized. more..

No holiday on May 1; May 7 declared holiday

Apr 12 (DN) The Government has cancelled the Public and Bank Holiday falling on May 1, 2018. This has been done due to the Vesak Week being held from April 26 to May 2. The relevant Gazzette notification has been issued by Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena by virtue of the power vested in him under the Holidays Act, No. 29 of 1971. The government has declared Monday, May 7 as a Public and Bank Holiday to celebrate International Labour Day. more..

JVP wants Parliament dissolved

Apr 12 (CT) The JVP yesterday demands that the Parliament be dissolved, at the earliest, claiming that it was the best solution for the current political crisis. Central Committee, Politburo Member and Administrative Secretary of the JVP, K.D. Lal Kantha, demanded that the Parliament be dissolved in order to end the political crisis in the country. “Now, the situation in the country is chaotic. Before 10 February, it was unstable. Now it has become an anarchy. more..

‘Platform of transparency must to review financial performance of public enterprises’

Apr 12 (DN) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe underscored the need to establish a holding company to address complex administrative governance issues of public enterprises in SL. He was speaking at the launch of handbook on Governance for Chairmen and Directors of Public Enterprises. The event was held at the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka. “The introduction of good governance practices and more..

Indian Police seize 136-kg ganja smuggled to Sri Lanka via sea

Apr 12 (Hindu) Mandapam police have seized 136 kg of ganja, being smuggled to Sri Lanka via sea after arresting four people, including the kingpin of the smuggling gang and seizing their three cars at Vedhalai near Mandapam on Tuesday night. Acting on specific intelligence inputs received by a security agency, a special police team intercepted the smugglers at Vedhalai seashore around 9 p.m. and seized the contraband brought to the shore to be smuggled to SL, using a fishing boat. more..

Six SLFP Ministers will be axed before Avurudu: Rajitha

Apr 12 (Island) A new Cabinet of Ministers would be appointed before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said the six SLFP ministers who had voted for the no-confidence motion against PM in Parliament last week, would not be included in the new Cabinet. Emphasising that there would be no reshuffle of ministries, Senaratne said President Sirisena would swear in a new Cabinet, which would include replacements for the six SLFP Ministers more..

16 SLFP ministers voted in favor of no-confidence motion quit unity govt

Apr 12 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, yesterday, accepted the resignation letters tendered by 15 SLFP ministers, including six Cabinet members, and the Deputy Speaker, who voted for the no-confidence motion against PM last week. Their resignations would take effect from midnight yesterday, former State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. The UNP called for the resignation of the SLFP ministers who had more..

May the New Year herald peace and harmony

Apr 12 (DM) National New Year is being observed this week-end in the aftermath of the biggest political crisis since the historic presidential election of Jan 8, 2015. The no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe -- submitted by the JO and supported by 16 SLFP members including ministers, deputy and state ministers -- brought the shaky national unity govt to breaking point. Fortunately the turn of events last Wednesday restored trust and stability to a large extent with more..

An incomparable leader who never pleaded for leadership

Apr 12 (DM) Daily Mirror on March 23, 1968, exactly fifty years ago reported, ‘The jungles of Binntenna turned festive with green flags, lion flags, Buddhist flags and coconut leaves to greet Dudley Senanayake, the PM. Despite the burning noon day sun, men women and school children in their thousands, stood on both sides of the road with betel leaves to receive him…’ Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony for a new hospital in Mahiyangana, the PM said, more..

Good Governance, Democracy and the Opposition Leader

Apr 12 (DM) What is the worst thing this Govt has done? Well, one could make a long list and shake it up many times. One could do a compare-and-contrast exercise with the first three years of previous regimes going back to Independence and play that familiar game of suppressing the bad, inflating the good and so on. It would be hard to deny however, that however long the list is and whatever it may contain, among the worst more..

SLFP headed for a split?

Apr 12 (DM) A section of the SLFP backed the move to bring the no confidence motion in the hope of unseating PM. The PM survived the motion with the support of his party men and the main opposition TNA. Be that as it may, the SLFP is now in disarray due to consequences of the motion. President Sirisena spelled out that a team of SLFPers, adamant on leaving the unity govt, worked hand in hand more..

SOEs hampered by incompetent Directors

Apr 12 (CT) The appointment of incompetent Boards of Directors has been the major cause for the failure of many State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) in SL, a key Govt official pointed out. Speaking at the launch of the handbook for good governance for chairmen and boards of directors of public enterprises on Tuesday, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said the basic and most vital requirement for good governance in SOEs more..

90% coastal pollution from inland sources

Apr 12 (CT) The Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) revealed that 90% of the coastal pollution in Sri Lanka comes from inland municipalities and the public. Commenting on SL’s coastal pollution, General Manager, MEPA, Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara added that only 10% of the garbage in beaches and the sea around the island can be attributed to coastal communities, coastal municipalities, more..

Four companies shortlisted as TA in Hilton and Hyatt divestment

Apr 12 (CT) Having recently completed the technical evaluation phase in selecting a Transaction Advisor for divestment of the Hilton and Hyatt Colombo Hotels, Sri Lanka has selected four local and foreign companies to undergo the next phase, the financial proposal process through which the TA’s service fees will be decided, said an official from the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development (MPED). The four companies were more..

Scout official ensnared in procedural tangle shrugs off stink

Apr 12 (ST) The executive committee members of the Sri Lanka Scout Association this week charged that the appointment of the chief commissioner by the President’s Office violates the Act and rules of the association. SLSA president Srinath Gooneratne said that Merrile Goonetillake, the incumbent head, has been named in contravention of No 13 of the 1957 Act and rules of the association. Mr Goonetillake denies charges. more..

Northern Governor calls for early general election to settle political crisis

Apr 12 (Island) Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray warned that the current political crisis, triggered by the Feb. 10 LG polls, could be only addressed by an early parliamentary election. Cooray warned of dire consequences unless the UNP and the SLFP took tangible measures to restore normalcy. Northern Governor said so in response to a media query after swearing in Kandiah Sarveswaran as the Acting CM more..

Sri Lanka economy to rebound to 4.2% growth in 2018: ADB

Apr 12 (CT) Asian Development Bank (ADB) forecast SL’s economic growth will rebound to 4.2% this year from a 16-year low of 3.1% recorded last year - still below the South Asian average growth rate of 7%, however - while economic growth is forecast to reach 4.8% in 2019. However, ADB noted that growth over the next two years will depend on agriculture and the political climate as elections approach. more..

CBK, Ranil meet at Temple Tree

Apr 12 (DM) A meeting took place between former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday. Journalists who had arrived to cover the UNP Politburo meeting last evening were able to witness Ms. Kumaratunga entering Temple Trees just as the meeting was about to end. The meeting between the two came in the backdrop of certain statements critical of Ms. Kumaratunga more..

Ravi seeking portfolio in new Cabinet?

Apr 12 (AD) SL’s new Cabinet of Ministers is likely to be sown in within today and tomorrow while sources say that the relevant preparations and formulating of ministers and portfolios is already under way. It has been reported that the ministerial portfolios are currently being named with the involvement of Secretary to the President Austin Fernando and Secretary to the PM Saman Ekanayake. more..

Loosies for Losers

Apr 12 (CT) Govt’s crusade against the expanding market of narcotics both illegal and legal is being waged, albeit at a lesser pace and efficiency anyone of us would like it to be. While the international debate on how to fight the drug menace is still going on – whether we advocate Rodrigo Duterte’s drive to kill any peddlar, seller, supplier or junkie out on the street or we legalize a selected handful of narcotics — Sri Lanka’s take on drugs is rather conventional and traditional, more..

Getting closer to the masses

Apr 12 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe after defeating the No-Confidence Motion against him by the JO first paid homage to the Triple Gem at Gangaramaya Temple and later addressed the media. He said that the foremost thing now for the Govt was to get closer to the people. In the past two-and-a-half years there were initiatives like giving free laptop computers and tabs and creating more infrastructure support for IT with WIFI connectivity, which has not gone well for Govt given more..

රන්න ෆොක්ස් රිසොර්ට්

Severe thunderstorm warnings issued

Apr 12 (NR) Dept of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning in several provinces including the Western Province during the next 6 hours. Accordingly the Met Dept stated thunderstorms accompanied by severe lightning and thunder are likely in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central, Southern, Uva and North-western provinces. The Met Dept advises the public to take the necessary precautions in this regard. Temporarily strong gusty winds up to 70-80 more..

Now special salary scale for nursing graduates

Apr 12 (Island) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has proposed a special salary scale for nursing graduates. A health ministry official quoted Dr. Senaratne as having told a group of nursing graduates attending a function at the ministry that a Cabinet paper had been submitted to that effect. Dr. Senaratne said nursing degrees had been introduced in 2002 during the UNP-led UNF administration. In spite of opposition from some health sector unions, more..

University non-academic staff calls off strike

Apr 12 (NR) University non-academic staff have decided to call of their ongoing strike which was launched based upon several demands. Joint Committee of the University Trade Union said the decision was reached in consideration of the measures taken by the govt, to intervene and resolve relevant concerns. Accordingly the Committee said non-academic staff are prepared to report to work from Apr 17. more..

Salary arrears and bonuses paid for employees of Fisheries Corporation

Apr 12 (GDI) The Ceylon Fisheries Corporation has taken measures to provide workers' salaries and bonuses for the first time during the Sinhala Avurudu season. The Ceylon Fisheries Corporation (CFC) a government-owned institution, which was scheduled to be closed down due to unfettered mismanagement during the last government, is currently earning profits under a new management. Accordingly, the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation was able to obtain a profit of Rs. 36 million for more..

Sri Lanka and Vietnam to advance bilateral political cooperation

Apr 12 (SL) Sri Lanka and Vietnam on Wednesday reaffirmed the commitment to further consolidate and advance bilateral political and economic cooperation. Third Meeting of the Sri Lanka-Vietnam Political Consultations was held on Wednesday in Colombo at senior official level. SL delegation was led by Sumith Nakandala, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vietnam delegation was headed by Đặng Đình Quý, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. more..