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Crucial issues to be addressed tomorrow ahead of vote on NCM

Apr 2 (Island) JO spokesman Bandula Gunawardena, MP, said that contentious issues would be addressed tomorrow at a special meeting ahead of the no-confidence motion (NCM) to be moved against PM. He said so when The Island sought JO’s response to UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse’s warning that his support for the NCM would depend on the JO’s readiness to name Wickremesinghe’s successor before the vote more..

Rajapaksa hopes Sirisena will back no-confidence motion against PM

Apr 2 (PTI) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed hope that incumbent Maithripala Sirisena - who was responsible for his ouster in 2015 - will support a no-confidence motion backed by the JO against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The motion scheduled for April 4 was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya by the JO last week against Wickremesinghe, accusing him of financial mismanagement and failing to tackle anti-Muslim riots early this month in central Kandy district. more..

Subjects under PM removed on his own advice: Ajith P Perera

Apr 2 (DM) Subjects and institutions coming under the purview of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was removed following his own advice, UNP MP Ajith P Perera said. "Subjects and institutions that is coming under the purview of PM was removed following his own advice and it is a part of govt's plan to go on a new journey," he said. "We have decided to go on a new journey together with Prez Sirisena from April 5 2018 and everyone will be able to see the changes we are going to make," he added. more..

UNP claims SLFP divided on no-faith motion against PM

Apr 2 (Island) The UNP alleged that the SLFP parliamentary group loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena was sharply divided over the No Confidence Motion (NCM) to be moved against PM Wickremesinghe. Minister Ajith P. Perera said that the absence of SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake, MP, and UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera, MP, at a media briefings called by the SLFP revealed the rift. more..

Cricket Lovely Cricket

Apr 2 (DM) Volleyball is Sri Lanka’s national sport. But cricket, known as -the gentleman’s game is by far, the most popular sport in the country, irrespective of gender, class, ethnicity or religious differences. Yet how many of us know the names of our national volleyball team? A purely amateur sport, untouched by corruption or professionalism -a sport of rural Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, cricket has been in the news more recently not for its gentlemanly qualities, but rather for the worldwide more..

The glory of Vesak in Colombo

Apr 2 (Island) Sinhala Buddhists have, for centuries, associated certain towns with specific Buddhist festivals. Chief among them is the ancient holy city of Anuradhapura, where white clad millions throng on Poson Poya in June to celebrate the introduction of the Buddha Dhamma to Sri Lanka over two thousand three hundred years ago. The month of Esala [August] draws many thousands of devotees Kandy, our last Royal Capital to pay homage to the Sacred Dalada - palladium of Sinhala royalty more..

'Country-specific UNHRC resolutions have only one goal'

Apr 2 (DM) Russian Ambassador to SL Yury B. Materi, speaks about bilateral relations, Russia’s role in int'l affairs and the recent controversy surrounding the asbestos. Q: Why Russia is against country-specific resolutions on human rights? A: We are strongly condemning the use of human rights issues as an excuse for interfering in domestic affairs of countries as well as undermining the basic principles of Int'l Law. more..

'PM and President must fulfil promises and not let down people'

Apr 2 (FT) Dr. Kapila Ranasinghe, one of the silent architects of the 8 January political change, in a candid interview, said it was very unfortunate that the President and the PM have not been able to resolve their political issues after the February LG elections in the same way they did prior to setting up the Govt on 9 Jan 2015. He said they owed it to the people who put them in power to work together and fulfill their mandate. more..

UNFF led march against Ranil gathers pace despite hiccup

Apr 2 (Island) Members of civil society organisations and political parties yesterday resumed their protest march against PM Wickremesighe for the 2nd day from Mawanella. UNFF Chairman, Maithri Gunaratne, leading the march, was detained by Kadugannawa Police on Saturday over two licensed weapons in his possession. "This was a clear move to deter us and to prevent us from reaching P'ment on Feb 4. more..

Final proposal on SriLankan Airlines to go to Cabinet

Apr 2 (FT) The officials’ committee on the restructuring of national carrier SriLankan Airlines has been tasked with preparing the final proposal for a public-private partnership framework based on the report presented by a hired aviation consultant, a top Govt source confirmed. “The report presentation presented last week to the PM was on the proposed way forward. We are now tasked with analysing the report,” the official told the Daily FT. more..

Harmful emissions from Lakvijaya coal power plant

Apr 2 (ST) A crucial environmental protection device in one of the Lakvijaya coal power plant’s three units is functioning at below required efficiency, resulting in harmful emissions from its smokestack. The electrostatic precipitator (ESP) of unit 1 has been running at below optimum for nearly one month. There are conflicting reports about the level of efficiency, with internal sources maintaining it has dropped as low as 40%. more..

NPC welcomes withdrawal of proposed NGO law

Apr 2 (FT) The National Peace Council yesterday welcomed the decision of Minister Mano Ganesan to withdraw proposed amendments to the Voluntary Social Service Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Act, No. 31 of 1980 following representations made to him by over 130 civil society organizations. Minister took this decision at a meeting held with representatives of these CSOs presided over by PM Wickremesinghe. more..

'Proud to have Youth Affairs Ministry'

Apr 2 (DN) “I am proud to have Youth Affairs Minister because it was under PM, who has rendered a revolutionary service towards youth as the Youth Affairs Minister in the 1980 decade. “This has vested a great responsibility on my shoulders to chart a better future for children,” Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake said. He was addressing youth participants attending more..

'Complete re-organisation of Police Service'

Apr 2 (DN) There will be a complete re-organisation of the Police Service soon. The exercise is aimed to transform it to public praise and minimise criticism and allegations against it, Public Administration and Management and Law and Order Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara said. Minister disclosed this when he visited the Kataragama Kiri Vehera Raja Maha Viharaya and called on Viharadhipathi Ven. Kobawaka Dhamminda more..

Finally, Hashim takes up university non-academic issue

Apr 2 (Island) Minister Kabir Hashim will meet representatives of university non-academic unions today for a discussion to address the issue which has dragged on for over a month. Inter University National Trade Union Federation Joint Chairman Gayan Peiris said that they would be meeting the minister. "Our strike has been going on for 34 days and the govt has not come up with a proposal to solve the issue. more..

No-faith motion: Leave now if you want to, UNP tells SLFP ministers

Apr 2 (Island) With the no-faith motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presented by a section of the Opposition, to be debated and put to the vote in Parliament on Wednesday, the UNP has told the SLFP minster who wished to support it to first relinquish their positions in govt before doing so. "Go now, if you want to," General Secretary of the UNP Kabir Hashim said on Saturday, referring to more..

Entering a crucial week

Apr 2 (CT) This week becomes crucial with a big question, what will happen on Wednesday (4)? PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s position remains shaky with the JO not only all out to remove the PM but to go for a General Election if the No-Confidence Motion against him succeeds in Parliament on Wednesday. Becoming PM for the first time in 1993, Wickremesinghe occupied the position four times and unlike his predecessors he has failed badly in giving leadership to UNP as well as proving himself a successful PM. more..

Belated transfer of CB back to Finance Ministry is welcome, but some more follies to be rectified

Apr 2 (FT) A confusing folly committed by the new govt in January 2015 happened to be the listing of the Central Bank and other financial institutions away from the Ministry of Finance. This was going against the tradition and also against the legal order. Thus, the Central Bank and related institutions were listed under the new Ministry of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs which functioned under the PM. Similarly, the state banks whose ownership is legally vested with the Secretary to more..

සුමිත්˛රා පීරිස්ගේ වෛශ්නාවි

Should Ranil stay or go?

Apr 2 (CT) Should Ranil stay and face the motion of no confidence or avoid confrontation and go before it is taken up. The question was never an issue. It is a media manufactured, media packaged, and a media distributed yarn – an irrelevant essential. Ranil should stay and face the floor test. That is what democracy is all about. Democracy is not about a megalomaniac media magnate philandering unearned and undeserving monopoly access to airwaves, spewing venom on a politician that he has taken a dislike to. more..

Call for linking Sri Lanka’s mobile money transfer systems

Apr 2 (EN) Greater co-ordination of Sri Lanka’s two mobile phone money transfer systems could help expand distribution networks in rural areas, a new study on how fintech can improve the development impact of labour migration has said. Regulators are looking to digitalized economic activity as a driver of growth, the study by the Asian Development Bank Institute, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and International Labour Organization said, more..

65 guards transferred: CG defends decision

Apr 2 (CT) Prison authorities are aghast at the manner in which 65 trained prison guards, of the Intelligence and Security Division at the Welikada Prisons Headquarters, have been transferred to other smaller prisons such as Mahara, Angunukolapelessa, Negombo, Dumbara, Watareka and others. Top official sources best described the move as “a bizarre and foolhardy strategy to open the flood gates of lawlessness, crime and corruption within the prison system. more..

Sri Lanka higher PAYE tax rates come into effect

Apr 2 (EN) A new income tax which requires workers to pay a higher level of taxes on employment income, with an exemption of transport allowances remained and the maximum rate boosted to 24% from the current 16% has come into effect from April 1. Under the old rates a person earning 100,000 rupees and a transport allowance of 50,000 will pay 1500 as taxes. A transport allowance of up to 50,000 for a car and petrol was tax free. Under the new tax rates, the employee would be deemed to more..

Four family members dead in three-wheeler -lorry collision

Apr 2 (AD) Four persons from the same family were reported dead after the three-wheeler they were travelling in collided with a lorry at Yatigalpotta, Galewela today, Police Media Unit reported. The accident has taken place between 5.30 am and 6 am this morning, SP Ruwan Gunasekara said. Among the deceased are a woman, a girl and two males, and the victims were identified as residents of Gampaha. The bodies have been kept in Dambulla and Galewela hospitals. more..

SriLankan Airlines gets new board and chairman

Apr 2 (LBO) A new board of directors has been appointed to SriLankan Airlines with Ranjith Fernando as the Chairman. Other Board members include Mano Thittawella, Susantha Katugampala, Dr. Roshan Perera and Air Marshal Kapila Jayampathy. The Govt has appointed a Ministerial Subcommittee under PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and a top-level official committee headed by Treasury Secretary Dr R H S Samaratunga to recommend the strategy to revive the loss-making national carrier. more..

Rahula principal assaulted after big match

Apr 2 (Island) Principal of Rahula College was assaulted yesterday after the annual big match between his school and Dharmapala College, Pannipitiya at the Uyanwatta Stadium, Matara. Principal Francis Welage was hospitalised after the attack. A suspect arrested yesterday."The suspect has been remanded till April 09 and the Matara police are conducting further investigations," Police Media Unit said. The Ministry of Education said it would send a team to Matara to conduct a separate investigation. more..

Vijitha allegedly threatens Shanil: AG requests to hold case

Apr 2 (DM) Attorney General’s Department today requested the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court to hold a case in which Vijitha Wijesuriya, brother of Anika Wijesuriya, had allegedly threatened Shanil Nethicumara. The case was filed by Nethicumara, accusing Wijesuriya of threatening him. When the case was taken up for hearing, Senior State Counsel Lakmini Girihagama said they were in the process of filling indictments against Nethicumara in the High Court in connection with more..

Sri Lanka seeks New Zealand expertise in tourism

Apr 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka has sought expertise from New Zealand in developing the country’s adventure tourism segment and improving high end hospitality training. The request for expertise was made by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga during his keynote address at the inauguration of the 4th New Zealand Trade Mission Meeting which commenced at the Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo today. A group of 20 delegates representing 13 New Zealand companies arrived more..

Labour Minister promises EPF, ETF benefits to domestic workers

Apr 2 (Island) New laws would be drafted soon to ensure that domestic workers were entitled to EPF and ETF benefits, Minister of Labour Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development, W.D.J. Senewiratne said at the opening of the Polonnaruwa District Labour Office on Saturday. He said they would also work on changing the law to allow women to get maternity leave regardless of the number of children they had. Currently, women are entitled to maternity leave only for the first two children. more..

New consortium buys control of Melsta Regal Finance for Rs. 2.5 b

Apr 2 (FT) A new consortium comprising foreign and local institutions has acquired 100% control of Melsta Regal Finance for an estimated Rs. 2.5 billion. Consortium comprises Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada, MAS Holdings, Hirdaramani and former JKH Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene’s newly floated investment management arm Bluestone Capital Ltd. For the acquisition, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) by the name Bluestone 1 has been set up whose nominees will sit on the Melsta Regal Finance Board. more..

Ward winner dropped from UPFA list

Apr 2 (CT) UPFA candidate Sivakumar Dharmalingam, who secured the highest number of votes in the Kiliveddy ward of the Muttur PS in the Trincomalee District, at the recently held LG polls, has been replaced by a candidate who secured the fifth place and his name has been gazetted. was taken aback when he saw Cassim Lebbe, who secured fifth place with only 10.2% of the votes, had replaced him. Dharamalingam had even received a letter of recommendation, more..

Three schoolgirls, mother drown

Apr 2 (Island) Three 14-year-old schoolgirls and the mother of one of them, drowned in the Gin Ganga in Hiniduma on Saturday. The deceased were Minurika Chathumini (14), Kaveesha Anjali (14), Ravindi Yasasmini (14) and Minurika’s mother (39). They were bathing when Minurika got dragged away by torrents while trying to retrieve a soap box. The other three drowned when they tried to save her. Some villagers managed to retrieve the victims and rush them to hospital but they were pronounced dead on admission. more..

Four more arrested over Kandy violence

Apr 2 (CT) Four more suspects, including an ex-soldier, were arrested in connection with the recent violence in Kandy, Police said. Police Media Spokesperson, SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the arrests were made during the weekend by the Terrorism Investigation Division of the Police (TID). He said that two suspects, including a former army soldier, were arrested yesterday for vandalizing and the destruction of private and religious property in Ambatenne, Poojapitiya. more..

Uni. non-academic staff likely to call off strike

Apr 2 (DM) The university non-academic staff had agreed to call off their month-long work stoppage following a discussion with Higher Education and Highways Minister Kabir Hashim. University Trade Union Joint Committee Chairman Edward Malwattage said minister agreed to increase the lieu leave allowance by 10%. However, he said the strike would continue until they receive the circular issued by the ministry confirming the agreement tomorrow. more..

Adopt method to exchange defaced currency: Gemunu Wijeratne

Apr 2 (DN) Lanka Private Bus Owners Association President Gemunu Wijeratne proposed the Central Bank to adopt a mechanism to exchange defaced currency through commercial banks in order to avoid inconvenienced faced by bus commuters. Wijeratne made this proposal at a press briefing held in Colombo, today. Furthermore Wijeratne said that around seven to eight million individuals commute by busses each day and currency worth approximately Rs.400 million is exchanged per day. more..

OIC pledges its cooperation for communal harmony in Sri Lanka

Apr 2 (RD) Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has pledged its support to Sri Lanka to stabilize communal harmony in the island. This was revealed during a meeting here in Jeddah on Sunday between OIC Secretary General Dr Yusuf Al-Othaimeen and SL Ambassador Azmi Thassim at the Organization's headquarters here. Ambassador Thassim said the meeting was arranged on an directive from the foreign ministry in Colombo which has received a letter from the OIC expressing immense concerns over more..

EU team to visit SL to evaluate results of GSP+ accession

Apr 2 (DM) A team of European Parliament's members will visit Sri Lanka from April 4 to 6 to evaluate the first results of Sri Lanka's accession to the GSP+ scheme and to enhance their dialogue with Sri Lanka on the remaining challenges, the EU Embassy in Colombo said today. It said the delegation would comprise of members of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade (INTA) including the Standing Rapporteur for South Asia. more..

Foreign liquor worth Rs. 3 mn. seized from Immigration dept. quarters

Apr 2 (DM) The Anti Narcotics Bureau of the Excise Department yesterday seized Rs.3 million worth of imported liquor from the Department of Immigration and Emigration officials’ quarters at Katunayake. Anti Narcotics Bureau officials raided the building on Sunday and discovered 250 bottles of foreign liquor variety. He said three individuals who were suspected to have been planning to sell the foreign liquor bottles were arrested and produced before the Negombo Magistrate. more..

Flight stopped at Mattala after bird collides with plane

Apr 2 (AD) A flight from BIA, Katunayake to Dubai via Mattala had to be stopped at 7.11 am today, after a bird collided with the plane close to the Mattala Airport. The Fly Dubai FZ 551 flight with 113 passengers was due to take 55 passengers to Dubai from Mattala Airport when the collision took place today morning. According to sources, the bird had collided directly with the plane’s left engine. However, 20 passengers from Dubai have deported from Mattala Airport, reports claim. more..

BIA employees to launch indefinite strike

Apr 2 (NR) Employees at the Bandaranaike International Airport say they will launch an indefinite strike if favourable solutions are not provided to their salary concerns. They warn that trade union action will affect day to day operations at the airport including air services. Chairman of the Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya of the BIA Dharmasiri Bandara Muhandiram joining the protest at the BIA premises today said since 1994 salaries of employees were increased more..