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Sampanthan urges all parties to cooperate on adopting a new constitution

Feb 6 (FT) Opposition Leader and leader of the main Tamil party, TNA R. Sampanthan says failure of successive govts since Independence in 1948 to resolve the ethnic problem has left the island nation behind in economic development. “As a result of the unresolved national question, we have faced the lack of peace and harmony and development of the country... Our failure in genuinely addressing the national question has left us far behind in economic development and prosperity in the region,” more..

Foreign invitees to Independence Day Anniversary celebrations call on President

Feb 6 (FT) The foreign invitees to the Independence Day Anniversary celebrations including the Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex Sophie, as well as Special Envoys of the Japanese and Chinese Govts, called on President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on 4 Feb. Prince and Countess of Wessex were warmly received by the President and First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena. During this meeting, President expressed his gratitude to Prince Edward more..

EPF, NSB, SLIC losses due to bond scams exceed Rs. 31 billion

Feb 6 (Island) The manipulation of the secondary bond market by Perpetual Treasuries caused three state institutions, Employees’ provident Fund (EPF,) Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) and National Savings Bank (NSB), to lose over Rs. 31 billion, anti corruption activists said. "On Sunday we revealed that the total loss incurred by the EPF due to the bond scam alone was over Rs. 26 billion. more..

Emergency moves to restore confidence in Ceylon Tea

Feb 6 (ST) Sri Lankan authorities are battling on two fronts to restore confidence in Ceylon Tea, sending delegations to Japan and Russia where the country’s main agriculture export has encountered problems. Efforts are being made to boost the product image in Russia while the delegation to Japan aims to discuss new regulations on use of weedicides in the absence of the popular glyphosate in SL. Earlier Ceylon Tea was temporarily banned & lifted in Russia and to rectify the damage, more..

Business confidence rises for the 4th consecutive month

Feb 6 (FT) LMD reports an increase of five basis points in the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI), from 122 in Dec to 127 in Jan. LMD notes that this is the first time since June 2016 that the BCI has improved over four consecutive months with the index standing nine basis points above its 12 month average. “apart from visible activity in the construction or infrastructure space, business leaders say Govt’s efforts to improve the investment climate are bearing fruit and FDI in specific more..

No secret detention, torture camps in Sri Lanka: President Sirisena to Tamils

Feb 6 (PTI) Prez Sirisena assured the minority Tamil community that his govt was not running any secret detention and torture camps in the country. Sirisena said he was concerned about the persons who are still missing years after the end of nearly three-decade-long brutal civil war. "I have several times met the relatives of the disappeared persons. I am concerned about their problem of the missing relatives," he said. more..

Sugar tax hits carbonated beverage volumes

Feb 6 (DM) The recently introduced sugar tax has begun to eat into the food and beverage sector businesses as the demand for sugary carbonated drinks has dropped by a significant margin—an indication that the higher prices have pushed away consumers from high sugar fizzy drinks. Reviewing the most recent data of Ceylon Cold Stores (CCS), Mirror Business observed a volume drop of as high as 21% in its beverages during the Oct to Dec 2017 period from the same period a year ago. more..

Unmet demands Uni clerical staff to strike

Feb 6 (CT) The entire clerical staff of all universities is to stage a strike today (6) and tomorrow (7). The University Trade Unions Joint Committee Chairman Edward Malwathage said that this trade union action was necessary because the UGC Chairman and the Minister of Higher Education have ignored their demands. He said the trade unions did not want to disrupt university education but they are protesting solely because their demands have not been met. Until a circular resolving the matter is issued, more..

Wheels in motion to have Udayanga deported

Feb 6 (DN) Sri Lanka is now working through the Foreign Ministry and diplomatic channels to have former SL Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunge deported to Sri Lanka from Dubai, where he was detained by the authorities there while in transit to the US, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said. “A team of SL officers are ready to travel to Dubai and we are making all the arrangements to bring him back to SL and more..

Debate on PCoI reports today

Feb 6 (CT) Parliamentary debate on the reports of PCoI, which probed into Treasury Bonds scam and PRECIFAC will be held today. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, on the request of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, has summoned Parliament to meet at 10.30 a.m. to debate the PCoI reports. Before the start of the debate, Party Leaders will meet at the Parliament Complex, under the patronage of Speaker Jayasuriya to decide on the time allocation for the debate and the time more..

Removal of Ravi from UNP campaign a step in right direction: Rosy

Feb 6 (Island) UNP Colombo Mayoral candidate Rosy Senanayake yesterday complained that most men found it difficult to accept that both male and female candidates should be treated with respect, and that it was really unfortunate that female contestants were being subjected to violence during election campaigning. She told The Island that the violence being perpetuated against women candidates was consequent to the political culture in the country for many years. more..

EPF gets zero returns from majority of private equity investments

Feb 6 (DM) The country’s largest retirement fund, the EPF, which is under the custodianship of the Central Bank, has to this day not generated any returns for the Rs.9.3 billion in private equity investments made up to 2014. The figure in comparison is a little more than the moneys the state is said to have lost during the infamous treasury bond scams in 2015 and 2016. According to a RTI disclosure Central Bank made to more..

High drama on corruption; People need to make a prudent choice

Feb 6 (DM) With four major political parties going into the last two days of their unprecedented battle for the control of 341 local councils, Parliament would today hold a special session to debate a vital issue. The much awaited debate will be on the lengthy bombshell reports of the Commission which investigated alleged Bond scams at the Central Bank from February 2015 to March 2016 and the Commission which inquired into allegations of serious acts of fraud or corruption. more..

Speaker’s call for political sanity

Feb 6 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has reportedly urged President Maithripala Sirisena and the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to tone down mutual hostility in the election campaign. “The economy has become unstable due to certain political speeches. There is fear in the minds of investors. The Stock Exchange can collapse. Investors think the country will turn unstable after the election. The international community, that got close to us recently, is facing a problem over this. more..

‘Youngsters believe in education rather than in violence’

Feb 6 (DM) Many new faces have taken up the challenge to make a change in the upcoming LG polls. Representing the late Major Montague Jayawickreme and late minister Ranjan Wijeratne generation is Rehan Jayawickreme who will be contesting under the UNP ticket from the Weligama-Hettiweediya ward. Having studied at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and the British School of Colombo, Rehan is also armed with more..

'Fighting each other isn’t going to provide the answer'

Feb 6 (DM) UPFA’s Mayoral candidate for the Dehiwala- Mount Lavinia MC Kesaralal Gunasekara spoke about the progress of his campaign and presented his analysis on the upcoming elections. Q: What is your impression of the campaign so far? A: The election procedure has changed this time. Earlier, there was intra-party rivalry. Today, people can vote for the party of their choice. As a result, intra-party fighting is all gone. more..

'President, Premier will govern Sri Lanka till 2020'

Feb 6 (DM) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, responded to remarks made by Prez Sirisena on the status of the economy. He said that the two leaders would continue to govern the country till 2020 or even beyond. Q: President Sirisena spoke about taking control of the economy after the elections. He expressed his displeasure in economic terms over the performance of the Govt during the last 3 years. Your response? more..

Colombo voters not in the mood to overlook corrupt politics

Feb 6 (ST) Campaigning for next week’s local govt elections is in full swing in the Colombo District with all political parties eager to gain control of the most coveted prize of all — the Colombo Municipal Council as well other important councils in the district. With just three days left before all political campaigning must cease ahead of the February 10 poll, the final round of canvassing is underway in earnest. more..

RTI implemented successfully, more awareness required: TISL

Feb 6 (FT) While commending its efforts to enact the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) called on the Govt to raise awareness regarding the act among citizens and ensure the implementation of the Act is carried through effectively. Addressing the media, TISL RTI Manager Sankhitha Gunaratne said that thus far a majority of RTI requests had been met with positive responses. more..

Sri Lanka political culture has changed; action against corruption, fraud: Eran

Feb 6 (EN) Sri Lanka's culture of tolerating corruption has change in the open culture of the current administration and action is finally being taken against massive financial frauds and even ministers are being questioned by authorities, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. Under previous regimes it would have been unthinkable for cabinet ministers to be questioned he told a debate on a commission reports more..

Medical dons demand rescinding of gazette

Feb 6 (Island) Federation of Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Associations of Sri Lanka (FFMTA) demands that Ministry of Health immediately withdraw the gazette 2056/44 of January 26, 2018, published by the ministry, setting out minimum standards of medical education and re-gazette the original recommendations of Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). In a statement signed by its convenor Dr. Manuj C Weerasinghe, more..

A.L.M. Nazeer sworn in as MP

Feb 6 (DM) A.L.M. Nazeer was sworn in as an UNP MP this morning, filling the National List vacancy created following the recent resignation of M.H.M. Salman. Salman tendered his resignation as UNP National List MP on Jan 18, in order to make way for another SLMC member representing another disitrct. He was one of two SLMC nominees included into the National List of the UNP, with the other being Dr. A.R.A. Hafeez, in Aug 2015. more..

Govt’s debt burden management will bring economic benefits: PM

Feb 6 (DN) The govt is now in a position to launch development schemes and bring economic benefits to the people as it has properly managed the debt burden bequeathed by the previous regime, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “The govt can enable the country to pay off debts within the lifetime of the present generation without leaving it for the future generations since it is the incumbent govt which is better equipped to bring more..

License of Aloysius owned Mendis brewery cancelled

Feb 6 (DM) The licence of arrack distillery W.M. Mendis & Co. Ltd has been cancelled by the Excise Department for non-payment of taxes, the Excise Department confirmed. The production in the distillery has been suspended since January this year, Commissioner of Excise Helan Meegasmulla said. The company has evaded tax payments to the tune of Rs. 580 million for the month of Dec 2017. more..

Let’s not vote in criminals on any account

Feb 6 (CT) It is no secret that Sri Lankan politics is peopled by many criminal elements or those with connections to crime. Unfortunately most of us take the fact that politicians need to patronize thugs and criminal elements as a given. Local Govt bodies and Provincial Councils are notorious for having a large number of people with connections to crime. There have been many cases where the National political parties habitually parked their thugs in these councils. more..

5 reasons why SL is not a real democracy

Feb 6 (FT) The real meaning of independence is the freedom we the people of this land gained from the British Empire. What we must really celebrate is the victory of democracy over monarchy. The rule of the people over the rule of kings and queens. The rule by the people over the rule by a few aristocrats. The rule for the people over the rule for a few rich business people. For a nation to be independent is for it to be democratic. But we seem to have forgotten that democracy. Here’s why: more..

Bond report debate in parliament

Freak train tragedy takes lives of four, six others injured

Feb 6 (Island) Four persons were killed and six injured when they knocked aganist a lorry parked close to the rail track between Angulana and Lunawa while travelling on the foot-board of a Panadura bound train from Maradana yesterday evening. Police said that the backpack of one passenger had got entangled with the lorry and several others had been thrown out of the train as he fell. Three were killed on the spot while another succumbed to his injuries while being taken more..

Law enforced on Aloysius must apply to Gota as well: Champika

Feb 6 (DM) The same Law which was enforced on Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) owner Arjun Aloysius should be enforced on former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in connection with the Avant Garde scam, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said Mr. Rajapaksa was accused of causinga Rs.12 billion loss to the Govt through the Avant Garde floating armoury and the security service. Minister said the SL Navy which had acquired this business had earned more..

British MPs want Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché expelled for throat slit gesture

Feb 6 (AD) Two British Labour Party MPs have written to Foreign Secretary calling for the withdrawal of the diplomatic papers and expulsion of Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché in London, Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, over his attempt to intimidate a group of protesting Tamils. Joan Ryan, the Labour MP for Enfield North and a Vice Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils, and Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP for Mitcham more..

Sri Lanka has lost its credibility: Bandula

Feb 6 (NR) UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena said following the controversy surrounding the Bond issue, SL has lost its credibility. He added that the country will face an economic crisis next year. MP claimed the SL bonds were referred as sovereign bonds adding however now it’s referred as Black bonds. He said international investor will not come forward to purchase the bonds issued by SL which will therefore lead to a political and an economic crisis next year. more..

Water Board employees strike called off

Feb 6 (DN) Employees of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) who had been engaged in strike action since Feb 2 have suspended their strike after officials from the board conceded to their demands to increase their salary by 25%. “What they have asked for is not unfair, they are usually given a salary increment of 25% to 30% once in three years,” said General Manager of NWSDB Engineer D.U.Sumanasekara. “We have accepted their demands and are willing to more..

PM tried to protect Mahendran: JVP

Feb 6 (DM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said today PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was directly involved in protecting Central Bank's former governor Arjuna Mahendran. He told Parliament during the debate on Bond Commission and PRECIFAC reports that the PM's entire approach was directed towards protecting the fraudsters rather than punishing them. Mr. Dissanayake said the PCoI report had clearly more..

Windies to host 1st D/N Test against SL

Feb 6 (AFP) The West Indies will host their first ever day-night Test when Sri Lanka tour the Caribbean in June, cricket officials said on Tuesday. The final Test of the three-match series will be a day-night encounter at the Kensington Oval in Barbados starting June 23, said Sri Lanka Cricket. Sri Lanka depart for the West Indies in late May and will play a two-day warm up match before the opening Test starting June 6 at the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago. more..

Ceylon Tea promoted at PRODEXPO Exhibition in Moscow

Feb 6 (GDI) Sri Lanka Tea Board in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia in Moscow has organized a Sri Lanka's Ceylon Tea stand at the Food and Beverages International Exhibition PRODEXPO 2018 being held in Moscow from today. PRODEXPO 2018 Exhibition will be held until Feb 9. A business delegation of representatives of leading SL tea companies are now attending the exhibition as participants displaying their products at Ceylon Tea Stand, SL Embassy in Moscow said. more..

Malabe – Fort LRT project to commence by Dec 2018

Feb 6 (LBO) Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development says that preliminary work on Light Rail Transport (LRT) project between Malabe and Fort will commence by end of the year once the feasibility study completed in June. “We are currently in the process of doing the feasibility study for six LRT systems and they on track to finish by June, after that we will commence construction with JICA aid by Dec” more..

Victor predicts crisis after LG polls with no clear-cut victory

Feb 6 (Island) Punarudaya movement predicted that the forthcoming LG elections could plunge the country into a political crisis with none of the parties in the fray being able to secure a clear-cut majority. Victor Ivan of Punarudaya movement told the media at the National Library and Documentation Services Board auditorium that the number of LG representatives had doubled and there would be a corresponding increase in the funds to be spent to maintain them, he added. more..

Video: Anti-corruption methods still not being implemented: CBK

Feb 6 (AD) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga says that means and methods with regard to preventing fraud and corruption are still not implemented even within the incumbent govt. She said that today even rural villagers are talking about the bond issue without knowing anything about it and that the necessary punishment has been given by now. However, there is no way to identify thieves as one cannot have a taste and see, she said, addressing an event in Kurunegala. more..

Arrest of Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena: Statement by UNP

Feb 6 (CT) On Feb 4th, officers of CID placed Perpetual CEO Kasun Palisena, and beneficiary owner Arjun Aloysius, under arrest, after they were named on Friday at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court as suspects for having committed serious financial crimes against the state. These arrests come in the wake of the report of the PCoI into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds, which found that former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran more..

Sri Lanka consumer durables firm pinched by consumer crunch

Feb 6 (EN) Singer Sri Lanka Plc, said higher sales taxes, a drought had hit demand for consumer durables forcing it to absorb costs, and profits fell 65% to 184 million rupees in the Dec 2018 quarter from a year earlier. The group reported earnings of 49 cents per share. For the year to December, Singer group reported earnings of 2.21 rupees per share on total profits of 807 million rupees down from 2.3 billion rupees a year earlier. The stock last closed at 41 rupees. more..