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No longer interested in SriLankan Chairmanship: Ajith

Jan 10 (DM) SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias has said that he was no longer interested to be the Chairman of Sri Lankan Airline. In an email dated Jan 2 addressed to one of the officers of the airline Priyantha Senadheera, Mr. Dias said ‘I think most of you missed out on this morning’s meeting where I informed that I will not and have no longer any interest to be the chairman of the airline,” Meanwhile, responding to more..

‘Stocks in renewable energy sector attract investor interest’

Jan 10 (Island) Rajiva Bandaranayake, CEO, Colombo Stock Exchange, (CSE), said referring to the IPO of LVL Energy Fund Limited, that LVL was the second company this year to enter the CSE. "The year commenced on this bright note which augurs well for the investment climate morphed into economic progress and investor confidence. The envisaged projects included hydro, solar, and wind power generation," he said. The oversubscribed position of the LVL IPO is an indication that more..

IFC, CB partner to create Sri Lanka’s first national financial inclusion strategy

Jan 10 (LBO) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group has partnered with the Central Bank to develop the country’s first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The strategy will promote a more effective and efficient process to improve financial inclusion across SL. IFC, over the course of the project, will provide technical assistance to CB to develop the NFIS, through an extensive development process involving consultations with members of the public & private sector, more..

Influx of luxury cars at low duty to deny state billions

Jan 10 (DN) Govt’s Budget 2018 which removed the ad-volerum calculation method of duty on vehicles and brought about a scenario of subsidising the duty on super luxury cars has resulted in the coffers losing around Rs 25-40 million from each of these vehicles. As a result of this there has been an influx of luxury cars into the country recently of the brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, RangeRover more..

Govt borrows 94% of estimation during Jan-Oct

Jan 10 (CT) The Govt, during the first ten months of 2017, had utilized 94% of its estimated borrowings for the year, with more foreign loans than expected. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Govt had borrowed Rs 479.9 billion from foreign sources during the first ten months of last year, of which Rs 172.7 billion were used for repayments. Govt, during last year's Budget speech, estimated foreign financing to be at Rs 450 million for 2017, of which Rs 178 billion would be repayments. more..

Most govt ministries don’t know what they are about!

Jan 10 (CT) Confusion worse confounded that's what these ministerial officers seem to be, utterly undecided, changing policies at their whim and fancy, requiring each draft to be amended a record 20-25 times. They make it into a crazy chaotic frustrating process which could drive one up the wall, Legal Draftsman Deepani Sandhya Hewa Kumarajeewa, let out her exasperation in an interview with Ceylon Today when she said: "Most ministries know not what they are about!" more..

Govt allies should work together: PM

Jan 10 (DM) Allies in the National Govt should work together in overcoming obstacles it faces when delivering what it pledged to deliver, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “I thank all those who placed trust on us and on President Sirisena on Jan 8, 2015. We are committed to deliver what we pledged 3 years ago. Allies of the govt should get together in celebrating what we have achieved but to overcome obstacle that lay before us when more..

Malraj relinquishes his duties as DG SLTDA

Jan 10 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General Malraj Kiriella will be relinquishing duties as the Director General of SLTDA from the end of this month. A multidisciplinary professional with over 18 years of experience at Sri Lanka Tourism, Kiriella has held positions of Director Research and International Relations, Director Marketing, Director Corporate Services and Director Standards & Quality Assurance in both Tourist Board & SLTDA. more..

Child harassment persists with over 8,500 cases filed in 2017

Jan 10 (FT) With approximately 8,548 cases filed in the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), child harassment continues to remain an issue in Sri Lanka. While the NCPA’s overall policy vision is to ensure that all children in the country are protected from abuse, exploitation, neglect and other forms of violence and harm and that the affected children receive appropriate care and support as they develop into adulthood, children are yet exposed to risk on a daily basis. more..

Shake-up at Sri Lanka Tourism: Udaya given marching orders

Jan 10 (Island) Minister John Amaratunga said SL Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara had been asked to resign. He attributed his decision to the govt’s tourism restructuring programme. Nanayakkara, contacted for comment, said, "I’m sitting pretty in my office. It’s news to me." However, Chairman of SLTDB, Kavan Ratnayake, who is a sibling of Minister Sagala Ratnayake, will remain in his current position more..

Expedite work on Uma Oya Project: Prez

Jan 10 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena asked officials to expedite work on the Uma Oya project, to deliver its benefits to the people. He instructed the officials thus at a progress review meeting held at the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. President also directed the Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissanayake to appoint an Expert Committee to come up with a plan on how to deal with food production and agriculture more..

Kachchatheevu church feast on 23 Feb

Jan 10 (CT) The feast of St. Anthony's church on the Kachchatheevu island will be held on 23 and 24 February. Around 10,000 devotees form Sri Lanka are expected to participate in the festival, Jaffna District Secretary Nagalingam Vethanayagan said. He added that a large number of devotees are expected to participate from both SL and India. "We will provide all necessary facilities for the devotees and the Navy has accepted the responsibility to make the festival arrangements. more..

JO defends its call for special parliamentary session on bond report

Jan 10 (Island) The JO yesterday defended its decision to call for a special session of parliament to discuss treasury bond scams involving Perpetual Treasuries in the wake of President Sirisena’s address to the nation on January 3. President dealt with the PCoI report on bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. JO heavyweights Prof. G.L. Peiris and MP Bandula Gunawardena reiterated the need for more..

Blood Bank warns of a possible blood shortage

Jan 10 (DM) National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) warned of a possible blood shortage in the coming months and requested well-wishers to donate blood to avoid such a situation. NBTS Director said their stock of blood was running low and it could be difficult to continue with the service if a dengue epidemic or a similar situation occurred. Each year from Jan to April there was a huge shortfall in the number of donors and it was a struggle for the blood bank to finding donors. more..

Young Chinese billionaire visits Sri Lanka to explore large-scale investments

Jan 10 (FT) Cai Xiaoru, one of the youngest billionaires of China, arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday, demonstrating renewed investor confidence in the nation. Widely-acclaimed for his extremely successful judgement on market certainty and large-scale acquisitions to trigger rapid business growth, Xiaoru’s visit is set to result in some large-scale private sector investments in Sri Lanka, especially in the high-tech/innovationsector. Xiaoru is one of the youngest Chinese billionaires. more..

No parliamentary debate on bond report today

Jan 10 (FT) A decision was reached at yesterday’s party leaders’ meeting that the bond report would not be debated in Parliament today, despite the calls of Opposition parties for a debate. Leader of the Joint Opposition in Parliament, MP Dinesh Gunawardena, said that following repeated requests from the Opposition, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had agreed to have the bond report tabled in the House during today’s special session of Parliament. more..

Bond Issues; The Plunder must stop now

Jan 10 (DM) With the principle of openness, transparency and accountability working as it should, parliament will meet in a special session today to debate the nearly 1400-page report and recommendations of the PCoI which probed the CB bond issues from February 2015 to March 2016. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya called this special session at the request of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who positively responded to appeals by the joint opposition and other party leaders, more..

Bond-scam probe is turning democracy into demo-crazy

Jan 10 (DM) One can examine the Bond-scam report and arrive at conclusions after such a close perusal in two diametrically opposed lights. 1. In the context of the current political environment, its apparent findings and President Maithripala Sirisena’s interpretations of the findings and his vicarious intentions of defaming some UNP MPs, despite the fact that his very election as President was principally facilitated by the UNP, would lead to him being branded a traitor. more..

'We never obtain votes by duping the public'

Jan 10 (DM) In the series Direct Talk we feature COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti where he airs his views on the latest developments connected with the Bond Commission Report. Following are excerpts of the interview done with Handunetti. Q: An investigation into the Bond Scam was conducted by the COPE headed by you. Report on the PCoI has also been released. Do you see any contradictions in these two reports? more..

Girls of Darun Nusra allege continued abuse

Jan 10 (CT) A young girl, aged 12, stands outside the probation office in Hulftsdorp. Her tattered abaya flutters in the wind, her manner desolate. She is one of the victims among 18 who were allegedly abused at the Darun Nusra Orphanage, run by Dr. Mareena Reffai. This young girl was at the probation office to complain about the cruel treatment she had allegedly undergone at the hands of the recently appointed matron in the orphanage. more..

Tsunami lesson points to a future free of asbestos

Jan 10 (ST) Roofing developed in the urgency of post-tsunami rebuilding could be the solution to a move away from asbestos sheeting, with govt agencies quickly researching alternatives. Action has been stepped up following President Maithripala Sirisena’s order to find suitable replacements for asbestos while a ban on importing material for asbestos production remains pending. Ban was due to take effect from Jan 1 but more..

LG Elections : UNP will win CMC with 80% of seats: Rosy

Jan 10 (Island) The UNP’s mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council, Rosy Senanayake predicts that her party will win the Council at the LG Election by securing 80% of the seats on offer. Addressing the UNP’s 70th anniversary celebrations, Rosy commended the UNP for ensuring that women’s representation had for the first time been increased to 25% in local, provincial and national legislatures. more..

Election Monitor condemns polls law violations at Temple Trees

Jan 10 (Island) Election Monitor CaFFE alleges that Ministry of Education has used the PM’s official residence, Temple Trees, for election propaganda purposes. It has written to the Secretary to the PM not to allow anyone to use Temple Trees for electioneering purposes. "The govt has started using the PM’s official residence, Temple Trees, for election propaganda purposes just like during Rajapaksa administration" more..

Rape of Swiss woman in N’Eliya: Women shouldn’t travel alone: John Amaratunga

Jan 10 (CT) Minister of Tourism, John Amaratunga advised women to refrain from travelling alone and instead travel in numbers. "Women should be careful when walking alone," he added. He was responding to a question posed by this reporter about the rape of an 18-year-old Swiss woman at knifepoint at Single Tree in the Nuwara Eliya District on 4 January. Police are yet to make a breakthrough. more..

Laugfs Hambantota port LPG venture faces roadblocks

Jan 10 (DM) Construction of the connecting pipeline of the US$ 80 million LPG import-export terminal of Laugfs Gas PLC in the Hambantota port has been unofficially halted without further explanation, according to the company’s head. “We were asked to stop construction of the pipeline, and when we inquired from the official in-charge at Hambantota Port, he said that his superiors asked him to do this,” more..

Russia places renewed faith in Sri Lankan tea industry

Jan 10 (AD) Russian Federation revealed that its historic longing for Ceylon Tea has not wavered and even vowed for bigger trade with Sri Lanka, calling to dispatch a strong delegation to the trade meet scheduled in Moscow this year. “Yes, we imposed a ban on Ceylon Tea, but it was nothing to do with our asbestos but was only about an insect found in a Tea package from Sri Lanka” said an upbeat Ambassador of Russia Yury Materiy. more..

'Drug price cut saved Rs 9 Billion in 2017'

Jan 10 (CT) Sri Lanka was able to save Rs 9 billion in foreign exchange in 2017 as a result of the Health Ministry's initiative to reduce prices of 48 essential medical drugs in Oct 2016, revealed Minister Rajitha Senaratna. He said price reduction didn't adversely impact the overall profitability of local pharmaceutical firms, as the sales of medicines and other pharmaceutical goods increased by 30% in post-price reduction period. more..

Video: Physical altercation in Parliament

Jan 10 (AD) Tense situation ensued at the parliamentary complex today when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was making his parliamentary address. Several members of the Opposition occupied the centre of the house making loud remarks of verbal abuse against the PM disallowing him from making his address. Opposition members staged their protest by raising banners and making accusations against the PM and the govt. more..

Sound of Silence

Jan 10 (CT) The silence of the controversial Perpetual Group of Companies is surprising. It has been almost a week since the remarkable address to the nation made by the President regarding the findings of the PCoI investigating into Treasury Bond auctions of the CB which anathematized Perpetual Treasuries Ltd and all other sub-companies under the Perpetual brand, perpetually criminal. Yet, a week has passed now and there has not been a peep out of the Perpetual hierarchy; more..

Ravi K takes cover behind PM & targets Prez

Jan 10 (CT) Former Minister of Finance and Deputy Leader of UNP Ravi Karunanayake accused President Maithripala Sirisena of being selective and presenting only part of the report submitted by the PCoI into the CB bond issue scandal. Addressing a UNP meeting in Colombo yesterday, Karunanayake also pleaded innocent to the charges and buttressed his claim by insisting on the common innocence of himself and the PM: Neither the PM nor I have committed anything wrong. more..

බත්තරමුල්ලේ සීලරතන හිමි

Hayleys offloads oil rig from Brazil in sheltered Trincomalee

Jan 10 (EN) Hayleys Energy Services said it had safely offloaded an oil rig that had arrived in Trincomalee harbhour on aboard a heavy lift carrier and towed it to India in the first such operation executed in the island's waters. Queiroz Galvao Oleo Gas S.A.’s (QGOG) an oil exploration firm based in Brazil had contracted Hayley Energy Services offload the semi-submersible oil rig Olinda Star which had been carried on board Dockwise Mighty Servant 1, a heavy lift carrier. more..

2 fishermen dead, 1 missing in sea collision

Jan 10 (NR) Two fishermen have died when a multi-day trawler collided with a ship designed to carry vehicles, in seas off Dondra. Navy Media Spokesperson said three fishermen have been rescued while one fisherman is still reported missing. Rescue operations for the missing fisherman are being carried out with the help of Navy Dora boats. The collision occurred around 11 last night. 6 fishermen were on board the multi-day trawler at the time of the collision. more..

People’s turn to punish the liars and thieves!

Jan 10 (FT) As the cloud sets in on the completion of the third year of Yahapalanaya Govt, the wave of corruption that bestows this nation continues to flame. Advent of Coalition Govt led by Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe was an endorsement by the people to prioritise anti-corruption and improve governance. However, PCoI report only justifies that corruption and fraud are an inherent gene in successive govts more..

Striking Nightingales raise their stakes

Jan 10 (Island) Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) accused the govt of using strong-arm tactics to crush a strike launched by the nurses of the Sri J'pura General Hospital (SJGH) against a biometric attendance system. Deputy President Chairman PSUNU, R. K. Batuwita blamed the govt for seeking judicial intervention in a bid to derail a legitimate workers’ struggle. He said, however, that the PSUNU held the judiciary in high esteem and in no way sought to insult it. more..

Ravi ordered to appear before Court

Jan 10 (NR) Notice has been issued for MP Ravi Karunanayake to be present before Court on the 9th of March. The notice was issued by Colombo Additional Magistrate Dulani Amarasinghe yesterday. The notice was issued following the hearing of the case against the Former General Manager of Sathosa Wimal Perera pertaining to charges of misusing state funds when purchasing rice for Sathosa between 2001 to 2002. The notice was issued as MP Ravi Karunanayake who more..

Lots of talk but little progress in Sri Lanka over journalist murders

Jan 10 (CPJ) It was the police line-up from hell. Forget all those Law and Order scenes where a victim stands anonymously behind a one-way mirror. Sri Lankan journalist Namal Perera had to stand eyeball-to-eyeball with 42 army intelligence officers in April, each of whom, Perera explained to me while demonstrating his fiercest tough-guy glare, faced him with a cold stare and arms folded aggressively. more..

Local U’grad Everest mountaineers return today

Jan 10 (CT) Java Institute PCJT Software Engineering team of mountain climbers, the only team of undergraduates to trek up the Everest mountain range amidst December's harsh weather, will return to Colombo today. Three-member team, which left Sri Lanka last year, commenced the climb on 9 December. Assisted by the Managing Director of the Java Institute, Bathiya Tissera, the students scaled the Chhukung Ri (5,550 metres), the Island Peak Base Camp (5,600 metres), more..

8 petitions against rejected nominations to be heard

Jan 10 (NR) Court of Appeal today decided to hear eight petitions filed against the rejection of nominations filed to compete at the 2018 LG Election. Accordingly the Appeals Court will hear the petitions filed by the SLPP on Monday. The order was issued by the Chairman of the Appeals Court LTB Dehideniya and Justice Shirani Gunaratne. The order was issued when the petition filed against the rejection of nomination filed for the Maharagama UC was taken up this morning. more..

Bond Commission report; a good governance win: PM

Jan 10 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the report by the PCoI into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds is a victory of the good governance govt. Making a special statement in the House PM noted the report is indication that Parliament has been vested with all financial decisions. A tense situation was reported in Parliament today when the Speaker of House notified that President Sirisena will table more..