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Singapore FTA: What it means for trade and investment flows

Jan 25 (IPS) The freshly-signed Sri Lankan-Singapore FTA (SLSFTA) marks a new milestone in the relations between the two island economies. The agreement, signed on 23 Jan, after almost 18 months of negotiations, is a modern, comprehensive, and high quality agreement. It covers a wide range of areas including goods and services, investment, e-commerce, govt procurement, intellectual property rights, telecommunication, etc. more..

JVP, JO want Prez’s Secy questioned over missing pages of the bond report

Jan 25 (Island) JVP and JO MPs demanded from Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to summon Secretary to the President to parliament and question him for misleading parliament by providing it with an incomplete copy of the report of the bond commission. Two opposition parties said President Sirisena himself in his address to the nation on the Bond Commission report stated that the report comprised more than 6,000 pages more..

Japan claims a stake in Sri Lanka’s ports

Jan 25 (TD) Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono’s visit to SL earlier this month was the first by a Japanese foreign minister in 15 years. Governmental confirmation of SL’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) project came during Kono’s visit, when the prime minister’s office revealed that an MoU was to be signed with Japan to build a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU). The FSRU and LNG terminal project will be a joint venture by the SL Ports Authority with both Japan & India. more..

Rs 202 million PET scanner arrives

Jan 25 (DN) PET Scanner to be installed at the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital has arrived in Sri Lanka. Pet Scanner has been purchased from Siemens Germany at a cost of Rs. 202 million. PET Scanner will be installed in the Cancer Hospital and will begin services before April this year. The public donated Rs. 200 million to the Govt to buy the PET Scanner for the National Institute of Cancer in Maharagama. Fund raising campaign was implemented by Kadijah Foundation, Derana more..

TNA demands enactment of new constitution and referendum this year

Jan 25 (Island) Opposition and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan insisted that the proposed new Constitution be enacted before the end of the year. Announcement was made following talks with visiting Singaporean PM Lee Loong in Colombo. Sampanthan, on Tuesday, told Colombo-based EU official Paul Godfrey that the TNA wanted the govt to submit a draft Constitution to parliament immediately after Feb. 10 local govt polls. more..

Aluthgama riot victims’ compensation after LG polls

Jan 25 (GDI) The payment of compensation to the victims of the 2014 riots in Aluthgama will be made after the completion of the LG elections, according to the sources at the Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Ministry. The Treasury had approved the funds as well. The process was delayed due to the upcoming LG elections. However, the source noted that as soon as the elections are over, compensation would be paid to the victims. more..

Currupt probing Corrupt: Five former Ministers under AG's microscope

Jan 25 (DN) The Attorney General’s Department is in the process of studying the possibility of instituting legal action against former Ministers Basil Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, former Chief Minister S.M. Ranjith and several other persons. They are alleged to have been involved in misappropriation of public funds and serious acts of fraud. The study is conducted under the directive of Attorney General Jayantha Jayasooriya. more..

Cross-talk in Parliament over expiry of UNP-SLFP deal for Coalition Govt

Jan 25 (FT) Opposition lawmakers questioned the validity of the unity Govt agreement, which was entered by the UNP and SLFP for an initial period of two years and came to an end on or before 31 Dec 2017. According to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, he has not been informed of a renewal of the agreement that supports the national Govt, which has increased provisions to accommodate the number of Ministers and the State and more..

Battle for local councils, let clean politics win

Jan 25 (DM) With the main political parties intensifying their campaign for the February 10 local council elections which will clearly show the mood and pulse of the people, President Sirisena -- party politics apart -- appears to be going all out in his battle for clean politics. Prez, in yet another hard hitting speech at a rally in the historic city of Kandy on Monday directly appealed to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and members of all parties to cooperate with him in his crusade for clean more..

Myths of development strategies followed by UNP, SLFP regimes since independence

Jan 25 (DM) It is election time once again… the ears of the voters will be overloaded with promises and promises. This is not an unusual feature in the South Asian political culture. Sri Lanka having had the luxury of receiving the universal adult franchise long before its independence in 1931 - the very first nation in South Asia - has shown a remarkable progress in upholding the democratic norms and institutions. Both the SLFP and the UNP have played pivotal roles in governing more..

Bond scam: Dominant topic at election campaign

Jan 25 (DM) As the campaign trail for the LG polls reaches full swing, the controversial bond transaction of the Central Bank has become the dominant topic for all the major political forces in the contest. Right at the beginning of the election period, President Sirisena kept the ball rolling in this regard as he made a televised statement outlining the recommendations of the PCoI on the bond scam which caused a financial loss of Rs.11 billion more..

‘Mixed electoral system promotes less corruption’

Jan 25 (DM) Duminda Attygalle, a proud old boy and former rugby captain of Royal College Colombo, is another candidate contesting for the Colombo Municipal Council from the Cinnamon Gardens Ward under the UNP ticket. Currently pursuing his Masters in Business Administration at the British School of Commerce in Colombo affiliated to Anglia Ruskins University, England, Attygalle believes that young & educated more..

‘A lot of people in Colombo are sensible’

Jan 25 (DM) The upcoming LG Elections will see new faces entering the political scene. Representing the J. R Jayewardene clan from the Cinnamon Gardens Ward for the Colombo Municipal Council is his grandson Pradip Jayewardene. Although J.RJ was known to be a strongman of Green Party, Pradip will be contesting under the SLFP ticket. Jayewardene shared his thoughts as to why he is contesting more..

Dismay as marine resources are exploited!

Jan 25 (DM) The sky overhead is so blue that it has tinged the ocean below. The scorching sunlight is unbearable. Tourists are all over the place. They are enchanted by the sight of corals. The office of the wild life conservation department located nearby is on guard. Someone emerges from nowhere carrying some bulky items. He is a little away from the rough waves. Some tourists are seen around the person carrying the heavy burden, more..

‘Rejected candidates cannot contest polls’

Jan 25 (NR) Election monitoring body the People’s Action For Free and Fair Election says candidates named in rejected nomination lists cannot contest the upcoming Local Govt Election under any circumstance. PAFFREL Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said certain candidates who were rejected after filing nomination lists were reportedly attempting to support independent groups in order to contest the Local Govt Election. more..

Railway Union to announce final decision

Jan 25 (NR) The Locomotive Engine Drivers Union says a final stance regarding trade union action will be announced this evening. Secretary of the Union Indika Dodangoda said railway officials and trade union members are currently engaged in an inspectional tour in A'pura. He said several inspections were carried out in the train and another inspection is being done. He noted the final decision on the Union’s action will be made more..

Bill to set up children-only judicial system ready

Jan 25 (ST) The Justice Ministry is finalising a judicial protection law in compliance with international standards pertaining to the rights of children, heeding the call of the UN and child rights activists who have pointed out that the country needs a modern juvenile justice system. Children (Judicial Protection) Bill has been drafted and is with the AG’s Department. Bill identifies how legal proceedings could be initiated more..

Presidents of Sri Lanka and Indonesia meet: Three bilateral MoUs signed

Jan 25 (PMD) Indonesian President Joko Widodo says his country is ready to provide technical assistance to Sri Lanka for the development of medical equipment manufacturing, railway industry as well as for the advancement of the education field. He further said that he will look into the possibilities of establishing a railway equipment manufacturing company in Sri Lanka. Indonesian President made these remarks more..

Wele Suda’s wife’s bank safe key goes missing

Jan 25 (CT) Colombo High Court Judge Sampath Wijekoon yesterday (24) ordered the CID and the Court Registrar to conduct an immediate probe and report to the Court before the next hearing, on the misplacement of the key to the safe, at the People's Bank branch in Nugegoda, where jewellery and gold valued at billions of rupees, belonging to the wife of drug lord Wele Suda had been kept. more..

LG polls in Puttalam and N&E: Muslim cleric targets female candidates

Jan 25 (CT) Polls monitor, Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) writing to the Elections Commission (EC), urged the Commission to take appropriate steps against attempts to hinder the electoral process via hate speech, which was causing discomfort and humiliation to female Local Govt candidates contesting from the Puttalam District as well as the North and East. In a letter, copies of which were also sent to the IGP, more..

Poor Getting Poorer

Jan 25 (CT) The inequality of household expenditure distribution favouring the rich, as expressed by the Gini Coefficient according to recent official findings, raises the issue of under-employment in the country. Higher the Gini Coefficient, higher the inequality in society, in this case, the Gini's focus is on household spend, where the expenditure of the rich in the intervening four years have increased, whereas the expenditure of the poor has either been stagnant or reduced. more..

Liquid democracy: Innovating Sri Lanka

Jan 25 (FT) Democracy is in recession. All over the world, we are losing our precious democracy to totalitarianism, nationalism and populism. We even hear some Lankans talk about the need for a benevolent dictator! But are those the only options we have? They all look for a solution in the past: returning to where we were before democracy was won. But is there a way to look for a solution in the future? A solution that utilises the best of our technological developments more..

Have we forgotten the Bond Scam?

Dubai seeks extradition of two Sri Lankans for roommate's murder

Jan 25 (KT) Dubai public prosecution is taking necessary legal action to seek extradition of two Sri Lankans, who killed their counterpart after they were apparently duped by him and fled the country. Recently, the operations room of the Dubai Police received a call informing them about foul smell emanating from a room in a villa in Al Badda area. The police officials swung into action and immediately rushed to the site. They met the caller, N.A, who stays in a room of the same villa, more..

Video: Tense situation at Uva PC following clash; several injured

Jan 25 (AD) A tense situation has been reported within the Uva Provincial Council premises following a clash between two groups. He said that three persons were injured in the incident and have been rushed to Badulla Hospital. The incident had occurred as provincial council members arrived at the council this morning to attend the AGM. A certain group of supporters gathered near the entrance, at the corridor for vehicles, had assaulted the provincial council members more..

Sri Lanka dismantle Bangladesh for 82 and storm into final

Jan 25 (CI) Suranga Lakmal decked the Bangladesh middle order, Thisara Perera swung blows in the middle, Dushmantha Chameera and Lakshan Sandakan wiped out the tail, and a hail of sixes carried Sri Lanka's openers to a paltry target of 83. All up, Sri Lanka required only 35.5 overs to complete the 10-wicket win - 24 overs to dismiss the opposition, and 11.5 to run down their score. The hosts, meanwhile, were guilty of more..

Evidence hearing of Basil’s case on 24th May

Jan 25 (NR) Colombo High Court today ordered to hear evidence on the 4th of May in the case pertaining to former Minister Basil Rajapaksa over misappropriating state funds. The order was issued by High Court Judge AAR Heiyanthuduwa. When the case was taken up for hearing the Attorney General handed over certain documents to the defendant. Accordingly the case will be taken up for hearing once again on the 23rd of Feb to inquire whether the documentation has been handed more..

SL tea exports to China up 30% in 2017

Jan 25 (EN) Sri Lanka’s tea exports to China surged 30% to 9.9 million kilos in 2017 from the year before, making it the eighth biggest market for Ceylon tea. Minister Naveen Dissanayake said the fast growth of the Chinese market shows it has a lot of potential. “I visited China twice to promote Ceylon tea,” he told a news conference. “We can export more to China.” Sri Lanka’s share of China overall tea market was 3.4% but it now has a 25% share of the market for black tea, Dissanayake said. more..

GMOA warns of countrywide strike on Jan 30

Jan 25 (DM) The GMOA today warned it would resort to a countrywide work stoppage on Tuesday (30) if the govt fails to provide a reasonable solution to their issues in the coming days. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that they had reached to this decision following the unanimous approval of its Executive Committee. He also said they would launch the work stoppage starting from 8 am on Tuesday, more..

2 arrested with 288 polling cards in Mullaitivu

Jan 25 (AD) Police today said that two suspects in possession of 288 polling cards, for the 2018 Local Authorities Election, have been arrested at a residence in Pudukuduirippu, Mullaitivu. The polling cards were discovered inside the house located at Theravil, based on information received by Pudukuduirippu Police. The homeowner and a postman have been arrested in connection with the discovery, police spokesman said. Pudukuduirippu Police are conducting further investigations. more..

Emir of State of Qatar on a private visit in SL

Jan 25 (SL) The Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and his family are on a private visit in Sri Lanka from 25-28 January 2018, the Foreign Ministry said.Last year in October, at the invitation of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, President Maithripala Sirisena undertook a State Visit to Qatar which was the first by a Head of State of Sri Lanka. The close relations between Qatar and Sri Lanka were further strengthened during the State Visit by more..

Japanese representatives meet President

Jan 25 (PMD) A group of representatives of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Economic Mission, who visited Sri Lanka to explore new business and investment opportunities, met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s Official Residence, in Colombo today. Representing the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry a group of 77 members joined in this tour to SL. more..

Tri forces to provide security on the day of LG elections

Jan 25 (FT) Chairman of Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said that on the day of the LG elections, the tri forces will be deployed for security duties. The elections for local govt bodies will be held on 10th Feb. He said that this decision was made in a discussion held Wednesday with the IGP Pujith Jayasundera. Election Commission chairman said that the agreement to allow tri forces to carry out patrolling 400 meters away from polling stations was reached yesterday. more..

Ex Additional Secy and Accountant of Presidential Secretariat arrested

Jan 25 (DM) Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) today arrested a former Additional Secretary and an Accountant of the Presidential Secretariat in connection with allegedly misappropriating state funds amounting to Rs. 17.9 million in 2010. SP Ruwan Gunasekara said former additional secretary D.S. Gunaratna and former accountant L.D. Gunaratna had been arrested for allegedly misappropriating state funds when purchasing eight luxury vehicles for Presidential Secretariat. more..

VIP robbers delayed Parliament debate: Prez

Jan 25 (DM) While claiming that a coalition of VIP robbers both in the govt and the opposition had managed to delay the debate on the bond commission report and the PRECIFAC report, President Maithripala Sirisena today challenging them to hold the debate on the bond commission and PRECIFAC report before Feb 10, prior to the LG elections. Addressing an election rally, Prez Sirisena said a coalition of VIP robbers more..

'Certain state officials hinder development'

Jan 25 (NR) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga says certain state officials stand against country’s development initiatives. Speaking at a function he said officials should focus on paving way for development goals of the govt. Minister claimed he made a request to the economic committee chaired by the Prime Minister to establish a trade system for highways. He stressed in most countries a trade system is established to conveniently manage all resources including water, electricity and fuel. more..

Govt has failed to arrest fraudsters: JO

Jan 25 (NR) UPFA MP Gamini Lokuge says certain individuals who claimed that the corrupt will be arrested during previous election campaigning, and who now have executive powers, have failed to do so. MP said the present govt is attempting to deceive the public by making false statements. MP Lokuge claimed the SLPP under the leadership of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will establish a govt favourable to the working class adding the former President has always provided more..

Video: IUSF protest teargassed

Jan 25 (DM) Police used teargas and water cannons to disperse protesting university students at Kallupitiya Junction, a short while ago. Meanwhile severe traffic congestion has been reported in and around the area, as a result of the agitation. Police had earlier closed off Galle Road for traffic from Kollupitiya Junction due to the protest march, demanding that the govt abolishes SAITM. The protest march organised by IUSF more..

Sri Lanka arrests 8 Indian fishermen off Neduntheevu, seizes their boats

Jan 25 (PTI) Eight Indian fishermen were arrested on Thursaday by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu in the country's northern territorial waters, SL Navy said in Colombo. Navy personnel, during a routine patrol onboard a fast gun boat and a fast attack craft attached to the Northern Naval Command, also seized two trawlers of the fishermen when they were illegally fishing in the north-west of the Delft Island. The fishermen were brought to the naval base more..

Rupee hits new low: Political uncertainty continues to destabilize rupee

Jan 25 (CT) Political uncertainty continued to undermine the stability of the rupee with its average selling rate among banks for telegraphic transfer falling sharply by 10 cents to a new low of Rs 155.90 to the US Dollar at yesterday's trading. Year on year as at yesterday, the exchange rate has declined by Rs 3.69 (2.42%) thereby giving a fillip to inflation as Sri Lanka is an import dependent economy. Island-wide inflation was recorded at a high of 7.7% last year. more..