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Good governance should lead to good enough humane governance

Jan 30 (CT) The present govt during their election campaign pledged that they would take steps to re-create the independent Commissions. There promise was to de-politicise the public sector to prevent political interference and to improve the quality of public service and the public servants. They hurriedly enacted the 19 Amendment. And provided therein a mechanism too, the (new) provision, not to exceed the constitutional restriction, relating to the number of ministerial posts, more..

Looters as Rulers: Shipwrecked by Laughter of Gods

Jan 30 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided that the Report of the Bond Commission has absolved him, his party and his administration of any responsibility for or wrongdoing in the Central Bank Bond Scam. Minister Malik Samarawickrema, who is the eager Hanuman to Ranil’s Rama, has claimed in a press interview that the govt has not lost a cent in the bond scam. The Commission in its report has stated that more..

‘Once ridiculed garment industry has transformed into a prime success story’

Jan 30 (Island) 'Post 1977, the govt adhered to the open economy and its benefits were that Sri Lankan products were recognized in the international sphere. We exported tea and rubber, but the garments industry which commenced since that time expanded considerably. It is correct that we had foreign collaboration to establish the garments industry. Those who opposed the govt at that time ridiculed us saying we sold the country to foreigners. But would those critics say that now? more..

National Chamber calls for strategy for labour shortage

Jan 30 (Island) I am honored to be elected for another year, as the 32nd president of this prestigious Chamber, the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and I assure with confidence and pride that I will take forward the good work done by my predecessors to take the Chamber to greater heights. I am taking over the presidency of this Chamber at a very critical period for the world economy as well as the Sri Lanka economy. more..

Tea trips on blending ban

Jan 30 (FT) Minister Navin Dissanayake sought to calm a panicked tea industry, firing off a letter to Prez Sirisena to forestall a prohibition of tea imports for blending and reassuring he would do his utmost to keep policy unchanged. Top tea companies became alarmed after President Sirisena during an election rally on 28 Jan said he would ban imports of tea for blending, claiming it was promoting sale of substandard tea. more..

Spin-heavy B'desh to face upbeat SL in Tests

Jan 30 (Island) Bangladesh are depending on their spin force led by veteran Abdur Razzaq to deliver the opening punch against SL in the first of two Tests starting Wed. Razzaq, 35, was the third spinner added to the squad for the match in Chittagong after skipper and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out with a finger injury. Uncapped left-arm orthodox spinner Sunzumul Islam and leg-spinner Tanbir Hayder are also part of the squad to be led by Mahmudullah Riyad. more..

LAUGFS terminal issue: Wega says no

Jan 30 (ST) The country’s topmost officials are scrambling to sort out the issue on LAUGFS LPG import and export terminal, but LAUGFS Holdings Chairman W.H.K. Wegapitiya is adamant that his terms must be met. Top ministers said that this issue is almost sorted, but Mr. Wegapitiya says that his company has to be treated fairly. He had met with President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and all the officials downwards but the issue is still alive, he said. more..

'Bond, PRECIFAC offenders will be tried'

Jan 30 (DN) Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya informed those who were present at the Party Leaders’ Meeting convened by the President that he would go ahead in filing cases against the offenders revealed in Bond Commission report and PRECIFAC report. A special Party Leaders’ Meeting was summoned by President Sirisena to brief on the follow up action with regard to Bond Commission & PRECIFAC reports more..

Borrowing realities: I borrow, you pay

Jan 30 (ST) Govt debt level is in excess of Rs. 9,387 billion, according to a report. The govt is moving to bring in a Liability Management Law to manage public debt. Managing debt does not mean that we don’t have to pay it back; neither does it mean a reduction in debt level. Rather debt management means that we are getting ready to repay our previous borrowings but in a manageable manner. Therefore we should not be surprised when the date of settling a loan installment more..

Nestlé signs MoU with Kelaniya University

Jan 30 (CT) Nestlé has signed an MoU with the University of Kelaniya's Department of Marketing Management. The Company has come on board as strategic partner for the University's Certified Professional Marketing Graduate (CPMG) programme, which offers high performing students an additional professional qualification in marketing on top of their degree. The agreement is part of Nestlé's new initiative to support youth employment in Sri Lanka, called Nestlé Needs Youth, more..

Khapra woes continue; Russian fact-finding mission to arrive this week

Jan 30 (DM) Sri Lanka faces the struggle of proving to the world that the troublesome khapra beetle is not present in the country, as a Russian fact-finding mission arrives this week. SL Tea Board, at the time of a tea consignment to Russia being quarantined and tea exports to Russia being temporarily banned, had insisted that SL is not an origin point for khapra beetles and that consignment may have been contaminated by more..

Crocodile Lanka opens flagship store in Duplication Road

Jan 30 (DM) Crocodile Lanka in a bid to provide their customers with more choice and easier access recently relocated its flagship store to 345, Duplication Road, Colombo 3. The launch event was attended by leading personalities in the corporate world, well-wishers and members of their loyalty programme. To commemorate the grand occasion Crocodile Lanka awarded their customers with attractive gifts for every purchase made on the day. Crocodile, a world-renowned lifestyle brand, more..

Spice Traders welcome ban on re-export of pepper from Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (LBO) Spices & Allied Products Producers’ & Traders’ Association said they are happy to learn that President Sirisena has directed the re-export of Pepper from Sri Lanka would be banned from February 10th 2018. President said steps will be taken to completely stop the re-export of pepper in the future in order to protect the local farmers as it caused to reduce the price of pepper. “This step is in the right direction to protect Sri Lanka Pepper.” Chairman of Spices & Allied Products more..

Mud-slingers will be taught a good lesson on Feb.10: Kiriella

Jan 30 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said UNP supporters would teach political mud-slingers a good lesson on Feb 10. Addressing a LG election rally, he said some people presumed they could defeat the UNP over the bond matter. “Our opponents should realise that the UNP is a political party with a strong foundation and a strong leadership. The Opposition requested a debate on the bond report and it was granted. more..

Smooth Bahrain visa process through Mack Air

Jan 30 (ST) Mack Air, General Sales Agent of Gulf Air, in partnership with Visit Bahrain, Bahrain’s largest destination management company, has launched Bahrain Tourist Visa and Holiday services available at the Gulf Air office in Colombo. Travellers with return Gulf Air tickets can now conveniently apply for a visa to the Kingdom of Bahrain by visiting the Gulf Air office. The visa service takes a minimum of four working days to process and it is done in coordination with the relevant ministries and more..

Hellmann and MAS set up supply chain JV in contract logistics and 4PL in Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (FT) Hellmann Worldwide Logistics (HWL) and MAS Holdings established the joint venture Hellmann MAS Supply Chain (HMSC) in Sri Lanka by combining Hellmann´s existing contract logistics business in Sri Lanka and in-house logistics activities of MAS. With the formation of the new JV, the existing HWL business in Sri Lanka transitions into a focused air and sea unit, whilst the new JV will provide contract logistics and Fourth Party Logistics (4PL) services in Sri Lanka. more..

Education system in Sri Lanka: Increasing trend of student expulsion: HRCSL

Jan 30 (CT) Apart from corporal punishment-related disciplining that is taking place in schools, Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) says that they have observed an increasing trend of students being expelled from schools, thereby leaving them stranded. Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Deepika Udagama pointed out that the HRCSL was extremely concerned about these allegations, more..

TISL says hold Bond, PRECIFAC debate before campaign moratorium

Jan 30 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said it was concerned by the decision to convene Parliament on 8 Feb, when the moratorium on campaigning for LG elections comes into effect. TISL believes that convening Parliament during the moratorium will provide an undue opportunity for political parties represented in Parliament to engage in campaigning for the elections, which unfairly disadvantages parties and independent groups not represented in Parliament. more..

Meethotamulla Disaster: Govt yet to pay compensation for lands

Jan 30 (CT) The Movement Against the Meethotamulla Garbage Dump alleged that the Govt is yet to pay compensation for lands of the Meethotamulla Disaster victims. A protest by the Movement was held near the Presidential Secretariat yesterday over this issue and the Police had to close Lotus Road temporarily. Convener of the Movement, Nuwan Bopage alleged that action which should be taken by Govt regarding the issue is taking place at a snail's pace. more..

Sagala insists police now free to act independently

Jan 30 (Island) Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said yesterday that the Police had been given professional freedom to act independently and take action against election law violators. "If the Police fail to take action that is a weakness on their part. I reiterate that the Police must take action against wrongdoers irrespective of their party affiliations," Ratnayake said addressing a meeting in the Deniyaya electorate. more..

JVP on promised bond debate

Jan 30 (Island) The JVP yesterday called on President Maithripala Sirisena to summon parliament by Feb. 07 to debate the reports of the Bond Commission and PRECIFAC. JVP MP Vijitha Herath addressing a press conference said: "We did not attend a party leaders’ meeting summoned by the President to discuss the two reports because we knew it would be an exercise in futility. Now, it it only too well known that the bond commission report presented to Parliament is not complete. more..

UNF says No to debate before polls

Jan 30 (DN) UNF decided to oppose having the Parliamentary debate on Bond Commission report and PRECIFAC report prior to the elections, Minister Mano Ganesan said. Party Leaders representing the UNF met for a special meeting chaired by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday. Ministers Champika Ranawaka, Rauf Hakeem, Rajitha Senaratne, Mano Ganesan, Malik Samarawickrama, Lakshman Kiriella and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam took part in hour long meeting. more..

JO and JVP boycott President’s Party Leaders’ meeting

Jan 30 (FT) JVP and JO boycotted the Party Leaders’ meeting presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday, asserting that they would attend the Party Leaders meeting to be held with the Speaker today. JO group leader in Parliament MP Dinesh Gunawardana said that if the President had any clarifications to make on the bond report, he could do so while addressing Parliament. more..

Selling Sri Lanka agenda?: Govt talking to India on Mattala Int'l Airport

Jan 30 (DM) The govt is discussing with the Indian Aviation Authority on forming a joint venture to develop the Mattala International Airport, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. He said it would be a joint venture between the Indian authorities and Civil Aviation Authority of SL for the development of an international airport. Minister said the airport could be made economically viable if the Indian authorities came into the partnership. He said the agreement could be finalised by August this year. more..

Presidential Secretariat clarifies withholding of bond report documents

Jan 30 (FT) Several documents of the bond report containing sensitive information were withheld to be used for court proceedings, Secretary to the President Austin Fernando had told Party Leaders yesterday. “The Secretary pointed out that although there were many annexes to the report, Commission had recommended that certain documents be kept confidential until legal proceedings are initiated against those involved in the bond scam,” CWC Vice President Ganapathi Kanaharaja said. more..

Debate on PCoI, PRECIFAC reports: JO/SLPP won’t accept LG polls postponement

Jan 30 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will meet political party leaders today (30) to decide on a date for a debate on Bond Scam Commission and PRECIFAC reports ahead of Feb. 10 LG polls. A spokesperson for the Speaker’s Office said that the Chairman of Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya, too, had been invited for the discussion. Official said that the meeting would be held at 12 noon, more..

Will bond debate impact on election results?

Jan 30 (DM) Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya has expressed concern over PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s request to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to convene Parliament on Feb 8 to debate the Presidential Commission reports on the controversial bond transactions and the serious frauds or corruption that had taken place mainly during the previous regime. Mr. Deshapriya argued that the debate, proposed to be held during the 48-hour silence period prior to LG elections, more..

Govt Bonds, what the people should know

Jan 30 (DM) LG elections are getting closer and the hot topic for many participating major political parties is the Irregularities that had taken place at the Central Bank when auctioning Govt Bonds. Almost every Sri Lankan is talking about the alleged Bond fraud. The Opposition has deployed a strategy to pin the responsibility of the alleged fraud on the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe because he had appointed the CB’s former Governor Arjun Mahendran who is at the centre of the entire scandal. more..

'Nobody can find fault with how UNP ran economy'

Jan 30 (DM) Minister Malik Samarawickrama, responds to the allegations about the scam and speaks about the importance of Free Trade Agreements to export growth and international trade. Q: You signed the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. What is the next step? A: As we promised, we will have countervailing duties and the trade related laws passed in Parliament when we meet in Feb. more..

'UNP guilty of bond scam both by commission and omission'

Jan 30 (DM) Former MP Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, who served in the COPE during the previous Parliament, spoke about the bond scam in the Central Bank and of other happenings in the political front. Q: As a member of the COPE during the previous Parliament, how do you compare and contrast investigations into the bond scam now and then? A: We were given an unusual task as members of the COPE in 2015, but more..

Chinese company gets huge contract for solid waste landfill project

Jan 30 (DM) China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) has won a US$90.48mn contract to design and build the solid waste sanitary landfill in Aruwakkalu, Puttalam. The contract, which costs LKR1.63bn in addition to the dollar fee, was signed on Dec 29 last year. The project–which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development–entails the construction within 18 months of transfer more..

'Minimizing money laundering and terrorist financing: SL should step up monitoring'

Jan 30 (CT) Former Chairman of the SEC, President's Counsel Dr. Dayanath Jayasuriya underlined the urgency to step up related monitoring and implementation in order to demonstrate the country's willingness to join the international community to minimize money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Recently, the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had identified Sri Lanka as one of the more..

'No plan by President to form Govt with 96 UPFA MPs'

Jan 30 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena does not plan to form a new govt if the 96 UPFA MPs join him, insisted Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday as he explained that President Sirisena had merely spoken of the need to maintain unity among the parties. Minister said that the media had misunderstood the President when he said that he would form a SLFP govt if all 96 UPFA MPs pledged their support to him. more..

GMOA asks President to sack health Minister

Jan 30 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday urged the President to take steps to remove Health Minister, Dr Rajith Senaratne and Health Secretary, Janaka Sugathadasa from their positions. Addressing the media at the OPA in view of today’s (30) token strike over ten demands inclusive of amending the extra duty allowance in keeping with the basic salaries of doctors, GMOA Assistant Secretary more..

'Perpetual Treasuries borrowed billions of Rupees from state banks'

Jan 30 (Island) Former Chairman of the COPE D.E.W. Gunasekera told a meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena that sufficient attention hadn’t been paid to the Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) borrowing billions from the state sector to meet govt financial requirements. The Communist Party General Secretary alleged that the public hadn’t been made aware of the brazen exploitation of the state institutions by PTL. more..

Video: Maithripala Sirisena is a decision I don’t regret: PM

Jan 30 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke on the current situation within the govt, his relationship with President Maithripala Sirisena and the economic plans for the future. Q: Has the dissention within the govt affected the ability of the cabinet to make unanimous decisions? A: The UNP and SLFP made a decision to come together in 2015 with several other parties to ensure that all economic and more..

GMOA calls off token strike

Jan 30 (AD) The GMOA called off their 24-hour token strike following discussions with minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne. The strike was called off at 1.00pm today, following talks held this morning with the Minister of Health Dr Rajitha Senaratne, Director General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasingha and other officials. GMOA launched an islandwide token strike today, stating that govt has not provided an acceptable resolution more..

Proper if Ravi steps down: PM

Jan 30 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have indicated that it will be proper if UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake steps down from his post as the assistant leader of the party. This was revealed by the PM, when he presided over a meeting with the leaders of the parties aligned with the UNP. Meanwhile it was also revealed by UNP sources that the commission appointed to look into the action that more..

Prime Minister on edge

Jan 30 (CT) With only a few days remaining for the LG elections, it seems as if all the tension is flowing from the lowest points of the country. The lowest point, surprisingly, seems at the moment to be the two highest political positions of the country: those of the President and the PM. If one takes the time to observe the action and statements made by the two during the last two weeks, there is one startling observation one could make. That is that both of them seem to be crippling more..

The long-awaited MMDA report, a façade!

Jan 30 (FT) After nine years of snail-paced deliberations, the Justice Saleem Marsoof (JSM) Committee Report to reform the Muslim Marriages and Divorce Act (MMDA), sometimes called the Muslim Personal Law (MPL), is out at last, bravo! The Chairperson of the committee, Justice Saleem Marsoof handed over a report to Minister of Justice Thalatha Athukorale on 22 Jan. It is regrettable that the JSM committee could not arrive at a consensus among the learned members who sat for more..