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JO split over Dy Speaker vote

Jun 6 (CT) The JO appeared to be split in Parliament yesterday as 18 of their MPs did not come to vote for the SLFP candidate, for the post of Deputy Speaker, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, choosing instead to stay in the Parliament canteen. MP Dinesh Gunawardena said that at the customary Group meeting presided over by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa the JO MPs had taken a unanimous decision to vote for Dr. Fernandopulle to defeat the United National Party candidate. more..

Lankan nabbed with forex worth Rs.47.3mn

Jun 6 (DM) A passenger was arrested at the BIA yesterday evening with foreign currency worth Rs.47.3 million that he was attempting to smuggle to Singapore, Deputy Customs Director Vipula Minuwanpitiya said. He said the 28-year-old suspect was arrested with the foreign currency which had been concealed inside three travelling bags with false bottoms in them and inside the folders of a stationary file. The customs revealed that the suspect was a resident of Negombo. more..

'Former govt took USD 20 mn as commissions from N’cholai contractor'

Jun 6 (Island) More than USD 20 million had been obtained as commissions from foreign companies involved in the constructing of Norochcholai Power plant by the leaders of former govt, State Minister Ajith P. Perera said. He said evidence had surfaced from international investigations into certain irregularities involving the power plant, he said. He claimed that there had been no irregularities recorded in 11 tenders more..

Key insights to ASEAN and Sri Lanka from top HSBC global executives

Jun 6 (FT) Slew of top international executives from global banking giant HSBC will be a key attraction at the 11 June forum on ASEAN: Sri Lanka’s Next Big Opportunity organised by Daily FT in partnership with the Colombo University MBA Alumni Association at the Shangri La Hotel, Colombo. The unprecedented active participation of these top executives who will share key insights is thanks to HSBC being the Strategic Partner of the forum from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by lunch. more..

Sri Lanka Red Cross drone assesses monsoon disaster from the air

Jun 6 (RW) Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) says it has now launched a recovery operation to assist 50,000 people affected by the recent monsoon-season floods, and for the first time it is using a drone to help volunteers gauge the full extent of the disaster. SLRCS said, it was allocating nearly US$ 400,000 for a four-month operation to assist 2,800 household in Puttalam, Kalutara, Kegalle, Ratnapura, Gampaha and Colombo districts, identified as worst affected. more..

CEB engineers threaten to shut down Norochcholai

Jun 6 (Island) Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) has warned that it will have to shut down Lakvijaya Coal Power Station, Norochcholai if the environmental protection license (EPL) is not granted by next Tuesday. Several other plants, including those at Matara and Embilipitiya, which need clearance certificates would also have to be shut down, CEBEU President, Saumya Kumarawadu said. more..

Knuckles range: Minister wants report on area marked for development

Jun 6 (DM) Amid allegations that plans are afoot to acquire land from the Knuckles range, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera is reported to have sought a detailed report on the area earmarked for development work. Earlier, the Malwatte Chapter Maha Nayake the Most. Ven. Thibbatuwave Sidartha Sri Sumangala Thera raised concerns about plans to acquire land from the forest reserve for various purposes. The matter had come up for discussion at yesterday's Cabinet meeting. more..

Some of the bribes went to MPs’ family members by way of liquor dealerships

Jun 6 (Island) Family members and business associates of several previous members of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) had received dealerships of W M Mendis Liquor Manufacturers, owned by Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), Executive Director of CaFFE, Keerthi Tennakoon said addressing the media. "We know that the previous batch of COPE members had dealings with PTL and that had an adverse effect on the credibility of COPE. more..

Health Ministry awaiting NTC approval for influenza vaccine

Jun 6 (Island) Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament yesterday that the govt was ready to distribute the influenza vaccine at any given time, but it was awaiting the approval of the National Technical Committee on Influenza. Dr. Senaratne said that the govt had allocated Rs. 8,500 million on cancer vaccines patients and stents for heart patients. "So, allocating money for the influenza vaccine is not a difficult task," more..

Singapore FTA: JO challenges Malik to a debate

Jun 6 (DM) The joint opposition today challenged Minister Malik Samarawickrama to a debate on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore and urged President Maithripala Sirisena to suspend the FTA. JO MP Bandula Gunawardana said Minister Malik Samarawickrama or Ministry Secretary Chandani Wijewardana could fix a date for a debate at which the JO would reveal the truth about the Singapore FTA. “This FTA should not be allowed to function, as it had betrayed Sri Lanka. more..

Mangala promises probe on TNL repeater station shutdown

Jun 6 (FT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera promised to investigate the TRC’s action to shut down TNL’s repeater station at Polgahawela. Citing TRCSL’s action as an undemocratic move, Minister stated that he only got to know about it an hour after the incident took place and was expecting a report from the TRCSL. “Shutting down media organisations by the Govt is undemocratic. There are many TV stations which sling mud at us but we do not harbour any hate against them,” more..

Karu assures tabling of complete PCoI bond scam report

Jun 6 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assured Parliament that he would make a request from the Prez Secretariat seeking all Sections of the report, of the PCoI into the Treasury Bonds Issuance, once the Prez’s Secretary returns to the country. Speaker, making an announcement regarding the alleged list of 118 MPs, who had received funds from PTL Owner Arjun Aloysius, said that he received Sections C 350 – 360 of more..

MS and the 100-day-programme

Jun 6 (DM) Who would have thought President Sirisena was not in agreement with the 100-day-programme marketed by those who toiled to see him as the President following the 2015 election? This has been the case, according to the President himself, who broke the news last week. Prez Sirisena dumbfounded the entire country, perhaps including his family members, at a function held last Wednesday at the SLFI to commemorate the 76th birth anniversary of late Ven. Maduluwawe more..

Promise of 2015 Prez Election shattered

Jun 6 (DM) We are fast approaching the end of the first term of this Presidency. The lofty ideals expressed so abundantly on the Maithripala Sirisena/UNP platform have come out empty. The looming end result of efforts to establish Yahapalanaya seems not only self-destructive, it looks thoroughly unworthy to a set of politicians, who have been nurtured and nursed by a culture, so steeped in corruption, nepotism and incompetence. A nation that looked forward to a system of more..

Rail technical workers pocket fat pay raise and perks

Jun 6 (ST) Salary grievances of railway engine drivers, guards, station masters and engineers, who had demanded a double-digit percentage increase in their pay packet will be settled, following a Govt decision. Railway Technical Services Trade Union had, over the past few weeks, agitated for a salary increase of 12% for 12,000 rail workers, including casual workers and substitutes. They also demanded incentives that more..

Prez poll 2020: UNP, SLFP ready, civil society sounds warning

Jun 6 (Island) The SLFP, on Monday, reiterated its commitment to helping President Maithripala Sirisena secure a second term. Newly appointed SLFP National Organiser Duminda Dissanayake said that the party would work hard to ensure President Sirisena’s victory at the 2020 presidential election. Dissanayake said so in response to a media query at a special press conference held at the party main office more..

Wimal: Is shutdown of TNL tower due to Prez, PM clash?

Jun 6 (Island) NFF leader Wimal Weerawsansa asked in parliament whether the shutdown of the transmission tower of TNL, which is owned by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s sibling by TRC under President Maithripala Sirisena was a result of political tug o war between the SLFP and the UNP? MP Weerawansa said the transmission tower of TNL TV at Polgahawela had been sealed by the TRC yesterday. more..

Health minister to register two foreign cancer treatment vaccines

Jun 6 (DM) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said he was in the process of registering two new foreign cancer treatment vaccines with National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) despite the controversial Taxacad also known as Hearticad cancer treatment vaccine which is already available in Sri Lanka. Russian vaccine Hearticad which was brought down by the minister was rejected by SL College of Oncologists more..

2012 Welikada Prison killings: Statement recorded from Maj Gen Dissanayake: CID

Jun 6 (CT) The CID yesterday, filing a progress report, told Colombo Additional Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage that they had recorded a statement from Major General Shantha Dissanayake, a former Brigadier in charge of the 14th Battalion, in connection with the clash at the Welikada Prison in November 2012, where 27 inmates were killed. The CID informed the Court that from statements recorded thus far, more..

No record of 118 MPs taking Aloysius' money: Attorney General

Jun 6 (DN) The Bond Commission report does not contain names of 118 MPs relating to any involvement in financial transactions, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC said. MP Dayasiri Jayasekara and several others alleged that 118 MPs had received money for election campaign spending from Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries, the first suspect in the alleged bond issue. more..

'Sri Lanka has paid Rs. 39 billion compensation for roadbuilding'

Jun 6 (EN) Sri Lanka has paid nearly 40 billion rupees of compensation, including for property acquired before 2015, to build roads and expressways including and no one was evicted by force, Highways Minister Kabir Hashim said. RDA has paid 39.1 billion rupees (US$ 245 million) in compensation for property owners. In 2015 and 2015, 10.34 billion rupees had been paid to persons whose property was taken before 2015. more..

Protest against land grab at Knuckles Mountain; Minister denies allegations

Jun 6 (AD) Members of the Protect Sri Lanka national movement staged a protest march from near the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo yesterday against alleged illegal land grab in the Knuckles Mountain or Dumbara Range. Following the march across the city of Colombo, the Hadabima Surakina Jathika Satana environmental conference was held at the Viharamahadevi open air theater, which coincided with World Environment Day more..

25% of population retirees by 2041

Jun 6 (CT) 25% of the country’s population would belong to the retired age group - of those who are over 60 years of age, in another 23 years’ time if SL’s current ageing trend continues, Ministry of Finance in a report released on 31 May warned. Against this backdrop, appropriate policy reforms on taxation, expenditure management, labour markets, innovative healthcare, social security systems, among others, more..

TRC says no undue ambition shutting TNL

Jun 6 (EN) Sri Lanka’s telecommunications regulator Wednesday defended its action against a TV network linked to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe saying it had no undue ambition. “The TRCSL emphasizes that there is no any other undue ambition behind this action,” the regulator said in a two-page statement issued a day after Telshan Network (TNL) had its Polgahawela transmitter seized. more..

White Elephants to Cash Cows

Jun 6 (CT) Wasteful public investments incurred during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, bequeathed to the nation a vast debt burden. Among those were mega white elephant multimillion US dollar infrastructure projects like the Hambantota Port, Mattala Airport and Suriyawewa Stadium, built after obtaining commercial money from China. To stop such waste taking place in the future, Finance Ministry in a report, highlighted the need to strengthen public investment management. more..

Perpetual pursuit of power

Jun 6 (FT) First things first: if the story is true, and 118 MPs have received Perpetual boodle, the bond entrepreneur should not be in prison. With that much clear command in the House, he should be in Temple Trees. Prez Sirisena is unlikely to command a chapter or earn a paragraph in our post-colonial history. He will, of course, be a footnote in the convoluted chapter on our struggle to return to a Parliamentary democracy, if or when we succeed in ditching the travesty of Executive Presidency. more..

Focus shifting away from the Bond Scam?

Video: TRC seals TNL transmission towers following criticism of President Sirisena

Jun 6 (CT) Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) which comes directly under President Sirisena has moved to seal transmission towers operated by TNL, the electronic media outfit owned by Shan Wickremesinghe. TRC’s sudden decision follows a programme on comments made by the President at a ceremony commemorating the late Ven Sobitha Thero where the presented said that recent statements made by him indicated a certain confusion (vyaakoolathaavaya). more..

Judiciary gets heart attacks on seeing suspects’ medical certificates: Judge

Jun 6 (Island) Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake yesterday said the medical reports of suspects accompanying their bail applications caused the judiciary to suffer heart attacks. The judge made this observation when the pleas for bail for former Chief of Staff of the Presidential Secretariat Kusumdasa Mahanama and Former Chairman State Timber Corporation Piyadasa Dissanayake were submitted by their respective counsel, as regards their health conditions. more..

As rains lash SL, warnings arrive on time

Jun 6 (Reuters) In late May, floods were the last thing on Chamindha Fernando’s mind. A drought that started in late 2016 was in its second year and the biggest local worry was that drinking water in Marawila, a coastal town about 65 km north of Colombo, might run out. So “when we began hearing that there was going to be heavy rains in the coming week from around May 20, at first I did not pay that much attention,” admitted Fernando, more..

Keselwatte Dinuka's chief associate arrested

Jun 6 (NR) Police Special Task Force has arrested a suspect who is believed to be a chief associate of a leading organised crime ring leader known as Keselwatte Dinuka who is absconding police overseas. The arrest was made last night at the Keselwatte Gunasinghapura Housing Scheme. Police Media Unit said the suspect was arrested with the possession of 10 grams of heroin. The suspect has been recognised as one of the main allies who operates the drug ring of Keselwatte Dinuka. more..

Sri Lanka to draft new laws to implement Ottawa Convention

Jun 6 (SL) Sri Lanka is to draft new laws to implement the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction. Cabinet has approved a proposal by Minister Thalatha Atukorala to advice the Legal Draftsman to drat legislations enabling the provisions of the convention in Sri Lanka. Commonly known as the Ottawa Treaty, the Convention was concluded by the Diplomatic Conference on more..

Video: Rathana Thero demands proper regulations on Glyphosate

Jun 6 (AD) MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero says that an internationally accepted legal document should be formulated for the regulation of Glyphosate. Thero said that there should be more support for public awareness programs on this matter. Presently, there are 32 containers with Glyphosate waiting to be released at the port, and that these Glyphosate imported from various countries should be inspected via a proper regulating authority more..

There's something brewing at the British Council library

Jun 6 (DM) The British Council in Sri Lanka reopened its Colombo library on Saturday, 2nd June. The library will continue its legacy as Colombo’s favourite hive for the arts, with a brand-new tagline hinting at exciting things to come- it all happens here. The official re-opening ceremony was on Saturday and attended by media, special invitees and long standing members. The guests were entertained with an evening of music and performances. Speaking at the re-opening, more..

Video: Range Bandara's son injured in accident

Jun 6 (DM) State Minister Palitha Range Bandara's son Yashoda and Puttalam Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman were injured when their vehicle driven by State Minister’s son veered off the road and crashed into a house at Kottapitiya in Chilaw early this morning. Initial Police investigations revealed that the cab belonging to the Irrigation Ministry had crashed into the house when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The cab and house were heavily damaged due to the accident. more..

Sri Lanka hires Singapore firm to draw plans for Southern development

Jun 6 (EN) Sri Lanka has hired Singapore govt-owned Surbana Jurong for $990,000 to draw up plans for urban development around a Chinese-funded Special Economic Zone that will straddle the Southern districts of Hambantota and Monaragala. The 12,000 acre SL-China Logistics and Industrial Zone which will cover the China-controlled Hambantota Port and parts of nearby Monaragala District will be developed by more..

Having a UNP Dy Speaker violates National Govt concept: JO

Jun 6 (DM) The JO today said electing both the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker from the same political party-the UNP-was against the principles of the National Govt concept. JO MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said the basic agreement of the National Govt was to appoint the Speaker from the UNP and the Deputy Speaker from the SLFP. “Today it has been changed. Therefore, we request Govt to take off the so called National Govt label at least now, since there is no such thing today. more..

Revenue can service interest expense: Govt

Jun 6 (CT) A primary surplus within a deficit budget implies that Govt revenue can service a part of interest expenditure, hence, debt servicing would not entirely depend on borrowed funds, signalling a deceleration in Govt debt accumulation over time. Ministry of Finance in a report released on 31 May said that the major realization in last year’s fiscal operations was the surplus recorded in the primary balance after decades. Even if the surplus was relatively small last year (0.02% of GDP), more..

GCE A/L: Health to be made a compulsory subject

Jun 6 (DM) On a Cabinet decision, Health will be made a compulsory subject for the GCE (A/L) exam from next year, Cabinet spokesman Gayantha Karunatilaka said. He said this decision was take after considering the proposal submitted by the Committee of Experts on Educational Reforms and a proposal by Health Minister Rajitha Seneviratne. He said the objective of making the Health compulsory was to create awareness more..

'Plastic bottles outlawed at Ministry of Foreign Affairs'

Jun 6 (CT) Marking the World Environment Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs switched to the use of glass bottles for water instead of plastic as their contribution to combat global plastic pollution. Sri Lanka is ranked in the fifth position out of 20 countries identified for dumping polythene and plastic to the oceans. Secretary to the Ministry Prasad Kariyawasam tweeted a recorded video message thus: “Marking the World Environment Day since yesterday (5), more..