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SL extends financial access to villagers

June 23 (ST) Sri Lanka has made a commitment to expand financial access to the poorest of the poor people living in remote rural areas through a financial inclusion scheme, official sources divulged. Sri Lanka is a land of 14,000 villages and a majority of the country’s population, nearly 80 per cent, lives in villages. Financial needs of these villages are being served by an estimated 14,000 financial institutions in the country, which directly or indirectly provide micro credit facilities. more..

Govt elevated SL to investment hub: PM

June 23 (DM) The Yahapalana Govt has been able to transform Sri Lanka from a debt-ridden, backward pariah state in the third world in 2015 to a respected, investment hub in South Asia by 2018 with a fast growing economy, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. He added that no one had any hope for Sri Lanka which was in a huge debt trap and no funds in the Treasury even for day to day expenses. more..

MTD Walkers PLC on investors' radar with several large projects in pipeline

June 23 (Island) The management of MTD Walkers PLC is gearing up its operations to deliver on a strong order book of large scale, long-term infrastructure projects in several sectors. Analysts say this will keep the Group on Investors' radar as what it has in the pipeline are significantly large projects. MTD Walkers PLC, recognised for its strength in engineering and infrastructure development, has commenced work on the Central Expressway - one of the country’s largest more..

Combank promotes biodiversity with project to search for more types of blind snake

June 23 (Island) Eight of the known types of fossorial blind snakes of the Typhlopidae family are endemic to SL, and the Commercial Bank of Ceylon is funding a new scientific project to identify and classify more types in this species to add to the country’s biodiversity pool and promote conservation. Bank has committed financing support to the Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka (HFS) to conduct a research study relating to the taxonomy (or the classification study) and more..

Culprits visited Kilinochchi and left with money: MR

June 23 (CT) Commenting on the Govt issuing an extraordinary Gazette Notification, placing 14 individuals, suspected of links with the LTTE, and now living abroad, on a list of designated persons, banned from entry to Sri Lanka, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the move comes in the wake of the 14 arriving in the island, travelling to Kilinochchi, getting what they wanted done and leaving with monies. more..

Sri Lankan handicrafts, spices and tea featured at the UN International Bazaar

June 23 (FT) Permanent Mission of SL to the United Nations in New York actively participated in the annual UN International Bazaar held on 18 June at the UN Headquarters. UN premises was a hive of activity as the New York community gathered to experience the cuisine and craft products of different cultures. Mission hosted two popular stalls at the event, one offering traditional handicrafts, spices, tea, rice, jams, chutney and other merchandise, and the other offering traditional SL short eats more..

Over 25000 flats for Colombo’s shanty dwellers by 2020

June 23 (DN) The people are not evacuated from their homes by force under this govt to construct buildings in the Western Province, Minister Mano Ganesan said. He the Megalopolis and Western Development Ministry has initiated projects to construct flats in Colombo with 25,000 housing units by 2020. He added that during the previous regime the people in the shanties were forcefully relocated from their dwellings to construct the flats. “But this govt is not doing so,” he said. more..

Corrupt probing Corrupt?: Petroleum Ministry denies deliberately delaying inquiry

June 23 (Island) Petroleum Resources Development Ministry was still inquiring into a loss of nearly Rs. 10 mn due to some officials releasing, after the announcement of latest fuel price hike on May 10, large stocks of petrol, diesel and kerosene at old prices. Sources said that disciplinary action hadn’t been taken so far against those involved in the racket. Asked whether ministry had deliberately delayed a proper inquiry, more..

160 SL personnel, kin to visit Bodh Gaya

June 23 (AA) In a sudden and heartwarming gesture that may have significant impact in fostering better relationship between India and Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, about 160 SL military personnel and their families from the Army, Air Force and the Navy will fly down in an Indian Air Force (IAF) C-17 transport aircraft on Sunday to visit the Buddhist pilgrimage centre at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. On Monday, the Lankan team will visit the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya followed by more..

PNB thwarts cocaine smuggling bid at BIA

June 23 (DM) A 34-year-old Bolivian national who allegedly smuggled in cocaine weighing 11 kilogrammes using a novel method was taken into custody by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) at the BIA, a PNB official said. The official said that under the instructions of Police Narcotics Range DIG Sajeewa Medawatte, PNB officials found the cocaine stuffed in several towels and some wearings using a special chemical. PNB had found cocaine weighing 11 kilogrammes and 300 grammes more..

We are still under MR, say 16 SLFP rebels

June 23 (DM) Member of SLFP of 16 rebels, former Minister W.D.J Seneviratne, while dismissing alleged remarks made against the group by certain members of the JO said they would remain in politics under the leadership of former Prez Rajapaksa and contest the forthcoming PC, Presidential and Parliamentary polls under his leadership. He added that the 16 SLFP rebels would sit in Parliament with JO more..

Army denies canard on alleged withdrawals

June 23 (DN) SL Army denied reports that it was withdrawing several formations from the North and the East. Army said this is a canard reportedly made by disgruntled political elements desperately attempting to mislead the public. “SL Army categorically denies having taken any such decision, nor has it contemplated implementing a move of that nature at all as alleged by those elements who try to showcase that they are more patriotic than members of the armed forces in the country,” more..

Inquiry against doctor who claimed influenza spreading

June 23 (Island) An inquiry would be held against a female doctor attached to the Epidemiology Unit for telling the media that the incidence of influenza was increasing, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that influenza had been brought down by 95 percent and it was a viral disease for which there was no cure. "It can only be controlled with proper medication. These days if a person falls ill and seeks treatment from a hospital, tests done would be done to rule out influenza. more..

JO asks Sirisena why he is still in yahapalana govt

June 23 (Island) JO MP Shehan Semasinghe said that President Sirisena owed an explanation as to why he continued the partnership with the UNP after having accused that party of destroying the national economy. He pointed out that Prez had gone to the extent of claiming that only his intervention saved the state banking sector from being destroyed by UNP. MP said so when inquired about ongoing efforts more..

SLPP claims attempt to close H’tota Wind Power Farm

June 23 (CT) SLPP Youth Front Member and UPFA MP D.V. Chanaka alleged that since the Hambantota Port has been given on lease, employees of the Hambantota Wind Power Farm (WPF) were asked to leave their jobs. Chanaka claimed that since the WPF is within the harbour territory, the workers in the Hambantota WPF had been informed to leave their jobs and evacuate the premises, while in the meantime the employees are being continuously forced to quit their jobs more..

Speaker names Constitutional Committee members

June 23 (DM) MPs Chamal Rajapaksa, Rauff Hakeem and Vijitha Herath had been named to the newly-appointed committee to be in charge of Constitutional Affairs, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced. As per the announcement, the Speaker himself, the Leader of the House, and three other members are appointed to this Committee. These three members are nominated by the Speaker, PM and Leader of the Opposition. This committee will be given the responsibility to look into proposals more..

Chandimal to miss Barbados Test as Judicial Commissioner rejects appeal

Jun 23 (CB) Dinesh Chandimal will remain suspended for SL's Day-Night Test against Windies at Barbados after the ICC appointed Judicial Commissioner, Michael Beloff, rejected the SL captain's appeal against the ball tampering sanction. Chandimal was found guilty of changing the condition of the ball on Day 2 of the St. Lucia Test in a direct breach of clause 41.3 of the ICC's Standard Test Match Playing Conditions. more..

Kilinochchi Magistrate’s Court orders arrest of leopard-killers

June 23 (FT) The Kilinochchi Magistrate’s Court yesterday ordered to arrest the individuals involved in the slaughtering of a leopard which attacked villagers. “Kilinochchi Police had filed a report on the issue to the Magistrate’s Court. Magistrate’s Court then ordered a complete probe into the killing of the leopard in Kilinochchi and to arrest those responsible,” Police Spokesperson said. The issue was brought to notice when a celebratory video of the killers parading the dead animal more..

DCA refuses to obey Ombudsman: Speaker

June 23 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday, informed the Parliament that the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has refused to implement the recommendations given by the Ombudsman and that the Party Leaders, at their next meeting, will therefore have to discuss and take a decision regarding this issue. Speaker, at the beginning of yesterday’s Parliamentary sitting, announced that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) had reported to him that more..

Enterprise Sri Lanka for new growth era

June 23 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena called on State banks to focus on providing affordable financing to entrepreneurs, pointing out that generating colossal profits alone was insufficient to promote the welfare of the country. Prez addressing the Enterprise Sri Lanka program launch at the BMICH on Friday acknowledged that Small and Medium Enterprises were the backbone of the economy and critical for job creation more..

Refugees and widows: Let conscience be our guide

Jun 23 (DM) This week, the international community marks two important events -- World Refugee Day on June 20 and World Widows’ Day today. Both refugees and widows have been oppressed or marginalised to a large extent and we need to deeply reflect on the issues. This reflection is essential though the US President Donald Trump -- who says he wants to make America great again -- has instead created an America alone crisis by his hard or cruel policy against refugees, more..

Two rare elephants confined to Sinharaja

Jun 23 (DM) A recent attempt to relocate two rare elephants from the Sinharaja Forest Reserve created a controversy within environmentalists as the UNESCO would de-list the area as a world heritage site. This led to the intervention of the President who issued a directive that the move to relocate the elephants should be suspended until a proper scientific study was done on whether this transmigration would lead to the extinction of this rare species. UNESCO in 1978 designated more..

Safety rules sans penalties finally, after three-wheelers kill hundreds

Jun 23 (ST) Within the first 120 days of this year, irresponsible three-wheeler drivers have killed 117 people on the roads, and finally, transport officials say, revised safety regulations, including a 40-kilometres per hour speed limit, will be implemented soon. Rules being gazetted on Wednesday restrict three-wheelers from transporting more than three passengers at a time. But, with children below 12 years, 2 adults can ride. more..

Monster project swallows Rs. 1.3bn in compensation

Jun 23 (ST) More than Rs. 1.3 billion has been spent on compensation related to the Uma Oya hydro-electric and irrigation project, the scheme’s Deputy Director, D.B Amarasekara said. Rs. 800 million has been paid as compensation to people whose houses were damaged by the project while Rs. 370 million has been spent on compensation for crop damage. There were areas that had not yet received compensation more..

Norwegian researchers sail in to probe fishing stocks

Jun 23 (ST) The long-awaited Norwegian research vessel, RV Dr Fridtjof Nansen, which sails around the globe helping developing countries set up ecosystem-based fishery management, will reach Colombo on June 22. The Nansen, regarded as the world’s most advanced marine research vessel, will sail around Sri Lanka for 26 days, surveying oceanic conditions and fish stocks. more..

Govt comes in for praise by JVP for restoring film distribution to Film Corp.

Jun 23 (Island) Higher Education and Cultural Affairs Minister Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told Parliament that he had called for an investigation and a report on a film conservation machine imported into the country during the time of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Minister said so in response to a question raised by JVP Kalutara District MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa. MP Jayatissa praised the govt’s move to hand back more..

Govt claims political agendas behind rumours

Jun 23 (CT) The Govt, denied claims that it attempted to block the development activities carried out by the SLPP controlled Local Govt (LG) bodies and said that there could be political motives behind such rumours. Speaking in Parliament, State Minister Sriyani Wijewickrama said there is no truth in those rumours. The truth was that some of the SLPP-run LG bodies had not requested the Ministry for necessary funds for more..

'Two Sinharaja elephants will suffer same fate as the leopard'

Jun 23 (DM) The two elephants in the Sinharaja forest will suffer the same fate as the leopard which was killed recently if they remain in the Sinharaja forest, Wildlife Deputy Minister Palitha Thewarapperuma said. Wildlife Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Deputy Minister Thewarapperuma initially attempted to take the two animals out of the forest reserve but Prez Sirisena stopped them from doing it, he said. more..

Snake bites

Jun 23 (DM) SL, centuries back called as Eastern entrepôt of grains still owns acres of lush green paddy fields-harvesting piles of rice with the blood and tears of native farmers, who work hard in order to keep up with the demand of the nation. There is no doubt about the fact that, these individuals do not get the due gratitude for the service they render, but keeping that aside do they even receive privileges, they are bestowed more..

Will not let terrorism rise again: Dy. Minister

Jun 23 (DM) In reference to the incident, where several military type equipment and uniform belonging to the LTTE were detected in a three-wheeler at the Peraru Junction in Oddusuddan on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Law and Order Nalin Bandara said the Govt would not allow terrorism to raise its head again. He said the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) officers were conducting a special investigation into the incident. more..

Sri Lanka look to refocus on cricket in pink-ball Test; Lakmal named captain

Jun 23 (CI) Forget the controversy for a moment. Forget the charges faced by the SL leadership, forget the video clips, and the due process. From a purely cricket perspective, this series deserves a close finish. It hasn't quite been an epic, but aspects of it have been a wonderful surprise. How many series have two 145kph-plus quicks at the top of the series' wicket-takers' list? Shannon Gabriel and Lahiru Kumara have forced more..

Hitler comparison hurts Sri Lanka presidential hopeful

Jun 23 (EN) A senior Buddhist monk counselling former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to emulate Hitler and establish a military dictatorship may have seriously hurt his bid for the presidency, according to close associates. A chief priest of the Asgiriya chapter, Vendaruwe Upali, blessed Rajapaksa on his 69th birthday Wednesday by urging him to follow the German dictator Hitler and take over the country more..

Against the dying of the light

Jun 24 (SO) Last week, a leading member of the Buddhist clergy put into words what the detractors of the former Defence Secretary and current presidential aspirant have been insinuating for some months. On the occasion of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s 69th birthday, the Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, monastic order that is joint custodian of the Sacred Tooth Relic, had words of advice for the former Defence Secretary: “What we need is a leadership that has the blessings of Mahinda more..

Dollar Supply

Jun 24 (CT) Foreign investments in the Govt Securities Market (GSM) plunged to a 34-week low of Rs 298,858.48 million in the week ended Wednesday, thereby keeping up depreciative pressure on the rupee. A figure lower than this was last achieved in the week ended 10 October 2017, when investments in the GSM totalled Rs 298,765.33 million. Such low investments are due to continuous foreign exits from the GSM, which in the eight weeks to Wednesday alone amounted more..

'No JO decision on Presidential Candidate'

Jun 24 (SO) Totally refuting the claims by the media, Joint Opposition (JO) Parliamentary Group Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena said that the JO has not even discussed or arrived at any decision in relation to its choice of the next presidential candidate. The seasoned PM said as the JO consists of many political parties and lobbying groups so diverse views are held by them. But finally, the situation will change overnight more..

Looking up and spitting

Jun 24 (Island) For ages we have been told that sweets are bad. Sri Lanka’s Test captain Dinesh Chandimal learned about it the hard way as the International Cricket Council came down hard on him on Friday. Chandimal (28) was fined US$ 7,500 and was handed a one Test ban that ruled him out of the third and final Test against West Indies in Barbados. ICC Match Referee and former fast bowler Javagal Srinath had charged him for ball tampering, a decision SL skipper contested. more..

The man who wears the yellow-dyed robe…

Jun 24 (ST) Gnanasara hamuduruwaney, I thought I must write to you because many people are talking about you these days, after you were found guilty by a court and sent to jail last week. I don’t know whether you believe that any publicity is good publicity, but whatever you complain of, you certainly can’t complain of a lack of publicity! Previously we had heard of you when you appeared to be the number one patriot in the country, trying to save the Sinhala race from other communities. more..

Bribery Commission on cleanup campaign

Jun 24 (SO) Director General of the CIABOC, Sarath Jayamanna, outlines the challenges faced by the Commission and its future plans to set up a robust prevention mechanism to eliminate bribery and corruption in the public sector. He says, the CIABOC is also eying Sri Lanka Cricket and the private sector in its cleanup campaign. Q: The slow pace of investigations and prosecutions are major challenges weighing down on more..

US withdrawal from UNHCR: Where do we go from here?

Jun 24 (ST) The US pulling out of the UNHRC this week on the basis that it was a cesspool of political bias proves one thing: that it is a cesspool of political bias. Sri Lanka has also, in the past, said as much in not so many words. The US envoy to the UN described the Council as a hypocritical and self-serving organization that displayed unending hostility towards Israel. US President Donald Trump’s partiality towards Israel needs no second guessing. more..

The incarceration and release of Galagodaatte Gnanasara

Jun 24 (Island) The monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara who was serving a six month sentence handed down by the Homagama Magistrate’s court for threatening and intimidating a witness in the court premises has now been released on bail pending his appeal. The reason why he is in this sorry situation today is because of the inability of the bhikku Nikayas in this country to enforce discipline among their monks. In the recent past, there was an attempt to confer legal status on the Kathikawath or more..