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Face the Nation

Reflections on seven decades of post-independent economic growth

Jun 26 (ST) The inability to achieve and sustain a high trajectory of economic growth over the last seventy years has been a significant national failure and regret considering the economic potential of the country. Achieving high sustained growth in the foreseeable future too is unlikely as the political environment, ethnic conflicts, trade union and obstructionist activities and inability to implement rational economic policies are not conducive to such an achievement. more..

Sri Lankan sovereignty, non-negotiable!

Jun 26 (Island) IPS, Sri Lanka’s main economic policy think-tank claims it is independent, but only from the Sri Lankan State, not Western govts or their oligarchs. When established by an Act of Parliament in 1988, it was located in the Finance and Planning Ministry, but co-financed by the Dutch Govt and run by a Resident Coordinator from the Dutch Institute for Social Studies. In 2006, it announced it was moving to full financial independence, but signed an agreement with more..

How China got Sri Lanka to cough up a port

Jun 26 (NYT) Every time SL’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes. Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though SL’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa. Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering more..

After record breaking feats Ratnayake Central to miss Dilshi and Harsha

Jun 26 (Island) Ratnayake Central, Walala made a clean sweep in 4x800 metres relays in a show of absolute power of endurance on day two of the All Island Schools Relay Championship at Badulla on Monday. They won the Under-20 boys’ and girls’ and Under-18 boys’ and girls’ 4x800 metres relays with new meet records. Asian Junior Championship medallist Dilshi Kumarasinghe and the 800 metres specialist Harshan Sandaruwan did the final laps of the Under-20 age category relays to create more..

Old growth formula won't work without R&D and innovation: SLINTEC

Jun 26 (Island) The govt tries to keep to its fiscal consolidation programme. Central Bank is focused on its flexible inflation target and policy rates. Thus both these institutions are working in tandem to put growth fundamentals in place. But, in the more competitive global economic and trade environment this old growth formula no longer works unless companies find ways to improve productivity through research and development, innovation and automation It is just that R&D that has to lead more..

'Sri Lanka must synergise for growth'

Jun 26 (FT) Govt must synergise macroeconomic stabilisation with its thus far sluggish structural reforms to foster growth, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said, warning Sri Lanka faces deep challenges if it triggers a future Balance of Payments crisis by failing to implement reforms. Delivering the first Dr. Saman Kelegama Memorial Lecture at the IPS under the title Managing Domestic and International Opportunities more..

Vallibel Finance PBT grows 43% to Rs. 1.9 b

Jun 26 (FT) Vallibel Finance PLC has raced to over Rs. 1 billion in net profits and gross profit of Rs. 1.9 billion, probably one of the quickest to the milestone, in what has been 11 years of epoch-making highs in growth, stability, stature and accolades. The company’s meteoric rise from small beginnings to joining Sri Lankan business heavy-weights vindicates business tycoon Dhammika Perera’s confidence in naming the company as the name-bearer of the Vallibel Group. more..

Buddhist monks clear misconceptions about Iran

Jun 26 (Island) Two Buddhist monks, addressing a ceremony to commemorate the 29th death anniversary of Imam Khomeini at the Iranian Cultural Center in Colombo recently, said that one of the misconceptions about Iran, was that there was no space for performing arts in the country. Galagama Dhammaransi Thera and Kalupahana Piyarathana Thera said that Iran was a country, where the people enjoyed freedom and also had a rich culture, where arts and music flourished. more..

Schools Relay Championships: 13 records tumble on day one

Jun 26 (DN) Schools Relay Championship which got underway in Badulla on Sunday saw most of the heats worked on scheduled. The opening ceremony was held with attendance of Uva Province Chief Minister Chamara Sampath Dassanayake and State Minister of Education Radhakrishnan. Second day saw many records tumble with six by girls and seven by boy. Meanwhile Dharmapala Girls School squad more..

Acid rain in NCP: Dr. Senanayake

Jun 26 (CT) Environmentalists claimed that the acidic gases, which are being released from the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, can lead to acid rain and deforestation in the North Central Province. Environmentalist Dr. Ranil Senanayake said, due to the low quality coal and lack of quality control in releasing the smoke, such condition could occur. “According to the monsoon patterns, the smoke which includes Sulphur Dioxide and Nitric Oxide can travel via the wind to the A'pura and more..

Tuk-tuk driver who wanted a future

Jun 26 (ST) Gurbe Scheenstra – a difficult name for an average Sri Lankan to pronounce. It is not a commonly known name even in Gurbe’s home country – the Netherlands. He is the Country Head of ISM APAC (Pvt) Ltd – Sri Lanka branch of a multinational company in the IT/BPO industry. The company has also been recognised last year as a Best Company in Sri Lanka for 2017 by Great Place to Work Institute SL. Recently, one fine evening we met and spent few hours discussing more..

March corporate earnings defy overall negative sentiment

Jun 26 (DM) SL’s listed entities reported some strong growth in earnings for the quarter ended in March (1Q18), as the traditional leading sectors continue to push up market earnings while the one-off gains in insurance sector further lifted overall profits. For the January-March period, listed entities reported Rs. 99 billion in overall earnings, up 29.1% over the same period last year, led by banks, finance & insurance companies more..

Public corporate sector should increase efficiency to match private sector: Eran

Jun 26 (FT) The public corporate sector should increase its efficiency to match the private sector, stated State Minister Eran Wickramaratne, speaking at the recently-held launch of Rockstars: Growing Stellar Performers in the Organisation. He said: “I have a very private sector corporate mentality and I’m transforming slowly into a more public sector. I’ve seen very big positives in the private sector and I’m often wondering how we could create the same dynamism in public sector.” more..

Human rights watchdog wants police armed to the teeth

Jun 26 (Island) Govt had failed to provide weapons to policemen to deal with criminals armed with modern weapons, Executive Director of Centre for Human Rights (CHR) Keerthi Tennakoon said. CHR said recently policemen, armed with rifle sand pistols, had taken on a robber gang armed with a Uzi sub-machine gun, in Matara. He said: "Policemen need to be properly armed. When they are outgunned and their fellow officers get killed unnecessarily, policemen take out their more..

Restrictions block US$ 130M project Production of Titanium Dioxide

Jun 26 (CT) A US$ 130 million project, to manufacture Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) locally, but currently imported by the local paint industry due to the fact that there is no domestic production, has however been blocked, due to the short licensing periods issued by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB). This was revealed at Friday’s (22) Exporters’ Forum held at the Export Development Board (EDB) headquarters more..

Rajitha laments surgeons not doing OT

Jun 26 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne on 22 June, observed that the waiting list for cataract surgeries in the free health service, could be reduced if eye surgeons were willing to do overtime. He said that there were 250,000 persons seeking for lenses. “Earlier it had been 80,000 but after the Ministry started issuing lenses free of charge, the demand increased. Therefore, more operations too could be done to meet this demand if eye surgeons are prepared to work after 4 p.m.” more..

SriLankan hoping to reduce excess staff

Jun 26 (DM) The govt is considering retrenching the excess staff of SriLankan airlines by measures such as Voluntary Retirement Schemes, a report says. The airline will appoint a task force for the implementation of a proposal made by the committee appointed to look into the financial situation of the national career. The airline is estimated to have an excess staff of 2,000 and that some 1,000 employees are between the ages of 50 and 55. more..

Tamil family members win injunction to prevent deportation to Sri Lanka

Jun 26 (TG) Two members of a family of Tamil asylum seekers from the Queensland town of Biloela have won an 11th-hour injunction preventing their imminent deportation. Nadesalingam and Priya and their two young Australian-born daughters have been in immigration detention in Melbourne since March, when they were forcibly removed from their home in Biloela in central Queensland. more..

Sri Lanka Football squad will play seven foreign matches this year

Jun 26 (ST) Sri Lanka will play at least seven international football matches during the next six months to give experience and exposure to country’s national players. As part of Football Federation of Sri Lanka’s strategy to become one of the top football playing nations by 2030, a team from Lithuania will play two friendly matches against the Sri Lankan national players on July 8 and 11 at the Racecourse grounds. Both matches will be played under lights and will start 6.30 p.m. more..

‘Legal approaches key to nutrition-based socio economic development’

Jun 26 (DN) Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando yesterday told a South Asian forum in Colombo that legal approaches should be made to ensure that nutrition becomes a compulsory issue in socio economic development. Delivering the key note speech at a South Asian roundtable forum on Putting the Lens on the Consumer in Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems in South Asia in Colombo, Fernando said, “It is the poor who suffer most from lack of nutrition. more..

Makandure Madush’s accomplice Thilak shot dead

Jun 26 (DM) Manel Rohana alias Thilak, an accomplice of underworld figure Makandure Madush, was shot dead during a shootout at Kamburupituya in Matara this evening (25), SP Ruwan Gunasekera said. He said the victim was shot dead during a shootout in the Wilpita Forest Reserve. On a tip-off, special team of STF officers went to the Kamburupitiya area in search of an armed gang roaming in the area. more..

CBSL protects Rupee for 3rd Day

Jun 26 (CT) Central Bank of SL by allegedly using State-owned People’s Bank as a proxy discounted seller of US dollars from the country’s foreign reserves to the market, artificially strengthened the benchmark spot by five cents, which saw it close at Rs 158.75/90 to the US dollar in two-way quotes yesterday, as opposed to its Friday’s close of Rs 158.80/90 to the dollar. In the three market days to yesterday, CB, by using the country’s foreign reserves, has artificially strengthened more..

SME Board to debut next week

Jun 26 (FT) Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) together with Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has announced the launch of the Empower – SME Board to attract Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to the CSE. As the apex regulator of the capital/ stock market, the SEC will expedite the launch of the Empower – SME Board, thus creating a platform to attract SMEs to Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). Under a program to launch a series of new capital market more..

The Govt’s growth scam!

Jun 26 (Island) In May 2017,a few weeks after the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for 2016 were officially announced, I pointed out how the Real GDP Growth for 2016 was blatantly pumped-up as well as manipulated by the authorities, and how GDP Growth for 2016 was shown as 4.4% when it was a mere 2.2%. My article was carried under the title, Rs. 231 billion Mega Growth Scam by several newspapers. more..

Rs 2.2 Billion for Moneragala

Jun 26 (CT) The Govt has allocated a total of Rs 2.2 billion to 11 Divisional Secretariat Divisions, in the Moneragala District, under its Gamperaliya programme to churn out 100,000 entrepreneurs at the rural level, a Ministry of Finance statement, quoting Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. The Minister speaking at a function in Moneragala on 22 June claimed that while island-wide poverty was 6.4%, the level of poverty in the Moneragala District however was as high as 20.8%. more..

Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat to visit SL

Jun 26 (AT) Pakistan Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, NI (M) is scheduled to tour Sri Lanka on a four day official visit from tomorrow on an invitation extended by the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne. General Hayat, the 17th CJCSC of Pakistan is also the senior most four-star military officer of the Pakistan Defence Forces. During the visit General Hayat is expected to call on the President, Secretary to Ministry of Defence, more..

Only ministers under influence of drugs can condemn killing of criminals: JVP

Jun 26 (DM) Only Ministers who are under the influence of drugs could condemn the killing of the underworld criminal in Matara, JVP-affiliated Voice Against Corruption (VAC) Convenor Wasnatha Samarasinghe said today. He said this while referring to a statement made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Sunday that the killing of a suspect while in police custody could not be justified just as police constable's killing, more..

Unending depreciation of LKR against USD

Jun 26 (DM) The media and politicians in the opposition are making a big fuss over the depreciation of the SL rupee against the US dollar these days. Almost every day we read news items headlined Rupee hits all-time low or Rupee hits record low. Now the rate against the dollar is almost Rs.160. Although this is not an exaggeration or distortion of facts, and also points to the gravity of the economic situation in the country, it is never an unprecedented situation as more..

TNA set to split as elections approach

Jun 26 (DM) Tamil National Alliance (TNA), of which the Ilankai Tamil ArasuKatchi (ITAK) is the single largest constituent, appears to be heading for a split, with the Sampanthan and Wigneswaran factions failing to find a common ground to work together. A likely outcome is the emergence of two new groupings, with the ITAK and its adjuncts being on one side and a conglomerate or congeries of groups headed by the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran being on the other side. more..

'We have brought a sense of freedom into the country'

Jun 26 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella discusses the proposed plans for restructuring state institutions and the political future of the govt. He also responds to allegations about the acquisition of land from the knuckles range. Q: How do you analyze the current status of politics? A: Everyone is getting ready for the next presidential election. We want to educate people on our achievements during the past years. more..

Motor Traffic Dept’s approval necessary for vehicle imports

Jun 26 (ST) Vehicle importers will be required to obtain the Motor Traffic Department’s approval for import by submitting the specifications of the vehicles even before they arrive in the country, a senior official said. Transport Ministry Secretary G.S. Withanage said that regulations were to be gazetted soon and the department would not register a vehicle, if this procedure had not been followed. more..

'Phoenix inflight duty free services was granted without any tender'

Jun 26 (Island) SriLankan Airlines Board of Directors had granted Phoenix Duty Free Services company a contract as the concessionaire for inflight duty free services for SriLankan between 2012 - 17 without following any tender procedure, Rashmore Ferdinands, Manager Inflight Services, Administrations and Duty Free told the PCoI on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering & Mihin Lanka yesterday. more..

Sri Lankan banking, stocks regulators to collaborate on money laundering probes

Jun 26 (EN) The Financial Intelligence Unit of SL’s central bank is to collaborate with the stock market regulator on money laundering and terrorist financing investigations. A central bank statement said the FIU had entered into a MU with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of SL. Arrangements have been made to sign agreements with several other regulatory and supervisory authorities on money laundering more..

MR wants Udayanga to return to Sri Lanka

Jun 26 (DM) Former SL Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, who is under a court warrant in a case pertaining to the purchase of MiG fighter jets, has been asked to return to the country by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Yahapalana Vindithayo Sanvidanaya organisation said. A spokesman for the organisation called Victims of Yahapalana Govt said that he would request for the removal of Weeratunga's more..

Kusal Perera cleared of any serious injury

Jun 26 (CI) An ambulance had to be rushed on to the field of play on Monday after Kusal Perera hurt himself while attempting a catch at the long-on boundary. He was immediately rushed to hospital for a scan. He was cleared of any serious injury, the Sri Lankan team manager Asanka Gurusinha said, "But we will have to see how he comes up tomorrow morning before making a decision. He is very sore." more..

Video: PM should ask Mahendran to return following MR’s precedent: JO

Jun 26 (DM) The JO today threw a challenge at PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to bring back former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran to SL like former Prez Rajapaksa vowed to ensure the return of former SL envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga. Former Minister G.L. Peiris said the PM should secure that Mr Mahendran’s return to deal with the CB Bond Scam and its repercussions spreading like tentacles of an octopus. more..

Holder four-for leaves Test evenly poised on 20-wicket day

Jun 26 (CI) An inspired Jason Holder breathed fire to remove four Sri Lankan wickets late in the day as West Indies kept their hopes of a series win alive on a 20-wicket day in Bridgetown. These are the most wickets to have fallen in a single day of Test cricket in the Caribbean, surpassing the 18 that fell when England last toured here in 2015. Holder's figures at stumps on the third day read 8-3-21-4 as Sri Lanka stumbled to 81 for 5 more..

Chief Monks of Rajamaha viharas request Archeological Ordinance be amended

Jun 26 (Island) Chief Monks of Rajamahaviharas recently requested Minister Sarath Amunugama to have the Archeological Ordinance amended as some of its provisions cause immense difficulties in effecting developmental activities in their temples. They made the request at a special discussion the Minister had with the Chief Monks of the ancient Raja Maha Viharas in the Kandy District. more..

Postal strikers insist on their demands as strike drags on for third week

Jun 26 (Island) The Convener of Joint Postal Trade Union Front Chinthaka Bandara, yesterday, admitted that due to the indefinite postal strike which reached its 15th day had also hampered the work in the court houses countrywide. The govt had failed to offer an acceptable solution and until their demands were met the strike would continue, Bandara said. "Due to the strike, delivering of summons have come to a standstill and more..