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Importing vehicles with euro four standard by July 1- Customs not informed

May 6 (DM) The SL Customs said they had not been informed by the govt about importing vehicles compatible with the Euro four standards from July 1, Customs Department officials said. It is a standard that sets a strict limit on the amount of particulate matter such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons that vehicles can emit. “The govt was supposed to issue the gazette notification but no information had yet been received by Customs Import Control Department,” more..

Sri Lankan aircraft meet Indian dust storm at 33,000 feet

May 6 (EN) SriLankan Airlines aircraft flying as high as 33,000 feet went through dust kicked by a storm in India, disrupting its schedule with engineering scrambling make sure that the planes were safe to fly again, officials said. Several aircraft flying over Indian airspace went through the dust storm which killed over 100 people in the country. "We had to check every aircraft that went over the area as they returned," Manager Technical Service Ananda Gajanayake said. more..

Kantale sugar factory bribery scam: Top official’s deals exposed

May 6 (ST) A Presidential Secretariat official at the centre of Thursday’s bribery scandal had allegedly blocked the transfer of machinery, scrap metal and other assets belonging to the Kantale sugar factory to a joint venture company that had signed a US$ 100 million deal to revive the facility. I.H.K. Mahanama, the Chief of Staff of the President, in his previous role as Secretary to Ministry of Lands had secured more..

Sri Lanka achieved highest ever FDI, highest exports in 2017: Fin Min

May 6 (EN) Sri Lanka achieved the highest ever foreign direct investment and higher ever exports in the history of the country in 2017, while unemployment was at 4.2%, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera had said. "We expect the economy to accelerate growth driven by private enterprise and exports," Samaraweera told the annual sessions of the Asian Development Bank in Manila. "We have introduced some key reforms including the new Inland Revenue Act, more..

Rs. 135 million paid every month to 8,691 local council members

May 6 (ST) More than Rs. 135 million in public funds is paid every month to 8,691 newly elected members of local councils, a senior official of the Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Govt said. He said that according to a circular, a mayor was paid Rs 30,000 as allowance every month, Deputy Mayors Rs 25,000, Urban Council Chairman Rs 25,000, Deputy UC Chairman Rs 20,000, Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Rs 25,000, Deputy Chairman Rs 20,000, and other members Rs 15,000. more..

Coalition in do-or-die battle to win back hearts and minds of the people

May 6 (ST) Even more significant than his ministerial reshuffle, President Maitripala Sirisena made clear days ago will be his Tuesday’s policy statement — a virtual common programme for his govt’s remaining tenure. It assumes greater importance in the light of remarks he made during an address to SLFP candidates for the last local polls for the Matale District the previous Saturday (Apr 28). more..

Sugar buddies caught with cash in a carpark as countdown begins for their bosses’ future

May 6 (Island) For starters today, I was planning this secular prayer: Let us first say thanks for small mercies – for keeping Ravi Karunanayake out of the cabinet in last Tuesday’s reshuffle. Two days later the thunderbolt struck –the President’s Chief of Staff and the Timber Corporation Chairman caught counting bribe cash in the carpark at Taj Samudra. How brazen has corruption become? We knew it had already climbed high. But thanks again for small mercies – to the Bribery Commission officials more..

Will President Sirisena heed Naseby’s advise?

May 6 (Island) Prez Sirisena met with British Peer Lord Naseby during his recent visit to attend CHOGM in the UK. In October 2017, Naseby, after appealing to the British Information Commissioner, obtain 39 pages of highly redacted confidential dispatches from the British High Commission in Colombo during the last stages of the Vanni campaign. During a debate in the House of Lords, he urged the UK govt to revisit the UNHRC Resolution 30/1. more..

Dramatic big bribery drama at Taj park: Like a detective thriller

May 6 (ST) When an Indian businessman walked with two stuffed bags in his hands to the parking lot at Hotel Taj Samudra, two senior bureaucrats were waiting anxiously in the backseat of a car on Thursday. Duo – Dr I.K. Mahanama, Chief of Presidential Staff at the Prez Secretariat, and P.D. Dissanayake, Chairman of the State Timber Corporation – received the packages. Hurriedly the duo opened the two packages. more..

Sri Lanka Singapore FTA has not freed the movement of professionals: Minister

May 6 (ST) A free trade deal with Singapore has not allowed professionals to freely come to Sri Lanka to work but only relates to executives who will come help set up a business, when an investment is made, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. Singapore Sri Lanka agreement did not deal with Mode 04 or the movement of people to provide services in another country, he said. more..

Budget promises for 2017: To what extent have they been kept?

May 6 (Roar) On the November 10, 2016, former Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake stood up in parliament to deliver the annual Budget Speech, just as his predecessors did before him. With the theme Accelerating growth with social inclusion, this was the 71st budget plan of Sri Lanka since independence, and, as always, a number of pledges were made by the govt to the people of the country. But just how many of these promises more..

Brothels emerge from Colombo massage parlours

May 6 (SL) Brothels have been found to be operating in the guise of massage parlours in Colombo. Police raided several massage parlours in Colombo and its suburbs last month as well. Many of them had engaged in prostitution in addition to functioning as massage parlours. Fort and Maradana boast of a high number of such massage parlours near and around clubs, while Kollupitiya has around 35 illegal massage parlours, more..

CEBEU to take TU action

May 6 (CT) The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) has decided to engage in trade union action of work to rule from Tuesday 8 May, demanding that Director General of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) Damitha Kumarasinghe quit his post and immediately approve the Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plane 2018-2037 (LCLTGEP) of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). more..

Dearth of paediatric

May 6 (CT) Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH), national centre for paediatric heart surgery yesterday (5), criticized the Ministry of Health for not encouraging postgraduate trainees to take up paediatric cardiac surgery to fill the acute shortage at the hospital. Hospital sources said, the shortage had been severely felt by the Hospital’s Paediatric Cardiac Unit after one of its three paediatric cardiac surgeons retired from service. more..

May Day and May Days in a political landscape like no other

May 6 (ST) In keeping with the Govt’s decision to postpone May Day rallies, as they overlapped with the Vesak celebrations this week, the major political parties will have their respective rallies and conventions today and tomorrow in Colombo. The UNP is scheduled to hold its May Day rally, sans a procession, at Sugathadasa Stadium today at 10 am. UNP MP Mujibur Rahman said that the convention was fixed for today, as more..

Malaysia foils smuggling of 131 Sri Lankan immigrants

May 6 (AP) Malaysian police have intercepted a tanker with 131 Sri Lankans believed bound for Australia & NZ, smashing a large human smuggling ring that has been operating for a year. Authorities halted the modified tanker on Tuesday off the coast of southern Johor state, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement Saturday. He said the immigrants included 98 men, 24 women, 4 boys & 5 girls. more..

Gold tax shocks jewellers as sales plummet

May 6 (ST) Jewellers have been hit with a drastic drop in sales due to the govt’s decision to impose a heavy tax on gold and are being forced to lay off workers. There were fewer customers seen browsing through the jewellery shops in Sea Street, Pettah and goldsmiths appeared to be idle when we visited the area on Friday. Sales have dropped by more than 70%, those in the trade said. more..

May Day rallies today and tomorrow

May 6 (SO) Political parties along with a number of Trade Unions will celebrate International Workers Day this week, marking the occasion with rallies and processions in towns across the country after the govt postponed the country’s May Day celebrations to May 7 as the day clashed with Vesak this year. UNP will hold its May day rally today morning at Sugathadasa indoor stadium under the auspices of its leader, more..

What about nepotism & cronyism?

May 7 (CT) In the wake of President’s Chief of Staff and Chairman State Timber Corporation being nabbed by CIABOC in a five-star hotel car park accepting a bribe of Rs 20 million as part of a bribe from an Indian businessman, local media had published a statement by Secretary to President. Top bureaucrat has stated; “Govt will not tolerate Bribery and Corruption. This govt will continue to punish those engaged in bribery and corruption.” The worthy gentleman has craftily left out more..

A sound electoral justice system for SL

May 7 (CT) I was privileged to represent Sri Lanka at the International Roundtable Meeting on Electoral Justice, 2-3 May, 2018 in Jakarta. It was organized by the Election Supervisory Board of the Republic of Indonesia. What indeed is Electoral Justice? We manage elections by certain rules. As developed at the meeting, ours is a human endeavor. We human actors who design, administer and participate in the electoral process will from time to time violate electoral norms. more..

Kiranchi fishers forced to struggle

May 7 (CT) “We have been struggling for the past 3 years. These Indian trawlers have always been a threat to our livelihood. Since 2014 my income has comparatively decreased, and I have to hunt for other places to earn a living. I’m a father of two, it is not easy to maintain my family when my income has decreased from Rs 2000 to Rs. 500 per day. Navy officials should be kind to us. We are awaiting their decisions. more..

Political parties in crisis or transition?

May 7 (SO) For a student of political institutions in Sri Lanka, things happening within political parties are great material for reflection and analysis. It appears that our political parties today are not what they used to be a few decades ago. The presidential system, the system of proportional representation, changes in value framework in society, shifting class bases of political power, and persistence of coalition politics seem to have had contributed what one may call reshaping of the nature, dynamics, and more..

Ranasinghe Premadasa who took the elitist UNP to the people

May 7 (SO) This week saw the commemoration of the 25th death anniversary of R. Premadasa, SL’s second Executive President, who was assassinated on May Day in 1993, as he was marshalling his party workers at Armour Street, Kotahena for the traditional May Day procession. Premadasa’s rise to the top was not an easy one. He was from the UNP which was at one time called the Uncle Nephew Party because its leaders were kinsmen who came from the same clan of elite, wealthy families more..

Geeking out in Sri Lanka: How much can we grow?

May 7 (Roar) Sulakshana*, founder of Red Dot Geek, Sri Lanka’s first comic bookstore. Sulakshana and his partner launched Red Dot Geek as an online store in 2016. The physical store in Colpetty was launched just last year, in July 2017. It kicked off giving preview passes for the Big Bad Wolf sale, and had the support of the most of the geek community, with the Geek Club of Sri Lanka also weighing in. more..

Festering sore on the face of Supreme Court

May 7 (ST) As one of New Delhi’s renowned constitutional lawyers commented acerbically if not ominously to me, ‘the matter will not end with this…it is a festering sore on the face of our Supreme Court which needs swift surgical treatment, not political tinkering.’ This remark was made in the course of a casual discussion in that city this week where the annual soaring temperatures appear to match the soaring passions of its legal community, excited over recent decision of India’s Vice President more..

The scientific art of the reshuffle waffle

May 7 (ST) Dusk has fallen on the nation’s political landscape. And, in the twilight glow, the people can only see, hear and feel the last gasps of the coalition govt as it desperately struggles to find the few remaining breaths available to it before it is accorded the last rites and receives a merciful end in death. Even as Maithripala took his oaths as President and Ranil as Prime Minister on January 9th 2015 at Independence Square; and officially tied the nuptial knot in fading light more..

මහානාමගේ අල්ලස් කතාව පිටුපස ජෙහාන් කෙනෙක්?

National shame: Sri Lanka concedes W/O for want of a player

May 7 (ST) Due to nonavailability of a substitute/replacement, SL Women’s Table Tennis (TT) team had to concede a walkover to host Sweden at the World Table Tennis Championship, as the team comprised of the exact number of 3, sans replacements and a coach to boot. As result of a tug-o-war between the SLTT Association (SLTTA) and the Ministry of Sports (MoS) 3 Paddlersers, 2 Men and a Woman player were deprived of participating at this Championship. more..

Formulating a national policy on energy: Who has the mandate?

May 7 (Island) According to a recent media report, Minister of Power and Renewable Energy has submitted a revised version of the new National Energy Policy and Strategies (NEPS) to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval, which includes coal. Energy is a subject which cuts across several sectors and it is worth examining who has the mandate to formulate a national policy on energy. Energy is a commodity essential for the wellbeing of people. more..

JVP breaks barriers at historic May Day rally in Jaffna

May 7 (SO) On May 1, the residents of Jaffna carried on as usual, the town brimming with day to day activity. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary since the Govt had postponed May Day, as the globally recognized workers’ day had clashed with the Buddhist festival of Vesak. Only the red cloth flags lining the streets of Jaffna town from the Chundikuli ground to the Municipal Council ground, where a decorated stage had been more..

Wins for Team Colombo and Team Galle

May 7 (ST) A quick-fire knock of 110 in 100 balls inclusive of 11 boundaries and three sixes by Shehan Jayasuriya and 87 off 90 balls with ten boundaries by Chamara Silva laid the foundation for Team Colombo to record an easy 58-run win over Team Kandy in their second round match of the Super Four Provincial limited tournament played at R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday. Team Colombo — the defending champions taking first lease of the wicket posted a formidable score of 299 and more..

Editorial: Trump got it right?

May 7 (Island) There seems to be a streak of sadism in politicians’ nature. Once ensconced in power, they disport themselves in harassing the public. They never miss an opportunity to have busy roads closed. One of them recently went to the extent of closing one carriageway of the expressway access, in Kadawatha, because of his Vesak zone. The Rajapaksas earned notoriety for closing busy roads in the congested city, much to the consternation of the commuting public, so that more..

Dharshana, Amasha, Dilshi guide Sri Lanka to 12 golds

May 7 (Island) Junior athletes have been keeping track and field sports alive with notable feats during recent years and yesterday once again they proved that future would be bright for SL if they are looked after carefully. Youngsters excelled winning seven golds with remarkable meet records, National Junior records and IAAF World Junior Championship qualifying marks on the final day of the South Asian Junior Athletics more..

131 SL detainees: FAM in touch with Malaysian authorities

May 7 (DM) Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FAM) in a statement said the SL High Commission in Malaysia is working closely with the relevant Malaysian authorities over the detention of 131 Lankans taken into custody when the Malaysian police intercepted a tanker believed to be bound for Australia and New Zealand. It said the Royal Malaysian Police Special Branch had confirmed that 131 persons believed to be Sri Lankans have been detained at Tanjung Gamoh, Sedili, in Johor Baru on 1 May 2018. more..

SL company signs agreement with SEP

May 7 (CT) SELMO Pvt. Ltd from Sri Lanka signed a financing Agreement with the Saudi Export Program (SEP) to import raw material related products from Saudi Arabia to Sri Lanka on long-term credit basis. This marks the first Agreement signed by a Sri Lankan entity with the SEP to obtain the financing line facility, following the business delegation organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to Saudi Arabia in Nov 2017. An Agreement of bilateral cooperation between the CCC and more..

CEB engineers to work-to-rule from May 08

May 7 (EN) Engineers at state-run CEB has said they will go ahead with a work-to-rule campaign which may lead to extended power cuts, saying no steps were taken to approve a low cost power plan by the regulator despite a request by the President. A work-to-rule may result in extended power cuts as engineers will go home at 4.30 pm and will not be on-call on off-days, union officials said. They will also not take calculated more..

Leading gangster Dileepa killed in a shootout with STF

May 7 (DM) A leading underworld gangster Dilip Rohana Rodrigo alias Dileepa was killed in a shootout with the STF personnel at Mailapitiya in Kandy yesterday. Police received a tip off about the suspect who has been named as a wanted suspect by the Organized Crime Unit and the STF over several organized crimes. The gangster, a resident at Hekittha area in Wattala was an accomplice of underworld leader D. Manju. Police said Dileepa has been operating the drug smuggling after more..

Sri Lanka Thailand to begin talks on FTA from May

May 7 (EN) Sri Lanka and Thailand will begin talks on setting broad parameters for a free trade deal from May 2018, officials said. The scheduled for May 16, the scoping meeting set out the agenda and the areas covering the free trade deal. Sri Lanka has expanded protectionism over the last decade or so, which kept the country's production and exports below potential while growth was driven by government debt, which are now becoming increasingly difficult to service. more..

President intervenes to approve controversial power plan

May 7 (CT) President Sirisena has instructed the power sector regulator Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL) to expedite the approval process of the long-delayed highly debated Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) (2018-2037), in order to avoid possible future power crisis. In a letter to the PUCSL Chairman Saliya Mathew the Secretary to the President Austin Fernando stated that more..

16 SLFPers, who quit the Govt. to sit in Opposition

May 7 (DM) Fresh seating arrangements will be in place in Parliament tomorrow to accommodate the 16 SLFP MPs who opted to sit in the Opposition after relinquishing their portfolios, Parliament Secretary General Dammika Dasanayake said. He said that the senior-most members of this group would be accommodated in the front row of the opposition benches. Parliament will meet for the first time tomorrow after it was prorogued last month. Prez Sirisena will inaugurate the session more..