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No intention of political revenge: Thalatha

May 8 (DM) There is no intention of political revenge behind the Judicature Bill which is expected to be passed in Parliament today, Justice and Prison Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale said today. She told a media conference the act would accelerate the judicial process which had slowed down during the past and cases would be heard on a daily basis, with powers being vested in the Chief Justice when appointing judges to the permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar. more..

SLFP Dy and State Ministers disgruntled

May 8 (CT) State Minister Piyasena Gamage said that around seven to eight SLFP Deputy and State Ministers, who are presently in the Unity Govt, are feeling extremely dejected over the most recent Cabinet reshuffle. He said that in the wake of the failure of both the President and the PM to reward senior and seasoned SLFP MPs with suitable Ministerial portfolios, during the recently concluded reshuffle, these SLFP Deputy and State Ministers are disappointed and are finding it difficult more..

Railway strike postponed until tomorrow

May 8 (AD) Railway trade unions have decided to postpone the strike action which was scheduled to be launched from midnight. Trade unions say that the strike has been postponed until 12 noon tomorrow. They said that the decision was taken to temporarily postpone the trade union action following a request made by the committee appointed to look into their grievances. Railway trade unions are preparing to engage in strike more..

16 SLFP ex-Ministers join Opposition bench

May 8 (DN) The 16 SLFP Members of Parliament who resigned from their ministerial positions and left the Unity Govt in the aftermath of the unsuccessful No-Confidence Motion against the Prime Minister took their seats on the Opposition bench in Parliament this afternoon. In the aftermath of the NCM, they received permission from President and SLFP Leader Maithripala Sirisena to step down from their positions, and requested to be seated with the Opposition instead. more..

FCID permitted to investigate Cabraal's bank accounts

May 8 (DM) Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne ordered the FCID to investigate over the alleged financial fraud of Rs.600 million of Former CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Magistrate had ordered the former CB Governor to make a statement to the FCID. Also, Magistrate had ordered FCID to investigate the alleged misappropriation of Rs. 600 million for a project to obtain a consortium of other Commonwealth Games countries in the country. more..

Man impersonating as President’s private secretary arrested

May 8 (DM) A person who impersonated as a private secretary to the President and an additional secretary has been arrested by the TID last night. The TID made the arrest after conducting thorough investigation of the suspect’s mobile phone records due to a complaint made by the Secretary to President Austin Fernando to IGP Pujith Jayasundara on March 29. Suspect has been identified as Mahesh Muditha Kumara (39) more..

To impeach or not to impeach

May 9 (CT) PM predicatbly survived a Vote Of No Confidence. Everyone knew the outcome beforehand. President Premedasa’s impeachment moved died before it hit the Parliament floor. In the US, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the only two presidents to have been successfully impeached by the House of Representatives; both were later acquitted by the Senate. Clinton was impeached in 1998 by the House of Representatives on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (by a 228–206 vote) more..

In Memorium: Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya

May 9 (CT) Emeritus Professor Laksiri Jayasuriya (Laksiri) who was Professor of Social Work and Social administration at the University of Western Australia passed away on April 20th 2018 in Perth. He was the founder of the sociology department at the University of Colombo and led an illustrious career in the Australian academia while contributing to govt policy making processes in areas such as multiculturalism, ethnic affairs, immigration and citizenship. more..

Sandhya’s long walk for justice

May 9 (SO) The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword, and in Sri Lanka, we have put that into question. As the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day, we take a moment to remember the journalists who were assassinated, forcefully disappeared, threatened and harassed in Sri Lanka. Journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda who worked for the website LankaeNews, disappeared without a trace more..

Preparing for Presidency

May 9 (CT) There is a real possibility that Ranil Wickremesinghe might win the 2020 presidential elections. After all, he survived the Millennium City fiasco and the Battalanda case and the ill-conceived 2002 Cease Fire Agreement to emerge as the champion of Good Governance in 2015. These would have sent another to political oblivion, but not Wickremesinghe. He survives simply because his opponents do not want him gone. In 2015, he had to ride on the coattails of Maithripala Sirisena. more..

The Govt’s FTAs agenda

May 9 (CT) The performance of SL’s existing FTAs has not been up to the expectations. Currently, SL has four agreements in force (India, Pakistan, SAFTA, and APTA). In addition, the Govt is also engaged in another regional agreement, BIMSTEC, which includes seven countries in South-East and South Asia. While these trade agreements have potential, preferences accorded are limited and are vastly underutilized by SL exporters. Non-tariff barriers, logistical & infrastructure constraints, more..

Where is President’s sword? -Lalkantha

May 9 (CT) JVP Politburo Member and President of National Trade Union Centre K.D. Lalkantha says that Mahinda, Maithri and Ranil are not personal enemies of the JVP, As they are the enemies of the suffering people, we have a battle against them. Q: Why did you, all of a sudden, bring in a proposal to abolish the Executive Presidency? A: Govt gave a promise to the people. That promise has been broken. To become a challenge to more..

An uneven playing field: Jeevanee K.

May 9 (GV) These are excerpts from a long-form story on online harassment against women politicians – an issue which is not restricted to one particular party. In order to ensure attention to individual stories, we are publishing each individual story separately. ‘When you’re having a conversation, your message might reach four or five people. With technology acting as a mouthpiece, you can reach thousands at a time. And when you don’t see the person you’re speaking to more..

Much ado about nothing

May 9 (DN) The JVP seems to have stoned a hornet’s nest in bringing the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to abolish the Executive Presidency. The Maha Sangha or the communities of Buddhist monks from the Maha Nayakes to the Samaneras have taken to the streets to decry the proposal. Much of the criticism is focused not on the contents or the substance of the proposal but on the conduct of the proposer. To this alliance of holy men the proposer –the JVP- is a foreign agent. more..

Ajith P. Perera

External sector under severe stress, contrary to Central Bank’s favourable comments

May 9 (Island) Sri Lanka is facing harsh external financing vulnerabilities contrary to the Central Bank’s recent claims that the country’s gross official foreign reserves have risen to the historically highest level of US $ 9.9 billion, reflecting improved economic prospects. According to a press release issued by the Central Bank last week, oversubscription of the Int'l Sovereign Bond (ISB) amounting to US $ 2.5 billion (largest ever), which was offered in April, more..

Editorial: Promises, games and tricks

May 9 (Island) President Sirisena has shown his hand at last; he says he will not retire in 2020. Nobody expected him to do so. When he declared, upon being inaugurated on Jan. 09, 2015, that he would not seek a second term, it was obvious that he did not mean what he said. He is a politician! Machiavelli famously said, "The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present." Prez Sirisena has said he has a lot more to do for the country before retiring. more..

President Sirisena ripped naked politically

May 9 (AT) Shame … shame ... Puppy shame… the good, old nursery rhyme has begun to echo across the land with President Maithripala Srisena’s image taking a knocking after his two aides were arrested with their hand in the till. And he finding embroiled in controversies from his past and the present. How the two worthies, Mahanama & Dissanayake became his lieutenants remains unclear. more..

How UK manipulated RTI law to deny Lanka chance to counter war crimes allegations

May 9 (Island) Having adopted the Freedom of Information Act, way back in 1970, Norway is now ranked 67 in the Global Right to Information Rating, maintained by the Center for Law and Democracy. Sri Lanka enacted the Right to Information Act, No. 12 of 2016, a year after the change of the war-winning Rajapaksa administration. The UNP, and a section of the civil society and media, campaigned for the right to information (RTI) law though they couldn’t convince the previous govt to more..

Namal demands action against boorish behaviour

May 9 (Island) Joint Opposition MP Namal Rajapaksa yesterday condemned the alleged harassment of a Tamil woman on a Colombo-Jaffna train by a train attendant on Tuesday. He called for necessary action. The incident which had been recorded by a person on the train was widely circulated in social media. The individual who had recorded the video tweeted: "Train attendant on Colombo-Jaffna train I was on today, sexually and verbally harassed a Tamil woman. more..

Extortion exemplified!

May 9 (CT) The arrest of Prez Sirisena’s Chief of Staff, Dr I.H.K. Mahanama and Chairman of the State Timber Corporation P. Dissanayake while taking a bribe from an Indian investor made headlines last week. As often the case in SL different segments interpret this incident based on their political biases. For some this is an indication of the growing corruption under the good governance administration while more..

The National Archives

May 9 (Island) This refers to the article by Gamini Akmeemana on the Department of National Archives under its new Director General, Dr. Nadeera Rupesinghe. For well over a century the archives had functioned under the Chief Secretary of the colonial administration. It is easy, now, to see why that was the arrangement preferred by the Brits: a few months ago it emerged that the British Archives at Kew had, in effect, been looted by senior public servants in order to remove evidence of more..

Stunning Samarawickrama ends Colombo’s unbeaten run

May 9 (Island) Promising top order batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama’s stunning 130 off 118 deliveries helped Galle end Colombo’s unbeaten run in the ongoing Inter-Provincial one-day tournament at RPS yesterday. Galle had won both their opening fixtures of the competition, but Samarawickrama’s onslaught saw them slump for the first time to a massive 147 run loss. Samarawickrama’s 130 contained 11 fours and four sixes. He put on 129 runs for the second wicket with more..

Asian Junior Athletics Championship: High medal hopes as team of 12 picked

May 9 (CT) Athletics Association (AASL) has finalized a team of only 12 athletes for the forthcoming Asian Junior Athletics Championship (AJAC) to be held from 7 to 10 June at Gifu, Japan. All Sri Lankan Gold medalists at the South Asian Junior Athletics Championship (SAJAC) concluded last Sunday at Sugathadasa Stadium have been included in the team, except the girls’ 4x100m relay team, which has raised several eyebrows. more..

Selection of some officials raise eyebrows

May 9 (Island) The decision of the Athletics Association of SL to retain Anil Weerasinghe as the manager of the team for the Asian Junior Athletics Championship has raised many an eyebrow. The controversial AASL official was criticised in the media for inappropriate treatment of junior athletes during the team’s residential training for the just concluded South Asian Junior Athletics Championship. According to sources the Sports Ministry was conducting an inquiry more..

Teejay Lanka’s Q4 pre-tax profit up 27%

May 9 (Island) Teejay Lanka PLC has reported profit before tax of Rs 501.7 million at Group level for the final quarter of 2017-18, to end a challenging year with a noteworthy resurgence that augurs well for Sri Lanka’s only multinational textile manufacturer. The Weft knit fabric specialist with manufacturing operations in Sri Lanka and India, achieved a 27 per cent growth in pre-tax profit for the three months ending March 31, 2018, an improvement of Rs 105.6 million over the corresponding quarter more..

Thrice-proposed EXIM Bank plan on the back-burner

May 9 (ST) Sri Lanka has put the proposal made to establish an EXIM Bank on the back burner despite a pressing need of export finance for the acceleration of the country’s exports, a study conducted by an independent think tank revealed. The govt has repeated this 2016 budget proposal in 2017 and 2018 budgets respectively carrying forward the financial allocations made for this purpose. more..

CT CLSA Asia Frontier Forum kicks off today in Colombo

May 9 (FT) CT CLSA Asia Frontier Forum will open today, with over 65 foreign delegates in attendance. Organised in collaboration with Alfalah Securities, Pakistan; Everest Partners Ltd., Bangladesh; Asian Tiger Capital Partners, Bangladesh; and Ho Chi Minh Securities Corporation (HSC), Vietnam, this is the third consecutive year that CT CLSA Securities has taken the lead to host a regional frontier markets forum in SL. CT CLSA Securities (CT CLSA), which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017, more..

UN, told it has 49 unvetted Sri Lanka soldiers in Lebanon

May 9 (ICP) UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix has been multiply informed that the Sri Lanka government vetting of peacekeepers the UN has relied on has not been complied with, regarding at least 49 soldiers now serving the UN in Lebanon. Inner City Press was sent a copy of the letters, and published them - then asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric for the UN's response. All he said, at noon on April 6, is that he would check to see that the letter has been received. more..

India remains Sri Lanka’s major trading partner followed by China in 2017

May 9 (ST) SL’s exports surpassed US $1 billion for the fifth time propped up by apparel which topped $5 billion and considerable growth of 42% in seafood, CB said in its 2017 report. However a year-end increase in imports hiked the trade deficit to over $1 billion for the first time since 2012. India remained Sri Lanka’s major trading partner last year, followed by China and the US – all these three countries contributed to around 40% more..

Duminda Silva appeals to SC against High Court judgment

May 9 (FT) Supreme Court yesterday fixed to resume further submissions on 10 May with respect to the appeal petitions filed by five accused, including former Defence Ministry Monitoring MP Duminda Silva, against the judgment of the Colombo High Court. The bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, B.P. Aluvihara, Priyantha Jayawardane, Nalin Perera and Vijith K. Malalgoda. President’s Counsel Anil de Silva appeared for Duminda Silva. more..

EU provides Rs. 810 m in technical assistance to modernise agricultural sector

May 9 (FT) The European Union has launched a Rs. 810 million project to support the modernisation of Sri Lanka’s agriculture sector. The project Support to the modernisation of the agriculture sector in Sri Lanka will be implemented by Ecorys. The technical assistance team will assist the Govt in making the agriculture sector more productive, diversified, climate-resilient, market-oriented and equitable through facilitating an agricultural sector reform process. more..

SLC launches big matches for girls schools

May 9 (DN) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in a bid to popularise women’s cricket in the country has approved fifteen big matches involving 30 leading girls’ schools who have taken upto the game, Apsari Tillakaratne, convener of SL Women’s cricket said at a press briefing. “By promoting big match fever amongst the girls’ schools, we have encouraged more girls’ schools to take up to the game. more..

Motorcyclists take their grievances to Prez

May 9 (Island) Certain senior police officers were harassing people deliberately to tarnish the image of the current administration, Chairman of Ceylon Motorcyclists Association (CMA), Chirantha Amarasinghe said. "During the last three years police have been following a policy of deliberately targeting the poorest segments in the society. Our organization receives dozens of complaints daily that the police are damaging their vehicles and are framing them for things that they don’t do. more..

FTA with Singapore detrimental to SL: JO

May 9 (DM) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with Singapore was detrimental to the country because it would allow the flowing in of cheap labour from countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the joint opposition said today. JO MP Bandula Gunawardana said any company which is registered in Singapore, irrespective of its composition or origin, would be allowed to outsource employees from any country to Sri Lanka. “When a SL firm requests Singapore for employees, more..

PUCSL to decide today

May 9 (CT) The power sector regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), has decided to organize a special stakeholder meeting today to finalize the approval process of the long-delayed, highly-debated Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP) 2018-2037, electricity sector officials said. However, CEB Engineers’ Union’s (CEBEU) President, Saumya Kumarawadu, said that more..

Prez’s Media Division twitter account hacked

May 9 (CT) The official Twitter account of the President’s Media Division (PMD) was hacked and used to post a response to a tweet by President Maithripala Sirisena, in which the hacker demanded that the President’s words be turned into action. Responding to one of President Sirisena’s tweets yesterday evening, a tweet was posted by the PMD News @PMDNewsGov account claiming, “You are a wonderful speaker. But how do you ensure they turn into action. Show by doing!.” more..

From Sri Lanka to Sullia

May 9 (Hindu) Before the 2013 Assembly elections, a group of rehabilitated SL Tamils stood their ground in Sullia, in the foothills of the Western Ghats, for over three months, demanding their rights as Indians. While they had voter ID cards, they had been denied caste certificates since the 1990s after the local administration misread a Supreme Court order and termed them foreign nationals. Protests worked, and the Congress govt eventually ordered the distribution of caste certificates. more..

Moves to restrict RTI law condemned

May 9 (Island) Kishali Pinto Jayawardane, Commissioner, RTI (Right to Information) Commission yesterday censured the govt for depriving the Commission full access to information/data gathered by the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Jayawardane was responding to a query from a participant at the first session that dealt with overview of key systemic strengths and weaknesses of RTI in national systems, more..

Unemployment records 5-year low

May 9 (CT) Sri Lanka’s unemployment rate improved to 4.2% in 2017, to record a five year, as the Department of Census and Statistics recorded only 358,507 in individuals of 8,566,686 in the labour force to be without jobs. Though Minister Mangala Samaraweera claimed that the unemployment rate had reached a 13-year low at 4.2%, Department of Census and Statistics highlighted that the lowest unemployment rate was recorded five years ago in 2012 at 4%. more..