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Inauguration ceremony: A waste of time and money: JVP

May 9 (DM) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake claimed that the ceremony herelding the inauguration of Parliament was a waste of time and money and said they had requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to reveal the cost of yesterday's ceremony. He said the President had not presented any fresh action plan and they did not view this as a useful move. "Nothing new will happen even after the inauguration of parliament," he said. MP said Parliament was prorogued by President to resolve the crisis more..

'Govt lacks social and political maturity of National Govt'

May 9 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday, admitted that the Govt has yet to reach the social and political maturity which is essential to sustain a National Govt. President, reading out the Govt’s Policy Statement, at the inaugural sitting of the Second Session of the 8th Parliament, said that the national Govt concept is new to SL. “Although, many countries in the world follow consensual democracy and more..

New Battle to win hearts and minds of people

May 9 (DM) After the prorogation of parliament on April 12, a new session was ceremonially inaugurated yesterday with a confident President Maithripala Sirisena making a policy statement in which he outlined the important achievements of the coalition govt and the key aspects of the plans for the next 18 months before his term ends in November next year. In the wake of the August 2015 parliamentary elections, UNP and SLFP decided to form a consensus govt. more..

UNP Crisis, SLFP rebellion, TNA threat

May 9 (DM) What happens when the protracted crisis of a political party which is in govt, coincides with a dramatically mounting economic crisis? The UNP is the country’s second oldest political party. Never in its 70 year history has it been away from the apex of power and the top post in the country for as long as it has been during this stretch: a quarter century. The other main contender for power, the SLFP has never been out of the top spot for that long. more..

'President should allow UNP to run Govt'

May 9 (DM) Shiral Laktilake, Coordinating Secretary of President Maithripala Sirisena, speaks about the current status of the govt and why the concept of good governance failed. Q: You played a role in promoting the concept called Good Governance ahead of the 2015 Presidential Elections. As far as the realization of this concept in the actual context, what do you feel now? A: That is very normal in any power context. more..

Are you addicted to alcohol ?

May 9 (DM) Alcohol, most of the time referred to as the Heavenly beverage of pleasure, has become a popular subject for discussion due to good and bad aspects associated with it. Ethanol, which is derived from grapes, and grains as well as rice are the main components of this popular beverage. However there can be hundred and more additives used in alcohol which help give or make different flavors, concentrations and up-shots. more..

Sustainable rubber production through value chains – the need

May 9 (CT) Delivering the keynote speech at the IRSG World Rubber Summit held at the Colombo Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo, Minister Navin Dissanayake took the audience and participants by storm by querying whether regulation was necessary to define acceptable standards of conduct in a fiercely competitive world to ensure that standards are vigorously upheld. Regulations also could protect businesses from themselves, more..

Gas and milk double punch strikes families in the stomach

May 9 (ST) Salary-earners of the country, now reeling from the worst economic growth in years and with inflation running high, were dealt another body blow by the Govt last week. Prices of domestic LP gas and milk powder were increased. The ultimate beneficiary of the price increases is the Govt. Following the increases in domestic gas prices, some restaurants claimed they will absorb the extra cost for fear of losing diners, but more..

Proposal to remove 15% gold tax: Malwatte

May 9 (CT) A proposal to remove the 15% tax on gold imports will be submitted in the next economic council meeting, along with 14 other proposals for the industry, EDB Chairman Indira Malwatte said. Noting that the newly-imposed 15% tax on gold would be a devastating hit on the gem and jewellery trade, Malwatte said that such initiatives would only discourage traders from doing business in a legitimate manner. more..

Bill to set up special HCs in House today

May 9 (DN) The Judicature Amendment Bill which aims to set up a permanent High Court-at-Bar to expedite cases of large scale corruption and financial crimes will be tabled in parliament today. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said the bill will be presented to the parliament with the amendments suggested by the Supreme Court. Minister said that the election manifesto of the Yahapalana Govt had promised to enforce more..

People will decide whether President Sirisena retires or not: GL

May 9 (Island) The SLPP said it was the people who would decide whether the Prez Sirisena should retire or not. Responding Prez’s announcement on Monday that he would not retire from politics in 2020, SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L Pieris said the incumbent was the only President who had lost the popularity within such a short period of time. He said that Prez had suffered an ignominious defeat at LG polls. more..

Daily criticism of me, a sign of economic development, human freedoms: PM

May 9 (Island) PM and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says that if those in the media who are flaying him on a daily basis, today, had dared to criticize the Rajapaksa govt, they would all have been resting in peace by now. The PM told the UNP’s May Day celebrations at Sugathadasa Stadium, on Sunday, that there were many ways of looking at the criticism levelled against him. "I consider it a positive sign. more..

Railway strike called off

May 9 (NR) The Railway Engine Drivers Union has decided to call off the strike which was launched at noon today. Secretary of the Railway Locomotive Engine Drivers Union Indika Dodangoda said the Ministry of Transport informed the Union that the Cabinet of Ministers had decided to approve the Cabinet paper to resolve union demands pertaining to salary anomalies. Union Secretary expressed his regret for the inconvenience more..

Video: Rajitha becomes speechless…

May 9 (DM) Cabinet spokesman and Minister Rajitha Senaratne became speechless during a news briefing when a journalist asked about the appointment of Anuruddha Polgampola as the new Chairman of State Timber Corporation who had been arrested over two alleged major financial frauds during the past. Journalist: What is your stance on the President’s appointment of Anuruddha Polgampola as the new Chairman more..

Thoughts on National HR Policy on Local Labour Day

May 9 (FT) We in Sri Lanka observe International Labour Day on 7th May instead of 1st May, this year. From Haymarket Square, Chicago in 1886, it has come a long way in bringing workers’ rights to the forefront. It is an opportune time to reflect on national policies and local practices related to labour with emphasis on employment. I was addressing an International HR Conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as a keynote speaker on people factor for sustained results. more..

Samurdhi should work with partners

May 9 (CT) UNP Leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe speaking at UNP’s May Day rally said that the Samurdhi Bank which had hitherto functioned under the Samurdhi Ministry will be brought under the aegis of the Central Bank and Finance Ministry. If this happens, this will be the last of the official banks to be brought under CB’s net. Samurdhi is the bank for the poor. It has its genesis under the Janasaviya programme established by President R Premadasa in 1988 to alleviate more..

Azath Salley

President’s Policy Statement: No one above the law (Except Daham)

May 9 (CT) President Sirisena, delivering the policy statement at the inauguration of the new parliamentary session today said that the Unity Govt had overcome to a great extent the challenge of restoring democracy and establishing the Rule of Law, despite the fact that justice has not been done to the victims of his son’s assault at a night club in Dece 2016. On that occasion the President’s son Daham led a mob that included members of the Presidential Security Division (PSD) more..

Sri Lanka chamber links with Singapore businesses to exploit FTA

May 9 (EN) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce says it has strengthened links with Singapore businesses to exploit opportunities to coming from a free trade agreement recently inked with the city state. The Sri Lanka Singapore Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber has inked an MoU with the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry. In January it had signed a MoU with another Singaporean chamber, the Singapore Business Federation. more..

Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka 2018

May 9 (Roar) Google I/O is once again bringing together developers worldwide for the the world’s largest developers’ festival. Taking place annually in Mountain View, California, the conference encourages the growing number of young developers worldwide to connect. Involving hands-on learning sessions with Google experts and a first look at Google’s latest developer products, this is an event that is looked forward to by many. more..

Masseur arrested for harassing female US Navy personnel

May 9 (DM) A masseur, was arrested by the Uppuveli police for allegedly sexually harassing a female US Navy personnel attached to the US Navy Hospital, USNS Mercy yesterday. The suspect (37) had allegedly attempted to touch the victim (20) inappropriately during the massage. Police said the victim and a female colleague had visited the spa in Uppuveli on Tuesday (May8) afternoon. While a masseuse was assigned to her colleague, the suspect was assigned to the victim. more..

Appointment of Mahanama as Chief of Staff - Should have warned Prez: Rajitha

May 9 (DM) I should have told Prez Sirisena not to appoint I. H. K. Mahanama as his Chief of Staff, as I knew that many allegations had been levelled against him, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said he was not informed that Mahanama, who was earlier the Secretary to the Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, was to be appointed the President’s Chief of Staff. “When Mahanama was secretary to the Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms, I was the minister in charge of more..

Nearly 32% of pregnant women in Sri Lanka are anaemic

May 9 (SL) The progress on improving nutritional care of women in South Asia during and after pregnancy is slow, impacting on their children’s survival, growth and development. A 3-day regional conference on actions to accelerate improvements in women’s nutrition across South Asia is being held in Kathmandu this week. Organised jointly by SAARC and UNICEF, conference is bringing together more..

President's fmr Chief of Staff, fmr STC Chairman re-remanded

May 9 (DM) President’s former Chief of Staff I.H.K. Mahanama and former State Timber Corporation (STC) Chairman P. Dissanayaka, who were in remanded custody over accepting a bribe of Rs. 20 million, were further remanded till May 22 by Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala today. Officials of Bribery Commission had arrested Dr. Mahanama and Mr. Dissanayake while accepting a bribe of Rs.20 million from an Indian businessman on May 3. more..

CID summons BBC journalist Azzam Ameen over tweet

May 9 (SL) CID has summoned BBC journalist Azzam Ameen over a tweet. Azzam Ameen has been asked to appear before the CID tomorrow to record a statement. Ameen had yesterday commented and retweeted a tweet which appeared on the official twitter account of the President’s media division where the President was asked how he intends to implement some of his proposals made in Parliament. “You are a wonderful speaker. But how do you ensure they turn into action. more..

Cabinet fixes Sri Lanka's energy mix

May 9 (DN) Bringing an end to the hotly contested SL’s energy generation mix, Cabinet approved a policy paper on the SL energy generation, which officials say will pave way for a swift approval of the impending Long term Generation Plan, today. Sources at the CEB cited that Cabinet approved a policy paper detailing that SL’s power generation be a mix of thermal, Liquefied Natural Gas and heavy hydro’s. more..

Lanka Embassy in Washington hosts open house for the public

May 9 (SLE) Embassy of Sri Lanka joined 52 other embassies on Saturday to open its doors to the public as part of the annual Passport D.C.: Around the World Embassy Tour. The event offered the opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka in a cultural nutshell, ranging from arts and crafts and traditional drum performances to the country’s world heritage sites and popular delicacies​​​​ the island has to offer. As was expected, the sari corner was a hive of activity, where ladies were eager to more..

SF apologies to President

May 9 (DM) Minister Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka had reportedly apologised to President Maithripala Sirisena for heavily criticizing him recently. It was reported that the Minister, along with several other ministers, had gone separately and met the President once the Cabinet meeting was concluded this morning. Speaking to the Media after he assumed duties in the new ministry on May 3, the Minister heavily criticized the conduct of President Sirisena. more..

National Audit Bill found to be consistent with Constitution

May 9 (SL) National Audit Bill has been found to be consistent with the Constitution by the Supreme Court. The determination was conveyed to Parliament by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today. The cabinet has already approved the amended National Audit Bill. Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) had in March raised concerns over the amended provisions in the National Audit Bill. There were three major areas of concern more..

Levy on imported Dhal to increase

May 9 (NR) Ministry of Finance says the Special Commodity Tax on imported dhal will be increased from today. Accordingly, the Special Commodity Tax on whole lentils which was 1 rupee per kg has now been increased by 6 rupees. Therefore, the levy on one kg of whole dhal will now be 7 rupees. Meanwhile, the Special Commodity Tax on split lentils which was previously 3 rupees per kg has been increased by 9 rupees. Accordingly, the levy on one kg of split lentils will be 12 rupees. more..

Video: Fire breaks out at a warehouse of an airport duty-free shop

May 9 (AD) A fire has broken out at a warehouse of a duty-free shop in the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) at around 4 am today (09). The police attached to the BIA said that the fire which lasted for about 2 hours was completely extinguished by the Airport Fire Services. The fire had caused major damage to electrical equipments in the warehouse complex.The cause for the fire or the estimation of the damages caused by it has not yet been estimated. more..

Sri Lanka tells China unfounded claims made on some projects

May 9 (SL) Sri Lanka has told China that unfounded claims are being made on some of the projects funded by China in Sri Lanka, with ulterior motives. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that there are extremists in all countries and those making unfounded speculations on China funded projects in Sri Lanka may have their own ulterior motives, the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said today. more..

Judicature Amendment Bill passed in Parliament

May 9 (NR) The Draft Judicature Amendment Bill that includes a proposal to establish special High Courts comprising of three Judge Bench panels has been passed in Parliament with amendments. Following the second reading of the Amendment Bill, 119 votes were cast in favour of the bill while 52 votes were cast against it. Meanwhile, two other Draft Bills that were tabled by Minister of Justice Thalatha Athukorala were also passed in Parliament. more..

Cabinet nods to lift Glyphosate ban on tea and rubber

May 9 (NR) The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to lift the ban on the use of Glyphosate for tea and rubber. Minister Daya Gamage said the Cabinet approval was granted following a proposal tabled by Minister Navin Dissanayake. Cabinet decided to appoint an experts’ committee to decide on the usage of the banned agrochemical. The committee was to be represented by specialists and intellectuals from fields such as health, agriculture and plantation industries more..

Sri Lanka state refiner mulls investments amid energy policy changes

May 9 (EN) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Sri Lanka’s state-run refiner, says more clarity on govt energy policy and fuel mix is needed given planned upgrades to oil infrastructure costing over US$2 billion. “Before we embark on new projects we should know our energy policy. Then we can plan our own investments,” said CPC chairman Dammika Ranatunga. “As a country, we have to have our energy policy in which more..

Birth Anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore celebrated in Sri Lanka

May 9 (HCI) Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has a special place in the heart of Sri Lankans, and his legacy continues to have a lasting influence on local art and culture. In this context, special events were organized in Colombo to commemorate the 157th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev. Centre for Contemporary Indian Studies of University of Colombo organised an event at the Main Library of the University. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India graced more..

Central Bank seen keeping rates steady

May 9 (Reuters) Central bank is expected to keep key interest rates unchanged at its policy review announcement on Friday, after unexpectedly cutting a key rate by 25 basis points in April to help bolster economic growth that has slipped to a 16-year low. The island-nation’s economy grew 3.1% in 2017, the slowest since a recession in 2001 and well below the 4.5% pace of 2016, govt data showed last month. All 14 economists in the survey expected the central bank to keep its standing deposit more..

Foreign Correspondents of SL raise grave concerns over CID summons on Ameen

May 9 (AM) Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) of SL raised grave concerns over the CID's move to summon BBC journalist in Colombo Azzam Ameen for retweeting a tweet appearing on the official Twitter profile of President Sirisena. "On behalf of FCA of Sri Lanka, it is with grave concern we note this is an act of creating fear psychosis among independent media who not only use the freedom of expression ethically but more..

The Glyphosate challenge

May 10 (CT) As a professional who had been boycotted by successive govts for 35 years, it was a surprise to find myself on a Govt Committee addressing the issue of Glyphosate. It was also salutary to see the level of professionalism and sense of National responsibility. It was also a great lesson on the ways and means to achieve political goals, never mind the civic responsibility. As I had opposed the lifting of the current ban on the on Ecological and Public Health ground more..

Politics just shifted in the World & Sri Lanka

May 10 (CT) Things just moved, changed, in the world and Sri Lanka, and I hope we are taking notice. Let’s start with the world and move on to SL. President Trump’s pullout from the Iran deal sharply enhances the prospect of war in the Middle East, with devastating consequences for the world economy as a whole and the economies of developing (or in our case, under-developing) countries of the global South, in particular. The neoconservative hawks in the Trump more..