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Sri Lanka yet to tap full tourism potential

May 4 (CT) Although the tourism sector remains a promising foreign exchange earner of the economy, SL has not yet tapped into its full potential in the global market and implementing the Tourism Strategic Plan prepared by SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is vital to reap the full benefits of the burgeoning industry. Last year, SL planned to attract more than 2.5 million tourists to the country. However, this target was later revised to 2.2 million following several complications, more..

Seylan Bank records Rs 1.05 bn PAT in 1Q

May 4 (DN) Seylan Bank made a steady start in 2018 by posting a profit after tax of Rs. 1,053 million in Q1 despite less than ideal market conditions. Net interest income increased by 17.21% as the volume growth outperformed the impact arising from the narrowing of NIMs. Net fee and commission income witnessed a growth of 14.61% to reach Rs 995 million in 1Q 2018 as compared to Rs. 868 million for the comparative period. Initiatives put in place to harness fee generating business across more..

SAITM students appeal to President for KNDU transfer

May 4 (FT) Distressed students of the SAITM yesterday called on President Maithripala Sirisena to intervene to push forward legislation allowing for their immediate transfer to the Kotelawala National Defense University (KNDU), in accordance with the new bill put forward by the Govt early last month allowing them to become full-fledged doctors. They called on the Govt to adhere to its commitments despite threats by GMOA more..

Investor-friendly reforms to take centre stage in 2018 report on Sri Lanka

May 4 (FT) SL’s plans to enhance its investment climate by introducing mechanisms aimed at reducing red tape and speeding up key processes will be given wide-ranging coverage in a report by the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG). The Report: Sri Lanka 2018 will shine a spotlight on the new single window initiative, which has a key role to play in minimising delays and reducing bottlenecks for businesses waiting for projects to be approved. more..

Planters’ Association hails Govt decision

May 4 (FT) Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) commended govt’s decision to lift the arbitrary ban on the importation of glyphosate-based weedicides, which caused a massive crop loss of over Rs. 35 billion during the past 2 years. “This onerous ban is already estimated to have caused crop losses of up to Rs. 15 b in 2016 and up to Rs. 20 b in 2017 but at least now we can begin the difficult but necessary work to reverse the serious damage done to our estates as a result of the ban,” more..

Economy still vulnerable: Cabraal

May 4 (FT) Presenting a different point of view, former CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal yesterday sought to flip the narrative on Sri Lanka’s macro economy, pointing out that debt had continued to increase during the last three years with growth and investment remaining below expectations. Cabraal, together with former SEC Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, contended that the historic high reserves of $ 9.9 billion reported more..

Loss of Lester’s award: Law and Order minister instructs formal probe

May 4 (DM) Law and Order Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara said that he had instructed to conduct formal and rapid investigation into the incident involving the loss of Ranamayura Golden Peacock Award of the late filmmaker Dr Lester James Peries that was stolen from his residence. The award was stolen Wednesday morning while his funeral service was in progress. The minister said he had instructed the police to conduct an investigation under a Deputy Inspector General (DIG). more..

Rajapaksa bogey used to curb hi-tech Motorcycles?

May 4 (Island) The current administration is trying to remove motorcycles with latest technology off the road on the pretext that most of them are high powered and imported by associates of Yoshitha and Rohitha Rajapaksa, President of the Ceylon Motorcyclists Association (CMA) Chirantha Amarasinghe claimed. Amarasinghe said yesterday: "Firstly high capacity motorcycles by internationally recognized manufacturers are safer than cheap Indian bikes. more..

Monks oppose proposed 20A

May 4 (CT) Monks who participated in a conference organized by National Organizations Front said they were opposed to the proposed 20th Amendment, which aims to abolish Exec. Presidency, as it could pose a threat to sovereignty of the country. Submitting the 20th Amendment, as a Private Member Bill, is a plan of the JVP. A few MPs of the JO, including Former Prez Rajapaksa had also said that they would support more..

Cabinet reshuffle further empowers UNP: GL

May 4 (DM) The recent Cabinet reshuffle has further empowered the UNP and weakened the SLFP, said SLPP leader G.L. Peiris. He said that several prominent ministries like Social Welfare, Social Empowerment, Labour and Trade Union Relations, which were under the SLFP, had now been grabbed by the UNP to centralize the powers of the govt. “It is evident that the govt is run by UNP policies. What is pathetic is that even the SLFPers follow these policies without considering more..

President instructs officials to suspend STC Chairman, Presidential Secretary

May 4 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena instructed officials to suspend the services of a senior official attached to the Presidential Secretariat and the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation (STC) who were facing bribery allegations and advised the authorities to strictly enforce the law against the two offenders. A President’s Media Division statement said the decision was taken after the President heard of the senior officials’ arrests. This confirms the importance of establishing more..

Rs 605b recurrent expenditure: Vast amounts allocated for politicos, no investments

May 4 (Island) Former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, yesterday, said that ultimate responsibility regarding financial control lies with Parliament and members therein. Cabraal said so when The Island sought their views on the culpability of Parliament regarding allocation of substantial amount of funds out of Rs. 605 bn allocated for recurrent expenditure to provide comforts to politicians in current Parliament. more..

Media, Social Justice and Rule of Law

May 4 (DM) Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day and the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) which coordinates the event said every year May 3 is the date on which we celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom. The aim is to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. more..

That’s the beauty of the man, Lester

May 4 (DM) A birthday cake was cut on his 99th birthday that fittingly celebrated with wife Sumithra’s film Vaishnavi premičred at the Regal Cinema Colombo on 5 April (2018), attended by the most elite and the celebrated audience one could ever expect in Colombo. He, Lester James Peries was that day, honoured as the longest living reputed film director in the world.The oldest active film director on record is the famous Portuguese Director Manoel de Oliveira, who in 2014 at grand old age of more..

Startup weekend Colombo: Build a business in 54 hours

May 4 (Roar) One of the biggest barriers to starting up is starting out. It is with this truism that Startup Weekend Colombo starts out. The weekend event acts as a springboard for anyone interesting in leading a company or forging a meaningful career in one of these new disruptive industries. At the event you will work alongside like-minded individuals, vote on which ideas to develop into a business plan, hone a business model, more..

Govt blocks another website on World Press Freedom Day

May 4 (AM) The Professional Web Journalists Association said another website had been blocked in Sri Lanka when the world celebrated the International Freedom Day. Issuing a statement, the association said has been blocked in Sri Lanka. The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka coming under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena has imposed the block on the website, more..

Apparel exports grow slow in 1Q18

May 4 (DM) Sri Lanka’s apparel exports grew at a slower pace than the industry expectation during the first quarter this year, recording a growth of 4.1% to reach US $ 1.269 billion, compared to the US $ 1.219 billion recorded in the first quarter of 2017, the latest apparel export data indicated. The apparel exports to the European Union (EU) grew by 5.2% year-on-year (YoY) to reach US $ 526 million, more..

Anti-Glyphosate lobby to meet Prez and PM

May 4 (CT) Those campaigning to reverse the Govt’s recent decision to lift the ban imposed on the agrochemical herbicide Glyphosate in the tea and rubber industries, are seeking a meeting with the President and the PM to make representations in this regard. In a move which was welcomed by planters, Minister Navin Dissanayake announced that the lifting of the ban would be in effect from midnight on 2 May. more..

Mechanism to make uni students happy

May 4 (GDI) Dr. Wijeydasa Rajapakshe assumed the office on Wednesday at the Higher Education Ministry amidst the blessings of the Maha Sangha. Ministers Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Vajira Abeywardena, Gayantha Karunathilaka, P. Harrison, Daya Gamage, Thalatha Atukorala and a few others attended. University Education will be re-streamlined very soon to resolve the problems that u'grad undergo & stop their unrest, more..

Harsha defends Govt policies

May 4 (FT) National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, despite yesterday agreeing with former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal that several Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects were signed by the previous administration, insisted that a sizable number of new projects would soon be launched and contended that the Government had improved macroeconomic stability. more..

Milk powder prices to go up

May 4 (AM) The Industry and Commerce Ministry announced today the price of a 400g pack of powdered milk would increase in price by Rs. 20 while a1kg pack would increase by Rs. 50. These changes were made by the Industry and Commerce Ministry in adherence to recommendations by the Cost of Living Committee to the Consumer Affairs Authority. The price changes will affect powdered milk more..

Rathana Thera warns Govt

May 4 (CT) MP Athuraliye Rathana Thera warned the Govt that if it did not reverse its decision to lift the Glyphosate ban, the forces against the weedicide, who are with him, will decide on the fate of the current Govt. The Thera said, “If the Govt does not change the decision and continues to import Glyphosate, the next step will be to take to the streets and protest against the Govt with millions of people. more..

Kerawalapitiya LNG plant tender: Korean consortium appeals

May 4 (ST) The proposed award of the Kerawalapitiya 300MW Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) power plant tender to Lakdhanavi Ltd, has been referred to the Procurement Appeals Board (PAB) by a consortium comprising Samsung C&T, Korea Midland Power Co. (KOMIPO) and GS Energy. The consortium, in its appeal to the PAB earlier this month, opposed the recommendation of the Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement more..

PM to meet Prez about objections against reshuffle

May 4 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is to meet and discuss with President Maithripala Sirisena certain objections that have been raised by UNP backbenchers on the recent reshuffle, with emphasis on the appointment of new deputy and state ministers, UNP sources said. The sources said the UNP backbenchers had been especially critical of Syed Ali Zahir Moulana's appointment as the Deputy Minister of more..

Don’t make lifting Glyphosate ban permanent

May 4 (CT) Usage of chemical weedicides and pesticides has become an unavoidable aspect in agriculture owing to their effectiveness, ease of use and quick results. They are popular, but they have also resulted in negative impacts on animals and humans consuming the food that has been treated with such chemicals. Most of these impacts are not immediate. They take time. But the toxic nature of several of these pesticides could have a long-term impact on the health of the consumer. more..

Converting of Rajagiriya Flyover to be more user-friendly

May 4 (FT) Flyovers are an unavoidable construction architectures in road construction. This had been invented by the British. Holborn Viaduct was the world’s first flyover, connecting Holborn City with Newgate Street, avoiding a deep dip in the road. It was built across the Fleet Valley to get rid of the steep Holborn and Snow Hills. It was built between 1863 and 1869 and opened by Queen Victoria in 1869. Fly pass, viaduct and sky bridge are other names for the same flyovers more..

Gathering of great elephant in Minneriya

Venison served at NSC meetings during previous regime: SF

May 4 (DM) During the Rajapaksa administration venison was usually included on the menu for members attending National Security Council (NSC) meetings as a delicacy, Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka disclosed. Speaking to the journalists after assuming duties on Wednesday (2) he said a variety of venison including deer, sambhur, wild boar and quail meat were usually on the lunch menu during these meetings. "I will deliver justice to wild animals,” he said. more..

Wasp attack forces closure of Central College

May 4 (Island) Following a wasp attack on two students, authorities were forced to close down the Medawachchiya Central College yesterday. The school authorities said that there were 2,500 students on its roll. Principal of the school Dimuthu Wijayangani said she had been left with no alternative but to close the school as the situation had taken a turn for the worse with more wasp attacks being reported. She said two special workshops had been held for the Grade 6 more..

Scientific Reshuffle tosses up ineffective State & Deputy Ministers

May 4 (CT) The state and deputy ministers recently sworn in consequent to what President Sirisena said was a scientific method of selection done with PM Wickremesinghe are from the bottom tier in terms of overall rank, parliamentary participation and the number of topics they have addressed, according to the website Except for three, the rest among the 8 new State Ministers and 10 new Deputy Ministers are ranked in more..

No Treasury approval given for roofing sheet distribution: Former Treasury Secretary

May 4 (DN) Former Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara told Colombo High Court that the Treasury had not given its approval to release funds for a Housing Development Programme called Isurumath Nivahanak. He was giving evidence regarding the roofing case filed against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The AG had filed indictments against four accused including former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa for allegedly misappropriating Rs.2991 million more..

CID arrests mastermind who impersonated dead doctor to commit fraud

May 4 (Island) The CID, on Wednesday, arrested the mastermind of the trio responsible for preparing bogus documents and obtaining bank loans amounting to Rs. 30 million from different banks, by using name of a doctor who died last year in a car accident. The main suspect is a businessman from Bandiyamulla, Gampaha. He went into hiding after committing the fraud, but the CID caught up with him. The other two suspects were doctors and they are still in hiding, police said. more..

'Govt will not tolerate bribery and corruption'

May 4 (AD) Secretary to the President, Austin Fernando says that under President Maithripala Sirisena, anybody involved in corruption would be punished irrespective of their status or position they hold. He said the present govt that came to power promising good governance will not tolerate bribery and corruption. “This govt will continue to punish those engaged in bribery and corruption,” he said. more..

It was their meditation time

May 4 (DM) A former senior white-collar bigwig who once held high office in the country’s public administration phoned the headquarters of a department responsible for maintaining law and order about 8.40 in the morning. A lady who answered the call asked in a very cordial and courteous tone, “What can we do for you, Sir?” After duly introducing himself, the former white-collar high-up told the lady that he wanted to speak to a certain divisional head regarding more..

Basil’s almanac case postponed

May 4 (AD) Colombo High Court has postponed the case against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and another defendant for allegedly using funds belonging to the Divi Neguma Department to print almanacs with the image of former President Rajapaksa. The AG had filed indictments against the former minister and the former Director General of the Divi Neguma Department Kithsiri Ranawaka for the misappropriation funds from the department to the tune of Rs. 29.4 million to print more..

'Sri Lanka Cricket elections before May 31'

May 4 (AD) Minister Faiszer Musthapha says that necessary steps will be taken to hold Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections before May 31. The election to appoint office bearers for the cricket governing body of the country was scheduled to be held on May 19, however was postponed due to an issue with the Elections Committee. According to reports, board had violated procedure when appointing the elections more..

Good governance further ensured: Faiszer

May 4 (EN) Minister Faiszer Musthapha has requested the public to determine if legal action was taken against the Chief of staff of the President when they engaged in illegal activities in the past. He said Officials attached to the previous tenure of the UPFA led govt took measures to cover up such crimes. However, Minister said legal action being taken against the Chief of Staff of the incumbent President further ensures the establishment of good governance within the country. more..

SP, 17 ASPs transferred

May 4 (DM) One SP and 17 ASPs had been transferred with immediate effect by the National Police Commission (NPC), under the recommendation of IGP Pujith Jayasundara. Police Media said they were transferred due to service requirements. Accordingly, SP K.B. Keerthiratne has been transferred from the Batticaloa Division to the Kandy Division. ASP H.D.N. Abeywardhane of the President’s Security Division (PSD) has been transferred to the Colombo North Division. more..

Activist lawyers hail President for not interfering in bribery sting

May 4 (EN) SL's Lawyers for Democracy, an activist group, hailed President Maithripala Sirisena for not interfering after his chief of staff as arrested on allegation of taking a bribe from an Indian investor, drawing parallels with the former regime. "In this moment, when Prez Sirisena's chief of staff has been netted by an independent commission during a sting operation, as he was soliciting a Rs 20 million bribe, more..

Maga Engineering top contractor for ADB projects in Sri Lanka

May 4 (EN) SL’s Maga Engineering Pvt. Ltd. construction group has emerged as the top contractor for Asian Development Bank projects in the island in the last five years. According to ADB data, Maga Engineering has won work worth US$120 million (Rs 18.8 billion) in the transport sector in projects funded by ADB loans and grants during the period up to 31 Dec 2017. K.D.A. Weerasinghe & Co. Pvt. Ltd. was ranked second among ADB’s top five contractors and more..