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Racecourse Mall may be leased out à la Arcade

Apr 9 (EN) The Colombo Racecourse Mall, which falls under the UDA, may be leased out to a private company, similar to the recent lease of the Arcade Independence Square to Softlogic Holdings. “Similar to the Arcade Independence Square Shopping Complex, we may go for a public-private partnership (PPP) for the Racecourse Shopping Mall in the future,” Ministry of Urban Dev & Housing Secretary said. more..

More buses, trains deployed for Sri Lankans visiting hometowns for New Year

Apr 9 (EN) Ministry of Transport has deployed more buses and trains for Sri Lankans visiting their hometowns for the upcoming Sinhala & Tamil New Year holidays, ministry said. The govt has doubled the number of buses it deployed last year, the ministry said in a statement, with additional trains also deployed, from today (9) to April 16, in addition to the normal schedule. Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge was quoted as saying 1,192 SLTB buses and 1,800 private buses have been deployed more..

Sri Lanka-Kuwait Parliamentary Friendship Association revived

Apr 9 (Island) Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has expressed his gratitude to the govt of Kuwait for its assistance, including healthcare facilities, provided to Sri Lankans presently working in Kuwait. The Speaker said this at the revival meeting of Sri Lanka – Kuwait Parliamentary Friendship Association held in Parliament. Khalaf Bu Dhhair, Ambassador of Kuwait to SL and several Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers and Members of Parliament were present at the meeting. more..

Fr Cyril Fernando defends Cardinal’s controversial comment

Apr 9 (EN) Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith’s scathing remarks on former Prez Sirisena last Sunday were not intended to be a personal or political attack on anyone, Father Cyril Gamini Fernando said. “The Cardinal had no intention whatsoever of attacking anyone politically. We see the Easter bombings as a national tragedy. The attack posed a serious threat to national security – a threat that continues to linger,” more..

Central Bank starts increased compensation to finance company depositors

Apr 9 (FT) Central Bank has commenced payment of the increased compensation amount of Rs. 500,000 under the SL Deposit Insurance and Liquidity Support Scheme (SLDILSS), to the depositors of failed finance company, it said in a statement. The depositors/relevant legal beneficiaries of Central Investments and Finance (CIFL), The Standard Credit Finance (TSCFL), TKS Finance (TKSFL), The Finance Company (TFC), ETI Finance (ETIFL) and Swarnamahal Financial more..

2021 A/L, O/L and Grade 5 Scholarship exams postponed

Apr 9 (AD) GCE A/L Exam for the year 2021, which was scheduled for August, has been postponed to October, says the Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris. Accordingly, the examination is set to take place between Oct 04 and 30. The Grade 5 Scholarship Exam was meanwhile put off to the 3rd of October, Minister said further. Further, the GCE O/L Exam has been pushed to the final week of Jan 2022. The announcement was made during a press briefing held at Education Ministry today. more..

Rs. 3.4 billion claim for MT New Diamond oil spill forwarded to ship owners

Apr 9 (AD) The Attorney General has forwarded the marine pollution claim of Rs. 3.423 billion (USD 19.022 million) to lawyers of ship owners of crude oil tanker MT New Diamond in respect of the oil spill caused in September 2020, says the AG’s Coordination Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne. The final report on the settlement of compensation for the damages caused by the MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was to be more..

Mattala Airport will be developed as a cargo hub

Apr 9 (DN) The Mattala Int'l Airport will be developed as a cargo hub while upgrading its luxury facilities, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said in Parliament. Minister said that an export processing zone, an aircraft maintenance and turnover yard (MRO) and a duty-free shopping complex will be built at the airport. Minister Ranatunga was responding to SJB MP Hesha Vithanage regarding the construction of the Mattala Int'l Airport and its future activities, during the Oral Questions Round. more..

Beware of COVID-19 danger; act wisely to prevent third wave: PHI Union

Apr 9 (DM) It is important and advisable if people are vigilant and beware of the danger posed by COVID-19 and be wise and watchful in their activities during the Sinhala/Hindu New Year festival season, the emergence of the third wave of coronavirus could be easily averted, Public Health Inspectors' (PHI) Union Secretary Mahendra Balasuriya said. He said an atmosphere could be felt in the country for the emergence of another COVID-19 cluster if people do not act responsibly. more..

කිරුළ ගැලවීම කුමන්ත්‍රණයක්: පුෂ්පිකා

Lessons learnt

Apr 9 (FT) I started my career as a sales clerk writing bills for Rs. 385 at Moosajee Sones in 1980, just after school. My first inspiration to be a manager came from Gamini Ranasinghe who was the Sales Manager. One day I asked him how one can become a manager. His simple answer was think and act like a manager. This I consider my first management lesson in life. Wherever I worked at whatever position I worked this was my approach. I always tried to look at issues from the more..

The crisis of not having mature leaders

Apr 9 (FT) Not having mature leaders or failure to produce such leaders during the post independent period, who possessed the right ability and good judgment to carry forward uninterruptedly the success of the pre-independence era, can be considered as a crucial factor influencing the failure of SL. Also, not having such leaders with a strong vision, even now when SL has become a failed and bankrupt State, capable of rescuing the country from its present unfortunate plight can be more..

P'ment in turmoil over unseating of Ranjan

Apr 9 (CT) The Govt and the Opposition clashed in Parliament yesterday over Ranjan Ramanayake’s lost parliamentary seat, for the second consecutive day, following a heated exchange between Minister Chamal Rajapaksa and SJB MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. The two MPs were heard name-calling and using unparliamentary language against each other, while their colleagues supported them by more..

Banned Muslim outfits to take legal action

Apr 9 (CT) Eleven organisations are planning to take legal action following Attorney General Dappula de Livera authorising the banning of those organisations. The Deputy Secretary of the SL Thowheed Jamath Organisation, which has been named as one of the extremist groups to be banned, T. Ahmed stated that they had met their lawyers and will take necessary measures to counter their proscription through the law. He added that before the lapse of 14 days after the publication of more..

India, Sri Lanka agree to work jointly against terrorist entities, fugitives

Apr 9 (ANI) India and Sri Lanka on Thursday agreed to work jointly against terrorist entities and fugitives, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs statement. The first delegation-level virtual Police Chiefs' Dialogue between the Police Chiefs of India and Sri Lanka was held today. The Indian delegation was led by the Director of Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar whereas the Sri Lankan team was represented by CD Wickramaratne, Inspector General of Police. more..

US says SL must safeguard against unintended consequences of Port City Bill

Apr 9 (FT) The US yesterday called on policymakers to be vigilant of the economic impact of the proposed Port City legislation, given its sweeping tax concessions and warned it could have unintended consequences, such as money laundering, unless proper safeguards are put in place. US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz, speaking to selected journalists at a virtual media roundtable, acknowledged the importance of $ 1.4 bilion more..

SLC appoint new selection committee

Apr 9 (CB) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), on Thursday, appointed a six-member Selection Committee with immediate effect. The panel was approved by Minister of Youth and Sports Namal Rajapaksa. Pramodya Wickramasinghe, former Lankan pacer, has been now named the new Chairman of Selectors. Following Ashanta de Mel stepping down as the Chairman in January 2021, Wickramasinghe and Chaminda Mendis comprised the national selection panel as a make-shift move. more..

President clears air on palm oil import ban

Apr 9 (FT) Despite the immediate ban on import of palm oil announced on Monday, Prez Rajapaksa yesterday clarified that standard varieties of palm oil used in bakery, confectionary and food processing industries are not prohibited. Prez’s Media Unit (PMD) said that there is no prohibition to the importation of palm stearin variety for use in the production of relevant food items. “Standard palm oil varieties are used in the production of biscuits, confectionery and some bakery products. more..

Solution to poaching in Sri Lankan waters: Contradictory statements from...

Apr 9 (Island) Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda on Wednesday (7) contradicted a statement attributed to him regarding the continuing crisis over the Indian fishing fleet invading SL waters. Fisheries Ministry quoted the Minister as having told fisheries sector trade unions, at separate meetings held at his ministry that the Indian fishing fleet would be prevented from entering Sri Lankan waters before the end of 2021. more..

Red tape hits Pelwatte export oriented milk powder processing plant in Kurunegala

Apr 9 (DN) Although faithful promises are given by successive govts including the present one that local entrepreneurs would be egged on, this has not happened to Pelwatte Dairy, as approval for 45-acre state land to build SL’s first-ever milk export oriented processing plant in Mawathagama is yet to be approved. “I have been requesting for approvals for four years from the previous govt and one year from the present one but with no avail,” said Pelwatte Industries Chair Ariyaseela Wickramanayake. more..

Confectionary and Bakery Associations to submit proposals to Treasury Secy. today

Apr 9 (FT) Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers Association (LCMA) and All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) will further make representation today to the Treasury Secretary in a bid to resolve the crisis arising from the sudden and immediate ban of palm oil imports. Members of both associations met yesterday to come up with some proposals to resolve the crisis following the Trade Minister’s remarks at Parliament on Wednesday. Prez on Monday instructed that the import of more..

Policy rates unchanged to support virus recovery: CB

Apr 9 (FT) Buoyed by signs the economy is turning the pandemic corner, the Central Bank yesterday kept its policy rates unchanged continuing a two-year cycle of easing but pledged to remain vigilant of any demand side pressures as growth recovery gains ground. The Monetary Board, at its meeting on Tuesday, decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) more..

COPE report reveals subtle yahapalana move to remove Mahapola Trust Fund from...

Apr 9 (Island) A special report submitted by the COPE on the SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), established by the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund, reveals that the top management of the institution has taken a series of steps to vest state resources in private ownership in an informal manner. The report states that the govt approved the establishment of the SLIIT through the Cabinet Memorandum (98/995/11/052) presented on 1 April 1988 under more..

SLPMA wants President to intervene to protect the local drug manufacturing industry

Apr 9 (ST) Local drug manufacturers are up in arms against a move by the State Ministry of Production, Supply and Regulation of Pharmaceuticals to renege on an agreement with them and has sought the intervention of Prez Rajapaksa to resolve this issue. They caution that such an arbitrary decision may create a severe shortage of locally manufactured drugs in the state hospitals, which are the main consumers of these drugs. The SL Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association (SLPMA) has more..

Is China using COVID aid to increase influence in Sri Lanka?

Apr 9 (DW) Over the past few months, China has been boosting its vaccine diplomacy efforts, pledging and shipping increasing numbers of COVID-19 vaccines to a number of countries worldwide, particularly in Asia. Sri Lanka recently received 600,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine, which would be used for the vaccination of about 200,000 Chinese workers estimated to be living in the island nation. more..

Steps to set up National Industrial Park in Ratmalana

Apr 9 (DN) A discussion was held at the Ministry of Industries in Kollupitiya recently under the patronage of the Minister Wimal Weerawansa to take further steps with the assistance of the Govt of China to implement five identified special projects to prepare the physical environment required for the development of the industrial sector in SL. Consul General of the Chinese Embassy in SL Li Guangjun, Third Secretary Dong Xiakun and Zhu Min were also present at the discussion. more..

High-speed Internet key to uplift rural economy: President

Apr 9 (DM) High-speed Internet for rural areas must be prioritised to ensure the establishment and advancement of industries across the country, Prez Rajapaksa stressed. Prez asserted that for SL to be digitally inclusive, the relevant stakeholders must look to address the Internet speed issues, specially in rural areas, which stands a bottleneck for economic progression of the country. “Unless high-speed Internet is made available to people, we would not be able to make substantial more..

Food Commissioner’s Dept failed to maintain required stocks of rice, audit reveals

Apr 9 (ST) Food Commissioner’s Department (FCD), which is directly responsible for maintaining 100,000MT of rice per year to ensure food security, stored under 700MT of its own stocks in 24 warehouses during the eight years between 2012 and Dec 2019 because the Treasury did not pass money to make necessary purchases, a national audit reveals. Among the buildings that stood empty were warehouses renovated and more..

Dialog Enterprise partners NetFoundry to launch Network-as-a-service

Apr 9 (Island) In a strategic partnership with NetFoundry, the leaders in cloud-native zero trust networking, Dialog Enterprise, the corporate solutions arm of SL’s premier connectivity provider Dialog Axiata (Dialog), announced the introduction of Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) for its enterprise customers. Pioneering the journey of a digital ecosystem orchestrator, Dialog Enterprise together with NetFoundry, will be offering services around application connectivity & network security. more..

CECA gives new vision of life to kids in children’s homes

Apr 9 (FT) Colombo Expats Cultural Association (CECA), a vibrant community in Sri Lanka comprised of over 160 expats from India, Bangladesh and Nepal, is organising a nationwide painting competition for 60 children in various child care homes. CECA’s initiative, now in its second phase, is conducted in association with the Ministry of Education, the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, the HC of India – Colombo and various other supporting organisations more..

COPE exposes large scale corruption at SLC

Apr 9 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket’s top brass was put on a sticky wicket by Parliamentary watchdog COPE – when a probe was done into several dealings of the sport’s governing body this week. COPE Chair Prof Charitha Herath made a scathing attack on SLC’s Exec Committee & CEO Ashley de Silva for the large scale corruption within the institution. He went onto note that why the game of cricket has suffered new lows in recent times. more..

Pakistani dates tickle Lankan taste buds

Apr 9 (PHC) The High Commission of Pakistan, in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), organized a promotional event for Pakistani Dates (Fruit) Exports in Sri Lanka, at the High Commission in Colombo. In his remarks, High Commissioner of Pakistan, Muhammad Saad Khattak highlighted the Govt of Pakistan’s policy of introducing non-traditional products such as Dates through a diversified marketing approach. more..

Steps taken to convert SLITHM into a university: Tourism Minister

Apr 9 (FT) Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga this week affirmed that steps have already being made to convert Sri Lanka Tourism and Hotel Management Institute (SLITHM) into a university. He made these remarks at a discussion held at the Tourism Ministry on Wednesday with trade union members of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at the SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), SLITHM, SL Convention Bureau (SLCB) & SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). more..

'Want more match time ahead of Women's World Cup Qualifier'

Apr 9 (CI) SL women's captain Chamari Athapaththu believes the postponement of the global Qualifier to determine the final three spots at the 2022 Women's ODI World Cup from its June-July window to December is a good thing. Just for context, Sri Lanka, hosts of the qualifying event, haven't had any form of int'l cricket for over a year now. "To get an additional four-five months for our preparation is a good thing because more..

Grand Oriental Hotel to be listed on CSE

Apr 9 (TM) Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH), which was recently renovated, is set to get listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) before 31 Dec this year, stated Urban Development and Housing Ministry Secretary Nimal Perera, said. Accordingly, the hotel will be operated under a public-private partnership (PPP) where 51% of the shares will be held by the State while the rest will be held by private investors. Perera said that the hotel was renovated at a cost of Rs. 250 million. more..

Editorial: Dogs, donkeys, fools and lunatics

Apr 9 (Island) A heated argument between SJB MP Sarath Fonseka and Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, yesterday, plunged Parliament into turmoil with the govt and Opposition MPs freely trading insults and threats across the well of the house. All hell broke loose while the SJB was staging a protest against the unseating of its MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who is currently serving a jail term. Protests will not be of any help to Ramanayake, who is languishing in prison. Only a prez pardon could save him. more..