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Video: JO meets President ; SLFP meets former President

Feb 16 (AD) Party leaders from the JO are now at a meeting with President Sirisena at the President’s Official residence, it is reported. Meanwhile, A special discussion got underway with a group of SLFP MPs and Former President Rajapaksa at his official residence. JO MP Kumara Welgama said President Sirisena had assured them he would consult the Attorney General and legal experts on the possibility of removing the PM. more..

Niece of businessman killed in warehouse collapse suspects foul play

Feb 16 (Island) A woman, named Sharida Shabri (40) giving evidence at the inquest into death of businessman Abbas Ghulam Hussein (51) on Wednesday at Grandpass, due to the collapse of old warehouse at Babapulle Mawatha, Grandpass, said that she suspected foul play. She is a relative of the building owner. The businessman and seven others died when the old building collapsed while two others were more..

‘Rs. 13 b retained from Perpetual Treasuries’

Feb 16 (DN) Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said only monies and investments amounting to Rs. 13 billion have been retained from Perpetual Treasuries. Apart from Rs. 13 billion, no other properties or resources of Perpetual Treasuries have been retained, he said. Measures are being taken to surcharge the monies earned by Perpetual Treasuries in a just manner. Amount to be surcharged should be calculated through more..

Video: 'UPFA will not support unity govt'

Feb 16 (AD) Minister Susil Premajayantha stated that the majority of the UPFA will not support the continuation of the current unity govt. Minister said that there was no change in the decision taken by the President on February 11 and the decision taken by the UPFA MPs after the cabinet meeting. The is a clear inability to proceed with the incumbent PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, and it was convened after more..

Parliament, others responsible for drafting LG election laws blamed for present crisis

Feb 16 (Island) Parliament and those involved in the drafting of the Local Govt Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act were responsible for the chaos at LG bodies over the question of accommodating the 25% female quota, election monitors claim. Head of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said on Wednesday there were quite a few local councils that would find it extremely difficult to more..

Newly introduced LG election system has turned people’s wish upside down: JO

Feb 16 (Island) UPFA MP Sirira Jayakody alleges that the newly introduced LG election system has caused unprecedented chaos with the party having the majority of seats in a particular body unable to form an administration due to losers being granted free slots. Attorney-at-law Jayakody said that the new system was obviously designed to cause instability at the local govt level. Jayakody was flanked by MP Dallas more..

Where have all the young girls gone: Gender diversity in the Tech industry

Feb 16 (Roar) The tech industry over the past year has borne quite a resemblance to James Bond’s favourite martini—shaken, with a twist of citrus. Gender diversity has always been a big talking point when it comes to tech companies, especially with the scandals surrounding Uber and the harassment that women face in Silicon Valley. No one expected Google to be drawn into it, however, which goes to show more..

'Sri Lanka watching budget, global rates before a rate cut'

Feb 16 (EN) Sri Lanka did not cut rates, despite money and credit growth stabilizing, because global interest rates were rising, and the central bank wanted to watch how budget deficit was behaving, and oil prices were also high, Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "Clearly if there has been a loosening of monetary policy it would not be wise to loosen monetary policy at the same time," he said. more..

Main outlook of UNP should change

Feb 16 (DM) Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara spoke about the future of the govt and the UNP in the wake of a humiliating defeat at the local govt elections held last Saturday. Q: The UNP which you represent suffered a massive defeat at the LG polls. How do you read the election results? A: People have overwhelmingly rejected the programme of work we carried out during the last three years. This is a warning for us. more..

Tsunami alert

Feb 16 (DM) LG elections concluded a week ago may perhaps remain the only one in our history that created a major crisis in the Central Govt. In fact as I wrote in my last Friday column that the fate of SL has already been decided by other factors that led to the election after this Unity Govt dodged voters for over two years. Elections brought with it the political conflicts within the Unity Govt out into the open and onto election platforms. more..

What’s behind UNP’s lost Paradise What does mandate mean? Councils or votes?

Feb 16 (DM) After the Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists under a new title, SLPP winning the highest number of seats in the majority of LG bodies, people with various affiliations are heard making various comments analysing the results of LG elections. According to the winning SLPP President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe do not have moral right to continue with their administration and therefore they must dissolve Parliament allowing the people to elect a new Govt. more..

Country first, despite divisions and disputes

Feb 16 (DM) e have stressed repeatedly that the Feb 10 LG election results were largely a shattering protest vote against the National Govt for what most of the people see as its failure or slowness to fulfil most of its pledges as well as its inability to deliver all-important development or reduce the cost of living. But it is also important that the country’s stability be maintained so that the vital, large-scale foreign investments will come in and the sustainable economic development plan more..

Coalition proposes Cabinet reshuffle to bridge divide

Feb 16 (FT) National Unity Govt will continue despite the deep crisis it has been plunged into but with major changes to the Cabinet composition, Cabinet Spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne assured yesterday. With his SLFP Cabinet colleague and Co-spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara staying away from the cameras yesterday, Senaratne put on a brave face to solely answer queries from journalists regarding more..

CWC MP sworn in as Deputy Minister of Primary Industries

Feb 16 (FT) Nuwara Eliya District MP and the President of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) Muthu Sivalingam has been appointed as the Deputy Minister of Primary Industries. He was sworn in as the Deputy Minister before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. During a meeting with the President CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman along with a delegation from his party has pledged to cooperate with the Prez, according to media reports. more..

Sri Lanka not intervening; forex bill markets as automatic stabilizers: CB

Feb 16 (EN) Central bank is not intervening in forex or Treasury bill auctions, but are allowing market forces to respond, Deputy CB Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said. "We have said that we will allow market forces to work and the currency to adjust," Weerasinghe said. "So the market is responding. In the short-term this type of volatility is there. It is not only in Sri Lanka we saw it in global markets also. "When markets respond it is an automatic stabilizer and markets are adjusted." more..

President, PM urged to appoint SF Law & Order Minister

Feb 16 (Island) Civil Society grouping Purawesi Balaya called for far reaching Cabinet reshuffle, including the immediate appointment of war winning Army Chief Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as Law and Order Minister, to bring long delayed high profile investigations against previous regime to a successful conclusion. Yahapalana proponent Ven. Dambara Amila Thera declared that there couldn’t be a better person than more..

Release of 109 TN fishermen likely today

Feb 16 (Hindu) Decks have been cleared for the release of 109 fishermen arrested by SL Navy on a charge of trespassing into the territorial waters of the island nation during January and early February. After concerted efforts by the Tamil Nadu govt, the Centre prevailed upon the Sri Lankan govt and secured the release of the fishermen ahead of the annual St Antony’ church festival in Katchatheevu, scheduled for February 23 and 24, official sources here said. more..

'Unity govt should not lose sight of reforms'

Feb 16 (DN) EU Ambassador Tung-Lai Margue said he is worried the promised reform agenda could stall with reports that the govt might change following the ruling parties’ poor performance in the recent elections. “The reform agenda: that’s the big worry that the international community has got,” Margue said in an interview yesterday. “We understand that it has always been a shaky coalition, and obviously recent actions have shown that a lot of people are not happy.” more..

CID seeks Interpol assistance in catching Mahendran

Feb 16 (FT) CID has sought the assistance of Interpol to locate former CB Governor Arjun Mahendran. SP Ruwan Gunasekara said that Mahendran, who had been summoned to appear before the CID yesterday, had failed to make the appointment. “He did not show up to appear before the CID. So now the CID, through Interpol, has requested Singapore for the location of Mahendran,” he said. more..

Ten Sri Lankan students take part in Freelykick football winter camp

Feb 16 (Island) The first One Belt, One Road cultural football camp organised by the private company in Shanghai Freelykick Sports Development Pvt. ended last weekend. Over 80 students from Sri Lanka, Serbia, Panama, Kenya and the hosting country China participated and this helped create deep friendships between each other. Through the One Road One Belt initiative, football has now become another platform of exchange among the youth. more..

President has no power to dismiss PM: Vajira

Feb 16 (DM) The President does not have the power to dismiss a Prime Minister according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, Minister Vajira Abeywardene said. He told the media that the stability of the govt has been ensured by the 19th Amendment which was enacted in April 2015. He also said the President also could not dissolve Parliament till four and a half years of Parliament's term is completed. "The mandate given by the people in Jan 8, 2015 still remains intact. more..

CB chief calls for political stability

Feb 16 (FT) CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy rang an alarm bell over SL’s political leaders calling for a quick end to the political standoff triggered by LG poll results before it affected growth, warning there was no scope for loosening fiscal policy. CB on Thursday announced it had decided to keep policy rates unchanged despite sluggish growth and contraction of both broad money and private sector credit. more..

Is Singapore Sri Lanka’s door to East Asia?

Feb 16 (EAF) In a bid to strengthen economic relations, Sri Lanka and Singapore signed a bilateral free trade agreement on 23 Jan 2018. In spite of the two islands’ decades of warm diplomatic relations, Singapore comprised only 1.1% of SL’s exports and 5.3% of imports in 2016. Agreement underlines Singapore’s serious search for trade and investment partners beyond East Asia, and it shows Singapore’s recognition of SL’s potential as a trading hub in the fast-growing Indian Ocean region. more..

Mobitel named Fastest Mobile Network in SL

Feb 16 (DM) Ookla® has declared the National Mobile Service Provider, Mobitel, its Speedtest Award Winner for having the Fastest MobileNetwork in Sri Lanka. Speedtest Awards are licensed to Internet Service Providers and mobile carriers around the world that are determined by Ookla to be the fastest in their market. Sri Lanka’s Award was determined using a proprietary methodology of Ookla’s analysis of Speedtest® results from Q3–Q4 2017. more..

Ranil as PM in new look Yahapalanaya govt

Feb 16 (DN) Yahapalana govt will continue till 2020 with Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister and a Cabinet reshuffle, after correcting its shortcomings with the blessings of President Maithripala Sirisena and subjecting the UNP to a complete re-organisation, UNP Ministers and MPs said. They expressed these sentiments after a meeting with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday. Ministers and MPs of the UNP and more..

SC fixes writ petition on Elpitiya PS poll

Feb 16 (FT) The Supreme Court yesterday fixed for support on 3 April the writ petition filed in respect of the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election. The bench comprised justices Eva Wanasundera, Nalin Perera and Priyantha Jayawardane. The Court on 30 January issued an interim order restraining the Galle District Returning Officer from taking further steps to proceed with holding election for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha until the final determination of the petition. more..

Airlines set to zero in on travel agents commissions

Feb 16 (ST) SL travel agents have been adversely impacted over the low or zero commission levels reached under new airline rules. Some travel agents noted that there had been a reduction in staff since they were unable to cope with the lack of extra earnings made through the commissions. It was pointed out that staff reductions took place in a bid to maintain the same commission level earnings they made previously. Moreover, the agents were pushed hard so much so that they were more..

Island of Ingenuity national brand for ICT/BPM launched

Feb 16 (FT) Sri Lanka’s latest national branding attempt for the ICT/BPM sector IOI - Island of Ingenuity was officially launched yesterday, with the Govt assuring a Rs. 300 million investment to create a global centre of excellence in high-end product engineering, IP creation and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO). The brand was officially unveiled by Minister Malik Samarawickrama at the BMICH, more..

CB’s LTV tweaking unlikely to lift electric vehicle market

Feb 16 (DM) Despite the Central Bank last week issuing directives to the banks and finance companies to significantly lift the restrictions on leasing on electric motor vehicles to align with the environmentalist spirit of the 2018 budget, stakeholders were of the view that this would not lead to a boom in the electric vehicle market without further adjustments. Maximum loan-to-value ratio (LTV) for electric commercial vehicles, cars, SUVs, vans, three-wheelers and any other more..

Bangladesh vows improved cricket pitches after ICC rebuke

Feb 16 (AFP) Bangladesh's cricket board Thursday promised to improve pitches for international Tests after its two best venues were rated below average by the sport's governing body following the Sri Lanka series. The ICC penalised the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka for its subpar pitch a week after rebuking Bangladesh's other top venue in Chittagong for its shoddy ground. The latest Test against Sri Lanka ended inside three days, with the visitors thrashing Bangladesh by 215 runs more..

JVP press conference: After LG election 2018

Nilushi Kariyawasam’s online platform helps university students overcome challenges

Feb 16 (LR) Sri Lankan Canadian Nilushi Kariyawasam founded an online platform that provides guidance and clarity to overcome challenges in pursuit of their degrees. Mississauga’s Nilushi Kariyawasam, Founder of The School of Mind-Blowing Success Inc. officially launched an online educational platform at that’s specifically designed for university and college students to succeed through their degrees. more..

Injured Gunaratne returns home

Feb 16 (Island) All-rounder Asela Gunaratne’s bad luck with injuries continued as the 32-year-old was forced to return home after hurting his right arm during training ahead of the first T-20 International against Bangladesh. Sri Lanka Cricket in a statement said that Gunaratne hurt his arm during fielding drills on Tuesday. He has returned home after being ruled out of both T-20s. He was expected to get an MRI scan and start his rehabilitation process. more..

In SL, LG elections have rattled the govt

Feb 16 (Economist) To critics of Mahinda Rajapaksa, local-council elections that were held in Sri Lanka on February 10th felt like a horror film, as the controversial ex-president rose from his silk-lined political coffin to declare victory. And what a victory it was for Mr Rajapaksa, a brash populist whose exit in 2015 after ten bloodstained and corruption-tainted years in power was widely heralded as a bright new dawn for the more..

Softlogic Holdings’ profits soar

Feb 16 (FT) Softlogic Holdings Plc yesterday reported impressive results for the third quarter with healthy growth all round. Profit before tax rose 60.6% to Rs. 2.4 billion for the nine months while reporting a four-fold increase to Rs. 1.4 billion in the third quarter from a year earlier. Profit after taxation during the nine-month period registered a strong 68% increase to Rs. 1.9 billion while quarterly bottom line reported more than a twofold increase to Rs. 1.2 billion. more..

Editorial: Polls Chief’s most unkindest cut

Feb 16 (Island) Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya had a nasty swipe at the media on Wednesday. It was, in our book, the most unkindest cut of all. In answer to a question, at a press conference, why the release of the results of Saturday’s LG elections had been delayed, he said only bookies and the media were complaining of the delay in releasing the final results. Ward-wise results had been known to political parties and people at the grassroots level on the polling day itself, he said, more..