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PCs can conduct polls if govt. puts them off further: Ex-CM

May 17 (Island) Former Eastern Province Chief Minister Naseer Ahamed said that if the govt made an attempt to put off provincial council (PC) polls, scheduled for later this year, the PCs could take over the task of conducting them under the provisions of PC Elections Act No 2 of 1988. Declaring that it was one of the options available to PCs, Ahamed said since the govt had miserably failed in discharging its more..

GMOA strike affects hospitals island-wide

May 17 (NR) The 24 hour token strike launched by the GMOA has widely impacted several state hospitals across the island including the Colombo National Hospital and the Galle Karapitiya Teaching Hospital. Clinical services in many hospitals have also been severely affected as a result of the ongoing strike. However kidney disease wards and emergency services remain unaffected whilst services at all maternity, children’s and more..

New system control centre for CEB

May 17 (PMD) The new system control centre of CEB in Sri j'pura which can control all the data of the power generation and electricity sub stations was declared open by President Sirisena today (16). Fulfilling the need of a main controlling system to control and monitor electricity grids of Sri Lanka with a firm management of electricity and with a motive to provide efficient service, this centre was built with a Rs 3 billion loan provided by ADB. more..

LaBrooy to continue as Chief cricket selector

May 17 (DM) Graeme La Brooy is set to secure another term as head of the cricket selection committee but the Board is looking at changes to the rest of the committee as their term ended on May 15. La Brooy took from Sanath Jayasuriya late last year after the latter resigned following a series of defeats. La Brooy will however miss the services of Asanka Gurusinha, the newly appointed Chief Cricket Operation Officer. more..

People reject both family rule and cronyism

May 17 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka, speaks about the next Presidential election. He also responds to the question whether he will come forward as the candidate and about his participation in a programme at Harvard University in the US. Q: You played a pivotal role in the installation of this govt. Its term has now come to the tail end. How do you look at it retrospectively? A: The govt ensured openness, dispelled fear more..

'Mahinda, Basil, Prez Sirisena are decisive persons in selecting next Prez candidate'

May 17 (DM) Former Minister S.B. Dissanayake who is now spearheading the 16-member group of the SLFP responds to questions about the current political situation and next prez election. Q: Your group sits in the opposition now. What is the next move? A: We try to get more members to our side from the govt. We hope a large number of SLFPers who serve in the govt at the moment will team up with us shortly. more..

Chain reaction of CoL increases coming from fuel price hike

May 17 (ST) This week’s fuel prices increase is set to trigger a chain reaction with transport costs, food prices and the cost of living to rise. The increase came hard on the heels of a hike in the prices of gas, milk and food items. The head of the state-run Railway Department has called for an increase in train fares too. Railways General Manager S.M. Abeywickrema said the Govt spent more than Rs. 3,000 million on diesel to more..

Gota and the existentialist threat he poses

May 17 (DM) Colombo, or rather certain powdered, lipsticked and groomed part of the political space it is taken to be, is uneasy. The unease of those who’ve seldom experienced anything but ease comes from a spectre that has haunted them for quite a while but has, since last Sunday (14) become too flesh-and-blood-real for comfort. In a word (or name), Gota. That’s Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. They might think that Gota trespassed, for prime properties in Colombo are not exactly more..

Happy families will make a happy society

May 17 (DM) In the afterglow of Mother’s Day on May 13 the world this week celebrates the International Day for Families. It is widely accepted that the family is the nucleus of society, a good society depends on a good family and therefore the day is important for all. According to a UN statement, this year’s theme is Families and inclusive societies. It will explore the role of families and family policies in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 16 in terms of more..

Iran agrees to build refinery for Sri Lanka

May 17 (Reuters) Iran has agreed to build a new oil refinery for Sri Lanka in addition to upgrading its ageing 50,000 barrel per day (bpd) state-owned refinery, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Iranian officials pledged the new refinery when President Maitripala Sirisena made an official visit to Tehran over the weekend, the first leader to go to Iran since US President Donald Trump reimposed US economic sanctions. more..

SL Muslims begins Ramadan fast on friday

May 17 (AT) SL Muslims begins Ramadan Fast on Friday (18), while majority of the Muslims world over begins their fast on Thursday (17). As -the lunar moon for Ramadan has not been sighted in SL, and the first day of the fasting month will be observed on Friday. Colombo Grand Mosque said that fasting month observed by Muslims in SL, in view of Ramadan will commence from May 18. Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of more..

Govt to remain neutral on commemoration activities in North for 18 May

May 17 (FT) The Govt said that it would remain impartial with regard to the planned commemoration activities by the Northern Provincial Council members in the North on 18 May. Minister Rajitha Senaratne made these remarks in response to a question raised by a journalist, regarding the Govt position on the populace in the North commemorating Tamil civilians that lost their lives during the war on 18 May. Minister said that the JVP celebrated their Maha Viru commemoration more..

Scam causes Rs. 10 m loss at CPSTL, Arjuna to probe

May 17 (FT) An alleged scam has caused a loss of Rs. 10 million at the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal (CPSTL) on the day fuel prices were hiked, prompting Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to vow stern action after a probe. Govt decided to increase the fuel price on 10 May at midnight, and was declared in the morning of the same day. In such a situation, same-day orders are to be cancelled temporarily. more..

Foreign reserves to soar to US$ 11 bn

May 17 (DN) The Central Bank said it has taken measures to contain the depreciation of the Rupee. The underlying fundamentals do not warrant the current pressure on the SL rupee. Gross external reserves are presently at a healthy USD 9.1 bn, while the real effective exchange rate indices indicate that the currency is competitive, the Central Bank said. The pressure on the currency is, therefore, unwarranted. The USD 250 mn as the next tranche of the IMF EFF in early June; more..

MP Withanage’s case taken up for hearing

May 17 (CT) A case that had been filed at the Embilipitiya Courts against UNP Ratnapura District MP Heshan Withanage on charges of wilful misuse of properties and goods worth over Rs 100 million, after having sold them to a businessman, was taken up for hearing yesterday. MP was charged with breaking open a rented building, which had been locked by its tenant, where the goods had been stored. Case had been filed by a businessman from Galle, Anura Mahendra, in 2016. more..

JO ready to accept group of 16, no special status

May 17 (Island) The JO/SLPP expect 16 SLFP MPs who crossed over to the Opposition on May 8 to join the genuine Opposition without further delay. Authoritative JO/SLPP sources said that there was consensus among JO and SLPP heavyweights that the group of 16 could join JO led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MEP leader and MP Dinesh Gunawardena functions as the JO parliamentary group leader. more..

Indian Army Chief venerates Sri Dalada Maligawa

May 17 (DN) India’s Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat currently in Sri Lanka on a goodwill tour, received the spiritual blessings of the most Sacred Tooth Relic at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy yesterday. On behalf of Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, Major General Rukmal Dias, Commander, Security Forces – Central (SF-Cen) as the one in charge of the Kandy area, was on hand at the Kandy Dalada Maligawa premises to receive the Indian Chief of Army Staff and more..

Immigration/emigration officers on work-to-rule

May 17 (Island) SL Immigration and Emigration Officers’ Association (SLIEOA) will commence a work-to-rule campaign from midnight today at all port and airports of the country, until their grievances are addressed, Secretary of the SLIEOA, KKGJ Bandara says. SLIEOA says it has been urging the govt to address several long standing concerns, including the introduction of a service minute, attaching Immigration officers to foreign missions and re-establishment of Departmental more..

Govt partners Microsoft on digital transformation initiative

May 17 (FT) Sri Lanka’s plans to boost economic growth, which place digital transformation and connectivity high on the agenda to usher a new era of optimism, was sealed yesterday, with the Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry entering into a landmark agreement with Microsoft in Sri Lanka to provide effective citizen services. MoU is the realisation of the country’s e-Govt Policy and more..

Rupee depreciation will enable export enterprises to earn more, increase reserves

May 17 (DN) The falling value of the SL Rupee against the US Dollar, would bring much benefits to the exporter in terms of a greater inflow of currency to the export enterprise, said President National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) Ramal Jasinghe. He said the drop in the Rupee against the Dollar, which is currently being observed brings about a great opportunity for export enterprises to earn more and in turn build Rupee reserves and look at capacity building and to make improvements in more..

Writ petition challenges election of non-residents to Maharagama UC

May 17 (FT) Court of Appeal yesterday (16) issued notices on 23 members of the Maharagama Urban Council who had been elected on the Independent Group No: 2. Justices P. Padman Surasena (President/CA) and Arjuna Obeysekara issued the Notices returnable for 28 June. Registered Voter Chandrasena Perera of Maharagama filed the Writ petition, challenging impugned 23 Respondents who had been declared and elected to the Maharagama Urban Council in the election held on 10 Feb. more..

Fast bowling talents excite Tim McCaskil

May 17 (CB) Not many had heard about Tim McCaskil when SL's Head Coach Chandika Haturusingha put in a paper to SLC asking the board to hire the Australian on a short-term consultant basis. McCaskil, who is the High-Performance Manager at Cricket Victoria, had not played any First Class cricket, but Hathurusingha wanted to address an urgent need. Several SL fast bowlers had faced injuries in recent times more..

Anniewatte tunnel to be closed for repairs

May 17 (Island) Kandy Mayor Kesara Senanayake said that the Anniewatte tunnel would be closed for motor traffic and pedestrians indefinitely. He said that the decision was taken due to urgent repairs needed for the tunnel. While earth slips were taking place at the entrances to the tunnel, its interior too required urgent repairs to prevent major disasters, mayor Senanayake told the media. He urged the public to avoid walking through the tunnel and that trishaws should also avoid passing through it. more..

Appoint IC to resuscitate cricket: Arjuna

May 17 (CT) Former SL captain Arjuna Ranathunga says that if the sport is to be resuscitated in Sri Lanka, govt will need to appoint an Interim Committee rather than allow SLC to function under its current corrupt management. Ranathunga who is a Minister of the current regime made this comment while replying to a question posed to him by UNP MP Mayantha Dissanayake, who asked what measures have to be taken if cricket is to be saved from its current predicament. more..

'Immigration key catalyst for development'

May 17 (FT) Reforming immigration law to allow free movement of people through progressive laws could tackle SL’s chronic economic challenges of narrow exports, low Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and limited innovation, a top expert said, outlining many examples of countries that have experienced growth spurts by opening up their labour markets. Prof. Ricardo Hausmann is Director of Harvard’s Center for Int'l Development more..

Prez orders workshop for Ministers, MPs and officials on economic development plan

May 17 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena advised the National Economic Council (NEC) to hold a special one-day workshop on the govt’s comprehensive economic development plan for Ministers, Members of Parliament representing the govt, Ministry secretaries and Central Bank and Treasury officials. He said such a workshop will be helpful to make them aware of the plans and also to obtain their views and suggestions. The President suggested this at the NEC meeting, more..

Gated communities in despair without proper laws

May 17 (ST) Gated communities are popping up all over Sri Lanka and while they certainly can boost security, a few issues have been cropping up. Unlike apartment owners, those in gated communities which are a rapidly growing phenomenon in Sri Lanka, don’t have laws or any authority that govern them. A gated community (or walled community) is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and more..

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Collective effort needed to develop school cricket: SLSCA Secretary

May 17 (DN) Ministry of Education, under the direction of Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, has come forward to boost school cricket in a big way with the support of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA). SLSCA Secretary Dilshan de Silva said the massive two-year development plan should help school cricket to regain its lost prestige. He stressed the need to make a collective effort to develop school cricket and produce quality players to feed the national team in future. more..

Sports Minister entertains match fixers

May 17 (Island) Newly appointed Sports Minister Faizer Musthapha yesterday met members of the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket. SLC in a media release said that the Ex-Co members handed the audited financial report of the board. Among the members, present during the meeting were some of the main culprits named in a report that looked into match-fixing in domestic cricket. Musthapha’s predecessor Dayasiri Jayasekara appointed eminent lawyer Kalinga Indatissa to look into more..

Eight-member team selected

May 17 (CT) Athletics Association (AASL) has finalized an 8 member team for the Asian qualification trials for the Youth Olympic Games to be held on 3 and 4 July in Bangkok, Thailand. Team includes four boys and four girls whose performance levels are equal to medal winning range of the last Asian Youth Athletics Championship. Sprinter Santhush Weerasinghe who was a semi-finalist at last year’s IAAF World Youth Championship, more..

SLT Group 1Q 2018 EBITDA up by 8.5%

May 17 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Group has reported a EBITDA or operating profit before depreciation and amortization of Rs. 6.1 bn during the 1st quarter 2018, with a year on year increase of 8.5%. The EBITDA margin of the Group increased from 30.1% last year to 30.8%. Controlling of cost escalations while sustaining revenue growth have resulted in better EBITDA levels. The group revenue for the quarter under review was reported at Rs. 19.8 billion with Year on Year growth of 5.9%, more..

New CEO at SLIC

May 17 (FT) Chandana Aluthgama has been appointed as CEO of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC). Aluthgama is a renowned professional in the corporate world with over 25 years of experience across diverse facets in the insurance business. During his illustrious career, he has held many senior roles in organisations such as Eagle insurance, HNB Assurance, etc. Further, he has held many leadership positions outside his insurance career in local/int'l associations. more..

Of Tea estates, Leopards and the prestigious green oscars

May 17 (Roar) Trudging up the rugged terrain of Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands to track pugmarks and affix cameras to trees may sound a rather strange way to spend the day to you and me, but to Anjali Watson it is all part of her job description. An ecologist and conservation champion, Watson’s life has always revolved around wildlife and the great outdoors. Along with her husband and fellow conservationist, more..

Unpacking South Asian regional security in the 21st Century: A view from Sri Lanka

May 17 (Island) South Asia, home to a fifth of humanity, is one of the least integrated regions in the world. The intra-regional trade in South Asia accounts for only 5% of its total trade, manifesting a low degree of economic bonding in the region. Two main states in South Asia were born into an environment marred by mutual antagonism and it continued to remain so as they got locked into a multiple-levels conflict as to the dispute over territory, balance of power, more..

Should the ban on Glyphosate continue unhindered?

May 17 (DN) As the former head of the Rubber Research Institute (RRI), having seen the production figures of both Tea, Rubber and Coconut in the Central Bank report, I was shocked to notice that the Rubber production in the country has dropped down to 69,000 Mt during 2016, compared to over 130,000 Mt produced before 2015, pushing Sri Lanka down to the 12th position among NR producing countries. Situation with regard to other plantation crops including paddy is also the same. more..

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