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Bankrupting SL: Sri Lanka likely to overshoot budget deficit continuously till 2020

Nov 16 (DM) Sri Lanka’s economy is heading towards a tumultuous ride in the next 3 years as widespread policy uncertainty & macroeconomic imbalances will slowdown the economy, push up prices and scare away the investors.    According to an independent analysis by senior economist Prof. S.S. Colombage, Sri Lanka will overshoot the budget deficit consecutively during the 3 years to 2020, as fiscal slippage is inevitable, more..

Hathurusingha not expecting a big salary at Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (DS) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara suggests that Chandika Hathurusingha is not expecting a big salary when he takes up the Sri Lanka job. The sports minister openly admitted that he would like to see Hathurusingha become head coach and said: "I (would) certainly welcome Hathurusingha to prepare our team for the next World Cup." Chandika Hathurusingha will visit Bangladesh within a short time and more..

Sea combat training for Malaysian security personnel in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (NST) Malaysian security and enforcement personnel will undergo sea combat training in Sri Lanka to strengthen and upgrade their skills in maritime security control. Training would be conducted next year with SL’s security forces. Dubbed Sea Combat Course, the training is aimed at equipping the Esscom team with added skills. “The expertise of Sri Lankans in safeguarding their waters are recognised worldwide” more..

GMOA says funds allocated to set up three medical faculties inadequate

Nov 16 (Island) The GMOA said that the budgetary allocations to set up medical faculties affiliated to the Sabaragamuwa, Wayamba and Moratuwa Universities was inadequate. GMOA Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge in a letter addressed to Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera said the Rs. 1250 million allocation could hardly be stretched to establish Medical faculties for three major universities in the country. more..

Temperance Association strongly objects to beer price reduction

Nov 16 (Island) The Temperance Association has strongly objected to the Finance Minister’s decision to reduce the price of beer, through the new budget. Deputy President of the TA, Dr. Anula Wijesundere, in a statement, says; This decision, if implemented will most certainly increase the beer consumption especially among the youth of our nation. This decision of Minister of Finance expressed in the budget speech, more..

Cabinet spokesman provoked by query on govt response to Naseby move

Nov 16 (Island) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that a statement made by Lord Naseby in House of Lords would be used by the govt appropriately at the right time, though the cabinet was yet to discuss it. Jayasekera said that they wouldn’t take up issues pursued by The Island the way the newspaper wanted. It had not been taken up by the Cabinet on the basis it wasn’t considered so grave a matter, minister said. more..

GSP+ boosts SL apparel exports to EU by $1.67 bn

Nov 16 (DN) GSP Plus has delivered its most prominent success for Sri Lankan exports to-date since its announcement, said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen addressing the launch event of the third edition of Intex South Asia 2017 in Colombo yesterday. “As a result of regaining GSP Plus, our apparel exports from January to September this year has increased by 11.3% to US $ 1.67 billion,” more..

Fuel crisis: report places blame on CPC officials

Nov 16 (FT) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) officials of the were at fault for the recent fuel crisis faced by the country, the report of the Cabinet Subcommittee appointed by the President to investigate the issue, has found.  The subcommittee inquiry had identified that the officials of the CPC had known of the imminent crisis but had failed to take the necessary actions or alert the relevant authorities.  more..

New conditions and extended deadline for 50,000 brick- and -mortar houses in N&E

Nov 16 (ST) The Govt has extended the deadline to submit proposals for the construction of 50,000 brick-and-mortar houses for conflict-affected families in the North and East, and changed some of the specifications to make the units cheaper and easier to build. The new conditions go some distance in quelling concerns that the estimated price of a brick-and-mortar house would be so high as to validate efforts in other quarters to more..

'UNP has a healthy working relationship with President'

Nov 16 (DM) Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake, spoke about the progress of the investigation into various cases and the plans for reforming the police and current politics. Minister Ratnayake, who is also the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, said that the Govt would serve till 2020 without an iota of doubt. Q: How do you view the performances of this Govt in terms of the implementation of the law and order? more..

Wijeweera and the nation’s lost Brigade: An Ode in November

Nov 16 (DM) The month of November is a gloomy and sombre one in the calendar. It is the start of winter in certain parts of the world with bleak sceneries, dreary days and cold nights. It starts with Halloween, where all the ghastly and macabre images surface giving the heart a tremulous premonition of what awaits the after life. Christians all over the world remember their dead during this month in a sombre mood with black, white and grey dominating their rituals. more..

Despite divisions, the two main parties can work together

Nov 16 (DM) Despite regular disputes on policy issues and personal agendas, National Unity Govt’s coalition partners -- UNP and SLFP -- have little or no option but to stay together. This is not only for their personal survival but more so for the common good of all people of Sri Lanka, specially the future generation.   According to our sister paper The Sunday Times, the UNP’s main concern is over some developments in the Presidential Commission probing the Central Bank bond issue.  more..

Resettlement funds Allocation to Bathiudeen comes under fire

Nov 16 (CT) Govt's decision to allocate funds for resettlement to Ministry of Industry & Commerce under the Budget 2018 came under severe criticism, by the Opposition. This was when JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa queried as to why the Ministry of Industry & Commerce should implement resettlement, while there is a separate Ministry for the purpose. Govt proposes to allocate Rs 2,500 mil to resettle internally displaced Muslims more..

Sri Lanka removes Tamil leader's name from govt institutions, India to take matter up

Nov 16 (PTI) India will take up with Sri Lanka the issue of reported removal of the name of a revered leader of Indian Tamils in the island country from govt institutions, Minister Sushma Swaraj assured DMK working president MK Stalin today. The assurance came after the DMK leader flagged the issue with Swaraj. "Requested the MEA @SushmaSwaraj to raise Indias concerns over the removal of Thiru. Savumiamoorthy Thondamans name from SL govt institutions with their govt. more..

Partners in Crime: WP CM claims bond scams took place under previous regime, too

Nov 16 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya alleged that bond scams happened even during the previous govt at former President Rajapaksa. Claiming that the present govt was not the sole culprits of bond scams, Devapriya said, "Bond scams happened under the previous government as well." CM Devapriya stressed that it was President Maithripala Sirisena who had exposed the bond scam and appointed a commission to probe the alleged scams. more..

Corrupt probing the Corrupt: Sri Lanka will always govern by corrupt politicians

Nov 16 (CT) A comprehensive report submitted to the Working Committee of the UNP, on the progress made by law enforcement authorities in handling fraud and corruption cases, has concluded that shortcomings on the part of the AG's Department have resulted in creating a public outcry against the Govt's inaction in fighting corruption. The report submitted by Minister Sagala Ratnayaka has pointed out that even though 370 cases more..

India vs Sri Lanka: Organisers struggling to sell tickets for 1st Test

Nov 16 (IANS) There has been a slow demand for tickets ahead of India's first Test against Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens starting here Thursday. The threat of rain for the first two days coupled with Sri Lanka being a relatively weaker opposition whom India recently blanked 9-0 across all formats in their own den meant spectators did not show much interest in the five-day affair. Despite the presence of star captain Virat Kohli and the fact that India are playing a Test after a gap of three months, more..

Upsurge in sword attacks: Jaffna Police looks for links

Nov 16 (DN) Four individuals were hospitalised in Jaffna following a resurgence in two separate sword attack incidents which Police say were motivated on personal grounds. DIG K.P. Fernando of the Jaffna Range said that while most of the attackers used swords as their choice of weapon, the Police were still investigating any probable links. “So far, we’ve found that the motive in most of the cases were personal issues among the assailants and the victims,” he said. more..

Promoting HR cannot be done overnight: SL

Nov 16 (DM) Promoting and protecting human rights is a work in progress and it is not something that can be done overnight despite the most sincere of commitments, Sri Lanka told the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session of the country in Geneva yesterday. In the opening statement, Head of SL delegation, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said the UPR, to us, is a process that recognizes this fact. more..

Withdraw new tax policy on alcohol: GMOA

Nov 16 (DM) The GMOA urged the govt to withdraw the 2018 budget proposal on new tax policy and issue of licence on alcohol with immediate effect. Addressing a press conference, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that the procedure to introduce a new tax system and issue of licence on alcohol would create more tendencies among liquor users to consume more alcohol; consequently it would increase the liquor consumption which is now 20% of the total population. more..

SC to consider fuller bench for petitions against PC Elections’ postponement

Nov 16 (FT) Supreme Court ruled that it would consider fixing a fuller bench in respect of the five petitions complaining of the purported postponement of the Provincial Council elections on 27 Nov. The bench comprised Justices B.P.Aluvihara, Priyantha Jayawardane and Anil Gooneratne. Five petitioners including Prof. G. L.Peiris and MP Dulles Alahapperuma, who challenged the postponement of PC elections, have urged the SC to hear their petitions before a fuller bench. more..

Corruption always win in Sri Lanka: MS wants to patch up with JO: Isura

Nov 16 (DM) President Sirisena wants to go forward as a party with the joint opposition (JO), Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said. CM said former President Rajapaksa and senior members of the JO still wanted to be a part of the SLFP although several new party members were opposed to it. “Several senior members of the JO including Mahinda Rajapaksa do not want to split the party. more..

Sri Lanka seeks Saudi partners for its food and beverage produce

Nov 16 (SG) Department of Commerce of SL and the SL Tea Board, with the Embassy of SL in Riyadh, joined hands with the private sector companies in Sri Lanka to promote the country’s food and beverage products at the Foodex Saudi 2017 that kicked off on Nov. 12. The event will wind up today (15). Six Sri Lankan companies in the food and beverage sector are participating in the exhibition. SL’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mr. Thassim and Consul General in Jeddah more..

Rs 50M allocation for street festivals, exhibitions

Nov 16 (CT) With the tourist arrivals target for the next three years moving gradually beyond reach, Govt plans to invest nearly Rs 50 million to carry out three international street festivals and exhibitions, along with the much-anticipated US$ 21 million tourism promotional campaign scheduled to start early next year. Minister of Mangala Samaraweera said the Govt would hold street festivals and exhibitions in Los Angeles, London and Mumbai during the coming year to coincide with more..

Ravi blames all woes on Central Bank

Nov 16 (Island) The Central Bank was blocking the country’s progress, former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament. He said those at the Central Bank were under the impression that they lived in a different world. "The Central Bank is expected to act independently. It has to act in accordance with the govt’s vision. President and PM were elected They expect Central Bank to follow the new govt’s programme. more..

Parliament not a place for jokers: Marikkar

Nov 15 (LR) The 14th CPA Canadian Parliamentary Seminar was an opportunity to share good practice with members on key issues—such as the importance of the CPA Codes of Conduct as a tool to help address the trust deficit in Parliaments, the importance of gender equality in parliament, and the essential role that an effective Committee can play. “We need to consider what we discuss in parliament and how we behave,” Marikkar said. “There needs to be a code of ethics that is strictly enforced.” more..

Laugfs Gas returns to profit in Sept quarter

Nov 16 (EN) Laugfs Gas group returned to profit in the Sept 2017 quarter with net earnings of Rs40 million, down 85% from a year ago, after three successive quarters of losses. Earnings per share of the liquefied petroleum gas distributor fell to 10 cents from 70 cents. The share was last traded at Rs23. CEO W.K.H. Wegapitiya attributed the lower profit to price controls, rupee depreciation and rising interest costs and said the company continued to lobby for a pricing formula. more..

Govt fast-tracks H’tota Port payments

Nov 16 (FT) Seeking to fast-track payment from the $ 1.12 billion handover of the Hambantota Port, Cabinet has approved amending the Concession Agreement (CA) to revise the payment schedule between the Govt and the Chinese investor and bring it forward, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said yesterday. Cabinet paper was presented by Ports Minister   and approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday afternoon. more..

Softlogic suffers loss in 2Q

Nov 16 (FT) Diversified Softlogic Holdings Plc has suffered a net loss in the second quarter whilst first half net profit had dipped by 99% though the group’s results from operating activities have seen strong positive growth. Group Revenue grew 6.4% to Rs. 31.1 billion during the first half of the financial year with the quarter also registering a similar growth of 6.5% to Rs. 15.9 billion. Group top-line for the six months was led by Retail (30.8%), ICT (26.4%), Healthcare Services (19.1%), more..

HNB Group ups 9-month pre-tax profit by 4%

Nov 16 (FT) Hatton National Bank (HNB) continued its growth momentum to post a Group Profit before VAT and NBT of Rs. 20.7 billion while PBT to Rs. 16.8 billion (up by 4%) and PAT to Rs. 11.8 billion (up 5%) for the first nine months of the year while group assets crossed Rs. 1 trillion. PBT at the bank level surpassed Rs. 15 billion and PAT was recorded at Rs. 10.9 billion. Interest income of the bank grew by 33.5% year-on-year (yoy), supported by a 14.9% yoy growth in advances.  more..

Shangrila-La secures additional 3 ½ acres on 99-year lease

Nov 16 (Island) Hong Kong-based Shangrila-La Group has secured three and a half acres adjoining its latest hotel situated on 10 acres abutting the Galle Face promenade in Colombo. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday said the govt had re-negotiated with the Shangrila-La Group what he called a much better deal than the one struck by the previous administration. Jayasekera confirmed that the lease was for a period of 99 years. more..

Some bankrupt politicians slinging mud at me: Susil

Nov 16 (DM) Minister Susil Premajayantha charged that some bankrupt politicians have engaged in slinging mud at him after he spoke during the debate on the Constitution on Nov 1, 2017. Minister who was speaking at the second reading debate on the budget, said the allegation made by an MP that he was involved in bringing down inferior quality fuel was false. "The stock was brought down to the country when I was abroad. This was brought down by Secretary ministry of petroleum resources more..

Now, psychiatrist asks Mangala not to reduce beer prices

Nov 16 (Island) Senior Lecturer of Sri J'pura, Dr Jayamal de Silva accused Minister Mangala Samaraweera, of using unreliable and unpublished statistics to justify a budgetary proposal to lower the price of beer and amend tax structures on alcohol. Dr. De Silva alleged that the scientifically unproven statistics were being quoted by the Minister in support of amending state policy on alcohol. No person consuming kasippu would start drinking beer due to the proposed price reduction, more..

'Important to play five bowlers against good Test sides'

Nov 16 (CI) When India went to SL in July-August and beat them 3-0, they won by some staggering margins: 304 runs, an innings and 53 runs, an innings and 171 runs. Just over a month later, SL beat Pakistan 2-0. What changed in between? What did SL learn about themselves from those three massive defeats to India that allowed them to go to the sapping heat of the UAE and beat a team that had never lost a series there? more..

The Garrison Town

Nov 16 (Island) When smart and attentive Shammi Isanka sat opposite me in her army uniform and answered the many questions posed by me, I didn't realise she was a young medical doctor, and she held the rank of Captain. She is from Dickwella. Having studied at Southland College, Galle, she decided to join the army due to her parents’ influence. She is a direct enlisted officer who went to medical faculty and thereafter worked at the army Hospital at Narahenpita. more..

Oil, corruption and knighthood

Nov 16 (Island) Last night I slept well and had a dream. I found myself before King Maithripala. I was on bended knees and he knighted me by placing his sword on my shoulders. "Rise, Sir Hemantha, you will be in charge of the oil industry." I was driven to Colombo suburb in a large limousine. As I reached there, workers and other officials, known to be sycophants and bootlickers of the hierarchy, came running and garlanded me. Then I was taken to a posh air conditioned office, more..