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Iran proposes air link with Colombo to attract tourists from there

Feb 16 (Island) Daily direct flights between SL and Iran are necessary for promoting tourism to ensure that Sri Lanka receives a significant number of Iranian tourists, Dr. Abdolreza Farajirad, Director General of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, who is in Sri Lanka on the invitation of Pathfinder Foundation said. "Each year around nine million Iranian tourists visit other countries. Right now they mostly go to Turkey and the EU thought Sri Lanka is only five hours away a more..

The Mall at One Galle Face aims to transforms SL’s retail landscape

Feb 16 (FT) The Mall at One Galle Face recently celebrated a project milestone of partnering with their Anchor Tenants with a signing ceremony that introduced the city’s premier luxury lifestyle destination. The signing ceremony was graced by the four Anchor Tenants of The Mall – Odel Plc, Keells Super, Food Studio and PVR Cinemas, along with representatives of Shangri-La Hotels Lanka Ltd., business partners, media more..

I will remain a UNPer: Harsha

Feb 16 (NR) Rejecting media reports of a possible defection, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva announced that he will remain a member of the ruling UNP. Following an announcement by a faction representing the UPFA pertaining to the appointment of a new govt, media reports were circulated of possible crossovers from the UNP to the UPFA. However taking to his official twitter account, Dy Minister noted that he was only calling for reforms within the UNP and stressed more..

Warrant re-issued on Jaliya Wickramasuriya

Feb 16 (DM) Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne today re-issued the open warrant against former SL Ambassador to the USA, Jaliya Wickramasuriya in the case of alleged misappropriation of USD 132,000 of State funds in the process of purchasing a building for the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington DC, USA. The former Ambassador is currently not appearing for the hearings of the Magisterial Inquiry claiming he was not in the country. more..

'Cabinet illegal, President has power to appoint PM'

Feb 16 (DM) In another conundrum to the present gridlock in governance, former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva argued that the entire Cabinet including the Prime Minister stood illegal at the moment as the two year period stipulated for the national unity govt had ceased. The former Chief Justice said that the Cabinet should be restricted to 30 and the number of deputy and state ministers to 40 in terms of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

Nimal Siripala for Premier; signatures of MPs obtained

Feb 16 (DM) A move to obtain sufficient signatures to prove that Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva commands the majority support in Parliament and eligible to be appointed as the PM, has been commenced yesterday noon. UPFA proposed the setting up of a minority govt with the support of the JO, with Minister de Silva being tipped as the PM, a senior party member stated. There is a possibility that a letter confirming the majority support for Nimal Siripala de Silva to take over more..

Sujeewa meets President this morning for possible crossover?

Feb 16 (AM) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe has held discussions with President Sirisena today, for a possible crossover, informed sources said. Senasinghe, who was at the centre of the Treasury Bonds fiasco, has expressed his willingness to form a new govt. Many political observer dubbed Senasinghe as a politician who was directly responsible for the UNP's setback at the LG election. It is learnt that the possibility of getting the support of UNP MPs to appoint Karu more..

Team sent to bring Udayanga return empty-handed

Feb 16 (DM) The special seven-member team which was sent to Dubai to bring back former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga had returned home empty-handed on Tuesday (13), a senior official of the FCID said. He said the special team comprising officers from the FCID, CID, Foreign Ministry (FM), Attorney Generals’ Department and Dept of Immigration & Emigration was sent to Dubai more..

JVP undecided whether to support: If resolution brought in to dissolve parliament

Feb 16 (DM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said let anyone bring in a resolution to dissolve parliament, then they would decide what to do. In response to a question what stance the JVP would take if a resolution was brought in to dissolve Parliament, he said “Let them bring it in first. We do not need to get excited on this. We are sure they will not bring in such a resolution,” he said. He said that according to the 19th Amendment, President had no power to dissolve parliament more..

Details of 20 shipwrecks around Colombo uncovered

Feb 16 (Island) Galle Maritime Archeology Unit has uncovered details about 20 shipwrecks in the seas around Colombo, Ministry of Education said issuing a press release. Some of these wrecks are over 100 years and the seas off the coast from Colombo towards Galle are also an important ecologically. "There are a number of reefs and strong currents in this area and a Royal mail ship named RMS Rangoon, which sank off the coast of Galle, in 1871 is buried 30 metres from the surface," more..

Intense maneuvering as UNP and SLFP fight for political relevance

Feb 16 (CT) Colombo Telegraph learns that a UNP delegation which included party leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, Chairman Malik Samarawickrema and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had met for several hours this evening with President Maithripala Sirisena regarding formalizing a cabinet reshuffle. Unless the two parties agree to remain in a coalition and therefore retain the notion of more..

Insurance Industry records 15.5% growth in 3Q of 2017

Feb 16 (LBO) SL’s insurance industry was able to report a growth of 15.53% (3Q, 2016: 16.97%) in terms of overall Gross Written Premium (GWP), at the end of third quarter of 2017, recording an increase of 15,862 million rupees when compared to the same period in 2016. The GWP for Long Term Insurance and General Insurance Businesses for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2017 was 118,016 million rupees compared with the same period in 2016 amounting to 102,155 million rupees. more..

Snags in LG women’s representation have to tackled

Feb 16 (CT) Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya is not happy about the way seats have to be allocated to women councillors after the recent Local Govt elections. According to our report of yesterday, in terms of Section 27F of the Act, 25% of the total number of members in each Local Govt body should be females. The law says, "Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Ordinance, not less than 25 per centum of the total number of members in each local authority more..

Azath Salley

Sri Lanka at 70: Looking back and forward

Feb 16 (FT) Like many Sri Lankans across the country, I joined SL’s 70th Independence Day festivities last week. This was undoubtedly a joyful moment and proof of the country’s dynamism and stability. At 70, SL has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation. Country’s social indicators, a measure of the wellbeing of individuals and communities, rank among the highest in South Asia and compare favourably with those in middle-income countries. more..

'Unity must have a proper meaning'

Feb 16 (CT) There should be a proper meaning for unity. If there is no proper meaning for unity that will not be unity. Such a unity is unnecessary, Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said. He was commenting on the request made by various sects that political parties in the same nationalist ideology should unite in the post LG polls. "TNA identify themselves as a Tamil nationalistic party in connection to this issue, this is very strange. more..

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..

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