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UDA to sue CMC over Meethotamulla tragedy

May 16 (ST) Urban Development Authority (UDA) is to seek damages from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) over destruction caused to its land in Meethotamulla, used as a garbage dump. Minister Champika Ranawaka said that land belonging to the UDA, which the CMC had used as a garbage dump, was worth an estimated Rs 1,500 million. “They have been forcibly dumping garbage on UDA land, we intend to take legal action more..

Timely call to ban weapons that destroy mankind

May 16 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena on April 27 cracked open one of the most horrendous problems confronting mankind-the world’s endless wars. Inaugurating a conference on Islamic reality and contemporary challenges in Colombo he pulled out an issue often kept under the carpet not only by the world’s powerful leaders but also by a major part of the Western media. He said: “Peace talks must be held with weapons manufacturers rather than with the warring parties. more..

Unity Govt speaking in different voices

May 16 (DM) The SLFP faction in the govt has decided to appoint its own Cabinet spokesman, indicating the increasing differences it has with the UNP. The immediate cause for the decision seems to be the clash between co-Cabinet spokesman and Health Minister, Rajitha Senaratne and Labour Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne over a suggestion reportedly made by President Sirisena on countering trade union action.  In the wake of a series of protests by various groups and more..

Commission sittings turn tense; CB document leaked

May 16 (Island) When the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the alleged bond scams resumed its sittings yesterday, the atmosphere turned tense once again. The situation arose when the Counsel appearing for the key suspect and former Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran, Chanaka de Silva, submitted to the Commission a confidential document belonging to the Central Bank. more..

7,400 letters on missing persons: Govt opts to keep mum: Anandan

May 16 (CT) TNA MP Sivashakthi Anandan says that though 7,400 letters, related to those who had disappeared during the separatist war, had been submitted to President Maithripala Sirisena, there had been no response to the issue thus far. Anandan made these remarks at a protest, in Vavuniya, being conducted by the relatives of those who had disappeared from the North during the height of the war. He said: "The relatives of those who had disappeared during the war more..

NCPC in turmoil: Governor foils JO’s takeover bid

May 16 (Island) North Central Governor P.B. Dissanayake yesterday declined a request by a group of provincial Councillors loyal to former President Rajapaksa to replace Chief Minister of the North Central Province Peshala Jayaratne Bandara with S.M. Ranjith. Of the 22 member UPFA group, 17 have backed the rebel move. UPFA-run NCP comprises 33 members. The rebels made their move in the wake of Ranjith quitting his ministerial post in protest against President Sirisena more..

China’s Belt and Road Initiative beneficial for Indian Ocean’s socio-economic success: PM

May 16 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinge declared that China’s Belt and Road Initiative will provide the much needed hard and soft connectivity in the Indian Ocean required for rapid economic and social development and its success will depend on the maintenance of long-term stability in the region. PM made this observation in his speech at the second session of Leaders’ Roundtable of Belt & Road Forum more..

MR-Modi talks: Indian HC consulted me: Prez

May 16 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday lashed out at ‘those who had called upon the people to hoist black flags on Vesak Poya Day in protest against Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit but met the Indian leader at night.’ The President said that the Indian High Commissioner had asked him whether the organizers of the black flag campaign should be allowed to meet PM Modi. "I told the Indian envoy they should be allowed to do so," the president said. more..

'SAITM issue will be resolved soon'

May 16 (DN) The political authorities are now moving towards a solution that can be acceptable to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) with regard to the SAITM issue, SLMC President Prof. Carlo Fonseka said. He said the SLMC is not the only stakeholder in the SAITM case.” Now the political authorities are taking steps to fulfill the requirements pointed out by the SLMC in connection with SAITM. In July 2015, the SLMC sent a team to SAITM for an inspection and more..

Geetha buys time from split Supreme Court

May 16 (Island) A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court yesterday by a majority decision granted leave to appeal with the Application of Appeal filed by Geetha Kumarasinghe against the Court of Appeal judgement of Jan. 31, 2017. Supreme Court extended the interim relief granted earlier in favour of the appellant Kumarasinghe. The interim relief suspended the operation of the Court of Appeal Judgement dated Jan 31, which disqualified more..

Health Minister to attend WHO Summit

May 16 (Island) Health Minister, Dr Rajitha Senaratne will participate at the 70th WHO summit in Geneva Switzerland from Monday (22). It ends on May 31. Spokesman for the Health Ministry, Nipun Ekanayake yesterday said the Minister was scheduled to give a lecture and address the Commonwealth Health Ministers meeting during this period. Dr Senaratne would also present the Colombo Declaration, announced during last year’s Commonwealth Health Ministers’ summit. more..

Roundtable discussion on Blue Economy in New Delhi begins today

May 16 (DN) Centre for Indo-Lanka initiatives (CILI) of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) will conduct a two-day round table discussion on the Blue Economy with the Vivekananda International Foundation, in New Delhi on May 16 and 17. The focus of the discussion will be guided by the theme, Sustainable Exploitation of Marine Resources. The panellists will examine aspects of sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources like fish and other life forms in one session. more..

Mass resignations from Lanka Hospitals director board

May 16 (DM) A significant change appears to have taken place in the boardroom of the state-controlled Lanka Hospitals Corporation (LHCL). LHCL disclosed to CSE that all of its local independent non-executive directors, except for two, had resigned with effect from May 9. Public Enterprise Development Ministry Coordinating Secretary Thanuja Weeratne & Thiniyawala Palitha Thera, were the only 2 local directors to not to resign more..

Galle DS website under cyber attack

May 16 (DM) The official website of the Galle District Secretariat ( is reported to have been hacked by an alleged group identifying itself as the Pakistani Cyber Team Experts. The attackers had however entered the official website and posted a message hailing their success saying Pakistan Zindabad, Islam Zindabad, Muslims Zindabad ,Pakistan Army Zindabad, Pakistan ISI Zindabad and #Free Kashmir #Free Syria #Free Palestine. more..

GI pipes case against Basil fixed for July 26

May 16 (DN) A case filed against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Divi Neguma Department Director General Kithsiri Ranawaka for allegedly misappropriating Rs.36.5 million belonging to the Divi Neguma Department, was yesterday fixed for July 26 by the Colombo High Court. The Attorney General had filed indictments against the former Minister and the former Divi Neguma Department Director General in the Colombo High Court for allegedly misappropriating Rs.36.5 million more..

SL to ensure education freedom; China, Vietnam expanding private universities: Eran

May 16 (EN) Sri Lanka is committed to protecting the freedom of parents and children gain a higher education with their own efforts, at a time when China and Vietnam are expanding private education rapidly, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. He said not everyone had an opportunity to enter a tax payer funded university. "Others also have a freedom to get a higher education," he said. more..

Tracking down Makandure Madush: Police seek US assistance

May 16 (CT) The police have sought assistance of the international organization in the US, which combats drugs and drug related crimes, in an effort to apprehend noted underworld criminal Makandure Madush, sources said. Madush, who is believed to be operating from overseas, is alleged to have been behind several high-profile crimes committed in the South in the recent past. The latest of such attacks was the one directed at two Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officials including more..

America hails two years performance of current Govt: Ravi K

May 16 (FT) Sri Lanka has achieved economically to a stable level under the performance of the current administration of Good Governance during the last two years, American Congress Member Bill Johnson said. During a meeting with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday held at the Ministry of Finance, Johnson remarked that he sees ruling the country by two main political parties as a unique situation. Following a tour of the North, Congressman Johnson told Minister more..

NDB noose hangs over whistleblower CFO despite serious allegations

May 16 (FT) In a shocking development, NDB is on the verge of firing its Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for blowing the whistle late, though he did so within the stipulated timeframe. CFO Faizan Ozman in a memo sent to the NDB Board in January had alleged serious misconduct by a senior management personnel over a year ago. Revelation had come two months after the high senior management member concerned had left the bank. more..

India HC organizes Yoga Road Show in SL

May 16 (ST) The Indian Cultural Centre, High Commission of India, Colombo will be organizing The Yoga Road Show as a curtain raiser to 3rd International Day of Yoga from   May 20 - 25, 2017 island wide in Sri Lanka in association with Astanga Yoga Mandir and Institute of Human Excellence. Yoga Road Show is supported by Ministry of Internal Affairs Wayamba Development and Cultural Affairs, United Students Front, National Youth Services Council, Ayum Kriya Babaji Yoga Aranyam, more..

NDB denies FT report

May 16 (FT) With reference to Daily FT article titled NDB noose hangs over whistleblower CFO despite serious allegations the NDB has sent the following statement. “We wish to express our disappointment that a publication of the standing of the Daily FT published such an article which contains numerous factual errors and baseless assumptions without even requesting a clarification or comment from the Bank. While we reject the contents of the said article unequivocally, we would be grateful if more..

‘We need to be aggressive and positive’

May 16 (DN) Lasith Malinga, a key figure in captain Angelo Mathews’ plans towards winning the ICC Champions Trophy in England. Mathews stated that if his team was to go anywhere in next month’s ICC Champions Trophy in England they will have to start the tournament in an aggressive and positive manner. “With all eight teams capable of winning the title and equally strong there is no chance of a comeback in the tournament if more..

Former athletics chief Dervin passes away

May 16 (DN) Dervin Perera, former president of the Athletic Association of Sri Lanka and veteran coach passed away yesterday at a private hospital in Colombo aged 67. Perera, one of the most successful athletic coaches produced by Sri Lanka was elected uncontested as AASL president in 2005. Among his distinguished achievements as coach was guiding Susanthika Jayasinghe to win Sri Lanka’s first and only IAAF World Championship medal (a silver in women’s 200m) more..

HNB sustains superior performance in 1Q

May 16 (FT) HNB continued its growth momentum during the first quarter of 2017 with Group PAT growing by 16.4% yoy to surpass Rs 4 billion while Bank PAT grew by 18.1% yoy to be recorded at Rs 3.65 billion. Growth in advances coupled with the rise in interest rates enabled interest income growth in excess of 45% yoy to Rs 22.6 billion. While interest expenses were also higher on account of funds moving into higher yielding deposits, Bank’s substantial CASA base of Rs 228 billion more..

Monsoon on the way: Is Sri Lanka ready?

May 16 (Roar) While the whole country is no doubt happy to see the back of the torturous April heatwave, it is worth reminding ourselves that the southwest monsoon is just around the corner. Torrential rains wreaked havoc around this time last year, leading to massive floods and a landslide that left hundreds of families destitute. We’re halfway into May now; what are the chances of there being a repeat of the unmitigated more..

SLT Group reports Rs. 18.7 b revenue in 1Q

May 16 (FT) Sri Lanka Telecom yesterday announced that during the first quarter 2017 the Group reported a revenue of Rs. 18.7 billion, up 1.4% from a year earlier. It said tax changes made by the Government had an adverse impact on the Group’s revenue growth. The reduction in revenue growth had an impact on profitability as well.  The Group’s operating expenditure increased by 2.7% to Rs. 13.1 billion in line with business expansions and external factors. more..

COMBank makes strong start to 2017

May 16 (FT) Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has made a characteristically robust start to 2017, reporting solid income and profit growth for the three months ending 31 March 2017 and weathering a further reduction in margins and a substantial increase in taxation. The bank reported profit of Rs. 6.341 billion before VAT and NBT, reflecting growth of 17.93% over the first quarter of 2016, while VAT and NBT for the three months reviewed increased by 40.33% to Rs. 1.119 billion due to more..

The 231-billion rupee mega Growth Scam

May 16 (Island) Govt recently announced that the economic growth for 2016 was 4.4%. Considering the steadily deteriorating macro-fundamentals throughout 2015 and 2016, many were surprised about this officially reported growth figure, since such figure did not seem to be in sync with the country’s other connected macro-indicators. With the release of Central Bank Annual Report for 2016 (AR 16), supporting data and more..

Parliamentary privilege and judiciary

May 16 (Island) A Fundamental Rights Petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the legitimacy of the present Govt to have a Cabinet of Ministers in excess of 30 and for the number of Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers not to exceed 40 as per Article 46 (1) of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution. The grounds for filing the Petition were that the present formation of the Govt did not meet the criteria of a National Govt as set out in more..

Editorial: Of that WB boost for higher education

May 16 (Island) World Bank (WB) has decided to give a 100-million-dollar cash injection into the fund-starved higher education sector of this country in a bid to help ‘increase enrolment in priority disciplines, improve the quality of degree programmes and promote research and innovation’. Most Sri Lankans, like their counterparts in other parts of the developing world, tend to view WB assistance with suspicion. Financial assistance from the Bretton Woods twins never come without more..

Shamindra Ferdinando

Subtext of Modi visit: National security is foremost

May 16 (CT) There was some uncertainty whether Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka to join the country in its celebration of the International Day of Vesak would turn embarrassing to the host government. Prior to his visit nationalist politicians and nationalist civil society leaders from the ethnic majority community called for black flag protests. This was against what they called Indian intervention. Two controversial matters currently being negotiated between the two countries more..

Tourist earnings significant to balance of payments

May 16 (ST) Earnings from tourism have become very significant to the balance of payments. Last year, tourist earnings of US$3.7 billion offset 41% of the trade deficit of US$9.1 billion. They were one third the value of total merchandise export earnings and exceeded export earnings from total agricultural exports and all industrial export items except garments. While earnings from tourism could become an even more significant support to the balance of payments, industry could face more..

The SriLankan nosedives

May 16 (NS) Deputy Minister of Transport & Civil Aviation and Member of COPE, Ashok Abeysinghe spoke to the Nation regarding the latest situation with regard to the state of affairs concerning the SriLankan Airlines (SLA). Q: Last year, there was a loss of approximately Rs 6.49 billion which constitutes a Rs 2.9 billion increase from 2015. In the last quarter of 2016, runway resurfacing project at BIA, had an impact on the revenue. more..

Nation on crest of rising crime wave

May 16 (NS) Sri Lanka is riding the crest of an unprecedented crime wave that is threatening to sweep the nation precipitously into the rocky reefs of anarchy. And while we flounder helplessly in the maelstrom of lawlessness and disorder, some of our politicians and policemen appear to have succeeded in turning the criminal justice system on its head. For several years the country’s capital and its suburbs have begun to resemble the 1930s Chicago era of Al Capone with rival underworld gangs more..

Kuveni’s curse still potent

May 16 (SO) The legend chronicled in the Mahavamsa says that Prince Vijaya landed in Lanka on the Vesak day that the Buddha died – generally accepted as the full moon day of the year 503 BC. Vijaya was treated extremely well by Kuveni who reigned in the area he landed – Thambapanni, near the present day Chilaw. She saw to it that his 700 accompanying men were given food, shelter and clothing. She is said to have presented herself as a very beautiful young girl, the craft of witches more..