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PM testifies before bond probe commission

Nov 21 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the govt hadn’t taken any policy decision to instruct the state-owned banks to make bids at the treasury bond auctions at lower interest (yield) rates. PM said so answering a question posed by Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, who led the Attorney General’s Department team assisting the PCoI probing treasury bond scams involving Central Bank more..

Commission thanks Ranil

Nov 21 (DN) PCoI thanked PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for appearing before it to provide some clarifications with regard to the answers furnished in reply to questions framed by the Commission and the officers of AG’s Department. Commission in a statement also thanked the PM for the detailed answers provided to all these questions and further questions. Commission said the PM readily agreed to appear before the Commission on a request made by Commission. more..

GMOA to take legal action against SLMC

Nov 21 (DN) GMOA will take legal action if the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) holds its election against the relevant rules and regulations without gazetting, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said. He said that strangely, Health minister’s public relations officer has also handed over his nominations for the election, while his term as a SLMC member ends today. Nominations close on 23rd. Dr. Aluthge said GMOA had already sent letters expressing their objection to all more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 1

Nov 21 (Island) I, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the PM and Minister of National Policies & Economic Affairs of Temple Trees, Colombo 3 being a Buddhist do hereby solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm as follows, 1. I am the affirmant above named. 2. The PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE, INQUIRE AND REPORT THE ISSUANCE OF TREASURY BONDS more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 2

Nov 21 (Island) If any further clarification is required from a legal perspective, the Attorney General would assist the Commission. [12] Question number 12 is as follows- "The evidence before this Commission of Inquiry suggests that, Ministry of Finance had identified that a substantial sum of money was required to fund payments which were then due to Contractors on account of road works and other projects and that these fund requirements may not have been previously accounted for more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 3

Nov 21 (Island) "In 2015 and 2016, were the Minutes of Meetings of the Monetary Board, Board Papers and Reports considered by the Monetary Board and other Reports of the CBSL, submitted to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs (which is the Ministry under which the CBSL is placed), on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly or annual basis? If so, what was the information that was provided and how often was such information provided?" My reply is as follows- more..

No phones were tapped: PCoI clarifies

Nov 21 (DM) Responding to insinuations by several persons, the Bond Commission issuing a special statement said no phones of MPs were tapped as alleged, and instead all the data revealed were from extracting data from the phones of Arjuna Mahendran and Arjun Aloysius. The statement stated that the extraction of the data was done on the orders of the Commission. The statement said that more..

PM’s responses to AG Dept. queries: Part 4

Nov 21 (Island) (b) Shouldn’t that due procedure have included approval of Monetary Board and a considered analysis backed by data and discussion with all relevant stakeholders? (c) As you were aware of the conflict of interest that Mr. Arjuna Mahendran had, did you not consider it prudent to verify and satisfy yourself that the due procedure has been followed? (d) In light of the procedure that was adopted by present Monetary Board in moving to a new system of issuing treasury bonds, more..

Great escape after Dickwella antics

Nov 21 (Island) The first Test between Sri Lanka and India came to a thrilling conclusion here at Eden Gardens yesterday as the hosts nearly pulled off a game that the Sri Lankans had dominated for most part. Set an imposing target of 231 in 47 overs, some excellent fast bowling by Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar denied Sri Lanka any chance as the openers were dismissed with the total on two. Both Dimuth Karunaratne and Sadeera Samarawickrama dragged on. more..

Dappula and Sumanthiran battle at PCoI

Nov 21 (Island) Senior Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera strongly objected to President’s Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran, MP, representing S. Pathumanapan, a Central Bank employee recently interdicted over his alleged involvement in the treasury bond scam, at the PCoI into controversial transactions in Feb. 2015 and March 2016. SASG de Livera, seated next to AG Jayantha Jayasuriya, raised more..

Many health projects implemented in North with the contribution of SL Army

Nov 21 (PSL) Many development programmes are being implemented successfully under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena and with the contribution of Tri-Forces to uplift the living standard of the people in the North, who were affected by the three decade long brutal war. At present, a large number of projects which were implemented jointly with the Ministry of Health to improve the health facilities for the people in the North have been successfully completed and more..

Parents of medicos say SAITM issue not solved 100%

Nov 21 (Island) Parents of the medical students of state universities and the SAITM said, at Getambe Rajopawanaramaya over the weekend, that the private medical college had not been solved 100%. A delegation of the combined union of the parents of medical students told the Chief Incumbent of Getambe Rajopawanaramaya on Saturday they expected the govt to honour its pledges. The parents told the prelate Ven. Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala that they were awaiting the arrangements for more..

Looters as Rulers: Ranil resolute before Bond Commission

Nov 21 (FT) The proceedings of the PCoI on the controversial bond issuance formally concluded yesterday with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe appearing before the Commission amidst an unusually large crowd of lawyers, journalists and a sizable gathering of senior PMs representing the ruling UNP. Making history as the country’s first sitting PM to appear before a PCoI, Wickremesinghe provided clarifications on more..

JVP tells govt to take up bond scam case first before new HC and prove its bona fides

Nov 21 (Island) The JVP called on the govt to take up the bond scam case first before special High Courts to be set up to hear corruption cases. Party MP Vijitha Herath, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget, demanded that the govt take up the Treasury Bond case as the first in the newly established special court to fast-track the hearing of large scale corruption cases. Commending the move to set up three special Trials-at-bar to hear fraud & corruption cases, more..

Sri Lanka to test fuel before shipment, build more storage tanks

Nov 21 (EN) Sri Lanka will test fuel before it is imported and build more storage tanks to expand capacity and prevent shortages triggered by unexpected supply disruptions and hikes in demand. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga also warned that the govt would take over retail outlets that created an artificial shortage by refusing to sell fuel despite having stocks. “We are proceeding with new proposals regarding to importing and distributing fuel in the country,” he said. more..

United in Corruption; Divided in Politics: PM speaks of secret debts of former regime

Nov 21 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the bond commission Monday that the former regime had kept big-ticket govt expenditure out of the budget to project a robust balance sheet to the IMF. Defending his decision to scrap the system of private placements and go for public auctions of bonds, he said it was difficult to assess the actual cash needs soon after coming to power in 2015. He said even a week ago, more..

iflix Sri Lanka opens new office in Colombo

Nov 21 (DM) iflix, the world’s leading entertainment service for emerging markets, opened the doors to its new office in Colombo last week, giving further impetus to its rapid expansion into the hands and hearts of Sri Lankans island-wide. The establishment of its exceptional new local headquarters is a testimony to the long-term prospects and value that iflix sees in the SL market. iflix commenced operations in Sri Lanka in 2016, providing local subscribers access to more..

O/L exam to commence on 12 Dec

Nov 21 (CT) The GCE O/L Examination will commence on 12 Dec and conclude on 21 Dec, the Department of Examinations said. The candidates will first sit for the religion paper on 12 Dec and then face the language paper on 13 Dec. The history paper will be on 14 Dec. The science paper will be on 16 December followed by the mathematics paper on 18 Dec. On 19 Dec the students will be tested on aesthetic subjects, followed by the English Language paper on 21 Dec. more..

PCoI requested AG to question PM

Nov 21 (DM) The PCoI Chairman Justice K.T Chithrasiri reading out a statement prior to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's evidence said the Attorney General was requested to be present at the Commission to lead the team of officials of the AG's Department. “We wish to thank the Hon. AG for, at our request, appearing before us today and leading his team of officers. This Commission of Inquiry made that request to the Hon. AG more..

SLT profits dip; cites heavy investments

Nov 21 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom released the financial statements of the Company and Group for the 9 months ending 30th Sept 2017. The group comprises of nine subsidiaries including mobile arm Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd as well as E-Channeling (Pvt) Ltd which is a subsidiary of Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. During the nine month period ending 30th Sept, the Group reported a revenue of Rs. 56.4bn with year on year growth of 1.3%. The marginal increase of mobile related revenues mainly due to tax increases more..

‘More SL goods entering Indian market’

Nov 21 (DN) Sri Lanka-India FTA structure is changing fast and there is a trend that more Sri Lankan products are entering the Indian market, said former Secretary, Minister of Finance, India, Dr. S Narayan. Speaking at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute on the subject of India-SL economic relations in Modi’s India, he said that the trade balance is now shifting towards SL’s favour, from 9 to 1 three years ago to 6 to 1, recently. The total bilateral trade volume was US$4.7 billion. more..

SL's rating outlook upgraded to Stable

Nov 21 (EN) Standard and Poor's, has lifted the outlook on Sri Lanka's B+ rating to negative from stable as the country raised taxes to pay for salary and subsidy hikes in 2015, leaving behind a balance of payments crisis. "The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the govt will maintain the reform momentum over the next 12 months and smooth the upcoming surge in debt redemptions, particularly in 2019," the rating agency said. more..

Reflections on the petrol crisis

Nov 21 (Island) People are becoming furiouser and furiouser wrote a columnist with reference amongst other reasons to the uproar over the petrol shortage which lasted around five days or little more last week. Was it the actual shortage that produced the uproar/crisis or the selfishness of our people? My reading is that too often Sri Lankans tend to overreact to unexpected situations. In this instance also people over reacted and wanted to get what they could of what was available without more..

Green pitches likely in Nagpur and Delhi too

Nov 21 (CI) India are likely to play the final two Tests of the Sri Lanka series on pitches helpful for fast bowlers as preparation for the forthcoming South Africa tour, which starts on January 5 in Cape Town. Second Test of the Sri Lanka series will be played from Nov 24 in Nagpur, and the final Test in Delhi from Dec 2. During the Australia ODI series in September, the Indian team management, led by coach Ravi Shastri, spoke to concerned officials in the BCCI and stated that more..

JVP press conference on LG election

Cabinet paper to seek policy directions for CEB and PUCSL

Nov 21 (FT) Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, B.M.S. Batagoda, is to submit a Cabinet proposal seeking a Cabinet decision on policy directions to resolve the conflict between CEB and Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL).  Batagoda said that both the CEB and PUSCL have been clashing, especially with regards to the implementation of long term-power generation plans. “We want a Cabinet decision on what are the policies that must be followed by the CEB. more..

Editorial: Caesar’s wife, brave volunteers et al

Nov 21 (Island) There are many Sri Lankans who evince a fetishistic interest in George Orwell’s immortal works. They may wonder whether the literary genius had a premonitory vision of the future of a tiny, teardrop-shaped island in the Indian Ocean, when he authored the dystopian, allegorical novella, The Animal Farm, in the early 1940s though it is popularly thought to be about the Stalinist Russia. For, post-2015 situation in that resplendent isle, where every prospect pleases more..

Face the Nation

Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka

Nov 21 (DN) This piece is written at a time of debate on the new Constitution, Universal Periodic Review of the Sri Lanka at the UN in Geneva and a sense of fatigue on efforts to promote peace. Segments of the Reconciliation Policy approved by Cabinet earlier this year and extracts of elements of Monitoring and Evaluating efforts presented by Secretary to the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation are featured. Proactively espouse the values of equality, inclusion and more..

The National Flag: A Muddled Tamil voice

Nov 21 (CT) Northern Province Education Minister Arumugam Kandiah Sarveswaran's refusal to hoist the national flag at a school function in Vavuniya, in which he was the chief guest, sent shock waves not only to South, but also among the moderate Tamil community throughout the country. It was reported that Sarveswaran, brother of EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran, refused to raise the Sri Lankan flag and the principal of the school had to make other arrangements to honour the national flag. more..

'Electric & Hybrid cars must be priced reasonably'

Nov 21 (CT) For a significant number of Sri Lankans the most important budget proposals are those governing the prices of motor vehicles. Ceylon Today met with Ranjan Peiris, the President of the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) to discuss how the Budget will affect the vehicle market. Q: First of all tell us your opinion on the impact of the Budget on motor vehicles? A: There were many positives in the Budget. more..

Budget concerns

Nov 21 (ST) The financial objectives of the 2018 budget are to reduce the fiscal deficit, increase revenue and move towards a more progressive system of taxation. It also attempts to reduce the massive debt servicing burden. Trade liberalisation to expand exports and strengthen the current account of the balance of payments is also an important thrust of the fiscal proposals. All these objectives are vitally important for economic stability. The broader and longer term economic and more..

This mad, mad world of palanaya

Nov 21 (ST) So now we know, don’t we! As winter approaches and the temperatures drop in Europe Dr. Harsha de Silva tells a gathering of states in Geneva that promoting and protecting human rights cannot be done overnight. For sheer brilliance he deserves a whole bag of coconuts. Either that or the climate is beginning to affect him. If that were all one might have forgiven Dr. de Silva for dipping into his reserve of platitudes and spilling them all over the assembly floor. more..

Petrol issue investigation inconclusive

Nov 21 (SO) It is a week after the petrol crisis that plagued the country into a state of temporary paralysis. In the immediate aftermath, many questions remain as to the cause of the crisis. Also, it has prompted the energy security of the country. Petrol crisis emerged due to several reasons, including the rejection of a petrol consignment imported for LIOC, on Oct 17, since the consignment failed to meet gasoline import specification more..

Govt needs to close space for hate speech

Nov 21 (CT) The govt took decisive action to put the lid on escalating inter ethnic violence between Sinhalese and Muslims in Gintota over the weekend which led to damage to a large number of homes, businesses and buildings estimated to be close to a hundred. The govt actions included sending in police battalions, the police paramilitary Special Task Force and anti-riot squad and the military and a visit to the area by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. As a result a conflagration on the scale of more..

A return to 1983 & Ranil’s friend Kalu Lucky?

Nov 21 (CT) UNP efforts to intimidate the Bond Commission bring back memories of their attack on the homes of Supreme Court judges in 1983. A full account was most recently presented by Rajan Hoole, recording the active involvement of Ranil Wickremesinghe in the exercise. After the Court had found that the Kollupitiya police had violated the fundamental rights of Vivienne Goonewardene, the govt promptly promoted the guilty officer and paid the fine. Then it demonstrated against more..