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Outgoing UNHR Chief commends Sri Lanka

Jun 19 (DM) Outgoing UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein commended Sri Lanka and several other countries for hosting at least five visits by thematic mandates in the last 5 years. The other countries which hosted at least five thematic mandates were Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Serbia, Tunisia, Ukraine, more..

Megapolis Ministry discusses land issues with public

Jun 19 (DN) A forum to answer questions relating to land and construction issues raised by the public in the Colombo district, was held at Arcade Independence Square, yesterday. The event was organised by the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Urban Development Authority (UDA). It was held under the patronage of Minister Champika Ranawaka and was participated by representatives of 13 local govt bodies as well as more..

Deputy Minister says MR’s portraits hang in Chinese companies

Jun 19 (SL) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake claimed that portraits of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa can be seen hanging in Chinese companies in China. He said that during a visit to China he saw Rajapaksa’s portrait hanging in the office of a leading Chinese company. He says this shows the Chinese have a special place in their hearts for Mahinda Rajapaksa as Rajapaksa has sold Sri Lanka to China. Rajapaksa led Govt had signed several agreements with China more..

State institute losses exceed Rs. 50 billion in 2017: Speaker

Jun 19 (DN) The losses incurred by govt institutions last year is over Rs. 50 billion, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. He pointed out that these funds could have been used for the welfare of the public or economic development, if proper public finance management was carried out by these institutes. He said these losses should draw more public attention. “Instead we see reports of 118 MPs who are alleged to have been involved in the CB bond issue, more..

SriLankan: 51% of the losses was accumulated interest

Jun 19 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said yesterday the bank interest accumulated over a period of time accounted for 51 per cent of the total losses incurred by SriLankan airlines. He said this had led him to seek concessions from the lending banks. The minister told Daily Mirror that during the previous govt several aircraft were bought over the prevailing market rates a leased out at unfavourable rates had contributed to the losses that were a burden to this govt. more..

Staff officers can obtain police security to open post offices

Jun 19 (DM) Post Master General said postal staff officers can obtain police security if its necessary to reopen post offices which had been closed due to the ongoing postal strike seeking solutions to the Public Administration Circular 06/2006 over recruitment. Post Master General Rohana Abeyratne, said postal staff officers were responsible to provide necessary facilities and security to open their relevant post offices. Accordingly, IGP Pujith Jayasundara has also more..

Talks failed; sack all 25,000 employees if possible: Postal TUs

Jun 19 (DM) Postal trade unions vowed to continue with their indefinite work stoppage after discussions held at Presidential Secretariat failed. The trade unions which launched the strike to rectify anomalies in the recruitment circular issued in 2006, challenged the govt to suspend all 25, 000 postal workers if they could. Post and Telecom Officers’ Union General Secretary H. K. Kariyawasam said they were asked to more..

Department of Census and Statistics automates library

Jun 19 (DN) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) provides various socio economic and demographic statistics to data users covering a wide spectrum from students, researchers to policymakers and international agencies. DCS’s Library is a special exclusive library having many documents covering survey methodology, National Accounts, Demography and Population, Poverty, Education, Health, Agriculture, Price and Inflation, Income and Expenditure, Labour Force, more..

Loan scheme for homestay operators to upgrade their facilities

Jun 19 (Island) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) announced the launch of a loan scheme for homestay operators across the country, in line with the budget proposals for this year. All categories in the homestay sector namely homestays, homestay bungalows and rented apartments will be eligible for the loan scheme launched under the guidance of the Treasury and the SLTDA. The loans schemes, the SLTDA said, will help homestay operators upgrade their more..

Sri Lanka grows by 3.2% in 1Q

Jun 19 (FT) Sri Lanka grew by 3.2% year on year in the first quarter of 2018, slowing marginally from 3.5% expansion seen in the fourth quarter of 2017, the Census and Statistics Department said yesterday. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) calculation, which uses 2010 as its base year, for the first quarter of 2018 recorded as Rs. 2,223,856 million, and GDP reported for first the quarter of 2017 was Rs. 2,154,971 million. more..

'Economic sentiment remains subdued'

Jun 19 (FT) The latest LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) survey reveals that economic optimism in May remained relatively unchanged from the previous month. LMD reports that 7% (up from 5% in the previous month) of corporate executives believe economic conditions will improve over the next 12 months. However, the majority (57% versus 48% in April) of respondents expect the economy to stay the same during this period. While one survey participant notes more..

SC case filed against Power Ministry on Lakdanavi

Jun 19 (FT) A Fundamental Rights petition was filed in the Supreme Court yesterday against awarding the tender for the second LNG plant in Kerawalapitiya to a Chinese company, as the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry readies to present a Cabinet paper seeking approval for the procurement. The Cabinet paper is likely to be presented today. The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection, filed the FR petition. Organisation claimes that Minister Ranjith more..

Pilots: Cost of aircraft lease agreements much higher than market price

Jun 19 (Island) The cost of aircraft lease agreements, signed by SriLankan Airlines in recent times, was 30-40% higher than the current market price, President of the Airline Pilots’ Guild of SL Ranjith Vithanage told the PCoI on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka. Vithanage said he had ascertained the information at issue during discussions with senior officers and representatives of more..

SL exporters expand foothold in China as economic giant accelerates opening-up

Jun 19 (Island) China's provincial government in Yunnan has accelerated the opening of its economy internationally through its capital Kunming, providing easy access to Sri Lankan businesses to enter the second largest economic powerhouse of the world, under its ambitious Belt and Road initiative. Li Jiming, Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Yunnan Province told foreign media on Friday that China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, Lancang -Mekong Cooperation more..

China allays public fears on loans provided to Sri Lanka

Jun 19 (Island) Li Jiming, Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Yunnan Provincial Government of China told the foreign media recently that there is no reason for Sri Lankans to fear their country falling into a debt trap because of the Chinese infrastructure loans. He made this remark in response to a question asked by Indian journalist Venket Narayan who also contributes to The Island newspaper, at the first China-South Asia Cooperation Forum held in Yunnan, China. more..

SL eyeing maid, caregiver jobs in Singapore

Jun 19 (CT) Demand for caregivers will grow as Singapore’s population ages, and SL High Commission wants Sri Lankan women to fill the shortfall in supply. To get them ready, its First Secretary for Employment, Welfare and Promotion Geeth Jayasinghe hopes to start them off as maids. He is asking employers in Singapore to consider Sri Lankan women when looking for domestic helpers. “Working for locals is a way for (domestic workers) to more..

Gabriel's preparation ahead of Sri Lanka Tests pays off

Jun 19 (CB) The touring SL party would be left ruing a missed opportunity at the second Test in Gros Islet having come very close to winning the contest, but for bad weather. However, there's something else they might as well rue and that is the lost time - two hours - on the third day when they protested the ball tampering charges. There's more, they might as well have rued facing Shannon Gabriel at the peak of his powers as he finished with match figures of 13 for 121 - the third best by a West Indian, more..

'Our preparation in Kandy produced results'

Jun 19 (Island) Many think that he is a future Sri Lanka captain. Some think he is another Aravinda or Mahela in the making. His 26th Test brought his sixth fifty, 87 timely runs for the Lankans, yet it was actually missing of his sixth century, the second in this tour. Kusal Mendia from Moratuwa saved Sri Lanka from danger and brought them real chances of winning the second Test here in St Lucia. Excerpts from Sunday’s post-match talk with Mendis follow: more..

'Don’t push senior cricketers into a trap'

Jun 19 (DN) World Cup winning cricket captain and presently Minister Arjuna Ranatunga expressed his gratitude to Roshan Mahanama, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Muthiah Muralitharan for taking a wise decision, not to walk into a trap and fall to gamblers. The past legends declined the invitation extended by Minister Faiszer Mustapha to join SLC in the capacity as consultants more..

When teams protested against umpiring decisions

Jun 19 (DN) SL players refused to take the field on time on Day 3 of the 2nd Test against West Indies in St. Lucia owing to a disagreement over change of ball, which the on-field umpires called for before the start of play. They play eventually began nearly two hours after the scheduled start but not before five penalty runs were added to West Windies’ total off 118/2. Here’s a look at 5 previous such instances when a team responded to dubious umpiring decisions with a form of protest. more..

Injured Morris misses out, Tahir rested for Sri Lanka limited-overs leg

Jun 19 (CB) South Africa's exploration of its depth in limited overs cricket will continue in Sri Lanka after the selectors named two uncapped players in the ODI squad and also recalled 20-year-old allrounder Wiaan Mulder. Cricket South Africa also confirmed that Chris Morris will miss the tour due to the back injury he picked up during the IPL. The Proteas intend to use the five-match series in Sri Lanka next month and the three-match series at home to Zimbabwe in October to identify more..

Brathwaite, bad weather hold off Sri Lanka

Jun 19 (CI) Sri Lanka had dismissed the stubborn Shai Hope soon after tea, giving themselves one final chance to surge to victory, but then the rains arrived, followed by bad light. In the end, West Indies drew the match with five wickets in hand, with 32.3 overs lost to the conditions. Perhaps Sri Lanka will rue the two hours they had spent off the field, protesting the ball-tampering charge on Saturday. more..

Editorial: Inspiring feat of cool underdog

Jun 19 (Island) There couldn’t have been a worse start for Argentina in the ongoing FIFA World Cup tournament. It looks as though glorious uncertainties were not limited to cricket. Whoever would have thought Brazil would be beaten by Germany 7-1, in 2014. On Saturday, the world witnessed another instance of something least expected happening in Russia. An underdog left a mighty overdog licking its wounds in what could be considered a very inspiring event. more..

Sustained economic development undermined by political factors

Jun 19 (ST) The inability to achieve a high trajectory of sustained economic growth has been a serious concern. The country appears to be destined to achieve only its autonomous rate of growth of 4 to 5% in the foreseeable future. The inability of the economy to take off into sustained high growth has been a feature of the 70 post-independent years. The average annual economic growth rate has been only about 4% in these seven decades. The economy grew by over 7% only in a few yrs. more..

Face the Nation

Garrison against Gota

Jun 19 (DN) The press has been full of reports that outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap has cautioned and advised former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the nomination of his brother and US citizen Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as candidate for president in 2020, faces a variety of legal and other obstacles, based on the sum total of which, the US would not consider the same favourably. The fact that this information was first put out and confirmed by the former president’s office, more..

Presidential question

Jun 19 (DN) It was President J R Jayewardene, who having introduced the neo-liberal economy and changed the Constitution used to take pride in saying that during his tenure there was five star democracy in Sri Lanka. Though the economy picked up momentum and increased the GDP, as far as the masses were concerned what they experienced was far from five star democracy. Actually they began to see stars (daval tharu) in broad daylight with the abolition of subsidies more..

'We remain afraid of Rajapaksas'

Jun 19 (CT) Excerpts from an interview with Minister of Education: Q: You hinted about UNP’s 2020 Presidential candidate. Didn’t you say that it will be the UNP leader who will come forward? A: Yes. It will be our Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who will come forward as the Presidential candidate. Q: But aren’t there other stories circulating within the Party? A: No. There are no other stories. Q: Why not? Backbenchers of the Party are talking more..

Apples and oranges

Jun 19 (Island) Departing US Ambassador Atul Keshap was in the news last week, associated with comments around Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his bid for Presidency. The substance of whatever this senior diplomat said is not what I am interested in, and in any case, has been unsurprisingly denied by those he met with. It is Gotabaya Rajapaksa as an idea, and Viyathmaga – his political project – as a platform. In recent weeks I have written about my own fears of the man, and the surveillance more..

Waluka teledrama & Yahapalana political drama

Jun 19 (CT) There are several Sinhala teledramas telecasted these days with passing political or social messages both constructive and humorous. If I may refer to two of them, still ongoing, Ape Ardare (Our Love) and Sanda Eliya (Moon Light) may standout prominently, exposing the dubious nature of politicians, their business connections and thuggery. Another positive aspect of some of these teledramas is to challenge the ethnic and class/caste prejudices in our society. more..

Anti-beef campaign heats up in the North and South

Jun 19 (SO) K. Arunthawapalan, a resident of Chavakachcheri in the Jaffna peninsula took part in the first protest on May 19 against what he called the illegal slaughter and trafficking of cattle and beef. Retired school principal and social activist says he was driven to the protest by news he had heard about a slaughter house in the North where “20 cows had been killed and the meat illegally transported” to other areas of the country. more..

Trump’s lavish praise music to Kim’s ears

Jun 19 (ST) It was historic, yes. It was unprecedented, yes. But it was more spectacle and little substance. At times it looked like a theatre of the absurd. That is why all Trump’s bluster and bluff could not hide the emptiness of the Joint Declaration signed in Singapore. Only weeks earlier the US and North Korea were threatening to nuke each other. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un threatened to blow parts of the US all over Antarctica. Ah said US Prez Donald Trump who is never short of words more..

Case of our concealed subservience to China

Jun 19 (CT) If one takes a close look at the general trend of discourse and debate that has been going on in Sri Lanka, one cannot but be disconcertingly astonished at the poor quality of the island’s printed and digital media. The days of quality and erudite journalists are over, it seems. The starkingly striking poverty of media discourse is such that all focus is diverted to petty and parochial internal issues of power struggle. On the other hand, something far more fundamental and overridingly serious more..

UK look to invest in bridges & hospitals in SL

Jun 18 (NR) UK State Minister of Trade Policies Greg Hands says the UK is expected to look into trade and investment opportunities in order to construct rural bridges and hospitals in Sri Lanka. The statement was made during a discussion held with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who is on a tour of London, England. UK State Minister had directed PM's attention over providing British expertise on building public and private partnerships in the development of the Colombo Port City. more..

Grade One admissions (2019) due date extended

Jun 18 (DM) The closing date of applications for Grade One admissions for 2019 had been extended till July 10 due to ongoing postal strike, the Education Ministry said. Ministry Media Secretary Kalpa Gunaratne said today the circular relating to the admission of students to Grade One in State schools had been released on May 31. “Due to the ongoing strike the Ministry had decided to extend the due date to facilitate the applicants,” he said. The specimen application form was published in the website more..

Govt spends Rs.8.3 bn on embassies in 2017: AG

Jun 18 (DM) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said today the govt had spent Rs.8.3 billion to maintain embassies last year but that there was no mechanism to assess the benefits gained for the country. He said with the assistance of all SL embassies the Auditor General's Department was preparing a report on the diplomatic service. “We spend billions of rupees to maintain embassies. But there is no mechanism to assess the benefits or the services rendered to the country by more..