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Stern action against those creating violence: PM

Nov 19 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the law will be enacted against individuals or groups creating violence and unrest in the island. Speaking to media during an observational visit to Gintota PM said the incident in Gintota involved a small group of people claiming as a result of various rumours the incident turned into unrest. PM noted police and STF personnel were deployed to the area in order to maintain law more..

PM not summoned to PCoI; making voluntary appearance: Kiriella

Nov 19 (Island) There is an attempt to portray that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has been summoned before the Presidential Commission into the Treasury bond scam. The truth is otherwise as the premier has volunteered to appear before the Commission, Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament. He was responding to JO MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, who said that for the first time in the history, more..

Looters as Rulers: Officials who sabotage govt programs will be removed: Ranil

Nov 19 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that there would be purge of govt officials who derail and sabotage govt programs. Responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara, he said there were some officials put in various places by the previous govt now sabotaging the govt’s progressive projects. "There are some we have identified. We would remove them from their posts soon more..

AirAsia offers to build special terminal at BIA for budget carriers

Nov 19 (ST) AirAsia has offered to build a special terminal at BIA for low-cost carriers under a five-year investment of US$ 70-100 million. Malaysian carrier’s proposal to set up a budget carrier based out of BIA was put forward more than one year ago. Cabinet Committee on Economic Management has now approved the bid and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe & Minister John Amaratunga have submitted a joint Cabinet paper. more..

Mumbai Indians likely to release Lasith Malinga for IPL auction

Nov 19 (SK) In what would have seemed an unthinkable move a few years ago, IPL side Mumbai Indians are set to release their premier fast bowler in history, Lasith Malinga, for the IPL auctions. With the teams likely to be allowed to retain a maximum of three players, the IPL 2017 winners are unwilling to keep hold of Malinga, considering the fact that the SL speedster has looked out of form and also faced issues more..

SL seeks help of foreign governments to arrest underworld godfathers living overseas

Nov 19 (Island) The govt has sought the intervention of foreign countries to arrest notorious underworld kingpins, who continue to operate with impunity from beyond the shores of Sri Lanka, Minister, Sagala Ratnayake, said. "We are now discussing the matter with the governments of countries, where these underworld godfathers are living, to ensure that they are arrested and brought before the law", he said last week. more..

Rahul and Dhawan carry India into lead with ease

Nov 19 (CI) Openers KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan capitalised on vastly improved batting conditions, both overhead and underfoot, to lead India's recovery on the fourth day in Kolkata. After Rangana Herath's third Test fifty had propped up Sri Lanka's lead to 122, there was only one likely winner. But after Dhawan struck a 116-ball 94 and Rahul hit an unbeaten 73, there were none it seemed. Mohammed Shami, on his home more..

ADB pledges 1b sovereign assistance package for Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (SO) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will double its sovereign assistance during 2018-2022 in an effort to support Sri Lanka’s transition to upper middle-income country (UMIC) status. “ADB proposes to double its sovereign assistance to $ 800 million-$1 billion per year during 2018-2022,” Vice-President (Operations 1) of ADB, Wencai Zhang told the Sunday Observer from Manila. more..

Massive drugs pile set for incinerator

Nov 19 (ST) Nearly a tonne of narcotics worth Rs 16.7 billion seized over the past three years, is set to be incinerated. The STF said 928 kilograms of illegal drugs will be destroyed next month. A senior STF official said approval is being sought from the Attorney General’s Department. Related cases have been completed. There are talks to incinerate the drugs in the kilns of the Holcim cement factory in Puttalam. more..

Yala safaris: PM roars at Minister’s decision

Nov 19 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued an ultimatum to Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera to immediately revert to an earlier decision to allow only 300 vehicles a day to the Ruhuna (Yala) National Park. In the alternative, he told Minister Perera at last Wednesday’s meeting of the CCEM that the Wildlife Department would be removed from his Ministry. PM said it would then be placed more..

Political Gimmicks and Quirky Political Leaders

Nov 19 (Island) The latest gimmick from some of our legislators was taking alternate transport - the poor man’s means of conveyance – to get to the August House by the Diyawanne on Budget Speech Day. Of course it must be said that with no showy fanfare, the Finance Minister stole the limelight and the day. Our plaudits go to him. Except for those who just have to carp and criticize, most Sri Lankans judging from TV discussion panels, newspaper comments and our own chats over lunches and dinners, more..

PM at COI tomorrow: The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?

Nov 19 (Island) PM is expected to appear tomorrow at the inquiry to answer direct questions from the Commissioners, after submitting an affidavit of answers to their questions in writing. The revelations this week about phone calls between UNP MPs, serving on the COPE, and Arjun Aloysius, the young principal of Perpetual Treasuries, has led to wildly contrasting reactions. Second tier JO MPs are calling for an inquiry into the alleged contacts between UNP MPs and the PTL chief. more..

UNP-SLFP coalition to continue despite bumpy road ahead

Nov 19 (ST) For a second week in succession, the dialogue between the UNP and President Sirisena, leader of the SLFP, the two main coalition partners continued. This time, representing the UNP were Chairman Malik Samarawickrema and General Secretary Kabir Hashim. The former had returned to Colombo only hours earlier from Singapore together with PM Wickremesinghe. Meeting had been sought by Samarawickrema in a phone call more..

Ceiling on election expenditure: Legal framework yet to be passed

Nov 19 (SO) Laws to impose a ceiling on election campaign expenditure will not come into effect before the upcoming LG polls, which is likely to be held early next year, the Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said. He said that the legal framework for the new regulations has to be passed in Parliament before a campaign ceiling can be affected at elections and that it is yet to happen. The Election Commission Chairman announced on Friday that notice of intent to hold election, more..

Govt to compensate affected families after clashes

Nov 19 (SL) The Govt says it will compensate the affected families in Gintota in Galle. Minister Vajira Abeywardena said that the President and the PM have given instructions to asses the damage following the clashes and compensate the affected families. He also said that the situation in Gintota will be further assessed today and appropriate security measures will be taken. Minister Sagala Ratnayake said that Muslims and Sinhalese communities in the area are now living in fear. more..

Speaker to seek legal opinion on conduct of four COPE members

Nov 19 (ST) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will seek legal opinion on the cases of four MPs who were named before the Commission of Inquiry for making telephone calls to Arjun Aloysius, who is at the centre of the Central Bank bond inquiry, an official source said. MPs were serving members of the COPE which was, at the time, inquiring into the alleged bond scam. Speaker wants to ascertain whether disclosures warranted action since more..

Treasury Bonds Probe: AG to question PM

Nov 19 (CT) The PCoI, probing the controversial CB Treasury Bonds issue, has summoned Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya to question PM Ranil Wickremesinghe when the Commission meets tomorrow. Attorney General Jayasuriya, said that a communiqué had been sent, asking him to lead the PM's evidence. "The reason they have summoned me is due to the respect of protocol for the PM, who is the second citizen of the country. I will be leading the evidence on behalf of the Commission," more..

More inter-monsoonal rains from next week

Nov 19 (ST) Second phase of inter monsoonal rains is expected to begin from next week, according to Meteorology Department. Duty meteorologist said that evening thunder showers which were expected for a period of two months were disrupted due to the low pressure in the Bay of Bengal. “During the inter monsoon the winds should be slow or variable; if the wind speed increases it disrupts the rains,” he said explaining the prevailing weather pattern in some parts of the country. more..

Exposing corrupt dealing of Parliament Mafia? : UNP furious over phone tapping CID

Nov 19 (CT) As the controversies surrounding the Treasury Bonds scam increase each day, UNP charged that the release of telephone conversation records of COPE members by the PCoI probing the Bonds scam amounted to a breach of privilege of MPs. UNP MP Ashu Marasinghe and his UNP colleagues demanded to know on what basis the information pertaining to these telephone conversations were divulged to the media. more..

Sri Lanka alarmed over increased smuggling of Kerala ganja

Nov 19 (CT) Govt is alarmed over the increase in the movement of cannabis and other drugs from India, especially Kerala into the country. The authorities have seized sizeable consignments of Kerala ganja over the last few years. In the last couple of months alone more than 300 kg of ganja, labeled as Kerala ganja, was seized from various parts of the country, the reports added. On 10 Nov, an Excise Department officer in Vavuniya was arrested along with a quantity Kerala ganja. more..

Gintota situation under control, night curfew continues

Nov 19 (ST) Additional Police and security personnel were deployed yesterday in Gintota, close to Galle, to prevent further clashes between two groups. At a meeting held at the Galle District Secretary’s office and attended by senior security forces personnel and Police, a decision was taken to maintain heavy security in the area until the situation returns to normalcy. No incidents were reported during the day yesterday. Meanwhile, 19 people were arrested over the clashes more..

BBS’s Gnanasara Thera plays peacemaker in Gintota

Nov 19 (SL) General Secretary of BBS, Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera on Saturday attempted to play the role of peacemaker by calling for calm in Gintota, Galle. Gnanasara Thera said he visited Gintota following the violence between two communities and sought to mediate and bring the situation to a peaceful end. He said that some groups were falsely accusing the BBS of being involved in the violence. more..

Aviation sector to be liberalized

Nov 19 (CT) SL's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to sign open skies bilateral air service agreements with 20 strategically important nations and review existing airport taxes, with the twin aim of liberalizing the aviation industry and boosting tourism arrivals. CAA CEO, H.M.C. Nimalsiri said that CAA plans to sign open skies agreements with 20 new countries including Singapore, India, UAE, UK, Turkey and The Netherlands during the upcoming International Civil Aviation Org more..

Why is SriLankan losing money?

Nov 19 (Island) SriLankan Airlines – the national airline of Sri Lanka – has been in the news lately, mostly for the wrong reasons. And the criticism is justified. SriLankan last made a profit in FY2008 and has been unprofitable since. That was also the last year of a strategic relationship between Emirates and SriLankan – before it was scrapped by the former President of Sri Lanka in a much publicised incident. Hence, critics are quick to point out that there is certainly something wrong more..

Digital tourism promotion comm. disbanded

Nov 19 (ST) SL has failed to make any headway in the country’s first ever Rs. 500 million digital tourism promotion campaign targeting travellers from Europe and Asia although several other countries moved forward in their digital tourism promotions, official sources revealed. A high powered committee appointed by the Tourism Development Ministry Secretary in May 2017 has not fulfilled its task upto expectations, CCEM noted more..

Dedduwa-Akurala tourism zone

Nov 19 (SO) The long-awaited Dedduwa-Akurala up-market tourism project is now being implemented with the ongoing land acquisition program, and a Rs. 200 million compensation package, a highly placed govt official said. The govt plans to work with the private sector to develop this tourism corridor which will be one of the top three high-end tourism destinations in Asia. “We plan to select a developer or a consortium of developers by early 2018,” the official said. more..

Young captains have lot to learn from Michael Tissera

Nov 19 (Island) Young cricket captains have got a lot to learn from one of the finest captains produced by the country - Michael Tissera. The exemplary manner in which Tissera carried himself both on and off the field was tremendous. He was only 24 when the captaincy of the Ceylon team was thrusted upon him. Having been thrown to the deep end, his positive approach helped him to come out with flying colours. Tissera remains the only Sri Lankan captain to have won a ‘Test’ match in India. more..

National carrier in search of partner, bid to buy four more aircraft: Report

Nov 19 (ST) While the search is on for a new management cum stakeholder partner for heavy-losses SriLankan Airlines suffered a loss of Rs. 28.4 billion in the eight months to August 2017, up from Rs. 12.6 billion in the 2016 comparative period. In its fiscal management report submitted alongside with the 2018 budget last week, ministry said the increased losses were due to an additional cost of Rs. 14.3 billion incurred due to more..

Telcos to lobby against levy

Nov 19 (CT) Participants in SL's Telecom sector will lobby strongly against the proposed Rs 200,000 cellular tower levy, industry participants and sector analysts said. Govt plans to collect Rs 15 billion through this proposed levy, which will apply to Sri Lanka's network of over 5,000 Cellular Towers. "We assume the legislators would treat this revenue proposal more seriously. Tax burden Dialog faces could amount to Rs 5 billion with its existing 2100-strong, island-wide tower network," more..

Katukurunda Circuit meet on grand scale

Nov 19 (SO) Sri Lanka Motor Cycle Club which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year has made elaborate arrangements to mark the celebrations. As part of it SLMCC will conduct a circuit meet at the Rotherham Circuit, in Katukrunda today commencing at 9.a.m. The SLMCC which was formed soon after the colonial rule way back in 1947 has done yeoman service for motor racing in Sri Lanka. The formation of SLMCC made it possible for our local riders to engage riding more..

NOCSL ignores General Assembly decision

Nov 19 (ST) The National Olympic Committee of SL has ignored decisions of its supreme governing body—the General Assembly (GA)—by not calling for an Executive Committee Meeting as agreed at the GA held on November 9. The membership had unanimously agreed to an Executive Committee meeting within 14 days of the recent GA. But no notice has so far been given. NOC constitution requires seven days of notice before more..

Premier cricket comes aboard from Dec 1

Nov 19 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket will commence its first class season with the three-day Premier League Cricket tournament, 2017/2018 starting December 1. The tournament of 24 clubs will be played in two tiers—A and B. Tier A will consist of the top 14 clubs who will initially play in two groups of seven teams before the top four in each group play against each other in the Super Eight tournament. The remaining six teams will play for the Plate Championships. The Super Eight matches more..

Bankers to meet Treasury

Nov 19 (ST) The Commercial banks are marching to the Treasury to make a case for why the tax on transactions proposed in the recent budget shouldn’t be implemented. Sri Lanka Bankers’ Association (SLBA), which is to meet the Treasury on this matter, is now working on certain representations to be made, according to SLBA’s new Secretary- General, Ravi de Silva. “The SLBA membership plans to meet with the Treasury on this,” he told the Business Times. more..

Row over beer tax

Nov 19 (CT) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera's maiden budget saw the reduction of excise taxes on beer by 33% and an increase of excise taxes on hard liquor by 2%, which took effect immediately. In addition to that a newly introduced 2% nation building tax on all alcohol beverage sales will take effect from April 2018. The new lenient tax policy on alcoholic beverages is a bold decision considering the country being more..

Sri Lanka’s Excise chief can’t buy liquor

Nov 19 (ST) There was a commotion down the road. Aney mage nona …, bawled old man Pedris, the cart-puller, in a drunken stupor………mata gedarayanna ona, mage bus gastuwa deela yanna ko. It was 10 in the morning and the man was drunk, lustily singing the old popular hit Kussi Amma Sera. Brushing against roadside bushes and trampling twigs with a crackling noise, Pedris would occasionally stop and stare and, in a threatening stance, wag a finger at an imaginary person. more..

Curiouser and curiouser

Nov 19 (Island) We might follow Alice in Wonderland and say that proceedings at the Bond Commission are getting curiouser and curiouser. The technical evidence of a CID officer led before the probe last week revealed that Mr. Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries has had many conversations with members of Parliament’s COPE that was examining the so-called bond scam. These revelations predictably raised a great deal of dust with the Joint Opposition seizing more..