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Prez agrees to grant strikers’ demands: Railway strike called off

Aug 13 (Island) The tug of war between the UNP and the SLFP once again came to the fore yesterday with President Maithripala Sirisena inviting the striking railway unions to talks, whose success led to the end of the railway strike, despite Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s declaration that he would not negotiate with the strikers until they abandoned their industrial action. Railway trade union representatives met Prez more..

Glyphosate under fire from San Francisco to Sri Lanka

Aug 13 (AFP) Glyphosate, the world's most widely used herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup, is the subject of fierce controversy all across the globe and is classified by the World Health Organization as probably being carcinogenic. After a US court on Friday ordered Monsanto to pay nearly $290 million in compensation to a groundskeeper who was diagnosed with cancer after repeatedly using Roundup, here is the state of play regarding more..

JVP tries to utilize National Audit Service Commission to target WPC

Aug 13 (Island) The JVP said that it would seek the intervention of Chairman of the National Audit Service Commission Gamini Wijesinghe to stop the allocation of funds and privileges to the Opposition Leader, Leader of the House, Chief Govt Whip and Chief Opposition Whip of the Western Provincial Council in violation of the Constitution. WPC member Lakshman Nipunaarachchi said that the UPFA and the UNP members were continuing to receive lavish benefits at taxpayers’ expense. more..

55 MPs, mostly Govt, receive Rs. 200,000 transport allowance

Aug 13 (DM) Fifty-five legislators, mostly belonging to the ruling party, assigned to monitor the development projects, are given Rs. 200, 000 each a month as transport allowance, it is learnt. JO MP Gamini Lokuge said he had obtained the name list of these MPs by making a submission under the Right to Information Act. Mr Lokuge had made his submission on May 28, 2018, seeking details in this regard. Information Officer of the Land more..

Railway strike: Loss amounts over Rs.70mn

Aug 13 (DM) Railways Department had incurred a loss more than Rs.70 million due to the four-day long trade union action by the employees, SL Railways’ Additional General Manager (Operations) Wijaya Samarasinghe said. He said the losses were due to non-issuance of tickets, repayment for booked tickets for locals and foreigners, and due to freight train cancellations. Railways Dept also had to bear the expenses of inconvenienced commuters to provide transport by SLTB buses. more..

Ven. Gnanasara gets prison dress

Aug 13 (DM) Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, who is being medically treated in Sri J'pura Hospital under imprisonment, had been issued a light jumper (Liberty Dress). This dress is said to be given to the prisoners in the hospital. Accordingly, it is said that he is dressed in a white sarong outside Andanakadaya (Under robe). Liberty dress includes a white sarong and a white shirt. This light dress is issued to the prisoners, who were taken to the hospital and the court but the wearing more..

Reconciliation taking place, says PM

Aug 13 (DM) Reconciliation was build up gradually in Sri Lanka with the movement of Southern people to the North and Northern people to the South, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM expressed this sentiment during the opening of Mahatma Gandhi Puram housing scheme in Nuwara Eliya. “Many Sinhalese from the South are increasingly visiting the North, especially the Nagadeepa Vihara and Naga Vihara, while more..

Special HC to hear case against Gotabaya?

Aug 13 (NR) Department of the Attorney General is focused on filing a case at the special High Court over the charges against Former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa pertaining to the misappropriation of state funds during the construction of the DA Rajapaksa Museum in Weeraketiya. A senior spokesman at the Department said, they hope to seek the advice of the Chief Justice in this regard. Spokesman said the Chief Justice travelling overseas and more..

SL included in US$ 700 billion defence bill

Aug 13 (CT) US President Donald Trump is set to sign a more than US$ 700 billion Defence Bill for the fiscal year 2019 today, giving big increases to the US military to counter the White House’s calls for greater competition, specifically with China and Russia. A week after approval from the House of Representatives, the US Senate passed the US$ 716 billion National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) on 2 August, backing Trump’s call for a bigger and stronger military. more..

Sangakkara says never to politics in SL

Aug 13 (LBO) Cricket legend Kumar Sangakkara has dashed the hopes of Sri Lankans everywhere by releasing a statement that he will not be entering politics. Instead of merely ruling out the 2020 Presidential election, Sangakarra has dashed all hopes by saying that with enormous certainty he will never enter politics in SL. Full statement: “I have read with a sense of concern reports of my imminent entry into politics more..

'Green Development on the way to help Belt and Road realise goal'

Aug 13 (FT) The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) taking pioneering effort in contributing to the Sri Lankan discourse on Green Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) possibilities and challenges invited the National Academy of Development and Strategy of Renmin University, a world ranking university in China to conduct a joint round table conference in collaboration with the Post Graduate Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Peradeniya. more..

Aitken Spence reports 29% drop in first quarter PBT

Aug 13 (Island) Blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence PLC reported a drop of 29.3% pre-tax profit from Rs. 678 mn to Rs. 480 mn, over the previous year. The Company’s financial results for the three months ended 30th June 2018 reported the revenue for the first quarter decreasing by 9.2% from Rs. 11.6 bn to Rs. 10.6 bn. The Group’s earnings per share for the quarter stood at Rs. 0.52, whilst profit attributable to shareholders of the parent was reported as Rs. 210 mn. more..

Duty reduction for cars if Sri Lanka's trade balance improves

Aug 13 (EN) The govt is considering duty reductions for small hybrid cars as well as mid-size sedans after the country’s trade balance and foreign reserves improve later this year. Minister Mangala Samaraweera sharply raised taxes on small hybrid cars following CB pressure to put the brakes on the top-selling Japanese Kei cars - smallest street-legal vehicle category - that have out-paced even trishaw sales this year. more..

Army to hand over another 922 acres in North and East to owners

Aug 13 (FT) SL Army will release nearly 922 acres out of the remaining 2600 acres of Army-held land in the North and the East to the rightful owners, soon, a senior Army official said. The official said that the 522 acres of land in the North and the East had been confirmed to be released and another nearly 400 acres of land in the two provinces had also been earmarked to be released to the original owners. Keeping the Govt pledge to hand over private lands acquired by the Army during the war, more..

Sri Lanka adds new regulation to credit access of tourism business

Aug 13 (EN) Central bank has directed finance companies not to give loans to borrowers in tourism related businesses unless they have a license, SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said. The central bank has written to the Finance Houses Association SL saying it is mandatory for all tourism related businesses to register with the SLTDA under Tourism Act No 38 of 2005. "The SLTDA has also had discussions with the CB to ensure that the commercial banks too consider the SLTDA more..

A new Development Finance Corporation to be launched soon: PM

Aug 13 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe addressing a group of leading industrialists said last week that the govt is planning to launch a new Development Finance Corporation through which funds would be made available for manufacturers and service providers to expand their operations, increase their productivity and achieve a larger global market share for SL products and services. more..

It was tea, not rice!

Aug 13 (ST) After learning about the economic development history of Sri Lanka, there was a question that made me anxious for many years at that time: Why did British planters during colonial times take so much of trouble and risk in introducing some plantation crops that were totally alien to SL? The flip side of my question was that “instead of tea or rubber, why did they never think of investing in rice production?” Perhaps, we might be able to figure out some political answers, more..

SLT Group ups 1H profits by 13.5%

Aug 13 (FT) The Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Group has continued its growth momentum across all key business areas including Fixed, Mobile, Broadband, Enterprise Solutions, Wholesale and PayTV to record a consolidated revenue of Rs. 39.4 billion for the first half of 2018, demonstrating a growth of 5.5 % Year-on-Year. The Group reported a Rs. 2.8 billion net profit during the first half of 2018, demonstrating a 13.5% growth compared to the same period in the previous year. more..

Mathews, Akila Dananjaya hand South Africa a drubbing

Aug 13 (CI) A dominant all-round performance from Sri Lanka took them to a second consolation win in the series against a South African side whose depth proved shallower than comfortable. Angelo Mathews' run-a-ball 97 propelled SL to 299 on a slow surface before Akila Dananjaya's career-best figures of 6 for 29 had South Africa's line-up in a spin, again. They were dismissed inside 25 overs for their lowest more..

Jaffna uniquely positioned for dual-hub IT strategy: STAX

Aug 13 (ST) Sri Lanka’s leading management consulting firm, STAX, recently launched a research report outlining a dual-hub IT strategy for northern Jaffna. In collaboration with Market Development Facility (MDF), STAX released this report with a view to fostering the region’s substantial potential for IT-related services in line with the national drive to develop a globally-competitive IT industry in Sri Lanka. Earlier this year, Govt unveiled its plans for Island of Ingenuity (IOI), more..

Joes, Visakha reign supreme in swimming

Aug 13 (DN) St. Joseph’s College, Maradana reigned supreme for the seventh consecutive year in the boys’ championship and Visakha Vidyalaya retained the girls’ championship at the 43rd National Age Category Swimming Championship concluded at the Sugathadasa swimming complex. Josephians earned 552.5 points while Visakhians collected 333 points to win the titles. Over 300 swimmers from sports clubs and schools participated this year. Kandy Mahamaya College with 234.5 more..

He's made of steel: Mathews on Akila

Aug 13 (CI) He conceded 81 runs in the third ODI, went at 10 and over in the next one, and yet, claimed 6 for 29 in the fifth ODI, in Sri Lanka's 178-run victory over South Africa. So emphatically did Akila Dananjaya bounce back from those Pallekele pastings, that Angelo Mathews has declared him to be made of steel. Not only did Akila finish the series in possession of the best match figures for a SL bowler against SA, more..

140-year-old giant Hayleys optimistic of greater growth

Aug 13 (FT) The most diversified export cum manufacturing rich blue chip, Hayleys Plc, which marks 140 years this year, is optimistic of greater progress moving forward, with first quarter results showing strong growth. “Despite challenging times we have achieved our best quarter results. Hayleys has survived and grown for the past 140 years and we will be aggressive to be number one in the sectors we operate,” Hayleys Chairman Mohan Pandithage told the media on Friday. more..

Royal regain Ranil Dias Trophy and Ray Wijewardene Challenge Trophy

Aug 13 (ST) Royal College brought an end to their traditional rivals S. Thomas’ dominance as they regained the Ranil Dias Trophy after a lapse of four years by winning the overall championship at the Annual Sailing Regatta worked off at the Ceylon Motor Yacht Club in the Bolgoda Lake yesterday. Royal also had the satisfaction of winning the Ray Wijewardene Challenge Trophy as they emerged overall champions in the Laser Class ‘A’ event. The winning Royal Team was coached by more..

COPE pulls up: CEB over private purchases

Aug 13 (CT) Parliamentary corruption watchdog, COPE has reprimanded top officials of the CEB for attempting to meddle with the regulatory work of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) by issuing - what they termed as - threatening letters. In a letter dated 13 July 2018 addressed to the Chairman PUCSL, General Manager of CEB, A.K. Samarasinghe, stated that the CEB has no means to process more..

Edtorial: Waste of public funds

Aug 13 (Island) This country is not completely bereft of politicians with sound judgment, but the problem is that they end up having to emulate others, with the passage of time. They are like clean fish, put into a dirty pond. They realise that fighting the rotten system is an exercise in futility and become conformist, limiting their protests only to words. They become a voice in the wilderness. But, they must not give up if they are keen to make a difference in politics. more..

GMOA’s 8 billion ransom demand to free poor and sick held hostage

Aug 13 (ST) Enough is enough. Period. The time has come to label the GMOA as the newest terror in town. As the Sunday Times editorial said last week: ‘The GMOA’s use of hapless patients is no different to when the LTTE used civilians as human shields.’ The only difference is this. Whilst the intransigent Tamil Tigers used the barrel of the gun with ruthlessness in their futile attempt to separate the island mass and create a utopian Eelam on Lankan soil, belligerent Govt doctors’ trade union use more..

සජිත්ගේ හොර සල්ලි කතාව යටගැසීම!!

Remembering Kadirgamar

Aug 13 (Island) I thought the best way to pay tribute to the late Lakshman Kadirgamar this year is by using his own words. These are extracts from one of the many interviews I did with him for the The Island of 6 March 2003. Ranil Wickremesinghe was PM then. Kadirgamar was in the Opposition and much a flawed peace process was in operation. Lakshman Kadirgamar told me "Those who believe in a separate state in this country would see him as a person who is against separation of SL. more..

Scandalously coercive monk brought to book

Aug 13 (ST) Core elements of the fifty-six page decision handed down by the Court of Appeal this week sentencing General Secretary of the BBS Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara to six years rigorous imprisonment for contempt in the face of the court constitute a stern warning to unruly individuals (monks or laymen) attempting to interfere with the processes of court. If it was thought (and indeed, it would have been, judging from the openly insulting behavior of the BBS and its representatives more..

Politics in make-believe realities

Aug 13 (GV) Politicians everywhere are amnesiacs, to various degrees. The condition probably comes with the territory, a necessary facilitator for such in stock-in-trade as lies and hypocrisy. But total amnesia, forgetting everything one has said and done, standing on one’s head and believing that was always how one stood – that belongs in a different territory, the territory of rejecting objective reality, of living not in the everyday world, more..

Agony and ecstasy of a pogrom: July 1983

Aug 13 (GV) Not all Tamils in Sri Lanka are Tamils. A few who have been born and bred in the South-Western parts of the island have been de-Tamilicised. They know very little spoken or written Tamil. They speak (as distinct from read) colloquial Sinhala with some level of fluency and without those inflections which indicate to all and sundry that one is Tamil. In the heat of ethnic conflict such a capacity is critical. Language in its phonetic, oral form becomes a matter of life and death more..

Politics! That’s where the real money is

Aug 13 (CT) The real money cannot flourish without power and in modern times, whether in democratic or non-democratic states, power resides in politics. In rich countries great captains of finance, business and industry adorn the top of the dollar rankings; but they are circuitously beholden to political connections, Congressional lobbyists and old fashioned payoffs. Nevertheless, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, John D Rockefeller and the Rothschilds –to take American case– were not politicians. more..

Why taxes on smaller cars were hiked?

Aug 13 (SO) Hard on the heels of the successful slamming of the brakes when tackling the sharp acceleration of gold imports that led to a heavy foreign exchange outflow in recent times, the Govt last week decided to deploy a similar strategy to curtail an extraordinary spike in the volumes of smaller vehicle imports. Issuing a press release on Wednesday (1), Ministry of Finance and Planning announced that excise duties on more..

Medical profession, no longer the dignified calling!

Aug 13 (SO) In an era where individuals try to cling on to positions of power, come what may, it was refreshing but at the same time frustrating to hear of the resignation of Prof Colvin Gunaratne as Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), last week. Gunaratne’s tenure as head of the apex body that purportedly regulates the medical profession was short, barely ten months. He took over from Prof Carlo Fonseka, his predecessor both at SLMC and at Colombo Medical Faculty, more..

MMDA: Who is blocking reform of this discriminatory law?

Aug 13 (CT) SL’s Muslim women are being denied family and other rights available to other women under this country’s constitution. The government committee set up nine years ago to reform the out-dated and discriminatory Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) has finally made its recommendations for change. But six months later, the govt has taken no action. Why this urgently needed reform is being blocked is a mystery. Or is it? Report of the Justice Saleem more..