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Maithri mends with mini-reshuffle

May 23 (FT) President Sirisena yesterday effected a mini yet decisive reshuffle of the Cabinet of Ministers, reinforcing his authority in the Coalition Govt despite reservations from UNP leader and PM. Contrary to expectations of a wide-scale change, what the country saw yesterday was a revision of the status quo of nine Ministers, most notably the swap of portfolios between the Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs. more..

More subjects under Ravi

May 23 (DM) Ravi Karunanayake who was sworn in as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs is to be assigned additional subjects and institutions which were previously not under the purview of this ministry. Institutions such as the Development Lotteries Board, the National Lotteries Board and the Mahapola Scholarship Trust Fund that were under the Trade Ministry are to be subjects allocated to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. In line with the decision taken jointly by President and PM more..

Postal workers agitate over attempts to sell heritage buildings of the Dept.

May 23 (Island) Convenor of Joint Postal Trade Unions said that there was an attempt by the govt to sell heritage buildings of Department in Kandy, Galle Fort and Nuwara Eliya for a song on the pretext of promoting tourism. Post office in the Galle Fort was one of the five oldest post offices in the country. "If those buildings are to be renovated that has to be done by Postal Department and if the govt ignores the warnings of the postal workers they will resort to strong trade union action," more..

Arjuna removed from Ports Ministry amidst turmoil over H’tota harbour deal with China

May 23 (Island) Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga who has thwarted repeated attempts to finalise a controversial agreement with China on the Hambantota port lost his ministerial portfolio to Mahinda Samarasinghe in the mini Cabinet reshuffle yesterday. Of the changes made yesterday in keeping with an agreement between Prez and PM, SLFP took over the Ports & Shipping Ministry from UNP. more..

Gayantha says heavy responsibility as Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Ministrer

May 23 (FT) Newly appointed Minister of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Gayantha Karunathilake said yesterday that he has heavy responsibility from now on. “I was working as the Media and Parliament Rehabilitation minister since last two and half years. I believed that ministry gave me opportunities to work with media institutions and other relevant authorities to establish a sound media freedom in the country. When President Sirisena took over the country in 2015, more..

SLT offers total voice/data solutions for micro, SME businesses

May 23 (DN) Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL) with the concurrence of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce will shortly introduce a nationwide program to bring all micro, small and medium scale businesses to a mainstream platform with the objective of lending support and guidance for a productive and improved overall performance by this sector. “We will support those engaged in any formal or informal business or trading that provides a service to more..

JVP to seek legal advice on Cabinet reshuffle

May 23 (DM) A proper interpretation is needed from legal experts to determine the validity of today's Cabinet reshuffle as it is questionable whether it has gone beyond the provisions set out in 19th Amendment, JVP said. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that his party would seek legal advice on this matter. He said according to 19th Amendment, Cabinet had to be limited to 48 with 45 deputy ministers but however, more..

Rs 2 million compensation for Dulanjali

May 23 (DM) Colombo High Court today ordered garment factory owner Rollin M. Perera to pay Rs.2 million to President R. Premadasa’s daughter Dulanjali Jayakody as compensation for the mental and physical agony she underwent. Mr. Perera had paid back a loan obtained from Ms. Jayakody with 403 currency notes which the private bank where she had gone to deposit the cash found them to be a bundle of forged notes.   On pleading guilty to the charges, High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga more..

LTL to build 100 MW power station in B'desh

May 23 (DN) Lakdhanavi Limited, power generation arm of LTL Holdings Group, has been awarded another contract by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) through international competitive bidding process. This is to construct a 114 MW thermal Power plant, using Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) on Build, Own & Operate Basis to supply electricity to the national grid of Bangladesh for 15 years. Relevant Letter of Intent (LOI) was issued to Lakdhanvi Ltd on May 15, 2017. more..

Online transactions to be taxed

May 23 (ST) As the SL e-commerce sector blossoms from infancy to maturity, govt is gearing to regularise the sector and impose taxes on online transactions. A common platform is to be created to facilitate online firms such as Amazon, e-bay, etc to collect taxes on behalf of the govt for transactions carried out within SL. Information Communication Agency (ICTA) will create a common platform to facilitate these online more..

Angoda Lokka, several gangsters arrested

May 23 (DN) A group of underworld gangsters including Notorious criminal Angoda Lokka, who is said to have been involved in the attack on Prison bus at Kalutara has been arrested in India. Seven suspects including underworld figure Aruna Udayashantha alias Samayan and two prisons officials were killed, when a bus carrying prisoners was shot at in Ethanamadala, Kalutara on Feb 27. Police launched a massive man hunt following the incident to arrest the culprits. more..

UN urges to act against those inciting hatred

May 23 (CG) The United Nations (UN) has urged the Govt to act against those inciting hatred. UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Una McCauley said that last week Sri Lanka celebrated Vesak and this week the teaching of the Lord Buddha are being drowned out. She urged the Government and the people of Sri Lanka to stand united against those inciting hatred. Her statement followed a spate of attacks targeting Muslim property, including mosques and business establishments. more..

Malaysia to peg US$ 300m in leisure sector

May 23 (DN) Malaysian govt and private sector were looking at investing nearly US$ 300 million on theme parks and other leisure sectors. In addition Malaysian investors were also keen to invest in oil, gas and energy sectors in SL, said Malaysian High Commissioner, Wan Abdullah. “We are encouraging Malaysian companies to engage in projects in SL like the construction of power stations and construction and more..

Bus fare on E01 too high: Gemunu

May 23 (CT) Bus fare on the Southern Expressway (E01) is too high and the National Transport Commission (NTC) needs to look into the matter, when annual bus fare revision takes place in June, LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said. He said the bus fare on Southern Expressway is thrice the normal fare and needs to be reduced. "There is an issue with categorization of the bus services here. Buses operating on the Southern Expressway are categorized as super luxury. more..

SLC ExCo decisions

May 23 (DN) The following is a compilation of key Executive Committee decisions taken at the Executive Committee meeting held on the 20 May at the Sri Lanka Cricket Headquarters. 1) Renovations & Repairs to the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium; 2) Augmentation of Stadia & Online Ticketing; 3) ExCo members to travel to UK at own cost; 4) National Development Projects; 5) Annual grants to the membership; 6) Sri Lanka to support Zimbabwe’s bid to host ICCWC 2019 more..

Sangakkara to retire from first-class cricket

May 23 (CB) Kumar Sangakkara will retire from first-class cricket at the end of the current English county season, he announced on Monday. Former SL international, now playing county cricket for Surrey, went past 20,000 first-class runs in the county's latest County Championship match at Lord's against Middlesex. Those runs, first Sri Lankan to reach the milestone, have come at an average of 51.18. more..

New CSE Chief upbeat; to accelerate capital market development

May 23 (FT) Expressing optimism over investing in the capital market, newly-appointed Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman Ray Abeywardena said the support of all stakeholders was key to ensuring rapid yet sustainable capital market development in the country. “Globally a stock market is the barometer of the vibrancy of the country’s economy. We need to develop the Colombo Bourse the same way for which due recognition of and cooperation from all stakeholders is necessary. more..

Hayleys ends FY 17 with record-breaking performance

May 23 (FT) Hayleys Plc said it had concluded the 2016/17 financial year with its strongest performance to date, setting a new benchmark for turnover among listed Sri Lankan corporates. Revenue during the year increased by 21% Year-on-Year (YoY) to Rs. 111.4 billion supported by strong performances across the group’s core businesses spanning transportation, purification, agriculture, construction materials and power and energy. more..

Face the Nation

Resolving the National Question: Where is the key?

May 23 (Island) The current debate on constitutional change reminded me of this old joke about drunkard guy looking for a lost key. I shall use the old Marxian term - the national question - rather than the conventional terms - Tamil ethnic question or the ethnic problem - commonly used in the current discourse. It has been incessantly argued with some justification that a new constitution or revolutionary changes in the existing constitution is the key to resolving the national question as more..

Sri Lanka needs Malinga magic upfront

May 23 (CT) After much preparation, high intensity residential training, hiring experts, several lavish Media displays and send off, SL camp has not gone as planned where the islanders were comprehensively beaten by seven wickets by associate nation, Scotland who isn't even in the top 12 ODI rankings. SL had their usual problems during the innings as they lost the last five wickets for just 13 runs failing to finish off well. Thereafter came the concern which SL suffered more..

'Probe Commissions now just name boards'

May 23 (CT) The Bribery Commission, the Large Scale Corruption Commission and the Corruption Secretariat have simply become name boards only. The thieves from then and those of today are all waiting to close down the FCID, according to Adviser of Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) Keerthi Tennakoon. "One month after Lacille de Silva was removed from his post as Secretary, PRECIFAC became a notice board only. more..

Dignity of the plantation worker

May 23 (ST) In the past few months going through a lot of literature, events and even new coffee table books as SL’s primary export commodity tea marks its 150th anniversary, there seems to be something missing in the celebrations: The worker! SL Tea Board and the industry at large have prepared a year of celebrations to mark a momentous occasion when the father of tea, Scottish lad James Taylor planted the first tea seedlings at Loolecondera estate in Galaha in the central hills in 1867. more..

Cabinet reshuffle a damp squib

May 23 (Island) The much spoken of cabinet reshuffle has now been completed and in the end it turned out to be a damp squib. Whether this will help the govt to get its act together is highly debatable. As foreign minister, how different will Ravi K be to Mangala Samaraweera? Perhaps Ravi K may not have agreed to the controversial UNHRC resolution of October 2015 with the same enthusiasm as Samaraweera had he been the foreign minister at that time. more..

Population boom

May 23 (CT) State should identify the implications of fertility rate increase SL experienced in the last decade and develop overall strategies to curb the unexpected trend, Prof. Indralal de Silva said. He noted that the total fertility rate has increased to 2.4 in 2011 from 1.9 reported in 1998 and claimed that if strategies are not implemented to curb fertility rates then country's population could even rise to 26-27 million in a few decades time. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket to spend 70 M on RPICS

May 23 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is set to spend Rs 70 million to fit the R. Premadasa Int'l Cricket Stadium (RPICS) with a complete crowd management system. This is one of the decisions along with numerous expenses decided upon by the Executive Committee of SLC when they met yesterday. The 40 turnstile gates that will efficiently manage the entry and exit of over 24,000 spectators expected to visit the stadium for each match. The first phase of this project was implemented more..

Why doctors and students are protesting against SL’s only Private Medical College

May 23 (GV) In Sri Lanka, doctors and students have been protesting for months, requesting the govt to shut down the private SAITM, the only private university in SL currently training medical students. They are against the privatization of education and claim that opening private universities will drastically affect children from poor families’ access to education opportunities. In Sri Lanka, education is state funded and offered free of charge at all levels, including university level. more..

JVP Press Conference: Cabinet Reshuffle

Editorial: Of that farce

May 23 (Island) The Yahapalana Mountain, having been in labour for several months, delivered a tiny mouse yesterday. The country saw a mini Cabinet reshuffle. Those who had naively expected a radical Cabinet shake-up were disappointed. The govt has sought to pull the wool over the eyes of the irate people who are demanding some economic relief immediately. The task of improving the performance of a govt is not something that could be accomplished through a Cabinet reshuffle. more..

Victory over Remembrance: A day of division

May 23 (GV) On May 18, 2009, Sri Lanka ended a decade long civil war. The day after, May 19, has traditionally been celebrated as Victory Day and marked with military parades. That is, until May 19, 2015, when Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne announced that the Govt of Sri Lanka would instead mark Remembrance Day in memory of those who had lost their lives. The move gave fresh hope to families of the North, who often had their memorial day activities blocked while more..

'Nationalizing SAITM would be a mistake'

May 23 (CT) Former State Minister of Higher Education, Rajiva Wijesinha spoke to Ceylon Today about the current controversy regarding SAITM. During the interview he stressed that SAITM was started in good faith, and the then government was at fault in not smoothing out any contentious issues immediately. But the questions with regard to quality are specious, because similar standards are not applied to govt universities. more..

Trump trumped by media he threatened

May 23 (ST) During his presidential election campaign last year the ever-loquacious and unpredictable Donald Trump threatened to change Washington which he called a swamp.  Not even four months after occupying the Oval Office Trump is sinking in the swamp he said he would clean up. Caught up in a labyrinth of charges of misconduct and worse, several Congressional and prosecutorial investigations into them, it seems to have escaped many that the week of leaks that produced more..

GSP plus: Renewed opportunities and policy imperatives

May 23 (ST) The European Union’s decision last week to restore the GSP plus concession allows Sri Lankan exports tariff free entry to its 28 countries. This could be a turning point in the country’s trade as the EU is a foremost market for the country’s exports. This opportunity must be seized to increase exports to the EU by adopting economic policies that would increase production of tradable goods. Sri Lanka became a beneficiary of GSP Plus in 2005. It lost this concession in December 2009, more..

Ramadan: A time for self-restraint that purifies the soul

May 23 (SO) Muslims around the world welcome the start of the blessed month of Ramazan on Friday, May 26, based on the sighting of the crescent moon. It is a month of fasting and not simply about abstaining from food and water for 14 hours or so a day. It’s a month of spiritual journey that helps purify the soul, refocus attention on God and practice self sacrifice. Sunday Observer interviewed Ash-Sheikh A.C. Agar more..

Reversing growing trust deficit in the North

May 23 (CT) During the period of the previous govt May 18 became a day of tension in the North. The previous govt celebrated the war victory over the LTTE in the South of the country, while prohibiting any public memorial services for those who died in the last battles in the North. The report last week that police in the North had obtained a court order to put on hold a commemoration event in Mullivaikkal scheduled for May 18, the day the war ended, therefore took the centre stage of more..

Is the constitution a key?

May 23 (CT) The current debate on constitutional change reminded me this old joke about drunkard guy looking for a lost key. In this discussion, I shall use the old Marxian term –the national question – rather than the conventional terms -the Tamil ethnic question or the ethnic problem- commonly used in the current discourse. It has been incessantly argued with some justification that a new constitution or a revolutionary changes in existing constitution is the key to resolving the national question more..

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