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Dr Dewasiri fears poll reforms might fall by the wayside in the 100-day programme

Feb 25 (Island) Reforms to the voting system could not be expected from the govt’s 100-day programme in spite of it being included in the agreement that was signed by President Maithripala Sirisena with political parties and civil organizations before the presidential poll, member of the NMSJ Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri warned. He said that the main points of the agreement which was signed NMSJ led by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha more..

'Tax increase on hybrid cars a mistake'

Feb 25 (EN) The hiking of taxes on hybrids was a mistake, Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka who was a former environmental minister said. Sri Lanka's new UNP-led administration where the Minister Ranawaka's JHU is a coalition partner sharply raised taxes on hybrid cars, which were previously lower than conventionally powered cars. "It is a mistake actually," Ranawaka told Sri Lanka's Foreign Correspondents Association. more..

SL woos US firms, assures govt support

Feb 25 (FT) The Govt yesterday called on American companies to explore fresh investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, assuring an era of good governance and support as well as a favourable climate. Request was made by Minister Ravi Karunanayake during an interactive breakfast meeting organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). Supporting the positive outlook were top-level policy makers more..

BBS likens MS-RW regime to blind elephant; opposes national govt

Feb 25 (FT) The BBS compared the Govt to a blind elephant roaming in the forest while opposing the moves taken by the present regime to establish a national govt in the country after calling it an attempt to guard their seats and positions in Parliament. Galagodaathe Gnanasara Thera said that the minority govt and the majority Opposition have to reveal to the country their reasons behind proposing a national govt. more..

Hakeem intervenes in simmering Trinco dispute

Feb 25 (Island) A group of Trincomalee fishermen has launched a protest campaign demanding that migrant fishermen be prevented from operating in the eastern waters. Fishermen have urged the govt to take immediate action or face the consequences. Following a protest opposite Kuchchuveli Divisional Secretariat by members of 28 fisheries societies on Feb 12, the Secretariat has assured them that the issue would be settled more..

PM says govt received overwhelming mandate

Feb 25 (DN) “Over 6.4 million people gave a mandate for the President, the govt and the Cabinet of Ministers. The people can be asked to give a fresh mandate, if somebody has any reservation over the mandate that the existing govt has”, declared PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He said that some quarters are contemplating as to how this mandate to the incumbent president and the government should be destroyed. more..

Prices slashed on 13 items, but have you and I benefitted?

Feb 25 (ST) It’s three weeks since the government introduced price reductions in its interim budget on fuel, gas, milk powder and other selected items, but benefits from some of these cuts are yet to trickle down to the people due to a range of reasons, a survey in the market revealed. Some of the benefits, including that of the reduction of fuel are yet to seep down to the users of three-wheelers, parents who send their children by more..

Tamil Nadu shoots down repatriation

Feb 25 (SL) The Tamil Nadu govt on Tuesday said that any discussion on the voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka is premature and repatriation should be deferred in view of the “prevailing atmosphere of fear and intimidation, the presence of the Army in Tamil areas, non-settlement of internally displaced people and absence of any concrete and credible measures taken by the Sri Lankan govt.” more..

Fuel import contracts continue

Feb 25 (CT) As the previous govt had not taken steps to blacklist the three companies that imported substandard fuel, imports through these companies will continue until the end of 2015, State Minister of Power and Energy, Palitha Range Bandara said. Samples of stocks of fuel imported to this country through these particular companies will be subjected to testing at the laboratories of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). more..

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe speaks his heart out 100-day programme

Feb 25 (DM) State Minister for Higher Education Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe maintains that the promises made during the presidential campaign period have taken a backseat with the general elections in the offing. Prof. Wijesinghe was candid on the reasons that led to his resignation, on the reforms he planned in the higher education sector. He has expressed negative views on the progress of the 100-day programme more..

A new life in ISIS which empowers Muslim women

Feb 25 (DM) The most frightening aspect of ISIS (Islamic State) militants and their method of warfare is the execution of captives, ranging from soldiers, journalists and aid workers to poverty-stricken labourers risking their lives to send remittances home – just about anyone deemed hostile to ISIS interests and ideology. The recent, gruesome execution of captured Jordanian pilot Moath al-Kasasbeh, followed by the mass murder of 21 Egyptian expatriate workers, more..

Rectify your errors prior to planning a comeback

Feb 25 (DM) The public meeting called by three miniature political parties with a view to bringing former President Rajapaksa back to the political limelight has been a topic in the media for the past one week. It drew the attention of the people due to the massive crowd who the speakers at the meeting described as a section of the 5.8 million people who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential election. However, what the apologists of the we want Mahinda campaign who boast about more..

Shirani fights back

Feb 25 (DM) Defense Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty PC appearing for former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike in the bribery case against her objected to the termination of the case without a hearing stressing the need to punish the culprits who created these accounts. He asked Court to implement the earlier Court order given to the national Development Bank (NDB) to permit the defence to access the computer logins of more..

University admissions to get delayed

Feb 25 (Island) A delay in appointing the new Chairman and members of the UGC following the resignation of UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama two weeks ago under political pressure would affect university admissions for the next year. UGC was scheduled to release the Student Book for the 2014 /15 academic year for students who had passed the GCE AL exam in 2014 but it would further delayed due to the dismissal of the Council, according to sources. more..

All drugs to be manufactured locally: Rajitha

Feb 25 (CT) At the Breakfast Meeting held by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) yesterday 'Sri Lanka, the way forward! – What's in Store for the Business Community, guest ministers responded to questions posed by the audience and made the following comments. Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne responding to a question on the implementation of the national drug policy had this to say. "We have a pressing problem in the country and that is renal disease. more..

Govt - SLFP discuss reforms

Feb 25 (DM) National Unity Govt which includes the UNP will meet the SLFP on Thursday to discuss the proposed constitutional reforms, PM Ranil Wickremesighe informed the Maha Sanga yesterday. He told a large group of prominent Buddhist monks at Temple Trees that the Constitutional Reforms Bill will be presented in Parliament as soon as possible. PM assured that several other laws pertaining to safeguarding more..

Rajapaksa invokes God of war before comeback bid

Feb 25 (ENS) Defeated President Mahinda Rajapaksa is harnessing supernatural as well as temporal forces in a determined bid to come back to power through the June parliamentary elections. On Monday, he made a ceremonial offering of a gold plated trisulam (a trident associated with Lord Siva) at the ancient Murugan temple in Kataragama (Kadirgamam) in South Lanka. Murugan or Skanda is the Lankan God of War. Rajapaksa was emulating the Sinhalese Prince Dutugamunu, more..

Soldiers who rescued Dutch tourist promoted

Feb 25 (Island) The new Army Commander has decided to promote eight soldiers of the Sinha Regiment, who helped save the life of a Dutch tourist who fell off World’s End at Horton Plains last weekend to the next rank and they will also be presented with mementos. The tourist fell from the 4,000 foot cliff while taking a photograph of his wife. The victim M. Lendas (35) was on his honeymoon with his wife Linda (35). They were part of a group of tourists at the national park. more..

'Called-in Tharanga can bat anywhere'

Feb 25 (DM) Upul Tharanga’s proven ability to bat anywhere in the order and his brilliant recent form in domestic circuit influenced them to call him in to be stand-by for injured all rounder Jeevan Mendis, chief national selector Sanath Jayasuriya said yesterday. Jayasuriya added that it would also mean the team might have to use more of Tillakaratne Dilshan’s hitherto under-utilised spin in the on-going ICC Cricket World Cup. more..

Gold recovered from Sri Lanka national

Feb 25 (Hindu) Ending a wait that lasted about three days, officials on Tuesday succeeded in recovering the gold stuck in the abdomen of a Sri Lankan national who attempted to smuggle gold into the country by swallowing it. Muhammad Suwair, 46, had swallowed five gold biscuits of 100 grams each. “We have recovered 12 of the 13 gold pieces from his stomach,” they said. Hospital authorities were about to discharge him on Tuesday when an X-ray revealed a gold piece inside his stomach. more..

Champika says he helped to topple MR regime to punish crooks

Feb 25 (FT) Minister Champika Ranawaka said that he had helped to topple the Rajapaksa regime and assumed duties at the Ministry of Power and Energy again because he wanted to punish and take legal action against corrupt individuals at the ministry. Speaking to the media after inspecting the Muthuragawella oil storage complex, Ranawaka said: “One of the reasons for this Govt to come to power was the dreadful dictatorship the previous regime maintained in power & energy sector. more..

UPFA grassroots politicos all out to bring back MR

Feb 25 (Island) UPFA Provincial Councillors and local govt members in Western Province have launched a campaign demanding former President Rajapaksa as the PM Candidate and an immediate end to moves to remove Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga. Their first meeting was held at the Kelaniya Pradeshiya Sabha Auditorium on Monday with the participation of the majority of UPFA local govt heads and more..

President pledges to take measures to eradicate kidney disease

Feb 25 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasised that all possible measures will be taken by his Govt to save the entire society from the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) that has become a challenge not only to the North-Central Province but also to the entire country. President speaking at an event held at Padaviya Mahasen College on Monday evening under the theme ‘Prevention of Causes for Kidney Disease,’ said the present Govt had identified the causes of the disease and more..

Gunaratnam overstays visa, now dodging authorities

Feb 25 (CT) The Immigration and Emigration Department (IED) had failed to trace Kumar Gunaratnam the leader of the FSP whose tourist visa expired on 31 Jan. Gunaratnam, who became an Australian citizen under the name Noel Mudalige arrived in Sri Lanka seven days before the Presidential Election, on a 30-day tourist visa. He is accused of taking part in political activities to promote the presidential candidate of his party, thereby violating the terms of his visa. more..

Finance Minister asks: Why not BMW-owning farmers?

Feb 25 (Island) Sri Lanka’s farming and agriculture sector needs to be commercialized to a degree that local farmers will create substantial wealth for themselves to even become BMW-owners, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He said so during a well-attended public discussion held at the Colombo Hilton organized by the MP Foundation, titled, Two Hours with Finance Minister. "Farming and agriculture is over protected. more..

Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku assumes duties as chairman, NSBM and NIBM

Feb 25 (Island) Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku, a scholar, administrator and diplomat, assumed duties as the new chairman of National School of Business Management (NSBM) and National Institute of Business Management (NIBM) with effect from February 2015. He has been trained in the discipline of economics both locally and internationally with a Bachelor’s degree from University of Kelaniya and Post Graduate qualifications from University of New England, Australia. more..

PLC’s momentum continues in Q3

Feb 25 (FT) Upholding the growth momentum seen in the first half of the financial year 2014/15, People’s Leasing Group has successfully declared a post-tax profit of Rs. 1.1 billion for the third quarter, reflecting an impressive growth of 31.5% from a year earlier. Cumulative post-tax profit of the Group reached Rs. 2.98 billion at the end of nine months revealing 29.2% YoY growth. People’s Leasing & Finance (PLC) also reported 21.4% YoY growth achieved a post-tax profit of Rs. 2.67 billion more..

Cheer for private sector credit!

Feb 25 (FT) Private sector credit in December turned merry, recording a historic high and enabling a finish to 2014 with growth reserving the contraction experienced in 2013 over 2012. Credit extended to the private sector by commercial banks grew by 8.8% on a y-o-y basis, maintaining its upward trend since August 2014. “In absolute terms, credit obtained by the private sector recorded a historic high of Rs. 76.5 billion during the more..

New tax likely to drive small-scale brewers out of business

Feb 25 (DM) Govt is attempting to create an oligopolistic market dominated by a handful of companies in alcohol production by implementing the ad-hoc Rs.200 million monthly tax, which will drive small-scale producers out of business, rendering over 4,000 unemployed. “Out of the 28 manufactories, only three or four can afford to pay the proposed amount of Rs.200 million a month. The average payment by the rest of the companies, as of now, is around Rs.20 million per month,” more..

Supreme Court affirms legality of CIESOT for benefit of Ceylinco Insurance employees

Feb 25 (FT) Supreme Court affirmed that the Employee Share Ownership Trust of Ceylinco Insurance (CIESOT) was a legal and a duly-constructed trust belonging to the employees of Ceylinco Insurance and that it is in accordance with the Trust Ordinance of Sri Lanka and also this has been confirmed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Through the same order, the Supreme Court also said that the status quo of CIESOT should be restored to status prior more..

Sri Lanka slaps price controls, rulers punish SMEs with high taxes

Feb 25 (EN) Sri Lanka's ruler have started punishing citizen-owned small businesses and others after keeping prices of essential goods artificially high for years through high taxes to maintain a bloated state. Sri Lanka's rulers kept prices of essential goods high for years by charging high import taxes on basic foods and have imposed price controls and have started pushing small and medium businesses, many of whom still more..

Mobile technology helps Sri Lanka cope with climate change

Feb 25 (TRF) Floods and landslides linked to climate change have battered parts of Sri Lanka in the past two years, disrupting food output, but scientists believe a new programme to install low-cost weather stations based on open-source technology could help farmers adapt to increasingly wild weather. New Mobile Weather Stations, made mainly from local parts, are starting to give farmers quick access to rainfall data, so they can better plan for floods or other extreme weather, more..

Higher food prices trigger inflation

Feb 25 (Island) Year-on-year headline inflation increased to 3.2% in January 2015 from 2.1% in Dec 2014 while annual average inflation declined marginally to 3.2% from 3.3% recorded in the previous month. The increase in inflation in January is attributed to higher food prices, which have now broadly stabilised. The impact of the recent downward price revisions of domestic petroleum prices as well as of essential consumer items would be reflected in official price indices from Feb, more..

Thisara seeks bowling mojo at lucky MCG

Feb 25 (CI) Outside the island, no city is home to more Sri Lankans than Melbourne. All through the city, Sinhala is heard in trams and greengrocers. Jaffna Tamil is spoken in restaurants and doctor's offices. It is Melbourne too, that has become a favourite overseas residence for former players, as well as the city that produced the first Australia cricketer of Sri Lankan heritage, in Ashton Agar. more..

Reflections on the modus operandi and what awaits us

Feb 25 (Island) "The nationalist Rajapaksa, who ruthlessly put down the Tamil Insurgency in Sri Lanka was defeated in the recent election in part due to India and Western support for his rival. "This observation by an outsider Munir Akram, a former Pakistan ambassador to UN (The Wolf and the Fox-The Island 2/4) took me down memory lane. It also made me reflect on the modus operandi used by US and India to support the rival. 30 years ago in 1977 or so, I brought out a collection of essays more..

Tread cautiously: Benefits and costs of infrastructure investment

Feb 25 (ST) The improvement of the country’s economic infrastructure was an achievement of the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt. However, there were large infrastructure investments whose costs were enormous and benefits doubtful. These include large sports stadiums, a second international airport and the expansion of the Hambantota harbour. The costs of infrastructure projects are also deemed excessive owing to lack of transparency in awarding contracts and corruption. more..

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