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Delimitation and its effects on minorities

Mar 19 (CT) With talks of electoral reforms taking centre stage in the political arena and civil society platforms, Ceylon Today spoke to an expert on demarcating electoral boundaries, delimitation and its effect on minority communities. A professional Land and Building Surveyor and the former Joint Secretary of the All Ceylon Muslim League, M.I.M Mohideen, also the former coordinating secretary of the SLMC under the leadership of late Minister Ashraff. more..

'Sri Lankan consumers seen as powerless'

Mar 19 (Island) Consumer Law was first enacted and given necessary teeth in Sri Lanka in 1979, yet Sri Lanka is still far from seeing an organized consumer lobby flexing its muscles to demand its due place in society, Satya Sharma of Consumer International said in Colombo on Monday. Sharma said so while speaking at the World Consumer Rights Day Forum 2015 held at IPS organized in collaboration with CAA more..

Coriander Tea enters market

Mar 19 (DN) For the first time in the world, a Sri Lankan company, CLP International (Pvt) Ltd (CLP) has formulated Coriander Tea targeting the global market. CLP's Chairman and Managing Director Chathura Laknath said they have already secured an order from the leading British supermarket chain, TESCO to market this tea from next month. He said that the recipe for the product ‘Change Coriander Tea’ was developed together with medico doctor, Thushan Ariyapala (current CEO), more..

NDB adjudged Best Bank in Sri Lanka

Mar 19 (DN) The Global Finance magazine of USA has pronounced National Development Bank as the Best Bank in Sri Lanka, under the Emerging Market Banks' awards in Asia Pacific 2015. The award is conferred by the editors of Global Finance magazine, based on assessment of input from industry analysts, corporate executives and banking consultants. Criteria for choosing the winners include growth in assets, profitability, strategic relationships, customer service, more..

The sadness of Mahela's unscripted farewell

Mar 19 (CI) Yesterday afternoon I watched Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara at the nets. I have seen them bat together on a cricket field a million times, but watching two batsmen in the nets is different. They are next to each other, facing the ball at the same time, one right-handed, one left-handed, their bats facing one another, Sangakkara's lifted higher, Jayawardene's coming down straighter, but each making more..

Need for FATCA Inter-Governmental Agreement with the US

Mar 19 (ST) The official website of the United States (US) Inland Revenue Service (IRS) shows that 67 Sri Lankan financial institutions mostly banks, few stockbrokers, finance companies and trust funds have entered into agreements on their own with the US Tax Office to assist the US Govt to eliminate tax evasion by US persons. The well-knitted Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) scheme established by the US Congress “forces” Foreign Financial Institutions (FFI’s) to enter into more..

Delhi plays Buddhist card in Lanka to send signal to China

Mar 19 (IE) Moving to deepen its engagement with Colombo and counter Beijing’s influence in the region, New Delhi is hosting a dialogue on vinaya (code of conduct) between high-ranking Theravada monks from Sri Lanka and counterparts of the Nalanda tradition — the first dialogue at this level between the two Buddhist traditions. In another first, the Dalai Lama will be meeting the Sri Lankan monks Thursday and they plan to invite him to their country. more..

Hirdaramani opens first phase of 850-staff apparel factory in Mullaitivu

Mar 19 (FT) Hirdaramani Group has officially commenced work at their newest facility in Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mullaitivu, with an opening ceremony to mark the occasion attended by the Senior Management of the Group. Currently employing 150 Sewing Machine Operators (SMOs), the Group is projecting a capacity of over 500 machines, 600 SMOs and a total cadre of over 850 employees by end of 2015, delivering a monthly capacity more..

Inflows to take pressure off interest, exchange rates

Mar 19 (CT) Treasury (T) Bill yields which were increasing since the advent of the new govt, reversed its trend at yesterday's T Bill primary auction which saw the weighted average yields (WAYs) of 91 and 182 day (3 & 6 months) maturities falling sharply by 31 and 44 bps each to 6.79% and 6.87% respectively and that of the one year maturity by 38 bps to 6.99%. One market source said that these falls may be because of foreign interest which however he couldn't corroborate. more..

SL Pakistan Friendship Evening March 21

Mar 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka Pakistan Friendship Association (SLPAFA) in collaboration with Pakistan High Commission Colombo will be organizing a fun-filled Fund Raising Friendship Evening on Saturday (21) at the Grand Oriental Hotel, Fort, for the 3rd consecutive year. The event is expected to draw large number of distinguished personalities from Sri Lanka as well as Pakistani community. The event will be featuring an exciting and interesting Master Quiz Competition more..

UN honors SL peace keeping troops in Haiti

Mar 19 (SLA) The customary UN medal awarding ceremony for 850 Sri Lankan peacekeepers in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) took place recently. A special press announcement, released by the MINUSTAH Military Public Information Office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti went on to state that the exemplary service and dedication of the Sri Lankan peacekeepers deserves commendation. more..

Unions urge PM and Govt to grant wage hike thro’ legal provisions

Mar 19 (ST) A group of unions has appealed to Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government to provide private sector workers with a monthly wage hike of Rs. 2,500 through legal provision passed in parliament as previously done in year 2005 and without further delay. “In a situation where investors/employers are allowed to enjoy unaccounted benefits and profits, we believe and are convinced, the workers have an undisputed right to share such benefits,” more..

HC confirms conviction for attempting to smuggle heroin to Sri Lanka

Mar 19 (Hindu) Madras High Court Bench here has confirmed the conviction and 12 years of rigorous imprisonment imposed on four individuals for attempting to smuggle 17.384 kg of heroin to Sri Lanka through Pudumadam seashore. Justice M. Sathyanarayanan dismissed the joint criminal appeal filed by Ponmuthuvel, Pitchai, Murugan and Muniasamy considering the huge quantity of narcotic substance involved in the case, the gravity of the offence and its impact on society. more..

SLFP alleges CIABOC playing double game

Mar 19 (Island) The SLFP accused the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) of adopting double standards in dealing with complaints lodged with it. Matara District MP Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the CIABOC hadn’t prevented Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran, now under investigation for his alleged involvement in a massive Treasury bond scam from leaving the country though more..

UNHRC chief due in June

Mar 19 (DM) UN Human Rights Commissioner Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad, will visit Sri Lanka in June this year, Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera informed Parliament. Mr. Samaraweera said this visit was in line with the UNHRC’s new focus on Sri Lanka. He also said Sri Lankan forces were slated to play a greater role in the UN’s peace keeping activities in the future. Mr. Samaraweera said it was necessary to clear the reputation of the Sri Lankan armed forces more..

Owners unable to identify their lands

Mar 19 (CT) NPC representatives, including the Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran, visited to the lands recently released in Valai, Valikamam-East, to inspect the facilities provided in the resettling process. Following the many protests carried out by the people of Valalaai urging the release of their lands, nearly 250 acres of land was released in Valai last Friday. When the people went to visit their lands on 13 March, after a lapse of 25 years, they were not able to identify their lands. more..

PM seeks PSC probe into stock market

Mar 19 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a motion to Secretary General of Parliament seeking the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to investigate whether insider trading and other malpractices have taken place at the Stock Market since 2010. The motion said that serious doubts had arisen regarding the transparency and propriety of share market dealings and it was also reported that more..

National Procurement Commission to ensure transparency, competitive bidding

Mar 19 (FT) National Procurement Commission proposed under the 19th Amendment of the Constitution will formulate fair, competitive and cost effective transactions in Govt infrastructure tender activities, asserted Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva. He said that the commission would investigate unsolicited Bills approved by the Govt in transactions with private construction parties for public investment projects which had not featured a competitive tender-bidding process. more..

Ferial Ashraff moves CA against Parliament SG over pension

Mar 19 (Island) Mrs. Ferial Ashraff former Minister, MP for ten years, has complained to the Court of Appeal, against a decision of the Secretary General of Parliament dated Oct 24, 2014. Ashraff, who is the widow of former Minister and founder leader of SLMC, late M.H.M. Ashraff has been informed by the Parliament Secretary General in writing that she could not draw two pensions. She should choose between her own pension and that of her late husband, who had been a MP for 11 years. more..

Port City airspace: Chinese Embassy denies jurisdiction

Mar 19 (CT) Controversy went viral yesterday over the China-Colombo Port City Project after confirmation by the Govt of Sri Lanka that airspace over the 20 hectares of the mega project had indeed been ceded to China under the outright 99-year lease agreement between China and the former govt although the Chinese company handling the project downplayed the claim. China's US$ 1.4 billion plan to build a city on reclaimed land near more..

CHEC agrees to comply with Sri Lanka's decision on Port City

Mar 19 (DN) The China Harbour Engineering Company would agree with whatever the decision taken by the Sri Lankan Government with regard to the Colombo Port City Project, Vice President of the Company Tang Qiaoliang said on Wednesday. He made this observation yesterday to a group of media personnel from Sri Lanka at the Company's head office in Beijing. He said that the Company would assist the Sri Lankan government in the investigation initiated by the government. more..

Sajin among 22 UPFA men under probe

Mar 19 (Island) Police Financial Fraud Investigation Unit (FFIU) yesterday summoned UPFA MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena to question him over an alleged financial fraud at the People’s Leasing and Finance Company. The police had received about 22 complaints against the former govt politicians by yesterday. Police Media Unit said that MP Vass had been grilled for about three hours on 33 vehicles he had obtained through People Leasing and Finance Company under the previous govt. more..

'I would not be insincere to the feel of UNP'

Mar 19 (DN) I have a policy and a political philosophy that I have chosen, but I will not be insincere to the feel of the UNP, declared President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. Addressing Media heads at the President’s House he said he would do his politics with his old party the SLFP towards achieving his objective of creating an environment to set up a National Unity Govt with all political parties for betterment of the country. more..

The 100-day deadline was a political faux pas

Mar 19 (DM) It is now apparent that the govt cannot in a mere 100 days or whatever is left of it now, for no fault of its own, keep to its promise and deliver what we wanted. Let us set set out our requests and what was promised. FIRST was to commence operations and to expose the corruption that has taken place in our country in the past ten years and to take action against the corrupt. Now can this be done within one hundred days? Let us hope that the govt has set in motion the process; more..

Article 70 (1) of the new Constitution: Is it a powder keg?

Mar 19 (DM) Lying innocuously nestled, as a stand-alone provision, is a freshly designed Article 70(1) of the coming constitution that eliminates the right to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections on a govt out-voted repeatedly in Parliament on bills and budgets presented time and again. Short Point: You live with a failed Parliament for 1650 days (4 years and 6 months). Hard Times are ahead - if a govt has no working majority. Yet, the same Parliament is compelled to continue regardless. more..

What’s the fuss about full face helmet?

Mar 19 (DM) The ban on full face helmets was temporarily suspended recently by the new govt on a directive issued by Minister John Amaratunga. “As a Parliamentarian representing the public we should always listen to their woes and the ban was lifted as a result,” the told the Dailymirror. He went on to add: “However, the decision to impose the law will be reconsidered in the future, concerning on-going crime pattern more..

Uma Oya project: More damage than benefit!

Mar 19 (SL) Work on the Rs.76,316 million Uma Oya project has been temporarily suspended due to numerous complaints by the residents in the area and the concerns raised by the environmentalists, claiming that there was a connection between the project and the wells in the area drying up and several houses in the area being badly damaged. The key objective of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project was to more..

Scottish Police to renew Sri Lanka deal

Mar 19 (TN) Scottish Police are set to renew a controversial contract to train Sri Lankan security forces despite major concerns over the country’s human rights record. The Scottish Police College (SPC) has been engaged in the training since 2007 but the current contract is due to expire on March 31. However, in a move that has been condemned by politicians and human rights campaigners, the SPC have confirmed that more..

Sri Lanka's large liquor producers to gain from tax proposals: Fitch

Mar 19 (EN) The Sri Lankan govt's proposals to impose a minimum excise tax on liquor and beer manufacturers and restrict liquor licenses are positive for larger spirit manufacturers, Fitch Ratings said in a report. These include Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka although the impact is likely to be neutral for beer manufactures, including the market leader Lion Brewery, it said. The proposals, in the govt's interim budget more..

UNP says it need not listen to Opposition Leader as his camp has been rejected

Mar 19 (Island) The UNP said that it would not listen to Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva as his camp had been rejected by the people at the presidential poll by defeating the UPFA candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that they would not work according to demands of the Opposition to remove the Central Bank Governor Arjun Mahendran over a recent bond issue. more..

Vegetables in price soup

Mar 19 (ST) With farmers, traders and even consumers complaining about major fluctuations in vegetable prices, the Govt is working out a new plan to fix vegetable prices. Officials of the Food Security Ministry which is handling the subject of agriculture said a chairperson responsible to the Govt would be appointed to streamline economic centres set up by the former regime. They said such a chairperson would decide on vegetable more..

Govt probes disappearance of Ekneligoda

Mar 19 (Island) The govt announced in Parliament that it had commenced an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda. Minister Gayantha Karunatilake said that the govt had taken steps to provide aid and relief to the family of Ekneligoda. Minister said that the govt expected to call back the journalists who had left the country owing to political pressure and threats to their lives. more..

Former Sri Lanka army chief calls on India, Pak to resolve Kashmir issue

Mar 19 (ANI) Former Sri Lanka army chief General Sarath Fonseka urged India and Pakistan to speedily resolve the Kashmir issue, adding that countries of the region should start behaving like neighbours. "India and Pakistan must solve the Jammu and Kashmir issue and put an end to the misunderstanding, mistrust and suspicion or it will continue forever. Once solved, they will be able to look at the global issues better," more..

Sri Lanka has sound prospects; uncertainty over banking reforms, monetary policy: S&P

Mar 19 (EN) Sri Lanka has sound economic prospects with credit growth likely to recover to 15-17% in 2015 but there is uncertainty over reform plans and monetary policy, Standard & Poor's, a rating agency has said. After the end of a 10 year rule by ex-President Rajapaksa, there was "some uncertainty about policy direction." "In particular, the new leadership and the new Central Bank governor are yet to clearly articulate more..

FB pages of MR, Wimal, Udaya attacked

Mar 19 (DM) Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) claims the Facebook fan pages of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila and MP Wimal Weerawansa have been subjected to a cyber-attack. The PHU in a statement claims that the ‘likes’ for the FB fan page of Gammanpila had drastically dropped by 1200 between 7 – 9 pm last Friday. “Since it was a sudden drop, more..

The duty & tasks of the national intelligentsia

Mar 19 (CT) Sri Lankan civil society intellectuals and commentators who support the new dispensation are making the same mistake as Francis Fukuyama did, but in a far more facile and therefore far less forgivable form. When the Cold War ended, Fukuyama famously posited the End of History. It was crudely misunderstood to mean that history as a narrative had arrived at a terminus, which is not at all what he meant. Fukuyama had used a Hegelian flourish to indicate the liberal democratic more..

Sri Lankan stocks end marginally higher, Access falls 3%

Mar 19 (EN) Sri Lankan stocks ended marginally higher Thursday in thin trade with Access Engineering falling three percent after the government cancelled a big deal to repair the international airport's runway, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 7,046.70, up 2.80 points (0.04%) while the S&P SL 20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks, ended at 4,019.48, up 5.66 points (0.14%). Turnover fell to a low of 330 million rupees. more..

Ada Cartoon

Polls next year?

Mar 19 (CT) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya on Tuesday (17) dropped a bombshell when he said that the voter should be given at least a year to digest the proposed electoral reforms, before being implemented at a poll. Addressing party leaders at the parliamentary premises, he had said that this was a democratic thing to do. The new electoral system proposed, is to be a mix of the existing PR system and the former "first-past-the-post system" (FPTP). more..

WC 2015: India beat Bangladesh

Mar 19 (CI) Bangladesh did a pretty good impersonation of Rafael Nadal for the first 30 overs of the quarter-final, defending everything with intensity and precision, but when the moment came to hit that winner which sets Nadal apart from other defensive players, Bangladesh kept defending and paid the price. Rohit Sharma kept absorbing the pressure in a largely subdued innings, but exploded in the end to go from 60 off 80 to 137 off 126, helping India score the second-highest score more..