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Central Bank to decide fate of 6 struggling finance companies

Aug 7 (ST) Central Bank is critically evaluating six struggling finance companies and will finalise a decision on their fate before this year ends, a CB official said. This was revealed when asked whether the CB will stop finance companies from mobilising public deposits, a move by former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran which was met with stiff opposition by managements of these firms. CB now governs 48 finance companies and in January took over the crisis-hit primary dealer more..

SL’s new High Commissioner in London to assume duties on Monday

Aug 7 (Island) After lapse of more than 18 months, a new Sri Lankan High Commissioner arrived in London and is expected to assume duties on Monday. Since former High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis left following an alleged incident where he was assaulted by the then Foreign Affairs Overseeing MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena, both the former Rajapakse regime and the present govt dragged their feet in naming a new envoy to head this important diplomatic station. more..

Colombo Port (Financial) City; Govt swings into action

Aug 7 (ST) Last Monday, Cabinet formally approved the ambitious Colombo Port City Project, perceived as SL’s model of the future for business, leisure and offshore banking. This venture with China was initiated by the previous Rajapaksa administration. It became the object of bitter criticism by the UNP and the SLFP – pro Sirisena faction – both during the presidential and parliamentary elections last year. more..

July cruelties and August tamashas: Pada Yathra politics then and now

Aug 7 (Island) Pilgrimages are an essential part of religious and cultural life everywhere. In earlier times when the modes of communication were primitive, pilgrimages were a key medium of widening social awareness and expanding social consciousness. Based on anthropological studies of pilgrimages, Benedict Anderson insightfully accounted for the role of pilgrimage in the imagining of nations and the forming of national consciousness. South Asians and Sri Lankans can relate to this more..

Should we give the Sirisena-Ranil combo another term?

Aug 7 (Island) It’s a bit of a pain to be the first person to publicly propose an idea and later find, especially if it woks, multitudes climbing on the bandwagon yelling "No I said it first, no I said it first!" It happened with my Single-Issue Common-Candidate or SI-CC strategy where every two-penny commentator claims precedence and now its happening to my months’ long insistence that economic strategy give priority to the leading role of the state and to production of material goods. more..

PM arranges alternative venue for JO rally

Aug 7 (ST) Though they are arch opponents in politics, there is still camaraderie between former President Rajapaksa and PM Wickremesinghe when it comes to personal relations. That is why Mr. Rajapaksa telephoned Mr. Wickremesinghe last Monday morning, just hours before the four-day long Opposition protest march from Kandy to Colombo entered the city limits. He wanted to know why govt was denying them more..

Consolidated plan to ease Colombo traffic

Aug 7 (SO) With the construction of the Port City to begin shortly, a consolidated plan is being drawn to avoid traffic congestion to and from Colombo’s central business area. Plans are afoot for a bridge over the new Kelani Bridge, along with the elevated Port Access Road. According to the Supplementary Environment (SEIA) Report of the Port City, this project will be funded via a Special Economic Partnership Loan from Govt of Japan/JICA. more..

Controversial coal tender to go ahead?

Aug 7 (SL) Power and Renewable Energy Ministry and CEB senior officials say they were compelled to go ahead with the much discussed controversial coal tender process, particularly aiming at long term deals due to political pressure from the top level. When contacted CEB General Manager M.C. Wiremasekara said that though the CEB didn’t get any directions on the tender process, Lanka Coal Company (LCC) would have got more..

More skeletal remains unearthed in Mannar

Aug 7 (CT) Five human skeletal remains, and what have been identified as splintered human teeth, were retrieved from an abandoned well in Thirukedeeshwaran, Mannar, last Wednesday. The well lies close to the Thirukedeeshwaran mass grave discovered in 2013. This follows the discovery of 88 skeletal remains in Dec 2013 in what was tagged the Mannar Mass Graves Discovery. more..

Plenty of factory jobs, no takers

Aug 7 (SO) Young Sri Lankans shun taking skilled and non-skilled jobs with a monthly pay of around Rs. 30,000-35,000 in factories struggling to fill vacancies, but appear to prefer to work as trishow drivers instead. The jobs offered by Board of Investment (BOI) companies with several opportunities for further training and personal growth and a steady income are ignored by the youth as well as the politicians. more..

Former Govt bought hi-tech tapping devices, but engineers defied orders

Aug 7 (ST) Previous govt imported telecom surveillance equipment from Chinese firm Huawei Technologies in Oct 2014, just months before presidential election. However, it was never installed because engineers at SLT had refused to follow orders. Equipment came in a box of around eight feet in length and four feet in height. Engineers had instructions to install the device but had perceived it would not be for public good. more..

Subtle media messages on alcohol cannot be underpinned: ADIC asserts

Aug 7 (Island) "A man who doesn’t drink doesn’t realize the thrill it brings," a friend to his buddy. "A juice? You meant to say a juice? Yes, I will have a juice but with a shot of Vodka in it," a woman at a pub responds to her male-friend’s suggestion. "Haven’t you ever experienced the thrill a beer brings? Like wanting to dance, to laugh?" a female friend asks another. "If I were a man I’d drink all the beer in the world," a young girl tells more..

Asgiriya Chapter to look at problem of monks disrobing

Aug 7 (NS) The Asgiriya Chapter admitted that there was truth to information made public by the Department of Buddhist Affairs that on an average, per day eight to 10 monks would disrobe due to various reasons. Previously, Department which issues certificates of disrobing to monks leaving the clergy had stated that the majority of the said monks who disrobed belonged to the age category between 18 to 20 years of age. more..

To curb fraud and corruption: Forensic auditing at AG’s Dept

Aug 7 (SO) In a bid to curb fraud and corruption, the Auditor General’s Department will introduce forensic auditing. The initiation comes with the training program that will be held on IT systems and Forensic Audits. The program is organised by the USAID in coordination with AG’s Department and will be held from August 8 to 15. Trainees on completion will serve as resource persons and impart the knowledge to other audit staff. more..

Huge tender for oil pipelines next week

Aug 7 (ST) The Govt will next week award a tender valued at more than Rs. 8.7 billion for the construction of four pipelines to carry oil from the Colombo harbour’s Dolphin Pier to Kolonnawa. Bidders from India, Malaysia, China and the US have been shortlisted to construct the pipelines, each six-and-a-half kilometres long, to replace the 69-year-old oil pipelines in use, CPC Chairman T.C. Jayasinghe said. more..

Yahapalana Performance

Aug 7 (Island) When the Sirisena-Wickremasinghe partnership had exercised the powers of govt for 260 days, the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) identified a list of nine pluses and eight minuses that could be applied to their achievements during this period ( After a further 70 days, their performance showed a noticeable deterioration and we expressed our sense of betrayal at the turn of events. Now a further 240 days or so have passed and more..

Mangala Moonesinghe: Diplomat par excellence!

Aug 7 (Island) Shortly after we went to New Delhi it was our good fortune that Mangala was posted as the High Commissoner. The close friendship we developed with Mangala and Gnana in the 1990s during a five year stint continued and in fact just a few weeks before Mangala passed away we had dinner with him. Though not in the best of health he enjoyed listening to the conversation and contributed with humorous anecdotes. Managala was an erudite scholar with a deep knowledge of more..

Sri Lanka will always be Sri Lanka

SL Navy snaps fishing nets of TN fishermen

Aug 7 (PTI) Hundreds of fishermen from island were on Sunday forced to return without catch after Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly snapped the fishing nets of ten mechanised boats near Katchatheevu. The fishermen had put out to sea in 641 mechanised boats on Saturday and were fishing near Katchatheevu in the Palk Strait when Sri Lankan Naval men rounded up ten boats on Saturday night, Rameswaram Fishermen Association President Sesuraja said. more..

Pakistan’s Air Chief arrives in Sri Lanka

Aug 7 (APP) Chief of Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman arrived in Sri Lanka on a two-day official visit on the invitation of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force Air Marshal G.P Bulattsinghala. During his stay, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman will call on President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickrasinghe and meet the top military leadership of the country including Secretary Defence and the Services Chiefs, says a press release. more..

Lyon frank about Australian deficiencies

Aug 7 (CI) Over the past few days, the only player singled out for criticism from Australia's coach Darren Lehmann and captain Steven Smith has been Nathan Lyon, the touring side's No. 1 spinner. If this seems harsh that's because it probably is - Lyon's nine wickets place him second behind Mitchell Starc among Australian bowlers; his 29 runs means he's made only five fewer than Joe Burns and six fewer than Peter Nevill. more..

Expulsion for SLFPers evading punishment

Aug 7 (SO) Minister Chandima Weerakkody said if anyone failed to abide by SLFP Disciplinary Committee decision, he or she could be immediately removed from party membership. The disciplinary committee, the Minister said, could take an ex parte decision as in a court of law, depending on the circumstances. “SLFP Central Committee is resolute that it has to maintain party discipline at all cost and a special disciplinary committee will look into cases of violation of discipline,” more..

Fumigation causes tension in Aluthgama

Aug 7 (DM) Security had been tightened in the Dharga Town area in Aluthgama by deploying STF personnel, following three employees carrying on fumigation during the ongoing Dengue prevention campaign in Dharga Town came under assault inside a hotel allegedly by the hotel owner yesterday. Police said the owners of the hotel had assaulted the three men after locking them up inside the hotel forcing them to pay compensation for food that were rendered unfit for consumption more..

Forex reserves rise to US$6.4bn in July

Aug 7 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves rose to 6.485 million dollars in July 2016, from 5,295 million in June, following the sale of a 1.5 billion dollar sovereign bond, official data showed. Official reserves are made up of fiscal and monetary reserves with the central bank. The bond proceeds are kept as dollars as fiscal reserves, to meet future debt repayments, Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said. more..

Herbal products with alcohol level over 4.5% to be confiscated

Aug 7 (DM) Health Ministry said it would carry out raids to detect Ayurvedic herbal products which contain an alcohol level exceeding 4.5 % which is the minimum amount approved by the ministry. Raids were being carried out on the instructions of Minister Rajitha Senaratne after the receipt of several complaints from consumers, who pointed out that some of the herbal products contained more than 4.5 %. Complainers said that some Ayurvedic herbal products contained more..

Madushanka faces murder conspiracy charge in Maldives

Aug 7 (ST) The 24-year-old Sri Lankan national being held in the Maldives over allegations he conspired with two others to assassinate the President of that country is to be charged in court soon, according to a document obtained from the Maldives’ Prosecutor General’s office. SL national Lahiru Madushanka and Maldivian nationals Ahmed Adeeb and Fazeel Hameed are accused of conspiring to murder Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen and will be charged under more..

Employees slam CAA

Aug 7 (CT) The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has spent a huge amount in excess of the amount approved by Cabinet for the 53rd Conference of Directors General of Civil Aviation in the Asia and Pacific Regions which was held from 1 to 5 August 2016 at Colombo Hilton, sources said. Embarkation tax is the major income of the CAA. Govt increased the embarkation levy with effect from 1 Jan 2016 from Rs 3,250 to Rs 4,500 more..

SAITM rejects allegations

Aug 7 (SL) SAITM strongly rejected various allegations being leveled against the institute located in Malabe. One of the main allegations is that SAITM does not have any connection to a Russian university as claimed by the institute. However SAITM VC Professor Ananda Samarasekera said that SAITM does have an affiliation with a Russian medical academy. He said that having an affiliation between a local and foreign university is nothing new and is seen in other countries as well. more..

Rajitha highlights evolving role of nightingales

Aug 7 (Island) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne observed that the role of nursing officers had undergone changes during the last decade. Addressing a gathering at 8th Paediatric Nursing Congress of the SL College of Paediatricians (SLCP) in Colombo, he said the nurses delivered an invaluable service to ensure the wellbeing of patients, especially during disaster situations. He said natural and manmade disasters were increasing at an alarming rate the world over. more..

112 Sri Lankans stranded in Saudi: SLBFE ensures return to SL

Aug 7 (SO) Two companies in Saudi Arabia have declared bankruptcy resulting in112 Sri Lankans being stranded in the kingdom. However, the Govt has stepped in to bring the 112 Sri Lankans Arrangements will be made to bring them back, a spokesman said. "These Companies have evaded paying salaries for months," director of the SLBFE Upul Deshapriya said. "There are 100 Sri Lankans employed in the Saudi Oger company which more..

Democratic Cadres urge medical tests for rehabilitated LTTErs

Aug 7 (SO) Democratic Cadres, a political party consisting of ex-LTTE members yesterday urged not to politicize alleged incidents of mysterious deaths of rehabilitated LTTE cadres, which had been referred to the Govt for action. Party spokesman C. Chandralingam said that they had sought Minister Rajitha Senaratne's intervention to investigate and carry out medical tests on all ex-cadres to verify these claims. Chandralingam, said some political figures have requested that more..

Navy awaits outcome of court proceedings on Yoshitha

Aug 7 (SL) SL Navy is awaiting the outcome of ongoing court proceedings on Yoshitha Rajapaksa before taking further course of action in this regard. Navy spokesman Captain Akram Alavi said that summary proceedings on Rajapaksa were suspended as a court case was underway. He said that Rajapaksa is not receiving a salary from the Navy and that following his arrest by the FCID, the summary proceedings were suspended. Akram Alavi said Rajapaksa’s position in the Navy more..

'Accountability must be addressed before framing new constitution'

Aug 7 (ENS) Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has said that accountability for the war crimes allegedly committed in the last phase of Eelam War IV must be established before the SL govt formulates a new constitution to address the basic political question. Addressing the Tamil Peoples’ Council in his capacity as its co-chairman in Jaffna on Sunday, Wigneswaran said that more..

Laws’ delays: AG’s Dept. to be restructured

Aug 7 (ST) A committee of ministers and MPs will probe delays at the AG’s Department and the Legal Draftsman’s Office, Cabinet has decided. Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that hundreds of cases were delayed and more were piling up. “We want to ensure that the AG’s Department expedite such cases so that within two to three weeks the cases will be before courts,” he said. “We will introduce a restructuring plan for the AG’s Department particularly to prevent delays,” more..

LAWASIA Sri Lanka 2016 from August 12-15

Aug 7 (SO) Bar Association held a media briefing on Thursday to launch the 29th LAWASIA Conference and the Golden Jubilee of LAWASIA which will be held from August 12 to 15 in Colombo. The inauguration of the LAWASIA Conference will be held at the BMICH on Aug 12 and the technical sessions at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on Aug 13. The conference inauguration reception will be held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel on August 12. LAWASIA 50th anniversary cultural night more..

Cry for relief

Aug 7 (CT) Term Ex-LTTE cadre is taboo in Northern and Eastern Provinces as most of the former LTTE cadres have been rehabilitated four to five years ago. However, society has neglected them. The rehabilitated cadres say that the govt has neglected them without giving them any relief or livelihood sponsorship. Also, there had been a situation of panic as most of their colleagues had been subjected to sudden deaths. more..

Oncologists refuse to use new controversial Russian cancer drug

Aug 7 (Island) A new Russian drug procured by the govt to treat patients with breast cancer has run into a storm with oncologists declining to use, what was termed a "nondescript product with questions lingering over its safety and efficacy". While health officials defended the purchase of the controversial oncology medicine Herticad saying it is cost effective, medical sources lashed out at the move, asserting that even the basic condition that a biosimilar more..

FCID collecting vital information necessary for governance: official

Aug 7 (LBO) A stream of former govt and corporate officials who have been questioned by the FCID in recent months is not political vindictiveness or a witch hunt, a govt official said. It is the collection of key information necessary for good governance, the official said on the condition of anonymity. “It’s not political vindictiveness. This is the best way to gather information about major financial transactions and whether the money has been properly accounted for. more..

SAITM students continue Satyagraha

Aug 7 (SO) Students of the SAITM continued a satyagraha opposite the Medical Faculty for the 200th day in succession against the non recognition of the SAITM degree. Meanwhile, the convenor of the Medical Faculty Students' Action Committee (MFSAC) Ryan Jayathileka said the next step was to combine with other unions and launch a stronger protest against private universities. MFSAC launched an islandwide awareness more..

AG files indictments on Hirunika, 8 others

Aug 7 (DM) Hirunika Premachandra and eight others were today indicted in the Colombo High Court by the Attorney General over the alleged abduction of a youth in the Dematagoda area. The Attorney General had filed the indictments on 29 counts against the suspects. Earlier, the suspects had been produced in the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court at a non summary trial and they are now out on bail. The victim, Amila Priyanga, was alleged to have been abducted by the suspects. more..