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VAT: JO whisting in the dark?

Aug 10 (CT) The comedy played out as part of the machinations by the Joint Opposition cries out for responsible, objective editorial clarification and comment in the overall public interest if only because the ignorant are being unscrupulously used for ulterior political ends. A brief look at the global economic scene as anyone with an ear to the ground will tell you, makes it abundantly clear that all middle and lower income countries, meaning countries which continue to more..

Two-year scorecard for Sirisena-Wickremesinghe combo

Aug 10 (CT) It’s not yet two full years, yet close enough. And close enough for us to pass our verdict on the Sirisena–Wickremesinghe Combo that is holding reins in SL’s polity today. Passing judgment on performance on the political field is hard enough, yet the appetite for judgment shown by the masses and so-called intelligentsia might propel one to that inevitably dangerous haste: rush to judgment, and if wrongfully arrived at, may lead more to the peril of the judge than those who are judged. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Rajapaksas responsible for SLFP split: SB

Aug 10 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake said the Rajapaksas themselves were responsible for the crisis brewing in the SLFP and the split in the party. Dissanayake addressing journalists said that "A large number loyal supporters are leaving the party as they are disillusioned and the dictotarial; selfishness of Gotabhaya and Basil had created the present situation. He said it was not ethical for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to form a new political party. more..

Shares hit more than 10-wk closing high

Aug 10 (Reuters) Shares closed at a more than 10-week high in brisk trade on Wednesday as heavy buying by foreign investors in index heavyweight John Keells Holdings buoyed sentiment across the board. Colombo stock index ended 0.52% higher, or up 33.64 points at 6,543.75, its highest close since May 31. "Foreign interest in John Keells boosted sentiment," said Prashan Fernando, COO at Acuity Stockbrokers. John Keells jumped as much as 3.15% intraday as foreign investors bought more..

Thajudeen murder: Ex-JMO responsible for missing body parts: Health Min.

Aug 10 (DM) Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Anura Jayawickrama, today informed court that according to the inquiry conducted by the Ministry the former Chief JMO Ananda Samarasekara had acted irresponsibly, while conducting the first autopsy on Wasim Thajudeen’s body by not taking appropriate steps to protect body parts. According to the inquiry conducted by the Emergency Raids Unit of more..

RTI law won’t apply to info communicated to OMP in confidence: Lawyer

Aug 10 (Island) Right to Information (RTI) Act wouldn’t apply to specific information communicated to the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) in confidence, a constitutional affairs expert said. The attorney-at-law emphasized that Section 15 of the proposed Bill dealt with the issue of confidentiality. Therefore, often repeated assertion that the OMP Bill clashed with the RTI law didn’t reflect the actual position, the attorney-at-law, who had been involved in the OMP process said. more..

Video: Committee report finds coal deal was profitable for CEB

Aug 10 (AD) Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ranjith Siyambalapitiya informed Parliament today that the committee appointed to investigate the controversial coal purchase has found that the deal was profitable for the CEB. The report of the three-member committee appointed to look into tender procedure for the purchase of coal for the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai, which is owned by the CEB, was handed over to the Minister on August 01. more..

Video: Wasting public money: Yahapalana President wants new fighter jets

Aug 10 (DM) A proposal made by President Sirisena in his capacity as the Minister of Defence to purchase multirole fighter jets and associated weapons, had been approved by the Cabinet. He said approval was given to obtain Expressions Of Interest from interested aircraft manufacturers, associated manufacturers and authorised Govt agents on govt to govt basis purchasing. “The fighter aircraft of SLAF have been aging and more..

Joe Burns undeterred by scarring SL Tests

Aug 10 (CI) Joe Burns' arms are scarred. The scars come from diving forward onto the abrasive squares of Sri Lankan cricket grounds in pursuit of catches at short leg. Painful as they are, deeper scars have been inflicted on Burns' confidence as a batsman this tour, in which his struggles have been emblematic of a collective Australian failure not seen in many a long year. Having gone to India with Australia A last year, and again this year with a pre-tour advance party, and then spent 2 weeks more..

Video: Muzammil out on bail

aug 10 (DM) NFF Spokesman Mohammed Muzammil was released on bail by Fort Magistrate today. Considering the circumstances of the suspect’s child, who is ill, the magistrate reviewed medical reports before granting the suspect bail. The suspect was released on a cash bail of Rs. 25,000 and two sureties of Rs. 1 million each. Muzzamil was taken into custody for allegedly misappropriating Rs. 6.1 million public funds by misusing a vehicle attached to Presidential more..

Central Bank to get Rs 157.5m CSN funds; Govt to take over land linked to Basil

Aug 10 (AD) The Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court today approved a request to transfer to the Central Bank a sum of Rs. 157.5 million illegally invested with the Carleton Sports Network (CSN), cabinet spokesman Dr Rajitha Senaratne said. Addressing the cabinet briefing today, he said that the FCID submitted a report to the court and according to that the funds were sent from Sri Lanka to a Singaporean company which in turn more..

PM insists no interference with NPC administration

Aug 10 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe insisted that Govt has no intention of interfering with the administration of Northern Provincial Council (NPC). Speaking in Parliament, PM said that the Govt is coordinating with NPC and Northern province chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on matters related to the North. TNA had in Parliament today raised concerns over the failure of the Govt to include Wigneswaran in a task force appointed to address resettlement issues in the North. more..

Ravi gathers public ideas before budget

Aug 10 (DN) Better solutions to problems encountered by people could only be found through interaction and discussion, said Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Anuradhapura. He said that ground situations of such problems are better understood by practically getting involved in discussion with the people, rather than issuing recommendations while being in Colombo. He expressed these views during the inaugural meeting with the farming community of Kokkichchiya more..

Grasp SL history chance, urges Jayasuriya

Aug 10 (AFP) Batting legend Sanath Jayasuriya has urged Sri Lanka's cricketers to seize the chance to make history by completing a series whitewash over world number one Test team Australia. With an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series, Sri Lanka might be tempted to ease up in the final encounter which begins in Colombo on Saturday. But Jayasuriya, one of the stars of SL's World Cup triumph in 1996, more..

A leading Thai company keen to invest in SL

Aug 10 (PMD) Siyam City, a leading cement producer in Thailand expressed its interest to make new investments in the cement factories in Puttlam and Galle. This was revealed when a group of leading representatives of the company, headed by CEO Siva Mahasandana met President Sirisena today (9) at the Presidential Secretariat. The representatives commended the economic progress achieved by Sri Lanka. They also stated that SL is now a very proper country for investments. more..

Video: 'Steps to resurrect failed projects'

Aug 10 (AD) Govt is taking steps to resurrect the failed projects and strengthen the national economy said, Minister Niroshan Perera. He made these comments tabling the document relating the establishment of a Chinese Industrial Zone close to the Mattala Airport. He said that the govt has started a productive program to resurrect the failed projects and thereby settle the loans. These projects will be started legally, according to the recommendations of the govt while investments will be made to more..

Foreigners who deposit over US$ 300,000 to get 10 year visa

Aug 10 (CG) Foreign individual who remit US$ 300,000 will be granted 10 years residency visa in Sri Lanka. Govt said that it had been proposed in the 2016 budget to grant residency visa to foreign individuals who bring a large amount of foreign exchange into the country. A proposal made by minister Ravi Karunanayake to direct the legal draftsman to draft the proposed special deposit account Act, was approved by the cabinet more..

Video: Customs seize spares parts, Land Cruiser worth Rs.30 mn

Aug 10 (DM) A shipping container with a Land Cruiser, three disassembled vehicles and several spare parts with an estimated value of about Rs.30 mn imported under the guise of machinery, had been had been seized today. Rs.15 mn worth super Luxury Toyota Land Cruiser was found packed inside a 40-foot container, which was imported directly from Japan. During the investigation officers managed to find 3 more vehicles in a disassembled state along with several spare parts. more..

Woman cricketer to meet Dhoni, Tendulkar

Aug 10 (DC) One may have played against Sachin Tendulkar but not every sportsman gets a chance to interact with the legend. Sripali Weerakoddy — a 30-year-old woman cricketer from Sri Lanka — will soon meet the former India batting icon. The bowling all-rounder has been chosen ambassador for sporting goods company Spartan where Tendulkar is a part. She will also rub shoulders with India limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The sporting goods firm has a galaxy of stars more..

Video: Udaya responds to PM’s remarks

Aug 10 (AD) If new Acts were introduced by the former govt out of procedure, responsibility for that should be taken by the UNP as the then opposition, PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila says. The observation was made while speaking at a press conference held in Colombo this afternoon (10). In respond to a remark by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe made yesterday, Gammanpila held the UNP responsible for not doing enough as more..

Video: Johnston Fernando grilled at

Aug 10 (AD) Former Minister Johnston Fernando arrived at the Police FCID today to give a statement regarding the alleged import of a consignment of rice without cabinet approval under the previous govt. FCID is conducting an investigation into the import of 222,717 metric tonnes of rice for Lanka Sathosa without the approval of the Cabinet. A spokesman said that a statement is currently being recorded form the UPFA Kurunegala District MP regarding the complaint. more..

Experts to draw financial city law

Aug 10 (EN) Cabinet of ministers had given the go ahead to appoint two experts to draw up a legal and business framework for a proposed financial city in Colombo. An international expert will be appointed to draw a business framework, and a retired attorney general will head the legal work, he said. The financial city will be cited at Colombo's World Trade Centre or a suitable location. It will be later shifted to a China Port City to be reclaimed out of the sea. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had said more..

MR hails friendly relations with South Korea

Aug 10 (Yonhap) Former President Rajapaksa on Wednesday said his latest visit to Seoul is expected to give a boost to the friendship and cooperation between his country and South Korea. Rajapaksa arrived in Seoul on Friday for an 8-day visit at the invitation of a South Korean private charity, the Global Village of Love-Sharing, that included participating in an event to celebrate the successful birth of an Asian baby elephant to more..

Port city delayed to gain advantage: PM

Aug 10 (PTI) Sri Lanka has renegotiated the USD 1.4 billion Chinese-funded Colombo port city project and the new agreement has no provision for outright grant/hold of the reclaimed sea land by China, PM Wickremesinghe told parliament. He said, "In March 2015 the project was halted as the govt was having concerns over the project's environmental impact." "We carried out the necessary environment impact assessments and decided to go ahead with the necessary concerns addressed," more..

SL to set up center for detained foreigners

Aug 10 (Xinhua) Cabinet said it had approved the establishment of a detention centre for foreigners who have been caught in illegal acts to be detained until they are deported. Minister Gayantha Karunathilleke said that following a proposal made by S.B. Navinna, Minister of Internal Affairs and Cultural Affairs, cabinet had approved to set up the said Immigration and Emigration Law Enforcement Centre Kaludiyawalawatta, in Gampaha district, just outside the capital. more..

'Govt has no plans to sell state enterprises'

Aug 10 (PMD) “Though various ideas are expressed that the govt is planning to sell the state institutions to the private sector, it is not the policy of my govt to do so”, emphasizes President Maithripala Sirisena. “We will take decisions to take the state sector institutions which are running without profit to a level of earning profit. Sometimes we have to act in cooperation with the private sector on that regard”, he said.. more..

China One Belt One Road: Disaster for SL

Aug 11 (TS) The Chinese circus is in town, and it’s called One Belt One Road or OBOR for short. It is touted as the ‘Xi Jinping initiative’ supposedly to usher in an era of development and prosperity to some 60 countries falling along the historical land route The Silk Road connecting Europe with China, as well as a Maritime Road that links China’s ports with the African coast, up through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. Many world leaders, especially of poor and struggling economies, more..

Celebrating Ups and Downs

Aug 11 (DN) Good Governance Govt, which came to power after the Parliamentary election on August 17 last year, celebrates its first anniversary in less than two weeks. However, it is all too evident that the govt cannot drown itself in a celebratory mood as it is yet to overcome many challenges on many a front. Mainly, the govt has to salvage the country from the current economic mire, which is a direct result of the previous govt’s extravagant spending and ill-planned projects. more..

Not a Joke: Stand-up comedy in Colombo

Aug 11 (CT) Comedy and humour are not something new to us in Sri Lanka. Just like every other human being around the world, we Sri Lankans also share a funny bone in our bodies and can handle a joke or two. From the golden day, comedians such as Freddy Silva to the likes of Priyantha Seneviratne, Giriraj Kaushalya, Bandu Samarasinge and the late Viajaya Nandasiri; Sri Lanka has had its fair share of comedians more..

Thatta Gayikawa (Bald Soprano): A Review

Aug 11 (GV) Mild trepidation accompanied me to the Punchi Theatre the other night (29th July). A jaded palate with too much memory of stale theatrical tropes – the growing longing for the escape hatch of the interval, a hasty exit, the acerbic comfort of a gin and tonic had become the staple of my theatrical experience. Besides, I wondered, was not the Theatre of the Absurd yesteryear’s flavour, dated, self conscious posturing, a quaint dramatic byway, at odds with the ultra HD of our times. more..

A not-so-funny comedy of errors

Aug 11 (Island) Reeling from the VAT fiasco the govt has said it will present the VAT (Amendment) Bill, approved by the Cabinet, to Parliament again. Initially, it arbitrarily increased VAT from 11% to 15% without parliamentary approval and, then, after suffering a gavel blow from the Supreme Court, it sought to obtain parliamentary approval for the VAT increase without Cabinet approval! PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, obviously riled by what befell the VAT (Amendment) Bill, has urged Parliament more..

'We did not target the President at all'

Aug 11 (SL) UPFA MP and member of the Joint Opposition Udaya Gammanpila charges that this govt is now undemocratic and obsolete, because they have postponed the LG elections by one and half years. When people cannot express their needs democratically, they will certainly resort to other means. That is why they showed positive response to the Paada Yathra, he stressed. Gammanpila also warned that more..

Rajapaksa’s Long March

Aug 11 (SL) In a bid to deprive the support base of President Sirisena within the SLFP and to rally his supporters former President Rajapaksa was leading a Pada Yathra from Kandy to Colombo from July 28 scheduled to end on August 1. The 117 km walk vended its way despite various efforts to obstruct its progress. The UNP partner of SLFP in the ruling coalition caused some anxious moments to the organisers of the Pada Yathra in their passage through strongholds of two UNP ministers. more..

Walk the talk, or talk the walk?

Aug 11 (SL) Rajapaksa-centric Long March of the SL kind, from Kandy to Colombo, may not have borne any fruit for any of the political stake-holders in the country just now. Yet, it may have taken away the national focus from more important issues that needed greater and more immediate attention from a larger perspective. It remains to be seen how the Maithiri-Ranil Govt reacts to the march and its success (as they perceive the same). For now, they are all talking about the walk even as more..


Assessing National Capacity for prevention and control of NCDs

Aug 11 (NS) Launching the survey report on Assessing National Capacity for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NDCs), World Health Organization (WHO) states that while some countries are making remarkable progress towards achieving global commitments on NCDs, the overall progress is insufficient and uneven particularly in low and middle income countries. NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases, more..

Hemas ups 1Q earnings by 68% to Rs. 696 m

Aug 11 (FT) Hemas Holdings announced that its operating profit in the first quarter of FY16/17 had increased by 35% to Rs. 907 million. “Through continued focus on our strategic priorities, profitable growth, improved organisational structure and innovation, we delivered strong revenues and earnings growth for the first quarter of financial year 2016/17,” said Hemas CEO Steven Enderby. Hemas Holdings and its subsidiaries achieved consolidated revenues of Rs.9.9 b, YoY growth more..

The politics of the missing

Aug 11 (FT) Paada Yaathra in March 1992 led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 47-year-old SLFP MP from Hambantota, was epic. Over 17 days, the marchers travelled 280 km from Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo to Kataragama, in the deep southern heartland that Rajapaksa family calls home. Trajectory of the 1992 Paada Yaathra intentionally cut through SL’s Southern Province, once a hotbed of Marxist activity, where JVP more..

Tibet economic forum, debating monks and Lhasa river

Aug 11 (Island) On Thursday morning, I received a call from Li Xiaojun, Director for Tibet Affairs of the State Council Information Office, China. He invited me to take a front row seat both at the official photography session and at the opening of the Forum on the Development of Tibet, China. I told Li it was an honour for SL. It was very clear that Li and China were extending the hand of true friendship not only to me but, to SL. Former President Rajapaksa is highly respected and well known in China. more..