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FTAs: Good, bad and ugly

Aug 23 (CT) This newspaper, in an article titled FDI lowest in 10 years, quoting an economist said that free trade zones (FTZs) and not free trade agreements (FTAs) were the road to boost exports. Professor Prema-Chandra Athukorala, Professor of Economics, Australian National University, speaking at a function in Colombo on Thursday,, said global studies had shown that vis-ŕ-vis enhancing exports, only 10% of the concessions offered by FTAs have been utilized in this regard. more..

Sri Lankan stocks post 3-month closing high

Aug 23 (Reuters) Shares ended marginally higher on Tuesday and posted their highest close in three months, led by financials while turnover hit a 4-1/2-month high on expectations of better economic performance after the govt said it would achieve its revenue target for this year. Tax revenue in the first seven months jumped 23% to 769.8 billion rupees from a year earlier, and Minister Ravi Karunanayake is optimistic about the full-year revenue target, his ministry said on Monday. more..

මහාචාර්ය සරත් විජේසූරිය

The LTTE’s forced recruitment of children in armed combat

Aug 23 (CT) During the ceasefire between the LTTE and SL govt, Human Rights Watch (HRW) researchers went to Batticaloa, Trincomalee, and Kilinochchi to document the LTTE’s use of children in armed combat. HRW, in its report, documented instances where the LTTE forcibly recruited children through intimidation and torture, utilized acts of collective punishment against child soldiers, forcibly recruited more than one child per family, and re-recruited children who previously served. more..

Import of Indian intoxicants to be banned

Aug 23 (Island) Health Ministry pledged to submit a cabinet paper banning the importation of areca nut products into the country. The Health Ministry, said there was a container of imported areca nut products at the Colombo Port which would be destroyed. A cabinet memorandum would be submitted to ban the importation of products such as Babul, and Beeda made of areca nut. The main aim of prohibiting the products was to minimise contracting oral cancer, more..

Sri Lanka backs UN talks to eliminate nuclear weapons

Aug 23 (IL) Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha expressing concern on the slow progress made over the decades on international multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts, has affirmed Sri Lanka’s support for the convening of a conference in 2017, to negotiate a legally – binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Sri Lanka further noted that the agreement on more..

Head sets sights on spinning allrounder role

Aug 23 (CI) It has been a big 12 months for Travis Head. High expectations have been placed on Head since his Sheffield Shield debut at the age of 18 and his potential was always on display, but the one large gap in his record was hundreds. In fact, at the start of last season he had made only one: 108 for the National Performance Squad in a one-day game against South Africa in Darwin in 2014. But over the past year, Head's numbers have exploded. It all started with 202 against Western Australia more..

Amunugama off to China

Aug 23 (Island) Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama left for China and Thailand on Monday leading an official delegation on a study tour of Chinese built industrial parks. The 14 other members of his delegation are senior officials including the District Secretaries of Hambantota, Matara, Moneragala, other district and divisional level officials of these districts and officials representing the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development more..

Anti corruption movement urges President to reveal secrets

Aug 23 (LBO) A Sri Lankan anti corruption movement, Voice Against Corruption, today urged the President to reveal the hidden secrets of the former President and his allies as per the mandate of the people. In a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, Convener of the movement Wasantha Samarasinghe said it is the aspiration of the people who voted him in to restore democracy in the country by the revealing of corrupt politicians. more..

Sri Lanka cracks down on sub-standard water bottling

Aug 23 (EN) Ministry of Industry and Commerce said it would introduce standards for bottled water from next month after detecting more than two dozen brands using low-quality plastic. The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) under the ministry will be enforcing plastic mineral water bottling standards starting 1 Sept 2016, a statement said. Only plastic bottles bearing the Sri Lanka Standards Institution’s SLS product certification mark could be made and sold in the future. more..

Two students arrested in TN for trying to smuggle Brown sugar to Sri Lanka

Aug 23 (Island) The district police of Ramanathapuram have arrested two engineering college students and seized from them one kilogram of suspected brown sugar, an adulterated form of heroin, in a secretive operation on Sunday. Acting on the directive of Superintendent of Police N. Manivannan, a special team, led by ASP S. Sarvesh Raj, detained the second year students of a private engineering college near here and seized the suspected contraband. more..

Money politics still mar democratic elections in Sri Lanka: Asian group

Aug 23 (JP) Money politics, weak political parties and violence still mar democratic elections in Asian countries, Asia Network for Free and Fair Elections (ANFREL) chairperson Damaso Magbual stated. As an example, Magbual said, candidates in Nepal and SL could spend 15 times their annual salaries to participate in elections — a bad precedent that could discriminate qualified people from taking part in the democratic process. more..

Scores of people fall sick in Bangladesh amid gas leak from fertilizer factory container

Aug 23 (Xinhua) Scores of people were hospitalized with respiratory illness until the early hours of Tuesday as ammonia gas leaked from a container in Anwara on the outskirts of Bangladesh's southeastern seaport city Chittagong. A local police official told Xinhua on Tuesday morning that many fell sick after inhaling the gas that spread from the leakage at Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) fertilizer factory container in Chittagong, some 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka. more..

Fmr. JMO’s anticipatory bail application: Court notices respondents

Aug 23 (DM) Considering the anticipatory bail application filed by Former Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer Dr. Ananda Samarasekera, requesting bail requesting bail anticipating arrest over the missing body parts of late Wasim Thajudeen, Colombo Additional Magistrate noticed the OIC of the CID Homicide Division to respond on Aug 30. Dr. Samarasekara earlier filed a Fundamental Rights petition against the imminent infringement of his fundamental rights more..

Calm Sri Lanka ready for Australia's rebound

Aug 23 (CI) A poor opening stand for SL, wickets for Mitchell Starc, ragging turn, catches at short leg, and problems with bowlers' foot holes - had an Australia fan run naked across ground, the first ODI would have been almost exactly like the Test series. The teams, though, had swapped roles. It was Australia's attack that had the discipline to squeeze regular wickets out. It was Australia's top order that outlined the ideal more..

Probe launched into Peradeniya Uni. clash

Aug 23 (AD) Police have launched an investigation into the clash which took place between two groups of students at the University of Peradeniya. The incident had occurred last night while it was reported that two groups of students from the university’s Faculty of Allied Health Sciences (FAHS) were involved in the fisticuffs. Five students were admitted to the Peradeniya Hospital after sustaining injuries in the clash. Preliminary inquiries have uncovered that an argument over several student more..

Electricity generation up 8.6% first half 2016

Aug 23 (EN) Sri Lanka's power generation rose 8.6% from a year earlier to 6,923 GigaWatt hours (millions of units) in the first six months of 2016, faster than the 5.1% shown in 2015, official data shows. State-run CEB also bought more power from private producers amid an outage at a coal plant and reduced hydro generation. In 2016, coal power generation was down 13% (356GWh) to 2,294GWh with plant outages and shutting down for repairs. Hydro generation was also down 11.2% more..

'Govt policy discourages paddy farming'

Aug 23 (CT) This week trade union talk is about farmers who are an important segment on the labour force of the country. President of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation (ACPF) Namal Karunaratne spoke of issues concerning farmers. During the interview, Karunaratne said that although there is a certified price for paddy which is higher than the market price, only the govt paddy stores purchases paddy at that price. more..

Fish brings in Rs 11,088 Million

Aug 23 (CT) SL has exported 600 metric tons of fish to countries belonging to EU within a period of approximately two months from 21st June to 14th Aug subsequent to the removal of the ban on exporting fish which had been imposed by the EU. From 2016 January to August SL succeeded in exporting 7,496 tons of fish to countries of the EU as well as other countries. During the past six months of this year, SL earned an income of Rs 11,088 million from the export of fish. more..

Asian Economic Symposium in Kandy

Aug 23 (Island) Cordial relations between Sri Lanka and Japan had flourished during the period of more than sixty four years enabling the two countries to share economic and cultural benefits, said Deputy Ambassador for Japan in SL Kojee Yaga addressing the inaugural sessions of the 16th Asia Economic Symposium held on Friday at Grand Kandyan Hotel, Kandy. Japan and SL had also been sharing knowledge through educational and research programmes, the Deputy Ambassador said, more..

Principal US Deputy Assistant Secretary in Sri Lanka for talks

Aug 23 (CG) Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs at the US State Department William Todd began talks in Sri Lanka today. US Ambassador to SL, Atul Keshap said that Todd will discuss the bilateral agenda with Govt leaders and civil society in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the multinational team led by U.S. Pacific Command concluded their week-long assistance program in Jaffna, providing more..

Sri Lanka plantations say unable to continue to justify large losses to shareholders

Aug 23 (EN) SL plantations companies said they cannot justify large loses to shareholders and remain in business if worker labour unions do not sign a new productivity-linked wage deal agreed upon with govt mediation. Planters’ Association of Ceylon, representing Regional Plantation Companies, said that continuing to resist the revision of the present archaic attendance-based wage as losses increase, without any other viable alternative, is putting the industry in peril. more..

Kithsiri Ranawaka remanded till Sept 6

Aug 23 (DM) Former Director of Tourism Development Authority, Kithsiri Ranawaka who was arrested by FCID over allocating Authority’s funds of Rs. 5.7 to an election promoting campaign during Uva PC Election in 2014, was today remanded till Sept 6 by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. The FCID alleged that the money was earlier reserved with the authorisation of the director board, in which the suspect was a member, to a project of protecting historical places in Sri Lanka more..

GCE O/L top scorers meet President

Aug 23 (PSL) Top ten scored students of the GCE O/L exam met President Sirisena at Presidential Secretariat today. President commended the skills of these students and extended his warm congratulation to them. He presented financial gifts and laptops to the students. The top scorer, Sathsarani Hettiarachchi from Vishaka Vidyalaya, the second scorer Samal Punsara from Nalanda College and more..

Mixed feelings one year on

Aug 24 (GV) One year ago, on August 18, a new Parliament was elected on an ambitious premise of good governance. The public voted for change, and for an ambitious overhaul of the status quo. A year later, the public has mixed feelings about whether this new unity Government has succeeded. A Twitter poll taken by over 90 people showed that most felt there was only a slight improvement compared to previous years. The poll is, of course, by no means indicative of national opinion, more..

National Unity Govt after one year

Aug 24 (GV) August 19th was the first anniversary of the National Unity Govt elected after the last general elections and several political issues have dominated the recent news, especially the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Act and the recent removal by the President as SLFP leader of Joint Opposition SLFP members from their posts as party organizers. Losing their posts were JO stalwarts Kheliya Rambukwella, CB Ratnayake, Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Gamini Lokuge, more..

Freedom to investigate all disappearances: OMP undergoes belated debate

Aug 24 (SO) Even as the Joint Opposition tried to whip up public anger over the Office of Missing Persons Bill, passed in a hurry in Parliament last Thursday, the Paranagama Commission on Missing Persons handed over their final report to President’s Secretary P.B.Abeykoon. The members of the Paranagama Commission submitted the report to the President’s Secretary on August 12 at 2pm in the presence of more..

OMP a part of larger process of transitional justice: NPC

Aug 24 (FT) Welcoming the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) bill, the National Peace Council (NPC) said that the passage of the bill, albeit in controversial circumstances in Parliament, augers well for the forward movement of the reconciliation process. NPC praised the legal foundation of the first of the four transitional justice mechanisms that the govt has pledged to establish. “We are disappointed that Joint Opposition members failed to cooperate with parliamentary process, more..

Editorial: Children crying for justice

Aug 24 (Island) We front-paged, on Tuesday, a picture of a child in tears among some crestfallen Grade Five Scholarship Exam (GFSE) candidates and their irate parents protesting against a serious lapse on the part of the invigilators at an exam centre. Those hapless students are reported to have lost 20 minutes of the time allocated for answering the question paper as they were not given proper instructions. It is only natural that their parents were fit to be tied. more..

'Internationalize our human resources'

Aug 24 (CT) Susantha Katugampala is a prominent Immigration Lawyer with over 15 years of experience practising in Melbourne, Australia. He is an Immigration Specialist of the Law Institute of Victoria and established Australia Gateway - a migration consultancy firm in Colombo which assists Sri Lankans who wish to migrate to Australia. He spoke about the standard of Sri Lanka's human capital and the need to more..

Reviving underperforming state enterprises

Aug 24 (DN) Recent newspaper reports indicate that the govt is launching activities to improve the performance and productivity of the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). PM categorically stated during his May Day speech that the govt will not sell any of the public enterprises. They will have to be revived and made viable business units contributing considerable amounts of revenue to the state coffers. SOEs were established in the 50s and 60s of the last century under more..

Blood, blood and more blood!

Aug 24 (Island) I have been intrigued by the reactions to the slogan Sinha-Le used by some group or other. Gradually, it has become a point of intensive debate and controversy. I write this piece today because I saw a clip on TV News about a fracas that occurred between two groups. One group who claimed no political affiliations had a peaceful demonstration on the theme Different yet EqualEkama Le recently. This group was led by the controversial politician Azad Sally who more..

Prasanna Ranatunga

ACF cruelly abandoned its workers and compensation, too

Aug 24 (Island) I refer to your news item (Sunday Island - 17.08.2016) which reports that the French Charity Action Contre La Faim (ACF) has urged the Sri Lankan govt to hold a credible investigation into the killing of 17 of its aid workers in Muttur a decade ago, expressing the view that previous investigations into the ACF attack have been inconclusive. ACF, the employer of the 17 deceased aid workers, have periodically issued press statements of this nature, in an effort to promulgate misconception more..

Pakistan to rehabilitate agrarian community in Sri Lanka

Aug 24 (PO) In order to promote and rehabilitate agrarian community of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, the Govt of Pakistan through its High Commission in Sri Lanka handed over a made-in-Pakistan tractor worth US $ 10,010. to the Palayadivadai Farmers Association, Puttovil in an impressive ceremony held at the High Commission of Pakistan Tuesday. The Chief Minister of Eastern Province of Sri Lanka Hon. Z.A. Nazeer Ahamed was the chief guest on the occasion. more..

Marathon man Cooray undecided about future

Aug 24 (DN) Former South Asian Games gold medallist Anuradha Indrajith Cooray said he will take a final decision about his athletic career after discussing the matter with Sports Minister and sports officials, including those in the National Olympic Committee. The 38-year-old veteran long distance runner said he is still undecided on his future. “There is no age barrier for long distance running and there are several more..

What do the Olympics tell about Sri Lanka?

Aug 24 (DM) Ours have proved to be dismally populist driven. Since the winning next election overwrites all other factors, there is hardly a long term vision. Nurturing talents for Olympics would take decades to see results, by then the incumbent would be out of power, thus there was hardly any inclination for such efforts. Rio Olympics concluded on Sunday and we as usual finished with precious little to show in terms of sporting talent. That is the story of much of South Asia. more..

Hakka Patas: The killer trap

Aug 24 (DM) Hakka Patas or an improvised small explosive device which contains black gun powder, lead and iron made to a ball of a fire cracker shape is used illegally to keep the wild animals away from crops and to kill small animals. But often swallowed by elephants with very harmful results. Hakka patas is strategically inserted in a cucumber or a pumpkin which are delicacies of wild animals. Actual consequence is a destroyed mouth cavity and painful extended death which takes up to more..

Mathews suggests cautious approach against Starc

Aug 24 (CI) With Mitchell Starc now extending his impressive form from the Tests into the ODIs, Sri Lanka have settled on a batting plan: see Starc out safely. Starc was already miserly during the first ODI. He did not concede a boundary in his 10 overs, which cost only 32. But he was also penetrative, taking three wickets. Each of those dismissals, however, was the result of an expansive drive gone awry. more..

Pelwatte Dairy to invest Rs 1.5 bn in three Northern fresh milk plants

Aug 24 (DN) Pelwatte Dairy Industries Ltd will invest Rs 1.5 billion to build three mini fresh milk processing plants in the North starting this year.Pelwatte Chairman Ariyaseela Wickramanayake said that in addition he will also build a milk powder processing factory in Jaffna as well. Speaking to Daily News at the inaugural Northern Investor Forum on Monday he said that there is a 250,000 population in Jaffna and there are over 260,000 dairy cows in the area. more..