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SL holds rates; private credit still strong

Aug 30 (EN) SL has maintained policy rates at its meeting in August though warning that credit growth was still high at 28.2% from a year earlier. "A high intake of credit to the Industry and Services sectors together with a substantial growth in personal loans and advances drove the credit expansion during the first half of the year, Central Bank said. "According to the available indicators, high growth of private sector credit and broad money has continued in to the month of July 2016 as well." more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lankan stocks close steady ahead of cenbank policy meeting

Aug 30 (Reuters) Shares ended steady on Tuesday as investors awaited directions from a key central bank policy meeting later in the day. The central bank is expected to keep its key interest rates steady at the meeting after raising them by 50 basis points last month, a Reuters poll showed, amid signs of easing inflation and slower private sector credit growth. The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.02% up at 6,541.80, after posting its lowest close since Aug. 12 on Monday. more..

High class illicit distillery run by engineer raided

Aug 30 (Island) Peliyagoda police yesterday raided an illicit distillery in Kandana, which produced high quality spirits sold to liquor outlets. A senior policeman said the illicit distillery has been run by a professional engineer. Following the raid the police recovered 51 bottles with popular brand names of scotch and cognac ready to be despatched to the market. The police also took into custody 16 barrels containing rotgut. Three suspects were taken into custody during the raid and more..

'Digital voting system in house this year'

Aug 30 (DM) The digital voting system will be introduced in Parliament before this year’s budget debate and new technology will be used for further improvement and democratization of Parliamentary business, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. Senior Parliament correspondent Ajith Jayasinghe receives his tab from Speaker Jayasuriya at the ceremony watched by Deputy Minister Karunaratne Paranawithana. more..

HC permits Dhammaloka Thera to travel

Aug 30 (DM) Colombo High Court today permitted Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera to travel abroad. Yesterday the Thera sought to travel to UK from Sept 3 to 7, to attend a religious event. High Court Judge permitting the suspect to travel abroad ordered him to return his passport on Sept 13. Thera was indicted by AG on two counts under the Flora and Fauna Act and the Public Properties Act for the alleged possession of a baby elephant without a license at Alan Mathiniyarama Temple. more..

Merger of North & East: Another Kalashnikov pointed at Muslims

Aug 30 (CT) The matter that has notably occupied the political spectrums of Tamil and Muslim minorities in Sri Lanka today seems about whether to merge or demerge the already demerged Northern and Eastern Provinces of the country. The talks of North-East merger/demerger have been a political exercise perennially brandished by Tamil political leaders and at times their Muslim counterparts when they have nothing in their hands to deliver to their respective communities. more..

As disaster losses mount, Sri Lanka develops tool to track them

Aug 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is planning to begin testing its first web-based disaster damage and loss reporting system by the end of the year, authorities say. Disaster Management Center (DMC) is developing the program and training public officials on its use, said Srimal Samansiri, DMC assistant director. The program will enlist at least one govt official from each district – or a representative of a NGOs in some cases more..

Another suspect arrested over hacking Prez Website

Aug 30 (DM) CID today arrested a 26-year-old man in Moratuwa on charges of hacking the official website of President Maithripala Sirisena, Police said. They said the suspect would be produced in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court today. Yesterday, a school boy was arrested in Kadugannawa by the CID in connection with the same incident. Website was hacked once on Thursday and then again on Friday. School boy was today ordered to be placed under probation. more..

Video: Wimal too had plans to build bridge connecting India and Lanka: Gunasekara

Aug 30 (AD) A proposal to build a bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka was also proposed in the National Physical Guidelines 2011 which was prepared by the Ministry of former Minister Wimal Weerawansa, UNP MP Edward Gunasekara says. “This book was prepared when Wimal Weerawansa was the Housing Minister. There were proposals to get contribution from the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and Road Development Authority for the project as well,” he added. more..

MR to visit Malaysia

Aug 30 (DM) A delegation of the Joint Opposition led by former president and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to visit Malaysia from Sept 1 to 4 to attend the Int'l Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), Mr. Rajapaksa’s private secretary Udith Lokubandara said. He said the delegation would include MPs Dinesh Gunawardana, Jonston Fernando and Lohan Ratwatte, former MPs A.H.M Azwer, himself more..

Tea industry in SL will not collapse: Navin

Aug 30 (CT) Contrary to the belief of some, the tea industry in Sri Lanka will not collapse, Minister of Plantations, Navin Dissanayake said, addressing a gathering of tea smallholders. "Some look at the industry from a political angle and say the tea industry is collapsing. But that will not happen; the demand for tea is rising across the world. When there is such a demand how can the industry collapse?" he queried. Dissanayake requested tea smallholders to utilize the fertility subsidy more..

Injured Shaun Marsh to fly home from SL

Aug 30 (CI) Shaun Marsh has been forced home from the tour of Sri Lanka after breaking his finger while fielding in Australia's win in the third ODI in Dambulla on Sunday. "Shaun suffered an injury to his left little finger whilst fielding in the match yesterday," Australia's physio David Beakley said. "An x-ray after the match confirmed a fracture and Shaun will now return to Perth to allow time for this to heal." As a result of Marsh's injury, Usman Khawaja will stay on more..

SL seek revival against depleted Australia

Aug 30 (CI) SL had lost key players to injury right through the Test series, but continued to thrive on dwindling resources, as the opposition appeared in slight disarray. In ODIs something of a reversal has occurred. Australia have lost Steven Smith, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and most recently, Shaun Marsh, yet lead the series 2-1. Sri Lanka, meanwhile, have made alterations to the squad three times already, more..

New SLFP organizers appointed for Ududumbara and Yatinuwara

Aug 30 (CG) Two new organizers were appointed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party for the Ududumbara and Yatinuwara electorates, the PMD announced today. President Maithripala Sirisena, in his capacity as the President of the SLFP, handed over the letters of appointment to Deputy Minister Anuradha Jayaratne, as the new SLFP organizer for the Ududumbara electorate and Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, as the new SLFP organizer for Yatinuwara electorate. more..

Sri Lanka chamber envisions global businesses with Mattala, Sharjah link

Aug 30 (EN) Sri Lankan investors can build global businesses by linking with Dubai's Sharjah airport free zone and Mattala airport, accessing a larger global market without state restrictions, officials said. Secretary General of Sri Lanka's Federation of Chamber of Commerce Ajith Perera said local firms who set up shop in Dubai can build a value chain linking Sri Lanka. "FCCISL stands for the free flow of goods and services across the globe," he told a business forum in Colombo. more..

'No need to praise Sri Lankan army for its post-war good deeds'

Aug 30 (ENS) C.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of Northern Province, said that the Tamils need not praise the SL armed forces for their post-war development work in the North because these are only reparations for what they did during the 30 year conflict. He was commenting on Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s statement in Jaffna, that Tamils should praise the armed forces for the many good deeds they are doing after the war. more..

Sacred elephants abused during Sri Lankan Buddhist festival

Aug 30 (F24) Amateur videos showing elephants being abused by handlers during one of SL’s biggest Buddhist festivals have recently emerged. This type of abuse is not new: our Observer, a veterinarian in SL, says that elephant owners and authorities turn a blind eye to this type of behaviour for both financial and political reasons. Kandy Esala Perahera festival is one of the oldest Buddhist festivals in SL. It began as a procession that took place in the 4th century, when a relic – a tooth that was more..

Admission of SL students uo Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT)

Aug 30 (HCI) Govt of India has decided to provide opportunities for admission of meritoriousSri Lankan studentsto the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in India, from the 2017-18 academic sessions onwards. In this regard, a delegation of faculty members from IITs will visit Sri Lanka in the first week of Sept 2016 to interact with students and parents of GCE A/L students, and final and pre-final year engineering students, regarding IIT entrance examinations, more..

'Govt to discuss Peace-Building-Fund with UNSG'

Aug 30 (DM) Govt will discuss the setting up of a Multi-Million Dollar Peace Building Fund (PBF) for Sri Lanka, sponsored by the UN, during the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s three-day visit to Sri Lanka, a senior Foreign Affairs Ministry source said. Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha De Silva said that the objective of the PBF was to ensure fast and flexible funding in support of various peace-building & reconciliation efforts in SL. more..

Viharamahadevi Park: Time to finish what Gotabhaya started

Aug 30 (LBO) Viharamahadevi Park, once called Victoria park, is the showcase public park for the city of Colombo. It rests in a place of prominence in our city and has a vital role to play in the development and beautification of the proposed Megapolis. I have visited the park well over one hundred times in the last few years. It is a park where I have seen the poorest of the poor, and the richest of the rich traversing the same grounds, whether its famous politicians, media moguls, more..

Two govt ministers removed as defendants in SLTB case involving MR

Aug 30 (AM) Two good governance govt ministers have been removed as defendants in the case filed by SL Transport Board in the Commercial High Court over the default of payment of Rs 142 million. The original case filed in August 2015 had seven defendants namely former President Rajapaksa, the former UPFA General Secretaty Susil Premajayantha, former SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Gamini Senarath, Amal Senadhilankara, UPFA and SLFP. more..

Giving accountable amnesty to abductors is doing injustice to victims’ families: HRW

Aug 30 (ENS) Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that the recommendation of SL Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons that perpetrators of abductions be given accountable amnesty is tantamount to rendering injustice to the families of the victims. Concept of accountable amnesty is outdated and falls short of int'l standards, says James Ross, HRW’s Legal & Policy Director. more..

Evaluation of A/L and Scholarship answer scripts begins

Aug 30 (ITN) The evaluation of the G.C.E. A/L and Grade Five Scholarship answer scripts commenced today. The first stage of the marking of answer scripts of the A/L Examination is scheduled to take place at 31 centres until the 11 of this month. The Examinations Department said that 6876 teachers are participating in the process under 382 Evaluation Boards. Six schools will be kept closed throughout this period. 21 schools will be kept partially closed. The marking of answer scripts of more..

Rs. 5 mn worth party pills seized at mail exchange

Aug 30 (DM) The Customs officials at the Central Mail Exchange (CME) today seized a parcel containing 1000 recreation tablets worth Rs.5 million, which were imported from the Netherlands, Deputy Superintendent of Customs Lal Weerakoon said. “A parcel of 1000 tablets containing methamphetamine as active ingredient was seized for the first time in the history of the Sri Lanka Customs,” he said. “One 24-year-old person from Grandpass in Colombo was arrested, while more..

Sri Lanka seeks to grow economy with help from Baker & McKenzie

Aug 30 (AL) Baker & McKenzie's Hong Kong office was hired by the govt of Sri Lanka to advise officials on financial laws in other countries and jurisdictions, the firm confirmed Monday. Sunday Times reported that the global legal giant will be paid $2.3 million for 12 weeks of work. Some of that work will involve drafting and revising the country's IP, real estate, restructuring & tax laws, according to the publication. more..

At a scholarly kussiya in a cocktail dress

Aug 31 (CT) Lanka Decorative Arts (LDA) swam into my ken recently when someone told me about its 2016 conference Kussiya: Culinary Ethnology in Sri Lanka and suggested that I’d enjoy attending it (all dressed up in order to enjoy it all the more) and doing an in-depth coverage. Accordingly, I wrote a line to LDA Founder Director Dr. Ayesha Abdur Rahman by way of permissions, coordinated with Adilah Ismail, an arts and culture journalist, who is also a panelist on the conference and more..

Searching for answers: The road to the OMP

Aug 31 (GV) August 30 is the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances. This year has seen the passage of legislation to enable the set-up of an Office of Missing Persons (OMP). While the passage of the OMP Act is a step forward in terms of transitional justice, it was a long and arduous journey to get here. There have been numerous Commissions set up in the past to investigate into the missing, but the process has been beset with delays, and many continue more..

Ban on helmets without SLS certificate

Aug 31 (SO) In the light of the gradually rising numbers of fatal crashes involving motorcycles, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) at the request of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) will implement a ban on the sale of helmets that have not received the Sri Lanka Standards (SLS) certification from the Sri Lanka Standards Institute (SLSI). The directive issued by the CAA under the powers vested in it through Section 12 (2) more..

The makings of a Mandela

Aug 31 (ST) It was the Golden Jubilee of LAWASIA. For four days in August this august body consisting of some of Asia’s legal glitterati met at the BMICH to celebrate the anniversary. It was indeed a memorable occasion. But the opening was somewhat marred by faux pas. Overawed perhaps by the importance of the occasion and perhaps the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena, chairman of LAWASIA 2016 performed a rather unusual role of soothsayer. more..

No Internet Please, We’re Sri Lankan!

Aug 31 (GV) That is what a retired professor of mass communications told me publicly at a university media conference four years ago. I was a bit taken aback as he had no clinical training to make such assertions. The basis for his diagnosis was simple and simplistic. I had just told my audience how I was spending increasing number of hours each day online engaged in various functions like searching, reading, blogging or tweeting. He felt that it was rather excessive (= wasted?), more..

Ageing Somalatha of Sri Lanka

Aug 31 (CT) Somalatha is a rural woman who lives in a border village in the Western Province. She is a 54-year old rubber factory worker. "Rubber prices have declined. Masters say the factory is not making profits. They want to stop the workers and I will have to retire next year." Retirement age in SL is 55 years; although many individuals above 55 years of age work in pvt firms, depending on their employment contract, more..

UN chief’s visit to give reconciliation a boost

Aug 31 (SL) The visit this week of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to Sri Lanka, the most high-profile visit by a foreign delegate since this Govt took office, is expected to add much needed impetus to the reconciliation process. Ban-ki moon is to arrive in Sri Lanka on Wednesday on his first official tour to the country since the new Government took office and his second as UN chief. The UN office said that Ban-ki moon will arrive in Sri Lanka on the 31st evening and will travel to Colombo more..

So what If Mahinda wants the party to end?

Aug 31 (SL) The question, Will he, or won’t he? in contemporary Sri Lankan politics is not confined any more to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would attend the annual convention of the SLFP, chaired by incumbent Maithripala Sirisena. Instead, it’s about the real possibility of the Rajapaksa camp hijacking/taking over the party, or floating a new one to call their one. The technical feasibility for a Rajapaksa take-over of the SLFP looks remote just now. more..

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena

Nine-member Sri Lankan contingent for Paralympic Games

Aug 31 (DN) A nine-member SL contingent for the 2016 Paralympic Games will take wing to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in early September. The team will be led by Anil Jayalath who will compete in the T42 100 and 200 metres and the long jump, whilst Gamini Ekanayake and Dinesh Herath will take part in F44 javelin and Sampath Hettiarachchi will take part in the F46 javelin throw. Ajith Hettiarachchi will line up alongside the captain in the T44 100 and 200 metres and the 400 metres events. more..

Who monitors the monitors? – II

Aug 31 (Island) The mandate of the Geneva based 47 Member Human Rights Council installed in 2006 is to promote, protect and prevent Human Rights violations. Given below are instances where the UN has admitted that it failed to live up to its mandate, together with instances where the UN failed to admit its inability to fulfill its mandate. These failures have resulted in the death of 800,000 in Rwanda, 10,000 dead in Haiti and 800,000 sick; as well as unreported numbers in other zones of conflict more..

Ford’s take on Two-Tier Cricket

Aug 31 (ST) Two-Tier (TT) Test proposal is real and has come in the wake of the crumbling of the rather undemocratic Big Three tyranny, where India, England and Australia were trying to establish a hegemonic rule in the ICC realm, and reign supreme. Yet, it failed. Now, the TT proposal is not so far away from that evil thought but, it has more pies on the plate, so that the slightly bigger segment of the cricketing brethren would more..

Loved every minute of captaincy: Warner

Aug 31 (CI) Captain David Warner and incoming batsman Usman Khawaja will both be searching for a turnaround in their personal fortunes even as Australia aim to seal the ODI series against Sri Lanka in Dambulla on Wednesday. Australia enter the fourth match of the five-game series with a 2-1 lead and a win, though far from making up for their humiliation in the Test series, would at least allow them to lift some sort of trophy on this trip. Khawaja will come into the XI for the first time more..

Editorial: Of those young hackers

Aug 31 (Island) Hackers are like snakes. When one realises one has been attacked it is often too late; damage is irreversible in most cases. They haven’t even spared institutions which boast of having best cyber security in the world. The Pentagon, too, is fighting quite a battle to keep hackers at bay. How vulnerable others are goes without saying. Friday’s cyber attack on President Maithripala Sirisena’s official website came as no surprise. Not even eternal vigilance pays in most cases more..