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Mobilizing Sri Lanka’s youth to be economically active

Feb 13 (EN) The efficiency of Sri Lanka’s education system needs to be improved and restructured to ensure youth enter the labour market without lengthy delays, according to researchers at the Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank. Many youth delay entering the labour market due to studies but only a few obtain tertiary level qualifications, they noted in an opinion piece. In a bid to improve Sri Lanka’s living standards, the govt envisages creating one million jobs in the next five years. more..

Former LTTE commander Karuna says his new party is for cooperative politics

Feb 13 (ENS) Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, alias Karuna Amman, who was formerly the LTTE’s Special Commander for Batticaloa and Amparai, says that his new party, Tamizhar Aikkiya Suthanthira Munnani (Tamil United Freedom Front) is opting for cooperative politics (inakkapaadu arasiyal) in place of the current confrontational politics (muranpaadu arasiyal). Speaking to Express on Monday, a day after more..

'Tax on soft liquor raises hard liquor use'

Feb 13 (DM) Govt’s move to impose heavy taxes on soft liquor with a lower alcohol content had increased the consumption of hard liquor among Sri Lankans during the past two years, the PHU. MP Udaya Gammanpila said it was the normal practice worldwide to impose taxes on hard liquor instead of doing so on soft liquor. “However, we are against the consumption of both categories. If the govt is unable to ban alcohol, it should have at least promoted those with a lesser alcohol content. more..

Hansika, Polgampola lift Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (ICC) Sri Lanka Women’s second-wicket pair of Nipuni Hansika (38) and Chamari Polgampola (49) put on 65 runs to set up a seven-wicket win over Thailand Women in a Group A clash of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 at the beautiful Mercantile Cricket Association Ground in Colombo on Monday. With three wins including one against Ireland, Sri Lanka finished second on the table behind India, and will carry two points into the next round, which starts on Feb 15. more..

Sri Lanka arrests nearly 550 deserters in army clean-up

Feb 13 (AFP) SL arrested nearly 550 soldiers in a single day as it reins in the mass desertion that's plagued the armed forces since end of civil war. Military has been pursuing nearly 43,000 deserters who refused to voluntarily turn themselves in under a govt amnesty designed to clean up the ranks. Arrests have begun in earnest since grace period expired in Dec, ending any hope soldiers had of avoiding a court martial. more..

Japanese company plans to invest USD 1Mn in mini hydro

Feb 13 (LBO) Japan’s Zero Plus Co. Ltd will invest one million dollars in a 700 kilowatt mini hydro project at Erathna in Ratnapura, TAD Lanka Investments (TAD), the local facilitator of this project said. The power plant is due to be commissioned in August 2017. “Despite its electricity generation being primarily run by hydro-power, Sri Lanka still has vast untapped potential in the capacity of utilising hydro energy due to its abundance of lakes, rivers, and streams,” said Keiichiro Yatomi, more..

Centre Against Private Medical Colleges files against Medical Council

Feb 13 (DN) Centre Against Private Medical Colleges (CPMC) has filed a case against Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) at Human Rights Commission for registering private medical degree holders, CPMC Convener Dr. Jayantha Bandara said. He said if unqualified, inexperienced and unsuitable persons who hold medical degrees obtained from private medical collages come into the SL health service, the people's right to life will be violated because people can die due to more..

Perpetual Treasuries files writ petition against Central Bank

Feb 13 (DN) Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer in govt securities has filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal seeking an Interim Order restraining Central Bank from taking action under the directives issued by the Monetary Board of CB. This petition is to be taken up for mention on Feb 20.  Petitioner further sought an order quashing the directives of Monetary Board of CB dated Nov 7, 2016 in respect of Perpetual Treasuries. more..

Rising separatism, racism

Feb 14 (CT) The Constitution says that no person (citizen of Sri Lanka in this instance) shall, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka. It further says that anyone who's guilty of contravening such provisions has committed an offence. Needless to say, there appears to be a lucuna vis-ŕ-vis treating separatism as an offence in the Constitution. more..

Central Bank’s mad rush to mandate credit

Feb 14 (CT) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has, without fanfare or publicised press conferences, issued a one and a half page long circular to commercial banks urging them to maintain a minimum percentage of their total loans for six sectors identified as priorities in the said circular. The title of the circular says that it is issued in accordance with the implementation of the proposals relating to financial services announced in the Budget 2017. more..

Port City Project: Economists, experts air their views

Feb 14 (SO) Work on the USD 1.4 billion Port City Project in Colombo, which is expected to transform the landscape of the country with multiple benefits to the economy, is progressing smoothly with the filling of land taking place currently. “We are on target to complete work on the project by mid next year. The delay was due to Environmental Impact Assessment Report not having been done for around 1,045 hectares more..

Scientific and economically rational decision making vital for agricultural development

Feb 14 (ST) Unscientific and irrational decision making in vital areas of the economy is a serious constraint to the country’s economic and social development. Decisions of momentous significance for agriculture are taken without consultation with scientists and agronomists. Instead, persons who have little knowledge of the field and have serious prejudices are determining agricultural policy. There is a huge gap between decision makers in agricultural policy and agronomic research. more..

Valentine, what?

Feb 14 (Island) Saint Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Soon many lovers would take advantage of February 14 to express their adoration to their sweethearts by sharing greeting cards and chocolates (perhaps a few smooches too). However since about 300AD this day was earmarked for the celebration of few Christian martyrs that may or may not have had much to do with love. Most notable Christian Saints who were honored on this day were Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. more..

Unity Govt: A golden opportunity

Feb 14 (CT) This week we sat with one of the most senior politicians of SL, Imthiaz Bakeer Marker who is also the head of National Media Centre. He said, social media had become so powerful and that we can't hide information from the public anymore. Referring to the way in which Singapore handled media he stressed that suppression is not the solution. It is only temporary and Sri Lanka cannot take Singapore as a model more..

Regulating freedoms

Feb 14 (DN) During the last two years we witnessed a series of demonstrations in various parts of the country. It seems that the demonstrators are enjoying an unbridled freedom which they have never enjoyed before. However, these demonstrations have caused tremendous hardships and inconvenience to the general public. Article 14(1) of the Constitution grants and secures the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. more..

Stuck in traffic

Feb 14 (DN) Sri Lanka’s roads are becoming deadlier than ever. According to the reports, 2,100 people were killed in road accidents during 2011. Four years later, in 2015 the figure has increased up to 2,800, a 33% jump. That is the highest number on record, and it is a figure that will likely continue to grow along with the increasing motor vehicle population. Even with today’s technology and a greater emphasis on automobile safety, vehicle accidents continue to occur. more..

Mahinda Deshapriya

Going back to an alliance that can win elections 

Feb 14 (CT) The govt has been dogged by negative public opinion on its failure to tackle what it promised during its election campaigns of two years ago. In the public perception it has yet to satisfactorily tackled corruption, bring about visible economic development or ensure the correction of war-related injustices. It has been losing popularity due to its inability to defend its performance on these issues. Marriages of convenience tend to get weakened in times of prolonged stress. more..

Biz confidence nudges up in January

Feb 14 (FT) The latest edition of leading business magazine LMD reports that the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) has registered a mild turnaround, moving up by six basis points to reach 123 in January. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant remarks in the magazine that “business leaders show optimism on the economic front and for their own businesses … The short-term outlook is positive as well.” However, reflecting on the year that was, he observes: more..

Louvre Hotel Group to enter Sri Lanka

Feb 14 (FT) World-renowned hospitality brand Louvre Hotels Group stressed that it was keen on entering the SL market by way of a joint venture, banking its confidence on the huge potential the country holds in the tourism industry. “SL has excellent probability to attract a significant share of the two billion potential tourists in Asian market and we are looking at opportunities to partner with local firms to enter into the industry,” more..

Cricket feels political pinch

Feb 14 (CT) The cat had been struggling for some time to jump out of the bag and managed to get his snout out which showed when Chandimal was dropped, and more of the cat was seen when Sanath made that announcement about his own retirement. It is the general understanding - and even accepted on the corridors of the Olympic movement - that politics in sport is bad. They all agree that given the chance politicians would be all over you with their views and opinions. more..

Aitken Spence 9-month net profit up 17%

Feb 14 (FT) Aitken Spence has recorded a strong financial performance, closing the immediate nine-month period with a 9.9% year-on-year growth in profits before tax amounting to Rs. 2.9 billion, and a Rs. 1.66 billion profit attributable to shareholders, up by 17%. “The growth is attributed to strong financial performances posted by a number of key operational sectors in the reporting period,” Aitken Spence said.  Bringing to fruition the long-term investment strategy adopted by more..

I will take every step to make country prosperous in agriculture: President

Feb 14 (PSL) “I will take every step to make the country prosperous in agriculture by enhancing the farmers’ economy, as a President whose roots are of a agricultural family”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. “I will take measures to solve the water issue by filling the large tanks with blue water so that the farmers will not face any shortages for irrigating their lands”, he added. President was speaking at the public meeting more..

Justice denied to survivors of the Kumarapuram massacre

Feb 14 (GV) Shoot me but, please don’t kill my children, pleaded Kanthappoody Kamaladevi with her arms outstretched over her head, just before she was shot dead outside her home in Kumarapuram, Killiveddy, by Sri Lanka Army (SLA). Feb 11th, 2017, marks the 21st year commemoration of the brutal Kumarapuram massacre of 26 Tamil villagers, by army personnel belonging to 58th and Dehiwatte Camps, and Kiliveddy check point. Of those killed, six were women, five men and 13 children. more..

Virtusa winning more biz, to hire extra staff

Feb 14 (FT) Virtusa Corporation, the global consulting and IT outsourcing company with roots in Sri Lanka, announced in Colombo that it would expand hiring on robust above-industry growth in business. “We will expand our staff by 13-15% both in Sri Lanka and India from the 2017/18 fiscal year,” US-headquartered Virtusa CEO Kris Canekeratne told Lankan journalists on the sidelines of a day’s visit to the country. India and SL are the two major development centres of Virtusa more..

Drought doom!

Feb 14 (FT) Disaster Management Ministry warned of the drought conditions spreading across more areas in the country in the coming months, with it creating possible drinking water shortages, bushfires and further crop damage. Prevailing dry weather conditions have already affected Maha season of paddy cultivation with part of the cultivated crop being damaged, reducing predicted yield for the year more..

Ravi K draws more strength from Fitch’s positive revision

Feb 14 (FT) A confident Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday sounded determined to lead the country’s economy towards greater heights, insisting that the fundamentals are in place for rapid growth in the new global environment.  “We have brought the economy to a stable position where there is financial and fiscal discipline. As promised by the coalition Govt, we have delivered what we told. We have walked the talk,” he said in response to the recent positive move by Fitch Ratings. more..

Sri Lanka puts in place competitive pricing for medium scale solar

Feb 14 (LBO) Power Ministry has decided to put in place a competitive pricing mechanism for medium scale solar power generation companies commencing later this week, the minister said. “This is a turning point in the pricing system and the consumers will be the beneficiaries,” minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. “I believe that this can lead to the reduction in the peoples power bills later on.” He was speaking at the opening of a project office for a 20 megawatt wind power plant more..

Ranjan submits first RTI applications

Feb 14 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayaka submitted the first application under the Right to Information (RTI) to Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms Ministry to obtain information on the 26 TV channels currently operating in the country. He said there was no system to correct or reply an erroneous news item aired over electronic media when these TV channels make insidious, unethical and unlawful more..

Chandraguptha stars as Jayasuriya looks on

Feb 14 (CI) England Lions were subjected to a long, hot day in the field after a poor morning batting performance on the second day of their warm-up match against a Board President's XI in Moratuwa - and captain Keaton Jennings was delighted. Not with the batting, which saw the Lions squander a decent overnight platform of 168 for 4, with the last six wickets falling for 74. "But that was exactly what we needed to get us ready for the two four-day games against Sri Lanka A," said Jennings, more..

Foreign reserves drop by US$ 568mn in Jan

Feb 14 (LBO) Official reserves dropped US$ 567.5 million to US$ 545 million in January, down from 6.01 billion dollars at the end of Dec. Foreign currency reserves were US$ 4.52 billion and reserves in Gold were US$ 0.86 billion. CB’s Treasury bill holdings were down from Rs. 331.39 billion in Dec to Rs. 250.65 billion in Jan. CB has purchased US$ 179.31 million of foreign exchange from commercial banks at market rates in January while selling US$ 71.73 million in the month. more..

Rice millers refuse to sell at controlled prices

Feb 14 (EN) Rice millers have refused to sell rice at the rates dictated by the state price controlled authority and are asking for higher rates. CAA, an agency which slaps price controls on anything from hoppers to a cup of tea, exposing the flaws of Sri Lanka's economic policies to the world, issued controlled prices of 80 rupees for a kilogram of Samba rice, 72 rupees for Nadu (a parboiled rice) and 70 for Kekulu (raw rice). more..

Foreign support to protect heritage sites?

Feb 14 (NR) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam says the govt will initiate a large scale program by bringing down foreign experts in order to protect archaeological and heritage sites in the country. He said steps are also being taken to send local archaeologists overseas for further training. Minister said the governemtn must do it’s jobs and fulfil its responsibilities adding that the Len Viharaya in Dambulla was examined and after 1994 no action was taken to protect its murals. more..

Disabled soldiers win the day

Feb 14 (CT) Disabled soldiers and officers, who have not completed 10 years of active service, have been granted the pension benefit with effect from last month. A group of disabled soldiers and officers had taken to the streets in demonstrations and protests, on two different occasions, to urge the got to amend the laws to enable them to receive the benefit. President had intervened to find a mutually beneficial solution to this long standing issue and had conducted several rounds of discussions more..

Accounting profession alarmed over SEC moves

Feb 14 (FT) The accounting profession is up in arms over the proposal to remove their representation in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the proposed draft of the consolidated and amended SEC Act No. 36 of 1987, the appointment of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) to the SEC as an ex-officio commission member has been excluded. CA Sri Lanka (or ICASL), more..

Let SAITM suspend admissions for 6 months: Medical Deans

Feb 14 (DM) Eight State Medical Faculty Deans who met Minister Lakshman Kiriella, have decided to propose that SAITM suspends the admission of students until the completion of the periodic review on its medical degree programme. During the six-month period, the Ministry of Higher Education, the University Grants Commission and Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and other stakeholders will develop an operational procedure applicable to non-state medical education. more..

'We let SAITM function with conditions'

Feb 14 (DM) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa said today his govt allowed SAITM to operate a medical faculty based on certain conditions. He said this in response to a question asked by a journalist outside the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court premises. Mr. Rajapaksa was present in court when the case against former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Avant Garde Maritime Security Services Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi was taken up for hearing. more..

PM to receive doctorate award from Deakin

Feb 14 (AAP) PM is set to receive an honorary doctorate on the first day of his official visit to Australia. Ranil Wickremesinghe and his wife Maithree Wickramasinghe arrived in Melbourne on Monday night. The prime minister will be awarded an honorary doctorate in law at a graduation ceremony at Deakin University in Geelong on Tuesday. The award recognises his efforts to help Sri Lanka transition from more..

GMOA accuses Rajitha of not legalizing minimum standards

Feb 14 (DM) GMOA charged that Minister Rajitha Senaratne had neglected legalizing of minimum standard for medical education to prevent the substandard nature of the SAITM being revealed. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said the minimum standard for medical education should be gazetted so as to maintain a proper standard for the health sector. He said they requested the President to take steps to suspend the admission of new students to SAITM and more..

Commission probing CB bond issue to hold talks with attorneys

Feb 14 (DN) Members of the Presidential Commission Investigating the controversial Central Bank bond issue are due to hold discussions with the panel of senior attorneys appointed by the Attorney General to assist the commission this week. The discussions will centre round the leading of evidence and other legal assistance required by the commission, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC said. Secretary of the Presidential Commission Sumathipala Udugamasuriya more..