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Trump’s gift to Anti-muslim bigotry & Islamist extremism

Feb 3 (CT) President Donald Trump’s executive order to suspend (temporarily) Muslim migrants from selected Muslim majority countries is manna to the Islamist extremists and to the anti-Muslim bigots. On the one hand the stock of suicide bombers and would be martyrs in the Islamist camp will swell further while on the other the anti-Muslim bigots especially in the West will enjoy a fresh infusion of oxygen to their hitherto unpopular mission of destroying mosques and harassing Muslims. more..

Bambalapitiya Flats redevelopment project: Govt taken for a right royal ride?

Feb 3 (Island) In 2014, a plan was floated to redevelop the ten-acre land on which the Bambalapitiya flats now stand. The land belongs to National Housing Development Authority (NHDA). The plan to redevelop this property involved the demolition of the present blocks of flats and building six towers of 36 storeys each. The project would have a total of 3,762 residential apartments along with shops, offices & hotels. more..

'MR should support us or retire from politics'

Feb 3 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa should either retire from politics or make up his mind to support the govt’s efforts to develop the country and to bring in peace and reconciliation, Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said. “It is the former President and the joint opposition which will create separatism in this country by arousing communalism and provoking the people. They are trying to provoke people through false propaganda as that is the only way they would be able to come back into power. more..

Dandeniya withdraws

Feb 3 (CT) Former president of the SL Badminton Association (SLBA) Roshan Gunawardena will be a strong contender to contest the post again when they conduct their election of office bearers on 24 March. With Gunawardena tipped to be a strong contender the current president Suraj Dandeniya has decided to withdraw from the race. Gunawardena who was first appointed as president of the SLBA in 2010 had imposed a ban of one year on SL national champion Niluka Karunaratne more..

GSP+: Gearing to reap its benefits amidst huge shortage of labour

Feb 3 (ST) 23rd AGM of the SL Chamber of Garment Exporters was held last week at the Hilton and every one present was talking of the GSP+. But many had no idea as to how the resumption of this facility will help the manufacturer. In simple terms the restoration of GSP+ will mean that the importer of products from SL in the EU will be able to clear the items imported without paying any import duty which is the region of 17%. more..

Ministry of industry to assist with ISO certification for SMEs

Feb 3 (LBO) Ministry of Industry and Commerce will initiate a programme to assist in obtaining international standard certifications for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000 and ISO 50001 for local small and medium industries. Ministry of Industry and Commerce has initiated a programme to support local small and medium industries, whose annual turnover is less than 750 million rupees and permanent employment less than 300 to the 1st Jan. 2017, to obtain int'l standard certificates more..

Army felicitates its sporting heroes

Feb 3 (DN) SL Army felicitated it’s top level sports achievers in the Army Colours Night held at the Nelum Pokuna theater under the patronage of Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera as the chief guest recently. One hundred sports men and women who won medals in 34 national and international events, along with individuals excelled at regimental level competitions were awarded Army Colours. Best Sportsman, Best Sportswoman and int'l level Para player of 2015-2016 received trophies, more..

2017 the year of FDI, says Ranil

Feb 3 (FT) Following dismal Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in 2016, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday offered a much brighter forecast for 2017, with at least $ 2.5- $ 3 billion inflows and much more next year and beyond.  A large portion of this depends on the progress made on the Public Private Partnership on the Hambantota Port and the Port City. However, the Premier emphasised the move away from taxpayer-funded more..

Frustrated depositors of Standard Credit Finance plan street protests

Feb 3 (ST) Depositors of one of SL’s collapsed finance companies, frustrated after long years of promises and failed negotiations, are planning to take to the streets in protest. This is because Standard Credit Finance Company (SCFC) is yet to repay more than 4,000 depositors in a total sum of around Rs.1.9 billion. The depositors formed a Standard Credit Depositor Protection Society (SCDPS) to fight to claim their dues and have been desperate for the last eight long years. more..

SC fixes Ukrainian captain’s FR petition for support on 6 March

Feb 3 (FT) The Supreme Court fixed the fundamental rights petition filed by the Ukrainian captain of the Avant Garde ship, challenging his alleged illegal arrest and prolonged detention, for support on 6 March. The petitioner, Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov (49), captain of MV Avant Garde, is challenging his arrest in early October 2015 , purportedly outside Sri Lankan territorial waters and his continued detention at the Galle remand prison. more..

President urged to ensure credible probe on PM’s tax-free car permits issue via CIABOC

Feb 3 (FT) Lawyer Nagananda Kodituwakku has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to direct the CIABOC to commence an independent and credible probe into the tax-free car permit fraud involving several MPs, including Cabinet Ministers. Kodituwakku also requested him to answer the international community, especially the British Govt, which has granted Ł 6.6 million to CIABOC to combat corruption. more..

Govt to rely on its financial toolkit to roll over maturing debt

Feb 3 (Island) Faced with US$7 bn maturing debt this year, the govt remains confident that it has a viable and dependable financial toolkit to roll over the debt and avoid default. Responding to a question, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the government could utilize a number of financial tools such as foreign direct investments (FDIs), fixed income portfolios, syndicated loans and other forms of capital for the country's debt financing operation. more..

SL yet to reap benefits from EU fish ban lift

Feb 3 (DN) Though the European Commission (EC) fish ban imposed on SL in 2015 was lifted last year by the EU, SL has not yet reaped benefits from it. SL Canned Fish Producer’s Association President, Shiran Fernando said they still have to pay a duty component of 16.5% for fish exports. “First we salute the lifting of the fish ban and thank the SL govt and the EU which has made exports possible after two years.” “However the real time benefits can come only when GSP+ is fully implemented more..

Govt can open fire at street demos: Harsha

Feb 3 (Island) Deputy Minister Dr Harsha de Silva told a European business networking event at Movenpick hotel, Colombo that the govt could open fire at demonstrators. De Silva was addressing the gathering in the wake of the police crackdown on undergraduates protesting against the Court of Appeal ruling which they alleged was favourable to Malabe private medical college. Police attacked protesting undergraduates near more..

Expolanka posts Rs. 17.1 bn in Q3

Feb 3 (DN) Healthy performance across its logistics sector resulted in Expolanka Holdings posting a revenue of Rs. 17.1 billion during the third quarter of 2016, reflecting a 21% improvement in comparison to the same quarter of the previous financial year in the face of exchange rate fluctuations and a challenging external environment. Despite improved turnover, the company recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 433 million reducing 23% in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year. more..

IATA renews SriLankan IOSA registration

Feb 3 (DN) SriLankan Airlines as part of its efforts to maintain the highest standards as the trademark national carrier has renewed its registration under the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) for 2016-2017 in conformity with standards introduced by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). IOSA assesses the airline on eight operational scopes. The audit is conducted by an IATA accredited audit organization, in accordance with the IOSA I Program Manuals, and the standards that more..

CB Governor rejects CaFFE claim

Feb 3 (CT) Governor of CB, Indrajit Coomaraswamy has stated that he has never taken advice from former Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, regarding the functions and operations of CB. Writing to CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon, who had previously written to him about Mahendran sitting in meetings attended by Coomaraswamy, Governor said, "I have at no time taken any advice or instructions from Arjuna more..

Rajitha orders revision of docs’ transfers

Feb 3 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne instructed his officials not to tolerate interference from various individuals and trade unions as had been the practice when transferring doctors previously. Calling for a revision in the transfer scheme in a bid to stop transfers of doctors with specialist knowledge on communicable and non communicable diseases Minister, Dr Senaratne said that transferring of doctors who had knowledge on mosquito borne diseases such as dengue, malaria, NCDs more..

Abducted schoolgirl rescued after 3km chase

Feb 3 (Island) Acting on a tip-off, two policemen on traffic duty at Pelmadulla recently chased behind a three wheeler a distance of about three kilometres and took into custody its driver and rescued a schoolgirl he had abducted. According to police the 16-year-old girl attending a school in Ratnapura had been returning home after school when she was abducted. A senior officer said police were alerted by a man, who heard the victim’s cries and the two cops swiftly got into action. more..

Economy managed very badly: Cabraal

Feb 3 (DM) Former CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who served in office during the previous rule, said, the economy had been managed very badly during the last couple of years even according to statistics published after the new govt assumed office. He said the country was now on the brink of a massive economic catastrophe. “In fact, just last week, Bloomberg listed SL as a high investment risk country, more..

Kiwis injured in SL crash scrap wedding, head home for proper medical treatment

Feb 3 (NZH) A group of Kiwis badly hurt in a Sri Lankan road crash have scrapped their wedding trip and are heading back to New Zealand for proper medical treatment. A family of six New Zealanders were travelling through Sri Lanka on Monday when their vehicle hit another on the Colombo-Kandy Main Rd at Kalalpitiya, Nittambuwa. They were passing through Sri Lanka to India, where they planned to attend a wedding. However, they have had to scrap their plans due to the extent more..

General public can witness Independence Day celebrations

Feb 3 (DN) The general public will be provided an opportunity to witness the country’s 69th Independence Day celebrations to be held at Galle Face on Feb 4. A 2000 strong police contingent will be deployed to handle security at the venue and all police stations in the Western Province have been deployed for the implementation of the security. A special traffic plan would also be operated in the Colombo city on the day to facilitate Independence Day Celebrations. more..

President cracks the whip

Feb 3 (CT) President Sirisena, in Eravur on Wednesday, made it clear that he would have to take firm decisions, in the future, over the wrongdoings committed by the government. "This govt too is engaging in wrongdoings, the people know who is doing what. A new govt was established not to commit the same thefts, thuggery, corruption and fraud that the previous govt engaged in. Therefore, if those in the govt engage in wrongdoing they more..

SriLankan bidders narrowed from 8 to 1

Feb 3 (FT) The number of bidders for a stake in the national carrier has been narrowed down to one, revealed Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, without disclosing the name of the buyer. “We’ve been through an open, transparent process and we have now got down from eight to just one player. And the player is a private equity company. There are advantages in that company, and we will therefore talk with that company, but that also gives the Govt the liberty to talk to other airlines more..

GMOA to stage token strike today

Feb 3 (AD) GMOA says that an island-wide trade union action will be carried out from 8am to 12 noon today to protest against the attack on medical students. Issuing a statement, the GMOA claimed that police had attacked a peaceful protest carried out today in Colombo by medicine students against SAITM and that close to 20 university students have been arrested. The association says that it has come to their attention that several female students are among arrested group of undergraduates. more..

Criminal prosecution of bond thieves

Feb 3 (Island) The much touted COPE report that dealt with the alleged CB bond scam involving Perpetual Treasuries in Feb 2015 couldn’t be the basis for the AG’s Department decision whether to proceed with a criminal or civil case. JVP MP Sunil Handunetti headed the COPE comprising members of all political parties represented in parliament. Of course the report could be perused & taken into consideration more..

RTI Law: Vision is to end culture of secrecy

Feb 3 (DM) On the eve of our 69th Independence Day, Sri Lanka’s potentially historic Right to Information Act (RTI) will be activated for the benefit of all people across the country. Any and all citizens are now empowered to file information requests from public authorities – and demand answers. Unlike earlier, their requests cannot be met with silence as silence itself is not permitted by this law. There are two choices. Information must be given or refused. If refused, reasons must be given. more..

Will the Govt play fair with the RTI Act?

Feb 3 (DM) The Right to Information (RTI) Act will come into effect today, Feb 3, 2017. The Sri Lankan RTI Act is ranked 10th best in the world. Sri Lanka has scored 121 out of a possible 150 in a rating programme founded by Access Info Europe and the Centre for Law and Democracy based in the USA. The govt is making good use of it for image building in the international community. Much of the work that went into make the RTI Act what it is, was by two eminent personalities; more..

Teach methods to help prevent drowning tragedies, life-savers urge

Feb 3 (ST) Raise further awareness in the country about life-saving techniques and first aid to help prevent continuing deaths from drowning, experts plead. Tragedies are continuing and many who die from drowning are young. Two youths who jumped into the Mahaweli river in Gampola hoping to help their friends from drowning were among eight young people including a 13-year-old who drowned in three separate incidents in Gampola, more..

Trade deficit widens 33% in October 2016

Feb 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's imports rose 16.4% in October 2016, from a year earlier to US$ 1.9 billion with transport equipment rising 237% to US$ 258 million with the import of a dredger by a Chinese company showing how foreign investment drives the trade gap. CHEC Port City (Pvt) Ltd, which is reclaiming the sea near Colombo port, imported a dredger, Central Bank said. Without the dredger, imports were up 5.2% in Oct, more..

No action still on Wilpattu disaster

Feb 3 (SL) Scientists, conservationists, environmentalists and nature lovers say they had taken up the much debated land encroachment in close proximity to the Wilpattu National Park with the topmost authorities of the country. However, there is no concrete action taken to date. Renowned naturalist and Environment Foundation, Director Rukshan Jayewardene said that they had taken this matter up with Prez, more..

Mothers should take lead in making every family a drug free household – President

Feb 3 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena said that the mothers should take the lead in making every family a drug free household. President pointed out that the drug menace is the main obstacle in creating a prosperous family.  He requested all the mothers to take the leadership in building a healthy nation while protecting their respective families and the society from this menace. He made these remarks addressing more..

JO ready to assist presidential commission probing bond scams

Feb 3 (Island) The Joint Opposition (JO) said they were ready to provide all evidence regarding the Central Bank bond scams if the Presidential Commission tasked with its probe record statements from them. MP Bandula Gunawardena said the President appointed the commission to probe it two years after it was committed. "We have enough evidence to prove the bond scam and the key culprits responsible for it, former CB governor more..

Sports Minister condemns grandstanding by Wigneswaran

Feb 3 (Island) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara lashed out at Northern Province Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran claiming his statements made SLFP members of the govt to think twice about abolishing the executive presidency. He said since there were doubts about the abolishing of executive presidency there should be a capable leader to contest the next presidential elections and so far SLFP had only one capable leader more..

Sri Lanka needs to walk through difficult paths: Norwegian Ambassador

Feb 3 (Island) Sri Lanka needs to walk through difficult paths to achieve reconciliation and long-lasting peace to enable a prosperous multicultural society, Norwegian Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether launching a joint project between Norway and the University of Peradeniya titled Norwegian Partnership for Global Academic Cooperation (NOPART) at the University of Peradeniya on Wednesday. more..

Right to Information Act comes into force

Feb 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Right to Information (RTI) Act comes into effect today bringing with it a promise of open govt, citizens’ active participation in governance, and accountability to the people of the country. Ministry of Mass Media & Parliamentary Reform said that it has been laying the groundwork of RTI, with trainings for public officials and appointments of the key public facing information officers & designated officers. more..

SL human smuggler in Canada gets bail

Feb 3 (G&M) A Sri Lankan man accused of bringing hundreds of Tamil asylum seekers into Canada illegally has been granted bail after more than six years in jail. A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled on Thursday that Kunarobinson Christhurajah does not have to remain in custody while awaiting a new trial over allegations of human smuggling. Last week, a jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case of Mr. Christhurajah, more..

Govt expects to finish off H’tota Port sale deal this week

Feb 3 (DM) The final details of the agreement to sell the Hambantota Port shares to Chinese State-owned enterprise China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPH) will be finalized this week and the details of the agreement would be announced soon, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “On the Hambantota Port agreement, PM and the Cabinet Sub Committee is meeting today and it will be announced today or tomorrow,” he said. more..

Misfiring Sri Lanka face must-win game at high-scoring venue

Feb 3 (CI) Two matches in, Sri Lanka are already faced with having to save the five-ODI series, and are yet to crack 200. Instead of being concerned by the lack of runs from his top order, coach Graham Ford has been encouraged by glimpses of good batting from the younger players. Ford is coach until at least 2019, and has clearly set his sights on the long term. If Sri Lanka are to avoid a series defeat in Johannesburg, however, there will have to be at least some immediate improvement. more..

Iran’s President Congratulates Sri Lanka on National Day

Feb 3 (IFP) In a message released on Friday to his Sri Lankan counterpart, Maithripala Sirisena, President Rouhani felicitated Sri Lanka on its 69th Independence Day. He further expressed confidence that amicable ties and coopetition between Tehran and Colombo would further expand in various spheres in light of the political will of the two countries’ officials. The Iranian president also wished health and success for Sirisena and prosperity and happiness for the SL people. more..