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JKH’s foreign holdings thinning fast

Dec 23 (ST) Foreign ownership of blue-chip, John Keells Holdings (JKH) is fast ebbing with analysts noting that this year has seen the most outflows from the stock. As at Dec 19, JKH saw its foreign ownership drop to 49.5% or 686,956,411 shares down from 57.9% as at June 30. On Nov 7 trades made on JKH, which doesn’t have a controlling shareholder, saw its foreign ownership slip down to 51.1%. JKH traded close to Rs. 2 billion worth of shares on Thursday which is close to 1% of more..

Enterprise Sri Lanka - BOC Thurunu Diriya disburses over 400 loans

Dec 23 (CT) The Enterprise Sri Lanka - Bank of Ceylon (BOC) Thurunu Diriya loan scheme has disbursed loans worth Rs 174,760,500 among 409 young entrepreneurs up to date. This was revealed by the weekly progress report of the implementation of the Thurunu Diriya loan scheme released by BOC on 19 Dec 2018. Further, this report reveals that the ‘Thurunu Diriya’ loan scheme has disbursed loans covering all 25 districts of the island, with the district-wise loan disbursements more..

New hope after promise to make cricket corruption free

Dec 23 (Island) Newly appointed Sports Minister Harin Fernando’s claims to take every step possible to make cricket corruption free has struck a responsive chord with all right thinking Sri Lankans. People will be keeping a close eye on the 37-year-old whether he will deliver the promises. "One of our priorities is to face the anti-corruption charges our cricket is facing at the moment. We will strive to keep the sport clean and more..

Call on for 51st National Carrom Open

Dec 23 (ST) Applications have already called for 51st National Carrom Championship organised by the Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka. Whilst contests are conducted under six events of Men’s Single, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Single, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles, and Veteran events. Novice Carrom players of any part of the island who are interested in carrom sport may participate in this tournament. The Veteran event is subjected to the players who are older than 40 years. more..

Taxi meters in Jaffna

Dec 23 (ST) Taxi meters are to be made compulsory for three wheelers and car taxis in Jaffna from January 1, Jaffna Divisional Secretary N. Vethanayagan has ordered. Legal action will be taken against the three wheelers and car taxis running without meters, he has said. Charges have also been fixed after a discussion with the three wheeler association. Minimum charge for three wheelers is Rs. 70.00 per km while it is higher for car taxis. Several residents have complained more..

PM violated Constitution by nominating 35 for Cabinet: JVP

Dec 23 (DM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that PM was looking for loopholes in the Constitution to increase the number of ministers in the Cabinet and had violated the Constitution by sending a list of 35 names to the President to be appointed as ministers. He asked the govt on what provisions of the Constitution, a list of 35 names were sent to the Prez. "19th Amendment clearly says that the Cabinet more..

Ahamed and Moahowshayan clinch U-15 and U-11 titles

Dec 23 (ST) R.R. Ahamed and R. Moahowshayan became the first winners in the Boys’ category to emerge champions in Under-15 Novices Boys and Under-11 Novices events respectively at the ongoing 29th National Junior Squash Championship at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium courts yesterday. Over 260 boys and girls competed in the Ritzbury sponsored championship which will be continued today with the semi-finals and final events. more..

BoI signs new projects in Tourism, Pharmaceutical sectors

Dec 23 (CT) Board of Investment (BoI) signed agreements for projects in the field of hotels and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, a media release stated. The agreements were signed on behalf of the BoI by the Chairman, Hemasiri Fernando. Also present was BoI Director General, Champika Malalgoda. One of the agreements was with Wild Beach Resorts (Private Ltd) project – to set up, construct and operate a 42-room hotel that will be located at the Yala Wildlife Tourism Zone more..

Sri Lanka Rugby disgraced over player’s tour conduct

Dec 23 (SO) SL’s rugby establishment has been shaken to a disgraceful state after its youth captain Gemunu Cheitiya was put on a plane and sent home from Taiwan where the team was contesting the Asian Championships following a serious case of misconduct. Cheitiya is alleged to have been involved in a case of sexual misconduct with a staff member at the hotel where the team put up and Asian Rugby Football Union (AFRU) more..

Export sector needs to be fast tracked

Dec 23 (SO) The export sector needs to fast-track a program to gain lost ground in the global market, National Chamber of Exports (NCE) President Ramal Jasinghe said. “The past 50 days brought a slowdown in export growth. The country reached US $ 15 billion mark at the end of October. The target for 2018 is $ 17 billion. The sector may fall short of the set target for the year,” he said. “This is the time we have to play a major role in accelerating our exports and ensure that the export structure more..

Sri Lanka’s tea industry reaches boiling point

Dec 23 (ST) Tea traders are up in arms against what they call a bad decision on the part of the President that has led to a drop in exports and a total ban on Ceylon Tea to Japan since last year. Ceylon Tea Traders Association (CTTA) President Anslem Perera addressing the Ceylon Planters’ Society as Chief Guest at its 82nd AGM held on Wednesday at the Hotel Galadari said that the one bad decision of the President had caused huge costs to the industry and a drop in exports and yields this year. more..

Video: Over 9,000 affected due to floods in Northern Province

Dec 23 (AD) Over 9,000 people have been affected so far by the floods caused by heavy rainfall in the Northern Province, according to the DMC. Based on the DMC’s latest situation report, the districts of Mullaitivu and Killnochchi are the worst affected by the inclement weather condition. Floods have been reported in Oddusudan, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Thunukkai, Maritimepattu and Manthai East in the Mulaitivu Disitrct. more..

66th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka–China Rubber-Rice Pact

Dec 23 (Island) The Historic Rubber-Rice Pact between Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and the People’s Republic of China was signed on Dec 18, 1952 by then Minister of Commerce, late Hon. R.G. Senanayake and his Chinese counterpart in the presence of then Prime Minister of China, Zhou En Lai in Beijing (then Peking). This was five years before establishing diplomatic relations, and was the first trade agreement signed by China with a non-communist country. more..

Parliament Dissolution : SC verdict saved country from international trap: Bimal

Dec 23 (DM) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said the verdict of the Supreme Court on the dissolution of parliament should be made available to MPs and the people in all three languages and said the SC verdict had rescued the country from an impending international trap. He told Parliament that the SC verdict had sent a clear signal to the international community that our judicial system was independent. "Our judicial system had been vilified at international level in the past and more..

Hunger-strike called off: Plantation workers table demands

Dec 23 (CT) The hunger strike by four persons, demanding a basic wage of Rs 1,000 per day for plantation workers, which entered its fifth day opposite the Fort Railway Station yesterday, was called off after one of the strikers was taken critically ill with kidney failure. The hunger strike was not backed by any political hand or organisation that had vested interests, said Ganesan Udayakumar of Talawakelle Estate, more..

UNP to abolish crossover provision

Dec 23 (Island) Minister Vajra Abeywardena said that the UNP was committed to eliminating loopholes in the Constitution, which enabled MPs to cross from one party to another and still retain their seats. Asked when it would be done, he said that a mandate would have to be obtained from the people at the next General Election. Despite the Constitutional provision that MPs cannot cross sides midterm, there were certain loopholes which had been exploited, Abeywardena noted, more..

'Most of those in new Cabinet are corrupt'

Dec 23 (DM) A majority of those who were appointed to the Cabinet are corrupt, UPFA MP Shehan Semasinghe said. He said the present Cabinet contained several wrongdoers who had a series of allegations levelled against them.“We can list the wrongs committed by these unscrupulous individuals in the Cabinet,” he added. “What is pathetic here is that the President had approved the list of MPs that were sent to him for Cabinet appointments despite having first hand more..

Treasury tightens govt expenditure

Dec 23 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Treasury is tightening government spending while anticipating an increase in the final quarter revenue collection as the country is facing a cash flow problem following the 52-day political impasse triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena. According to recent provisional assessment, the economic loss and financial slippage caused to the country during this period has exceeded Rs.102 billion. more..

Prez, CC on collision course

Dec 23 (DM) Against the backdrop of the recent political crisis, the Constitutional Council (CC) and President Sirisena are reported to be on a collision course over the appointments of judges to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. The President has refrained from appointing Justice Gamini Amarasekara and S.Thurairajah as Supreme Court judges despite the CC recommending their appointment. CC recommended these two names out of those submitted by Prez on Oct 25. more..

Sri Lanka’s tea output seen recovering to 300mn kg in 2018

Dec 23 (EN) SL's tea production is likely to be around 300 million kilos in 2018, Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said in a report. The latest tea production statistics available for the month of October totals 29.6 million kilos, an increase of 3.8 million kilos or 14% from a year ago. “SL is likely to achieve the 300 million kilo mark, a reasonable recovery from the disastrous second and third quarters,” brokers said. Estimate considered that production up to Oct totals 251 million kilos more..

President rejects UNP’s call to revive National Govt

Dec 23 (ST) Prez Sirisena has rejected a request by the UNP to re-activate the onetime National Govt with the SLFP and thus enlarge the Cabinet of Ministers. It was made on Saturday night by a 4-member UNP delegation led by the then PM designate Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was sworn in the next day (Sunday). Early this week, Wickremesinghe rejected a move by his party seniors to forge a rather unusual alliance more..

Ranil’s last chance & Ravi’s perpetual reward

Dec 21 (Island) The sweet feelings that arose after the Supreme Court’s two rulings last week turned sour this week with the spectacle of cabinet making. President kept grabbing headlines with his diatribe after the swearing in, and his own alleged swearing at some point during the event. No one is going to be upset anymore with what the President does or doesn’t do. The real disappointment is PM Wickremesinghe. There was universal expectation that PM Wickremesinghe will show more..

Idioms relevant to our latest upheaval

Dec 21 (Island) Writing that word upheaval in my title brought the instant reaction of saying thank goodness, it is over, at least for now. The perpetual seeker of powerful posts, backed by his sycophants, some of whom have been silenced by being shown up to be ill-advisors and miss-interpreters of the Constitution, is again creating trouble wanting to oust Mr Sampanthan and become Leader of the Opposition. The Speaker, bless him, will give a ruling on Friday but as of today, more..

Three seniors did not want portfolios, but eventually got them

Dec 21 (ST) For most Sinhala cinemagoers, the attraction remains a formula film – with scenes of fighting, comedy, songs and a happy ending. One is not sure whether the same phenomenon has entered the political spectrum. It was the UNF parliamentary group meeting this week chaired by PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe. In the absence of a national govt, he was explaining the difficulties of having an expanded cabinet. more..

Police to enforce strict rules during the season to curb road accidents

Dec 21 (ST) The increasing number of road accidents countrywide has prompted the police to take strict measures during the upcoming festive season. According to statistics around eight people die daily from motor accidents. This year, the number of accidents up to September stands at 2269 with 2368 deaths. Among the measures to be taken, is the deployment of 2,500 police constables on the roads countrywide, more..

Black Gold in the Pearl of the Orient

Dec 21 (CT) This mango-shaped little island in the Indian Ocean may turn out to be one of the richest countries in the South Asian region if only the oil and gas discovery project is shown clear national interest. And by fast tracking the surveys, this island nation could be made self-sustaining in no time, says former Chairman, Ceylon Shipping Corporation and former member of Petroleum Resources Development Committee (PRDC) more..

Mahana to head SLC interim committee

Dec 21 (PO) Sri Lanka’s new Sports Minister Harin Fernando has invited three former cricketers-Mahela Jaywardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva-to present their views on development of cricket in the country. Former ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama is set to be the president of the SLC new interim committee. He says, ‘I want to discuss with former SL players about the way how the game more..

International narcotic ring uncovered in SL

Dec 21 (CT) Police investigating the Rs 2.7 billion drug haul earlier this month, have stumbled on to a major international narcotic smuggling ring stretching from the Golden Triangle in South Asia to the British Indian Overseas Territories (BIOT), a high ranking official said. The kingpin behind the multi-billion rupee drug syndicate is alleged to have operated the narcotic smuggling ring for a considerable period, of at least five years, more..

I did not know till the last minute: MR

Dec 21 (AT) Sri Lanka's "ex-disputed PM to now disputed opposition leader" Mahinda Rajapaksa says that he was unaware till the last minute of his Oct 26 appointment (as PM) that he was to be appointed. Rajapaksa also says that he has not obtained the membership of SLPP (Pohottuwa) contrary to the widely held political opinion. He said that the photos circulated in media of him accepting SLPP membership, more..

UNF negotiates for 32-member Cabinet

Dec 21 (ST) The United National Front (UNF) will negotiate to increase the number of ministers to 32, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, said. “This is on the basis of our interpretation that there would be thirty ministers beside the President and PM holding portfolios,” he said. Since the President had contended that the Cabinet should be 30 including the two leaders, talks were under way, he said. The development came after more..

Political turmoil hits cancer hospital supplies

Dec 21 (ST) In the wake of the recent political turmoil which disrupted medicinal supplies, the cancer hospital has been given the green light to carry out urgent medicine purchases from the private sector to prevent interruption of treatment to new patients. The hospital’s Acting Director Dr Buddhika Kurukulasuriya said they were forced to take a difficult decision last week to delay the treatment of newly admitted patients as more..

Video: Over 45,000 affected in North due to rains, floods

Dec 21 (DM) More than 45,000 people from nearly 14,000 families had been affected due to the heavy rains and floods in all the five districts of the Northern Province, the DMC said. The affected districts are Mullaithivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna. The DMC said that 8,539 people had been sheltered in 52 welfare camps. Meanwhile, President Sirisena directed relevant officials to provide immediate relief more..

After Constitutional crisis: Govt to renegotiate with donors in January

Dec 21 (SO) “We will commence re-negotiations with the IMF, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of USA and the JICA for the stalled funds in January 2019 now that the Constitutional crisis has been democratically overcome, State Minister for Finance, Eran Wickremaratne said. The IMF was to provide SL up to US$ 250 million as the sixth and penultimate tranche of the US $ 1.5 billion credit facility, more..

Independent judiciary: Asylum for democracy

Dec 24 (CT) Democracy was rescued only a couple of weeks ago from brink of extinction, threatened by a constitutional conspiracy engineered by President Sirisena and his cabal. It was rescued partly by a combination of calm but resolute opposition from the public and more importantly by the Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court. The president’s immediate disgust at the judiciary, in degrading its judgement and comparing the dispute between him and Supreme Court to one of between more..

UNP oblivious to existential threat posed by Sirisena to political stability

Dec 24 (CT) Sri Lanka’s political crisis, which came to an apparent close with the reappointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM on Dec 16, is still smouldering. Sirisena has also removed the name of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, a UNP front-liner, from the list of Cabinet appointments nominated by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The UNP attributes the omission to Sirisena’s deeply personal hatred towards the former Army Chief. It was reported that President Maithripala Sirisena directed more..

Christmas cheer in the air!

Dec 24 (SO) In the cities across the island there’s certainly no shortage of products that help to keep the festive season alive, from Christmas trees to cakes, to clothes and decorations. People are flocking into the towns to purchase festive goods that make the day special. All of this is made possible by the unsung Christmas heroes, who year after year work hard to spread cheer, & help others to keep tradition going. more..

Citizen’s power against the might of the state

Dec 24 (ST) In her signature article Telling it Like it Is comprising part of a collection of writings with the same title, the late Anne Abeysekera asks an important question, Do we in Sri Lanka have the courage and honesty to tell it like it is? This question was asked and that article penned in the now defunct Sun newspaper soon after the ethnic violence of July 1983. It is a query straight from the heart and remains relevant for us now as it was then. more..

The question that baffles the nation: Why is Sirisena still holding office?

Dec 24 (ST) Today on the presidential throne of Lanka, there sits a man who gambled with the nation’s heirloom of democracy and endangered the people’s sovereign inheritance, who gambled with the nation’s economy and imperiled it, who gambled with the nation’s international image and sullied it, who placed his bets and waged his all on his bizarre belief that he could transgress chapter and verse of the nation’s legal bible with impudence and could escape being found guilty of sinning against more..

No collateral, no problem: Rukula offers credit to the unbanked

Dec 24 (Roar) When Reeza Zarook, founder of Rukula, used to work at—Sri Lanka’s first daily deals and e-commerce online store—he noticed that many of the customers who walked into the store’s physical space down Thimbirigasyaya Road were not regular e-commerce clientele. They were an eclectic mix of people from lower income brackets, often three-wheel drivers from the stand across the street, more..

The crisis and after

Dec 24 (Island) The crisis that prevailed in the country over the last two months has been overcome, consequent to the decision of the Supreme Court that was handed down on Dec 13. While the situation was instigated, carried forward and exacerbated by various political interests, Friday Forum notes the irony in the claim of all these individuals and entities that they were acting in the best interests of the country and in order to uphold the sovereignty of the people. more..