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CNN campaign in mid-Feb.

Feb 5 (ST) Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga has been able to convince his cabinet colleagues, overriding tourism industry opinion, to go ahead with a CNN advertising campaign in mid-February. Despite continued protests by the industry stating that a media advertising campaign was not the best option, Mr. Amaratunga has bypassed the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) board to obtain cabinet approval to advertise with CNN for a period of about four months. more..

The Education Ministry-SLC Cricket paradox

Feb 5 (ST) School cricket in Sri Lanka is, indeed, a unique entity which originally evolved under an unplanned structure that involved a few schools such as The Academy (Royal) and S. Thomas’, which played their first inter-schools match way back in 1879. Other schools such as Wesley, Kingswood, Ananda, Nalanda and Richmond, to name a few, followed suit. Yet, the magic is that the school authorities at that time realised it was more..

Jamiyyathul Ulama mourns death of Bellanwila Wimalaratana Nayake Thero

Feb 5 (FT) All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama has expressed its condolences over the death of Bellanwila Wimalaratana Nayake Thero. Following is the message issued by All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama President Ash-Shaikh Mufti M.I.M Rizwe and General Secretary Ash-Shaikh M.M.A. Mubarak. We, the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, are grieved by the news of the demise of Professor Venerable Dr. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Nayake Thero, Chief Incumbent of Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya. more..

World’s top investment bank Lazard explores Sri Lanka, works with MTI

Feb 5 (FT) Recognised as one of the world’s preeminent financial advisory and asset management firms, 170-year-old Lazard has shown interest in Sri Lanka, with a visit this week by an international delegation, in co-operation with MTI Consulting. The $ 2.7 billion global financial advisory firm, in conjunction with MTI Consulting, plans to meet officials of the Sri Lankan Govt and discuss how Lazard could work with Govt in its attempt to divest and attract foreign investments for more..

Power plant tender may cause Rs 40B loss to CEB

Feb 5 (CT) As the tug-of-war rages between the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL), causing delays to the controversial 300 MW Kerawalapitya LNG power plant, the adverse impact falls yet again on Sri Lanka's general public. As reported before by Ceylon FT, the tender procedure has raised the eyebrows of many stakeholders, who harbour doubt in the Govt's sincerity in this tender process. more..

Hakeem offers condolences over death of Ven. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thero

Feb 5 (FT) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Rauff Hakeem, expressed his condolences over the death of Prof. Ven Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thero. The following is his message of condolence. An intense sense of grief strikes me as I take a few moments from my hectic election campaign to reflect upon the passing away of the preeminent, most erudite Venerable, Professor Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thero of the Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya. more..

SLFP female candidates sexually abused

Feb 5 (Island) An SLFP female candidate, contesting the local govt elections in the North Central Province was sexually abused by the driver of a UNP candidate on Feb 2, election monitors and police claim. "The incident took place on Feb 2 and the candidate has lodged a complaint with the Police there," a spokesperson for the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said. "She was traveling after a campaign event when the suspect photographed & then squeezed her breasts." more..

Arrest them all: Harsha

Feb 5 (DM) Welcoming the arrest of Perpetual Treasuries Chief Arjun Aloysius and others, Deputy Minister Dr Harsha De Silva today said the Attorney General should go ahead and immediately arrest those named in the 34 reports of PRECIFAC as well. Also, Dr De Silva said the arrest was welcomed but he wished that it happened earlier, when the AG’s Department was first informed by the Prime Minister in 2016. more..

Hakeem speaks in Sainthamaruthu despite protests

Feb 5 (CT) SLMC leader and Minister Rauf Hakeem addressed his party's LG polls rally in Sainthamaruthu, despite a large number of people being against his tour of the area. However, the SLMC leader continued speaking amidst the tight security provided to him by the Police. Minister Hakkeem was addressing an LG polls campaign meeting in Sainthamaruthu on Saturday. The meeting titled Ceremony of honour to rising Sainthamaruthu was attended by more..

Restricting the sale of liquor to women: Is the public debate misinformed?

Feb 5 (Island) On 10 Jan 2018, the Minister of Finance and Mass Media amended Excise Notification No.666 of 31 Dec 1979. It is widely believed that by this act the Minister revoked a prohibition on the sale of liquor to women. President and the cabinet responded by asking for the amendments to be reversed. This reversal is widely believed to have reinstated the previous prohibition on women purchasing liquor. Verité Research finds both these views to be poorly-informed. more..

'Naseby should have graced Independence celebrations as Chief Guest'

Feb 5 (Island) Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka thera said that Sri Lanka celebrated 70th anniversary of gaining independence from the British with the country at a crossroads for want of patriotic leadership. Declaring the eradication of terrorism nine years ago as Sri Lanka’s biggest achievement since independence, Ven. Nalaka alleged that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration was brazenly pursuing more..

Sri Lanka to implement Trade Information Portal by July

Feb 5 (CT) The cooperation of all Sri Lankan trade-related agencies is imperative to the successful implementation of the Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal (TIP) and the blueprint of the National Single Window (NSW), planned for completion by July 2018, according to Department of Commerce Director General Sonali Wijeratne. Govt identified the need to reform its trade policies and practices to support a business-friendly environment, promote private sector growth, and more..

Audit Bill to be presented to Cabinet this week

Feb 5 (DM) The much-delayed Audit Bill is expected to be presented to the Cabinet this week, sources close to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. They said the Govt had decided to go ahead with passing the Bill as the Supreme Court had given the nod for it. Accordingly, the Attorney General had informed the Secretary to PM that the Bill was in accordance with the Constitution. The Bill, sources said would give wide powers to the Attorney General on making public institutions more accountable. more..

World Leaders congratulate as Sri Lanka celebrates 7 decades of Independence

Feb 5 (PSL) As Sri Lanka proudly celebrates 70 years of Independence, many world leaders have sent their greetings to Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka. Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II has written to President Sirisena: “It gives me great pleasure to send to Your Excellency my congratulations on the occasion of the celebration of by Sri Lanka of the 70th anniversary of Independence. more..

China to work with SL for better development of strategic cooperative partnership

Feb 5 (Xinhua) China is willing to work with Sri Lanka for better development of strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a message addressed to SL President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday. In the message to congratulate Sri Lanka on the 70th anniversary of its independence from the British colonial rule in 1948, Xi recalled the traditional friendship and mutual assistance between China and Sri Lanka, more..

All election campaign activities to silent from midnight Wednesday

Feb 5 (DM) The campaign activities for the forthcoming Local Govt Elections should come to an end midnight Wednesday (7), Elections Commission has announced. A total of 57, 252 candidates are contesting at the LG elections from 43 political parties and 222 independent groups. “A total of 8,356 members will be elected for 341 LG institutions,” Additional Elections Commissioner M. H. Mohamed said. Counting of vote is expected to be held at 13, 400 polling stations. more..

Fighting corruption is the self-defence of the nation: Preisdent

Feb 5 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena said fighting corruption was the self-defence of a nation. Speaking at the 70th Independence anniversary celebrations at Galle Face, President said, "Strengthening the attitude for anti corruption and implementing it is the self defence of the nation to ensure its progress." "Today, we celebrate our 70th anniversary of independence from colonial rule with dignity, pride and glory. more..

State honours for Ven. Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera on Feb 8

Feb 5 (DN) Cremation with State honours of Venerable Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Anunayake Thera will be held on Feb 8, at the Sri J'pura University Grounds, a member of the Cremation Committee said. It has been revealed that the Thera passed away as a result of heart failure and not due to being attacked by the Temple tusker, Venerable Dr. Bellanwila Dhammaratana Thera said. The media had earlier reported that the Thera had been attacked by more..

Presidential pardon for 544 prisoners

Feb 5 (AD) 544 prisoners serving jail terms for minor offences were released today under the Presidential pardon on the occasion of National Independence Day. Prisons Department Commissioner H.M.T.N. Upuldeniya said they were selected from prisons across the island based on their behavior during the detention period. Accordingly, inmates held in prisons across the country including Anuradhapura, Kalutara, Negombo and Mahara were released today, he said. more..

Bond scams: EPF loses over Rs. 26 bn

Feb 5 (Island) The total loss incurred by the Employment Providence Fund (EPF) due to the bond scam alone is over Rs 26 billion, Center for Human Rights (CHR) Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said. Referring to a report prepared by former CEO Kasun Palisena, who was arrested yesterday, Tennakoon added that the EPF had suffered that loss due to seven transactions made by Perpetual Treasuries Pvt Ltd. more..

The Tamil Left and Reflection

Feb 5 (DM) With Independent Sri Lanka having reached the age of 70, it cannot reconstruct itself without self-criticism. As we live under the shadow of the twin forces of Sinhala Buddhist and Tamil nationalism, where will the impetus for such self-criticism come from? I find a flicker of hope with the emergence of reflective writings by Tamil leftists. After democratic regime change three years ago, there are many reconciliation initiatives, but little fundamental rethinking about our past. more..

Are we treating tourists in rightful manner?

Feb 5 (DM) A few days back, two Sri Lankan students studying in China returned home for holidays. During their transit in Kuala Lumpur they bumped into an elderly Dutch lecturer, who taught at another Chinese university, and his wife. The Dutch couple were on their way to Sri Lanka for a holiday. One of the boys was supposed to take a cab from the airport to home. However, he changed his mind and suggested to his friend that it would be nice if they could accompany elderly Dutch couple more..

'People are learned, you can’t take them for granted'

Feb 5 (DM) Dhanushka Ramanayake, an academically qualified young professional is contesting for the Maharagama Urban Council from the UNP. A first timer to active politics, Dhanushka holds an MBA from Britain’s Cardiff Metropolitan University and is a Mass Communication graduate from Sri J'pura University. A product of Isipathana College, Colombo, Dhanushka is a Dharmacharya attached to Siri Vajiranana Dharmayathanaya more..

'We need professionals to take this country forward'

Feb 5 (DM) The upcoming polls have opened doors for a diverse group of individuals including professionals, youngsters and more females to contest. Representing the United National Freedom Front (UNFF) - a newly formed political party under the leadership of former Provincial Council member Maithree Gunaratne is Chandradasa Jayasinghe competing for the Sri Jayawardanapura Municipal Council from more..

National govt will continue after the polls

Feb 5 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has rejected the possibility that the controversial bond scam had soiled his Mr Clean image. In an interview with the Sunday Times, he said neither he nor his party had anything to do with it. He also reaffirmed the UNP’s commitment to abolishing the Executive Presidency and played down differences between President Maithripala Sirisena and the UNP. Here are excerpts: more..

36 complaints against female candidates

Feb 5 (Island) PAFFREL had received 36 complaints against female candidates contesting the February 10 local govt election, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said. "Most of them have been attempting to bribe voters with goodies, using state resources and illegal election propaganda," he said. He alleged that among those accused of violating election laws was Anuruddhika Dissanayake, daughter of more..

7th accused in Avant Garde illegal deal is on Maithri’s lap

Feb 5 (LT) The report on investigations carried out by the PRECIFAC, state resources and privileges in connection with illegal transactions that had taken place between Rakna Lanka Security Company and Avant Garde. 13 persons have been accused and the 7th accused Ranawaka Arachchige Don Janaka alias Janaka Ranawaka has been put forward by the Maithri faction of the SLFP as its Mayoral candidate for Kotte MC. more..

Welikada Prisons Incident: Wife claims key witness intimidated

Feb 5 (CT) The key witness of the Welikada Prison Incident, which occurred in 2012, Senarath Liyanarachchi, has been asked to..withdraw from the case on several occasions by prison authorities, his wife Shamila Bueque alleged. She said that her husband, who is serving a 38-year jail term for fraud, was transferred on Saturday night from the Anuradhapura Prison to the Magazine Prison in Colombo and was re-transferred more..

Sri Lanka tax revenues up 11% to November

Feb 5 (EN) Sri Lanka's revenues rose 11% to 1,656.8 billion rupees up to November 2017 and current spending rose at a slower 9% to 1,742 billion rupees, generating a revenue deficit of 85 billion rupees, lower than a year earlier, despite rising interest costs. In the nine months to December Sri Lanka posted a revenue deficit of 104 billion rupees or 0.9% of GDP compared with about 0.6% of estimated GDP for 2017. more..

Oman in temporary ban on expat workers

Feb 5 (CT) Oman has clamped a temporary six-month ban on expatriate workers in 87 categories. The ban came into effect from 28 Jan 2018, A.L.A. Azzam, President of the Association for Licence Foreign Employment Agencies said. The ban named at the start of the week took the local industry by surprise. Ban covers jobs in the areas of IT, Sales and Marketing, Administration, Human Resources, more..

Undesirable candidates in LG polls: Polls watchdog releases list

Feb 5 (CT) Election monitoring body, PAFFREL released a compilation of all undesirable individuals who are contesting LG polls. PAFFREL noted that these individuals have connections with the local underworld and have been involved in criminal activities and anti-social businesses. The islandwide compilation records 11 individuals accused of murder, 10 accused of robbery, 11 accused of financial crimes and several other statistics. more..

B'desh, Sri Lanka batsmen up in rankings post Chittagong Test

Feb 5 (ANI) The high-scoring draw in the first Test between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka saw batsmen making impressive gains in the latest ICC player rankings. Five centuries and six half-centuries were scored in a match which saw Bangladesh posting 513 and 307 for five, and Sri Lanka amassing a colossal 713 for nine declared in their only innings. Sri Lanka opener Kusal Mendis, who was the top scorer in the match with 196, more..

Chapa factor and USJ’s move to groom its students

Feb 5 (FT) In the previous part of this series, we presented the wisdom of the President of Thailand based Asian Institute of Technology or AIT, Professor Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, how the intellectuals in Thailand should be groomed for an unknown future marked by an exponential growth in technology. Worsak made his thoughts known in a lecture delivered to the fellow members of the Royal Society of Thailand or RST, the think-tank that advises Thai Govt on policy matters. more..

Patriotism through eradicating corruption

Feb 5 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena speaking at Sri Lanka's 70th Independence Day celebrations at the Galle Face Green yesterday emphasized the need of building patriotism through eradicating corruption in the country. President Sirisena addressed the nation in the presence of The Earl and Countess of Wessex who represented Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other local and foreign dignitaries who graced celebrating the 70th Independence Day of Sri Lanka yesterday. more..

Former Chairman BOC, Rusiripala Tennekoon

How could you expect us as Tamils to celebrate the 4th of Feb?

Feb 5 (CT) 70 years since February 4 1948. We Tamil speaking People were told that we had obtained Independence from the Britishers in 1948 and we looked forward to the creation of a happy, contented, prosperous Country free of foreign domination. Mr.Lee Kwan Yue of Singapore had pointed to the then Ceylon as his role model for economic prosperity and communal harmony. Little did we realize that the Sinhalese political leaders had other ideas. more..

Frozen pangolin found in Chinese restaurant

Feb 5 (DM) A live pangolin was found by the Kollupitiya Police inside a freezer at a Chinese restaurant at Walukaramaya today. Kollupitiya Police OIC Priyadarshana De Silva said they had inspected the restaurant following a tip off. “The animal was found inside a freezer of the restaurant. The restaurant operator, who is a Chinese national, was taken into custody and wildlife officers are attending to the frozen animal,” he said. The Chinese national will be produced in Courts more..

Video: Aloysius' arrest only a drama: JVP

Feb 5 (DM) JVP said the arrest of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) owner Arjun Aloysius was a plan hatched on a political agenda. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said it was clear that Mr. Aloysius was prepared for his arrest because he was dressed in a white shirt and tie at the time. “This arrest is just another episode in a drama. Aloysius and his wife were seen well-dressed at the time of the arrest. more..

Buying ballot papers & NICs: 2 men arrested

Feb 5 (DM) Two men who had bought ballot papers and national identity cards from voters were arrested at Kankanamgoda in Beruwala, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said. He said the Beruwala Police had recovered five ballot papers and six NICs, which had been purchased for Rs.18,000. SP Gunasekara said during the further investigations it was revealed that the suspects had also paid four electricity bills and four water bills of voters amounting to Rs.10,800. more..

MPs to be given CDs with PRECIFAC reports

Feb 5 (NR) Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya says documents pertaining to the 34 reports by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges will be given to all MPs tomorrow in the form of CDs. The Speaker made this statement at the party leaders meeting held this morning. Speaker Jayasuriya said the relevant reports consist of around 7,000 pages. more..