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PC polls: Now SLFP and UNP differ, cause further turmoil

Oct 5 (Island) The SLFP, yesterday, insisted that the Provincial Council polls couldn’t be further delayed by extending the Delimitation Review Committee (DRC). Minister and SLFP spokesman Mahinda Samarasinghe said there was no provision for extending the DRC beyond the prescribed two months given in accordance with the Provincial Council Elections Amendment Act. Samarasinghe said so in response to a query by The Island more..

Sri Lanka provides dollar backed central bank credit for deficit financing

Oct 5 (EN) Central bank has advanced new rupees to the Treasury against US dollars, shortly before the rupee came under pressure from excess liquidity, in a new method of temporarily financing the deficit by expanding reserve money, it has been revealed. Dy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said the money was provided against the Treasury's own dollar deposits kept in central bank custody. "When the Treasury gets money, and they want to use for payment, they leave that money with CB" more..

President wants N&E lands released to owners before Dec 31

Oct 5 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena said people in the North and East should be given back the land they are entitled to and directed the relevant officials to resolve all existing problems and release such land to the legally entitled owners before December 31 this year. The President issued this directive when he presided over a meeting of the Presidential Task Force on North East Development held for the third time at the Parliamentary Complex on October 3. more..

SLC uncovers possible embezzlement attempt

Oct 5 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is in the process of recovering approximately USD 165,000 in broadcasting rights, having uncovered a possible second internal attempt to embezzle board funds in the space of a month. The board had commissioned accounting firm Ernst & Young to conduct a special audit into its accounts after the first alleged embezzlement was uncovered in September. more..

Lets learn from Gibran!

Oct 5 (DM) SL’s education authorities are yet to address the stress issue associated with exams despite Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam stating that moves are underway to reduce the subjects for the O/L Exam from nine to six. He has said that one of the reasons behind bringing about a change to the education system is that the syllabus is outdated. Many wise men however believe that the real reason behind children struggling at school is due the outdated thinking of educational authorities, more..

Prez between the devil & deep blue sea

Oct 5 (DM) On the eve of President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit last month to New York to attend the 73rd UNGA, it was reported that he was to make a special statement, at the world summit on the war crimes allegations against the SL armed forces. However, the statement he made on the matter was not in any way a special or new. Rather it was the same statement former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his ministers and the Foreign Ministry officials have been making for several years. more..

Media freedom: Good, the bad & the Ugly

Oct 5 (DM) How free are SL’s media and how responsible are they socially? Experts, media activists and senior journalists expressed their views within the scope of this question at a landmark symposium to mark the 20th anniversary of the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility. The 1998 declaration is a milestone in SL’s media history. It paved the way for the abolition of the draconian and more..

Sexual bribery under the spotlight

Oct 5 (ST) It is shrouded in secrecy and even if there is a hint, it is quickly, conveniently and deftly swept under the carpet or adding insult to injury, trivialized. Nobody has wanted to or dared to lift the veil or the carpet and take a deep look. Sexual bribery is the hush-hush subject – however, over the past four years, slowly and surely, sexual bribery has been brought to the forefront, not with mere allegations being thrown around more..

Arrivals up 12% Jan-Sep: 770K tourists left to hit 2018 target

Oct 5 (CT) Sri Lanka needs to attract little less than 770,000 tourists during the next three months to achieve the Govt’s target of 2.5 million visitors to the country, as Sri Lanka welcomed more than 1.73 million travellers during the first nine months of this year. According to statistics, Sri Lanka saw its tourist arrivals increase 12% during the first nine months to 1,731,922 visitors from 1,551,931 visitors a year ago. more..

Prez intervened when PM lashed out at businessman: SB

Oct 5 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena had to intervene when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe became annoyed with a leading businessman at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting held on Tuesday at the Presidential Secretariat and reconvened it after the suspension of the meeting for a few minutes, SLFP dissident group front liner S.B. Dissanayaka said. He said Mr. Wickremesinghe had not been happy about more..

'PM took all policy decisions on economy till NCE appointment'

Oct 5 (DM) SLFP Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said it is not the National Economic Council (NEC) Chaired by the President but the Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Management Chaired by the PM that took all policy decisions regarding economic matters and the President has continuously raised these matters over the past three years. He was responding to a question raised by a journalist at more..

Sri Lanka to relax import rules for processed food exporters

Oct 5 (EN) Sri Lanka is proposing to make it easier to import planting materials and fresh produce like coconuts, fruits and vegetables in order to attract investments and boost processed food exports, a national export strategy document has said. "The supply of raw material must be secured in order for the sector to have the means to meet strong international demand and to upscale these industries," more..

Govt plans incentives to draw Diaspora money

Oct 5 (CT) The National Economic Council of SL (NECSL) has suggested providing special incentives to the Sri Lankan Diaspora encouraging them to bring their hard-earned money to the country in an effort to boost foreign reserves, NECSL Secretary-General Prof. Lalith Samarakoon said. He said that NECSL plans to discuss this matter with the CB, shortly. “It will be regarding the provision of attractive rates for more..

Video: Top rankers of Grade 5 Scholarship Exam - 2018

Oct 5 (AD) The Department of Examinations has released the names, schools and marks of the top ranking students at the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam – 2018, which was held on August 05. Bumith Vithanage of Somaweera Chandrasiri Vidyalaya, Piliyandala and Sanupa Perera of St. Mary’s Maha Vidayalaya, Veyangoda are both ranked as island first with 199 marks. Three students share the 2nd spot in the ranking more..

SLC Ex-Co alleged to have approved Rs. 130mn in payments before term lapsed

Oct 5 (DM) The former Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is alleged to have approved a mammoth outlay of more than Rs. 130 million at a meeting weeks before their term lapsed on May 31. This amount includes ex-gratia payments to Chairman and Members of Sub-Committees and Special Committees along with payments amounting to Rs. 8.7 million being directed to advertising firms, more..

150mn in minister’s acc: Mahinda, Duminda deny accusation, CB won’t comment

Oct 5 (Island) A visibly disturbed Minister and SLFP Vice President Mahinda Samarasinghe urged the media not to be unfair by him. Samarasinghe asked the media to report responsibly and refrain from levelling unsubstantiated allegations. The SLFPer lost his cool when a journalist asked him whether he was the recipient of Rs. 150 mn. Samarasinghe insisted that there had been no reference to him. more..

Sri Lanka govt urged to scrap bottled water price controls

Oct 5 (EN) Sri Lanka’s govt should remove price controls on bottled water that became effective Friday, 5 October, as it could limit consumer choice and prompt producers to reduce quality to cut costs, a free-market think-tank said. "As more than 120 companies battle for a foothold in Sri Lanka’s competitive bottled drinking water market, worries over unsafe and low quality products is concerning,” said Advocata, a Colombo-based independent policy think-tank. more..

Labour imports must be managed professionally to avoid destabilisation

Oct 5 (FT) A group of professionals belonging to several agencies said in one voice on Tuesday that foreign worker policies must be carefully drafted and should not in any way be allowed to destabilise the local labour market. The known facts about Sri Lanka’s labour market are: the skills mismatch, low female labour force participation at 36%, youth unemployment, demography, ageing population, and outdated labour policies. To address our labour shortages and the skills mismatch more..

Dilan Perera

Porter ASP Liyanage: Namal justifies Ambassador’s despicable act

Oct 5 (CT) MP Namal Rajapaksa put his foot in the mouth when he attempted to justify the conduct of Sri Lanka’s controversial ambassador to Qatar A.S.P. Liyanage who was seen carrying bags of Rajapaksa’s brothers, Yoshitha and Rohitha, at Qatar airports. Yoshitha and Rohitha Rajapaksa visited Qatar yesterday with the CH and FC Rugby team and the Ambassador, appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, was seen at the airport to welcome the two sons of the former Prez. more..

SriLankan named world's most punctual airline: Flightstats

Oct 5 (EN) SriLankan Airlines said it has been named the world’s most punctual airline in Sept 2018, according to Flightstats analysis of flight data of 41 major carriers. Flightstats had analysed data of 41 carriers in the category of Global Airlines across Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, and South America including most of the world’s largest airlines. "An extraordinary 91.3% of SriLankan Airlines’ flights in Sept 2018 were on time according to flight data analysis by Flightstats," more..

Vice President of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation visits Sri Lanka

Oct 5 (USE) Executive Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) David Bohigian and other U.S. govt officials visited SL from Oct 3 to 5. Trip promoted U.S. investment in the region and strengthened cooperation with regional allies to drive economic growth and stability. Delegation met with Minister Mangala Samaraweera as well as representatives of American businesses in SL market. more..

Immediate action will be taken for the betterment of the Film Industry: President

Oct 5 (PSL) Govt will not hesitate to take decisions in securing the film industry and help the artists, says President. President Maithripala Sirisena said this participating in a special meeting in discussing the issues related to the Film Industry at the President‘s office yesterday. The system of distributing films was also specially discussed. Since certain acts regarding the publicity and production of the films are often neglected a lot of issues have been erupted and more..

Pak-SL Defence Dialogue enabled to identify new areas of collaboration

Oct 5 (BR) Defence Secretary Lt Gen (R) Ikram Ul Haq has said that Pakistan–Sri Lanka Defence Dialogue has enabled both countries to identify new areas of collaboration and provided an opportunity to exchange views on strategic and security issues. The defence secretary who co-chaired the first round of Pakistan–SL Defence Dialogue in Colombo, said defence ties between Pakistan and SL are based on mutual trust and commonality of interest in maintaining regional peace, more..

Video: JO vows to defeat 2019 budget and form interim govt

Oct 5 (DM) The joint opposition would pool all its power to defeat the budget 2019 and form an interim govt until the general election scheduled to be held in late 2019, with Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM under President Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP rebel group frontliner and former Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said. He said that all progressive forces including members of the Tamil and Muslim political parties and a section of more..

Chairman of Livestock Development Board arrested over bribe

Oct 5 (NR) The Chairman of the National Livestock Development Board has been arrested for soliciting a bribe of Rs.600,000. The Assistant Accountant of a company owned by the Chairman was also arrested. The duo was arrested while obtaining a sum of Rs.600,000 of a Rs. 1.2 million bribe. The bribe was obtained in order to lease a restaurant owned by the National Livestock Development Board at a farm in Melsiripura. The bribe was paid by a businessman in Katugasthota. more..

Children losing their childhood

Oct 5 (CT) It is the week of the Children’s Day celebrations with the accompanying rhetoric on children’s rights, and the adults of Sri Lanka are doing what they do best in the service of that uniquely indigenous enterprise of lobotomizing the nation’s future - our children - through education. This week a civil society organization announced the commencement of a month-long series of islandwide programmes involving close interactions with children and parents to obtain their views more..

SC rejects Gnanasara Thero’s appeal

Oct 5 (AD) Appeal filed by Ven. Gnanasara Thero challenging the 6-year prison sentence in the case against him over Contempt of Court charges, has been rejected by the majority of a Trial-at-Bar consisting three Supreme Court judges. The appeal was taken up before Justices Eva Wanasundara, Nalin Perera and Prasanna Jayawardena today. Issuing the verdict Justice Eva Wanasundara announced that the appeal more..

Special project to develop H'tota district

Oct 5 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the relevant authorities to implement a special project with the aim of identifying the problems faced by the rural community in the Hambantota district and to provide solutions for those issues as well as to develop rural infrastructure facilities in the district. President gave these instructions during a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday on preparing a programme to address basic issues of more..

Man killed in shooting at Angoda Junction

Oct 5 (AD) A 33-year-old man was killed after two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at him at the Angoda Junction, in Mulleriyawa Police Area. The shooting had occurred at around 3.00 p.m. today near a liquor store on the Avissawella Road. Two unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle had opened fire at the victim and then fled, police said. The victim, Tharaka Iroshan, 33, a resident of Kalapaluwawa in Rajagiriya, was rushed to the Mulleriyawa Hospital in critical condition. more..

SL to ease e-payment restrictions by 2020

Oct 5 (EN) Sri Lanka is aiming to change laws so that international payments systems like PayPal could be used to receive payments by tech sector workers by 2020, an export strategy document has said. The tech industry is based on outsourced activities and growth will depend on clearing several regulatory bottlenecks including restrictions to international online payment systems like Pay Pal. "Restricted access to int'l online more..

Online payment of traffic fines soon

Oct 5 (CT) In a bid to curb traffic congestion and motor vehicle accidents on the roads, Motor Traffic and Road Safety Department were formulating plans to nab traffic offenders through CCTV cameras. Online payment of traffic fines will also be shortly introduced, DIG Motor Traffic and Road Safety, Ajith Rohana said. He said that it would be convenient for drivers found guilty of traffic offences to pay online. “Offenders could pay the fine online through bank accounts or through mobile phones” he said. more..

The Indian Ocean: Defining our future conference to be held in Colombo

Oct 5 (MFA) The Indian Ocean: Defining our Future Conference, which aims to create a platform for Indian Ocean littoral states and major maritime users to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern, will be held in Colombo on 11-12 Oct. This Conference is held at a time when the Indian Ocean has emerged as one of the world’s busiest and most critical trade corridors, carrying two thirds of global oil shipments and a third of bulk cargo and hosting the most critical trade corridors, more..

National environmental Conference 2018 under President’s patronage

Oct 5 (PMD) Prez Sirisena says that he had not taken many high positions entrenched with money and power and selected the Ministry of Environment to ensure the right to life of all the creatures including the human beings. Even though the previous Presidents had taken the Ministry of Finance under their purview as soon as they came to power, he had taken steps to shed excessive powers of the Executive Presidency and more..

Supreme Court to take up Johnston’s appeal

Oct 5 (AD) The Supreme Court today decided to take up the appeal filed by MP Johnston Fernando challenging the remand order issued by the Kurunegala High Court against him. The former minister’s lawyers on Wednesday had filed papers petitioning the Supreme Court to grant leave to appeal the Kurunegala High Court’s order to remand the former minister. The application was filed stating that the remanding of MP Johnston Fernando until his case concludes was unlawful. more..

Eight spill gates opened at Deduru Oya Dam

Oct 5 (AD) Eight spill gates of the Deduru Oya Dam have been opened due to the heavy rainfall being experienced in the area, Ada Derana reporter said. He said that four spill gates were opened two feet each while the other two have been opened by four feet each. People living in lowlands have been requested to remain cautious due to the opening of the dam’s spill gates. Meteorology Department says that the prevailing showery condition is expected to continue further over the island. more..

Sri Lanka state airline to fly to Europe after finding partner: Tourism Minister

Oct 5 (EN) State-run SriLankan Airlines plats to find a joint venture partner by end 2018 and will resume flight to Europe, Minister John Amaratunga said. "Unfortunately, the national carrier has stopped flights to Europe," he said. "Before end of the year, the cabinet is determined to go ahead with a joint venture with a world leading airline and get back to European destinations." He said. SriLankan flights have no seats, especially more..

Ambidextrous Kamindu Mendis enlivens England warm-up saunter

Oct 5 (CI) Joe Root and Eoin Morgan struck confident, unbeaten nineties in England's first match of the Sri Lanka tour, after Moeen Ali, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes had shared seven wickets between them against a strong Sri Lanka Board XI side. Their collective efforts enabled England to cruise to a 43-run Duckworth-Lewis victory, after rain then bad light prevented the game from reaching its natural conclusion. In pursuit of a target of 288, England finished up on 215 for 2 after 35.3, more..

Lion cub nursed by female Labrador

Oct 5 (DM) An incident that had occurred for the first time in Sri Lanka in 2014 was revealed today, where a Lion cub from the Dehiwela Zoological Gardens was taken care of at a private home in Moratuwa and fed by the owner's female Labrador after the lioness had disowned this cub. The lioness had given birth to four cubs, but three of them had died after their mother rejected them. The Zoo authorities who were committed to save the surviving lion cub and had searched for a foster mother and more..

Video: H'tota Port is not a debt trap: Envoy

Oct 5 (CGTN) "If anybody is saying that the Chinese govt gave its money to put SL into a debt trap, I don't agree with that. It's an absolutely wrong conclusion," Karunasena Kodituwakku, ambassador of SL to China, said. His comments came amid accusations from critics who said China is setting a debt trap for SL with its port of Hambantota. First phase of the Port's construction was finished in 2010, with 85% of its cost funded by China. more..