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HNB still a good bet for investors despite heavy taxation of banks: investor forum

Mar 26 (Island) HNB Investor Forum highlighted that the Bank's financial brass tacks are so encouraging that the Bank's investors and potential investors could look to the future with more confidence in its bottom line growth without worrying too much about the govt's heavy taxation of banks. However, Jonathan Alles, CEO of Hatton National Bank didn't seem to be taking too kindly to got's heavy taxation of banks when he said that the development could lead to the end of a promising trend. more..

Polonnaruwa to become SL’s first Smart City

Mar 26 (FT) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena said Polonnaruwa is earmarked to become SL’s first-ever Smart City, with the Govt planning to launch several pilot projects in the areas of education, health, and transportation, before expanding to Port City, Colombo. “The Govt is currently considering to transform Polonnaruwa as the country’s first-ever Smart City, enabled with smart health, more..

Eshan brings more glory to Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (Island) Fresh from his Formula 3 win, Eshan Pieris, won Round 1 Rotax Max Asia Challenge in the DD2 senior category. Returned to karting for an off-season race, Eshan claimed pole position and went on to win the finals of this race at Shah Alam International Karting Circuit Malaysia. Eshan participated in the elite DD2 Senior Category which fields the strongest drivers in the series. Driving for RL Karting, Eshan qualified on pole with a lap time of 53.312 seconds in a very close fight more..

Palestine President awards Lankan envoy with Star of Friendship Gold Medal

Mar 26 (FT) President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas awarded the Star of Friendship (President Mahmoud Abbas Gold Medal) to Mohammed Fawzan Anver the Ambassador of Sri Lanka. This was during a farewell meeting organised and held at the presidential headquarter in the city of Ramallah, as Fawzan Anver has completed his tenure as an Ambassador of SL in the Palestinian territories, in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Riyad Al Malki and more..

Traffic congestion in Colombo costs one billion rupees a day

Mar 26 (Island) Traffic congestion, in the Colombo city, cost around one billion rupees a day, Minister Champika Ranawaka told Parliament. He said that the loss incurred due to the traffic congestion in terms of waste of fuel and time had been estimated by the Moratuwa Uni to be around Rs. 1,000 million a day. "This is far greater than what is spent on capital expenditure. There are over 7 million motor vehicles plying more..

Pakistan’s 79th National Day celebrated in SL

Mar 26 (PHC) The High Commission of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Pakistani community based in Sri Lanka celebrated the 79th National Day of Pakistan with traditional fervour and resolve to make Pakistan a strong, vibrant, progressive, democratic and welfare state. High Commissioner of Pakistan, Maj. Gen. (R) Dr. Shahid Ahmad Hashmat unfurled the Pakistani flag to the tune of Pakistan’s national anthem in a ceremony held at the Pakistan High Commission this morning. more..

In-form Udana climbs in ICC rankings

Mar 26 (CT) South Africa opener Reeza Hendricks and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo attained career-best positions in batting and bowling respectively, in the latest ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings after the team's 3-0 series sweep over SL. Hendricks has advanced 26 slots to 15th position after scoring 139 runs in the series, including two half-centuries, while Phehlukwayo has moved up 14 slots to 10th position after taking seven wickets in two matches, including a haul of four for 24 in the last match more..

SLPP admits split in UPFA, way cleared for smooth sailing of UNP budget 2019

Mar 26 (Island) The SLPP, acknowledged that contrary to expectations, the UNP could comfortably ensure the passage of budget 2019 at its final reading on April 5. UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma said the UNP could overcome the UPFA challenge with the support of the four-party TNA and a section of SLFP MPs elected on the UPFA ticket. Alahapperuma described those SLFPers as UNP’s slaves. more..

Biodiversity Sri Lanka helps small business comply with conservation measures

Mar 26 (EN) Biodiversity Sri Lanka has begun working with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to strengthen knowledge and compliance of environmental and biodiversity conservation measures. “Green transformation is a significant business opportunity for SMEs as important suppliers of goods and services,” the private sector lobby group, which promotes biodiversity and environmental conservation in the island, said in a statement. more..

SLTDA to issue renewal licenses in one day

Mar 26 (DN) SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is now fully geared to issue renewals for accommodation and service providers in one day when the relevant documents for each category are submitted. By next week, SLTDA will publish press advertisements in all three languages to create awareness among all stakeholders on what are the required documents of each category for registration, licenses, and renewals in order to create greater awareness and transparency more..

PUCSL to take legal action against CEB

Mar 26 (FT) Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL) is set to take legal action against the CEB for carrying out scheduled power interruptions sans their approval, noting the move was illegal as per the conditions of the License agreement. “Commission has decided to file action in courts for violation of conditions of the license. The Licensee has to get our permission for any interruptions, but licensee has not done so” more..

‘TNA rocking crib and pinching baby'

Mar 26 (Island) What the TNA is engaged in is not politics but politricks, says EPDP leader Douglas Devananda. "On the one side they show that they are supporting the UNF govt and on the other they are shouting at international forums that grievances of the Tamils have not been addressed by the UNF," the 62-year-old former militant said. Devananda pointed out that the pro-UNF stance adopted by the TNA had not benefited the Northern and Eastern Tamils. more..

Animals in SL shoot selfies in documentary

Mar 26 (ES) The wildlife of Sri Lanka managed to shoot a few selfies during the filming of a short tourism documentary that was released today. The film, commissioned by SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), features intimate footage shot with – and by – animals from across the country, including elephants, turtles, leopards, blue whales and fishing cats. The project was spearheaded by an all-female British crew of nature documentary filmmakers, who used natural history more..

Video: Govt to scrap Grade 5 scholarship exam

Mar 26 (AD) President Sirisena says the govt has decided not to hold the Grade 5 Scholarship Exam in future. He mentioned this addressing an event at Royal College in Polonnaruwa to declare open the new auditorium of the school. Scholarship Exam for Grade 5 students does more harm than good, the President emphasized addressing the gathering. The school children should not have a rat race to enter super luxury schools, more..

Kiriella defends PM over bond scam allegations

Mar 26 (Island) The report, prepared by the presidential commission on the bond controversy had made no charges against the PM, Leader of the House and Minister, Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament. The Minister said so in response to a statement made by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, on Saturday, that there was evidence to prove the PM’s involvement in providing protection to the accused in the Treasury bond scams. Kiriella made his statement during the debate on more..

UNP backbenchers against mending fences with President

Mar 26 (CT) Registering their protest against alleged attempts to mend the fences between the Govt and the President, UNP backbenchers yesterday (25), called the Govt a widow, claiming that they are the orphaned children. UNP Ratnapura District MP Hesha Withanage said that people would consider them as a shameless bunch if they go back to the President and mend all differences. UNP Badulla District MP Chaminda Wijesiri said that he too, strongly opposed such attempts. more..

Sri Lanka imposes power cuts after failing to build thermal plant

Mar 26 (EN) Sri Lanka has started cutting power after failing to award a contract to build a 300 MegaWatt power plant for over three years amid corruption allegations and also cancelling coal plant that was about to be built, making a reality of warnings given by analysts, engineers at the state-run power utility and industry analysts. CEB said up to four hours of power cuts will be imposed on consumers in all parts of the island more..

UNHRC: Not for parties to gain political mileage

Mar 26 (DM) A new resolution on Sri Lanka has been adopted at the UNHRC in Geneva last week with the co-sponsorship of Sri Lanka. The resolution provides another two years for Sri Lanka to implement its commitments, thrust upon it by the resolution adopted at the Council in 2015, which also Sri Lanka Co-sponsored. Main among the commitments- Sri Lanka has to implement under that resolution is to set up a judicial mechanism to probe the violations of int'l Human Rights more..

47th Death Anniversary of Philip Gunawardena

Mar 26 (DM) Fourteen-year old schoolboy Philip with his mother travelled in a horse-carriage, straight into Queen’s House, and presented a petition to Governor Robert Chalmers, who promptly released his father, Boralugoda Ralahamy who was sentenced to death, tyrannically imposed on national leaders during the martial law of 1915, by the colonial rulers. Gaining admission to the Universities of Illinois and Wisconsin in the USA initially, he read Economics and finally passed out from more..

SLPP slams Govt over power cuts

Mar 26 (FT) Placing the blame regarding power cuts squarely on the Govt, SLPP said load shedding was a direct result on the current administration’s failure to implement new power projects over the last 4 years. SLPP Chairman G.L Peiris said that top officials of the Govt had delayed power projects intentionally, as this created a situation where there would be no option but to go for emergency power purchases at higher more..

Hulugalle’s arrest drama…

Mar 26 (CT) UPFA MP Arundika Fernando, alleged that one of the main suspects, Ranjan Hulugalle, who was arrested early last morning, in connection with Treasury Bonds scam, attempted to abscond and also tried using political influence to prevent his arrest. He said, “The CID went to the Shangri-la Apartments at around 5 a.m. to arrest Hulugalle, who is one of the main suspects in the Central Bank Treasury Bonds scam. more..

TNA opposes govt plans to acquire KKS cement land for Navy

Mar 26 (Island) TNA would meet President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe soon to request them not to acquire the Kankesanthurai Cement Factory land for the Navy, TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah said. He said the Navy was trying to acquire 163 acres of land belonging to KKS Cement Factory. "Previously 62 acres of land of this factory were acquired for the KKS Presidential Palace built by former President Rajapaksa. more..

Mahendran’s case: AG compiles new extradition report

Mar 26 (ST) Attorney General’s Dept is compiling a further detailed report supporting the request for the extradition of the CB’s former Governor Arjun Mahendran on the instructions given by the President’s Secretary, a Prez Secretariat spokesman said. Report would be sent to the Singaporean authorities after Singaporean Foreign Ministry called for further information over the extradition request put forwarded by the govt, more..

Govt to implement National Digital Economy Strategy by mid-2019

Mar 26 (FT) Minister Harin Fernando confirmed that the much-awaited National Digital Economy Strategy will be implemented before the first half of the year. “Sri Lanka signed up with McKenzie’s for a national digital transformation strategy and they have done a paper. We are hoping to roll it out in the middle of this year. After the Budget is passed, this will unfold,” Minister told at Huawei Lanka ICT and more..

UN Resolution approved by one in PM’s office: Raghavan

Mar 26 (CT) Northern Province Governor Dr. Suren Raghavan claimed that the UN resolution, which was sent to Sri Lanka before the UNHRC 40th session, had been approved by one individual in the PM’s Office and that individual had approved it without even taking the permission of President Sirisena or any other authority. He said He claimed that “The adoption of the draft UNHRC Resolution 40/L.1 is an important step more..

Digital govt protection unit soon

Mar 26 (DN) The govt is planning to set up a govt CERT (GCERT) or digital govt protection unit and a Citizen CERT and Military CERT to create a resilient, trusted Cybersecurity ecosystem and enable citizens to realize the benefits of digitization. Furthermore, a National level survey to assess the Cybersecurity readiness of citizens will be conducted, Dr. K. Karunasena, Research and Policy Development Specialist at SLCERT more..

Nurses in islandwide strike

Mar 26 (CT) Nurses will participate in an islandwide strike today, and tomorrow, demanding the correction of salary disparities and urging the Govt for additional allowances. Nurses have engaged in a trade union action since yesterday, and are protesting that their pleas have fallen on deaf ears in terms of the health authorities including the Minister of Health, by wearing black bands on their hands. more..

Halted purchase of overpriced cancer vaccine: Rajitha

Mar 26 (AD) A control price will be introduced for 27 more drugs says Minister Rajitha Senaratne. This will be implemented as the third phase of reducing the prices of medicine, he stated. He stated this at the opening ceremony of the 42nd Rajya Osusala outlet of State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) in Matale, yesterday. Speaking at the event, Senaratne said that he has issued orders to halt SPC from more..

State enterprise workers should get bonuses to stop sabotage: legislator

Mar 26 (EN) Workers in loss-making SL state enterprises should be given bonuses to stop them from being discouraged and engaging in sabotage of public property, UPFA MP Mahinda Amaraweera told parliament. "It is good that bonuses were given to employees of SLTB," he said. "If not, they will be sad when other workers get bonuses and will be discouraged. Some may also damage buses, engaging in sabotage. They may also strike." more..

4-day work week: A solution to many problems?

Mar 26 (FT) A 3-day weekend every week and only four days of work a week. The idea would seem too good to be true for many. But this is an idea that is being experimented in the West and some companies have already started out on a four-day work week. How about adding two extra hours a day in return for a three-day weekend? Japanese clothing store Uniqlo tried this in 2015 where employees work 10 hours a day but only for four days a week. more..

UNP’s Perpetual Fall

Mar 26 (CT) At least four politically sensitive personalities currently figure in the recent, alleged multibillion rupee Treasury Bonds (TB) scam, seemingly spearheaded by Perpetual Treasuries (PTL), since suspended by the CB. They are former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran, a wanted man, Minister Ravi Karunanayake, at least a former PTL director Ranjan Hulugalle, former CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s sister Ms. Shiromi Wickremasinghe, a former director of more..

Kanchana Wijesekera

Navy recovers a haul of Beedi leaves floating in the sea

Mar 26 (SLN) A group of RABS personnel attached to the North Western Naval Command, recovered a haul of Beedi leaves floating in the sea which was 1232.5 kg in weight, during a patrol carried out in Udappuwa sea area, yesterday (26). This recovered haul was packed in 35 parcels. It is suspected that, this consignment is a smuggling attempt from India by floating over the sea. The haul of Beedi leaves was handed over to Customs Sub Preventive office in Sinnapadu for further investigations. more..

Sri Lankan shop owner in Melbourne returns envelope with $20K cash

Mar 26 (973FM) The two men had just withdrawn $19,500 in cash when they had a pit stop at the Pizza Tabrabane Tarneit. While waiting for the pizza, the cash (in an envelope) fell out of one of the men's pocket and they later walked out without it. Several minutes passed and CCTV captured multiple customers walking past it. It wasn't until a delivery driver saw it, picked it up and returned it to the shop owner, Shakir Arafath that it was in safe hands. The two panicked men came back, more..

Namal-Nalin in verbal clash over H’tota oil refinery

Mar 26 (DM) A heated argument erupted in Parliament yesterday between UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa and Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara over Hambantota-Oman Oil Refinery. Speaking during the committee stage debate, MP Rajapaksa said the cabinet had given the approval for the project in Nov 2016 though the Singaporean Company Silver Park pvt Ltd has been established in June 2017. more..

SL Singapore FTA in operation as signed'

Mar 26 (EN) A free trade deal between Sri Lanka and Singapore is in operation and there are no ongoing talks on changing the deal, Minister Harsha de Silva said. The deal gives economic freedoms to poorer Sri Lankans and stronger investor protections to investors from Singapore. Sri Lanka has found it difficult to attract investors due to past expropriations. President Sirisena appointed a committee headed by academics who presented a report with several criticisms. more..

O/L results out on Thursday

Mar 26 (NR) Dept of Examinations has informed that the results of the 2018 GCE O/L Exam will be released on Thursday (28). Ministry of Education said steps will be taken to make the results available online while candidates can obtain results via 656,641 candidates sat for the 2018 O/L exam from the 3 to the 12 of December last year across 4,661 examination centres across the island. The official release dates of results were announced ahead of time on set dates under more..

Mausakelle and Castlereagh - CEB suspends artificial rain project

Mar 26 (DM) The CEB has suspended the project to trigger artificial rain over the Mausakelle and Castlereagh catchment area, a senior CEB officer said. He said the project was temporarily halted because the clouds over these catchment areas did not contain sufficient moisture to trigger artificial rain. “We are in the process of identifying areas which need artificial rain. As far as triggering artificial rain in the Maussakele and more..

Gotabaya’s petition against Special HC verdict to be considered in May

Mar 26 (AD) Court of Appeal today ordered to consider former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s writ petition challenging a verdict issued by the Permanent High Court at Bar on May 06th. The order was issued by the Appeals Court Judges Achala Wengappuli and Arjuna Obeysekara. Representing Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Romesh de Silva requested the court to set a date to consider the petition and accordingly, Appeals Court ordered to take up the petition on May 6th. more..

JVP commends Govt for rejecting hybrid courts

Mar 26 (DM) The JVP today commended the govt for rejecting the establishment of hybrid courts as proposed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and said setting up of hybrid courts would put the country into a trap. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said justice would not be meted out to war victims by the setting up of such courts. He said that grievances of the war-affected could be resolved through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Speaking at the Committee Stage Debate more..