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SL bank lending boost from polls spending

Mar 27 (EN) Forthcoming elections could help boost lending by Sri Lankan banks if it leads to higher govt spending, which has been usual in election years, said a new report from Oxford Business Group (OBG). Banks are currently experiencing considerable change with the need to comply with new regulations, alongside the ups and downs of loan growth and economic policy, the report from the global research and consultancy firm said. “A careful balancing act is being performed as a result, more..

Scrapping grade five scholarship Exam: Poor children at disadvantage: Stalin

Mar 27 (CT) Prez Sirisena’s decision to abolish the Grade Five Scholarship Exam is not fair, and it will prevent children of poor families from entering popular schools, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) Joseph Stalin, said. He said the Prez’s decision will allow only the elite to study at popular schools. Stalin added that every school in the country was not equal and so a student should be allowed to enter better more..

Presidency: Gota not finalized, Basil won’t contest: MR

Mar 27 (DM) A conclusive decision had not yet been taken regarding former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa contesting as a candidate at the upcoming Presidential Election, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. “Basil Rajapaksa has also told me that he was not going to contest,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. Mr. Rajapaksa said there was speculation in the county that somebody from the Rajapaksa family would contest at the Presidential Election. more..

Three million tourist arrivals expected by year’s end: Minister

Mar 27 (GDI) Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said in Parliament that there will be 3 million tourists arrivals and USD 5 million income from tourism by the end of this year. He added that when he took office in 2015, there was only 1.5 million tourist arriving in the country while in 2018, it increased to 2.3 million and by end of this year it will increase to 3 million. In a matter of four years, the number of tourist arrivals has doubled. more..

Hambantota refinery project a potential money laundering risk: TISL

Mar 27 (TI) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) believes the controversy surrounding the proposed USD 3.85 billion oil refinery in Mirijjawila, Hambantota, could have a negative impact on Sri Lanka’s efforts to remove itself from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Grey List of countries vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing. The main investor in the project, Singapore based more..

On Sri Lanka’s women changemakers

Mar 28 (CT) Felicitating SL’s Women Changemakers is a laudable initiative since we have an opportunity to salute female achievers of the past, and celebrate the present. This project initiated by the Women Parliamentarian Caucus, together with the Sectoral Oversight Committee on women & gender, with a view to strengthening democratic governance and accountability, no doubt, can also mobilize the capacity and commitment of SL women towards their full emancipation. more..

Present power crisis Who is responsible?

Mar 28 (Island) While appreciating Dr. Tilak Siyambalapitiya’s article on the present power crisis appearing in The Island (25), I would like to fill in some gaps in his article and also make some comments on the Prez’s statement about the power crisis as appearing in the media on the 27th. There are three main issues contributing to delay in adding generation capacity to the system. One is the delay in awarding the contract for building a 300 MW dual-fueled combined cycle gas turbine power more..

Why Sri Lanka urgently needs patents to protect its natural wealth

Mar 28 (Roar) Sri Lanka has a wealth of knowledge, particularly in the field of indigenous medicine. For every ailment, there is a meticulously crafted mix of local herbs, roots, sprouts and stems that promise to help you feel better in a matter of hours. In a world that has come to be defined by globalisation, the benefits of these remedies are gaining universal recognition. But with that exposure comes the potential for exploitation. more..

Northern politics during Parliamentary Elections of 1950s

Mar 28 (DN) S. Nadesan was a promoter of democratic principles such as regional autonomy, bilingualism, federalism, and constitutional safeguards for the Tamil speaking. Regarding the tension caused by the Official Language (Sinhala Only) Act, he firmly believed that separatist movements only took root in unitary states, and dismissed the suggestion that federalism leads to separation. Somasundaram Nadesan, QC was a leading Tamil lawyer, civil rights activist and more..

Towards a disease-free Sri Lanka

Mar 28 (DN) Sri Lanka has made remarkable progress in disease elimination and has already eliminated several communicable diseases such as polio, diphtheria, neonatal tetanus and whooping cough from the country. Currently, the National Immunization Programme vaccinates the population against 13 fatal diseases. The excellent communicable disease surveillance system and the wide coverage of the National Immunization Programme assisted the country to more..

The black mark on Sri Pada

Mar 28 (SO) Police commenced an investigation this week into the defacing of the newly installed signboard at the bottom of the stairway leading to Sri Pada on the Hatton-Nallathanniya trail. The tri lingual signboard displaying the name of the revered mountain, and its Tamil translation in particular appeared to have irked certain Sinhalese nationalist elements. A gathering attended by a handful of people, led by more..

Poor planning and mismanagement

Mar 28 (CT) A Nation develops only if the people who form that Nation are conscious about the importance in creating and maintaining their own state of wellbeing. That is how it becomes everyone’s business. It is applicable only in each person’s capacity to be aware of what is happening. The prosperity shall be the result of the wealth amassed by generation of revenues plus the conservation of wealth already amassed. What is important is the value remaining. more..

Chinese loans not primary cause

Mar 28 (CT) When a country faces difficulties in repayments of debt on time, economists call it a debt crisis. Macroeconomic indicators of debt repayment indicate that annual debt repayments of Sri Lanka have exceeded 77% of gross domestic product (GDP). No doubt this is a crisis. Now, the economists are divided on the reasons for this crisis. There are two main arguments. One argument is that the debt crisis is due to excessive foreign loans obtained by successive govts. more..

Wimal Weerawansa

Knowledge & technology transfer to benefit Indian ocean communities

Mar 28 (CT) The politics of distraction seemed to achieve new heights as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruled in one of the most important and long-awaited cases of its history a month ago on Feb 25. In what has been termed a block buster judgment the UN’s highest court rejected the UK’s claim of sovereignty over the Indian Ocean, Chagos Islands, and determined that Britain should return the islands to its former colony, Mauritius, as rapidly as possible. more..

Sri Lanka, Access Group race to global spotlight at Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy series

Mar 28 (FT) Sri Lanka and Access Group made local history in the fast-gaining electric car racing industry on Saturday in Sanya, China, when a Jaguar I-PACE sporting the national flag and Access’s corporate branding competed on a Formula E track of global body FIA. The Jaguar I-PACE eTrophy series championship is part of the world’s first-ever all-electric production-based international race. SL flag and Jaguar Land Rover local agents Access’s corporate branding more..

Vehicle importers cry foul over customs anomalies on hybrid car classification

Mar 28 (FT) Vehicle Importers’ Association of Lanka (VIAL) charged that bureaucrats with vested interests within the Dept of Customs is costing the Govt, its membership, and the public millions in revenue. At a media conference, VIAL claimed the Nomenclature (NC) Committee headed by a senior official at the Dept had classified the popular Suzuki Wagon R vehicle as a non-hybrid petrol vehicle, whereby more..

Edtorial: R 30/1 and catch-22

Mar 28 (Island) State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, during the committee stage budget debate, sought to dispute Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa’s contention that the govt had agreed to set up a hybrid war crimes tribunal. Never had the govt agreed to put in place such a mechanism, the minister declared. The govt seems to rue the day when it co-sponsored the UNHRC Resolution 30/1. Dyed-in-the-wool MPs, on both sides of the House, live in political echo chambers, more..

Bruce Yardley: A true friend of Sri Lanka

Mar 28 (Island) Not many SL cricket coaches have seen through their contracts. Bruce Yardley, who breathed his last yesterday, was one such. He was hired by Upali Dharmadasa and fired by Thilanga Sumathipala. The same combination has gone onto strike many times over the last two decades. Sometimes the vice versa happens too – Thilanga hires and Upali fires. Yardley Bruce Yardley lost his battle with cancer yesterday and passed away in Perth. SLC was quick to issue a statement more..

'Death toll from renal failures has reduced'

Mar 28 (FT) The death toll from renal failures has reduced during the last three years due to increased awareness and the availability of dialysis machines in hospitals and at some patients’ houses for overnight dialysis, Minister Rajitha Senaratne confirmed at Parliament. Minister, joining the Committee Stage Program of Budget 2019, held that the efficient programs of the Govt have reduced number of patients suffering from renal failure more..

Gallop to Nuwara-Eliya for cooler climes

Mar 28 (Island) Phew! The heat is definitely unbearable and I’m doubly sure lots of folks would be heading for Nuwara-Eliya, within the next few days. Yes, April is definitely season time in Nuwara-Eliya and the place is always full of activities…during this particular month. And, this year, I’m told, there will be more to look forward to! There are lots of colourful and vibrant activities, lined up, including Motocross, Horse Races, and, of course, the Carnival. more..

Oceanpick gets BAP certification for offshore farming

Mar 28 (DN) Sustainable oceanic fish farm Oceanpick (Pvt) Ltd., has been awarded the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification, making Sri Lanka a pioneer in South Asia, the only 34th country in the world with a BAP certified facility. Oceanpick is South Asia’s first ever commercial-scale offshore oceanic farm for finfish and is currently the only offshore aquaculture operation in SL. This latest milestone reflects the approval of the most trusted and comprehensive third-party aquaculture more..

First tourism promotion digital App launched in Sweden

Mar 28 (IL) The Sri Lanka Embassy, Stockholm with the support of SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) took the initiative to develop the first Digital App for promoting Sri Lanka tourism abroad. The proto type of the App was launched at a tourism promotion event in the Embassy recently. This Digital App has been developed in a user friendly manner for travelers to have access to information and facilities relevant to SL tourism. more..

'Skilled workers urgently needed for Sri Lanka's automobile sector'

Mar 28 (Island) Skilled workers would be needed for projects like the proposed US 50 million joint venture car assembly plant between Ideal Group and Mahindra and Mahindra Limited Company of India, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. "We need to have skilled people for this major car assembly plant and training new skilled workers for the automobile sector is the need of the hour, Minister said at the launch of Euro IV technology in the Mahindra commercial range, ie, Mahindra Maxximo more..

USAID-supported YouLead launches youth employment and entrepreneurship platform

Mar 28 (Island) YouLead, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Youth Employment and Business Startup Program, and global giant Microsoft launched the much anticipated technology platform that provides a comprehensive resource for youth ready to enter the workforce. It offers features ranging from career testing and job matching to online courses and links to financial institutions for entrepreneurs. "The US is committed to creating employment more..

ETI depositors cannot be paid by public funds: Eran

Mar 28 (FT) Govt said it will not use taxpayer money to bail out Edirisinghe Trust Investment Finance Company (ETI) depositors but would explore the possibilities to resuscitate the business. This was confirmed in Parliament by State Minister Eran Wickramaratne in response to an adjournment motion Relief for depositors of ETI Finance Company moved by the Opposition, saying the Central Bank of SL, being the regulator, more..

Video: One dead, 3 critical after train hits car at Hikkaduwa

Mar 28 (AD) One person was killed while another three sustained serious injuries after a train collided with a car at a railway crossing in Dodanduwa, Hikkaduwa. Four persons were critically wounded and hospitalised following the crash, however one of them had succumbed to injuries. Police said that the accident had occurred at around 7.00 p.m. today (27) at the railway crossing located on Saranajothi Mawatha in Dodanduwa. The car had collided with the Sagarika train traveling from Colombo to more..

Layman brings life of Pope Francis to SL

Mar 28 (UCAN) Journalist Saman Kapila Wijesuriya writes about the day-to-day activities and mission of Pope Francis on his news website Vathikana Sulaga (Vatican Winds). He began a blog in the Sinhala language in Feb 2015 because he felt the Sinhala Catholic media had limited capacity to report and analyze these events. The website covers the pope’s views on justice and peace issues, non-discriminatory dialogue and goodwill with other churches, world issues, solemnities & feasts, more..

SF wants his military salary & perks back

Mar 28 (FT) UNP lawmaker Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka called on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to intervene to re-establish his lost pension, allowances and other privileges suspended by a series of military tribunals he claimed were illegal. Raising a privilege issue in Parliament, challenging military tribunals appointed during the former Govt, lawmaker Fonseka held he took part in the Prez Election as the common candidate more..

Ceylinco Insurance posts a consolidated After Tax Profit of Rs. 8.7 billion

Mar 28 (Island) Ceylinco Insurance PLC, the holding company of Insurance giants Ceylinco General Insurance and Ceylinco Life Insurance, recorded a massive, consolidated after tax profit of Rs. 8.7 billion for the year ended 31st Dec 2018, whilst profit before tax rose to an exceptional Rs. 11 billion. Contributing to this remarkable performance, Ceylinco General Insurance and Ceylinco Life Insurance recorded profits after tax of Rs. 1.8 billion and Rs. 5.8 billion, respectively. more..

HC of India marks the day for cooperation in the field of education and skill development

Mar 28 (HCI) High Commission of India in Colombo organized the annual celebration of International Student’s Day and Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Day with alumni and scholars from Sri Lanka on 26 March at Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo. Most Venerable Anunayaka Theros of Malwatte, Asagiriya & Amarapura Nikaya, graced the occasion with their presence. Minister Sajith Premadasa was the Chief Guest. Several senior officials from Govt of SL, were also present. more..

Sri Lanka to hold ministerial level FTA talks with China next month

Mar 28 (DM) Minister Malik Samarawickrama will visit China next month to hold ministerial level discussions to resume negotiations in connection to the proposed SL-China FTA. He said that he is planning to hold discussions with top Chinese govt officials to resume FTA negations between the two countries as early as possible. However, as Chinese govt officials are currently occupied with negotiations to reach more..

Commonwealth team wins Anton Muthukumaru Trophy after 20 years

Mar 28 (DN) The annual cricket encounter for the Major General Anton Muthukumaru Trophy which is played between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Australia (DFAT) team and the team of the High Commissions of Commonwealth countries based in Canberra was held on 17th March 2019 at the Mint Oval, Deakin, Canberra. The DFAT, the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) and the SL High Commission in Canberra have been jointly organizing this event annually since 1966. more..

Bandula says Rs.1 trillion debt bloating from rupee depreciation

Mar 28 (FT) Opposition lawmaker Bandula Gunawardana denied numbers presented by the Govt on debt increases caused by depreciation and demanded the actual statistics be revealed. On Tuesday, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne said debt had increased by Rs.626.4 billion due to currency deprecation. However, Gunawardana argued the actual loss should be over Rs.1,000 billion. “A recent response of State Minister attracted both local and foreign attention. more..

Tea label giants vow probe after Sri Lanka labor abuse expose

Mar 28 (Reuters) Plantations in SL that supply tea stamped slavery-free to top global companies are under investigation by ethical label groups after an expose found illegal wage deductions that have left some workers ill and unable to afford healthcare. An investigation found some workers at tea estates certified by Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade taking home as little as 26 SL rupees (14 U.S. cents) a day after fees & deductions more..

‘TNA won’t allow Gota to become President’

Mar 28 (Island) Former Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa should stop dreaming of the executive presidency because the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would ensure that he would never secure it, TNA Kilinochchi District MP, S. Shritharan told media yesterday. The TNA would also not allow Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa to become the President, the MP said. "We decided to support the budget 2019 because we want to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa from returning to power," more..

'Post of President only for parents'

Mar 28 (CT) Prevailing Presidential Election laws should be amended to enable only candidates with children to contest the post, an Opposition legislator told Parliament yesterday. “We believe that only a Buddhist could become the Head of State but it is more important to include a clause in the Presidential Election laws saying that one has to become a parent to be eligible to contest for the Presidency,” MP Ananda Aluthgamage said during the committee stage debate on the Budget. more..

Small biz, exports suffering most from power cuts: Susil

Mar 28 (FT) UPFA MP Susil Premajayantha yesterday called attention to the severe financial losses faced by the public, especially small businesses that are having their livelihood severely affected by ongoing power cuts and demanded the Govt find a solution swiftly. Premajayantha, who held the Power and Energy ministerial portfolio during the previous Govt, charged the Govt’s negligence and more..

House gets President’s Committee report on Mannar land release

Mar 28 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena has sent a copy of the report of the Presidential Committee to give recommendations on land release for development activities in Mannar District to Parliament. This was following a written request by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya from the President last Friday. The Speaker made a formal request for the report on the Presidential Committee to look into the resettlement near Wilpattu National Park in the wake of rising allegations on the matter. more..

Kanjipani Imran deported from Dubai taken to CID custody

Mar 28 (DM) Notorious drug kingpin Mohommad Najim Mohammad Imran alias Kanjipani Imran, who was arrested along with Makandure Madush in Dubai, was taken under the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning, Police Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekera said. He said the suspect had arrived at the airport after being deported from Dubai and the CID had taken him to custody for further questioning, the Spokesperson said. more..