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Face the Nation

Mangala Samaraweera, thirty years in public life: A reflection

Mar 6 (Island) Minister Mangala Samaraweera is the man of the moment as the first budget of the UNF govt, sans its UPFA partner is presented as the basic policy framework of the UNP and its allies before the decisive year end presidential elections come upon us. Last week, Minister Samaraweera celebrated thirty years in public life, with a series of events, the highlight of which was a lecture by the former Obama Administration Cabinet rank Ambassador Samantha Power. more..

Edtorial: Voices of sanity

Mar 6 (Island) The govt is not without sensible ministers within its ranks. They have sought to knock some sense into the UNP backbenchers who threaten to defeat the vote on budgetary allocations for Prez Sirisena. True, the President has turned hostile towards the UNP, which helped him secure the much-coveted executive presidency, but the course of action these pugnacious govt MPs are contemplating is tantamount to an attempt to cut off the nose to spite the face. more..

How Dimuth changed DNA of SL team

Mar 6 (ST) Another series loss and the prospects of a thrashing by the mighty South Africans in their own backyard loomed ominously on the horizon. Dimuth Karunaratne knew it was futile to talk of winning a match, leave alone the two-game series. Teams with more acclaimed players have historically struggled in South Africa, a territory no Asian team has conquered over the years. But he wanted to do something to help his charges more..

Once proud No 12 MiG squadron is no more

Mar 6 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, awarded President’s Colour to No 07 helicopter and No 08 light transport squadrons at a spectacular parade held, at the Hingurakgoda SLAF base on March 02, 2019. The President’s Colour is the highest accolade a military establishment/formation can receive once it completes 25 years of service to the nation. The awarding of President’s Colour coincided with the 68th anniversary of SLAF. more..

Process of reconciliation in the SL context

Mar 6 (Island) Once again, there is no mention here of a durable solution to the country’s ethnic issue. Instead, there is mention of reconciliation and equal rights. This omission suggests that for the US too a political solution has ceased to be relevant, whereas, it is not clear as to what is referred to as reconciliation precisely. As elaborated earlier, one could have reconciliation without a permanent political solution. Equal Rights too could be had without group rights or more..

SL hope batsmen will fire in second ODI

Mar 6 (Island) When sub-continent teams come to South Africa, their batsmen fret about how to overcome the home team’s quicks as you never get anything below 140kmph here. Yet the Sri Lankans are having other problems. They need to make up their mind on how to keep Imran Tahir at bay in today’s second ODI here at SuperSport Park in Centurion. The leg-spinner claimed 3 wickets in the first ODI at Johannesburg more..

Cricket & paragliding included in SA Games

Mar 6 (DN) South Asian Games will be held in Kathmandu Nepal from Dec 1 to 10, 2019. This year cricket and Paragliding has been added to the schedule. This will be the second instant in which Cricket is added to the South Asian Games after the 2010 Dhaka edition included under 21 cricket tournament but it was not retained in the next edition which was held at Shillong and Guwahati India in 2016. Paragliding is a recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: more..

A healthy environment is necessary for talent to flourish

Mar 6 (DN) We all saw what bringing youth into the national Test team could do when in the recently concluded two-Test series in South Africa, Sri Lanka defied all odds to win 2-0. What that selection showed was the talent we have in this country and by giving them the opportunity to showcase their talent on the international stage how it transformed the complexion of the side. Whether the present selection committee will be given the free hand to continue their good work remains to be seen more..

So Sri Lanka campaign to launch at ITB Germany today

Mar 6 (FT) Sri Lanka will make a fresh push to woo German tourists at the world’s largest tourism trade fair, Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) Berlin commencing today where it will also launch the much-anticipated So Sri Lanka campaign. Germany is the country’s fourth largest source market. With a total of 2.5 million international tourists arriving in SL in 2018, SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes believes ITB Berlin will be more..

Mobitel powers Big Match in Jaffna

Mar 6 (CT) Forging ahead in its mission to power sports at the school level, Sri Lanka’s National Provider, Mobitel has stepped forward as the Principal Sponsor of the famous 2019 Battle of the North 113th Cricket Encounter, organised by Jaffna Central College and St. John’s College Jaffna. The Big Match between the two Jaffna schools will be held on 7, 8 and 9 March, while the Limited Over match will be held on 16 March. The Big Match event has been a magnet for more..

Lankan women’s soccer team to tour Nepal

Mar 6 (DN) Both Sri Lanka National Football teams Men’s and Women’s are set to play in International tournaments this month. Football Federation of Sri Lanka is set to send their Men’s U 23 and Women’s National Team for the international tours to Bahrain and Nepal respectively. The women’s national football team will depart to Nepal on 10th March 2019 to participate in the 5th SAFF Women’s Championship to be held from 12th to 22nd March 2019 in Nepal. more..

Sri Lanka aims for lowest deficit in decades; banks on returning foreign bond buyers

Mar 5 (EN) Sri Lanka has claimed a budget deficit of 5.3% of gross domestic product for 2018, amid monetary instability and capital flight and has aimed for the lowest deficit in decades of 4.4% of GDP banking on foreign investors to come back to rupee bonds. A budget for 2018 placed a revised deficit for 2018 at 5.3% of GDP, which can change when the final GDP number is compiled by the statistics office. more..

Sri Lanka to amend laws to share DCS’ data with private sector

Mar 5 (DM) As the economic significance of data increases day by day, SL plans to introduce legal amendments to the statistic law of the country, to share the data gathered by the Dept of Census and Statistics (DCS) with the private sector, aiming to fuel the future growth of the economy. “Yesterday’s economy was fuelled by either coal or oil but tomorrow’s will be fuelled by data. That’s why firms such as Facebook have become more valuable sometimes, than the GDP of a country like SL more..

Survey of people’s pulse on Budget at FT forum today

Mar 6 (FT) A sample reflection of the people's pulse on the 2019 Budget will be made public today at the Daily FT-Colombo University MBA Alumni Association-organised post-Budget forum, starting at 9.45 a.m. at the Kings Court, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo. The fastest growing market research company, PepperCube Consultants Ltd., has partnered with the Daily FT to conduct the nationwide poll on the 2019 Budget, which was presented by Minister Samaraweera. more..

UNP backbenchers want to teach President Sirisena a lesson

Mar 6 (Island) Prez Sirisena, who was also the leader of the SLFP should be taught a lesson for promoting himself at the expense of the UNP, Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahuman reiterated. He said that as many as 25 UNP MPs would vote against President Sirisena’s expenditure head regardless of whatever the decision taken by the party. "We are determined to express our strong opposition to President Sirisena’s strategy. more..

Central Hiway: 2nd phase to open in July

Mar 6 (DN) Second phase of Central Expressway from Mirigama to Kurunegala is scheduled to be opened to the public in July. The second phase of the Central Expressway from Mirigama to Kurunegala is 39.9 km long and will have four lanes divided two ways, with interchanges in Mirigama, Nakalagama, Dambokka, and Kurunegala. The project launched in Jan 2017 at a cost of Rs.160.8 billion will afford motorists expressway access from Colombo to Kandy & Dambulla. more..

Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana visits Italy

Mar 6 (FT) Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana visited Italy from 1-3 March, and held bilateral discussions on 1 March at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic, Manlio Di Stefano. During discussions Minister Marapana thanked the Italian govt for the cooperation and assistance rendered to Sri Lanka. He reiterated that the two countries have maintained excellent relations over the years more..

Army returns 20 more acres of land in Jaffna to owners

Mar 6 (SLA) SL Army, continuing to honour its commitment to return state and private lands, being used by the Security Forces in the North and East of the country, following directions given by the Commander of the Army, once again released a total of 19.72 acres in Myladdy north and east inside the Palaly Army Cantonment and a portion adjoining it on Monday on account of the sacred Maha Shiva Rathri day. more..

Death certificate remark draws retort from lawyer representing parents of missing ...

Mar 6 (ST) A counsel appearing in a habeas corpus case for the parents of three missing youths told the Jaffna High Court this week that the petitioners’ objective was to know the whereabouts of their sons — and not to obtain death certificates from the Govt. Counsel K. Guruparan made this remark in response to Deputy Solicitor General S. Gunasekara’s suggestion in court that the parents could apply to obtain death certificates for their missing sons. more..

Budget 2019 underscores welfare of public servants, Samurdhi recipients & pensioners

Mar 6 (Island) Budget 2019 presented to parliament by Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday had many proposals intended for caring for the employees of the public sector, Samurdhi recipients and pensioners. Taking a social welfare perspective of the allocations he also proposed the Bogambara prison to be developed into a public space at a cost of Rs 750mn, govt's financial support worth Rs 4bn allocated from the budget for each home to have a proper toilet, assistance for 3-wheeler owners more..

Rs 5 billion diamond found, Madush’s friend arrested

Mar 6 (DN) Peliyagoda Division Crime Investigation Unit has cracked the Rs 5 billion diamond and gem robbery in Arawwala, Maharagama and recovered the stolen jewellery yesterday. Police arrested three suspects and had recovered the stolen diamond, which is valued at Rs 5 billion. It was found hidden in an almirah, found inside an upper floor apartment in Thaksala Crossroad, Keselwatte in Panadura, more..

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya awarded Pride of Asia by AKITS

Mar 6 (ST) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was conferred the Pride of Asia award by Abdul Kalam Institute of Technological Sciences (AKITS). A special feature of this occassion was the presence of Scientist Barat Vjay Shah who was a close associate of world reknown scientist Sri Abdul Kalam. Mr. Shah who represented the AKITS said that it was an honour to bestow the award on a Sri Lankan. He added that Sri Lankans could be benefitted through India's development in technology and education. more..

Sri Lanka to remove 200% cash margin on vehicle imports

Mar 6 (EN) A 200% cash margin on vehicle imports will be removed in the near future, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. But taxes were further hiked on cars. The cash margin was jacked up in 2018 after the central bank generated monetary instability by printing money to keep artificially low interest rates, while operating a pegged exchange rate with multiple convertibility undertakings. Sri Lanka also hiked taxes on cars and so-called luxury goods to make up for monetary policy errors more..

Budget gets mixed political reviews

Mar 6 (FT) MPs expressed mixed sentiments on the Budget 2019 presented by Minister Mangala Samaraweera with some calling it a burden on the people, while others approaching the proposals with cautious optimism. Minister was happy to have a second chance, after the tumultuous end to 2018, to move the Budget 2019 with a positive note, witnessing an up-swing in growth despite the adverse effects more..

A deceptive Budget: MR

Mar 6 (FT) Calling the Budget deceptive, Leader of the Opposition, Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the Budget presented will put further burden on the people. “They have given a misleading picture. People will feel it when they have to pay up,” he said. “Benefits are just a pittance,” he said. Rajapaksa, unimpressed with the allowances and salary increments granted to the State sector, said that although the Govt has given salary increases to the military, it has neglected to extend the more..

SLPP weighs in on budget

Mar 6 (CT) The Govt would have to increase taxes or sell off some of its institutions in order to bridge the Budget deficit, claimed MP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa yesterday. He had said this at a SLPP media briefing at the Party Headquarters. MP Lakshaman Yapa Abeywardena also attended the briefing. “Sri Lanka’s expenditure is Rs 6,550 billion, whilst its earnings amount to Rs 2,400 billion. In addition, we also have USD 5.9 billion worth of debt repayments. more..

Boosts and bumpers in Budget

Mar 6 (FT) True to expectations, Minister Mangala Samaraweera presented a people-friendly Budget for 2019, balanced with maintaining policy consistency and reforms for the private sector, though the Opposition and some analysts were wary. A segment of Samaraweera’s proposals were targeted at increasing economic competitiveness, while others were focused on providing voter incentives for an election yr, more..

The importance of being imran khan

Mar 6 (DM) South Asia’s super powers -- India and Pakistan -- are at their throats once again. Both nations are nuclear powers, which could lead to a miscalculated nuclear war. And once again the flash-point is Kashmir, with both countries claiming sole ownership of the disputed region. Since the partition of British India in 1947 and creation of the states of India and Pakistan, the two countries have been involved in a number of wars, conflicts and military stand-offs. more..

Can we put right a tarnished HR record?

Mar 6 (DM) SL remains a concerned nation these days due to the simmering tensions between India and Pakistan and the upcoming scheduled visit to Geneva where the island’s govt representatives have to show progress in adopting human rights resolutions. SL is a country which takes pride in aggressively showcasing its 2500 plus years of cultural heritage. But it has been found wanting when it comes to clearing war crimes allegations and improving on a tarnished human rights more..

PNB looks for Bangladesh links in biggest drug seizure

Mar 6 (ST) Police detectives are probing a possible link between two suspects who were arrested last week, in Wellawatte, in posession of a record 294.49 kg of heroin, and the Bangladeshi nationals who ran a safe house in Dehiwala, which was raided late late year. This was the largest single heroin haul (278kg) until last week’s seizure in Wellawatte. The suspects in the Wellawatte drug bust, 43-year-old Mohammad Basir and more..

Sri Lanka gives more tax benefits for large investments

Mar 6 (EN) Sri Lanka has proposed increased capital allowances for investments under the Inland Revenue Act, and removed para-tariffs for high value projects to boost foreign direct investments (FDIs), a minister said. "Whilst Sri Lanka achieved its best ever FDI in 2017 and 2018, it is essential to further expand investment into the country," Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said while delivering the 2019 budget on Tuesday. more..

Enough evidence against Nalaka de Silva on assassination plot: CID

Mar 6 (AD) The CID and the Attorney General’s Department have determined that there is sufficient and clear evidence to prove that the former DIG Nalaka de Silva’s involvement in the alleged VIP assassination plot. When the case was taken up today, the CID and the AG Department have informed the Fort Magistrate with this regard. Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris, representing the AG, informed the court more..

Rajapaksa issues clarification on today’s talks with JVP

Mar 6 (AD) Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa has issued a clarification on the matters pertaining to the discussion scheduled to be held with members of the JVP. The statement issued by his office said that a meeting was held yesterday evening with the party leaders of the Joint Opposition and the matter regarding the discussion scheduled to be held today with the JVP was also taken up. more..

New national program against drug smuggling will be introduced: President

Mar 6 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena said that a new program for eradicating and controlling illicit drugs, which is to be implemented at national level will be introduced to the country tomorrow (6). It will be introduced in the meeting that is to be held tomorrow with the heads of media organizations tomorrow. President Sirisena made these remarks addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Summit of Experts on eradicating illegal more..

'Sri Lanka to become hub for organ engineering in future'

Mar 6 (Island) The 10th edition of Medicare Exhibition, National Healthcare Exhibition of SL, was inaugurated last Friday by Minister Rajitha Senaratne, and Indian High Commissioner to SL Taranjit Singh Sandhu Dr Senaratne asserted that Sri Lanka could be well on its way to becoming a hub for organ engineering in the future. The necessary equipment would be brought down from foreign countries while also attempting to more..

Two more police officers arrested over Rathgama murders remanded

Mar 6 (AD) Another Sub-Inspector (SI) and Police Constable, arrested over the murders of two businessmen from Rathgama, have been remanded until March 13th. The two police officers attached to the Special Investigating Unit of Southern Province were arrested by the officers of the CID yesterday (5). They were produced before the Galle Magistrate’s Court today and were ordered to be remanded until March 13th. more..

Singapore PM promised to act on Mahendran: SL President

Mar 6 (EN) Singapore's PM has promised to take action on Arjuna Mahendran, a former central bank governor wanted in connection with a securities fraud involving govt bonds, President Maithripala Sirisena said. Mahendran is a citizen of Singapore. President Sirisena said he brought up the matter during a one-to-one meeting with Singapore's PM and he was assured that action will be taken if he was in Singapore. more..

Prez to send 3 representatives to UNHRC

Mar 6 (AD) President Sirisena has appointed three representatives to attend the UNHRC session currently ongoing in Geneva. These representatives are to appeal to the UNHRC that Sri Lanka should be allowed to handle its own issues. Accordingly, parliamentarians Sarath Amunugama and Mahinda Samarasinghe and the Northern Province Governor Suren Raghvan will be attending UNHRC session as Prez’s representatives. more..

SL to co-sponsor another UNHRC resolution

Mar 6 (NR) The govt says Sri Lanka will continue to demonstrate its commitment and determination towards a steady and long-lasting reconciliation process through a cosponsored resolution, and will seek an extension of the timeline of resolution 30/1 of Oct 1, 2015, through a co-sponsored roll-over resolution at the ongoing 40th session of the UNHRC. Full statement: Sri Lanka will continue to demonstrate its commitment more..