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'Those who withdraw should be heavily fined'

Nov 7 (DM) Elections Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya speaks on preparations for Sri Lanka’s 8th prez election, and how voters should cast their ballot this time around. Q: How are ongoing preparations for the Nov 16 prez elections? A: We will complete logistical arrangements for the election well ahead of time. In small electoral districts with less than one million voters, we can complete work well ahead more..

A nation rich in discipline

Nov 7 (FT) This series is based on business leader Dhammika Perera’s recently revealed Economic Growth Strategy and Action Plan to increase GDP Per Capita from $ 4,000 to $ 12,000. The document outlines goals and action plans for 23 ministries and today’s column focuses on the Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms. Goals: Advancing access to justice, the rule of law, the economy and society through policy, law and services. Smart security. Prison rehabilitation. Reduce corruption. more..

NCDs account for 83% of deaths

Nov 7 (CT) Director of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Unit, Dr. Vindya Kumarapeli revealed that 83% of the annual deaths in the country were due to NCDs. Addressing the media, Dr. Kumarapeli said that an average of 130,000 deaths occurred in the country annually. 83% of them were due to NCDs. She said that of that number, 34% was due to cardio vascular diseases, 14% due to cancer, 9% due to diabetes, and 8% as a result of contracting chronic respiratory diseases. more..

Namal criticises TNA

Nov 7 (DM) Opposition MP Namal Rajapaksa criticised the TNA for failing to fulfil the aspirations of the SL Tamil community in the north, warning that the weak northern economy would lead to social unrest in the area. Namal said that within the past four years, the TNA had only been bowing to the whims and fancies of the UNF govt and had been working for their own individual gains. Many of the TNA MPs had even failed to visit more..

Counsel Jayawardena outlines to SC dangers pacts with US poses to country, people

Nov 7 (Island) President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardene yesterday told the Supreme Court that if the three agreements to be signed with the United States were inked there would be a serious erosion of the sovereignty of the people of Sri Lanka, enshrined in Articles 1, 3 and 4 of the Constitution. The three agreements are the revised acquisition and cross servicing agreement (ACSA), the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation Agreement (MCC). more..

HSBC digital trade banking offers early payment for Sri Lanka suppliers

Nov 7 (EN) HSBC is offering a web-based supply chain finance platform initially targeting SL apparel exporters that the bank says can make early payments to suppliers, optimise working capital and reduce costs. Ajay Sharma is the Regional Head of Global Trade & Receivables Finance for HSBC in Asia Pacific said digital platforms offer improves visibility, cuts out paper and reduces turn around times of transactions. But, he told a forum, “productivity benefits of digital only come more..

Kalu Ganga Reservoir project vested with the public

Nov 7 (PMD) The completed Kalu Ganga Reservoir project was vested with the public by President Sirisena today. The Kalu Ganga Reservoir Project comes under the mega Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga Multi-Purpose Development Project, considered to be the irrigation marvel of the 21st Century. The water capacity of the Kalu Ganga Reservoir is 248 million cubic metres and the length and the height of the main dam is 618 meters more..

Regional Journalists should not be obstructed: FMM

Nov 7 (RN) Provincial Correspondents should be allowed to freely report the Prez Elections without obstruction, Free Media Movement said in a statement. This follows a meeting held by the Provincial Journalist Collective where they discussed the harassment and obstruction regional journalists face across Sri Lanka from various political party organizers and supporters during the presidential campaign. FMM noted that political parties have refused individual journalist to more..

Death sentence for Ratmalana triple murder convict

Nov 7 (DM) Colombo High Court Judge Vickum Kaluarachchi imposed death sentence on a murder suspect - Madura De Silva - for killing his wife, 26 year old Sachethana Sandamali, a teacher of Prince of Wales College Moratuwa and her two children, 3 years old Prabash Banuka and one month old infant son Krishantha Sandaruwan at Ratmalana on Dec 17th, 2012 by strangling and thereafter setting fire to their bodies. Suspect was convicted on 3 charges for the killing. more..

Gota will not release convicted soldiers: SLPP

Nov 7 (RN) The SLPP today said that its presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa did not pledge to release all the soldiers who are convicted for offences but only a certain category of people. JO MP Dr Sarath Amunugama said that Rajapaksa did not mean to give a carte blanche to all incarcerated military-men. Amunugama was referring to a statement made by SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa more..

Sri Lanka’s first state-run consumer Loyalty Card to launch tomorrow

Nov 7 (LBO) SL’s first state-run FMCG Loyalty Card Abhimana will be launched tomorrow. The largest retail supermarket chain in SL, Lanka Sathosa Ltd (LSL) is embarking on this major initiative to expand its customer base while meeting the competition. Lanka Sathosa expanded its island-wide branch network to 423 and has become the largest supermarket chain in SL. LSL Loyalty Cardholders will be able to use the card in any branch, with many benefits including discounts from 423 outlets. more..

SriLankan Airlines in codeshare with Air India to serve Toronto

Nov 7 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines is taking a firm step towards further increasing travel connectivity between SL and Canada. SriLankan Airlines commences codeshared non-stop services between Toronto and New Delhi with long standing partner Air India, providing seamless connections to Colombo, from 7th Nov 2019 onwards. Vipula Gunatilleka, CEO of SriLankan Airlines said: “Air India is a valued longtime partner and we are pleased to be teaming up with them to provide this service. more..

Southern Expressway extended up to Mattala, Hambantota

Nov 7 (DM) Southern Expressway stretch from Barawakumbuka to Mattala (E-01) and Hambantota (E-06) was declared open today, Southern Expressway Deputy Director R.A.D Kahatapitiya said. The event was inaugurated by the Transport Ministry Secretary. "The other roads can be accessed through the Barawakumbuka, Sooriyawewa, Andarawewa interchanges and Mattala-Hambantota entrance," he said. more..

TNA MPs granted Rs 300mn each for being friendly with govt: Rajitha

Nov 7 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne has revealed that the northern MPs, backing the govt, were granted Rs 300 mn each to spend on their electorates. A health ministry statement, quoted Dr. Senaratne as having told a public rally in Manipay, Jaffna, that no previous govt had allocated such a big amount for an electorate. The four-party TNA secured 16 seats at the last parliamentary poll in Aug 2015. Minister Senaratne addressed a series of meetings in the Jaffna peninsula more..

Sri Lanka looks to increase access to cancer services and upgrade facilities

Nov 7 (IAEA) Cancer experts from the IAEA, World Health Organization (WHO) and Int'l Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have assessed SLs comprehensive cancer control programme and have provided options for a multipronged strategy to strengthen cancer care in the country. The assessment is the outcome of an imPACT Review mission, the second to the country, hosted by SL National Cancer Control Programme Directorate under the leadership of Ministry of Health, more..

Video: Sajith promises to appoint a new first time PM

Nov 7 (RN) Sajith Premadasa is saying that he will appoint a Cabinet of Ministers who are young vibrant and free of corruption allegations if he wins the Prez elections on Nov 16. “I will appoint a new, first-time PM who will be endorsed by the majority,” he said in an address broadcast on his Facebook page. In the short 11-minute speech he said that the main question he has been asked on the campaign trail is how he would transform more..

Two wrongs make a right

Nov 8 (DM) The media, which was a major talking point after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks due to the deplorable behaviour of a section of it that was bogged down in racism, has again been making headlines for other reasons. The issue was seriously discussed during a seminar organised by the Denmark based Int'l Media Support (IMS) recently where Election Commission (EC) Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya also participated. Two major incidents that took place this week more..

What is wrong with the UNP?

Nov 8 (Island) A crucial prez election is just around the corner and the two leading candidates are blundering along. It is crucial because it will set the direction the country would travel. No matter who wins, it will be a different direction as even the candidate representing the governing party makes statements that give the distinct impression that he is determined to change direction. In fact, a cynic may say that he, too, is an opposition candidate! Further, in spite of the claims by more..

Disenfranchised: Those who can't vote this election

Nov 8 (Roar) The election to appoint SL’s 8th Prez is a little less than 10 days away, and as it draws nearer, preparations to accommodate voters are gaining frantic pace. Approximately 16 million voters are set to vote this time, a number that has almost doubled from when SL first went to the polls to appoint a Prez in 1982. But despite this fact, there are many in SL who remain disenfranchised—and will not participate more..

We must not allow post-result or inter-counting violence

Nov 8 (CT) Post-election violence is not uncommon in many countries – including Sri Lanka – when there is a change of govt or incumbent President. The worst in our case was 1977. Often those who have been out of power and reckon they have been suppressed feel a spontaneous burst of energy and a desire to teach those buggers who have kept us down a lesson. Apart from this there is organised thuggery by insider black-hands of the winning side. These two motivators add up. more..

The real display of democracy

Nov 8 (DN) Three new foreign ambassadors, who presented their credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday (4), took the opportunity to ask the Sri Lankan leader about his neutrality in the forthcoming Prez election. Their eagerness towards this month’s election clearly showed the great interest in foreign govts about this democratic exercise in Sri Lanka. President said that he decided to be neutral, the moment he took the decision not to contest in the Presidential election. more..

Leading candidates outline policies

Nov 8 (FT) Tax concessions for the private sector, a more technocratic approach to administration and depoliticising policymaking were among the pledges made by six of the leading presidential candidates who came together yesterday on a common platform. The candidates also addressed issues such as corruption, inclusive growth and increasing efficiency in the State sector. The candidates – Sajith Premadasa, more..

Treasury bond scam: Role of Central Bank

Nov 8 (Island) The Island Editorial of 04.11.2019 refers to the Forensic Audit Report (FAR) on the Treasury Bond Scam (TBS), questioning the decision of the Central Bank (CB) to seek the opinion of the Attorney General’s Department whether to release the report to the pubic or not. It is indeed a sad situation to find that the CB Governor has undermined the independence granted to the CB when it was established 70 years ago. It appears the Governor in not releasing FAR promptly more..

Editorial: Star wars

Nov 8 (Island) Some astrologers have declared war on Opposition for challenging their predictions and claiming they are in the pay of govt. They have predicted NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa’s victory at the forthcoming prez election. Some other astromancers tell us that SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa is sure to emerge the winner. If astrology is capable of helping predict future events accurately, how come the practitioners thereof are making different predictions anent more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

‘What happens to the people happens also to judges, lawyers & others’

Nov 8 (CT) This memoir by former CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake on the (now nullified) impeachment is a significant contribution to the cause of promoting the independence of judiciary in SL. Its significance lies in the fact it exposes the truth about what really has happened to the judiciary as an institution within the context of changes brought about by way of the constitutions of 1972 and 1978, and the practices that have developed as a result of these constitutional changes. more..

SriLankan Airlines 1H group loss reduced to US$ 76mn

Nov 8 (Island) SriLankan Airline's financial performance for the six months ended 30th Sept 2019 showed an upward trend by reducing its losses by more than 50%, with a loss of USD 19 million before interest and withholding tax against a loss of USD 39 million for the same period in the previous year, SriLankan Airlines said. After interest and withholding tax, the half yearly group loss was USD 76 million, a USD 10 million improvement over the USD 86 million loss in the previous year. more..

Arjuna fires away against alleged corruption in cricket

Nov 8 (Island) An Interim Cricket Board should be appointed to protect the sport in the country, said Minister Arjuna Ranatunga in Parliament yesterday. Taking direct aim at MP Thilanga Sumathipala, Ranatunga said that the turf accountants too should be prevented from joining Cricket administration to develop the sport in the country. He made these observations joining the debate on three regulations under more..

SL Ambassador presents letters of credence to her majesty the Queen of Denmark

Nov 8 (IL) Ambassador Sudantha Ganegama Arachchi presented Letters of Credence on 25 Oct 2019 to the Queen of the Kingdom of Denmark Her Majesty Margrethe II at the Amalienborg Palace, as the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Denmark with residence in Sweden. At the audience with Her Majesty the Queen, Ambassador Ganegama Arachchi conveyed warm greetings from Prez Sirisena to Her Majesty, and thanked her for sending the message condemning more..

EU GSP+ incentive drives spike in Sri Lankan exports by more than 20%

Nov 8 (Island) Following the granting of GSP+, SL's exports to the EU have increased more than 20%, according to the EU. Notable growth sectors of this economic development include apparel, fisheries exports (which doubled in the first year since the removal of the fish ban and granting of GSP+) tea, tyres, gems, motor vehicle parts and footwear. Since SL’s entry into the GSP+ scheme, the apparel industry has been the biggest beneficiary of the trade facility accounting for 60% of more..

EPF expands 10.8% to Rs 2.4 trillion

Nov 8 (CT) SL's largest superannuation fund, the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF), expanded 10.8% to Rs 2,428 billion as of June 2019 from Rs 2,191 billion recorded for the same month in last year. According to the CB, the custodian of the fund, growth was achieved due to the combined effect of net contributions of the member and income generated through investments. The total investment portfolio at book value more..

Biz confidence climbs to 8-month high

Nov 8 (FT) The LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) recorded an increase of 12 basis points to register 102 in October. The leading business magazine notes that this represents the highest the index has been since February. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant explains in LMD: “Impacted by the Easter Sunday bombings, Sri Lanka’s GDP recorded a growth rate of 1.6% – the lowest in 21 quarters. However, micro and macro indicators have steadily improved since then.” more..

Amaratunga wants more beauty pageants in Colombo

Nov 8 (CT) Speaking at the press conference to celebrate Miss Intercontinental Sri Lanka 2019, Minister John Amaratunga stated that events such as Miss Intercontinental are welcome and insisted that such events should be promoted. "There are complaints that Colombo does not offer enough events for tourists. Our Ministry and the Tourism Promotion Board would support any events like Miss Intercontinental Sri Lanka, as events of such nature give the required promotion to SL worldwide. more..

State universities minting money by cutting down student intake: CoPE

Nov 8 (Island) Parliament watchdog body, CoPE has observed that there is a gradual decline in undergraduate intakes to state universities. The fourth report of the CoPE was tabled in Parliament, publicising the findings of the investigations on universities and higher education Institutions. The report digs into the questionable transactions and decisions taken at 17 state universities during the period Mar 17, 2017 to more..

Sri Lanka and China to further elevate cultural relations

Nov 8 (FT) Agreement for the Establishment of a Friendly Temple Relationship between the Shentong Temple of Shandong Province of China and the Bodhi Raja Viharaya of Thalpitiya, Wadduwa, in SL was signed in Shandong on 29 Oct between Abbot of Shentong Temple Ven. Jie Kong, and Anunayake of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Maha Sanga Sabha and Chief Incumbent of the Bodhi Raja Viharaya Ven. Prof. Kotapitiye Rahula Thero, with the participation of a number of venerable chief more..

Jail term cut for SL man who made threats on a plane with a fake bomb

Nov 8 (SMH) The man who sparked terror on a passenger flight by threatening that he had a bomb has had four years cut from his prison term, partly because the device he had wasn’t an explosive. Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 had taken off from Melbourne Airport on the night of May 31, 2017 when Manodh Marks took something from an overhead compartment, walked up the aisle and said: "I have a bomb with me. I want to talk to the captain." Marks, who was also in the grip of more..

PM asks Speaker to hold special sitting on Monday

Nov 8 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has requested Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to hold a special session of Parliament on 11 Nov at 10.30 a.m. after a lack of speakers brought sittings to an early close yesterday. PM submitted his request shortly after the House was adjourned until 1 p.m. on 3 Dec. Speaker will issue the Gazette calling for Parliament to meet shortly, officials said. House plans to take up more..

Cinnamon Bentota Beach to reopen after Rs. 4.9 bn refurbishment project

Nov 8 (DN) Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts will reopen the Cinnamon Bentota Beach on Dec 15. The relaunching announcement was made at the World Travel Market (WTM) in the UK amidst a gathering of 300 senior journalists of the British Guild of Travel Writers. Cinnamon Bentota Beach will open in December following refurbishment of the formerly known Bentota Beach Hotel, a property which was originally designed by the world-renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa. more..

2 gas shipments arrive tomorrow & Monday

Nov 8 (DM) The Litro Gas Lanka Company yesterday said they had received 3,600 metric tons of gas shipment yesterday and another two shipments are due on Saturday and Monday to meet the gas shortage. A Litro gas company senior official said 3,800 metric tonnes and 2,500 metric tons of gas shipments will arrive on Saturday and Monday. He said arrangements are underway to issue gas cylinders to the market without any interruptions until next Thursday. more..

Extortionist slandering my image: Hakeem

Nov 8 (DM) Minister Rauff Hakeem, alleged that an extortionist was slandering his image through a certain media. He alleged that a certain person named Mahroof had been slinging mud and character assassinating him for money instigated by former Eastern Province Chief Minister and prez candidate M.L.A.M. Hizbullah. “I know that Hizbullah and another Pohottuwa leader are behind this malicious act against me. more..