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Editorial: Defenestration of VCs

Sep 25 (Island) President Sirisena is apparently preparing his own report card, these days, with only a couple of moons to go for the end of his term. He has made his presidency out to be a political tour de force. He says he has not had any of his rivals harmed. The question is whether one can boast of having refrained from doing something that must not be done in a civilised society. One may not accuse Prez Sirisena of having resorted to violence, but the fact remains that, more..

An Expressway covering the entire country

Sep 25 (Island) SL is a country in the shape of an ellipse. While the central part is mountainous, the rest of the island is a flat plain. The distance from the North to the South is about 420 km, and from the East to the West, it is about 220 km at the maximum point. Based on these geographic factors, if an expressway is to be constructed in the most practical and cost-effective manner to cover the entire country, it is logical that it must be in an elliptical shape, parallel to the coast more..

Govt adds to SL Tourism’s financial burden

Sep 25 (TM) Officials at Sri Lanka Tourism expressed serious concerns over growing financial strains that are being placed on them by the Govt since the Easter Sunday incidents. The concerns come in the wake of a cabinet proposal that was approved last week, which facilitates domestic air services to enter into Viability Gap Funding (VGF) agreements with the SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to undertake more..

Sri Lanka cricket team leave for Pakistan

Sep 25 (Island) SL’s depleted national cricket squad left for Pakistan on Tuesday expressing confidence in security promises by the hosts despite reports that the team could be targeted by militants. The SL team were attacked in Lahore in 2009. Since then most int'l teams have refused to tour the South Asian country, leaving Pakistan to play nearly all their home games in the UAE. Ten senior players citing security concerns have opted out of the tour comprising 3 ODIs and 3 Twenty20 matches more..

SLT Speedup Cycle Sawariya: Sandun Kumara wins stage one

Sep 25 (Island) SL Navy’s Sandun Kumara won the first stage of the SLT Speedup Cycle Sawariya which commenced at the Galle Face Green on Tuesay. The cycle race which was flaged off by Group Chairman of SLT, Kumarasinghe Sirisena witnessed the culmination of stage one at Embilipitiya after routing through Panadura and Ratnapura. Sujith Hasantha and Chamod de Silva of SLPA finished second and third. Stage two of the race will commence at 9 am at Embilipitiya more..

Major flaw: Colombo Port City Project sand mining licence not obtained as yet

Sep 25 (ST) The Port City Project of Colombo which was originally conceived as a governmental project conducted by the Ports Authority and later by the UDA became a foreign direct investment of the Ports Ministry and the China Communication and Construction Company that fundamentally changed the concept of the project dramatically, said Naazima Kamardeen, Professor of Commercial Law of Uni of Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka’s tour to Pakistan will there be repercussions?

Sep 25 (DN) There are many reasons for Sri Lanka Cricket to support Pakistan and despite some uncertainties the national team – the ODI squad led by Lahiru Thirimanne and the T20I squad captained by Dasun Shanaka left for Karachi to play a series of ODIs and T20Is. There were some aspersions cast on the tour with a possible terrorist threat against the national squad in a bid to have the tour cancelled. But SLC conducted a reassessment of the security situation and received the all clear more..

First ever economic report focusing on tobacco taxation

Sep 25 (Island) Having always focused on influential economic sectors that drive the national economy in its regular economic forums, RIU Sri Lanka launched its first ever economic report focusing on tobacco taxation this week. Targeting policy makers who are key to decision making in mapping a progressive economic journey for the country, this pioneering focus on tobacco taxation delves in depth into the impacts of the current tobacco tax regime. Guest of honour at the event was more..

Dhammika designs Sri Lanka 2030: A Developed Nation

Sep 25 (FT) Well-known business leader Dhammika Perera yesterday launched Sri Lanka 2030: A Developed Nation, which presents goals and recommendations for 21 ministries. The aim of the document is to lay out an economic growth strategy and action plan to increase per capita income from the current $ 4000 to $ 12,000, and make Sri Lanka a developed nation by 2030. Data-based Budget proposals were part of more..

Video: Navy assists people affected by inclement weather

Sep 25 (AD) The Navy, acting on the floods reported across the country following the inclement weather, has deployed its relief teams in various regions in the country, going by the directives of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva. Accordingly, Navy relief teams comprising personnel from the Rapid Response Rescue and Relief Unit (4RU) and Diving Unit have been attached for rescue and relief duties in Thawalama, Baddegama, Udugama, Poddala, Imaduwa, Nagoda in Galle district more..

2 disabled war heroes begin fast-unto-death

Sep 25 (AD) Two disabled war veterans, who are protesting in front of the Fort Railway Station, have commenced a fast unto death. Protest launched by disabled war heroes and the families of the fallen, calling for solutions for pension salary issues, was continued for the 14th consecutive day today (24). Cabinet approval was then granted to provide all the members of Armed Forces, Police and STF who have been disabled due to the war, to receive a pension equal to their last salary even after more..

SLFP may ally with left parties: Dayasiri

Sep 25 (DM) There is the likelihood of the SLFP joining hands with left-leaning forces and contesting the presidential separately in the event the talks with SLPP fails, SLFP General Secretary, MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said. He said that the SLFP’s prez candidate would most probably be Prez Sirisena with his candidacy being unanimously approved by the party’s Central Committee. He said the SLFP believed that the SLFP and SLPP more..

Milk powder price increase testimony to de-politicisation of pricing mechanisms: Harsha

Sep 25 (FT) The price increase of Rs.20 per 400g pack of full cream milk powder earlier this week has been done in accordance with the scientific pricing formula agreed to by all stakeholders in July this year, and is therefore a testimony to the de-politicisation of pricing mechanisms by the Govt, an official said yesterday. Non-Cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, releasing a statement, said it is rare for govts to increase essential commodity prices after an election has been called. more..

‘Construction industry deserves more incentives and right policies’

Sep 25 (DN) SL’s construction cost is at least 30% higher than of Malaysia, said Nayana Mawilmada, Sector Head, Property Group at John Keells Holdings. “The costs should be brought down by reducing the taxes and cutting lending rates applicable to the construction industry,” he told a breakfast meeting organised by the John Keells Properties, together with DFCC Bank at the Cinnamon Grand yesterday. “The construction industry has tremendous potential to attract more..

PSC to recommend action against rising Wahabism and Arabisation, etc

Sep 25 (Island) Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing the Easter Sunday carnage, yesterday, decided to make their recommendations focusing on five main areas including the trend of rising Wahabism and Arabisation. The PSC members met at the Committee Room 3 of the Parliamentary complex, yesterday, around 2.15 pm and their meeting lasted till around 5pm with more..

'Sri Lanka has the 2nd highest rate of Cirrhosis in the world'

Sep 25 (DN) Sri Lanka has the second highest rate of Cirrhosis in the world which is 55 per 10,000. Sri Lanka is second only to Moldova, a nation of Vodka drinkers, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) President Dr. Anula Wijesundara pointed out yesterday. Addressing a media seminar and a workshop held at the SLMA Auditorium yesterday to mark the World No-Alcohol Day, she said Cirrhosis was the sixth leading cause of death and the fourth leading cause of hospitalisation in Sri Lanka. more..

Ban on niqab, burqa continues in Uva

Sep 25 (DM) Uva Province Governor Maithree Gunaratne said he had instructed law enforcement authorities to implement the ban on the face veil (niqab and burqa) even in the wake of the state of emergency is lifted. He said that those wearing the niqab or the burqa would be a cause for concern to the security of the province. "Muslims have lived among us for more than 600 years and intermingled with our culture. The niqab and burqa concept has affected traditional Muslims in recent times" more..

UNP expels five MPs

Sep 25 (Island) UNP has decided to expel 5 of its MPs – Wijedasa Rajapakshe, Dunesh Gankanda, SB Navinna, Ashoka Priyantha and Ananda Aluthgamage. UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has sent them letters informing them of the party’s decision. The UNP will inform Secretary General of Parliament of the expulsion of the 5 MPs. Among the charges against the 5 MPs were violation of the party constitution and more..

'Salary anomalies won’t be rectified just yet'

Sep 25 (DM) The Cabinet is reported to have yesterday ruled out the possibility of rectifying the salary anomalies in different categories of the public sector at this juncture because it costs a massive Rs.115 billion to the govt annually. The State-sector services have been crippled in the wake of trade union action by different categories of employees. The Cabinet discussed the salary issue yesterday and Minister Mangala Samaraweera briefed the minister about this matter. more..

I am ready to contest prez polls: Welgama

Sep 25 (DM) SLFP MP Kumara Welgama said he was ready to accept the prez candidacy and contest if his name would be nominated by the party. He said he had been in the SLFP for 38 years and had not left the party under any circumstances. “I am confident that I would be able to cope with the state of affairs and lead the country to a better position,” MP said. “People know my character. I have worked for the people, and I am a straightforward person. People have faith in me,” more..

Minister Kiriella justifies backdoor appointments for party supporters

Sep 25 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella yesterday told the PCoI that if giving appointments to UNP supporters who had voted for him was a crime, he was ready to accept the responsibility for it. PCoI is investigating allegations that Kiriella recruited a large number of UNP members as public liaison officers and consultants to the RDA without conducting interviews, checking their qualifications and assigning any duties. more..

Video: Gotabaya claims Co-op funds are being misused

Sep 25 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that his policy would be to give state patronage to uplift the Co-operative Movement. The SLPP prez candidate stated this addressing the National Convention of the Co-operative Movement held in Colombo today (24). He says that he has identified the Co-operative Movement as a policy that can assist the rural and low-income people in particular. Pointing out that the Co-operative Movement is currently facing many issues, more..

Allow all Govt MPs to vote as well: Sajith’s supporters

Sep 25 (DM) UNP faction supporting Minister Sajith Premadasa is reported to have requested the party leadership to take a secret ballot of the Working Committee and the parliamentary group together to decide on prez candidacy. Earlier, the UNP said it would put the matter to a vote at the Working Committee meeting to be convened soon. However, a Minister who is loyal to Mr. Premadasa said in addition to the Working Committee members, members of parliamentary group more..

UNP to nominate Sajith as candidate on conditions

Sep 25 (DM) There was general agreement among the seniors of UNP to nominate Minister Sajith Premadasa as the prez candidate but on certain conditions to be stipulated in writing. UNP seniors backing both Party Leader PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mr. Premadasa met on Tuesday to work out some arrangement to agree on the candidacy. PM is in agreement that candidacy could be offered to Mr. Premadasa but more..

Shameless Abolition

Sep 25 (DM) The issue of abolition of executive Presidential mode of governance has become a laughing stock since lately, especially following the latest efforts by the ruling UNP and President Maithripala Sirisena to materialize it. A funny and childish like debate is going on between the Prez and PM over a special Cabinet meeting that was hurriedly convened on last Thursday to discuss the scrapping of the executive Presidency. Interestingly the meeting was convened a day after more..

What role will Fake news, hate speech play in elections?

Sep 25 (DM) It was after the 2010 elections that SL politicians began to use social media. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the first to use Facebook as a public relations mechanism. The 2015 elections were when social media played a visible role in a Sri Lankan election. Though the former Prez had a sizable social media following, his opponents were able to use the open nature of the web to undermine the iron like hold the then incumbent had on state media and sections of private media as well. more..

Let’s put ourselves in Ranil’s shoes !

Sep 25 (DM) The chaotic political environment in the country is just what some lawmakers want. The Mahinda Rajapaksa group reached its peak in politics during 2005-2015, a turbulent time in the island. The war was finished off during one half of this period and its detractors were silenced in the second half of this period. Hence the Mahinda group would love the strikes carried out by govt institutions and GMOA these days. more..

South-west monsoon main reason behind rise in dengue cases

Sep 25 (ST) The dengue epidemic is raging mainly due to the current south-west monsoon, health officials have warned. The National Dengue Control Unit (NDCU) says most cases have been reported from Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Ratnapura and Kandy districts. According to figures as of Sept 20, there were 45,000 cases this year with 70 deaths. Generally during July and August there was a risk of dengue cases increasing, more..

Sri Lanka under EU scanner

Sep 25 (TM) Sri Lanka is under the scanner of the European Union (EU) over its implementation of key conventions linked to the GSP Plus trade concession and overall steps taken to protect human rights. An EU delegation, which was in Sri Lanka recently, assessed the status of Sri Lanka’s implementation of 27 conventions linked to GSP Plus. The delegation had talks with govt officials and others and visited several parts of the country more..

The liquor conundrum

Sep 25 (TM) Despite Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera alleging that liquor licenses were issued without his approval and calling for a probe in this regard, a perusal of the Excise Ordinance and other excise notifications reveal that the Commissioner General (CG) of the Excise Department had sole authority to issue liquor licenses. In a media communiqué earlier this week, Minister of Finance claimed that more..

'Gota, an exemplary military man'

Sep 25 (DM) Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not someone who fled the country fearing the war but it was quite the opposite and he is an exemplary professional military man, Major General (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne said. He said this at the launch of his latest book titled Gotabaya, a biography of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. This is the fourth book penned by Maj. Gen. Gunaratne following his books titled, Road to Nandikadal, Kadol Eththu and Uththara Devi. more..

Cabinet approves memo presented by Prez

Sep 25 (DM) Cabinet memo presented by President Sirisena to pay full salary and full pension to disabled soldiers have been approved by the cabinet yesterday. Minister Mangala Samaraweera had submitted observations of the Finance Ministry for the proposal. The cabinet paper was first presented to the cabinet the last 17th and differed for yesterday’s cabinet meeting for Finance Ministry observations. more..

Sri Lanka annual floods, droughts healthcare hit US$19 million: study

Sep 25 (EN) Sri Lanka spends US$ 19 million (approx. 3.4 billion rupees) annually on healthcare due to floods and droughts, a new research published on the Asian Development Review journal of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has found. “Our estimates suggest that Sri Lanka spends at least US$ 19 million per year on health-care costs associated with floods and droughts,” the journal article said. more..

Rajitha says Cabinet gave nod to his proposal to acquire NFTH earlier this month

Sep 25 (Island) Cabinet of Ministers had approved his proposal to acquire the assets of Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) earlier this month, Minister Rajitha Senaratne told PCoI. The govt had commissioned a feasibility study on NFTH in 2019. In Feb 2019, Cabinet asked Health Ministry to come up with a business plan to make NFTH a viable enterprise. All those documents had been presented to the Cabinet more..

78-year-old elephant Tikiri forced to perform in parades dies

Sep 25 (AD) The elderly elephant Tikiri who stirred outrage over being paraded at the Esala Perahera despite her emaciated state has passed away at the age of 78 years. She had, reportedly, passed away last evening (24) over old age and illness and Kegalle Wildlife Officials are set to carry out the post mortem today (25). The final rites of Tikiri were performed this morning with the participation of Buddhist monks. more..

Sri Lanka misses IMF fiscal target with flexible exchange rate; new deal on way

Sep 25 (EN) Sri Lanka has missed targets in a deal with the IMF as it operated controversial flexible exchange rate with contradictory policy for most in 2018, but a new deal was on and the country was hit Islamist bomb blasts. Central Bank started to print money and generated excess liquidity through multiple lender of last resort windows in March/April and July/August 2018 despite having a forex reserve target, more..

No Vision

Sep 25 (CT) The flood mitigation methods and development works championed by the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UN targeting Colombo, thus far have borne fruit, records showed. When this newspaper spoke to DMC Media Spokesman Pradeep Kodippilli, at around 12:15 p.m. yesterday, he said that despite the heavy rains plaguing Colombo, a hallmark since Monday, there have been no reportages of either deaths, displaced or affected, so far. more..

Mr. NOTA and understanding Prez Election

Sep 25 (FT) Prez Election is round the corner, but the public is still confused about the powers of the next president. It can be said that the 19th Amendment has made a significant change in the system of governance despite the fact that it had been passed in a manner most ugly and unscrupulous. More than four years have passed since the amendment was passed, yet not only the public, even the politicians themselves are not fully aware of the changes it has made on more..

Nihal Sooriyarachchi: Chairman, RDA

Stand-alone hotels unviable in Sri Lanka due to high construction, capital costs

Sep 25 (EN) Standalone hotels are not viable in Sri Lanka due to excessive construction costs, high domestic interest rates and depreciation, an international leisure executive has said. “It may be a nice thing to have a standalone hotel, for ego, but in investment perspective, I would say run away,” Dilip Rajakarier, chief executive of Thailand based Minor Hotel group said. Rajakarier was speaking at the Cinnamon Future of Tourism Summit 2019 in Colombo. more..