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Visa issuance controversy: Govt remains steadfast on VFS role

May 13 (TM) Despite ongoing debates and allegations surrounding the transfer of SL’s visa processing to the private entity VFS Global, Govt remains steadfast in its stance that the decision will not be revisited. A senior Govt official said that while there may be diverse opinions on the visa handling process, it had already been delegated to VFS. The official emphasised that this decision, being a governmental prerogative, stood without more..

CEYLONA 2024 international girl guide camp at Ibbagamuwa Central College Kurunegala

May 13 (DM) Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association (SLGGA) has plans to host an International Camp at Ibbagamuwa Central College, Kurunegala from August 18 to 23 (2024). The International Camp is poised to offer a plethora of enriching activities and experiences to participants. From outdoor adventures to leadership workshops the camp aims to provide a holistic learning environment where participants can develop essential life skills while forging lifelong friendships. more..

Governance, a vetting system needed

May 13 (TM) The case of former MP and State Minister Diana Gamage points out how weak and vulnerable to exploitation our political and governing system is. It also shows how clueless we are as citizens, and how porous our national democratic institutions are. In this context, there are lessons to be learnt. One can argue that cases like Gamage’s are rare. It is true, we do not hear that type of cases every day. However, the fact that it happened, and that she was able to hold high office, more..

SL’s megastep towards renewable energy

May 13 (CT) India’s business magnate, Gautam Adani’s Adani Green Energy, concluded negotiations on their Renewable Energy (RE) project in Mannar and Pooneryn, securing a 484 MW 20-year power purchase agreement after engaging in extensive discussions with officials representing all stakeholders in SL. The project already incurred expenses of USD 4 million for various EIA studies, Geotech studies, more..

Debt restructuring as rocket science: IMF, Green, Blue & Pink-washing BlackRock?

May 13 (CT) Calls for divestment from BlackRock and other Int'l Sovereign Bonds (ISB), have echoed across Columbia, Yale and many non-Ivy League universities in the US recently. BlackRock is heavily invested in weapons companies fueling a genocidal war in Palestine. However, the IMF's, debt restructuring operations in the Global South appear designed to ensure BlackRock’s enhanced profitability. BlackRock world’s biggest investment fund manager & SL’s largest private creditor, more..

The unseating of an MP and the chance roll of the judicial dice

May 13 (ST) Leaving apart the typically hysterical political brouhaha about the unseating of Diana Gamage, former (and largely unlamented) MP, what is greatly interesting about this otherwise distasteful saga is the different approaches taken by the Supreme Court and a majority decision of the Court of Appeal with profound implications on the roll of the judicial dice in each instance. This concerned a MP whose seat was challenged by a social activist on the basis that she was the holder of more..

Ranil intensifies moves to retain presidency

May 12 (ST) President Ranil Wickremesinghe stalled a move by an unknown number of crossovers from the main opposition SJB last May Day. He was of the view that such a move should come only after he declared himself as the all party common candidate for the presidential election. Some UNP leaders had arranged for the SJB members to appear on the UNP stage in Maligawatte. more..

Fuel sales: RM Parks signs up fuel sheds

May 12 (TM) RM Parks Inc. is set to become the second international player to commence operations in Sri Lanka’s retail fuel market, having recently signed agreements to this end with around 100 fuel sheds. Power and Energy Ministry Secretary Dr. Sulakshana Jayawardena told The Sunday Morning that RM Parks had signed agreements with about 100 fuel sheds and had begun importing its core products. “Once they import the core products, they can commence operations,” he said. more..

BASL raises concerns on delays in filling CoA vacancies

May 12 (FT) Bar Association of SL (BASL) writing to Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed their concerns over the ongoing crisis relating to the filling of vacancies in the Court of Appeal. BASL noted that there are five vacancies to date and said the situation merits urgent attention considering the potential adverse repercussions that would follow in the administration of justice. “The judiciary plays a pivotal role in upholding the rule of law, ensuring justice, and safeguarding more..

Adani renewable energy: Deviations in tariff decision to cause losses?

May 12 (ST) Sri Lanka is set to incur billions of rupees in losses due to the deviation from the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC)-recommended tariff for the controversial renewable energy project by India’s Adani Green Energy. TEC had recommended a tariff of between 5 and 6 USD cents. However, the finally approved tariff, as announced by the Power and Energy Minister last week, was 8.26 USD cents. more..

Lanka co-sponsors Palestine membership resolution in UNGA

May 12 (ST) SL was among the 77 countries that co-sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution that was approved on Friday to grant Palestine full membership in the world body. Palestine has only observer status at the UN. The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming 143 member-states voting in favour, while nine voted against and 25 abstained. It came a month after the US vetoed Palestine’s membership in the Security Council. The resolution called upon the Security Council more..

EC and President’s Office clash over development projects

May 12 (ST) Election Commission and Prez’s Office are at sharp variance over a fresh directive on the proposed community advisory committees at the local govt level to carry out supervision of development projects and relief schemes with elections pending. Election Commission Chairman R.M.A.L. Ratnayake has written to Presidential Secretary Saman Ekanayake, drawing attention to the possibility of local govt election candidates being appointed to these advisory committees and more..

හිරු ටීවී පත්තරේ විස්තරේ

Investor interest drops as incentives disappear

May 12 (TM) A decrease in interest in investing in SL has been observed due to the removal of incentives previously offered to foreign investors, warns Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody. He revealed that they had observed a decrease in interest among investors with regard to investing in SL following the removal of the incentives previously enjoyed by BOI-approved companies. He pointed out that the tax rates for BOI companies had risen by around 20-25% more..

Emirates extends strategic partnership with Sri Lanka

May 12 (Island) Emirates has reaffirmed its long-standing commitment to promoting tourism to SL through a MoU signed with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau at Arabian Travel Market 2024 in Dubai. The MoU was signed by Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial West Asia & Indian Ocean, and Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman, SL Tourism Promotion Bureau, in the presence of Minister Harin Fernando and Nabil Sultan, Emirates’ Executive Vice President, more..

MV X-Press Pearl: $ 10 million for AG’s Dept. as legal costs

May 12 (EN) The Govt has allocated $ 10 million so far to cover legal expenses incurred by the AG Dept in the MV X-Press Pearl case filed in a Singaporean court last year to claim damages resulting from the ship disaster in May 2021. However, despite the allocation, the AG’s Department is yet to submit the final compensation figure for the damages. MEPA Chairman Asela Rekawa said that a final figure of more..

Sri Lanka official remittances cross $2bn in Jan-April 2024

May 12 (EN) Sri Lanka’s remittances coming through official channels surpassed 2 billion dollars in the first four months of this year, helped by more expatriates using the official banking channels after the central bank gave up a parallel exchange rate regime. The remittances in the first four months were 2,079.9 million dollars, rising 11.4% from the same period last year. The island nation witnessed 1,867.2 million dollars through remittances in the first four months of 2023. more..

Sri Lankans hit pot of gold ahead of World Cup

May 12 (SO) Fearing an exodus from the traditional format of the game to the money spinning white-ball version, Sri Lanka Cricket has dramatically increased the payments of Test players just three weeks away from the T20 World Cup. The rise in pay packets coincided with the launch of a new shirt or jersey on Friday night that will be worn by the Sri Lankan team at the World Cup that starts on June 1 in the West Indies and the US. Controversial T20 captain Wanindu Hasaranga more..

නිදහස් හා සාමකාමී මැතිවරණයකට...

US Ambassador nominee pledges to support for reconciliation in Sri Lanka

May 12 (AD) U.S. President Joe Biden’s nominee for Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Elizabeth K. Horst, says that if confirmed she will support members of marginalized populations, accountability, truth and reconciliation, and transparency and justice in SL. “I will support members of marginalized populations, accountability, truth and reconciliation, and transparency and justice in SL,” she said, appearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday (9). more..

Stakeholders raise concerns on new power agreements

May 12 (ST) Industry stakeholders on Wednesday submitted a comprehensive document to the Ministry of Power and Energy on issues relating to the new Special Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA). The document was submitted through the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on four important issues in the new agreement, a renewable energy producer said. “One critical issue that was discussed was curtailment, which is where the CEB can download any plant without notice and more..

700 MW of solar power: Poonakary project stalled

May 12 (TM) United Solar, Australian investor behind the mega-scale floating solar power project slated for establishment at Poonakary Tank, Jaffna, has failed to procure the on-grid renewable energy permit mandated by SL law. It has come to light that the investor, despite numerous reminders from SLSEA, is yet to make the required payment to obtain the permit. Deadline for the payment of the required fee, set at nearly Rs. 700 million, more..

Two way visa issuance for foreign tourists

May 12 (ST) With the implementation of the new visa process the govt is now carrying out its visa issuance services in two ways. The old visa fee of $50 prevails which includes a convenience fee of $10. On arrival, tourists can obtain their visas at the Immigration counters at the BIA manned by the Immigration Dept while online visas will be provided through the new VFS online system. The new visa issuance has not just created confusion but also is not a user friendly system for tourists. more..

Ton up Sonal helps SL ‘A’ end day one 372-7

May 12 (ST) An unbeaten century by Sonal Dinusha and half-centuries by Lahiru Udara and Vishad Randika propelled SL ‘A’ to finish the first day with a commanding total of 372 for 7 against Afghanistan ‘A’ in the only Unofficial Test match which began at the P. Sara Oval yesterday. Sonal hit 126 off 178 balls, including 13 boundaries, and contributed in three fruitful partnerships. Lahiru smashed a rapid 65 off 57 balls with 11 boundaries, while Vishad scored 63 with eight boundaries. more..

Ton up Sonal helps SL ‘A’ end day one 372-7

May 12 (ST) An unbeaten century by Sonal Dinusha and half-centuries by Lahiru Udara and Vishad Randika propelled SL ‘A’ to finish the first day with a commanding total of 372 for 7 against Afghanistan ‘A’ in the only Unofficial Test match which began at the P. Sara Oval yesterday. Sonal hit 126 ofimilar to what took place at the Fox Hill Super Cross 2024 in Diyatalawa last month, which shook the country’s motor racing sphere to its core. more..

SL relay quartet overcome bullying for Silver

May 12 (SO) Promising teenager Malith Thamel has already struck it big for 4000 students at De Mazenod College turning down offers from Colombo’s elite schools: Imagine the occasion. Four SL schoolboys away from home taking up position to run the 4X100 relay at the Asian Junior Athletics C'ships in Dubai taunted or verbalized by an Indian quartet that drove psychological fear into the foursome. In reality the four SL boys, Malith Thamel, Dineth Weeraratne, Vidusara Vidushan more..

Sri Lanka to deal with Iran, Russia in non-sanctioned areas: FM

May 12 (EN) SL will deal with Iran and Russia for investments and trade without being caught into the US-led sanctions, the island nation’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said. SL has been hit by Western sanctions imposed on Iran and Russia. The island nation could not receive $450 million from Iran for a recently opened Uma Oya multipurpose project started before the sanctions. SL was also forced to buy light crude from Malaysia and Dubai instead of Iran after 2012 sanctions. more..

පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රීකම විතරක්...

Yupun’s quest for Olympic berth gathers steam

May 12 (TM) South Asia’s fastest man Yupun Abeykoon, who is set to compete in a few regional meets across Europe shortly, will strive to reach the qualifying standard to feature in the Paris Olympics. If the Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bronze medalist fails to reach the required standard for the Summer Games at these European meets, it will force him to compete at the Sri Lanka Athletics (SLA) Nationals in Colombo late next month to be in with a shout for marquee quadrennial event, more..

Tennis: Dinara bags ITF Junior Circuit Singles title

May 12 (ST) SL’s Dinara de Silva bagged the Girl’s Singles title of the ITF Junior Circuit Week 1 Tennis Tournament with a comfortable 2-0 win over Yu-Ching Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in the final played at the SSC Tennis Courts in Colombo yesterday. Dinara won a Junior ITF Singles title for Sri Lanka after a lapse of four years with the last being Anjalika Kurera, who won two titles in the 2019 tournament, also played in SL. Meanwhile in the boy’s category, which was a battle between two players more..

Did Sri Lanka pick the best out of the rest?

May 12 (ST) Sri Lanka’s 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies has raised a few eyebrows and sparked discussions among cricket enthusiasts on a few debatable inclusions and exclusions. One that caught many by surprise is the selection of 21-year-old left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage, who was part of the 50-over World Cup team last year and is yet to make his T20 international debut. more..

Editorial: Diana Gamage’s unseating

May 12 (Island) National List MP Diana Gamage’s exit from parliament last week, on the basis of the unanimous determination of a three-judge bench of the supreme court ends a saga that dragged on for as long as four years. For Sajith Premadasa’s SJB this was a heaven sent opportunity to bring back former MP Mujibur Rahman to the legislature. Rahman resigned his parliamentary seat to run for Mayor of Colombo on the SJB ticket at the scheduled 2022 local elections. more..

Is India going to steal land, water and air?

May 12 (CT) The way the social media went about the BIA incident in which someone identified as Sandaru Kumarasinghe went about attacking India and Indians in what essentially turned out to be a procedural delay/denial in visa processing should show the depth of anti-India sentiments that are not justified otherwise. Regarding the particular incident, Indian High Commission first and SL Ministers later clarified that no Indian or Indian firm was involved in visa processing more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayaka

Teflon Tiran & Visa outsourcing

May 12 (CT) Everything seemed quiet on the govt front, bar the colours and noises of May Day politics. Then all hell broke loose one day, at the airport of all places. The old ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) system, which everyone requiring a visa on arrival had gotten used to, was gone, and a new VFS system that no one has heard of was in place. The change apparently had been implemented following cabinet approval of a proposal by Minister Tiran Alles based on an unsolicited offer more..

One more out of parliament

May 12 (ST) My dear Diana, I thought I must write to you now when everyone is talking about you after you were booted out of Parliament by an order from the highest court in the land. The way you conducted yourself, with your razor-sharp tongue and come for a fight attitude, who would have thought this will happen to you? You even managed to take the limelight away from that visa issue. In the end, it was the actions of two individuals – that chap Sandaru at the airport and more..