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Tourism sector seethes as visa fiasco comes to a boil

May 7 (ST) Since last month, SL’s tourism industry has been fighting a three-pronged battle with the govt: the outsourcing of visas to private companies that has resulted in visa fees soaring; the scrapping of an electronic travel authorisation (ETA) system that had worked just fine; and the mysterious disappearance of the 30-day—most convenient and cheapest—visa category for tourists. This week, all three issues were thrust to the surface more..

Colombo among first 9 destinations to join Emirates’ A350 network

May 7 (DM) Colombo will be among the first set of destinations to be served by Emirates’ A350 aircraft entering service in Sept 2024, the airline announced. Emirates’ fourth daily service to Colombo, EK654/655, will be served by A350 from Jan 1, 2025. With 10 new A350s expected to join the Emirates fleet by March 31, 2025, the airline plans to deploy its latest aircraft type to nine destinations in the coming months, offering the customers its latest signature cabin experiences. more..

Two Lankans conferred Order of the Rising Sun by Japan

May 7 (ST) The Order of the Rising Sun was conferred by the Govt of Japan on two Sri Lankans in recognition of their contributions to enhancing the Japan-Sri Lanka relationship. One of them is Kosala Rohana Wickramanayake, former President of the Lanka-Japan Friendship Society and former President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of SL, who contributed to promoting friendly relations and mutual understanding and economic exchange more..

පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේ චූටි චූටි හිල්

IFC Regional VP for Asia Pacific signals support for Sri Lanka’s reforms and growth

May 7 (FT) Concluding a two-day visit, IFC Vice President for Asia Pacific Riccardo Puliti signalled IFC’s commitment to supporting SL’s ongoing reforms and growth agenda, while emphasising the importance of private sector-led development for inclusive economic growth. The visit served as an opportunity for Puliti to engage with key stakeholders, including meeting Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, CB Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, more..

Ranindu and Devindya clinch National Chess titles

May 7 (ST) The chess arena witnessed moments of brilliance and strategic prowess as International Master Ranindu Liyanage and Devindya Oshini Gunawardhana emerged victorious in the SL National Chess Championships 2024. The annual prestigious event, organised by the Chess Federation of SL, reached its culmination last week, at the elegant Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo, marking a significant milestone in the SL National Cycle. A total prize purse of Rs. One Million more..

Be aware; don’t fall prey to financial scams

May 7 (TM) SL Banks' Association (SLBA), LankaPay and FinCSIRT Issuing a joint statement said that they have been alerted regarding several incidents of financial fraud, both globally and in SL, disguised as attractive online offers, leading to mobile device users inadvertently clicking on unknown links and downloading malicious apps and files. The statement further said: “This action grants scammers complete access to mobile device, more..

The return of Japan is a victory

May 7 (Island) The visit of Japan’s foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa to SL is an indication that the relationship between the two countries is on the mend. The manner in which Japan was ousted from the special status it had once held by the previous govt headed by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa would have caused much heartburn. Japan was, for several decades, SL’s biggest economic benefactor providing both outright grants and subsidised loans for a range of infrastructure and more..

Storm over JVP Hewage’s statement on TV: JVP killed only rapists, rogues, hooch sellers

May 7 (ST) A storm broke out this week over a statement made by JVP senior member Nalin Hewage on national TV last Thursday night. In a live discussion on Hiru TV Balaya, attended by SJB MP Asoka Abeysinghe, SLPP MPs Tissa Kuttiarachchi and D. Weerasinghe, and JVP’s former Provincial Council MP Hewage, Hewage declared with a smirk: The JVP killed only rapists, rogues and kassippu karayas. The callous remark said with a mocking contemptuous smile on his face more..

පොර කුකුල්ලු

Editorial: Visa muddle

May 7 (Island) The BIA visa controversy has taken a dramatic turn with the Opposition accusing Minister Tiran Alles of having misled Parliament. The outsourcing of on-arrival visa processing to a foreign company has provoked a public outcry. The company reportedly charges about USD 20 or more as visa handling fee per person; this has caused visa costs to soar, and tourism industry stakeholders are up in arms; they complain that other Asian countries are keeping their visa fees low to more..

Shooting the messenger Vs. transparency

May 7 (TM) Govt of SL has once again endorsed the broadly held view that questioning the State or senior state officials will get you in trouble. The recent scandal regarding the issuance of Visa at the BIA, SL’s premier gateway for visitors, has once again shone a spotlight on the governance culture of being unable to take any form of criticism without trying to punish or repress it. A debate flared up last week after video clips circulated on social media platforms showing an incoming passenger more..

Most-anticipated, least-expected SJB-NPP debate

May 7 (TM) Whether the proposed debate between NPP and SJB would actually take place, and even if it did, whether it would result in anything of real value, are frequently asked questions these days. Recently, the NPP claimed that it had given the SJB an ultimatum until 20 May to propose a date for the debate. However, given the nature of SL’s politics, the public think that they cannot trust it to take place until it does take place. more..

Healthcare crisis in need of holistic rectification

May 7 (CT) Sri Lanka, in the recent past, seems to have not been able to bake the cake and eat it when it comes to a high-functioning healthcare system. It’s like we know we have baked this beautiful cake of healthcare infrastructure, but when it’s time to dig in, we realise we forgot to turn on the oven. The last few years have been hard on our healthcare sector, which has taken blow after blow after blow. From dealing with overworked healthcare professionals and over-crowded hospitals, more..

Fifth Estate: Paradoxes of digital power

May 7 (GV) World audiences remain riveted to phone, computer and television screens, shocked as we all are by the bloody carnality of the war in Palestine, the graphic horror gripping attention by its lurid crudities. The media visuals, being constant and so true and very real, keep the global public convulsed in distaste and angry revolt as great powers ignore the continuous massacres and continuous, wholesale devastation of the urban and natural environment. more..

Closure of MNRCE shrouded in controversy?

May 7 (CT) Maga Neguma Road Construction Equipment Company (MNRCE) was shut down following a govt decision citing financial losses, despite the Company not incurring any losses, alleged MNRCE workers. They claim that Cabinet approval to close the Company was sought by presenting erroneous data indicating financial losses. Minister Bandula Gunawardena, presented a proposal to merge the 3 road transport more..

Press freedom, a boon for economic recovery

May 7 (DM) Sri Lanka ranked 150 out of 180 countries in the 2024 Edition of the Press Freedom Index, published annually by Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontiers - RSF) is a remarkable drop of 15 positions from 135 to 150 when compared to 2023. However, Sri Lanka has been ranked higher than India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. India is ranked 159th, Pakistan 152nd and Bangladesh 165th. Norway is ranked in the top position and Eritrea in the last position. more..

NE to be mine-free in three years – NMAC

May 6 (Island) Sri Lanka Director of the National Mine Action Centre (NMAC) and the Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing W. S. Sathyananda has assured the international community that the ongoing mine clearing operations will reach a successful conclusion within three years. The assurance has been given at the recently concluded 27th International Meeting of Mine Action National Directors and United Nations Advisers (NDM-UN27) held in Geneva more..

රහස් කියන මී මැස්සා

Tourist arrivals miss 200,000 mark in April

May 6 (DM) Sri Lanka tourism witnessed a drop in momentum in April with the number of international visitors falling below the 200,000 mark for the first time this year. Tourist arrivals in April totalled 148, 867, provisional data from the SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed. Although this is a 41% increase from the corresponding month of the previous year, it is a significant drop from the 209,181 tourist arrivals recorded in the previous month (March). more..

Sri Lanka to fill vacancies in its Office on Missing Persons

May 6 (EN) Parliament has called for applications to fill vacancies in its Office on Missing Persons (OMP). “Applications from eligible persons have been called to fill the vacancies in the posts of member in the Office on Missing Persons (OMP),” it said in a statement. Applications should be prepared in accordance with the information available on the Parliament website and sent on or before May 27 to; ‘Secretary-General to the Constitutional Council, Constitutional Council – Office, more..

Ranawaka asks why no action taken against Sirisena, Wickremesinghe and others

May 6 (Island) The SLPP-UNP govt owes an explanation as to why action hasn’t been instituted against 15 persons, including former Prez Maithripala Sirisena and Yahapalana PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is incumbent President, for their failure to prevent the 2019 Easter Sunday suicide attacks, says EJP leader Champika Ranawaka. Pointing out that their failure to avert the attacks had been as serious as the conspiracy itself, former Minister Ranawaka alleged that more..

Bogambara to transform into hotel complex

May 6 (CT) A private investor has come forward with plans to transform Bogambara Prison into a hotel complex, Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga revealed. Ranatunga stated that development projects for the site will be implemented while preserving its antiquity. Bogambara Prison was entrusted to the UDA for development in 2014. Minister Ranatunga emphasized that it will be redeveloped in line with the Strategic Development Plan 2030 and Greater Kandy. more..

Two children taken hostage by father rescued after nine-hour operation

May 6 (DM) Two children who were taken hostage by a father in Jalthara, Hanwella were rescued by the STF after a nine-hour operation. The suspect had come with a hand grenade to kill his wife who was living at the Government Servant's Housing Complex in Jalthara last evening and took the children hostage. The STF managed to arrest the suspect with a great effort. The two children were admitted to the Homagama Hospital as the man had injected something to them. more..

On-arrival visa fiasco drains VFS Global’s confidence in Sri Lanka

May 6 (DM) VFS Global which has been caught in the center of controversy in the on arrival visa issuance at the BIA has raised serious concerns with the Public Security Ministry led by Tiran Alles stating that while they were a reputed global company, they were shocked to be left victimized as the on arrival visa saga took a turn for the worse. The Daily Mirror learns that the govt had handed over the contract of the on arrival visa issuance to GBS-IVS, which is a Singaporean based more..

Police probe phone threat made to Kantale Magistrate

May 6 (CT) Police launched an investigation into an incident where the Kantale Magistrate was threatened over the phone. The investigation was initiated following a complaint filed by the Magistrate regarding the threat, which he said was made by someone posing off as the principal of Agrabodhi National School, Kantale. A team of officers from the Kantale Police recorded a statement from the Principal of Kantale Agrabodhi National School regarding the incident. more..

SLPP renews call for early general election after UNP’s poor May Day show

May 6 (Island) The SLPP has resumed ratcheting up pressure on Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe to call early parliamentary polls. Political sources say the SLPP had made its move in the wake of the UNP’s failure to engineer a sizeable section of the breakaway SJB parliamentary group to join Prez Wickremesinghe on the UNP’s May Day stage. The UNP refrained from making an official announcement regarding Wickremesinghe’s candidature at the forthcoming presidential poll as its plan went awry. more..

ගුවන්තොටේදී වීසා කේස් 1 ඇදපු...

VFS Global is here to stay for at least 12 years, says Tiran

May 6 (DM) Despite widespread accusations of handing over the contract for on-arrival visa issuance to VFS Global, Public Security Minister Tiran Alles said today that VFS Global, the foreign company now responsible for handling on-arrival visas on behalf of Sri Lanka at the BIA, will continue to operate for at least 12 years. Minister Alles held a special press conference regarding the controversy surrounding the matter. He said that the proposal to transfer the new visa system to more..

Petition filed against appointment of new CIABOC DG

May 6 (FT) A fundamental rights petition has been filed before the Supreme Court challenging the recent appointment of W.K.D. Wijeratne as the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. The petition was filed by Counsel Jagath Talgaswattage on behalf of petitioner, Energy Expert and Sustainability Specialist Dr. Vidhura Ralapanawe. In the petition, Ralapanawe maintained that the appointment of Wijeratne to the post is a blatant violation of more..

Video: Action against man who caused disturbance at BIA visa counters and officers who recorded incident

May 6 (AD) Minister of Public Security Tiran Alles says that action will be taken against the person who had caused a disturbance recently in the visa issuance section at the BIA. The minister said that action will also be taken against the officers who had recorded the incident in question. Minister Alles revealed this during a special press conference held today in relation to the recent controversial issue concerning the issuance of On-Arrival Visas at the BIA. more..

CTU blames Dept. of Examinations over delayed results review

May 6 (TM) Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU) criticised the Dept of Examinations over its delay in releasing the re-scrutinised results of the 2022 (2023) O/L Exam in the context of 2023 (2024) O/L exam are scheduled to start today (6). The re-scrutinised results of the 2022 (2023) O/L Exam have been released around midnight on Saturday. The Examinations Dept said that it received 49,312 applications in total for the re-scrutiny of exam results, and 250,311 answer sheets were re-scrutinised accordingly. more..

Sri Lanka visa deal did not need tender, nobody can compete against VFS: Minister

May 6 (EN) SL’s controversial visa deal which led to doubling of fees with multiple charges, was awarded without a tender and nobody could compete against the VFS company in any case, Public Security Minister Tiran Alles said. Many things are done without tender in SL and the visa deal was a proposal, he said. “There are several [procurement] methods in SL,” Minister Alles said, amid brewing controversy over the visa deal which had led to a doubling of visa costs to around 100 dollar per tourist. more..

Video: Youth who caused disturbance at BIA summoned by police

May 6 (AD) A SL youth who had behaved in an unruly manner at the BIA on May 01 amidst a tense situation at the visa issuance counters, has been summoned to Airport Police today. A statement was recorded from the individual in question, Sandaruwan Kumarasinghe, who is a lawyer by profession, at the Airport Police at around 10 a.m. this morning. However, it is reported that another group of lawyers was also present when more..

NBRO says landslide-prone area not linked to Uma Oya project

May 6 (AD) The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) says that the installation of related equipment to remove water trapped in the Karandagolla area in Ella has already been commenced. Accordingly, the Director General of the NBRO, Dr. Asiri Karunawardena said that it will take about 10 days to complete this work. However, he also said that all the necessary measures have been taken to ensure the stability of the land to release the water in the landslide-prone area. more..

Keheliya and 7 others further remanded

May 6 (AD) Former Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella and 7 others have been further remanded until 20 May by the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court over the import of substandard human immunoglobulin vials. This order was issued when the relevant case was taken up before the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court today. Meanwhile, one of the suspects who was arrested and remanded in connection with the case was released on bail today. Accordingly, the former Deputy Director of Medical Supplies Division more..