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Sri Lanka's alternative facts on bond sales

Jan 24 (EN) Govt Tuesday resorted to the latest Donald Trump tactic of offering alternative facts to defend Arjuna Mahendran who is accused of insider dealing when he headed the Central Bank. Govt loyalists side stepped the findings of the COPE during a debate initiated by JVP and went onto the focus on the alleged corruption during Rajapaksa's decade in power. Govt's anti-corruption activist Ranjan Ramanayake diverted attention more..

4 new envoys present credentials to the Prez

Jan 24 (PSL) Ambassadors of Mongolia, Lithuania and Panama and new Indian High Commissioner presented their credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena today. Those who presented credentials were Ambassador of Mongolia, Gonchig Gangbold, Ambassador of Lithuania, Laimonas Talat-Kelpso, Ambassador of Panama, Sorvio Bethancourt and HC for India, Taranjith Singh Sandhu. President briefed the envoys about the three main objectives of the govt – economic development and more..

Video: Prevent Mahendran from interfering in State affairs: JO to Prez

Jan 24 (DM) President Sirisena should stop former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran from interfering in State decision-making to ensure the credibility of the Special Presidential Commission to be appointed to investigate the CB bond issue, the joint opposition said today. It said otherwise, it would only seen as a ploy to consume time. “Mr. Mahendran is a frequent member of the Prime Minister's delegation when travelling abroad. He also takes part at Finance Ministry meetings. more..

Hopes fade for justice for dead, lost Sri Lankan journalists

Jan 24 (AP) Hope is fading fast that SL's govt will take action against those responsible for the deaths and disappearances of dozens of journalists during and after the country's long civil war, activists and relatives said. President Sirisena campaigned on a promise of ending a culture of impunity when he defeated former President Rajapaksa in Jan 2015 election. During Rajapaksa's 9-year tenure, dozens of journalists more..

Charge bond from university students: JVP

Jan 24 (NR) The JVP today proposed the govt to charge a bond fee from students who receive higher education in Sri Lanka, but leave the country without engaging in local employment. The proposal was tabled by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake. MP said if gradates leave the country at the completion of their studies a fee should be charged for education. In response Minister Lakshman Kiriella noted the proposal will be considered once it’s been tabled before parliament. more..

Bond Issue: Bandula questions Prez’s stance

Jan 24 (NR) UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena questioned the stance of President Sirisena pertaining to the controversy surrounding the CB Bond issuance. Parliament convened for a special session today, to debate the report compiled by the COPE on the CB bond issue. Debate is being held following a special request made by the opposition. Joining the debate MP said alleged discrepancies reported at the CB could be considered one of the biggest thefts in the country’s history. more..

Ready to accept AG’s recommendations: govt

Jan 24 (NR) Govt today announced that it will accept AG’s recommendations into the controversy surrounding the CB Bond issuance. Parliament is currently debating on the report compiled by the COPE on the CB bond issue. Joining the debate, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said PM initiated investigations into the issue and stressed that the present administration will not hesitate to punish those found guilty. more..

China sees no harm from protests staged in Hambantota

Jan 24 (CG) China today said it saw no harm to the relationship with SL as a result of the protests staged in Hambantota recently. The opposition staged a protest in Hambantota recently against the proposed industrial zone which will give China a large amount of land. SL and China celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations this year and the Cultural Attaché to the Chinese Embassy Lui Dong said that no matter what happens the relationship between both countries will remain strong. more..

Nadarajah Raviraj case: Appellate court to consider appeal

Jan 24 (AD) Court of Appeal has decided to go ahead with the appeal filed by the wife of the assassinated TNA MP, Nadarajah Raviraj, against the ruling of Colombo High Court in the case. Appellant Sasikala Raviraj has sought an order to set aside the High Court’s acquittal of the accused. On Dec 24, 2016, Colombo HC acquitted 5 suspects, including 3 navy personnel, who were accused in the shooting death of Tamil lawmaker, on grounds of lack of sufficient evidence. more..

Perpetual group dumped stocks on the EPF; probe needed: Kabir

Jan 24 (EN) Perpetual investment group, whose primary dealer arm is under probe for frauds in bond markets, had dumped billions of rupees of pumped up stocks on the EPF during the ousted Rajapaksa regime, Minister Kabir Hashim said. He said during the Rajapaksa administration large scale pump and dump scams were practised on the EPF, a private sector workers' pension fund managed by the Central Bank. more..

Student who refused to play rugger beaten

Jan 24 (DM) A rugby coach and four students from a school in Dematagoda were arrested for beating a 14-year-old student of the same school when he refused to play the game.  A complaint had been lodged at the Dematagoda police stating that a grade 10 student was assaulted by four other students and the rugby coach in the schools’ rugby room.  Victim was practicing badminton in the school premises last Friday when Coach had approached him with the request to play rugby. more..

State institutions to be inspected for dengue

Jan 24 (NR) The Ministry of Health has taken steps to conduct a special inspection of state institutions with the intent of preventing the spread of dengue. The National Dengue Prevention Unit said an island wide dengue prevention programme will be conducted today, while the public will be educated through social media. Under the dengue prevention programme, individual state institutions have initially been directed to conduct their own inspections of the premises. more..

University teachers calls authorities to fill vacancies in student admissions

Jan 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s university teachers say there is a large number of unfilled vacancies in certain faculties of state universities and called relevant authorities to address the issue. University Teachers for Social Equity (UTSE), emphasized there had been a large number of vacancies in the science and agriculture faculties of University Grants Commission (UGC) funded universities during the past years. more..

Ex-President asks CID to question him regarding Lasantha killing

Jan 24 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa said that the people of this country knew very well who was behind the killing of Lasantha Wickramatunge and if the CID questioned him about the killing he would reveal the identity of the killer. When The Island queried him regarding the statement made by Minister Sarath Fonseka on the killing of Sunday Leader editor, he said "Certain elements simply make comments without considering the consequences or its seriousness." more..

Sampanthan demands action against corruption

Jan 24 (NR) Parliament convened this morning for a special session to debate the report by the COPE on CB bond issue. Joining the debate Opposition Leader R Sampanthan highlighted that various govt’s come into power on the back of addressing corruption when coming into power. However he noted that the failure to address corruption and fraud could lead to the end of democracy in SL. He also questioned if legal action has been taken against any individual found guilty of corruption. more..

‘Retain majority stake in Colombo Port East Container Terminal’

Jan 24 (DN) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said in Parliament today that he was of the view that the govt should retain the majority stake of Colombo Port East Container Terminal. He was responding to a question raised by JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa. Minister said govt called for expressions of interests to invest in the East Terminal, but added the mechanism for that has not been decided yet. He said even though a Cabinet paper more..

'Large revenue contribution from migrants'

Jan 24 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says migrant employment has contributed immensely to the country’s revenue. Speaking at 4th ministerial consultation of Abu Dhabi Dialogue that commenced in Colombo, PM said the country is looking into all aspects when deploying Sri Lankans for employment overseas in order to make smooth transitions with the receiving countries. Speaking before the initiation of Ministerial Consultation PM highlighted role of Asia in migrant industry. more..

We are not key figures in govt: Harin

Jan 24 (DN) The key figures who brought victory in the last presidential election are not the leading figures who are running the Yahapalana govt, Minister Harin Fernando said. He said it is a group of outsiders who claim their dedication for the setting up of a unity govt. “We are not key figures in the govt. There is a new group at the front line. They are the ones who go around announcing their work and take advantage from the govt,” he said. The ones who walked into the govt on charity do not more..

Arjuna Mahendran not employed by Finance Ministry

Jan 24 (DN) Finance Ministry, in a statement released today, denied reports that former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran was working with the Finance Ministry. ‘The Ministry of Finance wishes to inform that Arjuna Mahendran, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, is not working in any capacity at the Ministry of Finance. ‘The Finance Ministry denies media reports that Mahendran currently acts as an advisor to more..

UFO spotted, possible drone activity: Dr. Chandana Jayaratne

Jan 24 (DM) The Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) that hovered in the skies and spotted in several areas of the country on Saturday night could be a drone activity, Professor Chandana Jayaratne said. He said that he could not say it was an alien activity depending on the video footages and the pictures which captured the object, as they were not clear enough or possible man made. However, he said an investigation regarding this has been launched as the incident was reported in many parts more..

Captain forces flight stewardesses to penetrate Madurai airport security defenses

Jan 24 (CT) The operating crew of a SriLankan Airlines flight from Madurai to Colombo including its Pilots and Cabin Crew were filmed creeping through a barbed wire fence and penetrating the Madurai Airport Security Defenses to gain access to their aircraft to operate their flight back to Colombo. Capt.R. De Alwis and his crew of the national carrier were facing difficulties in gaining access to the main airport entrance in Madurai after their crew stop over. This was due to a protest being held by more..

Technology and know-how essential for development: Hausmann

Jan 24 (LBO) The guest lecture in Colombo recently by Prof. Ricardo Hausmann highlighted the importance of technology and know-how in fostering economic development. Hausmann of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Govt visited Sri Lanka to follow-up on a programme to build capacity among senior officials at the Board of Investment, Export Development Board and the Tourism Authority. more..

Will the public put the RTI Act to good use?

Jan 24 (CT) After what seems like ages, Sri Lanka is finally witnessing the arrival of the Right to Information (RTI) Act into action. Earlier this week, govt issued a Gazette Notification announcing that the RTI Act will be enacted from 3 Feb. According to Gazette issued by Minister Gayantha Karunathileka, information officers are currently being trained and after they are stationed in govt institutions, general public will be able to access important information that affects their daily lives. more..

Secularism in politics

Jan 24 (CT) We are now in the process of making a new constitution and the claims that the special fore-place, the foremost place, given to Buddhism should continue are very widely heard. I do not know what the new constitution is going to state. But I do think that if a religion is given the foremost place under a constitutional provision stating that all religions are equal and that there shall be no discrimination, it does not seem too meaningful. Remarks by Leader of the Opposition R. Samapanthan at more..

What's trending on CBSL and the Bond Scam

Video: Gnanasara charged for obstructing Police and damaging state properties

Jan 24 (CT) Buddhist monk Galagoda Atte Gnanasara who thretened police officers and used Sudda Sinhala filth in June 2012 at Pinnaduwa was charged for forcible entry to the Southern Expressway, obstructing police duties and damaging State properties. The Homagama Police on Monday has filed a charge sheet against Ganasara and two other monks namely Witharandeniye Nanda and Ambilipitiye Vijitha at the Homagama Magistrate’s courts. more..

Lankans among highest number seeking Swiss asylum

Jan 24 (Reuters) Requests for asylum in Switzerland plunged by nearly a third to around 27,200 last year after authorities closed the Balkan land route used by thousands to flee hot spots in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, SEM migration agency said. It forecast around 24,500 people would seek asylum this year but cautioned this could rise to 32,000 depending on the flow of refugees via the Mediterranean and whether a deal Europe struck with Turkey to hold back migrants held up. more..

Horana Tyre BOI project rolls on despite concerns raised by President

Jan 24 (ST) Controversial businessman Nandana Lokuwithana has begun clearing the land in Horana where he proposes to set up a tyre factory, even before the lease agreement with the BOI is signed. Meanwhile, President has sent a note via the PM’s office to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) flagging some concerns regarding the project. It points to the losses BOI will incur in leasing out 100 acres more..

Traditional left warns of a rising dictator

Jan 24 (Island) SL Communist Party Chairman Raja Collure said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was making a valiant bid to pull the rug under the feet of President Maithripala Sirisena. Collure said Wickremesinghe had taken control of some of the ministries coming under the purview of President Sirisena which was unparliamentary and undemocratic. "PM cannot behave in this manner which is arbitrary & his undemocratic actions more..

'Perpetual dumped 95% of bonds on EPF'

Jan 24 (EN) Perpetual Treasuries, a gilt dealer linked to ex-CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran, acquired tens of billions of rupees of bonds from auctions and unloaded 95% on the EPF, causing a loss of 14.9 billion rupees, a MP said. Anura Dissanayake, leader of JVP, told parliament that a report presented to governing Monetary Board of CB showed that Perpetual Treasuries had bought 227 billion rupees of bonds directly and indirectly. more..

Coal Tenders: Blackening everything it touches

Jan 24 (DM) “One million tonnes into 10 USD into 150 rupees, is the loss we, as taxpayers have to bear” said Maithri Gunaratne, the Past Chairman of Lanka Coal Company (LCC). This is the gist of the coal tender scandal that has rocked Sri Lanka since 2015, which was brought to the forefront again after an Auditor General’s report revealed that the country had suffered a loss of Rs.4145.43 million in 2016 due to it. more..

Govt to rush through amended legislation to tackle mosquito breeding

Jan 24 (Island) Deputy Director General Public Health Services (DDG PHS) Dr Sarath Amunugama yesterday said the amended draft copy of the Prevention of mosquito breeding Act No. 11 of 2007 had been sent to the legal draftsman for whetting and would be submitted for cabinet approval within the next few weeks. Dr Amunugama said the Health Ministry hoped to implement the amended act within three months. more..

Video: Wimal Weerawansa further remanded

Jan 24 (AD) Former minister Wimal Weerawansa, who was arrested on charges of misusing state vehicles, has been further remanded until Feb 7 after being produced before the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.  NFF leader was arrested by the FCID on Jan 10 after he arrived to give a statement pertaining to allegations of misusing state vehicles. He has been accused of misusing several vehicles belonging to more..

SLFEB funds swindled by ex-Minister

Jan 24 (SL) The credibility of the FCID is fast diminishing due to their alleged failure to conduct investigations against those who are aligned with the govt. The police division, which was established to investigate those who are involved in financial crimes, have allowed those who have extended support to the govt to roam free whilst offenders who are against the govt are questioned. Failure to question former Minister more..

Handunnetti urges for voting rights for Sri Lankans abroad

Jan 24 (AN) Visiting Sri Lankan legislator Sunil Handunnetti said that the country’s expatriates should be given voting rights, and that their community schools should be affiliated to the Education Ministry in Colombo. Handunnetti, chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in Parliament, was on a brief visit to Riyadh to tell his countrymen about his brainchild, the Organization for Overseas Sri Lankans (OOSL). more..

Free education system will be strengthened to benefit all children in country: President

Jan 24 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says he will take steps to create a society of intellectuals by strengthening the free education system of the country and providing equal benefits to all the children in the country. He made these remarks participating at the centenary celebrations of the Visakha Vidyalaya, at the school premises, today (23). President was warmly received by the school children when he arrived at the venue. more..

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