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Power crisis: No tax cuts for fuel, but emergency measures

Feb 26 (ST) The use of furnace oil and diesel for power generation due to the prevailing drought will cause the CEB a loss of Rs. 51 billion over the next six months, a senior official said yesterday. Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda told the Sunday Times this projection had prompted the CEB to request the Finance Ministry to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Customs duty on fuel. more..

Central Bank violated law on past issuances of Treasury bonds

Feb 26 (SO) Ministry of Finance yesterday issued a clarification on the controversial gazette notification issued on the 1st of January 2015 on the issuance of Treasury bonds. The contents of this gazette also figured during the inquiry conducted by the Special Presidential Commission on Friday. Ministry statement: This gazette contains authorization given under section 4 of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance to more..

Startling details emerge in Keith Noyahr abduction probe

Feb 26 (SL) The much awaited details into the abduction and brutal assault on senior journalist Keith Noyahr is now unfolding and in a dramatic turn of events, it had now come to the limelight how the abductors had telephone conversations with then Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa whilst Noyahr was in captivity. Meanwhile a U.S. State Department document made public via Wikileaks reveals more..

No amnesty but provision to bring back legitimate foreign money

Feb 26 (ST) Govt will allow Sri Lankans holding undeclared funds in foreign banks to repatriate them to Sri Lanka if they have earned them through legitimate channels. The decision to attract such funds was made by the apex body headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. This body now monitors the workings of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM). President reviews the CCEM’s discussions and decisions. more..

Sri Lanka short of cowboys

Feb 26 (EN) State-run National Livestock Development Board (NLDB), is facing a severe shortage of farmworkers, Chairman H W Cyril said amid broader labour shortfalls in other sectors of the economy. "We have 500 vacancies for farm workers in our farms," Cyril told a forum in Colombo, organized by Fonterra, a New Zealand based dairy firm. "It is very difficult to find a person to work in farms. One thing is the salary is low." more..

Protests mount over protestful city

Feb 26 (ST) Authorities are overwhelmed by a barrage of street protests, which in turn is causing severe hardship to the public and negatively impacting on the country’s already fragile economy. Law enforcement agencies, particularly the Traffic Police, are finding themselves hard pressed to handle the sheer number of almost daily protests. According to police, there are on average, 2 protests in Colombo City on any given working day. more..

Ragging: The ugly truth

Feb 26 (CT) Ragging is a form of verbal, physical or psychological abuse of newcomers, widely experienced in educational institutions, especially local universities. Despite the fact that this act – otherwise known as hazing or bullying – is illegal in the country, we are said to be the worst affected. For instance, take the most recent incident into consideration. 15 second year students from the Agriculture Faculty of more..

Justice for North and East

Feb 26 (NS) There is at present an acute shortage of Tamil-speaking High Court Judges in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In a statement issued by the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam in relation to the recent appointment of High Court Judge, R. Kannan and the private bar’s role in it, Alagaratnam said that the representations made especially by more..

'Personal security not needed for Rajapaksa'

Feb 26 (ST) The telephone calls from Singapore appeared urgent. Unable to reach Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, this was why Udith Lokubandara MP, who serves as Personal Assistant to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left hurried messages at his office to call back. Not sure what the issue was, Minister Samaraweera telephoned. Mr. Lokubandara, a UPFA (Mahinda faction) MP for Badulla more..

Japan keen to increase investments in SL

Feb 26 (SO) Japan is keen to increase its trade and investments with Sri Lanka and strengthen the good relations that was built several decades ago, Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Kenichi Suganuma said. He said there are many Japanese companies that are interested in setting up operations and forming joint ventures with Sri Lankan companies. “Many Japanese companies have shown interest in coming to Sri Lanka. more..

Making of a new constitution for Sri Lanka: Let wiser counsel prevail

Feb 26 (Island) The talking point throughout the country these days is about the making of a new constitution for SL. Principles of democracy as enunciated by USA & accepted in most democracies and relevant to constitution making, are as follows: On the surface, principles of majority rule and the protection of individual and minority rights would seem contradictory. In fact, however, these principles are twin pillars holding up very foundation of what is meant by democratic govt. more..

Inept govt stuck between the legacies of 1956 and 1977

Feb 26 (Island) There is no good governance in Sri Lanka, only inept governance. But the alternative, i.e. bad governance, could be worse, as it has been. Last week, like every week for that matter, saw consequences of earlier bad governance getting worse under current govt incompetence. The one positive news in a long time was the arrests of the alleged kidnappers of journalist Keith Noyahr. His kidnapping was the result of bad govt gone arrogant. What will the current inept govt do more..

Yahapalana Corruption: Cabinet shocked over cockpit deals by bankrupt SriLankan

Feb 26 (ST) In Dec 2013, when former President Rajapaksa chaired a weekly Cabinet meeting, his Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne sought approval for a Treasury guarantee for Srilankan Airlines. It was to obtain a loan of US$ 175 million from the Dubai-based Mashreq Bank for additional financing to fund the fleet replacement programme. He said that 13 aging wide bodied aircraft were being replaced with more..

Perpetual increases NDB stake during 4Q2016

Feb 26 (ST) Primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries has increased its stake in NDB during 4Q 2016 to 7,352,180 shares and now has 4.45% of bank – from 6,153,686 shares as at 30 Sept 2016. The company is owned by the family of Arjun Aloysius, son-in-law of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. According to published data, the other key shareholders at NDB include BoC, EPF, SLIC, Rusi Captain and related parties, Softlogic Holdings related parties, Dr Sena Yaddehige, etc. more..

President vests new swimming pool of Polonnaruwa Royal College with students

Feb 26 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena vested the newly built swimming pool of Royal College in Polonnaruwa with students today (25). President who participated in this opening ceremony as a past pupil of the college was warmly welcomed by the students. A guard of honor by the cadet corps of the schools was held for the President. President pinned the scout medals on eight boy scouts of the school at this occasion. He also presented gifts to the winners of inter-house athletic games. more..

Top CB official, Govt Printer to testify; vital details emerge

Feb 26 (ST) Govt Printer (GP) Gangani Liyanage and Central Bank (CB) Statistics Dept’s Additional Director Dr M.Z.M. Azim, who was its Debt Dept’s former Additional Superintendent, will appear before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) appointed by President Sirisena to probe irregularities in the issuance of Treasury Bonds (TB). Ms Liyanage will appear tomorrow while Dr Azim will appear on Tuesday. more..

IMF demands sale of assets

Feb 26 (ST) Crucial discussions are under way with the IMF on measures needed to stave off an economic crisis — the result of issues arising from servicing foreign and local debts. The move comes ahead of an impending visit to SL by Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF. French lawyer and one-time politician is due to arrive in Colombo next Sunday. One of the contentious areas where the discussions have centred around is the sale of what the IMF describes as non-strategic assets. more..

Chief Justice K. Sripavan to retire on Feb 28

Feb 26 (DN) Chief Justice K.Sripavan will retire from service on Feb 28. The Supreme Court will have a ceremonial farewell on the same day. Justice Kanagasabapathy J. Sripavan was Deputy Solicitor General, a judge, President of Court of Appeal and puisne Justice of the Supreme Court before being appointed Chief Justice on Jan 30, 2015. He was educated at Hindu College, Jaffna between 1962 and 1972. He joined SL Law College in 1974 and passed out as an Attorney At law in 1976. more..

Exposing Corruption: Unceremonious exit for Lanka Sathosa Chairman

Feb 26 (Island) In a bolt from the blue, the head of Lanka Sathosa, was sent packing last week over what was widely perceived as his firm stand against alleged irregularities in govt-owned consumer retail giant. It was an unceremonious exit for Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, respected professional, when he was told that his services were no longer required at the state-run institution, now at cross roads over a critical cash crunch. more..

President lays foundation stone for new court complex in Polonnaruwa

Feb 26 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena today (25) laid the foundation stone for a new court complex to be built in Polonnaruwa at a cost of Rs. 382 millions. This new court complex will consist Magistrate Courts, District Courts, High Courts, official residencies of the Judges, archives, labour tribunals and the offices for the lawyers. Minister Vijayadasa Rajapaksha, Deputy Minister Dushmantha Mithrapala, Chief Minister of NCP Peshala Jayarathne CJ K. Sripavan, more..

SLFP invites rebels for key meeting

Feb 26 (SL) SLFP has invited SLFP rebels for a key meeting on March 2 but the rebels are to issue an ultimatum to attend the meeting. SLFP will look to unite the party ahead of the next election and prevent the party from a wider split. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that all SLFP members have been invited for the meeting. Several SLFP members in the joint opposition said that they had received invitations for the meeting and would decide on the attendance after discussing more..

Mangala to urge 24-month extension

Feb 26 (CT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera and National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne will leave for Geneva today, to urge the UNHRC to give Sri Lanka an extension of a further 18 to 24 months to implement the co-sponsored resolution. They will also call for financial support for the processes of this implementation. The govt which is alleged to have not drafted an action plan for US co-sponsored resolution, would face a more..

Lions made to toil by triple-century stand

Feb 26 (CI) England Lions were put to the sword by an unbroken stand of 303 on the second day in Dambulla. Test opener Dimuth Karunaratne and 21-year-old Sadeera Samarawickrama gorged themselves during the latter two sessions to put SL A in control. Lions had extended their total to 353 and when SL A stumbled to 30 for 3 it looked a formidable score. But that changed dramatically as the day wore on, it was Samarawickrama who led the way to finish unbeaten on a career-best more..

Bad light saves day for Isipathana

Feb 26 (ST) Thurstan’s pair left arm spinner Naveen Gunawardena and Charana Nanayakkara shone in the drawn 54th Battle of the Brothers annual big match against traditional rivals Isipathana which concluded at the SSC ground yesterday. Naveen who ended with a five wicket haul in Isipathana’s first inning grabbed three more wickets to end with a match bag of eight wickets while Charana made twin half tons having rescued Thurstan with a 58 in the first inning and then followed it up with a 55 more..

A tragedy that could have been averted

Feb 26 (CT) He was staring somewhere far, far away. It reminded us a person who is staring at the horizon when the sun is sinking into deep blue water. His gaze was empty and his face was blank. From time to time it wrenched with agony, which could not be explained with words. "God blessed me with everything, I asked. After my marriage I asked him for a son & a daughter. I did everything to make my family more..

Are foreign coaches earning their keep?

Feb 26 (Island) After the debacle in South Africa, winning the T20 series against the virtual second string of Australia appears to be a ray of sunshine to SL cricket fans. However first 2 games were won in the last balls of each game proving the games went to the wire. Entertaining no doubt and refreshing watching SL winning games irrespective at whatever level the games are being played, especially after a long and a grueling tour. Do these wins portend whether SL cricket is now progressing more..

Media sees the blues: Not a good big match build-up

Feb 26 (NS) Annual Battle of the Blues cricket match produces enough excitement on the field during the three days of cricket, but the press conference held in connection with this year’s event turned out to be a big bore. Media representatives assigned to cover the briefing on Feb 22 were kept waiting for over an hour at the Sports Ministry Auditorium with the organizer of the event caring little or nothing about the precious time invitees were wasting, being in their seats. more..

Corrupt politicians bankrupting SL: Lanka needs to exceed foreign borrowing limit

Feb 26 (ST) Sri Lanka is seeking US$3.9 billion from foreign borrowings for debt servicing (loan installments and interest) this year, more than double that of $1.82 billion in 2016. The country has no option other than to borrow externally for Balance of Payment (BoP) and fiscal support as it had been doing in the recent past,top Finance ministry official said. Cabinet has already given approval to limit the foreign borrowings to $3 billion for 2017. more..

New circular issued to allow player poaching

Feb 26 (CT) This is a million dollar question to sports loving public of Sri Lanka. To curb the school player poaching issue in Sri Lanka, Circular No. 34/ 2016 dated 9th Dec., 2016 was introduced by the Secretary of the Ministry of Education (MoE). This circular pertaining to School Sports will make all other circulars (like Circular No. 94/01 of 3/01/1994) issued by MoE Null and Void. The special feature of this latest circular is (Under Section 1.3.2) if any student joins a new School and more..

A much needed series win

Feb 26 (Island) There was much relief among cricket enthusiasts after Sri Lanka secured a thrilling series win over Australia earlier this week. Sri Lankan cricket hit new lows during the tour of South Africa where they were whitewashed in both Test and ODI cricket. The success in Australia was a godsend and it helped to win back supporters who were turning away from the sport after some shocking performances in South Africa. Some observers have attempted to downgrade SL’s performance more..

Ford wants Malinga to return to Tests

Feb 26 (CT) Sri Lanka cricket coach Graham Ford is hopeful that the island's spearhead bowler Lasith Malinga will now return to Test matches too after his successful come back in the three match T20 series against Australia. Malinga who last played for Sri Lanka in the shortest format of the game in 2016 February in the Asia Cup, returned to the Sri Lanka team in the three match T20 series in Australia where SL emerged victorious. more..

A formidable Test Team in the offing

Feb 26 (SLC) The National Selections Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket is set to meet on Tuesday (28) to decide on a formidable team that would play the first two test matches against the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka 2017 which begins on March 7th. Accordingly it has been announced that Angleo Mathews will not be able to play the first two test matches. The first test match is scheduled to be held in Galle while the second is to be held at the P.Saravanamuttu Stadium. more..

Of meet-ups, start-ups and bootstraps

Feb 26 (ST) Confused by the heading? Well, this is the golden age of the millennials. Many moons ago while discussing small and medium scale businesses with a young entrepreneur, he referred to start-ups and a new ecosystem. Intrigued and pursuing further led me to one of the meet-ups (a regular meeting of people having the same interests) of the start-up community at a Colombo café, resulting in an energetic conversation on a new generation of entrepreneurs who are more..

Angelo says his tendon is still sore

Feb 26 (ST) SL Test and ODI skipper Angelo Mathews will miss the forthcoming Test series against Bangladesh due to his hamstring injury. Two test matches will be played in Galle and Colombo but the national skipper will not be able to gain his full fitness before the start of the series, due to begin on March 15. In a vague media released SLC says “Accordingly it has been announced that Angleo will not be able to more..

Controversy over appointment of HC Judge: BASL President ties himself up in knots

Feb 26 (Island) Controversy over the appointment of Ramanathan Kannan a lawyer practicing in the private bar as a High Court judge continued to rage last week. Members of Judicial Services Association (JSA) carried out their threat to boycott BASL election that was to be held on Tuesday last week. Members of the lower judiciary were to act as presiding officers at the elections of the BASL and election could not be held without their participation and had to be postponed. more..

Jaishankar’s visit centers around Indian concerns

Feb 26 (SO) Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is no stranger to India’s strategic interests involving Sri Lanka and China. He served as the First Secretary and the political adviser to the Indian mission in Colombo between 1988 and 1990 – one of the most tumultuous times when it comes to Indo-Sri Lanka relations. When Jaishankar served in Colombo, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was in Colombo and they were facing resistance not only in the North, but also in the South. more..

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