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More Sri Lankan refugees arrive from India

May 17 (DN) 31 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India will arrive in Sri Lanka on May 19 under an UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme. They are scheduled to arrive from Chennai in a Mihin Lanka flight at 11.45 a.m. Minister D.M. Swaminathan following a discussion with the UNHCR, facilitated the process and increased the baggage allowance per person with the assistance of officials of more..

I refereed according to rules: Rankothge

May 17 (CT) Senior Referee Aruna Rankothge who refereed the Second-Leg of the Bradby Shield rugby encounter between Royal College and Trinity College at Pallekelle Stadium on Saturday, said that he refereed the game in accordance with the rules governing the game and not to please anyone. "I refereed the game in accordance with the rule books and not to please either Royal who were the visiting team or Trinity, the hosts," Rankothge told Ceylon Today last night. more..

A house for every hill-country Tamil

May 17 (Hindu) A housing project for hill-country Tamils of Sri Lanka, launched recently, has come not a day too soon. Envisaging the construction of 4,000 houses, the project was cleared by the Indian govt over four years ago. It is a component of the larger housing programme funded by New Delhi in the Northern and Eastern provinces, hit hard by the civil war that went on for over 25 years. Of the planned 46,000 houses in the north and the east, 45,000 have come up. more..

Sri Lanka takes centre stage at G7 in Japan

May 17 (DN) The invitation to attend the G7 summit in Japan being a first in Sri Lanka history, will be an ideal opportunity for President, Maithripala Sirisena to present Sri Lanka’s development plans to the most powerful countries in the world. Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Asia and Pacific, Director General Ameer Ajwad said a delegation from Sri Lanka will be accompanying the President to Japan where he is to be the chief guest of the G7 summit more..

Asian Bodybuilding Championships: Bodybuilders stranded

May 17 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has refused to sanction the participation of the bodybuilders for the forthcoming 50th Asian Bodybuilding Championships to be held from 18 to 21 May in Beijing China. "The selection for the Asian Championship was not conducted according to the proper selection process" he said. He further said: "Ministry had received complaints regarding the selection issue and I heard only six builders participated at the trials for selection. more..

Govt planning economic reforms to enable SMEs to enter global value chain

May 17 (Island) Sri Lanka is in the process of reversing the legacy of policy framework which disproportionately favoured producing for our small domestic market as against selling to regional and global markets, Minister Malik Samarawickrama, said. "The govt has clearly had a deeply misguided set of policies when one consider that Sri Lanka’s domestic market amounts to only about 20 million people," he said at the 16th edition of the World Export Development Forum 2016 (WEDF) more..

Beyonce brand Ivy Park denies slavery in Sri Lanka factory

May 17 (IE) It has been alleged that Beyonce’s sportswear brand is made by workers who earn 44p an hour in squalid conditions. The range was created to support and inspire women, but its Sri Lankan workers earn just £4.30 a day, the tabloid claimed. Sun reported that Anti-Slavery campaigner Jakub Sobik has attacked Beyonce’s brand, saying: “With what is being described here, this is a form of sweat-shop slavery… more..

Yahapalanaya: One single tenderer wins all contracts

May 17 (DM) The authorities wanted to procure an assortment of goods for a state-run institution concerned with vocational training and invited separate competitive bids for four categories of items from prospective suppliers. Tenders from a number of suppliers were received, duly processed and finally – believe it or not - the contracts worth a total of Rs.386 million awarded to one and the same tenderer - a certain firm. An individual who functioned as head of a state-owned bank more..

NSB’s 1Q PAT up 28% to Rs. 2.35 billion

May 17 (DN) The National Savings Bank has posted a profit after tax of Rs 2.35 billion for the first quarter of 2016. Profit Before Tax is Rs.3.1 billion. The deposit base of the Bank has surpassed Rs.600 billion by end of March 2016 supported by the growth of both savings and fixed deposits. The Bank also witnessed a positive change in deposit mobilization mix during the first three months of the year. The total mobilization for the period was Rs. 20,265 million which consisted of more..

Sri Lanka, Germany ties get significant boost

May 17 (FT) Sri Lanka’s efforts to liberalise its economy and encouraging of a solid basis to establish close business to business (B2B) contacts are crucial to countries looking to expand investment opportunities, believes Uwe Beckmayer, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Germany. “Sri Lanka now has a very stable Govt which envisages on new economic base of good governance more..

Silenced Shadows

May 17 (GV) When I first travelled to Sri Lanka in the nineties, the country was still recovering from the shocking violence of mass disappearances in the late eighties. It was difficult for people to talk about this period and sometimes friends would close down, the memories were simply too raw. It was only years later that I learnt a close friend had lost half his school friends in 1989 – an event so shocking and so far from my own teenage experiences. more..

The economy and corruption– the nexus

May 17 (Island) According to Corruption Perceptions Index prepared by Transparency International in 2015, Sri Lanka is the 83rd least corrupt nation out of 175 countries in the world, meaning Sri Lanka is about half way in the list. While most European countries top the list as non-corrupt nations, African and Asian countries like Angola, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom as highly corrupt nations. Director of Economic Research of the Central Bank more..

War, peace and victory celebrations

May 17 (SL) Seven years have passed since the guns were finally silenced marking the end of Sri Lanka’s 30 year war. Accordingly, for the seventh consecutive time, we Sri Lankans are preparing to celebrate the war victory. However, behind the colourful banners, the pomp and pageantry of victory celebrations, there are some issues that still remain unaddressed. Are we really enjoying the fruits of peace? more..

Eradicating Univ ragging: Are we serious?

May 17 (Island) The high level consultative dialogue on preventing ragging organised by the UGC last month was a step in the right direction and it was encouraging to note the commitment of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to eliminating ragging as reflected in his remarks at that meeting. However, as someone who has seen it all before and can look back on a lifetime of frustrating endeavor against ragging (an unfortunate euphemism for human torture at universities), more..

Mega push to lure French tourists despite imminent UL pullout from Paris

May 17 (FT) Sri Lanka is bracing for a major push to woo French tourists investing Rs. 90 million to host a mega travel agents congress in October despite an imminent pullout from Paris by SriLankan Airlines later this year. Sri Lanka will be infusing Rs. 90 million to host 450 French travel agents at the Les Journées des Entrepreneurs du Voyages (JEV) congress formally known as Syndicate National Des Agents de Voyages (SNAV). 5-day congress will be held from 31 Oct to 4 Nov. more..


A plague on both your houses

May 17 (ST) At a time when England is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare it would not be inappropriate to quote a line from a play that somehow seems to capture the political madness here and the country of my birth. A plague o’ both your houses cried Mercutio in his dying moments in Romeo and Juliet as he cursed the houses of the Capulets and the Montagues, two warring families. Mercutio’s curse obviously worked for the lives of the lovers Romeo and Juliet ended more..

Mahinda-Museveni Dialogue

May 17 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa, with a grant from the yahapalanaya govt took flight to Uganda a few days ago for its President Museveni’s fifth installation as President. While Mahinda was hanging around the palace waiting for the Palace guard to escort him, he confronted a young man named Boko- servant of the palace. Boko: Are you are the President of Sri Lanka, Sir. I recognised you with that red thing round the neck. We are most honoured to see you, your Excellency more..

'All out probe into Panama Papers'

May 17 (CT) We have opened investigation into individuals listed in the Panama Papers and action will be taken without undue delay against anyone found guilty of any violations of the country's laws, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Q: The people had great expectations of relief measures when govt was about to present Budget 2016 proposals in Parliament last November, It was ultimately dubbed Saradiel Budget more..

Editorial: Of that fishy issue

May 17 (Island) No discussion between Sri Lankan and Indian leaders is complete without mention of the piscatorial issue, which has figured in recent talks between President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Narendra Modi, in India. It was thought that no contentious issues would be taken up when they met during a religious festival, but the Indian side had bigger fish to fry. PM Modi has stressed the need for evolving what he has termed a permanent solution to the problem of illegal fishing. more..

Reflections on paths not taken

May 17 (GV) Former President Rajapaksa is unlikely to know the poem or the poet, but the sentiments would have been his as he watched Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni swearing in as president for the seventh time. For all the sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ Mr. Museveni’s seventh consecutive investiture (he has been in power since 1986) was as controversial as the election he purported to win. A clamp down on dissent kept Uganda quiet and more..

Hooked on a high

May 17 (SO) Young people are on a roller coaster today. Peer pressure, impulsive behaviour and the desire to experiment with whatever new product surfaces on the current scene, have collectively propelled them to step out of the accepted norms of social behaviour at the risk of their own health and lives. This risky, devil- may care attitude to life in general, often lures them to anti social activities, the most dangerous of more..

Fighting corruption; govt resolve depends on public resolve !

May 17 (CT) It was in the news that President Sirisena attending the Anti-Corruption Summit in UK reiterated : ‘We were elected to office on the policy platform of democracy, good governance and rule of law. Therefore, we consider our prime duty to root out of corruption from the country. We have already taken significant measures for this purpose’. Quite a good assertion indeed! But have this lofty rhetoric transformed itself into actionable plans and walking the talk? Sadly not (fast enough), more..

The crippling burden of mounting foreign debt servicing costs

May 17 (ST) The massive increase in the country’s foreign debt and its huge debt servicing costs are a severe burden on the economy. They are a severe strain on the public finances and external reserves of the country. The current balance of payments crisis is very much due to this. Therefore bringing down the foreign debt is vital for reinforcing the external finances of the country and ensuring economic stability. The nation’s foreign debt increased sharply since 2000. more..

Military to commemorate end of war by focusing on reconciliation

May 16 (CG) The military will on Wednesday commemorate the end of the war by focusing on peace and reconciliation. A Reminiscence of Reconciliation, a cultural presentation of victory by the tri-forces, police and civil security department will be held on Wednesday evening at the Independence Square premises in Colombo. The cultural event will be held as part of the War Heroes commemoration programme. more..

Video: At least three missing in flash floods; alert issued

May 16 (AD) Floods and landslides in Sri Lanka have killed at least eight people, including a 10-month-old baby, and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, officials said today. “Three people are reported missing in Dehiowita area,” DMC spokesman Pradeep Kodippily said. Relief operations are well underway even the military had been deployed in the hill country areas to provide relief, he said, adding that the men went missing from district of Kegalle. more..

Sri Lanka decides to free all TN fishermen

May 16 (CG) Sri Lanka has decided to free Indian fishermen who are now in custody for violating maritime boundary laws. Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that the Govt has decided to release 34 Indian fishermen today. The move follows talks held between President Maithripala Sirisena and Indian PM Narendra Modi last week. Following the talks it was reported that both sides sought a permanent solution to the issue of frequent arrests of Indian fishermen by the SL Navy more..

Video: Mahinda was officially invited: Udaya

May 16 (AD) Former President Rajapaksa visited Uganda only after receiving an official invitation for the tour, MP Udaya Gammanpila says. He admitted that Foreign Affairs Ministry had paid for the travel expenses of former President’s visit. However, while responding to media personnel he refused allegations the former President of meeting former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga during the visit. more..

Three killed, 11,667 displaced by heavy rains

May 16 (DM) Three people were killed and 11,667 people were displaced due to the adverse weather conditions prevailing in the country, DMC said today. Among the dead was a victim struck by lightning at Anuradhapura while the other two were killed by landslides at Dehiowita. The rains which wreaked havoc during the past few days had displaced 11,667 people from 7,880 families. Residents of Kalutara, Colombo, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Galle, Matara and Chilaw more..

MR not invited for Victory Day ceremonies

May 16 (DM) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa has not been invited to participate in the Victory Day ceremonies being held on May 18, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said today. The seventh war victory celebration, Sanhindiyawe Piya Satahan is scheduled to be held at the War Memorial in Battaramulla under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. The event is to be followed by a cultural show at the Independence Square in Colombo. more..

Video: Mervyn forms his own Joint Opposition

May 16 (DM) The sacred term, joint opposition must not be used to identify a gang of rogues, I will form a joint opposition so as to perform the duties of an actual opposition, former minister Mervyn Silva said. He said in the past everything took place according to the whims and fancies of the Rajapaksas and he had to act on their behalf on several occasions. Mr. Silva said that from today he would act as convener more..

Yoshitha's grand aunt denies any transaction Land sale worth Rs 51.2M

May 16 (CT) The grand aunt of former President Rajapaksa's son Yoshitha Rajapaksa has been ordered to appear before the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate's Court on 20 May with regard to a land sale worth Rs 51.2Mn. Magistrate Mohamed Sahabdeen had made this directive. Attorney- at- Law Premanath Dolawatte who appears on behalf of Yoshitha Rajapaksa added that the female relative, Daisy Forest, aged 80, was ordered to appear before the magistrate on 20 May. more..

FCID awaits AG’s advice on 36 cases of mega frauds

May 16 (DM) The FCID, investigating allegations of mega scale fraud and corruption involving top politicians of the previous regime said only five cases had been taken up in Courts out of 41 completed files. A Senior FCID Officer said 36 files had been referred to the Attorney General’s Department for his opinion prior to taking legal action and was awaiting a response from the AG even though it’s a year since the files were referred to the Department. more..

US notes importance of Right to Information in Sri Lanka

May 16 (CG) The US today noted the importance of Right to Information in Sri Lanka saying it will give Sri Lankans the tools to make their country a better place, and prevent any return to an era of secrecy and a lack of accountability. US Ambassador Atul Keshap, speaking at a Right to Information (RTI) interactive dialogue launch at the Water’s Edge Hotel said that any democracy requires that Govt officials be accountable to more..

PRECIFAC quizzes Abeygunawardane

May 16 (DM) PRECIFAC recorded a statement from former Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardane over an allegation of misappropriating over Rs. 300 million when organizing the opening and water-filling ceremony of Hambantota Port in 2010. A spokesman said they have received a complaint alleging that over Rs. 300 million had been misused when organizing ceremony. Mr. Abeygunawardane was questioned by Commission over the matter as he was the subject minister during that time. more..

Nine Laggala Police officers transferred

May 16 (DN) Nine officers attached to the Laggala Police Station have been transferred with immediate effect due to service requirements. Among those transferred were a Sub Inspector, four Sergeants and four Constables. The CID earlier recorded statements from the staff of Laggala Police Station in connection with the fire arm theft at the Laggala Police Station. Following a search carried out based on information received, police found the firearms near a washroom in the premises of more..