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Moody's affirms Sri Lanka's credit rating at B1 but warns of weak govt finances

July 24 (IBT) Moody's affirmed Sri Lanka's 'B1' sovereign bond rating with the stable outlook on 23 July, citing strong growth potential, but said the weakness of govt finances overshadows the rating. A sustained decline in its deficit, debt and borrowing costs would be seen as credit positive, Moody's said. Sri Lanka's real GDP growth is likely to remain in the 6.5-7.0% range over the medium term, supported by infrastructure investment, more..

Mighty hullabaloo over Minister Jayaratne’s contradictory reply

July 24 (Island) A mighty hullabaloo was witnessed in Parliament yesterday as Civil Aviation Minister Piyankara Jayaratne presented contradictory figures on visits of aircraft to the Mattala International Airport. Responding to a question raised by UNP National List MP Dr. Harsha de Silva, the Minister said that no flights of Mihin Lanka or Fly Dubai airlines had visited the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International airport during the month of May this year. more..

Court issues probate of Dr. Gamani Corea’s estate to Suganthie Kadirgamar

July 24 (FT) District Court of Colombo has recently issued probate to Suganthie Kadirgamar in respect of the estate of the late Dr. Gamani Corea, well- known economist, one time Secretary-General of the UNCTAD and Under-Secretary-General of the UN. Avindra Rodrigo appeared with Nimesha de Silva on the instructions of Ananda Tikiriratne, on behalf of Kadirgamar. The probate was issued on 7 July. Kadirgamar was previously issued Temporary Letters of Administration as more..

Ranil raps Govt. for misleading Parliament on NGOs

July 24 (FT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe rapped the Govt for misleading the House by providing false information on NGOs in the absence of a legal framework for intelligence services role. Raising a series of issues under Section 23 (2) of the Standing Orders, Wickremesinghe wanted the Govt to identify the intelligence service which raised the alarm over alleged unfavourable NGO activities. more..

JVP raises plight of unpaid pensioners in parliament

July 24 (Island) A large number of pensioners including 15,000 former security force members were facing severe hardships as they had not been paid their pensions and pension gratuity payments for one and half years, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament. MP Dissanayake making a special statement said that the situation had taken a worse turn following the issuance of a circular No 06/2014 dated June 23, 2014 by the Director General of Pensions Department. more..

CWC asks for four slots to contest under UPFA

July 24 (Island) The Leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and Deputy Minister Mutthu Sivalingam claimed that his party had a large voter base in the Uva Province, especially amongst the plantation workers in the Badulla District. Therefore, the CWC had requested four slots from the govt, if it was contest the election on the UFPA ticket. He said that the CWC had commenced holding meetings at grassroots level presided over by party electoral organisers and more..

'Sri Lanka builds up forex reserves with stable currency'

July 24 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is building up its foreign exchange reserves while keeping its rupee currency stable as the island nation seeing more dollar inflows, Finance Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said. Central bank has absorbed more than $750 million so far this year due to a rise in inflows from exports, tourism and remittances and has said the local currency would have gained to 125 rupees against the U.S. currency had it not done so. more..

Govt’s program to uplift local industries will not be changed at any cost - President

July 24 (DN) President Rajapaksa says the country has achieved several economic victories due to the correct policies implemented by the government to uplift the local industries. He stresses that this program will not be changed at any cost. President pointed out how the local economy was destroyed by changing these policies in the past. He made these remarks at a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat with small and medium scale women entrepreneurs on more..

GMOA finds fault with Prof. Ranjini for comments made to press

July 24 (Island) Media Sub Committee of the GMOA warned they would take legal action against Prof. Ranjini Gamage for allegedly making derogatory comments against former GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya and the Executive Committee Members in the media. Media Sub Committee member, Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa said that Consultant Neurologist being in govt service had no right to issue comments to the media – even though she held several govt positions. more..

SL seek turnaround on sleepy SSC pitch

July 24 (CI) Things that have been more lively than the SSC Test pitches in recent years: the planet Mars, the SLPL's twitter account and the third floor of London's Langham Hotel in the dead of night. The last three Tests there have been draws. But with Sri Lanka requiring a win there to level the series, perhaps the ground-staff have produced a surface more akin to what first-class teams regularly encounter at SSC. more..

Sri Lanka A beats Ireland in the first ODI

July 24 (CI) Stuart Poynter scored a fighting century to rejuvenate a sinking Ireland chase but his innings couldn't quite take his team over the finish line, as Sri Lanka A wrapped up a 28-run win in the first unofficial ODI in Belfast. Chasing 284, Ireland were 107 for 7 when Eddie Richardson, who had taken a five-wicket haul in the visitors' innings, retired hurt. Craig Young then added 81 with Poynter before he became medium-pacer Dushmantha Chameera's fourth victim. more..

GSK – Novartis deal to benefit Sri Lanka

July 24 (CT) A major three-part global transaction between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Novartis AG will generate benefits for consumers in Sri Lanka, particularly in the sphere of vaccines, GSK Pharmaceuticals Sri Lanka said this week, GSK said in a statement. GSK's position as the leading provider of vaccines to the domestic private market, to which it supplies vaccines that prevent 14 infectious diseases, will be consolidated further with the strengthening of its vaccine portfolio more..

BOC pioneers Rupee Currency Option in SL

July 24 (FT) Bank of Ceylon (BOC) yesterday reinforced its leadership by introducing the country’s first structured product with the launch of Sri Lankan Rupee Currency Option. The custom-made, in-house developed, structured derivative solution was formulated for the bank’s long-standing client Sierra Cables. With Sierra Cables wanting to hedge its foreign exchange exposure against volatile market conditions, BOC constructed more..

Touchwood Chief summoned after Liquidator complaint

July 24 (FT) Upon an application made by the liquidator to Court, stating the difficulties faced in proceeding with the liquidation due to the uncooperative nature of the representatives of Touchwood Investments Plc, the Judge of the Commercial High Court has ordered to issue notice on CEO L.W. Kiwlegedara to be present in Court on 31 July when the case is called next. Soon after Sudath Kumar of Nanayakkara & Company was appointed by Court to proceed with the more..

House adjourned abruptly for want of quorum

July 24 (Island) Parliament sittings were suspended abruptly around 5.35 pm yesterday as there was no quorum in the House. A debate on an adjournment motion on 1980 July strikers moved by UPFA MP Shantha Bandara was in progress when Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena got up to participate in the debate. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake pointed out that there was no quorum in the House. Presiding member UPFA MP Mohan de Silva rang the quorum bell thrice but could summon only more..

Changing course!

July 24 (FT) The Presidential proclamation came like a bolt from the blue. For one endlessly-suspended moment, the world according to the Rajapaksa administration had turned topsy-turvy. After five years of stringent denials and rejections, zero casualty claims, military courts of inquiry and war censuses, President Rajapaksa issued a proclamation last Thursday announcing the launch of a domestic more..

Slow starters break worrying trend

July 24 (CI) Distance runners are taught to treat their bodies like car engines by going easy at first and demanding more later on. In the recent past that is also how South Africa have approached Test cricket. They started series slowly - the Oval in 2012, Abu Dhabi in 2013 - and played catch-up later on. The exact causes for their marathon-style approach were never quite pinned down but Graeme Smith mentioned the time they took to adapt to different conditions and the need to shake off more..

De Villiers likely to give up keeping

July 24 (CI) AB de Villiers has conceded long-term back issues could force him to give up wicketkeeping in Tests, as he has done in limited-overs cricket. De Villiers was unable to keep in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle because of a hamstring niggle and though he has recovered, he is unlikely to keep in the second Test as well. "In the last game I had that hammy issue. That's sort of recovered, but my back's always been an issue," de Villiers said. more..

'Conspirators are targeting Gotabhaya'

July 24 (Island) "A certain powerful force is using bhikkus to engage in acts of violence so that these very forces can then label the entire bhikku community as marauding thugs. The whole purpose of this exercise is to destroy the president. They are trying to destroy the national leader by destroying the bhikku first." Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka entered parliament in 2004 and less than two years into his tenure as a MP, more..

SEC Chief calls for independent directors to take up ‘true’ role on boards

July 24 (FT) In the backdrop of some independent directors diverting from their mandated responsibilities, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chief emphasised last week that those holding such positions should stay true to their roles. “Some of the independent directors seem to have been appointed only to accommodate regulatory requirements, but their contributions at board level seem to be influenced by their appointing authorities. more..

War crimes issue: 'India and Sri Lanka can find an amicable solution'

July 24 (ST) India will not see any need to take the issue of alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka to an international forum if Sri Lanka properly addresses the core issues relating to the North and East, according to BJP ideologue Seshadri Chari. Commenting on a range of issues relating to Indo-Lanka relations Dr. Chari in an email interview with the ‘Sunday Times’ said India and Sri Lanka could find a solution to the ‘vexed issue’ of war crimes allegations through bilateral efforts. more..

Amendments proposed to give more teeth to Human Rights Commission

July 24 (NS) Commissioner of Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC), Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa states that the commission has sent a proposal to amend the current Human Rights Act in a way that it could give more powers to the HRC. Dr. Mahanamahewa stated that currently the HRC could only provide recommendations. However, he said that HRC had submitted a proposal to Justice Ministry to amend the Act. more..

The renowned and experimental take the boards

July 24 (FT) The experimental and the tried-and-true are being presented on one stage in a four-day drama extravaganza next week. Stages Theatre Group, headed by well-known dramatist Ruwanthie de Chickera, will be presenting these two plays from talented directors at the Lionel Wendt. The run starts with Daasa Mallige Bangalawa on 23 and 24 July, followed by Walking Path on 26 and 27 July. Both plays start at 7 pm. ‘Daasa Mallige Bangalawa,’ co-directed by Ruwan Malith Peiris and more..

Editorial: Flogging a brain-dead cob

July 24 (Island) Govt and the UNP locked horns in Parliament on Tuesday over a Chinese aircraft maintenance base to be set up in Trincomalee. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe demanded that Minister G. L. Peiris explain the govt position. The UNP’s contention has been that Sri Lanka should not undertake anything that India may consider detrimental to its interests. Discounting the UNP’s claim, Prof. Peiris stressed that the project would in no way pose a threat to India. more..

Will too many cooks spoil the soup?

July 24 (NS) The appalling state of many school canteens in the country, which came to light last week has compelled health officials to urge for a mechanism to monitor food providers to schools islandwide. The plight of several school canteens was revealed following countrywide inspections carried out by officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). Deputy Municipal Commissioner for Health Services, more..

The need to remember

July 24 (CT) In July 2008, when I was head of the Peace Secretariat, I published a volume entitled ‘Lest We Forget’, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ethnic violence of July 1983. I had wanted the President to preside over a meeting to express regrets, but he did not think this appropriate at the time. However I had no doubt that, as a member in 1983 of the opposition that also suffered from the authoritarianism of the Jayewardene govt, he understood the enormity of what had more..

An open letter to YPLF on reconciliation

July 24 (CT) I write this letter to appreciate your statement on behalf of the Young Political Leaders Forum (YPLF) in remembrance of the dreadful events of July 1983 and to mark your determination not to allow or prevent another July 83 in the future. You are quite right in calling for ‘active social engagement of youth both in Sri Lanka and within the Diaspora in the reconciliation process.’ I also appreciate your bipartisan approach on this matter. However, the main task before more..

PMK flays 'denial' of visa to UN team

July 23 (PTI) NDA ally PMK today slammed the Centre for its reported refusal to grant visa to a UN team probing alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, saying if it was true, it will become "dark pages" in the history of human rights. Citing reports, party founder leader S Ramadoss said Prathiba Mahanamahewa, Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission had confirmed this besides saying that the refusal of visas was more..

Mahela to sign off at the SSC

July 23 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene's swan song will be at his home ground, after SLC's Executive Committee decided to move the second Test against Pakistan from the P Sara Oval to the SSC ground. Jayawardene has been prolific at the venue, piling up 2698 Test runs at an average 77.08. Jayawardene also hit the highest score for a Sri Lankan and the highest score by a right-hander, at SSC, when he made 374 against South Africa there in 2006. He has played for SSC since more..

The island platter

July 23 (Hindu) Chef Saiju Thomas is pleased as Punch at the response to the Sri Lankan Food festival, which he has curated, is drawing. Ergo he is planning to extend the festival that is to conclude on July 27. Till it is on it will serve diners with true-blue Lankan fare. Saiju worked in a Caribbean cruise liner with a Lankan cuisine speciality restaurant where he honed his skills at this cuisine. Sea food, he says forms the staple diet of the islanders. Coconut is most commonly used and more..

Atapattu to stay as interim coach

July 23 (CI) Marvan Atapattu's tenure as acting head coach has been extended until the end of the Pakistan tour in August, while SLC call for applications for the position in the interim. Atapattu is among the frontrunners to be appointed in the role, but although the tour of England and the present series against South Africa have served as a long audition, SLC's executive committee has decided to open the door to other candidates. more..

'An inquiry on the inquiry'

July 23 (DN) There should be an inquiry on the inquiry’ said Member European Parliament (MEP) Niranjan Deva Additiya when he was interviewed on the SLBC program People’s Power. MEP Deva Additiya said this when he was asked whether the UNHRC (UN Human Rights Commission) initiated investigation on alleged human rights violations in the last phase of the hostilities is tantamount to a witch hunt due to the way the probe Committee has been constituted. more..

Singer Vincent de Paul bids adieu

July 23 (DM) Senior-most vocalist Kalabushana Vincent de Paul Peiris of ‘Siri Pade Samanala Kanda Pene’ fame passed away late last night at the age of 92. The legendary singer went down history a couple of years ago when he held a significant musical event here featuring his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren on stage. Vincent who was born on Nov 3, 1922, is known for hits like Bicycale Bicycale, Dumriya Lankawe, Shobama Me Ude, Mihintale Poson Dine, more..

Sri Lankan cycling team stopped by police on motorway

July 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's cycling team took to the open road for training at the Commonwealth Games but prompted a police response as they rode along one of Scotland's busiest motorways on Wednesday. Four cyclists, wearing Sri Lankan team training jerseys, travelled along the M74, braving 70 mile per hour traffic and the wrath of Scottish police since bicycles are banned on motorways. more..

Robber guilty of murdering Sheffield pizza delivery man on his final shift

July 23 (YP) The family of murdered Sri Lankan university graduate Thavisha Pereis today said the conviction of his two killers had brought them “some form of solace” after his death. The 25-year-old, who on his last shift as a pizza delivery man before starting a dream job in IT, was stabbed repeatedly while in his car as he made the final delivery of his shift on October 27 last year in Sheffield. He was stabbed through the heart by two robbers trying to steal his mobile phone. more..

India to upgrade crèche facilities for Sri Lanka's estate Tamils

July 23 (Hindu) India has agreed to upgrade facilities at 70 child development centers in Sri Lanka’s estate regions, where a sizeable number of Tamils of Indian origin work. Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha signed an agreement with a private company on Tuesday, for the project that will be implemented at an estimated cost of LKR 58 million (approximately Rs. 27 million), and will cover seven estate regions - Hatton, Galle, Kandy, Ratnapura, Galle, Badulla and Kegalle. more..