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Minister waxing green, tea factory owners seeing red

Oct 21 (Island) At the Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners Association (SLTFOA) AGM recently Chief Guest, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said his interventions in the industry had brought unparalleled improvement. 2013 had recorded the highest crop on record. He further said comparative crop returns from Sept 2013 to Sept 2014 had already indicated an increase of 19%. ‘Currently, all pointers were that 2014 would more..

Govt settles banks, but edges out private sector

Oct 21 (CT) Credit issued to the govt by domestic banks and the Monetary Authority eased significantly in August with credit to the private sector picking up, latest data showed as affluent borrowers including the govt enjoy sharp reductions in lending rates, at the expense of ordinary borrowers and fixed-income earners. During August, the govt paid back domestic banks Rs 36.8 billion and borrowed Rs 4.3 billion from the Monetary Authority, the Central Bank. more..

BASL ready to help govt

Oct 21 (DM) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said it was ready to help if the Govt takes up the legal battle in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to reintroduce the proscription on the LTTE. While condemning the Foreign Ministry’s failure to maintain the LTTE in the European Union’s proscribed list, the BASL said in this hour of need it was prepared to share the knowledge of its eminent members to defend the country. “I note with shock and anger that the proscription of the LTTE more..

'Monetary policy on even keel'

Oct 21 (FT) Just days ahead of Budget 2015 the Central Bank yesterday downplayed its effect on monetary policy, insisting possible relief to the public would not impact its long-term targets of low inflation and sustainable growth. Explaining the rationale behind the country’s current monetary policy stance, Central Bank Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe told a gathering at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce more..

SriLankan & SLNSS seal ground-breaking CA

Oct 21 (Island) The Management of SriLankan Airlines sealed a new productivity based collective agreement with the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS), for a period of three years (2014-2017) with the aim of providing enhanced incentives and benefits for the SriLankan employees. The agreement comes into being when the Airline is embarking on a new journey, with its wide-body fleet renewal starting from this month. The Airline views this as a vital move more..

Institutional credibility a must

Oct 21 (CT) The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in its flagship publication released yesterday said Sri Lanka must improve the credibility of its institutions. "To sustain continued economic prosperity, Sri Lanka must institute reforms that would reallocate factors of production across sectors of different productivity. Here, the quality of a country's institutions matter. Incentives built into institutional structures determine whether they act as rent seeking entities, influencing more..

A parting of ways

Oct 21 (Island) JHU MP Athureliye Rathana Thera announced last week that his party would do everything in its power to defeat President Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election unless the Constitution was amended, curbing the powers of the presidency and reintroducing the 17th Amendment. Yet back in 2001, the JHU was the only party in Parliament that voted against the 17th Amendment. more..

Memories of Yal Devi in times of yore

Oct 21 (Island) The resumption of the train service to Jaffna after 24 years has evoked in me the fond memories of the Yal Devi and its sister train, Uttara Devi in the 1960s, when I served in Anuradhapura as a Land Development Officer. Anuradhapura was even then a popular station especially for public service officers both from the North and South who were unable to get stations of their choice closer to their places of residence. The main reason was that the express train service provided by more..

Editorial: Hungry Ghosts

Oct 21 (Island) The Opposition is doing everything in its power to prevent President Rajapaksa from contesting the next presidential election expected to be held in a few months. They are trying to do to him what the government has already done to former war winning Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who has been disqualified from contesting elections in time for the presidential contest. Some politicians are even threatening to move the SC against President Rajapaksa’s more..

Lalkantha plans general strike

Oct 21 (CT) JVP's firebrand, former MP and trade union leader, K.D. Lalkantha warned the govt that all trade unions in the country would unite to launch a general strike in the event the workers' grievances were not addressed in the upcoming Budget 2015 this week. He said President Rajapaksa was legally prohibited from seeking a third term under the Provisions of the 18th Amendment and noted that the JVP would more..

Cradle of cricket needs attention!

Oct 21 (CT) Where is the next set of quality bowlers coming from for Sri Lanka when the current crop, especially Rangana Herath, retires? I wonder whether many have considered this question. When Murali and Vaas were speaking of retiring there was a massive concern about match winners for the Lankans; and today if you take Herath out of the equation, then the worry is justified and still persisting. No fast bowler has bowled as consistently as south paw & has got wickets more..

JHU strategy for presidential election

Oct 21 (CT) There is a common belief that the JHU days with the UPFA have now been numbered. People think that the JHU would quit the UPFA soon after announcement of the presidential election. However, they are confused about options available for the JHU after quitting the UPFA. Hence, let us explore the options available for the JHU. The presidential election held in 2005 was extremely crucial for Sri Lanka since it marked a paradigm shift in its national policies adopted hitherto more..

'If they want to discuss the TNA is ready'

Oct 21 (SL) Q: What purpose has the NPC been served by boycotting the President’s visit to Jaffna? A: We have not boycotted the President’s visit. We do not want to be pawns in political events that were probably illegal, very obscure and served no rational or legitimate purpose, we remain committed to work with the Govt on genuine projects. We refused to participate because doing so would violate the mandate issued to us by more..

Tamils’ frustrations, govt’s desperation

Oct 21 (SL) The decision of Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran to boycott all functions of President Rajapaksa in his politico-administrative turf seems to have been born out of sheer Tamil frustration at not being able to get their constitutional due under 13-A. So should be the NPC decision in not associating with the presidential visit. It’s only half true, though. In the reverse, continual attempts by President Rajapaksa to reach out to the Tamils of the war-torn North should be seen as more..

Countering separatist threat comes to fore again with elections

Oct 21 (SL) The govt has voiced its protest over the decision by the EU Court of Justice to remove the ban on the LTTE and said that it may have an impact, including from a security perspective, on the large majority of Sri Lankans living in EU territory, as well as EU citizens of Sri Lankan origin, who are likely to come under pressure once again by pro-LTTE activists. The EU Court annulled specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities by the EU with more..

Northern Expressway, conduit for East, Kandy and South

Oct 21 (SO) Faster accessibility has always been a factor to solve issues in the country. Having understood the importance of this, Govt under President Rajapaksa spearheaded a massive road development drive in the country after giving leadership to that program as the Minister in charge of Highways. It was through the implementation of this program that Sri Lanka turned a decade-long dream to reality when more..

Sri Lanka’s dilemma

Oct 21 (CT) For a society to function smoothly, there has to be a commonly agreed framework of governance. This framework defines and specifies the way those who are elected to govern are to be elected, the powers they ought to have, in which circumstances and for what purposes, ability to delegate, responsibilities of various sections such as the executive and legislative branches, and more importantly the limitations. Usually the constitution of a country provides the principal blueprint of more..

The saffron brigade and the buddhist terror

Oct 21 (CT) The Chairman of the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB), Mr. Amal Senalankadhikara, another political appointee of the Rajapaksa regime, is the latest victim of the saffron brigades. A group of monks, representing the Ravana Balaya raided the office of the Chairman; FEB on the 16th of Oct with a large number of monks and journalists, questioned the Chairman on his integrity and efficiency as someone tasked to protect the SL migrant labour more..

SL says to hold presidential polls in January

Oct 20 (Xinhua) Govt on Monday confirmed that Presidential Elections will take place in January next year but the date is yet to be decided on. There has been speculation in the local media that the election will be held on January 8 or 9 ahead of a scheduled visit by Pope Francis. "Pesidential election will be held in January. Dte cannot be said right now. I know the date but since it is yet to be confirmed I cannot say that right now," more..

JHU to meet President

Oct 20 (DM) JHU today said its resolutions would be discussed with President Rajapaksa with the objective of deciding whether to back him at a future Presidential Election. JHU at its 11th Convention held on Sunday adopted eight resolutions including one to amend the present Constitution and to reduce the number of Cabinet Ministers to 25. Party Assistant Secretary and the WPC Minister Udaya Gammanpila said they would field another candidate at a presidential election if the President more..

Five suspects surrender over attack

Oct 20 (CG) Five suspects allegedly involved in the attack on a group of Sabaragamuwa university students recently, surrendered to the police today. They were later produced before a magistrate and remanded till next week. The students who were staging a protest came under attack by men with poles and sharp objects late evening on October 10. Several students who were taking part in the sit-down protest (Satyagraha) were injured in the attack and were admitted to hospital. more..

Witness Protection Bill: Amendments drafted

Oct 20 (DM) Justice Ministry was drafting amendments suggested by the Supreme Court to be incorporated in the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Bill to be presented in the Parliament later. Govt presented the first draft in Parliament recently. Then, six petitions were filed in the SC challenging its Constitutionality. Court suggested several amendments and sent them to Parliament. more..

JVP condemns conduct of VCs

Oct 20 (CT) The extent of the politicization of universities can be seen by the recent election to choose a vice chancellor (VC) for University of Sri J'pura and VCs accompanying Minister of Higher Education to TV political debates, said JVP MP Vijitha Herath. In a recent election to select a VC for the University of Sri J'pura the person who got the most number of votes, Professor Mohan De Silva was not appointed by the govt as he would not have acted as a henchman of the govt, he said. more..

Lankan Def Secy meets Jaitley

Oct 20 (PTI) SL Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa today called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley during which a number of issues came under discussion. He met Jaitley in the afternoon at his North Block Office. Defence Secretary R K Mathur was also present. Jaitley later handed over a memento to the visiting dignitary. Though officials remained tight lipped about what transpired during the meeting, the visit takes place less than 10 days after Mathur visited the island nation. more..

Video: Inefficient foreign service led to ECJ ruling: UNP

Oct 20 (DM) UNP accused the govt of failing to maintain an efficient Foreign Service and instead it was blaming the UNP for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) lifting the sanctions placed on the LTTE. “UPFA Govt should take responsibility for the ban on LTTE finances being lifted by the ECJ. The govt has failed to maintain an efficient Foreign Service and has not held state level talks to prevent this from happening. more..

Sri Lanka’s Malaria elimination efforts a spectacular achievement

Oct 20 (GDI) Sri Lanka has remained free of malaria for two years – an accomplishment the Global Health Group (GHG) describes as a “spectacular achievement.” During a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees recently, Dr. Richard Feachem, who is the Director of GHG of the University of California San Francisco and the Chair of the Malaria Elimination Group (MEG) convened under GHG, congratulated the Govt on its efforts to completely eliminate malaria. more..

Maithri files case against Gnanasara thera in court premises

Oct 20 (AM) UNP Former Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne today filed a case against BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera for insulting him in abusive language inside the Colombo Fort Magistrate Court premises in June, this year. Gunaratne, who is a lawyer, appeared on behalf of Vatareka Wijitha Thera in a court case involving the BBS and the JBS, led by Wijitha Thera. Subsequent to the incident, Gunaratne lodged a complaint more..

Nimal Siripala axed from top post of SLFP Badulla district committee

Oct 20 (AM) Vice Chairman of the SLFP and Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva has not been given the top post of the District Committee of Badulla which handles district-level operations pertaining to the forthcoming presidential election. Minister Lakshman Seneviratne, who crossed over to the govt from the United National Party, has been given the top position of the district elections committee. more..

Top Tiger arrested at BIA

Oct 20 (CT) A prominent member of the LTTE's armed and intelligence wings, who had evaded arrest and rehabilitation after the war, was arrested by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Saturday night, while attempting to leave for Qatar. Meanwhile, an LTTE leader, who had planned the attack on a navy bus, was also arrested last week in Vavuniya, a military official said. Both men had not been arrested previously. more..

Sri Lanka’s Northern Reboot

Oct 20 (TD) A significant event took place earlier this week in Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka: President Mahinda Rajapaksa flagged off the first train in that region in 25 years, the Yal Devi Express. A new train service wouldn’t ordinarily be a big deal, but this was a landmark feat. It required millions of dollars in credit from India, a whole team of Indian engineers, imported coaches from China, and even a political controversy between President and Chief Minister of Tamil-dominated Northern Province more..

Former IGP new Law, Order Secretary

Oct 20 (CG) Former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya has been appointed as the new Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order, replacing Major General (Retd) Nanda Mallawaarachchi for the post. Appointed as IGP in Nov 2009, Balasuriya had resigned from his post in June, 2011 and was later posted overseas as an Ambassador. Balasuriya had retired as IGP saying the actions initiated against employees of the FTZ more..

More private buses on Southern Expressway

Oct 20 (Island) National Transport Commission (NTC) Chairman Renuka Perera said that the NTC had issued 43 new route permits to private buses to operate on the Southern Expressway. As the demand for more buses on the Southern Expressway had increased Minister C.B. Ratnayaka had submitted a special Cabinet paper and got it approved, Perera said. 28 bus route permits had been issued to operate buses from Maharagama to Matara and 15 route permits for buses more..

Sajin slams UNP on Geneva allegations

Oct 20 (CG) Monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena today slammed the UNP in Parliament when the UNP raised questions over the controversy surrounding the renovation of the official residence of the Permanent Representative in Geneva, which was reportedly awarded to an LTTE affiliated company. MP said that while the UNP is raising allegations over the contract issued to renovate the Geneva Mission, the UNP was known to have had ties with the LTTE. more..

Travel restrictions to the north justified

Oct 20 (CG) Govt today attempted to justify the travel restrictions imposed on foreigners visiting the north by raising concerns over the impact the recent EU court ruling on the LTTE will have on Sri Lanka. Minister Susil Premajayanth said that if the LTTE ban is lifted in the EU as a result of the EU court ruling it could allow LTTE elements to fund another war in the north. Govt had recently announced that foreigners visiting the north more..

Sri Lanka to establish a regulatory council to monitor issues in finance sector

Oct 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers had given approval to establish an Inter Regulatory Institutions Council with a view of identifying issues that require collective action by financial sector regulators. Establishment of the council plans to promote financial system stability and the development of the financial sector. Financial institutions include licensed banks, licensed finance companies and leasing companies, money brokers, primary dealers, insurance companies, more..

Navy’s Merchant Marine Training School makes waves

Oct 20 (Island) Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera chaired a special meeting on Thursday, on the Way Forward for Maritime Hub focused on several key areas including regulations for shipping trade, status of the Merchant Shipping Directorate, and International Maritime Organization Member States Audit Schemes. The Navy said in a media statement: "The key official meeting was held at the Naval Headquarters with the participation of the Advisor to the President and Coordinator more..