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Face the Nation

The Saviour

Apr 27 (GV) Tamils in Sri Lanka are having important conversations every day, in person and through social media and the blogosphere. In some instances, the impact is swift. For example, on 25th Jan, the Arts Faculty of the University of Jaffna issued a circular indicating that, commencing the 26th, the Senate of the University would be enforcing a dress code for all its students and staff. Men were to be banned from wearing jeans or t-shirts into lecture halls and had to more..

Tamil nationalism & the coming constitution

Apr 27 (GV) Militarily demolished in May 2009, Tamil nationalism’s struggle has been a daunting one in post-war Sri Lanka. With the death of one of the most admired leaders within the Tamil community, V Prabhakaran, the Tamil political representatives were pushed to shoulder the burden of promoting a different political agenda; of political autonomy within a united SL, but in an essentially fragile political terrain. While the TNA has emerged, without question, the more dominant representative more..

Mixed signals over VAT hike

Apr 27 (SL) Although some tax experts and economists commend the govt for taking bold steps to increase taxes, some point out that the govt should have levied the rich instead of raising indirect taxes such as VAT (Value Added Tax) thereby burdening the poor more. Given below are excerpts of the opinions shared by some of the experts and the economists. Chandra Jayarathne, Former Chairman, CCC and Activist: more..

Editorial: Pitfalls and pratfalls in politics

Apr 27 (Island) Reams have been written lately on the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike, whose 100th birth anniversary fell on April 17. The informative, interesting essays penned by laymen and seasoned commentators on her were biographical, analytical and even hagiographical; they dealt with many aspects of the illustrious life of world’s first woman prime minister who was in a league of her own. One of our readers in a letter to the editor on Monday posed to the aforesaid writers more..

Alerts ahead of mayday call?

Apr 27 (SL) Media reports have indicated that President Maithripala Sirisena was not taken into (full) confidence before the government under his name announced new taxes, effective May. If these reports are too, it also remains to be known if PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had together or separately taken the Cabinet, too, under confidence, on new proposals. It’s neither a routine issue of administration, nor is it a stand-alone episode. more..

'China-Sri Lanka ties reach new high'

Apr 27 (SO) Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang said China will always be a reliable partner and a friend of Sri Lanka. He stressed that his govt did not wish to use Sri Lanka as a base to launch political offensives against any other country. Citing the recent state visit of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to Beijing, he said China was willing to bring relations between the two countries to a new level of excellence. more..

Other side of the coin on Emirates deal

Apr 27 (CT) Having read the above titled article written by An Insider, published in the Sunday Island edition of 10 April, this writer wishes to comment on a few issues. However, this is not an attempt to counter or support An Insider’s assertions. At the outset, a few facts need be established; 1. From 1994, it was the desire of the Head of State to privatize then Air Lanka to relieve the Treasury of the burden of a loss making airline. 2. Emirates or for that matter, more..

Searching for the missing in the war years

Apr 27 (CT) Let me begin with Rajasingham Narendran’s harrowing tale describing when he returned to his home in the Jaffna Peninsula after the IPKF’s imperial occupation of the north in 1987: “My mother: 68-year old at the time of her killing. Slim build. Had been attacked by animals and crows and was in an advanced state of decay. My brother: 38-year old at the time of his death. neither obese or thin. Body intact though bloated. The gardener: Age approx. 60 years. Obese. more..

Video: Govt seeks business associate for SriLankan airline

Apr 26 (DM) Cabinet approval had been granted for converting the national carrier, SriLankan AirLines, into a private- public partnership by October this year and the govt is looking for a business partner for the airline, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe announced today. “Cabinet had decided to defuse economic land mines without allowing them to explode and one of those mines is SriLankan Airlines,” the PM said. more..

Pakistan National Defense University delegation visits Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (PHC) An 18 member delegation from the National Defense University (NDU) Pakistan is currently visiting Sri Lanka. The Delegation comprises of senior officers from Pakistan’s Armed Forces and Civil Services as well as Officers from Malaysia, Germany, Turkey and Nigeria who are undergoing National Security and War Course at NDU. The delegation is led by Brig Akhtar Jammil Rao. The Defense Advisor of Pakistan to Srilanka Colonel Sheryar Pervaiz Butt is conducting more..

Sri Lanka to stop giving tax holiday under BOI law: PM

Apr 26 (EN) Sri Lanka will stop giving tax holidays under Board of Investment Law and limit it to breaks available under the Inland Revenue Act, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "At the moment there are two agencies giving tax concessions, but in the future only the Finance Ministry which is collecting revenue will give tax concessions," he said. Suspending BoI tax breaks is believed to be a prior action under a deal with the IMF which is expected to be announced shortly. more..

DMK ducks Jayalalithaa’s bouncers on Mullivaikkal massacre

Apr 26 (DC) As the AIADMK tries to revive the memories of Mullivaikkal massacre of Sri Lankan Tamils in 2009, the DMK is refusing to be drawn itself into the debate in an obvious campaign strategy to keep the Lankan issue out of centrestage during this elections. Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa who took up the issue at her rally in Tiruchy alleged that the UPA govt in which the DMK was a constituency started training more..

Three drown at sea in last 24 hours

Apr 26 (CT) It has been reported that three persons, including a Russian national, have drowned at sea within the last 24 hours, commencing from Sunday morning. A Russian national drowned while sea bathing in Aluthgama last Sunday, Police told Ceylon Today. Although the residents in the area attempted to save him from drowning, those attempts had failed. The victim who was rushed to Beruwala Hospital died upon his transfer to Nagoda Hospital for further treatment. more..

Refugees who don’t want to go back home

Apr 26 (ZY) It’s been six years since Sri Lanka’s long civil war came to an end. Now this island-state of 20 million seems to have entered a new era of peace and prosperity: The economy is growing at 6%, reconciliation is under way and the new govt is saying it will welcome any refugees who want to return. There’s only one little hiccup: Many refugees don’t want to go back. Though you might think they’d jump at the chance of returning to their homeland (especially if UNHCR is paying for plane more..

Central Bank keeps policy rates steady

Apr 26 (Reuters) Central bank on Tuesday kept benchmark rates steady, as expected, as it gauges the effects of recent tightening, amid the final stages of talks with the IMF for a $1.5-billion loan to tide over a payments crisis. Private sector credit growth, which was as high as 27% year-on-year in Nov last year, grew 26.5% in Feb, rising from January's 25.7%. "Going forward, a gradual slowdown in money and more..

Former Speaker M.H. Mohamed passes away

Apr 26 (NF) Former speaker, minister and MP M.H. Mohamed has passed away. He was 95 years of age at the time of his death. M.H. Mohamed, who embarked on his political career as the Mayor of the CMC, was selected as an MP during the Dudley Senanayake administration. He later functioned as the Minister of Labor and Housing. Late MH Mohammed was later appointed the 14th Speaker of Parliament. Body is currently placed at his residence in Bauddhaloka Mawatha in Borella. more..

NHSL short of 700 nightingales

Apr 26 (Island) Director National Hospital (NHSL) Dr. Anil Jasinghe said there was a shortage of about 700 nurses at the National Hospital. Dr Jasinghe said there were 2,200 nurses at the NHSL. Health Ministry said Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne during a visit to the Hospital pledged to attach 900 more nurses to the NHLSL. The NHSL has 24 specialised units. The latest addition is the Epilepsy Care Unit being constructed at a cost of Rs. 4.5 billion. Ekanayake said Minister had examined more..

Video: We can't fight Saudi laws: Thalatha

Apr 26 (DM) Responding a question raised by a journalist whether legal action could have been taken against a Saudi Arabian employer who has allegedly involved in an abduction of a Sri Lankan housemaid to intimidate her not to ask for a monthly wage, Minister Thalatha Atukorala said the ministry cannot challenge such systems of strict laws of Saudi Arabia. “It is a great achievement that we could save her and bring her home. more..

FSP urges Tamils to beware of TNA motives

Apr 26 (Island) Tamils should not harbour any hopes of solutions for their problems through a federal set up in the North and the East, the Frontline Socialist Party said. Propaganda Secretary of FSP Pubudu Jagoda, addressing a press conference, said the TNA was fishing in troubled waters. "The TNA’s objective is clear. It is using its federalism demand to attract popular support and to swell the number of the supporters. We hope that Tamil people will not fall for such tactics." more..

Rahul, Senura face possible ban

Apr 26 (CT) Trinity Skipper Rahul Karunathilake and St. Peter's Number Eight Senura Premawardena are facing a one-match ban after being sent off during their respective Under-20 Inter-School matches last week. The SLSRFA will hold inquiries regarding these incidents at Royal College this evening. Second row forward Karunathilake was penalized twice by Referee Aruna Rankothge while playing against S. Thomas' at the Pallekele Stadium on Saturday, a match which they lost 20-23. more..

Rajapaksa meets alleged arms dealer Udayanga Weeratunge in Thailand

Apr 26 (AM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa met with former Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge during his trip to Thailand. Prof. G.L. Peiris also accompanied Rajapaksa. Weeratunge, a close confidant and relative of Rajapaksa, was alleged to have been linked with arms smuggling to Russian backed Ukrainian rebels. The govt was said to be investigating Weeratunge in 2015. more..

Three Lankans charged with vehicle theft in Dubai sentenced

Apr 26 (E24|7) Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced three Sri Lankan fugitives for selling 11 cars worth Dh2.8m without the knowledge of their employer. All three were sentenced in absentia to three years in jail each. The court also ordered KA, 36; BR, 42; and MR, 49 each to pay Dh150,000 as a fine. They were ordered to be deported after serving their jail terms. While AT, 43, Kazakhstani, investor and his partner were not in the country, three staff members of a second-hand car company more..

Video: Kaushal Silva discharged

Apr 26 (DM) Cricketer Kaushal Silva, who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Colombo after being hit by a ball on the head, has been discharged today following medical treatments, SLC medical committee member Professor Arjuna Silva said. Kaushal was admitted to the hospital last Sunday after he was hit by a ball on the head during a practice match held in Pallekale Cricket Stadium. Meanwhile, the SLC stated the doctors had confirmed that Kushal has suffered more..

Sri Lanka should cut import tariffs to increase apparel exports: World Bank

Apr 26 (EN) Sri Lanka can increase exports of apparel, its main industrial export, by reducing import tariffs and getting into more trade deals that would widen market access, according to a new World Bank report. The country should also promote industrial relocation and attract more female workers to relieve its labor shortages, it said. “As China gradually scales back its apparel manufacturing, Sri Lanka stands to gain more..

'Nobody should take Jayalalithaa seriously'

Apr 26 (Island) Frontline Socialist Party said that nobody should take seriously TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s recent statement that her party would take continuous steps to attain a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka and demand that the Centre grant dual citizenship to Lankan Tamil refugees living in Tamil Nadu. Fielding a question from journalists during a FLSP press conference FLSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jagoda said: "It is a joke that Jayalalaithaa, who cannot more..

Univ. of Kelaniya closed for week

Apr 26 (DM) The faculties of the Kelaniya University, except the medical faculty, were closed today until May 4 due to an infection that has been spread all over the university, an official said. He said nearly 80 students who have been infected with indigestion and vomiting were admitted to hospitals. “The decision to close the university was taken under the advices of the University Chief Medical Officer and the Public Health Officer. They have even announced the university students more..

Sweden pledges full support to Sri Lanka to get GSP+ back

Apr 26 (PSL) Sweden’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has pledged to provide the Govt of Sweden’s every possible assistance to Sri Lanka to regain the GSP+ facility. She made these remarks when she met with the President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday. She is on an official visit to Sri Lanka. During the meeting, Sweden’s Foreign Minister and the President discussed in detail regarding the ways to strengthen more..

Sri Lanka Tourism participates in Arabian Travel Market

Apr 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka Tourism will participate in the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the tourism industry's leading travel and tourism exhibition within the Middle Eastern and Pan Arab regions, in Dubai from 25 -28 April. Middle East is identified as one of the main tourist generating market as per the SL Tourism Strategy and ATM is the leading global event for the Middle East inbound and outbound travel industry. This year the spotlight theme of the ATM is Family Travel. more..

Drug Authority has two heads

Apr 26 (Island) Prof Krishantha Weerasuriya, the Chairman of the Medicinal Drugs regulatory Authority, accused of leaving the country without permission from the Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Ministry yesterday returned to work and the Ministry had not taken any decision on what action would be taken against him. Earlier Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that Prof Weerasuriya was deemed to have vacated his post and appointed Dr Kamal Jayasinghe as the chairman. more..

Video: Kaushal’s head injury not life-threatening: Medical experts

Apr 26 (DM) Kaushal Silva’s head injury is not life-threatening, according to Prof. Arjuna de Silva, one of the treating experts. He said, “Luckily it was not a very serious injury. on, the delay in bringing him to Colombo would not have made much of a difference”. “No surgery is required. He is not on medication but just under observation,” Prof. added. Silva was airlifted to Colombo after a head injury during training at Pallekele Stadium more..

SL must learn a lession from EU fish ban

Apr 26 (CT) Last week, the European Union (EU) lifted the ban of importing fish from Sri Lanka after many rounds of discussion with the Sri Lankan authorities. EU, one of the largest importers of Sri Lankan fish products banned importing those from Sri Lanka since October 2014 claiming that Sri Lanka had failed to adhere to proper fishing practices. In other words, Sri Lankan fishermen had used illegal methods for fishing. However, the ban just did not come immediately. more..

Sri Lanka’s play in the international stage

Apr 26 (CT) Sri Lanka is member of the UN since 1955 and has signed the major human rights treaties. Being a member of the family of states is not solely a privilege and distinctive trait of belonging; it also affords constant commitment towards this family. Like in every family, ties must be fostered, nurtured and strengthened. Affirming a voluntary pledge and commitment in order to enter the UNHRC, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations addressed to more..

Basil Fernando

Sri Lanka shares up from near two-week low ahead of cenbank policy

Apr 26 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares edged up on Tuesday from its near two-week low hit in the previous session, as investors turned cautious, ahead of an imminent loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, and while awaiting cues from the central bank on interest rates. The central bank's April monetary policy announcement is scheduled for later on Tuesday, and expectations are that the bank would keep key interest rates steady, a Reuters poll showed. more..

Thilanga to attend CPA Executive Committee meeting in London

Apr 26 (Island) Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) will have its mid-year meeting at the Atlee Suite, Portcullis House of Commons, London, UK, from 27-30 April. Association was founded in 1911 as the Empire Parliamentary Association and in 1948 CPA adopted its present name and changed its rules. Sri Lanka is a member of the Association since 1948. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) is comprises of 180 Parliaments and more..