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Prez orders removal of crippling gem levies

May 20 (ST) Prez Sirisena recently ordered the removal of crippling levies on the gem and jewellery trade followed concerns raised by the SL Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA). Association officials said a decision about 2-3 months ago by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) to impose a levy of Rs. 25,000 per 100 carat on gem export sales or contracts and increasing the licence fee to half a million more..

Two bad investments drive Guardian Capital into first loss in five years

May 20 (Island) Guardian Capital Partners, a member of the Carson’s Group, has posted its first loss in five years in the year ended Mar. 31, 2018, reporting a loss of Rs. 22.6 million, down from a profit of Rs. 36.12 million the previous year, as a result of impairment of two investments that had gone bad and had to be written off. The worse of these related to an investment of Rs. 42.1 million in Swiss Institute for Service Industry Development (Pvt) Ltd. Which had to be more..

Women’s cricket spearhead thrilled at new venture

May 20 (SO) Apasiri Singhabahu Tillakaratne, who heads women’s cricket of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), hailed the Sunday Observer and SLT Mobitel’s decision to accommodate special awards for girls’ schools at the forthcoming 40th Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year mega awards ceremony. “It is heartening to know that the organizers of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest have decided to recognize girls’ schools playing cricket. more..

The lessons SL can learn from West Indies

May 20 (Island) You will struggle to find a middle-aged or an elderly Sri Lankan who didn’t admire West Indies. Three Ws, Garry Sobers, Sonny Ramadhin, Rohan Kanhai, Alvin Kallicharran, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Larry Gomes, Gordon Greenidge, Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall and Brian Charles Lara were loved by all and sundry. Apart from being world beaters, the spirit with which the West Indies’ more..

Positive headache for SLC selectors

May 20 (CT) Sri Lanka cricket selectors face a bilemma with the Test tour of West Indies about to unfold. Generally most headaches are negative and worrying though the positive one is the type of challenge most teams around the world would like to have. As we know the tour of the West Indies is purely a test tour comprising of three Tests. Whilst test cricket need runs on the board to defend, teams also need bowlers capable of taking twenty wickets which is never an easy task. more..

Badminton federation swats down new scoring plan

May 20 (CT) Badminton's global governing body swatted down a plan on Saturday to adopt a new scoring system that favours faster matches after players and associations expressed angst over the proposed changes. Badminton World Federation was considering amending the rules to make sets shorter in a shift that supporters argued would attract more fans to the sport, which already has a large following in Asia. But the proposal, which would have seen players compete against more..

'Cricketers are willing to be the game changers'

May 20 (ST) Former National cricket star Pramodya Wickremasinghe, who was a member of Sri Lanka’s 1996 ICC World Cup winning effort, says that more than 80 percent of the former international cricketers are ready to unite in an effort to clean up the of cricket in Sri Lanka. Speaking to the Sunday Times, Wickremasinghe said that former national stars, together with a host of prominent entrepreneurs who include high profile names more..

SLC’s Elections Committee set up

May 20 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket yesterday appointed a five-member Election Committee as per Sports Regulations to conduct its Annual General Meeting scheduled for May 31. The names of Rasika Weeratunga, Buddika Illanganath, Jude Perera, Devagiri Bandara and Sarath Utpala had received the unanimous consent of the membership at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on Saturday. SLC had earlier planned to hold their Annual General Meeting on May 19, but more..

A tyrant and a tribal leader in 2020?

May 20 (SO) Viyath Maga National Conference at the Shangri-La placed the former Defence Secretary positively and undoubtedly in the presidential race in 2019. It did something else as well. He demonstrated that he was different from other conventional alternatives. His braggadocio has no competition. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is different. He lives in an Orwellian world. He is hell bent on setting himself as the big brother - the character George Orwell created in his novel 1984 more..

Moderate Tamil leaders missing as Wiggy declares annual Tamil Genocide Day

May 20 (CT) Another year has passed since the SL Govt declaring the end of armed conflict between the govt forces and the LTTE, a military organization, which by May 2009 had been categorized as one of the most ruthless terrorist entities in the world. Many countries including the USA, UK, Canada and the EU had banned the organization by calling it a terrorist group. India was the first country to do so in 1992, more..

A Test series win in the Caribbean excites Mathews

May 20 (Island) When Sri Lanka won a Test series in England for the first time in 2014, their captain Angelo Mathews was the hero. Three years ago, aged 27, Mathews scored a maiden Test hundred at Lord’s and followed it up with another 160 at Leeds to help Sri Lanka to a 100 run win in the second Test. SL clinched a 1-0 series win and Mathews was named Man of the Match and Player of the Series. The other places SL have not won a Test series are Australia, South Africa, India and West Indies more..

Attorney General’s Dept. high-ups accused of corruption

May 20 (Island) In Jan 2018, the CIABOC filed case No: 87741/01/18 in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court against former Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) A.H.M.D. Nawaz (who is now an Appeal Court Judge), former Attorney General Mohan Peiris and former Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy M.M.C. Ferdinando. The main charge was that former DSG Nawaz had not taken into account the findings of two reports of Committees headed by S.J. Pathirana dated Oct 2009 and more..

Satana

Achcharu: Sri Lanka’s political pickle

May 20 (ST) While Kussi Amma Sera and Serapina have dominated these columns with their juicy gossip and handy column ideas, this time it was the turn of another equally, belligerent woman to steal the show. Thursday was a rainy morning and a no-show by Serapina for her usual garden tete-a-tete with Kussi Amma Sera. The rain was pouring cats-and-dogs and looking at the gloomy skies I realized that rain would be a spoiler in trying to gather a column idea. more..

Reparations Bill: Why the secrecy?

May 20 (ST) The ninth anniversary of the defeat of the scourge of a bloody separatist terrorist campaign that enveloped this country for three decades passed without much ado yesterday (19). Yet battling with the continuing demand by some foreign governments to hold the security forces that ended that scourge to account, the Govt has now presented a comprehensive draft outlining what has been proposed as reparations for the victims of that virtual civil war. more..

Rising number of foreign workers cause concern

May 20 (CT) Sri Lanka’s image makeover during the recent past has also brought with it a number of foreign labourers, mostly working at construction sites that are prominent in the heart of the city. Workers of foreign nationalities waiting on the roadsides in the mornings and evenings, is a common site along the Galle Road in Colombo. Many of them are construction workers. The influx of foreign labourers from other countries has more..

Malaysia predicament in Mahinda’s comeback trail

May 20 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you, as people are talking about you once again especially after that Mahathir chap returned to power in Malaysia at the ripe old age of ninety-two. That almost makes it sound as if you are too young to run for high office when the next elections are held in two years! The parallels with Malaysia are quite similar, aren’t they? The people were dissatisfied with govt in office because those in high places were accused of corruption. more..

Inquisitorial vs. Adversarial

May 20 (Island) A letter from Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake we published two Sundays ago had triggered a response from the indefatigable Dr. A.C. Visvalingam, who has for many years been laboring hard and long in trying to improve the woeful state of governance in this republic of ours which proclaims itself as democratic socialist. The results, unfortunately, have not demonstrated a favorable cost: benefit ratio in relation to the efforts made to improve governance, more..

First robotic assisted surgery aboard a hospital ship

May 20 (SO) Achieving another significant milestone in emergency preparedness and healthcare, USNS Mercy while docked in Trincomalee on its Pacific Partnership mission recorded the first robotic assisted surgery aboard a hospital ship, performing a cholecystectomy or gall bladder removal on a SL patient. A moment of many feelings. Elation, anticipation mixed with anxiety. It certainly was “a fantastic experience. more..

2nd Mahaweli Programme

May 20 (CT) Despite Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Sector’s low performance post-1977, there is renewed multilateral and bilateral donor interest to promote this sector, not seen since the multimillion US dollar Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme, launched in the immediate aftermath of a new Govt having had been elected to power in 1977. Agriculture contributes a mere 7% to the island’s GDP, but employs 30% of its workforce. Whereas the other 2 sectors of the economy, more..

GMOA politics vs Development

May 20 (SO) The Govt doctors are on a strike binge again. Once more, it is not an agitation for a need of medical personnel or, of medical service facilities, or, even that of patients. Rather, the Govt Medical Officers are agitating (again) over their livelihood interests – or, at least, what the GMOA says is their livelihood interests. The GMOA is repeating its claim that free trade agreements are detrimental to the country and, to their professional interests. The rationale of the GMOA is that more..

Disease spreading in South identified as pneumonia: DGHS

May 19 (DM) Laboratory findings have revealed that the disease spreading in Southern Province was a pneumonia outbreak mainly due to influenza virus, Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe said. He said the health authorities had taken measures to mitigate the current situation. “Attention has been drawn to the increased number of patients with acute respiratory tract infection at Karapitiya Teaching Hospital and more..

'Display national flag according to legal system'

May 19 (NR) Minister Wajira Abeywardana says the legal system must be followed when displaying the national flag. He noted the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued all recommendations in this regard. He said individuals cannot follow personal agendas when displaying the country's flag. He added individual cannot prevent ceremonies organised in the Northern and Eastern Provinces from taking place in order to commemorate the lives of those lost during the conflict. more..

Declaration of Intent signed to protect marine resources

May 19 (DN) Businesses, the SL Govt, French Govt and representatives of the scientific community yesterday signed a Declaration of Intent between Sri Lanka and France to protect the marine resources of the country. The organizations Biodiversity SL, MIND led by Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, IUCN, the French Development Agency, together with companies like Aitken Spence Travels, Dialog Axiata, Dilmah Ceylon Tea, MAS intimates, Tess Pvt. Ltd., Tokyo Cement signed more..

Lanka IOC prepared to set own fuel prices to minimise losses

May 19 (Reuters) SL fuel retailer Lanka IOC will be forced to implement its own pricing mechanism to minimise losses if the govt fails to implement its proposed fuel price formula, the company said on Friday. The move by Lanka IOC, a subsidiary of India’s IOC, comes after the govt failed to increase fuel prices charged by state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) in line with rising global oil prices. more..

LB Big Wheels Motor Show 2018 kicks off

May 19 (DM) The LB Big Wheels Motor Show 2018, organised by the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL) and powered by LB Finance, was officially opened to the public yesterday, at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. The inaugural LB Big Wheels Motor Show is a first-of-its-kind event, focusing only on providing superior quality vehicles from leading manufacturers around the globe. LB Big Wheels Motor Show 2018 was officially opened to the public by more..

Trade expansion with Sri Lanka urged

May 19 (TN) Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Malik Tahir Javaid has said that there is a vast scope for expansion of two-way trade between Pakistan and SL in the presence of free trade agreement (FTA), a statement said on Friday. Addressing SL businessmen at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FCCISL) and Colombo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said, there is a need to strengthen multifaceted and multi-sectoral cooperation more..

Necessary information provided to Interpol for Udayanga’s extradition

May 19 (Island) Sri Lanka has presented a strong case to Interpol as regards its efforts to have former SL Ambassador to Russia and Ukraine extradited in connection with the ongoing judicial inquiry into the wartime acquisition of MiG 27s, according to highly placed sources. SL Air Force acquired additional MiGs at the onset of the Eelam war IV from Ukraine to bolster Katunayake-based MiG squadron. more..

Indian Army Chief meets President

May 19 (PTI) Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today called on Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and discussed bilateral and defence relations during his maiden visit to the island country, officials said. Gen Rawat is in Sri Lanka for a week-long visit at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake. His visit as the Army Chief began on Monday with an aim to take forward the military cooperation between the two countries to the next level. more..

SLNS Sagara returns home on completion of successful naval exercise

May 19 (SLN) SL Naval Ship Sagara which left the island for Indonesia on last 24th April to attend Komodo-2018 Naval exercise and International Fleet Review, on completion of a successful tour returned to the Colombo port today (18). On arrival in Colombo, she was welcomed in compliance with naval traditions and Senior Staff Officer (Operations) Commander (C) Janaka Samaranayake also attended this occasion. Commanding Officer of the ship, Captain (C) Janaka Nissanka and more..

Sri Lankan to ditch CEO Ratwatte, professionals join board

May 19 (EN) The controversial CEO of Sri Lankan airlines is tipped to be removed as the govt reconstitutes the board of directors by adding two more top professionals. Suren Ratwatte's ouster had been demanded by several former directors, but he stayed on despite the ouster of the entire board following the mini reshuffle of the cabinet of ministers in February. Pilots of Sri Lankan had protested when Ratwatte attempted to more..

Follow conscience, Minister asks doctors, nurses

May 19 (DN) Nurses and doctors should inquire from their conscience if they work in line with the Nightingale Pledge and the Hippocratic Oath on this day of International Nurses' Day, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne on Wednesday said. He was addressing the gathering at the celebration of the International Nurses Day-2018 at Temple Trees, organised by the Govt Nursing Officers' Association. President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickeremesinghe participated as Chief Guests. more..

JVP expresses solidarity with Palestinians

May 19 (Island) JVP condemned what it termed as a brutal attack by Israeli forces and the provocative action of the USA administration on Palestinians. A statement signed by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake on behalf of the Dept of International Relations of the party said: "According to the latest reports, 60 people including several children and a paramedic have died and more than 2400 have been injured in attacks by Israeli armed forces who fired on Palestinian people who protested against more..

Business confidence falls to a 70-month low

May 19 (FT) The latest edition of business magazine LMD reports a decline of 19 basis points in the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI). It fell to 98 in April, a 70-month low. LMD notes that this is the second time the index has fallen below the 100 mark in the last 12 months with the BCI now also 19 basis points lower than its 12-month average of 117. In addition to this, it is 36 basis points lower than the 12-month peak of 134 in July 2017, and all-time median of 129. more..

Sri Lanka calls for security of Palestinian people

May 19 (MFA) Govt has called for the security of Palestinian people and the end to violence in Gaza. The Govt made this statement during a special session of the UNHRC yesterday in Geneva. Following is the full text of the SL statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. Mr. President, We note with regret that the Special Session of the Human Rights Council convenes today, against the backdrop of death and destruction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as well as violence and mayhem in the region. more..

Overfished: Yellowfin tuna on the brink

May 19 (Island) Overfishing of the yellowfin tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean is going to be one of the main issues to be addressed in the forthcoming 22nd meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), which will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 21-25, according to a position statement released by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). The ISSF in its paper has urged tuna fishing stakeholders and regulators to address yellowfin overfishing more..

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