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CB downgrades 2018 growth rate

Jul 9 (FT) Moderate first quarter performance has prompted the Central Bank to revise down the growth target for 2018 to 4%-4.5% from an initial forecast of 4.5%-5% with its Chief Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy cautioning against reducing interest rates to spur growth as it could lead to a balance of payments crisis. SL grew 3.2% in the first quarter of 2018, slowing marginally from the 3.5% expansion seen in the fourth quarter of 2017 more..

St. Joseph’s College lift Sevens title

Jul 9 (Island) St. Joseph’s College, Colombo won the Singer U19 Schools Rugby Sevens Championship beating Royal College by 21-12 in the Cup Final worked out at Royal College Sports Complex, yesterday. Josephians remained unbeaten throughout the weekend to topple the strong 15s league champions in an exciting game which saw three yellow cards and one red card been shown by the Referee. Imesh Dissanayake scored twice for the winners while Keshan Kavinda more..

Bridging the skills gap in tourism: Short term measures introduced to meet demand

Jul 9 (SO) Urgent action has been proposed to address the persisting skills gap in the tourism sector with the introduction of short term measures to meet demand. The private sector Tourism Skills Committee (TSC) was set up with the launch of the Tourism Workforce Competitiveness Roadmap, an initiative directed towards the call to action to bridge the gap in the sector by producing talented youth to drive the industry forward. “We have already prioritized a list of entry level courses more..

Gold smugglers help jewellers keep heads above water

Jul 9 (ST) In the wake of the imposition of a 15% tax, Sri Lanka‘s gold industry now depends on smuggled gold to secure enough stocks for its production and selling at a reasonable price by keeping a very thin margin to satisfy customers, Colombo Sea Street jewellers said. Importers have to bear the costs like Nation Building Tax and customs duties in addition to 15% tax. Smuggled gold now represents almost more..

President to commence water filling to Kalu Ganga reservoir on 23rd

Jul 9 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena will inaugurate filling water to the Kalu Ganga reservoir that is being built in parallel to the Moragahakanda reservoir under the Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga multi-purpose irrigation project and the construction of the canal taking water from the Kalu Ganga reservoir to Moragahakanda reservoir on July 23. Unveiling of the new granite Buddha Statue which was built opposite the Moragahakanda Reservoir and renaming Moragahakanda Reservoir as more..

Du Plessis, Amla, Bavuma tune up for Galle Test with fifties

Jul 9 (CI) Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma all made half-centuries on the second day of South Africa's practice match in Colombo, with Dean Elgar also getting a decent batting workout, hitting 43 off 48 balls. As had been the case with the Sri Lanka Board XI on day one, however, the second half of the South Africa's innings folded, the team tumbling from 223 for 3 to 338 all out. The match was then called off. Not among the runs on a fairly placid P Sara track, more..

Earnings of listed corporates gain in March quarter

Jul 9 (FT) Combined earnings of all listed companies has seen health gain in the quarter ended on 31 March, reflecting the resilience on the part of most corporates. Based on results of 284 listed companies, March 2018 quarter earnings spiked 28.5% year on year (YoY) to Rs. 98 billion which includes one-off profit arising from disposal of Janashakthi General approximately Rs. 7 billion by JINS and Union Assurance’s change in more..

Indian Railways to launch Ramayana Express from Ayodhya to Colombo

Jul 9 (HT) From Ayodhya to Colombo via Rameshwaram, Indian Railways plans to launch a special tourist train on the Ramayana circuit covering the locations associated with the Hindu epic. The service will start from Nov 14 from Delhi and take 16 days to cover the circuit. The train will seat 800; those interested in the Sri Lanka leg can opt to travel to Colombo from Chennai by flight. An official of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) who asked not to be more..

Sri Lanka basketball team thrives on American flavour

Jul 9 (SO) Praneeth Udumalagala drew heavily on his recent experience of playing at the highest level in US collegiate basketball to lead Sri Lanka to its first ever regional championship triumph – winning the SABA Pre-Qualifiers for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh last week. The rangy forward, who honed his shooting skills in the highly-competitive American College basketball scene playing for Texas Wesleyan University in Dallas, was the pick of the SL squad which finished more..

IAAF Junior Athletics: Sri Lanka hopes to be in five finals

Jul 9 (ST) The Athletics Association of SL has high hopes that they will run in five finals at the IAAF World Junior (Under 20) Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland from July 10 to 15. Sri Lanka will be represented by a 17 member contingent at the meet. There will be five boys, six girls and officials. SL team is scheduled to leave for Finland today (8). SL team is skippered by Aruna Dharshana of Weerakeppitipola MMV, more..

'Pretty sure we'll continue with 3 fast bowlers'

Jul 9 (CI) No matter what the pitch looks like, South Africa will play three frontline quicks in Sri Lanka. This is at least what coach Ottis Gibson said, four days out from the first Test in Galle. He probably knows already that Sri Lankan surfaces have recently been so dusty that the home team straps three specialist spinners to the plow, often fielding only one seamer of their own. But no matter. "Our fast bowling has been the bedrock of our success for a long time, and more..

Only political action can stop govt project to betray military personnel

Jul 9 (Island) In May this year, the govt gazetted sweeping amendments to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No. 25 of 2002. Original Act applied only to specified Commonwealth countries and non-Commonwealth countries which have signed the relevant agreements with Sri Lanka but the amendments now before parliament seek to extend the scope of the Act to all countries that have signed any int'l convention relating to a criminal matter to which SL has become a party. more..

Vijayakala under fire for LTTE remarks; hailed as hero in Jaffna

Jul 9 (SO) After widespread condemnation from all quarters in the south following her controversial statement about the LTTE, former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran was forced to resign her portfolio late last week, but all over the streets of Jaffna, posters appeared hailing her sacrifice for the Tamil people. Nearly a decade after the end of the war and the defeat of the LTTE by Govt troops, more..

Vijayakala’s outrageous call for Tiger Balm to soothe Jaffna woes

Jul 9 (ST) Like some of their Sinhale brethren down south of the border who, within three short years, seem to have forgotten the recent past, display an irresistible craving to return to the era of white vans and reveal a masochistically addictive scratching itch to have a Hitlerite figure to trample upon and crush their fundamental freedoms under a Nazi brand jackboot, so does it seem that some northern Tamils also suffer the same bout of amnesia and yearn to see the return of fascist LTTE more..

The true spirit of Sri Lanka and justified pride is what is needed

Jul 9 (Island) I always read Kumar David in the Sunday Island with great interest when he writes of on-going matters (not the leftist movement!). On Sunday I July 2018, he sent positive shivers down my nationalist spine with his prediction of what could come. And what is that? A religio-fascist govt under Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as the next President of the country, and in that case as sure as the moon follows the sun, a Rajapaksa PM with several cabinet ministers sporting kurakkan satakaya more..

චීනෙන් ජරාව කාපු බැසිල්ගේ අඹුව පුෂ්පා

Edtorial: Hitler’s cousins

Jul 9 (Island) One of the main promises in the yahapalana agenda, which the present govt touted before the 2015 regime change, was to restore the rights of the hapless public. But, today, it has robbed them of one of their fundamental rights—franchise. It keeps postponing elections on one pretext or another for fear of losing them. It is scared of facing more ignominious defeats like the one it suffered a few moons ago. A dog, afflicted with hydrophobia, is a threat to the society. more..

Civil society, uncivil conduct

Jul 9 (Island) Do you recognize this ghastly ideological mix, this monstrous model? Or do you recognize yourself in it and like it? Is it happening to us here in the South too? If so what are you doing about it? I know what I am doing or trying to do, and always have done. When this chemistry takes place and model arises or is revived in the North, it is applauded or swept under the rug by Northern nationalists and Southern liberals in political parties and civil society. When this fanatical fusion more..

'Flower Bud created crisis in the Govt'

Jul 9 (CT) UPFA MP Jayantha Samaraweera says there is no Army Intelligence Unit. “Officers of this unit have been sent to prison and as a result it is no longer active. It is a time when the Aava Gang is reigning in the North and Claymore mines are being discovered, that these camps will have to be removed.” Q: Talking about the present political situation, we find internal crises in Parties. more..

Shooting the messenger

Jul 9 (SO) Maybe it is because this is the World Cup season in football, but political parties are scoring spectacular own goals right now, as their stalwarts grapple with the prospect of facing elections. First, there was the SLFP’s Dayasiri Jayasekera trying to convince us that he was not aware how a company linked to the Central Bank bond scam paid him a million rupees for his election campaign. There was the UNP’s Sujeewa Senasinghe trying to explain how he came to receive three million rupees more..

Sri Lanka’s New Right-Wing Politics

Jul 9 (SO) There are two new developments in Sri Lanka’s contemporary politics which is getting crystalized and clearer these days. They are: (a) the consolidation of a hard right-wing alternative to a weak and shaky democratic regime option, and (b) the projection of an ex-military officer as the embodiment of the new right-wing agenda. At the core of the first are groups of Buddhist monks, and retired military and navy officers who took part in the final phase of the war against the LTTE. more..

'No deliberate foot dragging on VIP cases'

Jul 9 (Island) Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale says that there is no truth in the allegations that some cases against high profile members of the former govt are purposely delayed. The govt has no power to rush or delay cases, she said In an interview. The issue of underworld members killed under police custody too has been misinterpreted, she says, adding that the police have a right to protect themselves. more..

On (political) mad dogs & quicksands ahead

Jul 9 (ST) When mad dogs bark at the moon, the wise would probably advocate just a shrug and a sigh. However in a country where those who have lost their senses to all intents and purposes capture the public space so belligerently, shrugging and sighing may not suffice. The tide of insanity is so high that we not only have a senior member of the Buddhist clergy calling for even a Hitler to rule this country to bring it back onto the right path (never mind the stupendously oxymoronic more..

Whither Sri Lanka? – A post script

Jul 9 (CT) Judging from criticism and queries on the article submitted, Whither Sri Lanka? I have been prompted to write this post script, to explain some of the issues raised and also suggest a way out of the impasse, the country face today, in the hands of a corrupt political system. There were some who raised the issue, why I had not delved to find the origins of the Sinhalese with the Sinhabahu Myth. My concern was only to show, the commonly believed myth, that Sinhala race commenced more..

Mahendran, Aloysius made hundreds of calls to top Central Bank officials

Jul 8 (ST) Call records of the Central Bank’s former Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, and Perpetual Treasuries Ltd’s former Director Arjun Aloysius — made publicly available this week — have disclosed details of people with whom they maintained contact over two years. The call records are a part of the Commission report which probed the CB Bond issue. The Presidential Secretariat decided to make the records public this week. more..

FM’s new rewards scheme: Customs officers perturbed

Jul 8 (CT) Joint Customs Officers Union is perturbed over Minister Managala Samaraweera’s proposal, to equally distribute detection rewards amongst Customs officials without giving the full reward to the officer who detects an illegal consignment. Current practice is that 50% of a detection goes to the State, while the other 50% is for the Customs Department. Of the Customs Dept’s 50% share, 60% of the reward goes to more..

SL buries China-related corruption probes?

Jul 8 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has publicly called for a fresh probe into alleged foreign funding of former president's re-election bid, but several other high-profile China-related investigations remain in limbo. At least three mega corruption cases involving Chinese state-owned firms have either been moth-balled or deliberately put on hold, according to officials familiar with the cases. more..

Govt stops issuing permits for firearms

Jul 8 (CT) Govt has stopped issuing and renewing gun licences, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. he said the Govt had decided to halt the issuing of permits for ownership of firearms. According to him, firearms will not be provided to the public under any circumstance. The provision of firearms and the application process is currently managed by the Ministry of Defence. Issuance of firearms, under a serious and strict screening procedure, more..

India agrees to SL’s Mattala airport proposal

Jul 8 (CT) Sri Lanka is gearing up for a joint venture with India, in a 40-year lease agreement, on the loss-making Mattala Airport. A two-day discussion was held last week, on handing over the business plan to India, to promote the airport that is located in the wilderness of the Hambantota District. Proposal to hand over the airport to the best bidder began last year and there were six investors who were vying for the project, including India. more..

Army chief bans racists from camps

Jul 8 (EN) Army commander Mahesh Senanayake has ordered his troops not to allow any individual, including retired officers, who are actively engaged in sabotaging the country’s ethnic reconciliation efforts. In a directive to all units of the SL army, he said the military condemned attempts to obstruct ongoing moves to build bridges between different communities since the end of the war in May 2009. more..

Arjuna still defiant on lubricant project; damning letter from Austin

Jul 8 (ST) At last Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting, there was an unusual turn of events over the US$ 10 million Lubricant Blending project in Muthurajawela by a Malaysian company. Earlier, as exclusively revealed in these columns last week, President Maithripala Sirisena severely admonished Petroleum Resources Development Minister Arjuna Ranatunga at the previous cabinet meeting for delaying the company’s licences. more..

'Too many matches have diluted school cricket'

Jul 8 (SO) Former SL cricket captain and present chief ICC Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle who was the first recipient of the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 1979 and 40 years later the chief guest at the 40th Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards night held at Hilton Colombo passed on some key messages to three important stake holders who were present at the occasion. more..

‘I am happy the investigation will get to the bottom of all this’

Jul 8 (Island) From a single-roomed operation based near the surgical unit of then General Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s Blood Bank has evolved into a fully-fledged National Blood Transfusion Service over the past 55 years. A success story the nation can be proud of today, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) renders a national service as a special campaign under the ministry of health. more..

Mrs. Wijeweera’s habeas corpus lawyer states his case

Jul 8 (Island) Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera is the instructing lawyer in the Habeas Corpus action filed by Chitrangani Wijeweera moving the Court of Appeal in search of the fate of her husband Rohana Wijeweera who had been taken into govt custody in Nov 1989, and alleged to have been killed. Perera is the President of the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners and is at the forefront of the campaign more..

Separating children from parents is State Terrorism, no less!

Jul 8 (Island) "Now we can add America’s First Citizen, Donald J. Trump, to the list of the depraved. State violence against children has a long, dark history among authoritarian regimes. Stalin’s police took children from parents he labelled as enemies of the people. Hitler, Franco and Pinochet all separated children from their families on a large scale as a way to punish political dissidents and those parents considered disposable." So wrote Henry Giroux, who holds the McMaster University Chair more..

NYT Statements, Hitler blessing and the Tiger Curse

Jul 8 (Island) There have been quite a few political statements in the wake of the controversial New York Times article on the Hambantota harbour, and in the wake of the even more controversial speech in Jaffna about LTTE revival by a UNP Tamil State Minister. Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe have made public statements on the NYT article, the former through the media, and the latter in a Special Statement to parliament. If Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement was more..