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Remittances, Oil, Tea

Jan 9 (CT) Escalating tensions between Iran and USA underlined by revenge attacks by the former by launching missile attacks on two US bases in Iraq on Tuesday to avenge the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani by a US drone attack at Baghdad Airport in Iraq last Friday in retaliation for allegedly masterminding the killing of US troops in Iraq, will impact SL by a rise in oil prices to begin with. For instance Brent, the most popular form of fossil oil because of its low sulphur content, more..

Language of the national anthem

Jan 9 (FT) I was studying in Grade Seven when I joined the Scout Association at my school. Scouts have a list of tasks to complete. When you complete them successively, you are given various badges and promotions. One of the very first tasks was to sing the national anthem by yourself. The seniors told us we could do it on the first day. Before I cover them with brown paper every year, I had read the national anthem printed on back cover of textbooks that had that right-off-the-press scent. more..

Video: President inspects Colombo National Hospital

Jan 9 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is currently engaged in an unannounced inspection at National Hospital in Colombo. Prez has spent time speaking to its staff of the issues that prevail at the hospital, according to reports. Conversing with patients, Prez has reportedly asked them of the reasons for arriving at Colombo National Hospital from far-away places without seeking treatment from govt hospitals in their respective hometowns. more..

Sri Lanka passport ranked among bottom 10% of the world

Jan 9 (EN) Sri Lanka’s passport has been ranked 97 among 200 countries and territories in a global index of travel freedoms, dropping from 96 at the end of last year, but maintained its position among the bottom 10% of travel documents. Henley Passport Index, which ranks countries using on-arrival or visa free access to their citizens had placed Japan as the best passport, giving travel freedoms to 191 countries, more..

Thousands lose jobs due to political revenge campaign: Opp. Leader

Jan 9 (RN) Accusing the govt of a campaign of political revenge, newly-appointed Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday sought clarification on thousands of alleged dismissals in the state sector on political grounds. Over 6,000 govt workers are facing unemployment as a result of politically motivated dismissals or cancellations of appointments made by the previous govt, Premadasa said. more..

BASL asks CJ to take action regarding Ranjan’s phone clip controversy

Jan 9 (DM) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called upon Chief Justice to look into the grave situation of several audio clips of MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who had telephoned several individuals including members of the judiciary and take strong remedial steps to arrest situations of this nature taking place again. BASL President Kalinga Indatissa said this issue had raised several questions relating to the very concept of more..

Eran demands release of bond scam forensic audit report

Jan 9 (RN) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne demanded that the forensic audit report on the alleged bond scam be publicised. “It was an independent audit carried out by international auditors KPMG and BDO. Why is it not being released? We urge the President to see to it,” Wickramaratne told Parliament yesterday. “If there were thieves in our govt, bring them before the law and take action against them as needed,” he added. more..

UNP’s biggest blunder failing to feel pulse of the people: Dinesh

Jan 9 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that the UNP-led opposition should understand its mistakes and the biggest blunder it had committed and was being committed was their failure to read the pulse of the people. Participating in the debate on the policy statement made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Jan 3, Minister said that 6.9 million expressed their mandate to elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa more..

Playlist for buses hits discordant note in some quarters

Jan 9 (ST) Unions representing private bus owners and drivers are skeptical regarding the success of the Govt’s moves to introduce a playlist for buses but some are willing to give the initiative a chance to see how passengers and bus crews respond. The CDs and DVDs containing the playlist consisting of 1000 songs along with short videos is currently being distributed to buses across the island. more..

IRD to entertain voluntary registration for VAT

Jan 9 (FT) On the instructions of the Finance Ministry, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has announced it will entertain voluntary registration for the Value Added Tax (VAT) a move coming a fortnight after it deactivated over 50,000 previously registered persons/enterprises as part of the new Government’s stimulus package. Though the standard practice is that a person/enterprise must apply for de-registration and more..

Calling for stricter protection to save Leopards

Jan 9 (DM) Sri Lanka recently made it to CNN’s 20 Best Destinations to visit in 2020. This wouldn’t have been possible if it was a bare island with no heritage and no wildlife. But the fact that we are blessed with a rich biodiversity needs to be taken on a more serious note. Yet, the aggravating Human-Elephant conflict and the recently reported leopard deaths near Udawalawa National Park and Yatiyanthota are wake-up more..

I am a political animal: Maithri

Jan 9 (DM) Former Prez Sirisena, speaks about his future political plans, his performance as the former Head of State and controversy triggered by the leakage of telephone conversations MP Ranjan Ramanayake had with judges. Q: It was widely believed that you would retire from politics after the end of your term. You also said it. In contrast, you are now planning to make a comeback. Why did you decide to do so? more..

Understanding an apolitical president

Jan 9 (DM) As most parts of Colombo are noticing subtle changes to the weather, which is turning from wet to hot, the country as a whole is also noticing bigger changes to the work culture in state institutes and plans made to celebrate political and cultural ceremonies. Changes to weather are predictable, but the change initiating individual-Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa- is proving to be someone unpredictable. Prez is maintaining a tight fist when it comes to spending money from Govt coffers. more..

Becoming Shareholders of a new Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (DM) Seven days ago Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the 7th executive President of SL delivered his policy speech at the fourth session of the eighth Parliament. He is the first non-parliamentarian and non-politician to have assumed the presidency in this Island Nation and for the first time since gaining independence the Head of State and Govt arrived in Parliament devoid of the traditional pomp and pageantry of being escorted by motorcycle outriders, the mounted police and without the usual more..

Wolbachia to combat dengue virus in SL

Jan 9 (DM) Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacterium, which can stop mosquitoes from transmitting an infection to humans, would be introduced to Sri Lanka in February as a mean to curb spread of dengue virus, National Dengue Control Unit Director, Specialist Dr. Aruna Jayasekara said. He said Wolbachia is found in up to 60% of insects, but not usually in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the primary vector of dengue. more..

Lord Sheikh showers praise on Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (Island) In the Queen’s Speech debate, Lord Mohamed Sheikh said that he would like to see the UK investing more in Sri Lanka and expanding Britain’s trade with that country. Lord Mohamed Sheikh of Cornhill: "I have spoken on several occasions, and led a debate in your Lordships’ House, on the importance of the Commonwealth. I shall speak particularly on one Commonwealth country: Sri Lanka. Britain has vibrant SL communities which have made enormous more..

Plastic and polythene to be banned in Kandy

Jan 9 (NR) Governor of the Central Province Attorney Lalith U Gamage says attention has been drawn towards banning the use of plastic and polythene within the Kandy city limits. Governor said he instructed the Kandy Municipal Commissioner to evaluate the legal provisions in this regard and report to him. Governor Lalith U Gamage said he hopes to implement the ban with the approval of the Kandy Municipal Council following consideration of the legal provisions. more..

My battle, method could be unethical: Ranjan

Jan 9 (DM) UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake said his battle and target is to bring drug paddlers, thieves and murders before the law and the methods he used to achieve this could be unethical. MP expressed these views to media after filing a Motion in the Nugegoda Magistrate’s Court against the release of sealed audio clips, which were seized from his residence, by the police to media. Following the Motion, Magistrate has issued notice to more..

TNA claims int'l community was duped

Jan 9 (TM) The int'l community was duped into believing that a political solution could be reached following the defeat of the LTTE, TNA leader R. Sampanthan said. He expressed these views during the Parliamentary session. “The military defeating the LTTE is also substantially attributable to the assistance that both India and the international community provided during the war.” “The terrorist organisation was seen by SL & India as an impediment to a reasonable political solution” more..

Tea auction: 6.5M kg come under the hammer

Jan 9 (CT) The first sale of the year, which was concluded today, had on offer a total of 6.5 million kg. There was good demand and no doubt an encouraging start. Ex-Estate offerings totalled approximately 1 million kg. Overall quality of teas on offer showed no significant change, though it was heartening to witness improved demand all round. Consequently, BOP's in the Best and Below Best category were firm and Rs 10-20 per kg dearer, whilst the corresponding BOPF's gained more..

Minority parties threatened: Rishad

Jan 9 (TM) ACMC claimed that the new govt is on a mission to sideline minority parties through proposed constitutional amendments. ACMC Leader Rishad Bathiudeen said President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement has threatened all minority parties. “There is a need for a strong constitution, however the President’s intentions to amend the constitution are aimed at removing minority political parties. more..

Bumper rice harvest expected

Jan 9 (Island) A bumper paddy harvest was expected and there would be sufficient rice stocks countrywide, Economic and Policy Development State Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said. He said prices of both rice and vegetables would come down soon. The harvesting of the Maha season paddy crop commenced yesterday. According to Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute, farmers in Batticaloa had already commenced harvesting their paddy. more..

OIC in hot water for not resisting Ranjan’s hug

Jan 9 (DM) On the instructions of the Acting IGP, an investigation has been launched against Colombo South Crime Division OIC IP Jayantha Silva for failing to resist from being embraced by MP Ranjan Ramanayake when the latter was being taken into custody last Saturday, sources from the police headquarters said. The incident had taken place when a police team led by the Colombo South Crime Division OIC visited MP Ramanayake’s residence and handcuffed him. more..

SLFP calls for investigation on Duminda Silva judgement

Jan 9 (FT) SLFP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara has called for an investigation to ensure there was no undue influence on the Duminda Silva judgement, with the issue being taken up following the arrest of UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake on 3 Jan. Before Ramanayake was taken into custody, Police searched his premises and found recordings of telephone conversations with members of CID, FCID and Bribery Commission. more..

Ven. Akmeemana thera, MP Wijeyadasa, Azath Sally give statements

Jan 9 (DN) The investigation unit of the Presidential Commission investigating the Easter Sunday bomb attacks recorded statements from Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana thera, MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa and former Western Province Governor Asath Salley who arrived at the commission office yesterday morning. Since new evidence had cropped up during their statements they hoped to record a further statement from Asath Salley today (9) too, sources said. more..

Navy apprehends a trawler transferring Kerala cannabis in the seas off Galle

Jan 9 (SLN) During a special raid carried out by SL Navy in the seas off Galle, a trawler which was transferring Kerala Cannabis was apprehended today (7). Keeping with SL Navy’s attempts to eradicate the illegal drug menace from SL, a special raid was carried out in the seas off Galle, and a suspicious trawler was spotted. During inspection this trawler, a haul of about 15kg of Kerala Cannabis hidden there, was discovered and it along with six suspects on-board more..

‘Over 2,500 acres available for investment in Tourism’

Jan 9 (DN) The Tourism Ministry has over 2,500 acres of land with clear title available for both local and foreign investors said State Minister of Tourism Promotion Arundika Fernando. He said that these lands can be immediately dispersed for investors on a 30 year lease agreement by the Ministry approval. “However if an investor needs the land for a longer period of lease we can arrange Cabinet approval for it.” more..

Sri Lanka condemns assassination of Iranian General

Jan 9 (Island) Govt condemned the US drone attack which killed Iran’s Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and commander of its Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Education Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said in Parliament that the assassination of Soleimani was likely to trigger a war. "We condemn the actions of the US. This incident could be taken as a threat to the leaders in other countries, especially those who speak against imperialism. more..

Hayleys retains prime position in 25th edition of the LMD 100

Jan 9 (Island) For the third consecutive year, iconic diversified multinational conglomerate Hayleys PLC was ranked number one on the prestigious LMD Top 100, further consolidating the group’s position as one of the largest and most dynamic Sri Lankan corporates. The prime position in this year’s rankings was once again awarded to Hayleys in recognition of the unprecedented top-line growth, and the group’s resilient performance during the financial year 2017/18 (FY18). more..

IPI renews call on Govt to investigate murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge

Jan 9 (FT) On the 11th death anniversary of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge yesterday, International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, renewed its call on the Govt of SL to investigate the former Sunday Leader editor’s murder, and bring those responsible to justice. “It has been 11 years since Lasantha Wickrematunge was assassinated, yet more..

Slow Sri Lankan regulations delay Dialog Finance’s fintech innovations

Jan 9 (EN) Dialog Finance said that it could not fully invest public money raised in two rights issues in planned fintech products because of delays in regulatory approvals. Dialog Finance, a unit of telco Dialog Axiata, has been planning to launch fintech products to expand its business and reach the unbanked and underbanked communities in SL. The fintech suite of products had been submitted for regulatory approvals in the 2018/19 financial year, firm’s latest annual report said. more..

Colombo District Court orders BoC to pay $ 875,000 to Canadian

Jan 9 (FT) Colombo District Court ordered Bank of Ceylon to pay a Canadian expatriate citizen $ 875,000, together with interest and legal costs, after the bank was found to have made unauthorised transfers of funds held in special investment deposit accounts. The litigation, initiated by the plaintiff Manohar Randolph Alexander Savundranayagam of Canada, through his Power of Attorney holder Kurukulasuriya Bernadette Evangeline Savundranayagam, came up before more..

THASL to lobby for reintroduction of minimum room rate for city hotels

Jan 9 (FT) Hotels Association of SL (THASL) is to lobby the Govt to reintroduce a minimum room rate (MRR) for Colombo city hotels, considering the heavy undercutting prevailing amongst them amidst low tourist arrivals. “We are considering formally appealing to the Govt to reintroduce the minimum room rate,” THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said. SL Tourism Development Authority on 27 May 2019 more..

Golf: Reshan and Thejas lead bronze and copper division after round 2

Jan 9 (Island) Taniya Balasuriya followed up her opening round of 69, with an Even Par 72 to lead the Gold Division Girls Open Championship by 13 strokes from Kayla Perera who in turn is 4 strokes ahead of Sherin Balasuriya lying in third place. Nirekh Tejwani maintained the lead in the Gold Division Boys Open Championship with another steady round of 74. Levon Niyarepola proved his potential with an excellent 2 over par 73 to climb the leader Board overhauling Yannik Kumara. more..

Ushering the nation to the first world

Jan 9 (ST) It is the dawn of a new year, 2020 as well as the dawn of a new decade, the 2020s. For Sri Lanka it is the dawn of a new administration with the recent Prez election as well as the forthcoming Parliamentary election. I thought of posing an important question: Should we live in a different Sri Lanka at the time we approach the end of this new decade? The term different Sri Lanka might mean different things to different people, but given the focus of our column, more..

'Home work done for Youth World Cup'

Jan 9 (Island) SL Under-19 cricket team manager Farveez Maharoof said that his team had done the necessary home work to get accustomed to bouncing wickets in South Africa where the ICC Youth World Cup will be played from Jan 17. "We have just returned from a training camp in Dambulla where we were largely focusing on getting accustomed to bouncy wickets. We know that the conditions in South Africa will be very much different to those in the WI more..