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මහාචාර්ය සරත් විජේසූරිය

Sri Lankan stocks post 3-month closing high

Aug 23 (Reuters) Shares ended marginally higher on Tuesday and posted their highest close in three months, led by financials while turnover hit a 4-1/2-month high on expectations of better economic performance after the govt said it would achieve its revenue target for this year. Tax revenue in the first seven months jumped 23% to 769.8 billion rupees from a year earlier, and Minister Ravi Karunanayake is optimistic about the full-year revenue target, his ministry said on Monday. more..

FTAs: Good, bad and ugly

Aug 23 (CT) This newspaper, in an article titled FDI lowest in 10 years, quoting an economist said that free trade zones (FTZs) and not free trade agreements (FTAs) were the road to boost exports. Professor Prema-Chandra Athukorala, Professor of Economics, Australian National University, speaking at a function in Colombo on Thursday,, said global studies had shown that vis-à-vis enhancing exports, only 10% of the concessions offered by FTAs have been utilized in this regard. more..

Speaker signs Office on Missing Persons Bill

Aug 23 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today signed the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Bill at the Parliamentary Complex here, making it a legal act, his office said. On 11 August, Sri Lanka's Parliament unanimously approved a bill to set up an office to help find some 65,000 people reported missing during the civil war with the LTTE, and clarify the circumstances under which they disappeared. more..

FCID initiates investigation on SLC

Aug 23 (DM) FCID informed Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court that it had initiated a broad investigation over alleged financial misappropriation reported at Sri Lanka Cricket Board since 2010. Upon a complaint received from the Chairman of COPE Committee, MP Sunil Handunetti, FCID had started the inquiry. The complainant urged FCID to probe alleged fraudulent activities reported at SLC in connection with more..

Suspension of melodious SriLankan pilot, too little too late

Aug 23 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines, which usually gets in the spotlight for allegations of cronyism, has done a turnaround by suspending a pilot who failed a breathalyzer test. This may be a case of too little too late for the debt-laden airline. Sri Lankan flight UL 554 out of Frankfurt Germany on the 19th of August faced a 15 hour delay after colleagues of the captain noticed a melodious voice at the pre-flight meeting. more..

Millionaire businessman disappears: Wife says she heard Sulaiman knocking at door

Aug 23 (DN) Mystery surrounds the fate of a millionaire businessman who disappeared from his luxury residence at Bambalapitiya in the wee hours of last morning. Sakeem Sulaiman who had arrived at his residence around midnight after attending a party has gone missing since then, according to his wife. Wife of the businessman, a well-known textile trader in Colombo, told Police that she had heard her husband knocking at more..

Wimal’s secy. to be checked by JMO

Aug 23 (CT) Fort Magistrate yesterday ordered the Deputy Medical Director of the Kiribathgoda Hospital, to subject former Minister Wimal Weerawansa's Private Secretary, Sarath Weerawansa, to a medical checkup by the JMO of the Ragama Base Hospital and obtain the report to be submitted to the Court. Suspect Sarath Weerawansa is currently being treated for an ailment at the Kiribathgoda Govt Hospital. more..

'Former refugees hamstrung by lack of NICs'

Aug 23 (ST) 6 months since returning home from a refugee camp in TN, K. Chandrakumar is still waiting to obtain SL citizenship for his two young daughters. He and his wife, both SL nationals, fled the country in the early nineties during the civil war. Chandrakumar is one of hundreds who returned from India with many hopes to start a new life but now faces the obstacle of establishing either their identity or their children’s identity. more..

'Even MR's family members may be removed'

Aug 23 (DM) President Sirisena has taken upon himself the duty of purging the SLFP of destructive elements and in the process even Mahinda Rajapaksa family members may their positions as party organisers, Western Province Chief Minister Isuru Devapriya said. He said last week's appointment of 40 new electoral organizers by the SLFP Central Committee on the instructions of party leader and President Sirisena last week more..

Wakf board funds vandalised?

Aug 23 (SL) The govt’s failure in appointing an appropriate Minister to the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry to address the issues and the cases taken up in the Wakf Tribunal has resulted in several officials including the secretary to the ministry vandalising the charity funds, it is learnt. The Wakf board which appoints trustees to Mosques island-wide and the Wakf tribunal which acts like a district court to deal with complaints regarding more..

'No original Sinhala settlements in Mullaitivu'

Aug 23 (CT) Northern Provincial Council Member representing the Mullaitivu District Thurairaja Raviharan said during the war period Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi Districts were totally cut-off from govt administration. But after the war the lands that had permits were converted to lands with deeds and new ownership was created during the Rajapaksa regime. However, the original ownership was ignored. more..

'govt lives up to voters’ expectations'

Aug 23 (DM) Minister Navin Dissanayake, in an email interview, said the govt lived up to the expectations of people during the one year. He said the enactment of the 19th Amendment itself was a great achievement. Q: Now, the govt has been in power for one year; how do you see its progress in terms of living up to the public’s expectations? A: The govt has fully lived up to the expectation of voters for good governance. more..

The need of the hour

Aug 23 (DM) The Youth Commission had repetitively urged in their report that vocational training facilities be increased so that youth will be able to acquire non-academic skills and join the private sector or engage in self-employment. Report says that there is a grave mismatch between Education and Employment. The report says that the “problem of generating employment is a far-reaching one requiring the govt to engage in systemic planning”. It had added that more..

President gets tough for a clean Sri Lanka

Aug 23 (DM) In what could turn out to be a landmark speech made in Matara last Friday, President Maithripala Sirisena publicly pledged he would not cover up or tolerate any act of bribery, corruption, nepotism or other vices by Ministers, MPs or other top officials of National Unity Govt. This would be in line with the new govt’s vision of restoring a clean, selfless, sacrificial and people-serving politics in Sri Lanka. He made the pledge at the first joint meeting held by the UNP and the SLFP to mark more..

VAT hike won’t affect essentials: Govt

Aug 23 (Island) Amidst protests by the Federation of Traders Associations, govt says that the proposed blanket increase of Value Added Tax (VAT) from 11% to 15 percent would not apply to essential goods and services. A circular to this effect would be issued shortly, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said on Friday. Asked about reports that the govt was determined to go ahead with an all-round VAT hike, Senaratne replied that it was not correct. more..

Anura Kumara threatens to reveal names

Aug 23 (CT) JVP Leader and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that he was prepared to reveal the names of all Government and Opposition politicians and State officials who are scuttling moves to punish those guilty of big-time fraud and corruption during the Rajapaksa regime. He said one of the prime slogans of the current regime was to bring to book all those who were guilty of big and small-time crimes, corruption and frauds committed during the previous administration. more..

Sri Lanka business chamber launches trade awareness initiative

Aug 23 (EN) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has launched a platform to enhance the awareness level of its members on the country’s trade policies, after a survey found knowledge was woefully lacking. The initiative, called Trade Intelligence for the Private Sector or TIPS, will focus on the CCC’s engagements on trade policy issues under a common umbrella. “We recognised that Chamber members and the wider business community are interested in, and concerned about, more..

Sri Lanka in luck’s way with over 3 bn market access: Benefits from ETCA, FTAs & GSP+

Aug 23 (DN) Sri Lankan made products will have an access to over a 3 billion population by Aug 2017, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. Speaking at inaugural Northern Investment Forum he said this will be after implementing the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) and the signing of the proposed Free Trade Agreements with Singapore and China later this year. more..

Civil Aviation suspends drunk pilot’s licence

Aug 23 (FT) Civil Aviation Authority suspended the Pilot licence of the SriLankan Airlines pilot who failed a Breathalyzer test at the Frankfurt airport causing a chain of events and losses including a 15-hour delay of a scheduled flight. The move by the aviation regulatory authority comes after the national carrier on Sunday announced the suspension of the pilot concerned. Director General of CAA, in a letter to the pilot informed that in view of the seriousness of the alleged violation, more..

A 6350-year-old pendant discovered

Aug 23 (CT) During an excavation carried out at the Alugallena, Arambehinna, Illukkumbura in Balangoda, which is considered to be where the relatives of the Balangoda Manavaya (Balangoda Man) lived 6350 years ago, a pendant (neck ornament) worn by the hunting community, which lived during the prehistoric era, was discovered last Sunday, according to Senior Professor Raj Somadewa, of Kelaniya Uni Archaeological Post-Study Division, in charge of excavations. more..

Threats will only motivate us: MR

Aug 23 (DM) Threats would only be directed to the formation of new parties, former president Rajapaksa said. He said each and every person had the right to form political parties. “No force can stop the formation of political parties. It is a normal procedure. There should be enough independence within the country to form new parties. It is a normal procedure. There should be enough independence within the country to form new parties. more..

Chandimal undergoes CAT scan

Aug 23 (CT) "Dinesh Chandimal has undergone a CAT scan and is awaiting results after the severe blow to his ribs in the first ODI against Australia," said Team Manager Charith Senanayake yesterday. According to Senanayake, the X-ray which was taken on the match day itself had not revealed any damage, but as a precaution they had gone for a CAT scan just to make sure he is out of danger. Chandimal was the backbone of the Sri Lanka total when he scored an unbeaten 80 runs more..

China to promote Colombo as South Asian hub

Aug 23 (AT) China is taking the lead to promote Sri Lankan capital Colombo as South Asia’s hub through the controversial Colombo Port City which has been re-branded as Colombo International Financial City. The new financial city is expected to fill the vacuum that exits between Singapore and Dubai. After China struck a new agreement with the Sri Lankan coalition govt, reclamation work on the $1.4 billion offshore financial center is set to commence in October this year. more..

Alleged money laundering charges: Namal released under strict bail conditions

Aug 23 (DN) Three suspects including MP Namal Rajapaksa arrested and remanded for their alleged involvement in money laundering amounting to Rs. 45 million in two companies owned by Rajapaksa, were released under strict bail conditions by Colombo Additional Magistrate yesterday. Namal Rajapaksa, Sudarsha Ganewatta, a director of NR Consultation and Nithya Samaranayake who functioned as a director more..

JO meets MR: 'Will confirm attendance today'

Aug 23 (CT) SLFP members of the Joint Opposition (JO) had consulted with former President Rajapaksa and will confirm today as to whether they would attend the SLFP Convention, said former Chief Minister and Member of the JO Prasanna Ranathunga. Speaking to Ceylon Today he added that the SLFP members of the JO do not wish to boycott the convention per se, however consultation with Rajapaksa would cement the decision they would take with regard to the event. more..

Sri Lanka aims to build tourism momentum

Aug 23 (OBG) SL saw a sharp rise in tourism arrivals in the first half of the year, with inbound traffic up 16.7% year-on-year (yoy) through to July, for a total of 1.17m arrivals. While these figures are positive, a closer look shows more nuanced growth. First three months of this year saw a 22.1% yoy increase, but visitor numbers were up by just 2.2% yoy in June. Second quarter of the year is typically a low season for tourism, in part due to Yala Monsoon season between May and August. more..

Pavement hawkers in Colombo to be removed after 15 Sept

Aug 23 (FT) In a decision that is likely to provoke much protest, the Provincial Councils and Local Govt Ministry has decided to remove unauthorised pavement hawkers, billboards and handcarts in Colombo after 15 Sept, it said. Police had complained that hawkers had taken out licenses for newspaper stands and lottery stalls but traded other materials on pavements in contravention to their licenses. more..

Colombo Port City: What you need to know in a nutshell

Aug 23 (AD) Clinching a top priority in the not-very-short list of development projects in Sri Lanka, Colombo Port City has, indeed, been nudging its way into the limelight. Unsurprisingly, the project has its costs and benefits as well as the arguments that come along with the venture. But how does the new project vary from the old? Along with other progressions in the Colombo Port City, the project has also been renamed and is now known as The Colombo International Financial City (CIFC). more..

Sri Lanka upbeat over financial city being constructed with Chinese aid

Aug 23 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt was upbeat on Monday about the future of a proposed financial city which is to be constructed with Chinese assistance. State Minister of National Policy and Economic Affairs Niroshan Perera said in a statement that the financial city is expected to offer over 15,000 jobs in the first stage. He said the government had decided to convert an earlier proposed port city into a financial city in order to help boost the country's economy. more..

Govt woos investors for Western Region Megapolis

Aug 23 (FT) The govt yesterday enlightened over 100 potential local and foreign investors on what it called as the endless opportunities available to them through the Western Region Megapolis Development Master Plan. The UDA held the first business and investment forum targeting the Western Region Megapolis, titled Investment Opportunities, at Waters Edge, to attract $ 16 billion within the next 10 years. more..

National Food safety week begins

Aug 23 (GDI) National food Safety week will be celebrated from today (22) until 29th to protect the health of the people by the Ministry of Health. During this week steps will be taken to check, food, canteens as well as school canteens said Dr. Palitha Mahipala. All hotels too will be checked this week. In our country people don’t consume sufficient amount of vegetables and fruits. The challenge we in the health sector face at present is controlling of non-communicable diseases. more..

SL condemns deadly terror attack in Turkey

Aug 23 (Xinhua) The govt on Monday condemned an terror attack in Turkey, which left over 51 dead and hundreds more injured. "Sri Lanka condemns the violence unleashed by terrorists on a wedding party in Gaziantep, Turkey. Our prayers are with those affected," Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. Turkish President Recep Erdogan said on Sunday that a suicide bomber as young as 12 killed at least 51 people at a wedding in Turkey, pointing the finger at the Islamic State group. more..

Sri Lankan Justice has no place for accountable amnesties

Aug 23 (HRW) It’s time to add accountable amnesties to notable oxymorons like open secret and working vacation. The Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons is recommending those accused of human rights abuses during the final months of Sri Lanka’s war with the LTTE be allowed to seek so-called accountable amnesty. The commission reportedly says in its final report more..

Be warned! Monetary board is losing its powers as well as its independence

Aug 23 (CT) Two disturbing news items that appeared in the press last week portended that the Monetary Board of the Central Bank was fast losing its powers as well as its independence. Both had emanated from two recent measures reported to have been taken by the Ministry of Finance. One was about a proposal by the Ministry to establish a national payments gateway outside the Central Bank (available here and here ). The other was about the formation of an advisory group within more..

Can bottom of pyramid needs & aspirations be met without socio-economic rights?

Aug 23 (CT) It is nearly 70 years since independence. Sri Lanka has been governed by many green, blue, blue intertwined with red governments, and now by a green and blue govt. The constitutions have changed to a Republican framework dropping all links with the former colonial rulers and the British crown. The economic policies enforced over this period have reflected links to capitalism, market, socialism, mixed, middle path and now social market. more..

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