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Video: Physical altercation in Parliament

Jan 10 (AD) Tense situation ensued at the parliamentary complex today when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was making his parliamentary address. Several members of the Opposition occupied the centre of the house making loud remarks of verbal abuse against the PM disallowing him from making his address. Opposition members staged their protest by raising banners and making accusations against the PM and the govt. more..

'Drug price cut saved Rs 9 Billion in 2017'

Jan 10 (CT) Sri Lanka was able to save Rs 9 billion in foreign exchange in 2017 as a result of the Health Ministry's initiative to reduce prices of 48 essential medical drugs in Oct 2016, revealed Minister Rajitha Senaratna. He said price reduction didn't adversely impact the overall profitability of local pharmaceutical firms, as the sales of medicines and other pharmaceutical goods increased by 30% in post-price reduction period. more..

Russia places renewed faith in Sri Lankan tea industry

Jan 10 (AD) Russian Federation revealed that its historic longing for Ceylon Tea has not wavered and even vowed for bigger trade with Sri Lanka, calling to dispatch a strong delegation to the trade meet scheduled in Moscow this year. “Yes, we imposed a ban on Ceylon Tea, but it was nothing to do with our asbestos but was only about an insect found in a Tea package from Sri Lanka” said an upbeat Ambassador of Russia Yury Materiy. more..

Laugfs Hambantota port LPG venture faces roadblocks

Jan 10 (DM) Construction of the connecting pipeline of the US$ 80 million LPG import-export terminal of Laugfs Gas PLC in the Hambantota port has been unofficially halted without further explanation, according to the company’s head. “We were asked to stop construction of the pipeline, and when we inquired from the official in-charge at Hambantota Port, he said that his superiors asked him to do this,” more..

Rape of Swiss woman in N’Eliya: Women shouldn’t travel alone: John Amaratunga

Jan 10 (CT) Minister of Tourism, John Amaratunga advised women to refrain from travelling alone and instead travel in numbers. "Women should be careful when walking alone," he added. He was responding to a question posed by this reporter about the rape of an 18-year-old Swiss woman at knifepoint at Single Tree in the Nuwara Eliya District on 4 January. Police are yet to make a breakthrough. more..

Election Monitor condemns polls law violations at Temple Trees

Jan 10 (Island) Election Monitor CaFFE alleges that Ministry of Education has used the PM’s official residence, Temple Trees, for election propaganda purposes. It has written to the Secretary to the PM not to allow anyone to use Temple Trees for electioneering purposes. "The govt has started using the PM’s official residence, Temple Trees, for election propaganda purposes just like during Rajapaksa administration" more..

LG Elections : UNP will win CMC with 80% of seats: Rosy

Jan 10 (Island) The UNP’s mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council, Rosy Senanayake predicts that her party will win the Council at the LG Election by securing 80% of the seats on offer. Addressing the UNP’s 70th anniversary celebrations, Rosy commended the UNP for ensuring that women’s representation had for the first time been increased to 25% in local, provincial and national legislatures. more..

Tsunami lesson points to a future free of asbestos

Jan 10 (ST) Roofing developed in the urgency of post-tsunami rebuilding could be the solution to a move away from asbestos sheeting, with govt agencies quickly researching alternatives. Action has been stepped up following President Maithripala Sirisena’s order to find suitable replacements for asbestos while a ban on importing material for asbestos production remains pending. Ban was due to take effect from Jan 1 but more..

Girls of Darun Nusra allege continued abuse

Jan 10 (CT) A young girl, aged 12, stands outside the probation office in Hulftsdorp. Her tattered abaya flutters in the wind, her manner desolate. She is one of the victims among 18 who were allegedly abused at the Darun Nusra Orphanage, run by Dr. Mareena Reffai. This young girl was at the probation office to complain about the cruel treatment she had allegedly undergone at the hands of the recently appointed matron in the orphanage. more..

'We never obtain votes by duping the public'

Jan 10 (DM) In the series Direct Talk we feature COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti where he airs his views on the latest developments connected with the Bond Commission Report. Following are excerpts of the interview done with Handunetti. Q: An investigation into the Bond Scam was conducted by the COPE headed by you. Report on the PCoI has also been released. Do you see any contradictions in these two reports? more..

Bond-scam probe is turning democracy into demo-crazy

Jan 10 (DM) One can examine the Bond-scam report and arrive at conclusions after such a close perusal in two diametrically opposed lights. 1. In the context of the current political environment, its apparent findings and President Maithripala Sirisena’s interpretations of the findings and his vicarious intentions of defaming some UNP MPs, despite the fact that his very election as President was principally facilitated by the UNP, would lead to him being branded a traitor. more..

Bond Issues; The Plunder must stop now

Jan 10 (DM) With the principle of openness, transparency and accountability working as it should, parliament will meet in a special session today to debate the nearly 1400-page report and recommendations of the PCoI which probed the CB bond issues from February 2015 to March 2016. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya called this special session at the request of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who positively responded to appeals by the joint opposition and other party leaders, more..

No parliamentary debate on bond report today

Jan 10 (FT) A decision was reached at yesterday’s party leaders’ meeting that the bond report would not be debated in Parliament today, despite the calls of Opposition parties for a debate. Leader of the Joint Opposition in Parliament, MP Dinesh Gunawardena, said that following repeated requests from the Opposition, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had agreed to have the bond report tabled in the House during today’s special session of Parliament. more..

Young Chinese billionaire visits Sri Lanka to explore large-scale investments

Jan 10 (FT) Cai Xiaoru, one of the youngest billionaires of China, arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday, demonstrating renewed investor confidence in the nation. Widely-acclaimed for his extremely successful judgement on market certainty and large-scale acquisitions to trigger rapid business growth, Xiaoru’s visit is set to result in some large-scale private sector investments in Sri Lanka, especially in the high-tech/innovationsector. Xiaoru is one of the youngest Chinese billionaires. more..

Blood Bank warns of a possible blood shortage

Jan 10 (DM) National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) warned of a possible blood shortage in the coming months and requested well-wishers to donate blood to avoid such a situation. NBTS Director said their stock of blood was running low and it could be difficult to continue with the service if a dengue epidemic or a similar situation occurred. Each year from Jan to April there was a huge shortfall in the number of donors and it was a struggle for the blood bank to finding donors. more..

JO defends its call for special parliamentary session on bond report

Jan 10 (Island) The JO yesterday defended its decision to call for a special session of parliament to discuss treasury bond scams involving Perpetual Treasuries in the wake of President Sirisena’s address to the nation on January 3. President dealt with the PCoI report on bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. JO heavyweights Prof. G.L. Peiris and MP Bandula Gunawardena reiterated the need for more..

Kachchatheevu church feast on 23 Feb

Jan 10 (CT) The feast of St. Anthony's church on the Kachchatheevu island will be held on 23 and 24 February. Around 10,000 devotees form Sri Lanka are expected to participate in the festival, Jaffna District Secretary Nagalingam Vethanayagan said. He added that a large number of devotees are expected to participate from both SL and India. "We will provide all necessary facilities for the devotees and the Navy has accepted the responsibility to make the festival arrangements. more..

Expedite work on Uma Oya Project: Prez

Jan 10 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena asked officials to expedite work on the Uma Oya project, to deliver its benefits to the people. He instructed the officials thus at a progress review meeting held at the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment. President also directed the Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissanayake to appoint an Expert Committee to come up with a plan on how to deal with food production and agriculture more..

Shake-up at Sri Lanka Tourism: Udaya given marching orders

Jan 10 (Island) Minister John Amaratunga said SL Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara had been asked to resign. He attributed his decision to the govt’s tourism restructuring programme. Nanayakkara, contacted for comment, said, "I’m sitting pretty in my office. It’s news to me." However, Chairman of SLTDB, Kavan Ratnayake, who is a sibling of Minister Sagala Ratnayake, will remain in his current position more..

Child harassment persists with over 8,500 cases filed in 2017

Jan 10 (FT) With approximately 8,548 cases filed in the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), child harassment continues to remain an issue in Sri Lanka. While the NCPA’s overall policy vision is to ensure that all children in the country are protected from abuse, exploitation, neglect and other forms of violence and harm and that the affected children receive appropriate care and support as they develop into adulthood, children are yet exposed to risk on a daily basis. more..

Malraj relinquishes his duties as DG SLTDA

Jan 10 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General Malraj Kiriella will be relinquishing duties as the Director General of SLTDA from the end of this month. A multidisciplinary professional with over 18 years of experience at Sri Lanka Tourism, Kiriella has held positions of Director Research and International Relations, Director Marketing, Director Corporate Services and Director Standards & Quality Assurance in both Tourist Board & SLTDA. more..

Govt allies should work together: PM

Jan 10 (DM) Allies in the National Govt should work together in overcoming obstacles it faces when delivering what it pledged to deliver, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “I thank all those who placed trust on us and on President Sirisena on Jan 8, 2015. We are committed to deliver what we pledged 3 years ago. Allies of the govt should get together in celebrating what we have achieved but to overcome obstacle that lay before us when more..

Most govt ministries don’t know what they are about!

Jan 10 (CT) Confusion worse confounded that's what these ministerial officers seem to be, utterly undecided, changing policies at their whim and fancy, requiring each draft to be amended a record 20-25 times. They make it into a crazy chaotic frustrating process which could drive one up the wall, Legal Draftsman Deepani Sandhya Hewa Kumarajeewa, let out her exasperation in an interview with Ceylon Today when she said: "Most ministries know not what they are about!" more..

Govt borrows 94% of estimation during Jan-Oct

Jan 10 (CT) The Govt, during the first ten months of 2017, had utilized 94% of its estimated borrowings for the year, with more foreign loans than expected. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Govt had borrowed Rs 479.9 billion from foreign sources during the first ten months of last year, of which Rs 172.7 billion were used for repayments. Govt, during last year's Budget speech, estimated foreign financing to be at Rs 450 million for 2017, of which Rs 178 billion would be repayments. more..

Influx of luxury cars at low duty to deny state billions

Jan 10 (DN) Govt’s Budget 2018 which removed the ad-volerum calculation method of duty on vehicles and brought about a scenario of subsidising the duty on super luxury cars has resulted in the coffers losing around Rs 25-40 million from each of these vehicles. As a result of this there has been an influx of luxury cars into the country recently of the brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley, RangeRover more..

IFC, CB partner to create Sri Lanka’s first national financial inclusion strategy

Jan 10 (LBO) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group has partnered with the Central Bank to develop the country’s first National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The strategy will promote a more effective and efficient process to improve financial inclusion across SL. IFC, over the course of the project, will provide technical assistance to CB to develop the NFIS, through an extensive development process involving consultations with members of the public & private sector, more..

‘Stocks in renewable energy sector attract investor interest’

Jan 10 (Island) Rajiva Bandaranayake, CEO, Colombo Stock Exchange, (CSE), said referring to the IPO of LVL Energy Fund Limited, that LVL was the second company this year to enter the CSE. "The year commenced on this bright note which augurs well for the investment climate morphed into economic progress and investor confidence. The envisaged projects included hydro, solar, and wind power generation," he said. The oversubscribed position of the LVL IPO is an indication that more..

No longer interested in SriLankan Chairmanship: Ajith

Jan 10 (DM) SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias has said that he was no longer interested to be the Chairman of Sri Lankan Airline. In an email dated Jan 2 addressed to one of the officers of the airline Priyantha Senadheera, Mr. Dias said ‘I think most of you missed out on this morning’s meeting where I informed that I will not and have no longer any interest to be the chairman of the airline,” Meanwhile, responding to more..

Powering the passion of running at Walala

Jan 10 (Island) Winning medals at junior Asian level is no big deal for Ratnayake Central, Walala, for the schools athletics stronghold has produced athletes of such calibre to excel even at senior Asian level during the last two decades. But there was something special when the athletes of the premier Sports School of the Central Province helped Sri Lanka team win the Under-17 girls’ title at the recently held Asian Schools Cross Country Championship. more..

Sri Lanka U19 lose warm-up to Australia

Jan 10 (DN) Australia, who have lifted the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup trophy three times put up a strong display on the second day of the warm-up matches defeating Sri Lanka by 53 runs at Hagley Oval on Tuesday. Australia had a good outing as most of their players came good with either bat or ball. They got runs through opener Jack Edwards (50) and Jonathan Merlo, who smashed four fours and four sixes during his knock of 78. The total of 251 for seven in 50 overs more..

'Hathu played a major part in my captaincy come back'

Jan 10 (DN) Angelo Mathews restored back as captain of the Sri Lanka white balls teams – ODI and Twenty20I said one of the main reasons why he accepted the captaincy again was because of new coach Chandika Hathurusingha. “Hathu played a major part in my comeback to the Sri Lanka captaincy. I have worked with Hathu before he was my ‘A’ team coach about 10 years ago and he was also the shadow coach more..

Lanka Hospitals successfully performs first ever minimally invasive lumbar fusion

Jan 10 (DM) Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC recently announced that it has successfully performed a highly specialised spine surgery called minimally invasive lumbar fusion with navigation assistant. The internationally accredited, multi award-winning healthcare provider Lanka Hospitals has incorporated cutting edge technology and innovative techniques to transform the traditionally long, tedious and risky surgical procedure into a highly successful cost effective surgery, more..

National Federation of Self-Employers updates Polls Chief of crooks

Jan 10 (FT) Lanka National Federation of Self-Employers (LNFSE), which claims that a large number of noted criminals have given nominations from all the political parties to contest in the forthcoming LG polls on Feb 10, has requested the Elections Commissioner to take action to stop them sworn in as members of the respective local govt bodies, if they are elected. The LNFSE, which handed over a letter to the Elections Commissioner has also requested him to obtain police and more..

President presents prizes to students excelled in GCE A/L

Jan 10 (PMD) The students of Mathara Sujatha Vidyalaya and Mathara Mahinda Rajapaksha Vidyalaya who ranked best in the island at the GCE A/L – 2017, met the President Maithripala Sirisena today (9) at the President’s Official Residence. The President appreciated these students’ talents and extended his warm congratulations with blessings to the students for the success of their higher studies. more..

Henamulla Phase II by Access Engineering nears completion

Jan 10 (FT) The design and construction work of the urban regeneration project at Henamulla – Phase II undertaken by Access Engineering PLC is now nearing completion. This project was initiated as a permanent solution for the relocation of underserved and derelict community settlements scattered across Colombo. Access Engineering PLC, the leading engineering company in Sri Lanka, was entrusted with the design and construction work of the said project which is a part of a drive more..

Sri Lankan Embassy in Bahrain marks Sri Lanka at 70 with blood donation campaign

Jan 10 (FT) Embassy of SL in Bahrain, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Club, conducted a major blood donation campaign with the cooperation of Salmaniya Hospital in Bahrain. Ambassador of SL to Bahrain, Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis, stated that well over 150 Sri Lankan nationals domiciled in Bahrain donated blood at this campaign, jointly organised by the Embassy and SL Club, as one of the many events to commemorate and celebrate the iconic Sri Lanka @ 70 independence celebration. more..