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Service sector professionals betrayed by SL-Singapore FTA, says SLIA

May 16 (Island) Submissions made to the govt by professionals in the construction industry to not include or implement liberalization of the services sector through the SL-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) fell on deaf ears and the country will have to pay the price for it, Architect D.H. Wijewardene, Chairman, SL Institute of Architects (SLIA) said. "As a result of SLSFTA, there will soon be an influx of low quality more..

‘FTAs, proposed trade agreements, a boost for business relocation’

May 16 (DN) The recently-inked comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) with Singapore and FTA being negotiated with China together with the enhancement of the existing agreement with India and Pakistan will encourage business relocation to Sri Lanka. This should have positive effects on rental markets,” Chairman of the Condominium Developers Association of SL, Pradeep Moraes said. He also said that around 10% of investors in SL’s luxury residential property developments more..

Commercial Bank accelerates into 2018 with impressive growth

May 16 (Island) Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has reported profit before VAT and NBT of Rs 7.677 billion and profit before tax of Rs 6.337 billion for the first quarter of 2018, with growth of 21.07% and 21.36% respectively signalling an exceptionally strong start to the financial year 2018. Gross income for the three months ending 31st March 2018 was up 19.03% to Rs 32.096 billion, with interest income improving by a robust 20.59% to Rs 28.567 billion, SL’s benchmark private bank said more..

Boyagoda sidelined again

May 16 (CT) Hasitha Boyagoda, SL’s under-19 opener whose blistering 191 at the Youth World Cup caught the world’s eye, was sidelined once again by Team Kandy during the ongoing Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Inter Provincial One Day Tournament, which has now reached the semi-final stage. The masterful opener who is a product of Trinity College Kandy, has been in good nick since the World Cup hammering two centuries, more..

HNB Group records Rs7.2Bn PBT in Q1

May 16 (LBO) Hatton National Bank reported a first quarter profit after tax growth of 22.5% to 4.5 billion rupees, while the Group reported a PAT of 5 billion rupees which is a 24% growth from last year. HNB expanded its loan book by 33.7 billion rupees during the quarter which represented growth of 5.3%, enabling a 10.5% year on year (YoY) increase in interest income which totaled 24.9 billion rupees. Bank grew its CASA base by 9.9% in the three month period to 273.6 billion rupees, more..

Six U-12 footballers to receive training in Barcelona

May 16 (CT) Six Under-12 football players will get a rare opportunity of a lifetime to attend a 4-day football coaching camp in FC Barcelona, Spain. These six most talented footballers will be selected after going through a challenging selection process during the all-island Under-12 schools football tournament organized by the Ministry of Education. This four-day all expenses paid trip by Milo will enable the players to enhance their skills in the game. They will receive coaching by legends more..

‘Sri Lanka is the only country that has eradicated terrorism’

May 16 (Hindu) Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake took over as the 22nd Commander of the SL Army in June 2017. The conduct of the army in the past, during the island’s civil war that it ended by defeating the LTTE in 2009, and its contentious presence and role in the country’s Tamil-majority north and east since then continue to dominate the discourse around post-war resettlement and reconciliation. more..

Singer revenue in 1Q up 13% to Rs. 13.6 b

May 16 (FT) Singer (Sri Lanka) Plc yesterday announced a 13% increase in revenue to Rs. 13.6 billion in the first quarter of 2018 in spite of challenging business conditions. In the period under review for the three months ended 31 March 2018, profit before tax was Rs. 419.8 million, recording a slight growth of 3% over the previous year. However, corporate taxes increased during the period under review as subsidiaries declared dividends resulting in withholding tax. more..

Neglecting country’s highest export earner

May 16 (ST) Tea has been SL’s highest export earner from the latter part of the nineteenth century and is still the country’s highest domestic value added export earner. Despite the paramount importance of tea for the economy, the seventy post independent years have been characterized by a neglect of the tea industry. Over the past seven decades the country has lost her preeminent position in global tea production and exports, though it remains among the highest producers more..

Ramadan: Chance to build yourself

May 16 (DN) Millions of Muslims across the globe look forward to the holy, merciful and blessed Ramadan which falls on May 16 and 17. With the sighting of the moon, the devotees will initiate the Ramadan fasting. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) used to get ready for this special month two months ahead of Ramadan because of its significance and numerous benefits. Muslims fast from dawn to sunset for 30 days with more..

Oil at boiling point, for most economies!

May 16 (ST) It is again time for oily talk, because world oil prices are on the rise. We are caught up in between economics and politics of setting oil prices and spending on oil bills. How we set the domestic oil price will determine who will pay for the oil bills. Well, we also have to cope with many oil blunders in the past; I am not surprised if we keep repeating the same. It is important to examine the current oil market issue to see where we might slip and float and, how much we have to bear more..

Editorial: Futile attempt to disown yahapalana baby

May 16 (Island) JVP has flayed the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration for using the military to introduce private medical degree courses through the Kotalawala Defence University (KDU), in contravention of Gen. Sir John Kotelawala’s last will. Claiming that the govt is doing so on the pretext of resolving the SAITM, it has threatened to intensify its protest campaign against efforts being made to set up private medical schools. JVP has seen through the govt strategy, more..

Mahinda Amaraweera

Who then wants to retire gracefully?

May 16 (CT) It does not require great wisdom to guess why President Maithripala Sirisena said that he would not retire from active politics in 2020, when the next polls to the nation’s highest office is due, by early January. His predecessor-boss, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has hit the nail on the head when he said that this was Maithri’s way of trying to keep the weakened flock together, at least until the polls. Down not out, Maithripala began his Presidential career with the loss of a majority more..

Continuing moribundity in higher education

May 16 (CT) Wickrema Weerasooriya did not try to win me over after that first discussion, which happened at a workshop on education organized by the IMF representative at the time, redoubtable Nadeem Ul Haque. But his malign influence continued at the University Grants Commission (UGC). At the Bank, the experienced Governor of those days, A.S. Jayewardene, did not allow him much leeway. With Ranjith Mendis a cipher, however, Wickrema could assert himself more..

'Samurdhi a path to emancipate downtrodden'

May 16 (SO) Contrary to speculation, the new Social Empowerment Minister, P. Harrison says, there is no decision to place Samurdhi Banks under the Central Bank. Minister said, verifying the eligibility of Samurdhi beneficiaries to qualify for the Samurdhi allowance does not mean curtailing the allowance given to beneficiaries. There is a considerable number of people, who we understand, are qualified for the Samurdhi allowance. more..

Independent Election Commission for cricket elections: is it for real?

May 16 (ST) The other day, I was in conversation with a high ranking official of a cricket club which is a top level stakeholder of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) system. Usually, when we sit at the Clubhouse, the topics vary, yet, as of this moment, the SLC AGM is around the corner and involuntarily, we plunged into that thorny subject. While discussing the pros and cons, one of the stakeholders of our little conclave argued there would be nothing to stop so and so from winning, more..

Tamil national question & Tamil insurgency

May 16 (CT) On May 17, 2009 the LTTE admitted the defeat in the war against the Sinhalese dominated Sri Lanka security forces and vowed to silence guns. In May 18, Sri Lanka security forces announced that the LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, who led the three decades old violent campaign to build ethnic nation for the Tamils who predominantly live in the Northern and Eastern territories of the island of Sri Lanka, was killed by SL’s military in a firefight that signaled the effective end to more..

'20A: Beware of foreign agendas'

May 16 (Island) SLFP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera discussed the party’s restructuring initiatives between May 08 and 15 as well as the future plans of the 16 rebel MPS. Q: Out of the 16 SLFP MPs that voted for the No Confidence Motion only SB Dissanayaka got on stage at the SLFP May Day Rally. Most of you remained with the crowd, while others didn’t attend, does that indicate a split in your group? A: The 16 MPs that voted for more..

Forgotten war victory

May 16 (Island) Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt has reduced the annual Victory Day parade to a mere commemoration ceremony for fallen officers and men, at Palaly, in the Jaffna peninsula. Jointly organized by NP Governor Reginald Cooray’s Office and Ranaviru Seva Authority, in coordination with the Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna, the brief ceremony, held on the morning of May 4, 2018, was certainly not quite enough to celebrate SL’s biggest post-independence achievement. more..

Prominence for Loincloth

May 16 (DN) All media highlighted pictures of the peasants, backed by the JVP controlled Sri Lanka Govi Sammelanaya leaders, demonstrating in the city clad in their traditional field dress, the Amude [Loincloth] a couple of years back. The Government withdrew the heavily subsidised issue of fertilizer and substituted it with alternative schemes. The protest was aimed at conveying to the public and authorities on the negative effects of the fertilizer subsidy withdrawal. more..

Night club probed over British rugby players’ sudden deaths

May 15 (EN) Two British rugby players who died after what is suspected to be a drug overdose had visited a night club in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, shortly before they developed respiratory problems, investigators said Tuesday. Police sources said the two players identified as Thomas Howard, 25, and Tom Baty, 26, had serious breathing difficulties on Sunday morning and admitted to Colombo National Hospital more..

GMOA welcomes decision to absorb SAITM students to KDU

May 15 (DM) GMOA today welcomed the Cabinet decision to absorb 982 SAITM students to General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), after their discussion on Friday with Higher Education Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. GMOA Secretary Haritha Aluthge said that the Gazette notice on abolishing SAITM should also be delivered, parallel to this decision. He expressed his gratitude to the Minister for his decision to absorb only the students, without absorbing the SAITM more..

Was he in a coma?

May 15 (DM) Green party’s businessman-politico from Digamadulla was among the top team members sworn in, the other day. However, he was in for a big disappointment when he did not get the portfolio he expected, they say. When his name was called, he came forward and signed the appointment letter after being duly sworn in. However, to everyone’s surprise, he walked away without receiving the appointment letter from Number One. An obviously disconcerted Number Two more..

Severe shortage of textbooks for 2018: CTU

May 15 (AD) There is a severe shortage of textbooks, as only 28,210,600 text books have been printed for the year 2018 although the total requirement is 41,189,027, according to the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU). Secretary of CTU Joseph Stalin stated that, the teachers too are affected by this situation as the amount of textbooks needed for the teachers has not been included in the printed textbooks. more..

Former President given until July 4 to respond to charges in SLTB case

May 15 (AD) Case filed by Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) against former President Rajapaksa, seeking Rs 140 million in compensations for losses incurred, was taken up today at the Commercial High Court of Colombo. SLTB requests compensation for the expenses borne by the institution for the SLTB buses used for Rajapaksa’s political campaign at the last Prez Election. Court granted the defendant, former Prez Rajapaksa, time until 4th July to respond to the charges. more..

Govt trying to give oxygen to fishermen after sending them to deathbed: GL

May 15 (AD) Chairman of SLPP, Professor G.L. Peiris, says that after the sending the fishermen to their deathbed, the govt is now preparing to give them oxygen. He said that depressing situation has presently arisen within the country and that the fishermen communities have fallen. The former minister said that fishermen are presently refraining from setting out to sea in protest over the fuel price increase and that the govt should have thought about such situation beforehand. more..

Child adoption in Sri Lanka: A snapshot

May 15 (Roar) Children are our greatest treasure. Children are a blessing in every family. Children are the future of our nation. Rhetoric of this sort flourishes in SL, where many make a song and a dance about how children are always prioritized above all else. But for all that, a wide range of prevalent factors like poverty, illness and even natural disasters have seen multitudes of children being pushed off the social pedestal more..

47,000 unemployed graduates: Minister

May 15 (Island) There were 47, 000 unemployed graduates in Sri Lanka, Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said yesterday. He said so at a ceremony to mark the handing over of the appointment letters to 4,511 graduates enrolled into the state administrative service. "There are 47,000 graduates waiting to join the state service. We receive between 400 and 500 applications daily asking for govt jobs. Some say we are trying to reduce the size of the state sector. more..

President meets Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

May 15 (PSL) President Sirisena who is on a two day state visit to Iran met with Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Teheran, yesterday (13). President Sirisena was warmly received by the Supreme Leader of Iran when he arrived at the venue. Supreme Leader pointed out the importance of taking forward the strong, long standing bilateral ties between the two countries, while further enhancing diplomatic relations as well as the friendly ties between the people of the two countries. more..

Video: Private bus strike demanding 20% fare hike

May 15 (AD) Inter-Provincial Bus Owners’ Association has decided to launch a strike from midnight tomorrow, demanding a 20% increase in bus fares. Association also demands that the minimum fare be increased to Rs 15. Cabinet today approved an increase in bus fares by 6.56% with effect from tomorrow, however no change was made to the the current minimum fare (Rs 10). Prior to the fare revision, more..

Video: Fishermen continue strike for 2nd day

May 15 (AD) Fishermen from several areas protested the fuel price increase by continuing their strike for the second day. People arriving to buy fish from the main fish markets in the Negombo and Chilaw areas had faced difficulties due to this situation. Negombo Fish Market was closed again today due to the strike. Fishermen from Beruwala to Mannar engaged in a strike protesting the fuel price hike starting from yesterday. Fishermen on strike had hoisted black flags around the Chilaw more..

Senevirathne becomes new head of FCID

May 15 (AM) Senor DIG D.W.R.B Senevirathne has been appointed the acting Senior DIG in charge of the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID). Senevirathne previously functioned as the head of the CID. Senevirathne succeeds Senior DIG Ravi Waidyalankara who has not been granted a service extension. Waidyalankara, according to Police sources, was not given an extension on the basis that there were two investigations against him. more..

JVP calls for removal of taxes on fuel

May 15 (NR) The JVP has called on the govt to remove the unfair taxes imposed on fuel. Speaking at a media briefing, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said the losses incurred by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation cannot be covered by increasing fuel prices. MP Herath noted the prices of fuel had been increased through an unfair tax system adding the price hike could result in CEYPETCO making serious losses and more..

Sri Lanka participates in F&B Int’l Exhibition

May 15 (CT) Sri Lanka tea, essential oils, coconut milk powder, virgin coconut oil and other coconut products were showcased at the International Food and Beverage Exhibition (Salon International de l’Alimenetation (SIAL)) held in Toronto at the beginning of this month, the Department of Commerce on its website said. Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB), Mlesna Tea, Imperial Tea Exporters (Pvt) Limited, Tea Talk Pure Ceylon Tea, Regency Tea and Hero Nature Products Pvt Ltd, more..

Speaker signs Judicature Amendment Bill

May 15 (NR) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has signed the Judicature Amendment Bill which was passed in Parliament recently. The Amendment Draft Bill which includes the establishment of three member special High Courts was tabled in Parliament on the 9th of May. A debate was held over the Amendment Bill and was passed with a majority with 119 MPs voting in support of the bill and 52 against. Amendment Bill was tabled by the Minister of Justice. Bill was presented on March 6 by more..