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National Payment Platform is not operated and developed by Total Pay: ICTA CEO

Aug 14 (FT) ICTA CEO Muhunthan Canagey reiterated that the National Payment Platform (NPP) is not owned, operated and developed by Total Pay. The National Payment Platform is intended to be an open platform for any FinTech to connect and develop applications which will serve the public to perform service online. It is proposed that NPP will be operated by ICTA or its subsidiary; ICTA is 100% owned by Treasury, more..

Business confidence recovers in July

Aug 14 (FT) Latest edition of LMD reports that business confidence moved up to 134 in July. This is the first time the unique index has crossed the 130 mark since Nov 2016 when Business Confidence Index (BCI) stood at 144. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant observes that the latest BCI reflects faith in improving fundamentals. He states in LMD: “Inflation hasn’t gone up for in last three months, lending rates have not increased although they haven’t dropped either, more..

Tharanga’s inexplicable review

Aug 14 (Island) Upul Tharanga’s wretched run in the three match Test series against India continued yesterday as he was dismissed twice in a day to complete the series with just one half-century. Sri Lanka’s ODI captain has been dismissed in some strange ways and  even bizarre was his review yesterday after being caught behind. Sri Lanka resumed their first innings in reply to India’s massive total of 487 and Tharanga was the first man to be dismissed when he was caught behind more..

Only Divine intervention can save Sri Lanka

Aug 14 (CI) The second day of the Pallekele Test began with Sri Lanka in their most promising position of the series. It ended with them a long way down the forest path towards another massive defeat, with hardly a sliver of sunlight to be seen. Hardik Pandya slipped the blindfold on them, with a brilliantly paced maiden Test hundred that stretched India's first-innings total to 487; Mohammed Shami's new-ball spell applied the machete jab to more..

World XI to play Sri Lanka XI at RPS

Aug 14 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket has organized a charity match between World XI and Sri Lanka XI on the 8th of Sept at R. Premadasa Stadium. SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said that a host of retired and current cricketers from seven different countries will form the World XI while the Sri Lankan XI will also comprise former and present cricketers. Former captain T.M. Dilshan has confirmed his participation. Another former captain Kumar Sangakkara has ruled himself out more..

MR, SLFP JO members to take SLPP membership: GL

Aug 14 (SL) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and SLFP parliament members of the Joint Opposition (JO) have decided to join the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). SLPP Chairman, former Foreign Minister G. L. Peiris said that 22 SLFP parliament members have so far confirmed they will be accepting SLPP membership next month. He also said that former President Rajapaksa will be among those accepting membership in the new political party. more..

Penthouse to Port: The Power-Money-Idiocy Nexus

Aug 14 (Island) Gajabinna is a Sinhala word for lies of elephantine proportions. A book named Gajabinnalankaraya (roughly translatable as In Praise of Mammoth-lies) did exist, according to the late DF Kariyakarawana. The book was in the form of a dialogue between two fictional characters and referred to a universe of impossibilities - horned-horses, furred-tortoises, wearable clouds and mirages in which one could bathe. more..

Yahapalanaya wins the day

Aug 14 (ST) Even as many politicians from both sides of the political divide joined in to add voice to the nation’s chorus and let know to both President and PM, you can tell your cabinet minister there with you, he’ll have to go, this week’s welcome resignation of Ravi Karunanayake from his foreign minister portfolio served to strike a blow for the Yahapalana policies of this govt and redeem, to a certain extent, the faith, hope and trust the people had reposed in Sirisena when more..

Toddy thief’s excuse

Aug 14 (Island) I have not laughed so loud, so long, since I listened to Wijedasa’s Vihulu Tahalu. Those of my vintage would fondly remember how expectantly we waited for that monthly masterpiece of humour by H D Wijedasa, normally a very serious person who was a producer in the Sinhala Service of Radio Ceylon, which attacked not only politicians of the day but also our idiosyncrasies as well, in equal measure. I feared I was turning into a grumpy old-man as I was not able to notice more..

Sri Lanka's glorious competence

Aug 14 (CI) As with life, or lovers in Game of Thrones, the emotions cricket elicits from us are relative. Take the India side. They are not, in normal circumstances, the least demonstrative bunch of men. When a wicket falls, Virat Kohli often races around the field fists clenched and vocal chords atremor, like he is being pursued by a machete murderer. Some of Hardik Pandya's celebrations are of such epic blockbuster more..

In search of a proper Foreign Minister

Aug 14 (Island) Dr Sudath Gunasekera, in his opinion piece has stated the case of the need for a new Minister of Foreign Affairs and has proposed former civil servant and politician Dr Sarath Amunugama. The required attributes to hold the position, as described by Gunasekera, though not complete, cannot be faulted. Amunugama, no doubt, is one of the more able politicians found among the current lot. Nevertheless, he is tainted due to his association with the Rajapaksa regime. more..

Football- A tumultuous election, a silent aftermath, then a major uproar!

Aug 14 (ST) On July 1, the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) went to the polls. And, probably got the decision it deserves. The run-up to the elections was, to say the least, ruthlessly fought in the hinterlands of the sport; in the district Leagues which, every two years, gets the opportunity to kick a few butts. The Football poll, indeed, took the proportion of an inverted soap opera. To understand the tragic-comedy, one needs to go back a year or two. more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Badulla

Sri Lanka, China and Hambantota

Aug 14 (SL) In signing off around 70% of Hambantota Port holdings to a front company of the Chinese Govt, as against the originally proposed 80%, Maithiri-Ranil leadership has done more than what predecessor President Rajapaksa had done in his time. Whatever little might have been left open then have been sealed, and for good, and in China’s favour. Incumbent Ministers defending the present split-agreement, with one company with controlling stakes for Sri Lanka in port administration more..

Sri Lanka: Paradise or Nut House?

Aug 14 (SL) That old advertising jingle of the seventies sung in a hybrid accent: Shree Lanker Paradise which occasionally keeps coming back to us raises the question: Where the hell am I? Paradise or some kind of nut-house? Hospitals, even, private hospitals are chock-a-block. Govt hospitals are overflowing and patients are two to a bed and under beds on the floor. The dengue mosquito has floored the nation. Meanwhile our patriotic doctors are worried. more..

'PCs will continue until parliament decides election date'

Aug 14 (CT) The 5-year tenure of the North Central, Sabaragamuwa and the Eastern PCs expire circa Sept-Oct 2017. This has prodded the Opposition in Parliament to intensify its collective demand that the govt holds elections to these councils without any further delay, so as to uphold people's constitutionally enshrined franchise. Minister Faiszer Musthapha said that Parliament is yet to decide on a date to hold elections. more..

Editorial: Intimidating officials the yahapalana way

Aug 14 (Island) Police have recently withdrawn their ill-conceived ban on full-face helmets, which, they said, had stood criminals, especially bank robbers in good stead. But, those who robbed the Central Bank had not worn any helmets, we argued in these columns; instead they wore expensive bespoke three-piece suits and walked away with bags full of stolen treasury bonds worth billions of rupees, so to speak. Now, the govt says those racketeers are as innocent as newborns and more..

Applaud only when the law holds corruptors responsible

Aug 14 (ST) For those who laboured long and hard to bring fresh cleansing winds to SL’s degenerate political culture in 2015, these are times of mortified reflection. Collective angst of UNP amidst a dismaying disarray and loss of public confidence beggars the imagination. Its MPs are filing no-confidence motions against its own ministers as well as those from the other half of (dis) unity alliance. And the very air is rendered hideous with their loud lamentations that Justice is not being done. more..

Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s conflict of interest revealed at Bond Commission

Aug 14 (SO) Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) summoned its first key witness to the Treasury Bond Commission last week, in a move to build up a strong case for themselves against a series of evidence led by the Attorney General during the past five months in the fact finding mission. PTL CEO, Kasun Palisena testifying before the Commission for 4 consecutive days, explained the history and its financial achievements more..

Is time running out for constitutional reform?

Aug 14 (CT) One of the most compelling items on the National Agenda currently is the question of  Constitutional Reform. And the most critical aspect of the Constitutional Reform process  must necessarily be the issue of the Executive Presidency. After a near 40 year experience with this all powerful institution there is general consensus that the institution must be reformed and the Executive Presidency abolished. Yet there are some  who argue to retain this institution. more..

Protesting student; What he may have to say

Aug 14 (CT) It was just last week that 5 university students including the Convener of the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF)- Lahiru Weerasekara were bailed out by the High Court of Colombo under strict bail conditions. The said order delivered by the High Court released the above students after having been in remand custody for nearly 50 days since their arrest after their purported forcible entry into the Ministry of Health and causing damage to public property thereof. more..

Sri Lanka could get debt shock from SOE borrowings: IMF report

Aug 13 (EN) SL's state debt could move into a shock scenario rising to 10% to 94% of GDP if the central govt has to pay state owned enterprise (SOE) loans, an IMF report has found. The lack of price formulae for petroleum, market pricing electricity would increase the risk. "…[I]n a contingent liability shock scenario (the central govt becomes liable for additional debt of 10% of GDP in 2017), the debt to GDP ratio would initially jump to 94% more..

Cabinet defers National Audit Bill for 24th time; says too much powers for AG

Aug 13 (ST) Cabinet this week deferred the National Audit Bill for two weeks after ministers from both SLFP and UNP agreed the Bill in its present form conferred too much power on the Auditor General. It was the 24th time the Bill came to the Cabinet but once again there was no nod for the Bill which has been opposed strongly by senior officials in public service, mainly ministry secretaries, who act as  Chief Accounting officers (CAOs) more..

‘Don’t use LTTE label on every incident’

Aug 13 (Island) Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake says that tagging the LTTE label on every incident happening in the north is completely misplaced as sporadic activity by subversive groups do not constitute a threat to national security. Asked about fears expressed of a resurgence of LTTE atrocities in the north in the backdrop of many violent incidents, he replied: "You mentioned the word LTTE, I didn’t. more..

'Financial crimes: Special Courts, a must'

Aug 13 (SO) Minister Mano Ganeshan expressed concern regarding the delay in investigations into financial crimes and said that time has come to set up special courts to conduct financial crime cases. SPECIAL courts shall be named for FCID &/all -Financial crimes w/out further delay. All accused can go there to PROVE their PURITIES. When this issue was taken up in the Cabinet previously, Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe more..

Jaffna violence: Sword-carriers among more suspects snared

Aug 13 (ST) The police arrested more suspects this week in the North in operations against anti-social activities and criminal gangs. At least 13 suspects were snared for their alleged involvement in the recent attack on two police constables of the Kopay police station in Kokkuvil area, Jaffna, police said. All suspects were produced in court and remanded in custody until August 22 by the Jaffna Magistrate. more..

State minister of foreign affairs attends BIMSTEC ministerial meeting in Kathmandu

Aug 13 (PW) State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake attended 15th Ministerial Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical & Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in Nepal, on 11 Aug. Meeting marked 20th Anniversary of BIMSTEC and provided an opportunity for the leaders to take stock of the achievements and failures of the BIMSTEC during the last 20 years. more..

Crippling islandwide strike imminent

Aug 13 (CT) CPC Trade Unions issued a veiled threat, meant to reach govt hierarchy of harnessing key economic services of energy, water supply & ports to launch a major crippling islandwide strike of proportions that will bring the country to a grinding halt "if President reneges on assurances given to CPC TUs at the last meeting with him." It's been 2 years since some of the investigations were referred to AG's Dept for more..

Vaas bemoans Lanka’s first class system

Aug 13 (SO) Sri Lanka’s interim fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas bemoaned the country’s domestic first-class system and warned that unless pitches are made to suit fast bowlers they would soon become a dying breed. “We can’t be satisfied with the way first-class cricket is played. We need to make first-class cricket work for fast bowlers. We talk a lot about what ails first-class cricket, but no matter how much we talk, more..

Ravi misses vital BIMSTEC meeting, Wasantha rushes to Kathmandu

Aug 13 (ST) Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake resigned from his portfolio on Wednesday, just hours before he was scheduled to board a flight to Bangkok and thereafter catch a connecting flight to the Nepali capital of Kathmandu. He was to lead the Sri Lanka delegation to the 15th ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC — the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi- Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). more..

PM & and his Cronies bankrupting Sri Lanka: Corruption continues despite Yahapalanaya

Aug 13 (Island) The good governance administration that came into power promising to wipe off bribery and corruption in order to provide relief to the people, continues to give relief to the able but not to the poor masses. Startling revelations have now come to light as to how the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade is attempting to aid and abet a leading steel manufacturing company in Colombo suburbs more..

Beyond a resignation

Aug 13 (Island) SL has never had a Foreign Minster resign over allegations of corruption. But the once unthinkable happened last week. Many, including in govt and from the ruling party, supported the resignation of former Foreign Minister on the grounds that what is now in the public domain around his dealings with Arjun Aloysius, subject to a convenient partial amnesia, was deeply detrimental to govt. Note that what’s flagged as embarrassing or wrong isn’t what was purportedly done, more..

The Resignation: Nothing to be proud of, or to boast of ushering a new culture

Aug 13 (Island) Ravi Karunanayake was defiantly proud of his decision to resign from his portfolio, asserting in parliament that he was doing it for the sake of the govt and good governance. No sooner, the PM was on his feet claiming credit for ushering in a new culture, where Ministers will resign without interfering with the judicial process. There was nothing to be proud of, for he had no alternative but to resign. Pressure was not only on the Minister to resign, but also on the President to fire more..

Crackdown on MR and family imminent

Aug 13 (ST) It was like the old Sinhala adage of falling from the tree only to be gored by a bull or a double whammy as they say in the West. The UNP, battered and bruised by Ravi Karunanayake saga, was in for more embarrassment. SLFP Central Committee decided unanimously Thursday night that elections be conducted to Provincial Councils (PCs) in Sabaragamuwa (term ends Sept 26), Eastern Province more..

SLFP opposed to postponing PC polls

Aug 13 (DM) The SLFP resolved to oppose the proposed postponement of the provincial council elections till 2019. The party's central committee took this decision at its meeting on Thursday with President Maithripala Sirisena in the chair. The decision was taken despite the UNP-SLFP govt having prepared a Bill which provides for hold elections to all nine provincial councils on a single day. North-Central, Sabaragamuwa and Eastern PCs will end their terms of office by Oct 1, more..

Cabraal says he’d be happy to appear before Bond Commission

Aug 13 (Island) Former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that he would be delighted to appear before the Bond Commission and testify before it. "I observed that certain Members of Parliament had suggested that I be summoned before the Bond Commission," Cabraal said in a statement. "In that regard, I wish to state that I would be very happy to give evidence before the Bond Commission and respond to any questions the Commission may wish to clarify." more..