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Cabinet chaos!: Country taken hostage by Parliament Mafia

Jan 17 (FT) An emotional President yesterday walked out of the Cabinet meeting after voicing disappointment over criticism levelled against him by some UNP lawmakers. President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told the Cabinet that he was not an ungrateful or inhuman person who has forgotten the help he received during the presidential election. The President was referring to some of the criticism levelled at him on various political stages more..

AG’s team to studay Bond Commission report

Jan 17 (DN) Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC has appointed a four member committee of lawyers to conduct a legal study of the Bond Commission report. The team comprises a Senior Additional Solicitor General, two Deputy Solicitor Generals and a Senior State Counsel, the Attorney General said. The team will study the commission’s recommendations and pay attention to the initial steps to be taken in this regard by the Attorney General’s Department. more..

UNP maiden public rally in Kandy today

Jan 17 (Island) The UNP will launch its LG polls campaign from Kandy today, party’s Assistant Leader MP Ravi Karunayake says. The first public rally of the party would be held from 3 pm at the Central Market ground with party leader PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presiding, Karunanayake said. PM would participate in all main rallies in every district and address all 25 rallies, Karunanayake said. In addition to the main district rallies, there would be 25 main seminars covering all districts more..

Bond report to Parliament today

Jan 17 (FT) The report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the CB bond scam will only be tabled in Parliament on 23 Jan even though Parliament is expected to receive copies of the report today. Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said that Parliament would make it available to all members on 23 Jan, soon after it was tabled in the House. “Our priority is to make it available to the MPs as soon as possible. more..

Yes there was a bond scam: Ranjan

Jan 17 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake admitted to there having been a CB bond scam, and said President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to investigate such scams was an election promise and therefore should be supported by the people. “I must tell the truth even if I am expelled from my electoral seat or from the party. I am not in the habit of telling lies. Telling lies creates mouth cancers. Even our people involved in frauds,” he said. At a meeting in Tissamaharamaya recently more..

Wijeyadasa’s security pruned

Jan 17 (DM) Former justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s security has been reduced by recalling five of of seven officers of the ministerial security detail. He said the security officers had been recalled even without informing him. “No prior notice was given about a reduction on the security detail. When I inquired from Ministerial Security Division (MSD) Chief as to what had happened, he said he was instructed by the IGP to leave behind only two officers with me because I’m an MP now. more..

China offers best chance for Sri Lanka development: CB

Jan 17 (FT) Stronger economic relations with China, underpinned by a pending FTA, should be given the highest priority by Sri Lanka as it provided the best opportunity to attract trade investments and implement important structural transformations in the economy, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. Speaking at the launch of essay book The Island of the Lion and the Land of the Dragon, more..

Sri Lanka, China think tanks co-launch book on Sino-Lanka relations

Jan 17 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan and Chinese think tanks on Tuesday jointly launched a book on the Sino-Lanka relations titled The Island of the Lion and the Land of the Dragon in order to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. The book consists of a series of essays on Sri Lanka, China relations compiled by Sri Lanka and Chinese scholars and is a joint publication of the Pathfinder Foundation in Sri Lanka and the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations. more..

ADB provides additional funds to support SME development in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (DN) The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved $75 million in additional financing to continue support toward the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), considered vital for economic growth and job creation in Sri Lanka. “SMEs have the potential to reduce regional inequalities in Sri Lanka given that SMEs are more widespread throughout the country than larger enterprises, which are mainly based in the capital Colombo,” more..

Central Expressway will create vibrant economy: PM

Jan 17 (DN) The Central Expressway which will connect two airports, two ports, industrial zones, tourism zones and main cities, will create a new economy in the country, said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday, undertaking an inspection tour of the work being done on the Central Expressway. PM conducted his tour at the Kurunegala-Gattuwana and Meerigama-Galdeniya sections of Expressway under construction. more..

'Attempts to alter PCoI report before debate'

Jan 17 (DM) Attempts were made before the parliamentary debate to change the PCoI report in a way that it would not convey the real essence of the report, NFF MP Jayantha Samaraweera claimed. He said that according to confidential sources an attempt had been made to alter the bond report in a manner that would prove the innocence of the culprits including former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake, former CBSL governor Arjuna Mahendran and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

2017 Tea crop rises for first time in four years

Jan 17 (FT) Tea production in 2017 was at 307Mn kg, up only 5% when compared with the previous year’s drought-affected figure of 292Mn kg, brokers said but recovering marginally from the seven year low hit in 2016. Production in December fell by 13.5% from a year earlier. 2017 figure of 307 Mnkg was the lowest since 2009 when total production crashed to 291 Mnkg. A collapse of the market in Q4 2008 following the global banking crisis and draft in 2009 restricted production. more..

Govt to ink JV with Rojana Industrial Park in Feb

Jan 17 (FT) Govt will sign the joint venture agreement with Thai-based Rojana Industrial Park Public Ltd, which will attract about 200 factories, by the end of next month, with operations slated to commence by the end of this year. “We have got Cabinet approval to release land to the BOI and to commence essential infrastructure facilities. We hope to sign JV agreement by the end of Feb & have industrial park up & running by Dec” more..

‘Govt servants, State resources cannot be used for political promotion’

Jan 17 (DN) Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said neither govt servants nor State resources could be used to promote political parties at the Local Govt election. He added that govt servants are not allowed to volunteer their services to candidates. Deshapriya stated that the above has been banned in Constitution, Elections Ordinance, Establishments Code, and regulations of relevant institutions. In addition, EC has issued a gazette & circular with regard to it. more..

Rajitha lambasts media

Jan 17 (Island) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne lashed out at the media, accusing them of trying to tarnish the govt’s image by claiming it had done nothing. Dr Senarate, addressing a group of state employees in Beruwala, said everyone wanted to know what the unity govt had done for the country. The media was all out to show the govt in a bad light for political reasons. It claimed that despite rampant corruption under the Rajapaksa govt development projects were implemented. more..

Video: Speaker should resign: Keheliya

Jan 17 (DM) JO MP Keheliya Rambukwella said Speaker Karu Jayasuriya should respectfully resign from his post in connection with the recent fracas in Parliament. He said they accepted the Speaker’s statement that the turmoil in Parliament was planned and organized because the PM came with a lengthy statement instead of tabling PCoI report in parliament. “It is true that what happened was organized and planned. more..

SLC provides equipment to 14 Clubs

Jan 17 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has invested Rs 60 million to provide Ground Equipment for 14 of its member clubs. 9 Tier A clubs and 5 Tier B clubs were the beneficiaries. This was a project of the National Development Centre of SLC, states the release. Among the items distributed were grass cutters, manual rollers, hand rollers, outfield rollers, outfield gang movers, manual spike rollers, hand tractors, nylon boundary ropes and turf cutters. Tier A clubs SSC, Bloomfield, CCC, NCC, more..

The beginning of a new era?

Jan 17 (DN) SL will hope to begin a new era in their cricket history when they open the New Year 2018 with a match against Zimbabwe in the one-day tri-nation series in Dhaka, today. A new coach Chandika Hathurusingha and the reinstalling of Angelo Mathews as the captain of the one-day game in both formats ODIs and Twenty20Is has renewed hopes of a better tomorrow for the SL cricket team and its players who have had a rough ride in 2017 – a year they would want to forget in a hurry. more..

Grand Hotel receiving orders for Rs.3.8 Mn desert: Chef

Jan 17 (DM) Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya is already receiving orders and positive feedback for Marry Me, the Rs.3.8 million dessert, Chef Viraj Jayaratne said. Chef Jayaratne, who created the dessert, said that many Sri Lankans living abroad had praised the efforts of the team of chefs at the Grand Hotel to promote the hotel and Sri Lanka. He said the dessert was the result of a joint effort made by the hotel's chefs, more..

Increase of NPL likely to affect quarterly results of banks and financial companies

Jan 17 (Island) Increase in Non Performing Loans (NPL) in banking and financial sector has affected the profitability of companies in the industry. As a result, the stock prices of these companies are likely to come down when their quarterly results are released during the course of the week or so, stock market analysts said. Due to the drought and other natural disasters and coupled with economic slowdown has resulted in increasing the non performing loan ration which amounts to more..

Learnwell, international brand of science text books translated into Sinhala

Jan 17 (Island) MBD, one of India’s largest education companies and the most prolific book publisher in the country has donated one thousand copies of Learnwell Science books for SL students. The books were recently handed over to the Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam by MBD’s SL Country Manager. The internationally recognised brand of educational books which has gained a reputation for its wealth of information have been specifically translated into Sinhala for the benefit of more..

Lankans spend more on food, apparel in holiday season

Jan 17 (DN) Visa has released spend data for Dec 2017, indicating a spike in spending across categories in particular, across apparel, food & groceries and home improvement by SL consumers during the holiday season. “This December we witnessed strong spends by Sri Lankan consumers across various categories. True to the spirit of the holiday season, spends were concentrated around travel, lodging, F&B, more..

Editorial: The Hulftsdorp find

Jan 17 (Island) Good news comes from Hulftsdorp. Minister of Foreign Employment and Justice Thalatha Atukorale says she has dug out a slew of important files, put away by the Attorney General’s Department, under the previous government. She deserves praise for the find. It was to expose the misdeeds, if not crimes, of the former rulers and bring them to justice that people elected the present government in 2015. After all, that was one of the main yahapalana promises. more..

People should foil opportunist governance

Jan 17 (Island) The group of leaders who came together to get Independence from the colonial powers could not stay united for five years. The destinies of the nation were submerged due to the leaders not sitting together and formulating a vision of national priorities and a practical strategy for the planned and harmonious development of the country and the unification of the people. Their personal shortcomings impinged on the Nation. Majority in the newly formed UNP Cabinet was self-satisfied. more..

Stepping into our own magical world of nano

Jan 17 (ST) A top a small hill in Pitipana, Homagama, off set amidst a lush 50-acre block is a building, the sight of which stops the visitors in their tracks. It looks like a space station but a closer view makes it crystal clear that it is all to do with science and technology. Taking the shape of a hexagon with atoms aplenty adorning it, we are on the doorstep of Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), just about to more..

Many roads open

Jan 17 (Island) We have just commenced Yahapalana Year 4. The third anniversary of Yahapalanaya is also the third anniversary of the defeat of the Rajapaksa regime. Both anniversaries coincide happily with the imminence of an island-wide election, the first since 2015. The Yahapalana govt is also well past its halfway mark. The occasion therefore permits a reflection on the record of Yahapalanaya and the prospects ahead, especially in the light of the upcoming election. more..

Sri Lanka celebrating 70th anniversary under a cloud

Jan 17 (Island) A group of British parliamentarians representing the ruling Conservative Party recently declined to respond to The Island queries pertaining to their visit (Jan 3 - 8) to Sri Lanka. The visit took place amidst continuing controversy over Lord Naseby challenging the basis for Geneva Resolution 30/1, co-sponsored by Sri Lanka on Oct 1, 2015. Conservative Party member Lord Naseby on Oct 12, 2017, in the House of Lords, revealed the treacherous British role in Geneva project. more..

Anura Kumara Disanayaike

In praise of President Sirisena

Jan 17 (CT) Who made Maithripala Sirisena, President of our republic? Was it Ranil who claims that he made a great sacrifice by deciding not to contest as the UNP's candidate? Is it the executive committee of the UNP that decided to endorse Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate that the party should support? Or did the majority of people who voted for the common candidate make him our President? Let us cut to the chase. Let's avoid obfuscation. Let's get to the point. more..

TNA: How better is better?

Jan 17 (CT) In a recent interview to Meera Srinivasan, Colombo-based correspondent of the respected Indian newspaper, The Hindu, TNA leader R. Sampanthan, made a few valid points, some of them repeated by him and other Tamil leaders before him, ad nauseum. The fact that a veteran who is the only surviving signatory to the then famous TULF rejoinder to the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord has to keep repeating the traditional Tamil position (sans LTTE brand of terrorism, more..

Yan Oya Project: Large reservoirs the need of the hour

Jan 17 (CT) Development projects, in a diverse society, should not be only aimed at economic development, but also for developing peace which is being built up between various ethnicities, through commitments carried out by different races on behalf of the others. If not, those projects will not achieve sustainable development for all ethnicities within a diverse society. It became extremely clear, during our recent visit, more..

Constitutional reforms process needs corrections

Jan 17 (CT) An important event in the Constitutional Reform Process was the discussion in the Constitutional Assembly on the first interim report submitted by the Steering Committee. The debate that commenced on the 30th of Oct and gone on for 5 days brought about very positive views for the success of the attempt to bring about constitutional reforms to meet the twin problems of democratization of the state and national reconciliation. more..

Prevailing plight of the land of Spice

Jan 17 (DN) Sri Lanka has always been known as the Island of Spices, but today, the industry faces a number of challenges, many of which are common to the slow deaths of numerous traditional industries, from handicrafts to cultivation. Those engaged in the spice industry are both smallholders and large-scale cultivators. The Matale district, which is a hub for spices, has suffered great losses during recent times, mainly due to the sharp drop in the prices of spices—especially that of pepper. more..

'Upcoming LG Elections a referendum'

Jan 17 (CT) National Organizer of JO and UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma says the SLFP is the ancestral home of the patriots of this country; home to progressive persons, and the sanctuary of the leftists. "Today the UNP has leased it out". Q: The Treasury Bond Fraud Report has been released and hasn't Maithri taken the sword out in a way no one thought of? A: He appointed the Commission and the Report was out in no time. more..

Dr. Ranjith Atapattu, an exemplary figure

Jan 17 (CT) It was profoundly ironic that the funeral of Dr. Ranjith Atapattu took place the day after the appalling spectacle in Parliament. My attention was drawn to this by the former Secretary General, Nihal Seneviratne, the launch of whose book about better days was one of the last public events that Dr. Atapattu attended. I saw Nihal at the funeral, where we were joined by Mahinda Rajapaksa who had come to pay his respects, but he was not allowed to stay in the background as he had wanted, more..

The Sirisena Saga: On Yahapalana misogyny

Jan 17 (CT) The National Human Rights Action Plan [hereafter referred to as Action Plan] is one of the best developments that came out of the otherwise jaundiced Sirisena–Wickremesinghe joint govt. A crucial component of the Action Plan was a call to work towards repealing legislation of yesteryear that restrict fundamental freedoms of Sri Lankan citizens. Last week, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera MP announced a decision that was part of the gradual implementation of the Action Plan more..