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Rs. 2 billion loss in Lotus Tower project: Minister Harin, JVP, demand immediate probe

Sep 18 (DN) Minister Harin Fernando yesterday demanded an immediate investigation into the loss of Rs. 2 billion in connection with the construction of Lotus Tower. Minister Fernando’s comments came in the wake of statement issued by the Presidential Media Division stating that there was no record of Rs. 2 billion paid as an initial deposit to a Chinese company that was supposed to have been involved in the project. more..

Restructuring SriLankan: Ministers told to submit views on Eran’s proposals

Sep 18 (DM) At yesterday's Cabinet meeting, President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have asked the ministers to submit their views on the recommendations made by State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne on restructuring SriLankan Airlines on the basis of a public-private partnership. The State Minister in his report to the ministers outlined the financial position of the national carrier and pointed out that the amount owed by SriLankan to the state banks & CPC more..

Docs again on strike today over unresolved issues

Sep 18 (Island) The GMOA, yesterday, assured that they would attend to all emergency services today despite their strike action, urging authorities to attend to their grievances, which had led to the series of strike action. GMOA Executive Committee Member Dr. Prasad Colombage told The Island that notwithstanding the strike they would attend to services at National Hospital, Cancer Hospital, Army Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Renal Special Unit and routine services. more..

Ex-TRC Director General Palpita denies President’s allegation

Sep 18 (Island) Former Director General of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) Anusha Palpita denied President Maithripala Sirisena’s allegation that Rs. 2 billion paid by the SL govt, in 2012, to Aerospace Long-March International Trade Co. Ltd (ALIT), China, for the construction of the Lotus Tower had disappeared from the books. Palpita said that the construction of the Lotus Tower commenced in 2012 more..

Sri Lanka and IAEA sign Country Programme Framework for 2019-2025

Sep 18 (AD) Director General of SL Atomic Energy Board T.M.R. Tennakoon and IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Dept of Technical Cooperation Mr Dazhu Yang signed Sri Lanka’s Country Programme Framework (CPF) for the period of 2019–2025 on the margins of the IAEA 63rd General Conference taking place from 16-20 Sept in Vienna, Austria. A CPF is the frame of reference for the medium-term planning of technical cooperation between a Member State and more..

Sirisena's support to Rajapaksa family will help China's designs in SL, says expert

Sep 18 (ANI) Amid growing tussle for power between Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, the upcoming prez elections in Sri Lanka may lead to an alliance between SLPP and SLFP wherein experts believe that Sirisena's support to Rajapaksa family will help China's designs in SL. Experts have predicted this new alliance between President Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa's family expecting that Maitripala may not seek a second term in view of unprecedented constitutional crisis last yr, more..

SL needs recalibration for growth leap: PM

Sep 18 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that for Sri Lanka to see exponential growth, it has to make a clean break from the inward-looking policies of the past, recalibrate and move towards increased productivity and competitiveness, underpinned by a new system of governance. Speaking as the Chief Guest at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019, titled Re-calibrating SL’s Economic Trajectory: Towards 2025, more..

Akila denies rift within UNP

Sep 18 (FT) UNP General Sectary and Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam denied a rift existed within the party and charged that attempts were afoot to create a false impression of discord within the UNP. He stated that certain parties were attempting to mislead the public by falsely creating the impression of a rift within the party. However, he stressed that there was no such splintering and insisted that the UNP was working to declare the most suitable person as the party’s prez candidate. more..

FR filed to stay Elpitiya PS election

Sep 18 (DN) Three voters eligible to vote at the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha election yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an interim order suspending the operation of the gazette notification to hold the election for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha on October 11. The petitioners sought an order restraining the respondents from holding an election for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha based on the nomination called for in 2017. more..

Cabinet approves Bill to deal with ISIS terror

Sep 18 (DM) The Cabinet is reported to have endorsed a new Anti-terrorism Bill to deal with the latest threat of terrorism in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks by terror groups linked to ISIS. The new Bill has taken into consideration the recommendations made by a Cabinet Committee headed by Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana and also comprising of Ministers Talatha Atukorale and Champika Ranawaka. more..

Sri Lanka to call for expressions of interest to revive The Finance Company

Sep 18 (EN) Central Bank has decided to call for expressions of interest to find potential investors to revive the failed The Finance Company after repeated efforts till now failed. A statement said The Finance Company (TFC) was severely impacted by the failure of a number of financial institutions within the Ceylinco Group in 2008. “Since then the financial status of the company deteriorated gradually and it currently operates with severe liquidity issues, which need to be addressed immediately,” it said. more..

Army Commander commends soldiers who rescued drowning family

Sep 18 (SLA) Presence of mind, bravery and considerateness for others showcased audaciously by two Kilinochchi-based soldiers of the 5 (V) Mechanized Infantry Regiment (MIR), having rescued a drowning mother and her two children were feted awarding special Commendation Plaques and Commendation Certificates by none other than the Commander of the Army himself after inviting them to the Army Hq. Lance Corporal D.G.S Amarasiri and T.G.J.P Ariyarathne more..

Minister Jayawickrama Perera confesses to being a dummy

Sep 18 (Island) Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that the then Chief Justice and Head of the Mahapola Education Trust Fund (METF), Justice K. Sripavan had not objected to the agreement between the Mahapola Education Trust Fund (METF) and SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), to institute an independent body, in 2015. Perera said that at no occasion had Sripavan opposed the agreement. more..

New Monetary Law Act viewed as a must before elections

Sep 18 (Island) New Monetary Law Act in the works should be passed before elections in order to have a more rules based approach in monetary policy, Dr. Razeen Sally, keynote speaker at the 69th anniversary of the Central Bank said last week. Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy also addressing the same forum said the Monetary Law established in 1950s has served its purpose extremely well, but time has come to modernise the Monetary Law. more..

NDB Bank eyes private placement to boost capital

Sep 18 (EN) NDB Bank Plc is planning a private placement of shares among foreign and domestic investors to raise capital as the lender is on track to become a systemically important bank. “We have a capital raising plan which we are currently working on most likely through placement arrangements,” CEO Dimantha Seneviratne said. NDB is adequately capitalized with Tier I capital of 9.02% of risk weighted assets at bank level against a requirement of 8.5%, and 10.21% at group level. more..

Reconciliation is an absolute necessity for economic development: Mangala

Sep 18 (AD) Minister Mangala Samaraweera stressed the importance of economic development and stated that national reconciliation is an absolute necessity in this regard. “Reconciliation is an absolute necessity for economic development. There is no way of harnessing our potential as a modern, stable, prosperous nation, except to celebrate the diversity of our country as a multi-ethnic, more..

Giving school cricketers their due recognition: ANCL leads the way

Sep 18 (DN) School cricket is the bedrock of cricket in Sri Lanka. It is from these very foundations that the country has produced world class cricketers who have rubbed shoulders with the rest of the world and won accolades and world titles and made us a proud nation. For years Sri Lanka’s school system has been the envy of all other nations and if at any point we have faltered it is the poor domestic club system that is in place and one which keeps on changing like the proverbial Lankan weather more..

China’s Hainan Group to set up rubber zone in Kegalle next year

Sep 18 (DM) The first specialised free trade zone for rubber-based value-added exports of China Hainan Rubber Industry Group Co. Ltd will be set up in Kegalle next year. “We are negotiating with China’s Hainan Group to set up rubber zones in Sri Lanka. I am very keen that we set it up in Kegalle. Hainan Group held extensive discussions with Sri Lanka’s private sector. They are planning to invest between US $ 50-100 million per venture,” Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said. more..

Thirimanne injury scare as Sri Lanka prepare for Pakistan

Sep 18 (DN) Sri Lanka suffered an injury scare when its one-day captain Lahiru Thirimanne suffered a pain in his back while training ahead of the tour to Pakistan and his condition is currently being monitored by the physio. “There was a slight concern about Thirimanne, he had some pain on one of his discs, that’s what the physio said,” said team manager Ashantha de Mel. “But so far they have said that it is nothing serious more..

IWF World Weightlifting C'ship 2019: Gomes, Lakmal and Isuru in action today

Sep 18 (CT) Three weightlifters, including Commonwealth Games Bronze medallists Hansani Gomes and Chathuranga Lakmal, will be in action today at the IWF World Weightlifting Championship 2019 in Pattaya, Thailand. Gomes, who became country's first female weightlifter to win a Commonwealth Games medal, will compete in the 49kg weight category, while Lakmal, who won Sri Lanka's first medal in 2018 Commonwealth Games, will compete in 61kg weight category. more..

Only Hiruni for World Championships despite several occupying top rankings

Sep 18 (Island) Sri Lanka’s participation at next week’s IAAF World Championship will be limited to one athlete despite several local athletes occupying relatively higher positions than in the past in the IAAF World Rankings. The US based marathoner Hiruni Wijeratne is the only Sri Lankan to have qualified for the biennial event which will commence in Doha, Qatar next week. Saman Kumara, the Athletics Association of SL statistician said that the number of participants at this year’s edition more..

Tough CB rules for dealers in post bond-scam era

Sep 18 (ST) Central Bank (CB) has issued a set of strict guidelines to dealers in treasury operations of commercial banks and specialised banks in the post bond-scam era that cover ethical transactions and includes whistle blowing provisions. The guidelines issued on Aug 29 to the market, according to bank dealers, contain new and old provisions made in the immediate aftermath of the bond scam which called for ethics, more..

Selection of UNP 2019 prez candidate: Civil society intervention underscores turmoil

Sep 18 (Island) National Movement of Social Justice (NMSJ)-led civil society grouping is of the view that UNP leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should pave the way for Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to contest the 2019 presidential election. Having backed Maithripala Sirisena’s candidature at the January 2015 prez election, the civil society grouping threw its weight behind Speaker Jayasuriya. The move should be examined against the backdrop of Speaker’s role in thwarting more..

No need for a secret ballot: UNP MP

Sep 18 (RN) UNP MP Chandima Gamage said UNP would not need to resort to a secret ballot to select its presidential candidate. The MP was responding to a question about a letter UNP presidential hopeful Sajith Premadasa had written to the party leadership seeking a secret ballot in the event there is no consensus on his candidacy. Speaking to the media at Temple Trees today, Gamage said it wouldn’t come to that as, even as recently as yesterday, no one has opposed Premadasa’s nomination. more..

SL projects 0.5mn tonne rice surplus in 2019

Sep 18 (EN) Sri Lanka is projecting a 535,000 metric tonne rice surplus for 2019, after two seasons of good harvests, though the island’s paddy cultivators do not produce standard export grades of the grain unlike tea, rubber, coconut and spice farmers. 3.07 million metric tonnes of paddy was produced in the main Maha season, which can be milled into 1.94 million metric tonnes of rice. In the Yala minor cultivation season, more..

A tale of two Central Bank Governors

Sep 18 (Island) With lime light shed on the Central Bank (CB) over the recent years because of the allegations against its former Governor Arjuna Mahendran (AM) with regard to the Treasury Bond Scam (TBS), the writer out of curiosity wanted to find out the origin of the CB. During his search, he also came across interesting information about its first SL Governor, N.U. Jayawardena (NUJ). It is a black mark in the history of the CB that NUJ, who helped establish the CB was interdicted for no fault more..

Removal of the Vice Chancellor of Uni of Jaffna and politicization of higher Education

Sep 18 (SO) When the decision to sack Professor Ratnam Vigneswaran from the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna surfaced in the public domain in May this year, many academics and well-wishers of the University were shocked by this unprecedented development. Prior to the announcement, the former Vice Chancellor was not even called for an inquiry by the University Grants Commission or any of the authorities responsible for higher education in the country. more..

Face the Nation

Editorial: Karu dips toe in

Sep 18 (Island) Prez aspirant, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, has apparently dipped his toe in, before throwing his hat into the ring. He has reportedly expressed his willingness to run for president for the sole purpose of abolishing the executive presidency! Now that UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has launched his prez election campaign prematurely and is cranking up pressure on the party leadership to name him as UNP’s prez candidate, why Jayasuriya is treading so cautiously is more..

World surfs in Sri Lanka

Sep 18 (DN) The upcoming So Sri Lanka Pro professional surfing event set for Arugam Bay, popular for its magnificent surf, has been extremely well received by professional surfers from all over the world. The international professional surfing competition is to be held in Arugam Bay from Sept 23 to 29. With entries still coming in, already around 120 surfers from 24 countries such as Australia, Indonesia, France, Venezuela, Israel, the USA, Portugal, NZ, Mexico, Spain, Great Britain, more..

'Politicians don’t need special skills'

Sep 18 (TM) Social Entrepreneur and Ambassador for Democracy Earth Eranda Ginige asserted that there should not be any career politicians. Q: Should an elected head of state have to be a career politician? A: Of course not. As per the Constitution, any citizen can apply. So I think to answer your question, we have to decide what a career politician is. Personally, I think, considering politics, managing the affairs of the state as more..

Efficient municipalities

Sep 18 (ST) Pedris Appo (short for Appuhamy), a retired agriculture expert who does farming, was amused on Thursday morning. “I say, did you see that advertisement in the Sunday Times last week on a Municipal Council offering repair services for a payment?” he asked during a morning call. “No, really,” I replied, adding: “Let me check and call you back.” Rummaging through the newspaper pile, I found the Sunday Times and turning the pages came across an advertisement on Page 17 more..

Sajith faces reaction, yet decision persists...

Sep 18 (CT) It is held that political correctness does not legalise tolerance. It only organises and legislates, hatred. It challenges one's timidity. It can hamper good breeding, good intentions and even mask up brooding dangers to others. It's often defined as seeking to minimise offence to gender, racial, cultural, disabled, aged, or other identity groups. But on the other hand, it could be doing the very opposite. Obviously then, what's missing is that vital piece of sincerity, truthfulness. more..

'I have a plan to uplift the country'

Sep 18 (CT) Minister and UNP National Organiser Daya Gamage, says at the time when everyone was saying we could not set up a govt, the only person who said it could be done was Daya Gamage. "I have a plan to uplift the country," he said. Q: What is your readiness for the Prez Election? A: I believe that we need no special preparation for the Prez Election. This govt has carried out a large amount of work already. more..

Orphaned 19A; Cut-throat duumvirate

Sep 18 (CT) Nobody now admits full paternity of 19th Amendment; everybody says “Well I may have had a bit of a hand but others mucked it up”; “Me? Who me?” and so on. Constitutional lawyers disagree about what it adds up to. Some declare the next (second) president will be powerless, ceremonial in all but name. He can have no ministries assigned to him, not even defence. His powers of appointment to key positions, even service chiefs will be circumscribed. more..

Moderate Karu: Best choice for the UNP & SL

Sep 18 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, the most respected senior statesman in the UNP, announced this afternoon that he was ready to run for the presidency, with the expressed intention of abolishing the Executive Presidency within a limited period. The abolition of the Executive Presidency has been one of the most notable campaign promises in SL since 1998. Most ironically, every candidate that has promised to abolish the Executive Presidency has emerged winner at more..