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Sri Lanka’s return to GSP+ hangs on EU vote tomorrow

Apr 26 (FT) The fate of Sri Lanka’s application for GSP+ tariff concession for European markets will be decided in Brussels on Thursday, when a resolution submitted by 52 EU Parliamentarians is taken up for a vote. A bloc of MPs from the European United Left/Nordic Green Left mounted an eleventh hour bid last week to prevent SL being granted the import duty concessions on the basis of the Govt’s slow progress on democratic and legislative reform. more..

SL Red Cross distributes relief to people affected by garbage dump collapse

Apr 26 (FT) The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society’s Colombo branch, in partnership with the German Red Cross, took steps to distribute non-food relief items to people affected by the garbage dump collapse in Meethotamulla recently, the Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC) said. The distribution to 300 families took place at the Kolonnawa Raja Maha Viharaya with the patronage of SLRCS Deputy Director General Sudath Madugalle and the Nayaka Thero of the Rajamaha Vihara. more..

Cabinet nod for Mou with India

Apr 26 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe arrived in India having secured Cabinet approval to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian govt over the Oil Tank farm in Trincomalee. “It is only a political decision. No specific agreement or venture was discussed,” Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. The Cabinet Paper seeking approval to enter into a possible MoU was presented to Cabinet yesterday by the Prime Minister himself. more..

CB a mess after Mahendran shuffled staff, de-stabilizing system: bondscam inquiry

Apr 26 (EN) Central bank was a mess after ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran had de-stabilized the decision-making system for bond sales with unprecedented staff transfers, commission inquiring into allegations of securities fraud was told. State attorneys said that an innocent officer had been made the head of the Public Debt Dept that sold govt bonds ahead of Mahendran's interference in the decision-making process of its tender board. more..

‘SL geared to upgrade intellectual property regimes’

Apr 26 (DN) SL is committed to upgrade intellectual property regimes to move beyond traditional domains of copy rights and patents, SL’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, Ravinath Aryasinha said. It will particularly foray into new areas such as innovation and branding to bring it in line with international standards, he said speaking at a seminar on protection of Intellectual Property Rights of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions in association with G-15 country grouping and WIPO. more..

Referendum before elections – Rajitha

Apr 26 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said the govt would hold a referendum before elections. He said the govt had to amend the existing Constitution first of all. The amendments proposed by constitutional committees appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena had to be submitted to the Supreme Court and thereafter they had to be approved by people at a referendum. Provincial Council and Pradeshiya Sabha elections could be held thereafter, he said. more..

Governor's bond tender interference would make us go naked: SL central banker

Apr 26 (EN) A senior central banker had protested interference by ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran in a 2015 bond auction, saying tender board member would have to go naked after following his orders, a commission of inquiry was told. Retired Assistant Governor C Karunathilake said he was member of a tender board that oversaw a bond auction on February 2015 where 10 times the volume of bonds offered at an auction was sold. A Presidential Commission is inquiring more..

First WTO agreement Colombo session today

Apr 26 (CT) Sri Lanka's first country session for exporters on the WTO (World Trade Organization) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) will commence in Colombo today (26), stated a press release issued by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. "The focus of the session will be to tell the private sector of the impact of TFA for Sri Lanka and more importantly involve them in going forward," said International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL) Chairman Keerthi Gunawardane. more..

Missing Persons: TPC to launch hartal in NE

Apr 26 (DM) The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) led by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has decided to stage a hartal in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces to compel the govt to resolve the concerns raised by the relatives of those gone missing during the armed conflict. Chief Minister said the govt had ignored the concerns of the relatives to trace those who had disappeared. Meanwhile, the trader associations in the North and East have refused to join the hartal. more..

JO asks govt to honour promise to CPC workers

Apr 26 (Island) The Joint Opposition (JO) urged the government to honour its promise to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) workers, who ended their strike on Monday night. Gampaha District MP Sisira Jayakody said the petroleum strike which crippled fuel distribution throughout the country had ended following an assurance given by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that he would not enter into an agreement with India on the Trincomalee oil tank farm. more..

BOI to ink JV with S’pore’s Surbana Jurong next week

Apr 26 (FT) Board of Investment (BOI) will ink a joint venture agreement next week with Surbana Jurong, an infrastructure and urban development subsidiary of Singapore’s State-owned investment vehicle Temasek Holdings, to develop a few select cities in Sri Lanka. “The BOI will be signing a joint venture agreement with Singapore’s Surbana Jurong to plan and change the outlook of Colombo, Trincomalee and Kandy cities. The joint venture agreement will be signed on 9 May, more..

Poor show from govt institutions at LBO/LBR Brand Summits

Apr 26 (DN) Though free attendance invitations were offered to several public sector organisations to attend Lanka Business Online (LBO) infrastructure and digital summits, only a handful of state institutions responded, LBO Summit Curator Founder Lakshman Bandaranayake said. Speaking at the fifth LBO/LBR Brand Summit announcement launch press conference he said the UDA, RDA, SL Tourism and Ports Authority responded and gained knowledge from the summit. more..

Govt trying to enact Foreign Exchange Bill on the sly: lawyer

Apr 26 (Island) Public litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku has told a 3-member bench of Supreme Court on Monday (24) that the govt made a deliberate attempt to deprive interested parties of an opportunity to challenge Foreign Exchange Bill within stipulated seven days by placing it on Order Paper of Parliament on Friday (7). Kodituwakku pointed out that as April 8,9,10, 13,14,15 and 16 were public holidays, they had to move court only on April 11 or 12. more..

CICT strategically marketing Port of Colombo internationally

Apr 26 (Island) Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) recently welcomed the maiden call of CMA CGM Nabucco, the first vessel under the Ocean Alliance to call on the Port of Colombo. The vessel operated by CMA CGM was the first in a new weekly service attracted to Colombo by CICT this year, and will operate under the USEC 3 Columbus Suez service of the Ocean Alliance, the company said. "The introduction of this new service demonstrates how CICT continues to play the anchor role more..

Work starts on $ 54 m Marine Drive Hotel

Apr 26 (FT) Asia Capital, in collaboration with Japanese foreign investor and partner Belluna Ltd, yesterday commenced building a $ 54 million, four-star business hotel along Marine Drive, Colombo 3, while envisaging an investment of $ 500 million in the tourism and real estate sectors within the next five years. 300-room, 27-floor Hotel is projected to be completed within three years and will be built by leading Japanese construction company Hazama Ando Corporation. more..

Video: India creeps into Sri Lanka's Energy sector: NFF Muzammil

Apr 26 (DM) NFF Media Spokesperson Mohammed Muzammil claimed today that they are in doubt whether the MoU to hand over the China Bay Oil Tank Farm in Trincomalee to India would be signed during the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to India or not, despite PM's assurance that he would not sign. “A secret arrangement is underway to hand over the Trincomalee China Bay Oil Tank Farm to India by the Ranil Wickremesinghe’s govt after signing the MoU. more..

2 new Deputy Governors soon

Apr 26 (CT) Monetary Board of Central Bank plans to fill a vacant CB Deputy Governor position within few days, a Monetary Board member said. "We have already finalized the name after careful selection /interview process and we will announce it very shortly. There were no spaces for outsiders, as some newspaper stories mentioned, " he said. According to a source, he or she currently works as an Assistant Governor of the bank. There were three Deputy Governor posts in the bank. more..

Nimali determined to give better display in second leg

Apr 26 (DN) Nimali Liyanarachchi who gave a disappointing display in the 800 metres event of the Asian Grand Prix first leg in Jinhua is determined to make amends and win a medal in the second leg which will be worked off in Jiashen, Eastern China on April 27. Nimali finished a disappointing fifth with a time of 2 minutes 08:47 seconds in the first leg. It was a huge disappointment for Nimali who had won the 800 metres event in the Asian Grand Prix on three successive occasions. more..

Deutsche Post DHL Group optimistic of Sri Lanka; to expand with growth

Apr 26 (FT) Global logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL Group is optimistic of Sri Lanka’s future and has committed to expanding in tandem with growth for which it believes better infrastructure, education and greater openness are crucial. “Sri Lanka is at the tipping point for South Asia, like what Singapore is for ASEAN. I am optimistic Sri Lanka can deliver on this potential,” Deutsche Post DHL Group CEO Frank Appel told the Daily FT more..

CPC strike: Politically motivated or ignorance: Daham

Apr 26 (CT) Twice- Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Chairman Daham Wimalasena believes that the current CPC strike, by the Unions against the proposal to develop the Trincomalee Tank Farm with India, is either politically motivated or it has been orchestrated through sheer ignorance. Daham Wimalasena was CPC Chairman in the late seventies during the J.R. Jayewardene Presidency. His second stint was in the abridged UNP Govt of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with incumbent Speaker Karu Jayasuriya as more..

Minister resolves foreign tennis coach’s issue, for now

Apr 26 (DN) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara called upon a meeting with the Sri Lanka Tennis Association officials at the Sports Ministry yesterday to sort out the controversial sacking of Dutch coach Eric Pietersz by SLTA before his contract termination. Pietersz was contracted for two years by SLTA and his contract is due to expire at the end of Dec 2017. Pietersz was contracted for a national level program by SLTA and the problems erupted when SLTA decided to terminate more..

Sadeepa, Nirmali set sprint records

Apr 26 (CT) Gateway sprinter Sadeepa Henderson and Air Woman Nirmali Madushika dazzled the track setting new meet records in the 200m, while youngster Asmika Herath set her second record of the meet at the Junior National Athletics Championship continued at Diyagama yesterday. Sadeepa who lost the 200m earlier in the year to Dilmi Dahanayake in the circuit meets, got the better of Dilmi when it mattered at the Junior National's to clock 25.88 seconds to more..

Post-war role for Lanka: A Japanese perspective

Apr 26 (Island) America’s longstanding strategic partner, Japan, is working overtime to induce Sri Lanka to their camp. Japan and Sri Lanka reached an agreement, on Comprehensive Partnership, in Oct 2015, within months after the change of Rajapaksa govt perceived to be very close to China. The change of govt in January 2015, paved the way for the Comprehensive Partnership and the growing US-SL relationship. Japan underscored the relationship a with high profile naval squadron more..

University admission process needs urgent review: A proposal

Apr 26 (Island) Undoubtedly, higher education is the only path to upward mobility for most of our youth. Thus, university admission is extremely competitive in SL and as such it remains a very sensitive national issue for many decades. Only about10% of those who sit GCE A/L are admitted to 14 state universities leaving out almost 90%. The fraction of students who are fortunate enough to receive free univ education comes to about 17% of those who qualify for univ admissions, more..

Political kunu harupa: Badly used bad words

Apr 26 (Roar) In Sri Lanka, even the best-laid arguments can be overturned by a single word or phrase: imperialist conspiracy, NGO karayas and diaspora’s haunt our political rhetoric. A phrase or an adjective, judiciously headlined, can still invalidate an opinion even while bullets are withheld. A speech that repeats a cliché enough times can license barbarism among vegetarians. The legacy of all the bad habits, precedents, more..

Is Aluth Parapura insulting the intelligence of SL’s new generation?

Apr 26 (Island) The following was prompted by the news story, appropriately headlined Punish perpetrators of war crimes, atrocities – NGO pack, in The Island of April 20, according to which, Akalanka Hettiarachchi, representing an NGO called Aluth Parapura (New Generation), stressed that all those who had perpetrated crimes during the war and post-conflict should be dealt forthwith. The young NGO activist was addressing the media during an event more..

Needed: A memorial at Meethotamulla

Apr 26 (Island) Japan is a predominantly Buddhist country and most of her people believe in nirvana. The generous Japanese taxpayers can rest assured that they will definitely attain the supreme bliss someday. (Non-Buddhists among them will go straight to heaven!) For, they have acquired enough merit all these years by helping the hapless Sri Lankans, who are exploited and cheated by a bunch of wily, greedy politicians who are helping themselves to public funds. more..

Sitam campus

Garbage politics vs political gimmicks!

Apr 26 (DN) If things were a bit slow in the political world before the Sinhala and Tamil New year, a series of events that happened at a dizzying pace right after the New Year galvanized political figures representing every hue to point fingers at each other. The blame game began in earnest after the Meethotamulla tragedy, which grabbed the headlines for nearly two weeks. It was undoubtedly one of the biggest tragedies that SL experienced in peacetime apart from the Tsunami of 2004 more..

Should SL have own premier T20 league?

Apr 26 (CT) This week I want to dwell on the topic of T20 leagues and whether Sri Lanka should have one of its own. Having said that, let's not forget that Sri Lanka did have a league of its own some time ago under the brand SLPL, which only flattered to deceive. Sadly SL hasn't had anything close to a top T20 league in the country. I am sure after many controversies that surrounded the SLPL many were of the view that SL can afford to play its T20 cricket without a league by conducting more..

'Sampanthan has forgotten his people’s grievances'

Apr 26 (CT) NPC member Ananthi Sasitharan says tha TNA Leader R. Sampanthan has continued to remain silent while his people are facing various burning issues. "During the time of former President Rajapaksa, Leader Sampanthan had a discussion with him regarding missing persons and the then President agreed to release details of missing persons. At a certain stage of the discussion, he even said that he has some information, but until today more..

Amendments to draft CTA draws concerns

Apr 26 (SL) The amendments made to the Policy and legal framework of the proposed SL Counter Terrorism Act (PLFCTA) has drawn concerns by some groups, including the former UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) and the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Int'l and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) are collaborating on the production of a joint paper reviewing the emerging draft of the PLFCTA. more..

Ice Men – 2

Apr 26 (FT) In 1969, Colombo Cold Stores, the popular supplier of dairy and other food items, marked its diamond jubilee by bringing out a short souvenir book titled Ceylon in our Times 1894-1969. While reporting various social/political/personal events of the 75 years, the book gives numerous snapshots of the people and the temper of the era; invaluable insights to the lives and thoughts of years gone by. For instance, ice was a novelty to the Ceylonese then, more..

New Education Policy: School admission at age 4+ and truncated at Grade 12

Apr 26 (SO) Lowering the mandatory school starting age to four could trigger stress and anxiety among both, children and parents, according to some experts in the education sector. The National Education Commission (NEC) recently proposed that children be admitted to school at age 4+ and school education be truncated at Grade 12. Responding to this proposal, experts told the Sunday Observer that the new policy making decision should be an open discussion. more..

Meethotamulla & Corrupt Politicians

Apr 26 (CT) Oh! my heavens how lucky we are to have such conscientious ministers, members of Parliament and C.M.C mayors who suddenly were awakened to the cries of the folks who were victims to be buried alive by the so called loving, faithful, dedicated politicians. This mountain of garbage at Meethotamulla was deliberately built with no concern for the health hazard it created for the poor but not for the unscrupulous politicians who with the help of the C.M.C. mayors and contractors  more..

I plead with every Tamil not to betray the great leader Chelva

Apr 26 (CT) The birth anniversary of Thanthai Chelva falls on the 26th of this month.  Everyone has a duty to commemorate it. The most unfortunate thing is that, even important Tamil personalities refer  to him as the founder of the Federal Party. No one disputes it. But above everything he was the founder of the Tamil United Front, which name was changed as Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). On the 14th of May 1972 the two great Tamil Political parties, All Ceylon Tamil Congress(ACTC) more..