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Post-Natural disaster revival costs Govt Rs 50-60 billion annually

Feb 1 (CT) A study conducted by the Ministry of Finance has estimated that the Govt annually incurs a sum of Rs 50 to 60 billion to assist the people during times of natural calamities. As a result, during the past few years, due to climatic conditions and the resultant heavy rains, floods and earth slips that were experienced, the damage caused by such calamities to the country’s economy had been 0.5% from the GDP, more..

Ex-parliamentary official reveals Govt - Opposition collusion

Feb 1 (Island) One-time top official in parliament Lacille de Silva, alleged that there was an understanding among political parties represented in Parliament not to raise the contentious issue of quorum though in the recent past the UNP had acted contrary to that consensus. All those lawmakers in Parliament should be ashamed of their disgraceful conduct, De Silva said, alleging that political parties fiercely guarded various more..

NEC seeks new laws to rein in privately owned media

Feb 1 (Island) The National Election Commission (NEC) has recommended new laws to control privately owned media during elections. This is in addition to laws now in place to rein in the state media. The Island yesterday received a copy of NEC letter dated Jan 11, signed by its Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya. The NEC constituted in terms of the 19th Amendment enacted in late April 2015 comprises Deshapriya, more..

Citing drug crime, Sri Lanka plans 1st executions since 1976

Feb 1 (AP) Sri Lanka's president pledged to end the country's 43-year moratorium on capital punishment and execute condemned drug traffickers amid alarm over drug-related crimes. The statement on the govt's website said President Maithripala Sirisena would order the executions soon but did not say how the prisoners would be executed. Sri Lanka last executed a prisoner in 1976. At the time, prisoners were hanged. more..

Customs protest causes loss of Rs. 3 billion

Feb 1 (Island) The Customs officers’ work-to-rule campaign had caused a loss of three billion rupees to the state, President of the Customs Superintendents Union, Uditha Jayasinghe said. He said that their trade union action against the appointment of a former military officer to the post of Director General would continue unless the govt appointed either a senior Customs officer or a member of the SLAS to that post. more..

Burns and Head punish toothless Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (CI) Joe Burns creamed Australia's first Test hundred of the summer, ending the day in sight of a double, Travis Head cracked a big maiden ton himself before Kurtis Patterson played himself in against the second new ball, and as Australia finished day one of the first ever Test at Manuka Oval on 4 for 384, it was difficult to believe that they had been 3 for 28 in the first hour. That Burns and Head were able to motor Australia more..

Thriposha Co. denies imported corn led to Fall Armyworm

Feb 1 (CT) The Thriposha Company refuted allegations that the Fall Armyworm (FAW) or Sena caterpillar had come to the country through a stock of corn imported to produce the infant food nutrient. Chairman of Thriposha Limited, B.G.S. Gunetilake said there were false allegations being made by certain Opposition Members that corn was imported on a decision made by Cabinet. They implied that it had resulted in the FAW being more..

Video: President says new govt will be formed in 2019

Feb 1 (AD) Everyone who loves the country should gather to make SLFP a strong public force to defeat the drives against the country, says President Sirisena. He stated this addressing the event held to declare open the new SLFP Colombo District office this evening (31). Under the programme initiated to reorganize the SLFP, establishing new district offices for the party across the country is currently underway. more..

TU Action & Polls

Feb 1 (CT) This is election year, with a Presidential Election due between Nov and Dec, i.e. in another 10 to 11 months from now, according to Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya. President and SLFP/UPFA leader Maithripala Sirisena is banking on the support of former President and SLFP/UPFA leader and current SLFP/UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa in his re-election bid, ditching PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP/UNF/UNFGG with whose support more..

The mirage that is COPE

Feb 1 (FT) COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti has very candidly stated inter-alia in his seventh COPE report under the Chairman’s Note as follows: “Whether the public will have confidence in COPE and in Parliament in general or not depends entirely on the trust that the public is able to establish based on our practice and our pragmatic actions.” While it is an admitted fact that the public have lost their confidence in Parliament in general, the trust they would place on the findings reported by more..

JVP press conference

IOC unit hit by ad hoc price cuts; formula not cost reflective

Feb 1 (EN) LankaIOC, a publicly traded unit of Indian Oil Corporation is expecting better results in the March 2019 quarter after being hit by a multiple price cuts during a political crisis, but an existing pricing formula itself is not cost reflective. In the December quarter Lanka IOC lost 986 million rupees, with gross profits falling to 67 million rupees from 277 million rupees a year earlier. In addition to petrol and diesel the firm also sells Lubricants which have positive margins more..

SLFP to file legal action against delays in PC polls

Feb 1 (FT) The SLFP is taking steps to file legal action against Minister Vajira Abeywardena for postponing Provincial Council Elections, SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara said yesterday. He called on the Govt to hold elections, bringing in new regulations in line with a Cabinet paper adopted during their 50-day Govt, noting the party is planning a host of actions, including filing legal action and island-wide protests, to push the Govt to hold elections. more..

Kiriella presents motion to form National Govt with only SLMC MP in parliament

Feb 1 (CT) Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella has today presented a motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya seeking to form a national govt aiming to increase the number of Cabinet portfolios to 48. The UNP intended to form a national govt with the SLMC which has only one seat in the House. Other MPs of the SLMC are representing Parliament as members of the UNF. The SLFP, the JVP and the TNA have already decided that they will not more..

Enterprise Sri Lanka-BOC Thurnu Diriya - Disbursement Over 500

Feb 1 (DN) The Thurunu Diriya loan scheme, which was implemented to empower small andmedium young entrepreneurs, successfully disbursed the 500th loan last week. Accordingly, at the end of Jan 2019 a total of 515 Thurunu Diriya loans worth more than 217 million were disbursed for young entrepreneurs around the country. The Thurunu Diriya loan scheme has disbursed loans in all 25 districts of the island and the district-wise loan disbursements are led by Rathnapura while more..

Cut costs, draw investors with green reporting, Sri Lankan firms told

Feb 1 (EN) Sustainability reporting, in which companies communicate their impacts on issues like climate change, can help Sri Lankan firms cut costs and improve their image while offering market opportunities, an expert said. Sena Peiris, former director of the National Cleaner Production Centre, said sustainability reporting or green reporting enables firms to create a positive image of themselves, helping draw investors, and enhancing brand value and reputation. more..

Two Wave Rider craft produced by SL Navy donated to Seychelles govt

Feb 1 (SLN) Two Wave Rider craft produced by the Inshore Patrol Craft Construction Project established at the Naval base Welisara, were handed over to Seychelles govt in a ceremony held at SLNS Rangalla in Colombo harbor premises, today. Prez Maithripala Sirisena and Vice President of Seychelles Vincent Meriton graced the occasion as chief guests. Accordingly, these two craft were handed over to the Vice President of more..

Queen Elizabeth extends wishes on Independence Day

Feb 1 (GDI) Queen Elizabeth II in a message on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day has extended her best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of Sri Lanka in the coming year. “It gives me great pleasure to send Your Excellency Maithripala Sirisena my congratulations on the celebration of your National Day, together with my best wishes for the good fortune and happiness of the people of Sri Lanka in the coming year,” she said in the message. more..

12 new foreign envoys presents credentials

Feb 1 (PMD) Twelve new foreign Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Sri Lanka presented their credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House in Colombo today. The Envoys who presented credentials are: Mr Ivan Lancaric – Ambassador of Slovak Republic; Dr David Pollard – High Commissioner of Guyana; Ms Dinah Akello – High Commissioner of Uganda; Mr Andrei Rzheussky – Ambassador of Belarus; Mr Sekou Kasse – Ambassador of Mali more..

83 Lankan refugees return from India

Feb 1 (GDI) Under the guidance of UNHCR, 83 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who had fled the country during the wartime, have returned from Chennai, India yesterday. PM’s Media said the govt is committed to taking every necessary measure to establish peace and reconciliation among every Sri Lankan, and accordingly, all citizens who fled the country during the wartime are openly invited to return home. more..

Ceylon Teachers Union protest next week

Feb 1 (NR) The Ceylon Teachers Union has decided to launch a broad scale protest comprised of 4000 school principals. The protest will be held opposite the Ministry of Public Administration on Tuesday. Union Secretary Joseph Stalin said the objective of the protest will be to urge the issuance of a circular pertaining to providing concessions over the issue of fluency in the Tamil language. Stalin said many school officials have been severely affected by the issue. more..

Illegal cigs worth over Rs. 20mn nabbed

Feb 1 (AD) A person in possession of a stock of 400,000 foreign cigarettes has been arrested by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) in Pettah. The cigarette haul has been smuggled in from Dubai, under the guise of importing marine spare parts, according to the Police Media Spokesperson. It is estimated to be worth around Rs 20 million, he said. The suspect was nabbed by PNB officers while transporting the stock of cigarettes in a container near the Clock Tower in Pettah. more..

Credit risks high in SL banks: S&P

Feb 1 (EN) Sri Lankan banks have high credit risks due to slow economic growth, high credit growth and lax lending standards, ratings agency Standard & Poor (S&P) said in a report. "SL banking sector's resilience is weak and is affected by the country's low income levels, with an estimated per capita GDP of about US$ 4,050 in 2018," it said. "Credit risk is high, in our opinion, given relaxed lending and underwriting more..

Six Indian trawlers released from SL custody

Feb 1 (SLN) Six more Indian fishing trawlers held by the SL Navy for poaching in Sri Lankan territorial waters were released from SL custody today (31). The handing over of these trawlers was done with the assistance of the SL Coast Guard. The trawlers moored at the jetties of SLNS Elara in Kareinagar and the Detachment of Kiranchi belonging to SLNS Buwaneka in Nachchikuda were repaired by a dedicated team of Indian engineers who arrived in Sri Lanka over the past couple of days. more..

T20: SA Women beat Sri Lanka by 7 wickets

Feb 1 (CI) South Africa captain Dane van Niekerk's all-round brilliance set up a resounding seven-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the first T20I at Newlands. Van Niekerk lead the way with three cheap wickets as Sri Lanka were held to 90 for 8, and then followed that up with an unbeaten 71 from 55 deliveries to complete the hosts' chase with more than five overs to spare. SL captain Chamari Atapattu called correctly at the toss and opted to give her team the chance of setting a total but more..

'Sri Lanka heading for World Cup disaster'

Feb 1 (AFP) Cricket legend Arjuna Ranatunga predicted on Friday that the country would fall short at this year's Cricket World Cup because of corruption by officials and player indiscipline. Ranatunga, who captained the side that won the 1996 World Cup, doubted that Sri Lanka would even get past the first round of the tournament that begins in England on May 30. "There is corruption at the board. Players are demoralised. more..

143 SLTB buses vanish from WESCO

Feb 1 (CT) Informed sources said that some 143 buses, belonging to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), handed over to the WESCO Company for repair work, have disappeared. These details had been reported to the COPE in Parliament. COPE had summoned the Chairman of the SLTB and its officials from the Board of Director to inquire what had become of the 143 buses which were handed over to the WESCO Company for repairs. Later, the Chairman of the SLTB told the Committee more..

'Another national govt not unconstitutional'

Feb 1 (NR) The JVP says the establishment of a national govt is in no way unconstitutional. MP Vijitha Herath said the party with a majority seats can form a national govt with another party. He stressed it is not unconstitutional as there is an article in this regard in the Constitution, adding it does not determine the number of MPs. He said a national govt comprises of the party or independent group that has acquired the highest number of seats in Parliament, forming a govt with another more..

SriLankan Airlines head ignored TEC recommendations, caused massive loss

Feb 1 (Island) Former Chairperson of SriLankan Airlines Nishantha Wickremesinghe had rejected the company, selected by the technical evaluation committee, to construct a flight kitchen at the Mattala Airport in 2012, and given the project to a company of his choosing, the PCoI was told. Nalaka Sanjeewa, Manager-Finance at SriLankan catering said that the Board of Directors had decided to build a flight kitchen, at Mattala, in 2012. more..

Dissolve Western, Southern, Uva PCs before polls: Isura

Feb 1 (DM) Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said yesterday he had requested the President to dissolve the Western, Southern and Uva Provincial Councils in order to hold elections for all nine provinces on the same day. He said the terms of the Western, Southern and Uva PCs would be expired in a few months, whereas the terms of other PCs had expired already. “The terms of the Western, Southern and Uva Provincial Councils will be expired in a few months more..

Video: I will not accept the Unitary State concept: Wigneswaran

Feb 1 (AD) Former Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran states that he does not accept the concept of a Unitary State. Wigneswaran says that the Unitary State concept is not a solution for the issue of the North and that Unitary State only means Sinhala Administration. Further commenting, he said that various statements are being made to trick the public. The word Orumiththanadu in Tamil means a unified country and not a unitary state, he pointed out. more..

'Future administrative city to be established as a Megapolis'

Feb 1 (DM) The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is set to establish Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the future administrative city, as a Megapolis, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said the Ministry will submit a proposal to the Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils on the matter in the near future. Speaking at the ceremony to kick start the mixed development & transport hub project amidst more..

On party politics in Sri Lanka

Feb 2 (CT) Why I have been supportive of the UNP from the beginning, because it is the UNP, if you look back that has done something solid to uplift the poor masses in this country. They started with opening the Colonization schemes allocating 5 acres of prepared paddy land 3 acres of highland with a two bedroom house, a Co-operative for the settlers to buy their provisions to be settled from their crop. Now these lands were offered to thousands of families who constituted the poor more..

What SL failed to achieve in last 71 years?

Feb 2 (CT) Post-independence Sri Lanka is preparing to celebrate the 71st Independence Day on 4th February 2019. The same year post-war Sri Lanka will celebrate the 10th anniversary of ending the 3 decade-long internal conflict in the country in 2009. Since 1948 independence and after the 3 decade-long internal war in Sri Lanka it needs to be analyzed whether the country has really achieved continuous improvement of human security and quality of life for its citizens? more..

Colombo's unseen: Living besides a railway track

Feb 2 (Roar) Colombo, as we see it today, is all shiny and new. The vertiginous skyline, sparkling new malls, and numerous high rises are designed to play a vital part in establishing the city’s aspirational aesthetics — one of upscale modernity. Reality however, is quite different; over 50% of the city’s population lives in shanties, slums, or dilapidated housing schemes. In an attempt to change this, UDA has been relocating some more..

War against illicit drugs: Hang them not, or hang them?

Feb 2 (DN) While President Maithripala Sirisena reiterated very sternly that he would carry out the death penalty for major convicted drug offences who continue the illicit drug trade while in the death cell. He declared that he had entrusted the Armed Forces, Police and the Civil Defence Force with the task of eradicating the narcotics menace the way they had destroyed the LTTE. While the President’s decision to carry out the fight against drugs on a war footing did not face any adverse response, more..


Feb 2 (CT) Climate change may be one of the chief causes of natural disasters, plaguing the island in recent times in the form of droughts, floods, landslides and even tsunamis. Yesterday this newspaper reported that generally, the Treasury annually incurs a sum of between Rs 50-60 billion on its post natural disaster recovery programmes, excluding tsunami(s), where such costs, in the case of the latter, may multiply several times more. However, being proactive against disasters more..

Duminda breaks his silence

Feb 2 (SO) All eyes were on Duminda Dissanayake during the recent political turmoil that resulted in the installation of former President Rajapaksa as PM for 51 days. Dissanayake stepped out of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Cabinet in Nov 2014, backing his party General Secretary as Presidential Candidate for the common opposition. During the crisis, Dissanayake kept a low profile, only emerging briefly to be sworn into the 51-day more..

Edtorial: NEC: Priorities and conscience

Feb 2 (Island) National Elections Commission (NEC) seems to think that the biggest problem it is faced with is the conduct of the privately owned media during elections, and not its inability to conduct the much-delayed PC polls; it is doing its damnedest to figure out how to rein in the independent media. Shouldn’t the NEC get its priorities right? Instead of doing things just to prove its existence and deflect public criticism, it should crank up pressure on the govt to prepare the ground for PC polls. more..

Arjuna on the lifeline of coexistence

Feb 2 (CT) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga who made SL proud by winning the Cricket World Cup for the country when he captained the national team in 1996, made an exemplary train journey all the way from Colombo Fort to Jaffna when the state-of-the-art Uttara Devi which was made in India went on its maiden journey to KKS last Sunday. Arjuna’s train journey to Jaffna was very significant in many ways as Sri Lanka completes the 71st year of gaining independence from Britain on 4 Feb. more..