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Alleged war crimes: PM announces probe will be domestic, no foreign judges

May 29 (ST) UNF Govt’s final position on the UN mandated probe on allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka was spelt out on Thursday by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He told senior Army officers that the judicial mechanism would be made up entirely of Sri Lankan judges, putting to rest months of speculation if foreign judges were to be part of the tribunal. He met some hundred officers including senior Colonels, Brigadiers more..

CB comes under barrage of criticism over failing finance companies

May 29 (ST) Central Bank (CB)’s handling of failing finance companies came in for heavy criticism at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) recently. This matter was raised during the discussion on ways and means to establish the Finance Institution Restructuring Agency (FIRA) in accordance with the 2016 budget proposal. The CB has been blamed for delaying investigations into failing finance institutions, a senior official said adding that more..

Helitours to acquire two civilian passenger aircraft

May 29 (ST) Helitours, the Sri Lanka Air Force’s domestic air service, is to acquire two civilian passenger aircraft on full payment/lease basis for a regular, profitable and reliable operation of a domestic commercial air travel business, officials said. Approval was granted by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) to establish a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with a private party to obtain two aircraft on lease basis for the operation of this domestic air service. more..

CM dubs tri-services boycott as a political decision with broader implications

May 29 (ENS) Chief Minister of Eastern Province, Naseer Ahamed, has dubbed the Tri-Forces’ decision to boycott him and prevent him from entering their establishments, as a political one, and warned that it has broader implications. In an open letter to President and PM, on last Friday’s fracas at a public function in Sampoor in the Eastern Province, which had led to the decision of the Navy, Army and Air Force to boycott him, more..

Water levels rising: Flood warning!

May 29 (SO) Flood warnings have been issued to people living near the Gin Ganga, Kalu and Nilvala Rivers and Aththanagalu Oya as water levels were rising, DMC said. A flood alert has been issued for people to evacuate if the water level continues to rise. “District offices of the DMC have been informed and precautions will be taken if the situation continues.” Deputy Director Operations of Met Department Anusha Warnasiriya said more rain could be expected as monsoon continues. more..

NPC unanimously congratulates Jayalalithaa

May 29 (ENS) North Provincial Council (NPC) has unanimously passed a resolution congratulating AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa for winning the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections convincingly. Denying a news agency’s report that the Council thwarted Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswran’s bid to introduce a resolution congratulating the Tamil Nadu leader, the Council’s chairman, CVK. Sivagnanam said that the resolution was moved by the CM and passed unanimously on May 26, more..

China gets huge projects in Polonnaruwa

May 29 (ST) Several multimillion dollar development projects in the Polonnaruwa district are set to be doled out on single-bid basis to Chinese companies in a departure from the new govt’s proclaimed policy of calling for open, competitive tenders. Exim Bank of China is lending necessary funds on concessional terms. Two such companies have already started gratis feasibility studies in water & transport sectors. more..

1000 houses for landslide victims

May 29 (SO) Minister Sajith Premadasa pledged to construct 1000 houses for landslide victims and for those living in landslide threatened areas in Aranayaka, Hakurugammana and Athgampala in the Kegalle district. He said these houses will be constructed in three zones for those affected by landslides. Minister who visited landslide affected areas in Aranayake and participating at a meeting with relevant govt agencies said, Ministry will allocate Rs.2 million to construct each house. more..

KMPG to assist NSB in SriLankan Airlines restructure

May 29 (ST) In the quest to find a strategic partner for SriLankan Airlines which has become a heavy financial burden to the country, the government has selected audit firm KMPG to expedite the re-orientation process, officials said. KMPG will assist the National Savings Bank (NSB) the lead manager appointed by the cabinet, in finding an international investment bank to handle the restructure exercise. The audit firm will decide on recruiting necessary experts to obtain professional support more..

We will meet at a mutually convenient time: Jayalalithaa to CV

May 29 (PTI) TN Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said her govt would continue to persuade the Centre for establishing the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils and she would meet NP Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran at a mutually convenient time. In a reply to a recent letter of Mr. Vigneswaran, who congratulated her on winning the State Assembly polls, she said, “As a Chief Minister of the State, I have taken steps to establish more..

Indian small cars benefit from duty changes

May 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka has reduced import duties on 800 and 1000 cc cars while increasing duty on higher engine capacity cars, a move likely to benefit India-made smaller vehicles. Prices of vehicles above 1000 cubic centimeter engine capacity will increase following the increase of the minimum unit tax from May 27. According to a gazette notification released on May 27 by the Ministry of Finance, the 800 and 1000 cc cars would have a lower import tax band. more..

CB plans to launch Panda bonds

May 29 (ST) The Central Bank (CB) has requested permission from China to issue Chinese Yuan denominated bonds or Panda bonds in a bid to attract Chinese investors, officials said. A Panda bond is a Chinese renminbi-denominated bond from a non-Chinese issuer, sold in China. The first two Panda bonds were issued in October 2005 on the same day by the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank. Officials said the CB has written to the People’s Bank of China, more..

Vehicle importers claim tax calculations irrational

May 29 (ST) Vehicle importers have urged the Govt to reconsider the increase in the Unit Rate Tax on the basis that calculations were irrational, resulting in prices of some vehicles soaring by as much as 60 percent. Two of the leading vehicle importers associations said the move to increase the tax would have a severe impact on the vehicle industry and those planning to buy vehicles. more..

Moeen's hundreds at No.7 and Herath's 300th scalp

May 29 (CI) 155*: Moeen Ali's first-innings hundred is the third-highest individual score at Chester-le-Street in Tests. Ian Bell's unbeaten 162 against Bangladesh, in the was his third Test of his career in 2005, remains the benchmark. This is also the fifth-highest individual score batting at No.7 or lower for England in Tests and the highest for England at No.7 since Derek Randall's 164 against New Zealand in Wellington in 1983-84. 2: Number of centuries for Moeen in Tests, more..

RPCs hope to raise funds through tea bonds

May 29 (SO) Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are discussing the raising of funds by selling US dollar-denominated tea bonds to foreign investors. The ADB has come forward to assist the industry hit hard by the long slump in tea prices and heavy debts. Govt has asked the ADB to support the modernisation of the plantation sector by issuing tea bonds to help fund the capital expenditure needed to modernise RPC tea and rubber production. more..

Saudi Prince to arrive soon

May 29 (CT) Following successful renegotiations with the Alwaleed Philanthropies, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the richest person in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ranked number 41 in the Forbes' list of world's richest people in 2016 will soon visit Sri Lanka. Ceylon Today in its 22 May 2016 edition exclusively reported that Prince Alwaleed put off his planned visit to Sri Lanka as a result of a communication blunder by officials. more..

The murder most foul

May 29 (CT) When the three-year-old and five-year-old children posed for the photographs smiling, they probably did not know the gravity of the situation they are in. They have lost both their mother and father in two different situations. Godayagala Premaratne and Pushpa Ranjani of Belgala in Kegalle did not have anyone to give them marriange councelling or life lessons. Pushpa lost her first husband when he died. He was a diabetic. However, before long she fell in love with Premaratne. more..

Politicians, 300 officials to be quizzed

May 29 (CT) The FCID is planning to summon several politicians and nearly 300 officials of the previous regime early next week for questioning in relation to large scale frauds including misappropriation of State funds. The FCID last week questioned an equally large number of former State officials in this connection. Meanwhile, Johann Fernando, son of former Minister Johnston Fernando, was grilled Friday by the FCID on alleged involvement in an import of millions of rupees more..

Sri Lanka & Bangladesh to further strengthen trade relations

May 29 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena and the PM of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina held bilateral discussions yesterday at the Hilton Nagoya Hotel in Japan and during the meeting, both leaders agreed to further strengthen the trade relations between the two countries. The two countries came into an agreement to maintain the export and import of garments from both countries under a stable pricing method. more..

MOD declares another amnesty period to surrender weapons

May 29 (CG) Govt announced another amnesty period to surrender illegal firearms. Ministry of Defence (MOD) declared a general amnesty period from May 30 to June 17 for the surrender of illegal firearms to the Govt. MOD said that persons in possession of any such firearms are requested to hand over them to the nearest Police Station, Divisional Secretariat or District Secretariat during the above-mentioned period. Similar amnesty period had been declare from 25th Apr to 5th May. more..

When reliable Gurusingha won the title

May 29 (SO) Asanka Gurusinha is one of the most reliable top order batsmen that SL has ever produced. Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year title he won in 1985 as a star cricketer from Nalanda College, transformed his cricketing career to a new elevation, inspiring him to make his Sri Lanka debut a few months later. But the most memorable moment in Gurusinha's illustrious career was that marvelous half century he made in the 1996 World Cup final against Australia in Pakistan. more..

Everyman Herath waddles into history

May 29 (CI) Just after lunch, when Moeen Ali was gunning for a double-ton, he made a waddling dartboard out of Rangana Herath. Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka's brick wall on the last tour, had begun to captain like one. Herath was one of seven fielders on the boundary, but it was him that Moeen picked on repeatedly. Moeen thumped the ball to Herath's left and ran an easy two. He sent it skidding to Herath's right and more..

Responding to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis

May 29 (EAF) Sri Lanka’s balance of payments is in dire straits. The country’s mounting foreign and domestic public debt, a huge fiscal deficit and a severe foreign exchange shortfall have led to potentially calamitous economic circumstances. Sri Lanka has not yet secured the means to meet its upcoming foreign loan repayments — US$4.5 billion is due over the next year, to be followed by another US$4 billion in the subsequent year. Credit rating agencies Fitch and Standard and Poor’s more..

In defence of Eastern Province Chief Minister

May 29 (GV) The Navy high Command has taken one step too far, too quick. The Daily Mirror (DM), carried a statement made by the Navy media spokesman, Captain Alavi as saying the Navy Commander had given instructions to all navy officers and camps that Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Nazeer Ahamed should not be allowed into any naval camp. Captain Alavi is on record saying, “We have also informed all Navy officers to refrain from attending his functions”. more..

Rampant England leave SL on the ropes

May 29 (CI) Powered by Moeen Ali's career-best 155 and three wickets on recall for Chris Woakes, England put themselves in position to push for another innings victory as Sri Lanka produced an insipid display on the second day at Chester-le-Street. The visiting batting subsided to 90 for 8 in reply to England's 498 for 9, the follow-on surely set to be enforced in the morning, although they at least avoided being sent back in during more..

And the moon sheds a drop of blood

May 29 (GV) In January last year, I visited Mullaitivu. Since it was after dusk, I decided to find lodging just for one night. During the day, I had the opportunity of listening to the horror stories of local Tamils who were caught in the final onslaught on Mullivaikkal and the alleged massacre of civilians in the govt’s bid to decimate the LTTE, and institute its writ over the whole country. The horrors of that war, conducted in secrecy without any witnesses, is now an open truth shouted out from the rooftops. more..

Our conqueror of Everest and a curse that boomeranged

May 29 (SO) “Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes just one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us, here on Earth, that we’re still at the mercy of nature.” That was said by Neil de Grasse Tyson. Don’t ask me who he is or what claim he has to fame since I am clueless, but what he wrote resonates with me. Yes, we have absolutely no control over nature. This cat with a feline’s seventh sense, more..

Face the Nation

After the rains

May 29 (NS) The entire nation is recovering from the colossal deluge that unleashed death and mayhem. Restoration takes planning, implementation, resources and evaluation. Moving logistics to areas still submerged in water remains a daunting challenge. Yet it is a task that has to be done. Disaster Management Centre (DMC) is a hype of activity, with reports coming in and phones buzzing. Pradeep Kodipilli, in his capacity as Deputy Director of DMC has been busy directing relief efforts. more..

Palpitations over Pelpita appointment

May 29 (SO) Anusha Pelpita, the controversial public servant who functioned as the Director General of the TRC under the Rajapaksa administration, plunged the govt into fresh trouble last week when he assumed duties as the Assistant Secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry. He was indicted by the Attorney General (AG) in connection with the misappropriation of Rs 600 million from the SLTRC, between the period Oct 30, 2014 and Jan 5, 2015. more..

'We sent the best available squad to England'

May 29 (CT) Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala believes that the best available squad was sent for Sri Lanka's Cricket tour of England. "We knew that England was going to be the toughest tour this year, with issues such as those relating to the climate as well. We also knew what was in store for us as we are a new team, and this England side is a world class side," he told Ceylon Today in an interview. more..

After the deluge — and before the next

May 29 (ST) There was a sense of deja vu to see the President (who is also Minister of Environment) and all the Govt leaders conferring on what must be done to mitigate the effects of another flood. Only days earlier Disaster Management Minister was giving interviews to the media how amendments are to be brought to the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) law. He had to say something after the disaster after all but the problem, Mr. Minister, is that laws are plentiful; more..

A watery end

May 29 (ST) My dear Nazeer, I thought I must write to you even though, this time last week if someone asked me who Nazeer Ahamed was, I would have said, maybe a Pakistani cricketer. Now, you might say who the hell are you to write to me? and ask whether I knew the protocol, but I feel I should still write to you. Please pardon my ignorance for not knowing who you were a week ago. As you know, this paradise of ours has a President, a PM, 47 Ministers, 25 Dy Ministers, 20 State Ministers more..

'Regrets use of unparliamentary language'

May 29 (SO) Unparliamentary language used by Minister Harin Fernando during a heated exchange of words in Parliament on May 18 with UPFA Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage led the way for the Joint Opposition to make a hue and cry on the floor of the House, citing the Minister’s conduct as being a violation of Standing Orders. However, Minister Fernando tendered an apology in Parliament on Wednesday for his lapse in more..

Deja Vu and pantomime

May 29 (CT) It's with a sense of Déjŕ Vu that we say, that quite apart from the hard fact that the government is indeed hamstrung by the mountains of debt it inherited from its predecessor in office, it has now clearly established a pattern of staggered indirect taxes on all sections of the people that has lost any shadow of justification. Friday's stunning duty hikes on three-wheelers, vehicles above 1000cc and hybrids reflect anything but sensible budgetary measures. more..

Need for more targeted taxation

May 29 (SO) High society right now is abuzz with calculations of the increased costs of imported luxury vehicles following last week's tax increases on vehicles with over 1000 cc engines. The broad social band of middle and lower-middle income classes, however, can look forward to access to slightly cheaper small cars. The Govt, in its latest taxation foray, risky though higher taxation may be in terms of electorate reactions, is clearly endeavouring to do what this column more..

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