FDI down to $300 mln in 2016 View(s):Sri Lanka’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has dropped 45.6 per cent to a very low level of slightly over US$300 million in 2016 from $658 million in 2015, official data showed. The main reason for the drop in FDI last year was the policy inconsistency due to political changes in 2015, a senior government official said adding that despite the $5 billion target set by the government; there was no proper direction in the promotion of foreign investments. The country has experienced a period of policy instability over the past 15 months with inconsistent taxation.
GSP Plus: Govt. rushing through rights plan View(s):The Government wants to rush a five-year National Human Rights Action Plan (NHAP) next week as part of its initiatives to get the European Union to restore the GSP Plus tariff preferences to Sri Lanka. According to European Union (EU) regulations on GSP Plus, the European Commission’s recommendation — which Sri Lanka received on Wednesday — could be objected to by the Council and/or Parliament. It was the previous administration’s refusal to respond to these conditions that led to the GSP Plus being withdrawn. The focal point for GSP Plus in Sri Lanka is officially Sonali Wijeratne, Director General of Commerce.
‘Visit, enjoy, protect” – new manthra as SL battles tourism numbers versus sustainability View(s):“Visit, enjoy, protect” will be the theme of a new (or already begun) campaign by Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) to promote a more sustainable and eco-friendly tourism product, it was disclosed in Colomb0 last week. Last year the tourism spend per day was US$166 (much higher than any competitors in the region). He said countries like Cambodia attracts 5 million but all low spenders and most hotels were selling at $$30-40 a room (compared to over $100 in Sri Lanka). SLTDA DG Kiriella said that instead of focus on Yala/Wilpattu wildlife parks as the main sources of visit causing overcrowding and over-visitation, Sri Lanka needs to divert the traffic to other sights and sounds – many in the country. University of Colombo tourism teacher Dr. Silva stressed the importance of research in an industry that is evolving by the day.
Some, including those in civil society groups, claimed no final decision has been made by President Sirisena about retaining constitutional provisions relating to the Executive Presidency. More so, when Sirisena has repeatedly declared that he would abolish the Executive Presidency. Here is the relevant Q & A:Q: The SLFP Central Committee has resolved that the Executive Presidential system should remain. That is to abolish the Executive Presidential system. Q: So, you say that the Executive Presidential system will be abolished.
ITN is to use solar power with ‘Sooryabala Sangramaya’ View(s):ITN- Independent Television Network, one of the state run television station has taken an initiative to generate electricity using solar power to fulfill the television station’s energy consumption. With the initiative ITN becomes the first large scale media institution in South Asia to use solar energy as one of its power sources. Titled as ‘Sooryabala Sangramaya’, the project is done with Abans PLC. It is expected to generate 100 kw during the first stage of this programme from the solar panels which are to be fixed on the new ITN building complex. ITN Sooryabala Sangramaya commenced following a concept of Power and Renewable Energy Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera and under the guidance of ITN Chairman, Saman Athawudahetti.
India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan in semifinals By Lakshman Ranasinghe 2nd Asian Sepaktakraw championship View(s): View(s):Favourites India along with Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan have booked their berths to play in the Men’s Regu event semi-finals and in the Men’s Doubles event India meet Pakistan and Nepal meet hosts Sri Lanka in the 2nd Asian Sepaktakraw Championship commenced yesterday at the St. Joseph’s College Indoor Sports Complex. In the preliminary Men’s Regu rounds Nepal beat Pakistan 2-0 and Sri Lanka 2-0 from Group ‘A’ and from Group ‘B’ India beat Bangladesh 2-0 to enter the semi-finals. Pakistan with two wins over Bangladesh (2-0) and Nepal (2-0) will meet Pakistan and Sri Lanka with a 2-0 victory over Pakistan will meet Nepal in the Men’s Doubles semi-finals. Women’s Doubles preliminary round matches will be continued today and at the conclusion of yesterday’s events India scored two wins over Sri Lanka (2-0) and Pakistan (2-0) and in an other match Nepal defeated Pakistan (2-0) and Sri Lanka (2-0). The Men’s Regu and Doubles semi-finals and finals and the Women’s Doubles semi-finals and finals will be worked-off today commencing at 8.00 a.m.
MOD opposes mine-ban treaty ratification By Namini Wijedasa View(s): View(s):Implementation of a 10-month-old Cabinet decision that Sri Lanka would ratify the UN convention banning anti-personnel mines is being blocked by the Defence Ministry (MoD) which insists that mines are essential to protect its military camps. “So far, the camps are protected by anti-personnel mines. Since the war’s end in 2009, there are no land borders to protect in Sri Lanka. It said that without taking concrete measures such as acceding to the Ottawa Convention or the CCM, reconciliation will not succeed in post-war Sri Lanka. “Since 2004, Sri Lanka did not accede to any disarmament conventions and was isolated from the international disarmament community,” he continued.
Sirisena, Yes or No View(s):‘Muddling through’ is a phrase familiar to Constitutional studies pundits. In a Sri Lankan context, the ‘muddling through’ seems inherent in our political culture as well, despite having a written Constitution. They wanted this President, who not only promised to abolish the Executive Presidency if elected, but even once ensconced in office swore at the bier of the late Ven. Some felt the famous Chinese mask dance might have been more appropriate for the occasion. It is so patently obvious that the Chinese have a global strategy and Hambantota fits in like a glove with that.
Fairway Lit Awards draws good response; magic realism and fantasy reality winners of the day View(s):By Purnima Pilapitiya2016’s edition of the Fairway National Literary Awards garnered a massive response from the literary community with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Dr. Maithree Wickramasinghe gracing the awards ceremony on Friday, January 13, in Galle. “The Fairway Awards was created as a companion for the FGLF to inspire writers in all three mediums,” said Group CEO Imal Fonseka, explaining Fairway’s belief in the distinct purpose of the arts. Prizes were awarded to the best written work in English, Sinhala and Tamil with cash prizes of Rs. Among the twelve shortlisted works in the English category, Theena Kumaragurunathan’s dystopian novel imbued with magic realism, “First Utterance” clinched the first prize. Other nominees in the category included, “The Dalada Chronicles” by Shyam S. DIssanayake and Nanda Pethiyagoda’s “Parallel Lives”.
Stand right, sit right View(s):Senior Consultant Neurologist Dr. J. Backache arises from structures in the midline in the back â€“ namely the bones in the spine (vertebrae), discs, spinal muscles, and nerves – arising from the spine supplying the legs. Pain may be acute (lasting less than 6 weeks), sub-acute (6 to 12 weeks), or chronic (more than 12 weeks). It is often caused by a prolapse of a disc in the lumbar spine (Usually L4 and L5 vertebrae or L5 and S1 vertebrae). A comfortable lumbosacral support in the form of a belt helps in maintaining this posture especially while working and travelling.
Passengers hang around at airport and face the music By Kasun Warakapitiya View(s): View(s):More check-in counters have been opened and additional security deployed at the Bandaranaike International Airport where a band is playing to help soothe rattled nerves in the chaotic departure hall. The head of Airport Management at the Bandaranaike International Airport, H.S Hettiarachchi, explained that the runway is being widened by 7.5 metres at each shoulder so that an Airbus A380 could land one day in Colombo. Phil Dahlenburg who was flying back to Australia said he did not mind arriving at the airport early. An Austrian visitor who identified herself as Shaninne, said that she came four hours early for her 9:00pm flight. Mohamad Isharaff, who was travelling with friends, also arrived five hours early and was deeply disappointed.
Army looks good, but Havies have to win By Aubrey Kuruppu View(s): View(s):Much is at stake when Havelocks SC engage Army SC in an away game. The Havies were on a roll for six weekends, before meeting their waterloo at the hands of the reigning champions. The third row of Shenal Deelaka, Sharo Fernando and Lasindu Ishan is one of their strong points. However, Sharo Fernando, a committed player, sometimes tends to end up on the wrong side of the law. However, the back division has to improve and build on the good work of the forwards.
Drought in Nuwara Eliya wreaks havoc among farming community Pix and text by Shelton Hettiarachchi View(s): View(s):The present drought conditions experienced in the country has adversely affected the farming community in Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya is known as the fruit and vegetable bowl of the country, and it’s produce is transported to other parts of the island. The farming community has been especially hard hit. Ananda Silva a resident of Hava Eliya in Nuwara Eliya said, though the Lovers Leap Water Fall is in the vicinity, they still faced difficulties in obtaining sufficient drinking water. He stressed the need for a proper water management system in the area.Â ÂMunicipal Commissioner Nuwara Eliya, R.M.K.
Tycoon gets sweetheart deal for mega tyre city in Horana By Namini Wijedasa View(s): View(s):The Government, through the Ministry of Development Strategies, is drawing up a sweetheart deal for controversial Sri Lankan businessman Nandana Lokuwithana to build a tyre factory in Horana. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has also sanctioned a massive discount on the lease premium owed to the Wagawatte property and is now pushing through other concessions. But he will effectively receive a discount of more than 70 percent on the minimum lease premium when calculated on the basis of a 50-year lease. Mr. Lokuwithana also wants to use part of his 100-acre plot to build houses for employees. Last year, President Maithripala Sirisena unveiled a life size statue of Goddess Pattini at the Nawagamuwa Purana Sri Maha Paththini Devalaya which was renovated with funding from Mr. Lokuwithana.
‘The funny people of Sri Lanka’ wins first Edward Lear Prize for poetry View(s):By Kaveesha FernandoThe Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat They took some honey, and plenty of money Wrapped up in a five-pound note.’These are the opening lines of Edward Lear’s most famous poem, ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’. Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks – a form he popularised. In memory of this great poet, the inaugural Edward Lear Prize for poetry took place on Day three of the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. The top five finalists were given the chance to read their poems at the event, following which the winners were announced. Ashwin Dias won the prize for his poem, ‘The funny people of Sri Lanka’.