Special High Court officially declared open

The first Special High Court established to hear financial fraud and corruption cases was officially declared open this morning (21) by Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms, Thalatha Atukorale at the Hulftsdorp Court Complex. 

The three-judge bench of the Special High Court comprises High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratne.

The special court will hear cases daily involving money laundering, bribery and large financial crimes, dishonest misappropriation of property, and criminal breach of trust by public servants.

This is the first of three such Special High Courts. 

eChannelling to offer pre-booking OPD appointments in district hospitals in Sri Lanka


For the first time, eChannelling PLC has launched its service at Ampara General Hospital marking it as the first district hospital in Sri Lanka to have the booking-OPD service.

 eChannelling PLC, the largest Doctor Channeling Network in Sri Lanka, along with Mobitel, and  Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) has embarked on a national endeavour – “eChannelling for Government Hospitals” – as a service provider for OPD time reservation at government hospitals. 

This project is carried out under the guidance of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment, and ICTA to build a healthier nation by upgrading the existing health care system in Sri Lanka and enhancing its position in global rankings. This historic partnership will vastly facilitate smooth access to medical care for government hospital patients. eChannelling believes this service will enhance convenience for government hospital patients and save time and energy spent waiting in queues, the company said in a media release.

Patients can make OPD time reservation via 0715 225 225 from any network without waiting in queues for OPD treatment in government hospitals, thanks to eChannelling’s digital platform. The service is offered free-of-charge. The time reservation facility has been extended to the internet (www.echannelling.com) and smartphones (eChannelling App), boasting the latest technology for further convenience of users.

This service offers greater convenience for hospitals as they are able to enable modern healthcare facilities through technology to the general public free-of-charge. This would also help hospitals to better utilize physical infrastructure and human resources more effectively and efficiently. This service also greatly benefits patients as it saves them time otherwise spent waiting at the OPD for hours, and keeps the hospital informed in advance about their service requirements. The facility will be launched island wide in the future as a national endeavour to revolutionize the health care sector and build a healthy nation.    

Boasting a network of 200+ recognized hospitals, more than 5500+Doctors, over 2000+ outlets and coverage of any telecommunication network, eChannelling is the easiest way to channel a Doctor dial 225 from anywhere at any time.- ENDS –

Singapore FTA probe committee invites public input


The Committee of Experts appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to re-examine the Sri Lanka Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) has invited public representations on the issues.
The Committee headed by former Colombo University Vice Chancellor and economist Prof. W.D. Lakshman has said in a newspaper advertisement in local newspapers today to send in any comments on the agreement before September 5.
The agreement, signed during the visit of Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in January and which became effective in May this year, has come in for severe criticism from professional organisations raising concerns that Singapore stands to benefit far more than Sri Lanka.
The Committee has been mandated to and report in two months on the following:
1)      Review the New Trade Policy Paper issued by the Ministry (of Development Strategies and International Trade) as to its feasibility and use as a national trade policy document.
2)      Evaluate the Sri Lanka- Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) as to its stance of the liberalization of services with particular emphasis on the movement of professionals to Sri Lanka from Singapore under this agreement.
3)      Provide observations on the approval process of the SLSFTA.
4)      Make observations on the Government of Sri Lanka policy on the removal of para-tariffs over a three-year period with respect to its impact on local industry and consumer welfare in the medium to long run.
5)      Review implications of the above policy statement and free trade agreement on Sri Lanka’s ability to raise overall living standards of the citizens by creating an internationally competitive economy.
6)      Assess the impact caused by the SLSFTA on other service providing sectors in Sri Lanka.
7)      Submit recommendations for policy guidance with regard to the manner in which Sri Lanka’s trade policy should be formulated in future.     
The other members of the Committee are: Sirimevan Colombage, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Open University, Ajitha Tennakoon, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Kelaniya, independent consultant Dr Sanath Jayanetti and the Central Bank’s former Assistant Governor R.A. Jayatissa. – ENDS –


IP and two constables arrested over robbery

A Police Inspector (IP) and two Police Constables were arrested in a special raid conducted by the Special Task Force (STF) this morning (21) in Kalutara. 

Police said the three policemen were taken into custody over their suspected involvement in a robbery. 

The arrested IP and the constables are all attached to the Panadura Division Anti Corruption Unit. They have been handed over to the Police Organized Crimes Investigation Unit in Colombo, Police Media Unit stated.   


SL tea exports drop by 2% in Jan-July 2018


Overall total exports have marginally come down by 2 per cent from January to July in 2018 compared to the same period last year, statistics released by broker Asia Siyaka Commodities show. July alone saw a drop of 6 per cent.
Sri Lanka’s tea exports to Japan has dropped significantly by 15 per cent within the first seven months of this year compared to the same period in 2017.
Another significant drop was recorded from Iran (14 per cent), Libya (29 per cent), Russia (7 per cent) and Chile (7 per cent), the statistics show.
So far Sri Lanka has exported 162.7 million kg of tea this year upto July with packeted teas forming the bulk of sales at 76.4 million kg, 69.5 million kg in bulk teas and 12.6 million kg in tea bags.
US dollar earnings for the seven month period have dipped to $854 million from $871 million last year, it was noted.
Meanwhile, China continues its positive trend and is up 17 per cent in export volumes from 5.3 million kg to 6.3 million kg in 2018; while Iraq has grown from 22.6 million kg from 18.5 million kg in 2017.
Turkey which is considered to be nominally higher at 20.2 million kg is likely to dip in August following the currency crisis, the Asia Siyaka report stated. (SD)

Volleyball: AVC Men’s Challenge Cup from September 15 to 22

Eight Asian countries will take part in the AVC Men’s Volleyball Challenge Cup Tournament which would take place from September 15 to 22 at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium in Colombo. 

This inaugural event would be conducted by the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) and organised by the Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation (SLVB) and sponsored by Dialog. 

The teams participating in the tournament are Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia (Group ‘A’) and Iraq, UAE, Mongolia and Bangladesh (Group ‘B’). 

President Maithripala Sirisena will be the Chief Guest for the opening ceremony of the tournament while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the Chief Guest for the closing ceremony. 

The official launching ceremony for the event took place on Wednesday (15) at the Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo under the patronage of Sports Minister Faiszer Musthapha and Amali Nanayakkara, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Dialog. 

Minister Musthapha said that volleyball has developed well in Sri Lanka and that Sri Lanka could gain a lot of skill by competing in international tournaments of this nature. 

Sri Lanka are currently placed 14th in the Asian Rankings and the Minister hoped that Sri Lanka would advance into the eighth position. 

There are 63 Sports Associations currently registered with the Sports Ministry and the Minister said he has no hesitation in naming volleyball as the most committed sport in the island.

Badminton: Travel Trade Championships on September 2

The 23rd Travel Trade Sports Club Badminton Championships 2018, sponsored by Serendib Leisure Management for the 8th successive year, will be held on Sunday, September 2, at S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia Indoor Stadium, commencing 8.30am. 

The tournament will be conducted in two categories- 'Open' and 'Veterans'- on a team championship basis. 

The 'Open' tournament consists of a Men's and Women's Single, Men's and Women's Doubles and Mixed Doubles. 

The Veterans tournament will be for Men Over 40 and Women Over 35 and consists of Men's Singles and Doubles and a Mixed Doubles. 

Entries must reach Anushka Perera, C/o Connaissance de Ceylan 'Le Cube', 130, High Level Road, Kirulapone, Colombo 6, on or before Friday (24) at 3.00pm. 

SriLankan Airlines won both categories last year.

Minister Kiriella attends former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee’s funeral

Minister Lakshman Kiriella represented the Government of Sri Lanka as Special Envoy at the State funeral of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi on Friday,High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi said. During this visit to New Delhi Minister Kiriella had a meeting with the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. 


Billiard & Snooker: Travel Trade Pool Championships 2018 on August 31

The 5th Travel Trade Sports Club Pool Championships 2018, sponsored by Yenesha Travels, Seeduwa, will be held on August 31, at 'Q n Brave' Pool Parlour, Wellawatte, commencing 3.00pm. 

Entries must be forward to Nilina Pathirana, C/o of SriLankan Airlines, Level 21, East Tower, World Trade Centre, Colombo 1, on or before Friday (24), at 3.00pm. 

At last year's tournament Akila Nuwanga Silva (Infinity Vacations) won the 'Cup', beating Y. Mohamed Sharaz (SriLankan Airlines), Yazeer Shafraz (Classic Travel) won the 'Plate', Andre Power (Walkers Tours) won the 'Bowl', and Dilshan Gnanapragasam (Respendent Ceylon) won the 'Shield'.

PM calls Pakistan PM Imran, conveys congratulation

Prime Minister (PM) Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday called PM Imran Khan and congratulated him on assuming the office of the prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Conveying his compliments, the Sri Lankan PM underscored the importance of both countries working together in diverse areas of mutual interest to further strengthen bilateral relations, PM office media wing in a press release said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan thanked his Sri Lankan counterpart for the congratulatory phone call.

He noted that while both countries enjoyed strong and friendly ties, there was a need to galvanize the bilateral relations in all spheres, including political, economic, defence and tourism. He also conveyed good wishes for the continued progress of Sri Lanka and its people.(Associated Press of Pakistan)