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Lifting the Christmas spirit

Dec 8 (NS) Small-time pickpockets 29-year old Trish, played by Mary Stuart Masterson, and her six-year-old niece Patsy takes Christmas shoplifting to a whole new level in the movie On the Second Day of Christmas, when they try to pick-pocket Mr. Limber, the owner of the Limbers department store. Trish ultimately winds up falling for the security guard Bert, played by Mark Ruffalo, who caught them. Bert quits his job and proposes to Trish. Although for Trish and Patsy, shoplifting is sustenance, more..

New constitution: Who’s to bell Rajapaksas?

Dec 8 (SL) In a recent meeting with all 16 TNA MPs, President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have promised to ask PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss upcoming constitutional reforms with predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa. It seems to flow from the perception that the Joint Opposition (JO) identifying with the Rajapaksas are opposed to basic changes, be it to the unitary character of the Sri Lankan State or the primacy to Buddhism. There can be no two opinions more..

Nobody gained from bus strike: Gemunu

Dec 8 (CT) The private bus strike last Friday not only caused an inconvenience to the public, but also questioned the power of the Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA). LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said the strike on Friday was unnecessary and there was nothing gained from it, and also said that the President assured the very same things to him; prior to the strike. more..

World’s tallest X’ Mas tree at Galle Face: Port employees eye Guinness listing

Dec 8 (CT) A SL Ports Authority Employee who was among another 62 employees, whose employment was confirmed into the permanent cadre by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, had pledged to build the world's largest and tallest Christmas tree as a mark of gratitude to the minister's gesture. The construction and the installation will be eventually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as well. What is striking is that not a single cent has been taken from State funds towards this project. more..

Saying this, so that an investigation can be carried out

Dec 8 (CT) "Ape Hamuduruwane, yesterday I received a file from the Treasury. In the file it states that, in your neighbouring district of Matara, an agreement had been signed by the govt with a Chinese company for the Nilwala Ganga Project in 2012. A cheque for a sum of Rs 1,000 million had been given by Finance Minister in 2012 for work on this project. You may remember that the past presidential election was held on 8 Jan. On 7 Jan 2015, the Treasury issued a second cheque more..

Sunil Handunnetti

No Divisional Competitions for school goers from 2017

Dec 8 (Island) Divisional Competitions, one of the basic competitions of the schools sports programme, will be scraped from the sports itinerary from 2017. Ministry of Education has taken the decision to reduce the work load of the school athletes and its staff and provide more opportunities for athletes to train. "We have drafted a five year plan to improve the standard of sports. The five year plan will be introduced soon. The new plan provides for school athletes to dedicate more time more..

Attack on non-conventional renewable energy: Burning the house to kill the lice!

Dec 8 (FT) When somebody asked us 10 years earlier why Sri Lanka was not like Singapore, we had a reason; the war which ravaged the country for three decades. Now if somebody asks the same question why the Sri Lankan economy is not booming as the way it was projected, we have an answer for that as well, that is: “We see every economic initiative and entrepreneurship as detrimental to the country, thus we have decided to better be the way we are now.” more..

SriLankan Airlines: Tumultuous landing and proper PPP take-off

Dec 8 (FT) SriLankan Airlines is presently evaluating offers for investment/partnership and Super Group Partners Company Ltd. [a joint venture between Trans Maldivian Airways and SATS (Singapore Airport Terminal Services)] is reported to be the leading best offer. They may not be capable of doing even what Singapore Airlines amd Emirates did for Air Lanka/SriLankan – they can offer no management expertise, more..

Stop colossal waste, help save little hearts

Dec 8 (Island) Some politicians fancy erections. Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his wisdom, launched the Lotus Tower project, which is said to be nearing completion. With the funds spent on that structure many flyovers could have been built in the city and its suburbs to solve the problem of tailbacks and the attendant delays. Fuel and man hours worth billions of rupees could have been saved a month that way. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, too, embarked on an Ozymandian project while more..

MCC moves to limit bat dimensions

Dec 8 (CI) The MCC World Cricket Committee has responded to growing concerns about the size of bats by proposing new limits on their dimensions, in a bid to reduce the number of mis-hits off the edge or the toe of the bat flying over the boundary for sixes. The size of bats has been a constant matter of debate at MCC meetings. In July 2014, the cricket committee had discussed the issue at length, debating the benefit of a greater number of boundaries for television viewers more..

SL Team Manager Senanayake to be axed

Dec 8 (WI) SL Cricket Team Manager Charith Senanayake is likely to be replaced after the South African tour — a few months ahead of the end of his contract in April — a SLC official confirmed. Senanayake was reinstated as Manager — his second stint in the position — in April this year after he was unceremoniously ousted in Feb 2013, but the Board is reportedly unhappy with the former cricketer’s conduct. more..

CSE to achieve targets in 2017

Dec 8 (DN) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) expects 2017 to be a more implementation year as CSE is making various arrangements to convert the CSE to a different phase, CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilake said. He made these views while participating at the 20th bell ringing ceremony of the CSE with the Asiri Hospitals Group. Kulatilake said the CSE is hoping to achieve most of its targets during the next year. CSE will very soon to implement the Central Counter Party (CCP) more..

Plantations minister fights to retain control over tea fund

Dec 8 (EN) Minister Navin Dissanayake said he was fighting with the Treasury to retain control over a fund created to promote Ceylon tea in overseas markets by raising money from a tax on exports. “I’m now fighting with the Treasury on the tea fund which we got for promotion,” he told a news conference held to announce a series of events planned globally to mark the 150th anniversary of the tea industry in the island in 2017. “I strongly believe it (the fund) should be with the Tea Board. more..

Quartet of committees to pull plantations out of doldrums

Dec 8 (FT) Plantation sector could get a boost through three new committees appointed by the PM, which is tasked with formulating master plans on industry development by the end of January and a fourth one to consider exemptions of Glyphosate imports for the tea industry. Minister Navin Dissanayake, speaking at an event to launch year-long celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the tea industry in 2017, acknowledged that more..

JKH triumphs at CA Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards

Dec 8 (FT) Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate John Keells Holdings won the coveted Cyril Gardiner Memorial Trophy Gold Award for Overall Excellence in Annual Financial Reporting at the grand finale of the 52 Annual Report Awards competition organised by Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka). Diesel & Motor Engineering won the silver award for overall excellence in annual financial reporting, while Commercial Bank of Ceylon won the bronze award. more..

First Sri Lankan tourism management accreditation launched

Dec 8 (CT) SL's first-ever professional management accreditation for its surging tourism and hospitality sector has been unveiled in Colombo. Inaugurating the Certified Hospitality Finance & Management Accountant (CHFMA) qualification by Institute of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) under Ministry of Industry and Commerce on 5 Dec, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said that as a result of the new certification, hospitality industry will have competent professionals. more..

MCC set to introduce red cards in cricket

Dec 8 (CI) Behaviour at lower levels of cricket has got completely out of hand, according to former Australia captain Ricky Ponting. Ponting is a member of the MCC world cricket committee that recommended the introduction of an in-game disciplinary sanction, which aims to combat poor behaviour by allowing umpires to send players off if they are guilty of violent or threatening actions. Under guidelines suggested by committee, more..

Asiri invests Rs. 5 b for hospital in Kandy

Dec 8 (FT) Softlogic Group subsidiary Asiri Hospital Holdings (ASIR) has invested Rs. 5 billion to set up a new hospital in Kandy by 2018. “The project will be completed within 20 months from now,” Asiri Hospital Holdings Group Chairman Ashok Pathirage confirmed. He made these remarks when Asiri Hospital Holdings commenced trading symbolically for the month of December at the CSE. The state-of-the art hospital will be built on a two acre land in Peradeniya, with 140 rooms.  more..

AB Mauri Lanka to invest 450 mn to improve plant

Dec 8 (DN) Associated British Foods will invest US$ 3 million in their fully owned subsidiary AB Mauri Lanka in a move that reinforces the confidence placed by global conglomerates in SL. Investment comes at a time when the market is expected to grow, instilling confidence in the SL subsidiary, AB Mauri Lanka Director Surajdeen Seiyad said. “Improving living standards while recognizing broader market opportunities augur well for the county while SL customers can look forward more..

Corrupt politicians robbing Public wealth: Reserve outflows ring alarm bells

Dec 8 (DM) SL’s economy could possibly be at the early stages of spiralling into another crisis if the trend of reserve outflows experienced recently were to continue, the country’s leading economic analysts told a forum, this week. Frontier Research CEO Amal Sanderatne explained that in the past decade, a US $ 2 billion dip in reserves over a period less than two years has always led to an economic crisis. more..

CCTV cams at Sigiriya soon

Dec 8 (CT) CCTV cameras will be installed at the Sigiriya world heritage site to monitor visitors among whom could be saboteurs intent on causing damage to the frescoes at the historic location, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament. Responding to UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana he said the process of buying and installing the CCTV cameras was already underway and that the govt would implement every measure to protect this site that's considered the eighth wonder of the world. more..

Sri Lanka is ready for its close-up

Dec 8 (CNT) Just a few short years after the end of its brutal civil war, Sri Lanka—with its rambling temple ruins, leafy tea plantations, and wide golden beaches—is bursting with optimism (but not the crowds). Shift from peace to war can be famously abrupt, with neighbors turning on one another with little apparent provocation. Placid communities can become bloodbaths in the blink of an eye (Kosovo, Syria). Rebuilding in the wake of a terrible war, by contrast, usually takes decades. more..

On Sri Lanka, Jayalalithaa took a strong line

Dec 8 (Hindu) Former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who received tributes from a wide spectrum of political leaders of SL, had always pursued a strong line on matters concerning the neighbouring country, though she did oscillate on the Eelam war and Tamil refugees. In the initial years, after the Black July of 1983 when anti-Tamil riots broke out across SL, AIADMK leader had supported the cause of Tamil extremists, more..

Bopage tells media to mind its own business

Dec 8 (Island) Parliamentary High Posts Committee had recently sought explanation from the Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage about misappropriation of funds when he was the Chairman, National Human Resources Development Council (NHRDC). When asked Bopage about the allegations yesterday he said that it was a private matter and it should not be of any concern of the newspapers. The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has also raised this in its report. more..

Prez vows action if FCID ignores his advice

Dec 8 (DN) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the President would take action if the FCID did not heed his advice. Hitting out strongly against the FCID, he said the unit was formed to investigate large scale fraud but was chasing after minor crimes, “FCID only looks at someone misusing a vehicle for Rs. 1,40,000 or where Karuna hid his car. The village police can manage such investigations, you don’t even need the CID for that,” minister said speaking at the weekly Cabinet briefing. more..

Thajudeen’s family, friends in silent protest

Dec 8 (CT) Wasim Thajudeen's family, relations and friends yesterday engaged in a silent protest at the premises of the Colombo High Court, requesting that investigations into the murder of the National Ruggerite be expedited. They engaged in this silent protest carrying placards and signs stating that legal action should be taken against Professor Ananda Samarasekera, former JMO of Colombo who has been accused of more..

JVP gets Kiriella’s goat

Dec 8 (Island) State policies were formulated by the govt but not by the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE), Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday. He said so responding to a question raised by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti about the ownership of the Lanka Transformer Limited coming under the Ceylon Electricity Board during the third reading stage debate on budget 2017 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy. more..

Outsider to head State Intelligence

Dec 8 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that it was crucial to select an individual from outside the intelligence apparatus to head the country's intelligence service as it would ensure an impartial leader who would not be influenced by others. PM went on to thank the Army Commander for appointing an individual outside of the intelligence service as the Head of Military Intelligence. He made these remarks while taking part in committee stage debate on the Budget more..

'Clinton pressured IMF to not give loans to Sri Lanka'

Dec 8 (LBO) Minister Sarath Amunugama revealed that Hillary Clinton forced IMF not to approve a loan facility to Sri Lanka when she was working as the US secretary of state. He told Parliament that the defeat of Hillary Clinton at the recent Presidential Election should not be seen as an issue for Sri Lanka. “There is no doubt that Clinton had forced his US representative to tell the IMF not to give a USD2.6 loan facility to SL,” he said. more..

Govt institutes decisive policy changes to attract investment

Dec 8 (FT) In its efforts to attract suitable investments to Sri Lanka and revive the country’s export positioning in international markets, the Govt has recently made a series of broad changes. According to Minister Malik Samarawickrama these changes will assure the development of the country and address unemployment issues. “We have established a new global recognition in Sri Lanka. This required a decisive shift in the policies by moving away from protectionism and more..

Big stink in Hambantota Port Agreement: Arjuna, Malik on Ego trips?

Dec 8 (CT) Ministers Arjuna Ranatunga and Malik Samarawickrema differed, at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, whose ministry was eligible to be the official signatory to the Hambantota Port agreement. Top official sources said, that dissent emerged at the Cabinet meeting with Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga asking whether it was right for International Commerce Minister Malik Samarawickrema to present the Cabinet to this effect at yesterday's meeting. more..

Sri Lanka to ink JV with Chinese firm to develop Hambantota port

Dec 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will take part in a joint venture with China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPHC) to develop a port in its south, where China has also been offered an investment zone. Cabinet approved a plan under which Sri Lanka will lease 80% of Hambantota port to Hong Kong-based CMPHC for 99 years for $1.12 billion. CMPHC will make a $5 million payment as a security deposit upon signing the agreement, more..

Let simplicity be the order of the day

Dec 8 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the National Govt have repeatedly assured they would prevent wasteful expenditure, luxuries or extravagance – especially if they was at public expense.  In line with this principle, we thank the government for cancelling a plan by Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to build the world’s tallest Christmas tree at the Galle Face Green. Minister became a national hero when he led Sri Lanka to win Cricket World Cup in 1996. more..

Reconciliation is about the management of insecurities

Dec 8 (DM) Dayan Jayatilleka has made some pertinent points regarding conflict resolution and the seemingly vexed issue of Tamil grievances/aspirations and relief sought in an article titled Constitution-making and the North-South political cycle.  I have an issue withe the term North-South so let me first get it out of the way. It is a break that has been used frequently enough to give it legitimate political currency. Erroneous, however. It has come to the point of more..

'We have to correct our past mistakes'

Dec 8 (DM) Joint opposition MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage who organized the Pada Yathra against the govt speaks about the current political challenges and the way forward. He sees a possible unity between President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa. Q: How do you analyze the current political situation of the country amidst talks of govt instability? The govt is acting against the mandate it received from more..

Gin-Nilwala scam resurfaces

Dec 8 (SL) A scam exposed by The Sunday Leader this year on the Gin-Nilwala diversion project has been indirectly confirmed by President Sirisena. President revealed that the previous govt had spent millions of rupees as an advance on the project which is yet to be launched. R.M.W. Rathnayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Irrigation, had told this newspaper when the scam was first reported, more..

Establishment blues vs. CB’s independence

Dec 8 (DM) Strongly denying the allegation that Central Bank is politicized, Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy last week told reporters in Colombo that it is not his institution but what is politicized is the country’s whole economic decision-making system. According to Dr. Coomaraswamy, this is the perennial challenge that he encounters in carrying out his role as the governor of the Central Bank. more..

'We cannot be stopped or we will be seen as spineless people'

Dec 8 (DM) Minister John Amaratunga, speaks about the current political situation of the country, plans for the development of the tourism sector and the challenges lying ahead. Q: How do you analyze the current political situation in the country? The govt remains stable enough. The govt leaders work amicably and cordially with each other. But, unrest remains among people over the moves to impose new fines and to increase taxes. more..

200 Chinese couples eye mass wedding in Sri Lanka

Dec 8 (LBO) Colombo has been chosen by 200 Chinese couples to hold a mass wedding event. Minister John Amaratunga said there is growing interest among the Chinese and Indians to hold mass weddings in Sri Lanka. “Already, reservations have been made for 200 Chinese couples to conduct a mass wedding in Colombo,” he said. “This is a growing segment and we need large venues & accommodation for these events.” more..