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Champika warns protesters as JO steps up pressure over much delayed LG polls

Dec 8 (Island) Minister Champika Ranawaka has warned that there should be a limit to public protests and what he called anti-democratic demonstrations. JHU heavyweight emphasized that those who had voted for change and elected the incumbent govt would not tolerate attempts being made to wreak havoc. MP was addressing a gathering after the signing of a tripartite agreement with Waters Edge, UDA & Sports Ministry more..

In spite of clear no no, Lankan boat people keep coming

Dec 8 (ST) The head of Australia’s border protection operation says he cannot understand why there are still Sri Lankans attempting to enter the country illegally by boat. Since Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) started in September 2013, Australia has turned back six boats with a total of 105 people to Sri Lanka. The last one was detected as recently as August, this year. “I’m at pains to understand why there is this level of activity because more..

Muslim Ministers demand arrest of aggressive monk

Dec 8 (CG) Muslim Ministers today demanded the arrest of a Buddhist monk who had disrespected Islam. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen told Parliament that a police complaint was filed against the monk. However he said the monk continues to be part of discussions being held by the Govt with no legal action being taken against him. State Minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah also questioned what action will be taken against the monk. more..

Do not create unnecessary fear about Indo-Lanka trade agreement: President

Dec 8 (PSL) President Sirisena requested everybody not to create unnecessary fears among the people and in other sectors about the Indo-Lanka trade agreement. “That agreement will be signed after presenting it to the Cabinet and then to the Parliament. If there will be contrary matters in that we will remove them and will sign it as an agreement which will be accepted by everybody”, he added. more..

'Pensions for Lankans working overseas'

Dec 8 (NR) President Maithripala Sirisena says the govt is working on providing a pension to Sri Lankans working overseas. Speaking at a function at the Temple Trees this morning, he said the initial steps to implement the move will be carried out in the months to come. President said in the 2015 Presidential election it was announced that all individuals from all sectors employed abroad and others who provide the country with foreign more..

Is the health regulator doing his job?

Dec 8 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne is trying to reinvent the wheel. Speaking in Parliament on Monday, he has said that Govt of Sri Lanka (GoSL) will bring in laws to regulate private hospitals. This was in respect of the charges made by private hospitals. The specific costs that he spoke of in that article, was the need to regulate OPD (Out Patients' Department) charges. Here he brought out the example of an alleged charge of Rs 14,000 made to a patient for dressing his/her wound. more..

Food for thought for the drafters of new constitution!

Dec 8 (CT) Constitutional drafting warrants an extra ordinarily unique mindset where personal prejudices, narrow chauvinistic outlook and playing to the gallery for electoral benefits are cast aside. A broader vision based on egalitarianism, justice and social development needs prioritization – of which was neatly avoided in past constitutional engagements. Towards this end the grassroots need to be educated – ideal benchmark for this being  historical inspiration where people’s more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka shares gain on foreign buying; Thai Group's deal lifts mood

Dec 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares rose on Thursday as a stake buy in Commercial Credit and Finance by a unit of Thailand's Group Lease Plc lifted the mood while foreign investors bought domestic stocks and turned net buyers so far in the year. Group Lease Holdings Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Thailand's Group Lease Plc purchased 95.4 million shares or 29.99% in Commercial Credit And Finance, Asia Securities, which was directly involved in the deal, said in a disclosure to the bourse. more..

Minister calls for probe on Hirunika’s allegations

Dec 8 (DM) Minister D.M. Swaminathan has called for an explanation from the prisons authorities regarding MP Hirunika Premachandra’s allegations that former MP Duminda Silva, who is on death row had been provided with special facilities. She alleged that some influential prisoners including Mr. Silva were enjoying special privileges, while the poor prisoners were neglected. "Mr. Silva's medical report says he is suffering from a chronic headache, loss of consciousness, loss of memory and dizziness more..

Ranjit Fernando appointed SL manager

Dec 8 (CI) Former wicketkeeper-batsman Ranjit Fernando has been appointed manager of SL team for the tours of South Africa and Australia. Fernando will replace Charith Senanayake, who held the position for most of this year. Fernando's appointment is one of three changes to SL's support staff. Neither long-time physiotherapist Steve Mount, nor fielding coach Nick Pothas, will be with the Test side in South Africa. more..

Pakistan Army hockey team visiting SL

Dec 8 (TN) A 20-member Pakistan Army hockey team, which is currently in Sri Lanka, visited the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo on Wednesday. Pakistan Army hockey team, as part of the ongoing Army-to-Army sports exchange programme, reached Sri Lanka on December 4 to participate in four friendly matches with their counterparts, Sri Lankan Army. High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, Maj Gen (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain, said: “Pakistan and Sri Lanka are more..

Canada and UNFPA join forces to end gender-based violence in the workplace

Dec 8 (AT) As part of the 16 Days of Activism in Sri Lanka, the Canadian High Commission and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) co-hosted a panel discussion on Dec 7 on the importance of zero-tolerance for Gender-based Violence (GBV) within the workplace. Entitled Engendering Change: Investing in a GBV-free Workplace, the panel discussion brought together more than 60 participants including leaders in the corporate sector, govt officials, human rights activists, more..

President and PM quash investigation into Râvaya-gate

Dec 8 (CT) Ravaya, newspaper that often champions good governance, justice and democracy, has succeeded in suppressing an inquiry into allegations that its long-time editor Victor Ivan had pocketed millions of rupees in gross violation of the Companies Law, thanks to support from President and PM. “We cannot investigate it, we are under pressure, you should make a complain to police commission” more..

No forced plantations land restrictions: Navin

Dec 8 (EN) Minister of Plantation Industries Navin Dissanayake said govt will not force Regional Plantations Companies to reduce land holdings under a restructuring proposal in the budget for 2017. “We had meeting today – nothing will be forced on anybody,” he told a news conference Wednesday held to announce a series of events planned globally to mark the 150th anniversary of the tea industry in the island in 2017. “It should be a voluntary process of give and take.” more..

Man remanded for threatening Prez on FB

Dec 8 (AD) A 26-year-old man who was arrested for allegedly issuing death threats to the President on the Facebook has been remanded, Ada Derana reporter said. The suspect was remanded after being produced before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. The CID has apprised the court that the individual should be remanded since its investigation against him has not yet been concluded. The suspect will be produced before the court again on 15 December. more..

Sri Lanka tops Google search for Sex for fifth consecutive year

Dec 8 (DN) Sri Lanka, for the 5th consecutive year, topped the list of countries that searched for the word sex, data from Google Trends show. Interestingly, the search shows a spike during the months of Aug and Dec - traditionally the school holidays. Sri Lanka is followed by Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Nepal and India, data shows. Homagama, in the Western Province shows the most number of hits for the word sex, more..

Eran wants Karu to summon AG on bond scams

Dec 8 (Island) Deputy Minister Eran Wickremarathe said that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had the authority to seek an explanation from Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, regarding the status of the inquiry into the bond scams following the COPE report thereon. COPE report dealt with alleged corrupt transactions in late Feb 2015. Wickremaratne is a member of the COPE headed by JVPer Sunil Handunetti. He stressed that Parliament should take the lead in ongoing efforts to find more..

Uma Oya project FR case SC orders compensation, water supply

Dec 8 (CT) The Supreme Court ordered the respondent of the Uma Oya Fundamental Rights petition, to activate the water supply and payment of compensation to the villagers who lost their water supply and residences as a result of Uma Oya Project. The Bench comprised Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Priyantha Jayawardana. Four farmers, including M.D.P. Manatunga, filed this FR petition stating that respondents commenced this project without checking its after effects. more..

Uncapped Vikum Sanjaya picked for South Africa tour

Dec 8 (CI) Uncapped fast bowler Vikum Sanjaya was the surprise inclusion in SL's Test squad to South Africa, which also sees the return of captain Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dushmantha Chameera. Upul Tharanga, who made a successful return to Tests on the tour of Zimbabwe, was also named, but there was no place for allrounder Asela Gunaratne, who had also impressed in that series. more..

SL mulls building naval craft: Ruwan

Dec 8 (DM) Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of building naval craft in collaboration with Japan, said State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday. Speaking during the committee stage debate on the budget in Parliament, he said this was one of the steps the govt intended taking in order to upgrade the Sri Lankan armed forces. “Sri Lanka will acquire one offshore naval craft from India next year and another will be acquired by the year 2019,” he said. more..

LG polls in June next year: Yapa

Dec 8 (AD) A final decision has been made to hold LG election with the new mixed system based on divisional system, govt announced. Minister Lakshman Yapa asserted the election would be held in June next year. “We appreciate the fact that MPs Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Dinesh Gunawardena have too agreed to hold the polls with the divisional system,” he said. Yapa also dismissed claims by certain individuals that next election would be held with Proportional Representation system. more..

Video: Namal's Hello Corp inquiry: AG's opinion on Feb 9

Dec 8 (DM) The FCID today informed court that it had sent extracts of the two cases filed against MP Namal Rajapaksa and five others, on charges of money laundering, to the Attorney General seeking his opinion on filing indictments against the suspects at the High Court. Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris subsequently fixed February 9 to obtain the Attorney General's opinion on the two cases. more..

Seya Sadewmi Murder: AG asked to reveal Cops involved

Dec 8 (NR) Supreme Court today ordered the Attorney General to reveal the names of the policemen who allegedly assaulted the teenager arrested initially on suspicion over the rape and murder of 5 year old Seya Sadewmi in Kotadeniyawa. The student, who filed a Fundamental Rights petition, charges that the Kotadeniyawa Police brutally assaulted him, demanding him to confess to the rape and murder. State Counsel representing the AG informed more..

SL establishes diplomatic ties with Andorra

Dec 8 (DM) Sri Lanka and the Principality of Andorra, a European microstate co-administered by Roman Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the President of France, have formally established diplomatic relations by signing the Joint Communiqué on Nov 30. The mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries would be enhanced by establishing bilateral diplomatic relations. “It will also help to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation in the fields of more..

'Solving National Debt crisis, govt’s priority'

Dec 8 (DN) The govt is committed to solve National Debt crisis within this decade, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM was speaking at an awards ceremony to present appointment letters to 124 Assistant Customs Superintendents at the Sri Lanka Customs. They were selected from 13,405 applicants who faced an open/limited competitive examination and a structured interview. “We are dedicated to solve the National Debt Crisis, more..

'Basil held discussions with 3 UNP MPs'

Dec 8 (AM) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is spearheading the new SL Podujana Party, has held discussions with three UNP MPs, claimed State Minister Lakshman Seneviratne. However, he said he was unable to give details as to what agreements were reached through the discussions. He said that Basil Rajapaksa was attempting to divide the SLFP, in the interest of the UNP. He added that he and the other SLFP MPs in govt will continue to support party Chairman Maithripala Sirisena. more..

UNP to retain executive presidency

Dec 8 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's United National Party (UNP) announced it will support a new constitution that will retain the current executive presidential system, but with a greater evolution of power in a unitary state. The policy-making Executive Committee of the UNP in a major policy decision declared its support to keep the presidency while changing the electoral system in favour of a hybrid of first-past-the-post and proportional representation. more..

NPC's resolution against Buddhist temples not valid: Govt

Dec 8 (PTI) Sri Lankan govt today said that a recent resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council prohibiting the construction of Buddhist temples in the Tamil-dominated North will have no legal standing. Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told Parliament that there were no constitutional provisions for provincial councils to introduce such resolutions and that the govt would in no way accept such a resolution. more..

Double murder at TNA polls rally: Three sentenced to death

Dec 8 (CT) Jaffna High Court Judge M. Illanchelian handed down death sentences to three persons who had been convicted for the murder of two persons and causing injury to 40 others, at TNA election rally held in Kayts in 2001. Two of the accused, Mathanaraja and Napoleon, who are presently living in London, were tried in absentia and convicted. Jeevaraj was the only accused living in Sri Lanka and the Judge directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the AG's Department more..

UPFA condemns death threats to MP Wickremnarathne

Dec 8 (NR) The General Secretary of the UPFA Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says the party vehemently condemns death threats levelled at MP Jayampathy Wickramaratne. He said relevant authorities should launch investigations to indentify and arrest those responsible. Member of the Constitutional Steering Committee MP Wickramaratne and his family have received death threats via telephone, over his involvement in the formulation of the new Constitution. more..

Justice Minister to Batticaloa to diffuse tension

Dec 8 (DN) Minister Wijayadasa Rajapaksa said he would visit Batticaloa to discuss and settle the religious dispute that has been cropped up in the area. He made this comment in response to a question raised by TNA MP S. Viyalendran in Parliament. TNA MP asked the Justice Minister why the govt was not taking action against Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thera of Sri Mangalarama Viharaya in Batticaloa, for his more..

Forgotten university reforms

Dec 9 (CT) University education reforms and changes to the universities Act of 1978 were hot issues during the 2015 Presidential elections. Second anniversary of the new govt is expected to be celebrated shortly. Yet, no action has been taken or even initiated regarding any reforms in the university sector. It is surprising to note that FUTA, civil societies, the academic community and even the UGC have not taken up this issue seriously in the recent past. more..

Non-existing ethnic problem in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (GV) In his article under the above title in the Island of 3rd Dec, my old friend P.S. Mahawatta pays me two inaccurate compliments. Firstly, he says, using the present tense, that I am a very good chess player. I am not. All my chess trophies were won several decades ago and it is nearly half a century since I was the National Chess Captain. He also attributes to me the following quotation, “Our children and our children’s children should be able to say with one voice – more..

Dehiwela Zoo gives animals’ freedom at last

Dec 9 (NS) Dehiwala Zoological Garden like some other overseas has been the subject of much controversy and debate among both national and international tourists, animal lovers and animal rights activists. The main contention for argument is the state of animal welfare and freedom in captivity. Foreign tourists often post negative reviews online on the treatment of animals in captivity in Sri Lanka. more..

Democratising Majority Rule

Dec 9 (GV) Sri Lanka has been exposed to veiled despotic and corrupt rule for some time. The malady persisted through the last regime and the people joined hands, two years back hopefully, to usher in a new era of liberty and good governance. Though the stress appears to have been noticeably reduced by more liberal policies and attitudes of the new regime, the root causes behind the problems continue to demonize governance. One hot topic that is under focus today is the delay in disposing more..

The faceless God discombobulates Gnanasara Thero

Dec 9 (CT) In one of the many recent diatribes against the Muslims, Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero calls the God that the Muslims believe in as a faceless God. The mens rea of this statement is clear. Denunciation, condemnation and hate filled much to the displeasure of the Muslims and the decent Buddhists. However, personally, I see it differently. Though his intention was patently not clean, I congratulate him for he has spoken the truth at least in stating that Allah is faceless. more..

'People are asking for a Rajapaksa administration'

Dec 9 (CT) UPFA MP, Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said the govt gave a massive promise to the people saying that good governance will be established, but the govt has forgotten about that now. Q: Why are you engaging in protests calling for LG elections? A: LG elections have been delayed for a long period of more than two years and it is obvious that it is being done on purpose. So, a forum, comprised of former LG members, more..

Slow love rides on tuk tuks

Dec 9 (NS) One cannot say if the three-wheeler-hailing app TukTuk is an actual service or just another troll account on Facebook. The page went viral in the middle of this year when it started bashing competitor Pick-Me while making accusations that it was ripping off customers; the lowest level a business can stoop to for attention. However, from a publicity standpoint, TukTuk got its fifteen minutes of fame when the posts started doing rounds on Facebook & other social media. more..

Terrorists hijack public transport

Dec 9 (SL) It was termed as a terrorist act as thousands were stranded and many more were affected when private bus operators and three-wheel drivers staged a strike in protest over the proposed Rs. 25,000 minimum traffic fine. The strike was suspended following talks between President Sirisena and the private bus trade unions. President has decided to appoint a committee to look into the grievances of private bus owners as well as issues relating to the transport sector. more..