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Hooray … It’s a holi-holiday

Dec 11 (ST) For lovers of music, you must be familiar with the strains of a popular Boney M song, It’s a Holi-Holiday, which I heard on the airwaves this week. December is generally a relaxed month when everyone looks forward to a season of cheer, relaxation and holiday. And for those who love a jolly, good drink, here’s an entertaining email, among the usual chain letters that one gets; Dear liver, give me a break this month! So while enjoying your December holidays spare more..

Attempt to enjoin SLC major tournament 2016/17 refused by D C Colombo

Dec 11 (SO) An attempt by SL Ports Authority Cricket Association which is under the purview of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping to obtain an exparté Enjoining Order against the conducting of the SLC Major Tournaments 2016/2017 by Sri Lanka Cricket was refused by the District Court of Colombo. SLPACA application relied on an objection made in Feb 2016 by the SLPACA against Badureliya Cricket Club with regards to the playing of two foreign nationals in the 2015/2016 tournament, more..

'Tamils oppose only illegal erection of Buddha statues'

Dec 11 (ENS) CM of Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has issued a statement refuting Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe’s allegation that he and the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) have demanded a ban on Buddha’s statues being erected in the overwhelmingly Hindu (and Christian) Northern Province. CM said that he and the NPC had only objected to the illegal erection of Buddhist statues and building of Buddha Viharas more..

CBSL spent Rs 60B to defend Rupee

Dec 11 (CT) Sri Lanka's official foreign reserves were poorer by a massive US$ 404.57 million (Rs 60.17 billion) due to the protection of the rupee from depreciating pressure in the foreign exchange (FX) market by the Central Bank last month (November), data showed. An expenditure of Rs 60 billion is nearly 140% the size of the Govt's Samurdhi allocation for next year which is a mere Rs 44 billion and is also equivalent to this year's (2016) Samurdhi allocation as well. more..

BOT system for two elevated highways

Dec 11 (ST) Govt has dropped a plan to obtain a loan from a Japanese bank to construct an elevated highway in the suburbs of Colombo and instead is to go in for a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis project. Under the proposed plan, talks were underway with the Japan Mitsubishi Bank for the construction of a 10.4 km-long elevated highway between Rajagiriya and Athurugiriya and a 6.9km elevated highway from Rajagiriya to Dematagoda, but was dropped due to high cost, more..

Joint Opposition protests against naval attack on Hambantota port workers

Dec 11 (CT) JO in Parliament yesterday carried out a demonstration in protest of the Govt using Navy personnel to assault employees of the Hambantota Ports authority who were conducting a strike. The drama commenced with NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa raising a Point of Order for the House to address the plight of the workers of the Hambantota Ports Authority officials who had been allegedly assaulted by Navy. more..

Limiting liquor shop permits: Finance Minister calls for consensus

Dec 11 (SO) Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament, that all political parties in parliament should reach a consensus to limit the issuance of liquor shop permits. He was responding to a question raised by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake who demanded to know from the Govt, what action it would take to control the proliferation of liquor outlets. “Govt’s policy is to bring down the number of liquor shops. “In addition, action would also be taken to renew all liquor licences every three years more..

Don’t trash nature’s gifts, wildlife experts plead

Dec 11 (ST) Reckless disposal of garbage in our localities can put precious bird life in peril as two recent incidents showed.Wildlife specialists are appealing to Sri Lankans to be a lot more considerate after rescuing two species of bird that endured the horrors of human encroachment of their habitat. Herpetologist and wildlife photographer Mendis and two assistants Sumith Bandara and Saman waited until dusk last Sunday to go to the aid of a purple heron (karawal koka), more..

Nilame case: CC recommends action against Police Chief

Dec 11 (ST) Constitutional Council (CC) will ask President Sirisena to initiate action against IGP Pujith Jayasundera over allegations that he attempted to save a suspect from arrest over a corruption investigation.  The decision came after a lengthy discussion on Friday at the CC meeting chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. CC would brief President on the recent developments and also convey its serious concern over the matter. more..

House ends year with charity beginning at home

Dec 11 (ST) Parliament yesterday unanimously approved the payment of Rs 100,000 a month to all MPs for the maintenance of an office, with effect from Jan 1, 2017, as well as a raise in the current sitting allowance from Rs 500 to Rs. 2,500. The resolution presented in the House by Minister Gayantha Karunatillake, was approved with several other regulations, as Parliament wound up sittings for 2016. The Resolution states that “commencing 1st Jan 2017, all MPs including National more..

Russia can provide all military hardware SL govt wants: Ambassador

Dec 11 (Island) Russia is not concerned about the growing American and Indian influence in Sri Lanka, nor would it do anything to try and squeeze them out, says its Ambassador in Colombo Alexander Karchava. "The then Soviet Union’s big influence in Sri Lanka has diminished, but we are not going to push your govt to increase our presence here. Russia will gradually improve cooperation depending on Colombo’s requirements. We will not try to squeeze anyone out of Sri Lanka", more..

Cabinet reshuffle imminent in January

Dec 11 (CT) With pressure mounting on President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to take tough decisions against three Cabinet Ministers who are allegedly causing damages to yahapalana govt, several key ministers have demanded the President to go for a Cabinet reshuffle with the dawn of year 2017. This was suggested at a meeting led by President and was attended by PM and 10 other ministers. more..

Governor squashes resignation rumours

Dec 11 (Island) Central Bank Governor, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy dismissed speculation that he had intentions of tendering his resignation amidst pressure exerted from high ranking persons within the govt. The Governor’s clarification came in the wake of some media reports that he met with the President and expressed his intention to step down, but the President had convinced him to stay on. "No, I haven’t done any such thing," Coomaraswamy told The Sunday Island. more..

Equipment coming to test motorists using narcotics, say Police

Dec 11 (ST) The Police will soon import equipment to test if motorists are driving under the influence of narcotics, said DIG of Police Palitha Fernando.  ”Tenders have been called for the purchase of the equipment which will be issued to all police stations”, he said. Currently, motorists need to be subjected to a blood test, to determine whether they are driving under the influence of narcotics.  He said the test will be carried out on their saliva, which will determine seven different levels of use of narcotics. more..

Delays in big corruption probes raise major questions

Dec 11 (ST) Tuesday’s weekly meeting of ministers turned out to be stormy as a lengthy discussion ensued on Govt’s inaction over investigations into major cases of bribery and corruption. Two ministers, vociferous critics over these issues, dropped political bombshells that shook colleagues. Minister Rajitha Senaratne, disclosed that those who were now being prosecuted had received files containing statements and more..

CM Jayalalithaa: An influential figure in post-Congress India, she was mercurial on SL

Dec 11 (Island) CM Jayalalithaa who passed away last week was a much maligned figure throughout her political life, but she evoked as much love and adoration among her followers as she provoked ridicule and hate among her detractors. Her political epitaph could well be that she was a very influential TN Chief Minister in post-Congress India. Jayalalithaa wielded remarkable influence for nearly thirty yearswhile the Indian Union and its constituent Stateskept jostling towards more..

Empowering and Enabling Parents of Children with Disabilities

Dec 11 (Island) We have read about children with autism exhibiting sudden spurts of brilliance, or having a marvellous ability in some brain activity like multiplication of numbers. Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder. The specific nature of the condition in affected children differs but there is almost always a deficiency mainly in social behaviour and communication. Worldwide statistics show that 1 in 69 children are autistic. In Sri Lanka the figure is 1 in 93. more..

Millions wasted on Sri Lanka’s ghost consulate in Los Angeles

Dec 11 (ST) The FCID has started a probe on how a Sri Lanka Consul General’s office in Los Angeles received Govt funds running into millions of rupees when it was not staffed for more than two years. The probe comes on a directive from Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera to FCID Chief Senior DIG Ravi Waidyalankara. This follows a written complaint to the Police Chief from Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Tamil Sri Lanka desolate in tragedy but hope remains

Dec 11 (ENS) After J Jayalalithaa’s death, Lankan Tamil community that had her support is waiting and watching what would be the next step of her successors. The late Tamil Nadu CM’s  involvement in the Sri Lankan Tamil issue began almost immediately after she joined the AIADMK in 1983. It was later that year that over one lakh Sri Lankan Tamil refugees poured into the state, pushed out by the anti-Tamil riots in SL in July that year. more..

'I’m not afraid of death threats'

Dec 11 (CT) Leader of the majority group of LSSP Dr. Jayampathi Wickramaratne, MP, says the immediate objective of his party is guaranteeing democracy and social justice through constitutional reform. He further pointed out that finding a solution to the ethnic problem through democracy and social justice was a founding aim of the LSSP. "But, we have certain limitations because we are a part of the present coalition govt," more..

Hirunika drops bombshell

Dec 11 (CT) In the course of this week, two members claimed that they were threatened for carrying out their duties as MP. MP Hirunika Premachandra revealed an ailment in the nether regions of a Joint Opposition MP who was in remand prison for some time. Premachandra, who was making a speech while taking part in the debate on the Budget 2017 informed the House of various acts of corruption taking place at Welikada Prison. more..

Black economy 150% bigger than formal economy

Dec 11 (CT) Sri Lanka's economy operates in such a way that the more educated one is, the chances of unemployment are greater. Those were among a plethora of statistics dished out by labour survey last year, which data was released recently (17 Nov). Among some of its other findings were that there is greater employment in the informal sector, where 60% of those employed were in the informal sector, whereas only 40% more..

Leading finance house engaged in Ponzi scheme?

Dec 11 (SL) The imbroglio created allegedly by the Managing Director of  one of Sri Lanka’s oldest finance houses and an ex-Ceylinco company which is on the verge of collapse has been further aggravated by the blind eye turned by country’s banking watchdog – Central Bank, opine employees of the beleaguered finance institution. “A staggering Rs 715 million loss was reported as at 31th Sept 2016. All these details are available in CSE. more..

Attack on Hambantota port workers: State Minister rejects allegations

Dec 11 (SO) Categorically rejecting the Joint Opposition’s (JO) claim that the Navy had assaulted the employees of Hambantota port who engaged in strike action, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said that the Navy was sent to rescue two ships in the harbour taken by force by the strikers. The Minister who made a statement with permission from the Chair, in the evening, said that he had called the Navy Commander more..

Public can lodge complaints on unethical conduct of MPs

Dec 11 (Island) A proposed new parliamentary committee will give members of the public an opportunity to lodge complaints on the unethical conduct of MPs, breach of provisions outlined in the Code of Conduct of MPs and concealing any information regarding their assets Such complaints have to be countersigned by an MP and forwarded to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges proposed to be set up under more..

China-dominated joint venture taking control of Hambantota port

Dec 11 (ST) A Chinese-dominated joint venture (JV) will be granted comprehensive control of Hambantota port — including its internal security — under a framework agreement signed this week between the Sri Lanka Govt and China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPort). The agreement, which was seen by the Sunday Times, was entered into between CMPort and the Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance, more..

Video: Navy chief in hot water after assaulting journalist

Dec 11 (EN) Sri Lanka's navy chief Ravindra Wijegunaratne is in deep trouble after he was caught on camera assaulting a television journalist and abusing reporters in unprintable language, official sources said. The Vice Admiral had personally led a navy boat team to lift a blockade of the Hambantota port on Saturday and free two foreign vessels that were virtually hijacked by dock workers. more..

A mistake is a portal of discovery

Dec 12 (CT) That famous presidential pronouncement two months ago, at the SLFI qualified the applicability of the principle – no one is above the law. It redefined independence of independent commissions. On that day, this writer decided to refrain from writing and commenting on the performance of the current govt. It was just as well. The rarely good, often bad and frequently ugly governance of the UNP – SLFP coalition led by the Maithri-Ranil duumvirate is beyond retrieval, more..

Issues of new constitution making in SL

Dec 12 (CT) Within the last seven years, Sri Lanka was presented with two opportunities to structurally reform the political system with the aim of fostering ethnic reconciliation. First, when the war ended in 2009, and second, when the present governing coalition ascended to power in 2015. The end of the war was a major turning point because, with the collapse of the LTTE, one of the major hurdles for the devolution of power and ethnic reconciliation was terminated. more..

Govt’s move to bring EPF/ ETF under the Treasury

Dec 12 (CT) The EPF and ETF whether under one, or two institutions have to be managed professionally, by competent people, with integrity and commitment to provide a better return to the funds of the poor man’s hard earned money, said financial analysts and senior bankers, with regard to the move by the govt to bring the EPF and the ETF under the Treasury. Minister, W.D.J. Seneviratne said, plans are afoot to set up a private more..

Indulging in sunshine stories and taking foolhardy risks

Dec 12 (ST) If the thinking was that the risks of taking an intelligence chief as part of the Govt delegation to brief the UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT) recently would be offset as a result of sunshine stories spun by Govt’s policy propagandists living in cloud cuckoo land, then a rude shock was administered this week. This came in the form of a sharp reprimand issued by the UNCAT using less than the normal diplomatic language than is wont in responding to SL’s more..

Editorial: Great women

Dec 12 (Island) Sri Lanka has never been in need of great women. Chronicles tell us about intrepid, patriotic womenfolk who made selfless sacrifices for this land. Behind every great king there was a courageous woman who was either his mother or sister or consort. There have been instances where queens themselves fought for the country. At present, too, women defend the country to the hilt; they keep the national economy afloat by slaving away in garment factories, on estates and more..

'Centre must not arbitrarily use power'

Dec 12 (SL) LSSP member, MP Jayampathy Wickramaratne said with two parties within the coalition govt there is bound to be differences of opinions which is reasonable. Govt should complete its term as per the pledge given to the people. He said, on 18th of Dec, LSSP commemorates the 81st anniversary of the party in a completely different setting. He says all over the world socialism has suffered more..

Beware: Freedom of the electronic wild ass

Dec 12 (SL) Kingmakers of America who had been on the political stage for long years flexing their muscles at the powerful and mighty had a nasty fall from grace on Nov 8 when the unpredictable billionaire Donald Trump routed their favourite candidate in the presidential election that took all by surprise. After Trump’s victory it appears that much of the power the media wielded is waning. They have lost their credibility. Problems are growing and last week American media was trying to more..

Another attempt at a frame-up

Dec 12 (SL) This piece should, in fact be an addendum to one of the series that preceded it.  However, even as an afterthought it bears exposure given the very recent threat and intimidation I have been subjected to even after the alleged Yahapalanaya lot occupied the seats of power. I am going to hark back to the 1971 Che Guevara insurrection and my totally unwitting connection to it. Subsequent to the 1970 return of the Sirimavo Bandaranaike clique to power, we discovered more..

Selling Sri Lanka to fund govt corruption

House heads for New Year with old woes made worse

Dec 12 (ST) As the month-long debate on the Appropriation Bill 2017 came to an end this week, and the year’s Parliamentary sittings too drew to a close, the Government got a taste of what lies ahead in the new year- more dissension within its own ranks, an increasingly aggressive Joint Opposition (JO) and growing frustration from the main Opposition for lack of progress in the reconciliation process and the fight against corruption. President Maithripala Sirisena who participated more..

An apology for an apology

Dec 12 (Island) Responses and reactions to the statement in Parliament last week by the PM around the burning of the Public Library in Jaffna are a revealing case study in reconciliation’s progress, nearly two years into the Sirisena administration. Mainstream media and social media, including the social media accounts of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms and Spokesperson of Foreign Ministry welcomed what they termed was an apology from PM. more..

Masquerades and cricket killing fields

Dec 12 (ST) As a norm, we are vehemently against politicisation of sports. But, when it comes to parliamentary proceedings and especially the dialogues pertaining to the Budget allocations, it becomes a different issue. Argument we were engrossed in was intense, but did not involve the members of the so-called Joint Opposition. This time the argument was between two or, you can call it three members, more..

Red cards at cricket a novel concept of SL

Dec 12 (DN) Former Josephian and SL U-19 skipper and Tamil Union cricketer Dushan Soza is laying claim that it was he who first introduced the novel concept of introducing red cards in cricket which the ICC is planning to bring in for unruly player conduct in the lower-tier leagues from Oct next year. Soza was a member of the technical committee appointed by interim committee chairman Sidath Wettimuny last year that comprised Wettimuny as well as former SL captains Mahela and Tissera. more..