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Dudley Senanayake, the gentleman politician remembered

Dec 14 (DM) The unveiling of the new statue of this truly great politician on Sunday by President Sirisena himself brings to mind memories: I had the privilege of knowing the gentleman for many years and in the 1960s in particular, I had the privilege of being associated in his Food Drive, which was without doubt the greatest contribution made by any of our leaders to improve domestic agriculture in our country. Agriculture was his first love. It was he who initiated the policy of giving land more..

Sarigama: Sinhala film musical

Dec 14 (Island) Congratulations to all involved with the production of the Sinhala adaptation of The Sound of Music. You have successfully achieved the near impossible of transferring one of the most praised Hollywood musicals to the local screen and achieved a fine film of pure entertainment. As readers may know, the 1965 film adaptation of the theatre production of the story of the von Trapp family - The Sound of Music – starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, won five Oscars more..

Editorial: Father, forgive them!

Dec 14 (Island) Political interventions always work in this country in respect of the holy, the not-so-holy and the unholy alike. When the Catholic Church opposed Minister Arjuna Ranatunga’s massive Christmas tree project the other day we thought its decision was well informed and final. But, Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has, following an intervention made by PM on behalf of Minister Ranatunga, budged on the issue, more..

Navalar myths aborting reconciliation

Dec 14 (Island) These are terrible times for ethnic and religious reconciliation. The Siva Senai was launched 09.10.2016 with TNA footprints. Its leader Maravanpulavu Sachithananthan is on the Federal Party Central Committee. His Co-Coordinator, Seeniththamby Yoheswaran, is a TNA MP. Siva Senai’s pogroms have focused on Muslims and Tamils too in Bombay. According to Sachithananthan, the Siva Senai was started because Hindus here face problems from more..

Sri Lanka to import 20,000 milk cows

Dec 14 (CT) SL plans to import 20,000 high yielding milk cows from France and Pakistan, with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency in dairy products by 2020. This was stated by Minister P. Harrison, who added that the govt has given high priority to increasing local milk production to meet the local consumption requirement. Currently, the local diary industry produces only 42% of the daily milk requirement, while the govt spends US$ 300 million annually to import the remaining 58%, more..

Speeding politico's daughter halted after chase

Dec 14 (DM) A prominent politician’s 20 year-old daughter, who drove her defender jeep violating traffic laws, was caught by two policemen attached to Nittambuwa Police, after giving chase for three kilometers at the Pasyala area on the Colombo-Kandy main road, police said. The incident had taken place on Sunday at Weweldeniya in the Radawadunna area, when the policemen signalled to halt a defender jeep coming from more..

Exporters awaiting confirmation of RAMIS implementation

Dec 14 (FT) The Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL), which represents the majority of small-, medium- and large-scale Sri Lankan exporters, urgently called upon the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Inland Revenue to confirm that Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) would be fully implemented and operational by January 2017. Exporters were deeply concerned over the announcement of the Simplified Value Added Tax (SVAT) being suspended more..

'Sports events are good for learning accountability, dedication and leadership'

Dec 14 (Island) Pakistan Army Hockey team won the final friendly match against Sri Lanka Army team at Astro Turf Ground, Colombo on Dec 10. As part of the Army-to-Army Sports exchange programme between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the Pakistan Army Hockey team, arrived in Sri Lanka on Dec 4 to play a four-match series with their counterparts in the Sri Lankan Army and Mercantile Hockey Association. Pakistan Army hockey team won all the matches including grand finale. more..

H’tota ship seizure sparks fears of int'l maritime commerce at southern port

Dec 14 (FT) Foreign merchant vessels will rethink docking at the Hambantota Port after protesting dock workers seized a Japanese ship and prevented it leaving the harbour for four days, local shipping agents said.  Tressel Silva, Operations Manager for ABC Shipping, local agent for the Japanese owned vessel seized by workers, said another ship owned by the same company was scheduled to dock in Hambantota on 17 Dec. more..

Wijeyadasa assures probe into alleged assault on journalist

Dec 14 (DN) A probe will be conducted into the alleged assault on a journalist by Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne at the Hambantota Port premises, Justice and Buddhasasana Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. He said the Navy Commander being at the port in civil clothing too was questionable. He noted that the outcome of the probe will reveal whether the journalist involved in the incident had obstructed the Navy from carrying its duty or vice versa. more..

Muslim politicos write to President on hate campaign against them

Dec 14 (AD) A letter signed by 20 Muslim politicians has been handed over to the President following continued hate campaign against the Muslims in Sri Lanka. The letter has urged the immediate attention of the President over the issue. The letter says, Extremist Buddhists, mostly led by Buddhist monks continue to threaten the peace that exists in the country. Since your election to the Presidency in January 2015, there has been a lull in the hate campaign, but more..

Advanced U.S. maritime patrol aircraft visits Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (USE) Red Lancers of Patrol Squadron TEN (VP-10) departed Sri Lanka on Sunday, aboard a P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Mattala Rajapaksa Int'l Airport in Hambantota.  Poseidon arrived in Colombo on Dec 4, where its sailors met with SL military personnel to demonstrate the capabilities of the P-8A and exchanged expert advice.  The exercise worked with SL Air Force and Navy in safe-guarding more..

Selling assets, crushing protests yahapalana way

Dec 14 (Island) There seems to be no end in sight to the govt reneging on its pre-election pledges. One of its main campaign slogans was that the Rajapaksas were turning the country into a Chinese colony. It promised to regain SL and cancel Chinese funded Port City project as the first step towards that goal. What it is practising now is the very antithesis of that pledge. Its grandees are shamelessly groveling before the Chinese, unable to draw loans from their western masters. more..

Lankan students win Gold at APICTA 2016

Dec 14 (CT) Two students from St. Anthony's College, Kandy won the coveted Gold Award at the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) awards held in Taipei, Taiwan at the Awards Ceremony held recently in Taiwan. President of China Tsai Ing-wen was the Chief Guest. Gajindu Bandara, and Kavindra Gimhan, winners of the Young Computer Scientist (YCS) competition organized by the Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka(FITIS) in association with the Ministry of Education more..

Laws needed to regulate social media: PM

Dec 14 (DN) The govt is keeping a close watch on the activities of certain websites in social media, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Laws will be introduced if necessary, if such websites fail to listen to reason, PM said at the National Meelad-un-Nabi ceremony. “We can take steps against the print and electronic media if they propagate extremism. However, we cannot control the damage caused by social media more..

‘A billionaire pops-up in Asia once in every three days’

Dec 14 (Island) ‘A billionaire pops-up in Asia once in every three days, outpacing all other regions in the world, according to a new report by UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers. India is home to the fourth largest population of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region, with 2.36 lakhs, such high net worth individuals, while Japan topped the list with 12.60 lakhs of such persons, chairman, Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC) Shashi Dhanatunge said. CSC Head was delivering the welcome address to more..

STF to rescue 5 missing individuals on Saptha Kanya Mountain range

Dec 14 (NR) The police special task force has launched a special search and rescue operation to locate and rescue 5 individuals reported missing in the Saptha Kanya moutain range in Maskeliya yesterday. The five individuals had repeatedly contacted the police emergency hotline 119 after loosing their way. The group informed the police that they lit a fire to signal their location. Accordingly a search and rescue team has been deployed in search of the group. more..

Only 20 out of 138 docs’ children admitted to schools

Dec 14 (Island) The GMOA said that only 20 doctors children had been admitted to national schools. GMOA Secretary, Dr. Naveen de Zoysa said the GMOA had met Minister Rajitha Senaratne over the weekend to discuss the schooling issue faced by the children of their members. There were 138 children to be admitted and 68 of them were for Grade One. He said the union had requested the Health Secretary for more..

TRC ranks Airtel as Sri Lanka’s top internet service provider

Dec 14 (FT) Independent studies carried by the TRC of Sri Lanka and Huawei Technologies Lanka have revealed that Airtel Lanka has the fastest mobile 3G internet speeds in the country. While the TRC test is geared exclusively to measure download speeds, the Huawei test additionally evaluates multiple parameters like file upload speeds, browsing speeds and PING delays. The studies were conducted in all main geographies of the country and Airtel’s internet outperformed its competitors. more..

Innovative economy to be encouraged: Eran

Dec 14 (NR) The govt has decided to introduce special programs to encourage an innovative economy. Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said the opening of the London Stock Exchange Group’s new state-of-the-art technology facility, which was opened under the patronage of PM is of great importance in this regard. He stated that the new facility will bring in new job opportunities adding that it has also paved the way for foreign investors to invest in the country’s ventures. more..

IMF tells govt to wind down forex swaps

Dec 14 (FT) The IMF has requested the Govt to reduce reliance on currency swaps with commercial banks and grow reserves through direct foreign exchange purchases, which would also extend to maintaining a flexible exchange rate and inflation targeting to build insulation amidst growing external vulnerabilities.  IMF staff team head Jaewoo Lee, talking to reporters after the approval of the second tranche of the $ 1.5 billion EFF, more..

Hambantota Port protest Arjuna warns of fresh recruitment

Dec 14 (CT) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday warned that fresh hands will be recruited for the Magampura Port in Hambantota if those currently on strike do not report for duty with further delay. The minister said that a strong decision will be taken against the protesters and that the new employees will be selected from the same area. Minister issued this warning while speaking to the media subsequent to handing over financial assistance to the Attanagalla, more..

‘Ex SLPA officials, politicos blocked investors to H’tota port’

Dec 14 (DN) Former Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) top officials and then ruling party politicians blocked several local and foreign entrepreneurs from investing in the Hambantota Harbour, due to vested interests, Walkers Colombo Shipyard Managing Director Dr. Sarath Obeysekera lamented. He said that if the then SLPA allowed other local investors with or without foreign collaboration to proceed with their investments, the Hambantota Port would have been a self funding and a viable venture. more..

Ravi K ready to take on PPPs after two-thirds Budget rout

Dec 14 (FT) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake brimmed with optimism over the economy after receiving a 2/3rd majority for the Budget 2017 vote, which he insisted sets the stage for a stable economy that will boost investor confidence and pave the way for more Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the coming year.  All required legislation to implement Budget proposals will be set in place by February next year, more..

Video: Public transport still operated under an SLFP govt

Dec 14 (DM) Private Bus Owners' Association President Gemunu Wijeratne charged that public transportation was still under the administration of SLFP except in the North. “This is the utmost truth which prevails in the country. No UNP member or this govt controls the transportation system in the country. Transport Minister is from SLFP and all the Provincial Councils except the North are still controlled under a SLFP Govt. This will be a big problem to move this govt forward” more..

SL keen to promote trade with Pakistan

Dec 14 (TN) High Commissioner of SL Jayanath Lokukatagodage said that Sri Lanka is keen to promote trade with Pakistan as enhanced trade would help improving living standards of the people of both countries. He said addressing business community here at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) that Pakistan is the second largest trading partner of Sri Lanka in South Asia and there are numerous fields in which both countries can develop mutual collaboration. more..

Sri Lanka and Tajikistan sign 5 agreements

Dec 14 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday invited Tajikistan entrepreneurs and the public sector to explore investment opportunities in SL. “Sri Lanka has increased trade ties with the world and work for economic development,” he said during bilateral discussions with President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon. Rahmon is on a state visit to SL. President Sirisena received his Tajikistan counterpart at the Presidential Secretariat more..

From DS to MS: How SL became so mediocre

Dec 15 (CT) It should be a captivating story. It’s a story that can be told and listened to without a wink. Pundits would theorize, historians would relish and cynics would say I told you so. All political chicanery played out to a finish, trickery and deceit employed by the players to such an exquisitely consummate level, the level of deceit had all hallmarks of Ceylon’s growth to nationhood; an uncanny human drama enacted and historians would salivate, for chronicling of such curious events is a more..

Adaptation – Part III

Dec 15 (CT) It has been calculated that a one-degree increase in global temperature would eliminate fresh water from a third of the world’s land surface by 2100, mostly in the tropics. This is supposed to happen incrementally, as the number of record hot days increase so does the water evaporated from a hot land surface. Satellite imagery has long demonstrated that the heat signature from open or exposed lands is much higher than tree covered lands. more..

Another life lost to reckless driving

Dec 15 (SO) President recently instructed IGP Pujith Jayasundara to submit a weekly report to him on VIP vehicles breaking road rules. Police, therefore, will be required to stop convoys of VIP vehicles from January 1 to identify those using them. Speaking at a function to promote road safety last week, President noted that the public is disappointed to see VIP vehicles driving without any regard for road rules. more..

Reverse Gear

Dec 15 (CT) A full stop was put to the attempt by the Minister of Ports and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga to break a world record by creating the world's tallest Christmas tree. However, the full stop was not laid in a simple manner. It was because of a statement made by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo. But later PM Ranil Wickremesinghe gave the nod to go ahead constructing the Christmas tree after consultation with all parties. more..

Opposition to taxes and inability to tax: Expenditure without taxation

Dec 15 (ST) Taxation proposals in the budget have been opposed through violent protests, demonstrations and strikes. At the same time, there are demands for additional expenditure in social infrastructure, social welfare and numerous benefits from the govt. People want reductions in prices that decrease revenue, while opposing privatisation of loss making state owned enterprises that increase govt expenditure. Govt is in a fiscal trap: It is expected to increase expenditure and more..

'No clear govt reaction to Executive Presidency'

Dec 15 (CT) Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris, in an interview with the Ceylon Today said, the govt has not yet declared its official stance on the Executive Presidency. The govt must tell us what stand it has adopted on the Executive Presidency; whether it will abolish it as promised, or whether it has decided to retain it with limited powers, or whether it has changed its mind, Prof. Peiris said. more..

Reconciliation in SL: Mission Impossible?

Dec 15 (GV) During the past few years much has been spoken and written about the need for reconciliation between the different communities in Sri Lanka. LLRC was appointed by President Rajapakse to hear what was needed to be done to bring about reconciliation among the tattered communities in the country. This Commission’s recommendations did not receive  the earnest consideration they deserved.  Instead that regime continued to indulge in activities that made more..

Official eruption on anti-corruption

Dec 15 (ST) Glory be! Who would have thought this would happen. But then not too long ago someone did label Sri Lanka the Miracle of Asia. After all this is the time of year when Santa Claus is said to come round bearing gifts for the festive season which could hardly be festive if you have not collected a few cool millions out of a duty-free vehicle permit. But there it was, as proud as an MP with an extra hundred thousand bucks monthly allowance that is meant to be gift-wrapped and more..

Prasanna Ranatunga

Measures to increase benefits under Virusara Privilege Card project

Dec 15 (MoD) A Progress Review meeting of the Virusara Privilege Card Project was held under the patronage of State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene at the Ministry today (14). Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Secretary to the State Ministry of Defence Mr. APG Kithsiri were also present at the meeting. Speaking at the occasion State Minister said that measures will be taken to increase the benefits provided under the project to beneficiaries. more..

A good American & Hague’s Humanity House

Dec 15 (Island) During my tour to The Hague I had an opportunity to go to the World Forum to the Assembly of State Parties. We attended several meetings, met some interesting and boring people. There was a meeting of the NGOs we attended. Some spoke well and some where there for the perks and benefits I realised. I asked them what they will do about the atrocities committed by the US in Iraq & Afghanistan. Man from Amnesty International tried to answer, but he wasn't convincing. more..

Troubled waters

Dec 15 (FT) Magam Mahinda Rajapaksa Port has never been a stranger to controversy. It was the epicentre of a new headache for the Govt last week, after some 400 striking dock workers attached to a private company set up to manage the port in 2012 seized a Japanese owned vessel calling at the port to dispatch a cargo of vehicles and pick up another transhipment of vehicles bound for its next port of call more..

Under-19 Rugby: Hong Kong thrash SL 61-0

Dec 15 (CT) Sri Lanka junior rugby team suffered a humiliating 0–61 (8-tries, 6 conversions, 3-penalties) defeat at the hands of Hong Kong during their second match of the Under-19 Asia Rugby Championship which was worked off at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia yesterday. The pre-tournament favourites raced to a stunning 27-0 lead at half time, which took the game away from the Sri Lankan side led by prop forward Nikhila Gunadheera. Flanker Oliver Overman and full back Mathew Worley more..