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Editorial: A yahapalana snafu

Dec 15 (Island) A large number of Hambantota residents took to the streets yesterday against a govt move to lease out a vast extent of land in the area to some Chinese companies. These protests and the Hambantota Port workers’ agitation are likely to snowball if the govt resorts to coercive methods to neutralise them without addressing the root causes of people’s unrest. Navy Commander Ravi Wijegunaratne continues to draw heavy flak for Saturday’s crackdown on protesting workers. more..

Channa Goonetilleke new Army Chief of Staff

Dec 15 (NR) Major General Channa Goonetilleke has been appointed as the new Chief of Staff of the SL Army. He has been serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff since the 4th of Nov. He succeeds Major General UAB Medawela who retired from the Army a few days ago. Major General HCP Goonetilleke enlisted in the Sri Lanka Army on the 31st of Aug 1981, having completed his primary and secondary education at St Benedict’s College more..

Youth Asia Cup commences today

Dec 15 (CT) Third edition of U-19 Youth Asia Cup is set to begin today with the participation of 8 countries. India will be playing against Malaysia in the Colombo fixture, while Pakistan face Singapore at Galle and Bangladesh will be playing against Afghanistan at Matara in the Southern Province fixture. With the theme of Strengthening Asian Youth for Global Power, the tournament was officially launched yesterday and was declared open by the Minister of Sport Dayasiri Jayasekera, more..

Exporters’ Forum winds up with mixed results

Dec 15 (FT) An initiative to resolve exporters’ issues, the Exporters’ Forum, had mixed results this year as it wrapped up its 10th and final session yesterday, providing a space for private sector participation to formulate policy revamps and better coordination between Govt institutions.  17 issues were tabled at the 10th Exporters’ Forum organised by the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade in collaboration with the Export Development Board (EDB).  more..

Eran urges MPs to adopt e-procurement system to reduce corruption

Dec 15 (FT) Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne made a passionate plea to lawmakers from across the board to work together to adopt an e-procurement system for the country that would help save billions of rupees that are lost due to corruption each year. “In 2015, Govt procurement amounted to Rs. 600 billion. If we can reduce waste by 1% of this amount we can save Rs. 600 million and if we reduce this by 5% we will have more..

Brandix CEO serves food for thought at FCCISL Awards Night

Dec 15 (Island) The spirit of Sri Lankan entrepreneurship was evident to corporate Sri Lanka when The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) saluted outstanding, and responsible entrepreneurs by recognizing and rewarding them at its prestigious annual awards night recently. However, Ashroff Omar, CEO - Brandix, a captain of SL industry, speaking at this awards night thought it fit to strike a poignant chord with the celebrating winners. more..

Lessons for Sri Lanka as Trump, Brexiters ride nationalist hate wave in the West

Dec 15 (EN) Nationalist hate is once again rising in the West, as shown by Brexit and Donald Trump amid an economic downturn while Sri Lanka is taking time off from minority bashing, but how long this ascent to human decency will last is anybody's guess. Already the nationalists are coming out and pointing to the Trump victory to justify hate and discrimination. A Muslim owned clothing store had apparently been set on fire, just like Jewish shops were burnt in Germany. more..

Video: Was Prez informed of Port sale? JO

Dec 15 (DM) Joint Opposition (JO) questioned whether President Sirisena was informed of the agreement signed to sell 80% of shares of the Hambantota Port to a Chinese firm. President is also the Chairman of the SLFP. MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said Subject Minister Arjuna Ranatunga had not even been informed of the decision. “When asked, the govt says it was the PM and Minister Malik Samarawickrama, more..

Lankan trade mission to visit Tajikistan

Dec 15 (DN) SL will send business delegation and a trade mission to Tajikistan before President Sirisena visit the country late next year. This team would be led by Minister Malik Samarawickreme. The delegation from Sri Lanka will include the business community engaged in gems and jewellery apparel, rubber-based products, porcelain and tableware. Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva told an investment forum that there are also tremendous investment opportunities in Tajikistan’s more..

SC to hear Udaya G. FR petition on 11 July

Dec 15 (FT) Supreme Court yesterday said that it would hear the Fundamental Rights petition filed by Udaya Gammanpila, challenging the decision to arrest and detain him on allegations of fraud and forgery, on 11 July 2017. The bench comprised justices Eva Wanasundera, Priyantha Jayawardane and Nalin Perera. The court on 11 June 2016 granted leave to proceed with his fundamental rights petition. The petitioner cited Special Investigation Unit (SIU) Inspector M.D.C.P. Gunathilake, more..

ICC Chief Executive to visit Sri Lanka today

Dec 15 (CT) ICC Chief Executive David Richardson will be visiting SL today for a comprehensive briefing on the SLC Way Forward which outlines its short, mid and long terms plans. He will be spending time with the Senior Management of SLC and will be briefed on the impending changes to the Constitution as well as to the organizational structure of SLC, and will conduct an interactive session with Heads of Depts of SLC. more..

World Fast Chess Gold for Ehsha

Dec 15 (DM) Ehsha Michela Pallie of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo has won the first place in the under 9 age group in Blitz (fast chess) at the 2016 World Schools Chess Championship concluded in Sochi, Russia. Ehsha who is the Asian Schools champion in the under 9 age group won three medals including a gold at the Asian Schools Chess Championship held in Iran in April this year as well. Besides Ehsha four other Sri Lankan players have performed well in the Blitz category more..

Renaka Udawatte new Deputy Chief of Staff

Dec 15 (SLA) Major General Renaka Udawatte has been appointed the new Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army. He succeeds Major General Channa Goonetilleke who has been appointed concurrently as the new Chief of Staff of the Army. Major General Renaka Udawatte of the SL Army Ordnance Corps (SLAOC) Regiment has been serving as the Director General Financial Management branch of the Army before he was appointed to this office. Major General Udawatta was born on 31.07.1962 more..

Sri Lanka among most vulnerable to capital outflows: Moody’s

Dec 15 (EN) Sri Lanka is among countries in the Asia-Pacific region that have the highest vulnerability to the direct and indirect effects of sustained capital outflows, according to Moody's Investors Service. If they last more than a few weeks, capital outflows will lead to tightening in domestic financing for many Asian countries, the rating agency said in a new report. High levels of debt and links to global financial markets more..

Corrupt probing the corrupt: New team to review ministerial expenses

Dec 15 (FT) In an effort to tighten public expenditure, a team of public employees will be selected from all ministries to review ministerial expenses, a Finance Ministry statement said, with supplementary estimates to be given only for emergency situations next year. Minister Ravi Karunanayake was quoted in the statement as saying that such a move would be beneficial to improve financial accountability, during a meeting which was held on Wednesday with more..

Cocaine sample to the Government Analyst

Dec 15 (NR) Police Narcotic Bureau informed the Colombo Magistrates’ Court that it has initiated investigations to determine the involvement of any Sri Lankans to smuggle 800 kg of cocaine from Ecuador. On Friday, the Police Narcotic Bureau discovered 800 kg of cocaine worth approximately 12 billion rupees at the Colombo Harbour. Police said the shipment was part of an international narcotics racket adding it was intended reach India through the Colombo harbour. more..

Delimitation Committee Report delayed again

Dec 15 (NR) The publication of the report compiled by the National Delimitation Committee headed by Ashoka Peries has been delayed once again. Report of the Committee set up to look into complaints arising from delimitation of new wards, was scheduled to be handed over to the Minister of Local Govts and Provincial Councils today. However the Committee has requested an extension to the deadline. more..

Sri Lanka takes urgent measures to avoid dengue epidemic

Dec 15 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is likely to face a dengue epidemic if the number of infected patients continues to rise. A total of 48,000 people have been infected with dengue so far this year, with 76 deaths reported, compared to the 30,000 infected last year with 54 deaths. Urgent preventive measures have already been put in place in order to avoid an epidemic. "The numbers are much higher this year. This is mainly due to the floods in June. We are trying our best to control the situation," more..

Media standards and entitlements: A discussion note for public consultation

Dec 15 (GDI) A free, independent and diverse media with high ethical standards and professional competence, dedicated to provide a wide range of information and ideas to citizens, while serving as a public forum for well-informed democratic dialogue, is indispensable for the building and maintaining of democracy in SL. The govt is committed to creating an enabling environment for the media sector which is based on respect for internationally recognised professional standards and practices, more..

Thajudeen murder CID probing VIP vehicle

Dec 15 (CT) CID informed Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court that a special investigation will be launched to establish facts about a VIP vehicle which is said to have followed the vehicle of Wasim Thajudeen on the day he was brutally murdered in Narahenpita. CID said that important information has been received regarding this vehicle which had followed the ill-fated vehicle in which Thajudeen's charred body had been discovered. more..

Pokémon Go comes to Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (CT) People in Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries can now go berserk over catching Pokémon characters in their neighbourhoods. The Pokémon Go mobile game is now available for download in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The app is available for Android smartphones and iPhones. The official availability in these regions means more Pokéstops and Gyms, places where you find Pokemon characters. more..

Cabinet approves National Policy to eliminate child labour

Dec 15 (ITN) Cabinet has adopted a proposal to adopt and implement the National Policy on elimination of child labour in the country. Sri Lanka agreed to eliminate child labour at Global Child Labour Conference in 2010 held at Hague, Netherland. Govt says there has been a decrease of 50% in the use of child labour from 2008/2009 to 2015/2016 indicating the ability of eliminating child labour in Sri Lanka. Moreover, national policy on the elimination of child labour is an essential more..

Arjuna issues ultimatum to strikers: Report today or lose jobs

Dec 15 (DN) Minister Arjuna Ranatunge yesterday set an ultimatum to the employees who are carrying out a protest at the Hambantota port to report to work by 2 p.m today or be treated as having vacated their posts. He said that in the event of the posts being vacated, his ministry is prepared to recruit new employees to fill in the vacancies. “We shall recruit employees to fill whatever the shortage that would occur if more..

Hambantota attack; Test of the govt’s sincerity

Dec 15 (DM) On World Human Rights Day last Saturday, the incident at the crisis-hit Hambantota Port premises where a freelance journalist was attacked, has created a national and international controversy over media security.   The Brussels based  International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest federation of media trade unions comprising about 600,000 members in some 100 countries, has issued a tough statement over this incident involving Navy Commander Ravindra more..

Solutions to key issues through inter-religious dialogue

Dec 15 (DM) In this festive season-with the Holy Prophet Mohamed’s Birthday being marked on Monday, Uduwap Poya yesterday and the ongoing Christmas season – it may be the best time to focus on the need to deepen inter-religious dialogue and unity in diversity. It is based on the hallowed precept that while we respect and practise our own faith, we also respect the faiths and beliefs of others. President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, speaking at various ceremonies on Sunday, more..

'Autonomy to North & East under Federalism is our demand'

Dec 15 (DM) UNP and the SLFP, as the two main parties, talk about a political solution within a unitary State. We, the TNA, received a mandate from our people to secure power devolution under a Federal Constitution. That is fully-pledged power devolution between the centre and the provinces. That means autonomy should be given to the North and the East as they are the traditional areas of habitation of Tamils and Muslims. more..

'TNA always comes out with impractical demands'

Dec 15 (DM) EPDP leader Douglas Devananda, says the TNA comes out with impractical demands. Mr Devananda, an MP from the Jaffna district, says the implementation of the 13th Amendment is the beat solution as the initial step. He sharde the following. Q: What is your view on the proposals submitted by the subcommittees, particularly the committee on the centre-periphery relation, on Constitution making? more..

Christmas tree builders erect Rs 12m private cash defence

Dec 15 (ST) A 12 million rupee showcase Christmas tree project branded as a colossal waste is hoping to save itself by pleading that private enterprises funded it while insisting that public money was not spent by the Ministry of Ports and Shipping. But the Archbishop’s House says while it had been told of the project, it had not been informed of the cost and the ambition of becoming a world landmark. more..

Salary hike for techies: PM

Dec 15 (DM) The Govt hinted out a salary hike to attract skilled technologically competent people. This was hinted out by both President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the opening of Jinaratana Vocational Training Centre at Hikkaduwa to mark the birthday of Chief Incumbent of the Gangarama Vihara, Hunupitiya Ven. Galboda Gnanissara Thera yesterday morning. President Sirisena said more..

Muslim MPs up in arms

Dec 15 (SL) Several Muslim MPs have demanded legal action against BBS Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara after he continued to make statements disrespecting Islam. State Minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah said that Muslim MPs were to meet yesterday (10) to discuss the steps to be taken if no action is taken on Gnanasara. He said that 21 Muslim MPs had written to President and PM raising their concerns over the actions of the monk. more..

Mahinda appeals to Sirisena not to sack H’tota strikers

Dec 15 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he had requested President Sirisena not to terminate the protesting workers of the Magampura Port in Hambantota and the latter had assured that the matter would be discussed with the PM. Former President said among the protesting workers were UPFA and UNP supporters. Rajapaksa said he would have talks on the issue with the PM as well. more..

Planned protests during President Sirisena’s visit no worry, says HC

Dec 15 (Island) Planned protests led by some vested interests during the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena in Malaysia was not a worry, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Ibrahim Ansar said. The envoy told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that Malaysian security authorities had been informed of planned protests and they would handle it in a responsible way. Ansar said a Sri Lankan President was visiting Malaysia after 19 years. more..

Video: Super Minister could undermine President’s authority: GL

Dec 15 (DM) Govt’s move to create the post of Super Minister with omnipotent-like powers could even undermine the authority of President Sirisena, JO said. It said if the Development (Special Provisions) Bill was enacted creating a Super Minister, then he or she would be able to take decisive decisions regarding economy of country, thereby manipulating authorities and departments, even bypassing subject ministers. more..

RTI to redefine Sri Lanka’s media landscape

Dec 15 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s upcoming 69th Independence Commemorations will be of special value to the island’s media – that is, if everything works as planned. The newly minted Right to Information (RTI) act will take effect on Feb. 4, 2017, according to officials. Sri Lanka’s beleaguered media – by some estimates over 20 journalists and media workers have been killed in the last decade – has been breathing more easily since more..

‘We’re all patriots, we’re all nationalists’

Dec 15 (Hindu) Ranil Wickremesinghe, 67, PM of SL for a fourth term and leader of the UNP, is the spearhead of a complex game-changing project where the stakes are extremely high. The project is to see through Parliament, and then through a referendum, a major constitutional change that will put an end to the system of an overbearing executive presidency and usher in a prime ministerial system  — and, crucially, more..

Enter Antonio Guterres

Dec 15 (CT) After a rather anxious and controversial split US Security Council, next Secretary General for the US was elected recently. Former Portuguese PM Antonio Guterres thus became the eighth Secretary General of the UN. The leaving Secretary General Ban Ki-moon however, doesn't leave the incoming Guterres an easy job where he can put his legs up on the table and relax. In truth, the world has hit an all time low which anyone can understand if they have an iota of intelligence. more..

Who is a Tamil?

Dec 15 (CT) A few days ago, my review of Laksiri Fernando’s new book entitled Issues of New Constitution Making in Sri Lanka: Towards Ethnic Reconciliation appeared in Colombo Telegraph. Soma, presumably a pseudonymed CT reader asked, what do you mean by Tamil (people). He/she argued that it is important to clearly define the Tamil people in order to proceed with the discussion on the devolution of power. Perhaps, Soma is correct in saying that a precise definition is important, more..

Ada Cartoon

'Port strike damaged investor confidence'

Dec 15 (EN) A strike at Hambantota port by dockers who prevented two ships from leaving was a treacherous act that has damaged investor confidence in the country, a minister said. Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said opposition politicians of the former regime ousted in the 2015 elections were behind the unrest. The unrest, in which dockers prevented a Japanese car carrier from leaving for four days, occurred just as the govt has negotiated a deal to give H'tota port more..

SLFP General Secretary files objections

Dec 15 (Island) General Secretary of SLFP Duminda Dissanayake, and former General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, filed objection to the plaint filed by two executive members of the SLFP, Anura Priyashanthe and Asunka Srimath, complaining to District Court of Colombo, that General Secretary of SLFP had violated the party constitution by appointing Maihripala Sirisena Chairman of SLFP. Plaintiffs have said that the party chairmanship should be given to Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..