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Driving License Agreement between Italy and Sri Lanka renewed

Dec 17 (GDI) Embassy of Sri Lanka in Rome together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, Motor Traffic Department in Italy and SL Motor Traffic authorities renewed the Bilateral Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Driving Licenses between Italy and Sri Lanka. The formal exchange of Notes took place on 14th Dec, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome between Daya Pelpola, Ambassador and Ugo Astuto Principal Director for the Countries of Asia and Oceania. more..

MR commends reconciliation efforts by religious leaders

Dec 17 (NR) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has commended efforts by religious leaders towards the country’s reconciliation process. The Former President speaking at a function in Galle said while religious leaders are working towards reconciliation the countries so called good governance govt is disrupting reconciliation efforts. He said the present govt too talks of reconciliation and good governance, but added when looking at the govt’s actions it is not evident. more..

Malaysia, Sri Lanka to explore new ideas of cooperation

Dec 17 (Bernama) Malaysia and SL have reaffirmed determination to take bilateral relations between the two countries to a higher level by exploring new areas of cooperation. According to a joint statement issued in conjunction with the official visit of President Sirisena, the new areas of cooperation include those in the political, trade and investment, education, tourism, human resource, training and cultural relations as well as more..

COPE calls for full report from Finance Ministry Secretary

Dec 17 (DN) The COPE has called for a full report from the Finance Ministry Secretary over a tender offered by the National Lotteries Board to print the lottery tickets. The COPE has made this direction when the National Lotteries Board was summoned before the Committee last week. As of the COPE sources, some members of the Committee had argued that the tender floated in July had not been given to the lowest bidder and that there are questions as to whether the company more..

Passports of Sri Lankan Tamils in Tiruchi under scrutiny

Dec 17 (Hindu) The Regional Passport Office, Tiruchi, has started verifying passports obtained by some Sri Lankan Tamils who are suspected to have suppressed their nationality. The action has been initiated following complaints and police inputs in this regard over a period of time. The Passport Office has compiled a list of suspected cases and deputed officials to verify if they had got their passports by suppressing their nationality, sources said. Some instances, wherein passports more..

An unwelcome invited guest

Dec 17 (DM) It was a grand wedding, held in a five-star hotel close to Diyawanna. Bride was the daughter of a white-collar bigwig holding very high secretarial status in the yahapalanaya administrative nerve-centre. In fact, he held high secretarial status under the previous regime as well. Yahapalanaya Number One and Diyawanna Council Chair were present to do the honours as the witnesses. Former strongman was among more..

Bill to regulate campaign funding in January

Dec 17 (DN) A new Draft Bill to impose a ceiling on the amount that can be spent by political parties and candidates for election campaigning is to be circulated among all political parties, the Bar Association and other professional associations in January. The election watchdog PAFFREL is presently involved in drafting the new legislation. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said the Draft Bill on Campaign Finance Upper Limitation for Elections more..

PRECIFAC completes probe into 171 cases

Dec 17 (DN) PRECIFAC has completed investigations into 171 cases coming under its mandate. PRECIFAC will hand over six reports to President Sirisena in the coming week providing details on six cases on which it has completed investigations. PRECIFAC Spokesman said that three reports are ready for submission while another three reports are to be given final touch ups. He however declined to name the six cases on which reports would be handed over next week, more..

SL gains in Freedom in the World Index

Dec 17 (NR) The steps taken by the Unity Govt headed by President and PM, towards establishing democracy and ensuring fundamental rights in the country have been recognised through the 2016 Freedom in the World Index. Sri Lanka has been recognised as a country which is partly free in Political Rights, Civil Liberties and in the Freedom rating with an overall score of 55. Sri Lanka was amongst only four countries more..

Chinese roles

Dec 18 (SO) At the time the Hambantota development deals were made, the country engaged to undertake this development, China, was dubbed by the deal-signing politicians – principally the former President and his coterie of family politicians – as the country’s best friend and saviour who deserved the choicest parts of the island for its ventures. Indeed, the SL Army was hustled out of its historic headquarters site in the heart of Colombo to make way for Chinese investments more..

Billion dollar loss making national treasures

Dec 18 (SL) Sixty years ago, when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s demagoguery had the common man dizzy with populism he introduced a tantalizing political act: nationalization. Private bus owners, bus mudalalis were absolute villains, the richest in the country and the main financial prop of the UNP, which he had vanquished single handed. So, soon after his 1956 Revolution, he with one stroke of the pen – as he liked to describe his decisive moves – nationalised private bus companies more..

'An invisible force behind H’tota port strike'

Dec 18 (SO) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga says there was an invisible force at the bottom of the Hambantota Port workers’ strike. He said, those who couldn’t look after these young men have promised that if they come to power again, strikers will get permanent jobs at the SLPA. These are mere political mumbo-jumbo. Hambantota Port runs as a separate entity, we can’t afford to have SLPA people there. more..

Peopling the revolution

Dec 18 (Island) The word revolution is a bit like love.  It’s over-used to the point that it has lost all meaning and has been discredited to the point that even in advertising it is now passé.  And yet the word has not lost any of its currency, never mind knowledge of its meaning among its users.  This is why even a mere electoral result is described as a revolution.  Like the one on Jan 8, 2015. Perhaps it needs to be read as an expression of exultation by the victors and their supporters or more..

Road tragedies: Govt must act decisively

Dec 18 (ST) For a Govt that acted at the speed of greased lightning, and with a heavy hand (pun intended) by the Navy to rescue two foreign ships held hostage by striking workers at the Hambantota Port, its weak-kneed approach to the striking private bus operators and to buckle under their pressure stands in sharp contrast. As irony has it, Govt moved in swiftly in the Hambantota harbour matter with the public not so much with the port workers demands and the questionable exercise of more..

'Govt failed to appoint the right people'

Dec 18 (SL) Former General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake is once again in the spotlight. The former MP, who was recently released on bail from remand custody, said that he would return to active politics and will support a political party which has secured the backing of a majority in the country. Q: How are your political activities progressing? A: Nothing specific. For a long time I had been engaged in full time politics. more..

Arjuna’s game-changer ends nine-day Hambantota port strike

Dec 18 (SO) Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne was the most decorated officer to take up the position as the country’s Navy Commander. He has been awarded the Weerodara Vibhushanaya the highest award for non-combat bravery and the gallantry medals Rana Wickrama Padakkama twice and Rana Sura Padakkama for individual acts of bravery in combat, the service medals Uttama Seva Padakkama and Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal. more..

President the fall guy in promoting new constitution?

Dec 18 (Island) The first major privatisation of the present government is set to take place in the first week of January with the sale of the Hambantota Port. Previous govt had also signed agreements in 2013 or thereabouts to hand over a part of the Hambantota harbour to a Chinese company on a 40 year lease but on very different terms. There are four terminals in Hambantota harbour – the general terminal, the terminal for cars, the terminal for bunkering and the one for containers. more..

Face the Nation

Every good intention reversed! That’s Sri Lanka for you!

Dec 18 (SO) This cat pens this lament from deep down in the dumps. She is dispirited, disappointed, despondent, dejected and even a mite desperate. Why so, you may well ask, at this time of Ho Ho and Ha Ha celebration and goodwill around the corner. The reason is that she has lost hope. There has been a reversal in the Christmas tree matter; the port strike continues with a suspicion of mollycoddling the protesters. There is most probably a person and his coyotes who want disruption more..

All hands on deck

Dec 18 (ST) My dear Navy Commander, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be in the news these days, just when we thought that the worst thing the chief of an armed force or the police could do was to take a telephone call and give an assurance that someone will not be arrested. You have bettered that by manhandling a journalist in public. I bet you thought that it was time the navy got some recognition for what it was doing instead of allowing the police or the other armed forces more..

Art Mart or Mart for Art?

Dec 18 (NS) Sri Lanka is old, (even though the use of the name Sri Lanka itself dates no earlier than 44 years ago), with a history of some millennia. Has there been an Art Market here, or has there been a market for Art? The two expressions are not the same, are they? If (as believed) the first Kingdom was located in the north central plains of the island’s dry zone with its capital in A'pura, more than two thousand years ago, more..

The Durban drubbing

Dec 18 (Island) With Sri Lanka’s cricketers touring South Africa, supporters reminisce the team’s stunning success in that country five years ago when Tillekeratne Dilshan’s side surprised many by recording their first ever Test win on South Africa soil. South Africa is perhaps the hardest place for Asian teams as conditions heavily favour the host country’s fast bowlers. All three sub-continent teams have poor records in South Africa and Sri Lanka has the worst. more..

The curse of the compact allrounder

Dec 18 (ST) There is a little story that has been etched in my memory for a mighty long time. In our driveway down Nawala there was a time that we used to play softball cricket. It was intense cricket where no quarter was given even for a fair damsel. With the training that we had, many a young cricketer graduated to play for their respective schools, but, out of them a gutty left hander by the name of Keerthi Ranasinghe stood above the rest. From his younger days he was bold enough more..

Tax men intimidated

Dec 18 (NS) Officials of the Department of Inland Revenue last week accused certain govt politicians of interfering with their duties, a matter which they have since informed of to President Sirisena requesting intervention. According to the officials, several incidents have been reported from various regional offices island-wide, most prominently in the Ratnapura District office of Department where a ruling party Provincial Councilor had more..

Other side of the story

Dec 18 (ST) The other side of the story is usually a journalist’s way of saying that there are always two sides to an event and one must not come to any conclusion by listening to one side only. Report both sides is what budding journalists are taught in journalism school and let the reader decide which side is right (or wrong). In law it is called Audi Ulteram Partem (Hear both sides). In politics too, there are two sides to the story and that brings us to today’s hullabaloo from the kitchen more..

Right of Reply: Parliament and Selectors

Dec 18 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket has sent the Sunday Times a letter with regard to last week’s Café news item (page 2) headlined Lanka’s Cricket Team Selected in Parliamentary Premises stating that no such meeting was held. The SLC letter sent by Secretary Mohan de Silva states that no “selection meeting or selection process of any sort” was held at the parliamentary offices of the Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala who is also the president of SL Cricket. more..

No more fancy jaunts for schools sports

Dec 18 (ST) The ministry of Education has decided that from the year 2017 onwards that only sports, games and international tournaments selected by the Ministry will be sanctioned by them. This will come into effect in Jan 2017. Reason for this decision is that they take part in unwanted events and go on hunting for money from sponsors and spoil their name. Ministry of Education has named 12 games and tournaments in this effect. more..

Under 19 Asia Cup: India, Sri Lanka assured of semi-final berths

Dec 18 (ST) Under 19 Asia Cup featuring eight teams which is in progress now in Sri Lanka has seen the teams having played two matches each from the three scheduled to be played. Defending champions India along with host Sri Lanka from Group ‘A’ are assured of a berth to the semi-finals after the completion of the first two matches that the eight teams have played so far. The eight teams will battle each other in the last round robin matches and the fight is for the top slot in the two groups. more..

Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association partners Colombo Christmas Street – 2016 project

Dec 18 (Island) The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) has partnered with the Ministry of Tourism and Religious Affairs and the Colombo Municipal Council for the Trade and Fun Fair to be held at Green Path during the forthcoming Christmas season. This program was initiated by the Ministry as Sri Lanka attracts a large number of tourists during the month of December and also in a bid to create a festive atmosphere to coincide with the Christmas celebrations. more..

SL Asylum seekers who sheltered Snowden in Hong Kong at risk of being deported

Dec 18 (SCMP) Sri Lankan asylum seekers who sheltered the American whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong might be at risk of detention and deportation as their lawyer was not able to meet a final deadline imposed by the Immigration Department to file documents. Robert Tibbo, Canadian barrister who provided legal advice to Snowden when he was in the city in 2013, said 30 of his cases had been reactivated more..

Pharmacy owner remanded for selling psychotropic drugs

Dec 18 (Island) A pharmacy owner at Rawatawatte, Moratuwa was arrested and produced before the Moratuwa Magistrate on Thursday by Food and Drug Inspectors of National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) for selling psychotropic medicines. Chief Food and Drug Inspector of the NMRA, Amith Perera said that Additional Magistrate, Moratuwa, Y.R.B. Nelundeniya had remanded the suspect till Tuesday.  Perera said his department had received several complaints more..

FCID wants Entrust’s non-executive directors to turn state witnesses

Dec 18 (ST) The FCID has requested the under-fire Entrust Securities’ non-executive directorate to turn state witnesses in the prosecution against the company’s former executive directors, informed sources said. Almost a year-long drama, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. The FCID has had many meetings with the three non executive directors – Dr. Nalin Jayasuriya, Kishan Nanayakkara and Manohara Thilakawardena – and has decided to make this request. more..

Corrupt v Corrupt: PM orders cancellation of Seylan Bank share transaction by BoC

Dec 18 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has ordered that the sale of Seylan Bank shares valued at Rs. 1.3 billion owned by Bank of Ceylon be cancelled immediately. While it has been reported that this transaction has been carried out without the govt’s approval, sources add that it has also been carried without the knowledge of Minister in charge or the Ministry Secretary. PM has also called for an immediate investigation more..

Mathews’ players up for the challenge

Dec 18 (NS) Sri Lanka should be happy with the news that skipper Angelo Mathews has recovered from his injuries and expects to bowl during the team’s tour of South Africa. Mathews has led from the front mostly with the bat and remains as one of the key players in this side which is still going through a period of transition. Mathews has expressed his desire to bowl more in South Africa where the islanders are expected to begin with the three-day warm-up game at Potchefstroom. more..

Foreign exits pass Rs 50B mark

Dec 18 (CT) Foreign exits from the Govt Securities Market (GSM) passed the Rs 50 billion mark in the nine weeks to Wednesday (14), when the GSM suffered such exits to the tune of Rs 6,876.33 million in that last week in question, Central Bank data showed. As a result, such exits in the review period amounted to a total of Rs 52,330.48 million, thereby bringing down foreign investments in the GSM in the review period by 16.52% to Rs 264.39 billion. The prelude to such exits were expectations that more..

15 finance companies in trouble: IMF

Dec 18 (Island) Of the 46 licensed financial companies in Sri Lanka, 15 are presently facing liquidity issues, with six at a high level of distress with Non Performing Loans ranging from 50 to 90%, the IMF revealed in a recent report. Releasing the much-awaited Staff Report prepared by a staff team of the IMF and completed on Nov 4, 2016, the IMF notes that in addition to the mismanagement and irregular practices, rapid growth of more..

SL’s trade costs still too high: UNESCAP

Dec 18 (SO) The cost of trade in Sri Lanka remains high, mainly because of high tariffs, with serious implications for the competitiveness of the country’s exporters, according to the latest Asia Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) 2016. Intra-regional trade costs recorded by SL remained considerably higher than the costs of most efficient major traders in Asia and the Pacific, declining only slightly during 2009-2013, report by UN Economic and Social Comm. for Asia/Pacific (UNESCAP) said. more..

Suspected Chinese hitman arrested

Dec 18 (SL) An alleged Chinese hitman with suspected links to the mafia was arrested in Colombo and investigators are attempting to verify if he had plans to target a VVIP in Sri Lanka. The state intelligence arm together with the CID arrested the Chinese national, identified as Ni Ma Ze Ren, while he was working at a leading casino in Colombo. The individual had claimed, on being questioned, that he was in Sri Lanka to work for a BOI registered company. more..

H'tota JV deal with China triggers legal issue

Dec 18 (ST) US$1.12 billion Hambantota port joint venture deal with a Chinese firm is set to trigger a legal issue as relevant legislation needs to be amended before handing over the port management to a private company. Sri Lanka will enter into a joint venture agreement with China Merchants Port Holdings Company (CMPHC) Ltd to develop and manage the port by early next month. The cabinet approved a plan under which more..

No review of Transparency Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (SL) Transparency International has denied reports it is undertaking a review of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL). Stan Cutzach, Governance Director of Transparency International said that there was no truth to reports of a review on TISL following allegations of corruption. “TISL Board requested financial support from the Secretariat to engage an independent external reviewer to provide recommendations where necessary to improve the existing governance structure. more..