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PSD sergeant’s death being investigated

Dec 18 (ST) A team of officers from the CID has been sent to Polonnaruwa to probe the murder of a sergeant driver attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD). The murdered officer was attached to the personal staff of PSD Head, Senior Deputy Inspector General (SDIG) S.M. Wickramasinghe. His body had been found inside a house which belonged to the SDIG in Polonnaruwa New Town. Victim, identified as 49-year-old Sergeant T. Wijenayake was found hacked to death. more..

Development (Special Provisions) Bill Immunity for super power ministers?

Dec 18 (CT) Govt plans to create two super-powered ministers through the Development (Special Provisions) Bill, affording them immunity from any action in the good-faith performance of their functions. At present, only the President is entitled to such immunity. Act is valid for three years and the people cannot sue the two ministers and ministry officials regarding any errors and any wrongdoing that may take place in those ministries. more..

Retired SSPs return as coordinators to improve police-people ties in N&E

Dec 18 (ST) Three Tamil speaking retired senior police officers are to be appointed as coordinating officers as part of govt’s move to improve relations between the Police and the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, the Police Commission said. Commission Secretary Ariyadasa Cooray said Retd. SSP Traffic K. Arasaratnam, Retd. SSP (Traffic) Ganeshanathan and Retd. SSP Selvarajah had been selected for the posts and they would serve the two provinces and the Police Academy. more..

Cardinal surprised at suspension of X’mas tree

Dec 18 (CT) Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, said he was surprised when the construction of the tallest Christmas tree was halted whereas the Bishop conference only requested the money to be given to the poor. He said that they only thought it was a waste of money as he was under the impression that some Rs 200 million would be spent on the tree. "I did not say to stop the construction of the tree or re-start the halted Christmas tree plan," he noted. more..

Criminal Justice Commission likely to punish big racketeers

Dec 18 (ST) A formidable section of the Cabinet have favoured the establishment of Criminal Justice Commissions (CJCs) to punish those responsible for frauds, corruption and misuse of funds. A Joint Cabinet Memorandum handed in by them missed the agenda for Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting but was listed as a supplement together with different other items. It was, however, not taken up for discussion since the meeting more..

The scourge of a blood sucker

Dec 18 (CT) Ceylon Tobacco Company has arrogantly hit back against the Govt by pulling out from the list of contributors to the vitally important, social service oriented President's Fund because the 2017 Budget imposed higher tobacco taxes. One reason given for this by the govt and rightly so is that those who contribute to creating the splurge of lung and heart diseases by the grossly immoral act of seducing even pre-teens into cigarette addiction, much the same way in which more..

From Jayalalithaa to Trump: Sri Lanka’s missed opportunities and new distractions

Dec 18 (Island) Jayalalithaa and Trump in one article title might seem farfetched. Ordinarily so, but we are not living in ordinary times; even though our times are not extraordinary for any particularly heroic reason. Jayalalithaa-Trump nexus is appropriate to discussing Sri Lanka’s missed opportunities and new distractions. My purpose in discussing Sri Lanka’s missed opportunities vis-a-vis Tamil Nadu is to explore if things could and would be different in the future. more..

Forest tour turns into nightmare

Dec 18 (CT) Saptha Kanya or Seven Virgin Mountains in the Samanala Range became known to the world as a result of a fatal plane crash in which all passengers and crew died. Martin Air 138 with 191 passengers and crew crashed into the mountain range on 8 Dec 1974 killing everyone on board. The same mountain was in the news last week as a 5-member group from Colombo were lost in the wild for nearly 3 days triggering-off more..

Hydro power at risk as water levels run dry

Dec 18 (SL) Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) in its latest report stressed that the hydro dispatch level for power generation must to be kept below the average level, to ensure the availability of hydro reservoirs until end of April 2017. Report indicates that the power supply situation in SL for Dec 2016 to Mar 2017, based on past trends, SL cannot expect an adequate rainfall to fill hydro power reservoirs, more..

News websites distort truth and give wrong impression about Sri Lanka: President

Dec 18 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena said that irresponsible stories published by news websites and social media have given a wrong impression to Sri Lankan expatriates as well as to the international community. He said the govt is not trying to divide the country or remove army camps from the North. Claims by these websites that the govt is planning to neutralize or weaken the army are also totally baseless. more..

Peace Air in US$ 5.5 B bid for SriLankan, Mihin

Dec 18 (CT) Peace Air, owned and managed by Sri Lankan business magnate Gamini Wettasinghe, has made a bid worth Euro 5 billion (US$ 5.5 b) to acquire the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines and Mihin. "We are the best bid till now. We have achieved a mark of 65 points while Singapore Airport Terminal has got 68 points. But, our SWIFT (Confirmation of funds) have come in now and our marks will rise to 76 which is the best," more..

Conditional approval for 10,000 prefab houses in North

Dec 18 (ST) Cabinet has granted conditional approval to French steel giant ArcelorMittal to build 10,000 prefabricated houses for the war-affected in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts. “It was decided that 10,000 houses could be erected in the two districts, provided that the people wanted them,” official explained. Minister D.M. Swaminathan confirmed that the specified number of 10,000 dwellings had been sanctioned but more..

'Hambantota port project: Govt should probe missing millions'

Dec 18 (SO) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said the Govt should probe how an additional US $ 650 million had been spent on the Hambantota Port when project proposal was for US$750 million but the loan component for the project was US$1.4 billion. He said it was China Harbour Corporation which built the Hambantota Port and their project proposal was for US$ 750 million. When we discussed with them, they said more..

Undeclared monies in foreign banks can be brought home

Dec 18 (ST) The Government will allow Sri Lankans holding undeclared funds in foreign banks to transfer them to Colombo, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “This should not be misconstrued as a blanket amnesty. We will allow those who have earned the funds through legitimate means,” he said. He said even those who held foreign accounts in Swiss banks and in offshore companies named in the Panama Papers, will be eligible. more..

Two key officials at CBSL accused of manipulation

Dec 18 (SL) Two top officials of the Central Bank with close links to former Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal have been accused of attempting to disrupt the economic policies of the govt. Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe and Assistant Governor C J P  Siriwardene  have allegedly taken steps to depreciate the Rupee in recent times despite repeated instructions from the President to ensure the Rupee stays strong. more..

Avant Garde owes Navy Rs. 1.7 billion: AG’s advice sought

Dec 18 (ST) Ministry of Defence will consult the Attorney General for advice on how to recover more than Rs. 1.7 billion rupees due from Avant Garde Maritime Services, Cabinet were told last week. This amount, President Sirisena, who is the Minister of Defence, has said was due to the SL Navy. His intimation came in a memorandum he forwarded to liquidate Rakna Arakshaka Lanka. It was accepted by ministers. more..

Container Terminal project thrown into turmoil, all seven contenders out

Dec 18 (ST) Five months after inviting Expressions of Interest (EOI) for a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession for the Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has brought fresh conditions that eliminate all seven parties vying for the project. Meanwhile, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has submitted a separate Cabinet paper seeking a cancellation of BOT process. more..

From kakistocracy to yahapalanaya

Dec 18 (Island) A conversation with a close friend visiting Sri Lanka last week was an opportunity to reflect on the relative merits of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, nearly two years after gaining power. We met in the wake of the incident in Hambantota where the Navy Commander, on Human Rights Day, verbally abused a journalist and then proceeded to assault him. Unlike incidents in the North and East, where equal if not far more brutal methods of more..

Lanka SamaSamaja Party at 81

Dec 18 (Island) Lanka Sama Samaja party celebrates its 81st anniversary today. The 1st political party to emerge in Sri Lanka was born on 18th December 1935 with the twin aim of attaining full independence from British rule and the establishment of a socialist state. The leaders of the movement had an enormous task before them to convince the masses of the fact that they had equal rights and that they should stand up against the repression that was enforced by more..

ට්විටර් සමාජජාලය යනු ?

Program to arrest drunk drivers during festive season

Dec 18 (NR) Police says a special program will be launched in the future to arrest those who drive under the influence during the festive season. A spokesman at the Traffic Police Headquarters said special police teams have been deployed for duty during the festive season. He also said several police teams in civil clothes will be deployed to areas where the general public commonly gather. Traffic Police Headquarters said a more efficient operation will be carried out during the weekends. more..

Jaffna Accident victims brought to Colombo

Dec 18 (ITN) The bodies of 11 people who died in an accident at Chavakachcheri yesterday were brought to Colombo today. Police said that the accident has occurred due to the driver of the van falling asleep. The van carrying a group of people on trip from Colombo to Jaffna collided with a SLTB bus in Chavakachcheri, Jaffna. A group of people from Kalutara, Millaniya and Kalutota had travelled in the van. 11 of them died in the accident while two of them were admitted to the hospitals. more..

Video: Duminda D. threatens me: Gota

Dec 18 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa asserts that Minister Duminda Dissanayake had earlier issued a threat to him to hand over the Chairmanship of the SLFP to the incumbent President. Gotabaya Rajapaksa made the observation while speaking to Sri Lankans in Japan. “I don’t say that President Sirisena had threatened me, but Duminda urged me to hand over the party leadership. more..

Ranil to visit Tirumala temple on Dec 22

Dec 18 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will visit the Lord Balaji temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, on Dec 22, an Indian news agency PTI reported today. “Wickremesinghe will arrive here (Chennai) on Dec 21 for the visit,” it said quoting officials referring to the Sri Lankan PM's tentative itinerary.  He will take a chopper from Chennai to reach Tirupati airport (Renigunta) which is about 130 kilometers from here and proceed to the temple by road from there, they said. more..

India offers scholarships to SL students

Dec 18 (Island) The High Commission of India in Colombo said yesterday that it was offering  the following ICCR scholarships for 2017-18 academic session: Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme: Hundred  slots are being offered under this scheme which covers all Undergraduate courses (except Medicine) including Engineering, Science, Business, Economics, Commerce, Humanities and Arts (including Classical Music, Classical Dance and Visual Art. Maulana Azad Scholarship more..

'Billions siphoned out of CB ahead of polls'

Dec 18 (SL) Billions of rupees were siphoned out of Central Bank ahead of last presidential election, Minister Ravi Karunanayake revealed. He said that an investigation has been called for over the money which was taken out of the bank illegally. Minister said that it was found the money had been taken out two days before Presidential election last year. He said that police & FCID will investigate the incident. more..

TNA, NPC want powers of governors reduced

Dec 18 (DM) TNA and NPC had requested the govt to reduce the power vested in the governors of the Provincial Councils. “We wanted to reduce the powers vested with the governors because it is known that the governors have extreme powers as he was a representative of the Executive President”, TNA MP M.K.Sivajilingam. He said the TNA and the NPC had presented this proposal because the council members couldn’t do anything without the approval of the governor. more..

SL community celebrates Christmas in Rome

Dec 18 (GDI) Daya Pelpola, Ambassador together with the staff of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Rome co-sponsored a special Christmas celebration held in Parrocchia San Vincenzo Pallotti, in Rome on 11th December. The event was organized by the Sri Lankan community of the Basilica XII Apostoli together with the Embassy of SL in Rome. Many religious representatives took part in the celebration, among them Venerable Shakya Nanda Thero, Chief Priest of Dharmashoka Viharaya more..

Lunch packet price to increase by Rs. 10

Dec 18 (DM) The price of a lunch packet will be increased by Rs. 10 from tomorrow, Canteen Owners Association said today. Organiser of the Association Asela Sampath said the decision was taken after considering the increase of the rice prices in the country. “The decision was not to gain profit. But the prices of rice are being increased day by day. He said rice is being selling at various prices in the market and even in the Sathosa. more..

Sri Lanka between take-off or relapse: three scenarios by Razeen Sally

Dec 18 (EN) Sri Lanka had a golden opportunity to take off table liberal democracy, sustainable and broadly shared economic growth, ethnic reconciliation and balanced international relations with the change of govt in 2015, but the country is now drifting. At a public forum, Professor Razeen Sally Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore looks at the current policy direction. In this lecture Razeen Sally presents more..

JO asks President to act on irregular issuance Rs 5,000 notes

Dec 18 (NR) Joint Opposition has requested the President to investigate and penalise all those who were involved in the alleged issuance of a large amount of 5,000 rupee bank notes during the previous Presidential Election. He said the Minister of Finance had stated recently that 13 billion 5,000 rupee notes were issued without serial numbers from the Central Bank during the past Presidential Election and was distributed among supporters of the Joint Opposition during rallies. more..

Why Mahinda asked his fellow Joint Opposition members to take a break

Dec 18 (CT) President Maithripala Srisena arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Int'l Airport on Thursday afternoon kicking-off his three-day State visit to Malaysia. Upon being warmly received on arrival by Malaysian Human Resource Development Minister Dato Sri Richard Riot Anak Jaem and senior officials in the presence of the staff members of the Sri Lanka High Commission, President Sirisena was received with State honours that included more..

Compensation for deceased and disabled migrant workers

Dec 18 (GDI) Compensations will be granted for 39 families of deceased and disabled migrant workers this week in Colombo. Accordingly, approximately Rs. 68 million in compensation and other dues will be granted in cheques to these families by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera and Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Athukorale on Tuesday (20) at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.  Recipients of awards will be present with their family members. more..

‘K’ Line returns to Hambantota

Dec 18 (SO) Japan’s ‘K’ Line resumed transhipment operations from the Hambantota port last Friday. A car carrier operated by the shipping line docked at the port on Friday night, K Lines’ shipping agents in Colombo said. “The car carrier MV Van Cherry, carrying 300 vehicles from Japan for the domestic market, entered the port around 7 p.m. on Friday. It will leave for Oman after unloading the vehicles,” said Tressel G. de Silva, General Manager of ABC Shipping, the local agents for ‘K’ Line. more..

Coal Scam resurrected to silence Ranawaka?

Dec 18 (AM) Following the threat by Champika Ranawaka to walk out of the govt over its inaction to take action against those who are responsible for large scale financial fraud, there is an attempt to bring back the coal scam into the political arena in an attempt to silence him, political sources said. A press conference has been called on the coal scam under the former govt by Attorney-at-Law Namal Rajapaksa. more..

Rajiv’s killer pens to defend husband 

Dec 18 (ENS) Nalini Sriharan is one of the longest serving women prisoners in the world. Accused of hosting two female suicide bombers, Suba and Dhanu from Sri Lanka, along with her husband Sriharan alias Murugan, another convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Nalini has been languishing in Vellore jail for 25 years now. In a recently released book, Rajiv Kolai: Maraikkapatta Unmaigalum, Priyanka-Nalini Santhippum (Rajiv assassination: Suppressed facts and more..

Gunaratne denies assaulting student

Dec 18 (SL) Major General Kamal Gunaratne denied claims that he had assaulted a student of a leading school in Colombo. He said that a police complaint had been filed over an incident where the son of his sister had been assaulted by another student outside the school. It was later reported that Gunaratne had gone near the school and assaulted the student who had assaulted his sister’s son. However, Gunaratne denied assaulting or even meeting the student. more..

Witness in attempted murder case killed on eve of trial

Dec 18 (ST) On Monday (12) a fruit seller in the Meetiyagoda area was shot dead. The vendor was due to give evidence at the Balapitiya Magistrate’s Court the following Thursday regarding an earlier attempt on his life. The victim Vipul Priyantha (45) a father of three had on an earlier occasion too, been attacked by unidentified gang on February 13 this year and was hospitalised for several months. more..

Thalgaswala Estate workers complain of intimidation

Dec 18 (ST) Estate workers of the Niyagama, Thalgaswala Estate claim they are being targeted by hoodlums at the instigation of parties attempting to foist strike action at the estate. According to both workers and estate management, interested parties have been trying to whip up protests and persuade workers to come out on strike. The instigators are allegedly making false allegations that management is planning to cut down valuable trees and plants within a small forest reserve more..

Sri Lanka Navy chases away 3,000 TN fishermen, threatens to shoot them

Dec 18 (ZN) Over 3,000 TN fishermen were forced to return without their catch after SL Navy personnel allegedly intercepted them and snapped fishing nets of ten mechanised boats off Katchatheevu islet. SL naval personnel cut the nets and chased away the fishermen on charges of entering their territorial waters yesterday. Fishermen who had ventured into the sea from this island town in more than 600 boats were intercepted by the naval men, who also threatened to shoot them, more..