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Controversial Christmas tree: Guinness dream coming True

Dec 18 (CT) Ten prime-mover truck drivers of Colombo Port have revived their once shattered dream of building the world's tallest artificial Christmas tree, amidst criticism and controversy. With the ambition of spreading peace and harmony in a country that fought a two and a half decade war with a terrorist outfit LTTE, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga kicked off the creation of the artificial tree by holding a soil breaking ceremony, more..

Combining Sri Lanka with Southern India: The PM’s game changing 2017 agenda

Dec 19 (CT) All political struggles in independent Ceylon/Sri Lanka has been over which direction for the country?. Today the political struggle is over who will own the country? 2017 will be the decisive year in that struggle. It is the year in which the answer will be determined. 2017 will be driven by the contradiction between the PM’s game plan and the political, social and ideological resistance to it. The game plan is extremely ambitious. Emeritus editor N. Ram of The Hindu, a Sri Lankan watcher more..

Colombia’s example and our calamitous blunders

Dec 19 (ST) There is a reason why the peace deal of the Colombian Govt with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) became a reality despite formidable obstacles. Credited with brokering the deal and bringing to a close, one of the deadliest and longest-running civil wars in Latin America, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for 2016 attributes his success to putting the victims at the heart of the process. more..

'Govt will deliver pledges in coming year'

Dec 19 (SL) UNP Western Provincial Councillor Mujibur Rahman is optimistic that the Unity Govt will deliver on the promises made to the people in the coming year. He said the people have been very patient with the govt, but it is high time the govt take seriously the promises made to the people for positive change and take measures to see these promises materialise at least in 2017. When asked about the targeting of journalists more..

SL at a Crossroads: A Tamil perspective

Dec 19 (CT) Jan 2015 saw one of the worst tyrannies in the history of Sri Lanka come to an abrupt end. The unexpected was realised through the ballot and not through bullet. President Maithripala Sirisena swept to power with 51.2% of the vote compared with his rival who mustered 47.6%. Although there were pockets in the South where Maithripala managed to edge over Rajapaksa, the minorities, particularly the Tamils, in their areas of domination overwhelmingly more..

Did the Phantom of the Port scupper the Navy Chief’s Saturday brunch?

Dec 19 (ST) Dogged by crisis after crisis, jinxed Hambantota harbour submerged in another unwanted turmoil. Let’s face it. The Hambantota Port certainly seems to be jinxed. Ever since Mahinda Rajapaksa gave effect to his dream to raise Hambantota to its old glory days as the premier port city of Magampura, some brooding phantom, sleeping on its sea bed, seems not amused to have been awoken from its centuries long restful slumber by the goings on above the water mark. more..

Noori Estate judgement : A day of liberation for Basnagala

Dec 19 (SO) The judgement given by the Avissawella High Court judge Devika Abeyratne sentencing 18 people including former Chairman of the Deraniyagala Pradeshiya Sabha to death over the brutal murder of renowned planter Nihal Perera, the superintendent of Noori Tea Estate in Basnagala, Deraniyagala gave a strong message to local politicians who misuse and abuse their political power to run their own kingdoms. more..

Fidel and the Rock of Resistance

Dec 19 (GV) According to an ancient Chinese musical treatise (written in the second century BCE), when any of the five notes in the Chinese pentatonic scale turns disharmonious, disorder results in human affairs. If all five notes are out of harmony, danger results, and the imminent destruction of the kingdom ensues. Mao would have deemed such a situation of great disorder excellent. But disorder, though necessary to overcome ossification of conditions, is not always the ally of progress. more..

Groundviews during a Cold Peace

Dec 19 (GV) Groundviews emerged in 2006 when a war, that brought misery as well as meaning to many on both sides of the political divide, gripped Sri Lanka. A site where part of the battle of thoughts and ideas raged during the war, Groundviews has continued to be a necessary space for discussing the cold peace that arrived with the conclusion of the war in May 2009. It was only in late-2009 that I wrote to Groundviews, although I had started publishing in the papers by mid-2007. more..

Professor Chandra Dharmawardena

Dusit Thani Sri Lanka tower snapped up ahead of ground breaking

Dec 19 (DN) One tower of the proposed Dusit Thani Sri Lanka, Beachfront Balapitiya has been already sold, stamping investor confidence for the property and also real estate sector for SL. 5-star luxury project SL’s one and only beach front, high-rise, investment apartments have been snapped up even ahead of the ground breaking (scheduled for Feb) mostly by foreign investors. The new Dusit Thani SL, Beachfront Balapitiya stage 1 comprises of 121 luxury freehold beachfront apartments more..

2017: A make-or-break year for the govt

Dec 19 (Island) President Sirisena was brought to power in January 2015 by a need for change. It was not just a change of govt that was called for, but a change of governance. An end to the way things had been done, not just by the regime at that time, but by successive govts over several decades. I remember the moment when it was confirmed that Maithripala Sirisena had won. I felt immense satisfaction for having been part of the effort that brought about the spectacular victory. more..

Editorial: Yahapalanaya blossoms!

Dec 19 (Island) Victor Lustig is said to have sold the Eiffel Tower twice to unsuspecting scrap metal dealers. Frank Abagnale became known for mind-boggling trickery and deception and Spielberg used his autobiography, Catch me if you can to immortalise him in celluloid. We have also heard of P.T. Barnum, who was a US huckster, showman and con man rolled into one. But, the much-publicised feats of aforesaid con men pale more..

Kaushal, Dimuth warm-up with 159-run stand

Dec 19 (CI) SL's batsmen made a bright start to the tour of South Africa, as Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva hit half-centuries on the first day of the tour match in Potchefstroom. The visitors went to stumps at 328 for the loss of six wickets, against a South Africa Invitation XI consisting of well-heeled first-class players and recent graduates of the Under-19 system. Especially encouraging for the Sri Lankans was the 159-run unbroken opening stand more..

Do we need a new constitution?

Dec 19 (Island) What are the needs of the country? Isn’t finding out what the country urgently needs is where we should start off from, to put things right in the country? Let us begin. In my opinion the top priority need is elimination of poverty. Do we need a new constitution to eliminate poverty in the country? Will the new constitution (NC) eliminate poverty in the country? As long as the over 200 thieves and crooks in the Diyawannawa are in charge of the country along with their more..

Colombo to become a smart city with Microsoft’s digitisation roadmap

Dec 19 (ST) The world’s cities are ballooned at the seams, public assets are stressed and crime is tougher than ever to monitor. One of the main aims for public agencies has become to protect the country’s citizens, mitigate disasters, reduce crime and build more secure and resilient nations. As it stands, most video surveillance and CCTV equipment are clumsy at battling crime. This is especially true in Sri Lanka with more..

World Aquabike championship event in March 2017

Dec 19 (ST) Sri Lanka will play host to the opening round of the Aquabike World Championship in March next year, securing a spot to market the destination to attract increased travellers during the sporting event at Galle Face. In this regard, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara together with Lanka Powerboat Association President, Prassane Ranaweera visited Abu Dhabi to sign an agreement with the President of H2O powerboat racing, Nicolo Di San Germano on December 9, more..

Hatton National Bank empowers design and traditional crafts industry

Dec 19 (Island) Clearing a path for entrepreneurship among Sri Lanka’s design and traditional crafts industry, the country’s most innovative bank, HNB joined the Sri Lanka Design Festival 2016 as official banking partner and title sponsor for the festival’s dedicated Island Craft exhibition. Organized by AOD together with key industry and academic stakeholders, the festival took place from the 3rd-6th Nov 2016 at the SLECC. SLDF is a pioneering annual design festival showcasing more..

Hindu group requests ferry service to attend TN pooja

Dec 19 (ST) A Hindu religious group, Eelam Siva Senai, has forwarded a request through Northern Governor Reginald Cooray seeking permission for a ferry service from Kankesanturai (KKS) to Nagapattinam in TN to attend a Hindu pooja in Chidambaram. The organization requested both govts to facilitate a ferry service for Siva devotees who intend to participate in the Thiruvathira festival on a full moon poya day more..

Sri Lankan splendour showcased in Malaysia

Dec 19 (CT) Sri Lanka Tourism in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Malaysia showcased Sri Lanka's tourism capabilities and local items at a Consumer Promotion, which began on 13 December 2016 to focus on consumer promotion and implement new promotional activities and address target groups of the Malaysian market - consumers, tour operators, travel agents and retail sellers. This promotion showcased Sri Lankan consumer goods and helped create awareness about SL more..

A report on sand mining children

Dec 19 (ITN) The world of the children is beautiful. But sometimes we see dark shadows which try to destroy this beauty. Students who go to schools in white uniforms bring pride to the nation as well as light up the country. That is why the education has been made mandatory for the children. Although there are laws it is questionable whether all the children get their rights to education. Despite the society speaking about these issues, there are no answers for certain issues. more..

Ranjan rejects increased allowances

Dec 19 (DN) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake has written to the Speaker rejecting the recently increased allowances approved by Parliament. Parliament on Dec 10 passed a Resolution to pay all MPs a monthly allowance of Rs. 100,000 to cover the expenses of maintaining an office and also to increase the allowance of Rs. 500 for attending Parliament sittings up to Rs 2,500. more..

Pakistan willing to build Squash courts in SL

Dec 19 (ST) “Govt of Pakistan has agreed to help us to promote squash in the provinces. They will help us build ten squash courts in Jaffna, A'pura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matara, Ambalangoda, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya and Colombo by next year while Pakistan Squash have consented to provide the services of ten qualified squash coaches free of charge” said Suranjith Premadasa, President of SL Squash. “It was the British that introduced squash to SL over 100 years ago. more..

Youth Asia Cup: Sri Lanka lose to India but qualify for semis

Dec 19 (DN) The Sri Lanka Under 19 team who had an easy passage in their previous match against Malaysia were tested to the hilt by defending champions India when they were beaten by six wickets with 61 deliveries to spare in their Youth Asia Cup Group ‘A’ match played at the Moratuwa Stadium yesterday. In reply to Sri Lanka’s modest 207 in 48.5 overs the Indian counterparts reached the required target 208 for 4 in 39.5 overs. The Indians in their run chase lost an early wicket more..

Catholic group flays Galle Face Christmas tree: Alleges Cardinal was forced to re-think

Dec 19 (CT) The Catholic Expression yesterday charged that the govt had pressured Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith to change his earlier stance on the world's largest Christmas tree costing Rs 1.2 million. In a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, the Catholic Expression reiterated that this Christmas tree was an extravagance and that it was dividing the Catholic community and that several Christians have opposed this move. more..

CPC opposes move to create super ministry

Dec 19 (Island) The board of ministers of Central Provincial Council under the leadership of Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake has decided to oppose the provisions of the proposed Development Special Provisions draft bill infringing on the powers vested in the provincial councils. The unanimous decision of the CPC ministers would be presented at the next meeting of the Council for support, CM Sarath Ekanayake said. He said the pruning of any powers vested in the provincial councils by more..

Four killed in two motorcycle accidents

Dec 19 (DN) Two motorcycles collided at the Athurugiriya - Arangala 10km milepost, killing three people including the riders and a pillion rider. One motorcyclist was travelling to Malabe from Arangala when it collided with the other motorcyclist plying in the opposite direction. One rider who was an army officer died on admission to Talangama Hospital. The other two deceased were identified as Mahinda Karunasena, 29, of Katuhena Watta, Kanulwela, Bibile and Sajeewani de Silva, 26, more..

25 MPs’ duty free vehicles transferred on day of first registration

Dec 19 (Island) The Department of Motor Traffic has confirmed the transfer of 27 super luxury vehicles imported on tax free permits issued to members of Parliament. Most of the members have opted for Toyota Land Cruisers according to documents obtained by attorney-at-law and Public interests litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku from Department of Motor Traffic in accordance with the Right to Information Act No 12 of 2016. more..

SL supports for a State–led formal dialogue on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

Dec 19 (AT) Sri Lanka said that it supports the establishment of a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) in 2017, within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and to elevate the dialogue on LAWS to a State –driven formal process. Addressing the 5th Review Conference of the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on Monday more..

Norwegian Geotechnical Institute continues to support NBRO

Dec 19 (NE) Yesterday, Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether, Ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka, handed over some equipment’s to Mr. Miyanwala, Secretary to the Minister of Disaster Management to be used in the Disaster Risk Reduction program. The event took place during the inaugural session of the National Building Research Organisation, International Symposium 2016. Under the Technical Cooperation facility, Norwegian Embassy has supported Norwegian Geotechnical Institute more..

Theft of Rs. 13 bn from CBSL on the eve of 2015 prez polls JO denies Ravi’s claim

Dec 19 (Island) Joint Opposition (JO) accused the govt of propagating lies against the previous administration. JO spokesman Bandula Gunawardena, MP, denied Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s recent claim that the previous govt had secretly removed Rs. 13 bn worth cash in 5,000 rupee notes from Central Bank a few days before Jan 8, 2015 presidential poll. MP asked whether Minister had lodged a complaint with CID more..

Cabraal calls Ravi a gravedigger

Dec 19 (Island) Former CBSL Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal yesterday told The Island that had the previous government removed Rs. 13 bn in Rs 5,000 notes on the eve of Jan 2015 presidential poll, there would have been a shortage of Rs. 13 bn. Cabraal asked whether the Auditor General had ever reported such a shortage. The former Governor was responding to Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s allegation regarding Rs 13 bn being removed from CBSL on the eve of the last presidential poll. more..

Prepaid card for bus travel

Dec 19 (CT) A prepaid card system will be introduced to the private bus services in a majority of Provinces from 1 April 2017, LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said. He said that prepaid card system for private buses was implemented on certain bus routes in the Western and Central Provinces and it will be implemented in other provinces in early 2017. He claimed that the govt was also of the view that the prepaid card system should be implemented and more..

Govt MPs seek to allay China’s concern about instability in Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (Island) State Minister Palitha Ranga Bandara, MP, has claimed that China is in dilemma over the political situation in Sri Lanka, especially in the wake of former President Rajapaksa’s recent claim in Beijing that there could be a change of govt in Colombo soon. He said that Chinese authorities, investors as well as civil society representatives had inquired about statements on the stability of the UNP-SLFP coalition more..

CICT highly commended at Lloyds List awards in Dubai

Dec 19 (AD) Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) has been presented with a Highly Commended certificate in the Port Operator category at the prestigious Lloyd’s List Middle East and Indian Subcontinent Awards for 2016. The accolade recognises the view of the panel of judges that the CICT-managed Colombo South Terminal of the Port of Colombo is a Terminal that demonstrates constant innovation and commitment and that its entry nomination highlighted many things more..

Hambantota Port melee Shipping agent in all praise for Navy

Dec 19 (CT) Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd, shipping agent of the vehicles carrier MV Hyperion Highway has praised the Sri Lankan Navy for rescuing the vessel from saboteurs at the Port of Hambantota, the Navy said in a statement yesterday. The shipping agent extended its sincere gratitude and thanks to Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and the Sri Lanka Navy for taking prompt action to rescue the ship from the saboteurs which led to a panic more..

Impunity through Immunity in special Provisions Bill for Ranil, Malik

Dec 19 (CT) As Ceylon Today Sunday Edition reported in its lead story, now the latest is that the govt is to bring a Special Provisions Bill, in Parliament, for two Ministers, namely PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Minister National Policies and Economic Affairs and Minister of Development Strategies and Int'l Trade Malik Samarawickrema, in the guise of removing bottlenecks that exist in the promotion of FDI. more..

Where is the debt trap leading to?

Dec 19 (DM) On Friday Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced that the World Bank had decided to extend a soft loan of US$ 1,340 million to Sri Lanka at a low interest rate.  Giving some details of the loan, the Minister said the World Bank had informed the Sri Lankan Govt an International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of US$ 900 million and another US$ 440 million under International Development Assistance (IDA) would be granted to Sri Lanka for a 3-year period.  more..

Consumer rights in the digital age

Dec 19 (DM) This is the theme of the World Consumer Day celebrating every 15 the day of March since 1983, when President John F. Kennedy made the famous statement that “Consumer by definition includes us all. They are the largest economic group affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision, yet they are the only important group whose views are often not heard.” But the situation has tremendously improved since then in USA and Europe and more..

SLC bowls out key employees

Dec 19 (SL) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has bowled out some of its most capable and professional employees from the cricket administration, paving the way for a disastrous future to the game that brings millions of foreign exchange into the country. It is disheartening to note that the country’s first and second citizens are in deep slumber when such ruinous actions are taking place at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). more..