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PM should ask Gota how he messed up and try not to repeat

Dec 21 (DM) Two weeks ago, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne assaulted provincial journalist Rohan Pradeep Kumara who was covering the protesting port workers at Hambantota port. The assault was videod, widely reported in the media and uploaded to You-tube. Given the obscene language and wanton thuggery unleashed during the whole affair, one could argue that the incident was a public relations disaster for the govt. The govt however was unmoved; more..

SLPF’s message to the SLFP on the Super Minister Bill

Dec 21 (Island) In a statement to The Island, the interim leader of the SL People’s Front and member of the Joint Opposition Prof. G.L. Peiris lashed out at the Development Special Provisions Bill referring to it as a dictatorial piece of legislation and charged that it brings into being not one, but two super ministers. The objectionable features of this proposed legislation according to Prof. Peiris are as follows. 1. Section 17 of the proposed Bill, seeks to create a powerful Development Agency more..

Rs. 15 b govt revenue up in smoke in 4Q after excessive taxation on tobacco

Dec 21 (FT) The recent unprecedented spike in taxation on tobacco is estimated to have caused a near Rs. 15 billion loss in revenue for the Govt in the fourth quarter of this year and a staggering Rs. 25 billion in 2017, according to industry analysts. They said that the revenue loss was due to the sale of cigarettes plunging by almost 50% in recent months after the Govt drastically raised prices. Due to the upward revision in Excise and 15% VAT, more..

Colombo Christmas Street starts tomorrow

Dec 21 (FT) Colombo Christmas Street (CCS) 2016, a trade and fun fair organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Religious Affairs together with the Colombo Municipal Council, in partnership with the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA), will commence tomorrow at 2 p.m. The three-day event opens doors to its shoppers from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily, at Green Path, Colombo 7. Over 20 pop up stalls will be set up on Green Path covering sectors such as retail, home decor, food & beverage, more..

Trump cards of Cross-Training

Dec 21 (ST) Regardless which sport it is, ‘All-Rounder’s perform the best. It means sportspersons who do multiple sports opposed to those focused only onto a single discipline. Most of our top notch players in the past were well known to have been involved in more than one sport during development. It developed in them the skills, physical abilities, excellent reaction base and above all the lateral thinking when it came to tactics and strategy. One never knew from which book of tactics more..

Court of Arbitration to iron out national selection problems

Dec 21 (DN) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has promised the International Olympic Committee that he will be taking steps to establish a Court of Arbitration to solve the problems regarding the selection of players for international events. The Minister agreed to imitate independent policy regarding selection of players by the National Selection Committee and to submit it to Court of Arbitration for final decision. more..

Middle Eastern firm to repair Sri Lankan Airlines engines

Dec 21 (LBO) TS&S Aerospace, a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) provider for aircraft engines in the Middle East, has been selected by SriLankan Airlines to service the Trent 700 engine. The Rolls-Royce (R-R) Trent 700 is a three spool high bypass turbofan aircraft engine, commonly used in Airbus A330 and is the first variant of the family of Trent engines. TS&S Aerospace said in a statement that it is the first independent aviation provider to overhaul a Trent 700 engine, more..

Warm-up match ends productively for Sri Lankan batsmen

Dec 21 (CI) Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal hit fifties on the final day of the Sri Lankans' practice match at Potchefstroom, which wound to a draw. Seven out of eight batsmen on tour have now struck half-centuries in the approach to the first Test, with four men having reached the milestone in the first innings. Angelo Mathews was the only batsman to miss out, but nevertheless spent time at the crease on Tuesday, hitting a 52-ball 37 before the match was called off. more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayaka

IFS acquires Mxi Technologies

Dec 21 (Island) IFS, the global enterprise applications company, signed an agreement with the owners of Mxi Technologies Ltd (Mxi) to acquire the company. Mxi is the leading provider of integrated and intelligent maintenance management software solutions for the global aviation industry. Mxi serves defense and commercial operators, third-party Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) companies, and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) with software, support and services. more..

Prez wishes Karunanidhi speedy recovery

Dec 21 (ENS) Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday wished ailing DMK chief M Karunanidhi a speedy recovery. Senthil Thondaman, Chief Minister (in-charge) of Uva province, Sri Lanka, visited Kauvery Hospital in the city and conveyed the wishes of Sirisena. Emerging from the hospital, he said, “I conveyed the wishes of Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena for Karunanidhi to recover soon. I also conveyed the prayers of Sri Lankan people.” more..

'Sri Lanka drifting, window for economic take-off narrowing'

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka is in a period of dangerous policy drift with mediocre governance which is inherently unstable with the danger of falling back to a big man illiberal politics is getting nearer, a top economist and policy analyst has said. It is two years since the Rajapaksa regime was ousted but an expected economic take-off has not happened, with no serious reforms to unleash competition and boost productivity, more..

Colombo Chamber of Commerce signs MoU with Tajikistani Minister

Dec 21 (CT) "Sri Lanka is an extremely hospitable country. This is reflected through the warm smiles and welcoming nature of the local people, which is often a rare sight elsewhere in the world. Sri Lanka is also a nation famed for its scenic beauty and excellent tourist services. Thus, it is an ideal destination for most holidaymakers. I believe that promoting bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Tajikistan will be mutually beneficial for both countries", said Tajikistan Minister more..

PM kicks off Christmas cheer

Dec 21 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe last night kicked off the much-anticipated second edition of Tourism Fest 2016 at the Independence Arcade in Colombo. Minister John Amaratunga, Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcom Cardinal Ranjith and a host of other dignitaries including the diplomatic community participated. The Tourism Fest  is aimed at creating a lively seasonal atmosphere in the city during the peak tourist season. The first Tourism Fest held last year more..

'No electricity tariff hike or power cuts'

Dec 21 (DN) Govt will not increase electricity tariff or impose power cuts, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He said there could be a crisis in power generation in future due to the low rain fall this year. He asked consumers to use electricity with responsibility. It was 2016 that recorded the lowest rain fall during the last 10 years. He said electricity consumers should reduce power consumption and reduce their electricity bills due to this. more..

Ravi K predicts stable rupee in 2017

Dec 21 (Reuters) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Tuesday the rupee currency, which is under downward pressure, will recover and be steady next year with expected foreign inflows. The rupee, which has fallen 3% this year after a nearly 10% loss in 2015, is under pressure because of higher imports and foreign outflows from government securities even though the Central Bank has raised key policy rates by 100 basis points since February. more..

Co-op sector employees get salary hike

Dec 21 (CT) The cooperative sector of Sri Lanka tasted sweet success for their silent efforts on 20 December when they were given their long awaited pay hike. With that, the sector also received its first ever human resource management manual. "The good news is their salaries have been increased" said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 20 December at SL Foundation Institute. He was addressing the launch event of new handbook on Salaries and Recruitment Procedures of Cooperatives. more..

SLBFE spends Rs. 1,000 m on embassy safe houses

Dec 21 (DN) SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has spent Rs. 1,000 million this year for the facility management of safe houses run by SL embassies abroad, Minister Thalatha Athukorala said. “This involved medical assistance provided to SL migrant workers, providing legal assistance to those who have been imprisoned or serving jail terms in their destination countries to make up for their release,” more..

ADB provides loan assistance for electricity supply reliability improvement project

Dec 21 (FT) Asian Development Bank has signed an agreement granting a loan of $ 115 million to support electricity supply reliability improvement with the aim of achieving 100% electrification by providing access to electricity to the population living in underdeveloped areas and small isolated islands in the Northern Province.  The project focuses on four major components: renewable energy systems development consisting of establishing hybrid renewable energy systems more..

‘Sri Lanka must request removal of quotas imposed by India’

Dec 21 (DN) Sri Lankan authorities must make a request from the Indian govt for the removal of quotas imposed on textile and apparel sectors, said outgoing President Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Noel Priyathilake. Speaking at the 13th JAAF annual general meeting he said, “This is to create a sectoral balance in trade between the two countries whereby Sri Lanka will have a high potential to cater to the emerging middle income population in India. However, if the removal of apparel quota more..

Bopage in hot water again with controversial presser

Dec 21 (FT) Secretary to Ministry of Mass Media, Nimal Bopage, found himself at the centre of another controversy when Office of President Sirisena disavowed statements the official made at a press briefing only hours later. Bopage convened a press conference last afternoon, to make a revelation about a “media campaign that has been launched with the objective of assassinating President Sirisena” official invite on more..

I was told to sign or resign: Media ministry secretary

Dec 21 (DM) The agreement to provide vehicles on lease terms to 58 MPs holding chairmanships in Divisional Coordinating Committees has run into a snag with the Secretary of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Nimal Bopage refusing to place his signature on the said agreement. He said that his refusal was based on several issues and that he was told to, Sign or resign. He revealed this at a media briefing at the Ministry of Mass Media on Tuesday. more..

Govt allocates Rs. 7.5 m for State Christmas celebration

Dec 21 (FT) Govt is expected to spend Rs. 7.5 million on a State-sponsored Christmas celebration scheduled to be launched on 22 Dec afternoon in Negombo, Minister John Amaratunga said. State Christmas celebration will be more festive compared to previous celebrations, since it is being held in Negombo, where the majority of citizens follow Christianity. “We expect to have a grand scale celebration for Christmas this time with the support of the Govt. It will grander than last year,” more..

'India in quandary over new govt’s relationship with China'

Dec 21 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that Indian PM Narendra Modi was certainly in a quandary over the Maithripala-Wickremesinghe administration’s partnership with China. India had strongly opposed to the previous govt’s relationship with China and thrown its weight behind the Opposition at the last presidential polls in Jan 2015, Rajapaksa said. He said India couldn’t be happy that more..

TN Chief minister seeks Modi’s help on fishermen issue

Dec 21 (TOI) Chief minister O Panneerselvam on Tuesday urged PM Narendra Modi to facilitate immediate release of 22 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and their 109 boats from Sri Lankan custody. In the latest incident, seven fishermen in two mechanized fishing boats, who set sail from Kottaipattinam fishing base of Pudukottai district, were apprehended by Lankan Navy in the early hours on Tuesday. The boats and fishermen were taken to Karainagar in SL and remanded to custody. more..

Govt will go ahead with special dev. bill: PM

Dec 21 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says Development (Special Provisions) Bill is aimed at accelerating the country’s development and the govt will go ahead with it. He said the govt did not intend to usurp the powers of the provincial councils. Instead, the special legal provisions would be brought in with the concurrence of the provincial councils, he said, noting that there was a pressing need to boost the country’s development drive to meet the expectations of the public. more..

Chief Ministers to reject Development Bill

Dec 21 (CT) Chief Minister of Western Province Isura Devapriya said that the Chief Ministers of all nine Provinces in the country have agreed not to support the Development (Special Provisions) Bill which is likely to be presented in Parliament ahead of the creation of two ministerial posts with super powers vested in them. He stated that a discussion which was to be held yesterday concerning the aforementioned Bill with more..

Sharing of resources vital for human solidarity

Dec 21 (DM) With Sri Lanka’s two major political parties working together in a National Govt for the first time since independence and with intensified moves for inter-religious and inter-racial dialogue and unity in diversity, International Solidarity Day yesterday was of deep significance for our country. According to a UN website, in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, Solidarity is identified as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st century. more..

Doesn’t it creep you out, even a little bit?

Dec 21 (DM) It was perhaps the biggest Sri Lanka related news story of the year that is about to end. It should have been picked up by the international media but unsurprisingly it wasn’t – though it would have been, once. More shocking however is that it made the local media but the biggest news was not focused on. There has not been, for instance, a single editorial on it or feature spun off from it.   Let me back up a bit. It was the doyen of foreign correspondents in Sri Lankan, more..

'Port City was sold to China by those in the JO'

Dec 21 (DM) The Dailymirror recently had an interview with Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam on the current political situation in the country. Q:  Protests and conditions of agitation have alarmingly conquered the whole of Sri Lanka. Does this reflect the govt’s incapability? A: The shadows of the previous administration are behind all these protests. Q:  Do you think the protest at the Hambantota port was also in the same line?   more..

NPC refers Rs. 4m fraud case to FCID

Dec 21 (ST) Northern Provincial Council has referred to the FCID an internal probe on alleged misappropriation of development funds by a project engineer,  Council Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam said. After a three-member committee which probed the allegations submitted its report, the council took a unanimous decision to refer the case to FCID. He said the main suspects, who had reportedly gone into hiding, more..

Draft Bill on national audit act still stagnant

Dec 21 (SL) Despite the assurance given by President Sirisena in Parliament few days ago that the National Audit Act will be brought in by Jan 2017, questions have been raised as to why the PM’s Secretary has so far failed to forward the draft to the cabinet for its approval. Although a similar assurance was given by the then opposition on election platform in a run up to the 2015 Presidential Election and also the then more..

Politics between gods and worshippers in Jaffna’s Hindu pantheon

Dec 21 (FT) When the peninsula of Jaffna is called to mind, foremost among its iconic images to crop up are likely its colourful temples. The area was always known for its temples but currently more and more are coming up or being refurbished in multi-hued splendour. Shimmering temples painted all the colours of the rainbow dot the peninsula. What though are the sociological ramifications behind them? more..

Video: Mahela tells officials to keep their hands off the Test cricket format

Dec 21 (NH) Mahela Jayawardene has urged cricket officials to resist tinkering with the longer format of the game. Jayawardene is currently playing with the Central Stags in the Twenty20 Super Smash competition. And despite his days as an international cricket player being long gone, Jayawardene said that Test cricket wasn't broken so there was no need to fix it. "I'm not a huge fan of having a lot of day night [Tests] but more..

BIA closed during day from Jan 6 to April 6

Dec 21 (DN) The Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) will be closed for all operations during the day for three months due to work relating to overlaying of the runway. BIA will be closed from Jan 6, 2017 until April 6 for three months from 8.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily.The BIA has only one runway. Over 950,000 aircraft operations have been carried out since its commissioning three decades ago. more..

‘CSE in turmoil over Rs 1.1 bn deal’

Dec 21 (Island) Alleging that the country was in financial turmoil due to waste, corruption, irregularities and rampant mismanagement, the Joint Opposition yesterday alleged that the govt had interfered in a recent billion rupee Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) transaction. Top JO spokesman Bandula Gunawardena, MP, said that an urgent explanation was required in the wake of plausible claims that PM had directed that more..

JO demands explanation from PM on canceling Seylan share sale

Dec 21 (FT) The Joint Opposition (JO) demanded explanations from PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on his directive to reverse the Seylan Bank shares transaction last Saturday. JO MP Bandula Gunawardena said that PM should reveal to the country why he ordered to reverse the transaction. Last Friday 7.5% of Seylan shares, owned by Bank of Ceylon were sold for Rs. 1.3 billion, only to be a suspended later following PM’s directive. more..

Speaker appoints PSC to look into External Affairs Ministry

Dec 21 (DN) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee(PSC) to look into alleged mass scale corruption and fraud in the External Affairs Ministry during the Rajapaksa regime from 2010 – 2015.This select committee has been appointed to look into the alleged fraud and corruption revealed by Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Parliament while participating in the debate on more..

Red herring to divert attention away from CB bond scams

Dec 21 (Island) Top Joint Opposition spokesperson on economic matters MP Bandula Gunawardena alleged that the coverage of members of parliament receiving duty free vehicles was meant to cover up the Central Bank bond scam. The Island asked the JO spokesman whether he thought those who reported the duty free vehicle permit scam had received money from perpetrators of the CBSL scam. more..

Why, in the words of our President, are more than half of public-sector contracts corrupt?

Dec 21 (CT) President Sirisena addressing a public meeting of police and anti-corruption activists in Colombo said that he was regretted to inform the nation that more than 50% of Sri Lanka’s public procurement contracts were tainted by bribery and corruption. Nation is not surprised about President’s statement because the public are fully aware of the bribery and corruption activities of successive govts and its continuation under Maithri-Ranil leadership for the last 2 years. more..