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PM worships Lord Balaji in Andhra Pradesh

Dec 23 (DC) PM Ranil Wikramasinghe, along with his spouse, Maitree, offered prayers at Lord Balaji’s shrine atop the Tirumala hills on Thursday morning. The Srilankan PM was accorded a warm welcome on his arrival by the TTD Board chairman Dr Ch. Krishnamurthy, executive officer Dr Sambasiva Rao and JEO Srinivasa Raju. He was then escorted into the sanctum sanctorum of the temple where he offered prayers. While the priests honoured him with silk vastrams of the deity more..

NCP farmers becoming dependent on tobacco farming, processing

Dec 23 (Island) GMOA urged Mahaweli Authority to explain why traditional paddy lands in the North Central Province (NCP) were being used to cultivate tobacco. GMOA is of the view that the tobacco industry was working according to a hidden agenda to make SL farmers give up paddy farming and take to tobacco cultivation. GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen de Zoysa accused the Tobacco Company of methodically using more..

Basel Three compliance seen as having implications for local banks

Dec 23 (Island) "The maintaining of a capital adequacy ratio under the Basel Three international compliance requirement from next year would have some implications for the local banking sector, Sampath Bank Managing Director Nanda Fernando said. "Basel Three international compliance requirement of maintaining a minimum capital adequacy ratio will become mandatory for all banks in the country and it would have some issues for the sector since those banks have to increase more..

Pentagon sends advanced surveillance team to train Sri Lanka’s military

Dec 23 (wsws) Early this month, a group of US naval officers flew out of the Mattala Rajapakse Int'l Airport at Hambantota after a week-long training exercise with Sri Lankan naval and air force personnel. No public information was released about the visit until the US embassy in Colombo issued a statement on Dec 13, two days after the US naval officers departed. The exercises are part of the expanding military ties between the US military and SL security forces. more..

Colombo Port development: Fifth container terminal to India

Dec 23 (Island) In the wake of a simmering controversy over China Merchant Port Holdings being given an 80% stake in the Hambantota port, a fresh dispute is brewing at the Colombo Port regarding a move to involve India in the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT). SLPA has announced that it was planning to award the ECT on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis. Well informed sources said that the govt more..

Presidential Secretariat halts suspicious tender

Dec 23 (DN) The Appeal Board of the Presidential Secretary had ordered an immediate halt to a tender issued through the Department of Fisheries for the purchase of five types of fishing craft equipment including transponders, D.M.S. and search equipment due to a Rs. 270 million discrepancy. This follows objections made to the Appeal Board by three companies which had submitted lower tenders. They had pointed out that the tender approved by the Technical Evaluation Committee leader more..

Postal workers to stop delivering letters to TT, President’s Office

Dec 23 (Island) Protesting postal workers, who have recently struck work and held a protest march in Colombo, are now threatening to stop delivering letters to Temple Trees and the Presidential Secretariat as the next step of labour struggle. Convener of the postal workers’ trade unions Chinthaka Bandara said that they would be left with no alternative but to carry out their threat unless the government took steps to redress their longstanding grievances within two weeks. more..

Former SLTB Chairman further remanded till Dec 26

Dec 23 (DN) Two persons including former Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) Chairman Shashi Welgama, a nephew of former Transport Minister Kumara Welgama were yesterday ordered to be further remanded till Dec 26 by Colombo Additional Magistrate for allegedly cheating and misappropriating Rs.125 million of public funds when purchasing a stock of leaf springs to the SLTB between 2010 and 2012. more..

Sri Lanka has the world’s biggest and smallest scorpions

Dec 23 (Island) Scientists of the University of Peradeniya have found that Sri Lanka is home to the world’s largest and smallest species of scorpions. This finding has been made by a team of scientists from Department of Animal Science of the Faculty of Science. The largest scorpion is nine inches in length. The smallest is about one centimetre long. They said their study had been conducted from 2013 to the end of 2015 countrywide. Prof. Kithsiri Ranawana and more..

Sri Lanka Navy assists daily operations at Port of Hambantota

Dec 23 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy personnel stationed at the Port of Hambantota had rendered their assistance to nine merchant vessels which arrived to the harbour from 10th to 20th Dec 2016. MV Hyperion Highway, MV Hoyanger, MV Glovis Phoneix, MV Van Cherry, MV Pearl Ace, MV Paglia, MV Morning Christina, MV Positive Brave, and MV Delphinus Leader are the nine vessels which were assisted by the navy. By handling key operations, which includes handling mooring ropes, more..

UN shows concern over Lanka’s proposed counter-terrorism laws

Dec 23 (ST) The UN has expressed several concerns to the Govt about its proposed new counter-terrorism legislation including over a clause that allows admission of confessions made without lawyers present, said Una McCauley, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka. “There are a number of concerns that we had flagged up including the admission of confessions that were not made with lawyers present, 72-hour initial holding period more..

Ban Ki-moon praises Maithri

Dec 23 (DM) The outgoing UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday phoned President Maithripala Sirisena. He had praised the President on the progress made by Sri Lanka in the social, political and economic spheres under his leadership. The UN Secretary General had also appreciated the President’s commitment to further strengthen reconciliation among communities after a long standing conflict. Ban Ki-moon had promised his support to SL’s socioeconomic development more..

Illicit foreign liquor worth Rs.1mn seized

Dec 23 (DM) A stock of illicit foreign liquor worth approximately Rs.1 million was seized by the Special Task Force and officials of the Excise Department during a raid conducted in Colombo this evening. Acting on a tip-off received by the Special Narcotic Unit of the Finance Ministry, the STF and the Excise Department recovered 108 bottles of foreign liquor at Jawatte Road in Colombo 5 while they were being transported in a hybrid car. Head of the Unit Wing Commander Ravi Jayasinghe more..

'Politicos give priority to political agendas, not reconciliation'

Dec 23 (DN) Politicians give priority to their political agendas and not to the reconciliation process, Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya said at a discussion at the National Library and Documentation. The theme of the discussion organised by the National Fraternity Collective and National Shura Council was Say NO to Communalism - YES to National Unity. Senior journalist Jayatilake de Silva said no ethnic group should demand their rights from another, more..

Five Indians arrested over kidney racket further remanded

Dec 23 (DN) Five Indian youths arrested in the investigations into a racket involving Indians and Sri Lankans were yesterday ordered to be further remanded till January 6 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. The five Indians were arrested in Mannar after they escaped from the Mirihana detention camp on Nov 9. The Court was informed that Police were yet to arrest two other suspects who fled the detention camp. The suspects were arrested for overstaying their visas while more..

PM’s Office accuses COPE head of misleading public

Dec 23 (Island) PM’s Office has accused MP Sunil Handunnetti of making misleading statements about the COPE report on the alleged bond scams. It has said, in a media statement, that the COPE report on the bond scams was tabled in Parliament on Oct. 28, 2016 and after it had been endorsed by the members of the watchdog committee unanimously and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe accepted it in the House. PM, on Nov. 02, referred the COPE report to the Attorney General for the latter’s opinion. more..

Constitution making process: Yahapalana partner demands referendum

Dec 23 (Island) Civil society grouping Purawesi Balaya urged the govt to go ahead with the planned referendum to pave the way for a brand new constitution. Purawesi Balaya emphasised that a new constitution was required to achieve objectives of the incumbent administration as well as post-war national reconciliation process. Top Purawesi Balaya spokesperson Gamini Viyangoda more..

Building togetherness, raising hopes

Dec 25 (SO) What a contrast from Christmas festivals just a few years ago! Togetherness and determination to progress shines forth this Christmas Day as perhaps never before in Sri Lanka, symbolised by the record-making Christmas Tree in central Colombo, standing amid the even taller and yet rising commercial towers. Last Christmas, too, there was festivity, but for most Sri Lankans, 2015 was barely 12 months since the end of decades of numbing social fear that continued after more..

Christmas and New Year thoughts

Dec 25 (SL) Christmas is a time of joy and goodwill wished by Christians to all on earth. Unfortunately today much to the regret of Christians and those of other faiths there is unimaginable suffering of millions going on in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and now Europe which can be witnessed on TV in sitting rooms around the world. Newly born babes, the old and feeble, civilians and activists gravely wounded are out in the open in temperatures below zero trying to cling on to life. more..

'Conduct of MPs warrants a Code of Conduct'

Dec 25 (SO) Deputy Chief Govt Whip and Deputy Minister, Ajith P. Perera said, a Code of Conduct for MPs as people’s representatives, is vital for the efficient functioning of Parliamentary democracy. He said, Codes of Conduct for MPs have been introduced in many countries in the world. It envisages that the people’s representatives, irrespective of different political hues, conduct themselves in and out of Parliament in an exemplary manner. more..

We deserve our rulers

Dec 25 (Island) It does not take rocket science to gauge public opinion on heaping goodies on the plates of MPs. Both govt and opposition, as this yahapalana govt has been doing during its tenure. Both President and PM cannot be unaware of what the vast majority of the people of this country feel about what can only be called the purchasing of the goodwill of the MPs by conferring a plethora of benefits on both the elected and unelected representatives of the people more..

2016 : Did the govt get it right — or wrong?

Dec 25 (ST) With 2016 coming to a close, Unity Govt is fraught with internal strife not uncommon in coalitions in office for two years. The latest disagreement comes in the form of the proposed Development (Special Provisions) Bill mooted by the UNP segment in the Govt but opposed rather strenuously by its SLFP counterparts. UNP argues there is a need for a superstructure at the apex to streamline and accelerate economic development, especially the anticipated foreign investment. more..

'Rajapaksas are part of a mature political family'

Dec 25 (SL) SLFP MP and JO member Namal Rajapaksa is confident the joint opposition will be able to form the next govt. Rajapaksa also defended the political agenda of his family members and also dismissed allegations of fraud raised against him. MP also dismissed claims that the Nil Balakaya was involved in the recent protests at the Hambantota port. Q: The Hambantota port issue has become a hot topic these days. What is your response to the claims that more..

MS-RW-MR: Who will take whom for a ride in 2017

Dec 25 (Island) Donald Trump won the US electoral college vote last week this driving the final nail into the coffin of the liberal mafia that had spread its tencacles throughout the globe extending into Sri Lanka as well. This was a mafia that destroyed everything it touched, as we in Sri Lanka are now experiencing on a daily basis. Even after Trump won the election, the Clinton camp did not give up. They tried to change the result by asking for recounts in certain key states. more..

Of Christmas and Politics

Dec 25 (CT) How vastly different is the socio-political significance of tyranny from the socio-political significance of the birth of Jesus Christ. Radical Christians describe the correlation between life and the significance of Christ's birth as being born again or entering into a new life. Its corresponding truth in Buddhism, the majority religion in this country would be death to self and the entry into mindfulness. That mindfulness would ideally encompass that state of being conscious of more..


PM allays Chief Ministers’ fears over Development Special Provisions Bill

Dec 25 (SO) President Sirisena, the first Sri Lankan head of state to visit Malaysia in many years, received a rousing welcome at Putarjaya, the administrative capital of South East Asian country. On his arrival in Malaysia, President received a guard of honour from the country’s security forces at the Kuala Lampur int'l airport. President held discussions with top Malaysian authorities, including the country’s PM, on strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. more..

Now where can Santa be?

Dec 25 (ST) My dear Santa Claus, I thought I must write to you even though you must be busy these days doing your rounds, distributing gifts to everyone this Christmas season. I am sure you will have a difficult task on your hands over here in Paradise, deciding what to get for everyone which is why I thought I might be of some help. You must be in a quandary as to what you should give our MPs. They have got increased allowances and duty free car permits which they sell more..

Which Sri Lanka can South Africa expect?

Dec 25 (CI) Meet Sri Lanka, victors of five consecutive Tests, vanquishers of Australia, conquerors of Zimbabwe, scrambling together pace attacks from what seem like the spare parts of older Sri Lankan quicks, and yet, thanks to their lead bowler, rarely failing to leave oppositions in a spin. Now meet Sri Lanka, losers of six of their last seven away Tests against top-eight opposition, a cacophony of nicks, constantly 50 for 4, masters of the morose end-of-day more..

Can Sri Lanka up their game in South Africa?

Dec 25 (CI) In 24 years since South Africa's readmission to international cricket, Sri Lanka have played exactly ten Tests there. During the same period, England have played 23, Australia 20 and India 17. The conditions in South Africa, with the bouncy and seamer-friendly pitches, are anyway difficult for Asian teams to adapt to, but the lack of frequent tours has further hurt teams like Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Over the last two and a half decades, South Africa and Australia have been among more..

Maharaj hopes for spin lessons from Herath

Dec 25 (CI) While most of the South African squad will try to exploit Sri Lanka's weaknesses in the upcoming three-Test series, at least one of them will be concentrating on the opposition's biggest strength. Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj is keen to learn as much as he can from his counterpart, Rangana Herath, a man he lists among his heroes. "I have always looked up to him. He is one of the left-arm spinners along with Daniel Vettori that you will try and model yourself on, more..

'Youngsters filling vacuum left by Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan'

Dec 25 (CI) For the first time in about two years, Angelo Mathews has reason to approach a foreign tour with some degree of optimism. Mathews was not part of the side that recently won 2-0 in Zimbabwe. His most recent away series have been the 0-2 drubbings in England and New Zealand. He has not been part of a Test side that has won overseas since June 2014, when he clubbed 160 and took 4 for 44 in an innings - both career bests - at Headingley. more..

Chief prelates submit recommendations on new constitution

Dec 25 (NR) Chief Prelates of the Asgiri and Malwathu Chapters have submitted a list of recommendations on the content of the proposed new constitution. The proposals were handed over to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe when he met the Chief Prelates this morning. Chief Prelate of the Asgiri Chapter Ven. Warakagoda Gnanarathna thera said the identification of Sri Lanka as one unified state was mandatory and said the harmful clauses of the 13th amendment should be removed. more..

First housing scheme for old, retired couples in Jaffna

Dec 25 (ST) In the good old days, parents lived with their children and grandchildren after they (children) got married as one big extended family. However, now in most other countries which is also becoming a custom now in SL, married children live separately in a different house or apartment or have migrated abroad. Lonely and stranded elderly parents with no other choice, thinking of the future of their children take up the challenge and live separately in their hometown or village. more..

PM assures new bill will not appropriate provinces’ powers

Dec 25 (ENS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe assured Provincial Chief Ministers who met him here on Friday, that the Development (Special Provisions) bill to be introduced in parliament in February next year, will not eat away the powers of the Provincial Councils given by the 13 th. Amendment of the constitution. PM said that the aim of the bill is only to involve the Provincial Councils in national level policy making on all development matters. more..

Christmas should be celebrated without waste: Catholic Bishops' Conference

Dec 25 (DM) The Christmas should be celebrated by avoiding the wastage of food, cutting down trees and electricity usage for exaggerated decorations, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka said yesterday in its Christmas message. Catholic Bishops’ Conference said the people had a duty to be more sensitive to the human needs and sufferings prevailing in our society while engage in various forms of charitable activities during Christmas. more..

Vehicles for 58 parliamentarians put on hold

Dec 25 (DM) The move to provide vehicles to 58 MPs under an operational lease at a total cost of Rs. 2.4 billion, has been temporarily halted, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. The controversial move came under heavy criticism. It ran into a snag when the Secretary of the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry Secretary Nimal Bopage refused to sign the document approving the issue of the vehicles. He said his refusal was based on several issues and more..

Sri Lanka claims world’s tallest artificial Christmas tree

Dec 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka surpassed the world record for the tallest artificial Christmas tree Saturday despite building delays forcing organisers to prune the structure by almost half. Cricket legend Arjuna Ranatunga initiated plans to build the record-breaking tree in Colombo, but ran into opposition from the Catholic church which said the money would be better spent on charity. "Initial opposition... meant a delay of about 10 days in our construction work," more..

President’s Christmas Message

Dec 25 (NR) President Maithripala Sirisena says Christmas which is celebrated by all Christians around the world as a universal festival, embodies loving kindness. In his Christmas message President Sirisena said Jesus Christ, was a great messenger of reconciliation and social righteousness to the world adding Jesus is an eternal saviour to people around the world. The Head of State said, “Religion is one of the most precious guiding lights of human civilisation. more..

PM’s Christmas Message

Dec 25 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says Christmas is a time to reflect on the message of peace and love, Jesus Christ brought to the world. In his message to mark Christmas, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said, every Christmas, Christians rejoice in celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace, in a spirit of fellowship and love. The Prime Minister said, the birth unites the world in a strong bond of compassion, warmth and love for mankind. Christmas Message from PM: more..