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Raviraj murder accused cleared, Sumanthiran faults all-Sinhala jury

Dec 25 (AFP) A Sri Lankan court Saturday acquitted five men, including three navy intelligence officers, charged with assassinating an opposition Tamil legislator whose party immediately raised concerns about judicial integrity. Nadaraja Raviraj, who represented the TNA, was shot dead in 2006 along with his bodyguard as they drove out of his home in Colombo, two and a half years before the end of the country’s Tamil separatist war. more..

Sri Lanka Ports Authority to hire female gantry crane operators

Dec 25 (EN) Sri Lanka Ports Authority will next year employ its first female gantry crane operators presently undergoing training at its Mahapola Training Institute, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. "Gantry crane operators in Sri Lanka have normally been male, but we changed that practice and began training females as well," he told the Colombo Maritime conference. The first batch of female gantry crane operators will start work in Colombo port on 8 March 2017, more..

Opposition Leader’s Christmas Message

Dec 25 (GDI) I would like to extend warm greetings to all Christians, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ today. Christmas is an important day in the Christian calendar. Throughout his life, Jesus Christ exemplified a love for people and a special concern for those who were shunned by society. In keeping with his example, Jesus also called people to live a life marked by love, righteousness, and concern for those oppressed. As we celebrate Christmas, let us not forget those who more..

BOC Chairman to be removed over shady deal

Dec 25 (SL) Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) is likely to be removed from his post over a shady deal which had caught the attention of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Bank of Ceylon Chairman Roland C. Perera and several others are to be removed from their posts over the sale of Seylan Bank shares owned by BOC. The sale of the Seylan Bank shares by BOC was reversed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe last week after it was found that proper procedure was not followed. more..

Sri Lanka needs ‘competitive exchange rate’ to promote exports: Central Bank

Dec 25 (EN) Sri Lanka needs to maintain a competitive exchange rate that would promote Sri Lankan exports and not allow an overvaluation of the rupee that would reduce export competitiveness, the Central Bank said. Sri Lanka has trouble with exchange rate becuase the central bank follows soft-pegged or managed float regime involving controlling interest rates (by printing money) and trying to and failing to hold the exchange rate at the same time. more..

PM assures to amend Development Bill: Shan Wijayalal

Dec 25 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has agreed to amend the Development (Special Provisions) Draft Bill and re-submit it with amendments, a Chief Minister said. “PM assured that the draft Bill will be amended,” Southern Province Chief Minister Shan Wijayalal de Silva said. PM has conveyed this decision after discussions with a group of Chief Ministers. Four Chief Ministers from the Western, Southern, Eastern and Uva Provinces had taken part in the meeting with the PM more..

Festival hampers or other gifts are bribes, state employees warned

Dec 25 (ST) Giving seasonal gifts to state employees could amount to an act of corruption. The CIABOC has given this warning to the Ministry of Public Administration and Management and seven business chambers. In its directives, the CIABOC has said it is aware of instances where public servants are soliciting and accepting gratifications from private companies by way of seasonal hampers during the festive season. more..

Gunaratne Weerakoon resigns as Karandeniya SLFP Organiser

Dec 25 (AD) Former Minister Gunaratne Weerakoon says that he has decided to step down from his position as the Electoral Organiser of the SLFP in Karandeniya, Galle District. The former minister of resettlement cited a deep disappointment as his reason for this decision.  Weerakoon says that there is no use of the organiser post as he had failed to win at the last parliamentary election.  The former minister said that he has sent his letter of resignation to more..

Proposed new Constitution: Govt, Opposition agree on Public Finance Chapter

Dec 25 (Island) The Govt and Opposition had agreed on the chapter on Public Finance in the proposed new Constitution, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said. He said that the Sub Committee on Public Finance headed by UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena had reached a consensus on its Report that would be presented to the Steering Committee on Constitutional Reform. The agreement reached among all political parties represented in Parliament, de Silva said related to more..

Corrupt EC members shoot down US$ 1.8 B offer

Dec 25 (CT) An Iranian company has offered a US$ 1.8 billion interest-free loan for the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery Expansion Project, but a few members of the Economic Council (EC) of the govt are allegedly trying to scuttle the deal because it does not offer an avenue for a commission rip-off. The only condition the Company, PFN Iran, has stipulated, is that the CPC buys all of its crude oil requirements from Iran for 20 years under the offer that more..

'Current govt is the most uncertain one since independence'

Dec 25 (NR) The govt says it is pleased with the work done in the two years since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena. Deputy Minister of Public Enterprice Development Eran Wickramaratne said that the govt has built the necessary framework within the first two years. He said, “we introduced the 19th amendment and made this country more democratic. People live in freedom. They can seek justice with courts. A completely different environment has been created”. more..

IGP suspends police news to private media

Dec 25 (DM) The Police Chief has suspended the police news sent daily to private media institutions through emails with effect from Wednesday, a senior officer at the Police Headquarters said today. He said the Police Chief had instructed that the daily updates be sent only to state media institutions. He said this step had been taken after the uproar in the country resulting from his telephone conversation during a recent meeting in Ratnapura. more..

In a snapshot, big stories of the year

Dec 25 (ST) January 3: As 2016 dawned, the National Unity Govt was still in conflict with major differences between the UNP and the SLFP and the split within the SLFP itself widening. But on the positive side, plans were being drawn up for a new agreement for the two major parties to work together at least till the Govt’s term ends. January 17: Former President Rajapaksa loyalists work out plans for a new party led by him to contest the local council elections more..

More in touch with reality

Dec 26 (CT) Understanding in some sense is always retrospective. The past two, were years of hope for good governance. This essay is an attempt to be more in touch with reality. “Millions were spent to get down a horse from Queen Elizabeth’s stables. It was taken to Nuwaraeliya. The prince goes to Nuwaraeliya by helicopter to ride the ‘Buckingham’ horse. He comes back to Colombo in the chopper in the evening. However, youths in our villages have to wait looking at the future. more..

Is Yahapâlanaya revolution being usurped? 

Dec 26 (CT) PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and his wife going before old Tirupathi alias Balaji in the Andhra Pradesh temple to beg for help comes as a fearful apprehension to me. I am baffled, as I look up to Ranil as someone who is on the right side of matters. Many view him as an informed, intelligent and rational person. The recollection that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also made the trip to this part of La La Land about six months before he was deposed is frightening indeed. more..

Tsunami 2004: 12 years after

Dec 26 (SO) Dec 26, 2004 was an unforgettable day for all Sri Lankans as well as for the whole world. The tsunami tidal waves were caused by a series of earthquakes, measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale that occurred in the sea near Sumatra, Indonesia. The other neighbouring countries affected were Indonesia, India, Maldives, and Thailand. Since many Sri Lankans did not have any previous experience of this nature, more..

Vast criminal enterprise waiting to rule again

Dec 26 (ST) The assertion that Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system is so weak in capacity that justice is well nigh impossible is one of the most dangerously misleading misconceptions that we constantly hear. No simplistic reasons for failures in justice. When acquittals are handed down as illustrated most recently in the jury trial relating to the killing of MP N. Raviraj or when investigations drag on tortuously for several years as we see in the rape and murder of schoolgirl Vidya Sivaloganthan, more..

Christmas Cheer! Even from Complaining Cats

Dec 26 (SO) No belly aching today, only stretching and relaxing. No grousing and groaning, only purring. That’s me today, this feline who vents venom on most Sundays. Not today, on this special Sunday. This cat enjoyed a Christmas party of Old Girls; received some Christmas cake and a couple of gifts. Christmas cards are arranged on a table top supported by ornaments that adorn it. And the crisp, nippy sunshiny air is pervaded by Christmas carols and that spirit of Christmas - like no other. more..

'UNP will put forward its own candidate in 2020'

Dec 26 (SL) UNP will field its own candidate at the next Presidential election, Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said. He also said that while disputes in the unity govt have not affected the operations of the govt, it has had some impact on organisations linked to the two political parties in the govt. Q: Why is the govt privatising institutions like the Hambantota port? A: At present, the world is moving from more..

Sri Lanka’s madman of the year

Dec 26 (SL) As the year 2016 drew to a close in our Isle Serendib, our serendipitous thoughts went back to the year that was, and the men and women who made it memorable to some and to others who may prefer to forget it. Who should be SL’s Man or Woman of the Year? We wondered. Women, we realised failed to create waves this year like Susanthika Jayasinghe who won an Olympic Silver for us some years ago while delivering some lusty political kicks on traditional places of some more..

Adele unmasks LTTE proxies

Dec 26 (CT) Adele Anne, widow of the late LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham, has lambasted a pro-LTTE expatriate Tamil organization for claiming that it has the urn containing the ashes of the late theoretician and making arrangements to build a monument with it in memory of him in London. Anton Balasingham, following the death of his first wife, married Australian born Adele Anne in London in 1978. Couple remained inseparable and their life had been extremely adventurous for more..

Talk at the cafe

Dec 26 (ST) India accorded a red carpet welcome to Air Force Commander Kapila Jayampathy and allowed him to fly its Advanced Light attack helicopter and sit at the controls of the Tejas fighter Jet. These pictures show Air Marshal Jayampathy taking off in the helicopter and sitting at the controls of Tejas at Indian Air Force base in Bangalore. India is keen to sell some of these flying machines to Sri Lanka. more..

Editorial: Misdiagnosis

Dec 26 (Island) A well-known economist cum seasoned political commentator, in an article published in this newspaper today, makes some interesting observations on the draft Development (Special Provisions) Bill, which has run into opposition in some quarters. Pointing out that the proposed ministerial post is not unparalleled he cites instances where the bigwigs of UNP and SLFP governments used such powers to develop the country decades ago. more..

Thilan reminisces South Africa 2011

Dec 26 (Island) The case of Thilan Samaraweera is exactly the same like that of V.V.S. Laxman of India. Immensely gifted and a fine record to back it, Laxman always lived in the shadows of contemporary Indian greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. Across the Palk Strait, Samaraweera suffered the same fate as the careers of Big Three – Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillekeratne Diishan were more celebrated. more..

Herath's magic show goes on tour again

Dec 26 (CI) Rangana Herath may not have many bowling secrets to guard, but of the few tricks up his sleeve, he is intensely protective. Not for him are the perplexations of the doosra. He has a carrom ball, but jokes that it must be the worst one in world cricket. He banks on subtlety for his hauls, and there is subtlety in the way he avoids publicly revealing his means of success, too. I just put the ball in the right place, he keeps telling more..

Du Plessis wants SA to set the pace

Dec 26 (CI) The offices are closed, the beaches are full and the trees are draped with lights. It's so festive that Faf du Plessis even wore a Santa hat to his pre-match press conference, on Saturday. South Africa will take Christmas Day off, as they've done for the last three years, with only optional training available for the die-hards. That's after only convening on Thursday which has means they would have had a total of three training sessions going into the Test. more..

The pillars of Sri Lanka's future

Dec 26 (CI) As Sri Lanka begin a major overseas assignment, a clutch of young players have been tasked with making the side a force in international cricket again. We profile four of them. Kusal Mendis Age: 21; 714 runs at 34 in 11 Tests: Small, unassuming and quiet, but possessed of a monster talent, Mendis, a product of Sri Lanka's school cricket system, may be the premier batsman in his age group. Having earned a scholarship to Moratuwa's Prince of Wales early in life, more..

SA hold edge, but young side gives SL hope

Dec 26 (CI) Sri Lanka's tour record in South Africa does not make for pretty reading. Out of 10 Tests in the country, eight have been lost. Of those, half have been innings losses and one a ten-wicket defeat. Only three Sri Lanka batsmen have reached triple figures (Thilan Samaraweera achieving it twice in the most recent tour), and the island's best seam bowler, Chaminda Vaas, could claim only 11 wickets at 47.45 in 8 innings. more..

Amla has chance to banish bad memories

Dec 26 (CI) Remember the time SL beat South Africa in a Test at home ? Of the current home squad only Hashim Amla really does. Amla is the only surviving member from the XI who were defeated in Durban five years ago, a time when his reputation was already established. But he is also the only South African batsmen who did not score a half-century on their most recent assignment in Australia. How times have changed. For SL too. They have only brought three of the victors more..

Centre-periphery relations: Is it wise to weaken powers of the Central govt?

Dec 26 (Island) The reports of sub committees of the Constituent Assembly are now in the public domain. Hence issues can be analyzed rationally sans any guess-work. This article attempts to understand the recommendations in the sub-committee report on centre-periphery relations (SCCPR), their potential outcomes and possible influence on the Sri Lankan State. Please note that the SCCPR recommendations are still suggestions and are not officially sanctioned proposals. more..

State Christmas Festival 2016 held under patronage of President

Dec 26 (PSL) State Christmas Festival 2016 was held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the  St. Mary’s Church, Negombo, today (22). The festival was held under the theme Kithu Upathin Navumvana Minisathbavata Ida Demu and it was comprised with many colourful events including carols. The State Christmas Festival was organized under the guidance of the Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. more..

Tough ask for Sri Lanka in Port Elizabeth

Dec 26 (Island) Sri Lanka have enjoyed a roller coaster ride in Test cricket in the last six months winning five games in a row. The 3-0 whitewash over Australia that toppled them as World Champions came at home while the 2-0 win was recorded against cricket’s weakest team – Zimbabwe. But today’s Boxing Day Test comes against a high riding South African side in conditions that will test the Sri Lankans. The tourists simply don’t have the statistics to back them. more..

India retain Asian Under 19 cricket title

Dec 26 (DN) Defending Asian Under 19 cricket champions India retained the Asian Cricket Council Trophy when they beat Sri Lanka by 34 runs in the finals played at the R. Premadasa Stadium under lights. In reply to India’s 273 for 8 Sri Lanka were all out for 239 runs in 48.4 overs. Sri Lankan youth were well on course for victory at many stages of the match but lost their way after losing wickets at regular intervals. Opener Raven Kelly top scored with 62 facing 101 deliveries more..

Ban on lunch sheets, regiform lunch boxes?

Dec 26 (DN) Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is contemplating on banning lunch sheets, regiform lunch boxes and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) small bottles of water and other drinks next year, CEA Director General K H. Muthukudarachchi said. A Committee of Experts appointed as of a Cabinet paper submitted by President has come up with these recommendations. more..

Untold story behind Junior Tuskers’ failure

Dec 26 (CT) A sensational year for both Sri Lanka senior and junior rugby was overshadowed last week when the country's fifteen-a-side under-19 team suffered a shocking defeat to Chinese Taipei in their third and final U-19 game at the Asia Rugby Championship held in Malaysia. The Junior Tuskers finished third, narrowly escaping a demotion to the lower division while the rugby lovers in Sri Lanka took this in very sympathetic fashion, given the fact that a few members of the side more..

Amendments to Food Act on the cards

Dec 26 (SO) Steps will be taken to amend the Food Act to suit the present times and also support the food processing industry which has enormous potential, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe told the 10th Exporters Forum at Export Development Board (EDB) recently. Minister was responding to issues raised by meat processors with regard to the excessive time taken to test the quality of food before processing for exports. He said it is time to amend Food Act which is around 30 yrs old. more..

'Coomaraswamy should be backed to make Central Bank independent'

Dec 26 (EN) Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy should be supported in his efforts to make the agency independent and end regulatory scandals, a top economist has said amid fears of renewed political interference in the agency. "I think all those who want to see who want see Sri Lanka have genuinely good independent institutions should support the CB Governor to the hilt," Razeen Sally, Associate Professor at school of Public more..

Video: Udamwita Samare shot dead

Dec 26 (AD) A leading underworld member known as Udammita Samare has been shot dead in Veyangoda, the police said. An unknown gunman has opened fire at the vehicle of the victim and had fled the scene soon after the shooting, according to police. Another person who was injured during the shooting was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. An investigation is underway to identify the suspect. The 42-year-old deceased was a resident of Nittambuwa. more..

Half of Badulla District prone to landslide

Dec 26 (DM) More than half the area of the Badulla District was vulnerable to landslides, NBRO said following a recent survey. “66.91% of the land area in the Badulla District is endangered with landslides,” NBRO said. Badulla Govt Agent Nimal Abesiri said that 79.32sq. kilometres, which was 2.77% of the land area, had been identified as high risk area. According to the survey 16.37% of the land was medium risk area, and 47.76% minimum risk area. more..

China Bay Oil Tank Farm: Economically, politically pivotal

Dec 26 (CT) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Trade Union Coalition last week alleged that officials of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) which had received lease of the petroleum tank farm in China Bay, Trincomalee, had not allowed engineers of the CPC to take charge of 16 of the petroleum tanks. Chittam Raju, a representative of IOC said that the engineers could not be allowed without written permission of more..