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Stalin criticizes govt

Dec 26 (CT) Govt is planning to recruit 3,000 teachers for State schools, on the basis of acceptable results at GCE O/L exam, the General Secretary of All Island Teachers Association, Joseph Stalin, said. These new recruits will specifically be appointed as Physical Education teachers and instructors. He added, "Govt's move to recruit these teachers will ultimately degrade the quality of the education system. Thus this will not be a step towards ensuring the quality of education." more..

Christmas rap makes SL Catholics see red

Dec 26 (AFP) In a Christmas debacle, SL’s Catholic church withdrew hymn sheets after lyrics of Hail Mary were mixed up with an expletive-packed version by rapper Tupac Shakur. Hail Mary is a traditional Catholic prayer asking for the intervention of blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Version by Tupac, African-American rapper who was shot dead 20 years ago and whose stage name was 2Pac, is littered with obscenities. more..

Debate the Bond report promptly: JVP

Dec 26 (NR) JVP urged the Speaker of House to expedite the process pertaining to the report compiled by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises over the controversial Treasury bond issuance. Report pertaining to the bond transaction by COPE was presented in Parliament on the 28th of Oct. A 4000 page report was presented before parliament by the COPE Chairman. COPE members issued 16 recommendations to be taken by the State pertaining to controversial Bond transaction. more..

Kachchatheevu’s New Church consecrated

Dec 26 (CT) The Consecration of the newly built St. Anthony's Church on the Kachchatheevu islet was held on Friday (23). Catholic Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev. Dr. Justin Gnanapragasam, Governor Northern Province Reginold Cooray, Navy Commander Ravindra Wijegunaratne and Jaffna Commander Piyal de Silva were present at the Consecration ceremony. Bishop Gnanapragasam cut the ribbon of the main door to the entrance to the new Church and declared it open. more..

Elephants in cultural pageants: Bellanwila Wimalaratne Thera takes NGOs to task

Dec 26 (Island) Chancellor of Univ of Sri J'pura and Registrar of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Vihara, Prof. Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera has said recently that Perahera culture is an integral part of SL Buddhist heritage dating back thousands of years and it could not be terminated just because animal rights activists are against using elephants in processions. "Some so-called educated raise their voices on issues pertaining to the use of more..

Sri Lanka inflation targeting plan could be threatened by fiscal dominance: study

Dec 26 (EN) Sri Lanka's plan to move into a so-called flexible inflation targeting regime may be threatened by pressure from the finance ministry, requiring re-defining the relationship between the Treasury and the central bank, a study has warned. A study by Kishan Abeygunawardana, an economist at the World Bank, found data that tended to show that central bank policy has been made subservient to the finance ministry or budget deficit (known as fiscal dominance) over a long period, more..

Police News: Police says IGP did not issue such order

Dec 26 (DM) Police Department today announced that IGP Pujith Jayasundara had not issued an order to restrict sending daily Police news to private media institutions. “Several media outlets had reported stating that the IGP had instructed the daily updates be sent only to State media institutions,” Police said in a statement. However, statement did not mention the reason for not sending daily Police news updates to media institutions from Dec 21. Earlier, the National Police Commission (NPC) more..

No sleeveless blouses please, we are Sri Lankans

Dec 26 (ENS) Female staff of the parliament are barred from entering the Public Officers’ Box if they are wearing a sleeveless blouse. “A trilingual notice freshly placed on the door to the Public Officer’s Box in Parliament stipulated the dress code for female public officers as being saree and a blouse with long-sleeves. And so, a number of female public officers who came to discharge their duties during budget debate more..

Why constitutional reforms?

Dec 27 (Island) What is the compulsion for constitutional reforms? Would these reforms be so extensive as to warrant a new constitution, or would they be limited to specific issues that could be incorporated as amendments to the existing constitution? These are some of the questions in the minds of the public. Resolution for the appointment of the Constitutional Assembly states that it is expressly "… for the purpose of deliberating, and seeking the views and advice of the People, more..

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe tells blatant lies!

Dec 27 (CT) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe is seen as a blatant liar by the Muslim community. He has become Yahapalanaya’s unofficial patron of BBS and its controversial leader Ven. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero. He has elevated this thuggish prelate (who was once fined by the Court of law for drunk driving) to the levels of the respected and most Venerable Malwatte and Asgiriya Mahanayakes, to be accorded the privilege of sitting at meetings with the President and other more..

Stock market transaction cancellation raises concern

Dec 27 (SO) State intervention to revoke a stock market transaction involving a State owned institution may be acceptable in extreme cases to prevent an obvious fraud or irregularity that would dent the confidence and trust in the capital market system, stock market analysts said. However, there could be ramifications to the institution and the integrity of stock exchange, if this authority is used haphazardly or even abused, analysts said. more..

Modest economic growth in 2016 after avoiding serious economic crisis

Dec 27 (ST) Christmas day is a day of glad tidings and of peace and joy. The good news this year is that the country averted a serious economic crisis and is moving towards macroeconomic stability and growth. May this Christmas usher in peace and social harmony that are vital for the country’s economic development. Being the last Sunday of the year, it is appropriate to sum up the year’s economic performance. Economic growth was modest. There wasn’t a robust economic growth or more..

Devolution of police powers to provinces: A recipe for disaster

Dec 27 (Island) A proposal to devolve police Powers to the Provinces has been made again. Under the yahapalana govt’s constitutional reform project, the strict implementation of the provisions for devolution of police powers under the 13th Amendment and more is proposed by the Sub-Committee on Police, Law and Order, setting out how it would be done. The purport of this article is to warn that these recommendations are fraught with the danger of leading the country up a blind alley and more..

'Hambantota Port framework agreement cloaked in secrecy'

Dec 27 (CT) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, in an explosive interview with Ceylon Today, dropped a bombshell when he confessed that the Hambantota Port Framework Agreement which was finalized two Fridays ago was shrouded in cloak of secrecy. He also said he was not privy to most of the technical details and also details of the Joint Cabinet Memorandum Minister Malik Samarawickrema co-signed with Minister of more..

Stable Truth: A Christmas reflection

Dec 27 (GV) Birth of Christ has not changed the world but it offers hard lessons for those who work for change. Herod, whom Jesus called the fox, is clever with words; nice words that serve his interests only. His request of the visiting dignitaries that they should inform him where the baby was, was not to worship the baby, but to exterminate him. His occupation of the Seat is not to be disturbed. Real man is seen in failed man; unable to have his way but still in power, he punishes the innocent. more..

Refugee Jesus: Christmas & Refugees in SL

Dec 27 (GV) Jesus was born as a refugee child. When Mary, the pregnant mother on the move couldn’t find a place to give birth, it was poor shepherds that welcomed them to their stable. Immediately after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph had to flee, to save the baby Jesus’s life from assassination attempt of a cruel King. This is the story of Christmas. This story of Refugee Jesus, the stable and poor but generous shepherds and fleeing parents had a huge resonance for me during more..

JVP Press Conference

Mr. President, protect the honour of war heroes, not the fraudsters in uniform

Dec 27 (CT) Recent utterances by President Maithripala Sirisena challenging the criminal inquiries raised many eye brows. Being the symbolic representation of the Yahapalana movement spearheaded by political and civil organizations, the said utterances appeared him back tracking on the positions once forcefully taken that led to the change of regime. Whilst respecting his concerns for war heroes (Ranaviru)- who did a yeoman service in defeating terrorism, more..

Editorial: Sauce for political goose …

Dec 27 (Island) The stage is now set for the implementation of a contributory pension scheme for the state employees to be recruited, we are told. Old habits die hard! The UNP-led UNF govt (2001-2004) introduced it as part of the much-touted Regaining Sri Lanka project. It was, however, abolished by the SLFP-led UPFA govt, which restored the non-contributory pension scheme. The incumbent govt suffers from what one may call the economic bipolar disorder. more..

Lakmal's unlikely headline act changes script

Dec 27 (CI) Suranga Lakmal is no one's idea of a fearsome fast bowler. At first look, he seems to consist only of limbs. Instead of a mean 80s quick's handlebar moustache, he has a 90s R'n'B artists' soul patch and goatee. His approach to the crease isn't the efficient, menacing advance of an athlete - it's more like he's chasing a robber who has taken bananas from his corner shop. The bowling stride isn't especially powerful. more..

Japan Expo 2017 at BMICH on Feb. 3-5

Dec 27 (Island) Chairperson Japan Expo Premier Committee Michiyo Furusawa, introducing Japan Expo 2017 said at the press conference last week that the event would portray the culture of Japan in its entirety. More so, what was seen hitherto in books and information sources, could be physically seen and experienced firsthand, at the BMICH 3rd to 5th February. Sri Lanka and Japan have continuously maintained close and friendly interaction through many spheres of activity. more..

Tale of the magical Christmas tree

Dec 27 (ST) In the beginning of December in the year of the Lord 2016, the new wise men of Phantom Island saw that darkness had swiftly spread across the face of the land and that it was not good. And so it came to pass that they held council and said unto each other, “when the multitude have never been so happy as now in this land flowing with milk and honey, why in this year has the music died? “ Though wise to their fingertips and wise to their toenails, more..

Day 1: Advantage SL as Lakmal grabs four

Dec 27 (CI) Suranga Lakmal picked up four wickets in an innings for only the second time in a 32-Test career as South Africa ended the first day of their Test series against Sri Lanka at a vulnerable 267 for 6. It was a strange, seesawing day in which it was hard to say if South Africa failed to make full use of good batting conditions or if SL's bowling attack was too reliant on Lakmal to fully exploit a greener-than-usual St George's Park pitch. more..

A tale of contrasting veterans

Dec 27 (CI) One man is the most experienced batsman in his team's line-up, the scorer of his country's highest individual Test score, the calm in almost every storm South Africa have faced in the last decade. Things should come easily for him. The other man is only a year younger than the first. He played a crucial hand in his team winning their first series in Australia eight years ago, but has only played a little over a third the number of matches. He was dropped, then injured more..

Getting starts, getting out

Dec 27 (CI) Stats highlights from the opening day in Port Elizabeth, which witnessed a rare century opening stand, and several batsmen getting out after getting starts. 1970: The last time before today that South Africa had a century opening stand in a Test in Port Elizabeth: Eddie Barlow and Barry Richards had added 157 against Australia in March that year. In 26 opening partnerships at this ground since then and before this Test, South Africa's highest had been 98, and their average stand was 23.26. more..

Bitter woes for sugar importers

Dec 27 (FT) Sugar importers and traders were wary of the Govt’s move to slap a fresh levy of Rs. 6 per kilogramme on imports, saying that the hike could not be passed on to consumers while insisting that they would present their grievances to the Cabinet Subcommittee on the Cost of Living this week. Following the Finance Ministry’s directive to increase the import duty, the Sri Lanka Sugar Importers Association (SLSIA) met with more..

Retired DIG, OIC re-remanded

Dec 27 (Island) Colombo Magistrate Nishantha Pieris yesterday re-remanded till January 6, 2017, the former OIC Crimes of the Narahenpita police Sumith Perera and retired DIG Anura Senanayake. They are being prosecuted on an allegation of concealing evidence, pertaining to the killing of Wasim Thajudeen on May 2012. CID told the court that the inquiry by SLMC into the professional conduct of former Chief JMO of Colombo Dr. Ananda Samarasekera was not yet over. more..

283 new diplomatic passports issued

Dec 27 (DM) Some 423,066 new passports have been issued within the first nine months of this year by the Department of Immigration and Emigration, statistics revealed. Accordingly, 132,705 new passports were issued to Middle Eastern countries while 269,647 new passports were issued to other countries during the same period. Some 283 new diplomatic passports were also issued during first 9 months of the year. Further, the department had made amendments to 54,761 passports. more..

Shocked Japanese investor becomes optimistic after talking to PM

Dec 27 (Island) Motohiko Homma, CEO of Asir and Nek, a Singapore based company, who bought 7.5% stake of Bank of Ceylon owned Seylan Bank and the deal was subjected to a reversal, later met with PM and became optimistic about the investment outlook in Sri Lanka although Homma had been described as being shocked by his local deal facilitator. Its Fund Manager Prince Gunasekera said that after the cancellation more..

Trillium Property Management expected to announce IPO in 2017

Dec 27 (Island) A new chapter is etched for Trillium Property Management & Services with the recent unveiling of its state of the art ultra modern head office complex--Trillium Tower at Somadevi Place, Colombo 5—and on this occasion Trillium chairman Janaka Ratnayake announced that the Company would issue an IPO next year. The six floors embracing an architecturally avant garde design, with its 50,000 square feet, houses not only the continually expanding Trillium team, more..

Hambantota is not going to be a Chinese colony: Minister Yapa

Dec 27 (FT) Dismissing speculation by Opposition politicians on Hambantota becoming a Chinese colony, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena reiterated that Govt is only to establish investment zones.  “Hambantota is not going to be a Chinese colony. It is only an investment zone and no private property will be acquired and handed over to foreign investors,” he said. Minister made this statement on being asked if Hambantota was being turned into a Chinese colony and more..

Joint Working Group of India and Sri Lanka to meet and solve fishermen issue

Dec 27 (ENS) With an aim to find a solution to the vexed issue of fishermen, a Joint Working Group (JWG) of India and SL will hold a meeting on Saturday. Following the JWG meeting, a ministerial-level meeting between the two nations is scheduled in Colombo on Jan 2. "As per the schedule agreed at the Nov 5 meeting between India and SL on the fishermen issue, ministerial meeting is to be preceded by JWG meeting at Secretary level" more..

Dust allowance for sanitary labourers

Dec 27 (DN) Minister Faiszer Musthapha directed Municipal Commissioners to offer a dust allowance for sanitary labourers. The minister made this direction at the progress review meeting of the garbage segregation programme. Municipal Councils initiated the collection of segregated waste from Nov 1 on the initiative of Minister Musthapha. He studied the progress of segregation of the waste programme by discussing with the public and sanitary labourers of several municipalities more..

Bomb scare delays Colombo – Badulla train

Dec 27 (DM) The passengers of the Colombo -- Badulla train (which was scheduled to leave at 8 pm.) were evacuated this evening after a telephone call was received by the 119 police emergency unit about a bomb, a Railway security source said. He said an emergency call was given by a passenger who said that there was a bag which was suspected to contain a bomb in a compartment. All the passengers had been evacuated and the train which was halted at platform 3, was moved out of more..

Party office-bearers to face the music

Dec 27 (DN) Office-bearers of political parties who failed to hand over their asset and liabilities declarations are to be reported to CIABOC, Election Commission chairman Mahinda Dehsapriya said. Out of 64 political parties in the country, around two thirds of office-bearers have not submitted their asset and liability declarations for the previous year. He said there are even MPs among party office-bearers more..

Milina Sumathipala passes away

Dec 27 (Island) Former All Ceylon Buddhist Congress president, chairperson of Sumathi Group and prominent social worker, Milina Sumathipala passed away yesterday at the age of 81. She was mother of seven children, including present Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala. She was the wife of founder of Sumathi Group, late U.W. Sumathipala. On her 80th birthday last year, Campbell Place in Colombo 10 was named after her in respect of her services rendered in numerous spheres. more..

Fast and confidential public service through economic digitalisation: Ravi K

Dec 27 (FT) Economic digitalisation process proposed in Budget 2017 will create a conducive background, giving easy access to markets and technology, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He also pointed out that digitalisation would help middle income countries like Sri Lanka to lay a firm foundation to improve efficiency in the public service by developing human resources and ensuring transparency in State administrations. It will also help end the age-old practice of making more..

It is up to Sri Lankan refugees to return home, says TN Minister

Dec 27 (Hindu) It is up to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to return to their home country or not, according to Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan. After visiting a camp for the refugees in Gummidipoondi, on the northern outskirts of Chennai, Mr. Radhakrishnan told The Hindu on Monday evening that he favoured voluntary repatriation. “If the refugees want to remain here, suitable arrangements should be in place.” more..

Dengue deaths top 75 this year

Dec 27 (DN) A total of 78 dengue deaths have been reported from all parts of the country this year. Total number of dengue cases reported from all parts of the country during this year is 49,930, Epidemiology Unit sources said. The highest number of dengue patients - 15,303 was reported from the Colombo district. Gampaha district recorded the second highest number of dengue patients, 6,202 while Kandy district recorded the third highest number of dengue patients, 3,869. more..

Synthetic text book for Grade 7 students

Dec 27 (CT) Ministry of Education said, in January a synthetic text book, which can be used for a period of eight years, by rubbing out whatever has been written on it, cleaned and washed when dirty, will be given to students of Grade Seven. The Geography Text book for Grade Seven, which contains maps, has been printed on synthetic paper instead of normal paper and is being given to students in a pilot project. These books, which are being printed, so that damage to the environment more..