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SB clarifies reasons for MP’s allowance increase

Dec 27 (AD) The income of the MPs should be reasonable or they may intend to make money in other means, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. While clarifying the stance to allocate Rs.100,000 allowance for MPs, he pointed out the monthly basic salary of the MPs is insufficient to cope with their expenses. “Our salary is less than Rs.100,000 I guess,” said Dissanayake.  “Since we travel a lot, we need a ‘good’ vehicle, or with our age it’s not good for our health,” he said. more..

Victims of 2004 tsunami remembered

Dec 27 (CT) Sri Lanka commemorated the National Safety Day yesterday (26), marking the 12th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The disaster that battered Sri Lanka in 2004 had a catastrophic impact in the areas of Galle, Hambantota, Matara, and the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Approximately 36,000 lives were lost while 5,000 were reported missing and 95,000 others were deprived of their livelihood. In a symbolic gesture of creating awareness more..

Sri Lanka asked to enter mines ban treaty

Dec 27 (PTI) It will take 15 more years to de-mine SL's war-battered North and East regions, a group campaigning to ban anti-personal mines in the country said today while criticising the govt for not acceding to the Ottawa Convention. "De-mining work has slowed down over the years. At its current pace it will take around 15 years to complete the de-mining in the remaining 44 square km," Vidya Abhayagunawardena, national co-ordinator of more..

Editorial: Stale toddy in a new pot

Dec 28 (Island) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga was cock-a-hoop the other day about the completion of his artificial Christmas tree on the Galle Face Green. He fought quite a battle to neutralise his critics. The record-breaking project, however, does not seem to have found favour with some prelates; Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, delivering his sermon on Christmas Day, looked askance at the waste of resources on decorations and trees in the name of celebrating the birth of Jesus. more..

So why not join the blame game

Dec 28 (ST) Whenever I watch TV in Colombo especially those seemingly endless political debates that almost every station thinks it must programme to be seen as au fait, most participants come armed with reams of newspaper articles and clippings. They are put to such productive use, at times given the importance of some great religious texts, in the course of what purports to be enlightening political discourse. How much importance is attached to readings from newspaper articles or more..

Govt, spending far too much, creating far too much money: Drift, takeoff, or relapse

Dec 28 (SO) Professor Razeen Sally, of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, delivered a wide ranging talk last Tuesday at Excel World in conjunction with the Advocata Institute, wherein he detailed three possible futures for Sri Lanka: drift, takeoff, and relapse. Despite the current govt’s optimistic rhetoric regarding the improvement of governance, economic policy, and ethnic relations, Sally dourly said, more..

Standardisation – A different perspective from Dr. M.Y.M. Siddeek’s

Dec 28 (CT) There was a Faculty Board Meeting once in Sri Lanka in the late 1990s. A brilliant Sinhalese scientist was praised for all the GCE A/L A-grades he got with admission to read engineering and for choosing instead to read science. A Tamil academic from the same batch as his openly disagreed, All standardized A’s. The allusion was to Sinhalese being given the grade of A with much lower than the customary 75 marks while Tamils were required to get much more; more..

Emotional people and Emotional nations

Dec 28 (GV) There is no getting around it, we humans are emotional beings. Thereby, nations made up of humans will possess an emotional psyche which is reflected on how it is governed.  The issue is whether this psyche is aligned among most citizens or not. Diverse multicultural nations will have some dissonance, yet as a country like Canada shows with three dominant societies – the Francophone, the Anglophone and the Aboriginal people – First Nations, Inuit and Metis and more..

Effective option for youngsters

Dec 28 (CT) Despite free education up to the tertiary level, about 20% of those who pass GCE A/L exam give up higher studies. One of the options for them is the vocational training. Renowned educationist, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha shares his views regarding the importance of vocational training. Q: GCE O/L exam for 2016 has just concluded. About 20-25% of students who sit GCE O/L are not qualified to sit A/L exam. more..

Raviraj murder trial: Extremists won

Dec 28 (CT) Govt seems to be making rapid progress in losing its credibility with all communities. Last Friday night, High Court of Colombo acquitted five men, including three navy intelligence officers, charged with assassinating the TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj in 2006, after they were found not guilty. And of course, TNA's M.A. Sumanthiran, who represented Raviraj's family, immediately questioned the impartiality of the jury because most of the jury members were Sinhalese. more..

On committing (political) errors

Dec 28 (CT) For an entire decade after 1994, we were led by a govt that caved into minoritarianism, all in the name of reconciliation and multiculturalism of course, and a bunch of self-serving politicos who have caused more harm to this country's polity than anyone or anything else (barring the LTTE) could. I am talking here about those MPs and civil society representatives (isn't it funny that the latter, without as much as one per cent of the people's vote, were allowed to script state policy?) more..

Wimal Weerawansa

Why we should oppose criminally prosecuting Sri Lankan war criminals

Dec 28 (CT) It is without question that there should be an independent investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in SL by both the SL govt and the LTTE. However, to criminally prosecute those who committed war crimes in SL, based on the evidence from an independent investigation, would absolutely destroy the fabric of the society. If we genuinely wanted to prosecute those who committed war crimes, both Tamils & Sinhalese would vehemently oppose it. Why? more..

South Africa aim for the snake's head

Dec 28 (CI) Nevermind the card decks and the adult magazines, the modern change room's most interesting piece of equipment is the blackboard. It's where the team's secrets are revealed. Some of them may contain some element of strategy - a pitch map perhaps, with areas that need to be targeted for certain batsmen - others may have news clippings. Somewhere in between the serious stuff, someone would have drawn something silly and someone else would have marked their territory: so-and-so. more..

Lakmal, a day in the life

Dec 28 (CI) Ah well, this day couldn't really have started any better, could it? What a morning. What a place. In the fourth over, Nuwan Pradeep aiya gets Vernon Philander out with a bouncer. Perfect. Next over, I get a wicket and complete my first ever five-wicket haul. When we play at home, people keep saying my only job is to bowl until the ball is soft enough for Rangana Herath's little hands to hold. more..

Heading for turbulent times

Dec 28 (ST) Heard this week in the corridors of a Colombo brokerage: Machan, I hope the FCID will not come knocking at my door! It was said in jest over PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s order to the CID to probe the sale of a 7.5% stake in Seylan Bank by the Bank of Ceylon (BOC), a state bank. Jokes aside, PM’s intervention in the share market has shocked many in view of the govt’s laissez-faire policies. While the direction to the BOC board to cancel the transaction was bad enough, more..

Thahir designs airless motor tyre, world first

Dec 28 (DN) A Sri Lankan inventor, Lanka Inventions Chairman Thahir (Milhan) Mohamed has designed a tyre that does not inflate on air for motor vehicles, a first in the world. Thahir said that instead of air, a special variety of solid material is being used to produce this tyre. “This bio-degradable material is made similar to a jelly and is being inserted to the tyre instead of air.” This ensures that the tyre will be able to bear the shocks on the road similar to air. more..

Sumathipala cricket doctrine & great divide

Dec 28 (ST) Don’t you ever think, even for a wee fleeting moment that, and they lived happily ever after belonged only to fairy tales and grandmother’s bedside stories. Even today, some may live by that notion, and others, for years on end, strive to make that a reality. Finally, some do encounter that pot at the end of the rainbow, while for others it remains just a hair’s breadth away – forever. more..

Volleyball to be removed as National Sport

Dec 28 (ST) Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekera said he intends to change the National Sport of the country soon, following the Sunday Times exposure that Volleyball is not, officially, our National Sport. Volleyball was made the National Sport in 1992, by a 3-member Committee headed by Prof Vinnie Vitharana, under the guidance of then Sports Minister Nanda Matthew. Sri Lanka is also the first nation to select Volleyball as its National Sport. However, there is no legal document within more..

SLBA conducts Level 1 training course

Dec 28 (ST) SL Badminton Association conducted a Level I Coaching Training Course at the S. Thomas’ College Indoor Stadium, Bandarawela from December 12 to 14 which was attended by participants from Badulla, Bandarawela, Ampara, Colombo and Gampaha districts. Training Course was conducted by Mahesha Ekanayake – a World Badminton Federation certified coach, a professional coach and a Sports Ministry certified Fitness Instructor with nearly two decades of more..

South Africa surge ahead on seamers' day

Dec 28 (CI) Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott led South Africa's fightback after they were bowled out for 286 early on day two, giving SL no respite as they went to stumps seven down for 181. Dhananjaya was batting on 43 when bad light brought play to an early close, playing some sparkling strokes through the on side and profiting from an ageing ball that wasn't moving nearly as much as it had done all the way up to tea. more..

CB orders curbs on Perpetual Treasuries

Dec 28 (ST) Central Bank (CB) has curtailed primary dealer, Perpetual Treasuries Ltd from trading in the capital market and declaring company dividends, following the company’s controversial deals in bond trading last year, informed sources said. Earlier the CB had said that it would take action against Perpetual Treasuries but unspecified this at a recent media conference. The company continues to be listed as a primary market dealer in the most recent call for bids by the CB more..

Susanthika hospitalized

Dec 28 (ENS) Sri Lanka’s lone female Olympic medalist, Susanthika Jayasinghe, was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Diyatalawa Hospital, in the country’s central highlands on Tuesday following an undiagnosed illness. Hospital sources told the media that Jayasinghe, who is known as a 100 meters Sprint Queen, had been suffering from fever and was admitted to hospital with the flu. Some local media reports said that she had been suffering from dengue. more..

Drop in tourist arrivals in Q1 2017

Dec 28 (ST) The airport closure is set to steer a drop in visitors to the island in first quarter 2017 just as Sri Lanka Tourism is gearing for a promotional drive and is drawing up new rules of how public private partnerships could work in future. “Already we have recorded a drop in booking,” City Hoteliers Association President M. Shanthikumar said adding that a drop was expected by about 8-10% during the 3 months when more..

'We gave away some easy wickets'

Dec 28 (CI) Although Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis were all dismissed playing expansive strokes against the new ball, Dinesh Chandimal said there had not been a concerted plan to be aggressive - it just happened that way. The first three dismissals, in particular, caused consternation, after Sri Lanka began their innings what was still a seam-friendly Port Elizabeth pitch. In pursuit of South Africa's 286, Sri Lanka soon slipped to 22 for 3. more..

Mine Ban Treaty (MBT): SL yet to decide

Dec 28 (DM) Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said today the Defense Ministry was yet to give the green light to go ahead with the signing of the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) also known as the Ottawa Convention. “There is a cabinet paper on this matter but the defense ministry has still not given the go ahead,” he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Hettiarachchi has told PTI that Sri Lanka would sign the treaty after alternate arrangements were in place to secure the military camps. more..

Mobile mammography services for free

Dec 28 (DN) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said mobile mammography services would be provided free of charge under Indira Jayasuriya Cancer Care Project. He said this attending the inauguration ceremony of Cancer Care Hotline Service initiated in memory with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s daughter Indira Jayasuriya, who passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. It had been launched yesterday more..

Conversions, sycophancy and custom in Ceylon names

Dec 28 (Island) I am no scholar or researcher— just a common reader with an abiding interest in our history and culture. This article may, perhaps, provoke informed criticism, which I welcome. The variety of family and personal names in our homeland has always fascinated me. Sinhala kings of ancient times were known by simple names such as Gamini, Abhaya and Tissa with prefixes indicating status or virtues such as Jetta [eldest], Saddha [Pious], Maha [great]. more..

Project Management and Monitoring IT System from ADB

Dec 28 (DN) A Project Management and Monitoring IT System for project management by Asian Development Bank (ADB) was launched in Colombo last Monday at Hotel Galadari Colombo. The system was developed and tailor made to Sri Lanka for project management purposes specially to monitor project progress with the assistance under the Technical Assistance Program (TA-8562 SRI) for “Capacity Development for Project Implementation for the Government of Sri Lanka” by ADB. more..

Manpower employees demand SLT recruitments

Dec 28 (DN) Manpower employees attached to Human Capital Solutions (HCS) said all 2,100 employees at HCS should be recruited to Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and added they will continue to protest if their demands were not met. While a press conference of SLT trade unions was taking place at the SLFI yesterday, the man power employees of HCS unexpectedly attended the conference to express their objections. more..

Hayleys eyes 55-floor Twin Tower development project

Dec 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s diversified Hayleys has approved in principle a property development project in Colombo for commercial office space. The venture would see the construction of A Grade Twin Towers, with 55 floors each, having a total floor area of 3.8 million square feet of space. Board of Directors of Hayleys said development project will be carried out at the premises situated at No. 400, Deans Road, Colombo 10. The proposed new venture would be carried out via a newly more..

Some state hospitals facing danger of closure: GMOA

Dec 28 (DN) Some state hospitals in the country are facing the danger of closing down due to non implementation of doctors’ transfers as directed by the Public Service Commission and the Health Ministry Secretary, GMOA Secretary Dr. Navin De Zoysa said. Issuing a special statement to the media yesterday, Dr. Zoysa said hospital directors of some state hospitals ignore and overlook the directives issued to them by the Public Service Commission and the Health Ministry Secretary. more..

'Muslims not discriminated against in Northern Province'

Dec 28 (ENS) Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has refuted an allegation made by Muslim leaders, that his administration is discriminating against the Muslims in the matter of post-war resettlement. Wigneswaran said that among the 4307 families which had obtained lands between 2013 and 2016, 73.02% were Muslim, 25.66% were Tamil and 1.32% were Sinhalese. more..

AH1N1 claims first life in Sri Lanka

Dec 28 (DN) The first death caused by the AH1N1 virus in recent times was reported from Polonnaruwa on Dec 26 afternoon, hospital director Dr. Indika Sampath Kumara said. The victim was identified as D.G. Kanchana, 20, a mother of one from Aluthwewa, Polonnaruwa New Town. She had contracted the disease at child birth and was being treated at the hospital ICU. Although President Sirisena dispatched a team of specialist doctors and equipment by air from Karapitiya Hospital to more..

Funeral of former PM under state patronage

Dec 28 (DN) The funeral of former PM Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka is to be held on December 31 under full state patronage on the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena, a release issued by the Presidential Secretariat stated yesterday. President Sirisena on hearing the death of the former Prime Minister issued instructions to the officials to hold the funeral with full state patronage. The former Prime Minister was a senior advisor to President Sirisena. more..

Video: Bandula slams PM for intervening in share transactions

Dec 28 (AD) Joint Opposition today claimed that the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has collapsed to such an extent that it is even unable to pay employees’ wages. Brokerage firms are continuing to close down their offices located in rural areas, UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena said. He said that latest reason for the stock exchange facing such a crisis for the first time in its history is due to PM intervening more..

Minister Bathiudeen's brother questioned over illegal land grabs

Dec 28 (Island) CID has launched an investigation into an incident where the brother of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen allegedly acquired 600 acres of land in Mannar recently. Police interrogated the Minister’s brother over the incident on the Christmas eve. According to the CID, the suspect has acquired the lands by promising to pay their owners, but so far he has not honoured his promise. The police said they had acted on a complaint and a few more persons would have to be questioned. more..

SLT manpower employees’ issue should go to Cabinet: Harin

Dec 28 (DN) The issue pertaining to the recruitment of manpower employees to the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) is a discussion that has to be taken to the Cabinet to decide on mechanisms to proceed further, Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando said. He said it is up to the labour ministry and the govt to make the final decision. “Human Capital Solutions (HCS) was formed by the former govt. It is a subsidiary of SLT. SLT permanent cadre is around 4,500. more..

President’s bro flays minister for rice shortage

Dec 28 (CT) Head of Araliya Rice Company, Dudley Sirisena, said that the main reason for the increase in the price of rice is because Minister P. Harrison is not releasing the stocks of paddy, in the possession of the govt, in a proper manner. He said that the price of rice has increased considerably due to an incorrect method that is being followed in order to earn profit privately and the person responsible for this situation is more..

Set up quality control labs; manufacture drugs locally

Dec 28 (DM) One of the national govt’s important promises was to introduce legislation and effectively implement the laws to make healthcare, mainly medicinal drugs available to all people at affordable prices. Within months of its election on January 8 last year, the govt did introduce comprehensive legislation for the implementation of Prof. Senaka Bibile’s widely acclaimed healthcare and essential medicinal drugs policy. The legislation was unanimously approved. more..