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Some reflections at the end of the year!

Dec 28 (DM) As the year 2016 comes to a close, it would be useful to reflect on a few things, perhaps good things; that would be important since we Sri Lankans have a penchant for whining about almost everything. Also, if we are to have an idea as to how we faired during this year, we will have to compare ourselves with rest of the world, and not with some imagined utopia. World however is not a perfect place; it never was, & will never be, since if nothing else idea of perfection itself is subjective. more..

Do or die battle looms at Uma Oya

Dec 28 (SL) Plans are underway to stage a massive protest against the much debated Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project. A number of villagers would join hands on Thursday, as a mark of solidarity against the ongoing project. Villagers in Bandarawela said that despite their hue and cry, the authorities were not taking any action to avert their short falls especially when it comes to agricultural crops being badly affected more..

'Will create a govt above the govt'

Dec 28 (ST) The Development (Special Provisions) Bill Will create a govt above the govt Chairman of SL Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris spoke to Daily Mirror on the provisions of the Bill. He says it contains provisions even overriding the powers of the President and Parliament. Q: The govt is maintaining in their statements during the last few days that the Development (Special Provisions) Bill does not contain anything alarming. more..

'Nothing to fear about H’tota Industrial Zone'

Dec 28 (DN) People in Hambantota should not entertain any fears about the Industrial Zone set up there with Chinese investments because the lands have only been given on a 99-year-lease and not for outright ownership, Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. “During the period of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency plans were afoot to vest these lands on the Chinese govt on a permanent basis. more..

'Provincial Governors with more powers needed to protect unitary status'

Dec 28 (DM) In the wake of proposals for the reduction of powers of provincial governors in the new Constitution, Southern Province Governor Hemakumara Nanayakkara spoke out against the move. He says a Governor should have more powers to protect the unitary status and to prevent the country sliding towards secession. Q: How do you analyse the role of provincial governors in the present context? more..

Municipalities dodge public bullets in the fog of dengue war

Dec 28 (ST) Scheduled home visits by municipal council workers to help destroy breeding sites of the deadly dengue  mosquito are unheard of, several residents of high-risk areas Dehiwala and Mount Lavinia, complain. Municipal council officials, however, shift the responsibility by accusing residents of not allowing workers into premises to spray insecticide and clean drains where water is believed to stagnate. more..

Sri Lanka warned to brace for worst drought disaster in four decades

Dec 28 (EN) Minister Anura Yapa said the govt was gearing up to deal with drought relief including food and water but early conservation efforts could help mitigate the coming crisis. Sri Lanka may need to bring down bowsers (road water tankers) to distribute water if the crisis got worse. "In the past the maximum bowsers we could hire was about 270," Minister said. "We may need to appeal for bowsers if water problems get really bad." more..

SLFP has reservations for referendum on new Constitution: SB

Dec 28 (DN) The SLFP has reservations about going for a referendum on the new Constitution, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said the pre-election promise of President Sirisena was to prune down the presidential powers in a way that does not require a referendum. “We did so in the 19th Amendment also respecting Supreme Court order with regard to the same. Even in the future, SLFP will have to think not only once more..

'Development Bill, disregarding President'

Dec 28 (DN) The Attempt by a Super Minister to bring in the Development (Special provision) Bill, does not take the President into account, said NFF Spokesman Mohammed Muzammil. He pointed out that the govt is trying to override all other authorities by enacting the Development (Special provision) Bill. “With this Bill, PM is trying to give land belonging to this country to multinational organisations, to privatise more..

Helicopter hire soared as their fun soared!

Dec 28 (DM) A grand ceremony followed by a tournament was held in the cool climes of the central hills on the eve of the holiday season.  A purohita, an artiste to boot and a lovely young star from the neighbouring country were the chief guests. The organizers had hired a helicopter, at a high cost, for the chief guest duo to travel comfortably to the venue of the function and back to Colombo. more..

East Terminal tender faces rough weather

Dec 28 (FT) The contract to build the East Container Terminal (ECT) is facing rough weather, forcing analysts to allege authorities have placed additional conditions after bids had closed, apparently to steer the project to a favoured party, eliminating top operators. Though bids closed for the latest deep water terminal in Colombo port on 20 Sept, the delay in the project being finalised and imposition of new preconditions has fuelled more..

Hard times

Dec 28 (CT) New Year is just four days away. And, if the VAT hike and Central Bank's Bond scandal took centre stage in the old year, the new year is likely to be dominated by a falling rupee and what conclusions the UN would arrive at, when they are alleged to discuss the SL question once more at their human rights sessions in Geneva in March. Therefore, the New Year may be a tougher year than the old year. The negative performance of the rupee, a hackneyed reason for this, which, more..

Debris recovered from Batticaloa seas not part of an aircraft: Expert

Dec 28 (Island) Navy has sought the assistance of the Air Force to identify an object believed to be part of an aircraft, recovered off Kaluthawalai, Batticaloa. The navy recovered it after fishermen engaged in deep sea fishing spotted it about 20 nautical miles north off Pasikkudah seas on Monday. Subsequently, it was taken to Trincomalee navy base last Friday and handed over to the Air Force. Air Force headquarters confirmed that it was certainly of foreign origin. more..

අනේ අපේ කැලණි ගඟ.....?

Three SSPs file FR applications claiming denial of promotions

Dec 28 (Island) Three Senior Superintendents of Police have complained to the Supreme Court in a fundamental rights violation petition, that they have been unduly denied their right to be promoted to the rank of DIG. They have requested the SC to direct National Police Commission and Minister of Law and Order to grant their due promotions on the grounds of being politically victimised from 1994 to 2014. They want their promotion to the rank of DIG, effective from Jan 10, 2016. more..

Development (Special Provisions) draft bill defeated in NWPC

Dec 28 (AD) Development (Special Provisions) draft bill has been defeated in North Western Provincial Council with a majority of 20 votes.  31 councillors voted against the draft bill while only 11 votes were cast in favour. Draft bill has also been defeated by the Uva, North Central, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern PCs while the Northern Provincial Council unanimously decided not to support it.  Minister Malik Samarawickrama had previously announced that bill will be presented in Parliament more..

CPC rejects Dev. Special Provisions Bill

Dec 28 (NR) Members of Central Provincial council have defeated the Development Special Provisions Draft Bill that was submitted this morning. 32 councillors voted against the Bill. All UNP councillors abstained from voting. Yesterday, the draft bill was defeated in the Southern and Sabaragamuwa PCs. Bill has been also been defeated already in the Uva, and North-Central provinces while the Northern Provincial more..

FEB at BIA closed until further notice

Dec 28 (DM) Foreign Employment registration counter of the Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) which was at the Bandaranaike Int'l Airport (BIA) would be closed until further notice from January 1 due to renovation. The media Secretary to the FEB Nalin Rajapaksa said the people can do their registrations from the head office or provincial offices. He also requested the people who wish to go abroad for foreign employment to come to the airport after completing their registrations. more..

Cancer becoming killer No. 1

Dec 28 (CT) Cancer will soon become the most threatening Non Communicable Disease (NCD) affecting Sri Lankans, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne says. Addressing the function at the launch of the hotline to support cancer patients, he said heart disease was at the top of NCDs in Sri Lanka with cancer set to surpass it very soon. Senaratne noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) in Sri Lanka has said that nearly 70% of deaths in Sri Lanka was caused by NCDs. more..

Govt attempting to postpone LG polls: JO

Dec 28 (DM) Govt is attempting to postpone the Local Govt election by diverting the delimitation committee report to political parties, joint opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma said. He said that the five member committee headed by Asoka Peiris would maintain their position and make not changes to the report. “There is no need to divert the report to political parties,” he said. The five-member delimitation committee more..

Johnston’s son removed from NWPC Chief Govt. Whip post

Dec 28 (DM) Councilor and Chief Govt Whip of North Western Provincial Council Johann Fernando, son of former minister Johnston Fernando, has been removed from his post by the cabinet of the Council yesterday. He was removed from his post after he failed to attend the 2017 budget debate. The Councilor had not been present for all four days of the budget. North Western Province Chief Minister Dharmasiri Dassanayake said President Sirisena had been informed of the decision. more..

SLFP Ministers, President mere rubber stamps in Cabinet: GL

Dec 28 (Island) SLFP ministers who had kept quiet when the Cabinet approved the Development (Special Provisions) Bill were now opposing it after Joint Opposition (JO) had revealed its dangers, former Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said. Addressing JO Economic Research Unit’s weekly press briefing, he said SLFP ministers may have been aware of ill effects of what they approved at the Cabinet meeting in question, but they were helpless before their domineering UNP counterparts. more..

No National Day of Mourning for late premier

Dec 28 (DM) Home Affairs Ministry today confirmed that the govt will not declare Dec 30 as a national day of mourning for former PM Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. Govt previously declared Dec 31 and then Dec 30, as a national day of mourning as a mark of respect for the late premier who passed away yesterday at a private hospital in Colombo. Ministry spokesman said that plans were underway to present a cabinet paper declaring more..

Video: Wimal Weerawansa at the FCID

Dec 28 (AD) UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa has arrived at the FCID to record a statement over misuse of state vehicles. MP arrived at the FCID around 9.15 this morning. He was summoned over discrepancies reported at the State Engineering Cooperation during his term as Minister of Housing and Common Amenities. On the 16th of this month, the Colombo Magistrates’ Court ordered MP Wimal Weerawansa to appear before the FCID on the 28th and 29th of December to record a statement. more..

Gnanasara tells Prez where the problem lies

Dec 28 (CT) This person Gnanasara (with my highest regard to those sincere and respectable monks) is incredible. How on earth, I wonder can a person in robe who everyday takes the pledge of pancha sila (the five virtues) and who also administers it to the laymen, utter blatant lies. Fourth of the five virtues states: Musâvâdâ veramaṇî, sikkhâ-padaṃ samâdiyâmi. I undertake to observe the precept to abstain from false speech (lying). The Christian commandment is Thou shalt not lie. more..

Patrol bike issued to escort bride and groom

Dec 28 (DM) Heads of the Police Traffic Headquarters are baffled by the act of a junior officer who had permitted a powerful highway patrol motorcycle (worth Rs.3.5 million) to be used to escort a wedding car in Modera last week. Chief Inspector at the Traffic Police Headquarters had given permission to send a 600 cc Yamaha motorcycle -- which according to an order given by IGP Pujith Jayasundara should be solely more..

Call for legal action against Upcountry Development Authority ex-chairman

Dec 28 (DN) Senior State Counsel Chaminda Athukorale making submissions before the PRECIFAC requested the commission to consider recommending to the President to institute legal action against the former chairman of the Upcountry Development Authority Amarananda Bandara Weerasinghe for alleged abuse of state resources amounting to nearly Rs. 3 million on the election propaganda of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. more..

Video: 25 arrested for unlawful assembly granted bail

Dec 28 (AD) 25 persons including 2 Provincial Council members, who were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly, have been released on bail by the Negombo Magistrate’s Court.  Negombo Chief Magistrate ordered each suspect released on a cash bail of Rs 10,000 and two personal bails of Rs 100,000 each. UPFA WPC members Lalantha Gunasekara and Ananda Harishchandra were among a group of three-wheeler drivers and bus drivers arrested engaging in a protest more..

Sri Lankan delegation to leave for India for fisher talks

Dec 28 (NR) A Sri Lankan delegation headed by Secretary to the Ministry of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development will leave for India tomorrow to hold a discussion pertaining to the longstanding fishermen issue between the two countries. Fisheries Ministry said the main goal of the talks is to arrive at a permanent solution to the issue. The First stage of the discussion pertaining to the fisherman issue took place in Nov more..

US threat on UN, a further waning of US influence: Kohona

Dec 28 (DM) Former chief of the UN treaty section and a former permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Palitha Kohona said that the US threatening the UN with financial sanctions would only result in the further waning of US influence in the UN and globally. “To threaten the UN with financial sanctions would only result in the further waning of US influence in the UN and globally. All countries, especially countries like the US, must continue to work together more..

Female caller who claimed bomb in train missing

Dec 28 (Island) An anonymous female caller who gave a call to police claiming that there was a bomb in the Badulla bound night mail train from Colombo on Boxing Day had disappeared, the police said. According to police, the caller had said that she heard someone who descended from the train saying to another that the job was done and it will explode once the train starts moving. Due to the anonymous call the mail train was delayed by two hours, railway authorities said. more..

Sri Lanka to better target subsidies

Dec 28 (EN) Sri Lanka will set up a Welfare Benefits Board to manage and select beneficiaries of subsidies, which is expected to allow the state to better monitor and ensure that most needy receive them. The project will allow the govt to develop a single registry of citizens with information on family structure and economic characteristics, the World Bank which is giving a US$ 75 million credit for the program said. more..

President’s condolence message over the demise of the former PM

Dec 28 (PMD) I was deeply saddened to learn about the demise of Hon. Rathnasiri Wickramanayake who was a former PM and a former General Secretary of the SLFP. He was a veteran politician who represented the rural masses. Wickramanayake was a politician who expressed his views in a forthright manner. He entered active politics from the MEP and was elected to the Parliament in 1960. Later he joined the SLFP and moved forward on a successful political journey to the position of PM, more..

CAA declines request for milk powder price increase

Dec 28 (NR) The Consumer Affairs Authority has declined a request made by several milk-powder importers to increase the market price. The CAA issuing a statement said the importers have made a request to increase the prices for milk-powder by between 100 and 117 rupees per kilo gram. Furthermore a request has been made to increase 400 gram pack by between 40 to 46 rupees. However, milk power and other essential goods received tax exemption through 2017 Budget. more..

64% of professionals are women

Dec 28 (CT) Though Sri Lanka has a poor women's labour force participation rate (LFPR), women comprised a massive 63.65% of all professionals, and men, a miserly 36.35%, Census and Statistics Department's 2Q 2016 Labour Survey report showed. Nonetheless, as at end 2015, this number for women was still higher, with 65.8% of all employed professionals in Sri Lanka comprised of women. more..

No room to divide the country again: Mano

Dec 28 (CG) Minister Mano Ganesan says there is no room for anyone to divide the country once again. Ganesan said that some members of the joint opposition are claiming there is an attempt to divide the country. However he says it is clear the country cannot be divided again and this will not happen even through the new Constitution which is currently being discussed. “The discussions (on the new Constitution) are taking place in a democratic manner,” he said. more..

Man who posed as PHI officer and took bribes nabbed

Dec 28 (DN) A man who posed as a Public Health Inspector (PHI) and took bribes from restaurateurs was arrested in Nuwara Eliya yesterday (27). The suspect, a resident of Bogawana Estate in Bogawantalawa had ‘raided’ several restaurants under the pretext of being a PHI officer inspecting them. He had then taken bribes from the restaurateurs promising to conceal the fact of their unhygienic conditions and promising to save them from legal action. more..

Radical changes in 2017: Lakshman Yapa

Dec 28 (NR) State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena says Sri Lanka can expect radical changes in the political and economical sphere. He said several special projects will be initiated from January next year. State Minister said President Maithripala Sirisena will spearhead the projects that will be focused on the rural economy. He said radical changes can be expected in the political and economical spheres in 2017. more..

Different standards for terrorism & asylum

Dec 29 (CT) Adele Anne Balasingham nee Wilby, the Australian born spouse of LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham is probably the last of the senior Tiger leaders to be alive today. Her role as Head of LTTE Child Soldier Recruitment is no secret. She was involved in the indoctrination of teenage Tamil girls. Yet today, she lives comfortably in UK with no threat of prosecution for her role in brain washing and training child soldiers. Taking out Adele Balasingham, using methods such as more..

Editorial: Saffron bombshell

Dec 29 (Island) JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe has dropped a bombshell. He has gone on record as saying that some govt politicians received as much as USD 100 mn in kickbacks from the Hambantota Port deal. He says his party will make a formal complaint to the CIABOC. The JHU, weeks before the last general election, broke ranks with the Rajapaksa govt, which it condemned as a corrupt regime, and joined forces with the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition, promising to usher more..