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Video: IGP gives emotional speech

Dec 29 (DM) Making a very emotional speech, the IGP Pujitha Jayasundara called on all policemen to try and win the hearts of the people at all costs, though they were being severely criticised by the latter. Almost with tears in his eyes, the Police Chief said, "Nowadays, the police are badly needed. There is an increase in the criticism of the police and that means there is a need for the police." He made these emotional remarks at more..

Govt goes for $ 1 b foreign currency term financing facility

Dec 29 (FT) The Govt announced a maximum of $ 1 billion Foreign Currency Term Financing Facility (ETFF) to meet import expenses of development projects specified in the 2017 Budget. The facility is expected to be raised at a fixed or floating rate linked to the $ 6 month LIBOR with a maturity period of three years or more.  The Request for Proposals from local and international banks and investment houses was issued by PM’s Ministry more..

Ads for prefabricated houses but opposition continues

Dec 29 (ST) Resettlement Ministry has called for applications from the public via newspaper Ads for its ArcelorMittal prefabricated houses, amidst continued grassroots opposition to the project. Kilinochchi District Coordination Committee (DCC) passed a unanimous resolution stating that no prefabricated houses should be given to the people of the district. Earlier, Jaffna DCC had approved a similar resolution. more..

Devlopment Bill should have been discussed with Chief Ministers

Dec 29 (DM) State Minister of Finance, Laklshman Yapa Abeywarda today blamed the UNP for not discussing the Development (Special Provisions) Bill with the nine chief ministers and said the Bill would be redrafted and presented to the Provincial Councils before tabling it in Parliament. He told journalists that the govt should have updated the chief ministers and obtained their views before presenting the Bill to the PCs. more..

Muzammil to assume duties as Sri Lankan envoy to Malaysia

Dec 29 (AD) Former Mayor of Colombo A.J.M. Muzammil is slated to assumed duties as Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to Malaysia. He will officially take office in the position from Feb 2, 2017. Muzammil will take over the reins from current High Commissioner, Ibrahim Ansar. Ansar’s name had been in the spotlight recent as he was assaulted by a group of people at Kuala Lumpur Int'l Airport on Sept 5. more..

SLFP to push for action against Bond issue

Dec 29 (FT) The SLFP yesterday claimed that the party would ensure a Parliamentary debate would be held on the controversial Bond issue in the New Year, insisting that President Sirisena be allowed more time to act on the matter. “This is priority number one in our party. We will not abandon the complaint made by the General Secretary of the Party. It is also a main issue in this country, we should discuss this,” more..

Criminal justice commission

Dec 29 (CT) COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti's call for a politically independent Criminal Justice Commission to be set up to exclusively hear the Central Bank Bond Scam would on the surface seem to be a desperate cry for transparency in the administration of justice, an issue that has been at the core of this govt being voted into power by admirably reformist elements in civil society, an issue that featured high on the reformist agenda of the forces which voted this govt into power. more..

One belt and one road initiative of China & Its implications in Sri Lanka

Dec 29 (CT) One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative has become the centerpiece of China’s economic diplomacy in the recent years. The essence of OBOR is to promote regional and cross-continental connectivity between China and other developing countries. The One Belt and One Road refer to China’s proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road. Connectivity covers five major areas of interest: Policy coordination, infrastructure construction more..

Yahapalanaya gone wrong

Ratnasiri family declines days of mourning

Dec 29 (Island) Home Affairs Ministry announced that there would be no days of national mourning on Dec 30 and 31 on the account of the demise of former PM Ratnasiri Wickremanayake as announced by the govt earlier. The decision to declare a day of national mourning had been changed following a request made by the family members of the former PM, ministry said. Family members have requested govt not to declare the last two days of the year as a period of mourning more..

UNP snubs Wijayakala's statement

Dec 29 (DM) UNP cannot agree with the statement made by its MP Wijayakala Maheswarwan on the late LTTE leader Prabahakaran, one of its MPs said. Ms Maheshwaran recently said LTTE leader Prabahakaran could have been the PM of this country had he been alive today. UNP MP Hector Appuharmy said that his party could not agree with the statement made by Ms Maheshwaran. “We condemn this statement,” he said while recalling that LTTE was accused of causing destruction more..

'Prez has no hand in PCs defeating Super Ministry Bill'

Dec 29 (Island) President of the National Youth Front (NYF) of the SLFP Shantha Bandara claimed that President Sirisena had not directed any Provincial Council to defeat the Development (Special Provisions) Bill, popularly known as the Super Ministry Bill. The Bill, gazetted in late November, envisages the creation of regional bodies for purposes of co-ordinating development by creating a one-stop access for investors to more..

Sri Lanka's rupee peg crawls down in flexible exchange rate

Dec 29 (EN) SL's unstable peg with the US dollar has started to crawl down amid claims that a weaker rupee will help exports powered by currency depreciating driving down factory wages, as excess liquidity also pressured the rupee. Semi-official reference rate for the spot US dollar was brought down to 149.80 from 149.50 last Tuesday. In money markets excess liquidity shot up There is no trading in the spot market and one week dollars were quoted 150.05/15 during early trading Thur. more..

Video: Lottery sellers refuse to sell tickets if price increased to Rs.30

Dec 29 (DM) The lotteries ticket dealers said they would stop selling lottery tickets from January 1 if the government does not withdraw its proposal to increase the price of a ticket to Rs.30, the All Island Lottery Dealers Society (AILDS) said today. AILDS Chairperson Krishantha Marambage said President Maithripala Sirisena should have intervened to resolve this matter because the increase in the price of a ticket would create a huge loss in the lottery ticket industry. more..

Cheap drugs vanish from market with price controls

Dec 29 (Island) Low price pharmaceuticals were no longer available in the market following a government intervention to reduce drug prices, health sources said. Citing an example, a senior psychiatrist said that Imipramine a drug used to treat patients suffering from depression has not been available in the market for two months. He said the antidepressant drug which was also on the list of essential drugs, but patients now had to more..

NCP Ambulance Drivers call off strike action

Dec 29 (NR) North Central Province (NCP) Health Service Ambulance and Transport Drivers Association says it has ended its strike action after 9 days. Chairman of the association Wasantha Kumara said the strike was called off after Minister Rajitha Senarathne assured solutions would be provided to the issues faced by Health service officials in the NCP. A strike was launched on Dec 21 in opposition of the decision to recruit Health service drivers to Provincial Ministry. more..

Battle moving to the Fourth Estate

Dec 29 (DM) Some billionaires with vested interests in the country are seeking to launch media institutions mainly to achieve their political objectives. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that; this is a free country, one would say. There was much speculation in the recent past about a move afoot to launch a new media network. The latest story doing rounds in business circles says there is still another billionaire all set to enter the media sector. This billionaire, businessman sibling of a powerful more..

Moragahakanda project suspended: 1200 workers sent home

Dec 29 (CT) The Moragahakanda – Kaluganga-Mahaweli Project Sub-Contractor China Power Co. Ltd has temporarily suspended with effect from yesterday 1200 SL and Chinese workers who were employed on the Kaluganga Project. This includes 600 Sri Lankans and more than 600 Chinese nationals who have been intermittently laid off work. With effect from yesterday services of 150 drivers and mechanics were suspended. more..

GL dismisses Sumanthiran comment as racist utterance

Dec 29 (Island) Former UPFA External Affairs Minister and Joint Opposition member Prof G.L. Pieris yesterday dismissed as a racist utterance, a statement made by TNA MP M. Sumanthiran that the accused in the Raviraj murder case had been freed because the jury were all Sinhalese. Prof. Pieris, addressing a news conference at the Dr. N.M.Perera Centre at Borella, accused Sumanthiran of sowing seeds of hatred instead of promoting reconciliation. more..

Susanthika airlifted to Colombo

Dec 29 (DM) Olympic Silver Medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe who was admitted to the Diyatalawa Hospital on Tuesday after she suddenly fell ill, was airlifted to the National Hospital in Colombo today. She was admitted to the Diyatalawa Hospital with an attack of dengue and was later transferred to the ICU of the Hospital. Susanthika was airlifted to Colombo in a Sri Lanka Air Force commercial flight, after the Sports Ministry offered to pay the air fare. Mrs. Jayasinghe was recovering from fever. more..

Mangala pays glowing tribute to S.P. Tao

Dec 29 (Island) Minister Mangala Samaraweera recollected much needed investments made by S.P. Tao at the height of the war. Minister expressed his gratitude to Tao, Chairman of Overseas Reality, calling him a visionary entrepreneur and a philanthropist with extensive worldwide business experience. Tao had made invaluable contributions to economy over many decades of association with Sri Lanka. more..

Legal action against 939

Dec 29 (NR) Ministry of Health has decided bring amendments to the Prevention of Mosquito Breeding Act. Ministry said it has decided table amendments following a rapid increase in dengue related deaths. Ministry has also taken legal action against 939 persons for maintaining dengue breeding grounds. Meanwhile Health Ministry has inspected 112,238 places so for this year. A public awareness programme will be launched in line with the island wide dengue eradication programme more..

Video: WPC defeats Development draft bill

Dec 29 (AD) The Development (Special Provisions) draft bill has been defeated in the Western Provincial Council with a majority of 24 votes.  A total of 52 provincial councilors voted against the bill and 28 voted in favour while 5 abstained.  The draft bill has also been defeated by the North Western, Uva, North Central, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern Provincial Councils while the Northern Provincial Council unanimously decided not to support it. more..

Development Bil: JHU says must bring in Bill with required amendments

Dec 29 (DM) The JHU said today that the Development (Special Provisions) Bill should be brought in with necessary amendments despite petty political gains as it was crucial to establish a powerful institute in encouraging and retaining foreign investors in the country. JHU national organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said they did not reject the Bill and added that there was no debate on the requirement of such a bill. more..

NP Fishermen Union to take stern action if demands not met

Dec 29 (DN) Northern Province Fishermen Union representatives said they will resort to stern action against the govt if any changes are made to their demands under the Indian govt's influence. The Jaffna Fishermen Union representatives said the scheduled dates of the ministerial level talks between India and Sri Lanka to iron out the fishermen's long standing issues were changed from Dec 2 to today (29) and tomorrow (30). The venue also was changed to Delhi. more..

FCID questions Weerawansa for 2nd consecutive day

Dec 29 (NR) The FCID questioned UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa for the second consecutive day today. MP Weerawansa arrived at the FCID at around 10 this morning and was questioning over discrepancies reported at the State Engineering Cooperation during his term as Minister of Housing and Common Amenities. Former Minister Weerawansa was also questioned for 5 hours yesterday. The MP was summoned to record a statement following a court order. more..

Video: Farmers & small scale mill owners raid Paddy Marketing Board

Dec 29 (LT) All paddy stores in the island would be surrounded and lorries of all large scale rice mill owners that arrive to buy paddy at reduced prices would be turned back from tomorrow says the National Organizer of All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Namal Karunaratna and he called upon the farmer community, consumers and small and medium scale rice mill owners to join the movement. He said this when representatives of more..

UNP says committed to rebuild the country

Dec 29 (NR) UNP says the party is focused on developing the country while establishing lasting peace in country. MP Kavinda Jayewardene said the party is focused on developing the country, jobs creation, to bring about religious coexistence and to save the country from the large debt burden. Responding to allegations of the party’s attempts to destabilize the SLFP, MP rejected the allegation saying the UNP is focused on rebuilding the nation while ensuring the rights of all people more..

Nalin B. unhappy with SLFP councillors

Dec 29 (NR) UNP MP Nalin Bandara says President Maithripala Sirisena should pay close attention to the actions of certain provincial councillors attached to the SLFP. Speaking during a media briefing MP says certain individuals are attempting destabilise the country. Commenting on several provincial councils defeating the Development Special Provisions Bill, MP Bandara said persons working with the opposition parties are attempting to topple the present administration. more..

Development Provisions Bill will be resubmitted: Rajitha

Dec 29 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says measures will be taken to discuss and present the Development Special Provisions Draft Bill with amendments once again. He said the bill has been compiled without any knowledge of the law. Minister said the draft bill has to be discussed at length with the Chief Ministers before its formulation. He said such bills are essential in order to convert Sri Lanka into an investment-friendly country. more..

A livelihood development plan for unemployed youth in Jaffna

Dec 29 (GDI) Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera said that a considerable number of unemployed youth are there  in Jaffna district and the Ministry has planned to execute a programme to direct such youth to venture into aquaculture.  He mentioned these facts at a discussion held recently regarding the fisheries development in the Jaffna district. Ministry has decided to deliver land allotments of ½ acre from the vacant and undeveloped land blocks in lagoons areas more..

ADB loan for green power development & energy efficiency improvement

Dec 29 (AD) ADB Provides loan assistance of USD 150 million for the implementation of Green Power Development and Energy Efficiency Improvement Investment Program. Program will support the Govt’s objective of enhancing clean power generation, system efficiency and reliability. Total investment cost of this program is USD 440 million of which USD 300 million will be provided by ADB under Multi–tranche Financing Facility (MFF). This program consists of two tranches. more..

Rajapaksa’s theory on India’s silence over successor regime’s tilt towards China

Dec 29 (ENS) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that India is silent over the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt’s unmistakable tilt towards China probably because it has been promised control over Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai harbors and the Palaly airport in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern provinces to balance China’s control over Hambantota harbor. At a meeting with foreign correspondents, more..

New constitution & Contestation of North East merger

Dec 30 (CT) Universities are a place of intellectual discourse and debates on thoughts and findings. It fosters an environment of critical thinking and skills necessary to build a profound understanding of the discipline and the existing thoughts. It also serves as a touchstone of the community to spur them to engage in crucial issues relevant to the community. As such, a group of academics gathered at a place in our University-South Eastern University of SL yesterday and engaged in a discourse on more..

Article 16(1): Repeal it or continue to render Muslim women & girls as unequal citizens

Dec 30 (CT) In November, we completed Unequal Citizens: Muslim women’s struggle for justice and equality in Sri Lanka – a one-year study that sought answers as to why the reforms to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) was many decades overdue. In light of the constitutional reforms process, the study also led to the inquiry about whether or not as a result of our religious affiliation and gender – we and our sisters in faith were equal before the law, as others. more..

Laughing, carefree tourists, fall prey to touts, perverts : Is Sigiriya losing its serenity?

Dec 30 (SO) During a recent visit to one of the magnificent monuments in SL - the Sigiriya Rock fortress I was ashamed to see what unfolded right in front of my eyes – the shameful conduct of touts and perverts harassing foreign tourists. We witnessed how this menace has grown into alarming proportions and the black mark it must have created among the respectable foreign visitors who are here to indulge in serenity & beauty of this island. more..

Promoting Human Rights, Peace and Development

Dec 30 (SL) The general understanding is that the term, diaspora comes from Greek, meaning Scatter or scattered. In some situations, it refers to scattered from their homeland. Therefore, the Tamils from the Tamil homeland – the North and East of the island of Sri Lanka, in any foreign country are qualified to be identified as diaspora. Now let me look at the theme of ‘Role of the UN and other International organisation in promoting human rights, peace and development in Ilankai.’ more..

Bringing UG to the test: 2 years in retrospect

Dec 30 (DN) What does affect the average Sri Lankan on a daily basis is the economy. While the govt has taken measures to reduce the country’s debt burden which it inherited from the previous regime, this has manifested in more taxes. The outcry against what was a four per cent increase in the VAT which was cleverly portrayed by the opposition as a monstrous new tax, is an indication that the common man is feeling the pinch. Running a govt, at the best of times, is difficult. more..

'JO hallucinating no Issues, govt steady'

Dec 30 (CT) JO members shout themselves hoarse against any move aimed at development in bid to derail progress and make a grab for a return to power before any serious headway is made into probes that will reveal the bribery and corruption that were hallmarks of their regime. The UNP cannot amend the Constitution on its own. President's victory was brought about by UNP members at the risk of their lives. more..

Curb your enthusiasm – II

Dec 30 (FT) Our lives are a series of experiences, separate, distinct, but to the encountering individual; the sum of his life, the definition of an existence. The experiences I describe here are not dramatic, nor unusual; perhaps they are even prosaic – ordinary encounters, casual conversations, day-to-day happenings that make up a day.  I have known the Siriwardena family for a long time. In fact I was a friend of Siriwardena senior, a respected public servant of yesteryear. more..