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More in touch with reality

Dec 30 (FT) 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 Nuwara Eliya. The prince goes to Nuwara Eliya 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..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Agri-based economy to be focus of President-led development program

Dec 30 (FT) Citing ideological differences between the two parties in the coalition govt, SLFP announced that it would focus on developing an agri-based economy in the country, with plans to launch a series of programs led by President. “We are not able to shape the market like Singapore. This is not a trade and exchange-based economy, Singapore does not have an agriculture-based economy. We cannot follow that model in SL. We have to focus on agriculture in this country” more..

Moragahakanda Project: Reformulate to provide clean drinking water to dry zone

Dec 30 (Island) What is difficult to understand is the fact that while the reservoir is expected to be impounded next year, work on the proposed canal to dispatch water to the NCP has not even started. Bids for its construction were called in April 2016 and the project was inaugurated ceremonially in July 2016. An inquiry made from the project office revealed that the contracts were awarded and the actual ground work would commence soon. According to the EIA Report, more..

Kusal Perera gamble at No. 3 pays meager dividends

Dec 30 (CI) In beholding SL cricket's last two decades, a prism of risk vs. reward can sometimes be useful. In Feb 1996, for example, Sanath Jayasuriya averaged 19.73 as an ODI batsman, and his last ten innings as an opener had yielded 173 runs at a strike rate of 61. The risk, for SL, was looking like lightweights in a showcase tournament they were co-hosting for the first time. In fact, you can imagine the foreign media's more..

Karunaratne explains run-out mishap

Dec 30 (CI) From early on in the innings the intent was clear: Sri Lanka were chasing 488 for victory, rather than drawing shutters and playing for the draw. But as play ended on 240 for 5 on day four, at least four batsmen were left rueing dismissals that might have been avoided. Dimuth Karunaratne, perhaps was chief among them, having been run out for 43, after seeming comfortable at the crease. He and Kaushal Silva had also put on 87 for the first wicket - SL's best opening stand in SA more..

Editorial: Rice and fall of politicians

Dec 30 (Island) Ever increasing prices of essential commodities such as rice have dealt a solar plexus punch to Citizen Perera. SLFP, many years ago, out of sheer desperation to win a general election, declared that it was ready to bring rice for the masses even from the moon—handen haal. Instead, after being ensconced in power, it caused severe economic hardships to the public and got kicked out at the election that followed. Given the exorbitant prices of all varieties of rice at present more..

Loose dismissals harm SL in 488 chase

Dec 30 (CI) A succession of soft dismissals left Sri Lanka in danger of a big defeat in the first Test despite their batsmen, almost without exception, looking comfortable at the crease in their pursuit of 488. No team has successfully chased more than 418 to win a Test match, but Sri Lanka suggested they were capable of giving South Africa a serious scare only to gift away four of the five wickets they lost on day four. more..

South Africa win the first patience game

Dec 30 (CI) Faf du Plessis fell in step with Vernon Philander as he walked back to his mark. Du Plessis did most of the talking, Philander did what seemed to be some explaining. From mid-on, Kyle Abbott was shining the ball. Whether he had a mint in his mouth at the same time was not visible. From mid-off, Keshav Maharaj wore the same overwrought expression he had since just after he dismissed Rangana Herath in the first innings. Actually, it may have got a bit worse after more..

St. Joseph’s College win All Island Under 19 Football Championship

Dec 30 (Island) St Joseph’s College produced some great footballers in the past and lived up to expectations in the present, when Mayuraka Perera led the Josephians to win the All Island Under 19 Division I Championship in a thrilling match, beating Holy Cross College, Kalutara by 2 goals to 1 in the final played at the Moragasmulla Football Stadium in Rajagiriya. The significance of this victory is that they won this title after 21 years. In the final, with Asela Madushan netting more..

Shivshankar Menon on India-SL relations

Veteran photographer Dunstan no more

Dec 30 (FT) Veteran photographer and journalist Dunstan Wickramaratna passed away on Tuesday night. He was 80. His last rites were conducted last evening at the General Cemetery, Borella. During a career in photography spanning nearly five decades, Dunstan covered many landmark events including the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1982, a rare distinction for a Lankan photographer. He was educated at St. Aloysius College, Galle & developed an early interest more..

SL enters U-14 Asian Jr semis for 1st time

Dec 30 (DN) Sri Lanka led by Dinith Pathiraja as non-playing captain entered the semi-finals of the Asian Junior Team Cup Under-14 Tennis Championships beating Qatar 3-0 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Al-Dafna, Doha, Qatar, according to Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) sources. Sri Lanka’s victory follows a win over Saudi Arabia and a loss to Uzbekistan early this week. In the semi-finals today Sri Lanka will meet strong favourites India. more..

I have a standing invitation from Modi to visit India: MR

Dec 30 (ENS) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he has no plans to visit India although Indian PM Narendra Modi had extended an open invitation to him when he was here in March 2015. Resident foreign correspondents who met Rajapaksa asked him if he would visit India also since he had gone to China, Japan and Malaysia after being defeated in the Jan 8, 2015 Presidential election. “I have no plans to visit India. But more..

Swiss investor to pump Rs. 900 million in dairy farm

Dec 30 (DN) A Swiss investor is planning to put up one of South Asia’s most tech savvy dairy farms in Ambewela with an investment of Rs 900 million. The project was initially planned for 2014 and the investor S. Isiyah along with his SL partner S. Venden based in Switzerland visited SL to earmark a 200 acre land for the dairy farm. However a Minister in the previous govt had wanted 15% of the investment for his development fund and Swedish investor gave up his plans and went back. more..

Alleged death threat to President, PM: Suspect further remanded till today

Dec 30 (DN) A man who allegedly posted a facebook message inviting officers attached to the Presidential Security Division (PSD) to kill President, PM and Opposition Leader was yesterday ordered to be further remanded till today by Colombo Additional Magistrate Mohammed Mihal. The CID arrested the suspect Chamara Dinush, (26), a resident of Rathgama for allegedly making death threats to President, PM & Opposition Leader after uploading an audio footage on facebook. more..

Govt denies allegations of releasing paddy to middlemen

Dec 30 (FT) Govt yesterday refuted allegations made by President’s brother and rice mill owner Dudley Sirisena that Govt has released rice stocks to middlemen, ending up with a rice shortage. Authorities have released paddy stocks to rice mill owners following proper procedures after calling for tenders, Paddy Marketing Board Chairman M.B. Dissanayake said. Releasing of paddy stocks was done after the approval was granted by more..

Abuse of school girl: Father, uncle arrested

Dec 30 (DN) Two suspects were arrested by the Mundalama Police for the alleged sexual abuse of a 11-year-old schoolgirl at Keerthisinghagama. One of them is the girl’s father under whose protection the girl had been living since the mother is employed abroad. The other is an uncle of the girl. The arrest was made when the father accompanied the girl to the Police station to lodge a complaint saying a youth in the neighbourhood had molested his daughter. At the medical examination held more..

Competitor dies in a one km race

Dec 30 (ITN) A 50-year-old man who has three children has died after suddenly falling ill. This tragic incident had been reported from the Nagoda area. A Sports Festival organized by the Nagoda DS was held at the Nagoda Royal College Grounds. The event was joined by employees serving in state establishments and members representing sports clubs. A 52-year-old man who joined in competing the 1000 metre event had suddenly fallen ill. He died after being admitted to the Nagoda Hospital. more..

Lanka IOC questions unauthorised entrant in high-security oil farm

Dec 30 (ENS) Authorities of Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) at High-Security Oil Tank Farm in Trinco, stopped and questioned an official of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) who had entered the facility without prior permission. LIOC Managing Director Shyam Bohora said that the unauthorised entrant was discovered on his way out. He was questioned and let off when he revealed his identity as a CPC staffer. more..

Rice shortage: Culprit could be a sibling of President: Ajith

Dec 30 (Island) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera has said that the person responsible for the severe shotage of rice shortage is certainly not Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison and the real culprit could be a brother of President Maithripala Sirisena. Kalutara District MP was responding to Polonnaruwa-based Araliya Rice proprietor Dudley Sirisena, who accused Minister Harrison of releasing paddy stocks to middlemen from the Paddy Marketing Board. more..

Didn’t they go by the book?

Dec 30 (DM) The second in command in yahapalanaya recently ordered the reversal of a transaction carried out by the country’s oldest state-owned bank. The order had been issued following a complaint that the deal had not been carried out adhering to the stipulated rules and regulations.  Worried that the deal with foreign funds had been clinched at a time the govt was under fire from the opposition for selling govt assets one after another, the second in command had reprimanded more..

Man on a mission to topple govt in 2017

Dec 30 (FT) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday vowed to make it his mission to topple the National Unity Govt and regain power in 2017, nearly two years after he was ousted in a shocking election upset. During a meeting with Colombo-based foreign correspondents, he said that even though the National Unity Govt currently held a 2/3 majority, that balance of power could shift given the current political climate. more..

Nearly 2 tons of drugs confiscated in 4 years

Dec 30 (CT) Data collated by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) shows that during the past four years around two tons of heroin and cocaine had been taken into custody. In 2016 alone the total stock of illegal drugs taken into custody is as follows: Heroin 147 kilos, cocaine 1,486 kilos, Kerala ganja 108 kilos, Hashish 4 kilos, Methamphetamine 995 tablets, and 66,481 illegal tablets. These sources said the PNB had also received support for the confiscations from such institutes as more..

Melstacorp to trade from today

Dec 30 (CT) SL's business magnate Harry Jayawardena led Melstacorp Limited (MELS) will commence Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) trading under the diversified holdings sector from today onwards, CSE said. It was listed through an introduction of 1.16 billion shares at a price of Rs 69, and deposits would be accepted by the central depositary system with immediate effect. Company Director Amitha Gooneratne said that it will list immediately after all regulatory clearance. more..

'Govt to proceed with Development Bill'

Dec 30 (DN) The govt will go ahead with the Development (Special Provisions) Bill despite the fact that it was defeated by the Provincial Councils (PCs), UNP MP Nalin Bandara said. He said the UNP backbenchers have decided to meet President to discuss the moves of the PCs to defeat the Bill. He said even though the Bill was referred to the PCs, their consent was not a must for the Central Govt to proceed on the Bill. more..

Wimal challenges PM to deny

Dec 30 (CT) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should perhaps explain why State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran has said that the LTTE leader V Prabhakaran could have become the PM of the country had he been living today. Maheswaran made this statement at a ceremony at Kilinochchi DS recently. Shortly before entering the premises of the FCID Weewaransa said that Vijayakala Maheswaran was elected to the Parliament under the UNP ticket. more..

President said not got mandate for Constitutional changes: MEP

Dec 30 (DM) President Sirisena is reported to have told the MEP that he had not got any mandate for constitutional changes that need to be referred to the people for approval through a referendum, it is learnt. President met with an MEP delegation to seek views on the constitution making process. According to MEP sources, the President said he would appear for the unitary character of the Constitution, the foremost place for Buddhism as the majority religion and new electoral reforms. more..

Looming power shortage: CEB seeks purchase of power for 6 months

Dec 30 (DM) The CEB is to urgently lease purchase power at a cost of nearly Rs. 35 per unit for the next six months on an emergency basis at a total cost of Rs. 8 billion. CEB has sought the approval from the Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL) to lease purchase a 65 MWs of power for 6 months considering the prevailing power situation in the country. However, an energy expert said that CEB should first attempt to purchase more..

Poverty Alleviation: Let’s become part of the solution

Dec 30 (DM) National Govt has declared the New Year 2017 as the year of poverty alleviation. We hope that political leaders especially will not only take effective steps but also set the example needed for it while the people actively cooperate in this vital and noble mission.   Regarding the issue of poverty there is little by way of clear-cut figures. For instance the Department of Census and Statistics in its Nov 2016 report says the official poverty line is Rs.4,089 a person. more..

Unity Govt’s foundation in jeopardy?

Dec 30 (DM) Acrimony between the members of UNP and SLFP sometimes raises doubts as to whether the foundation of the unity govt is shaken. Despite taking on each other creating confusion in the minds of people on the govt’s future, a Minister representing SLFP tried to dispel such doubts in China recently. Minister John Seneviratne, who led a parliamentary delegation to China, said the govt was stable in enough, and therefore China should not worry about investment in Sri Lanka.  more..

'Federalism addresses minority rights'

Dec 30 (DM) Prof. R. Sivachandran, a Central Committee member of ITAK, advocates the Federal structure of govt for the North and East. The ITAK is the dominant ally of the TNA at the moment. Expressing views at the time a constitution-making process is underway, he says powers cannot be devolved under a unity form of govt as in today, fulfilling the aspirations of the Tamil people. Q: There is a strong demand for more..

'A strong Central Govt is foremost'

Dec 30 (DM) Professor Emeritus of University of Peradeniya G.H. Peiris who has done extensive research in contemporary politics speaks about unitary and federal concepts, and the way forward for Sri Lanka. He says the Eelam struggle remains despite the demise of LTTE leadership in the battlefront. Q: There is confusion in the minds of ordinary people on the unitary character of a constitution and Federalism. more..

2,200 social media complaints in 2016

Dec 30 (NR) The Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team says approximately 2,200 complaints pertaining to social media accounts have been lodged in 2016. Principal Information Security Engineer Roshan Changraguptha said majority of those cyber complaints were related to individuals using fake profiles on Facebook carrying pictures of other individuals. more..

PM presents Draft Bill against Enforced Disappearance to Cabinet

Dec 30 (ST) A draft Bill to give effect to the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) has been presented to Cabinet by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Law and Order have proposed amendments that have been sent back to the PM’s office for consideration. Ministries of Finance and of Justice had also made observations. more..

SL unable to pay for Iranian crude oil purchases due to sanctions

Dec 30 (Island) Petroleum Ministry Secretary Sudharma Karunaratne said that in spite of the US further easing sanctions on Iran recently, severe restrictions on money transfers remained and, therefore, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) couldn’t make long overdue payments for fuel supplies. Karunaratne was responding to our query whether her ministry recently received instructions from Foreign Ministry to settle bills amounting more..

Yahapalana associates decry delay in prosecutions, warn of int’l intervention

Dec 30 (Island) Civil society grouping Left Centre supportive of the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition yesterday lambasted the administration for its failure to bring those responsible for the wartime assassination of TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj to justice. An unidentified gunman shot dead MP Raviraj in Colombo in Nov, 2006. Addressing the media, Maradana, Saman Ratnapriya, Chameera Perera and Anura Rajaguru alleged that a spate of more..

Toxic politics could undermine results expected from ETCA

Dec 30 (DM) The controversial Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) currently being negotiated with India may not create market access and competition in the scale that is expected by Sri Lanka due to toxic politics that have prevailed between the two countries for a long time, a leading economist and a policy analyst opines.  According to Prof. Razeen Sally, an Associate Professor at National University of Singapore, more..

'Ministerial talks in SL on fishermen issue'

Dec 30 (PTI) India and Sri Lanka will hold the second round of ministerial-level meeting here next week to find a solution to the vexed fishermen issue, Lankan Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has said. First round of discussions was held in Nov in New Delhi with a view to arriving at a permanent solution on the issue. The delegation comprised Amaraweera, Minister Mangala Samaraweera & other senior officials. more..

LPBOA Ex-Co threatens to resign

Dec 30 (CT) The entire executive committee of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) will resign if they fail to implement three new proposed projects, to develop the transport sector, within the next six months, the Association's President, Gemunu Wijeratne, said. He said that LPBOA has been trying to implement the prepaid card scheme for buses, introduce bus priority lanes and set up a metro transport more..