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Editorial: God calls IGP?

Dec 3 (Island) There has been a real hullabaloo over a video footage of IGP Pujith Jayasundara telling someone over his mobile phone recently in Ratnapura that he had ordered the FCID not to arrest a certain Nilame or the lay custodian of a holy shrine. President Maithripala Sirisena, in answer to a curve ball from an Opposition MP in Parliament the other day on the issue, promised to look into the matter. The police chief can rest assured that no action will be taken against him. more..

After VAT, the pain of POT too

Dec 3 (Island) Many decades ago the Daily News – the only morning English newspaper at the time - had its classified advertisements on page 2. The first column had notices of Births, Marriages and Deaths in that order, which we referred to it as the Hatch, Match and Despatch column. I was surprised when the PM had left out the Hatch event expenses of MPs, in proposing a special payment for their costs on marriages more..

Dialog Cricket Awards – an SLC apology

Dec 3 (DN) SLC wishes to unreservedly regret the inconvenience caused to invitees at Dialog Cricket Awards 2016 held at the Water’s Edge on 30 Dec caused by the delay in commencement of the event. Due to the unanticipated traffic situation caused by a massive protest at the Parliament roundabout and roads leading thereto during the mid-afternoon, several VIP guests as well as award recipients informed SLC that they would not be able to reach the venue in time. more..

France for Rajarata!

Dec 3 (FT) The French Agency for Development (AFD) has recently approved a 52 million euro (around Rs. 8 billion) loan to Sri Lanka to finance the Anuradhapura Integrated Urban Development Project. The financing agreement was signed on Thursday by Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga and AFD Country Director Martin Parent, in the presence of Ambassador of France for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Jean-Marin Schuh, at the Ministry of Finance. more..

PRECIFAC probes Basil’s birthday bash!

Dec 3 (FT) The anti-corruption commission commenced an inquiry into the alleged misuse of State funds amounted to Rs. 2.9 million by a former chairman of a State institution to print banners and publish birthday greetings during the previous regime. The initial investigations of the PRECIFAC found that former Chairman of the Upcountry Development Authority Amarananda Weerasinghe has allegedly misused State more..

Cop run over by private bus in Peraliya

Dec 3 (DM) A Sub Inspector attached to Mitiyagoda Police Station had been run over by an inter-city private bus plying from Ambalangoda to Galle at Peraliya in Thelwatta yesterday. The police officer had visited the location based on a complaint that two persons who arrived on a motorbike had pelted stones at an SLTB bus transporting people from Tangalle to Colombo. The injured officer had been admitted to the Balapitiya Hospital and the private bus driver had been arrested by the Police. more..

Premier league cricket: Day one Dimuth, Danushka, Asela hit centuries

Dec 3 (CT) Opener Dimuth Karunarathne (149) and all rounder Asela Gunarathne (146 n.o) continued their good form from Zimbabwe as both players made big centuries leading their premier league teams in the opening games for their yesterday. Leading this year's SSC team Dimuth Karunarathne scored 149 from 225 balls which included 19 fours on day one as SSC posted 375-5 against Tamil Union at the P. Sara Oval at stumps. This was Karunaratne's 27th first class century. more..

Regional cooperation pivotal to Sri Lanka’s progress: PM

Dec 3 (DN) The main objective of National Govt steered by President Maithripala Sirisena is to develop the economy and complementing the economies of its regional neighbours, while strengthening international friendship and cooperation, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM said future development in Sri Lanka is not a threat but a complement to the countries in the region while pointing out that regional cooperation more..

Blue Economy concept introduced following Korean tour: Dilip

Dec 3 (DN) Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi said he gained knowledge on the use of new technology in developing the fisheries industry following his tour to South Korea. "This also resulted in developing the Blue Economy concept. We do not have a proper plan to identify or utilise oceanic resources to their fullest. This concept will fill this gap," he said. Wedaarachchi said despite not being at the wheel for any establishment affiliated to Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry, more..

Iran, Sri Lanka ask India to help their students with medical admissions

Dec 3 (HT) In the last three months, two countries — Iran and Sri Lanka — have repeatedly written to the ministry of external affairs seeking its intervention for their students who have taken provisional admissions in Indian medical colleges. This is a direct fallout of the Supreme Court judgment in May, which mandated every candidate to qualify the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission in a medical college. Earlier, foreign students were admitted privately under more..

COPE to probe Rs 18B rice import scam

Dec 3 (CT) A rice importation scam, to the tune of Rs 18 billion is to be investigated by the COPE, its Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti informed Parliament. In 2014, Sathosa had imported 275,693 MT of rice from a foreign company at a cost of Rs 18,597 million when it had only purchased 46,698 MT of locally produced rice that same year. "What was the necessity to import rice in such large quantities to the country like this? more..

Sri Lanka’s first lady hockey umpire Dinesha

Dec 3 (DN) Former Sri Lanka womens’ team captain and the current hockey coach of Bishop’s College Dinesha Perera became the first Lady Hockey Umpire from Sri Lanka to be promoted as an International Umpire. She achieved this rare honour after her excellent performances as an umpire at the recently concluded Asian Hockey Federation Cup tournament held in Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to that she officiated as an umpire at the under 18 Asia Cup Tournament in Bangkok & U-21 Asia Cup more..

A jump from the bench to a political seat?

Dec 3 (DM) Reports from the North say that an arbiter occupying a high chair in the administration of justice is planning to take to politics in a big way following in the footsteps of a political bigwig in the same province and with the latter’s blessings. The arbiter’s planned advent to politics had been the subject of discussion at a rendezvous held recently behind closed doors. A certain legal eagle who once held high office in the State legal sector and later functioned as an advisor to a militant outfits more..

Gunaratnam granted two months visa

Dec 3 (DM) Kumar Gunaratnam - controversial political activist holding an Australian citizenship - who was released yesterday after completing his prison term has been granted a two-month visa to submit his application for a citizenship in Sri Lankan. Dept of Immigration and Emigration issued a visa for two months for Gunaratnam’s Australian Passport bearing name Noel Mudalige to remain in the country until Feb 2, 2017, more..

Australia promotes disability inclusive development in Sri Lanka

Dec 3 (DN) The UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPwD) is marked annually on Dec 3. Australian aid programme has a strong focus on supporting people with disability and achieving inclusive development outcomes in Sri Lanka. The Australia Awards programme offers scholarships on the basis of merit, transparency and equitable access. The programme encourages people with disability to apply for a scholarship, and those awarded scholarships are provided with more..

Pillayan files FR case after being in custody for over one year

Dec 3 (Island) Former chief Minister of the Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, has filed a fundamental rights violation petition in the Supreme Court, requesting that he be released from detention custody. Pillayan was arrested and detained in connection with the murder of Joseph Pararajasingham a former MP for the Batticoloa District. Among the respondents are the IGP Pujith Jayasundera, the DIG of the CID and the Attorney General. more..

How China-Sri Lanka relations are getting new wings

Dec 3 (SCMP) Sri Lanka will buy more military transport planes from China and seek its help in transforming its failed Hambantota port into a hub comparable with Shenzhen, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “I have travelled around in some of the Chinese transport planes we have. They are good workhorses. Some people have raised questions about their quality but I have always said, ‘Look, as far as I am concerned, more..

Sexual abuse among 100 street kids in Kataragama

Dec 3 (NS) Protecting Environment and Children Everywhere (PEaCE) confirmed that there are more than 100 street children in and around the areas surrounding the Kataragama temple, a survey has revealed following research conducted. A report highlighting the matter is scheduled to be released soon. Police, recently, arrested 23 persons including nine girls and six boys who were begging near the Kataragama temple. Co-Founder and Chairman of PEaCE, Mohammed Mahuruf said that more..

Delimitation Report to Mustapha on 15 Dec

Dec 3 (CT) The head of the Delimitation Commission, Asoka Peiris, said the Commission's final report will be handed over to Minister Faizer Mustapha on 15 December. He stated that the maps related to all the 336 local bodies had been drawn up by the Surveys Department before it was handed over to the Election Delimitation Committee on 30 Nov. Peiris added that what was left to be done was the translation work and that too will be completed during the next week. more..

Transport terror!

Dec 3 (FT) The first day of a massive private transportation strike caused major roadblocks and train delays due to demonstrations and reports of violence against state-owned buses carrying commuters across the island amid threats from the Govt that it would revoke private bus permits if the strike continued for more than three days. Sri Lanka Transport Board drivers braved attacks from striking private bus unions throughout the island, more..

'Extravagance, disregard for public woes mark the beginning of govt’s end'

Dec 3 (Island) TULF Leader V. Anandasangaree says the govt is looking after the interests of MPs and ministers at the expense of the ordinary people. This kind of extravagance and disregard for the public mark the beginning of the end of the govt, Anandasangaree says. "It is not morally right for MPs to shower such benefits on themselves while the people are suffering," he said, pointing out that there were thousands of people in North, especially in Kilinochchi, suffering without food. more..

Misery for thousands of stranded commuters as private bus strike cripples transport

Dec 3 (Island) Thousands of students, workers and other commuters were stranded on roads yesterday due to a strike launched by private bus operators from midnight Thursday, despite assurances by authorities that only a few private operators would join the strike. Private bus operators last night vowed to continue with the strike today against the unprecedented increase in traffic fines as the govt had failed to provide an acceptable solution during talks with representatives more..

Enhanced allowances, concessions for docs

Dec 3 (Island) The GMOA has received a firm assurance from the govt that Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) allowance as well as other allowances will be increased. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has given the pledge on behalf of the govt at a meeting held at the Finance Ministry on Thursday. GMOA delegation comprising its executive committee members was led by its President Dr. Anurudda Padeniya. more..

Revamp for State bus

Dec 3 (NS) Following the island-wide strike launched by the private bus operators last Friday (2), the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) has commenced moves to revamp the existing fleet of buses by next year to address the current issues prevalent in the public transportation system. Accordingly, the plan includes the importation of at least 1000 buses which would be included in the existing system. “We will not increase the fleet. These buses will only replace the old buses,” more..

Bond scam Handunnetti wants legal action

Dec 3 (CT) Chairman of the COPE, MP Sunil Handunnetti said, prior to changing the institutional methods of the Central Bank, legal action should be taken immediately against parties connected to the massive financial loss that took place, due to the CB Treasury Bond scam. He said that the statement made by CB Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy, that several various methods in existence, institution-wise, at the Central Bank, should not be connected in any way to the Bond scam. more..

Private bus strike called off

Dec 3 (EN) Private bus drivers backtracked from a threat to extend their strike for a 2nd day Saturday as govt refused to give into their demands to withdraw enhanced traffic fines for serious offences. Minister Chandima Weerakkody said govt would not give into the demands as the fines were aimed at reducing traffic fatalities and making roads safer. Strike by private bus operators and taxi drivers was politically motivated more..

Drive the nail but not on poor people’s head

Dec 3 (DM) The famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in an equally famous poem titled Perseverance; “Drive the nail aright, hit it on the head, strike with all your might, while the iron is red,”. In a twisted version of this inspiring poem we saw on Wednesday and yesterday, medical doctors and transport workers striking with all their might while the iron is red. But being hit on the head were millions of innocent common people who on Wednesday suffered without healthcare and more..

Remembering those killed in the war

Dec 3 (DM) “For the first time in 7 years, events of Maveerar Day for the commemoration of the valiant militants who sacrificed their lives in the Tamil Eelam struggle were held in public and in full swing yesterday with emotional fervour.”  This was how the SudarOli, one of the Tamil dailys published in Colombo started to explain in its front page lead story, the remembrance of LTTE cadres who died in their fight for a separate Tamil State, by their relatives in the North and the East on Nov 27, more..

Maestro W. D. Amaradeva created a distinctive genre of Sinhala Music

Dec 3 (DBS) Renowned SL vocalist, violinist and music composer W.D. Amaradeva passed away in a Colombo hospital on 3 Nov, just one month short of his 89th birthday. Millions of Lankan rasikas scattered throughout the world were saddened by Pandit Amaradeva’s death while the Govt declared one week of national mourning in his honour. In an illustrious musical career spanning almost seven decades the maestro had more..

Jumbo leap over courts to swindle baby elephants

Dec 3 (SL) Many have expressed concern over the govt’s move to return the baby elephants to individuals who allegedly had illegal permits or none at all. Several environmental lawyers claimed the move to return the elephants to the suspects was at fault since the court is yet to arrive at a final decision on the matter and it still remains a pending case. Environmentalists and environmental lawyers who had been more..

Senior citizens’ 15% interest scheme faces chaotic state of affairs

Dec 3 (ST) The senior citizens’ 15% interest scheme on a deposit of Rs.1 million announced in last year’s budget 2015 which was then extended to Rs. 1.5 million in the 2016 budget benefiting elders of 55 years and over, has run into all kinds of problems. Business Times has repeatedly highlighted  the need for the govt to implement this proposal based on pleas of depositors but no action has been taken to more..

Corruption allegations over NLB tenders; employees petition AG

Dec 3 (ST) A group of National Lotteries Board (NLB) employees have petitioned the Auditor General alleging corruption in awarding tenders. In their petition to Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe the employees claimed that the NLB invited bids for designing, developing, printing, bar-coding, supply and delivery of scratch-off (instant) lottery tickets on April 4 this year, although the present supplier’s contract ended last year. more..

No more games for importers

Dec 3 (NS) The govt has initiated stringent measures to streamline imports to Sri Lanka by establishing a separate investigations unit to monitor the importers. Accordingly, Department of Import and Export Control is currently in discussions with the Attorney General’s Department, pertaining to establishing the investigation division. Controller General of the Department, Nimalka Dias said the reason for a separate investigations unit was more..

'IGP’s Sir could have been his teacher'

Dec 3 (CT) Leader of the House, Lakshman Kiriella, told Parliament yesterday that the unknown caller, referred to as Sir, by the IGP could have been anyone, including even a former teacher of the IGP. The leader of the House was responding to a question raised by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who inquired as to who IGP Pujith Jayasundara was referring to as Sir while answering a mobile phone call during an event which more..

Govt changes job title to attract more solid waste workers

Dec 3 (Island) Govt will re-designate more than 6,000 workers engaged in solid waste disposal at 22 municipal councils as solid waste operation assistants. This move is aimed at overcoming the problem of low esteem associated with this kind of work. Municipal Councils are faced with a severe shortage of manpower and vehicles to carry out solid waste disposal. It is difficult to recruit workers to remove solid waste due to social stigma more..

LG polls under old system: Majority agrees to Anura’s proposal

Dec 3 (LT) The local govt election that is due shouldn’t be postponed but could be held according to the preference system and then a new electoral system could be introduced said the Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka in Parliament today. A majority in the Parliament agreed with the proposal. Jo MP Mr. Dallas Alahapperuma, who stood up while Mr. Dissanayaka was making his proposal said he agrees with Mr. Dissanayaka. more..

Thajudeen murder has new CCTV footage

Dec 3 (NS) Closed-circuit television footage obtained from a source at the scene of Wasim Thajudeen’s murder has revealed the image of an individual, and police are now hoping his family would be able to shed some light on the unidentified suspect. This new revelation comes via footage obtained from the scene of the crime. Previous footage and images sent overseas showed no positive identification of persons in it. more..

PM defends IGP accused of tampering

Dec 3 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe objected to the Constitutional Council discussing the controversial conduct of police chief Pujith Jayasundara. Wickremesinghe told parliament that there was no formal complaint against IGP Pujith Jayasundara who was caught on camera allegedly interfering in a FCID investigation. "If there is any complaint against the IGP let us know. Right now, there is no such thing," PM said more..

Castro and Cuban baseball

Dec 3 (CT) Baseball was kept alive in Cuba because Fidel Castro was a lover of the game. There were no American Presidents about whom stories associated with baseball were written so much as linked to Fidel Castro in the past almost fifty odd years. American writers knew about Castro's background with the game and persistently kept on fabricating stories, always to show Castro's failure. Castro was supposedly reputed as a fast arm pitcher, who played for Havana University and more..

Northern politics Changing scene

Dec 3 (CT) Kangeskar Kanapathipillai, a man from an aristocratic Hindu family in Jaffna, went to England when he lost out as a barrister with a new name G.G. Ponnambalam. Jaffna-born and bred Ponnambalam started living in Colombo where rich educated aristocratic Tamils lived. He had a son, Kumar Ponnambalam, who was a practising lawyer. He was later killed. It was a political killing. G.G. Ponnambalam is said to have got his new name from a French politician Geegee. more..