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SL clinches Veterans Over 40 football title

Dec 4 (SO) Sri Lanka over 40 Veterans football team won the International Veterans Football tournament held in Dubai yesterday. South Africa, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Mauritius Islands were amongst the teams that participated in the tournament. In the finals Sri Lanka beat Mauritius by three goals to nil. Sri Lanka managed to beat all teams except Dubai in the initial rounds. Dubai scored a 1-0 win over Sri Lanka. Ex-Vice President of Sri Lanka Football Federation more..

Whatever the govt, they have all the luck!

Dec 4 (SO) Totally disappointed, abjectly depressed, irreparably hopeless. That’s this cat for you. And why pray, you may well ask. Why the crestfallen negativity? At least if this column-writing cat is not purring with happiness, she does not groan with disillusionment. She sees the glass half full always. Not this time dearie. She sees an empty glass. That is one drained of all anticipation and hope. She who was so full of hope with Yahapalana setting in and Medamulana crowd sent back to more..

Cigarette sales drop cuts tobacco tax revenue by half

Dec 4 (ST) The tobacco tax revenue for govt coffers has declined significantly due to a drop in sales of cigarettes manufactured in Sri Lanka by Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) during the months of Oct and Nov this year due to consecutive tax hikes that led to price increases twice. CTC’s contribution to the Govt through its value chain during the nine months ended 30th Sept 2016, in the form of Excise Tax, Corporate Tax & levies, increased by 20% more..

Don't do that, do this: dodging the crowds in Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (TG) Kandy is home to one of Sri Lanka’s greatest and most-visited Buddhist sites, the Temple of the Tooth, and is busy with tourists and devotees from across the island. For a quieter cultural buzz, head to Jaffna, in the far north. Identifying more with southern India, this vibrant Tamil city, now seeing a resurgence in visitors after years of civil war, is fascinating, and still off the radar for most tourists. Must-sees include the sacred Nallur Kandaswamy Hindu temple, more..

Allow TN fisherfolk to take part in Katchatheevu Church fest: Ramadoss

Dec 4 (Hindu) The founder of PMK, Dr. S. Ramadoss, has demanded that fisherfolk from TN be allowed to participate in a function to be organised at the St. Antony’s Church in Katchatheevu on Dec 7. “The St. Antony’s Church was built by Cheenikuppan Padaiyachi in the early 20th century. In 1974, the island was ceded to Sri Lanka without the consent of the Tamil people. Despite the TN Chief Secretary writing to the Minister of External Affairs in this regard, more..

Treatment of Indian Tamil issue set the tone for post-independence SL political culture

Dec 4 (ENS) The way Ceylonese politicians handled the Indian Tamil issue in the two decades prior to Ceylon’s independence, set the tone for the country’s post-independence political history marked by majoritarianism, says human rights activist, Dr. Rajan Hoole. In a paper read out at a function to mark the 85th anniversary of the Donoughmore constitution here late last month, Dr. Hoole said Sinhalese members more..

WB provides $70m to upgrade plantations

Dec 4 (SO) Minister Navin Dissanayake with World Bank officials Ulrich Shmitt, Seenithambi Manoharan, Emannuel Salinas and Agricultural Consultant Jeevaka Atapattu at the meeting. World Bank will provide Sri Lanka US$ 70 million to modernize the estates and factories of Regional Plantations Companies (RPCs) with the funds to be used mainly for replanting, improving roads and tea factories, and water management to deal with climate change impact. more..

How Sri Lanka won the malaria war

Dec 4 (Hindu) On Sept 5 this year, Sri Lanka was declared malaria-free at the 69th Session of World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for South-East Asia held in Colombo. This is another milestone in SL’s outstanding achievements in public health. The only other country to have achieved malaria eradication in the WHO’s South-East Asian region consisting of 11 countries is the Maldives. While these malaria-free countries do provide an important breakthrough for more..

PM cracks whip on CB, Ravi raises concerns

Dec 4 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had last week questioned the Governor of Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy over his failure to control the depreciation of the Rupee against the US dollar which had reached Rs 150. At the monthly meeting of the Economic Affairs Committee held at the Parliament complex on 30th Nov, the PM and Finance Minister raised more..

Gunaratnam to enter politics

Dec 4 (SL) Politburo member of the FSP, Kumar Gunaratnam, is to return to politics. Gunaratnam was released on Friday after completing his jail term. The govt had said earlier Gunaratnam will not be deported once he is set free. Minister S.B. Navinna told Parliament that Kumar Gunaratnam can apply for Sri Lankan citizenship once he is set free. Opposition MP Dinesh Gunawardena asked the Minister in Parliament if there is a move to deport Gunaratnam when his jail term ends. more..

Central Expressway: Chinese firm likely to get Stage four

Dec 4 (ST) Highways Ministry is seeking approval to hand over the construction of stage four of the Central Expressway between Kurunegala and Dambulla to a Chinese firm. The funding for the project will come as a loan from the China Exim Bank and the project is due to be completed within three and a half years. The expressway spanning 68.7 kilometres is to cost Rs. 2.5 billion per kilometre. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the project would begin next year and once completed more..

Govt considers bringing EPF, ETF under Treasury

Dec 4 (ST) With the objective of introducing a pension scheme for private sector employees, the Govt is considering a proposal to bring the EPF and ETF under the Treasury. Labour Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said the proposal to formulate a private sector pension scheme was under discussion after bringing the EPF and ETF under the Treasury. He said the proposal was to have a contributory pension scheme similar more..

Traffic fines under review

Dec 4 (SO) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a six-member committee to look into revision of traffic fines and other issues faced by private bus operators bringing the strike by several transport unions against the new traffic fine to an end. Following the meeting with several representatives of private bus unions at the President’s official residence yesterday, President appointed the committee which will meet with private bus operators tomorrow more..

'LG elections: Old system, if all parties agree'

Dec 4 (SO) Minister Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday that the forthcoming Local Government elections could be held under the old preferential voting system if all political parties give their consent for it. Responding to a query by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Minister said that the preferential voting system thus could be used for one last time. MP Dissanayake said the new electoral system should be included in the new constitution. more..

PM to grill IGP and Sagala

Dec 4 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, said he would hold a meeting with both, IGP Pujith Jayasundara and Minister Sagala Ratnayake tomorrow, while assuring Parliament that no Police investigations have been halted. PM, responding to a question raised by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said he would summon both the Minister of Law and Order and IGP for a meeting on Monday & would invite MP Dissanayake, more..

G.L. accused of busting Rs. 870 million

Dec 4 (SL) A controversial purchase of a property in Brazil by former govt has been revealed with the former Minister G.L. Peiris being accused of direct involvement. The purchase was made in order to establish the SL Embassy in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro spending a colossal sum of Rs. 870 million. “A formal complaint will be lodged with the FCID, CID, Bribery commission and Presidential Commission investigating allegations of serious fraud or corruption by a group of UNP Ministers,“ more..

Security tightened in Batticaloa to prevent communal clashes

Dec 4 (ST) Security in and around Batticaloa town was tightened last night with the deployment of additional police and STF personnel to prevent a possible clash between two communities. Earlier in the day, a tense situation arose when police stopped a group led BBS Galagoda-atte Gnanasara Thera from proceeding to Batticaloa town. Group from Colombo was stopped at Riditenna in Welikanda but later allowed to proceed to Punani, 60km from Batticaloa town. more..

Delays in high-profile probes: Questions about nexus between VIPs of rival parties

Dec 4 (ST) In October, President Maithripala Sirisena warned he would take strong action if the state investigative arms were found to be working to a political agenda. He was referring to the CID and FCID, both coming under the IGP. In addition, he also made reference to CIABOC, an autonomous body. His words echoed in the hall of SL Foundation Institute where he addressed war heroes. His fears appear to have come true. more..

The bus strike

Dec 4 (Island) The vast majority of the people of this country condemned – we use the word deliberately – to use our public transport system would have surely heaved a massive sight of relief that Friday’s bus strike is over. It is ironical that strikers, be they doctors or bus drivers, hold to ransom ordinary people who depend on their services to win their various demands whether they are reasonable or not. There is no word other than abominable to describe country’s public transport system. more..

Corridors of Power

Dec 4 (Island) I do not recall the exact moment, but I do remember a time when I was so frustrated with Rajapaksa regime’s blatant disregard for the constitution that I wondered how best I could communicate a critique of power to even those who would vote for, and loved him. This was after 18th Amendment, late 2010. I was interested in a way to engage with what I hated to see come about, in full knowledge, at the time, that those opposed to what Mahinda Rajapaksa did were in a minority. more..

Controversy over move to arrest editor

Dec 4 (ST) An order by a local Magistrate asking Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant on the Editor of a London-based website reporting on SL figured for a second week in succession at Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting. Raising issue was Minister Harin Fernando. He said it took the FCID almost one and a half years to obtain a warrant on Udayanga Weeratunga, former SL Ambassador to Russia. more..

Govt to buy Chinese military aircraft

Dec 4 (CT) Under the renewed Sino-Lanka relationship, the govt has decided to buy expensive military transport airplanes from China, despite having applied the brakes on several Chinese projects earlier, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has revealed. He said "Some people have raised questions about their quality, but I have always said, look, as far as I am concerned, I will always underwrite Chinese military transport planes. more..

New vehicle ownership rule eases tracing errant motorists

Dec 4 (ST) The new rules introduced by the Govt to track down motor vehicles with open papers has eased the tracing of vehicle owners involved in accidents, the Traffic police said. DIG, Traffic, Palitha Fernando said the introduction of the new rule will enable the Motor Traffic Dept (MTD) to nab motorists involved in hit-and-run and drunk driving cases, with ease. DIG Fernando said that, earlier, when a traffic offence was committed, more..

Mobs attack 128 buses, 30 injured: Govt backtracks in face of strike threat

Dec 4 (ST) A day-long strike on Friday by private bus operators crippled services and forced the Govt to re-think imposition of enhanced traffic fines. The state owned Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), which had increased its operational fleet, was unable to cope with the passenger demand. Protestors badly damaged 128 of its buses. Stone throwing incidents left more than 30 people injured, one of them a soldier more..

Socialist dream can be realized only through a struggle: Gunaratnam

Dec 4 (Island) It is only through a struggle that democracy in Sri Lanka can be secured and the socialist dream realized. There is no other way to achieve this objective, leader of the FSP, Kumar Gunaratnam said. Gunaratnam who was freed from the Anuradhapura prison on Friday after serving one year term for violating visa regulations, told a press conference, that his release does not mean the dawn of democracy in the country. more..

Patients become pawns in GMOA’s fight against govt

Dec 4 (ST) Patients islandwide faced immense difficulties due to the token strike launched by members of the GMOA this week. The GMOA said they were striking for an increase in their allowance and for the Govt to drop the proposed new taxes they claimed would hurt Medical Officers. Many patients reacted angrily to the strike, accusing doctors of using them as human shields to win over their demands. more..

MPs to get a bigger pay pack

Dec 4 (SL) Even though there had been public criticism that Ministers and MPs were getting far too much facilities and comforts while the ordinary people were struggling for existence, the wages for them had been increased up to Rs. 100,000 through a cabinet approval recently. Following the increments in various sectors made in the budget proposals 2017, the PM made a proposal which was approved by the cabinet of ministers more..

SLTB receives a record income

Dec 4 (SO) With the Private Bus Owner’s Association calling a strike demanding the removal of the newly introduced traffic violation fines, the Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) pulled up its socks to serve the public, and earned a record revenue of Rs.110 million on Friday. Speaking to the Sunday Observer, Chairman of the CTB, Ramal Siriwardena said this was an increase of Rs.38 million above average daily revenue. more..

Constitutional reform programme launched amidst chaos in the country: MR

Dec 4 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has highlighted some of the most harmful recommendations that have been submitted to the constitutional reform programme. Issuing a statement on Sunday, he stated “I request all members of the SLFP serving in this govt not to allow their enslavement to the UNP to go so far as to betraying every principle that the SLFP has stood for in the past six decades.” more..

SriLankan Airlines: Three bidders to meet Cabinet committee

Dec 4 (ST) Three bidders shortlisted for a management stake in cash-strapped SriLankan Airlines will hold discussions with a Cabinet committee this month to clarify, among other things, their strategy for the national carrier. “The shortlisted parties will be spoken to by a committee appointed by the Cabinet,” an authoritative source said. Depending on the outcome of the meetings, a recommendation will be sent to the CCEM. more..

That call to the IGP & The undermining of law

Dec 5 (ST) For close to ten years, Sri Lanka was ruled by a Presidency under which calls were openly given by politicians to heads of the judiciary, the police and hapless public servants ordering them to act or not to act as the case may be. This is not to say that such gross misrule started with the Rajapaksas. Before that, we had our peccadilloes, when political pressure was exerted by Heads of State on judicial and public officials in particular circumstances. more..

Being evicted from house and home

Dec 5 (CT) Not so long after Sirima Bandaranaike govt resumed ruling SL, and with her brother, Barnes, appointed to the position of Public Trustee, whose subordinate I was under the terms of my late father’s Last Will and Testament, it was believed that the inevitable would befall me and my family – economic and/or personal payback for my support of the recently-deposed UNP govt. My first surprise was Barnes Ratwatte who proved an eminently fair, decent and competent person. more..

Gifts to teachers: mixed reactions: Cleansing the public service

Dec 5 (SO) From time immemorial we have been introduced and made accustomed to the concept of giving gifts to teachers as a token of our love and gratitude. What historical literature refers to Guru Panduru loosely translating as offerings to teachers shows the respect and admiration placed on teachers, from the early days. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had signed a circular prohibiting teachers from accepting more..

Gota’s address to the professionals on how fools made the rulers bloody fools

Dec 5 (CT) A news item appearing in Daily FT dated Monday 28 Nov 2016 relates to an address by Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) at Viyathmaga (Professionals for a better future) held at Palatuwa, Matara. GR’s own acknowledgement of the role played by him in the takeover of Sri Lankan Airlines needs a further evaluation in the context of the eventual outcome of the takeover. GR contends, quote “It was I who facilitated the meeting between the pilots union and President Rajapaksa. more..

The Danger: Will Sri Lanka go off Trump America’s radar?

Dec 5 (ST) To the victor, the spoils. Not only the scalp but the professed allegiance, too, of the fallen, however insincere it may sound; even as Hillary Clinton demonstrated – moments after it became clear she had lost key swing states – when she called upon the people to rally around Trump and to hail him as the man America had decided upon to lead the nation for the next four years as her president. Trump’s astonishing rise to the zenith of world power is something still to sink in. more..

'I challenge Minister Samarasinghe to state my role'

Dec 5 (CT) "It is over a year since I was appointed State Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, yet, I have not been assigned any responsibilities nor have I received an area to handle. Therefore, I challenge the Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Mahinda Samarasinghe to openly tell me my responsibilities and duties at the ministry," said the State Minister Palitha Range Bandara. more..

Karuna’s Waterloo?

Dec 5 (SL) Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman started off as a top leader of the LTTE. He then made headlines when he split from the LTTE and led the TMVP. Karuna later joined the SLFP and was a Deputy Minister in the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt. Today Karuna Amman is behind bars. He was arrested last week for allegedly having in his possession a govt owned bullet-proof vehicle. Former Deputy Minister has appealed against the arrest and his case will be heard tomorrow. more..

Sri Lanka’s Che Guevara Revolution

Dec 5 (SL) The hangover of Fidel and Che can still be seen in the fast thinning, greying beards of academics and politicos. News of the death of Fidel Castro took our memories back to the raucous refrains of political chants that went on for hours in the seventies at political rallies of the United Front govt. Api yanne koi paare; Fidel Castro giya pare; Api Yanne koi paare; Che Guevera giya paare; Mathinilata api kyanne; Fidel wage kelin inna; Mathinilata api kyanne; NM Wage kelin inna. more..

Face the Nation

Constitutional Reform:Complacent govt, carping contrarians and Italy’s referendum

Dec 5 (Island) As Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform proposals are making their way from the backstage into public view, Italy held a referendum yesterday on a constitutional reform proposal to significantly emasculate the Senate in the country’s bicameral system. Coming on the heels of British Brexit and American Trumpit, the Italian referendum has morphed from being a narrow constitutional question into another occasion for testing the rise of western populism. more..