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Soros sows hope of fresh start

Jan 8 (FT) Opening the prelude to fresh policy making strategies to enhance Sri Lanka’s exports and investment billionaire George Soros pulled no punches in outlining the tough path the country will have to manage in an increasingly uncertain global environment but was confident of the bright spot presented by the nation. Soros addressed a packed forum filled with MPs, academics and leaders of industry, at SL Economic Forum more..

The electrifying Silent Revolution

Jan 8 (DM) From 8 a.m. on Jan 8 last year more than 12 million of Sri Lanka’s sovereign people quietly began what turned out to be a silent people’s revolution of the highest historic proportions. The main lesson for Sri Lanka and the world was never underestimate the power of the people or scoff at Lincoln’s legendary statement that the Govt is of the people, by the people and for the people. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had quietly set the stage for it by ensuring a fair, more..

Distributed responsibility counts in forming a new constitution

Jan 8 (DM) With the govt’s move to introduce a new Constitution to the country, President Maithripala Sirisena’s second year in office beginning tomorrow would be vital not only for the govt but for the country as well. Interestingly, govt has embarked on this exercise at a time when it is increasingly showing signs of failure in its much-publicised anti-corruption drive, good governance and economic development. However, in fairness to the leaders of the govt it must be accepted that more..

Come 2016, Come Prosperity

Jan 8 (DM) The dawn of a fresh New Year is all about higher expectations and wishes of goodwill and prosperity. Yet, issues such as high cost of living have kept people from celebrating the New Year. Consumers and vendors alike are heavily weighed down by the pros and cons of market goods and price mechanisms during the New Year eve. Driven by consumerism and market oriented policies, many citizens expect that economic more..

Jumbo conflict intensifies

Jan 8 (SL) Sri Lankan elephants are considered endangered species since their natural habitats are threatened by various human activities such as human encroachments on forests. Therefore, human-elephant conflict is intensifying: wild elephants kill human beings and vise versa. Due to this fact, a high number of baby elephants become orphaned and abandoned. Some influential individuals keep some under their custody more..

Govt to speed up forest demarcations

Jan 8 (ST) The Forest Department will act swiftly to demarcate forest boundaries in the north and east following the recent attempt to encroach on state land in Punani, Batticaloa. Affirming the move, Conservator-General of Forests Anura Sathurusinghe said unlike in other provinces forest lands in the north and east had not been properly demarcated due to the civil war, which ended in 2009. more..

National ceremony to mark President's first year in office today

Jan 8 (DN) The national ceremony to mark the completion of the first year of democratic governance under the Presidency of Maithripala Sirisena will be celebrated under the theme Compassionate Governance- Stable Country today at BMICH from 2 p.m. President who campaigned on the theme of good governance (Yahapalayanaya) and anti-corruption was elected into office with a clear majority on Jan 8, 2015. more..

Shipping industry threatens to shut Colombo Port in showdown with Minister

Jan 8 (Island) Colombo Port is in for a showdown with those doing business with it as a result of a Sri Lanka Ports Authority decision to hike port entry permit charges by unconscionable percentages from this month. Shipping industry sources yesterday warned of an impending boycott of the harbour particularly by the transporters as a warning for at least two days costing the country as much as USD 150 million to USD 200 million. more..

New Parking Meters for Colombo

Jan 8 (CT) In November 2015, the CMC stated that they will be installing parking meters in several areas of Colombo. According to the Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil this will benefit the public and business community as availability of parking improves as long-term parking is discouraged by this new system due to the high parking fee for long-term use. With the dawn of the New Year, first phase of this very novel more..

Ban hails progress in SL after one year

Jan 8 (CG) UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon has congratulated President Maithripala Sirisena, and the Govt and the people of Sri Lanka on the first year of the country’s political transition. Ban said he is encouraged by the Govt’s commitment to a broad reform agenda that aims to realise durable peace, stability and prosperity for the Sri Lankan people. The Secretary-General acknowledges the initial steps govt has taken more..

Bid to abolish executive presidency went awry due to SC intervention: Prez

Jan 8 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena regrets that an attempt to prune drastically executive powers during the 100-day project went awry due to a Supreme Court intervention. Had the apex court endorsed his original proposals made on his behalf by constitutional affairs expert Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, the presidential system would have been in a much weaker state now, the President said. more..

PM sees communal unity as a condition for economic uplift

Jan 8 (Island) Sri Lanka can be a high income nation like those in East Asia, if state fiscal problems could be resolved and all communities get together, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "Sri Lanka has a unique chance to go on a unique journey after the end of a three decade long war and could meet all the challenges facing it, under the current system of unified governance, PM Wickremesinghe told the Sri Lanka Economic Forum 2016 launch more..

BBS calls for drastic educational reforms

Jan 8 (CT) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) proposed that the govt should set up a mechanism which would allow students to enter universities after completing their GCE O/L exam instead of the GCE A/L exam. CEO of the BBS Dr. Dilanthe Withanage said an education which lacked quality and knowledge for the sake of power was pointless. "Literacy is not a good measurement of education. more..

Driving Drunk

Jan 8 (CT) The Police on Wednesday (6) in one of their statistical updates announced that over 50,000 drivers were arrested for drunk driving in 2015. They also said that these arrests prevented accidents which might have happened if these drunk drivers were allowed to proceed in their state of intoxication. Despite such a massive number of arrests, however, last year saw 2,771 people die in 2,566 motor accidents while 7,719 motorists sustained serious injuries. more..

SLFP Youth Front takes up Dematagoda abduction

Jan 8 (Island) Youth Front of Sri Lanka Freedom Party (YF-SLFP) claimed that the govt had failed to enforce the law in respect of the UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra’s alleged involvement in the recent abduction at Dematagoda. Addressing a press conference at the SLFP headquarters in Colombo, an Executive Committee member of YF-SLFP Rasika Attanayake stressed that the govt should treat all citizens alike, but in the present instance it had given special treatment to Hirunika. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka yet to tap multi-million dollar golf tourism market - IAGTO CEO

Jan 8 (DN) Sri Lanka is yet to tap the multi-million dollar golf tourism market as Sri Lanka is virtually unknown The Global Golf Tourism Organisation (IAGTO) CEO Peter Waltton said. He said that there over 100,000 golfers in India and over 14 million in Asia. "Golfers are high spenders and they spend double than usual tourists. Their average stay is around 10 days," Waltton said. IAGTO controls 87% of the world golf tourism market valued at over US$ 2.5 billion annually. more..

Shares end at 1-1/2-year low; further weakness expected

Jan 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell for a fifth straight session on Friday to end at their lowest level in nearly 1-1/2 years, led by declines in diversified and banking shares. Fears over investors shifting to risk-free assets such as govt securities due to rising yields in govt securities dented sentiment. The main stock index ended 0.72% down at 6,726.28, the lowest close since July 18, 2014. It fell 2.44% this week. The day's turnover was at 487.72 million rupees, its lowest since Dec 31. more..

2015 budget deficit hits 7.2% of GDP

Jan 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's budget deficit overshot to 7.2% of GDP in 2015, against a revised target of 6%, swelled by unexpected payments for contractors, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Minister had revised the 2015 target to 6 percent of GDP on Nov. 20 from the original 4.4%, due to unexpected spending and a revenue fall. But on Friday, Karunanayake said "Last year's budget deficit was 7.2%." more..

Danger of desiring democracy

Jan 8 (CT) A year had gone since what some named as a silent revolution in Sri Lanka. While obviously it is too soon and flowery to use such name tagging, what happened on the 8th Jan 2015 was certainly a key transformation to dismantle a deepening dictatorship and desire democracy, non-violently. What is politically more important is that such inverse was achieved crucially because of the determined and decisive support given by structurally marginalized ethnic communities, more..

'No plans to suspend Rome, Frankfurt, Paris flights'

Jan 8 (DN) SriLankan Airlines has no immediate plans to suspend flights to Rome, Frankfurt and Paris SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias said. He said they will revise these routes and take a final decision in March. "Currently flights to these destinations will operate. "If we decide to terminate this route we will explore other synergies." "We also have to look at profits from these routes and this is the reason we are currently doing a double daily to London." more..

BOI veteran Duminda appointed new Director General

Jan 8 (FT) President has appointed Duminda Ariyasinghe, an experienced senior executive with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI), as its new Director General. Appointment of Ariyasinghe, who has headed a multitude of key departments at the country’s investment promotion and facilitation agency, comes as the Govt is setting ambitious targets for attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) including more..

Docs unhappy with transfers

Jan 8 (Island) The GMOA said it was not happy with the steps taken by the Health Ministry to ensure compliance on the part of doctors who had received transfer orders. GMOA Secretary, Dr Nalinda Herath said the Health Ministry’s efforts to ensure the full implementation of the annual transfers from 2012 were half-hearted. He said the GMOA was scheduled to meet Director General Health Services (DGHS), Dr Palitha Mahipala for a discussion and a progress review on the issue. more..

'SL growth constrained by BOP troubles'

Jan 8 (EN) Sri Lanka's growth performance has been volatile and has been repeatedly arrested by balance of payments troubles, Ricardo Hausmann, an economist from Harvard University said. Hausmann said Sri Lanka's recent growth spurts had been accompanied by widening the external deficit in goods and service and then there was a sharp reversal. "What you see is these booms in growth which are accompanied by a widening of the external deficit," he told an economic forum more..

Thirteen police OICs transferred

Jan 8 (AD) 13 officers-in-charge (OICs) of police stations have been transferred with immediate effect on exigencies of service. Nittambuwa HQI A.A.W.J.S. Abeykoon has been transferred to serve in Minister Kabir Hashim’s security detail while Padukka OIC K.B.K. Perera has been transferred to normal duty in Colombo. Manipay OIC R.A.D.R. Mahesh has been transferred to serve as the new OIC of Padukka and Elpitiya OIC H.G.N. Devapriya more..

Malagamuwa summoned by Court

Jan 8 (DM) Colombo High Court Judge summoned racing star Dilantha Malagamuwa and two others to appear in Court on Jan 18 to answer charges filed against them on charges of having defrauded a Japanese national of US$600,000. Funds were alleged to have been handed over two the three Sri Lankans for the purpose of building a housing complex during Feb/Mar 2008. Earlier Attorney General had indicted the suspects on four counts of cheating Yoshuhi Nayashi. more..

SLC President Sumathipala appointed Asian Cricket Council President too

Jan 8 (Island) Thilanga Sumathipala, who was recently elected as the President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), has also taken over the top position in the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting held in Dubai yesterday. A media communique issued by SLC yesterday said: ‘A name associated with cricket for over two decades, Thilanga Sumathipala is no stranger to the game or the management of cricket in this country. He has also served as the President of the ACC during 1997-98. more..

Sri Lanka introduces Smart Metering to reduce electricity generation costs

Jan 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Power Ministry in a bid to reduce electricity generation costs has introduced the long awaited Smart Metering system. A smart meter is usually an electronic device that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. more..

Motorcycle loans to 1800 media personnel

Jan 8 (GDI) 1800 media personnel have qualified to receive motorcycles under the national programme to provide duty free motorcycles for media personnel, Parliament Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said. He said bank officials have been instructed to issue documents to obtain loans up to Rs 250,000 for a motorcycle. Minister instructed media personnel to obtain these documents before Feb 15. He made these observations at the Cabinet briefing more..

Gandhi says MR will be remembered

Jan 8 (CG) Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be remembered for defeating the LTTE but the crimes committed during the war will also not be forgotten. Speaking at a ceremony held at the BMICH today to mark the first year of President Sirisena’s term in office, Gopalkrishna Gandhi said that destiny chooses its agencies in mysterious ways and there is no doubt that history will accord to Rajapakse a place. more..

Sri Lanka leader pardons man accused of planning to kill him

Jan 8 (AP) President has pardoned a former Tamil Tiger insurgent accused of conspiring to kill him 10 years ago. President Maithripala Sirisena set free Sivaraja Jenivan on Friday, which was the first anniversary of Sirisena being elected to office. Jenivan was arrested in 2005 inside a passenger bus leaving Sirisena's hometown Polonnaruwa. He was convicted last year of being an accomplice to a Tamil Tiger rebel who more..

JVP holds protest rally to mark good governance anniversary

Jan 8 (AM) JVP is holding a march and a rally today, demanding govt to respect the people’s mandate. This decision to hold a rally was taken by the JVP Political bureau during its meeting on December 16. The rally is held in the 1st anniversary of Yahapaalana govt, demanding to respect the people’s mandate given in support of good governance. The march is to begin from Kohuwala junction at 3pm, and the rally is to be held in Ananda Samarakoon Open Air Theatre at 3.30pm. more..

Man attempting to smuggle tortoises arrested at BIA

Jan 8 (AD) A Sri Lankan man has been arrested at the BIA in Katunayake today for attempting to smuggle 41 live tortoises out of the country. The 39-year-old from Grandpass in Colombo was arrested by staff of the Sri Lanka Customs Biodiversity, Cultural and National Heritage Protection Unit at the Departure Lounge this morning. A total of 41 live tortoises were found concealed in his baggage while he has attempted to smuggle them to Bangkok by flight TG308 at 1.20am. more..

Sri Lankan seeks $300 mn for rare blue star sapphire

Jan 8 (AFP) A Sri Lankan gem trader who owns the world's largest blue star sapphire has decided to sell the dazzling stone, with a dizzying asking price of $300 million. The rare, egg-shaped stone weighs 1,404.49 carats and has been authenticated as the biggest of its kind at the Gemological Institute of Colombo (GIC). "Looking at the reserve price of other very famous gems, I have now valued this at over $300 million," more..

Video: Kumar Gunaratnam further remanded

Jan 8 (AD) Politburo member of FSP, Kumar Gunaratnam, has been further remanded till Jan 21 after being produced at the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court. He was arrested in the Aguruwella area in Kegalle on Nov 4, 2015 for violating immigration and emigration laws. A holder of Australian citizenship, Gunaratnam arrived in Sri Lanka on Jan 1 on a 30-day tourist visa which expired on Jan 31. Meanwhile, FSP has started protests across the country, demanding the govt to release Gunaratnam, more..

Chris Gayle was unprofessional: Mahela

Jan 8 (DM) Mahela Jayawardene says Chris Gayle did not handle himself well when he made suggestive comments towards a female TV presenter. Gayle was slapped with a $10,000 fine from Melbourne Renegades over his comments to Channel Ten's Mel McLaughlin, which he described as a "simple joke" with no offence or disrespect intended. Speaking after the Adelaide Strikers' BBL win, Jayawardene said the big-hitting West Indian should have acted more professionally. more..

Video: Sri Lanka ahead of others in good governance: PM

Jan 8 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that a country which was sidelined by the international community and one the wolrd had no expectations from, has today come forward within just one year. He was addressing the main national ceremony to mark the one year completion of the democratic governance, established under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, held at BMICH in Colombo today. more..

Basil Rajapaksa hints at political comeback through new movement

Jan 8 (AM) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa hinted at a return to politics, albeit at a low-key level, if a new political movement emerges. Speaking to BBC, Rajapaksa said that a large number of people were disappointed with the government of Maithripala Sirisena, adding that there was a need for a new political movement, which could unite all those who are disillusioned. However, he added that he was not willing to play a key role in the founding of such a movement. more..

Appointing Constitutional Assembly against people’s mandate: Wimal

Jan 8 (DM) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa today alleged that the govt was planning to introduce constitutional reforms which include the scraping of the unitary state and the priority given to Buddhism. He said such a move would violate the current constitution, parliamentary tradition and the peoples’ mandate. Mr. Weerawansa said at the presidential election, govt had pledged it would not amend any constitutional clauses, which had to be put to a referendum. more..

Video: Happiest day of my life: President on day he quit govt

Jan 8 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena says that the day he quit the previous govt and gave up his ministerial portfolio to contest the presidential election as the common opposition candidate, was the happiest day of his life. President was addressing the main national ceremony to mark the one year completion of the democratic governance, established under his leadership, held at BMICH in Colombo today. more..