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Sri Lanka drops plan to buy fighters from Pak after India objects

Jan 10 (IE) Stiff opposition from India has forced Sri Lanka to drop plans, at least for now, to buy JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft from Pakistan. The Sunday Express has learnt that New Delhi shot off a diplomatic missive a few weeks ago to Colombo on why it should not buy the JF-17 Thunder, including a negative technical assessment of the aircraft. It was also pointed out that the country’s defence requirements did not need fighters. more..

TMP Watchdog of Lanka Tamil Politics

Jan 10 (ENS) Chief Minister of SNorthern Province, C V Wigneswaran, has clarified that the Tamil Makkal Peravai (TMP), which he has floated, is not a rival to the TNA, but is a non-partisan, civil society watchdog meant to see that the basic interests of the Lankan Tamils are upheld by their leaders and not compromised for petty gains. Speaking at the second formal meeting of the TMP in Jaffna a couple of weeks back, Wigneswaran said that given its broad-based, grassroots character, more..

AG’s report warned of pipeline disasters

Jan 10 (ST) Months before last week’s oil leak into the Muthurajawela lagoon, the AG’s Department had warned of the likelihood of a major disaster arising from the poor condition of other pipelines conveying fuel from ships to storage tanks. “The possibility of paralysing the whole country with a severe fuel crisis due to transporting the imported finished petroleum products through those deteriorated pipelines cannot be ruled out in audit,” Department’s 2014 Annual Report says. more..

Constitution-making begins after hectic night-long talks to resolve disputes

Jan 10 (ST) Govt’s new Constitution initiative which began in Parliament yesterday was dogged by late night meetings where parties including the joint opposition sought changes in procedure. The highlight of these changes was to add a provision in the resolution to convert the House into a Constitutional Assembly. They wanted it changed to include a reference to a Select Committee of the entire House. Interesting enough, SLFP backed the move initiated by more..

One year after

Jan 11 (Island) We do not apologize for what may appear to some to be an overload of commentary in this issue pegged on the first anniversary of the Sirisena – Wickremesinghe govt marked on Jan 8. The consensus appears to be that while much of what those who voted for the ending of Rajapaksa administration had hoped for has not been realized in the first year following the regime change, the situation is much better than it was when the previous president attempted to continue more..

The Wilpattu Controversy

Jan 11 (CT) Musali South in the Mannar District has traditionally been a predominantly Muslim populated area for centuries. Their peaceful life was devastated in Oct 1990 when they were kicked out of their homes and lands within two hours by the LTTE when it ethnic cleansed the entire Northern Muslims. Since then they languished in refugee camps and temporary shelters in extreme hardships. After the military defeat of LTTE in 2009, Muslims started to return to their lands to resume their more..

Laying the foundation for the 3rd Republican Constitution

Jan 11 (SO) Starting this week, the govt will lay the foundation for what would be Sri Lanka's third Republican Constitution. This Constitution as Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama, Sri Lanka's former Secretary of Justice rightfully pointed out is "A document that crystallises a consensus among the citizens as to the nature and character of their State and the manner of its governance." PM Wickremesinghe outlined the need for a new Constitution, more..

Sinha Le, Marraka Le, Should we shed any more Le?

Jan 11 (CT) One year in to Yahapalanaya, the dice has been cast for the renewal of the hostile hate campaign of the Rajapaksa era with the spraying of graffiti Sinha Le on the gate of a Muslim owned residence in Nugegoda. This was followed by a violent attack on Muslims in Wellampitiya that injured five. Three were hospitalized with serious injuries. It is rumored that a lady died of a heart attack before she could be taken to hospital, in the mêlée. This has not been reported to more..

Learning from our past constitution-making efforts

Jan 11 (ST) The Govt’s frantic rush towards finalizing a new Constitution for Sri Lanka has, in its path, several formidable obstacles. These include cautions emanating from established legal precedent in regard to the necessary formulation of valid questions at a Referendum. Marking one year following his election to office, President Sirisena has stated that his coalition administration will place the proposed constitutional text for approval before the people. more..

'Protect minority interests and rights as part of the constitutional exercise'

Jan 11 (SL) Chairman of Northern Provincial Council C.V.K. Sivagnanam says TNA leadership’s close ties with the govt has put him under criticism even by party members, but it was a risk taken for the betterment of the Tamils and the country. He said that TNA MP R. Sampanthan was taking a political risk, as govts have let down the Tamils in the past, but added that this risk needs to be appreciated by the people. more..

A Happy Anniversary

Jan 11 (Island) Celebration and jubilation now that Jan 8 is upon us. We Sri Lankans have had one year of the combination of Maithripala Sirisena and his PM Ranil Wickremesinghe guiding the destiny of the country. It is the first anniversary celebration of Maithripala Sirisena defeating Mahinda Rajapaksa and becoming President, soon to prune many of the dictatorial powers that were extensively used by the former Prez. People in Sri Lanka especially, tend to forget matters all too soon and more..

It was your revolution, protect it

Jan 11 (DM) Yesterday the nation marked the first anniversary of the silent people’s revolution where 6,217,162 people of all races and religions freely elected common candidate Maithripala Sirisena as the sixth Executive President. It was a stunning spectacular victory and for the first time an Executive President was overthrown by the sovereign people in a peaceful revolution that will have a special place not only in Sri Lanka’s history but also in world history. more..

Qatar’s air tycoon offers bitter medicine for SriLankan

Jan 11 (ST) When Qatar Airways acquired its first A 380 superjumbo, its CEO Akbar Al Baker (pronounced Bak’r) saw to it that the aircraft did a few low flying sorties for those in Abu Dhabi to see. Not to be outdone, when Abu Dhabi’s national carrier Etihad received its first A 380, it followed suit with a similar show. Al Baker arrived in Colombo on Thursday on a scheduled Qatar Airways flight. As a two-day seminar on investment promotion more..

Maithripala’s elusive dream to dethrone the Presidency

Jan 11 (ST) Grand plan to abolish the constitution but will the unknown angel be worse than the devil we know? Few men in history have ever aspired to the highest post in the land only to want it abolished the moment it is gained. And Maithripala Sirisena is one such man. Ever since the day he announced his candidature for the presidency, even when he took his oaths as Lanka’s 7th executive president and even now to this very day when he has enjoyed its intoxicating pomp & power for 1 whole year, more..

A road trip from Malaysia to Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (Hindu) Driving across Asia is a dream for several automotive enthusiasts. But for Rukshan Munesinghe and Manivannan this dream is to become a part of their travelogue. The duo, who began their 11,000-mile road trip from Kuala Lumpur on Dec 15, in a 1971 Ford Capri headed to Colombo, Sri Lanka. “This has been a passion of mine for a while now and I was able to restore this car for this journey. And, somehow we managed to find sponsors. more..

New Zealand whip Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (CI) An abject SL collapse full of witless batting, a clinical performance by NZ's seamers, and a fast start from Martin Guptill, all featured in SL's final heavy defeat of the tour. Their embarrassment was enhanced a little here for having come in front of an Auckland crowd of over 17,000, and by Colin Munro, who bludgeoned the 2nd-fastest half-century in T20s to close out a match that had never really been in doubt for NZ. more..

Munro's flamingo shot; Boult's breezy issues

Jan 11 (CI) Eden Park is a well-enclosed ground, but in the fifth over, Dilshan managed to get a ball into the windswept higher reaches of the stadium. This ultimately worked to his advantage. Spotting a short-of-a-length delivery from Mitchell McClenaghan, Dilshan swung hard across the line and gave up a big top edge. The ball shot up in the direction of third man, and Trent Boult peeled off from gully to chase it. It looked like it would be a comfortable running catch, more..

Munro blasts second-fastest fifty in T20Is

Jan 11 (CI) 14: Number of balls it took Colin Munro to make fifty - the second-fastest ever in T20 internationals and the fastest by a New Zealand batsman. New Zealand's previous fastest had also come earlier in the innings: Martin Guptill had got to his fifty off 19 balls. Click here for the fastest fifties in T20Is. 10: Overs New Zealand took to chase down the target of 143 - the least taken by any team to successfully chase a target of 120 or more in T20 internationals. more..

Sri Lanka cricket fans escorted from Eden Park by police

Jan 11 (Stuff) Spectators trying to enjoy the NZ vs SL Twenty20 cricket match at Eden Park seem to have their eyes on something else. Twitter and Facebook are rife with accusations security guards are acting as the fun police and being too hard on fans, confiscating musical instruments and kicking people out. Witnesses have reportedly seen SL fans being escorted from the ground by police & security guards. more..

Constitutional Assembly should get its priorities right

Jan 11 (CT) Last Saturday, it was said in Parliament that a special session of Parliament would be held tomorrow where Parliament is expected to give its approval to transform itself into a Constitutional Assembly (CA). This decision was made in light of several political parties submitting last minute amendments to the resolution to convert Parliament into a CA. Converting Parliament into a CA is for introducing a new Constitution which was one of the major pledges of the present govt. more..

Smuggler arrested with 1.176 kg of heroin in Maligawatta

Jan 11 (DM) An individual was arrested with 1.176 kilograms of heroin in Maligawatta during a raid carried out by the Maligawatta Anti Corruption Unit this morning. Police said the heroin worth Rs. 25 million was seized when the suspect was in the process of selling the drugs to an individual, near the Maligawattha Muslim Cemetery. Police said the 38-year-old suspect; a resident of Wattala has been identified as a large scale international drug smuggler. more..

Contamination threat as perforations found in locally produced surgical gloves

Jan 11 (Island) Perforations discovered in sterile surgical gloves supplied to scores of govt-run hospitals and medical facilities have raised concern over the safety of patients due to the threat of contamination during surgical procedures, health officials warned. The health authorities have so far received around 60 complaints from consultant surgeons and medical officers in govt hospitals and institutions in more..

Constituting a continent of trust

Jan 11 (Hindu) On the first anniversary of Sri Lanka’s govt of national unity, we must recognise that the idea of a joint SLFP-UNP govt, bringing two traditionally opposed parties together, was thought oxymoronic beyond description, a contradiction as absurd as a king coconut growing on a mango tree. At the call of the pioneers of the experiment — Maithripala Sirisena, then a rebel Minister; Ranil Wickremesinghe, then leader of the Opposition; and Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

Sri Lanka’s historic opportunity

Jan 11 (Hindu) It is a moment of great hope and some fear in SL. As it takes the first step towards drafting a new Constitution, there is renewed hope that the island nation will be able to reinvent itself as a modern state, one that brings economic prosperity and national unity. At the same time, it is also difficult to ignore fear that yet another opportunity presented by history may fail owing to political opposition, ethnic extremism and an entrenched, if not systemic, resistance to change. more..

Video: Corrupt Vs Corrupt: Arjuna Vs Thilanga

Jan 11 (DM) Responding to views expressed by the newly elected head of SLC, Thilanga Sumathipala, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said he was scared of Mr. Sumathipala because of his history. Minister Ranathunga said he was scared of Mr. Sumathipala not because of any other reason but because of his nefarious past history. “He should have asked himself who he is before pointing a finger at me. more..

Fielding woes, failed policies & uncertain future

Jan 11 (Island) Sri Lanka play the final game of their tour of New Zealand that lasted for six weeks today when they take on the Black Caps in the second T-20 International in Auckland. With the hosts having already won the first T-20 between the teams on Thursday, the tourists have no chance to win a series this tour. They have already lost the Test and ODI series. Although the Sri Lankans can’t win the T-20 series, there’s a lot at stake as a defeat in Auckland today will see them more..

Parking fee bludgeon on office workers

Jan 11 (Island) As a Sri Lankan citizen, a tax payer and foreign exchange earner, I am disappointed in the new parking fee system imposed in Colombo on Jan 4, 2016. Now one might argue that this system is implemented in most countries the world over. Agreed. However, there are certain responsibilities that the govt has to meet before implementing such a system. Now let me share my situation and I am sure that there are thousand like me. I have been driving my cheap Indian car for past 10 years. more..

Wiggie faces diplomatic pressure on TPC

Jan 11 (SL) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran is facing diplomatic pressure as he pushes ahead with the newly formed Tamil People’s Council (TPC) which consists of Tamil politicians taking a more hardline position on the Tamil issue than the TNA. Diplomatic sources said that the diplomatic corps in Sri Lanka is not very happy with the TPC and the position it is taking on the Tamil issue. more..

Bonanza for only 200 individual vehicle importers

Jan 11 (FT) Govt has decided to grant pre-2016 Budget duty concessions to only 200 individual vehicle importers who had opened Letter of Credits (LCs) before 20 Nov 2015. Motor importers said they were disappointed with the final decision of the Govt. “After three weeks of deliberations the Govt has decided only to exempt 200 individual vehicle importers from the increased import duty imposed by the Budget 2016. These 200 are individuals who had opened LCs before the date of 2016 Budget more..

Govt must focus more on agricultural exports: Hausmann

Jan 11 (DN) Govt revenue is significantly lower than other middle-income countries and the country has also to increase its share of exports, said economist Ricardo Hausmann. Currently, the share of GDP from agriculture is low. But employment in agriculture remains well above what would be expected, implying low productivity. This is very low compared with industry and services sectors. External debt is already pretty high as a share of exports & primary income (incl. remittances). more..

BoP deficit balloons to $ 2.3 b by Oct

Jan 11 (FT) Country’s Balance of Payments (BoP) deficit has swelled to $ 2.33 billion during the first 10 months of 2015 in comparison to a surplus of $ 1.76 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year. Lower exports and higher imports leading to an increase in trade deficit, lower foreign remittances and higher outflows were some of the causes for the widening BoP deficit. First 10 months’ trade deficit for 2015 rose by 2.5% more..

Top EU delegation to visit SL next week

Jan 11 (FT) A high-profile mission from the European Union, comprising officials from the European Commission (EC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS), will be visiting Sri Lanka from 19-22 January, in order to discuss various issues with the Govt, including the possibility of regaining the GSP+ facility. During the visit the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL), in collaboration with the Apparel Exporters Association and the Delegation of the EU more..

EDB receives invitation from Pakistan PM

Jan 11 (Island) Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to Sri Lanka invited the Export Development Board (EDB) to hold a single country trade exhibition in Karachi or any other place in Pakistan. The Pakistan Prime Minister made this invitation while speaking at an event held at the Temple Trees to announce the single country trade exhibition by Pakistan, scheduled to be held at the BMICH, Colombo from 15-17 January. Thanking the Sri Lankan govt for collaborating with more..

Yahapalanaya with Fighter jets

Jan 11 (FT) In the wake of Indian media reports claiming that Sri Lanka has abandoned the decision to buy fighter aircraft from Pakistan due to strong pressure from India, Govt denied signing of any deal with Pakistan to purchase eight JF -17 Thunder combat aircraft. Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi vehemently denying reports on Sri Lanka signing an agreement to purchase fighter aircrafts from Pakistan, more..

Embilipitiya fatality victim laid to rest: HRCSL awaiting preliminary report

Jan 11 (CT) The last rites of the man, who died during a clash between villagers and police in Embilipitiya, was held at the Nawa Nagara cemetery, yesterday. The youth, who was reportedly injured after jumping from an upper floor of a house during the incident, succumbed to his injuries last Thursday. The death had triggered a hartal and protests in the Embilipitya Town with some angry mobs setting fire to tyres on the road. Four policemen and 3 civilians were hospitalized more..

Central Bank to sell US$ 75mn worth development bonds

Jan 11 (LBO) The Central Bank will issue 75 million US dollars of development bonds of one year, two years and three months, and four years and five months to local and foreign investors. The Debt Department said the subscription will be at a floating rate of US dollar six month LIBOR plus a margin (floating rate) or at a fixed rate to be determined through competitive bidding. Minimum investment is US$ 100,000 with additional investments in multiples of US$ 10,000. more..

Sinhale campaign raises alarms

Jan 11 (SL) It started with vehicles having stickers saying Sinhale but that soon spread to walls of Muslim-owned houses in Nugegoda being spray painted with the same words. Police said they are investigating the spray painting incident and will take appropriate action on those accused of being involved. Sinhale or Sinhala blood campaign is being promoted by UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila & Sinhale National Movement. more..

CMC sues Live Events Sex and Love concert

Jan 11 (CT) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has filed a lawsuit against Live Events over unpaid tax pertaining to the Enrique Iglesias Sex and Love concert, said the Mayor of Colombo, A. J. M Muzammil. He added that investigations regarding the event which took place on 20 December incurred a massive loss to the CMC. The loss was estimated to be more than Rs 30mn. This was in essence believed to be the largest ever entertainment fraud to take place in Sri Lanka. more..

Treasury officials, Ravi meet today on govt servants' pay hike

Jan 11 (DN) Treasury officials will meet today with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka over Govt servants' pay hike. Finance Ministry had yet to issue instructions to the Secretary of the State Administration Ministry for the issue of much awaited circular to release the first installment of the promised Rs.10,000 salary increase for public sector workers. Treasury officials yesterday said there are some aspects that need elucidation in regard to the implementation of the pay hike, more..

Govt outlines plans for new Constitution to devolve power

Jan 11 (FT) Govt on Saturday presented its plan for a new Constitution aimed at devolving power and preventing the sort of ethnic tensions that led to a long and bitter civil war that ended in 2009. “The abolishing of the executive presidency, withdrawing the preference system and introducing a fairer electoral system, strengthening the democratic rights of the people and providing a constitutional answer to national question,” more..