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Editorial: Masses are no asses!

Jan 11 (Island) UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra was arrested, at long last, on Saturday, produced in Courts and released on bail before one could say yahapalanaya! Obviously, it became too embarrassing for the govt to go on defending her. The intimation of the advice of AG’s Department on Hirunika’s arrest to the police could not have been better timed; it did not come until President’s anniversary bash was over lest the MP’s arrest should cast a shadow on the grand event. more..

The First Anniversary

Jan 11 (Island) On the other hand, Soros’s companion at the forum, Joseph Stiglitz, delivered an encouraging message for Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector, which the govt seems to be falling into the habit of neglecting. Stiglitz spoke of the underutilized capacity in agriculture and the strategic need for revamping it to take advantage of future food demands from growing regional populations. The late Gamini Corea used to consistently emphasize SL’s tradition in food production and more..

'Illegal migrant workers go At their own risk'

Jan 11 (DM) Foreign employment, one of the biggest contributors to SL economy has become one of the darkest topics to talk about today. With numbers rapidly increasing, foreign employment is another factor which proves that the majority of the country is still struggling to escape the hands of poverty. When such a situation prevails one wouldn’t expect these workers to also return in coffins, given capital punishment or being stoned to death. more..

A Rs. 70 Million CMC bash

Jan 11 (SL) Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil has been accused of spending Rs. 70 million for the 150th anniversary of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC). Muzammil however has rejected the allegations and said that the claims are part of an attempt to sling mud at him. According to the opposition in the CMC, the Mayor approved just over Rs. 70 million for the 150th anniversary event held at the CMC grounds. more..

Rs. 30 more for your packet of lunch

Jan 11 (ST) Food outlets have increased prices of packets of lunch, pastries and other bakery products – passing on the extra taxes to unsuspecting consumers and thereby sending living costs higher. In line with the 2016 Budget proposals, Govt from Jan 1 doubled NBT from 2% to 4% and increased other taxes also. From this week, price of a packet of rice was increased by about Rs.30 in most takeaway outlets more..

JVP: There’s a power struggle between Maithri and Ranil

Jan 11 (Island) A power struggle between President and PM had led to an inordinate delay in punishing the wrongdoers of the previous regime, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. He said the people had voted for President Sirisena and the incumbent govt in the hope that action would be taken against those who had helped themselves to public funds, but punishing the culprits remained a distant dream. more..

MS, RW urged to protect country's unitary character in new constitution

Jan 11 (Island) The Buddha Sasana Karya Sadhaka Mandalaya (SKSM) has told the govt that the proposed Constitution should ensure the supremacy of Parliament. The organisation has stressed that there shouldn’t be restrictions or impediments placed on the legislative power of the people under any circumstances. "If there are any other institutions carrying out any legislative powers such power should be exercised by them more..

Sri Lanka police brutality emerge on Sirisena anniversary

Jan 11 (EN) Barely a month after SL’s Human Rights Commission censured the police for brutally assaulting university students, investigators have found another horrific excess that killed one man and wounded many, including children and pregnant women. As President marked his first year in office on Saturday, senior investigators found that Embilipitiya police led by an ASP had gone on the rampage more..

Field Marshal and Justice Minister lock horns again

Jan 11 (Island) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has urged President and PM to take punitive action against Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, whom the war veteran accuses of still serving the interests of former President Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He alleged that the Justice Minister had been working for the Rajapaksas in spite of switching his allegiance to UNP years back. more..

SL minister orders arrest of at least 500 Indian poachers after Pongal

Jan 11 (ENS) The Minister of Fisheries, Mahinda Amaraweera, has asked SL Navy and Coast Guard to arrest at least 500 Indian poachers within a month after Pongal, to curb the menace of poaching in the seas off North Lanka. Amaraweera issued this directive at a meeting with North Lankan Fishermen’s associations in Jaffna on Sunday, said K.Rajachandran, Secretary of Jaffna District Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. more..

Rajapaksa group picks holes in constitution making procedure

Jan 11 (ENS) The Mahinda Rajapaksa group, which goes as the Joint Opposition Group (JOG) in the parliament, has picked holes in the procedure adopted by the govt to draft a new constitution for the island nation, forcing the govt to postpone the debate on the basic resolution from Jan 8 to 12. Rajapaksa loyalist and former Minister G.L.Peiris said that it was wrong to have tried to turn parliament into a Constitutional Assembly more..

HC rejects Abrew’s petition

Jan 11 (AD) Colombo High Court rejected a petition filed by Justice Sarath de Abrew claiming that the charge sheet compiled against him by the AG was illegal in connection with a complaint lodged by a domestic worker over an alleged assault incident. Justice Abrew, who is alleged to have attacked the domestic worker at his house on or around June 26, was released on bail by Mt-Lavinia Magistrate’s Court, on July 7. more..

Dialogue from division, peace from war

Jan 11 (DM) Is the yahapalanaya or Maithripalanaya govt launched on its second crucial year with the focus being on a midterm strategy for sustainable eco-friendly development and social justice, it receives some enlightened advice from Gopalakrishna Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi who is revered all over the world as one of the greatest peacemakers of the century. Gopalakrishna Gandhi -- a leading civil servant and diplomat who served as India’s HC in SL more..

Revealed: Why Sri Lanka backed off the Sino-Pakistani JF-17 thunder

Jan 11 (TD) As Benjamin Baker wrote last week in The Diplomat, the JF-17 Thunder, a low-cost multi-role fighter built collaboratively by China and Pakistan, has run into some problems on the global fighter market. Recently, every time it appears to have locked down a buyer, problem crop up. Malaysia became the latest supposed buyer of the JF-17 to come out publicly and say that there was no finalized deal. Despite being competitively priced, the JF-17 has proved to be a tough sell for more..

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka

Hirunika’s aunt to get diplomatic posting

Jan 11 (CT) Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime’s policy of helping friends and family appears to have spread to the Foreign Ministry with career diplomats being overlooked in favour of loyalists and their kin. Swarna Pushpa Kanthi Gunaratne, sister of Hirunika Premachandra‘s late father Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra is to be appointed as Sri Lanka’s consul in Los Angeles, USA. Colombo Telegraph emailed the Foreign Ministry requesting confirmation of the report regarding the appointment, more..

TNA backs austerity, pro-investor policies

Jan 11 (wsws) As the year began, the Tamil nationalist organizations in Sri Lanka escalated their support for austerity and the use of Sri Lankan workers as cheap labor for international capital. TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah said “we are expecting several development projects and economic zones in the North-East.” Govt also agreed to upgrade the Palali airstrip in Jaffna as an international airport. Senathirajah’s statement came a few weeks after the TNA supported the budget of the govt, more..

New policy on police recruitments, promotions and transfers

Jan 11 (DM) Police Department will adopt a new policy regarding recruitments, promotions and transfers. The policy has been referred to National Police Commission, police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said yesterday. He said the need for a new policy had been stressed for a long time. The need for such a policy was vital, as the procedures had been changed many times in the past due to political interference, he said. more..

Video: Meethotamulla garbage case: Bopage and another get bail

Jan 11 (DM) Attorney Nuwan Bopage and Kirthi Perera, who were arrested on charges of having been involved in a protest against the dumping of garbage at Meethotamulla were today released on bail after an identification parade held at the Court premises. Additional Magistrate Mohommad Mihar released them on a surety bail of Rs.100,000. Counsel Saliya Peiris with several other lawyers appeared for the suspects. He said police arrested them maliciously with an ulterior motive more..

New Constitution should aid national reconciliation: PRCCR

Jan 11 (CT) The Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR) noted that the new Constitution should support efforts towards national reconciliation as it would go a long way in bringing Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the country. Chairman of the PRCCR, Lal Wijenayake said Sri Lanka has a history of a welfare State built on the concept that there should be social justice which had been dismantled little by little, starting from 1977. more..

Video: Two opposing forces blocking new constitution: JVP

Jan 11 (DM) Two opposing forces are preventing the enacting of a new constitution which is more suitable for the country through a proper democratic process, JVP said. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the govt was trying to sweep important issues under the carpet by taking cover behind the new constitution while some forces in the opposition are opposing the enactment of a new constitution just to cover up criticism more..

Jt. opposition, JVP hit common chord

Jan 11 (Island) Joint Opposition loyal to former President Rajapaksa and the JVP have strongly opposed the govt strategy to enact a new Constitution. Joint Opposition Leader Dinesh Gunawardena said that they wouldn’t support the govt initiative unless far reaching changes were made to existing proposals. MP Gunawardena said they had already submitted their proposals to the govt. PM R Wickremesinghe, on Saturday, moved a motion in Parliament to appoint a CC more..

Sri Lankan shares end at 1-1/2-year lows

Jan 11 (Reuters) Shares fell for a sixth straight session, to mark their lowest close in 1-1/2 years, led by declines in diversified and banking stocks due to local and global concerns, brokers said. Fears over investors shifting to risk-free assets such as govt securities due to rising yields in govt securities dented sentiment. Main stock index ended 1.13% or 75.96 points down at 6,650.32, lowest close since July 9, 2014. Index fell as much as 1.4%, posting its biggest fall since Aug 25, 2015. more..

Sri Lanka turns to mystery investor in bid to defend rupee

Jan 11 (Reuters) An unidentified investor has promised to park $1 billion in dollar deposits in Sri Lanka to help the island nation defend its currency, finance minister said, in an unusual move that highlights the country's precarious finances. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake declined to reveal the identity of the investor. But he said the investor was Belgian and was working with a Sri Lankan partner. more..

Devatagaha Mosque head raises concerns over hardline Islamic group

Jan 11 (Island) The head of one of Sri Lanka’s popular Muslim religious places of worship yesterday charged that the apex body of Muslims in Sri Lanka, the All Ceylon Jemmiyathul Ulama (ACJU) had done nothing to put an end to aggressive and unlawful activities of the hardline SL Thawheed Jamaath (SLTJ) and that was a reflection on the Muslim community as a whole. Not much action had been taken by the ACJU against SLTJ’s attempt to convert houses into mosques more..

No official song to mark President’s Anniversary: PMD

Jan 11 (AM) Days after the removal of President's official song from Youtube, a newspaper has run an article on the launch of the song. According to the article published in the Daily Mirror, the official song was launched by the President on January 7. The song was released to mark the first year of Maithripala Sirisena Presidency. The music video of the song, which came under severe criticism from various quarters of the society, was directed by Anura Madhawa Jayasekera, more..

Video: 'Hirunika bail-out a Guinness world record'

Jan 11 (AD) A Guinness world record was established when Hirunika Premachandra was arrested and bailed out in the shortest ever time, MP Udaya Gammanpila said today. I predicted that she will quickly go to jail and quickly come out, Gammapila claimed. He added that while Dr. Nalaka Godahewa is in remand for days on end a new record was established when Premachandra was granted bail swiftly. more..

Ricardo Hausmann’s strong message

Jan 11 (CT) There is a popular economic belief among Sri Lankans. That is, to build Sri Lanka as a strong nation, it should produce everything within the country and say good bye to imports as far as possible. It is so indelibly ingrained in the psyche of Sri Lankans that it is not a belief that could easily be erased. Anyone who speaks against it is immediately branded as somebody odd, without nationalistic sentiments and pro-Western. Hence, politicians of every generation have used it as more..

Sinhale is the country: SJB

Jan 11 (CT) The Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa (SJB) explained that the Sinhale trend that has gained momentum must be responsibly taken forward in a positive manner with the purpose of bringing all segments in the country together to one place. General Secretary of the SJB, Ven. Madille Pagnaloka Thera said that Sinhale was the term for the country, presently going by the name of Sri Lanka. It is only if the main Sinhale race survives like a giant tree that the other races, more..

Today Sri Lanka has only friends in the world: President

Jan 11 (PSL) Today Sri Lanka has only friends in the world, President Maithripala Sirisena said today. There observations were made when seven Ambassadors and a High Commissioner presented credentials to President Sirisena today. President, referring to close bilateral relations with Sri Lanka and the countries represented by the new envoys expressed confidence that they would strive to further more..

TULF Leader requests President to bring about ethnic harmony

Jan 11 (Island) TULF has written to the President to take measures to declare at least one event celebrated by each religious community as a national festival. "I have made a proposal on these lines to former govts, but no one took it very seriously," TULF leader V Anandasangaree said. Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Vesak and Christmas are celebrated as national festivals by our people irrespective of the religions they belonged to. In the meantime, Anandasangaree has said more..

Sri Lanka tax-payers fork out Rs600mn for state plantations

Jan 11 (EN) Sri Lanka's tax payers have forked out 600 million rupees through the Treasury last year to cover unpaid employee provident funds of state plantations, where billions more are unpaid, a legislator has said. The Treasury has paid 600 million rupees in 2015 to settle part of the EPF and ETF dues of Janatha Estate Development Board (JEDB), State Plantations Corporation (SPC) and Elkaduwa Plantations Limited, legislator Velu Kumar has told parliament. more..

I will not govern the country without advice & guidance of Maha Sanga: President

Jan 11 (PSL) President Sirisena says he would not govern the country without the advice and guidance of the Maha Sanga. He said a group of extremists are creating conspiracies stating that govt is going to deprive the place of the Buddhism through the new amendments to the constitution. He requested everyone not to contribute that fundamental sin which divides the country, nation as well as Maha Sanga. more..

No Confidence Motion against Wiggy: EPRLF

Jan 11 (CT) Former TNA MP and EPRLF leader Premachandran recently stated that there are moves to move a no confidence motion against Northern Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran by certain members of one of the constitutent paties of the TNA. "Former Supreme Court Judge Wigneswaran was elected as the Chief Minister with the consent of all the constituent parties of the TNA coalition. Thus bringing in a no confidence motion by a single party to oust the CM is unacceptable. more..

SL stock regulator warns broker over agent

Jan 11 (EN) SEC has warned, TKS Securities , a regulated stock broker, over the activities of an agent. SEC in letter to TKS said directed it to halt the investment advisory functions of Investor Eye (Pvt) Ltd. Under Sri Lanka's rules, agents are not expected to give investment advice to clients and have to bring them to the brokerage to trade and be given advice if any. Investor Eye had been providing research to its clients at time when some brokers are not giving any research to clients. more..

Gnanasara thero steps down from politics

Jan 11 (CG) BBS General Secretary and candidate at last Parliamentary elections, Galagodaththe Gnanasara thero has stepped down from politics. Gnanasara thero contested Aug 17 Parliamentary elections but lost. He contested under the Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP). BJP is to be renamed to contest the next local govt elections and the party has made a request to Elections Commissioner in this regard. more..

Video: Fan asks Dilshan to retire from cricket

Jan 11 (DM) A Sri Lankan cricket fan, who was at the Eden Park pavilion during the second T20 match against New Zealand yesterday, was overheard asking Sri Lanka cricketer T.M. Dilshan to retire from cricket immediately. Dilshan, who was on his way to the pavilion after Sri Lanka lost the match asked the fan, Are you going to replace me, he responded. New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets, with ten overs to spare, at Eden Park on Sunday to win the two-match Twenty20 series 2-0. more..

Constitution with basic structure that cannot be changed: Kiriella

Jan 11 (DM) Govt is looking towards compiling a Constitution with a basic structure that cannot be changed forever, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. He said that the intention of the govt is to compile a Constitution with a basic structure that cannot be amended even if all 225 members of Parliament vote in favour of such a change. Accordingly, he said no provisions will be provided in the new Constitution to change the Independence of the Judiciary and the Independent Commissions more..

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights here early next month

Jan 11 (CG) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein will be in Sri Lanka early next month. The outgoing UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Subinay Nandy had confirmed this today during a meeting with the Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. During the visit Zeid Al Hussein will discuss several issues including the issue of Internally Displaced Persons still in camps, Nandy had told the Minister. more..

Two-pronged strategy to resolve foremost economic challenge of fiscal imbalance

Jan 12 (ST) The current economic and financial crisis has come about owing to the cumulative impact of successive fiscal deficits over many years. Containing the fiscal deficit to 5% of GDP in 2016 and continuing to reduce it further in the next four years is vital for stabilization of the economy and economic growth. Fiscal consolidation is difficult as the policies needed to increase revenue and reduce expenditure are politically unpopular. They evoke political dissent, protests and opposition. more..