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Sri Lanka’s messy vehicle valuation system creates confusion once again

Jan 16 (ST) SL’s messy vehicle valuation system is creating confusion once again following the decision taken by the newly appointed Director General of Customs (DGC) Chulananda Perera to release 189 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TRJ jeeps which were earlier detained at the Hambantota port by Customs Central Investigation Directorate (CCID). According to the CCID, reason for the detention was the failure by the respective vehicle importers to declare the true transaction value more..

Sri Lanka’s Circuitous Road to Reform

Jan 16 (TD) Sri Lanka has seen significant political drama over the past 12 months. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the previous president who ruled for a decade was unexpectedly defeated during last January’s presidential election. Voters reiterated their desire for change during August polls, though Rajapaksa still won a seat in parliament. Current President Sirisena, a former member of Rajapaksa’s cabinet, promised bold reforms and has taken a few steps in right direction. more..

Is Harbhajan bringing Ponzi money?

Jan 16 (NS) India’s veteran cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh could be facing investigators probing Indian Rupees 4.5 billion (Nearly SLR 10 billion) Pearls Group ponzi scheme. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is preparing a list of celebrities who were involved with the scheme that duped crores of gullible investors. Yuvraj and Harbhajan allegedly received plots of lands in Mohali as gifts. more..

Lessons from Lanka

Jan 16 (Dawn) In drawing rooms across Pakistan, the chattering classes often bemoan the antics of our politicians. For them, the only solution to our flawed democracy is a benevolent dictatorship. Been there, done that. Many times over, in fact. But despite the repeated failure of our self-proclaimed Saladins, this yearning for a strong leader, preferably in uniform, never ends. Each time a long dictatorial innings begins with promises to clean up the system and usher in a period of more..

Chamber expresses serious concerns

Jan 16 (NS) President of the National Chamber of Commerce, Thilak Godamanna last week said the NCC is seriously concerned of tariff liberalization programme and the preparation list of the parties under the existing Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement but would like to discuss the business aspects of the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka. “It is now very clear that Indo-Sri Lanka FTA signed on December 28, 1998 will be more..

Sexual comments irk women MPs

Jan 16 (NS) All MPs have been reportedly advised by the highest authorities in Govt and political parties they represent to uphold the best level of moral discipline within the precincts of Parliament at all times, highly placed govt sources disclosed. This follows representations made by several women Members in the House to the authorities that they felt embarrassed by certain comments and actions of older male MPs. more..

CPC Probing In-House Lubricant Fraud?

Jan 16 (CT) An investigation has been launched by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to determine why unwarrantedly high prices have been paid for the purchase of substandard lubricant oil in the recent past. According to General Secretary of JSS, lubricant oil purchases began in 2009, and large stocks of those imports remain in stock because they could not be disposed of at reasonable rates since they were purchased at a higher than average market price. more..

Sluggish export performance needs urgent attention: Experts

Jan 16 (SO) Policy makers should pay urgent attention to stimulate export growth which has been sluggish for over a year, trade experts said. Cumulative trade deficit as at end Oct 2015 increased by 2.5% mainly due to subdued export performance as a result of depressed global demand. Earnings from exports at US$ 847.3 million in Oct 2015 declined by 6%, year-on-year, reflecting lower earnings from exports of all major categories mainly due to weak global demand. more..

New Constitution: SLFP, Joint Joint Opposition reach consensus

Jan 16 (Island) The Joint Opposition comprising about 50 UPFA members and the SLFP group in the govt are in the process of finalising an agreement on govt efforts to frame a new Constitution. MP Keheliya Rambukwelle said that they had been closely working on the issue for over a week. He said the SLFP and the Joint Opposition had agreed that the resolution should be consistent with Article 86.1 of the 1978 Constitution. more..

MR hints at state level blackmail using police

Jan 16 (Island) Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that six members of the Joint Opposition were about to be interrogated by the CID in a bid to coerce them into toeing the govt line. Rajapaksa, however, also said there were about two joint opposition MPs with one foot already in the govt and there was no point in trying to retain them. "Many of those who crossed over to the ruling party were the ones who had been helped by me when they were in difficulties." Rajapaksa said. more..

Two laymen and monk arrested

Jan 16 (DN) Two persons who allegedly attempted to cause sexual harassment on a German lady on beach at Thalalla in the Gandara Police area, were arrested by Gandara Police together with a young Buddhist monk who allegedly videoed the incident using a mobile phone on Thursday. The suspects had made an indecent approach towards one of two German ladies aged 54 and 43. One suspect is 17 years while the other is 64 years. German ladies, noticing video filming of drama had snatched more..

Avant Garde boss paid Rs 3.1 bn to govt in 3 years, claim lawyers

Jan 16 (Island) PRECIFAC has been informed that Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) paid Rs. 3.1 bn to the govt of Sri Lanka during 2012-2014 period. The AGMS provided security to foreign vessels and allied services. President Sirisena last year intervened to hand over the operation to the Navy against the backdrop of accusations that AGMS had exploited its close relationship with previous govt to make profits more..

JVP issues warning against legislating for Buddhist monks to be controlled

Jan 16 (Island) JVP-led monks threatened to launch street protests with other bhikkhus if the govt went ahead with what they called unnecessary laws to control the Maha Sangha. General Secretary of the JVP affiliated National Bhikkhu Front (NBF) Wakamulle Uditha Thera said the govt should make laws to maintain the discipline of politicians especially in the ruling party before worrying about disciplining Buddhist monks. He said the UNP govts throughout history had harboured more..

Civil society gives govt ultimatum

Jan 16 (CT) Most of the civil society groups which were instrumental in the setting up of the current regime have decided to issue their final warning to the govt on its perceived failure to file legal action against any MP of the previous govt on charges of fraud and corruption. These civil society groups have stated that if the govt fails to apprehend any of those found guilty of fraud and corruption before 4 Feb this year, they will take to the streets with the masses in a massive protest march. more..

Cabinet Door Closed

Jan 16 (NS) Though over 20 SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition in parliament have had discussions with the top rung in the Maithri-Ranil Govt to cross over and support govt, President and PM had told them that the numbers in the Cabinet of Ministers would not be expanded at any cost as it violates the 19th amendment, highly placed govt sources said. The two leaders had conveyed to these MPs that a few vacancies exists in more..

Editorial: More leeches

Jan 16 (Island) Somebody has likened politicians to tortoises resting on fence posts. They cannot reach such heights without people’s help as is common knowledge. It is also people who have to bring them down. But, in this country, the creatures so elevated are deified! However, one may consider this analogy an affront to the poor tortoises in that they never harm humans. Politicians sponging off people, in our book, bear many similarities to leeches. Disturbing news came recently about a govt move to more..

After Islamic fundamentalism?

Jan 16 (Island) In recent articles I have tried to establish that there is no nexus between Islam and terrorism, or between fundamentalism and terrorism, and I have also written about the widespread Islamophobic campaign to spread prejudice and hatred towards Islam. Each of those articles may seem valid to the reader but he may yet wonder whether, after all, I am not indulging in Islamic apologetics. I seem to be blaming the ills of the Islamic world on Islamophobic outsiders more..

Wither media freedom?

Jan 16 (SL) A vibrant democracy needs independent and impartial media – especially in this day of digital age. An independent media can only thrive if the freedom of journalists and media personnel to investigate and report facts in compliance with professional standards without outside influence while protecting editorial independence is guaranteed. However, at any level what matters for a newspaper at the end is to more..

Can we control a murderous rage?

Jan 16 (ST) Mahesh Niranjan, 36, was hanging around in front of a house in the Kimbulawala area in Pitigala on Thursday night when two men stabbed him dead. He succumbed to his wounds upon admission to the Elpitiya Hospital. The two suspects, who were also injured in the attack, were treated at the same hospital under police security. In a another incident on the same day, Unsolved Crimes Investigation Unit of more..

All’s not well on reconstructed Northern Line

Jan 16 (ST) A curious advertisement appeared in local newspapers in the first quarter of last year. It invited expressions of interest for repairing building cracks and carrying out waterproofing treatment for various railway station buildings in the Northern Provine of Sri Lanka. The party that published the notice was Ircon International Limited, a Govt of India Company that had re-constructed the Northern railway line. more..

Unemployed graduates step up agitation after PM office talks fail

Jan 16 (Island) Unemployed graduates who met PM Ranil Wickremesinghe last month have resumed thier protests, claiming that the PM’s office has failed to solve the problem so far. Convener of the Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates (CAUG) Dammika Munasinghe said that their sathyagraha in the Kandy town, demanding permanent employment in the public sector, had reached the 9th day yesterday. more..

Prices of imported vehicles soar by Rs 500,000 to Rs 1.2 mn each unit

Jan 16 (Island) Speedily appreciating major foreign currencies against the dollar are likely to push up the prices of imported motor vehicles by around Rs. 500,000 to 1.2 million each unit, Motor Vehicle Importers’ Association of Sri Lanka chairman Indika Merenchige said. "The US dollar is deprecating in Japan resulting in the price of a Japanese Yen increasing. more..

Tamil leaders opposed when Sinhalese leaders proposed federalism

Jan 16 (DBS) Political developments in SL during post–independence years has devalued the concept of power sharing through federal idea. Each major ethnicity has viewed the question suspiciously through its particular prism. SL Sinhala patriots think introduction of federalism will ultimately lead to division of the Country. Tamil Eelam Tamil patriots think federalism is a ruse to weaken Tamil nationalist aspirations for a separate state. more..

Ministry, legal experts discuss slight change to international shipping route

Jan 16 (DN) Sustainable Development and Wildlife Ministry is discussing with legal experts for a slight change to the international shipping route off the Mirissa sea that will not cause a hindrance to the Blue Whale Watching sites, said Deputy Minister Sumeda G. Jayasena. She said Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera is having discussions with legal experts regarding a slight alteration in more..

Muthurajawela oil spill: MEPA to sue CPSTL

Jan 16 (DN) Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) will sue Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Limited (CPSTL) next week demanding compensation for the environmental damage caused by the Muthurajawela oil spill, MEPA General Manager Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara said. The critical damage assessment from the oil spill discovered on Dec 31 has already been completed. more..

'Colombo port city project to resume'

Jan 16 (CD) The green light has been given to the delayed Colombo Port City project, the Sri Lankan ambassador to China confirmed on Friday. A financial hub connecting South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East is expected to be set up in the Colombo Port City, said Karunasena Kodituwakku, Sri Lankan ambassador to China. The $1.4 billion urban complex project will cover 233 hectares adjoining the Port of Colombo. more..

Docs continue to protest against PMC

Jan 16 (Island) Alleging that Health Minister, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne and Ministry Secretary, Anura Jayawickrama had violated the Medical Council Ordinance in agreeing to provide clinical training to students of the Malabe, Private Medical College, GMOA warned it would take legal action against them. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Naveen Soysa said that duo had flouted the Ordinance by agreeing in court to provide clinical training more..

Harvest of goodwill for national unity

Jan 16 (DM) At high-noon in Jaffna yesterday, the National Thai Pongal festival turned out to be of deep significance for the rebuilding of a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural unity in diversity. Among those present at the Veerasingham Hall ceremony were Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Britain’s visiting Deputy Foreign Minister Hugo Swire, cabinet ministers, former President Chandrika Kumarathunge and Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran. more..

For Maithri-Ranil duo, it’s one down, two on

Jan 16 (SL) In a nation, where astrology and superstitions take precedence over policies and programmes in politics and political administration, the phrase one down, two on may read inauspicious. But as the ruling duo of President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe move on from the first year in office to the second, in what still remains a five-year term, it’s a reminder that they have miles to go in the next four years, which could move in a jiffy as their first year in office has done already. more..

Is UNP SLFP Cohabitation Destined to end

Jan 16 (DM) The initiative for constitution making did not take passage through Parliament last Tuesday because the debate was adjourned till January 26. The Govt, comprising the UNP and a segment of the SLFP, intended to adopt it on January 9 at a special parliamentary session to initiate the process of evolving a new Constitution to coincide with the first anniversary of President Maitripala Sirisena in office. more..

Limiting human rights of buddhist monks!

Jan 16 (CT) Minster gayantha karunathilaka has said to have proposed a bill to curb a number of human rights enjoyed by one section of the SL public who are eligible to vote – namely, the Buddhist monks. For instance, they are to be denied the right to drive a motorized vehicle while other voters as well as ordained members of other religions are not subject to such a limitation. An even more bizarre piece of proposed legislation is to prevent them from engaging in occult! more..

SL Shipping buys tug, eyes niche businesses

Jan 16 (EN) Sri Lanka Shipping Co. Ltd said it has bought a new 75 ton bollard pull tug to serve Colombo port or regional ports as part of a change in business strategy to get into niche sectors. The company expects its first harbour tug to be in position in Colombo this month. “The primary objective is to serve Port of Colombo, failing which we shall position her in the Middle East or Port Qasim in Pakistan who had already indicated a requirement for a 75 ton Bollard Pull tug,” more..


Demonising Constitutional changes: The pot calling the kettle black

Jan 16 (DM) Sri Lanka has a long history of its efforts to find a solution to the protracted ethnic problem and to the problems emanating from the much hated Executive Presidency and the Proportional Representation system introduced by the Second Republican Constitution of 1978. The interesting aspect of this history has been that when the ruling party of the day attempted to explore a solution to any of these problems the other main party smartly discovered a link between more..

Thoughts on resolution to form a constitutional assembly

Jan 16 (CT) Thank you, Presiding Member, for the opportunity to speak on this historic occasion. I say historic, because we have a Resolution before the House that has been signed by the Honorable PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Hon. Nimal Sripala De Silva on behalf of the SLFP, Hon. Lakshman Kiriella Leader of the House, Hon. Rauff Hakeem the Leader of the SLMC, Hon. Malik Samarawickrama, Hon. D.M Swaminathan, Hon. Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Hon. Champika Ranawaka more..

Stagnant lives of the Meeriyabadda landslide victims

Jan 16 (DM) Victims of any natural disaster are in a state of shock, panic, stressed out and helpless. They live with trauma. Women and children are often vulnerable in this context and face many discomforts, especially those relating to sanitary facilities and living conditions. In an attempt to find out what life is like in the aftermath of a natural disaster, the Daily Mirror spoke to victims of the Meeriyabadda landslide. more..

Parties to parley on new constitution to reach consensus

Jan 16 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday said there would be a series of consultations among political parties pertaining to amendments proposed to the government resolution on the constitution making process. He said a consensus had to be reached before Parliament met again on Jan. 26. The govt presented its resolution to parliament on Jan. 9. Although a special session was held on Jan. 12, there had been no understanding, Jayasuriya said. more..

6000 year grains unearthed during excavations

Jan 16 (DM) A team of researchers from the Archaeological Faculty of the Kelaniya University lead by Prof. Raj Somadewa has discovered a kind of grains of more than 6000 years during excavations on the Ilukkumbura area in Balangoda which was the seat of an ancient civilization. Prof, Somadewa said it was evident that the staple diet of the earliest inhabitants of the county comprised of rice, herbs and fruits. He pointed out that the kind of paddy he discovered had evolved into more..

Air Force Chief’s convoy secretly filmed

Jan 16 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya Thursday ordered the Cinnamon Gardens Police to launch an investigation into the incident in which a former Lieutenant of the SL Air Force is alleged to have photographed the official motorcade of the Air Force Commander recently. Air Corporal Shan Amila Karunasena who serves in the alongside motorcycle convoy for the Air Force Commander has lodged a complaint more..

Multi-million free Air Travel sprees

Jan 16 (CT) Secretary of PRECIFAC Lacille de Silva said that the Commission will shortly be summoning a few MPs concerning the alleged misuse of aircraft including helicopters belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force, during the tenure of the former govt. It is reliably understood that an MP who is alleged to have misused such aircraft and choppers has got a refund of a sum of Rs 50 million in connection with such flights, forcing the investigators to make a fresh probe. more..