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Tamil leaders reject Mittal’s ‘overpriced’ steel houses for the war-hit

Nov 20 (Hindu) SL’s Tamil leaders have rejected a proposed ArcelorMittal housing project for the war-affected in the North and East, deeming its cost and design unsuitable for the region. In a recent letter to President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, leaders of the TNA — a coalition of political parties representing the island’s Northern Tamils — said they strongly oppose the project. They pointed to “climatic unsuitability, more..

VIP biz delegation from China to check-out tourism potential

Nov 20 (SO) A VIP business delegation from China is expected at the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) at the Hilton Hotel from November 27 to 29. They will also meet President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister John Ameratunga to seek tourism and other investment opportunities. The visit of the delegation, comprising leading investors and hoteliers, has been facilitated by the Centre of Asia Hotel Forum. more..

Jeeps for 56 supervisory MPs run into engine trouble

Nov 20 (ST) A cabinet proposal to provide jeeps for 56 MPs who were appointed to supervise provincial development projects is to be reviewed by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) on a top level directive. The attempt to procure 56 jeeps for these MPs by the Finance Ministry has been suspended following a directive issued by the President on Oct 3 under his observations on a Cabinet Memorandum presented by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Why Ranil wanted Mahinda’s Sino tour sponsored by FM?

Nov 20 (CT) President Sirisena participating at 47th Anniversary of the Public Services United Nurses' Union (PSUNU) held at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium (said the use of given freedom and democracy, to achieve narrow political gains or to spread racism and religious differences, is an obstacle to the future development of the country. He added that the govt is moving forward step by step, towards good governance, more..

A full stop in blood to racism

Nov 20 (CT) Fifth anniversary of Ceylon Today and Mawbima newspapers was celebrated Friday with the launching of an island-wide blood donation campaign that has the additional objective of driving home the message at the end of the day, 'We are all of one blood, in the fight against racism'. The blood donation campaign is being conducted in association with the National Blood Transfusion Centre, Narahenpita. We are ready today to donate that blood in the hope of not only saving lives more..

BBS leader meets Malwathu & Asgiri Prelates

Nov 20 (SO) Ven. Galaboda Aththe Gnasassara thera leader of the controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) met the The Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter of the Siam Sect Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera as well as the Chief Prelate of the Asgiri Chapter of the Siam Sect, Most Ven. Warakagoda Dhammasiddi Pnangananda Gunaratane Thera last night to hand over a letter stating 22 acts or incidents that are being conducted against Buddhism. more..

Constitutional Subcommittees Recommend 13 A+ to PCs

Nov 20 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday submitted to the Constitutional Assembly reports of six Parliamentary Subcommittees on Constitutional Reform. The dominant proposal coming from the Subcommittee on Centre-Periphery Relations for devolution of power beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Recommendations are expected to usher in a Constitutional solution to more..

Harassment of journalists: Inquiries to resume

Nov 20 (SO) Minister Sagala Ratnayake told Parliament yesterday that 13 journalists were killed from January 2006 to January 2015. Responding to a question raised by JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa, the Minister said one journalist had gone missing during that period. He said during this period, 87 journalists had been assaulted and 20 had been taken into custody. Four private media institutions had been attacked five times during the same period and then Govt officials had destroyed more..

Civil society activists, Govt MPs march against corruption

Nov 20 (ST) A collective of civil society activists on Friday held a protest march calling on the Govt to expedite investigations on corruption and ensure that measures are taken to prevent incidents of corruption and bribery. Activist carrying placards marched from Horton Place to the Independence square where they read out a pledge against bribery and corruption. Several Govt Ministers including Champika Ranawaka, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Arjuna Ranatunge and Sarath Fonseka were more..

Sirisena puts SLFP on war footing for local polls next year

Nov 20 (ST) A major effort has been launched by President Maithripala Sirisena to place the SLFP on a virtual war footing. This time, the objectives are multi-pronged. Among the more important one is to gear the party for next year’s local govt and provincial elections. Adding a sense of urgency in this regard is the need to counter the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the new political party associated with more..

Let’s withhold tax payments until MPs pay back defrauded tax on car permits

Nov 21 (CT) State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena on 25th Oct, responding to a question raised by media on MP tax free car permits being sold in the open market said that selling of duty-free car permits made available to them was not a big issue and they had been following that practice for a long time raising money and therefore it was not a contentious matter though it was contrary to the law. When the same question was put to Minister Ravi Karunanayake by more..

Ravaya at 30: Yahapalanaya promises and pitfalls, and Basil’s new party

Nov 21 (Island) Last week Ravaya celebrated its 30th anniversary as a political journal. Celebration at the BMICH was attended by all of the country’s frontline political leaders, who are also partners in the yahapalanaya unity alliance: President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe, TNA leader R. Sampanthan, SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem, and the youngest of the lot - JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. They were all there to praise Ravaya for its long run as a political journal and wish many happy returns. more..

'Budget 2017 is elitist'

Nov 21 (CT) Budget 2017 was created by the elites for the elites, Jaffna based researcher, Ahilan Kadirgamar said stating that the trade and financial liberalization along with privatization propagated by this Budget will take the country towards financial doom. Q: What is your overall view of the Budget? A: I am very concerned about this Budget because this is what you call an austerity Budget. more..

Cheena patas with shock from China

Nov 21 (ST) It was more than a simple Chinese fortune cookie but a crusty message wrapped in a surly snub that was served to Lanka when the Chinese Ambassador held a special press conference to selected journalists on the 1st of this month. In an uncharacteristic move that triggered the foreign office bells to ring, China broke her great wall of diplomatic silence and shoved aside her 5000 year dynastic tradition of taciturnity and public politeness toward a friend to flatter more..

Is this a matter of degree between the bad and the infinitely worse?

Nov 21 (ST) Whatever possessed an undoubtedly bewitched Govt to deputize a senior intelligence official, alleged to have held command responsibility when detainees were severely and systematically tortured, to represent the State before UN Committee against Torture (UNCAT)? One would be hard pressed to find a greater irony than this, per se. UNCAT was sitting this week to examine SL’s periodic report submitted under its normal reporting obligations under CAT. more..

Ascension to mainstream politics : Constructive criticism, JVP’s trademark

Nov 21 (SO) In the Sri Lanka political theatre, JVP, comprising largely the educated youth, mostly unemployed graduates who saw no future for them, took recourse to revolutionary politics. Their two insurrections in 1971 and 1987-89 were clear proof of such revolutionary politics. Generally, they were referred to as frustrated youth, but one school of thought aptly described them as the angry children of 1956. more..

Why MR should have heeded The Island

Nov 21 (CT) “You’re just like your father– nothing was more important to him than the appearance of his articles!” was the gruffly nostalgic remonstrance of Gamini Weerakoon, at the time the Editor of The Island, at the German Reunification Day reception the year my father died, when I asked why my same-day response on Antonio Gramsci (to Malinda Seneviratne) had not appeared the day after I’d sent it. My father Mervyn de Silva, founder-President of the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, more..

Harnessing connectivity

Nov 21 (Island) I’m in Myanmar for a week. I’ve come here two or three times a year since 2014. On my first visit, the best connection to the Internet in Yangon was at the Shangri-La near Sule Pagoda, and that too for an exorbitant price. State telecoms company held the monopoly on SIM cards, which on the black market cost a great deal. And yet, even then, many young people I saw around the city sported Samsung smartphones. I didn’t know what they used it for – calls were expensive, more..

Corrupt Yahapalana ministers

Waterproof septic tanks for improved sanitation and hygiene in Sri Lanka

Nov 21 (RW) Severe floods that hit SL in May 2016 caused toilet-waste to overflow in the streets of urban areas in Colombo and Gampaha districts. In response, ACTED is implementing a 4-month project, funded by UNICEF and entitled Safe excreta disposal for flood-affected households with improved septic tanks, consisting of the installation of waterproof septic tanks, along with soakage pits, in 350 affected households. As a result, beneficiaries will be able to use their latrines again. more..

New luxury properties help increase average hotel room rates

Nov 21 (SO) The opening of more luxury properties helped Sri Lanka’s hotel sector achieve higher daily room rates over the past year, despite stagnant occupancy levels as room inventory rose, research by hotel industry consultancy STR shows. “Sri Lanka’s hotel market recorded strong overall performance growth through September 2016, driven by a sharp increase in average daily rate (ADR),” the study by STR, based in Nashville, Tennessee, in the United States, said. more..

Emergence of breakaway SLPP forces Sirisena to mobilize the party

Nov 21 (ENS) The emergence of the breakaway Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), comprising loyalists of former President Rajapaksa, has forced the current President Sirisena to increase the membership of the SLFP so as to be able to meet the challenge the SLPP is expected to pose in the forthcoming local bodies elections. One of the top leaders of SLPP, Basil Rajapaksa, announced recently, that SLPP would be more..

Editorial: Assassinations and coups

Nov 21 (Island) UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila stirred up a hornets’ nest in Parliament on Saturday. Venting his spleen on the govt as is his wont, he gave President Sirisena some gratuitous advice. The former urged the latter to be wary of ‘friends’ who acted like the proverbial monkey which killed its royal master by striking a fly on him with his own sword. This analogy raised Minister Vijithamuni Zoysa’s hackles, which are, anyway, waiting for the slighted provocation to rise. more..

Tongue-in cheek Budget

Nov 21 (Island) The mountain laboured and brought forth a mouse goes the famous saying. Minister Ravi Karunayakes's pre-budget inspiratory  assurance of a budget that would jolt the people with Holman (Ghosts), proved to be a damp squib and much before the people realised it, some MPs were seen non-plussed, yawning, otherwise pre-occupied or simply dozing ! Such an incoherent budget, the country had not seen. Much of it would have been relevant for a Throne Speech and more..

Rs. 1.5 bil tax bill on Asiri Surgical Hospital

Nov 21 (ST) IRD has slapped Asiri Surgical Hospital with a backdated tax bill of Rs. 1.5 billion for allegedly not complying with key conditions in a BOI agreement under which the hospital was started. At the time of setting up, the hospital had consented to maintain one ward with a minimum of ten beds and an outpatient department for non-paying patients. These two conditions had not been fulfilled, authoritative sources said. more..

No more permits for filling up paddy land

Nov 21 (Island) Commissioner General of the Department of Agrarian Development has, in a fresh circular dated Nov 03, ordered all Deputy and Assistant Commissioners of Agrarian Development that the issuance of permits for filling paddy lands be stopped forthwith. Director General has further directed his subordinates to refrain from forwarding such applications to him for consideration. The circular by the Commissioner General of Agrarian Development has been issued more..

Haphazard Zimbabwe face must-win situation

Nov 21 (CI) In cricket, momentum is a lot like religious faith. Some people believe in it, and some don't, but either way it seems to be part of the general milieu. Another way of putting it could be: whether you believe you can, or you believe you can't, you're probably right. Sri Lanka's momentum will have been dented slightly by their unravelling against West Indies in Harare, and Zimbabwe will believe in themselves a little more after their stunning comeback. more..

Sri Lankan satellite a hoax by MR Govt: Malik

Nov 21 (FT) The much publicised launch of a satellite from SL during the previous Govt turned-out to be a hoax carried out by Rajapakse regime. According to Minister Malik Samarawickrama, the particular company planning to launch the satellite fell short with its investment and no records of a launch have been found. SupremeSat, a company engaged in goods transportation had entered into an agreement with BoI more..

Sri Lankan hotels report sharp growth rates

Nov 21 (FT) Ahead of the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), taking place in Colombo, a study by STR reveals that SL’s hotel market recorded strong overall performance growth through September 2016, driven by a sharp increase in average daily rate (ADR). In year-over-year comparisons with the first nine months of 2015, Sri Lanka hotels reported a 15% increase in ADR to Rs. 15,806.02. Meanwhile, occupancy was relatively flat at 66.4%. more..

Two persons molest Bhikkuni

Nov 21 (DN) Two persons are alleged to have sexually abused a 43-year-old Bhikkuni at Buruthakanda, Embilipitiya. Police arrested one of the suspects. Bhikkuni hailing from the Tissamaharamaya area had lodged a complaint with the Police that she had been abused by the two individuals when she had visited a relative’s house at Buruthakanda. The suspects had allegedly raped the female monk when she was alone at her relative's place. Police are investigating. more..

Sirisena stooge Bopage targets Derana TV

Nov 21 (CT) Controversial Secretary to Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Nimal Bopage, who was found guilty by COPE of multiple charges of corruption when he was the Chairman of NHRDC during former President Rajapaksa’s regime, is now conducting an inquiry against Derana TV. He is facing a fresh crisis over his alleged involvement in a corruption case amounting to Rs.100 million, with more..

'New legislation to manage public debt'

Nov 21 (SO) The Govt hopes to bring in new legislation in the first quarter of next year to manage the entire public debt, running to over Rs. 9 trillion at present, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He said the public debts would be closely monitored and controlled on a day-to-day basis under the new legislation. “Given the complexities and the scale of debt, the task of managing debt is no doubt going to be very challenging in the days to come. The country’s debt management responsibilities more..

Mihin Lanka flies to Rs. 18 b loss in 9 years

Nov 21 (FT) Mihin Lanka has never recorded an annual profit since its inception in 2007 and the accumulated loss as at 31 March 2016 was Rs. 17.27 billion, the budget airline said in a statement. The financial performance for the current year has followed the same trend of losses. For the six-month period ending 30 September 2016, the airline reported a net loss of Rs. 181 million and for the remainder of the financial year it was budgeted to lose a further Rs. 1 billion. more..

Dutch firm ups stakes on Airbus A 350 deal

Nov 21 (ST) The controversial payment of US$ 98 million or more than Rs. 14.5 billion to a Dutch firm for the cancellation of the A 350 aircraft ordered by SriLankan Airlines has run into snags. Dutch firm Aerocap, which had said it had agreed on the low figure of US$ 98 million, is now urging the Govt to fulfil further conditions. One is the insistence that SriLankan Airlines should obtain a second aircraft on lease from the company. more..

S.B. rubbishes Dinesh’s coup remark

Nov 21 (DN) Minister S.B. Dissanayake requested the Opposition not to insult the military by making allegations of a possible coup d’etat. He was referring to the warning by MEP leader, MP Dinesh Gunawardena of a future military takeover. “This unexpected statement of a possible military coup is a very serious one. Govt shall not disregard this as a mere threat and plans to keep a close eye on the matter. Statements such as this is bound to have a negative influence on society. more..

Ex SLT Chief accused of misusing powers

Nov 21 (SL) An investigation has been launched over the misuse of state resources by the former management of Sate owned Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT). Nimal Welgama, Managing Director of a media institution had given the most number of Telecom advertisements to this particular institution whilst holding the Chairmanship of SLT, documents revealed. Minister of Telecommunication Harin Fernando tabled the documents in Parliament after the issue was raised by the JVP. more..

CCD probes into Fashion Bug fire

Nov 21 (DM) CCD has launched an investigation into the fire erupted at Pepiliyana, Boralesgamuwa Fashion Bug store on Saturday night. A special team has been appointed for the investigation based on the complaint lodged by the textile store owners with the Boralesgamuwa Police. CCD would start recording statements from relevant parties and the CCTV footage would be used to investigate the cause of the fire. more..

Evidence on key cases destroyed

Nov 21 (SL) The govt revealed in Parliament that evidence pertaining to some attacks on the media had been destroyed by Jan 8 last year. Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake told Parliament that there was a delay to gather evidence in some cases. He said that investigations related to the murder of the Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda had recommenced after the new govt took office. more..

Video: One shot dead, one injured in Kandy

Nov 21 (DM) One person was killed and another injured when unidentified gunmen in a car opened fired near Babaliyagolla mosque in Ankumbura, Kandy. The victims were waiting on the side of the road near the mosque when the incident occurred. The injured were admitted to the Kandy Hospital and one of them succumbed to his injuries while undergoing treatment. Gunmen had fled the scene but the police arrested one suspect, a 30-year-old Mohammad Ali who is a resident of Kandy, more..

Video: MR cries foul over media repression

Nov 21 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa condemned the unity Govt for alleged media repression. “Media repression is now a cornerstone of this Govt’s policy. Not a day goes by without a major demonstration against the Govt. Govt is avoiding holding the long overdue LG elections due to the fear of defeat. They are now trying to intimidate and control the media so as to prevent the people from being informed about more..