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Former TNA MP Piyasena granted bail by HC

Nov 21 (DN) Former Digamadulla District TNA parliamentarian Podiappuhamy Piyasena who has spent over three months in custody for allegedly misusing a vehicle belonging to the Prime Minister’s Office was today granted bail by the Colombo High Court. High Court Judge Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne made the order taking into consideration a revision petition filed by former MP challenging the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court order to refuse bail on several occasions. more..

Video: Rs.25,000 fine for 7 traffic offences

Nov 21 (AD) The fines for six traffic violations including drunk driving will be increased to Rs.25,000. Chairman of the Lanka Private Bus Owners Association, Gemunu Wijeratne, said they also agreed to this following a meeting held with Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva & Ravi Karunanayake.  Earlier, Private bus operators threatened to strike urging to withdraw the proposal to increase minimum fine for traffic offences more..

China, SL at loggerheads over interest rates

Nov 21 (AT) While the world focused on Donald Trump’s shocking victory at the US Presidential Election, another global superpower was at loggerheads with tiny Sri Lanka after a senior minister in SL govt accused China of lending money to the island nation at much higher interest rates than the accepted lending rates. Sparks have been flying since the beginning of November between SL’s Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang, more..

SI killing: Police offers cash reward for information

Nov 21 (DM) Police today announced a cash reward for information that could lead to the arrest of a suspect wanted in connection with the shooting incident in which a Sub Inspector was killed and two Constables were injured at Maspotha, Kurunegala on Nov 15. Police released a photograph of the second suspect, holding two NICs with the names of Kandegeralage Chamila Madushanka (802436939v) residing in Pannipitiya and Jalan Chaminda (812431935V) in Kottawa.   more..

Shuttlers requested to seek funding to participate at World Junior Championships

Nov 21 (DM) Breaching all norms and guidelines set out by Ministry of Sports and Ministry of Education, SL Badminton Federation (SLBA) has charged close to Rs. 200,000 from each player that represented Sri Lanka at the BWF World Junior Championships and the World Junior Mixed Team Championships held from Nov 1-13 in Spain. This was done despite the Ministry of Sports footing the bill for air passage to send 16 athletes, more..

Oh how our politicians sprout wings

Nov 22 (ST) So it came to pass – though it is still to be finally passed of course – that Minister Ravi Karunanayake presented what he called a budget for the people. He was only half right. It was a budget for some people – or so it is said. Former president Rajapaksa thought it was a budget meant to appease foreigners. What is wrong with that? If you are after foreign money you have to give them something to show that you are 24-carat genuine and there are no scams, bond or otherwise, more..

One newspaper page of fearful horror

Nov 22 (SO) This feline opened her newspaper on Thursday 17 November morning and was pelted with hail stones of horror. If you disbelieve her just continue reading. You will then understand it was a vicious shower of evil stories that stunned her genteel sensibilities. Truth to tell anyone, even rougher hide skinned persons would be shocked since it shows the state of this land of ours. The list starts with the most horrendous to Menika, if not to others. more..

Road rules and traffic fines

Nov 22 (SO) Since the second reading of the Appropriation Bill in Parliament last week, much debate has taken place among the public regarding the various proposals in the budget speech by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. While reactions to the many proposals were mixed, among them was one that prompted unions related to the transport industry to call for strikes, as a sign of protest, and was arguably, most controversial more..

Torture (and Empathy)

Nov 22 (CT) The following arises from the furore caused by sending one Mr. Sisira Mendis, a senior police officer, to attend an international conference on torture because, it is alleged, Mr Mendis was a torturer himself. As one Pentheus (Sorrowful) responded in Colombo Telegraph, if to a conference on banking we send out best bankers, then it’s logical that to a conference on torture we send our best torturers. (There’s also the fear that the in-coming American President, more..

Tamils succeeding from Jaffna: A star in the dark skies

Nov 22 (CT) Having returned to Sri Lanka to settle for the third time, I cannot help wondering if Sri Lanka is really ready for progress. Signs were good, but not any more. The promised reforms have stalled. There are still signs of a police state and the Human Rights Commission confirms continued use of torture. Real estate is rising in value slowly compared to the rest of the country, driving Tamil investors to invest outside the North. Jaffna’s youth are satiated by luxurious lives more..

Saint is speaking; please listen: Cabraal bought lands in US & Brazil: Ravi K.

Nov 22 (CT) Finance Minister Sandresh Ravindra Karunanayake was sitting cool as a cucumber in the salubrious climes of his Parliamentary complex office attired in black lounge and a blue and gold tie, an embodiment of his Royal College, Colombo 7 colours, enjoying the rhetoric and the repartee of the 2017 Budget debate from his office television, unruffled by the parry and thrust, which ensued thereon. more..

Privatising profit making state assets

Nov 22 (Island) With the advent of the free economy way back in 1977, a large number of profit making state institutions were privatised by the then UNP government. Selling state properties in the guise of privatisation resulted only in a colossal loss to the country and destroyed the indigenous Sri Lankan industries. That only benefitted a few businessmen who started importing the commodities which had earlier been manufactured in Sri Lanka. Those private entrepreneurs ruined more..

Editorial: Scribes as scapegoats

Nov 22 (Island) A bad workman’s tools and the media have one thing in common; they get blamed for others’ failures. Rajapaksa govt vilified its critics as traitors and the present administration brands all dissenters racists. PM launched into a tirade against the media the other day in Parliament as usual. He is apparently under the impression that the raison d’être of the media is to devise ways and means of scuttling the govt’s efforts to achieve what it described as national reconciliation. more..

Bimal Ratnayake

Basil throws a spanner in the works of Mahinda loyalists

Nov 22 (SO) The Sri Lankan diplomatic service, once hailed as one of the best in the world, sunk to disastrous proportions when the Rajapaksa family was in power for nearly a decade. During the second term of Rajapaksa’s presidency, the External Affairs Ministry was run by a PM named Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, who was appointed as a Monitoring MP to the ministry. Prof G.L. Peiris, Rajapaksa’s ineffectual External Affairs Minister, only functioned as a rubber stamp, more..

The proof of the budget is in the implementation of it

Nov 22 (ST) By reducing the fiscal deficit to 4.7% of GDP the 2017 Budget has taken a significant step towards fiscal consolidation that is imperative for macroeconomic stability and sustained economic growth. This reduction in the fiscal deficit is a significant improvement from fiscal deficits of 7.4% in 2015 and an estimated 5.4% in 2016. The lower deficit is expected to be achieved by an increase in govt revenue to 15.5% of GDP from 13% of GDP in 2015. more..

'Smart thinking has to come to execute better'

Nov 22 (CI) SL Cricket's newly appointed women's team head coach Hemantha Devapriya is confident that the team will improve despite suffering their second successive series whitewash in the recently-concluded series against England. "England are one of the leading sides in the top bracket in women's cricket. Although we lost to a strong side, the girls gave 100% and I can see some improvement," he said. more..

Athletics put on road to glory

Nov 22 (NS) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has realised that athletes need to come under the watchful eyes of a foreign coach if they are to win medals once again. It is about time that SL athletes won at foreign competitions as they did in the past. Our athletes brought home medals from the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, but that was some time ago. Most of these medals were won at the SAF Games, but of recent times athletes have failed to bring medals more..

Heavy rain, wet outfield forces abandonment

Nov 22 (CI) A heavy thunderstorm and a damp outfield forced the abandonment of the fourth game of the tri-series after just 13.3 overs in Bulawayo. Despite overnight rain and overcast conditions, Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer chose to bat again. A few minutes after the toss, a drizzle turned heavier to delay the start by seven minutes. The Zimbabwe openers had begun in sprightly fashion despite substantial lateral movement for Sri Lanka's seamers. more..

Illicit love affairs, stealing mangoes & wooing the girls: Life was a ball at Bamba flats

Nov 22 (ST) At the Bamba Flats – The wolf whistles were long and approving. The long-legged pretty girls walking by in their mini-skirts didn’t mind it. They just loved the extra-attention which added more spring to the step and flounce in the hip. Tony Martyn and his friends were all spellbound, caught in a thrall of admiration. Life was good in the 60s at the Bamba Flats (in Colombo 4 bordering Galle Road and Marine Drive). more..

Mihin Lanka clarifies inaccurate financial reports publicised by several media outlets

Nov 22 (Island) With reference to several media reports on the financial performance of Mihin Lanka, the airline wishes to clarify its position. Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., was incorporated 27th October 2006 pursuant to Sec 15 (1) of Companies Act No. 17 of 1982 and re-registered under the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007 on 6th July 2007. The airline commenced operations in April 2007 with 2 wet-leased narrow bodied aircraft, initially operating to several regional destinations. more..

FIFA green-light for FFSL stadium project

Nov 22 (ST) The world football governing body, FIFA, has responded positively to a request made by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) to build a fully-fledged stadium, which will be a first-ever in the country. FIFA, granting the green light for the project means that FFSL will get its first fully-owned ground with other facilities in Sri Lanka’s football history of 77 years. Since 1998 through different projects FFSL has done many ground development projects, but more..

Why Jaliya was taken from airport to jail

Nov 22 (ST) Jaliya Wickremasuriya, SL’s former Ambassador to US, turned up at the BIA in the early hours of Thursday. He was bound for the US, where he has lived for many years. He was unaware that the previous day, FCID detectives had obtained a court order to arrest him. Armed with that order, they had advised the Homagama Police to visit Mr. Wickremasuriya’s residence at Katuwana and request him to report to FCID hq. more..

Duty free tender all at sea?

Nov 22 (FT) The delay and confusion over the tenders for duty free business in the BIA has caused concern. The duty free tenders for BIA were floated by Airport & Aviation Services in May. Tenders were submitted and the price bids were reportedly opened in the first week of July.  Both the current operators were given extensions till mid-December to ensure continuity of the service at the airport. The tenders have reportedly attracted five responsive bids by leading global duty free operators. more..

Apparel exporters give thumbs up for budget

Nov 22 (DM) The apparel sector, the country’s leading export industry, praised the 2017 budget for being progressive, but came down strongly against the decision to remove the Simplified Value Added Tax (SVAT) programme. “The recent budget presented by the Finance Minister is based on an inclusive growth model, and the budget is aimed on a path to fiscal consolidation, which is commendable,” SL Apparel Exporters Association Outgoing Chairman Saifuddin Jafferjee said. more..

Witness in Tamil smuggling trial testifies about connections to terrorist group

Nov 22 (VS) A Crown witness at the trial of four men charged with smuggling hundreds of Tamil migrants into Canada testified Monday that he initially denied he had helped the Tamil Tigers terrorist group out of fear it would jeopardize his refugee claim. Sasikumar Kanthappillai was one of 492 Sri Lankan Tamils who were aboard the MV Sun Sea when the rickety vessel arrived off the B.C. coast in 2010 more..

U.S. Embassy empowers Youth to improve local communities

Nov 22 (USE) Embassy of United States is awarding approximately LKR 9,000,000 to eight civil society organizations as part of the Embassy’s annual Youth Empowerment Grants program.  This initiative supports innovative, small-scale projects to nurture civil society groups helping Sri Lankan youth. “From raising environmental awareness to providing leadership training, promoting gender equality to advancing the rights of marginalized communities, U.S. Embassy is proud to support more..

Mackwoods and Directors emerge victorious against Nirmali Samaratunga in Court

Nov 22 (FT) Justice Shiran Gunarathne of the Commercial High Court of Colombo dismissed the case filed by Nirmali Samaratunga regarding the sale of shares in Agalawatte Plantations by Mackwoods Plantations Ltd. The case was filed against, among others, Mackwoods Ltd., Mackwoods Plantations, and its Directors including Dr. Chris Nonis and Shelendra Nonis. The sale of such shares took place in the midst of a bitter dispute between family members who are more..

Jaffna becomes a Sister City of Sterling Heights, United States

Nov 22 (FT) A resolution has been passed by Sterling Heights City Council to establish a Sister City partnership with Jaffna on 1 Nov. Jaffna is the capital city for northern province of SL. City of 88,000 residents, Jaffna has a rich cultural history dating back many centuries. Sterling Heights is a city in Macomb County of US State of Michigan, and one of Detroit’s core suburbs. As of 2010 census, city had a population of 129,699. more..

1050 buried IDs found

Nov 22 (DM) About 1050 national and company Identity cards were recovered from Beminiyanwala in Ambalantota this evening while digging the ground in an irrigation reserve with a backhoe, police said. They said the Identity cards were found packed in a polythene bag and buried in the irrigation reserve land. Many of the IDs are illegible and the photographs are unrecognisable, but several others can be identified as belonging to residents of the Mamadala, Beminiyanwala, more..

SL researcher in US wins top int'l award

Nov 22 (Island) Dr. Tissa Illangasekare of Colorado School of Mines was awarded the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Int'l Prize for Water by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently. Dr. Illangasekare is the AMAX Endowed Chairman of Environmental Sciences and Engineering department and professor of Civil Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Prince Khaled Abdulaziz and Saudi Ambassador to UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi presided over award ceremony. more..

Deal firmly with extremists: PM tells police

Nov 22 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremsinghe requested police to act firmly against extremists and to thwart their efforts and stabilise national unity in the country. “Good Governance Govt has worked to establish national unity since President Sirisena was elected the President. We all have a right to take pride over our race and religion whether we be Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher or Malay,” he said. more..

CB welcomes IMF program continuity

Nov 22 (FT) Central Bank said the approval of the latest tranche from the IMF and continuity of the Extended Fund Facility program augurs well for the medium term future of the country. “Continuation of the EFF would help the country boost market confidence, enhance competitiveness, strengthen external resilience and improve macroeconomic stability, thereby supporting the achievement of medium term growth trajectory,” said CB, following IMF’s release of $ 162.6 m under the EFF. more..

Mahinda to China for International support

Nov 22 (CT) A special delegation, including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left for China at dawn yesterday to obtain international support for SL Podujana Peramuna Party (SLPP), which was launched under the Chairmanship of G.L. Peiris. Since foreign countries have promised support to build up future activities of the new political party, the SLPP, a group including Rajapaksa, G.L. Peiris and Lohan Ratwatte left for China on a special invitation from Chinese Govt. more..

Viagra dominates morning session

Nov 22 (Island) The use and non-use of viagra by MPs dominated yesterday’s morning live telecast of parliamentary proceedings on the state-run Eye channel with actor-turned politician Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake insisting members shouldn’t gratify their carnal desires at the expense of the President’s Fund. He said that he didn’t mind it as long as public funds weren’t involved. more..

Vasu’s wife advisor to MR for ten years

Nov 22 (Island) UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara admitted in Parliament that his wife had been working at the Presidential Secretariat as an adviser during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa for ten years. Nanayakkara said she had possessed the required qualifications to receive such a position. He also said his wife had received the said position because he was a Minister. "The granting of a ministerial post to me should have been questioned first," he said. more..

PM to scrap Cabinet sub-committee on FCID

Nov 22 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that he would abolish the cabinet sub-committee that established the FCID. Responding to a question raised by UPFA MP Keheliya Rambukwella, the PM said the Cabinet subcommittee had not met for nearly one year and, therefore, it would be abolished. MP Rambukwella said the Cabinet had appointed a cabinet subcommittee which later established the FCID. FCID received instructions from the PM. more..

Constitutional panel recommends grant of powers over land and police to provinces

Nov 22 (ENS) Constitutional Assembly’s sub-committee on Center-Provincial relations has recommended that the provinces be granted powers over land and police; that the powers of provincial Governor be drastically pruned, and that there be a fair allocation of financial resources to the provinces along with powers to decide how to spend the money. As a matter of fact, 13th Amendment carried out in 1987 following India-SL Accord, more..

Duplicate Bandu charge sheeted for imitating Original Bandu

Nov 22 (CT) The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) yesterday filed legal action in the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court, against Janaka Kumara Bothelegama, who resembles popular comedy star Bandu Samarasinghe, for having allegedly appeared in movies under the name of the latter and selling the DVD copies for financial gain. The CCD also charged four others under the Intellectual Properties Act, where it is alleged that Bandu Samarasinghe's fundamental rights had been infringed. more..

‘New Constitution will be a leader in FR in region’

Nov 22 (DN) SL’s new Constitution will be a leader in fundamental rights in the region in the event it encompasses the recommendations on fundamental rights submitted to the Constitutional Council, Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said. A member of the committee on fundamental rights, he has made the remark in an interview with BBC. PM on Nov 19 submitted to the Constitutional Council the reports of six subcommittees tasked with making recommendations for a new Constitution. more..