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Wiggie extends olive branch to South

Nov 23 (FT) An unusually amicable Northern CM yesterday extended a proverbial olive branch to the southern people to initiate a dialogue with the people of north. The otherwise vocal TNA politician C. V. Wigneswaran claimed that the people of the north are largely misunderstood and misrepresented. To avoid further misunderstanding between the people of the south and the north, and to dispel any doubts about northern people, more..

Public funds splashed for Mahinda’s jumbo delegations

Nov 23 (SL) UN General Assembly is considered as one of the most prestigious events in the entire world, where almost all the nations gather to strengthen their relationships with each other as well as to discuss international issues. However, the annual tour for the UNGA has become quite a considerable expense to Sri Lanka in recent years. ormer govt had spent more than 10 Million Rupees per person in its delegation to UNGA. more..

Toddy tapping, a traditional Sri Lankan Job, faces extinction

Nov 23 (GPJ) Before he climbs a coconut tree, Sunil, 58, honors the tools of his trade: a heavy mallet made from the pith of a tamarind tree and a sharp, curved knife that he tucks into a basket that is strapped around his thin waist. He also worships the coconut tree, clasping both hands together in prayer just before he pulls himself up its trunk. The prayer is for safety for what’s about to happen—perilous journey in the sky, he says. more..

US Marines train recently formed SLN Marine Corps

Nov 23 (NNS) U.S. Marines and Sailors of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked aboard amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25) arrived in Trincomalee, for a theater security cooperation (TSC) exchange with the SL navy, marine corps, Nov 23-25. The military exchange will focus on enhancing relationships between the two naval services, and honing basic military skills more..

Video: People in North can celebrate Maaveerar Naal without mentioning LTTE

Nov 23 (DM) Minister Mano Ganesan said that people in the North could celebrate Maaveerar Naal (Heroes Day) without mentioning the name of the LTTE, as it was a proscribed organisation. He said it was a human right for people to be able to celebrate their late loved ones, but added that it was wrong to do it with a political motive. He said JVP also celebrate Il Maha Viru Samaruwa in the South to commemorate their heroes. more..

State Finance Minister defends sale MPs’ duty free permits

Nov 23 (Island) State Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena strongly defended the right of MPs to raise funds through the sale of their duty-free vehicle permits. He explained that members of parliament couldn’t manage political activities on their own and that was the reason for unorthodox method of raising funds. The Matara District MP said members had enjoyed that privilege since Chandrika Kumaratunga’s presidency. more..

Bank officials hit out at proposed financial sector taxes

Nov 23 (ST) Last week the financial institutions that deal with cash transactions said that the proposals for the banking centre in the 2017 Budget will have a negative effect on its customer base with less people using the bank for financial transactions. Seylan Bank, payment card industry association, Chairman, Jayanath Dias said that the decision to charge Rs. 5 on every Rs.10,000 transacted by people through financial institutions will more..

JO lodges bribery complaint against Malik

Nov 23 (DM) Joint Opposition lodged a complaint against Minister Malik Samarawickrama with the Bribery Commission today for allegedly misusing Mahapola funds amounting to Rs. 1 billion. The complaint is the third in the series of Top Ten Yahapalana Mega Thieves initiative of the JO. Earlier, the JO lodged complaints against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake more..

Helmetless riding encouraged

Nov 23 (CT) An often heard surmise is that the cause for the increase in road accidents is not necessarily an increase in motor-vehicles, but due to indiscipline. Indiscipline is a perceptible cancer running through the social fabric of this country. It's amazing that this is so, particularly in the context that this island boasts of a 2,500 years old civilization. It's one of the oldest civilizations of this world; surpassed only by the Mohenjodaro-Harappa civilizations of India, more..

Sri Lanka crop insurance held back by farmer ignorance, lack of data

Nov 23 (EN) Although some crop insurance programmes are available in Sri Lanka, many farmers are unaware of its benefits or how to use it; and the lack of weather data is a stumbling block for index-based payouts that is gaining ground in other developing countries, a researcher says. "Farmer unawareness seems to be a major barrier for taking up insurance in rural areas," Kanchana Wickramasinghe, a researcher at Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies, a think tank, said. more..

Yahapalana govt's double game!

Turning a bitter time into a pastime

Nov 23 (DM) Some Diyawanna backbenchers forced to be present in the House in view of the ongoing debate on the Budget 2017 have taken to playing cyber games to kill time. These backbenchers – mostly newcomers – are said to be unhappy that they have been compelled to attend the debate on the Budget continuously for several days, and they have found cyber games a good pastime. Party leaders have made it compulsory for the backbenchers to attend sittings these days more..

Richard de Zoysa: The other side of paradise

Nov 23 (CT) The first thing that struck you about him was his voice. Polished, elegant, and not a little jarring, it helped explained his figure, which was at once filled with resolve and fear. It was these two qualities, perhaps, that explained how self-contradictory the man was: a scion of the elite, yet fighting against the same values that same elite fought so hard to solidify against everyone else. He paid a price for this act of rebellion and that price was his life, but upon his death more..

Govt seeks public views to regulate news

Nov 23 (LBO) Cabinet nod has been received to obtain public opinion with regard to establishing an independent board to regulate news content published in media. As per the proposal, an independent board is to regulate news published in print, broadcasting and registered websites with the view of promoting professionalism and ethics securing the free, independent and plurality of media culture. Report titled Rebuilding Public Trust: more..

Coup allegations anger Navy Commander

Nov 23 (CT) The troops are extremely disheartened by claims that they are preparing to topple the government through a coup, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne said. Joint Opposition's Dinesh Gunawardane warned in Parliament last week there might be a military coup if the govt continues to suppress democracy. "Security forces personnel are really upset about the allegations made of a coup. The Sri Lankan military has never instigated a coup. We believe that more..

Former STF Commandant remanded

Nov 23 (AD) The former Commandant of STF retired DIG K.M.L. Sarathchandra, who was arrested by police for allegedly misusing a state vehicle, has been remanded till Dec 7. He was arrested by the Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and produced at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today. Police informed the court that he was arrested in connection with an incident of misusing a vehicle belonging to the STF and requested that he be remanded as investigations more..

Govt to ban sale of loose cigarettes

Nov 23 (AD) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne says that govt will take necessary steps to ban the sale of loose cigarettes in the near future.  Speaking during a discussion held with the GMOA, minister also said that plain white cigarette packaging will introduced very soon. During the meeting, GMOA Secretary Dr Navin de Zoysa had presented 10 proposals to curb smoking in the country to the Minister of Health. more..

Minister tells health unions not to accept gifts from pharma trade

Nov 23 (Island) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has urged medical unions to refrain from accepting funds from the pharmaceutical (Pharma Industry) industry for their events and gatherings. Ministry spokesman, Nipun Ekanayake said Dr Senaratne during an inspection of the National Drug Regulatory Authority (NDRA) had revealed yesterday that he made a special request from medical trade unions to refrain from accepting money from the pharma industry for their events. more..

Sanath Nandasiri appointed Chancellor of Visual & Performing Arts Uni.

Nov 23 (AD) Sangeeth Nipun Professor H.M. Sanath Nandasiri has been appointed as the Chancellor of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts. He will fill the post left vacant due to the demise of late veteran musician Pandith Amaradeva. Sanath Nandasiri received his appointment letter from President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat today.  Secretary to the President Mr. P. B. Abeykoon and the family members of Mr. Sanath Nandasiri participated in this event, more..

Video: Investigation into assault on Kandy student

Nov 23 (DM) Police and Education officials have launched separate investigations on the incident in which a student of a leading boys’ school in Kandy was beaten up by the school gate. The Kandy Police said today that however there was no complaint lodged over the incident. They said they were conducting investigations based on the video that went viral in the social media. The Principal however said the parents of more..

AG objects decision to grant bail to former MP Tiran Alles

Nov 23 (DN) Attorney General prayed the Court of Appeal to vacate its Interim Order to release former MP Tiran Alles from remand custody. On November 8, the Court of Appeal two-judge-Bench comprising Justice H.C.J. Madawala and Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya issued an Interim Order on the basis of an ex-parte proceeding pursuant to a revision application filed on behalf of Alles. On that occasion, the Court of Appeal issued notices on the AG to appear in Court yesterday. more..

Dead youth in MPs house: Govt Analyst’s report yet to come

Nov 23 (ST) Authorities are still awaiting the report from Govt Analyst’s Department regarding a youth who was found dead at the home of MP Wimal Weerawansa. JMO of Colombo South Teaching Hospital, said that he had given an open verdict regarding the cause of death and was still waiting for the report of Govt Analyst to determine the cause of death. Meanwhile, Thalangama Police OIC, C.I. Nishantha denied reports that CID had taken over investigations into the death. more..

President plays Santa with Chief Ministers: Gives back what Ravi took away

Nov 23 (Island) President Sirisena had pledged that he would make sufficient provisions to the provincial councils in addition to the funds allocated by Budget 2017, Chief Minister of Southern Province Shan Wijelal de Silva said. President had given the assurance at a meeting with Chief Ministers following complaints that provisions for the provincial councils except the NPc had been drastically pruned in Budget 2017, more..

President plays Santa with Chief Ministers: Gives back what Ravi took away

Nov 23 (CT) A discussion between President Maithripala Sirisena and the relevant parties on the issues related to the limitation of registering the candidates for External Degree Courses was held yesterday at the Parliament. President, considering the ideas and suggestions presented by them said that the Govt as a policy would not curtail the facilities provided for the field of education. President also said that within the next two weeks arrangements will be made without more..

22 State institutions heads before COPE soon

Nov 23 (CT) Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has decided to summon the heads of 22 State institutions during the first quarter of 2017. This decision had been taken at the COPE meeting held on 21 Nov, Chaired by COPE Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti. Sources said heads of such institutions as the Petroleum Corporation, National Lotteries Board and the SL Ayurvedic Drugs Corporation will be summoned before COPE in January, February and March next year. more..

Rs. 600B loss through 250 state bodies in 2014

Nov 23 (NR) The govt today revealed that under the UPFA led govt in 2014, 250 state institutions recorded colossal losses. Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne informed parliament that a 600 billion rupee loss was recorded through state establishments. He attributed the loss to political intervention and mismanagement. He added, “We are proposing reforms. Next year we will table a Public Enterprises Board bill. So, one central more..

Akram to conduct training sessions for fast bowlers

Nov 23 (Island) Former Pakistan great Wasim Akram will arrive in Colombo later this month on a brief stint to help Sri Lanka’s fast bowlers. Known as Sultan of Swing, 50-year-old former left-arm quick was easily the best fast bowler of his generation. Akram, who captained Pakistan in two World Cups and was the Man of the Match in the 1992 final when Imran Khan’s side beat England, will conduct training sessions for fast bowlers apart from addressing the coaching staff of SLC. more..

Sri Lanka mulls setting up UK style fraud office to fight corruption

Nov 23 (Xinhua) The govt is considering setting up a UK style Serious Fraud Office in the island country to fight corruption. Minister Gayantha Karunathilleke said that the govt has been paying attention to restructuring the anti-corruption committee secretariat, which was established in 2015. The fully powered Serious Fraud Office would be similar to the Serious Frauds Office in the UK, he said. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's proposal to continue the operations of the anti corruption more..

Sri Lanka to set up national committee to monitor border

Nov 23 (Xinhua) Cabinet has approved a proposal made by President Sirisena to set up a National Border Management Committee to control tasks conducted across the border for maintaining national security. Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said that border control was extremely important for any country's national security. "People and goods exchanged across the Sri Lankan border is gradually increasing and it is expected that it will reach more..

Special radio service for fisher community

Nov 23 (GDI) Ceylon Fishery Harbor Corporation (CFHC) under the patronage of Minister Mahinda Amaraweera launched an FM radio service named Dheewara Guwan Widuli Sewaya (Fisheries Radio Service) on 21st Nov to mark the World Fisheries Day. It will be broadcast as online radio service in 20 fishery harbors under the first phase. In the second phase, it will be Broadcast Island-wide as an FM radio service, which is airing weather reports, ocean forecasting programs on natural disasters, more..

GMOA oppose insurance for schoolchildren

Nov 23 (DN) The GMOA has expressed its objection to paying Rs. 2.7 billion to insurance companies on behalf of schoolchildren, GMOA Secretary Dr. Navin De Zoysa said. He alleged the schoolchildren would get only a part of the money and that insurance companies would force schoolchildren to have unnecessary medical tests done. Dr. Zoysa said Sri Lanka’s health service has set an excellent example to the entire world by providing free health care for schoolchildren. more..

USAID launches partnership with Parliament of SL to strengthen democratic governance

Nov 23 (USE) The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched today a Rs. 1.92 billion (USD$13 million) partnership with the Parliament of Sri Lanka to strengthen accountability and democratic governance in Sri Lanka. “This project broadens our support to the independent commissions, Ministries, and provincial and local levels of govt,” said USAID Mission Director Andrew Sisson at launch ceremony more..

Residents around Alan Mathiniyaramaya files case against Dhammaloka Thera

Nov 23 (DM) A personal lawsuit has been filed against Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera in Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court today by four complainants on the allegation of high noise levels sustained by the residents living around Alan Mathiniyaramaya Temple in Polhengoda where Dhammaloka is the Chief Incumbent. Residents alleged that the exposure to such high level of noise constituted a health risk and there were sufficient scientific evidence to prove that danger due to more..

Fine for buses sans route permit up to Rs. 200,000

Nov 23 (DM) The Govt had decided to the increase of the minimum fine charged by a Magistrate's Court from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 200,000 for putting a bus in service without the valid passenger service route permit, Cabinet Co-Spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said today. He said the laws were tightened against persons who deploy buses without valid permits for the security of the passengers from dangerous situations and to develop the quality of passenger bus service. more..

No reports of Lankans joining the ISIS: Rajitha

Nov 23 (NR) Govt a special committee will be appointed to take action against individuals inciting racism and extremism in the country. Minister Rajitha Senarathne said the statement by Minister Wijedasa Rajapakse recently do not represent the views of the govt. Minister said a previous report of a family of four joining the IS was of people who had migrated out of SL. He said other than these individuals there are no reports of any other more..

Gota: Bureaucrat, Soldier or Politician?

Nov 24 (SL) Victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan, is a truism we are reminded of when we read and hear the many accolades now swamping Donald Trump, like the one we quoted above. To those who played with gusto nationalist beats and have been confined to in Sri Lanka’s political wilderness for 22 months thereafter, Donald Trump’s astounding victory has been a shot of adrenalin in the arm or a strong one off the bottle to revive their sagging spirits. more..

Rejuvenating state sector: Reality or dream?

Nov 24 (CT) Hon. Minister of Finance, Mr. Ravi Karunanayake recently presented the Yahapalanaya govt’s second budget which included the govt intention on introducing plans to remodel the underperforming profit and non-profit organisations in the state sector. Hon. Minister clearly stated that the govt intention is to establish a more efficient and effective process with a degree of de-bureaucratization which will ensure an improved friendly public service. more..

MRPs not for imported commodities, says trade experts

Nov 24 (SO) While welcoming price reductions in the 2017 Budget to ease the burden of low income earning consumers trade experts said policy makers should reconsider the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) on imported commodities as prices of these items are determined by market forces. Trade experts are of the view that imposing a price ceiling or fixing a MRP is not realistic when market conditions keep fluctuating, more..

Rajapaksa & company’s crocodile tears & their public stripping

Nov 24 (CT) Come on, man…that’s how President Obama ridiculed those who believed that Donald Trump was a sincere politician who professed to rule the US and Make America great again as a successful businessman. Donald Trump winning the elections is another matter altogether and I have already written a commentary on the savagery defeat the Democrats and Hillary Clinton suffered. I have also repeatedly emphasized that wide acceptance of an idea among a majority more..

A look back at election violence

Nov 24 (SL) In a recent discussion with a friend, it dawned on me that a lot of the political theorizing and justification for what transpired in the Rajapaksa years has been attributed to the climate of violence that J.R. Jayewardene established after he ascended to power in 1977. Let me open by saying that I missed the 1977 General Election and the horrendous violence that apparently followed it. However, despite the fact that I have never been a fan of JRJ, even when he was deputy more..