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Euromonitor: Bright future for tourism in SL

Nov 26 (BTN) A report into Sri Lanka’s tourism has confirmed that the Indian Ocean island currently offers some of the region’s best opportunities for investment. The report – produced by Euromonitor International - is not uncritical: infrastructure still needs to be improved; airport capacity is lagging behind demand and telecom connectivity is still a problem. But it goes on to say that these issues are being addressed by a SL govt that has realised the golden opportunity that tourism offers more..

Politics – inelegant art of immoral suasion

Nov 26 (Island) The above title was used by me in an article published in the columns of The Island close on the heels of the change of govt in 2015. It was a variation of the adage of a chastened Iron Chancellor Bismarck, who had believed literally in applying blood and iron solutions to internecine disputes till he achieved his life’s ambition of the unification of Germany. Once unification was achieved, Bismarck abandoned his confrontational truculence and had recourse to diplomatic more..

Drugs in Green Channel

Nov 26 (NS) It has been confirmed that heroin and Kerala ganja were being smuggled from the country via established trade routes also known as green channels through local ports to Europe with cocaine also high on the list. Kerala ganja is cannabis sativa coming from Kerala in South India. Green channels can also be termed as safe ports. According to information received from local authorities such as Sri Lanka Customs and more..

Lankan sports media personality dies in US covering Pacquiao’s fight

Nov 26 (DN) SL-born Ronnie Nathanielsz who was a popular broadcaster and sports commentator at Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation before he left for the Philippines passed away in San Francisco, California. He had gone to Las Vegas to join a TV Broadcast panel to cover Maany Pacquiao’s fight against Jessie Vargas on Nov 5. Ronnie suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away on Nov 11. He was associated with the Radio Station DZHP, he was a columnist for the Manila Standard Today more..

Six CA Sri Lanka members serve top IFAC committees

Nov 26 (DN) Six members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of SL (CA Sri Lanka) including the institute's incumbent President Lasantha Wickremasinghe and several Past Presidents have been appointed by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) to serve in some of its top committees. Wickremasinghe serves as the Technical Advisor to Monica Foerster, Chair of the Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Committee of IFAC, while immediate Past President of more..

Public service to undergo major restructuring

Nov 26 (FT) Public Administration of the country is set to go through a restructuring next year in a bid to make public service more efficient and productive, Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said. A productivity based promotion, new pension plan and amendments to Establishment Code are on the cards, he said.  “Currently, public employees get promoted based on years of service and their grade, where they ascend to one grade from other more..

Dr. Patrick Dixon, Europe’s leading futurist upbeat about Sri Lanka’s future

Nov 26 (FT) Dr. Patrick Dixon, a globally-acclaimed futurist and a growth strategist, says he is very upbeat about Sri Lanka’s future and our culture of innovation. Dr. Dixon, the Chairman of Global Change Ltd. and the co-founder of Global Innovators, made this observation when he addressed CEOs of the Sri Lankan firms at the CCC recently. “Plans for establishing a Colombo International Financial City is a symbol of confidence and of future economic growth. more..

Zimbabwe through to final on D/L method

Nov 26 (CI) Zimbabwe fought back from the brink to beat West Indies by five runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method in Bulawayo. The spirited victory gave Zimbabwe a berth in the tri-series final, where they will play Sri Lanka on November 27. The cornerstone of Zimbabwe's comeback was the unbroken 91-run partnership - their highest for the ninth wicket in ODIs - between Sikandar Raza and Tendai Chisoro, which lifted the home side to 218. That stand came on the back of a 38-run more..

Heavy fines: Licence to corrupt?

Nov 26 (NS) Govt Ministries and State authorities are presently in discussions with the Police in order to finalize controls to curtail the probability of the proposed high fines in traffic offences being misused and abused by cops. Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Finance announced that govt had proposed the increase of the minimum penalty for seven road offences which constitute serious traffic law violations to more..

Nets of Lankan fishermen washed ashore

Nov 26 (Hindu) Customs Preventive Unit (Rameswaram) and Marine Police of Coastal Security Group (CSG) have seized 15 fishing nets of Sri Lankan fishermen which were found washed ashore on Rameswaram and Pamban seashores. Customs officials were on night patrolling on Thursday when they found eight fishing nets washed ashore on the seashore near Rameswaram fishing jetty. Initial investigation revealed that the nets, weighing about 180 kg, belonged to more..

High-tech weapons bust in Marawila

Nov 26 (CT) One person was taken into custody along with a high-powered German-made telescopic sight-attached weapon, a .22 revolver and a luxury Prado jeep from a location in Mudukatuwa-Marawila yesterday. The detection was made following an anonymous call received by the Negombo Police. In addition Police also recovered some 102 live rounds of ammunition meant for both weapons. Both weapons were also illegal since the suspect did not have a valid license to hold them. more..

China hedges its bets in Sri Lanka by cultivating opposition stalwart Rajapaksa

Nov 26 (ENS) Having suffered a great deal by putting all its eggs in the basket of the Sri Lankan govt led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa between 2010 and 2014, China has now adopted a balanced Sri Lanka policy under which it will engage the opposition as well as the govt of the day. This change is reflected in the official invitation extended to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit China. The visit is currently on. more..

Bahu: CA Sub Committee proposes devolution of land, police powers

Nov 26 (Island) Leader of NSSP Dr.Vickremabahu Karunaratne says the Sub Committee on Devolution of the Constitutional Assembly has proposed that land and police powers be devolved to provinces. Dr. Karunaratne, who was one of the speakers at a press conference held by left parties including the faction referred to as Majority Group of the NSSP headed by Dr. Jayampathi Wickremeratne, said that they were happy with the decision of the Sub Committee on Devolution of Constitutional more..

Sri Lanka must aim for sustainable, inclusive growth: Governor

Nov 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka must aim for sustainable as well as inclusive growth, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said, speaking to corporate leaders. “If we are to have sustained growth, socially and politically stable growth, as we have an aspirational society now, this whole process has to be inclusive,” he said. “It is not just growth but quality of growth that matters.” Coomaraswamy was speaking at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards for 2017, organized by CCC. more..

Devolution process: NJC for India, South Africa style constitutional safeguards

Nov 26 (Island) Devolution of powers to Provincial Councils should be subjected to specific constitutional safeguards to ensure that it did not lead to the disintegration of Sri Lanka on ethnic lines, National Joint Committee (NJC) said. The NJC said that it wouldn’t oppose execution of some of the Central Govt powers through some other mechanism as long as the unitary character was constitutionally protected. more..

Devastating drought effects rice prices soar

Nov 26 (CT) The recent drought that saw rice production islandwide plummeting, has resulted in a drop in the anticipated Yala harvest, and caused rice prices to rise in the wholesale and retail markets. A kilo of nadu rice which was in the range of Rs 73-75 has shot up to Rs 82-83. A kilo of samba rice which was Rs 80-82 has now shot up to Rs 90-95. A kilo of white rice which was Rs 70-72 has gone up to Rs 78-80. Maradagahamula rice suppliers stated that among the reasons for the sudden hike more..

Referendum on Constitution in March 2017 ?

Nov 26 (CT) The govt could, according to inside sources, further postpone the Local Govt polls and instead hold a referendum on the proposed new Constitution in March 2017. This likelihood has been discussed at highest levels in govt. Govt and opposition MPs had spoken at length on the overriding need for a referendum on the Constitution at the Party leaders meeting last week chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Minister said that the dates for the Referendum will be fixed after more..

Four amendments to Budget at SLFP behest

Nov 26 (FT) Signalling more changes to Budget 2017, with the support of President Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP members yesterday expressed confidence four amendments would be made before the third reading, threatening to withdraw support from the final vote if their proposals are not adopted.   “We will only vote on 10 December if these amendments are included,” said Minister Dilan Perera, speaking to reporters. more..

Video: Court calls for medical report on Basil

Nov 26 (DM) Acceding to the Attorney General’s request, Colombo High Court Judge Padmini N. Ranakwa today directed the Colombo Chief Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) to submit a medical report on former minister Basil Rajapaksa to Court before December 7. The Court’s direction was based on ascertaining Mr. Rajapaksa’s health condition prior deciding whether he should be allowed to travel to the US for medical treatment between December 10, 2016 and March 2, 2017. more..

Faiszer says not working to personal wishes of any political party or gang

Nov 26 (FT) At a discussion held with the Secretaries’ forum of Recognised Political Parties, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said that he does not work according to personal wishes of any political party or gang. Secretaries’ forum of Recognised Political Parties handed over a memorandum to the Minister Faiszer Musthapha recently, at the Ministry premises. The memorandum is about several requests regarding the Local Authorities (Amendment) Act No 22 of 2012. more..

Uva PC members on junket to Italy with funds from road contractors: JVP

Nov 26 (CT) Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake charged that SLFP and UNP members of Uva Provincial Council have organized a visit to Italy that is to be financed with monies which the Chief Minister is expected to receive from commissions of a road construction contract. Dissanayake alleged that the CM was attempting to expedite payments to the contractors in order to receive commissions in time to finance the trip to Italy. more..

Let there be justice

Nov 26 (DM) With the independence of the judicial and police services being gradually restored after the new govt took office, two significant developments took place this week. In one case, the widely-reported killing of Sunday Leader newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunga on Jan 8, 2009 took a dramatic turn on Thursday when the CID informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate it had obtained substantial evidence that the investigative journalist was killed by two men attached to the Army more..

Will increased fines reduce Road Accidents?

Nov 26 (DM) I refer to the news item headlined Increased fines to reduce road accidents in the  of Nov 15. Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe says – I quote: “number of road accidents continue to increase and this fine would restrain the drivers from driving the vehicles recklessly and maintain road discipline.” Even a Minister in charge of Transport is not qualified to make pronouncements on vehicular traffic problems; Because ministers do not drive their personal vehicles. more..

Colombo harbour bursting its borders

Nov 26 (NS) Colombo Harbour is to have a makeover with a new state-of-the-art passenger terminal after it failed to accommodate recent shiploads of tourists visiting the island. The move to establish a new terminal comes in the wake of concerns raised by shipping experts over the lack of a suitable terminal and berth to handle large passenger vessels. The development of Colombo harbour is also considered doubly important more..

Paradise regained for some Divi Neguma officers deprived of EPF/ETF

Nov 26 (DN) The EPF/ETF issue concerning certain officers who were absorbed to the Department of Divi neguma Development in 2013, is now resolved, said Minister S.B. Dissanayake. The Samurdhi programme was replaced by the Department of Divi Neguma Development under former Minister Basil Rajapaksa in 2013, where the Samurdhi Authority, Southern Development Authority, Dept of Upcountry Peasantry more..

Church tells govt not to restrict higher education to cover its incompetence

Nov 26 (Island) Catholic Bishops’ Conference in SL has urged the govt not to go ahead with the move to restrict the student intake for external degree programmes. The JVP, JO and students have been agitating against the govt proposal to curtail the external degree programme. Church has requested that tangible measures be taken to create more opportunities for those who wanted to follow external degrees. more..

Push for justice over Welikada massacre intensifies

Nov 26 (SL) It is now been termed as the Welikada Massacre and the failure to ensure justice over the incident at the Welikada prison four years ago has drawn strong reactions. Civic Rights orgnisations stressed that it is high time that the good governance regime which assured justice with regard to the killing of 27 detainees at the Welikada prison four years ago, will come out strong without delaying justice. more..

Govt could have avoided bond scam after effects: DEW

Nov 26 (DN) The govt could have avoided the after effects of the bond scam if it tapped into the Rs.33 billion reserve of the Bank of Ceylon, former Minister DEW Gunasekara said. The country’s biggest treasures are the three state banks, EPF and the ETF. This is the main strength of each govt. Even during the last global economic crisis, it was possible to save the economy thanks to these reserves, he said. more..

SL to bring new foreign exchange controls

Nov 26 (EN) Sri Lanka will bring a new foreign exchange law to protect foreign reserves from irregular transactions a budget for 2017 has said moving sideways from an earlier stance that foreign exchange controls will be abolished. The budget however said the existing Exchange Control Act will be repealed. Sri Lanka brought draconian foreign exchange controls after a money printing central was set up in 1951, more..

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro dies

Nov 26 (Reuters) Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and for five decades defied U.S. efforts to topple him, died on Friday. He was 90. A towering figure of the second half of the 20th Century, Castro stuck to his ideology beyond the collapse of Soviet communism and remained widely respected in parts of the world that had struggled against colonial rule. more..

Will ask PM to discuss reforms with MR: MS to TNA

Nov 26 (DM) President Sirisena is reported to have told the TNA that he would request PM to initiate a dialogue with former president Rajapaksa on formulating the new constitution. 16 TNA MPs met President Sirisena on Thursday, and discussed their concerns. TNA had asked about the progress being made on constitutional reforms. One of the MPs who attended the meeting said it was at this point that President responded saying more..

Anti-Corruption Front sees govt fast losing its credibility

Nov 26 (Island) Chairman of Anti Corruption Front Ven. Ulapane Sumangala Thera said whilst the govt was losing its credibility and popularity, the Rajapaksa family was making a frantic attempt to make a comeback. The monk said Basil Rajapaksa, who headed the list with the most number of cases on corruption and his elder brother were trying to savour power again by forming a new political party. more..

10,000 LTTE cadres arrested after 2009

Nov 26 (NR) The govt today informed parliament that following the end of the conflict with the LTTE in 2009, 10,719 LTTE carders have been arrested. Minister DM Swaminathan said the govt has also rehabilitated and released 12,173 former LTTE carders. Responding to a question raised by the Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Minister Swaminathan said at present 150 LTTE carders are languishing in jails. more..

Go minister Go!

Nov 26 (CT) The recent issues that the Minister of Sports had with the Secretary of the National Olympic Committee have given quite an insight to happenings regarding cravings of people for overseas trips. It is very clear now most of the authorities in sports associations get into those positions with ulterior motives and one, of the most desired privileges, is foreign travel. The parties concerned with the process looked quite a bunch of amateurs and immature in this instance more..

Human trafficking ring headed by Sri Lankan busted in Malaysia

Nov 26 (NST) Police have busted a human trafficking syndicate operating here for the past 8 months and rescued 30 victims from India and another five from Sri Lanka. In an operation named Op Atip Khas, police raided three locations in the Brickfields area and nabbed 8 suspects believed to be members of the syndicate. Those arrested in the operation, which took place at 5am yesterday, include the syndicate’s head and his deputy, as well as three drivers and three premise minders. more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

A farewell to Fidel: Last of the epic heroes

Nov 26 (CT) Fidel was the last of the Titans, of the epic heroes. Whatever our travails, our generation and the ones before us were fortunate to live in the decades in which there were great leaders, visionaries who combined their ideal with action and changed the world they inherited. Our generation and one, perhaps two before that, lived consciously in the twentieth century which was inhabited by such heroes. My own generation lived at the time of Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Tito, Fidel and Che Guevara. more..

Bopage sabotages budget vote of his ministry

Nov 26 (CT) Controversial Secretary of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry Nimal Bopage has traveled overseas, disregarding an order issued to him by the Secretary to the President, ordering him not to go abroad. Bopage who is embroiled in a alleged fraud case amounting to millions, is in Rome to attend a film festival. Bopage’s request for official leave to attend the film festival wad rejected by President Secretary P B Abeykone as foreign visits by ministry more..

Post-war recovery process: Canada funds projects worth $ 6 mn in NPC

Nov 26 (Island) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says Canada has provided 6 mn Canadian dollars to implement strengthen agriculture and livestock sectors in the Northern Province. The FAO has issued the following statement: "Under the Canada-funded Agro-Economic Development Project (ADP), Canada together with UNDP and FAO is working to strengthen agro-economic cooperatives in more..

Dilan alleges secret deal between some UNPers and Basil

Nov 26 (CG) SLFP member and State Minister Dilan Perera today alleged there was a secret deal between some UNP members and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Perera said that the secret deal targets the Local Govt elections. “I have details on the deal and on where they met and spoke,” he claimed. He said the aim is to split the SLFP ahead of the Local Govt elections likely to be held next year. He said that he will reveal all the details on the alleged secret deal in a month. more..