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Cabinet nods proposal to increase MP allowance to Rs.100,000

Nov 29 (AD) The two proposals, one to grant a monthly allowance of Rs.100,000 to all MPs and another to increase the daily allowance for parliamentary attendance to Rs.2,500, have been reportedly approved by the Cabinet today. Currently, the MPs are paid Rs.500 as the attendance allowance. The proposal for the increase was initiated by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. The proposal was submitted for a review by the Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media. more..

Former LTTE commander turned Minister Karuna Amman arrested

Nov 29 (ENS) V Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, a former top LTTE military commander who later became Deputy Minister in Rajapaksa govt, was arrested by FCID for alleged misuse of a bullet proof luxury govt vehicle. He was remanded till Dec 7 by Colombo Chief Magistrate. FCID had commenced investigation after police discovered a super luxury bullet proof vehicle valued at LKR 800 million from Batticaloa, more..

Fidel, Cuba, Internationalism & Tamils

Nov 30 (CT) Fidel Castro, October 12, 1987—that is what Fidel wrote on my book, Yankee Sandinistas: Interviews with North Americans living and working in the new Nicaragua, after reading it. In 1980, I fell in love with a Danish woman, Grethe, and moved to her country. On my way to assist the rebellion in El Salvador, in 1987, we traveled to Cuba. This was my first visit to Cuba and my first book had just come out when I met Fidel. I had given him a copy after he spoke about the legacy of Che Guevara more..

On myths, facts, & The blogosphere

Nov 30 (CT) I know a friend who despises opinion pieces. He is a cynic when it comes to commentaries and as such, measure commentators (political or otherwise) on the basis of their fidelity to facts. Now facts, as the saying goes, are sacred, and comment free, but for all he cares this friend tends to disparage certain writers based on their lack of regard for the truth: journalism, for him at least, must be stripped of frill. The truth and nothing but the truth is what he aspires for in more..

'New Constitution aims at appeasing a majority of the people'

Nov 30 (SO) UNP MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramarathne in regard to the formulation of the new Constitution said, “We are a diverse country in terms of culture, race, religion & political opinion. We will never get a Constitution which everybody agrees without reservations”. He said, if we can have a Constitution that has the widest possible support among various sections of people, then we have achieved something. more..

Employees’ Trust Fund: Its concept, misconceptions, and the way forward

Nov 30 (FT) At a time when the Employees’ Trust Fund is celebrating 35 years of existence, it is time to reflect upon its original concept and perhaps look at any re-orientation needs it requires to be compatible with the current socio-economic environment. The Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) and its sister fund, the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), have attracted considerable attention in the recent past. Some concerns are justified while others are unfounded and arise to ignorance. more..

Moving towards a zero-accident strategy

Nov 30 (DN) National Road Safety Week will start on December 1 and will be inaugurated by President and PM. The main objective of the week is to motivate the road users to be mindful of the road safety while travelling, riding or driving on road. In any country, road deaths and injuries are a tragedy for all those affected. As well as the frightening human cost, they impose a heavy economic burden. In Sri Lanka, during the last 10 months, 2,400 people have died due to road accidents. more..

'A few hundred ISIS supporters in Sri Lanka'

Nov 30 (CT) Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the ISIL and as the Islamic State is a serious threat to the world. Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe recently said that 32 Sri Lankans of four families have gone to Syria and joined the ISIS. Surprisingly, govt later denied Rajapakshe's claim. Some sections of society are demanding a ban on the ISIS terrorist organization. Govt seems to be slow to take action in this regard. more..

Free speech sans hate

Nov 30 (DN) Sri Lanka can ill afford renewed tensions or disruption to peace or harm to lives of persons due to tensions between utterances directed at ethnic groups by clergy belonging to religious faiths in the country. For close on twenty two years there have been stresses and tensions around these issues in the country. Groups who have worked on them have failed their followers. In the rush to polarize between different perceived camps of political leaders the need to protect more..

Editorial: Of those cyber hit men

Nov 30 (Island) Professional Web Journalists’ Association (PWJA) has lashed out at the govt for adopting the same repressive policies as its predecessor in handling the web-based media. It has taken exception to action against two web publications, which, it says, should have complete freedom to continue their operations. We both agree and disagree with the PWJA. We agree with it that the govt is trying to tar all web publications with the same brush and introduce draconian laws more..

Ravi Karunanayake

Muslim women’s rights groups need to be encouraged

Nov 30 (CT) What's up with the Sri Lankan Muslims? A lot of people have been asking this since it was reported last year that a Sri Lankan Muslim from Kandy, Shafraz Muhsin, nom de guerre Abu Shuraih Sailani, had died in Syria fighting for the ISIS in Syria. This is not to say that Sinhalese and the Tamils started harbouring ill-will towards the Muslims in 2015. Sri Lanka has always been a sectarian kind of place, a feeling has been increasing in the last few decades, more..

Wrestling gets a facelift, David Peiris to sponsor Nationals

Nov 30 (Island) Pulsor Power will be the latest introductory tagline for this year’s Wrestling Nationals, which will get a much needed facelift with the sponsorship of David Peiris Company, the sole agents for Bajaj motorcycles. This year’s Wrestling Nationals is to be staged at the Sports Ministry Indoor Stadium in Colombo from December 1 to 3. "This (wrestling) is the sport of the ancient kings, the world’s first fighting art and, in a way, the first sport. This is something very close to our lives. more..

'SL’s relations with new US govt will be based on current historic high platform'

Nov 30 (FT) The surprising result of Sri Lanka's presidential election almost two years ago yielding an unexpected changing of the guard and a sense of shock wich lased for a number of weeks. Two weeks ago, the US marked a similar watershed moment in its political history and it is still reeling from the reality bred by its presidential election. On the night of the US elections, East West Centre flew the group of int'l journalists more..

AHTIC concludes SL brims with potential but success depends on political leadership

Nov 30 (FT) The first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) concluded yesterday in an atmosphere of optimism moderated by caution. Over the past two days, several of Asia’s leading hotel investors from 19 countries discussed the investment potential of Sri Lanka and other destinations around the Indian Ocean from Mauritius and the Seychelles to Malaysia and Vietnam.  Data from ForwardKeys demonstrated that SL deserved congratulations for achieving 12% growth more..

New US-Sri Lanka business council to promote trade, investment

Nov 30 (EN) A new SL - US Business Council launched Tuesday will help promote trade and investment between the two countries whose bilateral relations are at an all time high, the American envoy to Colombo said. US Ambassador Atul Keshap said SL’s economy is set to grow strongly with the island ideally placed on the international sea route across the Indian Ocean. The new business council and the American Chamber of Commerce in the island can helo strengthen more..

Spectacular tourist growth looks set to stall

Nov 30 (FT) The boom in tourist arrivals is tipped to taper off if forward booking intelligence data shared by a specialist firm yesterday at the AHTIC comes true. A presentation given by ForwardKeys to delegates at the Conference revealed that flight bookings made for travel to Sri Lanka during the coming five months (Dec 2016 to Apr 2017) are 1.3% ahead of where they were at the same time last year. more..

Conflict of interest revisited

Nov 30 (Island) I wrote an article titled, The Governor’s case and the conflict of interest concept which was published in The Sunday Times. This was a little over a couple of months after the first Bond Scam and soon after the three-member report of three UNP lawyers. Now, with the COPE Report (including the footnote clan) substantially finding former Governor CB, Mahendran responsible for the Bond Scam and Perpetual Treasuries raking in (or is it better to call it shovelling in?) more..

State monies and shadow missions

Nov 30 (FT) My wife earns more than I do. I sometimes feel a worm on account of it. And other times I rationalise the income disparity. To each their own. We all make choices in life. Political, social, economic. One opts to work full-time in the formal economy. The other freelances and manages on a meagre income so that the peanuts I’m paid as a part-time teacher and newspaper columnist compensate me adequately for the pains – and pleasures – of speaking truth to power. more..

A much needed win for what lies ahead

Nov 30 (DN) Sri Lanka’s victory in the Zimbabwe tri-nation one-day series is a much needed boost for the team ahead of the tough opposition they will encounter in South Africa next month. Both Sri Lanka and West Indies were sans some of their experienced stars but nevertheless the series provided an ideal opportunity for the youngsters who replaced them to showcase their talent on the international stage. more..

Changes to Judiciary and Fundamental Law

Nov 30 (Island) Report of the Subcommittee on the judiciary observes that there is no express provision in the Constitution stressing the importance of the principle of judicial independence and aims to remedy that perceived lacuna by recommending the adoption of a provision in constitution of South Africa which says that the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, and that that no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the courts. more..

SLC introduces new initiative to boost cricket

Nov 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket announced yesterday that the man considered by many to be the best left-arm fast bowler of all time and an absolute legend in world cricket, Wasim Akram, would conduct a special workshop in Colombo on December 1st at the SSC. Wasim was set to arrive in the island late Wednesday on an invitation by President Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala MP and will grace Sri Lanka Cricket’s annual awards tonight as the Guest of Honour. more..

Pilots union advised President Rajapaksa not to extend Emirates contract: Gota

Nov 30 (FT) It was the Secretary of the SriLankan Airlines Pilots Union that advised President Rajapaksa not to extend the agreement with Emirates, according to former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa was addressing intellectuals present at the forum Viyathmaga (Professionals for a better future) held in Palatuwa, Matara. “It was I who facilitated the meeting between the pilots union and President Rajapaksa. more..

Grace period for vehicles with open papers to be registered extended to Dec. 31

Nov 30 (DM) The grace period of three months that had been given to vehicle owners with open papers to register their vehicles had been extended to December 31, Motor Traffic Department Commissioner General Jagath Chandrasiri said today. Earlier the Government had announced a grace period that ran from Sept 1 to Nov 30. He said the period had been extended following a request made by the Department to Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. more..

Killer Whale Aquatics, Sirimavo Bandaranaike BV overall champs

Nov 30 (DN) Killer Whale Aquatics (KWA) with 423 points and Sirimavo Balika Vidyalaya with 230 points clinched the men’s and women’s senior titles at the National and Junior National Aquatic Championship concluded at the Sugathadasa Aquatics Complex yesterday. Visakha Vidyalaya and St. Joseph’s College emerged champions in the girls and boys junior national championship with 160 and 158 points respectively. The first race of the day was the men’s open 1500 metres freestyle event more..

New rating agency to be set up by Media Ministry

Nov 30 (FT) Media Minister Gayantha Karunatileka informed Parliament on moves to establish a new rating agency for advertising and programs aired on electronic media. Minister, speaking during the Appropriation Bill Committee stage debate for Ministry of Mass Parliamentary Affairs and Media, said that flaws in rating systems available now have given way to deterioration in quality of both advertisements & programmes. more..

Karuna transferred to separate cell

Nov 30 (DN) Former Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, alias Karuna has been transferred to a separate cell under tight security at the Colombo Remand Prison. He is to be kept at the M2 prison compound, according to sources within the Prison as officials fear security threats on the life of the former LTTE rebel leader from inmates. Senior officials also revealed that if there was a request for food to be brought from outside, they would consider such a request. more..

Upul Tharanga is this the turning point?

Nov 30 (DN) Every cricketer goes through ups and downs in his career. Some of them come out of it successfully while the others who are not so fortunate simply fade away. In the case of Upul Tharanga the recently concluded tour of Zimbabwe has been a blessing in disguise for him to re-launch his rather chequered career. Even Tharanga would not have thought in his wildest of dreams that he would one day be called upon to captain his country. His place in one-day team was so uncertain more..

New trends in corruption: Rental scams: CAA rents 10 new luxury vehicles

Nov 30 (CT) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ordered 10 new luxury vehicles despite its top officials, including the Director General, already being granted luxury vehicles. Authority has an ample number of vehicles in its official fleet, but has decided to order 10 more luxury vehicles at a cost of Rs 150,000-170,000 per vehicle on monthly rent. Five of these 10 vehicles had been handed over to the CAA last Thursday by more..

Tough fine system for violating Sri Lanka’s maritime boundary

Nov 30 (FT) In an attempt to control illegal maritime entries into the country’s waters, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development will introduce a tough fine system for all the vessels, including illegal fishing boats, which violate the International Martime Boundary Line (IMBL) of Sri Lanka, soon. Ministry has already drafted a set of proposals including a fine system and new penalties for offences committed in the country’s IMBL. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that more..

Sri Lanka fully powered by end of 2016

Nov 30 (FT) Deputy Minister Ajith Perera yesterday informed Parliament that all households in Sri Lanka will be supplied with electricity connections by the end of the year. “To date 99.2% of household units have been given electricity, with only 41,147 households, which is 0.8% of households in the country, to be connected to the grid before 31 December. We started this campaign this year and we have already given electricity to 224728 units during the period,” Perera said. more..

Stoic Sri Lanka growth confident

Nov 30 (FT) A highly disciplined and predictable monetary policy would be central to maintaining growth in a post-Fed rate hike world, observed CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, remaining confident of growth fired by private sector expansion and investment. Explaining the decision by Monetary Board to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of CB unchanged at 7% and 8.5% more..

More Chinese tourists expected to visit SL

Nov 30 (Xinhua) Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are projected to grow by a further 10.2% in the coming six months. Jameson Wong, Director Business Development for the Asia-Pacific region at ForwardKeys, a travel data company, told the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference held here that the number of Chinese visiting Sri Lanka had grown by 29% in the year-to-date. He said Russian travelers to Sri Lanka were also rising while the overall number of tourists visiting more..

Sri Lanka brace for huge SA challenge

Nov 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka returned home victorious from their Zimbabwe tour on Tuesday but the national coach warned his side faced a huge challenge in South Africa next month. Having comfortably beaten Zimbabwe in both tests in Harare, Sri Lanka also lifted the triangular series trophy on Sunday, beating the hosts by six wickets in the final. Although regular skipper Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal missed the entire tour due to injury, SL rarely felt their absence more..

Media told not to take up current issues, urged to be courageous!

Nov 30 (Island) Information Department urged the media not to raise, at a forum it hosted, issues pertaining to ongoing cases handled by the CIABOC. Media was told that the taking up of such matters could undermine the ongoing investigations. Fourth Estate was cautioned at a forum chaired by Minister Sagala Ratnayake, Ministry Secretary Jagath Wijeweera, newly appointed Director General, CIABOC Sarath more..

Nine Sri Lankan sailors held on ship in Houthi rebel stronghold

Nov 30 (DM) The Government is keeping in touch with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman and the Consulate in Dubai, UAE to get the nine Sri Lankan sailors held by Houthi rebels of Yemen released, Foreign Affairs Ministry said today. Ministry sources said the ship with the nine Sri Lankan sailors aboard had been held by the rebels in an area controlled by them because of a dispute that had taken place between the cargo supplier and the cargo receiver. “We have instructed our mission in Oman, more..

Docs on strike today: Health Minister ready

Nov 30 (Island) Govt doctors will launch a countrywide token strike today demanding that the govt retract or amend several budget proposals detrimental to the free health service. Secretary of the GMOA, Dr Naveen de Zoysa said yesterday that appeals made to President, PM, Finance Minister for amending several proposals including the denial of pension rights to new recruits to the public service, doing away with the proposal to tax public sector employees on allowances and more..

'Laws with retrospective effect a reality'

Nov 30 (Island) Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne, PC, asserted that bringing in laws with retrospective effect was a reality though that practice was certainly not civilized. Explaining that a retrospective law meant that it would come into operation at a point of time before its passage by Parliament. Although SL Constitution did not provide for such laws, the country couldn’t ignore the legal practices in other parts of the world more..

Let not the past haunt us again

Nov 30 (DM) For the first time after the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, the dreaded outfit that fought for a separate State within the territory of SL the Maveerar Varam (Great Heroes’ Week) and the Maveerar Naal (Great Heroes’ Day) announced by that organization were commemorated by the people in the North and the East without any hindrance by the security forces, according to the Tamil media.  The Maveerar Naal had been announced by the LTTE during its heyday to mark the more..

Lend us your ears to help hearing impaired children

Nov 30 (DM) The Centre for Education of Hearing Impaired Children Centre (CEHIC) which during the past few decades has trained hundreds of hearing impaired children to move into the mainstream of education and employment—is making an urgent appeal for funds from well-wishers to continue this noble mission. For the past few months the Dalugama based multi-religious centre has run out of funds even to pay the salaries of teachers and other staff and to maintain basic facilities. more..