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Coping and hoping, the name of the game

Nov 5 (NS) The report of the COPE on the controversial issuance of bonds by the Central Bank, which was tabled in Parliament last week created a stir in the political circles. Nation spoke to MPs representing some of the major political parties on their views and what needs to be done from here on. Chairman of COPE, MP Sunil Handunnetti said that he would suggest that Speaker open COPE proceedings to the media. more..

Amaradeva’s death: Sampanthan condoles

Nov 5 (CT) Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan said that the demise of the veteran Artist Pandit W.D. Amaradeva, who rendered a unique service to the field of Sri Lankan Music, is sad news for all the people of SL. Sampanthan said: "Having contributed to the advancement of the music field he played a prominent role as a vocalist, violinist and composer. His matchless talents enriched the Sinhalese Silver Screen and he had won many local and International key awards and honorary titles. more..

Tea auction sales averages hit record on sharp decline in supply

Nov 5 (FT) Tea auction sales average prices have hit a record high in October, aided by a sharp decline in supply. The auction average for the month of October totalled Rs. 550.92 vis-à-vis Rs. 390.13 of Oct 2015 showing a substantial gain of Rs. 160.79 thus establishing the highest ever average for a calendar month. “This is the second consecutive month where this feat was achieved, the previous best being Sept 2016 when the average realised Rs. 512.03,” Forbes said. more..

New party claims 1 million membership by December

Nov 5 (NS) The newly formed political party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) informed that they already possessed the capacity to achieve a party membership of one million by the beginning of next month. SLPP highlighted that the two main parties in the country, the UNP and the SLFP had continued to neglect the aspirations of the people. Party had been formed to fill the void created as a result and in order to more..

CAA to take over Palali Airport

Nov 5 (DM) The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to take over the Palali Airport as part of the Govt police to operate the country's airfields on a joint civilian–military basis on a decision taken by the Cabinet Sub Committee on Economic Reforms. A dossier submitted to the Cabinet have identified 13 airfields for the purpose. It states that the Ratmalana Airport is to be relocated at a estimated cost of Rs.1.8 billion. Transport and Aviation Ministry is reported to hold the view that more..

Black money thieves swing along

Nov 5 (NS) Economists have pointed out that special legislation or regulations to recover illegally obtained monies, should also encompass custodians of such illegally accumulated wealth who may not be the ones who are the direct culprits but extends to their kith and kin. Head of Department of Economics of Faculty of Arts of the Uni of Colombo, Prof. W. Wimalaratana said that such a law should not be confined to special cases such as the scam regarding the issue of Treasury bonds. more..

High level EU team visits Eastern Province

Nov 5 (FT) Parliament, together with UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS)  Director and Representative Francoise Jacob, Eastern Province Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed and Government Agent P.S.M. Charles this week officially inaugurated the newly built Cluster Engineered Landfill in Chenkalady. The event also witnessed the handing over of the facility to Provincial Council and Local Authorities. more..

COPE to bat for journalists

Nov 5 (NS) In light of reports that members of the COPE had violated the Parliament ACT by making statements to the media before the submission of the report, its Chairman, MP Sunil Handunnetti said that he would suggest the possibility of opening the proceedings to the media to avoid misinterpretation. Handunnetti said that he would suggest to the Speaker on the possibility of opening the proceedings to the media where they would function as mere observers. more..

Special traffic plan at Independence Square today

Nov 5 (NR) A special traffic plan will be implemented in and around Independence Square form 7am today till evening in lieu of the final rites of the late Pandit WD Amaradeva. The final rites of Pandit Amaradeva will be performed at the Independence Square at 4pm today. The vehicles will be restricted from entering Independence Avenue while selected vehicles will be granted access. Police accordingly requested the public to resort to alternative routes to avoid possible traffic congestion. more..

Chinese group to get land in South for industrialisation: PM

Nov 5 (DM) A Chinese Merchant Group will be given 50 square kilometres of land in the South for industrialization, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today at the 15th Asia Pacific Conference of German Business held at the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre. “This is exactly what Japan did in Thailand and in Malaysia" he said. PM expressed similar sentiments at the working breakfast with German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel more..

Sutheash new MD of Sri Lanka Tourism

Nov 5 (FT) Sutheash Balasubr-amaniam, a top official with high expertise both locally and internationally in the administrative sector, assumed duties as the new Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), with effect from 2 Nov. Subramaniam, who holds an MBA from University of Warwick, England, and also a Postgraduate Certificate in Sustainable Value Chains from University of Cambridge, is also a fellow of the CIMA, UK. more..

Wimal goes wild at PRECIFAC

Nov 5 (CT) MP Wimal Weerawansa laughed out loud when he was handed the written copies of depositions, including the charges against him. He then dashed the documents on the floor in the presence of PRECIFAC officials. He was the first to receive notice, from PRECIFAC, to be present for the initial investigation, on Friday, into an alleged financial fraud of approximately Rs 30 million, which has taken place at National Housing Development Authority, during previous administration. more..

World powers not pressing for foreign judges: President

Nov 5 (Island) The international community had now accepted that there was no need for an int'l war crimes investigation, President Maithripala Sirisena said. President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, declared that the global community believed foreign judges weren’t required here. The announcement was made amidst ongoing deliberations between Sri Lanka and international community regarding more..

Private sector agree to support garbage recycling

Nov 5 (FT) Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government Secretary Kamal Padmasiri said that the Private Sector has agreed to assist the recycling program of non-degradable garbage which was initiated by the ministry last week. At a discussion held at the Ministry yesterday, Padmasiri said the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and the Solid Waste Management Association have decided to sign an agreement on recycling non-degradable waste with the Ministry.  more..

Japan's Belluna ties-up with Asia Capital in erecting luxurious Union Place high-rise

Nov 5 (Island) Within the concept for gracious living, newest apartment tower was launched recently at 447 Union Place by the Japanese investor Belluna Co, in collaboration with Asia Capital Plc. Chief guest at the launch, Japanese ambassador Kenichi Suganuma, said the significance of the project did not reside in merely the fact that a Japanese company was involved in construction of Luna Tower Four Four Seven, but rather because the govt of SL and govt of Japan cooperated closely more..

Nation bids farewell to music legend Pandit Amaradeva today

Nov 5 (DN) The nation today bids farewell to veteran musician Pandit Amaradeva who left an indelible imprint in the hearts of Sri Lankans, ending an unmatched contribution for the development of Sinhala music for over 60 years. Pandit Amaradeva, recipient of several awards, including Ramon Magsaysay Award (2001) and Padma Shri from Indian (2002) succeeded in developing a music which is quintessentially more..

Amaradeva: The (non-) passing of an icon

Nov 5 (CT) There are rain clouds, not too dark and not threatening. It might rain later. There was rain last night. Tomorrow, there will be other clouds of similar shade. Non-threatening for a while. There might be rain. The city pulsated in rhythms acquired over the years. In some village in the Dry Zone, there are children at play. The potter is at his wheel. Someone, somewhere is listening to music. The country called Sri Lanka in determination and resilience, hope and foreboding, more..

NOC favours and IOC code of ethics

Nov 5 (CT) The Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee (NOC) played dodge ball with the press for a long time. From time to time this dodge balling of the press resulted in the Minister of Sports being regularly pressed for answers regarding the Sports Act and related matters such as elections at NOC, by journalists. Although the NOC President was present at the press briefings, the Secretary who was the more important to be questioned was still missing. more..

Murder most foul of moderate Tamil MP Raviraj ten years ago in Colombo

Nov 5 (CT) Former TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj and his Police bodyguard Sgt.Lakshman Lokuwella were gunned down on a Colombo street in broad daylight ten years ago. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Investigation report on SL presented at the 30th session of the UNHRC in Sept 2015 summed up the shooting in the following manner. “On 10 Nov 2006, Nadarajah Raviraj, a human rights lawyer more..

AG’s Report reveals: China trip costs Kandy MC Rs 10 M

Nov 5 (CT) Two days prior to the end of the Council's term, members of the Kandy Municipal Council and a group of officials had gone on a trip to China. The Auditor General says that a sum of more than Rs 10 million, from the Council Fund, had been spent on that trip. As stated in the Audit review, of the Auditor General and the Audit Review issued to the Municipal Commissioner of the Kandy Municipal Council, on 30 June 2016, more..

'Army does not run any school'

Nov 5 (DN) The Army does not run any schools in the Northern Province, Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray said. He refuted the complaint by Northern Province CM C.V. Wigeswaran to the European Union that there are Army-run schools in the North. He said the Army with its own labour and money rebuilt some of the ruined schools in the area, but those schools had been handed back to Provincial Administration. more..

Sailing the wind on a voyage of growing up

Nov 5 (ST) Watching the sails of a Tall Ship being unfurled is a thrilling sight. The operation takes endurance, speed, communication and, above all, teamwork. The sight of such sails being unfurled by teenagers is even more astonishing. Yet, this was what the Sunday Times saw when the media were invited onboard the Norwegian sailing vessel SS Sørlandet, the world’s oldest fully rigged ship in operation, more..

'Bond scams: Entire govt responsible'

Nov 5 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the ruling UNP-SLFP coalition leaders including President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should take the responsibility for Central Bank bond scams. Rajapaksa says action should be taken against all those accused of mega fraud running into billions of rupees. The CID and the FCID will not investigate members of thecurrent admin. more..

We can’t deal with our plastic waste

Nov 5 (ST) Polythene, plastic and electronic waste collected under an islandwide campaign which ends today is to be exported as Sri Lanka lacks sufficient recycling facilities, a Central Environment Authority (CEA) official said. The collected electrical waste will be exported to UK, Norway and Hong Kong because Sri Lanka lacks recycling process, Director of Solid Waste Management Ajith Weerasudara said. more..

Ex-JVPer tells President to prove his sincerity by making Rajitha go before BC

Nov 5 (Island) The only way President Maithripala Sirisena could prove that he was keen to eradicate corruption was to ask his close ally Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne to appear before the CIABOC and make a statement on his alleged involvement in importing substandard life jackets when he was the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, former JVP Parliamentarian Anuruddha Polgampola said yesterday. more..

Pandit Amaradeva laid to rest at emotional funeral

Nov 5 (AD) Sri Lankan music legend Pandith W.D. Amaradeva was laid to rest following a poignant funeral held with full state honours at Independence Square in Colombo today.   The country’s artist community, religious leaders and the political leadership including the President and PM were presents while a large number of the public also attended the cremation ceremony. Govt expects to establish an Amaradeva Centre more..

Fishermen issue: AIADMK pins hope on ministerial talks between India, Sri Lanka

Nov 5 (ANI) The ruling AIADMK on Saturday expressed hope that the ministerial level talks between India and Sri Lanka to be held later in the day will bring in positive results for the long standing issues pertaining to fishermen after talks between fishermen associations of the two countries failed to yield any results. AIADMK leader C. R. Saraswathi said, "We are hopeful that today's meeting will bring in good results. more..

Sri Lanka and India form Joint Working Group on Fisheries

Nov 5 (CG) India and Sri Lanka held Ministerial level talks on fishermen issues today, in New Delhi. Indian External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh met with the SL Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Mahinda Amaraweera. Minister Pon Radhakrishnan and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran were part of the two delegations. more..

A Budget for whom?

Nov 6 (SO) Appropriations Bill for 2017 is on the table in the House of Parliament, the assembly of our elected representatives. This is the estimate, by the Govt, of its intended expenditure for the ensuing year and, on Thursday, Minister Ravi Karunanayaka, in his second Budget Speech in office, will tell us how the Government will find the money to meet this expenditure and manage the national exchequer during 2017. Sri Lankans of several generations are now familiar with the occasion more..

Sunil Santha to Amaradeva

Nov 6 (CT) From Sunil Santha to Amaradeva, SL has come a long way in recognizing its lyricists and singers on Sinhala music scene. Whilst Sunil Santha had to pump petrol, working at a petrol shed to make a living, because his songs and his singing didn't bring him enough money, despite his remarkable talent, Amaradeva however had to undergo no such hardships. Recognized by politicians & connoisseurs alike, they ensured that he lived a comfortable material life, free of want or need. more..

Budget: Top priority for bread&butter issues

Nov 6 (SO) Faced with criticism over the 2016 Budget, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake is set to present a People’s Budget next week, with emphasis on education, health, roads and houses. “We are concerned about boosting economic growth and improving the livelihoods of the ordinary people,” he said. Karunanayake also emphasized that his 2017 budget is for the people who elected the coalition govt nearly two years ago. more..

Battle lines drawn with birth of the SLPF

Nov 6 (Island) The new political party for the Rajapaksa camp that was being spoken of finally made its appearance last week with Prof. G.L. Peiris as it’s Chairman. Of all the start up political parties that we have heard of in this country, the ITAK as a breakaway from the Tamil Congress, the SLFP as a breakaway from the UNP, Chandrika’s BNP as a breakaway from the SLMP, the DUNF as a breakaway from the UNP, and Weerawansa’s JNP as a breakaway from JVP, SL People's Front more..

Budget thoughts

Nov 6 (Island) The 2017 budget due to be presented next Thursday has not evoked any sense of anticipation or major expectation. The people are very well aware of the govt’s need for revenue and the reality that state expenditure in recent years has far outstripped inflows to Treasury coffers. With the VAT amendment already in place, the major source of needed cash is known and the war drums on that score have already been beaten by opponents of the government in the so-called Joint Opposition. more..

'We will iron out our differences'

Nov 6 (SL) Minister Faiszer Musthapha has confidence that despite minor hiccups, the Unity Govt is strong and stable and so it will complete its full term. “I agree, the people are a little agitated because investigations are taking time, and small issues exist that need to be ironed out. But the fact that it is taking so much time itself indicates that the investigations are independent and not politically motivated. more..

The quick-fix drug price formula is no cure

Nov 6 (ST) Hot on the heels of a nasty blow to the people by way of an increased Value Added Tax (VAT) including on services provided at private hospitals, the Health Ministry seemed to want to cushion the hit by imposing a MRP (Minimum Retail Price) on at least 48 popular drugs. Not a comprehensive list, but yet, they range from the common Panadol to life-saving drugs. Health Ministry’s intentions seem at first glance bona fide, but we will come to that later. more..

Your song remains in our hearts

Nov 6 (ST) My dear Amaradeva Master, It is with shock and great sorrow that I write these words, hearing that you have passed on to the Land of Never Return quite suddenly. We knew that you were only a month shy of your eighty ninth birthday, but you attended a public function only a few days ago, so this is a great shock to us. Of course, the nation knew you mostly as a singer. Your haunting voice was your hallmark, seducing us with your unmatched style, be it rendering the patriotic more..

Tharanga named SL captain for tri-series

Nov 6 (CI) Sri Lanka have named Upul Tharanga as captain of the ODI side for their tri-series in Zimbabwe, which includes West Indies, as regular captain Angelo Mathews and vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal are both absent through injury. Kusal Perera will fill the role of vice-captain, while veteran seamer Nuwan Kulasekara has been recalled to the 15-man squad. Tharanga scored a century in Sri Lanka's victory in the first Test more..

Saving the nation

Nov 6 (ST) Remember that catchy NSB television advertisement some years ago about inculcating the savings habit? It went like this mitteng mitta, sathen sathe, rupiyalen rupiyale, ekathu karala ekathu karala …. (Meaning fistful by fistful, little by little, collect  cents and rupees and save) … and showed a child putting coins into a till (by the way where have all the tills gone?). This infectious and extremely powerful ad with an effectively-packaged message (to borrow marketing jargon) more..

SL President arrives Sunday on India trip

Nov 6 (IANS) President Maithripala Sirisena is arriving here on Sunday for a two-day India visit during which he will also attend an international conference on tobacco control. After his arrival on Sunday evening, Sirisena will have a meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan. On Monday, he will attend the seventh session of the global tobacco-control conference at the Indian Exposition Mart in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of the national capital. more..

Big expectations from Budget

Nov 6 (SL) The public have high expectations that the 2017 budget scheduled to be presented to parliament this week will bring them a range of benefits. The govt also has assured that the budget will be people friendly and will bring many concessions to them. The budget is also expected to set in motion many development projects. Here given the views of a cross section of society on the budget: more..