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Lyceum International schoolboy Thaha wins championship

Dec 9 (ST) Young Mohamed Thaha of MICH emerged champion at the Colombo District Snooker tournament when he defeated Samil Ameen of Sea Endless by four frames to two in the seven frame final played at the Moors SC billiards table at Braybrooke Place. In the process, 17-year-old youngster, a grade eleven student of Lyceum Int'l School Wattala overcame experienced players in the run up to clinch his first major snooker title. Seven frame final saw Thaha winning the first frame more..

ICC to take up pollution issue after Delhi Test draws criticism

Dec 9 (CI) The decision to play the Delhi Test amid high pollution levels has drawn strong criticism from both participating countries with the SL manager Asanka Gurusinha and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) deeming the conditions far from ideal. While the IMA wrote to the BCCI and Vinod Rai, the head of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators, stating that it was troubled over the third Test between India more..

Australia supports sign language training project for social inclusion

Dec 9 (FT) The Australian High Commission has supported the Ahanna Academy of Sign Language under the Ruhunu Sumaga Circle of the Deaf (RSCD) to conduct sign language training for public sector officials and the hearing-impaired community in the Matara District. More than 120 police officers, public officials and hearing-impaired community members completed a six month sign language training course, sponsored by the High Commission’s Direct Aid Program. more..

Dr. Sena Yaddehige receives long overdue honour

Dec 9 (Island) It is heartening that finally due recognition has been bestowed on one of the alumni from the first batch of the Science Faculty of the Uni of Kelaniya from decades past. This was a long time coming and one that we, the batch mates of Dr. Sena Yaddehige hoped we would see that happen in our lifetime. Going back to the times when we were students in the same batch, it was a unique experience during very hard times for youth in SL. The first group of university admission more..

Harsha apologises for illegal Colombo constructions

Dec 9 (ST) A SL minister, during an int'l conference in Colombo, was sincerely apologetic and sad to note that one of the main causes for floods is corruption among some local politicians. Merely to win LG elections, the politicians were approving house constructions often blocking canals. These comments were made by Dy Minister Harsha de Silva, when he addressed Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management more..

India aiming to develop tourism through inter-country packages with Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (FT) India has initiated talks with the SL Govt to develop policies to promote multi-destination packages to potential tourists which include the country as a destination, a top Indian official said. Speaking on the sidelines of the Sixth Global International Tourism Mart held in Assam India, Indian Tourism Ministry Secretary Rashmi Verma said that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was already in discussion with the SL Govt to develop a proper policy on the matter. more..

Sri Lankans to visit Dalai Lama

Dec 9 (Island) They talk so much about how New Zealand’s Queenstown being the world’s most beautiful cricket ground. Hang on; all the good things in the world need not come from the western world. India has its marvels too. Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium where the first ODI between SL and India will take place here in Dharamsala is one such. Sri Lankans trained here yesterday and the view is breathtaking. The ground is surrounded by the Himalaya mountain range and is above more..

Looters as Rulers: COPA scans EPF losses

Dec 9 (DN) A number of investments made by the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) in 2010 and 2013 which resulted in impairment losses of Rs 6.3 billion was questioned by Committee of Public Accounts (COPA). The latest COPA report tabled in Parliament revealed that the EPF had made an investment of Rs.500 million in SriLankan Airlines in July 2010, another investment of Rs. 810 million in a hotel company in May 2010, and more..

Top Japanese delegation with 100 potential investors due in SL in January

Dec 9 (ST) Japanese companies are looking for investment opportunities in South Asia particularly India, Bangladesh and SL which is growing at a rate of 5-6%. Japanese companies have also found that Sri Lanka is well located in the region and can also reach the African continent in the future, said Japanese Ambassador in SL Kenichi Suganuma, Chief Guest at the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held at Cinnamon Grand Hotel more..

Fuelling Sri Lanka’s tourism sector to achieve SDGs

Dec 9 (IPS) Since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009, the number of tourist arrivals to the country has increased significantly, from 448,000 in 2009 to 1.8 million in 2015. By 2015, tourism had already become the third main foreign exchange earner (US$ 2.98 b) in Sri Lanka. According to the SL Tourism Strategic Plan 2017-2020 of the Ministry of Tourism Development, the tourist arrivals have further increased to 2 million, and revenue from tourism has risen to US$ 3.5 billion. more..

Gazettes pave way for H'tota Port handover

Dec 9 (FT) Gazette notifications on the shareholder agreement on two joint venture entities which will operate commercial and common user facilities respectively at the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, reached Parliament yesterday prior to handing over of the port this weekend. China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd. (CMPort) or its nominees will own 85% and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will own 15% more..

Sri Lanka accedes to the Optional Protocol

Dec 9 (DM) Sri Lanka has acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment on Dec 5, 2017 and it will enter into force for SL on Jan 4, 2018. This was announced by the UN Secretary-General, acting in his capacity as depository. Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was signed by SL in 1984 and the provisions of the Convention were enforced more..

Mega Chinese enterprises job fair kicks off

Dec 9 (Xinhua) A mega Chinese enterprises job fair was held in Colombo on Friday, aimed at providing hundreds of jobs for the local community and strengthening the island's employment sector. The event was organized for the first time by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in SL and SL Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training. Altogether 12 Chinese enterprises based in Sri Lanka participated in the mega fair to employ local work force within their companies. more..

KP under protective custody: Kabir

Dec 9 (DN) Minister Kabir Hashim confirmed that former LTTE chief int'l financier Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP was being detained in an Army camp. Hashim addressing media, answered questions with regard to the current whereabouts of the most senior member of the LTTE and assured the media that he was under Army custody. “Unlike the former govt, we have taken him from Visumpaya and shifted him more..

Christians in Sri Lanka celebrate 60 years of ecumenical partnership

Dec 9 (AN) National Christian Council of Sri Lanka has celebrated the 60th anniversary of the wider Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) with a service of thanksgiving in Colombo’s Christian Reformed Church. Around 250 representatives of the member churches took part in the service, which was led by the heads of churches and Christian organisations in Sri Lanka. The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka includes the two dioceses of the Church of Ceylon – Colombo and Kurunegala more..

CB welcomes 4th tranche of IMF funding support

Dec 9 (FT) Central Bank yesterday reiterated that the IMF Extended Fund Facility, the fourth tranche of which worth $ 251.4 million was released on Thursday, will improve macroeconomic stability and strengthen external resilience midst challenging global environment. It said with the latest disbursement, a total of $ 759.9 million has been received thus far by Sri Lanka on account of the EFF. “EFF supported economic program is expected to improve macroeconomic stability of more..

Controlling cost of living while robbing the Central Bank

Dec 9 (DN) A mechanism to provide relief for farming families affected by extreme weather will be developed within two weeks, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM was making a special statement in Parliament on the economic impact of the inclement weather and the steps initiated by the Govt to control cost of living. He said a Committee comprising of Secretaries of Finance, Disaster Management, Home Affairs more..

Sri Lanka to re-build Myliddy fishery harbour in former warzone

Dec 9 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has proposed a quick rehabilitation program to re-build a fishery harbhour in the former war torn area of Jaffna which has been cleared for civilian use. Myliddy fishery village was a restricted area during a civil war in the island which ended in 2009. The state information office said the harbhour and 54 acres of land was released for civilian use in July 2017, and displaced fishermen had now returned. Myliddy fishery harbour could also be used during more..

No talks on political marriage at Yapa’s wedding: MR

Dec 9 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled out the possibility of the JO joining forces with its rival faction in the SLFP to contest polls. Ex-President Rajapaksa said that though he had met Maithripala Sirisena at the wedding of State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena’s son there had been no talks on a political marriage. "We didn’t discuss politics. President Sirisena told me he had to attend another wedding and I,too, had to go for another wedding. more..

'How come UK rejects its own Defence Attache’s assessment'

Dec 9 (Island) Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, has questioned the rationale behind the British govt’s rejection of its own Colombo-based wartime Defence Attaché Lt. Colonel Anton Gash’s confidential reports sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Gash’s cables originating from Colombo that had been obtained by Lord Naseby in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 strongly disputed more..

Human rights must begin at home

Dec 9 (DM) Legendary Nelson Mandela whose fourth death anniversary was commemorated on Tuesday, has said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Eleanor Roosevelt wife of the long serving United States President Franklin Roosevelt and described as the First Lady of the world played a key role in formulating the Universal Declaration of Human rights. She has said, “Where, after all, do more..

What is Media Freedom in the South?

Dec 9 (DM) UNESCO has over the decades contributed very much in establishing social acceptance for the free flow of ideas by word and image and thus works to foster free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online, across the globe. Their work, though accepted as necessary and given much prominence by Member States, we live in a world where the media map is coloured Black and Red in more places than it was the previous year. more..

Relatives remember war dead in North at Maveerar Naal events

Dec 9 (ST) Commemoration ceremonies to remember those who died in the 30-year separatist war were held in the North on Nov 27, the day on which the defeated LTTE marked its annual Maveerar Naal or Mahaviru Day, but police said the events passed without any major incidents. In the North, thousands of people took part in the ceremonies peacefully on Monday at decorated tombs where LTTE cadres had been buried. more..

Muslim Congress founder’s son Aman Ashraff speaks out against SLMC

Dec 9 (ST) Aman Ahamed Ashraff is the only son of legendary Muslim Congress leader the late Mr. M.H.M. Ashraff and Ms. Ferial Ashraff who was Sri Lanka’s first Muslim woman cabinet minister. In spite of this family background 36- year- old Aman Ashraff who is the executive creative director of Ashraff Associates (pvt) Ltd has kept aloof from politics so far. However there has been in recent times much speculation among more..

Chandra J. invokes RTI, asks Customs Dept to reveal forex related procedures

Dec 9 (CT) Invoking the recently passed Right to Information Act, Chandra Jayaratne has written to the Customs Department demanding details of the enforcements regime/infrastructure and procedures relevant to the Foreign Exchange Act No 12 of 2017. In particular Jayaratne has asked the Customs Department to reveal ‘the procedures and processes introduced for incoming and outgoing persons (Sri Lankans- whether resident or more..

Treetise to prevent Colombo’s shade from casting a shadow

Dec 9 (SO) The winds that buffeted the Western Province this week, not only brought down hoardings, walls and roofs, but also felled trees which added to the damage. Some trees were uprooted while others snapped. Was this a disaster waiting to happen, and will it occur again? Colombo Municipal Council’s (CMC) Tree Maintenance Dept (TMD) tasked with pruning and removing tree debris, lacks even basic information such as more..

Something more than a miracle: Wattala Parish Priest

Dec 9 (DM) The picture of Jesus Christ where droplets of sweat were seen emerging from the forehead at St. Anne’s Church in Wattala depitcs something more than a miracle, St. Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Sanjeev Mendis said. He said the miraculous incident enhanced the faith of the people in Jesus Christ more and motivated them to believe the presence of the Lord, the Savior. “More people are flocking together and praying the Lord. more..

Sri Lanka needs more taxes to cover SOE losses, energy pricing to help: IMF

Dec 9 (EN) Sri Lanka is on track to collect more taxes from a new income tax law, but losses at state enterprises and debt servicing requires even better budgets, the IMF has said. "…Sri Lanka’s high debt burden, large gross financing needs, and weak financial performance of state-owned enterprises increases the importance of further fiscal consolidation.," IMF Deputy Managing Director, Mitsuhiro Furusawa said after approving more..

Marians taken to HC for singing Jothipala’s songs

Dec 9 (DM) The Colombo Commercial High Court yesterday issued notices on Sri Lanka’s popular music band leader Nalin Perera and his musical group Marians for singing the late H.R. Jothipala's songs without the permission of his family members. The case was filed by H.R. Jothipala’s widow and their four daughters under the Intellectual Property Act. The complainants said the Marians had sung more..

Looters as Rulers: COPA seeks CBSL report on EPF bond purchases

Dec 9 (DM) The EPF has purchased a greater volume of bonds from the secondary market with a lesser yield in 2016 while it has purchased a lesser volume of bonds from the primary market with a higher yield, Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) states in its report presented to Parliament. Report presented to the House by COPA Chairman Lasantha Alagiyawanna stated that this had denied the EPF a massive financial gain. more..

On the trail of a bloody print

Dec 9 (SO) A pre-historic blood stain that is believed to be over 6000 years old was found by a team of archaeologists led by Prof. Raj Somadeva who is trailing the prehistoric civilisation that existed in SL thousands of years ago. Sunday Observer interviewed Prof. Somadeva on the importance of this discovery and the progress of their research including what interesting conclusions they might make based on this latest discovery. more..

Railways declared an essential service

Dec 9 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena signed the Gazette notification declaring railways as an essential service, Secretary to the President Austin Fernando said. The decision to declare railways an essential service comes as train services came to a standstill across the country as a resulted of a strike action launched by railway trade unions. The strike launched by 12 trade unions of the Department of Railways continues as more..

Trump and Jerusalem

Dec 9 (CT) Jerusalem. The Holy Land. The Ir ha-Kodesh and the Bayt al-Maqdis. The birthplace of monotheism; the three main religions that believe in the existence and benevolence of the One True God; Allah, Yahweh, and God. Jerusalem is, also coincidentally a powder keg, a primordial time bomb waiting to happen, covered in layers and layers of protective layers in the form of peace processes and various diplomatic negotiations. Yet, minutest wrong move there could set off a religious war. more..

Nuwara-Eliya, a lost horizon

Dec 9 (CT) Nuwara-Eliya is a pretence. Holding out as a little England or a miniature Switzerland, the place is a groundless boast, a show a long way from getting on the road. What immediately hits the visitor to the township in the hills are the dissimilarities with old blighty; the noise, the confusion and the inescapable dereliction of the place contradict the claim emphatically. There is nothing English about Nuwara-Eliya, only irregular remnants of a planting era on which the page has more..

දෑස් නොපෙනෙන අයගේ මනුස්සකම

Dedicated teachers in village school offer night classes for O/L students

Dec 9 (ST) Determined that their students sitting this month’s GCE O/L examination should pass with flying colours, the principal and teachers in a Matale village school are conducting daily night classes. A teacher said the night classes were started a few years ago to assist O/L students and now it had become a tradition. About 160 students benefit from these extra classes. Expressing deep gratitude to the dedicated teachers, parents welcome the exercise saying more..

Probe centres on illegal elephant trade after Kataragama detection

Dec 9 (ST) The recent detection of a captive baby elephant in Kataragama has raised fears that the illegal trading in elephants is raising its ugly head again after a lull of several months. According to Kataragama Police, the three-month-old calf was found in a private property on the Situlpawwa Road at Demala Thotupala, close to the Yala National Park. The animal had been found tethered to a tree when the police raided the hideout following a tip off. Wildlife Conservation Director General more..

CEA-Police raids on polyethylene factories to ensure compliance

Dec 9 (ST) Central Environment Authority (CEA) will start raids on the polythene industry to ensure compliance on its manufacture, as per govt specifications, this week. Initially, the raids will be on large scale manufacturers of polythene, to implement the gazette notification of Sept 2017. The directive was for all polythene manufacturers to produce Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) bags of 20-microns or above gauge, and also to more..

Now I am getting knocks on my head: Harin

Dec 9 (DM) Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando said that he could not give a single job to anyone from Badulla though he received more than 200,000 votes from that area and a a result now he was getting knocks on his head. “I am helpless. I might be defeated next time, but can't help,” he lamented. more..

'MPs not using their laptops in Parliament'

Dec 9 (DM) Minister Harin Fernando said that even 20% of the laptops provided to the MPs were not used by them. He said order papers and other relevant documents were saved in these laptops to facilitate MPs in the House and added that most of them still use the traditional print papers. He said MPs had even been provided with facilities to operate the computer by scanning their fingerprints after they complained of forgetting the password and proposed that print documents should not more..