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Changing of the guard at John Keells

Dec 10 (ST) John Keells Holdings (JKH), SL’s largest listed conglomerate, will see some significant changes at the top in the next 12 months including the expected ascension of Krishan Balendra as the new group chairman. Company sources said that while Mr. Balendra as chairman-designate has been announced internally, it was unclear whether he would take over the position of Deputy Chairman with the retirement of Ajit Gunewardene, current Deputy Chairman in end 2017. more..

SL–Iran banking transactions to resume

Dec 10 (ST) Sri Lanka –Iran banking transactions will resume soon paving way towards boosting investment and trade between the two countries after the lifting of US economic sanctions against Iran in 2016, Iranian Embassy sources confirmed. Banking issues in trade between the two countries are still to be resolved, a spokesman of the embassy told the Business Times adding that the issues in banking transactions will be sorted out within the next two or three weeks. more..

Debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines faces closure

Dec 10 (ST) SriLankan Airlines faces closure in the larger interest of the country’s economy if tangible and sustainable restructuring cannot be achieved, its Chairman Ajit Dias has warned. Pointing out that the airlines’ principal lenders, two state-run banks, are at a risk situation, he has said in a message to all SriLankan employees that there were only two options. One was to restructure the company in such a way as to attract an more..

Kamindu to lead Sri Lanka U19s

Dec 10 (ST) Richmond College Galle allrounder Kamindu Mendis has been selected to lead the Sri Lanka U19 side for the forthcoming ICC U19 Youth World Cup scheduled to be played from January 13 to February 3 2018 in New Zealand. Mendis will be the second successive player from Richmond to lead the Sri Lanka U19 side following his teammate Charith Asalanka who led the 2016 Sri Lanka U19 side at the 2016 ICC Youth World Cup which was held in Bangladesh. more..

JVP leader wants media to be more responsible in its reporting

Dec 10 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip and JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka urged the media to be more responsible in its reporting, keeping in mind the enormous influence it exerts on the public. "Unlike a time when the media consisted of only newspapers, there is radio, television as well as websites that disseminate news today. Hence, it is important for journalists as well as proprietors and the govt which controls the state run media to be more mindful," he said. more..

Railway Unions adamant, despite essential service declaration

Dec 10 (CT) Obdurate and defiant Railway Unions yesterday vowed to continue with their strike till their demands are met by the Govt, despite the Govt declaring the Railway as an essential service on Friday night. "This is a very serious situation and the railway employees just can't strike work arbitrarily, compromising the innocent railway commuters," Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation more..

Supply of coconuts to Army: Treasury faces huge loss

Dec 10 (CT) Treasury will have to face a loss of Rs 1.5 billion in 2018, due to contravening the tender procedure for supplying coconuts for Armed Forces' meals, JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake revealed. Participating in the Committee Stage Debate of the Appropriation Bill, he said, Army requires 55,000 kg of coconuts daily. "According to tender conditions, Army purchases coconut at a fixed price of Rs. 39 per kilogram. 98% of the total coconut demand is being met by a certain supplier. more..

Oman State Council delegation returns from Sri Lanka visit

Dec 10 (MD) A delegation from the State Council, led by Dr Yahya al Mantheri, its chairman, returned from an official visit to Sri Lanka on Friday. During the visit from Dec 4-8, the State Council delegation held high-level discussions with SL leaders to take relations to a new level. On Dec 5, the State Council chairman and the delegation met President Maithripala Sirisena, to discuss cooperation between Oman and Sri Lanka and means of developing them further in various fields. more..

Part-EPF-owned company ordered to pay Rs. 1.3 billion as damages to Italian firm

Dec 10 (ST) A Singapore-based arbitration tribunal has ordered SinoLanka Hotels and Spa (Pvt) Ltd–a subsidiary of Canwill Holdings (Pvt) Ltd of which the shareholders are Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Litro Gas Lanka Ltd and the EPF–to pay Euros 7.432 million (Rs 1.3 billion) in damages to an Italian company for the 2015 termination of an interior decoration contract for Grand Hyatt, Colombo. more..

New Foreign exchange Act to help build forex reserves

Dec 10 (SO) The newly enacted Foreign Exchange Act through the relaxation of foreign currency regulations will facilitate the country to build up its foreign exchange reserves as the end result, a senior Central Bank official said last week. “If our department at the Central Bank did not facilitate this, there would have been severe repercussions in terms of outflows such as our businesses would have been turned away and looked to invest elsewhere, as this is the age of globalization,” more..

ICC says claims of war crimes by UK troops have reasonable basis

Dec 10 (ST) The chief prosecutor at the international criminal court in The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, has declared there is a reasonable basis to believe that UK soldiers committed war crimes against detainees during the Iraq conflict. The announcement on Monday means the ICC will press ahead with its investigation into claims that British troops abused and unlawfully killed prisoners after the US-led invasion. It came in a 74-page report delivered in New York to the annual assembly more..

Success at local polls remains a priority for Sirisena

Dec 10 (ST) One evening early this week, Basil Rajapaksa, a key player in the SLPP, was en route to his home in Battaramulla after attending a meeting in Dehiwala. He had reached the Kohuwala junction when his mobile phone rang. As an aide explained, he was in his Land Cruiser with others including a media person. He was reluctant to answer. When it rang non-stop, he responded though he was not sure who the caller was. more..

The corrupt quartet in Washington Forum: Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ukraine

Dec 10 (Island) The media took time to report on the inaugural meeting of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) held over three days last week, at the World Bank Hq in Washington. There was no advance media coverage of the Washington gathering and even the govt would appear to have kept mum about its participation in it. The Global Forum was hosted by the govts of the US and the UK with support from World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (SARI). more..

NO to fundamentalism, racial-extremism and neo-populism

Dec 10 (Island) Ex-president MR is on record that Gota’s arrest on trumped up charges is imminent. Joint Opposition-cum-Rajapaksa (JO-Pak) mouthpieces, hoping to stave off an arrest, warn of an almighty Sinhala-Buddhist backlash if he is locked up. This implies that a strong case which will hold up in court exists and JO-Pak is endeavouring to stampede the Sirisena-Ranil duumvirate - not a difficult task – to halt action. If burn-loot-rape gangs are let loose by JO-Pak or the BBS more..

Lotteries Board bosses: Not lucky winners, but always winners

Dec 10 (ST) In lottery draws, the winners are always the lucky ones. Overnight they become millionaires. However, there is also another category of winners who are lucky all the time the draws are held. Those are the top level management and staff at National Lotteries Board (NLB), one of two premier state-owned lottery operating enterprises under the Ministry of Finance. Their directors and senior staff are drawing more..

‘Not relevant for Treasury to decide whether people should drink alcohol or not’

Dec 10 (Island) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the Opposition failed to criticize the Budget 2018 in a logical manner. He further said that a budget prepared by any govt naturally receives thorough criticisms of the Opposition. "What we have seen is the Opposition always blasts a budget and vehemently criticizes it. But this time we did not see such criticism from the Opposition against Minister more..

Musical chairs at Lanka Sathosa: Fifth successive chairman steps down

Dec 10 (Island) Lanka Sathosa’s fifth successive chairman within a space of 34 months stepped down on Friday amidst speculation that he buckled under intense pressure exerted by politically powerful forces that hold sway in the govt institution which runs the biggest consumer retail chain in the country. The departure of T.M.K.B. Tennakoon, a retired Industry and Commerce Ministry secretary, didn’t come as a surprise, officials said, more..

PTA detainees Jeyanthan’s Story: Waiting to be either charged or released

Dec 10 (CT) The nightmare for the Rasadurai family began last April when officers, who claimed they were from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) of the Police, arrested one of their sons and took away two motorbikes and a lorry that were in their yard. Chavakachcheri family had acquired the vehicles on lease a few months earlier. The two sons in the family, Jeyanthan and Dushyanthan, more..

Central Bank awaits treasury clearance to tap global markets

Dec 10 (CT) SL will tap into international markets under favourable market conditions as early as next year to build the required additional buffer reserves stocks to face a series of foreign loan repayments in 2019, CB officials said. However, they added that the ultimate borrowing decisions lay with the State Treasury; they were waiting for final Treasury clearance to tap global markets and raise funds. more..

Bhikkhunis face challenges due to official non recognition by Buddhist Affairs Dept.

Dec 10 (Island) The challenges faced by Bhikkhunis in travelling overseas for Buddhism related activities has been brought to light by the Siri Sanghamitta Foundation as nuns in Sri Lanka continue to clamor for recognition by the Department of Buddhist Affairs – a move resisted by the Mahanayake Theras of the country’s three Nikayas. Foundation’s president, Ven. Maharagama Uppalawanna Bhikshuni, has brought to more..

Kitulgala be dammed

Dec 10 (CT) Environmentalists are protesting over a mini-hydro power plant that for the first time will be constructed across a main river in Kitulgala. The mini-hydro power plant is to be constructed close to the Kitulgala forest across the Kelani River. The site earmarked for the mini hydro power project is where the river starts forming into the Kelani River and will generate 7.3 mega watts. There are 39 species of fish in the area. more..

4 kg of heroin a day for 45,000 users: Report

Dec 10 (ST) One in every 257 Sri Lankan was arrested for drug related offences last year, reveals a report containing shocking statistics which stress the need for more far-reaching measures to check the disturbing situation. Dangerous Drug Control Board’s report reveals that last year, 79,378 suspects were arrested for narcotic drug related offences, a majority of them (47%) from Western Province, SL’s most populous region. more..

Local council polls: Stern warning to public officials

Dec 10 (ST) Public officials who fail to prevent the misuse of state resources or property during the upcoming LG elections will be liable to a fine or jail term, a senior official said. Additional Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said that the Commission, in contrast to previous elections of only issuing directives and guidelines, would be issuing a gazette notification thereby giving it legal effect. more..

Yahapalana Corruption: Minister goes for emergency spot purchases

Dec 10 (ST) A delay in ordering fertiliser stocks on time has compelled agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake to seek ministerial approval to waive laid-down tender procedures. He now wants to complete the procurement within seven days thus eliminating the seven day appeal period in terms of tender procedures. This is after it came to light that the company to which an award had been more..

Taking a look at the miracle at Wattala

Dec 11 (CT) I have no desire to run down any religion and I am sans any religion. On the other hand, I am impelled to examine claims that are tantamount to a war on science -claims that can only serve to deceive a gullible public. The latest sensational story is a tale about an alleged miracle at St Anne’s Church in Wattala, Sri Lanka – a dominantly Catholic suburb. The claim is made by the Parish priest himself-Revd Father Sanjeev Mendis – listening to the story told by more..

The facilitators of corruption

Dec 11 (CT) Wetath, Niyarath, Goyam Ka Num, Kaata Pavasami Eh Amaruwa is a commonly used saying of the village farmers. This saying adapted with the extension to read as “If the Fence, the Bund, the Mud, the Water and the Fertilizers, All Start Eating the Paddy! O God to whom Can the Farmers Complain?” is an apt phraseology to describe the unfortunate position of the Sri Lanka citizenry are facing today – 9th of Dec 2017, the International Anti-corruption day. more..

Will the rise of groundwater table affect Colombo Fort?

Dec 11 (SO) Rising groundwater level in the Colombo Fort area, once a marsh land reclaimed by successive Dutch and British Governors, poses a danger to some of the heritage buildings inside the Colombo Fort area, a study done by a leading geo technical expert and a private company, has shown. Dr Godakuru Karunarathne, a geotechnical expert who had worked on sea-bed reclamation projects across Asia, including more..

Chuckles over political grandstanding and impunity questions

Dec 11 (ST) Several rather fantastic claims in respect of restoring the Rule of Law were made by the Govt at the highest levels this week. Ideally the Govt’s commitment to closing the spluttering legal and investigative processes on killings of SL’s scribes in the Rajapaksa decade should have been the main focus during a talkfest in Colombo on Ending Impunity for Journalists. Instead what emerged was the blistering attack by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on pvt media’s many sins. more..

Editorial: The moment of truth for UN

Dec 11 (Island) US President Donald Trump has demonstrated that he is capable of doing with his restless tongue what his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un, or Rocket Man, is threatening to do with nukes—wreaking destruction. His decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has plunged the entire region into chaos with violence escalating in the occupied territories of Palestine. All signs are that an unprecedented bloodbath is around the corner—absit omen! more..

'Railway tracks cheaper than highways'

Dec 11 (CT) Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan, Senior Lecturer of Economics, Uni of Colombo, has played many roles in the transport sector. He was the Secretary, Ministry of Transport during the early days of the United National Front for Good Governance administration and the General Manager of SL Railways during the first decade of the century. He sat down with Ceylon Today to discuss the need to promote railway transport more..

Winning elections, no walk in the park

Dec 11 (SO) That is a question we must ask because the former Defence Secretary and sibling of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is generating headlines without doing much, really. To put things in a nutshell, the current hullabaloo is as follows: The FCID is attempting to take action against Rajapaksa for alleged misappropriation of funds in constructing the D.A. Rajapaksa Memorial Museum, built in honour of the patriarch of the Rajapaksa clan. more..

Mara meets Boss: Daddy boy manipulates

Dec 11 (SO) So it was the wedding of the son of our policy less old man from Matara last week. Remember Lakshman don’t we? from this side to that side and then the other side he has jumped better than a Chimpanzee would. But with the brains of a fox. It was these attributes, Siripala thinks, which was able to get Mara and the Prez to sign as witnesses on the day of the younger son’s wedding. If not who can do that men? One day Ranil, next day Mara, the other day Maithree and more..

අර්ජුන් කමලනාත් සිංහ පැටියා මතක් කරදුන්න අපේ කම

Jonah Dayasiri’s Great Balls of Ire send cricket deeper into the mire

Dec 11 (ST) Has Sports Minister Jayasekera lost his rosy hue playing marbles with the nation’s cricket and ordering Lanka’s ODI squad off the India-bound flight? He may know his political pole vaulting better than anyone else in the country. He may know his footwork when it comes to dancing – learnt perhaps at the feet of his father in law, Kandy’s famed dance maestro Pani Bharatha – displayed with sword and stick on city streets during Mahinda’s May Day procession in 2014. more..

Heads you win, tails I lose ...

Dec 11 (Island) Coming ahead of the nation-wide LG elections in February, the self-imposed deadline for the MoU between President Maithiripala Sirisena’s SLFP faction and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP by year-end should be a dampener for all stakeholders, even those outside of the govt. Between the two developments will fall the third year anniversary of their yahapalayana regime, which has lost all of its shine and sheen, beyond repair. As things stand, the two parties seem more..

LG elections: Better late than never

Dec 11 (CT) LG Elections are due in Feb 2018. And, in the New Year, the country's electoral system which has changed will see elections held under a new system. Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament in August with a majority of 120 votes providing for the holding of the long overdue LG elections under a new electoral system. Following a division called by the JO, 120 members voted for the Bill, more..

'People have lot to learn from Murali'

Dec 11 (Island) As Mohammad Azharuddin was nearing the twilight of his career, Hyderabad that produced one of India’s finest captains gifted another wristy player in the form of V.V.S. Laxman. Both Laxman’s parents were well-known doctors and even he studied medicine before choosing a career as a cricketer. It was his back to the wall 281 in Calcutta in 2001 that put an end to Steve Waugh’s dreams of conquering the final frontier. It’s considered the greatest knock by an Indian more..

'It is an eye-opener, we will learn from it'

Dec 11 (CI) At 29 for 7, India were in danger of plummeting to the all-time lowest ODI total. While they managed to avoid the ignominy thanks to MS Dhoni's stubbornness down the order, a total of 112 proved woefully inadequate even in bowling-friendly conditions; Sri Lanka chased it down with 29.2 overs to spare. Rohit Sharma, in his first ODI as captain, admitted such matches were an eye-opener but refused to read much too much into it. "Credit should go to the Sri Lankan bowlers, more..

'The risk is higher for sportsmen'

Dec 11 (ST) A medical expert this week urged the ICC to look more seriously into players’ health after cricketers of both Indian and SL teams were exposed to toxic smog during the third and final Test in the Indian capital. His comments came a few days after the Indian Medical Council highlighted the dangers of players being exposed to what they termed as very poor air quality. At least two players vomited on the field more..

Ranjan Anandappa: Gentleman journalist

Dec 11 (Island) It was indeed a dreadful offensive alarm to learn from the media the demise of my colleague, journalist Ranjan Anandappa at the age of 69 years after a brief illness. He was a old boy initially at De Mazenod, Kandana, before moving to Ananda College, where he played cricket in the years 1967-68. He served at Lake House for three decades, having commenced a career at the Navy after leaving school. During his tenure at Lake House, until very recently more..