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President requests railway employees to return to work

Dec 12 (PMD) President Sirisena requested all striking railway trade unions to return to work considering the inconvenience caused to O/L students who are sitting for the exam today. Many concerned parties voiced their distress over the ongoing railway strike as children who rely on the railway service to get to their exam centers will be left desolate. President made a request from the railway trade unions to call off the strike as many children will be affected by the strike action. more..

Sri Lanka eliminated malaria: Rajitha

Dec 12 (DN) In 2008, the last case of indigenous malaria-related death was reported in Sri Lanka. National Strategic Plan was developed with the aim of achieving malaria elimination within a time-bound framework to reach zero local transmission by 2014. Since SL was declared malaria-free on Sept 5, country has now emerged as an example of what is needed to eliminate malaria and what are the opportunities & challenges of malaria-free more..

Choice for the Tamils

Dec 13 (CT) Article 1 of UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 recognises and grants the right of self-determination to peoples all over the world. The Section says: “All peoples have the right of self-determination by virtue of that right; they freely determine their political status and thereby pursue their economic, social and cultural development”. This fundamental human right of peoples is rooted on the preservation of their equality of rights, opportunities and treatment. more..

Lord Naseby & The President’s Letter

Dec 13 (CT) The Island has to be congratulated on its scoop of a statement by Lord Naseby in response to the summary dismissal by the British High Commission in Colombo of his views on the infamous UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of 2015 and the increasingly untenable figure of 40,000 civilian casualties. According to the statement “Lord Naseby makes it quite clear that he shall pursue every organisation and the persons involved to ensure that Darusman Report figure on civilian casualties more..

Carbon Tax: a mechanism to control carbon dioxide emissions

Dec 13 (SO) Carbon tax is an indirect tax, aimed at controlling carbon dioxide emissions, which in turn would reduce harmful emissions contributing to air pollution and subsequently, to global warming. Exhaust fumes from vehicles, power plants and factories all contain varying levels of carbon dioxide. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, the burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil & natural gas more..

In their absence: Families of the disappeared share treasured keepsakes

Dec 13 (GV) The following is the translation of a story by Selvaraja Rajasegar, editor of Maatram. As of today, the families of the disappeared have been protesting, across the North and East. In some areas, it has been over 290 days. Their pleas, to provide details about what happened to their families, have yet to be answered. Five of the protesters have died since the protests began. In light of Human Rights Day, which falls on Dec 10, Groundviews translated this series, more..

The Crackdown on Corruption

Dec 13 (GV) On Nov 8 President Sirisena called the irregularities around the Central Bank bond issue a maha vinashaya (a huge destruction) and said that those behind it must accept responsibility. He was speaking at a commemoration event for Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, widely acknowledged as a driving force behind the citizen’s movement which brought Sirisena into power in 2015. A key promise made during election campaigns was to tackle ongoing and entrenched corruption. more..

'We want a change in Muslim representation'

Dec 13 (CT) Leader of the newly formed coalition United People's Alliance (UPA) and former General Secretary of SLMC M.T. Hasen Ali said that the new party has been formed to solve burning issues of the Muslim Community that have not been addressed. "We want a change to take place in Muslim representation. System should be reformed. It will not suddenly happen but will take a period of time. We have the responsibility to initiate it. more..

Sirimavo's enforced exile

Dec 13 (DN) The darkest day of democracy Oct 16, 1980, she faced with bravery and equanimity. On unjust, unfair, and revengeful act by her opponent, Sirimavo made a short farewell speech and left her seat amidst cat-calls and indecent remarks from some govt members; the expelled world’s first woman Head of State was leaving the chamber un-accompanied as the other six SLFP MPs boycotted the sittings; S. Sivasithamparam and A. Amirthalingam, the two gentlemen MPs rose more..

The limits of Rajapaksa magic

Dec 13 (DN) National Unity Govt passed its third budget and the first by Minister Mangala Samaraweera with a two third majority in Parliament in all its three readings. With the end of the budget debate, the entire political focus now shifts to the impending local govt elections due to be held in mid-February next year. Nominations are due to close by mid-December. The political activity of the past several weeks has been attempts by various members of the SLFP to seek to unite more..

Weerakumara Dissanayake

India's batting under pressure as Sri Lanka eye series win

Dec 13 (CI) Atmospheric conditions in north India have haunted Sri Lanka right through their tour of India. If it was the smog in Delhi, it was rain in Dharamsala. On Monday, they spent four hours at the airport with their chartered flight unable to take off. They returned to their hotels and only flew to Mohali on Tuesday, the eve of the third ODI. North India, however, has been kind to Sri Lanka from a cricketing standpoint; they left Delhi with a heartening draw in the third Test, more..

Lifetime awards for dedicated Athletic officials

Dec 13 (DN) Athletic officials who dedicated themselves for the development of Sri Lankan athletics received life time awards recently. Accordingly six athletic technical officials who committed to develop athletics in the country for over 50 years were felicitated during an award ceremony under the patronage of former President of Sri Lanka Athletic Association and former Army Commander Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake at the National Sports Academy recently. more..

'If we play like we did in Dharamsala, we'll win series'

Dec 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka produced a near flawless performance in Dharamsala and captain Thisara Perera is expecting an encore from his team in the second ODI to win a maiden series in India. "It is a good opportunity to win the series. Not many teams have won series in India. We want to do something special, like we did in Dharamsala," Perera said on the eve of the second match of the 3-ODI series. more..

Editorial: A land like no other

Dec 13 (Island) A Constitutional Assembly (CA) sitting, which was to last for seven hours, on Monday, had to be adjourned within a few minutes of its commencement, for want of speakers. Is it that the proposed new Constitution doesn’t figure high on the MPs’ agenda? The public may not have given a tinker’s cuss about the CA sitting at issue. Their priorities are different. Many people are in straitened circumstances or penury, worrying about the next meal. more..

Why SL remains silent over Jerusalem?

Dec 13 (Island) Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka, in The Island of 11 Dec, while summing up the responses of members of the Security Council at its recently convened emergency session over the situation arising from President Trump’s action to move the US Embassy, in Israel, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, an action which amounts to tacit recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel, asks why the Sri Lankan Foreign Office has remained silent on the issue. It is in a bit of bind, says Sanja. more..

Tell the President programme gets e-Swabhimani

Dec 13 (PSL) Tell the President programme implemented by the Presidential Secretariat to submit any complaints, suggestions, ideas and grievances directly to the president by the public was recently awarded with e-Swabhimani gold award. The ICTA selected Tell the President programme for maximally utilizing the information technology to serve the public and this award was presented to the President at more..

Heated exchange in Parliament on anti-dumping bill

Dec 13 (SL) A heated exchange erupted in Parliament between the Govt and the opposition over the anti-dumping bill. Govt called for the bill to be passed urgently ahead of the signing of key Free Trade Agreements with several countries, including Singapore, China and India. Minister Malik Samarawickrama told Parliament that Sri Lanka hopes to sign the FTA with Singapore next month. He also said that Sri Lanka will sign FTAs with China and India as well as several other countries. more..

President opens multi-storey Specialist Centre at Nawaloka Hospital

Dec 13 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena declared open the newly built multi-storey Specialist Centre at Nawaloka Hospital, Colombo today (Dec. 12). This has been built at a cost of Rs. 5 billion to facilitate patients visiting the hospital. The President who opened the building by unveiling the plaque also appraised the services of the long term workers of the hospital. Chairman of Nawaloka Hospitals Jayantha Dharmadasa also joined this occasion. more..

Global travellers searching for SL content on the rise: TripAdvisor

Dec 13 (FT) The world’s largest travel site TripAdvisor said the number of people searching for Sri Lankan content had increased 12% globally and called on all stakeholders to take pride in the country and share their experiences to inspire more visitors. “People searching for Sri Lanka content has grown by 12% globally, which is amazing. Sri Lanka is really growing and we have seen this growth in the last few years,” more..

Maximum six subjects for GCE O/L?

Dec 13 (Island) The Minister of Education announced on TV that he plans to limit the number of subjects a student can offer at O’ Level examination to 6 from current 8 or more. The grounds for his decision, he announced, were to reduce the burden on students at age 16 years and that he had been in Finland 2 months back and that he was impressed by the practice there, a country where students performed exceedingly well at PISA tests. So did Korea, Singapore and more..

Budget boost for business confidence in Nov

Dec 13 (FT) LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) has climbed 13 basis pointshigher to reach 119 in November, the latest edition of LMD reports. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant attributes the recent uptick in biz confidence to Budget 2018, which he says “was welcomed across stakeholders as a document that aims to strengthen long-term measures as well as work out policies aimed at [a] short-term recovery”. He observes that “Blue-Green Budget has announced more..

Sri Lanka appeals to Pakistan for fertiliser

Dec 13 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday intervened to address the fertiliser shortage in the country with a request made to Pakistan’s PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for 75,000 MT of fertiliser to be sent to Sri Lanka, a top official confirmed. The move comes in the wake of a meeting chaired by Sirisena to discuss the shortage faced by farmers in the country, Agriculture Ministry Secretary B. Wijayaratne told the Daily FT. more..

SL on the verge of creating history in Punjab

Dec 13 (Island) Although the great Arjuna Ranatunga won the Independence Cup in India in 1997, the best of three finals was played against Pakistan as SL had knocked out India in the first round. No SL team has beaten India in a series and the closest they came was in Dec 1997 when the three-match series was levelled at 1-1. People may not see Thisara Perera as a long-term captaincy prospect, but if he achieves what many other SL captains have failed to accomplish, more..

Ratnayake praises fast bowlers’ effort

Dec 13 (Island) SL’s Fast Bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake has praised the efforts of his bowlers that enabled SL to take a 1-0 lead in the ongoing three-match series against India. Spearheaded by Suranga Lakmal, seamers did a fine job to bowl out India for 112 runs in Dharamsala on Sunday and the tourists went on to secure a seven-wicket win. "That was an excellent spell by Suranga. One of the best I have seen by a fast bowler. Conditions were good, yes, but it's a matter of bowling in right areas. more..

Don't fear, Govt, Police on our side: John A.

Dec 13 (DM) Minister John Amaratunga has told a UNP rally recently that no one should be afraid of anyone, because the govt and the police belonged to the UNP this time. “The govt and the police are ours this time. No one should be afraid. We will deal with anyone. What we want is your vote only,” he said and added that the prices of rice, vegetables and coconut had risen because of the prevailing drought and that the govt had more..

Sri Lanka to commence enabling Sinhala and Tamil scripts for top-level domain names

Dec 13 (LBO) Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and local experts in policy, technical and linguistic fields convened in Colombo recently to introduce the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN) program and launch the Sinhala Generation Panel (GP). The launch signifies a future where the local community contributes towards developing secure and stable access to the Internet in Sinhala. Asia Pacific region is linguistically diverse. more..

Sri Lanka urged to clarify incentives for wastewater investments

Dec 13 (EN) The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has said Sri Lanka needs to clarify incentives for private investment in wastewater treatment projects, saying lack of independent regulatory oversight of the sector is likely to be a continuing disincentive. The Board of Investment is encouraging domestic and foreign private companies to invest in this sector through financial incentives for developers, the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, said in a report. more..

Crossovers: JVP hints at bribery

Dec 13 (Island) Crossovers were common in the run-up to elections, JVP said yesterday. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said, "There will be more crossovers in the coming days. He said some politicians will decide which way to jump, depending on the offers made." Silva said the JVP had recently suffered two splits. "Yet we have been able to recover and rebuild the party structure. We have handed over nominations to all LG bodies more..

Tamil prisoners’ CA appeal to be supported

Dec 13 (FT) Court of Appeal yesterday (12) fixed for support on February 2 the petition filed Tamil prisoners seeking to transfer their case back to Vavuniya High Court from Anuradhapura High Court. The matter came up before Justice L.B.T. Dehideniya (President/CA). Attorney General on November 15 had informed the Court that it is being implored the possibility of transferring the Tamil prisoners’ case back to Vavuniya High Court from Anuradhapura High Court. more..

‘SLPP not shaken by few defections’

Dec 13 (Island) Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said that the Joint Opposition (JO) had not been divided even though some of its members had joined President Maithripala Sirisena. MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena said that the supporters of those who crossed over to SLFP were still with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene said there were no personal agendas for those who support former President Rajapaksa as they were with him on principle. more..

Special bus fleet for O/L students

Dec 13 (CT) GCE O/L exam began yesterday. Exam under which 414,694 school candidates and 99,506 private candidates are sitting as per the new scheme and 14,799 school candidates and 159,574 private candidates are sitting under the old scheme is scheduled to conclude on 21 Dec. The exam under the new scheme will be conducted at 3,762 exam centres and 536 coordinating centres while more..

Don’t be deceived by political dramas: JVP

Dec 13 (DM) Referring to JO members joining the govt, JVP said people should not get deceived by the political dramas being enacted today. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said people should learn lessons from what was happening these days because they would bring no benefit to the nation. “Those who crossed over have done so, expecting some benefit. Weerakumara Dissanayake is one of them, and there is also a lady who had joined the govt in the morning after voting more..

EC must inquire into John A.'s statement: JO

Dec 13 (DM) Joint opposition MP Janaka Bandara Tennakoon said the Elections Commissioner (EC) should immediately inquire into the statement made by Minister John Amaratunga. "He had requested the people to vote at the forthcoming election without any fear because the govt and the Police would be on their side and mentioned about the import of coconuts, rice and vegetables from foreign countries. This statement was a threat made against the people," the MP said. more..

Railway strike rages on

Dec 13 (CT) A five-member Ministerial Committee was appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday, to inquire into the issues put forward by Railway trade unions and to hold discussions with those engaged in the ongoing strike. The committee, led by Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, was announced yesterday at a press briefing. A Gazette Notification was also issued declaring Railways as an essential service. more..

Railway strike: TUs decision today

Dec 13 (DN) Railway unions will decide on whether to continue with the strike or not based on their meeting with the Ministerial Sub-Committee on the railway issue chaired by Dr Sarath Amunugama, scheduled to be held at 9 am today. “We will continue the strike until a favourable agreement is reached, said Railway Guards’ Union, President Janaka Fernando said. Union members also refused to accept their vacated post letters yesterday bringing action against unions to a stalemate. more..

CA issues notice returnable for 26 Jan. on Navy officer in Raviraj revision application

Dec 13 (FT) Court of Appeal reissued a notice returnable for 26 Jan on Navy officer Sampath, who is said to be still absconding, in respect of the revision application filed by aggrieved party petitioner Sasikala Raviraj seeking the Court to revise and set aside the order of the High Court Judge allowing the request of the accused for the case to be tried before a jury as well as his verdict of acquittal. Justice Kumudini Wickramasinghe fixed for mention on 26 Jan to ascertain whether more..

US anti-corruption advisor to be based here: AG calls upon govt to explain

Dec 13 (Island) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe alleged that the failure on the part of successive govts to take tangible measures to tackle state sector waste, corruption and irregularities had contributed to US decision to propose a Colombo-based Resident Legal Advisor. Had those who had been at the helm and the govt of the day followed basic laws and brought in required new legislation, SL wouldn’t have ended up more..

Don’t import teachers; Recruit Tamil-speaking unemployed graduates

Dec 13 (DM) During the height of the war, the Tamil medium schools in the Central Province were filled with teachers from Jaffna or rather the Northern Province. The Northern Tamil teachers dropped their pride, set aside the Sri Lankan Tamil-Indian Tamil divisions and egos and humbly helped the children of the brethren in the Central hills. Besides, a substantial number of war-fleeing civilians of Northern Origin settled in Nuwara Eliya with many getting married to locals. more..

Obata puthe magak nethe: Story of a failed society

Dec 13 (DM) People - blame themselves in back peddling a lost leadership back to power. Think before you act stupidly - realize the folly in creating a situation of having no foreseeable future for the country you truly love: to whatever denomination you may belong - desire a future for your siblings in living in this land of yours? Are you at home blaming yourself. Be positive: the country needs you in this hour of peril, more than at most other times. Awake Countrymen! more..