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SLMC condemns Trumps Jerusalem decision

Dec 14 (Island) The SLMC has condemned the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise the City of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. "On behalf of the SLMC, I wish to reiterate that we subscribe to the universally accepted legitimate claim and assertion that Jerusalem is the shared capital of Israel and the state of Palestine. This has been the collective demand of the Int'l Community endeavouring to witness peace. This is also the position of the govt of Sri Lanka. more..

Protect Wilpattu protest today

Dec 14 (CT) A collective of activists and senior artistes are expected to come together today, under the banner Protect Wilpattu, to protest the alleged deforestation that is taking place adjacent to the National Park. The collective of activists will convene in front of the Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo 7 to protest the alleged deforestation of forest reserves that surround the Wilpattu National Park. Yesterday, several senior artistes, who assembled at a press briefing, emphasized that nearly 3,500 acres more..

Sri Lanka should show it's not afraid of open economy: PM

Dec 14 (DM) Sri Lanka should show the world that it is not a country which is afraid of the open economy and take steps to modernize the city of Colombo and elsewhere while preserving its heritage, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM made this remark at a seminar Living Heritage organized by the European Union together with the British Council last morning. “The civilization of Sri Lanka was a powerful commercial one. more..

American science channel says Ram Setu man-made, BJP cheers

Dec 14 (DC) Vast numbers of Hindus celebrated on Wednesday the affirmation in an American science channel that Ram Setu, an undersea bridge between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, is indeed man-made. The promo of the show called Ancient Land Bridge received huge positive response from across the globe, more so in India, much before the actual show itself got aired Wednesday, with Union minister Smriti Irani retweeting video with caption, Jai Shri Ram. more..

Sri Lanka’s Christmas tree enters Guinness world records

Dec 14 (DM) Christmas tree which was constructed at the Galle Face grounds last year amidst much controversy has finally made it to the Guinness records as the world’s largest artificial Christmas tree. The Guinness World Records said the largest artificial Christmas tree measures 72.1 m (236 ft 6.58 in) tall, and was achieved by Arjuna Ranatunga Social Services (SL), in Colombo, on 24 Dec 2016. “The Christmas tree was built as part of a three day carnival in the Galle Face Green more..

Railways, Health, Education to be closed services

Dec 14 (CT) In a bid to resolve continuous contentious salary issues in the Railways, Health and Education sectors, Govt has decided to make all three sectors closed services. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said successful discussions with railway unions led to the suspension of their seven-day strike. Under the closed services agreement, the Govt was contemplating to even give higher than more..

Only a tantrum away from a nuclear catastrophe

Dec 14 (DM) With the dangerously unpredictable US President Donald Trump plunging the world closer to nuclear war in the Korean Peninsula and in the volatile Middle East, last Sunday’s warning by the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner needs to be seriously reflected upon. With his unpredictability being one of his only predictable qualities and inconsistency being consistent with his nature, Mr. Trump is threatening a nuclear war with North Korea while Kim Jong-un’s North Korean regime more..

(Pick)pocketing the Town Hall

Dec 14 (DM) Local govt elections are typically held immediately after a major election. What typically happens is that the party winning the latter sweeps the former. In this sense the forthcoming local govt elections are an anomaly. They are late. Very late. Numerous excuses were given, among which was the slowness of instituting electoral reform, the length of the delimitation process etc. Over and above all this, one has to conclude, the regime was wary. It still is wary. more..

'Constituents should prevail upon their MPs'

Dec 14 (DM) Dr. Anula Wijesundere, a consultant physician involved with the work of the Nationalist Movement in Sri Lanka, speaks about the constitution making process, women’s rights and the impact of the price reduction of beer as proposed in the Budget. She is the president of the organization Society for the Upliftment and Conservation of the Cultural, Economic and Social Standards (SUCCESS). more..

Telecom operators are biggest spammers

Dec 14 (LBO) Caller ID and spam detection app, Truecaller recently announced some revealing stats on spam and scam calls in Sri Lanka. The recently published Truecaller insights: Top Spammers in Sri Lanka in 2017 report reveals that Telecom operators are the biggest spammers in the country with 72 percent for reported spam calls. “Operator spam calls involve telecom companies cold calling people,” the report said. more..

Will Sri Lanka turn to SMS storm warnings after night from hell?

Dec 14 (Reuters) In the early evening of Nov. 29, Ajith Dias, an office worker in Colombo, started receiving warnings on Facebook of a brewing storm nearing SL’s southern coast. “It was Wednesday early evening, it was getting dark and cloudy. But there was no (govt) warning, at least no warning that I received,” Dias said. By the time the storm - which became Cyclone Ockhi - passed, 13 people were dead and nearly 700 houses were destroyed. more..

Sri Lanka’s mothers ask international community to help find their children

Dec 14 (AC) Sri Lanka’s responses to questions on accountability for rights violations at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November were evasive and packed with clichés. This should spur the international community to demand Colombo cooperate in investigating enforced disappearances (and other violations) and prosecuting those responsible. Failure to hold Sri Lanka accountable will not only mean that more..

President pays attention regarding issues faced by gem mining industry

Dec 14 (PMD) A discussion was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the issues faced by the gem businessmen and gem mining industry, yesterday (13). During this meeting, the representatives presented in detail the difficulties faced by them to the President, due to the examination of licenses as well as arrests made by persons who are not belong to the National Gem and Jewellery Authority more..

Poor turnout of female candidates for local govt. polls

Dec 14 (ST) Lack of candidates to contest from rural areas, interference by local male politicians and cultural taboos are among issues impeding efforts to fill 25 percent of the nomination lists with female candidates at the upcoming local govt elections. Female MPs from major political parties, said work on identifying female candidates to contest the elections was proceeding, but highlighted there were still difficulties. more..

Arjuna warns Prez of fuel crisis likelihood

Dec 14 (CT) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga had informed President Maithripala Sirisena, during the National Economic Council meeting held on 12 Dec, that the country could face another fuel crisis at any given moment, owing to poor infrastructure facilities available for storing fuel. When contacted, Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development Upali Marasinghe confirmed that the exchange more..

SL accedes to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty

Dec 14 (SL) The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka deposited the Instrument of Accession to the Convention of the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction (Ottawa Treaty) at the Treaty Section of the UN in New York. At an event to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Ottawa Convention entitled A World Free of Landmines convened jointly by more..

Video: GMOA urges President not to implement Cabinet proposal

Dec 14 (DM) The GMOA urged President Sirisena not to implement the Cabinet proposal on the minimum standards for medical education until the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) would announce its stance on the matter. Cabinet paper was yesterday put forward by Minister Rajitha Senarathne declaring the minimum standards as two credit passes and one simple pass in the G.C.E. A/L exam in one sitting for more..

Sri Lankan airlines refuse to disclose perks of directors

Dec 14 (EN) The management of Sri Lanka's debt-laden national carrier has turned down a request from employees seeking information about the perquisites enjoyed by the board of directors and top officials. Six trade unions in a joint letter to their chairman Ajith Dias expressed dismay over Sri Lankan refusing the request made under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking details of benefits enjoyed by top honchos. more..

Protecting Masses’ Rights

Dec 14 (CT) The-six-day-long train strike finally ended yesterday; bringing a sigh of relief from Sri Lankans. Nonetheless, the masses are yet held to ransom this festive season by the rising Cost of Living (CoL). Strikes are a right. Freedom of movement is also a democratic right. The masses were robbed of this right for six whole days, for which the Government has to be held accountable. Inasmuch as the strikers have a right to strike, it's also the duty of the Govt to ensure that more..

India-SL economic relations in Modi’s India

Dec 14 (FT) The relationship between Sri Lanka and India has always been characterised by surprises, setbacks and progress, and the three years of the Modi Govt in India have not been an exception. There have been several bilateral visits between the top leadership, with Modi visiting Sri Lanka twice, and visits of the SL President, as well as the PM, to India, and in the balance, progress appears to outweigh the setbacks. Trade between Sri Lanka and India was a healthy $ 4.6 billion in 2016, more..

විල්පත්තු වන සංහාරයට පත්ව ඇති ඉරණම කුමක් ද?

Finally, Ranil calls for an end to ragging in Universities

Dec 14 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that urgent steps should be taken to put an end to ragging in university system and conditions created for students to successfully engage in academic work without any hinderance, even if it requires the recruitment of additional staff. PM made these observations at a meeting at Temple Trees attended by Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, VCs of universities and Treasury officials this morning. more..

Mangala goes to CID to absolve media hit man of involvement in Ekneligoda

Dec 14 (CT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera has moved to have the CID investigate the alleged involvement of his Personal Secretary (Media) Ruwan Ferdinandez in the disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda. Samaraweera’s request to the CID follows a suggestion by Ferdinandez who demanded that the allegation be investigated and that he be temporarily relieved of his duties until such investigation is concluded. Ferdinandez wrote to Samaraweera after website more..

SriLankan Airlines: Robbing from SL's debt: Marching orders served to PM's cronies

Dec 14 (CT) Whilst blaming their Chairman Ajith Dias, CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte and the entire Board of Directors for their incompetence, the Alliance of Unions of SriLankan Airlines collectively sent in a letter stating that they have no confidence and trust should the current Senior Management of the airline be retained after 31st March 2018. The letter which was also copied to President, PM, selected Govt Ministers and more..

Fiscal Management Responsibility Act has no teeth: CB Chief

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka is in the process of reviewing the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act as it does not have any teeth at the moment, CB Governor said. Speaking at the 10th International Research Conference, Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy highlighted that there should be specific reasons to deviate from fiscal targets. “I don’t think anybody has paid any attention to that because there is no real sanction or real consequence for breaching those targets,” more..

Activist withdraws appeal on airing Sri Lanka war documentary

Dec 14 (FMT) Human rights activist Lena Hendry has withdrawn her appeal over her conviction for airing an uncensored documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war in 2013. In a message to reporters after the High Court struck out her appeal, the former Pusat Komas programme director said she decided not to pursue it as she had lost faith in the judiciary. “The charge should not be brought against me at all, and prosecuting me under censorship laws was done in bad faith,” she said, more..

Surplus of teachers in Sri Lanka: ADB

Dec 14 (CT) Though the total approved cadre of teachers in Govt schools for the entire country is 197,279, in reality there are 219,886 appointments, an excess of 22,607, Asian Development Bank (ADB) said. This has a severe impact on the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the system, ADB said. The majority of the teachers, around 128,556 (58.5%) are non-graduates with a diploma in teaching from more..

'Killing of tuskers: Well planned conspiracy'

Dec 14 (CT) Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera stated that the recent proliferation of the killing of tuskers is a well planned and executed conspiracy. Issuing a press release, he further stated that he had personally ordered the Police intelligence units to probe the recent killing spree. He added that already a high powered committee towards this task had been appointed by him including Acting Attorney General, Additional Solicitor General, President's Counsel, Dappula de Livera. more..

Sri Lanka mulls mandatory separation of chairman, CEO roles

Dec 14 (EN) Sri Lanka’s capital markets regulator is considering absorbing voluntary governance requirements in to mandatory listing rules and mandating that the roles of chairman and chief executive officer be performed by two people. Thilak Karunaratne, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said corporate governance codes and frameworks were triggered as a result of corporate scandals that adversely affected capital markets across the globe. more..

PM and his cronies are bankrupting Sri Lanka

Dynamic SLBC Chairman kicked upstairs?

Dec 14 (AM) Former SLBC Chairman Sudarshana Gunawardena has been made permanent in his position as the Director General of Government Information. Mohamed Siddi Farook, a relatively lesser known person to the field of media, was appointed as the new Chairman of SLBC. Gunawardena was made the Acting Director General of Govt Information when his predecessor, Dr. Ranga Kalansooriya, resigned from the post. It was widely believed that more..

Budget pack introduced for festive season

Dec 14 (NR) PM has issued directives to introduce a budget pack containing 8 essential items under a concessionary rate to the open market with focus on the festive season. Budget pack will include rice, dhal, sugar, sprats, onion, potatoes & canned fish. Directives were issued during discussions with Ministers Mangala Samaraweera & Rishad Bathiudeen. Several essential items that saw price increases will be provided through budget pack at concessionary prices. more..

UNP committed to ensure free and fair election: Sagala

Dec 14 (AD) Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said the UNP would be fully committed to ensure a free and fair election. “One should not forget the situation in the country before Jan 8, 2015. We have now ushered in a new political culture. That is why we should come forward to protect the rights of the voters and ensure a free and fair election,” Ratnayaka said, while speaking to media in Matara, after depositing money for Local Govt polls more..

Railway TUs to strike again if promises not delivered

Dec 14 (DM) Trade Union action would be taken again after the GCE O/L exam if the Presidential Committee failed to provide solutions to their demands, Railway Operations Supervisory Union (ROSU) Convener Lal Ariyaratne said. He said a discussion was held at Sethsiripaya, yesterday with the committee. Ministers Sarath Amunugama, Rajitha Senaratne and Akila Viraj Kariyawasam were present as committee members to discuss the issues with Railway Trade Union Alliance. more..

President appoints ministry secretaries without consulting line ministers

Dec 14 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena stirred up a hornet's nest yesterday when he changed the Secretaries of social ministries without consulting line ministers. Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Urban Planning and Water Supply, Ministry of Law and Order, Ministry of Postal Services and Muslim Religious Affairs and Ministry of Special Assignments have got new Secretaries. The line ministers were disappointed and dissatisfied with the President's conduct. more..

IOC allegedly brought down substandard A1 Fuel

Dec 14 (DM) The Indian Oil Company (IOC) imported a stock of 14,000 metric tonnes of substandard aviation fuel into the country on Monday (11), the Petroleum Trade Union Alliance claimed. According to Alliance spokesman Bandula Saman Kumara the oil-tanker Meadows had reached Sri Lankan waters carrying Jet A1 Aviation fuel which was later found to be of low-quality as it failed the first quality test carried out by more..

BBS meet Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

Dec 14 (NR) Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith says it is the responsibility of all to protect the identity of Sinhala Buddhists. The Archbishop says it is essential to protect values. The Archbishop made this statement after calling on the General Secretary of BBS, Galagodaththe Gnanasara thera and other representatives this morning. Thera commended the Archbishop for his statement on opposing voluntary sterilization, abortions, holding tuition classes on Sunday. more..

'Don't take Amaratunga remarks seriously'

Dec 14 (DM) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara asked journalists not to treat seriously the remarks made by Minister John Amaratunga. Journalists questioned the rationale of threatening remarks allegedly made by Minister Amaratunga targeting political opponents of UNP saying that the govt is ours and the police therefore also ours. Minister Jayasekara: Don’t take much notice of these remarks. This is not the policy of the Yahapalana govt. We are committed to uphold more..

Several SLPP’s nominations rejected

Dec 14 (NR) Acceptance of nominations for 93 Local Govt bodies concluded at noon today. District Secretaries claimed a majority of political parties and independent groups submitted nominations. Acceptance of deposits for the 93 LG bodies concluded at midnight. Nomination list of SLPP for Maharagama UC, Weligama UC, Panadura UC Agalawatte PS Badulla & Mahiyanganaya PS were rejected. more..

Wolbachia bacteria to control dengue?

Dec 14 (DN) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne is to submit a Cabinet paper to use the Wolbachia bacteria to control dengue. Australian Govt will provide AUS $ one million for the pilot project to be implemented with the approval of the National Committee of Experts for Biodiversity, attached to the Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry. Monash University of Australia will provide technical assistance to carry out a field study in selected areas in Sri Lanka. more..