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Hang consequences: We only want your vote

Dec 18 (SO) They say that a govt is in trouble when its senior leaders make silly statements. If so, we have to ask, is this govt in trouble? This week, Minister John Amaratunga, made a silly statement. Addressing an election rally of the UNP at Ja-Ela, he reportedly told prospective voters that “no one should be afraid of anyone, because the govt and the police belong to the UNP this time”. “The govt and the police are ours this time. No one should be afraid. We will deal with anyone. more..

Election: Making choices, revealing character

Dec 18 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe wants to appoint a Commission into the issuance of bonds by the Central Bank during the second Rajapaksa term, when Ajith Nivard Cabraal was the Chairman. Good. Excellent, in fact. I have a bigger matter into which I suggest he institutes an inquiry. It is about a wicked, unconscionable man who holds high public office, who could have pre-empted the death, disabling and suffering of tens of thousands by a single act—an act he did not have to commit, more..

360 ආපු නිශ්ශංක සේනාධිපති

A closer look at the Beijing declaration on human rights

Dec 18 (CT) If I were at the Beijing Forum on Human Rights the other day (7 and 8 Dec), I would have proposed the following sentence, after the first two sentences in Article 1 of the Beijing Declaration on Human Rights. “This however should not be taken as an excuse to deny or delay the human rights implementation in respective countries.” The first two sentences are the following: “In order to ensure universal acceptance and observance of human rights, the realization of human rights more..

Why Santa comes every month to the vacant Agriculture Ministry

Dec 18 (ST) For many, Christmas comes but once a year. But for some, Santa Claus makes a regular house call every month with a bag full of the Yala Maha harvest. The monthly bumper crop, valued at over Rs 20 million, is sent courtesy of the Agricultural Ministry. And paid for, without a murmur, by the Lankan public, displaying Christian charity the whole year round. For what, you may well ask? Well, nothing new to the story, except for the fact that the supplementary estimate presented to more..

Women’s quota in LG elections Historic opportunity Elect qualified, capable women

Dec 18 (CT) Women's organizations and democracy activists are aghast at the attempts by corrupt politicians to suppress attempts by women to enter the LG election process, which for the first time in our history, has a mandatory requirement for female representation. Executive Director of Women and Media Collective Dr. Sepali Kottegoda is sober with her comment. "There are hundreds of women and they should be given an opportunity to more..

Editorial: Another chanda gundu

Dec 18 (Island) Ordinary people live in eternal fear of hell or inferno or fire and brimstone. Such fears and apprehensions make them wary of committing sins. But, karma or divine retribution in the hereafter instills no fear in politicians, who don't consider themselves ordinary bipeds; they think they are a chosen tribe, saddled with the task of controlling the destiny of the human race. They seem to believe they can dodge karma or avoid divine punishment by carrying caskets containing sacred relics more..

Crisis of school education in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (Island) Liberal influences on the thinking of the British colonial rule benefitted colonial Ceylon in several sectors and education was one of them. Thus the country was among Asian pioneers to implement free education in schools, technical colleges and universities. Free education could not, however, assure everyone access to education or comparable quality of education in all schools. Access, long denied to sections of the people based on caste, class & ethnicity was slow to come. more..

3rd ODI: India beat Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (CI) Sri Lanka were spun around in Visakhapatnam so starkly that, if they were a cartoon character, they would have seen little Kuldeep Yadavs and Yuzvendra Chahals dancing in a circle over their heads. Then along came Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan to knock them out cold. Chases of 216 are often one-sided and when it was done, India emerged with their eighth straight series victory in ODIs more..

India's glorious 2017, Sri Lanka's worst

Dec 18 (CI) India marched to their eighth successive bilateral ODI series victory by beating Sri Lanka 2-1. This winning streak began with a 3-0 victory against Zimbabwe last year and they have beaten New Zealand (twice), England, West Indies, Sri Lanka (twice) and Australia since then. Overall in ODI history, only one team has had a longer streak of bilateral series wins. West Indies had won 14 consecutive bilateral series (of two or more games) between 1980 and 1988. more..

PVR to open first screen in SL in 2 years

Dec 18 (PTI) Leading multiplex operator PVR is scouting overseas destinations for expansion and plans to open its first project in Sri Lanka in next two years, a top company official has said. Besides Sri Lanka, the Gurgaon-based firm is also looking for other neighbouring countries like Myanmar and other emerging markets for its overseas expansion. "We are opening in Sri Lanka, its not a massive foray but its still outside the shores of India. We are opening there in 24 months. more..

Postal employees to resort to stern action

Dec 18 (DM) Employees attached to SL Postal Department is to resort to stern actions demanding the govt to make it closed department, Co-convener of Postal Front H.K. Kariyawasam said. He said the govt took a decision to make Health, Education & Railway Deps closed departments placing their employees in separate salary scales. He requested govt to include Postal Dept in the same category so that its employees more..

Sri Lanka ramps up efforts to address any issues of tea export shipments

Dec 18 (Island) International news agencies reported recently that Russian agricultural authorities had found an insect, known as the Khapra beetle, in the packaging of one consignment of tea from SL. SL authorities and the Tea Board have ramped up their attempts to effectively address this concern and ensure the non-occurrence of such incident in the future. The allegation that this insect was found in one of the export packages received a lot of international attention. more..

Moody's publishes FAQ on Sri Lanka's fiscal reforms, exposure to liquidity

Dec 18 (Moodys) Moody's Investors Service says that Sri Lanka's high general govt debt levels, very low debt affordability, and fragile external payments position continue to present the sovereign with material credit challenges. In particular, persistently high govt liquidity and external vulnerability risks will maintain pressure on the sovereign's credit profile, as large external payments come due in 2019-2022. Looking ahead, continued advancement of reforms that support fiscal consolidation and more..

Listed firms earnings dip 2% to Rs. 60 billion

Dec 18 (FT) Earnings of listed companies in the September quarter have declined marginally by 2% to Rs. 60.1 billion largely owing to a weaker performance by diversified financials and energy sector firms. September quarter earnings marginally dipped 2% YoY to Rs. 60.1 billion (Sep 2016 - Rs. 61.6 b) driven by the adverse performance of the Energy (-108%YoY), Diversified Financials (-18%YoY) and more..

'Sri Lanka at geopolitcal crossroads'

Dec 18 (FT) Institute of National Security Studies of SL organised an intellectually-stimulating Security Salon on 11 December at the Ministry of Defence. Director General of the Institute, Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, introduced the invited guest Prof. Patrick Mendis, who delivered a lecture on The Lotus Tower and the Indo-Pacific Region. Prof. Mendis is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Govt, University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and more..

Treasury sells dollars to Central Bank from Hambantota Port proceeds

Dec 18 (CT) Govt of Sri Lanka's partial sale of US dollars to Central Bank from the recent proceeds received from China on account of the Hambantota Port lease coupled with net foreign inflows (NFIs) received by the Govt Securities Market (GSM), saw net excess liquidity (NEL) uplifted by an amount of Rs 10,199 million (US$ 66.59 million) at Friday's trading. Conversions are based on the closing value of the benchmark spot as at Wednesday which was Rs 153.15 to the dollar. more..

Sri Lanka hosts wedding ceremony for 50 Chinese couples

Dec 18 (DM) Sri Lanka hosted 50 young Chinese couples as they entered into wedlock in a glittering wedding ceremony held at the Town-hall Grounds today, further boosting the tourist potential Sri Lanka in the eyes of the world and promoting it as an ideal destination for couples to enjoy that very special day in their lives. The colourful event that showcased our nation’s rich culture, hospitality and friendship shown to more..

IRD confident of Rs. 600 b revenue target

Dec 18 (FT) The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) yesterday expressed confidence that it would achieve the given target of Rs. 600 billion by the end of the year, insisting that it has already collected Rs. 560.6 billion. “Govt has given the department a target of Rs. 600 billion for this year and as of 12 Dec we have collected total revenue of Rs. 560.6 billion. We are confident that we will be able to meet the target within the next two weeks,” IRD Comm. General Ivan Dissanayake said. more..

CWC to contest LG polls with UPFA

Dec 18 (NR) Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) has decided to contest the upcoming LG election under the UPFA. Accordingly, CWC will contest at several Local Govts of the Nuwara Eliya District under the symbol of the Cockerel. The nominations list for the election was signed by General Secretary of the party Arumugam Thondaman. Accordingly, the CWC will contest the election under the UPFA for the Hatton Dickoya UC and Maskeliya, Norwood, Kotagala, Agarapathana & N'Eliya PCs. more..

CEB workers threaten countrywide strike

Dec 18 (Island) Joint Trade Union Alliance of CEB warned that they would launch a countrywide strike if the govt failed to provide solutions to their problems today. Covener of the alliance, Ranjan Jayalal said that CEB workers were on a fast for the last 7 days and if the authorities continue to ignore their grievances, they would shift their agitation to the next stage – a countrywide strike. There was a move to increase tariff by 12% more..

Kiriella claims 70% of people with UNP

Dec 18 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said Saturday that the UNP would secure control of all local bodies at the forthcoming LG Elections. Minister Kiriella, who was confident of the party’s victory, claimed that at least 70% of the people were with the UNP as had been evident from the results of successive elections. Minister addressed the media after paying deposits to Dy Commissioner of Elections in Kandy for the UNP candidates for Kandy MC and Gangwata Korale PS. more..

Leaders must promote, protect collective identities: CBK

Dec 18 (DN) Leaders must recognise, promote, protect the specific collective identities of their nations, but they must open up to the globalised world, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said on Saturday. Kumartunga hailed the leadership qualities of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Abraham Lincoln, and asserted, “Many of the conflicts which we see around us, in our region, in the world, may not have existed or could be resolved if we have leaders with such an agenda.” more..

An agreement like no other: SPC workers receive 41% to 55% pay hike

Dec 18 (Island) Health Ministry announced an exclusive agreement between the govt and the staff of State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to grant a staggering 55% salary increase to the lowest paid employees and 41% pay hike to their highest paid counterparts. Agreement had been finalised following consultations with the Treasury. According to Minister Senaratne such a sharp salary increase had been granted more..

Goodbye and Good luck, Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (DN) I am going to complete my assignment and return to my motherland today. On February 24, 2015, I arrived in Colombo and started my assignment as the 20th Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka. During the past two years and nine months, I traveled to all 9 provinces and 25 districts of Sri Lanka, made a lot of local friends and witnessed the China-Sri Lanka relations overcome obstacles, move forward and usher in new development opportunities. more..

Rameswaram fishers save SL fisherman

Dec 18 (DC) A fisherman from Northern Sri Lanka found struggling in the sea after his fibre-reinforced plastic boat had capsized some five nautical miles off Dhanushkodi, was courageously saved by a group of Rameswaram fishermen and safely brought to the shore near here on Sunday. Mariadoss, 37, and Anthony, 20, had left Mannar shores on Saturday on a fishing expedition in their fibre boat, reports reaching here said. However, late in the evening heavy winds had torpedoed their more..

Russian ban on Lankan tea: Govt ignored earlier warning: Udayanga

Dec 18 (CT) Ban imposed by Russia on SL's tea exports is not a development that took place abruptly. Rather it was brought to the SL Govt's notice in July this year, former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge said. He added that the US, with whom SL fosters amicable diplomatic ties, will not come to the island's rescue at a time of an economic crisis. However, SL Govt had not taken any measures to address more..

191 more Officer Cadets groomed at SLMA joined Rata Rakina Jathiya (RRJ)

Dec 18 (SLA) SL Military Academy (SLMA) at Diyatalawa wore ceremonial garbs one more time on Sunday and adorned the shoulders of 191 more brave sons and daughters of the country with insignia of the President’s Commission when they proudly passed out in a glittering spectacle after completion of their military training amidst greetings and best wishes. The day’s itinerary commenced with the arrival of the Chief Guest,the President Maithripala Sirisena, Commander-In-Chief more..

JO wants to meet Central Bank, IMF chiefs

Dec 18 (DM) JO said it had decided to hold a discussion with the Governor of the CB on matters related to finance of the country. JO MP Bandula Gunawardena said this decision was taken mainly in connection with two matters revealed in the Parliament last week. “Hidden debts of Govt and repayment of loans and foreign investment in Treasury Bonds will be discussed as revealed in Parliament,” he said. “Impending economic crisis during next year will also be highlighted more..

Sirisena to request Putin to lift tea ban

Dec 18 (FT) President Sirisena said he would make an official request to his Russian counterpart to resolve a temporary ban on tea imports to Russia that comes into effect from today as Govt officials sought a meeting with relevant Russian officials in Moscow to provide assurances of Ceylon Tea quality. Last Thursday Russia introduced restrictions on the import of plant products including tea from SL, to take effect for shipments more..

Can we invite London Mayor to Sri Lanka?

Dec 18 (DM) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan during a recent visit to India called on the British Govt to apologize for the massacre in Amritsar by the British troops. Reportedly some 379 Sikhs were killed by the troops in a site known as Jallianwalla Bagh in Amritsar in 1919. “It is wrong that successive British govts have fallen short of delivering a formal apology to the families of those who were killed” the Mayor who represents opposition Labour party urged the Conservative govt. more..

Labour Unrest

Dec 18 (DM) How do we respond to the recent railway union strike? Was it about higher salaries and administrative grades of railway workers? Or, was it a disruption of public transport? I argue that such strikes prod us to think about workers’ rights in a democracy. The railway strike was not an aberration. Over the last couple of years, we have witnessed an increasing number of agitations and protests - student unions opposing privatisation of education, plantation workers struggling for more..

Bollywood superstar Jacqueline Fernandez opens her own restaurant in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (DT) Model-turned-actress Jacqueline Fernandez is bringing celebrity glamour to her native Sri Lanka. The leggy beauty, who has starred in a number of Bollywood flicks, has joined the ranks of a number of B-Town celebrities, including Shilpa Shetty-Kundra and Govinda, who have entered the culinary space and opened restaurants. The Judwa 2 star’s first-ever restaurant recently opened more..

Two ministers push for coal power, two big projects proposed

Dec 18 (ST) The Govt may roll back its green energy policy if it accepts a proposal by two ministers to set up two coal power plants — in Trincomalee and Norochcholai. Cabinet proposal seeking approval for the construction of the two power plants is due to be resubmitted on Tuesday. Significantly, the new coal power plant in Norochcholai is due to come up in the same vicinity as the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant, more..

Pothas defends SL's five openers' strategy

Dec 18 (CB) Eyebrows were raised when Sri Lanka named as many as five opening batsmen in the squad for the three-match ODI series against India and after the tourists suffered a 2-1 defeat in Visakhapatnam, coach Nic Pothas explained that it was a strategic plan that unfortunately didn't work out. Only Upul Tharanga and Danushka Gunathilaka opened the innings, and while wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan more..

Russia tea ban temporary: SL Ambassador

Dec 18 (DN) Sri Lanka Embassy in Russia said that they are working closely with both the Russian govt and SL tea sector stakeholders to find a way out of the temporary ban imposed by Russia on Sri Lanka tea imports. Ambassador Dr. Saman Weerasinghe stressed that the ban on SL tea exports to Russia was temporary. Rosselkhoznadzor, Russian agricultural safety watchdog, introduced restrictions on more..

How come TNA remains silent, asks JHU

Dec 18 (Island) JHU National Organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that parliament certainly owed an explanation to the country regarding its failure to address accountability issues. Recent poorly attended adjournment debate on Lord Naseby’s House of Lords statement that the Vanni civilian death toll was much lower than the UN claim of 40,000 and Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana’s subsequent explanation more..

Raids to catch 30,000 quacks

Dec 18 (DM) Island wide raids would be conducted from January 2018 by the officials of the Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry backed by Police to nab 30,000 quacks in the country, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. “The quacks have become a menace and contribute to health-related mishaps with pseudo-medical practitioners on the rise,” Minister Senaratne said. “All qualified doctors, who are engaged in private practice, more..

Letters sent to UN Resident Rep on two officers’ behalf

Dec 18 (Island) Chandrika Dassanayake, wife of Commodore D.K.P. Dassanayake, who has been remanded since July over his alleged involvement in eleven wartime disappearances, said that she had handed over letters on behalf of her husband as well as Commander Sumith Ranasinghe, to UN Resident Representative in Colombo Una McCauley at the BMICH last Friday (15). more..

Courts to hear 20 corruption cases a day to punish wrongdoers: PM

Dec 18 (DM) Arrangements have been made to hear 20 court cases dealing with corruption on a daily basis with a view of expediting the process of penalising wrongdoers, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “Some are questioning us about the pledge the govt gave during the last election to eradicate Corruption and to penalize those who have robbed public funds. I have already discussed this issue with the AG and more..