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Vandalizing an archaeological site in EP: Dept vows to take legal action

Dec 21 (DM) The Department of Archaeology sought a report on the incident in which an archaeological site was vandalized in the Eastern Province on December 18, and vowed to take strong legal action against those responsible, an official said today. Director General of Archaeology Prof. P. B. Mandawala said he instructed the Assistant Commissioner of Archaeology, in charge of the area, to pay a visit to the vandalized site in the Trincomalee district and submit a report. more..

Sri Lanka is keen to introduce an Aadhaar-like initiative

Dec 21 (Hindu) Sri Lanka will explore launching an application similar to the Unified Mobile Application for New age Governance (UMANG) in India, and it is in talks with New Delhi at the highest levels, said Minister Harin Fernando. “We can save $2 million a day if we digitise all our operations,” Mr. Fernando told Colombo-based foreign correspondents on Wednesday. Sri Lanka is also keen on adopting a mass digital initiative like the Aadhaar in India, he said. more..

'CIABOC calculating Lankan monies invested offshore'

Dec 21 (CT) Sri Lanka is presently calculating the monies that are being invested in offshore entities, Director General of the CIABOC, Sarath Jayamanne said. He said, the siphoning of illegally accrued monies is done with the expert help of auditors, engineers and financial experts. In most cases, the monies are deposited in offshore entities beyond Sri Lanka's jurisdiction. "We have to enter into mutual legal assistance agreements, more..

Asbestos issue: 12-member delegation to visit Russia

Dec 21 (DM) A 12-member delegation was scheduled to visit Russia on December 24 to discuss the quality of asbestos imported to Sri Lanka from Russia, SL Ambassador to Russia Dr. Saman Weerasinghe said today. “The asbestos imported to SL is used by the Russians as well. Their opinion is that there was no health issues associated with their products,” he said. The ambassador said the team would visit the asbestos factories in Russia and test the quality of the asbestos produced there. more..

Third Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC commenced under President’s patronage

Dec 21 (PMD) President emphasized the need of strong cooperation programme to eradicate the poverty in the region. The Third Ministerial Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was commenced under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo, today (20). Delegates from BIMSTEC Member States- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, SL and Thailand are attending this Meeting. more..

Cabinet awards contract for construction of first phase of Ruwanpura Expressway

Dec 21 (Island) The cabinet, chaired by President Sirisena has approved the awarding of the contract for the construction of the first phase of the 73.9 km Ruwanpura Expressway to China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC) on Tuesday, according to Minister Lakshman Kiriella. He that the construction of the Ruwanpura expressway would be carried out by four Chinese companies namely CNTIC, more..

Inter-racial and inter-religious solidarity

Dec 21 (DM) Yesterday United Nations marked the International Human Solidarity Day, with the main objective being unity in diversity—a vital factor for all countries to make progress and specially significant for Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the 26-year ethnic war and the intensified effort being made now for reconciliation and lasting peace. In a statement the UN says the day is also meant to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements, more..

The battle for Sovereignty

Dec 21 (DM) Not too long ago when economic, social, political circumstances were not too different to what we have now in Sri Lanka there were some individuals who shouted themselves hoarse insisting that Sri Lanka was a failed state. Maybe they’ve quite lost their throats now. Maybe selective blindness has deteriorated to complete myopia. At any rate they are silent now, even though there’s enough to whine about and indeed they would probably have tried to whine about had more..

With dawn of Christmas, fulfill responsibilities towards reconciliation: Prez

Dec 21 (PMD) “Not only in Christian faith, but also in all religions, there is ample guidance for the people to build a peaceful society while ensuring religious reconciliation”, said President Maithripala Sirisena, adding that “it should be the determination of all to fulfill their respective duties towards national reconciliation, with the dawn of this Christmas”. He made these remarks at a special Christmas festival at the President’s House more..

Army to increase deployment for UN peacekeeping operations

Dec 21 (SLA) Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, Commander of the Army addressing the landmark Mali-bound Combat Convoy Company (CCC) of the Sri Lanka Army at the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regimental Headquarters in Panagoda today (20) remarked that the opportunity Sri Lanka Army had got in Mali would testify to the world that ours is a globally-recognized organization, dedicated for world peace. more..

ICTA to make 860 Govt agencies accessible via single, unified network

Dec 21 (FT) Some 860 govt institutes are to be connected digitally by the end of the year as part of an initiative to present a cohesive, unified public face of all state-sector organisations to the populace, ICTA announced Tuesday. According to ICTA Special Projects Director Kanchana Thudugala, 550 state institutes have already been thus connected, with a total of 3,500 locations to be linked to the network in the near future, more..

Video: Govt to suppress opponents by creating Police State: Namal

Dec 21 (DM) The unity govt is attempting to suppress its political opponents at the upcoming Local Govt elections by creating a Police State, MP Namal Rajapaksa said. He said this after arriving at the Organised Crimes Prevention Division to record a statement over an alleged incident of insulting an FCID officer. FCID officer had reportedly lodged a complaint against MP Rajapaksa on the charges of being fat-shamed by him. more..

State surveyors strike to oppose plans to hand over contract to US firm

Dec 21 (ST) The move to hand over the task of drawing land survey maps to an American firm has been met with disapproval by Survey Department employees, who see it as a threat to national security and wasteful expenditure. Finance Ministry’s External Resources Department has been authorised to negotiate with Trimble Inc. — a US-based geological information system and mapping firm — to prepare land survey maps and more..

President lays foundation stone for Nursing Faculty

Dec 21 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (20) laid the foundation stone for a Nursing Faculty affiliated with the University of Colombo at Sri J'pura General Hospital premises. This Faculty of Nursing, established with an investment of Rs 14.5 billion, will contribute to creating graduate nurses with knowledge, attitudes and skills required for future. New building complex will be built for the faculty with 17 floors. more..

All SAITM medical students to New Medical Faculty at SLIIT: Rajitha

Dec 21 (DM) All medical students, who studied at the SAITM will be absorbed into a new Medical Faculty established at the Sri Lanka Institute of Information and Technology (SLIIT) effective from Jan 1, 2018, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He said all members who attended the final meeting of the SAITM Committee unanimously decided to enrol all medical students who studied at SAITM by the time it was wounded up in Oct unanimously more..

Consultants outline restructuring plans for SriLankan

Dec 21 (FT) British consultants tasked with salvaging SriLankan Airlines presented their first report to the Ministerial Committee headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, expressing confidence in restructuring and finding a partner airline to turn the national carrier around. Nyras Consulting Company specialising in the global aviation sector, which was hired by the Govt to advise it on initiating a restructuring program & securing an investor more..

Authorities to Collar Tuskers under threat

Dec 21 (DM) News of five tuskers being shot dead inside two weeks made headlines in newspapers, thus raising doubts among authorities and experts in the field. All these animals were killed in and around Puttalam District, with four killings happening just after Dala Poottuwa’s body was found. Whether it’s a warning sign to authorities or whether someone is trying to exercise his power is still uncertain as the deliberate killing of more..

Pilots Union hits back at Srilankan Chairman

Dec 21 (DM) Pilots Guild of SriLankan Airlines in continuation of the publicized correspondence between the Chairman of SriLankan Airlines and the employees asserted that their first proposal in the restructuring process is the stepping down of the Board. First suggestion for the restructuring process is that we at SriLankan airlines are of the firm belief that you and the management team have proved to be ineffective more..

Sustaining Regained Freedoms

Dec 21 (CT) Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom- USA's slavery abolitionist and liberal activist Wendell Phillips on 28 January, 1852. News reports this week quoted Chief Justice (CJ) Priyasath Dep as saying that the country's Judiciary is running independently without any interference. What Dep didn't say was the interference experienced by the Judiciary during the dark ages of the previous regime that threw judicial independence & all other freedoms, including media more..

Victory in Geneva – Lost in Colombo!

Dec 21 (FT) I woke up to a call from a good friend and a classmate who was really happy about his daughter Thivinya – currently a student in a Colombo school (Museaus) – winning a Gold medal for her invention in a competition in Taiwan (Kaohsiung International Invention and Design Expo 2017). He has also heard that in addition to the Gold medal she has won another medal – Best Leading Innovation Award! She has been a member of the contingent of national award winners from SL more..

CIABOC DG Sarath Jayamanne

Sri Lanka awards contracts for 60 small solar power plants

Dec 21 (EN) The govt had awarded contracts for investors to build 20 small scale solar power plants around the island under a program to promote renewable energy. Minister Rajitha Senaratna said the Cabinet has approved a proposal by Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya to award the contracts under the Surya Bala Sangramaya programme. The deals for the 1MW solar power plants were awarded according to the recommendations of the govt’s Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement more..

PM delays UNP LG nomination list for Kolonnawa UC

Dec 21 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had advised the UNP hierarchy to temporarily put on hold the handing over of the party’s nomination list for the Kolonnawa Urban Council. Sources said the party leader had given this instruction as a result of the controversy that had taken place after the nomination given to Mrs Sumana Premachandra, wife of late Presidential Advisor Baratha Lakshman Premachandra was found to have been erased using tippex. more..

Saruwa Sunil now bats for Yahapâlanaya: Wife gets nomination from Sirisena

Dec 21 (CT) In a farcical turn of events, President Maithripala Sirisena has sanctioned nominations for the wife of Saruwa Liyanage Sunil (Saruwa Sunil) to contest for the Akuressa PS election. Saruwa Sunil is the former Chairman of Akuressa PS who alleged to have hosted a party after raping 100 virgins. Although Saruwa Sunil publicly denied the 100 virgins allegation, he was prosecuted for a child abuse case more..

SL tax breaks for suppliers of relief food

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka will give tax concessions for suppliers and traders who join a program to provide a relief pack of essential commodities to reduce living costs, especially for victims of floods and drought. Prices of food have been pushed up by supply disruptions caused by successive bouts of floods and drought in recent years, Minister Rajitha Senaratna said. Cabinet this week approved a proposal by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to reduce the cost of living and provide reliefs to victims more..

'Russia tea ban a result of political tension'

Dec 21 (NR) The JVP says the temporary agriculture and tea ban imposed by Russia on Sri Lanka is a result of the political tension between the two countries. MP Bimal Rathnayake said various hidden political agendas have influenced the ban. He stated the real reason behind the ban as sited on Russian websites is the ban imposed by Sri Lanka on importing raw material needed to manufacture asbestos. MP noted the President banned the production of asbestos from 31st of Dec. more..

Rajagiriya flyover to be opened on Jan. 9

Dec 21 (DM) Rajagiriya flyover will be opened on Jan 9, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today after inspecting the construction work being carried out on the flyover. He said the construction of the flyover was completed a year ahead of the scheduled date because of the proper planning by the govt. “Govt is planning to construct a highway from the Kelani Bridge to Fort. This highway will be connected to Rajagiriya from more..

JVP has head start at LG election: Tilvin

Dec 21 (NR) JVP claims the party has gained a head start at the LG Election citing successful submission of nomination lists for the upcoming election. Chief Secretary of the party, Tilvin Silva said the public can put an end to the violent political warfare by electing JVP contestants at the elections. He added JVP have submitted nominations according to protocol for the LG elections. He also noted the JVP is victorious at the first phase and is ahead of other political political parties, more..

President hands over Open Display Boards build for street artists

Dec 21 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena handed over the Open Display Boards established at Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha in Colombo to the street artists, yesterday. This step was taken with the aim of strengthening the street artists who are trying to stand on their own feet. This event was jointly organized by the SL Tourism Board, Ministry of PCs and LG, CMC and the Association of Street Artists. After observing the Open Display Boards opened for each street artist, more..

UN human rights chief will not seek a 2nd term

Dec 21 (NYT) UN high commissioner for human rights, who has openly criticized powerful govts, including the Trump administration, has made the unusual decision to not seek a second four-year term, saying it might involve bending a knee in supplication. The decision by the official, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince and former diplomat, was conveyed in a short statement that was emailed to his staff early Wednesday more..

NPC to change school times from next year

Dec 21 (Island) Northern Provincial Council has directed that all state-run schools in the North commence at 8 am instead of 7.30 am from next year. They will close at 2 pm. Several councillors have pointed out to the province’s Education Minister that opening of schools at 7.30 am had inconvenienced both students and teachers. They said those students who came from remote areas, using public transport were not in a position to have their breakfast so early more..

SLPP & SLMC nomination lists rejected

Dec 21 (AD) Several nomination lists of certain political parties including the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) for the forthcoming LG election have been rejected by Returning Officers. The SLPP’s nomination list for the Thirappane Pradeshiya Sabha in the Anuradhapura District has been rejected. Meanwhile the nomination list of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) for the Weligama Pradeshiya Sabha in the Matara District has been rejected by the Returning Officer. more..

Video: Don't relax ban on Asbestos, says Ven. Rathana Thera

Dec 21 (DM) MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera said he was opposed to the govt’s decision to relax the ban imposed on the use of Asbestos. He told a news conference on the launching of the national programme Seven days of rest in SL in January, the Thera said the country faced a huge challenge due to the collapse of the local tea industry. “It is in question whether the ban was imposed because a beetle was detected more..

Youth caught red handed for impersonating O/L candidate

Dec 21 (DM) An individual, who allegedly impersonated an O/L student and sat on behalf of him for the examination, had been taken into custody at the examination centre in Wewala, Piliyandala today. The Police said the arrest was made following a tip-off received from the Deputy Examinations Commissioner.It is learnt that the individual, who was arrested at noon during the exam, had pasted his picture on the candidate’s identity card in a bid to impersonate him. more..

NDB to go paperless

Dec 21 (CT) National Development Bank (NDB) plans to go paperless this festive season, as a show of good faith towards creating an eco-friendly society. Noting that the usage of massive amounts of paper is one of the key factors contributing towards climate change, NDB management noted that while deforestation is a tremendous issue that contributes towards climate change, paper accounts for nearly 40% of the trees cut down each year. A ton of paper costs a total of 17 trees. more..

Lack of alternatives not Russian action led to removal of asbestos ban: Govt

Dec 21 (FT) A lack of a sustainable alternative has compelled the Govt to revise its plans of phasing out asbestos roofing material, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday, defending the decision to defer the asbestos ban. “Although there was a decision taken to phase out asbestos, the country has not found a suitable alternative. At present more than 80% of people use asbestos for their roofing. more..

SL brace for another battle with wristspin

Dec 21 (CI) Trying to get your novel published. Receiving venture capital funding for your business. Getting some sleep after recently becoming a parent. Even getting Steven Smith out. Tough? Try providing context to this series. That too, India have rested some of their stars, with the main focus on the series against South Africa next month, giving the IPL's best performers a chance to earn a regular place in the T20 squad. But there was still much of the same in Cuttack: more..

'Police will ensure a free & fair election'

Dec 21 (NR) Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayaka says the SL Police will take maximum efforts to ensure a free and fair election, under instructions from the Chairman of the Elections Commission. He said stern action will be taken against those stirring communal and racial sentiments through false propaganda, seeking political mileage. Minister made these remarks after speaking to media after handing over nominations for several LG bodies in Matara district today. more..

Wilpattu National Sanctuary Forest Conservation Dept denies releasing land

Dec 21 (CT) Department of Forest Conservation emphasized that they had not released any land within the environment and eco system belonging to Wilpattu National Sanctuary, which has been under supervision of the Dept, since 8 May 2013. They said that they reject allegations by environmental organizations that Wilpattu National Sanctuary is being destroyed due to settlements. They said Dept is paying strict attention to more..

Brigadier Sumith Athapaththu assumes duties as new Army Media Spokesman

Dec 21 (SLA) Brigadier Sumith Atapattu of Mechanized Infantry Regiment (MIR) assumed office on today as the new Director of Media at the Army Hq and Military Spokesman during a simple ceremony at the Directorate of Media office in Colombo 4. Brigadier Sumith Atapattu during his Army career of 32 years after he was enlisted to the SL Army on 17 March 1986, has to-date held a number of Command and Staff appointments, including those in Sinha Regiment & MIR. more..