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22 NOCSL members petition IOC seeking Investigations

Dec 25 (CT) A total of 32 National Sports Associations (NSA) including 22 National Olympic Committee (NOCSL) members petitioned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeking an investigation into the NOCSL regarding various irregularities and delay in elections which is pending for the past four years. The same NSAs sent letters to the Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara with copies of the petitions more..

Are we ready to celebrate Christmas as a time for Peace and Reconciliation ?

Dec 25 (Island) Christmas is universally celebrated as a festival of Peace. In fact, it is the birth anniversary commemoration of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. With the gift of Peace that He alone can give, he had brought to us with his historical birth, the blessings of unity and reconciliation, freedom from all bondage and liberation from all forms of slavery. Freedom and Joy are blessings that mankind had always been hungering for and sought in a manner that's ardent &relentless. more..

JVP Colombo mayoral candidate Dr. Ranil Jayasena

Dec 25 (FT) The JVP revealed that its mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) would be specialist doctor Ranil Jayasena. The JVP is to hold rallies in every district, with the more significant districts to have multiple rallies. Their first rally is to kickoff on the 27 Dec in Anuradhapaura. In addition, JVP MP Vijitha Herath disclosed that they would not be contesting for the Bandarawela MC or the Bandarawela PS; instead JVP would allow a local independent group more..

Sri Lanka asserts following EU standards in tea exports

Dec 25 (ST) Sri Lanka stands ready to assure Russian authorities that it has adhered to plant quarantine regulations of that country in exporting tea, govt officials said. The national plant quarantine service is used to randomly check agriculture product consignments for export, Plantations Ministry Secretary, J.A. Ranjith said. SL follows European Union standards when exporting tea to those countries including Russia. more..

President's Christmas Message

Dec 25 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena extended his warmest greetings for a happy Christmas to all Christians who are devoted heirs of this magnificent universal festivity. “Christmas has often been depicted as a reunion of powerful divinity and the fragile humanity. That glorious reunion occurred with the coming of a religious leader who instilled the values of love, sacrifice and justice in the society, marking a significant victory of humanity in its history that is millennia old,” more..

Prime Minister's Christmas Message

Dec 25 (GDI) The spirit of Christmas is shared universally and is a time to spread the goodwill, love and joy the birth of Christ brings. Born in a manger to parents from a humble background, Jesus Christ brought equality, compassion and fellowship to mankind. He chose to set the captives free from social injustice and their mental, physical and spiritual burdens. Today, we live in a society that seeks freedom from tyranny and injustice, stigma and prejudice. more..

SLTDA launches Enforcement Unit

Dec 25 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday confirmed that it has launched an Enforcement Unit to take action against tourist establishments not registered with the Authority, in a sweeping effort to regulate the informal tourist operators and bring service levels to international standards and implement a policy that has been in the pipeline for many years. more..

U-19 World Cup: SL riddled in controversy

Dec 25 (CT) SL under-19 cricket team has been hit with an injury dilemma following the controversial selection saga where SLC is yet to publish the final 15 of the SL squad even when there's only 11 days to go for the start of the ICC under-19 World Cup. Under-19 World Cup will get underway on Jan 3rd in New Zealand and Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara confirmed more than a week ago that he approved the team and sent the letter to SLC along with the protest regarding omission of Ayana more..

Lanza’s links to SLPP while holding Deputy Minister post emerges

Dec 25 (SL) Former Deputy Minister Nimal Lanza had helped prepare the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) nominations list for Negombo even before resigning from his Govt post, sources said. The Sunday Leader learns that Lanza had spoken with the SLPP on the candidates to contest the LG elections from Negombo and helped select the final list of candidates. Nimal Lanza resigned from his post of Deputy Minister of Home Affairs saying he was disappointed with the Govt. more..

LG bodies to manage waste disposal from January

Dec 25 (DN) Waste management in the Colombo city will devolve on local govt institutions from Jan 1, with identified responsibilities. Minister gave this assurance addressing the gathering at the Colombo city beautification awards presentation ceremony 2017 held at the Water’s Edge, recently. Awards ceremony was held to honour and appreciate the services rendered by institutions and persons who had more..

Where is the VW factory, jobs: Keheliya

Dec 25 (DM) Former Media Minister during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime Keheliya Rambukwella scoffed at the speculations that he was to defect from the Joint Opposition to team up with the SLFP led by President Maithripala Sirisena. Speaking to the media at his Kundasale residence after a meeting with the candidates of the SL Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) contesting the upcoming LG elections, Rambukwella said that former President Rajapaksa was still a State leader for him. more..

Korean assistance for digital broadcasting

Dec 25 (GDI) On Wednesday (20), Ministry of Science and ICT and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as a part of ODA business, held a ceremony with Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) and Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) for better conditions of broadcasting environment by donating Media Assets Management and Digital Audio Archiving System. Korea Radio Promotion Association and SL Korea Embassy on behalf of Ministry of Science and ICT, and more..

Tamils lost Prabhakaran due to 2005 polls boycott

Dec 25 (Island) State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran has claimed that the Tamil community wouldn’t have lost their leader V Prabhakaran if they had voted for UNP candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe at 2005 presidential election. Maheswaran said so outside Jaffna DS last Friday after handing over UNP nomination lists. She had claimed that people of the North voted for Wickremesinghe, they wouldn’t have lost their leader and more..

First Batch of Sri Lanka Army combat convoy battalion leaves for UN mission in Mali

Dec 25 (SLA) The first segment of the Mali-bound Combat Convoy Company (CCC) of the Sri Lanka Army left the island early this morning (24) in order to assume their roles and tasks in the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. The first contingent of 150 Army personnel, out of a total of 200, belonging to 10 regiments of the Army, thus scheduled to leave for Mali will serve the assignment for a period of one year under the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). more..

Campaign offices curbed Candidates should use their residence as office

Dec 25 (DM) The Elections Commission would restrict the establishment of campaign offices by candidates contesting at the Local Govt elections this time, an official said. The Commission has decided to stipulate a criterion for the operation of campaign offices as the present law governing the local election does not contain a provision for it. Accordingly, the candidates contesting for electoral wards would be allowed to operate their campaign offices at their residences. more..

SLT now operates under an executive committee

Dec 25 (ST) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) management has temporarily being brought under an executive committee following the resignation of Group CEO Dileepa Wijesundera last week amidst trade union allegations of corruption and mismanagement against him. Mr. Wijesundera has vigorously denied these claims. The SLT board of directors has appointed an Executive Committee headed by Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe more..

Sri Lanka will stand by Palestine: Rajitha

Dec 25 (FT) The Sri Lanka Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Association (SLPPFA) held a rally in support of the State of Palestine and opposing moves by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pledging Sri Lanka’s support to Palestine, SLPPFA President Minister Rajitha Senarante said that the country will always stand by the State, as it had in the past. “We are with Palestine through all difficulties,” he told the gathering. more..

Reserves down $65.13M

Dec 25 (CT) The country's foreign reserves were poorer by US$ 65.13 million (Rs 9,968 million) on Friday (22) due to settlement of a swap maturity and/or meeting Government of Sri Lanka's (GoSL's) foreign debt servicing commitments. Conversions are based on the closing value of the benchmark spot as at Wednesday (20) which was Rs 153.05 to the US dollar. Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL)/GoSL has given a recent undertaking to the IMF to wind down their swap liabilities. more..

MR to lead SLPP campaign from 2 Jan

Dec 25 (CT) Former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, will lead the SLPP Local Govt elections campaign, from 2 Jan, Leader of JO, Dinesh Gunawardena said. He added that SLFP MPs will join the SLPP campaign, despite explicit warnings given by President Sirisena, that any SLFP member supporting the SLPP will be severely punished. "It is now confirmed that the former Prez will lead the SLPP Campaign more..

CIABOC DG clarifies

Dec 25 (Island) Apropos Govt. in overdrive with US assistance on front-page of Dec 22 edition of The Island, Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne has said that State Department communique issued on Dec 5, 2017 hadn’t categorised Sri Lanka as one of the four most corrupt countries and the US offered assistance to recover stolen assets consequent to Sri Lanka’s request last year. more..

Police out in full force within Colombo

Dec 25 (CT) More than 4,000 Police officers have been deployed within the Colombo District as part of a special programme during the Christmas season. Steps have been taken to limit the number of heavy vehicles entering Colombo during the festive season. 2,800 Police officers, 300 officers in mufti and 1,200 officers for traffic duty, have been deployed exclusively within Colombo. According to the Police, this step was taken with the aim of reducing the daily traffic congestion more..

SriLankan Directors offer to resign

Dec 25 (DM) SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias and five directors have offered to resign to support the govt’s restructuring plan. Mr. Dias said that of the seven directors in the director board, six of them have tendered their resignation letters in support of the govt’s restructuring initiative of Airline. Mr. Dias said that he and five directors except for Harendra Balapatabendi resigned to pave way for more..

God, Word, and You

Dec 26 (CT) On this brumal Christmas eve, the weather in Newtown, Pennsylvania, reminds me of the monsoon season in Sri Lanka. It is raining here in Newtown; luckily for me; it is not cold enough for the rain drops to turn into snowflakes. In this predicament, all I have is just words; words to describe how I feel and what I think; yet the melancholy that I feel is somewhat indescribable, but I am my words, and the Word has been with us since the beginning. more..

Another view on Jerusalem

Dec 26 (CT) A lot has been written about Trump’s decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel-Aviv. I am not sure why a lot of people are up in arms now when the US first recognized and declared that Jerusalem was the Capital City of Israel by passing a Congressional act in 1995. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is a public law of the USA passed by the 104 Congress on October 23, 1995. This has since been the position of the United States. more..

'It’s not Maithri or Ranil who rule this country'

Dec 26 (CT) UPFA MP, Niroshan Premaratne, says one million people have only one meal a day now. "There are 461,000 children of school-going age who don't attend school in the country," he added. Q: Hasn't there been a big split in the NFF? A: Comrade Weerakumara and two Provincial Councillors, and the National Organizer have joined the SLFP. But the Party is functioning without any problem. more..

Service to nation must be highest priority

Dec 26 (Island) Excerpts of University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) Convocation address delivered by Chancellor, Professor Dayantha Wijeyesekera recently. I am pleased that I am able to present the Chancellor’s address for the 5th occasion of the University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC) which is a unique university in Sri Lanka, established by Act of Parliament No 31 of 2008 to cater to the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector to more..

Diplomatic cock up- leaked letter, broken law

Dec 26 (ST) Alice was right. It is sure getting curiouser and curiouser. No, not in her Wonderland though. It is in our wonderful land where the tragi-comedy being played out in a remote-controlled foreign ministry is turning diplomacy into a sick joke. When PM Ranil Wickremesinghe tried from the turn of this century to make a right to information law and much later with Maithripala Sirisena as president the leadership duo saw it through parliament, Unity Govt hailed it as one of the most important more..

High-tech cheating still rampant at exams

Dec 26 (SO) In reference to the recent incident reported at this year’s O/L exam where two students were caught by the supervisor for using mobile phones during the Exams, Chairman, NEC, Prof. Lakshman Jayathilake spoke on how to prevent students from using the technology in a negative way. He said, though mobile phones are strictly banned at exam centres, students still take their mobiles with them. more..

Bethlehem: House of Bread

Dec 26 (DN) Even the name of the too little town that our Abba Father chose for Christ to be born for us is part of the prophecy of the Messiah. The word Bethlehem means house of bread. Our Messiah God was born in Bethlehem, the house of bread. He Who would later declare “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven (John 6:51) was born in Bethlehem, the house of bread. Our loving Father God wanted everyone to know that not only was the Messiah coming but also why the Messiah more..

Christmas: Myth vs. Mystery

Dec 26 (DN) Taken on a global scale, Christmas has been transformed very much to our regret into a cultural and social festival caricatured by media and commercialism and as such every year with the onslaught of technology and incredible advertisement industry’s avalanche world-wide, it risks rapidly losing its inner Christian, spiritual and religious depth-meaning. While a legitimate external manifestation of this Christian celebration is permissible, it should not be allowed to more..

Economic cooperation: Science diplomacy: A tale of two countries

Dec 26 (NST) At the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak undertook an official visit to Sri Lanka from Dec 17-19. This is to reciprocate the state visit of the Sri Lankan president to Malaysia in December last year. The visit is of significance in the context of the growing bilateral partnership between the two countries, against the backdrop of SL & Malaysia celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations. more..

Policy reform must follow fact-finding exercises of the UN

Dec 26 (ST) Even allowing for the caustic truth of the 16th century saying that what cannot be cured must be endured, there is a limit to endurance if SL has to undergo repeated visits of international UN missions without tangible benefits ensuing to the country’s long-suffering citizens. Thus, the recent visit of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWG) to SL must be followed by definitive state policy reform, at least to the extent of allowing suspects in police custody, more..

Storm in the tea cup!

Dec 26 (Island) The continuing storm in Sri Lanka’s Russian tea cup is more diplomatic and political than a beetle-storm, if a section of the media reports are to be believed. Then there are also reports that the Russian tea-import stoppage owed to Sri Lanka stopping to import asbestos from that nation. If it is asbestos, then there are scientific and medical reasons that SL can cite to argue that most nations had stopped using the material owing to health reasons, very many years & decades ago. more..

Who will protect us?

Dec 26 (Island) We are held hostage to a group of greedy politicians and corrupt businessmen willing to sacrifice our health and our heritage to the purveyors of energy addiction. It is universally accepted that Coal is one of the most toxic sources of power and contributes volumes of climate changing Carbon Dioxide gas. On all International Platforms the dangers of using Coal for energy generation has been made patently clear. more..

Educational assistance to school children in the East

Dec 26 (MoD) A group deserving children from low income families, in Malvila, Sandunpitiya and Namalgama areas in and around Welikanda and Vakarai were provided with school accessories and educational instruments during a programme facilitated by Sri Lanka Army troops in the East, recently. Gift packs were presented to 150 school children in the region under this initiative. The Buddhist Society of the People's Bank had sponsored the donation. more..

Mary’s Consent for Jesus’s birth: A Christmas reflection

Dec 26 (GV) Christmas is the story of Mary, a young unwedded mother, giving birth to a refugee child, Jesus, in a sheep shed. The central male character in this story is Joseph, Mary’s fiancée / boyfriend, who supports her decision to give birth to a child that he is not the biological father of. This childbirth has become famous and remembered for more than 2000 years. But it is rather unfortunate that some of those who enact this event faithfully and worship Jesus, Mary and Joseph don’t seem to be more..

Tourism minister clips wings of SLTPB chairman, appoints special advisor

Dec 26 (ST) Despite pressure on him even from his own political boss to do otherwise, Tourism Minister John Ameratunga insisted on the appointment of Udaya Nanayakkara as Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) months ago. Honeymoon appears to be over. He sought to shift Mr Nanayakkara from that position but was unsuccessful. So he has sought to do what he thought was the next best thing. more..

Business opportunities prevail between Qatar and Sri Lanka

Dec 26 (GT) SL has enjoyed close ties with Qatar, with over 120,000 Sri Lankans making up for close to 2.68mn population of Qatar. Diplomatic relation between SL and Qatar persists since 1976. Sri Lanka has preferential and free trade agreements with India, Pakistan, Iran, Egypt, Singapore and Israel. Trade volume between Qatar and SL stood only at $52.5mn in 2016. In March 2015, Emir Sheikh Tamim al-Thani and SL President Sirisena witness signing of an agreement in Colombo. more..

Editorial: Estate workers’ ire

Dec 26 (Island) Estate workers are up in arms against unfulfilled political promises. Incensed beyond measure, they are threatening to boycott the upcoming local govet polls, we are told. Some plantation sector trade unions are said to be behind this campaign. Workers’ consternation is understandable. Having been led down the garden path all these decades, they have to tell wily politicians where to get off. But, is a polls boycott the best way to deliver that message? more..

FGM in Sri Lanka: It's never just a nick

Dec 26 (AJ) For decades, female genital mutilation (FGM) has been practiced in SL. However, to those outside the practicing communities, this information elicits shock and disbelief. Secrecy about FGM in SL is both imposed and internalised. Women who have experienced FGM strongly fear retaliation for speaking out. There is a lack of freedom to discuss, question and explore alternative views within practicing communities. more..