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13th tsunami anniversary today: Two minutes silence in memory of victims

Dec 26 (NR) Disaster Management Centre says commemoration events have been organized across the country in line with the National Safety Day. Sri Lanka will celebrate the National Safety Day today, which has been commemorated for ten years continuously since 2006, on the anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake killed nearly 230 thousand people with SL suffering over 35 thousand deaths. Tsunami which battered SL in 2004 had a catastrophic more..

Double win: SL writer Anuk Arudpragasam wins Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2017

Dec 26 (ENS) After winning The DSC Prize for South Asian Literature SL writer Anuk Arudpragasam has won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2017 for his novel The Story of a Brief Marriage. From 47 titles submitted for consideration, Author and translator Arshia Sattar and poet and novelist Jeet Thayil chose the shortlist for this year's Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. Final decision was made by judges Kamila Shamsie, Rohini Mohan and Margaret Mascarenhas who were unanimous more..

India tour good education for SL: Pothas

Dec 26 (CB) SL ended their tour of India with just one win across formats. They gave India a mighty scare in Kolkata in the 1st Test but suffered a massive defeat in Nagpur to concede the series lead. They fought hard in the 3rd Test in Delhi to salvage a draw where conditions were against them to show they can challenge India in India. Their win in Dharamsala ODI meant suddenly there was plenty at stake for the hosts in Mohali. more..

Postal voting on January 25, 26

Dec 26 (NR) The casting of postal votes for the upcoming LG Election will held on the 25th and 26th of January. Additional Elections Commissioner MM Mohamed said the Commission is currently in the process of assessing the applications forwarded for postal voting. The acceptance of postal voting applications concluded on Friday. Meanwhile, Elections Commission rejected a request to extend the period granted to accept postal voting applications for the 2018 LG Election. more..

Navy Commander visits Indian Navy’s Southern Command

Dec 26 (SLN) Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe visited the Indian Navy’s Southern Naval Command in Kochi from 20 to 23 December, as part of his official four-day-tour to India to attend the Silver Jubilee Seminar on Operational Sea Training and Safety On board. Navy Commander was accompanied by the Captain Sea Training and the Principal of Merchant Marine Training School, Captain Pradeep Rathnayake who also delivered an informative speech on more..

510 prisoners given amnesty to mark Christmas

Dec 26 (CT) A general amnesty was granted to 510 prisoners islandwide yesterday (25) to mark Christmas. 35 inmates were released from Welikada Prison, Borella. Christian prisoners have also been facilitated to engage in festivities and worship with their families. According to 2016 data, direct admissions of convicted and un-convicted prisoners to institutions was 24,060 and out of this number, 9,791 were admitted to the Welikada Prison. more..

Decrease in accidents during festive season

Dec 26 (AD) The number of accidents reported during the festive season so far has reduced considerable compared to previous years, according to the Colombo National Hospital. According to the hospital’s Coordinator of Training and team leader of Triage and Information Unit, Pushpa Ramyani de Zoysa, a total of 235 individuals involved in various accidents have so far visited the accident ward. She stated that this number is a 7% decrease compared to the same period last year. more..

'Prices of drugs will reduce if dollar drops'

Dec 26 (DN) Prices of drugs will be reduced by five percent in future if the dollar drops, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. He was addressing the gathering after opening the new Lanka Sathosa outlet at Payagala recently. He said the prices were increased by five percent as the dollar value increased but the prices would be reduced by five percent if the value of the dollar dropped. “A paracetamol price has gone up by seven cents. The old price was Rs. 1.30 and now it is Rs. 1.37” more..

'Jerusalem issue and UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka: Double standards'

Dec 26 (Island) Former Navy Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera faulted political parties represented in parliament for not taking a common stand against Western-led project to adopt a resolution targeting SL at the UNHRC. Weerasekera, who represented the Digamadulla District during the previous administration pointed out that those who hadn’t been bothered about SL being humiliated and vilified on the basis of more..

Two schoolboys drowned attempting to take selfie in river in northern Sri Lanka

Dec 26 (Xinhua) Two schoolboys were drowned in a river on Monday in the area called Puthukuduiruppu in northern SL when they tried to take a selfie in the river, the local police said on Monday. The police said that seven schoolboys had reached the river for a picnic bath. Two of them, aged 17, got into the middle of the river to take a selfie. The two boys were caught in the water current and got drowned, and their bodies had been recovered for the conduct of post mortem. more..

Sri Lanka port sector handles over six million TEUs in 2017

Dec 26 (Island) Port of Colombo handled its 6 millionth TEU (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) on Dec 22. A special function was held at Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of SL Ports Authority (SLPA) to celebrate the handling of the 6 million TEU mark. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe attended as chief guest of the event. Speaking at the occasion, the minister stated that it was commendable to witness the Port of Colombo has achieved great feats through public private collaboration. more..

Sri Lanka the latest victim of China’s debt-trap diplomacy

Dec 26 (AT) This month, Sri Lanka, unable to pay the onerous debt to China it has accumulated, formally handed over its strategically located Hambantota port to the Asian giant. It was a major acquisition for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – which President Xi Jinping calls the project of the century – and proof of just how effective China’s debt-trap diplomacy can be. Unlike IMF and WB lending, Chinese loans are collateralized by more..

Funeral of Naga Vihara Chief Incumbent conducted in Jaffna

Dec 26 (Island) The funeral Jaffna Naga Viharaya Chief Incumbent and Northern Province Chief Sanghanayaka, late Most Ven, Meegahajandure Gnanarathana Thera was held at the Jaffna Mutraveli Ground on Saturday with the participation of Maha Sangha, the public and members of the armed forces. Organising committee went ahead with the arrangements after a petition filed in the Jaffna Magistrate Court seeking an order to prevent the funeral ceremony had been rejected by more..

Non-establishment of service minute: Immigration TUs threaten to strike

Dec 26 (CT) Immigration and Emigration Officers have threatened to launch trade union action including a token strike in ports after 27 Dec if the authorities fail to fulfil certain demands made for the optimization of the immigration service. SL Immigration and Emigration Officers Union has three basic demands. First involves establishing and making effective the service minute pertaining to the said service. Second involves attaching Immigration Officers to foreign diplomatic missions, more..

INTERPOL notices on 2 underworld leaders

Dec 26 (DN) The Interpol had issued notices for the arrest of two prominent underworld leaders Kosgoda Sujee and Makandure Madush, who are believed to have fled the country, the Police headquarters said. The Interpol had issued the notices on the two wanted criminals following a request made by the Sri Lanka Police. The Interpol has issued a red notice on the 33-year-old Jagamuni Sujeewa De Soyza alias more..

MR & Namal visit Sampanthan at hospital

Dec 26 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa today (25) visited the Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan, who has been admitted in a private hospital in Colombo due to illness. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader was admitted to the hospital last Thursday (21) due to a sudden illness. The TNA Media Unit said that Mr Sampanthan has fully recovered and that he returned home today (25). more..

Dhinakaran meets Lankan Tamil leader

Dec 26 (Hindu) On the eve of his R.K. Nagar byelection victory, T.T.V. Dhinakaran had a chance meeting with Sri Lankan Tamil leader M.A. Sumanthiran, when he enquired about the current situation of Sri Lankan Tamils in the island’s war-battered north and east. Tamil politicians from either side of the Palk Bay met in Kanyakumari on Friday, ahead of the Arumanai Christmas Vizha, an annual celebration held in the southern district that has a near-50 per cent Christian population. more..

Russia agrees to lift tea ban from Dec 30

Dec 26 (Island) Following SL’s decision to suspend its ban on asbestos, Russia decided to lift its restrictions on tea imports from here from Dec 30. SL Ambassador in Moscow Dr. Saman Weerasinghe said that Russian authorities had conveyed their decision to a SL delegation during a discussion in Moscow yesterday. Russia placed temporary restrictions on imports of tea and all other agricultural products from SL from Dec 18 more..

Do Local Govt elections really matter?

Dec 27 (CT) Thirty five thousand (35,000) candidates are vying for their places in 341 local bodies in the forthcoming local govt elections scheduled for February 10. It’s a mind-boggling number when taken in isolation. But in the context of the new socio-political culture that has embraced the nation and especially with a select gallery of politicians during the last twenty years, 102 candidates per every local body does not seem to be a staggering number. more..

How disputes over numbers can distort truth

Dec 27 (Island) British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris recently warned that disputes about the number of people killed or missing, during the war, or in the immediate aftermath of the conclusion of military offensive, in May 2009, could easily distort the truth. Sri Lanka launched a sustained combined security forces campaign, in Aug/Sept 2006, in response to the massive LTTE offensive, directed at the Jaffna front line, at Muhamalai and Mandathivu island. more..

Reject parties that fielded corrupt candidates

Dec 27 (SO) The March 12 Movement, a collective of civil society groups, last week warned that it will seek court intervention to get the black hats expelled from running for Local Govt elections in Feb 2018. TMovement last week said that a total of 25 candidates fielded by three leading main stream political parties were lawbreakers with some having pending court cases against them. According to SL’s election law, once District Returning Officers more..

Voetlights: The Lawyers’ roast

Dec 27 (SO) So Siripala knows that our black coated hawks have a year end gathering during which no one is spared. The judges and the hawks are all given a roasting, in pursuance of a nonsensical colonial tradition they want to keep alive. Anyway, this year’s gathering was apparently held at the Grand that is Cinnamon. And hear hear, a three course meal with the best spirits in town was served. Siripala is told that everyone who is someone at the Drop has to be present at the event, more..

What exactly is the GMOA fighting for?

Dec 27 (SO) What is the incurable malady afflicting the GMOA? We have to pose the question, after its latest stance over the SAITM medical school. Over the past few years, as the controversy over SAITM raged, the GMOA had us believe that they were fighting the cause of the general public. They wanted to protect the country from medical schools producing doctors of poor quality through privately set up medical schools with dubious credentials. Or so they told us. more..

'50% of rehabilitated addicts relapse'

Dec 27 (CT) Professor of Forensic Medicine at the KDU, Ravindra Fernando is also the chairperson of the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board. With the Board's recent publication of narcotics related crimes, incidents and other statistics of 2017, Ceylon Today interviewed him on his recent work. "The statistics are not hundred per cent accurate, because inhaling heroin or smoking cannabis is a secret process. more..

Editorial: Ranawaka’s Herculean task

Dec 27 (Island) Megapolis Ministry’s focus should ideally be on strategic planning and futuristic projects. It should be way ahead of its time if the govt’s ambitious development goals are to be achieved, if at all. But, unfortunately it has had to busy itself with lesser tasks such as ridding roads of stray cattle and sorting out garbage related issues, which were once effectively tackled by local govt bodies. Leaders of successive govts have let the grass grow under their feet more..

Novella on the other side of human suffering

Dec 27 (FT) Sandali Handagama has been known by SL’s film fans for her role as the rebellious but innocent and naive daughter of a family which was being torn apart by the personal incompatibility of the parents in the movie, Let Her Cry. Though it was her debut, she was able to win the attention of the critics as a promising supporting actress. But, she has not been known at all as a young mathematician who has now turned a financial economist. She could have chosen any of these fields more..

What is behind China's purchase of H'tota port

Sri Lanka’s vote on Jerusalem resolution; Wisdom or Folly?

Dec 27 (CT) Sri Lanka, together with 127 other UN member states including crucial EU members, UK, France, and Germany, on Dec 21, voted in favor of the Status of Jerusalem resolution submitted by Turkey and Yemen at the tenth emergency special session of UNGA. 9 nations including US and Israel voted against. 35 countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines abstained. The Emergency session, as provided in Resolution 377 came about due to the US exercising more..

Christmas wishes, hopes and expectations for the economy

Dec 27 (ST) Christmas Eve is a time for good wishes, expectation of gifts and glad tidings. What are the glad tidings, expectations and wishes for the country and the economy this Christmas? In the spirit of Christmas, the most important wish for the country is the strengthening of national unity and the ushering in of ethnic and religious harmony so vital for the country’s development. An improvement in weather and climatic conditions, substantial growth in exports, more tourists, and more..

Colombo Shopping Festival: A discounts destination for seasonal shopping

Dec 27 (Roar) The annual Colombo Shopping Festival is on at the BMICH between the 16th and the 23rd of Dec. Festival will run from 10 am to 10 pm with entrance tickets priced at Rs. 100. In its 26th iteration, Colombo Shopping Festival is the initiative of Aitken Spence Conventions & Exhibitions. Over 240 vendors will showcase their wares this year, with festival organisers expecting upto 80,000 patrons. more..

My friendship with Arthur C. Clarke

Dec 27 (Island) Predicting the future, if it is to be done sensibly, demands deep knowledge of present-day science, a vivid imagination and what could only be described as bold and unfettered genius. The great prophets and futurists, HG Wells and Arthur C. Clarke amongst them, combined these attributes. Arthur C. Clarke, whose birth centenary fell on Dec. 16, was trained in physics and mathematics at Kings College London. In 1945 he published a technical calculation to more..

Colombo could be like Delhi soon

Dec 27 (DM) Colombo could face air pollution issue like New Delhi soon, Central Environment Trust Director Sajeewa Chamikara said. He said that the city of Colombo could face an air pollution issue like New Delhi as a result of increased emissions. “These emissions remain in the lower atmosphere with the increase of humidity and reduction of temperature as it is experienced these days. Emissions increase as a result of increasing vehicular activity and construction work. more..

Chamari: Living the dream in WBBL

Dec 27 (CB) "Why are the cars not honking?" It wasn't quite the first question Melbourne Renegades coach, Tim Coyle expected from his team's int'l signing, Chamari Athapaththu while driving her from the airport to the team hotel. Accompanying Coyle in the car was Athapaththu's uncle, Vernon Tissera, who quickly explained to his niece that Australia is significantly different to SL and there was a fair chance she might never more..

2017 a terrible year for Sri Lanka cricket

Dec 27 (DN) If the comment made by Sanjay Manjrekar is to be taken quite seriously then it more or less defines what Sri Lanka cricket has gone through during 2017. The former India cricketer turned int'l cricket commentator said during the third and final T20I at Mumbai that the Indian team no longer enjoyed the success they had against SL and the fielders and the bowlers hardly reacted to dismissing a SL batsmen because the contest has got to a stage of being a foregone conclusion. more..

Sri Lanka plans to go for E-Court system

Dec 27 (ST) Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of introducing paperless E-Court services as a remedy to the delay in expediting cases which has made litigants lose faith in the country’s judicial system, Justice Ministry sources said. Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorala’s attention has been drawn to the E-Court concept by Minister in the Malaysian PM’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said who shared her country’s experience in implementing e-Justice system since 2009. more..

Chief Athletics Selector messing up

Dec 27 (CT) Selection Committee Chairman of Athletics Association (AASL) Wimalasena Perera once again proved he is clueless when it comes to modern day athletics by his choice of selection for the forthcoming Asian Indoor Athletics Championship (AIAC), where a very possible medal opportunity has already been written off. Selected athletes for AIAC are set to miss trials for Commonwealth Games 2018 (CWG) as more..

Leading exporter baffled by unjustifiable excise duty on primary raw material

Dec 27 (Island) The govt in its intense dash to increase state revenue collection and implement macro prudential policies, appears to have introduced an excise duty on a 100% export-oriented BOI company in violation of a BOI agreement. "We have operated our company which is a prominent industrial glove company since 1992 as an exporter and we are register under the terms of section 17 (2) of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka law No 4 of 1978," more..

District Court issues enjoining orders against Thimbirigasyaya apartment construction

Dec 27 (FT) District Judge of Colombo issued two separate enjoining orders on 21 Dec against Home Lands Skyline Ltd. and anyone associated with the company, preventing them from conducting piling activities being conducted at No. 185, Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nahimi Mawatha (formerly known as Thimbirigasyaya Road) Colombo 5 in a manner which inconveniences neighbouring residents. Two nearby residents filed separate cases in District Court of Colombo on 20 Nov 2017 more..

New Year to herald SME, Dollar Denominated Boards in CSE

Dec 27 (FT) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is in the final stage of getting regulatory approval and rules to launch the SME and Dollar Denominated Boards within the first quarter of next year. Calling 2017 a turnaround year, CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike said the decision taken by the CSE Board to set up an alternate market segment comprising additional listing boards apart from the Main Board & Diri Savi Board more..

India offers scholarships to Sri Lankan students for higher education in India

Dec 27 (HCI) India's High Commission in Colombo has announced 175 undergraduate and post- graduate scholarships for meritorious Sri Lankan students to study in India under the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) scholarship scheme. ICCR scholarships will be offered for studies at various Indian Universities for 2018-19 academic session. Nehru Memorial Scholarship Scheme will offer 100 slots covering all Undergraduate courses (except Medicine) including more..