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Record 70,000 candidates to contest LG polls

Dec 28 (CT) For the first time in the history of Elections in the country, a record number of over 70,000 candidates are contesting LG Elections in Feb 2018. Elections Commission Chairman, Mahinda Deshapriya confirmed that the Commission had recorded over 70,000 candidates who will contest the February elections. He asserted that this was the largest collective of election candidates in Sri Lanka's election history. more..

'Tamil politicians trust Sinhala police officers'

Dec 28 (DM) Northern Province (NP) Governor Reginald Cooray said that Tamil politicians in the North were being provided security by Sinhala Police officers as they could trust them. "We should find out the reason why they are not trusting Tamil Police officers," the Governor said at an event in Jaffna, where a boat-transport service, that could accommodate 40 passengers, was launched between the Eluvaithivu and Analaithivu islands from the Karampon Ferry in Kayts. more..

New crop insurance scheme for six food varieties

Dec 28 (GDI) New insurance scheme has been introduced for six varieties of crops including paddy from the forthcoming Maha season with minimum premium from farmers. Under this new crop insurance system introduced by Agriculture Agrarian Insurance Board (AIB) farmers can claim up to Rs. 30, 000 for one acre on cultivation on paddy, maize, big onion, potatoes, soya bean, and chilies (Green). The insurance could be made in a premium of Rs 675 per annum. more..

Intense political pressure led to release of 650 acres: Wildlife DG

Dec 28 (CT) Intense political pressure exerted on officials prior to 8 May 2013, led to all the lands belonging to Vilaththikulam forest reserve, in North of Wilpattu National Wildlife Park, being released to resettle people, DG of DWC Anura Sathurusinghe revealed. He was responding to the report by AG Gamini Wijesinghe, who has discovered that 650 acres of forest land at Vilaththikulam had been utilized for illegal more..

Sri Lanka confirmed as having lowest maternal deaths in South Asia

Dec 28 (AD) 112 maternal deaths have been reported from Sri Lanka in 2016, making it the best maternal death ratio in South Asia, announced the Ministry of Health. According to 2016 report, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR)-the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in a given period-was 33.8. The 2016 Maternal Death analytical report was presented to Minister Rajitha Senaratne by Director Maternal and Child Health of Family Health Bureau Dr. Priyani Senadeera more..

Following 3,000 complaints relayed by SLCERT: FaceBook to remove fake accounts

Dec 28 (CT) SL Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) has forwarded 3,000 complaints of fake Facebook accounts referred to the Team by members of the public to the Facebook Inc., which is taking steps to take down the fake social media accounts. Security Engineer of the Team, Roshan Chandraguptha said that as of November this year, Team had received 3,400 complaints out of which 3,000 were in relation to fake Facebook accounts having been created. more..

Army compensated for vacating Mullaitivu land

Dec 28 (Island) A 300-day protest staged by a group of persons demanding that the army vacate 133 acres at Keppapilavu in the former LTTE stronghold Mullaitivu had been brought to an end by relocating troops stationed there. Minister D.M. Swaminathan had, following consultations with relevant authorities, paid Rs. 148 mn for the relocation of troops. The land would be officially handed over today. more..

Russian team to visit Sri Lanka to examine quarantine procedures after lifting tea ban

Dec 28 (Xinhua) A team of technical experts from Russia will visit Sri Lanka in January to examine plant quarantine procedures in the island country, Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said. The move came after Russia temporarily suspended all tea imports and other agricultural products from Sri Lanka after a beetle was found in one of the tea consignments sent from the island country. The ban, however, will be lifted from Dec. 30 after successful talks between the two sides. more..

Ten Second Car worth Rs.100 mn in Colombo

Dec 28 (DM) A Ten Second sports car, bought down at a cost of Rs. 100 million (including taxes) which is said to go from 0 km/h to 200 km/h in just 8.7 seconds, was seen at the BIA earlier this week, Customs sources said. The unmistakable, yellow coloured Ferrari 488 Spider which is equipped with full convertible Spider architecture, was reported to be bought down by an owner of a chain of hotels. The vehicle is reported to be arrived at the BIA on Christmas Eve and more..

'Swift legal action on Bond Scam possible'

Dec 28 (FT) Ahead of the impending report of the PCoI on the controversial Treasury Bond scam, Minister Susil Premajayantha said legal proceedings on the matter could be fast-tracked since the probe came under the purview of the Evidence Ordinance and was headed by the Attorney General. UPFA General Secretary opined that unlike other investigations, PCoI into CB Bank bond scam could be expedited in accordance more..

Muslim politics in forthcoming elections

Dec 29 (CT) With regional councils elections around the corner Muslim politicians, those in power already and the ones aspiring to capture it, once again have started searching for tactics and slogans to win the hearts and minds of Muslim voters. The ultimate objective of the first group is to arrest their diminishing popularity and placing their positions so strategically that when elections to the parliament follow they will be able to retain their parliamentary seats and capture more..

Greek Toga & Buddhist robe

Dec 29 (CT) In the 4th century BC, the Greek invasion of India led by Alexander the Great opened a new dimension to the trade, commercial and cultural links in the Indian sub-continent. He was said to be unusually open to foreign religious influences, embraced many non-Greek deities and practices and promoted cross-cultural integration aimed at preventing and pacifying ethnic tensions in his settlements. Long before his arrival on India’s north-western border, more..

‘Govt going from strength-to- strength’

Dec 29 (CT) Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara says that there are no clashes between the President and PM. "Some people are trying to create problems. These two are carrying out their tasks with great understanding". Q: Will the good governance marriage end by 31 December? A: This govt is continuing from strength-to-strength with President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe. There is no question about that. more..

Let’s locate Wilpattu in the LG Elections

Dec 29 (DM) It’s not just another punchi chandaya or minor election. If the LG election has by default taken on a national character then it is due to the undue importance attached to it by a govt that has clearly been fighting shy of facing the voter. It is national for other reasons. For example, the main political parties/coalition in the fray have named it as such. They’ve framed the election in national terms. Major partners of the ruling coalition, SLFP & UNP have been forced into what could be called more..

Applying Election Laws to the Letter

Dec 29 (Island) C.A. Chandraprema’s article on the above subject, which appeared in the Island, eunuched me. I had spent my entire employment lifetime a bureaucrat- a proud one-, in the nonce contributing peripherally to every election- Presidential, Parliamentary, local govt- conducted between 1961-1995. (I even watched the 1947 election as a kid, taken by my father to a polling booth in Udugama, in which he served as an official. Ballot box then, was painted in different more..

'CB is absolutely corrupt & inefficient'

Dec 29 (DM) Former Foreign Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake, who resigned from office over allegations related to the CB bond scam, spoke to Daily Mirror. He said the truth will prevail after the report is out. He refused to deal with allegations against him at length in the interview. Instead, he said he would discuss them after the report was released by the Bond Commission. He also wished a happy new year for all Sri Lankans. more..

Culture of corruption in Sri Lanka

Dec 29 (CT) Corruption has been rampant in Sri Lanka since the 1970s' owing to the political system. People elected the Yahapalanaya Govt to eradicate corruption and establish good governance. They, too, have gone back on their promises. The Bond Commission has revealed startling evidence about involvement of key politicians. The Bond Scam is considered to be the biggest fraud since independence. It is a very serious white collar crime committed by greedy politicians. more..

The betrayals of Maithripala Sirisena

Dec 28 (CT) As we move towards the end of the dispensation that came in with the Presidential Election of 2015, I feel immensely sorry for the President. It is true that many of the problems he now faces he brought on himself, but this was because of weakness, and because he relied on those who had no interest in ensuring he succeeded. Chief amongst these was Chandrika Kumaratunga, and I write today on the subject of how Maithripala Sirisena lost the plot more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Politicians beware, 700,000 young voters checking on you

Dec 29 (DM) Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya -- apparently determined to ensure that the Feb 10 local council election will be free, fair and non-violent -- met party secretaries and representatives of independent groups to brief them on election laws and processes. Mr. Deshapriya, speaking out on the media has vowed to implement tough election laws with the support of the police, who will need to take orders from him during the election campaign period. more..

Editorial: Tut-tut, Prez

Dec 29 (Island) The bunch of ministers we are burdened with is like a nest of rabbits if not a colony of leeches. It keeps expanding rapidly with new members added thereto almost daily with a few weeks to go for LG polls. The latest addition is Piyasena Gamage, who entered Parliament from the Galle District following the ouster of MP Geetha Kumarasinghe. We hate to rain on anyone’s parade, but these ministerial appointments cannot be countenanced on any grounds. more..

SL fan’s selfie with Virushka goes viral

Dec 29 (Hindu) Most cricket buffs in India only got a glimpse of their hero Virat Kohli’s wedding and reception through videos and photographs on social media. But one ardent fan from Sri Lanka had a chance to attend the Mumbai reception on Tuesday, following a personal invitation from the Indian captain. Gayan Senanayake is one of SL’s best known cricket fans. Nearly 35,000 people follow his public page on Facebook — more..

Sri Lanka's year to forget

Dec 29 (CB) If you're a fan of Sri Lankan cricket, you'd wish you just woke up and the year that went by was merely a bad dream. Unfortunately for you, it isn't so, as the Sri Lankan team actually crashed and burned through one of the most rigorous periods in their history. Captains changed constantly, matches and series were lost, a lower-ranked side was allowed to create history, players went in and out of the side constantly, a selection panel resigned at the end of a home series defeat more..

Kamindu Mendis to lead SL in Under-19 WC

Dec 29 (CB) Kamindu Mendis, the ambidextrous cricketer, has been named Sri Lanka captain for the Under-19 World Cup to be held in New Zealand in January 2018. Mendis bowls left-arm spin and off-spin, and is also a useful batsman. The Galle-born cricketer also played in the Under-19 World Cup held in Bangladesh in 2016, compiling 156 runs and bagging five wickets. Ashen Bandara (average of 31), who topped the batting charts in the 2017 Under-19 Asia Cup, more..

Sri Lanka renews invitation for Paypal to start inward remittance

Dec 29 (EN) Central bank has invited Paypal to start inward remittances to the island officials said, amid a clamour for its services from freelance outsource workers and small time e-commerce firms. Deputy Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said he had invited a top Paypal official to consider starting inward remittances service during a conference of Fintech firms in Singapore. more..

Sunshine makes milestone deal to consolidate stake in its branded tea

Dec 29 (FT) Home-grown diversified conglomerate Sunshine Holdings PLC yesterday announced that it would be further consolidating its stake in Estate Management Services (EMS), the holding company for Watawala Plantations, Hatton Plantations and Watawala Tea Ceylon– two of Sri Lanka’s most profitable plantations and leading tea brands. Previously managed under tripartite ownership between Sunshine Holdings, Pyramid Wilmar, and Tata Global Beverages, more..

Special Police Hotline for female candidates

Dec 29 (DN) Police have set up a Special Hotline for female candidates contesting the forthcoming polls to lodge complaints if they face harassment, intimidation and abuse. Hotline number is 0113024884. Complaints will be promptly investigated by the Police Child and Women Bureau offices established at every station. Govt recently brought laws to make it mandatory for all political parties to have 25% of females making up their candidates’ lists, at the LG polls. more..

Bhutanese prince, family here

Dec 29 (DN) His Holiness Vairotsana Wangchuck accompanied by his mother Her Royal Highness Ashi Sonam Dechan Wangchuck and his grandmother Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck of Bhutan visited the Gangaramaya Temple yesterday to pay their respects to the Sacred Bodhi tree. The foundation stone for the retaining wall built of the tree was laid by His Holiness’s grandfather, more..

Sri Lanka employment promotion delegation visit Saudi Arabia

Dec 29 (FT) A Sri Lankan employment delegation organised by the SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), consisting of 26 delegates representing 24 recruiting agencies in SL, visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 27-30 Nov. The purpose of the visit was to meet leading recruitment agents in Saudi Arabia and to explore the means of further strengthening the existing relationship between the recruitment agencies of the two countries, as well as to survey human resource trends more..

Underground sea road: Study to be completed by March 2018

Dec 29 (DM) The feasibility study for the proposed construction project on underground sea road extension via Marine Drive which would be connected to the Port City’s proposed elevated highway will be completed in March 2018, the Director of the Port City project Nihal Fernando said yesterday. He said that the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry had received the Cabinet approval to complete the project as Public – Private Partnership (PPP) project. more..

Indiscipline will not be tolerated: Chandika

Dec 29 (Island) In his first media interaction after assuming duties as SL’s Head Coach, Chandika Hathurusingha reiterated that indiscipline will not be tolerated under his charge. Hathurusingha addressed a pool of 23 players shortlisted ahead of the upcoming ODI triangular series in Bangladesh in the morning before conducting a four-hour training session in the afternoon at R. Premadasa Stadium. more..

CEA to construct 4 sanitary landfills

Dec 29 (DM) Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is hoping to construct four large-scale sanitary landfills across the country as a measure to resolve the solid waste issue. Project would be initiated with funds from the Korean Govt obtained as a concessionary loan. The four sanitary landfills are to be constructed at Keerimale in Jaffna, Keerakkulama in A'pura, Meegaswewa in Polonnaruwa and Monrovia Estate in Galle with the CEA having already carried out more..

Sri Lanka keeps policy rates unchanged

Dec 29 (EN) SL is keeping policy rates unchanged the CB said, with economic growth slowing but the monetary authority steadily collecting foreign reserves, and inflation still high in the upper single digits. In the fourth quarter of 2017, economy was estimated to have growth by 3.3%, down from 4% a year earlier. CB said it had bought around US$ 1.7 billion from foreign exchange markets after monetary policy was tightened to end a BOP crisis it started in 2015 with excessive money printing. more..

Wijeyadasa R quits CC, cites no reason

Dec 29 (Island) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC has resigned from the Constitutional Council (CC) with immediate effect. He was PM Ranil Wickrmesinghe’s nominee. Rajapakse has tendered his resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena. He told The Island last night that he hadn’t given any reason for the resignation. "There is no requirement for me to do so. I quit the CC," Rajapakse said. more..

Sri Lanka releases 69 TN fishermen

Dec 29 (PTI) A total of 89 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have been released by Sri Lankan authorities so far this year and 71 were still in various jail in Sri Lanka, he said. Sri Lankan courts in Jaffna and Vavunia on Thursday ordered the release of 69 TN fishermen lodged in prisons there, an official said here. The fishermen, arrested on various occasions on charges of crossing the IMBL by SL Navy, would be brought back here after completing necessary formalities, more..

Tatas exit SL tea business after 25 years

Dec 29 (DNA) After establishing a strong foothold in the tea industry of Sri Lanka over the past 25 years, the Tatas are exiting the business as part of the group’s ongoing strategy to review its global businesses and alliances under its new chairman N Chandrasekaran. Tata Global Beverages has divested its full 31.85% stake in the three-way joint venture Estate Management Services to the founding partner Sunshine Holdings Plc for Rs 120 crore, the company told stock exchanges. more..

Sri Lanka President asserts authority after warning Ranil

Dec 29 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena appointed newly sworn-in legislator Piyasena Gamage as state minister for law and order in a move that sought to reduce the authority of a very close ally of the PM. Sirisena, who is at loggerheads with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's UNP gave the influential portfolio to Gamage, a member of the Sirisena-faction of the SLFP. Gamage became a minister after SLFP's Rajapaksa-faction MP more..

Novel method to counter distribution of election freebies

Dec 29 (DN) National Elections Commission (NEC) is to put up banners at the sites of all newly constructed public property, bearing the message that these had been built out of tax payers’ money. Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya told the media that the banners would be put up till the LG Elections are over. “For example if the construction of a school building or public ground has been completed, there is no point in delaying its opening till the end of Feb. more..

Ex-minister Somaweera Chandrasiri decides to support President

Dec 29 (AD) Former Minister and MEP Vice Chairman, Somaweera Chandrasiri, who supported the JO, has pledged support to President Sirisena. He met with the President at his official residence this morning (28) and promised his full support to President’s development programme and also pledged his support to the SLFP at the upcoming LG election. Meanwhile NFF’s Kandy district organiser and deputy secretary Nimal Premawansa has also pledged his support to the President. more..

UPFA launch pledge for freedom with 31 political parties

Dec 29 (AD) The launching ceremony of the Nidahase Sammuthiya (Pledge for Freedom) with the participation of leaders and representatives of 31 political parties affiliated to the UPFA for the upcoming elections was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at BMICH today (28). The Pledge for Freedom for good governance free of fraud and corruption was presented to the Maha Sangha including more..