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Bond report to President today

Dec 30 (DM) The final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Bond Issuance of the CB is to be handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena today, informed sources said. They also said that the President was expected to hand over the report to the Attorney General’s Department. When contacted Secretary to the Commission Sumathipala Udugamasuriya said the final report of the Commission would be handed over to President Sirisena before Dec 31. more..

US wraps up GSP

Dec 30 (FT) US yesterday declined to extend its global preferential tariff system, which will now expire on Sunday but the development is likely to have a mixed impact on SL exports as it does not cover major sectors such as apparel and tea but could hit some manufacturing segments such as plastic. Despite the US being SL’s largest single country destination for exports, Washington’s GSP program is different to the EU’s GSP+, more..

2018: aspirations, hopes

Dec 31 (SO) For the new year ahead, some people look for predictions, others simply aspire. The predictions are by analysts - both astrological and social scientific. Aspirations are the stuff of human hopes and are based on real social needs and interests. We leave the predictions to the analysts, since, as a Sunday newspaper, our duty is a weekly moment’s reflection on the people’s condition and action needed. In this final week of 2017 and a dawning 2018, we must assess more..

GSP Loss, Temporary

Dec 31 (CT) The US Congress, presumably being busy with President Donald Trump's tax cuts legislations which were passed this month had no time to worry about countries like Sri Lanka, by not renewing its GSP, a duty-free import facility for certain selected items like solid tyres of which Sri Lanka is a world leader. However, the majority of garment exports, Sri Lanka's top merchandise export led by the US market, have no US GSP, unlike the EU's GSP +, to lean on. more..

'We need a vibrant Council with a forthright leadership'

Dec 31 (SO) UPFA mayoral candidate for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Azath Salley says, with the support of all the UPFA coalition partners, he can definitely make a difference this time in the CMC. He said, this is going to be a historic election, as for the first time a different party leader has been selected to lead the UPFA campaign at the forthcoming CMC election. He said, the credibility of President Sirisena more..

Prez Sirisena’s quest to poach votes from all and sundry

Dec 31 (Island) To say that the bond commission report which was handed over to the President yesterday is the main wild card in this election, is an understatement. Depending on how it will be used, it may determine not only the outcome of this election but the entire political future of this country. UNP is now facing it’s the most uncertain moment in its history of seven decades. So many in the UNP hierarchy including its leader, assistant leader, chairman & general secretary not to mention more..

Sri Lanka-Russia tensions more than a storm in a tea cup

Dec 31 (DM) When Minister Navin Dissanayake said that unofficial reports suggested that Russia’s restriction on the tea trade was due to Sri Lanka’s decision to ban the import of Asbestos roofing materials, it threw some light on how relations between the two countries remained strained despite utterances, couched in diplomatic language, that it was a smooth sail. Sri Lanka’s announcement of the ban on White Asbestos roofing materials from Russia was to be effective from Jan, 2018. more..

'If Politicians Divide and Rule: Sri Lanka can’t heal, reconcile'

Dec 31 (DM) Human Rights Activist Shreen Abdul Saroor is one of the fifteen activists who has been awarded the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law this year. The prize is awarded to dedicated Human Rights defenders from around the world who have done outstanding work in their respective countries to uphold human rights & rule of law. Q: Your family was evicted from Mannar in 1990 by LTTE. more..

2018 focus on politics & btw – the economy

Dec 31 (ST) The end of one year in the Gregorian calendar, and the beginning of a new year is always the time to reflect – and look ahead. This is a time too for New Year resolutions, usually thought of to right some wrongs, only to be inevitably broken sooner than later. Still, it remains a good moment to pause and review, flipping back the pages to what we said at the arrival of 2016, a year after the new Govt assumed power and then again as 2017 dawned. more..

Cheers! dear citizens

Dec 31 (ST) My dear citizens of Paradise, I thought I must write to you when everyone is wishing you a Happy New Year and most of you are hoping that the next year will be better than the one that is ending today. What I wanted to tell you is that, even if you haven’t realised it, you have already enjoyed one of the best years in recent times. Now, with a few weeks to go before the elections, the Greens, the Blues and the pohottuwa chaps are telling you that if you vote for them, more..


AG’s Dept. fails to respond regarding 97 files: FCID

Dec 31 (DN) Sources within the Financial Crimes Investigations Department (FCID), report that 97 files sent to the Attorney General’s (AG) Department for advice on further action had not returned with a reply. As a result many officers many complain that they are wasting their time with nothing to do. Officers remarked that if a response from the AG’s Department had been given, they would have been able to take all necessary legal action against those responsible. more..

President unveils Pledge for Freedom

Dec 31 (SO) Since the announcement of the Local Govt elections, the Sri Lanka Podujana Party backing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been dealt with several serious setbacks. Before the announcement of the election, the Podujana Party claimed that the election victory would be a cakewalk for them. They said, the majority of grassroots level members of the SLFP were with them, and the Rajapaksa group was in a position to sweep the election to victory. more..

Basil’s arbitrary actions put MR in trouble

Dec 31 (CT) In 1982, I never had the faintest dream that some day in the future, I will be addressing you as the President of this country and as the head of the SLFP, President Maithripala Sirisena recalled on Friday at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. Addressing SLFP-UPFA candidates who are contesting at the forthcoming LG elections the President declared that he would hand over the leadership of the SLFP not to a member of more..

Political Flu

Dec 31 (CT) Leader of the Opposition and the oldest sitting MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan underwent a complete medical check-up at a private hospital in Colombo last week when he was hospitalized for three days due to flu. According to Jaffna District TNA MP, M.A. Sumanthiran, 85-year-old TNA Leader is now recuperating at home. Sampanthan was a student at St. Patrick's College, Jaffna when legendary Irish priest Rev. Fr. Long was the rector. He is an alumnus of the SL Law College more..

An enlightening debate

Dec 31 (Island) Mr. Elmo de Silva’s article which we published last Sunday attracted thought-provoking responses, from both sides of the divide, published in The Island last week. There is no doubt that the language of administration being English during the colonial period and the early post-Independence time caused tremendous injustice to the vast majority of the people of this country. But that was the order that prevailed to suit the convenience of the rulers. more..

Most people not in favour of selling SriLankan Airlines: Poll

Dec 31 (ST) While various reports emerge about the fate of SriLankan Airlines, a new, year-end Business Times poll has revealed that most Sri Lankans are still not in favour of an outright sale of the struggling, debt-ridden national carrier. This is in contrast to a similar poll conducted in April 2016 where email respondents, representing largely middle and upper classes of society, were in favour of the Govt exiting from the airline. more..

Squatters ordered to be evicted from 21 acres of Kandy Teaching Hospital

Dec 31 (Island) Health Ministry said that Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne had instructed the Director of the Kandy Teaching Hospitlal to evict squatters occupying 21 acres of land belonging to the Hospital. Spokesman for the Ministry, Prasanna Adhikari said that over 40 acres belonging to the Hospital had been encroached on by squatters over the years hindering moves to develop the hospital. So far the Administration had been able to reclaim 18 acres of land. more..

High praise for Guru, the visionary

Dec 31 (Hindu) Teachings of Sree Narayana Guru, who stressed the need for spiritual and social uplift of the oppressed, continue to remain relevant, Speaker of SL Parliament Karu Jayasuriya has said. He was speaking after inaugurating the 85th annual Sivagiri pilgrimage, along with Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala. “In Sri Lanka, we respect, admire and worship Narayana Guru as a social reformer. Across the world, he is worshipped as a prophet of peace by millions. more..

Hathurusingha harps on No Dickheads policy

Dec 31 (Island) Not many Asian teams go to South Africa and excel. Sri Lanka in particular have a disastrous record over there. Yet, one man conquered the last frontier. Chandika Hathurusingha took a young Sri Lanka ‘A’ side to South Africa in 2009 comprising the likes of Angelo Mathews, Tharanga Paranavithana and Suranga Lakmal and they recorded a 4-1 series win against a strong opposition. more..

Website launch a boost for Tennis

Dec 31 (SO) Sri Lanka Tennis Association launched its website on 27th December at its premises with the theme as Digitization of National Sports Structure which is a concept initiated by President of SLTA Iqbal Bin Issack. He said that this website will be of great importance to all tennis players and its fans to greater level. The inauguration of this site also sets a new record for Sri Lanka Tennis as it will be of great value to all players all round the country. The website is also to help other countries more..

Sri Lanka exports up 14% in October 2017

Dec 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's exports rose 14.1% from a year earlier to US$ 976 million in October 2017, helped by strong demand from the US and higher prices for agricultural products, while slowing economic growth and credit has slowed import. Apparel exports to the US rose 14.7% while exports to the EU was up 8%, with the help of GSP+ facility. The US economy had been recovering and the Federal Reserve is already raising rates. There was also strong demand rubber tyres. more..

'Chrysotile asbestos not harmful'

Dec 31 (CT) Russian made Chrysotile asbestos is not harmful to humans, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka, Yury B. Materiy said that it was in retaliation to Sri Lanka banning the import of Chrysotile asbestos from that country. Materiy pointed out that not only Russian scientists, but also Sri Lankan scientists had pointed out that chrysotile asbestos is good and was not considered to be harmful. more..

2017 Sri Lanka Sports: The year that was

Dec 31 (ST) Jan 5: South Africa beat SL by 282 runs to win the second Test match at Newlands, Cape Town. With the win South Africa claimed the three-match Test series 2-0. Jan 6: The Dialog Champions League Super 8 football tournament, which was suspended for four months due to int'l commitments, recommenced. Jan 8: The Dialog 4G-the Sunday Times Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017 kicked off. Jan 10: Sri Lanka was named in Group ‘A’ alongside NZ, Scotland, Northern Ireland and more..

Siva Obeysekere passes away

Dec 31 (ST) Veteran politician and patron of handicrafts and the handloom industry in the country Deshamanaya Siva Obeysekere passed away last week. She was 88. Mrs. Obeysekere was a founder member of the SLFP in 1951. In 1964 she established the flagship handicraft outlet Laksala. She served as MP for Mirigama from 1965-1977 and as Health Minister from 1970-77. She was awarded the Kamala Samaan by India in 2003, India’s highest award for contributions to handicrafts and more..

MR dares SLFP CC: Sack me if you can

Dec 31 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa, dared SLFP Central Committee to terminate his membership from the Party in which he has been a member for the last 50 years since 1968 and a MP for Beliatta since 1970. He said: "It was I who salvaged this country from the most brutal terrorists the world has seen. It was I who rebuilt this country and also the SLFP in the post-war history as President of the country more..

'I will explain various steps for SL success'

Dec 31 (PO) On a tour to Bangladesh next month, Sri Lankan team will not only be benefited with the appointment of Chandika Hathurusinghe (Head Coach) and Thilan Samarweera (batting coach) but also Dr. Phil Jauncey (psychologist) because all three have worked with the Bangladesh team. ‘I have worked with the Bangladesh team for three years and was there on a number of tours’, Dr. Jauncey, speaking exclusively over telephone from his Brisbane residence, said on Friday. more..

SL blind cricketers leave for World Cup 2018

Dec 31 (ST) Blind National Cricketers will leave for Dubai early January to take part in the Blind Cricket World Cup which will be held there from Jan 7 to 25, 2018. The 5th such World Cup for the visually impaired is being organized by the Pakistan Blind Cricket Council with matches to be held in Ajman (UAE) and the final to be held in Pakistan. Led by Captain Deshapriya, a team of 16 players and 4 officials have been selected and will represent Sri Lanka in the tournament. more..

Hacker story: Russian Envoy decries fake news

Dec 31 (CT) Russian Federation is in the spotlight these days after Moscow was criticized for allegedly helping a Russian fugitive wanted by the US to slip out from Sri Lanka along with a delegation which had arrived earlier this month. 22-year-old Manokhin Fedor Raufovich, described as a computer wizard, is alleged to have hacked into a US computer system and stolen financial and personal data of various individuals and more..

Election Commission stops polls-related public events

Dec 31 (ST) Election Commission has put a halt to a string of public events as they would promote a candidate or political party involved in the upcoming local council elections. Commission also has given a ruling that in some instances events could be held without the participation of politicians or without political speeches. These are among the measures taken to prevent abuse of state property or public funds for election related activities. Disciplinary action will be taken against Govt officers who more..

Sri Lanka's activated carbon, brooms, tyres may be taxed after US GSP ends

Dec 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's exports of activated carbon, some types of tyres, brooms and brushes may attract higher duty from the US, after the country failed to re-new a GSP for all countries. Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said most of Sri Lanka's US$ 2.8 billion of exports including apparel will be unaffected as they did not get any GSP benefits. According to US data, Sri Lanka exported US$ 22.2 million of activated carbon to the US in 2016, which will attract 4.8% duty from next year. more..

Probe reveals criminally acquired overseas assets of politicians, officials

Dec 31 (ST) Some assets located overseas have been provisionally identified as being the proceeds of crimes committed by certain politically exposed persons (PEPs) of Sri Lankan origin, authoritative Govt sources revealed this week. While they declined to say who these persons were, PEPs typically include politicians and bureaucrats. These were the outcomes of investigations conducted by the CIABOC, FCID and CID, they said. more..

Defaced currency notes: Deadline extended

Dec 31 (SO) The previously given deadline of today, for the public to exchange willfully defaced or altered currency has been extended by three months. Senior Deputy Governor of the CB, Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe confirmed the extension. The previous deadline was to end today. CB officials were directed to extend the deadline by three months. The previous deadline was to end on Dec 31, 2017, but was extended as the public had voiced many concerns and issues over the move. more..

SriLankan directors still on board

Dec 31 (ST) While today’s BT opinion poll reflects a lot of concern on whether the Govt would sell SriLankan Airlines, airline’s board of directors continue to function since the Govt is yet to accept their resignations. Six of the seven directors on the board including its chairman, Ajith Dias have offered to resign to enable the Govt to restructure the airline. Harendra Balapatabendi was the only director who refused to step down voluntarily. “We sent in our resignations but the Govt is yet to accept it” more..

Presidential officials study 1,400-page report by Bond Commission

Dec 31 (ST) Presidential Secretariat officials will study the report of the PCoI appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to probe the CB Treasury bond issue before deciding on what course of action to take. The report was a comprehensive one and they would need some time to study it. The report was handed over to President Sirisena by the Commission’s Chairman, Supreme Court Judge K. T Chitrasiri, last afternoon. more..

Uptick in SL-US trade 2017 trade forecast to reach US$ 3.8 B

Dec 31 (CT) Total US-Sri Lanka bilateral trade from January to November this year showed a positive increase of US $ 3.41 billion over 2016's annual trade total of $3.3 billion. Sri Lanka was able to maintain a favourable balance of trade of US$ 0.77 billion from Jan to Nov, with a contribution of $2.64 billion in exports in the same period. US, which is the world's largest buyer of Sri Lankan exports, only contributed 22.5% of trade through imports to Sri Lanka from Jan to Nov, this year. more..

Archaeology Dept. to take over Sampur Chetiya area for preservation

Dec 31 (DM) The entire land area, where Sudaikuda Chetiya at Sampur in Trinco was located would be taken over by Archaeology Department shortly for preservation, Director General of Archeology Prof. P.B. Mandawela said. He said it was a lapse on the part of the Govt as there was no plan to conserve, historical, religious and archaeology sites in the N&E until 2015, though the civil war ended in 2015. “Destruction caused to the ancient Chetiya at Sampur was detected during a survey more..

As polls campaign begins, Sirisena brings bribery and corruption to the fore

Dec 31 (ST) Many a political issue, some of them cause for great public discontent notwithstanding, President Maithripala Sirisena appears to have shifted focus to fight bribery and corruption during the local polls campaign. Needless to say, the move has revived public memories of assurances given during both the presidential and parliamentary elections to bring to book top personalities of previous Govt for such acts. more..