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Lankan selectors springs a surprise with the choice of Thisara Perera

Dec 4 (Island) With seven wickets down and 75 runs to win, Sri Lanka only needed all to pick Pakistani skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s wicket to send their last recognised batsman back to the pavilion and push for a semi-final spot in the Champion’s Trophy in June. By this point, Sri Lanka were firmly in control. Then, atrocious fielding let them down. Thisara Perera dropped a sitter off Lasith Malinga at mid-on in the 39th over, shattering Sri Lanka’s semi-final hopes. more..

Mobile industry wants Rs. 200,000 per month tower levy called off

Dec 4 (FT) The mobile telecom industry cried foul over the Budget 2018 proposal to charge Rs. 200,000 per month on cellular towers, insisting that it would increase the unprofitability of towers and lead to reduced internet coverage while dismissing the State’s contention that it would encourage sharing between operators. The industry pointed out that if govt persisted with the measure, towers in rural areas could be reduced, more..

Emancipating slaves and ending protectionist exploitation in Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (EN) A story doing round in Colombo these days is that when SL's captains of rent - sorry industry - were asked about the possibility of freeing the people from high import duty exploitation at a finance ministry meeting, they asked for 10 years of gradual reduction. The modern-day resistance to economic emancipation is reminiscent of the calls of native slave-holders of Ceylon, and the challenges resistance faced by the British administrators when they set about abolishing slavery in Ceylon. more..

‘Plans for costly emergency power plants despite an abundance of rain’

Dec 4 (Island) The CEB has called for tenders to establish expensive 100 MW emergency power plants in the country despite the catchment areas of the country overflowing with an abundance of water due to the prevailing rain, it is claimed. 'Those proposed plants will be set up in the Hambantota, Habarana, Galle, Mathugama and Pallekele areas and these 100 MW tenders are intended and designed for Aggreko by the decision makers, a CEB trade union leader said. more..

Labour Minister and SLPA in tug of war over H’tota Port workers

Dec 4 (FT) Labour Minister waded into the issue of 458 workers employed by the Magampura Port Management Company (MPMC) being issued a controversial circular by Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), with him arguing that it was tantamount to a termination of service, while the SLPA countered that the document was simply misunderstood. Labour Minister John Seneviratne and the SLPA were in disagreement after more..

JO slams door on SLFP; SLPP finalising nominations

Dec 4 (Island) UPFA MP Gamini Lokuge said that there was no point in continuing talks with those SLFPers in the govt unless they quit the UNP-led administration. He said the SLFP group in the unity administration had been told to either quit the govt immediately or throw its weight behind the SL Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) at the next LG polls. Asked whether he had got an opportunity to talk with Prez Sirisena, at 46 National Day of UAE on Friday, MP Lokuge answered in the negative. more..

Rebuff for the powerless messenger

Dec 4 (DM) The former strongman received a call on his hot line the other day. It was from a leading businessman with close ties to a very powerful political family in the country. You may even describe him as one of the main dealers in the country’s staple food. The call was meant to convey the urgent message that there was a move afoot to confine a member of the strongman’s family to the Welikada state-run lodge. He also revealed the actors behind this move as well. more..

Colombo University debunks opinion poll

Dec 4 (DN) Academics from the Journalism Unit of the Colombo University’s Arts Faculty have decried an opinion poll on who the next leader of the country should be in 2020, referring to it as baseless, false and fabricated. Journalism Unit Coordinator, Prof. Samantha Herath in a strongly worded statement has denied the lead story which was published in the Mawbima newpaper’s Sunday publication. more..

Deep sea fishers get a shock: Nets were full of snakes, not fish

Dec 4 (CT) Deep sea fishermen of Kalladi and Nawaladi were in for a surprise when they pulled in their fishing nets on Saturday. They found the nets were full of snakes and not fish. This unusual phenomenon had drawn a large crowd of people from the surrounding areas and later a larger crowd from the other villages and towns. The fishermen in those areas, as usual, went out to sea in their boats and let down their nets in the hope of a good catch, but were disappointed. more..

Dilruwan fastest to 100 aim for 200 Test wickets

Dec 4 (SO) Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera who became the fastest Sri Lankan bowler to take 100 Test wickets playing in his 25th Test aims to take 200 Test wickets before he retires. Perera is on the wrong side of 35 but is inspired by the fact that Rangana Herath his spin partner got a break when he was 31 after getting opportunities on and off and has gone onto become the leading left-arm spinner in Test history with 406 wickets from 87 Tests. “I made my debut when I was 32. more..

India Vs. SL Test interrupted due to heavy smog in New Delhi

Dec 4 (CI) There were players vomiting inside the SL dressing room. There were oxygen things used. Eventually they were reduced to only 10 fit and able cricketers who could go out and field in the Delhi pollution when Virat Kohli declared India's innings closed on 536 in order to get on with the game. India felt the stoppages in play, when the Sri Lankan medical staff looked after their players and match officials deliberated, more..

After what happened to Phil Hughes we have to be cautious: Gurusinha

Dec 4 (DN) SL Cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha said that although Sadeera Samarawickrama was prepared to go out and open the innings he was help back on medical advice. “He is fine and he actually wanted to open but it’s a mild concussion and we just have to be careful. After what happened to Phil Hughes there are some guidelines that we’ve got to follow,” said Gurusinha. Australian batsman Hughes died after being hit on the neck by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match in Nov 2014, more..

Biggest international aviation conference in Sri Lanka begins today

Dec 4 (Island) The ICAN is the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Conference on Air Services Negotiation and is the premier annual international conference organised by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) bringing together delegations from all corners of the world to one single meeting place for negotiation of Air Service Agreements aiming at either updating existing traffic rights or creating new arrangements for market access among the ICAO member States. more..

Gintota violence: Suspects charged under int’l covenant on civil & political rights act

Dec 4 (Island) 22 persons arrested in connection with recent ethnic clash in the Gintota area have been charged under Int'l Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No 56 of 2007. Law enforcement sources said that the Act had never been used before. Law and Order and Southern Development Ministry had authorised the use of ICCPR Act, sources said, adding that the move was expected to act as a deterrent. more..

Sri Pada pilgrim season began

Dec 4 (DM) Sripada season began on Unduvap Poya Day today (3) with a religious ceremony held at the summit under the auspices of the Pelmadulla Rajamaha Vihara and Sri Pada Chief Incumbent the Ven. Bengamuwe Dammadinna Thera, who is also the Chancellor of Uva Wellassa Uni. The ceremonies began at the auspicious time of 5.40 a.m. after enshrining the relics casket with on the summit. Relics casket and the statue of God Saman and the regalia were brought in a procession more..

Scrabble: Pakistan finish runner-ups to SL

Dec 4 (PT) Pakistan finished second at the WESPA Youth Cup 2017 in Kuala Lumpur — a result the Pakistan Scrabble Association (PSA) believes is a positive one considering the incredible form of winners Sri Lanka. After winning the Princess Cup in Thailand last week, Pakistan were keen to add another trophy to their collection but Sri Lanka’s imperious form and a tougher draw ruined their plan. Pakistan’s top player Abdullah Abbasi, who finished second at the WYSC last year, more..

'LG Polls in first week of Feb 2018'

Dec 4 (DM) LG Polls will be held in the first week of February next year, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. However he said the ultimate decision on this would be decided by the Election Commission. "The next LG election will be actually a trial to test the effectiveness of the new mixed electoral system introduced recently and if it is a success it will be used for the Parliamentary polls as well" he said. more..

French Naval Ship Auvergne arrives

Dec 4 (SLN) French Naval Ship Auvergne arrived at the port of Colombo on a goodwill visit today (3). SL Navy welcomed the visiting ship in accordance with naval customs upon her arrival. The Ambassador of France to SL, Jean-Marin Schuh and several officials from the French Embassy were present on the harbour premises to receive the French vessel. The ship’s crew that is on a four-day official visit in the country is scheduled to take part in several programmes including sporting engagements more..

Talks on forming alliance fail SLFP and JO to contest LG polls separately

Dec 4 (CT) After talks between the SLFP and JO, on contesting together, as an alliance, at the upcoming Local Govt polls failed, the two have decided to go their separate ways, SLFP Central Committee Member, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said. He added that they would not be contesting together. The SLFP intended to join several other parties and contest as an alliance. He said that the SLFP would contest alone in certain areas while contesting in an alliance in certain other areas. more..

President getting even with PM: Looters as Rulers: Rs 20 billion for a Russian boat

Dec 4 (CT) Yahapalana govt is set to go ahead with the deal to buy a Russian-built Gepart 5.1. Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) for the Navy costing Rs 20 billion this week. This purchase goes against recommendations from all authoritative sources and in particular serves no meaningful purpose given the Navy’s current requirements. It was widely rumored that the former Navy Chief Travis Sinniah’s tenure was not extended more..

Nationalism in Our Times

Dec 4 (DM) The disastrous history of nationalism and militarisation is replete with devastating wars around the world. In Sri Lanka, our own civil war should have at least made us question the dangers of militarisation. However, we are still caught in the discourse of war heroes in the South and martyrs in the North, and in the process we are unable to critically reflect on how we descended into war. As for our future, another insurgency or civil war in the North is not on the horizon. more..

Game of Thrones in Gujarat; Scion Vs Son of Soil

Dec 4 (DM) Beating BJP in Gujarat is next to impossible.That is not because it is the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi though it surely comes as a plus for the BJP. The land of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Moraji Desai and also the Tatas and Ambanis the India’s western most state Gujarat has no match when it comes to nation’s pride and entrepreneurship. While Mahatma Gandhi’s secular policies earned him quite a few enemies, Gujarat today is India’ strongest more..

Sri Lanka: A living technicolour dream

Dec 4 (Independent) I had a Bono/Christy Moore week. I climbed some mountains and saw lots of lakes that could be jumped into. I swam in the longest pool in Sri Lanka in the luxurious Club Hotel Dolphin in Negombo. And yes, in Sri Lanka, I did find what I was looking for. A land that is still different in a world becoming more uniform. A technicolour country that brings into sharp focus pluses & minuses of progress. more..

Govt brews Rs. 12 b in loans to boost tea

Dec 4 (FT) The Govt is in discussions with two Japanese banks to obtain as much as $ 150 million or Rs. 22.5 billion in a low-interest loan facility to modernise about 150 tea factories, which could be done in two tranches, to develop tea smallholders. Plantations Industry Minister Navin Dissanayake, Ministry Secretary J.A. Ranjith and officials from the Tea Small Holdings Development Authority held discussions to finalise the loan more..

SL in dire need of 1,250 medicinal drugs: MoH to sign 38 MoUs to produce 80% locally

Dec 4 (CT) The Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine claims that Sri Lanka is in dire need of 1,250 types of medicines, 80 per cent of which would be locally manufactured by 2019, through the establishment of several Pharmaceutical manufacturers. The latter would be achieved via the signing of 38 Memorandums of understanding in the near future. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne made this statement, more..

Local electric three-wheelers to storm local market in January

Dec 4 (DN) An electric three -wheeler has been manufactured by a local entrepreneur for the first time in the SL automobile history. The inventor M.S.M. Rifkhan (Managing Director Sri Lanka Mobility (Pvt.) Ltd, has already built one three wheeler, powered a rechargeable battery c ells and has already completed 80% of the test run. The test which was very successful would be completed next week and the first five electric three wheelers more..

Sweeping changes in health sector

Dec 4 (DN) Sri Lanka expects to produce 80% of its drug requirements by the end of 2018, which will save USD 400 million plus annually which the govt spends for drug importation, Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said. “Accordingly, the importation of all drugs which can be produced locally, will be stopped by the end of 2018,” he also said. Minister also predicted that prices of medicinal drugs will further come down more..

President sulks over beer price reduction

Dec 4 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena Monday expressed displeasure over the reduction in beer prices following his govt's new tax formula for alcoholic drinks that made the brew cheaper. Sirisena said any reduction in alcoholic drinks was not acceptable to the govt's temperance drive and said the country had received accolade from the World Health Organisation for its anti-alcohol and tobacco policies. more..

Sehwag slams Sri Lankan players for complaining about smog

Dec 4 (DNA) Virender Sehwag has slammed Sri Lankan players for wearing masks and complaining about smog on the second day of the Delhi Test, calling it a pre-planned strategy. He said that the it was meant to stop Virat Kohli from scoring a triple century. Sehwag said, "It was all a strategy against Virat Kohli. They wanted to stop him as it seemed that he was inching towards his triple century." more..

NHSL heart operations stopped, theatre conditions dangerous

Dec 4 (ST) All heart operations at the SL National Hospital (NHSL), except some emergency cases, came to a halt on Friday. NHSL’s five cardiothoracic surgeons put down their scalpels as the conditions in the cardiothoracic operating theatres (OTs) are deemed to be unsuitable for open heart surgery, with fears of patients acquiring infections which, in turn, would lead to high morbidity (illness) and high mortality (death), more..

Journalist murder probes have a long way to go: Mangala

Dec 4 (AD) SL govt on Monday said it remains firm in its commitment to work with the international community, to work towards ending impunity for crimes against journalists, and to uphold the rights of journalists around the world who place themselves at risk every day, to give voice to the voiceless. Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka used to be a most unsafe place for journalists, not too long ago. more..

No crimes against journalists under present govt: PM

Dec 4 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the present govt in 2015 put a definitive end to crimes against the media and that since then there have been no journalist abductions, murders, attacks, or intimidation. He made these remarks delivering the keynote address at the UNESCO Seminar on ‘Reinforcing regional cooperation to promote freedom of expression and rule of law in Asia more..

FR petition filed against Ambagamuwa delimitation

Dec 4 (AD) A fundamental rights (FR) petition has been filed with the Supreme Court against the delimitation of the Ambagamuwa local govt area in the Nuwara-Eliya District. The motion has been filed by a former member of the Ambagamuwa PS today. Petitioner states that an injustice has been committed during the demarcation of the Ambagamuwa local govt area. Minister Faiszer Musthapha, Secretary to the ministry and members of Elections Commission have been named more..

SLIATE Keynote 2017: Prosperity through research and development

Dec 4 (FT) I am honoured to be invited to deliver the keynote address at the 2017 Research Symposium of SL Institute of Advanced Technical Education (SLIATE). It is both encouraging and promising that SLIATE has organised this symposium, assembling researchers on many subjects together here. It also has chosen an apt theme for the symposium, namely, Prosperity through Research and Development. It is both timely and opportune, given the thrust of present govt to convert SL into more..

Concerns of new Foreign Exchange Act

HNB crowned Bank of the Year 2017 by The Banker Magazine UK

Dec 4 (FT) SL’s premier retail sector bank, HNB PLC recorded another landmark victory with its recognition as Bank of the Year 2017 in Sri Lanka by the highly-acclaimed UK-based financial sector magazine, The Banker, during a ceremony attended by eminent bankers and financial institutions from across the globe on 29 November at the Hilton London Bankside. HNB’s award was presented based on an analysis of its outstanding financial performance, operational efficiency, more..

President, PM seek further date to testify in Tissa Attanayake case

Dec 4 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today sought a further date to testify in the case filed against former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. When the case came up before High Court Judge Wikum Kaluarachchi, President's Counsel Nissanka Nanayakkara who appeared on behalf of the key witnesses in the case, President and Prime Minister, informed Court that his clients are not appearing before Court since they are attending Parliament sessions. more..

Military launches massive crackdown Hunt on for 28,000 Army deserters

Dec 4 (CT) The military authorities are hunting for some 28,000 soldiers, both male and female, who deserted their ranks during and after the war and also opted to shun an opportunity to surrender under a general amnesty, a senior official said on Sunday. Military along with the assistance of the local Police, are currently carrying out a massive crackdown on the deserters and some 2,019 have already been arrested. more..

Meeting of Conference of Parties to the CITES to be held in Colombo

Dec 4 (GDI) Govt has announced the dates for the 18th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be attended by 183 State Parties, and held from 22nd May - 3rd June 2019 at the BMICH in Colombo. SL’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha who made the announcement addressing the 69th Standing Committee of CITES meeting, more..

Thalatha seeks support to minimize delays in hearings

Dec 4 (NR) Minister of Justice Thalatha Athukorala says the support of the officers of the Judicial Service Commission, Attorneys & the Police is necessary to minimize delays in court cases. Minister Athukorala said prompt solutions will be provided to reduce delays in court cases. The Minister said the govt does not take measures to delay court cases adding the govt has been able to include 35 more High Court Judges bringing the total number of High Court Judges to 110. more..