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Govt reduces tariffs on imported rice

Jan 7 (DM) The govt decided to reduce the tariffs on imported rice with effect from midnight today (6) in a bid to ease difficulties faced by the people due to the severe drought condition prevailing in many parts of the country. After serious discussions held at the Finance Ministry yesterday, the Cabinet subcommittee on cost of living comprising Ministers Ravi Karunanayake, Sarath Amunugama, Mahinda Amaraweera, and more..

Global politics and Sri Lanka in 2016

Jan 7 (LSE) Sri Lanka, though a small island state, lies at the tip of the South Asian subcontinent and at the center of the Indian Ocean. In a vastly interconnected world, the sweeping effects of globalization; China’s economic downturn; growing discontent and de-stabilization in the West; and India’s enhanced involvement in the region as an emerging power, have all been major thrusts of global politics in 2016. SL remains at the center of it all, enjoying great geostrategic importance, more..

'No rainfall until the end of April'

Jan 7 (Island) Public Utilities Commission of SL briefing note on SL's power supply situation for March makes the following observations: Even with full availability of thermal power plants, about 550 MW of hydro power contribution is essential to meet the night peak demand. Based on past trends, there will be no rainfall until end of April. Hence, daily major hydro dispatch level is required to be kept below 6 GWh/day in average, to ensure availability of hydro reservoirs until end of April. more..

Tender fraud at Sports Ministry: Sugathadasa track re-laying tender cancelled

Jan 7 (DN) The tender for re-laying of the Sugathadasa synthetic running track has been cancelled by the Procurement Authority after considering the appeal made by a group of rejected tender applicants. The appeal stated that the Sports Ministry tender board has acted partially in favour of the approved candidate and the Procurement Authority has confirmed that the approved company has not fulfilled required more..

Special prayers in Palestine for Sirisena’s 2nd anniversary

Jan 7 (FT) Ambassador of SL in Palestine Fawzan Anver has made arrangements to conduct special prayers at two holy places in order to commemorate the second anniversary of President Sirisena’s victory on 8 January. At 12:15 p.m., prayers will be conducted at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is the first direction (Kiblah) for the prayers of Muslims and also the third holy place for them. It is expected that many Sri Lankans and well-wishers will participate in the event. more..

HIV tests a farce

Jan 7 (NS) National STD (sexually transmitted diseases) Control Programme says that physicians had not conducted proper investigations into the sexual histories of patients including whether the patients had unprotected sex or had multiple sexual partners. Patients too had a responsibility to tell their doctors. Cases of human immunodeficiency virus positive (HIV+) patients for 2016 was 250 whereas in 2015, it was 235. The death rate was 42 (appro. over 40) in 2016 and 34 in 2015. more..

I have no confidence in the CTF: Wijeyadasa

Jan 7 (DM) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said today said he had no confidence in the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) appointed by the PM. He said the CTF, which recommended the inclusion of at least one international judge on every bench set up to hear allegations of war crimes and the violation of human rights that had taken place during the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. more..

National Integration and Reconciliation week from January 8-14

Jan 7 (GDI) The week January 8-14 has been declared as the National Integration and Reconciliation week for the first time in the history of Sri Lanka by President Maithripala Sirisena. This week will be celebrated every year as the  National Integration and Reconciliation week and it will be supported by the state minister A.H.M. Fowzie and the chairperson of the office for National Unity and Reconciliation Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.   more..

Bank credit to public sector contracted by Rs. 81.5bn in first eight months of 2016

Jan 7 (Island) The declining trend in credit obtained by public corporations that was observed since November 2015 had continued during the first eight months of 2016 as well, a Central Bank publication states. In this backdrop, credit extended to public corporations by the banking system contracted by Rs. 81.5 billion during the first eight months of last year. In the corresponding period of the previous year, credit obtained by public corporations had registered an increase of Rs. 36.5 billion more..

PM says land identified for industry needs for next decade

Jan 7 (LBO) Govt has already identified lands for the industry needs in the country for the coming 10 to 15 years, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Addressing a gathering at RIGID Tyre Plant event he said the govt is ready to formulate new laws for investors while encouraging them with incentives. “We identified lands for industrial zones in Kandy, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Monaragala, Trinco as well as in North Western Province more..

Medical administrators leap to defence of Health Minister’s wife

Jan 7 (Island) Apropos our front-page news item headlined Health Minister’s wife challenges bid to block her seeking top post in yesterday’s edition, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne has sent us the following response: "There is absolutely no basis for the report. It was fabricated and aimed at causing friction." Member of the College of Medical Administrators of Sri Lanka, Dr. Priyantha Atapattu issued the following statement: "We are dismayed by seeing this article more..

Baby heart patients mount

Jan 7 (NS) Pediatric cardiologists claim that 3000 newborns suffered from congenital heart diseases, out of which 2,200 to 2,500 required surgical operations. Babies born with a hole in the heart or having a narrow valve or a more complex condition are the main issues. Children’s Heart Project of Sri Lanka noted that congenital heart defects affected nearly 1% of babies born in the country, a ratio of between 6-8 babies per 1,000 births of those suffering from some sort of heart ailment. more..

Defence Secy allays Manouri’s concerns

Jan 7 (Island) Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that the military or police wouldn’t interfere with those who had been consulted by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) in respect of alleged atrocities committed during the conflict. The outfit comprised 11 civil society activists, including key members of Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and editor of Ravaya K.W. Janaranjana. more..

US$ 41 million BIA runway revamp begins

Jan 7 (FT) Airport and Aviation Services yesterday began work on the revamp of the runway at Bandaranaike International Airport with an investment of $41 million. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was the Chief Guest at the ceremonial launch of the work which will span three months. To accommodate work on the revamp, the BIA is partially closed from 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily until 4 April. As a result, around 1,000 flights will not be operated with airlines making alternate more..

Govt compensates two fisher families

Jan 7 (GDI) Two families were compensated 2 million by the government for their members who had lost lives while engaging in fishing at sea in the extreme weather condition that prevailed in April of last year. Minister of fisheries and aquatic resources Development Mahinda Amaraweerad made a request from the Cabinet of Ministers having received the necessary information from the Fisheries Office in Chilaw District and obtained the approval to compensate them.   more..

Emission scandal put paid to Volkswagen’s Sri Lanka plant

Jan 7 (ENS) The emission scandal in which German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) was embroiled since Sept 2015, put paid to its project to set up an assembling facility in Sri Lanka, which was to come up this month.  Explaining the circumstances in which the VW plant project was called off, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said that within two weeks after VW and SL car dealer, Senok Automobiles, signed an agreement more..

Revision committee into traffic fine to meet on 9 January

Jan 7 (FT) The special committee appointed to revise the seven controversial traffic offence fines expects to meet on 9 January, Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said on Thursday. The Minister said that the committee will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of having a higher traffic fine by considering the opinions expressed by civil society. He added that the committee will pay attention to the opinions of all related associations including the bus owners’ association, more..

Sugar up by Rs 10

Jan 7 (CT) The media convener of the Sugar Importers' Association (SIA) Hemaka Fernando says the price of sugar in the market has gone up by Rs 10. As per the 2017 Budget proposals, a 2% tax has been levied on a kg of sugar. He said that besides the tax which came into effect on 16 Dec last year the seven per cent import duty had been increased by Rs 10 by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. He added as a result the total import duty on sugar had been increased by 15% and Customs also levies more..

'Foreign judges won’t be accepted'

Jan 7 (Island) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena rejected a comprehensive set of proposals, including foreign judges and other personnel in accountability mechanisms to address the grievances of the war affected. 11-member Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) on Jan 3, handed over a dossier containing far reaching proposals. CTFRM headed by attorney-at-law Manouri Muttetuwegama more..

Let this be a promise-keeping year

Jan 7 (DM) High were the hopes and expectations when more than 6.2 million people, in what was widely seen as a silent and peaceful revolution, elected to office on Jan 8, 2015, the rainbow coalition led by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe.   Soon after his dramatic election, which many saw as a virtual miracle President Sirisena swore in UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM though the UNP at that time held only about 40 of the 225 seats. more..

Constitutional reforms: Allay doubts on genuineness

Jan 7 (DM) With the dawn of the New Year and President Maithripala Sirisena’s third year in office, the govt seems to instill more hopes into the people by launching its development plans, despite it sustaining a heavy blow with the defeat of the Development (Special Provisions) Bill in eight out of nine provincial councils at the end of the just concluded 2016.   Apart from the ambitious development plans that are being placed before the country, the government hopes to introduce more..

Weeramantry’s vision for int'l justice & peace

Jan 7 (DM) This article discusses the judicial vision articulated by Judge C.G. Weeramantry in his time as a member of the International Court of Justice. It seeks to trace the development of his vision by examining his earlier writings, and the factors which shaped his approach to international law. It discusses some of the key elements of his vision: his sensitivity to Third World concerns, his attempts to create a universal int'l law more..

Hitler still alive, family lives in hope

Jan 7 (SL) Hitler is a name many want to erase from history for the atrocities of Nazi Germany. But for teenagers Jude, Abisha and their mother Jeyakavitha, the name brings light to their anxious eyes. Both Jude and Abisha cannot remember the face of their father, Premil Rosary Hitler. He was reported missing on Dec 27, 2006 in the town of Mannar, 254 km north of Colombo. The family lived in the war zone of Sri Lanka more..

Not stooges of political parties: Chairman

Jan 7 (NS) Asoka Peiris says it was with much difficulty that they protected the information after receiving no adequate resources which is the plain truth. Q: You had previously stated that the Minister had refused the Delimitation Committee report. Did the Minister actually reject it? A: He said that in order to accept it, the signatures of the other two members must be there. Q: Saying that the report was rejected and saying that more..

'I did not receive a report to reject'

Jan 7 (NS) Although the report of the Local Govt Institutions Delimitation Appeals Committee on the Demarcation of Boundaries was handed over by its Chairman, Ashoka Peiris to Minister Faiszer Musthapha, the Minister refused to accept it. Both Peiris and Musthapha have traded remarks and accusations on the matter. In relation to this fiasco, Nation granted the duo an opportunity to state their case before the country. more..

No legal validity for foreign judges: Lawyers

Jan 7 (NS) Legal heavyweights claim that there are no provisions in the system or the hierarchy of courts or the Constitution or the updated Judicature Act to allow foreign judges to sit in judgement of Sri Lankan affairs. Senior Lecturer at Department of Commercial Law of Faculty of Law of Uni of Colombo, Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said that there is no legal background in the existing law and therefore no validity. more..

Video: Tense situation at launch of Hambantota development project

Jan 7 (AD) A tense situation has been reported in the Mirijjawila area in Hambantota during the opening of the Sri Lanka-China Industrial Zone Development Project, a short while ago. Police used tear gas to disperse a group of protesters who reportedly pelted stones at the site.   The development project was launched by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Mirijjawila investment promotion zone today (7).  more..

Lakmal feared for Test future before South Africa success

Jan 7 (CI) Sri Lanka have lost the series inside nine days of cricket, been rolled for 110, failed to muster a single triple-figure partnership let alone an individual century, and have, in general, failed to compete in South Africa, but for one player at least, it has been something of a breakthrough tour. Suranga Lakmal came to the country with a reputation for bowling long and controlled, but ultimately wicketless, spells. more..

Sri Lanka, not China, will provide security for Colombo Financial City: PM

Jan 7 (Island) Govt says that security at the Colombo Port City renamed the Financial City, would be entrusted to SL Navy & Air Force and not the Chinese. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that provision of security would be in accordance with procedures adopted worldwide and there would be no deviation in that regard. Whether it be Amsterdam, Singapore or elsewhere, int'lly accepted best practices are adopted, more..

SriLankan downplays PIA delay in taking over leased A330-300

Jan 7 (ST) Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has delayed taking over an A330-300 aircraft it agreed to lease from SriLankan Airlines. “PIA has been under a huge workload due to unrelated issues reported in the press,” said SriLankan Chief Executive Officer, Suren Ratwatte. In mid-2016, PIA took possession of one A330-300 which it leased from SriLankan. It also signed agreements for two more of the same. more..

A/L best results in the Island

Jan 7 (DM) Nisal Punsara of Rahula College, Matara has topped the Island rankings in Biology stream while Amaya Darmasiri from Maliyadeva Girls’ College, Kurunegala has topped in Physical Science stream at the 2016 A/L exam. Meanwhile, Muditha Rajapakshe of Ananda College, Colombo and Indeevari Gawarammana of Girls’ High School, Kandy have topped the Island rankings in Arts & Commerce streams more..

SLC must address away tests seriously

Jan 7 (CT) Being in a hurry about any and everything would appear to be a defining Sri Lankan trait, not the least predominantly evident when our national cricketers take the field against tough oppositions on away tours. Watching the commonplace return to the pavilion after a flurry of tumbling wickets – all caused by haste making them gift their wickets through wrong strokes and a couldn't-care-less attitude, I was intrigued as to where they were in such a ungodly haste to more..

Lasantha’s eighth death anniversary to be marked with graveside memorial service

Jan 7 (CT) 8th death anniversary of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge, which falls on 8 Jan (Sunday), will be marked with a service at his graveside. Family, friends, former colleagues and others, including those from political and diplomatic circles, will gather at Borella Kanatte at 9 a.m. to mark the anniversary and remember Lasantha. Assassinated on 8 Jan 2009, Lasantha was one of SL’s leading journalists and an outspoken critic of the Rajapaksa Govt. more..

අපේ රටේ සාගර සම්පත

Progressing, not knowing where

Jan 7 (CT) SL has opted to enter the global economic system with a very poor appreciation of the scientific considerations of the different options and paths available. In the global financial system, growth is seen as engine of development, but the source of power that has been chosen to propel that growth is making this nation dangerously vulnerable to the emerging global reality of Climate Change. Power, as is used in the present context, is energy in a state utilizable for our uses. more..

Development project results soon: Sujeewa

Jan 7 (NR) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe says a 15,000 acre industrial zone was declared open within a span of one year since the good governance govt took over. He stressed that this govt will remain in power for five years adding the public will be able to witness the results themselves. Speaking to media after calling on the Chief Prelates of the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters Minister added at present various groups have created doubts within the minds of the people. more..

Foreign judges: Fowzie noncommital

Jan 7 (Island) State Minister A.H.M. Fowzie declined to comment on far reaching recommendations, including the participation of foreign judges and other personnel made by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) meant to accelerate post-war national reconciliation process. Mrs Manouri Muttetuwegama led a 11-member civil society grouping that formulated the recommendations. more..

Party leaders opt for PR system

Jan 7 (CT) At the party leaders' meeting scheduled to be held on 9 January headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, it is reliably learnt that a majority decision will be reached to conduct the 2017 Local Govt polls under the existing proportional representative (PR) system. It is learnt that most party leaders at the upcoming meeting are likely to raise several issues concerning the Delimitation Committee and to agree to conduct the forthcoming poll under the existing system. more..

Volkswagen falls off Yahapâlanaya, As Maithri and Ranil hoodwink public

Jan 7 (CT) Fibs, miscommunication and the blame game were the highlights this week, as the Yahapalanaya government under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe fell flat on its face after it was exposed how they attempted to deceive millions of people over a vehicle assembly plant in Kuliyapitiya, which the government claimed was built with an investment of US$ 26.5 million from German automaker, Volkswagen. more..

'President to take firm decisions on certain critical matters'

Jan 7 (DN) President Sirisena said that he would be taking several firm decisions in the next few years on certain critical matters affecting the country, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said President intimated this to those present when he visited Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’s residence recently. He said the post January 8 period of this year would be important to the country due to these decisions pending more..