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Time for a political solution

Jan 10 (Hindu) Two years after Sri Lankans made an emphatic point by voting for change, which President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe personified at that time, unity govt they brought to power seems trapped in the politics of survival. In the early hours of Jan 9, 2015, SL witnessed that crucial regime change after 10 years of Rajapaksa brand of authoritarianism, marked by high surveillance, intimidation, media repression, and withering of democratic institutions. more..

'Sri Lanka’s window of opportunity for reforms narrowing'

Jan 10 (FT) World-renowned fund manager, strategist and author Ruchir Sharma is urging a radical change in thinking and policy if Sri Lanka is to succeed in a competitive yet de-globalising world. In Sri Lanka recently, the Head of Emerging Markets and Chief Global Strategist for Morgan Stanley and author of best sellers Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles and the more recent more..

Sri Lanka rating upgrade depends on meeting IMF conditions

Jan 10 (EN) Potential improvements in credit profiles of sovereigns like Sri Lanka which have got International Monetary Fund loans after running into economic difficulties, depend on how much they comply with IMF conditions, Fitch Ratings said. In the two years leading up to their IMF loans, Fitch took negative rating action on five of the eight sovereigns that entered Standby Arrangements or Extended Fund Facilities in 2016 - Iraq, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Tunisia. more..

SriLankan Airlines’ codeshare partnerships contribute to 2 million tourists’ milestone

Jan 10 (GDI) The smooth functioning of SriLankan Airlines’ codeshare partnerships in the Western and Central European region contributed in a significant manner to the growth of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in 2016, which expanded by 14% and crossed the 2 million milestone. SriLankan made a significant change in strategy in the fourth quarter of 2016 by expanding services to the Middle East, South Asia and East Asia which included the launch of 11 new destinations and the increase more..

Tourism arrivals affected by airport closure, SriLankan pull out from Paris, Frankfurt

Jan 10 (DN) Tourist arrivals to SL will definitely be below the target in 2017, SL Tourism Chairman, Paddy Withana said. One reason for this will be the closure of the Colombo airport for repairs and also the discontinuation of SriLankan Airlines flights to Frankfurt and Paris. “Tourists always prefer a quick connection and German arrivals are likely to reduce due to this.” He said that the airport closure too will have a negative impact on arrivals. more..

USAID support for clean water project

Jan 10 (USE) US Embassy’s Dr. Andrew Sisson, USAID Mission Director, joined Minister Sudharshini Fernandopulle and MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena last week on January 5 to launch Rs. 150 million program to provide safe disaster-resilient drinking water to local communities in Sri Lanka.  This program expands upon several previous USAID projects since 2012 that have provided sustainable access to drinking water to those areas in the South, East and North prone to droughts and floods. more..

Uncapped Thikshila in SL T20 squad?

Jan 10 (CT) Sri Lanka cricket selectors is looking towards the future as they are said to have finalized a new look T20 squad for the upcoming South African tour which features uncapped Chilaw Marian's all rounder Thikshila de Silva, NCC openers Sandun Weerakkody and Niroshan Dickwella and a few new faces, Ceylon Today reliably learns. The 23-year old Thikshila is a hard hitting batsman who is also a right arm paceman that will come in handy in SA conditions. more..

China’s billion-dollar re-entry in Sri Lanka met with public protests

Jan 10 (IPS) Beragama is a typical rural village, with lush green paddy fields interspersed by small houses and the village temple standing at the highest location. Despite being close to the island’s second international harbour and its second international airport, Beragama appears untouched by modernity. All that is about to change. There is angst in this hamlet located in Hambantota District about 250 km south of Colombo. more..

Prez was appointed to abolish the Executive: Civil societies

Jan 10 (NR) Civil societies say they disapprove the alleged decision taken by the SLFP to refrain from abolishing the Executive Presidency. Convener of the National Movement for a Just Society Professor Sarath Wijesooriya said President Maithripala Sirisena was appointed as the Executive President to abolish the position. He said, the SLFP was not part of the January 8th victory adding Maithripala Sirisena was the common candidate and was not affiliated to any party. more..

Rough seas still rage between Merchant Shipping and new SL Aggressor luxury yacht

Jan 10 (FT) After the last boat registration issue was resolved several months ago, Sri Lankan Aggressor yacht finally launched with several successful whale charters. Two new areas were identified with large blue whale aggregations due the Sri Lanka Aggressor’s ability to travel hundreds of nautical miles over a seven-day charter trip. However, a new dispute has now arisen over crew competence. Sri Lanka Aggressor crew is manned by Egyptian and other foreign crew, more..

Sri Lanka officials off the noose under new dress code

Jan 10 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena Monday overturned a 26-year-old decree that made it mandatory for top bureaucrats to wear suit and tie and said they could be dressed in clothing more suitable for the tropical climate. "We must adopt clothing that suits our weather and climate," President Sirisena said at a construction industry meeting in Colombo. "Officials no longer need to wear suits. From now on, more..

Vidura to resign from Parliament

Jan 10 (Island) Kalutara District UPFA MP Vidura Wickremanayake said he would resign from Parliament. He said he would inform the Horana SLFP electorate organisation of his decision shortly. "I am thoroughly disgusted with the current political situation. I have decided to step down. I once discussed my decision with late father. He endorsed my decision. I may join a new political force." "I don’t have a history of crossing over from one party to another. I will not do so in the future. more..

TNA MP suffers heart attack in House

Jan 10 (CT) TNA JMP Mavai Senathiraja was yesterday admitted to the Sri J'pura Hospital after he had suffered a sudden heart attack, while in the House. TNA MP had suffered the heart ailment when he was at the Opposition Leader's Office situated on the third floor of the Parliament complex. They said the MP was removed to the hospital in an ambulance after initially being brought to the ground floor in a wheel chair since it was difficult to place a trolley inside the elevator. more..

Don't send incomplete reports to AG: Judge reprimands FCID

Jan 10 (CT) Colombo Additional Magistrate expressed his disapproval over the failure of the FCID to conduct their investigations promptly and also questioned as to why they have failed to apprehend those who are clearly guilty of certain crimes. "Instead of carrying out the probes in the manner that is expected, FCID is known for claiming that certain probes are over and they then submit the investigation documents to AG. more..

Sustainable Development Bill presented to House

Jan 10 (DN) Sri Lanka Sustainable Development Bill, a Bill seeking to provide for the development and implementation of a National policy and Strategy on Sustainable Development was tabled in the House. Bill would also set out provisions to establish a Sustainable Development Council. Bill aims to develop and implement a national policy on sustainable development in line with the 17 sustainable development goals and 169 associated targets adopted by the UN in 2015. more..

President emphasized need of a national policy on building construction industry

Jan 10 (PSL) President emphasized the need of a national policy on the construction of buildings in both the state and private sectors. He made these remarks participating in the launching ceremony of the Green Building Code and Evaluation System held at the BMICH, today (9). Our country as a small island nation, has to face many challenges due to the rapid increase in human population, President said, adding that many challenges have emerged due to the lack of a national policy more..

Super Ministry Bill slipped, under different name, into Parliament: JO

Jan 10 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had presented the Super Ministry draft bill yesterday under a different title as Sri Lanka Sustainable Development bill, JO said. As soon as the bill was presented Minister Lakshman Kiriella said it would be taken up for debate on a future date and adjourned sittings. Thereafter, several MPs of the JO got up, protesting against the bill and the way the govt had presented it. more..

Justice Weeramantry; For him every issue was a cause, not a case

Jan 10 (DM) One of the world’s most eminent jurists Justice C. G. Weeramantry -- an international activist for causes ranging from inter-religious dialogue, the environment and the destruction of nuclear weapons --- passed away last Thursday after more than half a century of service to SL and the world. Justice C.G. Weeramantry was a priceless gift to SL and the international community. Widely regarded as a creative genius, he wrote more than 30 books on a wide range of more..

A restricted self-serving assemblage run govt and politics

Jan 10 (DM) Former Australian PM Bob Hawke had said The world will not wait for us. Yet, our institutions are weak, imperfect and badly managed. The staff is poorly motivated. They are continually under-paid, less trained and therefore incompetent. As a result, the good governance had taken a back seat. In Canada, integrity is considered important for MPs. They are required by law to maintain public confidence and trust in the integrity of MPs and to place public interest ahead of private interest. more..

The island of missed opportunities

Jan 10 (ENS) Despite the painstaking work done by the multi-party constitution drafting committees, and the public consultations on which their reports were based, the proposed constitution for Sri Lanka may not see the light of day anytime soon. Analysts attribute this to entrenched fears among the main political parties about the majority Sinhala-Buddhist community’s view on the all-important Tamil question and more..

Red notice from lottery ticket sales agents

Jan 10 (SL) Lottery ticket sales agents have warned of more drastic action following a dispute over the increase on the price of lottery tickets. On Thursday lottery ticket sales agents decided to temporarily suspend a strike after President Sirisena assured them a solution by tomorrow. The govt on January 01 increased the price of a lottery ticket by Rs.10. The move was however been subjected to severe criticism more..

'LG election delays not because of me'

Jan 10 (DM) Delimitation committee will submit the appeal report on LG elections to the ministry on Jan 17, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. He said the govt was ready to hold the LG polls without any delay and political party members agreed to not hold election under the old system. “There are some 56 technical alterations to be done and several requests were made by various parties to make these amendments on the report,” more..

Petition proposed to facilitate franchise fairly amongst all youth

Jan 10 (FT) A new mechanism to enable all youth who turn 18 before an election date is declared has been proposed, Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday. A petition to the Election Commission by Ravi Peiris with over 275,000 signatures has highlighted that over 400,000 new voters are left out by the current system, which uses the election registry which is prepared at an earlier date. more..

Now, govt says 15,000 acres will not be given entirely from H’tota

Jan 10 (Island) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said that there were already 50 Chinese companies had confirmed that they would invest in the Hambantota Investment Promotion Zone and their investments would amount to USD 5 million each. He said SL being in a strategic location in Asia was becoming a storage hub and world renowned companies such as Mercedes Benz & BMW had already indicated their willingness more..

Ravi named Finance Minister of year, Asia-Pacific

Jan 10 (DM) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has been selected as the Finance Minister of the Year for Asia-Pacific by the prestigious The Banker magazine for his efforts to steer Sri Lanka into a new era of economic reform and a change of mindset, the Finance Ministry today said. The Banker is an international financial publication published in London and it selects finance ministers who have best managed to stimulate growth more..

Tax hikes short-circuit electric car sales, drive investor into debt

Jan 10 (ST) The Govt has revised taxes on electric vehicles four times within two years. It has destabilised an emerging market, flung the main importer of electric cars into deep debt and is in direct conflict with efforts by other players within the administration to promote eco-friendly vehicles in the country. In January 2015, shortly after President Sirisena assumed power, the Govt slashed the tax on electric cars from 20% to 5%. more..

Govt making Sri Lanka a colony once again

Jan 10 (Island) The govt was turning the country into being a colony of foreign powers by offering vast areas of land to China, India and the USA, the Socialist Alliance charged. LSSP leader Prof. Tissa Vitharana said the govt was planning to lease 15,000 acres of lands in Hambantota area to China, falsely claiming that it was being done in accordance with a plan prepared by the previous administration. more..

Video: 'PM playing with people’s democracy'

Jan 10 (DM) SLPP Chairman G.L. Peries today said that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe appeared to be taking the public democracy for a joke. Speaking to the media, he said when the prime minister was asked about the date when LG polls would be held he replied saying only God knows that. “The govt has abducted the people’s civic right of electing members to the Provincial councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas” he alleged. more..

Video: Wimal Weerawansa arrested

Jan 10 (AD) UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa has been arrested by the FCID. He was arrested after he arrived at the FCID this morning to give a statement pertaining to allegations of misusing state vehicles.  Weerawansa has been accused of misusing several vehicles belonging to the presidential secretariat, during his tenure as the Minister of Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities under the previous govt. more..

Doom saying Development

Jan 10 (CT) One could say that the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his devout followers in the Joint Opposition started the New Year with a bang by resolving to topple the current Sirisena- Wickremesinghe administration in order to secure a SLFP-led Govt in the country. This was announced to foreign media in the previous week, when the former Commander-in-Chief Rajapaksa told foreign media that he intends to topple the govt and become PM. He was rather ambiguous in his more..

Eyebrows raise as The Banker names Ravi K as Asia-Pacific’s Finance Minister of the year

Jan 10 (CT) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake comes with a history of scandals, many leaning towards fraud. However, despite his very questionable conduct, London based The Banker magazine has named him the 2017 Finance Minister of the Year for Asia-Pacific. The Banker has recognized Karunanayake for his efforts to steer Sri Lanka into a new era of economic reform and a change of mindset. "Crucially, Karunanayake secured a $1.5bn IMF loan programme that more..

NCPA Chairperson Natasha Balendran

The art of lying – Ask Gammanpila

Jan 10 (CT) Of course, MP Udaya Gammanpila is the founder President of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU). Mind you, it is simply pivithuru, or pure. The party he was in before was The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). He, it can be logically inferred, left the JHU to form the PHU because the JHU wasn’t the pure form of the Platonic Universal which lies somewhere in transcendent realty. In other words, the JHU was a poor shadow of the Sinhala Buddhist nationalism that exists as a universal more..

Price of kerosene reduced by Rs.5

Jan 10 (AD) The price of kerosene will be reduced by Rs 5 with effect from midnight today as per the 2017 Budget, Ministry of Finance said. Therefore the price of a litre of kerosene will be reduced from Rs 49 to Rs 44. The ministry said that the CPC has been notified regarding the price amendment which will come into effect at midnight today. Govt had proposed an Rs 5 reduction in the price of a litre of kerosene through the 207 budget proposal, which was passed in the parliament in Dec. more..

Any more ministers to quit the unity govt?

Jan 10 (DM) lowing are the views expressed by certain ministers in response to queries raised about the possibility of more ministers leaving the govt.  Minister W.D.J. Seneviratna: He said there is no need for anyone who works with the correct understanding of the activities of a coalition govt, to withdraw from the govt. “This is a consensus govt and no individual can expect 100% freedom of rule under govt that was formed under one party. more..

Royal College Grade 1 kids stranded?

Jan 10 (DM) The admission to the Grade One at the Colombo Royal College for the year 2017 had been suspended after the Education Ministry launched a special inquiry into the admission process, sources said. The inquiry has been launched after complaints from several parties including the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) about the irregularities allegedly taken place during the admission to the Grade One. The ceremonies to mark the admission to the Grade One for 2017 are more..

Ranil has ordered for my arrest Wimal Weerawansa said just before his arrest

Jan 10 (CT) MP Wimal Weerawansa was arrested this morning by the FCID. He was arrested on charges of misusing state vehicles during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s term. He was arrested after he arrived this morning at the FCID to give a statement over the allegations. Speaking to journalists outside the FCID building this morning, prior to entering the FCID, Weerawansa claimed that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had ordered the FCID to arrest him today. more..

Video: DIG Priyantha Jayakody appointed Police Spokesman

Jan 10 (DM) DIG Priyantha Jayakody has been appointed as the Police Media Spokesman, Law & Order Ministry said today. Ministry Secretary Jagath Wijeweera said the vacant post had lead to the publication of misleading news stories in the recent past. Ministry had adopted a new policy when dealing with the media, Secretary said. While the police is cleared to issue reports on certain subjects, ministry will tend to more..

Video: Customs nab Iranian with Rs. 30mn in Euros

Jan 10 (DM) A 32-year-old Iranian national had been arrested yesterday at the BIA by the Customs officers while he was trying to smuggle out foreign currencies amounting Rs.30 million, Customs Spokesman said. He said the suspect was attempting to smuggle the stash out to Doha via Iran when he was arrested around 7 pm last evening following a tip off, he said. During investigations Customs officers found € 177, 000 bills hidden inside his baggage wrapped inside sarongs. more..

Sri Lanka should rethink immigration, diaspora policies: Hausmann

Jan 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka should rethink its immigration, diaspora and product development policies so as to encourage more complexity in exports, economist Ricardo Hausmann of Harvard University said in Colombo on Monday. Immigrants and diaspora bring with them significant know-how and skills necessary for the setting up of new industries, a process which Sri Lanka could benefit from, he said. Hausmann, the director for the Center for Int'l Development at Harvard University, more..