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Chinese Ambassador to Lanka also has concerns about H’tota project: MR

Jan 12 (FT) China’s Ambassador to SL, Yi Xianliang, had expressed concerns about the implementation of Hambantota industrial park project, former president Rajapaksa claimed, following a meeting with the envoy on Tuesday. Former president, who participated in a Twitter Q&A, denied reports that the Chinese envoy to Colombo had expressed his displeasure over certain remarks being made about Chinese involvement in SL more..

Release drone video: Dullas

Jan 12 (DM) JO challenged the police and the govt to release the video footage of the seized-and-then-released drone camera belonging to a TV station so that the people could witness who cast the first stone at whom during the Saturday’s protest in Hambantota. JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma said memory chip of the drone camera had been corroded by police to destroy evidence. “I request people not to believe us simply because we say it was thugs, who were under police protection, more..

Lankans are for peace

Jan 12 (Hindu) The trio -- Yogesh R. Mathuria (60), Sabalsihn Vala (78) and Somanatah Bhosle (26) -- are on the final leg of the world peace pilgrimage, walking in India and Sri Lanka. They have been spreading the message of peace in the last 112 days, traversing 3,450 km. Meeting reporters after landing here on completion of the Sri Lanka leg on Wednesday, Mr. Yogesh said that their smiles and love had won many friends in Sri Lanka. There was overwhelming response to their endeavour more..

No elections in 2020, says Rajitha

Jan 12 (FT) Sri Lanka will not have elections in 2020 but that will not deter the Govt from working towards abolishing the Executive Presidency, said minister Rajitha Senaratne, dismissing a decision made by the SLFP to support the continuation of executive powers. A visibly charged Minister contended that the Central Committees of parties could make decisions but they could change over time and insisted that President Sirisena more..

Sept 2016 trade gap down 12% to $645mn

Jan 12 (EN) Sri Lanka’s trade gap fell 12% to US$ 645 million in Sept 2016 from a year ago as exports rose and imports fell, the central bank said. Earnings from exports grew for the second consecutive month in Sept 2016, up 5.7% to US$ 898 million from the year before, it said in a statement. Expenditure on imports declined by 2.5% to US$ 1,543 million in Sept 2016 compared to the same month in 2015, mainly because of lower imports of personal motor vehicles and fuel. more..

Sri Lanka further strengthens anti-money laundering drive

Jan 12 (DM) In terms of the provisions of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act, No. 6 of 2006 (FTRA), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Sri Lanka entered into a MoU with the Registration of Persons Department yesterday, at the Central Bank to receive information in order to facilitate investigations and prosecutions on money laundering and terrorist financing. Registration of Persons Department Commissioner General Viyani Gunathilake and FIU Director more..

'TV drone buzzed on diplomatic space, impinged Court order'

Jan 12 (DN) The drone camera of a private TV channel which had ignited a debate over its being seized by the police while it was taking pictures and videos of the scale of demonstrations at the inauguration of SL - China Industrial Zone in Hambantota, would not have suffered that fate, had they notified the Police about their high-flying reporting venture into the space of diplomats with remote control equipment, more..

That curious creature called civil society

Jan 12 (DM) Words are easy for politicians and in politics. Take the people for example. It’s hard to think of a term that has been as abused. It’s all in the name of the people isn’t it? There are of course other useful (and cheap) words in the lexicon of politics. The nation has a lot of utility value, for example and has been used and abused all over the world and across history. And then, there is civil society.   Civil society is defined as the aggregate of NGOs and institutions that manifest interests more..

Iron fist in a velvet glove

Jan 12 (CT) Sri Lanka needs to grow at a healthy rate if it's to rid or lessen the impact of poverty among its people. Not only should poverty be eradicated or brought down to a minimum, but the island must also ensure that its citizens live decently. Decent living entails good housing and schooling for the children, not just schools, but a good education, good health facilities, good food, good jobs, good transportation, good clothes and good care for the disabled, sick, elderly more..

Little hope for the Uma Oya homeless

Jan 12 (ST) Thousands of fearful people in Bandarawela who abandoned their precious homes after watching their dreams fall to pieces in the wake of the much-maligned Uma Oya hydropower and irrigation project bankrolled by Iran, may be re-settled on tea estates. Yet more families became displaced people in their own homeland this week as a result of the continuing destruction caused by a Rs 78.46 billion project more..

WPB, place for CTFRM report: Champika

Jan 12 (Island) The JHU yesterday rejected the recommendations of the govt appointed Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanism (CTFRM). Its report should be relegated to the waste paper basket, he said. JHU leader and Minister Champika Ranawaka, addressing the media, at the party headquarters in Battaramulla, said the recommendations at issue were inimical to ethnic harmony and the national interest. more..

Canadian Mayor backtracks on Sri Lankan sister-city talk after council backlash

Jan 12 (BG) Linda Jeffrey’s foray into foreign affairs has managed to sour relations at home after councillors voiced concerns that the mayor is moving ahead with plans to enter a sister city agreement with a Sri Lankan municipality without council approval. “I don’t believe the mayor has the authority to bypass council and she would be foolish doing so,” said Regional Coun. John Sprovieri, reacting to a recent announcement from more..

Freezing of Udayanga’s bank accounts challenged in Supreme Court

Jan 12 (Island) The supreme Court gave the Attorney General, four weeks, to consider whether there was a possibility of lifting the curtailment of debit transactions, in respect of the bank Accounts of petitioner Udayanga Weeratunga the former SL Ambassador in Russia. Weeratunga has complained that since the first quarter of 2015, his debit transactions have been arbitrarily frozen by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan Muslim body challenges North Chief Minister’s claim on resettlement

Jan 12 (ENS) The Muslim Council of SL has challenged the claim of C.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of the Tamil-majority Northern Province, that the charge of step-motherly treatment of  Muslims in the matter of re-settlement is baseless.   In a letter to the CM, President of the MCSL, N.M. Ameen, said that the CM’s contention that out of the 4307 families which had obtained lands between 2013 and 2016, 73.02% were Muslim, more..

Professionals urge President’s intervention to halt ETCA

Jan 12 (Island) Information Technology professionals called for President’s intervention to stop Economic & Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India as UNP was planning to sign it. Secretary of Society of IT Professionals Lasantha Wickremesinghe said a group of powerful UNP economic consultants, including a minister had held a secret discussion with some Indian officials in Colombo to finalise the ETCA. more..

Health Minister to prevent eye-lens racket

Jan 12 (GDI) Minister Rajitha Senarathe said that he would take necessary steps to prevent the eye lens racket and to provide eye lenses for lower prices. He made these remarks recently participating in an observation visit at SL Eye Bank in Colombo. At the visit, he paid his attention regarding the development of the eye bank. The eye lenses imported from India for Rs. 6,000 are sold at Rs. 25,000 in local market. more..

GTF welcomes CTFRM’s Recommendations

Jan 12 (LG) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) welcomes the recommendations of the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM), and calls on SL govt to fully implement these recommendations. We wish to congratulate the eleven-member panel headed by senior lawyer Manouri Muttetuwegama, who after exhaustive, countrywide consultations conducted over a year, more..

2-5 year Resident Visas for foreigners investing over US$ 300,000

Jan 12 (DN) Resident Visas for up to 5 years would be issued to foreigners who would invest a minimum of US $ 300,000 in Sri Lanka, Minister Ravi Karunananyake said. He said, “We are expecting to provide land permanent residency and land leasing facilities for foreigners who are expecting to invest more than US $ 1 500 000 as long-term investment plans”. He also said that the objective would be to reduce the debts and increase investments more..

We have clear consensus on domestic mechanism: Mangala

Jan 12 (DM) Even though there were divergent views within the govt regarding the participation of foreign judges in the proposed judicial mechanism, there was a clear consensus across the board on the need of an independent and credible domestic mechanism as promised by the manifesto of President Sirisena, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Speaking on the SL's reconciliation process at Chatham House, more..

Another feather in the cap

Jan 13 (CT) President Sirisena commences the third year of his govt today (9) as the bearer of good tidings that Sri Lanka will receive the GSP+ trade concession shortly. He has every reason to be overjoyed about the decision by the European Union to restore the concessions to Sri Lanka under the GSP System, as he campaigned at every meeting with the leaders of the EU, either at bilateral meetings or collective meetings at international forums to get the GSP plus concession. more..

The fissures that lie beneath

Jan 13 (CT) Last Friday (Dec 6), a group of people calling themselves the National Joint Committee (Jathika Ekabaddha Kamituwa) met at the SL Foundation Institute for the launch of Manohara de Silva’s book, Bedumwaadeenge Upaya Marga Ha Vivastha Sanshodana (The Methods of the Separatists and Constitutional Amendments). Manohara is a lawyer, a seasoned academic who has been moulded in the tradition of S. L. Gunasekara, H.L. de Silva, Gomin Dayasiri. more..

'No tree in the Vilaththikulam forest reserve felled after 2015'

Jan 13 (SO) A week ago, the controversy over the resettlement and deforestation taking place in the outskirts of the Wilpattu National Park, the largest wild life park inherited by the country came to the fore, after President Maitripala Sirisena, as per the media release issued by the President’s Media Unit, directed the authorities to issue a gazette notification expanding the forest area belonging to the Wilpattu National Park. more..

Super minister, Development Bill and the second economic revolution

Jan 13 (FT) Proposed new constitution will come into the limelight in near future. Main components of it would be the changes proposed to the presidential system and the changes proposed in respect of devolution of power. In the meantime, Development (Special Provisions) Bill came into the limelight. It was proposed that two specific ministers would get special powers in the areas of development & international trade. Reason given was the need of a rapid economic development. more..

Adventures in Print Journalism

Jan 13 (GV) 2016 was, among other things, a year conspicuous for illustrating the successes of several years of political rebranding, at least in the West. Over the past few years, Marine Le Pen, head of France’s right-wing National Front, ditched the neo-Nazi and homophobic rhetoric that her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, made famous, and is now a serious contender for French Presidency. She has rebranded her party by replacing the old symbols of skinhead hatred with a consistent ideology more..

'No one can divide MS and RW'

Jan 13 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa had already agreed to give away 750 hectares in Hambantota, said Minister Daya Gamage, with regard to criticisms the incumbent govt was faced with, in the issue of giving 15,000 acres in Hambantota to a Chinese company. Govt will initially give the Chinese 1,000 acres which is about 400 hectares. When the Chinese develop the area with industries, then the govt can expand up to more..

Foreign Judges and Local Elites

Jan 13 (CT) Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) released their final report last week. The UNHRC, a number of INGOs and social justice warriors loved it, who would have thought?, while the government tied itself into knots trying to respond to the report. Although the report comprises of a series of recommendations that would be political suicide for the govt, the biggest bombshell dropped by the commission, so far, is their recommendation more..

Editorial: There’s a hole in the bucket ...

Jan 13 (Island) Chairman of National Election Commission (NEC) Mahinda Deshapriya has lamented that the postponement of LG polls has adversely impacted democracy, as we reported on Tuesday. One cannot but agree with him. He has said his institution is ready to conduct the much-delayed elections. But, that can be done only after the electoral reforms are ratified by Parliament, he has said. There lies the rub! Govt has dismissed as flawed the report submitted by Asoka Peiris more..

Rishad Bathiudeen

Conceptualize, strategize & rationalize ministerial portfolios

Jan 13 (CT) Another cabinet reshuffle is in the offing, so said a news item in one of the dailies. Like always many portfolios will be up for grabs. A good portion predictably would go to placate coalition partners. Few to comrades connected via respect and reciprocity. For sure there will be a portion reserved for that inimitable bunch of vocal protagonists ever ready to brandish their rapiers to preserve and protect the coalition. Amongst them deal makers and those that lost the election more..

Foreign or local judges

Jan 13 (Island) With the recommendation by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms that a hybrid Court should conduct investigations into alleged violations committed during the conflict in Sri Lanka, the controversy as to the legitimacy of foreign participation has resurfaced. To address this issue it is best to start with the basics, namely the statement in the UNHRC Resolution. Paragraph 6 of the UNHRC Resolution, A/HRC/30/L.29 of Sept 29, 2015, states: more..

Where's the passion, Sri Lanka?

Jan 13 (CI) Nuwan Pradeep has a face and frame made for sulking. He sulks mid-pitch when a batsman hits him for four. He sulks at long leg when no balls have come his way. By the end of some fielding days, his shoulders are basically being dragged along the ground. Mahela Jayawardene - in his final, feistiest years - routinely used to watch Pradeep from slip and fire verbal mortars in his direction. more..

Amla joins the Hundred in Hundredth club

Jan 13 (CI) 8: Batsmen who have scored a century in their 100th Test, including Hashim Amla, who did so in Johannesburg on Thursday. The last player to do so was another South Africa batsman, Graeme Smith at The Oval in 2012. The others are: Colin Cowdrey, Javed Miandad, Gordon Greenidge, Alec Stewart, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ricky Ponting; Ponting scored centuries in both innings of his 100th match. Highest score in a player's 100th Test is Inzamam's 184 in Bangalore in 2004-05. more..

Amla the Wanderer returns to form

Jan 13 (CI) There was only one man who wanted Hashim Amla to find form more than he did: JP Duminy. With tea approaching and Amla on 49, Duminy sprinted a single off the second ball of the over to put Amla on strike and was then determined to do whatever it took to run the single that would take him to fifty. Amla defended the next ball and Duminy was halfway down the pitch, but the run wasn't on; Amla defended the ball after that, and Duminy made it almost 2/3 of the way before more..

Duminy, Amla tons crush SL underfoot

Jan 13 (CI) Few players in the modern age can bend Test cricket to their will in the manner of Hashim Amla. Coming into his 100th Test, Amla had gone ten innings without reaching fifty - one of the longest droughts of a career that began more than a decade to go. He walked off as the eighth man to have marked his century with a century, having joined JP Duminy in reaching three figures to put SA in a dominant position more..

Food festival celebrates Pakistani cuisine

Jan 13 (Geo) Pakistan Food Festival was formally inaugurated by the Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara and the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain by cutting the ribbon in a simple yet traditional ceremony. The opening ceremony was attended by people from different walks of life including diplomats, Sri Lankan Parliamentarians, govt functionaries, members of Pakistani community in Sri Lanka and prominent personalities. more..

Nestlé Lanka makes its single largest investment in dairy and coconut

Jan 13 (Island) Nestle Lanka signified another milestone as the Company laid the foundation stone for a new manufacturing facility worth Rs 5 billion at its factory in Pannala, Kurunegala yesterday, as a commitment to strengthen the local dairy and coconut industries. This adds to the continuous investments Nestle has made in Sri Lanka over the years. This investment will enhance the Company’s manufacturing capacity in dairy and coconut. President participated as chief guest. more..

Bullying prompts Lankan boy’s suicide in Netherlands?

Jan 13 (NLT) The Heerlen police arranged extra protection for the Grotius College and its school grounds. The College's director, teachers and students received threats in response to the suicide of 15-year-old student Tharukshan Selvam on Sunday, AD reports. Tharukshan died during the early hours of Sunday morning. His family published his suicide note, in which he described how he was being bullied at school. more..

Sangakkara to play in Hong Kong T20 blitz

Jan 13 (CC) Galaxy Gladiators Lantau have landed a major signing coup with Sri Lanka legend Kumar Sangakkara to play with the franchise in the 2017 Hong Kong T20 Blitz. Sangakkara represented Sri Lanka 594 times across all three formats of the game and is widely regarded as one of the best batsmen in the modern era. The 39-year-old is the first of five overseas players to join the Galaxy Gladiators and will provide a wealth of experience to the young squad. more..

Kamindu steers SL U-19 to win with century

Jan 13 (DN) SL Under-19 team was off to a good start in their first warm-up match beating Boland Academy by five wickets at Stellenbosch. Sri Lanka chased down the home team’s total of 284-9 by replying with 288 for the loss of five wickets in 49.3 overs. Kamindu Mendis led the Lankan run chase with a sparkling century – 109 off 118 balls with 15 fours and a one six. The Sri Lankan lads won the toss and elected to bat first. Thisaru Rashmika was included after both coaches decided more..

Sri Lanka pledges cooperation in implementing Saudi Vision 2030

Jan 13 (AN) Sri Lanka pledged its cooperation for the successful implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 during a meeting between Jeddah Gov. Prince Mishal bin Majid and island’s Consul General in Jeddah Faizer Mackeen. Commending on the progressive measures spelled out in Vision 2030 during his meeting with the prince, diplomat said that SL would lend full cooperation to Saudi Arabia, which hosts millions of expatriates. more..