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Impure water takes a toll in Uva

Jan 14 (NS) There has been an increase reported in the number of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) in the Uva Province in areas such as Mahiyanganaya and Girandurukotte. The relevant authorities are conducting blood tests with the view to identifying those who have yet to be identified as patients suffering from CKDu. Governor of Uva Province, MP Jayasinghe pointed out that people in mountainous and hilly regions in the Province more..

Mossie breeding Act to be amended

Jan 14 (CT) Prevention of Mosquito Breeding Act will be amended to increase the fine for those found guilty of allowing mosquitoes to breed in their property, Minister Rajitha Senaratne, said. The fines will be increased from Rs 500 to be between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000. "Programmes initiated by govt to eradicate dengue has shown us that having a proper legal framework is mandatory to encourage individuals to take steps to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in their properties," more..

National Sport or National Pastime, what exactly does National mean, anyway?

Jan 14 (ST) Does Angampora fit the bill to be Sri Lanka’s National Sport (NS) or, even a sport at all? Is Elle a derivative of the popular American Sport, Baseball? Volleyball is certainly not a Lankan game but, has a huge following. Right now, we are at the crossroads, to learn if, the Sports Ministry is really looking to change the status of Sri Lanka’s NS and, if so, what is the suitable one? There would not have been a controversy about National Sport more..

Surf, Sambal, and Safari: The Insider’s Guide to Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (Vogue) Truly great destinations have a well-roundedness that’s rare, like the annoyingly gifted straight-A student who’s also a star athlete, visionary artist, and genuinely likable human being. Sri Lanka, in a sense, is that person, made somehow even more attractive by little quirks and flaws. The island formerly known as Ceylon is ringed in palm-fringed beaches of caramel-color sand, prime for surfing, swimming, and snorkeling over coral reefs. It also boasts a lush, emerald-green interior more..

NFF says next 4 months crucial

Jan 14 (NR) The National Freedom Front charges that several decisions will be reached during the next four months that are unhealthy for the country. Media Spokesman of the NFF Mohamed Muzammil speaking at a media briefing this morning said the arrest of MP Wimal Weerawansa was also politically motivated. Muzammil said the government has been granted a four month grace period during which the government’s action towards implementing policies will be closely observed. more..

'Drinking water for only 2 more months'

Jan 14 (DM) The Water Supply and Drainage Board (WSDB) has cautioned about a possible water scarcity and curtailment of water supply if the prevailing dry weather continued, while insisting that drinking water was now available for only two more months. If the present conditions continue to prevail restrictions on water supply would have to be enforced and divisional engineers in vulnerable areas have been requested to more..

A Birthday gift

Jan 15 (SO) It seems a veritable birthday gift - and one benefiting all of Sri Lanka! Last week’s decision by the EU Commission to restore the broad GSP+ trade support scheme to Sri Lanka came on the second anniversary of the Unity govt. The GSP+ will become operational over the next several months. The EU, being one of our top three trading partners, is vital for this country’s exports, the driver of much of the nation’s emerging prosperity. The restoration of the GSP+, on the one hand, more..

Rajapaksa’s role: Don’t rock the boat

Jan 15 (SL) Sri Lanka which is featured only on rare occasions in international TV news channels after the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran did so following the riot on the roads of Hambantota’s environs last week. Those reports projected the violence as a peasant revolt against Chinese colonization neatly fitting into the current standard format on China in the Indian Ocean: The String of Pearls being placed around countries in the Indian Ocean, to spread Chinese influence, more..

'Having differences of opinion natural'

Jan 15 (SL) The govt has taken steps to initiate a special program in 2017 to save the country from poverty and to rebuild the economy of the people, Minister John Seneviratne said. Pointing out that it is natural to have differences of opinion and disputes inside a coalition govt while working together due to contrasting policies, the Minister said that he and his fellow SLFPers have joined hands with the govt with a national objective. more..

Sri Lanka: The Broad Picture

Jan 15 (CT) The Joint Opposition could be forgiven for not knowing whether, along with Humpty-Dumpty, they are on the wall, clinging to it for dear life – or trying to clamber up its surface back to the top. The slither on both sides of the wall is caused by the US and India et al kicking up waves on the one side, with China, Russia etc following suit on the east side of the wall. Survival for the govt and the Joint Opposition comes as a Hobson's Choice because both are equally committed to more..

Weerawansa, sheep and goats

Jan 15 (Island) It is not for us to judge whether former Minister Wimal Weerawansa is guilty or not of flagrant abuse of public property, as alleged in charges filed against him by investigatory authorities of the State in ongoing court proceedings. He has been remanded on these charges and will probably be bailed out as the long drawn legal procedure drags on as they always do in this country. The business of determining guilt or otherwise is not the task of the media or of public opinion. more..

'Govt rushing into self-destruction'

Jan 15 (CT) UPFA MP Gamini Lokuge says that the true reason for the arrest of NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa is to sabotage the seminar his party has scheduled for 22 Jan. Q: You were at the scene of the clash in Hambanthota during the protest staged at the launch of the SL – China Logistics and Industrial Zone. What actually happened there? A: That was not pre-planned in any way. It was a spontaneous show of more..

Sirisena, Yes or No

Jan 15 (ST) Muddling through is a phrase familiar to Constitutional studies pundits. It is mostly associated with the unwritten Constitution of the United Kingdom and how for years, the British political system has generally conducted its business by muddling through. In more recent times, the phrase has been used to describe the UK’s muddling through on the road to devolution, particularly in respect of autonomy for Scotland. The once unitary state of the UK began devolving power more..

Huff and puff over vehicle ride to Welikada

Jan 15 (ST) My dear Wimal sahodaraya, I thought I must write to you because I was shocked, dismayed and appalled to hear that you had been imprisoned among common criminals within the walls of Welikada prison. Ah, how could they treat a decent, patriotic and virtuous man who is every inch a gentleman in such a degrading manner? They tell us this is because you were misusing govt vehicles. We assume that this is something that every politician does and that it is probably included in job more..

Face the Nation

Abbott's absence cannot undermine South Africa's surge

Jan 15 (CI) Kyle, who? Harsh... Harsh, I know, but not exactly untrue. SA's pace pack did not miss their Mr Dependable as they cleaned up at the Wanderers. Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada did as Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada do: teased outside the off stump and drew the drive; ramped up the pace and put it just short of a length. Between them they broke the back of the SL challenge. They needed help, of course, but it almost didn't matter where that help came from. But only almost. more..

Govt exults over GSP+ 

Jan 15 (Island) Even though it appeared as if the two partners in the govt had closed ranks and resolved to carry on the unity govt till 2020, new divergences of opinion appeared in the ruling coalition between UNP and SLFP (Sirisena faction) on the one hand and among Sirisena loyalists on the other. This was over who the candidate of the SLFP at the next presidential election was going to be. Sirisena loyalists like ministers Duminda Dissanayake, S.B. Dissanayake and more..

Yahapalanaya trapped in CNN Effect?

Jan 15 (CT) European Commission (EC) last Thursday proposed to restore special concessions under GSP+ facility to SL, probably the only silver line in sight amongst many dark clouds that are looming over the Unity Govt. However, the removal of customs duties would be accompanied by rigorous monitoring and conditional on continued commitment to sustainable development, human rights and good governance. more..

Finding the truth the CTF way

Jan 15 (SL) As long as the SL govt ignores the findings of a taskforce, which examines crimes under international law and human rights violations and abuses during the country’s decades-long internal conflict, justice, truth and reparation for thousands of families who have suffered deaths and disappearances will remain elusive, Amnesty International said last week. The organisation is dismayed by the Sri Lankan govt’s casual disregard for the findings compiled by more..

Sri Lanka’s troubling quest for justice

Jan 15 (TD) Though largely unreported internationally, SL experienced a major political shake-up two years ago. In January 2015, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s hardline president, was defeated in his quest for an unprecedented third term. There were hopes the country was on the road to democratic and political reform. However, that journey has been, at best, a circuitous one and there are well-founded reasons to be concerned about what may happen in the coming months. more..

My worst defeat as captain: Mathews

Jan 15 (CI) Angelo Mathews has labeled the 0-3 whitewash in South Africa his worst series defeat as captain, after Sri Lanka lost by an innings and 118 runs at the Wanderers. Mathews also has two 0-2 whitewashes in NZ on his captaincy record, but SL had been somewhat competitive in those series, even claiming a first-innings lead in two of those four Tests. In South Africa, however, only three SL batsmen hit half-centuries, more..

Govt secures GSP+ amid Weerawansa saga

Jan 15 (SO) NFF leader and UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa was arrested last week by the FCID, for the abuse of state vehicles. Several politicians and state officials under the previous got were under investigation for the same charge over the past few months, leading to the JO’s accusation that supporters of former President Rajapaksa were being harassed over trivial charges. Weerawansa was of the opinion that the investigation against him was part of that same political witch-hunt more..

Sri Lanka's batting debacle

Jan 15 (CI) 16: Wickets lost by SL on the third day in Johannesburg, their most in a single day of Test cricket. Their previous most was 15, on the third day of the Bangalore Test against India in Jan 1994. 88.1: Overs faced by SL in the entire Test; only three times have they survived fewer balls when losing 20 wickets in a Test, and two of those were also in SA. This is their sixth-lowest balls faced in any Test they have lost - there were two instances when one or more batsman was injured more..

South Africa whitewash Sri Lanka 3-0

Jan 15 (CI) 16 wickets, 228 runs, 59.3 overs. South Africa's pace attack delivered a swift and brutal dismemberment to seal victory at the Wanderers inside three days and confirm a 3-0 sweep in the series. Sri Lanka only managed one half-century in the match - although that was an improvement on 2nd Test - and could not even last long enough for the possibility of a Johannesburg thunderstorm to provide a stay of execution. more..

Neyara takes ITF U-14 Singles crown

Jan 15 (ST) Neyara Weerawansa won the Singles final in the Week 1 of the ITF Asia 14 and Under Tennis Championship concluded at the LTAT courts in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday. Neyara, a up and coming player from British School in Colombo, defeated Maria Breidy of Lebanon in straight sets, only to extend her untarnished winning streak in the competition. Neyara, who has not lost a single set in the tournament, continued her winning streak and won her finals also in straight sets 6-3, 6-1. more..

Shaun Pollock reflects on his SL challenges

Jan 15 (Island) Hailing from South Africa’s finest cricketing family, Shaun Pollock was destined to greatness from a young age. His father Peter was SA’s leading fast bowler while his uncle Graham was the country’s greatest batsman prior to SA’s isolation in 1971. Shaun was earmarked for leadership early in his career and he captained South Africa’s ‘A’ team to SL in 1994 under that coaching genius the late Bob Woolmer. Shaun has bittersweet memories of playing against SL. more..

Hydropower only till February

Jan 15 (CT) With water levels receding remarkably due to prevailing weather conditions hydropower generation could last only till February, govt warned. At present, the major reservoirs hold only an average 27% of their capacities while medium-scale reservoirs contain less than 30%, officials said. Monsoonal and off-season rains failed to appear last year and the heavy rains in May & Nov were not enough to more..

Australia to boost SL tourism skills

Jan 15 (LBO) The Australian govt will provide 1.6 billion rupees in aid and technical assistance, over four years, to strengthen Sri Lanka’s tourism sector, through training and mentoring for employees and small businesses. The program will help Sri Lanka develop a highly-skilled labour force and place Sri Lanka as a premier tourist destination, a statement said. The Skills for Inclusive Growth Program was launched by Australian HC Bryce Hutchesson with Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe recently. more..

Prime Minister at Davos

Jan 15 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will be attending the January 17-20 World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, second time in a row that he is attending this annual summit attended by world leaders and globally-recognised business magnates. Sri Lanka has just two members in this influential body – John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Carsons. JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake is attending the summit while there is likely to be some representation from private sector to attend more..

BOI misled Prez & PM on Volkswagen deal

Jan 15 (SL) BOI has allegedly misled President and PM on the Volkswagen deal. Documents reveal that Volkswagen AG had never submitted applications to invest in SL. It has been revealed that a local businessman had submitted an application with the Volkswagen name. In order to claim that the BOI is drawing in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), BOI had signed an agreement with the local agent of Volkswagen, more..

'Rupee devaluation: Close tab needed'

Jan 15 (SO) SL which depends heavily on imports, needs to keep a close tab on the devaluation of the Rupee as it will reach Rs.160 very soon if measures and controls are not in place, CCC, Import Section, Chairman Dinesh de Silva said. He said Rupee devaluation against US Dollar (USD) and the country’s inflation have a close relationship. “We have already observed the Rupee depreciating against the USD in the recent past and now it is a little above Rs 150. more..

Customs posts highest ever annual revenue

Jan 15 (CT) Sri Lanka Customs has last year recorded Rs 831.9 billion, which is the biggest annual revenue collection in its over 200-year history, mainly depending on the heavy import taxes, according to the latest Customs data. "Our last year (2016) actual revenue collection was almost 103% above our estimated target of Rs 808.3 billion and this year (2017) our revenue target is almost one trillion," Sri Lanka Customs Director General Chulananda Perera said. more..

Yahapalana deal: Tycoon gets sweetheart deal for mega tyre city in Horana

Jan 15 (ST) Govt, through Ministry of Development Strategies, is drawing up a sweetheart deal for controversial SL businessman Nandana Lokuwithana to build a tyre factory in Horana. Among other things, it will grant him a 99-year lease on 100 acres of land for an annual rent of just 100 rupees an acre. For his promised investment of Rs 11.2 bil, Lokuwithana’s company is expected to receive an income tax holiday more..

Two firms win contracts to convert waste to energy

Jan 15 (SO) Two companies with foreign collaboration and technology are to be given contracts to process municipal solid waste in the Colombo and Gampaha districts and generate electricity under private-public partnerships (PPPs) with the Waste Management Authority of the Western Province. The investors, Fairway Holdings, which will set up a facility at Thumbowila, Karadiyana, and KCHT Lanka Jang, which will operate from a site in Muthurajawela, more..

Foreign exits now total Rs 72B

Jan 15 (CT) Foreign exits from the Govt Securities Market amounted to massive Rs 16,063.18 million in the week ended Wednesday (11), data showed. This takes such exits in the 13 weeks to Wednesday to Rs 72,205.07 million (22.8%) to Rs 244,518.30 million. Such exits are led by a combination of Trumpism, followed closely by the Federal Reserve System's upward outlook on rates. After the Fed, allowing for a lapse of 12 months, raised its benchmark Fed Funds Rate (FFR) by 25 more..

GSP Plus: Govt rushing through rights plan

Jan 15 (ST) The Govt wants to rush a five-year National Human Rights Action Plan (NHAP) next week as part of its initiatives to get the European Union to restore the GSP Plus tariff preferences to Sri Lanka. The 300-page report, which meets most of the conditions laid down by the EU, will come up for discussion at the weekly ministerial meeting on Tuesday. It was discussed by ministers last Tuesday but some ministers urged that more..

Salawa explosion: 90% of compensation settled

Jan 15 (AD) The govt says that around 90% of the victims of the Salawa ammunition dump explosion have been compensated as of Dec 31, 2016.  The govt had allocated Rs. 1,329 million to settle the compensation for the victims and Rs. 1,041 million out of that have been given as compensation by Dec 31. According to the Disaster Management Ministry, there was a small delay in giving compensations to the rest of victims due the issues prevailing in the valuation process of some residences.  more..

Kalpitiya islanders in limbo, living on Govt promises

Jan 15 (ST) Located between Portugal Bay and the Dutch Bay in the Kalpitiya lagoon, the resident fisherfolk have been promised land for settlement, from time to time, but to no avail. They were subject to harassment during the war and mounting terrorist activities, and have been displaced for security reasons. Still, they have no legal claim to the lands in the island, they inherited from their grandparents, despite assurances given for their ownership from time to time. more..

Prez curtailing powers of PM & his crony friends: Ministries to handle mega projects

Jan 15 (ST) SL’s latest procedure of approving all mega projects including infrastructure and environmentally-sensitive projects is to be changed on a directive by the president. Currently all mega projects come under a few, powerful ministers. Considering the crucial nature of such projects for the future of the country and individual livelihoods, Prez has issued a directive to Cabinet Committee on Economic Management more..

Journo attacked by Navy Commander waives investigation

Jan 15 (Island) There will be no further official investigation of the attack on a journalist in Hambantota by the Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne, according to Director General, Department of Govt Information Ranga Kalansooriya. He said that the victim, a local correspondent to Island newspaper, Roshan Gunasekara, had indicated that no inquiry or investigation was necessary when officials of the Dept had visited him to record a statement. more..