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Video: President acts like FM; Ravi like President: MR

Jan 26 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today it seems that President had become the Finance Minister while the Finance Minister had become the President. He told journalists at the Abhayaramaya temple that the finance minister was acting beyond his powers. Mr. Rajapaksa expressed these views in response to a question on the sale of lotteries at Rs.30 despite the President’s opposition. more..

A divided country now united: UNP

Jan 26 (NR) UNP says the good governance govt has not served to divide the country but has brought a divided country together. UNP MPs Thushara Indunil and Nalin Bandara today attended a joint media briefing this morning. MP Thushara Indunil reiterated that the govt while working in unity has ensured that all individuals are treated alike. He said the good governance govt brought together a divided country. The UNP MP added a mixture of religion and unity has been created. more..

Ratnapriya flexes his trade union muscle

Jan 26 (Island) National Trade Union Front (NTUF) urged the govt to come up with the much needed formula to resolve the overtime issue of three health services categories within two weeks. NTUF President, Saman Ratnapriya said that the overtime allowances paid to nursing, Professions Supplementary to Medicine(PSM) and paramedic categories were not revised according to salary increases. All other public sector employees were paid overtime according to a formula more..

Three-wheeler registrations slump as new leasing levels come into effect

Jan 26 (DM) The registration of three-wheelers has nosedived to a quarter of the previous levels since the new loan-to-value (LTV) ratios for automobile financing came into effect this month, according to an industry expert. “The rule has been in effect for only 10 days but the volumes are coming down to one-fourth. I can’t tell you exactly because the leases were given based on the old rules for the first half of the month, more..

Rajiv Gandhi's Sri Lanka intervention helped win Haryana Election back in 1987?

Jan 26 (ENS) Insider Knowledge can be roughly defined as real-time intelligence that shapes the events and gives us a peep into situation room to highlight why decisions were made by then govt. But, blunders will be too many and difficult to count if the insider knowledge is sexed-up with deceptions and lies by the faceless intelligence officials. CIA, top American intelligence agency, which had convinced the people to enter 2003 Iraq war had observed in 1987 that then PM Rajiv Gandhi more..

JVP complains to IGP regarding slanders against it

Jan 26 (LT) Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka is to lodge a complaint with the IGP regarding a mud campaign carried out targeting him by several web sites based on a fictitious matter. JVP has published an announcement regarding this in its official web page. The announcement states: Our party in order to change the existing political path and redirect the country on a new journey is rallying masses and various forces and is marching forward along a victorious path. more..

Video: Ven. Rathana Thera can't work with President: JHU

Jan 26 (DM) The JHU said today that Ven. Aturaliye Rathana Thera cannot work with President Maithripala Sirisena if he opted to function independently in Parliament. JHU co-chairman Ven. Hadigalle Wimalasara Thera said if Ven. Rathana Thera criticized the govt and functioned independently in Parliament he could not work with the President as he was the head of the govt who is responsible for all matters. more..

Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief

Jan 27 (CT) The combination of the two titles of Irvin Shaw’s novel is depictive of the troubled but hopeful times we live in. The liberal minded souls are gasping for breath in the Diyawanna swamp, grappling with facts and alternative facts. We too, have our supply of Trumpists. The day after the much awaited debate on the COPE report on CB Bonds ADA reported that the President has decisively rejected the proposal by Minister of Finance to increase price of lottery tickets. more..

GSP+, sovereignty and checks and balances

Jan 27 (FT) There is a debate whether the sovereignty of Sri Lanka is violated through GSP+ concessions to be given by the European Union (EU). GSP+ is a concession given by developed countries to developing countries on import duties. Therefore the imported goods from the countries which get GSP+ can be sold in those developed countries at a competitive price. As a result there could be more imports to those markets from those developing countries. more..

'Bogus claims of foreign investments'

Jan 27 (CT) Politburo member of the FSP Pubudu Jayagoda feels that govt is deceiving the public with claims of foreign investment. Jayagoda noted that when the govt made the promise of foreign investment, the world view of foreign investment had changed. He further noted that 2016 was a year where there were very little foreign investments. When there was an economic crisis in 2008, the countries that suffered sent their more..

Revive or revisit Chandrika package, But…

Jan 27 (SL) Former SLFP President Chandrika Kumaratunga claimed that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s planned proposals for a new Constitution were based on the famed Chandrika Package of 2000. Incumbent President, Maithripala Sirisena, also heading the SLFP, has chosen not to react personally as yet – as has been his practise – but Cabinet spokesperson, Rajitha Senaratne, has deflected CBK’s claim by referring to the failure of the 2000 Package, instead. more..

China’s debt-trap diplomacy

Jan 27 (CT) If there is one thing at which China's leaders truly excel, it is the use of economic tools to advance their country's geostrategic interests. Through its $1 trillion one belt, one road initiative, China is supporting infrastructure projects in strategically located developing countries, often by extending huge loans to their govts. As a result, countries are becoming ensnared in a debt trap that leaves them vulnerable to China's influence. Of course, extending loans for infrastructure more..

Where has all the water gone

Jan 27 (NS) Raja’s crops were scorched due to the prevailing extreme dry weather conditions. A farmer in Dharmapuram, Kilinochchi, Raja complained that they had no rain for many weeks. “All our produce is going to waste because of the lack of water,” he said. Farmers in the Wanni complain of a double blow as water supply from the Iranamadu tank had been halted due to repair. “Things will get bad if situation continues” more..

Kos kola kolam* of Thoththa baba govt

Jan 27 (Island) Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne addressing the media on Wednesday, tore into a high-up in the Agricultural Department for suggesting that the public eat croton and kos kola (jak leaves) as food substitutes; he said if he had been the Minister of Agriculture he would have got that official to consume kos kola without recommending it to others. We believe that before shoving kos kola down anyone else’s throat, govt ministers, Senaratne included, should more..

Quick-fix panacea vital to resuscitate nation

Jan 27 (NS) We were once assured, when we were very little, that we lived in an age when politics no longer mattered. Meaning that people were imbued with the confidence that the state would go about doing the job expected of it. It all seems so long ago. Then somewhere in the 50s that peaceful prosperity was no longer assured and politics, horribly bad politics, had occupied the nation’s stage with a vengeance. SL progressively became the kind of neighboruhood people would not have more..

Athuraliye Rathana Thero

CTF and Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s Lack of confidence

Jan 27 (SL) Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has declared that he has no confidence in the govt appointed Consultation Task Force (CTF) on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the very govt in which he is a Minister. Rajapakshe’s decision to express his lack of confidence in an important Task Force nearly one year after its appointment and many moons of hard work culminating in the public release of its final report on Jan 3, 2017 is inexplicable to say the least. more..

Blossom Cafe, Hague Walk & I don’t know why Europeans eat cold food

Jan 27 (Island) Enough of Trinity Memories revisited for four weeks and I am back with Street Walks in the Netherlands. Here I am. We had dinner at the beautiful and friendly Blossom Cafe in the The Hague on a Thursday night.  It is situated in the intersection of the Anna Paulownstratt and the Laan van Meerdervoort. The owner was extremely friendly and the food was excellent. Yes. They served hot food. Our hosts Norah knew it was the perfect place to take us after a hard day’s work and more..

National Sports: Administrators’ plaything for personal gain

Jan 27 (ST) It’s very alarming that, Lankan Athletics, which was not 2nd to any in the Asian circuit or, even in the peripheries, has degenerated to such extent that, we have no hope of a medal outside of the South Asian region. What is the reason for this decline? This is what those who have been at the top, have to say. Sriyani Kulawansa (International Athletics medallist and Olympian): There is a huge decline in Sports overall in Sri Lanka. more..

SL seen in extended period of low growth

Jan 27 (EN) The lack of broad-based reforms that could spur economic activity may mean Sri Lanka is in an extended low growth and low inflation environment, an economist told a Ceylon Chamber of Commerce forum. The govt’s program with the IMF is more of a stabilisation program and not one that pushes reforms needed to speed up growth, said Dushni Weerakoon, Deputy Director of the IPS. The macro-economic environment is expected to improve this year with fiscal sector reforms more..

4 lessons from Pakistan-China FTA for SL

Jan 27 (IPS) Sri Lanka is currently engaged in trade negotiations with China, and five rounds of talks have taken place to date with the expectation of concluding discussions in mid-2017. Whilst such negotiations are on-going, it would be prudent for SL to examine the experience of one of its neighbors, Pakistan with its free trade agreement (FTA) with China to draw lessons before finalizing the agreement. Like SL, Pakistan  shares an extensive cordial relationship with China. more..

'Trump & May offer SL window of opportunity to renegotiate UNHRC  resolution'

Jan 27 (ENS) The views of US President Donald Trump and British PM Theresa May on matters of national security offer a window of opportunity to the SL govt to re-negotiate the Sept 2015 UNHRC resolution on it, says Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, former SL Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and France.  UNHRC resolution, co-sponsored by SL at the instance of the US and other Western powers, has tied down island nation more..

JKH posts strong earnings with support of core biz sectors

Jan 27 (FT) John Keells Holdings (JKH) reported strong earnings for the third quarter, aided by commendable performance from several of its core business sectors.  Group’s profit before tax (PBT) grew by 31% to Rs. 6.72 billion in the third quarter and the figure for the first nine months of the financial year 2016/17 at Rs. 15.48 billion was a 22% growth. The profit attributable to shareholders for the third quarter was Rs. 5.15 billion, up by 32% from a year earlier, more..

Microsoft’s Mystery Shopper set to weed out fakes, counterfeits

Jan 27 (ST) (Beware) You may be part of a software counterfeiting without knowing it states a new ad campaign by Microsoft Sri Lanka to create awareness on fakes and counterfeits. The ad, which has run in several newspaper over the past three weeks in all three languages, also alerts retailers of computers, laptops or hand held devices that a Microsoft Mystery Shopper will be visiting these stores. “Our mystery shopper will visit your store to observe whether you are doing the right thing more..

Sri Lanka's Kithul palm syrup: An ancient sweetener in need of saving

Jan 27 (NPR) Story of SL's most beloved sweetener starts with the kithul, or fishtail, palm tree and a tapper, like 58-year-old Dayasena. Slightly built farmer sharpens his knife on the fallen branch of a tree and climbs up a wooden lattice that he has tied to one side of a kithul tree in his garden. Within minutes, he is on the top of the nearly 40-foot-tall tree, making sharp incisions at the base of a cluster of flowers that droop down from more..

Their angry query: Why only us?

Jan 27 (DM) Betel-leaf party’s chief secretarial one is a long-faced one these days, they say. His main grouse is that the special Police unit established by the unity govt has become a veritable spectre stalking the Blue party politicos while turning a blind eye to more grave offences being committed by some big guns in the other main political party. The elderly politico from the Colombo Central whose beard has turned grey with his years in the Blue party was summoned by special Police unit more..

FIFA confirms removal of Anura de Silva

Jan 27 (CT) Regarding the news article on the removal of Anura de Silva, President of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) from the Associations Committee of FIFA that was published in Ceylon Today on 23 January is now confirmed. According to a correspondence sent on 17 January by FIFA to Anura de Silva himself by email states that his term with the Associations Committee had ended on 18 Jan. It was sent to the address in FIFA's database as more..

War survivors who turned counsellors

Jan 27 (Hindu) When Thangamanikkam Saradadevi, Vellathambi Junaida and Jayadeepa Padmasri sat on a panel listening to hundreds of people in Batticaloa speak of their missing relatives, of land occupied by the military and of their waning patience, they could instantly relate to them. This was not merely because the three women were trained as counsellors but also because they were more..

2310 candidates fail Sinhala at O’Level

Jan 27 (Island) Out of those who sat the last GCE O/L exam, 2310 candidates have failed Sinhala, while 2880 candidates failed English. 61,386 offered Sinhala as a subject and 58,776 were successful. Percentage of those who failed was 4.25%. Those who offered Tamil as a subject were 14,861 while 11,981 passed and the percentage of those failed was 19.38%. There were 66,690 candidates who sat the Economics paper and of them 15,768 failed. Percentage of those who failed was 23.4%. more..

Planters’ Association lashes out at recent flurry of illogical industry criticisms

Jan 27 (CT) Responding to a recent spate of ill-formed criticisms levelled against Sri Lanka's Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), the Planters' Association of Ceylon (PA) issued an official statement raising serious concerns at the complete lack of evidence-based analysis advanced by commentators in the media spotlight. "At the outset we would like to clearly state that the Planters' Association is welcoming of all sincere and constructive criticism and we are open to more..

Current dialogue on corruption, fraud and waste is extremely important: President

Jan 27 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says a broad social dialogue has been emerged within the country during the last two years after he assume duties as the President, regarding corruption, fraud and waste. President further said that dialogue is very timely and he considered it as an initiative to prevent corruption, fraud and waste. He made these remarks addressing an event to celebrate the International Customs Day, more..

SL cricketer's ridiculous celebration fail

Jan 27 (Yahoo) Asela Gunaratne thought he'd hit the winning runs when he knicked a ball over the Proteas keeper to the boundary rope to bring up a four. Wild scenes followed as the Sri Lanka player ripped one of the stumps out of the ground and ran around yelling in triumph. The only problem was, they actually needed five runs to win so his antics came to an abrupt halt. "He's gone off, not yet buddy, not yet," one commentator said. "You've still got to finish the job, one more to get" more..

Gulf Air touches down in Colombo

Jan 27 (DN) Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, yesterday celebrated the launch of its highly anticipated inaugural 5 weekly direct service between Colombo and Bahrain with the arrival of the airline’s first flight into BIA. Gulf Air flight GF138 was welcomed into BIA, with a water cannon salute and, upon arrival, a celebratory event was held in the airport that saw the attendance of BIA officials, Gulf Air flight GF138’s captain and crew, Gulf Air’s General Sales Agent in SL, Mack Air CEO more..

Jaffna International Trade Fair opens today with 300 booths

Jan 27 (DN) Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF 2017), largest Consumer Exhibition and Trade Fair in the fast-growing northern region of Sri Lanka, opens today, and will go on till the 29th for the 8th consecutive year. All arrangements are in place to make it a great success for private & public sector companies, suppliers, buyers/procurers, academics, students and general public. Event aptly named as Gateway to the North more..

Sunandaji in town to deliver lecture series on Bhagavad Gita

Jan 27 (FT) Living is an art, skill, technique that needs to be learnt and practised. The Bhagavad Gita enunciates the ancient philosophy of Vedanta and presents the eternal principles of life and living which transcend race or religion. The principles equip one with a strong intellect to meet the challenges of the world and achieve success and peace in all aspects of one’s life – official, social and domestic. Above all it ushers one towards ultimate perfection, the goal of spiritual enlightenment. more..

All SL govts since independence ran our Int’l affairs considering our geo-location: Rishad

Jan 27 (FT) All elected Sri Lankan administrations since 1948 conducted their international relations with the country’s strategic position in mind. “This is a major step by our Foreign Ministry and our capable Minister Samaraweera since the time the Foreign Ministry was established in 1948,” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.  Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration of Sri Lanka’s first Regional Consular Office (RCO) of Foreign Ministry in Jaffna on 26 January. more..

Families of the disappeared end hunger strike after negotiations with govt

Jan 27 (FT) Family members of disappeared persons, who began a hunger strike in Vavuniya earlier this week, called off their fast on Thursday after State Minister of Defence Ruwan ​Wijewardene intervened and promised that the issue would be discussed at a meeting in Colombo on 9 Feb. A hunger strike by families of the disappeared entered its fourth day in Vavuniya yesterday, with CM C.V. Wigneswaran urging President more..

MP complains of anonymous phone calls

Jan 27 (DN) UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri complained in Parliament that he has been receiving anonymous phone calls asking him to stop questioning the conduct of Uva Chief Minister and Uva Provincial Council. UNP backbencher Wijesiri has been raising question after question about the Uva Chief Minister from subject Minister Faiszer Musthapha in Parliament in the recent past. MP also said Minister has also personally asked him not to raise questions about the Uva Chief Minister. more..

Wimal to be heard at JO rally

Jan 27 (CT) Joint Opposition (JO) will air a speech of jailed NFF MP Wimal Weerawansa at the scheduled public rally to be held in Nugegoda later today, sources said. They said in the audio recording that will last 20 minutes Weerawansa will be heard requesting permission from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to address the gathering. Weerawansa's speech is set to be relayed on a widescreen. MP Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the keynote speaker at the rally. more..

China downplays protests in Sri Lanka over Hambantota Port

Jan 27 (PTI) Refuting allegations of pressurising Sri Lanka with huge loans to lease out the loss-ridden southern port of Hambantota, China today said the agitation against its industrial zone is a result of misunderstanding. "Small-scale protest that took place recently was result of local people's misunderstanding of the policies of the Hambantota port project," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters, more..