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Super-minister in the South; toddy ban in the North: Wonder how devolution will work?

Jan 3 (DM) We are entering the New Year with many self-contradictions. In politics, at least one stands out. Consider this for instance: The govt has mooted a plan for a super-minister who would lord over all others and provincial councils in affairs related to economic planning and foreign investment. The relevant bill which needed the approval of the nine provincial councils was voted down by nearly all of them during the past two weeks. In the meantime, govt is promising more..

A political leader through the eyes of a Public Servant

Jan 3 (Island) Some Public Servants who have had occasional interaction with him entertained the misleading notion that he was a stubborn and unsympathetic PM/Minister. They assumed, he had no sympathy towards the public servant or the general public, perhaps misled by his less attractive looks and unsmiling face. Little did they know that beneath his rough exterior lay a heart that reached out for his people and the country. more..

Right to Information Act will be implemented from Feb 4

Jan 3 (ITN) All arrangements are in place for the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act after Feb 4th. This has been revealed by Minister Gayantha Karunatilake. He said that this service will be provided to every state establishment through the appointment of an Information Officer. Minister said that the Right to Information Bill was presented to Parliament and got it approved with the consent of all the 225 MPs. more..

'Greek Bond issue is being cunningly used as a red herring'

Jan 3 (DM) One time Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, speaks about the last budget and the current status of the economy. Q: In the recent budget, there is a proposal to remove some Central Bank functions such as Public Debt Management, to be vested with another Ministry. As a former CB governor, how do you see it?  A: Central Bank carries out the Public Debt Management Function on behalf of the govt. more..

'Development Bill: We want economic development and rapid decision making'

Jan 3 (DM) Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, speaks about the current status of economy, proposed Development (Special Provisions) Bill and plans to lease out Hambantota Port to China Excerpts. Q: How do you observe the current political situation? A: It has to be analyzed in reference to the change in 2015. It was basically a change from a particular way of governing to a democratic way. more..

Budget proposals effective Jan 1, shelved as Finance Ministry not ready

Jan 3 (ST) Several 2017 Budget tax proposals intended to take effect from today (31) are still not ready for implementation. levies proposed in the 2017 Budget will be implemented only after the return of the Finance Minister who is overseas and only after an assurance that they conform to the Finance Act. The only proposal that will be implemented from today is the US$ 50 embarkation fee at the airport. more..

Dr. Palitha Mahipala appointed as WHO Coordinator for South and Southeast Asia

Jan 3 (ITN) Dr. Palitha Mahipala has been appointed as the Non Communicable Diseases, Nutrition and Environmental Health International Coordinator of the World Health Organization for South and Southeast Asian Nations. He has been appointed to this post along with his retirement as the Health Services Director General. A function was held at the Health Ministry in view of his retirement as the Health Services Director General. more..

SLFP: No need for Super Minister, adopt MR’s FDI promotion model

Jan 3 (Island) Ministers representing the SLFP in the govt pointed out that there was no need for the Super Ministry Bill. They demanded that their UNP colleagues adopt the One Stop Shop concept of former President Rajapaksa to promote foreign direct investments. SLFP Spokesman Dilan Perera said that if the govt needed to set up a body to facilitate foreign investors, then it could go ahead with more..

Navy earns Rs.2.26 bn from Avant Garde operations in 2016

Jan 3 (DM) Navy had earned Rs. 2.26 billion after taking over the Onboard Security Team Operations (OBST) from Avant Garde Maritime Services in 2016. The Navy had carried out a total of 5,928 shipments to the Galle harbour and 443 shipments to Colombo harbour during last year. Since the inception of OBST operations from Nov 13, 2015 until Jan 2 this year, Navy had earned Rs. 2.63 Billion for a total of 7,457 shipments. more..

Sri Lankan constitution making process hits a serious snag

Jan 3 (ENS) The much-hyped SL constitution making process has hit a serious snag. President Sirisena has told the Buddhist high priests in Kandy that he would once again consult the masses on the nature of the constitution, setting aside the report of the Public Representations Committee done after an exhaustive island-wide survey. Govt’s promise that a draft new constitution will be ready by 2016 has not been met and chances of it more..

Worst drought in years threatens the country

Jan 3 (SL) The country is preparing to face the worst drought in years. Lack of adequate rain has opened the doors for a potential disaster in several areas. The authorities have already initiated discussions to identify these potential hazardous situations and to find out ways to counter them. On the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, plans are currently being drafted to formulate a state mechanism to more..

4th Constitution

Jan 3 (CT) SL's Second Republican Constitution of 1978 has been subjected to 20 amendments thus far in its short span of 38 years up to now. In contrast, according to Wikipedia, the 227-year-old US Constitution in the world's greatest democracy has been subjected to 27 amendments thus far since its adoption in 1789, i.e. 13 years after the USA obtained its independence from the UK in 1776. Another six more amendments are in the pipeline, waiting ratification from more..

MR’s New Year resolution & course correction for Yahapâlanaya

Jan 3 (CT) People make new year resolutions on good things but not on bad ones. But there are exceptions like Mahinda Rajapaksa. He has very clearly told the foreign correspondents that he will definitely bring down this govt in the year 2017. A split within the SLFP is no concern for him and, according to the report, he does not believe that a split would help the UNP. This must be what his Astrologer has told him! His new year resolution is not about the country or the people more..

Great leaders of today

SL tax revenues up in Oct 2016, deficit lower

Jan 3 (EN) SL's state revenues rose to Rs 1,333 billion in the 10 months to Oct 2016, while the overall budget deficit fell 10% in absolute terms to Rs547 billion, amid higher capital expenditure, official data shows. Tax revenues rose 19% to Rs 1,119 billion, while non-tax revenue rose 56% to Rs132 billion. Current spending in the 10 months grew at 8.46%, slower than revenues though from a higher base. But total revenues were still not enough to finance current spending, more..

Video: Johnston Fernando arrives at FCID

Jan 3 (AD) Former Minister Johnston Fernando has arrived at the FCID to record a statement over irregularities reported when granting the Mahapola Lottery. A spokesperson at the FCID said MP Fernando was summoned to record a statement regarding a complaint alleging an irregularity in granting the Mahapola Lottery outside the procurement process during the tenure of the UPFA led govt. He was the Minister of Internal Trade and Cooperatives at the time of UPFA led govt. more..

Video: 'Price control on imported rice'

Jan 3 (DM) The Cabinet has decided to impose a price control on imported rice to prevent the price of rice from sky-rocketting, Minister P. Harrison said. “President and the Cabinet will decide on the price of imported rice,” he said adding that stocks of imported rice would arrive in the country within two weeks on tenders selected by Sathosa. Minister said it was decided to import rice after several local rice millers failed to supply rice to Sathosa. more..

SLMC National convention in February

Jan 3 (NR) TSri Lanka Muslim Congress will hold its 20th National Convention next month. National Organiser of the SLMC, Shafiq Rajabdeen said the decision was arrived at during a special High Command meeting of the SLMC last evening. He said the convention is likely to be held in the 2nd week of February. He said the dispute over the appointment of a General Secretary to the party was also discussed at length during the meeting. The final decision on the matter will more..

SriLankan: CEO Capt. Ratwatte bungles PIA wet lease deal now wants to fly as a pilot

Jan 3 (CT) After Bungling the Pakistan International Airlines wet lease deal which cost the debt ridden national carrier SriLankan Airlines a further whopping sum of over US $ 15.9 million, the airline’s CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte‘s new year resolution for 2017 now is to go back to flying an aircraft as a pilot. The self-proclaiming CEO Ratwatte who once boasted of being the first Sri Lankan national to fly the commercial Airbus A380 aircraft whilst being employed at Emirates Airline, more..

Sri Lanka expects higher growth in 2017, but drought a risk

Jan 3 (EN) SL’s economy is expected to expand 5.5–6.0% in 2017, up from an estimated 4.5-5.0% last year as growth momentum picks up but downside risks remain, particularly from drought, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. Inflation will remain in the mid-single digits – around 4-6%, he said. “In particular, if current drought conditions prevail, there could be adverse implications on price levels, while more..

Post-war Sri Lanka’s use of landmines creates serious questions

Jan 3 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi has recently made statements to the media regarding the use of landmines in the protection of military camps in post-war Sri Lanka. In a related statement, he also said that there is no link between reconciliation and Sri Lanka’s acceding to humanitarian disarmament conventions such as the Mine Ban Treaty. Govt of Sri Lanka has declared National Integration and Reconciliation Week from more..

Magistrate advises Dhammaloka Thera over use of loudspeakers

Jan 3 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate today advised Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera to act according to the given conditional court order and restrain from amplifying high levels of noises using loudspeakers between 5 am to 6 am in the morning at Alan Mathiniyaramaya Temple in Polhengoda. The Thera was present today in court after being noticed to appear in court over the personal complaint (lawsuit) filed against him in Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court earlier by four more..

New Centre to expedite cargo clearance

Jan 3 (ST) Cargo clearance at the Colombo Port from January will come under a new import and export facilitation centre to be manned by a Finance Ministry team aimed at breaking through bureaucracy and red tape that often lead to long delays. This fast-track cargo clearance system will accelerate the release of import and export goods in double quick time, official said adding that imported goods are to be more..

Friend kills friend for assaulting his pet dog

Jan 3 (DM) A 52-year-old gem miner and father of two, was killed by another gem miner who had pushed his head into a mud hole because he had assaulted the latter's dog, in Horana, on Sunday night, police said. The incident had occurred during a liquor party, when the victim had attacked a pet dog which belonged to the suspect. After a heated argument, the suspect had attacked the victim and pushed his head into a nearby mud-filled gem pit. Afterwards, the suspect had gone to gem pit more..

Pakistan maritime security ships in Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (PHC) In a display of brotherly relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Pakistan Maritime Security Ships (PMSS) HINGOL & BASOL will be arriving at Colombo Port for a 4-day port call from 05-08 January 2017. As part of goodwill, Pakistan Maritime ships frequently visit Sri Lanka. These calls are aimed at strengthening and augmenting the existing strong relationship between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. During the call, the Mission Commander Ashfaq Ali, will pay courtesy call on more..

New traffic plan in Katunayake for 3 months

Jan 3 (NR) Police Headquarters today issued a new traffic plan to be observed around the Katunayake area following the govt’s decision to close the BIA in order to facilitate the overlaying of the Airport runway. The BIA will be closed for airport operations for eight hours daily from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm from the 6th of Jan to the 6th of Apr. Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said the purpose of the closure is to overlay the runway in order to more..

Sri Lanka Foreign Reserves increase to US$ 6 Bln in 2016: CB

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves were around six billion dollars at the end of 2016, up from 5.64 billion dollars at the end of November. The increase was due to swap arrangements and 200 million dollars from Japan and the World Bank as budgetary support, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said, presenting the Road Map for Monetary and Financial Policies for 2017 and beyond. Income from tourism rose to three billion dollars during the first 11 months of last year, more..

President promised me post of ambassador to Qatar: A.S.P. Liyanage

Jan 3 (DM) President Sirisena promised me the post of Ambassador to Qatar, Businessman and SL Labour Party Leader A.S.P Liyanage said today. "President first wanted to appoint me as a provincial governor but because there were no vacancies, he said he would appoint me as an Ambassador and that he would submit the proposal to the Parliamentary High Posts Committee for approval before confirming the appointment. The President even wished me for the New Year,” he said. more..

'Hold debate on Hambantota Port agreement'

Jan 3 (NR) The JVP says a Parliamentary debate should be held to discuss the trade agreement reached between China and SL pertaining to the Hambantota Port. Party leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake questioned the agreement with a Chinese company over the Hambantota Harbour. He said the govt is preparing to sign an agreement on the 8th of Jan to hand over the Hambantota Port to a Chinese company. more..

Fined for abusing member of the judiciary

Jan 3 (Island) A motorist who pleaded guilty to a charge of verbally abusing a member of the judiciary while overtaking the latter’s vehicle from the left side was fined Rs. 17,000 by the Kandy Chief Magistrate Buddhika C. Ragala. The suspect driver was charged by the Peradeniya police following a complaint by a security officer accompanying the senior instructor of the training institute of members of the judiciary in Colombo Wasantha Kumara. The errant motorist was charged with committing more..

Best way to build society is through Buddhist philosophy: President

Jan 3 (PSL) “Law, constitution and judiciary alone cannot build a better society. The best way to build it through Buddhist philosophy”, says President Sirisena. President was speaking at a ceremony to distribute financial assistance to Buddhist temples with less facilities in rural areas, held today (2) at the President’s House. A sum of 107 million rupees granted by Buddhist Renaissance Fund was distributed to the Chief Incumbents of those temples at this ceremony. more..

Ministry bypasses Debt Dept. to obtain US$1 Bn loan: JO

Jan 3 (DM) National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry, has with the intention of earning commissions, bypassed the Public Debt Department when calling for proposals from foreign and local banks to obtain a loan of US$1 billion, the joint opposition said. It said it was CB's Public Debt Department which had the authority to obtain loans and not a ministry. “This loan too will be obtained at a fixed or floating rate with a maturity period more..

Rangana Herath overtakes Vaas, becomes 2nd-highest wicket-taker for SL

Jan 3 (HT) Rangana Herath became Sri Lanka’s second-highest wicket-taker in Tests after the left-arm orthodox spinner went past Chaminda Vaas’ tally of 355 wickets during the second Test against South Africa at Cape Town. Only the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan (800) now has more Test wickets than him for SL. Herath, who achieved the feat in just 77 Tests, has been in a staggering form for Sri Lanka since the England tour and has been taking wickets on a consistent basis. more..

Meteor shower Quadrantid visible in Sri Lanka tonight

Jan 3 (DN) SL Planetarium said a shower of meteors, known as the Quadrantid, would be visible in SL around 8-9 p.m. tonight or early tomorrow (4) morning. Sky watchers may get a good view of the meteor shower between around 4-5 a.m. tomorrow. Meteors could appear anywhere in the sky. Quadrantid is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet 2003 EH1 - discovered in 2003. more..

UNP says LG election must be held ASAP

Jan 3 (NR) Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera says it is the stance of the UNP that the Local Govt Election be held as soon as possible. He said delaying LG election is a disadvantage to the UNP. Perera said the general public need an election to appoint a candidate to represent their town. He said Chairman of Delimitation Committee Asoka Peiris had informed a newspaper that the two main political parties are keen on delaying LG election. more..

Ex-LTTE cadres protest

Jan 3 (CT) A group of rehabilitated LTTE members engaged in a protest opposite the Civil Defence Camp in Iranamadu, Kilinochchi yesterday (2). They were requesting that they be provided with jobs in the Civil Defence Department or other government institution. The rehabilitated LTTE members said that several years have passed since they were taken into custody by the government, rehabilitated and reintegrated into society, but they have not been provided with permanent jobs. more..

Probe refusal by two members to sign delimitation report: JVP

Jan 3 (DM) JVP called for an inquiry into refusal by two of the five committee members to sign the delimitation report. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the report was compiled by a committee appointed to draft an error-free report after allegations that the previous report was prepared on a political agenda and contained several blunders. “Delimitation report compiled by the previous govt was confusing. Delimitation was carried out by former minister Basil more..

Video: Construction of motor vehicle assembly plant begins in Kuliyapitiya

Jan 3 (AD) President and PM today laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Western Automobile Assembly Factory in Kuliyapitiya. PM said that 20,000 new employment opportunities will be created through mega development projects implemented within the week while more will follow int he future. Germany’s famous car-maker Volkswagen had signed an agreement with BOI to establish more..

BBS & MR accusing each other: Who is responsible for the anti-Muslim attacks !

Jan 4 (CT) In a classic case of pot calling the kettle black, during an interesting Press interview given by BBS, its’ spokesman Dilanthe Withanage let the cat out of the bag. In response to the accusations made by MR to BBC, regarding the role played inter-alia by BBS in contributing to his defeat at the January 2015 Presidential Elections by engaging in anti-Muslim violence, Dilantha pointed out that they have evidence that it was people associated with Mahinda Rajapaksa who were responsible for more..

The political bankruptcy of the western human rights lobby

Jan 4 (CT) A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled What Trump Should Do in Syria, Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure more..