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Intriguing facts about New Year’s origin

Jan 4 (SO) If somebody asks whether you know why New Year’s Day is observed on Jan 1, what would you say? There are seven chances out of ten, that you would say: “Roman emperor, Julius Caesar first established Jan 1 as New Year’s Day, and the month was named after god Janus.” You are correct, but the story of its historic origin is more complicated with lots of twists and turns and bizarre facts. more..

Go tough with tuk tuk!

Jan 4 (DN) Minister of Transport Nimal Siripala de Silva recently confirmed that a national policy is being formulated to regulate the three wheelers in the country. With more than 1.2 million three-wheelers in regular service around the country, this was a long overdue measure. Minister also added that series of driving regulations for three wheelers will be introduced to ensure the safety of both the passengers and road users. This is also a laudable decision since more..

Sad sojourn in the Promised Land

Jan 4 (DN) Professional negligence is a bane to the society. Lack of proper care and attention and careless behaviour of the professionals of a country can cause calamitous situations. Electronic and print media are heavily laden with news of such situations almost on daily basis. Medical negligence tops them all. Drivers seem to have become street monsters. Inferior building materials entrap the engineers and other workers in the worksite hazards. more..

'Positive signals on land and Police powers'

Jan 4 (CT) Jaffna District TNA MP and Leader of PLOTE Dharmalingam Sithadthan said there are positive signals in obtaining land and Police powers to the provinces. "Police and land powers are very important. There are positive signals on these matters. Power sharing is positive. We are in discussions with the govt and hopefully we might be able to reach an agreement," he said. more..

The world ahead

Jan 4 (CT) The beginning of a year always calls for some reflection. Reflection, it must be added, not only on the good but also the bad, the mediocre, and the downright nauseating aspects of the old year that passed by and must never come back. For 2016 was just that: an epoch in itself, a year in which (for the most) things we never hoped for nor wished materialized. It would not, I suppose, do to blame fate, because gods often play tricks on us. After all there are good times and bad times. more..

The sad history of Sinhala nationalism

Jan 4 (CT) Last week a group calling themselves alt-right Sri Lanka started following me on Twitter. Apparently they want to make Gotabaya Rajapaksa President and as Donald Trump would say they made me feel sad. It's especially sad because the last few years have been good for ethnic nationalism. In the United States Richard Spencer and the alt-right memed a President into power, Narendra Modi and his BJP won big in 2014 and the Identitarian movement in Europe has more..

JVP press conference

Editorial: Waiting for Godot

Jan 4 (Island) Hydrophobia turns friendly, playful canines into dreadful monsters. Pollsphobia has a similar effect on politicians as we have seen during the last several decades. Minister Faizer Mustapha acted like a real bull in a china shop on Monday, when Chairman of the Delimitation Review Committee Asoka Peiris tried to submit his outfit’s final report. Refusing to accept the document on the grounds that it had not been signed by two of the five review committee members, more..

2017: lessons from Fidel for the Lankan left

Jan 4 (Island) In one sense we didn’t lose Fidel in 2016 because his example and words are indelible, just as those of Che Guevara. As the Sandinista Commandante and poet Tomas Borge (later, a diplomat) said when his jailor brought news that his leader Carlos Fonseca had been killed: "No, he is one of the dead who never die". This is true several times over of Fidel. He has been immortalized like some Old Testament Jewish prophet or Catholic saint. more..

Repeat, this is not a repeat

Jan 4 (CI) If you are a SL fan, perhaps you watched the second day's play at Newlands and thought: "Wait, I've seen this exact thing before. Has my brain become stuck in a loop? Could it be I am going insane?" Well, great news, friend. SL did, in fact, end the second day of another Test with virtually no hope of winning, drawing or avoiding humiliation. Be reassured this actually happened on this day - Jan 3, 2017. more..

Lack of follow-on grants SA attack valuable rest

Jan 4 (CI) Giving South Africa's three-pronged pack pack some time to put their feet up after a quick turnaround between the Boxing Day and New Year's Tests was the main reason behind Faf du Plessis not enforcing the follow-on against Sri Lanka in Cape Town. Although the Port Elizabeth Test ended early on the fifth morning and Sri Lanka's first innings at Newlands was only 43 overs long, with just two days between matches and winds blowing at over 45kph through the day, more..

Sri Lanka's collapse, and the personal landmarks of Rabada and Philander

Jan 4 (CI) 110: This is SL's second-lowest score against South Africa in Tests. Their lowest, 95, also came at Newlands in 2001. 79: Partnership runs added for the 2nd to the 10th wickets in SL's first innings; their worst against SA in Tests. Their previous worst such collapse was for 83 runs at Newlands in 2001. 2: Instances of SL losing their last eight wickets for fewer runs in Tests before today. They lost eight for 48 and eight for 51 against India and Pakistan respectively. more..

Rabada, Philander dismantle Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (CI) Cape Town monster was more in SL's own mind than the startling nature of the Newlands pitch, but the monster reared its head nevertheless on the second day of the second Test and engulfed them in a trice. South Africa had been candid about their wish for a pitch offering pace and seam, and it was delivered to order effectively enough, but SL's disintegration to 110 all out represented a huge overstatement more..

The invisible record?

Jan 4 (CI) It is a record that may never see the light of the day. Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal split the wicketkeeping duties during South Africa's first innings at Newlands. Chandimal had suffered a fever leading into the match and the Sri Lanka management decided not to overburden him on the opening day. But he was back behind the stumps on the second morning. Between them, Mendis and Chandimal grabbed seven catches as South Africa were bowled out for 392. more..

Ashan to represent Sri Lanka at International Endurance Series

Jan 4 (DN) Renowned motor car driver Ashan de Silva will represent Sri Lanka in the International Endurance Series 2017 which will be conducted at the Dubai Autodrome from Jan 12 to 14. Ashan Silva who represented SL in Abu Dhabi Yaas Marina motor race in October last year won the UAE Touring class motor race Honda DC5 event in both the first and second round. Two months later, in the NGK 2 hour Endurance race also conducted in Abu Dhabi won the race along with more..

MAS to boost Lankan exports with $ 28 m investment in Fabric Park in Giriulla

Jan 4 (FT) Govt yesterday handed over the former Kabool Lace Giriulla facility, which was shut down for 12 years, to proven apparel giant MAS Holdings to boost jobs and exports. MAS Holdings Chairman Mahesh Amalean said they expected to invest over $ 28 million in export-oriented projects in the facility, creating over 3,000 direct jobs within the first 3 years of operations and export revenue of around $65-$70 mil. more..

Govt to sell int’ly traded rupee bonds

Jan 4 (CT) Central Bank Governor yesterday said that the government is planning to sell internationally traded rupee bonds cleared in Europe, which will increase the liquidity of the securities. Delivering a road map for monetary policy in 2017, he said, CB was already in talks with Euroclear to settle trades in rupee securities. "Treasury is already in the process of studying the possibility of implementing liability management for US dollar as well as rupee denominated borrowings. more..

SriLankan Airlines: Try, try try and fly

Jan 4 (ST) They say try, try and try and you will succeed, but for this near-2-year old govt success appears elusive. The latest on the pot is the SriLankan Airlines saga. It seems that the decision makers haven’t ruled out other avenues to revamp the cash-strapped national carrier. This is mainly due to them being not too thrilled about the three shortlisted bidders vying for a management stake in the national carrier, sources said. The three shortlisted companies more..

Central Bank cautiously optimistic of 2017

Jan 4 (FT) Central Bank sounded cautiously optimistic of the country’s growth prospects for this year, influenced by several external and internal downsides and positives. With a projected economic growth of 5.5% to 6%, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the country’s economy picked up during the latter part of the year to measure an estimated 4.4%. However projected growth for 2017 comes with caution more..

New water treatment plant at Kadana, Horana

Jan 4 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will ceremonially open the Water Treatment Plant at Kadana, Horana constructed under Kalu Ganga Water Supply Project Phase 1 Stage II on 5 Jan in the presence of Koji Yagi on behalf of the Ambassador of Japan in SL. Ministers Rauff Hakeem, Sudarshini Fernandopulle and Dy Ministers Palitha Thewarapperuma, Ajith P. Perera, MPs in the area, Chief Representative of JICA Kiyoshi Amada, and senior officials of more..

Unions want Rs. 300 m railway museum project scrapped for carriage plant

Jan 4 (FT) Railway unions have called into question a decision by the Govt to construct a Rs. 300 million railway museum, charging that the exercise is aimed at raising profits for the privately-owned businesses connected to the project. Writing to President Sirisena, All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union General Secretary S. P. Vithanage said it was absurd that the Govt was handing over the manufacture of train compartments/passenger cars to a private company claiming that more..

Sobhitha Thera’s succeeding Korean monk deported

Jan 4 (DM) A tussle between two fractions of monks over the Chief Incumbent post of Kotte Sri Naga Viharaya led to the deportation of a Korean monk, who was living in the temple last night. He was deemed to be the successor of late Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera. Officials of the Department of Immigration and Emigration arrived at the Sri Naga Viharaya yesterday on a directive of Minister S.B. Navinna to deport Korean monk more..

Walkers salvages Sayura dredger

Jan 4 (DN) Walkers Colombo Shipyard, a subsidiary of MTD Walkers salvaged the 600 tonne dredger Sayura, belonging to the Fishery Harbour Corporation, which was grounded near the Hikkaduwa Fishery Harbour in a unique salvage operation. Sayura, a high capacity grab-type dredger belonging to the Fishery Harbour had run aground on an outer break-water reef while on an active dredging operation. Dredger had moved on to reef area and was stranded on a flat rock bed, more..

New office of INSSSL opened

Jan 4 (FT) The new office of the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka (INSSSL) was declared open by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. New INSSSL office is situated on the eighth floor of Suhurupaya in Battaramulla. First flagship journal of the institute, INSSSL Defence Review 2017 which aims to provide understanding and analysis, giving priority to enhance the understanding of national, regional, int'l security and geo-politics, was also launched during the occasion. more..

AG to appeal against Raviraj verdict

Jan 4 (DN) Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC said he is considering appealing against the verdict of MP Nadaraja Raviraj murder case before the Appeal Court. He said the very day after the verdict was announced, he had requested the Court Registrar to forward the case record to him. He was perusing other points concerned until the case record is received by him. Colombo HC Judge Manilal Waidyatilleke issuing verdict more..

New Public Debt Act soon

Jan 4 (CT) Govt is planning to introduce a new Public Debt Act, New Exchange Control Act and amendments to the existing Banking Act, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "There will be a new Public Debt Act. A team of professionals is consolidating all the statutes relating to debt management and a separate Debt Management Unit is being set up at the Ministry of Finance," he said. Presenting Road Map: Monetary and Financial Sector Policies for 2017 and beyond more..

Improvement in Sri Lanka’s material prosperity in 2015

Jan 4 (Island) The prosperity, measured by the SL Prosperity Index (SLPI), which is a composite indicator that measures and compares the level of prosperity of the country and across its provinces, has improved to 0.864 in 2015 from 0.804 in previous year. Analyzing the movements in 2014-2015 period, SLPI improved along with the improvements in Economy and Business Climate and Well-being of the People subindices, while there is a moderation in Socio-Economic more..

President urged to halt coal tender for company embroiled in controversy

Jan 4 (Island) CaFFE Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon has called upon President Sirisena to rescind Power and Renewable Energy Ministry decision to award new mega coal contract to Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Pvt Limited alleged to have caused losses amounting to nearly four billion rupees at an earlier occasion. Tennakoon said that he had sought President’s intervention as the SC had in June last year more..

TN fishers hail outcome of India-SL talks

Jan 4 (DC) After weeks of pain and agony, accentuated by the acute cash crunch that the Centre’s demonetisation process brought within its wake since Nov 8, the outcome of the India-Sri Lanka Ministerial level talks held in Colombo on Monday has brought some cheer to TN fishermen, particularly fishers from Rameswaram. As per the decisions taken by both the countries, Sri Lanka will not only be releasing 51 Indian fishermen, all from Tamil Nadu, in their custody so far more..

I will topple govt while Ranil is in SL: MR

Jan 4 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa said he was not a back stabber trying to topple the govt in the absence of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was responding to PM Wickremesinghe’s remark on Monday that he was going to Switzerland later this month and the former President could make use of his absence to try to topple his govt. "I do not need to wait till Wickremesinghe leaves the country to effect a regime change. It is my plan to do so while he is in Sri Lanka," he said. more..

JO asks Sirisena to scuttle Hambantota port deal with Chinese company

Jan 4 (ENS) Eight MPs belonging to the Pro-Mahinda Rajapaksa Joint Opposition have written to President Sirisena appealing to him to scuttle the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Framework Agreement signed between the govt and the China Merchant Ports Holding Company on the management of Hambantota port. The MPs, led by Dinesh Gunawardena, pointed out loopholes, infirmities and mysteries in the agreement, more..

New Judge panel approved to investigate corruption

Jan 4 (NR) The Cabinet of Ministers has approved the appointment of a new Judge panel to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption. The proposal was presented by Ministers Champika Ranawaka and Sarath Amunugama. Taking to his official Facebook Page, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said the proposal was presented in order to obtain the advice of the Attorney General on such matters. The Cabinet had discussed the proposal several times in the recent past. more..

Powerful Minister in gold smuggling racket

Jan 4 (Island) Police intelligence has found that a powerful minister and his brother who are involved in smuggling gold to India. The duo had been accused of being engaged in a land grabbing racket as well, sources said. Minister has been using vehicles belonging to his ministry to transport gold to the airport. It was sent to India by both air and sea. The gold taken to the airport in official vehicles were handed over to an intermediary at the BIA, the police said. more..

President cuts all ties with Rajapaksas

Jan 4 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to totally distance himself from all members of Rajapaksa clan now and in the future, informed sources said. President had given this assurance to 40 UNP backbenchers in Parliament, at talks he had with them last week. President had also informed the UNP MPs to be wary of any MP from the two main parties who was having secret deals with Rajapaksa clan. more..

Delimitation report and passing the buck

Feb 4 (DM) It was ridiculous on the part of the govt to have a minister and an official arguing in front of the media over a matter that had to be sorted out between them. The argument broke out at the media conference on Monday for the handing over of the Commission report to Minister Faiszer Musthapha by Delimitation Commission Chairman Asoka Peiris.   When Mr. Peiris was about to hand over the long-awaited report, the minister apparently knowing that the process was not complete asked more..

To build a country, you need passion

Feb 4 (DM) We continue to have the most tyrannical and power hungry politicians for many decades. MS/RW formula could have been the right combination to consider reforms in the judiciary, public administration, public expenditure management, anti-corruption, as essentials, if they had strategised, the processes and approaches correctly. Experience, intelligence and good judgement are needed to provide good leadership. Gauthama Buddha had said, it was the more..

'Even JR placed certain safeguards on 13th Amendment'

Feb 4 (DM) Leading Constitutional Lawyer Manohara de Silva has authored a new book titled The strategy of separatists and Constitutional Amendments that deals with the 13, 16, 17 and 19 Amendments to the Constitution and the 2000 Draft Constitution. In an interview with, he speaks about the constitutional proposals and their implications on the country and the majority religion. more..

President dispatches experts to investigate Wilpattu destruction

Feb 4 (ST) After months of inaction in the face of allegations of plundering of Wilpattu National Park and its environs, President Sirisena stepped in this week to get a firsthand assessment of the situation. President, on Friday, dispatched a team of experts to investigate the allegations of deforestation in Mannar District, including Wilpattu sanctuary. And while the experts’ view on the matter will be made known shortly, more..

One more member signs delimitation review report

Jan 4 (Island) The final report of the second committee appointed to review the findings of the Jayalath Dissanayake Delimitation Committee’s report on electoral boundaries was signed by committee member Saliya Mathew appointed by the UPFA and it would be accepted by Minister Faizer Mustapha, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. He was responding to a question why the member appointed by the UPFA had not placed his signature on more..

Proposed H'tota Industrial Zone under fire

Jan 4 (SL) A group of officials attached to the Ambalantota Divisional Secretariat’s (DS) Office, with the help of surveyors, recently carried out a land survey in Medilla village in Ambalantota without issuing prior notification to the residents in the area. This surprise move agitated the residents of Medilla giving rise to a tense situation in the area. The tension of the villagers was also fuelled by a recent statement made by the govt about more..