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BIA check-in time increases

Jan 5 (LBO) BIA day-time shut down for a runway repair has resulted in airport authorities increasing the reporting and check-in-time for flights to avoid delays. “This means that you need to arrive 5 hours early for any flight and not the usual 3 hours. So there will be some congestion but it will help to avoid delays,” a duty manager said. “The check in counters will close 90 minutes ahead of a flight departure and not 60 minutes.” more..

Lessons from Fidel for 2017 and after

Jan 5 (CT) In a recent missive, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has offered some Lessons from Fidel for the Lankan Left. Let us first unravel the term left. The left comprehends oppression and identifies the privileged. The left also understands the nature of power. Demolishing power dynamics is the task of the left. In these confused times, terms left and right are best defined in context. Who uses them? For what purpose? Where are they being used? The playwright and sharp-witted history scholar more..

Sri Lanka business lobby supports central bank policy shifts

Jan 5 (EN) Sri Lanka’s top business chamber has welcomed the central bank’s shift to a flexible inflation-targeting framework, plans for an independent public debt office and more exchange rate flexibility, announced in the regulator’s monetary policy road map. Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said in a statement that the Central Bank announcement provide an encouraging outlook for the business community. “CCC is keen to work closely with CBSL to modernize regulations more..

මෝටර් රථ ධාවන ශූර ඩිලන්ත මාලගමුව

Treat ex-LTTE cardes as normal citizens

Jan 5 (CT) Due to unforeseeable circumstances, this year started off with a series of protests around the country. As the first of January dawned, paving the path to a brand new year, several groups were getting ready to protest against the govt. Thus, three days into the New Year, the country faced another protest, even before the previous one ended. A group of rehabilitated LTTE cadres thus engaged in a protest opposite the Civil Defence Camp in Iranamadu, Kilinochchi recently. more..

Video: Lottery agent’s protest called off

Jan 5 (DM) The lottery agents’ countrywide protest which was held from the beginning of the year has been called off today after a discussion with the President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential secretariat premises. All Island Lottery Dealers’ Association (AILDA) president Krishan Marambe said the President understood their problems and promised to solve them within two days time. “Even it took some time now we have an assurance that our issues would be solved.  more..

Central Bank chief warns against political expedience in policy making

Jan 5 (EN) CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy has called for govt policy making to be free of short-term political expedience and for consensus on critical reforms for the island to break out of stop-go economic cycles. And the private sector needs to take more risks and make investments to take advantage of emerging opportunities, he said in a speech on CB’s monetary and financial sector policies for 2017. more..

Strong witness protection mechanisms needed: CTF

Jan 5 (NR) The Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms says trust was the main reason behind its recommendation for the inclusion of international judges on every bench to hear alleged human rights abuses. Speaking at a Media briefing, Secretary of the Task Force Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu said verdicts issued by an entirely localized bench will lack credibility. added among the many recommendations made by the Task Force, one of utmost importance was more..

'CID to probe Norway trip of 14 doctors'

Jan 5 (AD) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that CID is handling investigations regarding an overseas visit by a group of 14 doctors attached to National Cancer Institute in Maharagama, also known as Apeksha Hospital. He states that complaints have been received that 14 doctors had simultaneously left for Norway to attend a seminar and that the trip was funded by a company manufacturing pharmaceutical drugs. CID will also probe the bank accounts of the doctors in question, more..

South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 282

Jan 5 (CI) South Africa took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the Test series by claiming the last six wickets before lunch on the fourth morning at Newlands as Sri Lanka continued their ill-disciplined ways, a Test side irredeemably trapped in limited-overs mode. On the evidence of their tour of England last summer, and now here, in a changing cricketing world their appetite for the Test game cannot entirely be taken for granted. more..

President halts large-scale land reclamation in Ja-Ela

Jan 5 (PSL) The Central Environmental Authority (CEA), under the direction of President Maithripala Sirisena, has taken speedy steps to halt the large-scale land reclamation being carried out illegally in two separate locations in Dandugama, Ja-Ela. According to a complaint conveyed by the people in the area to the President on Tuesday (03), he instructed the Chairman of the CEA to investigate into the incident and to visit that place with the relevant parties. more..

Assets Case: Court wants medical report on Duminda

Jan 5 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate today directed the prison authorities to submit a medical report on Duminda Silva within two weeks. He is facing charges of not having declared his assets and liabilities for three years. The suspect was brought to Court in an ambulance and but not produced before the Magistrate after his counsel told Court that his client was unable leave the ambulance because he was critically ill. After confirming that the suspect was in the Court premises, more..

'Only 5% private land for Hambantota zone'

Jan 5 (NR) UNP says only 5% of private land will be reclaimed for the proposed Hambantota Development project. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam raised a question as to why anyone would be afraid of generating income for the country. He charged the individuals belonging to the previous UPFA led govt are alleging the govt is privatizing the Hambantota Port adding this was false. He said 95% of it is state owned property as the govt is more..

Underworld figure Rattaran shot dead

Jan 5 (AD) An individual, who is believed to be a member of an underworld gang, has been shot and killed by two unknown gunmen on a motorcycle in the Kelanimulla area in Angoda. Mudiyanselage Suranga Kumara alias Rattaran (36) was traveling by motorcycle from Kelanimulla to Angoda when he was gunned down by the suspects.  The postmortem examination is to be performed today while Angoda Police is conducting further investigations into the shooting.  more..

Trial against Lalith Weeratunga to be heard before HC Judge Kulatunga

Jan 5 (Island) Colombo High Court trial against Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the former President, and Anusha Palpita, former Director General of TRC will be continued on Jan. 9 and 13, 2017. Weeratunga and Palpita have been indicted on the charge of having misappropriated Rs. 600 million funds of the TRC, to distribute Sil Redi in the run-up to the presidential poll of Jan 8, 2015. Each packet of Sil Redi carried a picture of Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Christmas tree: Sri Lanka yet to apply for ratification: Guinness

Jan 5 (CG) While much hype was made over the construction of the world’s largest Christmas tree at Galle Face green, the record is yet to be formally recognized as Sri Lanka has not sought recognition from Guinness World Records. Constructed at an estimated $200,000, the tree drew the spotlight of the international media but not the record books. “We haven’t had an application made for this specific record. more..

Teejay first in the industry to develop Green Fabric

Jan 5 (DN) Teejay, SA’s leading fabric manufacturer, has taken the lead in producing green fabric for some of their key customers. Company who was named among the 2016 Forbes list of Asia’s Top 200 Companies under a Billion US dollars, announced their new identity last month and the sustainability initiative is one of the long term goals under Teejay’s new direction. This green initiative is an initial step by Teejay, who wants to drive the sustainability agenda in all aspects more..

Chamal briefs Mahanayakes on anger of Hambantota residents

Jan 5 (Island) Former Speaker of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa told the prelates of Malwatte and Asgiriya on Tuesday that the people of Hambantota were perturbed by the handing over of the Hambantota Port together with 15,000 acres of land to a Chinese Company on a 99-year lease. The people of Hambantota were resentful and even the members of the Maha Sangha were joining protest marches in the area against the Hambantota deal, the former Speaker told the prelates. more..

Muslim MPs see political agenda behind Wilpattu issue

Jan 5 (CG) A group of Muslim MPs called on the Govt to resolve the controversy on the deforestation in Wilpattu National park and ensure National reconciliation. Muslim MPs alleged that latest Wilpattu controversy is based on a political agenda. MPs noted that during the three decade conflict in SL, Muslims continuously sided with the Govt but today the Muslims are being targeted by the very-side that they once supported. more..

'Delimitation Review Committee report contains number of errors'

Jan 5 (DN) The report of the Delimitation Review Committee is incomplete and contains a number of errors, Govt has been informed. When Committee Chairman Asoka Peiris handed the report over to Minister Faiszer Mustapha, he refused to accept it on the grounds that two Committee members had not signed it. Report has not indicated whether the number of seats in LG bodies has to be increased under the new electoral system and if so what steps should have to be taken in that regard. more..

'Put a black flag as FB profile pic on Jan 8'

Jan 5 (DM) PHU requested all Sri Lankan Facebook users to put a black flag as the profile picture on Jan 8 as a protest to this govt which is completing two years. MP Udaya Gammanpila said it could be the only way to show the people’s displeasure on this govt and added that there were many reasons for people to do so. “The govt has initially appointed Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM in an unlawful manner just after Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was appointed as the President. more..

'SL monetary policy should allow govt needs'

Jan 5 (EN) Sri Lanka's monetary policy should be conducted by the central bank so that govt needs are accommodated, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "Monetary policy should be conducted (by the central bank) so that govt requirements are fulfilled, as an independent institution," he said. The govt was carrying forward a development program as required by the President and Prime Minister, he said. more..

Committee clears People’s Bank digitalization tender

Jan 5 (DN) No grave misconduct had occurred in the award of the tender for the digitalization of the Peoples Bank. However, there had been a few shortcomings in the process of awarding the tender, the Committee which probed the subject has said in its report. Committee which probed the Peoples Bank digitalization programme was headed by former Deputy Treasury Secretary Daya Liyanage. Committee report was submitted to State Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim. more..

Catholic movement challenges claim to have built tallest Xmas tree

Jan 5 (Island) The newly formed Catholic Movement has written to Alistair Richards, Global President, Guinness World Records, UK asking him to take legal action against the claims of building the world’s tallest Christmas tree in Sri Lanka and to inform the global media his position on this matter. In a letter titled Tallest Christmas tree in Sri Lanka is false the movement’s President Chirantha Amerasinghe says: "As a Catholic movement in SL we would like to inquire as to how the builders claimed more..

COPE to probe Coal Tender, Rice Scam

Jan 5 (DN) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) will start investigations into the recent coal tender controversy and the massive scam related to rice importation in 2014/2015, COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti said. He said investigations would be based on the audit reports of the Auditor General. He said AG on Tuesday handed over two reports pertaining to the above matters to the Speaker as well as the COPE. more..

Prisoner under sentence of death gets BA

Jan 5 (DM) A man who has been sentenced to death for the murder of Bambalapitiya businessman Mohamed Shiyam has obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree by studying while in prison, said a Welikada Prison source. This is the first time a prisoner has accomplished such a feat in the history of the prison. The prisoner is an ex-sub inspector of police named, Lakmini Bamunusinghe, an appellant prisoner in Chapel Ward, its director Chandana Ekanayake said. more..

Zeid Ra’ad welcomes Consultations Task Force report

Jan 5 (NR) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein has welcomed the report published by Consultations Task Force (CTF) on Reconciliation Mechanisms. He welcomed the recommendations, especially pertaining to the implementation of a hybrid Court with the inclusion of local and foreign judges. CTF on Reconciliation Mechanisms in its report recommended including at least one international judge on every bench hearing alleged war crimes charges. more..

Sri Lanka re-negotiating Hambantota port deal with China

Jan 5 (ENS) Sri Lanka is going to re-negotiate the deal entered into with China on the US$ 1.4 billion Hambantota port, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said today. Given the heated public controversy over the grant of 80% equity in the port to the state-owned China Merchants Ports Holding Company, and also President Sirisena’s recent steps to subject the existing deal to a  review, cabinet has decided to re-negotiate the deal. more..

State Minister Eran Wickramaratne defends right to steal public funds

Jan 6 (CT) The whole nation is surely very angry about the manner the MPs and Cabinet of Ministers defraud public funds through various means, including the selling of their tax-free car permits to motorcar dealers. The intended purpose of issuance of these permits was to import a vehicle absolutely tax-free and use it to discharge the office of the MP effectively and efficiently and not to abuse it for improper purposes. However, now it is proven fact that these permits are being abused more..

Resettlement of Muslim IDPs & Issues of Wilpattu

Jan 6 (CT) It has been 27 years since the Muslims were forcibly evicted from the Northern Province by LTTE and have been living in the Puttalam district in many IDP camps in vulnerable conditions. The end of conflict in May 2009 brought a new hope for the resettlement of Muslim IDPs. However both the SL govt and int'l community prioritized the Tamil IDPs for resettlement and sidelined the Muslim IDPs from it. This has led some Muslim IDPs to go back to their places of origin voluntarily. more..

Snapshots from a murky war zone

Jan 6 (NS) Photographer Stephen Champion, a British national, lives and works in SL by choice. When he first visited SL in 1986, Brit observed that the onetime colony was the ideal place for a photographer to explore. After all, he was an avid traveller as well. He was intrigued by the Buddhist culture here, but the ongoing civil war at that time possibly had more pulling power, hence his extensive travels to North and East. more..

Super minister controversy

Jan 6 (NS) It appears as if the Unity govt is working its way from one controversy to another. The latest issue to grab headlines is the proposed Development Bill which, its critics argue will create a so-called super minister who could usurp the powers of his colleagues. Reports say that even some ministers from the ruling SLFP are against the proposal. Ministers Chandima Weerakkody and Dilan Perera have said so publicly. Others have made similar observations in private. more..

Year 2017 Rhetoric vs Reality

Jan 6 (NS) It has been already announced that there will be radical political and economic changes in the New Year. Underlying all this will be the urgent need to boost the economy in a manner that people can be given some of the benefits they expected through the creation of Yahapalana govt. Almost two years ago it all began with high expectations. At the time, most people thought that investments were not coming to the country because of the authoritarian style of then govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'Those who don’t belong should leave'

Jan 6 (CT) UNP MP Harshana Rajakaruna said that Rajapaksa gang members should leave the govt at the earliest if they think that they do not belong in the Unity Govt. Q: How do you see the present political developments in the country? A: Politically our govt is very stable. There is no argument about it. There could be ups and downs when two major political parties get together and form a Unity Govt. We are still getting used to it. more..

Understanding the current regime

Jan 6 (GV) Soon it will be two years since the election of President Sirisena. His victory was consolidated in the general election held in August 2015. There was a lot of euphoria when this regime change took place. I was amused to see some even calling it a revolution. After two years the contours of this regime and what to expect from it is becoming clearer. Definitely, it is far from any kind of a revolution. What I am concerned with is whether this regime could at least provide leadership to more..

Editorial: Justice hurried, justice buried

Jan 6 (Island) Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt has, in its wisdom, decided to set up a special tribunal to handle bribery and corruption cases as we reported yesterday. Minister Rajitha Senaratne has said once it is established, hey presto, the current investigation process which he considers slow will get a turbo boost. Tardiness of the judicial process is not the only reason why the govt has not been able to bring those it once accused of corruption and other serious infractions to justice. more..

Dilan Perera

Survivalist and Irrepressible: The two faces of the Sri Lankan media

Jan 6 (GV) The past decade produced two critical moments of transition in Sri Lanka. On 19 May 2009, a 30-year war came to a brutal end with the defeat of the LTTE. On 9 January 2015, the regime responsible for ending the war was ousted from power after ten years of autocratic rule. The media is often expected to play a pivotal role in these moments of transition. Yet the past decade witnessed one of the darkest eras in the history of Sri Lanka’s mainstream media. more..

Are we serious about eradicating corruption?

Jan 6 (Island) Pre-election, January 2015, we heard fierce noises about a revolutionary dispensation that would relentlessly pursue the many fraudsters that a delinquent govt had spawned and nurtured. The unaccounted for wealth that they had amassed will be recovered, credited to the exchequer and used for the relief of poverty and the development of our nation who are the rightful owners. Corruption will cease forever. Exemplary punishment will be meted out. more..

Big Chamila finds a Sumo heaven

Jan 6 (NS) Chamila Karawita is a big man with big dreams. He has done SL proud by putting this island on the world map of sumo. At present he is rated eighth in the world in the sport of amateur sumo, a discipline where size, speed and technique guarantee you reign supreme. Chamila is a giant. He weighs 139 kilos. But strength is his self-confidence. There have been occasions where he has made mincemeat out of opponents. more..