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Yahapalanaya to continue struggling in a swamp

Jan 8 (CT) Just one week into the newly dawned year, Yahapalana Govt, and its stakeholders appear to be in a swamp without being able to proceed in any direction. Though they managed to hide differences of opinion between the camp led by President and PM well under the carpet for two years, the tug-o-war of the hierarchies could no longer be hidden as it has come to the limelight on many occasions in the last few weeks. more..

The devastating story of Brett Schultz –man who destroyed Sri Lanka in 1993

Jan 8 (Island) The year 1993 saw a lot of turmoil in the country. President Premadasa was assassinated in May while the popular Lalith Athulathmudali had been gunned down two weeks before that. Had it been England, Australia or New Zealand, a cricket series a few months after those killings would have been called off. But the South Africans kept to their word and three months after those two high profile assassinations, they toured Sri Lanka. Captain Arjuna Ranatunga and coach Duleep Mendis more..

UNP, SLFP need to come to the centre

Jan 8 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena must be wondering what on earth happened to the time that has so swiftly gone by since his surprise election victory exactly two years ago. He now finds two-fifths of his term is already over, with precious little to show for it. He assumed the high office he holds under exceptional circumstances. He brought with him some fellow travellers disgruntled for the indifferent treatment in the old Rajapaksa regime, but Mr. Sirisena rode to power more..

Face the Nation

Arjuna’s role in the Hambantota deal

Jan 8 (Island) As we write this on Saturday, Hambantota town has become a battleground with thousands of policemen on the streets with barricades and riot gear. Reports are coming in of confrontations between the police and protestors with tear gas and water cannon being used. Signing of the final agreement for the privatisation of Hambantota Port was to take place yesterday in Hambantota but it was cancelled by Minister Malik Samarawickrema who said last Thursday that more..

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Volkswagen!

Jan 8 (SL) Social media was a buzz last week after the authorities were forced to clarify not one but two matters which drew wide publicity. One was about the world’s largest Christmas tree and Galle Face and the other the vehicle manufacturing plant in Kuliyapitiya. While much hype was made over the construction of the world’s largest Christmas tree at Galle Face, it was found last week that the record is yet to be formally recognised as SL has not sought recognition from Guinness World Records. more..

'Wrong people being questioned on Lasantha’s murder'

Jan 8 (SL) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has once again come under the spotlight. Having held a key bureaucratic position in the Rajapaksa regime, rumours have begun to circulate about his possible entry into active politics. However, responding to these claims, former Defence Secretary says he has not made any decisions to enter politics. He also says the FCID has become a political hunting ground for more..

Vokswagen and Hambantota

Jan 8 (Island) In March last year the Fortune magazine ran an article simply titled Hoaxwagen illustrated with a photo of a spanking new Volkswagen car spewing a cloud of noxious black smoke from its tailpipe. No explanation of what that article was all about was necessary. The whole world by then knew all about how a renowned automaker, whose legendary Beetle held the world in thrall for several decades, had in the words of one writer incinerated its reputation by more..

Delimitation a lam duck

Jan 8 (NS) Local Govt Institutions Delimitation Appeals Committee on the Demarcation of Boundaries has seriously questioned whether their report would be an answer to the myriad problems faced in this regard. An official inside the Delimitation Committee who did not wish to be named as he was not authorized to go public, said that the mandate of the Committee whose appointment was gazetted in 2013 was limited with regard to resolving all problems more..

Economy reaches pre take-off position within two years of governance

Jan 8 (SO) The National Unity Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has embarked on a long-term development to become a higher middle-income country by year 2025. This envisages creating a strong, diversified, resilient and competitive economy. But, the efforts of successive govts have not brought the desired results, and had kept Sri Lanka lagging behind other countries in Asia. more..

Darker side of Southern Projects

Jan 8 (CT) The delay in entering into the agreement with the firm China Merchant on the amended Hambantota Port 99-year lease has run into snags which the Chinese investor wants ironed out immediately. Reports say it wants the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to also be a signatory to the agreement as an attesting witness to the project about which the ports authorities have not been too happy. The agreement, set to have been inked today as one of the govt's significant more..

The need to be the change

Jan 8 (SO) Some called it a revolution, but a war and corruption-battered nation did not see it quite that way even if they did vote for a significant political change two years ago. Today the current coalition govt marks the second anniversary of the presidential election that brought it to power. National Unity coalition, officially named the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG), is the second such coalition in Sri Lanka in which the political parties in the coalition control, more..

Sri Lanka unveils special zone to attract Chinese industries amid protest

Jan 7 (ENS) In the midst of rioting against the Sino-SL deal over the Hambantota port, China on Saturday categorically stated that it is committed to executing its projects in the island despite hostile propaganda by the local opposition parties. Speaking at the launch of the China-backed Southern Economic Development Zone in Hambantota, the Chinese Ambassador, Yi Xianliang, said that no negative force can stop China’s more..

Clashes erupt as Sri Lankans protest China port deal

Jan 7 (AP) Police used water cannons to try to break up violent clashes between govt supporters and villagers marching against what they say is a plan to take over private land for an industrial zone in which China will have a major stake. The clashes took place as PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was attending an opening ceremony for the industrial zone near the port city of Hambantota. Govt supporters, armed with clubs, first attacked protesters organised by the opposition and led by Buddhist monks more..

President’s decision on Wilpattu will not hamper resettlement process: Badurdeen

Jan 7 (DN) Industries Development Minister Rizad Badurdeen said the decision taken by the President relating to the Wilpattu Sanctuary will not hamper the resettlement process of Muslim and Sinhala families, affected by the war. Minister refuted the allegations that he had cleaned 17,000 acres of forest to settle Muslim people. War affected Muslim and Sinhala families in Mannar District are living in their own land. He said he has not violated any rule of the country relating to lands. more..

Video: Our goal is to create a Southwestern economic strip: PM

Jan 7 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the development programme launched today in Hambantota under the leadership of President Sirisena will be even bigger than former President J.R. Jayewardene’s Mahaweli Development Programme. PM was speaking during the opening ceremony for the industrial zone near the port city of Hambantota on Saturday. Police used water cannons to try to break up violent clashes more..

Docs thrash out pros and cons of abortion

Jan 7 (ST) The hills of Kandy came alive, not with the sound of music, but with arguments and counter-arguments on two major and controversial but timely issues surrounding life and death. Abortion and euthanasia, were the burning topics discussed in friendly debates by doctors that took up the whole morning of Wednesday, in an event organised by the forward-thinking Mid-country Psychiatrists at the Tourmaline Hotel. At the end of the debates, jury was still out, like in the country, more..

Polls observer flays UNP Member

Jan 7 (CT) CaFFE has requested the UNP member and senior lawyer Abdul Satar Misbah to sign the report of the delimitation committee in a bid to complete it. In a letter to senior lawyer Misbah, CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon noted that it is a surprise that Misbah did not sign the final report of the committee. "As far as our understanding is concerned you agreed with the rest of the members of the committee. In that context, it is a surprise for us that you did not sign it," more..

Video: China expects to invest US$ 5 billion in Hambantota industrial zone

Jan 7 (AD) China expects to invest US$ 5 billion in the Hambantota industrial zone in the next 3-5 years, creating 100,000 jobs in the country, Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang said. He was speaking during the opening ceremony for the industrial zone near the port city of Hambantota on Saturday. Govt has signed a framework agreement for a 99-year lease of Hambantota port with a company in which China will have 80% ownership. more..

The slithery unwelcome stranger and a pipe snake that escaped death

Jan 7 (ST) Holidaymakers in Nuwara Eliya this season were in for a rude shock when a strange slithery visitor was spotted at the iconic Lake Gregory e. Many who flocked there suggested it could be a Cobra and a confirmation later by snake experts that it was infact a juvenile cobra caused shivers that had nothing to do with the weather, to many. “But if you leave a Cobra alone you don’t need to worry,” said one expert. Although the Cobra (Naja naja) is a lethally venomous snake, more..

Sri Lanka ends 2016 with US$ 6.062 bn in forex reserves

Jan 7 (EN) Sri Lanka ended 2016 with 6,062 billion US dollars in forex reserves, up 418 million dollars from November's 5,644 million dollars but down from the January level, official data show. Forex reserves in December was down 1,229 million dollars from 7,292 million dollars in January. The central bank started 2016 with 79 billion rupees of Treasury bills in its holding but printed money steadily up to mid-March to keep interbank markets flushed with liquidity. more..

India opposes Sri Lanka’s bid to shape ETCA to suit political exigencies

Jan 7 (ENS) Negotiations between India and Sri Lanka on an  Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) hit the hard road at an officials-level meeting held here on January 4 and 5. Sri Lanka side was pressing the Indians to make certain concessions explicitly to enable it sell the pact to the SL masses who tend to imagine that ETCA would be a rank give away to the Big Brother across the Palk Strait. more..

Audit Bill in Parliament soon: Speaker

Jan 7 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said measures will be taken to table the National Audit Bill in Parliament soon to ensure Govt Auditors can carry out their work with confidence. While noting that the silent role played by audit officers in protecting public money should be commended, he emphasized the need to approve the National Audit Bill soon to add more powers to State audit officials. Speaker Jayasuriya also stated that it was thanks to the audit officials who are fearlessly more..

Sleepy drivers on a crash course

Jan 7 (ST) Sleepy drivers are deadly drivers and they are being asked to wake up to the destruction they are causing to human lives. Physicians and experts on transport issues, say that lack of sleep impairs the ability to drive and that those who are exhausted should not be allowed to take the wheel. They also say passengers should watch out for warnings signs such as when a driver begins to nod and can’t keep the vehicle steady. As for policing, law enforcers propose shift work more..

EU team on fact finding visit

Jan 7 (CT) A 7-member team, made up by top trade union representatives and industry watchers, based in the European Union, is set to visit the country in early January on a fact-finding mission, that will take them inside the country's export industrial zones to ascertain the rights and the working conditions of employees. The visit comes shortly after the SL case to regain GSP+ trade concessions was taken up for review more..

Tattoo needle can be dangerous

Jan 7 (Island) Director National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Dr Sisira Liyanage urged tattoo lovers to take precautionary measures as the needles used on them could be infected. He said a woman had recently tested HIV positive and according to what she told her doctors a contaminated tattoo needle may have caused the infection. 95% HIV/AIDS cases were due to unsafe sex, 4% cases were transmitted from mother to child while one percent was transmitted through blood more..

Amaraweera flays farmer boss

Jan 7 (Island) Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said the govt had paid Rs. 8,640 million as installments and interest to China for the loan to build the Hambantota Port. The future installments would follow as below. 2017: Rs.9,350 million, 2018: Rs.9,950 million, 2019: Rs. 17,260 million, 2020: Rs. 17,000 million, 2021: Rs.16,650 million, 2022: Rs.17,910 million, 2023:Rs. Rs.1740 million, 2024: Rs.16,910 million and 2025: Rs.12,290 million. more..

'BIA shut down a setback for tourism'

Jan 7 (CT) Minister John Amaratunga said temporary 3-month shutdown of BIA for renovation is a tremendous setback for tourism which is nearing peak levels right now, but added that the Tourism Ministry has set a target of four million arrivals by 2020 with colourful promotional events in the pipeline this year. He added that officials had told him it was a must operation to uplift BIA's standards to global levels and added that there are more..

E-tickets to combat tourist racket at Sigiriya

Jan 7 (NS) Department of Archaeology has called for a national policy decision to be taken with regard to conditions imposed on the granting of tourist visas including in relation to a flat fee or set price to be charged for the purpose of sightseeing. In the case of Bhutan a daily cost of US$ 265 was obtained from a tourist as a condition for being granted a travel visa that covers visiting any place of attraction within the country. In SL, tourists and locals alike have to make payments at each site separately. more..

21 hospitalized after clashes in Hambantota

Jan 7 (AD) At least 21 persons including 3 police officers were injured and hospitalized as a result of the clashes which broke out during the protest in Hambantota today. A majority of the individuals admitted to the hospital had sustained injuries from pelted stones.  Sri Lankan police used water cannons to try to break up violent clashes Saturday between govt supporters and villagers marching against what they say is a plan to take over private land for an industrial zone more..

'President to take firm decisions on certain critical matters'

Jan 7 (DN) President Sirisena said that he would be taking several firm decisions in the next few years on certain critical matters affecting the country, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He said President intimated this to those present when he visited Minister Mahinda Amaraweera’s residence recently. He said the post January 8 period of this year would be important to the country due to these decisions pending more..

Volkswagen falls off Yahapâlanaya, As Maithri and Ranil hoodwink public

Jan 7 (CT) Fibs, miscommunication and the blame game were the highlights this week, as the Yahapalanaya government under President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe fell flat on its face after it was exposed how they attempted to deceive millions of people over a vehicle assembly plant in Kuliyapitiya, which the government claimed was built with an investment of US$ 26.5 million from German automaker, Volkswagen. more..

Party leaders opt for PR system

Jan 7 (CT) At the party leaders' meeting scheduled to be held on 9 January headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, it is reliably learnt that a majority decision will be reached to conduct the 2017 Local Govt polls under the existing proportional representative (PR) system. It is learnt that most party leaders at the upcoming meeting are likely to raise several issues concerning the Delimitation Committee and to agree to conduct the forthcoming poll under the existing system. more..

Foreign judges: Fowzie noncommital

Jan 7 (Island) State Minister A.H.M. Fowzie declined to comment on far reaching recommendations, including the participation of foreign judges and other personnel made by the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTFRM) meant to accelerate post-war national reconciliation process. Mrs Manouri Muttetuwegama led a 11-member civil society grouping that formulated the recommendations. more..

Development project results soon: Sujeewa

Jan 7 (NR) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe says a 15,000 acre industrial zone was declared open within a span of one year since the good governance govt took over. He stressed that this govt will remain in power for five years adding the public will be able to witness the results themselves. Speaking to media after calling on the Chief Prelates of the Malwathu and Asgiri Chapters Minister added at present various groups have created doubts within the minds of the people. more..

Progressing, not knowing where

Jan 7 (CT) SL has opted to enter the global economic system with a very poor appreciation of the scientific considerations of the different options and paths available. In the global financial system, growth is seen as engine of development, but the source of power that has been chosen to propel that growth is making this nation dangerously vulnerable to the emerging global reality of Climate Change. Power, as is used in the present context, is energy in a state utilizable for our uses. more..