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LSSP demands LG poll in Jan or Feb

Dec 9 (DN) The Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) demands the government to hold the Local Govt polls in January or February next year according to the new electoral system, LSSP Secretary Prof. Tissa Vitharana said. He said that the new electoral system is the law of the land now and it is ready for use with the consent of all political parties. Therefore, there is no need to give into the demands of the JVP and the UNP which demand the old preferential system. more..

17 FRs against Lanka E news editor

Dec 9 (NR) 17 Fundamental Rights petitions have been filed at the Supreme Court calling to issue an international arrest warrant to the Chief Editor of the Lanka E news web page Sandaruwan Senadhira. The petitions charge Sandaruwan Senadhira for the publication of the police sketch of the suspect who allegedly assaulted Veteran Journalist Upali Tennakoon before it was produced in court, which court deemed as contempt of court. An international arrest warrant was issued by more..

Ministerial Sub-Committee appointed to achieve sustainable development goals

Dec 9 (PMD) Cabinet has decided to appoint a Ministerial Sub-Committee to define and to achieve the success in the vision of sustainable development goals of Sri Lanka for 2030.  The Cabinet has taken this decision according to a memorandum submitted by President Maithripala Sirisena to the Cabinet.  This Ministerial Sub-Committee will comprise five Cabinet Ministers and a Chief Minister of a Province and the Cabinet also granted their approval to appoint more..

Tissa Attanayake Likely To Join Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna

Dec 9 (AM) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake is likely to join the Sri Lanka Podujana Party formed by supporters of the Joint Opposition. However, Attanayake has not made a comment on this. He is known to be exploring possibilities of returning to politics, following his abrupt fall from grace after the 2015 Presidential Election defeat of former president Rajapaksa. Attanayake left the UNP in Dec 2014 and offered his support to the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'TRC looking into blocking of news website'

Dec 9 (DN) Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said he had inquired from the Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (TRC) over allegations that a news website had been blocked. He said that he would make a statement in Parliament on the alleged blocking of the site:, no sooner than the Commission provided him the report. He made these observations in response to MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena, who demanded to know why the said website being blocking. more..

'Fibre optic cables cover 2/3 of the country'

Dec 9 (NR) Minister Harin Fernando said govt has initiated large scale projects in order to digitize the country adding that fibre optic cables have connected two thirds of the country. Speaking during the Committee Stage Debate of the Budget, he said the govt was required to initiate infrastructure prior to developing telecom projects. He said before initiating projects the new govt worked on establishing a solid infrastructure. more..

Thawheed Jamath secretary granted bail under strict conditions

Dec 9 (AD) Secretary of the SL Thawheed Jamath (SLTJ) organization, Abdul Razik, who was arrested on charges of inciting religious disharmony, has been released on bail under strict conditions. He was ordered released on a cash bail of Rs 10,000 and two personal bails of Rs 1 million by Colombo Magistrate’s Court. Magistrate also warned SLTJ Secretary that he would be remanded for the continuation of court case if he makes any statement that would incite religious disharmony. more..

CA issues notice on Fisheries Minister for permitting bad practices

Dec 9 (Island) The Court of Appeal issued notice returnable on Jan. 22, 2017 on the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the Secretary to the Ministry and six others. Minister is the first respondent in the writ application filed by a group of fishermen of Indikale, who have complained that permits were issued by the respondents to fish, using Laila and Surukku nets which wreaked ecological destruction on shallow seas. Trawlers were permitted to fish only 10 km from more..

How did govt earn US$1.1 Bn from white elephant? Namal

Dec 9 (DM) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa today asked how the Hambantota Port, which was branded as a white elephant by the UNP when in the Opposition, had now become a paying concern good enough to be sold to a private company. He condemned Govt’s decision to handover some 80% of the Port to China Merchants Port Holdings Company and said the govt was to receive US$1.1 billion by doing so. more..

Sri Lankan shares hit over one-week closing low; blue chips fall

Dec 9 (Reuters) Shares closed at their lowest in more than a week on Friday as investors sold large-cap shares such as Ceylon Tobacco Company and John Keells Holdings amid subdued sentiment. Colombo stock index ended down 0.2% at 6,324.10, its lowest close since Dec. 1. The index was largely flat for the week after recording a 1.2% gain last week, its first weekly gain in four. Turnover was 622.1 million rupees, compared with this year's daily average of 748.3 million rupees. more..

Amidst allegations of corruption, TI’s Sri Lanka chapter under review

Dec 9 (CT) Transparency International’s Sri Lanka chapter will undergo an independent review, in the wake of serious allegations of corruption and malpractices leveled against the local chapter and members of its hierarchy. A senior official attached to the Berlin based anti-corruption body said that the four week institutional audit which will be carried out by an independent reputed body will determine any malpractices as alleged by some staff members of the local chapter. more..

'Some SLFP ministers conspiring against govt'

Dec 9 (DM) UNP MP Mujibur Rahuman said there was suspicion whether some SLFP ministers with the connivance of former president Rajapaksa were conspiring against the Govt. He said some of the SLFP Ministers were attempting stir up trouble between UNP and President Sirisena by making controversial statements. “We have reasonable doubts whether some SLFP Ministers are conspiring against more..

Healthcare services VAT exempt

Dec 9 (CT) The Gazette notification to exclude the cost of healthcare services from Value Added Tax (VAT), with effect from 1 Nov 2016, was presented in Parliament yesterday. However, other charges such as fees paid to medical practitioners, medical consultation fees, channelling fees and hospital room charges will not be exempted from the VAT. The Gazette notification, issued under the hand of Minister Ravi Karunanayake, was presented to Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka. more..

Sri Lankan Lobby & Foreign Policy

Dec 9 (CT) Sri Lanka was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement with the first women PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike depicting her courageous leadership to the entire world not being a spectator but playing an active role in global arena. Her foreign policy outcomes can be explained only when interests, values and power are combined, a rich understanding of her beliefs. It was a period when small nations had to commit allegiance between US or Soviet power blocs. more..

හොරුන්ට බැණ බැණ හොරුන්ටම ඡන්දය දෙනවා

Exporters express concern over withdrawal of SVAT system

Dec 9 (EN) Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) has urged the govt to retain an existing paperless value added tax refund scheme until a proposed electronic tax administration is fully operational. In a statement, the EASL asked the finance ministry and the Department of Inland Revenue to ensure the electronic Revenue Administration Management Information System, known as RAMIS, will be operational by January 2017. more..

To the incoming Head of Intelligence...

Dec 9 (CT) The usual saying goes as Better the devil we know, than the angel we don't, which might not be applicable for the Head of State Intelligence in Sri Lanka. Undoubtedly, a job and a position that only a devil of a man could handle, the position of the Head of State Intelligence recently became a controversial debate topic at Parliament, when the matter of the country's defence budget was discussed. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing Parliament, noted more..

Sri Lanka's unity regime faces renewed strife

Dec 9 (EN) Intellectuals who propelled President Maithripala Sirisena to power has stepped up a campaign against his unity govt accusing it of going back on good governance pledges two years ago. Professor Sarath Wijesuriya, a key figure behind Sirisena's success at the January 2015 election, issued a charge sheet against his govt and accused it of protecting corrupt politicians of the former regime. more..

With civil war and a tsunami behind it, Sri Lanka’s east coast is opening up to tourism

Dec 9 (WP) Beside the temple on Swami Rock, amid the heady swirl of colorful deities and burning camphor, one object caught my eye. It seemed that a special reverence had been reserved for a statue of a holy cow. Centuries ago, a placard beside it explained, this Chola-era figurine had been buried by concerned priests as the Portuguese colonists sailed into harbor. There it had remained interred, through centuries of colonial more..

Amnesty wants Sri Lanka to act on UN torture report

Dec 9 (PTI) SL must act decisively to stop torture and investigate complaints and hold perpetrators accountable, Amnesty International said today after a UN watchdog expressed alarm over the country's failure to prevent ill-treatment of people by security forces. "If the SL authorities are serious about breaking with the harrowing legacy of country's decades-long conflict, it must end impunity for torture & other acts of ill-treatment" more..

Interpol declines Red notice for Lanka E news editor

Dec 9 (NR) The International Criminal Police Organization has declined a request made by the CID to issue an international arrest warrant or a red notice to the Chief Editor of the Lanka E news web page Sandaruwan Senadhira. CID today informed the Gampaha Magistrates court that the Interpol has rejected a request claiming it lacked plausible cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant. CID stated that no charges were levelled against more..

Sri Lanka to sell 80% stake in strategically placed harbor to Chinese

Dec 9 (WSJ) Sri Lanka’s heavily indebted govt signed an agreement in principle on Thursday to sell an 80% stake in a deep-water port on the nation’s southern coast, close to one of the world’s busiest sea lanes, to a Chinese state-owned company, senior officials said. Under the deal, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, China Merchants Port Holdings Co. would pay about $1.1 billion for its share of the port more..

Contamination of Kelani River threatens drinking water

Dec 9 (SL) The Kelani River plays a vital role in providing drinking water to the Colombo city. However due to continuous pollution of the river there are fears it would soon not be considered as a source for obtaining water. If the water of the Kelani River is no longer obtainable, it is going to cause a serious issue for the public, especially in the Colombo city. Speaking about the matter, the Deputy General Manager of the laboratory more..

Stink rises as plastic waste clogs recycling centre

Dec 9 (ST) A garbage and compost recycling facility operated by the Ja-Ela Pradeshiya Sabha has become the rubbish dump for the entire Ja Ela area, angry residents say. Six years ago, the residents of a housing scheme at Ekala allowed the Pradeshiya Sabha to set up a local recycling centre but the site has become a huge garbage tip. Some of the owners of the 400 houses in the scheme have been forced to sell their homes due to more..

Malaysian Opposition objects Prez’s visit

Dec 9 (MK) The DAP has been always in the forefront of championing the interests of those who have suffered human rights violations. In Sept 2016 the party condemned the visit of the former SL president, Mahinda Rajapakse. Hardly three months have passed, the BN govt has again issued another invitation for the visit of Maithripala Sirisena, current President of SL and former defence minister in Rajapakse govt. more..

'Opportunity to examine yahapalana failures'

Dec 9 (Island) CaFFE (Campaign for Free and Fair Elections) spokesperson Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon lambasted the ruling coalition for failing in its much touted anti-corruption drive Alleging that none of those involved in mega corrupt deals during the Rajapaksa administration had been successfully prosecuted so far, he pointed out that yahapalana rulers themselves were under fire for waste, corruption & various irregularities. more..

Diminishing differences

Dec 9 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella was again in the limelight last week when he defended IGP Pujith Jayasundere, who was caught apparently submitting to political pressure by answering a telephone call while speaking at a public meeting.  IGP was submissively answering the caller addressing him as sir and giving an assurance to him that a Nilame would not be arrested. Kiriella replying to a question on more..

Who succeeds: Mahinda Rajapaksa or the fate of SLPP?

Dec 9 (DM) SL Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has displayed its public face in presenting Basil Rajapaksa and Chairman G.L. Peiris (budding buddies of the bud party)– after hectoring by MR, hibernating in the background as its ultimate leader. Make no mistake it is his party. It will be conceived and buried by him if he succeeds to the SLFP. All roads lead to leaders residence.  Founders claim to fame is the proximity to the chieftain; find them both ideal foils while in political wilderness. more..

Anti corruption day; politicians, the people are watching

Dec 9 (DM) With anti-corruption measures being a key issue in Sri Lanka, International Anti Corruption Day today will be of special significance to our country. According to the United Nation the 2016 theme is united against corruption for development, peace and security.  Figures show that every year about US$ 1 trillion is paid in bribes while an estimated US$ 2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption – a sum equivalent to more than 5% of the global GDP. more..

Bitter woes for sugar importers after cocaine detections

Dec 9 (FT) Recent detections of cocaine by sugar importers have given a bitter edge to the industry with companies suspending imports from Brazil and seeking Govt assistance to check each sack of sugar for drugs, which is threatening to drive up costs. SL Sugar Importers Association vehemently denied allegations of being complicit in drug smuggling and insisted they were equally startled by the recent discovery of cocaine more..

80% Chinese stake in H’tota Port Arjuna shunned the deal: Wimal

Dec 9 (CT) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa lashed out at the govt saying the Hambanthota Port is to be sold to China Merchant Port Holdings Ltd without the approval of Minister Arjuna Ranatunga. Weerawansa, stressed that according to the information he has received it is not only the Minister but the Chairman and the Board of the Ports Authority also that did not agree with the govt's decision to sell an 80% stake in Hambantota Port to wholly Chinese State-owned company. more..

7,000 public servants grilled in corruption probes

Dec 9 (CT) Some 7,000 public servants have been already questioned in corruption probes while the actions of certain institutions set up to combat graft and serious financial crime is causing concern for the govt, it was said. "FCID and other such institutions were established to investigate instances of serious financial crimes and corruption. Instead they are targeting junior State officials and other politicians who are accused of crimes where local Police or in-house auditors can deal with," more..

President cancels colonial-era order amid falling popularity

Dec 9 (Reuters) President Sirisena rescinded a colonial-era British order naming 19 nationals as traitors for leading a rebellion nearly 200 years ago, his office said, as he strives to shore up his fading popularity. He hailed ethnic Sinhalese men whole led insurrection against island's British rulers as national heroes, a move some critics were swift to denounce as a political gimmick to bolster his support among Sinhalese majority. more..

Strike at Hambantota Port continues

Dec 9 (DN) A tense situation prevailed at the Hambantota International Sea Port yesterday as the strike launched by a group of employees at the port continued. The employees also staged a satyagraha campaign on Thursday afternoon. Deputy Minister Nishantha Mutuhettigama said that the strike was continuing unabated. However, he denied rumours that the protesters had seized or obstructed a ship which had arrived at the port. Ports Minister Arjuna Ranatunga who arrived at the port yesterday, more..

Wijesooriya flays govt. for broken promises

Dec 9 (Island) Head of the National Movement for Social Justice Pro. Sarath Wijesuriya said that the unity govt which had come to power, promising good governance had failed to fulfil its promises. Addressing a news conference organised by the NMSJ, Prof. Wijesuriya lamented that the govt had failed to establish special courts to deal with suspects of fraud and corruption; it was a proposal made by him to the President for which Cabinet approval had been granted. more..

'Debate on Treasury Bond issue after Budget Third Reading'

Dec 9 (DN) The main business of Parliament when it commences its next session is to take action on CB Bond issue, Minister Laksman Yapa Abeywardena said. “Under these moves, there should be a debate on the Treasury Bond issue in Parliament once the Third Reading of the budget proposal 2017 is completed. Parliamentary debate will be followed by legal action,” he said. All SLFP MPs are dissatisfied with Bond issue and more..