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Govt to restrict protests to 2 locations in city

Jan 16 (Island) The govt has unveiled a plan to restrict protests in Colombo and its suburbs and areas surrounding Parliament. Minister Sagala Ratnayake has directed his ministry Secretary Jagath Jayaweera to take immediate steps to issue a gazette notification naming two places where people could gather to carry out protests. Minister gave the directive in response to representations made by Senior DIGs more..

Air-conditioning in state buildings restricted

Jan 16 (NR) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya says new directives will be issued pertaining to the usage of air-conditioning in state buildings in the country. Minister speaking during an event held in Ruwanwella said the Ministry will issue a circular for all state institutions considering the adverse weather conditions experiencing in the country at present. Accordingly, air-conditioning temperatures in state buildings will be limited to 26 degree Celsius. Minister said the Department of Meteorology more..

Video: Wijeyadasa doesn’t know what he is talking about: Ravi K

Jan 16 (DM) Replying to a statement made by Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe with regard to the access to temporary resident visas, Minister Ravi Karunanayake maintained that Rajapakshe was misinformed and did not know what he was talking about. Criticizing Karunanayake’s statement that temporary resident visas would be issued to foreigners who invest a minimum of US$300,000, Rajapakshe had earlier made a comment that such a move only opens door for beggars to enter more..

Video: Lottery dealers to boycott sales for five days

Jan 16 (DM) All Island Lottery Dealers Association (AILDA) would boycott selling lottery tickets for five days from today as their demands were not met as promised by the President. Minister Ravi Karunanayake also strongly maintains that the new price of Rs.30 would not be changed at any cost. FM said that govt was not in a position to fulfill these demands and prices or commissions that they anticipate to be amended more..

Remove Sampanthan: JO

Jan 16 (NR) UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardene demanded an overhaul in opposition appointments in parliament. He claimed that the joint opposition should be granted the post of Leader of the Opposition and the chief Opposition Whip post. MP said as the Joint opposition has a majority of 51 MPs in the house, it should be given those two positions. He said TNA has 16 MPs and 6 MPs are from the JVP adding only 22 members are supporting Oppsotition Leader R Sampanthan. more..

National Fisheries Policy in 2017

Jan 16 (NR) The govt has decided to formulate a National Fisheries Policy. Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Development Mahinda Amaraweera said a sustainable national fisheries policy will be initiated with the assistance of Norway. He said Sri Lanka intends to minimise discrepancies in the industry and to avoid misuse of natural resources. Accordingly, Minister had requested the Norwegian PM Erna Solberg to support the govt to prepare a National Fisheries Policy. more..

Become bilingual, PM tells Police

Jan 16 (FT) PM told the top brass of the Police to improve their organisation’s structure, use of technology and bilingual skills to provide a more people-friendly service. Discussing moves to enable SL Police to deliver a more people-friendly service, in a meeting held on Saturday, PM said the training mechanism in the department needed to be restructured to ensure officers from lower ranks also periodically underwent training. more..

Ex-Muslims come out as a group in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (FT) A group of individuals, who chose to leave the religion they were born to – Islam, owing to different reasons, joined as a group to form Ex-Muslims of Sri Lanka (EMSL), two days prior to bidding farewell to the year 2016. Coming out to the public for the first time in Sri Lanka’s history as the very first organisation for those who left and wish to leave the religion of Islam was formed on 30 Dec 2016 at an undisclosed location closer to Colombo. Meeting for the first time as a group, more..

BBQ turns toxic one dies, two hospitalized

Jan 16 (DM) One person had died and another two hospitalized following inhaling toxic fumes after cooking chicken on a BBQ, inside a room at a lodge in Nuwara Eliya. The deceased had been identified as 39-year-old resident of Nittambuwa. The three men from Nittambuwa, who had left for Nuwara Eliya on a trip had lodged at a house at Hawa Eliya on Friday. “They had used the BBQ to roast the chicken and later they brought the barbecue grill inside their room for heating and had fallen sleep," more..

Drone crashes into Ruwanweliseya

Jan 16 (CT) Reports came of a rogue drone camera, that was flown above the Ruwanweli Maha Seya Stupa, which had suddenly crashed onto the Sae Maluwa, after its operator lost control of it. The quad copter drone had been recording shots of the historic location when it had flown out of its radio control range. This has caused the drone to crash and fall, eventually hitting the Stupa. The incident it is said had occurred last Saturday. more..

RPC estates leaving much to be desired, says agricultural specialist

Jan 16 (Island) Agricultural Specialist, Consultant, to The Ministry of Plantation Industries, Jivaka Atapattu, who we interviewed last week, said Regional Plantation Company Estates' performances were now not at their best. Jivaka Atapattu, in his position as Consultant to the Industry, personally assigned by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Plantations, Naveen Dissanayake, was an experienced Planter who also served with Ranjan Wijeratne. more..

Sri Lanka decades behind ETCA with India, just catching up now: Economist

Jan 16 (DM) Sri Lanka is at least three decades behind in getting into a much deeper trade, services and investment agreement with India, and therefore the country is now in a catch-up phase of the lost opportunities through its proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), according to an international economist.   “Sri Lanka, in my view, is playing catch-up. When we liberalised in 1977, I would have thought, if I were designing Sri Lanka’s trade strategy, more..

All systems go for Krrish square project construction

Jan 16 (ST) The US$ 650 million-Krrish square project construction is now underway following the final payment (about Rs. 690 million or US$5.3 million) plus fines for the delayed payments being made, top officials of the BOI and UDA confirmed. Krrish Transworks Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, local company of the Krrish Group signed a supplementary agreement with the BOI on Nov 29, 2016 to complete the project in 48 months, more..

Hayleys unveils Sri Lanka’s largest capacity solar power plant in Welikande

Jan 16 (FT) Hayleys Group jointly with Windforce Ltd., in the forefront of renewable energy in the country, has commissioned their solar power plant. Located in Welikande in the Pollonnaruwa District, the 10 mega watt solar plant has been installed with a solar tracking system that will follow the sun’s rays to ensure an incrementally higher yield of approximately 20% energy, than the fixed tilt system. At full capacity, the plant could contribute 22,000 mega watt hours to the national grid more..

Azwer accuses govt of anti-Muslim attitude

Jan 16 (FT) A.H.M. Azwer, Secretary General of the Muslim Progressive Front has said that the Muslim MPs and Ministers in this Govt have been forced by this so-called Yahapalanaya to flee hither and thither as if being stung by a hive of wasps of Sigiriya. “They are made to run from pillar to post to make representations to the Government regarding the precarious and pathetic position the Muslim community is facing today as a result of anti-religious and racist elements more..

‘Sri Lanka interested in buying oil from Iran’

Jan 16 (PT) Minister Susil Premajayantha told Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that Sri Lanka hopes to resume oil imports from Iran after resolving the outstanding financial issues between the two countries pertaining to previous purchases. Premajayantha, on a visit to Iran upon the invitation of Iran’s Vice President for Science and Technology Affairs Sorena Sattari, also expressed hope that energy relations more..

President to take control of Lotteries

Jan 16 (CT) Lotteries Board sources say that preparations are underway to bring National Lotteries Board and the Development Lotteries Board under the purview of President Sirisena. It is reported that the President has informed State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena to look into the present problematic situation at the Boards and submit a report to him. A special discussion is due to be held tomorrow between the Minister & Lottery Marketing Representatives Association. more..

SL losing ground in Russian tea market

Jan 16 (EN) Sri Lankan tea brands are losing their share of the tea market in Russia, one of the main buyers of Ceylon tea, a brokerage has warned, noting that crude oil prices will have an impact on demand. “Sri Lankan brands have lost share and domestic brands are gaining ground,” Asia Siyaka Commodities said in a report. It said that Russia’s World Trade Organisation obligations to Sri Lanka on duty reductions on value added teas had been met by end-2016. more..

TUs object to GSP+ assessments on labour rights

Jan 16 (ST) European Commission (EC) this week recommended the restoration of the trade concessions for SL but came under criticism from local trade unions who believe the core issues of labour rights are yet to be addressed. The mere fact that EC has included labour rights especially freedom of association and collective bargaining indicates that this too was an issue similar to the matter on human rights, FTZ Workers Union President said. more..

Chambers and businesses briefed on commercial mediation

Jan 16 (Island) Introduction of Commercial Mediation will offer Sri Lanka’s business community an optional dispute resolution mechanism in addition to litigation and Arbitration, both of which are riddled with delay and expense. Mediation, if practiced in strict compliance with its intrinsic principles offers a process that will hopefully be devoid of those evils, said Mrs. Dhara Wijayatilake, CEO of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. She made this observation, at a preliminary briefing convened by more..

SL’s horrors away from home continue

Jan 16 (Island) When  the national cricket team took wings to South Africa in early December, no one expected them to set the world alight. This was a young side whereas South Africa had just thrashed Australia down under. You would have been happier had the team drawn a Test match. Least, you would have been satisfied with a  couple of individual performances. But what the Sri Lankans gave us in South Africa was a shambolic performance. Not a single batsman was able to score a century! more..

Singapore retailer Mustafa returns to SL

Jan 16 (ST) The BOI is stepping on the pedal to revive Sri Lanka’s investment climate, facilitating clearances for several stalled projects worth millions of dollars in addition to new Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) this year. Several investors who abandoned their projects during the previous regime are returning to revive their stalled projects due to confidence building efforts of the BOI, chairman of BOI Upul Jayasuriya said. more..

SriLankan Airlines plans daily Muscat-Colombo flights

Jan 16 (TOO) With growing trade and tourism links between the Sultanate and Sri Lanka, SriLankan Airlines, is to introduce daily flights between Muscat and Colombo. Siva Ramachandran, chief commercial officer, SriLankan Airlines, said that the daily flights are planned from April/May this year. “Currently, we are flying five times a week. But from this summer we will be flying seven times a week as we want to give our passengers increased connectivity,” he said. more..

Kumara, Lakmal a glimmer amid catalogue of pain

Jan 16 (CI) Sri Lanka were beaten by increasingly convincing margins through the series and ESPNcricinfo looks at whether anyone emerged with credit. 7: Lahiru Kumara (two matches, 11 wickets at 26.45): Bustling, intense, well-built, refreshingly cranky, Sri Lanka have unearthed a bowler of real potential here, and if they can salvage a long-term match-winning quick from the wreckage of this series, it might almost have been worth it. There are plenty of wayward balls for now, more..

What’s cooking in the Lankan cricket pot?

Jan 16 (ST) Certainly this is more serious than we thought it was. Though the prevailing silence is eerie, by now, Lankan hierarchy should have been screaming foul and bringing the house down. Still, though unacceptable, it happens to only countries like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. But, replacing the Nov 2017 Sri Lanka tour of South Africa with a series against India, is preposterous. To add to it, Future Tours Programme (FTP) more..

Yahapalanaya 2017: A Dismal Anniversary

Jan 16 (Island) The MP for Kurunegala, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has announced a wish, intent and threat, a three-in-one package for the New Year. Perhaps it is also a resolution; that is to topple the existing Sirisena/Wickramasinghe coalition and to establish a new govt. Its composition and contours have not been defined but it is a certainty, that the new regime he is contemplating will be totally controlled by him, even if he does not have an official position in it. more..

Playing Good Cop, Bad Cop on war crime probe – but to what end?

Jan 16 (SL) The way the two major Govt camps led by SLFP President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe are behaving, it looks as if there is no communication at all between the nation’s top two leaders. For, both camps, and more especially their respective leaders seem to be relying ever more on the media for communicating their respective and oftentimes differing ideas on issues, and not just to the nation or their allies and political Opposition alike. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Editorial: Curry leaves, crowbars and Maithri

Jan 16 (Island) The SLFP (Maithri faction), which is toying with the idea of fielding President Maithripala Sirisena at the next presidential election, has been testing the water for the last few days. Some of its prominent members have, at media briefings, said the party wants him to contest again. Interestingly, not even former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who, together with others, helped Sirisena secure the presidency, seems enamoured of the idea. She has recalled, at a recent media conference, more..

Prez & PM paint their rainbow Blue & Green

Jan 16 (ST) Gala of ceremonial openings to herald economic boom plus the unveiling of Sirisena’s secret weapon to crush Rajapaksa threat The New Year sparklers came belated but they came nevertheless when both President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe emerged from their sullen corners last week, firing all guns in unison to spray paint their rainbow blue and green. Rajapaksa’s declaration two weeks ago that he will topple the govt this year seems to have finally jolted more..

Sarath Silva Slams Tinkering in Law/Constitution

Jan 16 (CT) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says State lands can only be alienated by the President under Article 33 of the Constitution. Land is a provincial subject under Article 18 in the Provincial Council schedule even though it is not implemented fully. Q: You criticized the govt's plan to alienate some lands for the Chinese special economic zone project. Are there any legal flaws in that agreement? A: It was Upali Wijewardena more..

Differing from the EC in its sunny reliance on govt assurances

Jan 16 (ST) European Commission’s proposal this week to the European Union (EU) regarding the restoration of GSP (General System of Preference) Plus to Sri Lanka’s export market did not carry with it, any element of particular surprise. This was a step long predicted. And as a rider, it must be said that the deprivation of the trade benefit to the country under Rajapaksa Presidency was not due to an overriding zeal on the part of the EU to ensure good governance at the time. more..

How Sri Lanka stalled Hillary Clinton and made Donald Trump win

Jan 16 (SL) On the Instructions of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, I along with MP Dullas Alahapperuma went to the US during the presidential election. We informed  the Sri Lankan community that Hillary Clinton constantly interfered in affairs of Sri Lanka. When we were about to finish off the War, it was dubbed the greatest human tragedy in the world……  It would be detrimental to the interests of Sri Lanka if she were to be elected as president - Bandula Gunawardene. more..

Kandy Hospital gears for potential outbreak of deadly influenza

Jan 16 (SO) Following three deaths due to the (A) HINI influenza virus at the Kandy General Hospital Kidney ward, hospital authorities have swiftly moved in to introduce several emergency measures to prevent further spread of the infectious virus. Two kidney patients at Kandy Hospital died of Influenza H1N1 on Wednesday (12). Two of the three deaths reported from the Kandy Teaching hospital were caused by H1N1. more..

Heavy traffic fines and loss of life

Jan 16 (CT) Sri Lankans faced a shocking and distressing spell during the LTTE conflict when the death smell was in the air persistently. A few decades ago, prior to such an abhorrent phase, the sound of the word death or having to attend a funeral managed to generate apprehension and fear among the people because death occurred in a neighbourhood only once in a blue moon. For the first time people in Sri Lanka were traumatised having to witness cold blooded murdered or more..

A new morality in the new year?

Jan 16 (CT) So it's 2017, the year of disaster as predicted by the ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He categorically told the media that the govet would be toppled and he would come back to power. God forbid! An addendum to this was Ranil Wickremesinghe saying he could try it while he (RW) was away in Switzerland. People started criticizing this comment even more than Rajapaksa's threat. They accused the PM of not caring about the country, frivolously belittling major issues. more..