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Yahapalana Corruption: Minister goes for emergency spot purchases

Dec 10 (ST) A delay in ordering fertiliser stocks on time has compelled agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake to seek ministerial approval to waive laid-down tender procedures. He now wants to complete the procurement within seven days thus eliminating the seven day appeal period in terms of tender procedures. This is after it came to light that the company to which an award had been more..

Local council polls: Stern warning to public officials

Dec 10 (ST) Public officials who fail to prevent the misuse of state resources or property during the upcoming LG elections will be liable to a fine or jail term, a senior official said. Additional Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohamed said that the Commission, in contrast to previous elections of only issuing directives and guidelines, would be issuing a gazette notification thereby giving it legal effect. more..

4 kg of heroin a day for 45,000 users: Report

Dec 10 (ST) One in every 257 Sri Lankan was arrested for drug related offences last year, reveals a report containing shocking statistics which stress the need for more far-reaching measures to check the disturbing situation. Dangerous Drug Control Board’s report reveals that last year, 79,378 suspects were arrested for narcotic drug related offences, a majority of them (47%) from Western Province, SL’s most populous region. more..

Kitulgala be dammed

Dec 10 (CT) Environmentalists are protesting over a mini-hydro power plant that for the first time will be constructed across a main river in Kitulgala. The mini-hydro power plant is to be constructed close to the Kitulgala forest across the Kelani River. The site earmarked for the mini hydro power project is where the river starts forming into the Kelani River and will generate 7.3 mega watts. There are 39 species of fish in the area. more..

Bhikkhunis face challenges due to official non recognition by Buddhist Affairs Dept.

Dec 10 (Island) The challenges faced by Bhikkhunis in travelling overseas for Buddhism related activities has been brought to light by the Siri Sanghamitta Foundation as nuns in Sri Lanka continue to clamor for recognition by the Department of Buddhist Affairs – a move resisted by the Mahanayake Theras of the country’s three Nikayas. Foundation’s president, Ven. Maharagama Uppalawanna Bhikshuni, has brought to more..

Central Bank awaits treasury clearance to tap global markets

Dec 10 (CT) SL will tap into international markets under favourable market conditions as early as next year to build the required additional buffer reserves stocks to face a series of foreign loan repayments in 2019, CB officials said. However, they added that the ultimate borrowing decisions lay with the State Treasury; they were waiting for final Treasury clearance to tap global markets and raise funds. more..

PTA detainees Jeyanthan’s Story: Waiting to be either charged or released

Dec 10 (CT) The nightmare for the Rasadurai family began last April when officers, who claimed they were from the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) of the Police, arrested one of their sons and took away two motorbikes and a lorry that were in their yard. Chavakachcheri family had acquired the vehicles on lease a few months earlier. The two sons in the family, Jeyanthan and Dushyanthan, more..

Musical chairs at Lanka Sathosa: Fifth successive chairman steps down

Dec 10 (Island) Lanka Sathosa’s fifth successive chairman within a space of 34 months stepped down on Friday amidst speculation that he buckled under intense pressure exerted by politically powerful forces that hold sway in the govt institution which runs the biggest consumer retail chain in the country. The departure of T.M.K.B. Tennakoon, a retired Industry and Commerce Ministry secretary, didn’t come as a surprise, officials said, more..

‘Not relevant for Treasury to decide whether people should drink alcohol or not’

Dec 10 (Island) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the Opposition failed to criticize the Budget 2018 in a logical manner. He further said that a budget prepared by any govt naturally receives thorough criticisms of the Opposition. "What we have seen is the Opposition always blasts a budget and vehemently criticizes it. But this time we did not see such criticism from the Opposition against Minister more..

Lotteries Board bosses: Not lucky winners, but always winners

Dec 10 (ST) In lottery draws, the winners are always the lucky ones. Overnight they become millionaires. However, there is also another category of winners who are lucky all the time the draws are held. Those are the top level management and staff at National Lotteries Board (NLB), one of two premier state-owned lottery operating enterprises under the Ministry of Finance. Their directors and senior staff are drawing more..

NO to fundamentalism, racial-extremism and neo-populism

Dec 10 (Island) Ex-president MR is on record that Gota’s arrest on trumped up charges is imminent. Joint Opposition-cum-Rajapaksa (JO-Pak) mouthpieces, hoping to stave off an arrest, warn of an almighty Sinhala-Buddhist backlash if he is locked up. This implies that a strong case which will hold up in court exists and JO-Pak is endeavouring to stampede the Sirisena-Ranil duumvirate - not a difficult task – to halt action. If burn-loot-rape gangs are let loose by JO-Pak or the BBS more..

The corrupt quartet in Washington Forum: Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ukraine

Dec 10 (Island) The media took time to report on the inaugural meeting of the Global Forum on Asset Recovery (GFAR) held over three days last week, at the World Bank Hq in Washington. There was no advance media coverage of the Washington gathering and even the govt would appear to have kept mum about its participation in it. The Global Forum was hosted by the govts of the US and the UK with support from World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (SARI). more..

Success at local polls remains a priority for Sirisena

Dec 10 (ST) One evening early this week, Basil Rajapaksa, a key player in the SLPP, was en route to his home in Battaramulla after attending a meeting in Dehiwala. He had reached the Kohuwala junction when his mobile phone rang. As an aide explained, he was in his Land Cruiser with others including a media person. He was reluctant to answer. When it rang non-stop, he responded though he was not sure who the caller was. more..

ICC says claims of war crimes by UK troops have reasonable basis

Dec 10 (ST) The chief prosecutor at the international criminal court in The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, has declared there is a reasonable basis to believe that UK soldiers committed war crimes against detainees during the Iraq conflict. The announcement on Monday means the ICC will press ahead with its investigation into claims that British troops abused and unlawfully killed prisoners after the US-led invasion. It came in a 74-page report delivered in New York to the annual assembly more..

New Foreign exchange Act to help build forex reserves

Dec 10 (SO) The newly enacted Foreign Exchange Act through the relaxation of foreign currency regulations will facilitate the country to build up its foreign exchange reserves as the end result, a senior Central Bank official said last week. “If our department at the Central Bank did not facilitate this, there would have been severe repercussions in terms of outflows such as our businesses would have been turned away and looked to invest elsewhere, as this is the age of globalization,” more..

Part-EPF-owned company ordered to pay Rs. 1.3 billion as damages to Italian firm

Dec 10 (ST) A Singapore-based arbitration tribunal has ordered SinoLanka Hotels and Spa (Pvt) Ltd–a subsidiary of Canwill Holdings (Pvt) Ltd of which the shareholders are Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Litro Gas Lanka Ltd and the EPF–to pay Euros 7.432 million (Rs 1.3 billion) in damages to an Italian company for the 2015 termination of an interior decoration contract for Grand Hyatt, Colombo. more..

Oman State Council delegation returns from Sri Lanka visit

Dec 10 (MD) A delegation from the State Council, led by Dr Yahya al Mantheri, its chairman, returned from an official visit to Sri Lanka on Friday. During the visit from Dec 4-8, the State Council delegation held high-level discussions with SL leaders to take relations to a new level. On Dec 5, the State Council chairman and the delegation met President Maithripala Sirisena, to discuss cooperation between Oman and Sri Lanka and means of developing them further in various fields. more..

Supply of coconuts to Army: Treasury faces huge loss

Dec 10 (CT) Treasury will have to face a loss of Rs 1.5 billion in 2018, due to contravening the tender procedure for supplying coconuts for Armed Forces' meals, JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake revealed. Participating in the Committee Stage Debate of the Appropriation Bill, he said, Army requires 55,000 kg of coconuts daily. "According to tender conditions, Army purchases coconut at a fixed price of Rs. 39 per kilogram. 98% of the total coconut demand is being met by a certain supplier. more..

Railway Unions adamant, despite essential service declaration

Dec 10 (CT) Obdurate and defiant Railway Unions yesterday vowed to continue with their strike till their demands are met by the Govt, despite the Govt declaring the Railway as an essential service on Friday night. "This is a very serious situation and the railway employees just can't strike work arbitrarily, compromising the innocent railway commuters," Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation more..

JVP leader wants media to be more responsible in its reporting

Dec 10 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip and JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka urged the media to be more responsible in its reporting, keeping in mind the enormous influence it exerts on the public. "Unlike a time when the media consisted of only newspapers, there is radio, television as well as websites that disseminate news today. Hence, it is important for journalists as well as proprietors and the govt which controls the state run media to be more mindful," he said. more..

Kamindu to lead Sri Lanka U19s

Dec 10 (ST) Richmond College Galle allrounder Kamindu Mendis has been selected to lead the Sri Lanka U19 side for the forthcoming ICC U19 Youth World Cup scheduled to be played from January 13 to February 3 2018 in New Zealand. Mendis will be the second successive player from Richmond to lead the Sri Lanka U19 side following his teammate Charith Asalanka who led the 2016 Sri Lanka U19 side at the 2016 ICC Youth World Cup which was held in Bangladesh. more..

Debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines faces closure

Dec 10 (ST) SriLankan Airlines faces closure in the larger interest of the country’s economy if tangible and sustainable restructuring cannot be achieved, its Chairman Ajit Dias has warned. Pointing out that the airlines’ principal lenders, two state-run banks, are at a risk situation, he has said in a message to all SriLankan employees that there were only two options. One was to restructure the company in such a way as to attract an more..

SL–Iran banking transactions to resume

Dec 10 (ST) Sri Lanka –Iran banking transactions will resume soon paving way towards boosting investment and trade between the two countries after the lifting of US economic sanctions against Iran in 2016, Iranian Embassy sources confirmed. Banking issues in trade between the two countries are still to be resolved, a spokesman of the embassy told the Business Times adding that the issues in banking transactions will be sorted out within the next two or three weeks. more..

Changing of the guard at John Keells

Dec 10 (ST) John Keells Holdings (JKH), SL’s largest listed conglomerate, will see some significant changes at the top in the next 12 months including the expected ascension of Krishan Balendra as the new group chairman. Company sources said that while Mr. Balendra as chairman-designate has been announced internally, it was unclear whether he would take over the position of Deputy Chairman with the retirement of Ajit Gunewardene, current Deputy Chairman in end 2017. more..

Poor improvement in HR record: Hardly any change from previous two years

Dec 10 (CT) Statistics on complaints against human rights violations registered at Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, stand at 4,121 in the first two quarters of 2017 and indicate a similar status quo or poor improvement in the HR record compared to the previous two years. In 2015 and 2016, total number of registered human rights violation cases stood at 8,946 and 9,171 respectively. more..

Kumar Sangakkara Signed as the Brand Ambassador for Renault

Dec 10 (Island) After the successful launch of the Renault brand in Sri Lanka led by the Attractive, Innovative and Affordable Renault KWID, in partnership with Associated Motorways Private Limited (AMW), there is another important milestone that will excite both automotive and cricket enthusiasts – the signing of the global cricketing superstar, Kumar Sangakkara as the brand ambassador in Sri Lanka. The association marks the union of two iconic brands that are more..

Tea, rubber, spice exports to Korea soon

Dec 10 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday announced that Sri Lanka and South Korea were setting up a programme to commence exporting tea, rubber and spices to South Korea. Participating at the National Tea Awards Ceremony 2017 as Chief Guest, the President lamented that despite South Korea being one of the leading countries in terms of tea consumption and despite having close relations with Sri Lanka, SL Diplomats, exporters and past govts hadn't made any more..

Sri Lankan shipwrecks, new tourist attraction

Dec 10 (ST) SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will propose to the govt to encourage shipwreck exploration as a new tourism offering. “We are proposing to the govt to have through Public Private Partnership (PPP) unit to study this sport for the exploration for tourists,” SLTPB Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara said. He explained that this would be an additional tourism offering and one of the new products more..

Slimline BC, Unichela BC retain Clifford Cup

Dec 10 (ST) Slimline BC and Unichela BC two clusters of MAS Holdings who are also the defending champions retained the Clifford Cup for yet another year when they emerged champions at the 91st Men and Women Clifford Cup Boxing Championship which concluded at the Royal MAS Arena boxing ring in Reid Avenue yesterday. In the men’s category Slimline BC secured six gold medals with W.A.C.I. Perera, U.N.K. Amarawansa, R.M.A.B. Gunatilleke, P.V.D.D. Saparamadu, more..

On Kohli’s batting future, a big bet by Sanga

Dec 10 (SO) India cricket captain Virat Kohli notched up 2818 runs across all formats in international cricket in 2017 - the third-highest total ever registered in a calendar year. Former Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara (2868 in 2014) and former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting (2833 in 2005) occupy the number one and two positions respectively on that list. With Kohli rested from SL ODIs and T20Is, 3rd Test against Chandimal's side was his last outing of the year. more..

Trimble Inc land survey contract: Surveyors cry foul, but accused of inefficiency

Dec 10 (CT) Govt has decided to assign, via an unsolicited proposal, surveying of 3.6 million parcels of State-owned land to an American company, Trimble Inc. Survey Department has launched trade union action objecting to this project. Another fact that has been revealed through this trade union action is the inefficiency of the Survey Department when it comes to surveying State-owned land. However, an official of more..

Hambantota Port PPP will generate FDI, create exports and jobs: Mangala

Dec 10 (Island) Hon. Chairman, I am delighted to begin my speech with the good news that today we received US$ 292 million as the first tranche of the Hambantota Port PPP joint venture. This is but the first step in realizing the true commercial value of the Port after 7 long years. The joint venture PPP partnership with China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPH), a member of China Merchant Group which owns a network of 49 ports across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean, will enable more..

Jeewan Mendis back in contention

Dec 10 (ST) Spinning all-rounder Jeewan Mendis has been named in the 20-man squad selected for the 3-match T20 series against India. The series will be played after the ODI series which begins today. SL has named a full strength squad, having sent a depleted side to Pakistan after several first choice SL cricketers refused to tour Lahore for the final T20. Mendis, 34, last played a T20I in 2013 but it’s not sure whether the former Thomian cricketer would make it to the final squad of 15. more..

Can Thisara’s men halt the purge of losses

Dec 10 (ST) After two successive 5-0 whitewashes, SL will eye for a change of fortunes when the 3-match ODI series against India kicks off at India’s most scenic and clean venue—Dharamsala in the backdrop of the pristine Dhauladhar Range in India. Sri Lanka has endured a tough time in ODI cricket, having conceded 12 matches on the trot and a special effort is needed from the islanders to avoid further humiliation more..

Thisara wants something special from SL

Dec 10 (SO) A 9-0 clean sweep by a familiar rival at home is a record that will hurt anyone for a long time. Same with Sri Lanka, who were defeated in Tests, ODIs and T20s by India in August-Sept. Two months down the line, the story hasn’t changed much. India beat Sri Lanka 1-0 in Tests at home and now starts the three-ODI series, beginning on Sunday, as favourites. The visitors have appointed Thisara Perera as the new captain in a side that sees the return of several senior players. more..

Being prepared

Dec 10 (ST) Sitting down to write about public holidays in 2018, I am halted midway when Kussi Amma Sera brings in the morning tea and engages in a conversation. Annoying as it can be, I engage, since trying to shoo….….shoo her away creates a bigger ruckus (cooking angrily in a noisy kitchen), as I have bitterly learnt from a previous experience. As I take a long sip of Pure Ceylon Tea and imbibe the aroma (how long will it be Pure Ceylon Tea or transform to Partially Pure Ceylon Tea more..