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Indo-Lanka tension over JF-17 Pakistan deal

Dec 6 (CT) Govt is facing mounting pressure from its powerful neighbour India over a defence deal Sri Lanka is to enter into with Pakistan. India has expressed its strong opposition to a deal SL Govt entered into with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to purchase 10 JF-17 combat aircraft. Deal was entered into apparently when former Air Force Commander Jayalath Weerakkody was serving as SL High Commissioner in Pakistan. more..

Maithripala Sirisena Parliament Speech

Foreign investor may get 5,000 acres on lease in Sri Lanka: FM

Dec 6 (Hindu) Land to a foreign investor up to a maximum of 5,000 acres and relax the criteria in respect of projects which are labour intensive with the focus on job creation, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Earlier, the lease tax was very stiff, Mr. Karunanayake said. A foreign firm can do business without paying 100 per cent tax on leasing of land, though they would not be able to buy land in the island nation. The only stipulation for the investors getting 99-year-long lease more..

Sri Lanka to attract more Russians, Europeans for winter

Dec 6 (ST) The newly appointed Tourism Advisory Board held an emergency meeting at the Tourism Ministry this week to discuss the opportunities available in Russia as a result of the halting of flights to Middle Eastern destinations and the security crisis gripping Europe. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga who acted quickly to seize the marketing opportunities for Sri Lanka sought the views of the industry leaders on how best to take advantage of the situation and more..

Yahapalana Deal: Ravi legitimizes vehicle assembly racket

Dec 6 (CT) Allegations have surfaced that the govt and the Ministry of Finance (led by Minister Ravi Karunanayake) have in the Budget 2016 proposed to legitimize a project where vehicles are assembled using used components of used (second hand) motor vehicles for the benefit of one private company. The same project had previously been terminated by Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera. more..

FSP asks PM to grant Kumar citizenship

Dec 6 (CT) FSP is reported to have held discussions with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister S.B. Nawinna last Friday in an effort to secure Sri Lankan citizenship for its leader Premakumar Gunaratnam. The Controller of Emigration and Immigration Nihal Ranasinghe, who also attended the discussion had noted that AG Yuwanjana Wijethilaka had already advised not to entertain an appeal for SL citizenship by Kumar Guneratnam, following a request to that effect by his party last February. more..

BASEL Committee to help CIABOC, FCID

Dec 6 (CT) The govt has decided to get assistance from the Swiss based BASEL Committee to probe the whereabouts of billions of rupees stashed away by the previous regime in overseas banks and financial establishments. BASEL will be approached for assistance by the CIABOC, the FCID and the CID as well. BASEL is an independent non-profit oriented organization which develops systems to combat corruption and financial crimes in State and private sectors. more..

Yahapalana Deal: Controversial Lycamobile boss here for Hutch deal

Dec 6 (ST) Amid a ringing controversy, Britain based Lycamobile owner, SL-born millionaire businessman Subaskaran Allirajah, arrived in SL for meetings related to a possible business agreement with Hutchison Telecom Lanka. Hutch, as it is called, has been up for sale for several years. It was nearly snapped up by SLC-owned Mobitel under previous Govt but Mahinda Rajapaksa, the then President, cancelled the sale. more..

Parents, teachers, MPs tear apart uniform voucher system

Dec 6 (ST) The distribution of vouchers to buy school uniforms instead of giving school-children material got off to a shaky start with some of the children not receiving the vouchers. Parents who were told to accompany children of smaller grades to collect the vouchers had to wait for hours while some of them were told to come another day as the documents were not ready. The Government decided to issue vouchers in a bid to cut down the cost of the programme. more..

Thajudeen’s killers identified: CID

Dec 6 (CT) CID has identified National rugby star Wassim Thajudeen's killers. CID sources said that however this is yet to be confirmed by Court when hearings into the case are next held. The identified suspects will be arrested as soon as the CID receives a Court Order. Colombo Chief JMO told Colombo Magistrate's Court last Wednesday that the victim had been dumped on the passenger seat on the left side of the driver's seat, before the accident was allegedly staged. more..

After the Budget, alarm bells for Prez, PM

Dec 6 (ST) Wednesday’s two thirds majority vote for the second reading of the budget in Parliament portended good signs. It is a salutary forerunner to abolish the executive presidency and introduce a new Constitution. Numbers in Parliament for its passage is not at issue at least not now. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is to move a resolution in Parliament next month for House to sit as a Constitutional Council for this purpose. more..

Wide awake!

Dec 6 (SO) The Human Rights Commission is now wide awake, it seems. The call by the Commission for disciplinary action against police officers involved in the violent dispersal of students protesting in Ward Place, Colombo, on Oct 29, and the Commission's outright conclusion that the police had indeed violated the constitutional rights of these demonstrators, is yet another hint of the refreshing possibilities under a genuine yahapaalanaya (good governance). more..

Budget keeps good governance in the saddle

Dec 6 (SL) The presentation of the annual budget within three months of taking office was a tremendous challenge to the Yahapalanaya - Good Governance – govt for many reasons. For the first time in the post-Independence history of the country, the two main opposing parties of the country came together to form a govt. There were no agreed basic principles of governance other than the broad framework in which a democracy functions such as commitment to law and order, agreement on more..

Abolishing the Executive Presidency: It has to be done as a single issue -GL

Dec 6 (SO) Q: The govt is now drafting a new Constitution, people have given a mandate to abolish the Executive Presidency. Do you think this is the right time to do that? A: A Constitution is not cast out of stone. It has to respond to changing needs. The drafting of a new Constitution is a desirable exercise. We support that. You asked about the abolition of the Executive Presidency, I think there is strong public more..

Lane laws strictly implemented on more roads

Dec 6 (DM) Police said today the lane law regulation which was already in effect in Colombo would be strictly implemented along Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Duplication Road and Highlevel Road from Nugegoda to Colombo from tomorrow. Additional police officers will be deployed to oversee drivers adhered to the regulations. Police had strictly implemented the traffic lane laws in Colombo especially more..

Uncapped Vishwa to replace injured Prasad

Dec 6 (CI) Uncapped left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando has been named as a replacement for the injured Dhammika Prasad in Sri Lanka's Test squad for the two-match series in New Zealand. Prasad sustained a back injury during the tour game against New Zealand Board President's XI in Queenstown, where he bowled only four overs for 20 runs. Fernando has featured in Sri Lanka's Test squads to the UAE and Bangladesh in 2014 more..

Transport reforms seen delayed by politics

Dec 6 (EN) A Sri Lankan transport expert has called for a change in the country’s policy on vehicle imports saying excess capacity in many forms of road transport and unsuitable equipment raised costs with reforms delayed by politics. The country was spending 500 billion rupees importing mostly road vehicles and another 300 billion rupees on fuel imports, said Amal Kumarage, Senior Professor of the Moratuwa University’s more..

Police baffled by bodies in murder mysteries

Dec 6 (ST) The discovery of bodies in public locations in the city and outstations is worrying police, with mystery surrounding many of the murders. The corpses have been found in lakes, on roadsides, abandoned landsites and beaches over the past few months. Last Monday, the police emergency and the Slave Island Police received telephone calls claiming that a body was floating in the Beira Lake in Colombo. more..

Ads to the woes of the Police

Dec 6 (ST) Worrying about their image in the public eye has become as big a problem for the Police as maintaining law and order. Not surprisingly when some of their top brass are accused of murder, treasure hunting or simply engaging in bribery and corruption. Now, a new issue has added to their woes: Advertisements, particularly in the electronic media, portraying them in bad light have become a cause for worry. more..

Thajudeen Murder: Verdict on Dec 10

Dec 6 (SO) Ending months of controversy over the alleged cause of death of Wasim Thajudeen, the verdict of the magisterial inquiry into the case is due on December 10, authoritative legal sources said. The magistrate, considering the JMO report and other evidence presented before the court, will determine whether the rugby player’s death was a murder or the result of a fatal accident. more..

Bought oil ship rejected by CPC

Dec 6 (CT) The massive US$ 19.8 M loss incurred by the bunkering operations of the Hambantota Port for the relative short period of eight months has been due to SLPA procuring a shipment of oil which had been earlier rejected by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). There has been a clear lack of transparency coupled with irregularities in purchasing patterns, a confidential ministry audit report has revealed. more..

Patients patience wears thin with doctors’ strike

Dec 6 (ST) B.J. Japin, a 70-year-old from Wattala, arrived at the Colombo National Hospital on Thursday to seek treatment. Her blood pressure was high and she had been feeling unwell. She was not aware that the doctors were on strike and waited for more than an hour for a doctor before being told of the strike. “Doctors are holding us hostage to gain their demands,” Ms Japin said angrily. “Doctors are able to buy vehicles from money they earn more..

CEB TUs on the warpath against govt plans to outsource Lakvijaya

Dec 6 (ST) CEB trade unions are gearing for battle over Govt plans to establish a special purpose vehicle (SPV) or subsidiary company to run the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai. Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in his Budget speech that he proposes to establish an SPV for Lakvijaya to be securitised. “I emphasise that the ownership structure of the power plant will not change, but the CEB’s liquidity position will more..

The grand Gang Bang

Dec 7 (CT) Note from the Author – In case you don’t know the meaning of the word Gang Bang, do not search on the internet. The definition of the word is given below. Gang Bang means; 1. The successive rape of one person by a group of other people 2. An instance of Violence by involving members of a criminal gang. I believe that most of the adults in the country have watched the so called adults only movies screened in the shabby old theatres, at least once in their lifetime. more..

Tragedies: now and then

Dec 7 (SO) A great tragedy of the present day is how Members of Parliament, particularly the breakaway UPFA rebel group vociferously opposes almost everything in the 2016 Budget. Trade unions of administrative officers and the elevated GMOA pick out one or two points detrimental to them and depriving them of a privilege enjoyed. They then threaten and strike causing great harm to patients in the latter case. Why cannot people think a little of the country and not only of themselves more..

'Abolishing Exec. Presidency: Fundamental changes to constitutional structure needed'

Dec 7 (SO) Q: Is there a necessity for a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. India's Constitution was drafted in 1950 and even after 100 amendments, no govt thought of replacing it? A: In India, according to the Supreme Court, the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be changed. But in our case, 1978 Constitution was modeled on a presidential form of govt with a strong executive at the centre. Today there is a mandate for more..

Ranil-MR in secret meet as pro-Mahinda group dwindles

Dec 7 (SO) When President Maithripala Sirisena, former General Secretary of the SLFP, visited Paris before the Parliamentary election in 2010, the Paris Branch of his party was bitterly divided. Both factions of the Paris Branch of the SLFP attempted to hold separate meetings with the then General Secretary of the party who was visiting France on an official matter. President Sirisena, who had been in the party for nearly three decades, did not take too long to realize that an internal power struggle more..

Parents need to stand up for a value based education system

Dec 7 (CT) Education is simply considered as the science of living, opening the doors to a life full of opportunity and freedom. Education of the mind without the education of the heart is no education at all, is a famous quote by Aristotle. However, our educational institutions are designed to deliver just one side of the coin while completely ignoring the development of human values. Every single parent, rich or poor considers education as an important investment. more..

'I prefer to work in a laundry rather than crossing over'

Dec 7 (SL) Joint opposition MP Dullas Alahapperuma says that the reason they voted against the budget was purely because it is a budget that has failed the people of this country. He said that the people voted for this govt with a lot of faith but they have let down the people. He said that in spite of the government claims that the price of commodities had been reduced, nothing has been reduced that makes a difference to people. more..

Failing to contain fiscal deficit will undermine economy

Dec 7 (ST) The most serious deficiency of 2016 Budget is its failure to contain the fiscal deficit. The inability to contain the fiscal deficit below 5% of GDP would destabilise the economy, undermine the investment climate and retard economic growth and development. It weakens the investment climate and threatens economic growth. PM’s Economic Policy statement that preceded the budget had raised hopes among economists that this most fundamental economic problem would be more..

Dismissing magic formulas in restoring judicial integrity

Dec 7 (ST) In a major ironical twist unfolding before our eyes, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has seen fit to wax eloquent on the importance of judicial integrity this week. Addressing a press conference, she is reported to have said that, over the last decade, the Sri Lankan public in general and she in particular, had lost confidence in the judiciary. It was observed by her that ‘the Lokka’ had to give just one call to obtain whatever judicial orders that he wished. more..

'People will feel Budget burden by January'

Dec 7 (SL) The JVP has raised the strongest objection thus far, announcing the party will collectively vote against the 2016 budget. JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that the party has no faith in the present govt and the proposed budget. While acknowledging some of the concessions brought in by the budget he said that this was not enough and the people will feel the weight of burden of this budget only by Jan. more..

Editorial: End this hypocrisy

Dec 7 (Island) A lot of hypocrisy surrounds the issues of drinking and gambling in this country and looking at these problems pragmatically has been beyond the abilities of successive govt of Sri Lanka. We are a predominantly Buddhist country and the majority of our population pays lip service to the precept of abstaining from the consumption of intoxicants. But alcohol has been a massive cash cow not only for our previous colonial rulers but for post-Independence govts that followed them. more..

The Megapolisation of Colombo: Is a compromise on Port City achievable?

Dec 7 (Island) It is now official. What began incrementally is now a full scale launch of the Western Megapolis Masterplan project. When completed, fifteen years from now as is being planned and promised, Sri Lanka will have its own Singapore in the Western Province, with the old City of Colombo as the hub for a cluster of satellite cities: the Administrative City (in Kaduwela, Kadawtha, Kottawa); the Aero City (Katunayake-Minuwangoda); the Forest City (Kalutara); more..

'Policies of unity govt in line with SLFP policies'

Dec 7 (SL) Although they are with the unity govt, in instances where decisions are made contradictory to the welfare of the people and the country, SLFP will stand up for the people assured Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne. Most of the policies of the unity govt are in line with the policies of the SLFP. Explaining the need to attract foreign investment the minister said that although the tax on purchasing land by foreign nationals is lifted, more..

CSE eyes more global investors through new CCP

Dec 7 (LBO) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is aiming for more international investors by introducing a new risk management system through establishing a Central Counter Party (CCP) system, a senior official said. “We need to manage the risk of the CSE – this is an area that we are lacking in,” Vajira Kulathilake, chairman CSE said. “We are in the process of implementing a CCP which will reduce risk drastically and once we get this more global investors will be coming here.” more..

Getting Sri Lanka's budgets on track: IMF mission chief

Dec 7 (EN) Constructing a good budget is like building a good house. The foundation needs to be solid, high-quality materials make a big difference to durability, and careful craftsmanship will bring both stability and confidence to weather future storms. Similarly, budgets needed to be well grounded and credible, built with care to ensure both equity and support high levels of inclusive economic growth, and have enough room to adapt to shocks. Sri Lanka’s proposed budget brings many of more..

SriLankan to review aircraft order

Dec 7 (DN) SriLankan Airlines is on track to set up an Airline Maintenance and Repair Centre (MRO) with an Asian based airline counterpart at the Mattala airport, said CEO, Suren Ratwatte. He said that earlier negotiations with Lufthansa Techink a German company is no longer in progress since they have abandoned plans for SL and set up a centre in Manila. “Our talks with the Asian counterpart is progressing well,” more..

Shilpa 2015: Taking tradition to niche market

Dec 7 (Island) The annual National Crafts Exhibition, popularly known as Shilpa, organized by the National Crafts Council, under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce was unveiled last Thursday at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre. The exhibition which brought together a wide spectrum of traditional handicrafts including pottery, paintings, lace work, wood sculpture, cane work, bamboo work, handloom and masks, to name a few, concluded yesterday. more..

Bread prices may rise

Dec 7 (DM) Prices of bread and other bakery products could be increased in the near future, the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association warned. The president of the All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association said the prices could go up as a result of the Nation Building Tax being to 4%. He said Minister Ravi Karunanayake had turned a deaf ear to their request for a concession, though they had explained the situation to him both in writing and at a meeting held recently. more..