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Mahinda Kahandagamage arrested for cheque fraud

Dec 9 (AD) Former Chairman of the Federation of Self-Employed, Mahinda Kahandagamage, has been arrested by Cinnamon Garden Police in connection with a cheque fraud investigation. Suspect was arrested following a complaint lodged against him for allegedly cashing a cheque worth Rs 1,650,000 not belonging to him. The complaint states that Kahandagamage had swapped vehicles with another individual recently and that the former had cashed a cheque which had been inside more..

President instructs to develop Mahaweli farm lands

Dec 9 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena instructs officials to develop the Mahaweli farm lands to a profitable level in line with National Program on Food Production. President was speaking at the progress review meeting of Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Mahaweli Authority. President, as Minister of Mahaweli Development inspected the performance of Mahaweli Authority before participating in this meeting. more..

Sri Lanka imports plunge, trade gap shrinks and rupee sinks in September

Dec 9 (EN) Sri Lanka's imports fell 5.1% to US$ 1,582 million in Sept 2015 from a year earlier and the trade gap narrowed 4.1% to US$ 733.1 million data showed, but the rupee sank 5.9% amid heavy money printing. Exports also fell 5.9% to US$ 849.6 million. In dollar terms imports were down US$ 84.8 million in the month from a year earlier, while exports were down US$ 53.2 million. September import plunge and shrinking trade gap shatters a classical Mercantilist idea prevalent in SL more..

Public servants urged to shun corrupt practices

Dec 9 (CG) Secretary to the President, P B Abeykoon urged public servants to shun corrupt practices and help to raise the position of Sri Lanka as a nation against corruption globally. He said that Sri Lanka is currently labeled as No 35 in the Index of Corruption of the Transparency International and the country could raise that position at least by another 15 notches in a short time if public servants work with commitment to eradicate corrupt practices. Abeykoon stated this at a ceremony more..

Mahela made MCC honorary life member

Dec 9 (Yahoo) SL great Mahela Jayawardene has been made an honorary life member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). MCC, the owner of Lord's cricket ground and the guardian of the laws of cricket, stated that the invitation was in recognition of Mahela's stellar 18-year career. Mahela twice etched his name onto the Lord's honours board after making centuries against England in 2002 and 2006, more..

Govt gets down to expanding Palavi airport

Dec 9 (Island) Govt expects to construct three more domestic airports in Puttalam, Badulla and Digana within the next year as promised in the Budget 2016. Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that they had already visited domestic airport at Palavi in Puttalam. "We expect to redevelop Palavi domestic airport as the first of three projects"; he said, adding that it was very useful as Kalpitiya and surrounding area was a major tourist destination. more..

NZ ready to pounce on visitors in transition

Dec 9 (CI) What's Sri Lankan cricket without a little upheaval? Until the team landed in New Zealand, it had almost been a boring year. The usual board v players contract dispute failed to materialise in March. There have been no heated public exchanges involving administrators. Even the annual resignation of the head coach went off remarkably smoothly. Angelo Mathews had seemingly imparted some level-headed sense into the system. But really, is there any use Angelo? more..

Nimal takes on Welgama on CTB losses

Dec 9 (CG) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva today slammed former Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama for the losses suffered by the Sri Lanka Transport Board. He said that when the Sri Lanka Transport Board, also known as the CTB, was under the former Minister, it failed to pay EPF, ETF and gratuity to its employees. He said that the CTB owes several companies and is facing liabilities running into millions of rupees. more..

Shilpa 2015: An innovative experience blended with Sri Lankan Culture

Dec 10 (DM) Giving a memorable experience for those who appreciate the traditional handicraft industry, and also to those who would like to explore the rich Sri Lankan Culture and Heritage, Shilpa - National Handicraft Exhibition and Trade Fair, was opened at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre recently. Among the distinguished guests were the Minister, Rishad Badurdeen, Deputy Minister Champika Premadasa, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, more..

GMOA’s tax-free demand is unethical & manifestly wrong

Dec 10 (CT) GMOA, threatened trade union action to restore the tax-free permit facility for the doctors and tried to paralyze the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Administration. The govt capitulated under pressure restoring the tax-free permits for doctors. Permit holders had openly abused this tax-free permit scheme, since its inception for unjust enrichment by defrauding the govt revenue. As a lawyer and a public interest litigation activist I believe in the people’s right to know the inside untold story more..

'Delimitation unfair'

Dec 10 (CT) Deputy Minister and Chairman of ACMC, Amir Ali, who hails from Batticaloa is of the view that the delimitation process has not been fair for the Muslim community in the country, especially those who live outside North and East. He said that all the wrinkles in the present electoral system, including issues pertaining to the drawing of boundaries of electoral divisions, must be ironed out, and a newer electoral system more..

No life for SL woman to be stoned to death

Dec 10 (CT) As the birthplace of Islam and the site of Islam’s two holiest cities, Makka and Madina, Saudi Arabia have been dear to the hearts of a billion and half Muslims worldwide. However the autocratic tribal racist family regime there was installed by Britain, France and Zionist Jews, in the aftermath of World War 1. The concept of tribalism, monarch, royal family and family rule are contrary to Islamic teachings which uphold equality of men and women and the entire humanity more..

Enemy in action

Dec 10 (DM) “Sri Lanka will launch a special war crimes court early next year to investigate major atrocities during the bloody finale to its decades-long ethnic war, a top official said Tuesday. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who heads the office of national unity and reconciliation, said…tens of thousands of victims of the Tamil separatist conflict would not accept reconciliation unless war criminals are brought to justice. “…The special court should start its work by the end of this month more..

Expeditious or Expedient justice?

Dec 10 (SO) In Sri Lanka, one rarely sees the wheels of justice moving so fast to prosecute people responsible for perpetrating major crimes. Although, there were times when the country had many ransom and abduction cases, very few cases saw the light at the end of the long tunnel of justice, as investigations over these cases either slowed down, were suspended or stopped when the investigations targeted influential people in more..

Editorial: Colombo or Venice?

Dec 10 (Island) The Colombo City looks like Venice during a downpour with its roadways turned into waterways. It is at the mercy of weather gods who, more often than not, show no mercy; they crippled it on Tuesday. The police, true to form, ran for shelter forgetting newly introduced lane regulations and leaving motorists to their own devices. Private bus and trishaw drivers did their damnedest to aggravate the situation, and, as usual, succeeded in their endeavour! more..

Uber launches ride sharing service in SL

Dec 10 (EN) Uber has launched its ride sharing service in Sri Lanka saying it was drawn by people already looking for the service, locals who had used it abroad and tourists. Bavik Rathod, Uber’s regional general manager for the Indian sub continent, said the smart-phone app-based service makes transportation more efficient and was able to offer rides in and around the capital Colombo within an average time of five minutes. “We do a better job of matching supply and demand,” he said. more..

Merrill J Fernando

Esala Weerakoon, Narayan Swamy and Goswami

Dec 10 (Island) It was good to meet my friend, High Commissioner Esala Weerakoon, the soft-spoken gentlemanly diplomat, over lunch, at the India International Centre in New Delhi. I have always told Esala that he is thousand times better than his famous father Bradman Weerakoon. If I remember right, I told that to Bradman Weerakoon once and he smiled. Unlike the father who got involved in politics to some extent later, Esala is a true diplomat. Let’s admit that not all career diplomats are up to more..

Sri Lanka bank credit soars to new historic high amid heavy money printing

Dec 10 (EN) Sri Lanka's bank credit to private sector, state enterprises and central govt had soared to a new historic high of 172.8 billion rupees Sept 2015 more than doubling from a month earlier heavily re-financed by printed money. Sri Lanka's rupee also collapsed from 134 to 141 during September as an attempt was made to float the rupee with reduced interventions, which failed as more money was printed by rejecting bids for weekly Treasury bill auctions and repaying maturing more..

GSP Plus requires Sri Lanka’s sustained progress on human rights

Dec 10 (FT) EU is based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights and it strives to respect the highest standards. The EU not only has a principled incentive to uphold human rights through its policies, but it also has a legal obligation to do so. Therefore, as we mark Human Rights Day, it is useful to look at the GSP Plus trade concession as an incentive for developing countries to effectively implement more..

Exam Chief on alert

Dec 10 (CT) Commissioner of Examinations, W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said that he is looking into reports the prevailing weather conditions have had an adverse impact on some students who are sitting for the GCE O/L examination. He added a team of officials have been sent to locations where such incidents have been reported and that they will file a report. "I will see what I can do if this team says that some exam centres have been adversely affected by the rainy weather," he said. more..

EDB revives Presidential Export Awards

Dec 10 (FT) The crowning achievement for Sri Lanka’s exporters, Presidential Exports Awards, have been revived and will take place on Dec 16 in Colombo. Panel of Judges in the latest PEA was chaired by a retired SC Judge. Presidential Export Awards (PEA) was formulated by SLEDB in 1981 to recognise the contributions made by the export community towards national development by awarding of the highest and most prestigious award in the country by the President. more..

Sri Lanka says renewed political commitment to strengthen National IHL Compliance

Dec 10 (IL) Addressing the plenary of the International Conference of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies today (9) in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of SL in Geneva, has said “there is renewed political commitment and will in my country, to strengthen the national IHL compliance mechanism as well as on advancing measures to prevent and respond to all forms of violence including more..

Fresh-faced COPA to streamline public bookkeeping

Dec 10 (FT) In a bid to improve financial accountability, newly-appointed Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) will require State institutions to present their annual accounts between June and July every year. The decision was taken during a meeting of newly-appointed COPA members this week in Parliament under the guidance of Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. He said new members of COPA would be best solution for long delay in submitting public sector accounts. more..

Sri Lanka well placed with end of war, new infrastructure: IMF’s Kvintradze

Dec 10 (LBO) With the end of a war and recently built infrastructure, Sri Lanka businesses are well placed to benefit from new opportunities, Eteri Kvintradze, the resident representative of the IMF, said. Despite external vulnerabilities and concerns about fiscal consolidation, Sri Lanka can be competitive in the South Asia region, Kvintradze said. She was speaking at the the LBR LBO Debrief: Business Climate Outlook of 2016 full-day conference held in Colombo on Tuesday. more..

Expedite probes without wasting time on useless gimmicks, JVP tells CIABOC

Dec 10 (Island) JVP-led Voice Against Corruption (VAC) claimed that CIABOC should expedite investigations on complaints it had received instead of conducting meaningless programmes to celebrate International Day Against Corruption. CIABOC organised a walk from Viharamahadevi Park to Independence Square yesterday to celebrate Anti Corruption Day in collaboration with NGOs including CaFFE. more..

Water supply to Colombo may be disrupted

Dec 10 (DM) Engineering Diplomates' Association and Technical Officers' Union of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) said that there might be some disruption of the water supply to Colombo District as a result of a work-to-rule campaign conducted by them in Colombo today. All the Engineering Assistants of the NWSDB would participate in the campaign and refrain from carrying out overtime services, night time break down services and weekend/off day services from more..

SL tales on the irony of using war to fight war

Dec 10 (ENS) There are many parallels which can be drawn between Dheepan, a French movie screened at IFFK, and Sugandhi Enna Andal Devanayaki, a Malayalam novel. Obvious one is that both deal with SL insurgency. Those who know both the movie and book might add that both works ponder on the irony of using war to fight war. However, there is a connection that even they will miss, unless they know Ma, a book translated by T D Ramakrishnan, author of Sugandhi Enna more..

CID seeks expert aid on CCTV recording

Dec 10 (DM) CID probing into the controversial death of Havelock’s rugby star Wasim Thajudeen would seek expert assistance to retrieve the footages captured on CCTV camera system that would reveal a substantial amount of evidence on the suspected murder. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said detectives would decide on sending the footages to the Department of Computer Science & Engineering of University of Moratuwa for more..

Nurses plan strike action on 15 Dec

Dec 10 (CT) All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU) will go on strike over budget proposals that do not meet the demands of nurses, on Dec 15. Chairperson of ACNU, Gamini Kumarasinghe said that they had already commenced a week of protests on Tuesday at the (National Hospital, Colombo), and today at Kandy General (Teaching) Hospital and will continue over the week at other general hospitals. It has been proposed that the pension scheme for the State sector be scrapped, more..

Private sector, aid agency tie-up in Sri Lanka for faster disaster relief

Dec 10 (EN) A tie-up between aid agencies and private sector companies has enabled relief to be delivered more efficiently and quickly during disasters, a humanitarian agency official said. The linkage allows for better use of supply chains, pooling of resources and avoiding duplication, said Firzan Hashim, deputy executive director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), an association of relief agencies working in the island. CHA has entered into an agreement with more..

'Rs 14 M leaked to Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation'

Dec 10 (CT) Minister of Ports and Shipping, Arjuna Ranatunga alleged in Parliament that Rs 14 million had gone to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation out of the total payment made for a terminal deal by a Chinese company to Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). He said, profits and payments for a large number of agreements signed by the SLPA went into the pockets of select individuals and not to the Ports Authority. more..

Drug dealer sentenced to death

Dec 10 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Preethi Soorasena yesterday sentenced a 30-year-old man convicted of having possessed 246.4 grams of heroin, given to him by two Pakistanis to death. The convict is Ranga Fonseka of Prathibimbarama Road, Kalubowila. Fonseka was arrested on Nov. 11, 2012, at Bambalapitya by the Police Anti-Narcotics Bureau Officers. The High Court Judge, imposing the death penalty, said that drug addiction was spreading fast in Sri Lanka. more..

Two suspects nabbed with 2 kilos of opium

Dec 10 (Island) Officers of the Excise Narcotics Division on Monday arrested two suspects in Vavuniya while they were attempting to sell two kilos of opium smuggled from India. The suspects had been taken into custody with the help of a decoy following weeks of surveillance. He said the suspects Thangarajah Manoharan (51) of Velvetithurai and Thurairajah Udayakumar (55), a fish mudalali from the same area, had smuggled the narcotic from Tiruchirapalli in a boat. more..

Justice Minister Wijeyadasa corrupt since time of COPE chairmanship: Photos reveal

Dec 10 (CT) Exposing the conflict of interest between Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe and Chairman of Avant Garde Nisssanka Senadhipathi, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka challenged Minister Rajapakshe to explain the truth regarding his personal relationship between himself and Nissanka Senadhipathi. Photographs which have emerged showing a close familial bond between Justice Minister and Chairman of more..

Secretary visits Defence Headquarters construction site

Dec 10 (MoD) Sectary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi made an inspection visit to the Defence Headquarters Complex construction site in Akuregoda this morning (9). During the visit the Secretary inquired into the progress of the project and gave necessary instructions to the officials entrusted with the constructions. After the site visit the Secretary chaired a progress review meeting where all officials associated with the construction project attended. more..

KOICA funds to establish specialized computer forensic laboratory

Dec 10 (DN) Govt Analyst’s Department will be able to operate at the highest professional standards in terms of supporting the investigations and the justice system with the benefit of its DNA lab to be upgraded with Korean aid, its Director General Sakunthala Tennakoon said. Tennakoon was speaking at the signing ceremony of an MoU at the Govt Analyst’s Department in Battaramulla. Govt Analyst’s Department yesterday signed a MoU with Korea National Forensic Service. more..

Govt will take every step for prevention of corruption: President

Dec 10 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says he would make every arrangement for the institutions which work for prevention of corruption, to work in a free and fair manner without any political influence. He added that required amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act will be formulated enabling the Commission to Investigate Allegation of Bribery or Corruption to work freely and independently. more..

Video: Heroin hidden in fried sprats

Dec 10 (DM) What would have been a lavish dinner for inmates of New Magazine Prison was ruined when police nabbed a woman carrying a dish of stir fried sprats spiced with heroin. Officers of the Colombo North Division Vice Squad, on information received, took a woman into custody near Baseline Road level crossing in Dematagoda this morning with a suspicious parcel of food. Police examined the parcel carefully and found a plastic box containing some delicious looking stir fried more..

AG’s Department recruits 30 SCs

Dec 10 (CT) Attorney General's Department confirmed that the department had recruited 30 State Counsels two to three weeks back for exigency work and to fill up vacancies. Additional Solicitor General, Sarath Jayamanne said that several recruitments had been made. Deputy Solicitor General Sobitha Rajakaruna added that there were 47 approved cadre vacancies according to the Ministry of Finance. "These vacancies have been in existence for some time. more..