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Fonseka willing to forgive LTTEer who targetted him

Dec 10 (Island) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that as Southern youth responsible for insurrections in 1971 and 1987-89 had been pardoned after re-habilitation there was no reason why the northern youth should not be released in a similar manner. He was responding to a query as regards a statement made by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa that the govt was planning to release two hardcore undercover operatives now in custody including one known as Morris more..

Cop suspended over assault on HNDA students

Dec 10 (CG) A policeman attached to the Kirulapone police station has been suspended over the recent assault on students of the Higher National Diploma on Accountancy (HNDA). Inspector of Police was suspended on the instructions of the National Police Commission. The Human Rights Commission of SL had last week accused the police of violating the rights of the HNDA students during the protest recently. In a report based on investigations conducted on the police assault on students, more..

IUSF points accusing finger at Prof. Samarasekara

Dec 10 (DN) IUSF allege that Ananda Samarasekara, Professor and Head of Department of Forensic Medicine at the SAITM and staff member of the Dr. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital was connected to the disappearance of certain body parts, including the thigh bone, during the post mortem on late rugby player Wasim Thajudeen. Former Chief JMO, Prof. Ananda Samarasekera, conducted initial post mortem more..

Tamil politics, genocide, ethnic cleansing & Sumanthiran

Dec 11 (CT) Last week, I wrote an article titled Tamil Politics, Sumanthiran and Wigneswaran suggesting that there has been a tussle between Sumanthiran and Wigneswaran, which has the potential to transform into an open conflict within the TNA. The article was published here and was reproduced in a few other news-blogs. The article generated angry reaction from some Sumanthiran loyalists. I am not in the habit of responding to faceless online critics. However, this time around, more..

Are Colombo’s budding artists pushing the envelope?

Dec 11 (ST) Situated diagonally across the road from one another, in the heart of Colombo 7 (one of the city’s most up-market postal codes) are two of the capital’s key artistic spaces – the University of Visual and Performing Arts (UVPA) and Saskia Fernando Gallery. In the latter, one gets to see regular, well-executed exhibitions by a select group of Sri Lanka’s leading artists and educators – such as Jagath Weerasinghe and Chandragupta Thenuwara – in a commercial setting. more..

'Budget seeks to bring back feudalism'

Dec 11 (CT) The economic policies of Budget 2016 will create a class of serfs and aristocrats, UPFA MP Vidura Wickremenayake, one of the most vocal members of the Joint Opposition said. Q: Despite the threats of the Joint Opposition, UNFGG govt was able to pass the budget with over a 2/3 majority. What does the Joint Opposition plan to do now? A: It is my belief that the financial policies of the UNFGG govt are more..

Much ado about a ring

Dec 11 (CT) Media reports that a Lesser Crested Tern stole a ring from the London Museum and landed in Sri Lanka was later clarified by the veterinary surgeon treating the bird who said the ring was fitted on the bird in London for research purposes. "This migratory bird was found near the Puttalam Lagoon with a broken leg by a villager in the area on 18 Nov 2015. Villager informed Dept of Wildlife Conservation and wildlife officers took over the bird and started treating it. more..

The case of the 45-year-old married mother

Dec 11 (CT) Sources suggest that a Saudi court has decided to reopen the case of a SL woman who was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery. The 45-year-old married mother of two was convicted in August because she was allegedly participated in the adultery with the man, also from Sri Lanka. The fact is that “man was sentenced to only 100 lashes while the woman was sentenced to death by stoning.” Latest development related to 45-year-old married mother of two is rather positive. more..

Maestro chronicled

Dec 11 (DN) Titled as Amaradeva Maha Gandharva Vibudhayano (Amaradeva, the Music Maestro and Sage of SL Music), Dr Nayanajith's book will be launched at the Panibaratha Theatre of the University of Visual and Performing Arts, on Dec 10. The book contains 1000 pages and includes the biography and the critical study of Sri Lanka's greatest vocalist and musician Padma Sri Dr Pandit Amaradeva. more..

Editorial: Highway terror

Dec 11 (Island) The police have done something right—for once. They are all out to nab lane-hoppers who wreak havoc on roads and cause many accidents; they are a nuisance to other road users. Road discipline is conspicuous by its absence in this country. Sri Lankans, both motorists and pedestrians, are in a mighty hurry—but only on roads. They act as if they had all the time in the world when it comes to their work. Private bus drivers are the worst culprits; more..

The SLFP’s eye of the storm

Dec 11 (DN) The vote on the second reading of the Budget passed through Parliament last week without much drama but even though the final vote indicated a two thirds majority for the ruling national unity govt, it also revealed that all is not well within the SLFP led by President Sirisena. 52 MPs voted against the Budget and most of them were from the SLFP, the remainder being from the JVP and from smaller parties of the UPFA, the coalition of which the SLFP is the major partner. more..

Interview with Victor Ivan

Parents of missing persons protest investigations

Dec 11 (FT) A decision by the Presidential Commission for Missing Persons to conduct its investigations in Jaffna today was met by protests by the parents of some of the missing persons in question. The parents told that media that a decision was taken to protest the investigations following a discussion held in the Veerasingham Hall in Jaffna on Tuesday. Several such commissions had made statements in the past, but nothing had come out of it, they complained. more..

Chandra Schaffter: Through difficult years

Dec 11 (Island) Calm. Courteous. Mild-mannered, Soft-spoken. Gracious. Simple. Understated. Centred. Strong. Impatient. Athletic. Tenacious. The father of all father figures. Quietly charismatic. Unconditionally loving to all he considers friends, and unfailingly sympathetic and generous to any underdog with a cause. Quite able and willing to do without the luxuries that money can buy – but luxuriously com fortable in his own skin. Story of Janashakthi Insurance is aptly named more..

Business confidence down

Dec 11 (FT) Despite PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent statement on the economy, wherein he outlined numerous reforms to be introduced over the next two years, the business community apparently remains unconvinced about the local economy’s potential. This is evidenced by latest Business Confidence Index (BCI), which fell to 152 basis points, to below its 12-month average of 163, ahead of 20 Nov budget presentation. more..

SLC election: Final verdict on nominations today

Dec 11 (CT) Director General of Sports K.D. Ruwanchandra has given extended time till 2 p.m. today for all parties to forward their objections as well as nominees for posts in the upcoming SLC election 2016, yesterday. Opening the objections and allowing relevant parties to forward their documents in order to prove their objections as well as nominees to reply was held yesterday. But, due to requests from two major teams of the election, DG had given extended time and more..

World-first dengue fever vaccine cleared for use in Mexico

Dec 11 (AFP) The first-ever vaccine against dengue fever, which affects up to 400 million people per year, has been cleared for use in Mexico, French manufacturer Sanofi said on Wednesday. "It's a very important moment in the history of public health," Olivier Charmeil, head of the company's vaccines division, told AFP, describing Dengvaxia as the innovation of the decade. This vaccine could potentially become a blockbuster and generate more than a billion dollars in revenue for more..

Western Region Megapolis Project to kick start with smart city concept

Dec 11 (ST) Govt’s flagship project, Western Region Megapolis Project (WRMP) is to be implemented on phased basis till the year 2030 by establishing a WRM Authority like the Mahaweli Authority under an act of parliament. A draft bill to set up this authority will be presented in parliament next year to transform the entire western province to a fully fledged modern urban area enveloping the Colombo, Gampaha, and Kalutara districts more..

‘Dialog in 7% plus y-o-y growth despite tough economic environment’

Dec 11 (Island) At a time when most local mobile phone operators are facing challenges in the internal and external economic environments, "Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider Dialog Axiata Plc performs well in its business and was able to register a 7% plus year on year growth, a top official of the company said. "The market is challenging and tough but we are doing good and we have been able to register a 7% year –on- year growth, which is a significant achievement in this scenario, more..

PM to deliver 12th Sujata Jayawardena Oration today

Dec 11 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, a distinguished Alumnus of the University of Colombo, is scheduled to deliver the 12th Annual Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration today at the BMICH at 5.30 p.m. The Premier, who is the first and only PM of Sri Lanka produced by the Sri Lankan University system, will deliver this Oration on the topic Strengthening Democratic Institutions. President of the Alumni Association of the Colombo University Rajeev Amarasuriya said that more..

Sri Lanka clears the decks for controversial Chinese project

Dec 11 (SCMP) Sri Lankan govt has cleared the decks for the controversial Colombo Port City project to resume, the country’s finance minister said. Executives at the related Chinese companies who cannot be identified separately told the Post that the project was expected to restart around February, after all the final details had been worked out. “We have given all the necessary clearances. more..

Corruption: Where is Sri Lanka now?

Dec 11 (GV) Dec 9 is global Anti-Corruption Day. To mark the occasion, Groundviews used Twitter’s new poll feature in order to gauge what our followers felt about corruption. Since the option to add short polls is still relatively new and under-used, only a few who had the latest version of the mobile app or cast their vote through the web version of Twitter were able to participate. By the end of the day, 89% of those who took the poll said that corruption was an important issue. On Dec 9, we also asked more..

Tax on vans, mini lorries hits SMEs

Dec 11 (DN) The 2016 budget proposal to increase tax on vans and mini lorries will have a negative impact especially on the Small and Medium Enterprise sector (SME), DIMO Chairman Ranjith Pandithage said. He said that economical mobility is one of the key factors for the SME sector’s growth. “SME sector needs cheap transportation to channel their goods across the country and by increasing the tax on vans and mini lorries (under 800CC) this norm is broken.” more..

'Sri Lanka can seek $6B WB, IMF aid' (Development = Loans → Deals → Debt)

Dec 11 (CT) Sri Lanka can seek over US$ three billion of fresh IMF assistance to boost its external account, Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran said. Sri Lanka is entitled to apply to 600% from the IMF General Resources Account's SDR 413.40 million quota as SBA. In 2009 IMF approved a US$ 2.6 billion SBA for SL, of which the current outstanding value is around SDR 499.53million or 120.83% of its quota. more..

Treasury advance hampers tourism promotions

Dec 11 (DN) The Treasury has taken an advance of Rs. 500 million from the Tourism Development Fund Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunge charged. Speaking to Daily News Business he said that this has also resulted in them having prune down their promotional budgets. "We have lost Rs. 500 million and now we have go slow on our budgets." Asked why he did not intervene, the Minister said that he was helpless as this fund was underutilised last year. more..

Lankan arrested with Rs. 1mn forex and 109 ATM cards

Dec 11 (DM) A 32-year-old Sri Lankan man was arrested at the BIA, while attempting to smuggle out foreign currency worth more than one million Rupees and 109 ATM cards yesterday. Customs Spokesman said the suspect was arrested by the BIA Customs officials at the Departure Lounge, while attempting to smuggle out them to Dubai. The suspect is a resident of Kalmunai. “He had currency bills to the value of 25,770 Dirhams (Rs. 1,019,203) along with 109 ATM cards with their PIN more..

Sri Lanka state bus service exposed; rulers wash shocking SOE dirty linen

Dec 11 (EN) Shocking details of how a state-run bus company is operated for the benefit of the elected ruling class and state worker unions, while ordinary people are footing the bill running into billions of rupees, have been revealed in a parliamentary debate. SLTB has 14 billion rupees of debt and unpaid dues, is heavily overstaffed and guzzling a billion rupees a month in people's money to pay salaries, more..

'Sri Lanka currency adjustments terrible'

Dec 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s currency adjustments which are poorly timed affect business planning and confidence of international community while having other effects, a senior researcher said. Nishan de Mel, head of research at Verite said that in Sri Lanka, the strength of rupee is incorrectly tied up with economic virility. “We know that politically in Sri Lankan society the way in which the economic ideas have been percolated says that the value of your currency is a sign of your virility,” more..

Like a duck to water - finally - in Sri Lanka

Dec 11 (National) I am with two children at the Sri Sunshine Diving School in Sri Lanka. Our hotel’s concierge, the Taj ­Bentota, has assured us this is the best place to learn and enjoy water sports. The children want to go on a banana boat. I want them to learn something new: a new skill – surfing or waterskiing perhaps. But I hide a shameful secret. I have tried waterskiing. Two times. Both times, I failed. The first time was in the United States, in my 20s. A group of us signed up for more..

'Fuel under pricing formula from 1Q 2016'

Dec 11 (FT) The much delayed fuel pricing formula will be introduced during the first quarter of 2016, Minister Chandima Weerakkody confirmed to Parliament. Minister listed the outstanding debt which affects the profitability of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. “By the end of May this year, the public sector owes CPC Rs.30.4 billion. Kelanitissa Power-station owes Rs.1,650 million and the CEB Rs.1.8 million. more..

Man given up for dead in SL alive in India

Dec 11 (TOI) A Chennai taxi driver, Boomi Durai N, suspected to have died in floods and whose body was believed to have washed ashore in Sri Lanka on December 6 is alive and well. The 41-year-old, the driver of private bus in the city, is a native of Poosaripalayam in Coimbatore. With the discovery of Durai the mystery has deepened over the identity of the man whose body fishermen found off Trincomallee port in SL's Eastern Province and handed over to the nation's navy. more..

Canadian Supreme Court says Tamil teen's refugee claim deserves new hearing

Dec 11 (CP) Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a Tamil teenager who fled the violent aftermath of Sri Lanka's 27-year civil war should have his refugee application reconsidered on humanitarian grounds. By a 5-2 margin, the high court on Thursday reversed a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal that upheld the rejection of Jeyakannan Kanthasamy's claim that he would suffer serious hardship if he returned to his homeland. Ruling offers new guidance to officials on more..

Lasantha Wickrematunga murder probe takes new turn

Dec 11 (EN) Investigations into the assassination of high profile editor Lasantha Wickrematunga has taken a new turn with the authorities focusing on top police officers who may have been involved in a huge cover up. The then IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne and the then DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara have been questioned by the CID about their role in the Wickrematunga case. Former IGP Wickremaratne was questioned more..

Prisoner on hunger strike demanding justice

Dec 11 (CT) A political prisoner detained at the Jaffna prison engaged in a hunger strike protest on Wednesday (9) as his case has been postponed on several occasions due to the intelligence unit officers not being present in court. The political prisoner identified as Sivarajan Jeniban, 36, is a resident of Atchchuveli North. He was arrested over charges of having links with the LTTE movement in 2009 and his case is currently being heard in the Jaffna High Court. more..

Adelaide Strikers sign Mahela for Big Bash

Dec 11 (CA) Mahela Jayawardene has joined the Adelaide Strikers for BBL|05 on a one-year deal as the side's second international signing, with the club now finalising their squad for the upcoming season. Jayawardene replaces Kieron Pollard after the West Indies international was last month ruled out of the competition when he suffered a knee injury in South Africa's Ram Slam T20 Challenge. Featuring in more than 600 international matches for Sri Lanka, Jayawardene is widely regarded as more..

Video: SLC elections: Corrupt Vs Corrupt

Dec 11 (DM) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera conducted an inquiry today into some of the objections made against candidates contesting the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections next month. Among those present at the inquiry were former SLC administrator Thilanga Sumathipala and Minister Arjuna Ranatunga. Mr. Sumathipala, who is also the deupty speaker of parliament, said, "There were objections to some of the nominations for more..

'Fertilizer subsidy would not be curtailed'

Dec 11 (FT) Govt reiterated that the fertilizer subsidy given to the farmers would not be curtailed as charged by what it described as a bankrupt Opposition. Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said the matter was discussed at this week’s Cabinet meeting and, accordingly, the fertilizer subsidy will not be curtailed. He said previous regime allocated only Rs. 35 billion for the subsidies, whereas the present Govt has increased it to Rs. 37.5 billion, allocating an additional Rs.2.5 billion. more..

FCID visits D.A. Rajapaksa Museum

Dec 11 (DM) FCID officials today visited the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum in Weeraketiya to investigate the misuse of state funds amounting to Rs.90 million for setting up the museum. FCID officials were accompanied by Govt Assessors from the Valuation Department to carry out an assessment of the institution. The FCID had on an earlier occasion reported to the Colombo Chief Magistrate regarding an investigation being carried out into the misuse of state funds for constructing more..

'Trinco torture camps of World War II vintage'

Dec 11 (DN) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne claimed that the so called torture camps inside the Trincomalee Navy base were constructed by the British during World War II. He was responding to a question by a journalist at the Cabinet press briefing. He observed if the Govt had denied the access to the UN representatives to go and check this place, the world could have got a wrong impression that there had been torture camps. more..

Invent, produce, use and recycle

Dec 11 (DM) As one of history’s most important meetings, the Climate Change Conference, reaches its final day in Paris today, the Guardian newspaper reported that a coalition representing more than 100 countries--formed in secrecy six months ago--has emerged to push for a legally binding global and ambitious deal on climate change. The High Ambition Coalition speaks for the majority of the 195 countries at the crunch conference and consists of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, more..