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'SLFPers should not cling on to govt midst waning popularity'

Dec 12 (FT) Members of the SLFP should support the opposition rather than clinging to the Govt that is becoming unpopular by the day, stressed Anuradhapura District UPFA MP Shehan Semesinghe. Denying rumours that several SLFP MPs were to crossover to the Govt, Senasinghe added, “I don’t think they are stupid to join the Govt at this time. The wise decision at this time would be for the SLFPers to join the Opposition. more..

Strengthening UNP-SLFP unity is of paramount national importance

Dec 12 (CT) The passage of the second reading of the budget by a 2/3 majority in Parliament is an indication that National Unity Govt led by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe continues to be strong. Although SLFP component of the govt headed by President Sirisena is divided, with a majority of the members not voting in favour of the budget, a sufficient number of them voted in favour of it giving the govt a comfortable majority that exceeded 2/3 of those present and voting. more..

Sri Lanka spice producers press for removal of export cess

Dec 12 (EN) Sri Lankan spice producers are pressing the govt to implement a proposal in the 2016 budget to remove a cess on spice exports, saying the charge was unfair and hurt farmers. Spices and Allied Products Producers' and Traders' Association (SAPPTA) had lobbied for the removal of the export cess and was happy the govt had included it in its budget proposals, said Vernon Abeyratne, chairman of SAPPTA. But since the budget was announced on Nov 20 more..

Hirunika treading softly - With caution and future dreams

Dec 12 (CT) Colombo District MP Hirunika Premachandra was the only female UNP MP to be elected from Colombo to Parliament. She has always been one of the most vociferous of the young MPs in Parliament. She said she was not disappointed with being overlooked by the current govt, but hoped for a better portfolio and role to play in the future. Q: You played a major role in appealing to the female voters during more..

Appeal by the Families of the Disappeared

Dec 12 (GV) We, the Families of the Disappeared have been searching for our loved ones and calling for justice, for many years. Many Commissions were established by the previous govt to carry out inquiries regarding the missing. However, our search continues without any answers. In 2013, former President Mahinda Rajapaksha established a Presidential Commission for the Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons under direction of Maxwell Parakrama Paranagama. more..

#HRDaySL: A conversation on freedom

Dec 12 (GV) Yesterday (10) was Human Rights Day. The theme this year, according to the UN was ‘Our Rights, Our Freedoms. Always.’ Since human rights covers many different fields and issues, Groundviews decided to facilitate a discussion between different organisations and individuals, anchored to the global theme. Using the hashtag #HRDaySL, we asked people to tell us what freedom meant to them. Organisations such as Verite Research, Women & Media Collective, more..

Amazing dogs care center in SL

Sri Lanka female labor force participation could boost productivity: Kvintradze

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs labor market reforms including boosting of female labor force participation rate, a senior International Monetary Fund official said. “If you look at labour force participation across the globe and especially in Sri Lanka you see there is a huge opportunity to boost labour force participation,” Eteri Kvintradze Resident Representative, IMF said. “And an important dimension to that is the female labour force.” She was speaking at the LBR LBO Debrief more..

Await the Mega Flood Polis

Dec 12 (Island) We never read about these waterways in your tourist literature. Can you arrange for some boat rides in the city? That might be wonderful." That was a question asked by a tourist who was coming to Colombo for the first time. It was shortly after last Tuesday’s display of water power in the city and suburbs. The Tour Guide told him there was no official plan for a Venice style development, but the industry was looking at this possibility in the near future. more..

SL Youth series amid cries of foul deeds

Dec 12 (SO) Sri Lanka will take on India and England in an Under-19 Triangular series which has been tainted by selection nepotism and parental uproar with a Youth World Cup just weeks away. The Indian and England teams are already in the country but none in the host camp could hide the fact that the Sri Lankan side will be without the country’s best youth spin bowler in Lasith Embuldeniya who could not find a place more..

Editorial: Mini polls, big issues

Dec 12 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has told Parliament that the next Local Govt elections will be held before April 2016. But, a section of the govt seems reluctant to face the mini polls so soon if what some of the SLFP members of the Cabinet say is anything to go by. The last parliamentary election was not a contest between the UNP and the UPFA as such; it was, in fact, a battle between the UNP and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is no secret that a section of the SLFP sided with more..

Towards a rainbow nation

Dec 12 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena at a recent forum said, “I believe that those who spearheaded the revolution can defeat the counter-revolution.” What he implied was that there is currently no movement that can reverse the political transition triggered on Jan 8, which some have dubbed as the Rainbow Revolution. Firstly, we wish to emphasize that there is no room for a counter-revolution. The reason is because Sri Lanka has still not seen a genuine revolution, more..

Sri Lanka is welcoming China – and its money – once more

Dec 12 (Independent) When he was in power, megalomania of SL’s former President Rajapaksa was so artless it was almost endearing. His clan come from the southern coastal village of Hambantota, a fishing village buffeted by fierce Indian Ocean waves and as far from the island’s centres of power as you can get. But, like many local politicians before him, the village boy made good wanted to improve things back home. more..

Pathfinder Foundation launches Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives

Dec 12 (DM) High Commissioner of India, Y.K. Sinha declared open the Pathfinder Foundation’s Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives (CILI) recently at the Head Office of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF), located at Colombo 12. Associated with the opening ceremony was Milinda Moragoda, founder of the Pathfinder Foundation. The inaugural act of CILI aimed at promoting Indo-Lanka relations was to conduct Colombo Dialogue with the prestigious Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) more..

Ban mechanised bottom trawling in Sri Lankan waters: TNA MP

Dec 12 (DN) A Bill prohibiting mechanised bottom trawling was filed in Parliament last week by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. He said: "We have taken several remedial measures, one of which was a discussion with the President. One such measure is to bring in a legislative measure towards which a Bill has been presented to Parliament. If this act is implemented deep sea trawling will be banned and will be considered an offence. The offender will be sentenced to a two year prison term and more..

Public Employment Services Centre in Batticaloa inaugurated by EU Ambassador

Dec 12 (FT) The third of four Public Employment Services (PES) Centres being launched under the EU Support for District Development Program (EU-SDDP) was ceremonially declared open at Arasady, Batticaloa by Ambassador of European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives David Daly, on 3 Dec. Present on the occasion were Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations Gotabaya Jayaratne, more..

'UPFA MPs pressured to vote for Budget'

Dec 12 (DM) UPFA MP Dullas Alahapperuma today charged that there was a move by the govt to forcibly obtain the consent of 23 UPFA MPs of the joint Opposition for the 2016 Budget. He said the govt was threatening some of the MPs while intimidating others and pressuring their family members to force them to join the govt. “An MP who has been a businessman for more than a decade has been summoned to check his tax files of 14 years ago. more..

State railway land said seized by politicians

Dec 12 (EN) Ananda Aluthgamage, MP for Nawalapitiya, has called for a probe into how land owned by the los-making state railway was seized by local govt politicians and illegally rented out. An important railway junction in the central hills, said the railway department could easily be turned profitable if its valuable land holdings were used commercially. He said local govt politicians had illegally occupied railway department land under the former Rajapaksa regime. more..

SLC Election 2016: Seven nominees rejected

Dec 12 (CT) Two heavyweights Asanga Seneviratne and K.Mathivanan were among the top seven nominations rejected by the Director General (DG) of Sports and Head of Objection Committee K.D. Ruwanchandra, when he declared the final set of candidates after the objections were revived at the Sports Ministry yesterday. However, there were no major changes in the list of nominations presented for more..

SL-EU talks on GSP+ positive

Dec 12 (FT) European Union (EU) and Sri Lankan authorities met in Brussels yesterday to discuss the GSP plus trade concession. Despite the challenges that lie ahead, the Govt is confident of securing the GSP Plus trade concession by next year, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. A delegation led by senior staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in Brussels to discuss matters relating to the GSP Plus application, he said. “We are happy with the progress, but challenges exist. more..

Budget evokes public protest: Prasanna R

Dec 12 (DN) The Budget for 2016 evoked the biggest howl of public protest in recent history, UPFA MP Prasanna Ranatunge said. Budget laid the ground work to destroy the public service, privatisation of state sector institutions and exploitation of the country's resources by foreigners. He said the Budget caused injustice to the state administrative sector and doctors. Budget could be described as an anti-people Budget, he said. Ranatunge said even though the govt blamed more..

Foreign Ministry funds wasted on adult films

Dec 12 (CG) Foreign Ministry funds were used on extravagances – including adult films, $200 shots of cognac and $288 steaks by the former Govt, Parliament was told. Minister Mangala Samaraweera claimed that in the Washington DC embassy over US$ 330,000 was missing in one property transaction. He said that from the Foreign Ministry expenses alone over 339 million rupees were wasted on 5 lobbying firms between more..

Thilanga declared eligible to contest

Dec 12 (Island) Thilanga Sumathipala has been declared eligible to contest the forthcoming cricket board elections by DG, Sports, a media communiqué sent by Sumathipala said. It is as follows: Contender for the post of President of Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala, making a statement consequent to the Director General of Sports, Ministry of Sports, K.D. Ruwanchandra, declaring that the objections filed against him had been rejected, said he will now commence more..

Hate speech ban soon

Dec 12 (CT) Two Bills to introduce anti-hate speech laws and criminalizing the instigation of communal violence and disharmony were presented in Parliament. Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilake presented the two bills titled Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) and Penal Code (Amendment). Bills will be taken up for debate at a later date. Bill seeking to amend the Penal Code states that 'Whoever, by the use of words spoken, written or intended to be read, or by signs, more..

Video: Delimitation must be in the interest of people and not parties: President

Dec 12 (AD) President Sirisena says the delimitation of electoral divisions must be done to ensure proper representation of the people of the area in an electorate and not to ensure the victory of a particular political party. If the delimitation is attempted at a hurried manner, it may not achieve the real objective, he said while presiding over the All Party Meeting on delimitation held today (11). Hence it is advisable to take more time and more..

No opposition to donation of Indian Coast Guard ship to Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (BS) Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Varaha was transferred on lease to Sri Lankan Navy in April, 2006. The lease was extended from time to time. On the request of Sri Lankan side, the ship was gifted to Govt of Sri Lanka on a permanent basis in August 2015 as a goodwill gesture in line with our commitment to enhance bilateral defence cooperation. No representation opposing the Govt decision for gifting ICGS Varaha to Sri Lanka has been received in the Ministry. more..

Mirihana Police nab big time bank robber

Dec 12 (CT) Mirihana Special Crimes Division yesterday arrested a man wanted in connection with major robberies in several areas, including bank robberies and jewellery heists. Police launched an intensive search for the man that ended with his arrest in Hanwella yesterday. Police investigations reveal that the man is wanted in connection with a Rs2.6 million heist from a bank in Kahahena on 10 Sept 2015. The suspect is also wanted in connection with an incident in which gold jewellery more..

PM says No to appointment with GMOA

Dec 12 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe rejected a request by GMOA which sought an appointment to meet him. Request came following the GMOA's meeting with President Sirisena and Minister Rajitha Senaratne. PM told Parliament that seeking an appointment with him after a meeting with President and Health Minister to sort out their grievances showed the GMOA's lack of trust in President more..

Former Narahenpita OIC released on bail

Dec 12 (AD) Former OIC of Narahenpita Police Station who was arrested and remanded in connection an alleged bribery case has been released on bail. Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered that he be released on a cash bail of Rs 15,000 and two personal bails of Rs 1million each. Chief Inspector M.G.U.D. Gunathilake was arrested by the Bribery Commission on Dec 4, a week after Crimes OIC of the Narahenpita Police Station was arrested for accepting a bribe of Rs 2.5 million. more..

Basil busted: Rs 1.5 B on internal travel

Dec 12 (CT) Former minister Basil Rajapaksa, has allegedly spent a sum of over Rs 1.5 billion on internal air travel, informed sources said. PRECIFAC sources said the Commission had already begun a probe into this allegation it had received in a petition. The former minister had reportedly spent this massive amount with money drawn from funds allocated to the Divi Neguma project. He had used Sri Lanka Air Force craft for his internal travel, the source added. more..

Govt to shut some missions abroad

Dec 12 (CG) Govt is to close down missions abroad for which no clear rationale exists, Minister Mangala Samaraweera informed Parliament. He said that Sri Lanka also intends to introduce Non-Resident Ambassadors to further cut-costs and to establish a presence where a full-scale embassy cannot be justified but where Sri Lanka’s interests need to be furthered. “Perhaps most importantly, we intend to create more..

Latest Kahawatte murder: Suspect arrested

Dec 12 (CT) Crime Investigation Unit of the Kahawatte Police has arrested a suspect, who was allegedly involved in the murder of a 48-year-old woman in Opatha, Kahawatte. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the suspect was identified as 35-year-old Neil Lakshman, a resident of Kotakethana. The suspect is currently in the custody of the CID for further interrogations. The deceased, who was identified as Nadan Paabu, a 48-year-old plantation worker, was a resident of the area. more..

Filling State Counsels vacancies: HRCSL criticizes recruitment criteria

Dec 12 (CT) Human Rights Commissioner, Senior Counsel Saliya Peiris called on the Attorney General's Department to make public the criteria based on which State Counsels were recruited. He highlighted that conflicts of interest arose when the AG's Department acted as both an advisor to the State and also engaged in filing suits and conducting prosecutions with the State as the client. The aforementioned situation sometimes results in the violation of human rights, more..

Ranil outlines way forward for new Constitution

Dec 12 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe outlined the broad framework of Sri Lanka’s new constitution that his Govt will begin drafting next year, with devolution of power, electoral reform and the replacement of the executive presidential system forming the three main focus areas for drafters of the country’s new supreme law. Delivering Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration, PM stressed that consensus on these more..

There ought to be a hall of fame for mamas

Dec 12 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced in Parliament the good news that the Local Council Elections will be held before the National New Year in April and the even better news that laws will be introduced for 25% of the seats to be reserved for women. According to the latest figures from the Department of Census and Statistics, female formed a majority of Sri Lanka’s population—10,715,000 compared to 10,056,000 males. more..

Corruption even Fourth Estate is prone to it

Dec 12 (DM) Wednesday this week (9) marked the International Anti-corruption Day with a nationwide campaign on eradicating corruption. Interestingly all mobile phone users, too, received a common text message incorporating a pledge “I declare: I shall not pay a bribe, I shall not take a bribe and I shall report / give info on corrupt practices.” Sri Lanka, according to the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, is still performing better compared to many of its Asian neighbours more..

Back to square one

Dec 12 (SL) It was a promise given by the present govt during their election campaign that they would introduce a more transparent and independent mechanism in respect of public appointments. One of the strongest criticisms aimed at the previous govt was the lack of transparency and independence in public appointments. The govt was of the view that the re-enactment of the provisions of 17th Amendment in relation to more..

Basil used poverty relief funds to the tune of Rs. 156 million for domestic flying

Dec 12 (Island) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa will be summoned soon by the PRECIFAC to explain payments amounting to over Rs. 156 mn to the SLAF for using fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. Former Accountant at the Economic Affairs Ministry M.M.J.N.R. Fernando on Thursday told the PRECIFAC that Divineguma funds to the tune of nearly Rs 157 mn had been utilized to pay the SLAF. more..

Extension of life for those facing imminent death

Dec 12 (ST) With the UK having gone through the growing pains of heart and lung transplantations and developing a robust programme which is 35 years old, what are the lessons for Sri Lanka in its epoch-making decision to launch a similar programme? Sri Lanka’s Heart and Lung Transplantation Programme is to be based at Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, linked to other regional centres where currently more..

Jolted by NPC, HRCSL rulings, police may review tactics

Dec 12 (Island) The National Police Commission (NPC) said that police headquarters would soon charge sheet Inspector Upul Ginige. He has been suspended for assaulting a female student who fell during a police crackdown on a protest by Higher National Diploma in Accountancy (HNDA) students near the UGC on Oct 29. Secretary to the NPC Ariyadasa Cooray said that police officer would be dealt with under more..