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Editorial: Dogs and masters

Dec 14 (Island) Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s dog is in the news—for the wrong reason, though. Dogs may make mistakes, but the fact remains that they are lovely creatures one cannot stop loving. Charles de Gaulle it was who famously said, "The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs." Canines are no respecters of power and wealth and remain ever faithful to their masters to the last without switching their allegiance to others under any circumstances. more..

Anti-LTTE protest: Noor Nizam’s role

Dec 14 (Island) So many people came forward in Canada to help Sri Lanka. They faced the wrath of LTTE terrorists long before I went to Toronto. They were harassed, threatened. They fear for their lives. Some of them continue to fear for their lives , I am told. They never gave up. I like to refer to them as the real Sri Lankan Canadians. Among them were Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burgher Sri Lankan Canadians. The names that come to my mind are of Ira de Silva, Asoka Weerasinghe, more..

High net-value Global Spice Market untapped

Dec 14 (Island) Spices and Allied Products Producers and Traders Association (SAPPTA) says that Sri Lanka has the huge potential of developing a US$ one billion spices and related items sector, if the govt releases unutilized and barren land to enable farmers to grow spices and allied products in order to increase production. "At present Sri Lanka exports more than US$ 500 million in spices and allied products to more..

Implications of health sector reforms in SL

Dec 14 (Island) With universal healthcare and a robust public health network across the country, Sri Lanka has made noteworthy achievements in health outcomes compared to other developing countries. Sri Lanka is characteristic of increased life expectancy, reduced maternal and child mortality and decreasing levels of communicable diseases. While this success is laudable, the country needs to strengthen its existing health system (both public and private) in order to face changes more..

Amanté opens its first exclusive outlet in Mumbai

Dec 14 (Hindu) Eight years after it entered the Indian market, Sri Lankan lingerie brand amanté has opened its first exclusive store in Mumbai at a mall in Thane, and two more are expected to open at other malls in the city. The move by MAS Brands, which owns amanté, comes after a successful run in India during which it supplied its range of products through traditional and modern retail outlets as well as ecommerce platforms. Thane store also marks the introduction of amanté’s premium range more..

Ircon assures SL Railways of continued support for track infrastructure development

Dec 14 (FT) Ircon International Ltd., after the successful completion of the 265 km reconstructed rail network in the Northern Province, is looking to expand its footprint in SL and assures the govt of their continued support to uplift the transport sector and develop further the rail infrastructure of the country. Govt of Sri Lanka is actively considering the utilisation of the available Indian Line of Credit for financing these projects. more..

'SLADA head threatened by bodybuilders'

Dec 14 (CT) Mr Sri Lanka bodybuilding competition ended in chaos yesterday, as Chairman of the Anti Doping Agency (SLADA), Dr. Seevali Jayawickrama, was threatened and nearly assaulted by competitors outside the Kularatne Hall of Ananda College and was obstructed from carrying out his duties. Dr. Jayawickrama stated it was one of the competitors Sisira Kumara and his supporters who had used foul language and threatened him first, and was later joined by another competitor more..

Sri Lanka thrash Singapore 27/12

Dec 14 (DN) Sri Lanka carried out a superb onslaught in the second half on host nation Singapore to record a comfortable 27 points (4 tries, 2 conversions, 1 penalty) to 12 (2 tries, 1 conversion) win in their opening match of the Junior Rugby Asiad played at Singapore international stadium yesterday. Sri Lanka led 10-5 at half time. The match was played under muddy conditions underfoot with both teams battling it out for supremacy. Sri Lanka drew first blood when more..

'Vehicle taxes from 2016 Budget, here to stay'

Dec 14 (FT) Finance Minster Ravi Karunanayake has categorically stated that there will be no revision whatsoever of taxes imposed on vehicles through the 2016 Budget proposals. Minister said neither vehicle importers nor the prospective buyers should be in a state of confusion or uncertainty. Minister stated this during a meeting with the representatives of SL Vehicle Importers Association held on Saturday. more..

Uber comes to Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (SO) Yes, the Uber facility is now available in Sri Lanka, at least for a start in Colombo. Google had a short account of it being launched on December 9 with a picture of Kumar Sangakkara posing with a Uber owner-driver and his car. A similar photograph was published in another newspaper on Thursday, this time with Mahela Jayawardena. Endorsement of the facility is propitious. This cat is sure it will catch on. Bring a mod fad to SL and it will definitely net clients. more..

'SLC AGM 2016 Candidates' ethics at stake'

Dec 14 (CT) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has still not received a single sworn affidavit from the candidates contesting the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Election 2016, though it's been days since the Minister made this request from them. "It reflects on their ethics and dignity as I asked for this, days before our initial hearing about objections which clearly suggests their (candidates) ethics are at stake" said Minister Jayasekara, replying to a query from Ceylon Today. more..

Hunter gets hunted?

Dec 14 (FT) A JVP Provincial Councillor has turned the spotlight on public interest litigant and prolific author of several books on anti corruption and fraud, Nihal Sri Ameresekere, regarding the latter’s receipt of an overdraft of Rs. 100 million from the Bank of Ceylon backed by the Treasury in the last month of the previous regime. WPC Member has notified the FCID and the CIABOC of a range of allegations against Ameresekere. more..

EU project to help conflict affected people resettle in N&E

Dec 14 (FT) European Union has signed an agreement to support IDPs and refugee returnees in nine Divisional Secretariat Divisions in the Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Batticaloa districts, to build houses and improve community infrastructure facilities. The scope of the project covers Kilinochchi district including Karachchi and Kadawalai divisions and Mullaitivu district including Maritime Pattu, Puthukudiyiruppu divisions and selected villages in the Welioya division and more..

Two women washed away while bathing at Ramboda Falls

Dec 14 (DM) A search and rescue operation was underway after two women who were bathing at the Ramboda Falls in Nuwara Eliya were dragged by the current this evening. Four members of a family who had gone on a trip to Nuwara Eliya from Chilaw had gone to Ramboda Falls to bathe at around 5.30pm. They had ignored the warnings of the people of the area against entering the water, because of the strong current following the heavy rains in the central hills, and bathed at the falls. more..

Port City to create regional business hub

Dec 14 (DN) The recently released Supplementary Environmental Impact Report (SEIA) for Colombo Port City (CPC) project says the main objective of the CPC is to create a regional business hub - a distinctly branded city, with high quality public spaces and infrastructure facilities, which would attract local and international developers and investors. The ultimate goal is to establish the city as a centre for finance, more..

President Leaves for Vatican

Dec 14 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena left the Island this morning (13) for a visit to the Vatican on an invitation by the Holy See. The highlight of the President’s visit will be an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis I at the Vatican which will take place tomorrow. This is the second time the President will meet the Pope Francis and when the last time His Holiness visited Sri Lanka the Holy Father was welcomed by President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Sri Lanka mulls relaxing airspace restrictions

Dec 14 (EN) Sri Lanka is considering relaxing air space restrictions slapped during wartime as part of an overall aviation policy review, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said. "Today in an environment of peace we need take decisions on aviation policy," he told parliament. "Because of air space restrictions there are difficulties for aircraft to overfly Sri Lanka, and they have to take longer routes. "If we can change some of the restrictions there is opportunity to develop this area. more..

New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 122 runs

Dec 14 (CI) In conditions where the old ball did nothing and New Zealand's three first-choice quicks produced innocuous medium-pace, Neil Wagner ran in relentlessly with tremendous stamina, sending down a barrage of short deliveries, harrying the batsmen at around 140 kph and broke Sri Lanka's resistance. Until Wagner came on, Chandimal and Mathews had been untroubled and scored freely, but once more..

CMC’s Mayors’ Forum looks at Future Cities

Dec 14 (FT) Mayors from Sri Lanka as well as from overseas, yesterday converged in Colombo to discuss Future Cities. The event titled Mayors Forum was part of the 150th anniversary of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), this week. The one-day Forum drew around 50 representatives from local urban councils, as well as mayors representing many urban councils from across South-East Asia and South Asia. Chief Guest was Speaker and one time Colombo Mayor, more..

Lakvijaya stalled but no blackouts envisaged

Dec 14 (DN) The Lakvijaya Power Station in Norochcholai has ceased to function due to a breakdown. All the three coal-fired power stations in the facility are at a standstill from Saturday due to multiple plant failures, sources at the Norochcholai power plant said. However, a CEB source said they can deal with the situation without blackouts despite the power crunch. A CEB engineer said the impact of the heavy rains in recent days reduced overall electricity consumption in the country. more..

Govt to close down High Commissions in Uganda and Seychelles

Dec 14 (DN) Govt may close down its diplomatic missions in Uganda and Seychelles. "There is a serious question about the rationale behind setting up of the two diplomatic missions. It is widely speculated that the diplomatic mission in Uganda was set up to draw the country's support at the UNHRC session in Geneva. The decision to set up a High Commission in Seychelles was linked to some under-the-radar activities of certain top brass more..

Missing person commission receives 300 more new complaints in Jaffna district

Dec 14 (FT) Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons began its public sittings to hear cases of missing in Jaffna District Friday. Secretary of the Commission HW Gunadasa said the Commission has received 100 new complaints during the first two days of sessions in Jaffna today. It has received 1,620 complaints including new complaints to hear during this sitting. This is the second public sitting held in Jaffna to call for evidence regarding missing persons more..

Special economic zones, a driving force for increased trade: ADB

Dec 14 (DN) Special economic zones (SEZs) can be a driving force for increased trade, investment, and economic reform in Asia at a time the region is experiencing a slowdown in trade, provided the right business environments and policies are put in place, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. Asian Economic Integration Report 2015, examines current trends in trade, finance, migration, remittances and other economic activities in the region, with a special chapter more..

President to change Ravi's (deal making) Budget

Dec 14 (CT) President Sirisena is expected to brief the Cabinet later this week on changes he wants effected in the Budget proposals which have direct negative impact on the people. He could also be addressing the nation on these changes. President has taken this decision after a discussion he had with SLFP MPs on 12 Dec. MPs have told Sirisena that people are unhappy about a number of proposals in the Budget. more..

Going green to regain our Paradise

Dec 14 (DM) One of the National Unity Govt’s New Year gifts for Sri Lanka will be a comprehensive plan to produce the food we need in Sri Lanka itself without depending on imported junk foods and processed rubbish for which our country has been a dumping ground during the past 40 years. President Sirisena who is giving personal leadership to this mission is expected to work on the basis of the mid-term economic strategy outlined by PM on Nov 5 and the budget proposals more..

Ranil: Let’s promote consensus

Dec 14 (DM) Let me first thank the Colombo University Alumni Association for inviting me to address the Annual Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration 2015. Sujata and Stanley were close friends of my parents. I knew her during my school days before I entered the Colombo University. Her father D N W De Silva was an active member of the Sinhala Institute of Culture where I learnt Kandyan dancing. (Actually another student at the time was President Chandrika Kumaratunga). more..

Time to undo edifices of Rajapaksa cult

Dec 14 (DM) No matter his excesses, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be remembered as the political leader who defeated terrorism that blighted this country for three decades. His predecessors failed in doing that for many reasons: All of them were constrained by geo-political reasons, but, the earlier leaders -- especially J.R. Jayewardene, whose efforts to fight back terrorism were stifled by an insular India in the 80s more..

'I have no family members to attend state functions on my behalf'

Dec 14 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena said he never sent his family members to attend state functions on behalf of him - emulating the conduct of his predecessor, former President Rajapaksa. "No other in the recent past worked as I did over the past nine months. Former President had enough time to hobnob with MPs and other parties as he had so many family members to attend state functions on behalf of him. more..

JSA calls for High Court Commissioner’s appointment to be annulled

Dec 14 (ST) Judicial Services Association (JSA) called on President Sirisena to cancel the appointment of Irangani Perera as a High Court Commissioner for the Colombo High Court judicial zone to hear cases filed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Indicative of a policy decision made by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) in 2011, there have been no High Court Commissioners appointed for judicial zones more..

SEC controversy heats up

Dec 14 (SL) Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) which has seen many a controversy and sent shockwaves to all corners of the investor community during the last few years shook the markets yet again when its former Chairman, sitting Deputy Director General along with another former Director/Board Member were taken to custody over an alleged financial fraud exceeding five millions rupees. more..

'Overcautious approach did SL in'

Dec 14 (CI) Loose bowling on day one, and cautious batting on days two and three paved Sri Lanka's path to defeat, said Angelo Mathews, after the Test in Dunedin. Sri Lanka had let New Zealand advance at 4.48 runs and over in the first innings, before batting at 2.50 themselves. Overall, Sri Lanka batted for 50.4 overs more than Nz, yet lost by 122 runs. All three frontline seamers had gone at more than four runs an over more..

Lawyers criticize hate speech laws

Dec 14 (CT) Lawyers criticize the two Anti-hate Speech Draft Bills presented in Parliament recently which seek to criminalize the instigation of communal violence and disharmony. Minister Gayantha Karunatilake presented two bills titled the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) and the Penal Code (Amendment) which are yet to be taken up for debate. The Bill, seeking to amend the Penal Code, states that more..

‘6,754 Avant Garde employees destitute’

Dec 14 (Island) Media Spokesman of an association formed by Avant Garde employees who lost employment, Lt.Col. Nilantha Jayaweera said 6,754 employees of Avant Garde Maritime Services had been left destitute due to the takeover of its business by the govt. "Once the vessels cross high risk areas Avant Garde Maritime Services have no way of getting back the weapons used for anti piracy operations as more..

Kotakethana murders: Police seek Court Order for DNA testing of suspect

Dec 14 (CT) The suspect, a 35-year-old, who was arrested in connection with the 17th murder that took place in Kotakethana will have to undergo a DNA test after he is produced before Court. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said the suspect is yet to be produced in Court, to get the Court Order to carry out a viable DNA comparison test. If Court grants permission and the suspect is positively identified as the perpetrator of the 17th murder, more..

Ranil offers to increase staff of each MP from three to 18

Dec 14 (Island) The govt was planning to increase the number of parliamentarians’ staff members from three to 18 each, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Saturday. The number of employees working for an MP would be increased in view of additional workload that would be assigned to each MP under the govt’s plan to strengthen the parliamentary system, the PM said. more..

TT talks fail: TUs to strike

Dec 14 (Island) The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration is making a last ditch attempt to prevent a 24-hour strike scheduled to commence at midnight today following an inconclusive discussion between a top level UNP delegation and senior representatives of a powerful trade union collective on Saturday. The trade union collective is at loggerheads with the govt over several major budget 2016 proposals, more..

Keeping to the agenda for change

Dec 14 (CT) The role that civil society played in the change of govt that occurred in January at the presidential elections, and which was reaffirmed at the general elections of August, was celebrated at two events held last week. One was on World Anti Corruption Day which fell on Dec 9. This event was actively supported by the newly independent Commission against Bribery and Corruption, and especially by its Director General, which has a giant task before it given the extent to which more..

When workhorse Wagner brought down the barn door

Dec 14 (CI) Workhorse is how Brendon McCullum described Neil Wagner before the Test. New Zealand then strapped four seamers to their plough on a generally lifeless Dunedin surface, but each quick had his specific role. Tim Southee and Trent Boult are the shiny-coated thoroughbreds, operating from sleek run-ups and liquid velvet bowling actions. In comparison, Wagner is one of those plodding, thick-set horses with fur around their ankles and a perpetually morose expression. more..

Nishantha Ranatunga

NZ's 2nd-longest unbeaten streak at home

Dec 14 (CI) 2012: The last time New Zealand lost a Test at home, to South Africa in March in Hamilton. Since then, they haven't lost in 12 Tests. This is their joint-second longest streak of Test wins at home and another win (or even a draw) in the next Test on Friday will equal their longest streak of 13 unbeaten Tests, between March 1987 and March 1991 (excluding an abandoned Test). In fact, during a 12-year period from 1979 to 1991, NZ had lost just two of the 37 Tests they played at home. more..