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Many good reasons for legalizing prostitution in Sri Lanka!

Dec 2 (DM) Last week, there was an interesting article in this newspaper that weighed favourably the merits of legalizing prostitution. That media, rights groups and civil society in general are viewing those complex issues in an increasingly pragmatic way -- finally having overcome the dominant yet arcane moralistic posture -- is a sign of maturity. That is a pleasant contrast to the recent past. Nearly a decade and-a-half ago, more..

Editorial: Ailing railway

Dec 2 (Island) All unauthorised structures on either side of railroads that run through some parts of the Colombo city and its suburbs will be removed, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said. There are shanties with their roofs almost touching the moving trains. Drastic measures are, therefore, called for to rid the railway land of encroachers. Minster was seen inspecting the Kelani Valley railway line a few days ago. It is one of the worst sections of the country’s railway network. more..

All quiet on anti-corruption front

Dec 2 (Island) Sri Lanka is swiftly impending towards the first anniversary of electing the joint opposition candidate as the President. But the people sense very well that the President and the National Govt are finding it an obstacle to walk the talk. In the months of Nov and Dec 2014, we heard on political platforms and media briefings, political discussions of a new political landscape within which many allegations of corruption and waste, and promises made to bring the culprits to book. more..

Sensitive Senthuran’s Story…

Dec 2 (CT) People in the North are yet to recover from the shock of the tragic death of a frustrated youth on Thursday, who sacrificed his life for the cause of Tamil political prisoners who are languishing in prisons for a number of years. Although several protests and hunger strikes were launched, only a handful of prisoners were released and there are many more to be released. The continuous struggle to free political prisoners has taken more..

Owl and the Pussycat, SL to open Dec 15th

Dec 2 (IT) Opening on 15th December 2015, Owl and the Pussycat will be Sri Lanka’s newest boutique hotel, offering guests a luxury long-haul hideaway in the southern coastal town of Thalpe, just a short Tuk-Tuk ride from the historic Galle Fort. Owners Reita Gadkari and Shane Thantirimudalige, both leading property developers, have created a hotel that offers sophistication with a lively seaside atmosphere and access to an unparalleled authentic Sri Lankan experience. more..

Commonwealth Games wants cricket back at the crease

Dec 2 (AFP) The Commonwealth Games is in talks with the International Cricket Council about bringing the sport back into the four-yearly event, organisers told AFP. Commonwealth Games Federation, which controls the second-biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics, said it was keen to get cricket back on the bill, with the Twenty20 shortest format of the game a particularly exciting prospect. Cricket has only featured once at the Commonwealth Games, at the 1998 event in Kuala Lumpur, more..

Sri Lanka’s clothing industry looks to regain competitiveness

Dec 2 (OBG) With an eye on the target of reaching $8.5bn worth of clothing exports per annum by 2020, Sri Lanka’s apparel manufacturers are backing a national bid to regain preferential trade concessions from the EU. Sri Lanka has carved a niche as an international centre for clothing manufacturing despite tough regional competition, with the high-value segment performing particularly well. more..

Access Engineering to invest Rs 2,586 mn in 28 floor building

Dec 2 (Island) Access Engineering Plc after its successful debenture issue recently will invest Rs 2,586 million in a 28 floor building called Access Towers 2, adjacent to the iconic Access Towers at Union Place in Colombo. Another Rs 2,414 million will be invested to construct 941 housing units at Henamulla, Colombo 15, under the Urban Regeneration Project of the UDA. Above project is part of a larger urban regeneration project aimed at providing permanent houses for low income more..

BOC’s Chief Marketing Officer among the Most Influential Marketing Leaders Listing

Dec 2 (Island) Dr. Indunil Liyanage, Chief Marketing Officer of Bank of Ceylon, has been honoured with the Most Influential Marketing Leaders Listing at the World Marketing Congress 2015 in Mumbai, India in the presence of a distinguish gathering. This prestigious award ceremony was held on the second day of the World Marketing Congress (WMC) at Taj Lands End Hotel, Mumbai, India on Nov 27. This recognition was awarded as a part of Global Marketing Excellence Awards more..

Dialog to buy AirTel for &100m

Dec 2 (CT) Sri Lanka's mobile telecoms giant Dialog is currently negotiating to buy the Colombo operations of Bharti Airtel for US$ 100 million, sources close to negotiations told Ceylon FT yesterday. "The transaction will be a mix of cash and an equity stake in Dialog at current market prices, where the total value would be $ 100 million", they said. Bharati Airtel Lanka & Dialog Axiata officials, when contacted declined to comment. more..

Carrom workshop from CFSL

Dec 2 (DN) Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) has made arrangements to conduct a training workshop on Carrom rules and regulations on two days (Dec 5 and 6) at YMBA Hall, Nawala Road, Nugegoda. This workshop is for Carrom players and trainee umpires as well as for those who are willing to enter carrom game and umpiring. Members of sports clubs with membership of CFSL and other carrom players may take part in this. Prime objective of this programme is to make prominent more..

World Bank team meets Minister Hakeem

Dec 2 (FT) Minister Rauff Hakeem met with a delegation of World Bank Officials yesterday at the Ministry Auditorium and held discussions with regards to the World Bank Funded Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Projects in Sri Lanka. Ulrich Schmitt – Program Leader, Sustainability and Resilience (on behalf of the Country Director – Francoise Clottes), Parameswaran Iyer – Practice Manager South Aisa, Global Water Practice, Lain Menzies, Senior Water and Sanitation more..

Multi functional smart card to public in 2016

Dec 2 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka, a multi functional smart card would be introduced to the public from next year. The card primarily used as the National Identity Card and it would be enabled with a computer chip. The proposed smart card could also be used as a debit card said, Minister Champika Ranawaka. Plans are also underway to enable this smart card to be used also at airports globally. more..

Employers’ Federation slams private sector wage increase

Dec 2 (DM) Sri Lanka’s employers’ representative body to deal with labour issues, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) yesterday slammed the govt for proposing to increase private sector wages. EFC CEO Kanishka Weerasinghe warned the mandatory increase of private sector wages through legislation would threaten the very ethos of the free market economy. “We are principally opposed to any move to legislate the private sector wages as it cuts across our policy of promoting more..

CIMA-LMD 100 Awards Night puts spotlight on top listed corporates

Dec 2 (FT) At what was billed as the Corporate Event of the Year, LMD released the Top 20 listed company rankings and Sector Winners, at a gala dinner hosted in association with CIMA, to a high-profile guest list of leading corporates last night. Hayleys and John Keells Holdings (JKH) grabbed the honours at the top of pioneering rankings, with the former taking the number one slot from JKH, by virtue of its Rs. 92.5 billion top line. LMD announced that JKH was the most profitable more..

Rehabilitation must be as per refugees’ choice, says expert

Dec 2 (Hindu) She was hardly 10 years old when her mother Rajini Thiranagama, an iconic Tamil human rights activist and feminist of Jaffna, was shot dead by cadres of LTTE right in front of their house in 1989. Immediately, her father Dayapala Thiranagama took her and her sister to London where they grew up. Now an anthropologist with Stanford University, Sharika Thiranagama is candid that there must not be any external more..

Dispute at Puttalam Hospital: PSM members launch strike

Dec 2 (Island) Pharmacists, Radiographic technologists, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists yesterday joined a strike launched by Medical Laboratory Technologists in the North Western Province against the arrest of an MLT attached to Puttalam Base Hospital. Vice President of Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) Ravi Kumudesh said that MLT had been arrested on baseless allegations made by authorities he had assaulted a doctor. more..

Aussie Senator urges demilitarization of N-E

Dec 2 (CT) Australian Senator for New South Wales, Lee Rhiannon, called on the Govt of Sri Lanka to show its commitment to reconciliation by de-militarizing the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Addressing Australia's Tamil community at an event last week to commemorate Maaverar Day (Martyrs' Day) Rhiannon said "If the new regime is genuine about reconciliation then there must be an immediate end to the military presence in the North and East." more..

Packer, Leonne figure in budget debate

Dec 2 (Island) MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage has queried the govt whether Indian porn star Sunny Leonne was to visit Colombo later this year. He was reacting to Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke alleging that since the conclusion of the war in May 2009, the previous govt had been able to attract Australian casino king James Packer and some prostitutes from an Eastern European country. more..

Spice Council to brand Lanka Pepper?

Dec 2 (CT) 12th Annual General Meeting of the Spice Council appointed Nanda Kohona as its Chairman for the year 2015-2016 at a ceremony held in Colombo recently. The importance of increasing the range of spices for export and value addition was stressed at the function. Ceylon cinnamon is the only product in the country in which Sri Lanka commands a world monopoly. Sri Lanka exports over 90% of the world's demand for Cinnamon. more..

Dheepan keeps focus on refugees

Dec 2 (ST) Movies centred on refugee issues too often follow a colonialist template - Westerners are complex and conflicted, while refugees are plot devices that exist to help their saviours find redemption. Not Dheepan (NC16, 109 minutes). The winner of the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival is a drama about resettlement which keeps its focus on a trio of Tamils fleeing war-torn Sri Lanka for Paris. Man (Jesuthasan Antonythasan), woman (Kalieswari Srinivasan) more..

Handing over elephants through Presidential decree illegal

Dec 2 (DN) Attorney General has made a determination that handing over an elephant to other persons through a Presidential Decree (Sannasa) is illegal and therefore handing over two elephant calves to former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa through a Presidential Sannasa should be investigated due to lack of transparency over the procedure, Senior State Counsel Dileepa Peiris informed Court. more..

GMOA sees minister's personal staff member as stumbling block

Dec 2 (DN) GMOA is always ready to solve issues through discussions as it did in the past with former Health Minister and current President Sirisena but it will not be possible as long as Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne keeps certain persons in his personal staff, GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said. According to Dr. Herath, at the moment there is a specific person in Minister's personal staff who had been a member of the GMOA and later sacked from the GMOA for disciplinary reasons. more..

150 Co-Operative societies in Batti facing closure

Dec 2 (CT) More than 150 out of the 500 co-operative societies registered with the Registrar of Co-operative Societies in the Batticaloa District are functioning in name only, according to District Assistant Commissioner of Co-operative Development, S. Kiruparajasingham. He added that 34 types of co-operative societies are functioning in the district. Most of the co-operative societies become defunct due to neglect by owners. Department of Co-operatives has been more..

Chandrika advocates Special Court on missing persons and war crimes

Dec 2 (DN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga yesterday said that reconciliation cannot happen without accepting the mistakes of the past and the injustices committed to minorities. Former President Kumaratunga was addressing the press as the Head of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena. She also said "Accountability especially seems to be an more..

New Zealand keep faith in Guptill, Craig

Dec 2 (CI) New Zealand retained the out-of-form duo of Martin Guptill and Mark Craig as they pruned their Test squad from 16 to 12 for the two-match home series against Sri Lanka that begins on December 10. Opening the batting on their just-concluded tour of Australia, Guptill made a highest score of 23 in his six Test innings, while the offspinner Craig picked up eight wickets at an average of 64.12 while conceding more than five runs an over. more..

Nurses, PSMs & paramedics threaten strike

Dec 2 (CT) Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) said that nurses, professions supplementary to medicine and paramedics would decide on going on a protest via an island-wide strike over the govt not fulfilling its budgetary promises to the working class and favouritism to a particular group. Chairperson of the JCPSM, Ajith Thilakarathne, said that Govt through the budget had done nothing to increase the basic salary of public officials by Rs 10,000 nor more..

Dinesh says 2016 Budget is Part 2 of JR’s 1977 Budget

Dec 2 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe moved the Second Reading Adjourned Debate on the eighth allotted day of Appropriation Bill 2016 highlighting the importance of placing country before self and urging political parties to join hands to bring SL above GDP Per Capita benchmark of a developed nation. In response, UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena said, “Budget 2016 is the second step of what was presented in 1977. more..

Vote on second reading of budget today: President expected to be in Parliament

Dec 2 (Island) The vote on the second reading of the budget 2016 is scheduled to be taken at 5 pm today. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt’s first full budget was presented to Parliament on Nov. 20 by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake with total govt expenditure for the next year estimated at Rs. 1,941 bn. The Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill, presented to Parliament on Oct. 24 by Leader of the House Minister Lakshman Kiriella, commenced the following day. more..

Duty-free vehicle permits: UNP MPs prefer cash grant

Dec 2 (DM) Most of the UNP MPs have objected to the withdrawal of the duty- free vehicle permits which had been earlier issued to MPs and professionals and instead sought a cash grant for all categories, it is learnt. UNP conducted a workshop during the weekend for its MPs at a resort in Bentota to discuss budgetary proposals and other political matters. Minister Ravi Karunanayake briefed the MPs on budgetary proposals and pointed out that govt would lose a huge amount of revenue more..

Ranil gives MPs lessons on analysing Budget

Dec 2 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday staunchly defended his Govt’s maiden budget, urging MPs on both sides of the aisle to think out of the box and put aside traditional political rivalries to back the appropriation bill for 2016. Budget for 2016 has come in for both bouquets and brickbats, giving rise to a strong debate over the Govt’s fiscal proposals in the country. Budget has been criticised for more..

Let’s search for renewable energy sources

Dec 2 (DM) About 150 world leaders and their high-level delegations are meeting in Paris for a 11–day climate change summit which most environmental analysts believe is a make-or-break conference where the world’s 195 countries will need to go beyond talk and take binding decisions that will be implemented with dedication to save Mother Nature. Two of the most important decisions will be measures to reduce the rising temperature to a maximum of 2˚C & reduce carbon dioxide more..

Who shoots whom in Parliament?

Dec 2 (DM) We are the guinea pig generation! Carried the insignia on the back of the executive through pride and shame. Power shifts to the legislature and an assassin take shots at it? Legislature must be saved –It is a national treasure, last bastion of democracy. Executive is beheaded: Judiciary is being deprecated. Are we in for another hybrid as the tripod of governance is being dismantled? Lived through war and peace; Cruel terrorism turned to maligned justice; more..

'Budget priorities are in line with PM’s policy statements'

Dec 2 (DM) The much-awaited inaugural budget of the good governance regime was presented last week. While the debates on it are currently under way, we spoke to Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, to get a closer look at what it has been proposed. Q: If we begin from where the previous govt stopped; there is a burden of a huge debt to start off with. How would the govt implement this budget while repaying debts? more..

No Aye from Vidura to Ravi’s budget

Dec 2 (DM) Sri Lankan Freedom Party MP, Vidura Wickramanayake who is not afraid to criticise political leadership, even within his own party, explained why he cannot agree with this budget and why he did not accept any portfolios like many of his party colleagues did. A one-time journalist attached to the Dailymirror newspaper Wickramanayake talks about his passion and connection with the media. more..

No solution for SL women suffering in Saudi

Dec 2 (SL) Domestic workers or house maids as they are commonly called are the expatriates who bring in the bulk of foreign revenue to the country. There is a large number of domestic workers employed overseas and they are faced with numerous challenges and problems. In the recent past, a number of incidents that had taken place testify to the sad fate of these domestic workers who toil day & night in foreign lands, more..

State attorneys, judicial officers must not succumb to external pressures: AG

Dec 2 (ST) Attorney General (AG) Y.J.W. Wijayatilake P.C. said that law officers of the State and Judicial Officers must remain resolute and strong in the face of criticism. “As we live in an era where the media and some segments of the public are quick to criticise judicial and quasi-judicial decisions, even when there is no basis for criticism, we law officers of the State and Judicial Officers must remain resolute and strong,” more..

'Journalists shouldn't be exempted from bribery probes'

Dec 2 (Island) Parliamentary Reforms and Media Secretary Vajira Narampanawa said that CIABOC could investigate those who had been allegedly on the payroll of Avant Garde. Journalists shouldn't be exempted from the investigation under any circumstances, Narampanawa said. He was responding to Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake's recent accusation that some prominent journalists had benefitted more..

Govt mulls levying walking track fee

Dec 2 (Island) Those who now use Bellanwila walking tracks may be compelled to pay a fee shortly. The Bellanwila walking tracks built under Werassa Ganga development project is need of substantial cash injection to ensure maintenance. The previous govt opened Bellanwila section of the project on Sept 9, 2014. The Maithripala-Wickremesinghe govt has brought the project under Megapolis & Western Development Ministry. more..

CEBEU angered, warn strikes, power outages

Dec 2 (CT) The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers' Union (CEBEU) has warned that they will take the maximum trade union action possible together with all Trade Unions of the CEB against the proposal made in Budget 2016 to hand over to the Chinese Govt the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant to control 60% of the energy requirement of Sri Lanka. They warned that this Trade Union action could involve a power cut too. more..