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Video: Namal was planning on becoming country’s leader: Dilan

Dec 16 (AD) Namal Rajapaksa was planning on becoming the country’s next leader if his father was in power for another 15 years, claims State Minister Dilan Perera. He was responding to a question from a reporter, regarding a statement made by the Hambantota District MP to a newspaper that only 96 MPs remained to safeguard the party while the rest jumped sides. Perera said that in 2004 they had a govt which wasn’t more..

'Information Bank for economic diplomacy'

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to launch a Knowledge Platform, an online internet information bank to promote economic diplomacy, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said. The platform would be launched by the end of the first quarter of 2016. De Silva revealed this during the second meeting of the Inter Agency Task Force on Promotion of Economic Diplomacy set up to coordinate between various govt agencies and chambers of commerce to push the economic diplomacy agenda by more..

President returns from Rome

Dec 16 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in the country this morning (16) after a successful visit to Vatican, Rome. The President who arrived in Vatican on Dec 13 on a special invitation of Pope Francis called on His Holiness on the 14th. During this meeting His Holiness commended the initiatives taken by the President towards peace building and reconciliation in the country. He also expressed his happiness over the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him when he visited Sri Lanka more..

India to build sea bridge, tunnel to connect Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (PTI) Keen on promoting connectivity in the South Asian region, India is set to build a sea-bridge and tunnel connecting Sri Lanka while a pact has been inked with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for seamless flow of traffic and passenger vehicles, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said. "ADB is ready to fully finance a bridge building project connecting Rameshwaram to SL. Project was also discussed by PM Narendra Modi more..

Deputy Speaker brings unruly govt members to heel

Dec 16 (Island) Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala yesterday warned a govt MP and a Deputy Minister who did not heed instructions from the Chair. Two members were UNP MP Ananda Aluthgamage and State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe. While UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage was speaking at the budget debate UNP MP Ananda Aluthgamage continuously heckled him. Deputy Speaker Sumathipala instructed MP Aluthgamage not to disturb UPFA MP. more..

Bandara claims his ministry was a den of thieves during previous regime

Dec 16 (Island) Skills Development and Vocational Training ministry was a den of thieves during the previous government, said its state minister, Palitha Range Bandara. He said that he had received many reports, petitions etc. in that regard. An illegal company had been established within the authority, he alleged. "In my ministry there have been many fraudulent activities including corruption and I am aware of them all. I have received petitions, reports after reports about them," he said. more..

Video: BBS complains to HRC on amendments

Dec 16 (DM) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) complained to Human Rights Commission (HRC) regarding Govt moves to amend the Criminal Justice Procedure Code and the Penal Code. “We have named the Justice Ministry Secretary, Parliament Secretary and the Presidential Secretary as respondents,” BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said. “Govt is attempting to amend these Codes while more..

Several flights delayed due to strike at BIA

Dec 16 (NS) A sudden strike action initiated by Customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) this morning resulted in several departing flights being delayed. Most of the delayed flights belonged to national carrier SriLankan Airlines. Four SriLankan Airlines outbound flights were delayed due to the trade union action. Accordingly, flights to Beijing, London, Singapore and Lahore were delayed by the strike. However, the strike has now been called off. more..

Video: One dead, 40 injured in bus accident

Dec 16 (AD) A woman was killed while around 40 other persons were wounded after a bus toppled down a 40-foot precipice near the Vinayagar Temple on the Lindula-Nuwara Eliya road. The incident had occurred at around 8.00am this morning while the injured passengers have been admitted to the Lindula Hospital for treatment, the police spokesman’s office said. A bus transporting a group of employees of the Tea Research Institute was involved in the accident, police said. more..

Video: Kumar Sangakkara says selectors should focus on Test cricket

Dec 16 (AAP) The Sri Lankan selectors need to prioritise Test cricket, batting great Kumar Sangakkara says. In the wake of the touring side's 122-run loss to NZ, Sangakkara said the young side would have benefited from the inclusion of experienced players such as top-order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne. The 26-year-old, with 23 Tests under his belt, was overlooked for the tour, but remains nation's one-day vice-captain. more..

Video: 10 tame elephants to be trained for religious festivals

Dec 16 (DM) About 10 domesticated elephants would be given for peraharas and other functions for a nominal fee while annual permits would be given to adopt elephants, Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera today said. The permits would only be provided after a back ground check on the funds and facilities of those who want to adopt an elephant. “This will be renewed each year after the Ministry has inspected the premises and the health of the elephant,” the Minister said. more..

Navy gets Rs. 220 Mn from Avant Garde operations

Dec 16 (DM) Navy had earned an income of Rs. 220 million (USD 1.55 million) from the operations of Avant Garde Maritime Services during the period from Nov 13 to Dec 13, Navy Spokesman Akram Alavi said. Govt in early November decided to handover the operations of the controversial Avant Garde to the Navy. Providing security to merchant ships carrying weapons, ammunitions and related equipment and for the smooth functioning of onboard security to vessels more..

Sri Lanka says conspiracy in Perera New Zealand doping charge

Dec 16 (AFP) Sri Lanka's sports minister defended Wednesday wicketkeeper Kusal Perera who was suspended from the ongoing New Zealand tour after failing a drugs test, hinting at a conspiracy against the cricketer. Dayasiri Jayasekera told parliament that authorities will send a "B" sample for testing after the ICC announced last week that Perera tested positive for a banned steroid during a random check. more..

Deformed Judiciary

Dec 17 (CT) Various articles have appeared in the press regarding the inordinate delays experienced by the litigants in obtaining justice from the Courts of law. Every budget speech refers to the delays and promise to ensure that justice is meted without delay, quoting the saying that Justice Delayed is Justice Denied. However, no tangible steps have been taken in this regard. Retired judges and legal luminaries too have commented on this matter. Unfortunately, the retired judges more..

Editorial: Pickpockets’ ruse

Dec 17 (Island) It is said that the best way to catch a thief is to set a thief. This, Sri Lankans had been wise enough to do until 1977 by electing the two main parties or coalitions led by them to rule the country alternately. A newly elected govt usually probes the misdeeds of its predecessor, on a priority basis, in a bid to make sure that its rivals won’t be able to make a comeback and trouble it. But, since 1977, people have made mistake of allowing govts to secure more than one term consecutively. more..

'Corruption has to be dealt with according to rules'

Dec 17 (SL) Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara is of the view that overall every sector has been thought of in the budget and everyone is benefitted by its proposals. Denying allegations that the national govt is unstable he said that although there is a few difference of opinions this is something that has to be expected when several parties join to form a coalition. But he said that the govt is very stable and these minor issues more..

What was the secret Kerry told Maithri about China?

Dec 17 (CT) When President Maithripala Sirisena was in New York to attend the UNGA sessions, US Secretary of State, John Kerry, visited him. When Kerry sought his leave after a lengthy discussion, Maithri asked him a pertinent question: "How are you going to balance China and India?" asked Maithri. SL Leader stressed that Chinese support was needed to strengthen his economy. Kerry advised to balance India and get assistance from China adding that America was not opposed more..

Slam-dunk or Daydream?

Dec 17 (CT) For instance, the widely reported story of Shavini Fernando – the young girl from Kandy who was pushed to the point of requiring a heart and lung transplant due to sheer medical negligence – is a case in point. Despite many telltale symptoms, doctors had repeatedly failed to identify a large hole-in-the-heart that she has been living with her entire life. Instead, they had gone about treating her symptoms in an ad hoc manner without ever connecting the dots. more..

Colombo Municipal Council at 150 years

Dec 17 (SO) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC)- prime local govt body governing the commercial capital was first introduced in 1865 by colonial rulers, almost 150 years ago. They not only governed the city, which was earlier under the Govt Agent of the Western Province, but also plant the seed for self-govt in colonial Ceylon. The CMC became the first political institution to have elected Members despite the country not having more..

Telco agrees to cooperate in Thajudeen murder probe

Dec 17 (SL) The private telecommunications service provider, Dialog Telekom, which earlier maintained that their automated system cannot retrieve the unrated (incoming) call details of their customers, the company it is learnt has made a sudden decision to revert on their former stance and agreed to corporate with the CID in the investigation into the murder of Wasim Tahjudeen. Speculations was earlier rife that the head of Dialog Telekom, Dr. Hans Wijesuriya would be arrested more..

National development master plan: Now or never!

Dec 17 (SL) The lack of a proper national development master plan is nothing new to Sri Lanka, and it can be said that govts that come into power in Sri Lanka are not bothered about having a master plan. Even during election times, this has never been a slogan. The simple reason for the lack of such a plan is also the lack of interest on such a matter on the part of the general public. Sri Lanka needs a national development master plan. Mankind’s needs arise as a result of culture. more..

Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera

CKDu in Sri Lanka: Has the management of the disease improved?

Dec 17 (CT) The two principal areas of research into CKDu – that based on data collected from people in the community, and that based on patient data available in hospitals – are pursued entirely separately in our country. The field research is field research and the hospital-based research is hospital-based research, and it seems that, in Sri Lanka, never the twain shall meet. CKDu researchers often derive their own data from field investigations, but are either not allowed to or more..

Trixi opposes Yasa’s nomination as Asian Netball Federation President

Dec 17 (ST) SL Netball President Yasa Ramachandra’s name has been nominated as the next president of the Asian Netball Federation (ANF). The election for this post will be held on Dec 21 at the Annual General Meeting in Hong Kong. The present ANF president is Lakshmi Victoria, which post she has been holding since 2013. Her name was nominated as the president of the ANF by the Sri Lanka Netball Federation and her name was forwarded to the Sports Ministry for approval. more..

US wants to make Sri Lanka an economic and security hub

Dec 17 (USE) Good morning, and to all of you Ayubowan, Vanakkam. Thank you for being here. It’s a tremendous honor and a great pleasure to be here today. Thank you, Mr. Minister, for your very kind introduction. To be at this respected institute, named in honor of the late and great Lakshman Kadirgamar, and an institute dedicated to the study of Sri Lanka’s strategic interests, is the right place to be today to talk to all of you, more..

Unlucky 13

Dec 17 (ST) A particular sport played by lasses is the talk of the town these days what with an Asian tournament looming and a just concluded World Cup Down Under. This particular team gathered to take an official photograph before the team took off to take part in an overseas event. At the official photograph this particular official wanted to know whether 13 playing members could stand for the official photograph instead of the tour party of 12. Big Man had nodded his head in the heat more..

Taxes adversely affect charities

Dec 17 (Island) Governments, when presenting a budget, presume they are in the commanding heights of all they survey and know everything to plan and progress towards a more just, egalitarian, and more civilized, cultured and peaceful Sri Lankan society. It is when the criticisms come that they belatedly discover that certain budget proposals are not only regressive, but tend to aggravate unnecessary tensions in society, and even widen the gap between the rich and the poor, while more..

Legal hairsplitting begins SLC for elections

Dec 17 (DM) Nishantha Ranatunga’s team for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections came up with a sensational allegation that two other presidential candidates Thilanga Sumathipala and Jayantha Dharmadasa have not fulfilled legal requirements to contest but Dharmadasa and Sumathipala rejected the allegation while Sports Ministry claimed they will not entertain such objections. Ranatunga said that the two officials have not completed the more..

What the 2016 budget means for land rights

Dec 17 (ST) Budget speeches are politically significant not only for the specific proposals and policies they spell out but also for what they reveal about their authors. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s mega-speech is rich in both respects, especially given an elaborate first part that is quite revealing of the ruling dispensation’s ideological orientation. Perhaps what is most significant is that the speech begins by effectively demonising the welfare state. more..

BBS Gnasara’s suicide jackets claim: Muslim Council goes to Police Commission

Dec 17 (CT) The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has today urged the IGP and the National Police commission to inquire into the latest charges made by monk Galagoda Atte Gnanasara of the Bodu Bala Sena claiming that the police found suicide jackets in a Muslim home down Kawdana road. MCSL has also requested the IGP to take immediate action against Gnanasara Thero if he was lying as this charge could cause hate against the Muslims. We publish below the statement more..

Govt takes every possible step to prevent kidney disease: President

Dec 17 (PSL) Govt will take every possible step to control the kidney disease which is the sorrowful story of Rajarata people, said President Sirisena. He thanked all the contributors who joined with the govt in this effort and said that all should unify with the govt in the future too, to fulfill this national responsibility. He made these observations participating at the concluding ceremony of National Kidney Disease Education Programs more..

SL corporate profit growth seen slowing

Dec 17 (EN) Profit growth of Sri Lanka’s listed companies is likely to be lower than anticipated in forthcoming quarters with the depreciation of the rupee to record lows and rising interest rates, a brokerage said. The rupee depreciation and higher interest rates will gradually slowdown consumer demand, First Capital Equities said in an earnings update. Consumer demand rose sharply this year after the govt reduced fuel prices and lowered prices of other goods with reduced taxes. more..

Business promotion mission off to Mumbai

Dec 17 (NS) The Indo Lanka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ILCCI) will lead a Trade and Investment Promotion Mission to Mumbai, India, during mid-Feb, 2016. The mission which will take place during the period of 13th to 16th Feb, 2015 is scheduled to coincide with the Make In India Week organized by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry of Indian, in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The participants will have the opportunity of taking part in the more..

Public-private partnerships essential for development: President

Dec 17 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized the need for the joint efforts of both the state and the private sectors in the country’s economic development. He pointed out that the special attention of the private sector should be drawn to manufacture new productions needed for today’s commercial world while paying their attention to the traditional export industry. Govt is ready to provide its fullest support in this regard. more..

Rupee depreciation and rising interest rate expected to affect economy

Dec 17 (Island) We expect consumer demand to remain high though on a marginal decelerating trend during 1H2016 amidst higher disposable income among consumers. The rupee depreciation and rising interest rate environment may affect the economy predominantly during the 2H2016 while the effect will be partially felt during the latter part of 2Q2016 as well. Amidst significant forex losses wiping out high growth rates produced via consumer demand, we would like to downgrade more..

Two new commissioners appointed to Language Commission

Dec 17 (DN) President Mathripala Sirisena has appointed new commissioners to the Language Commission. Official Languages Commission coming under the purview of Minister Mano Ganeshan will be headed by Prof. Daya Edirisinghe. A co-drafter of the legislation Official Languages Commission Act Jeevan Thiyagarajah has also been appointed as a commissioner, along with Prof. Ven. Kiwulgadara Narada Thera and A.M.M. Naushad. Prof. Ediriringhe, who was the head of more..

Voice against corruption growing: Over 20,000 complaints to TISL unit

Dec 17 (FT) Transparency International SL’s legal arm – Shelter for Integrity the Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) – has so far received 20350 complaints from the public who have experienced corruption while obtaining a service from a State institution. ALACS provide the public with the opportunity to seek legal advice free of charge when they have experienced corruption while obtaining a service from a State institution. more..

Sri Lanka lose 13-24 to Hong Kong

Dec 17 (DN) A terrible kicking display by fullback Reeza Rafaideen, who missed two easy penalties and a conversion along with scrum half Isuru Kongahawatte who missed an easy conversion and made a horrible kick from the base of the scrum which landed in Hong Kong Mathew Woolley's hands and ended in a try saw Sri Lanka loses by 13 points (2 tries, 1 penalty) to 24 (3 goals, 1 penalty) to Hong Kong in their second match of Asian Rugby Under-19 Championship played in S'pore. more..

Sri Lanka Year in Review 2015

Dec 17 (OBG) In the wake of general elections earlier this year, Sri Lanka has emerged with a renewed emphasis on economic reforms and fiscal consolidation, which has allayed concerns for many local and foreign investors. Until August, election delays had effectively created a wait-and-see approach in the private sector, with investors pressing pause on several high-profile projects. Most notably, the country’s largest-ever foreign investment – $1.4-bn Colombo Port City more..

Video: Rajitha's daughter-in-law studying at SAITM: IUSF

Dec 17 (DM) IUSF said that Minister Rajitha Senaratne's daughter-in-law (MP Chathura Senaratne's wife), Sarupa Manathunga was following a course at South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) and that that was why Dr. Senaratne was striving to protect SAITM. IUSF convener Lahiru Weerasekara said they were informed by reliable sources at SAITM that minister's daughter-in-law was studying there and more..