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US envoy and Ranawaka discuss new constitution

Dec 18 (USE) U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap met today with Minister Champika Ranawaka. During the meeting, Ambassador Keshap and Minister Ranawaka discussed future infrastructure projects essential to Sri Lanka's prosperity, energy production and environmental protection, and progress on the development of a new constitution. Ambassador Keshap stressed “the US supports the Sri Lankan voters’ vision of a unified, peaceful, prosperous, and reconciled Sri Lanka with more..

Finally GoSL ready to join int’l anti-personnel mine treaty

Dec 18 (Island) More than six years after the conclusion of the war, Sri Lanka is ready to sign the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines. Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Canadian High Commissioner Shelley Whiting flew to Madhu, Mannar where they visited a mine clearing site. Minister Samaraweera has assured Canadian HC Whiting of Sri Lanka’s eagerness to join the Canadian initiative launched in 1997. more..

Environmentalists to protest deforestation of Wilpattu National Park tomorrow

Dec 18 (Island) A group of environmental organisations is scheduled to hold a protest at the Vihara Maha Devi Park on Saturday from 9.30 am to urge the government to stop environmental destruction and to increase public awareness vis-a-vis deforestation in the Wilpattu National Park. Many civil society organisations and environmental organisations including the Collective of National Environment Organisations, more..

Tamil theology upgraded Prabhakaran & downgraded Jesus

Dec 19 (CT) At the height of the 33-year-old war – i.e., from the Vadukoddai declaration of war on May 14, 1976 to Nandikadal on May 18, 2009 — two Tamil clerics decided to give a face-lift to Tamil politics by dressing it up in new clothes of Christian theology. Under the cover of waging a war of liberation even the so-called moderates had accepted Tamil fascism (Dr. Rajan Hoole) as a necessary means to achieve their political end. Any one who questioned Tamil fascism more..

Optimising tax revenue and encouraging better tax compliance

Dec 19 (FT) In 2010, Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the IPS and a member of the Taxation Commission was quoted in the media as stating: “The tax system is not delivering the potential revenue in Sri Lanka. As income increases in a country, the revenue also increases although the rate of increase will decline after some time. This is not happening in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s per capita income has increased from $720 in 1995 to $2053 in 2009 but but our tax revenue has declined more..

Cracking Sri Lanka's crimescape

Dec 19 (SO) A crime is a deviated behaviour, which goes against all the norms, values and expectations in a society. There are different types of crimes: personal, property, incomplete and statutory crimes. Grave crimes are very serious crimes for which a person will normally be prosecuted in a criminal court for a trial. In the recent years, rising crimes have drawn much public attention. There had been 50,804 total true cases of grave crimes more..

Save my economy: On with Triple Helix!

Dec 19 (FT) A recent post-budget meeting reminded me again how ignorant our industry captains are about what universities can do, are doing, and the importance of connectivity to them. The ignorance stretches to what courses we are teaching and the knowledge base that the graduates are having or even simply the curricula that is being delivered. I must hasten to state that all should not get agitated over the statement but I feel that this really applicable to a majority. more..

PM Questions viability of unfunded pensions

Dec 19 (CT) PM is of the view that unfunded-liability pensions cannot prevail. But trade unions want to keep intact the present non-contributory pension for public sector employees who would be recruited from Jan 2016 onwards too. This still is an unresolved budgetary proposal. However, govt has agreed not to go ahead with that particular budgetary proposal until the proposal is renegotiated with trade unions and agreed upon. Trade unions do oppose to the contributory system. more..

'Not in deal opposition'

Dec 19 (CT) There are two oppositions, one which is called the deal opposition and the Joint Opposition which we represent. It does not have deals with the govt. Eventually, we are the real opposition of the country, Media Spokesperson of the NFF, Mohammed Muzammil said. Q: During the presidential election and the general elections NFF had a voice. Why is the party silent now? A: We are not silent; more..

Fears of CEPA

Dec 19 (NS) The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India or CEPA as it is popularly known has been a sticking point in Indo-Lanka relations for quite some time. Despite its great economic relevance the subject is being hotly debated because of possible political and sociological implications. The sensitive issues involved have been bloated excessively by parties that are likely to be affected in both countries. Its detractors have often looked at it from more..

Nissan Leaf good, bad and ugly

Dec 19 (NS) Electric cars – Nissan Leaf in particular—became the talk of the town after the proposed price revision from the 2016 budget where the price of the vehicle rocketed by around Rs. 2.5 million. This 100% electric car was launched in Sri Lanka in 2013 and has been steadily gaining popularity in the country since, both among the Colombo-folk and those from outstation areas alike. Nation spoke top someone who owns a Leaf to get a better understanding about the vehicle. more..

'Sri Lanka cannot expect IMF to come and sort out problems'

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka might need IMF funds as money flow tightens in the future with global economic complexity but govt cannot expect a bail out by IMF after acting irresponsibly, Professor Razeen Sally said. “There is a lot of talk, as in the past, about going to IMF to get another standby loan,” Sally said. “This may be unavoidable sometime during the course of next year, especially as money tightens and as interest rates rise,” more..

Can Santa bring us a yaha-nattala with festive cheer?

Dec 19 (Island) My Dear Santa, I am told that in your country the ice is melting fast and life is becoming difficult for you, as well as Rudolph and your team of reindeer. I see on TV how icebergs are breaking down fast and polar bears have a hard time with the sea widening and the ice fields getting smaller. I hope that with all these worries, the spirit of Christmas is still with you, and you are planning the long journey to bring joy to us, as you do every Christmas. more..

Editorial: Cats as mayors

Dec 19 (Island) It was only the other day that we mentioned, in these columns, King Matthias of Hungary, who used dogs as his personal guards because he did not trust humans so much. Now, we hear that a Siberian city wants to have a cat as its mayor! It has been reported that the people of Barnaul are so fed up with their politicians that they have, in an opinion poll, voted overwhelmingly for a cat. Their choice is an 18-year-old feline of Scottish Fold breed which is said to have more..

Sri Lanka’s badminton shuttle in a storm

Dec 19 (NS) Emotions seem to be running wild in the SL badminton scene with the sport’s officials not viewing positively the attempts made by some top players who are vying to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. SLBF President Suraj Dandeniya said that he believed that any attempt made by a Sri Lankan to qualify for the Games would amount to wastage of finances. However, according to him three players, more..

SC allows all to contest

Dec 19 (CT) The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) election took another dramatic turn yesterday, as the Supreme Court (SC) allowed all prior rejected candidates to contest for their respective posts, following an appeal made by the former SLC Secretary K. Mathivanan whose nomination too was earlier rejected by the Director General (DG) of Sports. The Lawyers representing rejected Vice-President Candidate Asanga Senevirathne was also present when the Court had given the verdict more..

U-19: Washout puts Sri Lanka in final

Dec 19 (CI) England's participation in the Tri-Nation Under-19s tournament was ended by rain and bad light in Colombo, leaving them without a win in four matches. Sri Lanka, who were in pole position to go through due to their superior run rate, will now take on India in Monday's final. Surrey 17-year-old Sam Curran shone before the gloom set in, taking 4 for 52 - including three wickets off the last four balls of the innings - as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 227. Kamindu Mendis top-scored with more..

Governor’s take on Economy, Budget, Fed Rate hike

Dec 19 (NS) The journey of Sri Lanka’s economy has been a puzzle for most part of this year as two crucial elections had dealt a severe blow to economic certainty. But as the year now draws to a close, the island’s economic direction seems to have become clearer. The Budget 2016, which has been marred by a string of public protests, will be put up for its final vote today in Parliament while on the external front, more..

Health of the Nation: Patient safety beyond Venerable Sobitha Thera

Dec 19 (Island) Since Professor Carlo Fonseka published, his lament in the Island on the untimely passing away of Ven. Sobitha Thera more than a month ago this newspaper has facilitated a constructive dialogue on what could be summed up as patient safety and probable causes affecting patient safety. One argument put forward by Professor Fonseka, which became the lightning rod of the conversation, was that the doctors chasing filthy lucre put patient safety at risk. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism’s Christmas festival kicks off today at Independence Square

Dec 19 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) together with other tourism institutions under the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs has organised a Christmas fest as a tourist attraction. ‘Tourism Fest with the spirit of Christmas’ will be opened from 19 to 23 December 2015 at the Arcade, Independence Square, in Colombo. The festival is organised to feature Sri Lankan food, culture, gems, tea, shopping & entertainment more..

President controls smaller share of govt expenditure

Dec 19 (LBO) President Maithripala Sirisena controls a smaller percentage of total govt expenditure compared with his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, according to budget analysis conducted by The former president had 1.6 trillion rupees under his portfolios, while the current president has 377 billion rupees under his purview. profiles the actions and activities of the 225 MPs and provides more..

DVDs of Mathalan under Interim order

Dec 19 (CT) High Court Judge Gamini Amarasekera issued an interim injunction against the sale of DVDs of the famed Sinhala film Mathalan which hit local cinemas back in 1955. Well-known local film distributor Tissa Nagodavithana filed plaint seeking the injunction charging that DVD copies of the said film have been released to the domestic market without any legal ownership indicated on the DVDs. He had cited Hemapriya Kandambi and Srimal Weerasinghe of CD World as respondents. more..

'SL must export more; Govt support key'

Dec 19 (FT) Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama called for more exports with greater support from the Govt warning that country’s performance has been dismal despite growing opportunities globally. “The biggest problem we have, we have discussed in the budget these days so we can focus on that, is that we are not exporting enough. When we look at the exports as compared to what we did nearly 10 years ago it has declined. So any govt here must make a very important decision to go on & help to export,” more..

Video: We’re not scared of politicians: GMOA

Dec 19 (DM) Health Minister should ask himself why he was afraid of quitting the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt until President Maithripala Sirisena did so to join the coalition against the then govt, the GMOA said. Responding to a question asked by a journalist, GMOA spokesman Dr. Navin de Soysa said they were never scared of former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa or any politician and never sucked up to them. more..

Yamaha partners with Powerboat assn.

Dec 19 (NS) Yamaha Marine and the Lanka Powerboat Association held a joint exhibition of products at Crescat Boulevard recently. On display were high-powered racing crafts, Yamaha WaveRunner personal water crafts as well as exciting powerboats ranging from 2-man P750s to the super powered Formula-4 boats capable of 240km per hour with the impact of 4G on a turn (G-Force) on a turn powered by Yamaha Outboard Motor Engines. more..

Ransilu disgusted despite medal winning spree

Dec 19 (NS) Ransilu Jayathilake produced a feat unparalleled at the Commonwealth Power Lifting Championships 2015 in Canada, but the athlete sees a gloomy future for him in the sport. Jayathilake said that if he doesn’t receive the backing of the sports ministry in the future he would consider quitting power lifting. “I was more focused on raising funds for my passage to Canada than training because there is little support for me to pursue this sport in Sri Lanka. more..

Jayalalithaa seeks PM's intervention for release of fishermen by Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (PTI) Following the latest instance of arrest of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka, TN Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sought PM Narendra Modi's intervention for the release of 31 such persons along with their boats. "I urge your personal intervention... And request you to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with Sri Lankan authorities at the highest level to secure the immediate release of 31 fishermen more..

SL could be the next big investment frontier

Dec 19 (BI) My team and I recently traveled to Sri Lanka and saw firsthand its great appeal as a tourist draw. We crisscrossed the country by air and by automobile, visiting a few of its cultural attractions and speaking with officials there. Along the way we gained a better understanding of the people and the business climate. While my previous blog focused on our travel experiences as we visited a few historic sites, here my team and I further explore the country’s business and political climate more..

67 escaped prisoners in 2015

Dec 19 (FT) During the last 11 months, 67 prisoners have absconded of which the authorities were able to capture 23. Explaining the procedure followed by the Prison Authority in the case a prisoner escapes, Minister said, “Superintendent of the respective prison will have to file a full report at the nearest police station. Apart from that, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, other prisons in the country and the Registrar General of Fingerprints are informed via telephone.” more..

SL ahead of India and China in Forbes’ list

Dec 19 (NS) Sri Lanka has ranked 91st out of 144 nations on Forbes’ annual list of the best countries for business in 2015, beating its closest neighbour India (97) and economic giant China (94), annual rankings showed. In Asia, Singapore was ranked in the 8th position while Malaysia 34 while countries like Pakistan was ranked 103, Bangladesh 121, Nepal 118. However, Sri Lanka scored poorly on metrics like trade, personal freedom more..

Kumar Gunaratnam further remanded

Dec 19 (AD) Frontline Socialists Party (FSP) political committee member Premakumar Gunaratnam, who was arrested and remanded for visa violations, has been further remanded till Dec 30 by the Kegalle Magistrate’s Court today. Premakumar, popularly known as Kumar Gunaratnam, was arrested on November 04 by Kegalle Police in the Aguruwella area. The former JVP politburo member had arrived in Sri Lanka from Australia on January 1, just days before the Presidential Election. more..

Video: former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella discharged from ITN controversy

Dec 19 (DM) Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Inquire & Investigate into Serious Acts of Fraud & Corruption (PRECIFAC) has released the former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella from the inquiry on ITN controversy. Inquiry over the case of non-payment of advertising campaign broadcasted in ITN during last presidential election period is currently taking place at the commission. Commission decided that Rambukwella is not responsible for alleged default of payment. more..

Non-foreign service personnel as diplomats to continue

Dec 19 (FT) Despite heavily criticising political appointees to diplomatic positions made by the previous Govt, non-foreign service officials will continue to man Sri Lankan embassies until the diplomatic service is improved, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament yesterday rejecting an effort to keep Foreign Service personnel at 70%. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, responding to a supplementary question raised by JVP MP more..

Senadhipathi seeks licensing

Dec 19 (CT) Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeal seeking to register 91 guns owned by the company. Senadhipathi states in his petition that if they failed to obtain licences for these guns they would have to be returned to the Defence Ministry. According to the Firearms Act the company will also have to pay a fine of Rs 10,000 on the unlicensed guns if he is unable to obtain licences for the 91 guns before 31 Dec 2015. more..

UNP MP threatens self-immolation!

Dec 19 (CT) Badulla District UNP MP Vadivel Suresh yesterday threatened to self-immolate in the chamber of Parliament if the govt did not increase the salaries of plantation and estate sector workers by today (19) evening. Taking part in the committee stage debate on the expenditures of the Ministry of Plantation Industries, the MP criticized the government for its failure to understand the extent of the hard work performed by plantation workers and their plight. more..

Video: TU action if demands not granted soon: Ratnapriya

Dec 19 (DM) Govt, semi Govt and private sector Trade Unions’ Collective Convener Saman Ratnapriya said they would resort to trade union action if the govt failed to fulfill its promises made at the meeting with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Govt had agreed to grant 11 of 12 demands made by them and this was why the collective had called its scheduled countrywide token strike. “Govt has a responsibility to fulfill its promises more..

Lankan Tamil leader determined to overcome obstacles to sending relief to TN

Dec 19 (ENS) The Chairman of Northern Provincial Council (NPC) C.V.K. Sivagnanam, says that he is determined to overcome obstacles to sending relief to flood-ravaged Tamil Nadu. While Indian diplomats told Sivagnanam that India has a policy of not accepting foreign aid for disaster management, a section of the Jaffna Tamil media, allegedly instigated by his rivals, either ridiculed his plans or said that it is not the NPC’s business to send relief to Tamil Nadu. more..

Minodh de Sylva listed in Asia's Influential Marketing Leaders

Dec 19 (DN) Richard Pieris Companies' Marketing Head, Minodh de Sylva was listed amongst the 100 Most Influential Marketing Leaders of 2015 in South Asia at the Marketing Congress held in Mumbai, India by the CMO Council Asia. He was amongst 15 other eminent Sri Lankan marketers from leading corporates who were also recognized at this forum in India. The listing which is done annually is a result of an extensive research process and a selection made by an international jury more..

Yahapalana Deal Making: Vehicle permits complaint lodge with FCID

Dec 19 (DM) All Ceylon Customs Services Union (ACCSU) complained to the FCID about a large scale fraud amounting to Rs.1 billion. It said the fraud had taken place at the Customs when it released vehicles imported on permits and thus evading taxes. ACCSU General Secretary J.A. Gunathilake alleged that this racket had been carried out by a several finance companies and individuals when importing luxury vehicles more..

Role in social issues for creative artistes

Dec 19 (DM) The role of creative, imaginative musicians and other artistes in reviving Sri Lanka’s historic culture and civilization was underlined by President Maithripala Sirisena when he spoke at the 2015 State Music Awards Festival on Thursday. The President said creative artistes had the additional gift of understanding and being compassionate towards the suffering and struggles of the impoverished, marginalised and voiceless people. They were able to enter into the struggle and more..