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Separating Hate Speech from freedom of speech

Dec 19 (DM) Inevitably anybody would be reminded of the anti-Muslim propaganda campaign carried out by several extremist groups for about three years before the regime change in January with the govt’s current move to promulgate laws against hate speech. Hence, it is appropriate to conclude that the govt has been prompted to bring in amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code by hate campaigns. One could also surmise that this move by the govt was necessary more..

How will TNA resolve the problem posed by Northern CM Wigneswaran?

Dec 19 (DBS) Veteran Indian Journalist P.K. Balachandran who has been resident in Sri Lanka for many years has over the years acquired a remarkable insight into the politics and politicians of the Island known once as the pearl of the Indian ocean . Bala as he is known filed a perceptive news report in the New Indian Express last week about Northern province chief minister C.V. Wigneswaran that also quoted a few lines from the article more..

President responded positively: GMOA

Dec 19 Dec 19 (DM) GMOA said President Maithripala Sirisena had given a positive response to its demands during the discussion its members had with the President yesterday. During the discussion, GMOA had put forward some issues including their strong opposition to the South Asian Institution of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) and some budget proposals. more..

GMSU decision causes delays

Dec 19 (SL) Govt Medical Supplies Unit’s (GMSU) decision to take back the supply of drugs for cancer patients under its control has created delays in the drugs reaching the patients on time, putting them in grave difficulty. Instructions were issued by GMSU recently to Maharagama Cancer Hospital authorities, that in future all urgent, vital drugs issued to cancer patients should be obtained from them & not ordered directly by hospital. more..

Lane discipline at crossroads: Road users flash green and red lights

Dec 19 (ST) Police will not withdraw the lane discipline rule despite protests from private bus operators and motorists’ complaints that it has only made a bad situation worse, Police Traffic Chief Amarasiri Senaratne said. It is true that the implementation of the regulations had slowed down traffic flow, but motorists were learning to be disciplined while most private bus and three-wheel drivers now avoid zigzagging from more..

Artistes can play a pivotal role in creating real men: President

Dec 19 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says artistes can play a pivotal role in building a disciplined society rich in moral values and in creating real men among the Lilliputs. He made these remarks at the ceremony of State Musical Awards 2015 held at the BMICH. The State Musical Awards ceremony was organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs to honour and encourage musicians in the field and to raise awareness more..

SL close in on lead after Chameera's five

Dec 19 (CI) Test cricket's thrill escalates with a fast bowler on the prowl and Dushmantha Chameera had his best day in the jungle. His maiden five-for tore through NZ's batting line-up. All that was left was the final wicket pair, staring at a deficit of 60 runs. It was his spell right after lunch that became the fulcrum on which the match spun. Sri Lanka spent the first session almost in slumber: they took 16.1 overs for 28 runs, and more..

50% of dengue cases from Western Province

Dec 19 Dec 19 (Island) About 27,697 dengue cases had been reported so far this year and 50% of them were from the Western Province, Epidemiology Unit. Addressing a media briefing at the Units office in Colombo to announce a 3-day mosquito control Programme scheduled to commence on Monday, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Paba Palihawadana, said the highest number of 9,164 cases had been recorded from the Colombo District. more..

Sri Lanka mulls special zone for Chinese investment

Dec 19 Dec 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan is considering a special zone in the southern part for Chinese investors as China looks to expand its investment in the island nation, a top official said. Chairman of the Board of Investments (BoI) Upul Jayasuriya said the govt had decided to set up the zone in the southern town of Hambantota. Sri Lanka has already conveyed its decision to China and is now awaiting a response. more..

Union: Customs top brass accepted deliberately lowered valuation

Dec 19 (Island) A major showdown is in the offing at the Customs Department with its Director General and its top brass being openly contradicted by its trade union umbrella which accuses them of attempting to release about 400 luxury vehicles after charging a much reduced tax on the basis of a lower valuation. Customs Director General Chulananda Perera along with additional directors vehemently denied more..

UK-led foreign coalition in overdrive to help govt of Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (Island) An international coalition led by Britain is now helping the govt stamp out corruption. Deputy British High Commissioner Laura Davies said that UK would work closely with US, Australia and Switzerland to help the new administration. Davies said that the UK was in the process of enhancing Sri Lanka’s capability to handle international cases. In accordance with an understanding with the govt of Sri Lanka, more..

Sri Lanka’s year of democracy, reconciliation and rebalancing

Dec 19 (EAF) It is no exaggeration to say that 2015 will be remembered as a major turning point for Sri Lanka as a nation. The Sri Lankan people made a decisive choice towards democracy and good governance, towards communal reconciliation and for moving the country back towards its traditional foreign policy orbit. It was a reassertion of the values that could make Sri Lanka the success story of South Asia. Sri Lanka started 2015 with a corrupt and authoritarian regime, led by more..

Elephant in the room: Villagers can touch it, literally

Dec 19 (CT) I have begun to dislike elephants. My fellow villagers have the same sentiment about the menacing elephants in and around our village. I have no doubt you will see the rational of our position in this regard. After the aggressive elephant conservation efforts launched decades ago, there is evidence that the effort has delivered the intended results. Elephant population has nearly doubled creating unintended consequences, most conspicuous being the polarized burden more..

Minister Arjuna Ranathunga

In search of loved ones

Dec 19 (CT) The Chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons Maxwell Paranagama during one of the sittings of the Commission in Jaffna has cautioned the complainants to be watchful over the unidentified persons who claim themselves as military intelligence operatives. Commissioner Paranagama at the Chankanai sittings in Jaffna a few days ago was compelled to caution the families of the missing persons following the complaints he received more..


Dec 19 (CT) The brazenly unscrupulous manner in which traders in Sri Lanka's commercial capital and other cities flaunt their totally unprincipled habit of piracy has finally brought down to Colombo a senior policing official of the world's most prestigious computer technology giant MICROSOFT. He was rudely taken aback by the nonchalant manner in which salesmen in a trading shop in Bambalapitiya tried to sell pirated MICROSOFT software items to him. This was reported last Wednesday. more..

Tearaway Chameera takes the Test by scruff

Dec 19 (CI) All through the series, Dushmantha Chameera has been trying to get Angelo Mathews' attention. He seems to know he is not trusted with the new ball yet. But maybe, he feels, he deserves the first-change role. During the early overs in Dunedin, and for much of day two's first session in Hamilton, Chameera was seen warming up extravagantly in the infield, throwing a windmill arm into Mathews' field of vision, more..

Brrr, the Christmas nip is biting hard

Dec 19 (ST) The Department of Meteorology warns of cold weather in coming weeks due to winds from the Northern Hemisphere as well as from the Bay of Bengal blowing across the country. “The northern winds will be more dry and cold while the winds from the bay will have moisture so there will be blend of mist and dry cold weather,” Meteorology Department Deputy Director, Anusha Warnasooriya, said. The central hills will experience much colder weather than in previous years. more..

Illegal seizure of lands in Dumbara

Dec 19 (SL) Amongst many alleged illegal anti-environmental activities in the country the issue of illegal land grabbing and diamond mining that are carried out despite the issues has beeng brought to the notice of relevant authorities. The Dumbara lands in the Ratnapura district is one of the water catchment areas which is continuously being exposed to illegal land acquisition and environmental damage for nearly 10 years causing chaos amongst residents. more..

Govt opposes Indian bridge, tunnel link to SL

Dec 19 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said SL govt was against India’s plans to build a bridge between Rameshwaram of Southern India and Thalaimannar. Commenting on Indian Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari’s statement to the Lok Sabha that India was set to build a sea bridge and tunnel connecting Sri Lanka, the Minister said that Sri Lanka would not agree with the proposed project. more..

Chameera makes his late entrance count

Dec 19 (CI) 9: Instances of Sri Lanka fast bowlers getting a five-wicket haul in Tests in New Zealand, including Dushmantha Chameera's 5 for 47. The last such haul was Lasith Malinga's 5 for 68 in Wellington in 2006-07. This was Chameera's third five-for in first-class cricket and his maiden five-for in Tests. 1: Number of previous instances of a Sri Lanka fast bowler taking five or more wickets after being brought on as the fifth bowler, before Chameera in this innings. more..

India says new SL Govt a valued partner

Dec 19 (CG) India says new SL Govt is a valued partner with who bilateral cooperation is being expanded. Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India is also working with SL on the ethnic problem. “Where Sri Lanka is concerned, new Govt is a valued partner with whom we are expanding bilateral cooperation, while addressing the ethnic problem,” she said. Indian Govt embarked on a Neighbourhood First policy from the very inception of the new Indian Govt taking office. more..

Govt to release more land in North

Dec 19 (CG) Govt has decided to release more civilian land held by the military in the North, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament. He said that President Sirisena will have discussions in this regard with the relevant officials. TNA had recently reiterated a demand to the Govt to release civilian land occupied by the military in the North. Earlier this week, TNA member Mavai Senathirajah said that while the new Govt has freed more..

'PM promises radical changes to the budget'

Dec 19 (Island) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to continue the fertilizer subsidy provided to paddy, tea, coconut, rubber, vegetable and fruits. The Minister said the Premier had agreed to continue the concessions during a meeting with SLFP MPs at the Parliamentary complex yesterday. He said that the Prime Minister had also agreed not to amalgamate the EPF and the ETF. more..

JVP unions oppose state hospitals training private medical college students

Dec 19 (Island) Trade unions of the education and health sectors will meet in Colombo today to discuss their collective action against allowing govt hospitals for the clinical practices of Malabe Private Medical College (SAITM). National Organiser of All Ceylon Medical Officers Association (ACMOA) Dr. Asanga Wickremesinghe said that the Health Ministry had already allowed the Avissawella Base Hospital and Kaduwela Medical Officer of Health Unit to train medical undergraduates of SAITM. more..

Missing Persons Commission receives complaints against IPKF

Dec 19 (Island) Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints Regarding Missing Persons said they had received complaints against disappearances allegedly caused by Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). Some people who appeared before the Commission referred to incidents where the IPKF were allegedly responsible for disappearances, Secretary of the Commission H.W. Gunadasa said. more..

Colombo apartments’ residents waiting in hope for their title deeds

Dec 19 (ST) The residents of Good Hope Apartments in Bambalapitiya have been waiting ten years for their title deeds. They are not the only ones. The owners of flats in 236 condominiums do not hold deeds to their properties. These buildings, a majority of them in Colombo, contain nearly 6,000 housing units and have not been certified by the Condominium Management Authority (CMA) for various reason. In July, this newspaper wrote about the residents of Good Hope Apartments— more..

MP Pathirana highlights large scale slaughter of wildlife

Dec 19 (Island) A large number of shops and meat stalls in the Galle District were doing a brisk business selling bush meat to consumers while authorities turned a blind eye, UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana told Parliament. He said that one could easily witness bush meat being sold in various areas of the Galle District such Welipatha, Weerapana, Udagama, Neluwa, Thawala and Opatha. "A large number of shops in the Galle District have wild game meat in their freezers. more..

'VW asked for $5mn bribe by ex-SL regime'

Dec 19 (EN) German automaker Volkswagen decided not to invest in Sri Lanka after members of the former regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa demanded a bribe of five million dollars, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. Volkswagen wanted to set up a vehicle assembly plant in the North Western province with their local agent Senok, but were discouraged by the bribe demanded to expedite approvals, he told parliament. more..

UK seeks closer ties with SL military

Dec 19 (Island) Close on the heels of British PM David Cameron’s assurance to President Maithripala Sirisena that UK would provide expertise and financial backing for military reforms here, a senior British officer visited Colombo. PM Cameron gave that assurance on the sidelines of the CHOGM in Malta late last month. British Naval and Air Adviser in India Captain Stuart Borland met Navy Chief Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne at navy headquarters on Dec 15. more..

Moves to reduce traffic congestion by next month

Dec 19 (CG) Govt is to take short term measures to reduce traffic congestion in Colombo by next month, Parliament was informed today. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that a good public transport system must be in place to meet the transport needs of the public. He said that once that is done, measures can be taken to reduce the number of vehicles entering the city. PM said that there are too many vehicles on the roads of Colombo and if the traffic congestion issue more..

'No free-hold of lands in China-funded port city project'

Dec 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said that the Chinese-funded Colombo Port City project will go ahead but the companies will not get any free-hold land. "We are looking at the environment impact assessment report and the project will go ahead. But there will be no free hold of lands there," PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament. He also said the formula one racing track will not be constructed in the project more..

Central Expressway; Govt to look for local construction firms

Dec 19 (DM) In a major policy decision, Govt has decided to implement the Central Expressway Project (CEP) with inputs from local construction firms, joint ventures or consortiums. In line with the new policy, Section 3 of the CEP from Pothuhera to Galagedara via Rambukkana which is 32.5km in length will be divided into five contract packages and handed over to local constructors for completion within 36 months. Each package will have an estimated cost and distance of 4.5 to 7.5km. more..

Video: A journalist must have an eagle eye and inquiring mind: Gayantha

Dec 19 (DM) A successful journalist should have an eagle eye, must work hard and have an inquiring mind, Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said today at the Asidisi Journalist Scholarship Award Ceremony. “Journalism is not a bed of roses. Journalism cannot be confined to air conditioned rooms. Unwavering effort and dedication should be the qualities of a successful journalist. In brief, an individual who is keen to be a good journalist must be infected by the journalism bug,” the minister said. more..

MP Vadiwel Suresh threatens to commit suicide at Parliament

Dec 19 (AD) Parliament police has prevented an attempt by MP Vadiwel Suresh to take a petrol can into the Parliament threatening to set himself on fire on Saturday. MP Vadiwel Suresh earlier yesterday demanded the Govt to take immediate steps to increase the basic salary of estate employees. He also went into say he would commit suicide inside the Parliament premises if the relevant authorities fail to address the issue more..

Implementation of plan to increase female representation to 25%: Dy. minister skeptical

Dec 19 (Island) Minister Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle says she has doubts about the implementation of the govt plan to ensure 25% female representation in local govt bodies. She said that most of the women who had taken to politics so far were from political families or were well heeled. Therefore, it was not clear how they were going to implement the reforms, she said. "It is a very good move to increase the female representation at Local Govt authorities has a very low women more..

Actresses run brothels as SPAs

Dec 19 (NS) A special police team raiding Spas in the city and suburbs operating as herbal clinics have discovered that over twenty such parlours are operated by film actresses and tele-drama actresses. Police sources said young women brought to Colombo from outstations under the cover of being interviewed for tele-dramas were being employed as sex workers at these Spas’ which were truly brothels. They said raids were conducted in Mt. Lavinia, Piliyandala, more..

Budget passed with a majority of 109 votes

Dec 19 (CG) The third and final reading of the 2016 budget was passed by Parliament today with 160 members voting for and 51 against it while 13 members were absent. Several opposition members of Parliament, including the TNA and MPs Douglas Devananda, Arumugam Thindaman and Lakshman Seniviratne. Among those absent were opposition Parliamentarians Mahinda Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa, Manusha Nanayakara, more..

Living it up together

Dec 20 (SO) Christianity is, numerically, a minority religion in Sri Lanka, but the brute power of European colonialism had previously ensured a disproportionate position in society for the Christian community. A half century and more of post-colonial nation-building - especially with State intervention as well as a culturally sensitive approach by local mainstream churches - has seen the regaining of some proportionality and equilibrium in the social influence of various religions on this island. more..

New constitution: Challenge to all citizens

Dec 20 (SL) Drafting a new constitution by parliament sitting as a Constituent Assembly for the purpose has been announced by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Both parliamentarians and the people, though they are well aware that the drawing up of a constitution is not an issue confined to any political party and should be done in the interests of all citizens and communal groupings, should keep that thought always in their conscience. more..