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Massive scam of CEB's EPF: Who pilfered Rs 3B?

Dec 20 (CT) Three separate investigations are underway by different investigating bodies into a private company withdrawing around Rs 3 billion that belonged to CEB which had been invested in Treasury Bills. A private company had invested the money on behalf of the CEB's EPF. CEB Chairman, Anura Wijepala, has appointed a three-member internal committee headed by CEB Additional Working Manager Sanath Bandara more..

Nisha Biswal arrives in Sri Lanka for talks

Dec 20 (CG) US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal arrived in Sri Lanka today for talks with the Sri Lankan Govt. Biswal had already visited Sri Lanka at least twice this year after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The opposition last week questioned the keen interest the US is having on Sri Lanka with several top US officials already having visited the country this year. more..

'Abolish Missing Persons Commission'

Dec 20 (CT) Professor Ariel Dulitzky, a member of the UN Working Group on Missing Persons, as recommended to GOSL, urged Presidential Commission on Missing Persons to be abolished and all files, records and evidence transferred to the proposed new Office of Missing Persons. Dulitzky, Clinical Professor of Law said that the UN Working Group has made a very clear recommendation to the Govt of SL that more..

Williamson takes NZ closer, but Sri Lanka keep fighting

Dec 20 (CI) The sun was out, the sky was blue and the Sunday crowd added to a picture postcard day in Hamilton. Sri Lanka took a trip to Seddon Park to while the time away with a bit of cricket and were ambushed by NZ's bouncers. SL began the day needing one wicket to end NZ's first innings; they got it in six balls. Then came their best opening stand in 2015 - 71 runs - and then they lost 10 wickets for 62 runs in 13.5 overs more..

Will not allow foreign companies to enter into gem mining industry in Sri Lanka: President

Dec 20 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says he will not allow foreign companies to enter into gem mining industry in the country. “During the time I was the Common Candidate for the Presidential Election, the people requested me not to let the foreign companies mine gems in SL. After I was elected as the President, I took every action to stop such mining by foreign companies as soon as I got to know about those” he said. more..

Rice stocks worth over Rs. 400mn gone missing while in transit from Colombo Port

Dec 20 (Island) In a shocking development, a top anti-corruption investigative body has discovered that 300 container loads of rice valued at more than Rs. 400 million imported by a state-owned trading institution had disappeared without trace in transit after being cleared from the Colombo Port last year. The huge stock of rice, which cannot still be accounted for, had been imported by Lanka Sathosa from India during more..

German funding to improve vocational training in North and East

Dec 20 (Island) At the new SL-German Training Institute (SLGTI) in Kilinochchi, training in identified technical trades at NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) levels four, five and six are provided and tailored through the demands of the labor market. The program is conducted in collaboration with the private sector. The German Federal Ministry for Economic and Development Cooperation (BMZ) has collaborated with the Salesians of Don Bosco since 1998 and contributed more..

Ho Gaana Pokuna: A Breath of Fresh Air

Dec 20 (Island) Not too long ago, I asked a prominent director to comment on our children’s film industry. I told him that what are marketed as kids’ films are filled with elements that render such a categorisation crass and cheap. He gave his take on the subject: "That’s because those aren’t children’s films. Those are films with children in them." To me that summed it up pretty well, but I told him then and there that this hardly offered consolation. He cautioned me against taking such a stand: more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa

AG to act against Sajin and Priyath

Dec 20 (SL) Attorney General is to file indictments against former monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena and former Chairman of SL Ports Authority, Priyath Bandu Wickrema. The CID has handed over the final reports on the investigations carried out into allegations of misuse of public property and the illegal accumulation of wealth levelled against Gunawardena and Wickrema. It is learnt that the AG is in the process of carrying out final consultations with the CID officials more..

Six TN fishermen arrested by Lankan navy

Dec 20 (PTI) Six fishermen of Pudukottai district were arrested by Sri Lankan navy while they were fishing near the Lankan coast. Assistant director of the fisheries department, Mr. Sekar, said fishermen of Jegathapattinam village were fishing at Neduntheevu last night when the Lankan navy arrested them. Fishermen along with their boat were later taken to Kangesanthurai. On Dec 17, four TN fishermen were arrested for fishing near Neduntheevu islet off Sri Lanka. more..

'Constitutional Council not above Parliament'

Dec 20 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that major part of the budget 2016 proposals had been changed following demands from people to the govt to do so and the amended proposals would be implemented next year. PM said that Constitutional Council was not above Parliament and council arrangement was being implemented by Parliament. "If we fail to find a remedy to traffic congestion as soon more..

Millennium Challenge Corp looks to SL

Dec 20 (HT) Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) Board of Directors recently held its latest quarterly meeting. At that time, the board selected five countries as eligible to receive MCC funding for 2016: Cote d'Ivoire, Kosovo, Senegal, Togo and Sri Lanka. An independent American foreign aid agency that's part of the U.S. government, the MCC's website states that it was established by the U.S. Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support and that more..

Expatriate Tamil to invest Rs 600 M in hotel business

Dec 20 (CT) Tilko Jaffna City Hotel owners are planning to invest over Rs 600 million to expand their hospitality business in Sri Lanka. Addressing the hotel's fifth anniversary event recently in Colombo, owner Thilak Thilagaraj said that doing business in Jaffna is not as easy as he had had previously predicted. "Bureaucracy is a major barrier to our expansion. Approvals and getting licenses are very much time consuming in Jaffna, Thilagaraj who also heads Jaffna Tourism Association said. more..

Sri Lanka hopes to have strong defence ties with China, India: PM

Dec 20 (Xinhua) Govt said on Sunday that it needs to have strong defence ties with countries like China and India. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at an event to mark the recruitment of a new batch of soldiers to the military, said that the Sri Lankan army needs to modernize to be on par with the developing world. He said that in order to improve the standards of the army, SL needs to maintain good ties with China, India & Pakistan as well as US & UK. more..

Wicked Problems

Dec 20 (Island) A few readers may be familiar with the term wicked problem. Though tempting to assume it is, this is not a reference to the Rajapaksa family’s fetid legacy in governance. Man who coined the term, Horst Rittel, was an urban planner and designer, who found traditional planning methods inadequate for complex problems he encountered. A wicked problem is best understood as a very complex, multi-dimensional challenge – difficult to grasp, always in flux and onerous to solve. more..

Oversight Committees to monitor 16 subjects

Dec 20 (ST) The Govt yesterday placed on the Order Paper of Parliament a motion to set up Sectoral Oversight Committees in relation to 16 subjects. These Committees will have the power to examine all Bills, Resolutions, Treaties, Reports and other matters relating to their subjects. The motion has been proposed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministers Lakshman Kiriella, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Gayantha Karunatilleke and Dayasiri Jayasekera. more..

Govt to save Rs15bn by moving its accounts to private banks: FM

Dec 20 (LBO) Finance Ministry is to transfer part of the govt accounts maintained by the state banks to private banks in order to reduce state expenditure. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament that there will be a cost saving of about 15 billion rupees through the new proposal. “State banks currently have a spread of around 5.5% whereas private banks have a spread around 2.5 to 3.5%,” more..

'Finance Ministry officials keep giving me the runaround'

Dec 20 (Island) I am grateful to The Sunday Island for highlighting my plight relating to the hefty Rs. 3.5 million duty imposed on my old car – our family faithful now under detention at the Customs after being shipped from Australia. I sense that though it is obvious that I have been the ultimate victim, there is no Sir Galahad who will come forward to save the damsel (or in this case the old lady) in distress. The Finance Minister made a note on my appeal after I met with him after a 3-hour wait more..

Army constructs new houses for war heroes

Dec 20 (Island) Housing with basic amenities as common to any other human being in society is a wish that every serviceman longed for to lead a better and decent life, while serving from every corner of the country. Of them, as military men at ground level, many members of the Sri Lanka Army, belonging to 24 Regiments are plagued by lack of proper housing facilities, in some cases even for married Army personnel with families. Following a conceptual initiative of the Army Commander, more..

'I don’t know anyone named Captain Tissa'

Dec 20 (CT) "Investigations are being carried out by the same officials who were in the previous govt. We are not hiding anything. You should ask them why there is a delay on the final verdict on Wasim Thajudeen's murder," MP Namal Rajapaksa said in an interview. Q: What are you doing these days? A: These days we are busy analyzing Budget 2016 because it seems to be contradicting the long-term plans that PM more..

Lankan youth further detained in Maldives

Dec 20 (ST) The Sri Lankan youth arrested in the Maldives last month on charges subversion has been further detained until December 22, prompting his family to send a lawyer next week to provide legal assistance, officials said. Lawyer Shabdika Vellampil, counsel for the 24-year-old detained youth, Lahiru Madushanka, said that the Foreign Ministry, had promised to arrange a business visa for his visit so that he could make legal representations on behalf of his client. more..

SL endure worst collapse outside home

Dec 20 (CI) 1984: The last time Sri Lanka were dismissed for a lower score than the 133 they made today, by New Zealand in Tests. On that occasion Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 97 runs in Kandy, chasing a target of 263. Apart from this, the only other instance when Sri Lanka were dismissed for a lower total in Tests against New Zealand came in 1983 - in only their second Test against the hosts - when they were dismissed for 93. 62: Runs for which Sri Lanka lost their entire side after more..

Udara dismissal causes another DRS stir

Dec 20 (CI) SL bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake said the DRS system had a lot of errors, in the wake of what seemed to be an incorrect DRS call which cost SL a wicket. Third umpire Richard Kettleborough had overturned Paul Reiffel's not-out decision on a caught-behind call on Udara Jayasundera in 23rd over of SL's second innings. There appeared to be no conclusive evidence that batsman had gloved the ball more..

Former Minister Adhikari passes away

Dec 20 (ST) Former Minister A.M.S. Adhikari passed away yesterday morning at a private hospital. He was 80 years old. Hailing from Kalawewa in the Anuradhapura, he entered Parliament in 1974. As a senior member of the UNP led govt he held many portfolios including Minister of Posts and Telecommunications and Minster of Tourism. During his time as a MP he is credited to have initiated development programmes in Eppawala, Thambuththegama, and Galnewa areas. more..

Govt confident it will stay for five years

Dec 20 (CG) Govt is confident it will complete its full five year term no matter what is said. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said that some members of the opposition feel the Government will collapse but he is confident it will remain the full five years. “This Government will not be toppled for five years. That I can say with responsibility,” he said. He also said that the Government will not abuse its powers and will follow the proper procedures when fighting corruption. more..

Reckless Sri Lanka speed their way to doom

Dec 20 (CI) Imagine you are driving someplace. You are a little late. You know you probably shouldn't speed, but it's too tempting. As you press down on the accelerator, though, you pass a car that has just hit a tree. The bonnet is dented in. Brake fluid squirts in a comical parabola into some bushes. You speed on. You soon come across another car wreck. This one has also hit a tree. Damage is even worse. There is detritus all over the tarmac. more..

Sri Lanka probes bid to fix West Indies Test

Dec 20 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities are investigating a bid to bribe members of the national cricket team to under-perform in a recent Test to ensure a surprise victory for the West Indies, govt said. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said a man linked to a bookmaker had offered wicketkeeper Kusal Perera and star bowler Rangana Herath tens of thousands of dollars to engineer a Sri Lankan batting collapse at a Test in Galle in Oct, which the hosts went on to win emphatically. more..

Joint rally on January 8

Dec 20 (SL) JVP and civil society organisations are planning to stage a combined rally on January 8 in a bid to remind the govt of all the promises they had made to the people one year ago. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe had made many promises to the people prior to the elections, including the abolishing of the executive presidency, investigating large scale fraud and corruption, limiting of the number of Cabinet Ministers, implementing more..

Desmond defends second mandate of Commission

Dec 20 (CG) Top international lawyer Sir Desmond de Silva QC, who was roped in by the former Govt to advise the Missing Persons Commission, says there was never any doubt about the credibility over the second mandate given to the Commission headed by Maxwell Paranagama. “I did not work with Paranagama Commission in connection with the original mandate of Commission which was to do with investigating more..

GK depositors in Rs. 2-3mn range to receive repayments before Christmas

Dec 20 (Island) With the Rs. 3.9 billion Treasury fund transfer in place, Golden Key (GK) depositors with holdings in the Rs. 2-3 million range will receive 41% of their investments before Christmas, a senior official said. "The cheques are now being audit checked and mailed to depositors", says Dinesh Perera, GK’s CEO. "We are positive that those in the initial category (Rs. 2-3 million) under the second phase will receive their cheques by Christmas", he noted. more..

Main suspect in Kotakethana murders to make special statement

Dec 20 (Island) Neil Lakshman, currently in police custody for suspicion over a series of rape and murder cases in Kotakethana, has told court that he wishes to make a special statement shortly. A total of 19 women have been brutally murdered in Kotakethana, a village in the Ratnapura District since 2007. The last murder recorded was perpetrated in September this year. While many arrests were made, mystery has shrouded investigations. more..

Wigneswaran forms new organization: first step towards splitting TNA?

Dec 20 (ENS) Chief Minister of Northern Province has formed a new non-political organization which observers see as the first step towards splitting the TNA which he represents in the NPC. The outfit, christened Tamil Makkal Peravai or Tamil Peoples’ Assembly (TPA), was formed after a four-hour meeting at Jaffna Public Library on Saturday. Estimates of the number of people who attended vary from 15 to 30. more..

Hold those who promised a better Sri Lanka accountable

Dec 21 (CT) A bandwagon is a float or wagon in a parade that encourages people to jump aboard and enjoy the music that is being played. As a principle, the Bandwagon Effect was used from the 19th century in political campaigns to link candidates with the notion of having fun and to paint those who are not on the bandwagon as missing out. This is exactly what seemed to have happened in the latter part of 2014 in Sri Lanka, when people were thirsting for a decisive change in the political culture more..

Wijedasa Liyanarachchi case: A lesson for perpetrators of human rights

Dec 21 (CT) When an almighty govt is at war with a section of its own citizens, the era is replete with so many horror stories. Govts use all the powers with them – legal, political, propaganda and financial – to project the other party which it fights with as villains. Thus, anything done by the Govt to destroy the villain is justified. Many perish at the hands of governmental authorities leaving only sad memories. Of them, some important personalities stand up and continue to fight against the authoritative more..

The unexplained visa denial

Dec 21 (SO) On Friday, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, the highest ranking military personality in Sri Lanka, a politician who has been at the receiving end of the political system since his entry into mainstream politics, turned 65 years. As he turned 65, he had some new worries to contend with. Fonseka, it is well documented, has had enough worries to handle since his entry into national politics, perhaps far grave and more..

Bad laws and the good governance ethos

Dec 21 (ST) Close to one year since the change in political leadership in Sri Lanka, glaring peculiarities of bad law-making decisions have begun to cling to this Govt much like an unpleasantly persistent odor. Almost without exception, each and every draft law presented to the House displays a manifest lack of clear-headedness. Such laxity may be excused in respect of a singular instance or two. But when this becomes a matter of general habit, it is exceedingly worrying even with all the good will displayed more..

Editorial: Where’s the budget?

Dec 21 (Island) The govt is cock-a-hoop over the passage of its budget with a two-thirds majority. It is no mean achievement for a coalition consisting of many strange bedfellows pulling in different directions. President Sirisena has succeeded in bending some of the SLFP MPs to his will. Govt has thus scored another political win against its bête noire, Mahinda Rajapaksa. But, what about economic goals Sirisena-Ranil administration set out to achieve through its budget proposals? more..

'Committee stage discussion is not a debate'

Dec 21 (SL) Minister Lakshman Kiriella says that committee stage discussions during 2016 budget were not a debate. Discussions focused on the concerns of every sector and amendments made in a manner that would benefit all. Kiriella assured that if there are any more changes to be done, the government was ready to listen to the concerns of others and try to come to an amicable solution that is beneficial to all. more..

Hansa Poottuwa in Parliament

Dec 21 (CT) Hansa Poottuwa or swan joint is a decoration the origin of which goes back to the Kandyan era. The decoration is made of silver, copper, brass or wood. This is a very common wedding present in Sri Lanka. It consists of two swans looking at each other. Although prima facie swans are in two sides and being separated, close look would show the linked beaks to demonstrate a romantic kiss. The present Parliament can easily be compared to a Hansa Poottuwa. more..