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CBL invests Rs. 2 bn to launch coconut milk product Sera

Dec 22 (DN) Ceylon Biscuits has added a new brand and product line to its portfolio, with the launch of Sera, premium liquid coconut milk available in 180 ml UHT packs. Company has invested over Rs. 2 billion to set up state-of-the-art factory that extracts, sterilizes and hygienically packages coconut milk, using high quality machinery and technology. SL is the world’s fifth largest coconut producer and it has long been a significant part of country’s agriculture industry. more..

Sri Lanka Gold to bring local, street-side favorite to US shores

Dec 22 (FN) Two D.C.-based international development economists, partners in life and business, are launching bottled king coconut water and are aiming to have it on natural food store shelves by February. It's safe to assume their product will be the first of its kind. When driving through SL, a ubiquitous sight is the golden orbs that dangle from the roofs of shacks by the road, or piled on street-side tables, or being balanced with finesse on the back of a bicycle. more..

Cargills Square Mall, Bank opens in Jaffna

Dec 22 (FT) Cargills Square Jaffna, first luxury family entertainment mall in Northern SL and Cargills Bank- Jaffna, Regional Headquarters was ceremonially declared open by President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday. Cargills Deputy Chairman Ranjit Page noted that new complex undoubtedly transforms the Jaffna landscape and is an icon of a new era of peace and prosperity for its people. “With this investment of over Rs. 890 million more..

Attempts to block SAITM

Dec 22 (Island) Why are the GMOA and the SLMC, affiliated with Doctors from GMOA, openly fighting to stop the training of Sri Lankan students to become qualified Medical Doctors from the SAITM at Public Hospitals, as ordered by the Supreme Court? Is this due to an oversupply of medical doctors in Sri Lanka or due to professional jealousy of losing their privileges or the ignorance of trade union members and political parties, without providing a solution to resolve this humanitarian question? more..

Champika to unveil 100 projects on Jan 8

Dec 22 (DM) Megapolis and Western Province Development Minister Champika Ranawaka is scheduled to unveil 100 development projects in the Western Province on January 8 to coincide with President Sirisena’s first anniversary in office. The Ministry is to channel huge amounts of funds and harness the best technology and human resources towards this effort which is going to be Sri Lanka’s biggest ever development plan in the 21st century, Minister said. more..

Govt mulls revamp for eastern region

Dec 22 (FT) A major facelift is in progress in the eastern region under the overview of the Premier to address key sectors of economic potential, a top official said. Eastern Province Chief Minister Naseer Ahamed outlined several projects that have been given the nod from PM Ranil Wickremesinghe mainly in the area of tourism, of which one involves building a golf course in Valaichchenai utilising paper mill factory land. more..

From paddies to international stage

Dec 22 (CT) Dushmantha Chameera is definitely the fast bowling find of the millennium so far in Sri Lankan cricket. They had been looking for fast bowlers and seem to have been looking in the right places. Cricket in this Island Nation was always played quite enthusiastically; at the levels it was played. When looking into the development of fast bowlers, not much happened in the department of fast bowling. It is a well known fact that the game evolved around Colombo and more..

Educated unemployed rises

Dec 22 (CT) The country's educated class constitutes 20% of the total unemployed in that category, and the more educated one gets, the greater are the chances of being unemployed. The educated unemployed at 20%, was much higher in relation to the educated unemployed in South Asia which was a comparatively low figure of 20%. The island's educated unemployed percentage at 20% was very much higher than the national unemployed percentage which stood at 4%. more..

Legislation to curb hate speech will be re-introduced with amendments: Karu

Dec 22 (Island) The proposed anti-hate speech Bill currently on hold would be reintroduced with amendments, Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranawithana said. "Govt has observed a surge of communally harmful sentiments in the recent past. The proposed law was put on hold after considering views expressed by the media and other civil society organisations that it would limit the freedom of expression. It is due to a technical more..

Sri Lankan investors in Maldives to be accorded special status

Dec 22 (Island) Sri Lankan investors in the Maldives, especially in the leisure sector are to be given priority by the Maldivian govt. New Maldivian Tourism Minister, Moosa Zameer said that as a long standing friend the Maldives would bestow Special Status to Sri Lankan businessmen who invested in his country, especially in the tourist industry. Zameer, explained that the special consideration would apply to all procedures connected to commencement of a business more..

'Every officer should fulfill their responsibilities without limiting their work'

Dec 22 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says every officer should be committed to fulfill their responsibilities for the development of the country, without compartmentalizing areas. He pointed out the importance of working with collaboration with everybody under a common objective for the country’s development, though there are divisions such as ministries, departments and institutions according to their fields. He made these remarks at the Progress Review Meeting of more..

Bid to remove SSC appearing in Ekneligoda case

Dec 22 (DN) A key official attached to the National Intelligence Service has attempted to influence the AG's Department to remove Dilip Peiris, a Senior State Counsel from the Habeas Corpus case in connection with journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda's disappearance. Chief of National Intelligence Senior DIG Sisira Mendis is currently overseas and in his absence, the official under question is playing a critically important role in intelligence service. more..

Veggies hold on to their steep increases

Dec 22 (CT) Vegetable prices, bruised largely by inclement weather, increased by a minimum of 6% to a maximum of 88% per kilo year on year (YoY) last week, in a sample captured by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). The sample was limited to eight items in the Pettah retail market, namely beans, cabbages, carrots, tomatoes, pumpkins, snake gourds, brinjals and ash plantains, with these increases in absolute terms ranging from a minimum of Rs three to a maximum of Rs 123 per kg. more..

Four-year old robs Rs. 55,000 from shop

Dec 22 (DN) A child aged around four who came to a shop in Ingiriya town with a woman, robbed Rs. 55,000 from the drawer of the shop on Sunday afternoon, Ingiriya Police said. The CCTV camera recorded the theft. The girl robbed the money from the drawer very skillfully. There were owners of the shop and also many customers in the shop at that time, but the four-year-old robbed the money and fled the scene with the woman. Police suspect that the woman is the girl's mother. more..

Youth allegedly abducted in Hirunika's defender: Police

Dec 22 (DM) A 26-year-old youth employed in a Dematagoda drapery store was abducted in broad daylight by an unidentified gang that came in a Land Rover Defender, which was allegedly owned by MP Hirunika Premachandra, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. A gang of about six men in the Defender bearing registration number 62-1859 had forcibly taken away a youth employed as a sales person in the drapery store yesterday. more..

Sirisena makes surprise visit to IDP camp

Dec 22 (Hindu) Over 1,500 inmates of a camp of IDPs in Konapulam, near Kankesanthurai, were taken by surprise on Sunday when President Sirisena made an impromptu visit to their place and enquired on their well being. Giving an account of President’s visit to the camp, Angajan Ramanathan, regarded as one of the MPs belonging to the camp of Mr. Sirisena in the SLFP, said that a cross section of the inmates interacted with the President, who spent nearly 45 minutes at the camp. more..

Airport and Aviation Services Limited employees to stage protest today

Dec 22 (DN) The Airport and Aviation Services (SL) Limited employees are scheduled to stage a protest today claiming that their bonus has been reduced by Rs 20,000. "The authority has taken measures to reduce the bonus of Rs 60,000 to Rs. 40,000," sources said. "A sum of Rs 18,000 was given as bonus in April. Transport facilities provided to employees so far has also been limit to a distance of 50 km, thereby causing an inconvenience to over 1,000 employees. more..

Bribery Commission to come down hard on school admission graft

Dec 22 (DN) Firm action will be taken against those who accept bribes to admit students to schools, a CIABOC source said. Commission will also find fault not only with the school officials who accept bribes but also the monitoring agency – the Education Ministry, Commission Director General Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe said. “If the officials did their work properly, there will not be any opportunity to take bribes. more..

Mother who killed her baby remanded

Dec 22 (Island) A 34-year-old mother, who killed her 14-day-old baby girl on Sunday at the Castle Street Hospital, Borella, has been remanded till Dec 31 by the Colombo Chief Magistrate. The Magistrate has also referred the mother to a psychiatric to get a report on her mental health. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the mother had got admitted to the hospital on Saturday due to fever and the killing of the baby had been informed by her to the police around 10.10 a.m. more..

NPC Chairman praises President

Dec 22 (CT) Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) praised President Maithripala Sirisena and expressed his gratitude on behalf of the NPC for lashing out at the racist views from the South and expressing his desire towards expediting the resettlement process in the Northern Province. NPC Chairman C.V.K Sivagnanam held a special press conference yesterday at the NPC auditorium in Kaithady on President Maithripala Sirisena's visit to Jaffna on Sunday. more..

GMOA to strike in January unless...

Dec 22 (Island) The failure on the part of the govt to addresses the issues of doctors would result in a strike in the first week of the next month, GMOA said. GMOA Secretary, Dr. Nalinda Herath said that most of its problems were related to the recently passed budget. The budget proposals had upset the current salary compression ratio (1:4), he said. "Govt will be given two weeks and on Jan 4, Executive Committee of GMOA will take the decision," more..

Doctors take car permit issue to Court

Dec 22 (CT) 28 medical officers filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeal against the 2016 Budget proposal to deprive duty free car permits to them. Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Secretary to the Ministry of Health have been cited as the respondents of this petition. According to their petition previously they were given car permits to buy cars on duty free concessions. Petitioners added that before the Finance Minister tabled the 2016 Budget more..

Megapolis plan will help boost land prices in outskirts: Report

Dec 22 (LBO) Western Province Megapolis plan will boost land prices in the suburbs and beyond in the long term, a research report said. “With the change in political power in 2015, we can now note that there is a further discussion about planning beyond Colombo to cover a Western Province Megapolis under a dedicated Ministry,” the real-estate quarterly report – 2015 produced by the Research Intelligence Unit (RIU) said. “Therefore, in the long term, land prices in the suburbs and beyond will more..

CMC loses Rs.20.9 m in tax revenue over Enrique concert

Dec 22 (DN) Global music superstar, Enrique Iglesias’ Love and Sex Tour concert held in Colombo on Sunday, has cost a loss of Rs 20.9 million in tax revenue to CMC. “This is the largest entertainment tax fraud to have been inflicted on the Council so far by any event organizer,” Council’s revenue officers said. “The event organizers had sold out tickets to the show without the official embossed CMC seal on them”. more..

Underutilisation of funds allocated to Provincial Councils

Dec 22 (DM) Douglas Devananda, leader of EPDP told Parliament that Northern Provincial Council run by the TNA has not spent a cent that had been allocated to the Council by the govt this year. Mr. Devananda who is an MP representing the Jaffna District said the funds allocated to Provincial Council even in 2013 and 2014 had not been utilized. Interestingly, TNA leaders have neither contested the claim nor given reasons for the underutilization of funds by the council so far. more..

GMOA wants duty free cars, but not private universities

Dec 22 (DM) The GMOA threw a tantrum when the govt proposed to abolish duty free duty vehicle permits granted to certain categories of public servants. After the threat of a strike by the doctors, the govt backtracked. Since there is hardly any link between doctors’ duty free car permits and patients’ welfare, the GMOA’s trade union action was one purely driven by pecuniary interests of its members. On the other hand, professionals in the govt sector, including doctors, are paid abysmally low more..

Port City passes major hurdle

Dec 22 (SL) The much-debated Colombo Port City (CPC) had cleared the first of its major legal hurdles with the release of its Supplementary Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA), subject to public comments, head of country’s investment promotion agency – BoI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya said. “SEIA report of CPC is now in public domain and it is a statutory requirement to call for public comments. more..

'Country to undertake new journey from next year'

Dec 22 (DN) The political forces rejected by the people have suffered yet another humiliating defeat with the resounding win of the budget proposals, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He made this comment at a ceremony at De La Salle College, Mutwal on sunday where he granted relief under the Diviyata Saviyak programme to low income people. Karunanayake distributed dry rations, spectacles and exercise books more..

EU review team to see what garment industry has up its sleeve

Dec 22 (ST) A team from Brussels is due in the country early next month to assess the progress made by the govt in implementing the 15 demands set out by the European Union (EU) before it decides to withdraw the ban on the GSP+ tax concessions. The planned visit comes after a three member team from the Foreign Ministry visited Brussels last week where they held a day long talks with EU officials on the GSP+ facility, more..

The crying need for a tea hub

Dec 22 (CT) The sustainability of the tea industry is at risk due to low productivity, high cost of production etc. for which the international consumer may not subscribe paying if the policy makers intend to keep the current status a premium when many options are available in the global market. Further, the govt may be required to continue with subsidies to compensate the management inefficiencies among the tea growers and manufacturers. more..

PCICMP flooded with complaints

Dec 22 (CT) Allegations have been made that the officials of the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints regarding Missing Persons (PCICMP) have recently proposed to the relatives of missing persons that if they accept the Death Certificates of their relations, the govt will provide them with an aid package consisting of housing schemes and other benefits. Various political parties and organizations have more..

'Changes in Sri Lanka budget part of new political culture'

Dec 22 (EN) The flexibility shown by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to make changes to some budget proposals was a sign of a changing political culture that should not be mis-interpreted & mis-used, minister said. "During Rajapaksa administration nobody dared to say even meek," Minister Kabir Hashim said. "But now there is freedom to speak out. There was no freedom even for people to speak in parliament but now there is." more..

Avant Garde employees say company now incurring losses

Dec 22 (Island) Convenor of an association fighting for the rights of Avant Garde employees who have lost their jobs, Lt Col (Rtd) Nilantha Jayaweera yesterday said Navy Commander Admiral Ravi Wijegunaratne was acting according to the whims and fancies of some politicians. Jayaweera invited the Navy Commander to a discussion with the association to iron out simmering issues that had arisen since the takeover more..

NYSC Chairman says he will not use youth for party politics

Dec 22 (Island) Chairman of the National Youth Services Council (NYSC) Eranda Weliange claimed that he would never use the country’s youth for party politics. He said that Federation of Youth Clubs was the heart of the NYSC, but the previous govt had politicised it and its members who were used to do political work for the UPFA. As a result, the youth had refused to join youth clubs and parents were wary of allowing thier children more..

Chinese President expects ties with Sri Lanka to expand

Dec 22 (CG) Chinese President Xi Jinping expects the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka to expand, the media unit of the UNP said today. The Chinese President had expressed this view when he met the new Sri Lankan Ambassador to China Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku. Kodituwakku presented his credentials to the Chinese President at the Great Hall recently and later had a short discussion with President. more..

Colombo Port musters Rs. 29 bn revenue

Dec 22 (DN) The Colombo Port has earned a revenue of Rs. 29 billion, said Minister of Port and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga. Speaking at the celebration organized for achieving 5 million containers arrivels at the Colombo port, the Minister said that a part of this revenue has to be allocated for debt servicing of the Hambantota Port. He said that they have to pay Rs. 192 billion towards this debt and the govt has started repayment. more..

Enough is enough

Dec 22 (CT) The recent report that disclosed an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recruitment programme active in Sri Lanka which had radicalized an Indian teenager has swept the Indian authorities to take swift action to prevent it from happening again. The Indian authorities who had intercepted the 16-year-old Pune girl who had been promised admission to a medical college in Syria, had been committed to go through a de-radicalization process immediately. more..

Minister Gamage promises to win back European markets for minor crops

Dec 22 (Island) Minister Daya Gamage said that they would regain the European Market for minor crops, especially for cinnamon, with the economic strategies of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Addressing the Annual Cinnamon Festival (Kurundu Mangalyaya) at the Seenigama Dewalaya, Minister Gamage said Sri Lankan cinnamon had a high demand in the European market, but it had decreased during the last ten years due to the previous govt’s hostility toward the West. more..

MP Vijitha Herath

Shares fall; turnover slumps to 21-month low

Dec 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares fell to a near one-week closing low on Tuesday, led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings, in thin trade as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of holidays later in the week. Turnover slumped to the lowest level since March 24, 2014 at 262.9 million rupees ($1.83 million), against this year's daily average of 1.08 billion rupees. "There is no reason for the fall. It is a year-end market and there are hardly any investors," said Danushka Samarasinghe, more..