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Goons attack Kelaniya DS Works Director

Dec 22 (Island) A protest was held yesterday opposite the Kelaniya Divisional Secretariat following a goon attack on its Works Director. All employees of the Divisional Secretariat struck work. The Works Director Karunaratne Yapa was assaulted when he went to supervise a site at Dalugamgoda. The victim was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. The protestors urged the authorities to ensure the safety of the workers. The protest brought vehicular traffic along more..

'Trade deal will not allow Indian doctors to set up clinics in Sri Lanka'

Dec 22 (EN) A planned economic pact with India does not involve the free movement of doctors across the border so that they can set up clinics in Sri Lanka, Deputy Finance Minister Harsha de Silva told reporters. "The economic agreement with India does not involve Mode 04 services or the movement of natural persons," de Silva told reporters. "Indian doctors will not be able to come and set up clinics all over the country." more..

Sri Lanka innovation accelerator for small businesses

Dec 22 (EN) Sri Lanka plans to set an innovation accelerator to help small businesses do research and development and commercialise results by bringing products to market quickly. Most Sri Lankan businesses are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that need support for R&D, said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. “Innovation efforts in a country like SL need to be well focused so that innovation to market cycles are faster and cost effective, especially for financing organisations,” more..

Help mitigate suffering of downtrodden

Dec 22 (Island) Concerned over the controversial school uniform voucher system introduced by the govt and the agony of down-trodden parents trying to make ends meet, community leaders appeal to the corporate sector, NGOs and affluent members of the public to make donations during Christmas for the benefit of needy children. Former North-East CM Varatharajah Perumal said that govt could not do everything and, therefore, the wealthy must come forward to help the less privileged. more..

Video: MR visits arrested military personnel

Dec 22 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today visited the soldiers arrested in connection to the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda. Rajapaksa visited the soldiers at the prison hospital in Welikada. Later speaking to reporters Rajapaksa said that the truth must be revealed on what happened to Eknaligoda. He says as a lawyer he does not want to point fingers at anyone over the case but believes more..

The abduction of Kumar & Dimuthu

Dec 22 (CT) Contradicting this story of Kumar of being kidnapped, authorities in Sri Lanka and the then High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe insisted that the security forces did neither arrest, abduct nor detain Kumar or Dimuthu. According to Samarasinghe, there was no secret police in Sri Lanka, and never had such abductions taken place! However, Kumar avowed that he was abducted by the Sri Lankan military intelligence, blindfolded, handcuffed, more..

Eight SSPs promoted as DIGs

Dec 22 (DM) Eight Senior Superintendents (SSPs) have been promoted to the posts of Deputy Inspector Generals (DIGs), Police Department said. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said the appointments were made by the Law and Order Ministry Secretary on the approval of the National Police Commission. Newly promoted DIG D.P.N. Jayawardena will function as the Director of the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) while DIG L.S. Pathinayake has been appointed to more..

Video: Six arrested with Hirunika’s jeep over abduction

Dec 22 (AD) Six persons have been arrested with a jeep belonging to MP Hirunika Premachandra in connection with an abduction of a youth in Dematagoda area, police said. The suspects were arrested after they surrendered to Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) this evening. However, it has been reported that a statement has also been recorded from MP Hirunika Premachandra regarding the incident. A 34-year-old was abducted by more..

Excise detects more smuggled foreign liquor, cigarettes

Dec 22 (Island) Special Raids Unit of Colombo Excise Office raided a warehouse at Kochchipalliya in Grandpass and took into custody 264 bottles of foreign liquor and 93,200 cigarettes smuggled out of the BIA, Katunayake, with a market value of four million rupees. Excise men also took into custody a van used to transport the contraband and three suspects. Suspects had confessed to the excise officers that the booze and cigarettes were to be dispatched to star class hotels in Colombo, more..

Govt must institute migrant support systems at DS level says WfJ

Dec 22 (CT) Women for Justice (WfJ) called on the Government to institute support systems, at Divisional Secretariat level to deal with the problems of migrants, from pre-departure training to post-return psychological counselling. The support systems in the host countries, including Sri Lankan diplomatic missions, are inadequate and new systems need to be put in place, WfJ said. In a letter sent to all MPs mentioning the issues faced by migrants, particularly women, more..

President to mobilize Tri-forces to protect natural resources

Dec 22 (PSL) President Sirisena said that he will take the assistance of Tri-forces Service personnel to protect the natural resources including forest and coastal areas. He made these observations participating in a special discussion with the Heads of Environment Protection organizations and the environmentalists held today. It was also decided to appoint a committee within the next two days to receive complaints on more..

Video: Thinner pipe causalities reach 50

Dec 22 (AD) The number of patients hospitalized from the Thinner pipe explosion that occurred at a paint factory in Keselwatta, Panadura has risen to 50. They have been admitted to the Panadura Base Hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties due to the gas that escaped after the Thinner pipe exploded. Meanwhile, it is reported that many had attempted to take away the Thinner that had leaked from the pipe. The incident occurred at around 10.00 a.m. more..

Police to investigate Bathiudeen’s complaint

Dec 22 (CT) Cinnamon Gardens Police told Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Attygalle that they have commenced a detailed investigation regarding a complaint lodged by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen alleging that certain groups are making false allegations against him. A number of environmentalists and civil society organizations have accused Rishad Bathiudeen of illegal land grabbing and deforestation. Minister said that a group of environmentalists have organized more..

Proposed CA to have 7 Deputy Chairmen

Dec 22 (CG) Proposed Constitutional Assembly to be chaired by the Speaker of Parliament will have seven Deputy Chairmen. The seven Deputy Chairmen of the Constitutional Assembly will be elected by the Constitutional Assembly. According to the proposed draft on the programme of work of the Constitutional Assembly to be presented to Parliament next month, in the absence of the Speaker, more..

Chameera, Milinda give SL hope for future

Dec 22 (CI) 8: Dushmantha Chameera (12 wickets at 24): In Hamilton, Chameera blasted NZ out with the short ball. Are Sri Lanka bowlers even allowed to do that? In just his third and fourth Tests, touching 146 kph at times, Chameera was easily the best of Sri Lanka's bowlers, and bowled perhaps the ball of the series, to Ross Taylor in that first innings at Hamilton. He looks a little fragile, though. Whippet-thin at 23, perhaps SLC can set up a body-weight exchange programme more..

President makes payments to Golden Key depositors

Dec 22 (PMD) Second phase of the program to hand over of the money to those who had deposited Rs. 2million to Rs. 10 million in the Golden Key, was held under the patronage of President Sirisena today (21) at the Presidential Secretariat. President handed over the money to 15 depositors at this occasion. The first phase of this program was held during the 100 Days Program after the Presidential Election, handing over the money to the people who deposited below Rs. 2 mil in Golden Key. more..

Sri Lanka hopes to have EU fishing ban lifted by mid next year

Dec 22 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is expecting a fishing ban imposed by European Parliament to be lifted by mid next year. "During the coming months, proposal to lift the fishing ban will be presented to European Parliament," Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. "We are losing over US$ 100 million per year because of this ban. So we are expecting a favorable response from them before Sinhala & Tamil New Year (April) in 2016." more..

Commemorative coin to mark 150th anniversary of CMC

Dec 22 (LBO) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) issued a special silver uncirculated commemorative coin with a face value of Rs.500 to mark the 150th Anniversary of Colombo Municipal Council in recognition of its service to the country. The commemorative coin was officially presented to PM Ranil Wickramasinghe, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, by Governor of CBSL Arjuna Mahendran, at the ceremony held at the premises of Colombo Municipal Council on 14 Dec. more..

Reconsidering Colombo and Sri Lanka’s political rollercoaster

Dec 22 (GV) I recently read an interesting piece about Colombo. After having read the article, I felt like searching for flights online to purchase a plane ticket with money that I don’t have. Then you realize what an unrealistic idea it is, spending a week in Colombo right now, at least with my own money anyway. So, instead of going to the American Airlines webpage to search for flights, you travel back in time. You look to the wealth of memories instead. You live vicariously through yourself. more..

Man arrested in Sri Lanka for smuggling gold bars in rectum

Dec 22 (Guardian) Sri Lankan authorities have arrested a man at an airport in Colombo for allegedly trying to smuggle gold bars hidden in his rectum. Officers at BIA had noticed he was walking suspiciously. Gold weighing 400g (14oz), worth about 2 million SL rupees (£9,400), was found hidden inside the suspect’s rectal cavity. 42-year-old suspect claimed in custody that he worked for a SL govt ministry, more..

Abducted youth allegedly threatened by Hirunika

Dec 22 (DM) In a statement to the police a 26-year-old youth -- who was abducted by some supporters of MP Hirunika Premachandra -- said he was personally threatened by her, the Police Spokesman said today. The drapery store employee identified as U. Priyankara told the Dematagoda Police that he was forcibly taken away by six men in a Land Rover Defender on Monday afternoon. The victim who turned up at the police station around 10.00 p.m. that evening with injuries on his face and more..

Four fishermen detained by Sri Lankan Navy

Dec 22 (PTI) Four fishermen from Rameswaram were taken into custody by Sri Lanka navy while fishing near Katchatheevu in the third instance of such action this month by the island country. The latest detention came on a day when TN govt made public a letter written by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa two days ago to PM Narendra Modi voicing concern at recurring instances of such arrests. Fisheries officials said that Lanka navy personnel late last night surrounded a boat belonging to more..

Sarath N Silva ally to hear Thajudeen case

Dec 22 (AM) A judge who is known in the legal fraternity as a close ally of former CJ Sarath N Silva is to replace Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Pieris from January, next year. Pieris is conducting the Magisterial inquiry into the death of former Rugby player Wasim Thajudeen who died under mysterious circumstances. Former CJ was a staunch backer of former President Rajapaksa at Parliamentary election more..

The perils of privatising higher education

Dec 23 (CT) The current govt’s budget as well as statements by several Ministers, including the Minister for Higher Education and Highways, has made it clear that it intends to continue with the previous regime’s policy on education, especially with regard to higher education. The most worrying of proposed initiatives, is that of allowing the establishment of private campuses. One of the problematic aspects of policy debates in Sri Lanka is the tendency to simply take opposing stands more..

The need for a national consumer network

Dec 23 (CT) We have been railroaded into living in a consumer society. This is not a good place for the citizens of a nation but it is where we are. Time was when most of what we wanted we produced ourselves or bartered for. We were piecewise content and groupwise satisfied. Then came this folderol about growth and we embarked on a mad journey to tie ourselves to marketplaces, buy beyond our need and live beyond our means. We allowed ourselves to be taught that all of that was more..

Why white asbestos can be safe

Dec 23 (SO) Fibre Cement Products Manufacturers Association (FCPMA) has sent the following response to an article published on Sunday Observer titled A view from the NBRO – Banning asbestos to save lives. The FCPMA is aware of the range of information available both for and against the usage of chrysotile or white asbestos. This article highlighted many areas which refer overwhelmingly to hazards of white asbestos. more..

Demilitarization back in the spotlight

Dec 23 (SL) The high number of soldiers operating in the North is still a contentious issue which Northern based Tamil political parties feel is affecting the return to normalcy in the North. Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran noted this issue at the NPC last week. The issue was also raised in parliament by the TNA last week. TNA MP E. Sarawanabavan told parliament that the TNA supported the new govt to win the elections without signing any agreement. more..

Leaders are not infallible

Dec 23 (SL) Rulers, especially in this part of the world, do not think that one day they have to leave all powers, privileges, perks and prestige. Instead, they seem to be living as if they inherited it all. Recently it was revealed during the budget debate in parliament that former President Rajapaksa had allegedly spent approximately Rs. 15 million of public funds in 2014 on funeral wreaths in comparison to Rs. 363,000 spent by President Sirisena during 2015 on the same purpose. more..

'PM owes me an explanation'

Dec 23 (CT) As a number of defeated SLFP politicians with allegations of corruption against them continue to be appointed to high posts in the govt by President Maithripala Sirisena, Leader of NUF, Azath Salley complained adding that UNP Leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe owed him an explanation as to why he did not honour his promise of appointing him to Parliament through the National List. more..

Will Mahinda form a govt in April?

Dec 23 (CT) Recently Mahinda Rajapaksa had called an astrologer to Abhayaramaya Temple and inquired about the horoscope of Maithripala Sirisena. Mahinda is of the view that a bright time would dawn on him by April 2016 to form a govt. He has related his future dream to all his friends and members in the joint Opposition. So, all of them are eagerly waiting till Mahinda forms a govt in April. Maithri had got wind of Mahinda's dream about the future. In response Maithri told in public that more..

Will the voters act with responsibility?

Dec 23 (CT) The 19th and 20th century politicians were dreamers and philanthropists driven by honest and sincere desire to help the fellow human beings to improve their lot with dedication and genuineness. Those leaders in order to gain independent status, whether they be Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burgers or Malays, contributed collectively long before Singapore, Malaysia and several other countries. Our country was then considered as a model colony in the Commonwealth. more..

'Hamilton collapse was like an earthquake'

Dec 23 (DN) A shell-shocked interim head coach Jerome Jayaratne has blamed immaturity and lack of experience as the reasons for SL's sensational batting collapse from 71-0 to 133 all out in the second innings of the second Test which NZ went onto win by 5 wickets and with it clinch the two-match series 2-0. "I am shell-shocked as much as the entire country, it was like an earthquake which struck us in Hamilton for 13 overs" more..

Editorial: Conspiracies galore

Dec 23 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, speaking in Jaffna on Sunday, vented his spleen on some unnamed extremists for blocking the path to reconciliation and conspiring to dislodge the govt. He vowed to defeat those sinister plans. He seems to be troubled by a sense of being encircled with his erstwhile boss, Mahinda Rajapaksa, indicating his readiness to go on the offensive. President Sirisena’s consternation is understandable. He finds himself in an unenviable position, more..

Korea FDI’s down from US$ 21,685mn in 2001 to US$ 615mn in 2015

Dec 23 (DN) Sri Lanka and Korea trade is on the decline and the lack of market openings for Korans is a major factor for this, said Song Yoocheul, Senior Research Individual at the Centre for International Economic Studies. Speaking at a seminar, one strengthening economic corporation between Korea and Sri Lanka in Colombo he said that better market openings are needed for more Korean investors to enter the Sri Lankan market. Koreas Foreign direct investments to SL to had declined from more..

Japan donates vital oil slick-mopping equipment to Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (Island) Sri Lanka is an island situated on main international sealanes, besides being located on the Silk Route. Accordingly, a large number of vessels/ships pass SL. However, in the event of a major oil spill, SL has neither the facilities nor the expertise to arrest the situation. "In the event of a major oil spill disaster SL has to get assistance from India to arrest such a situation because we have no sophisticated equipment. more..

New year: War Crimes probe, labour disputes to the fore

Dec 23 (Island) The govt faces numerous challenges, next year, though it retains a commanding majority, in parliament, as reflected by the passage of budget 2016 last Saturday. The coalition will face the daunting task of managing the deteriorating national economy as well as a range of other issues, including the proposed war crimes probe, undoubtedly a sensitive political issue. Just five months after the last parliamentary polls, Maithripala-Ranil alliance is struggling to more..

Without growth political victories will unravel, warns Eran

Dec 23 (FT) Sri Lanka must focus on securing internationally experienced and qualified professionals in management if they are to achieve its lofty economic goals, a top Government official said yesterday warning political achievements will unravel otherwise. Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne, speaking at the WorkInSriLanka (WISL) conference 2015 yesterday, also highlighted the need for capital and technology, but emphasised that it is quality management that is more..

Ranil, King of Budget compromise

Dec 23 (FT) UNP gave credit where credit was due by insisting changes to Budget 2016 had been made under the leadership of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe after careful engagement with stakeholders, and dismissed what they referred to as attempts to gain praise by political parties. Minister Kabir Hashim and Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said it was the active interaction, deliberations and careful decision making of more..

Did people vote for National Unity Govt?

Dec 23 (Island) Recently, my attention was drawn to the thought-provoking weekly column of Jehan Perera published in The Island entitled Strengthening UNP-SLFP unity is of paramount national importance. I fully agree with his main point of the article as is indicative in the title of that article itself, namely, the crucial importance of the unity of the two main political parties of our country, UNP and SLFP. This is vitally important in promoting the common good of our country. more..

PM keen on private sector lighting up for Christmas

Dec 23 (FT) Minister John Amaratunga requested all companies to light up their buildings during this week to create a SL sense of celebration and spread the spirit of this season to all tourists and expats in the Island during the holidays, and to the local community while celebrating their holidays with friends and relatives. He also invited the public to visit the Tourism Xmas fest at the Independence Arcade. Five-day fest will feature cultural shows, food stalls, Xmas Carols and entertainment. more..