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Sri Lanka to set up dispute resolution tribunal for sports

Dec 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s sports ministry is to establish a separate tribunal for the speedy resolution of disputes arising in the sports sector. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara speaking to media stated that a 10 member tribunal will be set up for this task which will consist of retired judges. “We want to expedite the sports disputes resolution process. That’s why we decided to set up an alternative disputes resolution mechanism distant from the court.” Jayasekara said. more..

Importers demand removal of maximum retail price

Dec 24 (FT) Food importers are lobbying the Govt to remove maximum retail prices on essential commodities insisting standard prices are impractical in an environment of changing international markets and currency fluctuations. Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders Association said maintaining long term price controls on imported essential food commodities introduced by the Govt is fraught with practical difficulties more..

Sri Pada season begins

Dec 24 (DN) Sri Pada pilgrimage season begins today, Unduwap Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day. The Image of the Deity Sumana Saman was taken in procession from the Pelmadulla, Galpoththawela Sri Pada Raja Maha Viharaya and deposited in the Sri Pada Maluwa yesterday under a programme organized by the Sri Pada Vandana Pooja Committee under the guidance of Sri Padastanadhipathi and Chancellor Uva Wellassa University Ven. Bengamuwe Dhammadinna more..

Sri Lanka opens the door to economic reform

Dec 24 (EAF) The direction of Sri Lanka’s post-civil war socio-political and economic development took a pivotal turn in 2015 with the election of a new president in January and, seven months later, a new govt to parliament. In the absence of an overall parliamentary majority for any one party, Sri Lanka’s two main political parties — the UNP and the SLFP — joined to form a loose national unity govt for at least the first two years of a five-year term. This now offers Sri Lanka the opportunity to more..

SL labour force 9 million, unemployment 5%

Dec 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s labour force is about 9 million in the Third quarter of 2015, of which 64.5% are males and 35.5% are females. Dept of Census and Statistics has released employment, unemployment and labour force statistics based on a sample of about 6250 housing units covering the whole country. The working age for Sri Lanka is defined as age 15 years and above and the labour force is defined as the economically active more..

SL annual tea crop seen at three-year low

Dec 24 (EN) Sri Lanka’s November 2015 tea crop was the lowest in seven years with the island’s annual output expected to be around 325 million kilos, brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said. The 2015 annual production would be more in line with the 2012 total of 327 million kilos and well below last year's figure 338 million kilos, the brokers said in a report. “The projected loss of production is 12-13 million kilos with much of it coming in the third and fourth quarters.” more..

Sri Lankan embassy in Qatar to relocate

Dec 24 (GT) The Sri Lankan embassy in Qatar has announced that it will shift to new chancery premises, located in Building 21, Street 860 (Al Raheeb Street), Zone 47 (Old Airport area), with effect from January 1, 2016. The new premises can accommodate around 2,000 people and is centrally located for the convenience of Sri Lankan expatriates living in Qatar. Ministry of Foreign Affairs has granted permission for the closure of the embassy for three days, from Dec 29 to 31, more..

Lasith Malinga ruled out of New Zealand tour

Dec 24 (Stuff) Sri Lanka will be without key fast bowler Lasith Malinga for their upcoming one-day series with the Black Caps due to a knee complaint. SL have suffered another serious blow to their pace bowling stocks with limited overs specialist Lasith Malinga ruled out of the tour of NZ with a knee injury. Malinga, who has taken 291 wickets in 191 ODIs with his unique slingshot action, has remained in SL to rehab more..

Pakistani swallows Rs 8 M heroin

Dec 24 (CT) Police Anti-Narcotics Bureau arrested a Pakistani drug trafficker at the BIA, after he had swallowed 40 capsules containing 400 grams of heroin with a street value of Rs 8 million. The suspect was taken to the Negombo Hospital on the night of 22 Dec. Each capsule is reported to have contained between 8 to 10 grams of heroin. Police said the drug mule had risked his life by ingesting 50 capsules. Police are conducting further investigations to ascertain whether more..

Police trying to influence AG’s Dept: Sandya

Dec 24 (CT) Sandya, wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, said that that there is a conspiracy to derail investigations into her husband's disappearance. When the suspects arrested on Tuesday evening were produced in Colombo Magistrate's Court, Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) called for an identification parade. The CCD informed Court that statements have been recorded from four witnesses regarding the incident and that they could be identified if they are presented more..

Video: Abducted man tells his story

Dec 24 (DM) Amila Priyanga Amarasinghe, the 34-year-old man who was allegedly abducted by several supporters of UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra, said today that he did not know why he was abducted. He denied having an affair with a woman as claimed. Commenting on Monday's incident, he said eight supporters of Hirunika Premachandra had entered the shop in Dematagoda where he worked more..

President joins to celebrate Christmas

Dec 24 (PSL) President Sirisena joined in an event organized by Presidential Secretariat to celebrate the Christmas which marks the birth of Jesus Christ, held in President’s House, Colombo. Participating at this event Archbishop Rt. Rev Dr. Malcom Ranjith stated that the fullest support of the Catholic Community will be given to the efforts taken by the President to build peace and reconciliation in the country. He further said that his blessings are always with the President. more..

Sri Lanka to hold overseas Road Shows

Dec 24 (DN) Sri Lanka is to hold Road Shows in key overseas venues next year, says Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The first Road Show of the year be in Davos - Switzerland, from January 19-23, alongside the World Economic Forum annual meeting scheduled to be held from January 20-23 in Davos. The second road show scheduled to be held in February, will be in Germany with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. The third one in March, will be held in China alongside more..

President spoils Ravi's electric car tax deal

Dec 24 (CT) President has decided to retain the hitherto imposed import tax of 5% on imported electric vehicles, rejecting the 50% tax proposed in Budget 2016. Decision was taken at yesterday's Cabinet meeting which was reportedly skipped by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. A number of UNP Ministers, including Malik Samarawickrama and Sagala Rathnayake, however agreed with President's suggestion conceding that more..

Look beyond our noses

Dec 24 (DM) Today is a significant day for inter-faith unity -- it is Uduwap Poya Day, the Holy Prophet Mohamed’s Birthday and Christmas Eve. It will be a holy time to deeply reflect on one of the biggest crises facing all people -- saving our common homeland or Mother Earth. In the sun shine of the historic Dec 12 Paris Agreement where 195 nations agreed to act urgently and effectively to curb the catastrophic climate change, Sri Lanka’s national govt and other parties including more..

Holy Prophet’s birthday Meelad Un Nabi

Dec 24 (DM) Prophet Mohammad’s birth anniversary will take place on 24th Dec 2015. Accordingly this will be the 12th. day of the muslim calender month of Rabi ul Awwal. This occasion of the birth anniversary is observed by special prayers at all Mosques and charity for the poor, and several religious programmes take place. In the Quran, almighty Allah gives a clear order to celebrate and rejoice the raising and coming of the beloved Prophet Mohammad. more..

Amended Budget: Listening to the people?

Dec 24 (DM) Although the 2016 Budget was passed with a comfortable majority of 109 votes, uncertainty hovers over implications when implementing its provisions next year. The original budget proposals, announced by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, were amended owing to pressure from sections of the govt as well as outside it during the committee stage. It led to the negation of certain revenue proposals that resulted in more..

President opens new headquarters of Sri Lanka Scouts Association

Dec 24 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena declared open the newly built headquarters of Sri Lanka Scouts Association at the Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha in Colombo, today (22). The five-story building complex is equipped with all modern facilities. The building was constructed to streamline the administration works of the Sri Lanka Scouts Association. Addressing the gathering President said that govt will provide more..

Fresh probes against errant SEC officials, market manipulators

Dec 24 (SL) New probes are to be initiated against errant officials of Sri Lanka’s capital market watchdog – SEC – including its defamed Former Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, several other officials and numerous high net-worth individuals by several law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies. According to a highly-placed source, fresh multi-pronged investigations are to be initiated by several agencies into alleged frauds and more..

Blueprint for meeting climate change goals

Dec 24 (ST) Systemic emissions cuts, investment in renewable energy, improved public transport, recycling and an increase in forest cover lead Sri Lanka’s plans to battle climate change. Less than a month after pledges made at the Paris Climate Change summit, Sri Lanka’s plans on its contribution to improve the environment were spelled out this week by environmentalists and conservationists. more..

Reveal truth about CEPA, JVP tells govt

Dec 24 (Island) JVP MP Wijitha Herath demanded the govt to reveal the truth behind the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India and added that the JVP was certain the govt was trying to hoodwink the masses by just changing the name of the agreement, but the contents would remain the same. Herath said if the govt tried to sign the same agreement with India under a different name, his party would more..

South Eastern University undergrads now press for shifting of campus

Dec 24 (Island) Higher education authorities asked engineering undergraduates of the South Eastern University to attend lectures without causing chaos on public roads as enough lecturers had been assigned to their faculty. They said the university Senate would take necessary action against undergraduates who continued to boycott lectures. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said 14 permanent lecturers had been attached to more..

Police investigate Hirunika’s role in abduction drama

Dec 24 (Island) Amila Prasanga, who was abducted by UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra’s security personnel using her vehicle has told police that MP had threatened him not to be in the area and if he did he would be abducted. UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra said that she had only wanted to save a marriage. The victim was taken to Hirunika’s Kolonnawa office and assaulted before being released due to police intervention. more..

Video: Dilan lashes out at Kabir Hashim

Dec 24 (DM) UPFA Minister Dilan Perera lashed out at UNP General Secretary and Minister Kabir Hashim for allegedly making statements belittling previous UPFA governments. Addressing a news conference, the minister said it was not appropriate to make such remarks against the UPFA while a national govt was in place. “Our country was engulfed in terrorism when the previous UPFA govt came into power. more..

Opposition calls for fresh budget proposals

Dec 24 (DM) The joint opposition today requested the govt to table fresh budget proposals in Parliament in January, to enact new amendments proposed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, so as to cover the budget expenditure and lessen its deficit. UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardane stated that the amendments submitted by the PM immediately prior to the third reading of the budget on Saturday, had not been officially tabled in Parliament. more..

Polythene use banned from Jan. 1

Dec 24 (DM) The law on use of plastics and polythene bags less than 20 microns of gauge would be strictly implemented from Jan 1, on a Presidential directive, Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry Director Anura Jayathilaka. He said, this during an inspection of several shops and shopping malls in Colombo. He said, laws would be enforced strictly from Jan 1 to minimise the use of polythene, which was a major threat to more..

Victims should boycott local investigation!

Dec 24 (CT) In another few days, President Maithiripala Sirisena will celebrate his 1st year in office. What does this mean for the people? With the arrival of President Sirisena, on 9th Jan, a new govt was formed under the Premiership of Ranil Wickremesinge. Looking back over this one year of regime change, what has it brought to the victims, the people, especially to the people in the North and East? Before continuing, I would like to say that in Sept 2014, I wrote an article more..

Râvaya’s would-be shareholders left empty-handed

Dec 24 (CT) Three years since Ravaya and its Ravaya Solidarity group promised to issue shares to all of its contributors for monies collected, the would-be shareholders have been left with nothing but false promises, CT reliably learns. So far the Ravaya Solidarity group has collected 12.7 million rupees from the public. Unsuspecting contributors were shocked beyond belief when it was revealed that monies collected to keep Ravaya afloat ended being pocketed by Victor Ivan, more..

UNP MP Ajith Manapperuma

Hirunika’s Anti-heroism

Dec 24 (CT) The ghost of Christmas past and present crossed paths this week as a 26-year-old youth was kidnapped by the security guards of an MP, while the case of the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda resurfaced in the news – the former reminiscent of the one of the scare tactics of the previous regime. Former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday visited the Army personnel arrested for the disappearance of journalist more..

Ruwan says country must uphold the peace

Dec 24 (CG) State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene says the country must uphold the peace and live in coexistence with all communities. He says Sri Lanka was not able to enjoy full freedom or to engage in religious celebrations or carryout faith based activities. However he says today the situation has changed and the entire society is reaping the benefits of an undivided way-of-life. “We as a Govt have created such a peaceful unified background for people,” he said. more..

See the most Googled person in each country in 2015

Dec 24 (Time) People are really, really curious about Kim Kardashian and Lionel Messi. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality TV star and the Argentine soccer player each earned the distinction of being the most-searched person in 26 different countries in 2015, tying for first place in a ranking Google provided to TIME. Kardashian was the most-searched person everywhere from France to NZ to the US, while Messi topped the list more..

WW II bomb shelter at NHS: Authorities in a dilemma

Dec 24 (Island) An underground building believed to be a bomb shelter health workers used during World War II has been at the National Hospital. It was found while excavation work was in progress at a building site. Director of the National Hospital, said the underground shelter had been built for the wounded or sick soldiers during the Japanese air strikes. The whole structure would have to be demolished for the new OPD complex which was scheduled to commence next year. more..

Over 100 migrant worker deaths this year

Dec 24 (DN) Minister Thalatha Athukorala said that 120 migrant workers have died while on employment. The ministry has spent over Rs. 11.2 million to facilitate the return of their remains to the country. "This year alone, 120 bodies were brought down," Athukorala said. There would be no ban on work migration to Middle East for semi skilled jobs including working as housemaids. "We can only encourage or discourage, so we would discourage people from going abroad for more..

Video: Sri Lanka’s delicate dance with China

Dec 24 (CNBC) Sri Lanka is sticking with a close relationship with China even as the island-nation attempts to reinterpret its extensive and sometimes poorly managed deals with the mainland, Ravi Karunanayake, Finance Minister, told CNBC. "We have a very close relationship between govt to govt. It's the govt to business (relationship) that the (Mahinda) Rajapakse regime certainly messed up more..

SLTB wants time to obtain money from Treasury to pay outstanding EPF dues

Dec 24 (Island) Sri Lanka Transport Board has recently told the Court of Appeal that the Minister of Transport submitted a Cabinet memorandum requesting money from the Treasury to pay the EPF dues of the CTB. Counsel Shantha Jayawardane, who appeared with Chamara Nanayakkara for the SLTB and its Chairman explained to the court that the matter would take some time. The court allowed time till July 4, 2016, the next date of calling of the case. Petitioners who have complained of more..

Hashim: Pension scheme with state guarantee for public, private sectors

Dec 24 (Island) A pension scheme for both the govt and private sectors with a state guarantee had been formulated, Minister Kabir Hashim said. "What we have proposed is a system by which the govt will strengthen the retirement benefits of both public and private sector employees," he said, adding that the so called Joint Opposition led by former President Rajapaksa, knowing fully well that the proposed pension scheme when implemented, would ensure equity and fairplay had tried to more..

Rs.30mn fraud in Enrique concert

Dec 24 (DM) Treasury Department of the Colombo Municipal Council has filed a case against the organiser of the live concert by Latin music idol Enrique Iglesias held last Sunday at the CR&FC Grounds -- for failing to pay nearly Rs. 30 million in taxes. Entertainment tax amounting to Rs. 29,125,845 has allegedly been unpaid by the organiser of the event. Rs. 88,200,000 had been paid to Iglesias as his fee. more..

JVP slams crooks in present Cabinet

Dec 24 (Island) The JVP alleged that the government was trying to pass the losses due to corrupt transaction including the hedging deal running to Rs. 380 billion on to the masses by imposing heavy taxes instead of making the crooks responsible pay for their sins. JVP’s propaganda secretary Wijitha Herath said those crooks were now Ministers and Deputy Ministers in the present govt. "They are a privileged class enjoying all the perks and they won’t be touched," he said. more..

Dengue breeding grounds identified in Colombo

Dec 24 (CG) Several dengue breeding grounds were identified in the Western Province this week, including in Colombo, the Ministry of Health said. According to the Ministry of Health, a dengue eradication drive was conducted this week following concerns dengue was spreading in the Western Province following the heavy rain experienced in the country over the past few weeks. The Health Ministry said that officers inspected locations in Colombo, Kalutara and Gampaha. more..