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WP CM to take over Warnasinghe’s portfolio

Dec 26 (DM) Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said he would take over the Ministry of Health, which was under JHU Spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe after the budget submitted by him was defeated by 45 votes to 23 last Tuesday. He said he made the decision according to the powers vested on him as the Chief Minister. The subjects including Indigenous Medicine, Social Welfare, more..

Warning 2016

Dec 26 (NS) All Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers will be strictly warned by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe not to violate collective cabinet responsibility and responsibility to Govt of Unity in 2016 which action would face serious consequences, sources said. They said the three categories of ministers are to be summoned for separate meets by the President and PM to be advised to exercise caution when making critical statements about the govt in public. more..

More muscle for PRECIFAC

Dec 26 (CT) The govt is expected to revise powers of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources, and Privileges (PRECIFAC). Commission's primary course of action is to inquire into cases of large-scale acts of fraud, corruption and abuse of power committed by politicians and State officials since 2010. The Commission has received numerous complaints about fraud and corruption. more..

Tsunami commemoration at district level

Dec 26 (DN) 11th year commemoration of over 40,000 people who were killed in the Tsunami catastrophe in Dec 26, 2004 will be held at district level. Religious observances will also be organised parallel to the event. Tsunami battered Southern, Western, Eastern and Northern provinces. 13 administrative districts on coastal belt bore the brunt of the disaster while approximately 35,000 lives were lost. more..

Use cloth bags, shun polythene

Dec 26 (CT) President has decreed that from 1 Jan polythene less than 20 microns of thickness would be banned. This directive however has been in place since 2007 and not surprisingly it was Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as Minister of Environment who brought about the ban. First time around too, there was a fine of Rs 10,000 or a jail term of 2 years imposed on all those who violated the law. This time around however, he is the President and he has more powers to enforce the law. more..

Tsunami: Listen to the ocean

Dec 26 (DM) The day after Christmas, Dec 26 is unfortunately remembered most by Sri Lanka for one of the worst ever natural catastrophes, the Tsunami, which occurred on Dec 26, 2004. Though some tend to misrepresent this calamity as some form of retribution, scientific analysts believe that the main causes are linked to the pollution of the sea, the air and the earth. The World Wildlife Fund recently reported that up to 50 percent of the fish and other marine species more..

Murder most foul of a Tamil MP in Church during Christmas worship

Dec 26 (DBS) Blessings of Christmas are once again upon us all! Even as we immerse ourselves in this universal season of peace and great joy, my thoughts hark back to a terrible incident which marred the spirit of Christmas and sanctity of a Church a decade ago. It was an instance of murder most foul being committed within the hallowed precincts of a Catholic Cathedral in front of the Diocesan Bishop and congregation during midnight mass on Christmas. more..

Then they held guns, now they battle hunger pangs

Dec 26 (SL) She gave up the T-56, her constant companion for over three years when the bloody war ended. Selvi wanted a clean break. When she walked into a government run rehabilitation camp in mid-2009, Slevi, harbored faint hopes for a better life. When she left the rehabilitation camp a year and half later, those hopes had galvanized. She returned to Killinochchi, her home town, like a teenager, not like a 24 year old rehabilitated former combatant. more..

JVP sees many students shut out of Grade 1

Dec 26 (Island) JVP led teachers’ union claimed that a considerable number of children would be left without schools next year due to a decision to limit the number of students in a class to 35. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) Mahinda Jayasinghe said that according to a Supreme Court order handed down in 2011, the number of students in a Grade One class should be limited to 35 students. more..

'Govt cannot be defeated for another 5 years'

Dec 26 (Island) One was only daydreaming if one thought of toppling the present govt, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said on Thursday. He said the national unity govt could not be defeated for five years. De Silva said that even the President could not dissolve the present Parliament according to the 19th Amendment and that could be done only through a parliamentary resolution passed with a two-thirds majority. more..

Dengue eradication programme to prosecute 521 violators

Dec 26 (Island) Health officials have, during a three-day dengue eradication programme in the Western Province, identified over 3,000 people whose houses and businesses had mosquito breeding places. Heath Ministry deployed 426 teams from 28 MOH offices in Western Province and they inspected 80,650 sites in Colombo, Kalutara and Gampaha Districts during 3-day programme which commenced on Monday. more..

Jaffna fishermen demand compensation package

Dec 26 (Hindu) Fishermen from Jaffna have demanded that the Sri Lankan govt frame a comprehensive scheme to safeguard their interests when they experience huge losses caused by poachers. The need for such a scheme has been felt in the light of a recent incident near Neduntheevu or Deft Island in the Jaffna district wherein 27 out of 30 nets belonging to a Karainagar-based fisherman were said to have been damaged by trawlers more..

New Zealand thrash Sri Lanka

Dec 26 (CI) Sri Lanka would have thought of turning their fortunes around in the ODIs after losing both the Tests and would have banked on the absence of New Zealand's pace spearheads Tim Southee and Trent Boult. To add to that, Kane Williamson was ruled out of the first ODI with a knee niggle. But Matt Henry reduced the visitors to 27 for 5, and even though they went on to post 188, their hopes of defending it were more..

Resistance to Karuna joining TPC

Dec 26 (CT) Karuna Amman alias V Muralitharan says he will consider joining the newly formed Tamil People's Council (TPC) in the North, adding that he welcomes the goals of the organization with its many progressive ideas which could be extended to the East as well. He said those who have stood against the TNA and its policies have today closed ranks with it to work together under the umbrella of the TPC. more..

Bid to hike MPs' pay comes under flak

Dec 26 (ENS) Even as the govt of India is working on a steep pay hike for MPs to give them a monthly package of INR 280,000, Sri Lanka is considering a proposal to massively increase the Daily Sitting Allowance given to its MPs. “Lankan MPs are the lowest paid in the region,” said Lakshman Kiriella, the Leader of the House, rebutting media criticism about the plan to sharply hike the Daily Sitting Allowance from LKR 500 to LKR 20,000. more..

Sajith’s wings being clipped?

Dec 26 (Island) The UNP which nearly split in recent years over leadership battles would scrap the post of Deputy Leader and revert to its original Constitution, party sources said. "A proposal to restore the spirit of the constitution that had been introduced by the founding fathers of the UNP, which had no provision for the position of Deputy Leader is to be moved at the next Working Committee meeting more..

2016: Building a viable national future

Dec 27 (SO) In five days we welcome a new year - 2016. The beginning of this year saw the beginning of major changes in the life of our nation: a change at the apex of State leadership with the election of a new President which, in turn, led to a change in government and a corollary radical shift in national policy, in political conduct and, in style of governance. A meticulously ordered parliamentary election mid-year further entrenched the strategy for change. more..

New Year hope: Tail shouldn’t wag the dog

Dec 27 (SO) Dark clouds were hovering over Sri Lanka as 2014 ended threatening grave crises for the country and people but eight days after the New Year dawned the major threat was removed enabling even moves to counter other crises. One such threat was the UNHRC resolution over alleged war crimes and human rights violations which may have even resulted in international trade sanctions being invoked against this country. The result of accepting reality and astute diplomacy saw more..

‘Nosediving cricket needs a take-off’

Dec 27 (SO) With the countdown to an election that must have become the most decisive in the annals of SLC, Nishantha Ranatunga has never been as optimistic as he is even during the time he held sway. Aiming for the top post of president of SLC, Ranatunga could not have asked for a better team. In it is his vice president candidate and brother Arjuna, perhaps the most influential voice in affairs of the game in the country ever since more..

SAITM: Pragmatic solution needed

Dec 27 (Island) At the time Sri Lanka won her Independence, this country was one of the best developed in the region and today’s highly developed nations like Singapore and South Korea were looking at us as a role model. We had an excellent public service and countries like Malaysia looked to us as a recruiting pool largely at non-professional level. Ceylonese, as we were then known, worked as station masters, postmasters, tea & rubber makers & suchlike in then Malaya. more..

The real challenges are to be faced in 2016

Dec 27 (CT) 2015 was a brilliant year for the UNP and President Maithripala Sirisena. On 8 Jan 2015 UNP, Maithripala Sirisena and a number of political parties and Civil Society Groups beat Mahinda Rajapaksa, a feat many thought was impossible. The interim government which was formed managed to escape relatively unscathed during the UNHRC sessions a few months after, beat Rajapaksa again during a general election and managed to pass the 2016 Budget with a two-thirds majority. more..

'This regime is corrupt like the last regime'

Dec 27 (SL) It is almost a year since the new govt took control, the resettlement of the displaced during the war is still in limbo, said JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake. He said that neither the previous regime nor the current regime has done anything to create employment opportunities for Tamil people in order to assist them rebuild their lives. Commenting on the progress made so far by the new national govt he said that while there were some more..

Promises to keep and miles to go

Dec 27 (ST) As we come to the end of another Gregorian calendar year, it is stock taking time on the State of the Union. The beginning of the year was a watershed in the recent annals of this country. A once exceedingly popular leader, described only by his detractors as a dictator and referred to in the foreign media as strongman, whose authoritarian rule brought about both, positive and negative results was hauled down from office by popular vote — but the man himself has refused to more..

2016: The year of reckoning?

Dec 27 (Island) Though the govt managed to get the budget for 2016 passed with more than a two thirds majority, that is not the end of the story. Pacifying trade unions in the run up to the final vote to the budget has not helped. Discontent continues to boil under the surface and will erupt into the open after the yearend holiday season. This is undoubtedly the year ending most fraught with uncertainties since 1987. By the end of 1987, the war with the LTTE had come to a head, more..

'We appreciate President’s effort for at least visiting Jaffna'

Dec 27 (SL) In the recent past there have been many differences of opinions between the parties within the TNA. It is clear that certain factions within the TNA are not in the least happy with the current stance of the party and its leadership. As a result the Tamil People’s Council, a forum of political and non-political actors, has been formed in Jaffna with Northern Province’s Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran as the head. more..

Is Princess of Kolonnawa betraying Yahapalanaya?

Dec 27 (ST) My dear Hirunika, I thought I must write to you because everyone is talking about you these days when they should be talking about Santa Claus instead. I was wondering why and I thought it would be best to find out from you why so many people are making all these wild allegations against you. Hirunika, you must surely know that our initial impression of you was of a desperate daughter who was fighting for justice for her father who was brutally gunned down on the streets of more..

A leap forward in economic governance

Dec 27 (SO) Last time the UNP came to power in Dec 2001, the economy of Sri Lanka was in total disarray after the fall of the Elephant Pass to the LTTE in April 2000 and the attack on the Katunayake International Airport by the LTTE in July 2001. The huge hike in military expenditures after the fall of the Elephant Pass in April 2000 had drained the foreign exchange reserves, which was exacerbated by the lightening attack on the airport in July 2001 that severely hurt SL’s exports. more..

This New Year: We will...

Dec 27 (SO) New Year resolutions are a time-tested tradition that probably has its origins in religious rituals. At the start of each year, ancient Babylonians promised their Gods they would return borrowed objects and repay their debts. Romans began the year by making promises to God Janus, for whom January has been named. In the Medieval era, the Knights took the Peacock vow at the end of Christmas each year to re-affirm their more..

Challenges for business in 2016

Dec 27 (ST) As small and big businesses ring in the New Year, enormous challenges are ahead according to economic projections pertaining to growth, inflation and interest rates. One of the most-followed events would be as to how US interest rates – a trend-setter for global rates – would unfold next year. Last week red flags were raised in SL’s economy after the US interest rate cut which, even though marginal, is seen to impact on foreign reserves and trigger other repercussions. more..

McCullum goes berserk

Dec 27 (CI) Four days after announcing his international retirement, Brendon McCullum was sending the ball over boundary ropes as if nothing had changed in his career. In the seventh over of the chase, Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews brought himself on as his side had already conceded 52 runs. Nothing changed then either as his first ball went sailing over the midwicket boundary, thanks to a pull from McCullum. But when he tried it again next ball, the ball went over the covers more..

Anura Kumara Disanayake

Geethani hopeful Kenyan training will help win SA Games gold

Dec 27 (Island) National marathon record holder Geethani Rajasekara is hopeful that month-long training in Kenya will help win the gold medal at the forthcoming South Asian Games. "Training in Kenya will help me improve and I vow to win the gold at the South Asian Games," Rajasekara said ahead of her departure to Kenya. Rajasekara was schedule to leave for Kenya on December 26 for nearly a month-long training after the Sri Lanka Athletics Association and Sports Ministry facilitated more..

SL's collapse, and McCullum's quick fifties

Dec 27 (CI) 174: The margin of victory for New Zealand in terms of balls remaining. It is their highest against Sri Lanka in ODIs. The previous highest was 129, in Christchurch in 2007. Overall, it is New Zealand's ninth-best margin of victory, and Sri Lanka's sixth-heaviest margin of defeat in terms of balls remaining in an ODI. 5: Wickets lost by Sri Lanka in the first ten overs of their innings, the most they have lost when batting first in an ODI since 2002. They lost four wickets in more..

Digital design for Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (NS) A working draft of the overview of Road Map for Digital Sri Lanka: Digitally Enabled/ Empowered Society by 2018 has been released digitally to the public for inputs, comments and recommendations. The draft was shared online by Managing Director of Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), Muhunthan Canagey on Dec 18 via his personal Facebook account. more..

Govt to raise Rs 13B

Dec 27 (CT) Govt of Sri Lanka, will conduct its fourth Treasury (T) Bond auction for the month on Tuesday, where it plans to raise a total of Rs 13 billion. Those comprise three tenures, i.e. a 2019 maturity (3 year and 10 months) by which it plans to raise Rs three billion, a 2021 maturity (5 years and 10 months)-Rs 5 billion and a 2028 maturity (12 years and 8 months) by which it plans to raise Rs five billion respectively. Govt last sold similar tenures this year on 26 Oct and 28 Sept respectively. more..

Why Percy papadon not seen this time in NZ

Dec 27 (Island) Percy Abeysekera’s non-availability in New Zealand this time when Sri Lanka national cricket team is involving in a long series there has been a talking point among local cricket spectators. He has had to stay at home this time leaving aside his inseparable giant National Flag so as to look after his old sister, Padmini Amarasinghe, the only living sibling of Percy. Percy has been living with Padmini at Kalutara for over 15 years. Percy last morning talked sadly about more..

Port City will add green area nine times as big as Galle Face to the city

Dec 27 (Island) Colombo Port City will add a new green area of approximately 45 ha, nine times the size of the Galle Face Green which is five ha. in extent, Chin Harbour Engineering, the developer said last week. CHEC said this green area which will be accessible to the general public will comprise "a hierarchy of public and private landscape typologies offering habitat provision, urban cooling and helping Colombo to more..

Loss-making State Corporations destroy scarce capital

Dec 27 (Island) State corporations and boards submit their annual financial accounts to Parliament once a year. Very often these accounts are in arrears and when they are tabled in Parliament they are of mere historical value. They are however examined even belatedly by COPE and a report is made to Parliament. But how effective is the accountability of state corporations and boards? Boards are not much different from govt departments since all their funds come from more..

Biz community optimistic of development drive in 2016

Dec 27 (SO) The Sri Lankan business community is optimistic that the new year, 2016, will be a source of strength to the country’s development drive. New policies were introduced this year, with the new govt taking office and as such they were unable to achieve the goals as expected, Secretary, Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Sarathchanda said. Most vehicle importers hope to import new vehicles next year as vehicle manufacturers are set to release more..

Gold licences: Joy for some, agony for others

Dec 27 (ST) A special committee appointed by the Central Bank (CB) will be tasked with considering applications and granting licences to 50 gold importers amidst growing concern that the move would result in a monopoly in the business. The proposal in the 2016 budget provides for a limited number (50) licences to be issued to businessmen allowing tax-free import of gold. At present importers pay a tax of 10%. more..