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Himasha clocks personal best, Rumeshika beats old guards

Dec 4 (Island) Sprinters Himasha Eshan and schoolgirl Rumeshika Ratnayake won the respective men’s and women’s 100m sprint events with impressive performances as the old guards received a beating at a nearly worn-out track on the first day of South Asian Games trial at Diyagama. Eshan clocked 10.36 seconds, his personal best to win the men’s 100m, while Mohamed Ashrof (10.42 secs), Suranjaya de Silva (10.55 secs) and Shehan Ambepitiya (10.57 secs) more..

‘SL Tourism totally out of focus at WTM’

Dec 4 (Island) A successful tour operator in the Republic of Ireland of Sri Lankan descent, Micheal O’brien, living in Shanon, West Ireland, said this year’s was the worst show in recent times by Sri Lanka Tourism at the World Travel Mart in London. "The authorities had absolutely no focus, passion nor drive and it gave the impression to the stakeholders and the organisers of WTM in London that the authorities were no longer interested in promoting country as a destination, he said. more..

CSE adopts global classification standard

Dec 4 (LBO) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) said it is adopting the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) to classify its listed companies along with S&P/CSE cobranded sector indices. The Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) was jointly developed by Standard & Poor’s and MSCI Barra to meet the global financial community’s need for one complete, consistent set of global sector and industry definitions, more..

Harvard University to do growth diagnostics, complexity research in Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (EN) US based Harvard University's Center for International Development said it will conduct its trade mark growth diagnostic and complexity research in Sri Lanka. "We'll be doing growth diagnostic and complexity research in Sri Lanka led by @ricardo_hausman," centre said in a twitter message, responding an earlier EconomyNext story, which quoted PM Ranil Wickramasinghe. Ricardo Hausmann, a former Central Banker from Venezuela, head's Harvard CID. more..

Hemas Holdings invests over US$ 100 mn in two hotel projects

Dec 4 (Island) Sri Lanka’s diversified conglomerate Hemas Holdings, in partnership with the Minor Hotel Group of Thailand, will be investing in two hotel projects to the tune of US $ 100 million by introducing the leading hospitality brand Anantara to Sri Lanka. With the soft opening of its first luxury property, Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, and the official launch in early 2016 of Kalutara Resort, total investment would be more than US$ 100 million, Director Abbas Esufally said. more..

Probe says SLRC sexual harassment allegation false: India

Dec 4 (PTI) An investigation into allegations of demand for sexual favours by officials of SL Red Cross (SLRC) from the beneficiaries of India-funded houses in the Tamil-dominated Northern province found that the charges were false and baseless. Rajya Sabha was informed about findings of the joint probe by Indian Consulate General in Jaffna, SLRC and IFRC. "Report concluded that the allegation of sexual harassment made by more..

SLT Rainbow pages to develop digital directory for SME

Dec 4 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom's SLT Rainbow pages and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce signed a MoU to develop a digital directory for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) at the inauguration of Shilpa Exhibition by the National Crafts at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre yesterday. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said that latest data show that almost one million SME enterprises are active in the country. "On average every Lankan SME provides employment to three Lankans. more..

Construction work forces closure of road segment

Dec 4 (DM) A segment of the road from Wellampitiya Junction to Kotikawatta on the Colombo – Avissawella Low Level Road would be closed from 9 pm to 5 am for ten days commencing today for road construction work to take place. They said the road from Ambatale to Wellampitiya Junction and Kotikawatta had been damaged and the road would be closed in order to carpet it. Police advised motorist to use alternative roads to avoid segment of road that was being repaired. more..

SLC Elections: Yahapalana politicians fighting each other for a piece of the pie

Dec 4 (DN) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has requested Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera to seek ICC recommendation for candidates who are seeking office at the upcoming SLC election. In a communique, he says that the ICC will be able to decide whether the candidates are suitable for the respective positions they contesting. "The law should be implemented. There are laws in our country. Do not act beside them. more..

Taste of media for scandals must be broader: Police Spokesman

Dec 4 (Island) I know from experience that the media wants to learn from me about crimes, wrongdoings and scandals, but I would like you to lay the same emphasis on and give the same news value to operations carried out by law enforcement agencies against illegal trafficking of counterfeit goods, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara told the media. The police spokesman made this remark while addressing a forum, organized by American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). more..

Presidential expenditure on downward trajectory: Rajitha

Dec 4 (FT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said President Sirisena had reduced the allocation for the President from Rs. 4.4 billion in 2014 to 1.7 billion in 2015. Senaratne told Parliament during the opening stage of the third reading of the budget yesterday that President Sirisena’s changes were not unlike the revolution SLFP founder S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike had created in the country. Senaratne said that the capital expenditure allocation for President Rajapaksa was R. 5.1 billion in 2014. more..

Date of death sentence on SL maid unknown

Dec 4 (DM) No Sri Lankan is among the fifty people convicted over various offences in Saudi Arabia and whose punishments have been scheduled to be carried out today (4), Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala said. A Sri Lankan maid was sentenced to be stoned to death after being found guilty of having a clandestine affair with an unmarried Sri Lankan in Saudi Arabia. Man was ordered 100 lashes. more..

Colombo Mayor predicts new era for football

Dec 4 (DN) Eight of the best teams in the country will vie for honours and the football fraternity will be in for a treat when the invitation soccer tournament for the Mayor's Cup kicks off at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Dec 6. Final will be held on Dec 12. The tournament will see seven best teams of the country taking part, while an eighth team, made of the cream of talented players from the rest of the teams, will make this one of the most competitive events in the country's football calendar. more..

Growers oppose 2016 Budget move to import coconuts

Dec 4 (FT) The Coconut Growers Association of Sri Lanka (CGASL) has raised concerns about 2016 Budget proposals which spelt out substantive reforms in the coconut industry. In its reforms in plantation economy, section 160 reads: “The coconut industry too is faced with the issue of lack of coconuts for value addition. The Budget proposals for the first time propose the import of coconuts to meet the shortfall of local produce for the coconut processing industry.” more..

Strike affects hospitals: Docs reject PM’s offer

Dec 4 (Island) Govt doctors staged a 24-hour token strike yesterday after talks with Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Tuesday night had failed. It is scheduled to end at 8 am today. The other unions which joined the GMOA called off their strike yesterday evening. General Secretary of GMOA said that GMOA and other professional outfits under the banner the Joint Committee of Executive Officers in All Island Services (JCEOAIS) were not more..

Tourist arrivals up 20.4% to 1.6 m in Nov

Dec 4 (FT) According to the statistics released by SLTDA, the number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in Nov 2015 has increased by 20.4% with compared to last year. Accordingly 144,147 number of arrivals have recorded for the month of November and the total arrivals have gone up to 1.6 million. The average number of monthly arrivals has increased by 13.7% as at end Nov 2015. Western Europe comprised 31% of the total number of arrivals, recording 489,914 tourists up to Nov 2015. more..

Marasinghe says threatened by Welgama

Dec 4 (CT) MP Ashu Marasinghe expressed fears for his life following threats allegedly made by MP Kumara Welgama after the former had raised queries in Parliament relating to an unapproved purchase of 1,000 buses by Welgama when was Transport Minister in the previous govt. He said that he had lodged a complaint with the Speaker of the House following blatant threats made by Welgama against him. "Central Transport Board in 2011 bought 2200 buses and spare-parts when more..

IMF says looking at options for Sri Lanka, no formal request

Dec 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has not made a formal request for IMF help but the fund's staff are looking at ways to help island nation, an IMF spokesman said. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said this week Sri Lanka would seek an IMF stand-by arrangement to fend off a risk that its economy will be hurt next year by repercussions from events affecting major economies. "Staff are looking at what might be the best options more..

Ranil enlightens Parliament about art of the possible

Dec 4 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday enlightened the Parliament the art of the possible be it in politics or national budgeting. Speaking at the Committee stages of 2016 Budget, the Premier thanked all those who had helped to pass his Govt’s maiden budget, and highlighted the importance of acting with responsibility in a national unity govt. “Some held this was a UNP budget but the mandate was given us to join with other parties and form a govt. more..

Interpol will be alerted to catch Senadhipathi: In case Avant Garde Chairman flees

Dec 4 (CT) Sri Lanka will seek Interpol assistance to track down Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi, if he does not return to the country to be questioned by the PRECIFAC, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. This assistance will however, not be sought if Senadhipathi was in fact undergoing treatment at a hospital abroad. "If he does not support the legal process in SL, we will have to take action," he said. Govt had not signed any agreement with Avant Garde in Oct 2015 as alleged more..

How Thajudeen was murdered: Latest JMO report reveals

Dec 4 (CT) Colombo Chief JMO Ajith Tennakoon informed Colombo Additional Magistrate that former rugby star Wasim Thajudeen had not been driving his vehicle at the time of his death. Initial verdict was that Thajudeen had died of injuries sustained in a car accident. Tennakoon said that Thajudeen had been assaulted before his body was dumped into the left seat of his car before the accident was staged. more..

‘The health of my patients will be my first consideration !’

Dec 4 (DM) Tens of thousands of people, specially poor patients, were forced to suffer more by a 24-hour token strike launched yesterday by the GMOA. If strikes by medical officers are ethically or morally questionable the main reason for the GMOA strike yesterday was scandalous. The medical doctors were demanding the withdrawal of the 2016 budget proposals to scrap the issue of duty free vehicle permits every five years to medical and other senior public servants. more..

Message of the Kokkuvil suicide

Dec 4 (DM) After May 2009 a youth from the Tamil Community has taken his life for a cause, according to Tamil politicians and Tamil media. Rajeswaran Senthuran, a 17-year-old student of Kokkuvil Hindu College in Jaffna had allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of an express train from Colombo on Nov 26, a sentimentally important day for many Tamils in the north, since LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran’s birthday falls on that day. A note had reportedly been found in Senthuran’s more..

Switching off millions of public funds

Dec 4 (SL) Financial losses incurred by the country during the former Rajapaksas regime are now being revealed. One such incident that has recently surfaced is how the long planned project on the conversion of analog radio and television broadcasting technology into the digital technology system was to be adopted from Japan allegedly for personal benefits. Former Rajapaksa regime when opening the Kokavil tower more..

Bow-wow wows Army top brass

Dec 4 (ST) Teesha the war dog flew 4000 feet through the air in the arms of master-parachutist Major Sujith Siranjeewa, earning the Commando officer an Asian record for his jump. Applause thundered around the Uwa Kuda Oya Commando Training School for several minutes as dog and man came safely to earth and a composed Teesha sat up on her hind legs for a photo with the major and his crew. Major Siranjeewa, the only Sri Lankan more..

Sampanthan vows to work towards peace

Dec 4 (DN) Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan told Parliament yesterday that they will make their maximum contribution to bring peace and harmony to the country. He made this observation joining the Committee Stage Debate on the Budget proposals for the 10th allotted day. "We are not on the path of promoting conflict and all Sri Lankans should get together as aunited nation irrespective of their ethnicity. more..

PM proposes duty free vehicles for public officials once in ten years

Dec 4 (DN) Public servants entitled to a vehicle permit will be given permits once in 10 years and subjected to a maximum of two permits, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament. It was impossible to grant vehicle permits once every 5 years as the vehicle congestion in the country specially in Western Province was so high. He added that there should be a control over this issue and they expected to find a solution within two years. more..

Maldives to Sri Lanka: Shape your own foreign policy

Dec 4 (Island) In a surprise move Sri Lanka for the first time publicly criticised the Maldives recently, expressing concern about the situation in that country vis-a-vis regional instability. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka was deeply concerned about recent developments in the Maldives and events that had impacted on it, including the arrest of two of its nationals in Maldives, questionable removal more..

Paranawithana takes oaths as Deputy Media Minister

Dec 4 (AM) Karunarathna Paranawithana was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media today, before President Maithripala Sirisena. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was also present. Paranawithana, current Deputy Minister of Local Govt and Provincial Councils is a former diplomat and a journalist. He was the former Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media & Information between January to July more..

Arjuna alleges SLPA regularly paid nearly a dozen journalists

Dec 4 (Island) Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday alleged that a section of the media had received regular payments from Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) over a period of time. Former national cricket captain Ranatunga said nearly a dozen journalists had been on SLPA’s payroll and at least two of them for a long time. He was on live Sirasa political programme Pethikada hosted by Bandula Jayasekera. more..

'Having released Tiger suicide cadres, Rajapaksas criticise us unfairly'

Dec 4 (Island) The govt said that the Opposition group led by former President Rajapaksa was criticising it for the steps taken to address post war issues and forge permanent peace, but the Rajapaksas had even released members of the LTTE’s dreaded suicide and intelligence units. Minister Rajitha Senaratne, recalled that in early 2010 the then UPFA govt had freed 95 LTTE cadres including some who belonged to the dreaded more..

Countrywide strike on December 15 against budget proposals

Dec 4 (DN) A collective of several trade unions will engage in a countrywide strike on Dec 15 against the 2016 budget proposals, Trade Union Collective convenor Saman Rathnapriya said. He said govt has let down both private and public sector employees with the budget proposals 2016. Private and public employees have been affected by the budget proposals. Govt has also failed to fulfill most promises, he said. more..

Arjuna to contest for SLC vice presidency

Dec 4 (AD) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has submitted nominations for the post of Vice President at the Sri Lanka Cricket elections. The World Cup winning former Sri Lankan captain said he submitted nominations this morning. Ranatunga stated that he is not contesting for the position of SLC President due to the requirement for candidates to have serves at least two years as an executive committee member. more..

Budget blues and education

Dec 4 (CT) The maiden Budget of the United National Front govt seems to have confused and confounded almost all stakeholders that assisted the govt to come into power. One of the main promises of the UNFGG govt was to increase the allocation for education as a percentage of the GDP. Many prominent members of the UNFGG govt, while in the opposition, were extremely critical of the Rajapaksa administration for its continuous reduction of the Budgetary allocation on education. more..

Old-age income insecurity: Reforming pensions

Dec 4 (CT) New employees of the govt who would be recruited from January 01st 2016 onwards will have to pay for their pension, in order to receive their pension entitlements when they retire. So, it is going to be a contributory pension program. This has been proposed in the Budget 2016. The JVP has already denounced this proposal strongly. National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), affiliated to the JVP stressed that, “Budget 2016 had betrayed working class, NTUC has vowed to thwart more..

Teesha: The Sky borne War Dog

3 suspects remanded for assaulting 2 cops

Dec 4 (Island) Kaduwela Magistrate remanded till Dec. 18 three suspects who had allegedly assaulted two policemen on duty on the Kaduwela-Malabe road in the Athurugiriya police area on Wednesday. The victims s are being treated at the Homagama hospital. Suspects had been speeding in their trishaw when the policemen on duty ordered it to stop. The suspects armed with a locally made galkatas gun, 12 bore shot gun and a dagger set upon the police men around 3.45 p.m. more..

Woman immolates self in Jaffna

Dec 4 (AD) A 48-year-old woman who had been suffering from a mental illness has committed self-immolation in Ariyalai, Jaffna. Police said the incident has occurred at around 7.00pm last night and that the woman had died from severe burns. Meanwhile a 35-year-old woman has died after being attacked with a garden hoe in the Dehiattakandiya area. The victim’s 9-year-old daughter had also suffered injuries in the attack and was hospitalised. more..

Chandrika gets down to bridge building

Dec 4 (Island) Only about five percent of employees in the public service are proficient in Tamil as the national language policy has not been implemented, says former President and current Chairperson of the Office For National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), Chandrika Kumaratunga. She said that on ONUR’s recommendation the govt was in the process of selecting 2,000 persons who were proficient more..

Tea prices edge up but still below 2014 levels

Dec 4 (EN) Sri Lankan tea prices improved in November from the previous month, with the highest gains in low grown varieties which make up the bulk of the crop, but are still below 2014 levels, brokers said. “For the first time after two months the Low Grown average has surpassed the High Grown average.” Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers. Tea prices have been in a prolonged slump along with other global commodity prices with many firms saying production costs exceed auction prices. more..