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Tectonic shifts

Dec 24 (Island) I first saw the Cathedral in Christchurch through satellite imagery. This perspective, from space, didn’t give a sense of the building’s grandeur, evident at ground level. Neither had I visited New Zealand when I saw it, nor at the time, did I have any plans to either. Late Feb 2011, a new web platform was set up to assess the damage to the city after an earthquake devastated it on the 22nd. Part of a wider range of technologies that pioneered crowd-sourced disaster relief, more..

Sri Lanka 1982 archive footage

Agony of lower middle class and disintegration of liberal state in SL

Dec 24 (Island) With almost universal literacy and high levels of educational attainment among many of the adult citizens in the country, one would have expected by now overwhelming public support for a State based on secular, liberal values. Yet, the country continues to be highly divided on fundamental, secular democratic values. Religious leaders at all levels, people who offer solutions to existential problems based on superstition, age old archaic rituals, semi-literate monks who more..

Edtorial: Trump hits the wall

Dec 24 (Island) US has suffered a partial govt shutdown due the obduracy of President Donald Trump, who remains hell bent on building a wall along the Mexican border. Trump succeeded in imposing his will on the Congress the other day by refusing to sign the budget unless it included allocations for his harebrained wall project, which will cost the US taxpayers as much as USD 5 billion, but his project came up against a brick wall in the Senate. more..

Govt allocates Rs. 5 million for flood relief

Dec 24 (FT) As the number of flood victims rose to 44,959 due to heavy rains caused by flash floods in the Northern Province, the National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC) has allocated Rs. 5 million to the flood-hit Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya, and Jaffna Districts. The allocation has been released to the five District Secretariats, and the NDRSC will release more funds if necessary to address more..

Dawn of Christmas is an important occasion to strengthen peace, reconciliation: Prez

Dec 24 (FT) President Sirisena said recently that the dawn of Christmas is an important occasion to strengthen the reconciliation among the communities and to achieve peace, which is the aspiration of all the citizens. He made these remarks while addressing the State Christmas Festival 2018 held at the Mannar UC Ground. State Christmas Festival 2018, themed Birth of the Lord Splendour of Christmas, was held with the aim of enhancing reconciliation between various communities more..

Video: Ministries should be allocated funds for propaganda work: Rajitha

Dec 24 (AD) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that he had made a request from the Prime Minister to allocate funds for each ministry for propaganda work. He stated this addressing the UNP meeting in Negombo. He commented that he has told PM Ranil Wickremesinghe allocating funds for propaganda should be the first step of the new government. The meeting of UNP for Negombo electoral division headed by Minister Rajitha Senaratne was held in Pitipana last evening (22). more..

Prasanna’s county experience could win him a place in squad

Dec 24 (DN) Seekkuge Prasanna’s two-year stint with English county Northamptonshire where he appeared for them in the T20 Blast could clinch him a place in SL’s World Cup squad in England next year.Chief selector Ashantha de Mel said, “Actually the ODI squad for NZ was going to be only 15, but SLC said to send two extra players. Then we selected Seekkuge Prasanna and Dushmantha Chameera. more..

Ports Ministry gets industry professional as secretary

Dec 24 (FT) Top industry professional Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake has been appointed as the Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Southern Development by Sirisena. Prior to the latest appointment, Dissanayake was serving as the Chairman of SL Ports Authority (his second stint) and Chairman of Hambantota Int'l Ports Services Ltd., the joint venture between SLPA and the CMPort of China. He was also a Director of the other joint venture Hambantota Int'l Port Group, more..

Sri Lankan freight forwarders see margin pressure from liner consolidation

Dec 24 (EN) Consolidation among container shipping lines trying revive profitability is likely to squeeze profit margins of freight forwarders, especially smaller players, an industry official said. Jagath Pathirana, chief executive, Expolanka Freight (Pvt) Ltd., said big freight forwarders have long term contracts with shipping lines which give them leverage to ensure rates are maintained. “But it will be a challenge for smaller players,” he told a forum held by the Asia Securities brokerage more..

National outcast Hulk Pushparaj takes out WBPF body building championship

Dec 24 (ST) Sri Lankan Hulk Lucion Pushparaj has won his first major global body building championship, just months after his career was left hanging by a thread. The freakishly ripped beast made a triumphant return to his home country less than 12 months after he was reportedly locked in an ugly feud with govt officials, who dramatically moved to ban him from competing. Also known as the Black Lion of Asia, Pushparaj claims more..

From riches to rags

Dec 24 (ST) While the defending champions Hong Kong qualified for the World Under-20 Rugby Championship to be held in Brazil, one of its partakers, Sri Lanka, earned more questions than answers at the Asian Division I Under-19 Rugby Championship held in Chinese Taipei. With three straight defeats, the Gemunu Chethiya led Junior Tuskers not only were relegated to the lower division in the Asian Junior competition but were given the ultimate slap on the face when more..

edotco installs first smart lamp pole in Jaffna

Dec 24 (Island) edotco Sri Lanka, an integrated telecom infrastructure services company, installed the first ever Smart Lamp Pole in Jaffna Municipality, bringing the latest innovations to the Northern Province. Setting up the first of seventeen such energy efficient telecom solutions, the unveiling ceremony was graced by the Mayor of Jaffna Immanuel Arnold and Senior Management of edotco SL. Members of Jaffna MC, CEB & local business professionals were also in attendance. more..

Prez, CB, AG meeting exposed causes for delay in action against Bond scam culprits

Dec 24 (FT) A top-level meeting chaired by President Sirisena on Friday had exposed numerous causes for the delay in taking action against those responsible for the Treasury Bond scam. A statement by the President’s Office said that senior officials of the Central Bank revealed that according to the Presidential Commission to inquire into the CB bond issue, the said bond frauds – worth over Rs. 1000 billion – had occurred during more..

Clash at a construction site in Colombo: 11 Chinese workers arrested

Dec 24 (DM) Eleven Chinese nationals, working at a construction site at Chatham Street, Colombo were arrested following a clash with a group of Sri Lankan Security Personnel at the site on Saturday. The Police said two Chinese workers and three security personnel were injured following the clash that had taken place on Saturday afternoon following an argument. They said the Chinese workers were arrested after a complaint was lodge with the Fort Police by a Sri Lankan security officer. more..

More rains expected in North

Dec 24 (Island) Showers or thundershowers will continue in the Northern Province, Met Department says. Several spells of showers will also occur across the country, especially in Eastern and North-central provinces, after 2 pm. "Fairly heavy falls above 75mm can be expected at some places in the Central, Sabaragamuwa provinces and in Vavuniya and Mannar districts. Misty conditions can be expected at some places in the island during the morning. more..

New Ministry Secretaries appointed

Dec 24 (FT) New Secretaries who have been appointed for Ministries received their appointment letters from President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on 21 Dec. Hemasiri Fernando – Secretary to the Ministry of Defence; Mohomad Ismail – Secretary to the Ministry of Postal Services & Muslim Religious Affairs; V. Sivagnanasothy – Secretary to the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, more..

Two Lankans among 4 held for peddling ganja in TN

Dec 24 (Hindu) Madurai district police on Saturday arrested four persons, including two Sri Lankan nationals, for allegedly procuring ganja from Usilampatti near here with the idea of smuggling it to Sri Lanka. According to a statement issued by the police, acting on a tip-off, the police conducted a raid in M. Ramanathapuram near Usilampatti and arrested K. Kalyani, 31, from the village, K. Gunasekaran, 30, from Vedaranyam, and S. Rajikanth, 33, C. Selvakaran, 37, from Jaffna more..

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has just made another comeback, looks ahead

Dec 24 (Hindu) On December 16, after two months of political turbulence in Sri Lanka’s post-war years, Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated as Prime Minister, for the fifth time. When Mr. Wickremesinghe entered Parliament in 1977, he was barely 28. In the four decades since, Mr. Wickremesinghe has risen to become one of the most important leaders in the island’s southern polity, serving as Prime Minister four times before his recent, controversial ousting. more..

Exports static, imports soar in October

Dec 24 (FT) The country’s external sector came under severe pressure in October as exports struggled and imports jumped, widening the trade deficit further. The higher growth in imports was despite measures by the Central Bank in Sept and Oct to curtail waste of foreign exchange on non-essential goods. Exports managed to grow by only 0.4% to $ 979 million in October and failed to repeat the crossing of $ 1 billion mark, more..

Kandy snatch victory from jaws of defeat

Dec 24 (Island) The final week match of the first round of the Dialog Rugby League between Defending champions Kandy SC and Navy SC ended with the former winning the contest 22 points 20 at Welisara yesterday. It was the hosting skipper Thilina Weerasinghe who started off with a straightforward penalty from 30m out. They failed to keep the lead for much long as Kandy SC responded with a converted try from Wishwamithra Jayasinghe. He found space through more..

Video: People suffer due to shortcomings in economy: Mahinda

Dec 24 (AD) Due to the shortcomings in leading the country’s economy people have been aggrieved, says the Leader of Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa. He made these comments following a religious event held at the Middeniya Sri Sumangala Purana Maha Viharaya. The country’s people are in a dire state that they can only afford to have one meal per day, the Opposition Leader further stated. He emphasized that this had been a result of aggrieving the public by imposing heavy taxes on them. more..

Appointment of Vijayakala as State Minister raises fresh questions

Dec 24 (Island) President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva said that Prez Sirisena and the govt owed an explanation as to how the UNPer Vijayakala Maheswaran had been appointed the State Education Minister in the new govt. De Silva asked whether the govt had forgotten the circumstances under which she had resigned as a minister several months back. Vijayakala called for LTTE’s revival in Jaffna in the presence of more..

Sri Lanka story may not end happily

Dec 24 (DP) You could write a heart-warming fairy tale about the turbulent events in the island nation of Sri Lanka in the past two months. It would involve a conniving President, who abruptly and illegally dismisses the elected PM, and replaces him with a corrupt and blood-soaked former despot who was the President’s old boss. The despot, now claiming to be the real PM, tries to strengthen his position by offering MPs jobs as Ministers in his new Govt. If enough accept, he would more..

3 cruise liners ferry in over 7000 tourists

Dec 24 (CT) In Nov 2018, Sri Lanka saw an increase in tourist arrivals with the members of the Barmy Army, and adding to the existing flow of tourists was the arrival of three super luxury passenger vessels with combined passenger occupancy of nearly 7000. Throughout 2018, Sri Lanka saw the arrival of 53 cruise liners, which in addition, helped increase the number of tourist arrivals. SL Tourism Promotion Bureau ensured that a Tourism Information counter in each vessel more..

Flash floods in North: Nearly 50,000 affected

Dec 24 (CT) Nearly 50,000 people have been affected by the raging flood waters in the Northern Peninsula over the past two days, and the authorities warned of more wet weather in the area and elsewhere. Incidentally, the number of affected people is the single largest figure since the end of hostilities between the security forces and Tamil Tigers in 2009. Figures are also expected to rise in the coming days, as more rain is more..

Suicide inside Kuruwita Jail

Dec 24 (CT) The authorities have launched an investigation into the alleged suicide of a young male inmate at the Kuruwita Jail on Saturday evening, a senior Police officer said yesterday. The 22-year-old is alleged to have hanged himself from a beam using a piece of his clothing a day after he had entered the jail, Police Media Spokesman Superintendent (SP) Ruwan Gunasekera said. He added the victim was being held on a drug-related offence at the time of the incident. more..

Vote on Account: Absentees to be quizzed: UNP

Dec 24 (CT) Senior UNP representatives, said that the Party will be seeking explanations from the 12 MPs who were absent for the Vote on Account, of the new Govt. Vote on Account was brought by Minister Mangala Samaraweera on 21 Dec. Only six JVP MPs voted against it, while the TNA voted for it. UPFA abstained from voting. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella, and Chief Govt Whip Gayantha Karunatileka had stated that attendance is compulsory for more..

Cabinet can have 32 members including Prez, PM: Jayampathy

Dec 24 (Island) Constitutional expert and National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, PC, yesterday said that the 19th Amendment provided for appointing two more Cabinet ministers. Parliament enacted 19th Amendment in late April 2015. He asserted that though the 19th Amendment (46. [1]) restricted the number of cabinet ministers to 30 and non-cabinet positions to 40, in terms of the said law, more..

Feliz Navidad!

Dec 25 (CT) A very popular Christmas song heard throughout the season opens as; Feliz Navidad Prospero año y Felicidad (Which is Spanish for Merry Christmas, a prosperous year and happiness). You find this song heard echoing through shopping malls in our major cities or played in the Christmas-hits loop on popular radio stations this time of year. Although the song might not be carrying an impact due to its foreign words, we can definitely agree to look forward to a prosperous year of more..

What does birth of Christ mean to us today?

Dec 25 (DM) Today is Christmas Day and is dutifully celebrated the world over, before people go back once again to the lives they were leading before. Can we draw a meaningful lesson from this day on which Christianity’s founder the Lord Jesus Christ was born? There is a common saying warning people, not to judge a book by it’s cover. Similarly, it is important not to judge any religion by what we see and know of it. Christianity, like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam has a long history more..

In good faith: A day in the life of a Christmas crib seller

Dec 25 (Roar) At an intersection on a busy street in bustling Kotahena is a shrine for St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things. Milling in through the three glass doors of the imposing Neoclassical façade are ordinary people wanting extraordinary miracles. St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade has a reputation for granting the wishes of those who fervently pray at its altars, but is equally well-known for is its ability to draw a multi-religious audience. more..

Us & Them: Flash floods in the Northern Sri Lanka & aftermath

Dec 25 (CT) The news about the North being badly affected by flash floods last weekend did not appear in the Sinhala and English press till 48 hours as far as I saw. Not even the websites that publish rubbish gossip immediately after some minute juicy news were worried about what is happening to the people in the North. Most parts of the North have 4G, 3G or at least 2G and anyone can get pictures and videos in a few seconds. But not even those Facebook heroes were interested in doing something to more..

Tamil leaders played an honourable role in restoring constitutional governance in SL

Dec 25 (CT) The historic judgement by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka that President Sirisena’s decision to dissolve Parliament on November 9 was unconstitutional and illegal is to be wholeheartedly welcomed. Though this ruling may not signal the end of the constitutional crisis, it should be recognised that this is the first time in Sri Lanka’s history the judiciary has made a momentous decision in the adjudication of the conflict between the legislature and the executive. more..

Thilaka Jinadasa: First female to represent Sri Lanka in Olympics

Dec 25 (CT) ‘A strong woman knows she has enough strength for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is the journey where she will become strong’ Thilaka Jinadasa needs no introduction to the sporting arena. When you hear the words Sri Lankan netball Thilaka Jinadasa is one of the first names that pops up in our minds. Born on 15 March 1963 to a family of five children, Thilaka Dhammika Jinadasa goes into the history as more..

Edtorial: Santa’s early arrival

Dec 25 (Island) Santa arrived here about two months before Christmas. Maybe he was swayed by SL’s Lonely Planet rankings and could not wait. He came, in Oct, donning a saataka and grinning like a Cheshire cat, and granting the people some economic relief. Fuel prices were reduced twice within a matter of a few weeks and import duty was slashed on some essentials. He also promised tax cuts and subsidies and then, suddenly, vanished like a foreign investor riled by minister’s demand more..

Sajith, Sannasgala and large trees

Dec 25 (DM) Much is said about Sajith Premadasa that he should be UNP Leader, but questions are raised whether the UNP Deputy Leader is hungry enough to lead the Green Party. Some time back there was an offer made to Premadasa to even take up the post of Prime Minister, but he turned it down. Right now the buzz within the UNP is that Premadasa would be UNP’s next Presidential candidate. Premadasa has maintained that there is no hesitation on his part to accept any post. more..

අලි මිනිස් ගැටුමට තිත තැබූ ගම්මානයක්

Celebrating Christmas 2018 as a time for Creating harmony and seeking reconciliation

Dec 25 (DM) The core message and challenge of Christmas embody a powerful call to foster the goodwill of all and an imperative for efforts at creating harmony and seeking reconciliation of differences. It involves easing tensions, calming anger and contention, resolving conflicts and exercising restraint in all matters, initiating dialogue in patience and establishing mutual understanding between divergent ideological positions, as well as healing the wounds incurred and restoring more..

Can Sri Lanka continue to impress on green Christchurch pitch?

Dec 25 (CI) Sri Lanka fight at the strangest times. They had several opportunities to dig themselves out of holes against England, at home, on turning tracks specifically prepared to suit them, and yet, what defiances they could muster in that series were insufficient to prevent a whitewash. Somehow, in New Zealand - a country where this group of players had only previously tasted defeat - two batsmen mounted a daylong resistance. Vitally, in the first away match of six consecutive Tests in more..