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Jerusalem, Sinhala far right foreign policy

Jan 1 (CT) There were strange reactions to SL’s political responses to and UN vote on the issue of Jerusalem. There are those spokespersons of the Sinhala Far Right who criticized the Sri Lankan stand and the cross-party political consensus as instances of double standards. The argument was that those who could not combine to defend SL from the charges leveled at it in Geneva, and did not rally round Lord Naseby’s revelations, had banded together on the remote issue of Jerusalem. more..

With every breath you take

Jan 1 (CT) Air pollution has become a very serious and very visible burden on humanity. The WHO estimated that it was responsible for 3 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2012; much of this mortality is due to exposure to small particulate matter of 2.5-10 microns in diameter (PM) which cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers. Even healthy people experience health impacts from polluted air, the effects include respiratory irritation or more..

Something more than a storm in a tea cup : Khapra beetle, the culprit

Jan 1 (SO) Sri Lankan tea exporters were faced with something more than a storm in a tea cup when Sri Lanka’s biggest tea buyer Russia imposed a temporary ban on all plant-origin product imports from Sri Lanka. On the 18th of this month the Embassy of SL in Russia was informed that the “Russian govt, namely the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor), had imposed a ban on more..

2018 should not bring us saviours, presidential or otherwise

Jan 1 (ST) As we enter upon a New Year pregnant with hope and foreboding in equal parts, the inglorious epitaph of the past twelve months qualifies to be none other than the adage the more things change, the more they stay the same. Certainly the signs of the establishment resisting the pressure of people-power for change in the January 2015 vote for a new Executive President of Sri Lanka were evidenced very early on in that year itself. more..

Sunday Punch stroll down 2017: Well, that was the year that was

Jan 1 (ST) Even as President Maithripala Sirisena vowed this week to unsheathe his Sword of Excalibur and crackdown on the nation’s bog of corruption, the Sunday Punch on this New Year’s Eve craves your indulgence to embark on a stroll down memory streets of the year that was. But before we turn to the events that came to pass, nothing beats handling the present. And where best to begin than at the very zenith of political power. So first the focus on the President’s declaration more..

Wedding bells for Chinese couples: Who will foot the bill

Jan 1 (ST) A hundred Chinese couples tied the nuptial knot this month in Colombo watched by their relatives and a distinguished audience. Later, there was a banquet for 600 guests at a leading restaurant in Battaramulla. Chinese couples have gone back home after a brief honeymoon in paradise isle to live happily ever after and their relatives caught a glimpse of Sri Lanka during a near weeklong visit. more..

Marâ and the SAITM somersault

Jan 1 (SO) Mara is a funny man. He has been providing jokes for all and sundry during the past three years. But, guess what the biggest joke is? The No, no, it was not me it was them joke, Siripala thinks. So this time, like many times before, he put his foot in the mouth again telling the powers that be Sort SAITM out. Yeah, well my friend it wouldn’t have been anything to sort out if he had done the right thing at the start isn’t it ? Instead, he said, yes machang to this one more..

Let’s make 2018 a green year

Jan 1 (DM) The New Year 2018 dawned today with the usual mixture of virtue and vice. Joy and goodwill, understanding, sharing and caring were among the virtues we show to a large extent among the people. The vice came largely in the form of wasteful expenditure, luxury and extravagance such as five-star balls for which people paid between Rs.10,000 and Rs.20,000 for one night of revelry. Whatever the start, we need to reflect on the virtues of what will make 2018 a better year. more..

Flash Back 2017

Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies

Jan 1 (SO) For someone who has been in politics for over 25 years and in Parliament for over 15 years, Minister Susil Premajayantha speaks in a manner that is difficult to comprehend.Minister who is also the de facto marriage broker between the SLFP and the SLPP –or the pohottuwa party as it is popularly known- made a strange statement this week. He said, there was a possibility that the SLFP and the SLPP could unite at the local govt level after the elections on Feb 10, more..

One more building under Army use released to govt

Jan 1 (SLA) A property, named Anthony Pillay building in the centre of Kilinochchi town, earlier leased to the Security Force Headquarters - Kilinochchi (SFHQ-KLN) by the govt after humanitarian operations was released on Thursday symbolically to Governor for Northern Province, Reginald Cooray to be handed back to its legitimate owners. The income received from the building after it was given on lease in 2011 by the Army for a private company was basically used for more..

Significant gain in October external sector performance

Jan 1 (FT) External sector performance in October has shown significant improvement with robust exports and financial inflows helping Balance of Payments surplus and lower imports helping shrink the trade deficit. Higher export earnings, which recorded a double-digit growth for the fourth consecutive month, and a deceleration in import expenditure resulted in a significant year-on-year decline in trade deficit in October. more..

Editorial: Been there, seen that

Jan 1 (Island) The much-delayed bond probe commission report has been handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena. The Treasury bond scams might enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the most probed racket in the world. It is hoped that at least now some tangible action will be taken to bring the perpetrators of the biggest ever financial crime in the country to justice without further delay. We are afraid that the manner in which the presidential commission functioned more..

Today is Duruthu Full Moon Poya Day

Jan 1 (Island) Most of us live in the cramped cold cages of our private projects, frantically struggling to stake out our own little comfortable place in the sun. Driven in circles by anxious yearnings and beckoning desires, we rarely ever glance aside to see how our neighbor is faring, and when we do it is usually only to assure ourselves that he is not trying to encroach upon our own domain or to find some means by which we might extend our dominion over his. more..

New Kelani Bridge project to be implemented under Japanese assistance

Jan 1 (Island) Japan’s loan assistance programme for the construction of new Kelani Bridge under the Official Development Assistance (ODA) scheme was approved in 2014. JICA loan amounts to JY 35 billion. The objective of the proposed project is to mitigate and disperse traffic congestion by constructing a new bridge and elevated access road across the Kelani river. Proposed elevated bridge project will make a significant more..

Mahela, Malinga to take part in St. Moritz Ice Cricket 2018

Jan 1 (DN) West Indian star Dwayne Bravo and former Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq have been roped in for the first edition of the St. Moritz Ice Cricket 2018 event, it was announced last week. The event will be held in St. Moritz in Switzerland on February 8 and 9. The unique two-day event is set against the serene and breath-taking backdrop of the Swiss mountains and will host two matches during the two days. The two teams, Badrutt's Palace Diamonds and Royals more..

DCS needs more resources to capture all economic data: CB Governor

Jan 1 (Island) Economic growth in 3Q 2017 (3.3%) was certainly due to adverse weather conditions, however, this growth number maybe an understatement as the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) could not undertake all the necessary surveys introduced in the new, updated GDP compilation framework due to lack of resources, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "In fact, the DCS had to use proxies for certain economic subjects in the process of data compilation. more..

Govt tax revenue grows by 11.5% to Rs. 1.6 trillion in 2017

Jan 1 (FT) Tax revenue in 2017 has grown by 11.5% to Rs. 1.6 trillion with considerable improvement in income tax as per provisional data. Collection by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has increased by 30% to Rs. 600 billion in 2017 as against Rs. 461 billion in the previous year. Customs Department revenue has increased by 8% to Rs. 900 billion whilst Excise Department revenue collection was 5% lower at Rs. 114 billion. more..

Former Minister contesting to be PS member

Jan 1 (Island) Former SLFP Minister Milroy Fernando is contesting upcoming elections to the Wennappuwa Pradeshiya Sabha. He said he had been a MP for 27-years and he was good enough to be elected to a local govt body. Fernando entered politics in 1989 and was elected to Parliament. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Fisheries in 1991 and Social and Fishing Community Housing Minister in 2000. In 2004, Fernando was appointed Christian and Parliamentary Affairs Minister. more..

Colombo tea auction returns to normal

Jan 1 (ST) Colombo tea auction is expected to return to normal on Tuesday/Wednesday with usual Russian demand after Russian authorities agreed to lift the temporary ban on Sri Lankan tea imports. “The market should normalise with this good news,” noted Anil Cooke, veteran tea broker and CEO at Asia Siyaka Commodities. “On the other hand, rightly or wrongly, this is a wake-up call to step up standards and quality.” Russian authorities suspended the import of agriculture products more..

No non-biodegradable shopping bags, lunch sheets from today

Jan 1 (FT) Central Environmental Authority (CEA) is to begin raids from today to nab those who defy the new guidelines on all polythene products, under a three-month plan to phase out harmful polythene shopping bags, rigifoam boxes and lunch sheets in the country. The guidelines were announced in the gazette for manufacturing shopping bags, rigifoam boxes and lunch sheets following a proposal by President Sirisena, more..

CA Sri Lanka launches revised Code of Best Practice on Corporate Governance 2017

Jan 1 (Island) In continuing to give leadership to corporates in the country to adhere to the best practices of corporate governance, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) recently launched the revised Code of Best Practice on Corporate Governance 2017. Speaking at the event, outgoing president of CA Sri Lanka Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe said corporate governance is of paramount importance to a company, both big and small. more..

New Year message of the JVP

Jan 1 (LT) According to the calendar we all use, the year 2017 has ended and the year 2018 has dawned. When a year ends and a new year begins, many wish each other happy New Year; send New Year cards. Despite this custom has been going on for ages, the past years have not been auspicious for a large majority of our society. This is the truth. People in our country step to the new year carrying with them old crises and a number of challenges. Economy of SL has gravely deteriorated. more..

Hectic schedule ahead for SL athletes in 2018

Jan 1 (CT) Sri Lankan athletes will have a hectic year in 2018 with back to back local and international events to fill the calendar, which includes both Commonwealth and Asian Games, together with four major Junior International events. Athletic season will open with Commonwealth Games trials on 27 January, which will be limited to selected athletes in selected events which will finalize the team for the forthcoming Games in April. more..

New Year Message from the PM

Jan 1 (LT) 2018 dawns on us as we recall the victory won in restoring political and social values, in realising a dream long cherished by the people of this country. It reminds us that we still have a task ahead – that of consolidating the true meaning of that victory. When we established the Govt of Good Governance, country was facing a time of social, economic and political decline. Amidst great challenges, we were able to steer forward in restoring economic stability and a process of more..

New Year Message from the President

Jan 1 (CT) Every passing moment adds to our knowledge and experience and at the same time, each and every moment of the future will judge our capabilities to face new emerging challenges. The great commitment and determined courage shown by us to face those challenges and achieve our goals will take us to the level of excellence. We should bid farewell to the year that ends and welcome the News Year, with new expectations, while prioritizing that vision. more..

Prez orders release Rs. 2,500 mn for fertilizer

Jan 1 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has alleged that funds required to purchase fertilizer hadn’t been released to banks until his intervention. The failure has prevented banks from releasing funds needed to provide fertilizer to farmers. President has told a gathering at Bendiwewa, Polonnaruwa that he had ordered the release of funds amounting to Rs 2,500 mn after taking up the issue with Finance Ministry. more..

Matara’s glory at G.C.E. A/L

Jan 1 (DN) Dilini Palihakkara and Dulani Rathnayake have brought glory to Sujatha Vidyalaya Matara by securing the highest marks in the Bio-Science stream and Commerce stream, respectively, at the GCE A/L exam held in August, while Parami Ransirini secured the highest marks in the Engineering Technology stream to bring glory to Mahinda Rajapaksa College, Matara. Dilini Sandunika hails from Dandeniya and is the daughter of Engineer L.P. Palihakkara & H.B. Rupani. more..

625 copies of Quran allegedly brought for distribution seized

Jan 1 (AD) Kalpitiya Police today seized 625 copies of the Quran allegedly brought for distribution. Stock of books was found in Kalpitiya yesterday (30) at the residence of a UNP candidate contesting for Kalpitiya PS at the upcoming LG polls. The arrest was made following a search operation carried out by Police officers upon a tip-off received by the election office in Puttalam District Secretariat. The 625 copies has been brought to be distributed to Islamic churches in Kalpitiya, more..

Video: Simmering SAITM issue: MFSPU flays Govt over broken promises

Jan 1 (DM) Parents’ Union of the Medical Students (PUMS) expressed its displeasure over moves by Chairman of SL Medical Council (SLMC) Professor Colvin Gunaratne to use the office he holds to push forward the agenda of SAITM. PUMS Spokesman Dr. Nimal Karunasiri said it has been noticed that the Professor. Gunaratne is attempting to change the manner in which doctors are turned out by more..

Over 25,000 foreign professionals working in Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (DM) China and India top the list which gives details of more than 25,000 foreign professionals who are being permitted to work in SL in various fields on resident visas. Professionals from many countries were working in SL under various job categories in several industries. These professionals ranging from top level managers, senior executives, junior executives, skilled labourers and support staff have been issued resident visas or work visas to work in the country depending on their more..

Bond Report: Present it to Parliament: Ministers tell President

Jan 1 (DM) Several Cabinet Ministers are reported to have requested President Maithripala Sirisena to publish the PCoI report on the Central Bank bond issue. The report was handed over to the President on Saturday in keeping with the PCoI mandate. They said it was advisable to present the report to Parliament. “Once presented to Parliament, it becomes a public document and the people will know who is responsible for the scam which caused a huge financial loss to govt” a minister said. more..

EAP’s financial arms may be managed by Bank of Ceylon

Jan 1 (ST) Central Bank has asked the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) to be the managing agent for the financial arms of the EAP Group–Edirisinghe Trust Investments (ETI) and Swarnamahal Financial Services PLC. Minister Kabir Hashim met the BOC board this week as part of negotiations for a possible management deal, authoritative sources said. Should the BoC be made managing agents, there would be more discussions more..

Police in festive swoop nab 2049 persons: Special operation ordered by IGP

Jan 1 (CT) A total of 2049 persons were rounded up during a special islandwide Police operation during the festive season. Those arrested include persons evading warrants, drunken motorists, narcotic dealers, known criminals, illicit hooch traders, etc. 738 persons were arrested for driving under the influence of liquor, 496 for evading warrants, 77 wanted criminals, 735 individuals on suspicion, and three others for the illegal possession of arms. 4850 cases of traffic offences were also recorded. more..

Election reporting: PM to sign media guidelines

Jan 1 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to place his signature on the newly-introduced criteria or guidelines for electronic and print media on elections tomorrow. The PM's Office reported that the latest set of media guidelines for election reporting, introduced and compiled by the Elections Commission, was gazetted on 4 December. The Premier is expected to sign the rulebook tomorrow, prior to it being produced before the Parliament for further approval. more..

UNP confident in spite of Ganesan going it alone

Jan 1 (Island) UNP Deputy Leader Ravi Karunanayake, said that the ruling party would certainly secure the majority of local govt bodies including the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), at the LG polls to be held on Feb. 10. He said so when The Island asked him whether the UNP had suffered a setback due to yahapalana partner, Minister Mano Ganesan going it alone in Colombo. Colombo electoral district consists of 17 LG bodies. more..

2018: The year of opposite truths

Jan 2 (CT) The opposite of a truthful statement is a false statement. In exceptional instances, the opposite of a profoundly truthful statement is another profoundly truthful statement. President Sirisena’s recent statement that politics of this country is corrupt is a truthful statement. The opposite of that statement which is equally profound and truthful is that he is either incapable of doing anything about it or he will do nothing about it. Minister S.B. Dissanayake was the pick of the President more..

A pitiful apologist for the UNP

Jan 2 (CT) A very jolly looking man who lives in Australia, Shyamon Jayasinghe, has emerged as the leading apologist for the UNP with intellectual pretensions. Sadly his passion is not twinned with any regard for truth or facts. I suppose that is understandable in a man with what seems a commitment to a capitalist perspective, but it is regrettable that he does not also assess the contribution of his chosen standard bearers to populist politics. more..

North and East: Content and optimistic

Jan 2 (SO) Eight years on after the 30 year conflict ended, with peace and democracy restored in the war-torn N&E Provinces, and all stakeholders, including some among the ex-combatants, are running for the upcoming LG polls. Sunday Observer talked to three of the GAs in the two provinces on livelihood programs that are being implemented and to get a general picture of the people’s economic situation. more..

Time for SL’s friends to step up & be counted

Jan 2 (ST) One of the positive features of the regime change that took place in Jan 2015 was the restoration of SL’s image in the eyes of the world. As a result of the over three decade civil war and the related fallout, particularly in the field of human rights, country was fast gaining a reputation of drifting towards authoritarianism. Changes ushered in after Prez Sirisena and Govt of National Unity assumed office saw the increase in democratic space and freedom of expression restored. more..