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Sri Lanka’s dreams and nightmares in Nepal

Dec 6 (DM) Complaints made by Sri Lankan athletes and officials that they were ill-treated at the ongoing 13th South Asian Games have contributed towards fingers being pointed at Nepal for being a bad host. Parents, loved ones of the country’s national sports stars and the country’s sports fans watching the news on their television sets at home got the shock of their lives when they saw how awfully the island’s sports contingent were treated. For the record SL’s athletes were initially more..

What’s in store for the UNP?

Dec 6 (DM) The UNP should rise again. Not only should it rise again from its humiliating fall from grace at the presidential poll, but from hibernation the party leadership seems to have sought refuge in after November 17. The UNP should rise, but that does not mean we deem it the best or principled party to rule the country. It should rise because the country needs a strong opposition. Alas, party leaders reflected their weaknesses in facing setbacks after the presidential election. more..

Geopolitics with Gotabaya minus Kurahan Satakaya

Dec 6 (DM) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s first meeting with a foreign govt leader was with Indian Foreign Affairs Minster Dr. Jaishankar who made an exclusive trip to Colombo to deliver PM Modi’s congratulatory message in person and extend an invitation to visit New Delhi. India no doubt is the most important neighbour, not only in terms of historical and cultural bindings we have, but also because it is the second most more..

Beggars come under threat of Invisible Predator ?

Dec 6 (DM) In fact sociology experts refer to them as depicting the true picture of a particular society. But as cost of living soared there was an influx of beggars - like a pandemic there were more and more of them. It then took the shape of a business and at one point they were not happy with coins or food. They wanted notes! It was then that they became a nuisance – those who gave them a few coins as a meritorious deed turned their more..

Tax bonanza to trigger consumption boost

Dec 6 (ST) The recent tax bonanza will boost local consumption with more buying power, finance analysts have predicted. One of the major sectors identified for positive early growth is telecommunications. There will be a significant drop in the total bill, as telecom levy is to drop by 25% — from 15% to 11.25% on voice revenue. At present, voice revenue contributes 40% of total mobile top line. Data revenue is not liable for telco levy. more..

New National Medicines Policy on the cards

Dec 6 (ST) Five groups engaged in earnest discussion over two days at a Colombo hotel this week – the kick-off of a crucial and long overdue process to revise the National Medicinal Drug Policy (NMDP) 2005, to ensure safe and quality medicines for patients. The target of the brainstorming was to lay the groundwork for the proposed National Medicines Policy (2020-2025) and Strategic Implementation Plan (2020-2021). more..

Environmentalists critical of abolishing permits to transport sand, granite, soil

Dec 6 (DM) Environmentalists are of the opinion that the recent Cabinet decision to allow the transportation of sand, granite and soil without permits will have some negative impact on environment in the short and long term. Minister S.M. Chandrasena said the decision was made to facilitate those engaged in the construction industry. Lawyer and environmental protection activist Jagath Gunawardena said that the decision would more..

Islamophobia in Sri Lanka: Muslim women pushed to the margins

Dec 6 (RN) Rezana Bashir, a govt worker has a harrowing tale. A few days after the Easter Sunday attacks, she and a group of friends, all Muslim women, boarded a train from Colombo to their hometown Kurunegala. “But the Conductor and the staff said that the train will not go unless we take our headscarves off,” Bashir, who chairs a Muslim Women’s group said. “So we had no choice, we took off our scarves and travelled home,” more..

Malls still have edge over e-commerce in SL

Dec 6 (RN) Though brick-and-mortar retail is contracting in the face of e-commerce in advanced markets, Sri Lanka’s payment card penetration is still low and malls which have entertainment still has potential, an industry official said. Global trends showed that big mall and retail spaces were still growing, though not at rates seen earlier. “The big malls and retail spaces are not going away,” Sarinda Unamboowe, CEO of MAS Kreeda said more..

30 Africans missing from detention camp

Dec 6 (DM) A snap raid conducted at the Immigration and Emigration Department's special detention centre in Mirihana last morning had revealed that 30 African nationals in the camp had gone missing. A team of over 50 law enforcement officials, including Immigration officials, Mirihana Headquarters Police Station officials as well as STF personnel took part in the snap raid, which lasted a couple of hours early yesterday. more..

Video: Gazette issued banning re-export of spices & allied products

Dec 6 (AD) A Gazette notification has been issued prohibiting the re-export of key spices and allies products from Sri Lanka, with immediate effect. Ministry of Finance, issuing a release, said no approval will be granted under the Finance Act-Commercial Hub Regulations of SL to engage in entrepot and provision of logistic services to any re-export business or transshipment related to key local spices and allied products. more..

Cardinal to appear before PCoI probing Easter attacks today

Dec 6 (AD) Archbishop of Colombo Diocese, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has been informed to appear before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter Sunday attacks today, for an evidence recording in the open court. Secretary of the Commission H.M.B.P. Herath said the evidence hearing will commence at 2 pm this afternoon. The commission, headed by Court of Appeal Judge Janak de Silva, more..

Power crisis

Dec 6 (CT) The newly-appointed Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, recently instructed officials to submit a report in connection with a tender awarded to a Chinese firm by the previous Government for the construction of the 300-Megawatt Kerawalapitiya Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) power plant, which is said to cause a colossal loss to the Govt of SL. During the process of awarding the tender in question, the then Power and Energy Ministry had turned down a proposal more..

Dilemmas of Sri Lanka

Dec 6 (FT) Whatever may be the history of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the way he thinks, he has to function as the President of the people who voted for him as well as those who voted against him, during his tenure. Sinhala Buddhist majority constituted the major driving force of the Prez’s victory. Apparently about 25% of Sinhala Buddhists and almost the entire population of Tamils ​​and Muslims voted against him. But, he is the Prez not only of Sinhala Buddhists who voted for him more..

Ramesh Pathirana

’Don’t nominate MPs who insulted Buddhist monks’

Dec 6 (DM) The Tri Nikayika Tharuna Bikkhu Sangamaya - an organization of young Buddhist monks representing the three chapters yesterday handed over a petition to the UNP leadership requesting the party not to give nominations to those MPs who had insulted Buddhist monks. Convener of the organization Ven. Kotahene Narada Thera told journalists that they decided to come to the UNP headquarters to make this request from the UNP leadership. more..

In-service advisory to solve teacher shortage

Dec 6 (CT) The Sectoral Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resources Development recommended that Public Service Commission officials to take action within a week to submit for approval the setting up of an in-service advisory under the Ministry of Education. While Cabinet approval has already been granted, the Gazette will be published once Cabinet is informed of the particulars. Nearly, 4,971 teachers are said to join the in-service advisory. more..

I was not offered NP Governor post: Murali

Dec 6 (HT) Sri Lankan cricket star Muttiah Muralitharan spoke to Hindustan Times Padma Rao Sundarji over phone from Colombo, dismissing reports that he was offered the post of governor of Northern Province (NP). Q: Can you confirm media reports that Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa has offered you – and you have accepted - the vacant post of Governor of NP? A: No, it is a rumour that was first floated on Facebook. more..

SL charter flights run into headwinds in 2018

Dec 6 (EN) Tourist arrivals via charter flights to SL ran into headwinds in 2018, falling 14.5% from a year earlier to 43,946 holidaymakers. Charter flights made up 1.9% of tourist arrivals in 2018, down from 2.4% a year earlier. Thomson Airways (TUI), Europe based carrier which is the world’s largest charter operator, remained at the lead, hauling 8,244 tourists to SL in 2018, down from 10,532 a year earlier. Arrivals from special aircraft such as business jets fell to 1950 from 9928 a yr ago. more..

‘No room for those criticising opponents’

Dec 6 (NR) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva says stern action will be taken against those who criticise opponents during campaigning for the General Election. Speaking at a gathering in Badulla the Minister said they will face the upcoming election under an alliance. He noted election campaigning has commenced for the 2019 Parliamentary Election. Minister de Silva said several policies will be introduced today, adding that work must be carried out according to the new policies. more..

Uber driver released on bail after aggravated assault on passenger

Dec 6 (EN) An Uber driver who slammed a passenger against the vehicle and left him fallen on the roadside with head injuries after a cancellation fee incident was bailed out after the case was called at Kaduwela magistrate’s court Friday. Kaduwela magistrate released him on a surety bail after being produced in connection with an offence relating a section 315/316 of the penal code (assault). more..

Hatch to launch US$3-5mn fund for startups to find early clients

Dec 6 (EN) Hatch, a Sri Lankan co-working space, will launch a 3-5 million US dollar fund named MESH to help startups find their early clients, officials said. “It’s a 3-5 million US dollar fund focusing on startups who have a product and a first customer, but need help in going to market and finding more customers,” Co-Founder Jeevan Gnanam said. “Strategy, management and canvassing, we will help with all of that and invest in companies and help them grow,” he said. more..

Sajith will be proclaimed Leader of the Opposition after Throne Speech

Dec 6 (RN) Parliament will reconvene on Jan 3, when Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa will address the House as the new head of state, the office of the Speaker of Parliament has announced. After the Presidential address, Parliament will adjourn and resume sittings in the afternoon at 1 pm when the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will announce the appointment of Sajith Premadasa as the new Leader of the Opposition. Mahinda Rajapaksa will sit in the PM’s seat for the third time in his long more..

Video: Spotting a sea lion is rare: Wildlife Director

Dec 6 (DM) Referring to the spotting of a sea lion in Sri Lanka in the Bambalapitiya area, the Wildlife Conservation Director-General G.C. Sooriyabandara said it is a rare incident and people should bear in mind not to disturb the creature. He said the sea lions fall under the category of marine mammals and are found in all climates, in both the northern and southern hemispheres and in every ocean. more..

Ajith Prasanna claims CID pressured navy officers to give false evidence

Dec 6 (AD) The War Heroes for Motherland Organisation today claimed that the CID had pressured several former navy officers and a former LTTE member to give false evidence in the case over the abduction of 11 youths in 2008. Convenor of the organization, Major (Retired) and Attorney-at-Law Ajith Prasanna, holding a press conference made these allegations which were corroborated by ex-navy officers and a former LTTE member who also addressed the media. more..

EC informed of vacancy in Parliament due to Ranjith De Zoysa’s demise

Dec 6 (AD) Parliament has informed the Election Commission of a vacancy in the House due to the passing away of Ratnapura District MP Ranjith De Zoysa. Parliament’s Secretary General Dhammika Dasanayake has informed the Election Commission (EC) that there is a vacancy in the 8th Parliament since the 4th of Dec. The Chairman of the EC, Mahinda Deshapriya has accordingly been briefed that this notification was made in terms of section 64 (1) of the Parliament Act No 01 of 1981. more..

Ministers urged to address Geneva issue meaningfully

Dec 6 (Island) Global Sri Lankan Forum (GSLF) has requested Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Susil Premajayantha to take tangible measures to neutralise the growing threat posed by accountability resolution adopted at the Geneva UNHRC in 2015. A senior spokesperson for the grouping said that the ministers were urged not to be lulled into a false sense of security. more..

Kilinochchi Troops Carry Flood-Affected O/L Candidates in Time

Dec 6 (SLA) A massive operation to facilitate the GCE O/L candidates in Kilinochchi who have been worst-affected by Thursday (5) evening’s torrential rains was undertaken by 7 SL Light Infantry troops and 6 Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment troops of the Security Forces Kilinochchi this morning before the examination began. Troops using their tractors and boats swiftly jumped into action and collected more than 150 marooned students in an around Kilinochchi and took them to exam centres, more..

Acquiring land with forged deeds: Travel ban on Bathiudeen's bro

Dec 6 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday issued a travel ban on Bathiudeen Mohamed Rifkhan, the brother of MP Rishad Bathiudeen. Chief Magistrate order followed a request made by the CID when Mada Ansardeen, a resident of Talaimannar, was arrested and produced in Court over an incident where a 40-acre plot of land in Thalaimannar, Mannar, had been acquired with forged deeds. On 4 Dec, the suspect was summoned to the CID for allegedly more..

Court calls for unedited video clippings of Rajitha’s press conference

Dec 6 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday ordered seven electronic media institutes to hand over the unedited clips of the video footage of the news conference held by MP Rajitha Senaratne on the alleged abduction of the Swiss Embassy employee to the OIC of the Investigation Unit of the CID. The CID informed the court that investigations had been launched into the remarks made by the MP more..

Sri Lanka official reserves down to USD7.5bn by end November

Dec 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves were 7.5 billion US dollars (USD7,520.9mn) by the end of November, down from 7.8 billion US dollars in October, the latest Central Bank data showed. By the end of November, the foreign currency reserves were 6,530.3 million dollars while the reserve position in the IMF was 65.7 million dollars. Special Drawing Rights were 7.4 million, reserves in Gold were 916.5 million and other reserve assets were one million US dollars. more..

SL Human Rights Commission’s Youth Camp 2019 to focus on hate speech

Dec 6 (FT) The Human Rights Commission of SL organised its second annual Youth Camp for Human Rights at the Hope Auditorium of MAS Athena, MAS Fabric Park Thulhiriya, from 5-9 Dec. The objectives of the Youth Camp are to sensitise youth leaders of SL on the values based on human rights, to promote the building of human rights culture in the country, and to encourage the youth to be proactive citizens. This year’s Youth Camp under the theme Words Hurt: Youth Reflections on Hate Speech more..

Central Bank to introduce new law regulating moneylenders

Dec 6 (LBO) Central Bank with the Ministry of Finance is currently in the process of drafting a new law for licensing, regulation and supervision of moneylenders and protection of customers. CB said that the said law is currently in the drafting process and is expected to be enacted in the near future. As per the existing legal framework, moneylenders do not come under a licensing and regulatory regime, unless more..

Indo-Sri Lanka joint exercise Mitra Shakti-VII focuses on counter terrorism drills

Dec 6 (HT) The seventh edition of the Indo-Sri Lanka joint military and army exercise Mitra Shakti -VII aimed at enhancing interoperability and operational efficiency between the armies of both the countries when deployed as part of the United Nations peace keeping forces is underway at Aundh Military Station. The joint exercise began on Dec 1 and will conclude on Dec 14. The ongoing exercise, which reached its sixth day on Friday, a lot of ground has been covered by participating nations. more..

After Navin tells TPA, UNP will go solo: We have many options: Mano Ganesan

Dec 6 (CT) Leader of the DPF and TPA, MP, Mano Ganesan said his Party has many options to form a new alliance involving all minority parties, if the UNP shuts the door on them, as expressed by UNF MP, Navin Dissanayake in the wake of the upcoming Parliamentary Election. Ganesan, a member of the UNF and a Cabinet Minister in the previous Govt, said Dissanayake who leads the extremist group of the UNP, four days ago had conveyed to TPA Deputy Leader, MP Palani Digambaram, more..

Tax relief only on essential food items: Bandula

Dec 6 (DM) Tax relief announced by the govt on Wednesday will not apply to alcoholic spirits, tobacco or cigarettes but to essential consumer commodities, Minister Bandula Gunawardana said. Cabinet last week announced a range of tax relief resulting in VAT reduced to 8% from 15%, removal of withholding tax on interest earned and debit tax while halving income tax on the construction industry and removal of turnover tax and 2% NBT more..

The curious incident of issue 53 that exposed the Tamil Tories

Dec 7 (CT) As well as offering a way to end austerity and improve the living standards of the 99% of people, paid for by the richest 1%, Corbyn’s election manifesto also includes an improved position on foreign affairs. This includes sanctions on military and defence aid to SL. All the key demands to improve the rights of Tamils in SL put forward by the Tamil community have been accepted by Corbyn & John McDonnell in a number of interviews, statements, and when they’ve participated more..

Defence Attaché Priyanka Fernando convicted: Full text of the judgment

Dec 7 (CT) Former SL Defence Attaché Brigadier Priyanka Fernando has been convicted for threatening Tamils under the section 4 A of Public Order Act by Westminster Magistrate Courts. On 4th Feb 2018 outside the SL High Commission 13 Hyde Park Gardens, with intent to cause those persons harassment, alarm or distress and without lawful excuse used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour or displayed a sign of other visible representation which was threatening more..

'President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is disciplined'

Dec 7 (CT) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a lawful citizen, who handles power in a disciplined manner, so that no one is disturbed. Q: It is said the new President had to take over a country that is polarised, as shown by the election results. Do you agree? A: Such an opinion is spread in society. Some say that the electorate is divided as Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, according to this result. more..

Thoughts on Presidential Election results

Dec 7 (CT) I thought I would wait until the dust had settled, to write a note on the results of the Prez Election held in Nov 2019. Like in 2015, we have experienced another regime change, in 2019. For those who portrayed the 2015 change as a revolution, this may look like a counterrevolution. On the contrary, for those who saw the 2015 Prez Election as a mere change of Govt, what has happened in 2019 is also just a change of Govt. If we look back at pre-election discourse, more..