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Cardinal calls for banning of religious political parties

Dec 7 (Island) Archbishop of Colombo, Malcom Cardinal Ranjith yesterday informed the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks that Indian High Commission officials had informed him that it had warned relevant authorities of an imminent terror attacks four times before April 21. The Security Council and other relevant institutions should have acted on this information without taking the warnings as a joke & there was weakness more..

Brig. Priyanka entitled to diplomatic immunity during the incident: SL

Dec 7 (MFA) The judgement in the case of Majuran Sathananthan vs. Brigadier Andige Priyanka Indunil Fernando, the trial of which was completed at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 19 Nov 2019, was delivered by the Chief Magistrate of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 6 Dec 2019. The Chief Magistrate delivered the judgement under Section 4A of the Public Order Act of the UK and imposed a lower notional more..

Video: Mrs. Sri Lanka Caroline crowned Mrs.World 2020

Dec 7 (DM) Caroline Jurie from Sri Lanka has been crowned Mrs World at a pageant held in Las Vegas USA on Dec 6, more than three decades after Rosie Seanayake won a similar title. “I’m so honored to share my heritage and culture on the global stage,” she said in post made shortly before the final show started. The first runner up was from Ireland and the Second Runner up was from the US Virgin Islands. more..

Video: Colombo Port City officially declared part of Sri Lanka

Dec 7 (AD) Celebrating the momentous occasion of adding 269 hectares to the land of SL as a valuable extension to the Colombo Central Business District, a commemorative stamp and first day cover is to be issued under the patronage of the PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan today. This event will be followed by a grand fireworks display engineered by a Chinese fireworks team. more..

Economy to the fore

Dec 8 (SO) The UNP, which had created for itself an aura of economic wizardry, failed spectacularly on this front on their 2015-2019 outing. Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s disastrous decision to appoint his confidante Arjun Mahendran to the Governorship of the Central Bank precipitated the biggest financial crisis and fraud ever witnessed in Sri Lanka. It would not be incorrect to say that the Bond Scam led to the undoing of the local economy and of course, the UNF Govt itself. more..

Adding insult to injury

Dec 8 (CT) We are a nation that suffered for 30 years. Not a single person, be they Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, or Burgher, was left untouched by the violence and the terror unleashed by the LTTE, deemed worldwide as one of the most ruthless terrorist organisations ever to exist. They perfected and mastered the suicide jacket, and their targets, more often than not, were civilians. Before 9/11, the LTTE was responsible for 75% of the world's suicide bombings. These are facts. more..

Vijitha Herath blames media violence for NPP’s defeat

Dec 8 (SO) As numerous Prez candidates entered the fray in October, the leftist JVP Leader Anura Kumara Disanayake along with the NPP were among the frontrunners of the alternative movement in the race. At rallies brimming with supporters, Dissanayake’s promises of tackling corruption, reconciliation and uplifting the lives of the citizenry were attractive, gaining widespread approval. more..

Big task to restore peoples’ confidence in the Greens

Dec 8 (ST) My dear Sajith, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you had been appointed Leader of the Opposition a few days ago. The Green Man has finally allowed you to take the job that he held almost continuously for 25 years, but he is still hanging in there as the leader of the party, at least for now. It seems as if you were given this position because the majority of the Greens in Parliament wanted you there. So, the Green Man really had no other alternative. more..

British politricks

Dec 8 (ST) A snap general election has been sprung on the long-suffering British public next week due to the sheer ineptness of their politicians to exit the European Union with an acceptable deal. They who ditched the Commonwealth to seek better prospects with Europe are crawling back to the group of former colonies of their Empire forgetting these are independent and sovereign states now. No longer does Britain rule the waves, nor can it waive the rules. more..

'GR’s down to earth identity won him over 1.4M majority votes'

Dec 8 (SO) Minister Wimal Weerawansa said, at the recently concluded Prez Election, the people elected the SLPP Prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the seventh Executive Prez, giving him over 1.4 million majority votes of which over 75% were Sinhala votes. He said the people understood the public persona of Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He didn’t contest the Prez election as a politician; he is a person who has fulfilled more..

Sajith versus Ranil

Dec 8 (Island) Older readers will no doubt remember Mr. Pieter Keuneman, one of the most able parliamentarians in our contemporary political history and longtime Communist MP for Colombo Central who sadly lost his seat in the J.R. Jayewardene landslide of 1977. Many left leaders believed invincible in their day were also victims of that election; but some of their memorable quotes in the parliamentary record of their day remain in the minds of those who witnessed that era. more..

Battle of the prices

Dec 8 (ST) The choon paan karaya was going down the lane in his three-wheeler with a catchy tune blaring on the loudspeaker, when he was stopped by Kussi Amma Sera. Mabel Rasthiyadu and Serapina were also at the gate. Checking the price of maalu paan and bunis, Kussi Amma Sera exclaimed, “Malli, mevala gannang adukarala-de (Have these prices been reduced)?” “Neha Miss, eeye gaanama thamai (No, these are yesterday’s prices),” he replied. After buying whatever they required, more..


Swiss Embassy and the natives

Dec 8 (Island) As this column is being written on Saturday, we mark the 13th day since the alleged abduction and sexual molestation of a SL Tamil lady working for the Swiss Embassy in Colombo. According to the Embassy, the victim’s health is in such a precarious state, that she is not in a position to give a statement to anyone about her ordeal. In fact the Swiss Embassy had asked SL authorities for permission to airlift the victim and her entire family to Switzerland in a special ambulance more..

Badminton team management lodges official complaint

Dec 8 (ST) The management of SL badminton team has lodged an official complaint to the Technical Committee of the 13th South Asian Games Secretariat for making last minute changes to the original tournament draw. Thilak Jayasiri, the manager of the SL badminton team, told the Sunday Times that the sudden changes to the tournament draw caused difficulties to players, who had come with a prepared plan. “Of course we have to oblige by the final draw and the decisions made by more..

Swiss Embassy abduction saga: Not a mocking matter

Dec 8 (CT) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa's interim Govt, barely after two weeks of being appointed, is embroiled in murky international and diplomatic issues. After lapsing almost a week, a disgraceful allegation of an attempted abduction and subsequent release of a local employee at the Colombo Swiss Embassy remains unsolved. This is despite Swiss Embassy seeking Govt permission to take the employee and family to Switzerland more..

Atapattu goes places at Big Bash

Dec 8 (SO) SL women’s cricketer Chamari Atapattu was fortunate to play for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League cricket tournament for the second time making her the only islander to do so. Atapattu became the focus of attention in international cricket when she scored a superb unbeaten 178 runs off 143 deliveries with six sixes and 22 fours in an ODI for SL against Australia in the 2017 women’s World Cup match in Bristol, England. She followed it up with a second century more..

Can Mickey's magic elevate SL Cricket?

Dec 8 (CT) John Michael Arthur assumed duties as the consultant head coach of the Sri Lankan Cricket team on 4 Dec 2019. Since 2011 the country brought in 10 head coaches and the 51-year-old South African is the 11th to be appointed. The two former head coaches had bitter experiences with SLC and only time tell if Mickey can serve his quota of 2 years in that capacity without facing adversities. Arthur is not a neophyte but has many years of international coaching behind him. more..

Indirect tax collection misses the target

Dec 8 (ST) Indirect taxes have made a considerable contribution to govt revenue but the revenue collection departments – the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise have missed the set targets, a Govt Audit report has observed. It has been revealed that only the growth in the income collected is not sufficient to measure the real performance of the revenue collection departments. Enhancement in the income on tax as a result of the growth in more..

It’s all in the wall: the art of nation building

Dec 8 (SO) If it’s just art, valid question is why the novel wall art tendency that’s spawned all over the country after the election of Nov 16, is almost the symbol of change after the new presidency took off the starting blocks? The previous regime would have taxed the wall art at 1,000 rupees per square metre. Or so the joke goes. Jokes apart, the current wall art trend symbolizes people’s participation in democracy, and the generation of new hope … There may be a pun in there somewhere. more..

Lakmal to miss Pakistan tour due to dengue

Dec 8 (ST) SL’s Test bowling spearhead Suranga Lakmal will miss the two-match Test series in Pakistan with dengue, SLC confirmed. He is likely to be replaced by 22-year-old fast bowler Asitha Fernando. “He is down with dengue and will not be travelling with the team,” confirmed SLC CEO Ashley de Silva. Lakmal was due to depart to Pakistan today, his first visit since he and his team mates were attacked by armed gunmen on the way to Gaddafi Stadium in 2009 killing seven and more..

SL’s gruelling test in unknown Pakistan

Dec 8 (ST) Sri Lanka’s full-strength Test team will embark on a significant tour of Pakistan today to play two matches as part of the ICC World Test Championship. Pakistan has not hosted Test cricket since the 2009 Lahore attack on the Sri Lanka team that wounded several players, staff members and killed a few security officers. The series was initially scheduled to be played in October with the most likely venue to be UAE. more..

LPL two months before T20 World Cup

Dec 8 (ST) President of SLC, Shammi Silva said that all plans have been made to play the long overdue Lankan Premier League. He confirmed that it will be played in Aug 2020 after England's 100-ball tournament. According to Shammi the paperwork and the structure of the tournament will be finalised within a month. He said that plans have been made to reduce the number of teams in the first-class tournament and this will be confirmed with approval at the upcoming AGM. more..

Govt wants 3-month plan for tourism

Dec 8 (ST) The new govt is working on a short term plan of action for the tourism industry and, in this context, called for proposals from the industry. Official sources stated that newly appointed Tourism Ministry Secretary S.M. Mohammed during a meeting with officials from the respective departments requested them to draft a 3-month plan of action for the tourism industry. It had been pointed out that the govt requires them to work on a short term plan to be implemented within a period more..

Abuse of funds stalls SL’s reach to global trademark standards

Dec 8 (ST) A controversy over the misuse of state funds by the country’s main state IT agency has delayed Sri Lanka’s accession to the Madrid Protocol to facilitate trademark registration in the international markets with one single filing via online. This was due to the failure of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to modify and install a new server of the IT system at National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO), more..

Merrill Fernando awarded hony. Doctorate in New Zealand

Dec 8 (Island) Dilmah Tea Founder Merrill J. Fernando has been capped as a Doctor of Science by Massey Uni in New Zealand. He was nominated for the honorary doctorate by the Pro Vice Chancellor College of Sciences, Professor Ray Geor, together with Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan, director Massey University’s renowned Riddet Institute. Merrill J. Fernando has had a long association with both the university and its institute, supporting doctorate research and more..

Forex reserves drop to US$7.5bn in Nov

Dec 8 (EN) Sri Lanka’s forex reserves dropped 259 million US dollars to 7.52 billion US dollars in November official data shows. Official reserves are made up of central bank reserves and fiscal reserves, which can vary depending on debt repayments. Sri Lanka’s official reserves were 7.78 billion dollars in October, up slightly from 7.63 billion dollars a month earlier. Data showed that in October the central bank bought 35 million dollars from the market and sold 17 million US dollar. more..

SAG 2019: Rain of gold in athletics

Dec 8 (ST) Sri Lanka bagged six more gold medals, two silver and a bronze, to complete with a record gold medal haul as the track and field competitions of the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) ended at the Dasarath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal yesterday. By afternoon SL is placed third in the medals tally with 30 gold, 50 silver and 77 bronze medals behind India and Nepal. SL’s gold tally of 15 medals in athletics goes down more..

Drastic drop in tea production due to November rains

Dec 8 (Island) The heavy downpour experienced in the tea planting districts resulted in a drastic drop in the November yield, with low growns dipping from 14.4 million kilos and high growns falling to 3.4 million kilos in comparison to the previous month’s figures of 17.4 million and 7 million kilos, respectively. President, Asia Siyaka Tea Brokers, Anil Cooke, predicted that an improvement in the overall yield was unlikely over the next few weeks. He said there were steady crop increases till more..

Dirty tricks: How Tories bid for Tamil votes with indy pledge

Dec 8 (TN) Two-faced Tory candidates in the suburbs of London have been caught trying to win votes among the Tamil community, promising a two-state solution to the troubles in SL. The so-called two-state solution refers to a separate Tamil state – Eelam – in the northern and eastern parts of the divided island. Whilst prominent Tories are out on the campaign trail, offering Tamil voters the promise of a homeland whilst implacably refusing to countenance a referendum on Scottish more..

Downpours set to bring more misery

Dec 8 (ST) Downpours will worsen in the coming days with more than 100mm of rainfall expected in certain areas. So, far nearly 46,000 people have been badly affected. North Central, Uva, Eastern and Northern provinces were expected to receive heavy rainfall. Deputy Director of DMC Pradeep Kodippili, said that police and the military, and search and rescue teams are operating in 20 districts badly affected by heavy downpours. more..

Prasanna denies limitations in BIA lounges

Dec 8 (SO) Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday vehemently denied a news report on social media recently, attributed to Prez Rajapaksa, claiming that he had directed the limitations in the VIP/ VVIP Lounges at the BIA. FB story posted on Dec 2, said (inter alia) that the Prez, on arrival at the BIA from his maiden state visit to India, has directed the BIA officials to limit the use of the VIP/VVIP lounge and not to allow VIPs and VVIPs. If that was really required under exceptional circumstances more..

Shares to be listed and traded in foreign currencies

Dec 8 (SO) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is ready with the framework for foreign listed entities to trade on the multi currency board which will enable overseas companies to gain value for their shares, said a senior official of the CSE on the sidelines of a media get-together last Thursday. He said the CSE is ready and it is a matter of getting through the Memoranda of Understanding with the foreign listed companies, to commence listing of overseas entities for trading of shares. more..

Foreign Ministry slams brandishing of LTTE flags outside British court

Dec 8 (ST) Sri Lanka yesterday slammed the brandishing of flags of a banned terrorist organisation in front of a British court in the case against Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, former Defence Attache at the High Commission in London. Ministry of Foreign Relations also referred to many factors that it said made it abundantly clear that legal case targeting Brigadier Fernando is a politically motivated action. more..

Rice prices soaring, buffer stock to be released

Dec 8 (ST) The govt is to take emergency measures to release buffer stocks to control a sharp increase in rice prices in the market. The move came after commonly used rice varieties such as Nadu, Red and white rice shot up in prices by about Rs 15 a kilo in the past three weeks. Int'l Trade and Welfare State Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told the Sunday Times that as an immediate measure the Govt had plan to release stocks held with the Paddy Marketing Board to bring down prices. more..

Maithri to contest parliamentary polls from Polonnaruwa district

Dec 8 (Island) Former Prez Maithripala Sirisena will be contesting the forthcoming parliamentary election from Polonnaruwa district, Minister and SLFP Vice President, Thilanga Sumathipala, said. Former SLFP Ministers have proposed that the former President, who has publicly announced that he will not be quitting active politics, throw his hat into the ring, and Sirisena has agreed to contest from his hometown of Polonnaruwa. The parliamentary election is expected to be held by April 2020. more..

Premier’s proposal causes concern among UDA officials

Dec 8 (ST) A proposal by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to return the power of granting planning approvals from the Urban Development Authority to local bodies–which have no automated systems to process applications–is worrying the UDA which spent substantial funds to develop a centralised online system just two years ago. PM, who holds the urban development portfolio, criticised the previous administration’s move in 2017 to more..

President tells Govt party leaders: Go for two-thirds majority

Dec 8 (SO) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Party Leaders in the Govt to go for a two-thirds majority at the forthcoming Parliamentary Polls scheduled for March/ April 2020. The meeting at the Wijerama Mawatha residence of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday saw the presence of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa himself along with Ministers Gamini Lokuge, Johnston Fernando and Prasanna Ranatunga (SLPP) Dinesh Gunawardena (MEP) more..

Govt to appoint committee to streamline drafting of new laws

Dec 8 (DM) The govt will appoint a committee to streamline the process of drafting a new set of laws to govern the affairs of the landmass reclaimed from the sea under the Colombo Port City project. The project was launched in 2014. Under it, 269 hectares of land were added to the territory of SL. The previous govt carried out some work regarding the evolution of new laws to govern the financial and administrative activities of the new landmass. However, it could not complete the task. more..

Swiss embassy case: Subtle move to embarrass new Govt

Dec 8 (ST) The note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Relations arrived in the offices of Colombo-based diplomatic missions in the morning last Thursday. More formal than an aide memoire and less formal than a note, in third person and unsigned, this was an invite for the first meeting between heads of missions and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The subject was the raging controversy between Berne (Switzerland) more..