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Climate Change: What is in store for SL?

Dec 9 (Island) The annual Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25) began in Madrid on 2 December, largely unnoticed in Sri Lanka which is just settling down after a bruising presidential election. But given the critical importance of climate change to this beautiful island with its miles of unspoilt beaches, populated low lands, breathtaking tea covered mountains, and weather dependent agriculture, it should have received more attention. more..

13th Amendment and moral obligations

Dec 9 (SO) Mano Ganesan, leader of TPA believes that India has the moral duty and political right towards the Tamils of the North and East since the 13th Amendment is the child of the Indo-Lanka Accord. PM Modi, when he met Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Delhi, flagged the 13th Amendment. That flagging (of a dead horse, should we add?) has excited Tamil politicians. M.A. Sumanthiran and S Sritharan of TNA have spoken about Indian pressure almost as a given, something wholesome more..

Commision alleges BIA duty free shop made fraudulent claims

Dec 9 (ST) A five-member Prez Commission that probed alleged corruption and malpractices from Jan 15, 2015 to Dec 2018 has made strong strictures on the setting up of a Duty Free shop at the BIA. The Commission said fraud and corruption had been caused by deliberately submitting fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain a million-dollar tender for Flemingo Duty Free Shop (Pvt) Ltd. more..

Real risks of a special presidential commission of inquiry

Dec 9 (ST) The presenting of a Cabinet Paper by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa this week, proposing the establishment of a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCOI), under the SPCOI Law (1978) to investigate govt officials who had conducted witch hunts of other public officials during the time of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition Govt as well as third parties who had driven those investigations, has sinister implications that must be recognised in all their gravity. more..

Editorial: Shake them awake!

Dec 9 (Island) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said the students who sit the GCE A/L exam should be able to enter university in the same year. He has echoed the views educationists have expressed over the years. The only way this objective can be achieved is to advance the GCE A/L examination from August to April. This was, in fact, done in 2002, but the change was reversed in 2007 in spite of immense benefits thereof, as Prof. R.P. Gunawardane points out in an article more..

Heavy rains batter the island

Dec 9 (ST) Justifying Sri Lanka being named as the second most vulnerable country in the Climate Risk Index for the year, 235,906 people belonging to 70,957 families in 21 districts of the country are currently suffering due to floods and landslides which occurred following heavy rainfall last week. While Ampara is the most affected district with 132,573 people affected by heavy rainfall, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa, Trinco, Kandy, more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency: Some negatives, positives & challenges

Dec 9 (CT) For all intent and purposes, Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s (GR) recently concluded state visit to India, his first as Head of State is considered a success. A one on one meeting scheduled for 15 minutes had lasted one hour. During this time, both leaders have supposedly found common ground and established a personal rapport, so essential in relations between countries, especially between countries with a history of thorny periods. The newly elected SL President, in h more..

Dawn of a new era: Professionals to head SOEs

Dec 9 (SO) At long last, as one of the most important, socially and economically beneficial decisions was made by the newly elected President, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, recently to appoint a high profile Selection Committee to pick Chairpersons and Board members for state owned commercial entities, statutory bodies and regulatory and promotional agencies. As a citizen of SL engaged in the private sector commercial establishments over 40 years serving and working alongside more..

MCC ගිවිසුම | Bimal Rathnayake

Tories tap Britain’s Tamil vote at Sri Lanka’s unitary expense

Dec 9 (ST) Britain’s ruling party, Boris Johnson’s Conservatives issued their Election Manifesto on Sunday, the 24th of Nov and immediately had egg on their face when SL’s High Commissioner to London accused it of containing a distortion in its reference to Sri Lanka. The paragraph over which the SL Govt took offence was para 53 which reads as follows: “We will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability and justice across the world, more..

From Mahaweli to Millennium Compact: The new degeneration of an old debate

Dec 9 (CT) Sometime towards the end of 1969, Dr NM Perera made the longest speech in his long parliamentary vocation, opposing the Mahaweli development agreement between the then Govt of Ceylon and the World Bank. The speech was a well-researched critique that was based on BH Farmer’s equally well-researched critique of the Gal Oya development scheme, SL’s first multipurpose irrigation project in the modern era. Govt of course was UNP govt, Dudley Senanayake was PM. more..

Embassies to conduct country-specific tourism promotions

Dec 9 (TM) Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is in the process of planning customised tourism promotions for each tourism market through SL missions in their respective countries. Govt has resorted to these customised promotional campaigns to make up for the lack of a winter tourism promotion campaign that was delayed by several months owing to bureaucratic hurdles. An official from Ministry of Tourism & Aviation more..

NextGenGov Awards recognises innovation champions in public sector

Dec 9 (FT) The NextGenGov Fellowship Program held an awards ceremony and panel discussion to recognise and inspire the 2019 cohorts that successfully completed the program. The Fellowship Program aims to integrate the use of foresight and innovation for public sector excellence. Earlier this year, the Fellowship Program introduced 60 selected public sector officials in SL, along with int'l participants from seven countries, to practical applications of foresight and innovation tools. more..

U-19 Triangular series: Maharoof and Tillakaratne wary of batting misfortunes

Dec 9 (SO) Scraping through off-field scares, the Sri Lanka U-19 cricket team has now got to find the best batting combination, the team’s coach Hashan Tillakaratne and Manager Farveez Maharoof pointed out. “I think, batting in the middle-over. We did not get big scores. From 11-40, we used to get wickets in the middle overs. But that did not happen in Bangladesh,” he told the Sunday Observer, prior to the team’s departure for the tri-series against West Indies and England. more..

Drafting of new law to regulate money lenders underway: CB

Dec 9 (FT) The Central Bank yesterday said it was in the process of drafting a law for regulating moneylenders to protect customers but called on the public to be careful of money lenders and to do due diligence before agreeing to any loans in the meantime. CB has observed that advertisements and other forms of communications are made through various channels, including print, electronic and digital media, offering loans. more..

SL cricketers off for two Test series: Suranga Lakmal out, Asitha Fernando in

Dec 9 (CT) SL squad headed by Dimuth Karunaratne left for Pakistan last night sans Suranga Lakmal, who is suffering from dengue. He will be replaced by Asitha Fernando who is with the Under-23 emerging team in Nepal. Asitha will fly direct to Pakistan to join the squad. The inclusion of two former skippers Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal has added more strength and depth to the batting line-up, while the rest of the players too have immense experience. more..

Export Chamber to submit policy document to Govt

Dec 9 (TM) National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) is expected to submit a policy document comprising trade-related concerns and requests from the sector, to newly elected Govt. NCE CEO Shiham Marikar said that the policy document is in its drafting stage at the moment and it will obtain suggestions and concerns from the stakeholders. “We are currently in the process of preparing a set of proposals to include in the policy document. There are a number of proposals we are planning to take up,” more..

SAG 2019: Sri Lanka increase gold medals tally to 36 to remain third

Dec 9 (DN) Sri Lanka increased their gold medals tally to 36 and continued to hold onto third place behind India and host Nepal on the eighth day of the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu yesterday. They won gold medals in judo and beach volleyball (men and women). Chamara Dharmawardene bagged the gold medal in the men’s 73kg category and two silver and three bronze medals in the judo competition at more..

Used CFL mercury piled up in Sri Lanka with tight regulations: report

Dec 9 (EN) A bulb maker which set up a re-cycling unit to safely dispose compact fluorescent lights (CFL) has been left with several tonnes of toxoc mercury amid tight regulations preventing their export to a foreign processing plant, a report said. Fluorescent tubes and CFL bulbs contain mercury vapour and powder. The bulbs work by electricity exiting mercury vapour inside the bulb, which emits ultraviolet light. The UV rays become visible light when they hits a phosphorescent coating more..

Govt encourages local production of imported food

Dec 9 (ST) The new govt has emphasised the need of making use of the country’s arable land to cultivate, normally-imported, crops that are better suited to local weather conditions and to secure food security through value addition, Prez Secretariat Office announced. This will help in increasing the supply of quality food, export it with value addition under the SL brand name. SL is importing consumables such as potatoes, dried chilies, onions, red onions, green gram, black gram, and more..

Team Sri Lanka down with Dengue

Dec 9 (CT) Sri Lanka team at the South Asian Games was hit by an outbreak of the dengue epidemic, with seven athletes being hospitalised here in Nepal. The female footballer Gayathri Nanayakkara is in a critical condition in the ICU. Four track and field athletes, Nadeesha Ramanayaka, MU Kumara, SPJ Bandula and Amasha de Silva were also infected, Nadeesha & Kumara got sick before their events more..

Surfing makes a splash in Hikkaduwa

Dec 9 (ST) The Red Bull Ride My Wave 2019 which commenced yesterday was in full swing along the coast in Hikkaduwa. The competition which will come to an end today saw surfers of every skill level taking on SL’s waves and compete in this professional surfing competition, managed and judged by the Surfing Federation SL. The first day of the event comprised two rounds of surfing with 36 heats. As always, Red Bull Ride My Wave attracted a highly diverse crowd of both int'l & local more..

Farming at 40% of Sri Lanka households, many members in other occupations

Dec 9 (EN) Around 40% of SL’s 5.2 million households were engaged in growing crops or livestock and about 32% of population aged 15 or above reported farming as their main occupation, survey has found. There were 6.4 million persons above 15 years of age at 2.1 million households. The average household size was 3.8. Of the 32% who said their main activity was agriculture, 20% were own account workers, 11% contributing family members and 1% agricultural employees. more..

Video: Tamil Diaspora behind Swiss Embassy incident: Defense Secretary

Dec 9 (AD) Defense Secretary Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne says that the Embassy of Switzerland in SL has acted on behalf of the needs of the Tamil Diaspora. Speaking in the alleged abduction case of the Swiss Embassy local staffer, Gunaratne expressed these views to the media, at Pannipitiya. Pointing out that the alleged victim is a Sri Lankan, Defense Secretary stated that it is the responsibility of more..

Northern SMEs seek wider access to funds

Dec 9 (SO) The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector in the Northern Province is looking forward to wider funding access to enable it to contribute to the economy in a more sustainable manner. Entrepreneurs are seeking govt intervention to obtain funding through the State mechanism under specified loan programs. “Most of the SMEs are deprived of the funding available through the govt loan schemes as banks are reluctant to release these funds for the allocated purposes. more..

Discussions on reforming UNP begins today

Dec 9 (DM) Discussions on reforming the UNP would begin today but it will take some days to resolve the leadership issue, MP Ajith P. Perera who is backing Sajith Premadasa who had been named the Leader of the Opposition said. He said that it will take some days for the UNP to resolve leadership issues. “Party needs a new leadership considering the prevailing circumstances but it will take some time for a new leader to emerge. Give is some days and we will emerge with a new leader,” more..

Video: Parliament prorogation and forensic audit report not connected: Handunnetti

Dec 9 (AD) Former COPE Chairperson MP Sunil Handunnetti states that there is no connection between the forensic audit reports and the prorogation of the parliament. “I call for COPE committee meetings on my time table whereas the Prez concluded the parliamentary session on his time table”, he said. However, he pointed out that by the time the COPE committee is reinstated after following relevant procedures, more..

Sri Lanka ranked as top destination for winter travel by USA Today

Dec 9 (FT) SL has been ranked as the top destination, among 20 countries, for winter travel by USA Today. The list, which includes Galapagos Islands, Dubai, UAE, Hanoi, Vietnam, Saint Lucia, Ko Samui in Thailand and Lima in Peru, targets people seeking to escape the cold weather. “Jetsetters looking for something off the beaten tourist path should consider SL. An overlooked gem, this exotic island in the Indian Ocean seduces everyone who steps foot with its unspoiled more..

Cement manufacturers cut prices after tax revisions

Dec 9 (TM) Two of SL’s largest cement manufacturers, Tokyo Cement Group and INSEE Cement (Siam City Cement) announced last week that they would directly pass on the benefit of the Govt’s tax concessions to the customers. This announcement was made following the Govt’s decision to remove NBT and reduce VAT from 15% to 8% effective from 1 Dec. Tokyo Cement Group, the country’s largest manufacturer and supplier of cement, said that it will apply the tax benefit more..

Daily Mirror, Lankadeepa journo, family attacked by armed gang

Dec 9 (DM) Aluthgama police were yet to arrest the suspects identified in connection with the assault of Daily Mirror /Lankadeepa Aluthgama Correspondent Thusitha de Silva and his wife on Friday night over an alleged exposure of an artificial toddy mafia in the Kalutara District. A large number of Kalutara District journalists representing mainstream print and electronic media organisations staged a silent demonstration more..

Voters to cast their ballot at places of their convenience

Dec 9 (DM) Election Commission engaged the political parties on the evolution of a piece of legislation that if enacted, will enable people to vote at places other than their polling stations. Commission’s Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that a large number of people lost the opportunity to vote at respective elections because of their work requirements on polling days. He said his office paid attention to work out arrangements for them to cast their ballots at places of their convenience more..

Video: New Chairman for Kelani temple Dayaka Saba to replace Ranil

Dec 9 (AD) Dr. Saman Weerasinghe has been elected as the Chairman of the Dayaka Saba (board of lay trustees) of the Kelaniya Rajamaha Temple. Weerasinghe has been appointed to fill the vacancy created by the removal of former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe from the post. A proposal was adopted in September to remove then PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Chairman of the Dayaka Sabhawa. The decision was made during the AGM of dayaka sabha which was held today (8). more..

Power and energy minister and CEB engineers at loggerheads over energy issue

Dec 9 (TM) Over 700 renewable energy projects including both solar and wind, amounting to around 2,400 MW, had been stalled since 2011 due to opposition by the CEB, as revealed at a meeting chaired by the newly appointed Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera. Accordingly, those projects had been rejected by CEB engineers on the basis that there was not enough space in the national grid to facilitate the new additions. more..

Sajith’s supporters launch push for party leadership from today

Dec 9 (Island) The UNP MPs supporting Sajith Premadasa will launch a campaign today to make him the party leader. Addressing the media at Bandaragama, UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said that the issue regarding the post of Opposition Leader had been solved. "Now, the party leadership issue should be resolved by appointing Premadasa. The party must be overhauled completely. The party leadership was held by Ranil Wickremesinghe for 25 years and that’s a long time," he said. more..

Forensic audit report reveals irregularities since 2005: Handunnetti

Dec 9 (DM) While speculation was rife that the Forensic Audit report conducted on the bond scam had revealed that there has been irregularities pertaining to bond issues since 2005 and the proroguing of Parliament was an alleged attempt to prevent this revelation in the House, COPE former Chairman Sunil Handunnetti said proroguing would naturally prevent the document from going public. A senior MP from the UNP who did not want to be named sai that the forensic audit report more..

Video: Swiss Embassy staffer records statement with CID

Dec 9 (AD) The Swiss Embassy staffer who was allegedly involved in an abduction case has recorded a statement with the CID today (08). The relevant local staff member of the Embassy arrived at the CID on several vehicles bearing DPL (Diplomatic) signs at 5 pm this evening. It was observed that an individual with their face covered was escorted into the CID premises while another female in a van entering the premises more..

Dangers facing an unfocused Opposition

Dec 9 (DM) The prez election is done and dusted. A new Cabinet is in place and the new regime has hit the ground running, with a raft of measures aimed at kick-starting the stagnant economy. An economy that was in doldrums for a long period due to in-fighting between the executive and the legislature. With the new administration scarcely three weeks old, it is still too soon to predict whether the measures taken would in fact be successful or not, in reviving the chronically ill economy. more..

Swiss Embassy abduction case, media manipulation and Geneva - March 2020

Dec 9 (DM) In what must surely be one of the strangest games of diplomatic brinkmanship to be played out in this country, the Swiss Embassy in Colombo demands an investigation into an alleged abduction of one of its local employees. The new govt of SL – barely ten days into office - having immediately ordered a probe into the incident, is in a quandary. An official statement on the embassy website however claims that the mission is fully cooperating with Sri Lanka authorities. more..

I will rise again – Maithri assures, while Party bleeds to death

Dec 9 (DM) Daily Mirror, last Monday reported a detailed account of a meeting held in Polonnaruwa to felicitate the ex- Prez Sirisena. “I will rise again. I have not ended my political career with the end of my tenure of office as Prez, as some people think. I will rise again to serve the people of this country. I will serve the people until the last breath of my life…” continuing he said, “I feel and see through what some say and do, more..

Only 47% of Sri Lankans have confidence in state sector: TISL

Dec 9 (DM) Only 47% of Sri Lankans have confidence in the state sector and 25% see no harm in offering a bribe to obtain or expedite certain govt services, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Transparency International SL (TISL). These statistics were revealed at the launch of TISL’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) for 2019, a summary report of a survey that was conducted in all 9 provinces in the first quarter of this year. more..