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Scrutiny of high-risk restaurants and retailers begins

Dec 9 (ST) Food hygiene and consumer goods will be checked by public health officials ahead of Christmas and New Year. Public Health Inspectors say they will begin inspections of restaurants, food vendors, and shops from tomorrow. PHI’s Association’s M.G Upul Rohana, said that 1,750 PHI’s will be sent out in 342 divisions island-wide to check food safety. They will raid markets and food outlets. more..

Sri Lanka orders imported milk powder price cut after tax reduction

Dec 9 (EN) Sri Lanka has ordered price cuts on imported milk powder after tax cuts were announced by the govt, an official of the price control agency said. The price of a 1 kilogram packet of milk powder will go down by 40 rupees from 985 rupees to 945 rupees and price of 400 gram milk powder will go down by 15 rupees from 395 rupees to 380 rupees” Rohan Meemanage, assistant director of the Consumer Affairs Authority said. more..

SL anti-venom serum to hit market soon

Dec 9 (Island) The first anti-venom serum developed in Sri Lanka to treat snake bites victims is expected to be introduced to the market shortly. On Saturday, a team of Indian scientists released a scientific paper, titled Beyond the big four: Venom profiling of the medically important yet neglected Indian snakes reveals disturbing anti venom deficiencies. The eight-member scientific team headed by R R Senji Laxme says more..

Port City opens for investors

Dec 9 (FT) Colombo’s landmark project, the Colombo Port City, is open to investors from today after it was declared open by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday at a colourful ceremony. Accompanied by the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan, the PM officially declare the 269 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea for the project as part of the Colombo District. Govt will follow up this up in the coming months with more..

Interim order against carrying out death penalty extended till 2020

Dec 9 (AD) The Supreme Court has extended the interim order preventing the implementation of the death penalty until March 20, 2020. The petitions lodged against the implementation of the death penalty were called up before the SC Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Murdu Fernando and S. Thurairajah, this morning. The judge bench directed that all petitions filed in this regard will be taken up on 17, 18 and 19 of March 2020. more..

Finance Act 2017 drafted without CB approval to be amended soon

Dec 9 (Island) The Central Bank has agreed on a set of proposals to strengthen its regulatory role as the controversial Finance Act of 2017 has considerably weakened its regulatory measures. Authoritative sources said that the Monetary Board (MB) would seek the approval of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, who holds the finance portfolio for the amendments to the Finance Act of 2017 before them being submitted to the cabinet. more..

Release Duminda and LTTE cadres: Gnanasara

Dec 9 (RN) The extremist Monk Galagodatthe Gnanasara wants a whole slew of prisoners, ranging from LTTE cadres to former UPFA MP Duminda Silva pardoned and released from state incarceration. Gnanasara at a press conference, appealed to Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to release prisoners who are in jail held unjustly on political grounds. The Monk, who takes credit for the electoral victory of the Prez by more..

Travel ban on Swiss Embassy staffer extended

Dec 9 (AD) The travel ban on the Swiss Embassy staffer who allegedly was involved in an abduction case has been extended until the 12th of December. The Colombo Chief Magistrate has passed this decision when the case was taken up today. Previously, the Colombo Chief Magistrate has issued a directive to ban the alleged victim from leaving the country until the 9th of December before recording a statement with the CID. more..

An Engineering Marvel

Dec 9 (CT) The 269-hectare Colombo Port City was officially annexed to SL's landscape by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa as President five years ago along with Chinese President Xi Jinping laid the foundation stone for the mega Colombo Port City project in September 2014. Now with the change in the political scene in the country as well as change in his position in the Govt PM Mahinda Rajapaksa officially annexed the 269-hectare Colombo Port City with the Island's mainland. more..

Tax cuts: Control the damage before the unconventional stimulus backfires

Dec 9 (FT) In a background of some contrasting signals from various parties regarding the generous tax cuts introduced by the Govt, the Finance Ministry has attempted to do a damage control exercise by issuing a press notice last week. The confusion was on its short- and medium-term outcome, specifically how it would serve as a stimulus package. Cabinet co-spokesperson Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, hailing the new tax cuts asserted, among others, that it would in fact leave more cash in the hands more..

Nalinda Jayatissa

64 suspects, including three women, remanded over links with NTJ

Dec 9 (Island) Batticaloa High Court Judge A.C. Rizwan further remanded 64 suspects who had undergone weapon training with the leader of the National Thawheed Jamaat Organization, Zahran Hashim until Dec 19. The order was given when they were produced before the Court on Thursday. The 64 suspects including three women were arrested following the Easter Sunday attacks in April this year. The suspects are residents of the Kattankudy area in Batticaloa and have received training at more..

Abolition of taxes will improve people’s livelihood: PM

Dec 9 (DN) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said that people friendly revolutionary changes are taking place for the betterment of the country, since the new President took office. He said the abolition of taxes are having a positive effect on the country’s economy and the people’s livelihood. The high prices of essential commodities have come down. PM was speaking to the media after participating in several religious observations at the Anuradhapura Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweliseya yesterday, more..

Census department switches to computerized surveys after pilot study

Dec 9 (EN) Census and Statistics Department (DCS) has adopted a new computerized interviewing system, which has reduced errors and costs of national surveys following a pilot study, a report said. “Shifting the way of collection of public data from traditional Pen and Paper Interviewing (PAPI) to Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) was the heaviest advancement made by the DCS,” department report said. “Currently most of the national surveys including more..

Excess make-up for passport photo taboo

Dec 9 (Island) Department of Immigration and Emigration has imposed a new law, banning women from wearing excessive make up and placing pottus on the forehead when taking their passport photos. The department says it has imposed the ban in keeping with intentional practices prescribed by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) ICAO has said that the passport photo should be taken without excessive make-up and that it should be similar to the way you look naturally. more..

Students warned against unruly behavior following O/L exams

Dec 9 (AD) Department of Examinations has instructed GCE O/L candidates not to engage in unruly behavior at the examination centers following the exam. Dept stated that strict action will be taken against under the Examination Act if candidates engage in unruly behavior or damage public property. Further, measures can be taken to cancel the results of such candidates, emphasized the Department. Accordingly, superintendents of exam centers have been instructed and OICs at all Police Stations more..

Only 1.7% of farming population has formal training: Survey

Dec 9 (EN) Among SL’s population engaged in farming, only 1.7% had reported they had received formal training in their occupation. A majority had said their training was less than one month. A survey by statistics office in 2016/2017 found 2.1 million households or about 40% of the total was engaged in agricultural or livestock farming. SL had an estimated population of 21 million in 2017. Of the 8.1 million persons in the households, 6.4% were above 15 years of age. more..

Families of missing say they do not want commissions, but relief

Dec 9 (Island) The association of families of those who went missing during the war, yesterday held a demonstration in Vavuniya, saying that they didn’t need offices on missing persons but some relief. The association has been holding a continuous protest near the Vavuniya Post Office for the last 1,022 days. They claimed that all governments since 2009 had appointed commissions and offices to investigate those incidents. They had however not mediated to help the people. more..

President calls on SAARC to address major concerns

Dec 9 (Island) Member states of SAARC must address major concerns such as security through forming effective alliances, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday issuing message to mark the 35th SAARC Charter Day today. "Sri Lanka as a founding member of the SAARC attributes high importance to the purpose and principles of the SAARC Charter which aims to promote peace, stability, amity and progress in the region through strict adherence to the principles of the UN Charter and Non-alignment," more..

Sri Lanka aims at 6.5% GDP growth from 2020

Dec 9 (LBO) SL’s economic activity will pick up following a series of tax cuts and the expansion of economic activity will boost Gross Domestic Product growth to reach 6.5% from 2020 onwards, a senior official said. “SL’s new govt headed by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the short-term has to energize and revive the economy, get the businessmen going and attract investors while guiding the country towards a prosperous future,” Ajith Nivard Cabral, senior advisor to more..

Spice trade welcomes wholeheartedly ban on imports

Dec 9 (Island) The Spices and Allied Products Producers’ and Traders Association (SAPPTA) of Sri Lanka welcomed the govt’s decision to ban the import of several spices including pepper and areca- nut, for re-exporting. SAPPTA Acting Chairman G.S. Chatoor said that they had been demanding the halting of the controversial re-exporting for several years as that had a detrimental effect on both the reputation of Sri Lankan exports and the livelihood of Sri Lankan spice farmers. more..

Its raining medals for Lankan athletes in Nepal

Dec 9 (RN) Sri Lanka has more medals than ever before in its history at the South Asian Federation Games 2019 which is being held in Kathmandu and Pokhara, Nepal. Sri Lanka has reached the 218 medal mark for the first time in games history coming in at third place with 39 golds to its name as the eighth day of the games is comes to an end today. Sri Lanka won 3 Gold, 5 Silver and 5 Bronze medals so far for the day while being able to win 5 Gold, 13 Silver and 11 Bronze yesterday. more..

New Sri Lankan gov't ready to cement friendship with China: PM

Dec 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's new PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said Saturday that his govt is looking forward to continuing to develop friendly relations with China. The two countries enjoy a strong, long-standing friendship, which has laid the foundation for practical cooperation, Rajapaksa, who assumed office on Nov. 21, told Xinhua during his visit to the Colombo Port City, a project jointly developed by the SL govt and China's CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd. more..

Legendary investor Dr. Mark Mobius arrives in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (AD) Legendary investor Dr. Mark Mobius has arrived in Sri Lanka to participate in an exclusive forum hosted by Cinnamon Life. The latest in a series of high-profile engagements by Cinnamon Life, the interactive forum is set to take place tomorrow, during which Dr. Mobius will share his thoughts on Sri Lanka’s growth potential, share key insights from his experience in emerging markets over the last 40 years, drawing interesting parallels with emerging and frontier markets. more..

Semi luxury bus service to be prohibited: Minister

Dec 9 (DM) Semi luxury bus operation will be prohibited shortly as it has become an annoyance rather than a service, Power, Energy and Commuter Transport Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said today. Minister Amaraweera also said the private bus crews will not be allowed to play TVs, radios or cassettes extremely loud causing sound pollution in the bus. “We have decided to introduce a range of new measures to make the private bus service more commuter-friendly and not a nuisance. more..

Suraksha Insurance: CTU wants Govt take over scheme

Dec 9 (CT) Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) has requested Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, to bring the Suraksha insurance scheme - which is currently under a private insurance company - under the purview of the Govt. Chairman of the CTU, Joseph Stalin said that in the year 2017, the Govt had allocated a sum of Rs 2,700 million for the insurance scheme. He further stated that it was a grave injustice to the children since the benefits of the insurance scheme were mostly given to those more..

Navy celebrates 69th anniversary

Dec 9 (SLN) During the period of World War II, the British Emperor had clearly envisaged the strategic importance of SL in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the necessity of a navy to ensure the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) or key maritime passageways lying in the vicinity of this teardrop island. It is with this glimmer of hope, the Ceylon Naval Volunteer Force (CNVF) was established in 1937and after World War II the CNVF was absorbed into the Royal Navy as the Ceylon Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve more..

Faiszer certain President will look after Muslims

Dec 9 (CT) MP and former Minister Faiszer Musthapha said on Friday that he was positive that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would follow in the footsteps of Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa in maintaining cordial relations with the local Muslims and Arab countries. Musthapha was speaking to the press following the Premier's meeting with Arab Ambassadors who pledged their solidarity to the new Govt. Explaining the significant role played by Premier Rajapaksa in his political career, Musthapha said that more..

In a first, Sri Lanka appoints military officer as spy chief

Dec 9 (PTI) For the first time in Sri Lanka's history, a military officer has been appointed as the chief of the country's top intelligence agency, which was blamed for failing to prevent the devastating Easter terror attack that killed more than 250 people in April. Brigadier Suresh Sallay, the former director of the Military Intelligence, has been appointed as the chief of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) - the country's premier spy agency, more..

Presidential election: A new President & The politics of balances

Dec 10 (CT) The recent SL election witnessed the Rajapaksa brothers – Gotabaya and Mahinda – coming to power. Gotabaya, former secretary of defence and a technocrat with little political experience, was elected president while Mahinda, former two-time president who ended the protracted civil war during his term 10 years ago, was sworn in as prime minister. The new president faces the twin internal challenges of balancing nationalist and liberal values and introducing a new political more..

Objectivity & Caution Watchwords in dealing with the Gota regime

Dec 10 (CT) UNP is catatonic, its leaders Ranil, Sajith, Mangala, Rajitha, Malik and others are comatose, JVP is licking its wounds and the TNA is contemplating its options. Yes it’s a shipwreck on our side. I use the adjective our to identify with the left-democratic and civil society organisations that opposed Gotabaya Rajapaksa. An alliance with the UNP was thrust upon us by necessity not philosophy. It is now imperative to recover and stand on our feet and to set-out our priorities for more..

'If Ranil had stayed away from the campaign: Maithri was prepared to support Sajith'

Dec 10 (CT) Former State Minister and Kurunegala District MP Ashok Abesinghe says during the Ranil Wickremesinghe period of the leadership, the UNP lost six prez elections. Q: UNP has failed to elect a President for 25 years. The last attempt failed as well. What are your thoughts on this matter? A: Politics is about capturing power and retaining it. The UNP ruled the country most of the time after independence. more..

Laying the foundation for economic development

Dec 10 (ST) Firm economic policies that can change the pace of economic development can only be expected after a new govt is formed after the parliamentary elections next year. Meanwhile there could be a deterioration in the macroeconomic fundamentals, especially a fiscal slippage, as the people’s expectations are for economic policies that would benefit them immediately irrespective of their consequences on the economy. Such is the nature of electoral politics, especially in Sri Lanka, more..

Where we don’t fear to tread

Dec 10 (ST) Before and after his inauguration as president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa spelt out his vision for relations with other countries. While non-alignment, Sri Lanka’s traditional policy — though it has now and then veered one way or another — was to form the bedrock of policy coupled with evenhandedness and friendship with all. But if our relations are determined by outside influences that behave like a bull in one of Xi Jinping’s noodle shops without engaging in sober study, more..

Bad boy of Lankan lit is no more

Dec 10 (ST) Having spent the last chapter of his life in his eyrie up in Kandy, ensconced in his beloved den of books, Carl Muller, the literary enfant terrible of SL, is no more. On Dec 2, first Sri Lankan to be internationally published breathed his last, surrounded by family. With gimlet eyes behind horn-rimmed glasses Carl delighted in kicking the hornet’s nest with his novels depicting uproariously salacious Burghers. more..

Murals as masks

Dec 10 (Island) If a key political actor or set of allied actors wanted to secure more power, all the while appearing not to be interested in it, how could one go about it? Lessons of 2018 suggest that unconstitutional means don’t secure public support, or at the very least, risk generating swathes of support for political opponents through valid claims of authoritarian overreach. Rigging an election is increasingly hard to get away with through traditional, physical means of ballot-box more..

Diplomatic immunity in international law

Dec 10 (DN) This article is an effort to pull out international and national norms applicable to those working in diplomatic missions and by extension having diplomatic status. Although the emergence of diplomatic protections stretches back to antiquity, they are largely codified into law in the modern era. These protections are based mainly on the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, with the former regulating conduct with more..

Face the Nation

What’s going on in the SL startup ecosystem?

Dec 10 (Roar) Anna and Andrea are a Polish-Italian couple who travel around the world and collect stories of changemakers. During the last 4 years they’ve interviewed more than 300 people from 34 different countries. Now that they are in Sri Lanka, they will be holding a workshop, which will be based on a highly engaging and interactive Changemaker Game, during which participants will discover different ideas for social projects and social businesses from all over the world. more..

Editorial: Quality Vs number

Dec 10 (Island) The need for developing the state university system seems to figure high on the new govt’s agenda if media reports are anything to go by. There is hardly anything the caretaker administration can do to fulfil this long felt need, within a few months, and what it is reported to have said may therefore be considered an expression of intent. The GCE A/L exam, in this country, is considered one of the toughest tests in the world. Students undergo immense suffering in preparing for it, more..