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'Attempt to link UNP to Swiss Embassy employee’s abduction complaint, reveals...'

Dec 12 (Island) The UNP said no one connected to the party had anything to do with the abduction of a Swiss Embassy employee recently. UNP condemned the incident, because it was committed to protecting human rights and the rule of law, General Secretary of the party Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, noted adding that the Swiss Embassy employee of her own volition had complained of sexual harassment and being forced to open more..

Ranil-Sajith discussions: No agreement yet

Dec 12 (CT) The factions supporting UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa failed to agree on a number of points which were brought up during a special discussion at Sirikotha, yesterday. The meeting was held to iron out differences between the two factions and to plan the Party's campaign for the upcoming General Election. The factions had disagreed on a number of points and are hence, scheduled to meet for two-day round of talks to sort out these matters. more..

Controversial new scanners at Customs

Dec 12 (CT) All Ceylon Container Transport Employees Union (ACCTEU), while rejecting Additional Director of Customs Sunil Jayaratne's statement that the new scanners installed at the Customs are not harmful to the human body, said that he cannot make such a comment since he is a representative of the Customs, against whom the allegation has been levelled in this connection. General Secretary of the Union, B.I. Abdeen said that it is up to the Atomic Energy Authority to more..

CID officer on the run in Swiss care: Sri Lanka ponders future course of action

Dec 12 (Island) Govt would soon decide on a future course of action in respect of controversial Inspector Nishantha Silva taking refuge in Switzerland. Authoritative sources said that the alleged abduction of a local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo close on the heels of Silva, his wife and three children leaving the country on Nov 24 had distracted the govt. Silva was attached to CID and entrusted with handling several high profile more..

Peace Expo and Colombo Food Fest this weekend

Dec 12 (FT) Peace Expo and Colombo Food Fest 2019 will be held on 14-15 Dec at Independence Square, Colombo. Peace Expo 2019 is a unique two-day event, launched in 2016, as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign activities. Event is spearheaded by The Road to Rights, a local youth-led organisation that engages in advancing Sustainable Development Goals through a human rights approach. Peace Expo 2019 will provide an opportunity to celebrate more..

SLFP should help govt obtain two-thirds majority: Maithri

Dec 12 (DM) The SLFP should support the new govt to obtain a two-thirds majority at the next General Elections, former President and SLFP Chairman Maithripala Sirisena said. He made this remark at a meeting held at the party headquarters with electoral organizers to review the party’s progress. Mr Sirisena said the new government should obtain a two-thirds majority at the next Parliamentary Elections so that President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa could create a prosperous country. more..

Royal Park convict had left country prior to travel ban Court order, SC informed

Dec 12 (FT) The convict in the Royal Park murder case, Jude Shramantha Jayamaha, who received a presidential pardon, had left the country before a Court order prohibiting him for travelling overseas, SC was informed. The Controller General of Immigration and Emigration informed the SC by affidavit that Jayamaha, on whom the Court slapped an overseas travel ban on 29 Nov, had left the country prior to that date. more..

Japan talks with GR govt: FOIP on the agenda

Dec 12 (Island) Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu will discuss the most important feature in Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe’s foreign policy–the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) with the new SL leadership. The Japanese Foreign Minister is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and pay courtesy calls on Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa during his three-day visit beginning today. A Japanese Embassy has said that the visit is more..

Rs. 1 bn from Treasury to meet Apeksha Hospital drug shortage

Dec 12 (DN) The Health Ministry has acted swiftly to have Rs.1 billion released from the Treasury for the local purchase of essential cancer drugs required by the Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama, the country’s premier cancer treatment facility. The Apeksha hospital made an appeal to the Health Ministry recently regarding the shortage of 24 essential drugs required for cancer patients. Accordingly, the newly appointed Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi had urgently raised this matter with more..

Video: No force should be allowed to take human lives: Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

Dec 12 (AD) No force should be allowed to take human life or trample humanity, says Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. He expressed these views addressing the annual carol program organized by the SL Army at Nelum Pokuna Theatre, yesterday (10). He pointed out that the Army personal are committed to protecting human life and that they fight to protect good people from people who commit wrongdoings. more..

Temporary halt in train travel likely on Matara-Beliatta strip

Dec 12 (DM) Ministry of Transport is likely to stop trains from travelling on the Matara to Beliatta railway line in the coming weeks after reports surfaced that construction of the new railway tracks by a Chinese company had not been up to standard. In addition, a committee will also be appointed to probe the project which was carried out by a Chinese company who has no previous experience in the construction of railways. T26.75 km long Matara-Beliatta railway extension was more..

Video: All should support new President: Maithripala Sirisena

Dec 12 (AD) Former President Maithripala Sirisena says that everyone should work together to support the new govt to take the country forward. The former President mentioned this speaking at a function held in Kettarama, Colombo. Pointing out that it has been just 3 weeks since Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed Presidency, Sirisena stated that everyone should support the leader and the govt when a new leader is elected to the country. He further said that poverty is the main issue of the country. more..

Video: Duties and functions to ministries gazetted

Dec 12 (AD) The gazette notification proclaiming the relevant duties and functions to the Ministries has been published. Reportedly, Prez has issued the relevant gazette. The number of Ministers and Ministries, Duties, Functions, Departments, Public Corporations and Statutory Bodies under the relevant Ministers have been gazetted in accordance with Article 43/1 and Article 46/1 of the Constitution. more..

The arrival of Sajith Premadasa

Dec 12 (DM) After days of feet-dragging, indecision and procrastination, the UNP, at its parliamentary group meeting on Thursday (6), unanimously appointed the party’s former deputy leader Sajith Premadasa as the Leader of the Opposition having heeded to the choice of a majority of its MPs. The party, which was in govt till the Nov 16 prez election has now been consigned to the Opposition in the wake of its defeat by the SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

Curbing executive enthusiasm

Dec 12 (DM) Curb your enthusiasm is a comedy television series created by Larry David, the television writer who was, along with Jerry Seinfeld, the brains behind the popular sitcom Seinfeld. In this avatar, Larry plays himself. The plots are mostly about his many faux pas and anxieties with certain social conventions and expectations. He just can’t curb his enthusiasm to vent and this leads to awkward situations. That’s preamble. We are going to discuss enthusiasm here. more..

Education reforms an education beyond campaign promises

Dec 12 (DM) When Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara introduced the Free Education Bill in 1943, two of its main components were to introduce free education to every child from kindergarten to university and a curriculum for the child’s head, heart and hands. But, 76 years later education is neither free nor a holistic experience for children. Clogged by exam stress, children don’t have an opportunity to enjoy schooldays, more..

Northern fishermen want tough action against Indian and local trawlers

Dec 12 (ST) Small-scale fishermen in the Northern Jaffna Peninsula said that they were constantly threatened by Tamil Nadu trawlers fishing illegally in SL waters, a week after Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised Indian Premier Narendra Modi to release all boats belonging to Indian fishermen in the country’s custody. The small-scale fishermen in Kayts, Velanai and Karainagar wrote to Douglas Devananda, newly appointed Fisheries and more..

New Govt obligated to eradicate bribery and corruption: CaFFE

Dec 12 (RN) The newly appointed govt has a responsibility to improve the investigative process on allegations of bribery or corruption, CaFFE Director Surangi Ariyawansha said. CaFFE noted that corruption is one of the reasons SL is unable to improve living standards and achieve development goals. “Sri Lankans have placed their faith on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to curb bribery and corruption. more..

AG to file motion today, to check UK waste containers

Dec 12 (Island) The AG will be filing a motion seeking to check the waste containers today. Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) filed a writ of mandamus demanding action on Monday (9). Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Board of Investment (BoI) and AG Department asked for time till today. CEJ Managing Director Dilena Pathragoda expressed confidence that the matter would be finally sorted out without further delay. more..

Sri Lanka to create 100,000-strong task force to develop country: minister

Dec 12 (EN) Cabinet of ministers has decided to create a 100,000-strong multi-purpose task force to develop the country, Minister Ramesh Pathirana said. The multi-purpose task force will be made up of those who had passed O/L exam and are from low income families in all districts, cabinet had decided. Separate department will be created for the multi-purpose development task force of mainly unskilled workers. more..

NSR to campaign against politicians involved in artificial toddy business

Dec 12 (Island) Nawa Sihala Ravaya (NSR) says it will launch a campaign against politicians involved in artificial toddy business and ask people not to vote for them at the forthcoming general elections. General Secretary of NSR, Ven. Magalkande Sudaththa Thera said that the artificial toddy business continued with the blessings of politicians. "On Dec 6, a journalist who exposed the artificial toddy racket was attacked at Beruwala. more..

'MCC not yet discussed, but will be reviewed'

Dec 12 (RN) While the controversial Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact has yet to be discussed at the Cabinet level, it will be revisited and reviewed before any decision is taken, the Govt said today. Minister Ramesh Pathirana told reporters that although there had been discussions on the sidelines of Cabinet meetings about the current status of the compact, nothing has been said about actually signing it. more..

Mahinda is the Super Minister in this Cabinet

Dec 12 (RN) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Super Minister in the new Cabinet, controlling 86 departments or institutions under the three Ministries he commands, according to a gazette allocating functions to Ministers issued by Prez. Former Prez essentially kept the Ministries he held as Head of State in his administration, that of Finance, Buddha Sasana and Religious affairs and has added Urban Development and Housing in his new avatar. more..

Video: New team appointed for probes on Dr. Shafi, CID tells court

Dec 12 (AD) A new team, led by an ASP, has been appointed for investigations on Dr. Mohamed Shafi, the CID told the court today. Dr. Shafi, who was accused of allegedly amassing assets through suspicious means, performing illegal sterilization surgeries and having links to terrorist activities, was produced before Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court this morning. It was also reported that the magistrate ordered CID to re-record more..

Video: Cabinet grants approval for change in Z-Score system

Dec 12 (AD) Cabinet has granted approval to introduce a new school-based scientific methodology to determine admission to state uni instead of the current district-based Z-Score system. It has been identified that currently there are disparities in educational quality among provinces, districts, and even schools, despite creating equitable educational opportunities for all children is one of the major responsibilities of the govt. more..

2 nabbed with Rs. 60 mn worth gold at BIA

Dec 12 (DM) Two individuals including an employee of the duty-free shopping complex at the BIA were nabbed yesterday at the arrival lounge by Police Narcotic Bureau officials while they were attempting to smuggle out 99 gold biscuits worth over Rs. 60 million. The gold biscuits weighing 10 kilograms were concealed in a box meant for packing an electric fan. Passenger was identified as a civil engineer (45), a resident of the Kurunegala –Puttalam Road & had arrived from Australia. more..

Task of convincing the Prez and the majority

Dec 12 (FT) The President said that he was the President of all Sri Lankans, including the people who did not vote for him. The election results were highly polarised along ethnic lines. It is important to note that minorities did not vote for the extremist candidates of their ethnicities. They voted overwhelmingly for a Sinhala Buddhist. This was the situation at the last Presidential Election as well. This time the trend continued with the sharpening of this polarisation. more..

Chamindri Saparamadu

Ensuring national security, not political revenge

Dec 12 (CT) Last week, authorities took a decision to replace the head of SL's national intelligence agency, the State Intelligence Service (SIS), with immediate effect. The new SIS head, Brigadier Suresh Sallay, was the first military officer to be appointed to this post in SL's history. Also transferred last week were 61 Police officers, including 41 senior officers. The SIS is one of the few State institutions which were blamed for SL authorities' disgraceful failure to avert more..

Travel ban on Embassy employee extended

Dec 12 (NR) The travel ban imposed on the female employee of the Switzerland Embassy in Colombo, who was allegedly abducted and threatened by unknown persons, was extended till the 17th of Dec. The order was issued today by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne after the CID informed Court that they have not concluded recording her statement. The CID also informed Court that the female employee has been requested to appear before the CID tomorrow as well. more..

Tax on imported wheat flour to be removed

Dec 12 (NR) Cabinet of Ministers has decided to remove the tax imposed on imported wheat flour. Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Ramesh Pathirana said the decision was reached in a bid to control the increase in wheat flour prices during the festive season. He noted the Cabinet also decided to make wheat flour importation an open market, under a competitive background, which is under a monopoly at present. more..

Magistrate wants threats against lawyer probed

Dec 12 (RN) Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayarathne has asked the Senior Counsel appearing on behalf of the victim of the Swiss Embassy case, to provide the CID with material where he was verbally attacked for appearing for her. Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, who appeared on behalf of the victim, Ganiya Francis, complained that he has been targeted by individuals and media for appearing in this case when the Swiss Embassy matter was taken up before the Magistrate today. more..

LAUGFS Gas clinches GOLD at CA Sri Lanka’s 55th Annual Report Awards

Dec 12 (Island) LAUGFS Gas PLC emerged victorious at the recently held 55th Annual Report Awards held by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), securing the coveted Gold Award in the Power & Energy sector. Continuing its winning streak at this prestigious event hosted by CA Sri Lanka, this year’s win marks the seventh consecutive time that LAUGFS Gas has won the Gold Award in this category. more..

Sri Lanka Vs Pakistan: Rain, bad light wipe out most of day two

Dec 12 (CI) Only 18.2 overs were possible on a dark, wet day two at Rawalpindi. During the 82 minutes of play - split across the morning and afternoon sessions - Dhanajaya de Silva moved to 72 not out, SL added 61 to their day one score and lost just the wicket of Niroshan Dickwella. Although the sun was not seen through the course of the day, play was able to begin at 9:45 am with the aid of floodlights, which even at that time more..

Bonus payment to employees of state-owned statutory bodies approved

Dec 12 (DM) Treasury has approved the payment bonus for employees of state-owned statutory bodies and fully state-owned companies for 2019, the Finance Ministry said. Treasury has issued a circular to all Secretaries to Ministries, Heads of fully State owned Companies and Chairmen of all State Owned Enterprises (SoEs) in this regard. The Ministry said that SoEs eligible to pay bonuses have been further advised to pay bonuses for 2019 to all staff based on the financial report of more..

Video: Dr. Shafi arrives at Kurunegala Magistrate Court

Dec 12 (AD) The case against Dr. Mohamed Shafi is scheduled to be taken up before Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court today (12). Dr. Shafi, who is accused of allegedly amassing assets through suspicious means, performing illegal sterilization surgeries and having links to terrorist activities, arrived at the court premises a short while ago. The CID had previously presented a report of 12 pages containing the details on the probes pertaining to the case against Dr. Shafi. more..

Bar Association condemns anti-Judge remarks

Dec 12 (RN) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is condemning “statements made with reference to concluded cases, pending litigation, the role of Judges, the role of prosecutors and the right of representation relating to litigants who are parties to court” by various public personalities. Although the statement by BASL does not mention any names, the Association appears to refer to remarks made by Retired Army Major Ajith Prasanna who cast more..

Most Sri Lankans believe government-run companies are not working: Advocata

Dec 12 (RN) 81% of Sri Lankans do not believe that the loss incurring State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) can be justified in comparison to the services they provide, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Advocata Institute, a Colombo based free-market think tank. The door-to-door opinion poll conducted earlier this year has covered the views of 855 respondents in eight provinces of SL. Advocata Institute noted that only the respondents from the Central Province were more likely to believe more..

SOE service levels do not justify losses: survey

Dec 12 (EN) Think tank Advocata said 81% of Sri Lankans believe that services of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) do not justify their losses, according to a survey. Advocata had surveyed 855 respondents across 8 provinces in door-to-door interviews, and found no significant difference in opinion based on income, gender or socio-economic group. Residents of the Central Province showed the highest satisfaction of SOE performance, with 39% saying the losses were justified. more..

Video: No obstacles for media freedom during my tenure: President

Dec 12 (AD) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that he can assure that there will be no obstacles to media freedom in the country during his term in office. He made this observation during a meeting with the heads of electronic and print media organization today. Prez said that while there is room for any reasonable criticism, he expects that all media organisations will engage in a media service favorable to more..