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Modi plays Santa and wows Gota with a fistful of 450m US dollars

Dec 2 (ST) India’s Delhi would have certainly worn a newer face when SL Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa set foot on its soil this Thursday evening — a face definitely friendlier and more welcome than the one he would have been accustomed to have seen the last time he was here in India’s British built capital five or six years ago. So too would have been the climate. Then frosty, now more warm and inviting. Then he had been summoned to the Indian city as the Defence Secretary during his brother more..

SPC to strip deceitful senior officers of their civic rights

Dec 2 (ST) Govt is to strip the civic rights of those responsible for falsely implicating or involving others in murders or related investigations. Their conduct will be probed by a Special Prez Commission to be appointed by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Its tasks will cover those serving state investigative agencies such as CID, FCID and other units. Also to be probed will be civilians who have played a role. more..

Two versions of Rajapaksa authoritarianism

Dec 2 (Island) Of course I am disappointed by the presidential election outcome for two reasons. I wished for at least 700,000 votes for Anura to kickstart an alternative to the rotten two-party hegemony of the post-1975 decades; second, I wanted Gota defeated as I perceived in him as an autocrat. The first was unexpected as I was confident Anura would do much better. Regarding the second, those who read me between the lines would have realised that I did not expect more..

Editorial: London knife attacks

Dec 2 (Island) Friday’s knife attacks in London sent shock waves across the world. It has demonstrated, once again, the increasing vulnerability of the civilised world vis-a-vis brainwashed, bloodthirsty terrorists. Some brave British citizens restrained the terrorist, risking their lives, before the arrival of the police; they have sent a powerful message to terrorists; they are ready to fight back. That’s the spirit! They are worthy of emulation. The police shot the 28-year-old terrorist, Usman Khan, dead more..

හොරුන්ට බයේ පොලිසිය රට පැනීම

A complete reset, and a belief that nothing is impossible

Dec 2 (SO) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that he wants to renegotiate the Hambantota Port deal that gave away this strategic harbour on a 99-year lease. After having inked the deal, the UNPers had the gall to say that the Wickremesinghe govt never sold any state owned property to foreign interests! Prez also emphasizes that his foreign policy would be strictly non aligned. The decision to renegotiate the Hambantota Port deal brings into sharp focus the difference in approaches between more..

MCC Sri Lanka Land Compact: Avoid it being a Grant Trap

Dec 2 (Island) After the release of the Executive Version of the Millennium Challenge Compact, between the US (acting through the Millennium Challenge Corporation) and Sri Lanka (acting through Ministry of Finance), and its accompanying Constraints Analysis document on the website of the Ministry of Finance of SL, in early November, a number of reviews are beginning to appear, on public websites on its benefits (some organized by pro-US think tank, Advocata Institute) more..

Hathurusingha faults SLC over handling of ball-tampering issue

Dec 2 (ST) Suspended Head Cricket Coach Chandika Hathurusingha has strongly criticised Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) handling of the ball-tampering incident in 2018 in the West Indies where he along with captain Dinesh Chandimal and manager Asanka Gurusinha were given the maximum possible punishment under existing laws. They got eight suspension points by independent Judicial Commissioner Michael Beloff, QC, more..

Sri Lankan weight lifters dream of 14 medals

Dec 2 (SO) Sri Lanka’s men’s weight lifting team is hopeful of winning 14 medals including four gold medals from the South Asian Games to be held in Nepal. This view was expressed by the team captain Indika Dissanayake who said that the team will be leaving on December 2 as the competitions are scheduled to commence on December 5. Although the organisers have dropped seven weight classes, every lifter of the Sri Lankan team is hopeful of winning a medal each. more..

Hotels for sale, industry awaits promos

Dec 2 (ST) Sri Lanka’s tourism industry reeling from the aftermath of the Easter bombings and unable to cope with the losses incurred is selling out some of its hotels in the absence of adequate promotions to recover. “Most of the two and three star hotels are on sale around the country outside of Colombo,” City Hotels Association President M. Shanthikumar told the Business Times. About 50 hotels, he explained are said to be on sale as these smaller star accommodation units are unable to survive. more..

Stimulus should not undermine debt sustainability: CB Chief

Dec 2 (FT) Limited fiscal space to accommodate the stimulus package announced by the Govt exists, said CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy last week, but warned it would have to be well-structured and a close watch is needed to keep the economy from overheating and undermining debt sustainability. Addressing the last monetary policy press conference as Governor, he acknowledged that there was a modicum of more..

Retailers’ Association calls for effective payment gateway

Dec 2 (SO) The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) has been lobbying for more e-commerce trading and setting up an effective payment gateway to build a vibrant retail industry in the country, said Sri Lanka Retail Forum Chairman Murally Prakash on the sidelines of the Sri Lanka Retail Forum-2019 in Colombo last week. He said large scale retail companies have invested on promoting e-commerce retailing with the support of service providers to enhance efficiency in the trade. more..

New Tourism Minister assures revival with thrust sector move; new incentives

Dec 2 (FT) New Tourism State Minister Arundika Fernando promised to revive tourism as it has been made a thrust sector for economic development with new incentives. “Tourism has been recognised as a thrust sector to rebuild the economy. Through the revival of the tourism industry, we can also uplift a number of sectors that are attached to it. It’s a challenging task, but we are confident of making this industry a key player in economic development,” he said after assuming duties last Friday. more..

Controversy over Lanka Mineral Sands limonite tender

Dec 2 (ST) Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd (LMSL) that had mined mineral sands over the past 61 years is operating without making targeted revenue from mineral exports due to violation of tender procedures, a recent investigation report highlighted. Accordingly the productions of the company are exported to Japan, the UK, Europe, the US, India, Pakistan, China etc. However the company has not exported limonite directly to more..

THASL welcomes export status for tourism

Dec 2 (FT) Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) yesterday welcomed the Govt’s decision to grant export status to the tourism industry and its latest decision to reduce and simplify taxation. “We commend the Government for the speedy implementation of its election pledges and believe that tourism's new status together with the proposed tax cuts are the right measures to boost the economy and increase investment,” THASL President Sanath Ukwatte said. more..

SOE credit up in Oct, private credit moderate

Dec 2 (EN) SL’s private credit grew Rs. 26.5 billion in Oct 2019 down from Rs. 53.7 billion a month earlier and credit to state enterprises surged Rs. 33.5 b, the highest since Rs. 50 b was loaned in Dec 2018. Central bank credit to govt declined by Rs. 23.5 b to Rs. 349.5 b, while net foreign assets of the central bank grew Rs. 17.6 b to Rs. 869.3 b. In the month of October the CB bought US$ 35 million from forex markets, with no upwardly disorderly adjustment but it also sold US$ 17 million. more..

Inclement weather leaves 5 dead, affects 4,000

Dec 2 (Island) About 4,126 persons from to 1,156 families had been affected by the inclement weather conditions in several districts of the country, the DMC said yesterday. Five persons are dead and one is missing in the Matale, Polonnaruwa and Nuwara Eliya districts owing to landslides. According to DMC, 569 persons of 158 families are being sheltered at four welfare centres in the Ampara District. more..

People’s Bank drives digitalisation with 300th digital branch

Dec 2 (Island) Opening of the 300th Digital Branch continues the Bank’s trend of achieving remarkable milestones in their digitalization journey, same as when they opened their 50th, 100th, 150th, 200th and 250th digital banks in record time. By the end of 2019 all 348 People’s Bank branches would be converted into digital enabled branches. The Bank’s revolutionary efforts in introducing digital banking paved the way for customers, to go on to record 500,000 digital customers island wide. more..

GCE O/L Exam commences today

Dec 2 (AD) 2019 GCE O/L Exam will commence today and is scheduled to continue until Dec 12. A total of 717,008 candidates will sit for the O/L Exam this year at 4,987 centres island-wide. Candidates are requested to be at respective exam centres by 8 am, Commissioner General of Exams Sanath Pujitha said. Meanwhile he said that candidates who are unable to reach their respective examination centre due to adverse weather will be allowed to sit for the exam at the nearest exam centre. more..

Battle ahead for what Gota & Mahinda want

Dec 2 (RN) The SLPP juggernaut is readying for what the brothers Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa want next. Within hours of his brother Gotabaya being confirmed as the new Prez, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa in a public statement laid out his future govt’s priorities and right on top were changes to the 19th Amendment. That means they want a two-thirds majority in the House or 150 seats or more, enough to change the Constitution more..

HUAWEI Seeds for the Future: Batch of Sri Lankan students go to China

Dec 2 (Island) Huawei Seeds For the Future 2019, launched at Huawei Sri Lanka CSIC, with the 4th batch of Sri Lankan university students leaving for their Study Trip on Culture and ICT Technology in China on 30th Nov 2019. This year in 2019, by working intensely with Sri Lanka govt and top local universities, 10 students to be trained on the latest cutting edge ICT knowledge, technologies and industry trends at Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, from Nov 30th to Dec 14th, 2019. more..

Sports Ministry orders AASL to hold inquiry into athlete’s motor accident

Dec 2 (DN) Director General of Sports Dammika Muthugala stated that Sri Lanka has paid Rs. 73 million to the South Asian Olympic committee for make preparations and arrangements for the Sri Lanka contingents a few months ago but disorganization by the host country has caused a few issues when the teams arrived in Kathmandu. Speaking at a special media conference organized for the Sri Lankan Journalists at Everest Hotel in Kathmandu, Muthugala said, more..

Sri Lanka’s new administration to re-negotiate IMF deal

Dec 2 (EN) SL’s new administration will re-negotiate an ongoing agreement with the IMF, a top official said. “We would not abrogate it,” Nivard Cabraal, senior economic advisor to the PM who is also the finance minister said. “We would only re-negotiate the terms of the agreement to suit the new policy framework.” The three year agreement is in the final stages. SL’s central bank gets into frequent balance of payments crises and more..

SA Games open: Lankan men and women fight for VB bronze

Dec 2 (DN) The 13th edition of South Asian Games was officially opened yesterday with participation of more than 5,000 delegates, including 2,715 athletes at the Dasharath Stadium. Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari declared open the Games at the three-hour programme, which showcased the rich culture and diversity of Nepal at the newly reconstructed stadium. Javelin thrower Nadeeka Lakmali carried the national flag of Sri Lanka at the opening ceremony. more..

O/L candidates can sit for exam at closest center if necessary: Exam Dept

Dec 2 (AD) Steps have been taken to allow candidates of GCE O/L 2019 to sit for their exams at the closest examination center if necessary. Commissioner General of Examination Sanath Pujitha stated that this decision was taken due to the prevailing adverse weather conditions. The GCE O/L exam for the year 2019 will commence tomorrow (2) and 717,000 candidates will sit for the exam this year. The exam is set to at 8.30 am commence tomorrow and Dept of Examinations requests more..

Sri Lanka president warns West investment needed to keep China at bay

Dec 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa has warned India and Western nations that his country will be forced to seek finance from China again if they do not invest in the island. Rajapaksa told the Hindu newspaper in an interview published Sunday that other Asian nations would also turn to China's giant Belt and Road infrastructure project without alternative help. SL has traditionally been allied to India but more..

Parliament to be prorogued today

Dec 2 (FT) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa will prorogue Parliament today, the Daily FT learns. The start of the new session of Parliament will be fixed for early next week, official sources said. President Rajapaksa will open the new session of Parliament and is expected to deliver the policy statement of his Govt, they said. The Gazette notification announcing the prorogation will be issued today. Prez can prorogue Parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution and he is empowered to more..

Pakistani Foreign Minister in Sri Lanka

Dec 2 (AD) Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi arrived on a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka. He arrived in Colombo on Sunday night after touching down at the BIA where he was greeted by Sri Lankan officials. Qureshi will call on the President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and hold discussions on bilateral ties. During his meeting with President Rajapaksa, the Pakistani foreign minister will also officially invite him to visit Pakistan. more..

Govt checkmates Swiss Embassy version of events on incident involving staffer

Dec 2 (Island) The govt yesterday reiterated that there was an urgent need to interview a local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo after investigations had revealed that the claims made by Swiss Ambassador Hanspeter Mock regarding alleged abduction of the worker were not true. Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and Defence Secretary Maj General Kamal Gunaratne had yesterday proved to Swiss Ambassador more..

Sri Lankan cricket team to be provided VVIP security protocol

Dec 2 (TN) Islamabad Capital Territory Police would provide VVIP security cover to Sri Lankan cricket team during their visit to the twin cities, according to the police officials. The decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held here under the chair of Inspector General Police, Muhammad Aamir Zulfiqar Khan. Senior police officials including DIG Security Waqar Ahmed Chohan, DIG Operations Waqar ud Din Syed, DG Safe City, DIG Sarfraz Ahmed, AIG Special Branch Muhammad Suleman, more..

BC quizzes Rosy over sale of building

Dec 2 (AD) CIABOC had received a complaint against Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake alleging that a building belonging to the CMC valued over Rs. 100 million had been sold at a price of Rs. 30 million. Colombo MC Councilor Shermila Gonawela had lodged this complaint with the CIABOC. When inquired, Shermila Gonawela said that the Bribery Commission had questioned Rosy Senanayake for four hours over the complaint. “The land situated at Devanampiyatissa Mawatha in Colombo more..

Video: 'Will drop 19A if we get 2/3 majority'

Dec 2 (AD) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa says he will revoke the 19th Amendment if he receives a two-thirds parliamentary majority on it. When asked if he planned to move to a more parliamentary system as envisaged by the 19th Amendment passed by his predecessor, the President said that while the transfer of powers was to be discussed, the 19th Amendment itself had proved to be a failure, and should be scrapped. more..

Climate Change, Global Warming & Planet Earth

Dec 2 (DM) Climate Change and Global Warming today pose a very existential threat to our planet. There is now proof that the multiple effects of Global Warming could have serious effects that may in the distant future, lead to the extinction of life on the Planet. Scientists have evidence to believe that this has happened in the past – as in the sudden disappearance of the Dinosaurs. Experts from the University of Exeter, warn Earth’s climate has hit more than half of the tipping points identified more..

Geopolitics, India and the People

Dec 2 (DM) We live in an age of strongman leaders whether it is in India, China or US. And SL has also elected such a leader as Prez. Emergence of strongman politics is a reflection of contemporary global order, which is constituted by the geopolitics of tensions and negotiations, rather than an order determined by global rules and norms. However, it is not that the global order was ever committed to equality; historically, global rules and norms were always lopsided towards the powerful. more..

New Rajapaksa regime under President Gotabaya

Dec 2 (DM) The election of Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the seventh Executive Prez has effectively demonstrated that the Ruhunu Rajapaksas have come to stay as a dynastic political force in the country. As stated last week in the first of this two-part article, the patriarch of Medamulana Dynasty was Don Alvin Rajapaksa (D.A. Rajapaksa), the father of Chamal, Mahinda, Gotabaya, Basil and five other children. more..

NJC asks govt to consider whether Switzerland is a friend

Dec 2 (Island) The National Joint Committee said that the govt had to decide whether it could any longer consider Switzerland as a friendly nation. "The govt of Sri Lanka should know the true friends of Sri Lanka without accommodating states, hell bent on making false allegations for political reasons," the NJC said in a statement. Full text of the statement: "The National Joint Committee condemns the action taken by more..

How bullish prediction for Premadasa backfired on political astrologers

Dec 2 (ST) Astrologers who incorrectly predicted that NDF candidate Sajith Premadasa would emerge victorious at the 2019 prez election now claim confusion about Mr. Premadasa’s horoscope led to the fiasco. A group of astrologers even held a media conference in the final week of the campaign to predict that Mr. Premadasa would win the election with a clear majority. Explaining what went wrong, astrologer more..

Sri Lankan bonds slammed by new govt's aggressive tax cuts

Dec 2 (Reuters) SL's benchmark govt bonds slumped to their worst- ever week on Friday, after the new govt's move to immediately slash value-added tax (VAT) and other major taxes stoked worries about the cost of plans. Dollar-denominated bond due to be paid back in 2027 and 2028 fell for the eighth straight session between 3.4 cents and 4.1 cents, taking them from roughly 96 cents on the dollar to around 90 cents and more..

Waste dumping poses threat to Kelani Ganga

Dec 2 (Island) Illegal waste dumping, one of the most lucrative business, has once again commenced just 200 metres from the Kelani Ganga. The Island visited the scene with a team of environmentalists of the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ). The Kotigawatte Wetlands in the boundaries of the Colombo District, home to a number species, particularly birds, butterflies, Fishing cats and crocodiles is now receiving more..

UNP should change, says Harsha

Dec 2 (DM) Former State Minister Harsha De Silva said that he would not contribute to the UNP at the forthcoming General Elections unless the party took action to face the election with a fresh and intelligent, capable people, who could win at the polls. He said that the UNP was defeated at the Prez Election due to long-standing maladies that had been affecting the party. “The party failed to convince the voters that the allegations more..