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Eknaligoda abduction case: Evidence hearing to begin on Feb. 20

Dec 18 (RN) Evidence hearing in the case pertaining to the abduction and forced disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda has been scheduled to commence on February 20. The case was taken up today before three-judge bench of Permanent High Court at Bar consisting of Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Gihan Kulatunga. Representing the Attorney General, Deputy Solicitor General Sudarshana more..

Sri Lanka phone users targeted in suspected premium callback scam

Dec 18 (EN) Phone users in Sri Lanka have been receiving missed calls from strange numbers in Africa and other countries in a suspected premium callback scam, where they are billed for large sums if they return the call. Phone users said they received calls from numbers like +235,646,2532 which is from Chad, or +212,621-001782 which is Morocco. An official at Sri Lanka’s TRC said they were investigating complaints. more..

New set of CID sleuths begin probing accusations against Dr. Shafi

Dec 18 (Island) A new CID team was sent to Kurunegala Teaching Hospital yesterday to start investigations afresh against Dr. Mohamed Shafi, who is suspected of sterilizing women without their consent. CID team led by an ASP met Hospital Director, Dr. Sarath Weerabandara and Deputy Director, Chandana Kendangamuwa and elicited information. The CID will also record statements from women who have accused more..

Over 50% of driver’s license medical failures due to eyesight issues: NTMI

Dec 18 (RN) Over half the country’s driver’s license applicants who failed their medical examination in 2019 failed due to eyesight issues, National Transport Medical Institute (NTMI) statistics have revealed. The NTMI reports that 55.35% of applicants had failed their eyesight test in their medical examination. Out of 872,769 medical examinations conducted up to now for the year, 101,596 driver’s license applicants failed, more..

Charges against Champika has no legal basis: Ven.Omalpe Sobitha

Dec 18 (DM) Chief Sangha Nayake of Dakshina Lanka Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said that he requested the govt not to wreak vengeance using political power. He said since Gotabaya, Mahinda, Patali and Udaya were brothers who shared the same ideology, they should be united to plan a course of action to develop the country. He further said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa became the president as a result more..

Nation of Pharmaceutical Guinea Pigs

Dec 19 (CT) Addressing an event to mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week recently, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that the country does not have a well-equipped laboratory facility to test the quality of the large number of pharmaceuticals flooding the market. For an example, it's said that there were close to 100 brands for amoxicillin alone, in the Sri Lankan drugs market, whereas in developed countries you can only find about 10 of them. more..

Reflections on Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Dec 19 (FT) It is the honeymoon period, where nice things are being said about the new President, but things will change. That’s the way it is always. The little mumbles of those who did not get what they wanted will become loud rumbles. The UNP will be looking to build their hymns for the General Election. Before the ice cream melts, I thought I must peruse the anthologies to seek some timeless expressions said a long time ago that might add a little sparkle to our honeymoon period. more..

Illegal housing, unethical eviction

Dec 19 (CT) Shelter - and by extension, housing - has always been a most basic human need. Some inherit houses from their parents, while some build their own houses as a good investment of their hard-earned money. The number of banks and other financial institutions that have been set up to provide loans and other forms of financial facilities to assist people to build houses is proof of the importance of a house. more..

Was 2015 mandate reversed?

Dec 19 (CT) The Rajapaksas were brought back into power by, in other people’s words, a whopping margin. Rajapaksas are in power be they Gotabaya, Mahinda, Chamal, Basil or Namal. This victory was easily predictable although some sections of SL society believed that no one could win without the minority vote. The election results have been interpreted by different people in numerous ways. My intention is to analyse the verdict of the people against the suggestion that people have more..

Sumanthiran on Tamil concerns and President’s dither

Dec 19 (CT) As our electorally victorious Prez’s political philosophy and its contradictions come out slowly, it is now proving to be right that our people did not vote for him – so said M.A. Sumanthiran, TNA/FP MP, at a meet-the-press event in Jaffna on 17 Dec, 2019. Elaborating, he asked “where are the policies of other parties (like EPDP & EPRLF) that promised that they would get the Tamil people’s vote for the Prez, and thereby bring in cooperative rule at the centre & devolved rule in our areas?” more..

Switzerland connection in LTTE fundraising activity

Dec 19 (DM) Recent events have focused the media spotlight on the Federal Republic of Switzerland known officially as the Swiss Confederation. The landlocked European nation is respected highly on a global scale due to its policy of armed neutrality. Despite the impeccable credentials of Switzerland, the country is being viewed negatively by influential sections of the Sri Lankan people. more..

An efficient country free from corruption

Dec 19 (SO) Pratibha Patil, 12th President of India once quoted “Corruption is the enemy of development and of good governance. Both the govt and the people at large must come together to achieve this national objective”. The entire nation believed and accepted the word of honour of the Prez when he pledged an anti-corruption drive in Chapter-2 of his manifesto. This is one of the salient reasons why the citizens of Sri Lanka elected him to guide the country to a corrupt free State more..

Editorial: Swiss swipe

Dec 19 (Island) Switzerland has expressed its displeasure at the way SL is handling the case against its SL employee, Garnier Banister Francis, who stands accused of having falsely claimed that she was abducted and threatened by an unidentified group to reveal Swiss Embassy-related information. It has made known its concerns in a strongly-worded media statement. The statement from Bern says: "Federal Dept of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly called for due process to be followed. more..

Ajith P Perera

Moragahakanda: Farmers yet to reap full benefit

Dec 19 (SO) There is no doubt that Moragahakanda-Kaluganga development project which aims to provide water to 81,422 hectares of agriland in Central, North Central, Northern and North Western Provinces will bring prosperity to hundreds of thousands people. The multipurpose project will further contribute with drinking water facilities, electricity generation, inland fisheries and tourism. Despite tons of benefits to the country by the project, people resettled within the two reservoirs more..

Our university system needa urgent reforms

Dec 19 (Island) There are many shortcomings in the SL university system which needs immediate attention. First of all, a proper legal framework should be established in the SL university system in order to implement progressive reforms, to avoid political interference and misuse of power and for the smooth functioning of the universities maintaining the highest standards and integrity. University education in Sri Lanka went through a process of rapid and unplanned expansion more..

'Pakistan is now safe for cricket'

Dec 19 (CI) Halfway through the Test series, several Sri Lanka players have expressed confidence that Pakistan is safe to tour. Not only that, captain Dimuth Karunaratne now even regrets pulling out of the ODI leg in September. Pakistan and Sri Lanka had originally been slated to play the ongoing Test series in September, and the limited-overs leg at this time of year. But so intent was the PCB on resuming Test cricket in Pakistan more..

Chilly and sunny places to spend this Christmas

Dec 19 (Roar) Christmas is, thanks to Saint Nicholas and all those Hollywood movies, synonymous with winter. But this is SL, and the weather here doesn’t give a toss about snow or ice. We can, however, choose between sun and sand or misty mountains when it comes to our environment. So if you prefer a sun-burned Christmas, or a sweater-weather one, we’ve got you covered. Let’s start this section with the somewhat cold places and work our way down the thermometer (and up the hill country). more..

Swifter attack could give Pakistan edge in batting-friendly Karachi

Dec 19 (CI) Before the series began, you suspected these were well-matched sides. Both have been blown away in Australia this year. They live in the same neighbourhood on the Test rankings: Sri Lanka sitting sixth, Pakistan at eighth. Both have captains appointed this year, new coaches, and a reputation for failing to develop the blinding talents that enter the team. Rawalpindi Test - what little of it was played at least - was further indication that there is not much to separate them. more..

Will Mural demonising the MCC deal be taken down?

Dec 19 (RN) Among the many new murals, or graphic street art that young people across some parts of the country are drawing on public walls the one that was drawn on the perimeter wall of a supermarket in Beddegana in Pitakotte was overtly political, and controversial. It shows a fearsome dragon-like creature emerging from what looks like the US flag moving to devour Sri Lanka. Meeting the challenge in this mural are SL soldiers more..

Navy apprehends suspicious Iranian and two Sri Lankans

Dec 19 (SLN) SL Navy apprehended suspicious Iranian and two Sri Lankans who were illegally sailing on a dinghy, during a patrol carried out in Silawathura sea area, on 17th Dec. A suspicious dinghy which was sailing in the seas off Silawathura had been observed by the Navy during an operation conducted to prevent the illegal migrations and smuggling activities in SL territorial waters, and accordingly the dinghy was searched. An Iranian and a Sri Lankan was aboard the dinghy more..

Ireland’s Test match against Sri Lanka postponed over lack of TV deal

Dec 19 (IT) Sri Lanka have postponed their scheduled one-off home Test match against Ireland next February year due to the lack of a broadcast partner, the country’s cricket board announced on Wednesday. Sri Lanka’s current broadcast agreement for home matches was inked in 2013, at a time when Ireland were yet to secure a full member status. Ireland was scheduled to play Sri Lanka in a one-off Test from February 8th-12th in the southern coastal city of Galle. more..

Political witch hunt?: Champika arrested

Jayanath Colombage appointed Additional Secy. to Prez for foreign relations

Dec 19 (FT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed International Relations expert Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage to the post of Additional Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations. Admiral Colombage served the Sri Lanka Navy for a period of 36 years and retired as the Commander of the Navy on 1 July 2014. Admiral Colombage is the 18th Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy. He was decorated for gallantry and commended for exceptional service to the Navy. more..

Low supply of essential foodstuff driving prices up

Dec 19 (RN) Over the past few weeks, the price of rice, vegetables and onions have consistently gone up because of the shortage of supply of these essentials in the market, experts say. CB’s Daily Price Report said yesterday (17) that the prices in Pettah and Dambulla market have increased due to low supply from major cultivating areas. Dr Ranjith Wikramasinghe of the HARTI, said that in general, the supply of rice and vegetables is lower every year around the December period. more..

SL sovereign rating outlook downgraded to negative by Fitch over tax cuts

Dec 19 (EN) The outlook on Sri Lanka’s sovereign credit has been downgraded to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ over recent tax cuts, but has confirmed an underlying rating of ‘B’. “Revision of the Outlook to Negative from Stable reflects rising risks to debt sustainability from a significant shift in fiscal policy and the potential for roll-back of fiscal and economic reforms in the aftermath of November’s Presidential elections,” Fitch said in a statement. more..

Citizenship (Amendment) Act indifferent to Sri Lankan Tamils: DMK

Dec 19 (Hindu) The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the main Opposition party in Tamil Nadu, has moved the Supreme Court against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, saying it is a deliberate ploy to demonise and marginalize Muslims and distract public attention from the “extreme administrative incompetence” of the govt. The writ petition, among the 59 the top court agreed to hear, said the Act is indifferent to Tamils who had fled Sri Lanka and have been staying in India for decades. more..

Sri Lanka plans to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050

Dec 19 (EN) SL will obtain 100% of the country’s electricity need through renewable energy by 2050, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. “We will work to power Sri Lanka with 100% renewable energy by 2050,” he said at the Sustainable Energy Authority’s National Energy and Innovation Summit 2019 held in Colombo. Amaraweera said the govt is importing fossil fuel to fulfil the energy needs of the country and it is important to re-direct the energy and power industry to a new path in order to more..

Swiss in diplomatic offensive to save face, says top lawyer

Dec 19 (Island) Prez’s Counsel Manohara de Silva alleged that Switzerland was making a desperate attempt to shield its Ambassador in Colombo Hanspeter Mock in the wake of his abortive intervention on behalf of embassy staffer Garnia Bannister Francis. Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on Monday remanded Garnia till Dec 30 for falsely claiming that she had been abducted and molested by a group of persons more..

Grade 5 Scholarship Exam cut-off marks released

Dec 19 (AD) The cut-off marks of the Grade 5 Scholarship Examination 2019 have been released by the Ministry of Education. The ministry said that students who have not received a school despite qualifying based on the cut-off marks and those who have a valid reason to change the school they have received are requested to submit their appeals using the model applications published on the ministry’s website. Appeals should be submitted to the ministry between January 06 and 17, 2020. more..

Former JKH head Susantha Ratnayake new BOI Chairman

Dec 19 (TM) Former Chairman of John Keells Holdings (JKH), Susantha Ratnayake has been appointed as the new Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman. The appointment letter will be officially handed over to Ratnayake by the Govt this week. He takes up the position of BOI Chairman a month after former Chairman Mangala Yapa resigned on 18 Nov, following the election of Prez Rajapaksa. Ratnayake retired from the JKH group in Dec of 2018 after having headed the group and more..

3Q posts 2.7% growth

Dec 19 (FT) Sri Lanka’s economy grew by 2.7% in the third quarter of 2019, recovering somewhat from the Easter Sunday attacks that slashed the previous quarter growth to a five-year low of 1.6%, and showing stronger expansion in the industry and services segment. In the corresponding quarter of last year, GDP grew by 3.5%. The economy grew at its slowest pace in more than five years from April to June 2019, more..

'No school books and uniforms'

Dec 19 (RN) Women for Rights, a women’s rights group affiliated with JVP said that Govt has failed to provide school uniforms and textbooks for the students on time. The Secretary of the organization and former Urban Councilor Samanmali Gunasinghe said that the Govt has not yet announced the procedure in which the school uniforms will be provided. “On the 18th of last month the Prez was sworn in and a govt was appointed. Cabinet also sworn in but the Govt which was hasty to more..

Sanga to lead MCC tour to Pakistan in 2020

Dec 19 (AFP) Marylebone Cricket Club confirmed on Wednesday they would send a touring squad to Pakistan next year under the captaincy of president Kumar Sangakkara after the recent return of Test cricket to the country. Last week's drawn first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka was the first played in Pakistan since 2009, when eight people were killed and several players and officials wounded after militants opened fire on the Sri Lankan team bus on its way to Lahore's Gadaffi Stadium. more..

Due process followed: Sri Lanka to Swiss

Dec 19 (MFA) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena this evening (18) received a telephone call from the Foreign Minister of Switzerland Ignazio Cassis regarding the status of the SL employee at the Swiss Embassy Ms. Garnier Banister Francis. She is presently in custody on reasonable suspicion of committing offenses under Sections 120 and 190 of the Penal Code, that could justify a criminal charge of disaffection more..

Ranawaka complains to prelates about an alleged witch-hunt against him

Dec 19 (Island) There was a concerted effort to destroy his political career, MP Champika Ranawaka yesterday told the Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatta chapter, Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala. He also met Anunayaka of the Asgiri Chapter Ven. Dimbulkumbure Sri Wimaladharma Thera. Talking to the media after meeting the theras, Ranawaka said that he informed the theras about the attempts to tarnish his reputation via a sustained media campaign. more..

Video: President makes surprise visit to Narahenpita Economic Centre

Dec 19 (AD) Prez Rajapaksa engaged in an observation tour of the Narahenpita Special Economic Centre this evening (18). Prez had reportedly visited the center unannounced and proceeded to enter the shops and inspected the prices of rice and other goods. He also spent time observing the operations and activities of the Narahenpita Special Economic Centre this evening. The govt had recently initiated several measures to bring down prices of various essential goods more..

White Van abductions: Arrested duo spill the beans

Dec 19 (CT) The CID yesterday, informed Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna that according to the two suspects who were arrested over their alleged white van abductions story, after they spoke at a Media briefing organised by MP Rajitha Senaratne, they had been told by Senaratne that if they denied their statements to the Media, they would truly be forced to go in a white van. These details had been contained in more..

Rathana Thera urges govt to expedite probe on Hisbullah

Dec 19 (DM) While claiming that no action had been taken on the complaint made to the FCID against Batticaloa Campus Chairman M.A.L.M. Hisbullah, MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera today urged the govt to conduct an impartial investigation into the matter. The prelate who visited the FCID and CID to ascertain the progress of the investigations into his complaint, told media that no action had been taken in regard to his complaint. Ven. Rathana said Batticaloa Campus Pvt. Ltd. had received more..

RW optimistic UNP reforms can be completed by Feb.

Dec 19 (FT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe called for unity and a common plan from members, while expressing optimism that reforms could be concluded by February, placing the party in readiness to campaign for the General Elections in April. Addressing a group of lawyers at the party headquarters yesterday, Wickremesinghe conceded that the Presidential Election loss was a setback for the party. “We suffered a setback due to the election loss, but we can’t afford to be paralysed by it” more..