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Video: Champika Ranawaka remanded until tomorrow

Dec 19 (AD) Former Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, who was arrested and produced before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court, has been remanded until tomorrow (19). Attorney General’s Department is expected to present further submissions when the case is taken up once again tomorrow. JHU General Secretary and UNF MP, who served as a Cabinet Minister in the previous govt, was arrested this evening by the CCD more..

Are we doing enough to save Mother Earth ?

Dec 19 (DM) We focus today on 16-year-old Swedish Environmental Activist, Greta Thunberg, who was featured on the Time’s cover page of May 27, 2019, as the Teenager on Strike for the Planet and currently on the cover page of Time magazine as the 2019 Person of the Year, an honour that US President Donald Trump is nown to have coveted for himself. The teenager, who is said to have told Associated Press she was a bit surprised at being bestowed this honour, more..

New populism is to resist populism & populists

Dec 19 (DM) A general election will be held soon. That much is certain. Indeed, if not for the term-related clause in 19th Amendment Parliament would be dissolved by now. This Parliament feels old. Older than a little over four years. Those of the UNP and the SLFP in Parliament have in fact lost their mandate, the former twice over. As for SLFP, it was trounced at that election and any claims to a legit mandate obtains only on account of having supported Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the last more..

Dairy industry under threat from Foot and Mouth disease in NW Province

Dec 19 (ST) Cattle in the North Western Province have been hit by the fast-spreading foot and mouth disease posing a threat to the dairy industry. North Western Province, Animal husbandry Additional Director Dr B.C.S Perea said that at least 14,000 cattle have been affected and that the disease had spread to the boarders of the province. He explained the virus infection affects milk production as the diseased animals eat less more..

EC urges govt to ease political hold on state media, proposes tough laws

Dec 19 (Island) The Election Commission (EC) has said that it could not create a level playing field by placing state-media institutions under the purview of the EC in the run-up to elections. The EC consists of Mahinda Deshapriya (Chairman), Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole and Nalin Abeysekera. Mahinda Deshapriya, in a statement issued in Sinhala that dealt with the recently concluded 2019 prez election stressed that the govt run SLRC, SLBC, ITN more..

'SL may start talks with IMF in January'

Dec 19 (EN) Sri Lanka is likely to start talks with IMF on a possible deal in line with the new administration’s policies in January, Secretary to the President P B Jayasundera said. Sri Lanka’s there year deal with the IMF is in the final stages. “Whether we want to get the get the last tranche or whether we want a different co-operation arrangement will have to be discussed,” Jayasundera told foreign correspondents more..

'Arrest of Patali is not political vendetta'

Dec 19 (RN) Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the arrest of former minister Patali Champika Ranawaka was not due to a political vendetta. Speaking at the cabinet briefing held this morning (19), the minister said that arrest was ordered by the Attorney General as there was sufficient evidence found against the former minister after investigations done by Colombo Crime Division (CCD). more..

Champika Ranawaka’s arrest violates parliamentary norms: Speaker’s Office

Dec 19 (AD) The procedure of arresting MP Champika Ranawaka has violated the parliamentary traditions that follow when taking a Member of Parliament into custody, says the Office of the Speaker. The rulings by former Speaker of the Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa, recorded in hansards of 2015.03.03 – 232/12 and 2015.04.21 – 234/6, have also mentioned similar situations in the past when an arrest of a MP had breached more..

Lahiru Kumara four-for puts Sri Lanka ahead on 13-wicket day

Dec 19 (CI) A flat surface had been expected at Karachi. Instead the first day delivered 13 wickets, eight of them in a manic final session, as Pakistan first nosedived to 191 all out, losing their last six for 24 runs, before Sri Lanka limped their way to 64 for 3 at the close. The day belonged to all manner of bowlers - speedsters, seam-bowling wizards, ambling spinners - but if one stood out from the crowd, it was Sri Lanka's Lahiru Kumara. more..

Video: Former President’s chief of staff & STC chairman sentenced to prison

Dec 19 (AD) Permanent High Court-at-Bar has announced the prison sentences for Former Presidential Chief of Staff I.H.K. Mahanama and the former Chairman of the State Timber Corporation (STC) Piyadasa Dissanayake, who were found guilty on bribery charges this morning. The first defendant in the case Mr. Mahanama has been sentenced to 20 year rigorous imprisonment by court & ordered to pay a fine of Rs 65,000. more..

Video: Swiss Embassy staffer taken to National Mental Health Institution

Dec 19 (AD) The Swiss Embassy staffer Gania Bannister Francis, who was produced before the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) earlier today, has left the premises a short while ago. The Swiss Embassy staffer Ganiya Bannister Francis has been taken to the NIMH in Angoda this morning (19). Francis has been named a suspect for a case of exciting disaffection against the Govt and fabricating false evidence to be used in more..

Video: Patali Champika Ranawaka further remanded

Dec 19 (AD) Former Minister Champika Ranawaka has been further remanded until December 24 by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court. The MP was produced before the court this morning while Colombo Additional Magistrate Niranjana de Silva ordered that he be further remanded. Attorneys representing the MP had requested the court to grant bail to their client, however the court informed them that the decision on the bail application more..

SL will not re-negotiate commercial terms of Hambantota deal, only security: Prez

Dec 19 (EN) Sri Lanka is not looking to change commercial terms in an agreement with China on the lease of a port in Hambantota, but is only concerned about security and border control, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. “I am looking at what the security aspects of it,” Prez Rajapaksa told foreign correspondents in Colombo. “We want to see whether border control is with the sovereign govt, like the Colombo Port.” more..

Street art that’s infectious !

Dec 20 (DM) The new trend to beautify Colombo has attracted both bouquets and brickbats. There is new found purpose in these creations which have come up largely in the Colombo and Kandy city limits. These artists seem to have the will, skill and spending power as they go on decorating the walls of cities. The new culture which is breeding is a little too hot to handle. Why? There are two reasons for this. One is that this culture to paint life-size figures is addictive and the other is that more..

Can the President replace devolution with development?

Dec 20 (DM) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s recent statements that he would replace devolution with development as a solution to the problems facing the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces might run counter to his wishes to win over the Tamil people. It also counteracts with the pledges made by his brother and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tamils prior to the prez poll. While speaking to newspaper editors and heads of electronic media outlets last Monday, the President said he did not believe more..

'Sajith is the most popular UNP Leader'

Dec 20 (CT) UNP MP, Kavinda Jayawardana, says Sajith Premadasa has unmatched popularity, compared to the other leaders of the Party. Q: Do you think new Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa will perform his duty? A: I believe that he, as a seasoned, talented, hardworking politician, will perform the role of the Leader of the Opposition. But Sajith Premadasa is always silent on the national issues. How can such a person take up the responsibility of the Opposition? more..

Justice for Sandeep

Dec 20 (CT) Former Minister Champika Ranawaka was remanded yesterday (19), till 24 Dec, in connection with a hit-and-run accident, that took place in Rajagiriya in 2016. A 27-year-old youth named Sandeep Sampath was seriously injured in the accident. Former Minister is said to have fled the scene, after changing the driver of his vehicle. Sampath did not get justice, because Ranawaka was a powerful Minister of the previous regime. Authorities should ensure justice for Sampath, three years after the incident. more..

Former IFC Sri Lanka president Jayantha De Silva appointed as new Chairman of ICTA

Dec 20 (AD) Former CEO and President of IFS SL, Jayantha De Silva has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA). He replaces former ICTA Chairman Professor Rohan Samarajiva, who was appointed to the position in April 2018. Jayantha De Silva has over 30 years of experience in the IT industry with extensive exposure in national policy-making and strategies for knowledge services, with hands-on experience in large projects globally. more..

Pakistan fight back after Chandimal earns Sri Lanka lead

Dec 20 (CI) On a day that threatened to mirror the script of its predecessor in the first hour, Sri Lanka dug in and clawed their way to, and then well past, Pakistan's first innings total. The lead of 80 came courtesy lower-order contributions that will have frustrated Pakistan no end, with Dinesh Chandimal tying the innings together as Sri Lanka held off a surging Pakistan pace attack. The home side, for their part, did well enough to ensure there wasn't any bloodletting more..

Govijana Mandiraya to house Agriculture Ministry

Dec 20 (CT) Cabinet approval has been granted to relocate the Ministry of Agriculture to the Govt-owned building named Govijana Mandiraya at Rajamalwatta Lane, Battaramulla. Minister Ramesh Pathirana said, the Cabinet had approved the proposal submitted by the Minister Chamal Rajapaksa in this regard. Govijana Mandiraya in which the Ministry of Agriculture was established, was handed over to Parliament with the approval of the Cabinet with the objective of establishing Parliamentary Committees. more..

Editroial: Elusive justice

Dec 20 (Island) UNF MP Champika Ranawaka, arrested on Wednesday in connection with a hit-and-run accident at Rajagiriya, in 2016, has been further remanded till Dec. 24. Two of the victim’s friends who were at the scene of accident said Ranawaka had driven the vehicle, which sped away after the incident; Ranawaka denied the allegation and his driver subsequently came forward, claiming the responsibility for the incident and was fined after being produced in courts. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Working Journalists Association condemns attacks on Lake House journalists

Dec 20 (RN) Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) condemned alleged attacks on two Lake House journalists yesterday. The journalists, both employed at the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL), came under attack while on duty, in two separate incidents. Photojournalist Gayan Pushpitha was reportedly attacked when he was covering former Minister Champika Ranawaka being taken into remand custody after yesterday’s Colombo Magistrate Court proceedings. more..

Video: Arresting Champika not an act of political revenge: Chandrasena

Dec 20 (AD) The arrest of MP Champika Ranawaka is not in any way an act of political revenge, says Minister of of Environment, Wildlife, Land & Land Development S.M. Chandrasena. It has been proved that the former minister is involved in the alleged hit-and-run, which took place three years ago. Minister Chandrasena expressed these views speaking to the media at Ritigala area. He claimed that the UNP-led former govt had exacted political revenge during their tenure. In the said accident that happened in 2016, more..

Finance Ministry strongly disputes Fitch revision

Dec 21 (FT) The Finance Ministry yesterday strongly disputed the revision of Sri Lanka’s outlook to negative by Fitch Ratings as hasty, untimely, and unwarranted as the new Govt measures were in the best interest to boost the economy and fiscal prudence. In a detailed statement, it said Fitch Ratings’ decision has been hastily done without considering facts on the ground. “Such action is untimely and constitutes a rush to judgment. more..

Colombo HC closes bribery case against Keheliya

Dec 20 (AD) Colombo High Court today (20) decided to close the bribery case against State Minister of Investment Promotions Keheliya Rambukwella and former Director-General of State Printing Corporation Jayampathi Heenkenda. This ruling was delivered by Colombo High Court Judge Shashi Mahendran citing the relevant case was filed without the consent of the Commissioners of the Bribery Commission. Bribery Commission had filed the case with the Colombo Magistrate’s Court against the duo for more..

Not satisfied with envoys representing Sri Lanka: Amaraweera

Dec 20 (RN) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday that he is not satisfied by the performance of our Ambassadors in other countries. Addressing a meeting held at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development, the minister said that all successive govts in the past have appointed defeated MPs or ageing public servants to serve as diplomats. He said that he is not criticizing the appointments but these officers have not rendered any valuable service to the country and added that more..

Swiss special envoy to explore possibilities for clarifying embassy employee security incident

Dec 21 (FT) Switzerland has sent Jörg Frieden, an experienced diplomat who once served as ambassador to Sri Lanka, to explore possibilities for clarifying the security incident at the Swiss embassy in Colombo, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDAD) in Bern said yesterday. Frieden’s visit followed a telephone conversation between Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena and his Swiss counterpart Ignazio Cassis on Wednesday. more..

WHO reports global decline in male tobacco users; SL conducting its own survey

Dec 20 (RN) The number of males consuming tobacco has drastically reduced globally indicating a powerful shift in the global tobacco epidemic, World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement yesterday. WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “For many years, we had witnessed a steady rise in the number of males using deadly tobacco products. But now for the first time, we are seeing a decline in male use, driven by govts being tougher on the tobacco industry”. more..

MCC – themed mural being erased

Dec 20 (RN) The overtly political Millennium Corporation Compact themed Mural drawn on the perimeter wall of a supermarket in Beddegana in Pitakotte is being erased. It looks like the firsts sign of the govt walking back on its opposition to the US-deal. Yesterday the Mural showed 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 Sri Lankan soldiers marching resolutely to slay the dragon. more..

Rajitha again files anticipatory bail application

Dec 20 (AD) Former Minister Rajitha Senaratne has filed a second anticipatory bail application before the Colombo Magistrate’s Court this evening seeking the prevention of his arrest. Senaratne yesterday filed an anticipatory bail application, stating that the CID is planning to arrest him over the white van media briefing that he held several days before the presidential election. Director of CID and several other officials were named as the respondents of this bail application. more..

Govt directs all banks to suspend recovery of SME loans up to Rs.300 mn

Dec 20 (DM) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the PM Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also the Minister of Finance have issued directives to Chairmen and CEOs of all banks to suspend recovery of loans obtained by the SME sector up to Rs 300 million. The Finance Ministry said in a statement that the Government had taken a decision to take up new initiative to revive SMEs of which outstanding debt not exceeding Rs 300 million in each entity since recently announced tax reform initiatives provide more..

Jayampathy Molligoda appointed Chairman of Tea Board

Dec 20 (AD) Former Deputy Chairman of Bogawantalawa Tea Estates, Mr. Jayampathy Molligoda, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board. He takes over the reigns from former Tea Board chairman Lucille Wijewardena. Mr. Molligoda counts over thirty nine years of executive experience in the fields of Financial Management, Strategic Planning & Human Resource Development, Plantation management and International marketing of tea. He has been serving as Deputy Chairman of more..

Prez says no Swiss involvement in abduction drama

Dec 20 (Island) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday ruled out the involvement of the Swiss Embassy in the allegation leveled by one of its employees Garnia Banister Francis, that she had been abducted by some persons in Colombo on Nov 25, harassed and forced to open her phone and reveal how IP Nishantha Silva had fled to Switzerland the day before. Asked by this correspondent, during an interaction with the Foreign Correspondents Association at the Presidential Secretariat, more..

CEB to lose Rs85bn in 2019

Dec 20 (EN) State-run Ceylon Electricity Board has run up losses of 85 billion rupees in 2019 power and energy minister Mahinda Amaraweera had said. The utility also had 200 billion rupees of debt, he had said. The utility owed 82 billion rupees to state-run CEB and another 43,000 billion rupees to private power producers. The new administration had appointed Vijitha Herath, an engineer as the new chairman. Amaraweera had asked Herath to save the agency from debt and make it a profitable company. more..

Sri Lanka seeking SAGT-style deal for Colombo’s East terminal: PB Jayasundera

Dec 20 (EN) Sri Lanka is encouraging a build operate transfer style deal for Colombo’s East terminal which may require over 500 million US dollars in investments from India and Japan, President’s Secretary P B Jayasundera said. Sri Lanka would like India and Japan to develop the East Terminal in a deal like the existing South Asia Gateway Terminals he said. The SAGT is built with private equity and debt, for which Sri Lanka Ports Authority or the govt is not responsible. more..

UNP lawmakers, activists protest Patali arrest, accuse govt of repression

Dec 20 (RN) A group of opposition lawmakers and civil society activists condemned arrest of MP Champika Ranawaka as a vindictive act aimed at repressing the opposition. UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra, said Ranawaka’s arrest will mark the beginning of the new govt’s downfall. “It was Champika Ranawaka who introduced nationalism to then Prez Mahinda Rajapaksa who had no grasp of such concepts. It was he who taught them the importance of embracing their Sinhala Buddhist identity. more..

China welcomes President's remarks over Hambantota Port

Dec 20 (Xinhua) China highly appreciates the remarks made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the Hambantota Port agreement, said a statement released by the Chinese Embassy in Colombo. China is willing to guide related enterprises to work with the SL side to expedite implementing the established agreement and further promote the prosperity and development of Hambantota Port, according to the statement. China highly respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SL more..

Govt suspends proposed MCC agreement, appoints committee to make recommendations

Dec 20 (Island) The govt yesterday suspended the decision taken by the previous Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Cabinet to implement the proposed Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement with America and appointed a four member committee to do an indepth study of it and make necessary recommendations. Minister Bandula Gunawardena addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing in Colombo said that there were clauses in the MCC pertaining to land that was not acceptable, hence the decision to suspend more..

Sri Lanka computer literacy grows, ongoing shift from computers to smartphones

Dec 20 (EN) SL’s computer literacy in 2018 had grown to 29% from 28.6% a year earlier, the census and statistics dept said. Western Province had the most computer literate, up to 40% in 2018 from 38.8% in 2017, while the lowest was in the Eastern Province at 14.8%, up from 14.7%. The highest growth in computer literacy was seen in the Northern Province, at 19.5% in 2018 from 16.9% a year earlier. Computer literacy had fallen in Central, North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. more..