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Sri Lanka seeks to enhance engagement with African countries

Dec 20 (MFA) Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has said the operationalization of the recently developed Revitalized Africa Policy, seeks to enhance Sri Lanka’s cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres across Africa. Among the envisaged measures for closer engagement are the expansion of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic presence in Africa, stronger and mutually productive economic collaboration, revitalization of the historic people to people links and more..

Cannot entertain 2015 UNHRC resolution on war crime in its current form: Lanka Prez

Dec 20 (PTI) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said he cannot entertain the 2015 UNHRC resolution co-sponsored by the previous Sirisena govt on alleged war crimes during the country's three-decade long civil war with the LTTE in its current form. Commenting on the Tamil demand for political autonomy, Rajapaksa stressed that no devolution of power would be possible without the consent of the majority. 'It is not possible to implement any form of power sharing political solution,' he said. more..

Harsha ready to support Suwa Seriya under Prez Rajapaksa’s purview

Dec 20 (Island) Former non-Cabinet minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday said that he expected the smooth continuation of Suwa Seriya ambulance service established with Indian help during the previous administration. Colombo District MP Dr. de Silva said that on behalf of Suwa Seriya, he had personally, in writing, sought President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s intervention to ensure trouble-free continuation of the service. more..

Video: No law violated in arresting Patali: Gammanpila

Dec 20 (DM) While saying there is no political motive behind the arrest of MP Champika Ranwaka, PHU Leader Udaya Gammanpila pointed out that there was no violation of the law in the process of arresting him. He said that Mr. Ranwaka was very annoyed and perplexed at the time of his arrest with the MP claiming it was a forcible and illegal arrest. “The arrest of the relevant MP was carried on the orders of the AG. However, Mr. Ranwaka alleged that the Magistrate was unaware of his arrest,” more..

CID asks for phones of Garnier, husband held by Swiss Embassy

Dec 20 (Island) CID yesterday filing a motion, requested the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court to issue an order directing the Swiss Embassy to give them the mobile phones of local Swiss Embassy employee Garnier Banister Francis and her husband. After considering the request, Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne instructed the CID officials that they would have to make the request when the suspect was produced before Courts. It also requested the Chief Magistrate to issue an order to more..

President appoints tech-studded ICTA board to drive digital Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (FT) In line with his vision for a Sri Lanka driven by technology, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a tech-studded board for the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), featuring industry leaders, technology entrepreneurs, academics, and public sector technologists, to steer digital Sri Lanka. Steering the board as Chairman is Jayantha De Silva, Co-Founder of IFS Sri Lanka, more..

CAA announces maximum retail price for rice

Dec 20 (RN) Issuing an extraordinary gazette, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) announced Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) on varieties of rice with effect from Dec 19. This was in response to a directive made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. “Prez Rajapaksa has directed the CAA that immediate steps be taken to enforce the declared MRPs and ensure uninterrupted market supply of essential goods during this festive season which times consumers are vulnerable to market manipulation,” more..

35 Spill gates opened due to heavy rains

Dec 20 (NR) The spill gates of 35 reservoirs have been opened after inclement weather experienced in various parts of the country. The Department of Irrigation said many reservoirs in Rajarata have begun spilling over or are nearing spill levels. Meanwhile the Disaster Management Centre says the Mahaweli River is nearing spill levels. Deputy Director of the DMC Pradeep Kodipilli warned residents of low lying areas to remain vigilant of possible inundation. more..

Sectoral Oversight Committee report on Batticaloa Campus to be handed to President

Dec 20 (AD) Sectoral Oversight Committee on Education and Human Resources has decided to present the report regarding the Batticaloa Campus (Pvt) Ltd. to Prez Rajapaksa and the Cabinet of the New Govt. Chairman of the Committee Prof. Ashu Marasinghe stated this during the committee meeting yesterday. Sectoral Oversight Committee report was presented to the Parliament on the 21st of June 2019 and was subsequently presented to the Cabinet of its members. more..

A bold stand

Dec 22 (SO) It has now been over ten years since the conflict in the North and the East ended through a decisive military victory over the LTTE, described by the FBI as being the most ruthless terrorist group at that time. But it was not just a military operation to reclaim territory – it had the much higher purpose of liberating thousands of civilians held hostage by the LTTE in the No Fire Zones. This objective was achieved by the Armed Forces in a spectacular fashion, braving the bullets of more..

Death of checks and balances

Dec 22 (CT) The US Congress made history last week by impeaching their 45th President, Donald J. Trump, only the third Prez to face such a predicament in the nation's 243-year history. The impeachment inquiry against Prez Trump was initiated by Democratic House of Representatives led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on 24 Sept 2019, after allegations surfaced that Trump may have abused his Presidential powers by withholding military aid, allegedly to pressure the President of Ukraine more..

'Govt gives full freedom to enforce the law'

Dec 22 (SO) State Minister of Power Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that the former Yahapalana Govt went completely against the mandate they received in 2015 and therefore, the people wanted a trustworthy leader like President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who can rebuild the country. In an interview with the Sunday Observer, the State Minister said the people were well aware that if Sajith Premadasa became the President, Ranil Wickremesinghe would have been the PM and more..

A Swiss challenge

Dec 22 (ST) The Swiss authorities seem to wipe the egg off their face from the purported abduction of one of their embassy employees by throwing mud in return at the Sri Lankan law enforcement agencies, and even the judiciary. Offering unsolicited advice, Bern states that “Sri Lanka’s reputation as a country that upholds the rule of law is at stake”. As if that is not enough, it sends envoys to Colombo to intervene in the ongoing investigations. more..

Affaire Swiss

Dec 22 (Island) It is now abundantly clear that neither Switzerland nor Sri Lanka want to escalate what followed the alleged abduction of a local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa went on public record saying that Switzerland did its duty by standing up for its employee while Sri Lanka did its duty by thoroughly investigating the complaint. But he was clear that there was no abduction according to the physical and technical evidence examined. more..

'Should we expend energy on a counter resolution?'

Dec 22 (SO) Former Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, spoke of the pros and cons of renegotiating UNHRC resolutions and how SL’s foreign policy should take shape in order to meet emerging challenges. Dr. Kohona is a former Permanent Representative to the UN, former President of the UBGA sixth committee (legal), former Head of the UN Treaty Section and has recently spoken extensively on proposed international agreements including the MCC, Sri Lanka Compact. more..

One month down, Mr President has done quite well

Dec 22 (ST) My dear Gota maamey, I thought I must write to you since you have been in office in the top job for one month now, after having won the big race by a convincing margin. Although your victory was not surprising, the margin of your win came as a surprise to many and people expect you to now keep your promises. During the election campaign it was argued that you had little or no experience in politics because you had never held public office, being an army officer for most of your life. more..

Renegotiating Hambantota

Dec 22 (ST) It was raining cats and dogs on Wednesday night. The next morning, though, it had ceased and the trio – Kussi Amma Sera, Mabel Rasthiyadu and Serapina – was having a relaxed chat under the margosa tree. In the distance, the choon paan karaya could be heard going down the lane with his distinctive tune blaring from his tuk-tuk. "Mama kalpana karanney aei desambera maase mechchara wessa thiyenne kiyala (I wonder why it is raining so much in December),” said Kussi Amma Sera. more..


Swiss quagmire & SL govt’s options

Dec 22 (Island) The drama surrounding the Swiss embassy employee is now in its fourth week with the Swiss govt still holding that their employee is right and the SL govt is wrong despite all the evidence to the contrary that has come to light. It should be understood that Sri Lanka can never expect fair play from Switzerland. Swiss govt is more pro-LTTE than most other Western countries. Recently, the highest Swiss criminal court ruled that the Tamil Tigers are not a criminal organization and more..

Erasing scars of bullet-riddled Jaffna

Dec 22 (CT) Jaffna city in the sixties and in the seventies was rated as one of the best cities in the island as far as its infrastructure, cleanliness and Municipal administration were concerned during the late Mayor Alfred Duraiappah's period. From the British period itself Jaffna city had a beautiful drainage system which had drained the rain water in the city limits without any hassle to the Jaffna Lagoon during the rainy season. In the late sixties, new market buildings on the initiative of Duraiappah more..

President Gotabaya rules out devolving power to North and East

Dec 22 (CT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met newspaper Editors and Heads of electronic Media institutions, at the President's Office, for the first time since being appointed. Among many points he highlighted, what struck most was the bluntness he showed when expressing his views in certain areas, which any other politician would have diplomatically handled. While reiterating that he did not receive Tamil votes, and a majority of Muslim votes at the Prez Election, more..

SLC mull shifting second England Test to SSC

Dec 22 (ST) SLC mull shifting second England Test to SSC as R Premadasa Stadium undergoes renovation. But two pavilions of the popular Colombo venue pose threat to safety of spectators Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is mulling shifting the second Test of the two-match Test series against England to the popular SSC grounds as country’s premier limited over venue R Premadasa Stadium, will go through a face-lift following recommendations by the University of Moratuwa. more..

Nilani turns up trumps

Dec 22 (SO) At one stage Nilani Ratnayake was a very disappointed athlete before the 13th South Asian Games as her pet event the 3000m steeplechase was not included, but she still bowed out with a gold medal won in the 1500m event and added a second by winning the 5000m. 29-year old athlete Ratnayake was not lined up to run the 5000m but was included when marathon winner Hiruni Wijayaratne pulled out from the event. She was also thrust into the 1500m contest after first choice Nimali more..

Abid, Shan tons put Pakistan in firm control against Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (CI) This is what you're supposed to do to an opposition at home. In Rawalpindi, Pakistan had had a day of batting dominance, but that was in an innings that had no bearing on the result. In Karachi, Pakistan have imposed themselves emphatically on Sri Lanka, subjecting them to day-long toil and dragging them to a near-hopeless match situation, while they expand their own batting averages and put up feel-good performances after a harrowing away tour. more..

Sri Lanka oarswomen bring home first Asian medal

Dec 22 (ST) The SL women’s rowing team won its first ever Asian rowing medal, a silver, after suffering a boat-length defeat to the Vietnam crew in the LW4X-Light Women’s Quadruple Scull event at the Asian Rowing Cup 2019 in Thailand. SL oarswomen bagged their first silver medal at Asian level yesterday in the region’s top competition which will end today in Pattaya. Lankan crew comprised Tharika Weerasinghe (stroke), Maheshi Liyanage (three), Kanchana Weerakoon (two), Anuradha Soorasena (bow) more..

Sri Lanka to end semi-luxury bus fleecing scam

Dec 22 (EN) Sri Lanka will end a so-called semi-luxury bus service which is fleecing passengers without giving extra facilities to passengers, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has said. Minister Amaraweera had discussion with several parties over the matter, a statement from the Transport Ministry said. A survey among 10,000 bus passengers conducted by National Transport Commission, a regulatory body has found that there was a strong opinion that the service should be abolished. more..

Sri Lanka's Bhikkuni nuns and their fight for identity papers

Dec 22 (BBC) "I had all the required documents," Amunuwatte Samanthabhadrika Theri explains. "But the Buddhist Affairs Department refused to issue me an identity card." Her tears are unsurprising. After all, an identity card is key to life in SL, needed for everything from voting to opening a bank account or getting a passport, applying for a job or sitting exams. But Samanthabhadrika is not entitled to an identity card. That right was taken away from women like her in 2004, more..

Annular solar eclipse visible from Sri Lanka on Dec. 26

Dec 22 (AD) A special solar eclipse can be witnessed from Sri Lanka on the 26th of Dec, says Astronomy Exhibitor at SL Planetarium Nalaka Abeysekara. He said this annular solar eclipse can only be observed from only several of the countries in the world, adding that it is clearly visible to the island nation. An annular solar eclipse was previously observed in 2010 and will occur again in another 12 years, he added. The annular phase of this solar eclipse is visible from Saudi Arabia, southern India, more..

Hibernated brokers returning to CSE

Dec 22 (ST) Some stockbrokers who voluntarily moved out of the stock market due to lack of business and regulatory requirements are dusting off the cobwebs in a bid to get back into the game. This has come in the wake of another who went bust trying to make a comeback to the market after applying for a new licence, industry sources said. Navara Securities Ltd (NSL), TKS Securities, Claridge Stockbrokers and Nation Lanka Equities Ltd (NLL) had to stop their businesses this year. more..

Video: Some countries angry with SL armed forces at political level: PM

Dec 22 (AD) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa says that SL’s sovereignty as well as its very existence was protected and nurtured by the country’s armed forces in the face of several threats for division of the country. He made these comments while gracing the Passing Out Parade of 321 Cadet Officers of the Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) at Diyatalawa at the invitation of the Ministry of Defence and Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, on Saturday. more..

SDGs will be at the core of national budget and planning: FM

Dec 22 (MFA) Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and the Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Development Programme Kanni Wignaraja who is currently on a private visit to Sri Lanka paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Friday, 20 December 2019. Assistant Secretary General Wignaraja conveyed her congratulations to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, elected following a free and fair election. more..

Mahendran has reportedly escaped S’pore: Vasu

Dec 22 (DM) State Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said they had news that former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran had reportedly escaped Singapore and moved to other hideouts. He said that the Attorney General had taken steps to bring him back to Sri Lanka and that the AG’s Department was continuing with its process. The Minister said the External Affairs Ministry is monitoring the updates on the matter. He said the government would bring back Mr. Mahendran to SL just as KP was brought back. more..

President bans direct deals between state bodies and foreign agencies

Dec 22 (ST) Govt ministers and state institutions, including Provincial Councils, have been banned from entering into direct agreements or memoranda of understanding with foreign investors, lending agencies, international non-governmental organisations and embassies. The ban was imposed by the President’s office with immediate effect. All concerned have been directed to follow due process in entering into such agreements or MoUs. more..

Nearly 200mm rainfall in four districts within next 24 hours

Dec 22 (AD) DMC says very heavy rainfall of about 150mm-200mm is likely at some places in A'pura, Polonnaruwa, Trinco and Vavuniya districts within the next 24 hours. The showery condition is likely to enhance further over the island during today and tomorrow. Very heavy showers are likely in A'pura, Polonnaruwa, Trinco and Vavuniya districts. Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in Northern, Eastern, North-Central, Uva, North-western and Central provinces and in Hambantota district. more..

Sri Lanka beat England in Rising Stars U19 Tri-Series final

Dec 22 (CW) Having beaten their opponents in a high-scoring encounter on Thursday, the Young Lions went into the final with the confidence to repeat the result. But England was ultimately undone by SL’s wealth of spin bowling options on a slow pitch, with nine wickets falling to spinners. Having chosen to bat at the toss, SL openers Navod Paranavithana and Kamil Mishara got their side of to the ideal start. The left-handers put on 124 in 25 overs before Mishara was run out for 69. more..

26,500 Affected in flood fury

Dec 22 (CT) An estimated 26,492 persons have been affected with some 11,916 displaced as continuous rains triggered-off massive floods and landslides in many parts of the country during this week, a senior official with the DMC said. A total of 26,492 persons from 7,565 families have been affected, while another 11,196 persons from 3,314 families have been displaced and are currently being housed at 44 relief centres in the affected areas. more..

Govt to break monopoly of big paddy millers

Dec 22 (ST) Govt will introduce a quota system to issue paddy to small and medium scale rice millers to end the monopoly by large scale millers, a state minister said. Development Banking State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said the decision was taken at a meeting to discuss the current issue over the increasing rice prices. “We feel that the small and medium scale paddy millers do not get sufficient rice stocks and therefore the large scale millers are able to determine the prices,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka needs agriculture policy change to up farmer incomes, productivity

Dec 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s subsidy based agriculture policies are not helping to boost productivity and take farmers out of poverty or deploy land for the most suitable crops or activities, requiring a re-orientation of focus, a researcher has found. “There’s a lot of govt spending on production of rice and other crops, but its competitiveness and the profitability even for the farmers and food security is very questionable,” Manoj Thibbotuwawa from the Institute of Policy Studies, more..

Water price hike proposed for 2020

Dec 22 (DM) National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) will increase water tariffs in 2020 for upper and middle-income earners as the NWSDB is in the red, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. He added that no price increase will be effective on consumption of up to 15 units of water. He said only the upper and middle class consumers who consume excessive water will be subjected to the price increase of water and those who use less water will not be affected. more..

Video: Several trains canceled over adverse weather

Dec 22 (AD) Several train services have been canceled due to the prevailing inclement weather, stated the Department of Railways. Accordingly, the following train services have been canceled: -Meenagaya Intercity Express Train from Colombo Fort to Batticaloa -Pulathisi. Express Train from Colombo Fort to Polonnaruwa -Night mail train from Colombo Fort to Trincomalee and Batticaloa Meanwhile, the train services on the upcountry railway line which was disrupted more..