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UNF to meet Speaker on remanding of MP Patali

Dec 22 (DM) UNF leaders will meet Speaker Karu Jayasuriya shortly to discuss the steps that should be taken against the remanding of MP Champika Ranwaka, UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said this when speaking to journalists after visiting MP Ranawaka who is in remand custody. “There is no fresh evidence to re-commence investigations or to arrest Mr. Ranawaka,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said. “The UNP is saddened by his arrest which is clearly a political witch-hunt as procedures that more..

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith calls for a toned-down Christmas

Dec 22 (AN) Card Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, released his Christmas message. In it he urges the faithful to visit the families of the victims and the survivors of the Easter Sunday attacks, and avoid lavish and immoderate celebrations that demean the true meaning of Christmas, which is God who becomes man in Christ for the salvation of the world. Concerned about the safety of the Christian community, the cardinal, on behalf of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, more..

Cabinet approves Prez’s memorandum: New bureau for meeting development targets

Dec 22 (SO) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has created a new Bureau for National Policies and Plan Implementation, which will be directly under him, top political sources said yesterday. These sources said the formation of this Bureau would be announced in the President’s address to Parliament on Jan 3, 2020. The theme of the Presidential Address will be The Road to Prosperity and would spell out the development strategies for the five year period 2020 to 2025. more..

Extraordinary gazette issued on maintaining public order

Dec 22 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has issued a Gazette Extraordinary calling upon the armed forces to maintain public order across the country with effect from today (22). The President issued the gazette notification yesterday (21) by virtue of the powers vested in him by Section 12 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40). Accordingly, the Army, Navy and the Air Force have been called out for the maintenance of public order in the areas specified below: more..

Govt goes ahead despite Swiss ultimatum

Dec 22 (ST) The soaring Swiss Embassy saga, now almost a month old, has locked Bern and Colombo in a serious deadlock. The Bern govt, the Sunday Times learnt, issued a virtual ultimatum last week urging Colombo to ensure all matters in the case of Garnier Banister Francis, their Assistant Migration Officer, be completed on Dec 16. This was with the case being taken up in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that day. In other words, the Swiss govt expected the matter to end there more..

Electoral victories and pyrrhic outcomes

Dec 23 (CT) Electoral victories are not Pyrrhic victories in the historical sense of the ancient Sicilian war between the Roman Empire and King Pyrrhus of Epirus. Pyrrhus won the battles but at great cost to himself. “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, said Pyrrhus, “we shall be utterly ruined.” Hence, Pyrrhic victory. Modern electoral victories are different. The winning parties usually take everything before them, while the losing parties are often left with nothing. more..

Sri Lanka: A Beleaguered Republic

Dec 23 (CT) Article 2(4) of the UN Charter reads as follows. ‘All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations (UN). The accepted exceptions to this article are when the UN Security Council authorizes military action or when it is in self-defense under Article 51 of the charter.’ more..

UNP crisis continues into New Year: Internal battle between Ranil and Sajith

Dec 23 (ST) The UNP crisis will flow into the New Year despite efforts by different groups to work out a settlement. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe left for the seasonal holiday to Ootacamund (Ooty) in the Nilgiris hills of southern India. His rival Sajith Premadasa is now going around addressing pocket meetings of party activists. He contends that he will accept the Prime Ministerial candidacy only if he is bestowed the party leadership. more..

The attorney general is not superior to Lanka’s judicial officers

Dec 23 (ST) The ridiculous claim being parroted by bespectacled and grinning supporters (apparently also lawyers) of the ruling SLPP, that the action of the Attorney General is somehow superior to the writ of a Magistrate in the making of arrests of persons in this land, is contrary to the weight of the law and violates fundamental safeguards against arbitrary state action. These claims are made in the context of this week’s surprise arrest of former Minister and JHU heavyweight Champika Ranawaka more..

Racist Johnson now well settled

Dec 23 (ST) As the British election earlier this month was coming to a head, the incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson did what he does best — break into his racist and discriminatory lingo and muddy the political waters. This is nothing new for a man who has been doing this for years, from way back when he was a journalist for the Daily Telegraph and later as editor of the Spectator. It must have been two decades or so ago that as editor of the Spectator his defence of a Greek journalist who wrote more..

Apeksha Cancer Hospital: Controversy over scanner purchase project

Dec 23 (CT) A bitter dispute that sparked between off the two main parties of a project set up to buy two scanners for the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama created news headlines last week. This project was initiated by the Fight Cancer Team, which led the project to buy a PET scanner for the hospital in 2016. This time they aim to buy a Tomotherapy machine and a LINAC machine for the hospital. The initial cost for the project has been calculated as Rs 1 billion. more..

Gota-nomics and Gota-ism and shifting paradigms of Sri Lankan system

Dec 23 (SO) All Sri Lankans were waiting for a drastic change and to achieve that goal, the new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) was appointed with a huge majority on Nov 17, 2019. Almost a month has passed since coming into power of the new Prez and there are many changes happening in all areas such as, political, administrative and economic systems. In Management, we have two types of changes: incremental and drastic, and what is happening in SL today is a drastic change. more..

Let’s welcome Jörg Frieden, the Damage-Controller

Dec 23 (SO) A senior Swiss diplomat and former Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jörg Frieden is on his way to help clarify to Swiss authorities what Switzerland describes as a current crisis. The Swiss are perturbed, we are told. Confused would be a better descriptive though. They call it a security incident. The knowledge of the Swiss on security is amply demonstrated by the fact that they see nothing wrong in their citizens collecting money to fund terrorism. more..


Editorial: Will Trump triumph?

Dec 23 (Island) Witch-hunt, hoax, sham… Sri Lankans are familiar with these words, but it is not only they who have heard them during the last few weeks to the point of queasiness. Their American counterparts, also, have. US President Donald Trump has been using them quite liberally to describe the efforts by his Democratic rivals to remove him from office. Trump asked for it. He, now, finds himself in the exalted company of impeached Presidents—Andrew Johnson (1868) and Bill Clinton (1998). more..

Namo Mariyani song turns 70

Dec 23 (Island) Christian songs have become highly popular in Sri Lanka not only in Christian households but also in Buddhist and other religious communities as well. Performance of Christmas songs at family gatherings, picnics with friends and many occasions displays how remarkably favourite these songs are in SL Society. Christian songs were introduced to Sri Lanka by the arrival of the Portuguese but initially the songs might have been sung in their own language or Latin it is believed. more..

Santa flies to a Political Christmas

Dec 23 (Island) Dear Santa, Hope this letter reaches you in time, with all the problems you are facing with what is called Climate Change. The ice in your home area is melting so fast and it looks like soon we may not know of a snow ride by you in bringing Christmas gifts to the world. I hope the reindeer have enough snow to play around, and they will be drawing your carriage of joy to the world. Over here in Sri Lanka, Santa, Christmas this year is different. more..

Constituent changes to S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index

Dec 23 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announces the following changes in S&P Sri Lanka 20 index constituents made by S&P Dow Jones Indices at the 2019 year-end index rebalance. A revision of the S&P SL 20 methodology in March 2017 established the practice of a semiannual rebalance of the index (previously conducted annually), which is set to take place during the months of June and December each year. The revision also established the inclusion of non]voting ordinary shares listed by more..

Indrajit departs Central Bank with respect and love

Dec 23 (FT) Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Friday departed the Central Bank as previously announced but with much respect and love, according to insiders and industry representatives. He assumed duties in July 2016 and many weeks before the 16 Nov Prez Election had informed authorities of his intention to step down on 20 December. Previously, Dr. Coomaraswamy served the Central Bank for 15 years, working in the Departments of Economic Research, Statistics and Bank Supervision. more..

Rs.8 billion for sports but athletes go begging

Dec 23 (SO) Everybody knows by now that the Sri Lankan athletes who participated at the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) brought back the most number of medals (251) from such an event. It was a great honour and achievement by the athletes at a time it seemed they were almost losing their enthusiasm to continue. Now the question asked is who should take credit for this achievement? The athletes, Sports Ministry or the National Olympic Committee (NOC)? more..

Table tennis coach ‘satisfied’ despite failure to strike gold at SAG

Dec 23 (ST) The Sri Lanka table tennis team had high hopes of winning gold medals at the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) in Nepal but the team failed to achieve their target. They finished with an average performance, winning one silver and six bronze medals. “Though we failed to win more medals for the country, I am satisfied with the performance of our players who competed with minimum facilities,” team coach Buddhika Dikkumbura told the Sunday Times. more..

Top investors from Jilin Province China, in Colombo

Dec 23 (DN) A group of top investors from Jilin Province in China have come to Sri Lanka to explore investment opportunities in the country. Top officials of the Jilin Provincial Chamber of Commerce, the Jilin Provincial Chamber of Commerce and the Jilin Foreign Investment Cooperation Association are among them. They met the Minister Keheliya Rambukwella recently. Jilin Foreign Investment Partnership Association and Jilin Chamber of Commerce consist of leading public and private companies. more..

Pakistan closing in on emotional series victory over Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (CI) If yesterday was the most magnificent day of Test cricket Pakistan have enjoyed this year, it was swiftly topped by the proceedings today. All the while Abid Ali and Shan Masood piled up that record partnership and Azhar Ali got in amongst the runs on Saturday, there remained the nagging doubt the pitch was so docile it would be difficult for Pakistan's bowlers to force a result. But in front of a Sunday crowd that was the biggest of the series, more..

Sri Lanka coconut auction prices up 40% amid higher harvests

Dec 23 (EN) Sri Lanka raw coconut prices grew 3% to 41,167 rupees for 1000 nuts at a weekly auction of Dec 19, up from 39,823, extending gains made in recent weeks, amid an improvement in harvests. The Dec 19 auction price was up 40% from the October average of 29,475 rupees. Up to October SL’s coconut production was 21% to 2.6 million nuts. SL’s exports of desiccated coconut also picked up to 42,000 metric tonnes up to October up as prices were stable in the first half of the year more..

TISL hails conviction of ex-President’s Chief of Staff & ex-STC chairman

Dec 23 (AD) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has commended the Permanent High Court at Bar for the convictions handed down upon former President’s Chief of Staff I.H.K. Mahanama and former Chairman of the State Timber Corporation (STC) Piyadasa Dissanayake. Issuing a statement today (22), the TISL also applauded the CIABOC for the swift proactive measures taken to carry out the sting operation, complete investigations and bring the case before court. more..

Sri Lanka fiscal stimulus to close output gap

Dec 23 (EN) SL’s sweeping tax cuts are are fiscal stimulus will close a persistent output gap, seen in recent years and transfer cash to private hands from unproductive state spending, govt has said. “The switching of resources from unproductive public expenditure to the private firms and individuals will be growth friendly in a context where there has been a persistent output gap,” Finance Ministry said. “Higher growth will have a positive impact on the overall debt dynamics more..

Return of Rajapaksa brothers raises fresh challenge to China’s Hambantota port deal

Dec 23 (SCMP) Elections in SL last month have put the small Indian Ocean country back in the spotlight. On Nov 18, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as the eighth president of SL. Soon afterwards, his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, the former president who, over his 10-year term, oversaw the end to the country’s bloody civil war, was sworn in as prime minister. Rajapaksa brothers have seized the reins of power, riding high on a tide of national security concerns and ethnic polarisation. more..

'Patali Champika's arrest was an act of vengeance'

Dec 23 (NR) JVP Politburo member KD Lalkantha says it is becoming apparent that the arrest of former Minister, MP Champika Ranawaka was an act of vengeance. He said while there is no issue pertaining to taking legal action, it must be done in accordance with due procedure. He added there was no requirement to arrest the MP at his residence at night. Lalkantha said MP’s arrest did not follow due procedure, adding that involving media in the incident also implies the arrest was an act of political vengeance. more..

Banks, SMEs await clarity over moratorium on loans below Rs. 300 million

Dec 23 (FT) Banks and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are awaiting greater clarity over the Govt’s announcement late Friday on the moratorium on loans below Rs. 300 million as part of efforts to kick start the economy and relief to the private sector. Finance Ministry said Prez and PM, who is also the Minister of Finance, Economy and Policy Development, have issued directives to Chairmen and CEOs of all banks to suspend recovery of loans obtained by the SME sector. more..

Rumesh Ratnayake laments Sri Lanka's lack of bowling discipline

Dec 23 (CB) After claiming a potential match-defining first innings lead in the Karachi Test, Sri Lanka imploded spectacularly with the ball on the third day, their abject lack of control allowing Pakistan to move ahead and then put daylight between them and their opposition by Stumps. Abid Ali and Shan Masood made most of the eased-out batting conditions to put on a 278-run opening partnership that underscored Sri Lanka's bowling deficiencies. At the end of a forgettable day's play, more..

Wellness brand Santani to go global

Dec 23 (ST) Santani Resorts and Spa, the iconic wellness brand established in Sri Lanka is now set to expand to other destinations as part of a wave of demand for this unique concept in its brand. Founder and CEO of Santani Resorts and Spa, Vikum Nawagamuwage told the Business Times on Friday that as part of the company’s plans to expand over the next five years, similar resorts will come up in destinations like the Maldives, Portugal, the US and Indonesia. more..

UNP Leadership position: Ranil, Karu blocking Sajith

Dec 23 (CT) It's not only the UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is trying to prevent Sajith Premadasa from becoming the leader of the UNP, but also Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, a senior UNP member of the Sajith faction told Ceylon Today. He added, "Jaysuriya is acting in a way which encourages Wickremesinghe's attempts to show that there is a crisis within the UNP and that Jayasuriya is the best leader who can ensure the Party's victory at the upcoming General Election. more..

Plea for troops to carry fight to illegal sand miners

Dec 23 (ST) Illegal sand miners desecrating riverbanks and beaches might soon be facing tougher custodians of the environment if the govt throws the armed services into the fight against them. The mines bureau will ask the Defence Ministry to send in the navy, air force and the Special Task Force to assist in raids against gangs taking advantage of a suspension of sand transport permits. The govt suspended the requirement for permits in a bid to break down mafia control of the building materials sector more..

Landslide early warning issued for 6 districts

Dec 23 (AD) NBRO has updated the Level 3 (Red) alert on landslide early warning for Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla districts. People living in Lagglala, Pallegala, Yatawatta, Naula, Wilgamuwa, Rattota, Ududumbara, Medadumbara, Walapane, Badulla, Bandarawela, Welimada, Hali-Ela, Uvaparanagama, Ella, Haldummulla, Passara, Lunugala, Haputale and Soranatota divisional secretariats and surrounding areas have been cautioned as the rainfall within the past 24 hours has exceeded 150mm. more..

Govt delays permanent appointment of CB Governor

Dec 23 (FT) Govt let the Central Bank spend the weekend as well as the new working day today with an Acting CEO appointment delaying a permanent announcement. With Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy stepping down as Governor on Friday, Senior Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe was made the Acting CEO as per the provisions in the Monetary Law Act. The financial services industry as well as the private sector has been awaiting an early and definitive announcement on the post of more..

Tight security for Christmas midnight services

Dec 23 (ST) Catholic and Christian churches will go ahead with their usual midnight masses for Christmas day following assurances from the Defence authorities that adequate security will be provided. The Catholic Church’s communication division spokesman said throughout the country, they were planning to hold midnight masses as usual on the 24th night. He said Cardinal Malcom Ranjith had requested the Govt to provide additional security in view of the Easter Sunday suicide bomb attacks. more..

THASL hails Kimarli’s appointment

Dec 23 (FT) Tourist Hotels Association of SL (THASL) has welcomed the appointment of Kimarli Fernando as the Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism. “I would like to offer her my sincere congratulations on behalf of THASL. We pledge our fullest support to her and look forward to a productive cooperation to improve our country’s tourism industry and business,” THASL Chairman Sanath Ukwatte said. According to him, a number of key positions of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been filled with more..

Govt offers lifeline for tea sector

Dec 23 (FT) The Govt will implement a major loan restructuring plan for the tea sector which could include a moratorium on loan repayments and the write-off on interest in some cases. A senior Plantation Industries Ministry official said relief would be given for the factory owners whose accumulated loans and interest payments stand at around Rs. 25 billion. According him the drop in tea price in the past few years had resulted in their inability to repay loans. more..

SLTDA warns stern action against discrimination of domestic tourists

Dec 23 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLDA) warned licenced establishments which adopt discriminatory practices against local tourists with foreigners only policy. “Several complaints have been made by domestic tourists stating that they are not allowed to enter certain restaurants and hotels in the areas of Hikkaduwa and Arugambay, where these establishments seem to have a ‘foreigners only’ policy,” SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando told the Daily FT. more..

Navy beefs up surveillance after netting 3.5 tons of cannabis

Dec 23 (FT) The Sri Lanka Navy said it will be increasing surveillance along the International Maritime Boundary (IMB) in the Northern and Eastern coast following an increase in detection of Kerala cannabis being smuggled across the Palk Strait to Sri Lanka. According to the Navy, 3,554 kg of Kerala cannabis was intercepted to date in 2019, a 68% rise compared to 2,113 kg in 2018. The Navy has also intercepted 762 kg of heroin up to date, a 220 % increase compared to 232 kg in 2018. more..