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Video: Ajith Prasanna launches protest fast in front of Swiss Embassy

Dec 2 (AD) Major (Retired) Ajith Prasanna has launched a protest fast demanding that the Swiss Embassy staff member involved in the alleged abduction incident be produced to make a statement to the police. Prasanna is staging the protest fast in front of the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo. The Retired Major carried a placard which read: ďThe Ambassador of Switzerland, do not tarnish the good name of our motherland. more..

Stalin shocked with Rajapaksaís views on political powers for Lankan Tamils

Dec 2 (HT) DMK president M K Stalin expressed shock at SL prezís cold response to demands for devolution of political powers to the island nationís Tamil minority in his recent media interviews and promise to instead focus on the development of areas inhabited by them. ďRajapaksa had said that giving political powers to Tamils is not his priority. He further stated that the majority Sinhalese are against the devolution more..

PAYE tax to stay, high threshold from Jan 1

Dec 2 (EN) Sri Lanka will keep Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), tax for salaries over 250,000 rupees a month, but all personal income will be subject to income tax at a uniform 3,000,000 rupees a year, from Jan 1, a notice from the tax authorities said. A cut in income tax for construction companies from 28 to 14%, income tax exemption for agriculture, livestock and fisheries and information technology companies will be effective for the current more..

Indirect taxes down from yesterday: Minister

Dec 2 (DN) The tax concession package introduced by the new govt came into effect from yesterday (1). Accordingly, the tax restructuring on indirect taxes will come into effect from Dec 1, while concessions given on direct taxes will be implemented from January 2020, Information and Communication Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. more..

Protecting fourth estate!

Dec 2 (CT) The need of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's Govt safeguarding the Fourth Estate and upholding the dignity of the Media fraternity has been emphasised by the Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association and other media organisations in the country. In the past the Media fraternity suffered immensely and the Media personnel even faced all sorts of intimidations. So, despite the threats, the Media activities remain vibrant with a significant number of more..

Speculation rises over next CB governor

Dec 2 (EN) With central bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy due to step down on Dec 20, speculation is rising over his replacement with several names being mentioned in financial circles. Many of SLís past central bank governors have been career officers from the institution itself. However with the appointment of Sunil Mendis, a top business executive by then President Chandrika Kumaratunga, outsiders have been bought in. In addition to Nandalal Weerasinghe, more..

Nalinda Jayathissa

The role of applied statisticians in a digitalised world

Dec 2 (FT) Sri Lanka is passing through a phase in which applied statisticians are pretty much in demand. Statistics were used or in the proper sense, abused, by political contenders recently like a drunkard using a lamppost. It is said that a drunkard uses a lamppost not for illumination but for support. In a digitalised world where people can now have access to information on a real time basis at the speed of light, the prospect for abusing statistics is much more prominent than ever before. more..

Lethal find in paddy field: STF defuses 24 grenades

Dec 2 (Island) Twenty-four live hand grenades were recovered from an abandoned paddy filed at Kokkadicholai in Vavunathivu in Batticaloa by police STF commandos, police said yesterday. A resident of the Kancharamkudah who visited filed to extract clay for brick making saw some hand grenades in a polypropylene bag and alerted the officials of the Vavunathivu STF camp on Saturday. Kokadicholai police and STF summoned the STF Bomb disposal unit and dug up the bombs. more..

Minister demands report on controversial tender

Dec 2 (DM) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera sought a report on the controversial tender given to a Chinese consortium to construct the Kerawalapitiya 300MWs LNG power plant. He instructed Ministry Secretary, Ms. Wasantha Perera, to submit a report on the issue in two weeks. A crucial meeting to take a final decision on the matter is scheduled to be held on Thursday. Chinese consortium GCL China WindForce and more..

COPE to meet on forensic audits on bond scams linked to central bank

Dec 2 (EN) A committee overseeing state enterprises in SLís parliament has called a meeting to discuss foreign audits on scams involving the central bank. The meeting is being called to discuss future actions on several forensic probe reports that have now been completed, the parliamentís media office said. However the full publication of the reports had been blocked by the attorney general. Perpetual Treasuries, a gilt dealership controlled by then CB governor Arjuna Mahendran more..

Video: Three killed as three-wheeler and bus collide in Urawatta

Dec 2 (AD) Three persons have died while another three persons have been injured following a vehicular collision involving a three-wheeler and a passenger bus at Urawatta in Ambalangoda. A woman and her two daughters died in the crash and that another three persons have been admitted to hospital with critical injuries. The incident had occurred at around 2 p.m. today when a three-wheeler traveling from Ambalangoda to Hikkaduwa had collided head-on with a passenger bus more..

CID to probe Rajithaís white van remark

Dec 2 (DM) The CID today fact-reported to the Colombo Chief Magistrateís Court to launch a fresh investigation into the controversial statement made by former Minister Rajitha Senaratne on white van drivers at a press conference held prior to the presidential election. Addressing a press conference held on Nov 10, the former minister said a new govt of theirs would probe into the alleged murders & abductions more..

Coconut auction prices sharply up in Nov

Dec 2 (EN) Prices at coconut auctions in Colombo had picked up sharply in November, amid seasonally weaker production and steady demand from dessicated coconut exporters, industry officials said. The average price for a 1,000 coconuts went up 13.2 percent at the auction on Nov 29, 35,585 rupees from 31,420 a week earlier. The top price went up to 40,000 rupees from 36,500 rupees a week earlier. The lowest price was 27,000 rupees. Sellers offered 847,667 nuts for the auction more..

UAE honours Lankan scientist

Dec 2 (Island) 19 scientists specialising in different disciplines, including a Sri Lankan Aeronautics professor, have been granted the long-time Golden Residency in the UAE. Among the 19 scientists is Khalifa University Aeronautics Department Professor Lakmal Senviratne. The Federal Identity and Citizenship Authority (FICA) of UAE had announced the measure in accordance with the directives of UAE Vice President, PM and Dubai Ruler Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, more..

I will be reborn in politics: Sirisena

Dec 2 CT) Some people think I'm finished because my tenure is over. But, I will be born again in politics. Former Prez Sirisena said. He made these comments addressing the Maithri Prasada Pranama, held at the Pulathisi Buddhi Mandapa in Polonnaruwa, in recognition of his services during his tenure as President. Speaking further he said that he would serve the people until his last breath, adding that nobody can stop it. more..

Y-o-Y inflation down to 4.4% in Nov 2019

Dec 2 (LBO) The yearĀ-onĀ-year inflation as measured by CCPI is 4.4% in Nov 2019 and inflation calculated for Oct 2019 was 5.4%. Inflation of food group has decreased from 6.8% in Oct 2019 to 4.6% in Nov 2019 while that of nonĀ]food group has also decreased from 4.8% in October 2019 to 4.2% during the month. CCPI for all items for the month of Nov 2019 was 131.7 and it records an increase of 0.4 index points that is 0.29 percentage points compared to the month of Oct 2019 more..

Canadian, Chinese diplomats call on Prez

Dec 2 (RN) Canadian High Commissioner to SL David McKinnon and former Chinese Ambassador Wu Jianghao called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today. According to the Presidentís Media Division (PMD), McKinnon had, following a cordial discussion, felicitated the newly elected President on behalf of the Canadian govt. Former Chinese Ambassador Jianghao, meanwhile, met Rajapaksa in his present capacity as Director-General of Dept of Asian Affairs of Chinaís Foreign Ministry. more..

Video: Over 5,400 affected due to adverse weather

Dec 2 (AD) Disaster Management Center (DMC) says that 5,415 persons belonging to 1,480 families have been affected by the adverse weather conditions in parts of the country. Department of Meteorology says that the prevailing showery condition is expected to continue over the island in the next few days as the Northeast Monsoon continues to be in active phase. Showers or thundershowers are expected to occur more..

700kg of ganja meant to be smuggled to Sri Lanka seized

Dec 2 (TOI) Indiaís Q Branch police seized around 700kg of ganja, worth millions of rupees, from three men near Mannargudi in Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu in the early hours of Sunday. The cannabis was to be smuggled to Sri Lanka through the sea route. The police arrested three men, identified as V Senthilkumar and S Saravanan of Coimbatore and M Arivendhan of Madurai, in connection with this. They seized a tourist bus in which the accused were travelling. more..

Case against Mohan Peiris fixed for inquiry

Dec 2 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne fixed the inquiry on June 16,2020 the case filed against former Attorney General Mohan Peiris and several others for allegedly preparing an erroneous report to gain undue benefits. The CIABOC filed a corruption case before the Colombo Chief Magistrateís Court against former Attorney General Mohan Peiris, Court of Appeal Judge A.H.M.D. Nawaz and former chairman of Lanka Electricity Co (LECO) M.M.C. Ferdinando. more..

Pakistan Foreign Minister calls on President

Dec 2 (PMD) Shad Mahmood Qureshi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon. Pakistanís Foreign Minister extending warm greetings to President Rajapaksa on his and his govtís behalf expressed Pakistanís keen interest in further strengthening bilateral relations with SL especially in the areas of economic development, more..

Villagers catch crocodile

Dec 2 (CT) A 10-foot-long crocodile was captured by the villagers of Addalaichenai, with the help of the Police and Wild Life Officers, while it was trying enter the village on Thursday (28) night. It is believed that the crocodile had washed ashore from the Konawatte River during the heavy showers which lasted for three days. During their leisure, as usual, the villagers went along the river and came across this huge crocodile. They informed the Police and the Wild Life Officials. more..

Prof. Vini Vitharana passed away at 91

Dec 2 (DN) Sri Lankan Language, literature, religion and archeology educator Vini Vitharana has passed away at the age of 91. Vini Vitharana has been listed as a notable educator, writer by Marquis Who's Who. Vini Vitharana was born on June 2, 1928 in Tangalla, Son of Samel Vitharana and Vitharanage Lilavati. He was educated in University London (Bachelor with honors, University London and Master of Arts, University London, 1959), he completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Uni of Peradeniya, in 1966. more..

President requests Cardinal to appoint representative

Dec 2 (DM) Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, is currently studying a request made by Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa who had requested him to name a representative to a new commission which he intends to appoint to probe the Easter Sunday attacks, a church official said. An official from the Archbishopís House said that Prez Rajapaksa had informed Cardinal Ranjith when he made a courtesy call on him more..

Johnston orders SLPA to beautify Galle Face Green in one week

Dec 2 (RN) Minister of Ports and Shipping Johnston Fernando has ordered the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to take immediate action with regard to the beautification of the Galle Face Green within this week. Fernando gave the directive to the SLPAís Managing Director after carrying out an inspection tour of the Galle Face Green on Saturday. A video posted on the Ministerís official Facebook page shows him instructing shopkeepers at the Green to carry out their trading activities more..

Indo-Sri Lanka joint exercise Mitra Shakti to strengthen ties

Dec 2 (HT) The opening ceremony for the seventh Indo-Sri Lanka joint exercise Mitra Shakti was conducted on Sunday, at Aundh military station. Major general KS Brar, major general, general staff (operations) headquarters Southern Command reviewed the parade in presence of a number of officials of the participating nations. India Ė Sri Lanka joint training exercise Mitra Shakti 2019 is the seventh edition of the exercise aimed to enhance interoperability and more..

Sri Lanka, China agree to renegotiate without harming bilateral ties

Dec 2 (DM) Sri Lanka and China agreed yesterday to renegotiate the Hambantota Port project, but in a manner that would not harm traditional friendship ties between the two countries. Former Chinese ambassador to SL Wu Jianghao called on PM Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo as an envoy of Chinese Prez Xi Jinping yesterday. The discussion centred on the development of the entire gamut of bilateral relations. more..

Tamil death toll magnified in the course of British interventions in SL Prez election

Dec 3 (CT) The assessments of the last stages of Eelam War IV embracing 2008/09 have been bedevilled by the verdicts of intellectuals and officials encased in drawing rooms located within an ivory tower. The hoary verdicts in the past have resurfaced today in the vociferous campaign aimed at influencing events in SL, with Shadow Chancellor of the Labour Party and such HR activists as Alan Keenan, Fred Carver and Richard Gowing participating in this grandstanding work. more..

This toxic supremacist triumphalism harmful to the quest for pluralism in Sri Lanka!

Dec 3 (CT) It is starting to sound and smell like an oxymoron. Despite President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) appearing to assume an All peoplesí President personality, the emerging political culture is negating such an assumption. Sri Lanka is showing tell-tale signs of fast becoming an autocratic democracy as well as a racist, multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual nation. The toxic wave of Sinhala Buddhist triumphalism both overt and covert continuing in the Post-election phase, more..

The lonely and the forgotten: The patients of the Mantheevu leprosy colony

Dec 3 (Roar) The elderly man had not seen his family in 40 years. He is sometimes unable to correctly remember numbers. When asked how old he was, Sena Jenejasoriah said, five-three. Hospitalised for leprosy, an illness that was incurable a long time ago, Jenejasoriah is disabled, but no longer afflicted by the disease. But he has not been home since the day he was hospitalised. Jenejasoriah is one of 3 patients receiving more..

SLís regional affairs with India: New chapter for Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Dec 3 (DM) Sri Lanka, is an island in the strategic positioning of the Indian Ocean is continued a vital player for spectators watching the concert of the Indian Ocean. The world has become quite observatory about SLís political leadership change after Nov 2019 making a direction for stable and prosperous foreign affairs. Domestically, people were indubitable that Gotabaya Rajapaksaís (GR) campaign resulting in victory. The peoplesí choices have detoured for the best leadership due to more..

A higher balance of payments surplus crucial to reduce external financial vulnerability

Dec 3 (ST) The only means of reducing the countryís foreign debt and external financial vulnerability is by generating a higher balance of payments surplus and minimising foreign borrowing. Increased exports, higher earnings from services and much higher FDI are three of the crucial needs. A larger balance of payments would enable the repayment of debt and meeting debt servicing costs with the countryís external reserves rather than resort to further foreign borrowing. more..

Protecting Sri Lanka's Blue Tarantula from extinction and the exotic pet trade

Dec 3 (Roar) It was in the small patch of rainforest in the western province, in 2012, that Amila Prasanna Sumanapala, a researcher and field biologist at the University of Colombo, first noticed a shimmering blue spider scurrying around in the underbrush. But Sumanapala wasnít completely sure if this blue spider was a new species, so he sent his colleague, Ranil Nanayakkara, a conservation biologist more..

Human rights and Labour hypocrisy

Dec 3 (ST) There is an English saying that charity begins at home. So should, if one were impartial and balanced, look into oneís own history and actions before pointing accusing fingers at others. Unfortunately it seems that the leaders of the UK Labour Party such as Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell have not learnt such basic qualities as fairness, detachment and objectivity. There is a yawning gap in their education which it would be too late to fill now. more..

Editorial: The strange case of Ms X

Dec 3 (Island) Sri Lanka and Switzerland have got embroiled in a diplomatic row of sorts over the alleged abduction and subsequent release of a Sri Lankan woman working at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo. Curiously, the alleged incident was not reported to the police immediately. The Swiss mission has declined to name the victim for reasons of her safety. Letís, therefore call her Ms X. Bern is reported to have summoned the Sri Lankan Ambassador to register its protest. more..

Face the Nation

Amend election laws to address crossovers, expulsions, and preferential vote

Dec 3 (DM) The PR system introduced under 1978 Constitution assumed that the seats won by each party or independent group will continue to stay invariable during the entire term. Any vacancy occurring is expected to be filled from the list of nominees of the particular party or group, ending the crossover saga. Article 99 (13)-and modified by the 14th Amendment says if an MP ceases to be a member of the Party to which he belonged and nominated by them for election more..

Govt pledges debt relief from microfinance, SME loans

Dec 3 (FT) Govt has called for reports from all public and private banks to evaluate microfinance loans and borrowings taken by small and medium businesses this week, a top official said pledging to provide relief in the coming months. Development Banks and Loan Schemes State Minister Shehan Semasinghe assuming duties yesterday said the Govt will announce its plans to tackle indebtedness once the reports have been analysed. He stressed the Govt will stick to Prez Gotabaya more..

Legendary Yaha Palanaya (Subha Ė Yasa) Palanaya

Dec 3 (Island) The last meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Yaha Palanaya Govt was held on Nov 11. One newspaper reported that "Old hostilities were set aside yesterday as Prez Sirisena presided over his last cabinet meeting, with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and other Ministers thanking him for restoring democracy." News item goes on to say "Prez Sirisena, for his part, took time to explain to Cabinet the reasons for his decision to more..