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Despair it all, we send you Peace

Dec 25 (CT) There's something quite simple yet complex about all things to do with the festival of Christmas. In the Ceylon Today editorial offices, for example, to those who had the time to take in what was happening just a week before Christmas, what was seen was a sight worth going all the way around the world to have a look at. Our colleagues of all religions were, unbelievably, having got through their news stories for the next day, gathered around all sorts of beautiful Christmas decorations, more..

Letís remember that Christ is the reason for this season!

Dec 25 (DM) 2000 years ago, God the Father sent a Gift of Love to this world. This precious gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Thus it was that the powerlessness of God was manifested in that infant child, His son, whom He sent to demonstrate to the world the powerfulness of His love. If ever there was an opportunity for God to enact His plan with a majestic flourish, it was at Jesusí birth. But God did not presume upon humanity when He stepped in to redeem it. more..

The newest instrument of the bond scam cover up saga: The forensic audit

Dec 25 (SO) In its series of recommendations from page 911 to page 922 of its Report, the PCoI into the Bond Scam (Bond Commission) has, inter alia, recommended as follows: ďAs set out earlier, there is adequate evidence before us to form the view that, there is a likelihood that some irregularities have taken place in the acceptance of Direct Placements prior to 2015. Therefore, we recommend that, an appropriate investigation more..

Money for the next world

Dec 25 (ST) If the end of the world is nearing, where do you store your wealth? People in the world Ė mostly the rich, store their wealth in various places such as bank deposits, company stocks, govt or corporate bonds, properties and commodities. But if the value of these assets is likely to get wiped out, where do they hide their money? Storing wealth in assets gives a return so that we can also call it an investment. For an investment in asset, we can have a periodic return more..

Christmas: Parable of the fourth wise man

Dec 25 (DM) Christmas today marks the birth of Christ Jesus but it needs to go far beyond a birthday party or a family reunion because this historic event is a manifestation of Godís unending, unfailing, unlimited and unmerited love for people of all races and religions throughout the world. Freely as we receive this divine, merciful, compassionate, and ever-forgiving love freely we need to give it to others by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is Christmas. There is a clichť that more..

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam

Namo Mariyani: The crucial role of our Blessed Mother

Dec 25 (Island) Every controversy about Blessed Virgin Mary largely depends on the intention, character and theological comprehension of the controversialist and at the same time every opinion about her is a partial opinion. But Catholicism has historically and quite successfully attempted to offer a panoramic view of her life which was also her mission. Every generation has to grasp and grapple with her significance. A generation that does not grasp her theological significance more..

Editorial: Murdering messengers

Dec 25 (Island) Today, the world celebrates the birth of Jesus, the rebel who incurred the wrath of the rulers of his day by fighting for the voiceless and working indefatigably and intrepidly for their liberation; he was nailed on the Cross for that. Christmas has dawned here while Sri Lankans including the followers of Jesus are reeling from a carnage, which shook the world, on this yearís Easter Sunday; they are mourning for their loved ones who perished in terror strikes. more..

A cry for human dignity & human rights

Dec 25 (Island) The world is once again blessed with a fresh opportunity for celebrating the Christmas festival, a profoundly religious event that takes on great importance because of the perennial echo of its traditional and age-old message of peace. A second important issue intertwined with it, is the one on human dignity and human rights. Christianity which bestows this festival season to the world community more..

Sri Lankaís Silvermill in Indonesia expansion with US$5mn ADB loan

Dec 25 (EN) Manila-based ADB said it will loan US$ 5 million PTSASL and Sons Indonesia (PTSASL) of SLís Silvermill Group, to expand its coconut processing operations. The loan will help Silvermill set up a modern processing plant for value-added coconut products for export, benefiting 9,500 smallholder coconut farmers, and creating over 1,200 jobs in the Central Province of the Sulawesi Island. ďAs the second largest producer of coconuts in the world, Indonesiaís coconut industry more..

Foreign relations Swiss fiasco highlights need to revisit Geneva resolution

Dec 25 (Island) One-time SL Ambassador in Qatar, A.S.P. Liyanage, was among those who contested the 2019 prez election. Of the 35 contestants, Liyanage polled 6,447 votes (0.05%). The SL Labour Party leader secured the 20th position and was among 33 out of 35 contestants who failed to save their deposits. A section of the media ridiculed Liyanage after he was pictured, in Oct 2018, welcoming Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Rohitha Rajapaksa at the Hamad Int'l Airport, Qatar, more..

CB rate cut would improve policy congruence: Cabraal

Dec 25 (FT) The Central Bank should consider further easing policy rates when it makes its latest monetary policy decision this week, Advisor to the PM on Economic Affairs Ajith Nivard Cabraal said, insisting it would improve policy congruence following the stimulus package announced by the Govt earlier this month. Speaking with members of the Foreign Correspondents Association on Monday, Cabraal noted that more..

Video: President extends fullest support to develop local arts industry

Dec 25 (AD) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he will commit himself to uplift the local art industry and welfare of the artistes during his tenure. Prez Rajapaksa further said that the govt will act according to a strategy in compliance with policy of protecting our own identity and culture. Prez made these remarks during discussion held with artistes at the Presidentís House, yesterday (23). The event was organized to felicitate artistes who worked for the victory of the Prez at the Prez Election. more..

Former MP Justin Galappaththi passes away

Dec 25 (AD) Former Matara District MP Justin Galappaththi has passed away at a private hospital in Colombo today (24), at the age of 68. The former Southern Provincial Council (SPC) member is a father of three including, UNP Devinuwara Organiser Chathura Galappaththi. He was first elected to the SPC in 1988 and continued to serve until the 2014 Provincial Council Election, in which his eldest son contested. However, he had continued to engage in active politics until his demise. more..

Video: Champika Ranawaka granted bail

Dec 25 (AD) Former Minister Champika Ranawaka has been granted bail by the Colombo Magistrateís Court while his driver was ordered remanded. He was ordered released on a cash bail of Rs 25,000 and two sureties of Rs 500,000 each. Court ordered him to report to police once a month and also ordered him to refrain from influencing the witnesses. Meanwhile MPís driver, Thusitha Kumara, who was also arrested more..

Kapugedara retires

Dec 25 (CT) Former skipper Chamara Kapugedara has decided to call it a day from all forms of cricket. The 32 year old is a product of Dharmaraja College Kandy and had a magnificent record as a schoolboy cricketer. Kapugedera was picked as a teenager in early 2006 and made his ODI debut in Australia that year as SLC yearned to harvest his potential. However, he only scored his first 50 in his 10th game. SL persisted with him and handed him a Test debut at Lord's the same year. more..

Sri Lankaís Hajj pilgrim quota raised

Dec 25 (AN) Sri Lankaís Hajj pilgrim quota for next year has increased to 3,500 after an agreement was signed with Saudi Arabia on Monday. The Kingdomís Hajj and Umrah Deputy Minister Dr. Abdul Sulaiman Mashat signed the deal with Sri Lankaís Mohammed Faleel Marjan Azmi. The island nationís existing quota is 2,850. Azmi told Arab News that the ministry had also agreed to consider a supplementary quota for 2,000 pilgrims as a special request from the Sri Lankan delegation. more..

State-sanctioned playlists to replace bus music?

Dec 25 (EN) State-sanctioned playlists are expected to replace music heard on private and state-owned buses as the National Transport Commission (NTC) is set to welcome the new year with a ban on so called bus music. The ban will come into effect in Jan 2020 and will also see a limit imposed on decibel levels allowed on bus TV/stereo systems. According to a statement issued by NTC, along with what it calls සුභාවිත more..

Cardinal invited to power project committee, opposes coal

Dec 25 (EN) Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has been invited send a representative to power project committees after he complained about pollution from a power plant in the North East of the country which the church had opposed earlier. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera had met Cardinal Dec 23. Cardinal had complained that people in Kalpitiya were in difficulties due to the coal plants in Norochcholai and had asked not permit coal plants but build renewable power generators instead. more..

Economic sentiment mixed ahead of election: Survey

Dec 25 (FT) LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) poll, which was conducted in the first week of November, reveals that sentiment surrounding the economy was mixed in the lead-up to the Prez Poll. 32% of respondents expect economic conditions to improve in the next 12 months while 31% feel that conditions will remain the same and 37% believe there will be a deterioration. A corporate executive says: ďThe economic policy of the (previous) govt has more..

Prof. W.D. Lakshman appointed Governor of Central Bank

Dec 25 (AD) Sri Lankan economist, academic and author Professor W.D. Lakshman has assumed duties as the new Governor of the Central Bank (CB). He received his letter of appointment at the Presidential Secretariat today (24) and officially assumed duties following a brief ceremony at the Central Bank. Prof Lakshman takes over from former CBSL Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, who stepped down from his position on more..

Cinnamon Grand denies relocation rumors

Dec 25 (TM) John Keells Holdings-owned Cinnamon Grand Colombo, one of the leading hotels in the city, dismissed any rumors of relocation or a change of ownership amidst speculations of relocation spreading on social media. A spokesperson from the hotel said that there will be no change of purpose or ownership of the Cinnamon Grand hotel. ďThis means the hotel will continue operation. There is no reason for shifting and no hospital will occupy this location,Ē the spokesperson said. more..

SL Tamils should go back: TN BJP leader

Dec 25 (Hindu) The best solution on the issue of SL Tamils in Tamil Nadu would be their return to their motherland, as their votes in the island nation matter very much for the welfare of the Tamils there, said Bharatiya Janata Party leader, L. Ganesan. Defending the BJPís stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), he told reporters that the BJP did not do anything in a stealthy manner. ďThere is no hidden agenda on this issue. It was there in our election manifesto,Ē he said. more..

SAG Gold medalists to compete at Asian Indoors

Dec 25 (CT) 7 athletes who won individual Gold medals at the recently-concluded South Asian Games 2019, have been selected to compete in the forthcoming Asian Indoor Athletics Championship 2020 to be held in Hangzhou, China on 12 and 13 Feb. Triple Gold medalist at the SAG 2019, Dilshi Kumarasinghe and double Gold medalists Lakshika Sugandhi and Nilani Rathnayaka have been entered for two events each, while Indunil Herath more..

Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living met under Presidentís patronage

Dec 25 (PMD) Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living was convened for the first time under the patronage of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, today (24). During this meeting, special attention was drawn to provide essential food items for the public during the upcoming festive season at concessionary rate and ensuring that there is no any shortage. Furthermore, Prez instructed officials to follow a scientific method to purchase harvest from next season. more..

President wishes joy and prosperity in Christmas message

Dec 25 (FT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his Christmas message said that the real meaning of Christmas is to make our lives meaningful, for which we need to fill our hearts with love and compassion while completely eliminating sinful thoughts. Following is the full message issued by the President: The dawn of Christmas brings immense joy to all, awakening the hearts of devotees of the noble religion of Jesus Christ, which brought the message of peace and harmony to the world. more..

UNP planning to have election before Easter carnage anniversary: JVP

Dec 25 (Island) Opposition is planning to submit a motion to secure a two-thirds majority to dissolve parliament and advance the next general elections to April first week so that the UNF could face the people before the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday carnage on 21 April. JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said the President could dissolve parliament upon its completion of four and half years more..

Solar eclipse visible over Jaffna tomorrow

Dec 25 (Island) A solar eclipse will be visible in Jaffna tomorrow (26) and move in a northerly direction. It occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the Sun for a viewer on Earth. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Moonís apparent diameter is smaller than the Sunís, blocking most of the Sunís light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus (ring). An annular eclipse appears as a partial eclipse over a region of the Earth more..

National anthem will be sung only in Sinhala

Dec 25 (DM) The 72nd Independence Day celebrations will be held on Feb 4 at Independence Square in Colombo on a grand scale, the Public Administration Ministry said, adding that the national anthem would be sung only in Sinhala. These decisions were taken at a meeting held yesterday at the Disaster Management, Local Govt and Provincial Councils Ministry. Minister Janaka Bandara Thennakoon who chaired the meeting said Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa intended holding more..

Govt to digitise all State institutions

Dec 25 (FT) The Govt has decided to digitise all State institutions including the Court system in an effort to improve productivity and profitability, which was a key promise in President Gotabaya Rajapaksaís election manifesto, top Govt official said. International Relations State Minister Susil Premajayantha said initial discussions had commenced with the UNDP to obtain technical support for the project. more..

Video: 'It wasnít a mere traffic offence'

Dec 25 (DM) PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila said former minister Champika Ranawaka was not arrested in connection with a mere traffic offence as claimed by UNP MPs but over several allegations. He told a news briefing that UNP MPs Ajith P Perera and Nalin Bandara had said Mr. Ranawaka was remanded over a minor traffic offence which could have ended up in a fine. "According to what transpired in Court, Mr. Ranawaka was arrested for reckless driving and other serious allegations more..

Inflation dips to 4.1% in Nov.

Dec 25 (FT) Inflation dipped to 4.1% in November from 5.6% the previous month due to a decrease in food related price increases, the Central Bank said yesterday, but annual core inflation increased to 5.6% in the same month. Headline inflation as measured by the year-on-year change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) decreased to 4.1% in Nov 2019 from 5.6% in October 2019 contributed by the statistical effect of the high base prevailed in Nov 2018 Year-on-year (Y-o-Y). more..

Video: Warrant issued for Rajithaís arrest

Dec 25 (AD) Colombo Additional Magistrate today (24) issued a warrant to arrest the former Minister Rajitha Senaratne over the controversial white van media briefing he had called last month. The arrest warrant was issued after taking into consideration the submissions presented by Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris on behalf of the CID. He told the court that the former Minister has committed an offence under more..

Why I call Mahavamsa a fiction?

DEc 26 (CT) This week I am answering several questions posed by a person who was annoyed that I called Mah‚vaṃsa a fiction in my earlier Question for the Week series. Question: You have stated that Mah‚vaṃsa is only a fabrication written in Pali. On what facts and basis do you state so? Answer: I did not say fabrication. It was a fiction written in Pali for the glorification of Buddhism. Mahanama at the end of every stanza says so. A historian will not say at the end of every stanza I do this for more..

Two issues that will continue to trouble

DEc 26 (CT) One of the striking features of the presidential election was the division of the countryís electoral map along ethnic lines. Over the weekend I was in Vavuniya to take part in an inter-religious exchange visit. Three groups consisting of religious clergy, civil society leaders, govt officials and police officers from Akurana, Weligama and Vavuniya, which are three localities in which there has been inter-religious conflict, met together in Vavuniya. The purpose of this meeting more..

A subdued Christmas: Eight months since the Easter Sunday attacks

Dec 26 (Roar) It was just eight months ago, on a day like this, that horror ripped through Sri Lanka in the form of eight coordinated explosions that killed over 250 people and injured many more. Worshippers arriving at church to celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas will be reminded of that carnage, even as affected communities continue to struggle to rebuild their lives after devastating loss. more..

Premadasa and Mark Esper's Indo-Pacific Choices

Dec 26 (CT) On 18 Dec US Defence Secretary Mark Esper hosted his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh, at the Pentagon for a bilateral meeting, which he called an effort to align strategic interests (in the INDOPAC region) with India. Washington sees Sri Lanka's new Govt's rejection of SOFA and desires to renegotiate amendments into it as defining a divergent move away from strategic interests of the US in the Indo-Pacific region. Had the Wickremesinghe Govt remained in power more..

Christmas: When Godís love flows to us through Jesus

Dec 26 (DM) We dedicate this column to all Christians in Sri Lanka as they join more than two billion Christians around the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago when Caesar Augustus was the Emperor of Rome, which held sway over the land. Jesus at his birth was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger because there was no place in the Inn. When we think of Christmas today what strikes us most are the decorations, the gifts, more..

'Truth plus justice plus reparations equals reconciliation'

Dec 26 (DM) The Apartheid could be described as one of the most gruesome blows to human existence. Non-whites not only had to work as slaves, but were isolated from society, separated by law and were denied basic human rights. With the involvement of iconic figures such as Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Apartheid system was put to a halt during the early 1990s. Thereafter, struggle was continued more..

Extremist elements and twists in faith

Dec 26 (DM) SL is a nation that gives generously to the needy during times of trouble and when there are catastrophes. When donating people havenít bothered about cast, race and religion. We saw the same support and empathy showed towards the Christian community when they were recovering from the Easter Sunday bombings. But months after the carnage there came a time when Sinhala hardliners found fault with the Christian community for backing a Prez candidate who received more..