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Tale of two leaders: A Christmas reflection

Dec 26 (FT) Christmas is almost there, despite the subdued nature due to the Easter Sunday disaster and its aftermath. Leaders and laggards are being discussed these days in the midst of a growing optimism towards a better political culture. Apart from the traditional message of peace and harmony, this festival of light invites us to enlighten ourselves to relook at the sincerity of our decisions and actions. Let me call my Christmas reflection as a tale of two leaders. more..

Face the Nation

2020 A mixed bag of national expectations, bright hope and insipient fear

Dec 26 (Island) How was Christmas with you? For Cass it was a quiet day of reminiscing and purring on her couch, extra glad she is in SL notwithstanding minor warts that may grow into cancerous sites. Glad because she isn’t wary like a friend of hers is in the outskirts of Sydney feeling the heat of out of control bushfires. Relieved not to be in New Delhi where her lovely friend Ritu has to wear a mask even in the balcony of her flat due to evil smog. Librarian that she was, she used to scooter more..

Editorial: Ban on bus baila Wednesday

Dec 26 (Island) Many a Sri Lankan breaks out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of taking public transport. The boneshakers that pass for buses cause immense suffering to passengers who are also made to listen to music at the highest possible decibel level. The govt has banned ear-splitting music in buses from 01 Jan, 2020. This is something long overdue. Commuters, troubled by this form of unbearable noise pollution, had been sounding off to the media for years, but in vain. more..

Battle against Dengue intensified

Dec 26 (CT) Western Provincial Council (WPC), earlier this week, said it would set up an Operations Room, to battle dengue in the province. Western Provincial Council (WPC) Governor, Dr. Seetha Arambepola, said the Council had taken a decision to fight dengue and eradicate it from the three districts in the Provinces; namely Colombo, Gampaha, and Kalutara, where the number of suspected dengue patients more..

Pakistani asylum seeker found dead in Negombo

Dec 26 (RN) A 49-year-old Pakistani asylum seeker registered with the UNHCR initiative was found dead in Negombo with multiple cut injuries. Negombo Police said the deceased had been living alone in a rented annex in the area. The police suspects the murderer is from the same community, based on the account of a witness who had overheard an argument between the victim and another person in the same language. A suspect has yet to be taken into custody, but investigations are more..

SriLankan Airlines giving away 3 million FlySmiLes

Dec 26 (FT) Christmas is a season of giving and SriLankan Airlines’ frequent flyer program FlySmiLes is providing travellers with three million more reasons to smile this festive season by giving away a whopping three million Miles to lucky travellers, travelling onboard during 20 to 25 December. The campaign was part of a series of passenger engagement initiatives steered by the airline’s marketing team which have received global accolades in the recent months. more..

Christmas will never be the same again

Dec 26 (ST) Heads bowed reverently or eyes focusing upward in fervent prayer, accompanied by beautiful singing with the poignant Amens rising powerfully, skywards. It is a Sunday morning and smartly-attired families have come in their numbers to celebrate the Sabbath. Restive children are taken for a quiet walk, the pews are packed and people overflow into the garden, some bringing their own foldable chairs, while there is a nip more..

New Chairman for LECO

Dec 26 (ST) Transport, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has appointed Attorney-at-Law Athula Priyadharshana De Silva as the new Chairman of Lanka Electricity Company (LECO), the Ministry said in a statement. He accepted the appointment letter from the Minister at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. LECO, Lanka Electricity Company Ltd., has earned a revenue over of Rs. 3,000 million in 2019. It has around 500,000 customers & employs over 1,500 employers. more..

Smart Sri Lanka initiative becomes a white elephant

Dec 26 (ST) The Smart Sri Lanka initiative launched by former Prez Maithripala Sirisena aimed at empowering youth with skills and talents to face present day challenges has failed to bring tangible results despite spending millions of rupees. This was highlighted in an internal audit inspection which has examined the progress of 20 special projects being implemented under the Smart Sri Lanka initiative. 18 additional secretaries have been appointed to oversee these 20 Career Guidance projects more..

Hambantota Port allows for closer ties with China

Dec 26 (Xinhua) It was early in the morning as 25-year-old Harshana Tennekoon zipped across Hambantota International Port (HIP) in his hatchback to welcome the first roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ship of the day. The massive vessel, carrying automobiles manufactured in India and destined for markets as far off as South Africa and Cuba, dwarfed Tennekoon. Armed with a walkie talkie, hardhat and reflective vest, more..

15 years since 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami

Dec 26 (AD) Today marks the 15th anniversary of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, one of the world’s deadliest and most destructive natural disasters, struck over 10 countries in the Indian Ocean. Accordingly, a two-minute silence will be observed island-wide in Sri Lanka at 9.25 am this morning (26) to commemorate the thousands of people killed in the deadly tidal wave. Shortly before 08:00 on 26 Dec 2004, a massive 9.1 magnitude quake struck undersea 160km off Sumatra’s coast, more..

Boxing Day Tsunami: 15 years on

Dec 26 (SO) Where were you on December 26, 2004? That is something you are never likely to forget. As huge sea waves lashed the coast and rushed inland, leaving a trail of death and destruction in 14 Indian Ocean and African countries including Sri Lanka, it became the biggest news event of the century. Fifteen years have gone by, yet we remember it as if it happened yesterday. The memories are still raw. The tsunami arose from a displacement between India & Burma plates, more..

Arrested ministers should be sent to SLTB restrooms, not to Welikada: Amaraweera

Dec 26 (DM) MPs who are arrested should be sent to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) restrooms and not to the Welikada prison, Transport Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, commenting on the conditions of SLTB crew restrooms. He was on an inspection tour at the SLTB’s crew restrooms. “The driver and conductor restrooms look like hell on earth,” he quipped. "Toilets at the driver and conductor restrooms are flooded & stink. more..

Sri Lanka cuts protectionist tax on potatoes as food prices rise

Dec 26 (EN) Sri Lanka has cut a protectionist tax of 50 rupees a kilogram on imported potatoes slapped boost profit of the farming lobby to 25 rupees as prices of rice and wheat also spiked in December. The lower tax on imported potatoes will be effective from Dec 25, the finance ministry said. Landowners in central highlands rent their land to farmers to grow potatoes due to fat profits from import duty protection, in classic rent seeking behavior with no incentive to boost yields more..

Colombo Dockyard enters into contract with Kowa japan to supply a pilot boat

Dec 26 (Island) Colombo Dockyard PLC (CDPLC) has entered into a contract with Kowa Company Ltd (KOWA) of Japan to supply a pilot boat. The contract was signed on 16th of Dec at CDPLC Head Office. Kazushige Nishiguchi, Department Manager – Ship & Infrastructure Department of KOWA and Hideaki Tanaka, Chairman of CDPLC signed the contract. Yoshiyuki Takii, Sales and Marketing of KOWA, Aditya Tripathi, Deputy Manager of KOWA INDIA and from CDPLC D.V. Abeysinghe, more..

Video: Champika apologizes for political mistakes of the past

Dec 26 (AD) Former minister Champika Ranawaka today apologized to the nation for the political mistakes made by them in the past. “We made a mistake. We have to apologize to the people for that,” he told reporters in Kandy. UNP MP claimed that when the General Election was held in 2004, which the UPFA won, the ruling party managed to get a majority due to the 9 Buddhist monks from the JHU. He said that more..

Expressway accident: Renowned Hindi author, his two family members dies

Dec 26 (DM) Renowned Hindi author Ganga Prasad Vimal and his two family members were killed in recent Southern Expressway (E-01) accident on Monday (23), police said. The 80-year-old author was travelling along with his family in a van, which crashed into a container truck from behind on the Southern Expressway in Kurundugahahathapma area on Monday night, they said. Vimal and two of his family members were killed on the spot while a local driver died on the way to the hospital. more..

Boxing Day is now a remembrance day for the tsunami that struck Sri Lanka in 2004

Dec 26 (Stuff) In the week of Christmas, we take a look at how other cultures celebrate the festive season. Mary-Jo Tohill speaks with the Arndt family about their traditions. Christmas is all about family in Sri Lanka, and the Arndt family like to keep it that way in their adopted country of New Zealand. Dairy Farm manager Johanne Arndt, who lives in the Clutha Valley in south Otago with wife Nilu and children Amee, 11, Aaron, 8 and Amelia, 2, moved to New Zealand eight years ago. more..

Vehicle registrations hits 6-year low amid elections

Dec 26 (EN) Vehicle registrations fell to 24,472 units in Nov 2019, the lowest since the June 2013 amid a collapsed of a flexible exchange rate and election in November, vehicle registry data shows. In June 2013, vehicle registrations fell to 24,415, down from 47,500 in January 2012 after rates were hiked and currency was floated after a rate cut and several months of liquidity injections triggered a balance of payments crisis. more..

Homagama Tech City project: Cabinet approval sought to acquire 700 acres

Dec 26 (DM) A Cabinet memorandum has been submitted to acquire 700 acres of land allocated by the previous govt for the Homagama Tech City project to put up a higher education facility, a minister said yesterday. Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane said he sought Cabinet approval to reallocate this landmass to establish world class technology universities. He said the area people were opposed to the manufacturing zone planned by the former govt. more..

Video: Attack on soldier and robbing gun: Suspect arrested

Dec 26 (AD) The weapon which was taken away from a soldier, who was attacked at the Bogaswewa army camp in Vavuniya this morning, has been recovered at Kekirawa. The Military Spokesman said that the stolen firearm was discovered by the Military Police and Intelligence. The service weapon of a soldier on sentry duty at Bogaswewa camp in Vavuniya was taken away by unidentified persons after injuring the soldier in the early hours today (25). more..

JVP asks govt. to stop barking up the wrong tree and take on rice Mafia

Dec 26 (Island) The JVP says there is no actual rice shortage in the country but only an artificial scarcity created by two leading businessmen capable of market manipulations. JVP MP Sunil Hadunnetti said that the two leading businessmen controlled granaries in the country and they could create shortages to jack up the prices of rice. "They actually have a monopoly over rice supply. The two businessmen are connected to powerful more..

CCD questions seven top cops

Dec 26 (CT) Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has questioned seven Police officers, including an SP and three OICs, in connection with investigations into allegations levelled against former Minister Champika Ranawaka including causing an accident in 2016 in Rajagiriya, fleeing the scene and concealing evidence. Among these Police officers were SP Herath Priyadharshana, then ASP in-charge of the Welikada Police; Asath Asmadala, former Welikada Police OIC; ASP Pragathi more..

Sri Lanka has 7,000 electric cars: ADB

Dec 26 (CT) Sri Lanka has 7,000 electric cars in operation while the island's per capita electricity consumption at 626 kilo Watt hours (kWh)/person in 2017 was lower than India and many of the developing countries, were some of the gleanings got from an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report on the island's electricity sector which was released on 23 Dec. The ADB report however said that for medium-scale commercial customers (customers who are neither households nor industries), more..

Video: CID officers visit Rajitha’s houses in Colombo and Kalutara

Dec 26 (AD) Officers of the CID have reportedly inspected UNP MP Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s residences in Colombo and Kalutara, in order to execute a warrant for the former minister’s arrest. Over 24 hours have passed since the Colombo Magistrate’s Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Rajitha Senaratne in connection with the now infamous white van press briefing, however the police are yet to place the MP under arrest. more..

Prez instructs to follow scientific method to purchase harvest from next season

Dec 26 (AD) Cabinet Sub Committee on Cost of Living was convened for the first time under the patronage of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat. During this meeting yesterday (24), 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..

State Ministers to receive subjects and institutions

Dec 26 (DM) Prez Rajapaksa has ordered Cabinet ministers to issue gazette notifications announcing subject areas and institutions assigned to their state ministers according to the Cabinet decision taken recently. Accordingly, Prez Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara has instructed all Ministry secretaries to issue the relevant gazette notifications. The govt has appointed 35 state ministers. However, it is discretionary for the ministers to allocate subjects and institutions to them. more..

Video: Cardinal Ranjith’s request on Christmas

Dec 26 (AD) Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith on Wednesday called for Christmas to be celebrated in a moderate way in memory of the victims of the devastating Easter terror attacks. “Christmas is indeed a happy occasion. But it will be in good order if celebrated in a moderate way,” Ranjith said. Ranjith chose the bomb devastated Katuwapitiya church in western coastal area of Negombo more..

Sri Lanka’s Tsunamis of all sorts: Lessons not learnt!

Dec 28 (CT) Fifteen years ago, on Boxing Day in December 2004, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the Indonesian island of Sumatra and a total of around 230,000 people lost their lives in countries located along the Indian Ocean, including more than 30,000 people in Sri Lanka. All these countries, were not equipped to face the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Tsunami 2004 was thus a wake-up call to many countries in the Indian Ocean to be better prepared to face natural disasters. more..

Two self-proclaimed Anglican Bishops: From his Lordship to his grace

Dec 28 (CT) The Anglican Church is a lot about authority, elitism, and identifying with those in power. At the Church of England’s very founding Henry VIII of England broke off from the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and proclaimed himself The Supreme Head of the Church of England. Henry’s wife Catherine of Aragon, had been married at the age of 3 to his elder brother Arthur who was heir apparent to the English throne, but was widowed 5 months later. more..

'Delaying tactics always made the UNP fail'

Dec 28 (CT) UNP MP, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, says the UNP lost the Buddhist vote base at this Prez Election. "We lost the middle class votes too. Therefore, we need to go for a complete reform in the UNP. Temporary solutions will not be successful," he said. Q: The UNP crisis has dragged to a number of decades and still not settled. When will you see the Party unity? A: The cause for the crises is the need for a change in the Party. more..

So many children crying, I am nobody’s child

Dec 28 (DM) As we today mark Holy Innocents Day, when Judea’s wicked King Herod slaughtered Bethlehem’s infants because he was jealous and feared that the King of Kings had been born there, we need to reflect on the plight of hundreds of millions of children today affected by war, violence, famine, homelessness, child abuse and other crimes. Religious leaders have told us that anyone who causes harm to a child should be thrown into the deepest ocean with a millstone tied more..

The Tamil problem can’t be resolved either way, but can be managed

Dec 28 (DM) It seems that Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa intends to replace power devolution, a persistent Tamil demand, with development. “Devolution of power is a lie and most are opposed to it,” he told a meeting of heads of media organizations recently adding that reconciliation can be achieved through broad development. He had echoed the same sentiments previously, at a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and in at least 2 media interviews. more..

Singing national anthem in Sinhala and Tamil languages

Dec 28 (DM) The news item appearing in Dailymirror last week was like a bolt out of the blue. It said the national anthem would be sung in Sinhala language only at the forthcoming celebratory event of Sri Lanka or Ceylon gaining full independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. The practice adopted since 2016 of singing the anthem in Tamil too would not be followed. This is what the news item penned by more..

The Premadasa bid: The fall of Troy and the madness of Nero

Dec 28 (CT) Those who may read this should know how the Greeks destroyed Troy by building a wooden horse and hiding warriors inside it, while pretending to withdraw from siege. Trojans begin to prematurely celebrate the end of war. They wheel into their city the gargantuan wooden horse, seemingly abandoned by the Greeks and unwittingly admit the enemy in. The prophetess Cassandra, Princess of Troy, warns her people about the dangers of the wooden horse, but alas! more..

After the pause… a Song: A Christmas reflection

Dec 28 (GV) The run-up to the birth of Jesus was punctuated with pauses. After the Angel visited her, Mary could not say what she would have liked to have said. Stories that went against established norms and trends were unacceptable. Those around would misunderstand and grow suspicious, even hostile. What she had heard and knew compelled her to pause to ponder these things. When he is drawn in on the story that could not be told as yet, Joseph becomes part of the pause. more..

හිරුත් එක්ක නත්තල්

Conviction of Mahanama and Dissanayake: Need for whistle-blowing mechanism

Dec 28 (Island) CIABOC should be applauded for successfully prosecuting the former Chief of Staff of Prez Secretariat I.K.H. Mahanama, and former Chairman of State Timber Corporation Piyadasa Dissanayake, for soliciting a bribe of Rs. 20 million from an Indian businessman to release the machinery and equipment belonging to Kantalai Sugar factory. Total amount of the bribe they solicited from the Indian businessman was said to be Rs. 54 million out of the total investment of more..

Editorial: President’s visit to Augean stables

Dec 28 (Island) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made a surprise visit to one of the most corrupt public institutions, on Thursday. He saw for himself the sorry state of affairs at the Werahera branch of the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) characterised by protracted delays and corrupt practices. He met some officials and ordered that systems be put in place urgently to serve the public efficiently and more personnel be recruited for that purpose if necessary. more..