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Sri Lanka Tourism shares Christmas spirit with local and foreign tourists

Dec 29 (DM) Tourist Information Centre (TIC) at The BIA of Sri Lanka Tourism had a different atmosphere altogether, getting into the festive mood and bracing up to share the festive cheer with both local and foreign tourists, with simple yet an elegant way. With Santa distributing gifts to visitors who dropped in to gain information and also to know about the best tourist attractions to visit during the holiday season, and the iconic Christmas tree adding more colour to the occasion. more..

Boxing chief gives a choice to officials in the new year

Dec 29 (ST) Boxing officials in Sri Lanka will have to make a choice in the new year whether they want to coach or be a referee/judge to ensure transparency and to avoid any conflict of interest issue arising when they do both. “Coaches are not supposed to be referees and judges (RJ) and vice versa,” emphasised Dian Gomes, President of the Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). “We are going to strictly enforce it in the coming year. Either they have to be a coach or referee/judge. more..

SLC lodges CID complaint about missing CCTV footage

Dec 29 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket has lodged a complaint with the CID on missing CCTV footage at the cricket board’s headquarters, a senior official of SLC said. The official said that five days of CCTV footage of the cricket board had been mysteriously deleted. The instructions to lodge a complaint with CID had been given by SLC Secretary Mohan De Silva. However, there had been pressure within SLC to withdraw complaint, more..

UK pledges to support prison reforms in SL

Dec 29 (DM) British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Sarah Hulton has said that the UK is ready to provide technical assistance on prison reforms and in the process of drafting legislation in Sri Lanka. High Commissioner Hulton expressed these views when she called on Justice, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva at the Ministry yesterday. At the meeting, Minister Silva briefed the High Commissioner on the legal reforms and prison reforms the new government was expecting to make. more..

'Rishad Bathiudeen will never be arrested'

Dec 29 (DM) The govt should arrest former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen as those in the present regime made many accusations against him during the presidential election, UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra said. She said that it is Mr. Bathiudeen who should be arrested as allegations were against him by those in the present govt. “Those in this govt alleged that Mr. Bathiudeen destroyed Wilpattu National Park and cleared the forests. Therefore, we wonder why more..

Arthur will not accept mediocracy: De Mel

Dec 29 (Island) The structures that Head Coach of the national cricket team Mickey Arthur is putting in place will stand the players in good stead feels Ashantha De Mel, the Team Manager cum Chairman of Selectors. Sri Lanka returned home early this week after losing the two match Test series to Pakistan but De Mel is confident that the measures that Arthur has taken will benefit the team. "Mickey insists on excellence & he would not accept more..

SSC, Chilaw Marians, NCC, Army enter semis

Dec 29 (ST) SSC, Chilaw Marians, NCC and Army SC came out victorious in the quarter-final encounters played yesterday to book berths to the semi-finals of the SLC Invitational Limited Over Cricket Tournament. SSC outclassed Tamil Union by 200 runs in a one sided game, thanks to half tons scored by Dimuth Karunaratne, Sandun Weerakkody and skipper Charith Asalanka in the match played at the NCC ground. SSC, electing to bat, made a formidable score of 299 for 6, more..

This Govt won’t interfere in judicial system: Wimal

Dec 29 (DM) Govt led by Prez Rajapaksa will neither influence nor interfere in any judicial matter whatsoever, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. When asked by journalists, he said they would allow the law enforcement agencies to carry out the necessary legal process without any pressure. Commenting on the arrest of former minister Rajitha Senaratne, minister said it was not political revenge but under the law of the country and based on the evidence and charges against him. more..

People’s Bank, Sampath and DFCC face penalties

Dec 29 (TM) People’s Bank, Sampath Bank PLC, and DFCC Bank PLC face penalties from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) for its lack of compliance with lending rate caps imposed by the banking sector regulator. On 24 Sept 2019, the CBSL ordered licensed commercial banks (LCBs) to reduce the weekly Average Weighted Prime Lending Rate (AWPR) by 150 basis points (bps) by 1 Nov and by at least 250 bps more..

Sivajilingam appears before TID

Dec 29 (TM) Former Northern Provincial Council member M.K. Sivajilingam appeared before the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) yesterday (28) to be questioned over an event he staged in the North. Sivajilingam said that he was asked to appear to record a statement over the event staged in May this year. A prez candidate at the last election, Sivajilingam arrived at the TID office in a three-wheeler. The TID had summoned him to appear on Friday to record a statement over the event. more..

Maximum Retail Price for cement gazetted

Dec 29 (AD) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has gazetted the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) for three categories of cement with effect from yesterday (27). Issuing an extraordinary gazette notification, the CAA said the following categories of cement will no longer be allowed for sale above the gazetted MRP. The CAA issued the relevant gazette notification acting under the powers vested in it by Section 20(5) of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, No. 09 of 2003. more..

Mano turns TNA down

Dec 29 (CT) Leader of the TPA Mano Ganesan said his party alliance has nothing to do with the TNA and that the political terrain and goals of TPA and TNA are different. He said so in the backdrop of the TNA holding serious discussions over contesting Colombo and Gampaha Districts besides the North and Eastern Provinces at the forthcoming General Election. He also said he intends to meet leaders of plantation sector more..

No decision on new rice mills

Dec 29 (TM) The Govt has not yet decided to set up new rice mills, because the country already has enough rice mills in operation, State Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. “Some of the rice millers were facing difficulties due to the bank loans they had obtained to maintain their businesses. Govt has requested the banks not to auction those rice mills which have not been able to settle their loans.” The price point of any product is determined by the supply & demand of said product, he said. more..

‘GMOA, where are you?‘

Dec 29 (Island) Opposition MP Hirunika Premachandra says that the GMOA which roared like lions and were eternally protesting on the streets against the previous Ranil Wickremesinghe govt, had gone silent after the Nov 16, Prez Election. "GMOA, where are you", Hirunika queried at a news conference, pointing out that leading members of the GMOA, who openly abused the name of their association to back Gotabaya at the Prez Election, had now forgotten all their earlier demands more..

Video: 2019 GCE A/L exam: Best results

Dec 29 (AD) Out of the total number of candidates who sat for the A/L exam this year, 181,126 students have secured university entrance, says the Department of Examinations. In the meantime, the results of 71 candidates have been suspended. The candidates who wish to apply for re-scrutiny of results are urged to do so on or before the 17th of Jan 2020. A/L Exam for the year 2019 was held from the 5th to 31st of August more..

Sajith to form new alliance

Dec 29 (TM) UNP Deputy Leader MP Sajith Premadasa has set the groundwork to form a new alliance to contest the upcoming general election. UNP MP Harin Fernando said that with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe refusing to give way on the party leadership issue, Premadasa had decided to form a new, broad alliance. Asked if a final decision had been reached, Fernando said that 95% had been confirmed and a final decision would be announced in early January. more..

Three-wheeler fares reduced

Dec 29 (Island) Three-wheeler fares will be reduced with effect from Jan 1, 2020 following the tax concessions granted by the govt. President of the Lanka Self-employed Persons Three-Wheeler Association, Sunil Jayawardena said that fares will be slashed by ten rupees for the first kilometre and by five rupees from the second kilometre onwards. At present, three-wheelers charge sixty rupees for the first kilometre. This will be reduced to fifty rupees, while the forty five rupees levied from more..

Seating arrangement for new Parliament finalized

Dec 29 (AD) The seating arrangement for the MPs has been finalized ahead of the new parliamentary session which is scheduled to be held on the 3rd of Jan 2020. When the parliament convenes again, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will officially announce former Minister Sajith Premadasa as the new Opposition Leader. Sajith Premadasa has been assigned the 8th seat in the front row of the Opposition’s side while more..

Deal with rice mafia, big crooks at RMV before field vists, Hirunika tells President

Dec 29 (Island) Opposition MP Hirunika Premachandra has urged Prez Rajapaksa to first deal with the rice mafia and big crooks at the Department of Registration of Motor Vehicles (RMV) prior to making field visits to those places. Addressing a press conference in Colombo on Friday, Hirunika said that there was nothing wrong in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa visiting rice markets and the RMV to inquire into complaints received, but he had put the cart before the horse. more..

ITAK divided: Sampanthan won’t contest general election

Dec 29 (ST) The 86-year old one time Opposition Leader, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, a political veteran who first entered Parliament in 1977, will not contest the forthcoming general election which will be first time in recent years that the ITAK goes to the polls divided. Mr Sampanthan was not present on Friday for the Parliamentary Group meeting of ITAK, TELO, and Democratic People’s Liberation Front (DPLF, formerly PLOTE) where they discussed how to face the election. more..

Great New Year likely for Gotabaya, while UNP faces worst crisis

Dec 29 (ST) As an old year gives way to a new one in just two days, what lies ahead is the concern of most Sri Lankans. Expectations have been heightened after this year’s most significant event, the presidential election on Nov 16. That a ruling coalition, religiously dubbed as a good governance (Yahapalana) govt, heaped burdens on the people and worked contrary to the pledges it made became clear following more..

Suddenly, the big bad wolf at Lanka’s door is a huggable, kissable teddy bear

Dec 30 (ST) The groundswell of nerve wracking fear swept across the land and held the nation in its grip when, in a pre-poll breaking news flash, the SLPP’s tom-tom beaters Weerawansa and Gammanpila tub thumped their startling message that the ruling UNP was on the verge of selling Lanka’s sovereignty down the river to Uncle Sam for a mere 480 million dollars. Joining the duo, there were others who painted a racy picture of the island’s virginal lair being brutally violated by American GIs, more..

Creating rooted cosmopolitans & Understanding intercultural connections

Dec 30 (CT) Every year, I begin my comparative literature class with the following exercise: I ask my students to write down all ‘national literatures’ they have read. I usually explain in advance what a national literature is: literature written in any national language like Hindi, Thai, Indonesian and so on. Nearly all my students at the department of Sinhala read only in Sinhala. And many of them are from rural working class or lower middle class backgrounds. more..

Premadasa supporters push for official residence, but Sajith mum

Dec 30 (ST) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa’s close supporters are on a campaign to muster support to seek an official residence for him. This is in his capacity as the Leader of the Opposition. In this position, they say, he is entitled to an official house. This is much the same way an official residence was given to TNA leader, R. Sampanthan, when he was the Leader of the Opposition. Until then, he was living in a more..

Taking a long and hard look at yahapalanaya failures

Dec 30 (ST) Preaching to others while lifting a supercilious finger at inequities patently becoming apparent in the return of the Rajapaksas to seats of power in SL, the most recent of which is the govt direction that the National Anthem will be sung only in Sinhala at the Independence Day celebrations next year, may serve as a soothing salve of sorts to many in chastened yahapalanaya ranks. That is understandable perhaps as bitter disappointment following the UNP led coalition’s defeat more..

The creep of institutionalised tyranny

Dec 30 (CT) “The former govt harboured an intense resentment towards the army, which preserved Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and integrity at great sacrifice. They tried to poison the minds of the people by trying to portray the army as unsavoury elements, who rob, kill and plunder. However the masses have always stood by the country’s armed forces and hailed them as heroes who did their duty by their motherland” – Mahinda Rajapaksa: Sunday Island 22 Dec 2019 more..

Tsunami devastation: Fifteen years after

Dec 30 (SO) Navodhi Karunarathna vividly remembers dragging her two 10-yr-old brothers back to where their home once stood. They were looking for their parents. House, where her father also ran a thriving wood carving business, was unrecognisable. Walls had collapsed, stuck through what remained of the roof were pieces of bodies. People, bleeding, called out for help. Just 15 years old back then, Navodhi could not stop crying. more..

Editorial: Foreign assistance and patriotism

Dec 30 (Island) Nothing seems to get done in this country without foreign aid or assistance though more than seven decades have elapsed since Independence. We are not short of political leaders who boast of having made a tremendous contribution to the country’s development, but not even a solid waste disposal project can be carried out without foreign aid. The UK has offered to assist Sri Lanka in introducing prison reforms, according to a Justice Ministry media statement. more..

Youth empowerment: Need of the hour

Dec 30 (SO) Shortly after the presidential election, through an unintentional call by a youngster through social media, a wall painting campaign started in a distant city in Sri Lanka. In a jiffy, the campaign went viral and stretched into the whole country. Even after several weeks, many youngsters still engaged in the task. This is a clear message to everybody concerned, how freshness, vigour, spirit and creativity of Sri Lanka youth as a whole can be drawn into a positive and productive errand. more..

Megha Maheema Wijewardhana

Towards an intersection of Rule of Law and Tradition

Dec 30 (SO) Rule of Law. That was a yahapalana howl. The howl would quickly diminish to a whimper when the Yahapanalists carried out the Central Bank Bond Scam. The Yahapanalists went deaf and dumb over the dozens of people who died while under police custody. It’s not surprising. They know of Thajudeen but not of the thousands burnt alive during UNP govts. They know of Ekneligoda but not of Satyapala Wannigama. They talk of Lasantha but not of Richard. more..

Prasanna Jayawardena, the Boss, the Banker, the Lawyer and the Friend

Dec 30 (Island) I joined HSBC in 1984 and in 1986 Prasanna Jayawardena was transferred from the Book’s Department to become the new Boss of the Credit Department. I was a relatively new recruit to the department and was navigating through a complex environment with subtle undertones of preconceived notions about my connections to other higher ups in the Bank. Prasanna’s entry into the department was a relief for he was a free-thinking personality and a man of his word. more..

Chief selector shields Kusal Mendis despite below average performance

Dec 30 (ST) In his last eight Test matches, the elegant Kusal Mendis has averaged just above 22 runs an inning, at least 13 runs lower than his career average of 35.15. This has not been a major concern for the selectors, who have selected him for each tour played during the last 12 months, given the promise the youngster has shown early in his career. His 176 against Australia in 2016 on Sri Lanka’s way to a historic whitewash against more..

New Chairman, Board appointed at Sri Lanka Insurance

Dec 30 (FT) University of Colombo Department of Sociology Senior Lecturer Jagath Wellawatta has been appointed as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance with effect from 27 Dec. Wellawatta’s corporate experience spans across a spectrum of diverse fields. He served as the Chairman of the State Mortgage and Investment Bank (from May 2010 to Jan 2015) and was the former Chairman of National Child Protection Authority (from April 2007 to May 2010). more..

Yahapalana-era proposal becomes first FDI for new govt

Dec 30 (FT) Finance Ministry claimed that a $ 250 million mixed development project approved by Cabinet a fortnight ago will be the new Govt’s first FDI though the original proposal got the nod under the Yahapalanaya regime in 2018 and came under flak by the then Opposition. In a statement Finance Ministry said the first foreign investment under the new Govt of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to be launched shortly. This investment will be made on a plot of land located between the Beira Lake more..

Faster pick-up in private sector credit

Dec 30 (FT) Signaling an extraordinary change in sentiment, private sector credit growth gathered pace from Aug to Nov, accelerating by about 78% to exceed Rs. 149 billion with the last month alone seeing an expansion of Rs. 47 billion. In the months from Jan to Aug, credit only grew by Rs. 42.8 billion. Central Bank said a steady expansion in credit disbursed to the private sector in absolute terms was observed during more..

'Fine, imprisonment for illegal user of water'

Dec 30 (DM) Those who obtain pipe borne water illegally are to be prosecuted and jailed, and the relevant act would be amended accordingly, Minister of State Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. Presently any offender in this regard is only imposed a fine between Rs 5,000 to 10,000. In addition the National Water Supply and Drainage Board recovers a surcharge of two years payment as a fine, and even if water had been obtained for 25 years the amount of the fine remains the same. more..

10-year strategic plan in the making to boost tea industry

Dec 30 (FT) A 10-year strategic plan and roadmap is in the making under a public-private sector collaboration to boost tea industry. The newly-appointed SL Tea Board Chairman Jayampathy Molligoda said that the emphasis of the initiative is to make the tea industry sustainable and boost exports. “The tea industry has taken the leadership to formulate strategic initiatives to put Ceylon Tea on top of the world map. This is a 10-year road map to support all stakeholders of the sector with more..

Fonseka accuses group of UNPers of preventing party reorganization

Dec 30 (RN) MP Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka said that there is a group of about 10-12 people in the UNP who does not want the leadership to change and party to reorganise. They want to take it forward as it is for their own benefits. Speaking to the media after attending an event, he said that this group is not thinking about the future of the party or the country but only seek ways of safeguarding their positions within the party. more..

Malinga’s leadership under scrutiny

Dec 30 (ST) Lasith Malinga’s own performance with the ball may have significantly improved since his return to the side following a long injury lay-off last year, but his performance as skipper of the national side is under scrutiny following a horrendous record as T20 captain. Malinga – the T20 specialist has led SL in 10 internationals during the last 12 months but has managed just one win – a stat that the selectors are seriously looking at with the World T20 tournament just around the corner. more..