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Priyankara Jayaratne released from SriLankan Catering bribery case

Dec 3 (AD) Colombo High Court has released the former Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne from all charges in the case over SriLankan Catering Limited. The case filed by the Bribery Commission was withdrawn and accordingly, Colombo HC Judge Manjula Tilakaratne, today. The Bribery Commission had filed a case against then-Minister of Civil Aviation Priyankara Jayaratne under the Bribery Act over influencing the CEO of SriLankan Catering Limited to pay an amount over Rs 330,000 more..

Swiss state secretary calls for answers in Sri Lanka embassy incident

Dec 3 (AD) SL’s ambassador to Switzerland has been summoned to Bern to explain a factual dispute over the alleged intimidation of a Swiss embassy staff member in Colombo. Swiss foreign ministry has complained that a local employee at the Swiss embassy in Colombo was held on the street on Nov 25 and threatened by unidentified men to force her to disclose embassy-related information. more..

Sri Lanka tax cuts could cost Rs500bn: Minister Rambukwelle

Dec 3 (EN) Sri Lanka’s tax cuts could cost around 500 to 550 billion rupees a year, but will boost economic growth and future tax revenues, State Minister for Investment Promotion Keheliya Rambukwelle said. “According to our calculation we may lose about 550 billion rupees,” Minister Rambukwelle said. He said Sri Lanka’s tax collections were about one trillion rupees in 2014, with which they ran the economy, which was more than doubled by the last administration. more..

Estate workers’ children offered schools by CEWET

Dec 3 (Island) Applications are invited from the children of estate workers, for award of scholarships by the Ceylon Estate Workers’ Education Trust (CEWET). These scholarships are available for GCE A/L, Undergraduate courses and for students undergoing Vocational/Technical education in Govt Technical Colleges in SL. Students who have passed GCE O/L exam (with minimum 6 credit passes) or A/L exam and below 25 years of age are eligible to apply for this scholarship. more..

Proroguing Parliament may cause several problems: UNP

Dec 3 (DM) Some UNP MPs today claimed that proroguing Parliament till Jan 3, 2020 was bound to create several issues and also suspicion about political deals. UNP MPs Harin Fernando, S.M. Marikkar, Harsha De Silva, Hesha Vithanage, Chaminda Wijesiri and Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said this at a news conference and pointed out that there was no necessity to prorogue the House till January next year. more..

Italian and Norwegian envoys call on the President

Dec 3 (RN) Italian and Norwegian envoys called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat. Italy’s Ambassador to SL Rita Giuliana Mannella upon meeting Rajapaksa congratulated him on behalf of the Italian Govt. She also conveyed to the President her govt’s expectation to work in wider cooperation with SL moving ahead with a new vision. Mannella further expressed her confidence that Sri Lanka will forge ahead in every sphere including more..

New power plant need urgently: CEBEU

Dec 3 (CT) Govt and the newly-appointed Minister of Power and Energy Mahinda Amaraweera have to take immediate steps build a power plant before March next year, since the power that is being consumed by hydroelectric power plants will end by next year, claimed the Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers' Union (CEBEU). Secretary of the CEBEU, Engineer Anuruddha Tilakaratne, said that there will be a power shortage of over 500 Mega Watts if the Govt did not take any action more..

Tamil Tigers acquitted in Switzerland

Dec 3 (SWI) The Swiss Federal Court has ruled that the Tamil Tigers are not a criminal organisation and has acquitted 12 people of charges filed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). In its indictment, the OAG had accused the people of violating the Swiss Penal Code by raising funds for the LTTE between 1999 and 2009. After its nine-year investigation, the OAG suspected the accused of financially supporting the World Tamil more..

Refuse tea worth Rs. 3.5mn seized

Dec 3 (DM) Two containers full of refuse tea valued at Rs. 3.5 million had been raided today at the Colombo Port, Customs Additional Director General and Media Spokesman Sunil Jayaratne said. He said the two containers were to be exported to Iraq via Jebel Ali Port on November 20. The raid was conducted by the Customs Risk Management Unit, he said. “During the raid, the Customs Officers managed to find 37,500 kilograms of refuse tea packed in two 40-foot containers,” he said. more..

A.R. Desapriya appointed SEC Chairman

Dec 3 (AD) Deputy Secretary to the Treasury A.R. Desapriya has been appointed as the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Before he assumed the duties of his current position as Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, he worked as Director General of National Budget Department. He is also serving as a member on the Board of the Sri Lanka Insurance Board and a Director to the Board of Regional Development Bank. A.R. Desapriya has a BSc Degree in Public Administration from more..

‘SLFP MPs who breached code of conduct will be removed’

Dec 3 (NR) General Secretary of UPFA Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says measures will be taken to remove Parliamentarians who violated the code of conduct of the SLFP. Speaking to media in Sapugaskanda the Minister said disciplinary action will also be taken against the Pradeshiya Sabha members who violated the party’s code of conduct. Minister said following the conclusion of disciplinary action, more..

SC fixes for inquiry contempt of court case against MP Ramanayake

Dec 3 (Island) Supreme Court yesterday fixed for inquiry on April 3, the contempt of Court petition filed against the former Deputy Minister and at present the UNP MP for the Gampaha District, Ranjan Ramanayake. The judges of the Supreme Court, advised the Attorney-General to file a petition pertaining to a public address Ramanayake had made in Colombo, where he prejudged a case that was being heard before a full bench of the Supreme Court, pertaining to a fundamental rights more..

Video: Ajith P. Perera claims Ranil is likely to step down

Dec 3 (AD) UNP MP Ajith P. Perera says that they expect party leader and former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to handover responsibilities to the next generation and respectfully end his democratic service. “As a great democrat, we are expecting that Ranil Wickremesinghe will handover these responsibilities to the new generation and end his democratic service respectfully,” he said. The former minister also stated that they have come to learn that Mr Wickremesinghe is preparing to more..

US gives landslide monitoring technology, training to Sri Lanka

Dec 3 (EN) NBRO has received landslide monitoring instruments and training from the US to manage risks, US Embassy said. Engineers and geologists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) visited SL to partner with SL’s scientists to install the equipment in Nkgaha, Kalutara area. The equipment will help identify areas vulnerable to landslides, using technology such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), a very precise method more..

Video: Pujith & Hemasiri further remanded

Dec 3 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and IGP Pujith Jayasundara have been further remanded till Dec 17th. The Additional Colombo Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage delivered the order when the case was taken up today. CID informed the magistrate that investigations pertaining to the allegations against the two defendants are ongoing. Citing that statements are to be recorded from more police officers, the CID sought the court to grant more time to report more..

Ranil says did not maintain files on Ministers

Dec 3 (DM) UNP leader and former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said he was not involved in preparing files on the conduct of ministers in the former govt. Issuing a special statement, Mr. Wickremesinghe said his staff at Temple Trees were only engaged in preparing documents and files pertaining to the premiership. These he said were documented in a proper manner. It was reported that some files pertaining to various actions of former ministers were found at Temple Trees after more..

President suspends purchase of vehicles for ministries, state firms

Dec 3 (DM) President’s Office has suspended the purchase of new vehicles for ministries and institutes under ministries, govt sources said. This measure has been taken on the directives of President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa in order to limit govt expenses. If there was any shortage of vehicles for any ministry, additional vehicles under the President’s Office would be provided, reports said. The Prez had earlier requested ministries more..

Harassment of journalists surges in first days of Rajapaksa presidency

Dec 3 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shares the concerns of Sri Lanka’s journalists about the searches, interrogations and acts of intimidation to which they have been subjected to since Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn in as president just two weeks ago. The authorities must put a stop to all forms of intimidation, RSF said. It took little more than a week after his installation on 18 Nov for Rajapaksa, also known as the Terminator, to start having an impact of press freedom in SL. more..

Video: Sri Lanka: Families waiting for news from their children

Dec 3 (BBC) Sri Lanka’s civil war ended 10 years ago but there has been little progress in tracing those who disappeared during and after the violent end to the war. About 20,000 people, mostly Tamils, are thought to still be missing. Many believe their relatives are alive and in the hands of the security forces - a view rejected by the govt. These families meet and hold daily vigils to protest and to keep their relatives’ memories alive. Many of them now fear the return to power of more..

Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi calls for optimising bilateral economic linkages

Dec 3 (MFA) Pakistan Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi who arrived in Sri Lanka on a two day visit, called on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry on Monday and discussed the growing bilateral relations that could be further diversified and developed in the main sectors. The visiting Foreign Minister congratulated Minister Gunawardena on his new assignment and more..

Is Modi spreading Hindutva fascism to SL?

Dec 4 (CT) It appears Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, representing RSS Hindutva fascism, is spreading his hatred towards Sri Lankan Muslims. On the day the newly elected President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office Mr Modi dispatched his Foreign Minister Subramanian Jaishanker to meet President Gotabaya. Writing about this in Colombo Telegraph under the title India’s carrot and stick to President Rajapaksa Rajeewa Jayaweera had this to state; more..

Finding the areas of mutual agreement

Dec 4 (CT) Along with the change of govt that took place after the prez election there is a sense of strong govt and an uncertainty about what the parameters of free space will be. So far the new govt’s approach has been to continue to give space to political and civil society actors as it existed prior to the change of govt. A test case was whether the govt would permit the commemoration of LTTE Heroes Day on Nov 26. Defence Secretary, Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne explained more..

Litterbugs beware!

Dec 4 (CT) Removing trash, bulky items and hazardous materials from our streets helps us prevent pollutants from finding their way into the ocean and other bodies of water. Hazardous materials dumped on the streets are of utmost priority for clean-up, as the toxins present can pollute our surroundings and the air we breathe. Police began operations to clean up the environment on the instructions of newly-elected Prez more..

Britain and Post (sic) Colonial Skullduggery

Dec 4 (SO) A few weeks ago, indigenous leaders from Australia visited the Manchester Museum. They went there to collect various sacred ceremonial artifacts which were said to have been taken without permission by early 20th Century British colonialists. Danny Teece-Johnson, a journalist for Australia’s National Indigenous Television, had an interesting comment on the language of extraction. ‘You’re saying borrowed, you’re saying this and that. Nah, let’s talk about white elephant in the room: more..

Millennium Corporation Compact: A dangerous UNP crisis gift to SL?

Dec 4 (CT) The absolute majority of peace-loving and patriotic community of this country is terrified with the message of Millennium Corporation Compact. This compact was brought to Sri Lanka by the former Good Governance Govt, defeated by the SLPP. The frustrating issue is, the people of Sri Lanka are nestled in the void of important informative details of this bilateral agreement. On top of that, some international actors of vested interest are in a dubitable crazy race to more..

Delving into the heart of Jaffna for his role in Funny Boy

Dec 4 (ST) When it came out of its antique teak and ebony closet in 1994, Funny Boy swept the queer community right off its feet- with the turbulent, exotic monsoon of a bildungsroman — about growing up gay in 1980s SL and falling in love against flaming ethnic riots. Arjie Chelvaratnam, probably one of the most silently charismatic protagonists in literature, would become an idol for many young-and-not-so-young boys more..

Suffered in the hands of good governance

Dec 4 (SO) The day was Nov 15. The day prior to the Presidential Election. I live in a flat with my sick child. He wanted to drink some tea in the evening. I switched on the gas cooker hoping there was enough gas to boil some water to make tea for my sick child. But my heart stopped when the cooker did not ignite after several attempts. We do not have any electrical appliances at home. I went to a shop close by to buy a cup of tea. But all of them were closed down due to non-availability of gas. more..

Editorial: Prez in a straitjacket

Dec 4 (Island) Parliament has been prorogued, and its new session is scheduled to commence on 3 Jan. 2020. The new govt is likely to move a Bill seeking to amend the 19th Amendment, next month itself. In a turn of events replete with irony, the UNP, which introduced the 19th Amendment and hailed it as a triumph for democracy, has offered to help amend it! This offer is tantamount to an admission that the 19A has some serious flaws that need rectification. The caretaker govt is sure to grab the UNP’s offer. more..

Tissa Aththanayaka

The Presidential Poll was on the Day of Tolerance

Dec 4 (CT) Alarmed by the current rise in acts of intolerance, violence, terrorism, aggressive nationalism, racism, and discrimination directed against national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, as well as acts of violence and intimidation committed against individuals exercising their freedom of opinion and expression - all of which threaten the consolidation of peace and democracy, both nationally and internationally, and are obstacles to development. more..

Repeal of Sections 13 and 19 should be top priority

Dec 4 (Island) Judging by the post-Nov 17 political discourse, SL seems to be experiencing an outbreak of common sense. Many worthy proposals, emanating from the grassroots, appear to supplement the new Prez’s task of repairing the economic, national security and social damage caused by yahapalana incompetence and neglect. Shift of public attention on to issues that matter has been helped by the salutary change in the Prez’s election campaign that desisted from more..

Alleged abduction of embassy employee: Swiss jolted by GR govt response

Dec 4 (Island) Having battled high profile accusations for several days in the wake of an alleged abduction of a local Swiss Embassy employee, the govt, on Sunday night, accused Ambassador Hanspeter Mock of lying. A one page statement, issued by the Foreign Ministry, following consultations with Prez Rajapaksa, who had been closely monitoring the developments, set the record straight. more..

Sinhala Buddhist nationalism and marginalisation of minorities

Dec 4 (Island) A few days prior to the recent presidential election, in a piece published in these columns, I stated that the election would be a contest between the national bourgeoisie (i.e. indigenous capitalist class) and the comprador bourgeoisie (i.e. capitalist class looking after the interests of western capital), and that the former would receive wide support from the rural Sinhala Buddhist peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the working class, whilst the latter would be more..

Lanka should be wary: Pakistan at home are a different kettle of fish

Dec 4 (DN) Pakistan, Sri Lanka’s next opponents in the ICC World Test Championship have just concluded a two-Test series in Australia where they were beaten fairly and squarely 2-0 by a team that proved to be far too superior to them. Although the results may sound rather disappointing the experience Pakistan gained playing against a fully-fledged Australian side is certain to stand them in good stead for the SL series which will be played on their home turf at Rawalpindi & Karachi. more..

Nilani clinches first athletic gold medal

Dec 4 (DN) Nilani Rathnayake clinched the first athletic gold medal in women’s 1500m race and Sri Lanka won five gold medals at the end of the third day of 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu. Ratnayake was scheduled only to run the 5000m at the games, but at the last moment she was slotted into the 1500m line-up as replacement for Nimali Liyanarachchi who was injured a day before Sri Lanka’s departure to Nepal. more..

History making netballers from Ladies get Singapore tour

Dec 4 (ST) After being the pioneers in introducing the game of Netball to girls schools in SL, 2019 was a Red Letter year for Ladies’ College as it made history by winning the All Island Netball Championships, Under 18 for the first time in it’s 119 year history. Having been Runner-up in 2018 to Visakha Vidyalaya in Hikkaduwa, LC solidified their reputation of being a winning team by pipping long-time Champions Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala to the winning post in a knife-edge more..

Mother Sri Lanka unveils flagship store in Kotte to assist over 6,000 families

Dec 4 (Island) Walking the talk, Mother Sri Lanka (MSL), the independent, not-for-profit charity opened its flagship store to create a space to sell aesthetically pleasing, home-grown products made by beneficiaries of the movement’s Empowering Entrepreneurs Program. Located at the popular promenade down the Parliament drive at 614 Sri J'pura Road, Ethul Kotte, Kotte, the store offers a wide range of authentic SL products from organic foods & beverages, rush & reed accessories, more..

Govt to reintroduce tax concessions for FDIs

Dec 4 (FT) Govt said they will reintroduce tax concessions to boost Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), as well as renegotiate all existing and proposed bilateral and investment agreements, some of which may take place after the General Elections. “We will structure Sri Lanka to be comparatively advantageous for any investor, and reintroduce tax concessions for investors looking at investment opportunities in the country,” more..

INSEE launches Collaboration Space for innovation in rare industry move

Dec 4 (Island) With a view to upgrading the national construction industry, INSEE Cement Sri Lanka, established an innovation-to-industry open collaboration space (i2i Centre) at INSEE Complex in Peliyagoda recently which was seen as a rare industry move in a copy and paste world. Asked whether they were not afraid to share their knowledge with their rivals, Jan Kunigk, executive Vice President – Sales, Marketing and innovation of INSEE Cement Sri Lanka said, more..

Prominent economist Dr. Jim Walker to speak at Asia Securities Investment Conference

Dec 4 (FT) Macroeconomist and internationally renowned emerging markets investment expert Dr. Jim Walker will be in Colombo to deliver the keynote address at the 3rd Annual Sri Lanka Investment Conference, hosted by Asia Securities, next week. Dr. Walker is the Founder and Chief Economist of Asianomics Group, and the Chief Economist at Aletheia Capital. Prior to establishing Asianomics, Dr. Walker was the Chief Economist at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets from 1991 to 2007. more..