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Blocking appointment of academic staff: VCs

Dec 4 (DM) The university vice-chancellors have complained to Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane that a certain lady official at the Finance Ministry was blocking the approval for appointing employees to their academic staff in keeping with the recommended cadre. The minister met the Vice-Chancellors yesterday to discuss the increased intake for the next academic year more..

UNP Gampaha Dist. leadership changes?

Dec 4 (DM) Changes to the UNP district leadership are on the cards with current Badulla District MP Harin Fernando expected to be appointed as Gampaha District Leader, party sources said. In a response to a question asked at a news conference he said some discussions have taken place on the matter but no final decision has been made. He said he was ready to contest from anywhere. “I am willing to contest even from Hambantota if asked to do so,” the MP said. more..

ComBank makes exceptional impression at Best Corporate Citizen awards

Dec 4 (Island) Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s commitment to People, the Planet and Profit – the three pillars of sustainability – saw SL’s benchmark private bank win seven awards including the award for second place overall at the 2019 Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards presented by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The Bank was declared the winner of the Triple Bottom Line Award for Social Sustainability (People); the winner in the Finance Sector, the winner of the Category Awards for Customer Relations more..

US envoy assures to boost Sri Lanka’s competitiveness

Dec 4 (FT) US Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz assured to extend support to be part of SL’s rising tide, particularly in the areas of partnerships, regulatory consistency, political stability, and rule of law, to boost SL’s competitiveness. Speaking at ICSE International Women’s Conference 2019, the Ambassador said the US was looking forward to working with Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa for a strong and sovereign SL, based on extensive partnerships more..

Kumar Sangakkara wins LMD’s Sri Lankan Of The Year award

Dec 4 (FT) Pioneering business magazine LMD has announced that its Sri Lankan Of The Year (SLOTY) for 2019 is former cricketing hero Kumar Sangakkara. Paying tribute to Sri Lanka’s foremost brand ambassador, LMD says: “He is one of a handful of Sri Lankans whose eloquence stands out in any part of the world.” LMD notes that Sangakkara is only the second Sri Lankan to win the annual award twice and he follows SL-bhimanya Lakshman Kadirgamar, its first SLOTY. more..

Sri Lanka to have framework to stop stimulus leading to inflation, BOP pressure

Dec 4 (EN) Sri Lanka has some space for loosening policy amid weak credit growth but care should be taken for a fiscal stimulus not to lead to balance of payments pressure and inflation, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy had said. He said the govt will unveil a strategy to implement tax cuts “without undermining stability, without leading into a situation where there is overheating in the economy and then balance of payments pressure and there is inflationary pressure.” more..

Rains displace over 14,450

Dec 4 (CT) The inclement weather caused by the North-East Monsoon has affected 4,252 families comprising 14,468 people in nine days till 12 noon yesterday. The highest was from the Batticaloa District, comprising 1,651 families and 5,774 people, next was from Puttalam comprising 1,634 families and 5,335 persons, followed by Badulla 268 families (983 persons), Mannar 247 families (779), Nuwara-Eliya 136 more..

Tamil migrant ship MV Sun Sea dismantled

Dec 4 (CP) An infamous cargo ship once filled with asylum seekers has been dismantled on Nanaimo's waterfront and trucked away. Canadian Maritime Engineering says the SL-based MV Sun Sea has been disassembled and removed from the former Nanaimo Shipyard property. The 770-tonne ship had 492 asylum seekers aboard when it was intercepted by Canadian naval authorities and towed to Esquimalt in August 2010. It has since been in Nanaimo and CME began disposing of more..

PM’s Public Relations Division opens

Dec 4 (DN) The Prime Minister’s Office inaugurated a Public Relations Division near Temple Trees, yesterday. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa opened the Public Relations Office. PM said that the main objective of opening a Public Relations Office is to provide immediate solutions to public issues after consulting the appropriate govt institution. “A large number of people come and meet me daily seeking solutions to their issues. So this office would be more convenient for them,” PM said. more..

Mickey Arthur set to become SL head coach

Dec 4 (CI) Mickey Arthur is set to take over as Sri Lanka's head coach. SLC has agreed a two-year contract with Arthur, the former South Africa, Australia and Pakistan coach, with a formal announcement to be made shortly. Joining his backroom staff will be Grant Flower as batting coach, David Saker as bowling coach, and Shane McDermott as fielding coach, in what is a complete overhaul of the team's coaching setup. more..

Court of Appeal: CC to meet on Dec.12 to consider nominee

Dec 4 (DM) The Constitutional Council (CC) is to meet on December 12 to consider a name submitted by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for the appointment as a judge of the Court of Appeal. The meeting will take place in the absence of an opposition leader because his or her name has not been announced by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in the House. With the change of government after the Nov 16 presidential elections, the opposition leader's post fell vacant. more..

Thisara, Malinga bag most awards in Sri Lanka Cricket Awards

Dec 4 (BDC) Sri Lanka Cricket Awards 2019 ceremony was held at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla on Tuesday where many legends and current SL players were present. The year 2019 is coming to an end and it’s the month of getting recognition for the athletes for giving their all for the country throughout the year. Sri Lanka Cricket Awards 2019 organized the event just at the start of December and the award ceremony was held at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla on Tuesday. more..

Prorogation scuttles important CoPE meeting

Dec 4 (FT) The prorogation of Parliament on Monday scuttled an important meeting of the CoPE, which was scheduled to convene yesterday to examine the forensic audit reports prepared as part of the investigation into the CB bond scam. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti, who chaired CoPE till yesterday, had called a meeting of its members to submit the reports to the Committee, and then decide on submitting them to Parliament. more..

TNA won’t accept Cabinet portfolios

Dec 4 (Island) TNA MP and spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran Monday said in Paranthan that the party wouldn’t accept cabinet portfolios from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s govt. Lawmaker Sumanthiran said so in response to reports in a section of the Tamil media. Attorney-at-law Sumanthiran said that the party would continue with its policy of not accepting Cabinet portfolios from any govt. The TNA was formed in 2001 in the run-up to 2001 parliamentary polls. more..

UK Conservatives suggest two-state solution in Sri Lanka, etc

Dec 4 (Island) Britain’s Conservative Party, in its election manifesto launched on Sunday, said that it supports a two-state solution for Sri Lanka. The Conservatives referred to Sri Lanka, Cyprus and the Middle East as areas that they believed such an approach might help achieve reconciliation. The Conservative Party manifesto said: "We will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability and justice across the world, and in current or former conflict zones more..

Dr. Udagama says effective probe requires cooperation of all, including victim

Dec 4 (Island) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Chief Dr. Deepika Udagama yesterday said investigators should be given to access to the local employee of Switzerland Embassy allegedly abducted close to the diplomatic mission situated on the R.G. Senanayake Mawatha (formerly Gregory’s Road), molested and threatened by a group of unidentified persons on the evening of Nov 25. more..

Skin in the game

Dec 4 (DM) Wooing to them, but full of woe for us – said the message. One sent by a close colleague, correcting yet another one of my many grammar faux-pas that had crept into Twitter. Instead of woo I had used woe. The innocuous message got me thinking, first it was funny, then it suddenly sank into me, the reality of experiencing a Sri Lankan election from thousands of miles away. This was a first for me. I was experiencing this through tunnel vision. It was odd, I was getting information on issues, more..

15 years after cabinet decision... Sinharaja still without a buffer zone

Dec 4 (DM) On July 22, 2004, the then cabinet took a decision to obtain recommendation to claim and connect a half-a km buffer zone for the Sinharaja forest. It was deemed essential as the Land Reform Commission (LRC) under which most of the land falls, had been releasing lands to hoteliers, plantation companies and other investors, thus jeopardizing the future of the world heritage site. It had been pointed out that implementation of the cabinet decision would help annexe nearly more..

'In fighting extremism and de-radicalization Pakistan ready to support Sri Lanka'

Dec 4 (DM) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi paid an official visit to Sri Lanka between Dec 1 and 2 with a felicitation message from his Govt for Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience. The invitation, delivered by hand, was extended to the President, who was still fresh after his bilateral engagements with Indian PM Narendra Modi. During his two day stay, Pakistani Minister discussed more..

Forget G-to-G power projects, go for competitive bidding: CEB

Dec 4 (ST) The CEB wants the new Power and Energy Minister to shun Govt-to-Govt power projects or force them to stand against open competitive bids, referring particularly to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to be run as a joint venture between India, Japan & SL. CEB insists that G-to-G projects, as they are known, are often the worst option because nominated private companies creep in through State sponsorship more..

Galle, Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna: The good, bad and ugly sides to island’s southwest coast

Dec 4 (SCMP) When both Marco Polo and Lonely Planet sing your praises, you must be doing something right. The 13th century adventurer described Sri Lanka as the finest island of its size in all the world, while the 21st century global travel publisher named it the best country to visit in 2019. Not bad, as endorsements go. Known as Ceylon until 1972, Sri Lanka has crept under the mass-tourism radar for decades. more..

Video: Ministry has vehicles but can’t be used: Dayasiri

Dec 4 (DM) State Minister of Industries Dayasiri Jayasekera said today that none of the vehicles at his Ministry, though new, can be used and that he hoped to get at least one vehicle from the Presidential Secretariat. Assuming duties at the Industries Ministry in Slave Island today, Minister Jayasekera said that Ministry of Industries had been tagged with several other Ministry portfolios during the last ten years. more..

Sri Lanka hikes cigarette taxes after VAT cut

Dec 4 (EN) Sri Lanka has hiked taxes on cigarettes at rates ranging from 1.68 rupees to 6.15 rupees per cigarette based on length, effective from Dec 1, after value added tax and nation building tax was slashed. Treasury has issued an order under excise law, raising the tax on cigarettes over 84 millimeters to 48,350 rupees per 1000 sticks from 42,200 rupees and to 43,100 rupees from 37,600 rupees for cigarettes between 72 to 84 mm. more..

SL plans fabric processing zone in East

Dec 4 (EN) SL’s apparel industry is planning a fabric processing park in Eravur, Batticaloa in the East of the island, to draw investors from countries like China in a bid to cut lead times and reduce input costs. Joint Apparel Association (JAAF) is working with the BoI on setting up the industrial zone. “We are talking to the relevant authorities to allocate a land of about 200 acres in Eravur that we have identified suitable to set up this zone,” more..

Tory tangle: Sri Lanka satisfied with Conservative clarification?

Dec 4 (RN) A contentious reference to Sri Lanka in the election manifesto of the UK’s Conservative Party resulted in much confusion yesterday, with Govt MP Udaya Gammanpila and others accusing the party of challenging Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity. The reference is as follows: “We will continue to support international initiatives to achieve reconciliation, stability & justice across the world, and in current or former conflict zones more..

Video: License of quarry responsible for Walapane landslide suspended

Dec 4 (AD) The license of the quarry, which is said to have been the cause of the Walapane landslide incident, has been temporarily suspended, stated Nuwara Eliya District Secretary Rohana Pushpakumara. A recent landslide in the Malapattawa area in Walapane Nuwara Eliya claimed the lives of four members in the same family. He stated that there has been a massive public outcry against the relevant quarry, more..

Video: GL claims Swiss embassy incident a conspiracy against govt

Dec 4 (AD) Former foreign minister Prof. G.L. Peiris claims that the incident involving a local staff member of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo is a conspiracy aimed at discrediting the incumbent government. “It has been clearly proven that the complete story of the Swiss Embassy incident is a lie,” he said. He stated that based on the CCTV footage and other technological evidence, the female embassy staffer in question more..

Video: Singapore studying documents requesting Mahendran’s extradition

Dec 4 (AD) The Attorney General has informed the Permanent High Court at Bar that Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) is currently studying the documents directed by the Sri Lankan govt requesting the extradition of former Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran. The case was heard before Special High Court bench consisting of Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Rajaratne today. more..

Disaster relief under PM's supervision

Dec 4 (CT) Authorities have cautioned the public of prevailing adverse weather conditions and consequent disaster situations - including heavy rainfall, lightning, high winds, floods and landslides - that appeared to be intensifying over the past week causing several deaths and an astronomical number of injuries and displacements. According to reports, necessary instructions have been issued to Divisional Secretaries and relevant public officials serving in 35 Divisional Secretary's Divisions, more..

TRCSL monitoring service providers: Official

Dec 4 (DN) Internet service providing companies (ISPs) have so far not given the advantage of the 25% telecom levy reduction to internet consumers, Information Technology Society of Sri Lanka (ITSSL) Chairman Rajiv Kuruvitage said. The Telecommunication Levy was reduced by 25% from Dec 1. Internet users can complain to the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) if any internet operator fails to pass on the benefit of 25% levy cut to users, TRC Deputy Director said. more..

Maithri Gunaratne

Jaffna disappearances: Prez faces danger from LTTE faithful, unable to attend court

Dec 4 (Island) Court of Appeal yesterday extended till Jan 30, 2020, an interim order that granted permission to Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to skip the magisterial inquiry into the disappearance of two persons- Lalith Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganandan on Dec 9, 2011. Previously, the Court of Appeal allowed Gotabaya Rajapaksa to stay away from Jaffna on security grounds. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva for Rajapaksa had submitted to court that Rajapaksa could not visit Jaffna more..

Navy relief teams stand at ready to respond to eventualities of inclement weather

Dec 4 (SLN) In response to eventualities following the intermittent heavy showers reported across the island, the Navy has already deployed relief teams in identified areas, as an anticipatory move. Accordingly, relief teams comprising personnel from the Navy Marines, the Rapid Response Rescue and Relief Unit (4RU), the Special Boat Squadron (SBS) and the Diving Unit, who are well trained to respond to the events triggered by natural disasters, have been kept on standby as of now. more..

Video: UPFA MP Ranjith de Soysa passes away

Dec 4 (AD) The remains of UPFA Ratnapura District MP Ranjith De Zoysa, who passed away at the age of 57, are to be returned to the country tonight. The parliamentarian had been receiving medical treatment at a hospital in Singapore at the time of his death. Relatives of the family said details of the late parliamentarian’s funeral service will be informed later. Zoysa was born on 3rd May 1962 more..

What the private sector needs more than tax cuts

Dec 4 (FT) Few things have stood out in the first two weeks of the new President. Firstly the significant tax cuts, ranging from reduction in VAT, reintroducing tax exemptions and abolishing other taxes such as NBT and WHT. Secondly the public announcement that the sale of majority stake of the Hambantota Port to China was a mistake and renegotiations are to happen in the future. A key reason for concerns of the US (and India) in recent years on Sri Lanka arguably surrounded on the acquisition of more..

Video: UNP decision on Opposition Leadership tomorrow

Dec 4 (AD) A final decision regarding the post of the Opposition Leader will be taken tomorrow, stated UNP MP Kavinda Jayawardena. He said that there is no crisis within the party on the post. He said the decision must be made collectively by all party members. Meanwhile, a meeting of the UNP parliamentary group is set to be held tomorrow. The meeting will be chaired by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Opposition Leadership and the upcoming activities of party will be discussed more..

Two more Governors appointed

Dec 4 (RN) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed two new Governors today, Anuradha Yahampath for the Eastern province and Prof. Tissa Vitarana for the North Central Province. Yahampath, a British educated Textile Designer is a businesswoman and a Director at Kandygs the handloom exporter. She has been a long-time Gotabaya supporter and a member of the Eliya movement. more..

UAE & New Zealand reps meet with the Prez

Dec 4 (PMD) Ambassador of UAE in SL Ahmad Ali Al Mualla paid a courtesy call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat today (03). Engaging in a cordial discussion with the President, the Ambassador assured his country’s commitment to further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries. The UAE Ambassador while commending the plan of action with a new vision of the President offered his optimum assistance to make it a success. more..

PSCs continue despite prorogation

Dec 4 (Island) The Third Session of the Eighth Parliament ended on Monday, Dec 3, but the parliamentary select committee appointed to study and report to the House its recommendations to ensure Communal and Religious Harmony in SL chaired by the Speaker and the Select Committee to study and report to Parliament its recommendation to ensure National Evaluation Capacity in SL chaired by the Deputy Speaker was continuing, a spokesman for Parliament said. more..

Video: 'Disabilities, not a barrier to vote'

Dec 4 (AD) Political leaders and administrative leaders have not given due consideration to the disabled community in this country, who are 15-20% of the population, stated the Chairman of the Elections Commission. Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya mentioned this addressing the Disability Action Forum 2019 held parallel to the International Day of Disabled Persons, yesterday. more..