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British High Commission solves SLC’s U19 visa issue

Dec 5 (DN) British High Commission came to Sri Lanka Cricket’s aid by granting visas to five of the under 19 cricketers to travel to the West Indies via UK. Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva confirmed that the British High Commission had granted the visas to the five players and that they will travel with under 19 head coach Hashan Tillakaratne on Friday to the Caribbean. The rest of the team will travel to the West Indies via USA. The team comprises 15 players and nine officials. more..

UNP parliamentary group meeting today to discuss leadership options

Dec 5 (FT) UNP said changes in its leadership would be among the issues discussed at the UNP parliamentary group meeting today, with at least two names other than UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe so far floated as options to lead the party. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and former Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa’s names have been considered for the post, along with Party Leader Wickremesinghe, UNP MP Navin more..

Parties want EC Chairman to continue office

Dec 5 (DM) Representatives of several political parties who attended a meeting with officials attached to the Elections Commission (EC) had requested its Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya not to step down from chairmanship. The officials representing SLFP, SLPP and UNP had requested the EC chief to remain in the post until his tenure spanning five years ended in Nov 2020. However, EC Chairman had already conveyed to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya that he informed Prez of more..

Tourist arrivals dip 9.5% in November

Dec 5 (FT) Tourist arrivals in November were down 9.5% and in the first 11 months by 19.6% from a year earlier, confirming a continuing downturn following the Easter Sunday terror attacks. According to limited data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday, November arrivals were 176,984 as against 195,582 a year earlier. The cumulative 11 months haul was almost 1.7 million compared to 2.08 million in the corresponding period of 2018. more..

Contents of their Manifesto: UK CP should officially clarify: Aryasinha

Dec 5 (CT) Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha said that they want an official response from UK's Conservative Party (CP) on its Manifesto that expresses that they support a two State solution for Sri Lanka as well as other countries across the world. "We have issued a statement that we are very clear about our stance and have also extended our strong objections to the comment made in the manifesto," more..

Transport of stones, sand and soil: Permit system abolished

Dec 5 (CT) Cabinet has approved a proposal by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to abolish the permit system which was applicable for the transportation of stones, sand and soil for construction purposes, yesterday. The general public is expected to benefit from the price reduction of the above-mentioned construction materials, following the abolition of the transportation permit system. However, the permit system applicable to the excavation of stones, sand and soil, will continue to be in use. more..

Swiss summon Sri Lankan envoy over worker’s abduction

Dec 5 (AFP) Switzerland has summoned SL’s ambassador and asked to see the purported evidence that Colombo says casts doubt on claims by a Swiss embassy staff member that she was abducted. Envoy Karunasena Hettiarachchi, who is based in Berlin, met Switzerland’s State Secretary Pascale Baeriswyl. Diplomatic spat began when a senior SL police officer sought asylum in Switzerland after investigating several cases involving members of powerful Rajapaksa family more..

Video: Swiss govt seeks permission to take embassy staffer to Switzerland

Dec 5 (AD) The Foreign Ministry of Switzerland and the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka has requested permission to take the Swiss embassy staffer, who allegedly was involved in an abduction incident, to Switzerland, revealed Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. He said that the Swiss govt has requested permission to fly the alleged victim and her family to Switzerland on an ambulance aircraft, citing health issues. more..

Switzerland is flat, ladies and gentlemen

Dec 5 (DM) It is not advisable to believe one’s own propaganda. That’s a basic rule in political engagement. Blurs vision. Flaws calculation. Usually results in egg on the face. Now consider an article by Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu published last Sunday titled And so it has already begun. Here’s the intro: ‘And so it has happened already. The first white van abduction. An official of the Swiss Embassy, on her way to work, taken in for two hours. She apparently was involved in handling of more..

Fresh winds blowing across Sri Lanka

Dec 5 (DM) We applaud SL’s Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who successfully concluded his first foreign visit to India from November 29 to Dec 1. Our main focus today is on his fledgling administration now into its 3rd week. Where the President is concerned, it has been one of example rather than of precept and has set precedents by appointing a 15-member Cabinet of Ministers and leading an eight-member delegation, on his visit to India. Hitherto, we have only known of more..

Receiving the skulls was an emotional moment, says Veddah Chief

Dec 5 (ST) The Veddah community has requested the govt to provide a proper facility to preserve the ancestral remains of nine members of their community that were returned to them by the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland. Veddah Chief Uruwarige Wannila Aththo, who accepted the skulls at a ceremony held in the university told the Sunday Times on his return that he had requested both the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and more..

Weerawansa tells prelates country needs new parliament reflecting the will of people

Dec 5 (Island) Minister Wimal Weerawansa told the prelates of Malwatta and Asgiriya that the country required a Parliament that truly represented the people’s opinion. Calling on the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatta and Asgiriya most venerables Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala and Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratana respecitvely, Weerawansa said that the existing Parliament did not represent more..

Jaffna has untapped potential for food processing, tourism: regional chamber

Dec 5 (EN) Jaffna peninsula has untapped potential for food processing, tourism, and private business is more active than the govt in the area, a regional chamber chief said. “The contribution of private sector is high in the economic development of the North,” V K Vignesh, Chairman of Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam said. “We need machinery and equipment’s to enhance the production more..

Govt to go green as part of mega beautification drive

Dec 5 (DM) SL's new interim govt will launch green projects in several parts of the country as part of a mega beautification programme as well as maintaining the environment, MP Namal Rajapaksa said. As the first step, Namal said the section along the southern expressway from Matara to Mattala will soon be greener when the viaducts placed there for elephant crossings will be converted to vertical gardens while more..

Why Modi loves Gota

Dec 5 (DM) Gotabaya and Modi share a common trait; aggression. The former was a key figure in the island administration’s fight against terrorism and Modi this year showed some of those qualities when he allowed Indian Air Force aircraft to drop bombs in Pakistan’s Balakot. This was India’s response to a car bomb which went off in Pakistan controlled Kashmir area accounting for the lives of 40 Indian paramilitary officers. more..

Toll on Colombo bound traffic on the cards

Dec 5 (DM) The govt is in the process of levying a toll from all private vehicles entering Colombo and its suburbs as a solution to the mounting traffic congestion in 2020, a senior source of the Commuter Transport Management Ministry said. Vehicles will be charged on their category and debited to a consolidated fund to develop public transport, roads, control environment pollution etc, the source added. more..

Video: President’s actions since inauguration commendable: March 12 Movement

Dec 5 (AD) The March 12 Movement states that actions taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa since his inauguration are commendable. March 12 Movement of the PAFFREL Organization reviewed the actions of the Prez after assuming Presidency. Convener of the Movement Rohana Hettiarachchi stated that they appreciate the decision of the Prez to cut down the number of Cabinet ministerial portfolios to sixteen. more..

Suspect of alleged President assassination plot handed over to CID

Dec 5 (AD) The suspect arrested over an alleged plot to assassinate President Gotabaya Rajapaksa or his family has been handed over to the CID for onward investigations. Katunayake Police has handed over the suspect to the CID last evening. The Crimes Division of the Katunayake Police recently received a tip-off on an assassination plot targeting the President or his family members. Acting on the tip-off, the officers at more..

President’s manifesto included in national policy framework

Dec 5 (RN) The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to include President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour to the National Policy Framework of the Govt. Speaking at the Cabinet Briefing held this morning (5 Dec), the Co-Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the policy framework includes a 10 point action plan to be executed during the tenure of President Rajapaksa. more..

Eleven alleged torture victims temporarily withdraw case against Rajapaksa

Dec 5 (TM) Eleven Sri Lankans who sued Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the United States for damages for torture have made the strategic decision to withdraw their case to prevent Rajapaksa from using presidential immunity to escape prosecution, the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) said in a statement today. This move protects the victims’ right to refile their case after he leaves office. more..

Time to Part

Dec 5 (CT) Mark Taimanov, a top Soviet chess grandmaster of his time, met USA's Bobby Fischer at one of the Candidates' Quarter-Final Games in Canada in 1971 to find the challenger to the then World Champ Boris Spassky, also from the Soviet Union. Fischer beat Taimanov six-nil and eventually went on to win the World Chess Championship the following year, 1972. Taimanov, also a concert pianist, after that drubbing, said, "I still have my music." The same, however, cannot be said more..

Professional leadership selection committee

Dec 5 (FT) The political storm has subsided. A proven veteran has weathered the storm. He is now entrusted with the utmost responsibility to rebuild the nation and to reposition the country in the Asian economic landscape. Living abroad, I attentively observed the social and political developments in SL, for two decades. It was a bird’s eye view from a distance. I compared local development trends with those of developed economies. I constantly watched indicators for socio-economic health of SL. more..

Harinda Vidanage

Hiru journalist petitions Court of Appeal against Right to Information Commission

Dec 5 (Island) S.M. Manoj, Hiru provincial correspondent, yesterday filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal, against the Right to Information Commission regarding the denial of information about a sugar cane cultivation project encompassing 6,750 acres in the Amparai, Batticaloa and Polonnaruwa Districts. The allegation ins that the vast extent of land had been given to a foreign firm to cultivate sugar, under the supervision of the Mahaweli Authority. more..

Video: Maldivian Foreign Minister visits SL

Dec 5 (AD) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, arrived in Sri Lanka last night for a three-day official visit. He was accorded a welcome by the Foreign Ministry’s Director General of SAARC divisions Aruni Ranaraja and Maldivian Ambassador in SL. He is scheduled to meet Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa for bilateral discussions. Visiting Maldivian Foreign Minister will also pay a Courtesy Call on his SL counterpart Minister Dinesh Gunawardena today. more..

Ranil nominates Sajith as Opposition Leader

Dec 5 (RN) The UNP has decided to nominate Sajith Premadasa as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and a letter to that effect will be delivered to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya shortly. Senior UNP members said that Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has agreed to appoint Sajith. Wickremesinghe will stay on as Party Leader, these sources said. UNP Working Committee members are expected to endorse a decision taken by more..

Several parties have invited me: Ranjan

Dec 5 (DM) Gampaha District MP Ranjan Ramanayake said several minor parties had offered to give him nomination to contest the next general election and that he was ready to join them if he was denied the ticket to contest under the UNP. “People like Sarath Manamendra and Susil Kidelpitiya invited me to join them and work with them. I will have to accept their offer, if I was denied nominations. However, the party has not officially announced the decision not to give me nominations,” more..

Foreign employment registration fee revised

Dec 5 (AD) SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) says that the registration fee for foreign employment and the registration renewal fee have been revised in line with the recent tax relief measures announced by the govt. The bureau said that the President has issued instruction to revise all the taxes on imposed on various goods and services with immediate effect, according to the economic policies of the new govt. Due to the tax relief, the registration fee required to be paid to SLBFE more..

UNP condemns UK’s manifesto on two-state solution

Dec 5 (DM) UNP criticized the manifesto of UK’s Conservative Party which had called for a two-state solution for the national issue in Sri Lanka and urged the party to scrap it. UNP National Organiser and MP Navin Dissanayake said that his party vehemently condemn this inclusion in the Conservative Party manifesto and expect the party to scrap it from the document. “Conservative party should understand that Sri Lanka was one of more..

National Colleges of Education to be upgraded into university faculties

Dec 5 (AD) The Cabinet of Ministers approved the implementation of a program to make all teachers of the country graduates. Under the An informed Citizen: A Society Endowed with Knowledge program mentioned in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto, the Education Minister proposed a program to provide opportunities for teachers to obtain graduate qualifications by upgrading National Colleges of Education into university faculties. more..

Water tariffs for usage above 15 units to be increased

Dec 5 (DM) State Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said they planned to increase tariffs for domestic water bills exceeding usage of 15 units. He said that those using water below 15 units a month won't be affected by this increase, but if the bill exceeds 15 units, the entire bill would be charged on the newly increased rates. “According to the law, water tariffs should be revised every three years. But for the past six years, water tariffs have not been revised considering difficulties faced by the people, ” more..

Video: Measures taken to ensure security during festive season: Defence Secretary

Dec 5 (AD) Defence Secretary Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne says measures are being implemented to ensure the security across the country during the festive season. Addressing the media following an event held in Colombo today, the Defence Secretary said the govt is responsible for making certain that people’s safety is guaranteed. Speaking further on the alleged plot to assassinate Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa or more..

School text books ready now

Dec 5 (DN) Measures have been taken to hand over school text books to students on the very first day of school next year by the Education Ministry. The required volume of text books for the 2020 has already been printed. Education Publications Department has dispatched text books directly to schools that have more than 1,500 students. The required text books for other schools have been dispatched to divisional education offices. It has been revealed that certain schools, more..

Abans denies dealership allegations

Dec 5 (TM) Abans Auto (Pvt.) Ltd. has categorically denied any forgery or illegality with regard to its dealership of Hyundai vehicles in Sri Lanka. Group Managing Director Behman (Tito) Pestonjee asserted that Abans Auto will be the sole distributor of Hyundai vehicles in Sri Lanka from 1 January 2020 onwards. Pestonjee made these comments in response to the article The Sunday Morning Business published last week under the headline “Forgery around Hyundai dealership in SL?”. more..

Video: Ulterior motive of Swiss embassy incident is to upset int’l community: Govt

Dec 5 (AD) Govt of SL said it believes the incident involving a staff member of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo is an attempt to bring SL to disrepute and assured that a very impartial investigation will be carried out if the alleged victim comes forward. “We have clearly indicated that the govt is ready to cooperate with any party related to this particular incident and unfortunately there is no complaint, there is no evidence and more..

Teachers’ union teaches basics to new Higher Education Minister

Dec 5 (Islan) Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) criticised the Minister of Higher Education, Bandula Gunawardena's statement that the govt had decided to recruit 50,000 teaching assistants. General Secretary of the CTU, Joseph Stalin said that it was not only a violation of the SL Teachers' Service Minute but would also lead to a drop in the quality of teaching. "This is what previous education minister, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam did. He also tried to recruit teaching assistants and sports instructors. more..

Mobile phones, laptops & cash seized from raid at Mirihana Detention Centre

Dec 5 (AD) A special has been carried out at the Mirihana Detention Centre today (05), where foreigners are being held for visa violations. Accordingly, a total of 75 mobile phones, 5 laptops and cash worth Rs. 156,000 have been seized in possession of the detainees, Department of Immigration & Emigration Department said. The haul was seized during a joint raid carried out by Police and STF along with a group of officers attached to investigation division of Immigration Dept. more..

Bathiudeen requests Prez to appoint commission to probe allegations

Dec 5 (TM) ACMC Leader Rishad Bathiudeen has sent an official letter to Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa requesting him to appoint a special Independent Presidential Commission to investigate allegations levelled against him in connection with the Wilpattu National reserve and Easter Sunday Attacks. Bathiudeen’s letter to the Prez is reproduced below; I, with the ACMC and its supporters, wish to sincerely congratulate more..

Edu. Minister orders report over illegal admission letters

Dec 5 (DM) Education Ministry has requested an immediate report over the alleged issuance of 427 illegal letters to admit students for schools violating the election laws and the Constitution. The order had been issued by Education Minister Dullas Alahapperuma considering the period Oct 7 to Nov 26. Ministry said information in this regard was received by the Ministry. “It was revealed that certain letters had been issued with forged signatures of Education Ministry secretaries,” more..

Upcountry train services disrupted by minor landslide

Dec 5 (AD) Train services on the upcountry line have been disrupted owing to a minor landslide between Diyatalawa & Bandarawela railway stations, says the Railway Control Room. Accordingly, the trains setting off from Colombo to Badulla will be terminated at Diyatalawa for the time being. The trains departing from Badulla will be stopped at Bandarawela railway station. Buses have been deployed to transport passengers between Diyatalawa and Bandarawela. more..