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New Year Questions & Dilemmas

Jan 1 (CT) The year 2022 ended on a high football note with more than half the world’s adult population watching the World Cup Final in Qatar on the penultimate Sunday of the year. Christmas came a week later on the last Sunday of 2022, giving extra time for the seasonal cup of kindness, more so for Argentina which won the World Cup beating France in a penalty shootout after two hours of riveting football. For Qatar and the Arab World, hosting the World Cup had other meanings. more..

2022: A year like no other

Jan 1 (GV) 2022 was one of the most momentous years in SL’s recent history. An unprecedented people’s movement drove out an elected Prez and PM and forced the resignation of the entire cabinet as well as corrupt and incompetent public officials. While the aragalaya may have died down for now, the ongoing inefficiency of governance and pervasive corruption means that the real change the people demanded has yet to come as a vindictive and repressive regime continues to arrest more..

China/India play geopolitical games in North

Jan 1 (ST) In recent months, there have been some high-level visits to the North by diplomats based in Colombo–particularly, those from the Chinese Embassy. When one considers geopolitical gravitational pulls, it is understandable why the Chinese are interested in the Northern region, which is socially and culturally closer to the state of TN in India just across the Palk Strait. Earlier this week, a high level delegation led by Chinese more..

A New Year hope

Jan 1 (ST) A new year in the Gregorian calendar dawns today with not just Sri Lankans, but people around the world bracing for the months ahead, hope mingled with anxiety as they look to a world in recession, beset by global warming, where Europe is at war and the COVID-19 virus is rearing its ugly head again. A flashback of the year that was for SL, which sometimes seems like an aeon ago, is that of a country wracked by crisis atop crisis, from food shortages resulting due to a botched fertiliser more..

Lankan Tamil parties must clarify what they mean by full implementation of 13A

Jan 1 (Island) Since the advent of the 13th Amendment (13A) to the constitution of SL, 13A has been facing denunciations from different quarters in SL. It is undeniable that the purpose of the establishment of the Provincial Councils (PCs) has not yet been achieved. Instead, successive SL govts have been consistently degrading it, while socio-political forces among the Lankan Tamil community have been disregarding and disapproving of the Provincial Councils based on the 13A. more..

'Campaign Finance Bill will make huge change in social structure'

Jan 1 (SO) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said that proposed Campaign Finance Bill will make a huge change in the social structure and will give a chance to the scholars to enter Parliament. He said that at present a lot of people talk about eligibility criteria and educational qualifications of the politicians. However, those who are interested in the country and make allegations are not bothered at least to make some changes. more..

Give priority to economic revival

Jan 1 (SO) A huge controversy has arisen over the proposed Local Govt (LG) elections which are slated to be held in March 2023 under the normal course of events. But the incidents we have witnessed in the past year in this country do not qualify to be described as a “normal course of events”. The country faced an unprecedented economic crisis that stemmed primarily from the pandemic and the resultant foreign exchange losses and it is not yet out of the woods by any means. more..

A historic year making way for another

Jan 1 (TM) Year 2022 will go down in SL’s history books as the most historic as well as dramatic in its long and chequered past. Although no effort is currently being spared to alter the narrative and erase from memory the watershed events that shook the nation’s once-mighty political edifice, every one of those attempts has only succeeded in reaffirming the people’s belief that the change they desire is well within their grasp. The last year will be long remembered as the year in which the people more..

හිනිදුම ගමේ හැදී වැඩුණු මහාචාර්යවරයා

Could we wish a Happy New Year for Sports in Sri Lanka?

Jan 1 (ST) Before we get stuck on the travails of SL sports, let us wish all our readers a Happy New Year because from all indicators reaching us, it seems that we will be confronted with a daunting year, new tax regimes, a runaway inflation, a rapidly contracting economy and the uncertainty of elections, local or national, whatever it may be. So, we will need all the help we can get to make the best of the New Year! No question about that. Ministry of Sports has stumbled from one calamity to more..

Private Eye: Good news

Jan 1 (TM) We can begin the new year with some good news. A recent survey undertaken by a university has shown that there is a significant recovery of public confidence, particularly after basic services were resumed. The survey shows the importance of the availability of gas, fuel, fertiliser, and basic food items. Fortunately, dollars earmarked by the ADB, World Bank, and bilateral donors like USAID for SL projects could be transferred to fund immediate needs like gas and fertiliser. more..

Water tariffs: Customers brace for deep end

Jan 1 (TM) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) is preparing to increase water tariffs soon after the electricity tariff hike percentage is officially decided and announced by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) next month. It is learnt that discussions are ongoing regarding the tariff percentage increase and the process of providing subsidies for those living under the poverty line. more..

Cricket, dying cricket

Jan 1 (TM) Following is a conversation that takes place in a suburban Sri Lankan city days before the national cricket team departs for a limited-over cricket series in India. Here is the discussion between Perera, Prabath, and Sheshavi: Perera: All the very best for the SL team this time in India! India is the biggest stage in world cricket at the moment, isn’t that so, son? Prabath: My generation has no more interest in cricket, uncle. It’s a business now. We are the pre-1996 generation. more..

Sri Lanka football qualifying for world chop

Jan 1 (SO) SL sports continue to make headlines for the wrong reasons as merry-go-round officials running several entities win gold and silver at a free-for-all in 2022: First came the warning shot from the world governing body of football and then came the 20,000 dollar fine as battered SL was brought down onto its knees and so-called custodians of the game fallen to zero levels thanks to egoistic politics and their vested interests. Once the island’s most popular sport, more popular than cricket, more..

ලක් ඉතිහාසයේ විශිෂ්ඨම අලුත් අවුරැදු සුබ පැතුම

Sri Lankan maestro Suneetha Wijesuriya honoured at Chess Olympiad

Jan 1 (SO) SL chess queen Suneetha Wijesuriya the Women’s Fide Master and Fide Instructor (WFM/FI) was honoured during the recently concluded 44th Chess Olympiad championship held in Chennai, India. Suneetha became the only Sri Lankan from 48 Asian countries to be felicitated at the awards ceremony. Unfortunately she was not present to receive the coveted award in Chennai but it was presented to her by PM Dinesh Gunawardena. Suneetha is the only chess Olympiad more..

'US grants $240M assistance to SL in 2022'

Jan 1 (DM) The US has announced more than $240M in new assistance to SL in 2022 alone, US Ambassador to SL Julie Chung said. She tweeted that new assistance supports basic food security and addresses the needs of the most vulnerable communities, including funding for school lunches, fertilizer for small holder farmers, and cash assistance for new and expectant mothers. "We are also supporting loans, training and assistance for SMEs in SL, as they face heaviest burden more..

Dasun desired Mathews making a comeback

Jan 1 (ST) SL white-ball captain Dasun Shanaka conceded he would have liked former captain Angelo Mathews making a comeback after months into a 50-over squad while also placing the ball on the selectors’ court. Mathews being excluded from the 50-over side, has raised many an eyebrow as many believe the 35-year-old could offer lot more to the team. SL must play a qualifying round to earn one of the two remaining slot at more..

2022 our annus horribilis

Jan 1 (Island) Queen Elizabeth ll described 1992 as an annus horribilis, a year of disaster and misfortune for her personally and her family. Disaster after disaster hit the British Royals that year including a major fire at Windsor castle, the announcement of the separations of Charles and Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, the divorce of Princes Anne and Mark Phillips and the publication of Diana’s biography lifting the lid off her unhappiness and much more. more..

Many contenders for the personality of 2022

Jan 1 (ST) My dear Mother Lanka, I thought of writing to you as we end a most eventful year in our recent history, and look forward to a New Year in which we will be celebrating 75 years of managing our own destiny after more than 400 years of rule by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. And, what a 75 years it has been! A great way to look back at the year that just ended would be to think of who would be the Man of the Year or Woman of the Year, a person who influenced events more..

Electricity tariff hike: CEB request before Cabinet

Jan 1 (DM) Domestic users with lower consumption levels up to 90 kWh are likely to experience a significant hike in electricity bills from this month if the proposed new tariff mechanism requested by the CEB is approved by the Cabinet this week. According to the electricity tariff proposal for 2023, the consumption subcategories of block 1 (0-30 kWh) under the domestic consumption category will see an increase of energy more..

President Ranil expresses condolences over death of former Pope Benedict XVI

Jan 1 (AD) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed his condolences over the passing of the former Pope Benedict XVI. It is with sadness that the people of SL, especially those of the Catholic faith and I share, with His Holiness Pope Francis and the Catholic community worldwide, heartfelt condolences on the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI,” Prez said taking to Twitter. “He leaves a footprint of ecumenical dialogue,” he added. Former Pope Benedict XVI died today (31) more..

Navy arrests individual with nearly 1,800kg of Kendu leaves

Jan 1 (SLN) A special search operation carried out by the Navy in Duwa area, Negombo on 30th Dec led to the seizure of a lorry transferring over 1797kg of smuggled Kendu Leaves and apprehension of a suspect involved in the illegal act. SL Navy vigilantly patrols the coastal regions of the island, thwarting a variety of illicit endeavours taking place via sea routes. Upon receipt of information to the Naval Intelligence, this special search operation was mounted by SLNS Kelani in Western Naval more..

ප්‍රශ්න උත්තර සමඟ අනුර කුමාර බර්ලින්හීදී

CEB ordered to control operational costs

Jan 1 (TM) Minister Kanchana Wijesekera has written to CEB Chairman on Thursday, advising him to reduce the operational expenditure of the utility provider and to provide the ministry with a management plan. It is understood that in the letter dated 29 Dec, Minister had advised the CEB Chairman to suspend new recruitment to the CEB, which already has more than 25,000 employees. He had also advised the CEB to give advance notice to the ministry if any recruitment was needed more..

Beedi to be taxed from today

Jan 1 (TM) A tax of Rs. 2 will be imposed on each beedi stick at the production level from today onwards in accordance with the proposal made in the 2023 Budget, with the Excise Dept estimating that the move will generate an additional Rs. 3 billion in State revenue. Excise Dept Commissioner (Legal and Enforcement) Kapila Kumarasinghe stated that in terms of the Excise Ordinance and the Tobacco Tax Act, the Department was entitled to tax all tobacco products including beedi sticks. more..

Controversial pharma deal: SLCPI seeks clarity from NMRA

Jan 1 (TM) SL Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI), in a letter dated 29 Dec 2022 to the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), has raised concerns about media reports regarding Minister Keheliya Rambukwella seeking Cabinet approval to import a range of medicines from India on an urgent basis. SLCPI had expressed its deep concern and registered its protest regarding the incident, while more..

Sri Lanka will not hire state workers despite retirements amid IMF deal

Jan 1 (EN) Crisis hit SL will see at least 30,000 state workers retiring by 2022 and no new recruits will be made to replace them, a top govt official said, as Prez Wickremesinghe administration is in the process of reducing a bloated state sector amid a deal with the IMF. SL reduced the retirement age of state employees twice this year from 65 to 60 among many other measures to reduce state sector expenditure in a reform to cut down govt spending as the country reels from an unprecedented more..

Crisis-hit Sri Lanka’s govt expects not to rely on money printing in 2023

Jan 1 (EN) SL’s govt is expected not to rely on money printing by the central bank as it hopes to meet all the govt finances from the increased taxes, junior finance minister said, as the island nation is facing an unprecedented economic crisis. Sri Lanka has already increased a raft of taxes including personal income taxes to boost the tax revenue by 70% in 2023 compared to this year’s estimated tax revenue. “With the new taxes being made effective from tomorrow, we see the govt earning more..

හිරු ටීවී පත්තරේ විස්තරේ

Western Province GDP marginally up in 2021

Jan 1 (EN) The share of GDP in Western Province increased marginally to 42.6% in 2021 from 42.2% a year earlier. Western Province which is connected to the rest of the world through a port and airport is capable of generating the largest value addition, a phenomenon generally seen in other countries as well. As countries modernize services tend to create the most value. “Contribution to nominal GDP from Western, Sabaragamuwa, NorthWestern provinces increased in 2021 compared to 2020, more..

2023: A year of long weekends

Jan 1 (DM) The year 2023 is going to be a year of long weekends, as most of the public and mercantile holidays have fallen on Fridays and Mondays. There will be nine long weekends in the year starting from the month of January where Duruthu Poya falls on Friday, Jan 6, and Good Friday on April 7. The following week will be a four-day weekend as the Sinhala New year has fallen on Thursday and Friday. May Day will fall on a Monday, while Vesak Poya holidays will follow on Friday May 5. more..

Sri Lanka over the worst, but system change needed: Prez

Jan 1 (EN) Sri Lanka is over the worst of its latest currency crisis but is trailing behind other nations as the country approaches its 75th year as an independent nation, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe has said. “We are looking at the New Year 2023 after having undergone the bleakest of times, immense hardships, as well as the uncertainties and hopelessness of the last year,” President said in a New Year message. more..

Electricity bills:State institutions owe CEB close to Rs. 2.8 b

Jan 1 (TM) Dozens of State institutions and enterprises are yet to settle their electricity bills to the CEB, with the total outstanding payments to the utility provider remaining at approximately Rs. 2.8 billion as of mid-December. CEB last year highlighted billions of rupees in unpaid bills, some reaching back decades, as one of the issues causing the State utility provider’s rupee shortage. When asked about who the biggest creditors were, CEB General Manager Rohan Seneviratne more..

Sri Lanka’s further indebtedness over improper use of project funding

Jan 1 (ST) SL is embroiled with indebtedness running to billions of rupees owing to improper use of foreign funding for infrastructure and development projects and failure to complete it in the stipulated period, a recent AG’s report has uncovered. Moreover, most of these foreign projects had been started on an unsolicited basis and as a result, the country had not achieved the investment needs and advantages of the procurement procedures. Govt is compelled to repay over Rs. 30 billion to more..

2022 was one of the worst years, but what could we expect in this jubilee year

Jan 1 (ST) Did ex-President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, responsible for the mismanagement of the economy forcing Sri Lanka’s bankruptcy, strike back on his countrymen when a fairy tale circulated last week that he was headed to the US? The fiction originated at the BIA just as he and family members boarded a flight to Dubai on Dec 25 (Christmas Day), afternoon, then claimed to be en route to Los Angeles. more..

Hunger, power-cuts, elections and New Year

Jan 2 (DM) Despite wishing our readers a very happy 2023, our people are left carrying forward crises created in the past year. We need to confront them (problems) with a sense of pragmatism and practicality, no matter how difficult or painful they are going to be. It’s part of the price we have to pay for handing power over to incompetent and corrupt leaders since receiving independence. Our foreign debt remains unresolved. Fortunately, the miles-long queues for fuel, gas and basic food items more..

Political & Economic Prospects of the Youth

Jan 2 (DM) The dawn of the New Year is a time of hope. And hope comes with the energies of the younger generations. I often wonder what the political and economic prospects are for my students and the youth I come across in my work in the countryside. When my generation started university in the early 1990s, it was a different era. The Soviet Union had just collapsed, the Left movement was in retreat all over the world and neoliberal globalisation was in full swing. more..

SOE reforms: Urgency persists for robust action

Jan 2 (TM) Public sector reforms, particularly of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), can no longer be put on the backburner and need to be expedited to reduce its burden on the Budget, policy experts say. This, as reports over the last two months indicated that the Govt was struggling to make monthly payments to the bloated public sector amidst State expenditure cuts brought in by the 2023 Budget and tougher fiscal control more..

Sleepwalking into Sri Lanka’s deepest, darkest nightmares in 2023

Jan 2 (ST) On Friday (30), IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva speaking to CBS’s Face the Nation, pointed to a clear and present danger. Political leaders of nations in distress must ‘focus on your budgets, make sure that you have sufficient revenues to collect and that you spend very wisely.’ Georgieva was answering to pretty dire predictions of a global recession portended in 2023 with the slowdown of the big three economies, United States, China and the European Union. more..