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UN damns Lanka 14,000 minors in childcare centres: Calls for urgent reforms

Dec 16 (CT) A delegation from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visiting Sri Lanka, expressed deep concern over 14,000 girls and boys under the age of 18 who are currently deprived of their liberty and living in 425 childcare institutions out of which 26 are run by the State. The Group also pointed out that SL's legal framework regarding children falls short of international best practices in several areas. more..

New vehicle taxes fail to reduce foreign exchange outflows

Dec 16 (ST) The system of calculating taxation on vehicle imports in November every year through the budget swings the prices up and down without considering the sentiment of motor traders and buyers, automobile sector analysts and tax experts said. The new taxation formula based on vehicle engine capacity has pluses and minuses and no one can ignore the negative aspect of the new system, an automobile sector analyst said adding that the new system of tax calculation is simple more..

Rajitha to net 30,000 quacks

Dec 16 (Island) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne yesterday said that there were around 30,000 quacks practising medicine in the country. Dr. Senaratne said that the ministry has received information of such bogus doctors operating dispensaries and treatment centers countrywide and that he sought the assistance of the Police to nab the illegal practitioners. He said that he already spoke with officials from the Police headquarters to conduct a countrywide raid on quacks. more..

Sri Lanka plays down Russian tea ban

Dec 16 (DM) Sri Lanka Tea Board said that the detection of an insect which led to the temporary ban of Ceylon Tea imports into Russia may have been an isolated incident, and that Minister Navin Dissanayake would visit Russia to clear the situation. This Thursday, Russia banned tea imports from SL, to take into effect from, due to the detection of a single specimen of the agricultural pest, beetle Trogoderma granarium more..

Crossovers loom prior to polls

Dec 16 (CT) Several high profile crossovers could take place within the local political circles prior to the 2018 Local Govt polls, informed sources said. A senior SLFP Member said that a few MPs from the Joint Opposition (JO) were planning to join the SLFP in the run up to the upcoming poll. Also, during the most recently held Executive Committee meeting of the UNP, the possibility of another leading figure of the JO joining its rank closer to next year's poll had been discussed. more..

Minister instructs CEB to resolve issue

Dec 16 (DN) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya has instructed the Ceylon Electricity Board management to take a decision with regards to the issues raised by CEB trade unions presently engaged in a fast, media spokesman for the ministry Sulakshana Jayawardena said. According to Jayawardena, these instructions were given by the minister at a meeting held last Thursday (14) with the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary and the CEB Chairman. more..

3Q GDP growth slows to 3.3%

Dec 16 (FT) SL’s economy grew by 3.3% in the 3Q driven by services and moderate industry growth but was hampered by lackluster performance in agriculture that showed negative growth of 3.3%. Third quarter performance shows slower growth comparison to 4% in the second quarter and 4.6% a year earlier or third quarter of 2016. GDP for the 3rd quarter of 2017 at constant (2010) price has reached Rs.2,351,384 mil more..

Plundered Tara statue on display in London

Dec 16 (Island) The 8th century gilt-bronze sculpture of goddess Tara, taken by force from the last King of Kandy, when the British annexed Kandy in the early 19th century and was given to the British Museum in 1830 by the former British Governor of Ceylon, is on display again from Thursday. British Museum's China and South Asia Gallery fully had reopened to the public Thursday after renovation and refurbishment. According to scholarly articles, at one time this statue was thought to be more..

Sri Lanka plans to phase out the gas-powered vehicles

Dec 16 (ST) Sri Lanka is working on a timeline for phasing out the import of petrol and diesel vehicles. Minister Mangala Samaraweera has directed the Treasury to work out a plan towards this end. The long term aim is to make Sri Lanka an eco-friendly country by 2040 as a part of the govt’s Green imitative. According to the Treasury plan, all state owned vehicles will be hybrids by the year 2025. Relief will be provided for all electric vehicle owners as the import tax on electric cars more..

Essential items at subsidized prices till April 2018: PM

Dec 16 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the climate change crisis calls for a long-term solution and that the decision to supply essential items at a subsidized prices would be extended till National New Year in 2018. “The expected rains in November and December were inadequate. Therefore crop harvests will be low next year. I and the President met ministerial committee on cost of living. more..

Funeral of Dr. Karunatilaka Amunugama

Dec 16 (AT) Funeral of Dr. Karunatilaka Amunugama former Ambassador of SL to Germany, was held at the Borella (Kanatte) Cemetery, Colombo on Friday (15). The remains of Dr. Amunugama were cremated in the presence of a distinguished gathering comprising high ranking retired diplomats, senior officials of a number of Govt Departments, including the Attorney –General’s Dept., officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, and close relatives and friends. more..

Petition on Ambagamuwa PS re-fixed

Dec 16 (DN) A Fundamental Rights petition which sought an Interim Order restraining the Elections Commission from taking steps to hold elections for three PSs, including the Ambagamuwa PS, was re-fixed for support by the Supreme Court yesterday. Supreme Court’s two-Judge-bench comprising CJ Priyasath Dep and Justice Anil Goonaratne, fixed the petition for support on Jan 8, since the Attorney General sought further time to obtain instructions from the Election Commission Chairman. more..

CEB employees continue fast

Dec 16 (DN) CEB employees continued their fast for the 5th consecutive day yesterday. This is against irregular increments granted to CEB engineers and that the cutting back of their own overtime payments and bonuses. Joint Trade Union Alliance Convener Ranjan Jayalal alleged that former Rajapaksa Govt bribed the engineers in Nov 2014 with an increment and assured them that this would be added to their basic salary after more..

Grazing in the Golf Course

Dec 16 (ST) Many Sri Lankans are familiar with the name Lee Kuan Yew, the late PM of Singapore who elevated that country from Third World to the First World status within a period of two decades. With a per capita income of over US$ 50,000 today, Singapore has surpassed even Japan and become the richest country in Asia. Many Sri Lankans have another reason to remember his name. I have heard many Sri Lankans saying that Lee Kuan Yew desired to transform Singapore to be like SL. more..

UN volunteers in Sri Lanka celebrate International Volunteer Day 2017

Dec 16 (FT) On 24 and 25 Nov, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) in Sri Lanka celebrated International Volunteer Day 2017 under the theme Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere, recognising volunteers as first responders in times of crises. The main event took place on 25 Nov with a tree planting initiative, which saw nearly 5,000 trees planted in 10 tanks. Together with UNDP, UNV and the Govt with the support of students from the Wayamba University, V-force volunteers, and more..

'Development should benefit public not a family'

Dec 16 (DN) The govt focuses on development projects that would have a positive impact on the public and not on those that would benefit a family, as during the previous regime, said Minister Champika Ranawaka, yesterday. He added that a project to construct a monument in memory of a politician's father with Rs. 90 million out of public funds has no benefit to the public. He made these observations at the ceremonial opening of more..

Dilantha to World Championship stardom

Dec 16 (DN) Lankan motor racing hero of international fame, Dilantha Malagamuwa has once again made his country proud by winning the AM class category third place in the second race of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals and thereby securing fifth place in the overall World Standings. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) sanctioned top notched World Finals was worked off from November 16 to 19 with the participation of 160 competitors representing racing teams from more..

Luxury coach fear of attacks

Dec 16 (ST) There was a big fuss about nine sportsmen making a trip in India. One of the reasons was that they had ordered a huge luxury coach for the event and no permission had been sought from the higher ups. All this led to the trip being cancelled. Also in the wake of this it has come to light that a top player had skipped the trip to another neighbouring country as he had refused to undertake the trip to another nearby country. Could it be because of gun attacks? more..

මහින්දට නොදෙවැනි මෛත්රීගේ සැලුන් දොර

He stayed outside home all night to sign nomination papers

Dec 16 (DM) A candidate of the forthcoming provincial council election had spent the night in his garden while he waited for the arrival of the auspicious time for him to leave his residence for the signing of the nomination papers on the instructions of an astrologer. The candidate, who is an ardent believer in horoscopes and working according to auspicious times, consulted an astrologer who attends to the needs of his family and told him that as all the leading politicians of the country more..

Vinod and Taniya bag top titles

Dec 16 (DN) Vinod Weerasinghe emerged Boys’ Gold Division champion while Taniya Minel Balasuriya bagged the Girls’ combined Gold and Silver Division title as the SL Junior Golf Championship 2017 concluded on a grand note at the Royal Colombo Golf Club yesterday. The prestigious annual junior golf event is sponsored by the Prima Sunrise Bread for the 10th consecutive year. Vinod’s six over par 77 was enough to secure him the elite Boys’ Gold Division title by more..

Port City Project: Where things stand now

Dec 16 (Roar) The Port City Project has been at the front and centre of public scrutiny in the past, but no new details on the progress of the project have reached the media in recent days. While the issue of the Port City Project hung in the balance during the transition of the new govt in 2015, very little is being said of it now, which begs the question, what is happening to the Port City Project and where do things stand now? more..

Focus on SL seamers’ death overs bowling

Dec 16 (Island) Having roamed around the northern part of India for more than a month, SL cricket team is finally in the south. The national cricket team conducted a training session at the Rajasekhara Reddy Cricket Stadium here in Visakhapatnam yesterday ahead of the decisive third and final ODI on Sunday. Visakhapatnam is the financial capital of Indian state of Andhra. Sri Lankans will conduct another training session today morning and will be focusing heavily on their death overs bowling. more..

Committee clears Thilaka as SL coach

Dec 16 (CT) Former head coach of Brunei Darussalam Thilaka Jinadasa was appointed as a head coach of SL netball team by Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara after reviewing the report submitted by Inquiry Committee headed by retired Director General Department of Sports Development Milton Amarasinghe the current advisor to the Sports Minister. The inquiry into the appeal made by former national coach Hyacinth Wijesinghe following the interview conducted for the appointment of more..

Guinness Records for the crooked

Dec 16 (Island) Christmas is fast approaching and it’s time again for an Arjuna celebration? What celebration are you talking about? What else, but the Guinness Record – won by the tallest Christmas tree in the world, built at Galle Face for last Christmas? Do you think he could be planning for another Guinness Record this Christmas? Why not? Just thought he could be planning the longest Christmas Fuel Pipe, more..

Kokis, Breudher, Biriyani & Payasam

Dec 16 (Island) When I see, hear and read about the racial and religious hatred spewed by politicians, the uninformed and those with hidden agendas, I often wonder whether I have been suddenly transported to an alternate reality. This is certainly not the reality in which I grew up. That much is painfully obvious! I grew up in a society (and a country) where our friends were friends. Their religion or ethnicity did not matter. Nor was it a concern. Thanks to my parents, I grew up with uncles, aunts and more..

Editorial: Paninno Dinannoya (Jumpers are winners)

Dec 16 (Island) The word, Jumpers, may evoke in old timers nostalgic memories of Tom Stoppard’s fascinating satirical play about a group of British academics cum thinkers who double up as amateur acrobats. But, this comment is not about thinkers; it is about SL politicians who are adept at jumping. It is crossover time! Politicians are jumping like frogs in the run-up to the local govt polls, which will be as crucial as parliamentary polls or even a presidential election in that its outcome will help more..


When the heart calls out, on a starry night

Dec 16 (CT) Unison is a hard word to come by these days, especially unison with nature with the adverse and ever changing weather conditions that has been striking and striving in the world. However, being in unison with something or anything is actually very rare and when I say rare unison, that would be with nature for sure, things that people hardly give notice of now other than to raise an issue about Wilpattu thicket being cut down which I do not understand how many of more..

Exam phobia in schoolchildren

Dec 16 (DN) A large number of schoolchildren undergo exam related fears. Sometimes these fears are overwhelming. It can cause low performance and failure in exams. As a matter of fact, most of the children who are shattered by exam phobia have a good IQ and positive motivation. They show favourable performances in the classroom. But when they go to the exam these students become highly stressed, have fear and they are unable to face the exam with confidence. more..

Call for action to save the last tuskers of SL

Dec 16 (DN) Issues surrounding Human Elephant Co-existence (HEC) have posed a constant thorn in the side of wildlife conservation. The conflict that arises in the communities that flank the wildlife and nature reserves more often than not result in either human or elephant casualties. Such conflict could easily be avoided with the development of appropriate policies and laws to protect not merely tuskers but all elephants in SL. more..

Missing link in local elections

Dec 16 (DN) Most of you would have read in the primary classes the story of the peasant who climbed a Kitul tree in a neighbouring garden to steal a zip of toddy. When caught in the act the peasant pleaded with the owner of the tree that he climbed the tree to cut some grass to feed his hungry cattle. The angry neighbour retorted, Where do you find grass on Kitul trees? That is why I climbing down, was the clever guy’s answer. We were reminded of this story during last Presidential elections more..

The Beijing consensus on human rights

Dec 16 (CT) The very first South-South Human Rights Forum was held in Beijing on the 7th and 8th of Dec this year with the participation of over 300 delegates from more than 70 countries. Mikhail A. Lebedev, Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the UNHRC, also spoke at the meeting. True to President Xi Jing Ping’s promise at the 19th Party Congress this year to play a central role in world affairs, China offered an alternative to the established discourse on human rights. more..

'Wiggie sowing seeds of communalism'

Dec 16 (CT) Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera responding to an article by CM of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran, which appeared in Ceylon Today says that the CM is sowing the seeds of communalism amongst the Tamil people. Questions & answers in the article are by Weerasekara. Q: CM Wigneswaran has responded to all the points raised in your last interview. Do you like to comment? more..

Corruption and Complicity: Perceptions from across Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (GV) Discussions around corruption and its prevalence often focus on the highest echelons of power. In Sri Lanka, irregularities around the Central Bank bond issue continue to make the news – with the President most recently extending the term of the PCoI until Dec 31. Fewer people would think of the Rs 1000 slipped to a policeman during a routine traffic stop – and the vicious cycle it creates. In 2017, CIABOC received over 2000 complaints, the majority of them corruption-related. more..

Responsibility in the judiciary & lawyers to combat corruption

Dec 16 (CT) This Nation continues to suffer in the hands of criminal elements occupying public office in the Legislature and the Executive who abuse public office for their private benefit, engaging in corruption and robbing the Nation with total impunity. The attention of all the concerned citizens is drawn to the “Forward made by UN Secretary General Kofi A Annan” to the UN Convention against Corruption [58/4 of 31 of Oct 2003], ratified by Sri Lanka on 31 of March 2004, more..

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