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Response: Black Abaya & Majjhima-Patipada

Dec 1 (CT) The article The Black Abaya & Majjhima-Patipada – (CT, 27. 11. 2015) by Mr. Mass L. Usuf tries to give the impression that the article is a clarification of his views that were not correctly understood by me when I responded (CT 21. 11. 2015) to his first article Cultural Invasion – In The Wake Of The Abaya. I don’t think that there were very deep views expressed by Mr. Usuf, that cannot be understood even by anyone except one who is illiterate. more..

EPS & Budget 2016

Dec 1 (CT) Sri Lanka’s population is ageing and an ageing population needs a viable old-age social security system. In this regard, the Economic Policy Statement or EPS of the Government has pledged to establish a national pension plan taking into account the retirement needs of the workers. The reference here is only to the workers but what is needed is a national pension plan for the whole population consisting of the employed, the self-employed and the never-employed. more..

'Cigarette mafia responsible for ousting me'

Dec 1 (SO) Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe will go down in the annals of history as being the first govt official who worked openly against narcotic dealers as Chairman of National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) at the risk of his life and now has paid the penalty and removed from his post, post haste. Politicians of all hues and other powerful figures in society were rattled by innovative approach to narcotics control initiated by more..

So much of power but so few principles

Dec 1 (ST) It has been told a thousand times. A single picture is worth a thousand words. This is not a permanent verity but it is so often true. How true was clearly captured in media photographs of US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power wielding the elle stick in a playing field at a girl’s school in Jaffna. What it did tell us was that Power is used to playing games (she admitted she wanted to be a professional baseballer) but nothing so innocent as elle. She is accustomed to wielding big stick. more..

Economic and fiscal imperatives subordinated to political objectives

Dec 1 (ST) 2016 Budget has to be understood within the current political context and the post independent political milieu of govts pandering to relief measures and welfare expectations of the electorate. Few budgets have eschewed political considerations to pursue crucial changes in economic policies. And these too have adopted devious and deceptive ways to mitigate unpopularity. This fiscal culture has been the underlying reason for not enabling economy more..

'Govt must create better opportunities for employment In N&E'

Dec 1 (SL) TNA MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan said that while the budget holds some promise for the people, as a whole it lacked a proper vision in order to create better opportunities for the people. He said that although six years had passed by after the end of the war, govt had not taken any measures to create a conducive economic environment for the expatriate community to want to come back to this country and invest. more..

The rest of the story

Dec 1 (SL) After the publication of my piece about the lingering death of an old friend and the truly loving and humane people around him, I had, as might be expected, a few friends from that generation at Trinity College, Kandy (TCK) to which both my late friend and I belonged calling me with little bits of his life of which I had not been aware, particularly in the matter of victimisation and harassment by politicians. I checked out these morsels of information and found that more..

India, Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean

Dec 1 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s inaugural speech at the Galle Dialouge-2015 should be noted as much for the content as the form. It was the first time that the he was addressing the Dialogue since the post-war founding in 2010. More importantly, it is one of the few institutions identified with the predecessor regime, and more importantly with then Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, that the present govt has not meddled with. more..

'Govt to plunder Rs 1.7T EPF, ETF cash'

Dec 1 (CT) A frontline anti-corruption watchdog this week alleged that the govt was attempting to plunder the private sector employees inheritance-the EPF and ETF savings, under the guise of creating a private sector Pension Fund. "This is glaring day light robbery with the govt trying to lend that money to venture capital funds, president of Inter Company Employees Union Wasantha Samarasinghe charged. more..

The magic of Maestro Amaradeva

Dec 1 (Island) On Nov 24, something prompted me to listen to an Amaradeva DVD after a long while. It was the day before Poya and the sky had cleared after a spell of torrential rain through which my wife and I drove to Liberty Plaza and back home. We spent only 15 minutes at the Liberty Plaza to meet a colleague to hand over a manuscript of a report. It was a lucky thing that my wife unexpectedly decided to accompany me to Colombo. Her presence gave me a lot of confidence as more..

Doing business in Sri Lanka: Investment climate and challenges ahead

Dec 1 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s investment climate is deemed to be favourable with the ease of investment improving from 57.5% in 2015 to 58.96% for 2016. This is indicated in the World Bank’s recently released annual Doing Business Report, which gives significant coverage to the country’s relatively stronger position compared to its South Asian counterparts. With only Bhutan and Nepal ranked better than Sri Lanka, several news sources have heralded the performance of the country more..

Gammanpila on Ravi K no confidence motion, incompetent govt

Dec 1 (FT) “If Adolf Hitler and Champika Ranawaka contest the presidential election in 2020, I will definitely support Hitler, not because he is good but he is better than Champika Ranawaka,” said PHU Leader Udaya Gammanpila. He also spoke about the no confidence motion against the Finance Minister and the incompetence of President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe in managing the country’s economy. more..

CIC sells Chemifix trademark for Rs345mn

Dec 1 (LBO) CIC Holdings, who have investments from agriculture to paints said it has sold its Chemifix trademark and other brands associated with its adhesives business along with technical and commercial knowhow to Pidilite Lanka (Pvt) Ltd for 345 million rupees. In a stock exchange filling the company said that they would continue to manufacture the products for Pidilite Lanka for the next three years under a tolling agreement. “The deal may be extended by mutual consent more..

City Finance revival

Dec 1 (CT) Central bank (CB) is speeding up finance companies restructuring process after a recent budget directive of giving a 100% guarantee for finance companies deposits, CB officials said. There was huge demand for finance companies' licenses. "Investors are willing to buy finance companies. At the moment, there were six ailing finance companies under CB's immediate observations. We will speed up their restructuring process through capable board appointments more..

President says no need to import judges

Dec 1 (ST) President Sirisena has said that with judges of the calibre of one of the world’s most eminent jurists, C.G. Weeramantry, among us, he saw no reason for Sri Lanka to import judges — an apparent reference to UNHRC resolution. Making the keynote speech at a felicitation ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the appointment of Justice Weeramantry as a judge, President said an independent judicial service more..

Inquiry against junior Rugby coach

Dec 1 (CT) The Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) yesterday decided to conduct an inquiry against Sri Lanka junior coach Sanath Martis, who they claim has given false statements against SLRFU and the Director General (Sports), K.D.S. Ruwanchandra to the media. The letter signed by Rohan Gunaratne, Executive Director of SLRFU, is addressed to the Secretary of the School Section (SLSRFA), Susantha Mendis, informing that they will be conducting an inquiry against Martis. more..

Budget for Business: Red flag for the people

Dec 1 (ST) The 2016 Budget has been welcomed by the business and economic establishment. The big question is whether economic policies good for business are necessarily good for the economy and the people? To what extent are the economic policies in the 2016 Budget and the PM’s Economic Policy Statement different from the crisis-prone economic policies of the past? Economic policies in recent decades have been dominated by a neoliberal vision of transforming the economy more..

Sri Lanka 85th in Global Innovation Index

Dec 1 (AD) Global Innovation Index (GII) which ranks the innovation performance of countries and economies around the world, based on 79 indicators, has ranked Sri Lanka at 85th place out of 141 countries. The GII 2015 explores the impact of innovation-oriented policies on economic growth and development. High-income and developing countries alike are seeking innovation-driven growth through different strategies. more..

CTSU vows to stage a protest once again

Dec 1 (AD) Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) today vowed to stage a protest once again opposite the Education Ministry in Isurupaya over an alleged move to limit the number of successful candidates passed at Grade five scholarship exam. The CTSU on Nov 18 also organized a protest opposite the Education Ministry against the decision to limit the number of successful candidates. General Secretary of the CTSU Mahinda Jayasinghe alleged that some 51,000 students had passed more..

Minister Duminda Dissanayake visits Cuba

Dec 1 (AT) Minister Duminda Dissanayake visited Cuba from 7th to 13th Nov and represented the SLFP as its Secretary General at the 19th General Assembly of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) and its 70th Anniversary Celebrations held in Havana, Cuba from 9th to 12th Nov which also coincided with the 10th International Commission of the Communist Youth Federation of Cuba. Minister was received on arrival by members of the Cuban Young Communist League and more..

Budget debate rages as MPs asked to look beyond car permits

Dec 1 (FT) 7th allotted day for the Second Reading of Appropriation Bill 2016 took off yesterday on a high note regarding competitive social market economy. Minister Gayantha Karunatileka moving the debate urged opposition lawmakers to widen their scope to cover issues other than car permits and emission tests. “On 8 Jan, a historical revolution took place in SL. For the first time in history we established a coalition Govt. more..

Sri Lanka to crackdown on state land, marsh encroachment

Dec 1 (EN) Sri Lanka will not allow anymore encroachment on state land or illegal filling of marshland that has worsened floods and delayed urban modernisation, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. Illegal seizure of state land in marshlands and along the coast was taking place regularly, and was done with the backing of politicians, he told a public forum on the govt’s Western Region Megapolis Planning Project (WRMPP). The project, covering suburbs to the north and south of Colombo, more..

Janashakthi pioneers policy tailored for people with HIV

Dec 1 (FT) In a breakthrough move in the life insurance sector, Janashakthi Insurance has extended life cover to those diagnosed with HIV. This is a unique new policy that will change the lives of many people and give them peace of mind. Over 3,300 people were living with HIV by the end of 2014, according to estimated data from the National STD/AIDS Control program. In the life insurance industry there is a common practice called HIV exclusion. This means that all claims more..

President Sirisena among top world leaders at Paris Summit

Dec 1 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena was received this morning at the Le Bourget International Conference Hall by President Francois Hollande and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki Moon when he arrived to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change – 2015, in Paris, France today (30). The Conference commenced with the opening announcement of President Hollande and it was followed by more..

Workers called upon to meet challenges

Dec 1 (Island) Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) has called upon the trade union movement to brace themesleves for meeting formidable challenges to the hard-won rights of workers in view of some controversial proposals in the Budget 2016. CFL has, in a statement signed by its Deputy General Secretary T.M.R. Rasseedin, says the maiden Budget of the govt marks the high point in the functioning of open economy ushered in 1977 and followed since by all successive govts in SL. more..

Visiting Indian Army Chief meets PM

Dec 1 (SLA) General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff of the Indian Army currently in Sri Lanka called on MP Ranil Wickramasinghe, together with Mr. Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, High Commissioner for India in Sri Lanka Monday evening at the Parliament Complex. Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development and Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army were associated with the meeting with the Prime Minister. more..

Say No to arms for Sri Lanka, urges PMK

Dec 1 (PTI) A day after Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag left for Sri Lanka to review bilateral defence ties, PMK chief Ramadoss today said the visit was a matter of concern and wanted the Centre to declare a policy that it would never provide arms and military aid to the island nation. Yesterday, the Army Chief embarked on a four-day visit to Sri Lanka during which he would review the bilateral defence ties and discuss more..

World AIDS Day today

Dec 1 (CT) National STD (sexually transmitted diseases) /AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) Control Programme confirmed that there were four new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections per week. World AIDS Day falls today. Director of National STD/AIDS Control Programme Dr. Sisira Liyanage said that even though the confirmed number of those living with HIV was 1,880; our estimation is double, we estimate there are 3,300 cases of persons living with HIV. more..

O/L tuition, seminars banned from Dec 2

Dec 1 (AD) The conducting of tuition classes, seminars, workshops and printing model papers targeting students sitting for the 2015 GCE O/L exam has been prohibited with effect from midnight Dec 2 until the exams end. Department of Examinations said that organising or conducting tuition classes, special lectures, seminars, workshops as well as printing model question papers, distributing them and promoting them through any form of media are prohibited more..

New scheme for car permits

Dec 1 (DN) An alternative system will be introduced for public servants, including doctors to obtain vehicle permits within next few days. A senior minister said that govt will soon evolve a mechanism through which public servants would receive around Rs. 1 million in place of a vehicle permit. Most of public servants who are entitled to vehicle permits are in the habit of selling them & can earn a profit of only Rs. 1 mil. more..

Oman Air seeks partnership with Srilankan

Dec 1 (EN) Oman Air is keen on a partnership with SriLankan Airlines with which it now has a code share arrangement, Chief Officer Sales of Oman Air Mahfood Al Harthy said. Oman Air was today working with Srilankan Airlines, with the two carriers complementing each other and offering customers a wider choice, he said. The two carriers were having talks on a partnership, he said without giving details. “Oman Air’s growth depends on building partnerships with airlines,” Al Harthy said. more..

Maldives man can't recollect attack in Lanka

Dec 1 (Haveeru) The Maldivian man severely injured in an attack in neighbouring Sri Lanka earlier this month has no recollection of the incident, his family said Monday. Usman Nooraddeen, 45 of Thaa Atoll Vilufushi island was found with severe head trauma in what was believed to be a mugging. But new information that came to light during the investigation suggests that he was attacked before he was robbed by the three wheel driver who had taken him to the hospital. more..

Bar surprised over HC Judge’s charge

Dec 1 (DM) Bar Association of SL, the pioneering body comprising all lawyers in the country expressed its surprise over the incident where the Galle High Court Judge had filed a case against former Solicitor General and President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsecularatne after his phone started ringing inside the court house. Bar head, Geoffrey Alegaratnam PC said, that it was unusual and surprising the way how senior criminal lawyer more..

'China envies Sri Lanka’s strategic location'

Dec 1 (FT) Sri Lanka should harness its full potential of being strategically located on the Silk Route, which connects ideally to both East and West markets, People’s Govt of Yunnan Province Foreign Affairs Office Chief Counsel Jin Cheng said. Silk Route would not have been successful without Sri Lanka. “We envy Sri Lanka its location. We do not have the sea and that strategic location. Thus, Sri Lanka must explore its full potential of its strategic geographical advantage,” Cheng told more..

Dead bodies continue to float

Dec 1 (CT) Two male corpse were discovered in two separate places in Colombo, yesterday, the Police Media Unit said. Police also added that the first victim was discovered in the Beira Lake, behind Roy Inn, in the Slave Island Police Division. The deceased, identified as Geegana Gamaarachchige Chandrasena aged 54 was resident from Athgala, Gampola and an electrician who used to work in Colombo. The magisterial examination took place yesterday. Post-mortem is yet to take place. more..

SL to auction seized Indian fishing trawlers

Dec 1 (FT) Indian trawlers seized while poaching Sri Lankan territorial waters and damaging the country’s marine flora and fauna are to be auctioned soon, according to Dept of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Director General Lal Fernando. Fernando said that a total of 61 Indian trawlers, some of which were sized as far back as May 2014, are held in the Department’s custody, and will not be released but auctioned instead. more..

Death of a student: A distant siren

Dec 1 (DM) The alleged suicide by a 17-year-old student of Kokkuvil Hindu College in Jaffna must be a wakeup call for the govt, the Tamil leaders and society at large. He was said to have committed suicide by jumping in front of a Colombo bound express train and his school bag had contained a note demanding the release of political prisoners, a hot topic in the Tamil media these days. There can be no doubt that this incident was a direct upshot of emotional Tamil media hype over prisoners’ more..

What makes students take to revolt?

Dec 1 (DM) Student unrest has been a significant feature of the socio-political landscape of Sri Lanka for several decades. Heightened unrest among university students at times resulted in tragic outcomes like the assassination of Vice Chancellors and the death or disappearance of many students. There are several reports of past commissions that explain the causes of such unrest, the most prominent among them being the report of the Presidential Commission on youth of 1991. more..

Emmission tests under a cloud of smoke

Dec 1 (ST) The efficacy of emission tests on vehicles is in doubt with revelations that some results are faked and many state-run vehicles exempted from the test. At least 11 emission test centres have been suspended over allegations of handing out falsified test certificates and running defective computerised testing systems. CEA said it receives many complaints from the public that the private emission-testing companies are more..

Special Excise Unit robs Rs.2.5mn from suspect?

Dec 1 (DM) Controversy surrounds a shocking incident relating to the Colombo Excise Department where members of its special branch had allegedly assaulted and threatened a businessman in Mannar at gunpoint and robbed his cash amounting to Rs.2.5 million. Six members attached to the special unit, which is known as the Special Branch or the Intelligence Unit that directly operates under the purview of Department’s Deputy more..