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A To Do List

Jan 1 (SO) As our planet begins yet another 365-day solar orbit, we habitually look ahead for the New Year and, we think of all the things that we could not do in the past 12 months and try to envisage our list of things to do in the 12 months ahead. As Sri Lankans, we means our island society with its political leadership in Govt and Opposition, as well as its citizenry. We must also include our beautiful island home itself as it continues to shelter us as it has done since humanity evolved. more..

2017: Year for development with law & order

Jan 1 (SL) Sri Lanka faces grave challenges: Economically, internationally and politically in the year ahead. The economy was heavily weighted down before the National Unity Govt took over two years ago by myopic economic policies of the former govt where massive foreign debts were incurred on so called development projects from which prospects economic returns in the near future were not foreseeable. Capital repayments and interests and high interest on loans kept mounting more..

War victims reintegrate into society through their employment

Jan 1 (SO) Every morning, war widow Arumainayagam Nalayani, 49, travels over 80 Km from her home in Mullivaikkal to Muhamalai for work. Never being employed before the war, to a traditional woman of the North, the work she engages in is not only daring, but comes with its own perils. Despite protests by her only child and aged mother, as the bread winner of the family Nalayani is however determined to continue. more..

Ruling on Raviraj killing stirs Tamil politicians

Jan 1 (SL) The Court ruling on the murder of former TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj drew strong reactions from Tamil politicians last week. Tamil politicians both in the government and outside expressed shock and disappointment at the decision to set free the five suspects accused of the murder. Minister Mano Ganeshan said that while investigations into the murder had been stalled, it gathered pace under the govt of good governance. A special jury acquitted the five accused in the murder, more..

S.P. Tao

Jan 1 (Island) There was insufficient focus last week on the visit here of Mr. S.P. Tao, the Singapore property tycoon, for the symbolic ground breaking of the USD 166 million Havelock City Commercial Development. Despite being already past 100 years in age, Tao made the special effort to come here for the launch of an iconic 46-storeyed project that will comprise 600,000 square feet of top quality office space and a 200,000 square foot shopping mall which, as he said, more..

'We will set our plans in motion In 2017'

Jan 1 (SL) It takes time to fulfill everything due to the immense burden of national debt,” Minister of Primary Industries Daya Gamage said. Pointing out that the govt intends on implementing all its development plans in 2017, the Minister noted that 2017 has been named the Poverty Eradicating Year. He says that the govt is planning to increase the earnings of the people in the upcoming year. more..

Swim together or sink separately

Jan 1 (ST) A New Year in the Gregorian calendar has dawned. For the Chinese it is the Year of the Rooster. 2016 was the Year of the Monkey; the monkey being regarded as a clever animal. There is also an old Chinese saying; May you live in interesting times, the origin of which however has negative connotations – of turbulent times. How 2017 will unfold is anyone’s guess. In our first editorial of last year, we referred to the cacophony of voices in the then new Govt. more..

Not a bumper year

Jan 1 (ST) My dear Citizens of paradise, I am writing to wish you a very happy New Year, keeping in mind all that happened during the year that just ended and looking forward to the year that is just beginning. As to whether you wish the next year would be as good or as bad as the year that ended, I suppose it depends on who you are. For most of us last year began with a lot of expectations. A change of guard had only just occurred and whatever difficulties new chaps had at the beginning more..

Mendis aware opposition attacks learn fast

Jan 1 (CI) Even team-mates may not have known much about Kusal Mendis when he debuted for Sri Lanka in Oct 2015, so limited had his exposure been to senior cricket. Mendis had played in 10 first-class matches before playing a Test. He was 20 at the time. If West Indies (his first opponent) wanted footage of his batting for scouting purposes, they would have had to go digging. Fourteen months on, things have changed. more..

Lasantha tapes open a can of worms

Jan 1 (SO) Former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge made headlines again when the audiotapes of two telephone conversations between him and former President Rajapaksa surfaced on online media platforms, this week. Wickrematunge, who started his journalistic career at the Sun newspaper in the late 70s, had a longstanding friendship with Rajapaksa, despite their political differences. The former editor, at one point, served as the Private Secretary to Sirimavo more..

The Angoda mental hospital case

Jan 1 (Island) It was perhaps supremely fitting that we ended 2016 with a scandal involving a key cabinet minister and the Angoda mental hospital. This scandal became public for the first time due to a video posted on by journalist Darshana Handungoda who explained the whole sordid episode in great detail with a powerful cabinet minister, his valet who got involved with a beautiful Korean woman, ending up with six electric shocks administered to the unfortunate valet’s head more..

No. 3, will you please stand up

Jan 1 (CI) SL cricket rarely fails to be in crisis, but of the current issues, the No.3 position appears the most contentious. We look at a few long-term candidates. Kusal Perera; Test record: 565 runs at average of 31.38; Record at No. 3: 244 runs at 30.50 The incumbent. The short-arm jabbing, strong forearm-heaving, barnstorming, non-doping, mass aneurism giver. In Perera's defence, in 2016 he has gone through an ordeal few more..

New Year wishes and pipe dreams

Jan 1 (CT) As this paper has foretold in advance, the Chinese factor breaks through as a decisive force in the fluctuating fortunes and misfortunes of the govt as well as of the Joint Opposition. This motley collection of so-called politicians, have been drawn together by two common factors: Hatred for Maithripala Sirisena and hatred for Ranil Wickremesinghe. Naturally, in their minds, it's always been an imperative that this govt must be ousted and the sooner the better. more..

Distribution of New Year resolutions

Jan 1 (SO) A must on 31 Dec, apart from seeing the old year out and the new in, is making resolutions. This feline was an ace cat for making resolutions from the minor to the major. When a kitten, her resolutions were of the nature of I won’t be greedy. I’ll not get angry with Ira whatever she does to me. Later, it was more matters of the heart: I’ll stop longing for a boyfriend. This because, as a teenager, while others had admiring looks, declarations of love in surreptitiously smuggled letters and more..

Whitewashers to whitewashees?

Jan 1 (CI) If you are a Sri Lanka fan with plans to come to the picturesque Newlands ground to watch your team play in the New Year Test, perhaps you will think to do something more useful with your money, like feed it to a goat. At Port Elizabeth, SL's five-Test winning streak was punctured. Australia-series bubble was popped. Reality set in. In place of the optimism of the last few months in which five consecutive Tests were won and promising more..

Sports: 2016 in Pictures

Jan 1 (ST) For the first time in SL’s cricket history Australia were given a 3-0 whitewash in a 3-match Test series. SL won the first Test at Pallekele by 106 runs, 2nd Test at Galle by 229 runs and 3rd Test at SSC by 163 runs. Test series took place from July to August. SL had earlier won against Australia only once at home in 1999 when they recorded a 6-wicket win at the Asgiriya Stadium, and with the remaining two matches at Galle and SSC ending in draws, hosts won the series 1-0. more..

Final rites of former PM held

Jan 1 (NR) The funeral of former PM Ratnasiri Wickremanayake concluded a short while ago under full state honours in Horana. The 83-year-old former PM passed away on Tuesday after a brief illness. At the time of his death, Mr. Wickremanayake was serving as a Senior Advisor to the President. Addressing those gathered at the funeral, President Sirisena said former was an exemplary character saying he had a talent to solve conflicts and said he admired the late Mr. Wickramanayake as more..

Will Maithri extend olive branch to Mahinda?

Jan 1 (CT) The year 2017 dawns with new hopes of prosperity, coexistence and reconciliation in our hearts. The 22 million people of SL look forward to an era of sustainability with a determination to alleviate poverty in all its forms, President Sirisena said in his New Year message to the people. "It is imperative that we overcome the challenges ahead of us. The progress of the human race was pioneered by people who faced more..

Dengue mossies to be swatted with law book

Jan 1 (Island) Director General Health Services Dr Palitha Mahipala said the govt would strengthen the legal framework to control the spread of dengue as soon as possible. He said the Health Ministry would submit a Cabinet paper seeking sanction for amending the Mosquito Control Act within the next few months. There was a pressing need for stern laws to enable the govt to control dengue which had caused 83 deaths this year, he said. Dr Mahipala said that in 2009 the number of reported more..

Selection and Selectors

Jan 1 (CT) Selection and Selectors had made news throughout this week in two different ways. On one hand SL cricketers lost the first Test of their SA tour by 206 runs in Port Elizabeth, due to some reckless playing. Meantime, back in SL, Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya tendered his resignation, which has been rejected by Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara by promising to sort out concerns. After losing the first Test on Friday, skipper Angelo Mathews himself accepted more..

Development short stories: a job opportunity in Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (TG) As part of its 50th anniv celebrations, UK’s Institute of Development Studies held a short story competition for members and research partners, to encourage fiction writing on development. We publish the three winning entries. Villa stood at the end of a shabby street, where, along the street’s sides, crooked shanties cropped up like overgrown grass. Street was usually quiet, but there were times when it wasn’t. more..

Clive Eksteen: Man who denied Sri Lanka a famous Test win

Jan 1 (Island) The year 1992 saw international cricket teams returning to Sri Lanka after a lapse of five years. With Arjuna Ranatunga at the helm as captain and Duleep Mendis as coach, the Sri Lankans were enjoying quite a bit of success as well. There was a first ever Test win over New Zealand in 1992 followed by a Test win over England in 1993. Later that year, the South Africans arrived for a three Test series. There was quite a bit of optimism among local fans as South Africa more..

SL Navy again being praised for assisting in cargo operations at the Port of Hambantota

Jan 1 (SLN) Local Agents of Hyundai Glovis, Korea, one of the leading Auto Liners in the world, on behalf of their parent company extended their sincere gratitude and thanks to Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne and SL Navy for assisting in cargo operations of their Merchant Vessel, MV Glovis Phoenix at the Port of Hambantota during the recent strike of the harbour employees. Due to the involvement of the Navy the shipping line could berth more..

Minister’s resignation touches off speculation others leaving Sirisena camp

Jan 1 (ENS) The resignation of the popular SL politician and State Minister Priyankara Jayaratne, from the Council of Ministers on Friday, complaining of harassment by Ministers of the coalition partner UNP, has touched off rumors of ten other ministers from the SLFP quitting the govt. These resignations will be timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition govt on Jan 8, 2017. more..

Action sought on UNP PC members

Jan 1 (SL) Senior UNP members have sought action on UNP Provincial Council members who voted against the Development (Special Provisions) draft Bill. The draft Bill was defeated at all the Provincial Councils and some UNP members either voted against the Bill or abstained from voting. Some senior UNP members have reportedly asked the party leadership to take disciplinary action against the UNP Provincial Council members who did not back the Bill. more..

Sri Lanka's bleak political outlook in 2017

Jan 1 (EN) President and PM mark two years of their unity govt in January with their uneasy coalition facing mounting challenges to its stability and cohesion. Our political correspondent examines the possible outcomes in 2017. Best case: President and PM will sink their differences over the govt's perceived failure to prosecute high profile individuals of the previous regime accused of corruption and murder. Killers of Lasantha and Thajudeen will be brought to justice. more..

Indian, Sri Lankan fisheries officials meet ahead of ministerial talks

Jan 1 (ENS) Secretaries to the Ministries of Fisheries of SL and India met in New Delhi on Saturday to discuss the fishing issue bedeviling relations between the two countries. On January 2, the Agriculture cum Fisheries Minister of India, Radha Mohan Singh, and the Fisheries Minister of SL Mahinda Amaraweera, will meet in Colombo to carry forward the decisions taken at the Secretary-level talks. more..

President assures UNP MPs govt will serve full term

Jan 1 (DM) President Sirisena has reportedly assured a group of UNP back bench MPs that he would see to it that the present govt will continue to serve its full term despite differences between the two allies. A UNP MP who did not wish to be named said the President made this assurance when the back benchers of his party met him at the Presidential Secretariat last evening. “President said whatever issues between the two govt allies could be resolved through dialogue,” the MP said. more..

Tough action against deserters failing to obtain legal discharge

Jan 1 (DM) About 6,500 deserters of the tri-forces get themselves legally discharged from the service during the month-long amnesty from December 1, Army Spokesman Roshan Seneviratne said yesterday. He said nine officers and 6,502 soldiers of the Army, two high-ranking officers and 614 other ranks of the Navy and 20 Officers and 294 Airmen of the Air Force had reported to their respective stations expressing their desire to obtain legal discharge. more..

President overturns decision to rent out 58 vehicles to MPs

Jan 1 (DM) President Sirisena said the decision taken to spend large sums to provide vehicles on rent basis to 58 MPs who were holding the Chairmanship posts of Regional Development Committees would not be implemented. He further said a decision would be taken to implement a new system at the cabinet meeting held next week. He further said the decision taken to provide vehicles on rent basis would ultimately result in renting more..

Prices of essential goods reduced

Jan 1 (NR) Several 2017 Budget proposals will come into effect today. Ministry of Finance said prices of several essential goods have been reduced with effect from midnight. 2017 Budget proposals were implemented under three phases. Price of several goods and services were reduced following the approval of the 2017 budget in Dec. Several other proposals will be implemented today while acts and gazette for several others Budget proposals will be issued in the near future. more..

TN leaders flay Sri Lanka for seizing boats

Jan 1 (DC) Strongly condemning the taking over of boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the SL govt, political leaders including DMK treasurer M.K. Stalin sought the intervention of PM Narendra Modi to take steps for releasing the boats and fishermen arrested by the Island Navy. Stalin said the move to take over the boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen is against the decision taken in the six rounds of talks held between the fishermen representatives and govts of the two countries. more..

Cabinet reshuffle: Key ministers to be swapped

Jan 1 (SL) Several key ministers are to be swapped in a cabinet reshuffle in February, a govt Minister said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, Minister said that at least two new ministries are expected to be introduced as part of the reshuffle. Minister revealed that at least four key ministers are expected to be swapped as they had requested the change. “The swap will be done in a cordial manner,” Minister said. more..

More to quit? SLFP ministers set for crucial talks

Jan 1 (AD) Members of the SLFP who are currently holding ministerial portfolios in the unity govt are slated to meet on Monday (2) in what will be a crucial discussion under the prevailing situation, political sources said.  A State Minister representing the SLFP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that present political situation in the country will be extensively discussed during the meeting and that they will also discuss whether to quit the govt or not. He said that following the discussion more..

Sri Lanka parties slug it out over draft Development Bill

Jan 1 (Hindu) When 2016 began, UNP and SLFP, constituents of the national unity govt, were still in the midst of their honeymoon period. But, as the year went by, the differences between the two began to crop up. The latest issue that has caused heat within the ruling coalition is the draft Development (Special Provisions) Bill. The legislation has been bitterly criticised by Chief Ministers, mostly belonging to the SLFP. Provincial councils, one after the other, more..

As 2017 dawns, Rainbow Coalition faces thunderstorms

Jan 1 (ST) Sri Lanka and its people today ushered in a New Year (2017) that bears forebodings of unprecedented challenges. Nowhere is it more reflected than in the once gloriously hailed, rainbow coalition, formed after the January 8, 2015 presidential election. Storm clouds have replaced this arch of colours. That heavy thunderstorms are now building within the Maithripala-Ranil Govt is no longer a secret. more..

Hopes for lasting peace amid explosive cyber war

Jan 1 (DM) Midnight tonight, when 2016 ends and 2017 begins, has been proclaimed as the International Hour for peace, a global effort launched in 1986 by John Randolph Price and the Quartus Foundation - a spiritual research movement. The vision is to give the international community an opportunity to gather for peace, love, understanding and forgiveness through a simultaneous global mind–link at noon Greenwich Mean Time on December 31st of each year.    more..

Is financial dependency dragging down sports?

Jan 1 (CT) A soccer veteran cum promoter recently said in the course of an interview on TV that he was very saddened by the negative course of the game in the country. What he postulated, was happening to the game in SL? Making reference to a comment in the print media he added that the entire ambiance of the game was like that of a funeral house wake. Opinions fop men such as this need to be taken seriously. This game that was once held in high esteem has bottomed out more..

Smooth implementation of RTI : Amendments to Establishments Code

Jan 1 (SO) The Public Administration Ministry will present a Cabinet paper this month to bring in by-laws amending the Establishments Code to clear the path for the Right to Information (RTI) Act and its smooth implementation. Deputy Minister Karu Paranavithana said according to the RTI Act passed in Parliament last year, the State mechanism should be geared to fully implement the law by February 4 which means changes to more..

Yala National Park: Where man and animal were united in fear

Dec 31 (ST) Exactly twelve years following the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami that wiped out 230,000 lives off the face of the earth on boxing day of 2004, survivors still recall the incidents leading up to the tragedy. In Sri Lanka it was a fateful Poya day and waves that reached as high as 30 metres ravaged the seashore killing around 35,000 and displacing over half a million people in the coastal areas. more..