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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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

Harinda Vidanage

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

Failure to remove WHT on dividends irks investors

Dec 5 (FT) Failure by the new Govt to remove tax on dividends despite pre-election promise of scrapping WHT has irked investors. In the stimulus package announced last week by the Cabinet, only interest income up to Rs. 250,000 per month was exempted from the Withholding Tax (WHT), with effect from 1 Jan 2020. However prior to election, prez aspirant announced WHT along with Economic Service Charge (ESC) will be scrapped. Only ESC of 0.5% has been proposed to be done away with. more..

EC asserts Paget Road bungalow for retired President not political bribe

Dec 5 (Island) Election Commission (EC) has declared that the then Prez Sirisena receiving Cabinet approval to retain the President’s House on Mahagama Sekara Mawatha (formerly Paget Road) following his retirement couldn’t be considered a political bribe. Assistant EC Chintaka Kularatne has told former Southern Provincial Council member attorney-at-law Maj. Ajith Prasanna that the move was acceptable as Sirisena, in spite of more..

EC raises concerns to party officials

Dec 5 (DM) The Election Commission (EC) has raised its concerns over the change in the election system and discussed the several issues pertaining to the election system with the party secretaries today. The discussion was convened at 10.00 am yesterday at the Election Commission office with the attendance of EC officials, party delegates and EC permanent representatives. The meeting was mainly convened in order to request party officials to pass legislation in the next parliamentary session more..

DCS kicks off first-ever survey on IT & BPM

Dec 5 (FT) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) yesterday kicked off an Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Management (BPM) Services Survey to capture the real economic contribution of IT industry to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. The online survey system will be opened until 5 Jan 2020. DCS is the National Statistical Office in SL mainly responsible for compilation and dissemination of statistical data which cater the requirements of the country. more..

Sex scandal rocks Sri Lanka Cricket

Dec 5 (Island) Claims that three female cricketers aged 18 to 19 were asked to join a prostitution ring by a cricket official from Matara District has sent shock waves in cricket circles. Apsari Tillakaratne, the former head of women’s cricket has claimed in a video interview that exposing the scandal cost her job at SLC. Two other coaches, who were witnesses during an inquiry conducted by the Sports Ministry also had been sacked. more..

MNA alleges Netball Federation is illegal

Dec 5 (CT) The Mercantile Netball Association (MNA) filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeal stating the election held by the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka in 2019 is illegal. MNA allege that the electoral register on which the Netball Federation of Sri Lanka election was held in August 2019 contained names of affiliated associations which are not eligible to vote at such an election, as they have not participated at the required number of tournaments. more..

CCC optimistic tax revisions will stimulate growth

Dec 5 (FT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) said it was optimistic that the revisions in taxes and levies recently announced by the Govt would stimulate the economy. The slew of tax proposals put forward as part of the stimulus package will revive economic growth and activity in the short-term, the statement said.“Our expectation is that recent statements by the Govt in curtailing non-priority public spending and the constrained approach to ministerial portfolios signals more..