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Ranjangate: The next stage begins

Jan 20 (RN) So who’s afraid of Ranjan Ramanayake? We all should be. Let me explain. Recordings of Ramanayake’s phone conversations with people ranging from starlets, politicians and models to the CID Director and a couple of judges are now being released selectively by unknown bodies who have got their hands on them. What this has done on one hand is to perturb Colombo’s high society, with many wondering more..

IRD ups collection in 2019 by 21% to Rs.785b

Jan 20 (FT) The Inland Revenue Department has succeeded in collecting Rs. 785 billion in 2019, missing marginally the target of Rs. 799 billion in an economically challenging year. The 2019 achievement versus original target reflects a shortfall of Rs. 14 billion. The economy in 2019 is estimated to have grown by only 2.6%, one of the lowest rates in recent years. The provisional collection figure was revealed to the media more..

Plantation firms warn tea industry may collapse, but Govt. insists on wage hike

Jan 20 (ST) Amid dire warnings by plantation companies that the proposed Rs. 1000 wage hike for estate workers would see the collapse of the tea industry, Govt insists that the hike must be given as decided. Industry sources said that the proposed hike would send wage bills skyrocketing to Rs. 6 billion, excluding incentives such as EPF, ETF and gratuity. Employers made their views on the matter known at a meeting more..

BIA terminal construction: Govt extends JICA deadline

Jan 20 (TM) Ministry of Tourism and Aviation has extended the deadline provided to the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) to agree to bring down the bidding price for the construction of the second terminal of the BIA. The timeline, as reported by The Sunday Morning Business on 12 Jan, was to expire last Wednesday (15), but has now been extended considering the ongoing negotiations. more..

Old order changeth, but is it for the better?

Jan 20 (DM) Recently, the media has been airing the Ranjan tapes, collection of audio & visual recordings which outline the disintegration of respected institutions of justice and containing converstion bordering on the obscene and vulgar. To add spice to the depths of degradation to which our society has sunk, Lankans were regaled with tit bits of conversation where persons of supposed standing, passed on confidential files and or begging for promotions from a politician of low standing. more..

Political Triumph and Economic Morass

Jan 20 (DM) Within two months of winning the prez election, the Rajapaksa Govt is firmly on the path of entrenching its position in parliament with the upcoming polls. The UNP’s infighting is continuing and the Opposition forces are unable to forge a much-needed coalition. Rajapaksa juggernaut is inching towards a Govt with two thirds majority in parliament needed for constitutional changes to consolidate authoritarian power. Even as the Rajapaksa regime races forward with more..

Veteran columnist C.A.Chandraprema appointed as SL envoy at the UN in Geneva

Jan 20 (NI) Veteran Sunday Island columnist, C.A. Chandraprema, has been appointed as SL’s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva, within which is located the UNHRC. At the UNHRC, Chandraprema will be expected to take up the cudgels on behalf of the govt of SL against SL baiters from Western Europe and the Tamil Diaspora. Chandraprema can be counted on to deliver the goods as he has been writing more..

Phone conversation with Ranjan: CCD questions Judge Pilapitiya

Jan 20 (CT) The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD), yesterday (19), recorded a statement for five hours from present Embilipitiya High Court Judge, Gihan Pilapitiya, who engaged in a telephone conversation with former State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake about affairs of the judiciary. Police sources said that the statement was recorded from Judge Gihan Pilapitiya based on an Order issued by Attorney General Dappula De Livera. Among controversial telephone recordings of Ramanayake, more..

Measures to re-open MRIA for air traffic again

Jan 20 (DN) The Govt would relook at reopening the Mattala International Airport (MRIA) for both local and international air traffic, Board Member of Airport and Aviation, Tilak Weerasinghe said. He said that although the Airport was abandoned by the previous govt, infrastructure that was built is world class and is still in good condition. “Due to the non use of the Airport, the outskirts of the Airport were overgrown with weeds and now they are being cleared.” Weerasinghe, a successful entrepreneur more..

EU reassures continuity of GSP+ till 2023

Jan 20 (FT) Contrary to speculations, the European Union (EU) has reassured that it will continue the GSP+ concessions to Sri Lanka till 2023, while noting that there will be no changes in the rigorous monitoring of the country’s progress in implementing the conventions. This support was conveyed by the EU Mission to Sri Lanka and Head of Political, Trade and Communications Thorsten Bargfrede when more..

Video: Police misfire kills Buddhist monk in Hungama

Jan 20 (AD) A Buddhist monk has died in Hungama after being accidentally shot at by the Police. Reportedly, the Police had got into a scuffle with a motorcyclist who did not heed a signal to stop the vehicle in Hathagala, Hungama. However, a police gunshot that had been fired during the scuffle had accidentally hit a Buddhist monk on a van parked near the motorcycle, according to our correspondent. The body of the monk is currently kept at the Angunakolapelessa Hospital. more..

Foreign correspondent caught on Ranjan’s tape advising UNP

Jan 20 (Island) Two more phone recordings of MP Ranjan Ramanayake have been released during the last two days. They contain conversations he had with MP Hirunika Premachandra and a foreign correspondent. In the conversation Premachandra had with Ramanayake, she calls former Prez Sirisena a gamarala (a farmer) Sirisena blocked Premachandra from attending an interview with a TV station, she says. "Oh, then the farmer must have gotten insanely angry," Ranjan responds more..

PM expresses surprise at UNP about-turn on MCC

Jan 20 (Island) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed surprise at the UNP’s sudden aversion to the MCC pact. He said that Opposition Leader, Sajith Premadasa, who was the Deputy Leader of the UNP and key member of the UNP Cabinet, before the Prez election, had been silent on the MCC pact promoted by the former govt. "We hear the newly appointed Opposition Leader and other MPs of the UNP making frequent references more..

Eleven Indian workers stranded in Sri Lanka return home

Jan 20 (TOI) Eleven construction workers, who were held by their contractor at Colombo, returned to Odisha on Sunday in two phases. Four of them had reached Odisha on Jan 11 and the rest arrived at Bhubaneswar on Sunday. The 11 people had left for Sri Lanka on November 5 last year through two local agents. They alleged that the agents had taken Rs 60,000 from each of them. “The agent had promised us that the construction company in Sri Lanka will pay Rs 30,000 per month to each of us. more..

More than 100,000 plastic water bottles left behind at Sri Pada

Jan 20 (Island) Over 100,000 plastic water bottles had been left behind by those who climbed Sri Pada from December 11 to date, officials attached to overseeing the operations at the Sri Pada season said. "We have collected over 100 000 plastic water bottles. Some have dropped them on the way, but others have deposited them in designated areas," W. Hemantha, officer in charge of an office established at Nallatanniya, Sri Pada by the Maskeliya local council said. more..

SIS head’s handling of Indian warning mysterious, basic procedures not followed

Jan 20 (Island) One-time defence advisor retired Senior DIG Merril Gunaratne has questioned the conduct of ousted head of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena over the latter’s responsibility as regards the intelligence failure leading to the Easter Sunday attacks. Testifying before the PCoI on Friday, Gunaratne, who had served the state intelligence apparatus for about 15 years, pointed out more..

Data Protection Bill further delayed

Jan 20 (TM) The passage of SL’s first-ever Data Protection Bill, which has been eagerly awaited by the information and communication technology (ICT) industry and business, will be delayed significantly, despite encouraging progress made over the past year. The bill is currently pending certification from the Attorney General (AG) on its constitutionality. Data Protection Drafting Committee Chair Jayantha Fernando said that Secretary to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology more..

Thajudeen murder trial postponed until mar2

Jan 20 (FT) Colombo High Court Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi on Thursday ordered to make submissions on 2 March on the case against former Senior DIG Western Province Anura Senanayake who is charged with concealing evidence of the murder of rugby player Wasim Thajudeen. Considering the information made available to the court that the former Senior DIG Anura Senanayake has been sick and unable to attend court, the judge ordered that the witness lists of both sides more..

Video: Sajith ready to fight until govt. fulfills its promises

Jan 20 (AD) Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa says he is prepared to fight as a progressive opposition until the promises given to the people at the Prez Election. He mentioned expressed these views at a public rally held in Biyagama. He said: “‘There is no need for talks anymore. On Feb 4th, the Independence Day, both govt and the Opposition should get together and tear apart these MCC, ACSA, SOFA agreements. more..

Motion to appoint members to Committee of Selection before House tomorrow

Jan 20 (FT) A motion to confirm MPs to serve as members of the Parliamentary Committee of Selection, which in turn nominates members to other important parliamentary committees such as CoPE and the COPA, will be presented to the House tomorrow. Committee is chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and consists of 17 members including leaders of the political parties or their nominees to be nominated by Parliament to serve in the current Session. Govt has nominated 9 members more..

Coimbatore IS case: NIA to collect voice samples of accused

Jan 20 (Island) Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) will collect the voice samples of the member of the Coimbatore module of the terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS), who allegedly knew people involved in the Easter Sunday bombings in SL last year. The voice samples of Coimbatore native Mohammed Azarudeen would be collected to confirm whether he was propagating IS ideology among youths in TN and Kerala. The agency filed a petition at the NIA Court here which permitted it to collect more..

Govt goes full throttle on Strategic Development Projects Act

Jan 20 (FT) Govt is to fully implement Strategic Development Projects Act (SPDA) with immediate effect, the use of which was restricted under the previous Govt, in a bid to attract int'l investors. Cabinet approval was given last week to a proposal by Prez Rajapaksa for the immediate and full implementation of the SPDA together with the Board of Investment Act, Urban Development Authority Act and other related laws more..

SL Navy beach cleaning program finds sea turtle eggs at Galle Face beach

Jan 20 (SLN) The coastal and marine environment conservation activities conducted by the SL Navy have started to deliver favorable returns as of now. As an eloquent testimony to this fact, several sea turtle eggs have been found at the Galle Face beach today (18), during a beach cleaning inspection visit by Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva. Since this has been a rare sight at the Galle Face beach in the densely populated city, the naval personnel promptly encircled the area, more..

Sri Lanka's sustainable oil palm producers to target growing opportunities in 1H 2020

Jan 20 (Island) Int'l market conditions are anticipated to generate extremely lucrative opportunities for SL’s sustainable oil producers through the first half of 2020 (1H2020). According to the most recent data obtained by the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA), these favourable conditions are likely to arise from of a combination of weaker production in Malaysia and Indonesia, a continuing rally in global export prices, as well as national and consumer-level boycotts against world’s top two producers taking hold. more..

Mechanism to absorb unemployed graduates to the national economy

Jan 20 (DN) All unemployed graduates will be provided with Govt jobs on an immediate basis in order to get their contribution to strengthen the national economy, Prez Rajapaksa said. President made these remarks addressing a gathering of representatives of unemployed graduates at the Prez Secretariat yesterday. “Information on existing vacancies at gov, semi-govt institutes and departments have already been collected. more..

Video: All parties agree to Sajith’s UNF leadership: Mannapperuma

Jan 20 (AD) All parties representing the United National Front (UNF) have agreed to appoint Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa as the leader of the alliance, states UNP MP Ajith Mannapperuma. He further stated that the leadership of the UNF is not relevant to the leadership of the United National Party. The United National Party will not be divided under any reason and the Opposition Leader Premadasa has assured that he will not allow that to happen, said Mannapperuma. more..

‘Trincomalee Port to be brought to international standard’

Jan 20 (DN) The Trincomalee Port would be turned around as a major international port said Minister Johnston Fernando after a visit to the Port. He said that Trincomalee is the world’s second largest natural harbor in the world and potential to make a profitable harbour is huge. “We need private sector thinking going in to making this harbour a viable venture.” The Minister observed that currently only Prima Ceylon and Tokyo Cement are widely using the services of the Port while more..

Craig Ervine, Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza grind Sri Lanka attack

Jan 20 (CI) Watchful half-centuries from openers Prince Masvaure and Kevin Kasuza set Zimbabwe on track for a healthy first-innings total, on a flat Harare Sports Club pitch. Another fifty from Craig Ervine, batting at No. 3, then consolidated Zimbabwe's position and carried them to a scoreline that constituted an excellent first day of Test cricket in over a year. The hosts only made 189 for 2 in 84 overs, but there was almost a sense that more..

U-19 World Cup: India start off with easy win against Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (PTI) An impressive batting performance, topped by a disciplined bowling, saw defending champions India cruise to a 90-run victory over Sri Lanka in an opening group league encounter of the ICC U-19 World Cup in Bloemfontein on Sunday. Batting first, India scored a competitive 297 for 4, riding on half-centuries from their premier batsmen -- opener Yashasvi Jaiswal (59 off 74 balls) and skipper Priyam Garg (56 off 72 balls). There were significant contributions from vice-captain more..

Ranjan’s kiss-and-tell tapes continue to top the hit parade

Jan 20 (ST) There were no bohemian air, no party jollity, no open house invite to dip into snacks and chats, no time for long showers, dabbed with generous splashes of after shave, no time for selfies and, definitely, no kisses for the arresting cop who handcuffed him. This time the mood was sullen. The atmosphere cold. Last Saturday (4th of Jan), offence for which he had been taken in had been his failure to license his firearm issued to him by the Govt for his protection. It was, to a certain degree, more..

No more super, smart, or gold on biscuits

Jan 20 (TM) Food producers will have to discontinue the use of terms such as super, smart, gold, and other superlatives due to the implementation of a 15-year old regulation by the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services. The Food Regulations 2005 under the extraordinary gazette issued under the Food Act No. 26 of 1980 is being fully implemented at the moment with a grace period of three months. more..

Take a bow Chandrika

Jan 20 (ST) National Boxing C'ship organized by the Boxing Association of SL will take place from Jan 21 to 24 at Royal MAS Arena. There will be a significant presence of foreign officials at the event in a bid to ensure transparency and fair play in decision making. More significantly it will bring the curtain down on the chequered career of a 38-year-old rugged southpaw from Army L.G. Chandrika who will go down in the annals of SL’s sporting history as a pioneer of women’s boxing. more..

UNP crisis: The problem cannot be part of the solution

Jan 20 (CT) The UNP is in decline not because it divided, but because its leadership is in a state of advanced deterioration and decay. The party has failed to replace or separate itself from the incubus of its hopelessly out of touch and durably unsuccessful Old Guard. If the UNP goes into the election without a dramatic gesture that can prove to the electorate that it has pivoted from the decadent dispensation exemplified and revealed by the RR tapes, it will be the fatal victim of more..

Travel Girl: Kalpitiya

Editorial: Harry, Meghan and wannabe royals

Jan 20 (Island) Democracy is a system of govt where everyone is considered equal, but, strangely, in some advanced democracies there are still royals who are more equal than the people in whom sovereignty is said to reside. Monarchies are an anachronism that has survived the changing times. Not all people, however, are said to be ill-disposed towards royals. The British royal family is cited as a case in point. But that, too, is faced with numerous challenges that rapid social transformation more..

A 5 year legacy: Malice, far too much toxicity

Jan 20 (SO) So much malice has seeped into the innards of the system, that it’s toxic now. The toxicity will contaminate the body politic to the point it becomes dysfunctional, if healing doesn’t happen, and happen fast. How did such poison seep in? Yahapalanaya grew malice on trees! Those addicted to Yahapalanaya, and those who have green blood coursing through their veins would admit there was a malice-excess in the four years of Yahapalana rule. Prez has now sought some way out of this more..