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Six passports of MPs impounded

Nov 30 (NR) UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena today urged the Parliament to intervene and release the passports of several members that have been held by courts over several chargers. He said six passports of MPs and several other passports of former MPs have been impounded by courts. He said it has restricted foreign travels of MPs adding it is unacceptable. Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala in response said more..

PUCSL to introduce legal framework to promote household based solar generation

Nov 30 (AD) The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has decided to remove the legal barriers for consumers who wish to enter into the electricity generation based on solar power.  Therefore, it has been proposed to exempt the electricity consumers, who generate electricity in small scale through rooftop solar power plants, from obtaining a license to sell electricity to the national grid, the PUCSL said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka plans Treasuries auctions with non-competitive bids

Nov 30 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning to revamp its Treasuries auctions with room for non-competitive bids, with new rules, which are now being vetted by international experts. CB Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said the new rules will also be presented to market participants and other stakeholders including the govt to comment. Central bank does not have a strong record of making rules through public consultation. more..

MPs’ duty-free vehicle permit controversy: Deputy Solicitor General reported to SC

Nov 30 (Island) The Supreme Court will hear on Dec. 08 a fundamental rights application seeking information from Director General, Customs, Chulananda Perera in respect of super luxury vehicles imported on duty-free permits issued to the sitting MPs. Petitioner Nagananda Kodituwakku has sought Supreme Court intervention after DG Customs declined to release the required information. The matter came up before a three-judge bench more..

PSC to investigate corruption at Foreign Ministry

Nov 30 (NR) The govt today agreed to appoint a parliamentary select committee to investigate financial discrepancies reported at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the tenure of the UPFA led govt. The proposal was forwarded by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti during the parliamentary proceedings this morning. Accordingly PM Ranil Wickremesinghe consented to appoint a Parliamentary select committee. more..

Rs. 25,000 fines aimed at heart of accidents crisis, Govt says

Nov 30 (ST) Hard on the heels of a steep increase in fines for seven major traffic offences will come more penalties for errant drivers and motorcycle riders shortly with the decision to further revise fines for traffic offences and expedite implementation of a licence demerit system. Discussions among officials of the Transport, Justice and Finance Ministry and the police, Road Safety Authority, more..

‘Govt has plunged workers from frying pan into the fire’

Nov 30 (Island) Independent Trade Union Alliance said recent budget proposals had betrayed a govt plan to burden the working class further with taxes. Colombo President of All Ceylon Bank Employees Union S.B. Jayaratne, charged that the exploitation of the working class was on the increase as most garment factories were owned by powerful politicians. He said EPF money was being invested in loss making companies, some of which more..

'We should strive to build a country on our own civilization values'

Nov 30 (DM) Book publisher and nationalist Gevindu Cumaratunga who is incidentally the grandson of the renowned Sinhala scholar of yesteryear, Cumaratunga Munidasa, has quite vocal regarding the concept of power devolution and other issues pertaining to the national question. He has expressed his opinion quite frankly on these issues in different fora. He speaks about Global march of nationalism with the victory of Donald Trump more..

'Nationalism is the manifestation of a crisis, not a solution to it'

Nov 30 (DM) Colombo University's Senior Lecturer in History Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, in an interview with DailyMirror on the concepts of nationalism and internationalism in the wake of Donald Trump's victory at the US election spoke at length on nationalism in Sri Lanka. Q: With the conclusion of the election in the United States, there is a perception that nationalism is triumphing over internationalism. What are your views? more..

Revenue Vs. Expenditure

Nov 30 (SL) Presenting Appropriation Bill 2017 to Parliament last month, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake pledged to the august house that Budget 2017 was themed on accelerating growth with social inclusion and thus the goal of the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) was not only to provide relief for the people of Sri Lanka but also pave the way for sustainable growth. more..

Lend us your ears to help hearing impaired children

Nov 30 (DM) The Centre for Education of Hearing Impaired Children Centre (CEHIC) which during the past few decades has trained hundreds of hearing impaired children to move into the mainstream of education and employment—is making an urgent appeal for funds from well-wishers to continue this noble mission. For the past few months the Dalugama based multi-religious centre has run out of funds even to pay the salaries of teachers and other staff and to maintain basic facilities. more..

Let not the past haunt us again

Nov 30 (DM) For the first time after the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, the dreaded outfit that fought for a separate State within the territory of SL the Maveerar Varam (Great Heroes’ Week) and the Maveerar Naal (Great Heroes’ Day) announced by that organization were commemorated by the people in the North and the East without any hindrance by the security forces, according to the Tamil media.  The Maveerar Naal had been announced by the LTTE during its heyday to mark the more..

'Laws with retrospective effect a reality'

Nov 30 (Island) Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne, PC, asserted that bringing in laws with retrospective effect was a reality though that practice was certainly not civilized. Explaining that a retrospective law meant that it would come into operation at a point of time before its passage by Parliament. Although SL Constitution did not provide for such laws, the country couldn’t ignore the legal practices in other parts of the world more..

Docs on strike today: Health Minister ready

Nov 30 (Island) Govt doctors will launch a countrywide token strike today demanding that the govt retract or amend several budget proposals detrimental to the free health service. Secretary of the GMOA, Dr Naveen de Zoysa said yesterday that appeals made to President, PM, Finance Minister for amending several proposals including the denial of pension rights to new recruits to the public service, doing away with the proposal to tax public sector employees on allowances and more..

Nine Sri Lankan sailors held on ship in Houthi rebel stronghold

Nov 30 (DM) The Government is keeping in touch with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Oman and the Consulate in Dubai, UAE to get the nine Sri Lankan sailors held by Houthi rebels of Yemen released, Foreign Affairs Ministry said today. Ministry sources said the ship with the nine Sri Lankan sailors aboard had been held by the rebels in an area controlled by them because of a dispute that had taken place between the cargo supplier and the cargo receiver. “We have instructed our mission in Oman, more..

Media told not to take up current issues, urged to be courageous!

Nov 30 (Island) Information Department urged the media not to raise, at a forum it hosted, issues pertaining to ongoing cases handled by the CIABOC. Media was told that the taking up of such matters could undermine the ongoing investigations. Fourth Estate was cautioned at a forum chaired by Minister Sagala Ratnayake, Ministry Secretary Jagath Wijeweera, newly appointed Director General, CIABOC Sarath more..

Sri Lanka brace for huge SA challenge

Nov 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka returned home victorious from their Zimbabwe tour on Tuesday but the national coach warned his side faced a huge challenge in South Africa next month. Having comfortably beaten Zimbabwe in both tests in Harare, Sri Lanka also lifted the triangular series trophy on Sunday, beating the hosts by six wickets in the final. Although regular skipper Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal missed the entire tour due to injury, SL rarely felt their absence more..

More Chinese tourists expected to visit SL

Nov 30 (Xinhua) Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are projected to grow by a further 10.2% in the coming six months. Jameson Wong, Director Business Development for the Asia-Pacific region at ForwardKeys, a travel data company, told the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference held here that the number of Chinese visiting Sri Lanka had grown by 29% in the year-to-date. He said Russian travelers to Sri Lanka were also rising while the overall number of tourists visiting more..

Stoic Sri Lanka growth confident

Nov 30 (FT) A highly disciplined and predictable monetary policy would be central to maintaining growth in a post-Fed rate hike world, observed CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, remaining confident of growth fired by private sector expansion and investment. Explaining the decision by Monetary Board to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of CB unchanged at 7% and 8.5% more..

Sri Lanka fully powered by end of 2016

Nov 30 (FT) Deputy Minister Ajith Perera yesterday informed Parliament that all households in Sri Lanka will be supplied with electricity connections by the end of the year. “To date 99.2% of household units have been given electricity, with only 41,147 households, which is 0.8% of households in the country, to be connected to the grid before 31 December. We started this campaign this year and we have already given electricity to 224728 units during the period,” Perera said. more..

Tough fine system for violating Sri Lanka’s maritime boundary

Nov 30 (FT) In an attempt to control illegal maritime entries into the country’s waters, the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development will introduce a tough fine system for all the vessels, including illegal fishing boats, which violate the International Martime Boundary Line (IMBL) of Sri Lanka, soon. Ministry has already drafted a set of proposals including a fine system and new penalties for offences committed in the country’s IMBL. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that more..

New trends in corruption: Rental scams: CAA rents 10 new luxury vehicles

Nov 30 (CT) Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ordered 10 new luxury vehicles despite its top officials, including the Director General, already being granted luxury vehicles. Authority has an ample number of vehicles in its official fleet, but has decided to order 10 more luxury vehicles at a cost of Rs 150,000-170,000 per vehicle on monthly rent. Five of these 10 vehicles had been handed over to the CAA last Thursday by more..

Upul Tharanga is this the turning point?

Nov 30 (DN) Every cricketer goes through ups and downs in his career. Some of them come out of it successfully while the others who are not so fortunate simply fade away. In the case of Upul Tharanga the recently concluded tour of Zimbabwe has been a blessing in disguise for him to re-launch his rather chequered career. Even Tharanga would not have thought in his wildest of dreams that he would one day be called upon to captain his country. His place in one-day team was so uncertain more..

Karuna transferred to separate cell

Nov 30 (DN) Former Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, alias Karuna has been transferred to a separate cell under tight security at the Colombo Remand Prison. He is to be kept at the M2 prison compound, according to sources within the Prison as officials fear security threats on the life of the former LTTE rebel leader from inmates. Senior officials also revealed that if there was a request for food to be brought from outside, they would consider such a request. more..

New rating agency to be set up by Media Ministry

Nov 30 (FT) Media Minister Gayantha Karunatileka informed Parliament on moves to establish a new rating agency for advertising and programs aired on electronic media. Minister, speaking during the Appropriation Bill Committee stage debate for Ministry of Mass Parliamentary Affairs and Media, said that flaws in rating systems available now have given way to deterioration in quality of both advertisements & programmes. more..

Killer Whale Aquatics, Sirimavo Bandaranaike BV overall champs

Nov 30 (DN) Killer Whale Aquatics (KWA) with 423 points and Sirimavo Balika Vidyalaya with 230 points clinched the men’s and women’s senior titles at the National and Junior National Aquatic Championship concluded at the Sugathadasa Aquatics Complex yesterday. Visakha Vidyalaya and St. Joseph’s College emerged champions in the girls and boys junior national championship with 160 and 158 points respectively. The first race of the day was the men’s open 1500 metres freestyle event more..

Grace period for vehicles with open papers to be registered extended to Dec. 31

Nov 30 (DM) The grace period of three months that had been given to vehicle owners with open papers to register their vehicles had been extended to December 31, Motor Traffic Department Commissioner General Jagath Chandrasiri said today. Earlier the Government had announced a grace period that ran from Sept 1 to Nov 30. He said the period had been extended following a request made by the Department to Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. more..

Pilots union advised President Rajapaksa not to extend Emirates contract: Gota

Nov 30 (FT) It was the Secretary of the SriLankan Airlines Pilots Union that advised President Rajapaksa not to extend the agreement with Emirates, according to former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa was addressing intellectuals present at the forum Viyathmaga (Professionals for a better future) held in Palatuwa, Matara. “It was I who facilitated the meeting between the pilots union and President Rajapaksa. more..

SLC introduces new initiative to boost cricket

Nov 30 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket announced yesterday that the man considered by many to be the best left-arm fast bowler of all time and an absolute legend in world cricket, Wasim Akram, would conduct a special workshop in Colombo on December 1st at the SSC. Wasim was set to arrive in the island late Wednesday on an invitation by President Sri Lanka Cricket, Thilanga Sumathipala MP and will grace Sri Lanka Cricket’s annual awards tonight as the Guest of Honour. more..

Changes to Judiciary and Fundamental Law

Nov 30 (Island) Report of the Subcommittee on the judiciary observes that there is no express provision in the Constitution stressing the importance of the principle of judicial independence and aims to remedy that perceived lacuna by recommending the adoption of a provision in constitution of South Africa which says that the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, and that that no person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the courts. more..

A much needed win for what lies ahead

Nov 30 (DN) Sri Lanka’s victory in the Zimbabwe tri-nation one-day series is a much needed boost for the team ahead of the tough opposition they will encounter in South Africa next month. Both Sri Lanka and West Indies were sans some of their experienced stars but nevertheless the series provided an ideal opportunity for the youngsters who replaced them to showcase their talent on the international stage. more..

State monies and shadow missions

Nov 30 (FT) My wife earns more than I do. I sometimes feel a worm on account of it. And other times I rationalise the income disparity. To each their own. We all make choices in life. Political, social, economic. One opts to work full-time in the formal economy. The other freelances and manages on a meagre income so that the peanuts I’m paid as a part-time teacher and newspaper columnist compensate me adequately for the pains – and pleasures – of speaking truth to power. more..

Conflict of interest revisited

Nov 30 (Island) I wrote an article titled, The Governor’s case and the conflict of interest concept which was published in The Sunday Times. This was a little over a couple of months after the first Bond Scam and soon after the three-member report of three UNP lawyers. Now, with the COPE Report (including the footnote clan) substantially finding former Governor CB, Mahendran responsible for the Bond Scam and Perpetual Treasuries raking in (or is it better to call it shovelling in?) more..

Spectacular tourist growth looks set to stall

Nov 30 (FT) The boom in tourist arrivals is tipped to taper off if forward booking intelligence data shared by a specialist firm yesterday at the AHTIC comes true. A presentation given by ForwardKeys to delegates at the Conference revealed that flight bookings made for travel to Sri Lanka during the coming five months (Dec 2016 to Apr 2017) are 1.3% ahead of where they were at the same time last year. more..

New US-Sri Lanka business council to promote trade, investment

Nov 30 (EN) A new SL - US Business Council launched Tuesday will help promote trade and investment between the two countries whose bilateral relations are at an all time high, the American envoy to Colombo said. US Ambassador Atul Keshap said SL’s economy is set to grow strongly with the island ideally placed on the international sea route across the Indian Ocean. The new business council and the American Chamber of Commerce in the island can helo strengthen more..

AHTIC concludes SL brims with potential but success depends on political leadership

Nov 30 (FT) The first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) concluded yesterday in an atmosphere of optimism moderated by caution. Over the past two days, several of Asia’s leading hotel investors from 19 countries discussed the investment potential of Sri Lanka and other destinations around the Indian Ocean from Mauritius and the Seychelles to Malaysia and Vietnam.  Data from ForwardKeys demonstrated that SL deserved congratulations for achieving 12% growth more..