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MCC ගිවිසුම | Bimal Rathnayake

Dawn of a new era: Professionals to head SOEs

Dec 9 (SO) At long last, as one of the most important, socially and economically beneficial decisions was made by the newly elected President, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, recently to appoint a high profile Selection Committee to pick Chairpersons and Board members for state owned commercial entities, statutory bodies and regulatory and promotional agencies. As a citizen of SL engaged in the private sector commercial establishments over 40 years serving and working alongside more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa presidency: Some negatives, positives & challenges

Dec 9 (CT) For all intent and purposes, Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s (GR) recently concluded state visit to India, his first as Head of State is considered a success. A one on one meeting scheduled for 15 minutes had lasted one hour. During this time, both leaders have supposedly found common ground and established a personal rapport, so essential in relations between countries, especially between countries with a history of thorny periods. The newly elected SL President, in h more..

Heavy rains batter the island

Dec 9 (ST) Justifying Sri Lanka being named as the second most vulnerable country in the Climate Risk Index for the year, 235,906 people belonging to 70,957 families in 21 districts of the country are currently suffering due to floods and landslides which occurred following heavy rainfall last week. While Ampara is the most affected district with 132,573 people affected by heavy rainfall, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa, Trinco, Kandy, more..

Editorial: Shake them awake!

Dec 9 (Island) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said the students who sit the GCE A/L exam should be able to enter university in the same year. He has echoed the views educationists have expressed over the years. The only way this objective can be achieved is to advance the GCE A/L examination from August to April. This was, in fact, done in 2002, but the change was reversed in 2007 in spite of immense benefits thereof, as Prof. R.P. Gunawardane points out in an article more..

Real risks of a special presidential commission of inquiry

Dec 9 (ST) The presenting of a Cabinet Paper by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa this week, proposing the establishment of a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCOI), under the SPCOI Law (1978) to investigate govt officials who had conducted witch hunts of other public officials during the time of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition Govt as well as third parties who had driven those investigations, has sinister implications that must be recognised in all their gravity. more..

Commision alleges BIA duty free shop made fraudulent claims

Dec 9 (ST) A five-member Prez Commission that probed alleged corruption and malpractices from Jan 15, 2015 to Dec 2018 has made strong strictures on the setting up of a Duty Free shop at the BIA. The Commission said fraud and corruption had been caused by deliberately submitting fraudulent and misleading financial statements to obtain a million-dollar tender for Flemingo Duty Free Shop (Pvt) Ltd. more..

13th Amendment and moral obligations

Dec 9 (SO) Mano Ganesan, leader of TPA believes that India has the moral duty and political right towards the Tamils of the North and East since the 13th Amendment is the child of the Indo-Lanka Accord. PM Modi, when he met Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Delhi, flagged the 13th Amendment. That flagging (of a dead horse, should we add?) has excited Tamil politicians. M.A. Sumanthiran and S Sritharan of TNA have spoken about Indian pressure almost as a given, something wholesome more..

Climate Change: What is in store for SL?

Dec 9 (Island) The annual Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25) began in Madrid on 2 December, largely unnoticed in Sri Lanka which is just settling down after a bruising presidential election. But given the critical importance of climate change to this beautiful island with its miles of unspoilt beaches, populated low lands, breathtaking tea covered mountains, and weather dependent agriculture, it should have received more attention. more..

Swiss embassy case: Subtle move to embarrass new Govt

Dec 8 (ST) The note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Relations arrived in the offices of Colombo-based diplomatic missions in the morning last Thursday. More formal than an aide memoire and less formal than a note, in third person and unsigned, this was an invite for the first meeting between heads of missions and Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The subject was the raging controversy between Berne (Switzerland) more..

Govt to appoint committee to streamline drafting of new laws

Dec 8 (DM) The govt will appoint a committee to streamline the process of drafting a new set of laws to govern the affairs of the landmass reclaimed from the sea under the Colombo Port City project. The project was launched in 2014. Under it, 269 hectares of land were added to the territory of SL. The previous govt carried out some work regarding the evolution of new laws to govern the financial and administrative activities of the new landmass. However, it could not complete the task. more..

President tells Govt party leaders: Go for two-thirds majority

Dec 8 (SO) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Party Leaders in the Govt to go for a two-thirds majority at the forthcoming Parliamentary Polls scheduled for March/ April 2020. The meeting at the Wijerama Mawatha residence of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday saw the presence of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa himself along with Ministers Gamini Lokuge, Johnston Fernando and Prasanna Ranatunga (SLPP) Dinesh Gunawardena (MEP) more..

Premier’s proposal causes concern among UDA officials

Dec 8 (ST) A proposal by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to return the power of granting planning approvals from the Urban Development Authority to local bodies–which have no automated systems to process applications–is worrying the UDA which spent substantial funds to develop a centralised online system just two years ago. PM, who holds the urban development portfolio, criticised the previous administration’s move in 2017 to more..

Maithri to contest parliamentary polls from Polonnaruwa district

Dec 8 (Island) Former Prez Maithripala Sirisena will be contesting the forthcoming parliamentary election from Polonnaruwa district, Minister and SLFP Vice President, Thilanga Sumathipala, said. Former SLFP Ministers have proposed that the former President, who has publicly announced that he will not be quitting active politics, throw his hat into the ring, and Sirisena has agreed to contest from his hometown of Polonnaruwa. The parliamentary election is expected to be held by April 2020. more..

Rice prices soaring, buffer stock to be released

Dec 8 (ST) The govt is to take emergency measures to release buffer stocks to control a sharp increase in rice prices in the market. The move came after commonly used rice varieties such as Nadu, Red and white rice shot up in prices by about Rs 15 a kilo in the past three weeks. Int'l Trade and Welfare State Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told the Sunday Times that as an immediate measure the Govt had plan to release stocks held with the Paddy Marketing Board to bring down prices. more..

Foreign Ministry slams brandishing of LTTE flags outside British court

Dec 8 (ST) Sri Lanka yesterday slammed the brandishing of flags of a banned terrorist organisation in front of a British court in the case against Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, former Defence Attache at the High Commission in London. Ministry of Foreign Relations also referred to many factors that it said made it abundantly clear that legal case targeting Brigadier Fernando is a politically motivated action. more..

Shares to be listed and traded in foreign currencies

Dec 8 (SO) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is ready with the framework for foreign listed entities to trade on the multi currency board which will enable overseas companies to gain value for their shares, said a senior official of the CSE on the sidelines of a media get-together last Thursday. He said the CSE is ready and it is a matter of getting through the Memoranda of Understanding with the foreign listed companies, to commence listing of overseas entities for trading of shares. more..

Prasanna denies limitations in BIA lounges

Dec 8 (SO) Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday vehemently denied a news report on social media recently, attributed to Prez Rajapaksa, claiming that he had directed the limitations in the VIP/ VVIP Lounges at the BIA. FB story posted on Dec 2, said (inter alia) that the Prez, on arrival at the BIA from his maiden state visit to India, has directed the BIA officials to limit the use of the VIP/VVIP lounge and not to allow VIPs and VVIPs. If that was really required under exceptional circumstances more..

Downpours set to bring more misery

Dec 8 (ST) Downpours will worsen in the coming days with more than 100mm of rainfall expected in certain areas. So, far nearly 46,000 people have been badly affected. North Central, Uva, Eastern and Northern provinces were expected to receive heavy rainfall. Deputy Director of DMC Pradeep Kodippili, said that police and the military, and search and rescue teams are operating in 20 districts badly affected by heavy downpours. more..

Dirty tricks: How Tories bid for Tamil votes with indy pledge

Dec 8 (TN) Two-faced Tory candidates in the suburbs of London have been caught trying to win votes among the Tamil community, promising a two-state solution to the troubles in SL. The so-called two-state solution refers to a separate Tamil state – Eelam – in the northern and eastern parts of the divided island. Whilst prominent Tories are out on the campaign trail, offering Tamil voters the promise of a homeland whilst implacably refusing to countenance a referendum on Scottish more..

Drastic drop in tea production due to November rains

Dec 8 (Island) The heavy downpour experienced in the tea planting districts resulted in a drastic drop in the November yield, with low growns dipping from 14.4 million kilos and high growns falling to 3.4 million kilos in comparison to the previous month’s figures of 17.4 million and 7 million kilos, respectively. President, Asia Siyaka Tea Brokers, Anil Cooke, predicted that an improvement in the overall yield was unlikely over the next few weeks. He said there were steady crop increases till more..

SAG 2019: Rain of gold in athletics

Dec 8 (ST) Sri Lanka bagged six more gold medals, two silver and a bronze, to complete with a record gold medal haul as the track and field competitions of the 13th South Asian Games (SAG) ended at the Dasarath Stadium in Kathmandu, Nepal yesterday. By afternoon SL is placed third in the medals tally with 30 gold, 50 silver and 77 bronze medals behind India and Nepal. SL’s gold tally of 15 medals in athletics goes down more..

Forex reserves drop to US$7.5bn in Nov

Dec 8 (EN) Sri Lanka’s forex reserves dropped 259 million US dollars to 7.52 billion US dollars in November official data shows. Official reserves are made up of central bank reserves and fiscal reserves, which can vary depending on debt repayments. Sri Lanka’s official reserves were 7.78 billion dollars in October, up slightly from 7.63 billion dollars a month earlier. Data showed that in October the central bank bought 35 million dollars from the market and sold 17 million US dollar. more..

Merrill Fernando awarded hony. Doctorate in New Zealand

Dec 8 (Island) Dilmah Tea Founder Merrill J. Fernando has been capped as a Doctor of Science by Massey Uni in New Zealand. He was nominated for the honorary doctorate by the Pro Vice Chancellor College of Sciences, Professor Ray Geor, together with Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan, director Massey University’s renowned Riddet Institute. Merrill J. Fernando has had a long association with both the university and its institute, supporting doctorate research and more..

Abuse of funds stalls SL’s reach to global trademark standards

Dec 8 (ST) A controversy over the misuse of state funds by the country’s main state IT agency has delayed Sri Lanka’s accession to the Madrid Protocol to facilitate trademark registration in the international markets with one single filing via online. This was due to the failure of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) to modify and install a new server of the IT system at National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO), more..

Govt wants 3-month plan for tourism

Dec 8 (ST) The new govt is working on a short term plan of action for the tourism industry and, in this context, called for proposals from the industry. Official sources stated that newly appointed Tourism Ministry Secretary S.M. Mohammed during a meeting with officials from the respective departments requested them to draft a 3-month plan of action for the tourism industry. It had been pointed out that the govt requires them to work on a short term plan to be implemented within a period more..

LPL two months before T20 World Cup

Dec 8 (ST) President of SLC, Shammi Silva said that all plans have been made to play the long overdue Lankan Premier League. He confirmed that it will be played in Aug 2020 after England's 100-ball tournament. According to Shammi the paperwork and the structure of the tournament will be finalised within a month. He said that plans have been made to reduce the number of teams in the first-class tournament and this will be confirmed with approval at the upcoming AGM. more..

SL’s gruelling test in unknown Pakistan

Dec 8 (ST) Sri Lanka’s full-strength Test team will embark on a significant tour of Pakistan today to play two matches as part of the ICC World Test Championship. Pakistan has not hosted Test cricket since the 2009 Lahore attack on the Sri Lanka team that wounded several players, staff members and killed a few security officers. The series was initially scheduled to be played in October with the most likely venue to be UAE. more..

Lakmal to miss Pakistan tour due to dengue

Dec 8 (ST) SL’s Test bowling spearhead Suranga Lakmal will miss the two-match Test series in Pakistan with dengue, SLC confirmed. He is likely to be replaced by 22-year-old fast bowler Asitha Fernando. “He is down with dengue and will not be travelling with the team,” confirmed SLC CEO Ashley de Silva. Lakmal was due to depart to Pakistan today, his first visit since he and his team mates were attacked by armed gunmen on the way to Gaddafi Stadium in 2009 killing seven and more..

It’s all in the wall: the art of nation building

Dec 8 (SO) If it’s just art, valid question is why the novel wall art tendency that’s spawned all over the country after the election of Nov 16, is almost the symbol of change after the new presidency took off the starting blocks? The previous regime would have taxed the wall art at 1,000 rupees per square metre. Or so the joke goes. Jokes apart, the current wall art trend symbolizes people’s participation in democracy, and the generation of new hope … There may be a pun in there somewhere. more..

Indirect tax collection misses the target

Dec 8 (ST) Indirect taxes have made a considerable contribution to govt revenue but the revenue collection departments – the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise have missed the set targets, a Govt Audit report has observed. It has been revealed that only the growth in the income collected is not sufficient to measure the real performance of the revenue collection departments. Enhancement in the income on tax as a result of the growth in more..

Can Mickey's magic elevate SL Cricket?

Dec 8 (CT) John Michael Arthur assumed duties as the consultant head coach of the Sri Lankan Cricket team on 4 Dec 2019. Since 2011 the country brought in 10 head coaches and the 51-year-old South African is the 11th to be appointed. The two former head coaches had bitter experiences with SLC and only time tell if Mickey can serve his quota of 2 years in that capacity without facing adversities. Arthur is not a neophyte but has many years of international coaching behind him. more..

Atapattu goes places at Big Bash

Dec 8 (SO) SL women’s cricketer Chamari Atapattu was fortunate to play for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League cricket tournament for the second time making her the only islander to do so. Atapattu became the focus of attention in international cricket when she scored a superb unbeaten 178 runs off 143 deliveries with six sixes and 22 fours in an ODI for SL against Australia in the 2017 women’s World Cup match in Bristol, England. She followed it up with a second century more..

Swiss Embassy abduction saga: Not a mocking matter

Dec 8 (CT) Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa's interim Govt, barely after two weeks of being appointed, is embroiled in murky international and diplomatic issues. After lapsing almost a week, a disgraceful allegation of an attempted abduction and subsequent release of a local employee at the Colombo Swiss Embassy remains unsolved. This is despite Swiss Embassy seeking Govt permission to take the employee and family to Switzerland more..

Badminton team management lodges official complaint

Dec 8 (ST) The management of SL badminton team has lodged an official complaint to the Technical Committee of the 13th South Asian Games Secretariat for making last minute changes to the original tournament draw. Thilak Jayasiri, the manager of the SL badminton team, told the Sunday Times that the sudden changes to the tournament draw caused difficulties to players, who had come with a prepared plan. “Of course we have to oblige by the final draw and the decisions made by more..

Swiss Embassy and the natives

Dec 8 (Island) As this column is being written on Saturday, we mark the 13th day since the alleged abduction and sexual molestation of a SL Tamil lady working for the Swiss Embassy in Colombo. According to the Embassy, the victim’s health is in such a precarious state, that she is not in a position to give a statement to anyone about her ordeal. In fact the Swiss Embassy had asked SL authorities for permission to airlift the victim and her entire family to Switzerland in a special ambulance more..