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A glimmer of hope

Nov 26 (SO) As the Israel-Hamas war nears the two-month mark, there have been some positive developments. Israel, which initially rejected any sort of deal with Hamas for the release of around 250 Israeli hostages, has now agreed to release several hundred Palestinian detainees (many of them women and children) held in its prisons in exchange for the former. In fact, Hamas released around 25 hostages, including 12 Thai nationals, on the first day of a proposed four-day truce more..

Whither, public trust?

Nov 26 (TM) With the second reading of the Budget sailing through Parliament as anticipated despite the shenanigans of some members of the ruling SLPP, the focus, at least among the public in this information age, has shifted to some of the debates – or what passes for debates these days. The ongoing Budget 2024 debate still has a long way to go, with the third reading being scheduled for 13 December. The President, who has a habit of popping in and out of Parliament, more..

SL Railways chugging towards anarchy

Nov 26 (CT) Of late, train journeys get delayed while some get cancelled, and since it happens often it is more or less a regular occurrence. The disgusting announcements such as: The 5:30 p.m. Samudradevi train to Galle has been delayed by 45 minutes or The 7:30 a.m. office train to Fort has been cancelled today have now become so common, to a typical train commuter almost daily. As a means of transportation, efficiency and more..

Cheering them on

Nov 26 (ST) My dear Indian cricket fans, I want to write to you, firstly to express my commiserations after your country lost the World Cup final on Sunday to the unfancied Australians, but secondly also to perhaps explain why your tiny neighbour was mostly supporting Australia and rejoicing as if we had won the World Cup ourselves. In fact, last week’s final was eerily similar to the finals of ’96. The team winning the toss sent the opposition in against all advice and they made around 240 runs. more..

Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan A scholar scorned by Jaffna, but restored

Nov 26 (DM) The arts faculties under the University of Ceylon produced stellar scholars like Stanley J. Tambiah (Harvard), Gananath Obeyesekere (Princeton) and Valentine Daniel who rose to the highest levels of their Ivy-League universities. That trend tapered off in time with an occasional scholar here and there. The difference, besides training in independent thought, was vitiated reading and writing fluency to share their research and learn from others’ research in English as mother-tongue more..

RW govt confident of IMF’s second tranche in Dec as creditors reach final stages of deal

Nov 26 (TM) The ongoing debate on Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 2024 Budget has become quite a spectacle in Parliament, with claims and counterclaims on the country’s economic crisis and of course the continuing drama over SLC. Prez’s 2024 Budget was passed on Tuesday with a majority of 45 votes in Parliament, with the ruling SLPP voting in support of it. Wickremesinghe Govt is now looking quite upbeat after hearing last week more..

An incident at Independence Square

Nov 26 (FT) Last week I witnessed an incident at the Independence Square which is illustrative of an unmade society; a society whose norm is its normlessness; nothing is definite, everything is in a state of flux. I was taking a walk near the Independence Square at about 7 p.m. when it started raining heavily, compelling a dozen or so walkers to seek shelter in the Independence Square. An impressive monument, striking and dignified, dedicated to attainment of our independence more..

COP28: Walk the talk

Nov 26 (ST) The continuous evening thundershowers since September and the ensuing floods and landslides must surely be an eye-opener to the reality that something is amiss with weather patterns; and that this must surely be directly related to Climate Change and the much-talked-of Global Warming. The Meteorological Department explains this phenomenon as a result of the El Nino conditions, which will continue for some time. This is the band of clouds triggering rainfall and more..

පොදුජන පැතුම ශානි...!

What Sri Lanka can learn from Australia’s World Cup campaign

Nov 26 (Island) It was a fabulous night indeed in Ahmedabad as Australia defied all expectations and beat hosts and favourites India in the grand final of the sport’s showpiece event last Sunday. India was a team that stormed through to the finals with an unbeaten record beating several teams by big margins. Never were India tested in the league or knockout stage. Australia, meanwhile, huffed and puffed, lost their opening two fixtures, nearly were beaten by Afghanistan and almost blew it more..

SriLankan Airlines to welcome 5 second-hand A320 aircraft

Nov 26 (TM) SriLankan Airlines is set to begin taking delivery of its five newly-leased second-hand A320 family aircraft from December onwards. SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage revealed that they had been looking to lease five second-hand A320 family aircraft and the same number of A330s and that SriLankan Airlines had successfully entered into leases for the five A320s. “The 320s will be delivered soon. They will arrive from December onwards; we will not be receiving them all more..

Prez approves Foreign Ministry’s list of 11 diplomats, without adding political...

Nov 26 (ST) Back to back successes seem to be what the Foreign Ministry is seeing these days. Just last week, in these columns we reported how it was witnessing election triumphs by getting Sri Lankans elected to UN multilateral agencies. Now comes a victory at home–it has got a 100% strike rate in having all 11 Foreign Service seniors recommended by the ministry to serve as Sri Lanka’s heads of missions overseas. more..

Today is Ill Full Moon Poya day

Nov 26 (Island) Ill Poya holds significance in Buddhism, marking events like Maitriya Bodhisatva’s future Buddhahood announcement, first missionary activities by 60 Arahaths, and the passing of Dharmasenapathi, a chief disciple of Sariputta. As the final Poya of the rainy season, it commemorates events such as festival of Devahaona or Ascendency to heaven by Gautama Buddhist. It also recalls the Jatila Brothers’ interaction with the Buddhist Order in Uruwela, Nadi, and Gaya. more..

Editorial: The honey pot

Nov 26 (Island) Even the most optimistic of SL cricket fans would have expected that this country will be permitted by the ICC to conduct the Under-19 World Cup in this country as scheduled after we were last week suspended from membership of the world body. That was an obvious given and the bad news is now public that the tournament has been moved to South Africa. . It has been reported that four clubs have been paid Rs. 2 billion to upgrade their facilities for the tournament we’ve lost. more..

නැවතත් අරඹව්...

C. D. Wickramaratne to retire as IGP after 4 service extensions

Nov 26 (AD) IGP C. D. Wickramaratne has announced that he will retire from the position, effective from today (25). Accordingly, the IGP is slated to retire from his position in view of the completion of his current tenure. Albeit having to retire from the police service on 26 March, Wickramaratne’s current tenure was his fourth service extension, with three service extensions having previously been granted earlier this year, and the most recent one in October. more..

Sri Lanka needs permission from India to develop Trinco oil tanks: Minister

Nov 26 (EN) SL is trying to find a way out of a clause which allowed India to block petroleum development in Trincomalee, according to an agreement signed on a tank farm, Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said. He was responding to a question from opposition legislator Kabir Hashim about the agreement to lease Trinco oil tanks signed with India in 2022. Hashim, a former energy minister said, he had information that some parties were willing to lease the tanks which were assigned to CPC. more..

Coaches and selectors in the dark as impasse between top guns drag

Nov 26 (ST) The current turmoil at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is likely to have far-reaching consequences as it has left the national team, coaching staff and the national selectors in the dark over the future of their employment. SL will still host both Zimbabwe & Afghanistan, as planned, in January. But there are fears that the deep uncertainty surrounding these 3 key stakeholders may send the national team crashing further. more..

FSL looking to do best for football: Jaswar

Nov 26 (ST) Football Sri Lanka (FSL) is on the verge of adopting a professional approach to their day-to-day operations as well as other important areas such as administration, coaching, national team management and training, competitions and development. After being inactive for almost for a year, effectively after a global suspension by its world governing body, FIFA, FSL is now gradually falling back on track with activities, according to the elected President, Jaswar Umar. more..

'Will pass on CEB gains to consumers'

Nov 26 (EN) Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said that if the CEB makes any operating profit by December due to rains, those gains will be passed onto consumers in April. He said CEB is currently facing a financial deficit of Rs 12 billion. However, given the prevailing rain conditions, it is anticipated that there may be a positive turn in the financial outlook. “If operational profits are realized by Dec, as determined through financial calculations, a concession will be extended to consumers more..

CPC pays $ 17 m in demurrage costs amid financial challenges

Nov 26 (TM) State-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has shelled out an exorbitant $ 17 million solely in demurrages last year. This staggering financial outlay translated to a substantial loss for the corporation. The underlying cause, as disclosed by CPC insiders, points to mismanagement by CPC officials. In addition, as disclosed in the CPC audit report for 2021 (the latest available), the demurrage claimed by more..

Dispute over SLPP breakaway group hinders CC’s functionality

Nov 26 (DM) The appointment of the tenth member to the Constitutional Council (CC) has been hampered over differences within the opposition, eventually leading to its activities being hamstrung. According to the Constitution, the current vacancy which has existed for more than one year should be reserved for a member of the third-largest party in Parliament, not represented either by the PM or the Opposition Leader. As such, TNA MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan has been nominated to the post. more..

Only 31 out of 179 foreign investment projects efficacious: SOC

Nov 26 (AD) The Sectoral Oversight Committee (SOC) on National Economic and Physical Plans has instructed the Department of Project Management and Monitoring to submit a progress report without delay as it was disclosed that only 31 out of 179 foreign investment projects are efficacious. The performance report of the Project Management and Monitoring Dept was taken up for consideration at the SOC meeting on Nov 21, chaired by MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage. more..

අනුර වෙනුවෙන් ගම් 14000ක බල

Sri Lankans being sent to Israel are given military training: Hakeem

Nov 26 (DM) Sri Lankan expatriate workers who are sent to Israel are to be given military training, MP Rauff Hakeem alleged. "The SL expatriates are placed in areas which have been taken over by Israel since the breakout of the conflict in the Gaza Strip," the MP said. However, Minister Manusha Nanayakkara who responded, vehemently denied the allegation. "No military training is provided for SL expatriates. Making false allegations will affect SL's bilateral relationship with Israel. more..

Sri Lanka to OK Sinopec's $4.5 billion refinery proposal on Monday -minister

Nov 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will likely approve on Monday a proposal from Chinese state refiner Sinopec to build a $4.5-billion-dollar refinery, the South Asian island nation's energy minister said on Saturday. "It's on the agenda for Monday. Once the cabinet gives approval, we will invite them to sign the agreement," Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said. Sri Lanka, trying to recover from its worst economic crisis in more than 70 years, is hungry for new investment and local fuel supplies. more..

Emirates, Etihad and Adani Group among bids for SriLankan Airlines stake

Nov 26 (ST) Emirates, Etihad Airways and the Adani Group are among prospective bidders seeking a stake in SriLankan Airlines (SLA). They are among 16 investors – Tata Sons (Air India) being a notable absentee – which have expressed interest in phase 1 of the process. The national carrier’s restructuring process phase 1 has ended with the closing of bids for the divestiture of the debt-ridden national carrier and the selection of more..

MotoSurf Asia Continental Cup Championship a huge success

Nov 26 (CT) MotoSurf Asia Continental Cup Championship held in Colombo marked a significant milestone as it coincided with the 10th Anniversary of the Lanka Power Boat Association. Event hosted the inaugural MotoSurf World Championship on the picturesque Beira Lake in Colombo. Three-day event featured Men’s Class, Women’s Class, and the Nations Cup. Riders from various nations competed for the best lap time of their team efforts, with the weekend welcoming several well-known more..

Tax exemption for luxury, electric vehicle caused over Rs.14 bn loss

Nov 26 (ST) SL has incurred a massive loss of billions of rupees annually as a result of exemption granted to import luxury vehicles and electric vehicles since 2019 up to Aug 2023 under the concessionary vehicle permit scheme. Govt has lost Rs.14. 58 billion in revenue due to tax exemptions given to import luxury and electric vehicles during the period of 2019 to 30-08-2023. Ministry has published these data recently for the first time to fulfill an IMF commitment in accordance with more..

හිරු ටීවී පත්තරේ විස්තරේ

Aid package from WB and ADB after IMF approves 2nd tranche

Nov 26 (ST) SL is expected to receive US$ 300 million from WB and ADB soon after IMF approves its second tranche next month. World Bank and ADB funds would be used for projects that have been held back during the financial crisis, he said. Accordingly, US$ 200 million from the ADB and US$ 100 million from the WB would be made available. The moves come as CB Governor Nandalal Weeraisinghe said that SL would receive approval for the 2nd tranche of US$ 2.9 billion EFF. more..

Saliya Pieris refutes President’s claims that he had ambitions to become PM

Nov 26 (AD) President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris has refuted Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe that he had ambitions to become the Prime Minister prior to May 09, 2022. In a post on his Facebook account, the former president of the Bar Association of SL (BASL) said the Head of State had falsely claimed this during the parliamentary session on Friday. “Unfortunately, Mr. Wickremesinghe utters these lies under cover of immunity in Parliament where he cannot be replied to,” Pieris said. more..

North-East courts reject police requests to ban events to commemorate war dead

Nov 26 (ST) In the Northern and Eastern Provinces, several courts have turned down police requests seeking stay orders banning tomorrow’s commemorative events organised by the Tamil community to remember their war dead and those who were killed during the war period. When the seven applications filed by Kilinochchi Division police stations came before the magistrate court on Friday, court refused to more..

Presidential Election: EC looking at polls date from 16 Sep -17 Oct

Nov 26 (TM) The forthcoming Prez Election is slated to take place on a day between 16 Sept and 17 Oct next year, as confirmed by Election Commission (EC) Chairman R.M.A.L. Rathnayake. He said that the specific date for the election would be decided and officially announced in July (as per the two-month advance notice prior to the commencement of the stipulated election period). Emphasising on adherence to constitutional and legal frameworks, Rathnayake highlighted that more..

Public sector to get part of Rs 10,000 pay hike from January 2024

Nov 26 (DM) Govt is exploring the option of providing Rs 5,000 of the proposed pay increase of Rs. 10,000 from Jan 2024, followed by the balance from April. Discussions were held regarding this during a recent meeting of the State Revenue Unit chaired by Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe. The discussions were based on the figures presented in the 2023 expected financial report of the State Revenue Unit from the Prez's Office, which indicated that the salary increase can be feasibly more..

Political crisis brews over Constitutional Council’s legal position

Nov 26 (ST) Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe has triggered a political debate with his declaration in Parliament that the Constitutional Council is part of the executive and not the legislature as widely believed. The statement, for the first time, came when he spoke on Thursday about the delay in the filling of vacancies at the Supreme Court and at the Court of Appeal. He revealed that CJ Jayantha Jayasuriya had proposed more..

Public sector wage increases, where’s the cash coming from

Nov 27 (DM) Prez Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Minister of Finance announced during his presentation of the budget, that govt was planning to increase salaries of public sector workers by Rs. 10,000/-. Undoubtedly public sector workers would have welcomed the promised salary increase, even though worker unions claimed it was insufficient. The General Secretary of the State and Provincial Govt Trade Union’s Federation said that although there must be at least a salary increase more..

Dissolve Parliament and Appoint an Interim Committee

Nov 27 (DM) Our legislature’s functioning is worse than that of the SLC. Dissolve Parliament and appoint an Interim Committee comprising non politicians. The disrespectful exchange and unseemly behaviour witnessed during the budget debate involving the Prez and Leader of the Opposition on Wednesday and Thursday, particularly their irresponsible conduct in the presence of school children, have tarnished the dignity and decorum of the August assembly. more..

‘Sri Lanka has failed its females’

Nov 27 (TM) 25 November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It is no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns led to an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence in the world. But, in Sri Lanka, even before the pandemic, one in five females had experienced sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime and one in four had more..

Bitter pill of demobilisation

Nov 27 (TM) SL seems to be making some inroads into cutting state expenditure for defence and security, with the Ministry of Defence last week stating that the Govt was considering streamlining the 33,000 strong Civil Security Dept (CSD), formally known as Civil Defence Force (CDF), and the Home Guard. Most in the then Home Guard/CDF and today's CSD came from farming backgrounds and were recruited for local defence and guard duties as a paramilitary force, much like more..