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No NICs for 500,000 Lankans: 300,000 are registered voters

Dec 17 (CT) An estimated 500,000 Lankans are believed to be without their National Identity Cards. Some 300,000 individuals registered in the Govt Electoral Registry are also confirmed to be without their NICs, Commissioner General - Dept of Registration of Persons, Viyani Gunatilleke said. He conceded that there had not been any survey done in this regard, but according to available statistics, number should be around 500,000 more..

Minister stops colossal allowances paid to NLB directors and staff

Dec 17 (ST) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has ordered an immediate halt to exorbitant allowances claimed by National Lotteries Board directors and senior staff for taking part in lottery draws. This follows exclusive revelations in the Sunday Times (Café Spectator) last week. Our report bared details of how “about Rs 8.1 million (or exactly Rs 8,1456,750) has been drawn by the Chairman and four directors for more..

SC to proceed with fundamental rights case against Defence Ministry by Sierra Tech.

Dec 17 (ST) Supreme Court this week granted Leave to proceed in a fundamental rights application relating to a tender called for by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for setting up a communication system for the proposed university hospital of the Kotelawala Defence University, which was not implemented after the award was made. The petitioner Sierra Technology Holdings of Colombo 5 claims that some of the respondents more..

'GSP+ will facilitate 6,600 Lankan commodity exports to 28 EU countries'

Dec 17 (Island) he European Union (EU) Support to District Development Programme, inaugurated over the past five years was concluded last week. Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva, chief guest at the conclusion news conference said the benefits of GSP+ was that 6,600 made in Sri Lanka products could find markets in the EU. This also meant that such exports should be of good quality and should meet EU import standards. more..

Govt gets tough on wildlife criminals

Dec 17 (SO) Responding to the brutal killings of several tuskers over the past few weeks, the govt has adopted immediate measures to counter wildlife criminals. As the first step of the process, a new Wildlife Force will be set up to battle wildlife crimes & criminals, Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said. “The new unit will also be given weapons training. At present, we don’t have trained officers to effectively counter more..

Last November’s natural disaster hit almost half a million people

Dec 17 (Island) The full picture of the havoc wreaked by torrential rain, floods and gale-force winds that battered 17 districts of Sri Lanka in late November has now emerged with the DMC enumerating that apart from 15 deaths, 78 injured and five persons still missing, almost half a million people were affected by the stormy weather. In addition to 412,470 persons (124,137 families) hit by inclement weather conditions more..

'Sri Lanka’s War: Getting distracted with numbers can distort the truth'

Dec 17 (Island) Getting distracted by arguments about the numbers that were killed or went missing during or in the immediate aftermath of the end of a near three decade war between the Sri Lankan security forces and separatist LTTE could easily distort the truth, British High Commissioner in Colombo James Dauris said. He said that "while a single death is a tragedy, a large number of deaths is a statistic. more..

Uma Oya leakage sealed, water ingress reduced significantly

Dec 17 (Island) The underground water seepage that occurred in the main tunnel of Uma Oya hydro-power and irrigation project earlier this year has now been sealed and the total ingress has been reduced significantly, said Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Anura Dissanayake. One of the biggest development and construction projects in Sri Lanka, Uma Oya aims to provide water for drinking, more..

'Implement a national transportation policy'

Dec 17 (SO) Implementing one of the several national transportation policies that were formulated since the 1990s, will help develop a sound transportation system in the country reducing congestion, environmental pollution and loss to the economy in terms of fuel use, a transportation sector economist said. There have been several national transportation policies drafted from time to time, but none of them have been implemented. more..

Politics in a time of amnesia

Dec 17 (Island) "Does a nation remember and forget in much the same way as an individual does?" Kazuo Ishiguro wondered in his Nobel Lecturei. As the third year of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration draws to a close, the question cannot but arise: does a govt remember and forget as an individual does? Does this govt? Does it remember the time before it was the govt, when it was the Joint Opposition facing more..

Beyond echo chambers

Dec 17 (Island) It boils down to this. Three years into the yahapalanaya govt, is our support of it now contingent on the fear of the Rajapaksa’s coming back into power? If that is the case, to what extent do we gloss over and excuse the trappings of power, and the failure of this Prez and PM, to actualise the promises they made before coming to power? To what degree to we posit the visible failure of reform on how difficult it is to reshape a political architecture founded on corruption, more..

The Naseby initiative continues

Dec 17 (Island) Lord Naseby (LN), the British peer who recently took up the allegation of 40,000 civilian casualties during the Vanni offensive in the British parliament, a principal element of UNHRC Resolution 30/1, has taken a further step in his efforts in setting the record straight. According to a media release from his office, he has forwarded a full set of papers consisting of the Hansard transcript of the debate he initiated in the House of Lords on October 12, all copies of more..

Sirisena declares war on SLPP, disciplinary action threatened against party dissidents

Dec 17 (ST) Personal initiatives by Prez Maithripala Sirisena to re-unify the SLFP ahead of the local polls have all ended in failure. Now, he has declared political war on the rival faction for repeatedly snubbing his overtures. Sirisena told his ministers and other SLFP stalwarts this week he would nominate a person for each electorate to monitor the activities of the rival group. Their tasks include gathering audio/video evidence of more..

Hathurusinghe gets deal worth over Rs. 6 Million per month

Dec 17 (SL) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board has offered newly selected Cricket coach Chandika Hathurusingha a deal worth over Rs. 6 Million a month. Package is higher than that which was received by former coach Graham Ford. Ford is believed to have received between Rs. 1-2 Million a month. Sources said that the deal was approved by President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala. Hathurusingha was not in good terms with the Bangladesh cricket team as head coach at more..

SEC unlikely to ratify Asanga’s appointment at CSE

Dec 17 (ST) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is unlikely to approve Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Director, Asanga Seneviratne’s reappointment owing to certain issues. While the CSE appoints its directors, SEC approval is also required. Mr. Seneviratne, a CSE director since 2014, has had many issues at his company, Nation Lanka Equities which has been struggling with liquidity issues. For these reasons, he had been barred by SEC from attending CSE board more..

Rifts, omissions, disappointments: Last-minute dramas before nominations

Dec 17 (ST) Newly formed alliances, breakaway groups coming forward as independent contestants and unwilling women being fielded as candidates to meet the 25 percent female representation requirement were among the highlights of the local council nominations that closed on Thursday. With the upcoming elections being held, for the first time, under a mixed election system of first-past-the-post and more..

Major urea shortage; thousands of farmers in mudholes

Dec 17 (SL) Sri Lanka has run into a further shortage of Urea fertiliser needed for paddy cultivation after Pakistan this week turned down a request to provide urgent supplies. A request by Prez Sirisena to Pakistani govt had been turned down on the grounds that Pakistan had already stopped exports from October in view of the rising domestic demand. In addition orders placed by four private companies to buy 38,000 metric tonnes of urea from Pakistan also had been rejected, more..

Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang to bid farewell

Dec 17 (SL) Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang is to bid farewell as his term in Sri Lanka has come to an end. Yi Xianliang is to leave on Monday after serving nearly three years as Ambassador in SL. Xianliang, seen as one of the most influential Chinese envoys to Sri Lanka, arrived in the country on Feb 24, 2015 and commenced work as the 20th Chinese Ambassador to SL. During the past two years and nine months, he traveled to all 9 provinces and 25 districts of Sri Lanka, more..

Navin to visit Russia to resolve Tea ban

Dec 17 (SO) Minister of Plantation, Navin Dissanayake will visit Russia as soon as the necessary logistical arrangements are made and work with his Russian counterparts to resolve the temporary ban imposed by Russia on tea exports on Thursday, the Ministry said on Friday. “We have sought a meeting with the Russian authorities and the Minister has said he will travel on any date to swiftly address this issue,” more..

Speculation on Maithri-Mahinda patch-up

Dec 17 (Island) Two Sunday Sinhala newspapers commanding large circulations available on the news stands yesterday ran speculative stories about a possible patch-up between President Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa at the conclusion of the local govt election. Sunday Divaina ran a front page banner headline on a Maithri – Mahinda caretaker govt while the Sunday Lankadeepa reported that it is reliably understood from a source close to the govt more..

US$ 100m project to solve Colombo’s garbage issue

Dec 17 (ST) Megapolis and Western Development Ministry will seek cabinet approval next week to award a US$ 100 million contract for a major solid waste management system at Aruwakkalu in Puttalam as a solution to Colombo’s chronic garbage disposal problem. The project is being introduced as a solution to the waste disposal issues mainly in the Western Province. Minister Champika Ranawaka said that two companies from China and South Korea had been short-listed for more..

Aviation consultants to chart SriLankan’s course

Dec 17 (ST) The govt, looking out for a consultant to work out a plan to restructure national carrier, SriLankan Airlines will pick one out of the proposals scheduled to be submitted by Dec 20 by two shortlisted firms providing aviation consultancy services. Committee of Officials has proposed to obtain professional consultancy from a selected adviser as a result of which two out of a number of consultants have been shortlisted more..

SL Embassy participates in DSAL Charity Bazaar in Beirut

Dec 17 (GDI) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Lebanon participated in the Diplomatic Spouses’ Association of Lebanon (DSAL) International Charity Bazaar held in Beirut recently. This was the third time that the Sri Lankan Mission participated in this annual charity bazaar. The event provided the diplomatic missions in Beirut with the opportunity to promote items and products unique to their respective countries as well as their culture and ways of life. The Missions were allowed to sell items, more..

Appam, pol sambol, lamprais: Flavours from the delectable Sri Lankan cuisine

Dec 17 (NM) Sri Lanka's culinary repertoire is an epicure's fantasy shaped by many historical, cultural, and other factors. The Indians, Arabs, Malays, Portuguese, Dutch and English who colonized, traded with or settled in this tear-shaped island over the centuries, all left their indelible mark on the cuisine that, in course of time, evolved into one with an identity of its own. Sri Lanka flaunts a rich culinary heritage, the result of a unique medley of local produce with recipes and spices more..

Govt backtracks on anti-coal policy: Two 600MW coal plants coming up

Dec 17 (CT) Govt has decided to introduce a less environmental impact clean coal technology to construct a new 600MW coal power plant in the area of the Lakvijaya Power Station in Norochcholai and another 600MW high efficient coal power plant in the Foul Point area in Trinco. "The relevant proposal has already been submitted to the Govt for approval but final approval might be delayed due to objections by a minister" more..

Rare treat for tuk-tuk drivers at Cinnamon Grand

Dec 17 (Island) Three-wheel taxi drivers were hosted to a five-star meal at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel as part of its appreciation of the humble tuk-tuks operating in its neighbourhood, the hotel said yesterday. Marking its 12th year after rebranding, the Cinnamon Grand invited 28 trishaw drivers for lunch at its Taprobane restaurant and thanked them for providing alternate transport to hotel guests as well as staff. The drivers presented an ornamental elephant to Cinnamon Grand Gen. Manager more..

Home people don’t know what to do

Dec 17 (ST) It was quite intriguing. I mean the Thursday morning conversation between Kussi Amma Sera (KAS) and Serapina (the neighbour’s domestic aide and KAS’s comrade-in-arms). The across-the-fence chatter (in loud voices) while both were sweeping the garden drew not only my attention but others down the lane walking by. Nothing like a good old gossip to energise you as the morning rays of the sun break through the trees. Taking a break while pondering on what more..

SLT CEO quits amidst trade union pressure

Dec 17 (SO) In the wake of trade union‘s allegations of corruption and mismanagement, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Group CEO Dileepa Wijesundera tendered his resignation on Wednesday stating that he will be retiring from the post in March next year. He had not reported for work during the past couple of week citing ill health, SLT officials revealed. When contacted, Mr. Wijesundera confirmed the move but more..

Sri Lanka lose two matches in T10s

Dec 17 (CT) Team Sri Lanka lost two matches straight in the inaugural T10 league Sharjah continued for the third day yesterday. Taking on Maratha Arabians Sri Lanka made 125-4 in 10 overs curtsey of skipper Dinesh Chandimal's 37 and some power hitting by Shehan Jayasuriya (28) and Ramith Rambukwella (22) . But Maratha Arabians chased down the tally with the last ball going for a heroic six from the bat of Rilee Rossouw who was unbeaten on 49 off 18 balls including six sixes. more..

National off loads among the runs

Dec 17 (ST) SSC’s offloaded batsmen – Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Milinda Siriwardena along with talented Sammu Ashan scored good runs helping them pile a hefty total 444 for 4 in their Premier ‘A’ tie against the Saracens at Maitland Place, yesterday. Milinda Siriwardena who was unbeaten on 103 overnight added a further 34 runs to remain unbeaten on 137 which had eight boundaries and seven sixes. Saracens SC in their turn had a sound start with openers Minhaj more..

Minister’s cricket plan to take the game to the next plane

Dec 17 (ST) Domestic cricketers in Sri Lanka set to receive a hefty pay hike, if game’s keepers adopts a domestic cricket restructuring proposal prepared by the Sports Ministry appointed Cricket Advisory Committee. The committee headed by businessman Hemaka Amarasuriya includes former SL skippers in Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara who have often highlighted importance of revamping more..

Injunction against pyramid scheme operator in Jaffna

Dec 17 (ST) Chavakachcheri Magistrate Court in the Jaffna district has issued an interim injunction on Global Lifestyle Lanka Ltd which has been carrying on a pyramid type business in the region. The order on Tuesday came on a report submitted to court by the Chavakachcheri Police following many complaints made by residents. The company’s head office is at Duplication Road, Colombo. In the ruling, Chavakachcheri District Judge cum Magistrate Ms. Srinithi Nandasegaran ordered the company more..

SriLankan Airlines partners Beefy’s final charity walk

Dec 17 (SO) SriLankan Airlines was the proud sponsor of the Australian leg of Sir Ian Botham’s famed charity walk Beefy’s Trek Down Under which took place recently. The Airline facilitated Sir Botham and his team’s journey from London to its newest connectivity addition, Melbourne via its Colombo hub. Having retired from int'l cricket 30 years ago, 62-year old cricket legend did not want to rest his trainers without a walk across Australia and his last two walks have been in SL and SA. more..

'When I don’t score, people think my attitude is wrong'

Dec 17 (Island) Former captain Angelo Mathews has been Sri Lanka’s best batsman on this tour having notched up two hundreds so far. The 30-year-old spoke about the technical adjustments he has done to his game and the misconception among people that his attitude is wrong when he goes through a lean patch. Mathews, who stepped down as captain in July, posted an unbeaten hundred in Mohali more..

Fear of the Unknown, or what!

Dec 17 (SL) Independent of what one may think of the UNP and SLFP partners in Govt, or their politico-electoral challenge in the Rajapaksas-centric SLPP-JO, one thing is becoming increasingly clear. None of them wants to create a new and untested political space for a new and faceless common opponent to emerge and render one, two or all of them electorally irrelevant, in the short, medium and/or long terms. With that also goes their considered concern, limited or otherwise, for the nation, more..

A must win game

Dec 17 (ST) Last Wednesday’s Lankan centurion Angelo Mathews has been declared fit for the decisive third and final ODI to be played at Visakhapatnam today — which would be a day-night affair. Mathews suffered cramps during his unbeaten 111 in the second ODI in Mohali. On the back of Rohit Sharma’s third ODI double century, India thrashed SL by 141 runs to level the series with one-match to go after visitors posted a surprise 7-wicket win under seaming conditions in Dharamsala. more..