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Friday’s mayhem: Over 20 arrested

Dec 5 (DN) Police arrested over 20 persons who pelted stones at buses, blocked roads and obstructed the free flow of traffic during Friday’s private bus strike. 19 persons, arrested on charges of unlawful assembly in Negombo, were remanded until Dec 9 by Negombo Magistrate. Police on Friday had to remove containers placed across the Negombo - Colombo main road by the protesters. more..

Gemunu wants rioters punished

Dec 5 (DN)  Lanka Private Bus Owner’s Association President Gemunu Wijerathne said firm action should be taken against those who damaged public property while severely injuring a soldier in the protest organised by several private bus trade unions against the Rs. 25, 000 and Rs. 2,500 traffic fine. “We have already come to an agreement with President Maithripala Sirisena  to form a committee on the revision of these fines when some private bus unions decided on a strike on Friday. more..

FCID probes into 4,012 mn Nilwala River Diversion Project

Dec 5 (DM) FCID had sought a court order to obtain a detailed report from a State Bank on release of Rs.4, 012 million for the Nilwala River Diversion Project. FCID said they needed this information to conduct an investigation under Money Laundering Act to ascertain any misappropriation of public money by not commencing the work on the project. FCID also said that the project was also an unsolicited project, despite the total cost amounting Rs. 4,012 million had been paid 2 years ago. more..

State Water Supply SOE heading for financial crisis, losses understated

Dec 5 (EN) National Water Supply and Drainage Board is heading for a financial crisis due to the inability to service loans taken for new projects, minister in charge Rauf Hakeem said. In the last few years the NSWDB had implemented water projects in areas including Homagama, Avissawella, Kosgama borrowing 54 billion rupees from domestic banks. In the past few year more water supply projects had been built with loans more..

SL ranked 103rd for in Enabling Trade Index

Dec 5 (NR) Sri Lanka was ranked 103rd out of 136 counties in the Global Enabling Trade Index compiled by the World Economic Forum. Index ranks economies on the extent to which they have in place institutions, policies, infrastructures and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destination. India was ranked one place above Sri Lanka at 102. Rankings were part of Enabling Trade Report 2016. Report ranked SL poorly for access to foreign markets. more..

More deaths at protected railway crossings

Dec 5 (ST) Far more railway crossing accidents occur at protected rather than unprotected crossings. There were 62 accidents resulting in nine deaths on protected level crossings this year compared to 15 on unprotected ones with no fatalities. Last Sunday alone, five people lost their lives at a crossing in at Poddaramulla, in Pothupitiya, Wadduwa. The victims, aged from 45-60 years, had been drunk and disregarded the railway gate-keeper’s warning, police said. more..

SLMC gets ultimatum

Dec 5 (DM) Elections Commission has issued a deadline on SLMC to settle its internal dispute with regard to the post of Party Secretary who would deal with matters concerning elections with the Commission. Chairman of EC Mahinda Deshapriya in a letter to SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem and Secretary A.C.A.M. Mansoor with a copy to Secretary General Hassan Ali had stated that unless the party settled this dispute before Dec 15, more..

One dead in CM’s jeep crash

Dec 5 (DN) A 67-year-old person died when the three wheeler he was travelling collided with a jeep in which North Central Province Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne was travelling at Sigiriyamulla in Sigiriya around 5.45 p.m. on Saturday. The three wheeler driver injured in the accident is warded at the Dambulla Hospital. The deceased was identified as A.N. Somaratne of Melsiripura. He had been returning in the three wheeler after visiting his son in Sigiriya when the tragedy occurred. more..

Distorted SL flags raised by BBS led mob

Dec 5 (CG) Distorted Sri Lanka flags were raised by a mob led by the Bodu Bala Sena which was on its way to Batticaloa yesterday. The flags did not have the two green and orange colour stripes that represent the minorities in Sri Lanka. A large number of people had attempted to enter Batticaloa but were prevented from doing so by the Police on a court order. The mob which called itself the Shasanarakshka Sabha included members of the Sihala Ravaya. more..

Pride of Pacific trains new SL marine corps

Dec 5 (MCT) Camp Pendleton Marines wrapped up the first joint training mission with the newly created Sri Lankan marine corps last week, the latest sign of the U.S. military stepping up engagement in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Sri Lanka stood up its new naval infantry in September with a core force of seven officers and 150 sailors and modeled it on the U.S. Marine Corps. More than 300 U.S. Marines and sailors with more..

PM suggests separate place for protesters

Dec 5 (DN)  PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday suggested that there should be a separate place for protesters and also demarcate a High Security Zone (HSZ) around Parliament. He made this suggestion in Parliament referring to those who staged protests around the Parliament complex in Sri J'pura, Kotte in the past week and the obstruction of the movement of MPs to and from Parliament by these protests. PM said that any person had the right  to come to Parliament and meet their representatives but more..

Lankan Journalist harassed in India

Dec 5 (CT) Mirudhula Thambiah, a Journalist attached to Ceylon Today, was recently forced to undergo a serious security check, at the Indian Immigration Authority, based at Bengaluru Airport, where she was continuously questioned. It was not a routine or normal security check, but an extraordinary case of harassment. She said, "I was harassed by the security personnel at the Airport, as I landed on 27 Nov. I was invited to participate at the 'Countering Online radicalization of Youth more..

Global support sought for PPP success

Dec 5 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has called on development partners and technocrats to bridge financial gaps to encourage public-private partnerships (PPPs) in view of the urgent need to accelerate sustainable economic growth through private sector investments on infrastructure. “I invite all development partners such as ADB, JICA & USAID to fill the financing gap of the govt in private sector led investments more..

Sri Lanka’s entitlement culture

Dec 5 (ST) CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy, last week hit the nail on the head and made, what one would call in rugby parlance, a blinder of a tackle. Speaking at a glittering ceremony to mark its Best Corporate Citizen awards in Colombo, Indrajit – a dashing rugby wing forward who went on to captain Sri Lanka in 1974 – said the country has a deeply entrenched entitlement culture that along with populist politics has for decades stalled SL’s march to progress. more..

Tea industry lost in new budget proposal

Dec 5 (ST) The tea industry is facing uncertain times in the wake of the new budget proposal to limit the estates to 5000 acres per company that caught the sector by surprise. Issues like the fact that the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) have entered into a 55-year lease agreement with the govt and how this could be re-done with this kind of budget proposal to limit the acreage on the estates, are confronting plantations with no proper response from the authorities. more..

Warning Sri Lanka stands to lose pros

Dec 5 (NS) Assistant Secretary of GMOA Dr. Chandana Dharmaratne, Secretary of GMOA, Dr. Naveen Soysa, Editor of the GMOA, Dr. Nalinda Herath, Assistant Secretary of GMOA, Dr. Haritha Aluthge, Executive Committee Member, Dr. Shenal Fernando and General Committee Member and Branch Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. R. Thanigaivasan regarding their concerns about proposals in the budget which they deemed more..

Online freelancing provides more jobs, income for SL youth

Dec 5 (ST) Online freelancing is growing rapidly and gaining popularity within the younger generation in Sri Lanka as it provides avenues to make extra income with one’s skills and knowledge while being at home, according to a research study conducted by LIRNEasia. Based on a  nationally representative survey, LIRNEasia estimates, there could be 17,000 to 22,000 freelancers in Sri Lanka registered with multiple platforms and selling their skills all around the world. more..

Maga signs MoU with Vocational Training Authority

Dec 5 (CT) Since the ending of the civil war in year 2009, the increase in local and foreign investments in infrastructure development projects has created an increase in the demand for skilled workers in the construction industry. There have been various initiatives to develop this skilled workforce by Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training. Vocational Training Authority (VTA), which functions under the above Ministry was established in 1995. more..

Eran says govt follows a pragmatic approach in restructuring State enterprises

Dec 5 (FT) Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne told Parliament that the Govt follows a pragmatic approach to restructure State enterprises. He claimed that the govt is not outdate in their economic and political approach to restructuring, and has a practical approach. “It is not dogmatism but it is pragmatism that drives our programs. We don’t believe that change in ownership will bring benefits; the situation in more..

Leading biz woman appointed Brand Ambassador in Japan to boost SL Tourism

Dec 5 (FT) Popular businesswoman Satoko Yahata was appointed Brand Ambassador to promote Sri Lanka Tourism in Japan by Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga. Satoko Yahata is the President of Core S Ltd., a Tokyo-based consulting firm that specialises in planning international business in art, food, culture, fashion and travel, as well as a media producer. Yahata was recommended by Tourism Advisory Board Chairman Harry Jayawardena. more..

Addressing old ladies

Dec 5 (ST) A coach from Singapore visited SL to give advice on the technical aspects of the game. Singapore coach was shocked to see that she had to address a set of old ladies. She had stated that she was in Sri Lanka to address the youth of the country on the sport. It has now been revealed that this sports body had wanted to honour some of their old and trusted followers and had invited them to attend this seminar. Many sports journalists are not aware that there is an association for them. more..

Sand divers risk health for lucrative job

Dec 5 (MS) Dilantha Silva learned how to dive for sand in the river near his house when he was 13 years old. At 36, he is still diving for sand in that same river, Maha Oya, which flows past his hometown of Kochchikade. But the father of three, who works without any special diving equipment, says he has only a few more years of the work in him. "I dive because I want to live, but I come to surface because otherwise I will die," more..

Veteran banker joins Cargills Bank

Dec 5 (FT) Cargills Bank has announced the appointment of Rajendra Theagarajah as the Joint Deputy Chairman, further bolstering the organisation which has achieved two key milestones recently. Theagarajah is a veteran banker with a wealth of experience in the banking and financial services sector and counts over 30 years of experience in banking both locally and internationally. Theagarajah served as CEO of NDB from Aug 2013 till 30 Nov 2016. more..

Foreign players barred from FA Cup: FFSL

Dec 5 (ST) Foreign players will not permitted to play in this year’s Cargills Food City FA Cup Tournament which commenced last Saturday. Football Federation of SL made this decision as local players were unable to make an impact due to foreign-player dominance. This year’s Cargills Food City FA Cup Tournament champions will receive a cash award of Rs 1 million. Cargills Food City is throwing its weight behind the FA Cup Championship for the 4th consecutive year in line more..

Sport for every child to build a healthy nation

Dec 5 (ST) The increase in the number of overweight children in our society, may be a direct result of us not paying attention to their daily diet and to their physical activity. TV and computer games have replaced children’s playtime. Today, they play Football in the computer, rather than on the grounds. If we choose to ignore these facts and let this trend continue, we would surely be end up with an unhealthy nation, soon. more..

Neighbours: Good, the bad, the indifferent

Dec 5 (Island) That’s the poet William Blake writing about A Poison Tree, to be taken metaphorically. But I have comprehended the poem literally and am disappointed that my foe is as healthy as ever and walking in and out of his flat after uprooting my beautiful red, yellow and orange cannas and breaking branches off my jasmine plants that gave flowers to my household and three wayfarers who come daily to take their pick. He’s done this before but not in such a rampageous manner. more..

Constitutional Reform:Complacent govt, carping contrarians and Italy’s referendum

Dec 5 (Island) As Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform proposals are making their way from the backstage into public view, Italy held a referendum yesterday on a constitutional reform proposal to significantly emasculate the Senate in the country’s bicameral system. Coming on the heels of British Brexit and American Trumpit, the Italian referendum has morphed from being a narrow constitutional question into another occasion for testing the rise of western populism. more..

Face the Nation

Sri Lanka’s Che Guevara Revolution

Dec 5 (SL) The hangover of Fidel and Che can still be seen in the fast thinning, greying beards of academics and politicos. News of the death of Fidel Castro took our memories back to the raucous refrains of political chants that went on for hours in the seventies at political rallies of the United Front govt. Api yanne koi paare; Fidel Castro giya pare; Api Yanne koi paare; Che Guevera giya paare; Mathinilata api kyanne; Fidel wage kelin inna; Mathinilata api kyanne; NM Wage kelin inna. more..

Karuna’s Waterloo?

Dec 5 (SL) Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman started off as a top leader of the LTTE. He then made headlines when he split from the LTTE and led the TMVP. Karuna later joined the SLFP and was a Deputy Minister in the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt. Today Karuna Amman is behind bars. He was arrested last week for allegedly having in his possession a govt owned bullet-proof vehicle. Former Deputy Minister has appealed against the arrest and his case will be heard tomorrow. more..

'I challenge Minister Samarasinghe to state my role'

Dec 5 (CT) "It is over a year since I was appointed State Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, yet, I have not been assigned any responsibilities nor have I received an area to handle. Therefore, I challenge the Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training Mahinda Samarasinghe to openly tell me my responsibilities and duties at the ministry," said the State Minister Palitha Range Bandara. more..

The Danger: Will Sri Lanka go off Trump America’s radar?

Dec 5 (ST) To the victor, the spoils. Not only the scalp but the professed allegiance, too, of the fallen, however insincere it may sound; even as Hillary Clinton demonstrated – moments after it became clear she had lost key swing states – when she called upon the people to rally around Trump and to hail him as the man America had decided upon to lead the nation for the next four years as her president. Trump’s astonishing rise to the zenith of world power is something still to sink in. more..

Gota’s address to the professionals on how fools made the rulers bloody fools

Dec 5 (CT) A news item appearing in Daily FT dated Monday 28 Nov 2016 relates to an address by Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) at Viyathmaga (Professionals for a better future) held at Palatuwa, Matara. GR’s own acknowledgement of the role played by him in the takeover of Sri Lankan Airlines needs a further evaluation in the context of the eventual outcome of the takeover. GR contends, quote “It was I who facilitated the meeting between the pilots union and President Rajapaksa. more..

Gifts to teachers: mixed reactions: Cleansing the public service

Dec 5 (SO) From time immemorial we have been introduced and made accustomed to the concept of giving gifts to teachers as a token of our love and gratitude. What historical literature refers to Guru Panduru loosely translating as offerings to teachers shows the respect and admiration placed on teachers, from the early days. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam had signed a circular prohibiting teachers from accepting more..

Being evicted from house and home

Dec 5 (CT) Not so long after Sirima Bandaranaike govt resumed ruling SL, and with her brother, Barnes, appointed to the position of Public Trustee, whose subordinate I was under the terms of my late father’s Last Will and Testament, it was believed that the inevitable would befall me and my family – economic and/or personal payback for my support of the recently-deposed UNP govt. My first surprise was Barnes Ratwatte who proved an eminently fair, decent and competent person. more..

That call to the IGP & The undermining of law

Dec 5 (ST) For close to ten years, Sri Lanka was ruled by a Presidency under which calls were openly given by politicians to heads of the judiciary, the police and hapless public servants ordering them to act or not to act as the case may be. This is not to say that such gross misrule started with the Rajapaksas. Before that, we had our peccadilloes, when political pressure was exerted by Heads of State on judicial and public officials in particular circumstances. more..