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UNP constitutional proposals vs. the Rajapakse constitutional amendment

June 24 (GV) Both the ruling Rajapakse Administration and the opposition UNP are busy with their own versions of constitutional reform. The UNP with making constitutional reform proposals for dialogue and discussion, while the Govt, was busy using its two third majority to rush through yet another constitutional amendment, this one reducing even further the very limited and truncated devolution of political power existing under the current 13th amendment to the Constitution. more..

Intuition and courage help navigate ocean of life

June 25 (NS) Dr. Priyanga de Zoysa has had his triumphs in life and dedicates a lot of time to make others succeed as well. His debut book was ‘Express Learning’. When penning the book he thought of the less fortunate who didn’t speak English and also those who don’t have huge buying power. He has penned a series of books on the self-help line and his pieces of writing have been read and reread by a Sri Lankan readership which includes students, teachers and parents. more..

President Premadasa as I knew him

June 25 (Island) I came to know President Premadasa, when I was a young journalist working for the "Sunday Observer" of the Lake House Group. I once covered the stormy UNP annual sessions, when President Premadasa thundered that like a house that the UNP must be built from the foundation upwards and it cannot be built from roof downwards if the party is not to get swept away in elections. more..

Draft guidelines for media ethics

June 25 (NS) These are days of ‘ethics’ or rather days where ethics are questioned and recommended. President Rajapaksa observed that there are those who come up with guidelines for ethical behavior in professional matters and that they themselves can violate these edicts with impunity. He pointed out that politicians can and do infringe, but at the risk of punishment. Now it is clear that not all those who indulge in unethical (and even illegal behavior) are punished, either by the more..

Marking a shift in the national security discourse

June 24 (ST) This is a time when moderation, commonsense and basic decency have been cast to the four winds in Sri Lanka. It is a time when hatred against different communities is hailed and felicitated. And President Rajapaksa’s appeal to the media this week not to give publicity to rampaging monks of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) certainly does not solve this problem. Rather, it exacerbates the issue. Is the President then stating that the media should stand idly by, (as much as the police more..

World-class public conveniences in the City soon

June 24 (SO) The City of Colombo is being transformed into a modern and well-planned metropolis, modelled on the lines of developed countries, with a lot of development activities and beautification programs. When the city is developed on a fast track with many city centres being converted into tourist and public attractions, the provision of common public conveniences has also become a very important aspect in this process. more..

But not when they came for me

June 24 (CT) I have a friend in the university, a good guy who believes in democracy and freedom, a catholic who denounces religion and hatred based on ethnicity or religion. When I heard that he was among the protesters who were harassed in front of the Sambuddha Jayanthi Mandiraya, in spite of the fact that I did not agree with the way the protest was organized and carried out I defended his right to participate in it. I believe we live in a country called the “Democratic Socialist Republic of SL” more..

Electricity, global magnitudes

June 24 (CT) Electricity is perhaps the single factor to have transformed the world so profoundly and to have changed the quality of our lives beyond measure. Today scientists help reduce costs drastically and enable the benefits to reach society extensively. To the vast community of scientists, inventors, innovators, technologists and engineers, humanity stands beholden. A survey of the growth of electricity is interesting. The pace of growth is amazing. Why examine global magnitudes? more..

Even the genie finds it difficult to grant these wishes

June 24 (ST) Wherever I go these days I look at every nook and cranny to see if I could find and old abandoned lamp. If I do find it, I am going to rub on it till my fingers turn sore or a genie comes fizzing out and grants me three wishes. I have already made up my mind. I am not going to ask for fame or fortune, but a chance to put some sense into some cricketing heads. My first wish would be the continuance of the CT series. more..

Sri Lanka win three golds, three silvers and one bronze at Singapore Open

June 25 (Island) Sri Lanka’s emerging middle distance runner, Tharaka Fonseka won two golds in what turned out to be his first international competition, as Sri Lanka’s team of five athletes bagged three golds, two silvers, and one bronze at the 75th Singapore Open Athletics Championship, which concluded on Sunday, according to the results posted. Fonseka, nicknamed ‘Bolt’ won the men’s 800 metres and 1,500 metres ahead of Korean, Philippine and Vietnam runners. more..

The JVP, UNP and the 19th Amendment

June 25 (CT) The JHU handed over a Bill to Parliament on 23 May with a view to introducing five essential amendments to the Provincial Council System (PCS) before election for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) is held. The govt has now appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to deliberate the required amendments to the PCS. Additionally, the leading partner of the governing coalition, the SLFP, declared its support to two of the five amendments proposed by the JHU. more..

Foreign Aid- Behind the Curtain

June 25 (Island) I have a vested interest (or is it sentimental) in the subject of Foreign Aid as I cut my teeth as a Planner in External Resources Department. The total outstanding external debt and liabilities by end of 2012, was US$ 33.7 billion. Increase in foreign aid flow after 1977 was dramatic. According to the Central Bank report produced on the occasion of fifty years of Sri Lanka’s independence, more..

Editorial : A gem-studded report

June 25 (Island) The prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) could not have released its report on the importance of the humanities and social sciences at a better time for this country where a state-sponsored attempt is being made to throttle liberal arts. It was only the other day that Minister S.B. Dissanayake announced a govt decision to reduce the university intake of arts students drastically and Bandula Gunawardena introduced the GCE A/L Technology stream. more..

The ‘Perahera’ of officials

June 25 (ST) A ‘perahera’ of officials are making arrangements to accompany the local team for an athletic meet to be held in Pune next month. At the time that this item was written the amount of officials stood at 25. Even the body in charge of these events is at a loss for words to say why so many officials are keen to make this trip. The saying goes that all of them have been invited by the organising country. Why are the organizers keen to have such a lot of officials from Sri Lanka? What’s the secret? more..

Reserves grow by 2.5% in April

June 25 (Island) Gross official reserves grew by US$ 169 million during the month of April 2013 to US$ 6,858 million, up 2.52% from US$ 6,689 million in March. The reserves were lower by US$ 19 million since reaching US$ 6,877 million as at end Dec 2012. As at end Dec 2012, debt and short term inflows amount to 95% of reserves. Total govt borrowing alone, at US$ 5,256.9 million, amounted to around more..

Law goes after rogue paddy millers

June 25 (Island) An operation has been launched by the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB), with the assistance of the Police, to nab errant mill owners who have not returned the rice milled from paddy given to them by the PMB, particularly in the Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Ampara districts. PMB Chairman K.B. Jayasinghe said that an errant mill owner, S.D. Piyasena, had to pay a fine of Rs. 6 million after being arrested by the Nikaweratiya Police and produced before the more..

Hybrid Homes delivers a unique solution to Colombo Commercial Court

June 25 (ST) Hybrid Homes, which uses shipping containers as its core production material unveiled one of its flagship projects by delivering a 2-storey storage facility to the Colombo Commercial Court within 48 hours. Dharshana Fernando, Managing Director Hybrid Homes said that Hybrid Homes signed a joint venture agreement with Logiventure in Feb 2013 to introduce this novel hybrid construction technology, which provides an array of advantages against conventional buildings, more..

Daily Mirror Video: No curtailing of 13A

'Stability forces the pace of development'

June 25 (DN) The country has commenced its development journey as the govt stabilized the economic, social and political environment of the country, said Minister Wimal Weerawansa. He was addressing the launch of construction work on the Regency Park Housing and Marketing Complex at Kundasale. He said the development projects islandwide is a result of economic, social and political stability. "For a country to succeed in development, these three sectors should more..

Sinhalese students clash at Jaffna University

June 25 (Island) A clash between two groups of Sinhala undergraduates, of the Jaffna University Science Faculty, on Sunday, resulted in injuries to four of them. Jaffna Police OIC Saman Sigera, said that the clash was sparked by an argument between the first year and second year students. He said that both factions lodged complaints with the Police. "Both factions agreed to settle the issue and assured not to get involved in further clashes," Sigera said. No student was harmed more..

'Sri Lanka rupee recent weakness will not hurt inflation'

June 25 (LBO) A recent weakness in Sri Lanka's rupee is unlikely to worsen inflation as the currencies of key trading partners, especially India fallen further, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. Imports from India in particular are likely to be cheaper despite the depreciation of the rupee. "There have been cross currency movements," Cabraal said. "We are keeping track of many other currencies also. more..

Elections Dept makes another request for parties to declare assets

June 25 (DN) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said the Elections Department will make another request for parties which have failed to declare their assets and liabilities to the department. The and names of such parties and the persons who fail to comply with this request will be announced after June 30. Deshapriya added that the department has received declaration of assets and liabilities from all officers of 31 political parties. Majority of officers from 28 political parties more..

Mervyn’s spell on Sunday Leader

June 25 (CG) Notorious Govt Minister Mervyn Silva has reportedly said he is going to cast a spell on The Sunday Leader newspaper for publishing articles against him and his son. The Minister has already approached people involved in black magic to carry out the curse on journalists attached to the newspaper. “Leader newspaper has been making false allegations against me and my son. There was another report yesterday. I am not going to threaten or assault journalists. more..

Dangerous games with devolution

June 25 (Hindu) The Govt of Sri Lanka recently revealed its agenda to further restrict minority freedoms and autonomy in the country. It seeks to: (1) repeal constitutional provisions granting people the freedom to determine administrative boundaries (2) amend the Constitution, so as to permit the Central govt to freely and arbitrarily legislate on provincial matters — even without the consent of the people of a particular province more..

Nigerian support for developing petroleum sector

June 25 (DN) The Nigerian govt will provide assistance to develop Sri Lanka’s petroleum sector, Nigerian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Femi. A. Rotini told Petroleum Industries Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. The main objective of the meeting was to exchange ideas on the economy and energy consumption. The Ambassador said the Nigerian govt is ready to provide diplomatic support to supply crude oil to the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery if the crude oil is suitable for the refinery. more..

Retired officials loyal to govt. recruited to Education Service

June 25 (CT) Ceylon Teachers' Union (CTU), yesterday accused the govt of trying to recruit retired officials who are loyal to the govt, to the Education Administrative Service. CTU General Secretary, Joseph Stalin, pointed out that the Secretary to the Western Province Ministry of Land and Public Administration, S.T. Kodikara, had called for applications from retired employees who are above 60 years, to fill vacancies in the Education Administrative Service. more..

Re-establishment of ICs derailed by 13-A debate - Ranil

June 25 (Island) Now that elections to the Northern, Central and North-Western Provincial Councils had been tentatively fixed for the last week of September, the govt should, as a matter of priority, re-establish all Independent Commissions, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He told the media that instead of wasting time debating the proposed amendments to 13–A, the independent Public Service, Elections, Police, Judicial more..

Dilemma over painting restored Abhayagiri Temple

June 25 (CT) Restoration work at the ancient Abhayagiri Temple, declared as a heritage site by UNESCO, that commenced in 1997, under the direction of the Central Cultural Fund, has now been completed. The temple was originally built by King Walagambahu, Circa BC. However, consequent to the restoration, a new issue has surfaced, leaving archaeologists in a quandary. Reportedly, some politicians had said the structure of the temple should be painted white, more..

Sri Lanka & India discuss trade, investment

June 25 (Island) A high-level Indian delegation led by Shri Rao, Commerce Secretary of India, held talks in Colombo on trade and investment with officials from the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Ministry of Economic Development. Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera led Sri Lanka’s team at the bilateral meet. "The two sides had very cordial discussions on attracting Indian investment into various sectors particularly automobile parts, pharmaceuticals, more..

Crisis in the Judiciary?

June 25 (CT) A major judicial crisis is brewing, consequent to the sudden transfer of the Magistrate for Matale, Chathurika de Silva. The BASL and the JVP, yesterday expressed displeasure over the sudden transfer of the presiding judge of the judicial inquiry into the Matale mass grave, Magistrate Chaturika de Silva, from Matale. Her transfer has given rise to speculations within the judicial service that it was a consequence of more..

Left parties moot one Police Commission for all PCs

June 25 (CT) Despite previous statements calling for the 13th Amendment to be left intact, government affiliated leftists yesterday accepted that a few changes could be made, mainly, on the establishment of a single independent Police Commission as opposed to separate Police Commissions for each Province. Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) Leader, Tissa Vitharana, said despite the 13th Amendment having police powers, the police are yet to function independently. more..

From Mannar to Moneragala: A journey to heal wounds

June 25 (DN) Warm sentiments touched the hearts of villagers in Dagoniya, Moneragala when a group of over 100 persons from Mannar visited the village under the North - South Friendship programme launched by the Economic Development Ministry under the directive of Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The visitors were from Pesalai and Adampan Divisional Secretariat Divisions in the Mannar district. This is a part of a series of programmes launched by the ministry under the Community Development more..

Video: Minister disputes refugee claims

June 25 (ABC) Sri Lanka's minister for external affairs GL Peiris says he can guarantee the safety of people returning to Sri Lanka after failed asylum seeker claims in countries such as Australia. GL Peiris has told ABC he disputes the genuine nature of many asylum seeker claims made by people fleeing Sri Lanka. "They have been returned by Australia because Australia was convinced that they are not in danger - more..

Keheliya says 13 A must change

June 25 (CG) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says the 13th Amendment to the constitution must change. The Minister said that it is surprising the 13th Amendment remained unchanged for so many years. He said that a public debate is now on over some of the clauses in the 13th Amendment including on the land and police powers and merging provinces. “This must change. Some clauses must change,” the Minister said. The Minister said that President Rajapaksa felt he has no right to more..

Victimised teacher seeks transfer

June 25 (Island) Teacher in charge of discipline at the Nawagattegama Issuru School, Priyani Herath, who was forced to kneel down by a member of North Western Provincial Council, yesterday requested for a transfer to Nawagamuwa Maha Vidyalaya in the Puttalam Education Zone. Herath said that she had already got a transfer to a nearby school, but to get there she had to go past the Nawagattegama Issuru School. "I’m in fear as I have already been threatened," she said adding that more..

'Silent majority in govt. wants 13 A'

June 25 (DM) A host of senior govt Ministers representing the left and the SLFP said today that the govt had a silent majority to defeat any attempt to curtail the 13th Amendment. “There is a silent majority within this govt which is not depicted and that majority stands with us. We are speaking on behalf of them and have gathered here on this common platform to represent their views” the Ministers said. more..

Editorial: Positive but not enough

June 25 (DM) The govt has apparently softened its stance on the question of imposing a new code of ethics on journalists by the State. President Rajapaksa during a meeting with the newspaper editors and the heads of the media institutions on Friday said it was up to the journalists to develop a code of ethics after studying the existing codes and the one that had been introduced by the govt. He also instructed the Media Ministry to make available the copies of the govt code to media heads. more..

The cornerstone of Sri Lankan Foreign Policy; Indo-Lanka relations

June 25 (DM) Abridged text of lecture delivered at the Marga Institute in 1985, two years before the airdrop, the Indo-Lanka Accord, the IPKF and the 13th Amendment. This evening’s topic is in fact an invitation to discuss the foreign policy issues involved in what is popularly called our ethnic problem but now, more properly termed, I think, our national crisis. The shocking events of July 1983 suddenly and rudely awakened the Sri Lankan intelligentsia to the realities of more..

'Sri Lanka rate falls may be arrested by state borrowings'

June 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's interest rate falls will have a positive effect on equities, though further short term falls could be tempered by high state borrowings in the short term, an equities research house has said. NDBS Stock Brokers said in a research report that market interest rates in commercial banks have fallen by around 100 to 200 basis points in May. An expected reduction in losses of state enterprises which would reduce more..

Amidst all deliberations media code of ethics publicised

June 25 (SL) While the debate continues if Sri Lanka needs a media code of ethics or not, the Media Ministry last week made public the draft code on its website prompting strong reactions from international media rights groups and human rights organizations. Also last week President Rajapaksa was quoted by his office as saying that an all-inclusive code-of-ethics for the media should emerge from within the industry and more..