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'Parliament didn’t unanimously approve SC opinion on President’s third term bid'

Nov 14 (Island) Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe has challenged the govts contention that Parliament had unanimously approved the Supreme Court opinion, stating that there was no legal impediment to President Rajapaksa seeking a third term. Addressing Wednesday’s Janaralle at Muttiah Park, organized by the Movement For Social Justice and National Council for a Clean Tomorrow calling for more..

'Karu J’s role compared with that of Fonseka in Jan 2005'

Nov 14 (Island) North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera asked how one-time UNP Deputy Leader and MP Karu Jayasuriya could provide leadership to a coalition which may include those who had been supportive of the eelam project. He alleged that the much touted Opposition vow to restore parliamentary democracy by doing away with JRJ’s Constitution within six months after winning the next presidential more..

SriLankan Airlines upgrades aircraft fleet

Nov 14 (AI) SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier for Sri Lanka, has announced there will be an investment of US$500m in a modernisation of the airline through a fleet renewal programme. The renewal project will result in the replacement of the older, wide-bodied aircraft with the more fuel-efficient models from Airbus, each of which has 269 Economy Class seats and 28 Business Class seats. more..

TNA: ‘Is govt. distancing itself from India?’

Nov 14 (CT) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan questioned as to why the govt was aligning itself so heavily on the side of China when the island had a foreign policy history of non-alignment. He said that since the govt had changed to the Rajapaksa regime, Chinese influence on Sri Lanka had grown exponentially. "SL has followed a foreign policy of non-alignment for decades. However, Rajapaksa Govt has changed all that more..

Rs 800 m out-of-pocket on CHOGM preparations: CMC

Nov 14 (DM) Even though a year has passed since CHOGM was held in Colombo, Colombo Municipality is yet to receive Rs. 800 million it spent on beautification and development projects across the city from the Treasury. The External Affairs Ministry promised to intervene on behalf of the municipality to obtain the funds, which at the time were an additional expense to the development projects conducted by the CMC. more..

Former presidents misused executive presidency: MR

Nov 14 (DM) A vociferous campaign is being carried out to abolish the executive presidency or to reduce its powers but no one said a word when the country was betrayed by using executive powers and when some 650 uniformed policemen were ordered to surrender to the LTTE at Kattanakudi, President Rajapaksa said. He expressed these views at the ground breaking ceremony to launch Colombo–Kandy Expressway (CKE) more..

Opinions galore!: A dime for 3 dozen!

Nov 14 (CT) Since Independence in 1948, Constitution making and amendment, of same in Sri Lanka have de facto been the exclusive preserve of politicians. Invariably therefore, they were designed to suit the whims of scheming politicians to safeguard and further their own selfish interests. The only exception to this was perhaps the 17th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution. Civic minded professionals who placed country before self, laboured for 11 months to have this passed more..

Enemies of the President’s promise

Nov 14 (CT) The failure of politicians in the North who were close to govt to command any respect led in turn to the forces having to play a more dominant role, for they were the most efficient representatives of govt in the area. Had they instead taken leading citizens into partnership, and indeed given them the leading role, the situation would have been very different. The contrast with what might have been was apparent in the Islands, where I found that the local bodies had done nothing to more..

Ada Cartoon

Fiscal decentralisation: A stepping stone towards conflict resolution

Nov 15 (CT) For too long, the political processes in Sri Lanka to resolve minority grievances have been preoccupied with the nature of the state (unitary versus federal), unit of devolution of political and administrative power (village, district, or province), language, land, police, and other administrative issues. Very little discussions have taken place regarding the division of financial/fiscal powers between the centre and the peripheries. All the previous political processes have failed on more..

'Shirkers going places in health sector'

Nov 15 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena said those who performed their duties with a sense of responsibility and dedication in the health sector as well as other fields were not recognised, but those who did not work were admired. Speaking at a ceremony at the BMICH to felicitate the MOHs who had performed their duties to reduce maternal mortality rate in Sri Lanka in 2013 the Health Minister said that in every sphere, including politics, hardworking people were being ignored. more..

The heroes of Martin Wickramasinghe

Nov 15 (CT) This is the first in a series of sketches on certain elusive characters in the novels of Martin Wickramasinghe. A caveat: they are aimed at first-time readers of this unique and for me the greatest writer Sri Lanka produced. Nothing more. This article deals with Tissa from the Koggala trilogy. I was very young when I came across Martin Wickramasinghe. The book was Madol Duwa, which I suppose no childhood more..

Allowances of local politicians increased

Nov 15 (DM) The allowances paid to members of all local govt bodies including Pradeshiya Sabhas and Urban Councils will be increased, Local Govt and Provincial Councils Minister A.L.M. Athaullah informed parliament. Accordingly, the allowance of Pradeshiya Sabha members would be increased from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 15,000 and the allowance paid to a Vice Chairman would be increased from Rs 6500 to Rs. 20,000. A Chairman’s allowance would be increased from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000. more..

Sri Lanka still studying case of fishermen

Nov 15 (CG) Sri Lankan govt said it was studying all aspects of the Indian fishermen’s case and that a final decision was yet to be taken. “We are very carefully looking at the case as it involves a court decision. There are legal issues and the process will need some time,” Presidential spokesperson Mohan Samaranayake said. “One step in this process is the withdrawal of the court appeal by the Indian High Commission,” he said. Asked if the message had been communicated to the Indian High more..

Landslide victims not provided promised housing

Nov 15 (CT) In the wake of the recent Koslanda landslide, a plantation trade union has written to President Rajapaksa, saying that those who were affected by a similar landslide at Matale two years ago, had not been provided alternative housing by the authorities, though promised. A number of people affected by the landslides that took place at Nickoloya, Pitakanda and Bandarapola estates, in Matale District, more..

Those joining Foreign Service should know karate - UNP

Nov 15 (Island) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella lambasted the govt for what he called rapid deterioration of SL's Foreign Service which, he said, had hit the rock bottom. He was participating in the committee stage debate on Budget 2015 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of External Affairs. He alleged that political interference had ruined the Foreign Service which had once received accolades from the international community for its efficiency and professionalism. more..

COPE proposes Srilankan-Mihin marriage

Nov 15 (Island) SriLankan Airlines would purchase 10 new aircraft from France to be added to its fleet at a cost of Rs. 161.4 billion, Parliament was told yesterday. Minister of Civil Aviation, Priyankara Jayaratne responding to a question raised by UNP Colombo District MP Sujeewa Senasinghe said that 10 aircraft would be purchased, six of which would be A330-300 financed by the lessor and the airline had already entered into sale and leaseback arrangements. more..

Sri Lanka's nightmare to forget

Nov 15 (CI) Is it too late for Sri Lanka to abandon this tour? Can it all just end? Four matches in, the visitors are tumbling around in a washing machine of despair. The colours have bled into the whites. Water is leaking into the circuits. Everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wronger. Maybe the most frightening thing about this cricket purgatory is how stale the nightmare has already become. more..

Attempt to smuggle 18 kg Gold from Sri Lanka into Tiruvarur foiled

Nov 15 (ENS) Gold bars weighing 18.5 kg smuggled from Sri Lanka were seized by the Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials near Thiruthuraipoondi in Tiruvarur on Friday. The seizure was made when officials of the special team of DRI intercepted a car based on a tip-off during a vehicle check at Kattimedu on Vedaranyam-Tiruthuraipoondi road in the early hours of the day. Following this, the officials took the car and two occupants to the Office of the Superintendent more..

Sri Lanka to import rice from Bangladesh for festive season

Nov 15 (GDI) Sri Lanka will import 50,000 metric tons of rice from Bangladesh to ensure food security and control the escalating price of Sri Lankan's staple food. The measure has been taken in anticipation of the demand that will arise during the forthcoming festive season. Cabinet has given approval to purchase the rice stock from Bangladesh on a Govt to Govt basis. The import of rice is to be carried out immediately and the stocks will be distributed through supermarkets of Sathosa, more..

Ten undergrads suspended for ragging

Nov 15 (GDI) Ten students of the Sabaragamuwa University have been suspended until further notice, following serious ragging allegations, Senior Student Counselor Dr. M.M.B. Sumith said. "We have received reports from multiple eye witnesses who were present when the ragging had taken place on 6 Nov, which was Poya Day. These allegations are of serious nature it is impossible to tolerate such behaviour. more..

More rains to come

Nov 15 (CT) Just as people began to believe that the rains have ended comes the news that, in the next fortnight the country will experience unusually heavy rainfall. This was revealed yesterday by the Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology (FECT) in their experiment on climate monitoring and prediction. The entire country would receive a total rainfall in excess of 125mm during the 11-day period ending on 25 Nov. The highest rainfall would be experienced in more..

Flailing Sri Lanka in fight to avoid first 0-5 whitewash

Nov 15 (CI) There seemed to be some hope for the India v Sri Lanka tie at the beginning of the tour. They had not had a bilateral series for two years before this series. In the Asia Cup and World T20 matches this year, Sri Lanka had appeared to loosen the grip India had recently imposed on them. Going by the previous six months' form, the teams even appeared to be evenly matched. Though there has been entertainment from India, two weeks on, this series has been the most bloodless, more..

Paba volunteers to be presidential candidate to defeat Karu!

Nov 15 (AM) Popular actress and UPFA MP Upeksha Swarnamalini has offered to be a presidential candidate to defeat UNP LC Chairman Karu Jayasuriya whose name has been proposed as a potential common candidate of the opposition. Expressing her views on the political strength of the opposition, she has said UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is the only opposition politician who can pose “some challenge” to the President more..

'Bowling biggest concern going into WC'

Nov 15 (PTI) Blaming bowlers for their downfall in the ongoing series against India, Sri Lankan vice-captain Lahiru Thirimanne on Saturday said bowling would be their main concern going into the World Cup. "We have to work on our wicket-taking options and mainly our bowling plan. Our bowlers didn't bowl well, I think that's the main area going into the World Cup," said Thirimanne. "Our main concern is our bowling in these conditions. It's very hard to contain runs in Indian conditions." more..

MR to attend SAARC Summit in Nepal

Nov 15 (DM) President Rajapaksa will leave for Nepal on Nov 25 to take part in the 18th SAARC Summit, to be held in Kathmandu. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bhutanese PM Tshering Tobgay and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen are arriving in Kathmandu on Nov 25, reports said quoting Nepali govt official. more..

Best places for women? Sri Lanka ranks 79th among 144 countries

Nov 15 (AD) World economic Forum’s (WEF’s) Gender Gap Report 2014 has ranked Sri Lanka in 79th place among 144 countries for the best places to be a woman. India comes out poorly, ranked 114, with even fellow BRICS nations well ahead: South Africa is 18, Brazil 71, Russia 75, and China 87. India doesn’t do too well even when compared to its South Asian neighbours: Women in Bangladesh (68), SL (79) & Nepal (112) more..

JHU receives much awaited response: Final decision to be announced on 18

Nov 15 (AM) Nishantha Warnasinghe, Media Spokesman of JHU said today that his party would announce its decision on being a stakeholder of the UPFA on Nov 18. He added that the JHU had received the govt's response in writing to the proposals presented by the JHU. The govt response, according to Warnasinghe, will be discussed at length at the Central Committee meeting of the party. According to ruling party sources, govt has not agreed to devise more..

'30,000 School dropouts in 2013'

Nov 15 (ST) Minister Bandula Gunewardena said that 29,878 schoolchildren between Grade 1 and Grade 10 (aged 5-14 years) dropped out of school in 2013. He said this includes those who left school after the GCE O/L and GCE A/L exams. 39,087 school dropouts were reported in 1997, 45,247 reported in 2005 and 29,878 in 2013. The Minister told Parliament recently that majority of the students were from the estate sector and from remote schools, and the main reason being poverty, more..

President alleges Norway funded LTTE

Nov 15 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today demanded that the Norwegian govt must probe the funding of the LTTE during the island's three-decade civil war, alleging that Norway financed the ethnic Tamil militant group. "They gave money to the LTTE. The Norwegian govt must investigate. We have evidence on how they funded the terrorists," Rajapaksa said addressing a political gathering in Kurunegala. more..

The importance of being Mangala

Nov 16 (ST) My Dear Mangala, I thought I must write to you even though I am not sure where to send this letter — to the Green Party or the Blue Party — but you seem to be a much more important person than we ever thought, because you are always in the news these days, although some may say it is for all the wrong reasons. On the one hand, they tell me that you are in the forefront of the search for this ‘common’ candidate. That wouldn’t surprise me because for the past seven years more..

That Cardinal Mistake

Nov 16 (SL) C.V. Wigneswaran, CM of the Northern Province, has made the cardinal mistake of all previous Tamil leaders since 1958: Appealing to New Delhi to redress grievances of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Contemporary SL history reveals the folly of appealing to New Delhi. It has only made matters worse. But Wigneswaran has yet to realise that. Primarily it stirs up the Sinhalese and revives atavistic communal fears that Tamils are conspiring with Indian govt to destabilize/destroy SL. more..

'President will win with a convincing majority'

Nov 16 (SO) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the campaign that President Rajapaksa cannot contest for a third term or call for an election is only a vicious and malafide campaign. He said in a constitutional issue such as this, the President is entitled to ask for an opinion from the Supreme Court with regard to any provisions of the Constitution. The President very correctly used the power given to him under the Constitution for more..

Sampanthan’s non-aligned bluff

Nov 16 (NS) Former TNA leader R Sampanthan has raised important concerns that are shared by many outside his party’s constituency China. He is worried that ‘Chinese influence on Sri Lanka has grown exponentially’. This goes counter to a foreign policy that has ‘followed non-alignment for decades,’ he says. Sampanthan is particularly upset that Govt has privileged China over India. He gives it in numbers. Chinese support is 98% loans and 2% grants, he argues, comparing it with ‘a more generous more..

Supreme Court blocks CBK’s path?

Nov 16 (NS) Supreme Court has now given its opinion on the ‘vexed question’ on President Rajapaksa’s third term presidency. The apex court’s opinion, which was devised on Monday, was sent to the Temple Trees and was subsequently read in Parliament by Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva amidst interruptions by the Opposition. However, the highlight of the Minister’s statement was that it only revealed the Supreme Court’s decision in parts. more..

'Various statements made by our members'

Nov 16 (SL) Convener of the National Council for a Clean Tomorrow (Pivithuru Hetak) the Venerable Athuraliye Rathana Thera says that a policy-wise govt change would definitely be implemented. He also said that if no response is received from the govt to implement the proposals made the party the JHU would cross over from the govt after the presidential election is announced on the 19th November. more..

Dr. Seevali Ratwatte (1923 to 2014)

Nov 16 (Island) The death yesterday at age 91 of Dr. Seevali. H. Ratwatte, the Chairman of the Upali Group of Companies founded by the late Mr. Upali Wijewardene, marks the closing of a chapter in the history of a business group that many had thought would not survive the loss under tragic circumstances of its flamboyant founder. The fact that it did was largely the result of the wise leadership given the group by Dr. Ratwatte, who gave up a lucrative and comfortable job in more..

Rajitha torn between two choices

Nov 16 (Island) One thing that became clear over the past few days is the manner in which president Rajapaksa has kept the lines of communication open between himself and even his bitterest critics and opponents. On Thursday last week, websites were full of the news that the president had met Ven Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera at the house of DNA MP Tiran Alles in the company of SLFP veteran Nimal Siripala de Silva and others and tried to charm the monk into withdrawing from the more..

'If others want, I will be common candidate'

Nov 16 (SL) Q: How successful do you think the common candidate concept is? A: There is a high possibility that the concept of a common candidate would be a success as the common candidate is introduced with the vision to abolish the executive presidency and establish democracy. These are the current concerns of the country. Therefore if we appoint a suitable person to be the common candidate, I think our attempt will be more..

PS vice chairman assaults principal

Nov 16 (ST) Teachers’ unions have condemned the assault on the principal of Thibbatuwawa Maha Vidyalaya in Kekirawa by the Vice Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabhawa (PS). He said that the latest incident took place after Principal Lalith Jayasiripura had taken the children outside after school, on the request of the Education Department, to pay homage to Buddha’s relics which were being taken in procession to a new “stupa”. The children had stood on both sides of the road, more..