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Video: It is illegal to declare elections: JVP tells EC

Oct 23 (DM) JVP today requested the Elections Commissioner not to declare a snap presidential election because it was illegal and unconstitutional to do so. “According to the 18th Amendment, which has not been amended, the President has to complete his six-year term before calling for any election and it is illegal to declare a presidential election after four years in office. We wrote to the Elections Commissioner not to more..

Colleges of Education to award degrees from next batch

Oct 23 (Island) A degree would be awarded to those who passed out of the Colleges of Education (CoE)countrywide from the next batch, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. He said at present the CoEs offered only diplomas and those that passed out after following a three-year course including one year of training were recruited as teachers. "We will give them another one year training under the National Institute of Education (NIE) from this year and award the Education Degree," more..

JVP union accuses health hierarchy of being on payroll of Drug Mafia

Oct 23 (Island) All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe accused the govt of taking the people for a ride by pandering to the whims and fancies of the multinational drug companies on the pretext of introducing Senaka Bibile National Drug Policy. Neither the Prof. Seneka Bibile National Drug Policy nor any other policy to cure many ills in the drug business would ever materialise because the high officials and high-ranking politicians were more..

Court issues notice on 4 opposition MPs for assaulting SLPA workers!

Oct 23 (AM) Colombo Fort Magistrate today issued notice on for UNP Parliamentarians namely Ravi Karunanayake, R. Yogarajan, Nalin Bandara and Ajith P Perera for trespassing into the SLFP affiliated trade union office at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority premises and “assaulting” its members. The union members had alleged that the UNP Parliamentarians carried out an attack on trade union members affiliated with the ruling party. more..

International Forestry and Environmental Symposium

Oct 23 (CT) 19th International Forestry and Environmental Symposium will be held on 24-25 October at Aliya Resort and Spa, Sigiriya. The Symposium, which was initiated by the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in 1995, will be conducted this year in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Renewable Energy. It will also be supported by the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, National Gem and Jewellery Authority, State Timber Corporation, Sadaharitha more..

Select Committee to discuss heads of expenditure of 33 Ministries

Oct 23 (Island) Parliament on Tuesday approved the appointment of a special select committee to discuss the heads of expenditure of 33 ministries as the allotted time period for the committee stage debate on the Budget 2015 was not sufficient. A motion read out to Parliament by Leader of the House Irrigation and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that time allocated for the Committee stage programme for the budget estimates of the year 2015 was 17 days. more..

Video: Govt did nothing to engage in EU case: UNP

Oct 23 (DM) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella blamed the SL Govt for not engaging itself in the 2011 case filed in the General Court of the EU by LTTE against its proscription. He urged the Govt to take steps to appeal against the ruling to lift the ban on the LTTE and assured the UNP’s full support for this matter. “When we study the case and the verdict, it is very clear that no one was present to argue the case on behalf of the SL Govt. more..

Ceylon Chamber expects budget proposals to be in line with the development agenda

Oct 23 (LBO) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce expects the ‘National Budget of 2015’ will be in line with the development agenda of the govt, the chamber said in a media release. The text: Ceylon Chamber of Commerce expects the proposals that will be presented in the ‘National Budget of 2015’, on Friday 24th Oct, 2014 will be in line with the development agenda of the govt. The Chamber anticipates the latest Budget to contain measures to infuse adequate investments into more..

Ceylinco Insurance sued for segregating the company without shareholder approval

Oct 23 (AM) The Colombo District Court ordered written submissions to be filed by Ceylinco Insurance and its companies that have been proposed to be segregated and a shareholder, who earlier petitioned court alleging that Ceylinco Insurance had no acted in accordance to the Companies act when segregating the business. When the matter was taken up today, Counsel for Ceylinco Insurance Palitha Kumarasinghe PC objected to the Petition filed by shareholder. more..

Sports officers to boycott National Sports Festival

Oct 23 (DM) The All Island Sports Officers Association (AISOA) threatened to launch tough union action if their demands were not met prior to the XL National Sports Festival which will get underway on Saturday in Anuradhapura. AISOA, comprising 625 sports officers are primarily demanding the restructuring of their salaries according to the government circular No. 6/2006 and will refrain from working during the country’s more..

SL bowlers steal slim win for 1-0 lead

Oct 23 (CI) A 30-ball 41 from Lizelle Lee took the South Africa Women close to their target, but Sri Lanka Women prevailed in the rain-affected match to clinch a seven-run win. Sri Lanka scored 101 for 7 in 13 overs and their bowlers made sure South Africa were restricted to 94 for 6 to take a 1-0 series lead. South Africa needed 49 from six overs with Lee and Mignon du Preez at the crease. But both fell within six deliveries, after hitting a four each, and the equation was down to 17 from 12, more..

Three airmen injured in explosion

Oct 23 (DM) Three airmen sustained burn injuries due to an explosion at the Kalpitiya Aircraft Weapons Testing Range, a short while ago. The airmen were rushed to the Puttalam Hospital. A team from the Air Force Headquarters has been sent to Kalpitiya to investigate the incident. At the time of the incident no weapons were being tested. Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Gihan Senerviratne said that the airmen deals with explosives on a routine basis. more..

Crackdown by police on street beggars

Oct 23 (CG) A special operation was to be launched with effect from today by the police with the assistance of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) where beggars with children will be arrested. SSP Ajith Rohana said that begging in public places is illegal and this occurs mostly near traffic lights on city streets in Colombo. He said that there have been complaints where some beggars scrape vehicles if the passengers fail to give more..

UNP discusses polls with the polls chief

Oct 23 (CG) UNP today met the Elections Commissioner and discussed moves to conduct a Presidential Election next year. UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya told reporters after the meeting that while a date has not yet been announced for the election, there are strong indications the election will be held next year. He noted that Minister Keheliya Rambukwella had also indicated the Presidential Election will be held in January but refused to say exactly when. more..

Charges galore against politicos

Oct 23 (DM) As many as 104 local govt members and provincial councillors elected from time to time since 2004 face allegations of corruption, crime and other unlawful activities. Local Govt and Provincial Councils Ministry revealed these details in Parliament in answer to a question asked by UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake. Deputy Minister Indika Bandaranayake presented the list of the names with their designation at the respective local authorities and the provincial councils. more..

Video: One million dollar has no value: Police

Oct 23 (DM) A suspect had been arrested in Muttur by the Police Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) while trying to exchange a USD 1 mn bill for Rs.15 million recently, SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said that the so called one million bills had not monetary value and asked people to be wary of such claims. The suspect was remanded and the police investigations revealed the suspect was a resident from Muttur. more..

Short on strategy, long on sectarianism: Come on opposition; wake up!

Oct 24 (CT) At the time of writing, latish in October, political soothsayers predict presidential elections are on course for January. I have no idea how Pope Francis’ visit is to be slotted-in, but am certain Sarath Silva’s constitutional challenge will be seen off, irrespective of its legal rectitude. The regime did not invest effort and squander decency, impeaching, popping up henchmen, and despoiling the higher judiciary for nothing. On the Rajapakse side strategy is well integrated, more..

Bonanza; Sri Lanka has to draw lessons from the Indian experience

Oct 24 (CT) A bonanza according to Oxford Dictionary is ‘a situation in which people can make a lot of money or be very successful’. Recent developments in India show the benefits an economy can obtain by having in place a well-regulated regime for the micro finance industry. In India micro lenders are strictly regulated by the Reserve Bank of India; borrowing customers are barred from having more than two simultaneous loans with a combined value of Rs. 50,000, more..

Special-needs kids showcase their talents

Oct 24 (SO) Imagine being filled with emotion, yet unable to express how you feel. That’s what many children with special needs face. Through art, however, all children may freely express their feelings. As an art teacher for special-needs children, Lakisha Fernando sees the value of art in her classroom every day. “Children who have problems with speech, language and motor skills struggle with verbalising what more..

Till it’s time to crossover

Oct 24 (NS) Minister Navin Dissanayake last week sought to quash rumors regarding his impending crossover from the UPFA to the UNP. He was quoted in the media as insisting he would not leave the govt on any account, but would rather return to practicing law if he lost his ministerial portfolio. Dissanayake however, is no stranger to jumping ship. He was among the 17 UNP MPs led by Karu Jayasuriya, who crossed over to the govt in 2007 to ‘strengthen the hands of the president’ during more..

Why Wiggy missed a train

Oct 24 (NS) Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, C.V. Wigneswaran is a former judge. A man of words. An educated man who commands respect. A civilized man, some would say. A lot has been written about him. He has his cheering squad and he has his detractors. When he entered politics some of the gloss of vocation, ancestry and education was bound to be lost. Hobnobbing with those, who not too long ago genuflected before a common thug was certainly not flattering. more..

Dousing Fires

Oct 24 (CT) The date was 31 January, 1996. The time was 10.30 a.m. The venue was Janadhipathi Mawatha, or Queens Road, Colombo Fort. It was one of the most traumatic landmarks in the annals of Sri Lanka’s economy. The country’s economic nerve centre, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, was blown up by the LTTE, through a lorry bomb laden with 200 kilos of explosives, to smithereens. It was also a new chapter in more..

From ethno-nationalism to good governance

Oct 24 (CT) The decision of the EU Court of Justice to remove the ban on the LTTE on technical grounds has come as the govt and political parties are mobilizing for snap presidential elections likely to take place in January. The immediate response of the govt to the EU decision has been to describe opposition politicians and civil society activists who travelled to the West in recent times as traitors who contributed to the decision to lift the ban on the LTTE. more..

A way out from the constitutional impasse

Oct 24 (FT) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva setting forth an argument that constitutional obstacles do exist for the incumbent President to contest for a third term notwithstanding the removal of two term limit of presidents made on 9 Sept 2010 by way of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution has gripped the political and legal circles in perplexity over the issue. As opposing opinions have emerged over time, the Sri Lanka Bar Association in considering the importance of more..

Ranjan Ramanayaka - Part 2

A Comment on the Campaign to Abolish the Presidential System

Oct 24 (Island) This comment is being written with the objective of highlighting certain considerations that have not received adequate attention in the ongoing campaign for abolishing the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka. Participants of this campaign including certain writers whose views receive well-deserved respect often tend to overlook the circumstances that culminated in the promulgation of a new constitution in 1978 the main innovative element of which was more..

Editorial: Ottawa terror

Oct 24 (Island) Wednesday’s attack on the Canadian parliament has proved once again the growing vulnerability of the world powers to terrorism. Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has said Canada is not immune to terrorist attacks. Whoever would have thought a few years ago that the tranquility of Ottawa would be shattered in this manner? A gunman forced his way into the parliament complex and traded fire with the police before perishing. more..

'No individual can be denied an NIC'

Oct 24 (CT) Commissioner General of the Department of Registration of Persons, R.M.S. Sarath Kumara, believes a leader should be able to risk losing popularity when working for the betterment of the general public. While noting that it was a struggle at first to convert the department and its staff to be people-friendly, the commissioner said a public servant must have three main qualities – a complete knowledge of the subject matter, more..

CoL burning increasingly bigger hole in many a pocket

Oct 24 (Island) The Island spoke to several citizens yesterday to learn what they would like to see in Budget 2015, the proposals of which are to be presented in Parliament today. Shoba Ranasinghe, a young mother of two children who together with her husband runs a pastry shop at Mattegoda said, "Our children go to government schools. Monthly school fees for each of them is Rs 1,560 which used to be some Rs300 a few years ago. With the increase of cost of living, more..

How big data and IoT are changing manufacturing

Oct 24 (Island) Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT)is revolutionizing the world around us – from the medical care we receive to the way retailers market to us – but how is the manufacturing industry benefitting from it? Large manufacturers have been analyzing data to optimize production and processes for many years to drive performance. However, the sheer volume, variety and velocity of data being generated today – along with the new business intelligence tools available more..

Govt pledges progressive Budget

Oct 24 (FT) As the hours dwindle down to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 10th Budget presentation in Parliament today ahead of widely-expected presidential elections early next year, the focus was more on macroeconomic development rather than specifics by the private sector. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) kept its expectations succinct in a short statement released yesterday. more..

Budget 2015: Hopes and concerns

Oct 24 (CT) The President will announce the 2015 Budget in Parliament today (24) amidst hopes and concerns. Economists have over the last few weeks voiced their concerns that the 2015 Budget would be used to attract votes at Presidential and Parliamentary Elections to be held early next year, undermining a crucial fiscal consolidation programme underway. "The govt must remain focused. If it over does the benefits, we could see some belt tightening and difficulties later on, more..

Big draw for NWS Holdings’ Sri Lanka Business Forum in Tokyo

Oct 24 (FT) The Sri Lanka Business Forum 2014 organised by NWS Holdings Ltd. in Tokyo yesterday saw a big draw of investors and representatives from Japanese companies, who were enlightened on the post-war rebound and potential for growth opportunities. Held at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, the Forum saw nearly 200 participants who listened to the progress of post-war Sri Lanka from a macro and corporate perspective and the emerging new opportunities for investments, partnerships, more..

Central Bank clarifies new legislation on sale of land to foreigners

Oct 24 (FT) Following Parliament passing new legislation on sale of land to foreigners, the Central Bank yesterday released a lengthy explanation of the fresh regulations. Given below is the full statement: In 1963, a 100% transfer tax was introduced in the case of a transfer of land to foreigners. Thereafter, in 2002, such 100% transfer tax was suspended, which enabled the transfer of land to foreigners without any Transfer Tax. more..

Cast tax net on show-off society

Oct 24 (CT) The govt needs to drag in high income earners to the tax earners and the informal coporate sector in order to balance the budget and create a fiscal regime conducive to sustainable growth, an economist said. "The share of income of top income earners has increased over the years, reflecting that there is a small segment in the society who earn a lot, and whose income grows at a faster rate, compared to others in society. So, this will lead to a conspicuous consumption that more..

Zero exchange control by 2020

Oct 24 (CT) Deputy Governor of the Central Bank P. Samarasiri said the country's exchange control environment will be fully liberalized by 2020. At present, local investments going outside is under the surveillance of the Exchange Control Department. "In Sri Lanka, the exchange control environment is almost liberalized. Now the current account is fully liberalized, with no control for import, export or services; it is fully liberalized. Capital transactions are also now largely liberalized; more..

US calls for first joint biz council with Lanka

Oct 24 (FT) Following the Lanka-US trade talks and business forums in Colombo last week, the ongoing bilateral engagement between the two countries received yet another boost on 17 Oct as the US trade emissary for South Asia called for the establishment of the first SL-US Business Council in Colombo. “As far I know there is no SL-US Business Chamber. Frankly, there should be,” Assistant US Trade Representative for more..

The ancient cities of Sri Lanka

Oct 24 (BBC) Sri Lanka may be known for palm-fringed beaches, but it also houses a treasure trove of archaeological sites, the most magnificent of which lies in the geographical heart of the country – an area known as the Cultural Triangle. The region is home to no fewer than five Unesco World Heritage sites, including the soaring rock fortress of Sigiriya (pictured), built in the late 5th Century. The Sri Lankan govt launched the Cultural Triangle Project in 1982 to restore, more..

SLASSPA Chief calls for restrictions on new security licenses

Oct 24 (DM) Top civilian security firms in the country agreed to increase the minimum wage of a security guard for a day, implement modern technology, and band together against under quoting in tenders; especially to govt institutions to ensure survival of their industry, at the inaugural Sri Lanka Security Service Providers’ Association (SLASSPA) CEO Forum yesterday. “We are morally under obligation as entrepreneurs to treat the poor guards on the ground as well. more..

Rajapaksa seen boosting handouts as Sri Lanka prepares for polls

Oct 24 (BN) South Asia’s fastest growth rate will allow Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to boost spending on pre-election handouts without halting the country’s record improvement in public finances. The govt, which last month cut petrol and diesel prices and slashed electricity tariffs by 25%, will probably also raise salaries for state employees and delay policies such as tax increases, Eurasia Group predicted. more..