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Naya Qanoon and the 19th Amendment

Apr 1 (GV) The draft 19th Amendment reminds me of the story Naya Qanoon (New Constitution) written by the late Saadat Manto, regarded by many as the finest writer of short stories in Urdu and as the greatest South Asian writer of the 20th century. Set in pre-independence Lahore of the 1930s the main protagonist of the story is a tongawalla called Mangu. One day, Mangu over-hears two of his customers discussing a new constitution that was to be introduced in a few days. more..

Bikes, helmets and public safety concerns

Apr 1 (GV) The official govt news portal of Sri Lanka recently reported that a ban on full-face helmets will be re-imposed starting April 02. The report argues that the “face of the motorcyclist should remain open for easy identification.” The ban, which was initially set to be imposed on March 21, is expected to counter the presumed increase in the number of crimes committed by those wearing full-face helmets. On March 29th, Sri Lankan motorists protested in Colombo against more..

Young political leaders urge: A quota for women in Parliament

Apr 1 (SO) Strengthening democracy through greater women's representation in parliament will receive a fresh boost with a working document released by young political leaders comprising vital recommendations for a hike in the quota of women in Parliament. The initiative comes in the wake of SL trying to increase women's political representation up to 25% which is a goal of the govt in its pledge to promote good governance. more..

Science nay-sayers in the West & their counterparts in Sri Lanka

Apr 1 (CT) Galileo nearly got burnt at the stake for heresy when he claimed that the Earth orbited around the sun instead of being the fixed center of the God-created Universe. At that time most people were science Nay-Sayers. A century before Galileo, when Christopher Columbus defiantly sailed West seeking Eastern India, most people believed that the Earth was flat, as was evident to the eye. This view was common to almost all cultures, be it Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese or Hebrew. more..

In memory of my father: Professor Sucharita Gamlath

Apr 1 (CT) My father, late Professor Sucharita Gamlath was one of the most prolific scholars of his time. During his lifetime, he continuously demonstrated his acumen in a range of fields, fulfilling the roles of author, teacher, literary critic, linguist, and political activist contemporaneously. He certainly needs no introduction among the general public of Sri Lanka. Since his demise on the 30th of Mar 2013, there have been many eloquent accounts of his contributions to the fields of more..

'President Sirisena going through identity crisis'

Apr 1 (CT) MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardane is among political leaders demanding the nomination of former President Rajapaksa by SLFP as the PM candidate of the UPFA. Ceylon Today spoke to Gunawardane, to discuss their future plans, and why he believes President Sirisena, who openly declared that Mahinda Rajapaksa would have killed him had he lost the election bid, would allow Rajapaksa to return. more..

Editorial: Needed: An Opposition

Apr 1 (Island) Rajapaksa administration was accused of gross abuse of power, profligacy, nepotism and callous disregard for public opinion. But, have those who dislodged it promising a clean break therefrom made a difference? No sooner had President Sirisena been sworn in than he appointed a new PM who did not have a majority in Parliament. Article 43 (3) of the Constitution says: ‘The President shall appoint as PM the MP who in his opinion is who in his opinion is most likely to more..

Ranil’s words and deeds

Apr 1 (NS) Ranil Wickremesinghe, when he addressed and briefly responded to questions from heads of media institutions and editors, was clear, precise and quite articulate. He articulated the Govt’s strategy, progress made and what’s in the pipeline on three broad subjects: reconciliation, corruption and the 100 Days’ Program. When asked if corruption allegations predating the Mahinda era would also be taken up, he correctly pointed out that we cannot go back to more..

Jan 8th Movement: Athula Liyanage

Rajapaksa factor looms large in political landscape

Apr 1 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision last week to expand the Cabinet of Ministers to enable the inclusion of parliamentarians from the SLFP adds another dimension to the country’s already volatile political equation. The official reason for this change – which effectively means that the President will be flouting one of his key election promises of limiting the Cabinet to thirty ministers - is that it enables the creation of a govt of national unity. more..

Is headless SLFP facing dissolution?

Apr 1 (Island) The conspiratorial powers-the CIA, the RAW, the MI 6 and their agents, some NGOs and separatists had a four fold agenda to be achieved. Firstly to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa; secondly to install a leader of their choice; thirdly to destroy the SLFP; fourthly to grant the desired Elam; The first three objectives have been achieved. The third objective of destroying the SLFP is being worked out at the moment. By now a sizeable section of nearly forty SLFP MPs have joined more..

Video: I have a clean record: Mervyn

Apr 1 (AD) “I’m not concerned that I wasn’t offered a ministerial portfolio from the coalition govt, despite campaigning for the victory of the present President in the January polls,” former Minister Mervyn Silva said. He asserted that he was among those who severely criticized the Rajapaksas while the family was still in power. “Not just after the abrupt end, I raised my voice against the Rajapaksas before the January polls,” more..

Defensive and corrective approaches towards destruction?

Apr 1 (Island) When we look at the developments in the economic policy arena after the Presidential elections, we hardly see any way forward for Sri Lanka. Apart for revisiting governance issues, what we find is policy actions that were defensive and corrective in form but is destructive in substance. When I bring this to the notice of others what I hear is that "The govt is now focused on the 100-day programme; and therefore, we are to wait and see how things change after that". more..

Benchmark yourself and step towards improving water efficiency

Apr 1 (ST) Pressure is on, Climate change has put water resources in danger in terms of both quantity and quality. Meanwhile water quality is degrading as a result of poor water management practices adopted in developing countries. Agricultural, industrial and municipal sectors of SL consume 87.3%, 6.4% and 6.2% of fresh water, respectively. Although industry accounts for only 6.4% of total SL fresh water use, improving water practices in industry is a key focus for govt. more..

Jayampathy on 19th A, electoral reforms and 100-day program

Apr 1 (FT) President’s Counsel Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne expressed the importance of abolishing the executive presidency and electoral reforms under two different constitutional amendments. Dr. Wickramaratne, who is involved in constitutional reforms, expressed his candid views about the 19th Amendment, electoral reforms & 100-day program. He is also a member of the National Movement for Social Justice more..

Tata exits from Lankan steel biz, E.B. Creasy buys for Rs. 433 m

Apr 1 (FT) E.B. Creasy and Company Plc has acquired a 100% stake in Lanka Special Steels Ltd. from Tata Steel Ltd. for Rs. 433 million. Lanka Special Steels Ltd. (LSSL) is engaged in the business of manufacturing and supplying hot dip galvansied steel wires with an installed capacity of 14,400 metric tons per annum and has an annual turnover of Rs. 1.4 billion for the current financial year. LSSL commenced operations in Sri Lanka in November 2003. more..

'Free market capitalism boosts wealth of all'

Apr 1 (CT) The Bastiat Society established one month, now on home soil and promotes peaceful and profitable business "that creates universal wealth" hosted a lecture yesterday. The programme was on mutually beneficial economic policies, and took place at the Buddhist Cultural Centre. Atlas Network Executive Vice President of International Programmes Dr. Tom G Palmer said that there are two types of economists today: the bad economist, and the good. more..

Plans to reduce power demand and wastage

Apr 1 (Island) Sri Lanka is to focus more on Research and Development in the energy sphere. "We plan to implement clear cut policies. Plans are underway to cut down electricity wastage from 11% to 8%, while taking steps to cut down the annual electricity demand by 2%, minister Champika Ranawake said. "Govt has set an ambitious goal of 100% energy self-sufficiency by 2030, he said while introducing a policy document titled more..

Port City: dealing with unsolicited proposals

Apr 1 (DN) The Colombo Port City has generated a storm of criticism, the latest from the Friday Forum, which has called for systematic reviews of large state infrastructure projects. The Chinese Govt is now reportedly weighing in on the side of the developer, The China Harbour Engineering Corporation. Unsolicited proposals such as the Port City are controversial. How should a govt deal with them? What should be done with the Port City project itself? more..

'Sri Lanka has the most costly govt machine'

Apr 1 (CT) Govt of Sri Lanka with over 40 ministers, plus a string of deputy ministers comprises the largest human workforce, more than necessary, Atlas Network Executive Vice President Dr. Tom Palmer said In Colombo. Dr. Palmer was at a question and answer session, following his talk for the Bastiat Society, at the Buddhist Cultural Centre. Palmer suggested that some areas of Sri Lanka's domestic performance and institutions could be improved, especially in rule of law and more..

Inflation dips to all-time low levels

Apr 1 (FT) Inflation for the month of March continued its decelerating trend with the point to point dipping to an all-time low level of 0.1% while its annualised average followed suit as well to record 2.50%. The Central Bank said inflation, as measured by the change in the Colombo Consumers’ Price Index (CCPI) (2006/07=100), decreased to 0.1% on an year-on-year basis in March 2015, from 0.6% recorded in February 2015. more..

State Wesak Festival in Mahiyangana

Apr 1 (GDI) Govt is finalizing arrangements to hold this year’s Annual State Wesak Festival centering the Raja Maha Vihare in Mahiyangana. A special discussion in this respect was chaired by Minister Karu Jayasuriya in Mahiyangana. He announced that the 2015 State Wesak Festival will be held on a grand scale centering the Raja Maha Vihare in Mahiyangana. Minister apprised the state officials of the arrangements at this discussion. The proceedings will be carried out under more..

NSB boosts pre-tax profit by 360% to record Rs. 10.5 b

Apr 1 (FT) NSB recorded the highest-ever profit before tax of Rs. 10.5 billion for the year ended 31 Dec, 2014, an increase of 360% from previous year. The net profit after tax was recorded at Rs. 6.9 billion, a 480% increase. The bank mobilised Rs. 59.4 billion of deposits during the year and the deposit base of the bank recorded a growth of 10.4%. Savings deposits accounted for 44% of the total mobilisation, which is a significant improvement in its deposit mix. more..

Sri Lankan ex-president's vanity airport project grounded by cash crunch

Apr 1 (AJ) Almost exactly 2 years ago, to celebrate the opening of a $210 million international airport in his sleepy seaside home district, then-SL President Rajapaksa flew there on his national airline’s biggest jet with a coterie of ministers. The ensuing fanfare, replete with prayers, plaque unveilings and an elaborate red-carpet welcome for the president, was fueled by hopes that the airport would herald the development of more..

‘Sri Lanka’s exporters eagerly awaiting news of GSP+’

Apr 1 (Island) The exporters of Sri Lanka, are eagerly awaiting news of GSP+ with the aim of further boosting their sales by capitalizing on the available opportunities, the newly appointed chairman of Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing Association (SLASA) Anil Wettewe said, addressing the 22nd AGM of the Association. He expressed the Association’s willingness to embrace GSP+ and also expressed his wish that the talks concerned would end in a beneficial way for the country. more..

'Mistaken decisions may have ruined opportunities for peaceful conflict resolution'

Apr 1 (DN) Mistaken decisions by some politicians who should and could have been statesmen and women may have contributed to destroying valuable opportunities for peaceful conflict resolution with tolerance and understanding, Prof. Savitri Goonasekera said addressing the 41st Convocation of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka on Saturday. "However many of our generation also watched passively as the rulers and extremist opinions took over our lives, and shaped them. more..

Video: 'SL should resolve energy issues'

Apr 1 (DM) If Sri Lanka expected to become an economic power house in South Asia it must first resolve its political and energy problems in the same manner other Tiger Economies in Asia like Malaysia had addressed those issues in their way to success, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Addressing Sri Lanka’s ambitious ten year Energy Sector Development Plan for a Knowledge Based Economy 2015 – 2025 launched by more..

Poll reforms still deadlocked

Apr 1 (CT) Political parties have not agreed to a proposal presented by the Commissioner of Elections to divide an electoral district into several zones, as mentioned in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and to restrict campaigning of a candidate to a particular zone, during a meeting they had on Monday with the commissioner. This proposal would have reduced the resources necessary for a candidate to campaign by limiting the geographical area he needs to cover. more..

Police to seek AG’s advice to charge Priyantha’s killer

Apr 1 (Island) Polononnaruwa police will seek AG’s advice to charge the suspect who attacked President’s youngest brother Priyantha on March 26 with an axe at Hatara Ela in the Polonnaruwa police area. Priyantha Sirisena succumbed to his injuries on March 28 in a private hospital in Colombo. The suspect was remanded till April 08 by the Polonnaruwa Magistrate. President Maitripala Sirisena could not pay his last respects to his youngest sibling as he was on an official tour more..

We should respect others’ opinions and rectify our mistakes: MR

Apr 1 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa attending a function held at Abhayaramaya temple in Narahenpita yesterday said that one should respect others’ opinions and rectify one’s mistakes. Mr. Rajapaksa expressed these views after attending the function to launch the book titled Mahaweera Wansaya written by professor Raja Dharmapala. The dialogue with the former president went as follows: more..

Tsunami Relief Funds swindled in Ampara

Apr 1 (CT) Former Minister M.I. Munsoor, and one of the senior leaders of the UNP has sent a memorandum to President Maitripala Sirisena seeking a probe by a Presidential Commission into alleged malpractices and unlawful activities with regard to tsunami rehabilitation and reconstruction activities in the Ampara coastal areas. Memorandum states that the coastal areas of Amparai District had been badly destroyed in addition to loss of lives and assets in the 2004 tsunami disaster. more..

Police bust Maldivian drug network in SL

Apr 1 (MN) Police have busted an international drug network operated by a group of Maldivians in Sri Lanka following a two-year long operation. SP Ahmed Shifan said three Maldivians were arrested with 165 grams of heroin and a large amount of cash in a joint operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) and the Sri Lankan Narcotics Bureau. Shifan, head of DED, said the three were suspected of carrying out large-scale drug trafficking through several countries, more..

'Ukrainian MiG 27 deal beneficial to SLAF'

Apr 1 (Island) Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke said that an agreement with Ukraine as regards overhauling of four MiG 27s and acquisition of four overhauled MiGs had been finalized to Sri Lanka’s advantage. Agreement had been reached in the run-up to the eelam war IV in August 2006, he said, adding that the final payments were made after having used MiGs with devastating success. MiGs carried out 854 sorties using more..

Landmine threat impedes resettlement

Apr 1 (CT) TNA MPs requested, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, to expedite the refugee resettlement process, at a meeting held at the Kilinochchi District Secretariat, last week. MPs; M Chandrakumar of EPDP and Suresh Premachandran of TNA, pointed out that people were not permitted to resettle in Muhamalai in Kilinochchi District due to landmine threats. "The necessity of expediting the de-mining process in Palai area was also pointed out to the PM. more..

'Country moving backwards after MR defeat'

Apr 1 (DN) With the defeat of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa the country is moving backwards, Sri J'pura University senior lecturer Ven. Medagoda Abhayatissa thera said. Under the so called good governance the gap between communities are widening day by day instead of strengthening the ethnic bonds and harmony, Ven Abhayatissa thera added. The thera was addressing the media at a seminar at the Sunethra Mahadevi Pirivena, Pepiliyana yesterday. more..

EU assures President over GSP+

Apr 1 (CG) Expressing deep appreciation over the new govt’s policies on improving human rights and strengthening democratic institutions, the European Union Ambassador to SL David Daly said the EU is seriously re-evaluating Sri Lanka’s request to grant the GSP+ concession once again for Sri Lankan exports to EU and to lift the restrictions imposed on the export of fish products. more..

Living to eat: Beware, fast foods can kill you fast

Apr 1 (DM) For the past four decades after Sri Lanka was forced to swallow wholesale the globalised capitalist market economic policies, nutritionists have been warning that we are poisoning ourselves with every meal. Last year, the Medico Legal Society of Sri Lanka held a full-day seminar on a fearful theme which could warrant a criminal charge against a wicked and selfish society. The theme was, “Are we poisoning our children?” One of the speakers, a highly qualified nutritionist, more..

Judiciary Serving society without fear or favour

Apr 1 (DM) The unity, independence and integrity of the Bar are essential not only for its survival, and for its meaningful contribution to society, but to also ensure that the critical institutions set up for and in the service of society are able to function without fear or favour. Constitutional and legislative provisions, though urgent and required to consolidate the independence and impartiality of institutions may have no meaning in the ultimate unless we have a strong Bar and more..

Drifting without a leadership?

Apr 1 (DM) Happenings around are unenviable: zany events unfold in rapid succession; voters are bewildered, skeptical, disoriented. Worse- democracy is not standing tall, as desired. Corrupt practices remain alive and made sophisticated. Are we drifting aimlessly without a leadership? Loosing moorings is sailing towards a sunset unknown. Time is insufficient to ponder. Corruption is endemic and was deemed more..

UPFA rebels studying proposed increase in number of MP to 250

Apr 1 (Island) The rebel UPFA group on Monday told a media briefing that it was too early to comment on a proposal to increase the number of MPs from 225 to 250. DLF leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara, MP and NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, said that they were in the process of examining the proposal. They were responding to a query whether increasing the number of members in accordance with electoral reforms would more..