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The centre of ethanol river in Kotte

Apr 19 (CT) "Parliament was built on an island in the Diyawanna Oya, but now I feel like we are in the middle of an ethanol river," said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament on 19 March as he described the inability of successive govts to curb the alcohol menace in the country. The extent of the alcohol menace was so serious that the World Health Organization in 2014 reported that an average Sri Lankan consumed 2.5-4.9 litres more..

Impasse over 19th Amendment will trigger early parliamentary election

Apr 19 (Island) Immediately after the Supreme Court ruling, President Sirisena was optimistic that the modified Amendment will be passed on April 21, and that the current parliament could be dissolved soon after to end the current political uncertainty over parliamentary govt. As things are, he may have to remind the squabbling parliamentarians that if they do not pass the 19th Amendment as modified after the Supreme Court ruling, he will have no alternative but to exercise his constitutional power more..

A New Administration and our Hope and Prayer for a new Ministry of External Affairs

Apr 19 (Island) A new year has dawned and a new administration has been formed and after almost a decade of mismanagement and the loss of a very special opportunity when Mahinda Rajapaksa was able to finish off the separatist threat to this country (which no leader was  able to do since 1978), a new scenario has emerged and we now appear to be heading towards formulating a proper foreign policy. It is with much regret that I state that the previous administration did not seem to more..

Indian visas easier – but at a price!

Apr 19 (Island) Sri Lankans have been granted the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facility by the Indian govt with effect from April 14, but the move translates into visitors now having to fork out Rs. 7,909/20 per single entry, 30-day stay tourist visa – Rs. 5,504/20 more than the Rs. 2,045 fee charged earlier. The new visa fee has been fixed at US$ 60 (Rs. 7,909/20) as against Rs. 2,045 (US$ 15.5) charged by the Indian High Commission in Colombo more..

Lankans arrested after Italy brawl

Apr 19 (CG) Three Sri Lankans have been arrested following a brawl in Italy over what police said what a private issue. Police in Syracuse Ortigia arrested the Sri Lankans aged between 41 and 47 years yesterday, media reports from Italy said. Those arrested were a nanny, a cook and a baker. They had begun to beat each other violently on the street when they were arrested. The three Sri Lankans were placed under house arrest. Two of the three Sri Lankans were injured during the brawl. more..

Kerry’s schedule being finalized

Apr 19 (SL) The schedule for the visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Sri Lanka is being finalized, Foreign Ministry and US Embassy sources said. Kerry is expected to visit Sri Lanka next month, the most high profile official visit to Sri Lanka by a US govt official. The dates for Kerry’s visit are yet to be finalized but once confirmed, he is expected to have talks, not just with the Govt, but also with the opposition and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). more..

Video: I will not join Somawansa: Tilvin

Apr 19 (DM) JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva today denied reports that he and two other senior members of the party had decided to resign from the JVP after its former leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, resigned from the JVP. He said that interested parties were engaged in spreading false stories that he himself had decided to follow Mr. Amarasinghe. “No one including myself or comrades Bimal Ratnayake or Lal Kantha more..

Germany funds construction of Sri Lankan-German Training Institute in Kilinochchi

Apr 19 (Island) German Ambassador Dr. Juergen Morhard recently visited the site of the Sri Lankan-German Training Institute (SLGTI), a landmark project initiated by German development cooperation agency GIZ in 2012, as part of its Vocational Training in the North (VTN) Project. SLGTI will be a national level vocational training institute in Kilinochchi. The institute functions under the purview of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), and more..

Nearly 50% of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres are Graduates

Apr 19 (ST) Nearly half of former LTTE cadres who sat the GCE Advanced Level (A/L) exam while undergoing rehabilitation during the past few years, qualified to enter university and graduated, according to Commissioner General (CG) of Rehabilitation, Maj. Gen. Jagath Wijetilleka. Of some 723 who sat for their A/Ls, 324 gained university entrance. The CG said that the majority of this number have already graduated, with 4 Doctors and 2 Engineers among them. more..

Discussion is the best way to solve problems

Apr 19 (NS) Protests held by university students, which seem to have increased in the recent past, make one question; if university students are of the mindset that discussions and other peaceful methods of protest are futile, and that the only method to take action is through satyagraha campaigns, picketing and demonstrations. Colombo University student, Sethsara Wickramanayake said, “Discussion is best way to solve problems. more..

'No decision to remove any party member'

Apr 19 (DM) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha today denied reports that the UPFA was preparing to remove certain parties from the alliance or that certain members were preparing to quit it. Issuing a statement today, MP Premjayantha said that the reports were fabricated and that the claims were false. “UPFA has not made any such decision concerning any of our parties’ members or its public representatives and neither have we held any discussions on such a matter,” more..

Potta Naufer wins a Bakmaha event

Apr 19 (DM) The notorious under-world gangster M.N. Naufer alias Potta Naufer, who is sentenced to death for the killing of High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya had won the first place in the music cards game, an event which is similar to musical chairs game at a Bak Maha Ulele organised by the Badulla Prisoners’ Welfare Association. The Bak Maha Ulele event was held at the Badulla Prison Complex under the instructions of Badulla Prison Superintendent, Rohana Galappatti, more..

Smaller parties raise objections

Apr 19 (CG) Minor political parties which met today, have opposed electoral reforms proposals put forward by the SLFP. Over 30 political parties met in Wellewatta today and discussed moves by the Govt to introduce electoral reforms. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, told reporters later that a committee will be formed by the smaller parties represented in Parliament and outside to further discuss electoral reforms proposals. more..

Sri Lanka’s rubber products exports topped US$ 889.4 million in 2014

Apr 19 (Island) The Export Development Board (EDB) indicated recently that rubber products manufactured in Sri Lanka realized revenue amounting to $ 889.4 million in 2014. These products were mainly identified in three segments — tyres, including solid tyres, pneumatic tyres and tubes, gloves, including surgical, industrial, and for household use. The other products are rubber bands, floor coverings, mats, industrial components, automobile parts, household items and more..

Indian police seize 142 kg cannabis bound for Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (Hindu) District police have detained under the National Security Act (NSA) two ganja smugglers who were arrested on March 18 while attempting to smuggle 142 kg of ganja to Sri Lanka via sea route. Stating that the accused – Pushpa Dhanraj (45) and Justin Diraviam (30) of Ariyankundu near Thangachimadam in Rameswaram – were habitual offenders engaged in drug trafficking, SP N.M. Mylvahanan recommended that they be detained under the NSA. more..

Sri Lanka agrees to debate key constitutional reforms

Apr 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan political party leaders on Sunday agreed to debate key constitutional reforms in parliament this week after days of disagreement on some clauses. 19th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution will be debated in parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday, former Minister Prof. Tissa Vitarana said. The agreement was reached when political party leaders, including those from the opposition, met on Sunday more..

Kumar Sangakkara calls on England to reinstate Kevin Pietersen to side

Apr 19 (Guardian) The Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara believes the England team must find a way to bring Kevin Pietersen back into the international fold because he still has “so much to offer them”. The 37-year-old Sangakkara, who struck four consecutive hundreds during the recent World Cup, is currently making his debut for Surrey alongside the returning Pietersen in their County Championship season opener in Cardiff against Glamorgan. more..

Sri Lanka electric car ownership goes up

Apr 19 (EN) Sri Lanka's electric car ownership has started to gain traction with new registrations more than doubling to 27 units in March 2015 compared to earlier months, an analysis of data shows. JB Securities, said in an analysis that Nissan Leaf is the most popular electric car in Sri Lanka. Since October 2013, 169 electric cars have been registered in Sri Lanka and 150 are Nissan Leaf. After about a dozen or less cars being registered for many months, 27 cars were registered in March 2015, more..

No secret accounts in any foreign bank: MR

Apr 19 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today rejected allegations that he, his wife or sons maintained illegal or secret offshore accounts in any foreign bank. The public should note that these rumours are being spread by the same individuals who said that helicopters had been purchased for the use of my sons and that horses had been bought for them from ‘Buckingham palace in America’. I would like to categorically state more..

Benefits of new Drugs Policy have so far not reached the people ­­- GMOF

Apr 19 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) says that the govt’s 100 days program in the Health Ministry was an utter failure and a mega flop. The only namesake achievement in this sector was to push through the Drugs Policy in parliament, which even many parliamentarians didn’t know much about. Stakeholders were kept in the dark. The drugs regulatory authority, including the DGHS, also had no idea about this new piece of legislation, the trade union asserted in a statement. more..

Parliament to be dissolved only after electoral reforms

Apr 19 (AD) Parliament will be dissolved only after the amendments to electoral reforms passed in the Parliament, sources close to the govt said. This had been discussed at a special all party conference which was held on Sunday at the Presidential Secretariat with the participation of President Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. According to the govt 100-day pledge, it was scheduled to prepare election laws by 2 March, and pass the new system by 17 March. more..

Video: JVP extends its support to pass 19A

Apr 19 (AD) The JVP on Sunday announced that the party will extend its support to pass the draft bill on the 19th Amendment. The observation was made by General Secretary of JVP Tilvin Silva at a press conference held in Colombo. “The JVP was on the view that the executive presidency should be completely abolished. But with the current political situation in the country, it is not possible to overcome that,” Silva said. more..

Turkey to boost trade with Sri Lanka

Apr 19 (GDI) A Turkish business delegation keen to invest in Sri Lanka will be visiting Sri Lanka soon to explore business opportunities, Turkish Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Iskender Okyay said. He said they are keen on the manufacturing sector, tourism, power generation and several other areas at a reception hosted for the media last week. Turkey is looking at increased of trade volumes between the two countries and are also looking at increasing tourism between the two countries Okyay revealed more..

7 TN fishermen injured in mid-sea attack

Apr 19 (PTI) Seven fishermen from here have been injured in a mid-sea attack allegedly by sea pirates suspected to be from Sri Lanka, police said today. Two of them sustained severe head injuries and have been admitted to the Government Hospital here, they said. The fishermen from Nambiyar were fishing a few knots South East off Kodiakarai when they were attacked on Friday night by assailants who came in a fast craft, police said quoting a complaint lodged by the victims. more..

Committee clears Arjuna Mahendran

Apr 19 (DM) The committee of eminent lawyers which inquired into the 30-year Treasury Bond issuance has cleared Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and stated that he had no direct role in deciding to accept bids over and above the one billion rupees stipulated in the 30-year bond tender and accept up to 10 billion rupees. Press release: The committee of eminent lawyers which inquired into the 30-year Treasury Bond more..

Hundred days and after

Apr 20 (CT) Governor of Central Bank was summoned to the Bribery Commission and grilled for six hours. A 3-month travel ban was imposed on him. That one incident demonstrates how far we have progressed since Jan 8th. The journey away from Rajapaksa Rule towards democracy, accountability and the rule of law has been far from perfect; it has been slow and ponderous, with many a stop and digression. But it is happening, as the interrogation of Mahendran clearly indicates. more..

Need for accelerating pace of prosecutions

Apr 20 (CT) While the endless yammering of the Dayan Jayatillekas and Rajiva Wijesinhas continues unabated both in Colombo Telegraph and the mainline media, suggesting that the same criteria were applied in the awarding of the PdDs to them as was to Dr Mervin Silva, the government of the day continues on its path of procrastination in the matter of bringing those who raped and pillaged this country to book. Apart from the unacceptable permissiveness that this conduct by more..

Special law needed for independent Foreign Service

Apr 20 (SO) Given that the conduct of international relations brings Sri Lanka on to the world stage where we must interact with the most powerful and the weakest of states, we are challenged to manage our relations with the rest of the world with the greatest professional finesse. There can be no room for favouritism of any sort to replace competence, skill and talent in our deployment of human resources in the more..

No comeback for Mahinda as all roads lead to dead ends

Apr 20 (ST) If it was the closest Ranil Wickremesinghe would get to be President all but in name, it was the nearest Mahinda Rajapaksa could have reached to enjoy executive powers again in a new role as prime minister and act as de facto president. But with the Supreme Court dictated dilution that redefined the 19th Amendment, both men’s hopes to ascend higher ground lie dashed in the dust; and both men’s executive ambitions remain the stuff of vain political pipe dreams. more..

Giving with one hand & taking with other?

Apr 20 (ST) Constitution-making exercises in Sri Lanka are generally a coyly deceptive dance of appearing to give much but actually conceding very little. And for too long, we have suffered from a peculiar obsession with keeping rights away from the people. This is not an affliction limited to a particular political era or to individuals of greater or lesser talent as the case may be. So the first attacks on an independent judiciary and public service under the 1972 Constitution were engineered by more..

JVP has no future: Somawansa

Apr 20 (CT) Former Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe says that there are several things that the JVP does not understand and as long as they do not understand those things, there will be no future for the JVP. Hence his decision to quit and form a new party drawing on people who were influenced by founder Rohana Wijeweera, but excluding current JVP members. Q: Somawansa Amarasinghe is a leader who has been in more..

Taking the National Govt forward

Apr 20 (SL) With early parliamentary polls becoming a possibility, though not a probability until the SLFP-UPFA agrees to back the truncated 19-A, partners to the existing national govt have to replace the present predilections in favour of a clear-cut approach to governance, if they are serious about convincing the cadre and voter that they are serious about continuing with the experiment, post-poll as well. In doing so, they would also have to replace personalities with programmes, more..

Living it up on Laysiyata leasing

Apr 20 (SL) Avurudhu Kumaraya is a perennial guest on the days of the Avuruddha since the times of our ancestors. The lanky handsome man decked in silk and gold, had arrived on a gleaming white stallion in the days of old but now he arrives in one of those million dollar vehicles that makes girls go running and leap into them while on the move. Old boys like me love to have a chat with him about days gone by and present times while old girls do not like him at all. more..

'What is best for Her, Sri Lanka must decide'

Apr 20 (Island) Kare Vollan is a constitutional expert. He was in Sri Lanka recently on invitation by the Centre for Policy alternatives (CPA) to help political parties in Sri Lanka understand the best electoral system for Sri Lanka; whether this decision will be made for the benefit of the people or the benefit of those elected by the people. I understood that Vollan’s visit to Sri Lanka was packed with barely any time for rest. more..

Editorial: 19A: Consensus needed

Apr 20 (Island) 19th Amendment Bill has left the govt in a cul-de-sac. UPFA earlier refused to back it unless it was coupled with electoral reform. Now, the SLFP says the govt is making a not-so-surreptitious attempt circumvent a recent SC determination on the constitutional amendments. This is a very serious allegation. The govt’s decision to defer the presentation of the 19th Amendment to Parliament is welcome. It is hoped that the warring parties will reach a consensus on the Bill. more..

Daunting challenges with elections round the corner

Apr 20 (ST) On Monday April 12, a 3-wheeler parked outside a 40-year old apartment complex at Narahenpita in Colombo was doing brisk business selling Avurudu sweetmeats. Loaded with kavum, kokkis and other traditional food including the ubiquitous plantain stacked in corrugated biscuit boxes, a couple peruses a list of orders and goes round delivering the goods to flat dwellers. There is plenty to go around for everyone – setting the tone for another good Avurudu festival. more..

Ceylon Tea to engage new markets to confront prevailing challenges

Apr 20 (Island) Director General, Sri Lanka Tea Board Anura Siriwardena said that the SLTB is currently exploring the possibility of marketing tea in 25 countries. This move comes at a time when the Colombo Tea Auction continued to record minus results with western, high-grown, and low-grown tea recorded minus price levels compared to 2014, presenting a real challenge. The new market being explored would include more..

War crimes: A comment on what experts say

Apr 20 (Island) The comments presented below are in response to an edited and abbreviated version of a legal opinion by Sir Desmond de Silva on "Permissible parameters of collateral damage" carried by The Island of April 10. Article states: "Currently whether or not an attack that results in civilian deaths is legal under international humanitarian law depends on whether the attack meets requirements of 3 principles: Distinction; Military Necessity & Proportionality. more..

Relationships with farmers, a bond: Page

Apr 20 (CT) Deputy Chairman of Cargills (Ceylon) PLC Ranjit Page, explaining the concept of creating direct markets for 10,000 farmers in a news release, at yesterday's Cargills Saru Bima Awards said," The relationships we establish with farmers is a bond Cargills has with the fields they sow, the families they nurture, the communities they live in and the schools where their children learn. Cargills has therefore initiated the Cargills Saru Bima Fund, which is used to empower more..

President presents Cargills Saru Bima Farmer Citizen’s awards

Apr 20 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday presented 18 vegetable and dairy farmers from across Sri Lanka with Cargills Saru Bima Farmer Citizen’s awards at a ceremony held at the BMICH. The occasion also saw over 200 students receiving scholarships for higher education while 500 farmers received medical insurance policies during the ceremony. Cargills Saru Bima is a fund established in 2008 in Thanamalwila more..