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Maithri changes JR's constitution

Apr 29 (CT) The final vote taken on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution Bill was passed with a majority of 211 votes in Parliament yesterday. The Bill received 212 votes in favour as the UPFA, DNA and TNA voted with the govt. Digamadulla UPFA MP Sarath Weerasekera voted against, while Galle District independent MP Ajith Kumara of the FSP abstained from voting. Ten MPs were absent. more..

Defeating JR

Apr 29 (DM) Who would have thought that our MPs would have to stress and strain, pull and push so much to get an Amendment passed! True it is an important piece of legislation and one which would change the flavour and tone of politics and governance in the country beyond recognition (That is, compared to how things have happened over the past 37 years). This gives legitimacy to long deliberation including petitioning the Supreme Court and incorporating decisions obtained. more..

Why constitutional reforms is a must

Apr 29 (DM) The constitutional reforms have been a hot topic at every single presidential election for the last several decades. The MR govt too in their UPFA manifestos made only mention of such promises and failed to act on them, and that was the main reason why the former regime was defeated two years prior to their full term. The most creditable achievement for MR was winning the protracted expensive and devastating war. It is sad MR failed to understand or thereafter to take the country forward more..

Protecting people with special needs

Apr 29 (SL) Even though certain legal provisions are in place to protect the rights of the people with special needs, public institutions in Sri Lanka seem to have disregarded those regulations and have failed to accommodate the needs of the differently abled community. As a country that has undergone war, SL evidently has a large population of people with disabilities whereas public institutions have blatantly dismissed more..

'Special to win series in England'

Apr 29 (WI) At a time when genuine allrounders are rarer than ever before, Angelo Mathews shines bright. In Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 cricket, Mathews has established himself as Sri Lanka’s man for a crisis. Averaging more than 50 with the bat, and good enough to open the bowling with muscular seam-up when the conditions suit, Mathews would be a captain’s dream, if he were not the Test captain himself, more..

Just 6 years on and Sigiriya museum already gone to the monkeys

Apr 29 (ST) Run down and desolate, it is pleading for attention. The state-of-the-art Sigiriya Museum and Information Centre, with the majestic rock fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site as its backdrop, is in a bad state. Just six years down the line, it is a poor shadow of what it was when it was opened with much pomp and pageantry in 2009 under the management of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF). more..

Lankan woman forced into hiding for questioning Islamic treatment of women

Apr 29 (Breitbart) Sharmila Seyyid, a Muslim woman journalist and human rights activist from Sri Lanka, received so much backlash from a comment in a BBC appearance that she left her home country. She did not receive a warm welcome in India, which forced her into hiding. Now outlets are pressuring both countries to protect Seyyid. In 2012, she said “she backed legalizing sex work to help protect sex workers, more..

Bandula raises breach of privilege over court summons

Apr 29 (Island) UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena told parliament that he had been summoned by Colombo Magistrate Court to be present in the court on May 08 for contempt of court and causing traffic congestion. The alleged charge was levelled for his presence at the bribery commission when former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa went there to give statement and leaving the commission premises in more..

Concern over police harassment of Tamil journalists

Apr 29 (RSF) Four Tamil journalists based in the northern cities of Mannar and Vavuniya were summoned for questioning by the police in Colombo yesterday, just days after another journalist received a similar summons that resulted in his being charged with publishing false information. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) are concerned that the Sri Lankan authorities are more..

Ranawaka promises transparent pricing mechanism for fuel

Apr 29 (Island) Lack of a transparent pricing mechanism for petroleum products is a major shortcoming, says Minister Champika Ranawaka. He said except a short period in 2002, there has been no laid down pricing policy for petroleum products here. Minister said that prices had been arbitrarily fixed by the CPC or the govt without fluctuating oil prices in the international market being taken into consideration. more..

Here’s a look at changes made to 19A

Apr 29 (AD) Parliament overwhelmingly passed reforms on Tuesday reducing some of the president’s powers, in a move that did not go as far as President Maithripala Sirisena had promised but is nevertheless seen as a victory for the leader and his govt. The main constitutional proposals of the 19th Amendment include the transformation of the Presidential form of govt to a Presidential-Parliamentary system of govt more..

Hambantota Mayor remanded

Apr 29 (AM) Hambantota Mayor Eraj Fernando, who was arrested over an incident of assaulting a suspect in police custody, was remanded until Thursday by Hambantota Magistrate. He was arrested by Special Investigations Unit of Police Headquarters. Fernando was arrested regarding an incident in March 2014, where he stormed into the Ambalantota Police Station and attempted to attack and kidnap a suspect under police custody. more..

PM resists last minutes moves to undermine election commission

Apr 29 (EN) PM who failed to fully de-politcise the public service due to opposition filibustering, managed to save the elections commission from last ditch attempts to further undermine their independence. A Constitutional Council which will oversee several individual commissions was to have a majority of non-political members, but the opposition managed to keep it politicized by pushing for a majority to be politicians. more..

The 19A: A partial, but a great victory for democracy

Apr 29 (CT) Finally, finally the 19th Amendment is passed with only one UPFA MP opposing. Perhaps he was true to what he was advocating while many others were chickening out, including the law professor. There was an eleventh hour compromise on the Constitutional Council, but the govt rightly did not budge on the appointment of Cabinet of Ministers. If the President kept all the powers to unilaterally appoint the cabinet of ministers, as the opposition wanted through their dubious more..

TNA & Sinhala sensitivities

Apr 29 (CT) PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Siddharthan was featured on our Minority Matters column yesterday. Siddharthan is the son of former TULF MP for Manipai V. Dharmalingam who was abducted and killed by unknown gunmen at Uduvil, Jaffna, some 30 years ago. PLOTE was one of Sri Lanka's oldest Tamil terrorist organizations. But, after the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987, it eschewed violence against the Sri Lankan State and joined mainstream politics in the island. more..

Video: Police fire tear gas at IUBF protesters

Apr 29 (DM) Police today used teargas on Buddhist monks affiliated to the Inter University Bhikku Federation who marched from Fort Railway Station to UCG demanding immediate solutions to their problems. Protest was organized against the alleged reduction of the number of monks admitted to universities. Student monks tried to enter forcefully in to UGC premises after breaking off the gate and barriers, more..

Sri Lankan shares extend gains

Apr 29 (EN) Sri Lankan shares extended gains Wednesday at a seven-week high with Hemas Holdings rights the most actively traded and the highest gainer, brokers said. The All Share Price Index ended at 7,173.37, up 38.94 points (0.55%) while the S&P SL 20 index, rose 22.18 points (0.55%) to end at 4,048.44. Turnover was 975 million rupees. Hemas Holdings rights most the actively traded share and the highest gainer, ending up almost 30% (80 cents) at 3.50 rupees. more..

Laid of employees of WPRDA protest

Apr 29 (Island) Hundreds of employees of the Western Province Road Development Authority (WPRDA) demonstrated opposite the Fort Railway Station yesterday against sacking more than 800 workers who had worked for four years. General Secretary of the Road Development Employees’ Union (RDEU) P. N. D. K. Bandaranayake told The Island that they would continue the protest and were ready to launch a strike if the WPRDA did not reinstate those employees. more..

'Parliament has no legitimacy: Should be dissolved immediately'

Apr 29 (EN) Sri Lanka's Parliament, where opposition factions undermined a constitutional change preventing the public sector from being fully de-politicized has no legitimacy and should be dissolved immediately, a top ruling party official has said. "Factions of the UPFA diluted the Constitutional Council to include a majority of MPs on the Council, completely nullifying the intention of setting up an independent more..

Kuragala protest: Sinhala Ravaya members get bail

Apr 29 (DM) Sinhala Ravaya Organisation Chairman Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera and 24 others yesterday appeared in Court on charges of staging a protest at the Kuragala archaeological site on April 4 despite a court order banning such protests. The Balangoda Magistrate released them on a surety bail of Rs. 250,000 each. Two of those noticed to appear in Court had failed to do so and as such warrants were issued for their arrests. Meanwhile, the Balangoda Magistrate had more..

Health Minister says SJH can give a better service with its advanced equipment

Apr 29 (Island) Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Rajitha Senaratne during an inspection tour of the Kotte Sri Jayewardenepura hospital handed over a new CT scanner. He said that it was the duty of the hospital administrators to request the required medical equipment on time so that their requests could be granted. Minister Senaratne said he had decided to make available sufficient allocations for future needs of the hospital. He said he had met all the Consultants physicians, medical officers more..

Sri Lanka grows 7.4% in 2014, debt at 75.5% of GDP

Apr 29 (EN) Sri Lanka's gross domestic product expanded 7.4% adjusted for inflation while nominal output rose to 9,785 billion rupees (US$ 74.9 billion) taking per capita GDP to 3,625 dollars from USS$ 3,280 million a year earlier. With higher nominal growth, public debt as percentage of GDP fell to 75.5% by end 2014 from 78.3% in 2013, Central Bank said after handing over a copy of its annual report to Finance Minister. more..

Weerasekera fears a conspiracy

Apr 29 (CG) UPFA Member of Parliament (MP) Sarath Weerasekera says he voted against the 19th Amendment to the constitution as he saw a conspiracy behind the whole process. Weerasekara, a former military official, was the only MP to vote against the bill in Parliament yesterday. The MP said that he had decided to place his country before the party and voted against the bill. The UPFA had voted for the bill with the Govt after several amendments were made. more..

Jaffna undergrads to end boycott today

Apr 29 (CT) The boycott of lectures by the undergraduates of the University of Jaffna will end today. The undergraduates started the protest on Sunday following a sword attack on a group of students at Manipay, Jaffna who were returning after a musical show on Saturday night. Three students were injured in the sword attack by unknown persons who came in motorbikes, while the others escaped. The unidentified persons cut off the hand of Muralitharan from Vavuniya, more..

'Positive proposals from opposition not discarded'

Apr 29 (AD) Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa says that not a single positive proposal brought forward by opposition parliamentary groups with regard to the 19th amendment were discarded by the govt, despite the raising of baseless and childish arguments at various points. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to pass the 19th amendment to the constitution, in the biggest moderation of the system introduced 37 years ago. more..

Dayasiri- UNP members agree to settle defamation

Apr 29 (DM) The Colombo District Court today suggested a settlement to North Western Provincial Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara with regard to a case filed demanding Rs. 500 million from several UNP members. Jayasekara demanded UNP members Harin Fernando, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Daya Gamage and Ranjan Ramanayake for Rs. 500 million each for alleging he accepted Rs. 250 million from the previous govt to cross over. Counsel appearing for both parties agreed to settle more..

Jacqueline Fernandez demands Rs 4 crore to dance at a wedding in London

Apr 29 (MD) Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandez has accepted an offer to perform at a high-profile wedding in London and has quoted Rs 4 crore to shake a leg. A source says, "This businessman has planned a lavish wedding for his son on the outskirts of London during May-end. He has approached a few actresses to perform on the occasion. Jacky has given her nod to them and is required to perform on a few songs either from her films or other popular numbers." more..

AG requests more time to inform govt’s stance on Port City

Apr 29 (AM) Attorney General’s Department was given further time by Appeals Court to submit a report regarding the Govt’s stance on Colombo Port City Project. Justice Vijith Malalgoda gave AG Department until June 15 to submit the report, when a writ petition filed by Centre for Environmental Justice was considered this morning. Petitioner, Centre for Environmental Justice, stated that Chinese Harbour Engineering Company more..

Ann King, Fletcher recalled for Sri Lanka tour

Apr 29 (CI) Left-hand batsman Stacy Ann King, offspinner Afy Fletcher, and 19-year old allrounder Chinelle Henry have been recalled to West Indies women's squad for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. King, 31, has played 53 ODIs and 61 T20Is. Her previous international appearance was at the Women's World Twenty20 semi-final against Australia last year. Fletcher, 28, will be making her first international appearance in six years, having played 13 ODIs and two T20Is between more..

Not in the moustache: Rajitha

Apr 29 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne today commended President Maithripala Sirisena’s personality and said a person’s personality was in his or her heart and mind and not in a moustache. “Some said President Sirisena had no personality because of his slim figure. Most of the great achievers including Lenin and Ho Chi Min were slim figures. Our President has created a social revolution following the footsteps of former Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike,” he said. more..

President directs solve drinking water problem of North

Apr 29 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena underscored that everyone should be dedicated to solving the drinking water problem of the North in a more humane manner. President laid this emphasis at a special gathering held at the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment to discuss the drinking water issue of the North. The President asserted to the Ministry officials the importance of constantly holding talks with more..

'SLFP puzzled at indifference of UNP towards electoral reform'

Apr 29 (AM) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva stated that SLFP is puzzled at the indifference of the UNP towards implementing electoral reforms. He said that President Maithripala Sirisena made a name as the president who reduced powers of executive presidency. While other presidents wanted to increase the powers of executive presidency, Sirisena wanted to reduce the powers, he added. De Silva reiterated the position of SLFP that electoral reforms should also take place more..

Sri Lankan Airlines: Management turns blind eye to Weliamanuna’s findings

Apr 29 (CT) A cross section of Sri Lankan Airlines employees who fearlessly came forward to reveal the blatant ongoing malpractices and fraud to the J.C. Weliamuna led Board of Inquiry (BOI) complained to ‘Colombo Telegraph’ that nothing has changed since in the investigation report revealed damning findings at the end of March 2015. “It is almost a month since the Weliamuna Report was submitted to the PM Ranil Wickremesinghe which was also subsequently more..

Lankan-origin Bali Nine ringleader executed in Indonesia

Apr 29 (DB) Myuran Sukumaran, one of the ringleaders of the infamous Bali Nine, was executed by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island in Java, Indonesia, on April 28, 2015. British-born Australian national, originally from Sri-Lanka, was executed at approximately 6.25pm (UK time) with seven others of the drug ring. Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was spared at the last minute. Bali Nine were a group of nine more..

UK hails passing of key reforms

Apr 29 (CG) The new British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris, congratulated President Maithripala Sirisena on the passing of the 19th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution. Dauris presented his letter of credence from Queen Elizabeth II to President Sirisena today at a formal ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo. High Commissioner congratulated President Sirisena on the passing of the 19th amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution more..

Why an Army Corporal as Namal's security?

Apr 29 (CT) The CID has questioned the Army Corporal who is alleged to have got close to President Maithripala Sirisena, carrying a firearm, at the meeting of the SLFP held last Saturday at the Angunukolapelessa, Town Hall. Police Media Spokesman Assistant Police Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekera said that a number of Police Special Task Force officers have been questioned regarding this Corporal who had approached the President passing all security personnel. more..

Have requested Lankan Navy not to fire on Indian fishermen: India

Apr 29 (PTI) Indian Govt today said it has requested Sri Lankan Navy to act with restraint and not to fire on Indian fishermen if they stray into the waters of the island nation. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said there have been six cases of alleged attack on Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters and India have taken up the issue with Sri Lanka. "Keeping in mind the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of the issue, more..

SLFP, JHU to push the government to bring forward 20A

Apr 29 (AD) The 19th Amendment to the Constitution would never have approved if the SLFP ignored to extend its support for the new legislation, opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said. The observation was made during a press conference held in Colombo on Wednesday afternoon. The opposition leader said that the SLFP will urge the govt to bring forward the 20th Amendment as well. “The island nation timely wants to have the new electoral system. more..

Amaraweera confident of resuming fish exports to EU later this year

Apr 29 (Island) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that the govt would address European Union concerns as regards unregulated fishing to regain the right to resume fish exports to EU member states. Minister Amaraweera was addressing a gathering at Dickovita fisheries harbour after handing over Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) to owners of fishing trawlers. Each unit will cost Rs. 350,000. Ministry intends to provide VMS units to 1615 trawlers free of charge. more..

Sri Lanka to get US$ 400 mn from RBI under currency swap deal

Apr 29 (PTI) Sri Lanka's Central Bank will tomorrow get the first USD 400 million tranche from India under a currency swap agreement with the RBI that will help the country tackle currency volatility and promote trade. Another USD 1.1 billion has been approved by the Indian govt for augmenting the currency swap arrangement between the two Central Banks. This additional amount is expected to be made available in more..