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Developing SL media; The state’s obligations

Jan 30 (CT) The obligation of the State is to provide an enabling environment for its people to enjoy their fundamental right to receive and impart information without any obstacle to their freedom of expression. Therefore, State’s interventions in Media development should be done only with a view to enhance the freedom of the press and to ensure people’s right to receive quality information from media. To begin with, ideally the govt should organise a comprehensive multi-stake more..

Electoral reform: First past the post or PR

Jan 30 (CT) Now there seems to be a clamor among our politicians for reform of the voting system. Should we go back to the first past the post system (FTPS) or continue the Proportional Representation system (PR) or a combination of the two as suggested by a Committee of the previous regime under Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena? The case for PR is based on the ground of fairness. Under the FPTPS a candidate can win without polling even 50% of the total vote. The total number of elected MPs more..

Children win battle over Thalassaemia

Jan 30 (SO) Thalassaemia. It is a word that conjures up dreadful images in the minds of both parents and children suffering from this blood disorder that causes chronic anaemia. The carriers are not strangers to the victims. They are in fact their own parents whose marriages have been to close relatives (consanguineous marriages), usually first cousins - marriages which medical experts describe as 'unhealthy unions' since they cause more..

Ranil’s moment of truth

Jan 30 (NS) Two months ago Ranil Wickremesinghe had to decide whether or not to contest the presidential election. In 2010 he had a similar problem. Back then few would have bet on Mahinda Rajapaksa losing. Ranil let the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka take the fall. Wisely. This time, factoring in regime fatigue and many other negatives people may have given Ranil an outside chance. In all likelihood, however, he would have lost. So he had to take a risk and he took it. more..

Revisiting Sampur: How long will it take to return home?

Jan 30 (GV) The election of a new President has unleashed high expectations of change for the better. Although for some the expectations relate to macro issues of constitutional reform and good governance, for others their hopes are more basic: that of survival, of returning to their own homes and rebuilding their lives. A key stumbling block to these expectations being met was the claim by the previous govt that SL no longer had any IDPs. Ground realities though are starkly different more..

'Muslims must move away from communal politics'

Jan 30 (CT) National Front for Good Governance (NFGG) recognizes itself as an alternative party, based in the Muslim community but working towards good governance for all. NFGG Leader, Abdur Rahman said, it was time for Muslims in the country to look at the bigger picture and to move away from communal politics. Thus, at this juncture of change, when the country too is looking for a better political culture, question is whether more..

Uncertain future in politics and life

Jan 30 (NS) I am reminded of a Buddhist story about Arhat Sariputta who was once asked about the outcome of a war that had broken out between two states. He, who had developed his mind to such an extent that he was named the most intelligent of all disciples of Buddha, gave a prediction on what he could see. The prediction turned out to be wrong. Predicting the future is a risky endeavor. According to Buddhist scriptures, only the Buddha could see the past, present and future with accuracy. more..

Sri Lanka’s International Reset

Jan 30 (TD) As the dust settles following an unexpected result in Sri Lanka’s recent presidential election, the focus has gradually shifted from discussions on what was behind the incumbent’s loss to what lies ahead with the new administration. President Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign focused mainly on domestic affairs, related to corruption and govt reform, yet requires a firm pivot towards prioritizing external affairs as well. Post-conflict Sri Lanka and its Ministry of External Affairs, more..

‘We want total abolition of executive presidency’

Jan 30 (Island) Spokesman for Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera’s NMSJ Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri speaks to C.A. Chandraprema about the apparent lack of interest in the new govt in fulfilling the pledges relating to constitutional change they made during the election campaign. Q: The new govt was elected on certain core promises. The main cause around which all of you united was the abolition of the executive presidency. more..

Independent Commissions: Necessary Improvements of the 17th Amendment

Jan 30 (Island) Presentation to Parliament of a 19th Amendment, repealing the 18th Amendment and re-instating the 17th Amendment, a basic constitutional measure relating to independent commissions, has been declared to be a core element of the current 100 day Parliamentary programme. It is, therefore, important to reflect on some of the more serious shortcomings inherent in the text of the Seventeenth Amendment and to formulate suitable approaches to the improvement of its content, more..

Editorial: When Justitia sobs

Jan 30 (Island) Beleaguered Chief Justice Mohan Peiris was made to resign on Wednesday. ‘Impeached’ CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake came; she sat and she retired within twenty four hours of her dramatic comeback. It all started when Mohan Peiris was sighted at Temple Trees in the early hours of Jan 9 while the results of the previous day’s presidential election were being released. By being present there he compromised his independence and failed to preserve the honour and dignity more..

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa legacy of abuse

Jan 30 (HRW) Sri Lankan govt stepped up pressure in 2014 on human rights activists and journalists, particularly those urging justice for past war crimes, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its World Report 2015 released today. A new govt, elected in Jan 2015, should order investigations into arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and killings since the final military operations in 2009. In 656-page world report, more..

Nuwan Kulasekara reprimanded for aggressive celebration

Jan 30 (PTI) Fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara was reprimanded for aggressive celebration of Luke Ronchi's dismissal during his team's seventh ODI against New Zealand. "Kulasekara admitted to a breach of Article 2.1.8 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel,” said the ICC in a statement. After claiming Ronchi's wicket, Kulasekara aggressively changed direction towards the dismissed batsman, which was considered unacceptable by the match officials. more..

CSE to educate pensioners on sustainable financial planning

Jan 30 (FT) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is to launch an awareness program to provide pensioners with a sound understanding of personal financial planning. CSE entered into a MoU with the Department of Pensions; to educate retired personnel on the diverse avenues of investment available to them. CSE is commitment towards ensuring that all socio-economic segments have a thorough understanding of prudent investment opportunities, in order to minimise their risks more..

Refugees not averse to Sri Lanka return after regime change

Jan 30 (TOI) With the new govt in Sri Lanka sending positive signals on resolving the ethnic problem, refugees in Tamil Nadu have been evaluating the possibility of their return to the homeland. Refugee leaders in many camps have indicated that they are not averse to repatriation. Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation held 17 rounds of discussion with representatives of refugees in various camps in TN. more..

Upali Marasinghe new Education Ministry Secretary

Jan 30 (DN) Upali Marasinghe, a senior official in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service, has been appointed the Education Ministry Secretary. He is a graduate of Kelaniya University. Marasinghe received his post graduate qualification in public management from the Sri Jayawardenapura University. He holds an LLB degree from the Open Univerisity of Sri Lanka. Marasinghe held a number of prestigious posts during his career in the public service. more..

Minister convenes ministry & port officials to draft 100 day port programme

Jan 30 (Island) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga recently convened a special meeting  for the ministry officials headed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, newly appointed Board of Directors and higher Executive Staff Members of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), officials of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation Ltd; and officials headed by Director Merchant Shipping to discuss of drafting an effective programme for the shipping and port sector to assist 100-day development programme more..

Sri Lanka says military 'sabotaging' post-war reconciliation

Jan 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new govt accused the military of trying to sow unrest to sabotage its efforts to bring about ethnic reconciliation in the war-ravaged north of the country. Sri Lanka has promised to give greater autonomy to the mainly Tamil northern peninsula, which was worst hit by the decades-long civil war, and remained heavily militarized under the former administration. Govt said it was investigating allegations that more..

Three members of the same family killed in head-on collision

Jan 30 (DM) Three persons of one family were killed and another two were injured when their three-wheeler collided head on with a lorry at the Banagala bend in Dompe this evening, the Police said. They said the three-wheeler, travelling from Hanwella to Dompe, had collided with the lorry that was travelling in the opposite direction. Police said the three family members, the mother, daughter and daughter in law had died on admission to the Dompe Hospital. more..

Moratuwa University, Leapset Engineering collaborate for product innovation

Jan 30 (Island) Leapset, fittingly focusing on the bedrock of tech-product innovation in Sri Lanka, officially opened the ‘Leapset CSE Lounge’ Tuesday at the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the Moratuwa University. This signified a milestone in Leapset’s synergetic relationship with Sri Lanka’s premier technological university which reflected both partners’ commitment to taking the country’s IT industry beyond BPO services (Business-Processes Outsourcing). more..

Funds for education upped to 6% of GDP

Jan 30 (Island) 'The economy is in a sad state, but the good news is it can be resurrected by taking immediate and innovative steps to reduce the massive budget deficit, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said presenting the Interim Budget for 2015 in parliament yesterday. Proposing funds allocated for Education be increased to 6% of GDP, and those for Public Health Service be increased to 3% of GDP, more..

Sangakkara breaks ODI record for dismissals

Jan 30 (Reuters) Kumar Sangakkara added another milestone to his already storied career when he broke the world record for the most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in one-day internationals against New Zealand in Wellington on Thursday. The 37-year-old Sangakkara, who is expected to retire from international cricket after the World Cup, passed Adam Gilchrist as the most successful wicketkeeper with the dismissal of Corey Anderson in the seventh and final one-dayer. more..

Sri Lanka well poised to get Japanese investments into Ayurveda: Minister

Jan 30 (CT) Japan-Sri Lanka bilateral relations will strengthen the Ayurvedic medicine and traditional treatment methods which would also bring in increasing foreign investments into the country, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He was addressing a news conference after the opening of the Institute of Traditional Plants at the Cinnamon Grand on Tuesday. He stated that this new investment friendly govt will bring in many foreign ventures such as the inauguration of Sri Lanka's first-ever more..

'Mohan Peiris pleaded with President not to remove him as CJ'

Jan 30 (Island) Mohan Peris who functioned as the ‘44th Chief Justice’ from Jan 13, 2013 until last Tuesday, had pleaded with President Maithripala Sirisena to allow him to continue in that office, the govt said. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that President Sirisena had told Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting that Mohan Peiris had telephoned him in the morning that day and promised to give any judgement that he (Sirisena) wanted, if more..

Mini-Budget speech in full

Jan 30 (FT) 01. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Honourable Speaker, exactly 21 days ago, on 8 Jan 2015, the people of the country voted for a change in favour of Honourable President Maithripala Sirisena. They gave a clear mandate emphasising that they desperately need a change. A change that goes far beyond party politics and individual aspirations to create a new political and economic culture in the country. 1.2 As the 19th Minister of Finance of Sri Lanka, following the illustrious footsteps of more..

Mixed reactions from Trade Chambers

Jan 30 (CT) Mixed reactions were evoked from three frontline Chambers of Commerce, in individual interviews on the mini budget of the new govt. The mini budget saw the price reduction of 13 essentials and a host of relief measures across the board and other concessions, while measures were also taken to boost domestic agriculture and industries where minimum guaranteed prices were also assured. While two chamber leaders said that the common man has benefited largely by prices slashed more..

Sri Lanka hikes company taxes, says economy in 'sad state'

Jan 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new govt announced hefty taxes on top companies in a bid to raise revenue, accusing the previous regime of fudging the figures and leaving the economy in a "sad state". Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake also said prices of essential food items would be slashed to cut the cost of living for average Sri Lankans, as he unveiled his govt's supplementary budget. He said public debt had been hidden and growth artificially more..

Opposition calls for Parliamentary debate over fiasco of CJs

Jan 30 (FT) Unhappy over the reinstatement of former Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, Opposition lawmakers demanded a debate highlighting alleged threats to the Constitution and the legitimacy of Parliament. Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva informed the House that CJ Mohan Peiris was forced to tender his resignation after being intimidated. “A complaint was lodged by CJ Mohan Peiris, who reported being intimidated at his residence,” more..

Previous govt’s Commonwealth Games bid cost Rs. 760m !

Jan 30 (Island) In another example for massive waste of funds by the previous govt, as alleged by the newly appointed govt, it was revealed that previous regime has incurred expenditure to a tune of over Rs. 760 million in its presentation of 2018 Commonwealth Games bid. Minister Ravi Karunanayake revealed this adding that this money had been spent only on the bidding process indicating how waste of public funds could affect a country’s economy adversely. more..

'Country was run on Casino, Ethanol and Heroin economy'

Jan 30 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that the govt will put an end to the black economy that thrived on casinos, ethanol and heroin. "Last night, the Cabinet decided to revoke the permission granted by the previous govt to maintain casinos in luxury resorts constructed under the provisions of the Strategic Development Projects Act. We would release a gazette amending a previous one which permitted Lake Leisure more..

Mattala airport duty free shop licences cancelled

Jan 30 (DN) The Civil Aviation Services Ministry has cancelled licences issued to owners of duty free shops at the Mattala international airport. A spokesman for the ministry said the licences were issued in a haphazard manner for personal reasons. Licences will be reissued after calling tenders. Meanwhile, 35 bottles of arrack have been taken into custody from a house at Seenimodera by Tangalle Police. The house owner did not possess a permit to sell arrack. more..

Removal of Mohan Peiris: PM to make special statement in Parliament

Jan 30 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Parliament yesterday that the need to remove Mohan Peiris from the post of Chief Justice did not arise as he was not duly appointed. PM said he would make a full statement in this connection in Parliament today. Responding to questions raised by Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva and MP Dinesh Gunawardena, the PM stated that the govt has neither violated the Constitution nor has it removed anybody from the post of CJ. more..

Dual citizenship potentially available to all Lankans

Jan 30 (DM) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presenting the interim budget 2015 said that the option of dual citizenship would be available to all persons of Sri Lankan origin and granted after due evaluation. A payment of Rs. 500,000 will have to precede each individual request. Provision will be made for foreigners seeking resident status in Sri Lanka who are in a position to invest US$ 10 million in the country. more..

'100-day program a big challenge but will be achieved'

Jan 30 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday requested the nation to be patient and “compassionate on delays here and there” during the implementation of the 100-day program. Praising constructive criticism, he said: “Some criticise the 100-day program. We welcome your criticism and respect your opinion. It is true that there has been a delay of a day or two to deliver some promises but it is important to consider the correct delivery made at least a day or two later. more..

Bandara gets Sirisena’s seat

Jan 30 (Island) Jayasinghe Bandara, who contested on the UPFA ticket in 2010 General Election, took oaths before Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as an MP yesterday. He was sworn in before the new govt presented its interim budget. Bandara, who had come fifth in the list of preferential votes in the Polonnaruwa District at the 2010 general election was appointed to the seat which had fallen vacant due to Maithripala Sirisena’s resignation from Parliament upon being elected President. more..

Ravi unveils Robin Hood budget!

Jan 30 (FT) Govt released what could be classified as a Robin Hood Budget which gave rise to unexpected relief and benefits. High net-worth individuals as well as business entities enjoying benefits under the Mahinda Chinthana were slapped with sweeping restrictions and regulations as well as taxes to shore up revenue. 19th Finance Minister of SL, Ravi Karunanayake, exchanging his usual European attire for national garb, said more..

Pack up and go, Mr. Tobacco

Jan 30 (DM) Much attention was focused on the new National Unity Govt’s first revolutionary budget presented by Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Parliament yesterday and independent economists, while praising the substantial relief measures, are raising questions as to where the money would come from. The govt led by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged it would give the foremost priority to poverty alleviation in the aftermath of the shocking more..

Dayasiri’s contradictions

Jan 30 (DM) Political melodramas are the most entertaining ‘reality shows’ that are catered to the public at all times. During the recent presidential election, the most popular word in the vocabulary was defection. Of course, those who batted and defected to bat for Team Yahapalanaya did emerge as champions. Amongst those who switched loyalties, Dayasiri Jayasekara was one of the first. During his campaigns supporting the Suba Anagathayak regime, he was engaged in more..

'To put the system right we have to do certain things out of the box'

Jan 30 (DM) In an interview, newly appointed Deputy Minster of Justice, Sujeewa Senasinghe, a prominent lawyer, spoke about the controversy surrounding the Chief Justice in the country and the erosion of the judiciary in general. He blamed the Rajapaksa regime for the situation and said that in the current environment it would not be easy to restore good governance in the country as quickly as desired. more..

'Why did the Australian govt refuse to listen to us?'

Jan 30 (SMH) Nine Sri Lankans repatriated by Australian authorities last year after their boat was intercepted off Christmas Island have been recognised as refugees by the United Nations in Nepal. Hemantha Kuruppu, 41, says he was overwhelmed with relief when he received news on January 1 that the UN Refugee Agency had finally granted formal refugee status to him, his wife and three children. more..