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20A encounters contentious issues

May 11 (NS) Even as the dust settles on the 19th Amendment, the main political parties are scrambling to have the next amendment, the 20th Amendment tailored to their reaspective needs in view of the general election that is expected to be called, possibly in late May or June. Unlike with the 19th Amendment, the UNP and the opposition SLFP both agree in principle on the concept of 20th Amendment: combining proportional representation (PR) & first past the post (FPP) systems. more..

Making haste on reconciliation, slowly

May 11 (ST) Quietly navigating a course in between the perilous shoals of political opportunism in the South and the North, President Sirisena appears to be slowly but surely correcting some of the most grievous wrongs in our society today. This week, his decision to return Sampur lands to war displaced citizens was unfortunately lost in the press headlines on the more politically gripping stories of the day. Yet this decision has great significance in indicating a policy change which is to the positive. more..

'Sri Lanka still has a lot to do'

May 11 (SL) European Union (EU) celebrated its birthday on the 9th of May. In 1950 the then French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman made a dramatic declaration inviting countries in Europe to try and work together in a new and different way, so as to become partners and to try and break out of a cycle of war that had dogged European countries for 50 years or so going back through centuries. more..

Editorial: Waiting for Godot

May 11 (Island) Never does Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka (SF) miss an opportunity to take a swipe at the Rajapaksas who wronged him. A victim of politico-legal persecution under the previous govt, he derives a kind of perverse pleasure from the current plight of his betes noires. Addressing a public meeting, he tore into defeated President Rajapaksa for trying to make a comeback. And, in the same breath, he flayed the present govt for not battling corruption the way it should. more..

The story of Articles 3 and 4 of Constitution

May 11 (Island) Supreme Court in its determination on the 19th Amendment stated that it "… came to a conclusion that the transfer, relinquishment or removal of a power attributed to one organ of govt to another organ or body would be inconsistent with Article 3 read with Article 4 of the Constitution. Though Article 4 provided the form and manner of exercise of the sovereignty of the people, the ultimate act or decision of his executive functions must be retained by the President". more..

School athletes are the fastest

May 11 (Island) Sprinters Himasha Eshan and his training partner Suranjaya de Silva shared the first two places of the men’s 100 metres dash in an eagerly anticipated final, while St. Joseph’s Balika, Kegalle athlete Rumeshika Ratnayake turned tables on veterans in the women’s 100 metres as the Asian Athletics Championship selection trial ended at the Mahinda Rajapaksha International Stadium, Diyagama on Sunday. more..

SEC blows whistle on listed corporates

May 11 (CT) Capital market watchdog- the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon bring laws where Auditors of listed corporates will be able to bring to the notice of the Commission if irregularities were found out in the financial statements of their clients. "This is another form of whistle blowing and the Auditors and firms of Chartered Accountants would be able to keep the Regulator informed of these unusual findings, SEC Chairman Tilak Karunaratne said. more..

'Let food be thy medicine'

May 11 (Island) "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food", said Hippocrates, who is considered the Father of Modern Medicine, over 2000 years ago. He recognized the impact good food has on good health, as the food we consume not only sustain our lives, it also prolongs the quality of life. With globalization and rapid urbanization over the years, people's food habits have substantially changed along with their lifestyles. This has shifted the traditional healthy meal that consists of more..

South Africa calls for more trade, tourism with Sri Lanka

May 11 (FT) Africa’s top travel show Indaba 2015 opened at the International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday, kicking off three days of buyer-seller meetings, enabling the showcasing, marketing and selling of the African continent’s leisure tourism offering to the world. With its tourism sector outstripping growth in all other sectors over the last two decades and also outstripping growth in global tourism, while more..

‘If corporate directors do a brilliant job, Regulator’s task will be a lot easier’

May 11 (Island) "First of all let me thank the organizers for inviting me to say a few words at this important function. I am also happy that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) has collaborated with your Institute in this initiative to inculcate a stronger culture of Corporate Governance and offering a programme to the young business leaders which would help them in their journey to face the challenges in the Corporate world". more..

Chanaka Welegedara signs with VTCA

May 11 (HS) In the hours after Westmeadows announced the signing of Sri Lankan test paceman Chanaka Welegedara, the enormity of the task facing batsmen this summer in Turf Cricket North A1 became apparent. One rival captain suggested he hoped the Warriors were moved to West A1, while others expressed their fortune at not playing in North A1 — the third tier of the VTCA. Welegedara, who played his most recent test against Pakistan in August last year, has inked a one-year deal more..

Sri Lanka to enter Botswana diamond market

May 11 (DN) For the first time Botswana is offering SL an opportunity to be a major player in the globe diamond trade. Country which had shunned SL for past few years due to political reasons is now offering a diamond agency to Sri Lanka. This would enable Sri Lanka Gem Corporation to import diamonds in both cut and uncut status and re export directly to Botswana govt, said Honorary Consul of Botswana in SL, more..

Lankan youth on illegal voyage back home arrested

May 11 (ENS) A 26-year-old Sri Lankan national was today arrested here for allegedly attempting to travel to Sri Lanka onboard a boat of a Tamil Nadu fisherman after entering the country illegally. D Vinothkumar, hailing from Paruthithurai village in Jaffna District, was arrested after a group of local fishermen found him proceeding toward Sri Lanka and brought him to this coastal town in Nagapattinam District, police said. He had entered into the country on April 26 by more..

‘GDP growth eclipsed by diminishing forest cover’

May 11 (Island) CIMA Sri Lanka last week officially announced the organisation’s participation in Rotary Lanka's flagship initiative, One Million Tree Stories Project. One million trees will be planted through this project which aims at helping Sri Lanka grow back its forests to support future generations. Gowri Rajan, District Governor of Rotary District 3220 speaking at the event said, Sri Lanka’s GDP growth has risen to an eye-catching 7 to 8%, but according to a UN country report, more..

Investors awaiting GSP reinstatement

May 11 (CT) Several European apparel industry investors are awaiting the reinstatement of the GSP for Sri Lanka for them to bring in their investments here, a senior industry official said. Sri Lanka is once again attracting investor interest in the garment manufacturing sector. Talks between the US govt and local authorities on increased market access is awaiting finalization with Trans Pacific Countries more..

Govt vows to boost FCID

May 11 (Island) The newly set up Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division had received complaints against 169 politicians and persons who held top positions in the previous govt, police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said yesterday. Of these persons, 31 had been prosecuted, he said. FCID sources said that the number of policemen attached to the division was not sufficient to process the amount of complaints it had received. more..

Japan keen to forge business ventures and to attract overseas talent: Ambassador

May 11 (Island) Q: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe promised the most drastic reforms since the end of the Second World War. What are these reforms and how do they help raise Japan's long term growth? Abenomics, the three arrows revitalization strategy of Japanese economy is underway which led to a remarkable turnaround from deflation in three years since the inauguration of the Abe administration. The average annual growth rate from FY2013 through FY2022 is to reach 2% in real more..

Wilpattu controversy: JVP suspects Mannar District Secretary

May 11 (CT) JVP expressed doubts on the claims made by Mannar District Secretary that they were resettling only those who possessed deeds to original lands which had become overgrown by shrubs during the period of conflict and was jungle like now. District Secretary has confirmed that the giving of lands to original settlers was being done legally and in accordance with the procedures laid down in the law. more..

Finance Ministry to hold Ease of Doing Business meetings

May 11 (Island) Ministry of Finance will be initiating a series of meetings between govt institutions and the private sector to facilitate business under the theme Ease of Doing Business. The inaugural meeting will be held on May 14 at the ministry auditorium from 2 pm onwards. The objective of these meetings is to identify and address the procedural and regulatory issues in doing business. It will provide the private sector a platform to interact with the relevant govt institutions and seek more..

Moratuwa Mayor under fire: Municipal Councilors petition Bribery Commission

May 11 (Island) A group of UNP members of the Moratuwa Municipal Council have complained to the Bribery Commission about a series of alleged malpractices by Mayor Samanlal Fernando. The petition signed by the Municipality’s opposition leader, Kularatne Peiris and councilors Gamini Maththes, Athula Peiris, Sunil Nandasiri, Thisara Mendis, Harsha Silva and Anurasiri de Silva was handed over to the Bribery Commission in the presence of Senaka Damayantha de Silva, more..

Rain wreaks havoc in three districts

May 11 (DN) The heavy rains experienced during the weekend caused floods in Colombo, Kalutara and Galle Districts while inundating many roads. 2,660 people belonging to 743 families in Balapitiya, Gonapeenuwela, Akmeemana, Kadawathsathara and Baddegama in Galle district had been affected by the heavy rains. Flood waters were receding in these areas as at yesterday. 541 people belonging to 192 families more..

No invitation to Gota: BBS

May 11 (CT) The BBS stated that the political front of the organization despite contrary reports in the media had made no official, formal invitation to former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to join the party. 'Neither has Rajapaksa had a discussion with us in this regard', CEO of the BBS Dr. Dilanthe Withanage noted. These false media reports and jokes are a conspiracy against the political expectations of Rajapaksa's and of the political front of the BBS, he added. more..

Two Tiger pistols caught at Ratgama with four suspects

May 11 (Island) Ratgama police nabbed four persons and seized two automatic pistols and 12 bullets on Friday night. Policemen on a patrol inspected a van on suspicion at Maliduwa area in Ratgama and found a pistol under a seat. Then they took the driver and another person travelling in the van into custody and during the subsequent questioning they divulged the name of the person who had sold the pistol to them. On information elicited from the suspects, the police raided more..

'Govt caught sharks, but wants it to go after whales now'

May 11 (Island) After another two months’ time, 10% of the office time of incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena would be over but people of the country had received only one per cent of the benefits promised to them under the good governance regime, Leader of the Democratic Party Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka said on Saturday. Addressing a meeting of DP regional leaders at the Ambalangoda Town Hall auditorium more..

Now an ICTA–initiated app to see and hear all about museum exhibits

May 11 (Island) A mobile software application for enrichment of knowledge on museum exhibits by viewing them and listening to information about them was launched last week. ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) says that this was the first time in Sri Lanka that such an application was developed. Called Sri Lankan Museum, the mobile software initially providing knowledge about the exhibits at Ruhunu Heritage Museum in Magampura, Hambantota was launched by President Sirisena. more..

No confidence motion against Ranil prompted by bond issue

May 11 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is party to the biggest financial fraud in Sri Lanka's post independence history and a No Confidence Motion against him must be in order, said Western Provincial Councillor and leader of the PHU Udaya Gammanpila. He made these comments with regard to Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran who is allegedly involved in the controversial treasury bonds issue, which caused a loss of Rs 45 billion according to Gammanpila. more..

SLFP dissidents push for general election

May 11 (Island) Leading dissident UPFA MP Prof. G.L. Peiris said that a general election should be held as soon as possible to end continuing political turmoil. He was speaking on behalf of the group of politicians backing former President Rajapaksa’s return to active politics. SLFP must not prop up the minority UNP govt after the conclusion of President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day project, he said. Having fulfilled its obligations to more..

John hits out at the opposition

May 11 (CG) Minister of Public Order and Christian Affairs, John Amaratunga slammed the opposition for saying they will go to Geneva to seek support against action being taken by the Govt on some members of parliament. Amaratunga said that the international community is well aware of the corrupt activities of the former regime. “The opposition members must be told to go to Geneva and return safely as action might be taken against them even in Geneva,” the Minister said. more..

Govt faces financial crisis; can’t even pay salaries: CBK

May 11 (DM) Former president Chandrika Kumaratunge said that the present govt was facing a serious financial crisis and was even unable to pay public servants their salaries. Addressing a meeting organised by the Sri Lanka Development Officers’ Union in Colombo, she said the govt was facing difficulties due to the depleted finances of the Treasury. She said the crisis had been caused by the lack of transparency in the projects carried out by the previous govt. more..

88 MPs sign no confidence motion against CB Governor

May 11 (Island) Three cabinet ministers, three state ministers and three deputy ministers are among the 88 members who have signed a no confidence motion against Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. They are Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena (Cabinet Minister, Parliamentary Affairs), Reginald Cooray (Cabinet Minister, Aviation Services), Piyasena Gamage (Cabinet Minister, Skills Development and Vocational Training) more..

Paradise lost; now let it be paradise regained

May 11 (DM) With former ministers being remanded and several VIPs being questioned on charges of corruption and fraud, it also appears that the spotlight would turn on the national carrier as well. Last month, an alleged supersonic fraud was disclosed by a Board of Inquiry headed by lawyer J.C. Weliamuna. The report made some revelations and allegations about cockpit corruption and deception. The 136-page report released to the media by PM’s Office has revealed alleged more..

Why should President or PM be given priority in news agendas?

May 11 (DM) Many eyebrows were raised following a comment by a (non-media related) state official during a high-level meeting of state media heads along with a top politician during the previous week, several participants told this columnist. Ironically the top politician had left the meeting for a while when this incident allegedly took place when a heated argument between this particular official and a state media representative had been moderated by another top official and several others. more..

Vesak dansal: Over 300 found serving unhygienic food, says PHI union

May 11 (ST) With the Vesak festivities coming to a close last week the All Island Public Health Inspectors’ Union has found 333 dansal operating under unhygienic conditions, countrywide. Union Secretary Senarath Bandara said that there were many instances where contaminated food was served. He said that the food was prepared under unhygienic conditions in makeshift kitchens not suitable for cooking. more..

New laws to safeguard national flag

May 11 (DM) Regulations pertaining to the national flag will be incorporated to the common law of the country through an Act allowing legal action to be taken against those violating it. The new laws would target printers and distributers of distorted flags. “Legal action will be taken against those who print and distribute these flags,” the sources said. The decision was taken after an alleged distorted version of more..

Wilpattu controversy resurfaces

May 11 (SL) The controversy over the alleged resettlement of families in Wilpattu resurfaced last week with environmentalists and a govt minister trading allegations. Environmentalists have been alleging that about 1,500 people have been resettled illegally in Kallaru in Wilpattu during the previous regime under the purview of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. While denying such allegations, addressing a more..

'Provincial cricket structure absolutely necessary'

May 11 (LR) The Sri Lankan icon talked about his charity initiatives empowering rural Sri Lankans, pinning his hopes for Sri Lanka’s cricket future in a provincial structure, saying it was absolutely necessary if the country ever dreams of match winning Test teams. He believes the new provincial system will afford more rural children a chance to play high-level cricket. He also talked about the importance SL’s post war psyche, more..

Price of land and vehicles need to displayed: CAA

May 11 (DM) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) yesterday emphasized the need to display the price of properties and vehicles that are up for sale. The Authority said the display of prices was a necessity under paragraph 26 of its Act. CAA Chairman Rumi Marzook said some consumers had complained that they were misguided as the selling prices were not displayed on products. more..

Govt using plainclothesmen to suppress student movement, claims IUSF

May 11 (Island) The govt which was bragging about its commitment to good governance and democracy had resumed student suppression from where the previous regime stopped, Inter University Students Federation alleges. Convener of the IUSF, Najith Indika, in a media statement, condemns the govt for abducting university students and deploying police intelligence operatives against them. Excerpts of the IUSF release: more..

'Kurunegala meeting has given message to those abusing Yahapalanaya'

May 11 (Island) "Kurunegala meeting last Friday had sent a clear message to those who had resorted to wrongful arrests and other such revengeful acts, former President Rajapaksa said. He said so while leaving Bogambara Dumbra Prison at Pallekele after visiting Chairman of CPC Mahinda Abeykoon who is serving a jail term there. "At the rate Yahapalana govt is throwing our supporters behind bars on trumped up charges, more..

Govt assures credibility of probe

May 11 (CG) Govt today assured the credibility of the investigations being conducted by the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) and the Anti-Corruption Committee Secretariat (ACC). A statement by the PM’s office noted that the FCID is only a functional division of the Police Department, which was established in response to the emerging trend of serious financial frauds. This division was established in terms of the provisions of more..