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The curse of Sri Lanka’s political leadership

Nov 9 (ST) At one time, we had women survivors of rape and abuse in Sri Lanka praying that the Goddess Kali may visit their attackers when they failed to get justice in courts. Probably they still do. But in that most singular of ironies, we now have Ministers joining those ranks of the vengeful as they prayed to God in Parliament this week to punish gross corruptors, given that the law has been rendered virtually silent. This is despite grandiose assurances by their own ministerial more..

Police brutality in the dock

Nov 9 (ST) Today the Lankan Police is placed in the nation’s dock, publicly indicted with the charge of resorting to inhumane and primitive methods to wring confessions out of suspects in police custody. The time has arrived for the Chief of Police to publicly take cognizance of the allegations made by the victims, to take note of the concerns raised by various human rights groups and to make his own confession — voluntarily, of course — of the rotten state of affairs that exists in his department more..

Rakna Lanka – Avant Garde mystery deepens

Nov 9 (SO) Several questions remain unanswered as the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) continues its investigations on the activities of the controversial State-run security firm Rakna Arakshaka Lanka (RALL). Secretary to the Commission Lacille De Silva made a scathing revelation that financial audited accounts as well as reports were yet to be submitted to COI. “COI has thus not received any audited or financial more..

Editorial: Swordsman vs gownsman

Nov 9 (Island) Never a dull day in Sri Lanka! Politicians keep the public entertained. In what may be described as the latest political drama, Democratic Party Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe have locked horns over the Avant Garde floating armoury. The former has disputed the latter’s contention that the Avant Garde operations were legal. Their battle is symptomatic of fissures within the govt. more..

Aney is it true? with Nam

Nov 9 (ST) In future all decisions at sports meetings is to be taken by the show of hands only. Secret ballot has been abolished! This decision has been taken by the Sports Boss. This move will certainly eradicate the underhand dealings of sports big wigs, who have been playing double games. Sports Boss has told his close confidantes that Secret Ballot had been a bug bear and cancellation of it is bound to be great boon to sports development. Dr. Kedara from Matara is in big trouble these days. more..

A tribute to an erudite monk

Nov 9 (DN) The demise of Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera at a hospital in Singapore yesterday brings to an end a life spent not only propagating the Dhamma but also fearlessly battling political giants without fear or favour across four decades. The 73-old monk, despite his vociferous advocacy of causes that he believed in, retained the respect of even his adversaries because he was widely perceived as man of more..

Academic freedom to do what? University autonomy of whom?

Nov 9 (Island) Dean of Asia University, New Delhi Sasanka Perera spoke on invitation on University Autonomy and Governance to a workshop organized by the University of Colombo and the speech was printed on your pages. Dean Perera talked about ‘autonomy’ and restricted himself to academic freedom which he opined could not blossom unless universities were truly autonomous. Academic freedom consists of two things: what the Germans in the 19th century called freedom to learn more..

Sri Lankan banks forge joint front on sustainable finance

Nov 9 (Island) The Sri Lankan banking industry, through their umbrella body the Sri Lanka Banks Association (SLBA), during a CEO roundtable meeting held on Nov 4 at HNB Towers, approved a move forward to create a joint initiative that promotes best practice in sustainable finance. The SLBA Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) would explore opportunities for industry alignment while building industry wide capacity in the area of environmental and social risk management. more..

Virtusa gets bigger with $ 270 m buy of India’s Polaris

Nov 9 (FT) Virtusa, a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company with roots in SL, is growing to enhance its prospects in the financial services industry with the acquisition of India-based Polaris in a $ 270-million deal (Rs. 38 b). US Nasdaq-listed Virtusa announced on Friday in Colombo that it had entered into a definitive agreement to buy majority stake (maximum of 78%) in Polaris Consulting and Services, more..

Smokers cough up Rs. 68.6 b to govt in 9 months; 27% increase

Nov 9 (FT) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) said that it had contributed Rs. 68.6 billion to the Govt in the form of taxes and levies, during the nine months ended 30 Sept 2015, up by 27% from a year earlier. “This performance is primarily driven by increased levels of disposable income and consumer confidence experienced this year,” CTC said. CTC’s revenue rose by 46% to Rs. 30 billion in 3rd quarter while Govt revenue rose by Rs. 7.2 billion or 46% as against 3rd quarter of last year. more..

SLAF, top hacker

Nov 9 (CT) Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Cyber Security Operation Centre won the Gold and Bronze awards for the Best Hackers at the Hacking challenge 2015 organized by the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team (SLCERT) at a ceremony held at the BMICH recently. A contest for IT professionals to test their information security skills in finding out vulnerabilities in the systems, exploiting them and hence taking precautions for securing them, this event was organized by more..

Rain causes veggie prices to soar 18%-117%

Nov 9 (CT) Price movements of 95% (20 out of 21) essential food items captured by govt data have seen their price increases by a minimum of 3% to a maximum of 117% in the week ended 29 Oct, 2015, week on week, while in the case of only one item, prices remained stagnant. Vegetable prices were the worst hit, with prices rising from between a minimum of 18% to a maximum of 117% in a period of over just 7 days only. more..

World Bank funds $ 165 m to improve water supply and sanitation

Nov 9 (FT) World Bank has come forward to support a $ 165 million investment to implement the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in SL. Govt has identified that having reliable source of safe drinking water is a basic right of the people. Accordingly, one of the targets of Govt in relating to the Water Sector in SL is to increase piped water coverage from the existing level of 45% to 60% by 2020. It will greatly be supported by Water Supply & Sanitation Improvement Project 2015-2020, more..

Michel Nugawela to speak on Archetyping at International Leadership Symposium

Nov 9 (Island) Sri Lankan brand development consultant Michel Nugawela has been invited to address the upcoming International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business to be held on 21st Nov 2015 at the European Parliament in Brussels. Theme of the conference is The Double Bottom Line - How Rich We Really Are. The invitation was extended to Nugawela by Professor Ruud Lubbers - former PM of the Netherlands and Head, Advisory Board, World Forum for Ethics in Business, more..

Western Region Megapolis Plan to be unveiled in Jan 2016

Nov 9 (ST) The new govt’s flagship Western Region Megapolis Plan (WRMPP) is to be unveiled in January next year following Cabinet approval. It will be presented to local and foreign investors in January to attract investment for the development projects in the Western Region as it contributes about 45% of the GDP making it the leading economic drive in the country. The plan will be statutory and legalised under an act of more..

Japanese naval vessels will call on Colombo this week

Nov 9 (Island) Two navy ships of the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) will call at the Colombo Port from 10th to 11th of November to mark the 50th port call on Sri Lanka by the Japanese Navy since 2009. These two ships JS Makinami (DD-112) and JS Suzunami (DD-114) on their way to be deployed for counter piracy operations off Somalia and Gulf of Aden, will conduct a joint exercise with Sri Lankan Navy during their stay, Security Advisor to Japanese embassy in Colombo, more..

Sammy stirs up West Indies memories

Nov 9 (CI) "I think we're now playing a format we enjoy, in a place we've played it the best." Thus spake West Indies captain Darren Sammy, fielding his first question since arriving on the island, where in 2012, his team had won the world title. As the visitors tumbled from defeat to defeat in the Tests and ODIs, you couldn't help but think that the T20 series is where they would really push Sri Lanka. Perhaps it is no surprise that the shortest ODI - the 26-overs-a-side affair in Colombo - more..

Govt urged not to cut social spending

Nov 9 (EN) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, has urged the govt to improve tax revenues and public sector efficiency in cutting the budget deficit and not trim public investments in social infrastructure. It said welcomed the economic policy statement made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered in Parliament on Nov 5, saying it “provides important direction on the govt’s future plans for the Sri Lankan economy.” more..

SL forex reserves drop to US6.4bn in Oct

Nov 9 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves dropped US$ 313 million to US$ 6,484 million in Oct 2015 from a month earlier, which includes a US$ 1.1 billion swap with the Reserve Bank of India. On Oct 19, Central Bank bought a large tranche of dollar after the govt sold a US$ 330 million floating rate bond and sterilized at least US$ 300 million of the proceeds. When the central bank sterilizes or takes out of the banking system the rupees it generated from as forex purchase, more..

Beware of Influenza

Nov 9 (DN) Influenza H3N2 has started to spread in Sri Lanka again during this season which is the second annual peak of the disease. This is a sub type of viruses that cause Influenza, Consultant Medical Virologist Dr. C.J.S. Jayamaha said. Over 200 samples obtained from the patients had been tested and over 50 of them found positive for the virus. There are two annual peaks for the disease, one in May, June and July and the other in Dec, Jan and Feb. Dr. Jayamaha pointed out that more..

Sri Lanka summons Maldives diplomat over blast-linked arrest

Nov 9 (Haveeru) Relations between Maldives and Sri Lanka took a hit Sunday as the South Asian neighbour reportedly summoned the top representative of the Maldives over the arrest and deportation of a Maldivian from the country. Maldivian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Zahiya Zareer had been asked to appear before the external affairs ministry in Colombo on Monday. more..

Biz confidence gains reversed ahead of budget

Nov 9 (FT) LMD reports that recent gains in business sentiment are reversed ahead of the national budget and that post-election disenchantment and the potential implications of Budget 2016 have resulted in a U-turn in business sentiment. The future direction of the index hanging in the balance, it adds. This sentiment comes in the wake of the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) plummeting by 46 basis points in October, from an all-time high of 204 during more..

Struggle Ven. Sobitha Thera did for a democratic society is unparalleled: President

Nov 9 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena has expressed shock and sadness over the untimely demise of the Most Venerable Maduluwave Sobitha Thera. In a condolence message, President said that the people of SL will never forget Venerable Maduluwave Sobitha Thera and his commitment for the development of social and religious affairs in the country, building religious reconciliation among different communities and his efforts to restore democracy throughout the country. more..

Australian HC won’t intervene to secure Kumar’s release

Nov 9 (Island) Australia has chosen to remain mum on the recently arrested Australian citizen Noel Mudalige though the govt says he will be treated as a foreigner. Authoritative official told The Island that the leader of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) had given up his Sri Lankan citizenship to become an Australian citizen several years back, and, therefore he should be dealt with according to Sri Lanka’s immigration and emigration laws. more..

Five-year-old drowns in swimming pool

Nov 9 (CT) A five-year-old boy fell into a residential swimming pool and drowned at Suwarapola in Piliyandala on Saturday, Police said. The Police Media Unit Spokesperson said that the victim was identified as Samidu Lakmal who was five years and eight months old. According to Piliyandala Police, the child had fallen into the swimming pool at his residence at 6:40 p.m. The body of the deceased was placed in the morgue at the Kalubowila Hospital following the incident. more..

Leftists call for Marapana's resignation

Nov 9 (CT) The majority group of LSSP and the alternate group of the CP condemned the statement of Minister Thilak Marapana in Parliament exonerating Avant Garde and defending its actions. General Secretary of the Majority Group of the LSSP Lal Wijenayake and president of the Alternate Group of the CPSL D.W. Subasinghe said Marapana had appeared or advised Avant Garde in his professional capacity as an Attorney-at-Law regarding the same matter. more..

Hakeem reveals split in unity govt

Nov 9 (Island) SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem dropped a bombshell in public on Saturday when he revealed that there was a split in the govt. Addressing the 26th convention of the SLMC he declared: "There is a conflict of opinion within the govt. This crisis is evident from President Maithiripala Sirisena’s decision to summon a special Cabinet meeting." Convention was held at Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre at Polgolla, Kandy. more..

Cremation with State honours

Nov 9 (DN) The govt yesterday declared Nov 12 as a day of national mourning following the passing away of Most Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera. Ven. Sobitha Thera passed away yesterday morning at a hospital in Singapore. The cremation will be held with full state honours on Thursday at 3.00 p.m. at the Parliament Grounds. Ven. Sobitha Thera was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Singapore following heart surgery at the time of his death. According to NMSJ spokesman more..

TULF wants 200 suspects released unconditionally

Nov 9 (Island) TULF has requested President Maithripala Sirisena to unconditionally release more than 200 LTTE suspects in custody before Deepavali, a festival which would be celebrated by more than two and a half million Hindus throughout the country tomorrow. According to TNA and Opposition leader R. Sampanthan’s announcement on Friday "32 inmates with suspected LTTE links may get their release through the Courts next Monday and another group before Nov 20." more..

Fireworks in the offing at special cabinet meeting on Avant Garde today

Nov 9 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena will chair a special meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers over the simmering Avant Garde controversy today, even as new shocking details emerged from a recent weapons audit of Defence Ministry owned security firm, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Limited (RALL). Ministers will meet to discuss recent remarks in Parliament by Law and Order Minister and Lawyer for Avant Garde, more..

Let Sobitha Hamuduruwo’s vision prevail

Nov 9 (DM) In Sri Lanka’s modern history we believe it would be just and right to say that seldom or never before has any religious prelate done so much for so many. We carry this in our banner as we join a grateful country in saying a heartfelt thank you, hail and farewell, to the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Nayaka Thera who passed away at a Singapore hospital early yesterday. Soon after the death was announced PM rushed to Kotte Nagavihara to work out the funeral arrangements. more..

Dearth of Women involvement in University education

Nov 9 (DM) Images of riot police beating protesting students outside the UGC have been circulating widely in the media, especially in social media. Of the many images, those of police attacking female students have attracted the most attention. While this is certainly not the first time that female university students have been subject to police brutality, I would like to use the opportunity created by the people’s condemnation of this incident to highlight some broader issues of concern. more..

Officials to expedite addressing HNDA issue

Nov 9 (SL) The recent protest of Higher National Diploma in Accountancy (HNDA) student which came under the police attack received huge publicity, finally leading the officials to expedite the process to find a solution to the students’ issues. Last Friday, Cabinet has approved to re-enforce earlier circular of HNDA as an alternative qualification to B-Com degree Amongst many other students, a first year female more..

Sri Lanka Homecoming

Nov 9 (HRW) “More than others, the Tamils know the trauma of war,” Sri Lanka’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, told those gathered at a resettlement ceremony in August in Sampur, in the country’s northeast. In 2006 more than 800 ethnic Tamil families here were forced to flee fighting between the secessionist LTTE and govt forces. Although the war ended in 2009, the creation of naval bases on more..

Landslide warnings mean little to those who have no place to run

Nov 9 (ST) As fresh warnings of landslides continue to be issued, most affected plantation workers are struggling to find safe accommodation with no alternatives offered to them, workers and officials said. The latest warning was issued on Friday for eight districts. The warnings said there could be landslides in the Monaragala, Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Kandy, Kalutara, Kurunegala and Ratnapura districts. more..

Minister Kiriella promises tough action against errant cops

Nov 9 (Island) University Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella, on Friday, found fault with the police for attacking HNDA students during a recent protest and subsequent lying to the public. He said that it was wrong for police to lie to the general public. "The police said that protest had turned aggressive because there were no officials from the UGC to meet students. We have evidence to prove the police wrong. more..

Irregularity in bunkering leads to US$ 19.9mn loss to Hambantota Port

Nov 9 (LBO) An irregularity which occurred at the Hambantota Port during the past administration has resulted in a loss of US$ 19.9 million to SLPA. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said the irregularity is connected to an oil ship that was rejected by CPC due to the low quality of its oil. “But that rejected oil ship was bought by Hambantota Port for bunkering, paying a high price at a time when world oil prices were at highest point,” more..

JVP, splinter groups remember Wijeweera separately

Nov 9 (Island) The 26th death anniversary of founding leader of the JVP Rohana Wijeweera will be commemorated by his party and splinter groups at several places in the country throughout this week. Il Maha Viru Samaruwa – (the commemoration of November heroes), one of the main events of the JVP’s and its dissidents’ calendar is held to remember slain JVP leader Wijeweera and other party members during 1988-89 period. more..

Sobitha Thera left us at a time we really needed him

Nov 9 (CT) Change is often a result of the struggle and such struggles are a result of genuine efforts of the people. Sri Lanka's recent change in the political landscape too was a result of such a struggle and a person who put a genuine effort to make the struggle a success was Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera who left us yesterday morning. The role of the political and social change in Sri Lanka is affiliated with the Buddhist clergy more often more..

President advises Thai junta to form national govt

Nov 9 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday said that he had advised Thailand’s PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha to form a national govt to counter human rights violation accusations from the international community. President Sirisena, addressing a public rally at the Laggala Police grounds said: "I have recently been to Thailand on a state visit and that country is run by a military govt. more..