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President to get involved in environment protection

Jan 9 (SL) Several controversial anti-environmental project constructions in the island have been under severe criticism due to environmental destruction caused to the reservoirs and some world heritage sites. President Maithripala Sirisena and environmentalists have reportedly discussed ways to protect nature and reservoirs whilst further promoting eco-friendly projects to develop the country. more..

Education Ministry requests parents to complain

Jan 9 (DN) An Education Ministry spokesman requested parents to bring to the notice of the ministry regarding illegal money collection for Grade One admissions for various development and infrastructure development projects, including building constructions. It has been revealed that authorities of several schools countrywide are collecting money violating Education Ministry circulars, especially issued on the banning of more..

Tighten your belts: Veggies will stay pricey

Jan 9 (ST) Vegetable prices, which have skyrocketed during the past three weeks, are likely to remain high due to short supply, farmers and traders warned. Adverse weather conditions and the reluctance of farmers to keep growing vegetables at a loss are the main reasons for the shortages. Rain has affected all main vegetable cultivation areas including Nuwara Eliya, Puttalam, Dambulla and surrounding areas and Jaffna. more..

Govt to probe kidney rackets in pvt hospitals

Jan 9 (NS) The Health Ministry is likely to investigate claims made by Indian media that three Colombo-based private hospitals were involved in an international kidney racket. Director of the Health Ministry’s Private Hospital Development Unit, Dr. Kanthi Ariyaratne said if there was credible information regarding such a racket involving Sri Lankan private hospitals, the ministry would definitely launch its own probe. more..

Gandhi endorses allegations of war crimes against Sri Lanka

Jan 9 (Island) One-time Indian High Commissioner to Colombo Gopalkrishna Gandhi accused the previous govt of having executed LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran’s son during the final phase of the Vanni offensive in May 2009. Gandhi alleged that SL military had executed 12-year-old Balachandran because he was the younger son of the LTTE’ leader. The retired Indian career diplomat subscribed to the allegation more..

Court orders filing of charge sheets against former SLRC Chairman, two others

Jan 9 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate yesterday ordered the Cinnamon Gardens Police to file amended charge sheets against former Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) Chairman Ariyaratne Athugala, its former Additional Director General Devapriya Abeysinghe and G.D.Sugathapala for allegedly threatening and assaulting four SLRC employees in 2010. When four separate cases filed against the suspects more..

SL kick-starts process to adopt new statute

Jan 9 (PTI) Sri Lankan Parliament on Saturday began a process to formulate a new constitution with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presenting a resolution to set up a Constitutional Assembly (CA) of all members for the purpose. In a special session, Mr. Wickremesinghe moved the resolution in parliament to set up a CA of all members and a steering committee of 17 members to draft the new constitution. more..

Video: Hirunika arrested

Jan 9 (AD) MP Hirunika Premachandra has been arrested by the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) in connection with the abduction incident in Dematagoda, the Police Spokesperson confirmed a short while ago. The MP will be produced before the Colombo Magistrate, this afternoon. The Attorney General had instructed the CCD to arrest Colombo District MP Premachandra in connection with the incident this morning. more..

Towards the Third Republic

Jan 10 (SO) A researcher went to the reference section of the famous Library of the British Museum in London and asked to see a copy of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. She was re-directed, paradoxically, to the Periodicals section, so the story goes. This was a popular political joke circulating among Colombo's intelligentsia in the 1980s at a time when the country's (then) recently crafted Second Republican Constitution was being amended apace - more to the convenience of the ruling party and less more..

Good Governance: One year of success and compulsions

Jan 10 (SL) When Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chandrika Kumaratunga and other disparate political leaders such as those of the JHU decided to get together and present a common candidate to topple Mahinda Rajapaksa and his regime, it is doubtful whether they had the vaguest idea on what their political and economic strategies would be in the event of success. Individuals may have entertained their own visions but they were spelled out only in hazy terms such as, restoration of democracy. more..

'The making of a new constitution: I am beginning to doubt the govt’s motive'

Jan 10 (SO) Veteran politician and leader of LSSP Prof. Tissa Vitharana believes a new constitution will help unite people as Sri Lankans and render foreign forces powerless to divide and cause conflicts within the country. However, he is of the view deliberate attempts are being made to prevent the successful drafting of a new constitution. He says attempts are being made to rouse anti-Muslim sentiments once again and more..

Will the plantation sector survive yahapalanaya?

Jan 10 (Island) Addressing a gathering in Pussellawa the minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella said that the plantation companies can well afford to pay the Rs. 1,000 a day wage that the plantation workers have been asking for, and that the companies that refuse to pay it should hand their estates back to the govt as there are plenty of investors who are willing to take over those properties and pay the workers Rs. 1,000 a day. more..

Stomach more sensitive than the head

Jan 10 (ST) If the public were to run away with the thought that nothing has really changed since January 9 last year given the grand celebrations to mark the nearly new Government’s first anniversary; they could perhaps be excused. The tamasha was subdued and less in intensity to the grandeur and extravagance of the past aimed at puffing up the image of il Presidente, but our politicians still seem to love grandstanding – at public expense. more..

'Foundation for reconciliation has been established, we need to solidify it'

Jan 10 (SL) The Committee of Public Representations on the Constitution (CPRC) which has been appointed to gather public opinion on Constitutional amendments says the new Constitution should not be based on a single party, but should be acceptable to all communities alike. Chairman of the Committee Attorney Lal Wijenayake said the Committee has been notified to seek public opinion on Constitutional amendments by visiting across the island and more..

Illegal deliveries they bowl after the match

Jan 10 (ST) My dear Dark Horse, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on your appointment as the boss in charge of cricket in this country. I know you have had this job before but I’m sure it must be feeling great to be back at the top after all these years and several ‘interim’ arrangements — and after a hard fought election. It wasn’t an easy election to win either. Looking at the number of elections we have had recently, it seems as if we Sri Lankans like elections but more..

Constitutional reform takes centre-stage

Jan 10 (SO) Apart from some important bilateral agreements and diplomatic sweet-talk, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Sri Lanka was significant to both countries from a defence point of view. The visit came amid Pakistan’s repeated attempts to sell its JF-17 combat aircraft to Sri Lanka. It was widely speculated among political and diplomatic circles that the Pakistani PM’s visit to Sri Lanka was aimed at clinching a final deal in this regard, among other things. more..

'We cannot have a new parliamentary form of govt on an old foundation'

Jan 10 (SO) Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, the leader of a three-member team that prepared the 19th Amendment to the Constitution says the country cannot adopt a new Constitution after every general election, and therefore a fresh start is required in order to draft a new Constitution. A committee, headed by UNFGG MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, has already been appointed to draft a new Constitution. He pointed out that Sri Lanka adopted their constitution in 1972, more..

Our leaders and associated symbols

Jan 10 (SO) Congratulations and all that to the yahapalanaya govt of Maithripala and Ranil and the Greens and Blues. As I write this, I giggle to myself since people are busy deriding the term yahapalanaya; worse, insulting the govt. The congratulations are mainly to the President who came in so wonderfully and deposed Mahinda Rajapaksa who latterly seemed to believe he was born to the presidential seat, palace and unlimited powers and looked confident he would be voted in more..

Journey towards reconciliation

Jan 10 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday granted a special Presidential pardon to ex-LTTE member Sivarasa Jeginadan, who attempted to assassinate him in Polonnaruwa on 23 April 2006 and 1 May 2006. Jeginadan attended an event at BMICH commemorating Sirisena's presidential election victory and images of Sirisena shaking this young man's hands warmed many hearts and reaffirmed the belief that the President is keen on reconciliation. more..

'The fundamental is to have inclusive democracy'

Jan 10 (SL) Deputy Secretary General of SLMC and Mayor of Kalmunai, Nizam Kariapper who is also one of the executive members of the SLMC participating in the discussion on electoral reforms, is firmly of the view that the judiciary should be in an un-compromise able position. In this principle he said that the SLMC have put forward proposals for inclusive democracy in terms of governance, representation, three systems, executive, legislative and judiciary. more..

From Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals

Jan 10 (Island) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals came into effect this year. The SDGs are built upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight goals that the world committed to achieve, by the end of 2015. The MDGs, adopted in 2000, aimed at an array of issues that included reducing poverty, hunger, disease, gender inequality and improving access to safe water and sanitation. Considerable progress has been made on the MDGs, more..

Is Islam a religion of peace?

Jan 10 (Island) It seems to me extremely important that before we address the question whether or not Islam is a religion of peace, we should first of all situate it in its proper socio-political context. This question acquired importance after 9/11, and it is quite understandable that – after the Paris bombings and other outrages – it remains the question of central importance about Islam in the West and elsewhere. We – meaning most of all the Muslims – must therefore address this question, more..

Can a new constitution heal SL's wounds?

Sri Lanka play for pride, and top ranking

Jan 10 (CI) New Zealand have usually outclassed Sri Lanka with ease across two southern summers, but even in the matches that the visitors have dominated, New Zealand have still found the means to prevail. Sri Lanka had looked good going into the final four overs in Mount Maunganui, with Grant Elliott likely to bowl one of those overs. Yet, through intelligent bowling and good catching, New Zealand ensured they would not lose a series this tour. During the recent limited-overs series, more..

Royal discard Embuldeniya mocks selectors

Jan 10 (SO) Sri Lanka Youth World Cup discard Lasith Embuldeniya ridiculed the country’s cricket selectors on yet another occasion as he grabbed a match bag of 11 wickets while Royal College routed St. Joseph’s College by eight wickets in their Singer trophy inter school match at Reid Avenue yesterday. In the process Embuldeniya, a left arm spinner, became the first schoolboy player to take 50 wickets in the current season and what is most appalling is that he has no place in the SL squad more..

Graeme Ford’s name resurfacing as next Lanka Head Coach

Jan 10 (ST) The foreign coach concept has enveloped Sri Lanka Cricket, with the advent of the new administration which was voted in to power led by Thilanga Sumathipala. Vice President in charge of International Cricket – Jayantha Dharmadasa said “Yes, we have been busy talking in earnest to the people concerned. We have decided to advertise the position of Head Coach during the next few days. Right at the moment we are reluctant to publicise any names. more..

Black flags to greet Maithri and Ranil in Jaffna

Jan 10 (CG) A black flag protest is to be staged in Jaffna during the scheduled visit by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe next week, NPC member M K Sivajilingham said. The President and the PM are scheduled to take part in the National Thai Pongal celebrations in Jaffna next week. Sivajilingham said that the black flag protest will be staged to show opposition to the failure by the Govt to address several issues related to the Tamils in the North. more..

Water and petroleum under PUCSL soon

Jan 10 (SO) Director General, Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), Damitha Kumarasinghe said the water supply and petroleum industries will be brought under the Commission’s purview soon. He was speaking after launching the Commission’s Activity Plan 2016 recently. Govt through Budget 2016 provided policy and legislative backing to broaden and strengthen the PUCSL by granting the Commission regulatory powers of the water services and the petroleum industry, enabling more..

Professional coaches Rattled

Jan 10 (NS) The amendments suggested to the Sports Law No 25 of 1973 prohibit professional coaches from holding office. Sports associations in future will have to be more transparent in their dealings and even reveal addresses and contact details to sports ministry authorities. Gone will be the days when sports associations functioned from dubious locations like residences of individuals. Associations not having been in existence for more than three years will have to obtain more..

CID questions seven journalists

Jan 10 (SL) The CID had questioned the journalists who had worked with Eknaligoda before he had gone missing. Military officers being questioned over Eknaligoda’s disappearance have told the CID they had taken a man identified as P. Ranjith to the Giritale camp and not Eknaligoda as has been reported. The military has been accused of giving false information in the Eknaligoda case, and the CID says the army is also not fully assisting the probe. The CID claims there is an attempt to more..

New SL debit card to be introduced

Jan 10 (ST) Sri Lanka is introducing a local debit card that is poised to gradually increase the use of cards for payments at points of sale and reduce the use of cash, newly appointed head of LankaClear said on Thursday. Renowned ICT industry veteran Channa de Silva took reins as the CEO of LankaClear recently with former CEO, Sunimal Weerasooriya stepping down from the position following an 8-year tenure, the company said. De Silva said that this year there were plans to roll out a new local debit card that more..

Will SLC crisis end Maithri-Ranil marriage?

Jan 10 (CT) In what seemed like walking on a tight rope, President Maithripala Sirisena completed one year in office as the country celebrates the first anniversary of a political marriage that brought two parties, who were poles apart, together with a hope of dawning good governance to the country. Though, coming under strong criticism for delaying bringing 'mega' culprits to book, continued nepotism and confusing priorities occasionally, President Sirisena more..

4 domestic airports to be privately managed

Jan 10 (ST) At least four domestic airports in Sri Lanka in proximity to key tourist resorts are likely to be handed over for private management. Civil Aviation Authority Director General H.M.C. Nimalsiri said that they had submitted a proposal to the govt to ensure that the domestic airports currently manned by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) would come under civil administration in future. In this respect, the authorities have proposed private investment in operating four more..

NITF provides Rs 5B reinsurance cover

Jan 10 (CT) Sri Lanka's only local reinsurance provider, The National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) has successfully concluded the placement of its retrocession cover for the current year, NITF Chairman Manjula de Silva said. "Several reinsurers of global repute such as Munich Re, Scor and Lloyds Syndicates – Cathedral and Amlin – have accepted shares of this programme placed by Lockton Companies LLP, the World's largest privately owned insurance brokerage firm," he said. more..

Snags in easing NRFC, RFC accounts restrictions

Jan 10 (ST) The relaxation of restrictions on foreign accounts announced on Monday by the Central Bank (CB) was welcomed by the industry, but there was no clarity on its implementation as of Friday. ”We had meetings with the Exchange Controller for the past two days on implementing this,” a banker said. The CB is to remove restrictions on foreign currency withdrawals from foreign currency bank accounts by the end of the week, more..

An apex body to serve cricket is good

Jan 10 (CT) When retorting to others' views, we show our displeasure and it does not bring out the spirit of sport, and that is exactly what happened at the Sports Ministry recently. We understand the feelings of the Minister of Sports after the election of officials to the SLC without a shot being fired. The minister anticipated well what could have taken place there and introduced enough precautionary measures to counter such. With the Sports Minister coming out of a victory more..

Indian FM here next month for key talks

Jan 10 (SL) Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to visit Sri Lanka early next month for key talks. Foreign Ministry sources said Swaraj will be in Sri Lanka for discussion on the Indo-Lanka joint commission. She will also have talks with the govt on the fishermen issue and political developments in the country. Ahead of her visit, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is expected to visit Sri Lanka this week for talks. Sources said the date for the visit is not confirmed, more..

‘No foreign influences in drafting new constitution’

Jan 10 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says that there is no any foreign influence in formulating the new constitution and this will be done understanding the needs of the country, even though some extremists groups spread false rumours across the country that Govt is prepared to implement the new constitution under the foreign influences. He made these remarks delivering a special statement on drafting a new constitution, at the Parliament, today (9). more..

SLMC’s model of devolution for Muslims

Jan 10 (SO) SLMC will submit a proposal to the Constitutional Assembly for a unit of devolution for the Muslims of the North and the East based on party founder leader, M.H.M. Ashraff’s demand, SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hasan Ali said. A unit of devolution encompassing the non-contiguous geographic areas of domicile of the Muslims of the two provinces, with power-sharing arrangements on par with the Tamil community, has been the SLMC’s demand from the inception, Hasan Ali said. more..

Lankan Golfer Mithun’s aid for flood victims

Jan 10 (IE) Oil and water! That’s probably an analogy which won’t find many takers among the sporting fraternity for describing the dynamic that exists between their world and the realm of politics. The latter does exhibit the tendency to permeate the former, with the repercussions tilting more towards bad than good. Then, there are optimists ready to work towards the utopian scenario of seeing the oil-water parallelism being used by the sporting community. more..