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Replacing sycophancy with a culture of criticism

Jan 18 (ST) One year into the appealing rhetoric of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, it is heartening to see Sri Lanka’s artistes and scholars, whose peoples’ movements were pivotal to the change of power last year, becoming increasingly stern in their tone and tenor. This critical approach must not be limited to optics or to a few dramatic speeches for public consumption. Instead, politicians who protest that they are upholding good governance but act completely in contrast more..

Need for new Constitution unites House but process proves divisive

Jan 18 (ST) While political parties across the board agree on the need to do away with the 1978 Constitution that introduced the twin evils, namely the Executive Presidency and the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system to the country, there is less agreement on how best to move forward with this endeavour. The SLFP wants the resolution for the appointment of a Constitutional Assembly to be entrusted with the task of drafting a new Constitution to be amended to remove more..

'Police has acted in an unreasonable manner in Embilipitiya'

Jan 18 (SL) Extremism is the only excuse for those who have nothing else to cling to when all their political plots have failed, said Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake. He refuted allegations that the govt after one year has failed to deliver its promises. He noted that on the contrary the govt has kept to most of its pledges, and in some instances the very freedom and democracy, is being enjoyed by even the wrong doers who are more..

Gautama Buddha for sale

Jan 18 (CT) I ask you a question. Do we really need a religion to interact with the God? To answer this, I would like to define the parameters. Who/What is the god? The concept god is that he/she/it is the grand designer and the operator of the universe and every element in it and he/she/it is indefinite and beyond all boundaries. What is a religion? Well, for that we need to first familiarize ourselves with the basic concepts of business and marketing. We have several needs. more..

The local medical graduates & The SAITM

Jan 18 (CT) We have a solution; only if you’re ready to listen; An Open Letter to the Govt of Sri Lanka, the Local Medical Graduates and the SAITM. I will get to the solution strait away. What if the govt established a system where every medical graduate, local, local-private and foreign, has to go through THE SAME standard written and viva exams so that; 1. Graduates from Colombo Medical Faculty can finally stop saying/thinking that they’re better than all the other local graduates from more..

Hiru TV: Balaya

Should Plantation workers be working at poverty level wages ?

Jan 18 (Island) Special correspondents and bigwigs in the planation industry keep hammering at us that plantation workers in Sri Lankan are vastly overpaid, any increases in pay will be spent on liquor, no increase in pay is possible unless tied to productivity and that workers should agree to a new system where they will become contract workers. Should we believe them? What isconveniently forgotten is that when the plantations were placed under private management, the trade unions were more..

Swire's dream now a reality

Jan 18 (CT) It was last year, soon after Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as President, Britain's Minister of State for the FCO, Hugo Swire, visited the Island and travelled to Jaffna where he had even walked into the Sabapathy camp for IDPs in Chunnakam, Jaffna. During his visit to Jaffna last year, Hugo Swire paid his attention towards the IDPs and expressed his concerns over the early return to their original places from where they were displaced due to the civil war in the North. more..

Feet-dragging over Lasantha's grave

Jan 18 (SO) It has been seven years since the founding editor of the Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge was brutally murdered on Jan 8, 2009. One of the staunchest critics of the then Rajapaksa Govt, he was killed while on his way to work, inside a high security zone in the Ratmalana area, a Colombo suburb, just minutes away from his office. But after six long years of investigations, police have been unable to more..

SL Navy detain three Indian fishermen

Jan 18 (TOI) The Sri Lankan navy and the country's coast guard detained three Indian fishermen and their fishing trawler on Saturday night on charges of poaching in the territorial waters of the island nation. The fishermen hailed from Pudukkottai district of Tamil Nadu. They were taken to Kankesanthurai naval base in Sri Lanka and later handed over to the department of fisheries and aquatic resources in Jaffna. Sri Lanka had released 55 fishermen ahead of the Pongal festival. more..

Invitation to the clan of Sinhala Royalty

Jan 18 (Island) Have we just missed our next king? You mean the one after Sri Vickrama Rajasingha of Kandy? No, after Mahinda Rajapaksa of Hambantota? But, he was no king, he was the Executive President. Have you forgotten his build up to royalty, with that song Maha Rajaaneni and all that ceremonial grandeur that sought to match the days of royalty, real or imaginary? Don’t forget that was what the people rejected with the election of Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Professionalism into cricket: Thilanga outlines vision

Jan 18 (ST) Deprivation sometimes could transform into gallantry. It was a make-or-break affair for Thilanga Sumathipala, a man who was turned into a doormat of interimism (a word that we coined under the given circumstances) for more than a decade through constant shutting down of the elected power base through the installation of interim committees. Newly elected SLC President, Sumathipala, has gone through the mill of more..

Omani, UAE banks fund Sri Lankan financial services group

Jan 18 (GN) A syndicate of Middle Eastern banks recently invested $69 million in LOLC Finance, a major financial services provider in SL. Money will be disbursed in two waves. The first is funded by Asian Development Bank and will operate on a seven-year term. The second round will operate on a three-year term and is funded by Bank Muscat, FGB, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Oman and Rakbank. "I would like to extend our gratitude to all parties involved in transaction," more..

Preliminary investigations into Sathosa rice fraud completed

Jan 18 (AD) Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing large-scale corruption and fraud (PRECIFAC) says that preliminary investigations have been completed regarding alleged fraud during the import of rice by Sathosa under the previous govt. The commission states that investigations have uncovered that fraud amounting to millions of rupees have taken place when importing rice stocks which had been carried out contrary to cabinet approval & straying from proper procedures. more..

Next contingent of Sri Lanka troops set to leave for Lebanon

Jan 18 (MoD) The customary Passing out Parade of the 10th Sri Lanka Army contingent for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNFIL) set to leave for Lebanon was held at the Regimental Headquarters, Gajaba Regiment, (RHQ GR) Saliyapura on Saturday. Lebanon-bound Sri Lanka's Force Protection Unit (SLFPU) contingent is comprised of 10 officers and 140 other rankers and it has been made up of with the troops from more..

Bankers Clearing Association concerned over fraudulent cheques

Jan 18 (DN) Clearing Association of Bankers (CAB), while highlighting the circulation of over 200,000 cheques within the country’s Commercial Banks every day, highly expressed concerned over the increasing of fraudulent cheques being circulated among them at present. President, CAB, Upul de Silva highlighted this at the seventh AGM of the CAB. Central Bank, Deputy Governor Ananda Silva was the Chief Guest while Channa Siva was the Guest of Honour on the occasion. more..

Presidential commission becomes the order of the day to solve GK mystery

Jan 18 (ST) With the release of over Rs. 3 billion from the Treasury funds to complete the second phase of the repayment of 41% of deposits ranging from Rs. 2 million to Rs.10 million of the failed Golden Key Credit Card Company (GK) depositors, the task of selling the GK assets to recover the public money and appointing a presidential commission to investigate the whole financial misappropriation has become the order of the day. On July 24 last year, President pledged more..

NFF to contest LG polls from a new front

Jan 18 (DM) NFF will be contesting the upcoming LG elections from a newly formed political front. NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said winning the LG polls would be their first step towards their goal of toppling the govt. He said the country was moving towards anarchy due to the manner in which govt was behaving. “We can observe that Maithri-Ranil coalition is dragging our country along an uncertain track where peace and its unitary more..

Not a lot you can do in 10 days: Atapattu

Jan 18 (CI) Marvan Atapattu has admitted that his ten-day stint as Zimbabwe's batting consultant will not be enough to bring about major change, but said he was looking forward to working closely with the team's head coach Dav Whatmore. Atapattu arrived in Khulna on January 14, the day before the first T20 against Bangladesh, after being appointed in his new position on January 12 for the Bangladesh series. "It is a challenge to start with," Atapattu said. "I will be here with these guys till more..

Two Indian naval ships arrive at the port of Colombo for training interaction

Jan 18 (SLN) Indian Navy Sail Training Ships, Tharangini and Sudarshini arrived at the port of Colombo on 17th January 2016 on a training visit. They were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. The visiting ships will stay in Sri Lanka until 18th January and a selected group of officers and sailors of the Sri Lanka Navy will be given onboard training by the Indian Navy during the ships’ stay in Sri Lanka. Indian ships’ crew will also participate more..

Astrology may deny Rajapaksa an astrologically sanctioned abode

Jan 18 (ENS) Astrology and occultism have been a double-edged sword for former President Rajapaksa. Belief in them has led him to heights of success as well as depths of disaster. Currently, an astrological prediction is threatening to deny Rajapaksa Colombo mansion he is desperate to occupy because astrologers had predicted that his political fortune, now at its nadir, would soar if he occupied the house. more..

SL expats mark Sirisena’s 1 year in power

Jan 18 (AN) Sri Lanka embarked on a new chapter with fresh vision under the leadership of Maithripala Sirisena, the country’s president, who celebrated the first anniversary of his ascendance to the presidency, Ambassador Azmi Thassim said. Sri Lankan community members from all walks of life gathered under the aegis of their embassy to celebrate the event at the embassy premises on Friday. Representatives from the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities in the island more..

NCE President urges UNIDO office in SL

Jan 18 (DN) President of National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) Sarada de Silva, said it was high time for the govt to request United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to open a country office in Sri Lanka in the immediate future from which local industrialists will acquire significant services. Speaking at the 21st AGM of NCE held, he noted that the establishment of UNIDO office in SL will help address various technical issues faced by local exporters. more..

SAITM students to surround JVP; GMOA to meet PM

Jan 18 (Island) Amidst a simmering battle between the govt and the GMOA over the fate of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), a student body representing the interests of those studying at SAITM is planning to make representations to the JVP. A spokesperson for SAITM students said that they would hand over a petition to the JVP today requesting it not to deprive them of the higher education opportunity. more..

PC member questioned for alleged groping in Singapore

Jan 18 (DM) One of the CPC members who had gone on a 10 day study tour to Singapore few days ago had been taken in for questioning by the Singaporean Police for allegedly groping a woman inside a lift at the hotel they had stayed during their visit. All other PC members except for the member concerned had returned to the country early Saturday completing their tour, Council Chairman L.D.Nimalasiri who had accompanied the members to Singapore confirmed incident of groping more..

Wijayadasa to receive Draft PTA Bill within two weeks

Jan 18 (DN) Amendments are being drafted to the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Draft Bill will be submitted to Justice Minister Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapakshe within two weeks, Law Commission chairman President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva said. “Drafting was started after considering the views of the Attorney General and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. All amendments have been done according to the law,” he said. De Silva said Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, more..

SLC Academy's bowling coach to be sacked over fixing fiasco

Jan 18 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)'s new governing body is all set to sack a fast bowling coach associated with the national cricket academy for allegedly playing a role into a possible bookie approach to national team players Kusal Janith Perera and Rangana Herath. "I have asked for a report. The bowling coach concerned and the net bowler will have to be suspended," SLC chief Thilanga Sumathipala said at Pallekele. more..

Trade unions to meet EU team on GSP+

Jan 18 (ST) Trade unions representing workers in apparel factories in the country have prepared a road map to regain the European Union (EU) trade concession through the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP+) to be submitted next week. The proposal would be forwarded to the EU delegation arriving in the country next week to discuss with the relevant authorities on how to regain the GSP+ trade concessions to the country, trade union activist Palitha Athukorala said. more..

Chinese navy ships start Sri Lanka tour

Jan 18 (Xinhua) The 21st Chinese naval escort taskforce, comprising the guided-missile frigates Liuzhou, Sanya and the comprehensive supply ship Qinghaihu, arrived here on Sunday for a five-day visit. The Sri Lankan Navy held a welcoming ceremony for the visiting Chinese naval taskforce, attended by Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang and over a hundred Chinese officials and merchants. After the ceremony, the three Chinese naval ships were open to the public visit. more..

Customs top gun who investigated mega scam given lightning transfer

Jan 18 (Island) Making matters worse in the Customs Department over the alleged scam involving one hundred and eighty TRJ 150 Toyota Prado jeeps, Director General of Customs, Chulananda Perera had transferred Director of its Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), S.A.D. Subasinghe to Social Protection Division with immediate effect from today, a high ranking officer of SL Independent Govt Trade Union Organisation (SLIGTUO) said. more..

Joint operation to clean up Nilwala after diesel leak

Jan 18 (Island) In a joint operation National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Coast Conservation Department and Marine Environment Protection Authority were yesterday removing the diesel that leaked into the Nilwala River from an underground fuel storage tank of a filling station at Akuressa. The oil on the surface of the water was removed with special equipment imported from Japan and oil recovered was despatched to Colombo in Ceylon Petroleum Corporation bowsers. more..

Key meeting between Wigneswaran, TNA NPC members postponed

Jan 18 (CG) A key meeting between Northern Province CM C V Wigneswaran and TNA NPC members, which was to take place today (17), was postponed indefinitely. No explanation was given for the postponement of the meeting or when it will take place. The TNA NPC members had sought details from Wigneswaran on the newly formed Tamil organisation chaired by Wigneswaran and the Chief Minister was expected to explain the policies of the organisation at this meeting. more..

New Constitution: PM assures unitary status, transparency in framing process

Jan 18 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe assured that the proposed new Constitution would be introduced through a transparent process. Dismissing claims made in some quarters that a new Constitution couldn’t be introduced, Premier Wickremesinghe stressed that unitary status would be preserved. The Premier assured that the proposed constitutional making process would be guided by 6th Amendment more..

Editorial: Beat the pigeon

Jan 18 (Island) It took a homing pigeon only a little over two hours to fly all the way from Anuradhapura to Wattala last week as we reported on Saturday. The bird was released by a pigeon fancier from Wattala as part of a study on the efficiency of ancient methods of communication in the country. We were reminded of the famous sandesha or message poem, Paravi Sandeshaya, where a pigeon is used as messenger. What was of interest to us about the Wattala homing pigeon was more..

Cattle slaughter; Who is the Gona?

Jan 18 (DM) he National Govt has assured that practical and effective steps will be taken this year to consolidate multi-racial and multi-religious unity by finding just and fair solutions to issues that brought about the ethnic conflict and the war. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the national Thai Pongal festival in Jaffna gave assurances that land issues, language and education issues would be sorted out this year while more Tamil-speaking people would be recruited to security forces. more..

SinhaLe ruffles political feathers

Jan 18 (CT) Starting from a tattoo on a youth's arm, SinhaLe have captured everyone's attention. Within a very short span various merchandise with SinhaLe are spotted from everywhere. From the beginning, not everyone welcomed its sight and the recent defacing of properties said to belong to Muslims with the word, SinhaLe, has angered many. Is SinhaLe another pseudo machismo like BBS leading to racial tensions more..

Pakistan jets still being considered

Jan 18 (SL) A much publicized matter when Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif was visiting Sri Lanka recently was that Sri Lanka was to sign a deal to purchase JF-17 Thunder Aircraft from Pakistan. JF-17 Thunder is a third-generation fighter co-produced by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC). However no such agreement was signed, and Indian media later reported more..

'Nearly 1.8M man-hours lost to mobile talk'

Jan 18 (CT) Nearly 1.8 Million man-hours in State services in Sri Lanka is squandered daily, by the unnecessary usage of mobile phones, Secretary to Govt & Provincial Govt Trade Union Federation Ajith Thilakaratne said. Survey conducted by Trade Union Federation revealed that nearly 60% of total 1.5 million public servants have the prodigal habit of using mobile phones for 2 hours per day on average. more..

World’s largest blue sapphire yet to be assessed

Jan 18 (DN) Denying media reports in the local and international media claiming that the world’s largest blue star sapphire has been found in Sri Lanka, National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) Chairman Asanka Welagedara said that such a gem has not yet been submitted to the Authority for assessment. “If anybody has such an invaluable gem he or she should make the NGJA aware about it. NGJA is the only authorised more..

Cautious optimism from business community: Survey

Jan 18 (FT) A measure of optimism regarding the economy is reflected in the latest LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI), which rose marginally by five basis points – from 152 to 157 – in Dec, business magazine LMD reports. However, the index remains seven rungs below the average for calendar year 2015. Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader feels this slight spike confirms an underlying positive growth trend, more..