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Consumers yet to benefit from drop in oil prices

Jan 19 (SO) “World crude oil prices have dropped sharply during the past few weeks. However, the benefit is yet to be passed on to the consumer. Therefore, as a responsible Association we call upon the govt to reduce the price of diesel to cut down on transport costs,” All Island Consumer Rights Protection Association (AICRPA) Secretary, Mahen Deva said. He said tax and prices increases have a negative impact on many aspects of consumers’ lives. People won’t get the same nourishment as more..

Enabling citizen consensus for the Constitution-making process

Jan 19 (FT) A CSO collective called the Citizens’ Initiative for Constitutional Change (CICC) organised a press conference on 12 Jan in Colombo, to give publicity to the process of collecting citizen input to feed into the govt’s current constitution-making exercise. Speakers at the press conference included Attorney at Law and Chairman of the Public Representation Commission, Lal Wijenayake, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, more..

Crisis in Sri Lanka’s age-old toddy industry as licence fees rise sharply

Jan 19 (ST) A recent 2016 Budget proposal to sharply increase the annual licence fee for toddy bottling plants and collection centres may well result in the death knell of an ages-old industry in which thousands of families depend on. It is affecting the bottom end of the employed society where the toddy tapper is said to be the lowest income earner in the economy. In the budget, govt said it was increasing the annual license fee of a toddy bottling plant more..

Burning of Kenyan Elephant Tusks (Ivory) at Galle Face Green

Jan 19 (DN) It is with due respect and honour, I as a peace loving citizen of Sri Lanka presently living temporarily in Bremen City, Germany make an appeal to immediately stop the proposed burning of Kenyan elephant tusks by Sri Lanka Customs Department on 29.1.2016. The reasons I place before you are as follows: 1. Sri Lanka is a country with majority Buddhist population who highly respect the elephants and Ivory in religious and national ceremony. more..

'Creating identifiable brands key to weathering global volatility'

Jan 19 (FT) Better marketing and branding of Sri Lankan teas overseas, together with the potential for liberalising the industry, were just some of the issues discussed with Rohan Pethiyagoda, the newly-inducted Chairman of the Sri Lankan Tea Board, in an interview given to global research, publishing, and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG). Tea export volumes out of SL showed a distinct decline in the year to Nov 2015 in comparison to the previous year, while global prices remained low. more..

C is for corrupt

Jan 19 (SO) Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) constitutional change is still a proposal that hangs in the balance. To surmise that the document prepared by the now disbanded Interim Committee headed by former Test opener Sidath Wettimuny will be left to gather dust in a closet of the Sports Ministry is too early. But it's been months since it was presented to the govt. An effort by the Sunday Observer to discern where the tide is heading met with pessimism as well as optimism. more..

Sri Lanka’s DNA specialist offers quick diagnosis on bacterial or fungal infections

Jan 19 (ST) Credence Genomics (Pvt) Ltd, a Sri Lankan firm which specialises in cutting edge DNA technology, says it is now able to diagnose within 24 hours whether one has a bacterial or a fungal infection. “This is a simple, cost efficient test which will tell you whether it is necessary for you to take antibiotics,” the company said in a media release, listing an important breakthrough. According to Dr Vaz Gnanam, Director, Credence Genomics, Credence does not use conventional technology more..

NMCRP complains against Police Media spokesman

Jan 19 (CT) National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP) lodged a complaint against Police Media spokesman, ASP Ruwan Gunasekera with National Police Commission (NPC). Chairman of the NMCRP, Ranjith Withanage said the complaint was mainly with regard to Gunasekera's conduct in relation to the recent alleged attack on a suspect in Embilipitiya. The suspect eventually died. Other respondents in the complaint include former Embilipitiya police OIC, more..

No fishing activities near Palaly airport: PM

Jan 19 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has categorically said that fishing activities or building a fishing harbour in close proximity to the Palaly Airport would be prohibited. PM participated at a high level meeting at the Security Forces Head Quarters - Jaffna in Palaly last Saturday, where land issues in the North were taken up. Deputy Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran pointed out to PM that the fishing activities of more..

Women-headed households: The need for good data

Jan 19 (FT) With the SL govt’s new task force on Women-Headed Households (WHHs) and the persistence of development actors to aim their programmes at WHHs, it is vital that we have an improved and more nuanced interpretation of who exactly these households are. There is no official one-size-fits-all definition and arguably there shouldn’t be, but many women and their families commonly identified within this category do face certain vulnerabilities and do deserve certain entitlements. more..

Gem and jewellery courses popular in vocational education

Jan 19 (DN) Sri Lanka is among the very few countries having free education systems operating from kindergarten to university level. Sri Lanka achieves remarkable progress in basic education owing to the implementation of a free education policy. This was accomplished as a result of the continuous effort of several national leaders. The pioneering role was played by Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara, a prominent politician, first minister of education in the State Council of Ceylon. more..

Uni qualifiers: Highest percentage from Jaffna

Jan 19 (CT) The highest percentage of school candidates that have qualified for university education from A/L exam of 2015 has been from Jaffna District. Out of a total of 7,346 candidates who had sat for the exam from Jaffna District, 4,872 of them had passed, resulting in a 66.33%. Lowest percentage has been recorded from Polonnaruwa, where 3,455 candidates had taken the exam of which only 1,961 had passed, which has resulted in a 56.76%. more..

US$ 12,000 per capita target by 2030: Champika

Jan 19 (DN) The previous government has invested over US$ 6 billion in an ad-hoc manner in the last seven years for projects in Hambantota, Megalopolis Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday. He said that had this money been put into development of a project like the Megalopolis,it would have been more productive. He said the project which was planned in 2002 was unsuccessful since environmental constraints were not looked into and it lacked proper zonal planning. more..

Many in joint opposition to join govt: Sajith

Jan 19 (DN) Several joint opposition members will soon join govt, Minister Sajith Premadasa said. He said that the government was assured of a two thirds majority in Parliament to pass the constitutional reforms. Minister also predicted that the so-called joint opposition will cease to exist in the near future as most of its members have now realised it has no future. He said even in the Rajapaksa stronghold of Hambantota, UPFA members who earlier backed the so-called joint opposition more..

Hangers-on, the first to leave leaders who lose power: Prelate

Jan 19 (Island) Venerable Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala Nayaka Thera, Chief Incumbent, Rajopawanaramya, Getambe said those who pretended to be close to political leaders were the first to decamp when the latter lost political power. Thera made the observation when he met former President Rajapaksa who called on the prelate recently. "Those who remain very close to their leaders while in power do so for personal benefits. When the leaders lose power the hangers-on desert them, more..

Peshala to seek SC analysis on NPC role

Jan 19 (DM) The regular summoning of Principals of schools coming under Provincial Councils to Colombo by Education Ministry Higher officials, has created confusion in the duties of the North Central Provincial Council, NCP Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne alleged. He further said as the line ministry officials in the central govt were summoning provincial government officials without getting permission from the relevant Provincial Councils resulting in a situation where more..

PM to leave for Switzerland today

Jan 19 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is due to leave Sri Lanka today for the World Economic Forum that will be held in Davos-klosters, Switzerland from Jan 20 to 23. This is the first time Sri Lanka has been invited to participate in the World Economic Forum; during his visit, PM will be engaging with international investor community towards possible investments in Sri Lanka. Over 40 heads of state will be in attendance at the Forum, which will focus this year on new trends within more..

Sexual harassment of female MPs: Speaker promises stern action

Jan 19 (DN) Deeply concerned at media reports of female MPs being sexually harassed within the Parliamentary premises by some elderly MPs, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has promised stern action against them irrespective of their station of power or political significance. Issuing a statement, Office of the Speaker said that Speaker Jayasuriya had directed Parliament authorities to see if there had been any complaint made to this effect by any female MPs. more..

Fisher folk to protest over Port City project

Jan 19 (CT) Collective of Fisheries Organizations/Associations with the participation of the IUSF will launch protest actions against the govt for giving the green light to the Colombo Port City project. Convener of IUSF, Lahiru Weerasekara said on 17 Jan, they had conducted a march cum public awareness programme from the Kotelawala bridge up to Pamunugama as a part of their protest. He said the Port City project will lead to soil and coastal erosion. It will also destroy fisheries resources more..

Nasheed meets Maithripala before heading to UK

Jan 19 (CG) Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed met President Maithripala Sirisena before leaving for the UK to undergo medical treatment. SL Govt is said to have been instrumental in securing the release of Nasheed to visit the UK for medical treatment. Nasheed left Maldives Monday to the UK to undergo medical treatment. Earlier, the former President had requested Govt to grant him permission to travel to the UK for treatment, which the relevant authorities of the Govt granted. more..

$44b mega funding for Megapolis

Jan 19 (FT) The first phase of the Govt’s flagship project, Western Province Megapolis, will be unveiled later this month and require an impressive investment of $44 billion. Minister Champika Ranawaka said the Govt is also planning key road shows in Japan, Germany, India, China and Singapore to attract investors to the project. Western Megapolis is SL’s grand strategy to propel the country’s brand to achieve the status of a high income developed nation by 2030, more..

More Lanka Tamil refugees to return from Tamil Nadu today

Jan 19 (Island) Forty one more of the nearly 100,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu, India are due to return home today. Secretary Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, V.Sivagnanasothy said that the refugees would be returning under a UNHCR facilitated voluntary repatriation programme. "They are scheduled to arrive by Mihin Lanka flight MJ 308 at 10.25a.m from Madurai and MJ 130 at 12.20 a.m from Chennai." more..

Import beef from abroad: President

Jan 19 (DN) I have instructed the Finance Minister to import beef from abroad for those who consume meat in the island, and take steps to protect the country’s cattle industry, said President Maithripala Sirisena. President was addressing a Thai Pongal ceremony at Hindu College in Payagala, Kalutara yesterday. President added that he always condemned the inhuman treatment towards animals and that measures should be taken to protect animals and stop animal slaughter in SL. more..

Private medical college students allowed clinical training in govt medical facilities

Jan 19 (DN) The contempt of court action filed by five students attached to SAITM, Malabe against Health Ministry for failing to comply with an undertaking given to facilitate the required clinical training at designated state hospitals was withdrawn by the petitioners. President's Counsel Romesh de Silva with Sudath Caldera appearing for the petitioners moved Court that they be allowed to withdraw the complaint since Health Ministry more..

500 youth from South join Thai Pongal festivities

Jan 19 (CT) Around 500 youth from various parts in the South participated at the National Youth Services Council Thai Pongal festival in Jaffna. The event was organized by the Provincial Department of Cultural Affairs at Jaffna Vaddukoddai at the ABESL Technical College last week. Prior to the event the 500 youngsters from the South were given a warm welcome at the Jaffna Railway Station by the organizers. Later they were taken to the venue of the festival. more..

All schoolchildren to face health test before sports activity

Jan 19 (DN) Health Ministry has decided to make it compulsory for all schoolchildren to be checked for fitness before taking part in any sports activity in future, Director General, Health Services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. All school children will need to undergo a special medical exam before taking part in sports events in order to make sure they do not have any health problems. Health Ministry intends to set up Sports Medical Units in all the provinces in order to implement this rule. more..

Video: Talks with President successful: BBS

Jan 19 (DM) The closed-door discussions between the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and President Maithripala Sirisena this evening had been successful, BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera said. The BBS organisation said it discussed several issues with the President. “We have explained to the President about the threat of global Islamic extremists to Buddhists and Muslims in Sri Lanka,” he said. more..

Editorial: Battle lines drawn

Jan 19 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has spelt out how he thinks the govt should set about the task of framing a new Constitution. His statement coincided with a declaration by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that the govt would not allow the country to be divided. PM made it clear that the unitary character of the state would be preserved. Now, the question is whether the govt will be able to enlist the backing of Tamil nationalists who are averse to unitary status more..

Constitution Making: Some Points for Reflection

Jan 19 (Island) A constitution can acquire this quality only if it enshrines a set of collective normative goals, as suggested above, that all citizens can share, subscribe to, defend, and be proud of, thereby giving a new meaning and substance to the idea of patriotism. Thus, a new constitution should be one that enables a political value based love of the country. When each of our citizens, from Point Pedro to Devinuwara and Kattankudy to Negombo can say, "I love my country because I love my more..

Police atrocities: Public betrayed by opposition ?

Jan 19 (SL) When Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was defeated last year, the people expected them to come back as a formidable opposition that will keep the new Maithripala-Ranil govt under check. However, a year later the opposition has been weakened to such a level that it seems that the govt is controlling the entire opposition. Many of the opposition MPs are in disarray. No one wants to stand up against more..

Swiss and SA experts for consultation

Jan 19 (CT) The Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran commenced his role in shaping the new Constitution by inviting constitutional experts from Switzerland and South Africa to address the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councillors at a seminar titled Constitutional models of power sharing, challenges and perspectives in multi ethnic societies . The seminar initiated by the Northern Chief Minister with the support of more..

High handed presumptuous or timely?

Jan 19 (CT) A Bill presented in Parliament by the govt last week has received stiff opposition from several fronts, including opposition members in Parliament, prominent members of the clergy, as well as hard-line Buddhist movements. The Bill presented in Parliament by Minister Gayantha Karunatilaka, called the Theravadi Bhikku Kathikawatha (Registration), seeks to formulate a code of conduct for all Bhikkus to act more..

Send-me-your-nude-pic: Will you give a Facebook like?

Jan 19 (ST) A blackmail and extortion scandal involving company executives, ruggerites, cricketers and bank employees is being investigated by the Cyber Crime division of the CID. The probe was launched after the unit received at least 15 identical complaints in less than three months, a senior officer of the unit said. The modus operandi of the group believed to be involved in this racket begins with a friend request being sent more..

'Arjuna preoccupied with cricket to the neglect of port development work'

Jan 19 (Island) The All Ceylon General Ports Employees Union yesterday lashed out at the Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, accusing him of creating hurdles for the Ministry and the Ports Authority. General Secretary of the union Chandrasiri Mahagamage said Minister Ranatunga had already completed one year in office, but done nothing for the improvement of the ministry or the Ports Authority workers. more..

Video: Mathews arrives at FCID

Jan 19 (DM) Captain Angelo Mathews arrived at FCID to give a statement as a witness to investigations into match fixing allegations. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has also suspended the service of fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake over the alleged match-fixing scandal earlier. Net bowler Gayan Vishwajith has also been debarred from SLC premises as the main suspect of match fixing allegation. more..

Thisara Test retirement talk irks SLC

Jan 19 (Island) All-rounder Thisara Perera has irked the hierarchy of Sri Lankan cricket after sending CEO Ashley de Silva a letter informing his desire to retire from Test cricket. Perera despite immense potential to become a leading all-rounder in the world has blown hot and cold and has been in and out of the side in the last 24 months. Perera struggled to finish his quota of four overs in T-20 cricket during the recent New Zealand series more..

Douglas' murder trial commences in Chennai

Jan 19 (PTI) The trial in the nearly three decade-old murder case in which former Minister Douglas Devananda is an accused commenced today at a city court. Trial began with the examination of witnesses before IVth Additional Sessions Judge M Shanti. Examining witness Gurumurthy, Public Prosecutor questioned him whether he would be able to identify the accused, to which the former replied in the affirmative. more..

Minister Gunawardena passes away

Jan 19 (AD) Minister of Land, M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena, has passed away at a private hospital in Colombo at the age of 70. A longstanding member of the SLFP, Gunawardane resigned from this deputy minister post in 2014 and joined the campaign of common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena to defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election. He was appointed as the Minister of Lands following more..

Video: Sujeewa wants civil body to monitor Police

Jan 19 (DM) Expressing his displeasure on the slow progress of the investigations carried out on the incident in Embilipitiya, where a youth named Sumith Prasanna was killed, the State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe today suggested setting up a special institution to monitor the actions of the Police. He said that a special institution which comprises civil officers should be set up to monitor the action of the Police. more..