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Liberal development Trap, environment and quality of life

Jan 19 (DM) It is highly fashionable to talk about sustainable development today. But much of what happens in the name of development amounts to increasing exploitation of non-renewable resources. In a way, this is understandable. We need water, land, minerals, etc. to produce commodities. We also talk about economic prosperity as a legitimate goal to be achieved by the countries in the developing world.This often means mass production and consumption of goods and services. more..

More sharing, the solution to poverty

Jan 19 (DM) Addressing the first meeting of the 29-member National Buddhist Council of Wisdom on Friday evening, President Maithripala Sirisena said he and the govt would seek the guidance of this council on how Theravada Buddhism’s vision and co-values could be applied in key issues such as sustainable development, environmental conservation and poverty alleviation through the rebuilding of a just society. Earlier this month at the Sri Lanka Economic Forum on the theme, more..

'13th Amendment is the basis for solution'

Jan 19 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella says the 13th Amendment to the present Constitution, should be the basis for finding a solution to the national question. He said the words Federal or unitary did not matter as long as there was agreement among the parties concerned. Q: As for the resolution to appoint a Constitution Assembly, govt is under fire that attempts are made to bypass lawful procedure. more..

Sri Lankan shares fall for 3rd straight session on rising yields

Jan 19 (Reuters) Shares fell for a third straight session on Tuesday to their lowest close in nearly 19 months due to rising yields and as investors sold their holdings to settle margin trading, brokers said. The main stock index pared early losses and closed 0.65%, or 41.37 points, weaker at 6,283.24, its lowest close since June 27, 2014. The stock market had shed about 8.9% this year through Tuesday's close due to foreign outflows, triggered by global concerns over China's economy. more..

Australian firms seek policy consistency to invest in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (EN) Australian companies are keen to invest in Sri Lanka but need more consistency in economic policy and regulations, Tim Huggins, deputy high commissioner for Australia in Sri Lanka, said. “Plenty of Australian companies are interested in investing and trading in Sri Lanka,” he told annual general meeting of the National Chamber of Exporters. “But they need more consistency in policies. If you’re investing with a 20-year timeline, you need to be reassured of regulatory more..

පැතිකඩ දේශපාලන වැඩසටහන

Sri Lanka to introduce common floor rates for call charges from Feb 1

Jan 19 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will introduce common floor rates for call charges effective from Feb. 1 in a bid to ensure that small telecom operators remain competitive, an official with the country's telecommunications regulator said. Charges on the same network will be raised by a maximum 50% to 1.50 rupees per minute, while those between networks will be reduced by as much as 28% to 1.80 rupees, Indrajith Handapangoda, acting director, competition, with the TRC, said. more..

Narrow escape for man after Iron rod pierces head

Jan 19 (DM) A 47 year-old resident of Ulapane, who was seriously injured after an iron rod pierced his head was admitted to the Gampola Hospital today. D. Anamalai, an employee of Thembiligala Estate was on his way home along a row of unprotected row of steps is said to have lost his foothold and fallen on the concrete slab of a building under construction some 20 feet below when the iron rod pierced his head. Villagers who rushed to the scene on hearing injured man's cries cut the iron rod more..

Warmer Indian Ocean could be ecological desert, scientists warn

Jan 19 (Reuters) Anslem Silva has fished for four decades from this popular harbor on Sri Lanka's west coast, but for five years now filling his boat has become increasingly difficult. "We seem to be spending more and more time out at sea looking for catch. Where there were fish for decades, now there is very little. It is strange, but all of us have been noticing that," said the 54-year-old fisherman, who operates his own trawler on more..

Lankan Smuggler escapes Dubai arrest through toilet window

Jan 19 (7D) Details of the incident at Jebel Ali Port emerged as prosecutors tried Sri Lankan in absentia. The man, who was in the shipping business, remains at large. Dubai Court of First Instance was told that the suspect tried to bring red sandalwood, which is banned because of its endangered status, into the port on July 9, 2013. Prosecutors said the suspect knew that the container would be searched so he phoned one of the port inspectors, and offered him a bribe. more..

APPGT calls to release lands for more investment in North

Jan 19 (CT) A group of British MPs from All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) has requested SL Govt to release the lands in the possession of the Security Forces in the North for economic activities and to facilitate more investment in the province for its prosperity. Chairperson of APPGT James Berry has made the statement to mark Thai Pongal celebration. He called upon govt to ensure that justice is delivered to Tamils to come out from their past grievances. more..

Sri Lanka on way to becoming Indian ocean naval hub

Jan 19 (ENS) Sri Lanka is on the way to becoming a maritime security hub in the Indian Ocean, as regional and extra-regional naval powers eye the island nation for striking partnerships to ensure their maritime security. Sri Lanka itself has signaled its wish to acquire a Blue Water navy to exploit its strategic position in the Indian Ocean and to participate in international maritime security operations. more..

Sri Lanka frees 29 Indian fishermen, more to be released soon

Jan 19 (ANI) 29 Indian fishermen have been freed by Sri Lanka and the process to release the remaining continues in various magistrates' courts in underway. 29 fishermen were freed by Trincomalee magistrate, and the process to issue release orders of 14 more is underway in Jaffna court. Earlier, 55 fishermen were freed by local courts of the country. SL govt had decided earlier this week to free 106 Indian fishermen as a goodwill gesture on the festive occasion of Pongal. more..

Sri Lanka appreciates China's support in defeating Tamil Tiger rebels

Jan 19 (Xinhua) SL govt appreciates the support given by China during the war against Tamil Tiger rebels. Secretary to Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi as taking note of the large number of training courses provided to Sri Lanka military personnel in China. Sri Lanka defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after 30 years of war. Hettiarachchi made the comments while attending a reception organized on the occasion of Chinese PLA Navy Task Force port-visit to Sri Lanka more..

Video: Smart meters to replace Analog meters

Jan 19 (DM) All analog electricity meters in the country would be replaced with smart meters within next couple of months, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said. He said steps had been taken to replace five billion analog electricity meters to smart meters. “This will take time and very costly. However, will provide a facility to save electricity and will help consumers to minimise their cost & better manage their power expenses,” more..

Sri Lanka eyes U.S. for more tourists

Jan 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan govt on Tuesday said that it intends to undertake a tourism promotion campaign in the United States in order to attract more western tourists. Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the U.S. Prasad Kariyawasam, said that although the U.S. was presently ranked as the ninth source of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka, with more focused attention to U.S. travelers looking for new and unique destinations, the potential for growth in the U.S. market was immense. more..

Embilipitiya clash: DIG’s report submitted

Jan 19 (Island) Sabaragamuwa Province Senior DIG C.D. Wickramaratne handed over an interim report to Inspector General of Police, N.K. Illangakoon on Sunday (17) over a recent clash between Embilipitiya police and some villagers. A man called Sumith Prasanna Jayawardene sustained injuries during the clash and later died in hospital. Four police officers including OIC of the police station also sustained injuries. Three other villagers, too, were injured in the clash. more..

Sri Lanka police say rights council violating natural justice

Jan 19 (EN) Court of Appeal today took up an unusual case of a serving police officer challenging an order issued against the police department by the country's first independent Human Rights Commission (HRC). Police Superintendent Palitha Panamaldeniya, has made a shocking allegation that HRC had violated laws of natural justice by holding the police responsible for wrongful arrest of protesting students and using excessive force more..

No religious laws contra to FR as per Constitution

Jan 19 (CT) Govt will not make religious laws, which contradicts the fundamental rights listed in the Constitution, a part of Sri Lankan law, Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. Last week the govt presented the Theravada Bhikkhu Dialogue Act, to monitor and take disciplinary action against monks who break disciplinary rules, to Parliament. All sects and chapters have a set of disciplinary rules and when a Bhikku has made a mistake more..

UNP MP Hafeez resigns

Jan 19 (AM) UNP National List MP A.R.A. Hafeez resigned as a MP with effect from today, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said. Hafeez is the brother of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Minister Rauff Hakeem. He was appointed as a UNP national list MP following the 2015 parliamentary election. Soon after the August elections, there were speculation that Hafeez would resign to give his place to a different SLMC member. However, he did not resign at that time. more..

Video: Mahinda to form a new political party?

Jan 19 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday gave a hint that a new political party may be formed under his leadership. He made the observation in response to a question made by a reporter after an event held in Panadura. Rajapaksa pointed out that a new political party may be formed if that is the wish of the general public. Rajapaksa is a senior member of the SLFP headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

TRC petition: Supreme Court decides to continue the case

Jan 19 (AD) The Supreme Court on Tuesday (19) decided to continue the hearing of a petition which filed against the move by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) to allocate its funds to purchase ‘Sil’ clothes for Buddhist devotees during the last Presidential election. The petition has been filed by the PAFFREL. The decision was taken when the case was taken up for hearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan. more..

Video: Gazette notification on demarcation to be issued in April

Jan 19 (AD) Minister of Local Govt and Provincial Councils Faizer Mustapha says that the Gazette notification on the demarcation of electoral boundaries in local govt wards will be issued in April. He said that the Chairman of the Delimitation Commission, Asoka Peiris, has been informed to complete the demarcation of boundaries before April. Addressing a press briefing today, Minister also said that the Local Government election is due to be held in June this year. more..

Wigneswaran calls for shared sovereignty within a united Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (ENS) Chief Minister of Northern Province has called for a new constitution which will be based on the principle of shared sovereignty between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority within a united Lanka. Giving the keynote address at a seminar on constitution making in multi-ethnic societies in Jaffna on Monday, Wigneswaran said: “The principles and specific constitutional provisions that TNA considers to be more..

Sri Lanka plans to seal economic pact with India by June

Jan 19 (EN) Sri Lanka plans to seal and economic pact with India by June Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. "We hope to sign a framework agreement before the end of next month," he said. "We hope to sign the agreement in June. We are now consulting and seeking views of business and also opposition members." Though Sri Lanka hoped to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India for almost ten year, crony protectionist businesses close to more..

Sri Lanka mulls policy shift from big business to small firms

Jan 19 (EN) SL’s govt will give more emphasis to support small businesses in preparing economic policies which have tended to favour big business, Deputy Minister Eran Wickremeratne, said. Microenterprises, with a workforce of up to 5 people, account for over 90% of all business entities in Sri Lanka, yet only account for a very small portion of GDP output, he said. “While it is necessary to have industry associations, we must not have those that benefit only the strong industries,” he said. more..

Video: 'Mahinda will split SLFP without our help'

Jan 19 (AD) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera, says that the comments made by former President Rajapaksa regarding the proposed constitutional reforms are unbelievable and somewhat laughable. Referring to Rajapaksa’s speech at the Abeyarama Temple in Narahenpita on Sunday, he charged that the former President does not even know that the Executive Presidency and the election system are within the constitution. more..

What happened to the Code Of Ethics for Parliamentarians?

Jan 20 (CT) The introduction of Code of Ethics for Parliamentarians was an election promise given by the President at the presidential elections in January 2015. This is not yet fulfilled. It is obvious that the same ethics should apply also to the President. That is a lesson. Even if we understand the circumstances under which that promise could not be fulfilled, it should not be delayed any longer. If a proper Code of Ethics was in place as promised, it would have been even more..

Educating Ms. Serasinghe on the uniqueness of Sinhala-Buddhism

Jan 20 (CT) Without any reservations I must concede that the Buddhist clowns must be reined in, as stated by Ms. Sharmini Serasinghe. In this survey of her version of Buddhism, I wish to state that I am ready to join her campaign this minute if the reining in of Buddhist clowns begins with her. Of course, it is not going to be an easy task because reining in the clowns of her type will be as difficult as removing the layers of paint from her face. By the look of it, she might have to buy more..

'PHU won’t contest elections under UPFA'

Jan 20 (CT) General Secretary of PHU, MP Udaya Gammanpila said that everybody in the Joint Opposition, including the former President, was against Theravadi Bhikku Kathikawath Bill tabled in Parliament last week. Theravadi Bhikku Kathikawath Bill seeks to establish a code of conduct to be followed by all Bhikkus in the Island. Q: What is the stance of the Joint Opposition regarding Theravadi Bhikku Kahtikawath Bill more..

Bubbly but not in a bubble

Jan 20 (DN) Cuban Ambassador to SL Florentino Batista likes to keep a low profile. He prefers the easy going practice of diplomacy which he says is the Cuban way. He enjoys simplicity and finds extreme protocol too overwhelming. Simple, sociable, direct, friendly, engaging and sometimes too direct, are his own words to describe himself. This lively and cheerful ambassador is a father of two sons, Camilo and Gabriel, both in the school going age, and who had greatly enjoyed SL. more..

In a Nutshell

Jan 20 (SL) Ma-hinder, who until assuming office as the King had a good rapport with the print media, is now looking at starting one of his own after returning to terra firma. It is learnt that some members of the pro-Ma-hinder group have mooted the idea of starting a rag that would help promote the former King and his family. One of Ma-hinder’s allies from Kurunegala, it is learnt, is to provide the finances for the venture. It is learnt that Ma-hinder clan is looking at calling the rag the Front Page. more..

A rationalist view of religion

Jan 20 (CT) A life member of the Sri Lanka Rationalist Association (SLRA), Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga in an interview, expressed his candid views on religion. Q: What are the views of Rationalists? A: The founder of the SLRA, Dr. Abraham T. Kovoor said what cannot be proved scientifically should be rejected. However, I take a slightly different view. If something does not contradict science, then we should keep an open mind. more..

Chop suey of royalty, loyalty, eccentricity and more

Jan 20 (ST) So now it is British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire who turns up in Sri Lanka, leaving his chilly, rain-soaked country for warmer climes. Recently our one-time friends and peace-makers, the Norwegians were in Colombo. In years gone by they used to drop in often to meet our leaders and share crab curry in Kilinochchi. Never mind the past, some say, as our hospitable leaders now embrace the modern Norse with their new smorgasbord of goodies. more..

The fabrications of Yahapalanaya: 65,000 metal houses for the North & East

Jan 20 (GV) In late Dec 2015, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs opened bids from various contractors to build 65,000 houses in the Northern and Eastern Provinces over the next four years. A statement issued by a group of civil society organisations raises important concerns about this project but there are some additional ones to consider. There are unconfirmed reports that the project, about which not much is known either more..

JVP press conference

Victim and witness protection and transitional justice

Jan 20 (GV) Sri Lanka has long played host to a culture of impunity, aggression and oppression which have stymied justice and transparency. The judicial system has also been characterized by a lack of competence and independence. The long list of unpunished murders, abductions and other crimes against victims and witnesses of state crimes have taken away almost all credibility from the justice process and have heightened the prevailing fear of speaking out. more..

The vexed question of MR

Jan 20 (DN) Repetition is the soul of politics, at least in SL. At various points in the country’s recent political history, political parties have used the same strategies and tactics over and over again, to outsmart their opponents and grab power. UPFA dissidents and the SLFP group supporting former President Rajapaksa, believe they can regain control of the party by repeating the same old fear-tactics which they adopted to get nomination for Rajapaksa to contest the Parliamentary election more..

Freedom of the city

Jan 20 (CT) For a few days in January, several years ago, the fortress town of Galle in Sri Lanka started to host a literary festival, known informally as the GLF. In the last dark years of the recent civil war, this event seemed to gleam and glow, like a lava lamp of colour: providing an illuminated reflection of what a world focused on something more than survival could look like. This year, after several years' absence, the GLF more..

Editors’ Guild and rogues

Jan 20 (CT) Recent newspaper reports about an incident where a Police Officer attached to the Embilipitiya Magistrate's Court has forcibly confiscated the notebooks of several journalists who were on duty, while an inquiry was in progress about a clash between the Police and a group of residents in Embilipitiya, is certainly alarming at a time when Right to Information is a widely spoken topic under this Yahapalana Govt. As a newspaper establishment, we also strongly believe it more..