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Plight of private medical college students taken up by Supreme Court

May 7 (Island) Supreme Court advised the Attorney General to ascertain from the Ministry of Health and the Public Services Commission whether once the students of the SAITAM Private Medical College, registered under section 29 of the Medical Ordinance, the Service Minute would be amended to enable them to enter state service. Senior State Counsel, Fareeda Bhari appeared for the AG who is a respondent in the fundamental rights violation petition filed by SAITAM medical students. more..

RTI Bill: Govt to study Supreme Court's suggestions

May 7 (Hindu) With the Supreme Court holding as unconstitutional several clauses of the Right to Information Bill, the govt is to study the Apex Court’s determination before proceeding further. The Court, after hearing four petitions questioning the constitutionality of the Bill, concluded that four clauses of the legislation, which was taken up for the first reading in Parliament on March 24, violated certain Articles of the Constitution. more..

In-House brawl: Debate or crime?

May 8 (SO) Brawls in the national legislature are not new in Sri Lanka, or in other parts of the world. Interestingly, such parliamentary violence is yet to be seen in those Western countries from where this modern form of representative democracy originated. It is not often that the fisticuffs get so violent that the injured need hospital treatment. Such extreme triage is more likely to occur in the far more frequent domestic violence that features in the family life of our nation. more..

Order! Order! order in the house please!

May 8 (SL) Sri Lankans with a sense of propriety are once again aghast at the savage and brutal behaviour of some of their Honourable MPs in the well of the chamber of parliament which received coverage on national TV and repeated many times. This is not the first time that such sickening performances were witnessed in the same place. It won’t be the last time unless the problem is studied in depth and drastic measures are taken against offenders irrespective of party colouration, more..

'COPE & COPA should be open to the media'

May 8 (SO) When scenes of fisticuffs in Parliament are given wide publicity by the media, why is the transparency on public finance denied to the people, questions the COPE Sunil Handunnetti. What is important is whether public funds appropriated by Parliament are properly expended and accounted for, leaving no room for corruption or embezzlement. It is also time to open the proceedings of COPE & COPA to the media, more..

Better but not the best

May 8 (Island) No govt anywhere in the world is lily white and it is foolish for anybody to claim otherwise. The people of Sri Lanka are well aware that this is especially true of our own govts, whatever their political complexion. When he recently met editors, publishers and electronic media heads, President Maithripala Sirisena, without naming his predecessor, did not pull his punches on the corruption and thuggery of the previous Rajapaksa regime that was well known. more..

Genesis of the parliament brawl

May 8 (CT) Those were hectic days for the media as well as the whole of Sri Lanka when Minister Sarath Fonseka was dragged to jail by his junior officers, just weeks after he had led the Army into smashing the LTTE. Many sections of the people were thunder struck by the then govt's action. Trumped up charges, saw General being dragged shamelessly to Court, and thence on to a 3- year prison sentence. Much of society was numbed by the speed with which nation's war hero was seen dragged more..

'Govt blaming JO to hide their failures'

May 8 (SL) Joint Opposition MP Prasanna Ranaweera has been banned from participating in parliamentary sitting for a week following the incident that took place last week. However according to Ranaweera he was the one who was attacked by the SLFP MP and it is unfair that he had to face punishment being the victim. He said that the govt is failing the people and in order to hide their failures, they are blaming everything on JO. more..

VIP security; what about citizens’ security?

May 8 (ST) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s security detail came into parliamentary debate this week, and rightly so, but with an unseemly spectacle. The ruckus over who was right and who was wrong saw one MP hospitalised for trying to intervene and two suspended for going at each other’s throat. The downgrading of the former President’s security from an Army contingent to a Police one is at the crux of the issue. That it is politically motivated rather than based on more..

Rajapaksas are govt’s chief obsession

May 8 (Island) From the reports and comments about last Sunday’s May Day rallies that have been appearing over the past week, it became obvious that The Island was the only newspaper or media organization that had a staffer monitoring the crowds in all three main rallies held in Colombo. This year, what was important was not the speeches being made but the crowds present at each of the May Day rallies. This writer observed the three main rallies in Colombo at their peak after 4.30 pm more..

'Govt heading in right direction, corruption minimised'

May 8 (SL) UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman is of the view that the current govt is heading in the right direction and that corruption is being minimised and they are in the process of bringing the culprits of the previous regime to book. However he said that this process cannot take place overnight and needs time. He said that today politics has come to a stage where thugs try to take control by violence. more..

SLFP decision-making bodies lose control over members

May 8 (SO) Sri Lanka’s long-drawn battle for the right to information reached a decisive point last week, with the Supreme Court giving its ruling on the RTI to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. The ruling was signed by Chief Justice K. Sripavan, Judges Anil Goooneratne and Nalin Perera. The bill was placed on the order paper of Parliament on May 16 and four petitioners had challenged the constitutionality of the Bill by four separate petitions. On Tuesday, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, after reading out more..

Trinity coach sacked ahead of Bradby 2nd leg

May 8 (ST) Trinity First XV coach, Eric Miller has been barred from coaching, consequent to disciplinary action taken by the school authorities. The reason according OBA sources for this debarment being not heeding the warning not to be present at matches improperly clad in shorts and slippers as he did at the game against S. Thomas’ at Pallekelle and the Bradby Shield first leg. On May 6 the TCK/OBA official site quoted Trinity College principal Andrew Fowler-Watt more..

Civil Society back on warpath against Yahapalanaya

May 8 (CT) He told heads of media institutions at the President's House in Colombo that his govt would leave no stone unturned to ensure that utmost priority is accorded over the next four years to create legal, constitutional and political conditions in Sri Lanka to ensure that corrupt, rotten, autocratic regimes will never come to power in this country. "Such anti-democratic regimes steeped in family nepotism are a curse on the nation." more..

A fracas in the Well of the House

May 8 (ST) My Dear Karu, I am writing to you because there appears to be something seriously wrong in that place by the Diyawanna Oya where you are supposed to be in charge. It is said to be the august assembly of the country but I don’t think it can be called august in any way- not even in the month of August! When we heard that there was a brawl that left one chap in hospital, we thought that this must have happened in a kindergarten for delinquent children. more..

Escaping to charming Sri Lanka

May 8 (S2) When the haze was around, my family and I decided it was the right time to escape the unhealthy air by going on a short break to Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at BIA, we were met by our hired driver, and we headed straight to Dambulla, a journey that took four hours by car. We first visited the Golden Temple of Dambulla, a Unesco World Heritage site. The Golden Buddha statue sits majestically downhill from the Cave temple. We particularly enjoyed the serenity and tranquillity of the temple more..

CB mulls curbs on finance companies

May 8 (ST) The Central Bank is mulling measures to restrict finance companies from mobilising public deposits. While this will not be done in the short term, they said the regulator is keenly studying the Indian model where finance companies borrow from the banks – not the public – to carry out their operations. “We’ll let the local finance companies utilise their existing deposits and then we want to bring in fresh regulations pertaining to more..

Experts oppose industry specific taxes

May 8 (SO) Economists and tax experts while acknowledging the need to boost tax revenue for Govt coffers, opposed industry specific taxes and measures to tax consumer goods which is regressive. LIRNEasia, Executive Director Prof. Rohan Samarajiva said telecom services should be treated no different from other goods and services. “I do not object to making telecom services subject to VAT. The problem is the approximately 25% mobile levy which should be removed or reduced. more..

Magistrate orders Entrust directors to be present in court on May 13

May 8 (ST) A Colombo Magistrate’s Court was told that due to the lackadaisical supervisory function of the Central Bank some failed financial companies are allegedly involved in criminal frauds which would place the entire financial health of the country at peril due to losing investor confidence in govt-backed securities. On a private plaint filed by C. Noel Shamil Mendis, a depositor of the failed Entrust Ltd and Entrust Securities Ltd, Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne issued summons more..

Projects launched by MR in Seychelles collapse

May 8 (SL) Several projects launched in Seychelles by former President Rajapaksa during his tenure, are on the brink of closure, The Sunday Leader learns. Bank of Ceylon (BOC), Sri Lanka Insurance, Mihin Lanka and Nawaloka Hospital opened their respective offices coinciding with Rajapaksa’s visit to Seychelles in June 2014. The operations of Sri Lanka Insurance curtailed reportedly within a period of 2 months. more..

ADB lowers loan interest for Sri Lanka

May 8 (SO) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to lower the interest rates on current loans to Sri Lanka, the Finance Ministry disclosed. This follows discussions between Minister Ravi Karunanayake and the ADB when the Finance minister participated in the 49th Annual Meeting of the ADB Governors in Frankfurt, Germany. “The ADB has decided to lower the 7% to 8% interest rates on loans and bring it down to 1 ½ to 2%, which is a significant achievement,” he said. more..

SLFP MPs boycott Wimal’s JO meeting

May 8 (SL) Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) opposition members boycotted a meeting organized by NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa for members of the joint opposition. Weerawansa had called for the meeting to discuss future political decisions of the Joint Opposition following its May Day rally. SLFP member and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was scheduled to attend the meeting, had also informed at the eleventh hour that he will not be able to attend. more..

Be wary: Skimmers found strapped to ATMs in Colombo

May 8 (Island) Commercial banks have adopted new security measures to closely monitor their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) following the discovery of four skimming devices installed surreptitiously by scammers to steal credit and debit card data from unsuspecting clients. The skimmers, known as malicious card readers that grab the data off the card’s magnetic stripe attached to the real payment terminals, were found more..

Parliament should swiftly enact a code of ethics for its members: BASL

May 8 (Island) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called upon parliament to swiftly enact a code of ethics and standards for its members monitored by an independent body so that where there is violation by any member such must be visited with strict sanctions which should extend to expulsion in appropriate circumstances. BASL is, however, mindful that that the best of laws and codes will be ineffective unless persons of undoubted civility and integrity are elected to parliament more..

When SL had a bone to pick with England

May 8 (Island) On Wednesday as the national cricket team took wings to England for a two month tour, captain Angelo Mathews speaking to journalists remembered with fondness the team’s last tour to England, two years ago. the last day of that tour saw much jubilation as SL created history by winning their first Test series in England. Arjuna Ranatunga’s superheroes prior to that had won a one off Test series in 1998. Mathews said that he will remember the series for the rest of his life. more..

SLFP rebels in peace talks with party bosses

May 8 (SO) In a bid to stave off party disciplinary action for attending the rebel UPFA break-away May Day rally, the dissident SLFP MPs in the UPFA rebel group have begun talks with senior SLFP leaders to work out an amicable settlement. Party seniors said that overtures had been made by the rebels and that discussions had begun through informal channels. In the event of a resolution being moved in the next SLFP more..

International Waters Conference in Sri Lanka

May 8 (Island) The 8th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) will be held in Sri Lanka from the May 9-13 2016 with representatives from over 80 countries. The week-long conference themed Scaling Up Investments from Source to Sea in the Context of Achieving the SDGs, is jointly organized by the GEF, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). more..

Probe on to track local & foreign involvement

May 8 (CT) Investigations are underway to identify the local and foreign nationals who had assisted the suspect who had uploaded a video on Facebook threatening the life of the President. Police sources said that investigations are also underway with regard to the documents belonging to the suspect who had been in Malaysia as an asylum seeker for violating visa conditions. The CID informed Court on Friday that the suspect's video containing the threatening statement made against more..

SC orders AG to look at possibility of recruiting SAITM graduates

May 8 (DM) Supreme Court directed the Attorney General to look into the possibility of recruiting medical graduates passed out from the SAITM in Malabe as govt doctors. The court made this order after considering a fundamental rights petition filed by three students of SAITM requesting court to grant them the opportunity to be recruited as govt doctors. They had pointed out in their petition that only the graduates passed out from more..

Repatriate Sri Lankan Tamils of Kerala stare at unkept promises

May 8 (ENS) “What difference does it make whether we live here or there? Life is life after all,” feels 88-year-old Anchala, an innocent smile nestling in her eyes. Ask her whether she wants to return to the land where she was born — she pauses for a moment and back comes the enigmatic smile on her wrinkled face. Anchala belongs to one of the first batches of Tamil repatriates from Sri Lanka that came to Kulathupuzha in the late 70s. The Rehabilitation Plantation Estate at more..

Rare transit of Mercury across the Sun on Monday (9) evening

May 8 (ST) Sri Lankans will be able to catch a glimpse of a rare transit of the Planet Mercury tomorrow. The phenomenon will see the smallest planet in the solar system glide across the face of the sun. The transit occurs when Mercury, the sun and Earth are all exactly in line with each other. According to the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA), Mercury passes between Earth and the sun only about 13 times a century, its last trek taking place in 2006. more..

Call for presidential probe into alleged bond rigging; CB refuses release bond data

May 8 (EN) An activist has called for a Presidential Commission of inquiry into alleged rigging of bond auctions and also asked the central bank governor to be appointed by a bi-partisan parliamentary body. There are fresh concerns bond auction rigging in 2016 after the failure to probe the first allegation of a bond scam and insider dealing in Feb 2015, involving a primary dealer in gilts, connected to the son-in-law of CB Governor more..

President to meet Modi on Saturday

May 8 (ST) President Maithiripala Sirisena will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next Saturday in New Delhi, a spokesman for the President’s Office said. The meeting will take place when the President comes back from Britain. President Sirisena is visiting India on an invitation extended to him by the ruling Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) to attend a religious festival at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. The invitation was personally handed over in Colombo by a BJP secretary. more..

Sri Lanka gets female SP after 22 years

May 8 (CT) Police Commission has promoted two female ASPs to the post of SP after a lapse of 22 years. The two female ASPs who have thus been promoted are ASP of the State Intelligence Service Thilina Jayawardene and ASP of the Police Welfare Unit Somawathi Kumarasiri respectively. Along with the two female ASPs 57 ASPs overall were promoted to the rank of SP by the Commission which convened on 5 May. After the retirement of SP Premila Divakara in 1994, no other more..

EU links human rights to trade: 58 conditions for GSP Plus

May 8 (ST) In its haste to regain the GSP Plus facility, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed with the European Union (EU) to implement a sprawling list of 58 conditions linking human rights, national security and other domestic concerns with trade. Among the 58 conditions imposed are to revoke the Prevention of Terrorism Act, to expedite cases of remaining detainees, to introduce a new Human Rights Action Plan, review the status more..

Controversial Mullivaikal remembrance event to be held

May 8 (CG) Hundreds of Tamils killed in Mullivaikal, are to be remembered at events organized by Northern Provincial Council member M.K Sivajilingham commencing from later this week. Sivajilingham said that there was an attempt to block the events but yet the events will go ahead as planned. He said that events to commemorate the Tamils killed during the final stages of the war in Mullivaikal will begin on May 12 and will be held for one week in the North and East. more..

Eric Solheim nominated for top UN post

May 8 (SO) One-time peace envoy for Sri Lanka and Norwegian politician Eric Solheim has been nominated for a top UN post by UN Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon. UNSG has informed the General Assembly of his intention to appoint Solheim as the new Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme. He had made the recommendation after consulting the Chairpersons of the regional groups of Member States. Solheim is currently the Chair of the UN's more..

Weeratunga flying freely with two passports

May 8 (ST) Udayanga Weeratunga, SL’s former envoy to Russia — now at the centre of a probe into the acquisition of MiG-27 fighter jets from Ukraine and accused of supplying weapons to anti-govt forces in that country — travelled to Thailand to meet former President Rajapaksa last week on a passport issued by the present UNF administration headed by President Sirisena. He got his passport despite his refusal so far to more..

The Emperor on logs: The murky business of making cars out of imported used parts

May 8 (Island) It is literally a case of the Emperor hoisted on logs. But the Emperor in this instance is not a king or a former president, but the name of the car produced by assembling imported used car parts for the domestic market. A private company began this business in 2003 after getting the coveted BOI approval for producing an initial quota of 2025 car assemblages. About 400 Emperor cars were produced and sold but the owners who bought them ran into road blocks in not being able to more..

Poverty of ideas, mismanagement and corruption results in economic crisis in SL

May 8 (Island) Charges and counter charges are being levied by politicians accusing the other for the present economic crisis. It has been said that this politically biased debate is not based on economic facts and figures and lack substance and cogent arguments (Dr. Nimal Sanderatne). This is true for today, as much as for the years before. Sri Lankans are staggering under economic crisis while the leaders who should act with responsibility, have, over time, reduced economics to more..