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National development projects: Programme to recall retired military personnel

Oct 8 (DM) A programme to recruit retired military personnel in national development endeavours would be launched under the aegis of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on Oct 11, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said today. The programme had been initiated by the Ministry, National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry and the Home Affairs Ministry to increase the effectiveness and the productivity of the development projects. more..

Beyond the SAARC Summit

Oct 9 (SO) Even as Sri Lanka smooth-talked her way out of the SAARC Summit to be hosted by Pakistan this year, our PM was reminding the region that cross-border insurgency was not limited to the Indo-Pak situation but was a phenomenon that affects or has affected most SAARC member states and is one that should be squarely on the regional agenda. If certain other SAARC member countries directly attributed their withdrawal from the scheduled Islamabad summit to the recent more..

Have we forgotten to be human?

Oct 9 (CT) The plantations sector strike has ended after a 12-day turnout that ended in a whimper for the hapless workers who in the end got a measly Rs 110 daily wage increase from the plantation bosses. The increase brings their minimum daily wage, provided they work 25 days a month, to just Rs 730 a day. The Plantations claim the strike had caused a Rs 1,000 million loss, most of it in foreign exchange that would have normally been export returns. That works out to less than Rs 100 million more..

'Judges need not be immune from public scrutiny'

Oct 9 (SO) Current President of the Bar Association, President's Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam came into the limelight making allegations against the media, claiming that it is irresponsible in its reporting on the Judiciary, and asserting that legal action should be taken against such media organisations. We spoke to him to seek clarifications on his comments, and question on the legal system and its course of development. more..

Judicial upholding of the right not to be violated

Oct 9 (ST) Last week’s affirming by the Supreme Court of a female school teacher’s constitutionally protected right to talk to the media in the face of prolonged sexual harassment and intimidation at a leading educational establishment in Colombo calls for a multipronged deterrent approach to an all-pervasive problem in Sri Lanka. It is common knowledge that the complaint upon which the Court acted this time around is not rare. Indeed, this country ranks disgracefully high in South Asia more..

MPs’ Code of Conduct a must; LG Minister found wanting

Oct 9 (ST) While the rather ambitious Code of Conduct for MP, made public a few months ago, continues to lie in cold storage, the serious question of what could be deemed a conflict of interests came to light during Question Time in the House. Minister Faiszer Musthapha was at the center of the storm caused during QT this week when, instead of answering a question raised by UNP Badulla District MP Chaminda Wijesiri regarding a bank account of Uva PC being taken over for personal use more..

What SL political game is taking place in Indian soil this October?

Oct 9 (CT) President Sirisena arrived at the Suwarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Friday to attend the Asia Corporation Dialogue (ACD) Summit that brings together 34 nations in the Asian region. President was accompanied by First Lady Jayanthi Sirisena and they were received at the airport by Thai Minister of Culture, Vira Rojpojchanarat, as the representative of the Royal Thai Govt and Ambassador Kshenuka Seneviratne and more..

Indo-Pak tensions spillover into SL

Oct 9 (Island) Speaking in parliament on Friday Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that contrary to reports published in the media, Sri Lanka had not pulled out of the SAARC summit which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad on 9 and 10 November and that the Sri Lanka foreign ministry had put out a statement saying that the environment in the region was not conducive to holding the SAARC summit only after four other nations had pulled out of the Summit and more..

Some frightening numbers

Oct 9 (Island) Last week’s newspapers were crowded with reports on the mind-boggling penalties loss-loaded SriLankan Airlines will pay for the cancellation of the leases of four Airbus A350 aircraft. Report quoted official sources placing the figure at around US$ 115 million. This obviously is not small beer by any consideration. Present management of the airline wishes to concentrate on its regional short haul destinations and discontinue several long haul flights to Europe. more..

Face The Nation

GoSL’s money printing cost increases by Rs 21.7B

Oct 9 (CT) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) pressed the panic buttons on both the money market and on the foreign exchange (FX) markets at Friday's (7) trading as Govt of Sri Lanka's (GoSL's) foreign debt servicing and import pressure got the better of markets. CBSL's money printing machine also got into full gear at Friday's trading, increasing money printing by 30.4% (Rs 21.7 billion) to Rs 71.5 billion over the previous day Thursday's (6), statistics showed. more..

What Wiggie says and the truth

Oct 9 (NS) As far as political about turns go, Northern Province CM  and former SC Justice C.V. Wigneswaran scores full marks. Last week, he was all fire and brimstone, organising a protest in Jaffna, Eluga Thamil or Arise Tamils, calling for the closure of shops and bringing public transport to a halt. His demands were a merger of the North and East, a federal system of govt and a stop to what he claimed was planned resettlement and the building of Buddhist shrines in the North. more..

School Cricket to be regularised

Oct 9 (ST) Ministry of Education is in an earnest bid to regularise school cricket in the country. Special Consultant to the Ministry Sunil Jayaweera feels that it is a must that School Cricket have its own regulations and controls rather than let them run wild. The main idea is not encouraging the advent of new cricket playing schools without proper planning. He said that they have penned down some points for discussions more..

SLRFU permission for rugby tournaments

Oct 9 (CT) Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) has decided that any rugby tournament which is to be held in Sri Lanka needs to be approved by the country's parent body. This comes in the wake of several complaints made over the standard of some recently concluded rugby events in Sri Lanka. SLRFU Secretary Nazim Mohamed insisted that the standards of every tournament has to be at top level if Sri Lanka is to become one of the best rugby playing nations in the years to come. more..

Sahan barred from running

Oct 9 (CT) Junior sprinting star, Sahan Rajapaksa of St. Benedict's College Kotahena was left devastated yesterday at the relay trials for the forthcoming South Asian Junior Athletics Championship as the athlete was not allowed to take part in the trials stating he was not included in the original list of entries for the trial. The 16-year-old sprinter who had proved himself on several occasions with sub 11 second performances earlier, was part of Sri Lanka Junior Athletics Pool and more..

Regional FTAs to centre on job potential

Oct 9 (ST) SL govt is looking at the future potential of hiring overseas labour and getting jobs for locals in countries like India, Singapore and China by inking bilateral deals.  Releasing the country’s policy on trade, the govt has stated that SL should consider liberalizing other three modes while keeping mode 4 “unbound until such time the country is equipped with necessary regulatory mechanisms to protect domestic interests.” more..

Lessons from Colombia

Oct 9 (ST) In the faraway continent of Latin America, a peace treaty between the Govt and a rebel group has been rejected by the majority of the people. Govt of Colombia and the Revolutionary (a euphemism sometimes for a terrorist group) Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to a ceasefire and signed a peace package that included land reform, jobs, subsidised agricultural support, light sentences for senior guerrilla commanders and seats in Congress in return for a cocktail of more..

Dilmah founder urges setting of Special Tea Authority to revive Ceylon Tea

Oct 9 (ST) The urgent formation of a Special Tea Authority that would take Ceylon Tea to the next level has been proposed by veteran tea producer and trader Merrill J. Fernando.  Founder of tea brand Dilmah, Mr. Fernando – a long-time campaigner for a high-end Ceylon Tea brand – has said that the industry needs to be placed under the full responsibility of this proposed authority.  “It will work on a 5-year plan to revive tea, establish a meaningful marketing plan to take Ceylon more..

Northern Sports fiesta concludes with more questions than answers

Oct 9 (ST) The 42nd National Sports Festival conducted by the Ministry of Sports was concluded in Jaffna last week while once again raising many questions over several shortcomings. The Games concluded with the organisers providing an assurance that they would put up a better performance at the next event.  However, this has been the same old story that the Sports Ministry officials have been commenting on since more..

Univ teams do research for Budget 2017

Oct 9 (SO) Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake has come up with a novel idea of bringing in more of our intelligentsia in national universities for a bottom up approach to prepare the Budget for 2017. The objective of this project named Citizens' Engagement in the Budgetary process - 2017 is to obtain input from the people on their needs, systematically as well as to make them aware of budgetary constraints and the development and reform programs introduced in the Budget. more..

BOI battling tax issues

Oct 9 (ST) SL’s investment promotion agency, Board of Investment (BOI) while battling against low foreign investment is now in a quagmire with countervailing duties imposed by countries like the US on exports from BOI firms.  Officials said that because of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement that Sri Lanka is party to which limits them from taxing firms, the BOI is at a catch 22 situation. “As Sri Lanka has signed this WTO trade pact, when the BOI grants tax concessions more..

Indo-Lanka trade talks: Indian business consulted on removal of quotas for SL

Oct 9 (SO) The next round of talks on the proposed new economic agreement between India and Sri Lanka is mostly like take place in Colombo next month with India having committed to consulting its own industries on removing quotas, such as on textiles, in the existing free trade agreement at the latest talks in New Delhi. Sri Lankan side shared drafts of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) and trade facilitation more..

Angry shareholders reject troubled City Finance accounts

Oct 9 (ST) The annual accounts of the struggling finance company, the City Finance Corporation Ltd (CFCL) was rejected by shareholders for the second year in succession after directors were unable to respond convincingly to a barrage of questions over missing funds.  The company AGM was held at the Colombo Public Library auditorium last week. After completing reading of the annual report and its accounts, CFCL Deputy Chairman M.A. Chandrasagara, presiding in the absence of more..

Planters say no decision yet on wage hike

Oct 9 (SO) The Planters’ Association of Ceylon, the umbrella organisation of Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) said no final decision has been taken on a wage increase for plantation workers as negotiations with trade unions are continuing. The Planters’ Association President Sunil Poholiadde said the trade unions may have agreed to a wage hike but the RPCs have not given their consent to any wage increase as negotiations are still going on. “A final decision could be reached only when more..

Droning Public interest or private property?

Oct 9 (NS) By The usage of drones and its impact on privacy has been a much talked about topic in recent times. The issue was once again discussed after a drone flew over the burial site of slain editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunga when his body was being exhumed for fresh investigations on September 27. Weekend Nation obtained views of several officials pertaining to this issue. Following are excerpts: more..

A Lankan bouncer to Kerala’s ayurveda

Oct 9 (DC) Just when everyone thought that God’s Own Country was the wellness tourism destination of the world, a new claimant from across the Palk Straits is staking claim to the title. India has the written word — the oldest known ayurveda texts like Susrutha Samhitha and Charaka Samhitha — but Sri Lanka is using the Mihintale hospital, the oldest known ayurveda hospital in the world, to draw tourists. The remains of the hospital, at the base of the Mihintale mountain, are well preserved. more..

Many MPs operate on foundations

Oct 9 (ST) Several sitting MPs and some former MPs have had bills presented to the legislature to incorporate as Acts of Parliament foundations set up in their names. The bills presented in recent months are for the incorporation of foundations such as the S. B. Nawinna Foundation, Sisira Jayakody Siyapatha Foundation, Rajitha Senaratne Foundation, Arundika Fernando Relief Services and Godfrey Fernando Memorial Foundation, Hizbullah Foundation, Susantha Punchinilame more..

Former CB chief on govt bid to host Commonwealth Games 2018 in Hambantota

Oct 9 (Island) Former Governor of CB, Ajith Nivard Cabraal says in a statement that his attention has been drawn to certain news reports which stated that there has been an alleged misappropriation of funds in relation to the Govt Bid to host the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Hambantota. He said that a result, several persons had contacted him to obtain clarification and therefore decided to provide this statement. more..

Deliberate sabotage: Massive high voltage power surge in Watawala

Oct 9 (CT) A massive high voltage power surge in Watawala, Hatton yesterday morning that destroyed scores of expensive electrical home equipment was caused by an act of deliberate sabotage, the Deputy General Manager of CEB in the Central Province M.R. Ranatunga said. He said the saboteurs are yet to be traced and identified but added there was absolutely no doubt that the surge was an act of deliberate sabotage. CEB has complained to the Hatton Police about this incident. more..

Sri Lanka police team up with Scotland Police to strengthen training

Oct 9 (SLP) A conference was held between the IGP, Pujith Jayasudara and a group of representatives of Scotland Police, including Superintendent of Police, Mark Francis Anderson at 11.30 today (7), at the Police Headquarters. This conference was held with the idea of strengthening relation between Scotland Police regarding the training courses on management of public peace. Accordingly, steps will be taken to strengthen the course for training trainers. more..

Regional Corporation is Key to Overcome Regional Challenges: President

Oct 9 (PMD) Strong regional corporation is the key to overcome the challenges of poverty and equity said President Maithripala Sirisena today when he called on the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha for bilateral discussions this evening during his working visit to attend the Asia Corporation Dialogue (ACD) held in Bangkok. PM Chan-o-cha and Spouse Paraporn Chan-o-cha welcomed the President and First Lady more..

'President’s delegation to US included 73'

Oct 9 (AD) UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila says that President Sirisena’s recent delegation to US, to take part in the 71st Session of the UNGA, included 73 people and that only the palace dog was missing. He said that former President Rajapaksa’s golden age will be in the near future. He claimed that President and PM are now competing to travel around the world because they will have to go home defeated if an election is held. When one of them is leaving the country the other is arriving, more..

Brawl involving a VVIP’s son at Night Club?

Oct 9 (DM) A group of men reportedly led by a son of VVIP had allegedly assaulted security personnel at a leading night club in Colombo when they were denied entry to the club in the early hours on Saturday, informed sources said. An injured security person was admitted to the Colombo General hospital with head injuries. Sources said that the son had come to the night club at around 2 am with a group of his body guards in several defender vehicles. more..

Going back to Rajapaksa Era: Bribing MPs with public money to stay in power

Oct 9 (ST) Some 60 govt MPs are being told to choose between an existing Rs. 200,000 monthly traveling allowance and a luxury SUV for which the State will need to pay a rental of Rs. 590,000 a month for them to carry out development work. These MPs, including some Ministers, head Development Councils under each Divisional Secretariat division. Rs. 200,000 allowance is on top of the traveling allowances paid to MPs and more..

Sand for Port City: No-go zone off Negombo lagoon

Oct 9 (ST) Govt has declared a no-go zone for fishermen off the Negmobo lagoon in view of sand mining operation required for International Financial City (Port City) project. Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said they had sought the assistance of the Defence Ministry to provide security for the site from where sand mining would begin soon. The request came after at least 11 buoys to mark the location of sand mining area had gone missing. more..

JO candidates win cooperative polls

Oct 9 (ST) Candidates supporting the Joint Opposition have secured victories in several cooperative society elections. In the latest elections for the Arachchikattuwa Cooperative Society in the Puttalam district this week, the group supporting the Joint Opposition secured 175 votes while the SLFP faction supporting President Maithripala Sirisena obtained one vote. The UNP-backed candidates received nine votes and JVP two votes. SLFP MP Sanath Nishantha, who was recently more..

MR slams govt as Yahapalana dictatorship

Oct 9 (ST) Rustic mansion along Colombo’s Gregory’s Road, a stone’s throw away from British HC, has been home for some of SL’s colourful personalities of recent times. It was the official residence for one of the country’s illustrious Foreign Ministers, late Lakshman Kadirgamar. Maithripala Sirisena, then Minister of Health, lived there after the assassination of Kadirgamar in 2005. He continued to remain more..

The present govt’s three legs and its predecessor’s $30,000 champagne taste

Oct 9 (Island) In any creature or contraption, three legs will pose a balancing problem while moving. Two legged ones move lifting one leg at a time, the four legged ones lift two of theirs diagonally, and we tie one leg each of pairs of children to run three-legged races. In a sense, the Maithripala-Wickremasinghe govt is a three-legged govt, with the President and the PM tied at their ankles on some issues while trying to walk separately with their free legs on other issues. more..

Call halt! Retrace steps to post independence constitutional arrangements

Oct 9 (Island) When do we call halt to the disjointed and timid attempts at making ethnic peace? Resolutions, recriminations, institution building, discussions on truth and justice, on accountability, on right to self- determination, on integration, on unitary or federal system or devolved powers, fine tuning on how much or how little of power sharing should be on offer - all of this pursued without even an intelligent understanding of the concept of pluralism. more..

Sports Minister batters journalist at Jaffna event

Oct 9 (ST) The conduct of the National Sports festival this year was historic. This was the first time in 42 years that it was held in Jaffna. On the penultimate day of the event, media personnel were invited to dinner at a popular hotel in Jaffna. After covering the day’s events, they reached the hotel around 9 p.m. and found a host of persons not involved in the event enjoying themselves. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara walked in. more..