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Wildlife desperate for water

Oct 12 (ST) As the drought worsens, not only humans but wild animals too are suffering. A family living in Hathporuwa, Sooriyawewa, had an unexpected visitor early morning on Sept 20, an 8-foot crocodile. Family alerted Hambantota wildlife rangers who promptly responded. Later the same day, same team had to rescue another croc, a 9.5 footer, from an agro well in Meegahajadura. As smaller water holes dry up, more..

Udaya G.’s secret may delay VAT hike again

Oct 12 (LBO) Joint opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila says he is aware of a reason that will require the govt to present the much delayed VAT bill to Parliament once again. Gammanpila said that he will reveal the secret when the Supreme Court considers his petition filed against the proposed VAT bill which was presented to Parliament last Tuesday. Secret he pointed out is a procedural error in bringing bill to Parliament. more..

'By trying to stop a film through courts it will get greater exposure'

Oct 12 (Island) Deputy Minister Karunaratne Paranavithana says the judicial independence given after Jan 8, 2015 should not be reversed along with the freedom of expression. Addressing the media conference regarding last week’s injunction order on the screening of the film Usaviya Nihandawanu (Silence in the courts) directed by Prasanna Vithanage, he said people would support Vithanage to protect his rights. more..

Programme to uplift and empower self-employed families to be launched

Oct 12 (DN) A programme to uplift and empower the families of self-employed, including over one million families of three wheeler drivers, will be launched under the guidance of Deputy Minister Karunaratne Paranawithana.  This programme, planned to be launched by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, would be assisted by another 12 ministries and institution such as the Police Department, Vocational Training Institute, more..

Central Bank gets tought on distressed finance companies

Oct 12 (CT) Central Bank plans to introduce a novel solution, completely independent of the national budget, to restructure six distressed finance companies, while expanding and broad basing the controversial Department of Supervision of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, bank official said. "We will assign new officers to the department with necessary enforcement authority to conduct comprehensive investigations more..

Sri Lanka in push to create Bay of Bengal economic area: PM

Oct 12 (EN) Sri Lanka is working to stitch together a rapidly growing Bay of Bengal economic area with where the island will be linked to key parts of Southern India as a first step, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Sri Lanka's planned Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA) will link fast growing South Indian state with the island creating a 500 billion US dollar economic areas, PM Wickramasinghe said in Colombo. more..

Promise to debate ETCA in Parliament before signing might not be kept

Oct 12 (Island) The govt’s promise to present the final draft of the ETCA for a debate before its inking with India would not be feasible as PM Wickremesinghe had expressed recently that it was his hope that the two countries would sign the agreement by the end of this year, sources said. During his recent visit to India, PM said ETCA would be signed before the year end. "Proposed ETCA will be signed by the end of this year more..

Sri Lankan shares end at 2-week low ahead of corporate results

Oct 12 (Reuters) Shares hit a two-week closing low on Wednesday, their third straight session of losses, as increased risk appetite by foreign investors failed to offset selling pressure on index heavyweights and financials ahead of corporate results. Trading volumes were moderate as cautious investors waited for announcements of corporate results for the September quarter starting later this month and for direction on economic policy when the country's budget is unveiled early Nov, brokers said. more..

SriLankan: A320 Neo aircraft ordered by Frm. managament

Oct 12 (DM) Responding to the media reports published recently that the SriLankan Airlines was adding brand new A320 Neo aircraft to its fleet, the Airline today stated that these aircraft were ordered by the former management of the SriLankan Airlines under the previous Govt. “What we are doing here is dealing with the aircraft orders placed by the previous management. In that process we have managed to save money by either terminating some of the orders or by selectively more..

Bankrupting Sri Lanka

India burn effigies of legendary Sri Lankan king Ravana in Dussehra festival

Oct 12 (EN) Indians burned effigies of King Ravana and family members who according legend ruled SL before migrants from the transformed the island into an Indianzied Hindu-Bhuddist culture like Burma, Thailand and other East Asian regions. In Dussehar festival effigies of King Ravana, who figures in the subcontinental epic Ramayana, his son Meghnada and brother Kumbakarna are burnt with great fanfare. Also known as Lankeshwara, King Ravana is involved in a war with Lord Rama, more..

He gave the broth a miss to escape the peasant’s wrath

Oct 12 (DM) A purohita from the South recently set out on a visit to Rajarata on official business well ahead of the crack of dawn.  The motorcade was cruising along the Puttalam-Anuradhapura road when the chief purohita began feeling the pangs of hunger. While watching out for a wayside tea kiosk to have some bites, the chief one spotted a kola-kenda spot and asked his security guards to stop. The purohita and his escorts, who entered the booth, found a few peasants seated inside more..

President orders probe into nightclub attack

Oct 12 (AD) President has instructed relevant authorities to launch a full-scale investigation into the recent attack on a nightclub in Colombo, which his son has been accused of being involved in.  The night club attack took place in early hours of Saturday when a group allegedly attacked Club Clique, injuring one guard and damaging property. Following day social media and certain local websites had posted reports implicating more..

Court re-issues notices to Ravi and 13 others

Oct 12 (DM) Court of Appeal today re-issued notices to Minister Ravi Karunanayake and 13 others to appear in Court on Nov 7 in regard to a writ petition filed by Ven. Agulugalle Jinananda Thera against the decision of the Finance Ministry to exempt a beer manufacturer in Biyagama from paying the customs levy normally charged. The respondents were not present in Court today despite notices being issued on Sept 27. The petitioners stated that a decision had been taken by more..

Sumanthiran contradicts Ranil’s claim

Oct 12 (CT) TNA’s spokesperson, M.A. Sumanthiran has contradicted a statement made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who recently claimed that all parties in Parliament had agreed to recognize Buddhism as the foremost religion in the country under the new Constitution. Sumanthiran said that, “A steering committee has been appointed, but we have not discussed this matter. Our stand is that there should be a secular constitution where there is no special identification for a single religion, more..

High marks for Exam Dept

Oct 12 (Island) Examinations Department is the most efficient and fraud or corruption free state institution which provided the services with latest technologies, the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has determined. COPA Chairman Lasantha Alagiyawanna said the Examination Department was among 38 public institutions that were examined by the COPA on their performance during the last 10 years. more..

Govt gives Rs12.6bn for Beira Lake facelift

Oct 12 (EN) Cabinet has approved spending Rs12,550 million from the Treasury over four years to fund a project to rehabilitate the Beira Lake in the heart of Colombo. The Beira Lake, which covers about 120 hectares, is helpful in storm water drainage and for  recreational activities and biodiversity, Minister Karunarathne Paranavithana said. Illegal disposal of solid waste and drainage from the surroundings have polluted the water body, he told a news conference. more..

Chauvinist response to large Tamil protest

Oct 12 (wsws) A large protest in the Sri Lankan town of Jaffna, involving thousands of working people and youth, took place on Sept 24 against the continued suppression of the democratic rights of Tamils and the military occupation of the island’s north. The demonstration triggered a hysterical response by the Sinhala-dominated political and media establishment in Colombo. All the Sinhala political parties, along with the Buddhist hierarchy, vociferously condemned the Jaffna action, branding it more..

Video: 30 State, Private importers to get Green Channel at Customs

Oct 12 (DM) SL Customs Department would facilitate thirty Govt and private sector institutes to clear their imports without checking, Customs Spokesman said. He said that the Customs Director General Chulananda Perera had made the decision in order to ease the clearance process and provide the facility to regular importers. The decision was made following several meetings held earlier this week with the Customs more..

Australia launches program to support Sri Lankan women in local govt

Oct 12 (LBO) Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM, launched an Australian-funded program to support the new quota for female representation in local govt. “Supporting women in leadership is a priority for Australia, in our foreign policy and overseas aid program”, said Ambassador Stott Despoja during her first formal visit to SL. “Women bring particular perspectives, priorities and strengths drawn from their life experiences, more..

I will utmost protect freedom, democracy & historical heritage of the country: President

Oct 12 (PMD) “I became the President of Sri Lanka not to separate or divide the country or to weaken the security forces or to remove the place for Buddhism from the constitution as stated in the accusations by some groups, but to do utmost to protect the freedom, democracy and the historical heritage of the country and to build Sri Lanka as a free and democratic country”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. “I have a many responsibilities conferred by the history. more..

UN acknowledges Sri Lanka progress to end child marriages, calls for more actions

Oct 12 (Xinhua) While Sri Lanka has made substantial progress to address child marriages and teenage pregnancies, some Sri Lankan girls are still being deprived of a carefree childhood and the opportunity to realize their full potential, UN agencies said. In a letter to Minister of Women and Child Affairs Chandrani Bandara on the occasion of the Int'l Day of the Girl Child, UNICEF and UN Population Fund called on Colombo more..

China and India to build Colombo Financial City together?

Oct 12 (Forbes) Colombo Financial City has so far been one of the most geopolitically derisive and controversial of all of China’s international development projects. Formerly called Colombo Port City, the 269 hectare business district that is being built on reclaimed land off the coast of Sri Lanka’s capital has drawn the ire of India since the project commenced for the first time in 2014. The reason for this reaction is simple: the $1.4 billion new city of skyscrapers, hotels, and shopping malls more..

Flexible financial scheme for NSBM Green University Students

Oct 12 (CT) A media briefing was held on the 6 Oct to inform of the flexible financial scheme by the Bank of Ceylon for Green University Town, which is set to open on 26 Oct, turning a new leaf in Sri Lankan Higher Education. Designed specifically for the students of the NSBM Green University Town, this scheme lets students pay only the interest in a monthly payment scheme, for a maximum of 4 years of study period, and the total amount could be repaid in 7 years. more..

Police force to grant equal status to women

Oct 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Wednesday it will lift a bar on women reaching the top ranks of the police, as part of wide-ranging reforms to the ailing force. Sri Lanka elected the world’s first woman PM in 1960, but police women have until now been blocked from promotion above senior superintendent, three below the top rank of inspector-general. National Police Commission (NPC) Chairman Siri Hettige said more..

Will Integrity at UN stand up?

Oct 12 (CT) Just after the UN announced that ex-Portugal PM Antonio Guterres had been appointed as the new UN Secretary General, what, asked one man from another, is the best way to reform the UN? The man's glib quip was Shut it down. International media respected for their journalistic integrity, including the respected Deutsche Welle, quotes Johannes Beck the political scientist as saying that the new Secretary-General must urgently reform the UN. However, Antonio Guterres' time more..

SL attempts tricky maritime balancing act

Oct 12 (Nikkei) At the Harbour Room, a shabby restaurant in a British colonial-era hotel in the Sri Lankan capital, diners tuck into a standard Asian buffet and listen to the soporific tones of a pianist. The main draw is the seating near the bay windows, which offer panoramic views of the port of Colombo. These days, the restaurant provides a vantage point for watching the govt's tricky geopolitical balancing act play out in South Asia's busiest harbor. At the heart of govt's dilemma is the expansion of more..

Cabinet approves draft of new anti-terror law

Oct 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said it has approved the draft of a new counter-terrorism law to replace a 37-year-old act to target the new form of transnational violence while ensuring its human rights obligations. Cabinet approved the draft of a new counter-terrorism law. The new law will replace the current Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which was enacted in 1979 in the face of growing Tamil separatist militancy and more..

Appropriation Bill: An estimated expenditure of Rs.1,819 Bn

Oct 12 (DM) 2017 Appropriation Bill shows an estimated expenditure of Rs.1,819 billion with an allocation of Rs.283b, the highest as usual, in the budget for next year and Rs.242b for Finance Ministry. Draft Bill, to be presented in Parliament on Oct 20, has been announced in the gazette. It shows that Rs.160b has been earmarked for Health Ministry, Rs.162b for Higher Education & Highways Ministry, Rs.76b for Education Ministry and Rs. 164b for Public Administration Ministry. more..

UN Rapporteur tells Sri Lanka to focus more on current situation

Oct 12 (CG) The UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Rita Izsák-Ndiaye has urged Sri Lanka to focus on the current situation with regard to human rights and minority issues, rather than dwelling on the past. Rita Izsák-Ndiaye said this when she met with the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M Swaminathan, the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said. more..

Video: JO wants Perpetual Treasuries sealed

Oct 12 (DM) Joint Opposition today questioned whether the unclear manner, in which Perpetual Treasuries Limited earned an excessive profit of Rs. 5 billion by trading Govt Bonds, could fall under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. MP Dinesh Gunawardane claimed that Central Bank (CB) report on the controversial bond issue, had found that the source of earning a profit of Rs. 5 billion was unclear. more..

Night club attack: No arrests yet

Oct 12 (DM) No arrests have been made in connection with the incident where a group of people led by a VVIP's son are alleged to have assaulted security personnel at a leading nightclub last week. Police said today statements recorded by witnesses, victims and CCTV camera footage had not indicated the presence of a VVIP's son at the night club. However, police said investigations are continuing. The security guards are alleged to have been assaulted when they refused more..

Sri Lanka to hold GSP+ talks in Brussels: PM

Oct 12 (EN) Sri Lanka will shortly hold talks with Brussels over restoring GSP Plus trade access to European Union, PM Ranil Wickramasinghe said. Sri Lanka has already filed an application to restore GSP+, which allows freer access to the country's exports. The benefits were suspended over human rights abuses of SL citizens by the ousted Rajapaksa regime, and infringing on their civil and political rights despite international agreements already signed to provide freedom to citizens. more..

President signals end to honeymoon

Oct 12 (EN) President signalled that his honeymoon with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's administration was wearing thin and he would not hesitate to take stern action. In his most hard-hitting remarks since coming to power, Sirisena lambasted the three main anti-graft organisations, including the independent bribery commission, for what he called politically motivated prosecutions. In a more troubling development, he also warned more..

Constitutional reforms at crossroads

Oct 12 (DN) As the formulation of a new constitution becomes the hot topic with the country’s political circles, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, a member of the steering committee handling the new constitution and one of the chief architects of the project, convened a press conference at his residence, in Rajagiriya, on Monday morning. The purpose of the press conference was to brief reporters on the national unity govt’s future course of action, with regard to the new constitution, more..

Countering the drug threat

Oct 12 (DN) Punjab teenager shoots mother for refusing money for drugs. This headline in one of India’s premier newspapers speaks volumes about the tragedy and the grave threat that is facing the social fabric of all the countries, especially Asia. The news story goes on to say how a teenage boy, aged 16, in Kot Dharma village in Punjab’s Mansa district fatally shot his mother Kulwinder Kaur with his father’s licenced gun when she refused to give him money to buy drugs. more..

'Need leaders working tirelessly for women'

Oct 13 (CT) Executive Director of the United Nations Association-UK (UNA-UK) Natalie Samarasinghe is, in short, a campaigner for equality and justice. She co-founded the 1 for 7 billion Campaign which seeks a fair, open and inclusive process to select the UN Secretary-General. Bearing a hefty dossier of achievements, she is also closely involved with Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice of which she is an advisor to board. more..

Ampara Tsunami houses uninhabited

Oct 13 (SL) Some 500 houses built for tsunami affected families have still remained unoccupied in Ampara owing to a legal battle. Minister Vajira Abeywardana has instructed the Govt Agent of Ampara to distribute around 150 houses that were being built since 2009 for the tsunami victims. These houses have been uninhabitable due to the suspension of distributing them to the beneficiaries according to a court order in 2009. The housing project funded by a NGO in Saudi Arabia more..

Navy’s Tribute to a Brave Man: Arrow Boats renamed CEDRIC

Oct 13 (Island) When Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijeguneratne came on Sirasa TV, I asked him about his former colleague and co-founder of Navy’s elite Special Boat Squadron (SBS), the late Commander Cedric Martenstyn. Bandula: Ravi, Any memories of your old friend Cedric Martenstyn? Ravi: Arrow boats that are being used by the SBS are his products. It was his design and we are thinking now to name them as Cedric. He took over the Special Boat Squadron from me when more..

'Property law and dearth of land hinder investors'

Oct 13 (CT) One of the main criticisms against the Rajapaksa administration was their inability to attract Foreign Direct Investment. Since then, United National Front has attempted to stimulate development, economic expansion and growth by attracting foreign investors. Ceylon Today met Chairman of the Board of Investment, Upul Jayasuriya, and obtained his views on the current situation. Q: One of the main criticisms more..