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President’s outburst on policy dissonance leads to formation of coordinating committee

Oct 15 (ENS) The recent public outburst of President Sirisena over being kept in the dark about certain key decisions of the administration led by PM Wickemesinghe, has led to the decision to set up a committee to coordinate policies in matters of national and political importance. The panel will keep track of the investigations into the questionable deals of Rajapaksa govt; treatment meted out to top officials of MR regime; more..

Champika calls for investment in sustainable development

Oct 15 (DN) Though economic growth is essential to Sri Lanka’s ongoing development, investing in sustainable development is even more important, Minister Champika Ranawaka said at 110th Annual Sessions of the Institution of Engineers, SL yesterday. “Sustainable development relies on three equally important pillars: economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social equality. And of course in the development vision of the Ministry of Megapolis, there is a fourth pillar, more..

Soldier who claimed he killed Lasantha, previously arrested

Oct 15 (DN) The retired army officer who hung himself after claiming responsibility for the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunga had been previously arrested. CID opened investigation into the case, and initial findings revealed the retired officer had been previously arrested for maintaining a safe house stocked with weapons at Millennium City. Body of the 51-year-old retired officer was found yesterday, together with a note confessing he had committed murder of Wickremetunga. more..

Two Lankans to give evidence at int'l tribunal on Monsanto in the Hague

Oct 15 (Island) Head of Faculty of Medicine, Rajarata University Dr Channa Jayasumana challenged those including scientists and academics urging the govt to lift the ban on glyphosate to come for an open debate for one full day either on a television channel or at a colloquium. He said each side could comprise six members. Addressing a news conference at the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency more..

Top post for RADA suspect

Oct 15 (ST) Cabinet has decided to appoint Saliya Wickremesuriya as Director General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat on a contract basis. The decision came after a lengthy discussion by ministers. They decided to ask Petroleum Resources Ministry Secretary to report back to the Cabinet on the status of the judicial proceedings against Mr. Wickremesuriya. He is one of the suspects in the RADA case where indictments have been prepared by the Attorney General. more..

IGP fails in cocktail courtesy

Oct 15 (ST) Former Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon was annoyed that his successor Pujith Jayasundera had not followed a time-honoured tradition. That was for the incumbent Police Chief to personally extend an invitation to his predecessor for a cocktail party to mark the Police Department’s 150th anniversary. The invitation, instead, had been handed down to Mr. Illangakoon by a Sub Inspector. Leave aside traditions, courtesy demanded that an IGP invite his predecessor, personally. more..

'University intake to be increased by 10%'

Oct 15 (DM) State Minister Mohan Lal Grero said the ministry was targeting to increase the annual intake of state Universities by 10% in 2017. “We are planning to increase the University intake annually by 10% as we successful this year to increase it by 10%,” he said. He said approximately 300 000 students were sat for the A/L exam last year and 150000 were qualified to pursue higher education & only 27500 students could enroll more..

Civil Society wants reforms agenda in place

Oct 15 (DN) Attorney-at-law and Human Rights Lawyer, J.C. Weliamuna said Civil Society Organisations, in his personal view would only stand by the govt as long as the reform agenda was in place. “We supported the govt on the condition that reforms would be made and for this, the govt needs two thirds majority in Parliament. The pre-condition for this is that the President and PM who are from two different parties work together,” Weliamuna said. “Civil society doesn’t want to see a split, more..

Increase in hazards in manufacturing, construction & tourism industries

Oct 15 (ST) It will be a conference with a difference. While there will be the singing of the National Anthem and the lighting of the traditional oil lamp, as are customary, five minutes will be devoted as the Safety Moment. This will comprise a presentation or video clip about what the participants should do in case of an emergency such as a fire and will set the tone for the 6th Asian Occupational Safety and Health Research Institutes Meeting from October 10 to 12 at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo. more..

Power failure due to tripping of Norchcholai Coal Power Plant

Oct 15 (NR) Power generation at the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai has resumed. CEB said the technical issue reported in the transmitting line has been resolved. Accordingly the power supply to the North and North Central Provinces have also been restored. CEB in the morning informed that the Norochcholai coal power plant was shut down once again owing to a technical issue. A disruption in the power supply more..

TISL displeased over President’s statement

Oct 15 (NR) Transparency International SL says the recent statement made by President against investigative bodies has challenged the integrity of law enforcement bodies in the country. Senior Manager, Advocacy and Public Relations of Transparency International Shan Wijetunge said persons involved in fraud and corruption will capitalise on such remarks by the Head of State. President Sirisena speaking at an event earlier this week warned he will be compelled to more..

Lankan Jonas missed the Thresher Sharks

Oct 15 (ST) An international conference to bring the global community together to tackle the world’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities took place in Johannesburg, South Africa last month. The event was also important to Sri Lanka as the country was proposing that a variety of sharks, the Thresher Sharks, be included in the endangered species list. A Wildlife Conservation Department delegation attended the event, but at the time of the presentation proposing that more..

Formation of Siva Senai seen as a regressive step in Sri Lankan Tamil politics

Oct 15 (ENS) Formation of a Hindu political group Siva Senai (Siva’s Army), with the vowed purpose of defending SL Tamil Hindus from other religious groups and securing for the Hindus their rightful place in Tamil political parties commensurate with their dominant status in Tamil society, is seen by observers as a regressive development in SL Tamil politics. Veteran columnist D.B.S.Jeyaraj sees it as an attempt to more..

'Too soon to draw conclusions about suicide of intelligence officer'

Oct 15 (NR) IGP Pujith Jayasundara says the CID has launched an investigation into the suicide of a former intelligence officer who died in Dehipitiya, Kegalle this week. The IGP made this statement in Vavuniya today. He said many factors must be taken into consideration before considering the allegations the victim made in an apparent suicide note. The IGP said personal issues, professional issues and other factors that may have led to his suicide must be investigated. more..

Rameswaram fishermen call off strike, resume work

Oct 15 (ANI) In Tamil Nadu, fishermen from Rameswaram resumed fishing from early today after calling off their week- long strike. The fishermen had resorted to strike urging immediate release of fishing boats detained by Sri Lanka. The fishermen urged the government to secure 115 fishing boats detained by Sri Lanka and have asserted that their livelihood is badly affected as they are unable to continue fishing without their fishing boats. Moreover, the boats are getting damaged as more..

Swindler's List: 20 MPs caught selling vehicle permits

Oct 15 (CT) The CIABOC, Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe‘s corruption has been reported to the President by public interest litigation activist and lawyer Nagananda Kodituwakku. This complaint is based on the alleged failure on the part of the DG to initiate a credible and independent inquiry. The activist’s complaint to the President is backed by credible evidence about the patent abuse of this tax-free car permit scheme by MPs. more..

Political priorities and Constitution making

Oct 16 (NS) Constitutional expert and MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickremeratne has requested all the political parties to be flexible and support the govt’s efforts to draft a new Constitution. He has also indicated that this is the most opportune moment to come up with a Constitution that will be fitting for the country. As he had pointed out we should neither delay the process too much nor should we try to do it in a hurry. What it means is that if we try to do it in a hurry we will end up with more..

Lasantha and friction in ruling camp

Oct 16 (Island) The investigation into the Lasantha Wickramatunga assassination has taken many twists and turns, some of them bizarre like yesterday’s suicide of a retired Sergeant Major of the Military in Investigation Unit who has taken the blame for the killing and asked that his friend now in custody, also a member of military intelligence, be released. Ordinary people still do not know for sure whether Wickramatunga was shot dead, bludgeoned or stabbed with pointed instruments. more..

'UNP wants LG elections soon'

Oct 16 (CT) Our party wants the LG Elections to be held soon without delaying it until June 2017, UNP MP Nalin Bandara said. Q: There seems to be some debate on the new Constitution and that there are moves to pass it without place it before the people. Do you have any idea whether and when the govt will go for a Referendum to get the approval of the public? A: First and foremost the new Constitution has not even been presented more..

Independence of Judiciary restored

Oct 16 (CT) Exactly two months ago President Sirisena as Chief Guest at the 29th Anniversary Conference of LAWASIA held in Colombo said that independence of SL's Judiciary has been restored and must stay that way, as the international community including the UNHRC is closely watching its development. He added, I can assure you that we are on the right path, though several things remain to be done. President then stressed that to create a just society, the rule of law and more..

Quo vadis the fight against corruption

Oct 16 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena wanted something off his chest. Speaking at a military event, the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defence made it publicly known that he had nothing to do with the recent dragging of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and one-time Service Commanders to court on bribery charges where they faced the indignity of languishing in a cell while their bail was furnished as the law demands. more..

Free education and SAITM: The raging battle

Oct 16 (Island) The fight for free education today is a fiercely raging battle, often ending in the streets. SAITM accused of being a fee-levying entity, with dubious roots, unqualified educators and inadequate facilities, is pinpointed as the threat. Yet, SAITM continues to steamroll despite calls to close or nationalize it. Two bitterly opposing camps, one supporting SAITM and the other opposing, stands irrevocably divided. more..

New horizons Inevitable transitions in life

Oct 16 (CT) After Chanaka Amaratunge's death I had to take charge of the Liberal Party, for there was no one else left of the intellectual giants Chanaka had gathered around him, or even his close friends, who had formed the core of the party. Asitha, who had been his principal ally when the Council for Liberal Democracy first went into action during 1982 referendum, had let him down after the 1994 election & joined SLMC to ensure he kept Parliamentary seat of which he had deprived more..

President Sirisena seeking exit strategy?

Oct 16 (Island) To say that President Sirisena caused a flutter with his outburst against CID, FCID and BC at a ceremony held to distribute land and houses to disabled soldiers, would be an understatement. Various people have come up with various interpretations of why the president lashed out at these institutions. Some say that this was in retaliation for the release of CCTV footage of the attack on Clique night club in which his son Daham is alleged to have been involved. more..

Arjuna Ranathunga

Prasanna Vithanage’s Usaviya Nihandayi (Silence in the Courts)

Oct 16 (Island) Invited to the premier of Usaviya Nihandayi produced by H D Premasiri and Prasanna Vithanage and directed by Vithanage at the Regal Cinema on October 4, I returned with my head in a fair whirl and my sensibility determined to unravel the questions and opinions and write a comment on the one hour Sinhala film with English subtitling. I had to hold my critical horses, however, due to a court injunction delaying the public screening of the film. more..

Faiszer confuses Parliament with court

Oct 16 (Island) There’s a pithy Sinhala saying about teachers, students and urination: Gura hitagena hujja karana kota golayo duva duva hujja karanava (If the teacher urinates while standing, then the students would urinate while running). Soon after President firing verbal salvos against FCID, CID and CIABOC we see his SLFP ministers in the govt queuing up to give voice cuts criticizing those institutions, but in a nastier way. This was also seen after President criticized proposals on VAT. more..

Double, don’t trouble

Oct 16 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because many people- including myself – have begun wondering whether there is someone who looks exactly like you who is going around impersonating you at important public functions these days. Please let me explain why we think so, Maithri. This week, we heard someone who looks just like you and dresses like you speaking at a function. He blamed many people for more..

Independent Inquiry @ SriLankan Airlines goes awry

Oct 16 (Island) Shortly after the recent fiasco of a captain at SriLankan Airlines being found under the influence of alcohol at the time of reporting to operate a flight out of Frankfurt, the airline introduced random breathalyzer tests for flight crew. Soon after its introduction, a senior captain was requested to undergo such a test when he reported for duty at BIA. The request was supposedly made by three security personnel without the presence of a qualified medical staff. more..

Merril calls for private-public expert body to sort out tea

Oct 16 (Island) Tea icon Merril. J. Fernando has propose that the govt appoints a high-powered independent expert body with representation from both govt and the private sector to review, radically revamp and replace the current structures governing the tea industry. Fernando of Dilmah fame, has suggested a 7-member body with three experts from govt and four from the private sector, all persons with known achievements and integrity, to frame rules and regulations more..

What India’s next step in East?

Oct 16 (CT) Last Wednesday could have been just another day had not President Sirisena taking institutions such as CID, FCID and CIABOC to task during a public gathering in Colombo where he lambasted those saying those were established to build a country that protects independence, democracy and human rights and free of bribery, corruption and malpractices and not to fulfil agendas of certain individuals or political parties. more..

Dilmah posts four-year high after-tax profit

Oct 16 (Island) Ceylon Tea Services (CTS), Merril J. Fernando company which will soon be renamed Dilmah Ceylon Tea Company, has posted its best profit in four years of Rs. 1.615 billion after tax, up 33.3% from Rs. 801.47 million a year earlier and paid a dividend of Rs. 30 per share against Rs. 22.50 the previous year, in the year ended March 31, 2016. Revenue was down 1.6% to Rs. 7.24 billion due to what Fernando said was a marginal drop in volume. But gross margins improved more..

Political brats drunk with power

Oct 16 (NS) Just when you thought that all our political offspring are now civilised, they have hit the headlines again. It was only a few weeks ago that cricketer and political brat Ramith Rambukwella, son of former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was charged with drunken driving. Rambukwella has a colourful history, once even attempting to open the door of an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol and on another occasion using his influence to intimidate the Principal of his school but more..

Sri Lanka hit by injury worries

Oct 16 (ST) With only nine days left for departure for their short series against Zimbabwe, Lankan contingent is still afflicted by a series of injury obstacles. Cricket manager Charith Senanayake put a brave face and said “This is the opportunity for the youngsters to raise their hands and grab the opportunity. It’s bad that we are in this situation, but, at the same time we have to consider it as an opportunity for fringe players”. more..

Groom dies in bride’s arms

Oct 16 (CT) He moved away leaving her behind with a sorrowful heart. She blossomed like a flower whenever she saw him, but now he is no more before her eyes. Time they walked together has ended. He took her hand on the traditional Poruwa on an auspicious time amid traditional customs. But while they were going to the hotel for honeymoon, he said he was tired and kept his head on her shoulder. She felt his warm breath. Are you sick? she asked. Instead of replying, he started more..

Balance of power

Oct 16 (SO) President Maithripala Sirisena last week strongly criticised the current functioning of certain govt institutions that are key to the fulfilment of the National Unity Govt’s electoral mandate. These are institutions that are at the forefront of the fight against corruption of all kinds in the public sector, namely the CID, the FCID and, the BC. The gist of the President’s criticism seems to focus on two aspects of these agencies current operations: the manner very senior defence services officers more..

Asian Rugby 7’s: China stuns SL 24-14

Oct 16 (SO) China stunned hosts Sri Lanka virtually thrashing them in their last group game by 24 points (4 tries, 2 conversions) to 14 (2 tries, 2 conversions) in Asian Rugby Seven’s series 3rd and final leg which took place at the Racecourse Int'l Stadium, Reid Avenue yesterday. China led 14-7 at lemons. Even though Sri Lanka lost, they have booked a berth in the semi-finals today with the opposite group leaders Hong Kong, more..

Sri Lanka Women beat Singapore 10-5

Oct 16 (SO) After losing their first two matches to Hong Kong 17-12 and to China 27-0 Sri Lanka women’s rugby team winger Dulani Pallikondage’s two crucial tries saw them winning their final group stage match against Singapore by 15 points to 5 at the Asian Rugby Seven’s series 3rd and final leg at the Racecourse international stadium yesterday. The third try for the Sri Lankans was scored by vastly experience speedy centre Anusha Attanayake. more..

Performance based contracts to the fore

Oct 16 (Island) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has made a hue and cry about the payments made to national cricketers earlier this week. Had he done his research, he would have been more careful with the choice of words before jumping the gun. Sri Lanka’s cricketers in general are among the lowest paid in the world. For example, the annual contract of Steven Smith is one million Australian Dollars, ten times more than that of Angelo Mathews, his Sri Lankan counterpart. more..

Tearful Anitha vows to comeback

Oct 16 (ST) Pole vault sensation Anitha Jegathesewaran failed to maintain her reputation as she painted a poor picture at the All-Island National School Games Athletic Championships which continued at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy yesterday. 19-year-old athlete from Mahajana College Jaffana came into the limelight by creating a new SL record in the Women’s pole vault event at the recent National Sports Festival worked off more..