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J'pura Uni to launch degree in tourism and hospitality

Oct 16 (ST) University of Sri J'pura has proposed to start a Bs.c. Marketing Management (Tourism & Hospitality – Sp.) programme under its Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce.  For this purpose an industry advisory panel has been appointed to review the curriculum of the proposed degree programme. The latest industry advisory panel discussion was held on Sep 30 at University of Sri J'pura to further review the proposed curriculum with industry expert opinions, university said. more..

More powers for Divisional Secretaries in run up to new Constitution

Oct 16 (Island) More powers are to be devolved to Divisional Secretaries in the run up to formulation of a new Constitution. The move comes amidst a Parliamentary Steering Committee gathering proposals made by Sub Committees on various subjects with regard to improvements required to the current Constitution. Its report is to be presented to the House prior to the Budget. On a proposal by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, more..

ICTA says Loon Project not abandoned

Oct 16 (SO) Project Loon will get off ground with the arrival of balloons from Google next month, ICTA Program Manager Information Infrastructure, S. Gavashkar said. Dismissing rumours about the failure in getting the project off the ground and Google abandoning the project in SL, Gavashkar said the next test will take place after the balloons arrive and the rest of the procedure will follow thereafter. more..

Big guys barred from regional contracts

Oct 16 (ST) In a new move, Govt is barring large scale contractors from bidding for contracts estimated at up to Rs. 50 million and limiting these to only smaller contractors.  The plan is aimed at helping regional contractors to prosper. Normally large contractors crowd out smaller ones even in their own regions resulting in smaller contractors losing out unfairly, industry sources said.  Last month, the Finance Ministry issued a circular limiting the invitation to bids for smaller construction more..

Turkey helps Trinco fishing and farming communities

Oct 16 (SO) Turkey will donate 80 fishing boats, 400 fishing nets, 30 electric water pumps and 30 kerosene water pumps to fishing and farming communities in Trincomalee today in Kinniya. The fishing and agriculture equipment is donated by the Turkish Int'l Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the development arm of the Turkish govt, as part of Turkey’s ongoing development assistance program to support the livelihoods of fishing and farming communities in the area. more..

Labor pact with Sri Lanka safeguards rights of both parties, says new CG

Oct 16 (AN) Recruitment of labor from Sri Lanka enjoys a smooth sail following the recent agreement between the Kingdom and the island, Sri Lanka's Consul General Faizer Mackeen said in Jeddah on Thursday. The consul general was speaking to Arab News soon after presenting his commission of appointment to Ambassador Ahmad Tayeb, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in western province, more..

FCID files charges against Udayanga

Oct 16 (CT) FCID has filed charges, in the Fort Magistrate's Court, against SL's former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga over his alleged involvement in the controversial MiG deal. The charges were filed on 12 Oct. They point out that, Weeratunga, deputy Ambassador Kulasena Thanthirige and two Ukrainians representing the Ukrainian State-owned aerospace manufacturing company Yuzhmash, signed a deal to purchase MiG aircraft for SL Air Force on July 26, 2006, more..

Over 300 man-made fires in 4 months: DMC

Oct 16 (CT) Thousands of acres have been destroyed by over 300 man-made forest fires during the past four months according to the DMC. The fires have occurred around the country, including the environmentally high sensitive areas such as Horton Plains, which is the most valuable forest reserve in the country, Knuckles Range and the Namunukula forest reserve. "Sri Lanka has no wildfires. All these fires are man-made. The Police arrest those who set fire to the forests. more..

Plot thickens in Sri Lanka editor's murder

Oct 16 (EN) Police investigating the hanging of an ex-military intelligence officer after claiming responsibility for the murder of editor Lasantha Wickrematunga found his telephone records mysteriously wiped out. Ilandarige Jayamanne, 52, was found hanging at his kitchen Friday along with a hand-written note claiming he killed the anti-establishment editor in 2009, two years after he retired from the army in 2007. more..

'SriLankan officials still under investigation'

Oct 16 (ST) SriLankan Airlines officials continue to be questioned by investigators on the previous regime’s controversial decision to lease A350-900 aircraft, and the award of the airport’s Duty-Free tender, its Chairman, Ajith Dias said this week. Both cases were exposed in the Weliamuna Report which accused SriLankan’s top officials and employees of financial misappropriation. “These are being investigated to date and our officers gave information even during the last few weeks,” more..

Drought forces delay in Maha with more trouble to come

Oct 16 (ST) The delay in the second inter-monsoon of the year has prompted the Department of Irrigation to postpone the Maha cultivation season to November, with the risk of a reduced harvest. The second inter-monsoon normally starts during the beginning of October and is expected to be in full swing by the end of the month with the Maha season normally starting by mid-October. Although rain fell last week there were no heavy showers and the falls received were insufficient for cultivation. more..

President, UNP discuss crisis at late night meeting

Oct 16 (ST) For the first time in his 21-month tenure as President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena fired strong salvos at his own UNF Govt led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He warned he would take action if the CID, FCID and BC were working on a political agenda. He said he was displeased and even disgusted at the manner in which former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and three former Commanders of Navy were hauled up more..

Trump threatens to prosecute Hillary, Sirisena threatens prosecutors of Gota

Oct 16 (Island) Donald Trump is in a free fall in the US presidential election. Facing what appears to be certain defeat he is behaving like a wounded Neanderthal and is threatening to take down the American political system with him. He is riling his base for a post-election showdown, accusing the political and media elites of rigging the electoral system to engineer his defeat. He is equally rousing his followers with his (empty) victory promise to subject Hillary Clinton to more..

A comprehensive convention on International Terrorism; a role for Sri Lanka

Oct 16 (Island) Sri Lanka fielded it’s ‘A’ team led by President Sirisena for 71st UNGA in New York, attended by scores of Heads of State and Govt of its 193 member states. President spoke of enough experience with a brutal war, of making "people of SL the happiest people on earth" and called on the international community to help his country on its path to achieving long-term peace. Reference was also made to Theravada Buddhism, though its relevance is questionable. more..

Govt withdraws proposed amendment to CPC

Oct 16 (ST) Govt will withdraw Criminal Procedure Code amendments that sought to deny access to lawyers prior to recording statements of suspects arrested and detained by Police. Amendment was to allow a lawyer access to suspects only after the Police recorded their statement. The decision to withdraw the amendment was made at Tuesday’s weekly meeting of Cabinet of Ministers and comes as a blow to Minister more..

Nepal requests Sri Lanka to reconsider death penalty

Oct 16 (MR) Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is presently in Goa in course of attending the BRICS- BIMSTEC Outreach Summit, today called on President Maithiripala Sirisena.  On the occasion, matters relating to operating direct flights between the two countries and hosting the stalled 19th SAARC Summit were discussed at the meeting held at local Leela Hotel. During the meeting, PM Dahal said more..

Rs 1,354 billion cut in expenditure

Oct 16 (CT) Govt expenditure has been clipped by Rs 1,354 billion for the financial year 2017 at Rs 1,819 billion, Draft Appropriation Bill gazetted last week shows. Projected expenditure for the President is Rs 6.4 billion, an increase of Rs 4 billion against the Rs 2.3 billion allocated in 2015. Rs 1.2 billion has been allocated for the office of the PM. Another notable ministry that has received an allocation higher than its 2016 allocation is more..

Plantation Unions reject wage increase

Oct 16 (CT) Plantation trade unions refused to sign the collective agreement with the Employers' Federation last Friday because some of the conditions in the original collective agreement signed in 1992 had been replaced with conditions which are detrimental to worker welfare. Chairman of the CWC Nuwara Eliya District MP Muttu Sivalingam told Ceylon Today that the decision had been taken at a discussion more..

TNA to modify unacceptable new anti-terror draft law in parliament

Oct 16 (ST) The TNA, which is highly dissatisfied with the SL govt’s new draft law to replace the existing draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), is confident about getting it modified when it comes before the oversight committees of parliament. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that he would take it up when it comes before the two relevant Parliamentary Oversight Committees, one on Justice and the other on National Security, more..

Central Expressway cost increases by Rs. 12 billion

Oct 16 (ST) The Govt is in talks with China’s Exim Bank to fund the first section of the Central Expressway which the contractor, Metallurgical Construction Company (MCC) of China, has now priced at Rs. 158 billion–or Rs 12 billion more than originally stated. The increase in cost is both due to the inclusion of a 12km viaduct in the road design and a failure of govt to negotiate sufficient savings from another project carried out by MCC, more..

Sweeping changes at Central Bank?

Oct 16 (SO) As the CID makes preparation to launch a full-scale investigation into the leak of information last week from within the Central Bank, bank authorities have initiated comprehensive internal reforms to correct systems and prevent a similar breach of security in the future. CID would launch investigations into the leak tomorrow, after CB Governor Dr. Coomaraswamy requested Police involvement, more..

CPC amendments shelved

Oct 16 (SO) It was at the beginning of this year that Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe tabled the proposal to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC Act no 15 of 1979) before the Cabinet and green light given to go ahead with the necessary amendments. Ten months down the line we have come to a standstill as the amendments have attracted criticism almost from all corners, including stakeholders pertaining to matter. more..

FCID to file fresh case against Basil

Oct 16 (CT) The FCID will conclude more investigations very soon and frame a new charge sheet against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa in connection with the super-luxury Rs 240 million house in Pugoda. This comes in a sequel to two witnesses making statements in the Pugoda Magistrate's Court last Friday disowning the newly constructed Rs 240 million luxury house, and to the contrary stating that house under reference is in fact owned by more..

DPL immunity for int'l Organisation staff

Oct 16 (ST) The Govt will present to Parliament an Order made under the Diplomatic Privileges Act of 1996, in relation to several UN Organisations as well as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) among others, to correct a procedural fault that has resulted in them being hauled up before courts, even in instances where diplomatic immunity is due to them. The relevant Gazette was issued this week by Minister of Foreign Affairs more..

Plantation labour & Their labour to obtain a decent wage

Oct 17 (CT) It is true that the plantation labour was brought to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) by the British Rulers during the early 19th Century. Both countries were under the British Rule. At that time, none of the Ceylon politicians made any tangible effort to protest against the influx of the Indian labour. Ceylonese labour was not willing to fall a prey to the designs of the British. They were aware of the immense hardship one has to undergo in preparing the land to plant Tea, Rubber and Coconut. more..

Is this counter-terrorism in a far deadlier garb?

Oct 17 (ST) A draft policy and legal framework aimed at a new law on counter-terrorism to replace Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) may well be a classic case of the cure being far worse than the disease. A bare reading of the draft immediately gives rise to several questions that gravely impact on the protection of life and liberty. As reported, the Cabinet has forwarded the draft to a parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security. more..

Bamba Flats await new look

Oct 17 (SO) The govt earlier this year announced its plans to launch various housing and related development programs beneficial to citizens, leading up to year 2017 which has been declared as the Year of Alleviation of Poverty. While a number of such plans by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) are already under way the government has looked at the redevelopment of existing public housing. more..

Sex & American Politics

Oct 17 (CT) What is the number one issue in American politics? Is it Muslims, Mexicans, ISIS, taxes, building a wall, deleted emails, or sex? Yes, sex always trumps everything else when it comes to politics in this country. But, now, it is not just sex; it is sexual assault, not consensual sex that happens when each partner willingly chooses to participate. I was stunned and literally had goosebumps when I heard for the first time what Trump had said about grabbing women’s vaginas with his octopus more..

Plight of drought-hit Moneragala

Oct 17 (CT) If one were to drive down to Moneragala (Peacock Rock), in the Uva Province, then one could experience the intense heat that pervades the atmosphere in most parts of the country. This is due to the drought that now prevails. The damage caused by the drought is so severe that one sees acres and acres of land, that was once green, now turned brown and in some places black. The Diyaluma Waterfall, which was a sight to behold and a tourist attraction, was a shadow of itself more..

The rise and collapse of Mihin

Oct 17 (CT) This is the sad saga of the rise and fall of SL's first budget carrier – Mihin Lanka. It all began when some Hambantota District constituents complained to former President Rajapaksa that they were severely inconvenienced when they had to travel by air to Buddhist places of worship in India, such as Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, et al. They pointed out the inconveniences of travelling via Madras and New Delhi. more..

Failing greatly

Oct 17 (Island) In a recent interview on guest editing the most recent issue of US edition of Wired magazine, President Obama talks about a number of ideas related to science, technology, economics and politics. The incredible breadth and depth of the outgoing US President’s knowledge around what he is asked, without the input of any outsider or advisor, beggars belief. Reading the interview, freely available online on Wired’s website, prompted an observation and question I posed more..

Editorial: Winged leaders

Oct 17 (Island) It looks as if the govt politicians were vying with one another to visit the most number of countries in the least possible time. More abroad than here, they seem to be making up for lost time. Most of what they do overseas can be easily left to the Foreign Minister. Why keep a dog and bark yourself? Indian PM Narendra Modi may not take kindly to Sri Lankan leaders’ globetrotting cynics say. For, he seems determined to set a world record as the most travelled leader in the world more..

JVP press conference

Coalition reset after President’s outburst over corruption probes

Oct 17 (SO) President Sirisena’s speech at a military welfare event in Colombo, on Wednesday, created an unexpected controversy in the country’s political sphere. In his fiery speech, the President hit out at FCID, CID and BC for carrying out investigations to benefit what he termed as political agendas. Expressing his strong displeasure over producing former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and three former Navy Commanders before court, the President said independent commissions more..

Diplomats call Ministers as aracks Appear

Oct 17 (SL) Diplomatic circles were abuzz on Thursday as speculation spread that the police had been placed on standby following what seemed to be a rift in the cohabitation govt. News spread that the police had been deployed to prevent clashes between supporters of the UNP and the SLFP in the event both sides publicly announced a political divorce. Govt sources said that a statement made by President Sirisena and some SLFP members on investigations being conducted on more..

ETCA and undercurrents

Oct 17 (CT) ETCA drama has once again bounced onto centre stage in the political arena after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's announcement a few days ago that it will be signed within the year. This came as a surprise to some, as one report suggested that it will be signed only in March next year. Two govts are on record as having said, there was no need for haste in entering into ETCA agreement. It was speculated that govt intended to fast-track ETCA more..

Bank’s legal officer in sexual harassment case

Oct 17 (DM) A legal officer in a State bank had been accused of sexually abusing two women employees in the same office. The two victims have already lodged a complaint with the Mirihana Police, the Police said. According to one of the victims the suspect had accused the victims of filing petitions to the management against him and threatened them. “He came so close to me almost leaning against my body and abused me while scolding me with filth. This is despite me explaining to him more..

The rebranding of Mahinda as the born again ultimate liberal

Oct 17 (ST) The scarlet satakaya is still there but gone is the strident oratory, the purpled emotive prose that made 5 million people worship at his altar last year, as the liberator of the nation, Dutugamunu style. Mahinda Rajapaksa has at long last come to realise that beating the hackneyed drum of Sinhala chauvinism will no longer suffice to ensure a return to power without the support and vote of all sections of Great Lankan public. No doubt he has come a long way to arrive at this milepost. more..

Asia Rugby 7s: Sri Lanka flops at home: Finish fourth; HK champs again

Oct 17 (DN) Sri Lanka lost to China for the second time in the Asians Rugby Seven’s Series-3rd leg when they were beaten 21 (3 tries, 3 conversions) to 22 (4 tries, 1 conversion) in the play-off for third/fourth place at the Racecourse Int'l Stadium yesterday. Sri Lanka who finished second in the first two legs thus had to be satisfied with fourth place with China taking third spot. Sri Lanka at one point led 21-7 but conceded the game more..

Asia Capital partners Japan’s Belluna for $ 50 m luxury apartment complex in the city

Oct 17 (FT) Asia Capital PLC, in collaboration with Japanese foreign investor and partner Belluna Co. Ltd., last week launched an exclusive apartment development project in the upscale Union Place location at a project cost of over $ 50 million (Rs. 7.3 b).  Luna Tower – Four Four Seven is a 200-apartment building located centrally at Union Place, offering speedy and convenient access to the commercial and entertainment areas of Colombo. Its unparalleled location offers more..