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PM talks with key factions representing European Parliament: Focus on GSP+

Oct 20 (NF) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is on a visit to Brussels, held talks with several factions representing the European Parliament. Following the talks, the premier made a statement on the GSP Plus Concessions. PM Wickremesinghe said, the EU has a clear picture on the govt led by President Sirisena and they are prepared to support the country and provide aid to the people. “I have no doubt that we will be more..

Will man’s superiority be this ultimate undoing? 

Oct 21 (CT) A long time ago, our ancestors were insignificant animals that roamed the Earth alongside other animals. Prehistoric humans were unimportant, but today in contrast, we think we control this planet. In everything we do, we act with a sense of superiority to other animals, although our Human-ness is questionable in terms of superiority. Furthermore, we fail individually in our survival skills if we only had nature at our disposal, in contrast to a wild animal which will generally succeed. more..

Tamil mytho-maniacs heading towards Nandikadal again

Oct 21 (CT) After attending the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, 2012, Dr. Noel Nadesan, novelist and Editor of the Australian Uthayam, and I were hanging around at the airport waiting to catch our flight back to Melbourne. As we had oodles of time on our hands we decided to have a coffee, more to dispel the boredom than for the need of a stimulant. On the way to the nearest coffee bar we bumped into amiable Gary Anandasangaree, the son of V. Anandasangaree, the veteran Tamil politician more..

I am not a Wigneswaran: Udaya

Oct 21 (SL) Q: You have been vehemently opposing the VAT increase and have gone even to the Supreme Court against the new VAT Bill claiming that it had been gazetted before it received Cabinet endorsement. Can you explain why you oppose it? A: Govt has demonstrated their incapacity to govern the country with this whole procedure. VAT Bill we found is inconsistent with 2,4,12 & 14 of Constitution. more..

JO banks on Co-op elections

Oct 21 (SO) Joint Opposition (JO) front liners boast that their recent political rally at Ratnapura was a total success, to realize their future goals, and reiterated that they have already opened discussions with all anti-govt forces, political parties, and intellectuals, regardless of their ideologies, to form a broad alliance to oppose the Govt. UPFA MP Ranjith de Zoysa said, the day the SLFP hierarchy expels 40 SLFP MPs in the JO and other PC and PS members from the party, more..

60th Anniv of Maname: Play’s the thing…

Oct 21 (SO) Maname - the word, the name, the title, is almost an institution by itself. The very utterance Maname is wrapped with almost a sense of sanctity when spoken by practitioners in Sinhala theatre. Sri Lankan theatre finds in this classic work by the late great maestro, Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra, a height of literary and theatrical accomplishment that is possibly unrivalled, and unmatched. This year marks a significant milestone for this revered work of Sinhala theatre and celebrations of State more..

I wish my ministry gets lead role: Mano G.

Oct 21 (SL) Q: Are you satisfied with the pace and manner the reconciliation process is taking place? A: Yes and No. There are two sets of challenges we face on the general subject of Reconciliation. One is external challenges from Sinhala, Tamil & Muslim extremism. Political extremists too challenge us on their own agenda. External challengers are dealt with. They have been told that this country belongs to all and everybody. more..

Uma Oya results in more pain than gain

Oct 21 (SL) Uduperuwa village in Bandarawela is not a place which has had any shortage of water in its history. But unfortunately, several villages in Bandarawela district including Uduperuwa are now facing a serious water crisis. Residents are faced with a severe shortage of water. Apart from that, many houses in these areas have also cracked and become unsuitable to live in. Root cause for these problems is not a natural phenomenon but the construction of Uma Oya project. more..

Lasantha Murder: More details emerge

Oct 21 (SL) Former IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne and DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara, whose names are now in the midst of a controversy over the mysterious disappearance of The Sunday Leader Founding Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge’s notebook, are to face the death penalty if found guilty for the murder of two Tamil youths in Vavuniya, whose motor bicycle was used to implicate LTTE involvement with Wickrematunge’s assassination. more..

Ajith P. Perera

Usaviya Nihandai: A documentary based on fiction?

Oct 21 (Island) Prasanna Vitanage’s new film Usaviya Nihandai has run into controversy with the Colombo District Court issuing an interim injunction order banning the screening of this film on an application made by a former Magistrate Lenin Ratnayake. We have had movies based on the life stories or the deeds and misdeeds of various criminals like Maru Sira, Yakadaya and Saradiel but this was the first time a film had been based on the alleged misdeeds of a Magistrate. more..

Need to rebrand Sri Lanka conflict

Oct 21 (Island) Decades prior to May 2009, when the armed conflict in Sri Lanka ended, the conflict had been branded as an ethnic one. Subsequently, the LLRC in their report categorized it as a conflict between a state and a non-state actor. The Army in its report covering the period July 2006 to May 2009 branded the conflict as a Humanitarian Operation. The Darusman report and the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OISL), branded the conflict more..

Russia wants asbestos ban reconsidered

Oct 21 (FT) Russia, a major exporter of Chrysotile fibre, has appealed to the SL Govt to reconsider its proposed asbestos ban and work with stakeholders to find a mutually acceptable solution to address health issues, which it believes are overblown.  At the recently held AGM of the SL-Russia Business Council, Russian Ambassador Alexander Karchava appealed to the council to intervene in govt’s decision to ban the use of more..

Editorial: It’s curtain-up

Oct 21 (Island) The hurly-burly is not done. The battle is yet to be lost and won. Enter Sirisena with Dilrukshi’s scalp in one hand and a toledo in the other, strutting about with stylised steps and looking around triumphantly. On an escritoire richly ornamented with carvings yonder over lies a docket with the acronym, COPE, embossed thereon. Mahendran, drenched in sweat and shivering, is hiding behind an arras. One may have thus described the beginning of Yahapalana play more..

Third unofficial Test evenly poised

Oct 21 (Island) Sri Lanka ‘A’ were 211 for five at stumps on day three of the third and final unofficial Test against West Indies ‘A’ at Dambulla yesterday. The hosts lead by 285 runs with five wickets in hand. An early declaration is expected today, the fourth and final day of the game. The series is levelled at 1-1. Sri Lanka ‘A’ won the first unofficial Test by seven wickets at RPS while the tourists won the second game by 333 runs. Resuming from their overnight score of 183 for four, more..

PRECIFAC grills ex-army chief Ratnayake on flood relief distribution

Oct 21 (FT) Ex-Army Chief Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Daya Ratnayake was questioned by the anti-corruption commission yesterday for distributing flood relief, one week before the presidential elections.  He was questioned by the PRECIFAC for more than 5 hours over the alleged misappropriation of Rs. 50 million, which was allocated to distribute building materials for those in the flood-hit areas of Kurunegala, Ampara & Vavuniya. more..

Thai-Lanka battle at 129th Sri Lanka Amateur Golf semis

Oct 21 (DN) Top ranked Kaewchareon from Thailand cruised through to the first semi-final brushing aside Husni Uwise from Sri Lanka in the quarterfinal clash of 129th Sri Lanka Amateur Golf championships held at the Victoria Golf course in Digana yesterday. Second ranked Namuangruk from Thailand defeated Harimohan Singh of India to secure his place in the second semi-final. Meanwhile, Sisira Kumara held the lead throughout the game to sustain the challenge and more..

Sri Lanka’s win seven golds on day two

Oct 21 (DN) Sri Lankan brother duo Matthew Abeysinghe and Kail Abeysinghe clinched two gold medals on the third day of the ongoing South Asian Aquatic Sports Championship worked off at the Sugathadasa Sports Complex yesterday. Matthew took 1:53.93 minutes to win the boys’ 18 and over 200 metres freestyle gold while his younger brother Kail competing in the under 18 boys’ 100 metres freestyle final won the gold clocking 51.47 seconds. Kimiko Raheem won her second gold more..

We are ready to take a pay cut: Angelo

Oct 21 (Island) The impasse between SLC and national cricketers on the contracts of the players ended yesterday evening after the latter consented to sign their contracts. Captain Angelo Mathews said that the players who have been offered central contacts will sign their respective contracts today at SLC headquarters. "We had a very good chat with the President of SLC. If cricket is developing we are willing to sacrifice. more..

SriLankan Engineering stands up to Airline’s crunch-time

Oct 21 (Island) SriLankan Airlines which is in critical need of a robust cash flow is beginning to see reality in this direction as its Engineering Division has come to the fore at the crunch time, to earn more revenue for the Airline with a sustainable business strategy. As SriLankan Airlines will soon be taking the burdened Mihin Air under its wing, its engineers and technicians are putting in renewed effort to earn more revenue by providing their expert service in aircraft heavy maintenance more..

Commercial High Court issues interim order to HNB stopping EGM

Oct 21 (FT) Commercial High Court issued an Interim Order to Hatton National Bank (HNB) and its key shareholders preventing them from holding an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), which was scheduled for next week, until a court decision is made on the bank proceeding with a share issuance of $ 50 million to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Interim order was given when the petitioner Stassen Exports appeared before Colombo Commercial HC Judge Shiran Gunaratne. more..

Hambantota port PPP signing next week

Oct 21 (FT) Giving the strongest indication yet that Sri Lanka might be seeing light at the end of the debt tunnel, Minister Ravi Karunanayake confirmed a viable Chinese partner had been found to forge a private-public partnership for the Hambantota port that would include transfer of debt and an agreement would be inked next week as well as the short-listing of four potential investors for SriLankan Airlines. more..

CaFFE warns LG Ministry

Oct 21 (CT) Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) believes that the extension of the Delimitation Review Committee's tenure, to 31 Dec, is another subtle manoeuvre, by Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils, to delay the local govt elections. CaFFE says that in the past few months the ministry has employed a number of ploys to delay the elections and extending the tenure of the committee is only one of them. "CaFFE sees this as an attack on democratic rights of the people. more..

India has no problem with refugees returning to Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (NK) India will have no problem if Sri Lankan refugees want to return their homeland with the help of their govt, said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup in response a question on sending back Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu. "The meeting that you (reporter) referred to the External Affairs Minister had in Colombo, and I was also present in that meeting. I do remember that operating thing was that voluntarily return of these people more..

Allocation for defense remains at top in Sri Lanka’s Appropriation Bill

Oct 21 (ENS) Allocation for defense is the highest in SL’s Appropriation Bill for the financial year 2017. According to military experts, defense expenditure is likely to continue to top the list for the foreseeable future, given the entrenched security mindset created by a 30 year armed conflict with Tamil separatists. Allocation for the Defense Ministry for 2017 is LKR 284 billion. Though somewhat lower than allocation in 2016, more..

KDU sets up solar power plant

Oct 21 (CT) Kotelawela Defence University (KDU) established a new renewable energy plant for the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in order to strengthen the eco-friendly concept of electricity generation. Project has been conceptualized, by Vice Chancellor of KDU Rear Admiral Jagath Ranasingha, as an eco-friendly solar power project, which capable of releasing 126.6 KW through its solar power system. The Rs 22 million, which the project cost, is expected to be reimbursed within 5 years. more..

President’s consent must for forest clearing

Oct 21 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena said that he would introduce a new circular which would require those involved in forest clearing and earth moving to seek his consent in addition to those of relevant Government institutions. President who is also in charge of the Ministry of Environment said so addressing an event at the Central Environment Authority at Battaramulla yesterday. He said that he had received information regarding an illegal earth moving attempt at Alawwa recently. more..

Belgian PM assures to work closer with SL

Oct 21 (DN) Belgian PM Charles Michel yesterday assured that his country will closely work with Sri Lanka to revive relations between the two nations which had weakened during the past few years. He said many Belgian investors have expressed interest in investing Sri Lanka as the country is heading for a path based on democracy and social justice strengthening Human Rights. more..

Usaviya Nihadai Decision today

Oct 21 (CT) Colombo District Court yesterday extended by one day the hearing of the appeal against the interim injunction issued against the public screening of Usaviya Nihadai (Silence in the Courts), film by director Prasanna Vithanage. Judge stated that the decision on whether the interim injunction on the movie will be withdrawn or not will be announced today. Court issued the injunction, after a petition was filed against the film by former Magistrate Lenin Ratnayake. more..

Plantation worker wage settlement acceptable to TUs

Oct 21 (Island) Administrative Secretary Lanka Jathika Estate Workers’ Union Velayudam Ruthiradeepan said the prolonged wage negotiations for plantation workers were concluded this week. Although the union position was a wage for plantation workers of Rs. 1000. per day, the settlement of Rs. 730. per day was acceptable to all trade unions, including the CWC and The Joint Trade Unions (JTU). He reiterated that the settlement was effective Oct 15 and more..

SC moved against 20 members, new owners of Toyota Land Cruisers

Oct 21 (Island) The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) condemned the long standing practice of MPs selling their duty free vehicle permits and making a killing. NMSJ leader Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya urged the govt to take tangible measures to stop the sale of duty free car permits. Referring to top JO MP Bandula Gunawardena defending their right since the introduction of the system way back in President JRJ’s time, more..

Concern over Israeli presence in Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (PO) Political observers have expressed concern over the reported revival of Israeli presence Sri Lanka. Due to overwhelming opposition to the Zionist presence in the country the SLFP – Left Coalition Govt headed by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike closed the Israeli mission in the country in 1977 but recent reports mention the increase of zionists into the island and there are allegations that certain govt officials are convincing to help them return in strength. more..

EU President impressed with Lankan Govt

Oct 21 (CT) President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz Wednesday categorically said that it is the intention of the European Parliament to maintain sustainable cooperation based on mutual trust with Sri Lanka and declared the EU's continuing commitment to ensure success of Sri Lanka's process of political, economic, social and security stability. Schuzl told visiting Lankan Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and his delegation at talks at the European Parliament on 19 Oct that more..

SAITM ready to hand over Rs. 4 b teaching hospital to govt

Oct 21 (FT) SAITM Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando announced that teaching hospital of the institute would be handed over to the Govt, effectively allowing it to be nationalised and claimed that SL Medical Council’s reluctance to recognise SAITM MBBS graduates was a result of a personal vendetta against him. One of the main criticisms of SAITM has been the inadequate clinical exposure offered to its medical students. more..

Video: Mihin Lanka should not be disbanded: Arundika

Oct 21 (DM) Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando said that he would request President and the PM not to shut down Mihin Lanka. He said shutting down Mihin Lanka was not a good idea. It is hard to create a brand name like Mihin Lanka in the airline industry and the airline had been operated as a profitable service while serving domestically,” he said. “People with expertise in airline services should be appointed to the top posts rather than filling them with unsuitable individuals. more..

Drug price reduction: Govt claims big pharma has fallen in line

Oct 21 (Island) Health Ministry said the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) had pledged to support its move to reduce the prices of 48 drugs from midnight today. Ministry Spokesman, Nipun Ekanayake said the SLCPI had announced its decision at a meeting with Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Wednesday evening. SLCPI had reviewed Minister Senaratne’s efforts to amend drug trade in accordance with Prof. Senaka Bibile’s drug policy in favour of patients. more..

COPE: UNP MPs try their best to take Mahendra off the hook

Oct 21 (Island) UNP team within Parliamentary watchdog committee COPE fought a losing battle for 7 hours yesterday against JVP and SLFP over the report on former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s involvement in the treasury bond scams. UNPers, from 11 am to 6 pm yesterday, tried their level best to absolve Mahendran’s of wrongdoing, but failed to change the content of the COPE Chairman’s report, more..

Water: Let’s not duck our responsibilities

Oct 21 (DM) With the North East monsoon starting, it would be a good time to reflect again on water and we hope it would not be like the cliché of pouring water on a duck’s back. President Sirisena disclosed this week that while about 40% of Sri Lanka’s people did not have access to fresh drinking water, a shocking reality was that in cities and urban areas about 45% of the fresh water supplies were being wasted. President assured that with hundreds of millions of rupees being allocated for more..

Get the lines straightened out Jayampathi

Oct 21 (DM) Dr Jayampathi Wickramaratne, who is described as someone playing a pivotal role in the constitution-making process in his capacity as a member of the steering committee on the subject, has offered some thoughts on the progress of the initiative in an interview. He has offered a nutshell version in the following terms:  “There is some agreement on electoral reforms -- a mixed member proportional system. On the executive, the President’s position is clear that more..

President’s outbursts on CID, FCID and BC: Damage control underway

Oct 21 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena’s outburst against the BC, CID and FCID rattled politics. It eventually led to Bribery Commission Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe tendering her resignation.   Her resignation has not yet been accepted. All indications are that it will be accepted shortly. This is the second such main incident in which a govt official succumbed to pressure, being unable to perform further in office. more..