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Two committees to finalise Budget proposals

Sept 11 (SO) Two top level committees have been appointed by the national unity Govt to finalise the Budget proposals. Minister Ravi Karunanayke said that a committee comprising himself, PM and Dr. Sarath Amunugama has been appointed to discuss and finalise the Budget proposals. Secretary to the Finance Ministry, said that this ad hoc committee will look into budget proposals amongst other things. This has been proposed by cabinet sub-committee on economic management. more..

People’s Bank or some people’s bank?

Sept 11 (CT) In response to the exposure of the IT deal of the People's Bank, a statement was released to the media under the signature of the CEO. As this statement is full of half-truths and deliberate diversions the following account, based on available information is prepared by the writer who requests the media to publish it in the public interest. As per the vision of PB to make it SL's First Digitized Bank Visions are adopted and organizations work to achieve those aspirations. more..

SriLankan, pilots reach deal on alcohol test

Sept 11 (ST) SriLankan Airlines and the Airline Pilots Guild of Sri Lanka have agreed that breathalyzer tests on pilots will no longer be carried out by security officers but by trained medical staff of the company. The test will be conducted in the airline’s Flight Control Centre at the airport with the Ground Safety Manager as witness. If a pilot’s blood alcohol level is then found to be above the legal alcohol limit, he or she would then be more..

Army to release another 700 acres

Sept 11 (ST) The Army has agreed to release to civilians 700 more acres of private land occupied by it in the Valikamam North area in Jaffna, District Secretary N. Vedhanayagan said. He said this was in response to a request made by him to the military to release 1,500 acres currently held by the Army so that the resettlement of displaced people could be expedited. Lands located in Keerimalai, Kankesanthurai and Mavaddapuram were highly residential areas before the conflict. more..

SL Ports Authority buys, hires tugs

Sept 11 (SO) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), which has an aging fleet of tugs, is getting two new tugs built in China to service the merchant ships calling at its ports and is evaluating a tender to charter two tugs until the new boats are delivered. The two, 65-tonne Bollard Pull tugs being built in China were launched recently and will be delivered in February 2017 and then the SLPA fleet will be complete, SLPA officials said. SLPA’s existing fleet of six tugs are all 12 or more years old more..

8 Army intelligence officers to be charged with murder

Sept 11 (CT) The CID has concluded the investigation into the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda and the final report is expected to be referred to the AG within two weeks seeking indictment of the suspects. A senior CID source said that there was adequate evidence to file murder charges against the eight army intelligence officers, who have been remanded on allegations of abducting and killing Ekneligoda. more..

Four-month amnesty for unregistered motor cycles raises eyebrows

Sept 11 (ST) Govt has rejected claims that a 4-month amnesty for motor cyclists to register motor cycles being used without registration was a ruse to legalise an illegal motor cycle assembly operation. When questioned about these allegations, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva vehemently denied that the amnesty was to cover up any illegal activity but said he would direct the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic to probe any allegations against some department officials involved in such activity. more..

Madushanka case in Maldives: Lawyer wants Sinhala translator

Sept 11 (ST) A translation problem has been raised during the trial of SL Lahiru Madushanka who is accused of taking part in a plot to kill Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen. The trial of 24-year-old Lahiru Madushanka and two Maldivians has begun with three hearings already concluded in the local language Divehi and translated to English. But Mr. Madushanka’s inability to fully understand the English translation has hindered him from following the proceedings, the court was told. more..

President Sirisena changes approach and holds out hand to dissidents

Sept 11 (ST) Lights are burning late at the Treasury these days. Minister Ravi Karunanayake is meeting both his ministerial colleagues and senior officials to determine financial allocations and obtain their views on priority areas for funding. Thus, contours of Unity Govt’s second budget are taking shape. Contrary to the wide belief, given credence through erroneous remarks from some Govt politicians, enhanced VAT bill will more..

Tamil Refugees: A dog's life?

Aug 11 (CT) A colleague has just returned to work after spending nearly two full days at his loved pet cat's deathbed. Having lavished his beloved pet with all the love and attention humanly possible, he knew the depths of agony as all of us who are human in the real quintessential sense of the word, experience in life. That word – quintessence – comes from the fifth, and the most vital, of the five elements which make up the universe: earth, water, air and fire are the other four. more..

SLFP at 65, UNP at 70: Look ahead to 2056, not back to 1956

Aug 11 (Island) Sri Lanka’s two major parties were founded within four days in the month of September, with five years in between. The SLFP, founded on 2 September 1951, has always seemed to be much younger than the UNP founded only five years earlier on 6 September 1946. The UNP derived its oldness from becoming the successor to the Ceylon National Congress, the leisurely and conformist political vehicle of the Sri Lankan elites during the last thirty odd years of British rule. more..

PM proposes a novel move to build a well-mannered society

Aug 11 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has come out with a novel proposal to build what he calls a well-mannered society in Sri Lanka. For this purpose, he wants to set up special offices in different parts of the country. Officials will be tasked to carry out measures to achieve this objective. Recently PM’s proposal, as Minister of National Policy and Economic Affairs, was discussed at a Cabinet meeting. more..

Exercise: Cormorant Strike VII in progress in the East

Sept 11 (MoD) Exercise Cormorant Strike VII, Sri Lanka Army's Field Training Exercise (FTX) which began last Sunday (4) with the participation of more than 3400 troops is now engaged in maneuvers in the Verugal area in the Eastern region. Parachutists of the Special Forces launched a Combat Free Fall on Wednesday (6) to observe enemy hideouts. A Combat Heli Raffling was also conducted by two STF teams in Welikanda. more..

Govt in hurry to ratify Paris Agreement

Aug 11 (CT) Several significant developments took place in Parliament last week; the govt's move to ratify the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change being one of them. PM tabled the draft legislation in the House on Friday and called on all the members to approve the Bill in order to ratify the historic agreement. Explaining as to why the scheduled business of the House had to be changed to accommodate the Bill, more..

Wildlife Act to be amended

Sept 11 (SO) Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said that steps are being taken to amend the Wildlife Act of 1932 to fall in line with the changing times. A committee has been appointed to amend the present Wildlife Act which is over 80 years old and make suitable recommendations, he said. “We have to look into international agreements and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species more..

Uma Oya project sparks jobs, skills boom

Aug 11 (Island) Serving a bowl of Dizi, a traditional Iranian stew, 42-year-old Lanthra said she has become an expert in cooking Iranian meals. Once a housewife, Lanthra was hired by the Iranian power and water company Farab after it started building the multi-purpose Uma Oya project in Sri Lanka in 2010. "I have always loved cooking. I sometimes made pastry and cakes and sold them but had never worked outside the house until more..

Trust In judiciary restored

Aug 11 (CT) The Colombo High Court on 8 September sentenced to death former Defence Ministry Monitoring Minister, Duminda Silva, by a majority decision of a three-man bench of the Court, on proven charges of being guilty of the assassination of four persons including former SLFP MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. The other four sentenced to death were former PC Anura Thushara de Mel, Chaminda Ravi Jayanath more..

Consume less sugar

Aug 11 (CT) Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) cause 70% of all the deaths recorded in govt hospitals islandwide, World Health Organization (WHO) revealed recently. Prof. Nalika Gunawardena, WHO National Consultant on NCDs said it is one of the main causes of premature deaths (deaths of people aged between 30 and 65) in Sri Lanka. NCDs often lead to lots of complications and cause damage to more..

Forex reserves up US$ 124mn in August

Sept 11 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves rose US$ 124.5 to US$ 6.613 billion in August from a month earlier, in a month that the central bank bought and swapped dollars and allowed the liquidity to fill cash shortages. The central bank bought US$ 190 million from commercial banks in the month and sold US$ 57 million. It also engaged in more swaps including with a state bank, acquiring more dollars. more..

Labour Department restructuring runs into dispute

Aug 11 (ST) A Govt proposal to restructure the Labour Department is running into crisis with trade unions threatening to continue a work to rule campaign launched in protest. Labour Commissioner General Chandani Amaratunga said restructuring of the department was long overdue and the Labour Minister had appointed a committee of three comprising two retired senior ministry officials and a former ministry secretary to look into it. more..

President, PM pledge joint effort for reconciliation, economic revival

Aug 11 (ST) President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe yesterday pledged to continue to work together, to bring about reconciliation, strengthen the economy and ensure there was no return to the days of the Rajapaksa regime. The two leaders came together at Campbell Park in Colombo last morning, where President Sirisena was the Chief Guest at the 70th anniversary celebrations of the UNP. more..

Peace and technology

Sept 11 (Island) On Saturday, I gave a short presentation in Zurich on some ideas and challenges related to peace building - a term used and abused a great deal. In SL, peace building is for most immediately associated with an industry of actors engaged in conflict resolution or transformation initiatives – locally, regionally or nationally. It’s an association that’s problematic, since for many years –not entirely without merit but often with vindictive, parochial or partisan more..

A Tribute: Mangala Moonesinghe

Sept 11 (Island) Lawyer, MP and Diplomat, Mangala Moonesinghe as he was popularly known, passed away recently at the ripe age of 85 years. My good friend Nihal Seneviratne, former Secretary General of Parliament, paid a handsome tribute to him a few days ago and I thought I, being a long standing friend and associate, should write something. Mangala celebrated his 85th birthday at his residence at Park Flats with a very few friends. My wife, Shakuntala and I are very happy that more..

Ada Cartoon

Police emergency call services in Tamil language in North?

Sept 11 (AD) An emergency call services has been introduced in Tamil language for the people in the North to be able to submit their problems in their language, IGP Pujith Jayasundara has said. This was announced while he was speaking at an event held at DIG’s office of Vavuniya. IGP also stated that the language is a key factor to improve the reconciliation and cooperation among the communities. He also stated that the police will be organized to suit the needs of the country to more..

Drought affects 15,790

Sept 11 (DM) More than 15,790 individuals (4781 families) are facing a severe shortage of drinking water due to drought conditions in Polonnaruwa district. The villages of Sinhapura, Monarathenna Welikanda, Magulpokuna and Mahindagama in the Welikanda division and, Diulana, Sinharajapura and Pudur in the Thamankaduwa divisions are the worst affected. Asst. Director of the DMU said the divisional secretaries of the affected areas had taken steps to provide water with bowsers more..

Malinga speaks his heart out

Sept 11 (CT) SL's fearsome pace spearhead Lasith Malinga was once again the centre of attraction during the week with his off-field comments regarding his desire to play in the farewell game of Dilshan. Malinga was seen in action during SL's practice session ahead of the second ODI as well as during the second T20 where he declared he is ready to play if selected. Malinga revealed some of the unspoken truths more..

RPC Chairman summoned by SEC

Sept 11 (ST) The drama at Richard Pieris & Co (RPC) is continuing with the latest development being its Chairman Dr. Sena Yaddehige summoned by the capital market regulator over alleged securities fraud, a source close to the group said. But the latter is abroad and the company has informed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that he is in the UK and indisposed. In response the SEC has asked for his medical records to verify this claim, the source said. more..

Body of a medical student found from hostel

Sept 11 (AD) A body of a 28-year-old medical student attached to the Colombo Medical Faculty has been discovered from a student’s hostel, police said. The body was recovered following a tip-off received by the police a short while ago on Sunday afternoon. The student’s hostel is located at the Norris Canal Road in Colombo. An investigation is underway to reveal the cause of death, an official said. Remains of the student will be taken to Colombo National Hospital for post-mortem. more..

New police division to be opened soon to protect crime victims and witnesses

Sept 11 (ST) Police Department is expected to set up a division to assist and protect victims and witnesses of crime by the end of this month. The inauguration of the unit — prescribed under the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act passed last year — is tentatively scheduled for Sept 29. But they also said the Department faces hurdles in ensuring its effective implementation, including finding more..

Hirunika makes public photo of father after shooting

Sept 11 (CG) MP Hirunika Premachandra today made public a photograph of her father, Bharatha Lakshman, which was taken after he was shot dead in 2011. Photograph which was published on her Facebook page, shows the body of her father with a gun-shot wound on his head. “Everytime I see this picture I don’t think it’s real, because I only remember his handsome face with a smile on. For first time in my life I am posting this picture. more..

Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka: A road to nowhere?

Sept 11 (LF) SL’s Tamil political prisoners have been back in the spotlight recently. Tamil political prisoners are ethnic Tamils who allegedly were members of or connected to the Tamil Tigers, a separatist group. Some have been convicted on charges of terrorism, though most have not. Many of the charges are believed to be fabricated and based upon coerced confessions, which were recorded in a language foreign to the accused. The new govt has repeatedly promised to deal with the issue, more..

Lax security, corruption blamed for poor Malaysian response in SL envoy assault case

Sept 11 (ENS) An appalling lack of security at the airport and a corrupt Malaysian administration are blamed for the brutal assault on the SL High Commissioner in Malaysia, Ibrahim Ansar, by local Indian Tamil radicals at Kuala Lumpur Int'l Airport (KLIA) on Sept 4. Informed sources said that security at the KLIA is no lax that anyone can enter it and go up to the immigration area without any security check of their person and bags. more..

My request to Sinhala Youth

Sept 12 (CT) The officials of the National Youth Services Council, sportsmen and sportswomen who have come over from various parts of Sri Lanka to participate in this Sports Festival, other officials, my dear brothers and sisters and children, 28th National Netball competition orgainsed by National Youth Services Council in relation to the National Youth Sports activities are being held in Jaffna today and tomorrow. It is indeed a happy occasion for us. National Youth Services Council more..

Crisis at Uduvil Girls College, Jaffna

Sept 12 (CT) CT reliably learns that under reporting in the English media of the protests held by the students, parents and the alumni of Uduvil Girls’ College, Jaffna over the retirement of the school Principal Mrs. Shiranee Mills and the attacks on the protesting students by the clergy of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India and some teachers of the school last week has caused some disappointment and anger among the students, parents, alumni and well-wishers of school. more..

‘We need more youth, women’

Sept 12 (SO) The Independent Elections Commission, set up under the 19th Amendment fulfilling a Yahapalana pledge of the National Unity Govt, will be put to test early next year, when the Local Govt election is held islandwide, under rather crucial circumstances. With one of the two major constituents of the ruling coalition, the SLFP announcing they would contest alone under the Hand symbol, and JO threatening to more..

Needed: Fulfilment of pledges, not invective

Sept 12 (Island) UNP’s 70th anniversary celebrations had all the trappings of an anti-Rajapaksa rally. Most of the speakers including President Sirisena, who was a special invitee, and PM indulged in bashing Rajapaksas to their heart’s content. Leaders of Sirisena-Ranil govt let out streams of invective in such a way that one wondered whether they really believed in their own claim that President Rajapaksa’s leadership campaign was dead in the water. more..

A meaningful Eid-ul Adha

Sept 12 (CT) Eid-ul-Adha celebrated by Muslims the world over, dawns upon us in a chaotic world where bigotry, discrimination and hate reign supreme. Eid-ul-Adha also known as Hajj Festival celebrates the sacrifice made by Prophet Abraham through the annual pilgrimage made to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia during the Month of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. God ordered Prophet Abraham to slaughter his son, as an act of obedience to God. This was a test to evaluate Abraham's more..

Road to Nandikadal

Sept 12 (CT) Major General Kamal Gunaratne, who led the 53 Division of the Army in the final battle against the LTTE at Nandikadal says the true story of Prabhakaran's death is revealed in his book. "Many in our society say that Prabhakaran had been taken before the President. They also say President had made him kneel and slapped him. They say that Prabhakaran had then been taken back to Nandikadal and shot." more..

Response to Izeth Hussain on Racism

Sept 12 (GV) Until recently, I have seldom had occasion to disagree with Izeth Hussain. However, while there is much that I agree with in the contents of his article published in The Island titled Democracy, Not Devolution, the only solution for the ethnic problems, I totally reject his statement, “It has not been understood that the Tamils are also an intensely racist people, very probably much more so than the Sinhalese”. No community or ethnic group is inherently racist. more..