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Digitisation in the Doldrums

Sept 17 (SL) With People’s Bank being the latest target of a fully-fledged mudslinging campaign, many segments of the society are questioning as to this pre-meditated effort of weakening banks along with leasing and finance companies is part of a series of transaction. The Sunday Leader has exposed during the last few weeks several moves by parties with vested interests to weaken companies especially in more..

Ekneligoda case before Avissawella HC

Sept 17 (ST) The high profile case of six Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) personnel remanded in connection with the alleged disappearance of media personality Prageeth Ekneligoda on the eve of January 26, 2010 presidential polls will come up before the Avissawella High Court on Monday. They are seeking bail in the wake of the second suspect in the case, Lt. Col. Prabodha Siriwardena, more..

Men at work, but little safety at construction sites

Sept 17 (ST) The safety of construction workers in Sri Lanka is a woefully neglected area, a researcher and civil engineer has pointed out. Dushan Dharshana has said his research revealed that many micro and medium-sized construction companies are unaware of safety policies and do not have safety officials. “Many construction workers and owners of construction sites are unaware of the need of deploying more..

LRC’s questionable leasing out of 528 properties under Rajitha’s watch

Sept 17 (ST) Between 2002 and 2004, Sri Lanka’s Land Reform Commission (LRC) gave out more than 500 of its properties on lease to private parties. It happened under Rajitha Senaratne, who was Project Minister of Lands in the short-lived United National Front administration. But, in August 2004, Chandrika Kumaratunga, then President, cancelled all land alienations carried out by the LRC during the period in question. more..

Assault on Lankan Envoy Ansar in KL Airport by Malaysian We Tamils

Sept 17 (DBS) An official Ambassador is defined as a diplomat of the highest rank accredited to a foreign Govt as the resident representative of his or her own country. The equivalent designation to an Ambassador among Commonwealth Nations is the High Commissioner. Since an Ambassador or HC is the premier representative of his or her country any honour bestowed upon him/her in host country more..

Health Ministry wakes up to Zika threat belatedly

Sept 17 (Island) The Epidemiology Unit yesterday briefed the public on the danger of Zika virus which had already affected Singapore (330 cases), Indonesia (over 300) and Thailand (about 200). Several cases were reported during the last two weeks from Malaysia, and the Philippines. Chief Epidemiologist, Dr Paba Palihawadana said that so far Brazil had reported the most number over 8,000 suspected new infections in March. more..

Biswal holds talks with Tamil diaspora on reconciliation

Sept 17 (CG) US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal had talks with the Tamil diaspora on the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Tom Malinowski also attended the discussion. The discussion was held with the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a leading Tamil diaspora group. GTF President, Fr S.J. Emmanuel and leading members including Suren Surendiran attended. more..

Sri Lankan Women banking on spin to combat Australia

Sept 17 (CI) Lanka de Silva, coach of the SL Women's team, said he will be banking on spinners, particularly left-arm spinners Inoka Ranaweera and Sugandika Kumari, to lead the side's attack in their upcoming ODI series against Australia Women, which starts from Sept 18. The teams are scheduled to play four ODIs and a T20 int'l, and three of the four ODIs will be counted for points in ICC Women's Championship. more..

SL makes push for convention on terrorism

Sept 17 (CG) Sri Lanka has underscored the need to strengthen cooperation to fight the scourge of terrorism and reaffirmed the importance to conclude a comprehensive convention on International Terrorism at the earliest. Speaking at the Interactive Debate at the NAM Ministerial Meeting held in Margarita Island, Venezuela, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, said terrorism remains one of the most serious more..

Officials must take blame for system failing

Sept 17 (CT) There was a story of a former SL star footballer taking up employment as a grave digger and an ex-President of the Football Federation of SL getting excited over the story. Destiny came to the rescue of the star footballer to make him a grave digger, professional or not. Here the story is not one of destiny. Whether the man was a moron or not, had the FFSL had a programme made to make ex-professionals live decent lives after their careers, the story might not have come into existence. more..

Attack on Ambassador Ansar & Tamil Islamophobic racism

Sept 17 (CT) There are some very odd features about the recent attack on Ambassador Ansar at the Kuala Lumpur airport. It took place in a secured area of the airport, probably the result of a bona fide lapse on the part of the Malaysian authorities to which no particular significance should be attached. What is odd is that the attack took place at all. We can safely assume that for twenty five years and more our Embassy officials have been countering LTTE propaganda in all capitals where more..

JVP Press conference

Fearful Weerawansa spills the beans

Sept 17 (CT) A fearful MP Wimal Weerawansa pin pointed the exact location of the mass graves related to the last phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war. MP Weerawansa exposed this exact location when he met the Malwatte chief prelate Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera in Kandy a few days ago. He feared that under the new government’s policies the former President Rajapaksa, his brother Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa whose self-claimed accolades of more..

Bilateral agreements in galore after ETCA

Sept 17 (CT) In the face of opposition by certain groups against the proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), the govt is hoping to sign several bilateral economic and trade agreements with Asian countries from next year. Apart from the discussions already underway with China and Singapore to sign economic and trade agreements, the govt is now setting its sights on Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to explore the possibility of FTAs with these countries. more..

Moragahakanda displaced threaten fast-unto-death

Sept 17 (CT) Moragahakanda People's Rights Protection Movement said that people who were evicted to make room for the Moragahakanda Project will stage a fast-unto-death unless they were provided with the basic facilities for living. Their demands include supplies of safe potable water and all facilities needed to continue unabated with their traditional agricultural activities in arid lands of 600 acres in Thorapitiya more..

Minister calls for report on road project following ST story

Sept 17 (ST) Minister Fasizer Musthapa is to call for a report from the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) about the slow progress of the road construction project around Thurstan Road, Royal and Thurstan Colleges and the Lionel Wendt Theatre. “I will look into the matter of the delay in the work,” Mr. Musthpaha said. The Sunday Times last week exposed the delay in carrying out the project and the inconvenience caused to parents who come to drop their children at the schools, more..

Customs workers unhappy with Ravi K’s new act: Country loses 1 billion in a day

Sept 17 (CT) The country is reported to have lost at least Rs. 1 billion as a result of a trade union action taken by the workers attached to the Sri Lanka Customs who went on sick leave bringing the operations at Orugodawatta and other inspection points to a standstill. Even though the trade unions representing the customs workers had made repeated requests for a meeting with Minister Ravi Karunanayake, they had not been given a time citing that the minister was busy. more..

Video: Over 100 shops destroyed by fire in Kilinochchi

Sept 17 (AD) More than a hundred small shops were destroyed in a fire which broke out at the common market near the Depot Junction in Kilinochchi. Police said that the fire erupted at around 9 pm last night and the flames had destroyed most of the shops as well as their contents. The flames were doused in a joined effort by the Kilinochchi fire brigade, army, air force and police personnel. Prevailing dry weather condition more..

President leaves for UN tomorrow

Sept 17 (DM) President Sirisena and the SL delegation will leave tomorrow to attend the 71st UN General Assembly due to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from Sept 19 to 26. President is due to address the General Assembly on Wednesday. This is the second time that President Sirisena is addressing the UN General Assembly. Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Gayantha Karunathilaka, Mahinda Samarasinghe, Faizer Musthafa would be among delegates more..

The pirate and the prince

Sept 17 (Hindu) Geoffrey Bawa, architect and landscape designer, was a legend in Sri Lanka. Bawa’s contribution to the creation of a language of architecture has been described as “the single greatest input on independent Sri Lanka’s landscape”. Made Wijaya, agent provocateur and creator of Design Bali Modern, was something of a pirate in comparison. If Bawa was the high priest of a classical style, Wijaya was a clown prince. He delighted in mocking the pretensions of more..

Video: One killed, 11 injured after Perahera elephant goes on rampage

Sept 17 (AD) Brawling elephants triggered a stampede at a temple in southern Sri Lanka which left one woman dead and a dozen wounded, police said Saturday. A mahout tried to separate the two animals by poking one with a sharp-edged hook, causing the elephant to run away in pain late Friday, a police official said. "The elephant did not harm anyone, it was trying to get away from the mahout, but people panicked and started running," more..

Lake House struggle betrayed in horikada style

Sept 17 (CT) The man who took a bribe of Rs. 50,000 from former Lake House Chairman Nalin Ladduwahetty has now committed a great betrayal in horikada style, to sabotage the collective agreement secured by trade unions at the state run newspaper institution. Dharmasiri Lankapeli, Secretary of the employees union of Associated Newspapers of Ceylon (Lake House), has sabotaged the Collective Agreement which ensured a Rs. 3000 salary hike for all permanent more..

Appointment of members to OMP, RTI Commission: CC to meet next week

Sept 17 (DN) The Constitutional Council (CC) will sit next week to deliberate on the appointment of members to the Office of Missing Persons and Right To Information Commission, the Media Spokesman to the Speaker said. However, he said the exact date of the meeting would be fixed on Monday as Speaker Karu Jayasuriya is presently overseas. The CC has been discussing on eligible candidates for the above two newly established bodies over the past weeks. more..

Rotten specialists, killer profits plague Sri Lanka drug market

Sept 17 (EN) Court case filed by a drug company seeking a de facto monopoly for an expensive cancer drug has exposed a corrupt nexus between medical specialists and the larger drug mafia which is throttling hapless patients. A Court of Appeal has rejected an action by Roche of Switzerland preventing the sale of a Russian-made drug and lifted a stay order which the court admitted should never have been granted in first place. more..

All cops to personally endorse ten-point code of conduct

Sept 17 (ST) A Code of Conduct for all police personnel, released to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Police, contains a ten-point pledge that each of them needs to personally endorse and adhere to with immediate effect. Superintendent of Police (SP) Ruwan Gunasekera said that copies of the Code of Conduct prepared by the National Police Commission have been dispatched to respective police divisions to be distributed among all serving personnel. more..

Corrupt officials preventing increase: NMCRP

Sept 17 (CT) The people in this country have the right to know the names of the politicians and officials who are attempting to thwart the admirable attempts of President Sirisena to increase the tax on tobacco up to 90%, said Chairman of National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP) Ranjith Withanage. "Names of politicians involved in attempts to prevent the efforts of President Sirisena and Minister Rajitha Senaratne to increase tax on tobacco should be exposed. more..

Police contemplate legal action against family members

Sept 17 (DN) Police are contemplating legal action against the family members of the youth who went missing while in the custody of Hambantota Police, for giving false information. G.G. Gayashan has confessed to Police that after escaping from the Police Station he had boarded a bus and had gone to Weeraketiya to his sister’s house. Several other family members too had known his whereabouts. more..

Almost 600 accidents from growing carelessness on expressway

Sept 17 (ST) More than 590 accidents have been reported in the Southern Expressway during the past seven months, a 12% increase over the same period last year. RDA will launch a traffic safety campaign to educate Southern Expressway users on rules and regulations for safe driving. Posters will be displayed while road users will be educated on expressway safety rules at 15 interchanges along the Southern Expressway. Failure to wear seat belts had resulted in severe injuries or even deaths more..

Sri Lanka GDP slowed by agriculture in 2016 first half; credit driven sectors grow

Sept 17 (EN) Sri Lanka's gross domestic product expanded 3.9% in the second half of 2016 down from 5.3% a year earlier with agriculture shrinking 2.5% with some credit driven sectors growing by double digits. Services, the largest sector in the economy, grew 4.9% in the second half of 2016, with finance and insurance growing at a blistering 14.9%, data from the state statistics office showed. Industry grew 5.2% in the second half of 2016, with construction expanding at 8.5%. more..

Three flyovers at Rajagiriya, Ganemulla and Polgahawela

Sept 17 (DN) Work on the three new steel flyovers at Welikada junction in Rajagiriya, Ganemulla and Polgahawela is progressing rapidly. The flyovers will ease traffic congestion and avoid delays experienced by motorists. RDA project director Piyal Warnakulasooriya said that piling work for the construction of the three flyovers is currently in progress. He said Rajagiriya flyover will be constructed in two phases. more..

Elections Court mooted

Sept 17 (CT) A Committee, appointed by Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Govt, has drafted a Code of Ethics, for Provincial Councillors, aimed at tackling corruption, to ensure adherence to tender procedures and to enhance the personal dignity of a councillor, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. Addressing a workshop, he said "we need a self- regulatory system for not only the members of the Provincial Councils but also for Parliament, as well as other govt institutions. more..

JVP proposes system of small units

Sept 17 (CT) JVP is preparing to put forward several proposals, on the devolution of power, for inclusion in the new Constitution. They propose that devolution should be in small units based on the composition of the population and geographical foundation of the country. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that they are prepared to present these proposals to the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee. Herath also said they had already submitted several proposals for the solving more..

Govt planning to develop BIA

Sept 17 (Island) BIA at Katunayake would be developed to cater to 15 million passengers expected in 2020, Chairman of Airport and Aviation Services Saman Ediriweera said. USD 750 million development project would include the overlay of the existing runway, building a new passenger terminal and new aircraft parking apron. Tender process had already been completed in respect of some projects, which would commence next month. more..

Development projects in jeopardy

Sept 17 (CT) Project Manager of the massive World Bank financed road development project in Indonesia, who is also the Group Project Director of Metro Chemical Factory City in Indonesia, W.E.B. Marasinghe says that low levels of remuneration and sundry benefits applied to the carpentry and masonry trades in SL could seriously jeopardize the country's future large scale development projects. He added that although the country had several industrial training institutes more..

Navy rakes in Rs 2 billion in 9 months

Sept 17 (CT) SL Navy has, since it was tasked with handling anti-pirate and other maritime services, earlier handled by Avant Garde Security Services Company, raked in nearly Rs 2 billion predominantly from anti-pirate services from November last year to date. The operations are being handled together with specialist maritime security personnel of foreign companies who have served in such capacities on foreign vessels, offering protection to ships at sea against ocean pirates, more..

FM calls for ban on bottom trawling

Sept 17 (Hindu) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has called for a ban on bottom trawling, a destructive fishing practice that harms marine ecosystems. The Minister made the appeal at the recent Our Ocean 2016 conference in Washington DC, ahead of high-level talks between India and SL on the Palk Bay conflict. Sri Lankan Tamil fisherfolk have for long expressed concern over bottom-trawling by TN fishermen in SL waters. more..

Wanting the Moon

Sept 18 (SO) The latest antics of govt sector doctors, or at least those active in their association, namely the GMOA, need some public reflection. They ask for special privileges over and above those privileges already granted to them - in this case the automatic allocation of high standard schools for their children wherever they might be located in the country. Two key components of our now world famous social welfare system were, and yet are, the free education system and more..

LG Elections and Beyond

Sept 18 (CT) With information being leaked about the possibility of Local Govt elections in early 2017 at least one report emerged from former President Rajapaksa's visits to South Korea and Malaysia hinting at meetings with Chinese connections, which Rajapaksa has to date not denied. President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe have apparently decided to go for it rather than wait for the Rajapaksa-led Joint Opposition to muster more support to contest that election. more..

'Govt playing into hands of the Diaspora'

Sept 18 (SL) Joint Opposition MP Prasanna Ranatunga says govt is playing into the hands of the Tamil Diaspora, and it will jeopardise the sovereignty of the country. He said that even the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s visit was part of the Diaspora agenda, and he was here only to ensure that the govt keeps to the pledges that they made to them. Saying that for true reconciliation to take place both parties need more..

Crops and fertilizer

Sept 18 (Island) We hope many of our readers both read and digested the very thoughtful article published last Sunday on Whither goes our Agriculture written for the kind attention of our President, the Govt and the people of Sri Lanka. The authors including a clutch of retired Directors of Agriculture belong to an organization started last year called the Association of Retired Officers of the SL Agriculture Service (AROS) with a membership of around 80 including 27 PhDs, more..