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ADB to steam ahead with Colombo Suburban Railway Efficiency project

Aug 26 (FT) Given the urgent need for public transportation sector improvement, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it would go ahead with the Colombo Suburban Railway Efficiency project with or without the railway master plan. Stressing that the master plan for railway must be definitely approved by the Govt to obtain technical assistance by the end of this year, ADB Country Director Sri Widowati insisted more..

Political appointees adversely impact education: Trade Unions

Aug 26 (NS) School teachers raised concerns about political appointments made to positions within the education sector including to the Department of Examinations which education trade unions argued was detrimental to the purpose of ensuring the quality standards of education. In the wake of the recent controversy surrounding the alleged leak of questions pertaining to GCE A/L exam chemistry paper, Ceylon Teachers Services Union (CTSU) and the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) urged more..

SL to legalize abortion but rules are strict

Aug 26 (Refresh) After years of struggle to legalize abortion by various organizations and medical professionals, Sri Lanka may very well legalize abortion in near future. A bill to legalize abortion has been passed by the cabinet and will soon be presented to the Parliament for approval. At the moment the only reason to have an abortion in Sri Lanka is due to any medical condition that will put the mother’s life at risk if the pregnancy is to continue. more..

Incomplete files at the AG's Dept

Aug 26 (NS) The unofficial bar whilst criticizing politicians and others for recent criticisms of the Attorney General’s Department, noted that with regard to concerns raised regarding the 80 odd files concerning which the investigations had been allegedly concluded by the Police, Police officers had in fact not covered certain areas pertaining to the said investigations. Bar Association of SL pointed out that therefore AG’s Department more..

keeping AG’s dept independent

Aug 27 (CT) Attorney General's (AG's) Department was set-up in 1884 by Sri Lanka's last colonial masters the British. The AG's Department is commonly known as the Govt's lawyer. According to the Attorney General's Law Journal 2013, none of the Constitutions adopted since 1946, i.e. on the eve of SL's independence in 1948 beginning with The Ceylon (Constitution) Order in Council 1946, altered the non political status of the AG and the Solicitor General, AG's second in command. more..

Wijeyadasa looking to the future?

Aug 27 (Island) The Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe affaire is now done and dusted with the former Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister ejected from the cabinet. He did not agree to resign, as demanded by the UNP, and has been removed by the president. A section of the Buddhist clergy backed Rajapakshe strongly but efforts on his behalf proved futile. Some senior monks had wanted President Sirisena to assume the Buddha Sasana Ministry but the president has wisely refrained from doing so, more..

'Reconciliation still on the drawing board'

Aug 27 (CT) Chargé d'affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka, Paul Godfrey, said that Govt of SL set out on an ambitious agenda to fulfil its commitments to the UN resolution but unfortunately has faced several blockages and roadblocks in its progress. "What we see is that there is a certain degree of scepticism about the changes and a certain degree of resistance in some quarters to the changes proposed. more..

Rajapakshe falls between two stools

Aug 27 (ST) The relatively swift and somewhat unceremonious dismissal of the Justice and Buddha Sasana Minister on Wednesday is one more in a somewhat long line of ministerial sackings, and another bizarre episode gripping the Govt in general and the UNP in particular. Former Finance and later Foreign Minister escaped this ignominy only by a whisker a fortnight ago by resigning before getting the boot. Now former Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe dug in his heels more..

Giving the game away

Aug 27 (ST) My dear Wije, I thought I must write to you this week, as you seem to have lost your job, although it is still not clear whether you were sacked or whether you resigned. Whatever it was, I heard someone say that the govt is now two down, with forty five more to get – and that was not a cricket score! Most people, I think, are not unhappy that resignations and sacking of ministers are coming at the rate of one a week. In fact, given a choice, they must be hoping for a few more. more..

'I was always a target of the LTTE'

Aug 27 (SO) New Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Travis Sinniah in this first, print media interview speaks of his single most proudest moment during his long Naval career and his hopes and dreams to restructure the Navy to play a crucial role, as Sri Lanka transforms itself into a key maritime trade hub in the future. Speaking about his ascension to become the topmost Naval officer in the country, the son of a Tamil Naval doctor more..

Why the LG electoral system was hastily changed

Aug 27 (Island) The drama that took place both within and outside Parliament last week in relation to the amendments brought to the local govt elections law highlights more than anything else the profound political crisis faced by the govt. In 2012, local govt elections law was changed by Rajapaksa govt in response to the long standing demand that the method of election of people’s representatives should change to enable the people to have an identifiable representative for more..

Exit Wijeyadasa as JO takes aim at Rajitha drilled by JVP for starters

Aug 27 (ST) With the Govt of National Unity completing two years in office, growing pains seem to be setting in with the shaky arrangement between the UNP and the SLFP becoming shakier. The euphoria of August 21, 2015, the day PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn into office, along with the Cabinet of Ministers, has long evaporated and heads have begun to roll. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe this week became the second Minister in the past fortnight to lose his ministerial portfolio. more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Puttalam

Voters’ lax attitude raises concerns while Rajapakshe’s hold on UNP turns dicey

Aug 27 (SO) The affable and approachable State Minister Eran Wickramaratne was a worried man on Thursday night or more accurately, in the wee hours of Friday. Worried Minister sent off a series of short messages regarding the decrease of registered voters in Colombo city and district. He proceeded to add the website URL of the Elections Commission, where Chairman of the EC, Mahinda Deshapriya, wants citizens to check whether or not they are still in the voter registry. more..

Law enforcement authorities to crack down on modified vehicles

Aug 27 (ST) Creating roaring noise and speeding by fitting additional devices and modifying vehicles or motorcycles will be subject to heavy fines by the authorities reactivating Section (74) of the Motor Traffic Ordinance, officials said. The Police Department has started a campaign against drivers who modify their vehicles or motor cycles to create loud noise and enhance speed, Police Media spokesman, Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekara told the Business Times. more..

Top brass in Yahapalanaya and previous regime seeks the influence of divine powers

Aug 27 (CT) King Dutugemunu, according to the legend, after an all-defining victory in the battle against King Elara and the Chola troops, was believed to have had an encounter with Lord Kataragama and asked for the strength to overpower his enemies. With his boon being granted, Kataragama Devalaya was subsequently built in fulfilment of the vow that as long as the sun and moon remains, more..

Renting a spouse

Aug 27 (ST) Imagine renting a spouse to accomplish all your needs except sex? While this statement is likely to offend many conservative people, renting a spouse along with other requirements in today’s convenient lifestyle or economy will soon become a reality in the world. It may happen in Sri Lanka years later but, yes renting a spouse will be part of the start-up or tech eco-system. Start-ups or companies created from scratch using technology as the platform and taking Mark Zukerberg, more..

Cabinet paper to initiate jobs: Dayasiri

Aug 27 (CT) The sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara indicated that he is going to submit a cabinet paper with the idea of initiating jobs for sportsmen and women in govt establishments. He made these comments yesterday on the opening day of the National Convention of the Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation held at the SL Foundation Institute. Profit making govt establishments should allocate job placements for the national athletes who perform well in sports. more..

Lankan woman running for governor of Maryland, USA

Aug 27 (Aplus) As a woman, a Sri Lankan immigrant, one of the chief architects of former First Lady Michelle Obama's Let Girls Learn initiative, and wife of the CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, Krishanti Vignarajah is the antithesis of the current administration. But that's a major part of the reason why she announced her candidacy for governor of Maryland earlier this month. "I am running for Governor because more..

Compliance with public float rule a problem for many companies

Aug 27 (Island) About 70 companies of 220 listed on the main board of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) have been unable to comply with the 20% minimum flat requirement that has been long pushed by both the CSE and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The position is much better on the second or Diri Savi board where 17 of 74 listings have been able to comply with the less stringent requirement. Analysts said that a few companies, including some old established firms like more..

5 tricks SL are missing in the ODI format

Aug 27 (SK) It’s imperative in modern day ODI cricket for international teams to have a quality finisher who comes in at Number 5 or 6 and can bat till the end of the innings and most importantly can single-handedly win games for their teams. Players like Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Jos Buttler, MS Dhoni are examples of players who come lower in the order and can, on their own, win games for their respective teams. When we look at this SL team, we don’t see anybody who can do this for them. more..

Faultering Malinga gets another chance

Aug 27 (ST) Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne will play in Sri Lanka’s must-win third game against India today replacing suspended Upul Tharanga and injured Danushka Gunathilaka to bolster the batting front. The third match will be played in Pallekele before teams head to Colombo for the remaining two ODIs and the one-off T20. Chandimal, the Test skipper, was not part of the original limited-over squad but was recalled more..

National Volleyball convention boost for the sport

Aug 27 (SO) Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation commenced its National convention yesterday at the SL Foundation Institute in the presence of Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekera. Theme for this year’s convention will be Fostering the National Sports with the Vision to enrich Volleyball as the National Sport in Sri Lanka through a visible development plan with the aspiration of the Volleyball Fraternity in the Island. With this convention the SLVBF expect to gather views for the development of the sport more..

Kapugedara escapes injury Malinga included in the 11th hour

Aug 27 (CT) Sri Lanka will walk out under the new skipper Chamara Kapugedera who escaped from being injured yesterday. Kapugedera was batting at the nets and was hit by a ball which bounced off the cement edge behind the nets on to his elbow and he was in pain. He went to the dressing room to get treatment and came back to the nets. Sri Lanka's spearhead bowler Lasith Malinga was on the verge of not playing and the selectors have decided to give him another chance. more..

Sri Lanka’s Football coffers risk running dry

Aug 27 (ST) Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) is currently facing a financial crisis that almost all of its activities have come to a standstill.  SL’s Football current administration has failed to secure its stronghold financially despite boasting of huge savings through fixed deposits. Football House may face a difficult time even to maintain its permanent staff in the very near future. They might not get paid after a month or two, more..

Sweeping themselves into trouble

Aug 27 (Island) When Zimbabwe arrived in Sri Lanka in June, they had an interesting plan up their sleeve against the spinners. Lance Klusener, their batting coach had instructed to use the sweep shot extensively and it paid off especially on the turning tracks of Galle. Buoyed by the success of the tactic, Zimbabweans struck to the sweep shot and it was a big plus-point as they completed maiden series win over Sri Lanka. Somewhere during that series, with nothing much going right for them, more..

Uma Oya power plant to bring much needed electricity to Sri Lanka

Aug 27 (Island) Work is nearing completion on the Uma Oya underground power plant, a milestone in Sri Lanka’s multimillion dollar hydro-electrical scheme, which will add more megawatts of much-needed electricity to the country’s national grid to irrigate thousands more of hectares of parched farm land. "Over 90% of the power plant has been completed. The construction work is now completed and what remains are the finishing touches," said Farab, the Iranian company in charge of more..

Key issue in Kataragama Dewale tussle: Money or faith?

Aug 27 (CT) For the first time in history last week, Ruhunu Kataragama Devale's morning pooja was delayed due to an altercation between the Kapumahathayas and the Basnayake Nilame D.P. Kumarage. While the issue initially seemed to be over a key and who gets to open the gates of the Devale, Ceylon Today learnt that it was truly over a much larger problem. On Tuesday (22) the religious rites at the Kataragama Devale more..

Relief for floot-hit tea smallholders

Aug 27 (SO) Ministry of Plantation Industries will provide over Rs. 50 million to each of the districts affected by floods this year. The most affected districts were Galle, Matara, Kalutara, Ratnapura and Matale. Plantation Industries Minister Navin Dissanayake said that Rs. 417 million has been allocated to support the livelihood of workers and boost production in flood-hit area through the relief fund. He said the disbursement of funds to the districts will commence on Sept 2. more..

Galle Road bus lane wins commuter support

Aug 27 (ST) New traffic rules confining buses to specific lanes on Galle Road, Colombo have won the admiration of bus and car passengers while reducing travel time and driver stress. The dedicated bus lane rule on the road between Moratuwa and Ratmalana (Maliban junction) and Wellawatte to Kollupitiya implemented over the past two weeks, according to Prof. Amal Kumarage, has worked well. Preliminary survey results show that bus travel time (Moratuwa to Kollupitiya) has been reduced more..

New powers for CIABOC: Cases directly in High Court

Aug 27 (ST) Power to file cases of bribery and corruption directly in High Courts instead of Magistrate courts and allow the Attorney General to prosecute such cases is among a series of amendments proposed to expedite cases. Sarath Jayamanna, Director General of the CIABOC, said that the Legal Draftsman was preparing the amendments. The move follows discussions with President Sirisena to strengthen the CIABOC more..

French tourist caught smuggling buffalo skull and horns

Aug 27 (ST) A French tourist who tried to smuggle a buffalo skull and two horns out of the country, was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Tuesday (22). The 56-year-old suspect was to board a flight to Dubai when he aroused suspicion during luggage checks by Security officers at the airport who informed Sri Lanka Customs. Officers from the Customs Bio-Diversity Unit checked the suspect’s baggage and recovered the buffalo skull and horns. more..

Mevan Silva likely to head CID

Aug 27 (CT) There is a possibility of SSP Mevan Silva, who heads the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), being appointed as Director of CID, a senior CID official said. That position fell vacant last week with SSP B.R.S.R. Nagahamulla being promoted as a DIG. Secretary of the Police Commission Ariyadasa Cooray said that although discussions had been held yesterday at the National Police Commission, regarding this appointment, no final decision had been taken. more..

LG polls Declining voter registrations irk EC

Aug 27 (SO) With the enactment of Local Authorities’ Elections Bill, paving the way to hold elections, Elections Commission is faced with another hurdle with a sharp decrease reported in voter registration. Chairman of the EC, Mahinda Deshapriya said that this can be attributed to the increasing number of luxury apartments and the logistical difficulty that the grama niladharis face in approaching residents of these apartments. more..

Sri Lanka’s first Russian Bakery opens at Battaramulla

Aug 27 (Island) Last Thursday marked the opening of a unique bakery, the likes of which have not been seen before in Sri Lanka. Situated on Palipitiya road, its distinctive flags fluttered on the shop front, illustrating its connection to a country that is as big as it is diverse. The interior is clean and modern, an inviting atmosphere that provides customers with a comfortable experience.  Shop is simply titled the Russian Bakery — name is straightforward but the food is anything but simple. more..

Dipped Product probes sexual harassment allegations claims

Aug 27 (ST) A senior official at Hayleys PLC subsidiary, Dipped Products PLC’s Thailand branch is being probed by Hayleys over sexual harassment allegations against a female employee in Thailand. The individual has complained in an e-mail to the local office on an inappropriate incident with the said senior official which resulted in her being victimised in office, she says in the letter sent to Dipped Products PLC in Colombo, which has been forwarded to the Business Times by her. more..

13 SLFPers to quit govt?

Aug 27 (CT) Despite President Sirisena reiterating last week that he would soon take a final decision on the continuity of the SLFP-UNP Unity Govt, 13 SLFP Ministers, State Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MPs who are now in the Govt are considering sitting as independents in Parliament. A closed-door meeting in this regard had taken place last week at the residence of a top SLFP Minister. They would take a decision within more..

Old tax concessions no more: JO

Aug 27 (NR) JO says the proposed new Inland Revenue Act has removed all previous tax concessions with a few tax concessions restricted to just two pages. MP Bandula Gunewardene said the JO has made numerous proposals to the draft bill. MP said a number of tax concessions have been curtailed in the new Draft Bill. He said there is no doubt that taxes must be obtained and that the tax income rate should increase and in order to fulfil this, regulations should be amended. more..

EU to assess GSP Plus process: Five-member team due here

Aug 27 (CT) A five-member delegation from the European Union (EU) will arrive from Brussels on 5 September to start a formal monitoring of the conditions prior to approving the GSP Plus trade concession to Sri Lanka. EU has initiated a formal monitoring process and a team from Brussels will be here from 5th to 13th Sep, to begin the process of monitoring the implementation of the 27 international conventions prior to approving the GSP Plus trade concessions to the country. more..

UNP, SLFP agree to disagree as MoU comes to an end

Aug 27 (ST) The clock was ticking away towards midnight signalling the dawn of Tuesday when President Maithripala Sirisena chaired a meeting of his coalition partners and friendly political parties at his Paget Road residence in Colombo. Even if those present were not conscious of the grim reality around, the forebodings ahead for the coalition partners were ominous. The MoU between the SLFP and the UNP expired that midnight. more..