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Ragging continues to torment u'graduates

Jan 28 (DM) Ragging is officially prohibited in universities and is a punishable offence under the Ragging Act (Prohibition of Ragging and other forms of violence in educational institutions Act, No. 20 of 1998). Seniors under the guise of ‘orienting’ first year students (freshers) and making them ‘comfortable’ to the new surroundings, torment freshers through their indisciplined haughty speech and at times violent physical actions which more..

Did govt get it wrong?

Jan 28 (CT) Telecommunications play a vital role in the modern economy and the 25 per cent tax levied on internet usage has stirred up major concerns among users. Earlier this year VAT was imposed on various commodities and services, including telecommunication. Ironically the Maithri-Ranil Govt came to power with a pledge to provide free internet services. For many users, the tax system is complex, Ayesha Kumar who more..

JO sees Chandrika laying foundation for racism among children

Jan 28 (Island) The Joint Opposition (JO) claimed that racism would raise its head among schoolchildren due to the govt’s reconciliation programme in schools launched by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga recently. Gampaha District MP Sisira Jayakody said there was no need to teach reconciliation to schoolchildren as Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students already behave like one family in schools. more..

Ruling on whether MPs privileges are violated when they are summoned by SC

Jan 28 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya told Parliament that he would give a ruling after consulting legal experts on whether the privileges of COPE member MPs are violated when the Supreme Court summons them as respondents of a case. Speaker gave the undertaking when JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake raising a point of order brought to the notice of the Chair that Ven Thiniyawala Palitha Thera had challenged COPE report more..

Army to arrest deserters who did not obtain legal discharge

Jan 28 (NR) The Army says authorities are continuing to take action against tri forces deserters who failed to obtain legal discharge during the General Amnesty periods issued last year. As of Wednesday one officer and 250 other rank personnel have been arrested. Tri forces personnel who are considered Absent Without Official Leave were provided two opportunities in 2016 to seek legal discharge. more..

Eastern undergrads to return occupy Senate demanding hostel facilities

Jan 28 (ST) Academic activities at the Eastern University have been suspended until further notice, since Friday (20), due to student unrest. Authorities decided to close the university when 1st-year undergraduates demanding hostel facilities within the University premises, occupied the University Senate building since Thursday, demanding a resolution to the issue. Registrar of the EUSL, Vishvanathan Kandeepan said more..

Misery in Mannar for villagers who fled the clutches of terror

Jan 28 (ST) There is no water to drink, no land to build homes, no jobs and very little hope. This is the situation facing hundreds of displaced people who returned to Mannar to find their lives have gone from bad to worse. Many families fled Mannar in the Northern Province in fear of Tamil terrorism 26 years ago to Puttalam, but they came home to find hopelessness, they say. A visit to the village Silawathura in the Musali division more..

Alleged kidney racket: CCD files charge sheets against five Indians

Jan 28 (DN) The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) yesterday filed charge sheets written in English against five Indians arrested during the investigations into a kidney racket involving Indians and Sri Lankans. The five Indians were charged under Section 45(1) (a) of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act for overstaying in Sri Lanka without having valid visa. They were further charged under Section 219 of Penal Code more..

Kiriella asks ex-President Rajapaksa why he is now opposing SAITM

Jan 28 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella in parliament demanded to know from ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as to how he and Joint Opposition oppose the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine now after giving 600 million rupees to set up the SAITM during the last govt. He said: Mahinda Rajapaksa govt gave 600 million rupees to Dr Neville Fernando to commence the SAITM. That is good. more..

Overseas LTTE backed plot to assassinate TNA MP Sumanthiran in Jaffna revealed

Jan 28 (DBS) Nallavan (not his real name) is a Tamil youth living in a Northern village. He was a former member of the LTTE organization who had surrendered to the armed forces in May 2009. He was incarcerated for a period of time and released after undergoing a process of rehabilitation. Life in a post-war Northern environment was painfully difficult because Nallavan could not get gainful employment anywhere. more..

Bond scam – doubts that will not down

Jan 29 (Island) While nobody would have been surprised by the Nugegoda turnout on Friday, very large numbers of ordinary people were inconvenienced by the rally’s disruptive effects on traffic movement and the deafening sound of firecrackers. Those who owe allegiance to the former president and the Joint Opposition would no doubt exult at the crowd their organizers were able to attract/bus-in to the rally. Equally certainly there would have been at least a few butterflies more..

A litmus test for govt

Jan 29 (CT) The eulogies began tapering off early last year after speculation about an alleged Central Bank Bond scam made its way into mainline media and went viral on websites leading to President Maithripala Sirisena insisting on a new man to head the Central Bank and letting COPE take its course. That ended with the COPE report to Parliament and the Auditor General's following suit. Everyone expected some action on either one or both of the reports. President bided his time waiting for more..

Auditor General not answerable to a Minister

Jan 29 (CT) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe says that Auditor General is the basic principle and major pillar of good governance. "I don't know why the Finance Minister is accusing me because I gave him the required report". Q: On 24 Jan, Minister Ravi Karunanayaka said in Parliament that the Auditor General had given a report to MP Bimal Rathnayaka without giving it to him. Is it true? A: It's an utter lie. Report was hand delivered more..

Politics of corruption

Jan 29 (SL) Amidst the verbal carnage, character assassinations, self-righteous breast beatings and ringing calls for the corrupt to be brought to justice in the debate on the alleged Central Bank Bond Scam last week in Parliament, there came a calm, sober and rational contribution by the Leader of the Opposition and TULF Leader, Sampanthan which surprisingly was listened in silence by the usually raucous House. He made a salient and uncontestable fact: No single politician more..

Freedom tarnished by corrupt politicians

Jan 29 (ST) Next weekend, Sri Lanka marks its 69th anniversary of Independence. There is, no doubt, much to celebrate, none more significant than the fact that the citizenry are a free people, and masters of their own destiny. Many still say that Sri Lanka’s freedom was achieved without a struggle; that it was a by-product of India’s freedom struggle and World War II that weakened the British Empire which was grateful to its subjects (now the Commonwealth) who fought shoulder-to-shoulder more..

'LGBT rights should be respected too'

Jan 29 (CT) Q: We see you as a woman activist advocating equal rights for women taking up some challenges through your work and using the social media as a platform to educate the people. What makes you to do so being the High Commissioner for Canada? A: The role of women and youth is an important issue for Canada and as the Canadian govt's representative in Sri Lanka I see it as my job to promote gender equality more..

Used Nugegoda pledges

Jan 29 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you after seeing you come out of the shadows at Nugegoda on Friday, saying that you want to topple the government and become the boss again. There are a few questions about that, of course, but it was good to see you doing what you do best – battling for the opposition! I am not sure whether you realised this, Mahinda maama, but had you not called for early elections, your second term of office would have ended only on Friday, more..

India to push for ECTA, But at SL’s pace

Jan 29 (SL) India is to push for the signing of the controversial Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) with Sri Lanka, but at Sri Lanka’s pace. The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu, speaking at a reception held on Thursday night to mark the 68th Republic Day of India, said that bilateral trade and investment links between Sri Lanka and India are robust, and the India – SL Free Trade Agreement has played an important role in this. more..


Questions over the proposed counter terrorism law

Jan 29 (Island) The crowd at the Joint Opposition rally held last Friday in Nugegoda was much larger than the crowd that attended the first Mahinda sulanga rally in Nugegoda in Feb 2015. Thereby the Joint Opposition broke its own record for organising what is by far the largest gathering ever held in Nugegoda. The fact that there was such a turnout despite overcast skies the whole day and torrential rains in many parts of the country was telling. Unlike at previous such meetings more..

MG Consultants signs landmark consultancy to build new expressway

Jan 29 (ST) A trail-blazing, 100% Sri Lankan contract to build the Meerigama – Kurunegala section of the Central Expressway by 2019 was signed recently between Road Development Authority (RDA) and MG Consultants, lead consultant for the project. Central Expressway will be an access-controlled toll expressway from Kadawatha to Dambulla and will be connected  from Pothuhera to Galagedera through a link expressway. Section 2 of Central Expressway from more..

Delay in signing mine ban treaty keeps Sri Lanka in the Red

Jan 29 (SL) After the change of regime on Jan 8, 2015, the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) was hopeful that post-war Sri Lanka would become a party to disarmament conventions, namely the Mine Ban Treaty (MBT) also known as the Ottawa Convention and Conventionon Cluster Munitions (CCM). According to the Coordinator of SL’s campaign to ban landmines, Vidya Abhayagunawardena, more..

That bitter World Cup defeat in Port Elizabeth

Jan 29 (Island) As Sri Lanka were playing South Africa in the first ODI at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, memory took you back 14 years when the Sri Lankans played the World Cup semi–final at this same ground in 2003. Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s oldest cricket ground having hosted the first Test there in 1889. Two years later the Springboks played a rugby Test there against England. Given the slow nature of the surface, of all cricket grounds in South Africa, more..

Parnell's perfect start, Tahir's perfect set-up

Jan 29 (CI) It doesn't feel as though Wayne Parnell is secure of his place in the South Africa team and the frustrations that appear on his face are of a man who thinks the same. This, therefore, is a crucial one-day series for him to ensure the selectors don't start to question his place for the Champions Trophy. He made the ideal start when he clattered his first delivery into the pads of Niroshan Dickwella, who had played well in the T20 series, to win an lbw decision. more..

SL beat South Afria in Youth 3-Nation final

Jan 29 (ST) While their senior Lankans were humble-pied in the first ODI by the hosts, some 750 km away in Port Elizabeth, the Sri Lanka Under-19s showed the meaning of a true fighting spirit by thrashing South Africa Under-19s by 77 runs to clinch the Tri-Nation Tournament at Paarl yesterday. After ousting Zimbabwe thrice in the round robin stage and being at the receiving end against South Africa thrice, more..

Getting Angelo Mathews out

Jan 29 (Island) A few months ago when Sri Lanka whitewashed Australia, praise was showered on one and all associated with the Test team, from selectors, to coaches and of course the men who got the job done in the middle. It was only the second time in 12 series that Sri Lanka had bested Australia.  The previous win had come in 1999 (1-0).  It was a home win sure, but a win against the mighty Aussies and a sweep to boot.  Highly creditable by all counts. more..

Now, YOU can officially demand to know …

Jan 29 (SO) Outraged, are you, by the stubborn refusal of your local govt to replace that century-old, dilapidated culvert with a bridge for modern traffic? Despair, do you, that the news media is too busy to take up your neighbourhood’s cause? From this Friday, Feb 3rd on, you, the citizen, can take action on this and other issues of public needs unfulfilled by the responsible authority. Under the Right to Information Act that comes into effect, at long last, this Friday, more..

Parnell, Tahir wreck Sri Lanka in 1st ODI

Jan 29 (CI) The confidence boost Sri Lanka gained from their T20 series victory did not carry over into the start of the one-day internationals as they were trounced by eight wickets in Port Elizabeth. A masterclass of limited-overs legspin by Imran Tahir snuffed out the middle order as they limped to 181, which proved a scant challenge for South Africa's full-strength top order. Tahir finished with 3 for 26, including the scalp of more..

Minor oil leak reported from Colombo Port

Jan 29 (AD) A minor oil leak has been reported in a supply line at the Colombo Port premises carrying oil to Kolonnawa. Petroleum Industries Minister Chandima Weerakkody said that repairs are currently underway by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) employees. He stated that the leak occurred on one of the four pipelines supplying oil within the harbour itself while measures have been taken to prevent the oil mixing with sea water.  more..

No Easy Walk to the Constitution

Jan 29 (Island) There is clarity on what the Steering Committee and six subcommittees would like to see in subsidiary aspects of the constitution; however there is a black-hole in the middle regarding the apex. Subsidiary means Fundamental Rights, Judiciary, Law and Order (police and national security), Public Service, Finance, and believe it or not, there has been unanimity in the Centre-Periphery subcommittee. Hooray, but there is a hole in the hub, a lacuna at the central apex. more..

EU, Germany concerned over unfair labour practices

Jan 29 (ST) European Union and the German embassy in SL have raised strong objections over allegedly unfair labour practices at two factories in the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) also suggesting that the problem – if not resolved – could derail the country’s bid for GSP+. Intervention came at the request of IndustriALL Global Union, worldwide union grouping, which complained that union officials had been sacked more..

No damage to heritage sites while eveloping of Anuradhapura: PM

Jan 29 (ITN) PM Ranil Wickremasingha says that development work in Anuradhapura will be implemented while protecting the culture. He mentioned this while attending to several religious programmes in A'pura. PM called over on Chief Prelate of Atamasthanaya Pallegma Siriniwasa Thera. PM informed him about the development projects planned for A'pura. PM explained the way that more tourists would be attracted to A'pura and the plans to protect the culture. more..

15% interest: The merry-go-round continues

Jan 29 (ST) The uncertainty over an increased interest rate on bank deposits for senior SL citizens, an issue that has been brewing since early 2015, continues. Despite the 2017 budget proposal to permit banks to offer 15% interest on deposits up to Rs. 1.5 million, which is a repeat of the 2016 proposal, senior citizens are yet to afford this facility. Business Times received a letter from an aggrieved retired pensioner which is published in full to illustrate the depth of the problem: more..

SL given option to sign ETCA at its own pace

Jan 29 (Island) Sri Lanka was free to enter into trade and other pacts with India at a pace it was comfortable with, says its High Commissioner  in Colombo Taranjit Singh Sandhu. Addressing a reception to mark the 68th Republic Day of India at India House on Thursday night, the High Commissioner said that his country did not intend pushing Sri Lanka on the proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement or anything else. more..

Kumbukkan Oya reservoir project launched

Jan 29 (ITN) President Sirisena says that everyone should be united to fight today to build the nation and not for power. He said this while attending the inauguration ceremony of Monaragala, Kumbukkanoya reservoir project. Kumbukkan-oya Reservoir project has been launched at a cost of 31,000 million rupees to make the lives of the people of Uva Wellassa prosperous through agriculture again. Project aims to provide drinking water to the people and to provide water to agriculture. more..

Call to up efforts against leprosy

Jan 29 (CT) Enhanced efforts, renewed commitment, and an inclusive approach is needed to end the scourge of leprosy which continues to afflict thousands of people every year, the majority of them in the WHO South-East Asia Region. Leprosy affected 212 000 more people globally in 2015. Of them 60% were in India. The other high-burden countries were Brazil and Indonesia. Of the new cases 8.9% were children and 6.7% presented with visible deformities. more..

Tracing rip-offs during former regime unlikely: FCID

Jan 29 (CT) FCID said it has made no substantial breakthrough in any of the 200 plus high profile overseas financial corruption cases they had filed in Court within the last two years. An FCID official said that they have written to nearly 70 countries including Ukraine, USA, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, UAE, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, Caribbean Islands including Jamaica and Panama, to name a few, more..

China container terminal drives Sri Lanka volumes, despite India trade drop

Jan 29 (EN) Colombo Port has increased throughput over the past two years, with the commissioning of a deep draft terminal operated by a Chinese company, despite a fall in Indian external trade, data shows. Until 2013, SL container traffic, which is mainly dependent on transhipment from India, was closely followed trends in Indian external trade. When Indian imports/exports expanded, SL's container handling volumes also rose and a dip in Indian exports also caused a fall in SL container handling. more..

MR says he will oppose new Constitution

Jan 29 (PTI) Former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa has accused President Maithripala Sirisena of trying to appease the minority Tamil community by promising devolution of power, saying he will oppose the fraudulent new Constitution. "What did they say (the Sirisena govt), they said powers of the presidency will be reduced and Parliament would be strengthened," the former president, whose nearly a decade- long rule was ended by Sirisena, said while addressing a public rally here yesterday. more..

Audit Bill diluted

Jan 29 (CT) Audit Bill which was initially intended to be a very strong Bill had been diluted with the removal of key clauses from the original draft. National Audit Bill is one of the major promises of the good governance govt. Audit Bill which was initially intended to be a very strong Bill had been diluted with the removal of key clauses from the original draft. National Audit Bill is one of the major promises of good governance govt. more..