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Can Executive Presidency be abolished without a referendum?

June 4 (Island) The constitution making process has been hamstrung by the insistence of the SLFP faction in the govt that any constitutional reform would have to done without a referendum. According to the book Yuga Peraliya written about the campaign to defeat the Rajapaksas by JHU activist Asoka Abegunawardene, this proviso was deliberately introduced into Maithripala Sirisena’s manifesto so that it could be used later to prevent the abolition of the executive presidency. more..

Foreign debt: Not just about interest and repayment

June 4 (CT) Among many other attractive quotes in the House of Cards, the popular political TV series, there was a very interesting one that I kept repeating to myself. When money comes your way, you do not ask questions. This, I think is applicable to human beings, as well as to those human beings who run govts. It is similar to public debt when it is obtained. Hardly any questions are asked at the time of obtaining loans and only later govts realize the mess they have made. more..

Maithri refuses to declare emergency as natural disaster calls for better management

June 4 (CT) President Sirisena was at Arantalawa International Buddhist Centre to mark the 30th anniversary of the Aranthalawa massacre when he emphasized it is the responsibility of all to act in a way to prevent recurrence of such a disastrous situation in the country, as the country recalls the sorrowful memories of a three decade long, brutal war. Irrespective of criticisms levelled against the govt, present govt is committed to build more..

Rainbows over a stormy nation

June 4 (SO) Last week, President Donald T. Trump, announced the withdrawal of the US from the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA), a procedure that will take four years to complete and will in fact be complete one day after the next US Presidential Elections is scheduled to be held. Being the number two polluter in the world (China is number one) the withdrawal by the USA has serious ramifications to countries like Sri Lanka, where climate change is real and kills people. more..

Tahir torments favourite opponents again

June 4 (CI) In the two preceding matches of the tournament, three fine batsmen - Tamim Iqbal, Joe Root and Kane Williamson - racked up centuries. On Saturday, Hashim Amla joined the club. It needed something special to shade that, and Imran Tahir came up with that defining performance. Having made 299, South Africa watched Sri Lanka's top order race to 116 for 2 in 16 overs. Tahir's delayed introduction raised a few eyebrows, but he made an impact immediately. more..

As Malinga's body grows weary, opponents remain wary

June 4 (CI) A decade ago, Lasith Malinga wrote himself a place in the history books by becoming the first - and still only - bowler to take four wickets in four balls in a ODI. During the 2007 World Cup, against South Africa in Guyana, he almost conjured a remarkable Sri Lanka victory by removing Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini with a mixture of slower balls and yorkers. more..

73rd Bradby Shield- 2nd leg: Royal complete another master-class

June 4 (ST) A master-class by Royal’s famed forwards made certain that the coveted Bradby Shield remained at the Royal Complex for another year at least. Trinity’s forwards were not in the picture and they were forced to play second fiddle to a rampant Royal side that, at times, put on a regal show of power and tactical nous. The final score line of 13-8 could lead one to believe that the match was oh-so-close. That was not the real situation however. A first half that meandered, and more..

Special training for Sri Lanka athletes in India

June 4 (ST) The Athletics Association of Sri Lanka has decided send athletes for a special training in India in preparation for the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Bhubaneaswar, Odisha from July 6 to 9. India has agreed to a request by the local officials to avail Kalinga Stadium, the venue for the Asian Athletics Championships for the training of Sri Lankan athletes. Both Sugathadasa Stadium and the Mahinda Rajapakse stadiums are in dilapidated states at present more..

CT 2007: Tahir, Amla lead rout of SL

June 4 (CI) Sri Lanka had lost five ODIs to South Africa already this year, but had hoped that months later, playing for a different trophy, they could apply the lessons learned during that walloping. It wasn't to be. The gulf in quality between these teams was borne out by the margin of South Africa's victory: 96 runs. In fact, South Africa may reflect that despite Hashim Amla's velvet 103 from 115 balls, and Faf du Plessis' efficient 75, more..

How Sangakkara and Bradman narrowly missed their mark

June 4 (Island) Recently SL has been beset with not only a horrendous tragedy with flood waters and landslides taking its deadly toll, but also cricket-wise – not to be compared with the former of course – how Sangakkara missed his opportunity of rubbing shoulders with The Don, and finally SL’s captain, Angelo Mathews being appointed captain until World Cup 2019 is, when at the time of writing, is doubtful even for the first game in the current Champions Trophy game to be played against SA. more..

Women entrepreneurs learn to create, grow businesses in Kandy

June 4 (USE) Women entrepreneurs from the Central Province promoted and sold their products at a U.S. Embassy-sponsored trade fair at the American Center in Kandy on March 30.  This fair served as the capstone event for a five-month program to provide entrepreneurial skills to women representing the area’s diverse communities. The free program provided participants with English language training as well as intensive workshops on marketing, production, use of social media, more..

Floods: Economic loss could be as high as Rs. 30 bln

June 4 (ST) SL could be facing economic losses in the range of around Rs. 30 billion based on some preliminary estimates of the cost of last week’s twin disasters of floods and landslides. A rough estimate of the total economic loss would be around Rs.30 billion covering all sectors including plantations and agriculture, senior govt official said adding however that this was an unofficial assessment as the relevant sate authorities more..

Upul Tharanga suspended for two matches after four-hour innings

June 4 (CI) SL's stand-in captain Upul Tharanga has been suspended for his team's next two matches in the Champions Trophy because of a serious over-rate offence in their first group B match against South Africa at The Oval. SL took more than four hours to bowl 50 overs, and match referee David Boon ruled they were short of the target by four overs, even after making time allowances. Tharanga had been filling in as captain for Angelo Mathews, who did not make it through more..

Sri Lanka for sale?

June 4 (TN) On May 29, the BBC asked, Is Sri Lanka up for sale? According to the BBC, “Sri Lanka is allowing Chinese firms to take over key assets, as it struggles to repay loans it was given by China”. In 2007, EXIM Bank of China began funding Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port. The port was completed at a cost of $1.3 billion. The Chinese financed and built the 900MW Norochcholai Power Plant at a cost of $1.35 billion. In 2010, Beijing lent Sri Lanka $200 million to build an airport. more..

US pledges Rs 350 million flood aid

June 4 (AD) U.S. Ambassador to SL, Atul Keshap, met with President Sirisena today (4) and pledged Rs 350 million to assist those affected by the adverse weather in Sri Lanka. The aid will be used to provide safe drinking water, hygiene kits, emergency shelter materials, home repair kits, and critical health care services to stave off diseases. A portion of the assistance will be provided through Sarvodaya, SL NGO. more..

Sri Lanka elected Vice-President of UN General Assembly

June 4 (NR) Sri Lanka has been elected to serve as a Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly for its 72nd session. At a meeting of the UNGA held on 31 May, Sri Lanka was elected by acclamation to serve as one of the Vice-Presidents for the session to be held from Sept 2017 to August 2018 representing the Asia and Pacific Group. The General Assembly also endorsed the nomination of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, Miroslav Lajèák, as the President of more..

Sri Lanka to release 42 boats, but warns of action if Indian fishermen enter its waters

June 4 (IN) After a long wait, it's time to rejoice for fishermen in Tamil Nadu's Rameshwaram. SL fisheries Minister Mahendra Amaraweera has confirmed the release of 42 boats - out of a total of 143 - that are in his nation's custody. However, Amaraweera added that this doesn't mean Sri Lanka will stop taking boats that enter SL waters into custody. When PM Narendra Modi visited SL in May, it was confirmed that SL's govt would consider releasing Indian boats in its custody. more..

Over Rs. 7 million worth weather equipment left to rot

June 4 (SL) Over Rs. 7 million worth of weather monitoring equipment had been left to rot since 2009. Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that the equipment had been purchased with foreign funding in 2009. The equipment had been stored in Padukka and the usage lifespan of most of it had now expired. Yapa said the equipment has now been transferred to the Disaster Management Centre in Colombo. more..

Jaffna University students show solidarity with affected Southern students

June 4 (SLA) In what could be described as a gesture that would help bring about reconciliation with their counterparts in the South, a representative group of undergraduates of the University of Jaffna, in a unique symbol of fellowship and understanding, were in Colombo on Friday (2) to purchase school accessories for distribution among more than 400 flood-affected students in Molkawa, Kukuleganga area. Jaffna Uni undergraduates, showing their concern towards the national tragedy more..

COYLE welcomes re-implementation of GSP+

June 4 (SO) The Chamber of Young Lankan entrepreneurs (COYLE) expressed their appreciation on the re-implementation of the GSP+ by the EU recently, stating that it presents opportunities and challenges for SL exporters. Chairman of COYLE, Kushan Kodituwakku said, “COYLE hopes to take full advantage of the untiring efforts of PM and the Govt in the pursuit of this facility to encourage its members to stamp a global footprint on its businesses. more..

My position in UNP diluted: Kabir

June 4 (CT) UNP General Secretary and Minister of State Enterprise Development, Kabir Hashim, said that party members were absolutely shocked dismayed and unsettled by the recent Cabinet Reshuffle after months of speculation and media hype. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe decided on the portfolios in accordance with the evolving needs of the country. Asked why Minister Ravi Karunanayake was removed and how more..

IMF-SL dispute over Inland Revenue Bill continues

June 4 (ST) Conflicts between Govt and IMF over the disputed  Inland Revenue Bill continues after local authority changed some sections without fund approvals. Changes, made by the Legal Draftsman as per instructions given by high authorities recently, provide for exemptions in IT, tourism, agriculture and export sectors, a move frowned on by the IMF. Fund was not consulted on these changes made after the Cabinet earlier this month approved the bill, which however is yet to be gazetted. more..

New company formations surge with the reduction in registration fees

June 4 (ST) SL’s registration of new companies has surged to an average of 40 per day at present from less than 20 earlier due to a massive reduction in registration fees by Rs.11,000 compelling the Department of Registrar of Companies to open new counters with additional staff. The registration fee of a private company has been reduced to Rs.4,000 from Rs.15,000 this year and this has resulted in an increase in company registrations though there was a slight decline in revenue during the past more..

No truth in HRCSL allegations: Over Rs. 1.3b compensation for Salawa victims

June 4 (SO) Disaster Management Ministry has already provided compensation worth over Rs.1,300 million to the Salawa Armoury explosion victims and there is no basis for allegations that compensation payments are delayed, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. “A problem has arisen with regard to the payment of a sum of Rs. 68 million to a small number of victims since they have gone before the HRC. more..

Constitution making process : TNA to meet SLFP and JO representatives

June 4 (SO) TNA representatives led by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan are due to meet the SLFP and Joint Opposition representatives to discuss the Constitution making process next week. A TNA Northern Provincial Councilor said said there is a proposal for a meeting between the two groups but nothing has been finalised yet. The coalition of Tamil parties, TNA has said that they were dissatisfied with the slow progress of evolving a constitutional solution to the problems of more..

Health Ministry refutes GMOA claims of dengue medicine shortage

June 4 (AD) The Ministry of Health today rejected claims that there is a shortage of the medicinal drug Dextran which is given to dengue patients and assured that sufficient supplies of the drug have been distributed to hospitals in the country. Acting Director General of Health Services, Dr Sarath Amunugama, refuted the allegation made by the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) that there is a shortage of the drug Dextran, which is needed for the dengue patients.  more..

Officials, Ministers wait in suspense as President mulls over allocation of subjects

June 4 (ST) Last Wednesday’s swearing in of four State Ministers and three Deputies, like the Cabinet reshuffle, was not without tense behind-the-scenes political drama. In this one, Enterprise Development Minister and General Secretary of the UNP, Kabir Hashim threatened to resign both positions. He called off the move only after President Sirisena gave him an assurance that his demand not to appoint Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena as more..

Post-deluge: Forget Megapolis; Focus on relief, restoration and rebuilding

June 4 (Island) The flood havoc has proved to be far worse than anyone could have imagined. The death and missing toll is now past 300. That includes nearly 50 school children. Kids who like to have fun running in the rain have instead perished in the floods. The list goes on, making finger pointing meaningless. The govt invariably is getting the flak, as it must, for by its own admission the ministry in charge of disaster relief was not prepared for this disaster. more..

Disaster response

June 4 (Island) The most obvious disaster around the recent flooding in SL was not caused by weather. For the entirety of the height of the disaster, Minister tasked with Disaster Management wasn’t anywhere close to the areas affected, or even in SL. Instead of returning back to the country urgently to deal with a real disaster, Minister was instead in Mexico, speaking about disasters. Media subsequently reported that on the way back to SL, he had also broken his journey in Dubai. more..

Precautionary measures in Pahiyangala closely supervised

June 4 (SLA) Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Crisanthe De Silva, intending to take stock of prevailing climatic conditions, emerging threat levels in surrounding mountains after warnings and precautionary measures, turned up unannounced at Pahiyangala area in Kukuleganga Friday (02) morning, together with Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, Commander, Security Forces – West (SF-West) and more..

Transfer of Deputy Minister doesn’t mean transfer of vehicles, paintings

June 4 (ST) Within a span of just twenty days of a Cabinet reshuffle there followed a reshuffle of State and Deputy Ministers. Needless to say there was both heartbreak and heartburn among those who aspired for top slots and received lesser ones or those who did not receive one at all. There was also other unusual developments. Some had asked for the institutions that they were handling previously, while others wanted the vehicles more..

SC orders Rs. 1m compensation to Police torture victim

June 4 (ST) The Supreme Court this week ordered the payment of Rs 1 million in compensation to a man who was tortured by officers of the Bandaragama police station. A Sub Inspector (SI), Constable, Sergeant and security assistant were personally ordered to pay Rs 125,000 each, to Chaminda Sampath Kumara from Walgama, Welimilla Junction. The State was instructed to pay the petitioner a further Rs 500,000, for and more..

As flood waters recede new concerns emerge

June 4 (SL) As flood waters began to recede last week, new concerns began to emerge, including health concerns. Last week, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) conducted field visits and initial assessments in the worst affected divisions (covering about 104,000 people) in Galle, Kalutara, Matara and Ratnapura. Emergency shelter, non-food items (NFIs), and health services were identified as immediate needs. more..

Finance Ministry to act after studying AG’s report

June 4 (SO) Finance Ministry will take action to correct where it should be corrected, after studying the AG‘s report which disclaimed accounts of Finance Ministry last week. “We want to study the report and discuss with the AG before we take any decision on this report,” State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. He added that the way the accounts are computed by the AG has been changed over the last couple of years. more..

Unpreparedness reigned as lives, properties were destroyed

June 4 (ST) Last week’s disasters in several districts of the country highlighted just how unprepared SL still is to handle such situations. Local authorities found themselves with little or no resources–no power generators, no communications equipment, no boats, lifejackets or other equipment essential to deal with flash floods and landslides. If any village-level disaster management or preparedness systems were in place, more..

Heroes to the rescue again

June 4 (CT) Barely a few weeks after commemorating the fallen heroes, who sacrificed their lives eight years ago to ensure that the lives of civilians in this country are safe, members of SL Army, Navy and Air Force were seen once again putting their heart and soul into rescuing innocent civilians, who lost all their worldly possessions as torrential rains wreak havoc in eight districts of the country killing over 200 persons. more..

Disaster Management Ministry underspends

June 4 (SO) The Ministry of Disaster Management has only utilized 8% of its allocated capital expenditure budget for Administration and Establishment Services, according to its Annual Performance Report. Estimated provisions for capital expenditure under Administration and Establishment Services stood at Rs. 260,600,000 while the expenditure has been calculated at Rs 21,796,424, indicating an expenditure of 8% more..

NBRO extends landslide warnings; death toll reaches 224 with 78 missing

June 4 (ST) The NBRO yesterday extended its landslide warnings in seven districts affected by the adverse weather, as the death toll increased to 224 with 78 missing. A 24-hour landslide warning was issued last afternoon for the Divisional Secretariats of Ratnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Kalutara, Matara, Hambantota and Nuwara Eliya. NBRO officials said the warnings could be further extended later today, if the rains continue. more..

PM cleared medically in NY, will attend UN Confab next week

June 4 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has completed a medical check-up at New York’s Presbyterian University Hospital and will attend next week’s United Nations Oceans Conference. Results from a three day check-up has cleared him of any doubts and given him a clean bill of health. Speaking to Sunday Times from his New York hotel last morning, PM said that he underwent a head to toe examination. more..