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New Constitution: What we expect from the two main parties

Nov 1 (CT) I also have with me the 2000 August Draft Constitution Bill that was brought to this House by the People’s Alliance Govt of that day of which the Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa was a Cabinet Minister; a Bill which was certified by the Cabinet of Ministers as a Bill that is intended to be passed by this Parliament by a two-thirds majority and approved by the people at a referendum. He was a Cabinet Minister who approved of this Bill and what does that Bill say? more..

Lahore, 3 March 2009: When terror hit world cricket

Nov 1 (CT) A few years back I studied the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team when they were on their way to the Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore during the course of their Test Match vs Pakistan in 2009. This analysis is available as Cricket under Siege: The Lahore Attack, 3 March 2009, in my book Incursions & Excursions in and around Sri Lanka Cricket (Vijitha Yapa, 2011). I did not interview Brendon Kuruppu, the SL Team Manager, till after that work was presented. more..

Words that could cost the House

Nov 1 (SO) Parliament, the highest lawmaking body in Sri Lanka came under verbal attack when its own member, MP Wimal Weerawanse has reportedly said, Parliament should be bombed if the draft constitutional reforms which are proposed under the interim Steering Committee receives a two-thirds majority. Speaking to the Sunday Observer, Speaker of the House Karu Jayasuriya said, matter will be taken up for discussion more..

Last days of Che Guevara

Nov 1 (CT) One day in November 1966, a not-so-big, bald man, wearing heavily rimmed glasses and puffing a pipe arrived in the capital city - La Paz of Bolivia. He carried a passport from the Uruguayan Govt, and looked a middle-aged businessman. So, hardly anybody took any notice of him, as he checked into the popular Copacabana Hotel. This stranger's real name was Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, the top lieutenant of the late Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro, and considered by more..

Is Sri Lanka’s Grade Five Scholarship Exam akin to a fool’s errand?

Nov 1 (NS) The 2017 grade five scholarship exam results were released in early October, with 356,728 candidates sitting for the exam across Sri Lanka. As usual, details of the top scorers were highlighted in the media. But, apart from a handful of successful students, how many manage to score above the cut-off mark each year? Does the exam serve its intended objectives? Is it worth the time, money, and effort spent by young children and their parents? This blog seeks to answer these questions, more..

'Expect crossovers in droves when elections are announced'

Nov 1 (CT) Former Deputy Minister for Postal Services and Muslim Affairs Duleep Wijesekera noted that the concept unity govt is foreign to the grassroots level politics as the animosity between the two major parties, UNP and SLFP is still rife. As a result the political foundation of the national govt is unstable, although the senior politicians in the upper rung are complacent in their notion of a unity govt. more..

Wanted: qualified political candidates

Nov 1 (DN) Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. A good man brings forth good things out of the abundance of good stored in his heart. A bad man could bring only evil things out of the evil he has filled his heart with. When the heart is filled with an abundance of thoughts, be they loving and compassionate, understanding, indulgent and forgiving, ignorant, wildly angry and intimidating, threatening and foolish, it erupts at the first occasion in reply to a situation that elicits more..

CGT, a solace for the prevailing tax system

Nov 1 (DN) Former Minister Ravi Karunanayake in his budget speech for 2017 stated that the tax system of the country is revisited with emphasis being made on the creation of much simpler tax regime with minimum tax exemptions and a broadened tax base. He also said that Capital Gain Tax (CGT) will be introduced with effect from April 1, 2017 at rate of 10% because they consider this tax to be equitable as it bridges the income gap and assists govt initiatives in poverty alleviation. more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayaka

Albert Einstein in Colombo and Negombo: Oct 1922 and Jan 1923

Nov 1 (Island) There is hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of Einstein - a synonym for extraordinary genius. Einstein popped up in the news recently. Three Americans won the 2017 Nobel Prize, for detecting gravitational waves - the only prediction of his theory which remained unverified. Einstein derived his famous theory of General Relativity as an imaginative idea. Yet, to the amazement of the whole world all his predictions have been precisely verified. more..

Political economy of Central Banking in SL

Nov 1 (Island) I was fortunate to be in the last batch of students of late Prof. Gunasekera at Peradeniya before he moved to Colombo to take up the position of Secretary to the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs. I recall with gratitude how lucidly the stern-looking professor taught us the rigorous theories of Monetary Economics in his own style. His book, From Dependent Currency to Central Banking in Ceylon: An Analysis of Monetary Experience 1825-1957, which was based on more..

Pink Crystal mountains of Sri Lanka

Nov 1 (Roar) Famed as the largest ironwood forest in Asia, Jaathika Namal Uyana, an ancient forest sanctuary close to Dambulla, leads to the rose quartz mountain range. The latter also claims to be the largest in Asia, a claim which is neither substantiated nor disputed. Despite this, mining at the rose quartz mountain range in Sri Lanka is illegal, and the quartz mined for commercial uses are from deposits found in countries like more..

No need to abolish the Presidential system?

Nov 1 (Island) To argue against the prevailing popular fashion is no easy task, but do hope I would be listened to for the simple reason that, sometimes, the solution could be more of a problem than the original problem itself. Though the majority of the ordinary citizens are concerned about mundane issues like the cost of living as pointed out in a number of recent Island editorials, the majority of intellectuals clamour for the abolition of the executive presidency and more..

Editorial: The blues of the Greens

Nov 1 (Island) It is reported that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is troubled by what he calls unfair media criticism. Having released his party’s report card on Monday at Sirikotha, PM said the media were critical of the yahapalana leaders, especially him, in spite of the considerable progress the country had made under the present govt. The predicament of our govt leaders has saddened us beyond measure! How can we cheer up our PM? Well, there is a pithy local saying which more..

‘Shortage of workers and sand threatening construction industry growth’

Nov 1 (Island) Over the next two years the construction industry would exceed Rs. 6.5 billion. Colombo’s rapidly rising skyline was index to its growth. However, the construction industry was currently faced with a shortage of workers and material for construction, particularly sand, Secretary General, Ceylon Chamber of Industries Nissanka Wijeratne said. He stated the above recently at a press conference on more..

Anjana Reddy to speak at NHRDC Forum

Nov 1 (FT) National Human Resources Development Council of Sri Lanka will kick off the Young, bold and daring – the spirit of young entrepreneurs for a country enriched, a discussion forum and workshop on 2 Nov at 8:30 a.m. at BMICH.  Forum aims to create awareness about opportunities that are available for young entrepreneurs specially women who venture into enterprises, challenges faced and how to successfully overcome them. more..

Sri Lanka lacked strategy to counter lies propagated by Western powers

Nov 1 (Island) Sri Lanka lacked a strategy to counter lies, propagated by Western powers, bent on undermining the war effort. Successive governments, particularly the war-winning Rajapaksa administration, had been overwhelmed by high profile relentless propaganda projects. For want of a cohesive plan, interested parties pursued anti-Sri Lanka propaganda offensive with impunity. Political and military leaderships pathetically failed to meet the challenging task. more..

Sri Lanka’s luxury property market set for increase in supply

Nov 1 (OBG) Estimates suggest up to 5000 luxury homes will make their way onto the local market between now and 2020, with supply peaking next year when 2800 units are scheduled for completion. The influx of available properties is expected to test market demand, with speculation rising that developers may be forced to lower prices in the short to medium term to maintain sales activity and revenue flows. more..

SC grants leave to proceed with FR filed by affected residents of Salawa

Nov 1 (FT) Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights petition filed by the residents of Salawa in Kosgama affected by the explosion at the Salawa Army Camp armoury. Bench comprising Justices Priyatha Jayawardane, Nalin Perera and Vijith Malalgoda granted leave to proceed for alleged violation of their Fundamental Right to equality. Shantha Jayawardane with Chamara Nanayakkarawasam instructed by Sunil Wattagala appeared for the petitioners. more..

Fasting Tamil prisoners’ appeal: Motion seeks CA to list case today

Nov 1 (FT) Attorney-at-Law for the fasting Tamil Prisoners yesterday filed a motion in Appeal Court pleading to re-list their appeal to be taken up today. The appeal filed by the Tamil prisoners seeking the Court of Appeal to transfer their case back to Vavuniya from Anuradhapura High Court day before yesterday fizzled out as when the case was called, they were absent and unrepresented. Tamil prisoners who embark on continuous fasting in a passive resistance urging to transfer more..

Video: Lasith Malinga turns into off-spinner in domestic match; picks up three wickets

Nov 1 (SK) Lasith Malinga turned to off-spin during a recent domestic limited-overs game. Captaining Teejay Lanka, 34-year old managed to pick up three wickets with his slippery off-breaks against LB Finance in the final of the 25th Singer MCA ‘A’ division knockout tournament. Operating from a short run-up with the wicket-keeper up to the stumps, he delivered sizzling off-breaks with his trademark slingy action more..

‘Lankan ports still productive compared to others in region’

Nov 1 (DN) Though India is investing several million on developing over 12 international ports, the three deep-sea Sri Lankan ports could still be productive, said Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development Dr. Harsha De Silva. Speaking at a seminar at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute he said after being in isolation for several years Sri Lanka is now engaging with the world and this is why GSP Plus and other incentives have come Sri Lanka’s way. more..

Heavy rains in most parts of country

Nov 1 (Island) Heavy rains of above 150 mm will be expected in Central, Sabaragamuwa, Western, North Western, Uva, Northern and North Central provinces and in Ampara and Batticaloa today, according to the Meteorology Department. The Met Department has predicted that the prevailing showery conditions due to the low level atmospheric disturbance over Sri Lanka will continue and, therefore, cloudy skies would be expected over most parts of the country. more..

Qatar, SL vow to break low trade gridlock

Nov 1 (FT) Both Qatar and Sri Lanka refocused on breaking their present low trade threshold yesterday and looked to move towards crucial trade engagement in agriculture, power and investment. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen led the SL side participating in the second Qatar-SL Joint Committee for Economic, Commercial and Technical Cooperation. Qatari delegation was led by Minister of Economy & Commerce Bin Al Thani. more..

Namal wants trial date extended

Nov 1 (DN) A case filed against MP Namal Rajapaksa and five others for their alleged involvement in laundering money amounting to Rs.30 million through Gowers Corporate Services, was fixed for November 29 by Colombo High Court. Four accused Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of former President Rajapaksa, Nithya Samaranayake, Sujani Bogollagama and Iresha Silva who functioned as the directors of Gowers Corporation were present in court when the case was taken up more..

Who will serve my guests? Ask Hoteliers

Nov 1 (ST) Hoteliers in Sri Lanka short on staff are running to the villages in search of new hands to join the booming tourism industry to meet future demand. Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte told the Business Times on Thursday that the industry needs an additional 250,000 workers by 2025 to run its operations. Currently the hotel industry has an estimated workforce of 350,000 directly employed in the formal sector, he said. more..

Highlight people's fundamental and social rights in new constitution: JVP

Nov 1 (DM) JVP MP Vijitha Herath said clauses to uphold the fundamental and social rights of the people should be included in the new Constitution before talking about issues of power devolution, federalism and giving more powers to provincial councils. He said this during the Constitutional Assembly debate on the new Constitution and pointed out that the people's social rights including the right to education, health, more..

FR against health sector wildcat strike: SC fixes to support on 26 March for leave

Nov 1 (FT) Supreme Court re-fixed for support on 26 March for granting leave to proceed in respect of three Fundamental Rights petitions filed against the public health sector strikes. The Bench comprised Justices Sisira J De, Anil Gooneratne and Vijith K. Malalgoda. Petitioners cited Prime Minister, Members of the Cabinet of Ministers, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Director General of Health Services, Commissioner General of Labour, more..

Documentary tribute to a Tamil scholar

Nov 1 (Hindu) Tracing the unknown aspects of a prominent personality in the world of Tamil literature is quite a challenging task and Mu. Elangovan, a faculty in the Kanchi Mamunivar Centre for Post Graduate Studies, Puducherry, has travelled across the sea to do exactly that. After a year of research, documentation and interviews, Mr. Elangovan has brought out a 50-minute documentary to depict life of Vipulananda Adigalar, who wrote famous Yazh Nool (book of stringed musical instruments) more..

Criminal action against Gamini Senarath

Nov 1 (DM) Former Presidential secretariat chief of staff Gamini Senarath and two others who are named as suspects in a case of misusing Rs 4 billion govt funds were issued orders by the Colombo Fort Magistrate and District Judge Ms Lanka Jayarathne, today banning them from leaving the country. They have been accused of misusing government funds by illegally investing Rs 4 billion from Rs 18.5 billion approved by more..

Pakistan President for boosting Pak-Sri Lanka trade ties

Nov 1 (TN) President Mamnoon Hussain has said that Sri Lanka is the closest friend of Pakistan and stressed the need to further enhancement of trade relations between the two countries. President said this while talking to High Commissioner-designate of Pakistan to SL Maj. Gen. (Redt) Shahid Hashmat who called on him at the Aiwan-e-sadr on Tuesday.  The President emphasised that maximum cooperation must be extended to Sri Lanka in the field of investment and more..

Amaraweera reports Johnny to CIABOC Rs 3B rip-off at the CWE

Nov 1 (CT) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has lodged a complaint at the CIABOC against Kurunegala District MP Johnston Fernando. The complaint relates to Fernando's actions as the former Minister of Internal Trade and Cooperatives during the period of the previous regime of which Amaraweera was also a Cabinet Minister. Fernando had allegedly ordered large quantities of rice far in excess of the Cabinet approved quantity of 5,000 tons at the time, Amaraweera said. more..

Day 1: One-third of Constitutional Assembly missing

Nov 1 (Island) At least 75 members of Constitutional Assembly (CA) tasked with formulating a draft Constitution were absent during the first session on Monday. CA is having a 3-day debate on the interim report presented by its Steering Committee. Parliament meets as the CA on all 3 days. Attendance had been extremely low in spite of the best efforts made by political party leaderships to ensure their members’ participation. more..

VAC to release recording today: Implicating Treasury bonds scammers

Nov 1 (CT) Voice Against Corruption (VAC) is scheduled to provide the country's media with a hitherto unheard of piece of evidence with regard to CB Treasury Bonds scam. Convener of VAC, Wasantha Samarasinghe previously claimed that his organization was in the possession of a recording, which they had received from overseas, that would reveal as to who had given instructions for loans to be released to primary bidder Perpetual Treasuries, those who had been the recipients of more..

Senarath, two others evading arrest

Nov 1 (DN) Former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and two others are currently evading arrest, FCID officers who turned up at their homes to arrest them have found. FCID sources state that the families of the suspects too have not been able to reveal any reliable information of their whereabouts. FCID has thus attempted to arrest Senarath, Neil Bandara and Piyadasa Kudabalage. They have been charged for misappropriating millions in the name of building the Grand Hyatt hotel more..

'Don’t miss the last bus to lasting solution'

Nov 1 (CT) Govt leaders yesterday warned the country that this was the last chance the country had to bring about a lasting solution to the ethnic or national problem by bringing in a new Constitution. "For the first time, the biggest representation of Tamil people, the TNA, has actively participated in the process of constitutional reforms and this chance will never ever come to us. Already, it took decades to reach this juncture," said the majority of more..

Ploys by the Opposition to scuttle Govt moves for new Constitution

Nov 1 (DM) Several people have come forward to defend NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa who threatened to bomb the Parliament if a new Constitution was adopted on the basis of the interim report submitted by the Constitutional Assembly’s Steering Committee and tabled in Parliament on Sept 21 by PM.  Keheliya Rambukwella a former media minister and JO front-liner in Central Province, Dilum Amunugama had echoed what Weerawansa had said while NFF dy leader more..

Stagnation and decline of our culture

Nov 1 (DM) I look out the window. The sun, already below the horizon, having left its day’s legacy of tireless yet unkind assault on mother earth, with the darkening western sky, is behaving in her usual splendor, creating a riot of colors; a magnificent departure of the day is being greeted by the ascending tapestry of millions of stars; another day of the nation in twilight pacing her way into the waiting millions of villagers and city dwellers. It’s raining in the distance.  more..

‘We can’t survive with this island mentality’

Nov 1 (DM) Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam spoke on educational reforms and the incorporation of technology in education while responding to criticism of his ambitious strategies.  Q: How effective do you think the insurance cover introduced to school children would be? A: It will affect the entire school system positively. The new scheme covers Govt schools, international schools and even pirivenas. more..

Blow to Sri Lanka's first on-line workers

Nov 1 (EN) Govt Tuesday slapped severe restrictions on the country's first on-line workers -- the toddy tappers -- saying that the move was to plug revenue leaks from the manufacture of alcoholic drinks. "No toddy shall be drawn or lowered from coconut or palmyrah trees without a license issued by the department of excise or by the respective Divisional Secretaries," finance ministry said. Number of toddy tappers had reached more..