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Pragmatism needed in fashioning transitional justice approaches

Oct 31 (Island) UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, recently expressed his strong disappointment at the failure of the government to implement the commitments it made more than two years ago in Geneva to the UNHRC. On that momentous occasion in Oct 2015 the govt succeeded in reversing the deterioration in relations between Sri Lanka and the international community more..

Breaking down the Interim Report

Oct 31 (GV) Oct 30 marks the beginning of a Parliamentary debate around the recently released draft interim report on constitutional reform by the Steering Committee in the Constitutional Assembly. In order to better inform the commentary around the debate, Groundviews is releasing a series of short videos deconstructing the content of the draft interim report. View the first in this series below, framed by a short list of frequently asked questions around the constitutional reform process. more..

'I am ashamed of our performances'

Oct 31 (ST) For a team that has featured in five World Cup finals from 2007-14, scoring just four wins in 26 matches during one year—including 12 consecutive defeats and three 5-0 whitewashes—should be a cause for serious concern. Another sweep in India in December’s three-match series—should it come to that—will extend Sri Lanka’s losing streak to 15. That would be a new record for an int'l team, surpassing more..

Environment lobby files writ petition against Port City

Oct 31 (FT) The Court of Appeal issued notices returnable for 13 December on the Sri Lanka Port Authority, Director General of Coast Conservation and Coastal Management, Central Environmental Authority, Board of Investment and China Harbour Engineering Port City Ltd. in respect of the writ petition pertaining to the Colombo Port City Development. The bench comprised justices L.T.B. Dehideniya (CA President) and A.L. Shiran Gooneratne. more..

People, not MPs, should decide on new constitution

Oct 31 (Island) There is much discussion these days on constitution making. We are witnessing that all and sundry have become experts in constitution making, and experts in interpreting every single word of the proposed draft constitution presented to the Parliament. It has to be debated and agreed upon and finally presented to the people’s approval. This discussion is due to take place in the Parliament for three days this week. In the meantime, politicians go around the country more..

Pakistan assures all-out support to Sri Lanka in sports

Oct 31 (TN) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera called on Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination of Pakistan Riaz Pirzada at his office. Pirzada welcomed the sports minister and discussed matters related to sports . He said: “Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka are enjoying cordial relations in different fields including sports and education. I am thankful to the SL sports minister for visiting Pakistan along with his national team.” more..

Sri Lanka advised to reduce agencies handing trade, share data

Oct 31 (EN) The World Bank has urged Sri Lanka to increase data sharing among govt agencies and the private sector and reduce the number of agencies exporters and importers deal with under its trade facilitation initiatives. “Clear, transparent border management would significantly boost investor confidence,” World Bank Country Director for SL Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough said. Sri Lanka must also reduce the trade transaction costs faced by the trading community, she said. more..

President calls for a dynamic plan to increase agricultural exports

Oct 31 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out the need of a dynamic plan to increase the agricultural exports, while endorsing quantitative and qualitative standards of the agricultural crops. He made these remarks addressing the 45th Annual Session of the International Pepper Community held at the Earl’s Regency, Kandy, today (30). President said that in the journey of taking forward of the country, once again to the golden era of Agricultural economy, field of the pepper industry more..

PRECIFAC hands over 144 petitions to FCID, CIABoC and CID

Oct 31 (FT) Anti-corruption commission has handed over 144 petitions on fraud and corruption to FCID, CIABoC and CID to carry out further investigations, its Secretary H.W. Gunadasa said. The PRECIFAC, which has been given a one-month extension till 3 December, is now in the process of preparing the final overall performances report and 17 final reports on large-scale corruption, fraud and misuse of power & state funds. more..

Hockey latest victim of politics

Oct 31 (CT) England had a strong attraction to hockey in the 19th century and introduced the game to their colonies, as they had done with cricket. It was at the tail end of the 18th century the game was introduced to India and SL (Ceylon then). As the game gradually gained popularity, the first hockey club in India was established in 1885 but no tournaments were played at the time. It was in 1895 the first local tournament was organized. Beighton Cup was the more popular tournament more..

Spotting a black sheep!

Oct 31 (DM) Two Betel leaf senior purohitas –  both onetime secretarial ones-one from the Colombo district and the other from Kurunegala – had recently called on Number One to tell him on a colleague in the top team. The duo taking turns told the boss in conspiratorial tones that the colleague in question was quietly planning to bring about a price hike in essential consumer items on the eve of the upcoming local polls at the bidding of an opposition big gun.  more..

All Party, Religious Conference to discuss the new Constitution

Oct 31 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena said that an All Party Conference and an All Religious Conference will be convened to discuss the proposed new Constitution with an objective of dispelling some misconceptions within some quarters. President also said that a forum consisting of members of academic and the intelligensia will also be called to discuss the proposed Constitution. President Sirisena is hopeful that more..

MR feels Tamils overseas not investing enough in north, east

Oct 31 (FT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says Tamils overseas are not investing enough in the north and east of the country. Speaking at an int'l Buddhist conference in India, Rajapaksa said that many highrise residential buildings have come up in Colombo in the past two decades. He says the condominium boom in Colombo was in fact started by Tamil people resident overseas, who spent enormous sums of money buying up flats in Colombo even at the height of the war that more..

TISL urges public disclosure of campaign finance sources

Oct 31 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said it was encouraged by the proposal put forward by President Maithripala Sirisena to control unlimited spending on election campaigns. However, TISL urged lawmakers to be mindful of the importance of publicly disclosing sources of campaign funding as a minimum requirement, when drafting provisions to limit spending.  The approval of Cabinet on 17 Oct to amend the relevant laws is both timely and necessary. more..

New Constitution: All Peoples must have a stake: TNA

Oct 31 (CT) TNA says everybody must have a stake in the country and none should be second-class citizens. While insisting that they will not stand in the way if the Buddhists prefer their religion to be treated above all, even though the country should be secular State in its Constitution, TNA said the country would remain one only if different peoples have a stake in governance. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran told the Constituent Assembly more..

Indonesian sailing vessel Bima Suci arrives at the port of Colombo

Oct 31 (SLN) Indonesian sailing vessel Bima Suci arrived at the port of Colombo on a goodwill visit today (30). SL Navy welcomed the visiting ship in accordance with naval traditions upon her arrival. The Commanding Officer of the Indonesian ship, Commander Widiyatmoko Baruno Aji and Indonesion Ambassadore to SL Mr. Gusthi Ardiyasa called on Commander of SL Navy, Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe and held cordial discussions on matters of bilateral importance. more..

Nothing like parliament lunch even for boycotters

Oct 31 (Island) A group of MPs who boycotted yesterday’s debate on interim report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly were, however, present at the MP’s Restaurant to have their lunch. MPs are entitled to meals on parliament sitting days and yeterday, too, they were provided with subsidised meals. NFF MPs including its leader Wimal Weerawansa boycotted the debate on the interim report, saying that the new Constitution was detrimental to the national interest. more..

Looters as Rulers: Bankrupting Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (FT) Prepping for polls, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Govt’s policies since 2015 had focused on all-round multidimensional development and economic growth that targeted public, household, company and macroeconomic advancement to deliver holistic growth.  Launching UNP Achievements Report, PM gave a detailed recap of the policy measures taken by the Govt since it came to power nearly 3 years ago more..

Cowell’s Got Talent franchise is now in SL

Oct 31 (DN) The original Got Talent reality TV franchise created by the world famous producer Simon Cowell, is here in Sri Lanka. Got Talent format is recognised as the most successful reality TV show by Guinness World Records and it is being aired in more than 65 territories worldwide. This global experience is brought to you by Sirasa TV and opens new avenues in the international space for SL native talent. This stage can be a platform for singing or dancing, ventriloquism more..

Sri Lanka targets leading Middle Eastern tour operators

Oct 31 (DM) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau successfully concluded a week long promotional mission to the Middle East as part of its on-going efforts to develop new markets and increase the number of visitors and spend from the region to Sri Lanka. A delegation of twenty partners from Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality industries visited Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar from Oct 15–19, holding one-to-one meetings and presentations on SL with leading travel agency representatives more..

Mangala promises SME support package in his designer budget

Oct 31 (DM) 2018 budget will feature significant support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete in global markets, according to Minister Mangala Samaraweera, whose ministry in an earlier occasion said Samaraweera would present a designer budget this November.  “For too long Sri Lanka’s exports have been dominated by corporate giants and we now are in the process of empowering the SME sector. more..

Constitution should abolish Executive Presidency: JVP

Oct 31 (NR) The JVP says the main goal of a new Constitution should be the abolishment of the Executive Presidency. Speaking in Parliament during the debate of the Constitutional Assembly JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said the Executive Presidency has created dictators in the past. The MP said the Executive Presidency has led to people seeking cover from the law, has threatened the judiciary and made Parliament a post office. He said this is why political institutions have depleted more..

‘New changes to bribery and corruption prevention laws soon’

Oct 31 (DN) The Director General of the CIABOC, Sarath Jayamanne yesterday said new changes in prevention laws on bribery and corruption will take effect very soon. “We are at a turning point of prevention in Sri Lanka.” Jayamanne, PC also said. He further said that “The law is before the Cabinet at present. Once the law is passed we will establish a Prevention Unit. Then, we are going to formally appoint 50 prevention officers.” He made these observations at Professional Forum on more..

Opposition mounts against govt’s SAITM solutions

Oct 31 (CT) Totally rejecting the Governmental solutions, put forward with regard to the SAITM, IUSF announced that they would continue with their struggle to have the operations of the SAITM abolished. Presidential Committee appointed to look into the issues pertaining to SAITM, recommended the abolition of the medical faculty of the SAITM and proposed to bring the institution under Ministry of more..

Sri Lankan maid gets SR88,600 salary dues for 17 years of service in Saudi Arabia

Oct 31 (AN) With the help of Saudi authorities, a Sri Lankan maid received SR88,600 ($23,625) in back wages for the past 17 years. This is considered the largest amount, around 3.6m Sri Lankan Rupees, recovered as salary arrears paid to a Sri Lankan migrant worker in the history of the island. K.G. Kusumawathi, 44, came to the Kingdom in 2000 when she was only 27 and had a two-year-old daughter Hansika Sewwandi, and a son Thushitha Madusha, four years of age. more..

JO accuses police of blocking them

Oct 31 (Island) JO accused the police of obstructing its members while they were on their way to Parliament to take part in the debate on the interim report of Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly. JO MP Bandula Gunawardena told the assembly that the police had held them during a protest that took place near the Polduwa Junction at Parliament Roundabout against the new constitution. Raising a point of order MP said the privilege of JO members had been violated. more..

Constitutional reforms debate day one

Oct 31 (CT) 3-day debate on the interim report of the Steering Committee, on Constitutional Reforms, began yesterday with the Parliament sitting as a Constituent Assembly and from the outset it was clear there were deep divisions among the Parties. SLFP emphasized that there should not be any constitutional reforms proposed that needed a referendum. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said, SLFP did not believe more..

NGOs and Federalism

Oct 31 (DM) Prof. Yash Ghai, a Harvard Scholar and Prof. Emeritus of the Nairobi University, was a Kenyan who had over the years been regarded as an international expert in constitutional making. It was a great honour for the University of Nairobi to have educated and nurtured such a magnificent scholar. He has been invited by many developing countries to formulate and assist in the drafting of their own Constitutions.  Most modern scholars feel that the Kenyan Constitution more..

Detractors of constitutional reforms cannot be ignored, they need to be defeated

Oct 31 (DM) Yesterday, Parliament took up for debate the Steering Committee Report on the Constituent Assembly. The first round of the debate will be held until Wednesday.   However, the history of Sinhala hardline obstructionism is repeating itself and has already made a dent in the latest constitutional effort. Maha Nayakas have objected to the new constitution. Elle Gunawansa Thera, a hard line monk has asked Parliamentarians to vote against the proposed constitution. more..

Will not sign new Constitution if harmful to nation: Speaker

Oct 31 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, in an interview, speaks out his stand on the constitution making process and the enactment of the Provincial Councils Elections Act. Q: There is a lot of criticism about the enactment of the Provincial Councils Elections Act with amendments starkly different to the contents in the original draft of the Bill. As the Speaker, what is your view? A: It is the responsibility of Govt to bring forward Bills. more..

Political meddling in Yala: Minister insists will not budge

Oct 31 (SL) Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera is allegedly attempting to influence a change in the system on the operations of the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary but the Minister in charge of Wildlife insists he will not budge. He said govt was not prepared to change the laws that had been brought in regarding the Yala Wildlife Sanctuary. These laws had been implemented with the aim of protecting the Yala sanctuary which is more..

Illegal weapons: No smoking guns

Oct 31 (ST) Early last month, traffic policemen who became suspicious of a licence plate intercepted a hybrid vehicle in which the occupants had Chinese-made assault weapons. By all indications, if not for the vigilance of the two traffic policemen and sheer luck, a violent crime could have been committed in Gampaha town in broad daylight. In the incident on October 2, police recovered three T56 assault rifles. more..

IUSF and IUBF conveners granted bail

Oct 31 (AD) The Convener of the Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) Lahiru Weerasekara and Convener of the Inter University Bikku Federation (IUBF) Ven. Tampitiye Sugathananda Thero have been granted bail by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court. They were arrested for breaching court orders, forcibly entering the premises of the Ministry of Health and causing damage to public property during a protest more..

Dengue strikes again!

Oct 31 (DM) The threat of Dengue is a dark shadow looming in the Sri Lankan horizons, waiting to strike as soon as an opportunity presents itself. At the time of writing as many as 162952 cases of dengue have been reported; an all time high. Though the number of dengue patients has been declining since the end of July, as per the data provided by the Epidemiology Unit, the public have raised their suspicions regarding this figure because more..

‘MR also wanted a new Constitution’

Oct 31 (NR) Constitutional Assembly convened for the second day this morning to debate the report of the Steering Committee pertaining to the proposed new Constitution. MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne said President did not call for public referendums only for Constitutional Amendments cited in the govt’s 100 day plan. He said this has been clearly stated in the election manifesto of then Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Kumar Sangakkara, not in favour of four-day Tests

Oct 31 (HT) Kumar Sangakkara has rejected the idea of four-day Test cricket, stating that he has started to lose track of the many changes that have been introduced in the sport. “Can you imagine an Ashes series where a Test match only goes four days? To have all of that watered down into four days is a bit of a blow, but I understand the whole importance of commercial viability and the economics of it. more..

LTTE and Diaspora are involved in bringing a New Constitution: Gota

Oct 31 (DM) Those who are now in the forefront of bringing a New Constitution are those who maintained that terrorism can never be defeated and peace would never dawn in our country. The LTTE and the Diaspora are involved in bringing a New Constitution, said former Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa addressing an intellectual forum of the Eliya organization held in Kandy at the OK-J conference hall. more..

Any country can develop part of Trinco harbor: Prime Minister

Oct 31 (LBO) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the govt has invited countries including India to develop part of the Trinco harbor. According to PM, there is no agreement with India to develop the entire harbor. “We don’t need to give Trinco habour to India. But anyone including India can develop part of the harbor,” he said. PM however said both countries had discussions about developing terminals, jetties and oil tanks in more..

President announces three major steps regarding constitutional reforms

Oct 31 (PSL) “The govt will take three important steps on constitutional reforms and to prevent incorrect information which creates incorrect ideas about the proposed new constitution”, says President Sirisena. “Accordingly, govt will call for an all party conference, with participation of the political parties represented in Parliament, a conference of all religious leaders and another conference of scholars more..

TEA brews toxic blend for its own survival

Oct 31 (FT) At its recent 18th Annual General Meeting, the Tea Exporters’ Association (TEA) renewed its strident demand for liberalisation of the tea industry, ostensibly to modernise and end the downfall of the industry and seemingly driven by a laudably altruistic motive. In reality, it was once again a pathetic plea for State patronage for the importation of black tea from other producer countries, in order to resuscitate the flagging fortunes of unenterprising exporters/traders more..