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20A: You only vote twice

Sep 20 (DM) Bill on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution has been so controversial that the Joint Opposition is said to have planned a mass cross over from the Govt to the Opposition, when it is taken for debate in Parliament this week as scheduled. However, it is reported that the Govt has deferred its debate. Whatever the veracity of the reports on the crossovers was, the essence of this piece of legislation is very important in terms of democracy, as it is mainly meant for more..

CV exposes the true image beneath the Sinhala Selfie

Sep 20 (DM) Following is an excerpt of a speech delivered by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Vigneswaran at the launch of Kusal Perera’s book Rajapakse the Sinhala Selfie. It gives be immense pleasure to be involved in this book launch. Apart from Kusal being a friend of ours, who was kind enough to accompany us to meet the Mahanayake Theros last weekend, the book launched by him is also about a friend of his. The book is titled Rajapakse the Sinhala Selfie. more..

'We are making plans to topple the Govt'

Sep 20 (CT) In 100 days it was not done. Two years passed it was not done. Now to whom are they saying that they will develop the country by 2025. We are planning to topple the Govt, it may in an election or in some other way. UPFA C.B. Ratnayake says Arundika Fernando won the election thanks to Mahinda's photo, 'If Arundika wants to contest the next election, whatever privileges he enjoys in this Govt, he has to be more..

Mahendran a foreign citizen: PCoI

Sep 20 (CT) Former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran proceeded to testify before the PCoI, after his Counsel claimed that he would testify although not being legally required to so, as a foreign citizen. Mahendran's Counsel Romesh de Silva, PC making a statement prior to the witness's arrival in the witness box, claimed that his client is giving his testimony, as a Singaporean citizen, to prove his innocence and to support the Commission. more..

‘Those who received the most votes were corrupt’

Sep 20 (DM) Senior retired state official and former Auditor General Sarath Chandrasiri Mayadunne in an interview aired his views on the proposed Audit Bill, the incident relating to Anusha Palpita and Lalith Weeratunga and issues relating to state officials. Q: President Sirisena had also expressed his regrets over the delay in the Audit Act. Even the Auditor General had mentioned about this matter. What is the cause of this delay? more..

Blatant violation of conditions governing garbage disposal for filthy lucre

Sep 20 (ST) A Commission probing the collapse of the garbage dump in Meethotamulla on Sinhala-Tamil New year’s day, has received startling details on how moneymaking deals were made over garbage. The Commission headed by former Judge Chandradasa Nanayakkara, received information on how a private company was contracted to spray the garbage dump with a chemical, a few weeks before it collapsed, more..

Court restricts Pindapatha to outer limits of Kiribathgoda town

Sep 20 (CT) Police had obtained an Enjoining Order, from the Mahara Magistrate's Court, to shift the Pindapatha, planned to be held in the Kiribathgoda Town yesterday, to another place away from town.This Pindapatha had been organized to collect money to pay the fine imposed on Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita, who have been sentenced to three years in prison subsequent to being found guilty by Court more..

Expressway project corruption: JO accuses govt of trying to silence COPE Chairman

Sep 20 (Island) The JO accused the govt of exerting undue pressure on Chairman of parliament watchdog committee, COPE to block investigations into alleged frauds in central highway project. JO MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the govt was trying to silence the COPE chairman. He said so when a heated argument ensued after govt MP Ashu Marasinghe charged that COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti more..

Prison docs back govt action to transfer their acting head

Sep 20 (Island) A group of doctors at the Welikada Prison Hospital (WPH) alleged that transferring of former Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Nirmali Thenuwara was not politically motivated. Refuting the allegations made by Dr. Thenuwara that she had been transferred as she recommended that the former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and ex-Director General of TRC Anusha Palpita convicted in the sil redi case, more..

TNA thank Gammanpila for canvassing for sovereignty of PCs

Sep 20 (EN) The TNA paid tribute to the Sinhala nationalist PHU of  Udaya Gammanpila for recognizing the sovereignty of provincial councils while challenging the 20th amendment to the constitution. TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran told parliament that Gammanpila had canvassed for the sovereignty of provincial councils while objecting to the 20th amendment which the Court held required a referendum if it was to be enacted. more..

Prez urges world to support reconciliation

Sep 20 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena called upon the int'l community to seriously consider the tremendous progress made by the govt towards reconciliation, restoration of democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law and extend the fullest support to the slow, but the steady forward march of Sri Lanka to build a progressive, democratic, free and equal society with high morals and discipline. more..

Video: Lalith and Anusha granted bail

Sep 20 (AD) Former Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and former Director General of the TRC Anusha Palpita, who were sentenced over the ‘Sil Cloth’ case, have been granted conditional bail by the Colombo High Court. They were ordered released on a cash bail of Rs 100,000 each and three personal bails of Rs 1 million each, when the bail application filed by their attorneys was taken up for hearing at the High Court today. more..

Medical Insurance

Sep 20 (CT) Considering the increased cost of healthcare, where, despite free health services, a sizeable number of Sri Lankans patronize fee levying hospitals, whether they be run by the Govt, such as a previous fee levying private hospital in Colombo now in the hands of the State due to the spinoff effects of a Court Order made a few years ago, or, ipso facto by the private sector, there, therefore is a need to introduce a universal health insurance scheme to mitigate such costs. more..

Dream or nightmare?

Sep 20 (FT) An air of unreality pervades the country. What you see is not what it is; fact, truth, reality - mere words, having no intrinsic meaning. An illusion shrouds another illusion; a maya merely hides another maya, a bottomless pit of deception. But even from such uncertainty, matters could be inferred, a hypothesis formed. For example, looking at a regular and inevitable process that happens in this country, there is an uncomfortable truth which jumps at us straight away. more..

ගුවන් හමුදාව ගුවන් යානා ආකෘතියක්

Govt tables legislation to increase number of HC Judges from 75 to 85

Sep 20 (Island) Govt introduced an amendment to the Judicature Act to increase the number of high court judges from 75 to 85. Amendment Bill was introduced by Minister Thalatha Atukorale. Amendment was approved by cabinet in May last year when it was presented by the former Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. Rajapakshe informed in the Cabinet proposal that as there was an enormous backlog of cases pending in courts, appropriate measures had to be adopted expeditiously more..

Sri Lankan fugitive faces Sh2 billion theft charge in Kenya

Sep 20 (SM) Moshin Ranatunga, who entered Kenya on a 90-day visa, was charged last year with stealing Sh2 billion from his employer, Ranfer Teas Kenya, between July 2012 and Sept 2015. Assistant Deputy Public Prosecutor Alexander Muteti applied to have Ranatunga's Sh1 million bond cancelled, arguing that he was a flight risk. Muteti told the court that Mr Ranatunga had run away from the country in 2016 after a warrant of arrest was issued against him in connection with the lost money. more..

PUCSL warns of shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s power supply : Report

Sep 20 (LBO) Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL), island’s power regulator has warned of serious consequences to be expected and also continue in the next few years if the timely implementation of long term generation plan is not ensured, a statement said. “Shortcoming of implementation of SL’s Least cost longterm generation expansion plans (LCLTGEP) has resulted in cost overruns, load shedding, more..

Entire Sirisena family at the UN

Sep 20 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is currently in New York for the the 72nd Regular Session of the UNGA has been accompanied by his wife Jayanthi, son Daham and daughters Chathurika and Dharani. Two yeas ago Daham Sirisena was spotted attending the UNGA sessions and seated with the SL delegation raising eyebrows and causing much embarrassment to the President. This year, however, President’s wife and elder daughter Chathurika, although seen at UN more..

Mathews ruled out of 1st Test against Pak

Sep 20 (CI) Sri Lanka allrounder Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi later this month with a calf strain. He had sustained the injury during training on Tuesday, before undergoing scans on Wednesday. SLC cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed Mathews' unavailability. This is the latest in a long history of leg injuries for Mathews - the last 12 months having been particularly problematic. He had suffered a torn hamstring more..

Parliament adjourned due to tense situation

Sep 20 (DN) A tense situation erupted in the Parliament today when JO members stormed into the well of the House in protest of moving the second reading debate on the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Bill.  Speaker Karu Jauasuriya adjourned Parliamentary proceedings for around two hours to reach to a decision on the continuation of the debate on the bill. Speaker suspended the sittings at around 11.20 am. more..

Dengue cases dropped by 90% – Rajitha

Sep 20 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says the number of dengue cases reported in the island has reduced by 90%. Speaking at an event in Borella he said the likelihood of an outbreak of dengue during the monsoon season in October and November remains high. Accordingly the Ministry of Health has taken steps to conduct a special dengue prevention week from the 26th of Sept onwards. He also expressed his regard for the support granted to the govt’s positive move more..

Sri Lanka to change regulations to attract foreign investment

Sep 20 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka will reform regulations to attract more investment to tackle growing debt and target economic growth, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday. Both 2018 and 2019 would be crucial years for Sri Lanka because of high debt repayments, he said in Colombo. "We are on the right track. We have strengthened the external situation of our country to better face global market vulnerability. We are creating a series of measures to attract non-debt creating inflows, more..

Bond Scam II?: Central Expressway: Agreement to be signed with Taisai

Sep 20 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said the agreement to hand over the construction work on the Central Expressway would be signed with the Japanese Company, Taisai next week. He that the Cabinet had approved the decision to do so. The minister said there had been no malpractice in the tender procedure and that they were able to reduce the Taisai bid from Rs.159 billion to Rs.134.9 billion after discussions. more..

Video: CEB Employees issued final warnings to report back to work

Sep 20 (AD) Power and Renewable Energy ministry issued final warnings to CEB employees on casual and probation basis to report to work before noon tomorrow or face the consequences. Meanwhile the CEB Employees’ Union (CEBEU) announced that a massive protest will be staged tomorrow if the govt fails to address their issues before today noon. The govt should take up the responsibility of any inconvenience caused to public due to the trade union action, the CEBEU said. more..

Indonesia, Sri Lanka to form parliamentary cooperation group

Sep 20 (AN) Indonesia and Sri Lanka will soon set up a parliamentary cooperation group to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields such as politics, economy, and culture. "Indonesia and Sri Lanka both share an important relationship in terms of parliament between the two countries," Chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Board (BKSAP), Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, stated while receiving SL Honorary Ambassador to Indonesia, Dharshana Parera, more..

Sadeera, Roshen make SL Test squad

Sep 20 (CI) Uncapped batsmen Sadeera Samarawickrama and Roshen Silva have earned call-ups to the Sri Lanka Test squad touring the UAE. Back in the fray, meanwhile, are two relatively experienced batsmen. Lahiru Thirimanne, who last played a Test in June 2016, has been recalled, as vice-captain no less. Opener Kaushal Silva, whose most recent Test was in South Africa in January, is also in the squad. more..

No official missive as yet

Sep 20 (CT) Minister of Prison Reforms D.M. Swaminathan said that the Ministry had not received any official letter, as yet, requesting the removal of Acting Chief Medical officer of Prison Dr. Nirmalie Thenuwara from the Prison Hospital. Swaminathan further said that he believes the letter will be received within a couple of days. "On 18 Sept I held a discussion with Minister Rajitha Senaratne. In that meeting, he listened to the allegations listed by other doctors who work in the prison hospital. more..

Railway unions call off strike

Sep 20 (DN) Railway unions today called off their planned 48-hour token strike following discussions with the PM’s Secretary. H.M Athulasena, speaking on behalf of the trade unions said that the unions - comprising station masters, drivers and guards - had decided to launch the token strike in protest of the Salary and Cadre Commission’s failure to implement the recommendations with regard to their salaries. He further said that the Transport and Civil Aviation Ministry has made recommendations more..

Video: Anti-SAITM protest tomorrow

Sep 20 (DM) The education, petroleum and healthcare sectors countrywide are likely to be disrupted tomorrow because of anti-SAITM protests to be conducted by a trade union alliance led by the GMOA. Those in the ayurvedic and dental sectors including nurses are also expected to join them in a picketing campaign outside the Colombo National Hospital. It said some 15 teacher and principal associations would more..

JVP calls for solutions to elections issues

Sep 20 (NR) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says there will be no obstacle to hold the Provincial Council Elections on the same day in accordance with the recommendations of the Supreme Court. Addressing Parliament today, he said the issues surrounding the matter can be solved. MP said there was an attempt to hold the Provincial Council Elections on one single day; however the attempt has failed due to the determinations of the Supreme Court more..

Myanmar to export rice to Sri Lanka

Sep 20 (EM) Myanmar is negotiating with Sri Lanka to export rice under a govt-to-govt agreement, according to the Ministry of Commerce. “We are in discussion with China as well as Sri Lanka to export rice,” said an official. Myanmar has exported rice to 65 countries this year, amounting to 1.3 million tonnes of rice. This is more than 800,000 tonnes of rice than the same period in last year, said director-general Yan Naing Tun from the Directorate of Trade under the ministry. more..

Private funding for Sri Lanka Megapolis, govt equity minimal

Sep 20 (EN) Sri Lanka’s govt is keen to get the private sector involved in financing critical urban infrastructure as its own equity contribution would be limited, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka said. Countries like Sri Lanka will have many challenges and opportunities associated with ongoing mass urbanisation, he said at a forum in Colombo on financing urbanization in Asia-Pacific region. more..

Increase tobacco taxes in line with income: Chairman NATA

Sep 20 (CT) Govt must increase the taxes on cigarettes, between 4–5% from 2018 Budget, in view of increase in the per capita income, Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, Chairman of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) said. Meanwhile, Executive Director of Verite Research, Nishan de Mel said that the Govt must introduce a tax formula to annually increase the price of cigarettes. "There should be a tax formula on cigarettes so that there is transparency in the manner in which more..

India assists upgradation of Thondaman Vocational Training Centre in Hatton

Sep 20 (ST) India and Sri Lanka signed a MoU today, to upgrade Thondaman Vocational Training Centre (TVTC), Hatton located in Nuwara Eliya District of Sri Lanka, a statement from Indian High Commission said. The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu and  Secretary, Ministry of Hill Country New Villages, Infrastructure and Community Development Mrs. R. Nadarasapillai at an event held at High Commission of India, Colombo, more..

Selling Sri Lanka agenda: Sri Lanka considers listing of major state firms

Sep 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is considering listing two state-owned banks and an insurance company next year, by selling stakes of at least 10% in each, govt, regulatory and exchange officials said. Bank of Ceylon, the largest lender in SL, People’s Bank, and Sri Lanka Insurance are all earmarked for possible sales, the sources said. “The idea is to list at least 10% of the stakes in each institution by the first half of next year,” more..

Constitution controversy: The real options

Sep 21 (CT) There are three types of separatists in the context of Sri Lankan politics and society: Firstly, those who openly advocate or support the project of a separate state carved out of this island. These elements exist in the Diaspora, in Tamil Nadu and also in the North and East. Secondly those who advocate ethno-federalism, the re-merger and self-determination, while knowing or not knowing but not caring, or simply not realizing, that given the geopolitics and history, more..

Cricket & reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Sep 21 (CT) A recent Skype chat with Uvindu Kurukulasuriya about Kumar Sangakkara inevitably led me to reflect upon the many reconciliatory measures Kumar has participated in – steps attempting to build bridges across the Sinhala-Tamil ethnic divide in Sri Lanka. Among these efforts, the most striking act was the powerful ecumenical statement he asserted at the end of his momentous Cowdrey Lecture at the MCC in London in 2011. “Fans of different races, castes, ethnicities more..

Taximeters are welcome: All Island Three-wheel Drivers’ Union

Sep 21 (SO) Transport Ministry has given an extension of time until Dec 31 for trishaw drivers to fix taximeters, despite the Gazette notification issued on Sept 8, 2017 which has introduced several key regulations to be effective from Oct 1 to regulate the trishaw industry. Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe said, the main purpose of introducing the new regulations is to prevent various irregularities and shortcomings, and more..

Taking Ranjan to courts on contempt charges: BASL has a better role

Sep 21 (DM) “… The Bar Association of Sri Lanka notes with concern the undue and unwarranted attacks on the law enforcement authorities, the Attorney General’s Department and now the judiciary….” The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) in a press release has threatened contempt of Court action taken against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake for making some serious criticisms against the Courts and the legal profession. Damage done by the restriction more..