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Editorial:  A passport to impunity?

Sep 21 (Island) A claim made by former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s counsel, before the presidential commission of inquiry probing bond scams, on Tuesday, has raised many an eyebrow. He said his client could not be compelled to give evidence as the latter was a Singaporean. The commission had previously ruled that it could not compel Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius to testify. Mahendran, however, chose to give evidence unlike his son-in-law, Aloysius. more..

Govt scared of polls: Bandula

Sep 21 (NS) JO MP Bandula Gunawardena speaks about the current political climate in the country Following are excerpts: Q: Is the 20th Amendment ready to be presented in Parliament? A: The present govt does not listen to the people’s voice and does not hold elections in due time. Its governance is undemocratic. The previous govt held provincial and local govt elections replacing the ballot for the bullet in the North more..

Abortion, Women and Personhood

Sep 21 (GV) The govt’s plans to liberalise Sri Lanka’s abortion laws has polarised public opinion. Abortion is either supported as a natural extension of a woman’s autonomy and right to choose, or is opposed as legalised murder. But is there a path beyond the legalise vs criminalise debate? Support for abortion is founded on women’s dignity, rights and choice[1] – things that many Sri Lankan women are denied each day. They face constant harassment on the bus and the streets. more..

Mavai Senathirajah’s landmark decision

Sep 21 (DN) During the month of August, amidst a summer dominated by high-level political resignations and firings, the Supreme Court ruled on a major case. A Three-Judge Bench, including Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, found that Tamil political parties who were advocating for an increased sharing of power under a new Federal model, were not breaking the law. “These parties did not support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State more..

Arundika Fernando

Contempt of court case by BASL: War path on contempt charges

Sep 21 (DM) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is on the war path against the Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayaka - an ardent opponent of bribery and corruption who campaigns with a vociferous voice and powerful activism to eradicate Bribery and Corruption. The BASL which is the only professional body of lawyers in Sri Lanka is contemplating filing a case against Ranjan alleging contempt for making derogatory and defamatory statements on the judiciary of bribery and corruption and more..

Attempt to mislead President Sirisena on Disappearances Bill

Sep 21 (Island) It is not the policy of this newspaper to comment on articles published by other newspapers or websites. However given the importance of the ‘Bill to introduce into local law the provisions of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced isappearance’, and the campaign of misinformation surrounding this proposed piece of legislation, an exception will be made in this instance. In an article posted on D.B.S. Jeyaraj’s blog titled more..

Pahatha Rata Natum: Dances from the Ruhunu Kingdom

Sep 21 (Roar) Kandyan dances may steal the spotlight on many occasions, but Low Country dances (pahatha rata natum) that date back to the days of Ruhunu Kingdom are performances that are unique in their own right. A few people in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka still practice many of these ritualistic dances, and it is not out of the ordinary to hear about them taking place in certain areas of the Western Province either. more..

Making the case for constitutional reform

Sep 21 (Island) Even as this article is being penned, the interim report of the Executive Committee of the Constitutional Council is scheduled for the 21st of Sept 2017, about one and a half years, since Parliament turned itself into a Constitutional Council in January 2016. This crucial process of nation building through state reform, is typically generating more political heat than shedding light on facts or creating a process of informed public discourse. Comparative international experience, more..

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya visits India

Sep 21 (FT) Speaker of the Parliament visited India to attend the 153rd birth anniversary commemorations of Anagarika Dharmapala, organised by the Mahabodhi Society of India. During the visit, the renovated premises of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Mumbai were declared open by the Speaker on 16 Sept. The official ceremony commenced with the National Anthem and lighting of the traditional oil lamp. Govt dignitaries, captains of industry, the Sri Lankan community in more..

Panadura SC denies wrongdoing, demands bans be rescinded

Sep 21 (CI) Administrators of Panadura Sports Club have demanded that SLC) rescind the bans handed out to its players, while several players themselves have formally asked the board to reconsider its ruling. On Saturday, SLC had announced that 22 first-class players would be banned from cricket-related activities for one year, for their supposed role in manipulating the result of a Tier B first-class match in January. more..

Cargills Bank divests controlling interest in Colombo Trust Finance

Sep 21 (Island) Cargills Bank Limited announced the divesture of 80.34% stake controlling interest in Colombo Trust Finance (CTF) to Dialog Axiata PLC. Upon obtaining approval from the Monetary Board of the Central Bank the transaction was successfully completed on September 12 through a crossing transaction on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) for a consideration of LKR 1,072 million. Prabhu Mathavan, CEO of Cargills Bank said "The Bank’s investment in the finance company more..

Changing the willow for cricket’s headaches

Sep 21 (ST) May be it’s a cliché, but there are times a saying is only understood when it is said in that manner. I guess the saying I see the light at the end of the tunnel is quite appropriate. On Tuesday, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam held on to a firm bat and decided to take some meaningful steps to plug the inefficiencies in school cricket and turn a new page for the game, honestly. More than that, I am quite sure that the move also came with the blessings of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe more..

Video: Four baby elephants rescued

Sep 21 (DM) Four elephant calves were rescued using a digger in Sri Lanka after they had fallen into a slippery, muddy well. A farmer had gone to work on his fields early Wednesday morning when he saw the four elephants - all calves - stuck in one of his large wells. The farmer quickly alarmed the wildlife officials who brought with them the digger to help with the operation. In the video, locals can be seen throwing food for the elephants to eat more..

Non-existent Hockey Federation’s ‘backdoor activities’ come a cropper

Sep 21 (ST) A dissolved Sri Lanka Hockey Federation (SLHF) with its administrative and functional powers vested with the Director General (DG) of Sports, by a court ruling in 2015, had selected a pool of 28 players to participate at the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) Challenge Cup in Myanmar from Nov.25- Dec.2. This pool had commenced practices without the knowledge of the DG. The Colombo Hockey Association (CHA) along with other affiliated Associations, had brought more..

Notorious global hackers, top experts to bring home cyber security insights

Sep 21 (FT) Two world-famous ex-hackers and several global and regional experts will be the key attractions at the FT-CICRA organised 5th annual Cyber Security Summit next Wednesday (27) at the Cinnamon Grand followed by the CEO Forum on 28 Sept.  Two hackers are Darren Martin and Jake Davis from the UK, who were founder members of notorious hacker groups Lulzsec and Anonymous in their teens. In 2011 they were arrested for multiple acts of cyber criminal activity. more..

Govt flayed for implementation of Geneva recommendations

Sep 21 (Island) President’s Counsel Manohara de Silva said they would even defend those who had been accused of perpetrating war crimes in courts established in accordance with the Geneva Resolution 30/1 in case their ongoing efforts to thwart the UN-led project failed. PC de Silva said so in response to The Island query whether they would face the Geneva challenge if their initiative went awry. more..

Retiring officials to continue on state procurement committees

Sep 21 (ST) Govt, in a bid to accelerate the state procurement process, is allowing officials serving on SL procurement committees to continue even after retirement. Such approval has been given by the Finance Ministry in an Aug 25 circular to all state institutions where it is stated that “in order to overcome procurement delays, with the agreement of the Secretary to the respective ministry, procurement entities are allowed to continue the service of such retired/retiring officials more..

SL tea output rises 6.14% yr/yr in August

Sep 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea output rose 6.14% due to good weather in August, the state-run Tea Board said, while industry officials also attributed the gain to lower production last year. Production in the first eight months of the year edged up 3.99% compared to the same period last year. "It's the good weather that helped to increase the production, this year we will have a better production than last year," Sri Lanka Tea Board Director-General S.A. Siriwardena said. more..

PC polls (amendment) Bill passed

Sep 21 (Island) Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) bill was passed with a majority of 122 votes in parliament. The bill received 159 votes in favour and 37 votes against. TNA, JVP and SLMC voted with the govt. The Bill seeks to amend the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988 to make it binding on all political parties and independent groups to field at least 30% female candidates in Provincial Council elections. more..

‘New Inland Revenue Act will address tax issues of masses’

Sep 21 (DN) The new Inland Revenue Act hopes to address some of the many tax issues faced by the general public, private and corporate companies in Sri Lanka said, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne. Speaking at the seminar on the new Inland Revenue Act, organized by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka yesterday, he said that the govt provides tax concessions of 1.6% of GDP to investors looking to start businesses in Sri Lanka. more..

Red clay roof tiles in high demand as asbestos ban looms

Sep 21 (DM) Roof tiles made out of red clay is now in high demand due to the asbestos ban that is set to come into effect next year, according to the country’s Industry and Commerce Ministry.   “Our clay is of high quality and is in demand for roof tile making due to the asbestos imports ban starting next year,” Minister Rishard Bathiudeen told the 14th AGM of Sri Lanka Ceramics and Glass Council held recently in Colombo. “We also assisted SLS certification programme to create more..

Lost Credibility: First come clean on Bond Scam: Reforms ready to roll: PM

Sep 21 (FT) Targeting exports and investment, Govt will introduce several laws including possible new legislation to improve the ease of doing business, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Speaking at the Int'l Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) GEM Annual Committee, which was hosted by the SEC, he acknowledged 2018 and 2019 would be crucial years for SL but was upbeat over the economic prognosis more..

British HC in Colombo celebrates Britain’s creative industries

Sep 21 (CT) Twentieth Century Fox, together with the British High Commission and Skyline Entertainment, celebrated Britain's creative industries during a reception to launch the film Kingsman: The Golden Circle in Colombo. The film is the much-anticipated follow-up to the hit 2015 film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Speaking to guests from the Colombo film and arts scene at the reception, the British HC, James Dauris, commented that the film reflects more..

Dengue eradication week on

Sep 21 (CT) Ministry of Health is deploying over 3,000 teams during the dengue eradication week, which commenced yesterday, Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said. "68 teams have been deployed in the CMC area and they will investigate sites for four days," he said. The Minister of Health added that there are only 937 dengue patients in hospitals around the country and that the reported number of cases has dropped by 90%. "However, we can't let our guard down. more..

Sri Lanka to act over adoption racket claims

Sep 21 (GT) Sri Lanka is to launch an investigation into adoption fraud following claims that thousands of babies were sold to foreign nationals in the 1980s. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the govt would set up a DNA databank to enable children adopted abroad to search for their biological parents and other relatives, and vice versa. Senaratne acknowledged the existence of illegal baby farms in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. more..

Sri Lanka continues intimidation of human rights activists: UN report

Sep 21 (TG) A new report by the United Nations names Sri Lanka as a state that continues to intimidate and harass activists who co-operate with the global body on human rights issues. The report stated that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was disturbed to hear that civil society members had faced intimidation from Sri Lanka in the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva earlier this year. “He referred the case to the Assistant Secretary-General and stated that more..

Bride plans to set Guinness Record with longest Osariya fall

Sep 21 (DN) A bride entering wedlock at the Grand Kandyan Hotel on Sept 22 is vying to set up a by wearing a Kandyan style saree (Osariya) with the longest fall extending upto 3.2 km. The observation for the Guiness record will be made by spreading the saree fall from Peradeniya junction upto Eriyagama junction along the Gannoruwa road to announce the record at Gannoruwa. Existing record for the longest saree fall is held by an Indian bride who had created a 2.8 km saree fall. more..

CEB strike called off after compromise deal

Sep 21 (DM) CEB Workers' Union whose strike went on for a week, had been called off a short while ago, Secretary Ranjan Jayalal said. He said the TUs had been able to reach a compromise with the authorities leading to a win-win situation for both sides. Mr. Jayalal said that they had got written confirmation from the govt that the TU demands would all be met. He said the govt had promised to resolve the situation surrounding more..

Fake FB profile: Aravinda lodges complaint

Sep 21 (DN) Cricket legend Aravinda de Silva has come down hard on individuals hiding behind the net and creating false identities of people on social media and advises those affected by such instances to contact CERT – Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team based at the BMICH. De Silva said that he was shocked to get calls from several people stating that he was now on Facebook and responding to comments made on it. “I didn’t realize it until people started to phone me more..

Bond commission sittings postponed

Sep 21 (Island) Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) probing CB bond scams yesterday postponed sittings till Friday (22) to enable the AG's Department team to prepare for questioning the former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran. The announcement was made at the conclusion of Mahendran's initial evidence before the CoI. Sittings will resume at 10 am Friday. Chairman of the CoI Justice K.T. Chitrasiri made the ruling in response to a request made by Dappula de Livera. more..

Mahendran must testify, says commission

Sep 21 (Island) Justice K.T. Chitrasiri said former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendra should abide by the law. Although the Counsel for Mahendran had said that Mahendran was a Singaporean, once appointed as Governor he was under SL law, Justice Chitasiri said at the conclusion of Mahendran’s evidence led by his counsel. Mahendran received appointed from President in Jan 2015 on the recommendation of PM. more..

If you want to do business, don’t enter politics

Sep 21 (DM) Sri Lanka’s two major political parties are likely to work together at least until 2020 or even until they achieve the goals of Vision 2025 though they will contest separately at the upcoming provincial and local council elections.   The two major parties working together for the first time since independence is itself a major achievement though there are regular public disputes and divisions between the two parties. Yet to consolidate the alliance and consensus Govt, more..

Can bureaucrats say no to politicians? The jury is out…

Sep 21 (DM) This column is a sequel to my last column Politicians beware! No bureaucrat will carry out your illegal orders… In response to that column, a highly respected former civil servant, whom for our convenience, I will call Mr. X, exchanged emails with me and he even gave me his consent, if I desired so, to quote him. His remarks are quite enlightening and at the same time depressing given the institutionalized hazards present in today’s Govt machinery. more..

Polonnaruwa pre-dawn hit-and-run crash: How Sirisena was tracked down

Sep 21 (ST) Battling hard for 20 years with the kidney disease L.M.J.M. Buddadhasa, 59, left home with his younger brother L.M.J.M. Jayarathne, 44, on Sept 8 for dialysis treatment, a must for Buddadhasa that has to be done once every three days at the Polonnaurwa hospital due to the condition of his illness. Unmarried, Buddadasa earlier lived at his ancestral home but since he started going to the hospital for dialysis a year ago, more..

'Opportunity to create an indivisible Sri Lanka must not be squandered'

Sep 21 (AD) Speaking in parliament today, Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan appealed to the members of the House not to squander the opportunity to create a constitution with a substantial bi-partisan consensus that will be beneficial to every member of the Sri Lankan community creating an indivisible SL. He stated that the process of formulating a constitution has been a prolonged and complicated one. more..

U.S. Embassy provides strategic trade enforcement training to SL customs officials

Sep 21 (USE) U.S. Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program and the World Customs Organization (WCO) trained 34 Customs Officials from Sri Lanka in strategic trade controls enforcement from Sep 12 to Sept 15. The methodology discussed in the workshop allows Customs Administrations to focus on cargo entering their borders that may present risks to more..

Basil Rajapaksa of the UNP: Kiriella denies corruption allegations

Sep 21 (DN) There has been no irregularity in the tender awards for the construction of the third phase of the Central Expressway, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. Kiriella denied all corruption allegations made against the Highways Ministry over the tender award for the construction of the third phase of the Central Highway by involving two Japanese companies. The Minister said the Ministry has maintained high transparency more..

CBK recalls how JRJ persecuted Kobbekaduwa by summoning him to CID

Sep 21 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunge said recently that politics in Sri Lanka at present had become a business. Former President said so at a ceremony to hand over title deeds to a group of recipients of land which once belonged to the Land Reform Commission (LRC) in the Kandy District. Kumaratunga claimed that her parents had not encouraged their children to take to politics; more..

Rajitha urged to transfer all doctors overstaying at prison hospital

Sep 21 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has urged health minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne to transfer all doctors as well as Assistant and Registered Medical Officers on completion of four year stint at Welikada prison hospital. Dr Jayantha Abeyratne, Secretary, GMOF, has written to Dr Senaratne in the wake of Dr Nirmali Thenuwara, acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), in charge of the facility being transferred to more..