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PC poll revamp cuts costs; way open for campaign finance curbs: Eran

Sep 21 (EN) The passage of a law to bring directly elected provincial council members has cut down campaign costs, paving the way for campaign financing laws, while expanding female representation, State Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. Half the members of provincial councils will be elected on the basis of geographical seats instead of current districts where candidates will only have to campaign in a small area more..

Mahendran decided to raise Rs.10bn through public auction

Sep 21 (DM) Mahendran: In the first Cabinet Meeting at that time the Prime Minister had said specifically that these procurements should be carried out in a transparent manner. So I interpreted that it meant the issuance of bonds as well. Subsequently, I confirmed this with the PM on Feb 24, 2015 during another cabinet subcommittee meeting on economic affairs. A meeting of Monetary Board on Feb 24, 2015 discussed more..

9 cases filed against Sarana Gunewardene

Sep 21 (NR) The Colombo Additional Magistrate has ordered Former Deputy Minister Sarana Gunewardene to appear before Court on the 26th of Sept. He is charged with providing vehicles of the Development Lotteries Board on lease among other charges. The order was issued by Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Artigala when nine cases filed by the CIABOC against Former Deputy Minister was taken up for hearing. more..

New constitution calls for a unitary state: PM

Sep 21 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the new Constitution proposes that Sri Lanka should remain a unitary state. The Premier said the fundamentals of power devolution have been included in the first paragraph of the Draft Bill of the new Constitution. PM noted the decision was reached following discussions with the UNP and the SLFP. PM made this statement tabling the interim committee report of the Constitutional Council more..

Think, speak, walk and act with purpose!

Sep 21 (FT) As a nation we are perhaps positioned within a time period where we need our population to act with purpose rather than with discord. We currently appear to find solace in distress and appear to be a nation in waiting for trouble with all the news alerts switched on! A recent market research survey has revealed that a Sri Lankan on average come up with four excuses per day. What the average is for SL politicians we will never know! We really have to perform with purpose. more..

EU puts up Rs5.4bn for SL's poor provinces

Sep 21 (EN) European Union said it was pledging 5.4 billion rupees (29.7 million Euros) to improve living conditions in Uva and Central Provinces which are among the poorest in the country. The money will benefit poor, rural communities  in Monaragala and Badulla districts in Uva Province, and in the Nuwara Eliya and Matale districts in Central Province. The projects will promote economic growth in the rural and estate sectors and increasing communities' involvement more..

Bond Scam II: UNP Highway Robbery

It is very vital more time be granted to fulfil: Resolution 30/1 pledges

Sep 21 (CT) Addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday, President Maithripala Sirisena requested the members of the organization to give Sri Lanka the necessary time to achieve lasting peace, democracy and reconciliation. Pointing out that Sri Lanka has indeed made serious progress in the last two years regarding reconciliation, restoration of democratic freedoms, human rights and rule of law, President said that the country was making steady progress. more..

Wildlife dept. can teach parliament workers to handle snakes

Sep 21 (DM) We are prepared to educate parliament workers how best to act in case they come across snakes and other venomous reptiles in the parliament premises, Dept of Wildlife Conservation Director General G.C. Sooriyabandara said. He said they would do so if the authorities make a request. "We have read reports of snakes and venomous reptiles being frequently sighted in the vicinity of Diyawanna Oya and will teach the parliament workers how to act in such circumstances” more..

Heading hybrid renewable energy: Lights up Eluvaithivu island

Sep 21 (CT) An ADB funded project to provide electricity from renewable energy to Eluvaithivu Island, Jaffna: an island of 800 inhabitants, has proved successful, an ADB report released this month said. The island is 2.9 km away from the nearest mainland point about three km long with an estimated surface of 1.4 square km. It has a small population of around 800 inhabitants. A pilot project commissioned last year to provide electricity more..

Caritas trains pre-school teachers to combat child abuse

Sep 21 (UCAN) The Catholic social welfare agency Caritas in Sri Lanka is training pre-school teachers to identify children vulnerable to physical and mental abuse. According to Caritas, children of migrants are at higher risk, with many abusers being caregivers or family members. The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) received 9,361 complaints of various abuses in 2016, including 2,180 cases of cruelty and 713 instances of sexual abuse, 196 of them considered grave. more..

New bank account for Neville Fernando Hospital

Sep 21 (NR) Director General of Health Services Dr.Jayasundara Bandara says a new bank account has been opened under the approval of the Ministry of Health for the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital. He said the account will be maintained by the hospitals Chairman, the Director, Accountant and other selected staff. Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital has incurred 23 million rupees during the month of September while the govt has also obtained a similar sum through the hospital. more..

JVP supporting mainly to abolish executive presidency: Anura

Sep 21 (DM) Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake said today they would support the Constitution-making process based on several facts including the abolishing of the executive presidency and changing of the electoral system. JVP MP told Parliament that the constitution was meant to protect the social and economic policy of the country and added that they were against that policy and the constitution in general. more..

New Constitution: Interim report – Full texts in 3 languages

Sep 21 (CT) Constitutional Assembly established by Parliamentary Resolution of 9th March 2016 unanimously appointed a Steering Committee at its first sitting on 5th April 2016. The Steering Committee identified 12 main subject areas and assigned six of those subjects to Sub-Committees appointed by the Constitutional Assembly on 05th May 2016. Reports of the said six Sub Committees and another report by an ad-hoc Committee appointed by the Steering Committee were more..

SLMC to boycott discussion with Harsha’s committee

Sep 21 (AD) The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has decided to boycott the discussion that will be held tomorrow with the Presidential Committee headed by Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva. “We had our last discussions with the Presidential Committee on September 6 and we did not come into agreement with certain points put forward by the committee. However, certain points that we opposed have been included in the committee report fraudulently” said the SLMC. more..

Former President condemns govt efforts to destroy democratic institutions

Sep 21 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged the people to unite and oppose the efforts rendered by the current govt to destroy democratic institutions within Sri Lanka. In a media release, former President condemned the concerted efforts of the yahapalana conspirators who made several changes to the Provincial Council’s Elections law in order to indefinitely postpone PC elections. more..

New subject stream to the A/L syllabus

Sep 21 (DN) Ministry of Education has taken measures to introduce a new subject stream to GCE A/L syllabus. Project will be implemented as a pilot project from this October and by 2019 the project will cover the entire school year. This stream is referred as the Professional Curriculum, which consists two parts as General Curriculum & Applied Curriculum. General curriculum will cover nine main subjects and it is compulsory to complete this subject stream within the first 6 months of academic year. more..

National inflation at 7.9% in August

Sep 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's nation-wide inflation rose to 7.9% in the 12-months to August up from 6.3% in July, the state statistics office said, though absolute prices fell in the month. The National Consumer Price Index fell to 122.3 points in August from 122.4 points in July indicating that prices fell in the month. The 12-month inflation however rose due to the so-called base effect as the index fell 1.6% in August. National Consumer Price Index has fallen for two straight months. more..

'SLC will address player security concerns'

Sep 21 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket is unlikely to penalise any players who opt out of the proposed T20 in Lahore, but has reminded cricketers that they have a contractual obligation to play where the board requires them to. Although the recent World XI series in Lahore was a success, SL's own visit - for the third T20, on Oct 29 - is not confirmed yet. For now, SLC is positive the match will be played in Lahore, but will make further more..

SLFP in favour of power devolution: Nimal S.

Sep 21 (NR) Senior Deputy Chairman of SLFP Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva says the party is not opposed to power devolution. Minister noted accordingly a proposal was tabled over limiting the number of Cabinet Ministers to 30. Minister said he is pleased that all parties can discuss this matter as an Assembly adding that the PM contributed largely towards this. He said the Pradeshiya Sabha election has come to an agreement where it will be held under the Electoral System so has more..

Schoolchildren display three-mile-long Sari

Sep 21 (DM) More than 250 students of Alwathugoda Sarath Ekanayake Primary School lined up along the Gannoruwa–Kandy road today to display a three-mile long bridal Sari worked by a beautician who claims it to be the world’s longest Sari. She is hopeful of setting a Guinness world record for her work. Several other students posed as flower girls in the event held in the form of a wedding. The display held under the patronage of CM Sarath Ekanayake created heavy traffic more..

GMOA claims strike a success

Sep 21 (DM) Healthcare and education services countrywide were disrupted today because of the 24-hour strike launched by several trade unions against the SAITM. GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that govt doctors including ayurvedic doctors, dental and veterinary surgeons stopped work from 8 a.m. yesterday and would continue the work stoppage till 8 a.m. today. “We have successfully launched 24-hour strike more..

'No provable evidence filed against Jagath J'

Sep 21 (DM) Foreign Minister Thilak Marapana said today no provable evidence had been filed against former army commander Jagath Jayasuriya to the effect that he committed war crimes in the case filed by an NGO in Brazil recently. Responding to a question raised by JO MP Dinesh Gunawardane, the minister said this was not a new thing and added that two similar cases had been filed against Sri Lankan security forces by NGOs in the United States and Switzerland in 2011. more..

Dialog Mobile services fully restored

Sep 21 (DM) While expressing regrets over the inconvenience to its customers arising from network disturbances on Wednesday afternoon, the Dialog network announced that the services were fully restored in less than 60 minutes. “Dialog regrets the inconvenience to customers arising from network disturbances on Wednesday afternoon. The Disturbance to voice and SMS services occurred due to a power systems failure at one of the key network nodes, which resulted in congestion more..

Govt expects to generate Rs 103.8B from tobacco tax

Sep 21 (CT) Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, Chairman of National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) said that when Finance Ministry officials meet representatives from the tobacco industry the minutes of those meetings should be made public. Abeykoon added that Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which Sri Lanka has ratified, highlights the importance of protecting policy makers from the influence of the tobacco industry. more..

Fonseka was left behind from President’s US delegation: Gammanpila

Sep 21 (AD) MP Udaya Gammanpila stated that that the claim made by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who stated that he was unable to attend the 72nd General Assembly of the UN as he could not obtain a Visa to travel to the Unites States, was a fabrication made to save face in the eyes of the public. The leader of PHU, stated that the pronouncement made by Field Marshal Fonseka deeming certain military persons guilty of war crimes is a gross disrespect to the SL armed forces.  more..

Cricket: Coach says Sri Lanka morale strengthened by India thrashing

Sep 21 (AFP) SL cricket coach Nic Pothas said a series of thumping defeats by India had strengthened resolve and even boosted morale as the squad seeks redemption against Pakistan later this month. The islanders were handed a drubbing on home soil against India, losing all nine games against the formidable tourists in a humiliating whitewash across all three formats of the game. Pothas said the whitewash had bolstered spirits ahead of SL's two Tests, five ODIs and more..

Board of directors should be in charge of running airline: SriLankan CEO

Sep 21 (AD) The Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka’s cash-strapped national carrier Capt. Suren Ratwatte says that addressing four major issues would help SriLankan Airlines return to financial health. In an exclusive interview, he said that the airline is actually profitable at an operating level.  “We have four major issues which need to be addressed. First and greatest issue has been the lack of capital to the airline.” more..

Mothers of the missing fight on

Sep 22 (DN) They sit when it rains, and they sit when the hot wind off the A-9 highway blows sand into their makeshift tent. They’ve been sitting for over 200 days now in Kilinochchi, protesting the loss of their family members. They are mostly women, and they say they have one thing in common: they all lost their loved ones in the final days of the war, in 2009. Some of their sons and husbands were fighters for the LTTE, they said, who surrendered after the Army’s final offensive. more..

The privatization panacea

Sep 22 (CT) In 1977, J.R. Jayewardene cried, Let the robber barons come! Peter Mandelson said New Labour had no problems about people being seriously rich. Liberalization of the SL economy made some people seriously rich. Now, with Vision 2025, the UNP is trying again to push privatisation. It was unfortunate for the UK and the NHS in particular that Tony Blair and Brown were fixated on the idea of PFI (Public Private Finance Initiative). When the conservative govt was ousted, more..

New regulatory mechanism in the offing

Sep 22 (SO) In view of a possible rise in electric cars on Sri Lankan roads in the near future the Govt took its first step last week to formulate regulations to streamline a booming sector of electric car charging stations. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electric sector regulatory authority last week called for written submissions from the public with a view to draft regulatory tools for charging stations. more..

Voters at sixes and sevens

Sep 22 (DN) Finally, it is official: it was announced on Tuesday that the Supreme Court had determined that some clauses of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution were deemed inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore required approval by a two thirds majority in Parliament as well as a referendum. The extremely politically significant announcement, already much speculated upon by the media, was made by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday in Parliament. more..

UN human rights experts want end to unilateral sanctions & world bank immunity

Sep 22 (Island) Most Sri Lankans hear about the UNHRC only when it passes resolutions on Sri Lanka. Therefore it is regarded with suspicion and some people either want SL to leave it or want it gone altogether with the entire United Nations. To them, it looks like all it does is pick on small countries in a biased way and make matters worse. However, the UNHRC is far from our enemy. It is tasked with the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, more..

'I will take legal action against footnote accusations'

Sep 22 (CT) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe says, 'We spoke strongly about things like good governance and the independence of the judiciary. What these reflect is that our party is on the correct track. Even if it is difficult the masses should accept that.' 'When our party is exemplary, other parties also will automatically become exemplary. It was always the UNP that brought about change in this country,' more..

Editorial:  Knights, damsels & polls

Sep 22 (Island) It was reported a few moons ago that a swashbuckling village ruffian or chandiya, on seeing police come for him, had taken to his heels, got into a nearby house and hidden under a woman’s bed, only to be dragged out by his pursuers and bundled into a waiting paddy wagon. Asked why he had run away and hidden in a boudoir as it were, the chandiya with macho posturing tried to fool the investigators by claiming he had heard a woman cry for help & rushed in that direction. more..

Rice Cultivation in a National Master Plan

Sep 22 (CT) 'A nation's ability to feed her people is the foundation on which all the other development activities depend. If the govt has allowed this fundamental necessity to take its own course depending on a free market mechanism, it is definitely the worst development any nation can experience. Problem may arise in two forms. One can be the inability to be self-sufficient and the other is the inability to generate enough foreign exchange to import to cover the unavoidable shortfall. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

#DialogDown : Tracking the network disruption on Twitter

Sep 22 (GV) On the afternoon of Sept 20th, Dialog suffered disruptions to its service and network coverage for less than an hour. This affected voice, data and SMS services on mobile phones – quite significant given that the company has over 11.8 million subscribers, and, as of 2016, a consolidated revenue of Rs. 86.7 billion. The news of this broke, almost inevitably, on Twitter first. Sixty minutes might not seem like a long time to be disconnected, but people did feel its impact. more..

Sil Redi case vindicates call for abolition of the Executive Presidency

Sep 22 (CT) Two legal proceedings were much talked about during the past week-the Commission probing the Central Bank Bond transactions and the so called Sil Redi case in the High Court of Colombo. Both these proceedings confirm that the administration of justice in this country is live and kicking and has the potential to mete out justice to all irrespective of the issues involved. Apart from the evidence that has so far transpired before the Commission of Inquiry, more..

Customs nab young couple with Rs.88M in local, foreign currency at BIA

Sep 22 (DM) A young couple bound for Dubai, who tried to smuggle out local and foreign currency amounting to Rs.88 million, making it the largest ever detection of local currency, were stopped by officials of the Customs Narcotics Control Unit at the BIA last night. The couple was searched by the officials on suspicion when they tried to leave the airport through the Silk Route private lounge with their baggage, Customs Spokesman said. more..