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'Rajagiriya flyover cost down, length same'

Jan 13 (EN) A flyover that has helped speed up traffic along a key highway leading to Colombo is an interim solution pending a light rail transit track, and its cost was brought down without the length being reduced, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said. In 2014 the project was originally proposed at a cost of 63 million Euros, but the deal was signed after re-negotiation by a new administration at US$ 53.7 million, he said. more..

SAITM final solution by January 15?

Jan 13 (Island) The SAITM has done this country and its education system a favour by directing the govt towards gazetting minimum standards for medical education, said the President of the Private Medical College Parents’ Society Limited (PMCPSL) Dr. T.M.K.B Tennakoon. Tennakoon said the govt had taken too long to provide a solution to SAITM medical students affected by the institution’s abolition and that the decisions taken by more..

Helpless users pile on complaints against Facebook fakes

Jan 13 (ST) Bogus accounts on Facebook have become the biggest concern for social media users in the country, based on complaints that have been filed with a state agency. But other than making requests for such sites to be removed or asking that offensive or abusive material be taken offline, there is little help that social media users can get in Sri Lanka. Offended or abused Facebook users can complain to the CERT, more..

TISL cautions govt against circumventing judiciary in recovering bond scam money

Jan 13 (Island) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) yesterday cautioned the govt against a possible knee jerk action to use an act of parliament to recover the misappropriated money from bond scams, circumventing the justice system. TISL Executive Director Asoka Obeyesekere said, "Resorting to stop-gap solutions like using Acts of Parliament on individual cases sets a negative precedent and more..

Bartering with lives

Jan 13 (CT) '...Exposure to asbestos, including chrysotile, causes cancer of the lung, larynx and ovary, mesothelioma (a cancer of the pleural and peritoneal linings) and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs)...more than 50 countries, including all member States of the European Union, have banned the use of all forms of asbestos, including chrysotile...Those include Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brunei, Chile, Egypt, the 28 member states of EU, Gabon, Honduras, more..

Citizens’ justice for the mother of all scams

Jan 13 (FT) There is now little doubt that a scam has been perpetrated with no remorse on Sri Lanka as a whole, by those who were meant to protect its financial integrity. The scam was pulled not once, but twice, within a few months. Incredibly, the second one took place after a Parliamentary committee had established that an unprecedented fraud had taken place and several irregularities that enabled it were identified. From the many reports in the media, massive swindle has resulted more..

Azath Salley

Thai Pongal signifies thanks giving to nature: PM

Jan 13 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in a message to mark Thai Pongal which falls tomorrow, said that it was celebrated by Tamils all over the world as an occasion of considerable religious significance. "As a festival that commemorates the harvest, it is also an occasion to be thankful to nature for the bountiful supply. The agrarian society possesses a deep reverence for the Sun God that goes back centuries. The Thai Pongal Festival personifies this tradition with more..

IMF advises Sri Lanka to lift curb on exporter proceeds

Jan 13 (EN) The International Monetary Fund has asked Sri Lanka to lift a rule requiring exporters to bring back proceeds early, saying the restriction could harm exporters and may amount to a capital flow management measure (CFM). As a signatory to the IMF's Article IV agreement Sri Lanka has to keep current transactions free but the IMF also discourages the use of capital controls to cover policy errors. In 2015, under then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and more..

US officials requested that I divulge sensitive govt information: Jaliya W.

Jan 13 (AD) The legal representatives of Mr. Jaliya Wickramasuriya, former SL Ambassador to the US issued a communiqué to inform the public of the open warrant issues for the arrest of Mr.Wickramasuriya by the Fort Magistrate’s Court. Fort Magistrate’s Court issued an open warrant for the arrest of Jaliya Wickramasuriya on Jan 5, 2018. Accordingly legal representatives of former Ambassador more..

TNA Leader wishes for speedier framing of new Constitution in Thaipongal message

Jan 13 (Island) TNA leader R. Sampanthan, in his Thaipongal greetings has said that his prayer is that, a New Constitution will be framed without any further delay in the new year, which will uphold the right to dignity, self-respect and justice on the basis of equality amongst all citizens of Sri Lanka so as to ensure goodwill unity and genuine reconciliation within an undivided and indivisible Sri Lanka. The text of Sampanthan’s statement: "My heartiest Thaipongal wishes to all Tamil people more..

Over 300 houses destroyed as strong winds rip through Gampaha

Jan 13 (AD) Strong winds that developed into a storm ravaged several areas within Gampaha yesterday (12), causing severe damage to over 300 houses in the area. Very strong winds were reported at 5.45pm yesterday in Walpita, Katukirinda, Sirikampatha, Diklanda and Alugolla. Residents of the area attempted to flee as large trees uprooted while thundershowers followed. Reports confirm that over 300 residencies in the area were damaged by falling trees and debris. more..

Lakmal named SL's Test vice-captain

Jan 13 (CI) SL's first Test squad of the Chandika Hathurusingha era features a more dynamic set of bowlers than they have recently fielded. It also sees the return of batsmen Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka. There is an emphasis on pace, with Dushmantha Chameera and 20-year-old Lahiru Kumara being picked. But it is the first-time selection of unorthodox offspinner Akila Dananjaya that is the strongest indication that more..

UNP engineers crossovers

Jan 13 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday enrolled three SLFP and SLPP candidates contesting the Feb. 10 LG polls. In addition to them, several activists representing the SLFP and SLPP received UNP membership from UNP leader Wickremesinghe at an event organized by UNP Kolonnawa organiser MP S.M. Marikkar. Political sources told The Island that the UNP had engineered defections in the wake of President Sirisena promoting UNPers to defect. more..

LTTE materiel used for propaganda: CaFFE

Jan 13 (NR) Election Watchdog CaFFE urged political parties and independent groups to refrain from using illegal propaganda materials during the election campaign. Executive director of CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon said, several incidents of election law violations have been reported in the Northern Province. He added materials belonging to proscribed organisations have also been used for campaigning. He said, “Several LG Election contestants from the Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu more..

X30 Asia Cup 2018 comes to Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (Roar) Karting, commonly acknowledged to be the stepping stone to the higher ranks of motorsports, has quickly become a popular sport of its own standard and a thrilling pastime in an estimated 138 countries around the world. It is also known to be the training ground for some of motorsport’s most famous drivers, including Michael Schumacher, Daniel Riccardo, and Lewis Hamilton. more..

Preview: Sri Lanka U19 v Ireland U19

Jan 13 (ICC) In a closely matched group, every fixture will be pivotal, and this is no different. After the closely contested Group D opener between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the second clash between Ireland and Sri Lanka at the Cobham Oval in Whangarei on Sunday (14) has a lot to match up to. It possibly could though, what with there being quite a few interesting observations to be made: What does the future of Test cricket’s newest entrants look like? more..

'Govt lethargic with new Constitution'

Jan 13 (NR) The Purawasi Balaya Organisation says the govt must be more committed to abolishing the Executive Presidency and the formulation of a new Constitution. Member of the organisation KW Janaranjana said the process is moving at a sluggish pace. However he noted the govt had been successful in reaching several effective steps, in formulating a new Constitution in the past. However he said it was clear that during the Election period parliament has neglected the agenda to more..

Presidential Commission to investigate SriLankan Airlines

Jan 13 (NR) President Maithripala Sirisena says a Presidential commission to investigate discrepancies reported at SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka will be appointed next week. Speaking at a rally in Matale President Sirisena attributed corruption in the political sphere for the lack of progress, as a country. President also stressed more revelations regarding fraud and corruption will be revealed in the future. more..

Jaffna Uni arts undergrads suspended over bloody clash

Jan 13 (Island) The Jaffna University has suspended the third and fourth year students of its Arts Faculty following a clash which left four injured. The official said that the fight had erupted at a party. Although no complaint had been made, the Jaffna police recorded statements from the injured students receiving treatment in hospital. The university administration said an inquiry would be held and stern action taken against those responsible for the clash. more..

No right for good governance if silent over fraud: Kabir

Jan 13 (NR) Minister Kabir Hashim says factions that remained silent over fraud and corruption during the tenure of the previous UPFA-led govt does not have any ethical right to pledge support to the good governance govt. He said the UNP is prepared to implement good governance principles at grass root level. Minister further said members of SLFP and SLPP who were part of the previous govt did not voice against corruption while holding ministerial portfolios. more..

China-built railway in southern Sri Lanka starts track-laying

Jan 13 (Xinhua) The track-laying commencement of the first phase of the China-built Matara-Kataragama railway extension project has been held in Matara. The first phase of the project includes constructing a railway service from Matara to Beliatta, in the south of the island country. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said during the ceremony on Friday that the SL govt was hoping to finish the first phase of the railway project more..

'32 JO MPs cited in PRECIFAC report'

Jan 13 (NR) Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama says 32 MPs representing the so-called JO have been cited in the recent report compiled by the PRECIFAC. Speaking at an event in Balapitiya he said action will be taken against those cited in the report. He said, “We are not divided. Only Mahinda Rajapaksha is working against our party. He is the patron of the SLFP. However he is dividing our party. Prez Sirisena is the Chairman of the party but Mahinda Rajapaksha remains more..

UNP cannot be destroyed: Sujeewa

Jan 13 (NR) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe says no individual will be able to destroy the UNP. Speaking at a rally in Puttalam he said a favourable environment prevails at present, for UNP victory at the 2018 LG Election. He claimed that DS Senanayake and the other founders of the party initiated the party with a strong foundation adding therefore the UNP will always be strong. Minister stressed even if the President attacks the UNP the party is strong enough to stand back up. more..

Dog lovers snarl at farm animal agency’s sterilisation role

Jan 13 (ST) A state agency responsible for cows, pigs, and goats will take charge of sterilising 100,000 dogs this year from the first quarter, while animal welfare groups say the department that gives advice on farm animals is amateurish. The Department of Animal Production and Health will get Rs 150 million and one million doses of the rabies vaccine from the Health Ministry to start the programme in March. more..

Police summon assaulted prisoner’s wife for verbal abuse of Prison officials

Jan 13 (ST) Police have recorded a statement from the wife of an inmate of Kuruwita prison, who suffered broken limbs, after being assaulted by prison officials, alleging she verbally abused her husband’s attackers. Dilsha Kumari was summoned to the Kuruwita Police on Friday and asked to make a statement, after Prisons officials complained she abused them upon learning her husband has been severely beaten up while in remand custody. The detainee, Jeewananda Rajapaksa had more..

Thai Pongal helps protect ancient traditions: President

Jan 13 (DN) I am extremely happy to convey my greetings to all the Hindus across the world celebrating Thai Pongal, the festival that expresses gratitude to the nature, states President Maithripala Sirisena in a Thai Pongal message. Message adds: Since the dawn of civilisation, the importance of agriculture was widely known to human beings. In a background of the rural community migrating to urban areas abandoning agricultural farming to obtain material benefits from industrial more..

Massive Saudi crackdown on illegal workers: Lankans among 350,000 foreigners held

Jan 13 (CT) An undisclosed number of Sri Lankan workers have been arrested along with 350,000 other foreigners in a massive Saudi crackdown on undocumented workers in that oil rich desert kingdom, the Lankan Mission in Riyadh said on 11 January. "Some arrests of Lankan workers have been reported and we are working on the matter and a report will be submitted to Colombo at the earliest," the Embassy said. more..

Human Rights Comm.’s urgent action call

Jan 14 (SO) Can a nation that calls its island territory a Dhamma Dveepa dare tolerate indiscipline and cruelty by the guardians of society? In recent decades such indiscipline and cruelty was rampant, thanks to political dispensations that manipulated both laws and security agencies to force through their diktat and secure regime survival. Today, that is changing, although the disease seems endemic. Human Rights Commission’s swift response to the latest death of a person in State custody more..

Watch The Watchman

Jan 14 (CT) The mysterious death of a teenager while in custody in the Pettah Police Station and who had been arrested on Thursday (11) for allegedly possessing cannabis (ganja), may be a pointer to the need of keeping watch over the watchman. The death is allegedly due to suicide. However, a post-mortem examination of the deceased was said to have had been performed. JMO Colombo was not immediately contactable to find the reasons for the death. more..

'UNP’s coherent policy the forte at LG polls'

Jan 14 (SO) State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne says, the only way the country can move forward is by voting for the UNP which has a coherent policy and plan. Basically, the UNP is executing that plan stage by stage. He said the UNP is managing this election campaign professionally and will perform strongly in the upcoming LG elections. The UNP’s professional approach will pave the way to bring the resources of more..

Five years or six?

Jan 14 (Island) Ruling of the 5-judge bench of the SC determining whether President Sirisena’s term ends in 2020 or the following year will reach him by today. He is likely to communicate the decision of the court to the country soon thereafter and any uncertainty in that regard would then be cleared. Those who followed the pleadings of the AG heard him say that the incumbent president was elected in Jan 2015 for a six-year term under the law that existed at that time and this stands. more..

One step back, two steps forward

Jan 14 (ST) It is now official; the President has no intention of abolishing the Executive Presidency till 2021, if he can help it. In our last editorial for 2017, we said: “Already, we hear there is a debate on not just whether there will be another Presidential election – should the Executive Presidency continue, but if there is one, whether the President’s term of office is for six years (2021) or five (2020) depending on the way the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is interpreted”. more..

'Reject party fielding corrupt candidates'

Jan 14 (SO) PAFFREL called upon the electors to use the upcoming Feb 10 local govt elections as a platform to compel the political parties to field clean politicians to run for public office. PAFFREL Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi said, “The new electoral system is without preferential votes. Since the voters are unable to wean the corrupt candidates, they must reject the political party that has fielded the corrupt or the crooked.” more..

Disappointments and failed expectations

Jan 14 (ST) Madulwave Sobhitha hamuduruwaney, I felt like writing to you, even though you are no more with us, because of what has happened in recent weeks. I thought I should let you know about what is happening under yahapaalanaya in Paradise since you and a few others were instrumental in ushering in that era three years ago. Hamuduruwaney, do you remember how the majority of the people voted for yahapaalanaya because they were sick and tired of one family controlling almost everything more..

Parliament heated over bond controversy

Jan 14 (SO) The political domain, this week, turned eventful with a number of unexpected developments arising from the PCoI to probe into the bond controversy and the duration of President Maithripala Sirisena’s official term. While President Maithripala Sirisena sought a clarification from the Supreme Court over the duration of his term, Parliament was convened by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for a special session over the PCoI’s report on the Bond issue. more..


Implications of a six year term for Maithripala Sirisena

Jan 14 (Island) President Sirisena’s request for a determination from the Supreme Court as to whether he could remain in power for six years even after the 19th Amendment reduced the term of the President to five years has caused consternation in the pro-yahapalana camp and quiet glee among their opponents. One of the pioneers of the yahapalana project, university lecturer Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, has reproduced on his facebook page the Colombo Telegraph report of Sirisena asking more..

My years as a vampire in the Central Blood Bank, Colombo

Jan 14 (Island) The year was 1970. It was an ominous year. President Nixon protracted the hugely unpopular Vietnam war. The teenage heart throbs and ever popular Beatles disbanded. Charismatic Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser passed away. Our country was in economic decline and our coffers were empty. Political unrest loomed in the horizon. This caused great anguish and brought the middle classes and the rural folk to their knees. On a personal level, my professional & private life more..

President Maithri’s future political decisions will depend on SC ruling on his term

Jan 14 (CT) President Sirisena last week asked the Supreme Court whether it is Constitutional for him to serve a full six-year term, from Jan 2015, when he was elected, to Jan 2021.The President, in terms of Article 129 (1) of the Constitution, has asked; "In terms of the Provisions of the Constitution, I, as the person elected and succeeding to the office of President and having assumed such office in terms of Article 32 (1) more..