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PM mulls new local govt structure in Megapolis era

Jul 9 (EN) Sri Lanka needs to reconsider the structure of its local govts to keep up with changing times and the emergence off mega-cities like the planned Western Province Megapolis, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Asian urban centers are taking the lead in integrating their national economies with global value and supply chains, he said in a key note speech at the World Cities Summit, International Water Week and more..

'Take action before Vijayakala leaves country'

Jul 9 (DM) PHU headed by MP Udaya Gammanpila today said the law enforcement authorities should take immediate action over the controversial statement made by former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, before she leaves the country. PHU Propaganda Secretary Thushara Dissanayake said they have received reports that MP Maheswaran was planning to leave the country. "We request authorities to take immediate action, because if she goes abroad, it would obstruct investigations" more..

Will create new political movement: Tissa A.

Jul 9 (NR) Former Minister Tissa Attanayake says he will create a new political movement within the next couple of months. Speaking to media in Kandy Attanayake said he hopes to enforce a political change. He said there is a void in the present political sphere adding the void is the idea that a political campaign needs to be launched which is lead by the public. Attanayake said therefore in a few months he hopes to commence a new political campaign. more..

National Audit Act a far cry from original draft: JVP

Jul 9 (Island) The govt had let down both the national audit commission and the public by watering down the National Audit Bill to save corrupt officials, JVP said. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said: "National Audit bill was originally to be passed as part of the 100-day programme of the govt. The got delayed it for three years and three months. The original bill contained provisions to enable an independent commission to have strong teeth more..

Civil society groups raise concerns with Office for Reparations Bill

Jul 9 (FT) 15 civil society organisations and 28 activists have expressed their deep concern with aspects of the draft Bill titled Office for Reparations (the Bill) gazetted on 25 June. Full text: While the undersigned have several concerns with the process and content of the draft Bill, two issues regarding the powers and functions of the proposed Office stand out as the most pressing concerns. If these are not addressed forthwith, further engagement with the process will be moot. more..

Qatar Airways lifts capacity to Sri Lanka with Airbus A350

Jul 9 (DM) Qatar Airways is pleased to announce that it will bring a state-of-the-art A350 aircraft to Colombo, commencing 1 July 2018. The new aircraft will increase the award-winning airline’s daily capacity to Colombo by 15%, with an additional 195 seats per day to accommodate increased travel demand to and from Sri Lanka. The ultra-modern Airbus A350-900 aircraft features a total of 339 seats, with 30 Business Class seats and 309 in Economy Class. more..

U.S. govt funds renovation of two schools in Eastern Province

Jul 9 (USE) As part of the U.S. govt’s support for a reconciled and unified Sri Lanka, the U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) renovated two schools in the Eastern Province. James L. Russo, the U.S. Embassy’s Counselor for Press, Academic, and Cultural Affairs, presided over the official ribbon cutting ceremonies on July 2 and 3. Also participating were Deputy Minister of national integration, reconciliation, and more..

Posters displayed in Jaffna against Vijayakala

Jul 9 (AD) Posters on the theme of questioning the purpose of former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s ministerial post have been displayed around in several areas surrounding Jaffna town. The said posters read: “Minister who saved the criminals of the girl, Vidya’s murder; the person who sold her Ministerial post for Rs 500 million; why does she need the Ministerial post?” At the end of the poster it is mentioned that the poster was done by the future generation. more..

Sajith fires salvo at opposition rivals using Iftar celebrations

Jul 9 (Island) Minister Sajith Premadasa has warned Muslims not to be fooled by politicians who were attending Iftar celebrations after stoking sectarian violence against Muslims in Aluthgama. Speaking at the opening of two model villages in Batticaloa, he said those loyal to the Rajapaksa administration had caused sectarian violence in Beruwala and that they were also involved in the recent violence in Digana. "Now, they want to come into power they want to move to Temple Trees. more..

Video: TNA expresses support to 20A

Jul 9 (AD) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says that a new constitute should be introduced which is agreed upon by all communities, not just Tamil people. A new constitution is the best solution for the ethnic conflict issue, stated MP M. A. Sumanthiran. He made these comments at an event held at Magammana, Karawanella. Their party will fully support the 20th constitutional amendment, he further stated. more..

SL rupee extends fall for 6th straight session

Jul 9 (Reuters) The SL rupee fell for a sixth straight session on Monday on importer dollar demand and further weakness was expected in the currency, traders said. The rupee closed at 159.25/35 per dollar, compared to Friday’s close of 159.20/35 per dollar. It has declined 3.8% so far this year. "The rupee is still on a downward trend,” a currency dealer said. The market shrugged off Friday’s monetary policy rate decision by the CB, which left its key rates unchanged as expected, more..

10 arrested over Kandy unrest released on bail

Jul 9 (NR) Ten individuals including the leader of the Mahason Balakaya Amith Weerasinghe arrested and remanded in connection to the unrest reported in Digana, Kandy last March have been released on bail. The order was issued by the Teldeniya Magistrate this afternoon. The ten suspects were accordingly released on a cash bail of 50,000 rupees and a surety bail of 100,000 rupees each. Court also ordered Amith Weerasinghe to be present before the Teldeniya Police on more..

Carry out a forensic audit to put an end to bond issue: UNP

Jul 9 (DM) It is high time that a forensic audit was conducted to determine the exact losses, which the Govt had suffered from the bond scam and recover that amount from those who were responsible for it, a UNP backbench MP said today. “Losses from the bond issue seemed to differ from time to time. Therefore it is essential to carry out a forensic audit to determine the exact losses,” UNP MP Thushara Amarasena said. more..

Global attention to the democratic revolution

Jul 10 (DN) “It is good to note that the real conspiracy is between Trump supporters and the Sinhala racists who want Lanka off the global HR agenda. However, we should not forget that one of the earliest pledges with the presidential victory was to get the UN resolution thrown away with Trump's help. Unfortunately, left-leaning govts in the UNHRC either opposed or non-committal to the resolution. Although our faith in the global working class forces pushing for justice, no movement is evident. more..

Sri Lanka’s new right-wing politics

Jul 10 (CT) There are two new developments in SL’s contemporary politics which is getting crystalized and clearer these days. They are: (a) the consolidation of a hard right-wing alternative to a weak and shaky democratic regime option, and (b) the projection of an ex-military officer as the embodiment of the new Right-wing agenda. At the core of the first are groups of Buddhist monks, and retired military and navy officers who took part in the final phase of the war against the LTTE. more..

'If true, CHEC donation to MR amounts to interference in SL’s internal politics'

Jul 10 (SO) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said, when one looks at the China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) statement from a legal angle, it is quite clear that it doesn’t deny the New York Times media report on the alleged transfer of US$ 7.6 million to affiliates of former President Rajapaksa’s Presidential Election campaign. In an interview, Deputy Minister was of the view, that this specific allegation should more..

Knee-jerk governance as scandals, controversies grab attention

Jul 10 (ST) The see-sawing of political fortunes in the country, week after week, is enough to keep both politicians and the public preoccupied, and also deflect attention away from more important issues at hand. Parliamentary week began on Tuesday amidst an unfolding scandal involving former President Rajapaksa and his election campaign of 2015, with a report that appeared in the New York Times (NYT) gathering momentum locally. Allegations made in the NYT expose that he received more..

Leopards are killed but Tigers get life support

Jul 10 (ST) O tempora O mores, wrote that reputed Roman orator, writer and lawyer Cicero disgusted at the viciousness and corruption of his day. Commenting though he was on the life and times then, those who live in Sri Lanka today would wryly ask what has changed from the days of Cicero who lived in the century before Christ. If anything has changed, it is only for the worse with corruption multiplied a thousand fold or more, while fraud continues unabated and the judicial system more..

'Violence against Northern children increasing'

Jul 10 (CT) NP Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ananthy Sasitharan, commenting on former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s statement, said, “We must first consider curbing the escalating crimes against women and children in the North. These incidents have risen due to the increase in alcohol and drug consumption in the region. We should first consider these social issues rather than just harping on her statement.” more..

Revolt against rape

Jul 10 (DN) Rape is a subject on which this writer has worked on for a considerable period of time. One sad story related to that of a teenager raped taking lunch for his farmer father. The case dragged for years. Another was an instance in which a father stood accused of raping three of his four daughters with the knowledge of their mother, one of whom bore a child. More recently a woman who had been raped whilst also having her husband taken away missing to date, asked what crime she or more..

Politicians, farmers, cows and computers

Jul 10 (Island) Politicians are the bane of my life. I am with H. L. Mencken who stated, Democracy is the opportunity given to jackasses for sending jackals to parliament George Bernard Shaw was more explicit - politics is the last resort for the scoundrel Politicians are parasites on society and these are degenerate times; we have a politician who wants the LTTE back, politicians who jump sides like leaping frogs or like chameleons who change colour opportunistically. more..

SPC වැඩිමිලට දුන් ඩෙන්ඩර්

The cry behind the provocative call for a return of the LTTE

Jul 10 (CT) Just as in the south in the Sinhalese-majority areas where ethnic nationalism is being used for political advantage, a similar phenomenon is taking place in the north and east of the country in the Tamil-majority areas. It is being used in the north, among others, to protest against the increase in criminal activities that most recently included the rape and murder of a six year old child. The rise in ethnic nationalism is taking place with a corresponding decline in the electoral more..

Public and semi govt sector employees exceeds 1.1 million

Jul 10 (Island) The importance of public sector is an indisputable social and economic reality throughout the world. The Public Sector usually comprises of organisations that are owned and operated by the govt and exist to provide services such as public education, health care, national defence, military, police, infrastructure (public roads, bridges, tunnels, water supply, sewers, electrical grids, telecommunications, etc.) for its citizens. Recognising the importance of the Public and more..

Foot Soldiers: Stories from a walk for mental health

Jul 10 (Roar) Imagine you were a fifteen-year-old girl—just a child—and being in such a state of mind that you would rather burn yourself alive than face another day. Ranil Thilakaratne tells us this distressing account of a teenager in a small town near Puttalam, who poured kerosene over her body and then set herself alight. It was because she had been raped, and had no one to turn to. more..

Ethir urges authorities to look after the education of junior athletes

Jul 10 (Island) Olympian and country’s first Asian Games gold medallist Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam reiterated his stance on the importance of the education of sportsmen as Sri Lanka prepares to launch a strong campaign for a historic medal at the IAAF Under-20 World Championships staring today in Tampere, Finland. Country’s Junior athletes excelled at several recent regional championships creating championship records and improving on some long standing national junior records. more..

Jeevan Gnanam takes over as SLASSCOM Chairman

Jul 10 (ST) Newly appointed SL Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) Chairman, Jeevan Gnanam commenced his tenure with the announcement of an ambitious vision to rapidly grow the country’s IT industry to Rs. 5 billion by 2022. Speaking to a gathering of SL’s most successful IT professionals, Mr. Gnanam commended the vital efforts of SLASSCOM and its leadership in laying out a strong foundation for the industry to commence a rapid acceleration more..

Govt gets aggressive on ports as pivot

Jul 10 (FT) Hot on the heels of concluding the landmark revamp of Hambantota Port, Govt is unleashing a slew of initiatives to develop the rest of the Ports in the country as a pivot to strengthen the island’s hub status and boost the economy. As per measures already approved, multiple Ports in the country will see over $ 200 million in immediate investment, with more likely if plans go well. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that plans are more..

Editorial: The army’s war on shape-shifters

Jul 10 (Island) Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, known as an officer who brooks no nonsense, has taken on an elusive enemy. He has ordered that the elements responsible for obstructing the reconciliation process, through words and deeds, and poisoning the minds of the people of the North and East, be debarred from entering military facilities. He has also instructed his officers and men to boycott events that are inimical to reconciliation. more..

Sri Lanka sends men’s team to win boys rugby sevens in Paris

Jul 10 (DN) SL national men’s sevens rugby team, who played under the name of Lanka Lions won the Cup championship beating Bagneux, a French club side by 50 points to nil competing in the Boys open category for clubs at the Paris World Games played on July 7 and 8. The team that got approval from Minister Faiszer Mustapha as the national SL side represented the tournament as Lanka Lions. Lanka Lions captained by national skipper Sudarshana Muthuthanthri won all their three games more..

More bidders cry foul over tender process for second Kerawalapitiya LNG power plant

Jul 10 (FT) Bidders involved in the tender process for the second 300 MW LNG Plant in Kerawalapitiya are crying foul over the procurement process followed, with changes to the Request for proposal during the tender period, and withholding of the proper specifications required to submit a comprehensive bid. Tender conditions were imposed haphazardly and only when it suited some bidders, alleges Windforce & RenewGen, more..

Proteas can expect a taste of their own medicine

Jul 10 (Island) Talking about wickets in Sri Lanka is a tricky subject these days following an Al Jazeera sting operation exposed corrupt practice among those who were entrusted to prepare wickets for int'l games. The first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka will be played at the Galle Int'l Stadium starting Thursday and it was this very venue and the officials attached to it who were at the center of investigations. Tharanga Indika, a curator at Galle, has been suspended by SLC. more..

Rs. 600 million from Rotary to Sri Lanka focus on 2018/19

Jul 10 (FT) There has been a donor funding of $ 3.9 million dollars or Rs. 600 million, given by Rotary Foundation to Sri Lanka in the last five years, said the newly Elected Governor Dushan Soza at the Rotary Grants Seminar at Harbour Room, Oriental Hotel. Rotarians from across the country discussed the needs assessment of the changing landscape of Sri Lanka and how to engage Rotary International for a new set of grants for the many projects in Sri Lanka and Maldives. more..

Negotiations on for lease of Mattala Airport

Jul 10 (DN) Aviation industry officials of India and Sri Lanka are continuing their discussions on forming a joint venture to develop the Mattala Int'l airport. Executive Director, Airport & Aviation Services (SL) Limited (AASL), Johanne Jayaratne said the current discussions are focused on aircraft movements and air space movements in Sri Lanka. He added that the revival plan of the airport would be based on a lease agreement with India; more..

Yala 2018 rice forecast up 18%

Jul 10 (EN) SL is forecasting 1.080 million tonnes of paddy to be produced in the Yala minor cultivation season that falls in the second half of the year, which is up 18 percent from last year output of 909,000 metric tonnes. Up to the end of May 273,471 hectares of rice had been sown, up from the last year's extent of only 249,000 hectares amid one of the worst droughts in history. The production forecast is based on the actually sown extent and could be revised based. more..

ICC inquiry against Chandimal et al tomorrow

Jul 10 (CT) The anticipated inquiry against Skipper Dinesh Chandimal, Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Manager Asanka Gurusinha by the ICC for delaying the second Test match by two hours against the West Indies which was scheduled to be held today (10), has been postponed to tomorrow (11). Sri Lanka Cricket, ICC (Dubai) and ICC (England) will be coordinating via skype to conduct the inquiry. It will take place at about 6.00 p.m. Sri Lanka time, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said. more..

Third of prison officers suffers from burnout

Jul 10 (Island) Nearly one third (31.1%) of prison officers were found to be suffering from state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress known in medical parlance by the term burnout. Dr Nimali Wijegoonewardene, who conducted a research on 1,803 prisons officers, has found that more than one third (37.8%) of them are suffering from a sense of reduced personal accomplishment. more..

ADB grants Sri Lanka USD 9.5 million to support women-led SMEs

Jul 10 (GDI) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted USD 9.5 million through the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) to support the ongoing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) - Line of Credit. Country Director of ADB's SL Resident Mission Sri Widowati signed the grant agreement on behalf of ADB while Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance, signed for the Govt of SL. Financial inclusion for SMEs is important to realize more..

OMP receives 13,000+ missing person case files from former Ministry

Jul 10 (FT) Office of Missing Persons (OMP) has received over 13,000 files on missing/disappeared persons from the former Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, OMP Chief Saliya Peiris said. According to Peiris, files were handed over to Ministry of Integration by various Grama Niladharis following a Ministry announcement to the public to submit instances of missing or disappeared persons. “We have received over 13,000 filed from the former Ministry of National Integration. more..

Former UL board members appointed in violation of regulations: Official

Jul 10 (FT) Unqualified appointments were made to the former Board of Directors of SriLankan Airlines, a top official from the national carrier told the PCoI yesterday, with some of these individuals allegedly abusing their privileges. The Commission appointed to probe allegations of fraud in SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering, and Mihin Lanka, heard SriLankan Airlines Corporate Secretarial Head Darlene Thrukumar. more..