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Death Penalty: A tokenistic and populist move: HR lawyers

Jul 16 (CT) It may not sound like a bad idea to hang convicted hardcore drug traffickers in Sri Lanka as we are constantly bombarded with reports of huge consignments of narcotics, worth billions of rupees, being detected by Police and information that drug lords are operating their networks from behind prison walls. But the decision by Prez Sirisena to go ahead and execute prisoners sentenced to death on drug charges more..

More perks for the Hangman

Jul 16 (CT) The authorities are considering extra perks for candidates willing to take up the job of executioner in order to encourage more applicants for the job. The extra perks could include free housing facilities for self and dependants and an increase in wages among other concessions. The moves were currently underway to endorse the job vacancy for the post of executioner in the local media from the start of this week. more..

Arjuna against fuel price hike

Jul 16 (FT) The tug of war between the Petroleum and Finance ministries over the oil pricing formula continued with subject minister Arjuna Ranatunga renewing his criticism of the fuel price hike. “I am against the price hike. I have argued against it during the Cabinet discussion also. But the Treasury says that this needs to be done. I think state corporations such as the Petroleum Corporation, CEB & Water Board more..

Hyatt dispute: EPF-owned company losing millions in cost and interest payments

Jul 16 (ST) A part Employees’ Provident Fund-owned company is racking up millions of rupees in costs and interest payments because it has failed to settle Euros 7.432 million (Rs 1.38 b) in damages owed to an Italian company for the 2015 termination of an interior decoration contract for Grand Hyatt, Colombo. In September last year, a Singapore-based arbitration tribunal ordered SinoLanka Hotels and Spa Ltd to pay Euros 7.432 million more..

EU, Canada and Norway write to President on death penalty

Jul 16 (SL) The Delegation of the European Union, the missions of the EU Member States in Sri Lanka as well as the diplomatic missions of the Govts of Canada and Norway in Sri Lanka have written to President Maithripala Sirisena to verify the worrying information in the public domain about the intention of the SL govt to resume implementing the death penalty after a moratorium of more than 40 years, an EU statement said today. more..

Well Done Russia!

Jul 16 (CT) Russia had brilliantly staged the 21st Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup final with the one month long international tournament coming to an end at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow yesterday. The FIFA World Cup matches magical in bringing the world together started on 14 June and continued till yesterday, with the participation of 32 countries playing 64 matches right from the beginning in twelve stadiums in eleven cities in Russia. more..

Disruptive economy and poverty of knowledge: Sri Lankans have a lot to learn

Jul 16 (FT) The poor are usually defined as those who are below a given level of income that would be insufficient to meet their basic needs. In my view, the poor – no matter whether it is an individual, family or a nation – are those who are unable to read the oncoming information logically, assess the risks posed or opportunities offered to them and take measures to minimise risks or augment prospects. In this sense, we all are poor. The list is inclusive, covering all those in the Govt, more..

මවක් අලුගෝසු තනතුරට ඉල්ලුම් කරයි

Cardinal berates John Amaratunga over Jehovah’s Witnesses Colombo convention

Jul 16 (CT) Archbishop Cardinal Malcom Ranjith, who recently sparked a storm with his controversial remarks on reinstating the death penalty, has reportedly berated Minister John Amaratunga for having SL host special int'l convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Cardinal had berated the Christin Affairs Minister about Sri Lanka hosting the international summit of the Witnesses and had expressed disappointment that Amaratunga was unable to prevent such unfavorable developments. more..

'No official can reverse Cabinet decision'

Jul 16 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the glyphosate ban had been imposed after a Cabinet decision and it could not be lifted at the whims and fancies of the officials. Registrar of Pesticides had no power to overrule a Cabinet decision, minister said. He said the govt had imposed the glyphosate ban in 2015 in view of fears that the weedicide was one of the causes for the killer renal disease prevalent in the North-Central Province and spreading to some other parts more..

Sri Lanka through the eyes of artists

Jul 16 (Roar) The role of art in documenting culture is well known. For centuries now, artists have reproduced what they saw around them, from renditions of lush landscapes to portraits of human figures. Through their art, we are able to learn about the past, see representations of the present and even explore visions of the future. Art also plays an important role in recording history. The work of artists allows us to reimagine scenes more..

Reparations Bill before House tomorrow

Jul 16 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will present the Bill to provide for the establishment of the Office for Reparations in Parliament, tomorrow, for the first reading. The Bill, which was gazetted last month, provides for the provision of individual and collective reparations for aggrieved persons. As per the Bill, aggrieved persons mean persons who have suffered a violation of human rights or humanitarian law, their relatives and missing persons. Scope of legislation applies to the conflict in N&E, as well as more..

No doctor at hospital: 2 accident victims die

Jul 16 (DN) Medical officers were not available at the Thammennawa hospital on July 14 to attend to those who sustained fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident at Ambagahawela in Seeppukulama, residents complained. A student who assisted to carry the injured to the Thammennawa hospital said the life of the eight-year-old boy who died in the accident could have been saved if a doctor was on duty that day. Three in the same family were seriously injured when the motorcycle more..

Court allows Basil to travel abroad for treatment

Jul 16 (AD) The Colombo High Court has granted former minister Basil Rajapaksa permission to travel abroad for medical treatment. The case filed against Rajapaksa for allegedly misappropriating Rs. 36.5 million of funds belonging to the Divi Neguma Development Department to purchase and distribute GI pipes during the last Presidential Election was taken up today, before High Court Judge A.A.R. Heiyanthuduwa. more..

NEC receives JICA supported electricity master plan study

Jul 16 (DN) A presentation on the final report of The Project on Electricity Sector Master Plan Study was held at the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena on July 10. The key Cabinet Ministers including Finance and Mass Media Minister, Power and Renewable Energy Minister and the ministerial secretaries were present at the council meeting. The presentation was made by Master Plan Study Team Leader Noboru Seki. Ambassador for Japan Kenichi Suganuma more..

Govt to consider early childhood-centric budget proposals

Jul 16 (SL) The Govt is to include a set of proposals from a UNICEF-led meeting on early childhood development in the 2019 budget, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said today. Speaking at the Building Brains – Building Futures high-level meeting held today on early childhood development in SL, Samaraweera said that he had received a set of proposals related to the subject and it will be considered in the next budget. In a landmark event, marking Policy Makers Day of more..

Two key suspects in Lasantha murder case granted bail

Jul 16 (AD) Former Senior DIG Prasanna Nanayakkara and former Sub-Inspector (SI) Tissa Sugathapala who were arrested and remanded over the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, have been granted bail by the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court. Nanayakkara was arrested by the CID on Feb 14 this year for allegedly concealing evidence on the murder of the journalist. He was the Senior DIG in charge of Western Province more..

'Fuel prices shouldn't be revised monthly'

Jul 16 (NR) Deputy Minister of Transport Ashok Abeysinghe says he opposes the recommendation to revise fuel prices monthly. He said monthly revisions in fuel prices could lead to issues in transportation prices. He said bus fares have decreased twice over the past 15-20 years adding the highest bus fare increase was seen in 2017, an increase of 27%. Deputy Minister noted he was against the monthly fuel price revisions as he in charge of the Sri Lanka Transport Board more..

Seven treasure hunters arrested

Jul 16 (Island) Chilaw police yesterday nabbed seven persons carrying out excavations in search of treasure at Inigoda in Chilaw. The treasure hunters had selected the specific place for digging with the help of a metal detector, the suspects told police. Police took into custody the scanner, a charger, a dongle, a pen drive, four leaflets of the scanner with instructions of how to find underground metals using it, a catalogue of the scanner, incense sticks, incense powder, several mammoties, more..

Chandimal, Hathurusingha suspended for two Tests, four ODIs

Jul 16 (CI) SL captain Dinesh Chandimal and coach Chandika Hathurusingha have been suspended for four ODIs, in addition to the two Tests they are already sitting out, after receiving the maximum possible punishment for their spirit of cricket offence. Team manager Asanka Gurusinha also receives the same sanction. Following a ball-tampering row, the trio had been charged with the level 3 offence over SL's more..

Shamsi leaves Sri Lanka tour for family reasons

Jul 16 (CI) Tabraiz Shamsi, left-arm wristspinner, has left South Africa's tour of SL for family reasons. No date has been set for his return. Shamsi took four wickets in his first red-ball Test in Galle last week, which South Africa lost by 278 runs. In the first innings, Shamsi outbowled Keshav Maharaj, the left-arm orthodox, who had been ill in the build up to the Test and subsequently went wicketless. Maharaj found his rhythm as the match progressed and picked up four second-innings wickets. more..

Mastercard introduces new benefits for Sri Lanka’s Premium cardholders

Jul 16 (CI) Mastercard has introduced a range of exclusive benefits and privileges for members of its World and Platinum credit cards in Sri Lanka. The company has realigned its benefits programme to cater to changing lifestyles and spending priorities in the country. Mastercard focussed its new suite of benefits on hotel and travel privileges such as savings on several hotels and deals with certain online travel portals. Under the Mastercard Airport Experiences provided by LoungeKey, more..

Sri Lanka remains a Human Rights Priority Country for the UK

Jul 16 (SL) Sri Lanka remains a priority country in the UK’s Annual Human Rights Report 2017. Sri Lanka is one of 30 Human Rights Priority Countries; countries where the UK has serious human rights concerns and hopes to engage positively to develop human rights performance. The report acknowledges that there has been limited progress in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Final decision on strike on Thursday: GMOA

Jul 16 (NR) The Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) says the final decision on the island wide strike that was organised by the Association against the tax policy in effect for professionals will be announced on Thursday. A final decision will be reached at the Central Committee meeting scheduled to be held on Thursday. Claiming that professionals have been inconvenienced due by the tax policy the GMOA urged the govt to maintain the tax rate at a maximum of 12%. more..

'Local jumbos face bleak future'

Jul 16 (CT) Environmentalists predict over 4,000 elephant casualties due to starvation, if the planned 300 new migration-blocking electric fences are established as per the decisions made by the Government and the Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD). Nayanaka Ranwella, the Secretary of Surakimu Sri Lanka, environmental organization stated that for years, elephants have been dying due to starvation and the lack of foods in national parks such as Yala, Lunugamwehera more..

PPPS for Grama Shakthi peoples' movement

Jul 16 (PMD) The enthusiasm displayed by the private sector to support the Grama Shakthi People’s Movement and the potential of this new PPP (Public-Private Partnership) is expected to provide the much-needed fillip to this people oriented village empowerment programme of which the ultimate aim is to eradicate poverty. Grama Shakthi is a project implemented in accordance with a concept of Prez Sirisena to show the path more..

2 arrested with gold biscuits worth Rs.18M

Jul 16 (NR) Two suspects who illegally smuggled 29 gold biscuits worth over 18 million rupees have been arrested at the BIA. The suspects attempted to smuggle the stock of gold by concealing it under a luggage trolley. Airport Customs said the gold that weighed 2.9kgs was seized by the Customs. The duo, who arrived from Dubai, have been identified as businessmen who import goods from Dubai. The 33 and 43 year old suspects, are residents of Mannar and Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka's banking regulations strong, economy weak: Fitch

Jul 16 (EN) SL's banking regulations are relatively strong compared to peers like Mongolia and Vietnam but macro-prudential indicators by Fitch Ratings have a negative outlook due to the weak economic environment, the ratings agency said in a report APAC Banks Regulatory Compendium – Update released Monday. "Sri Lanka's regulatory framework is a relative strength, yet we have kept a negative outlook on assessment due mainly to its weak economic environment," more..

Despite a few protesters, majority attended Jaffna meeting: OMP

Jul 16 (DM) Office on Missing Persons (OMP) today said a majority of the family members whose loved ones went missing and disappeared, attended the OMP meeting held in Jaffna on Saturday despite a few members protesting outside. Families of the missing and disappeared from the Divisional Secretariat areas of Delft, Kayts, Velanai, Karainagar, Jaffna, Nallur, Uduvil, Chankanai, Sandilipay, Tellippalai, Kopay, Karaveddy, more..

Losing faith in redemption

Jul 17 (CT) The govt has commenced launching its Gam Peraliya or rapid rural development programme and is also about to commence prosecutions under the fast track anti-corruption courts it has established to fulfil its election time promises. The extent to which these two initiatives will capture the public imagination and win hearts and minds remains to be seen. The general public discourse at the present time is decidedly unfavourable to the govt. more..

To hang or not to hang!

Jul 17 (CT) President, Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell out of the blues last week, sans all maître (loving-kindness) when he launched a coup de main on drug offenders. He threatened to use his powers to place his signature to execute the death sentence on those sentenced for drug offenses. Drug trafficking carries the death penalty in SL, but since 1976 it has not been implemented. Though JR Jayewardene retained the death penalty in the 1978 Constitution, he never signed more..

'National Govt is fraudulent'

Jul 17 (CT) MP Thilanga Sumathipala says if Prez Sirisena does not receive former Prez Rajapaksa’s consent he will lose the Prez Election and the General Election. Q: When you and a group left the Govt, serious accusations were made against you by the Joint Opposition. They said that Thilanga, Dayasiri, and others jumped off the sinking ship. How was that problem resolved all of a sudden? A: All of us are against UNP and Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Hitler & LTTE: On Polarisation & Fascism

Jul 17 (GV) Timing of these two ill-thought-out and irresponsible statements, and the stark difference between the public and political responses to them, are evidence of the harsh and uncomfortable realities of this country. The statements are an indictment of the current yahapalanaya (good governance) regime for failing to fulfill its promises. Desperation and anxiety over these failures run deep in a society so morally bankrupt, and intellectually and politically paralysed, more..

Political compulsions could undermine fiscal discipline, economic stability

Jul 17 (ST) We are entering a critical period when the country’s macroeconomic stability could be jeopardised owing to excessive govt expenditure to pander to the multitude for political gain. Excessive public expenditure to gain popularity at the forthcoming elections could increase the fiscal deficit and destabilise the economy. The Central Bank and several eminent economists have expressed their concern about the likely fiscal slippage owing to economic policies being dictated to more..

Fuel pricing formulae, a vital cog in the wheel: Economists

Jul 17 (SO) Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday decided to revise Sri Lanka’s domestic retail prices of petrol and diesel on a monthly basis in future while agreeing to continue the adjustment of prices based on the cost-reflective formula computed in line with international oil prices. According to analysts, this new pricing mechanism – which primarily takes into account variations of Brent crude oil prices of the Singapore Platts Price more..

Dramatic rescue and the great escape

Jul 17 (ST) For two weeks or more the world held its collective breath. People watched with growing anxiety as this heartrending story unfolded hoping that it would not turn into tragedy. As it is, the perilous rescue mission launched by Thailand with the welcome and ungrudging help of expertise from several countries to save 12 young boys and their football coach reached a successful denouement. Global jubilation greeted the rescued and the rescuers as news of the successful mission more..

A review of Pyramus and Thisby

Jul 17 (GV) Enchantment galore upon the senses of theatregoers seemed the motive and motif for the twelfth year anniversary show of Pyramus and Thisby written and directed by seasoned theatre practitioner Jehan Aloysius, which unfolded on the boards of the Wendt on the 7th of July. From the very outset it was clear that this was a labour of great passion displaying skill and planning on the part of the theatre company Centre Stage Productions headed by Aloysius. more..

Face the Nation

Edtorial: The knotty issue of hanging

Jul 17 (Island) The yahapalana govt does not seem capable of doing anything properly in spite of its braggadocio. It readily undertakes gargantuan tasks and, then, religiously fails to accomplish them. Restoring law and order was one of its main promises. Having failed to make good on that pledge, it has made public its intention to resume judicial executions in a bid to cover up its failure to live up to public expectations. Now, it is in a dilemma because most of the prisoners sentenced to more..

Vijayakala’s Rhetoric and RealPolitik

Jul 17 (Island) Vijayakala’s singing of praises of the LTTE can be understood both as an attempt to incite extreme sentiments as well as to boost her own image amongst those who admired the terror group. The south has ben clamouring for her blood in a legal context, apart from the disciplinary steps taken by the UNP against her. There can be no dispute that the UNP had to take the required steps against her for voicing utterances which were inconsistent with the policies of the party. more..