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USD 100 Mn WB aid to modernize the country’s education system

Jul 25 (GDI) Sri Lanka signed a USD 100 million credit agreement with the World Bank to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen and modernize the general education system in the country. General Education Modernization Project (GEM) will modernize and diversify the curriculum of general education in keeping with the transformation taking place in Sri Lanka’s society and economy. Greater emphasis will be on strategic subjects that more..

Eight prison officers in the contact list of major drug dealer

Jul 25 (Island) Police Narcotics Bureau has commenced an investigation on finding the mobile numbers of eight prison officers in the contact list of drug dealer Mohammad Zuhair Mahir, who was arrested recently in Kalubowila with drugs worth Rs. 1.24 billion. Police recovered 103 kg and 948 g of heroin, on July 07, with a street value of Rs 1.248 bn in what police spokesman described as the biggest successful operation conducted by more..

Health Ministry probes incidents at rural hospitals

Jul 25 (CT) Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne said that investigations had been ordered into two separate incidents which occurred at two rural hospitals in Anuradhapura and Gampola. Minister had called for an inquiry into an incident at the Tammennawa Rural Hospital, Anuradhapura where the Hospital had allegedly refused to admit three accident victims, claiming that there was no doctor to attend to them. more..

Maithri on why 20A is bad

Jul 25 (Island) The current Presidential system allowed all Sri Lankans eligible to vote to have a say in deciding who should be the Head of State, and the 20th amendment to the Constitution seeks to deprive the voting public of that right, leader of UNFF, Maithri Gunaratne says. "All citizens vote and that’s true democracy. President is elected by the people directly. The proposed system will vest that power in 225 MPs. more..

Google Loon may take off

Jul 25 (DM) The Google Loon Project could go ahead as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) had responded positively towards the project, Minister Harin Fernando said today. Minister said that he got a positive response from ITU General Secretary Houlin Zhao in Geneva recently. “ITU General Secretary had informed us that they were concerned with the proposed Loon project as it might disturb more..

Don’t be Afraid of Competition

Jul 25 (CT) Ideology and fear is the toxic phrase that keeps Sri Lanka from reaching its potential. State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne speaking at a human capital development function at the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka Headquarters, Colombo yesterday rephrased it as Ideology and Attitude, but it’s more than attitude, it’s fear that keeps certain sectors of the economy closed, paradoxically even after 41 years of an open economy. more..

New Constitution only a dream: Ganeshan

Jul 25 (DM) Introducing a new Constitution is only a dream because the govt has run out of time already, Minister Mano Ganesan said. He said this at the National Inter-religious Symposium held yesterday at the BMICH. The event was organised by the National Peace Council. “I personally feel there is a need for a new Constitution as there are so many problems to be solved. However, it was supposed to be introduced during the first year of the Yahapalana Govt but we couldn’t make it happen. more..

National audit bill & accountability concerns

Fonseka interfering in Army affairs, Commander complains to President

Jul 25 (CT) Army Commander Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake has complained to Prez Sirisena that former Army Commander Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka is interfering in the affairs of the Army. Senanayake has said that Fonseka ‘is giving instructions to officer cadres without his (Senanayake’s) knowledge and had also spoken to him about transfers and promotions. CT reliably learns that Senanayake had in fact mentioned Fonseka by name when he spoke with Prez. more..

The countdown of generational first-hand stories: Black July 35 years later

Jul 25 (FT) Here we are again at another anniversary of the pogrom in SL known as Black July. The violence was a harbinger that dissipated Tamil life in the city of Colombo especially, and to the generation of that my father. It escalating a brutal war along with triggering an island-wide mass migration of Tamils for 30 plus years is history. My father’s generation was an important component and formed a significantly affluent presence in the other ways also diverse as Tamils living in C'mbo. more..

BC to utilize Jakarta Principles when drafting new Bribery Act

Jul 25 (DM) Bribery Commission (BC) said it has been mandated by the Cabinet to draft a fresh Bribery Act and that it would seek recommendations of the Jakarta Principles when drafting it. Issuing a statement over the Global Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on the Jakarta Principles, the BC said the new Act drafting process will benefit immensely from enhanced clarity, int'l best practices, and comparative experiences more..

Video: Mattala baby elephant is genetically deformed: Wildlife Dept

Jul 25 (DM) The disable baby elephant found in Hambantota Suriyawewa had been diagnosed as congenitally deformed, Wildlife Health Director Dr. Tharaka Prasad said. He said a group of Wildlife officers had found the one-year-old disabled calf this Sunday during a wildlife mission in Suriyawewa Hambantota. “The baby jumbo was seen hobbling with the assistance of its trunk because its front legs were deformed,” Dr Prasad said. Although the baby elephant was found with minor injuries, more..

Strict enforcement needed to protect Sri Lanka tourism hotspots: expert

Jul 25 (EN) Strict enforcement of rules and effective management is needed to protect Sri Lankan tourism hotspots like national parks and archaeological sites from over-visitation, an Australian expert said. "Over tourism is a somewhat awkward term, and describes the situation in which a particular destination exceeds its carrying capacity, either in physical or social terms,” said Andrew Fairley, former deputy chairman of Tourism Australia, Australian tourism promotion outfit. more..

Police records Danushka’s statements over rape allegation

Jul 25 (EN) SL's controversial opening batsman Dhanushka Gunathilaka was questioned by police over a rape of a Norwegian woman in his hotel room, but is unlikely to face any criminal charges, official sources said Wednesday. A statement was recorded from Gunathilaka, 27, after his friend Sandeep Selliah, 26, was arrested in connection with the rape said to have been committed in his presence at the Movenpick more..

Case against Chairmen of Avant Garde and Rakna Lanka postponed

Jul 25 (AD) The case filed by the Bribery Commission against the Chairman of Avant Garde Nissanka Senadhipathi and the former Chairman of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka, Major General Palitha Fernando has been postponed to Sept 12. When the case was taken up before the Colombo HC Judge Shashi Mahendran, the attorney representing the Bribery Commission requested the hearing to be postponed as the senior State Counsel, who leads the plaintiffs of the case, is currently abroad more..

Woman nabbed with Rs. 3mn worth gold Jewellery

Jul 25 (DM) A 30-year-old Sri Lankan woman was arrested this morning at the BIA with gold biscuits and jewellery worth Rs. 3 million. He said the woman was from Wellampitya and arrested with gold jewellery and biscuits weighing five kilograms at the airport Green Channel attempting to smuggle them into the country from Kuwait. The jewellery and biscuits weighing 5.185 kilograms was valued at Rs.30,693,955. The gold biscuits and jewellery was found concealed in her undergarments. more..

New resolution on inter-religious reconciliation

Jul 25 (CT) A resolution to promote non-discrimination based on ethnicity, language or religion, respect for human and democratic rights and the creation of a brotherhood, inclusive of all majority and minority ethnic and religious communities, was held recently. The National Inter-Religious Committee for Building Reconciliation, under the guidance of National Peace Council (NPC), presented a resolution with recommendations more..

FMM condemns Media threat

Jul 25 (CT) The Free Media Movement(FMM) noted in a press release that the allegedly threatening remarks made by Minister of Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Field Marshal, Sarath Fonseka calling for the retracting of a news item posted on its website, revealing the link between well-known criminals and politicians was a violation of Media freedom, obstructing them in carrying out their duties and keeping the public informed. more..

National elephant survey in September

Jul 25 (CT) The Wildlife Conservation Department has decided to conduct an islandwide elephant survey for a second time since 2011. Its Director General G. Sooriyabandara said, that the survey on jumbos will be conducted two days, out of the three days; 23, 24 and 25 September. He said all circuit bungalows coming under the purview of the Department will be closed on those three days, to facilitate the survey and they will not be reserving any circuit bungalows for tourists. more..

Rajitha says Mattala to India and Hambantota to China is a balancing act

Jul 25 (AD) Minister Rajitha Senaratne, informing on the Cabinet decisions today, stated that the President is firmly convinced that the death penalty should be imposed, despite whatever obstacle come its way. When inquired whether the Sri Lanka would lose the GSP facility if the death penalty is imposed, the president had firmly stated that death penalty will be imposed no matter what facility will be lost, according to the Minister. more..

Irrigation director and Chinese national in hospital following clash

Jul 25 (Island) A Chinese national and a Sri Lankan attached to the Lower Yanoya reservoir project ended up in hospital after exchanging blows. The incident occurred when the Chinese officer refused to accede to a request made by the Irrigation Deputy Director. The Deputy Director requested the Chinese construction Manager to provide them with a consignment of granite which had been discarded by the latter, for some construction work in the Indulhitiyawa tank. more..

Female suspect in Kotakethana double murder acquitted

Jul 25 (AD) Colombo High Court Judge Wikum Kaluarachchi has ordered to acquit and release the female suspect, who had been arrested and remanded in connection with the double murder of a mother and daughter in Kotakethana in 2012. The Attorney General had filed a case against Lokugam Hewage Darshana alias Raju and his wife Ashoka Chandani Kumari alias Batti for the murder of 52-year-old Nayana Nilmini and her daughter named Kavindya Chathurangi (17). more..

President halts appointments and promotions of education ministry

Jul 25 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed to temporarily halt the decision taken by the education ministry to provide appointments and promotions to employees in the education sector based on political victimization, the PMU said. It said in a statement that the President had taken the decision after a discussion with the PM over the phone. President had discussed the matter with the trade union leaders, more..

India, UAE help sought to trace SL criminals

Jul 25 (DM) The govt has initiated talks with the authorities of India and the UAE to trace some SL underworld criminals living in hiding in these countries, Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said. He that India had agreed to extend its fullest possible cooperation to trace and repatriate some criminals living there. “We find that several underworld leaders have escaped to India. They operate their crimes here from India. Also, there are some criminals living in Dubai,” he said. more..

Police dog Dolly dies

Jul 25 (DN) Police dog Dolly which assisted the Batticloa Police to detect explosives, died of a heart attack on Sunday. Dolly was born in the Netherlands in 2010 and brought to the Kand Kennels in 2011, after being trained for 10 months in the detection of explosives. Dolly was sent to Batticaloa where he served for seven years. He was deployed in the detection of explosives whenever VIPs visited the Batticaloa district. In 2013 and 2014, police said that Dolly had been deployed in searching more..

'Cabinet welcomed death penalty with applause'

Jul 25 (NR) Several opinions were expressed regarding the enforcement of the death penalty during a media breifing organised by the SLFP this morning. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said no one within the Cabinet of Ministers was opposed to the proposal of enforcing the death penalty. Minister noted everyone part of the Cabinet of Ministers received the decision by the President with a round of applause more..

Businessman seeks compensation for tire damaged on E01

Jul 25 (DM) A businessman residing in Maharagama has lodge a complaint with the Bandaragama Police yesterday, requesting compensation from the RDA stating that his vehicle’s tire was damaged due to a stone on the Southern Expressway. In his complaint, the businessman had stated that he entered the expressway from Kottawa and that the front-left tire of his vehicle had been punctured on his journey to Matara. He had parked his vehicle alongside the road and upon looking for the cause of more..

Video: Protesting HNDF students tear-gassed

Jul 25 (DM) The Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesting Inter Higher National Diploma Federation (HNDF) students at the Lotus Roundabout today. The students marched towards the Presidential Secretariat from Punchi Borella urging the authorities to increase the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000. Lotus Road was temporarily closed during the protest and Police Anti Riot Squad used teargas and water cannon to disperse the students. more..

China-India in N-E housing tussle: Rajitha

Jul 25 (DM) A diplomatic wrangling between India and China on the construction of 50,000 houses in the N&E had stalled the project, Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said today. He told the media that India’s cost for a unit in the housing project was Rs. 1.3 million, while China quoted Rs. 2.2 million a unit and that India has opposed it. “We expect to speak to two parties because both countries are our close friends,” he said. more..

The war on drugs in SL: Science or Fiction?

Jul 26 (CT) PM Ranil Wickermesinghe stated the above during the parliamentary debate on the Poisons Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance of 1929 Amendment Bill on 22 March 1984. At the time, he was the Minister of Education who endorsed President J.R Jayewardene’s proposal to introduce the death sentence for drug related offences. Despite its inefficacy, the death sentence for drug related offences is back on the policy agenda and political limelight. more..

Listen to the voice of the silenced

Jul 26 (Island) The discussion on the Capital Punishment (CP) has come to the fore again. I do not take seriously the statements of the President. I do not think anybody takes him seriously either. But the whole issue of the CP is important and we must look at it from all the angles possible. And that’s what I tried to do in the 26/09/2016 article in The Island with the above title. This is the same article with some improvements and a few changes. This is not in defense of people who are more..

Black July marked the end of community

Jul 26 (SO) Stories of Sinhalese families sheltering their Tamil neighbours during the terrible violence abound, but walls that had never existed between neighbours and residential communities in the past were built after the 1983 communal riots, forever altering a country and a capital that marked its darkest day 35 years ago. With the wave of anti Tamil violence spreading in the Colombo City in July 1983, many Sinhalese more..

Northern Provincial Council in deadlock

Jul 26 (CT) The tug of war between the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran and Governor Reginald Cooray, which continued unabated for quite some, reached its climax when the Court ruled that the Chief Minister’s move to sack a minister and appoint a new minister in his place was legally wrong. Unfazed by the ruling, Wigneswaran passed the ball to Governor Cooray, stating that it was for the Governor to untangle the deadlock of his own creation. more..

Death penalty: Why and for whom

Jul 26 (CT) The debate about imposing the death penalty has bounced back. It was triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena’s announcement that he would grant approval to hang prisoners with pending capital punishment and engaged in the drugs trade, while facing a prison term. Buddhist priests vehemently opposed imposing death penalty in the past. They frequently quoted the Buddha’s teaching Sabbetasanthidandassa – sabbetanjeevitanpiyan in the Dhammapada. more..

Bombers who became monks

Jul 26 (ST) Britain’s war-time PM Sir Winston Churchill famously called the Japanese attack on the naval base in Trincomalee the most dangerous moment of the Second World War. He feared that “the capture of then Ceylon, the consequent control of the Indian Ocean, and the possibility at the same time of a German conquest of Egypt would have closed the ring” and spelt defeat for the Allied Forces. more..

Reflections on July 1983: 35 Years On

Jul 26 (GV) July 23 marked the 35th anniversary of one of post independent SL’s darkest chapters, the July 1983 pogrom against Tamil civilians throughout the country. An ambush of an Army patrol in Jaffna, by the LTTE, then one of several militant groups operating in the North, in which the entire platoon of thirteen soldiers was wiped out, sparked violence. A couple of days later, amidst rumours the bodies of many of the soldiers were to be brought to the Borella cemetery in Colombo more..

Democracy & conscience of people & leaders

Jul 26 (DN) It is Sri Lanka’s experience, that all the Presidents, and many authorities responsible for judicial decisions, administration and financial transactions of public and private institutions have in many instances acted arbitrarily, according to their erroneous, flawed desires and corrupt whims and fancies. The people demanding the abolition of the presidency – the highest state authority – is a consequence of Sri Lanka’s degeneration to an abjectly rotten political, more..

Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena

Something humane President Sirisena can do; Ban corporal punishment in schools

Jul 26 (CT) Padmasena Dissanayake is an alumnus of Royal College, Colombo and a member of Royal ’64 Group and the Olive Group of Royal College. He is also a past Secretary of Royal College Old Hostellers Association and the main architect of the Royal Millennium March. He is a father of three children and a grand father of five. In an open letter to all parents of the Royal Primary School, Colombo an elite school in Sri Lanka although some may disagree with that label, more..

Edtorial: A grand crab walk

Jul 26 (Island) Those who voted for the 2015 regime change expected a radical departure from the sordid political culture which prevailed under the previous dispensation. The present-day leaders raised their hopes beyond measure by promising them the moon. Three years on, they must be really disappointed at the current state of affairs. Many an eyebrow has been raised over failure on the part of Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe to be present in the Colombo High Court, more..