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Innovative, despite odds

Mar 23 (DN) The role of youth as social innovators in sustainable development has been highlighted by many in recent years. Finding creative solutions to complex problems is an important input for innovation. Exploiting new technology and employing out-of-the-box thinking to generate new values Professor Rangika Halwatura strives to bring about significant changes in society. A researcher, academic and inventor, Prof Halwatura is the youngest prof. in Civil Eng. Science in SL. more..

School Administration Board system poised to take effect

Mar 23 (SO) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said, “Managers will be appointed for all National Schools with more than 1,000 students, while both, a Manager and an Assistant Manager will be appointed for schools with more than 2,000 students, for the purpose of administration. I arranged to present this proposal to the Cabinet for approval. The managers will be directly involved in the administration of the school, more..

Crippling civic organising through Draft Amendment to the Act on NGOs

Mar 23 (GV) On February 20, 2018, the Cabinet decided to publish the repressive Draft Act to Amend the Voluntary Social Service Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Act no. 31 of 1980 (LDO 32/2011) to a gazette and present it to Parliament for approval. As usual, the drafting has been done in secret with no consultations. To the best of my knowledge, the draft Act has not been made publicly available by the Govt. In the face of mounting pressure and questions more..

Rule of the number

Mar 23 (DN) As indicated in these pages previously, after a lull of several weeks when the country was pre-occupied with the ethnic unrest in the Central Province and Ampara and curfews and a State of Emergency was clamped down in a bid to quell the violence, it is now back to politics as usual. The focus has again reverted to the motion of no-confidence against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that is being sponsored primarily by the JO but now has the active backing of certain stalwarts more..

Who is behind Mahasohon Balakaya?

Mar 23 (CT) Police probing the recent anti-Muslim violence in the Kandy suburbs are attempting to ascertain the hidden hand/hands behind the so-called Sinhala extremist group known as the Mahasohon Balakaya and its source of funding among other issues, senior police officials said. They said Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) has been called into handle the case where their main task is to unearth the links to this more..

Salute to the vigil

Mar 23 (DN) Yesterday was a day of celebration, which marks the remembrance of fallen Police Heroes who have valiantly sacrificed their lives throughout a period of 154 years in order to protect and preserve the lives and property of SL citizens. On March 21, 1864, in Utuwankanda area at Mawanella, Kegalle District, during a mission to apprehend a bandit named Deekiri Kewage Saradiyel, Police Constable Sanhan succumbed to injuries sustained by a gunshot fired by more..

Editorial: Slanging matches won’t do

Mar 23 (Island) Police Spokesman SSP Ruwan Gunasekera, Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne and Law and Order Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara, addressing the media, blamed the recent incidents of communal disturbances in Kandy on the Mahason Balakaya and the SLPP, which consists of the SLFP dissidents. He that has an ill-name is said to be half hanged. The Rajapaksas did not act fast enough to quell the Aluthgama anti-Muslim riots in 2014 and more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Economic reforms in Sri Lanka: Salvation or a recipe for inaction?

Mar 23 (IPS) Economic reforms have become an urgent need for SL, with successive govts since independence, resorting to short-term, politically expedient economic strategies that have placed considerable macroeconomic pressures whilst reducing SL’s global competitiveness. Vision 2025, the current govt’s short and medium-term policy direction, is aimed at steering the economy towards more sustainable means of growth, led by foreign and domestic private investment. more..

Clay Court Nationals 2018: Dineshkanthan bags men’s singles title

Mar 23 (DN) Eighth seed Dineshkanthan Thangaraja walked away with the Sri Lanka Clay Court Nationals 2018 men’s singles title beating top seed Sanka Athukorala comfortably in straight sets 6/3, 6/1 when the two top favourites for the crown battled it out in the final at the SL Tennis Association courts yesterday. Both Dineshkanthan and Sanka entered the final with a superb undefeated record in the tournament and the final was tipped to be a close contest between the two strong players. more..

UNP pays the price for currency depreciation, REER targeting

Mar 23 (EN) SL's central bank and policymakers of the UNP sowed the wind from 2015, printing money to destroy the rupee and inflate prices, and is now reaping the whirlwind with the inevitable political instability that comes with unsound money. CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran said in Nov 2015 that the rupee had been overvalued and it had now been corrected, when the rupee collapsed from 131 to 143 to US dollar under his watch. more..

A 500 day plan for Yahapâlanaya

Mar 23 (CT) Corruption. Cost-of-Living. Competence. Communication. Performance on these four Cs will determine SL’s future in 2020. The govt has about 500 days to act. Here’s what needs to be done. The govt’s anti-corruption credibility is dented. Regaining trust requires prosecuting one’s own. Prosecuting a couple of govt MPs – one UNP and one SLFP may be enough – will go far to restore the govt’s credibility. It will also then open the road for the unimpeachably legitimate more..

Taxing senior citizens

Mar 23 (Island) The new tax act comes into force from April and despite over one hundred amendments to the original draft, there are still grey areas affecting senior citizens. Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has just issued instructions on deduction of withholding tax on interest income of senior citizens that do not seem to address all issues. My bank manager has informed me, verbally, that senior citizens cannot claim the personal allowance of Rs. 500,000 allowed more..

Sri Lanka to spend Rs. 2 bn on minimising post-harvest fish losses

Mar 23 (ST) Sri Lankan govt agencies will be seeking to position the country’s fisheries industry as a major export earning sector while catering to the local fish demand for consumption by minimising the post harvest loss in fish quality, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera disclosed. According to NARA, the country’s post harvest fish quality loss was around 40-60%. “Around 40-60% of the fish caught by fishermen is being destroyed as more..

Uncertainties on 15% VAT on residential condominiums

Mar 23 (ST) While the residential property market is growing exponentially in Sri Lanka, the 2018 budget proposal of a 15% VAT on residential condominium units from April 1 has raised a lot of speculation and uncertainty whether this will come into effect from next month. VAT amendment has not yet been passed into law. Property developers and potential investors raised concerns and explanations on the 15% VAT at last week’s Lamudi Property 360 Real Estate Conference more..

Sri Lanka Technological Campus brightens the future of deserving students

Mar 23 (Island) Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC) marked a special milestone in its' journey when the institute granted scholarships to students under the first ever ENTECH Youth Excellence Scholarship awards at an official ceremony held at the BMICH recently. Event was graced by the eminent academic personality, Prof. K.K.Y.W. Perera, the Chancellor of University of Moratuwa, Sirisena Kumarasinghe, chairman, SLT, Ranjit Rubasinghe, CEO of SLTC, management more..

'Judicature Bill won’t help eliminate laws delays'

Mar 23 (Island) President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, who appeared for the Bar Association of SL, in his reply address, yesterday said the proposed amendment to the Judicature Act did not seem to eliminate laws delays. Most of the delays were due to procedure adopted by the Attorney General’s Department and not due to the procedure of the High Court. Counsel De Silva contended that the Bill violated the 13th Amendment more..

Kumara Gunaratne indicted in HC

Mar 23 (CT) The CID yesterday informed Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara that a case had been filed at the Colombo High Court against former Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne and five others on charges of misappropriating a sum of Rs 11.2 million, during a previous Presidential Election campaign, which had been allocated for the development of the Negombo Lagoon. Magistrate later ordered the suspects to appear before the High Court when they receive summons. more..

Bangladesh plans for FTA with SL in October

Mar 23 (CT) Bangladesh plans to sign its first-ever Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Sri Lanka in October this year, Bangladesh Minster of Commerce Tofail Ahmed announced. SL's Chief FTA Negotiator K. J. Weerasinghe said that the joint feasibility study for the proposed FTA was recently commenced by an expert committee comprising experts from both countries. Weerasinghe revealed that from the Sri Lankan side, there are several leading trade experts and economists in the joint committee. more..

No foreign personnel involved: Gayantha

Mar 23 (CT) Minister Gayantha Karunatileka said that a report on the proposed project to regulate land tenures and how extensive surveys should be conducted, would be submitted to him today. Responding to a question, under Standing Orders 23/2, he said, this report was prepared by a committee headed by Secretary of the Lands Ministry, following protests by the General Surveyors’ Association (GSA) that the project more..

Truth Seekers for male gymnasts

Mar 23 (CT) Sathya Gaweshakayo (Truth Seekers Organization) blamed that only female gymnastic athletes were selected and males were removed from the squad for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia. Convener of the Sathya Gaweshakayo Lawyer Premalal Dolawaththa blamed that only female athletes were selected and males were not included for the Commonwealth Games due to personal grudges between athletes and the National Olympic Committee. more..

Domestic water filters: No quality standards at present: Dr. Weragoda

Mar 23 (CT) Chief Engineer of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Dr. S.K. Weragoda said, there are currently no local quality standards for domestic water filters. It was revealed, at a press conference held at the National Research Council yesterday (22), on the recent developments of research into chronic kidney disease of unknown aetiology (CKDu), that there are many home filtering systems that have been flooding the market, of which some are substandard. more..

Navin not in favour of labour imports for tea industry

Mar 23 (CT) The tea industry will not import labour to cover the existing shortage, according to Minister Navin Dissanayake, who added that his Ministry was pushing the Labour Ministry to start negotiations on the collective agreement due for renewal in October. “I am not in favour of labour imports for the tea industry; we have to get the best out of each worker. We have to incentivize the current workforce, motivate them, and more..

Bangladesh Navy ship at port of Colombo

Mar 23 (SLN) A guided missile frigate of the Bangladesh Navy, BNS Bangabandhu arrived at the port of Colombo on a goodwill visit today (22 March). The ship was welcomed by Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions at the harbour premises. The ship’s crew who is on a four-day official tour in the island is expected to take part in several programmes including friendly sports events, cultural events and sightseeing tours during their stay in the country. more..

Child abuse: NCPA seeks AG’s determination

Mar 23 (Island) International school students in SL may be dangerously exposed to undetected abuse within their school premises, since the govt circulars which prohibit physical, verbal or mental abuse of children inside schools apply only to state schools regulated by the Ministry of Education, said the chairperson of Stop Child Cruelty organization Dr. Mrs. Thush Wickramanayaka. She charged that such schools considered themselves immune to the common child protection laws of the country more..

Sri Lanka endorses CPEC project

Mar 23 (APP) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said that Sri Lanka was pleased over Pakistan’s economic progress and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. He said this on Wednesday during a meeting with Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair upon his arrival at VVIP lounge of Jinnah International Airport Karachi, said an official statement issued by the Governor House. more..

SL to tighten controls on private companies

Mar 23 (EN) SL's company law is to be changed to give powers to authorities to force shareholders of private companies to submit more information about themselves under global anti-money laundering laws. Under planned changes to SL's Companies Act No 07 authorities will demand more information from shareholders of private companies who hold more than 25% of the shares or those who exercise control. SL has fast-tracked compliance to international money laundering laws more..

Govt to operate SriLankan on 51-49% equity partnership

Mar 23 (DM) The govt is prepared to grant 49% of the equity of SriLankan airlines together with its management to a private partner, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. He said a consultant had been appointed to make recommendations for the restructuring of the national carrier. “With regard to the equity we will retain 51 percent of the shares,” he said. The minister said the airline would be restructured on the basis of a Private Public Partnership as envisaged by this govt. more..

JVP enquires into proposed sale of SAITM’s Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital

Mar 23 (CT) The JVP yesterday suggested that Parliament should summon the Chairman of the SAITM Dr. Neville Fernando before the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) over the paid newspaper advertisement to sell the Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH), which was taken over by the Govt last year. The said newspaper advertisement was published in several newspapers a few weeks ago stating that more..

Health Minister opposes lifting ban on glyphosate

Mar 23 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne told Parliament that he was strongly against relaxing the ban on glyphosate. Speaking during the debate on Regulations under the National Medicines Regulatory Authority Act, he said that the ban should not be reversed. He called upon the other MPs to speak up against such a move. "The call for banning glyphosate was made during the previous govt. Ven. Rathana Thera was in the forefront of the campaign. But, the then govt didn’t heed that call. more..

Politico named in corruption report in President’s delegation: JVP

Mar 23 (CT) The fact that former MP Piyasiri Wijenayake was part of the Presidential delegation during President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent official visit to Japan, came into question in Parliament yesterday (22). Querying as to how Wijenayake came to be a part of the delegation when he was found guilty of corruption by the PRECIFAC Report, the JVP requested the Minister of Law and Order to give a proper explanation for Wijenayake’s participation in the said visit. more..

Arjuna shuts down fuel pricing formula

Mar 23 (FT) Despite the Govt being committed under the structural benchmarks of the IMF to introduce a pricing formula for fuel by the end of this month, Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga confirmed that no steps had been taken in this regard. “It has to come from the Finance Ministry. If the President and the PM tell us to do a formula, we might have to do it, but I was not given a deadline,” he said. more..

Capital market worried over stalemate at SEC

Mar 23 (FT) The capital market is worried over the apparent stalemate at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with confusion over the new tenure of the Commissioners who haven’t met for two months. Chairman Thilak Karunaratne’s -year tenure ended on 25 January followed by those of the other Commissioners. It is learnt that Karunaratne had expressed interest in a fresh three-year term but given the 10 Feb LG elections, a decision was delayed. more..

Saudi to repatriate SL housemaid’s body following postmortem report

Mar 23 (DM) The body of a Sri Lankan woman, who had worked as a housemaid in Saudi Arabia, will be repatriated within two weeks following the issuance of the postmortem report, the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said. The woman, Priyantha Jayasekara (38), was shot dead by a Saudi national on March 10 in Buraidah and the suspect later committed suicide. SL Embassy in Saudi Arabia continually visited the crime scene to keep track on the progress of investigations. more..

Interfering with Monetary Board activities?: Harsha de Silva summons Monetary Board

Mar 23 (CT) The financial crisis-hit Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) is attempting to transfer its abandoned National Payment Platform (NPP) project related software to LankaClear through political lobbying for the country’s independent Monetary Board (MB), related high-level Govt sources revealed. State Minister Harsha de Silva recently summoned the members of the MB more..

Who will offer them sweets?

Mar 23 (DM) As our vehicles whiz past them in the morning we often take them for granted. Clad in orange uniforms and pushing the orange coloured handcarts with the CMC logo they make sure that we drive into a cleaner Colombo every morning. These street sweepers, mostly elderly men and women, carefully sweep the roads and put the dry leaves and scraps of paper into their carts with their wrinkled hands. They start their day in wee hours of the morning, some even around 3am. more..

A glowing tribute to the Father of the Nation

Mar 23 (DM) The wisdom of the late D.S. Senanayake’s agricultural policy needs concerted attention at a time when the country is facing a rice crisis. Attention to administrative efficiency was primary among his Economic and Political wisdom. DS’s hands-on realistic wisdom, too helped a lot in carrying out the programmes. Realism was another measurement of his Pragmatism. “It is a remarkable fact that we in Ceylon, while repeating in season and out, that ours is an agricultural country more..

The Devils in Doctors and Dons

Mar 23 (DM) Having indulged in writing on issues like reconciliation, corruption, development and all things directly political, a news item on Sunday last prompted this write up on professionals and academics beyond the short mention, I had about them last week. On Sunday, March 18, the Sunday Times carried a news item based on a letter written by Kelaniya University Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association more..

Identity Crisis and Muslims

Mar 23 (DM) As it did on the wake of previous communal clashes in various places in the country, the Govt said after the communal clashes in early this month that it would take action to filter the hateful statements and posts in the social media. It was reported that Ministers had discussions in this regard with officials of the Facebook Inc. who visited the country after the temporary ban on social media following more..

Producers claim Ministry bad eggs soiling domestic industry

Mar 23 (ST) There is a surplus of eggs in the country and imports ahead of the Sinhala Tamil New Year are not necessary, egg producers say. They say they have evidence that the Ministry of Trade and Commerce had attempted last week to import millions of eggs from India, but the ministry denies the claim. The All Island Egg Producers Association, said that while there is a glut of eggs in the country, more..