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Linking universities and industry to build an innovative knowledge economy in Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (WB) Sri Lanka’s future in the global knowledge economy of the twenty-first century hinges critically on the country’s intellectual and human capital. To reach the level of a prosperous middle-income country, the country needs research and innovation capacity to stimulate dynamic economic development. “The ability of people to think and act creatively, work industriously and productively, innovate and evolve new more..

SLFP battle-lines drawn for May Day showdown

Apr 22 (ST) This New Year dawns on a note of uncertainty for many politicians, with an extremely fluid situation prevailing in parliamentary politics. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is up for debate tomorrow (20th) and the day after (21st) but it seems unlikely that a vote on it will be taken. Party leaders who met on Friday were unable to reach agreement on the electoral reforms which, the SLFP insists, should be introduced at the same time as the 19A. The Parliamentary Select Committee on more..

Editorial: An unwanted battle

Apr 22 (Island) Blunders of the Rajapaksa govt, more than anything else, enabled Maithripala Sirisena to become President. The incumbent administration has, through its ill-advised action, facilitated former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback! A decision by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to summon former President Rajapaksa jolted UPFA parliamentarians into staging a fast in Parliament on Monday. more..

'Two nations one country'

Apr 22 (CT) All Ceylon Tamil Congress Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said, a federal arrangement that recognizes Tamils as a distinct nation would solve the ethnic problem within a united Sri Lanka. "Why is it extremism to say that Sri Lanka is not a Sinhala-Buddhist country, it is not only for the Sinhalese but the Tamils, Muslims and the Up Country Tamils. Why is insisting that Sri Lanka belongs to its entire people more..

Key population of HIV epidemic in Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (Island) HIV prevalence in Sri Lanka is remaining low prevalence when you compare with some countries. Prevalence less than 1% from population epidemic call low prevalence if it is more than 1%, it call as high prevalence countries. Sri Lanka prevalence among population even less than 0.1% percent. In some sub Saharan countries it was higher than 40% among normal population. Most of these high prevalence countries HIV new infection reporting was remarkably reduced, more..

On works of art and the debris of life

Apr 22 (CT) He was ushered, carefully and lovingly. Held tight around the waist, aided with a walking stick, the usher carried a relieved smile, bliss had just touched his heart and soul. The heavens above had poured out mercy on this soul; his shoulders seemed strong as he helped this lonely old man who I assumed was his 'old man'..... So my day starts all afresh, sitting in the passenger seat of my private vehicle, I stalk the streets early morning while travelling to work. more..

What would you do, if you lost the next election ?

Apr 22 (CT) Politics is not an eternal vocation. The political situation in the country changes every now and then. One does not make it one's life. We must not become a representative of the people on our own volition. That is up to the discretion of the public. The people expect a service from us. With their consent we have to serve our country. We must develop it. People will decide whether we come into power next time or not. more..

Inadequate export performance with undiversified export structure

Apr 22 (ST) Despite high economic growth, the country’s export performance has been inadequate in recent decades. Although the structure of exports changed from one of exporting primary agricultural commodities to a more diversified one in which manufactured exports are significant, manufactured exports are highly concentrated on garments. The country’s export performance and export structure are discussed today as a backdrop to next week’s discussion on needed policies to more..

Without Boards

Apr 22 (CT) It was Nelson Mandela who once said that Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Undoubtedly, education is what makes the society a better place. Though the right for education exists, still there are children who do not receive proper education. In the local context, there are many issues with regard to education that needs to be addressed. It is the responsibility not only for the government, but also for the society to attempt to more..

Nimal Mendis: Dared to dream

Apr 22 (SO) Veteran music director, Singer Nimal Mendis passed away on April 16th. Recently I got in touch with Nimal Mendis, a veteran composer of hits such as Master Sir, Nim Him Sewva and Ganga Addara. He was living in Britain for many decades travelling to and from Sri Lanka to write those hits that have proved extremely popular. When I emailed him I received the following reply. "Thank you very much for your email. more..

Electoral Reforms In Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (CT) We finally have some legislative language to start a discussion on electoral reforms. Kudos to the SLFP for doing a draft on the 97th day of the 100-day program. What was the govt doing all this time is a good question, but, for the moment let us think positively and focus on improving the draft. Frustrated by the lack of action by the govt half-way into hundred day program, a group of us joined by CaFFE started a campaign to jump-start electoral reforms using an evidence-based approach. more..

Revisiting the Mahinda factor

Apr 22 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is the most famous former president this country has known. The numbers that go to Medamulana and attend his rallies prove this. It doesn’t mean he’s making a comeback or that he’s ready to, of course. There were some 6.2 million who voted against him, and while 5.7 million supported him it’s difficult to see whether that number has increased or decreased in light of what’s happening now. For the moment, everything seems uncertain. more..

Maithri, Mahinda agree to meet

Apr 21 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have agreed to meet to discuss several issues, the SLFP said today. SLFP said that Rajapaksa agreed to a request made on behalf of the party to meet the President at a mutually agreed location. Former Minister T.B. Ekanayake said that the date for the meeting will be set once the agenda is fixed. “The former President agreed to meet at a more..

Sri Lanka, Japan to formulate FTA

Apr 21 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Japan plan to formulate and sign a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries to enhance bilateral trade. The Sri Lanka-Japan Business Co-operation Committee says that they are preparing for a possible FTA between Lanka and Japan in 2015. The fact was revealed at a meeting held in Colombo by the Sri Lanka-Japan Business Co-operation Committee under the patronage of Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Nobuhitho Hobo. more..

Sri Lanka Ports Authority gains early profit from new terminal

Apr 21 (EN) Sri Lanka Ports Authority has begun earning profits in the first year from its stake in a new Chinese-built deep-water container terminal in Colombo port. SLPA Chairman Lakdas Panagoda said Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd., (CICT), a joint venture between China Merchants Holdings (International) Co., Ltd. (CMHI) and SLPA, was doing very well in its container handling business. "We only have a 15 percent share in CICT which has brought us more..

Protest held in Sri Lanka in support of former president

Apr 21 (Xinhua) Thousands of supporters of Mahinda Rajapakse staged a protest outside the parliament on Tuesday, demanding the bribery allegations against the former president be dropped. The demonstration, organized by a group of opposition MPs from the UPFA, was held within the High Security Zone outside the parliament building. Meanwhile, a tense situation also arose inside the parliament with the speaker having more..

Record number of visitors to country’s first open air zoo

Apr 21 (Island) Nearly 100,000 people have visited the country’s first Open Air Zoological Gardens at Pinnawala within the first three days of its opening. Zoological Gardens, Director General Anura de Silva said there had been 29,500 visitors on April 18 and about 26,000 people had visited the place on the following day. However, he said that they didn’t have any records of the number of visitors on the opening day April 17. He said between April 17 and April 30 entrance would be free to the new zoo and more..

UNP to oppose more 19A delays

Apr 21 (CG) Ruling UNP says it will oppose another attempt to delay the 19th Amendment to the constitution from being submitted for a vote in Parliament. Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said that the Govt will push for the debate on the 19th Amendment to take place on Monday April 27 as scheduled and for the vote to be conducted on the proposal the next day. He said that if there is another attempt by the SLFP to postpone it then President Maithripala Sirisena, as chairman more..

Pakistan set for full tour of Sri Lanka in June

Apr 21 (CI) Pakistan will likely play three Tests, five ODIs and two T20 internationals in Sri Lanka during the tour planned for June and July, a Sri Lanka Cricket official has said. The tour itinerary, which is close to being confirmed, shows Pakistan will begin their tour with a three-day practice match in Colombo. The teams will then move to Galle, where the first Test is scheduled to begin on June 17. The two other Tests are set to be played more..

Police to give Basil reasonable time to report to FCID

Apr 21 (DM) Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said the police would give former Minister Basil Rajapaksa a reasonable time to report to the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID) based on acourt order against him. He said it was issued by the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court. He said they would decide on the next step if Mr. Rajapaksa did not turn up at the FCID. “We will have to inform the Court if he does not turn up at the FCID but we have not decided on a second step yet,” more..

Finance minister challenges opposition to bring no confidence motion

Apr 21 (LBO) Finance minister Ravi Karunanayake urged the opposition to bring the no confidence motion against him immediately. "Bring that no confidence motion as soon as possible. But before that they should understand the real responsibility of the opposition," Karunanayake said. He also made a comment with regard to the opposition members who protested in parliament, yesterday. "We are strongly opposing the way they behaved after parliament was adjourned yesterday." more..

Sri Lanka eyes strong economic dealings with China

Apr 21 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is increasingly focused on a strong investment and trade relationship with China, executive director of Sri Lanka's Board of Investment (BOI) said. "Sri Lanka is in the final stage of negotiating a free trade agreement with China, which could give us access to Chinese goods in the Sri Lankan market duty-free, and vice versa, SL goods in a very large Chinese market," Duminda Ariyasinghe said. more..

Don't drag my wife in: Ranil

Apr 21 (CT) Director General of the Bribery Commission is a close friend of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's wife and she was appointed to take revenge on rival politicians, NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa alleged in Parliament. He added that the Director General has told Bribery Commission officials that Wickremesinghe has agreed to make her a judge in the Supreme Court. Responding to the allegations, Wickremesinghe said that he does not appoint judges to the Supreme Court. more..

Veteran journalist D.F. Kariyakarawana passes away

Apr 21 (AM) Veteran journalist and former editor of Silumina newspaper D.F. Kariyakarawana passed away earlier this morning, at the age of 93. Daniel Francis Kariyakarawana was born on Feb 8, 1922, in Kurana, Negombo. He was a past pupil of Bolawalana Boys’ School and later at Maris Stella College, Negombo. He became a prolific writer at a younger age. No Sinhala newspaper or magazine escaped this young man who contributed short stories under the name more..

'Sirisena and Rajapaksa must join hands to save Sri Lanka'

Apr 21 (ENS) Sri Lanka’s once powerful Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, wants President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to join hands to give the island nation a functioning govt and lift it from the abyss of political confusion and economic stagnation. “Maithripala Sirisena has been elected President for six years. Therefore, he will have to continue. But he can quickly call for more..

81 banks and financial institutions ordered to help CID probe

Apr 21 (Island) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gehan Pilapitiya had ordered 81 banks and financial institutions in the country to help officers of the CID probe accounts of former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath if he had accounts with them, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara told The Island yesterday. ASP Ruwan said that the CID was investigating his bank accounts under the provisions of the Money Laundering Act. Senarath was the former Chairman of the Peoples’ Bank and People’s Leasing. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close higher at 0.3%

Apr 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed higher, 0.26% with active retail investors trading and banking sector stocks showing gains, brokers said. The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed 18.22 points higher at 7,098.60, up 0.26%. The S&P SL20 closed 05.83 points higher at 4,039.65, up 0.15%. “The market was driven by retail investor activity and last week’s surprise the interest rate cut by the Central bank is still having a positive impact on the market,” more..

Police bigwig holds long telephone discussions with MR

Apr 21 (AM) A senior-most official of the Police Department has held prolonged over-the-phone discussions with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa at regular intervals, inside sources of the govt said. This fact has been revealed through telephone records of the official which were obtained by some top echelons of the govt. This has come as a surprise to the govt as this particular officer was dubbed by certain sections of the media as more..

19th amendment sabotaged; best option is to dissolve parliament

Apr 21 (CT) While it was scheduled to debate the 19th Amendment to the Constitution today and tomorrow, the objective of the ugly scenes created by the Rajapaksa scums led by Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Kumara Welgama yesterday was to sabotage that effort by sleeping on the floor of the Parliament, otherwise considered the august body of people’s sovereignty, until this morning and continuing their commotions and disruptions even when more..

Reflections on the Polls

Apr 21 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena won the 8 January Presidential Poll over his arch rival Mahinda Rajapaksa by a majority of 449,072 votes, having obtained 52% of the 12.1 million votes cast. Whilst Sirisena got 6.2 million of the popular vote, Rajapaksa got 5.8 million of the vote, when such figures are rounded up to the first decimal point. In respect of those electoral districts where the minorities form an overwhelming majority, Sirisena got between a minimum of 65% to more..

Video: Basil returns

Apr 21 (DM) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa who left for the US soon after the presidential elections arrived in the country a short while ago. A large crowd including 30 members of local govt bodies and PC minister Nimal Lansa were at the BIA to welcome him. Mr. Rajapaksa told those who had gathered there that he came to the country to help the police and the judiciary to carry out investigations against him. more..

MR not a god: Champika

Apr 21 (DM) Former president Rajapaksa was not a god and there was no need to protest against the Bribery Commission decision to summon him, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said even he had given a statement to the Commission with regard to a complaint he had made on a deal of coal. “No need to be afraid or to hesitate to give a statement to the Commission if the person had done nothing wrong. more..

'BC will visit and record a statement from Rajapaksa'

Apr 21 (AD) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe on Tuesday told the Parliament that the Bribery Commission will not summon the former President to the commission instead the officials will visit him and record a statement. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa for the second time adjourned the session for 30 minutes, as a tense situation arose between the UPFA MPs and the govt. Speaker had to adjourn session for more..

Cry over powdered milk as prices plunge in world market

Apr 21 (ST) Price of whole milk powder in the global market plunged by 43% last year, but on SL shelves the essential commodity was sold for a fixed price throughout the decline. Prices on Fonterra’s Global Dairy Trade auction started dropping in February 2014 and slid steadily for ten months. In December, they reached 5-year lows—or a reduction of roughly 43%, compared with the heights they had risen to in early Feb. more..

MPs secretly collect signatures for impeachment against Maithri

Apr 21 (AM) The UPFA MPs who started a protest in the Parliament on Monday were collecting signatures for an impeachment motion against President Maithripala Sirisena, highly placed political sources said. Once an impeachment motion is accepted by the Speaker, the president will not be able to dissolve the parliament. An MP who was involved in the move said that the Speaker cannot refrain from accepting the motion once 75 more..

JVP dismisses bond scam probe as a farce

Apr 21 (Island) Former JVP MP and trade union leader Wasantha Samarasinghe said that his party was not satisfied with the recommendations of the committee appointed to probe the treasury bond scandal. None of the committee members had any experience in financial affairs, Samarasinghe said. "They have exonerated the culprit and pinned the blame on the Bank of Ceylon which has not done anything wrong." more..