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Masses losing patience as politicians are busy with individual agendas

Aug 12 (CT) Tormented by constant fuel hikes and instant strikes, the masses of the country were seen resorting to violence last Wednesday (8) when they decided to protest against the railway employees who went on a lightning strike. Hundreds of stranded commuters flocked in front of the Fort Railway Station and demanded politicians, including President and PM to come to the spot and resolve the matter. more..

JO loses battle as Speaker rules Sampanthan is opposition leader

Aug 12 (ST) The JO claim to the post of Leader of the Opposition in Parliament is not entirely new. Ever since the last General election, when a sizable number of MPs who contested under the UPFA decided to sit in Opposition, and distance themselves from those who decided to be in Govt with the UNP, the JO has struggled to gain legitimacy as the true Opposition in Parliament. This week things came to a head when they sought a definitive ruling on the matter from Speaker more..

Controversy over reappointment of South Eastern Uni. VC

Aug 12 (Island) South Eastern University in Ampara, has been in the news for the wrong reasons of late. Recently TV news bulletins showed footage of university staff and security personnel armed with wooden clubs raiding the hostels of the university looking for students who had been suspended who might still be in the university premises. Such a thing would never take place in any other university in the country and it was a clear indication that this university was marching to a different drum. more..


Walking a tightrope

Aug 12 (ST) A small group of mischievous boys were running down the road with one singing, Avilla, avillaa … karadara kaley … avilla (The troubled period has come)”, to the tune of that popular Avuduru favourite, Avilla… avillaa Sinhala Avurudda avilla. There was a small commotion near the gate when Kussi Amma Sera along with Serapina and Mabel Rasthiyadu, shouted at the youngsters, Oyalata pissuda (Are you crazy)?” making a feeble attempt to chase them away. more..

Speak now, or forever hold your peace

Aug 12 (ST) My dear Karu, I am writing to you because you seem to be in the news these days for a variety of reasons, getting involved in the proposed pay hikes for MPs and the opposition’s request for a new Leader of the Opposition. I don’t agree with some of your decisions and I thought I should tell you why. MPs wanted an increase in their salaries only after the salaries of judges were raised. Now, Karu, it has been a long-standing tradition that the salaries of MPs are raised whenever more..

'It’s a chaotic burial site'

Aug 12 (CT) A visit to the Mannar mass grave site on Monday morning, 6 August 2018, Ceylon Today witnessed several officials calmly excavating human skeletons under army and Police guard. Professor R. Somadeva, who has a PhD in Archaeology and Ancient History at the Uppsala University Sweden, is in charge of the Mannar excavation. At the time we visited, he was busy cleaning off soil covering the skeletons more..

Opposition had its say & govt had its way

Aug 12 (Island) The wisdom of an old saying that the opposition must have its say while the govt will have its way has not paled, judging by the speaker’s decision last week that TNA leader, Mr. R. Sampanthan, will continue to be recognized as the leader of the opposition. JO has been making a lot of noise on this matter; given the fact that the JO claims that it commands the allegiance of 70 MPs against the TNA’s 16, even the ranks of Tuscany must concede the strength of their case. more..

Regular strikes causing chaos: Lessons from Iron Lady

Aug 12 (ST) Just when one has to condemn doctors going on strike holding the general public hostage, the railway men decide to act – like doctors. The fact that railway men struck work only days after a rail accident due to their negligence causing grievous hurt to passengers is an irony. That irate commuters were prepared to assault the train drivers and hurt them during the strike is not an irony; it is a very real trend that might lead to civil commotion in time to come. more..

Railway unions turn Shylocks, demand pound of flesh

Aug 12 (SO) There were scenes of chaos when thousands of railway commuters turned their ire on Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) staff after railway unions launched a lightning strike at 3pm last Wednesday, leaving passengers stranded on their way home from work. Pawns between a war waged by the Railway trade unions and the Ministry of Finance, hundreds of thousands of passengers were stranded in and around Colombo, as unions more..

5.15 Million Votes

Aug 12 (CT) Minister and entrepreneur Daya Gamage speaking to agro based entrepreneurs in Colombo said 20% of the country’s population belong to the cannot work category. Those comprised 2.5 million elderly, two million disabled and 650,000 widows. SL had a population of 21.44 million as at last year end, according to latest official data. However, this category of helpless adults numbering 5.15 million according to Gamage’s statistics is closer to 25% and not 20%. more..

Reviving the Sangha

Aug 12 (SO) A case of contempt of court caused by loudmouthed behaviour in court does not always receive a high degree of national and even international attention. But when it involves a member of the clergy, and that cleric has had a record of being seen publicly behaving in a similar or more disruptive manner in other state institutions and towards public officers, then, public attention is firmly fixed. Factor in this cleric’s inflammatory posturings of inter-ethnic confrontation, more..

Video: President appoints experts’ committee to study FTA with Singapore

Aug 11 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a committee of experts to study and compile a report on the Sri Lanka–Singapore Free Trade Agreement. The committee is headed by Professor W.D. Lakshman, the President’s Media Division said. Singapore and Sri Lanka signed a free trade agreement on January 23 seeking to deepen economic ties and facilitates greater trade flows between the two countries. more..

Govt yet to respond to demands: Rail workers

Aug 11 (NR) The railway trade unions currently engaged in a strike action say the govt has failed to respond to their demands. Co-Convenor of Locomotive Engineers Union Lal Paranavithana said the railway employees are willing to solve their concerns through discussions. He said trains did not set off on journey this morning. The strike launched by several railway trade unions including drivers, controllers, station masters, more..

JVP flays KDU for extorting money from SAITM students

Aug 11 (Island) The students of the SAITM to be absorbed into the Kotelawala Defence University had been asked to pay Rs 1.3 million per year, JVP Kalutara District MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said. He pointed out that it was unfair as those students had been paying money to the SAITM for several years. He made the comment while moving a private member’s motion in Parliament yesterday. more..

PC polls: UNP, TNA, JO express similar views

Aug (DM) The UNP, JO and the TNA, are of the view that the provincial council elections should be conducted under the previous system if it takes time for the new election laws to be operational. PM met representatives of the political parties on Thursday evening to discuss matters relating to the elections. There is a gridlock regarding the new electoral laws which are delaying the provincial councils elections based on more..

Hirunika moves motion to end all forms of ragging

Aug (Island) The country had enough laws to prevent ragging in universities, but many students still suffered at the hands of their seniors, MP Hirunika Premachandra told Parliament. Hemachandra moving a motion against ragging in universities said: Ragging in all forms in all universities should come to an end. Some students committed suicide because they could not bear up the pressure of ragging. There were laws in the country but more..

More drug prices slashed: Good move or rushed move?

Aug (ST) Mixed are the reactions to Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s declaration this week that the prices of 15 more essential drugs are to be slashed with immediate effect. While the Pricing Committee of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) met, its member Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama said that the relevant Gazette indicating the 15 drugs would be out shortly. He, however, declined to name more..

Party politics, inefficiencies hobble NPC

Aug (ST) With only three months left before the Northern Provincial Council term expires, the council which took office in 2013 with much expectations and hopes, has achieved only little in developing the former war-torn region with the limited powers it is vested with. Recently, there were many allegations from cabinet ministers and politicians claiming that allocated funds have been returned to the Treasury due to more..

Pacific Angel 2018 kicks off in Sri Lanka

Aug 11 (PAC) The US and Sri Lanka will conduct humanitarian assistance engagements during Pacific Angel 2018 (PAC ANGEL), Aug. 13-18, 2018. PAC ANGEL is an annual joint and combined humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) engagement that includes general health and engineering programs, as well as various subject-matter expert exchanges. During this exercise, approximately 65 U.S. military members will more..

Draft national plan formulated to prevent deaths from drowning

Aug (ST) A draft national plan for prevention of drowning that aims to cut deaths by five percent every year has been formulated by the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) with contributions from other Govt partners. The proposals in the national plan include introducing – with the help of the Education Ministry – basic swimming and life saving skills as an extracurricular activity in the school curriculum, assigning to each national more..

Medamulana Mahinda and the political rise of Ruhunu Rajapaksas

Aug (DM) All this hullabaloo in Parliament by the JO demanding the appointment of Dinesh Gunawardene as Opposition Leader leaves a window open for the island’s citizens to think deeply about the national question. When the current Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan was appointed to this post in Sep 2015 there was allround approval for him even by the hard-line Sinhala MPs in parliament. more..

Opposing Sampanthan, is this the time?

Aug (DM) All this hullabaloo in Parliament by the joint opposition demanding the appointment of Dinesh Gunawardene as Opposition Leader leaves a window open for the island’s citizens to think deeply about the national question. When the current Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan was appointed to this post in September 2015 there was allround approval for him even by the hard-line Sinhala MPs in parliament. There was no question about his qualifications and experience and more..

Emergency: New SLMC law needed soon

Aug (DM) With Railway engine drivers and their assistants launching a fast-track or lightning strike which govt leaders and most people are describing as trade union terrorism, we wish to focus attention on a more important area, the medical field, which also has been hit by trade union terrorism. Sri Lanka Medical Council is supposed to be the highest governing body for medicine. Its President the eminent physician Professor Colvin Gunaratne resigned this week over a range of issues more..

Mangala resolute against strikers

Aug 11 (FT) Resolute to not give in to the trade unions’ demands, Minister Mangala Samaraweera called on the private bus owners to help the Govt to provide transport for all rush hour commuters. “If this unjust trade union action continues, we will take measures to ensure the impact to the public is minimum. We are ready to face it,” he said, adding that the salary increase demand made by the railway trade unions is more..

PC polls in six provinces in January?

Aug 11 (DM) Party leaders have decided to hold elections in six provinces in January next year and hold the debate on this matter on August 24 2018, informed sources said yesterday. They said the election to the six provincial councils in the Eastern, Sabaragamuwa, North-Central, Central, North-Western and Northern Provinces was likely to be held in January next year while holding elections to the PCs in the Western, Southern and Uva Provinces thereafter. more..

Criminal allegedly linked to SF arrested

Aug 11 (Island) The STF on Thursday arrested a notorious criminal, known as Malwatte Manju at his home in Peliyagoda in connection with a spate of murders and drug related offences. The media reported that the suspect was an associate of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. The STF recovered a 9 mm pistol, cartridges, swords, knives, heroin, identity cards and passports belonging to others from his home. The suspect was handed over to the Organised Crime Investigations Unit for more..

Right of Reply: That Rs 10 Billion loan

Aug 11 (CT) Reference our story How come Rs 10 billion loan granted to People’s Bank Director’s Company? last Wednesday, Chairman of the People’s Bank, Hemasiri Fernando has sent his reply. We publish the reply in full: MTD Walkers PLC has been a customer of People’s Bank since 2004. Since that year MTD Walkers PLC has from time to time obtained loan facilities and these have been duly repaid and settled in full. more..

Decks cleared for repatriation of Lankan Tamil fisherman

Aug 11 (Hindu) Decks have been cleared for sending back A. Mariyadoss, 37, the SL Tamil fisherman who had been struggling to return home for nearly eight months after he was rescued and brought to the shore by Rameswaram fishermen in Dec 2017. District-level Joint Interrogating Committee (JIC) meeting, chaired by Collector S. Natarajan, here on Friday decided to recommend his repatriation to SL. “As no case has been made out against him, we have recommended to more..

‘SAITM students told to pay KDU Rs 1.3 million per year’

Aug 11 (DN) SAITM students who are to be absorbed to Kotelawela Defence University (KDU) have been asked to pay Rs 1.3 million per year, JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said. He pointed out this was unfair as these students had been paying money to SAITM for many years. He made this comment while moving a private member’s motion in Parliament. “When we passed the legislation to give effect to the transfer of the SAITM students, there was no mentioning of payment more..

PM launches Dhanabhimani Program to empower women through economic strength

Aug 11 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday launched a program to empower women socially, economically, and politically, and to aspire them to contribute to the development drive of the country. A workshop was held at Temple Trees under the patronage of the Prime Minister to educate around 2,000 women on the Dhanabhimani Program, organised by the Ministry of Social Empowerment and Primary Industries. more..

Govt never in favour of agreements detrimental to local industrialists: Kabir

Aug 11 (FT) All assistance will be extended to prospective entrepreneurs to start enterprises utilising their talents, potential and skills in their areas, said Minster Kabir Hashim when addressing a meeting held at People’s Bank, Kegalle, to introduce the Enterprise SL development loan scheme. He went on to highlight that a sum of Rs. 200 million has already been allocated to each electorate in respect of the Gamperaliya rural development project introduced by the Govt more..

Senarath et al ordered to appear before Special HC

Aug 11 (CT) Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday, ordered the former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and three others to appear before the Special three-judge Bench of the Colombo High Court when noticed, in connection with the alleged misappropriation of Rs 4 billon from public funds to construct the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hambantota. When the case was taken up for hearing at the Colombo Fort Chief Magistrate’s Court, the FCID told Court that more..

FM denies knowledge of Lankan’s legal status in US

Aug 11 (Island) Foreign Ministry denied any knowledge of SL’s former Ambassador in Washington Jaliya Wickramasooriya’s efforts to return home from the US since late last year. "We are not privy to Mr. Wickramasooriya’s current status as per the US legal system," Senior Director General (Legal), C.A.H.M. Wijeratne said. Wijeratne said so in response to the following query: "Would it be possible to know the status of more..

HC dismisses claim of Rs. 7.8 b by Dialog

Aug 11 (FT) Colombo High Court upheld the preliminary objection raised by Defendant Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and dismissed the claim made by Plaintiff Dialog Broadband Network Ltd. (DBN) against it for Rs. 7.8 billion as a cause of action accrued to Plaintiff. High Court Judge Ratnapriya Gurusinghe gave this order in the litigation initiated by DBN against SLT. Dialog Broadband Network filed action on 18 July 2017 seeking reliefs against the Defendant, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC. more..

Airbnb ties knot with Sri Lanka Tourism

Aug 11 (DN) The world’s largest community driven hospitality platform, Airbnb yesterday entered into a strategic partnership with SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to bring more travellers to Sri Lanka by launching over 40 bookable experiences across Sri Lanka, designed and led by locals. Through this Asia-first partnership, Airbnb and SLTDA will work together to take local experience of hosts onto the Airbnb platform and help local people from across share their passion & interests more..