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We await President’s response: Gemunu

Mar 23 (CT) The issues related to the SAITM are getting complicated by the day. It appears that the protests against SAITM are not going to end anytime soon. Amidst the heat of SAITM controversy, we interviewed SAITM Medical Faculty Parents Forum Convener Gemunu Wijeratne. He stressed that Higher Education Ministry shirked their responsibility and Minister Lakshman Kiriella did not show any interest in solving the issue. more..

No Rajapaksa visions for the future?

Mar 23 (SL) The current reduction in the cacophony of pro Rajapaksa activists about their glorious past is probably caused by the truth surfacing about their past deeds in a comparatively short time. Of course we are taken back – occasionally – to the Historic Victory which the two brothers claimed for themselves, stripped their Army Commander of his rank and put him behind bars for making his impertinent claim of being the real winner. But all that was nearly eight years ago. more..

Oh, no O-Level

Mar 23 (FT) No GCE O/L certificate for a good portion of our high-flying MPs. This is no ordinary issue, neither is it a laughing one. It’s serious, very serious. Parliament is the supreme legislative body of Sri Lanka and if elected members lack a basic qualification then it’s a poor reflection on our democracy. It has now transpired that 142 out of the 225 members in the current Parliament have not passed the GCE A/L exam while 94 of the 142 MPs have not even passed the GCE O/L exam. more..

Ceremonial sitting of the 45th Chief Justice

Mar 23 (SO) On 10 March the ceremonial court, courthouse 501, of the Supreme Court witnessed the solemnity of the ceremonial sitting of the 45th Chief Justice of SL, His Lordship Priyasath Dep PC. The occasion of a ceremonial sitting of a Puisne Judge is one of great dignity and depth where both, the Bench and the Bar reaffirm with ceremoniousness their cooperation towards the common goal of delivering justice. more..

Viyath Maga: A morbid symptom

Mar 23 (CT) Bashing Viyathmaga: It is much easier to be critical than to be correct is the caption of an article that appears in the Daily FT issue of Monday 20th March. The writer notes that it is a response to my article Viyath Maga: Reverting to the dictator state that appeared in Colombo Telegraph. Yes. Disraeli said that it is easier to be critical than to be correct. He also said that ignorance never settles a question. We live in politically perplexing times. On 8th Jan 2015 we ousted a regime that more..

Was Gamini Dissanayake a racist?

Mar 23 (CT) In the annals of the civil war that raged between the Sri Lankan security forces and Tamil militants led by LTTE and other terrorist organizations, burning of Jaffna Public Library was a momentous event. It has been chronicled that an organized mob of Sinhalese origin went on a rampage on the night of June 1, 1981, burning the library. In the fair opinion of many independent observers, it was one of the most vicious examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the 20th century. more..

Ranjan appreciates JO's complaints against Top Ten

Mar 22 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said he appreciated the JO's move to lodge complaints with the Bribery Commission (BC) against govt politicians what they termed as Top Ten because it was easy to identify real thieves when the thieves attacked one another. Speaking at the debate to revise the limits of Bribery Raids Advance Account of the Bribery Commission, Mr. Ramanayake said it was not important more..

Lasantha’s murder: Sujeewa admits having a suspicion about SF

Mar 22 (AD) State Minister of International Trade Sujeewa Senasinghe says that he had a suspicion about Sarath Fonseka as well with regard to the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga during the previous govt.  Responding to question from journalists regarding reports alleging a connection between the then Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the high profile murder, he said that Sarath Fonseka has clearly stated that he had no involvement in the murder.  more..

Colombo named one of the least expensive cities

Mar 22 (NR) Colombo has been named one of the least expensive cities in the latest 2016 Cost of Living Index. The Economist Intelligence Unit today rated the most and least expensive cities, based on 133 cities surveyed in Sept 2016. Sri Lanka has been ranked 26th in the index of least expensive cities. Singapore retained its title as the world’s most expensive city for a fourth consecutive year. Almaty in Kazakhstan was the least expensive, followed by Lagos in recession-hit Nigeria. more..

Cabinet forms committee to go into deal with China on Hambantota port

Mar 22 (ENS) The cabinet has formed a six-man committee of ministers to go into the govt’s latest proposal on the distribution of shares in the Sino-Sri Lankan joint venture to be formed to run the deep water port at Hambantota. State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said that the govt had circulated a proposal wherein the Chinese state owned company, China Merchants Holding Company, will get 80% of the stake (worth US$ 1.1 b) and more..

Corruption: They haggled over percentage!

Mar 22 (DM) A local investor and his foreign partner of a construction firm, which was awarded the contract for an express project in upcountry, the other day called at the office of a purohita on invitation. Soon after their arrival, purohita too made his appearance. Coming down to business straightaway, purohita informed the investors that he expected a 5% commission but did not mind settling for 4%. Investors said what they could really afford was only 1% but prepared to go up to 2%. more..

JO questions PM’s honesty

Mar 22 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s assurance that Govt would only allow the participation of foreign observers and not foreign judges in an accountability mechanism to look into war crime charges was untrue and dishonest, the JO said today. It said Premier did not come up with a clear and a direct answer to MP Dinesh Gunawardane’s question in Parliament on Tuesday as to how SL agreed upon to a resolution which called for foreign judges in a local judicial mechanism, more..

Warm welcome to Prez Sirisena in Moscow

Mar 22 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena received a warm welcome at the Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow today. He was received by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Morgulov, Chief of Protocol and other high officials of the Russian Federation. Sri Lankan Ambassador Dr. Saman Weerasinghe and embassy staff and family members were also present at the airport, where the brief ceremony was held. more..

Video: Sri Lanka's Chinese headache

Mar 22 (ABC) Sri Lanka's Parliament has been discussing a controversial 99-year lease of the Hambantota Port to a Chinese company. Violent protests erupted in January over the port plan, with those opposed worried about Chinese influence and loss of private land. Worth $1.8 billion, the lease allows for 80 per cent Chinese ownership. Niroshan Perera, Sri Lanka's State Minister for National Policies and Economic Affairs. more..

Sirisena – Putin personnel rapport resulted in invitation for official visit

Mar 22 (PSL) The personal rapport established by President Maithripala Sirisena and Russian President Vladimir Putin resulted in the invitation to the Sri Lankan  leader to pay an official visit to Russia, says Ambassador Saman Weerasinghe in Moscow. He said that when two leaders met in the BRICS Summit held in Goa, India last year, they held a lengthy discussion and the trust and friendship developed at the meeting was evident as within a few days of returning to Moscow, more..

Sri Lankan and Indian Army discuss military cooperation

Mar 22 (CG) The annual Army-to-Army Staff Talks (AAST) between the Sri Lankan Army and the Indian Army began at the BMICH today. The Army said that the talks will aim to increase bilateral military cooperation and understanding with special focus on exchange of training modules, infrastructure improvement, knowledge on technical aspects and welfare programmes. The three day talks, attended by high-ranking senior officers more..

Sri Lankan nabbed for alleged sexual assault in Malaysia

Mar 22 (TS) In the space of 24 hours, a Sri Lankan national allegedly assaulted two women sexually and physically in Bandar Baru Uda here. He was later arrested by police on Monday evening. In the first case, the suspect allegedly assaulted a 51-year-old factory worker, and robbed her of her mobile phone, ATM card, and RM80 cash at around 7.14am on March 19. Johor Baru (North) OCPD Asst Comm Mohd Taib Ahmad said the victim had just got off from a bus and was walking towards her more..

Magistrate issues arrest warrant for Secretary to Mininstry of Power & Energy

Mar 22 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate today issued a warrant for the arrest of the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, B.N.S. Batagoda for not appearing in court as a witness for the persecution in the bribery case filed against Former Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena. Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara issued the warrant after he observed Batagoda was not present in court to testify on behalf of the prosecution in the case filed by the Bribery Commission. more..

'Efficient public transport system to be introduced'

Mar 22 (NR) Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka says a special programme to create a more efficient public transport system will be introduced in future. He said under the programme priority will be given to the bus service. He said it will be possible to raise the standards of public transport in the country adding that govt hopes to introduce an efficient public transport system a year from now. more..

Tax concessions were not given to construct liquor distilleries: Champika

Mar 22 (DM) Tax concessions were not given to the Northern and Uva Provinces to open up liquor distilleries or to create employment through them, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He made these remarks in connection with the construction of a liquor distillery in Kalkuda, Batticaloa. “We are against those who open liquor distilleries in the North and Uva provinces, as special relief was given to those areas because of the poverty levels, not to open liquor distilleries. more..

Attack on prison bus: STF arrests Baththaramulle Banti

Mar 22 (DM) STF yesterday arrested one of the main suspects known as Battaramulle Banti in connection with the attack on the prison bus in Kalutara. STF Commandant DIG M.R. Latheef said the suspect was arrested by the members of the STF intelligence unit while he was hiding in Sella Katharagama area. He said the suspect was handed over to the Colombo Crime Division. Police said the 25-year-old suspect, who was involved in drug smuggling, was being interrogated by CCD. more..

Romeo student sent to probationary care, Police tighten security for girls’ schools

Mar 22 (DM) The student of the Mahanama College, who had been arrested for forcibly entering Yashodara Balika Vidyalaya, was ordered to be sent yesterday to the Probationary and Child Care Centre in Makola until March 31 by the Hulftsdorp Magistrate’s Court. Police officers in civvies and uniform and the emergency Mobile Police Unit would be deployed in the vicinity of all girls’ schools within the Colombo City limits. more..

Troops fight Dengue in the East

Mar 22 (MoD) A contingent of over 200 Army troops is involved in Dengue prevention activities in the Eastern region. According to Army media sources, troops are engaged in conducting preventive measures including destroying possible mosquito breeding places especially in Kinniya, Trinco where most fatality cases are reported, at the request of the Ministry of Health, Special Presidential Task Force on Dengue and local health officials. A sudden outbreak of deadly Dengue disease more..

IPM Sri Lanka to expand footprint to Maldives

Mar 22 (DM) IPM Sri Lanka has initiated plans to expand its footprint to neighboring Maldives in order to provide their expertise in HR education and people management skills to the citizens of Maldives. IPM is the foremost professional HR body in Sri Lanka with its head office in Colombo while reaching out to students and HR professionals in and around regional capitals of Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle, Matara, Gampaha, Negombo and Jaffna via its regional centers. more..

'Colombo is the second fastest growing port'

Mar 22 (AD) Colombo Port has become the second fastest growing port among the ports which carries out terminal operations, Minister Arjuna Ranathunga stated. It is an increment of 10.6 %, he said. “Political climate prevailing in the country today is very conducive for investment with good governance Practices by the two ruling Major Political Parties. Therefore you could look into the possibilities to invest on commercial ports more..

Good in Galle, great in Colombo

Mar 22 (CI) March 5: The first person I meet at the airport in Colombo is a taxi driver called Sham, who I lose track of immediately. I am supposed to follow him, but having lost sight of him, I walk nearly out of the airport. Luckily he is also looking for me, and we find each other again. We end up chatting about Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and what great friendships can be like. I wake colleague Andrew Fidel Fernando up in the middle of the night and crash at his place. more..

Rape suspect of a 15 year-old girl released without proper investigation

Mar 22 (CT) Despite the family members of sexually abused 15-year-old girl filing a complaint with the Maskeliya Police Station, case has not been properly investigated. Alleged suspect, who comes from a wealthy family, was simply released. He had appeared before a Magistrate without considering medical reports from two hospitals where the victim was treated. Victim’s family says that because they are very poor, police have not given them proper attention in their quest for justice. more..

Freedom of speech and defamation in Sri Lanka: Where to draw the line

Mar 22 (Roar) Sri Lankans are not entirely unfamiliar with the word defamation. You do hear, for instance, news of one politician suing another for millions of rupees over something that was said by the latter politician, which the former found offensive or unpalatable. Most Sri Lankans are therefore aware that defamation is some kind of limitation on the freedom of speech of another – a tool to prevent verbal diarrhoea of sorts. more..

Wimal Weerawansa launches fast in prison

Mar 22 (NR) UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa, has launched a fast inside the Welikada Prison, protesting Court’s refusal to grant him bail. Deputy Leader of the NFF Weerakumara Dissanayake said, MP Weerawansa started rejecting taking meals this morning. A bail application calling for his release was rejected by both the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court and the Colombo High Court. MP was arrested on the 10th of January on charges of providing state vehicles to friends and family more..

TNA’s hypocrisy

Mar 22 (CT) Former Chief Minister of the once merged North-Eastern (NE) Provinces, A. Varatharaja Perumal, was quoted by this newspaper on its yesterday's edition of having had said, '…rather than insisting on the Hybrid Court for a war crimes inquiry, it would be better to initially try a domestic mechanism, as prescribed by international law… …it is quite unsuitable to say that international mechanisms are necessary to assist the judicial mechanism of the country… more..

ඔව් මම පර්මිට් එක වික්කා: මන්ත්රී ශෙහාන් සේමසිංහ

Owners of stray dogs face Rs 25,000 fine and 2 years imprisonment

Mar 22 (AD) Cabinet have approved a proposal put forward to carry out an amendment to the Registration of Dogs Ordinance No 25 of 1901. The above amendment is to be done to address difficulties faced by public due to stray dogs.  “Accordingly, the proposal made by Minister Faizer Mustafa, to instruct the Legal Draftsman to amend the above ordinance to make provisions to increase the fine on owners of stray dogs to Rs. 25000 and the imprisonment to 02 years, more..

The urgent need to reform the Muslim marriage & divorce act

Mar 22 (CT) An urgent need has arisen to reform Muslim Marriage & Divorce Act (MMDA) of 1951. Before I explain the reasons why, let us see how this Act came about. Based on representations made by the Kathis Association, govt set up an all-male committee in 1939 comprising the Registrar General and Mahrooms M.I. Akbar, T.B. Jayah, A.R.A. Razik, Abdul Cader, M.I.M. Hanifa & M.S.M. Shamsudeen, to study General Marriage Ordinance of 1907, towards formulating a MMDA. more..

Sri Lanka says China agrees to cut Hambantota port stake to 60% in a decade

Mar 22 (EN) SL has reached agreement to sell 80% of Hambantota port to China though a joint venture an option to reduce the Chinese stake to 60% in 10 years, Deputy Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said. CM Port Holdings is expected to pay SL 1.12 billion for the 80% stake. SL has borrowed US$ 1.4 billion mostly from China to build a breakwater, jetty and a tank farm, which state-run SLPA has to service through other revenues. more..

'New loans wont be used to pay old ones'

Mar 22 (NR) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake says the loans obtained for development projects of the govt won’t be utilized to pay off the debt left by the former UPFA led govt. Minister Ravi Karunanayake speaking in parliament added the govt is taking steps to provide tax concessions to the public by the end of this year. He said the situation that prevails now is that govt have more than enough funds to conduct all future more..

Sri Lanka will not join ICC: PM

Mar 22 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe assured that the govt had not agreed to join an International Criminal Court (ICC), to bring in foreign judges to Sri Lankan Courts and appoint a Hybrid Court since they are against the govt’s policy as well as the policy of the Asian govts. He said that the govt only sought the expert advice in this regard. The govt has proposed to bring about an indigenous mechanism more..