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The rise and collapse of Mihin

Oct 17 (CT) This is the sad saga of the rise and fall of SL's first budget carrier – Mihin Lanka. It all began when some Hambantota District constituents complained to former President Rajapaksa that they were severely inconvenienced when they had to travel by air to Buddhist places of worship in India, such as Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, et al. They pointed out the inconveniences of travelling via Madras and New Delhi. more..

Plight of drought-hit Moneragala

Oct 17 (CT) If one were to drive down to Moneragala (Peacock Rock), in the Uva Province, then one could experience the intense heat that pervades the atmosphere in most parts of the country. This is due to the drought that now prevails. The damage caused by the drought is so severe that one sees acres and acres of land, that was once green, now turned brown and in some places black. The Diyaluma Waterfall, which was a sight to behold and a tourist attraction, was a shadow of itself more..

Sex & American Politics

Oct 17 (CT) What is the number one issue in American politics? Is it Muslims, Mexicans, ISIS, taxes, building a wall, deleted emails, or sex? Yes, sex always trumps everything else when it comes to politics in this country. But, now, it is not just sex; it is sexual assault, not consensual sex that happens when each partner willingly chooses to participate. I was stunned and literally had goosebumps when I heard for the first time what Trump had said about grabbing women’s vaginas with his octopus more..

Bamba Flats await new look

Oct 17 (SO) The govt earlier this year announced its plans to launch various housing and related development programs beneficial to citizens, leading up to year 2017 which has been declared as the Year of Alleviation of Poverty. While a number of such plans by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) are already under way the government has looked at the redevelopment of existing public housing. more..

Is this counter-terrorism in a far deadlier garb?

Oct 17 (ST) A draft policy and legal framework aimed at a new law on counter-terrorism to replace Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) may well be a classic case of the cure being far worse than the disease. A bare reading of the draft immediately gives rise to several questions that gravely impact on the protection of life and liberty. As reported, the Cabinet has forwarded the draft to a parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security. more..

Plantation labour & Their labour to obtain a decent wage

Oct 17 (CT) It is true that the plantation labour was brought to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) by the British Rulers during the early 19th Century. Both countries were under the British Rule. At that time, none of the Ceylon politicians made any tangible effort to protest against the influx of the Indian labour. Ceylonese labour was not willing to fall a prey to the designs of the British. They were aware of the immense hardship one has to undergo in preparing the land to plant Tea, Rubber and Coconut. more..

DPL immunity for int'l Organisation staff

Oct 16 (ST) The Govt will present to Parliament an Order made under the Diplomatic Privileges Act of 1996, in relation to several UN Organisations as well as International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) among others, to correct a procedural fault that has resulted in them being hauled up before courts, even in instances where diplomatic immunity is due to them. The relevant Gazette was issued this week by Minister of Foreign Affairs more..

FCID to file fresh case against Basil

Oct 16 (CT) The FCID will conclude more investigations very soon and frame a new charge sheet against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa in connection with the super-luxury Rs 240 million house in Pugoda. This comes in a sequel to two witnesses making statements in the Pugoda Magistrate's Court last Friday disowning the newly constructed Rs 240 million luxury house, and to the contrary stating that house under reference is in fact owned by more..

CPC amendments shelved

Oct 16 (SO) It was at the beginning of this year that Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe tabled the proposal to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC Act no 15 of 1979) before the Cabinet and green light given to go ahead with the necessary amendments. Ten months down the line we have come to a standstill as the amendments have attracted criticism almost from all corners, including stakeholders pertaining to matter. more..

Sweeping changes at Central Bank?

Oct 16 (SO) As the CID makes preparation to launch a full-scale investigation into the leak of information last week from within the Central Bank, bank authorities have initiated comprehensive internal reforms to correct systems and prevent a similar breach of security in the future. CID would launch investigations into the leak tomorrow, after CB Governor Dr. Coomaraswamy requested Police involvement, more..

Central Expressway cost increases by Rs. 12 billion

Oct 16 (ST) The Govt is in talks with China’s Exim Bank to fund the first section of the Central Expressway which the contractor, Metallurgical Construction Company (MCC) of China, has now priced at Rs. 158 billion–or Rs 12 billion more than originally stated. The increase in cost is both due to the inclusion of a 12km viaduct in the road design and a failure of govt to negotiate sufficient savings from another project carried out by MCC, more..

TNA to modify unacceptable new anti-terror draft law in parliament

Oct 16 (ST) The TNA, which is highly dissatisfied with the SL govt’s new draft law to replace the existing draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), is confident about getting it modified when it comes before the oversight committees of parliament. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said that he would take it up when it comes before the two relevant Parliamentary Oversight Committees, one on Justice and the other on National Security, more..

Plantation Unions reject wage increase

Oct 16 (CT) Plantation trade unions refused to sign the collective agreement with the Employers' Federation last Friday because some of the conditions in the original collective agreement signed in 1992 had been replaced with conditions which are detrimental to worker welfare. Chairman of the CWC Nuwara Eliya District MP Muttu Sivalingam told Ceylon Today that the decision had been taken at a discussion more..

Rs 1,354 billion cut in expenditure

Oct 16 (CT) Govt expenditure has been clipped by Rs 1,354 billion for the financial year 2017 at Rs 1,819 billion, Draft Appropriation Bill gazetted last week shows. Projected expenditure for the President is Rs 6.4 billion, an increase of Rs 4 billion against the Rs 2.3 billion allocated in 2015. Rs 1.2 billion has been allocated for the office of the PM. Another notable ministry that has received an allocation higher than its 2016 allocation is more..

Nepal requests Sri Lanka to reconsider death penalty

Oct 16 (MR) Nepal PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is presently in Goa in course of attending the BRICS- BIMSTEC Outreach Summit, today called on President Maithiripala Sirisena.  On the occasion, matters relating to operating direct flights between the two countries and hosting the stalled 19th SAARC Summit were discussed at the meeting held at local Leela Hotel. During the meeting, PM Dahal said more..

Govt withdraws proposed amendment to CPC

Oct 16 (ST) Govt will withdraw Criminal Procedure Code amendments that sought to deny access to lawyers prior to recording statements of suspects arrested and detained by Police. Amendment was to allow a lawyer access to suspects only after the Police recorded their statement. The decision to withdraw the amendment was made at Tuesday’s weekly meeting of Cabinet of Ministers and comes as a blow to Minister more..

A comprehensive convention on International Terrorism; a role for Sri Lanka

Oct 16 (Island) Sri Lanka fielded it’s ‘A’ team led by President Sirisena for 71st UNGA in New York, attended by scores of Heads of State and Govt of its 193 member states. President spoke of enough experience with a brutal war, of making "people of SL the happiest people on earth" and called on the international community to help his country on its path to achieving long-term peace. Reference was also made to Theravada Buddhism, though its relevance is questionable. more..

Trump threatens to prosecute Hillary, Sirisena threatens prosecutors of Gota

Oct 16 (Island) Donald Trump is in a free fall in the US presidential election. Facing what appears to be certain defeat he is behaving like a wounded Neanderthal and is threatening to take down the American political system with him. He is riling his base for a post-election showdown, accusing the political and media elites of rigging the electoral system to engineer his defeat. He is equally rousing his followers with his (empty) victory promise to subject Hillary Clinton to more..

President, UNP discuss crisis at late night meeting

Oct 16 (ST) For the first time in his 21-month tenure as President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena fired strong salvos at his own UNF Govt led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He warned he would take action if the CID, FCID and BC were working on a political agenda. He said he was displeased and even disgusted at the manner in which former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and three former Commanders of Navy were hauled up more..

Drought forces delay in Maha with more trouble to come

Oct 16 (ST) The delay in the second inter-monsoon of the year has prompted the Department of Irrigation to postpone the Maha cultivation season to November, with the risk of a reduced harvest. The second inter-monsoon normally starts during the beginning of October and is expected to be in full swing by the end of the month with the Maha season normally starting by mid-October. Although rain fell last week there were no heavy showers and the falls received were insufficient for cultivation. more..

'SriLankan officials still under investigation'

Oct 16 (ST) SriLankan Airlines officials continue to be questioned by investigators on the previous regime’s controversial decision to lease A350-900 aircraft, and the award of the airport’s Duty-Free tender, its Chairman, Ajith Dias said this week. Both cases were exposed in the Weliamuna Report which accused SriLankan’s top officials and employees of financial misappropriation. “These are being investigated to date and our officers gave information even during the last few weeks,” more..

Plot thickens in Sri Lanka editor's murder

Oct 16 (EN) Police investigating the hanging of an ex-military intelligence officer after claiming responsibility for the murder of editor Lasantha Wickrematunga found his telephone records mysteriously wiped out. Ilandarige Jayamanne, 52, was found hanging at his kitchen Friday along with a hand-written note claiming he killed the anti-establishment editor in 2009, two years after he retired from the army in 2007. more..

Over 300 man-made fires in 4 months: DMC

Oct 16 (CT) Thousands of acres have been destroyed by over 300 man-made forest fires during the past four months according to the DMC. The fires have occurred around the country, including the environmentally high sensitive areas such as Horton Plains, which is the most valuable forest reserve in the country, Knuckles Range and the Namunukula forest reserve. "Sri Lanka has no wildfires. All these fires are man-made. The Police arrest those who set fire to the forests. more..

FCID files charges against Udayanga

Oct 16 (CT) FCID has filed charges, in the Fort Magistrate's Court, against SL's former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga over his alleged involvement in the controversial MiG deal. The charges were filed on 12 Oct. They point out that, Weeratunga, deputy Ambassador Kulasena Thanthirige and two Ukrainians representing the Ukrainian State-owned aerospace manufacturing company Yuzhmash, signed a deal to purchase MiG aircraft for SL Air Force on July 26, 2006, more..

Labor pact with Sri Lanka safeguards rights of both parties, says new CG

Oct 16 (AN) Recruitment of labor from Sri Lanka enjoys a smooth sail following the recent agreement between the Kingdom and the island, Sri Lanka's Consul General Faizer Mackeen said in Jeddah on Thursday. The consul general was speaking to Arab News soon after presenting his commission of appointment to Ambassador Ahmad Tayeb, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in western province, more..

Turkey helps Trinco fishing and farming communities

Oct 16 (SO) Turkey will donate 80 fishing boats, 400 fishing nets, 30 electric water pumps and 30 kerosene water pumps to fishing and farming communities in Trincomalee today in Kinniya. The fishing and agriculture equipment is donated by the Turkish Int'l Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the development arm of the Turkish govt, as part of Turkey’s ongoing development assistance program to support the livelihoods of fishing and farming communities in the area. more..

Big guys barred from regional contracts

Oct 16 (ST) In a new move, Govt is barring large scale contractors from bidding for contracts estimated at up to Rs. 50 million and limiting these to only smaller contractors.  The plan is aimed at helping regional contractors to prosper. Normally large contractors crowd out smaller ones even in their own regions resulting in smaller contractors losing out unfairly, industry sources said.  Last month, the Finance Ministry issued a circular limiting the invitation to bids for smaller construction more..

ICTA says Loon Project not abandoned

Oct 16 (SO) Project Loon will get off ground with the arrival of balloons from Google next month, ICTA Program Manager Information Infrastructure, S. Gavashkar said. Dismissing rumours about the failure in getting the project off the ground and Google abandoning the project in SL, Gavashkar said the next test will take place after the balloons arrive and the rest of the procedure will follow thereafter. more..

More powers for Divisional Secretaries in run up to new Constitution

Oct 16 (Island) More powers are to be devolved to Divisional Secretaries in the run up to formulation of a new Constitution. The move comes amidst a Parliamentary Steering Committee gathering proposals made by Sub Committees on various subjects with regard to improvements required to the current Constitution. Its report is to be presented to the House prior to the Budget. On a proposal by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, more..

J'pura Uni to launch degree in tourism and hospitality

Oct 16 (ST) University of Sri J'pura has proposed to start a Bs.c. Marketing Management (Tourism & Hospitality – Sp.) programme under its Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce.  For this purpose an industry advisory panel has been appointed to review the curriculum of the proposed degree programme. The latest industry advisory panel discussion was held on Sep 30 at University of Sri J'pura to further review the proposed curriculum with industry expert opinions, university said. more..

Tearful Anitha vows to comeback

Oct 16 (ST) Pole vault sensation Anitha Jegathesewaran failed to maintain her reputation as she painted a poor picture at the All-Island National School Games Athletic Championships which continued at the Bogambara Stadium in Kandy yesterday. 19-year-old athlete from Mahajana College Jaffana came into the limelight by creating a new SL record in the Women’s pole vault event at the recent National Sports Festival worked off more..

Performance based contracts to the fore

Oct 16 (Island) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has made a hue and cry about the payments made to national cricketers earlier this week. Had he done his research, he would have been more careful with the choice of words before jumping the gun. Sri Lanka’s cricketers in general are among the lowest paid in the world. For example, the annual contract of Steven Smith is one million Australian Dollars, ten times more than that of Angelo Mathews, his Sri Lankan counterpart. more..

Sri Lanka Women beat Singapore 10-5

Oct 16 (SO) After losing their first two matches to Hong Kong 17-12 and to China 27-0 Sri Lanka women’s rugby team winger Dulani Pallikondage’s two crucial tries saw them winning their final group stage match against Singapore by 15 points to 5 at the Asian Rugby Seven’s series 3rd and final leg at the Racecourse international stadium yesterday. The third try for the Sri Lankans was scored by vastly experience speedy centre Anusha Attanayake. more..

Asian Rugby 7’s: China stuns SL 24-14

Oct 16 (SO) China stunned hosts Sri Lanka virtually thrashing them in their last group game by 24 points (4 tries, 2 conversions) to 14 (2 tries, 2 conversions) in Asian Rugby Seven’s series 3rd and final leg which took place at the Racecourse Int'l Stadium, Reid Avenue yesterday. China led 14-7 at lemons. Even though Sri Lanka lost, they have booked a berth in the semi-finals today with the opposite group leaders Hong Kong, more..

Balance of power

Oct 16 (SO) President Maithripala Sirisena last week strongly criticised the current functioning of certain govt institutions that are key to the fulfilment of the National Unity Govt’s electoral mandate. These are institutions that are at the forefront of the fight against corruption of all kinds in the public sector, namely the CID, the FCID and, the BC. The gist of the President’s criticism seems to focus on two aspects of these agencies current operations: the manner very senior defence services officers more..

Groom dies in bride’s arms

Oct 16 (CT) He moved away leaving her behind with a sorrowful heart. She blossomed like a flower whenever she saw him, but now he is no more before her eyes. Time they walked together has ended. He took her hand on the traditional Poruwa on an auspicious time amid traditional customs. But while they were going to the hotel for honeymoon, he said he was tired and kept his head on her shoulder. She felt his warm breath. Are you sick? she asked. Instead of replying, he started more..