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Is a Religious War our next fate?

June 19 (Island) When Philip Pullman’s provocatively titled book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, came out, it was greeted by the British public not with death-threats, lawsuits or mob-violence, but words. In his own response to the book, Dr. Rowan Williams, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, neither screamed heresy nor demanded a book-banning. His was a reasoned critique; praise & blame and, in conclusion, more..

Constitutional reforms stagnating like garbage

June 19 (ST) It is a typical incongruity of these times that constitutional reforms promising protection of civil liberties are discussed in tight-lipped seriousness in Colombo even while the police seem unable to arrest the hate mongering leader of the Bodu Bala Sena, Galaboda Gnanasara despite two arrest warrants being issued by the courts. Business establishments of the Muslim community are subjected to one arson attack after another in a carefully targeted strategy. more..

Should the State Banks continue outside the purview of the ministry of finance

June 19 (CT) The controversial divorcing  of the CBSL from the duties and functions falling within the Ministry Of Finance and transferring it to a new Ministry under the PM has become a hot subject of discussion. Both Legally and Operationally the CBSL remained as an institution directly linked to the MOF since its inception. Due to the haphazard and makeshift provisions during the 100 day govt (which was generally accepted as a transitional period), several ministerial more..

46.6% of convicts in 2015 from Colombo District

June 18 (ST) The majority of the 24,086 convicts directly admitted to Sri Lanka’s jails in 2015 were married men between 30 and 40 years, who had passed Grade 8, and with no previous convictions, while just 759 of them were women. The largest percentage of direct admissions (46.6%) was from the Colombo District, according to latest data compiled by Dept of Census & Statistics and published in 2016 Prison Statistics. more..

NCPA Deputy Director sacked for undermining Sri Lanka

June 18 (ST) A senior National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) official has been removed on a directive of President Sirisena over allegations that the officer provided an affidavit to a foreign court with an adverse report about protection of children in Sri Lanka. NCPA Deputy Chairman Sajeeva Samaranayake had allegedly submitted a sworn affidavit to an Australian Court stating that SL was an unsafe environment for children more..

Legislation to protect whistleblowers

June 18 (SO) Legislation to protect whistleblowers of public and private finance will be introduced very soon, State Minister Eran Wickremaratne told guests at the Chartered Public Finance Accountancy (CPFA) Convocation at the BMICH last week. So far there is no law in Sri Lanka to protect whistleblowers of public and private finance though many other countries have provisions in the law to protect them. more..

Banning of Asbestos nowhere in sight

June 18 (SL) Environmentalists and civic minded organizations stressed that despite repeated assurance by successive govts there won’t be a ban on asbestos. They stressed that most of the MPs are against while some who are in favour of the move are tied by the asbestos lobby. Centre for Environmental Justice Executive Director Hemantha Withanage, said: “I don’t see both proposals, ban on tobacco cultivation and ban on Asbestos more..

Lowest prevalence of teen smoking was seen in Sri Lanka - study

June 18 (Reuters) Roughly 11% of youth aged 13 to 15 around the world use tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, a global survey of students suggests. Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death and serious illness, killing an estimated 6 million people each year, researchers note in the youth tobacco report from the U.S. CDC. Most smokers take up the habit in their teens. more..

Video: Private hospital charges to be regulated

June 18 (AD) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne says that all private hospital charges including in-house treatments and lab tests will be regulated in the near future. He said that the Director General of Health Services has been instructed to take necessary action with regard to that according to the powers vested under Private Medical Institutions Regulation Act. A full blood count (FBC) currently costs around Rs 800-900 more..

Video: No such attacks on churches: Cardinal Ranjith

June 18 (AD) Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith categorically rejected certain statements that a large number of Christian and Catholic places of worship have been attacked in the past. Recently during the Aluth Parlimenthuwa programme, attorney-at-law Lakshan Dias had controversially claimed that a total of 166 Christian places of worship had been attacked in the country. more..

Religious schools curriculum amended to include national reconciliation

June 18 (Island) Under a programme introduced by President Maithripala Sirisena, national integration and  reconciliation has been introduced into the curriculum of religious schools. Implementation of the Action Plan initiated by the President, in his capacity as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, was discussed  at the recent Jaffna Dialogue, attended by over a 1,000 teachers  from all faiths. more..

Local consultants in expressway project threaten to quit

June 18 (SL) A rift has emerged between local and Chinese officials involved in Southern expressway extension project. Local consultants involved in the project have written to the project engineer, M.S. Nilawfer saying that the team leader of the Chinese company contracted for the project must be replaced over his alleged unprofessional behaviour. Ten local officials including engineers involved in the Matara to Beliatta more..

Garbage pekoe at two tea estates in Nuwara Eliya district

June 18 (ST) Small parts of what were once lush tea plantations in the Nuwara Eliya District — that earned a worldwide reputation for its high grown quality tea — may now become garbage dumps. Minister Navin Dissanayake has proposed four hectares from tea estates managed by two private firms be taken over for use as garbage dumps in the Nuwara Eliya District.One such dump at Hatton is to be from tea estates more..

The Qatar Quandary

June 18 (Island) In the years gone by, foreign relations were considered vital by most if not all countries. Despite the need for a country’s foreign policy to be formulated based on its domestic policies, foreign relations has played a crucial role in the affairs of state in the past, especially among the big and powerful nations. A paradigm shift in priorities has taken place since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Free trade, commerce & free trade agreements have become buzz words. more..

Unbuilt dams and roads built as dams

June 18 (Island) There is no harm in sounding like a broken record when one is talking about the country’s broken infrastructure. Even cabinet ministers have started sounding like broken records trying to avoid personal blame after the flood disaster. Ministers and political leaders have landed on either side of the Southern Expressway, some blaming it as a virtual dam built on a floodplain, and others contradicting that criticism. Most of the senior ministers cannot escape blame, more..

SLFP-UNP Joint Council talks soon to renew National Govt deal

June 18 (ST) Joint Council of the SLFP and the UNP will begin talks next week to renew their MoU for the remaining tenure of the National Govt. These talks, expected to take place this week, have been moved for the coming week on days when Parliament is in session. The first MoU was signed on August 21, 2015 by Duminda Dissanayake, then acting General Secretary of the SLFP and Kabir Hashim, General Secretary of the UNP. more..

Legal problem over Lotteries Board being assigned to Ravi?

June 18 (Island) Will the allocation of the National Lotteries Board to Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake create a legal problem? Or has it already? Some sources believe it would citing the National Lotteries Board Act No. 11 of 1963. They say that the Interpretation Section of that Act is Section 22 which specifically states: The Minister means the Minister to whom the subject or function of Finance is assigned by the President. "Thus, under the statute, minister who more..

Money printing down 10% to Rs 139.1B

June 18 (CT) The face value (FV) of Central Bank's money printing (MP) stock declined by Rs 15,306.87 million (9.91%) to Rs 139,104.95 million, Friday (16) over the previous day's, (15), MP values, as CBSL retired this stock (Rs 15,306.87 million) from its Thursday's overall MP stock, an interpretation of CBSL's open market operations (OMO) press releases showed. FV of CBSL MP stock includes the borrowing costs incurred by the Govt due to CB's MP on behalf of Govt, more..

Wiggy to go soft on two ministers

June 18 (CT) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has assured Northern Provincial Ministers P. Deneeswaran and Dr. Sathyalingam that they can remain in office provided they submit written assurances to him that they will not interfere in the probe into corruption allegations against them. On receipt of such letters he has said he would rescind his earlier order sending them on compulsory leave, more..

Govt take steps to counter Dengue

June 18 (NR) Govt says it is prepared to utilise the help of armed forces inspect potential breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Minister Rajitha Senarathne said a special program will be launched next week to counter the spread of dengue through proper management of waste. He laid blame on poor waste management for the spread of the disease. Govt is also considering hiring special officers solely for the purpose of inspecting household and other premises for potential mosquito breeding grounds. more..

‘Release boats, fishermen’

June 18 (Hindu) National Fisherfolk Forum chairperson M. Ilango has asked the Ministry of External Affairs to ensure the release of 42 fishing boats confiscated by the Sri Lankan govt. He said the Sri Lankan Navy had seized 145 fishing boats belonging to Tamil Nadu fishermen. Of the seized boats, the Island nation had promised to release 45 boats. “But, nothing has happened so far. Eleven fishermen are languishing in Sri Lankan prison,” he said. more..

Glyphosate ban to be relaxed

June 18 (SO) Cabinet-appointed committee to review the import ban on glyphosate, a widely-used herbicide, has recommended that the plantations industry should be allowed to import the weed killer under carefully controlled and supervised conditions. Following their investigations, committee has recommended a six-step scheme and has requested the Ministers of Plantation Industries and Agriculture to report to Cabinet more..

The Outlet Store launched in Colombo

June 18 (CT) Joining the fastest growing retail fashion sector in Sri Lanka to bring the latest trends for an exclusive family shopping experience at affordable prices, The Outlet Store was recently launched in the heart of Colombo. Located at 142 Bauddhaloka Mawatha- Colombo 4, the departmental store offers a complete range of local and international fashion wardrobe for men, women and kids along with an exhaustive collection of household and gift items, accessories, more..

Protests stepped up after elephant attacks vehicle

June 18 (SO) Anoma Wickremesinghe, a teacher attached to Galnewa Central College, would have perhaps never imagined that last Monday (12) would have been an ill-fated day for her and her little daughter since she had been driving safely along the Talawa-Moragoda road as usual during the past five years. The area is however notorious for rampaging wild jumbos which she herself had witnessed very often. “Normally I take care when I am driving the vehicle. more..

Emergency evacuation plans for 150,000 Lankans in Qatar

June 18 (ST) The Govt has begun preparing emergency travel documents for thousands of Sri Lankan workers in Qatar to facilitate their evacuation if the latest Gulf crisis worsens. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador A.S.P. Liyanage said that while chances of the diplomatic spat escalating into a conflict was highly unlikely, the Govt had a responsibility to take all measures necessary to ensure the safety of Sri Lankan in Qatar. more..

Plantation sector hampered by poor admin decisions says Navin

June 18 (SO) The govt has had discussions with the IFFAD, a funding institution, to arrange a US $65 million funding program to support tea smallholders. The funds will be available for re-planting, fertilizer and technical support. Plantation Industries Ministry is seeking Treasury support to the tune of Rs. 140 million to cover the loss of income for the adverse weather affected members in the plantation sector in the districts of Galle, Matara, Ratnapura and Kalutara. more..

Maternity hospital Helmut Kohl helped build to be named after him

June 18 (ST) As a mark of respect for his services to Sri Lanka, the Govt will name a maternity hospital under construction in Karapitiya in memory of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who passed away on Friday. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the hospital will be named the Helmut Kohl Maternity Hospital. Mr. Kohl was a long time friend of SL govt as chancellor and as a private citizen. The minister said he had helped Sri Lanka many times, both officially and unofficially. more..

Route permit scandal rocks NTC

June 18 (CT) Last week, Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that some 2,095 files of the National Transport Commission (NTC) were taken to the FCID to probe malpractices during the previous regime. The Minister while providing the NTC with a clean bill, stressed that the present government is not providing any route permits in an illegal manner adding that the standard tender procedures were being maintained. more..

Traditional Hand Embroidery by Lakpahana

June 18 (Island) It was in the early 1960’s a young lady Mrs. Siva Obeyesekere who was passionate about all things handmade, started 15 sewing centers in the Attanagalle and Maligawa electorate. About 500 women attended these sewing centers. Her husband Senator James Peter Obeyesekere was the Member of Parliament for Attanagalle at the time. Women could help improve their family income by using their leisure time in sewing at home. This became a popular cottage industry. more..

Sampath & Madurika Race Walking Champs

June 18 (ST) Sampath Appuhamy and Kalhari Madurika of the Western Province came up with encouraging performances to end-up winners of the Race Walking event of the 43rd National Sports Festival held at Thalawathugoda, yesterday. Appuhamy who finished the event with a timing of 1 hr 40:06mts beat last year’s winner Sandaruwan Dunukara of North Central Province as he clocked 1hr 42:12mts.  Incidentally at the last year’s event Appuhamy only managed to take 3rd place. more..

Swiss help sought to ferret out black money

June 18 (ST) SL is planning to enter into a MoU with Switzerland in a major step towards tackling black money stashed in Swiss banks by SL nationals and used for criminal activity. Proposed cooperation will include Swiss authorities providing information on Sri Lankans stashing illegal funds, official sources said. This week, Cabinet gave approval to an MoU between Switzerland and SL on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. more..

Lankans likely at full strength against weaklings Zimbabwe

June 18 (ST) Hosts Sri Lanka is likely to go full strength against lowly ranked Zimbabwe to bolster their limited over rankings, when the bilateral tour begins in a fortnight in Galle. Sri Lanka is ranked 8th with 93 points, their worst standing in many moons as they have gone through a difficult patch losing all but two in their last ten outings. SL is 16 points ahead of the 9th ranked The West Indies which has secured them an automatic selection to the 2019 ICC World Cup. more..

As prices boom, tea veteran sounds cautionary note

June 18 (Island) Tea industry veteran Chrisantha Perera, former Chairman of Forbes and Walker where he had a 44-year career, and of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, has in the context of currently booming tea prices cautioned that if the availability of Sri Lankan tea continues to be limited, "at some point we may lose our market share in the more important importing countries due to lack of regular and adequate supply. He has made this comment in the Chairman’s Message of Ceylon Tea Brokers, more..

Losing Ceylon for a few pennies more? Nay!

June 18 (ST) Report on the blending of teas in SL has left committee members with a lack of consensus on the issue as a result of which no new policy has been formulated for the blending, packaging and re-export of orthodox teas from a country unique to Ceylon Tea. “It was clear from the outset of the committee’s deliberations that there are both risks and opportunities associated with a further liberalisation of existing policy, more..

Reconciliation through art

June 18 (NS) The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, will present a photographic exhibition titled Hope in September 2017. The initiative is a means for Sri Lankans to capture and share their ideas on what reconciliation means to them, in the context of reaching 70 years since Independence and the way forward towards a just and equitable society, the EU in Sri Lanka said in a release. more..

Quality and quantity improvement of fielding

June 18 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa is moaning the present govt’s witch hunt on military personnel. However, he has conveniently forgotten that it was his govt that jailed the war winning Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka. President Rajapaksa’s political apprentice Thilanga Sumathipala earlier this week urged journalists not to direct their criticism towards one single player after the Champions Trophy campaign. However, he himself had singled out coach Graham Ford more..

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