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'SL should address fears on ETCA urgently'

Aug 27 (FT) A visiting Indian Minister who was one of the key speakers of Sri Lanka’s Human Capital Summit held on 11-12 August said that Sri Lanka should seek to address any concerns or fears its citizens may have on the envisaged Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperation Framework Agreement (ETCA), because secrecy, fear and caution will prevent Lankan citizens exploring full potential out of the partnership. more..

Need for Sri Lanka to tread with caution

Aug 27 (DM) The Joint Opposition must surely be faulted for having neglected to challenge the constitutionality of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Bill in the Supreme Court during the time available to do so. The JO’s theatrics in the well of the House on the day the Bill was passed, amidst chaos, hardly compensate for this lapse. The OMP is the first of the so-called reconciliation mechanisms being implemented by the govt in compliance with the 2015 Geneva resolution. more..

Ban’s visit; some reflections on the UN

Aug 27 (DM) Next week’s three-day visit to Sri Lanka by the United Nations outgoing Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gives us an opportunity to reflect on the ties between our country and world body and the role the UN is playing or not playing in international politics and socio-economics. Mr. Ban completes his second five-year term as UN chief at the end of this year and has built a good reputation among the big powers or five permanent members and also other countries though more..

President concerned about corruption charge but doubts credibility of source

Aug 27 (ENS) President Sirisena is concerned about the charge made by Fairfax Media that in 2009-2011, when he was Minister of Agriculture, an Australian company was asked to give a donation to his political party to get contracts for World Bank-funded sewerage and dam projects. President ordered AG to investigate the charge even as he issued a statement denying that he had ever indulged in corruption in his political life or more..

Bank loans at concessionary rates for ex-LTTErs

Aug 27 (DM) The Govt has decided to grant bank loans at concessionary rates to ex-LTTE combatants for self-employment purposes, officials said. The parliamentary oversight committee of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry has discussed this matter and decided to proceed with the granting of loans at low interest rates to the ex-combatants reintegrated into society after rehabilitation. “We have to work out the modalities,” an official said. more..

Dy Minister says manner of facing allegations important

Aug 27 (Island) Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said levelling allegations against politicians was normal but the manner of facing them was important. He was responding to a query regarding the bribery allegation against President Sirisena published in The SMH and The Age newspapers. Two newspapers alleged that when President Sirisena was Agriculture and Agrarian Services Development Minister he had solicited a bribe from an Australian company to award a contract to build a dam. more..

Seasoned Sri Lanka hand Taranjit Sandhu to be India's next envoy

Aug 27 (ENS) Taranjit Singh Sandhu will be the next Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka succeeding Y.K.Sinha who has completed his term. An old Sri Lanka hand, Sandhu was Political Counselor in the Indian High Commission in Colombo between 2000 and 2004, which covered the 2002-2004 Norway-brokered peace process in Sri Lanka. Born on Jan 23, 1963, he did his schooling at The Lawrence School, Sanawar, more..

Development Disruption!

Aug 27 (FT) National carrier, SriLankan Airlines yesterday announced to its customers the changes in flight schedules due to the scheduled maintenance work on the runway of the country’s main international airport at Katunayake. The changes to its schedule will be made over a three-month period commencing from 6th Jan 2017 to 6th April 2017, due to the closure of BIA for eight hours a day from 0830 hours to 1630 hours each day for maintenance work on the runway. more..

Court summons Daisy Forest

Aug 27 (CT) Colombo Magistrate's Court has summoned Daisy Forest, Grand Aunt of Yoshitha Rajapaksa, to appear in Court on 31 August. The order was issued by Colombo Additional Magistrate Augusta Atapattu. She was summoned to be questioned about a controversial Rs 51.2 million land purchase. Police have asked Court to issue an order for Daisy Forest to appear before the FCID, but Court ordered Daisy Forest to appear before the Magistrate's Court on Aug 31 instead. more..

PM laments poor performance of some Treasury officials

Aug 27 (DN) The performance of some Treasury officials appointed to various public institutions was zero, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. He said Treasury officials assigned to SriLankan Airlines, the Ports Authority, Petroleum Corporation etc were not able to reduce the losses incurred by these respective institutions in any way. He added if experts are appointed to such places it should be done in accordance with the law. more..

69th WHO South East Asia regional committee session in Colombo

Aug 27 (GDI) 69th session of World Health Organization South-East Asia Region (WHO-SEARO) regional Committee will be held from 5-9 Sept in Colombo. Regional Committee has eleven Member Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, SL, Thailand and Timor Leste. SEARO meets annually to discuss its programs and budget which is hosted by a member country. Every year, the world Health Assembly adopts 15-20 resolutions more..

Cheaper Medicines very soon: Rajitha

Aug 27 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne informed Parliament that prices of pharmaceuticals would be reduced within a fortnight. He made this announcement in response to a question raised by a JVP MP, adding that pharmaceutical prices would be reduced by importing high quality medicines, at affordable rates for patients, from countries such as Russia. "By importing pharmaceuticals from countries such as Russia we will be able to reduce costs of medicines significantly. more..

Heated arguments on OMP Bill

Aug 27 (DN) Speaker endorsed the certificate on the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Bill this week making it a valid piece of law casting out all doubts over its acceptability. The Bill was passed into law amidst pandemonium in Parliament on August 11. Joint Opposition (JO) MPs, who themselves flouted the Standing Orders of Parliament by charging into the well of the House when the Bill was taken up, found fault with more..

Duminda loses control of SLFP website

Aug 27 (CT) Several portfolios held by SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake are to be transferred to a few party seniors, a top SLFP source said. It is learnt that Dissanayake, since becoming the Party General Secretary, had failed to effectively sustain the party machinery, while simultaneously trying to strike a balance between portfolio duties and those as General Secretary. Source added that even towards the end of last week reports favourable to Joint Opposition more..

Meeting for action against A/L exam frauds

Aug 27 (DN) A special meeting with all relevant officials had been scheduled for next week to decide on the future course of action with regard to incidents of A/L Exam frauds on misusing quota for the underprivileged districts, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. He was replying to an Adjournment Motion moved by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake over the incidents of exam frauds where students who live in other districts outside the Nuwara Eliya district, have been sitting for more..

Ban won’t meet Wiggy

Aug 27 (CT) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will not meet CM of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, the most outspoken advocate in the north who contends that ending of the war did not signify an end to the ethnic conflict. His name is not on the list of persons the SG will be meeting during his visit to Sri Lanka. Ban, instead will meet Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray as well as TNA Leader Sampanthan more..

Maithri’s Tribute to a Friend

Aug 27 (CT) President Sirisena yesterday became the first SL President to deliver a condolence speech in Parliament with a special visit to the House to participate in the Condolence Vote for late MP M.K.D.A.S. Gunawardana. President joined in the condolence vote soon after Leader of House Lakshman Kiriella, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister Rajitha Senaratne had concluded their speeches. President arrived in the House around 2 pm, while Minister Senaratne was on his feet. more..

BASL calls on the private bar to focus on systematic pro bono work

Aug 27 (NS) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called on the unofficial bar to make the aspect of pro bono services more focused and systematic. Speaking about legal aid, President of the BASL, President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam said that pro bono work done by a junior under the supervision of a senior provides the opportunity for career advancement and development. Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka (LACSL) is doing much with the resources at its disposal. more..

Another teenager makes his way into ODI squad

Aug 27 (DN) Selectors continued to keep faith on performing youngsters when they included 19-year-old right-arm fast-medium bowler Lahiru Kumara in the 16-member squad named for the third ODI against Australia on Sunday. Educated at Trinity College, Kandy, Kumara was one of the top performers in the SL Under 19 team’s recent tour of England where he bowled them to a series victory in the second U-19 Youth test at Northampton more..

Former TNA MP Piyasena refused bail

Aug 27 (DN) Former Digamadulla District TNA MP Podiappuhamy Piyasena who was arrested for allegedly misusing a vehicle belonging to PM’s Office was yesterday further remanded until September 9 by Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. Meanwhile, a bail application filed on behalf of the former MP was yesterday refused by Magistrate on the basis that there is no exceptional circumstances to release him on bail since he has been charged under Public Property Act. more..

Ex-LTTEr escapes from Prison Hospital

Aug 27 (DM) An ex-LTTE cadre who was undergoing treatment at the Jaffna Prison Hospital while being remanded at the Jaffna Prison has escaped from hospital on Wednesday. The inmate, who was transferred from the Anuradhapura Prison to Jaffna, had been remanded under charges of possessing of illegal weapons. The accused named Rasaiya Anandarasa, identified as an ex LTTE member had informed the prison officers about an infection after him being injected with a drug more..

Govt criticized for dipping into Cess

Aug 27 (NS) Economists criticized govt moves to dip into the Cess funds belonging to State entities such as the SL Tea Board and the SL Tourism Development Authority. Professor at the Dept of Economics of Uni of Colombo, K. Amirthalingam said that the practice of collecting the Cess tax is that it is collected for a specific purpose. “Sri Lanka, however, has no guaranteed measure in place with regard to this particular tax,” he said. more..

Monitor all animal populations: Scientists

Aug 27 (NS) Veterinary clinical scientists called for action to be taken with regard to instances of wild animals over-exceeding the carrying capacity of jungles in the country, as at present there was no plan to tackle such. Head of Department of Veterinary Clinical Science of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science of the University of Peradeniya, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Clinical Studies Dr. Ashoka Dangolla said that no efforts were being taken to diagnose more..

No privatisation of state ventures: Yapa

Aug 27 (Island) Govt would not privartise any profitable or unprofitable public ventures, State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said on Thursday. He said, however, govt was planning to restructure some unprofitable state institutions under the public-private partnership. Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) claimed Wednesday the govt was planning to sell several profitable state ventures including Litro Gas, Colombo Hilton and Lanka Hospitals to the private sector without setting up more..

Operation Pacific Angel concludes in North

Aug 27 (FT) The multinational team led by US Pacific Command concluded their week-long assistance program in Jaffna, providing general medical care for approximately 4,000 people and renovating six schools that serve a total of 1,100 students. “I want to thank all the members of Operation Pacific Angel for not just improving lives of Jaffna-area residents through better schools and free access to healthcare, more..

‘Six bn rupee loss suffered by plantations while glyphosate ban issues mount’

Aug 27 (Island) Chairman Planters’ Association of Ceylon,(PA) Roshan Rajadurai said at a press conference on August 23 that the plantations were continuing to register losses. Trade union demands for higher wages could not be fulfilled. He said the PA agreed that wages had to be increased, but under current projections of poor prices for tea and rubber, and reduced production, because weeds and wild underbrush had overrun arable tea land, the future of the industry was bleak. more..

SLFP expects 50,000 at Kurunegala convention

Aug 27 (FT) SLFP expects to draw 50,000 people to the party’s 65th convention to be held on 4 Sept in Kurunegala, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He stated that calculation was made without considering party heads, district leaders, district organisers, provincial councillors and provincial council members. “The party’s Central Committee has directed that each organiser can only bring between 100 and 250 people from each electorate and that amount should not be exceeded. more..

Santa Arjuna’s tall tree talk

Aug 27 (Island) Do you think Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has any relationship to the Christmas trees?," asked Christree. "Come on, why do you ask such a thing?," asked Treeman. "Because he planted that Christmas tree at Galle Face Green." "So why should he be related to the tree; he planted it for it to grow tall … tall." "It’s just because he has this knack for planting his kith and kin, in places that they can grow well and give the best fruits, more..

Editorial: Who guards the guards?

Aug 27 (Island) In a turn of events replete with irony Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena has told the media that legal action will be instituted against those who make allegations of corruption against President Maithripala Sirisena. Obviously, an allegation of graft two leading Australian newspapers have made against the President has sent the govt reeling and its spin doctors are doing their damndest to shore up the crumbling image of their administration. more..

Will the OMP address what is missing in the justice system – The law?

Aug 27 (CT) The law relating to the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) is now part of Sri Lanka’s statute books. That is a good enough reason for all citizens to learn what is involved in an enforced disappearance. Some clarity on the matter may help in making use of this statute in many different ways. Enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka often involve five stages: illegal arrest, illegal detention, torture and other ill treatment, killing and the disposal of the body. more..


Banality of evil

Aug 27 (FT) Namal Rajapaksa, MP, the eldest son of former President Rajapaksa, was interviewed recently on television. By and large the tone of the lengthy interview, nearly two hours in duration, was defensive, an attempt at validating a period characterised by the most vulgar form of family rule seen in this country since independence. Unlike what was the norm when his father ruled, the panel of interviewers, considering that before them was one of the most powerful more..

Jaffna Investors Forum

Aug 27 (CT) Jaffna Investors Forum organized by the Northern Province Governor, Reginald Cooray, with the participation of the first Tamil Central Bank Governor, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, while exploring the possibilities of opening up the Northern Province extensively for healthy investments in the future highlighted the tussle between the Northern Governor and Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in coming to terms in making the war-torn Northern Province an economically vibrant region. more..

'OMP bill is superfluous'

Aug 27 (SL) UPFA MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, now a member of the JO, is of the view that true reconciliation can only take place when both parties in the issue are willing to reconcile and make a genuine effort in this regard. He said that given the present stand of the TNA, reconciliation will never take place. He pointed out that the ordinary Tamil people have no issues with Sinhala majority, but TNA is using LTTE politics more..

Apolitically examines good governance

Aug 27 (NS) The topicality of good governance has been accentuated since January elections 2015. It has been topical since bad governance is one of the root causes of all evils within our societies. For example, decisions of national importance had been taken in modalities such as kitchen cabinets, monitoring MPs, and two three politically elevated bureaucrats. There had been no public hearings at least for large scale projects where public money is spent. more..

Treasury officials’ dilemma

Aug 27 (NS) Around 85 treasury officials are supposed to have decided to leave the boards of state enterprises to which they have been nominated, to represent the shareholdings of the govt. The issue has come up because some of the officials who had served on such boards are disturbed as they have been questioned over unlawful transactions or irregularities taken place during the previous govt. Usually, all state officials in civil or military service are responsible for more..