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Constitutional reforms: Differences emerge in Unity Govt

Sep 22 (CT) Sharp differences have emerged between the two main constituent parties in the Unity Govt over constitutional reforms. SLFP firmly asserted its position that a President with certain executive powers was essential for the stability of the country, while the UNP wants to abolish the Presidency and introduce an Executive Prime Minister. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said, that SLFP firmly believed an Executive President more..

CBK stresses universities to play an important role in national unity

Sep 22 (FT) The former President and the Chairperson of the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), Chandrika Kumaratunga, stressed that the country’s universities should play an important role in national unity and reconciliation which has now been in need of strong support and assistance to rebuild the bond between the communities. “We all must work hard to achieve this goal keeping in mind that we are all Sri Lankans,” the former President said more..

Central Expressway: Rs 6 Bn pay-out to the affected

Sep 22 (DN) The govt has decided to pay Rs. 6,000 million in compensation to residents whose lands and houses were acquired for the construction of the first and second stages of the Central Expressway. Accordingly, 1,225 residents who were deprived of lands and houses due to the construction of the first phase and another 3,800 residents under the second stage would be granted compensation within next few days. Minister Lakshman Kiriella presented compensation cheques to 25 residents more..

Hakeem asks Marapana to take on Myanmar over ethnic violence

Sep 22 (Island) SLMC leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem has requested Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, to summon Colombo based Myanmar Ambassador over on-going violence directed at Rhohingya people in that country. He has made four recommendations in respect of the situation there. Hakeem’s letter to Marapana: "Not a single day passes without the international media as well as the human rights community reporting more..

Transfer students to KDU: SAITM parents

Sep 22 (CT) A petition, signed by parents of SAITM students, would be submitted to President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe requesting their children be transferred to the Kotalawala Defence University (KDU), the SAITM Parent Collective told Ceylon Today. "Dr. Harsha de Silva's Committee recommendations include a process for setting the minimum standards for medical qualifications, restructuring the institution and converting SAITM into a non-profit making entity. more..

Top WB rep meets FM

Sep 22 (Island) Executive Director of the World Bank for the constituency of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, S. Aparna, together with the World Bank’s Country Director for Sri Lanka, Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, called on the Minister Mangala Samaraweera, on Thursday, at the Ministry of Finance. Executive Director Aparna commended the government on the positive social indicators displayed in the fields of health, education, literacy rate and life expectancy. more..

GMOA, Health Ministry now fight over NFTH accounts

Sep 22 (Island) Ongoing battle between GMOA and health ministry over the SAITM issue has taken a new turn with the former seeking AG Gamini Wijesinghe’s intervention to probe what a senior trade union official said were illegal transactions involving SAITM and the govt. GMOA has called for probe into Treasury making available funds to Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) without following proper procedure. more..

Int’l Day of Peace: Remembering impact of violent conflict–McCauley

Sep 22 (Island) The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Colombo, Una McCauley says that an International Day of Peace was declared to strengthen the ideals of peace, within and among all nations and peoples. "On International Day of Peace which fell on September 21, we were called to remember our obligations as an international community and the impact of violent conflict and discrimination upon the most vulnerable. We are called to do this together. more..

Language crisis hurts Northern workers

Sep 22 (ST) The Labour Department is currently in the process of recruiting Tamil speaking officers to ensure assistance is provided to workers in the North and East in an area where the language barrier has arisen since a number of factories have sprung up. Labour Commissioner General R.P.A. Wimalaweera told the Business Times on Thursday that the department was in the process of recruiting 24 labour officers for the North and East. He was responding to the question more..

Economy in urgent need to reorient: IPS

Sep 22 (FT) The latest Economic Outlook of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) suggested there was an urgent need to reorient Sri Lanka’s economy towards a more sustainable means of development finance, adding that the country was in a very disadvantageous position both in terms of Govt revenue and gross debt. Concurrent to debt-led infrastructure development and low exports, it was pointed out that this has more..

Man who tried to kill himself at MR’s residence arrested

Sep 22 (DM) A young man who had visited former president Rajapaksa’s official residence in Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo today was arrested when he threatened to commit suicide saying that he won’t leave till he meets Mr. Rajapaksa. Police said the suspect had tried to stab himself once he found out that Mr. Rajapaksa was not at his residence at that time. He was overpowered by one of the policemen providing security to MP Rajapaksa and handed over to the Police thereafter. more..

SEC chief to leave his job with unfinished work

Sep 22 (Island) Thilak Karunaratne, Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) would be able to write an autobiography not only on entrepreneurship and membership in the Legislature but also on his commitment to the regulatory responsibility at the SEC that has consummated his life's work. However, come mid-January 2018, Karunaratne is going to leave his job at the SEC with unfinished work – most of which – he initiated himself. more..

consultants tug-o-war in kandy hospital: Second heart transplant abandoned

Sep 22 (DN) The second heart transplant planned at the Kandy General Hospital was abandoned at the last minute yesterday due to a tug-o-war between consultants not to remove the beneficiary’s heart. This situation has arisen even after the heart was harvested from the donor and fixed to a machine pending the transplant. The consultant surgeons who were prepared to perform the surgery were inconvenienced after more..

New UNICEF report calls for national policies to support families with young children

Sep 22 (FT) A new report by the UNICEF has urged Sri Lanka and others to implement national policies to support families with young children. UNICEF said whilst SL does provide paid breastfeeding breaks during the first six months to women working within the govt sector, women in other sectors and especially those employed in the informal sector have little or no provision. Further parental leave is not uniform, if provided at all, and as yet two years of free pre-primary education more..

Finale of National Sports Festival begins

Sep 22 (CT) Finals of the 43rd National Sports Festival (NSF) will begin today which will go on till Sunday at Kotawila Sports Complex in Matara which includes a three day track and field competition. NSF which is considered the local Olympics includes 29 sports where 23 of them are already finished with only Track and field, Volleyball, Boxing, Football and Body Building left to be worked off. Once again the athletics competition of the biggest sporting event of the country will be worked off more..

'PC delimitation to be completed in 4 months'

Sep 22 (FT) Govt denied that elections reforms were targeted at delaying polls and emphasised it would work to hold elections as soon as possible, with efforts to complete the provincial council delimitation process in four months. Minister Faiszer Mustapha said that the latest amendment to the Provincial Council Elections Act was only aimed at providing a definitive system for elections to be held. more..

Garbage at Muthurajawela: SC re-fixes petition for 2 November

Sep 22 (FT) Supreme Court yesterday re-fixed support on Nov 2 for granting leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights petition against the impugned steps to dump garbage in the Muthurajawela sanctuary. The Bench comprised Justices B.P. Aluvihara and Priyantha Jayawardane. 35 Petitioners who are residents of the close proximity of Muthurajawela sanctuary cited the CMC, its Commissioner, UDA, CEA, Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha, Commissioner General of more..

Rs 4 bln insurance claim from May 2017 floods much lower than earlier flood claim

Sep 22 (ST) Insurance claims from the May 2017 floods are estimated at around Rs. 4 billion from affected Sri Lankan businesses but this is significantly lower than the estimated Rs.17 billion claimed from the May 2016 floods, according to Fitch Rating. “However, despite these large claims, we estimate the net impact on non-life insurers due to the May 2016 floods to have been around Rs. 0.5 billion-0.6 billion, mainly from retention and reinstatement costs. more..

JVP press conference

Lankan experts to train top-level managers of knitwear firms in production management

Sep 22 (TOI) In a first in the district, a group of top-level managers of knitwear manufacturing companies will be trained professionally in production management by a renowned private consultancy firm from Sri Lanka. The eight-day training, to be held in two phases at the NIFT-TEA College of Knitwear Fashion, will begin in the last week of October. The first phase will be held from October 24-27 and the second, from October 31 to November 3. more..

SriLankan Catering wins Presidential Export Award

Sep 22 (TTT) SriLankan Catering Limited (SLC), a fully owned subsidiary of SriLankan Airlines, was named the winner of yet another Presidential Export Award, the third such award in recent years. SLC was rewarded for its contribution of value added exports amounting to USD 45.23 million during the financial year 2016/17, an increase from the USD 42.15 million over the previous year. Minister Malik Samarawickrama, presented the award to SriLankan Airlines Group Chairman Ajith Dias more..

Lahore leg of Sri Lanka tour still under consideration: SLC CEO

Sep 22 (DN) Lahore leg of Sri Lanka’s series against Pakistan is still under consideration according to SLC’s CEO Ashley de Silva. Sri Lanka is scheduled to play a T20 international at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Oct 29 which will be the final match of their tour of UAE, but De Silva said that they would need to first assess the security situation before sending the team to play there. “We will assess the security situation whilst the tour more..

National School Games from October 2

Sep 22 (ST) 33rd All-Island Schools Games will be held from October 2 to 15 in Colombo, Panadura, Negombo and Sri J'pura. The Ministry of Education has made arrangements to conduct the games at the above mentioned venues. The opening ceremony will be held on October 2 at 2 pm at the Royal College Rugby Complex. The chief guest will be the person who inaugurated the National School Games, PM Ranil Wickremasinghe. 28 sports have been entered to the All Island School Games. more..

Future of software is the future of the world

Sep 22 (ST) Sri Lanka has some dope software developers with major common denominators, but all the stakeholders can and need to do more, says Sanjiva Weerawarana, Founder, Chairman and Chief Architect, WSO2, IT Advisor, SL Army. Delivering the IESL Ray Wijeyawardena memorial lecture titled Nobody to Leader: Achieving Global Leadership with Software in Colombo last week, he said that what is common about firms such as Creately, 4Axis Solutions, Paraqum more..

Customs nab young couple with Rs.88M in local, foreign currency at BIA

Sep 22 (DM) A young couple bound for Dubai, who tried to smuggle out local and foreign currency amounting to Rs.88 million, making it the largest ever detection of local currency, were stopped by officials of the Customs Narcotics Control Unit at the BIA last night. The couple was searched by the officials on suspicion when they tried to leave the airport through the Silk Route private lounge with their baggage, Customs Spokesman said. more..

Sil Redi case vindicates call for abolition of the Executive Presidency

Sep 22 (CT) Two legal proceedings were much talked about during the past week-the Commission probing the Central Bank Bond transactions and the so called Sil Redi case in the High Court of Colombo. Both these proceedings confirm that the administration of justice in this country is live and kicking and has the potential to mete out justice to all irrespective of the issues involved. Apart from the evidence that has so far transpired before the Commission of Inquiry, more..

#DialogDown : Tracking the network disruption on Twitter

Sep 22 (GV) On the afternoon of Sept 20th, Dialog suffered disruptions to its service and network coverage for less than an hour. This affected voice, data and SMS services on mobile phones – quite significant given that the company has over 11.8 million subscribers, and, as of 2016, a consolidated revenue of Rs. 86.7 billion. The news of this broke, almost inevitably, on Twitter first. Sixty minutes might not seem like a long time to be disconnected, but people did feel its impact. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Rice Cultivation in a National Master Plan

Sep 22 (CT) 'A nation's ability to feed her people is the foundation on which all the other development activities depend. If the govt has allowed this fundamental necessity to take its own course depending on a free market mechanism, it is definitely the worst development any nation can experience. Problem may arise in two forms. One can be the inability to be self-sufficient and the other is the inability to generate enough foreign exchange to import to cover the unavoidable shortfall. more..

Editorial:  Knights, damsels & polls

Sep 22 (Island) It was reported a few moons ago that a swashbuckling village ruffian or chandiya, on seeing police come for him, had taken to his heels, got into a nearby house and hidden under a woman’s bed, only to be dragged out by his pursuers and bundled into a waiting paddy wagon. Asked why he had run away and hidden in a boudoir as it were, the chandiya with macho posturing tried to fool the investigators by claiming he had heard a woman cry for help & rushed in that direction. more..

'I will take legal action against footnote accusations'

Sep 22 (CT) State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe says, 'We spoke strongly about things like good governance and the independence of the judiciary. What these reflect is that our party is on the correct track. Even if it is difficult the masses should accept that.' 'When our party is exemplary, other parties also will automatically become exemplary. It was always the UNP that brought about change in this country,' more..

UN human rights experts want end to unilateral sanctions & world bank immunity

Sep 22 (Island) Most Sri Lankans hear about the UNHRC only when it passes resolutions on Sri Lanka. Therefore it is regarded with suspicion and some people either want SL to leave it or want it gone altogether with the entire United Nations. To them, it looks like all it does is pick on small countries in a biased way and make matters worse. However, the UNHRC is far from our enemy. It is tasked with the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, more..

Voters at sixes and sevens

Sep 22 (DN) Finally, it is official: it was announced on Tuesday that the Supreme Court had determined that some clauses of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution were deemed inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore required approval by a two thirds majority in Parliament as well as a referendum. The extremely politically significant announcement, already much speculated upon by the media, was made by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday in Parliament. more..

New regulatory mechanism in the offing

Sep 22 (SO) In view of a possible rise in electric cars on Sri Lankan roads in the near future the Govt took its first step last week to formulate regulations to streamline a booming sector of electric car charging stations. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electric sector regulatory authority last week called for written submissions from the public with a view to draft regulatory tools for charging stations. more..

The privatization panacea

Sep 22 (CT) In 1977, J.R. Jayewardene cried, Let the robber barons come! Peter Mandelson said New Labour had no problems about people being seriously rich. Liberalization of the SL economy made some people seriously rich. Now, with Vision 2025, the UNP is trying again to push privatisation. It was unfortunate for the UK and the NHS in particular that Tony Blair and Brown were fixated on the idea of PFI (Public Private Finance Initiative). When the conservative govt was ousted, more..

Mothers of the missing fight on

Sep 22 (DN) They sit when it rains, and they sit when the hot wind off the A-9 highway blows sand into their makeshift tent. They’ve been sitting for over 200 days now in Kilinochchi, protesting the loss of their family members. They are mostly women, and they say they have one thing in common: they all lost their loved ones in the final days of the war, in 2009. Some of their sons and husbands were fighters for the LTTE, they said, who surrendered after the Army’s final offensive. more..