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'No reason to be afraid of draft Constitution'

July 20 (CT) Lal Wijenayaka, Chairman of Public Consultation Committee on Constitutional Reforms says people voted against the past regime on 8 January 2015 to abolish the Executive Presidency and reinstate democracy. That was the promise endorsed by the people of both the North and the South, he said in an interview. Q: Some say the country does not need a new Constitution. How do you see necessity for a new Constitution more..

Poet in him

July 20 (DN) Scholarly senior double doctorate Professor Sunil Ariyaratne was a visual sensation of Department of Sinhala & Mass communication, rendered and fulfilled inestimable artistic sustenance to the University of Sri Jayewardenepura during his long tenure. Senior Professor lived his life and continues being, a researcher, poet, lyricist and a film director. He became a favourite of all of us because he shared his amazing aptitude not only with his students but more..

Prez, PM keen to continue Yahapalanaya

July 20 (DN) The formation of the National Unity/Good Governance (Yahapalana) Govt in Jan 2015 or to be more precise, August 2015, was a watershed moment in local political history. Except for a brief period of cohabitation almost 15 years ago (President Chandrika Kumaratunga was in power when the UNP won the election in 2001), the two parties have not formally ruled the country together. The catalyst for this transformation was the defection of the then Health Minister Sirisena more..

From Sindh to Ceylon: Sri Lankan Sindhis

July 20 (Roar) Making up less than 1% of Sri Lanka’s ethnic community, the Sindhis are a vibrant and tight-knit group who first set foot in the country approximately two centuries ago. Originally from the Sindh region (now one of the four provinces of Pakistan), they have a reputation of being successful in business and trade. This is less surprising when you learn that the Sindhis have had ties with our island nation since mid-1800s. more..

Does tourism benefit Third World Sri Lanka?

July 20 (CT) Third World governments invariably justify the promotion of tourism as a driving force for economic development. I question this claim and say that it is time to stop treating tourism as a holy cow to be protected and nurtured at all costs. Tourism discourses are full of high-sounding rhetoric, liberally peppered with such terms as poverty reduction, economic growth, sustainability, fair trade, employment generation, good governance, corporate social responsibility, more..

Invoking Nuremberg in Colombo

July 20 (CT) One of the 2 resolutions adopted at the 5th regular session of the UNHRC on the 18th of June 2007 is Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/2 namely, the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council. This resolution was adopted without a vote. Article 12 of the text says that Special Procedure should In implementing their mandate, therefore, show restraint, moderation and discretion… In invoking the loaded N word –Nuremberg more..

Video: GMOA threatens to call off discussions with PM

July 19 (DM) GMOA said it would disassociate its self from its discussions with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe if he was unable to stop Minister Rajitha Senaratne from sabotaging the decisions taken by the GMOA and the PM on the SAITM issue. GMOA Secretary Haritha Aluthge said the minister had also sabotaged the talks held with President Sirisena. He said even though the PM had to seek legal requirement to gazette more..

US architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill wins contest to design centre of Port City

July 19 (GCR) Major US architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has won a three-horse race to design the centre of Sri Lanka’s controversial, Chinese backed Port City of Colombo. The competition was held to gather design concepts for the financial district and the marina area of the port, which SL’s govt had previously suspended amid concern over undue influence from China and irregularities in the contract process. Now back on, the port is expected to have more..

Hacking of President’s official website: Schoolboy discharged from case

July 19 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate today ordered to discharge two suspects including a 17-year-old schoolboy from the case against them for allegedly  securing an unauthorized access into the President's official website. Filing a report before Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara, the CID informed Court that the Attorney General has given instructions to release the suspects from the case citing that he is not expecting to proceed legal action against two suspects.  more..

Govt mulls stiff action against Uma Oya experts

July 19 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissanayake said the Ministry was prepared to consider proposals and recommendations of an expert panel which will be summoned in the month of August in connection with taking legal action against those responsible for having implemented the destructive Uma Oya Multi-Purpose Project. more..

56% of population poor

July 19 (CT) Fourteen or 56% of the country's 25 districts continued to remain in poverty for at least 18 continuous months, beginning January last year to end of June 2017. Census & Statistics Department started releasing such monthly data 18 months ago, from Jan 2016. These 14 districts also hold 56% of the country's population comprising 11.78 million, out of the island's total population of 21.203 million as at the middle of last year, according to latest population data. more..

160kg of cocaine found in container truck

July 19 (AD) A stock of cocaine, believed to be weighing around 160 kilograms, has been discovered inside a shipping container on a truck transporting sugar to the Sathosa warehouse in Ratmalana. 10 parcels of cocaine, each weighing around 16kg, were found inside the container by officer of the Mount Lavinia Police Station at the warehouse located in Ratmalana economic center. Container truck and the stock of drugs are to be handed over to Police Narcotics Bureau more..

Tobacco Companies profits skyrocket

July 19 (CT) According to a govt survey the profit of Tobacco Companies has increased massively though, the stock of cigarettes in the market has been decreased with time. Centre for Combating Tobacco showed that during the last few years, there was a production of 4,945 millions of cigarettes. Then the profit was $10,770,000 and when the production declined to 3,789 million, profit has increased up to $ 84,466,000. more..

SLPA to modernize Jaya Container Terminal

July 19 (LBO) Cabinet nod has been received to modernize the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of SL Ports Authority in order to improve the capacity of the terminal. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that this will be phase V of the renovation of the terminal which will allow the terminal to handle larger ships. SLPA earlier initiated extension of JCT IV berth at Jaya Container Terminal to enhance the capacity of the port to accommodate mega container carriers now in operation. more..

SriLankan Airlines daily non-stop flights to Guangzhou, Melbourne

July 19 (EN) SriLankan Airlines will increase its destinations with new daily non-stop flights to Melbourne, Australia this winter season, having begun daily non-stop flights to Hong Kong and Guangzhou in China, dropping the previous Bangkok stopover. The flights to Melbourne represent SriLankan’s re-entry to Australia after sixteen years with very strong forward bookings on this route already seen, which gives confidence that it is the right choice, a statement said. more..

Uma Oya project Ministerial Subcommittee recommendations to be implemented

July 19 (DN) Recommendations submitted by the Ministerial Subcommittee appointed to resolve issues faced by individuals affected by the Uma Oya Multipurpose Project were approved by the Cabinet Ministers today. The Cabinet ordered to implement the suggested recommendations with immediate effect. Following are the approved recommendations: Construction of six large scale underground wells more..

Veteran Musician Somapala Ratnayake dead

July 19 (CT) Veteran music director and musician Somapala Ratnayake passed away, at the Colombo National Hospital, early last morning. Ratnayake, who was the sibling of popular vocalist Victor Ratnayake, was 69 at the time of his demise. The late Somapala Ratnayake, who was a long-serving member of the SLBC musicians' board, had directed music in such films as Selamuthupinna, Handaya, Uthumanani, Sagarayak Meda, Koti Waligaya, Nomiyena Minisun etc. more..

Rohitha Case: Fixed for trial in August

July 19 (DN) The corruption case filed against former Minister and Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena alleged to have acquired assets worth Rs.41.1 million unlawfully was fixed for trial on August 2, 3 by the Colombo High Court, today. Meanwhile, the defence party informed High Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne that they were able to inspect and access computer evidence pertaining to financial transactions made by the accused and his wife.  more..

People of Sri Lanka book launching ceremony under President’s patronage

July 19 (PSL) The launching ceremony for a book titled People of Sri Lanka published by the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages was held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the BMICH. The book, which contains the details of 19 ethnic groups living in Sri Lanka as well as  their cultures and customs, written  under the guidance of the Minister Mano Ganeshan. more..

Health Minister denies hand in formulating new docs’ union

July 19 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne denied claims by the GMOA that he was forming a separate doctors’ union. Union was being formed by a group of doctors entirely of their own volition. It was not the first time in the history that such a union was being formed, he said. Refuting allegations the minister said he had been invited to an event organised by new union, which comprised a group of specialist doctors. He said he would willingly take part in any meeting organised by a trade union. more..

MP Roshan Ranasinghe withdraws from JO activities

July 19 (NR) UPFA Polonnaruwa District MP Roshan Ranasinghe has decided to temporarily withdraw from political activities of the Joint Opposition (JO). Issuing a statement the MP said he arrived at this decision due to certain actions of several leaders of the JO. MP Ranasinghe added due to the short-sighted actions of members of the JO in the Polonnaruwa District, without his prior consultation, will hinder the JO claiming victory in the district. more..

Sri Lankan govt not to clash with UN on human rights: Rajitha

July 19 (PTI) Unlike the previous Rajapaksa regime, current SL govt will not follow the policy of confrontation with the UN over the human rights violations committed during the three-decade long civil war, govt spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said. He was responding after Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe severely criticised the conclusions made by UN Rapporteur on human rights & counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson more..

Mervyn: Present crisis due to wrath of gods

July 19 (Island) Former Minister Mervyn Silva, calling on the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatta and Asigirya on Monday, said the present crisis situation in the country was due to the wrath of gods. The gods observed the situation in Sri Lanka on a daily basis and reported it to Sakra, who took necessary action, Silva told the Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera of Malwatte Tibatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera. The situation would take a turn for the worse unless more..

A/L tuition classes banned from 2nd Aug

July 19 (NR) Department of Examinations says all 2017 Advanced Level tuition classes, lectures and additional A/L related activities to be brought to a halt by midnight on the 2nd of August for a period of one month. Issuing a statement the Commissioner General of Examinations WMNJ Pushpakumara said the ban will be in effect until the 2nd of Sept. Accordingly the order prohibits the conduct of tuition classes, revision classes, lectures and the distribution of leaflets. more..

SL to probe 2011 World Cup cricket defeat

July 19 (AFP) Sports minister gave his support for an investigation into the country's controversial 2011 World Cup loss against India, amid fresh allegations of match fixing. SL lost the World Cup decider by six wickets in Mumbai, stunning the cricket-mad island. Then skipper Kumar Sangakkara resigned soon after the match. Pressure has since been mounting for an inquiry into the shock defeat, a former cricket captain and a previous sports more..

Herath leapfrogs Ashwin to second place

July 19 (CI) Rangana Herath has leapfrogged R Ashwin to be ranked as the No. 2 bowler in Tests, following his match haul of 11 wickets against Zimbabwe in the one-off Test at Khettarama. Herath claimed his eighth ten-wicket haul and also passed the tallies of Waqar Younis (373), Malcolm Marshall (376) and Ian Botham (383) in Colombo. All of that contributed to SL achieving the highest successful chase in Asia, beating Zimbabwe by four wickets. As a result, Ashwin moved down to third place more..

Sri Lankan maid files law suit in HK

July 19 (EJI) A domestic worker from Sri Lanka is seeking a judicial review, claiming the govt’s requirement that helpers live and work in their employer’s residence violates the international law against slave labor. In a writ filed in the High Court, Rankothpedi Duravalage Kamalawathi, said she had been mistreated by her employer since she was hired in 2012. She claimed that she is now suffering from schizophrenia and auditory hallucination, which prevents her from continuing to work, more..

Colombo’s Casino Scene

July 19 (CT) If you take a night time drive along Colombo's Marine Drive you can hardly fail to notice the Marina Casino. Roman-style portico is illuminated with multi-coloured lights and the electric sign shines out in the darkness. Building is a Colombo landmark, but to most Sri Lankans it is an alien environment, as strange and forbidding as the surface of Mars. A no-go zone, tinged with the glamour of illicit entertainment. more..

Top UN official arrives in Sri Lanka

July 19 (DM) UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman arrived in Sri Lanka on a three-day visit today to hold talks with Sri Lankan leaders on the peace building process. Feltman arrived in Sri Lanka, to follow up on his 2015 visit, to take stock of progress in the country and engage national stakeholders on the peace building process. He held discussions with Minister Ravi Karunanayake today after which he is expected to meet with govt officials and more..

SL’s future lies in emulating factory Asia

July 19 (FT) Trade in Sri Lanka – a classic small open economy in the Indian Ocean – is under scrutiny in difficult economic times. The country faces a myriad of issues. A persistent balance of trade deficit is straining scarce foreign exchange reserves.  Exports are concentrated in tea and clothing. Large firms dominate export activities. SL is also confronting an uncertain external economic environment. World trade has slowed since the global financial crisis more..

Yahapalana Corruption through ICTA

Three killed, another injured after being hit by trains

July 19 (DN) Three individuals were killed and another sustained injuries after being hit by trains in two locations yesterday. A twenty-two-year-old man died after being hit by the Kandy-Colombo train in Kelaniya. The deceased, Duminda Priyankara was a resident in Kalvanna. Post-mortem examinations will be conducted today. Peliyagoda Police is investigating. The other two individuals were killed and another individual sustained injuries after being hit by the Colombo Fort–Kalutara train more..

Corrupt Sri Lanka

July 19 (CT) Sri Lanka is under the scrutiny of the world community as to how it's handling alleged corruption issues during the Rajapaksa regime. This adds on to the current human rights abuse which also allegedly existed during that regime and which the world community in the form of the Geneva based Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is investigating in conjunction with Colombo. Nonetheless, to a question asked by this newspaper from the Paris based more..

NFF withdraws from Constitutional Assembly

July 19 (DN) The five MPs of NFF informed the Speaker that they will be leaving the Constitutional Assembly, today. Five NFF MPs who were elected to  parliament after contesting under the UPFA  handed over their letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.  MPs who will be leaving are Wimal Weearawansa, Weerakumara Dissanayake, Jayantha Samaraweera, Udayashantha Gunasekara and Niroshan Premaratne. more..

GL: Is it fair to blame Mahinda for govt’s monumental blunders?

July 19 (Island) Former Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris asked whether it was fair to blame ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa for all the monumental blunders of the present govt. Prof. Peiris said "Robert Blake blames MR and branded him a "spoiler" with regard to the reconciliation process. This is entirely unjustified. The reason for lack of progress is the total absence of any strategy, any sense of purpose or commitment. more..

Some ministers and officials don't return even after conferences conclude: MS

July 19 (DM) While expressing the need for maintaining some control over foreign travel by ministers and ministry officials, President Maithripala Sirisena said some those who leave the country to attend conferences overseas fail to return even after the conferences were concluded. He urged ministry secretaries to control this situation and implement a programme to train all officers, instead of the same officer travelling overseas annually. more..

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