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National Govt: What for?

Mar 25 (Island) New Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Minister were sworn in making the size of the cabinet of ministers to 44. If you add the number of state ministers and deputy ministers the total number may be closer to the number of ministers in the MR regime. As The Island reported, "The number of Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers rose to 77 yesterday as 26 SLFPers were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat." more..

Editorial: When rejects luck out

Mar 25 (Island) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva seems to have taken the masses for asses. We quoted him as saying yesterday that 26 SLFP MPs had joined the new govt as Cabinet, state and deputy ministers because they wanted to strengthen President Maithripala Sirisena’s hand. Is it that the President found it difficult to manage his affairs without their help? Let de Silva be urged to pull the other one! SLFPers who lucked out recently were licking then President Rajapaksa’s sandals more..

Who is behind Ali Roshan's elephant racket?

Mar 25 (CT) Elephant calves of herds living in forests in our country do not have a chance to survive in their natural habitat; as elephant racketeers kill the innocent mother elephants and take their offspring away, selling them for millions of rupees. Former political authorities, persons affiliated to certain institutions where justice is meted and certain persons in robes of the Buddhist Clergy, and many others are involved in this racket. more..

Devolution in India and Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (Island) Island editorial of March 16, 2015 quotes Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran as having stated as follows during PM Modi’s visit to Jaffna: "13th Amendment can never be the final solution. No wonder you referred to your firm belief in cooperative federalism yesterday in Parliament … Indian Constitution provides for the facilitation of sustainable development, internal security, law and order, policing and protection pertaining to lands and so on within the State. more..

War Crimes: What international experts say

Mar 25 (Island) This is a Review of the Report of UN Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka. Panel found that there were credible allegations which indicated that both the Govt and LTTE had committed violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. In relation to the govt, Panel found credible allegations of shelling in the Vanni during the final stages of the war between Sept 2008 and May 2009 which it is alleged caused civilian deaths. more..

Adjust development strategy to focus on innovation, ADB tells Sri Lanka

Mar 25 (Island) With GDP per capita estimated at around $3,700 in 2014, Sri Lanka is on the cusp of gaining upper middle income country status. To realize this potential, policymakers should adjust their development strategy to focus on innovation, Tadateru Hayashi, ADB’s Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka said in Colombo yesterday. Tadateru Hayashi said so during the launch of ADB’s flagship annual economic publication (ADO 2015) more..

Development: The costly price of keeping pace with wealthy nations

Mar 25 (ST) I have often wondered about the development projects that are sold to us by the rich countries and eagerly lapped up by mainly the economists amongst us. I have posed this question to many accountants/economists but not had a satisfactory answer and am writing this in the hope that someone could shed some light. This essay has no political overtones to it and is only an exercise in economics. Assuming that the first goal of any development strategy is to narrow the gap more..

FDCSL calls for govt intervention in fabric sourcing

Mar 25 (DN) The Govt should take immediate measures to provide import and export concessions to tackle multiple issues, particularly the fabric sourcing issue faced by the local fashion design industry, Fashion Design Council Sri Lanka (FDCSL)Executive Board Member Ajai V. Singh, said. He made these remarks addressing the media at the launch of FDCSL, a dedicated body to promote Sri Lankan fashion in international markets, in Colombo yesterday. more..

Public asked not to panic, but be aware of influenza

Mar 25 (DN) The public should not panic but be aware of influenza, especially if a family, many staff members of one department or office, hostels, one or more members of a group of pilgrims to India fall sick with flu like symptoms, Dr. Paba Palihawadana said. She said Influenza peaks in Sri Lanka in April and December every year, especially during the festive seasons due to large crowds gathering in public places and homes more..

New Tax Chief Kalyani Dahanayake gets her rightful place

Mar 25 (FT) Kalyani Dahanayake yesterday assumed duties as the 22nd Commissioner General of Inland Revenue Department (IRD). She is one of the most senior officers attached to the Department and is the fifth woman Commissioner General in its history. Dahanayake has been with the Department since 1981 and holds a MSc in management and several other postgraduate qualifications. She replaced Wasanthi Manchanyake who was the acting Commissioner General. more..

Intel renews partnership with Ministry of Education

Mar 25 (CT) Intel Sri Lanka signed a MoU with the Ministry of Education, to further support the efforts of the Govt to prepare Sri Lankan teachers to effectively engage students to develop their thinking and enhance learning. Under this MoU, Intel and Ministry of Education will be strongly focusing on further implementation of Intel® Teach, the professional development programme which helps teachers to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) more..

Anti-port city NGOs challenge university dons who endorsed it for debate

Mar 25 (Island) Peoples’ Movement Against the Port City Project (PMAPCP) challenged Chinese Embassy officials and those who endorsed it, particularly Moratuwa Uni dons, to come for open live debate. PMAPCP Committee Member Thilak Kariyawasam said that they were ready to debate on any aspect, be it environment, legal or the sovereignty of the country. "We are gearing for a massive public hearing and to follow it up more..

Measures afoot to recover outstanding dues to state media institutions

Mar 25 (DN) The Cabinet has taken a decision to take immediate measures to recover payments outstanding to government media institutions from various departments and other govt institutions, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing yesterday, Minister Senaratne said payments to the tune of around Rs. one billion has yet to be settled with govt media institutions by these departments and govt institutions. more..

Game needs to think big, get bigger: Zoysa

Mar 25 (Hindu) It’s already a small World Cup and it will get smaller the next time, from the current 14 teams to just 10 in 2019. Cricket needs to think big and get bigger, feels former Sri Lankan left-arm paceman Nuwan Zoysa, the Goan coach at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy South Zone T20 cricket championship, here. “A lot of big countries are probably waiting to play cricket… USA, China, you have to send your best coaches to develop the game there,” said the 36-year-old more..

TN fishermen may get 83-day access

Mar 25 (ENS) The third round of talks between representatives of fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka ended in Chennai on Tuesday, a day ahead of schedule, with the two sides meeting each other half way. The talks that went on for more than eight hours made significant progress on many long-pending issues. “Give and take attitude on both sides have made this progress possible. Talks were held on a cordial note. more..

Extend local councils by one year: UPFA

Mar 25 (DM) UPFA urged the Minister of Local Govt and Provincial Councils to provide a year’s extension to local councils whose term expires on March 31 and to hold elections under the new electoral system. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said the demarcation should be gazetted during that time allowing the Elections Department to hold elections under the new system and ensure representative democracy at the Local Govt level. more..

CMA-CGM starts new BPO company in SL

Mar 25 (CT) CMA-CGM Shared Service Centre Lanka had signed an agreement with BOI in Sept 2014. Company has invested US$ 2.5mn. The main business activity of this BPO is to provide BPO / Shared Services to CMA-CGM Group of companies worldwide. CMA–CGM is the 3rd largest shipping company in the world. They are also number-1-carrier in France. CMA is present in 150 countries through its network of over 650 agencies that employ more than 20,000 worldwide. more..

'Floating armoury in perilous state'

Mar 25 (Island) The case involving Avant Garde Maritime Services operating a floating armoury at the Galle harbour has taken a new turn with owners of the vessel, Sri Lanka Shipping Company requesting the immediate release of the vessel on the basis of expiry of its legitimacy to operate on March 31. The company has offered to deploy another vessel, Mahaweli to accommodate 20 container loads of arms, ammunition more..

New Ministers are not corrupt, claims Rajitha

Mar 25 (FT) Minister Rajitha Senaratane claimed that the no person accused of fraud or corruption had been appointed as a minister on Sunday and hinted there was room for more appointments as well. Senaratne added: “No person accused of fraud or corruption has been appointed as ministers under this Govt,” Senaratne said, referring to the addition of 26 SLFP MPs to the National Govt. He also noted that under the National Govt more MPs could be appointed as Ministers as there was room more..

'Leader of minorities to become Opposition leader'

Mar 25 (CT) Minister V. Rathakrishnan pointed out that dramatic changes were taking place in the political scene, paving the way for a minority community leader to become the leader of the Opposition after late A. Amirthalingam. "A minority politician becoming a President or a Prime Minister is impossible in this country. Whereas the political activities are currently taking shape in the direction allowing a minority leader to become the leader of the Opposition," Rathakrishnan stressed. more..

Govt decides to go ahead with Presidential palace at KKS it earlier criticised

Mar 25 (Island) The Cabinet of Ministers has decided on Monday night to continue with the construction of the controversial Presidential Palace at Kankesanthurai in Jaffna. President Sirisena visited the building site few weeks ago and called it a Presidential Palace. However, former President Rajapaksa denied that claim; he said it was an international conference hall constructed with Cabinet approval. more..

'Allegations focused on the Bureau not Dilan'

Mar 25 (DM) Minister Thalatha Athukorale today said that her allegations were focused on the Foreign Employment Bureau and not on the then Minister Dilan Perera. Ms. Athukorala revealed that some irregularities had taken place at the Foreign Employment Bureau, while addressing an event organised by the Federation of University Women recently. “I cannot tell Mr. Dilan Perera to take the responsibility of these irregularities. These have been done by the Bureau officials,” more..

Docs get Rs. 10,000 as DAT call off strike

Mar 25 (Island) GMOA called off the scheduled trade union action yesterday as Minister Ravi Karunanayaka who held an emergency meeting with Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had agreed to add Rs.10,000 to April salaries of doctors as Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance (DAT) instead of the earlier agreed Rs. 15,000. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said that more than 18,000 doctors scattered throughout the country were ready to launch a four-hour more..

LG bodies get three months more

Mar 25 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to extend the term of local govt bodies by another three months, against his previous decision to put all local govt bodies of which the term ends in 2015 under the rule of a special commissioner. The official announcement in this regard will be made today. President has had discussions with both SLFP and UPFA leaders including Nimal Siripala de Silva, Susil Premajayantha and more..

High-level meet in SL on fishing next month

Mar 25 (ENS) During the third round of talks between representatives of fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka ended in Chennai on Tuesday, TN fishermen had put forth a seven-point charter of requests to their Lankan counterparts. N Devadas, president of the Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association said: “We told them that the Indian fishermen have already stopped using destructive nets like Retta Madi and Suruku Madi and have decided to stop using Thangoosi Valai.” more..

National Anthem sung in Tamil - President and PM in Jaffna

Mar 25 (CT) The national anthem was sung in Tamil in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga at an event, where the lands taken over by the military to establish a High Security Zone were handed back to the legitimate owners at Valalaai, Valikamam East on Monday. The land owners who were internally displaced from Vasavilan, Valalaai in Thellipalai and Koppay areas were given documents to have their lands more..

Parties fail to reach consensus on 19A: Referendum needed

Mar 25 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presented the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to Parliament yesterday to curtail powers of the executive presidency. The Bill, if approved by Parliament, will make the Prime Minister the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers with powers to appoint its members. Right to Information has been included among the fundamental rights in the 19th Amendment. more..

New National Govt: A unique concept!

Mar 25 (DM) While the new govt led by President Sirisena is being blamed for not implementing or being behind schedule regarding its election promises, it has advanced the implementation of one of the promises by almost a month. The National Govt that was formed by the President with the inclusion of more SLFP parliamentarians in the Cabinet was expected after the much-hyped general elections scheduled for next month, according to the 100 day-programme of the Maithripala Govt. more..

Electoral reforms the need of the hour

Mar 25 (DM) Three major issues that attracted wide public attention during the last presidential election were: Abolition of executive presidency; Re-establishment of independent commissions; Abolition of preferential voting system. First 2 issues are certain to be included in some form in the amendment to the Constitution to be presented by the Govt shortly. However, if the next general elections are to be held in June 2015 it is likely to be on old system of proportional representation. more..

Scent of Cinnamon

Mar 25 (CD) Foreign tourists who still describe Sri Lanka as the pearl of the Orient, a colonial cliche, perhaps do so owing to the island's many stunning natural locations. Indian Ocean nation is quite the traveler's classic with its white-sand beaches, hills dotted with tea plantations, tropical wildlife and gem mines. Known as Ceylon until 1972, the droplet-shaped country, located near India's southern shores, is celebrated in lore more..

Rajapakse beats Sirisena in releasing Sri Lanka Tamil lands

Mar 25 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday released part of military-occupied land in Jaffna, but his predecessor had begun the process and even signed title deeds just two days before his defeat at elections. Despite the high-profile ceremony involving President Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, the former strongman transferred land to Tamils even though more..

Parliament offers condolences for Lee Kuan Yew

Mar 25 (CT) Parliament expressed its condolences yesterday on the passing of Singapore's founding father and first Premier Lee Kuan Yew, who died on Monday. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa making a statement of commiseration acknowledged that the Singaporean founding father was able to transform Singapore into a centre of trade and commerce. "Lee Kuan Yew worked, devoid of corruption, for the betterment of more..

High tension over transmission line

Mar 25 (SL) The case filed by the group voice of the Puttalam people (Puttalam Janatha Handa) against the construction of high voltage transmission lines across the Puttalam Lagoon from the Norochcholai Coal Power Station to Anuradhapura was taken up by the Appeal court last Tuesday. The Court of Appeal granted time till May 25, 2015 to the CEB, the CEA and the Director General Coast Conservation to file objections more..

World Bank pushes for open tender system

Mar 25 (ST) A World Bank governance expert warns that the absence of open tendering for contracts is a cause for concern in any country. “Open tendering is extremely important,” stressed Felipe Goya, the Bank’s Governance Practice Manager for South Asia. “When you don’t see open tendering in a given country or society, it always raises a red flag. It is something that needs immediately to raise questions and cause more..

Dismembered bodies: John wonders whether opposition had a hand

Mar 25 (Island) The govt had serious doubts whether the Opposition had a hand in recent mysterious killings, Minister John Amaratunga told Parliament yesterday. He said that the opposition could have done such a thing to tarnish the image of new govt by creating what he called a fear psychosis among people. Minister said there had been only 49 complaints of violent incidents since the new govt came to power. more..

Full-face helmet ban to be re-implemented on April 2

Mar 25 (AD) Wearing full-face helmets by motorcyclists will be banned from April 2. Earlier police announced the implementation of the ban but was later removed by Minister of Public Order. Police on March 2 announced that wearing full-face helmets by motorcyclists will be banned from 21 March. However on March 9 Minister John Amaratunga said that the ban on full-face helmets that was to be implemented from 21 March more..

Govt to amend Maternity Benefits Ordinance

Mar 25 (CT) The govt will be making amendments to the Maternity Benefits Ordinance and the Shop and Office (Regulation of Employment and Remuneration) Act in order to grant all pregnant private and estate sector employees 84 days of leave. Presently, female private sector employees are granted only 42 days of maternity leave and afforded maternity benefits in respect of three or more childbirths while more..

An amnesty for army deserters

Mar 25 (DM) Army deserters are to be granted an amnesty and given an opportunity to officially resign from service on reporting to their regiment between April 2 and 16. Army’s Adjutant General Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe said deserters who had not reported to work for more than six months without authorised leave would be dismissed from service. There were 41,313 soldiers and 17 officers who more..

JHU unsure of itself on 19A: JVP

Mar 25 (DM) JVP said JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka should disclose whether he wanted demon like powers to remain with Executive Presidency as JHU was against 19th Amendment. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said Minister Ranawaka’s argument was that 19th Amendment would create the president powerless and that was why they were against the Amendment in its present form. more..

19A, old wine in new bottles

Mar 25 (CT) Parliament yesterday re-enacted a play which it last did 14 years ago. That is, introducing the 19th Amendment, which was an almost replica of the now defunct 17th Amendment (17A) introduced to Parliament in 2001. Both the 19th Amendment (19A) and 17A seek to curb the powers of the Executive President. However, 17A was scuttled by the passing of the 18th Amendment (18A), which once more restored almost unlimited power to the Executive President. more..