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Many essential drugs being withdrawn from Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (ST) Many essential and life-saving drugs are to be withdrawn from Sri Lanka, while some have already been pulled out mainly due to price slashes imposed by National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA). With the big pharmaceutical companies terrified to talk to the media fearing repercussions, serious concern is being expressed in health circles that SL would be left with substandard & untested drugs more..

PC Elections: Political parties to disclose stance by Oct. 31

Oct 14 (DM) Political parties have reportedly agreed to inform the Election Commission prior to Oct 31 about of their stance on the conduct of provincial council elections. Party representatives met the Election Commission on Thursday and discussed ways and means breaking the current gridlock on the polls. The enactment of a new law to change the electoral system involves the complicated work of delimitation and until that is done, the elections cannot be conducted under the new law. more..

'Fuel subsidy mooted in wake of recent price hike'

Oct 14 (DM) Ministry of Transport has proposed the introduction of a fuel subsidy to the people in the wake of the recent fuel price hike, State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Ashok Abeysinghe informed Parliament last morning. He gave this assurance in response to an oral question raised by Opposition MP Dayasiri Jayasekera where he inquired about the steps the govt would take to give some redress to the people in the wake of the ever increasing cost of transportation. more..

Mahinda gets mandate from SLPP and JO for talks on Caretaker Govt

Oct 14 (ST) Two days after they met secretly to talk of a caretaker grand coalition, President Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa met again last Sunday; this time at a wedding at the luxury Grandeeza resort in Negombo. A smiling Rajapaksa who greeted the President remarked Vedey Kela Wela Neda, meaning things have misfired, haven’t they? Eka ney, or that is it, said the President. more..

Sexism in Sri Lanka: Comment on the tip of the iceberg

Oct 14 (Island) I read with great interest Vijaya Chandrasoma’s fine piece titled Brett Kavanaugh – the other side of the story in the Sunday Island of Oct 7, in which he writes about the Senate Judicial Committee hearings on Dr Christine Blasey Ford vs Brett Kavenaugh and sexism, commenting on my article of the previous Sunday titled More on Sexism in the US. He adds much more to the saga, now over, with the swearing in of Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge. more..

Checkmate Politics II: Diminishing options for MS, MR and RW

Oct 14 (Island) There is no presidential checkmate after all as many of us were alerted to last week. President Sirisena is in no position to checkmate anyone. No surprise there. He has burnt his boats with the UNP, and even Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot rally everyone in the JO to support a new political arrangement with the old defector. It is now reported that Maithripala Sirisena first approached the UNP to canvass for a second term as President with UNP support, and only after being rebuffed by more..

Loco motives behind train fare hike

Oct 14 (ST) Commuters vented their anger at the latest rail price hike but railway officials insisted they were heeding a call by Treasury. Worst hit are state sector officers and middle-income earning workers in the private sector. In the state sector, officers complained they now have to pay more for a season ticket. The last railway strike showed that such season ticket holders did not carry much cash. When hit by a strike, more..

Police chief’s crime theory off the target

Oct 14 (ST) Police Chief Pujith Jayasundera is in the eye of a political cyclone with President Maithripala Sirisena wanting him to quit and sections of his coalition partner in the UNP administration wanting him to stay put. The President is disappointed over the rise in the crime rate. Some UNP ministers, much the same way they claim Sri Lanka’s economy is the best in Asia, insist that crime is under control. more..

Interim govt an unwise move, says political analyst

Oct 14 (SO) Senior lawyer and political analyst Gomin Dayasri said the move by the Joint Opposition to go for an interim government will only result in further economic hardships for the people. Calling it an unwise move he said, this idea of the interim government brought forth by the Joint Opposition and certain SLFP politicians will contribute to further devalue the rupee. This situation, however, should be blamed on more..

Thebuwana celebrates release of Police Sergeant

Oct 14 (SO) The towns of Matugama and Thebuwana was in a jubilant atmosphere on Tuesday (9) when the courts decided to release Police Sergeant Sanath Gunawardena on bail. As crowds gathered to greet him, people cheered and lit crackers to celebrate the release of the cop. But, several days ago, the mood in the area was entirely different. On Sunday, residents of both towns gathered and held a protest, demanding his more..

Office of Reparations: Constitutional Council to call for nominations

Oct 14 (SO) The govt hopes to finalise appointing members to the Office of Reparations, a body empowered to identify eligible aggrieved people and provide reparations for all those affected by conflicts, by the end of this year, Secretary General of Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), Mano Tittawella said. The Office for Reparations Bill that will provide for the setting up of more..

President engages in series of programmes in Mahara & Kadawata

Oct 14 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena says that the economic recession prevailed at present is not only limited to our country, but many countries in the world are facing this challenge. ‘Certain individuals issue statements saying that we can do what the government cannot do’, the President said that adding they request them to work in a responsible manner towards the country and nation. more..

British Police release pro-LTTE suspect arrested during protest against SL PM’s visit

Oct 14 (Island) Pro-LTTE activist, Sockalingam Yogalingam, who was arrested by the British police for demonstrating against the visit of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to London last week, was later discharged. During Wickremasinghe’s visit to speak at the Oxford Union last Monday, a group of pro-LTTE activists staged a demonstration opposite the University. Waving Eelam flags and banners depicting the photograph of slain LTTE leader more..

Bigger role for private sector in Govt.’s building projects

Oct 14 (ST) The private sector will be invited to construct buildings for state agencies under a two-pronged programme approved by the Cabinet. Under one programme, land for such construction will be provided by the Line Ministry or State Agency. Investors will be paid lease fees but will be required to turn over such property to the state within 15 to 30 years. Under the second programme, where land and buildings are more..

EC should be sole authority on holding Elections: Jayampathy

Oct 14 (CT) Holding of Provincial Councils (PC) Elections should come under the sole purview of Elections Commission. When PCs are dissolved after their tenure they should also come under the purview of the Elections Commission, MP Jayampathy Wickremaratne said. PC Elections Act No. 2 of 1988 states that Elections Commissioner has the authority to hold Elections as well as to determine the dates for holding elections. more..

Major Naval Base bordering Hambantota Port soon

Oct 14 (CT) The Govt announced that a major Naval Base bordering the Hambantota Port is underway, complete with high tech equipment, surveillance systems with radar etc. in order to maintain maritime awareness on the east-west coastline. In this regard, former Commander of SL Navy, Admiral (Ret.) Travis Sinniah addressed local and international dignitaries, diplomats and experts on Maritime safety and security at more..

Our Spectator Democracy

Oct 15 (SO) Nothing can be said about our politics that has not already been said about hemorrhoids. It is truly a pain in that part of the human anatomy. Hypocrisy is the single synonym for pragmatic politics. Contemporary political science identifies several types of democracies. What we have today after Jan 8, 2015 is a spectator democracy. Before that in the five post-civil war years we had a zombie or a voodoo democracy. A meaningful democracy needs institutional resilience. more..

Different Strokes

Oct 15 (CT) A notable Saudi journalist, who was/is an outspoken critic of the Saudi Arabian govt enters the Consulate in Istanbul Turkey. His name was Jamal Khashoggi. He entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife. He has not been seen since. He was also a contributory journalist to the famed Washington Post, and resided in USA. Turkish intelligence says he was abducted, assaulted and then murdered inside Saudi Compound. more..

'If America suffers a cold; We get pneumonia'

Oct 15 (CT) JVP MP Vijitha Herath says this govt has done nothing for the people and that is why they are scared of holding elections. Q: The JVP, which said govts cannot be toppled by protests, what are you trying to do on 23? A: There is a true people’s opposition to this govt. It is to give weight to that, that we are going to show the people’s opposition to the govt, on 23, in Colombo. We are holding this protest against the govt more..

Expectations for the Office for Reparations

Oct 15 (SO) Parliament of SL this week, passed into law the Office for Reparations Bill (the Bill), the second mechanism promised within the transitional justice agenda. Though the noise on the Bill was somewhat muted unlike the lead up to the enactment of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) Act, polarised positions were still evident in the statements made by several in Parliament. This should come as no surprise considering the divisive statements made earlier by some in Cabinet more..

ISA training empowers Arugam Bay Surf Instructors’ skills

Oct 15 (ST) Over the last 10 days, International Surfing Association (ISA) Course Presenter Tim Jones has been working with Arugam Bay’s enthusiastic Surf Instructors, focusing on vital aquatic safety controls and developing solid Surf coaching skills. The course modules covered during their daily 8-hour training are designed for immediate use and also to change the structure of SL’s Surf coaching business. First President of the Surfing Federation of SL Hiran Ukwate, said: more..

Hirunika takes up cudgels against media bullying

Oct 15 (SO) It has been a memorable week for Hirunika Premachandra, MP and daughter of slain SLFP trade union leader, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. On Wednesday, incensed about what she called garbage reporting, she launched a blistering attack on several private media organizations, including the broadcaster owned and operated by the brother of the man convicted of killing her father 7 years ago. more..

Mayhem, murders and a warning of what may come

Oct 15 (ST) The Supreme Court’s affirming of the conviction of former MP Duminda Silva and three of his supporters for causing the death of politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and others on 8th Oct 2011 reflect innovative judicial reasoning that has been ignored in typically sensationalist media coverage of the case. No doubt, murders of and by politicians are a pedestrian occurrence in this region, occasioning no more than a cynically raised eyebrow at best. more..

Gotabaya’s impossible dream to become Lanka’s next president

Oct 15 (ST) This week on Tuesday as Pohottuwa presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa walked in to the newly established express High Court to face charges of his alleged involvement in the Rs. 80 million D. A. Rajapaksa mausoleum case, he faced the media who asked him a pertinent question: ‘Reports say that Mahinda has ditched you as the presidential candidate and that he is promoting brother Basil as the candidate.” His answer: “These media reports are aimed to convey that more..

ඒකාබද්ධයේ ජනපති අපේක්ෂකයා ගෝඨා නොවී ....

Medium-term debt, deficit & Investment scenarios are gloomy

Oct 15 (CT) There is a tendency, natural perhaps, to read essays on the economy through tinted glasses asking Which side is he supporting? Certainly, I do have an axe to grind in future elections, but not in this essay because the bottom line, details aside, is valid whether the government is UNP or SLPP. You can disagree about party politics and still find my story interesting, so read it on its merits. There are four ways in which the economic outlook can be examined in the medium-term; national debt, more..

Anarchy on the Roads in Colombo and Kandy: Lack of Order and Leadership?

Oct 15 (Island) Last week I wrote about the traffic and diesel fume problem in Kandy. This week I was in Colombo taking public transport and driven by car by a relative. From Homagama to Colombo city, it took more than two hours. There is anarchy on the roads. This is actually an understatement. As commuters know very well, there is no rule on the roads. Instead, the jungle rule prevails. Three wheel drivers (TWDs) criss-cross everywhere without notice. They seem to rule the roads. more..

New court attire for women attorneys hailed as progressive measure

Oct 15 (SO) Chief Justice Priyasath Dep who retired last Friday (12), created history when he changed archaic Supreme Court rules governing the court attire for women attorneys in his final week in office as the head of SL’s judiciary. For the first time, female lawyers can attend courts in pant suits and dresses cut below the knee. The new rules also permit pregnant lawyers to attend court wearing something other than the saree. more..

Edtorial: Restrictions alone won’t do

Oct 15 (Island) Some govt leaders have sought to deny that the country is in the throes of an ever worsening crisis due to the unprecedented depreciation of the rupee and the attendant issues. Their efforts to pull the wool over the public have come a cropper as evident from the desperate measures, such as import restrictions, they have had to adopt by way of crisis management. President Maithripala Sirisena has gone on record as saying that the solution to the present more..

Cricket of today: Are we belly up?

Oct 15 (ST) I was truly mesmerised. It’s the real, true story of survival. English naturalist Sir David Attenborough and BBC filmmakers recorded the unique behaviour of a cave-dwelling fish in the arid South of Madagascar. While living in total darkness, this little fish not only lost its pigment, but its eyes too. But, the most intriguing fact is that, they swim belly-up always. May be that is nature’s way of balancing that species’ survival, but, it is said that these little fish have survived more..

Lanka Women crowned Plate champs; men disappoint

Oct 15 (DN) Gallant SL women’s sevens rugby team created history when they won the Plate championship for the third consecutive time beating Thailand by 7 points (1 try, 1 conversion) to 5 (1 try) in the third and final leg of the Asian Rugby Sevens Series played at the Racecourse international stadium, Reid Avenue yesterday. For Sri Lanka women their captain Ayesha Wijethilake scored the solitary try more..

NTB gets $ 50 m syndicated loan from FMO to boost growth, jobs

Oct 15 (FT) FMO recently arranged a $ 50 million syndicated loan for Nations Trust Bank (NTB) in SL. The loan supports further growth in Nations Trust Bank’s business banking activities which, for a number of years, has been strategically geared more towards small and medium enterprises and boasts a very successful track record so far. NTB is one of the top 10 banks in SL and is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic banks in the country with a branch network spanning more..

Uva to demand compensation from UK

Oct 15 (CT) The Uva Provincial Council has decided to submit a people’s petition, signed by 1.5 million individuals, to the UNHRC against United Kingdom, demanding compensation for the damages caused by the British Empire to the Uva Province during the Uva-Wellassa struggle in 1818, the height of the colonial period. Tabling the resolution, Uva PC JVP member, Samantha Vidyaratne, had said that instead of commemorating the struggle on its 200th anniversary which falls in November, more..

Sports officials’ nudity open in public

Oct 15 (CT) Director of Sports, I.P. Wijerathne and Director General of Sports, Buwaneka Herath’s incompetency resulted in another shameful incident at the National Sports Festival. Thrower Charith Kapukotuwa was disqualified after he won the Gold medal of the Shot Put event following a protest by two other Provinces. Former Anandian Kapukotuwa, who is now based in the US, came all the way from US to Polonnaruwa more..

THE ONE inks contract with CITIC to construct facade of Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriot

Oct 15 (FT) Developers of THE ONE – SL project, The One Transwork Square Ltd. on Friday signed an FIDIC contract with one of China’s largest financial companies the CITIC Ltd. and its consortium partners SGCG (Beijing Shougang Construction Group) to partner with the project for the construction of the façade of The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriot towers. This landmark project brings together the mega construction giants CITIC Ltd., Zhongtian Construction Group Company, more..

Court orders to resume investigations against Ravi K.

Oct 15 (ST) The Colombo Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayaka this week ordered that investigations related to former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayaka giving false evidence to the Bond Commission, could proceed, though, at this stage he cannot be named as a suspect, as investigations were still in progress. Accordingly, the Chief Magistrate granted permission to the CID to proceed with the investigations and submit a report to courts on the next date. more..

Nimal returns to stock market

Oct 15 (FT) High net worth investor Nimal Perera is back in the Colombo stock market having invested over Rs. 2 billion in recent months, accumulating mostly blue chips that are trading at a bargain. Year-to-date the All Share Index (ASI) is down 9% and the more active S&P 20 Index has dipped 20% and foreigners have been net sellers to the tune of Rs. 6.6 billion. For Nimal and the smarter investors, setting and statistics are perfect. more..

'Economic sentiment continues to decline'

Oct 15 (FT) Latest LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) survey reveals that economic sentiment deteriorated in September with only 5% of respondents expecting conditions to improve in the next 12 months. One corporate respondent notes: “Tourism seems to be the only industry [that is] not affected by adverse economic conditions – this industry seems to be improving month on month. Compared to the corresponding period of the prior year, there has been more..

Dankotuwa Porcelain re-introduces Laklain locally

Oct 15 (ST) Dankotuwa Porcelain, renowned for its luxurious and elegant porcelain tableware, recently re-introduced its value-for-money heritage brand Laklain to the local market. Now available with several new offerings that feature a similar high-quality standard to the more upmarket Dankotuwa Porcelain brand, Laklain is marketed at a more affordable price point with easy customer accessibility. Laklain products are manufactured at the same ISO-certified facility as more..

Sri Lanka off-season tourism campaign draws over 1,000 bookings

Oct 15 (EN) A campaign to boost off-season tourist traffic to Sri Lanka branded Island Escapes launched in mid-September has drawin over a thousand bookings in three weeks. "We have got over 1,000 bookings," Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga said said. The promotional campaign developed by the govt with an investment of 65 million rupees was launched on Sept 15, and is expected to run until November. more..