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20A to Parliament today with govt MPs’ backing

Sep 22 (FT) Prez Rajapaksa yesterday won unanimous backing for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution from both Cabinet as well as the Govt Parliamentary Group, hours before the Bill is presented to the House today. Prez Rajapaksa held a special Cabinet meeting last morning and met with the Parliamentary Group in the evening to allay any concerns that Govt members may have regarding the Bill, more..

Over 100 complaints against state banks & their affiliates so far: Finance Ministry

Sep 22 (LBO) The committee appointed to look into the irregularities in four state banks during the last 5 years has received over 100 complaints so far. These complaints have been lodged by the relevant banks, their affiliated unions, and the public. Meanwhile, the deadline for receiving complaints has been extended to Sept 30. A four-member committee has been appointed to systematically study the irregularities that have taken place in the four major state banks since Jan 8, 2015. more..

SJB appoints committee to take action on 20A

Sep 22 (FT) The SJB appointed a committee to take action on the proposed 20th Amendment. The decision to appoint the committee was taken at a SJB Parliamentary group meeting held yesterday; SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara told Daily FT. The meeting had been chaired by the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa. The SJB plans to take their concerns about the proposed 20A to the Supreme Court after the first reading of the draft proposal in Parliament on 22 Sept. more..

We expect UN not to interfere in domestic affairs of states: President

Sep 22 (PMD) We expect the United Nation will place due emphasis on non-interference in domestic affairs of other states, Prez Rajapaksa said in a pre-recorded statement at the High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN. “At a time when the world is facing a common and an unrivalled threat, the United Nations We Need, I am certain, will place due emphasis on the sovereign equality of States, more..

Mahinda-Modi summit to be held on Saturday

Sep 22 (Island) Indian PM Narendra Modi will have a virtual summit with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday (26). This will be his first with any leader in the neighbourhood. With this, India’s immediate neighbourhood is coming into focus again. The summit could be right on the heels of Modi’s address to the UN General Assembly, which will be delivered virtually this year, during the UN’s high-level segment which begins this week. At month-end, External Affairs Minister more..

SJB MPs decide unanimously to oppose 20A

Sep 22 (Island) SJB would oppose the 20th amendment to the constitution to be presented to Parliament, today, Chief Opposition Whip, MP Lakshman Kiriella said. The SJB had studied all the proposed amendment in detail and they couldn’t agree with any of them, he said. Therefore, the SJB had no choice but to work with like-minded forces inside and outside parliament to prevent the bill from becoming law, the MP said. SJB MPs met yesterday in Parliament to discuss the matter more..

'Sirisena halted probe into NTJ in 2018'

Sep 22 (CT) Former Prez Maithripala Sirisena, in 2018, had instructed former IGP Pujith Jayasundara to stop investigations into the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) and its Leader Zaharan Hashim, saying that the State Intelligence Service (SIS) would conduct them, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando said. Adding that more than 75% of the investigations into the NTJ and Zaharan had been handed over to the SIS more..

Edu Minister meets University Heads

Sep 22 (CT) The Ministry of Education has planned to discuss with the Treasury and make arrangements to provide special provision to improve existing dental and veterinary hospitals at the University of Peradeniya. The Minister of Education, Professor G.L. Peiris held a discussion with the Chairman of the UGC, Senior Professor Sampath Amaratunga and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya and other officials at the University of Peradeniya recently. more..

Travel agents literally work from home

Sep 22 (ST) SL remains firm in its stance in not allowing tourists but its repercussions continue to hurtle the tourism industry to a further abyss. As reserves of travel companies continue to go down they are increasingly looking at further downsizing their organisations. Layoffs depend on reserves of each company, Travel Agents Association SL, Prez Trevor Rajaratnam said. He noted that however, this would be different depending on each company’s ability to respond to current situation. more..

Inflation up 6.2% in August 2020

Sep 22 (FT) The Central Bank said the headline inflation as measured by the year-on-year (Y-o-Y) change in the National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) increased marginally to 6.2% in Aug 2020 from 6.1% in July 2020. This was driven by the monthly increases in prices of items in both Food and Non-food categories. Food inflation increased to 13.2% in Aug 2020 from 12.9% in July 2020, whereas Non-food inflation increased to 1.1% more..

Island-wide mobile service to solve electricity consumer complaints

Sep 22 (AD) Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, together with CEB and LECO has launched the first-ever island wide provincial mobile service to solve the complaints of the electricity consumers with the participation of more than 500 electricity consumers in Southern Province. The mobile service will be held in all the 09 provinces addressing the electricity complaints of the consumers and offering them with a solution or a procedure then and there, more..

High Commissioner of Pakistan meets with Minister of Justice

Sep 22 (PHC) Maj. Gen. (Retd) Muhammad Saad Khattak, High Commissioner of Pakistan, held a meeting with Minister of Justice, Mr. Ali Sabri at his office on 21st Sept. HC congratulated the newly appointed Minister of Justice of SL and wished him and his party a strong and peaceful tenure ahead. Mr. Ali Sabri appreciated the strong ties that the two countries have always enjoyed. The meeting was held in a very cordial environment and several topics of mutual interest came under discussion, more..

Hemasiri’s counsel complains to PCoI against ex-Prez Sirisena’s media statement

Sep 22 (Island) Former Prez Maithripala Sirisena had placed ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando’s life at risk by issuing a media statement that the evidence given by the latter before the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks was malicious and fictitious, Att. Dilshan Jayasuriya appearing for Fernando said. Jayasuriya told PCoI that by issuing that statement Sirisena had also undermined PCoI. more..

SEC, CSE sign MOU with DRP to obtain digital verification of NIC details

Sep 22 (LBO) Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) embarked on a progressive national digital initiative by entering into a MoU with the Commissioner General, Department for Registration of Persons (DRP). This will enable the CSE and the Central Depository Systems (CDS) to obtain digital verification of the National Identity Card (NIC) details available with the DRP when a person wishes to open a CDS account via the CSE digital App, more..

CEAT Kelani boosts earnings of local rubber industry

Sep 22 (Island) Increased production to meet local demand has enabled CEAT Kelani Holdings to increase its monthly purchases of natural rubber in the domestic market by as much as 35% by Sept, the country’s leading tyre manufacturer has disclosed. The company, which sources all of its natural rubber requirements locally, said its purchases in Sept 2020 alone would reach 500 tonnes (500,000kgs), generating Rs 150 million in revenue for SL producers in areas such as more..

Schools cricket’s age limit change from Under-19 to 20 just not numbers

Sep 22 (Island) Schools cricket has been in limbo for more than six months now due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Though there had been no action discussions were underway to find means of improving standards. One of the suggestions received by an eminent panel consisting of former national cricketers is to change the age limit of the premier schools cricket tournament from Under-19 to Under-20. more..

BOI signs US$ 29.3mn agreement with John Keells Hotels and Indra Traders

Sep 22 (Island) The BOI signed an agreement with Indra Hotels and Resorts Kandy (Pvt) Ltd., a joint venture between John Keells Hotels PLC and Indra Traders (Pvt) Ltd., to build a 160-room, three-star, lean luxury hotel in Kandy. The agreement was signed on behalf of the BOI by Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman of the Board, and Indra Silva, Chairman of Indra Hotels and Resorts Kandy (Pvt) Ltd. The US$ 29.32 million project will facilitate the building of this second lean luxury property which more..

Over 12,000 vie for honours at National Youth Sports Festival

Sep 22 (DN) We are going to make a new concept for this National Youth Sports Festival and it will be a five day event (earlier only three days) while this time we are planning to give more prize money for the winners as well as increase the facilities for the participants added NYSC president. So far all participants get accommodation from the schools and the three day event extended to five day with additional two days for the special feature activities for them and they can really enjoy more..

Education; Govt’s top priority: President

Sep 22 (PMD) Prez says that one of the top priorities of the govt is to formulate and implement a strategy that will cover the entire process from early childhood education to tertiary education in order to ensure that future generations will choose right path for them & their future. Prez emphasizes since early childhood development and primary education are the most stages in a child’s life special attention should be paid to that aspect. more..

Nuwara Eliya Golf Club: In the rough

Sep 22 (TM) The once exclusive and principally constituted Nuwara Eliya Golf Club (NEGC) that was steeped in colonial traditions has allegedly been taken over by personnel who have little to no regard for such deep-seated traditions and constitutions which were followed for generations. A handful of NEGC members recently shared an incident that has led to the unearthing of the misuse of the club’s monies and breaking of a clause of the club’s rules and conditions to acquire movable assets more..

Temporary boost for apparel sector

Sep 22 (FT) Finance Ministry has allowed the Board of investment (BOI) approved apparel manufacturers to engage in local sales or to undertake sub-contracts from retailers or suppliers for three months starting from 10 Sept subject to conditions. The move was both an outcome of a request made by the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) and a result of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. BOI approved apparel manufacturers can undertake sub-contracts to the domestic more..

SLC-BCB patch up differences

Sep 22 (CT) It is reliably learnt that consensus has been reached between Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) regarding the disagreement that had cropped by between the two Boards related to the quarantine programme to be undergone by the tourists upon their arrival here for next month’s three-Test series. As a result BCB has agreed to subject its national team to mandatory quarantine programme more..

Ahoy! Good news

Sep 22 (ST) The three friends had gathered under the margosa tree and were discussing about returnees from West Asia amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. “Mata hari santhosai mage yaluwo dennek pita ratin Lankawata giya sumane apu nisa. Hariyata duk vindala thiyenawa padi nethuwa. (I am happy that two of my friends from West Asia returned to Sri Lanka last week. They had been suffering abroad without proper pay),” said Kussi Amma Sera. more..

Closer scrutiny of criticisms against 20A

Sep 22 (Island) Over the past several days, we have been hearing various criticisms of the 20A by members of the opposition as well as from pro-govt quarters. Some members of the govt audit service too came out against certain provisions in the 20A. Are these criticisms valid or are we missing something? If we grade the criticisms that have got the most amount of media coverage from the most serious to the irrelevant, the most serious allegation relates to the issues concerning the AG and more..

MT New Diamond: Legal imbroglio continues

Sep 22 (TM) Attorney General’s Department on Thursday (17) revealed the total cost incurred for the firefighting and rescue operations carried out to salvage the MT New Diamond crude oil tanker since 3 Sept to be $ 170 million. The ship had sounded the distress call while positioned 38 nautical miles off the coast of eastern Sri Lanka from the Sangamankanda Point, after the ship’s boiler room exploded, causing a massive fire onboard. more..

Regulatory actions needed to prevent building collapses

Sep 22 (Island) There is no need to elaborate that the collapse of buildings or any other structure will result in very grave consequences. It may lead to loss of life and serious injuries not only for the occupants but to the neighbours and the people around when the collapse happens. These will be in addition to the loss of valuable physical assets and further legal claims. We frequently hear about building failures in crowded cities across the world. However, until recent times there were not more..

Can Maithripala be a party to destroying his own legacy?

Sep 22 (ST) Most politicians love to leave behind something that they will be remembered by after their departure. That explains why they set up foundations with their name, have buildings and roads named after them and sometimes even fight with their local rivals to claim the right to open a facility (euphemistically called vesting it with the people) where their name will be mentioned on the plaque. National level politicians will probably like to be remembered by what they achieve for more..

Face the Nation

Editorial: Diyawanna Post Office

Sep 22 (Island) Former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has warned that the proposed 20th Amendment (20A), if passed, will reduce Parliament to a mere post office. One cannot but agree with him that 20A seeks to strengthen the position of the Prez at the expense of Parliament, and everything possible should be done to prevent its passage in its present form. However, it is doubtful whether the Opposition and the civil society outfits backing it will be able to drum up enough public support more..

Achilles heel to progress

Sep 22 (CT) Stunting and deficiencies in higher learning are twin evils that SL needs to tackle if it’s to progress in developing its human capital, data on the 2nd Edition of the World Bank (WB)’s Human Capital Index (HCI) 2020 report released on Wednesday (16) showed. In this connection, WB’s Country Manager for SL Ms Chiyo Kanda warned that though the WB and SL have worked together for decades to invest in human capital, today these hard-won gains are at risk. more..

Strong executive presidency needed for rapid development: GL

Sep 22 (DM) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, comments on the 20th Amendment and responds to questions about it. Q: The 20th Amendment has been the subject of criticism these days. What is the rationale behind the govt’s move? A: The 20th Amendment has been brought forward to address very practical questions. The opponents of the 20th Amendment are trying to raise various controversies. The rationale is very simple. more..

What govt should do to win over environmentalists?

Sep 22 (DM) The environmentalists have come up with a fretful confrontation with the govt over the Sinharaja issue. This irritable attitude of environmentalists is justifiable with what is said and done so far by the govt regarding the few environmental issues arose after the new regime came in to power. There is no need for further talks with the govt if it sees, that it is an advantage to keep away those who are generally accepted as environmentalists without giving them more..

Meltdown surrounding the Easter Sunday debacle

Sep 22 (CT) Strange revelations and unfolding theatrics now getting exposed hidden behind the disastrous event on the Easter Sunday of 21st April that shocked the whole world, make us to ponder over the disorderly and the primitive state of affairs that has existed in the country then. Grotesque enough and highly farcical, nevertheless lamentable, state of affairs arising out of the statements made by the former Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, deserves a closer examination not more..

Grave sexual abuse’: When the word rape doesn’t apply to boys

Sep 22 (CT) Although it happened over 20 years ago, Mahesh* (32) remembers every excruciating detail of that day. “It was at my grandfather's funeral. I remember feeling confused, at first, when [he] started pulling down my pants, and that turned into fear very quickly at what happened next. I was ten years old,” he recalled, describing the moment he was taken into a private room and raped by a close relative. more..

Politics of MR’s cattle slaughter ban

Sep 22 (CT) PM Rajapaksa’s announcement to ban cattle slaughter is yet another measure to please Sinhala Buddhist hardliners who were the backbone of his party’s victory at the last General Election. They were also responsible for Prez Rajapaksa’s win in his race for presidency. If the proposed constitutional changes were to go through the parliament unchallenged, they will make vegetarian GR local Fuhrer (the original Fuhrer in Germany was also a vegetarian), parliament reduced to more..

Laying waste our forests

Sep 22 (DM) In the 1920s, SL had a 49% forest cover, but by 2005 this had fallen by approximately 26%. Between 1990 and 2000, SL lost an average of 26,800 ha of forests per year. This amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.14%. However, with a long history of policy and laws towards environmental protection, deforestation rates of primary forest cover have actually decreased since the end of the 1990s, thanks to a strong history of conservation measures. more..