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Checking waste: Ravi K walks the talk

Jan 21 (FT) Walking the talk on good governance, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake rapped several State institutions for placing press advertisements of a political nature with the Treasury asking those responsible to pay out of their own pocket rather than wasting public funds. Holding his first press conference, Karunanayake displayed some of the ads and said Finance Ministry will give a directive to more..

'Increase private sector wages too'

Jan 21 (CT) In light of the govt proposing an interim budget with salary increases for public servants, the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) said that the private sector workers, who helped bring down the Rajapaksa family rule, deserved a salary increase. The ICEU said that while an increase of Rs 5,000 has been proposed for govt servants, in President Maithripala Sirisena's 100-day plan, however, the private sector, which was larger in number than the public sector and more..

CCC facilitates partnership between Lankan jeweller and a Norwegian gift marketer

Jan 21 (Island) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently facilitated a partnership between Sri Lanka’s Naraa Jewellery Mart and Norway’s VIVO Holdings as, a firm dealing with books, gifts and handmade articles. The two firms signed an MOU, which will pave the way for both entities to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement in the future in a bid help expand the business scope of each other. Under the new partnership, the Norwegian firm will help Naraa, which is involved in manufacturing more..

From bullets to ballots: The face of Sri Lanka’s former war zone

Jan 21 (IPS) In four months’ time, Sri Lanka will mark the sixth anniversary of the end of its bloody civil conflict. Ever since govt armed forces declared victory over the LTTE on May 19, 2009, the country has savored peace after a generation of war. Suffocating security measures have given way to a sense of normalcy in most parts of the country, while steady growth has replaced patchy economic progress – averaging above 6% since 2009. more..

Asitha six seals tight win for SL U-19s

Jan 21 (CI) Pace bowler Asitha Fernando took his six wickets at crucial stages as Sri Lanka Under-19s edged out Bangladesh Under-19s by four runs in the second Youth ODI in Colombo. They now have a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Fernando took three wickets inside 5.3 overs to rock Bangladesh's pursuit of 180 runs. The visitors kept slipping, falling to 52 for 6 in the 15th over. Shahanur Rahman provided the only resistance with his 72 off 123 balls. more..

A Ministry for Food Security welcome

Jan 21 (Island) There are many criticisms on the segregation and naming of portfolios as well as the naming of the new ministers. Some ministers are really square pegs in round holes and it defies comprehension why they were appointed even to a caretaker Cabinet. This aside, for a professional working for the last 15 years in a govt/UN/NGO team trying to achieve some success in trying to accomplish this daunting task, a Ministry of Food Security came as a pleasant surprise. more..

Gotabhaya responds to allegations

Jan 21 (Island) The former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa responds to some of the allegations that were made against him in the wake of President Rajapaksa’s defeat on Jan. 08. Q: There is this talk of an attempted coup in the early hours of Jan 9. What really happened? A: I went to Temple Trees early in the morning. We had received intelligence reports earlier that opposition activists would surround Temple Trees in more..

The Way Forward for the Energy Sector

Jan 21 (Island) The days of power blackouts are long gone. Sri Lanka’s last official ‘load shedding’ was on May 15, 2002. A few unofficial power cuts occurred in 2011, amidst a severe crisis in weather and the outage of the one and only coal-fired power plant. Finally today, the much hated coal-fired power plant, if all the three generators are up and running, is capable of providing 50% of the country’s electricity supply at a cost less than half the cost of oil-fired generation. more..

Editorial: Winner’s party as loser

Jan 21 (Island) The SLFP finds itself in a peculiar situation. Its predicament is unprecedented. There have been attacks on its activists in the aftermath of the Jan. 08 presidential election. The latest incident has been reported from Kalutara, where UNP MP Palitha Thevarapperuma assaulted a UPFA local government member after dragging the victim in full view of the public along a road, which he seems to believe, leads to good governance and ‘compassionate rule’. more..

He predicted Maithri's victory

Jan 21 (CT) Astrologer S.J. Samarakoon predicted the victory of Maithripala Sirisena. Political changes have taken place at each occasion the House chief Saturn moves into the 10th House, Sagittarius of the Sri Lanka horoscope which owns Aquarius, he says. Q: While the popular and veteran astrologers predicted Mahinda Rajapaksa would win the Presidential election, only you said to Mawbima newspaper that more..

Donoughmore, Bundestag, Westminister or Yaha Palanaya?

Jan 21 (GV) According to President Maithripala Sirisena’s timetable for his 100-day reform programme, the Standing Orders of Parliament are to be amended on 20th January to reform the parliamentary committee system. According to the website, ““The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be set up comprising members of Parliament who are not in the Cabinet will be established [sic] and more..

Reduction of large trade deficit third economic imperative

Jan 21 (ST) The three most important challenges facing the new govt are, in order of priorities, the containment of the fiscal deficit, reduction of the foreign debt and lessening the trade deficit. Sustained economic growth is not possible without resolving these interrelated fundamental problems. An improvement in each leads to improvements in the others. Fiscal consolidation and reduction of the foreign debt were discussed in previous two columns. more..

'Parents shouldn't have to pay for tuition'

Jan 21 (CT) Newly appointed Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha takes over a sector that has seen a tumultuous period under former Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake. The internal issues and politicization of the universities is at an all-time high and so are the student suspensions. Prof. Wijesinha spoke to Ceylon Today to discuss the challenges he faces and his plans for his 100-day tenure. more..

Reforming Higher Education

Jan 21 (Island) Sri Lankan discourse on higher education in the last decade or so has centered around three key issues. The first question has been focused on the inadequacy of higher educational opportunities that the state university system is capable of providing for young people who wish to continue their education after GCE A/L exam. The total yearly intake of the state universities is around 25,000—much lower than the number of students who are qualified for higher education. more..

Executive presidency and the SL state

Jan 21 (GV) If there was a central plank to the common opposition platform in the presidential election, it was about what to do with the executive presidential system in general and the 18th Amendment in particular, in view of the crisis of democratic governance created by the insidious authoritarianism and pervasive corruption of the Rajapaksa regime. During the campaign, except for those who blindly supported the regime come what may, it was clear that there was a wide – and more..

'Creative people, Sri Lanka's resource'

Jan 21 (SO) Economic prosperity is the key figure in symbolising a country's development. Today the key to success is innovation-based economy coupled with scientific research and business development. "Clearly there are several leverage points in SL natural resources, but the biggest resource Sri Lanka has, as in NZ, is the highly educated and creative people," said Professor Mark Taylor of Auckland University, more..

Yahapalanayak Thiyenawada?

Jan 21 (CT) Citizens of Sri Lanka, especially those who worked for a change without expecting any returns nor positions such as posts of Permanent Secretaries or even Coordinating Secretaries or to be Heads of Authorities or to get a lucrative business deal and so on, are wondering now, about the definition of Yahapalanaya – good governance. Of course the manifesto did not exactly state the words Yahapalanaya. It said Maithri Palanayak, Sthavara Ratak. more..

In defence of MIA

Jan 21 (CT) This is the second time I am writing to ‘defend’ MIA. The first time was in 2009. When she spoke out against the war, instead of getting a warm welcome as a major public figure using their fame to bring attention to the plight of Tamils, she received a rebuke. A Tamil ‘economist’ based in Sri Lanka decided to give her a ‘maths lesson’. Apparently she didn’t understand numbers – according to him she exaggerated the number of people being killed! That same ‘economist’ had claimed more..

TNA calls on new govt to share power

Jan 20 (AP) Sri Lanka's main ethnic Tamil political party called on Tuesday for the new govt to resolve the longstanding ethnic conflict that led to the country's quarter-century civil war. The leader of the TNA, R Sampanthan, told Parliament that the failure to resolve the issue has caused many of the nation's ills. It was Parliament's first session since President Sirisena was elected Jan. 8. "The Tamil question needs to be addressed so as more..

3222 firearms are missing at BMICH armory

Jan 20 (AD) Police confirmed, a short while ago, that the investigation teams found 151 firearms at the armory belonging to private security firm Rakna Arakshaka Lanka at BMICH premises, however, said they have no records what happened to some 3222 firearms stored at the arms depot. Police have records of some 3473 firearms which had been registered with the ministry; however, the teams have recovered 151 guns from the armory, following this morning’s inquiry. more..

CID to probe Tiran's revelation on money deal linked to LTTE

Jan 20 (AM) The CID is to commence an investigation on MP Tiran Alles and the alleged transaction with the LTTE which led to an presidential election boycott in the North in November, 2005. Alles made a public revelation in 2010 saying Basil Rajapaksa personally handed over, at his office, Rs. 180 million to the then LTTE financial controller Emil Kanthan to ensure that the people of the north refrained from voting at the 2005 presidential election. more..

Sri Lanka's new premier promises Tamils more autonomy

Jan 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new govt pledged Tuesday to devolve power to the country's Tamil minority, in a step towards national reconciliation six years after a controversial military offensive crushed a separatist rebellion. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his first address to parliament since taking office, said lawmakers needed to bring a political conclusion to the conflict between govt troops and LTTE that ended in 2009. more..

​Is searching my house good governance: MR

Jan 20 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa said for the first time since 1931, the residence of the Rajapaksa family was searched by the police and questioned whether it was a part of the present Govt’s policy of good governance. He told the media during his visit to the Asgiriya Temple today that the Rajapaksa family had been in politics since 1931, but for the first time his house was searched by the police. After paying homage to the sacred tooth relic the former president met more..

Opposition to back Maithri policy

Jan 20 (CG) The opposition today assured that it will support the 100 day policy program of President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament. Opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament that the Govt must keep the opposition updated on the implementation process of the program. He said that as representatives of the public the members of Parliament must keep the interests of the public in mind and so they have a responsibility to support the good work the Govt hopes to do. more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa tells govt to stop 'political revenge'

Jan 20 (PTI) Beleaguered former President Rajapaksa asked the new govt to stop "political revenge", a day after his country home in the southern province was raided by police. "Our family has been in politics since 1931. But never our homes came to be searched. I ask them to stop this political revenge," Rajapaksa said in the central town of Kandy. He was reacting to a raid of his country home in Tangalle by police who more..

Bribery complaint filed against Chief Justice over dockyard case

Jan 20 (AM) A complaint of a criminal offence of corruption was today filed against Chief Justice Mohan Peiris for alledgely causing a colossal loss of govt revenue of over Rs.619 million by an attorney-at-law before Bribery and Corruption commission. Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku making his complaint before bribery commission alleged that Peiris unlawfully attempted cover up customs inquiry against Colombo Dockyard Ltd (CDL). The Lawyer alleged that when more..

Why Sri Lanka's need for China will continue

Jan 20 (BS) No sooner did Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat in the presidential election than commentators begin to declare that the result was a blow to China's ambitions in the Indian Ocean. Facing international isolation, Rajapaksa regime had drawn closer to China, and Beijing had used the window of opportunity to lend money, sell goods and secure huge infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. It is estimated that China has invested $4 billion in infrastructure projects since 2009, more..

Audio: 'NEC discusses alleged coup'

Jan 20 (DM) National Executive Committee (NEC) today discussed the alleged coup planned on the January 8 night to block the transfer the power to the winning candidate, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. The NEC, which was established on the election manifesto of President Maithripala Sirisena, met this morning. The committee is comprised of the president, PM, former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, more..

New govt called to act against toxic agro-chemical imports

Jan 20 (Island) Chronic Kidney Disease Research Scientist Dr. Channa Jayasumana stressed that his Research Team with the assistance of the GMOA would urge President Sirisena to have a through probe conducted into the failure on the part of the authorities concerned to ban harmful agrochemicals and take penal action against them. He said some politicians and high-ranking officials responsible for issuing licences to the agrochemical firms did not want to ban the deadly chemicals more..

Change of guard in Sri Lanka triggers introspection in China

Jan 20 (Hindu) The change of guard in Sri Lanka has triggered a debate in China that despite its economic heft, the country may still be lacking in diplomatic power to influence smaller countries when it really counts. An editorial in the Global Times cautions that it would be premature to conclude that the exit of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the arrival of Maithripala Sirisena as the President of Sri Lanka is a blow to China’s interests in the island nation. more..

Ranil seeks support for reforms

Jan 20 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today sought the support of all political parties in Parliament, to implement the proposed reforms under the 100 day program of President Sirisena. He made the appeal as Parliament convened for the first time this year under the new Govt. When sittings began, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa informed Parliament that President Sirisena, who arrived in Parliament more..

SL rupee forwards down for 3rd session

Jan 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker for a third straight session on Tuesday on dollar demand from importers as lower interest rates and depreciation in some foreign currencies versus the rupee paved the way for more imports, dealers said. Exporters, however, were waiting for clarity on economic policy from President Maithripala Sirisena's new govt ahead of a scheduled interim budget on Jan. 29, they said. Four-day forwards, which were actively traded, more..

Muralitharan named Sunrisers bowling coach

Jan 20 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has been named Sunrisers Hyderabad's bowling coach and team mentor for the IPL 2015 season. Muralitharan, 42, played 66 IPL games across seven seasons for Chennai Super Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Royal Challengers Bangalore, taking 63 wickets at an average of 26.92. During his time with Super Kings, from 2008 to 2010, he claimed 52 scalps from 46 matches, helping the team win the IPL as well as the Champions League Twenty20 in 2010. more..

'Weerawansa destroyed Mahinda Rajapaksa'

Jan 20 (AM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his first speech in Parliament after assuming duties under the new government, accused MP Wimal Weerawansa of ‘destroying’ former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He also urged Weerawansa not to spread hatred and "communalism" anymore. Wickremesinghe appealed everybody to unite to empower and strengthen parliament, which was neglected more..

Stewart hails Sangakkara signing

Jan 20 (CI) Alec Stewart, Surrey's head coach, championed the signing of Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara saying it is great for Surrey and the county game. Sangakkara, among the greatest batsman to have played the game, signed a two-year deal at The Oval with the option of an extra season. He will arrive for a "substantial part" of the 2015 season and Stewart is expecting a big impact. "To have someone of his standing in the county game is great for Surrey and county cricket," more..

'People's Court once a week'

Jan 20 (CT) Minister Faiszer Musthapha, said he would be conducting a 'people's court' once every week, where he would invite all heads of departments connected to the ministry to discuss and answer questions from the media and aviations specialist. He was speaking after taking oaths as the Minister of Civil Aviation, at Sethsiripaya. "All heads of departments of the ministry as well as Executive members of establishments such as SriLankan Airlines will be called upon by more..