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‘Innovate or Perish’

Sept 1 (Island) If Sri Lanka is to match the prosperity of the more dynamic economies of Asia, such as Singapore, it would need to get into product innovation in a big way and attach top priority to the stepped-up generation of Research and Development and knowledge services. An inability to do this could very well spell dire economic failure. Eastern Europe’s vast economic decline is explainable in these terms. more..

Yahapalanaya fails to make the national list

Sept 1 (ST) Sri Lanka’s voters did to Mahinda Rajapaksa what the British voters did to Winston Churchill 70 years ago. In fact SL voters went one better. They defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa twice — in Jan and Aug this year. Churchill was celebrated for leading a struggling Britain through its finest hour as he fought to protect the country from the Hitlerite juggernaut. When the war ended in 1945 Churchill’s popularity that stood in the high seventies since 1940 had soared to a little over 83%. more..

Reforms difficult but essential; education for economic development

Sept 1 (ST) Good economics is bad politics in the short run. Good economics is good politics in the long run. Since the perspectives of politicians are short-term, govts are diffident in undertaking economic and social reforms. Furthermore, our political culture and social milieu are often opposed to change. At this economic and political juncture when macroeconomic conditions are weak and wide-ranging, reforms are essential preconditions for sustained economic and social development. more..

Opposition Leader’s post: TNA lays legitimate claim

Sept 1 (CT) Former NPC member and TNA Vanni District MP-elect Dr. Sivapragasam Sivamohan said the Opposition Leader's post must be offered to his party as it has secured the third place in the recent general election with highest number of votes polled from both the North and East. "This is definitely a negative move. Both majority parties have joined hands to form a National Govt. However, our party is in 3rd place, more..

Current issues in university education

Sept 1 (CT) Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak a few words today. I think this is an important topic which requires debate and discussion in our society and I am very appreciative of CEPA’s initiative in this regard. What I want to do today is to reflect on the current discourse on university education. I think this is important –because I have found that most of our discussions about university education start with many unexamined assumptions. more..

Why are we being enlisted in save the party projects?

Sept 1 (CT) I for one am not too unhappy that the new govt is taking its time naming its cabinet of ministers. Usual practice is, that after we all trek to the polling booths, cast our votes diligently and follow the election results, while we are still recovering from the exercise, a cabinet is thrust on us with barely 2 or 3 days of deliberation. Nor are many of us particularly averse to the idea of a national govt in which decision making would be slower than usual owing to the need for more..

Fonseka refutes Karuna's contention that Prabhakaran shot himself

Aug 31 (ENS) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, who commanded the Sri Lanka Army during the 2006-2009 Eelam War IV, has refuted the contention of former Tamil Tiger commander Col Karuna Amman, that Tiger Supremo V Prabhakaran had shot himself dead and was not killed by Lankan troops as claimed. “He had a head injury in which a part of the skull had come off. If he had shot himself, the bullet would have more..

Pakistan upgrades Jinnah computer center at Jinnah memorial hall Kandy

Aug 31 (PHC) Govt of Pakistan has upgraded the Jinnah Computer Center at Jinnah Memorial Hall Kandy by donating 10 computers and related equipment through its High Commission in Colombo. High Commissioner of Pakistan Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain handed over the computers to the management of Jinnah Computer Centre in a ceremony. Members of Kandy Muslim Traders Association, Muslim League, management of Jinnah Memorial Hall, students of Jinnah Computer more..

Seating indefinite till Speaker's appointment

Aug 31 (HN) Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said, according to parliament standing orders, a MP elect for the new parliament can sit anywhere inside the chambers until a speaker is elected. Parliament is scheduled to be inaugurated at 9.30 tomorrow morning. He said that seating arrangements have not yet been finalized although the new parliament begins tomorrow. However seating have been already arranged for president, more..

Hamid Karzai arrives in Sri lanka

Aug 31 (MoD) The former President of Afghanistan HE Hamid Karzai arrived in the island today. Karzai was accorded a traditional welcome and was received by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Mr. BMUD Basnayake upon his arrival at the BIA. HE Karzai is accompanied by Mrs. Karzai. The former Afghan leader is visiting the country to attend the Defencve Seminar - 2015 where he will be attending as the chief guest. more..

Four SL refugees detained with coral reefs

Aug 31 (CG) Coral reefs weighing about 20 kg were seized from four Sri Lankan refugees by the Q Branch police in the Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu, India. The Hindu newspaper quoted police sources as saying that the coral reefs were seized during the regular raid conducted by the Q branch police in the refugee camp at Kozhiporvilai near Kaliyakavilai. The seized coral reef and the arrested refugees were handed over to the Forest Department for further action. more..

Eknaligoda drama gets mistress-twist

Aug 31 (NS) In a startling turn of events in the investigation into Prageeth Eknaligoda’s alleged disappearance, it has surfaced that the CID is to question his alleged mistress and the Media Secretary to MP Douglas Devananda, Nelson Edirisinghe. CID has allegedly found evidence that Eknaligoda lived with this mistress in Matale, and that whenever he was in Colombo he would reside with Edirisinghe and not his wife, Sandya. Sandya was used by those opposed to Mahinda more..

Tempers flare as Ishant, Prasad face off

Aug 31 (CI) The Sri Lanka-India Test series witnessed its first major boil-over on its penultimate day following a spat between Ishant Sharma and Dhammika Prasad towards the end of India's second innings at the SSC. The umpires spoke to both captains following the incident, but the bad blood didn't end there; it spilled over into Ishant's celebrations at the fall of SL's third wicket, bowler smacking his own head repeatedly. more..

Few women in Trade Unions

Aug 31 (CT) All Ceylon Federation of Free Trade and National Workers Congress (ACFFTNWC) branch in Ekala, Yakkala is one of the few all women trade unions in the country. ACFFTNWC coordinator, Mayura Dharmawardena said the trade union has a branch at the Polytex Garments in Ekala, Yakkala (other two branches which are more male-dominated are in Koggala and Kegalle). Branch officers and committee members are women who work in the factories & other workplaces more..

Anti-narcotic workshop For freshers in parliament tomorrow

Aug 31 (CT) National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) will organize an anti-narcotic workshop for the newly appointed MP elects for the Parliament that will convene tomorrow. Chairperson of the NDDCB Dr. Chamira Samarasinghe stated that the workshop for the new appointees will seek to create an attitude change regarding the large scale illegal narcotics business as the second step to eradicate politicians who are involved with narcotics in the country. more..

Sharmas take India to within seven wickets of win

Aug 31 (CI) India were seven wickets from their first series win in Sri Lanka since 1993 after Rohit Sharma, followed by lower-order contributions, all but batted Sri Lanka out of the game. The other Sharma, Ishant, having faced a barrage of bouncers from Dhammika Prasad and aggression from Dinesh Chandimal when he batted, came out pumped up and knocked out any thoughts of the target of 386 being chased down with more..

Airtel revives plans to sell Sri Lanka unit

Aug 31 (EN) Mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel has revived plans to sell its Sri Lanka and Bangladesh operations and appointed two bankers to conduct the sale, Indian media reported. CNBC-TV18 reported that Etisalat and Orange are among interested players and that Airtel will separately to look sell its towers business in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. It has 2,500 towers in the island. Bharti, India's largest telecoms firm, had tried to sell the two assets in 2012 but was not successful. more..

Speaker will decide on Opp. Leader: UNP

Aug 31 (DM) It is the speaker who has the power to decide who would be the Leader of the Opposition in the new Parliament, a UNP MP said. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella, who is tipped to be the Leader of the House, said that Speaker has the power to decide who the Leader of the Opposition would be as per the Parliamentary procedure. He was referring to the report which said President Sirisena had agreed to allow the opposition MPs to decide on the Leader of the Opposition. more..

'SLFP’s failure to introduce reforms in advance led to defeat'

Aug 31 (Island) NFF leader and MP-elect Wimal Weerawansa says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could have emerged victorious at the January presidential polls had he implemented constitutional, electoral as well as other reform proposals to change the direction of the country. Weerawansa said that the NFF forwarded a series of proposals to then President Rajapaksa after having adopted them at it's more..

Environmental Conservation: Action plan focuses on three key areas

Aug 31 (DN) A National Action Plan for Environmental Conservation formulated with the consultation of stakeholders was handed over to President Sirisena, Environment State Ministry Secretary Vajira Narampanawa said. President would present the Action Plan for approval of the new Cabinet of Ministers shortly. Narampanawa said the Action Plan has given prime concern on three key areas as environmental pollution, forest cover depletion & soil erosion. more..

Women in estate TUs not empowered

Aug 31 (CT) General Secretary of the People's Workers Union (PWU) said women in the estate and plantation sector trade unions, particularly in the tea industry, were not empowered through proper education and training to take up leadership and participate in policy and decision making. PWU General Secretary Eliyathamby Thambiah said women were the majority force playing the leading role in most aspects of production like tea picking, weighing and measuring. more..

Sri Lanka inflation negative in August

Aug 31 (EN) Sri Lanka's consumer prices fell 0.2% in August 2015 from a year earlier, with prices falling 0.5% during the month. The Colombo Consumer Price Index fell 0.9 points in August to 181.9 points with the non-alcoholic food sub-index dropping but non-foods rising. Overall consumer prices have deflated for the second month in a row. External inflation has been benign with a rising US dollars pushing down imported and more..

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa foiled again

Aug 31 (TD) Sri Lankan voters have snubbed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the second time in months. On January 8, Rajapaksa was ousted from power in the presidential election, an upset that denied him a third term as the island’s president. And now, in parliamentary elections held earlier this month, voters have quashed his hopes of returning to power as prime minister. Although voters gave neither of the two main coalitions, UNP-led UNFGG and SLFP-led UPFA, an outright majority, more..

FUTA forward with new leadership

Aug 31 (LT) New office bearers were elected at the Annual General meeting of the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) held yesterday says the Media Coordinator for FUTA Dr. Hiniduma Sunil Senevi. Dr. Primal Fernando was elected the new President and Dr. E.W. Wijeratna is the new Secretary. The Vice-Presidents elected are Dr. U. Anura Kumara, Dr. S. Ariwalsan, Dr. Rangika Halwathura, Dr. S. Bannahaka and Senior Lecturer Darshana Liyanage. more..

Diplomatic corps briefed on Ekneligoda case

Aug 31 (Island) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that as much as the govt needed invaluable support of the international community in terms of technical expertise in the setting up of domestic mechanisms and assistance for peacebuilding related efforts such as resettlement, infrastructure development, and providing psycho-social support, the administration was of the opinion the time has now come to focus on more..

Saudi fire: Embassy checking on casualties

Aug 31 (DM) Officials of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi have been directed to check whether any Sri Lankan employees had been affected by the fire which engulfed the Aramco Oil Company’s residential complex, Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) said. The fire is reported to have killed at least eleven people and injured 206. FEB Deputy General Manager Mangala Randeniya said the officials are facing difficulties in getting there because the fire had led to the closure of several roads more..

A house with a unity govt!

Aug 31 (CT) Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament, since polls to the island's first Parliament was held in 1947, opens tomorrow. Some say that the new Parliament, based on the Second Republican Constitution of 1978, is the country's 8th Parliament. Such debate as to whether it's the 15th or 8th Parliament may be but academic. Nonetheless, there are five unique situations that will have risen vis-à-vis Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament. One of those is that in Sri Lanka's 68 year old parliamentary history, more..

Australia supports govt’s democratic reform

Aug 31 (CG) Australian High Commissioner, Robyn Mudie, said that Australia supported the govt’s democratic reform and good governance agenda and would continue to encourage the Sri Lankan govt to maintain its commitment to this agenda, to the improvement of human rights, to meaningful progress on reconciliation, including accountability, and to continued engagement with all relevant stakeholders, including the diaspora. more..

Ex-President scotches rumours about Chamal getting high post

Aug 31 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said rumours that his brother and former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa would be appointed the Opposition Leader or a Minister were baseless. "After hearing it I inquired from the former Speaker whether it was true and he answered in the negative," the former President said. Asked to comment on the situation of the SLFP, Rajapaksa said it was embroiled in a severe crisis. "We are watching the situation." more..

Shares slip ahead of Central Bank policy move

Aug 31 (Reuters) Shares snapped three straight sessions of gains to end lower on Monday as investors booked profits and waited for cues from the central bank's August monetary policy meeting later in the day. The Central Bank is expected to keep its policy rates unchanged at record lows at the policy meeting, a Reuters poll showed. The country's main stock index ended 0.59% lower, or down 43.58 points, at 7,306.94, not far off its lowest close since July 23 hit last Tuesday. more..

Amputee among new entrants to be sworn in as MPs on Tuesday

Aug 31 (ST) There are 63 new entrants to Parliament this year, among whom is Shanthi Sriskandarajah, a knee-down amputee of a leg, a National List MP of the TNA. She, along with an interesting array of new legislators, will on Tuesday be sworn in as Members of the 8th Parliament of SL. Ms Sriskandarajah, a govt servant, who was Deputy Director -Planning at Turukkali in Wanni District, more..

Sri Lanka's First female photojournalist, Yamuni Rashmika wins FNPAS Award

Aug 31 (GDI) Photojournalist Yamuni Rashmika Perera received the most prestigious FNPAS award during the inauguration of the 17th International Photography Exhibition at the National Art Gallery in Colombo. Rashmika Perera is the first female photographer in the photography history of Sri Lankato to obtain this award which is being awarded only to three awardees per year, on the approval of the International Federation of Photographic Art based in France. more..

Why we need a separate local govt body to Sainthamaruthu

Aug 31 (CT) Sainthamaruthu that is located on the coastal belt of the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka has a long history. It is one of the olden villages in the province. Sainthamaruthu area prospered by the sea on the east and the agricultural tract on the west consisted of six divisions from KP 47 to KP 53 during the British rule. It was also a separate Village Council called Karavahu Village Council that was a separate self-administrative structure in 1928. After the enactment of Pradesiya Sabha Act more..

Video: President allows opposition to pick its leader

Aug 31 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to allow the opposition decide on the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said. He told this to media after the UPFA party leaders' meeting with the President. A section of the SLFP elected MPs and several other parties of the UPFA have already announced that they will sit in opposition in the next parliament. However, TNA demanded opposition leader more..

No offence transpired against KP: AG

Aug 31 (DM) The Attorney General today informed the Appeal Court that so far no offence has transpired against Kumaran Padmanadan (KP) in respect of the report examined by him on the writ petition filed by the JVP. The Attorney General (AG) further told Court that the AG’s Department is yet to examine other allegations levelled against KP and sought a further date to file a report. Accordingly, the writ petition was fixed for October 28 by more..

SLFP to help rectify anomalies

Aug 31 (DM) SLFP led by President Maitripala Sirisena has decided to look into the shortcomings that may arise in the demarcation of electoral wards for conducting elections to the local authorities, party officials said yesterday. The election to the local authorities will be conducted on a mix of the First Past the Post System and the Proportional Representation System according to a law enacted by the previous govt. more..