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Premechandran on northern problems and govt inaction

July 23 (FT) Q: What is the latest with regard to the Jaffna University clash? A: I do not know why this much of exposure is given to this drama. Earlier there were three incidents in the Eastern University. There was some misunderstanding and as a result a brawl took place between Tamil and Sinhalese students; they were both assaulted and Tamil students were hospitalised. These things have happened earlier. This is not the first time. more..

Will nearest school, best school program reduce demand for popular schools?

July 23 (CT) The ministry of education recently launched the The Nearest School is the Best School (ලඟම පාසල හොදම පාසල) program. According to ministry of education, the main objective of this program is to select two schools from each divisional secretarial division and develop them as Smart Schools by providing required physical and human resources as in current leading and popular public schools, thereby minimize the demand for these popular schools. more..

Untold Stories of Black July

July 23 (GV) July 23. The date has an awful significance for some, and has been blotted out by time for others. On that date, in 1983, a group of LTTE militants killed 13 Army soldiers. The attack brought simmering tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamils bubbling to the surface. The result: mobs of Sinhalese set upon and brutally attacked hundreds of Tamil civilians, and set fire to their property. GV has consistently recorded the deep impact that Black July had on Sri Lankans. more..

Social media to the rescue

July 23 (SO) The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife will introduce stringent laws to deal with the rapidly increasing poaching of wild animals, following the arrest of six persons for killing wild animals in the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These pictures were widely circulated on Facebook recently. Environmentalists are of the opinion that there is no increase in hunting incidents in Sri Lanka, but an increase in more..

Jaffna Uni student conflict was insane!

July 23 (CT) When you come to think of it, the Sinhala-Tamil student conflict at the University of Jaffna last weekend was insane. This was all pretentiously about welcoming new students to a faculty of undergraduate studies. This said faculty is not about performing arts, let alone physical prowess, but about Science. But the conflict was ostensibly about drum and music (Thavil and Nathasvaram) and cultural dancing (the Kandyan type!). more..

Ward system, best formula for local elections

July 23 (NS) President Sirisena recently vowed to have the next local govt elections only on ward system based on the first-past-the-post (FPP) voting. His bold statement, if put into practice will certainly do some good towards cleaning Sri Lankan politics as it is now the time for the much maligned PR system to go out. This could be a good starting point. PR system has been frowned upon and criticized by many as it has often destroyed even the unity among members of same political party. more..

'SL keen on more investments from Malaysia'

July 22 (Bernama) Sri Lanka expects more investments from Malaysian entrepreneurs to the South Asia's island state, Deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said. He said this was expressed by several SL leaders during his two-day visit here. Ahmad Zahid, who called on President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe yesterday and today, respectively, said most of the leaders are keen on more investments from Malaysia. more..

Cocaine haul now weighs 300 Kg

July 22 (DM) The weight of the cocaine haul which was discovered yesterday is now 300 Kgs with the additional cocaine quantity found at the site afterwards, Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) said. PNB Director SSP Kamal Silva said the haul had initially been weighed in at 274Kg when it was seized. “Investigations are still underway. The cocaine has been valued at Rs.6.5 billion,” he said. The drug was found inside a sugar container in the Peliyagoda container yard by the Customs last evening. more..

Sri Lanka to release 73 Indian fishermen

July 22 (PTI) At least 73 Indian fishermen held by Sri Lanka for allegedly fishing in their waters will be released, fisheries ministry officials said here today. The ministry has made the necessary recommendations for the release of the fishermen following interventions by Indian High Commission here, officials said without indicating when they would be freed. They had been held for allegedly poaching in violation of the Sri Lankan side of IMBL between July 6-21. more..

New World Bank Country Director in SL

July 22 (EN) Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, the new World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives is visiting Colombo this week to meet with the Sri Lankan govt and other development partners. She will discuss the status of the World Bank Group operations and how the bank can continue to support the country’s development priorities in the most impactful manner. During the 4-day visit, Riddihough accompanied more..

Sri Lanka introduces welfare register to reduce ghost beneficiaries

July 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s project management and monitoring department with ICTA has prepared a single window for an integrated social welfare register, based on the recipient’s unique NIC number. 80% of data has currently been uploaded to the system and further refining is in progress. “Once the program is completed, it will be very useful in streamlining social welfare handouts, better targeting and reducing ghost beneficiaries, if any,” the Ministry said. more..

Malaysia mulls request to send Bahasa teachers to Sri Lanka

July 22 (NST) Malaysian will consider sending Bahasa Melayu teachers to serve in Sri Lanka as an effort to assist the Malaysian Muslims residing here in re-learning the national language. Deputy PM Datuk Hamidi said initiatives will be made following a request by the Sri Lanka chapter of the Malay World Islamic World (DMDI) who wanted the teachers to help revive the Malay culture and language. "Sri Lanka has some 70,000 Muslims from Malaysia who have been living here for a long time. more..

PM Ranil Wickramasinghe

Regulating Private Health Service: AMS questions Rajitha's wisdom

July 22 (Island) Association of Medical Specialists (AMS) yesterday said it was not in agreement with Health Minister, Dr Rajitha Senaratne's efforts to regulate the private health service. AMS Spokesman, Dr Asoka Gunaratne said the time duration stipulated by the Health Ministry for examining a patient was an issue as a politician was not competent enough to decide how long a doctor should examine a patient. He said some ailments could be diagnosed within 2-3 minutes more..

IFC, Sampath Bank boost trade finance for SMEs

July 22 (DN) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Sampath Bank to provide trade financing for SL exporters to help them access global markets and boost the country’s trade. IFC will support bank’s trade-finance business by partially or fully guaranteeing the payment risks of its clients. IFC’s Global Trade-Finance Program promotes trade among emerging markets, complementing the capacity of banks to ensure liquidity of export-oriented small & medium more..

Opposition raises concerns over submissions sought from diaspora

July 22 (CG) The joint opposition raised concerns over a call for submissions from the Sri Lankan diaspora on a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to take the reconciliation process forward. MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament that the submissions had been called for by the Foreign Ministry without informing Parliament. He read a notice issued by the SL Embassy in US which states that the Consultation Task Force more..

Fmr. Immigration Chief Control Officer convicted for not declaring assets

July 22 (DM) Former Chief Controlling Officer of Immigration and Emigration Department, Jayasinghe Aarachchige Jayasena who was indicted by the Bribery Commission in 1996 over charges of illegally acquiring funds, was convicted by the Colombo High Court today. Judge Kusala Weerawardena, imposed a fine of Rs. 6.6 million and a two years rigorous imprisonment suspending it for ten years. Bribery Commission had indicted the former Chief Controller for failing to disclose more..

Court suspends re-designation of BOI officials

July 22 (Island) Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz on Wednesday suspended till, August 3, the decision and directions implemented by the Director General of the BOI, and the Secretary to the Ministry of Development strategies, to re-designate the BOI employees, without considering the infrastructure of the institution. The petitioner is H.L. Piyatissa the President of the J.S.S. of the BOI. The respondents were ordered to be present in court on August 3. Attorney-at-Law Wanna Senadheera and more..

US ship New Orleans to arrive in Sri Lanka

July 22 (LBO) USS New Orleans (LPD 18) with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) will arrive in Sri Lanka for a port visit on July 24. The ship and embarked MEU are in SL to increase bilateral ties with SL Navy and provide U.S. support and training for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. “21st century is in many ways Indo-Pacific century, and SL is well-positioned to take advantage of its strategic location,” more..

Norwegian support sought

July 22 (CT) The govt is seeking help from a Norwegian academic to explore electoral reforms, prior to the tabling, of the 20th Amendment, in Parliament, said State Minister Dilan Perera. He said the got was studying many European models before the 20A is tabled in the Parliament. “Last year, the President promised to pass the 20A along with the 19A. However, that promise did not go through. So we hope to put it across at least this year. Norwegian has a few suggestions. more..

Ranil refuses to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa

July 22 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had turned down a request from a group of UNP and SLFP regional politicians to remove the words, Mahinda Rajapaksa from the name boards of Mattala International Airport and Hambantota harbour. Some of the regional politicians were from Hambantota. Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota was ceremonially opened on 18 November 2010. China's Shan Dong Dongming Petrochemical Group is planning a refinery more..

Full list of bus fare revision

July 22 (AD) The annual bus fare revision which has been decided to be granted by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation along with National Transport Commission (NTC) with effect from 1st August 2016, has been announced today. NTC said that stern action will be taken against any operator who charges fare in excess of the approved fare. Meanwhile the Expressway bus fares are to be increased as follows: more..

Jaffna violence: Ranil promises action after conclusion of probes

July 22 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that several investigations were being conducted into last week’s violence at the Jaffna University and further action would be taken after the conclusion of those probes. The PM said JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake had informed him of the clash on the very same day and, thereafter, he had contacted TNA MP Mavai Senadhiraja, Higher Education Minister and Minister of Law and Order and instructed them to more..

Petroleum Resources Minister criticised for failure to answer questions

July 22 (DN) Minister of Petroleum Resources Chandima Weerakody came under criticism by the both govt and opposition in Parliament today, for not being present to answer a question raised under Standing Order 23(2) by the Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Anura Dissanayke had raised the issue at the last parliamentary sessions; on the govt's stance on the oil tanks in Trincomalee; but the minister was not present to respond during that session. more..

PM pushes for closer economic ties with Tamil Nadu and South India

July 22 (ENS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is pushing for closer economic ties with Tamil Nadu and other states of South India through an improved India-SL Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA) and the proposed Economic Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India which is to be signed by year end. He said: “The complementary economic developments in South India and SL will be enhanced by ETCA, more..

Will the development (special provisions) bill sink the coalition govt in a bog?

July 22 (CT) The proposal made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, to publish the SL Sustainable Development Bill in a gazette and present the same in parliament for approval, which was prepared with the view of promoting and implementing the SL’s national policy and strategy on sustainable development, establishment of the Sustainable Development Council and making other provisions on other matters, was approved by more..

Is treating supporters also good governance?

July 22 (CT) We have (and lived under, for several years, in fact) nepotistic and borderline despotic govts. One can even argue that all the govts we have lived under since obtaining our freedom in 1948, have been nepotistic and practised giving unfair preferential treatment to a certain group of individuals at the expense of another. Yet, at every possible juncture where govts change in the country, we expect newly appointed people's representatives will not conduct in such a manner. more..

අශෝක් අබේගුණවර්ධන

Shares end at one-month closing high

July 22 (Reuters) Shares rose for a second straight session on Friday and posted its highest close in a month, helped by gains in large-cap beverage shares, while investors awaited directions on the macro economy. The benchmark Colombo stock index ended up 0.18%, or 11.31 points, at 6,428.77, its highest close since June 21. The bourse rose 0.09% during the week recording a third weekly gain. "Investors seems to be picking their stocks. Bargain hunting has been happening," more..

JVP MP claims he has documentary proof

July 22 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said in Parliament that he had not appointed any Bhikkhu to the RDA. The minister said a statement made by JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa in Parliament to that effect had been displayed very prominently in newspapers and the entire Kandy District had been stirred by the news. "I have received numerous telephone calls inquiring why ever recruited a Bhikkhu as an RDA consultant. This is terrible and I have lost peace of mind. more..

Sri Lanka invites diaspora to make submissions for reconciliation

July 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka has invited the diaspora groups, including Tamils, to make submissions for advancing the task of reconciliation following the country's three-decade-long civil war that ended in 2009. The Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) through the Sri Lankan embassy in Washington has called for submissions from diaspora organisations on the design of structures, processes & measures more..

VAT Bill needs Cabinet approval before being presented to parliament

July 22 (Island) President's Counsel, Manohara de Silva told the Supreme Court that the VAT increase Bill must be approved by the Cabinet before being placed before Parliament in keeping with Article 152 of the Constitution. The Cabinet had to consider what was presented to Parliament, he argued. The VAT increase Bill was referred to the Legal Draftsman on June 14, 2016. The Bill was gazetted on June 24. more..

Govt would remain for five years: PM

July 22 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe asserted in Parliament the current rule would serve for another five years under the concept of the national unity govt. PM, making a statement to the House on the progress of his 2-day visit to Singapore early this week, said nobody should have an iota of doubt about it. "Present national unity govt will remain for five more years. There is no doubt about it," he said. While making his remarks on more..

Govt will look to expand trade ties with China

July 22 (CG) The Govt will look to expand trade ties with China in future, the President’s office said today. President’s office quoted Minister Mangala Samaraweera as saying that while Sri Lanka is working on trade agreements with India and Pakistan, it will expand it with China as well in the future. Samaraweera said this at a ceremony attended by President to welcome a group of new foreign envoys to the country. more..

French giant Total S.A eyeing oil off East Coast

July 22 (DN) French oil and gas company Total S.A will be the first French investor to explore gas and oil blocks in Sri Lanka if the ongoing geological, technical surveys on two ultra-deep water blocks off the east coast of Sri Lanka become successful. French Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jean-Marine Schuh said Total S.A inked a joint study agreement with SL govt to explore for offshore oil and gas in Sri Lanka in Feb, 2016. more..

Office of Missing Persons not subject to Right to Information Act

July 22 (Island) Controversy surrounds govt’s decision to exempt the proposed Office of Missing Persons (OMP) from the provisions of the much advertised, unanimously accepted Right to Information Act (RIA) for all intents and purposes. Former Media Secretary Charitha Herath said that having repeatedly assured the RIA would guarantee the right of the public to know, OMP Bill had proposed severe restrictions on more..