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Skills Gap: The achilles of Sri Lanka’s education sector

Oct 29 (NS) As Sri Lanka enters an increasingly competitive international environment with a renewed emphasis on transforming itself into a modern economy, the importance of promoting technological innovations and generating an educated workforce with market oriented skills cannot be over emphasized. High quality human resources with science and technology knowledge and a skilled labour force are necessary to keep up and improve on SL's global competitiveness. more..

From Nandikadal to Handi-Kadaal

Oct 29 (SO) If there was one thing that characterized the 10-year rule of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, that would be the unprecedented level of violence unleashed upon the regime’s political opponents. Infamous white van abductions were prevalent in the capital city of Colombo, while strong critiques of the govt often came under attacks from death squads that operated with the blessings of the top echelons of the govt. Former Sunday Leader Editor more..

Woman to enter P'ment amidst bomb threats

Oct 29 (CT) A Greek physician once said for extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure are more suitable and this over the years transformed into the phrase desperate times call for desperate measures. Similarly, the Yahapalana Govt appear to look for desperate measures amidst the growing storm threatening to overwhelm constitutional reforms due to protests by extremist groups about the description of the nature of State of SL. more..

Aiyo! Mr. Public Servant

Oct 29 (ST) With the presentation of the national 2018 budget just two weeks away, this week’s Thursday morning was spent reflecting on the country’s enormous debt and the legacy of a Treasury with a bottomless pit that would be left to the present generation (those aged above 18 years) and those to come. Govt economic planners have repeatedly tried to resurrect the country from a nation of debt to a nation of wealth without any success. more..

Sri Lanka 'A' 253-6 v Windies 'A'

Oct 29 (JO) Sri Lanka 'A' have progressed to 253-6 at the break in their first innings reply to West Indies 'A' first innings total of 181 on day three of their third unofficial four-day Test match here at Sabina Park in Kingston. Visitors began their innings positively by closing day two on 132-3, led by captain Dhananjaya De Silva, who scored his third half-century of the series with 64. Composed middle-order batsmans Roshen Silva is so far unbeaten on 52 and with him is Wanidu Hasaranga on 5. more..

Title deeds for Hatton estate workers

Oct 29 (SO) PM Ranil Wickramasinghe and six Cabinet Ministers will visit Hatton today to issue title deeds to 2,864 families in the area. PM with Ministers Palani Digambaram, Duminda Dissanayake, Gayantha Karunathillake, Naveen Dissanayake, Mano Ganeshan and V. Radhakrishnan will attend the event. The event marks the second phase of the program of transforming plantation estates into villages more..

Seylan Bank records Rs. 3b PAT in 3Q

Oct 29 (SO) Seylan Bank closed the 9 months ending Sept 30, with a post-tax profit of Rs.3,002m, moderate growth of 6% over corresponding period last year. Results were impacted by provisions made on account of a legacy NPA, payment of which is due from the Compensation Tribunal. Growth in advances coupled with the rise in interest rates enabled interest income to grow by 35% and interest expenses increased by 48% due to funds moving into higher yielding fixed deposits. more..

Security tight as Sri Lanka cricket team land back in Pakistan

Oct 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka's cricket team arrived in Lahore under heavy security Sunday to play the final Twenty20 of a three-match series, eight years after they were attacked by gunmen there. The team and their officials were taken to a five-star hotel in a bomb-proof bus with hundreds of security guards on the roads and at the resort. International cricket was suspended in Pakistan after the 2009 gun attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, which left eight people killed and more..

Cricket: Pakistan welcomes end of isolation from internationals

Oct 29 (Reuters) Even Pakistan’s PM did not believe it could happen but when Sri Lanka visit the eastern city of Lahore on Sunday for a T20 match, the hosts will celebrate the end of eight years of isolation from international cricket. Less than a year ago, none of this appeared possible for a nation that had largely been shunned by international teams since 2009 due to security risks. That year gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lanka team more..

Three areas Lankans were found wanting

Oct 29 (CT) Tour of UAE by SL is over and just one game remaining to be completed in Lahore. Looking back one has to concede that it has been a disappointing outing for the tourists after the fabulous start where they promised plenty. Winning the Test series was a no easy achievement and Pakistan was no pushover in their new found home territory which is the UAE. Sad thing however, was that events that unfolded after the said Tests where SL could have approached it with greater more..

Outcome of CSE survey to be known in 6 mo.

Oct 29 (SO) The outcome of the recently announced national survey by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to identify why there exists a problem of low retail participation in Sri Lanka’s capital market is expected to be known in six months, CSE Chairman, Ray Abeywardena said last week. The CSE has invited prospective service providers to submit a proposal, quotations and technical specifications for the conduct of a national survey of the adult population with disposable income. more..

The hidden benefits of SL's return to Lahore

Oct 29 (CI) Thilan Samaraweera had left his cellphone in his hotel room that morning, as he often did. So, following the attack on the team bus, when his wife Erandathie tried to reach him, she had no choice but to call his team-mates. She tried Mahela Jayawardene first. "Yes Thilan is here, but he can't talk right now," he had told her. When Kumar Sangakkara said the same thing, she began to fear the worst. more..

Canned fish manufacturers cry foul

Oct 29 (SO) The Canned Fish Manufacturing Association of Sri Lanka requests the govt to provide a level playing field with regard to the import of canned fish, the duty on which has been reduced in recent times. “We urge the govt to re-impose the import duty on canned fish to its original level and protect the local industry. We cannot compete with the large importers following the huge reduction in duty,” the Association’s President Shiran Fernando said. more..

World’s first Climate Change Research Station in Sri Lanka

Oct 29 (ST) Dilmah is setting up the world’s first Climate Research Station at Queensberry Estate in Nawalapitiya. Research station built at an elevation of 1645 metres, the highest point of any estate at Dilmah-owned Kahawatte Plantations, will facilitate future research in measuring changes in climatic patterns in the country. The facility will be used by leading experts on climate science, to study general trends as well as to determine accurate weather patterns to be experienced across Sri Lanka. more..

Unused funds, revenue delays hurt govt performance

Oct 29 (ST) Unused budget allocations, delays in collecting revenue and other bottlenecks in govt institutions have affected the performance of ministries and state institutions in 2016 and 2017, analysts said. “There had been several instances where balances remained for a long period in Treasury’s General Deposit Account,” one analyst said adding that Treasury is expected to ensure this is not repeated in future. more..

India for Colombo Trinco Ports

Oct 29 (NS) India’s Foreign Secretary last week had reportedly stated that India will be assisting SL to develop Colombo & Trinco ports. Jaishankar had reportedly made this statement on Thursday while addressing a workshop titled Connecting the Bay of Bengal India, Japan, and Regional Cooperation, organised by the India chapter of global think tank Carnegie India. The announcement comes days after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe named India as a top contender for developing more..

Lahore readies itself for that int'l feeling

Oct 29 (CI) And so it comes again: for the fifth time this year, Gaddafi Stadium will attract global attention for doing what it was first built to do over 50 years ago: host an international cricket match. Sri Lanka are the visitors this time, the team that has been least fussy about playing cricket in Pakistan over the years. That was to their detriment in 2009, with the attack on their team bus, and Pakistan's status as a venue has been paying the price ever since. more..

ICTA wants public database department of registration objects

Oct 29 (SL) The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (Private) Limited (ICTA), a company owned by the govt has sought access to the database of the general public in the hands of the Department Of Registration of Persons. However the Department Of Registration of Persons has raised strong objections to releasing the information saying it will compromise the privacy of individuals. more..

Eleven companies submit bids to explore oil in Mannar

Oct 29 (SL) Eleven companies have submitted bids to explore oil in the Mannar basin, Director Benefits and Mechanical Engineer at Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat Preeni Withanage said. The bids were received after the govt called for tenders to explore and develop oil at Block M2 in the Mannar basin. The block, formerly known as 2007-01-001, was earlier relinquished by Cairn India Ltd. In 2015 Cairn India announced its withdrawal from Mannar Basin natural gas exploration more..

CID probes elephant frauds

Oct 29 (ST) CID is investigating the contents of the report of the one-man committee that unearthed several instances of fraud and corruption in issuing of licences for elephants and the over valuation of an elephant brought to the Dalada Maligawa in 2007 from Myanmar, Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera said. He said the report was sent to the Attorney General’s Department to take legal action in instances where substantial evidence of fraud was uncovered by the committee. more..

No assurance: Govt will use CTF report

Oct 29 (CT) Govt has not given any assurance that it will use the Consultation Task Force (CTF) Report, an initiative of the Govt itself, but the report is being referred to when needed. UN Special Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, too, noted that the CTF's report should have been better received by Govt and its conclusions & recommendations should certainly be a part of all conversations regarding more..

Presidential Commission will not grill PM

Oct 29 (SL) Presidential Commission investigating the alleged Treasury bond scam will not question PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Secretary of the Commission Sumathipala Udugamasuriya said that the written affidavit submitted by the PM to the Commission related to the Treasury bond issue is sufficient. He said that when the Commission convenes on Nov 2nd, statements will be recorded from the CID. The Commission will later decide if it needs to have more hearings or more..

SLMC decides to contest with UNP

Oct 29 (SL) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to contest the LG elections with the United National Party (UNP). SLMC General Secretary Nizam Kariapper said the party had discussed and decided to contest the LG polls with the UNP, except in the North and East. He said the party is yet to decide on the manner in which it will contest in the North and East. Kariapper also said the SLMC will discuss how it will contest future elections as when the election is announced. more..

Tax concessions for small businesses, subsidies for select groups

Oct 29 (ST) Tax concessions for small and medium scale businesses, and targeted subsidies to selected groups are among highlights of next month’s budget proposals. Govt is also set to scale down obtaining of foreign loans for mega projects, instead it will focus on Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and Build Operate & Transfer (BOT) projects in view of the foreign debt repayment dues. Minister Eran Wickremaratne said that a mechanism to more..

Shangri-La Colombo tunes up paradise island

Oct 29 (ST) The Shangri-La chain’s 101st hotel located in Colombo and scheduled to open next month with the largest pillar-less ballroom in the city, is gearing to attract MICE travellers to Sri Lanka. The ballroom still under construction has already gathered interest among the public for a wedding and another event scheduled to be held soon after opening, the hotel authorities said during the sneak-peek session given to journalists in Colombo on Thursday. more..

Catalonia statehood: SL govt expresses displeasure

Oct 29 (CT) Govt expressed its displeasure over the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Regional Parliament of Catalonia, stating that it only unequivocally supports a united Spain. A Foreign Ministry press communiqué stated that Govt of Sri Lanka unequivocally supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Spain and considers Catalonia as an integral part of Spain. SL urged Spain to pursue a dialogue for a united Spain in accordance with the rule of law, more..

SLFP faces decisive moment, crucial make-or-break meeting on Friday

Oct 29 (ST) One more desperate, last minute bid to re-unite the feuding factions of the SLFP — those backing President Maithripala Sirisena and others, his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa — has got under way amidst serious doubts whether it would materialise. The compulsion is triggered by a feared defeat for the SLFP at the local council elections, now back again on a shaky schedule for January, next year. more..

Repaying a debt we owe

Oct 29 (Island) A banner headline in the sports page of yesterday’s issue of The Island said it all. Sri Lanka’s attack survivors bring top-level cricket back to Pakistan, it read. Undoubtedly it was a hard decision to take to travel to Lahore for today’s Twenty20 fixture against Pakistan. Memories of the deadly 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in that city have not faded away. The decision to play the match in Lahore was understandably controversial in that context. more..

Making and unmaking constitutions: National obsession and ad hominem compulsions

Oct 29 (Island) The unfolding constitutional crisis in Spain is bad timing for constitutional reform in SL. The opponents of reform, who are also defenders of the current (1978) SL constitution, will soon seize on Spanish govt’s clamp down on Catalan’s claim to independence - to insist on a full stop to the constitutional reform project in SL. Constitutional reformers, on the other hand, could justifiably argue that their draft proposals will have even stronger safeguards against separatist threats more..

Flying colours for Sirisena: Qatar Airways rushes team to discuss partnership with UL

Oct 29 (ST) A high powered delegation from Qatar Airways is expected in Colombo next week for talks with SriLankan Airlines and explore possibilities of a joint partnership arrangement. The move follows talks President Maithripala Sirisena held with Qatari leader Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani during a two-day state visit to Doha this week. President Sirisena had appealed to Emir to give his request urgent consideration. more..

Orumitha Naadu or Otrai-Aatchi: What best describes Ekeeya Rajya?

Oct 29 (CT) There is considerable confusion among both Tamil speakers and non-Tamil speakers over the Tamil words proposed to describe the nature of the Sri Lankan State in the new Constitution. In the heat of the current debate, which has split the country along party lines, the controversy over the Tamil word has added more fuel to the fire. The new Constitution – or an amended one – is needed, say the proponents of the idea, more..

4 killed and one injured following multiple shootings in Kosgoda

Oct 29 (AD) Four persons have been confirmed dead following multiple shooting incidents that ensued in Kosgoda earlier today (29), where one individual has also been injured.  Police sources have confirmed that the fatalities occurred following several shootings in the area.   The shooting incidents have been carried out in the areas of Kurudugahapiyasa, Manikgama and Laliheththuwayuda Pittaniya. more..

Face book post removed after Dayasiri threatens to sue

Oct 29 (AFP) Sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara denied ordering the lowly-ranked national team to use witchcraft to score a surprising two-match Test series win against Pakistan earlier this month. He threatened to sue a local sorcerer for claiming that at his request she cast a spell over Pakistan to ensure Sri Lanka's victory. "I told her that if she didn't take down that post, I will complain to the police and also take legal action against her," more..

Unpaid Kuwait funds to be used for migrant worker pension scheme

Oct 29 (ST) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) will start a contributory pension scheme for overseas employees using leftover Kuwaiti compensation money remitted to pay Sri Lankans affected by Iraq’s invasion of that country in 1990. The Auditor General’s 2015 report said there was a balance of more than Rs 3.2 billion (around US$ 20 million at the prevailing exchange rate) in the Kuwait compensation fund. more..

Lankans seek funds to save Sinhala in US university

Oct 29 (ST) SL American community in the New York Tri-state area is raising money to save the Sinhala language programme at Cornell University from closing down over funding cuts. “Would you please consider personally donating a one-time suggested amount of $50 to safeguard this program and to keep the study of our Sinhala language alive outside of our motherland?” requests the appeal, circulated among members of SL Association more..

Thajudeen murder: Family upset over lack of progress

Oct 29 (CT) The family of the murdered ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen says that they are currently contemplating what should be done with regard to the lack of progress in the case, including whether they should totally abstain from participating in Court proceedings. A lawyer representing the Thajudeen family said, that they were thoroughly disgusted over the lack of progress regarding the case. more..

LTTE suspects fast unto death to avoid courts: Prison report

Oct 29 (CT) A Superintendent of Anuradhapura Prison has submitted a report to the A'apura High Court claiming, the fast unto death by three LTTE suspects accused of killing 26 Army and Navy personnel in their custody, was done to avoid courts. In his report, Superintendent claims, “The three accused are in the habit of refusing food the day before they are due to be produced in court. The day after they are produced in court, more..

Attempt to derail Uma Oya relief mechanism

Oct 29 (SL) An attempt is being made to derail the Uma Oya relief measures. CaFFE organisation has written to the President and the Home Affairs Ministry Secretary regarding the actions of the Badulla Government Agent (GA) Nimal Abeysiri. In the letter to the Home Affairs Ministry Secretary Neil de Alwis, CaFFE points out that the govt should mediate and provide relief to those affected by Uma Oya project. more..

SAITM Medical Faculty abolished

Oct 29 (NR) Presidential Committee appointed to resolve issues related to the SAITM, has recommended to abolishing the Faculty of Medicine at SAITM. Committee having considered the recommendations made by numerous stakeholder groups, including the Deans of all State Universities, has recommended a set of proposals to arrive at a permanent solution in keeping with the Govt Policy. more..

Pseudo reality of a triad: Kamal, Nalaka & Gotabaya 

Oct 30 (CT) Minorities are different. They must accept majority hegemony. They are less entitled than the majority. Once you buy this proposition, unacceptable behaviour becomes patriotic. Defeating the enemy is the highest moral imperative. Dehumanizing of the enemy, dehumanizes the patriots. Has Ananda of Olcott turned in to an Orwellian animal farm? How did the Ananda purpose අප්පමාදෝ අමතපදං; Appamado Amathapadan construct maniacal minds, more..