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NGOs’ attempt to put pressure on Sri Lanka

Oct 3 (SL) Several NGOs’ last week attempted to put pressure on SL at the UNHRC in Geneva. UNHRC is meeting in Geneva but SL is not on the agenda. Some NGOs’ which made statements at the Council called for the Council’s attention on the crimes committed during the war in SL. Association Culturelle des Tamouls en France said technical assistance and capacity building were necessary to reconstruct societies affected by war, more..

Only 77% of NWSDB Water, Safe

Oct 3 (CT) The Health Ministry has found that only 77% of water samples it collected for bacteriological testing from the National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB)'s distribution network, to be satisfactory, compared with 99.5% of samples collected and tested by the NWSDB itself, a World Bank (WB) report said. Therefore, according to the WB, this difference warrants further analysis. more..

Govt imports rice despite private sector claims of declining demand

Oct 3 (ST) While private sector rice importers claim the demand for imported rice in the market is declining, the Govt is going ahead with its imports, and the first stock of rice is expected to reach the country by the second week of this month. CWE Chairman Mohammed Rizwan Hameem said they have reached the final stages of importing rice, with the first stock of 10,000 MT of white Nadu to be imported from India, more..

SL refugee who died on Manus Island was due to face court on sexual assault charge

Oct 3 (ABC) A Sri Lankan refugee who died on Manus Island on Monday was due to face court on sexual assault charge the day his body was found. The 32-year-old man was charged with sexually assaulting a woman in a hotel in Lorengau, the town on Manus Island, in January. He denied the charge, saying the pair were in a relationship and had consensual sex. But the case went ahead and the man was to face more..

Govt to mobilise long-term global funding for SMEs

Oct 3 (FT) In a fresh bid to enhance the supply of trade finance to SMEs, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the Govt was planning to set up a development banking mechanism, which will have the capacity to mobilise long-term funding from multilateral sources under the sovereign risk. “The idea now is for the Govt to set up a development banking mechanism that will have the capacity to mobilise long-term more..

GMOA condemns appointment of Prof. Colvin Gunaratne as SLMC Chairman

Oct 3 (AD) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) expressed their displeasure over the appointment of Prof. Colvin Gunaratne as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), stating that he is a sympathizer of the SAITM and will act to prolong its existence. Professor Colvin Gunaratne was appointed as the Chairman of SLMC, yesterday. He was appointed by Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. more..

President opens submarine cable station

Oct 3 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena opened the new building of South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) state-of-the-art submarine cable system landing station by the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), at Matara, yesterday(02). The SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable system spans approximately 20,000 km whilst offering POP-to-POP (Point of Presence) solutions from Singapore to Europe via France & Italy. more..

Senadhipathi & Palitha Fernando indicted

Oct 3 (NR) Court has issued dates for the evidence hearing pertaining to soliciting a bribe to maintain a floating armoury of Avant Garde Maritime Security Services. Accordingly, the evidence hearing will be held from the 19th to the 22nd Oct. Court filed 49 indictments against Former Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi and retired Major General Palitha Fernando. Judge ordered to release suspects on 100,000 rupee cash bail each more..

We can only be hospitable to Rohingya refugees

Oct 3 (CT) Like every other major scale refugee crisis Myanmar's Rohingya issue has spilled over borders into neighbouring States and even exposed the refugees to the harsh violence of the Indian Ocean. While there are no bounds to human compassion and charity, there is always the opposite side that is rarely addressed; the darker side of human nature that abhors differences. This capacity for violence and hatred knows not the geographical boundaries or hypothetical lines more..

Analysis of Sri Lanka’s drop in global competitiveness ranking

Oct 3 (FT) From the first email sent in 1971 to the celebration of 10 years of the iPhone today, we all live in the fourth industrial revolution. Many nations need to compete with different sets of strengths and sophistication. There are impressive developments in many fields such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, big data and on-demand technologies. Nations with higher economic competitiveness will be more productive and will provide the most social benefits whilst creating more..

Dew Gunasekera

Sri Lanka, US in Naval Exercise

Oct 3 (CT) SL Navy and the US Pacific Fleet commenced the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Exercise - 2017 yesterday at Trincomalee. This is the first time the exercise is held in Sri Lanka. The Exercise which started yesterday will continue until 6 October. Inaugurated in 1995, CARAT is an annual bilateral military exercises that the US Pacific Fleet conducts with the navies of several Asian countries. "This exercise shares maritime security priorities, more..

President appoints four ministry secretaries

Oct 3 (EN) President Sirisena had appointed new secretaries to four ministries. Gamini Senevirathne was appointed Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Employment Jayantha Wijeyrathne to Ministry of Sports, Neil Ranjith Ashoka to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and M A Sisira Kumara as Secretary to Ministry of Irrigation & Water Management. Current administration since coming to power as also made wholesale changes to secretaries of ministries twice in 2015. more..

The truth about Rangaiyya

Oct 3 (CI) Frankly, Pakistan would like to call bullshit. For years - pretty much his entire career - Rangana Herath has been made out to be this cuddly, pudgy little teddy bear. No piece on him goes by without reference to his belly. And look, he works in a bank except he's not a banker like JP Morgan was a banker. Cricket's normcore legend. Drops his kids to school and runs errands himself. He's happy to be normal, more..

Two and half million in Sri Lanka have no proper housing facilities: Sajith

Oct 3 (DN) “How can we celebrate World Habitat Day when almost 2.5 million families do not have proper housing facilities,” Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa asked at the National celebration of the 31st World Habitat Day held in Matara yesterday under the theme, Housing Policies Affordable Holmes. “The celebration would be more meaningful had we provided these them with houses,” the Minister said. “Of them, over 216,000 have no land or houses. more..

29,160 families in Badulla alerted of potential landslides

Oct 3 (AD) The National Construction Association of Sri Lanka (NACSL) stated that 29,160 families in Badulla were alerted of possible landslides that may occur due to the prolonged adverse weather conditions that plagued the region. Senior Geologist and Executive Director of the Landslides Research Unit of the NACSL Gamini Jayatissa stated that residents surrounding the Badulla area should be vigilant of possible landslides. Gamini Jayatissa expressed these sentiments after more..

Rohingya refugee incident: an elaborate scheme to mask rape allegations?

Oct 3 (AD) Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon stated that the Sep 26, Rohingya refugee incident was an elaborate scheme to mask the shocking rape of one of the Rohingya refugees by a SL law enforcement officer. CHR reported that a court case was lodged against a Police Officer who had allegedly abducted and raped a Rohingya refugee who was under more..

Cardiac and Critical Care Complex for Lady Ridgeway Hospital

Oct 3 (GDI) The construction works of the Cardiac and Critical Care Complex, which consist of the Cardiac and Thoracic Critical Care Unit and the ICU at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital, was commenced under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena, today (2). The new building complex is being built from the funds of the govt of Sri Lanka and the Little Hearts project, with the aim of providing timely treatment for all children in need for medical care. more..

New Indian port a threat to Colombo

Oct 3 (CT) Colombo has had to move out from its transshipment mentality to that of being an international maritime centre or hub if it is to survive. This was said by SLPA Chairman Dr. Parakarama Dissanayake. 70% of the port's business is derived from transshipment traffic mainly from India. However, Dissanayake warned that the 20.5-metre deep Adani Transshipment Port in India, to be completed in two years' time, by December 2019, poses a threat to the Colombo Port. more..

Police minister becomes victim of hit-and-run driver

Oct 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's minister in charge of law and order has become a victim of a hit-and-run attack on the Southern Expressway, but the police department which is under him has failed to track the offending motorist. Adding insult to injury, the traffic police has given the run around to Minister Sagala Ratnayaka's personal security officer when he tried to lodge a formal complaint about the incident on Friday night. more..

Udaya Gammanpila indicted

Oct 3 (NR) The evidence hearing in the case against UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila and Sidney Jayasinghe on charges of financial misappropriation of 2.1 million rupees from an Australian couple by using a forged Attorneys permit have commenced. Four indictments have been filed against the accused and the details of the accusations were read out in court today. Colombo High Court Judge ordered the commencement of the evidence hearing due to the accused pleading not guilty more..

Basil seeks order transferring almanac case

Oct 3 (DN) Filing a Transfer Application in the Court of Appeal, Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa sought an order staying any further proceedings into controversial almanac case before Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga, currently presiding over Court No.6 of Colombo High Court. He further sought an order transferring case from Colombo High Court presided over by High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga to any other court of High Court of Colombo. more..

Govt using the word unitary to create federal state: Abayathissa Thero

Oct 3 (AD) Ven. Medagoda Abayathissa Thero today urged the Most Venerable Mahanayake Thero of the Malwathu Chapter not to take decisions regarding the future of the country based on his personal opinion.  He was speaking during a press beefing in Colombo by the Eliya Foundation, with regard to the Interim Report of the Constitutional Assembly’s steering committee regarding a new constitution. more..

GMOA given 2 day deadline for doctor vacancies

Oct 3 (NR) The Secretary to the Ministry of Health has extended the deadline by two days for the GMOA to provide a list of vacancies for Primary Doctors prioritizing govt hospitals. Ministry of Health said the GMOA was given time on a previous occasion to submit proposals in this regard. However, it said the GMOA had failed to do so. In accordance with approval given by the National Service Commission, the Secretary to the Ministry of Health that appoints Medical Officers. more..

Certain state officers hindering govt. activities: AHM Haleem

Oct 3 (NR) Minister MHA Haleem says certain state officers are attempting to hinder development activities of the govt. He said the objective of such individuals is to support politicians who were defeated at the previous elections in order to regain power. Minister Haleem noted the govt works with a lot of patience adding that certain officials still have the thought in their heads that the Former President MP Mahinda Rajapaksha will come into power again. more..

1,333 refugees, asylum seekers in the country: Minister

Oct 3 (DM) While claiming that the group of 35 Myanmar refugees would be sent to third country, Govt today revealed that a total of 1,333 asylum seekers and refugees were residing in the country under the protection of the UNHCR. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said according to an MoU signed between the UNHCR and the Govt, Myanmar refugees should be sent to a third country as soon as possible. more..

A tenth province or coastal authority to deal with climate change

Oct 4 (CT) The proposed constitution has provoked much debate, but mainly within the framework of traditional thinking with emphasis on the usual issues, i.e., Unitary and  Devolved power, the place of Buddhism, or the Executive Presidency. Whether devolution should be district-based  or province-based has been debated for at least 50 years, with the same arguments being brought out. While the demand for devolution originally came from the Tamil Nationalist politicians, more..

Towards a culture devoid of violence and freedom from fear for all

Oct 4 (NS) Reconciliation is a process which can rebuild the jagged relationships between diverse groups that have been victims of violence in SL. Int'l Human rights organizations maintain that the reconciliation efforts by the Govt should be a wake-up call for President and PM. The slow pace of transitional justice in Sri Lanka and the lack of a comprehensive strategy to address accountability for past crimes risk derailing the momentum towards lasting peace, reconciliation and stability. more..

'Housing and lands for IDPs soon'

Oct 4 (SO) Minister D.M. Swaminathan, outlined the progress so far made by the National Unity Govt on sorting out some of the delicate and arduous national issues that are inevitable outcomes of the three-decade-long war, such as, permanent housing for the conflict-affected people, release of the remaining private lands under military use, the early release of the rest of the political prisoners in detention under PTA more..

Keeping prices under check

Oct 4 (DN) I refer to the news item under the heading President instructs reduction of prices of some essential items. It goes on to say that the President instructed the officials to reduce prices of some essential items. President is rightly concerned about the prices of essential items since they affect the living conditions of the people. Most people are more or less on fixed incomes and cannot cope with increases in prices in the short run since their incomes are more or less fixed. more..

SriLankan Airlines continues to descend

Oct 4 (CT) The national carrier SriLankan Airlines recently held its 39th AGM of the Shareholders last Monday at the Auditorium of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka at Malalasekera Mawatha in Colombo 7. It was presided by Chairman Ajith Dias and attended by six of seven remaining directors. One director had resigned recently. It was well attended by many former and current employee shareholders, anxious to ascertain the future of the airline. more..

'Buddhism should retain its current status'

Oct 4 (CT) Minister Daya Gamage noted that he personally would not like the compromise on the current status of Buddhism in the country. He went on to note that the Interim Report by the Constitutional Assembly is being misinterpreted by the Joint Opposition who misinform the public that the factors indicated in the said documents are definite and went on to note that certain groups of people were assessing it more..

Ailing parliament & moribund democracy

Oct 4 (Island) Sri Lankan Parliament, housed in a palatial building complex constructed with Japanese funds and equipped with computers from China, has celebrated its 70th Anniversary on a grand scale. One wonders whether the celebrations were also sponsored by a foreign government. As parliament turns 70, the need, we believe, is for sober reflection and not scenes of jubilation. What we are witnessing is like celebrating a terminally ill person’s birthday. Democracy has faced a double whammy more..

The problem with unlicensed software

Oct 4 (Roar) Sri Lankans have a very carefree attitude when it comes to software. A great majority of software in Sri Lanka is pirated. The Software alliance published a survey in 2016 which stated that Sri Lanka’s rate of unlicensed software installations was 79% in 2015. It was 83% in 2013. That’s astoundingly high. This means that USD 163 million in revenue was taken away from the developers. And while you may think that getting expensive software for free is a steal (literally), more..

Face the Nation

Some feminist perspectives on abortion debate

Oct 4 (GV) At this moment in Sri Lanka, the abortion debate has sprung up once again; with the cabinet purportedly attempting to pass a bill which would legalize abortions for women under two circumstances – if the woman is a victim of rape or if the foetus is detected to have Lethal Congenital Malformation. Sri Lankan Penal Code of 1883 (yes, that’s right, that’s the year our criminal law is from: 1883) criminalizes all attempts to abort a foetus, including  assisting in an abortion more..

I could have danced all night!

Oct 4 (ST) Skirts swishing, arms swinging, an animated group of actors loudly sing the words “With a little bit of luck!With a little bit of luck”. This was the scene the Sunday Times Magazine encountered when we sat in at rehearsals for the Workshop Players’ much anticipated production of My Fair Lady which goes on the boards at the Lionel Wendt theatre from October 6-15. For those who are unfamiliar with either the legendary film or hit musical, My Fair Lady follows the story of more..

'Incentives for R&D in Budget 2018'

Oct 4 (FT) The upcoming Budget will have generous incentives to encourage research and development to make the economy more competitive, while also removing para-tariffs, cess and other obstructions for the private sector to make Sri Lanka a logistics hub in the Indian Ocean, a top official revealed yesterday. Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) International Conference 2017 titled more..

Rohingya Muslims are in Mullaitivu, Ampara and the North: Ravana Balaya

Oct 4 (NS) Interview with General Secretary of the Ravana Balaya, Iththekande Sadhdhatissa. Q: What is your position with regard to the refugee situation? The Government has not notified us of anything. We have already visited the Myanmar embassy in this regard. The Govt previously stated that no Rohingya had come into the country and later that those who had come had been sent away. If that is in fact the case, who is it that remains in the country? The Govt has to accept the responsibility. more..

Celebrating parliamentary democracy Sri Lankan way

Oct 4 (Island) Minister Faiszer Musthapha, recently declared that out of 225 MPs less than 50 actively participated in parliamentary work. Parliament comprises 196 elected members and 29 appointed on the often abused National List. Musthapha didn’t mince his words when he asserted that the vast majority of members were there only to enjoy a range of perks and privileges available to them. The current parliament comprises 106 members elected on the UNP ticket, one on the SLMC ticket more..