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Delay likely in 20A coming before parliament

Sep 13 (ST) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, easily one of Sri Lanka’s most popular politicians, this week revealed another facet of his personality — his ability to laugh at himself. A confidant asked him why the Govt sought to abolish 19A and introduce a 20A in Parliament. He guffawed and replied, “Both are aimed at the Rajapaksas, most importantly me.” Even if the remarks were light-hearted, there was still sense. more..

Prez tells State Ministers to prepare 5-yr plan

Sep 13 (DM) Prez Rajapaksa, during a meeting held with his State Ministers, asked them to evaluate the amount of work that can be done from year to year and prepare a Five Year plan. Prez emphasised that future works should be done according to a plan. He said officials may say that everything has been done and were in order, but strategies and plans were useless if they are confined only to their files and folders. “You have to take them to the ground and make them a reality. It’s the key role of a more..

Sri Lanka calls for collective effort for prosperity in Southeast Asia

Sep 13 (MFA) The 27th ASEAN Regional Forum was held on 12th Sept 2020 virtually. State Minister for Regional Cooperation, Tharaka Balasuriya represented SL at the Forum. In his statement Minister Balasuriya commended the role of ARF as a proponent of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. SL highlighting the values of constructive dialogue, consultation and cooperation by all member states in maintaining peace and security in the region, called for collective efforts by more..

Auditors slam 20A; nearly 120 state-owned companies exempt from AG’s scrutiny

Sep 13 (ST) Nearly 120 State-owned companies including the debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines will be exempt from Govt audit under the proposed 20th Amendment. Among scores of other business entities to be excluded are Lanka Electricity Company (LECO), Sri Lanka Insurance, Lanka Hospitals, Litro Gas, Lanka Sathosa, multiple plantation and electricity companies and Lanka Coal Company Ltd. more..

'Hunger strike at Boossa prison: Govt won’t bow to unreasonable demand'

Sep 13 (SO) Defence Secretary, Major General (Rtd.) Kamal Gunaratne said the authorities would not bow down to unreasonable demands by incarcerated criminals. He was referring to the ongoing hunger strike at the Boossa high security prison led by underworld gangsters, Podi Lassie, Wele Sudha and other notorious underworld characters. “Those on hunger strike are the most dangerous criminals in this country,” he said, adding that the authorities are willing to consider more..

Singapore Temasek Foundation donates 1Mn face masks to SL produced by MAS Holdings

Sep 13 (LBO) Temasek Foundation of Singapore presented 1 million Livinguard reusable masks to SL’s High Commissioner to Singapore Sashikala Premawardhane for the people of SL. The presentation was made by the CEO of Temasek Foundation International Benedict Cheong at a ceremony held on 11th September. Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Chee Hong Tat and Non-Resident High Commissioner to SL Chandra Das were on hand to witness more..

MT New Diamond: Oversight costs Sri Lanka

Sep 13 (TM) Sri Lanka stands to lose the opportunity of claiming one-fourth the value of the MT New Diamond and one-fourth the crude oil on board (67,500 metric tonnes) due to an oversight by Sri Lanka’s maritime authorities. This is due to the maritime authorities allowing the ship to be towed out of Sri Lanka’s maritime borders into international waters in the rush to prevent an oil spill close to Sri Lanka. more..

Namal & Limini become parents to baby boy

Sep 13 (DM) Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa’s wife Limini had given birth to their first child, a baby boy, today, Minister Rajapaksa said. In a tweet, he said both the mother and the baby are healthy and happy. “What better gift to be blessed with than a healthy baby boy as both Limini and I celebrate our first anniversary. I thank everyone who wished us for both milestones. Mother and baby are extremely tired after the strenuous work they did all day but they are healthy and happy,” he said. more..

Sri Lankan charged with child sex offences in Melbourne

Sep 13 (APP) A Sri Lankan man living in Melbourne has been charged with child sex offences over coercing young girls into sending explicit images and videos of themselves and then blackmailing them to send more. Australian Federal Police alleged the man distributed the intimate content to the girls' families and friends as a punishment for failing to comply. The 23-year-old was arrested after tip-offs from both the London Metropolitan Police and the FBI about young girls, more..

Video featuring Zahran & several political reps aired at PCoI

Sep 13 (AD) A video featuring the ringleader of the Easter Sunday terror attacks Zahran Hashim, one of his brothers, a former Eastern Provincial Councillor of the SLMC and a candidate of the National Front for Good Governance, has been aired at the Prez Commission probing the attacks. It revealed that Zahran had commissioned a report on the performance of Muslim MPs during the period covering 2012 and 2015. more..

National Sports Festival 2020: Ten overseas scholarships for best athletes

Sep 13 (CT) Ten outstanding athletes with potential to win international medals will be selected based on their performance at the National Sports Festival (NSF) 2020, and will be given an international scholarship for further overseas training for a period of 3 years. The 46th National Sports Festival 2020 (NSF) will be held this December at the Sugathadasa Stadium, making it the first instance in five years that the Festival will be held on a synthetic track. more..

NVOCCA AGM: Import restrictions hamper Container Carrier business

Sep 13 (CT) The post pandemic scenario that is evolving in Sri Lanka and the rest of the world has seen container shipping activities being streamlined and becoming more efficient and transparent. This in turn will offer an advantage to Container Carrier agents who change with the times, SL Association of Non-Vessel Owning Container Carriers Agents (SLANA) Chairperson Harsha De Silva said. Addressing the association’s 4th AGM on Thursday (10), he said its activities are compounded by more..

Data Protection Bill to Cabinet this month

Sep 13 (TM) The much-awaited Data Protection Bill is expected to reach the Cabinet of Ministers by the end of this month following a final round of drafting necessitated by members of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC). Data Protection Drafting Committee Chair Jayantha Fernando said that the draft Bill that would be submitted to the Cabinet is a revised version of the initial Data Protection Bill draft which more..

Mattala preparing for more flights

Sep 13 (ST) Sri Lanka is gearing up to open the Mattala airport for international passenger services and cargo traffic with discussions underway with a number of airlines. The plan is to have scheduled airline flights once the airport is open for commercial traffic and in this regard it will be aiming for five scheduled airlines at the start, AASL Director Shehan Sumanasekara said. In this respect he said they have had “serious level discussions with Indigo, Air India, Fly Dubai and Myanmar Airlines”. more..

Increasing local tyre production but shortage persists

Sep 13 (ST) Sri Lanka is gearing up to produce more tyres using local natural rubber to meet the country’s requirement by setting up a couple of factories soon but the current shortage of tyres due to import restrictions drags on with no prompt solutions. The present tyre shortage will push thousands of vehicles off the road within months as 5000 traders in the country had no adequate stocks to sell during the past six several tyre dealers, traders and buyers complained. more..

TRC strikes a hard blow to counterfeit phones

Sep 13 (ST) From next month, all fake phones won’t work. So despite a tantalisingly cheap price tag, the unforeseen trouble for such phones lies in the form of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). From October, phones of only TRC registered telco vendors will work, Oshada Senanayake, Director General TRC said. There are 24.43 million mobile phone subscribers in SL as at Dec 2018, more..

Economy: Faster recovery expected in 4Q

Sep 13 (SO) Report on the second quarter performance of the GDP is likely to be released by the end of this month, a senior official of the Dept of Census and Statistics (DCS) said. The data on the quarterly performance of the GDP is released 75 days after the issuance of the last quarter results. “We are in the process of finalising the data obtained from various institutions and most likely the final figures will be released by the end of this month,” said DCS Director General Dr. Indu Bandara. more..

The need to review the reviews

Sep 13 (Island) Many things in our cricket have fallen apart; including common sense. Here’s a case in point. Jerome Jayaratne has been a career coach and his loyalty has been with SLC for over two decades. His thesis on coaching was recognized by the ICC and that’s the one that modern day coaches follow. For some strange reason, SLC opted to take him out of coaching and put him in administration. They wanted to accommodate a British national as head of the coaching department. more..

The Rebel who flew over the cuckoo’s nest

Sep 13 (ST) Tony Opatha, arguably SL’s finest new-ball bowler of the 1970s, passed away at the age of 73 after a brief illness. Playing during the pre-Test era, Opatha was a regular feature in the national team of the time and played league cricket in Britain. But he will be remembered more for masterminding the 1982 rebel tour to South Africa. Having represented his alma mater St. Peter’s College in the late 60s and 70s, more..

Head hunt for budding sports students

Sep 13 (SO) Schoolboys and schoolgirls identified with sporting talents and living in less privileged regions in the country will have their cherished dream of enrolling at sporting schools in Colombo following a directive by Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa in association with Minister GL Peiris. The budding sports-oriented students will be selected once they reach Grade Eight or 13 years and will be assured of showcasing their talents as one of the steps taken by Minister Rajapaksa more..

Sri Lanka tennis in danger of losing office and 17 courts

Sep 13 (SO) The land leased out to the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) for its headquarters and courts at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 7 is under threat of being reclaimed by the Colombo Municipal Council, the Sunday Observer learns. The land was leased out on a tax basis for a few decades. The SLTA headquarters is spread over nearly five acres of land which has a very high value and the CMC had attempted to take it back on a few previous occasions and failed. more..

It’s too late to question Premalal Jayasekara taking oaths: Speaker

Sep 13 (CT) NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on Tuesday used a clever tactic to silence Govt MPs who started to disturb him when he began to speak about the swearing-in of SLPP MP Premalal Jayasekara. He mentioned about allegations levelled against MPs who got up to raise Points of Order during his speech saying that he would come out with more allegations. Dissanayake started to speak about more..

Stranded foreigners to contest surfing

Sep 13 (SO) Several foreigners from some 2000 of them reported to be stranded in Sri Lanka due to the Covid-19 virus are expected to take part in the Open and National Surfing championship that will be held in Arugam Bay on September 26 and 27. This championship is organized by Lanka Sportreizen and sponsored by Mobitel and Lin Asia Holdings that will have an Open event where the foreigners can participate and the Nationals where only local surfers will contest. more..

And when Wesley’s call shall sound!

Sep 13 (ST) Founded in 1874 by the Rev. Daniel Henry Pereira in the environs of Dam Street in Pettah, Wesley College Colombo, a Methodist school, today stands as a monument along Baseline Road, in memory of one of its greatest Principals, Rev. Henry Highfield, who contributed immensely towards uplifting and improving education both at Wesley and also in the country. As a gesture of gratitude to his service in uplifting the standard of education in Ceylon, Rev. Henry Highfield more..

SJB leadership worries of a possible crack as members evade maiden protest

Sep 13 (CT) The agitation against 20th Amendment, deforestation in Anavilundawa and Sinharaja took back stage, with a mere verbal proposal made by PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to SLPP Parliamentary Group Meeting to ban cattle slaughter taking centre stage. PM has taken this decision in his capacity as the Minister of Buddha Sasana, Religious & Cultural Affairs. He explained that society is concerned about cattle slaughter more..

Agony of small-time borrowers

Sep 13 (ST) Regulated and unregulated micro-finance companies, unregulated leasing companies, regulated and unregulated finance companies – all have issues; all have problems. And despite repeated warnings by the CB urging depositors to be wary of unregulated finance companies, people invest in these dubious firms desperate for high interest income or take loans from unregulated micro-finance companies often without any collateral. more..

Lessons from New Diamond saga

Sep 13 (SO) There are many lessons to be learnt from the saga involving the VLCC Crude Oil carrier MT New Diamond. But first, all Sri Lankans have to be grateful to SL Navy, SL Air Force and Indian Coastguard whose personnel worked day and night to douse the fire on board the MT New Diamond, (though it ignited again on a smaller scale) to prevent a massive oil leak from the crude oil storage area. Ship was carrying 260,000 MT of Crude. One can only imagine the scale of the disaster more..

යෝජිත ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථා සංශෝධනය

Some rules are meant to be broken

Sep 13 (ST) My dear Choka malli, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on being sworn in as a Member of the House by the Diyawanna Oya, despite some people trying to prevent you from doing so. You may not realise it, but this is a great achievement that will go down in history and will be talked about for years to come. That is, of course, not surprising for us citizens of Paradise. Why, 60 years ago, we gave the world its first woman Prime Minister, that gracious lady, Mrs B, more..

MP takes oath in jest?

Sep 13 (CT) Jaffna District MP C.V. Wigneswaran, a former Judge in Colombo, after his retirement turned politician in Jaffna, made a provocative speech at the inaugural ceremony of the new Parliament that raised many eyebrows. Some MPs considered his speech a tongue-in-cheek style of verbal diarrhoea, particularly his lawyer colleagues who remembered him on the Bench. C.V. Wigneswaran lives in Colombo intermingling with the Colombo Sinhala elite society. Both his daughters are more..

'SJB has no issue with Ruwan becoming UNP leader'

Sep 13 (SO) The SJB National Organiser and one time UNP firebrand Tissa Attanayake said they call upon the UNP leadership to open a path to bring these two parties together heeding the call of the party supporters. Adding that, the UNP leaders are still oblivious to the reality, Attanayake said they were ready to speak to a moderate leader who will succeed Ranil Wickremesinghe and salvage the great old party. more..

UNP leadership stakes: Mangala joins the fray

Sep 13 (SO) Govt and Opposition lawmakers engaged in heated arguments in Parliament on Tuesday, Sept 8 over the swearing-in of SLPP Ratnapura district MP Premalal Jayasekara, a death row convict. Opposition MPs from the SJB argued in the House over the precedent that is being set by allowing death row convicts to enter Parliament. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena defended his decision to allow Jayasekara to take oaths saying he is abiding by the Order of the Court of Appeal more..

The 20th Amendment: Mahinda’s golden handshake & Maithri’s moment of reckoning

Sep 13 (CT) The govt’s rush to pass the 20th Amendment soon after the election is understandable given the political toing and froing of the last decade. What is mystifying is the desire to create a whole new constitution, and the appointment of an extra-parliamentary Experts Committee (thankfully, not a military Task Force) to produce a draft for it. The 1947, 1972 and 1978 constitutions had a pathbreaking purpose each. Is there such a purpose for the current SLPP more..

'19A targeted political opponents, not people’s well-being'

Sep 13 (SO) Minister Johnston Fernando said the SJB or the UNP has no moral right to talk of the independence of the judiciary. He said the audio clips of some SJB MPs have proved how they connived with the Police officers to imprison their political opponents and the Maha Sangha. Minister said the people gave a two-thirds majority to the Govt to change the present Constitution and introduce a new one. more..

Trapped between a rock & A hard place

Sep 13 (CT) The foreign powers relevant to SL’s predicament, in order of involvement are India, China, the US, and Pakistan to a lesser degree. Japan, Australia and the UK will bestir themselves to the extent that the US compels them. To India the island is so critical that a threat to its security such as setting up a hostile military base will provoke a hard militarised response. US military interest is to backup India and deny China military facilities, but its economic forebodings are deeper and more..

Getting away with murder

Sep 13 (ST) The chairman of the ruling party told the media this week that the Govt has no issue with the Opposition going before the Supreme Court to test the legality of the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution. The law professor turned politician rests his argument on the AG giving his opinion that 20A only needed a two-thirds majority of Parliament, which the Govt boasts it has. Coinciding with that claim, a court in Hulftsdorp rejected AG’s submissions that a MP convicted of murder more..