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Vehicles for Ministers: What does it mean for democracy?

Mar 28 (DM) Govt has sought parliamentary approval for Rs. 288 million to buy vehicles for several ministers, deputy ministers and state ministers. This comes in the wake of a previous supplementary estimate to the tune of Rs.791 million approved by Parliament last year to purchase vehicles for 25 MPs. Under perfect circumstances, especially in a country where average folks are forced to cough up nearly three times of more..

Addressing the misconceptions on reform to MMDA

Mar 28 (DM) The pending reforms to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) have resulted in both interest and controversy from within and outside the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. Some members of the community, perceive the reforms to be a result of western/NGO pressure, whilst others believe that the reform is long overdue. In the ensuing debate there have been many perceptions and misconceptions regarding the process, of which some I intend addressing. more..

MDMK, VCK hypocrisy blocks Rajinikanth’s visit to Sri Lanka

Mar 28 (DM) Tamil Nadu superstar Rajinikanth on Saturday announced that he had decided not to attend an event to be held in Vavuniya on April 10 to hand over keys to 150 houses built by an Indian firm for people displaced by the war. His decision appears to have come in the wake of opposition from Tamil Nadu’s pro-LTTE groups, including the VCK and the MDMK. Rajinikanth was supposed to inaugurate the housing scheme built by the Lyca Group’s Gnanam Foundation, more..

Disappointed Jaffna citizens protest

Mar 28 (CT) A mass protest was held in Jaffna at 3 p.m. yesterday against Tamil Nadu politicians Thol. Thiruvmavalavan, T. Velmurugan and Y. Gopalaswamy, who prevented the superstar of Tamil cinema, Rajinikanth, visiting Jaffna to hand-over the keys of 150 houses, built by Lyca, (a private firm based in London) to homeless people who had been affected by the separatist war. The protest was organized by an organization called more..

CB to take action on accused in EPF scam

Mar 28 (DM) Central Bank said the Monetary Board has decided to take disciplinary action against any official of the bank for wrongdoing with regards to the EPF transactions in govt securities. A statement by the bank said the Monetary Board during its recent meeting had a discussion on the Report on the Examination of the Employees’ Provident Fund Transactions in Govt Securities with a view to decide the suitable course of action to be followed in respect of the findings. more..

Govt assures action on anyone guilty in bond scam

Mar 28 (CG) Govt has assured action will be taken on anyone found guilty in the alleged treasury bond scam. Minister Kabir Hashim said that the Govt has for the first time allowed investigations to be launched on its own officials. He said that no one found guilty in the alleged treasury bond scam will be protected, even if they are members of the UNP. “We will allow the investigations to move forward independently,” he said. Hashim also said that former President Rajapaksa held more..

Deputy CB governor wants PDD subjected to forensic audit

Mar 28 (DN) The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank P. Samarasiri called for a forensic audit yesterday to examine massive irregularities that have taken place in the Public Debt Department when issuing Bonds under direct placements. He said the forensic audit should not be carried out internally but by an external audit firm. Samarasiri was testifying before the Presidential Commission to inquire into the Treasury Bond Issue. more..

Anti-SAITM protests to take ominous turn

Mar 28 (Island) Govt doctors gave a one-week-deadline to authorities to resolve the SAITM issue or face mass mobilisation in their agitation against what they alleged as privatisation of medical education. GMOA demanded that the govt implement its agreement with the Deans and lecturers of state medical faculties to prevent the SAITM from enrolling students and issuing degree certificates. GMOA Secretary, Dr Naveen Zoysa said the union had been able to rally formidable forces more..

Tablet computers for fishermen

Mar 28 (CT) The govt is expected to grant E-log books, in the form of tablet computers, to 1,490 fishermen to record various data while out at sea as well as to monitor each vessel, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources said. Accordingly, the ministry has allocated a sum of Rs 149 million for the project. This initiative was taken by the govt in accordance with demands made by the European Union (EU) as one of the criteria set out by them to lift the fisheries ban on Sri Lanka. more..

Gotabaya hints at an entry into politics

Mar 28 (Hindu) Denying the corruption and war-crime allegations against him, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa hinted at a possible entry into active politics in future. “I have not decided yet,” he said, without ruling out the option. A few of his supporters have been floating the idea of his presidential candidacy in 2020. “If I can do something for the country, I will do that. I have that capability & I have proved it more..

Notre Dame University & NARA sign MoU

Mar 28 (CT) University of Notre Dame, of US, had launched a special programme, together with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), to carry out a scientific study within the ocean regions, in and around the Bay of Bengal, during the past five years. Under this programme, Upwelling Zones (zones where cold ocean water from the bottom of deep seas come to the surface) around the Bay of Bengal, places where low-pressure centres are more..

Big match season: 22 vehicles in custody

Mar 28 (CT) Borella and Cinnamon Gardens Police, on 25 March, took into custody 22 vehicles, which had been driven by revellers in a dangerous manner, during the school big match cricket season. Arrangements have been made to file legal action against the drivers of those vehicles, which had been driven in a reckless manner hindering pedestrians and other vehicles. Following an incident, where a group of students from Mahanama College forcibly entered Yasodhara Balika more..

2016 GCE O/L exam best results

Mar 28 (NR) A Chamathka of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo has topped the island rankings at GCE O/L Exam in 2016. SM Munasinghe of Mahamaya Girls’ College, Kandy has achieved second place in the island. S Ravindu of Ananda College, Colombo and Dimuth Oshadi of Rahula College, Matara have reached joint third in the island rankings. The results of GCE O/L Exam were released this morning. more..

CSE seen as one of the most attractive capital markets in South Asian region

Mar 28 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is poised to become one of the most attractive capital markets in the region and given that situation the CSE is now in the process of organizing a series of road shows in other countries, CSE's Head of Research & New Products Nishantha Hewavithana said. "At present CSE net foreign flow from the beginning of this year to last Friday recorded Rs 2.3 billion, which was just Rs. 2.3 billion for 2016 and also showed negative growth in 2015, more..

Check on cocaine blocks Rs. 3 b worth of sugar in Colombo Port

Mar 28 (FT) The recent detection of cocaine has left a bitter taste for sugar importers with over 1,200 containers worth Rs. 3 billion held up at the Colombo Port, forcing the trade to call for relief from the Govt. The containers have been held up at the Colombo Port since November last year as Customs declared Brazil a high-risk country and consequently enforced one full-scale inspection on a bag-by-bag basis. “This delay in clearing containers is no fault of the importers as the cocaine was detected more..

Imports soar; exports rebound in December but dip overall in 2016

Mar 28 (FT) Sri Lanka’s exports bounced back in December but ended 2016 on a negative note whilst soaring imports saw the country’s trade deficit widen by 8.4% to $ 90.09 billion. Central Bank said that the country’s performance was mixed in Dec 2016.  Trade deficit expanded as a result of the considerable increase in import expenditure, which more than offset the growth in export earnings during Dec 2016. more..

In Sri Lanka’s deep waters marine conservation goes hi-tech

Mar 28 (EAR) As the midday sun rises higher over Gulf of Mannar, a drone hovers over the blue mass of sea water. Below, a motley crowd of fishermen gathers, straining their eyes at a drone. A few metres from the crowd, conservationist Prasanna Weerakkody operating the drone raises it to 500 metres, before moving it slowly in different directions, allowing the device to film a large swathe of water. One day, he believes, the roving camera of this drone will send images of one of the more..

Fetishist caught stealing underwear

Mar 28 (DM) Two shopkeepers in a certain town had shops opposite each other on the main road of the town. They could see each other while conducting their business. One of them was residing with his family in a house adjoining his shop, while the other's family was living elsewhere. The first shopkeeper's family included a young woman bathed in the evening and hung out her clothes on a line in the garden. The other shopkeeper had observed this, and at dusk he had more..

First Smart Bus Halt in Town Hall

Mar 28 (DN) The national mobile service provider Mobitel launched a state-of-the-art Smart Bus Halt at Town Hall, Colombo as a step toward transforming Colombo into a Smart City. It was opened by Minister Harin Fernando and SLT Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena. Smart Bus Halt is equipped with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi as well as a Smart Vending Machine to dispense beverages with a touch of the mobile for cashless payments. more..

Govt very slow in approving viable solar power projects

Mar 28 (ST) As govt looks to boost solar power units to meet the growing power demand in the country, investors are not too keen to invest in mega solar power plants anymore. Why? Because of a lethargic attitude and delays in decision-making by the Govt in approving projects. Currently, the govt seems to focus more on LNG and coal based power plants although it has launched a battle for solar energy that aims to add 220 megawatts of clean power to the country’s energy grid by 2020, more..

Hathuru without Hathuro will be the one to watch

Mar 28 (DN) Our recent failure against Bangladesh will still leave a bad taste in our mouths, it may even look spineless to the experienced reader, but for those who have played the game even at school level should understand the appalling pressures a fairly rookie side like us had to face. Armchair critics will go to town and paint it with rainbow colours. Therefore one can go to the extent and say “only by complete non participation do we have any chance of retaining our self-respect.” more..

'Doval’s China obsession made India go for Sri Lanka regime change'

Mar 28 (ENS) India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval’s obsession with China led to India’s working for a regime in Sri Lanka in 2014, former Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association here on Monday. He said that the Congress-led govt had been very supportive of Sri Lanka as revealed in Choices, former NSA Shiv Shankar Menon’s very good book. more..

Damro enters plantations with Rs. 5 b deals on Pussellawa and Agalawatte

Mar 28 (FT) Popular furniture brand and South Asia’s largest retailer Damro is entering the plantation industry with strategic investments in Agalawatte and the managing company of Pussellawa. In two separate yet connected deals yesterday, the Damro group of companies acquired 45.1% stake in Pussellawa Plantations PLC’s managing agents FLMC Plantations Ltd. for Rs. 4.7 billion and a controlling 61.1% stake in Agalawatte Plantations Plc for Rs. 275 million. more..

Out with old; in with young: Teachers’ union

Mar 28 (NS) Ceylon Teachers Union while highlighting the dismal state of education in the estates and plantation sectors noted that there were over 600 unemployed graduates in the said sectors. Recently, there had been a spate of protests by unemployed Tamil graduates in the Northern Province including Jaffna and Ampara demanding employment. General Secretary of the Union, Joseph Stalin said that they opposed the proposed move to rehire and reinstate retired teachers more..

'Tamils lived in N/E before Buddhistic era'

Mar 28 (CT) NP Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran responded to Dr. Sooriya Gunasekara, Chairman of a registered political party called Sinhaladipa Jathika Peramuna who called the CM for a debate, on his interview that appeared in Ceylon Today. Dr. Gunasekara, a retired civil servant, requested the CM to come for a debate on the topic, and the CM responded, "I am always available for talks. In fact I like to talk to more..

Gura promises to lift fielding standards

Mar 28 (Island) Manager Asanka Gurusinha has promised to transform the national cricket team to a very good fielding unit once again after the team hit new lows in recent times. Fielding woes were the main reason for SL to lose the second Test against Bangladesh and in the massive 90 run defeat in the first ODI on Saturday, there were many lapses in fielding. Stung by the criticism for sloppy fielding, SL’s cricketers were involved in fielding drills for over an hour yesterday ahead of 2nd ODI. more..

Flip-flopping on accountability: A timeline

Mar 28 (GV) Sri Lanka recently co-sponsored a resolution at the 34th session of the UNHRC, allowing Sri Lanka two more years to implement the recommendations made in Resolution 30/1 of 2015. One of the most controversial topics has been the level of international participation in a judicial mechanism. Several bodies have called for SL to include foreign judges in its accountability process. UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al Hussein flagged SL’s slow progress more..

Endemic but endangered: 5 butterflies of SL

Mar 28 (Roar) There are approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in total across the world, and they are distributed across all continents except Antarctica. Sri Lanka alone is home to 245 different species of butterflies ‒ out of which 26 species are endemic, while the rest of them are migratory butterflies who travel to the island throughout the year. A majority of these butterflies can be found in the foothills up to more..

Ranil’s reckless radicalism

Mar 28 (Island) Mao Zedong once famously chided a group of young loyalists, saying, You say you want to make a revolution, but you don’t know where the bourgeoisie is! The bourgeoisie is in the party!  Similarly, I have long wanted to see an anti-systemic movement and struggle (to use my old professor, the iconic Immanuel Wallerstein’s concept) but have not known where the most anti-systemic element is, in this country. That is until now. But I have changed. I have had an epiphany. more..

CA Sri Lanka launches first ever financial reporting quiz

Mar 28 (LBO) For the first time in the country’s history, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) will launch a financial reporting quiz with the aim of enhancing the knowledge of aspiring accountants from across the country to ensure the students will have the necessary knowledge on the topic, when they commence their career as professional accountants. CA Quiz and Effective Communication Contest which will be held later this year also aims more..

Face the Nation

Fake Prophets and Prophesies

Mar 28 (SL) The Biblical adage of Prophets not being recognised in their own country, today can be well appreciated in Sri Lanka. Their prophesies have gone wrong. By prophets, we mean the political kind, not our traditional prophets, the astrologers, who are  given the formidable task of predicting our whole lives, results of wars, cricket matches, matching couples horoscopes and of course elections. We are referring to exclusive political prophets: those who call themselves more..

Editorial: When sailors buoy coffers

Mar 28 (Island) The govt, caught in a mega debt crisis, is desperate for funds and apparently doesn’t care where they come from. Time was when the traffic police considered it their bounden duty to make roads safe by preventing accidents. They did everything in their power to discourage reckless driving and jaywalking. But, today, they seem to think their raison d’etre is to raise funds for the state coffers by way of fines instead of preventing road mishaps. more..

Rewarded for sensitizing the rights of the disabled

Mar 28 (CT) Last week, young Sri Lankan, Krystle Reid won the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year Award for 2017. Reid, who is the co founder of the Enable Lanka Foundation (ELF), shared some thoughts on the award, on winning, and her views on enabling youth of the country. Q: Describe this Commonwealth Award you have won and its significance? A: Since 2012 the Commonwealth has been recognizing more..

Speaker speaks out against unruly behaviour by some MPs

Mar 28 (ST) It’s three months since Parliament adopted a Code of Conduct for MPs, but that hasn’t made things easier for Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. This week, once again, and for the umpteenth time, the Speaker had to remind the country’s MPs on the need to behave in a manner befitting the high office they hold, and desist from behaving in a manner which does little to improve their image in the eyes of the public. The latest words of advice from the Speaker came on Friday when, more..

The tragedy of the common class

Mar 28 (CT) Last week I sketched out the political content of the Professional Nationalist class (or ProNats). I can’t vouch for their sincerity, but I think I can vouch for the disjuncture between their aims and their social conditioning, a disjuncture that has historically felled other similar political cliques in the past, both here and abroad. This week’s column is a sweep (or rather an attempt at a sweep) of a more common class, also political in nature but more discernible in the context of our country, more..