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The world’s first EleFriendly bus

Sep 20 (GV) The world’s first EleFriendly bus celebrated its first birthday on Sept 9th, 2017 in the Wasgamuwa area. I was lucky to be able to attend the event.  The EleFriendly bus is an innovative project developed by the SL Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) to reduce human-elephant conflict. SLWCS statistics show that human – elephant conflict has been reduced by 80% since the bus started running. In the first seven months, the number of conflicts fell from 83 to 21. more..

Editorial:  Prisoners, docs and pundits

Sep 20 (Island) Some UNP MPs have taken exception to the admission of former President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga to the Welikada prison hospital after being sentenced to three years RI. They claim he has received preferential treatment. A senior prison doctor has been transferred by way of punishment for allegedly favouring him. One is intrigued by their brouhaha and line of reasoning. The UNP MPs’ conclusion that Weeratunga should not be in prison hospital is based on more..

While Parliament Mafia is buying super luxury cars with people's money, Salawa inferno Victims still wait for compensation

Sep 20 (CT) It has been over a year since the inferno from the Salawa Army Camp burnt half the village and caused damage to the adjoining Kosgama town. At the time of the crisis, there was an almost unanimous outcry on behalf of the victims, from the public and various interested parties known to thrive in crisis struck regions. However, last Wednesday (13) the roads of Hanwella more..

Capacity to pay, Ability to pay: Govt’s new rates question tax principles

Sep 20 (CT) A standard statement by tax consultant N.R. Gajendran when addressing tax seminars, used to be, that the Govt's tax policy should be based upon the principle of the taxpayer's ability to pay and the capacity to pay. In this context, the Govt's move, led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to reduce indirect taxes from the current 80% to 60%, while doubling direct taxes from the present 20% to 40%, is a good move. The logic behind this move, as one of my bosses more..

LMD recognises Triad as the Most Respected Advertising Company

Sep 20 (FT) The most respected business entities are recognised and listed by Lanka Monthly Digest annually, in a bid to set a standard of excellence for the corporate sector. Triad said yesterday it is proud to be chosen as the Most Respected Advertising Company in the country with the likes of John Keells Holdings, MAS Holdings, Dialog Axiata, Commercial Bank, Hayleys, Unilever, Hemas Holdings, Sampath Bank, Brandix and Aitken Spence leading the top 10 in the Hall of Fame. more..

Karunarathna Paranawithana

153rd Birth Anniv of Anagarika Dharmapala

Sep 20 (CT) Anagarika Dharmapala, whose 153rd Birth Anniversary fell yesterday, was born on 17 September 1864 and passed away as Venerable Siri Devamitta Dharmapala on 29 April 1933 at Buddha Gaya in India at the age of 69 years. He was the greatest Sinhala Buddhist revivalist in Sri Lanka. He not only contributed to the resurgence of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism but also pioneered the revival of Buddhism in India after it had been virtually extinct there for several centuries, and more..

Promoting Amity, 15 years late

Sep 20 (CT) I was delighted to see last week that 'Govt is now planning to extend the Amity Schools concept, commencing from Year One. This is presented 'as another gigantic medium to a long-term move in supporting national reconciliation amongst communities' whatever that convoluted justification might mean. It is also splendidly ironic, since the concept of Amity Schools was killed by Ranil Wickremesinghe when his govt replaced Chandrika Kumaratunga's at the end of 2001. more..

'AG simply cannot initiate legal action against anyone'

Sep 20 (SL) Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorale says just because a file is opened to investigate corruption, Attorney General’s Department cannot file charges. Minister said she will do her best to uphold the faith placed in her to deliver justice to all fairly. Q: You are the first female to be appointed as the Justice Minister. What are your views? A: As the leader of the party the PM rendered his utmost cooperation to increase more..

Rhetoric aside, Sirisena cannot shield Army Generals accused of war crimes for long

Sep 20 (CT) On 29 Aug, 2017 Al Jazeera broke the news that Brazuluan lawyers seek to expel Jagath Jayasuriya, Ambassador to Brazil, over abuses in the final phase of the war against LTTE in May, 2009. The lawsuits against Jagath Jayasuriya allege he oversaw military units that attacked hospitals and killed, abducted, disappeared and tortured thousands of civilians in the final phase of the civil war. The army is also accused of killing hundreds of LTTE cadres who surrendered to the army more..

A dossier on corrupt deals

Sep 20 (Island) On the late afternoon of June 21, 2006, Presidential Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga, arrived at the Dharmayathanaya, situated close to the BMICH, on the invitation of its chief incumbent, Ven. Elle Gunawansa. The writer was one of the few journalists invited by Ven. Gunawansa, on that day, to report what the outspoken monk called a significant intervention made by a group of civil society activists. Staff photographer, Jude Denzil Pathiraja, accompanied the writer to more..

'We will not support the 20th Amendment'

Sep 20 (CT) EPRLF Leader Suresh Premachandran said although his party is a constituent of the TNA, it will not support the 20th Amendment as it will create a mess in the provincial council system. "According to the amendment, if a particular provincial council is dissolved before the specific date of dissolution, its powers shall be exercised by Parliament until the specified date. However, we do not want direct interference more..

NUTA clowning over Rohingya mass tragedy

Sep 20 (CT) A SL organisation called, National University Teachers Association, (NUTA) under the hand of its spokesperson, Dr Channa Jayasumana, has circulated via internet a letter they are said to have handed over to Myanmar Ambassador in Colombo. The letter is addressed to His Excellency the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. As an exercise in self-deception, readers should read the letter and I will bring up the poverty of the NUTA brief for all to see. more..

Why and how of National Unity

Sep 20 (SL) The continuance of chaotic coalition Govt may have raised more questions than provide any great answers to the ongoing issues of every kind facing the SL Nation and State. The twin leadership of SLFP President and UNP PM has now come to tit-for-tat (!) sacking of ministerial colleagues from their respective parties as if such belated symbolism, if any, could get tied over the constant crisis that their combined leadership has been facing since day one. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to limit importation of busses, three-wheelers

Sep 19 (LBO) Transport Ministry is currently looking at options to limit the importation of high floor busses and three-wheelers to Sri Lanka. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament that the ministry is gradually planning to tight related regulations in order to reduce traffic congestion in the country. “Current bus fleet is sufficient for the country. Now we need air conditioned low floor busses with high quality,” he said. more..

Students unable to pass O/Levels to be granted entry to A/Levels

Sep 19 (AD) Ministry of Education has taken steps to launch a pilot project to enable students who failed their GCE O/L Exam, to gain entry to the GCE A/L Exam that is scheduled to commence in October. This program has been launched to ensure that every child gains a holistic 13 year education within the country. Accordingly, starting this year any student who is unable to pass the O/L exam will have the opportunity of gaining entry to the A/L streams through this pilot project.  more..

Budget is always drafted to satisfy foreign markets: Bandula

Sep 19 (AD) MP Bandula Gunawardane stated that the Budget for 2017 has to be drafted to satisfy the ambitions of the international market, regardless of the wishes of the Ministry of Finance.  MP stated that the Budget allocations for 2016 were extremely unsuccessful and that former Minister Ravi Karunanayake should accept responsibility for its failures. It was further mentioned that the Budget for the year 2016 had falsified facts and figures that had dire repercussions on the economy. more..

Visas for Myanmar nationals, not for Rohingya refugees: SL

Sep 19 (DM) Rejecting reports that Sri Lanka had suspended on arrival visas for Myanmar travellers, Dept of Immigration and Emigration of Sri Lanka said that it would continue to issue visas for Myanmar nationals as usual, but not for Rohingya refugees. The Myanmar Times reported that Sri Lanka has suspended issuing visas on arrival for Myanmar travellers to stop Bengali people from Rakhine State entering the country. more..

SL minister takes cover after close shave

Sep 19 (EN) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva overshadowed his own motor traffic amendment bill when he turned up in parliament in stunning jet black hair raising jibes from his fellow MPs. De Silva, 73, made no reference to his make-over nor was he available for comment immediately, but cabinet colleagues said he had shaved his hair as part of a ritual at a Hindu temple in India. Colleagues asked him if he flew business class to carry an extra 20 kilos of Godrej hair dye, more..

TNA cracking up due to 20A

Sep 19 (CT) Cracks have appeared in the TNA over the proposed 20th Amendment with EPRLF leader Suresh Premachandran declaring that the party is opposed to the Amendment. However, TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and MP M.A. Sumanthiran had earlier stated that they will support the Amendment. "TNA leadership does not discuss matters within the coalition. Decisions are taken by leader Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. They never discuss these matters with other constituent party leaders," he said. more..

Gurusinha reappointed selector after resigning

Sep 19 (CI) Despite having stepped down from his role as selector just weeks ago, cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha has been reappointed to the position, along with three new selectors. Graeme Labrooy, the former SL seamer, had already been confirmed as the head of the committee on Friday. The remaining members are former national team manager Jeryl Woutersz, former wicketkeeper Gamini Wickremasinghe & Sajith Fernando, more..

Highways Minister brushes aside allegations against CEP

Sep 19 (Island) Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella vowed yesterday to continue with the Central Expressway project and to complete it by the end of 2019. Responding to recent allegations of corruption, Minister Kirielle said people who were criticising the CHP were doing so out of jealousy. Even though the SLFP led governments had been in power almost for over 20 years, they had not been able to build the Central Expressway, he said. more..

Price formula for tobacco products?

Sep 19 (NR) The National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol today urged the Ministry of Finance to introduce a price formula to revise prices of tobacco related products. Chairman of the Authority Dr. Palitha Abeykoon said the introduction of a price formula will help the govt to increase the price of tobacco related products by several folds. Executive Director Dr. Nishan De Mel said, the govt should sanctioned the Finance Ministry to introduce the formula. more..

Sacked rock star joins opposition

Sep 19 (EN) The sacked junior minister Arundika Fernando joined former president Rajapaksa's faction Tuesday, a week after he was told by the govt that he will not be reinstated. Fernando, who was called a rock star by his parliamentary colleagues after he rocked the SLFP faction of President Sirisena, made a special statement before crossing the floor of the House. "From today, I will work to ensure the collapse of this govt," more..

Case against Johnston Fernando to be heard

Sep 19 (NR) The case filed against Former Minister of Trade and Cooperatives Johnston Fernando on charges of incurring losses amounting to 40 million rupees will be taken up for hearing once again today. The case will be heard at the Colombo Magistrate’s Court. Charges have been filed against Johnston Fernando for incurring losses to the govt by using 153 employees of the Sathosa network for political activities during the previous tenure of the UPFA led govt. more..

JR paved the way to boost Asia’s clout: PM

Sep 19 (DM) Asia would not have become a powerful region today and would not emerge as a stronger one in the future if President J R Jayewardene did not open up Sri Lanka’s economy and set the course for the region to become what it is today, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Mr. Wickremesinghe said this during a ceremony held last evening to commemorate the late President Jayewardene’s 111th birth anniversary which fell on Sunday, September 17. more..

Appeal to help Sri Lankan sisters who survived suicide pact in Dubai

Sep 19 (GN) Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai has appealed to community members and other philanthropists to support two sisters who survived a family suicide pact in Sharjah. The sisters, identified as R.I., 17, and Y.I., 27, were found lying in a pool of blood while their parents and brother were found dead at a hotel apartment on August 29. The younger sister told Gulf News that the financially broken family with no valid visas had decided more..

Prison inmates to be granted supervised home visits

Sep 19 (AD) Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms stated that a program will be introduced to grant supervised home visits to prison inmates in the near future. It has been reported that this particular exemption will be made for prisoners serving a term that exceeds 3 years. It was further mentioned that prisoners who are serving time for severe crimes will not be eligible for the program. Accordingly prison inmates serving a sentence less than 20 years who are granted pardon for good behavior more..

Railway strike midnight tomorrow

Sep 19 (DM) The Railway Operation Supervisory Officers Unions would launch a 48-hour token strike from Wednesday midnight demanding solutions to salary anomalies, the Railway Guards Union said. Union President Janaka Fernando said they had sent proposals to the National Salary and Cadre Commission two weeks ago requesting to resolve salary anomalies. “We met with the officials of the Commission this morning as well but there was no positive outcome. more..

Drought worsens hunger, indebtedness: UN

Sep 19 (EN) The prolonged drought that has gripped Sri Lanka has worsened food insecurity with more people going hungry and indebtedness rising for lack of farm work, the UN office in Colombo said. Despite the Southwest monsoon in late May, which triggered flooding and landslides in the country’s southwest provinces, country-wide drought conditions are ongoing, it said in its latest drought update. more..

Central Province also green-lights 20A

Sep 19 (AD) The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, to hold elections for all Provincial Councils in the same day, has been passed in the Central Provincial Council with amendments. The draft bill has been passed with a majority of 31 votes with 40 provincial councilors voting in favour and just 9 voted against.  The 20th amendment to hold PC polls on the same day have so far been passed in the Sabaragamuwa, North Central, Eastern and Western provincial councils.  more..

Heshan Withanage resigns as an MP

Sep 19 (NR) Heshan Withanage says he has decided to resign from his UNP Parliamentary seat to contest as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate if the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Election is held expeditiously. Heshan Withanage said he has received requests from the Working Committee and the Heads of the Party in this regard. Withanage said the time limit to hold the Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Eastern Provincial Council Elections will arrive soon adding that more..

Malaka Silva back to terrorizing night club revellers

Sep 19 (CT) Malaka Silva who was notorious for terrorizing guests at popular night clubs he patronized during the former Rajapaksa regime is once again back in business. Last Friday Malaka Silva accompanied by his friend Romesh Kulatunga and an alleged drug dealer named Maama had badgered a reveler at the famous up market night spot the Park Street Mews. This incident incidentally was blacked out by more..

Suspect dies in cell: IGP orders action against duty officers

Sep 19 (DM) IGP Pujith Jayasundara had ordered stern action against the OIC of the Pitigala Police Station and other officers following the death of a suspect in a remand cell at the Police station today, Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said. 44-year-old Magodapathirage Hemavipul was found dead inside the Police cell this afternoon. The Police arrested the suspect in connection with a family dispute at Marakgoda. “Police believe that the suspect had committed suicide in the cell,” more..

‘UNWTO appointment, recognition of Sri Lanka as a destination’

Sep 19 (LBO) Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said his appointment as a Vice Presidential representative of Asia for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was a recognition of Sri Lanka as an able tourist destination. Minister Amaratunga made these remarks at a ceremony to felicitate him on his recent UNWTO appointment, which was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM), amidst a large gathering, yesterday. more..

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