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Will Online Safety Bill make online harms worse?

Nov 11 (FT) The Govt claims that some individuals experience significant harm caused by online content. Some, if not all, critics of the Govt’s Online Safety Bill will agree. The divergence is on whether this legislation is the solution. I have outlined below that the solution proffered by this Bill is ineffective. It would also make things worse for those who suffer the harm. It is likely to make things worse for all who use services provided by the global tech companies. Govts have been dealing more..

US investment in Colombo Port: A pivotal shift in South Asian geopolitics

Nov 11 (FT) The US has announced investing a substantial $553 million in a major port terminal project in Colombo, next to the CICT terminal which is invested and operated by a Chinese State-Owned Enterprise. The U.S. announcement is a game-changing development that holds significant implications for the geopolitics of South Asia. This move serves multiple strategic objectives for the U.S., and signifies a renewed commitment to strengthening economic ties between more..

පළාත් සභා විශ්වවිද්‍යාල :...

PCoI on electoral reforms seek written proposals & opinions from interested parties

Nov 15 (AD) Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to Make Recommendations on Election Law Reforms is now calling for written representations from the members of the public, political parties, organizations and interested individuals. In a press release, the PCoI said it will accept written proposals or opinions pertaining to the following: • Increasing the representation of women and youth • Reducing the period between the time of declaration of an election and more..

New US innovation hub unveiled in Batticaloa

Nov 15 (USE) Today in Batticaloa, U.S. Ambassador to SL Julie Chung inaugurated a new American Innovation Hub (iHub) and welcomed the Governor of the Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman to join as a special guest. A joint initiative between the U.S. Embassy and Dream Space Academy, the iHub in Batticaloa aims to empower the youth of the Eastern Province, foster knowledge exchange, and promote people-to-people ties between the US and SL. In addition to the American iHub in Batticaloa, more..

COPE Chairman bought over by SLC: Sajith

Nov 15 (DM) SL’s cricket crisis has taken a chaotic turn with some members of COPE and its chairman Ranjith Bandara accusing each other of mishandling the probe on SLC. Some COPE members highlighted that Prof. Bandara should be removed from the chairmanship of the committee temporarily until the probe on SLC is completed. Sajith Premadasa said Prof. Bandara acted as if he had been bought over by the SLC. more..

Video: SLC files defamation lawsuit against Sports Minister, seeks Rs. 2.4bn in damages

Nov 15 (AD) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) says it has initiated legal action against Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe over the defamatory statements he has made in respect of the cricket governing body. In a media release published today, the national cricket governing body said its Prez, Vice Prez and Treasurer on Monday jointly filed a defamation lawsuit against the lawmaker, seeking damages adding up to Rs. 2.4 billion. more..

MPs write to UN chief seeking end to Israeli onslaught, oppression against Palestinians

Nov 15 (AD) A letter addressed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, signed by 159 SL Parliamentarians, with regard to the Israel-Palestine issue was handed over to the UN Compound in Colombo 7, on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a copy of the relevant document has also been delivered to the Palestinian Ambassador in Colombo. The letter, expressing solidarity of the Members of the SL Parliament with Palestine, has raised deep concerns about the war against Palestinian civilians more..

Sri Lanka to introduce new legislation for censorship-free film industry, arts

Nov 15 (EN) Sri Lanka plans to replace the existing Public Performances Board with a new Public Performances Classification Board, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said, calling for a culture of free expression in film and the arts devoid of censorship and criminalisation. Speaking at the Presidential Film Awards on Tuesday, Wickremesinghe said films must be issued a classification certificate going forward. “Technology has changed. Today film and television have become mixed as media. more..

Rajapaksas have enough money to pay compensation: Sumanthiran

Nov 15 (DM) Claiming that the Rajapaksa brothers have enough money parked outside the country to pay the 22 million people in this country if compensation had been ordered by the Supreme Court, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said the recovery process must start now, from those who had been held responsible for the economic crisis. He told Parliament that the country’s economy can be revived just from the money parked by the Rajapaksa brothers outside the country. more..

Company owner further remanded over import of substandard immunoglobulin vials

Nov 15 (AD) The owner of the company, which allegedly used forged documents to import a batch of substandard human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), has been further remanded until November 29. The accused known as Aruna Deepthi, who was arrested by the CID, was first placed in remand custody after being produced before Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court on Nov 1. On 30 Oct, the court imposed overseas travel bans on the owner of the company, accused of using forged documents more..

Harsha de Silva Full Speech

‘Meet int’l standards or be blacklisted’

Nov 15 (CT) Health Minister Ramesh Pathirana called for the blacklisting of contractors and suppliers of substandard medicine. He instructed officials to blacklist pharmaceutical companies that failed to comply with proper international procurement standards. “This should apply to even local drug companies and they should not be spared,” Dr. Pathirana said. He observed that billions of rupees were spent annually for this purpose which is why pharmaceutical companies should more..

PHIs abstain from dengue control activities

Nov 15 (DM) While SL is facing a significant dengue outbreak with cases soaring, the Public Health Inspectors’ Union has decided to stay away from dengue control activities from today (15). PHIU executive member Roshan Kumara said the decision has been made in protest of the failure of the authorities to respond to their grievances. According to the executive member, one of the key concerns is the failure to increase the mileage and transport allowances provided for field duties. more..

SLC chief Shammi Silva admits to taking friends and family for T20 WC in Australia

Nov 15 (AD) President of SLC Shammi Silva has admitted to taking several persons, including family members, to watch the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. Responding to queries when the cricket board was summoned before the COPE on Tuesday, Silva had admitted to taking family members and friends for the World Cup held in Australia last year. Accordingly, SLC Prez had admitted to having taken his mother-in-law more..

'COPE dodging relevant issues on SLC; appoint separate Parliamentary Committee'

Nov 15 (DM) Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe requested the Speaker to appoint a separate Parliamentary Committee, chaired by an opposition MP, to conduct an investigation into Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) instead of the investigations by the COPE. The Minister told Parliament that the COPE had discussed irrelevant points without giving due prominence to relevant issues when the SLC was summoned before the COPE yesterday. "According to the video of COPE meeting yesterday, more..

Human-leopard conflict increasing

Nov 15 (CT) Although not as widely discussed as the Human-Elephant Conflict, there is a growing human-leopard conflict in the country as well, as highlighted by Kumarasiri Wijekoon, President of the Wildlife Rangers’ Association (WFA). Speaking at a media briefing, Wijekoon said the increasing difficulty in protecting wildlife was primarily due to the ongoing and unreasonable forest clearing across the country. He claimed thatare forces working to weaken the Wildlife Department. more..

Sri Lanka revenue targets ambitious: Fitch

Nov 15 (EN) Sri Lanka’s revenue target for 2024 is ambitious even if there is an economic recovery, Fitch Ratings said though there were ways of managing the deficit. “Fitch believes there are significant risks to the govt’s revenue goal for 2024,” the agency said. “SL has a record of fiscal slippage, and revenue collection fell 29% short of target over 9M23.” The full statement is reproduced below: The targets laid out in SL’s budget for 2024 more..

Docs petitions challenging decision to enforce retirement at 60: Verdict on Nov 17

Nov 15 (Island) Court of Appeal is to announce, on 17 Nov, its verdict on the early retirement of medical specialists. Specialist doctors said on Monday (13) that 176 of them have submitted Writ Petitions opposing the Cabinet’s decision to enforce the retirement of medical specialists at the age of 60. It was pointed out that the Health Ministry had previously extended the service age of medical specialists in the State to 63 years. However, a circular from the Health Secretary stated that more..

Communist Party of China bolsters ties with political parties in Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (DM) In conjunction of the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Communist Party of China (CPC) enhanced its engagement with political parties, including those in SL, in pursuit of further success of the project in the next decade. The CPC concluded its BRI Dialogue with the representatives of political parties from South Asia and Southeast Asia in Kunming on Nov 10, the capital of China’s Yunnan Province considered the gateway to connectivity to these regions. more..

අය-වැය විශ්ලේෂණය

Sri Lanka did not resort to populism by hiking salaries too early: official

Nov 15 (EN) State minister of finance Shehan Semasinghe has defended a costly salary hike for state sector workers, arguing that the govt did not resort to the populist measure of raising salaries from January. “Despite the potential for engaging in populist measures, such as raising govt employee salaries from January, the govt pursued a correct course of action,” Semasinghe was quoted as saying in a statement by the president’s office. “The decision was made with the foresight more..

SriLankan permitted to recruit for vacancies

Nov 15 (TM) Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Aviation said that it has given approval for the SriLankan Airlines (UL) to make necessary recruitments to fill the existing vacancies in the national carrier. Secretary to the Ministry K.D.S. Ruwanchandra said that the Ministry has already granted approval for the Airline’s administration to make the recruitments as it is necessary to fill the current vacancies existing in many divisions within the Airline such as of aircraft engineers, air traffic controllers, etc. more..

'Yet to decide if I will re-contest Presidency'

Nov 15 (DM) With a Prez election scheduled for next year, Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe said he had still not made a decision if he would re contest the presidency as his focus presently was to terminate SL from bankruptcy. Responding to a question at a meeting with the Editors at the Presidential Secretariat last evening, Wickremesinghe did not confirm nor deny his plans of a possible re-contest of the presidency but more..

SLPP claims most of Ranil's committees not beneficial

Nov 15 (TM) The ruling SLPP Party claimed that most of the committees including Parliamentary committees appointed under the direction of Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe do not benefit the people or the country's economy in any way. SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said: “Prez keeps appointing committees, but they don’t deliver any positive outcome to the people and the country's economy. What we feel is that those committees are aimed at deceiving the people.” more..

Appeal Court to deliver crucial verdict on retirement age of specialists

Nov 15 (DM) In a highly anticipated decision, the Court of Appeal will announce its ruling on the early retirement of medical specialists on Nov 17. This comes after a total of 176 doctors filed Writ Petitions against the Cabinet's decision to make medical specialists retire at the age of 60. Health Ministry had previously extended the service period of medical specialists in the State service to 63 years of age. However, the Health Secretary issued a circular stating that this decision would more..

VAT exemption removal sparks fears of increased power and energy costs

Nov 15 (DM) The proposed removal of Value-Added Tax (VAT) exemptions has raised concerns about the potential application of VAT on power and energy from January of next year. Prior to the budget, Cabinet approved a 3% VAT hike to 18 percent effective from Jan 1, 2024, and said most of the VAT exemptions would also be removed. The 2024 budget presented to parliament said almost all the VAT exemptions barring more..

JVP: SLPP members won’t be able to distance themselves from Budget 2024

Nov 15 (Island) JJB MP Vijitha Herath said that having supported the preparation of the 2024 Budget proposals, SLPP couldn’t complain now of what was presented by Prez Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Finance Minister. He pointed out that both State Ministers of Finance, Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Shehan Semasinghe had been present at the finalisation of the budget proposals at Prez Wickremesinghe’s official residence at Mahagamasekara Mawatha on Sunday. more..

Court lifts order suspending Dinesh Schaffter’s life insurance payments

Nov 15 (AD) Colombo Magistrate’s Court has lifted the order issued directing the officials of the relevant insurance companies to suspend for a period of one week the life insurance payments to beneficiaries on behalf of the late businessman Dinesh Schaffter who had died under mysterious circumstances. Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya issued this order today, stating that the said order will be rescinded as the court feels it is no longer necessary to suspend the insurance payments more..

අයවැයට කොර වී පොහොට්ටුව පරවේ

Corruption attacks foundation of democracy

Nov 16 (DM) In a historic judgement, Supreme Court (SC) held that several political and other leaders including former Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal are responsible for the economic crisis in the country. Accordingly, in a majority decision a SC five-judge-bench ruled that respondents including former Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Why lawmakers panic when cricket is ailing

Nov 16 (DM) People of this country ask for two things when the chips are down. One is elections and the other is cricket matches, but the latter will be appreciated given that the island’s national cricket team wins matches. Right now, the probability of Sri Lankans seeing both is dim. Why? Because the present Prez doesn’t seem to want elections, and the other reason is that SL will not be invited to any overseas int'l tournaments in the immediate future because SLC is serving a ban imposed on more..

‘Victims of abuse of power: A Lacuna to be addressed’

Nov 16 (TM) Oftentimes, in legal battles between multiple parties, victims and witnesses of cases receive considerably low attention and support, and this worsens these groups’ situation as those who are vulnerable and have already been affected by crimes. SL has established an Authority to look into the safety and wellbeing of victims of crimes and witnesses, which has provided and is providing services to a large number more..

Nathasha Edirisooriya, Ramzy Razeek, Shakthika Sathkumara and the ICCPR Act

Nov 16 (GV) Oftentimes, in legal battles between multiple parties, victims and witnesses of cases receive considerably low attention and support, and this worsens these groups’ situation as those who are vulnerable and have already been affected by crimes. SL has established an Authority to look into the safety and wellbeing of victims of crimes and witnesses, which has provided and is providing services to a large number of people involved in cases, and are in dangerous situations. more..

Budget 24: Disarmament, demobilization & reintegration

Nov 16 (CT) I had last year pointed out in my speech during the budget debate as to how the amount spent on the Military had steadily increased since 1961. I had also pointed out that the spending had increased despite the war coming to an end in 2009.This year too, the estimated expenditure for so-called Defence has increased. Instead of removing weapons from the hands of the members of the armed forces and helping them to reintegrate as civilians into society the successive more..

Health sector: Patients continue grappling with cancer meds shortage

Nov 16 (TM) In the heart of Jaffna, Shanthi Arumugam clings to hope in the dimly-lit room of the Oncology Ward. Her husband, a pillar of strength for the family, now battles a relentless foe – cancer. The prescribed chemotherapy drugs, vital for his survival, have become a scarce commodity at local pharmacies. Shanthi’s eyes mirror the anguish of countless caregivers, grappling not just with the disease but also with the acute shortage of more..

Selective use of rules-based order

Nov 16 (TM) The deafening silence emitting from the UN Security Council (UNSG), US, EU and so called independent international organisations such as International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding the disproportionate use of force in Gaza, Palestine, allegations of war crimes, is a harbinger that the so called rules-based order which the collective Global North, and in particular the West keeps drumming on about is as robust as candy floss, when it comes to holding an ally accountable. more..

Editorial: Hypocrisy of saviours

Nov 16 (Island) Shortages that SL is struggling to cope with are far too numerous to enumerate, but there is no dearth of self-proclaimed saviours. A recent brawl involving three MPs near the parliamentary chamber prompted the party leaders to have a committee appointed to investigate the incident. They said such action had to be taken to enforce discipline in Parliament and arrest the erosion of public trust in the legislature. Probe committee has submitted its report to more..

ඓතිහාසික නඩු තීන්දුවේ...

Members across the divide bat together to rule out SLC

Nov 16 (ST) The fallout of Sri Lanka’s disastrous cricket world cup campaign reverberated in the Parliament chamber on Thursday as dozens of MPs from the government and opposition lined up to lambast the current administrators of SLC and demanded their resignation. While there was universal condemnation over the current administration of SLC, speakers from both sides offered differing views on how to move forward on restructuring both the SLC board and the game in general. more..