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UN missions: Army seeking way out of Geneva quagmire
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
An ambitious Sri Lankan project to enhance its share in lucrative UN peace keeping operations is in jeopardy for want of a cohesive strategy to counter unsubstantiated war crimes allegations against the Sri Lankan military. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake yesterday explained measures that had been taken by military authorities, including a screening process of officers and men in accordance with UN standards. Senanayake said so in response to a query raised by The Island following the inauguration of the Directorate of Overseas Operations (DOO) in Colombo 3 by Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne, PC. However, Waidyaratne, a former senior Senior Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department didn’t meet the press.
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Over 450,000 potential dengue breeding sites found
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
Health Ministry officials have detected 463, 827 potential dengue breeding sites across the country during the mosquito eradication week which concluded recently. The Ministry carried out the campaign, with the assistance of the Police, the tri services, civil defence force and members of community health committees in a bid to prevent an outbreak of dengue with the activation of the South Western monsoonal rains.
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Sri Lanka mulls new laws to curb hate speech and fake news on social media
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
Sri Lanka is considering new legislation or amendments to exiting legislation in order to criminalize the spread of hate speech or fake news through social media, following in the footsteps of countries such as Malaysia, while the relevant draft laws are expected to be prepared within a month. Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Harin Fernando stated that the government took several measures in the wake of the country’s recent experiences in the spread of hate speech through social media, which led to communal violence mainly in the Kandy district.
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Sri Lanka’s Norochcholai power plant shuts down temporarily
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
The unit one of Lakvijaya power station which is also known as the Norochcholai power station has been shut down following the release of harmful emissions from its smokestack. The provincial environmental authority of North Western province has asked the Norochcholai plant to be shut down from yesterday evening (11/4/18), an official of the environmental Authority told Lanka Business Online. “We hope to back and running in the next ten days by April 22 or so.” Indrajith Gallage, assistant general manager, Norochcholai power station told us.
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Sri Lanka president suspends parliament until May 8
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday suspended parliament until next month in a shock move amid a deepening power struggle between him and his unity government's prime minister. A government decree quoted the president as stating that he had halted parliament's meetings "with effect from midnight" Thursday under article 70 of the constitution. The move, scheduled to last until May 8, came hours after at least 16 Sirisena loyalists, including six cabinet ministers, said they would leave the troubled coalition.
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Police seize 136-kg ganja, arrest four people It was being smuggled to Sri Lanka via sea
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
The Mandapam police have seized 136 kg of ganja, being smuggled to Sri Lanka via sea after arresting four people, including the kingpin of the smuggling gang and seizing their three cars at Vedhalai near Mandapam on Tuesday night. Acting on specific intelligence inputs received by a security agency, a special police team intercepted the smugglers at Vedhalai seashore around 9 p.m. and seized the contraband brought to the shore to be smuggled to Sri Lanka, using a fishing boat.
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Northern Governor calls for early general election to settle political crisis
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
Northern Province Governor Reginald Cooray yesterday warned that the current political crisis, triggered by the Feb. 10 Local Government polls, could be only addressed by an early parliamentary election. Cooray warned of dire consequences unless the UNP and the SLFP took tangible measures to restore normalcy. The Northern Governor said so in response to a media query after swearing in Kandiah Sarveswaran as the Acting Chief Minister of the Northern Province until C.V. Wigneswaran’s return from abroad.
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7 new Governors take oath before President
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
Seven new Governors have taken oath before President Maithripala Sirisena this morning. Accordingly Hemakumara Nanayakkara who was previously the Governor of the Southern Province was sworn in as the Governor of the Western Province. Niluka Ekanayake who was the former Governor of the Central Province was sworn in as the Governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province while KC Logeswaran who was the former Governor of the Western Province took oath as the Governor of the North Western Province.
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President to leave for the UK to attend CHOGM
Published Date: 13/04/2018 (Friday)
President Maithripala Sirisena is due to leave for the United Kingdom next week to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 to be held in London. When inquired by NewsRadio Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maheshini Colonne said the President is due to leave the island next week in order to attend the CHOGM session. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be held from 16 to 20 April in London and the week-long summit is expected to attract around 5,000 participants from
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SLFP headed for a split?
Published Date: 12/04/2018 (Thursday)
A section of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) backed the move to bring the no confidence motion in the hope of unseating Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Prime Minister survived the motion with the support of his party men and the main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Be that as it may, the SLFP is now in disarray due to consequences of the motion.
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90 per cent coastal pollution from inland sources
Published Date: 12/04/2018 (Thursday)
The Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) revealed that 90 per cent of the coastal pollution in Sri Lanka comes from inland municipalities and the public. Commenting on Sri Lanka’s coastal pollution, General Manager, MEPA, Dr. P.B. Terney Pradeep Kumara added that only 10 per cent of the garbage in beaches and the sea around the island can be attributed to coastal communities, coastal municipalities, and marine pollution that drifted from the Bay of Bengal through ocean currents. “This is because we don’t have a proper way of managing garbage. We are having a coastal
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Sri Lanka and Vietnam to advance bilateral political cooperation
Published Date: 12/04/2018 (Thursday)
Sri Lanka and Vietnam on Wednesday reaffirmed the commitment to further consolidate and advance bilateral political and economic cooperation. The Third Meeting of the Sri Lanka-Vietnam Political Consultations was held on Wednesday in Colombo at senior official level. The Sri Lanka delegation was led by Sumith Nakandala, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vietnam delegation was headed by Đặng Đình Quý, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam.
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Environmentalists up in arms against Whit Legged Shrimp farming
Published Date: 12/04/2018 (Thursday)
The government has given the go-ahead for Pacific White Legged Shrimp (Litopenaeus Vannamei) farming in Mannar, but environmentalists warn of the potential negative impacts of the new project and demand to know what methods will be used to ensure that the new activity is bio-secure. Environmentalist and Senior lawyer Jagath Gunawardana told The Island that risks had to be taken into consideration as the potential environmental impact of L. Vannamei shrimp farming was significant.
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Chinese firm to invest $800 million on Sri Lanka Port City underground road
Published Date: 12/04/2018 (Thursday)
China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) will invest $800 million to build an underground road network to Sri Lanka’s Port City, a $1.4 billion project built on reclaimed land, a government minister said. The plan, for which an agreement has already been signed, is expected to reduce traffic congestion on the existing route once the Port City - part of Beijing’s ambitious plan to create a modern-day “Silk Road” across Asia - starts operating.
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The sharp power of development diplomacy and China’s edge
Published Date: 11/04/2018 (Wednesday)
Military might and economic coercion have traditionally been the preferred tools for the pursuit of geopolitical ambitions with soft power playing a supporting role. For the first time in contemporary geopolitics, we witness this accepted norm turn on its head. The experience of China being a classic example — where, in several cases, we see development diplomacy assume a central role in reinforcing Beijing’s hegemonic ambitions. Beijing’s conduct calls into question not only established understanding of geopolitics, but also that of global development. The sphere of global development will increasingly be the arena where geostrategic tensions
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The last chance for the UNP
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka is making another first in the world. This is the only government on the whole planet, of which the ministers and MPs who voted for a no confidence motion against its own prime minister, and by extension the government, can stick to their portfolios after the vote was defeated. Anywhere else they would have resigned, or got sacked, but not here. In that sense this is no longer a government, but a farce. Sixteen SLFP MPs including six ministers voted for the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It is their right to exercise their constitutional mandate as they wished. But it is also their moral responsibility to get out of the government. Instead
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Amendment of LG Elections’ Act, the need of the hour
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
Nobody would contest the view aired by President Maithripala Sirisena on the need to amend the Local Government Elections Act again in order to reduce the number of local government members from 8,000 to 4,000. Speaking to the Editors and heads of media institutions on Friday, the President had said that the present number of LG members is an unbearable burden for the country. True, but why didn’t the politicians who joined hands to double the number of LG members through an amendment to the same Act in 2012 understand that it would be a burden? The number of LG members was increased in the process of eliminating the flaws in the said Act,
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TNA’s key role in defeating no-confidence motion against Ranil
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
In the seven-decade long history of Independent Sri Lanka’s legislature, there have been two no-confidence motions and related debates that are unprecedented and unparalleled. The first was in 1981 when members of the then United National Party (UNP) government brought and passed a no-confidence motion against the former leader of the opposition, Appapillai Amirthalingam. The no-confidence motion (NCM) brought against the late Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader was farcically unique in the sense that members of the ruling party were sponsoring a no-confidence motion against the leader of the opposition. The second such controversial no-confidence motion was the recent NCM brought against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his government by members of the opposition and sections of the same government headed by the PM. The tragicomic aspect of this NCM was the fact that ministers were supporting a NCM against Wickremesinghe and government
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India ready to assist Sri Lanka whenever needed – envoy
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
India’s High Commissioner to Colombo Taranjit Singh Sandhu has expressed his government’s readiness to continue to assist Sri Lanka wherever possible and whenever needed while also offering to share expertise and technical assistance in the agricultural sector. In a special ceremony held on Monday (9) at Nonagama Cultural Centre in Ambalantota in Hambantota District, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera and High Commissioner of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu jointly launched a project to provide livelihood support to nearly 70,000 people from the farming and fishing communities in Hambantota District.
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3 aspects of democracy in the vote of No-Confidence
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
The vote of No-Confidence against the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka is both a success and a failure for democracy. Democracy is the rule of the people, by the people, for the people. The job of the Members of Parliament is simply to represent the people and the people’s choice. Nothing more; nothing less. The motion rightfully was against the Prime Minister, based primarily on his judgment and behaviour in the corruption case in the issuance of Treasury bonds in 2015 (commonly known as the Central Bank bond scam). It was not against the current Government necessarily, nor was it against him as the Leader of his political party (UNP). It was a mistake to conflate the motion with the UNP’s internal politics.
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Languages Call Center established
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
The National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Ministry has established the ‘Languages Call Center,’ hotline (1956), for the public to inform the government of religious and ethnic violence.The Ministry will also establish village level reconciliation committees to identify potential conflicts and report them. National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan said the biggest issue was the lack of communication between the State and the grassroots. It results in the government not responding fast enough to quell such situations
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Sri Lanka wants to make Sunday schools compulsory
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
Sri Lanka is awaiting cabinet approval of a proposal to make Sunday school education compulsory for students aged 6-19 of all religions after the Christian Affairs Ministry sought feedback from Catholic priests about the idea earlier. Father Piyal Janaka Fernando, institute director of the National Catechetical, Educational and Biblical Center, forwarded their feedback to the government. Officials reportedly approached the priests based on their experience but plan to make Sunday lessons mandatory for Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus and students of other faiths, too.
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UW-Baraboo/Sauk County professor brings teaching methods to Sri Lanka
Published Date: 10/04/2018 (Tuesday)
A University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County professor is bringing his expertise to Sri Lanka this summer in an effort to connect international college students with industry professionals. UW-Baraboo mathematics professor Kirthi Premadasa will serve as a United States Fulbright specialist at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura near the capital city of Colombo in June. Premadasa’s work overseas will focus on fostering classroom collaboration and connecting students with information technology and finance industry leaders before they graduate. While the caliber of student academics is high in Sri Lanka, Premadasa said cultural barriers sometimes prevent gifted people from reaching their full potential.
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Jointly building the Belt and Road
Published Date: 09/04/2018 (Monday)
In January 2018 I arrived in Colombo and assumed office as the 21st Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka. During the last two months I widely contacted friends from all sectors, deepened my understanding of Sri Lanka and bilateral relations, and consolidated my confidence in the future of pragmatic China-Sri Lanka cooperation. On the occasion of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, I sincerely convey the best wishes, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, to our Sri Lankan friends and would like to take this opportunity to share with you my opinions on our practical cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative in order to better benefit our two countries and peoples.
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NO CONFIDENCE MOTION: On whom should we place our confidence?
Published Date: 09/04/2018 (Monday)
The 3rd no confidence motion in the Sri Lankan legislature ended up with the Prime Minister winning , perhaps the most difficult obstacle in his political life. In that sense it was a numbing defeat for the Joint Opposition, an embarrassing situation for the President and a temporary respite for the UNP leadership. The political fall out of the whole episode is yet to be seen and it is doubtless that the repercussions will be felt across the divide.
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