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Easter Sunday massacres: Sirisena acts fast to avert criminal action

Feb 28 (ST) Early this month, former Prez Maithripala Sirisena, learnt from his sources that he had come under the adverse notice in the Report of the PCoI that probed the Easter Sunday massacres in 2019. Yet, he was not sure what it said. So, he hurriedly sought appointments with Prez Rajapaksa, PM Rajapaksa, and Basil Rajapaksa, founder cum strategist of the SLPP, the main partner in the ruling alliance. more..

Artificial reef off Galle coast to boost marine life

Feb 28 (SO) The Ministry of Fisheries with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Navy dumped a considerable quantity of scrapped buses and fishing vessels into the sea three kilometres off the coast of Galle yesterday to improve the breeding of marine life. State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera who was at the Galle harbour yesterday morning said that artificial reefs had been established off the Northern Coast a few weeks ago and the operation in Galle was the second phase of the project. more..

Concerns over Sri Lanka being able to get adequate COVID-19 vaccines

Feb 28 (ST) Several experts expressed worries whether SL would be able to secure adequate Covid-19 vaccines. Looking at the numbers, one source said on a rough calculation there are around 14.5 million people over 18 years of age and as such the country would need a total of around 30m doses (for both the first and second jabs). “We got 500,000 doses from India in Jan. as a donation & on Feb 25, we got another 500,000 doses from around 10m doses we are hoping to purchase. more..

Covid-19 vaccinations: Indecision places PHIs, public at risk

Feb 28 (TM) The Covid-19 vaccination programme to inoculate the general public hit several roadblocks last week, due to the indecisiveness of certain authorities, causing unrest among the groups that were gathering to be vaccinated, and thereby putting all parties including Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) in peril. State Minister Dr. Sudharshini Fernandopulle, said: “These incidents could have been avoided if more..

PC polls by June

Feb 28 (ST) Prez Rajapaksa is expected to announce that PC elections will be held by June this year. With this in mind, he will meet former PC members from parties that form the ruling alliance for a discussion on Wednesday. He is to tell them to prepare the election machinery while assisting in the Govt’s development activities. It is not immediately clear why the Govt has been prompted to go for the PC polls. At present all provinces are being run by the respective Governors. more..

Many attempts to contact CMC fail

Feb 28 (ST) PHI says people rushed to vaccination centres paying little heed to dates given. Numerous calls and messages to officials of the CMC this week to get clarification with regard to the chaos were futile. The Sunday Times tried to get the CMC’s side of the story but the calls were cut and the messages went unanswered. “The CMC is not directly under the Health Ministry. They have their own systems and are not bound to follow our directives. They also have their own organizational structure more..

Ministerial comm. on Easter Sunday PCoI report: Focusing on some recommendations

Feb 28 (TM) The six-member ministerial committee studying the PCoI report into the Easter Sunday attacks and the report of the Sectoral Oversight Committee (SOC) on National Security is looking at, among other aspects, how to implement recommendations to strengthen national security, push through related educational reforms, and to compensate the victims, committee member MP Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said. more..

Dilmah blends tea and kithul served with a treacle & jaggery scone

Feb 28 (Island) The well known Dilmah tea brand has crafted what it calls the next generation of Chai (Hindi for tea) blending Ceylon Tea and Kithul treacle, the company announced last week. The launch happened at the t-Lounge & Bar by Dilmah at One Galle Face Mall last Saturday serving a cuppa produced by blending the country’s most celebrated brew with its most celebrated treacle. “The chai that takes pride of place among this upscaled new lot is the Kithul Chai, which involves more..

Phase II of rollout more streamlined: Officials

Feb 28 (ST) Systems fell into place even though Friday was a poya and a public holiday, as 500,000 more doses of AstraZeneca’s COVISHIELD vaccine arrived from India on Thursday, with a mass rollout being launched on Friday itself in the high-risk districts of Colombo and Gampaha. The furore over the priority list which engulfed the first public rollout (Phase I) with part of the 500,000 doses donated by India settled, as a decision had been made by the Health Ministry to vaccinate people over 30 more..

Chaos reigns at vaccination centres

Feb 28 (ST) Some chaos reigned as a vaccination saga gripped mainly the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) area, with reports from other areas within the Western Province indicating a slightly more organized approach in Phase I of the community vaccination programme from around Feb 17 to 25. The preventive measures that the Health Ministry has been stressing on went unheeded with people thronging the vaccination centres, more..

Defence Secy delves into CRD inventions

Feb 28 (MoD) Defence Secretary and National Security and Disaster Management State Ministry Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), arrived yesterday (22) at the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) in Pitipana to witness the progress of inventions. CRD’s Director General Maj. Gen. Renuka Rowel (Retd) received the visiting high official upon his arrival. An array of innovative products spearheaded by the CRD, being an institution pioneering in providing more..

Edwards, Gayle in WI squad for SL T20Is

Feb 28 (CB) Fidel Edwards has been named in the T20I squad for the series against Sri Lanka. The 14-man side also includes Chris Gayle while Akeal Hosein and Kevin Sinclair have received maiden call-ups. Edwards last played a T20I in 2012 - against Sri Lanka - and returns to the side to boost the pace-bowling unit. "A s we build towards the defence of the T20 World Cup, the opportunity is being taken to determine our best team and squad as we go forward. more..

Edmonton same-sex wedding video sparks conversation in Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (CBC) An Edmonton couple's wedding video is going viral in SL and sparking conversations about same-sex marriage in a country where it is still illegal. Sithara and Jenn Fernando were married in Oct 2019 in a hybrid ceremony of the western tradition and the Poruwa ceremony, a Singhalese ritual involving both families that takes place on a decorated, wooden platform. "One of the things that was really important more..

FINAP wins Gold at National Best Quality Software Awards – 2020

Feb 28 (Island) Fintechnology Asia Pacific Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, (FINAP), a leading software solutions company, won two coveted awards at National ICT Awards, NBQSA-2020, held at the BMICH recently. FINAP’s champion product ECOru- the leading Core Banking & Finance Solution was crowned the Gold Award Winner of the Finance & Accounting Solutions (Fintech) in Business Services Category and was further recognized as the Most Innovative & Best Solution in Cloud Computing. more..

'Forex inflows to be around $ 32 b this year'

Feb 28 (SO) The economy will generate Forex Inflows of around USD 32 billion this year and possibly about USD 2-3 billion more than that amount, each year thereafter, said State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal. He said as of now (Feb 2021), the total ISBs outstanding is USD 14 billion, which is only 16.7% of Sri Lanka’s total debt. None of the other creditors who hold 83.3% of Sri Lanka’s debt seem to show any sign of concern or stress about its repayment ability. more..

The need to treat legends with dignity

Feb 28 (Island) The scathing remarks of Prof Charitha Herath during a COPE hearing pertaining to SLC exposed severe deficiencies in our cricket administration and the public could get a firsthand experience of how poorly the sport has been run as SLC took on former great Chaminda Vaas earlier this week. Rather than sorting matters out behind closed doors, like it happens in professional environments, SLC opted to more..

'Swap deal with China to be finalised soon'

Feb 28 (SO) SL plans to repay Int'l Sovereign Bonds (ISB) amounting to around USD 14 billion or 17% of the debt repayment through non-debt foreign inflows such as exports and not through access to the IMF for funding, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on the current status of debt repayment. Allaying fears and countering claims that the country is in a major debt crisis, Cabraal said the country has already repaid USD 1 billion of the USD 15 ISBs and is in a comfortable position to repay more..

Tennis: Vibuda turns tables on Atukorale

Feb 28 (Island) Vibuda Wijebandara turned tables on experienced Sankha Atukorale to make the men’s singles final a battle between emerging players as he triumphed over the 33-year-old in his semi-final at the SSC Open Ranking Tennis tournament in Colombo on Saturday. Atukorale, who was seeking his first title of the year, was the only senior player to compete in the men’s singles semi-finals and he was beaten 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 by the 20-year-old Wijebandara. more..

Moody’s 3-year contract to begin in March

Feb 28 (Island) Negotiations between Sri Lanka Cricket and former Head Coach Tom Moody are in the last stages and the Perth based Australian is expected to take over as SL’s Director of Cricket as early as first week of March. Following recommendations by the Cricket Committee headed by former skipper Aravinda de Silva, SLC entered into negotiations with the former all-rounder who featured in two World Cup winning more..

Mathews favourite to lead T20 side

Feb 28 (ST) As captain-designate Dasun Shanaka is likely to miss the T20 leg of the West Indies series due to a visa issue, SL could bring in one of the three seniors to lead the side. The names of former skippers Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera have all been discussed but the scale is in Mathews’ favour. For this, however Mathews has to give his consent. The team management in Antigua which includes head coach Mickey Arthur & Manager Jerome Jayaratne more..

Criminal negligence

Feb 28 (ST) My dear Cheerio Sirisena, I thought of writing to you because you are once again making headlines even though you are no longer the big boss that you used to be. Unfortunately for you, the headlines you are generating are not favourable for you and I’m sure you are wondering what would happen next. I'm referring to this commission report that says criminal proceedings should be instituted against you for not doing your job properly at the time of the Easter bomb attacks 2 years ago. more..

Whom Imran bowled out and how he left

Feb 28 (ST) It was 4.40 p.m. last Wednesday when the BIA’s Air Traffic Controllers cleared Pak Two for take-off. Pakistan Air Force Gulfstream G450 rolled off from runway 22, veered westwards, and gradually climbed to 35,000 feet. It cruised at that flight level far off from the Thiruvananthapuram coast in South India, over the Laccadives sea. It headed in the direction of Karachi and there onwards to Islamabad. more..

The incredible cost of ignoring credible intelligence

Feb 28 (ST) The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Easter Sunday bombings must surely have set a world record by hanging out to dry the very person who appointed the Commission. The Commission’s final report unfortunately has got embroiled in needless controversy by the President not releasing it immediately upon receipt. Only an ultimatum from the Cardinal to make it public, or face the consequences (whatever they were to be) fast-forwarded its release into public domain. more..

Vaas goes to Parliament as cricket’s latest casualty

Feb 28 (SO) Chaminda Vaas joined the list of ex-players to be forced out of national cricket coaching which has exposed a cruel and forbidden system that the powers that be are yet to address as the sport has been placed in the dock awaiting its fate or salvation. Vaas and cricket have not only gone to parliament for debate but has shed light on a free-for-all set up at SLC where nepotism and cronyism is the name of the game that has led to an unprecedented crash of the team. more..

Divided people in a distorted democracy

Feb 28 (Island) Geneva Calamity comes more from the thinking of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, than that of the former Chilean politician who is now the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is such thinking of disaster advancement that made our Foreign Minister tell the Geneva meeting in his virtual address that SL acted in self-defence in the fight against the LTTE’s terrorism. Was it self-defence that led to the actions of more..

What is microplastic pollution?

Feb 28 (TM) Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our ocean. Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimetres in length are called microplastics. Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces. In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants to more..

Death of entire tracts of trees; vaccinated amidst confusion

Feb 28 (Island) Cass listened thrice to a Facebook video sent toher by a wildlife enthusiast which has Himeshi Weerasiri speaking from her heart; simply, eloquently and transparently sincerely. She addresses the President and continues with you but Cass discerns the you includes the PM, Ministers and govt bureaucrats. Hence if the President listens to what she had to say, (which we hope he will), he must not be angered. Even the highest in the world must listen to the voice of the people and more..


Retrieval of Muslim burial rights & Aftermath

Feb 28 (CT) At last, after nearly 12 months of agony and trauma, and close to 350 forced cremation of Corona-killed Muslims, Prez Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa (NGR) had relented and issued a gazette notification restoring a controversially lost Muslim human right. Muslim community would indeed have a great sigh of relief, and there may be several among them, who would claim credit for this so-called achievement, including the 5 MPs, who treacherously voted in favour of more..

That fateful night with DIG Anura Senanayake

Feb 28 (CT) When I heard the news of retired Senior DIG Anura Senanayake’s death, my memories took me back to a fateful night at the Dehiwala police station in May 2008. On that night, journalist Keith Noyahr, the then Deputy Editor of the now defunct The Nation newspaper, was abducted and brutally tortured by a hit squad. When the abduction took place, at around 10 PM near the entrance of Noyahr’s Dehiwala residence, I was the only one in the editorial at Rivira attending more..

Minister Ali Sabry decries Bachelet’s report

Feb 28 (SO) Justice Minister Ali Sabry said that the Govt totally condemns UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s one-sided report which has completely ignored all positive developments taking place in SL. He said when they come out with such damning reports, it further polarises the community here on the ground. He said “That is why we are saying, they need to be cautious, reasonable and understand more..

Rothschild interested in Port City

Feb 28 (CT) On 15 Jan 2021 Nathaniel Rothschild, a British Born Financier settled in Switzerland visited Port City as part of his business tour of the island. He is the first possible key investor to visit Sri Lanka after the change of Govt. Port City has placed several blocks of reclaimed land including a Marina for sale. Backers can choose from 15 billion dollars of investments to build a city within a city. SL born British politician and former European Union MP Niranjan Deva Adithya and more..

A challenge for Global South

Feb 28 (SO) According to reports from Geneva, more countries will defend Sri Lanka at the virtual 46th session of the UNHRC, whose Chief Michelle Bachelet had earlier presented a biased and inaccurate report on Sri Lanka, based mostly on unverified bits of information circulated by sections of the Tamil Diaspora and some Western nations. Among this chorus of voices is China, which is significantly a veto-power wielding Permanent Member of the UN Security Council. more..

Living with COVID-19: A year in review

Feb 28 (CT) The country has been in the throes of the COVID-19 infection for a year now. The number of infected cases is reaching the 100,000 mark fast. The current number of cases the country has recorded since March last year is a mind blowing 81,466. Total number from the clusters that emerged from the Minuwangoda garment facility and Peliyagoda Fish Market reached 77,868. The bright side is that 76,513 of them more..

For families of the disappeared, the international community is their last hope

Feb 28 (GV) It is a small shed with cement brick walls and an asbestos roof facing a dusty street. Car horns blare and trucks rattle past. Outside on a weedy patch of grass three baby goats bleat as they play. The walls are lined with photographs. They are mostly young boys and girls, some even in crisp white school uniforms and ties. There is a girl in a bright pink saree and another with jasmine flowers entwined in her hair. One is an ID card photograph; another is a posed studio shot. more..

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