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US accused of turning a blind eye on Sri Lanka’s back pedalling

June 18 (SL) “At a time when truth and reconciliation is most vital, important international players like the United States are turning a blind eye to President Sirisena’s backpedalling,” says Oakland Institute, releasing its latest report largely illustrating the plight of IDP tens of thousands of Tamils in SL’s war torn north, seven years after the govt declared an end to the war. The report, ‘Waiting to Return Home’ quoting the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) says more..

Pvt. hospitals’ request for price hike turned down

June 18 (Island) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne turned down a request from the private sector to hike prices of lab tests and medical services and hospital care. Spokesman for the Health Ministry, said a group of private hospital representatives had asked for a 20% increase in their charges when they met the Minister. Ministry had already warned that it would blacklist private health institutions if it found any govt specialist or medical officers there during their regular working hours. more..

MP Sanath Nishantha accused over verbal abuse of cops

June 18 (AD) An investigation has been launched into allegations that UPFA MP Sanath Nishantha had verbally abused and lashed out at several police officers including an Inspector who were on duty at the Deduru Oya checkpoint in Chilaw. At around 1pm yesterday the police officers on duty at the check point in the Deduru Oya area on the Chilaw-Puttalam main road had stopped an SUV while the driver had failed to produce more..

SL tea regulator to crack down on criminals

June 18 (EN) Minister Navin Dissanayake said he intends to clean up the tea trade and would act firmly against criminals who tarnish the industry’s image, despite pressure from fellow parliamentarians to show leniency. "I aim to clean up all unsavoury aspects of the tea industry,” he declared at the 122nd annual general meeting of the Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA). "As of now, the Tea Board is under immense pressure as we have to implement the Tea Act of 1992," more..

CM questions reasoning of electorate

June 18 (DN) It is most surprising to see some of the members elected to Parliament by voters with almost 100% literacy rate in the country, but illiterate voters in the past who exercised their votes according to the party colour and symbol sent educated people like lawyers and engineers to Parliament, said Southern Province CM Shan Wijeyalal de Silva. He was addressing a capacity building seminar attended by members of Youth Parliament elected from Southern Province more..

Culture of fear lingers in war-traumatized SL

June 18 (JT) Civil war engulfed SL from 1983 to 2009, with a death toll estimated by the U.N. at up to 100,000. The war was fought between the LTTE, and the SL state. Civilians paid the highest price, in the form of assassinations, terrorist suicide bombings and abductions by the Tamil Tigers, and extrajudicial beatings, abductions and torture by state security forces. more..

Body of missing 9-year-old found in canal

June 18 (AD) The body of a 9-year-old female student has been recovered from a canal in the Ridimaliyadda area in Mahiyanganaya. Police said that the body was found during a search carried out following a complaint lodged by the girl’s parents stating that she had not returned home from school yesterday (17). The body was discovered in a canal located around one-and-a-half kilometers away from her home. The cause of death has not been ascertained yet while Mahiyanganaya Police more..

Aluthgamage slams Basil Rajapaksa for creating rumors

June 18 (AM) UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage has refuted claims that a group of Joint Opposition MPs are planning to join the govt, adding that former Minister Basil Rajapaksa was behind the origin of this rumor. Aluthgamage said that Basil Rajapaksa is reacting in this manner since his attempts to seize power in Joint Opposition was unsuccessful. He points out that a section of the Joint Opposition was vehemently opposed to the involvement of Basil Rajapaksa in their work. more..

'Collective decisions should be taken sans party lines’

June 18 (DN) If working within a National Govt, collective decisions should be taken without dividing on party lines, said Deputy Minister Eran Wickremeratne. He was responding to a question raised by a journalist on the stance of the SLFP over the re-appointment of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. “We should keep away from party politics as UNP and SLFP and commit ourselves for a collective decision making. more..

Future Minds 2016 makes fresh start for higher education

June 18 (GDI) Highly sought after higher education and career exhibition by the SL Student Community, made a welcome start to a brand new decade here at BMICH. The event will be held from 17th to 19th at the BMICH, from 25th to 26th June at KCC Kandy and from 3rd to 4th Sept at Galle Town Hall. The opening ceremony was declared opened by the Chief Guest Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne. Chairman, UGC, Professor Mohan De Silva also graced the occasion as a Guest of Honour. more..

BC files three corruption cases against former DLB Chairman

June 18 (DN) CIABOC filed three corruption cases against former Development Lottery Board (DLB) Chairman Dr. Chandrawansa Pathiraja for allegedly causing a Rs. 22 million unlawful loss to the DLB when awarding promotional activities pertaining to several lottery tickets to three private companies in contrary to the accepted tender procedure. When the three cases came up before Colombo Additional Magistrate, former DLB chairman was noticed to appear before Court on July 25. more..

Young Shuttlers in quandary

June 18 (CT) Players from remote areas who have been selected to the Sri Lanka team to participate in the Asian Junior Badminton Championship to be held from 9 to 17 July in Bangkok, Thailand, are facing several major problems. SL Badminton Association has ordered players from outstations and living at some distance away from Colombo from among the 20 players selected for the reserve for this Championship to participate more..

Wander Lust: Spontaneous in Sri Lanka

June 18 (JP) A weak golden hue had just started to appear in the skies of Sri Lanka when my flight touched down at BIA in Colombo at dawn. The airport, whose design evokes the ambiance of a 1970s spy movie, was abuzz with a crowd of tourists, lining up for visas on arrival at immigration. After exchanging some rupiah for rupees, I booked a local taxi. With no fixed plan, I was following my heart to see what Sri Lanka had to offer the spontaneous tourist. more..

Army completes reconstruction of 300 houses in Salawa

June 18 (ST) The army has completed repairs to 300 houses that were damaged due to the explosion at the ammunition dump of the Kosgama military base in Salawa. All these houses have now been handed over to their respective owners. Reconstruction work on a further 74 houses commenced today (17), the army added. A total of 1504 drinking wells in the area have also been handed back to their owners after being cleaned with the assistance of the navy and more..

Indonesia lets Sri Lankan Tamil migrants ashore after week on stranded boat

June 18 (AP) Indonesia allowed a group of Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka to come ashore in Aceh province on Saturday after confining them to their stranded boat for a week, but is insisting they'll be towed out to sea once the vessel is repaired. Rights groups have criticized Indonesia's treatment of the 44 men, women and children and the Aceh provincial govt's plan to abandon them in international waters. more..

Poson, governance, disaster recovery

June 19 (SO) Even as Poson's shining moon plays hide-and-seek with lowering monsoon clouds, many of the worshipping faithful, especially in the hill country, will remember those affected by the recent natural and human-made disasters that have struck this land and its people. Lamps and incense sticks will be lit in memory of those buried and maimed by the collapsing mountainsides, and, for the secure future of those whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed. more..

Another VAT blow to home builders

June 19 (CT) Hard on the heels of the IMF's diktat to the govt to broad-base its sources of revenue came Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe's proposal that was approved by Cabinet, to reintroduce the Capital Gains Tax which will soon come into effect. Everyone is agreed on the fact that if the govt is to be rational about streamlining the economy it must ensure two cardinal objectives: Increasing revenue via more exports and an equitably rational reform in the taxation structure. more..

Meeriyabedda, Aranayaka, Salawa: Divergent Destinies

June 19 (SO) Disasters may strike different regions with similar devastations but human recovery is uneven as some regions seem pampered, while others seem left behind and forgotten. Meeriyabedda, near Bandarawela was wiped out by a giant earthslip in 2014 but survivors are yet perched on the muddy hillside in temporary shelter amid the rainstorms. Survivors of last month's earthslip in Aranayaka may be more..

Unbowed and unafraid for 22 years and still going

June 19 (SL) The Sunday Leader is 22 years old today. The 22-year-old saga of this newspaper will no doubt go to make a part of the contemporary history of Sri Lanka. It is the story of an independent newspaper braving all odds at a time the country was being ravaged by a terrorist conflict to protect civil liberties, expose blunders, corruption and chicanery of its leaders while protecting the sovereignty of its people. This passage in time of the country’s history would not more..

Sirisena’s conundrum

June 19 (Island) Possible reappointment of Mr. Arjuna Mahendran to a 6-year term as Governor of Central Bank has triggered more flak about a public appointment than any other in memory. Soon after the Rajapaksa regime was dethroned in January last year, the then high profile Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who was perhaps the most politicized holder of that office ever, submitted his resignation. Mahendran was appointed to serve the balance of Cabraal’s term which would have ended on June 30. more..

'We won’t allow changes that affect masses'

June 19 (SL) Change is definitely needed when it comes to social class/status but I doubt this bill would deal at that level. It is certainly not a final solution but a step in the right direction. Our country often protects rogues and robbers. There is one type of treatment for them while one who steals a coconut is severely dealt with. This attitude needs to be changed, says Politburo Member of JVP K.D. Lal Kantha. more..

Salawa: The fire and the people’s ire

June 19 (ST) The fire at the Salawa ammunition dump on June 5 was the most serious man-made disaster to occur in Sri Lanka since the end of the war in 2009. The raging inferno triggered off hours of explosions and heavy ammunition rained down on human settlements in mindboggling quantities. The damage was colossal. It is fortuitous that not more than one life, that of a soldier, was lost. As the fire broke out on a Sunday, activity in the camp was at a minimum. more..

A new minister

June 19 (ST) My dear Thonda, I wanted to write to you because you are in the news once again after a long period of silence when we didn’t even know whether you were in Parliament or not. Now we are told that you will soon join Maithri and surprise, surprise, will be sworn in as a Minister. So, congratulations are in order. It is not that I am surprised by all this. There were people who shouted themselves hoarse at Mahinda maama’s election rallies – like Dayasiri of hutan fame more..


Marvellous Mihintale but not a UNESCO World Heritage Site

June 19 (Island) National and religious attention is on Mihintale on this 19th day of June – Poson Poya day. It was on such a day 236 years after the death of the Buddha in 306 BC, that a momentous meeting took place between Venerable Mahinda Thera, son of Emperor Dharma Ashoka of India and the king of Lanka – Devanampiya Tissa (307-287 BC). "Monks are we, O great King, disciples of the King of Truth. Out of compassion for you have we come from Jambudipa" said Thera Mahinda to King more..

The wisdom of throwing Arjuna Mahendran to the wolves

June 19 (Island) As the end of June draws near, the question of extending the tenure of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran has taken the political centre stage. Last Friday, an emergency meeting was held between the President and the PM and the pro-yahapalana NGOs to sort out the issue of the CB Governor’s reappointment. As we go to press, the matter still appears unresolved. Last week, NGOs in the yahapalana project were preparing to make an application for a writ of quo warranto more..

Today is Poson Full-moon Day: Dhamma is not for Learning

June 19 (DM) Poson Full-moon Day is significant to the Sri Lankans as the day on which the Arahat Mahinda, Emperor Asoka’s son, introduced Buddha Dhamma to the nation in the 3rd century B.C. Arhant Thero Mahinda converted the ruler, King Devanampiya Tissa to Buddha Dhamma, and set in motion a series of measures that made Sri Lanka the centre of Theravada Buddhism. Missaka Pavva Mihintale, where the historic more..

Actor Ranjan in COPE tug-of-war

June 19 (SO) The so-called Joint Opposition group formed by UPFA rebel MPs, made an interesting move last week when it nominated Mahindananda Aluthgamage as a member of the COPE committee inquiring into allegations of corruption levelled against State sector institutions. The rebel group’s move raised many an eyebrow last week, as Aluthgamage was at the receiving end of allegations of corrupt activites, in the recent past. Many observers believed that appointing more..

Of flagrant spending and good governance

June 19 (NS) Although there was a public outcry against it initially, the issue of importing vehicles for ministers seems to have died a natural death and swept off the front pages, especially after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered that the imports be suspended until those affected by the recent floods, landslides and Kosgama blast were compensated. The chances are that once the public debate gives way to the next hot topic of the day, the imports will go ahead. more..

Maithri caught between Ranil and SLFP

June 19 (CT) Ever since the 100-day trial period ended and UNP-SLFP joined hands to form a unity govt despite the fact that they stand poles apart when it comes to ideologies, policies and principles, each step President took was a test. A test of integrity, a test of trust, a test of patience, a test of strength and there were instances of litmus tests. Week before we saw govt facing a challenge of a no-confidence motion against its FM. more..

Give England a taste of their own medicine

June 19 (Island) The scheduling of the three match Test series between SL and England raised many eyebrows and the touring batsmen became sitting ducks against England’s seam attack in the early summer up north of the country. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as usual have been fantastic hosts, but the same could not be told of the scheduling of the series. Ideally, in May, venues like Lord’s and The Oval in London, Rose Bowl in Southampton or Cardiff in Wales in southern more..

Ceylon Tobacco invests Rs. 500m over 10 years empowering rural poor

June 19 (Island) Ceylon Tobacco Company, one of the country’s richest and most efficient business conglomerates has invested Rs. 500 million over 10 years in a Sustainable Agricultural Development Program (SADP) to empower the rural poor by maximizing the potential of their home gardens. The program which notches its tenth anniversary this year involves no cash handouts whatever. It offers beneficiaries inputs of planting material and livestock (chickens and goats) and extensive advice to more..

East Container Terminal’s govt stake in the balance

June 19 (ST) Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s (SLPA) stake in the East Container Terminal (ECT) is to be reduced significantly (to 15%) despite Cabinet approval being given in February for a 51% stake. The previous announcement by Ports Ministry issued on Feb 16 stated that the Cabinet had approved to call for proposals for the development of the ECT with the SLPA owning a 51% stake and the rest to be handed over to more..

13-man Pathana stuns Thoras for league title

June 19 (SO) Isipathana College staged a spectacular brand of rugby despite being reduced to 13 players to down S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia by 28 points (3 tries, 2 conversions, 3 penalties) to 24 (4 tries, 2 conversions) to clinch the Singer inter-school ‘A’ Division league rugby tournament as unbeaten champions at the CR and FC grounds, Longden Place yesterday. Pathana led 20-12 at half time. This time around surprisingly it was their forwards who won the match for more..

No shortcuts to success: Roshan Mahanama

June 19 (SO) Former Sri Lanka captain and ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama urged schoolboy cricketers to work hard towards their targets in a disciplined manner, maintaining the high traditions of the game - instead of being remote-controlled. The two-time winner of the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award, said that schoolboy cricketers should be willing to make sacrifices and should not look for short cuts, if they are to progress further. more..

Perera, Prasanna direct Ireland mauling

June 19 (CI) When he walked out as Sri Lanka's No. 3, his eighth batting position in 24 ODI innings, Seekkuge Prasanna had an ODI average of 9.19. No one would have imagined that he would come within one blow of breaking one of SL cricket's most cherished records. On April 2, 1996 in Singapore, Sri Lanka played their first match since the country's World Cup win, in Lahore. Liberated by the moment, Sanath Jayasuriya more..

CIC steps up agriculture, health care biz

June 19 (SO) CIC Holdings is working on joint ventures with Israel and Pakistan to strengthen two of the company’s main business sectors – agriculture and healthcare/pharmaceutical products. The company is investing Rs. 1 billion to launch the cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses using the latest technology. “The company is tying up with an Israeli partner to share the latest technologies in agriculture and have signed an agreement already,” MD/CEO, CIC, Samantha Ranatunga said. more..

Movie on slain Lankan TV anchor in Chennai HC mediation

June 19 (TOI) The release of Tamil feature film Porkalathil Oru Poo (A Flower in Battlefield) on the alleged rape and murder of a newsreader of LTTE-controlled television in Sri Lanka is still stuck in legal quagmire and the Madras high court has sought to refer it for mediation. It will be held on Monday. The K Ganeshan-directed film apparently deals with the life of a television journalist, Shoba alias Isaipriya, who anchored programmes on LTTE-run television in Sri Lanka. more..

Harvard University’s CID to diagnose Sri Lanka’s economic growth ills

June 19 (ST) The deeply-indebted SL govt has been forced to seek foreign expertise to identify the most binding constraints that hamper economic growth at this specific point of time as it is necessary for the implementation of the 4-year economic development plan which is to be unveiled soon. In this backdrop, US based Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) has stepped in to carry out SL’s more..

TNA goes to Geneva

June 19 (CT) The TNA has gone to the UNHRC, this time too, to inform the UN body of their distrust of the govt they voted to power because the trusted friend is now backtracking on the promises they made to the Tamils in the country as well as the international community. In this context, the recent visit of TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran to the US to speak at a Congressional Caucus briefing, was surprising as he was assisted by SL Ambassador to the US, Prasad Kariyawasam. more..