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An inverted promise

July 15 (DM) Going by the occasional statements made by President Maithripala Sirisena about the so-called anti-corruption drive of the Govt one would definitely wonder as to what his real stand  was on the allegations of high profile corruption against the leaders of the previous govt led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He might be seen as blowing hot and cold on the issue. Citing a corruption case in which former Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa had also been accused, more..

Welikathara: A southern war in the north

July 15 (DM) D. B. Nihalsinha’s Welikathara (desert) is back running in our cinemas in digital version. As a long time admirer of this ground-breaking film (both artistically and technically), I’m glad about this attempt to introduce a somewhat obscure thriller to today’s generation (obscure? Ask anyone under 30 if they’ve heard of it, and never use the word classic – and in black and white to boot – or they’ll keep away in droves).   more..

Top BOI official under fire!

July 15 (SL) The Board of Investment (BoI), the institution assigned to attract investors with the purpose of enriching the country’s economy, is alleged to have changed its stance over the months and is accused of kicking out investors. The top official of the BoI has come under severe criticism from investors for being unkind and unprofessional towards those who were planning to bring foreign exchange to the country. more..

Mel’s murder most foul solved, sealed and sentenced

July 15 (ST) A mix of good police work and a sharp prosecution strategy led to the successful conviction this week of the the murderer of journalist Mel Gunasekera. Even though initially, the murder seemed an open and shut case, with the Police apprehending the suspect less than 48 hours after the brutal killing, the prosecution’s task of convincing the Bench that the suspect was indeed the murderer of Ms Gunasekera, more..

How political interference made SriLankan crashland!

July 15 (DM) First SL flag carrier Air Ceylon [1947-1979] terminated its operations to pave way for Air Lanka [1979-98]. Following its partial acquirement by Emirates in 1998, it was re-branded SriLankan Airlines. From 1998 it was dressed in the current livery. The Dubai-based Emirates Group invested in local flag carrier under an agreement signed by Chandrika Kumaranatunga govt for a ten-year strategic joint venture. more..

Upgrading of Polonnaruwa- Batticaloa rail track to be completed in two years

July 15 (Island) The rehabilitation of the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa railway track will be completed within two years, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva says. At present trains run at a speed of 60 km per hour on this track, but after the completion of reconstruction activities trains would be able to travel at 100 km per hour, the Minister said during an inspection tour at Polonnaruwa Railway Station recently. more..

SLAF takes delivery of overhauled Chinese jets

July 15 (Island) China and Sri Lanka are in the process of overhauling Chinese-built F7 jets in accordance with an agreement finalised early last year. Two F7s (F7GS and F7 BS) that had been overhauled in China were recently delivered to Sri Lanka. The F7 GS acquired in early 2008 is capable of firing missiles. Previous government acquired jets with missile capability in the wake of Air Tigers mounting attacks. more..

W.H.O. accepts Lanka’s dengue statistics

July 15 (DN) Health Ministry follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines in collecting statistics on the number of dengue patients and dengue deaths. WHO accepts SL’s official data on dengue situation and it uses the same statistics for their bulletins, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that Sri Lanka allows the WHO to verify the accuracy of statistics. “Countries like North Korea do not allow the WHO to check the accuracy more..

New mosquito species spreading dengue

July 15 (DM) A new species of mosquito, Aedes Aegypti Type-2 which has developed resistance to fogging, BTI and other dengue control methods was the reason for the most number of dengue cases this year, Govt Epidemiology Unit's Dengue Control Unit Director Dr. Hasitha Tissera said. As of yesterday the number of patients had increased to 89,885 with 269 deaths. Though there was a slight decrease in reported dengue cases more..

President battles to keep coalition, ultimatum backfires

July 15 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena returned from a state visit to Bangladesh yesterday to grapple with a new threat of defections  that could lead to a break-up of his shaky coalition government. A week after issuing an ultimatum to two ministers to deliver or depart,  the President himself has been put on notice by his own SLFP which wants him to dissolve the coalition or face a mass exodus. more..

UN Special Rapporteur lacks calibre, diplomacy: Minister

July 15 (DM) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday alleged that several UN Special Rapporteurs who visited Sri Lanka including Rapporteur Ben Emmerson lacked calibre and diplomacy and that he would inform the President and the Premier about these Rapporteurs. When contacted to get a comment about the Rapporteur Emmerson’s visit, Minister complained that Mr. Emmerson more..

Thalatha denies govt eyeing temple tills

July 15 (Island) Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale has said that it is the govt’s responsibility to protect UNESCO heritage sites. She said certain elements with vested interests were spreading rumours that the govt was eying the temple tills. Speaking at a recent ceremony, the Minister said that the money collected in the tills in the temples, which had been declared as UNESCO world heritage sites were used for conservation and development of such places. more..

Let us get (ourselves) closer to our country!

July 15 (CT) Modernity is not opposed to nationalism. This we should know. The confusion or rather dichotomy between the two has come about because many of us are clueless about what they represent. This too we should know. Fact is, there can’t be modernity without anchoring oneself in the past. Fact is, there can’t be nationalism (and there are many nationalisms) without preparing oneself for the future. The two are coterminous: the one can’t thrive and flourish without the other. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Make NS 1 Anigen test available in govt hospitals

July 15 (CT) Dengue has caused a national crisis. That is the simplest way to explain the current status of the dengue epidemic and how it has affected the lives of Sri Lankans. Every day, from one or another, you hear stories about people being diagnosed with dengue and sometimes about those who died of dengue. Although the situation is bad, it still remains a question whether govt as well as the people, are committed to fight dengue, sufficiently. more..

UNP will field the best possible at PC elections: PM

July 15 (DN) UNP will select the best qualified team of candidates to contest in Provincial Council election due in Dec, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. PM was chairing the UNP working committee which was held at Sirikotha. UNP Working Committee has taken a decision to appoint Ministers Kabir Hashim and Akila Viraj to carry out the election campaign at the grassroot level. Priority will be given to select the most qualified candidates as the representatives of the UNP, it was said. more..

සිරස ලක්ෂපති මිලියන 2ක් දිනූ මෝක්ෂ මධුසංක

Five corruption cases against Johnston fixed for Aug 8

July 15 (DN) Five corruption cases filed against former Minister Johnston Fernando and two others for allegedly causing a Rs.40 million loss to the govt by employing 153 employees of the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) for election work during the period 2010 to 2014 were yesterday taken up before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. Accordingly, cases against former Cooperative and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando, former CWE (Lak Sathosa) more..

Wimal condemns arrest of ex-Navy spokesman

July 15 (DM) National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader and MP Wimal Weerawansa yesterday condemned the remanding of former Navy Spokesman Commodore D.K.P. Dassanayake who was arrested by the CID on Wednesday over the alleged abduction and disappearance of several youth between 2008 and 2009. MP Weerasansa told a news conference that Commodore Dassanayake's arrest was a sensitive incident and added that he was a talented officer who had contributed more..

Sri Lanka batting lapses give Zimbabwe edge

July 15 (CI) Graeme Cremer spun them hard and his team-mates stretched, dived and hunted balls down in the field so splendidly that, at the end of second day, Zimbabwe finished with a good chance of taking a first-innings lead - SL seven down, and still 63 runs behind. Where Craig Ervine held Zimbabwe's innings of 356 together, Cremer performed a similar role with the ball. Thirty of Zimbabwe's 82 overs were his, and rarely more..

Shadowy hands in effort to control media

July 15 (CT) A shadowy group calling itself the National Secretariat for Media Reform (NSMR) funded by an international NGO, International Media Support (IMS) and lobbing for a badly drafted Bill of independent Council for News Media Standards has led to huge public agitation and concern in Sri Lanka. Concerns have arisen as to whether this is an attempt by certain international forces sympathetic to the yahapalanaya Govt to throttle journalists who are now critical of the Govt more..

JO points finger at Govt for attack on pepper farmers

July 15 (Island) The JO alleged that the recent attack on the pepper farmers demonstration in Pallebedda had been organised by the govt. UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena said that the govt had got the innocent pepper farmers attacked as they were critical of the mismanagement of the agricultural sector. Gunawardena said the govt had no policy at all to develop the agricultural sector and protect the farmers. The govt had taken steps to import low quality pepper from Vietnam more..

Sri Lanka shares experiences at US House Democracy Partnership event

July 15 (SLE) Sri Lanka was accorded the privilege of sharing the podium with distinguished U.S. statesmen and government officials at a public event organized by the United States’ House of Representatives’ House Democracy Partnership (HDP) on July 13. The event titled Strong Legislatures as a Bulwark Against Autocracy was co-hosted by HDP’s Chairman Congressman Peter Roskam and more..

3 UNP ministers a threat to unity govt

July 15 (CT) A group of UNP MPs, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers are planning to urge PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to take swift action against three powerful UNP Ministers whose conduct has become detrimental to the sustenance of the Unity Govt. They have pointed out that the conduct of these three UNP Ministers has not only come in for criticism from the Joint Opposition but their conduct could imperil the day-to-day functioning of the govt too. They have stated that more..

Sirisena in Catch-22 Corruption Trap

July 15 (CT) Irrespective of what motives President Sirisena had in mind when he fired a broadside at his Unity Govt's partner - accusing some of its senior members being responsible for the Police and FCID intentionally dawdling over probes into murders and multiple incidents of bribery and corruption - the overriding factor here is that this is the President of the Nation making this allegation. Now to my mind, no matter what others' opinions might be, this is so serious a charge that more..

Senior cop arrested over Vidya rape and murder cover up

July 15 (EN) CID has arrested Senior Deputy Inspector General Lalith Jayasinghe on a charge of obstructing justice and helping suspects in a rape and murder case escape. Jayasinghe was the senior most police officer when 18-year-old Vidya Sivaloganathan was gang raped and murdered at Punkuduthivu, off  Kayts island in the Jaffna peninsula in May 2015. “Senior DIG Jayasinghe was arrested by the CID for more..

Hong Kong grants Rs 177 million for Sri Lanka flood relief

July 15 (ST) Hong Kong, which has generously handed out financial aid to Sri Lanka at times of disasters on previous occasions, has once again approved three grants totalling HK$9.03 million (Rs 177.3 million) to three non-govt agencies that will provide flood relief. The money was approved today by the Disaster Relief Fund Advisory Committee from Hong Kong’s well-run Disaster Relief Fund. Save the Children Hong Kong will receive HK$4.44 million, while HK$1.128 million was more..

Amunugama castigates FCID for probe on Dinesh

July 15 (DM) Minister Sarath Amunugama had at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting vehemently opposed the ongoing FCID investigations on JO leader Dinesh Gunawardana. “These investigations on a veteran politician who is known for his integrity and fair play and commands respect in parliament and outside should not have been initiated in the first place,” he is reported to have said. The FCID should have carried out an evaluation before questioning him over some activities at the NWSDB more..

President attends Sri Lanka- Bangladesh Investment Forum

July 15 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena participated as the Chief Guest of the Investment Forum held in Dhaka, today with the participation of Sri Lanka as well as Bangladesh investors and entrepreneurs. This Forum was organized to explore new investments and business opportunities in Sri Lanka. The trade figure between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka is US$ 142 million per year and during this Forum the attention was drawn to make it more..

Video: No unnecessary arrests will be made: Defence Secretary

July 15 (AD) The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne says that not a single unnecessary arrest will be made in the future.  He stated that the relevant criminal investigations are being carried out following the arrest of former Navy Spokesman Commodore D.K.P. Dasanayake. “No unnecessary arrests will be carried out. I can assure that.” The newly appointed Defence Secretary made these comments while responding to questions from journalists after he visited more..

Video: 2005-15 was golden age for Sri Lankan artists: MR

July 15 (AD) The govt that existed from 2005 to 2015 can be identified as the golden age for artists in SL and an age when they received the support of the govt, says former President Rajapaksa.  Speaking during an event of the Free Art Guild held last night in Panadura, he said that his govt was able to provide artists with every possible relief and concessions, which he claimed the incumbent govt is attempting to curtail. Rajapaksa said that not only artists, but even the relief accorded to more..

Lead will be a bonus: Streak

July 15 (CI) Concurring with Rangana Herath that batting will be tough in the fourth innings, Zimbabwe coach Heath Streak said his side would aim to have Sri Lanka chasing 200 at a minimum. With the hosts still 63 runs behind, Zimbabwe have a rare chance to take a first-innings lead. "I'd like to get 400 runs in front, but I don't think that's going to happen," Streak said. "Anything over 200 to 250 runs is going to be really tough on more..

VAC faults Champika

July 15 (CT) Convener of Voice Against Corruption (VAC) Wasantha Samarasinghe has charged that during Minister Champika Ranawaka's stint as the Minister of Power and Energy millions of rupees from funds of Lanka Transformers had been given away to temples as generous donations. He alleged that similar to the actions of Minister Ranawaka back in 2011, current Minister of Power and Renewable Energy too had donated money to various temples from the coffers of this same firm. more..

Norochcholai generator temporarily down

July 15 (NR) The third generator of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant has been taken down temporarily due to urgent repairs. The Spokesman for the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy said the power supply across the country will not be affected. Repairs were being carried out due to the challenge in keeping with the daily generation of power. However the power supply will not be affected under any means through the suspension of the third generator. more..

'SL should have been in a better position'

July 15 (CI) Sri Lanka ended the first day of the Colombo Test against Zimbabwe 63 runs adrift, with only three first-innings wickets in hand, and their own lead spinner has sounded out a warning: batting fourth on this track won't be easy. Khettarama is not a venue where Tests are often played - the most recent one was four years ago. As both sides attempt to read an unfamiliar surface, perhaps Herath's more..

Dengue needs Citizen action

July 16 (SO) Do you, dear reader, know someone affected by dengue? How many of you know someone affected by dengue? The incidence of this deadly disease has reached such proportions that many Sri Lankans, though un-affected by dengue themselves, personally know others who have been affected. In the face of the rapid increase in dengue cases this year, the health authorities are responding on several parallel tracks: expanding treatment capacity, enforcing preventive more..

Can the best of constitutions work in SL?

July 16 (SL) Sri Lankan constitutions have had powerful forces backing them. Our first Constitution was written under the patronage of the British government by a world authority in constitution making, Ivor Jennings, with the assistance of D. S. Senanayake who became the country’s first prime minister under that constitution. Undoubtedly it was our best constitution that lasted 24 years. The 1972 Constitution it was claimed was based on a mandate received by Govt of Sirima Bandaranaike more..

Polythene ban draws mixed reactions

July 16 (SO) There were mixed reactions by Sri Lankans over the ban announced last week on polythene, lunch sheets and rigifoam boxes, that will come into effect from September this year with the packaging industry and others voicing their concern. When the Sunday Observer spoke to a cross section of people to find out what they felt about the ruling, some industrialists said, with the ban that would come into effect, polythene, more..

Rapporteur makes waves

July 16 (Island) One newspaper yesterday summed up the news briefing with which Ben Emmerson, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Countering Terrorism ended his five-day visit here by saying UN slams govt on PTA. That accurately encapsulated what Emmerson, a British lawyer, said at his briefing. He was obviously not satisfied at the state of play here on areas his mandate covers and he did not mince his words saying as much. Earlier it had been reported that more..

Sirisena faces acid test

July 16 (CT) SL envoy in the USA, Prasad Kariyawasam, stood before a large and distinguished gathering of US statesmen of the United States House of Representatives House Democracy Partnership (HDP) last Thursday, delivering a lecture on the theme of Strong Legislatures as a Bulwark Against Autocracy. Reading reports of the implosion in the SLFP faction in the govt barely 72 hours later in Colombo, those distinguished US legislators could be forgiven more..