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Colombo’s Casino Scene

July 19 (CT) If you take a night time drive along Colombo's Marine Drive you can hardly fail to notice the Marina Casino. Roman-style portico is illuminated with multi-coloured lights and the electric sign shines out in the darkness. Building is a Colombo landmark, but to most Sri Lankans it is an alien environment, as strange and forbidding as the surface of Mars. A no-go zone, tinged with the glamour of illicit entertainment. more..

Sri Lankan maid files law suit in HK

July 19 (EJI) A domestic worker from Sri Lanka is seeking a judicial review, claiming the govt’s requirement that helpers live and work in their employer’s residence violates the international law against slave labor. In a writ filed in the High Court, Rankothpedi Duravalage Kamalawathi, said she had been mistreated by her employer since she was hired in 2012. She claimed that she is now suffering from schizophrenia and auditory hallucination, which prevents her from continuing to work, more..

Herath leapfrogs Ashwin to second place

July 19 (CI) Rangana Herath has leapfrogged R Ashwin to be ranked as the No. 2 bowler in Tests, following his match haul of 11 wickets against Zimbabwe in the one-off Test at Khettarama. Herath claimed his eighth ten-wicket haul and also passed the tallies of Waqar Younis (373), Malcolm Marshall (376) and Ian Botham (383) in Colombo. All of that contributed to SL achieving the highest successful chase in Asia, beating Zimbabwe by four wickets. As a result, Ashwin moved down to third place more..

SL to probe 2011 World Cup cricket defeat

July 19 (AFP) Sports minister gave his support for an investigation into the country's controversial 2011 World Cup loss against India, amid fresh allegations of match fixing. SL lost the World Cup decider by six wickets in Mumbai, stunning the cricket-mad island. Then skipper Kumar Sangakkara resigned soon after the match. Pressure has since been mounting for an inquiry into the shock defeat, a former cricket captain and a previous sports more..

A/L tuition classes banned from 2nd Aug

July 19 (NR) Department of Examinations says all 2017 Advanced Level tuition classes, lectures and additional A/L related activities to be brought to a halt by midnight on the 2nd of August for a period of one month. Issuing a statement the Commissioner General of Examinations WMNJ Pushpakumara said the ban will be in effect until the 2nd of Sept. Accordingly the order prohibits the conduct of tuition classes, revision classes, lectures and the distribution of leaflets. more..

Mervyn: Present crisis due to wrath of gods

July 19 (Island) Former Minister Mervyn Silva, calling on the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatta and Asigirya on Monday, said the present crisis situation in the country was due to the wrath of gods. The gods observed the situation in Sri Lanka on a daily basis and reported it to Sakra, who took necessary action, Silva told the Most Venerable Mahanayake Thera of Malwatte Tibatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera. The situation would take a turn for the worse unless more..

Sri Lankan govt not to clash with UN on human rights: Rajitha

July 19 (PTI) Unlike the previous Rajapaksa regime, current SL govt will not follow the policy of confrontation with the UN over the human rights violations committed during the three-decade long civil war, govt spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said. He was responding after Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe severely criticised the conclusions made by UN Rapporteur on human rights & counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson more..

MP Roshan Ranasinghe withdraws from JO activities

July 19 (NR) UPFA Polonnaruwa District MP Roshan Ranasinghe has decided to temporarily withdraw from political activities of the Joint Opposition (JO). Issuing a statement the MP said he arrived at this decision due to certain actions of several leaders of the JO. MP Ranasinghe added due to the short-sighted actions of members of the JO in the Polonnaruwa District, without his prior consultation, will hinder the JO claiming victory in the district. more..

Health Minister denies hand in formulating new docs’ union

July 19 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne denied claims by the GMOA that he was forming a separate doctors’ union. Union was being formed by a group of doctors entirely of their own volition. It was not the first time in the history that such a union was being formed, he said. Refuting allegations the minister said he had been invited to an event organised by new union, which comprised a group of specialist doctors. He said he would willingly take part in any meeting organised by a trade union. more..

People of Sri Lanka book launching ceremony under President’s patronage

July 19 (PSL) The launching ceremony for a book titled People of Sri Lanka published by the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages was held under the patronage of President Sirisena at the BMICH. The book, which contains the details of 19 ethnic groups living in Sri Lanka as well as  their cultures and customs, written  under the guidance of the Minister Mano Ganeshan. more..

Rohitha Case: Fixed for trial in August

July 19 (DN) The corruption case filed against former Minister and Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena alleged to have acquired assets worth Rs.41.1 million unlawfully was fixed for trial on August 2, 3 by the Colombo High Court, today. Meanwhile, the defence party informed High Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne that they were able to inspect and access computer evidence pertaining to financial transactions made by the accused and his wife.  more..

Veteran Musician Somapala Ratnayake dead

July 19 (CT) Veteran music director and musician Somapala Ratnayake passed away, at the Colombo National Hospital, early last morning. Ratnayake, who was the sibling of popular vocalist Victor Ratnayake, was 69 at the time of his demise. The late Somapala Ratnayake, who was a long-serving member of the SLBC musicians' board, had directed music in such films as Selamuthupinna, Handaya, Uthumanani, Sagarayak Meda, Koti Waligaya, Nomiyena Minisun etc. more..

Uma Oya project Ministerial Subcommittee recommendations to be implemented

July 19 (DN) Recommendations submitted by the Ministerial Subcommittee appointed to resolve issues faced by individuals affected by the Uma Oya Multipurpose Project were approved by the Cabinet Ministers today. The Cabinet ordered to implement the suggested recommendations with immediate effect. Following are the approved recommendations: Construction of six large scale underground wells more..

SriLankan Airlines daily non-stop flights to Guangzhou, Melbourne

July 19 (EN) SriLankan Airlines will increase its destinations with new daily non-stop flights to Melbourne, Australia this winter season, having begun daily non-stop flights to Hong Kong and Guangzhou in China, dropping the previous Bangkok stopover. The flights to Melbourne represent SriLankan’s re-entry to Australia after sixteen years with very strong forward bookings on this route already seen, which gives confidence that it is the right choice, a statement said. more..

SLPA to modernize Jaya Container Terminal

July 19 (LBO) Cabinet nod has been received to modernize the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of SL Ports Authority in order to improve the capacity of the terminal. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that this will be phase V of the renovation of the terminal which will allow the terminal to handle larger ships. SLPA earlier initiated extension of JCT IV berth at Jaya Container Terminal to enhance the capacity of the port to accommodate mega container carriers now in operation. more..

Tobacco Companies profits skyrocket

July 19 (CT) According to a govt survey the profit of Tobacco Companies has increased massively though, the stock of cigarettes in the market has been decreased with time. Centre for Combating Tobacco showed that during the last few years, there was a production of 4,945 millions of cigarettes. Then the profit was $10,770,000 and when the production declined to 3,789 million, profit has increased up to $ 84,466,000. more..

160kg of cocaine found in container truck

July 19 (AD) A stock of cocaine, believed to be weighing around 160 kilograms, has been discovered inside a shipping container on a truck transporting sugar to the Sathosa warehouse in Ratmalana. 10 parcels of cocaine, each weighing around 16kg, were found inside the container by officer of the Mount Lavinia Police Station at the warehouse located in Ratmalana economic center. Container truck and the stock of drugs are to be handed over to Police Narcotics Bureau more..

56% of population poor

July 19 (CT) Fourteen or 56% of the country's 25 districts continued to remain in poverty for at least 18 continuous months, beginning January last year to end of June 2017. Census & Statistics Department started releasing such monthly data 18 months ago, from Jan 2016. These 14 districts also hold 56% of the country's population comprising 11.78 million, out of the island's total population of 21.203 million as at the middle of last year, according to latest population data. more..

Govt mulls stiff action against Uma Oya experts

July 19 (CT) Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissanayake said the Ministry was prepared to consider proposals and recommendations of an expert panel which will be summoned in the month of August in connection with taking legal action against those responsible for having implemented the destructive Uma Oya Multi-Purpose Project. more..

Hacking of President’s official website: Schoolboy discharged from case

July 19 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate today ordered to discharge two suspects including a 17-year-old schoolboy from the case against them for allegedly  securing an unauthorized access into the President's official website. Filing a report before Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara, the CID informed Court that the Attorney General has given instructions to release the suspects from the case citing that he is not expecting to proceed legal action against two suspects.  more..

US architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill wins contest to design centre of Port City

July 19 (GCR) Major US architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has won a three-horse race to design the centre of Sri Lanka’s controversial, Chinese backed Port City of Colombo. The competition was held to gather design concepts for the financial district and the marina area of the port, which SL’s govt had previously suspended amid concern over undue influence from China and irregularities in the contract process. Now back on, the port is expected to have more..

Video: GMOA threatens to call off discussions with PM

July 19 (DM) GMOA said it would disassociate its self from its discussions with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe if he was unable to stop Minister Rajitha Senaratne from sabotaging the decisions taken by the GMOA and the PM on the SAITM issue. GMOA Secretary Haritha Aluthge said the minister had also sabotaged the talks held with President Sirisena. He said even though the PM had to seek legal requirement to gazette more..

Invoking Nuremberg in Colombo

July 20 (CT) One of the 2 resolutions adopted at the 5th regular session of the UNHRC on the 18th of June 2007 is Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/2 namely, the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-holders of the Human Rights Council. This resolution was adopted without a vote. Article 12 of the text says that Special Procedure should In implementing their mandate, therefore, show restraint, moderation and discretion… In invoking the loaded N word –Nuremberg more..

Does tourism benefit Third World Sri Lanka?

July 20 (CT) Third World governments invariably justify the promotion of tourism as a driving force for economic development. I question this claim and say that it is time to stop treating tourism as a holy cow to be protected and nurtured at all costs. Tourism discourses are full of high-sounding rhetoric, liberally peppered with such terms as poverty reduction, economic growth, sustainability, fair trade, employment generation, good governance, corporate social responsibility, more..

From Sindh to Ceylon: Sri Lankan Sindhis

July 20 (Roar) Making up less than 1% of Sri Lanka’s ethnic community, the Sindhis are a vibrant and tight-knit group who first set foot in the country approximately two centuries ago. Originally from the Sindh region (now one of the four provinces of Pakistan), they have a reputation of being successful in business and trade. This is less surprising when you learn that the Sindhis have had ties with our island nation since mid-1800s. more..

Prez, PM keen to continue Yahapalanaya

July 20 (DN) The formation of the National Unity/Good Governance (Yahapalana) Govt in Jan 2015 or to be more precise, August 2015, was a watershed moment in local political history. Except for a brief period of cohabitation almost 15 years ago (President Chandrika Kumaratunga was in power when the UNP won the election in 2001), the two parties have not formally ruled the country together. The catalyst for this transformation was the defection of the then Health Minister Sirisena more..

Poet in him

July 20 (DN) Scholarly senior double doctorate Professor Sunil Ariyaratne was a visual sensation of Department of Sinhala & Mass communication, rendered and fulfilled inestimable artistic sustenance to the University of Sri Jayewardenepura during his long tenure. Senior Professor lived his life and continues being, a researcher, poet, lyricist and a film director. He became a favourite of all of us because he shared his amazing aptitude not only with his students but more..

'No reason to be afraid of draft Constitution'

July 20 (CT) Lal Wijenayaka, Chairman of Public Consultation Committee on Constitutional Reforms says people voted against the past regime on 8 January 2015 to abolish the Executive Presidency and reinstate democracy. That was the promise endorsed by the people of both the North and the South, he said in an interview. Q: Some say the country does not need a new Constitution. How do you see necessity for a new Constitution more..

National Consciousness: Scarce commodity

July 20 (Island) All successful nations in the world, whether Japan, Korea, Germany, Singapore, USA or Israel, have had a common thread running through them that is resilient patriotic national consciousness which gave them the identity, spirit, cohesion and momentum to work with one mind to achieve their present greatness. In SL, except for cricket, national consciousness and patriotism are unfortunately rare commodities among most of our politicians, and a vast majority of the people. more..

Facts on the Enforced Disappearances Bill

July 20 (GV) The following is a note prepared by the Spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Mahishini Colonne. This was in response to an interview conducted with Former Minister G L Peiris, in which he made several claims about the bill to give effect to the International Convention to Protect All Persons from Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. The interview made several incorrect assertions, including that the Bill will be subjected to the jurisdiction of the ICC. more..

Arundika Fernando

Constitution, equality and Beethoven’s ninth symphony

July 20 (GV) I’m responding to one aspect of the article by Dr Rohan Wickramasinghe published in The Island of 17 July, 2017. He poses the question as to what the aristocratic framers of the Indian and Sri Lankan Constitutions would have to say about the wish expressed in Lyrics to Ludwig van Beethoven’s ninth symphony 'Ode to Joy' to have beggars become brothers of Lords. I don’t feel equal to answer the question but I wish to comment on his statement that Indian and SL Constitution more..

Editorial: Jobless gods and idling demons

July 20 (Island) Mahanayake Theras are in an unenviable position. As if the headaches caused by some yahapalana politicians tilting at temple tills were not enough, they have to receive and bless all and sundry and, at times, suffer fools with equanimity for want of a better alternative. Former Minister Mervyn Silva, of all people, visited the Mahanayake Theras in Kandy the other day. He turned the occasion into a media circus of sorts much to the embarrassment of the prelates. more..

A new heart begins to beat

July 20 (ST) Overjoyed is Wijaya Kumarasiri from a village in Anuradhapura. His Sudu, with her new heart beating strongly within, had opened her eyes and given him a smile that morning, as he murmured endearments to her. We meet him the same day, Wednesday, at noon as he lingers outside Kandy Teaching Hospital’s Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, awaiting another glimpse of his wife. more..

The world should help Gammedda serve forgotten people

July 20 (Island) I have visited many remote areas and even recorded special programmes with Sirasa Gammedda, the News 1st initiative to help the forgotten people of Sri Lanka. I studied development journalism in New Delhi sometime back, but it was here that I saw real development journalism being practised. People from all walks of life complain, today, that both the government and the Opposition including the so-called Joint Opposition have failed to solve the issues concerning more..

Sri Lanka’s apparel sector heading for major labour shortage: DMS Group Head

July 20 (Island) Sri Lanka's apparel sector is heading for a major crisis due to an acute labour shortage, which needs to be addressed by using latest technology, DMS Group Head Ruwan Rathnathunga said. "The apparel sector is a high labour intensified sector and the current labour shortage will be a challenge for the sector with the GSP Plus trade arrangement coming into effect, he said at an event that was held to launch the latest sewing machines for local apparel industry more..

VAT exemptions not pro-Poor: World Bank

July 20 (CT) Most of Sri Lanka's VAT exemptions do not benefit the poor and are effectively a subsidy to the non-poor, World Bank Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka Ralph van Doorn said. He urged the govt to use better targeted instruments such as public investment to mitigate effect on the poor with net positive fiscal impact. "Sri Lanka's need of the hour is good quality public health and education services and more..

Sri Lanka to tap travel agents

July 20 (Hindu) Days after their national carrier Sri Lankan Airlines introduced direct Hyderabad-Colombo flights, travel and tourism representatives from Sri Lanka showcased the various product offerings for Indian tourists at a roadshow here. As many as 28 travel and tour operators are participating, said Indrajith De Silva, Director, Destination and Social Responsibility of SL Tourism Promotion Bureau. Interacting with presspersons, in a hall teeming with stakeholders from more..

SL to host International Junior Golf C'ships

July 20 (ST) Royal Colombo Golf Club will be the centre stage when the Sri Lanka Golf Union, the national body for Golf in Sri Lanka together with HSBC, launches Sri Lanka’s first ever International Junior Golf Championship. The tussle for supremacy will be teed off between Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The event which has been initiated by the Sri Lanka Golf Union (SLGU) – Junior Sub Committee aims to raise the standard of Junior Golf in the country by identifying more..

Drug misuse keeps haunting Lankan sports

July 20 (ST) Upon the withdrawal of 400metres athlete Pradeep Kumara who was brought back home from the 22nd Asian Athletic meet in India last week due to failing a drug test, SL athletic sources are abuzz with the discovery of the iceberg. According to a senior SL athletic official they have stumbled upon evidence to say that there are more than a dozen more such cases and the list of names are in their possession. more..