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Wells run dry in Gampaha owing to haphazard industrial use

July 22 (ST) The Gampaha district is gripped with a serious crisis where almost all the wells are getting dried up owing to the digging of a large number of deep-wells by industrialists. It has caused serious environmental pollution and other disasters and inconveniencing residents. To plan out a strategy to protest and demand the govt for solutions, a meeting was convened recently at the Janaawabodha Kendraya, Negombo. more..

Artificial Toddy manufacturing scourge

July 22 (NS) Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention pointed out that the mass scale artificial toddy production in Kalutara for supply to upcountry, hill country estates and plantations, the manufacturing which was currently taking place with political patronage, was a major problem in the area. According to the Task Force, destination of the said toddy was Nuwara Eliya. A Cabinet paper that had been submitted to ban the said synthetic manufacturing was being delayed by the Minister of Finance. more..

Campaign finance bill sent to MPs

July 22 (NS) Elections monitoring body, PAFFREL and the March 12th Movement, the latter advocating for clean politics, have submitted copies of the draft of a bill for election related campaign finance reforms to the MPs. Polls monitor, PAFFREL has also requested a date from President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Govt President’s Counsel (PC) Faiszer Musthapha to officially handover and present copies of the said draft. more..

If Glyphosate is imported: Farmers warn of fast-unto-death

July 22 (NS) Farmers island-wide have threatened to embark on a fast-unto-death campaign if the Govt decides to lift the existing ban on the agrochemical, Glyphosate, linked to the spread of the chronic kidney disease, following a proposal by Minister Navin Dissanayake for the said weedicide to be imported solely for use in the tea estates and plantations. Progressive Peasants Federation, with affiliations in 16 Districts, and North Central Province Farmers Collective more..

OMP : Enabling human recovery

July 23 (SO) When the author of the Mahavamsa commits each of his chapters to “…the serene joy of the pious…”, the venerable thera’s blessings for the life of our island society reaches down across the millennia to our times. Those who are pious will appreciate the narrative and message of each chapter with resultant joy. And it is by remaining true to our Dhamma that our island society has survived kingly warfare, feudal iniquity, and colonial plunder, and, today, faces up to political repression, more..

Yahapalanaya should commence punching

July 23 (SL) There are myriad problems confronting the Govt for Good Governance and the most urgent requirement appears to be the requirement to enforce that the writ of govt runs in the country. Good Governance does not mean being good to the opposition but being good to the people as well as itself by ensuring the implementation of govt policy. This so called Yahapalanaya govt has no declared enemy -local or foreign. It is trying to be friendly and democratic in its attitude towards all. more..

Diary entry, et al lead to Commodore’s arrest

July 23 (SO) Recent arrest of former Navy Spokesman Commodore, D.K.P Dassanayake for allegedly aiding and abetting the enforced disappearances of 11 youth between 2008-2009 has drawn mixed reactions from various individuals. While some political figures have continuously attempted to portray it as an attempt to, as they call it, Hunt Down War Heroes, to the determined mother, Sarojini Naganathan, it is yet another more..

The polythene ban

July 23 (Island) Some supermarkets are asking their customers to bring their own shopping bags as the ubiquitous siri siri bags (high density polythene bags) will not be issued from Aug. 1 to take their purchases away. Nobody will dispute that some rigorous control of non-degradable plastics in this country is long overdue. About ten years ago, some supermarkets attempted to persuade people to bring their own bags to take their shopping home by charging fairly nominal rates for supplying more..

Lanka at the mercy of UNHCRA!

July 23 (CT) The best-selling book by Stanford University Professor Paul Ehrlich: The Population Bomb released in 1968 made a negative impact in several quarters with its warning of mass starvation of humans in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation in the world, especially in what was then referred to as the third world, not sparing some of us journalists in SL too at the time. Ehrlich hysterically predicted dire doom including several other major social upheavals, more..

'All issues are being resolved'

July 23 (SL) Minister Gayantha Karunatillake said all complications that the country was facing are gradually being resolved by the govt like untangling a ball of knotted thread. He said the govt is steady despite attempts to destabilise it and assured that the Unity Govt will carry on unhindered until 2020. Karunatillake explained about the govt’s future plans and also elaborated on what the govt has done during the past two years. more..

Torture: Truth, twists and turns

July 23 (ST) UN Special Rapporteurs are taking turns visiting Sri Lanka; last week the envoy on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights came and made waves with his critical report on existing torture practices. The report would have come as a rude shock to many, almost to the point of disbelief. The fallout in officialdom seems to be to ask why he was permitted to see ex-LTTE combatants in custody and how coloured their complaints of torture would have been. more..

40 years a politician

July 23 (ST) My dear Green Man, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on completing forty years of uninterrupted service as a MP – a distinction that, if memory serves me right, no one else in the present Parliament can claim, not even Mahinda maama, even though he entered Parliament before you. There are only two others in the present Parliament who were elected in JR’s 1977 landslide: Sampanthan seeya and Gamini Jayawickrama. more..


President Sirisena’s political fate sealed by NCP imbroglio?

July 23 (Island) The brawl that everyone saw taking place within the North Central Provincial Council on TV news bulletins last week was the outward signs of a new political development with far reaching political implications. The mace that was broken in the melee just about symbolised the impact this event would have on the political fortunes of the incumbent powers in the NCP and their political masters at the centre.  Even though there has been considerable turbulence more..

Path to sustained peace hailed, while JO faces quagmire

July 23 (SO) Constitutional Council (CC) members led by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are expected to discuss appointing officials to handle matters pertaining to missing persons in the wake of President Maithripala Sirisena signing the gazette notice on the Office of Missing Persons Act. The Office will consist of seven members who will be recommended by the CC for endorsement by the President. President Maithiripala Sirisena last week signed the Office of the Missing Persons Act. more..

Will the new Constitution become a mere dream?

July 23 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged that LG Elections will be held in Jan 2018 when civil society activists led by Puravesi Balaya met him at Temple Trees, Friday evening. When they protested against govt delaying elections, PM has made it clear that the elections will be held in January. While the SLFP is currently facing an internal crisis of securing unity within party and aiming to form a single-party govt in 2020 more..

The saga of Sri Lanka’s new Constitution

July 23 (Hindu) Speaking at a book launch last week, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the draft of SL’s new Constitution would be ready by January 2018, yet again shifting the deadline for the challenging task his govt took up after coming to power in 2015. As per earlier assurances, the govt should have already debated the draft Constitution in Parliament by now, and prepared for a referendum after a likely two-thirds majority. But even as govt tried fast-tracking the process, more..

Declining spectator curiosity in Tests

July 23 (SO) In the forthcoming Test series between Sri Lanka and India what is pragmatic about the Dwindling spectator curiosity apparent in the Test venues in the previous home series’ against Australia, West Indies, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe. It was a gigantic compassion to glimpse only miniature spectator surveillance at these closely contested International matches. Spectator interest should have been at the forefront of the minds of authorities of Sri Lanka Cricket. more..

How Sri Lankan cricket is becoming a laughing stock

July 23 (Island) Not too long ago, Sri Lankan cricket was feared and revered all over the world.  Bold, innovative and novel, many were the times the national cricket team caught the oppositions off guard. The rapid progress the sport made in the 1990s was totally owing to ground-breaking new moves. Sri Lanka was one of the first country’s to use a foreign coach and a qualified trainer and others followed suit. more..

Police begin probe on Moratuwa Uni’s animal killing

July 23 (ST) Police have launched an investigation following a charge by animal rights activists that stray dogs and cats had been eliminated at the Moratuwa University last Friday. Vice Chancellor Ananda Jayawardene said police recorded his statement and statements from security personal of the University. “The university did not encourage the killing of dogs but only wanted the dogs removed from the lecture halls, canteens and laboratories as they were a nuisance,” he said. more..

English Nursing Care Services launched

July 23 (ST) English Nursing Care Services, aiming to set the benchmark for home nursing care in Sri Lanka, celebrated its launch in Colombo on Wednesday. Situated in Colombo, English Nursing Care Services is a Registered Nurse supervised home nursing service, allowing for quality care in your own home. Richard Gould, Managing Director, said: “English Nursing Care Services will set a new standard in high-quality, compassionate nursing care in Sri Lanka. more..

SLC busted Rs 2.7 million for CT joyride

July 23 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket is notorious for spending lavishly for matters not directly connected to the development or promotion of the sport. Last month, they doled out Rs. 2.7 million to send nine Executive Committee members on a joyride to watch the Champions Trophy in the cool climes of England. CT tournament was held from June 1-18 in the UK and these nine had their tickets & visa fees reimbursed by generous SLC despite an earlier decision more..

Skipper Cremer almost said Veni, Vidi, Vici

July 23 (Island) As the oft-quoted hackneyed saying goes, Sri Lanka snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Zimbabwe by 4 wickets in the single Test match. However, in mitigation it should be noted the Zimbabweans just did not enjoy the rub of the green. For instance, what appeared a very unlikely reprieve that Dickwella enjoyed when the third umpire decided that he be given another lease of life was, to say the least, confusing. A few catches, at crucial stages of the game more..

'Govt too burnt by its alcohol policy folly'

July 23 (Island) The taxes on beer is killing demand and since the 70% tax increase in October and November of 2015 beer industry volumes have decreased 40%, Mr. Suresh. K. Shah, the CEO of Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC has said in the company’s annual report. "In the meanwhile arrack – the tax on which was increased by a relatively modest 25% - has seen 12% growth in volumes," he said. "At first glance this might seem a reduction in overall consumption. more..

Uma Oya contractor buys new machinery to speed up project construction

July 23 (Island) Iranian contractor Farab has purchased extra high-tech machinery to speed up the construction of the multi-million dollar Uma Oya hydro-power and irrigation project, now more than 80% complete. "The main equipment and machinery used in the construction of the Uma Oya project were all purchased from internationally known companies to better ensure the quality of the work," said Farab. more..

Startup X Foundry steals the show at Disrupt Asia 2017

July 23 (ST) Showcasing three outstanding new start-ups in acceleration as its launch ventures, StartupX Foundry stole the show at Disrupt Asia 2017, held at Hilton Colombo. The newly established start-up incubator/accelerator is a pioneer of its kind launched in May 2017 and joined hands with ICTA for the first public showcase of its launch projects at this year’s installment of Disrupt Asia. Namely, EarnShark, Maturify and Tracified: Three cutting-edge software product ventures more..

17-year-old schoolgirl caught driving school transport van

July 23 (DM) Kandana Police had caught a 17-year-old school girl, in uniform, driving a school van and had stopped the van and taken her into police custody yesterday (20). Traffic OIC of the Kandana Police had spotted the young school girl driving the vehicle and dropping off several students off at several schools in the area. He had followed the van and when she stopped to drop another batch of students off he had requested her to hand over her license and registration. more..

Trust accounts under scrutiny for money laundering

July 23 (ST) Sri Lanka’s banking regulator is flexing its muscles to combat money laundering risks and is considering going after trust accounts which may be whitewashing dirty cash. Extreme care has to be taken on trust, as they are one of the main channels via which money has been laundered in the past, CB officials said. With a bank trust account, the bank serves as custodian and a trustee keeps legal control of assets in the account. more..

Sri Lanka tennis promoted to Group II

July 23 (CT) Sri Lanka's tennis team finished unbeaten in the Asia Oceania Group III Davis Cup by BNP Paribas concluded at the SLTA clay courts yesterday. With this unbeaten record Sri Lanka is now promoted to Group II next year along with Lebanon. Sri Lanka remained unbeaten in the tournament by beating Jordan, Pacific Oceania, Syria and Qatar. SLTA hosted the group III promotional tie and nine countries competed to get into group II, who have both won promotion more..

No Interpol warrant yet for Udayanga

July 23 (SL) Despite a request put forward by SL, international police, known as Interpol, has not yet issued a red notice for SL’s former Ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga. The diplomatic passport of Udayanga Weeratunga was suspended by the Colombo Fort Magistrate and later the Police was directed to seek an Interpol red notice for his arrest. However, sources said that Interpol was yet to issue the red notice, as a result of which Weeratunga is moving around freely. more..

Three major PC elections announced

July 23 (CT) National Elections Commission announced that nominations for North-Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils will be called on 2 Oct 2017. Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohammed said the terms of the North Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa PCs would end on 26 Sept 2017. "According to Provincial Councils Act, Councils must be dissolved when their terms end. more..

Two way tourism promotion in the offing

July 23 (SO) Singapore is looking at a two way approach to promote SL and Singapore as a popular tourist destination. “We will be promoting Sri Lanka in Singapore and also promote Singapore in Sri Lanka. There are many programs lined up to facilitate our efforts,” Singapore Tourism Board, International Group Regional Director G.B. Srithar said. “SL’s outbound tourism sector is expanding. Number of arrivals from Sri Lanka to Singapore, crossed the 100,000 mark last year more..

Razeen Sally, Senior Advisor at Finance Ministry

July 23 (SO) Highly-respected international economist, Lankan-born Razeen Sally has been appointed as the Senior Advisor to the Finance Ministry by Minister Mangala Samaraweera. Razeen Sally is an Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He is also Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, SL’s leading economic-policy think-tank. He was Senior Lecturer in Int'l Political Economy at London School of Economics, more..

New driving licences with organ donation consent

July 23 (ST) Anyone applying for the new electronic driving licence from Motor Traffic Dept will be obliged to answer a question on joining the organ donor register to increase the number of organ donors for transplant purposes. Action has been taken to amend forms of obtaining/renewing driving licences by including a declaration giving the consent of drivers to donate their organs and to indicate that will on the driving licence. more..

No more Mahapola online lottery

July 23 (ST) Mahapola online lottery operated by a private company is to be terminated by Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade as it has failed to generate expected revenue to the govt. Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has granted its consent to the Ministry to terminate this lottery which was started in 2014 by the previous Rajapaksa regime. CCEM decision follows a note submitted by Ministry revealing all facts behind the failure of the lottery. more..

CREST to help enhance skills of graduates

July 23 (TOI) The Calicut-based Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST), an autonomous institution under the state government, has attained a rare distinction by receiving an official invitation from Sri Lanka to design its employability enhancement programme for the underprivileged. The centre was instrumental in bringing up students from scheduled communities to the mainstream through its various short-term and orientation programmes. more..

Jaffna HC Judge in Vidya murder case survives assassination

July 23 (CT) Jaffna High Court Judge Ilancheliyan Manickavasagar (54), of the 3-Judge Bench appointed to conduct the Trial-at-Bar in the brutal Vithya gang rape and murder case, escaped a hail of bullets sprayed at his car by two unidentified assassins riding a black motorbike around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, close to the Nallur Temple on the Nallur-Point Pedro Road. the would-be assassins had swerved across the speeding car, more..

Central Expressway: Japanese company gets third phase

July 23 (ST) Highways Ministry has decided to award to a Japanese company the tender valued at Rs 134.9 billion for the third phase development of the Central Expressway. Highways Ministry Secretary D.C. Dissanayaka said the awarding of the tender had been delayed but it was finalised this week. Work would begin in September and the project was scheduled to be completed in 3 years. Expressway project’s third phase will cover the 32.5 km stretch from Pothuhera to Galagedera. more..

'Don't want to upset India, will order probe only if Arjuna gives fixing evidence'

July 23 (DNA) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera has said he is ready to order a probe of the 2011 men's World Cup final between his country and India if former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga provides all required evidence of the match being fixed. Jayasekara insisted that Sri Lanka did not want to raise such an issue when India are touring the country, but added that if evidences are provided and Ranatunga forwards a written request, an inquiry can be initiated. more..

Despite the tremors, UNP and SLFP agree to disagree

July 23 (ST) President hurriedly interrupted the Cabinet meeting that was in progress last Tuesday. He rose from his chair and asked ministers whether they could feel something like a tremor that was causing vibration of the floor. He said he could feel such a phenomenon where he sat — the podium in the onetime Well of House of Parliament facing ministers seated behind rows of tables. Soon, members of his personal protection group more..