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SLFP-UNP Joint Council talks soon to renew National Govt deal

June 18 (ST) Joint Council of the SLFP and the UNP will begin talks next week to renew their MoU for the remaining tenure of the National Govt. These talks, expected to take place this week, have been moved for the coming week on days when Parliament is in session. The first MoU was signed on August 21, 2015 by Duminda Dissanayake, then acting General Secretary of the SLFP and Kabir Hashim, General Secretary of the UNP. more..

Unbuilt dams and roads built as dams

June 18 (Island) There is no harm in sounding like a broken record when one is talking about the country’s broken infrastructure. Even cabinet ministers have started sounding like broken records trying to avoid personal blame after the flood disaster. Ministers and political leaders have landed on either side of the Southern Expressway, some blaming it as a virtual dam built on a floodplain, and others contradicting that criticism. Most of the senior ministers cannot escape blame, more..

The Qatar Quandary

June 18 (Island) In the years gone by, foreign relations were considered vital by most if not all countries. Despite the need for a country’s foreign policy to be formulated based on its domestic policies, foreign relations has played a crucial role in the affairs of state in the past, especially among the big and powerful nations. A paradigm shift in priorities has taken place since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Free trade, commerce & free trade agreements have become buzz words. more..

Garbage pekoe at two tea estates in Nuwara Eliya district

June 18 (ST) Small parts of what were once lush tea plantations in the Nuwara Eliya District — that earned a worldwide reputation for its high grown quality tea — may now become garbage dumps. Minister Navin Dissanayake has proposed four hectares from tea estates managed by two private firms be taken over for use as garbage dumps in the Nuwara Eliya District.One such dump at Hatton is to be from tea estates more..

Local consultants in expressway project threaten to quit

June 18 (SL) A rift has emerged between local and Chinese officials involved in Southern expressway extension project. Local consultants involved in the project have written to the project engineer, M.S. Nilawfer saying that the team leader of the Chinese company contracted for the project must be replaced over his alleged unprofessional behaviour. Ten local officials including engineers involved in the Matara to Beliatta more..

Religious schools curriculum amended to include national reconciliation

June 18 (Island) Under a programme introduced by President Maithripala Sirisena, national integration and  reconciliation has been introduced into the curriculum of religious schools. Implementation of the Action Plan initiated by the President, in his capacity as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, was discussed  at the recent Jaffna Dialogue, attended by over a 1,000 teachers  from all faiths. more..

Video: No such attacks on churches: Cardinal Ranjith

June 18 (AD) Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith categorically rejected certain statements that a large number of Christian and Catholic places of worship have been attacked in the past. Recently during the Aluth Parlimenthuwa programme, attorney-at-law Lakshan Dias had controversially claimed that a total of 166 Christian places of worship had been attacked in the country. more..

Video: Private hospital charges to be regulated

June 18 (AD) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne says that all private hospital charges including in-house treatments and lab tests will be regulated in the near future. He said that the Director General of Health Services has been instructed to take necessary action with regard to that according to the powers vested under Private Medical Institutions Regulation Act. A full blood count (FBC) currently costs around Rs 800-900 more..

Lowest prevalence of teen smoking was seen in Sri Lanka - study

June 18 (Reuters) Roughly 11% of youth aged 13 to 15 around the world use tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars, a global survey of students suggests. Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death and serious illness, killing an estimated 6 million people each year, researchers note in the youth tobacco report from the U.S. CDC. Most smokers take up the habit in their teens. more..

Banning of Asbestos nowhere in sight

June 18 (SL) Environmentalists and civic minded organizations stressed that despite repeated assurance by successive govts there won’t be a ban on asbestos. They stressed that most of the MPs are against while some who are in favour of the move are tied by the asbestos lobby. Centre for Environmental Justice Executive Director Hemantha Withanage, said: “I don’t see both proposals, ban on tobacco cultivation and ban on Asbestos more..

Legislation to protect whistleblowers

June 18 (SO) Legislation to protect whistleblowers of public and private finance will be introduced very soon, State Minister Eran Wickremaratne told guests at the Chartered Public Finance Accountancy (CPFA) Convocation at the BMICH last week. So far there is no law in Sri Lanka to protect whistleblowers of public and private finance though many other countries have provisions in the law to protect them. more..

NCPA Deputy Director sacked for undermining Sri Lanka

June 18 (ST) A senior National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) official has been removed on a directive of President Sirisena over allegations that the officer provided an affidavit to a foreign court with an adverse report about protection of children in Sri Lanka. NCPA Deputy Chairman Sajeeva Samaranayake had allegedly submitted a sworn affidavit to an Australian Court stating that SL was an unsafe environment for children more..

46.6% of convicts in 2015 from Colombo District

June 18 (ST) The majority of the 24,086 convicts directly admitted to Sri Lanka’s jails in 2015 were married men between 30 and 40 years, who had passed Grade 8, and with no previous convictions, while just 759 of them were women. The largest percentage of direct admissions (46.6%) was from the Colombo District, according to latest data compiled by Dept of Census & Statistics and published in 2016 Prison Statistics. more..

Should the State Banks continue outside the purview of the ministry of finance

June 19 (CT) The controversial divorcing  of the CBSL from the duties and functions falling within the Ministry Of Finance and transferring it to a new Ministry under the PM has become a hot subject of discussion. Both Legally and Operationally the CBSL remained as an institution directly linked to the MOF since its inception. Due to the haphazard and makeshift provisions during the 100 day govt (which was generally accepted as a transitional period), several ministerial more..

Constitutional reforms stagnating like garbage

June 19 (ST) It is a typical incongruity of these times that constitutional reforms promising protection of civil liberties are discussed in tight-lipped seriousness in Colombo even while the police seem unable to arrest the hate mongering leader of the Bodu Bala Sena, Galaboda Gnanasara despite two arrest warrants being issued by the courts. Business establishments of the Muslim community are subjected to one arson attack after another in a carefully targeted strategy. more..

Is a Religious War our next fate?

June 19 (Island) When Philip Pullman’s provocatively titled book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, came out, it was greeted by the British public not with death-threats, lawsuits or mob-violence, but words. In his own response to the book, Dr. Rowan Williams, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, neither screamed heresy nor demanded a book-banning. His was a reasoned critique; praise & blame and, in conclusion, more..

Mr President, It’s A B C !

June 19 (CT) Mr President, please do get a brief from your hundreds of experts and advisors hanging around you (at a colossal cost to the tax payer) before you open your mouth. When you speak, you should speak responsibly and as a Head of State. This is applicable whether you address a global or local audience. Your statement that the Christians are lying about the 168 attacks on them this year shows your lack of understanding of the different religious persecutions that are a cancer more..

Them & these the same; sad but proven true

June 19 (SO) Unuth ekai, munuth ekai! The truth of this dawned on this cat only very recently, even though many people repeated the expression with fervour and fear. She was sent a Gypsies video with the song with some recognizable faces!! All the persuasion to admit that THESE had failed did not convince nor shake her faith. She has now sadly succumbed to believing the succinct saying. Of course you know who they are: the unuth and the munuth. more..

Selfies on railways banned

June 19 (SO) SL railway authorities have begun a nationwide crackdown on those individuals recklessly taking selfies on railway tracks, in an attempt to curb an increasing number of tragedies, all for the sake of social media moolah. Last week, saw not one, but two tragic incidents making headline news. Two brothers, Shashi Madhushan aged 24 and Thikshana Shakshan (12) met with a tragic accident when they attempted to take selfies at more..


June 19 (Island) Last week, a large rally took place in Colombo. Villagers from Panama, a coastal village in the Eastern Province, were demanding the return of their land currently occupied by the Air Force, and were in the city to hand over a petition signed by 20,000 to the Presidential Secretariat. This is a long struggle, for years out of sight, out of mind, by citizens who have little to nothing by way of livelihoods, belongings or hope. Their lands continue to be occupied by the military. more..

Editorial: Plastic rice, toxic paper etc.

June 19 (Island) Education Ministry and the GMOA have locked horns once again. This time around their battle is not over doctors’ children being deprived of admission to popular schools. They are fighting over the synthetic paper used for printing some school textbooks. This particular plastic paper is injurious to children’s health as it contains some toxic material, doctors argue. The kneejerk reaction of the govt has been to pooh-pooh their clam and accuse the GMOA of more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Kalutara

Uneducated thugs or qualified swindlers better legislators?

June 19 (SL) When SL politics reaches a crisis point and the real culprits responsible for the crisis cannot be fixed, there is a consensual feeling that the honourable MPs are to be blamed. Right now questions are being asked in the media whether the present crisis was inevitable because 94 MPs of the contingent of 225 haven’t passed the GCE-O/L exam. Our thinking about the need for educated MPs was somewhat jolted when we accidently came across a quotation of a former US President more..

Dayasiri’s head turns too big to fit his new sporting boots

June 19 (ST) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera can play with his marbles as much as he wants to in his own Ministry of Sports. But what right does he have to interfere and pass judgment upon the state of play in other ministries? Instead of concentrating and trying to find the reasons for the dismal failure this week of the Lankan cricket team to even qualify for the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy, why has he shifted his ministerial focus from his own playing field and become so engrossed more..

Gnanasara’s disappearing act has cops spellbound!

June 19 (CT) Monk Galagodaatta Gnanasara is up to his antics again. This time however, the police have been instructed to arrest him. The media for the past week has been carrying the latest updates of the absconding monk. The Police failure is attributed to a powerful minister's interference, alleged none other than the cabinet spokesman Rajitha Seneratne. Rajapaksa administration was toppled for its failure to contain this monk. more..

Of transition, batsmanship & a SL throwback

June 19 (CB) English county Surrey are enjoying their best season in many years this time around. One main reason for that is the form of their overseas signing - Kumar Sangakkara. Into his third and last season, Sangakkara notched up five centuries in a row and nearly got a world-record sixth a fortnight ago. His form has been such that Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews made a request for the star batsman to join his team's Champions Trophy campaign in England. more..

Phone call on train claims 17 year old's life

June 19 (DN) A youth travelling on the foot board of the Colombo – Talaimannar express train engaged in an animated conversation on his mobile phone on June 17 died on the spot after falling off his perch as the train neared the Ganegoda railway station in Mirigama. He was identified as Kasun Herath (17) of Konewegama Yahapauwa, a labourer at a construction site at Yakkala. He had boarded the train from Ragama station enroute to Mahawa from where he had planned to go home on leave. more..

Pakistan thrash India in CT 2017 final

June 19 (CI) If the 2017 Champions Trophy were to have had another two games, Pakistan might be scoring 750 and bowling teams out for negative 12 by the end of it. Even for a side that is routinely unpredictable, even for a team with a long history of starting slowly then making a white-hot charge through a tournament, what Pakistan have pulled off here is some diamond-studded, galactic-scale nonsense. more..

Selfish coaches destroy SL Sports: Dayasiri

June 19 (CT) Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara said that there is a coaching monopoly taking place and two reasons why our athletes are at such a low level is the selfishness of those qualified coaches who are blocking others from reaching the top level. He made these observations at the certificate presentation ceremony of Sports Diploma Awards of Sports Science held at the Sport Ministry on Friday. He further said that they uplifted the standards of the coaches after they took over office more..

5 TN fishermen arrested by SL navy

June 19 (PTI) Five Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested and their boat impounded by the Sri Lankan navy today for allegedly fishing in their territorial waters. The fishermen from Mandapam had put out to sea in a boat early today and were fishing off Neduntheevu, when Lankan naval men surrounded them and took them to Kangesanthurai port there, state Fishermen Association president N Devadoss said. On May 23, six fishermen were arrested for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu. more..

Ford’s future hangs in balance?

June 19 (CT) Officially SL Coach Graham Ford is on a short leave, but he has left with virtually all his belongings this time unlike any of his previous visits back home. Meanwhile, at home at both SLC and Sports Ministry, Ford's authority is diminishing, where Team Manager Asanka Gurusinha was the one who was visibly in-charge during the past few SL series even though Ford was around, indicating there is a clear dispute. more..

Is this the killer of Tilak?

June 19 (Island) Speculation is rife that a young bull elephant with a single tusk, seen recently on the Yala main road, could probably be the killer of the majestic tusker, Tilak, of Yala a few days ago. He has been sighted in the area where the incident happened. According to the post-mortem report Tilak had sustained deep wounds inflicted by a single tusk during an altercation. Hence, the young bull with a single tusk has become the suspect in the killing of Tilak. more..

Minister insist on fitness

June 19 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that he won't approve any team without fitness reports about players, and lashed out at SL cricketers stating they are overweight and some of the ugliest looking players to play int'l cricket in terms of physical appearance. According to SL's sports law any team that represents the country needs approval by the Sports Minister first. "SL is the only cricket team to have players with big bellies & it's not surprising there are so many drops. more..

Sri Lanka arrests monk, police officer for anti-Muslim violence

June 19 (Reuters) Police have arrested four people including a Buddhist monk and a police officer accused of taking part in an attack on a mosque, as part of a crackdown on violence against the minority Muslim population. Police said on Sunday the four were members of the hardline BBS or Buddhist Power Force organization, which Muslim groups have blamed for a string of recent attacks on businesses and mosques. more..

Sri Lanka’s country image is being tarnished: Survey

June 19 (FT) Latest islandwide poll reveals that more than half the people (55%) believe that factors such as inappropriate activities by politicians and the increasing crime rate are tarnishing Sri Lanka’s image. Only 35% dispute this view, stating that the island has an impeccable reputation due to religious reconciliation as well as its cultural background. Nearly six in 10 of survey respondents feel that country’s image has not improved despite the change of govt in Jan 2015 more..

SC grants leave to proceed with petition on school admission

June 19 (FT) Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights violation petition filed against Galle Southlands College for impugned refusal to select an aggrieved Christian (Non Roman Catholic) child to Grade 1, despite it being started in 1885 by the Methodist Mission. Bench comprising CJ Priyasath Dep and Justice Anil Gooneratne granted leave for the alleged infringement of child’s fundamental right to equality and fixed the matter for argument on 9 Oct. more..

Special Parliamentary Session to mark 70th Anniversary

June 19 (DM) Special Parliamentary Session would be held on Oct 3 to mark the 70th Anniversary of Parliament, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. He said Speakers of the SAARC would be invited to the occasion. He said senior politicians would also participate in the event. “It was a praiseworthy that we have been able to hold Parliament for 70 years despite many obstacles including the failed coup attempt in 1960, more..

President visits IDH Hospital

June 19 (PMD) President Sirisena made an observation tour to IDH Hospital in Angoda today (17). He stated that the govt will take rapid actions to complete the requirements of the hospital. The congestion occurred at the hospital due to the admission of large number of Dengue patients to the hospital was settled down after sending them to the hospitals in Thalangama, Vethara and Piliyandela with required facilities. Prez directed the officials to ensure the service of specialist doctors more..

SC dismisses petition contesting Hajj quota

June 19 (FT) The Supreme Court dismissed the Fundamental Rights petition contesting the impugned allocation of Hajj pilgrims quota for 2017. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Anil Gooneratne dismissed the Petition for non-inclusion of necessary parties, the other tour operators, as respondents. Petitioners, nine Hajj/Umrah travel operators, cited Director of Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs M.R.M. Malik, Minister M.H.M. Haleem, more..

Parliament Mafia: Why tax public to recover losses caused by MPs?

June 19 (Island) Public litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku has alleged that the govt has imposed as much as 300% tax on the cheapest Indian car to offset massive loss of revenue due to controversial duty free car permits scheme issued for the benefit of MPs. Kodituwakku has drawn the attention of the Supreme Court to the injustice caused to those wanting to procure cheapest vehicles when the apex court heard a petition more..