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24-hour train strike called off

June 20 (DM) 24-hour strike scheduled to be launched by the Locomotive Engineering Operators from midnight has been called off, Locomotive Engineering Operators’ Union (LEOU) said. LEOU Secretary Indika Dodangoda said the decision was taken following a request made by PM's Secretary Saman Ekanayake. He said Mr. Ekanayake requested the union to postpone the strike for 48 hours to call a meeting today to discuss the issues with the participation of related authorities more..

Cabinet approves bus fare hike; Minimum Rs.10

June 20 (DM) The Cabinet had granted approval to increase bus fare by 6.28% from July 1, Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He said the approval had been given during the Cabinet meeting held today. Accordingly, the minimum bus fare Rs. 9 will be increased to Rs.10. The bus fare increment would applicable to both the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and private bus operators.  Details of long-distance fare would be published later, he said. He said that establishing of more..

Auditor General’s opinion creates chaos in Parliament

June 20 (LBO) Parliament on Tuesday referred the controversial annual report of the Finance Ministry to the Committee on Public Finance amid chaos in Parliament. The Auditor General, expressing his view on the finance ministry accounts of 2016, said that he is not been able to obtain sufficient and appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion, and did not express an opinion on these financial statements. more..

The Issue Is Incitement

June 21 (CT) Entire discussion or debate about BBS, Gnanasara Thero and extremism is missing something. Discussion confuses ultra-nationalism, chauvinism, Islamophobia and extremism with the real issue: incitement to violence. Whether an ideology is extremist or not is one issue, but it is an issue that is difficult to resolve. What is far easier to resolve, legally and morally, is the issue of whether or not an action or statement constitutes an incitement to violence against an individual more..

Tyrant And Tradesman; Gota & Dayan 

June 21 (CT) That is pure poppycock. Brazen bullshit. Deplorable drivel. These musings are about political sophistry. To qualify it further, it is about Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka. Political pundits and hair dressers have much in common. One rearranges hair. The other splits them. Given Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s present assignment in coiffuring, we must concede that he is an exceptionally gifted friseur. Yet, he fails to groom or dress up Gotabaya Rajapaksa as more..

'Wigneswaran & Copose no threat to State'

June 21 (CT) When provincial council elections were held in the North, for the first time, in 2013 there was a lot of optimism about the council's ability to have a positive impact on the lives of the citizens. However, since its inception, NPC has become better known for constant bickering between CM C.V. Wigneswaran and ITAK leadership and a number of resolutions on the last phase of the war, which has had no impact. more..

A nation being reduced to bare bones

June 21 (Island) Many similarities between the characters and events associated with the Nov 2014 regime change in SL and the historical events that preceded the conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar in ancient Rome were previously noted in an article on The Island, 24 Nov 2015, titled, The Sri Lankan regime change - a Caesarian analogy. That particular comparison however, did not anticipate the subsequent political chaos and economic and social decline the regime change appears to more..

Editorial: Garbage War

June 21 (Island) The army has launched a massive peacetime offensive. Having braved extreme weather conditions and risked their lives to save and assist disaster victims during the last several weeks, the battle-hardened military personnel are now conducting what one may call Operation Garbage! They have been deployed to deal with those who throw garbage around. CMC Commissioner V.K. Anura has said the army will be in action to help tackle the garbage issue as long as it takes. more..

'Move to oust Wigneswaran'

June 21 (CT) EPRLF Leader and former MP Suresh Premachandran said some of the ITAK leaders may have joined hands with the govt members specifically the UNPers and they want to destabilize the Northern Provincial Council, because it had always raised its voice for the aspirations of the Tamil people. Q: Are you sure you will not have any links with the ITAK following the No Confidence Motion against CM C.V. Wigneswaran? more..

Satisfy national thirst for justice

June 21 (DN) The life of the human community, a national community can be firmly based only on the foundation of healthy human relations that thrive on human dignity and human rights, truth, justice and fairness, citizens duties and options consistent with responsible citizenship, and that cementing amity and camaraderie, kindness and mercy that should exist in a vibrant pluralist community. A mature and responsible national community could still flourish despite the frailties, disabilities & indeed vice, more..

NPC crisis resolved after backroom moves

June 21 (DN) The crisis in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and by extension, in the TNA itself, took centre stage in local politics last week. The crisis was precipitated by Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran’s decision to send several NPC Ministers on compulsory leave pending an investigation into corruption charges against them. It became a full-blown crisis to the extent that all Sinhala newspapers, which usually give only scant coverage to Northern political affairs, more..

Gayantha Karunathilaka

RTI reveals CMC inaction leading up to Meethotamulla tragedy

June 21 (GV) On April 14, the garbage dump in Meethotamulla collapsed, killing 32 people. These deaths could have been avoided. That they could not, points to a systematic failure of the State to address various issues raised by the dumping of garbage close to human settlements. Residents from Meethotamulla went to SC in 2014 seeking relocation of the dump. Their calls went unheeded. In the immediate aftermath, many State agencies were quick to absolve themselves of blame. more..

World Refugees Day and refugees from and to Sri Lanka

June 21 (GV) 20th June is World Refugee Day. UNHCR estimates that 65.6 million people have been forcibly displaced globally. I have heard that close to one million Sri Lankans have fled the country to escape violence, war and persecution. I had met few of them in different countries and been struck by their differences in their experiences, challenges, fears and aspirations. It was alarming to hear that some had fled the country since 2015, including this year. more..

Political leaders take exception in Constitution making : Executive Presidency

June 21 (SO) The political parties represented in the Constitutional Assembly are currently striving to find common ground over the key chapters of the new Constitution that is in the making. While the two main parties, the SLFP and the UNP showed enhanced commitment in reaching a consensus over the remaining highly contentious issues, such as, the abolition of the Executive Presidency and planning the contours of a more..

No transformation targets in T20 league

June 21 (CI) Cricket South Africa has confirmed there will be no transformation targets in the Global T20 league. However, the board added that all eight franchise owners have been made mindful of its commitment to change. CSA has a strict policy in the current domestic set-up which requires franchises to field six players of colour - including at least three black Africans - per game. Global T20 league has been exempt from this stipulation, though it will still be expected to support more..

SL’s current ODI ranking no laughing matter

June 21 (DN) At the conclusion of Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka find themselves precariously placed eighth in the ICC ODI Team Rankings with 93 points, one point behind seventh placed Bangladesh (94) and two points behind sixth placed Pakistan (95). Why we say that SL are insecure in that position is that unless they manage to remain in eighth place or rather try and improve on it by Sept 30, 2017 they may have to qualify as one of the participating teams for 2019 WC in England. more..

Rs. 600 m bailout for flood affected tea smallholders

June 21 (FT) Plantation Industries Ministry plans to give a bailout package to tea smallholders affected by the recent floods, including free plants and income support, while steps are being taken to introduce a new insurance scheme as a long-term coping strategy. A paper outlining three major steps to be taken as immediate measures to help close to 100,000 smallholders in four flood-hit districts is to be presented to more..

Act of gallantry was cause of their amusement

June 21 (DM) A deputy hailing from the Colombo district was walking along the council lobby the other day talking to a comely fair purohita when he suddenly noticed several strands of thread sticking out from the companion’s sari-pota.  Showing great concern over the blemish on the sari-fold, he immediately stopped her and started trying to remove the jutting strands. Meanwhile, a group of members from both sides of the divide came on the scene and they were highly amused to find more..

Tourism targets 7,000 jobs for 2017

June 21 (FT) The tourism industry is gearing up to tackle potential human resources shortages by ramping up its training around the country and believes it can offer competitive salary rates to keep employees from migrating.  SL Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Chairman Sunil Dissanayake said he does not see a worker shortage in the tourism and hospitality sector, insisting it was only a matter of perception rather than reality. more..

Labor shortage hits SL's cinnamon industry

June 21 (Nikkei) Along SL's west coast, towns like Negombo have abundant green cinnamon farms that keep peelers of the bushes' fragrant inner bark busy. Pesthathanthri Sumathipala, a seasoned peeler, is up at dawn to lead a small crew of peelers through a 20-hectare farm. Skilled eyes are needed to choose which branches to slice for the day's harvest. Later, he sits in a half-lit, crumbling building filled with aroma of spice. more..

House suspended twice

June 21 (FT) The unruly behaviour of members led the Speaker to suspend the House on two occasions yesterday. Heated debates on delays in disaster management and dengue epidemic control prevented the Speaker from executing the day’s agenda. On the first occasion the Speaker was compelled to suspend sittings with Opposition lawmakers staging a protest demanding solutions to the dengue crisis and delays in addressing issues of areas recently hit by floods & landslides. more..

Bond Scam Commission a farce: Tilvin

June 21 (CT) JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva alleged that despite the appointment of a Commission to Probe the alleged CB bonds scam and even after the lapse of two years, the govt had failed miserably to take punitive action against those responsible for the said scam. He pointed out that the govt had intentionally desisted from action against those behind the infamous scam who are now supporting the current regime. Silva alleged that even at SPC, currently probing bond scandal, more..

Poddala Jayantha makes fresh plaint to CID

June 21 (DN) Journalist Poddala Jayantha who was abducted and tortured during the previous regime in 2009, lodged a complaint with the CID. He requested a full scale investigation into the degrading and inhumane treatment meted out to him by past rulers. He said there seemed to be a certain extent of democracy existing in the country today after the Jan 8, 2015 change effected by people who aspired for a change. more..

Village built for poor Muslims in Mannar

June 21 (TP) Sheikh Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) will soon inaugurate a village comprising 150 homes built at a cost of over QR3.3m for poor Muslim families in Mannar District. The village will accommodate hundreds of displaced families who were forced to leave their homes due to the conflict. The project will provide 150 homes, mosques and other facilities and was implemented in collaboration with RAF's local partner, SL org for housing & resources development. more..

Harbouring Ganasara Thera: Wijedasa rejects allegations

June 21 (DM) Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapkshe yesterday denied allegations of harbouring Galabodaatte Gananasara Thera. "I am extremely saddened by the false allegations which have been made by some Muslim extremists that I am harbouring the monk. I have nothing to do with him" the minister said in Parliament. "The BBS has been engaged in various activities in 2014. Accordingly Ganasara Thera should have been arrested after the clashes in Aluthgama that year. more..

Govt forced to redirect Finance Ministry annual report sans AG’s opinion

June 21 (Island) The govt was forced by the Opposition to redirect the annual report of the Ministry of Finance for the year 2016 to the Public Finance Committee without tabling it in Parliament yesterday. The report, presented to Parliament by Minister Gayantha Karunathilake, was later referred to the Public Finance Committee by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya when the Opposition pointed out that it was incomplete. more..

Raviraj murder trial: Accused reinstated by Navy but disappeared, AG tells CA

June 21 (FT) Attorney General (AG) informed the Court of Appeal that the 2nd Accused-Respondent Navy Officer Sampath – who had been reinstated by the Navy after having been acquitted by the High Court in the Raviraj murder case – had disappeared following his release. Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appearing for the Attorney General told Court that the Accused-Respondent Navy Officer Chandana Kumara alias Sampath was reinstated by the Navy after his acquittal from more..

SB knows who supplies drugs to his electorate

June 21 (Island) Minister S. B. Dissanayake, addressing a meeting at the Kandy district Secretariat, said he knew who the principal supplier of drugs to Hanguranketa was, but it was rather difficult to arrest him. The supplier owned motor vehicles and a palatial house, Minister Dissanayake disclosed. Dissanayake made this revelation responding to a statement by DIG Mahinda Ekanayake that the use of drugs in Central Province was on the increase. more..

Video: BBS challenges President, PM and former Presidents

June 21 (DM) The BBS challenged the President, PM and two former Presidents to state to the public that they accept the fact that many archaeological sites were being destroyed in the Eastern Province, while Muslim extremism prevails in the country. BBS directed the challenge towards President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa & Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

MS calls for report on SriLankan directors' salaries

June 21 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena is reported to have asked for a report on the salaries paid to the members of the board of directors of SriLankan airlines. Cabinet yesterday summoned the airline's board of directors to inquire into the alleged irregularities in operating and managing SriLankan. At this meeting, it had transpired that some key officials draw exorbitant salaries with the monthly salary of a particular official being as high as Sterling pounds 13,000. more..

Attanayake allowed foreign travel

June 21 (CT) Colombo High Court temporarily lifted the travel ban imposed on former UNP MP Tissa Attanayake. Judge allowed former MP to travel abroad following a request made through his attorney when the case was taken for hearing. Attanayake had sought permission to travel to Australia from 23 June to 12 July, to visit his daughter who is pursuing higher education there. Attanayake, who was remanded for allegedly preparing a forged document, more..

Finance Min. Annual Report: JVP backs AG

June 21 (FT) Parliament was deadlocked yesterday over the Finance Ministry’s 2016 Annual Report with JVP insisting it was incomplete as the Auditor General (AG) had not been given the necessary documents to make the independent calculations presented in the report.  Opposition lawmaker Anura Kumara Dissanayake rejected the 2016 Annual Report, claiming the tabled document was incomplete as it was without audit more..

Attacks against Muslims aimed at toppling govt: President

June 21 (Island) President said that recent mob attacks on mosques and Muslim business establishments were part of a broad political conspiracy aimed at toppling the govt. Addressing an Ifthar ceremony at the Presidents House in Colombo, attended by Muslims from different walks of life and the diplomatic community, Sirisena recalled with gratitude the contribution Muslims and Tamils had made to electing him as President. Govt, he said, was committed to maintaining law more..

AG notes Finance Ministry understating value of Treasury bonds by Rs. 500 bn

June 21 (Island) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said that he hadn’t expressed his opinion as AG on the 2016 state accounts prepared by the Finance Ministry. He told the Commission that he had mentioned it in his Audit Report. In the statement of accounts prepared by the Finance Ministry, the value of treasury bonds had been understated by about Rs. 500 billion, AG said, adding that though the Central bank had reported the face value of the treasury bonds, Finance Ministry had more..

AG says former Governor and some CB officials should be held responsible

June 21 (Island) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said that then CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran and some of the bank officials who worked during his tenure should be held responsible for not preventing the losses incurred by the controversial bond issue. Wijesinghe told the Commission that what was stated to the Commission had been included in the special audit report on the particular bond issue. more..

Jayanthma Wickramanaake appointed as UN Envoy on Youth

June 21 (EN) UN has appointed Jayathma Wickramanayake of SL as his next Envoy on Youth. "Having represented and motivated global youth development on an international level since the age of 21, notably during high-level UN initiatives including the declaration of World Youth Skills Day" a UN statement said. She has also played a key role through the creation of a large movement for civic and political engagement of young people named Hashtag Generation, UN said. more..

JVP launch protest campaign to topple govt

June 21 (DM) First of several protests to topple the unity govt will be launched on Thursday, JVP said. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said they would defeat the present regime just as they overthrew that of former president Rajapaksa. He said govt’s recent action contradicts its election pledges and the suppression of people’s rights has resulted in the decision to cut short the tenure of this govt. The first public protest would begin with a rally at the Viharamahadevi Park. more..

Sri Lankan Board split erupts before cabinet

June 21 (EN) Friction at Sri Lanka’s national carrier Sri Lankan burst into the open Tuesday when its directors and the chief executive were summoned for grilling by President Sirisena who noticed open hostility and finger pointing. Cabinet of ministers led by the President questioned Chairman Ajith Dias and CEO Suren Ratwatte about their failure to fully implement the recommendations of the Weliamuna Board of Investigation more..

Why do we root for the underdog?

June 21 (DM) Who says the Sinhalese are anti-Muslim? The way in which the Sinhalese craved for and cheered the victory of the Pakistan team at the ICC finals against India on Sunday leaves very little doubt that the community is inherently prejudicial against Muslims as a group, local or otherwise. If not for the politicians from both sides who instigate people with their inflammatory speeches and misinformation, the two communities would have been left with very little to fight about.    more..