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Anytime is tea time in Sri Lanka and the Aussie brew is cold

May 21 (ST) With their selfies and the broadest of smiles, the hopeful Lankans embarked on their Champions Trophy quest mid last week and the act will be staged in Ole Blighty from June 2-18. Smiles apart, the proposition is quite tough. The Lankans have been drawn up in Group ‘B’, alongside three heavyweights: South Africa at the Kennington Oval on June 3, India at the same venue on June 8 and Pakistan on June 12. more..

President unveils newly built glass Stupa at Sri Sudarshana Dharma Nikethanaya

May 21 (PSL) A religious ceremony was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Siriena  to unveil the newly built three story glass Stupa at Gampaha Miriswatta Sri Sudarshana Dharma Nikethanaya, today (19). The President visited the temple at the invitation of the Most Ven. Ketawala Hemaloka Nayaka Thero and the President engaged in religious observances there and received blessings. Later, President unveiling the plaque opened the newly built 3-story glass Stupa more..

The scramble to make a scapegoat of Ravi K

May 21 (Island) As we went to press, speculation was rife that the long spoken of cabinet reshuffle may materialise on Monday. However with this govt, nothing is certain until it actually happens. So we wait passively to see what happens. There is little point in holding our breath because no cabinet reshuffle is going to make any material change to the situation in the country. There was stiff resistance from within the UNP to making any changes in the portfolios held by them more..

New PPP unit begins search for investments

May 21 (ST) Sri Lanka’s new Private Public Partnership (PPP) division set up at the Finance Ministry is making preliminary arrangements to secure investments with private sector engagement for planning, implementation, financing and maintenance of certain infrastructural assets owned by the state agencies. This division functioning under the Treasury has already recruited executive staff to support and advise relevant ministries more..

Mathew Abeysinghe bags the Presidential Sports award

May 21 (ST) Swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe was the cynosure of all eyes as he was crowned Sports Star at the Presidential Sports Awards 2016 held at the BMICH on Friday. He also won the Most Outstanding Sportsman of the year for his outstanding performances at the South Asian Games 2016 India where he won a record seven gold, two silver and one bronze medal. Marathoner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray and SL’s only internationally acclaimed motor racing star more..

House followed procedure in compliance with Constitution, elections law: Speaker

May 21 (ST) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday stated that Parliament followed the normal procedure in compliance with the Constitution and elections law when conveying the Appeal Court ruling disqualifying MP Geetha Kumarasinghe from holding a seat in Parliament, to the Elections Commission. Speaker’s Media Division issuing a press release said there had been no undue urgency or delay by Parliament in making this communication. more..

Prez summons crucial SLFP CC meet tonight

May 21 (CT) President Sirisena has summoned a crucial SLFP Central Committee meeting tonight ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle widely speculated as being slated for tomorrow. Meanwhile, reliable sources disclosed that the hugely hyped Cabinet reshuffle would be more in the nature of an institutional reorganization than a ministerial reshuffle per se. President has also asked all Cabinet Ministers to be present at more..

Reflecting on your record with both parties

May 21 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be having a difficult time carrying out your work while juggling the challenges posed by Modi, Mahinda maama and the May Day – and even provincial councils are daring to defy you. All about you seem to be losing their heads and blaming it on you! We are of course aware that you are leading a govt like no other – because it comprises of Greens and Blues who have been rivals for almost seven decades since more..

ADB keen on investing in banks

May 21 (SO) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is keen to work with the banking sector in Sri Lanka and is exploring opportunities in private and public banking sectors, a senior ADB official said. “We have a lot of opportunities to support the private sector in Sri Lanka and enable them to grow; by providing debt, equity guarantees, and capacity building projects,” Director Private Sector Financial Institutions Division, ADB, Christine A. Engstrom said. more..

SL’s luxury condo market heading for tears?

May 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has placed the seemingly thriving real estate sector under close watch after fears that excessive credit may have financed a property bubble that could burst and undermine financial stability. Central Bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamay said a study was underway on bank lending to property development ventures and check if credit meant for small & medium-sized enterprises more..

CBK, MS, Ranil discuss NIB report on cabinet reshuffle

May 21 (SL) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga had an emergency meeting last week with President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on a report by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) on a cabinet reshuffle. NIB had disclosed that the cabinet reshuffle could be the result of a political coup. Some members of the cabinet aligned to the joint opposition and some UNP stalwarts had allegedly misled the President and PM to opt for a cabinet reshuffle. more..

SL offers 500 acres of land to Andhra Pradesh govt to develop industrial park

May 21 (Island) Sri Lanka has offered 500 acres of land to the Govt of Andhra Pradesh to develop an industrial park. President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe made separate phone calls to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Naidu on Friday to convey their govt’s decision. This was in response to a proposal submitted by Naidu to the SL govt when he visited Colombo last January to participate as Chief Guest in the celebrations on the present govt completing two years in office. more..

Owner of building that collapsed in Wellawatta arrested

May 21 (AD) The owner of the building in Wellawatta, which collapsed killing 2 people and injuring another 21, has been arrested after he surrendered to police. Following the tragic incident, Police had been looking for the owner of the building in question, a popular banquet hall by the name The Excellency located near Savoy Cinema on Charlemont Road, for questioning.  Hundreds of army troops, police personnel more..

Buddhi Athauda appointed Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to France

May 21 (Island) Former SL Ambassador to The Netherlands Buddhi Athauda has been appointed SL’s Ambassador to France. He is expected to assume duties before the summer ends. Former Consul General in Frankfurt, Athauda has served as a diplomat for nearly nine years. He was the founder President of the Diplomatic Council. While representing SL, he held many prestigious positions in various multinational organizations. He was the Chairman of the Budget Committee of more..

European Parliament to debate SL issues

May 21 (ST) Political and civil society groups, among them Tamil diaspora organisations, have pressured the European Parliament to debate the restoration of the GSP+ tariff preferences to SL. It will take place during the plenary sessions of the EU Parliament in Brussels on May 31. It will follow what is being billed as a Commission Statement where the European Commissioner for Trade will make a statement on SL. He will take questions from members on issues raised by them. more..

Sri Lanka offers fresh probes into missing

May 21 (AFP) President MSirisena announced new investigations into alleged secret detention centres as part of a drive to find tens of thousands of people still missing after the country's decades-long war. Prez said he would establish a mechanism to search locations where there are reports that people may still be incarcerated after the war, which ended in May 2009. "If there are allegations that people are still being held in more..

Can vote on reaching the age of 18 yrs: Ec

May 21 (ST) Election laws will soon be amended to ensure that citizens are eligible to vote at national elections on attaining the age of 18 years. Under current election laws, electoral registers are revised only annually in June. As such, even those who have reached 19 years of age on the day of an election, are not eligible to vote, if they had turned 18 after June. This is an extremely unfair situation, pointed out Elections Commission (EC) Chairman, Mahinda Deshapriya. more..

IP Rangajeewa’s condition improves

May 21 (SO) IP Neomal Rangajeewa of Police Narcotics Bureau who was critically injured in the shooting at Piliyandala and receiving treatment at the Colombo National Hospital has been transferred to the Police Hospital. The move was made due to an improvement in his health, following treatment at the ICU. IP Rangajeewa had suffered gunshot wounds to the shoulder and head area in the incident. On May 9, a team of PNB officers led by IP was shot at by two armed assailants more..

Tax free ride at public expense: MPs in vehicle scam

May 21 (CT) President Sirisena told an int'l Anti-Corruption Summit in London in mid May that corruption was one of the factors that promoted political violence and other forms of human rights abuses and went on pledge to combat both issues in SL. "Current national unity govt consists of the two major political parties in Parliament, one under my leadership and the other led by PM. We were elected to office on a platform to promote more..

Prison ministry officials complicit in corruption

May 21 (SL) Officials of the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs are suspected of being complicit of corruption. Some officers are working against the interests of the Minister D.M. Swaminathan. Sources said that an official accused of being involved in the Welikada prison shooting has been appointed as a top prison officer without the knowledge of the Minister. An order issued by Minister to transfer the Kalutara prison commissioner more..

ICTA to carry out security checks on govt websites

May 21 (DM) A security audit will be conducted on all Government Websites following the global ransomware attacks, the Information and Communication Technologies Agency (ICTA) said. It has called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for this project which would be launched by ICTA with the collaboration of the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team and Co-ordination Centre (CERT/CC) and the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure. more..

Tomorrow’s Cabinet reshuffle more extensive than expected

May 21 (ST) President Sirisena, gave mixed signals, not unusually, when he vetoed his own demarche not to chair Cabinet meetings until he carries out a re-shuffle of Ministers. Last Monday, he directed the Cabinet Secretariat to summon the weekly ministerial meeting the next day, Tuesday.  Officials hurriedly telephoned ministers to tell them the meeting which was indefinitely postponed, would take place at 10 a.m. more..

One belt-one road from China, but no Bridge to India: SL’s development dilemmas

May 21 (Island) Even as he bade farewell to Indian PM Narendra Modi at the end of his Vesak visit, PM Wickremesinghe was all but ready to take flight to China to attend the economic summit of the 21st Century. This was Beijing’s big splash on the world economic map, and one that India chose not to officially attend. Japan was another boycotter. A number of Indian business and think-tank figures went to Beijing as unofficial delegates, and they were critical of their govt’s decision more..

The Spirit of Vesak utterly adulterated

May 21 (Island) Reflecting on Vesak Poya just past, the conclusion is an opinion and judgement of paradoxes as most matters in Sri Lanka are. An example to prove this last statement: people you meet in a tragic situation or in times of strife are so full of kindness while doctors of the GMOA continue with their sudden strikes in the face of so much suffering caused to the poor, even deaths, when they are supposed to be healers. Coming to my topic from that aside which validated my more..

The populist toxin: Is Sri Lanka immune?

May 21 (Island) Five years before he was stabbed to death, Maldivian blogger Yameen Rasheed wrote an analytical piece in the Himal magazine about his country’s gradual descent into the mire of Islamic fundamentalism. A Tool for the Atollsii details the weaponisation of Islam by Maldivian rulers to gain and consolidate political power. The practice began with Abdul Gayoom who captured power on an Islamic platform. more..

Call Sanga out of retirement!

May 21 (Island) On a rainy day, TV host Brian Thomas was anguish as the guest he was supposed to interview for the famous Cricket Show hadn’t turned up. NCC stalwart Ranjit Fernando suggested that Thomas should look for an alternative. "here’s this interesting young chap whom we have got down from Kandy for this season. Perhaps you should speak to him, Fernando said. What’s his name? Thomas queried. more..

Salawa victims cry foul

May 21 (CT) A year has passed since the Salawa-Kosgama Army Camp's armoury explosion, the causes of which are yet to be determined. The explosion destroyed the entire residential area. Similarly, in another two weeks, it would be a year since a major part of the landmass was flooded due to unprecedented rains causing a landslide. There is no need to mention how long it has been since the Aranayake and the Meeriyabedda disasters. more..

5000 acres of paddy land remain barren

May 21 (SO) Five thousand acres of paddy lands which receive water from the Lunugamwehera reservoir, remain uncultivated due to an acute shortage of water. About two thousand farmer families in the area have been instructed by the authorities to cultivate subsidiary food crops due to the scarcity of water. The farming community in the area are reluctant to take to subsidiary food crop cultivation. more..

Did Rangajeewa walk into Madush trap?

May 21 (CT) It was a few hours before the Vesak full moon day. The night was illuminated by the Vesak moon. Three Police teams led by IP Neomal Rangajeewa, OIC of Police Narcotics Bureau arrived in the night to Piliyandala to achieve the target of a plan laid for several weeks. "We are in the car. Implement the plan as soon as the drug dealer arrives," IP Rangajeewa advised his team that had laid a net to catch a drug kingpin. more..

GMOA 24 hour token strike tomorrow

May 21 (AD) GMOA says that a 24 hour strike action will be launched at govt hospital across the country from 8am tomorrow, based on several demands including the SAITM issue.  12-hour strike previously announced has been extended to a 24-hour strike.  However, GMOA said emergency services, maternity hospitals, children hospitals, cancer hospitals, tri forces hospitals and the renal treatment units would be free from the strike. more..

Vidya trial delayed; no decision on whether it should be held in Colombo or Jaffna

May 21 (ST) The trial into the rape and murder of 18-year old schoolgirl Sivaloganathan Vidya has been delayed because there is no decision yet on where it should be held. The three judges to the trial-at-bar to try the ten accused of the murder of the schoolgirl in 2015 at Punguduthivu in Kayts have been named, but the decision to hear the case in Colombo was put on hold following another proposal that it is more appropriate to more..

Staggered working hours in Battaramulla: Pilot project for three months

May 21 (ST) A pilot project to have staggered working hours for state sector employees in Battaramulla and adjoining areas is to be tried out for three months. The move is prompted by heavy traffic congestion – the result of many Government institutions drawing even greater traffic there. Last May, Cabinet granted approval to a recommendation by two Ministers to introduce flexible & Staggered Working Hours. more..

After Geetha’s case, Foreign Ministry checks whether any diplomats are dual citizens

May 21 (ST) The Foreign Affairs Ministry has asked Sri Lankan diplomats here and abroad to notify it if any of them is a dual citizen.  A circular was sent out this week pursuant to an inquiry by the Sunday Times whether any diplomats at the Foreign Ministry or in Sri Lanka’s missions overseas held dual citizenship. It was found that the Overseas Administration Division of the ministry did not have the required information. more..

Trinco oil farm: PM to expedite deal with India

May 21 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has mandated the setting up of a committee to negotiate with India the development of the Trinc upper oil tank farm. “The matter was taken up at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) meeting on Wednesday,” official source said. “PM said to please appoint a committee to carry it forward as the Indians are complaining that we are dragging it.” more..

Populism, Nationalism & The Left 

May 22 (CT) This year, 2017, is not only the centenary year of Lenin’s October Revolution but also the 80th anniversary year of the death of the greatest Marxist political scientist and one of the most subtle and original political thinkers of modernity, Antonio Gramsci. In March 2017, Global –e, the web publication of the 21st Century Global Dynamics Initiative of the University of California Santa Barbara, kicked off in Vol. 10 Issue 14, a series on Public Imagination with an invited more..

Invisible black flags; asking for Modi meeting

May 22 (SO) This cat listened to President Sirisena speak at an opening ceremony on Monday (15) relayed on TV night news. She purred with delight at his words and growled in approval of his tone of sheer disdain; very civil albeit. He questioned where the threatened black flags were, to be hoisted by Wimal Wee and company. He commented on the asking of permission to meet PM Modi. President said, with a nonchalant wave of his arm, that he requested the Indian Ambassador to arrange more..

Govt’s proposals well directed to break SAITM deadlock: Prof. Carlo Fonseka

May 22 (SO) Amid continuous protests and controversy over the SAITM, Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) states that the Govt’s latest proposals go a long way in the right direction to find a solution to the current deadlock. SAITM Management has also decided to cooperate with the Govt’s policy decisions and suggestions by President Maithripala Sirisena. On the contrary, the GMOA, IUSF and MFSAC who maintain more..

Culturing fear & hatred in the Sinhalese mind: An open letter to Sinhalese

May 22 (CT) My dear Sinhalese Brothers and Sisters, You are all aware of the gradual corruption of a great teaching, by some rogue monks who pretend to protect Buddhism and the Sinhala race. Have you given some thought that it is time to make your voice heard and rise up to stop this menace. I am certain that you also understand well the opportunistic politicians who support such activities. They want to fool the average Sinhalese that they are pro-Sinhala Buddhist.  more..

The bane of the political gravy train!

May 22 (NS) IT is amazing how flippant some people are with money when they know it isn’t coming from their wallet. Our nation’s MPs have never had it so good so long as they don’t have to slap their own leather billfolds to pay for their obscene extravagances. Meaning they have no qualms about hopping aboard the gravy train at the expense of the taxpayer. During the last landmark election the present administration, the Unholy Alliance promised good governance, more..

Eligibility criteria stiffer than in State Uni: SB

May 22 (CT) Minister S.B. Dissanayake, himself former Minister of Higher Education, during whose tenure was brought in the SAITM says that standards of SAITM students are far higher than the State University students. He also rubbished claims of GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya who said that there were students with three A/L Passes at SAITM, adding that there were students with three ordinary passes in more..