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Understanding why Mahinda Rajapaksa lost

Jan 14 (CT) I looked last week at Nalaka Godahewa's account of why Mahinda Rajapaksa lost, which he attributed to the excessive influence of eight people who "were not listening to the voices of the grassroots anymore." Though an intelligent analysis of some aspects of the last years of Rajapaksa Administration, the article failed to distinguish between positive influences and those who contributed heavily to the defeat. I was happy though that Godahewa was complimentary more..

Pothas refuses to travel to Bangladesh

Jan 14 (ST) Nic Pothas who was Sri Lanka’s interim head coach after Graham Ford stepped down in June has refused to travel to Bangladesh with the national team after Sri Lanka Cricket turned down his request to be appointed Assistant Coach of the national side. Instead he has preferred to work at the High Performance Center headed by Simon Willis as a fielding coach. Pothas was appointed as fielding coach of the national team in July 2016 for a two-year contract & was subsequently promoted more..

Thai Pongal: Festival of colour for a munificent harvest

Jan 14 (SO) After the Christmas and New Year festivities, and amid all the campaigns and meetings in the run up to the Feb 10 LG polls, perhaps for the first time in decades, the entire Tamils of the country are engrossed simultaneously in the sensational democratic process, and the Hindus among them are celebrating the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai more..

Jayasekara slow to act on players’ report

Jan 14 (CT) The five-member committee featuring the likes of Aravinda, Mahela and Sangakkara have made its recommendations on a revamp of domestic cricket to the Sports Ministry, but the Minister has not implemented any changes so far. The committee handed over its report to the Sports Ministry mid-December and has not heard from the Minister since. According to Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, he must first 'chat with the cricket board' before any changes are imposed. more..

CAL to go regional with digital capital market products

Jan 14 (ST) Capital Alliance PLC’s digital innovation arm, Finnovation has major plans to venture into the region with its digital capital market products, top officials say. At the recent launch of its latest innovation, CALiper, a state-of-the-art digital app that facilitates online bond trading with the click of a button, Ajith Fernando, Managing Director Capital Alliance Group told the Business Times that initially their aim is to go to frontier market countries. The company, which has been serving more..

EPF undergoes IT transformation to prevent fraudulent deals

Jan 14 (ST) The EPF information technology process is to be improved by developing an integrated computer programme network in combination with the Department of Labour and the Central Bank (CB). The aim is to prevent fraudulent transactions and maintain transparency in all activities of the fund, Labour Ministry sources revealed. Information relating to the EPF since its establishment could be easily obtained by more..

Tourism: Ready, steady … no go!

Jan 14 (ST) The distractions were a-plenty but for me, there was a singular purpose this morning; I mean the topic for discussion. Kussi Amma Sera had brought the morning tea and in her usual style tried to get me interested in a conversation about a change in policy where the Government this week cancelled an archaic law barring women from purchasing liquor and also working in places where alcohol was sold. On the face of it, this law looked silly, unbelievable. more..

SL’s Wu Shu star for Super Fight League

Jan 14 (SO) Sri Lanka Tiran Thakshala well known martial arts specialist in mixed martial arts and kickboxing is the Sports Ambassador in U.A.E. at present. As a student of Carey College he started his career as Wu Shu fighter and a Boxer under the guidance of Don Lesley. Mastering the Wu Shu tactics went on to be a 5th level Black Belt holder in Wu Shu and Wing Chun training under Prasanna Jayaweera. Tiran with high standard of skills and dedication was able to win more..

All what we want is for the President to abide by his decision to abolish SAITM: GMOA

Jan 14 (Island) In an interview, GMOA Assistant Secretary, Dr. Naveen D. Soyza, responds to questions on the contentious SAITM issue. Q: The GMOA is still continuing its struggle against SAITM, which is a long-drawn issue. A: Yes, the SAITM issue has been long drawn out. SAITM was started in 2009, nine years ago. Since its inception, the GMOA has continued to protest. It was not an ad hoc protest. more..

Lalith Obeyesekere takes over as PA Secretary General

Jan 14 (ST) Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) has appointed Lalith Obeyesekere as its Secretary General, effective from Jan 1. A respected, plantation industry professional and an active member of the PA, Mr. Obeyesekere headed the Association as its Chairman from 2010 to 2013 and has played a vital role in promoting the collective interests on all issues concerning the Plantation Industry. He takes over duties from industry veteran, Malin Goonetileke, who retired as more..

'SL Banks ill-prepared for cyber attacks'

Jan 14 (CT) A leading multinational cyber security and anti-virus provider warned that the majority of Sri Lanka's banks are unprepared to face severe cyber attacks, which, it stated, the region would have to face within the next year. Delivering the keynote speech at the Kaspersky Corporate Awards Night 2018 recently, Kaspersky General Manager – South Asia, Shrenik Bhayani said that the SAARC region – particularly countries with smaller populations, including Sri Lanka – more..

Public Utilities Commission to be dissolved?

Jan 14 (CT) Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ranjith Siyambalapitiya is to present a Cabinet Paper next week requesting to dissolve the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) and appoint suitable intellectuals instead, Ceylon Today reliably learns. According to sources, Ministry Secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda is also preparing to include several negative observations regarding the PUCSL in that particular Cabinet Paper. more..

Pakistan PM calls for increased trade with SL

Jan 14 (Dawn) Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has invited SL businessmen to see for themselves that Pakistan is not what the West portrays, declaring that Pakistan is not what one sees on CNN. “Pakistan is a vibrant democracy with a vibrant press and its foreign investment policies are liberal, apolitical, non-partisan and consistent,” he said. Mr Abbasi made these comments in a video message on the opening day of the Third Pakistan Single-Country Exhibition in Colombo on Friday. more..

CPC warns SriLankan of supply cut

Jan 14 (CT) According to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), SriLankan Airlines has agreed to stay within CPC's credit limit of Rs 13 billion, which they have so far exceeded by Rs 607 million, after a letter of warning was sent by CPC Chairman, Dammika Ranatunga. Speaking to Ceylon FT, the Chairman said a warning letter was sent to the Airline informing that fuel supplies will be cut off immediately if payments were not made by 11 January 2018. more..

Industrial sewing machine operators in top demand

Jan 14 (SO) Sri Lanka’s apparel exporters are awaiting the results of a crucial labour market study presently being conducted by a top independent private research agency to tackle the problem of labour shortages in the sector, an industry source said. The study will include ascertaining reasons why there has been a lack of interest among the labour workforce to take up apparel sector jobs specifically positions more..

Streak: Everyone wants to coach their own country

Jan 14 (DT) Zimbabwe cricket team coach Heath Streak, who shared the Bangladesh dressing room with Chandika Hathurusingha when the Sri Lankan was the head coach of the Tigers, thinks Hathurusingha did the right thing by choosing to coach his country. Streak was appointed by the BCB in May, 2014, around a month after Hathurusingha joined as the Tigers’ coach. In May, 2016, Streak decided not to continue as the Bangladesh pace bowling coach right before his contract with more..

Implications of lifting the ban on alcohol for women

Jan 14 (Bustle) For the first time in 38 years women in Sri Lanka can legally buy alcohol. In a push toward restoring greater gender equality, the govt of Sri Lanka has revoked a ban prohibiting women aged 18 or older from legally buying alcohol this week. The ban also prevented women from being employed in places like bars or restaurants that sell alcohol. Minister Mangala Samaraweera, took to Twitter Wednesday to announce he had "amended the schedule in the Excise Notification more..

Huge Korea-backed project for 1m tons of LNG a year

Jan 14 (ST) Govt will open for procurement under the Swiss Challenge method a South Korean proposal for a free-of-charge floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal tied to an annual order of 1mn metric tonnes of LNG for two decades at int'l market prices–the most expensive tender ever to be floated in Sri Lanka. But industry and procurement experts insist that any tender for a terminal and for LNG, especially in such more..

Legal dilemma or political strategy?

Jan 14 (Hindu) Addressing a public meeting in his home district Polonnaruwa on Jan 26, 2015 — a fortnight after his historic election victory — President Sirisena made a strong a case for reducing the term of presidency in Sri Lanka from six to four years, citing the example of Nelson Mandela who succeeded in pushing reforms in South Africa during a four-year rule. However, despite his insistence, constitutional experts and political leaders stuck to five years, he said. more..

Major investment to upgrade railway system

Jan 14 (ST) SL is making a major investment in upgrading its railway system by importing new engines and wagons from Chinese and US companies. Chinese company had been awarded a contract for US$ 80 million (Rs 12 billion) to deliver nine multiple units, each comprising an engine and eight to nine compartments with air-conditioning facilities. The compartments would have monitors displaying the next station and the time to reach the next destination. more..

Scam?: Delay in awarding bid for proposed Kerawalapitiya-II power project

Jan 14 (CT) Sinister moves by the authorities to sabotage awarding the Kerawalapitiya-ii combined cycle power project to a local company could cause Rs 204 billion in losses to the State, alleged senior engineers of CEB. Furthermore, engineers opined that it was the right of the public to know such moves which affect public life and enormously affect Govt coffers. "This would be a much greater scam than the Bond scam more..

New passport with biometric data in microchip

Jan 14 (ST) A new passport to be issued this year will contain a microchip which could store personal details including biometrics of the holder, the Immigration Department said. Immigration and Emigration Controller General S. Ranasinghe told the Sunday Times that the new passport would have additional security features to minimise chances of anyone making forged passports. He said the introduction of the microchip would also provide an advantage to the holder. more..

Three new flyovers

Jan 14 (CT) Govt plans to construct three more flyovers at Kirulapone and Kohuwala in the Colombo District and at the Yangalmodara Railway crossing on the Colombo-Kurunegala Road, RDA Project Director Mangala Senarath said. Kohuwala Flyover will be constructed on Dutugemunu Street where the traffic on the Colombo- Horana Road while the Kirulapone Flyover will be constructed at the Kirulapone Junction towards the tail end of the Baseline Road, he added. more..

Prez Sirisena at 3: Politician or statesman?

Jan 14 (ST) Sometimes, politics is all about being in the right place at the right time. Since SL embraced a presidential system of govt 40 years ago, three of our six Presidents have been elevated to the highest office in the land by being in the right place at the right time. D.B Wijetunga was rewarded for his loyal service to the UNP by being appointed as Governor of North Western Province where he was to spend his retirement. more..

Bond fallouts: President goes to court, PM provokes brawl in parliament

Jan 14 (Island) Is it the beginning of the end? The end of what, you may interject. As Doric de Souza did when colonial sleuths asked him if he was a member of the Fourth International. I teach English, Doric snapped, International is an adjective. International what? The police had no answer to Doric. But there are multiple-choice answers to today’s question: the end of what; especially after last week’s developments. The unexpected was the President’s unilateral and undisclosed more..

Highlights and anecdotes about our bench, bar and legal system

Jan 14 (Island) When I was asked by the editors of this journal for an article, I readily agreed. As an elder lawyer with over 50 years since enrolment, I have always assisted and encouraged the younger members of the profession. Contributing to one of their publications is such a worthy endeavour. I informed the editors that rather than my write on a strictly legal topic, because of my age and experience, I prefer to contribute an article on some significant historical aspects of our Judiciary, more..

Rs. 5 million spent on most disgraceful brawl in Parliament

Jan 14 (ST) Party leaders met on Wednesday after the dishonourable conduct displayed by some honourable members of Parliament to discuss whether disciplinary action should be taken against those who were seen to be behaving in a rowdy way. No decision was taken, but Parliament sources say Speaker Karu Jayasuirya is likely to warn some MPs when Parliament meets next. Wednesday’s ugly scenes once again more..

U-19 WC: Lakshan, Mendis steer Sri Lanka to seven-wicket win

Jan 14 (CI) Dhananjaya Lakshan's 120-ball 101 and captain Kamindu Mendis' all-round show took Sri Lanka to a seven-wicket win over Ireland in the rain-reduced 48-over Under-19 World Cup match in Whangarei. Electing to bat, Ireland were off to a strong start, with openers Jamie Grassi (75 off 117 balls) and Mark Donegan (36 off 53 balls) adding 73 runs, before Mendis (3 for 35) broke their partnership in the 20th over. more..

Airport touting a punishable offence

Jan 14 (ST) Touting of passengers in the airport premises will be a punishable offence in terms of amendments to the Civil Aviation Act. The amendments have been gazetted by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. They will empower police officers in the airport premises to arrest any person touting for any incoming or outgoing passengers. Those engaged in providing Aviation Security Services will also have the power to more..

The boy who hated war: The great escape

Jan 14 (CT) Thava is what we will call him for this story. He does have another name and at one time had a nom de guerre when he was a cadre of the LTTE. Now rehabilitated, Thava was decorating his family home preparing for a housewarming when we met him in Valachenai in the Batticaloa District a few weeks ago. He is a quiet, studious looking 31-year-old who is now married and a father of a 2-year-old daughter. more..

Govt looking into curbing negative fallout of social media: Ranil

Jan 14 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the govt is looking at introducing new laws to curb the negative impact of the social media, but the issue is that they don’t operate from one single country. Newspapers and TV stations are based in a particular country. However, in the case of social media outlets, there are no restrictions on boundaries as they are not confined to a single country, the premier said. more..

Parliament sinks to new low over Bond Commission report

Jan 14 (CT) The very first parliamentary session of the New Year undoubtedly was a reminder of a most famous Frank Underwood quote to fans of American political drama TV series House of Cards: If you don't like how the table is set, turn over the table! This special parliamentary session was called to take a final decision on PCoI report which was pledged to be placed in the House as the first item of business for the day. more..

New UAE work visa rule

Jan 14 (CT) Sri Lankans leaving the country for work in the UAE will now be required to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate prior to departure, a move the industry fears could dwarf the recruitment process in that sector. New regulation states that all foreign workers entering the country should obtain a certificate of good conduct from their home country prior to entering the UAE for work. However, this is not applicable for tourist and more..

TGTE man booted out

Jan 14 (CT) A senior member of the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) Suresnath Ratnabalam was deported along with his family. They left BIA during the early hours of yesterday morning, officials said. Ratnabalam and his family were placed on a Bangkok bound SriLankan Airlines flight after he was refused entry into the country as he is blacklisted. The family arrived at the BIA on Thursday afternoon from Abu Dhabi. more..

Tamil nationalist songs in Jaffna Polls campaign: CaFFE complains to EC

Jan 14 (CT) CaFFE has complained to the Commissioner of Elections that several political parties in the Northern Province are playing songs echoing Tamil nationalism that were used during the LTTE period, in violation of election laws. On Friday UPFA politician Angajan Ramanathan had aired such songs while opening his party office at the Jaffna Municipal Council, Executive Director/CaFFE Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon told Ceylon Today. more..

Election officials check backgrounds of local council candidates

Jan 14 (ST) The Election Commission has directed District Assistant Commissioners to check on the backgrounds of local council candidates contesting the upcoming local council elections to ascertain whether any of them has criminal records. Commission’s Director General R.M.A.L. Ratnayake said they would also verify if former public servants contesting the polls were doing so in keeping with the election law. more..

Play the devil, with the bottle

Jan 15 (SO) Aise, Desmond De Silva must be putting a good shot cheering our Paradisians, no. Siripala doesn’t think he had any idea that one day his Sumihiri Paaney would actually be as Sumihiri as it sounds today, isn’t it?. What men, even in this country, no one goes to the bar at 9 in the morning, and who else except one of these ruffians is able to get a bottle before 9, ah?. Nonsense, no. But we put up with nonsense, where other civilized countries slowly do away with nonsense. more..

The bond saga, According to PM

Jan 15 (CT) If the Island report is a verbatim account of what Ranil said in Parliament, it deserves careful annotation. I have therefore, as I did with Ranil’s ridiculous answers to the Bond Commission, noted in bold letters what he really meant when he came out with the dubious statements that the Island reports. It's sad that, when parliament was convened to discuss the report of PCoI on the bond scam, Speaker should have allowed Ranil the chance to try once again to draw red herrings. more..

Customs focused on achieving targets

Jan 15 (SO) Director General, SL Customs Mrs. P.M.S. Charles is a veteran civil servant who was Govt Agent for Vavuniya and Batticaloa successively for nine and a half years, having played a significant role in successfully implementing the govt’s development programs, resettling war-displaced families and addressing the multifarious problems and miseries of the people of the war-ravaged districts. more..

Fear reigned then; Freedom reigns now

Jan 15 (SO) Last week marked the ninth death anniversary of Lasantha Wickrematunge, the editor of The Sunday Leader who was brutally assassinated at Attidiya, as he drove to work. Co-incidentally, last week also marked the third anniversary of President Sirisena assuming office as President. The latter has become a trigger for the evaluation of the President’s first three years in office. Fuelled by the upcoming LG elections, there has been a generous glut of govt bashing, more..