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Professionals concerned over govt’s ad hoc power policies

Jul 8 (Island) Expressing concern over the govt’s continuing ad hoc policies in the country’s vital power sector, industry professionals warned that bureaucratic bungling would ultimately boil down to consumers having to bear the cost. The lack of a consistent policy on power procurements will be detrimental to the country in the long run, and the inevitable result will place an added burden on consumers who will be called upon to pay a higher rate for their electricity consumption, more..

Big fish get off lightly

Jul 8 (Island) Several large-scale tax evaders and those accused of money laundering appear to have settled their cases with a minor rap on the knuckles and avoided criminal prosecutions, according to Inland Revenue Department (IRD) sources. About 10 individuals, including one involved with floating armouries and another politician already facing a criminal prosecution — have been subjected to an audit and let off with notices to pay fines. "There is concern that some of these people are more..

China funded both major candidates: Police

Jul 8 (CT) Police investigations into whether the China Merchant Engineering Company (CMEC) had funded political parties during the 2015 Presidential Elections were halted after detectives found that both major candidates had received donations, high ranking Police Department sources said. Financial Investigation Unit (FIU), of the Police Department, had commenced an investigation in 2016 into the matter of more..

Jumbos run amok at perahera

Jul 8 (CT) Environmentalists have voiced their concerns over an incident where three elephants ran amok at the Kahawatte Temple Perahera in Ratnapura recently. Around 30 people were admitted to hospital over the incident, but not due to injuries caused by the elephants. “Four elephants were sent from the Elephant Orphanage for the Kahawatte temple perahera. Kiriya and Senerath got out of control after those who had come to see the perahera tried to touch them. more..

Falling tea prices signal a crisis

Jul 8 (Island) Tea prices have dipped at all elevations signaling a crisis, with brokers’ reports indicating an overall 2018 average of Rs. 543.85 (USD 3.44) in comparison to the 2017 average of Rs. 597.16, recording a Rs. 53.76 minus factor. The loss factor was based on assessments being the Net Sales Average (NSA) for all teas sold. The elevation averages also had no good news. High growns were Rs. 531.45 during the same period in 2017, but dropped to Rs. 495.04 in 2018. more..

PTL part-funded Bar Association’s LAWASIA event in Colombo

Jul 8 (Island) General Secretary of the Communist Party and former Chairman of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Dew Gunasekera said the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) owed an explanation to the country on why funds were solicited from tainted primary dealer, Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL), over a year after the exposure of its direct involvement in the first CB treasury bond scam perpetrated on Feb. 27, 2015. more..

Govt considers leasing East Terminal for 35 years

Jul 8 (ST) SL Ports Authority is expected to lease out the East Container Terminal (ECT) for a period of 35 years with a possible partner from the region. Port workers were informed by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe during a recent meeting that the govt has plans to lease out the ECT facility to another party for 35 years and not sell it, JVP trade union leader Chandrasiri Mahagamage said. This is similar to the type of arrangement that is currently in place for the South Asia Gateway Terminal and more..

New polls register in October, but PC elections unlikely this year

Jul 8 (ST) National Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that a new polls register would be certified on Oct 5 to enable the conduct of Provincial Council elections. This register, he said, would see an increase of 200,000 voters countrywide and would be devoid of repetitions. “We have taken measures to exclude voters who have registered more than once,” he said. Mr. Deshapriya said that, in accordance with the law, he had earlier proposed to gazette new register on Oct 31. more..

Friction continues between coalition govt partners

Jul 8 (ST) If their gloves came off last week, now, covert and overt battles among political parties are intensifying. Nowhere is it reflected more than in the coalition govt, which euphemistically continues with the name National Unity Govt. The on again and off again relationship took another blow, this time over the Thursday midnight increase of fuel prices. Most Sri Lankans, including Prez Sirisena, woke up to the bad news more..

NYT Statements, Hitler blessing and the Tiger Curse

Jul 8 (Island) There have been quite a few political statements in the wake of the controversial New York Times article on the Hambantota harbour, and in the wake of the even more controversial speech in Jaffna about LTTE revival by a UNP Tamil State Minister. Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe have made public statements on the NYT article, the former through the media, and the latter in a Special Statement to parliament. If Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement was more..

Separating children from parents is State Terrorism, no less!

Jul 8 (Island) "Now we can add America’s First Citizen, Donald J. Trump, to the list of the depraved. State violence against children has a long, dark history among authoritarian regimes. Stalin’s police took children from parents he labelled as enemies of the people. Hitler, Franco and Pinochet all separated children from their families on a large scale as a way to punish political dissidents and those parents considered disposable." So wrote Henry Giroux, who holds the McMaster University Chair more..

Mrs. Wijeweera’s habeas corpus lawyer states his case

Jul 8 (Island) Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera is the instructing lawyer in the Habeas Corpus action filed by Chitrangani Wijeweera moving the Court of Appeal in search of the fate of her husband Rohana Wijeweera who had been taken into govt custody in Nov 1989, and alleged to have been killed. Perera is the President of the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners and is at the forefront of the campaign more..

‘I am happy the investigation will get to the bottom of all this’

Jul 8 (Island) From a single-roomed operation based near the surgical unit of then General Hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s Blood Bank has evolved into a fully-fledged National Blood Transfusion Service over the past 55 years. A success story the nation can be proud of today, the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) renders a national service as a special campaign under the ministry of health. more..

'Too many matches have diluted school cricket'

Jul 8 (SO) Former SL cricket captain and present chief ICC Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle who was the first recipient of the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award in 1979 and 40 years later the chief guest at the 40th Observer/Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year awards night held at Hilton Colombo passed on some key messages to three important stake holders who were present at the occasion. more..

Arjuna still defiant on lubricant project; damning letter from Austin

Jul 8 (ST) At last Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting, there was an unusual turn of events over the US$ 10 million Lubricant Blending project in Muthurajawela by a Malaysian company. Earlier, as exclusively revealed in these columns last week, President Maithripala Sirisena severely admonished Petroleum Resources Development Minister Arjuna Ranatunga at the previous cabinet meeting for delaying the company’s licences. more..

Army chief bans racists from camps

Jul 8 (EN) Army commander Mahesh Senanayake has ordered his troops not to allow any individual, including retired officers, who are actively engaged in sabotaging the country’s ethnic reconciliation efforts. In a directive to all units of the SL army, he said the military condemned attempts to obstruct ongoing moves to build bridges between different communities since the end of the war in May 2009. more..

India agrees to SL’s Mattala airport proposal

Jul 8 (CT) Sri Lanka is gearing up for a joint venture with India, in a 40-year lease agreement, on the loss-making Mattala Airport. A two-day discussion was held last week, on handing over the business plan to India, to promote the airport that is located in the wilderness of the Hambantota District. Proposal to hand over the airport to the best bidder began last year and there were six investors who were vying for the project, including India. more..

Govt stops issuing permits for firearms

Jul 8 (CT) Govt has stopped issuing and renewing gun licences, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. he said the Govt had decided to halt the issuing of permits for ownership of firearms. According to him, firearms will not be provided to the public under any circumstance. The provision of firearms and the application process is currently managed by the Ministry of Defence. Issuance of firearms, under a serious and strict screening procedure, more..

SL buries China-related corruption probes?

Jul 8 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has publicly called for a fresh probe into alleged foreign funding of former president's re-election bid, but several other high-profile China-related investigations remain in limbo. At least three mega corruption cases involving Chinese state-owned firms have either been moth-balled or deliberately put on hold, according to officials familiar with the cases. more..

FM’s new rewards scheme: Customs officers perturbed

Jul 8 (CT) Joint Customs Officers Union is perturbed over Minister Managala Samaraweera’s proposal, to equally distribute detection rewards amongst Customs officials without giving the full reward to the officer who detects an illegal consignment. Current practice is that 50% of a detection goes to the State, while the other 50% is for the Customs Department. Of the Customs Dept’s 50% share, 60% of the reward goes to more..

Mahendran, Aloysius made hundreds of calls to top Central Bank officials

Jul 8 (ST) Call records of the Central Bank’s former Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, and Perpetual Treasuries Ltd’s former Director Arjun Aloysius — made publicly available this week — have disclosed details of people with whom they maintained contact over two years. The call records are a part of the Commission report which probed the CB Bond issue. The Presidential Secretariat decided to make the records public this week. more..

Whither Sri Lanka? – A post script

Jul 9 (CT) Judging from criticism and queries on the article submitted, Whither Sri Lanka? I have been prompted to write this post script, to explain some of the issues raised and also suggest a way out of the impasse, the country face today, in the hands of a corrupt political system. There were some who raised the issue, why I had not delved to find the origins of the Sinhalese with the Sinhabahu Myth. My concern was only to show, the commonly believed myth, that Sinhala race commenced more..

On (political) mad dogs & quicksands ahead

Jul 9 (ST) When mad dogs bark at the moon, the wise would probably advocate just a shrug and a sigh. However in a country where those who have lost their senses to all intents and purposes capture the public space so belligerently, shrugging and sighing may not suffice. The tide of insanity is so high that we not only have a senior member of the Buddhist clergy calling for even a Hitler to rule this country to bring it back onto the right path (never mind the stupendously oxymoronic more..

'No deliberate foot dragging on VIP cases'

Jul 9 (Island) Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale says that there is no truth in the allegations that some cases against high profile members of the former govt are purposely delayed. The govt has no power to rush or delay cases, she said In an interview. The issue of underworld members killed under police custody too has been misinterpreted, she says, adding that the police have a right to protect themselves. more..

Sri Lanka’s New Right-Wing Politics

Jul 9 (SO) There are two new developments in Sri Lanka’s contemporary politics which is getting crystalized and clearer these days. They are: (a) the consolidation of a hard right-wing alternative to a weak and shaky democratic regime option, and (b) the projection of an ex-military officer as the embodiment of the new right-wing agenda. At the core of the first are groups of Buddhist monks, and retired military and navy officers who took part in the final phase of the war against the LTTE. more..

Shooting the messenger

Jul 9 (SO) Maybe it is because this is the World Cup season in football, but political parties are scoring spectacular own goals right now, as their stalwarts grapple with the prospect of facing elections. First, there was the SLFP’s Dayasiri Jayasekera trying to convince us that he was not aware how a company linked to the Central Bank bond scam paid him a million rupees for his election campaign. There was the UNP’s Sujeewa Senasinghe trying to explain how he came to receive three million rupees more..

'Flower Bud created crisis in the Govt'

Jul 9 (CT) UPFA MP Jayantha Samaraweera says there is no Army Intelligence Unit. “Officers of this unit have been sent to prison and as a result it is no longer active. It is a time when the Aava Gang is reigning in the North and Claymore mines are being discovered, that these camps will have to be removed.” Q: Talking about the present political situation, we find internal crises in Parties. more..

Civil society, uncivil conduct

Jul 9 (Island) Do you recognize this ghastly ideological mix, this monstrous model? Or do you recognize yourself in it and like it? Is it happening to us here in the South too? If so what are you doing about it? I know what I am doing or trying to do, and always have done. When this chemistry takes place and model arises or is revived in the North, it is applauded or swept under the rug by Northern nationalists and Southern liberals in political parties and civil society. When this fanatical fusion more..

Edtorial: Hitler’s cousins

Jul 9 (Island) One of the main promises in the yahapalana agenda, which the present govt touted before the 2015 regime change, was to restore the rights of the hapless public. But, today, it has robbed them of one of their fundamental rights—franchise. It keeps postponing elections on one pretext or another for fear of losing them. It is scared of facing more ignominious defeats like the one it suffered a few moons ago. A dog, afflicted with hydrophobia, is a threat to the society. more..

චීනෙන් ජරාව කාපු බැසිල්ගේ අඹුව පුෂ්පා

The true spirit of Sri Lanka and justified pride is what is needed

Jul 9 (Island) I always read Kumar David in the Sunday Island with great interest when he writes of on-going matters (not the leftist movement!). On Sunday I July 2018, he sent positive shivers down my nationalist spine with his prediction of what could come. And what is that? A religio-fascist govt under Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as the next President of the country, and in that case as sure as the moon follows the sun, a Rajapaksa PM with several cabinet ministers sporting kurakkan satakaya more..

Vijayakala’s outrageous call for Tiger Balm to soothe Jaffna woes

Jul 9 (ST) Like some of their Sinhale brethren down south of the border who, within three short years, seem to have forgotten the recent past, display an irresistible craving to return to the era of white vans and reveal a masochistically addictive scratching itch to have a Hitlerite figure to trample upon and crush their fundamental freedoms under a Nazi brand jackboot, so does it seem that some northern Tamils also suffer the same bout of amnesia and yearn to see the return of fascist LTTE more..

Vijayakala under fire for LTTE remarks; hailed as hero in Jaffna

Jul 9 (SO) After widespread condemnation from all quarters in the south following her controversial statement about the LTTE, former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran was forced to resign her portfolio late last week, but all over the streets of Jaffna, posters appeared hailing her sacrifice for the Tamil people. Nearly a decade after the end of the war and the defeat of the LTTE by Govt troops, more..

Only political action can stop govt project to betray military personnel

Jul 9 (Island) In May this year, the govt gazetted sweeping amendments to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No. 25 of 2002. Original Act applied only to specified Commonwealth countries and non-Commonwealth countries which have signed the relevant agreements with Sri Lanka but the amendments now before parliament seek to extend the scope of the Act to all countries that have signed any int'l convention relating to a criminal matter to which SL has become a party. more..

'Pretty sure we'll continue with 3 fast bowlers'

Jul 9 (CI) No matter what the pitch looks like, South Africa will play three frontline quicks in Sri Lanka. This is at least what coach Ottis Gibson said, four days out from the first Test in Galle. He probably knows already that Sri Lankan surfaces have recently been so dusty that the home team straps three specialist spinners to the plow, often fielding only one seamer of their own. But no matter. "Our fast bowling has been the bedrock of our success for a long time, and more..

IAAF Junior Athletics: Sri Lanka hopes to be in five finals

Jul 9 (ST) The Athletics Association of SL has high hopes that they will run in five finals at the IAAF World Junior (Under 20) Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland from July 10 to 15. Sri Lanka will be represented by a 17 member contingent at the meet. There will be five boys, six girls and officials. SL team is scheduled to leave for Finland today (8). SL team is skippered by Aruna Dharshana of Weerakeppitipola MMV, more..

Sri Lanka basketball team thrives on American flavour

Jul 9 (SO) Praneeth Udumalagala drew heavily on his recent experience of playing at the highest level in US collegiate basketball to lead Sri Lanka to its first ever regional championship triumph – winning the SABA Pre-Qualifiers for the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh last week. The rangy forward, who honed his shooting skills in the highly-competitive American College basketball scene playing for Texas Wesleyan University in Dallas, was the pick of the SL squad which finished more..

Indian Railways to launch Ramayana Express from Ayodhya to Colombo

Jul 9 (HT) From Ayodhya to Colombo via Rameshwaram, Indian Railways plans to launch a special tourist train on the Ramayana circuit covering the locations associated with the Hindu epic. The service will start from Nov 14 from Delhi and take 16 days to cover the circuit. The train will seat 800; those interested in the Sri Lanka leg can opt to travel to Colombo from Chennai by flight. An official of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) who asked not to be more..

Earnings of listed corporates gain in March quarter

Jul 9 (FT) Combined earnings of all listed companies has seen health gain in the quarter ended on 31 March, reflecting the resilience on the part of most corporates. Based on results of 284 listed companies, March 2018 quarter earnings spiked 28.5% year on year (YoY) to Rs. 98 billion which includes one-off profit arising from disposal of Janashakthi General approximately Rs. 7 billion by JINS and Union Assurance’s change in more..

Du Plessis, Amla, Bavuma tune up for Galle Test with fifties

Jul 9 (CI) Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Temba Bavuma all made half-centuries on the second day of South Africa's practice match in Colombo, with Dean Elgar also getting a decent batting workout, hitting 43 off 48 balls. As had been the case with the Sri Lanka Board XI on day one, however, the second half of the South Africa's innings folded, the team tumbling from 223 for 3 to 338 all out. The match was then called off. Not among the runs on a fairly placid P Sara track, more..