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Questions galore as premier targets the Sunday Times

Jul 22 (ST) With President abroad, PM functioned as the de facto head of govt running the affairs of state. He was both active and aggressive though the privilege of chairing weekly cabinet meetings was not his. Sirisena had decided there would be no weekly meetings when he travels abroad. This is after the in-fighting between the leaders of the UNP and SLFP climaxed. Nevertheless the fragile coalition continues and Sirisena has since more..

India’s influence on presidential election

Jul 22 (Island) Lankans boast that their country is located at an Indian Ocean cross-point and strategically placed between East and West. Our position is hugely important; India, China and America are falling over each other to buy our favours we preen like pimps. But every coin has two sides and the other side of this one is that the rest of the world tells a small country how to behave in matters that affect their interests. India and China have abiding concerns, the former more than more..

Broken promises

Jul 22 (Island) The car was under a tarpaulin that only covered half of it. It was a burnt out shell, mangled beyond easy recognition of model or make. This mess of twisted metal, fused plastic, congealed rubber and blackened shards of glass was deposited in front of the Police Station I had gone to pay a fine. I cannot now remember the offence I was charged with. I know I was called to the police station almost as an object of curiosity the other officers could also look at since I had refused to pay more..

Dayan for Russia: Nyet from High Post’s Committee

Jul 22 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena has been called upon to decide whether or not Dayan Jayatilleke should be Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Russia. This was because a majority of those at the Parliamentary High Posts Committee were not in favour of his posting. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has written to Prez Sirisena telling him that whilst some members of the committee favoured his appointment, majority were not. more..

Child guardian playing politics, 40,000 innocents await justice

Jul 22 (ST) Two people were convicted this week of cruelty to a child and molesting a child. A three year jail term was imposed on a former school principal in Kurunegala for thoroughly beating a student, while a school van driver was sentenced to seven years imprisonment by the Colombo High Court for molesting a preschool child. More suspects were arrested for crimes against children last week. Among the suspects was a 48 year old man more..

Confusion worse confounded!

Jul 22 (CT) One of the biggest issues across all communities in Sri Lanka is related to land which is creating rifts between the State operators and the public. A proper mapping of forest land and wildlife is not physically handled but following the Google map is the main hindrance to the demarcation of land, several officials in the North and East claimed. Ceylon Today concentrated on land-related issues in the N&E because more..

Corruption Court hits roadblock

Jul 22 (SO) Despite media reports, no date has yet been fixed for the Permanent High Court at Bar to commence hearings into major cases of corruption and financial crime, while authoritative sources said that sittings may not begin for up to a month. Delays are over practical issues including the failure to appoint a permanent registrar for the new court. Currently the registrar of the Civil Appellate Court of Colombo more..

Hands off Galle International Stadium

Jul 22 (Island) World’s highest wicket-taker Muttiah Muralitharan irked quite a few Kandyans when he decided to retire in Galle instead of his hometown. Trinity College, Kandy may be the only school in the world to own a Test ground, but star batsman Kumar Sangakkara has repeatedly said that his favouorite cricket ground in the world is Galle. Many leading cricketers in the world from Shane Warne to Brian Lara have marvelled more..

Over 600 Police promotions in limbo

Jul 22 (CT) Over 600 police promotions are currently in limbo owing to red tape at the top of the Department and the National Police Commission is being hard pressed to push the case forward. Total of 60 Police Sergeants are eligible to be promoted to the rank of Sgt. Major, 300 Constables to the rank of Sergeant, 150 Sub Inspectors (SIs) to the rank of Inspector (IP) and 100 Chief Inspectors (CIs) to the rank of Assistant Superintendent more..

Clash erupted when Gamini shot Duminda who turned to leave: Counsel

Jul 22 (CT) President’s Counsel Anil Silva told a five-Judge Supreme Court Bench on Friday, that the High Court verdict and sentencing of Duminda Silva, who almost died and is inactive even now and his security personnel who were with him to death, should be thrown out and they should be exonerated and released, since during the case hearing it was revealed by witnesses from both sides that it was more..

HRC Chair hits out at dangerous moves to undermine independent body

Jul 22 (ST) The Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) Chair Deepika Udagama this week denounced what she said were sinister efforts to interfere with the work of her institution and to bully it into adopting specific positions. In recent weeks, the HRC–and, in particular, its Chair–was targeted by nationalist politicians. The attacks were so inflammatory that the PM’s office issued a statement on Thursday underlining that more..

Indian PM Modi flags off emergency ambulance service via video conferencing

Jul 22 (IT) In what can be called an important milestone in India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations, PM Narendra Modi along with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickremesinghe launched the island-wide expansion of the 1990 Suwaseriya Emergency Ambulance Service in Jaffna. PM Modi joined the inauguration ceremony via video conferencing. PM Modi expressed happiness that his wish to expand the ambulance service more..

China's Xi offers fresh $295 million grant to Sri Lanka in push for dominance

Jul 22 (Reuters) Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered Sri Lanka a fresh grant of 2 billion yuan ($295 million), as Beijing tries to expand its influence in the tiny island country off India’s southern tip. President Maitripala Sirisena, a partner in Beijing’s multi-country Belt & Road infrastructure push, made the announcement on Saturday at a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a Chinese-funded kidney hospital more..

An extraordinary lapse of good Judgement

Jul 23 (ST) The fact that the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) had accepted sponsorship from tainted primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries for the holding of the 2016 Law Asia conference led to incredulous responses in some quarters when this fact was initially disclosed some weeks ago. Before long however and in the nature of all things in this country, this was allowed to gently slip by into the ether of forgetfulness, even as the incumbent in the post of the President of the Bar sought to more..

Inaction on Vijayakala’s LTTE cravings

Jul 23 (CT) UNP MP and former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran (VM) dropped her bombshell on July 3, during the Janapathi Nila Mehewara gathering in Jaffna, in the presence of the Foreign Minister, Internal Affairs Minister and NPC Chief Minister. On July 05, this writer in an opinion piece urged President Sirisena’s govt and PM Ranil Wickramasinghe’s UNP to state their positions on VM’s assertions and if she would be held accountable if found to be wanting. more..

'In 1983, as our ship left Colombo port, I saw Pettah burning'

Jul 23 (SO) TNA Legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, recalls being 19 years old when communal violence rocked the capital city in July 1983. Packed off to Jaffna where the Govt thought Tamil families residing in Colombo and other parts of the south would be safer, he recalls an arduous four-day journey in a small cargo ship, with no food provisions on board. The memory of the communal riots has left a lasting legacy – the feeling that such attacks could more..

Enforcing the death penalty: A violation of national & International law

Jul 23 (CT) The reports in recent newspapers that President Sirisena will commence signing death warrants, and that the prison authorities had been requested to send him nineteen names of prisoners in death row who are dealing in the drug trade while in prison, raise serious legal issues of a national and international nature. These issues have apparently been ignored by members of the Cabinet who enthusiastically endorsed the President’s desire to have nineteen persons hanged. more..

Uncasing horror sleeping between pages: A Review of the Pillowman

Jul 23 (GV) On July 7 and 8, Irish playwright Martin McDonagh’s award winning play The Pillowman was presented at the Punchi Theatre in Borella by Stage Light & Magic Inc. Yours truly was at the Punchi Theatre on closing night. This production marked the directorial debut of Shannon Misso and featured the acting talents of Yasas Ratnayake, Biman Wimalaratne, Bimsara Premaratne, Ashini Fernando, Swasha Perera and Tracy Jayasinghe, and was produced by Dininda Paranahewa. more..

Sri lanka spends pittance on early childhood education

Jul 23 (CT) In an astounding revelation it has been found that Sri Lanka spends a pittance on childhood education, much less than our South Eastern Asian neighbours and what is more much, much less than the very poor sub Saharan African countries. The keynote speaker at the event Prof. Melhuish endorsed that the amount invested was even less than what was invested by our South East Asian neighbours and even more..

Lives that hang in the balance

Jul 23 (SO) If the paraphrasing can be pardoned, to hang or not to hang, that is the question. The issues of imposing and implementing the death penalty for drug traffickers emerged last week as a hot topic of discussion, following an announcement from Prez. Prez declared that he was considering implementing capital punishment for those found directing drug trafficking while in prison. Clearly, it was not an easy decision. Prez said his decision may not be in strict accordance with Buddhism. more..

The Archbishop strikes back

Jul 23 (ST) Last week the Sunday Punch commented on President Sirisena’s intention to implement the death penalty, which had been in abeyance for the last 42 years, when he declared on 10th July in a speech in Kandy that he will sign the death warrant for those convicted by the courts and sentenced to death for drug trafficking if they still continued their drug pushing operations whilst behind bars. The Sunday Punch, in the same article, also pointed out that Archbishop of Colombo more..

ගෝඨාට ලොකුම උදැල්ල මහින්ද !!

Thoughts on the death penalty for hardened criminals

Jul 23 (Island) Those who argue that implementing the death penalty for serious crimes would act as a deterrent against others who might want to commit such crimes are almost certainly mistaken. The reality is that a person who wants to commit a premeditated crime does so after careful study and in the confident belief that he will be able to do things in such a meticulously planned manner that he will not get caught. Thus the question of being deterred by the possibility of being more..

Why not Dinesh Gunawardena?

Jul 23 (Island) Sri Lanka won the cricket World Cup once, but never again. We started down the slippery slope almost the morning after we had reached the zenith of achievement. That was because we dismantled the winning combination which included Ana Punchihewa and Davnell Whatmore. The most crucial mistake we made was in the succession. The captaincy should have automatically devolved upon the vice-captain, who was one of the world’s best batsmen at the time; perhaps THE best. more..

How not to get the Flu this season

Jul 23 (Roar) Getting the ‘flu may not be fun, but it is generally not something people tend to worry about too much- to most, it just means a lot of nose-blowing, a few days in bed and sick leave from work or school. However, it is influenza season in Sri Lanka, and everyone seems to be sniffling, coughing or woefully blowing their noses at every corner we turn. The last two months also saw a rise in the number of influenza cases in more..

Edtorial: Bark worse than bite

Jul 23 (Island) Yahapalana leaders do not seem capable of doing anything properly. They cannot even hang criminals let alone help the law-abiding citizens live comfortably. When Prez Sirisena declared, a few weeks ago, that he would have drug dealers, responsible for operating crime syndicates from behind bars, hanged, people expected the gallows to creak and groan. Nothing of the sort has happened. On Saturday, Prez reiterated that hanging would resume. more..

Born small and being small

Jul 23 (ST) In Feb 2010, representatives from all countries in Asia and the Pacific region gathered in Beijing to attend a conference. It was organised to assess the impact of the global financial crisis on the economies of countries in the region. One of the country presentations that fascinated me was the study from the Cook Islands which had been affected severely by the financial crisis. My curiosity over this country swelled because of the tiny size of the country which was revealed by more..

Karunaratne has been brilliant in the last year or so: Mathews

Jul 23 (CI) Dimuth Karunaratne's outstanding run over the past 18 months is down largely to his experience. So said Angelo Mathews, of a batsman he has known since high school. He and Karunaratne played together for St. Joseph's College in Colombo, for a team in which Mathews was the star captain. But Mathews, like everyone else, has been lavishly outscored by Karunaratne in bowler-friendly series. more..

Commercial Bank opens micro-finance company in Myanmar

Jul 23 (Island) The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has opened a microfinance company as its second subsidiary in Myanmar, two years after opening a Representative Office in Yangon that offers advisory services, banking, funds transfer and encashment services to Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi businesses operating in the country. Commercial Bank’s Chairman Dharma Dheerasinghe presided at the formal opening of CBC Myanmar Microfinance Company (CBC Myanmar) in Nay PyiTaw more..

John Keells June quarter net down 25%

Jul 23 (EN) John Keells Plc, a commodity broker, said net profits fell 25% from a year ago to 45 million rupees in the June 2018 quarter on falling revenues from trading in tea and rubber and stock broking unit. John Keells reported earnings of 74 cents a share in the quarter, interim results showed. The share last traded at 55 rupees. June quarter revenue fell 4% from a year earlier to 206.8 million rupees, but cost of sales growing at a faster 15% to 69.5 million rupees more..

Spinners put SL in sight of 2-0 series win

Jul 23 (CI) South Africa dragged the second Test into a fourth day with their best batting performance of the series against a sloppy and frustrated SL attack. The hosts squandered four clear chances and had three unsuccessful reviews (all on umpire's call which allowed Sri Lanka to retain their reviews) which could have seen them well into SA's lower order. Instead, they gave the home crowd reason to return on Monday, more..

Series drawn as rain has its way in Sylhet

Jul 23 (CI) Rain had the final say in the one-day series between Bangladesh A and Sri Lanka A as the third match met an early end in Sylhet. The series ended tied at 1-1 after the umpires called off the match at 4:20pm after play was stopped at 2:55pm due to heavy rain. Sri Lanka A reached 240 for 9 in 45 overs, with the innings being disrupted once due to a shower. Sadeera Samarawickrama and Ashan Priyanjan struck 75 and 53 respectively, and shared a 130-run second wicket stand. more..

SL to slam price controls on micro-finance

Jul 23 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning to bring law to control interest rates on micro-finance to 30%, the finance ministry said, raising concerns that the sector may die and unbankable poorer borrowers will only have illegal money lenders as the remaining alternative. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera intends to bring a proposal to place a ceiling interest rate of micro-finance loans of 30% a year, when current rates range between 40 to 220% a year, a statement aid. more..

JVP moves motion to establish medical faculty at Uva Wellassa

Jul 23 (Island) JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa has submitted a motion, seeking parliamentary approval for opening a medical faculty at the Uva Wellassa University. He proposes that a medical faculty could be started at the Uva Wellassa University using the Badulla general hospital as a teaching hospital, according to the latest addendum to the Order Book of Parliament. The motion, titled ‘Establishment of a state medical faculty more..

Port of Colombo transshipment volumes increase by 20%

Jul 23 (FT) Establishing a record in transshipment operations, the Port of Colombo has witnessed the highest growth of 19.8% in transshipment container throughput for the first half in 2018 as against the corresponding period in 2017. During the first half of 2018, the Port of Colombo handled 2,733,906 TEUs of transshipment containers as against 2,281,636 TEUs handled in the corresponding period in 2017. The State-owned Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) also more..

Sri Lanka street-smart in denying us preparation for turners: Elgar

Jul 23 (CI) Yes, SL have outplayed and outclassed South Africa in the series, opener Dean Elgar said, but he believes the hosts have also been street-smart in denying the visitors preparation on pitches that were similar to those they would encounter in the Test series. SA played a 2-day warm-up at the P Sara Oval in the approach to the series, but Elgar's contention was that the surface for that game had been flat, unlike the tracks in Galle and SSC, that have been very spin-friendly. more..

Gunathilaka suspended by SLC from all forms of international cricket

Jul 23 (CI) Sri Lanka batsman Danushka Gunathilaka has been suspended from all forms of international cricket by SLC for breaching the Player Code of Conduct, pending inquiry. The board will also withhold Gunathilaka's match fee for the ongoing Test against South Africa, in addition to the suspension that will come into effect immediately after the match at SSC. Without divulging more details, an SLC release said, more..

Teens skip tuition, end up in watery grave

Jul 23 (CT) Two teenage students drowned while bathing in the Dee Ella Oya at Veyangoda. A group of four teens had opted for a swim after skipping tuition classes at around 1.30 p.m. yesterday. Initial investigations have revealed that one student was drowning while bathing and the second teenager also drowned while attempting to rescue his friend. The other survivors had later raised the alarm and with the help of residents in the area they were able to retrieve both students from the water. more..

Austin named envoy to India

Jul 23 (GDI) Former Secretary to President Sirisena and distinguished civil servant Austin Fernando has been designated as SL’s High Commissioner to India. Fernando retired as the country’s top civil servant last month. Meanwhile, current Ambassador to South Korea, Manisha Gunesekera, a career diplomat, has been nominated to serve as Sri Lanka’s new High Commissioner to the UK. The appointment of a head of mission to fill the vacancy in London, comes after a lapse of six months. more..

President to commence water filling of KaluGanga-Moragahakanda today

Jul 23 (DN) Sri Lanka marks a significant milestone today when the waters of the last but largest reservoir of multipurpose Mahaweli Project at Kalu Ganga will receive waters from the river to irrigate parched dry lands in the Rajarata, Wayamba, Central and Eastern Provinces on one hand and faraway Vanni in the Northern Province on the other. Water filling of the Kalu Ganga - Moragahakanda reservoir, more..