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The Death Penalty: Is the price of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty USD 350 million?

Jul 25 (CT) President Sirisena’s announcement of his intention of implementing the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers has become the latest hot topic in the capital. Capital punishment has not been carried out in the country since 1976, and those handed the death sentence have been routinely commuted to life imprisonment. Protests are loudest from Human Rights groups followed by some civil society and religious groups. The latest group to object is the European Union (EU). more..

Screening of peacekeeping personnel

Jul 25 (Island) This response is strictly limited to the issue of screening Peace Keeping personnel from Sri Lanka to UN Peacekeeping Operations, and not about the alleged threats by Rear Admiral (Dr.) Sarath Weerasekara to those involved with the process or to the condemnations by academics and prominent members of civil society that followed, because it was the delays associated with the screening that became the primary cause to precipitate these exchanges. more..

War and Charity: The duality of SL values

Jul 25 (Roar) Sri Lanka is a land of duality. On the one hand, a scenic, Buddhist-majority island known to be one of the most charitable countries in the world despite its developing economy, and on the other hand, home to one of the longest and bloodiest civil wars and ongoing conflicts of ethnicity, religion, gender, and class. The World Giving Index, an annual report published by the Charities Aid Foundation, has placed SL more..

On the presidential pedestal

Jul 25 (DN) The subject of who might be candidates at the next Presidential elections has entered the public realm. Much of what is said is in fairly uncharitable terms to would be candidates. The purpose of the piece is to raise ideas from other settings and close with thoughts from SL. The Title does not imply the Presidency is a male-dominated domain. We have inspiring examples of Presidential visions from around the world, in spite of a time of strongmen and the lies they utter more..

Rising from the July embers

Jul 25 (DN) I can still remember vividly that fateful day in July 1983 when a Nation’s hopes for peace literally went up in smoke. My schoolmates and I were halfway to school when we saw buildings burning in Colombo and the driver of the school bus turned back because it was not possible to continue the journey. On the way home, we saw mobs armed with knives, swords, clubs and machetes going from house to house. Some of them were carrying petrol cans. more..

Faizer Mustapha

Sumanthiran in the service of neo-imperialism

Jul 25 (CT) I noted last week a number of bizarre developments in the relentless March of Folly that the lemmings who run our country are now embarked upon. I remarked then that I would return to a couple of them, but the need to do this with regard to Dayan Jayatilleka’s nomination as Ambassador to Russia has become urgent. It was reported after the Parliament High Posts Committee met last Tuesday that it decided to delay granting approval for his appointment, more..

Edtorial: MR’s clarion call

Jul 25 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for an action plan to save children from narcotics. Speaking at a Chinese Embassy function in Colombo, the other day, he lamented the high incidence of drug abuse in the country. One cannot but agree with him on the need to combat the drug menace, with might and main, as a top national priority. But the scourge of narcotics is not of recent origin, and it should not be made a political slogan. more..

What the NYT won’t tell you about H'tota

Jul 25 (FT) Corruption is a luxury cruiser sailing exclusively outside Europe and non-Anglo waters, it seems, somehow finding safe harbour only in our parts of the world. So it’s no surprise the recent New York Times (NYT) article, How China Got SL to Cough up a Port, muddies four distinct issues: MR’s alleged corruption, Sino-Lanka economic ties, alleged Chinese expansionism, and Magampura Port’s viability. more..

Sea levels, surveys and sovereignty

Jul 25 (Island) After working in many places – where I did more learning than contributing – I finally ended up introducing Maritime Archaeology in Sri Lanka. This new field of activity opened new vistas of experience and knowledge. Naturally, I was involved in the maritime archaeological explorations and excavations throughout the 1990s, and early 2000s. The story I relate, and line of search that followed, are just one example of how a seemingly random observation turned out to be an obsession. more..

Dimuth secures 7th spot in ICC Rankings

Jul 25 (Island) Dimuth Karunaratne has become SL’s highest-ranked Test batsman in the latest ICC Test Player Rankings which were released yesterday following the conclusion of the second Test between South Africa and SL at SSC. Karunaratne scored 53 and 85, and also benefitted from Dinesh Chandimal’s absence due to suspension. Karunaratne now leads Chandimal by 21 points, while he is ahead of ninth-ranked Dean Elgar and tenth-ranked Aiden Markram by 30 more..

Professionals need soul-searching

Jul 25 (FT) Professional associations are among local stakeholders that restrict progressive policies on education as they are focused on profession-specific requirements rather than what benefits the whole of society, State Minister Eran Wickramaratne said, calling for a holistic outlook that delivers social equity to everyone. Speaking at a forum titled Budget Proposals for 2019/2020 for Human Capital Development, organised by more..

Interim administration prove their worth

Jul 25 (DN) SL cricket was in the doldrums during the time the elected body was administering it until it was replaced by a govt appointed Competent Authority who happens to be the secretary to the Ministry of Sport to run the affairs of SLC till a court injunction brought against the former SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala is resolved. The change of administration has also brought about a change of fortunes for the SL cricket team because they have suddenly started to play like a winning more..

Bangladesh-Sri Lanka encounter to kick-start 2018 Asia Cup

Jul 25 (CB) Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will face off in the first game of the 2018 Asia Cup on Sept 15, it was confirmed on Tuesday (July 24). The tournament, which will be staged in the United Arab Emirates, sees Afghanistan paired with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in one group. Defending champions India will play the winner of the Asia Cup qualifiers on Sept 18, before taking on arch-rivals Pakistan the very next day with these three teams getting paired in the other group. more..

NPC member opposes Defence Ministry issuing pistol to Sasitharan

Jul 25 (Island) A member of the Northern Provincial Council has sent a petition to the Ministry of Defence against the provision of a pistol to NPC Minister Ananthi Sasitharan, alleging that it was against the law to give her a firearm. The petition, dated July 22 and signed by NPC member Mohamed Ashwin, states that Minister Sasitharan does not have a threat to her life. The councillor alleges that the defence authorities have not more..

From Ampara to Colombo

Jul 25 (FT) Standing on the deck that stretches a little beyond the beach of the Colombo Galle Face Green, the teenage girl clad in a school uniform had spotted a crow which was struggling to fly against the windy breeze. Strong waves hit the concrete deck, spraying sea water on her and her classmates, who were enjoying the scenic beauty of the Green with the newly-reclaimed land of the upcoming Port City project in the backdrop. The clear blue sky was adorned with colourful more..

Confederate of underworld kingpin arrested

Jul 25 (Island) Colombo Crime Division (CCD) yesterday arrested an underworld figure Lokka who was a key member of a gang led by an underworld kingpin known as Keselwatte Dinuka. The arrest was made in Colombo. Investigations have revealed that lokka committed crimes on the orders of his boss Dinuka, who is hiding overseas. The poilice said lokka was responsible for a shooting incident where another underworld figure named Mahatturu was seriously injured last year more..

Sri Lanka, China, India jointly invest US$ 700 mn to develop Lankan ports

Jul 25 (DN) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), China and India are jointly investing over US$ 700 million to develop three key ports in Sri Lanka in the next three years. Minister of Ports and Shipping Mahinda Samarasinghe said that China would invest between US$ 400 to 600 million to commence the third phase of the Hambantota Development project. The project will commence at the end of the year and would be completed in three years.” more..

Sri Lanka should follow evidence-based policies on tobacco cultivation: report

Jul 25 (EN) SL legislators must pursue evidence-based policies on tobacco cultivation, a consultancy firm said in a report handed over to the Agriculture Ministry. Report identifies perceived impacts from the govt’s decision to ban local tobacco cultivation by 2020. “What is needed is evidence-based policy making. A proper research is needed to understand and quantify possible impacts,” Green Space Consultancies said. Govt’s level of communication about the ban was also found to be low. more..

National Single Window blueprint implementation plan ready soon

Jul 25 (FT) The World Bank yesterday said that the implementation plan of the National Single Window (NSW) to achieve a single-entry point to fulfil trade-related regulatory requirements would be presented to the Govt by the end of this month. “The PM Group will be handing over the report to World Bank and following some consultations within the bank. The implementation plan of the blueprint on NSW will be handed over to the Govt by end of July,” World Bank Consultant Dinesha Samaranayake said, more..

Euro Four standard regulations expected to negatively impact Indian vehicle imports

Jul 25 (Island) The govt's new regulations on Euro Four standard motor vehicles will limit the number of Indian vehicle imports into Sri Lanka. This is because most Indian motor vehicles are below the Euro Four standard. However, importing such standard vehicles will not result in a major price difference between such vehicles and others that are below this standard, Vehicle Importers Association SL president Ranjan Peiris said. more..

SL Design Week 2018 to uplift local talent

Jul 25 (EN) Sri Lanka Design Week 2018 organised by the University of Moratuwa is attempting to place the country on the map as a design destination, event officials said. “This will help put Sri Lanka on the map as a design destination,” said Leo Burnett Sri Lanka CEO Arosh Perera. He said that Sri Lanka requires more people with design skills, not only to compete locally, but internationally and to explore future commercial potential. Now organised for the second year, more..

Charith Senanayake appointed team manager

Jul 25 (AD) Sri Lanka Cricket today announced the appointment of Charith Senanayake as the new Manager of the National Cricket Team. His appointment will be in effect from 25th July to 30th September, 2018. Senanayake will function as the Team Manager of the National Team, up until the conclusion of the Asia Cup, which will be played in September, the SLC said. He has previously served as the manager of the national cricket team on two previous occasions. more..

UDA chairman denies ties with Blue Ocean Group

Jul 25 (ST) In the latest turn of events, UDA Chairman Dr. Jagath Munasinghe says that high rise builder, Blue Ocean Group has used his name without his permission in a sales brochure, stating that he is a consultant to them. This was revealed when a team from the Mount Lavinia Residents’ Association, at UDA’s Mobile Service last month held at the Independence Arcade Colombo 7 informed Mr. Ranawake that they had more..

U-19 Test v India: Lankan bowlers sent on a leather hunt

Jul 25 (DN) Left-handed opener Atharwa Taide and Pawan Shah hit massive centuries as India sent the Lankan bowlers on a leather hunt rattling off an impressive 428-4 wickets by the close of the first day in the second Under 19 four-day test at Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota yesterday. Winning the toss and batting first India lost their first wicket at 40, but a massive second wicket partnership of 263 between Taide and Shah saw them post an imposing total by the close. more..

Bringing Sri Lanka's traders one step closer to the global market

Jul 25 (WB) SL’s traditional lacework famously known as Beeralu is slowly moving into the spotlight of the global fashion industry. Udeni, who is a traditional Beeralu lace maker from Galle, learned the technique from her mother and developed it into a part-time business. At the moment, she sells to buyers from Colombo who then sell her product internationally. She would like to export directly one day, but for the time-being, she must rely on middlemen because of the complexity of more..

JHU recalled from Mavil Aru area by MR & Gotabhaya: Witness

Jul 25 (DN) A key witness in the controversial RADA case told the Colombo High Court that they were asked to move out of the Mavil Aru area by former President Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa since they were negotiating with Emil Kanthan, the LTTEer. JHU Western Provincial Councillor Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said he and a group including Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, more..

'Mannar can be developed as Dubai City'

Jul 25 (DM) Although there’s no sufficient water, Mannar District can be developed as Dubai City, if it’s natural resources are properly managed, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He made this remark while, laying the foundation stone for the new Mannar Bus terminal which is to be constructed at a cost of Rs. 180 million under UDA Sukitha Purawara programme. He said 2 oil rigs were discovered in seas off Mannar in 2011 that still remains and another rig was found in 1970 Pesalai. more..

Sri Lankan Women will live longer: UN

Jul 25 (CT) Serious issues around men’s health and the physical risks for men are reflected in projections for male life expectancy at 71.7 years in 2021, compared with 81.7 for women, the UN in a report released last week said. Life expectancy at birth is 75 years, according to an unpublished analysis from the National (SL) Human Development Report 2017, but there is a 10-year gap between the District with the highest life expectancy (Matara, 77.2 years) and the lowest (Mullaitivu, 66.9 years), it said. more..

Muslim MPs warned against playing politics with women’s rights

Jul 25 (CT) Muslim women from the periphery of the country, especially the North and the East, demanding the enactment of progressive reforms to the Muslim Personal Law, warned the Muslim MPs, all of whom are men, to refrain from playing politics with women’s rights. The Women’s Action Network (WAN), part of the Muslim Personal Law Reform Action Group (MPLRAG) conducted a protest yesterday, near Parliament more..

Woman trying to smuggle heroin into courts arrested

Jul 25 (Island) Policemen manning the checkpoint at the entrance to the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court premises yesterday morning nabbed a woman attempting to smuggle in 26 satchets of heroin. The suspect claimed that her imprisoned husband would be brought to the court yesterday and she wanted to see him. A woman constable grew suspicious and frisked the woman and found the narcotic inside her bra. The packets contained a total of 660 milligrams of heroin, police said. more..

Rare opportunity to observe longest lunar eclipse

Jul 25 (DM) Sri Lankans would have a rare opportunity to observe the longest total lunar eclipse in the 21st century on the night of Friday (27) and the early hours on Saturday (28). Colombo Uni Astronomy and Space Science Unit Director Prof. Chandana Jayaratna said the total duration of the eclipse is 6 hrs and 14 min. The eclipse begins at 10.44 pm, SL Time on July 27 when the moon enters into the penumbra - the less dark shadow of the earth & will end up at 4.58 am on July 28. more..

Sri Lanka shows little evidence of reform on justice and torture, UN says

Jul 25 (TN) There is little evidence that the hope of reform, inclusiveness and justice in Sri Lanka after the country’s transition to a coalition govt in 2015 is materialising, the UN concluded in a new report published on Tuesday. Damning report came after a UN visit to the country at the request of the govt. It was issued three years after the country appeared to be on the cusp of major progress with the election of a unity govt more..

Darkness of Black July; nothing has changed after 35 years

Jul 25 (DM) Yesterday, July 24 marked the 35th anniversary of the 1983 anti-Tamil riots or the commonly known Black July. Much water has flowed under the bridge since that national shame. It is an even bigger shame that the country is still without a clue as to how to find a lasting solution to the root cause of the issue -- ethnic problem -- that triggered the riots. All stake holders of the problem -- the govt, Tamil leaders and nationalist forces on either side of the ethnic divide -- more..

Rule of Law or the Law of Rule: Our dilemma of Governing dichotomy

Jul 25 (DM) We are all in the gutter, so said Oscar Wilde. It may well be a fact that Wilde has a lot of company from a great number of Sri Lankans surrounding him in that stinking gutter. The gutter is filled with snakes of deceit; its decrepit condition is a birthplace for all infectious diseases; its floor is crumbling under the very feet of those who dwell in it as their chosen abode; its walls are dilapidated and cringing and threatening to engulf its inhabitants. Whichever direction its inhabitants gaze, more..

'I never took orders from members of the Rajapaksa family'

Jul 25 (DM) Secretary to the former President Rajapaksa, Lalith Weerathunga, spoke about the charisma of the ousted president, the times during which the war raged and the controversial manner in which former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka was arrested. This marks the first time during the past four years that Weerathunga obliged to grant an interview to a newspaper. Q: You were the head of the Govt services and served as more..

'New Constitution: Ten experts working on initial draft of Constitution'

Jul 25 (DM) The Constitution making process is in limbo right now and the Yahapalana Govt seems quite contended with the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Attempts to introduce a new Constitution has come under much criticism by many in the country. The DM spoke to the main architect of the drafting of a new Constitution MP and Constitutional expert Dr. Jayampathi Wickramarathna on the issue. more..

State-run Milco in a muddle owing millions to farmers

Jul 25 (ST) A leading state-owned dairy producer, Milk Industries of Lanka Company, or Milco has for years not been able to manage its liquidity risk — not having cash to meet its financial commitments — and once again, it owes million of rupees to its supplier famers. Milco, however says it is awaiting billions of rupees in handouts from the govt. Dairy farmers who supply milk to Milco, say, they are owed millions by the company and more..

Akila warns of conspiracy to cripple school education system

Jul 25 (DN) Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam warned of a conspiracy by certain trade unions which are trying to cripple the school education system by making unfair demands. Minister Kariyawasam while requesting the trade unions in the education sector not to use school children as a cat’s paw to achieve their narrow political objectives, stressed that an investigation would be initiated against those who are more..

Rising temperatures to carry big price tag in steamy Sri Lanka

Jul 25 (TRF) Dinesh de Alwis has lived all his life in Ratmalana, a suburb of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo. When he was young, he remembers, he would rush outside every day at 4 p.m., to play with friends after school. "Now if you send the kids out at four, they would faint of heatstroke. It's that bad," said the 40-year-old father of two, of the searing heat that has become part of everyday life here. Already steamy Colombo is expected to be one of more..