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Sri Lanka: A shameful land like no other?

Jun 21 (CT) First, a question: If everyone in a given society directly or indirectly cheats everyone else, will there be any winners? A poor country practicing the values of grand capitalism have two groups of people. The industrialists and the political class on the one side and the ordinary citizens on the other. The former are the exploiters and the latter the exploited. The exploiters are well set for any contingency and will flee or escape any calamity. The exploited will be caught more..

Need & role of a sixth estate

Jun 21 (CT) From democracy to authoritarianism and tyranny, and from welfarism, dirigisme and cronyism to free market and kleptocracy, Sri Lanka, by stages, is fast descending to a kakistocracy. The question facing the nation is how to halt this slippery slide and reverse the trend. In concluding another of her brilliant piece, In the Springtime of Tyrants, Tisaranee Gunasekera notes, “The solution is not to push more people into the hands of would-be autocrats waiting in the wings. more..

The ash and tears of Norochcholai

Jun 21 (SO) Shashikala Harshani is a young mother living in the village of Illanthadiya, Norochcholai, bordering the Coal Power Plant that has been subject to much controversy. When Shashikala’s little girl was born, there was a patch that appeared on her skin, which looked like a kind of rash, on her hand. “We have shown it to doctors and they said it will go away with time. But, it has been five years now. Some doctors say this might be caused more..

Absence of conduciveness of politics

Jun 21 (CT) An absence of conduciveness in SL politics is the main retarding factor that had, has, and will affect the progress we aspire. Political motivations are not decided by the needs of the nation and it is natural that no progress can be made. A careful analysis shall show that policies have always been oriented towards holding on to political power only. It has worked through the mechanics of Party politics and the promotion of favourites of the Party leadership. more..

Is it wrong to win Tamil hearts?

Jun 21 (CT) Amidst positive and negative signals emanating from different sources in the North for the efforts for reconciliation, President Maithripala Sirisena is in the North today (18). This visit to Kilinochchi is to provide assistance to Kilinochchi schools and children’s homes under the programme themed Let us protect our children. While these positive activities towards reconciliation, peace and communal co-existence are taking place, it is also necessary to recall more..

Ravana: Demon or Demigod?

Jun 21 (Roar) Ravana is the chief antagonist in the Indian epic Ramayana, written by the sage Valmiki, some time around 500 BC (although this is contested). This Sanskrit poem, containing nearly 24,000 verses, weaves the tale of Indian hero Rama, and his victory over the marauding King of Lanka, Ravana, who made off with his wife Sita. But although Rama is positioned as the righteous victor in this epic, Ravana more..

Presidential hopeful at stake

Jun 21 (DN) The fractious nature of party politics came to the fore last week as the two rival factions of the SLFP engaged in a tussle to gain political advantage in view of the upcoming presidential and general elections in 2020. The catalyst for this appears to have come from the SLPP and its political strategist, Basil Rajapaksa, former Minister of Economic Affairs in the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt and younger brother of the former President. Buoyed by the SLPP’s strong showing at more..

Lift glyphosate ban fully

Jun 21 (DN) In recent years, there has been no subject in agriculture as widely discussed as glyphosate, both locally and globally, but no country has rushed into banning this global weed killer in agriculture except SL. The other countries having studied in depth the risks versus benefits, have decided to extend its use as benefits far outweigh the risks. Given the fact that the share of glyphosate exceeds 50% of the total pesticide volume that is globally used, the occurrence of some risks more..

Thilanga Sumathipala

Ball tampering: Sri Lanka should take a leaf from Aussie PM, CA

Jun 21 (DN) The sad and shocking incident unfolding in the Caribbean involving the game the country loves most is certainly hard to swallow. One needn’t have tell a cricketer that he is taught from the day he dons the white flannels and takes the bat and the ball into his hands that he should never question the word of the umpires. The umpires’ word is law and it is an accepted fact irrespective of whether he is right or wrong. In the spirit of cricket you have to abide by the rules. more..

Nittawala to Leonard de Alwis of Kandy, and Umairas

Jun 21 (Island) My bond with Kandy is unbreakable though I don’t visit the city often. It is no excuse. I must visit Kandy more as we don’t know what life holds for us or how long life will hold on to us. I left Kurunegala at 9 in the morning on a Thursday. Passing Galagedara, I remembered how the old CTB buses stopped for water there, and we passengers had to get down. Buses don’t stop half way anymore. Gone are the good old days. Traffic in Katugastota is increasing and more..

'No point punishing ball-tampering harshly if the home team never gets caught'

Jun 21 (CI) ICC CEO David Richardson said that during a tele-conference announcing a review into the ICC code of conduct in the aftermath of the Cape Town Test. It was a good sign that the ICC was finally going to clamp down on abuse and shaming of players on the field, which could also lead to cheating in order to win at any cost. However, listening to Richardson's views on ball-tampering in isolation sounded alarm more..

Well done our cricketing greats

Jun 21 (Island) The invitation extended by Minister of Provincial Councils, Local Government and Sports, Faiszer Musthapha, to former cricket legends Mahela Jayawardene, Muthiah Muralitharan, Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama and Kumar Sangakkara to be Consultants to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been declined by all of them. The offer has been rejected emphatically. Mahela was the first to respond with a tweet "With all due respect to the selectors and more..

Editorial: US does it again

Jun 21 (Island) Outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ra’ad Al Hussein, presenting his last global update, the other day, sought to ridicule the critics of the UNHRC. He demanded to know why they did not withdraw or stream toward the exits if they did not believe in the values the UNHRC upheld. No sooner had he said so than the US pulled out of the UNHRC. (Interestingly, the US pullout from the UNHRC has come within months of its withdrawal from the Paris climate pact.) more..

Sugathadasa Stadium forbidden for athletes, rented for religious event for two weeks

Jun 21 (Island) Sri Lanka’s up and coming junior and senior athletes who are preparing for several important international athletics events will not be able to use the Sugathadasa Stadium for more than two weeks after the authorities rented the facility for a religious event from Monday. Athletics coaches and enthusiasts expressed disappointment over the unavailability of the much needed facility at a crucial juncture. more..

INSEE Cement meeting skills development and vocational training needs

Jun 21 (Island) A MoU was signed between Central Province Council together with INSEE Cement Sri Lanka also known as Siam City Cement (Lanka) Ltd. The said MOU was signed under the patronage of Chief Minister – Central Province, Sarath Ekanayake and key Govt officials for knowledge and skill enhancement program for Technical Officers of the province. This highly promising public-private partnership (PPP) will focus on the up-skilling and enhancement of knowledge of Technical more..

Abans names Sriyan De Silva Wijeyeratne as CEO

Jun 21 (FT) Abans yesterday announced that it has appointed Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne as Chief Executive Officer. He will assume the role of CEO effective mid-August 2018. “From the company’s inception, Abans’ goal has been to elevate the living standards of SL citizens by distributing world-renowned brands which espouse innovation, ingenuity and tenacity as their primary values, and providing excellent customer-centric after-sales services. Now, as Abans approaches its 50th more..

Govt set to resuscitate domestic aviation industry

Jun 21 (FT) Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation is set to carry out major overhaul in the domestic aviation sector to develop the industry, including infrastructure development in several domestic airports currently managed by SLAF. The industry, which took off after the end of the civil war, subsequently took a downward turn as operational costs rocketed, resulting in many domestic airlines grounding operations over the last few years. more..

Battle of the 70 year olds as Gotabaya turns 69, three months after Ranil

Jun 21 (LBO) Today (20), former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa turned 69 years of age, roughly 3 months after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe turned 69 on March 24th. Presidential hopefuls are on a collision course with each other at the next Presidential Election due before Jan 8, 2020. When both candidates formally go head to head they will each be 70 years of age. In a world where youth and social media are both playing enhanced roles in politics, SL’s election will likely be a choice more..

U.S. quitting UNHRC could be advantageous to Sri Lanka: Rajitha

Jun 21 (Island) The govt said that the decision of the United States of America to quit the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), could be advantageous to Sri Lanka, with regard to accountability issues arising out of the war with the LTTE. Answering questions at the weekly cabinet press briefing, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that a powerful country like the U.S. leaving the UNHRC, could ease pressure on Sri Lanka, but that did not mean human rights should be violated. more..

CPC re-enters local bitumen market

Jun 21 (FT) Recognising the rapid growth in the local construction industry and increased demand for bitumen, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) yesterday re-ventured into manufacturing bitumen after six years at the country’s sole refinery located in Sapugaskanda. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga described the venture as a re-strategised effort of the CPC, particularly in the operations of Sapugaskanda refinery to support the bitumen manufacturing process. more..

2018 O/L students asked to obtain NICs promptly

Jun 21 (NR) Department of Registration of Persons has requested students sitting for the GCE O/L and A/L examinations this year to apply for the National Identity Card promptly. Department stressed that the NIC can be obtained without delay if applications are submitted early. It has been revealed that around 40 percent of the candidates have not applied for their National Identity Cards yet. There is a significant amount of incomplete forms out of the applications submitted thus far. more..

Stocks plunge for tenth consecutive session

Jun 21 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) shares fell for a tenth consecutive session yesterday to their lowest close in more than a year. One of the blue chip companies, Commercial Bank's per share traded at Rs. 123, which was the lowest price recorded during the last year for the company. CSE indicated a sluggish performance as both indices moved down ward: All Share Price by 47.82 and S and P SL20 37.06 points. Day's turnover stood at Rs. 370.06 million without a single crossing. more..

‘Sri Lanka offers Asia’s lowest airfares’

Jun 21 (DN) SriLankan Airlines is facing high competition and the best way to bail out the airline and make it viable is to call for a SAARC regional open sky policy, said SriLankan Airlines, CEO, Suren Ratwatte. Speaking at the Logistics Leaders Evening 2018, he said that today any airline can come to Colombo and they can also offer better fares than SriLankan as their pockets are too deep and they can afford to do so. more..

No takers for Chalmers mixed development project

Jun 21 (FT) Failing to attract investors for the Chalmers Granary Commercial Property Mix Development Project, Govt this week decided to renew the call for investment proposals giving different financing options, including the opportunity to set up a joint venture with UDA. Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee called for Request for Proposals to develop the land on a 99-year lease period in Oct 2017, but received no proposals by closing date in March this year. more..

Draft bill on Secure Transactions approved by Cabinet

Jun 21 (FT) The Cabinet this week approved to introduce a new law to facilitate borrowing for Small and Medium-scale Entrepreneurs, repealing existing regulations, Minister Gayantha Karunatilaka said. Cabinet gave approval to amend sections of the Prescriptions Ordinance, Trust Receipts Ordinance, Mortgage Ordinance, Finance Leasing Act, Inland Trust Receipts Act, Companies Act and Registration of Documents Ordinance in order to introduce the new bill titled Secured Transactions. more..

US assures it will help Sri Lanka fulfil UN commitments

Jun 21 (DM) In the wake of the US pull-out from the UNHRC, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap met with senior Sri Lankan officials today and assured them that the US would continue to support Sri Lanka as it works to fulfil commitments made with regard to UN resolutions. In a statement this evening, US Embassy said Ambassador Keshap had assured SL officials that they will remain fully engaged with Sri Lanka. more..

Upali Group will illuminate the Situlpauwwa Temple for the 31st year

Jun 21 (Island) The Annual Poson illuminations of the historic Situlpauwwa Raja Maha Viharaya which is situated inside Yala National Park will be held from June 22 to 28.The series of these poson religious observances are held under the guidance and patronage of Chief Incumbent Ven. Pandit Mataramba Hemarathana Thera. The pride of place will be given to Seela, Bhavana, Bana Sermons, Dhamma discussion, Buddha Phoojas, Bodhi Phoojas and other religious rituals. more..

FITIS to address industry issues

Jun 21 (CT) The Hardware Chapter of the Federation of IT Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) organizes the ICT Vendors’ open forum every year to discuss problems, issues, policy and regulatory complexities, etc., faced by the ICT Industry in SL. As a part of FITIS’s mandate, it focuses on protecting the rights of ICT businessmen and professionals, enabling them to make way for the development of ICT Industry in Sri Lanka. FITIS not only believes in public private partnership and more..

'Govt won't extend term of office of any PC'

Jun 21 (DM) The govt has no intention of extending the term of office of the Northern Provincial Council or that of any other PC on the say so of a politician, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said most probably elections to the six provincial councils would be held under the preferential voting system in October this year. Commenting on NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran's request to Prez Sirisena to more..

Last days of yahapalanaya?

Jun 21 (DM) The young politico from Rajarata, who was recently shifted from the Blue party’s general secretarial status to organizing status has become highly disconcerted over being the main target of attack by the Gang of 16. He also feels that the Gang is responsible for his demotion in the party as well, they say. Young politico highly upset by the frequent scathing attacks made on him by the flamboyant politico from Uva had complained to Number One that he had got disgusted with more..

Bahraini companies eye local niche exports

Jun 21 (CT) A seven-member business delegation from Bahrain – the gateway to the multi-billion dollar Gulf market - held discussions with Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 19 June, where they expressed their interest in the diversity and quality of Sri Lanka’s locally-produced exportable products, calling them viable investment opportunities for partnering, a press release stated. The delegation was led by Al Jaberiya Group Managing Director Mohammed Sajid, who said, more..

NPC mulls traffic monitoring via Google

Jun 21 (DN) National Police Commission is taking steps to control ever increasing traffic in major cities using Google Data. Prof. Amal Kumarage presented to the National Police Commission (NPC) and the IGP as to how persisting traffic issues could be resolved using Google data. He made a comprehensive presentation on improving Transport Traffic Mgmt. based on a software on June 14. more..

Tamil family lose appeal to stay in Australia

Jun 21 (TG) A family of Tamil asylum seekers who settled in the Queensland town of Biloela have lost their appeal to stay in Australia. Nadesalingam and Priya, and their Australian-born daughters, nine-month-old Dharuniga and two-year-old Kopiga, had hoped to remain after fleeing Sri Lanka by boat. But the federal circuit court in Melbourne struck out their appeal on Thursday. They now have 21 days to decide whether to contest the ruling. At 5am on 5 March, Australian Border Force officers more..

Testimony of John Sifton on human rights concerns in Sri Lanka

Jun 21 (HRW) Mr. Chairman, Thank you for providing Human Rights Watch with the opportunity to testify today. More than nine years after the end of the country’s brutal civil war and the defeat of the separatist LTTE, the people of SL are still struggling to rebuild their country’s democratic institutions and obtain justice for crimes committed during the conflict. Previous govt, in power when the war ended, repeatedly denied that any investigations of wartime abuses were warranted. more..

Govt determined to keep BBS monk in prison garb

Jun 21 (Island) Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale has informed Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Sri Dharma Sangha Sabhawa that BBS General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara would be treated like any other prisoner. In her letter, dated June 19, Minister has insisted that the Commissioner General of Prisons had no option but to treat Ven. Gnanasara in accordance with the Prisons Ordinance. more..

A salute to Sri Lanka’s hospitality sector stakeholders

Jun 21 (DM) Finally, the country’s hospitality sector stakeholders have got it right! Better late than never. This week saw the gathering of about 200 State school principals at the Shangri-La Hotel Colombo to listen to the country’s leading hoteliers about the job prospects the industry offers to SL’s youth. The idea was to inspire the principals and make them envoys to convince the students who may not opt for tertiary education, that a job in Sri Lanka’s booming tourism and hospitality sector more..

Will Yahapalanists stand in the cesspool or cesspit now?

Jun 21 (DM) Take a deep breath. Let it go. Suppress all urges to laugh your guts out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Have a cup of chamomile tea. Think of the best joke you’ve heard so far. Think of Charlie Chaplin and other great comedians. Now read. The US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced that her country would withdraw from the UNHRC. Calling the UNHRC a cesspool of political bias, Haley explained the decision thus: “We take this step because our commitment does not allow more..

'No one can win Presidential polls without MR’s blessings'

Jun 21 (DM) Front liner of the 16 SLFP rebel group, former Minister Lakshmana Yapa Abeywardana discussed the future of SLFP, forthcoming PC, Prez and Parliamentary polls and current politics etc. Q: Cracks have already begun to appear among the members of the SLFP rebel group of 16 on many issues such as the next Presidential candidate they would support in 2019, their leader and with whom they stand in more..

Bullets for a Chief Monk: Gun justice on the rise

Jun 21 (Island) As concerns over rising gun crimes grow, police said that the mobile phone records of suspects who allegedly shot at the Ven. Kobawaka Damminda Thera, the chief incumbent of the Kataragama Kirivehera Rajamaha Vihara, were being monitored to track their movements. A senior officer involved in the investigation said that eight police teams under the supervision of the DIG in charge of Hambantota and Tangalle, more..