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Headless SLT management in dire straits

May 13 (ST) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) management is in dire straits as it has functioned sans a Group CEO since last December, SLT trade unions say. Attempts to recruit a suitably qualified and experienced person to head the management of the company by conducting interviews after calling for applications twice through newspaper advertisements were fruitless, union leaders alleged. Two main political parties, SLFP & UNP, more..

ILO Geneva Convention runs into a storm

May 13 (CT) Plans by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to adopt a convention to address gender harassment at the work place, has run into a storm as the powerful Int'l Organization of Employers (IOE) is set to oppose the move, it was disclosed this week. The ILO is adamant to address the issue to the wire at the next International Labour Conference, scheduled to be held in Geneva on 3 June and is confident of receiving the necessary support from stakeholders throughout world, more..

3 fire-fighting units battle raging fire at Hameedia storage facility in Ratmalana

May 13 (ST) A fire which broke out yesterday at a storage facility of Hameedia’s clothing chain at Borupana Road, Ratmalana, caused extensive damage to the building and items inside it. The major fire, which broke out around 1 p.m. forced police to call in fire fighting units from Dehiwala-Mount. Lavinia, Moratuwa and the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) to douse the fire. Officers from the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) too assisted police to fight the fire, Police said. more..

President’s chief-of-staff bribery scam: Kantale investor pleads for release of factory

May 13 (ST) The investors behind the arrest of President’s Chief-of-Staff I H K Mahanama and State Timber Corporation Chairman P Dissanayake on bribery charges has written to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe asking him to at least now release the Kantale sugar factory infrastructure so their project can go ahead. Their letter makes it clear that the PM knew as far back as Sept 2017 of attempts to elicit bribes from the investors. more..

People in North let down: EPRLF leader

May 13 (SO) People of the North are disillusioned and deeply disappointed in the current govt, according to Northern politician and leader of the EPRLF, Suresh Premachandran. “There have been no concrete proposals to resolve the Tamil issue and therefore, the people now feel they have been let down,” he said. According to Premachandran, three years on since the current govt swept into power, citizens in the North who supported them feel cheated and misled, with the govt appearing more..

Gam Peraliya to boost rural community

May 13 (SO) Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the savings of Rs. 55.89 billion by the removal of the fuel subsidy throughout the year, will be utilized on a special rural development program titled Gam Peraliya to boost the rural economy under the regional development program of the govt. “We would be able to save over Rs. 55 billion from the fuel price revision that was inevitable given the loss incurred by the CPC. We had to increase prices of fuel in line with the global oil prices more..

Central Expressway phase 1 delayed; RDA seeks Govt intervention to secure loan

May 13 (ST) Road Development Authority (RDA) has sought govt intervention to expedite a Chinese loan to get going with a multibillion rupee expressway project delayed for more than two and half years, a top official said. Loan amounting to US$ 1.1 billion (Rs 160 billion) approved by the Exim Bank of China has been delayed for unknown reasons, thereby preventing the RDA from carrying on with the construction of the first part of more..

Politicians are akin to lawyers; they don’t retire, says former Speaker

May 13 (Island) Former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera says that he has no intention of retiring from active politics. "Politicians are akin to lawyers; they don’t retire", former UNP MP clarified in response to a news report that he has decided to call it a day. Perera was quoted as saying that he has decided to bid adieu to active politics to pave the way for his son Srinath Perera, a Gampaha district provincial councillor, to take over the mantle in the home base of Jaela he represented. more..

Akuregoda Defence Headquarters Building becomes a white elephant

May 13 (ST) It will be a bitter pill for Sri Lankans to swallow as the controversial Pentagon-styled Defence headquarters building complex at Akuregoda, Battaramulla is becoming a white elephant spending millions of rupees from the country’s taxpayer money, a senior cabinet minister revealed in Colombo. The project was launched in 2011 at an estimated cost of Rs.8 billion to house the army, navy and air force hq moving from Galle Face Green & Fort to Battaramulla, more..

President in tough position, rumblings continue in UNP

May 13 (ST) Shocks & disappointments came as an anti-climax in a week that promised hopeful expectations for Sri Lankans. Main shock was a decision at a special cabinet meeting on Wednesday night to substantially increase fuel prices. Hit by a rise in prices of cooking gas, milk powder and now fuel, living costs are expected to spike further. That will push the prices of consumer items, goods and services to a record high. more..

You don’t have to retire, Mr. President. Just retire the Executive Presidency

May 13 (Island) President has got it all wrong when he said in his May Seventh Day speech that he is not going to retire from politics. No one has asked him to retire from politics. Only, retire the executive presidency. That’s what he promised to do, when he became President in Jan 2015. And retiring the executive presidency would be to lift the unnecessary term limit on the head of govt, as there is now thanks to SL’s uncommon marriage of the elected parliament and the elected executive. more..

Reflection on how we are and what we are

May 13 (Island) We’ve gone through a major fiasco of celebrating or being made to celebrate Vesak in April. When comes Poson? May or June? Vesak, Poson and Esala come consecutively within three months. We have been used to Vesak in May and Poson in June for the last century or more. Suddenly it was all changed just because an extra poya came in. So what? We could have just passed 29 April poya as just another poya and marked Vesak on 29 May. more..

Joa now in Hambantota Safari Park

May 13 (CT) Joa, the African male tusker, who arrived at the Hambantota Safari Park from the Dehiwala Zoo, will be kept chained for a month until he gets used to the surrounding environment. Joa left the Dehiwala Zoo on 8 May at around 9.30 p.m. in a special lorry hired from the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy and accompanied by two mahouts from the Dehiwala Zoo. “Joa arrived safely at the Safari Park in Hambantota on 9 May. more..

Malik counters criticism of Singapore FTA

May 13 (Island) Ministry wishes to refer to the recent news items where it has been stated that recently signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore was entered into without proper consultation process, and will have adverse impact on govt revenue, and would result in influx of professional and workers entering the country. This Ministry wishes to state that it is the policy of Govt of SL to negotiate FTAs with selected countries, more..

Oslo envoy victimised again to make way for political appointee

May 13 (ST) Last week’s Café item headlined Norway diplomatic position raises questions, has now taken a new twist. The hapless SL envoy to Oslo is being given the run-around and asked to sign an agreement prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he will serve only a two-year term after he reaches the age of 60. His two-year term after he reaches the age of 60 happens to be next month. more..

Officials instructed to resolve issues on China funded projects

May 13 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena has instructed his officials to resolve issues related to some China funded projects in Sri Lanka. President Sirisena had told the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan that Sri Lanka attaches mega-projects being implemented with Chinese assistance, including the Colombo Port City project, the Hambantota Port and the industrial park in Hambantota. more..

Kerosene subsidy from next month

May 13 (NR) The Ministry of Finance today announced that it will disburse the first instalment of the kerosene subsidy to households without electricity next month. Accordingly the kerosene subsidy will be provided to 47,555 households. The Treasury has allocated the required funds for the Ministry of Social Empowerment and Welfare in order to disburse the kerosene subsidy to Samurdhi beneficiaries in addition to Samurdhi fund. more..

Red alert to quit beaches issued: CCD

May 13 (CT) Coastal Conservation Department (CCD), on its coastal zone cleanup mission, will soon clear up the beaches in the Dehiwala and Mt. Lavinia areas, as they have already sent red notices to proprietors of illegal buildings and restaurants on the beach front, within the 300 meters from the sea in these areas. Director Gamini Hewage said that they have seen there are restaurants constructed as close as 2 metres more..

FTA with Singapore legal: Official

May 13 (SO) Refuting allegations levelled on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore for not following proper procedures among others, a highly placed International Trade Ministry official said that the FTA was approved by the Cabinet and was cleared by the Attorney General’s Department. According to legal sources, Cabinet approval was sufficient prior to signing the FTA. However, the advice required that more..

Two Ministers distributing knuckles land

May 13 (CT) Environmental organizations charge that plantation land, to the extent of 21,000 acres in the beautiful Knuckles Range, which was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2010, has been distributed among relatives and friends by 2 ministers for projects. Environmentalist Sajeewa Chameekara points out that by now these lands have been utilized for various activities in violation of a number of Acts, more..

CEB Engineers Union work-to-rule may see unlicensed power plants shutting down

May 13 (ST) Several power plants being operated without a licence issued by the Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL) are liable to be shut down if the CEB Engineers’ Union (CEBEU) continues with its work-to-rule campaign. Earlier this week, engineers stopped work at a 60 MW barge mounted plant being operated at the Colombo Port. Plant had not been issued a licence by PUCSL, power sector regulator, since 2015. more..

Dutch company gets large contract for groundwater monitoring

May 13 (ST) A Dutch company has secured a multimillion euro (Rs 4.4bn) pilot project to establish a groundwater monitoring network for the Malwathu Oya, Maduru Oya and Kumbukkan Oya basins–three areas identified as being most susceptible to chronic kidney disease (CKD). The project envisages the drilling of 150 boreholes to install devices that will collect real time data such as groundwater levels, nitrate concentration and more..

Either way Muslims have no escape

May 14 (CT) Experience is an honest Teacher. To let others, benefit from one’s own experience that person must share it with them. This is exactly what this piece is about. The incident stems from a casual chat between old friends. Each person was arguing on a certain matter trying to prove his point as superior. All with a sense of humour and poking fun at each other. I, too, did the same. At one point, I changed my opinion and expressed a different view. The moment I did that one of my friends said, more..

Memories Of Late K.G Amaradasa

May 14 (CT) “Some might say that if a Sinhala man marries a Tamil woman or a Tamil man marries a Sinhala woman, then national unity will be born. I don’t think so. If people of different ethnic origin get married, only the children would be born as a natural consequence” quipped Ven. M Ratnavansa Thero – a Buddhist monk much loved and respected by Tamil writers and community members alike. Late K.G. Amaradasa is someone of similar calibre who also held the strong belief that more..

'I will not succumb to pressure'

May 14 (SO) The newly sworn in Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Minister, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka says, he will implement the law to the letter, in protecting Sri Lanka’s wildlife. “I will not succumb to any pressure,” Minister assured, adding that he will also be committed to find a lasting solution to the human elephant conflict considering it as a top priority in his Ministry. more..

Ulterior motive of the 20th Amendment

May 14 (CT) We posed five questions to the campaigners for abolition of the Executive Presidency. Nobody came forward to reply those. We, ourselves, replied to the question, “Why does anti-Executive Presidency campaign exist only in Sri Lanka?” It was pointed out with evidence that there was a misjudgement in SL by identifying weaknesses of 1978 Constitution as weaknesses of the Executive Presidency. Although the Executive Presidency is the most popular and more..

Editorial: Sinking in oil

May 14 (Island) The yahapalana leaders are in an unenviable position, struggling to defend the indefensible. They are trying to justify the recent fuel price increases. Their argument that the local petroleum prices are still lower than those under Rajapaksa govt, at the time of the 2015 presidential election, may be tenable, but they came to power, promising a radical change. Rajapaksa govt kept the petroleum prices very high, though oil prices were plummeting in the international market. more..

Stealing while mourning

May 14 (SO) As the country mourned the recent loss of the catalyst of SL cinema, Dr. Lester James Peries, the disappearance of the Lifetime achievement award presented to the acclaimed director by the Indian govt in 2000 from the Peries residence during his last rites outraged the film industry and shocked a nation already in grief. No sooner had the cortege left the residence, so too had the valuable medal more..

On modern day witches and portents of anarchy

May 14 (ST) Chants of the JO and its enthusiasts that anarchy has been let loose upon the land as a result of foibles of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt bear an uncanny resemblance to the ancient cackling of double, double toil and trouble, parties burn and nonsense bubble by Shakespeare’s three witches immortalized in Macbeth. Politically correct critics may well object to this ancient rendering of witches as evil. Quite rightly chroniclers must be blamed for ascribing the downfall of kings, more..

Yahapalanaya in free fall as MS drapes crumbling Unity Govt in rhetoric

May 14 (ST) The developments in Parliament this week, with 16 SLFP MPs crossing over to the Opposition, leaves little doubt that the govt is falling into an abyss from which, it may not find its way out. The latest defections add to the already confusing situation in Parliament, with 3 separate groups assuming the role of the Opposition in the Legislature. The SLFP MPs who chose to sit in Opposition are the 16 who voted in favour of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against PM more..

විශේෂ අධිකරණ පනත, අසාම් අමීන් සහ ...

When chosen men are tainted with bribery and fraud!

May 14 (SO) The news that the Chief of Staff of the President has been arrested for allegedly accepting a bribe running into millions of rupees from an Indian businessman hit the headlines last week. The scandal is a stinging indictment of SL society today, and sheds light on some home truths we choose to regularly ignore. The general public almost without exception now equate politicians with bribery and corruption. That is nothing new. That was one of the main reasons why more..

Executive Presidency: What the 13A SC Determination really said - part I

May 14 (Island) Nationalistic groups in this country believe that the institution of the executive presidency is a sine qua non for the preservation of Sri Lanka’s unitary character in the face of the provincial councils system. This idea largely stems from what is believed to have been stated in the Supreme Court determination of 1987 on the 13th Amendment Bill. Some appear to believe that Justice R. S. Wanasundera’s dissenting determination had said that more..

Five new uniquely Sri Lankan tabletop games you can play

May 14 (Roar) Sri Lankans are known for playing one game in particular—cricket, but that doesn’t mean we don’t engage in other games as well. From rugby to soccer to netball and volleyball (which is incidentally our national sport), swimming, tennis, squash and badminton, there are Sri Lankans enthusiastically engaging in their sport across the island. But outdoor sport is not all we engage in—there are plenty of indoor games more..

Mastercard and SL Tourism partner to woo more Indian travellers

May 14 (FT) Mastercard and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) are offering exciting opportunities for Indian travellers to access the convenience of cashless payments and attractive discounts on dining, shopping and staying in Sri Lanka. This is part of their ongoing strategic efforts to jointly promote Sri Lanka as a preferred destination in key markets. Travellers with Mastercard debit and credit cards issued in India will be able to enjoy exciting offers including more..

Non-starter new constitution, backdoor federalism

May 14 (Island) So the Northern Provincial Council and some civil society activists are reportedly gearing up to mourn May 18-19th and the week leading up to it as Genocide Week. May 18/19th marks the days the Long War ended, and Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims stopped dying in large numbers. It is the moment that ushered in peace, however flawed, after thirty years. Far from being genocidal, it is also the week that the world saw on TV, hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians more..

Two schools of thought holding back the final number

May 14 (ST) Two schools of thought are getting in the way on the final proceedings of selections of the contingent to the 18th Asian Games which will be held from August 18 to September 2, in Indonesia. For the first time in the history of the Asian Games – the event will be co-hosted by two cities – Jakarta – the main capital of Indonesia and Palembang — the capital of South Sumatra Province. Initially the games were shifted to Indonesia after Hanoi more..

‘Tax on gold imports has helped save valuable foreign exchange’

May 14 (Island) Central Bank's imposition of a 15% tax on gold imports really helped to prevent foreign exchange from going out of the country, CB Governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "During the first two months of the year gold and vehicle imports went up drastically and therefore, we decided to impose a 15% tax on gold imports from April, which gave some relief to the fiscal position of the economy, Coomaraswamy told the media at the monthly CB Monetary Policy Review meeting more..

Music and dances of Batticaloa

May 14 (Island) When we were children my paternal grandmother Sellamma (Appamma) would love to take us to events in the close vicinity of Puliyantheevu – the principal islet of the Batticaloa town, that amused and entertained us to say the least. She was a Universalist – nothing prevented her from attending any religious or cultural groups’ events - never compartmentalized nor restricted her views into narrow realms. She lived up to the principles of Astronomer sage of Sangam more..

Laugfs unhappy over H’tota terminal delay

May 14 (FT) Laugfs Gas is raising concerns over the continued delay in resolving pipeline access to its $ 80 million LPG terminal in the Hambantota investment zone and called on the Govt and the Chinese operator of the port to resolve the issue. Laugfs Holdings Chairman W.H.K. Wegapitiya said that construction work on the pipeline linking the terminal to the jetty had been halted by Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). more..