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'Sirisena Asked Ex-IGP to be the Fall Guy'

Sep 19 (CT) Making a damning statement on Friday, before the PCoI into the Easter Sunday bombings, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando said, former President Maithripala Sirisena, on 24 April 2019, informed former IGP Pujith Jayasundara that if he accepted responsibility for the Easter Sunday bombings and resigns, he would be given his pension and an ambassadorial post in any country that he desired. more..

SLTB ticket scam: Monthly loss of Rs. 120 m

Sep 19 (TM) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) incurs an estimated loss of Rs. 120 million a month due to the ongoing ticket scam. SLTB Chairman Kingsley Ranawaka said that bus conductors’ failure to give tickets to commuters was causing this issue. “Some conductors don’t issue tickets after taking the money for it. As a result, a huge loss is incurred by the SLTB. We’ve asked the commuters to ensure they obtain tickets. Around Rs. 60 lakhs (Rs. 6 million) a day is lost because of this.” more..

Probing SLMC actions: GMOA shelves strike

Sep 19 (CT) The GMOA said it had shelved the idea of a strike during the week starting 21 Sept, following Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi’s move to set up a five-member committee to probe the actions of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) and to submit a Cabinet paper to issue the Gazette on the Minimum Standards for Medical Education. GMOA Secretary, Dr. Senal Fernando, said on 17 Sept that the GMOA General Committee would meet on 24 Sept to review the progress more..

SJB prepares to take 20A to Court next week

Sep 19 (FT) The SJB plans to take their concerns regarding the proposed 20th Amendment (20A) to the Courts after the Govt presents it in Parliament next week. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that SJB plans to go to Courts following the first reading of the bill next Tuesday (22). He was joined by SJB members Sujith Perera and Harshana Rajakaruna. more..

President orders prompt action: Salusala revival expedited

Sep 19 (TM) A news article was published by The Morning highlighting that the property under the purview of the Ministry of Defence was to be reacquired by the State Ministry before restoration could commence, and it would make room in the store that is now repurposed as a vehicle garage by the security units for the same. Upon taking note of the obstacles that the State Ministry is facing in continuing restoration process of Lanka Salusala, due to the presence of the security units, more..

Recording of confidential conversations a matter for concern: Media Minister

Sep 19 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the recording of confidential conversations between senior officials was a matter for concern. Minister acknowledged the need to look into the matter. He said so when The Island asked whether the govt felt the need for legislation to prevent releasing of confidential conversations. The Island sought the govt response to former head of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena releasing a conversation more..

SriLankan Airlines negotiating with lessors, reducing costs

Sep 19 (FT) SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ashok Pathirage, in an interview with Bloomberg, discussed how the national carrier is coping up with the impact of the COVID pandemic. He said that the airline has seen a 75% drop in turnover compared to last year due to the pandemic, and they have taken many measures to reduce costs. However, he expressed optimism that organisation will be in better shape post-COVID, more..

Relief for Northern farmers affected by Cyclone Amphan

Sep 19 (FT) Cabinet has approved a proposal to provide relief to over 2,300 farmers in the Northern Province who suffered severe losses due to Cyclone Amphan, which hit the island, causing heavy rains and winds for four days from 16 to 19 May. The cyclone caused severe damage to banana and papaya plantations of 2,374 farmers in the Kopay, Thellipalai and Karavetti DS in Jaffna District. According to the Jaffna District Secretary, the total estimated loss was Rs. 52.9 million. more..

First COPE meeting on Tuesday

Sep 19 (FT) The first meeting of the Parliament oversight committee, COPE, will be held next Tuesday (22). Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena named 22 members to COPE last week, with the Opposition having eight members, while the Govt members make up the rest. The SBJ said it is seeking the COPE chairmanship, saying an Opposition MP should chair this important oversight committee, as was done in the last Parliament when former JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti chaired it. more..

Two dead as fox fear hits Kalutara

Sep 19 (CT) The Wildlife authorities on 18 September alerted the public on the threat from rabid foxes prowling in the suburbs of Kalutara following recent fatal attacks on humans and animals, a senior-most official said. The two victims died after they were attacked in separate incidents within a space of two months while the animals were also killed the same period, Conservation Director (Health) of the Department of Wildlife, more..

Video: Draft of 20A included in Parliament agenda for Sep. 22

Sep 19 (AD) The draft of the 20th Amendment was included in the Parliament’s agenda today. Accordingly, the draft Bill is to be tabled in the House on the 22nd of Sept. Meanwhile, MP of SJB Ranjith Madduma Bandara says judicial action will be taken sought against the draft Bill of the 20th Amendment. Minister Bandula Gunawardena stated that the Cabinet of Ministers unanimously decided to table the gazetted draft Bill of the 20th Amendment in the Parliament without any alterations. more..

'Halt importing duty-free vehicles for 79 new MPs'

Sep 19 (CT) President of Hela Bodu Saviya, Ven. Budugala Jinawansa Thera has written to Prez Rajapaksa requesting him to reconsider ordering duty-free vehicles for the 79 new Members of Parliament. He said, he came to know that the Ministry of Public Administration was arranging to import duty-free vehicles for new MPs. He stated it has been stated that a duty-free permit was worth Rs 30 million. The prelate’s letter states: “Certain Cabinet Ministers have already declared that more..

Stellar week in super September for CSE

Sep 19 (FT) Colombo stock market yesterday ended a stellar week in what is widely regarded as super September with the main indices gaining by over 5% and turnover averaging a robust Rs. 3 billion plus. If the rally post-COVID-resumption was driven by local high-net-worth investors and institutions, this week the retailers joined in picking mid-cap stocks. Yesterday the market saw a fourth consecutive day of over more..

Debate over cattle slaughter

Sep 19 (Island) The proposed ban on cattle slaughter by the PM has little ethical merit in it. The only purpose it serves, if at all, is that a majority of Sri Lankans will feel good of having moved their abattoirs overseas; out of sight, out of mind. But the demerits of the proposal are many. This proposal will pump ammunition to the cynics who see politics in a poor light. Saving unproductive cattle only adds to the dwindling pastureland to feed the bovines, and as Dr Waidyanatha has pointed out more..

Economic sentiment gathers momentum: Survey

Sep 19 (FT) Sentiment surrounding the economy continued to rise in August with a majority (56%) of business people consulted for the latest LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) survey saying that economic conditions are likely to improve over the next 12 months – up from 44% in July. In contrast, 14% of respondents expect the economy to deteriorate during this period while three in 10 of those polled believe conditions will remain the same. As for long-term business prospects, more..

Puttalam-Kalpitiya lagoon area | Spotlight on mangrove destruction

Sep 19 (TM) As of late, Sri Lanka has been seeing an uptick in alleged illegal deforestation in many forest areas. While names of several politicians have been entangled with the reported incidents, any direct involvement of these politicians is yet to be confirmed. It is in this backdrop that several reports of destruction were reported from the Kalpitiya area where a larger area of mangroves has been cleared for prawn farming with more..

Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka: Herath to be appointed consultant spin coach

Sep 19 (CT) Former SL Test skipper Rangana Herath is to be appointed Consultant spin coach for the upcoming Bangladesh tour (which is yet to be finalised), a source close to SLC said. Commenting on Rangana’s appointment the source at SLC said: “Rangana’s first job will be the upcoming Bangladesh tour (which is yet to be finalised), but we are expecting to get his services from time to time". It will be a huge advantage for the islanders if they obtain the services of the legendary spinner, more..

Malinga incomparable, his experience will be missed: Sharma

Sep 19 (CT) Mumbai Indians’ captain Rohit Sharma conceded that incomparable SL pace legend Lasith Malinga, who has opted out of this year’s IPL, will be severely missed by his defending champion team given his unbelievable past performances. The 37-year-old Malinga, who is IPL’s highest wicket-taker with 170 scalps to his credit, has pulled out citing personal reasons in a major blow to the four-time champions. MI will take on the Chennai Super Kings in this season’s lung-opener on 19 Sept here. more..

Tremors in Kandy | Natural occurrence, no danger: GSMB

Sep 19 (TM) The report by the GSMB on the earth tremors felt in the Kandy District last month have found that the tremors were natural seismic events, which called for surveys of the Victoria Reservoir for possible cracks. On 29 August, an earth tremor was felt in parts of the Kandy District in Digana and Haragama, where some residents had claimed that picture frames and other items had fallen off walls and shelves as a result. more..

Sithamu farmer Assocs. to be implemented in North: Mahindananda

Sep 19 (DM) The Sithamu farmer associations, a concept of the new govt to resolve the issues faced by the farmers through modern technology and methods, is to be implemented in the North, Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had announced. The minister who made this announcement during his recent visit to North said farmers in the North would be given concessions under this programme. It was for the first time in four decades that an agriculture minister competent in speaking Tamil more..

Foreign Minister briefs Cabinet on Govt. response to UNHRC

Sep 19 (FT) Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Wednesday briefed the Cabinet on the reply submitted by Sri Lanka clarifying the stance in relation to the allegations made against the country by the UNHRC as well as the UK, which heads the Core Group on SL at the 45th Session of the UNHRC underway in Geneva. Acting Permanent Representative of SL to the UN in Geneva Dayani Mendis told the UNHRC that Sri Lanka has made it clear even as it withdrew from more..

Veggie prices bounce to new highs on lack of fertiliser

Sep 19 (ST) Fertiliser shortages and extreme weather have once again triggered a sharp rise in vegetable prices at a time the govt is aiming for a waga sangramaya, or a cultivation revolution. The prices of nearly every vegetable, including carrots, beans, pumpkin, bitter gourd, snake gourd, cabbage, drumsticks, ridged gourd, (wetakolu), ash plantain, leeks, knol khol, and radish have increased from a few weeks ago and more..

Sri Lanka, with only 13 Covid-19 deaths, gets a pat from WHO

Sep 19 (Hindu) The Ministers of Health and Finance from Asia Pacific countries, including from the World Health Organisation South-East Asia region, have vowed to create a finance-resilient health system with Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the centre of it, as per the WHO’s official release. Health and Finance Ministers from the Asia Pacific Region met at a virtual meeting organised by WHO, the Government of Japan, and the Asian Development Bank. more..

Teenage champion golfer Kayla’s balancing act

Sep 19 (ST) Two-time Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) Ladies champion Kayla Perera is a talented teenager who balances both education and sports almost to perfection to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming a golf professional. As a student of Ladies College, she prioritised the GCE (O/L) exam last year, even making a conscious decision to forego participating in the South Asian Games (SAG) in December but is now focusing more on her golf career after moving to UCL more..

Tortured to death in Kuwait

Sep 19 (CT) She was scheduled to return to her family in Moratuwa for Christmas when fate decided otherwise and so another SL female domestic aide was brutally killed at the hands of her Arab sponsors. The nightmare for 43-year-old Sudarshini Silva is believed to have started on 9 Sep inside the basement of a plush household in Amiri close to Kuwait City and had lasted for a full 3 days until her death on Friday (11) last week. more..

Editorial: Blinding ingratitude

Sep 19 (Island) A disabled soldier who had lost vision in one eye on the battlefield and became totally blind due to injuries he suffered at the hands of the riot police, during a protest, near the Prez Secretariat, in Nov 2017, has moved the SC, seeking damages. He was one of the protesters who demanded that the disabled military and police personnel who had been compelled to retire before completing 12 years of service due to injuries they suffered, in the line of duty, be given more..

Tamil and Sinhala-Buddhist Unity: Cow Slaughter Ban

Sep 19 (CT) It’s high time we made use of the power of intelligence, gifted by God and discard fake concepts of political deception and obfuscations of scriptural texts, rooted, consecutively, in communal violence and religious racism. The Tamil voters, in the void of destructive racist politics and power-greedy opportunism, must understand that their peace and prosperity is a possibility, in the main, with the unity of the Sinhala Buddhist absolute majority. more..

Harsha De Silva

Rambo, Uda Walawe’s Iconic Elephant to be translocated?

Sep 19 (DM) There is reliable information coming through that the Uda Walawe’s iconic elephant, Rambo may be captured and trans-located to a holding ground (which is effectively an elephant prison) by DWC. This will in effect be the signing of a death warrant for this famous elephant. Many wildlife enthusiasts and tourists who travel around the country, are familiar with Rambo at the Uda Walawe National Park due to his close interaction with people over the years. more..

Covid 19: Democracy crucial to calm the storm

Sep 19 (DM) Amid a crisis where many independent analysts are warning that the proposed 20th Amendment could be a death certificate for parliamentary democracy in SL, the UN this week marked the International Day of Democracy with Secretary General António Guterres saying that as the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, democracy is crucial in ensuring the free flow of information, participation in decision-making and accountability for the response to pandemic. more..

Jackfruit: The vegan sensation that saved SL

Sep 19 (BBC) My mother grew up in a house of eight people in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka, 100km north-east of Colombo. During the island’s severe droughts in the 1970s, most of her family’s humble, home-cooked meals consisted of boiled jackfruit served in a clay pot with a handful of freshly grated coconut. This simple, carb-rich meal fused with natural fats fuelled enough energy for the farmer-family to toil day & night in dry plains. more..

The downside of cow slaughter ban

Sep 19 (DM) In both Sri Lanka and India, which share a culture, cow slaughter is generally considered unethical by the majority Sinhala-Buddhists and Hindus. In Hinduism, the cow is considered “holy” but in Buddhism it is not. However, cow slaughter and beef eating are discouraged in Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka because the faith is against the killing of all sentient beings, and the cow is one of them. Folk-level Sinhala-Buddhism has many features of Hinduistic culture. more..

SriLankan Airlines now in jeopardy after defending sexual abuse convict

Sep 19 (CT) SriLankan Airlines in its defence issued a shocking statement to its staff claiming that the airline was no party to the conviction that was handed out to its former Regional Manager Lalith De Silva for sexually harassing and insulting the modesty of one of its Indian national female staff members, during the time he was stationed by the airline in New Delhi, India. However what the airline failed to mention in its statement is that more..

Presidential rigidity on 20A: Ten lessons for democratic resistance

Sep 19 (CT) The President’s gear-shift on 20A, which showed flexibility, followed by his shift-back to the original hawkish position, was in the phrase of Lenin (1921) a flash of lightning which threw more of a glare upon reality than anything else. It made nonsense of some basic assumptions of the four streams of the Opposition, and pointed to the imperative of correcting these dangerously flawed notions. What are the lessons of the recent dramatic turnaround? more..

Sri Lanka may need a bad bank to drive the post-Covid restructuring of businesses

Sep 19 (CT) In late 2019, much before the Covid-19 pandemic started wreaking havoc on the global economy, the branches of two key Indian banks closed their business operations in Sri Lanka. ICICI Bank and Axis Bank are two of the larger privately owned banks in India. In terms of their stock market capitalisation they are among the biggest companies listed in India. Even from a pan-Asian perspective, ICICI Bank which has an asset base of close to USD 200 billion, is huge. more..

Super tanker fire: Damage caused to marine environment estimated at Rs 4 billion

Sep 18 (Island) In addition to Rs. 340 million sought by the SL govt for operations undertaken by its Air Force and Navy to prevent a far greater marine catastrophe, the country will seek an estimated Rs. 4 billion for the damages caused to the marine environment. Insurance Company or the owners of the New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker have to pay some Rs. 4 billion as damages caused to the environment, senior official of MEPA said. more..