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Mega loss by Megapolis: Massive irregularities in UDA hotel project uncovered

Aug 2 (TM) Massive irregularities in the luxury boutique hotel project at Waters Edge, a fully owned subsidiary company of the Urban Development Authority (UDA), have been uncovered by the Special Investigation Unit of the National Audit Office (NAO) recently. The project proposal submitted by then Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka to build a 48-room boutique hotel at Waters Edge more..

Tourism SME issues not yet resolved successfully: ASMET President

Aug 2 (SO) Relief packages provided by the Govt are enjoyed predominantly by the big players in the industry while small and medium businesses continue to suffer, newly elected President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET), M.B. Jayarathna said. According to Jayarathna, Small and Medium Enterprises account for up to 65% of the tourism revenue generated by the industry. “However, I don’t think govt has fully understood the part SMEs play. more..

Walallawita making good progress in County Cricket

Aug 2 (Island) He survived the nightmare that was the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 – now Thilan Walallawita is dreaming of his debut in first-class cricket. Middlesex’s Sri Lankan-born left-arm spinner may be the unfamiliar name in the Seaxes’ squad for their opening Bob Willis Trophy encounter with Surrey at the Oval starting on Saturday, after Middlesex applied to the ECB to register him as an un-qualified player earlier this week. It’s another huge step on his eventful journey, more..

Did he fabricate evidence?

Aug 2 (ST) Four weeks after police dropped its investigation of Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s allegation that the 2011 cricket World Cup was fixed, State prosecutors have requested the Sports Ministry for documentary evidence of a complaint the former Sports Minister claimed to have sent to the ICC in Oct 2011. While the police said in a media statement that the probe was closed owing to lack of evidence, more..

Bogus sports body dismissed

Aug 2 (SO) Sports Minister Dallas Alahapperuma has produced his best steps so far as he cancelled the registration of a so-called SL Ballroom Dancing Association following an investigation into their activities or no activity at all. SL Ballroom Dancing Association was registered as the country’s 58th national sports body on March 16, 2016 under a special gazette notification. Besides not conducting competitions, the association had not even held an AGM or submitted an accounts statement. more..

High Time to Modify Labour Laws, EFC Survey Reveals

Aug 2 (CT) Labour market-related policies were identified as the most important area that the Govt needs to address, according to survey findings by the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC). The survey report further noted that the hospitality and food service sector recorded the highest economic losses in terms of revenue, foreign exchange earnings and investment. The EFC conducted a survey from a sample of 100 employers in April-May 2020 to identify the impact of COVID-19. more..

Old foes in cricket politics unite as Mathi quits

Aug 2 (ST) The foes have united. Businessman Jayantha Dharmadasa this week seized opportunity to get back into cricket administration when K. Mathivanan vacated the post of Vice President on Wednesday after accusing SLC of “carrying out duties without transparency and integrity”. It took just few hours for the SLC board to accept Mathivanan’s resignation and embrace their old foe. Dharmadasa-led camp had failed to seize power at SLC more..

Employers want govt out of salary matters

Aug 2 (TM) Local employers are looking to the Govt for policy interventions, including those that ensure less govt intervention on salary, in order to quell the impact felt by the Covid-19 pandemic. In a study done by The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) on the Initial assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on employers, which was presented by EFC CEO Kanishka Weerasinghe, SL employers expressed the need for govt intervention in several labour market-related policies. more..

Windfall for football

Aug 2 (ST) Football Federation of SL (FFSL) confirmed that it is one of the 211 member countries in line to receive a handsome grant relief to be distributed by FIFA, the global governing body for football. Accordingly FFSL is set to receive US$ 1.5 million, which will be distributed to each member country of FIFA via the six confederations, to support in improvement of the financial impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Anura de Silva, President of FFSL said that local football administration more..

Banks to monetise Rs1.6 bn contractor bills on Treasury letters

Aug 2 (ST) 67 govt contractors kept in waiting for a long period to get their payments for outstanding bills for the Rs1.6 billion worth of work done in state development projects will be getting liquidity facilities from banks soon. However commercial banks have expressed concern on liquidity issues when getting the refinancing facility from the Central Bank (CB) by pledging liquid govt securities as collateral to provide loans for more..

Malay Confederation remains neutral at election

Aug 2 (Island) SL Malay Confederation (SLAMAC), the umbrella body of the All Malay organizations in SL, says it is not a political organsation and therefore will remain neutral at the upcoming general election. Secretary General of the SLAMAC Rilwan Lantra has said in a media statement: ” It is noted that for the parliamentary election several members of our community are contesting from different parties. Whilst we wish them well, some who head an association to project themselves as more..

Welgama warns country heading towards military dictatorship

Aug 2 (Island) Kumara Welgama who is contesting this week’s Parliamentary Polls on the SJB ticket, warns that it could be the last since the Rajapaksas have already set in motion the process of establishing a military dictatorship. Addressing several meetings in the Kalutara electorate recently, Welgama recalled that he had warned prior to the last Prez Election that Gotabaya’s grand plan was to establish military rule after hoodwinking the people at the polls. more..

New oil refinery in Hambantota to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient

Aug 2 (TM) SL Govt is on the lookout for potential investors to build a second refinery in Hambantota, with the purpose of refining SL’s entire fuel demand locally, Ministry of Transportation, Power, and Energy said. Ministry has advised state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to find a potential investor to undertake this project as a public-private partnership (PPP). The estimated cost of the project is $ 2.5 billion and more..

Remembering Neelan and Sithie

Aug 2 (GV) This is the time to remember Neelan and Sithie Tiruchelvam. Along with Kumari Jayawardena, their living rooms were spaces where scholars and activists from all over SL, South Asia and the world came to think, discuss, break bread and just laugh. They helped build institutions that brought together the best of young people from all over world with inquiring minds and a thirst for justice. This was the 1980s and the 1990s. It was a time when ideas were important. Today we are all implementers. more..

One night with Brigitte Bardot

Aug 2 (Island) His editor once instructed Premakeerthi to compile factual information for an essay on Brigitte Bardot, a famous French actress, sex symbol of the Western cinema at the time, to feature in a newspaper following day. Being limited by the lack of resources, at a time before the information revolution hit SL, Premakeerthi spent a whole night researching and writing about the life and works of Brigitte Bardot. When the article was finally ready, he entitled it One night with more..

Lonely death of Miss Ceylon 1962

Aug 2 (DM) 78-year-old Jennifer lived on Cotta Terrace, a residential neighbourhood in Borella, Colombo. Towards her last few years, she used to get her meals from a little eatery across the main road. As she experienced some difficulty in walking, she would walk down the road towards the Namel Malini Punchi Theatre and wait for her food to be delivered from the eatery across the road. It is during one of these walks that more..

Circular firing squad of minority politics

Aug 2 (Island) The bane of this country has been ethnicity and religion based politics. It first began among the Ceylon Tamils in the north and east with the rise of the ITAK which put the idea of an exclusive Tamil state into the minds of the people of those areas. The rise of communal politics in the north and east was followed by the transmogrification of trade unions among up-country Tamils into political parties. The final addition to the mix was the SLMC which more..

PM assured of UNP votes due to rift between UNP and SJB

Aug 2 (SO) Govt lawmakers are of the firm opinion that the voters are set to give a resounding mandate to the SLPP at the August 5 General Election and elect a fresh Parliament to ensure the much-needed political stability of the Govt. The twice-postponed General Election is being held after overcoming several unprecedented hurdles so that Wednesday’s much awaited Parliamentary Elections will mark the end of the period of uncertainty and gloom in the country. more..

සටන: වත්මන් දේශපාලන වාතාවරණය

Black July through the eyes of a survivor

Aug 2 (GV) It has been 37 years since the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983, a riot that set the country ablaze and sparked a 30-year long and bloody war. But even after nearly four decades, there has yet been no active effort to remember and reconcile the injustices of the past, both at the level of leadership and at the grassroots. The acknowledgement of the past – which is not just knowing there were injustices but saying they were wrong and being committed to rectifying them – more..

So many to choose from, so little choice

Aug 2 (ST) My dear Voter, I thought I must write to you today because, three days from now, you will be entrusted with the task of choosing those who govern us for the next five years. It is a responsibility that comes your way once in a while and it is your duty to exercise it with great care, so that you won’t regret it later. This election is a bit different, thanks to the coronavirus and ‘social distancing’. Maco is complaining that it is the most expensive election ever, but at the same time he is asking us more..

'Pohottuwa vote will put SL back on track'

Aug 2 (SO) 2020 General Election will be held at a crucial juncture. The General Election was eagerly postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic when the masses were looking forward to a quick General Election to give Prez Rajapaksa a two-third majority in Parliament to implement his programs that were pledged to the masses. Even when PM Mahinda Rajapaksa tried to have an interim budget passed to finance more..

King or Queen for a day

Aug 2 (ST) And so, another election costing the country Rs. 10 billion is on the cards next week to elect 225 MPs. It appears to be an election that is generating the least amount of public interest in contemporary times. It is not just the Covid-19 pandemic that has been a dampener. Neither is it the apathy among the citizens in the politics of the land for Sri Lankans are totally immersed in the subject at all times. It is also not exactly that many believe it to be a foregone conclusion; more..

The last days of the 19th amendment?

Aug 2 (GV) These could be the last days of the 19th Amendment. If not of its entirety, at least of a part of it, even a substantial part of it. The message that the 19th Amendment retards effective governance and should be thrown out has reverberated strongly, especially since the Prez election last year. Prez Rajapaksa has had enough of it. So, it may go. The 19th Amendment was possible due to many reasons. A majority of the voting population demanded some reformation of the structure more..

'We strongly believe we can win the majority'

Aug 2 (CT) Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa talks to our sister paper Mawbima on his election campaign. Q: You are contesting the forthcoming General Election in a challenging background, isn’t it? A: It’s not possible to engage in a conventional election campaign owing to the COVID-19 situation. Those activities are being conducted in accordance with health guidelines. more..

The upcoming election

Aug 2 (Island) This is the last issue of our newspaper before the country goes to the polls on Aug. 5 to elect the 13th Parliament since 1947. Talk of ‘floating’ votes notwithstanding, most people have by now decided how they are going to vote or if they are going to vote at all. If various pre-poll analyses are correct, the out-turn at this election is likely to be lower than usual. Voter turnout at elections in this country is relatively high, much more so than even in most developed countries. more..

The voters’ duty

Aug 2 (SO) The Wednesday General Election will be a watershed event in the country’s political history for several reasons, chief among which is the fact that it is being held amid a global pandemic. This is indeed the first time that Sri Lanka will be going to the polls under such conditions, though Sri Lankans have kept faith in the ballot even when the bullets were trying to destroy their lives during the 30-year battle against terrorism and also during the JVP-led insurgencies in the South. more..

Sri Lanka port workers protest India investment, demand written guarantees

Aug 1 (EN) SL port workers union protesting a planned investment into a container terminal by India has demanded a written guarantee from Prez before elections that no privatization will be permitted, minister said. Min. Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila, another party activist met representatives of a worker union calling itself the alliance to protect the East Terminal who do not want terminal given to foreign or pvt parties. more..

Agrochemical pollution & habitat degradation: Threat to freshwater crabs

Aug 1 (CT) Agrochemical pollution and habitat degradation are some of the most serious threats faced by endemic freshwater crabs, noted the Sixth National Report on the Biodiversity Profile of Sri Lanka to the Convention of Biological Diversity. According to the Report, out of the 51 species of crabs in the country, 50 of them are endemic, whilst 23 of these endemic varieties are point endemics (endemic species of fauna or flora unique to one specific location). more..

PHIs to ensure health safety at polling centres

Aug 1 (CT) Public Health Inspectors Union of SL (PHIUSL) said they were ready to extend their fullest cooperation to ensure the health safety at polling centres during the General Election in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. They would commence duties on 4 Aug by sterilising all polling centres. Secretary of the Union, M. Balasooriya said, the relevant Local Govt authority would have to provide the necessary equipment while EC is to provide the sanitising liquid and gel for the procedure. more..

'No space for women to join the political conversation'

Aug 1 (EN) Women who were democratically elected were deprived of their rightful chance to enter parliament in recent years, human rights activist and National People’s Power (NPP) Gampaha District candidate Chamila Thushari said. “Only the Local Govt councils have a 25% quota system for women. However, when it comes to representation in parliament, women are overlooked. Why are women in politics so threatening?” more..

Despite COVID scare, in Kandy, people we spoke to say they will vote

Aug 1 (ST) There are real fears that COVID-19 will affect turnout on election day but a majority of voters the Sunday Times interviewed insisted they will still go out and exercise their franchise, despite not having much hope of positive change regardless of who wins. We spoke to a number of voters in Kandy town this week. There was nobody that planned to avoid polling stations over pandemic fears. Some were sick of politics but still intended to vote. “I will vote as it’s my civic duty, though more..

China, Sri Lanka’s historical ally in many fronts: Defence Secretary

Aug 1 (MoD) Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said historical relationship between China and Sri Lanka had been growing on the mutual trust built on pillars of political, economic, cultural, educational and most importantly in defence over the years. Delivering the keynote address as the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of the Chinese National Defence University (NDU) Alumni Association of Sri Lanka held at Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo, yesterday (30), he said more..

'There is threat of fascism at present'

Aug 1 (DM) Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne is a highly qualified academic who gave up his career to lead a leftwing political movement. He joined active politics in 1972 becoming a Central Committee member of the LSSP. However Dr. Vickramabahu is contesting for Kalutara district as a candidate from the UNP, a move contrary to his left-wing and Marxist political history. Q: You have been in a struggle more..

Change? Let’s start from the Cabinet

Aug 1 (DM) As Sri Lanka heads for parliamentary elections on August 5, the final stage of electoral campaigns are now coming to an end. A total of 7452 candidates will contest in the 2020 parliamentary election, with 3652 candidates from major political parties and 3800 candidates representing independent groups. With over 16 million eligible voters, this election is set to be a memorable one as the island grapples with a public health crisis. more..

SL-born Mars 2020 engineer who designed NASA rover’s internal electrical layout

Aug 1 (AD) The NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance rocketed away from Earth on Thursday (30) in search of signs of ancient microbial life on the Red Planet. The one-tonne, six-wheeled rover was launched out of Florida by an Atlas rocket on a path to intercept the second-smallest planet of the Solar System in February next year. Foreign media reported that the robot will also gather rock and soil samples to be ferried back home later this decade. SL-born mechanical, robotics & rocket more..