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විශේෂ අධිකරණ පනත, අසාම් අමීන් සහ ...

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

'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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

Midnight raids net over 2000

May 13 (CT) At least 2051 persons, including 1329 with pending open warrants and another 151 for various other crimes were arrested, police said yesterday. They said the group was arrested during a four-hour island-wide swoop on known crime areas throughout the country. The operation that involved 15,444 Police officers, including personnel from the Special Task Force (STF), started at 11p.m. on Friday and ended at 3 a.m. the following day, Police added. more..

Galduwa monk urges cancellation of project

May 13 (CT) Galduwa Buddhist Monastery has requested that the Govt shelve the proposed tourist city project in the Akurala Wetland area. Chief Incumbent of the Monastery, Kahagolle Somawansa Thera, requested the Govt to cancel its plan to establish a tourist city in the Wetland, which is located near the Galduwa Buddhist Meditation Monastery, coming under the Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretariat in the Galle District. Somawansa Thera said that establishing a tourist city near more..

Yupun, Janaka, Ushan excel

May 13 (CT) It was day to remember for three youngsters, Yupun, Janaka and Ushan as they shone with impressive personal bests at the Second national trials, for the Asian Games, held at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday. Italian based sprinter Yupun Priyadarshana Abeykoon clocked his personal best of 10.31 seconds to win the 100m beating Shehan Ambepitiya to second place. Yupun who returned to the country just for the trials will be off to Italy more..

SL celebrates International Day of Football

May 13 (CT) Sri Lanka, one of the participating countries of the Gazprom Football for Friendship (F4F) Programme, joined over 200 cities of the world in celebrating the International Day of Football and Friendship. The celebration was conducted in Sri Lanka for the first time, along with Dinuka Bandara and Mohamed Sadath the young ambassadors selected to represent the country at the F4F Programme in Russia. Celebration was conducted at Colombo Race Course Stadium. more..

Banks to execute IRD tax deductions

May 13 (ST) In the absence of an official communication from the Treasury or Inland Revenue Department (IRD) on taxes on public accounts, banks have decided to deduct these taxes and remit them to the IRD tomorrow, officials say. They said that banks have already deducted the taxes such as the 5 per cent withholding tax on interest income for children’s’ savings accounts for April and they will remit these to the IRD tomorrow. “This is the law. We didn’t get any instructions from Treasury more..