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Move to ban tobacco cultivation questioned

June 19 (SL) Despite both the Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) and its tobacco farmers being key drivers of national and rural economic growth, neither party was consulted before the intention to ban tobacco cultivation in 2020 was announced, spokesperson of CTC said. As a responsible tobacco company, CTC supports reasonable regulations that are consultative, evidence-based & delivers policy objectives more..

Micro-finance and Leasing: Today’s Loan Sharks

June 19 (DM) It has taken the Central Bank many years to see what some of us have been pointing to since the war ended – that people in the north and east are in a massive debt trap.   When I set out to research rural incomes in Jaffna five years ago, it was evident that debt had become a central economic problem. In most villages in the north and east, any discussion about the rural economy would quickly get to the problem of crippling indebtedness. After years of indifference and denial more..

Grenfel Towers fire: The price of profit at any cost

June 19 (DM) On June 14, 2017, London’s Grenfell Towers, owned by the Borough Council in Kensington and Chelsea (Local Govt Authority), and managed by an independent company - Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), went up in flames.  The building was refurbished by a third party - Rydon Construction - who were contracted by KCTMO at a cost of £10 million recently. Rydon Construction, while refurbishing the building with full knowledge more..

Three constituents threaten to quit TNA

June 19 (CT) The leaders of three TNA constituent parties, EPRLF, PLOTE and TELO, have expressed solidarity with Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and warned that if the TNA hierarchy brings out the No Confidence Motion against Northern Chief Minister, they would withdraw their parties from the TNA and function separately in Parliament. Leader of EPRLF Suresh Premachandran, PLOTE leader Darmalingam more..

Lakshman Yapa assumes duties today

June 19 (CT) State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, who was reported to be in dispute with the Minister Kabir Hashim over office space, is to assume duties officially today. He will assume duties at the Ministry office at the World Trade Centre. Minister Abeywardena was to assume duties on 2 June. However, he postponed it after hearing that six rooms out of nine assigned to his ministry office at the World Trade Centre, had been acquired by the staff of Minister Kabir Hashim. more..

Arrest of BBS chief: Police fear public uprising

June 19 (CT) Police fear that the arrest of BBS leader Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera would lead to negative consequences and even a possible public uprising, a high ranking Police official said. Official who did not wish to be named, said that the Police are aware of the dormant possibility of a public uprising in the event of the thera's arrest. Court has already issued an arrest warrant on the thera who is facing charges that include hate speech and instigation of racial violence. more..

Video: Hate crime: Police probing politicos' speech

June 19 (DM) Police were investigating into politicians' statement, which was seen as inciting racism and create communal disharmony, DIG Priyantha Jayakody said. He said that legal action would be taken against such politicians under the instruction of the Attorney-General. Total of 14 individual had been arrested in connection with the incidents based on racism. “The suspects were arrested in connection with several incidents more..

EPRLF: TNA unity hangs in balance in House

June 19 (DM) Keeping the unity among the TNA could not be sustained among the allies, even in Parliament, unless the No-Confidence Motion against Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran was not withdrawn, EPRLF Leader Suresh Premachandran opined. EPRLF, ITAK, PLOTE and TELO are the constituent parties in the TNA. The motion has been signed mainly by the ITAK members. The other three parties met last evening and discussed modalities to sort out the problem. more..

SL Basketball player dies during match

June 19 (DN) Not just the SL basketball fraternity, but the sporting community as a whole mourn the untimely demise of Ranil Ganewatte of Hayleys Group who died during Friday’s Mercantile Services Basketball League tournament match against Airport & Aviation at Henry Pedris courts, Colombo. 39-year-old 6.5” centre player was overjoyed as he scored an early basket, but little he knew as he collapsed near half court line on his way back to back court, that he will never wake up again. more..

Harry J hooks up with Japan’s ANA, JAL for SriLankan Airlines

June 19 (FT) Senior business leader Harry Jayawardena has teamed up with Japan’s leading carriers ANA and JAL in a consortium to acquire a 49% stake along with management of SriLankan Airlines. Consortium has conveyed its expression of interest to the Govt, which is keen to revive the national carrier via a Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative. All Nippon Airways (ANA), is the largest airline in Japan whilst Japan Airlines more..

Ministers to meet PM on constitutional reforms

June 19 (Island) Final talks between ministers, representing UNP and SLFP, and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on the proposed constitutional reforms will be held this morning, according to Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka. Thereafter, a group of MPs supporting the Yahapalana govt would join the ministers and PM for further talks on the issue, Karunathilaka said. At 5 pm today, all ministers are scheduled to meet President Sirisena at Presidential Secretariat on the same issue. more..

Was it by design or by accident?

June 19 (DM) The former strongman visited the country of the Rising Sun recently and was given a red carpet welcome by the compatriot community there. And by a strange coincidence, soon afterwards he found himself in the company of a yahapalanaya deputy who was to remain his inseparable companion until the end of his visit in that hospitable country.  The deputy is said to be a Blue one hailing from the Puttalam district and he was in the council even during the regime of more..

Parliament Mafia: Why tax public to recover losses caused by MPs?

June 19 (Island) Public litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku has alleged that the govt has imposed as much as 300% tax on the cheapest Indian car to offset massive loss of revenue due to controversial duty free car permits scheme issued for the benefit of MPs. Kodituwakku has drawn the attention of the Supreme Court to the injustice caused to those wanting to procure cheapest vehicles when the apex court heard a petition more..

SC dismisses petition contesting Hajj quota

June 19 (FT) The Supreme Court dismissed the Fundamental Rights petition contesting the impugned allocation of Hajj pilgrims quota for 2017. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Anil Gooneratne dismissed the Petition for non-inclusion of necessary parties, the other tour operators, as respondents. Petitioners, nine Hajj/Umrah travel operators, cited Director of Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs M.R.M. Malik, Minister M.H.M. Haleem, more..

President visits IDH Hospital

June 19 (PMD) President Sirisena made an observation tour to IDH Hospital in Angoda today (17). He stated that the govt will take rapid actions to complete the requirements of the hospital. The congestion occurred at the hospital due to the admission of large number of Dengue patients to the hospital was settled down after sending them to the hospitals in Thalangama, Vethara and Piliyandela with required facilities. Prez directed the officials to ensure the service of specialist doctors more..

Special Parliamentary Session to mark 70th Anniversary

June 19 (DM) Special Parliamentary Session would be held on Oct 3 to mark the 70th Anniversary of Parliament, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said. He said Speakers of the SAARC would be invited to the occasion. He said senior politicians would also participate in the event. “It was a praiseworthy that we have been able to hold Parliament for 70 years despite many obstacles including the failed coup attempt in 1960, more..

SC grants leave to proceed with petition on school admission

June 19 (FT) Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights violation petition filed against Galle Southlands College for impugned refusal to select an aggrieved Christian (Non Roman Catholic) child to Grade 1, despite it being started in 1885 by the Methodist Mission. Bench comprising CJ Priyasath Dep and Justice Anil Gooneratne granted leave for the alleged infringement of child’s fundamental right to equality and fixed the matter for argument on 9 Oct. more..

Sri Lanka’s country image is being tarnished: Survey

June 19 (FT) Latest islandwide poll reveals that more than half the people (55%) believe that factors such as inappropriate activities by politicians and the increasing crime rate are tarnishing Sri Lanka’s image. Only 35% dispute this view, stating that the island has an impeccable reputation due to religious reconciliation as well as its cultural background. Nearly six in 10 of survey respondents feel that country’s image has not improved despite the change of govt in Jan 2015 more..

Sri Lanka arrests monk, police officer for anti-Muslim violence

June 19 (Reuters) Police have arrested four people including a Buddhist monk and a police officer accused of taking part in an attack on a mosque, as part of a crackdown on violence against the minority Muslim population. Police said on Sunday the four were members of the hardline BBS or Buddhist Power Force organization, which Muslim groups have blamed for a string of recent attacks on businesses and mosques. more..

Minister insist on fitness

June 19 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that he won't approve any team without fitness reports about players, and lashed out at SL cricketers stating they are overweight and some of the ugliest looking players to play int'l cricket in terms of physical appearance. According to SL's sports law any team that represents the country needs approval by the Sports Minister first. "SL is the only cricket team to have players with big bellies & it's not surprising there are so many drops. more..

Is this the killer of Tilak?

June 19 (Island) Speculation is rife that a young bull elephant with a single tusk, seen recently on the Yala main road, could probably be the killer of the majestic tusker, Tilak, of Yala a few days ago. He has been sighted in the area where the incident happened. According to the post-mortem report Tilak had sustained deep wounds inflicted by a single tusk during an altercation. Hence, the young bull with a single tusk has become the suspect in the killing of Tilak. more..

Ford’s future hangs in balance?

June 19 (CT) Officially SL Coach Graham Ford is on a short leave, but he has left with virtually all his belongings this time unlike any of his previous visits back home. Meanwhile, at home at both SLC and Sports Ministry, Ford's authority is diminishing, where Team Manager Asanka Gurusinha was the one who was visibly in-charge during the past few SL series even though Ford was around, indicating there is a clear dispute. more..

5 TN fishermen arrested by SL navy

June 19 (PTI) Five Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested and their boat impounded by the Sri Lankan navy today for allegedly fishing in their territorial waters. The fishermen from Mandapam had put out to sea in a boat early today and were fishing off Neduntheevu, when Lankan naval men surrounded them and took them to Kangesanthurai port there, state Fishermen Association president N Devadoss said. On May 23, six fishermen were arrested for allegedly fishing near Neduntheevu. more..

Selfish coaches destroy SL Sports: Dayasiri

June 19 (CT) Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara said that there is a coaching monopoly taking place and two reasons why our athletes are at such a low level is the selfishness of those qualified coaches who are blocking others from reaching the top level. He made these observations at the certificate presentation ceremony of Sports Diploma Awards of Sports Science held at the Sport Ministry on Friday. He further said that they uplifted the standards of the coaches after they took over office more..

Pakistan thrash India in CT 2017 final

June 19 (CI) If the 2017 Champions Trophy were to have had another two games, Pakistan might be scoring 750 and bowling teams out for negative 12 by the end of it. Even for a side that is routinely unpredictable, even for a team with a long history of starting slowly then making a white-hot charge through a tournament, what Pakistan have pulled off here is some diamond-studded, galactic-scale nonsense. more..

Phone call on train claims 17 year old's life

June 19 (DN) A youth travelling on the foot board of the Colombo – Talaimannar express train engaged in an animated conversation on his mobile phone on June 17 died on the spot after falling off his perch as the train neared the Ganegoda railway station in Mirigama. He was identified as Kasun Herath (17) of Konewegama Yahapauwa, a labourer at a construction site at Yakkala. He had boarded the train from Ragama station enroute to Mahawa from where he had planned to go home on leave. more..

Of transition, batsmanship & a SL throwback

June 19 (CB) English county Surrey are enjoying their best season in many years this time around. One main reason for that is the form of their overseas signing - Kumar Sangakkara. Into his third and last season, Sangakkara notched up five centuries in a row and nearly got a world-record sixth a fortnight ago. His form has been such that Sri Lanka's captain Angelo Mathews made a request for the star batsman to join his team's Champions Trophy campaign in England. more..

Gnanasara’s disappearing act has cops spellbound!

June 19 (CT) Monk Galagodaatta Gnanasara is up to his antics again. This time however, the police have been instructed to arrest him. The media for the past week has been carrying the latest updates of the absconding monk. The Police failure is attributed to a powerful minister's interference, alleged none other than the cabinet spokesman Rajitha Seneratne. Rajapaksa administration was toppled for its failure to contain this monk. more..

Dayasiri’s head turns too big to fit his new sporting boots

June 19 (ST) Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera can play with his marbles as much as he wants to in his own Ministry of Sports. But what right does he have to interfere and pass judgment upon the state of play in other ministries? Instead of concentrating and trying to find the reasons for the dismal failure this week of the Lankan cricket team to even qualify for the semifinals of the ICC Champions Trophy, why has he shifted his ministerial focus from his own playing field and become so engrossed more..

Uneducated thugs or qualified swindlers better legislators?

June 19 (SL) When SL politics reaches a crisis point and the real culprits responsible for the crisis cannot be fixed, there is a consensual feeling that the honourable MPs are to be blamed. Right now questions are being asked in the media whether the present crisis was inevitable because 94 MPs of the contingent of 225 haven’t passed the GCE-O/L exam. Our thinking about the need for educated MPs was somewhat jolted when we accidently came across a quotation of a former US President more..

Adaraneeya Sri Lanka: Kalutara

Editorial: Plastic rice, toxic paper etc.

June 19 (Island) Education Ministry and the GMOA have locked horns once again. This time around their battle is not over doctors’ children being deprived of admission to popular schools. They are fighting over the synthetic paper used for printing some school textbooks. This particular plastic paper is injurious to children’s health as it contains some toxic material, doctors argue. The kneejerk reaction of the govt has been to pooh-pooh their clam and accuse the GMOA of more..


June 19 (Island) Last week, a large rally took place in Colombo. Villagers from Panama, a coastal village in the Eastern Province, were demanding the return of their land currently occupied by the Air Force, and were in the city to hand over a petition signed by 20,000 to the Presidential Secretariat. This is a long struggle, for years out of sight, out of mind, by citizens who have little to nothing by way of livelihoods, belongings or hope. Their lands continue to be occupied by the military. more..

Selfies on railways banned

June 19 (SO) SL railway authorities have begun a nationwide crackdown on those individuals recklessly taking selfies on railway tracks, in an attempt to curb an increasing number of tragedies, all for the sake of social media moolah. Last week, saw not one, but two tragic incidents making headline news. Two brothers, Shashi Madhushan aged 24 and Thikshana Shakshan (12) met with a tragic accident when they attempted to take selfies at more..

Them & these the same; sad but proven true

June 19 (SO) Unuth ekai, munuth ekai! The truth of this dawned on this cat only very recently, even though many people repeated the expression with fervour and fear. She was sent a Gypsies video with the song with some recognizable faces!! All the persuasion to admit that THESE had failed did not convince nor shake her faith. She has now sadly succumbed to believing the succinct saying. Of course you know who they are: the unuth and the munuth. more..

Mr President, It’s A B C !

June 19 (CT) Mr President, please do get a brief from your hundreds of experts and advisors hanging around you (at a colossal cost to the tax payer) before you open your mouth. When you speak, you should speak responsibly and as a Head of State. This is applicable whether you address a global or local audience. Your statement that the Christians are lying about the 168 attacks on them this year shows your lack of understanding of the different religious persecutions that are a cancer more..