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Aluth Parlimenthuwa

No, Ranjan Ramanayake is not a hero

Jan 15 (GV) Sri Lankans are, in general, an emotional lot. They like conspiracy theories and where there aren’t any they like to cook some up. The Ranjan Ramanayake verdict is a case in point. On the face of it the ruling seems, if not reasonable, then at least straightforward. Here is the case of a man who point blank called a majority of judges and lawyers corrupt, admitted in court that he did so and publicly stated that he would never take back what he said. Construed as contempt of court, more..

Covid-19 diplomacy now underway

Jan 15 (DM) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his last Sunday’s encounter with people in Uhana, Ampara, said he wrote to both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping asking for cooperation in accessing Covid-19 vaccines being developed or manufactured in their respective countries. Both India and China have strategic interests in Sri Lanka. The hiatus afforded by the pandemic is opening up a new platform for the display of Covid-19 diplomacy. more..

Illegal clearing of Attidiya Sanctuary with powerful political patronage

Jan 15 (DM) Environmental destruction under political patronage is not new in SL. Although the bio-diverse wetland in Bellanwila-Attidiya is beyond measure, and officially protected since 1990 as a bird sanctuary, it appears that its protected status is no longer sufficient. Violating conditions and guidelines imposed by the Wild Life Conservation Dept (WLCD), a private party backed by a powerful political hand has cleared and more..

The geopolitical enabling of The Gotabaya garrison state

Jan 15 (CT) The project of Prez Rajapaksa seems to be the conversion of SL from an uninterrupted, long-standing democracy and open society, into a second Pakistan, with a permanent overarching military establishment either producing political leaders as in the past or constraining civilian political leaders within parameters set by the military establishment. This is also the Myanmar model. In both cases religion also plays a role as state ideology. The adoption of a Pakistan-Myanmar garrison more..

Jaffna monument: Rebuilding what they demolished

Jan 15 (DM) The previous fortnight saw three incidents involving commemoration of those killed in the struggle for their rights. First, a tense situation erupted last Friday when the authorities demolished a monument built within the Jaffna uni premises in memory of those, who were killed in the war. In a second incident representatives of plantation workers held a commemoration event for those who died in struggles in plantation areas. The event was held in Pathana, Thalawakelle on Jan 10. more..

Nearly 300 Ukrainians leave Sri Lanka without seeing the sunny side

Jan 15 (CT) SL’s tourism industry that was grounded almost two years ago (beginning from Easter bombings in April 2019), is gearing to take off from 23 Jan with the reopening of the BIA, while the mission to curb the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread is continuing amidst fear and criticisms, especially on tourism and the handling of Ukrainian tourists by both the tour operators and Sri Lanka Tourism which is quite disturbing & appalling. more..

Lions, Tigers and animal welfare

Jan 15 (CT) There is an Animal Welfare Bill coming up before Parliament soon. The subject is topical. Let me state my views generally. It was King Ashoka who became a Buddhist after the Kalinga War who first officially built various facilities and accessories and brought in Laws to ensure Animal Welfare. There are two types of people or two types of thoughts that prevail among human beings regarding Animal Welfare. Some say we owe nothing to the Animals. Others differ. more..

The north needs a new monument

Jan 15 (DM) The civil war ended 11 years ago, but people in this island find reasons to cause racial tension. The most recent incident is the issue that took place regarding a monument within the Jaffna University that was pulled down early this month. There are views that the monument was constructed to remember those innocent civilians who perished in the war; at a location identified as Mulliwaikkal to be precise. The views of those representing the majority race of the country opine that more..

Pillayan released due to CA decision: Lawyer

Jan 14 (EN) Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan and 4 others were acquitted of a murder carried out on Christmas Eve Mass 2005 because of a Court of Appeal decision, his lawyer said. Batticaloa High Court discharged the prisoners yesterday after the AG, Dappula de Livera withdrew charges against the accused on Monday, ending the possibility of justice for the family of the victim Joseph Pararajasingham. more..

SLIIT refuses to go before COPE

Jan 14 (CT) SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) has refused to go before the COPE as it is not legally obligated to do so. SLIIT has informed COPE through a law firm that it had not been legally obligated to do so. Therefore, COPE decided to summon the law firm first to resolve the matter. COPE further recommended that since SLIIT is an institution of national importance, an internal report should be prepared regarding the SLIIT reporting to Parliament and then it could be decided what more..

PM plans tax concessions for film industry

Jan 14 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning to give tax concessions to the film industry involving import duties and income tax relief, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had said following a meeting with the film industry representatives. A decision was made to give import duty concessions to equipment imported for the film industry, the PM’s media office said. The possibility to giving tax allowance for expenditure to produce a film and to make income from exhibition tax free was also discussed. more..

Sri Lanka's 135 all out: Anatomy of a collapse

Jan 14 (CI) Ah, hello guys. How are you? Happy new year, machan, happy new year. Come, come. Dressing room is there, just straight and to the left. I think Asitha said he was going to bring the match ball and the stumps for us. He's the newest guy in the team, no? So obviously I'm going to give him the job nobody wants. Do you have all your gear? No-one has forgotten anything? Everyone has their own box today? Wow, more..

Legal action taken against 473 institutions for violating quarantine regulations

Jan 14 (TM) Legal action will be taken against 473 government and private sector institutions in the Western Province over violating social distancing requirements, stated DIG Ajith Rohana. Police had launched an operation during the last two days to find out if institutions maintained social distancing requirements as gazetted by the govt in October last year. DIG said 2,823 institutions were checked during last two days and found that 473 institutions have failed to provide facilities to wash hands more..

Sri Lanka selling state lands to foreigners through backdoor: Harsha

Jan 14 (EN) SL’s current administration is selling real estate to foreigners and locals through the back door after coming to power saying promising not to sell an inch of land, SJB Harsha de Silva said. “From one side they are telling that they will not sell an inch of the country to foreigners,” he said. “But from the other side, they had already made the arrangements through the cabinet approvals, while the companies have been registered through the company registrar with Board of Directors appointed.” more..

Declassified Document states Sri Lanka listed in US strategic framework

Jan 14 (DM) A declassified document mentions Sri Lanka in the US strategy for the Indo-pacific region. The White House published the declassified United States Strategic Framework for the Indo-pacific. The document notes that that the US must strengthen the capacity of emerging partners in South Asia, including Sri Lanka, to contribute to a free and open order. “The White House published a declassified version of more..

Fragmentation of coconut land can’t be stopped: Johnston

Jan 14 (CT) Minister Johnston Fernando said, instead of banning large- scale coconut land fragmentation, it would be more appropriate to give land clearing companies the opportunity to start new coconut plantations and take care of them at least for a period of three years. He was responding to a question raised by a journalist regarding the fragmentation of coconut land in the Kurunegala District. He also said, although cutting down coconut trees has been heard for the past 20 years, more..

TUs discussion with Prez failed; we continue our struggle: JVP

Jan 14 (DM) While claiming that yesterday’s discussion of the Port Trade Unions’ with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was unsuccessful, the JVP said today they would continue the struggle to protect the full-ownership of the Eastern Jetty of the Colombo port. JVP politburo member and Chairman of the National Trade Union Centre K.D. Lal Kantha told a news conference that the government had officially hinted during yesterday’s discussion that Eastern Jetty would be handed over to India. more..

Covid-19 Situation Report

SLT, CEB ratings lowered after sovereign downgrade

Jan 14 (EN) Fitch Ratings has lowered the domestic rating of two state-controlled utilities after a re-caliberation of the scale following a sovereign downgrade to ‘CCC’ late last year. Sri Lanka Telecom’s National Long-Term Rating lowered to ‘AA-(lka)’ from ‘AA+(lka)’. The outlook is ‘Stable’. State-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB)’s National Long-Term Rating revised to ‘AA-(lka)’ from ‘AA+(lka)’. The outlook is outlook ‘Stable’. “The recalibration of our SL National Rating scale more..

CIOB welcomes Govt move to pay arrears to construction contractors

Jan 14 (FT) Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) President Dr. Rohan Karunaratne said yesterday that he appreciated the decision taken by the Government to pay the arrears due to Govt construction projects before the end of this month (January). Finance Ministry Secretary S.R. Attygalle had said that Rs. 243 billion had already been paid to construction contractors due to Government construction projects and that all outstanding bills would be paid before the end of this month. more..

Wasteful Sri Lanka skittled for 135 as England take control in Galle

Jan 14 (CI) In years to come, people will see the scorecard of this game - and Dom Bess' first-innings bowling figures, in particular - and presume this was the sort of Galle surface where the ball spun sharply throughout. It was not really so. In truth, the first day of this match was defined by a remarkably soft batting performance from Sri Lanka. No doubt they are low on confidence after their 2-0 drubbing in South Africa. more..

Chief warden of Avanthi Devi Children’s Home arrested over reports on abuses

Jan 14 (AD) The chief warden of Avanthi Devi Children’s Home in Anuradhapura has been placed under arrest. The children’s home in question, which was complicit in several cases of sexual abuse and other irregularities, was recently exposed by Ada Derana Ukussa. DIG Rohana said the police have so far recorded statements from 52 girls housed at the Avanthi Devi Children’s Home. Claims levelled by the children stressed that the establishment was frequented by men for consuming alcohol. more..

Ranjan detained in a separate cell

Jan 14 (CT) Prisons Department detained SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake in a separate cell at the Pallansena Quarantine Centre with heightened security, to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, after the Supreme Court (SC) convicted him of Contempt of Court on Tuesday. He was sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment. Prisons Department Spokesman said outside meals were not welcome in his case. He added visits by relatives have been suspended due to more..

Sri Lanka: A return to threats, fear

Jan 14 (HRW) SL’s human rights situation has seriously deteriorated under the administration of Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. Govt security forces have increased intimidation and surveillance of human rights activists, victims of past abuses, lawyers, and journalists. Minority Muslim and Tamil communities have faced discrimination and threats. more..

Japan suspends business visit program for 11 economies including Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (AD) Japan has suspended a program that allowed business visits by people from certain economies as it tightened border restrictions over renewed coronavirus fears. Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday announced the clampdown on entry by businesspeople from Vietnam, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, SL, and Malaysia. It means no foreigner would be allowed to enter except for special reasons like attending a relative’s more..

PHIs unable to trace Dr. Padeniya to place him under quarantine

Jan 14 (DM) Public Health Inspectors have been unable to contact GMOA Head Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya as of this evening to place him under quarantine after one of the doctors who had attended a party hosted by Dr. Padeniya at his residence in Kelaniya contracted Covid-19. The area PHI said that they had visited his residence twice but could not find him. Subsequently, they had brought this to the notice of the Kelaniya MOH. Dr. Padeniya had organised a party at his residence more..

Sri Lanka revives port deal with India, Japan

Jan 14 (AFP) Prez Rajapaksa on Wednesday announced the revival of an Indian and Japanese investment project to develop a deep-sea terminal in Colombo harbour, next to a controversial $500-million Chinese-run container jetty. A tripartite deal by SL's previous govt had been on hold amid trade union resistance, but Rajapaksa said the East Container Terminal (ECT) would proceed. Approval came after reviewing regional geo-political more..

British Council to harness power of creativity with Creative Economy for Sustainable...

Jan 14 (FT) Sri Lanka’s creative industries’ significant economic footprint and employment potential became evident last year when a nationwide research commissioned by the British Council uncovered that Sri Lanka’s creative economy has shown steady growth of 95%, rising its GDP contribution from $ 433.62 million to $ 845.41 million within four years. The study was conducted by the Institute of Policy Studies in Sri Lanka, and commissioned by the British Council. more..

MP Sritharan sets poser for UGC

Jan 14 (Island) TNA MP S. Sritharan says that if the UGC considers the Mullivaikkal Memorial being re-erected in the Jaffna University premises an illegal construction then it should take action to remove various other memorials in other universities too. MP Sritharan speaking to the media, on Tuesday, in Kilinochchi said that there were many memorials in other universities and there was nothing different between them and the one to be erected in the Jaffna University. more..

War is in the air?

Jan 14 (FT) A beleaguered president stages a phony war to rescue his political future. So goes the plot of Larry Beinart’s 1992 novel, American Hero and the 1997 movie it inspired, Wag the Dog. Wag the dog is an Americanism; Merriam Webster traces it to 1858 play, Our American Cousin. The phenomenon it encapsulates though is universal and timeless – political leaders, from monarchs to more..

The new camp of SL’s progressive politics

Jan 14 (FT) It was a double bonus to see Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s response to me on 1 Jan when I picked up Daily FT in the morning. First, he had responded to me in a matter of two days, and that is a favour I could not return, regrettably. Second, and more importantly, the title of his reply Saving SL’s democracy: A strategic perspective, signified that I could expect to read some actionable and positive recommendations useful to the progressive camp in defence & strengthening of democracy in SL. more..

When the Devil rules…

Jan 14 (FT) Pei aracandal pinam thinnum caththirankal (when the devil rules scholarship eats cadaver), wrote the famous Tamil poet Bharathi, in his memorable Panchali Cabatham. He was referring to the silence of the learned at Dhuriyothana’s court, when the ruler’s brother Dhuchchathana dragged Pandavas’ wife Dhrawpatha by her hair to be stripped in front of everyone. It was Lord Krishna who protected her, which eventually became casus belli for more..

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Six test positive through 504 RATs on those leaving WP

Jan 14 (DM) Six persons tested positive with COVID-19 through 504 random Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) conducted yesterday on those leaving the Western Province. DIG Ajith Rohana said that steps have been taken to resume Rapid Antigen Tests at 11 exit points in the Western Province from yesterday. Meanwhile, spokesman said that random RATs will also be conducted on passengers or the drivers and conductors of long distance buses operating from Colombo, especially to N&E provinces more..

Kandy District road development to be expedited

Jan 14 (DN) State Minister Nimal Lanza said that the proposed road development activities, road widening and construction of tunnels will be expedited to reduce traffic congestion in Kandy. He was speaking at a meeting of the Rural Infrastructure Development Committee in the Kandy District on Tuesday at the District Secretariat regarding the scope of the Ministry. “Arrangements have been made to implement rural road development activities, urban access roads, access roads connecting more..