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Shan Centennial II and Election Countdown

Jul 26 (Island) Finally, it is only ten days to go before the polls. It is countdown time. As I recalled a few weeks ago writing on a different subject, it was Shan who called the recurrence of parliamentary elections as the musical chair game of SL politics. I added at that time that the music and the game permanently stopped in 1977. I was promptly corrected online by a very astute observer that the game did not stop, only the music got longer and a lot more jarring. Now there is more than one game more..

Eyes on the prize

Jul 26 (ST) My dear Navin, I thought I should write to you, even in these busy days of campaigning, when I heard that you had suddenly offered to lead the Green party with the elephant symbol. You also said that its leader should be elected through a secret ballot. I must say that was quite surprising for several reasons. Navin, you must have heard what the Green Man said at the time he offered Sajith the Green party nomination at the last big election. Sajith was given the candidacy on more..

'SLPP strength, a blend of the old and the new'

Jul 26 (SO) Chairman of SLPP and former Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said, the SLPP led coalition is as confident of a two-thirds majority today as they were seven months ago. “Approximately, 6.9 million voted for Prez Rajapaksa at the Prez election in November. This is a completion of that mandate, to implement his policy,” Prof. Peiris said adding that it was crucial to appoint a Parliament which is in tune with his vision for development. more..

Each part of the system got rigged — even the most sacred

Jul 26 (SO) Former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe last week acknowledged in a public interview on television that Arjuna Mahendran the former Governor of the Central Bank, now absconding, did not inform the then Monetary Board about the switch to the auction system in the infamous bond placement at the time of the Bond scam. As elections draw near, the scam is again in the spotlight for the long trail of financial losses it left in its wake. What has a book on the Bond scam more..

TNA’s call for self-determination

Jul 26 (ST) A Manifesto (from the Latin manifestum – a list of facts) is a sine qua non for every SL political party to make public before any national election. Back in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels drew up The Communist Manifesto which changed the world. It was not an election declaration, but a socio-economic thesis set against the Industrial Revolution referring to the exploitation of the proletariat (working class) by the bourgeoisie (ruling class). It predicted that capitalism would more..

'I Am for the People and by the People'

Jul 26 (CT) Anusha Chanrdrasekaran is the daughter of the late Leader of the Upcountry People’s Front, P. Chandrasekaran. An Attorney at Law practicing in Colombo, Chandrasekaran is contesting from an Independent Group based in the plantation sector. She says that she is following in her father’s footstep and wants to bring a change to her community focused on education and self-employment for women. more..

Editorial: Police bashing

Jul 26 (Island) We publish in today’s issue of this newspaper two short contributions by retired policemen, one a letter to the editor and the other an article related to the department they had both long served. The matters they have focused on deserves both public reflection and governmental action. There is no doubt that corruption is deep-rooted in the police. This applies not only to our police force but also to forces elsewhere in the world. Denying this would be a blatant example of closing more..

Towards a stronger Parliament

Jul 26 (SO) Aug 5 General Election is just over one week away and parties and candidates have shifted their campaigns into high gear within the constraints imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic caused the postponement of the poll on two previous occasions, but the August 5 date looks a certainty, though the Kandakadu Covid cluster gave everyone a scare. That has now been fully controlled according to the health authorities. The bottom line is that the people will get more..

JVP unveils its plan to develop economy

Jul 25 (Island) Only the JVP-led NPP has a sound plan to recuperate the country’s economy from its present ills, while other parties in the fray for the general election have so far only produced plans to reinstate the national economy to its former self to the status of pre-COVID-19, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says. Speaking at an economic forum held at the SL Foundation Institute on Thursday with members of the business more..

Chamal inspects water supply projects

Jul 25 (CT) Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, visited the Chavakatcheri, North Sarasalai and Vadamaratchi area on Wednesday to inspect the progress of drinking water supply projects in the area. Lack of potable water is a severe problem the population of over 950,000 people in the Jaffna peninsula has been facing for a long time. Scientists and experts from the Irrigation Department, who conducted research from 2011, have proposed to build a reservoir linking Ukkuaru and Vadamaratchi more..

166,000 tonnes of rail tracks imported: Vavuniya-Jaffna rail track to be re-laid

Jul 25 (CT) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said rail tracks from Anuradhapura to Vavuniya have been in a state of disrepair for decades due to the lack of modernisation and trains plying the Vavuniya-Jaffna line were slow. Steps will be taken to develop rail tracks from Anuradhapura to Vavuniya next year and the construction of tracks from Hambanthota to Kataragama is also expected to commence. Speaking at a progress review meeting at the Ministry recently regarding more..

Brutalised and forgotten SL cinnamon peelers recognised in new research

Jul 25 (ABC) Dilhani Dissanayake wants everyone to know a cinnamon peeler is actually a person and not a tool. She has been so passionate about her own cultural history she completed her PhD thesis on the history of the cinnamon peelers in Sri Lanka. Dr Dissanayake says the popular spice is native to Sri Lanka and is part of the country's cultural identity. "It's come to represent Sri Lankan culture and its people's identity," she said. more..

SEP election campaign: Workers denounce establishment parties

Jul 25 (WSWS) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and its youth organisation, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), are conducting a strong intervention in Sri Lanka’s national election due to be held on Aug 5. The SEP is fielding a total of 43 candidates in three districts— Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, the central hills plantations district, and in Jaffna, the capital of the war-ravaged Northern Province. The major capitalist parties contesting the elections more..

Colombo’s Nawam Mw earmarked for development projects

Jul 25 (ST) The Urban Development Authority has targeted large tracts of land, including 28 acres in Nawam Mawatha, for sprawling mixed development projects, UDA Director General Prasad Ranaweera said. Around 10 acres of this land will be used to put up high rise buildings to accommodate around 2,200 households, mostly low-income, that will lose their homes as a result of the project. The rest will be for a mixed development project – hotels and apartments. more..

Infighting perks up dull campaign in the south

Jul 25 (ST) Political parties have slowed down their campaigns but the pandemic has not reduced sparring over preferential votes. While election monitoring groups say campaigning is taking place without violence, internal disputes over preferential votes were externally visible, said Manjula Gajanayake, the National Coordinator of the CMEV. The Galle District was calmer than most others, with less electoral enthusiasm. more..

Council of Ex-Muslims urges Govt: Remove race, religion from birth certificate

Jul 25 (CT) Council of Ex-Muslims of SL urged the Govt to remove from birth certificates particulars on religion, ethnicity and marital status of parents. ‘It is unfortunate that political pressure and influence have been applied to reverse the Govt’s previous decision to remove ethnicity, religion and race from the National Birth Certificate. The Council supports the previous decision of the Govt and requests the Govt to take steps to remove such clauses and columns from all the documents, more..

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil festival: More devotees allowed than planned: Jayaseelan

Jul 25 (CT) Commissioner of the Jaffna Municipal Council, R.T. Jayaseelan on 23 July said that he has come to know that during the forthcoming Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil festival, permission has been granted to allow an additional number of devotees to enter the Kovil premises than had been previously decided on. The chariot festival of the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil will be held on 17 August. The devotees who are to take part in the festival have been asked to follow health guidelines more..

For Grades 11, 12 and 13: Govt schools to open Monday

Jul 25 (CT) Arrangements have been made to open all Govt schools for Grades 11, 12 and 13 students from 27 July (Monday). The school re-opening days for different Grades and Exam dates was revised in view of the new situation regarding the spread of COVID-19, and school hours for Grades 11, 12 and 13 Grades will be from 7.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Additional Secretary to Ministry of Education, more..

TNA’s Sritharan urges Colombo Tamils to cast their vote for Ganesan

Jul 25 (Island) TNA Jaffna District candidate Sritharan has urged Tamil voters in the Colombo district to vote for former Cabinet Minister Mano Ganesan. "It is Colombo District Tamils’ duty to reelect Ganesan to parliament", the former TNA MP said in a statement, published on a Tamil website. Mano also reportedly shared this article on his FB page. Ganesan is in the fray on the SJB ticket. Meanwhile, Mano’s rival candidate (from UNP) Shan Kuhavarathan has hit out at Sajith more..

National Peace Council reiterates need for equality 37 years after Black July

Jul 25 (FT) The National Peace Council in a statement emphasised the need for equality as the country marks 37 years since Black July. Following is NPC’s full statement. The week from 23 July marks the 37th year of one of the darkest periods of Sri Lanka’s history. Beginning on this day and continuing for a week, there were riots that targeted the Tamils living in the capital city of Colombo and elsewhere where they lived as a minority that led to death and destruction. more..

Senior SIS officer joined extremist group after retirement: witness

Jul 25 (Island) A senior State Intelligence Service (SIS) officer, after his retirement, had become involved in an Islamic organisation, which also wanted to establish an Islamic state, a senior SIS official on Islamic extremism, on Thursday night, told the PCoI investigating the Easter Sunday attacks. Earlier the commissioners asked the witness if current or retired govt servants had joined movements that promoted ISIS ideology. more..

Navy renders assistance to Kenyan flagged vessel in distress at High Seas

Jul 25 (SLN) Navy yet again has rendered assistance to a distressed Kenyan flagged vessel which was in total power failure for days at high seas. The Navy responding to a distress alert received at Maritime Rescue Coordinating Center (MRCC) Colombo on 21st July rendered towing assistance to the distressed vessel which was drifting about 170 nautical miles (about 306 km) south of SL. The vessel HORAKHTY with 13 crew onboard made her last Port call at Busan, more..

Gem and jewellery showroom training centre to be set up at Bogambara to help youth

Jul 25 (Island) Central Province Governor Lalith Gamage has unveiled a plan to open a gem and jewellery showroom for youth at the old Bogambara Prison in Kandy. Governor has taken this decision in response to a request from the Gems and Jewellery Central Organisation (GJCO). The organisation led by its president Senarath Basnayake told the Governor that there were youth who wanted to take to the gem and jewellery trade but lacked training. Showroom to be put up could be used as more..

Video: Another Excise officer under arrest over an Ice racket

Jul 25 (AD) Another officer attached to Dept of Excise has been arrested over his alleged involvement in drug dealing. According to reports, the suspect, who hails from Kadugannawa area, was attached to the Excise Station in Puttalam. Eight suspects including a regulator of the Excise Department were arrested in Puttalam on Thursday while in possession of 126g of Crystal Methamphetamine, commonly known as Ice. more..

Will make Colombo free of shanties: PM

Jul 25 (DM) PM Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday a future SLPP govt would make Colombo free of shanties. At a forum held at the Foundation Institute in Colombo, he said the yahapalana govet showed no interest in going ahead with the project to resettle low-income dwellers at proper housing schemes. “The programme to remove shanties and resettle these families at housing complexes was begun when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the then Secretary of Defence & Urban Development. more..

Confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 2,768

Jul 25 (NR) The number of coronavirus cases confirmed in SL has risen to 2,768. Four new COVID-19 cases were reported in the country today. Four individuals who arrived from Chennai, India tested positive for COVID-19, today. 654 persons including a foreign national are currently receiving medical treatment at nine facilities across the country. Meanwhile, nine more persons who contracted the novel coronavirus have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals. more..

Mole inside Zahran’s inner circle gave Indians precise intelligence on impending...

Jul 25 (Island) Indian intelligence agency, which warned about Easter Sunday attacks, had obtained precise intelligence on the impending attacks from someone within Zahran Hashim’s inner circle, an SIS officer, told the PCoI. The witness, whose name will not be divulged due to a request made by the PCoI said investigators were trying to find out whether information had been given by Sarah Jesmine, wife of Atchchi Muhammadu more..

Moody’s announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of Sri Lanka

Jul 25 (Yahoo) Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) reviews all of its ratings periodically in accordance with regulations -- either annually or, in the case of govts and certain EU-based supranational organisations, semi-annually. This periodic review is unrelated to the requirement to specify calendar dates on which EU and certain other sovereign and sub-sovereign rating actions may take place. Moody's conducts these periodic reviews through portfolio reviews in which more..

Will cloud kitchens kill Colombo’s restaurants?

Jul 25 (FT) The restaurant business is going contactless. With touch free menus, payment with QR codes, drive-throughs all in place, one can safely say they have got the COVID preventive measures down to a pat. According to news reports and analysts, in some countries like India, these cloud kitchens are slated to become billion dollar industries. But the thing is, it is just not the same — all of this is only making us nostalgic and yearning for pre-lockdown times, when we could more..

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After-effects of COVID-19

Jul 25 (CT) People in Sri Lanka were blessed not to have COVID-19 deaths spread into double digit figures akin to the USA, where approximately over 300,000 affected and over 133,000 have died. Globally affected figures reached over 10,499,833 with the total number of deaths reaching 511,860 (statistics increase daily). Thanks to President Rajapaksa’s intuition and forward-thinking Sri Lanka managed to control the spread of the epidemic. He was ably assisted both by Director of Health more..

'Prez’s astute leadership brings stability'

Jul 25 (DN) Prez Rajapaksa is a tower of strength and a beacon of hope for the country. If not for his astute leadership, the country would have suffered dire consequences as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, said former Minister Mahinda Amaraweera addressing an election propaganda meeting. He said that if the Yahapalana Govt was in power during this period, the country would have been gripped by the COVID-19 pandemic and the people would have been in grave danger. more..

'Sirisena saw no threat to national security'

Jul 25 (Island) In 2015, then Prez Maithripala Sirisena had not thought there would be a threat to national security and had agreed to hold the National Security Council (NSC) meetings once a month, instead of once a week as before, former Secretary to the Prez P.B. Abeykoon told the PCoI. Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and other stakeholders had agreed to hold the NSC, which used to meet once a week before, more..

3 beautification projects for Colombo, Kotte

Jul 25 (FT) Three beautification projects for Colombo and Sri J'pura Kotte, including a new green infrastructure project for Galle Face Green, was approved by the Cabinet this week. The projects, which will be implemented by the UDA, are aimed at improving the liveability in the capital by providing environmental and social infrastructure. “The three projects are a green infrastructure network plan around Galle Face Green, pedestrian centre on Baladaksha Mawatha, and developing more..

Cabinet skips discussion on King Buvanekabahu’s Assembly Hall demolition

Jul 25 (Island) The recent demolition of the Raja Sabha Mandapa - AssemblyHall of King Buvanekabahu ll on the instructions of the Mayor of Kurunegala, was not taken up for discussion by the Cabinet, says Minister Bandula Gunawardane. Asked during the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing on Thursday, why those responsible for bulldozing the building in question, had not been arrested, Gunawardane said that it was the function of the law enforcement authorities. more..