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Forging a radical centre

Aug 3 (TM) Sri Lanka today is facing an unprecedented political, economic, and social crisis; as a nation, we are gazing into the abyss at the edge of a precipice. This is truly an existentialist moment for all Sri Lankans; each individual must make meaningful choices and the choices they make will define SL’s future for generations to come. Are we to define a future for our country based on our fears & prejudices? more..

Nikini Full Moon Poya Day falls today

Aug 3 (Island) Wisdom finds its sublime splendour in a Samma Sambuddha’s words. His resolute counsel to the clergy is to confine their speech to the Dhamma at all times. Futile discussions on kings and rulers, affairs of state, battles waged and speech marked by vain glory, ridicule of others and time spent on hollow rhetoric are not their domain. The moment a disciple reaches the supramundane state of spiritual pre-eminence the words that emanate from him or her do necessarily more..

2020 General Election: History in the making?

Aug 3 (TM) With days to go for the much awaited 2020 general election, political parties are engaged in last ditch efforts to secure their slots in the ninth Parliament. All campaigning for polls will have to be concluded by midnight tonight and the wait till begin for the final results to be released on Thursday. 2020 general election is likely to go down in history for several reasons. It will be the election that has been held under unique circumstances after being postponed on at least two occasions. more..

කාන්තා අයිතීන් වෙනුවෙන් අපේක්ෂිකාවන්

Lawbreakers, masses and asses

Aug 3 (Island) The run-up to the forthcoming general election has been without major incidents. One can only hope that the situation will not change within the next two days and in the post-election period. Good news came from Ratnapura, on Friday, while election fever was running high. Former Power and Energy Deputy Minister and SLPP candidate in the current parliamentary election fray, Premalal Jayasekera, and two of his lieutenants were sentenced to death by the Ratnapura HC more..

Think, think, and think again!

Aug 3 (TM) The next general election of Sri Lanka is due to take place on Wednesday, 5 Aug, three days from today. In a departure from the old practice prevalent since the first general election back in Aug 1947, the counting of votes will not take place immediately after voting concludes at 5 p.m., an hour longer than usual to conform to health guidelines, but at 8 a.m. the next morning. One can only hope that the cast ballots would remain in the safe custody of election officials overnight, more..

SLFP returnees smeared in sewage: Basil proposes political distancing

Aug 3 (ST) SLPP National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa this week made it clear that those who left them during Yahapalana govt would be welcomed back, but they need to maintain the distance. He clearly meant political distancing, and not social distancing. He was referring to the SLFP members who had returned to contest on the SLPP ticket. Mr Rajapaksa was trying to explain to his supporters how the returnees should be treated. more..

Say, Mr. Chairman of the EC, does COVID strike only at night?

Aug 3 (ST) Eyebrows were raised quizzingly over the announcement EC Mahinda Deshapriya made last month of his extraordinary decision to count the ballot papers of the Aug 5 election on the following day and not on the same evening immediately after polling had closed. The raised brow regained its usual countenance only when the EC reassured the nation on TV the same week that the counting will be done the same night and the party result announced by sunrise on 6th morning. more..

After the elections

Aug 3 (CT) The risk in an article to be uploaded a day or two before the results come rolling in, is that my assumptions may be blown away by the outcome. However, the assumptions in this instance are universally believed to be true and readers will forgive everybody if everybody is wrong! These unanimous assumptions are: 1. The SLPP will win a parliamentary majority and form the next govt. 2. Gota-Mahinda-SLPP will not win a 2/3 majority. I make no assumptions about 3 other issues; more..

Stopping the Landslide

Aug 3 (GV) Basil Rajapaksa is the Rajapaksa family’s thinking man. Unlike his brothers and nephews, he doesn’t shoot his mouth off. His remarks should be taken seriously, because, often, they point to the shape of the future. Alarm bells need to clang when Basil Rajapaksa says he wants to model the SLPP on China’s Communist Party and India’s BJP: “I want our party to be a party like the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and how they act… more..

Break the vicious cycle: Do not vote for repression!

Aug 3 (CT) Since independence in 1948, all SL govts have presided over ever-increasing corrupt practices, failing to deliver a vibrant economy or a fair and just society. They have failed to improve the standard of living of the masses. It is worth remembering that during this period, three rebellions were launched by the youth of the country against the irrational mode of governance and they were brutally crushed. Dismal results are there for us to see – an increasingly disempowered society, more..

A circus before the elections as people starve and politicians grin

Aug 3 (ST) On the eve of a General Election that promises to be (ominously) portentous for Sri Lanka, the inglorious jostles with the plainly ridiculous. A prominent criminal investigator long in the crosshairs of this Govt and once in the forefront of majorly controversial cases ranging from massive corruption scandals to enforced disappearances, is arrested. And a PCoI probing the 2019 Easter Sunday jihadist attacks is told by the former Director of the State Intelligence Service (SIS) that more..

Polls at last; lacklustre election campaign ends tonight

Aug 2 (ST) Most Sri Lankans have shown a lack of enthusiasm over the August 5 parliamentary elections. Yet, in marked contrast, western governments have displayed a keen interest on the outcome. Most of their diplomats have been in the northern capital of Jaffna, easily the epicentre of increased political activity. This is compared to all other districts with Colombo taking a distant second place. At the Aug 5 general election, more than 16.2 mil more..

Ballot boxes to be sealed and signed before counting begins the next day

Aug 2 (ST) For the first time, political parties and independent groups have been requested to send two representatives to each counting centre to stay overnight on Aug 5 until the counting begins the following morning. EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said the move was to ensure transparency in the whole electoral process amidst concerns of ballot box rigging as the counting process would begin only at 8 the following morning. “The representatives can stay more..

Heavy rain of 100 mm likely

Aug 2 (AD) Showers will occur at times in Sabaragamuwa, Western and Central provinces and in Galle and Matara districts. Heavy rainfalls about 100 mm are likely at some places. Several spells of showers will occur in North-Western province. Showers or thundershowers may occur at a few places in the Uva province in the evening or night. Wind speed can increase up to 60 kmph at times in Southern province, Polonnaruwa, Mannar, Trincomalee, and Matale districts and more..

450,000 poll cards still lying at post offices

Aug 2 (ST) Nearly 450,000 poll cards are still remaining at post offices as the Postal Department concluded its house-to-house distribution process on July 29. Post Master General Ranjith Ariyaratne called on the public to visit area post offices to collect their poll cards if they had not received them yet. Poll cards would be available at the post offices until 5 pm on Aug 5. Mr Ariyaratne explained that if residents had their names on polling list, more..

Daily repatriation from Saturday

Aug 2 (TM) The airports would be open for daily repatriation flights from Saturday (8). Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. (AASL) Chairman Major General (Retd.) G.A. Chandrasiri said that it was part of gradually recommencing the repatriation process. “Both Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) will be opened for flights from 8 August onwards,” he said, noting that daily flights have been scheduled to arrive. more..

President’s Hajj Message

Aug 2 (PMD) It is with pleasure I offer my felicitations to Sri Lankan Muslims and their fellow devotees the world over on this occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. On this day of Hajj, Muslims commemorate immense sacrifices made by Nabi Ibrahim and his family members in honour and respect of God. During this season a large number of Muslims from around the world gather in Mecca for Hajj pilgrimage considered as the fifth pillar of the Islamic faith. Although the Muslim devotees are more..

Kurunegala demolished site: Full report to be delayed

Aug 2 (TM) The full report of the findings related to the demolished archaeological site in Kurunegala that was to be presented to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa would be delayed, according to Secretary to the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Cultural, and Religious Affairs M.K. Bandula Harischandra. The reason for the delay is a writ application filed against the Mayor of Kurunegala at the Court of Appeal, as the full report can only be more..

Austrian Mayor enjoys authentic SL cuisine at new Restaurant in St. Pölten

Aug 2 (Island) A SL restaurant Mandas, which serves authentic Sri Lanka food including rice and curry, hoppers and Kottu, was opened in the City Centre of St Pölten in Austria. SL’s Ambassador to Austria Majintha Jayasinghe met with Matthias Stadler, Mayor of St. Polten at the City Hall for a cordial discussion. The opening of the restaurant took place on the sidelines of the event. Ambassador and the Mayor reiterated their interest to strengthen relationship between more..

Collaborating with international observers: New technology for local election monitors

Aug 2 (SO) Local election monitors despite low funds will use the latest technology to collaborate with international observers to monitor the Aug 5 election. This follows the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has restricted movements among countries since int'l airports remain closed. “This is a significant election for the country and for the first time we are facing constraints in having int'l monitors here,” Executive Director of Asian Network for Free Elections,Chandanie Watawala said. more..

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..