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August 30: Int'l Day of the Disappeared and the Office on Missing Persons

Aug 28 (Island) While the govt has been equally commended and condemned for insistently passing the Office on Missing Persons Bill and signing it into law, it is also necessary to point out that the govt has not done a commendable job in either making a strong case for, or providing effective answers to criticisms of, the new law. Instead, it has relied more on its numbers and procedural tactics in parliament than in the art of persuasion both inside and outside the legislature. more..

Ranil’s subliminal reaction to defunct neoliberalism

Aug 28 (Island) Different people understand neoliberalism in different ways and that is their prerogative. I prefer a pretty tight definition: It is conventional (capitalist neoclassical) economics supplemented by an aggressive rightwing political agenda. This implies two things (i) neoliberalism is not a new development in economic theory; it has added nothing to classical (Smith, Ricardo, Mill etc) and neoclassical (Jevons, Walrus, Carl Menger and Alfred Marshal) economic theory more..

When millionaires die young

Aug 28 (CT) The Police CCD has begun probing the strong likelihood that billionaire businessman Mohammad Shakeeb Sulaiman of Bambalapitiya was brutally done to death by irate business competitors stemming from a dispute arising from a soured business deal or arising from debts owed to Sulaiman by some businessmen. The preliminary investigations had revealed that the slain businessman was considered a tough more..

Vehicle permits for MPs grossly abused

Aug 28 (SL) Tax-free vehicle permits given to MPs have allegedly been misused violating the regulations of the Motor Traffic Act as the vehicles were registered under MP’s names and were owned by other businessmen in the country. About 35 such vehicles registered under the name of MPs were being used by individuals violating the law. Toyota Land Cruiser imported on a permit issued in the name of MP Wimal more..

Envoy offers spending money to two VIP politicians

Aug 28 (ST) One would have thought it was only the rich Arab sheikhs who distributed hundred dollar bills to the needy when in Sri Lanka. Much the same way political campaigners handed down handbills. These scenes play out now and then when tourists from West Asia visit resorts in the south. Some visit mosques in the vicinity for prayers and are generous with what they have. Now comes the news that the envoy of a Far East more..

Hackers attack President’s website, warning of cyber war

Aug 28 (ST) Tampering of President’s official website with hackers breaching the site’s defences on two consecutive days, is being probed by detectives, CID said. The website,, continued to be offline yesterday after the second attack. President’s Media Director said a decision was made to temporarily take down the website after it was hacked a second time on Friday evening. more..

'Pilots issues are internal problems'

Aug 28 (ST) In an interview after repeated requests, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias said the issues highlighted by the Pilots’ Guild were internal matters. “Nowhere in the world are the internal problems of a company reflected in the newspapers,” he lamented. “This seems to happen only here and, that too, only in respect of SriLankan Airlines.” He insisted as a rule, management did not respond to personally-motivated allegations. more..

Seek clarification from SC

Aug 28 (CT) The former Police Media Spokesman, on 7 April 2015, issued a statement to the media alleging financial fraud at RADA (Reconstruction and Development Agency), without even obtaining a statement from former MP Tiran Alles. According to the statement, Treasury had allocated Rs 645 million to RADA and during investigations it had been revealed that no houses had been constructed by them in the N&E. more..

Questioning suspects and exercising power: Code of ethics for police

Aug 28 (SO) National Police Commission has provided guidelines as to how the Police should conduct themselves when questioning suspects and exercising power in its newly formed Code of ethics. The new ethics looks to minimize unprofessional conduct, to exercise high standards of professionalism and to enhance accessibility to the police service. Introducing the norms in a code of ethics is only a part of the bigger plan, more..

Media to be permitted to cover COPE Proceedings

Aug 28 (CT) Speaker set a precedent this week in Parliament when he pledged to remove all legal barriers to allow the media to cover proceedings of Parliamentary Committees including the COPE. Since the appointment of the new COPE, there have been several instances where official details of COPE proceedings and investigations were revealed to the media prior to being presented in Parliament, more..

Four LeJ terrorists behind Sri Lanka cricket team attack killed

Aug 28 (PTI) Four Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) terrorists, who were allegedly involved in the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009, were shot dead by the Pakistan police in the early hours of Sunday here. According to the CID of the Punjab police, seven terrorists attacked a CID team in Manawan area of Lahore where offices of the department are located. “Police team which came under attack of terrorists returned the fire, more..

Leaked emails: Probe to begin on President’s request to AG

Aug 28 (ST) Investigations are due to commence next week at the request of President Maithripala Sirisena to the Attorney General on an international media investigation published last week tying him to possible corruption in the 2009 award of a dam project to an Australian company–when he was Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Services Development. Sunday Times learns that the story was based on leaked emails from the firm. more..

The willing suspension of disbelief

Aug 28 (Island) The poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge first coined the phrase, and I use it here to loosely describe what is an enduring condition of the Sri Lankan polity and society. What the phrase means is to pause one’s critical faculties to enjoy what is clearly incredible or unbelievable. Suspending critical questioning, it can be argued, could be out of choice – for example, no one who sees any big-budget alien flick from Hollywood questions why all extra-terrestrialsseem to only target more..

Indian notions of its Sri Lanka involvement

Aug 28 (Island) Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated 25 years ago on Aug 20, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Chennai, India. Several articles on the assassination of RG and of India’s involvement in Sri Lanka’s affairs commencing around 1980 appeared in the local media. Two articles were reviews of books published recently titled The Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by Neena Gopal, a reputed Indian journalist and Perilous Interventions by Hardeep Sigh Puri, a former Indian diplomat. more..

හාවඩ් මාටෙන්ස්ටයින්

London Mission in contact with families of the dead

Aug 28 (ST) Sri Lanka’s High Commission (SLHC) has been in contact with the families of the five youth of Sri Lankan origin, who drowned in Camber Sands last Wednesday, when three of them tried to save the other two who were sucked into the quick flowing water of a rip tide. It has now been established that four of the victims were of Sri Lankan origin and permanent residents in the UK. They had applied for British citizenship and awaiting response to their applications. more..

Passage of OMP Bill embarrasses Govt

Aug 28 (Island) Even anyone familiar with parliamentary process in this land of lotus eaters would wonder how and why this govt bungles when it comes to passing new laws. We are said to have a unity or national govt comprising the crème de la crème of the two major parties and they are said to be capable of doing almost anything unlike the one-party govts we used to have. On top of all this we have a prime minister who is so well-versed in parliamentary process that it would be hard to more..

Srilankan Airlines: A t(w)aste of paradise!

Aug 28 (CT) Friday 18 Aug 2016. 12:30 p.m. Frankfurt Int'l Airport. Passengers, numbering 259, are enplaning the Colombo-bound UL 554 Airbus A 330-200 aircraft at the boarding gates. It is a direct flight without stopovers and expected to land at the BIA, Saturday at 6:30 a.m. The flight has an assortment of passengers from typical European tourists to Sri Lankans coming home, members of the business community more..

Finance ministry to discuss resignation issue

Aug 28 (SL) Ministry of Finance is to hold a discussion this week on the resignation of a group of directors in govt institutions representing the Treasury. Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samarathunga is to hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue. The directors resigned after they were summoned by FCID. The directors were in the management of CPC, SriLankan Airlines and Ports Authority and they were hauled before the FCID to respond to allegations of fraud more..

Govt. pays huge hospital bill for monk

Aug 28 (SL) The govt has decided to pay the hospital bill of a prominent monk who was receiving treatment in Singapore. Documents showed that the govt has decided to pay nearly 250,000 Singapore Dollars to cover the medical expenses in Singapore for the Anunayaka of the Ramanna Nikaya, the Venerable Girambe Ananda Thero. Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the SL High Commission in Singapore had made the necessary arrangements to attend to the Thero, more..

An artiste paints himself black

Aug 28 (CT) FCID and PRECIFAC, are probing Teledrama and Film Director Sudath Rohana's assets to verify whether he had violated rules and regulations regarding property of National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) and obtained property fraudulently. They are also investigating factors to establish whether, or not, Rohana, a member of the then Board of Directors of NHDA, also violated rules and regulations more..

PHIs crackdown islandwide on offenders

Aug 28 (CT) Public Health Inspectors Union (PHIU) has initiated legal action against 683 shop owners in their islandwide National Food Safety week crackdown on traders from 22 Aug up to 26, PHIU Treasurer D.Y.S.R.R. Mudalige said. He said 1,800 PHIs were deployed to carry out raids and investigations countrywide. "We carried out 754 raids including canteens, restaurants and hotels. After inspecting all the eateries in the country, we confiscated 11,330 food items to be more..

Video: Govt lied to people about free Wi-Fi and Volkswagen: Mahinda

Aug 28 (AD) Former President Rajapaksa has slammed the Govt over its failure to fulfill the election vows that it had made during the elections. Observation was made while speaking at a meeting held in Anamaduwa. “Govt has failed to fulfill the election promises that it had given to the people on free Wi-Fi and about the proposed Volkswagen project,” he added. Rajapaksa also accused the Govt of promoting the projects that launched during his term under Mahinda Chinthana program. more..

Resident tutor at late Justice de Abrew’s house recounts his last moments

Aug 28 (ST) A tuition teacher residing in the late SC Justice Sarath De Abrew’s house, recounted the late Justice’s last moments alive, before he fell to his death from the balcony of his residence in Attidiya Road, Ratmalana. She told Magisterial inquiry into his death that, she heard the former Judge shouting at his daughter and the servant, but did not pay heed to what was being said, as it was a regular occurrence in that household. more..

Women up front and the clothes they favour

Aug 28 (Island) Mufti immediately brings to mind Angela Merkel, now dubbed the heart and soul of Europe in tolerance after she took the bold step of opening the doors of Germany to one million asylum seekers from the Syrian region – "the most generous, open hearted gesture of recent history." She has been Chancellor for ten years and is de facto head of the European Union. TIME magazine selected her as the 2015 Person of the Year. Merkel is most often dressed in more..

Toiling under the sun in their sunset years

Aug 28 (ST) Many Sri Lankans aged 60 years and over are forced to work daily for meagre earnings to survive. As usual, those who belong to lower income groups are the hardest hit. Many labourers that one sees working as street cleaners are part of this ageing population – forced to work long hours in the sun and even at night for a small salary. Many elderly persons have also been forced to engage in heavy work that places enormous physical strain on their bodies. more..

18 water bottle makers risk local standards non-compliance

Aug 28 (ST) Only four companies manufacturing plastic water bottles have obtained the required SLS certification issued by the SL Standards Institution, despite it now being more than a year since the authorities notified companies to do so. The revelations come as the CAA prepares to enforce mineral water bottling standards from Tuesday. SL Standard Specification for containers made of polymer (plastic) materials for more..

Mainda supported giving Sirisena SLFP leadership

Aug 28 (CG) Former President Rajapaksa supported handing over the leadership of SLFP to President Sirisena, SLFP member and Minister, Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He said Rajapaksa had urged the SLFP to back and work with Sirisena after the last Presidential election. He says after handing over the party leadership to Sirisena it is not right for any SLFP member to work against him now. “After it was handed over to President Sirisena we cannot join any other group and try to remove him,” more..

USS Frank Cable to arrive in SL tomorrow

Aug 28 (CG) USS Frank Cable (AS-40) will arrive in Sri Lanka for a routine refueling and port visit tomorrow, the US Embassy in Colombo said.. During the visit, sailors from the ship will enjoy shore leave and volunteer at an animal shelter. USS Frank Cable is a submarine tender vessel stationed in Guam to support U.S. military forces and provide rescue and recovery assistance in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. It has a crew of nearly 500 and is currently on a scheduled deployment more..

SriLankan to lease 2 more aircraft to PIA

Aug 28 (ST) SriLankan Airlines hopes to finalise talks to lease two more A330 aircraft to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) within the course of the week, said CEO Capt Suren Ratwatte. One aircraft has already been leased to PIA, although the finer details such as the period of the lease, etc are to be worked out in the near future. “Hopefully, we will have three aircraft leased to PIA in stages, in the coming weeks,” he said. more..

Celebrating the canonisation of Mother Teresa in Sri Lanka, far from Rome

Aug 28 (AN) Missionaries of Charity in SL have decided to undertake a spiritual pilgrimage to prepare for the canonisation of Mother Teresa, said Sister M. Johannes MC, regional superior of the order founded by Mother Teresa. Since they will not be in Rome for the ceremony, they will celebrate in the various houses of the country together with our beloved poor, she said. “We have known this for a long time. We are sure that the founder is a saint. But rite of canonisation will be a time of joy.” more..

'Junior police officers suffering in silence due to denial of promotions'

Aug 28 (Island) Ven. Battaramulle Seelaratana thera, leader of Janasetha Peramuna made representations to National Police Commission (NPC) about the denial of due promotions to police sub inspectors, sergeants and constables who are suffering in silence die to this injustice. In his written representations handed over to NPC, prelate says "As a Buddhist monk, it is my firm conviction, as well as that of my people-oriented political party, that national security should be the top priority. more..

Vendors vent their woes!

Aug 28 (CT) The Ministry of Local Govt and Provincial Councils recently decided to remove unauthorized pavement vendors from Pettah by 15 Sep. "The pavements should be free for pedestrians to walk on," Minister Faiszer Mustapha announced during a recent meeting with relevant authorities to discuss the issue. During the meeting he further said that these vendors should be removed from streets of Pettah immediately. more..

Ravi calls on Pakistani Finance Minister

Aug 28 (BR) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake here on Saturday congratulated Finance Minister of Pakistan, Ishaq Dar on successful hosting of the 8th SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting and stated that decisions reached in the meeting would further strengthen the SAARC process. Karunanayake heading a SL delegation which attended the the SAARC Finance Ministers meeting, called on Ishaq Dar. He also appreciated the exceptional economic performance of Pakistan over past 3 years more..

Former President Wijetunga’s daughter to enter politics?

Aug 28 (DM) Former President D.B. Wijetunga’s daughter Chithrani Wijetunga today said she would consider entering active politics if she receives a formal invitation. She was speaking to the media at a Blood Donation campaign held in front of her late father’s statue in Pilimathalawa today. “I may not have qualifications to be a politician in Sri Lanka, but I have more than enough qualifications to be a public servant. I have no habits of lying, using abusive vocabulary, cheating the public, more..

Bankrupting Sri Lanka: US lobby firm hired by Malik: More questions than answers

Aug 28 (ST) We thank Minister Malik Samarawickrama for confirming our story. He should have announced it long before the Sunday Times broke the story. We stand-by every word in our story. While we are happy that the Minister has been forced to come out publicly about his ministry hiring a US firm to lobby, an issue that is the subject of a Presidential Commission of Inquiry for the same exercise during the previous Govt, more..

SLFP anniversary & Its crisis: Opportunity to join and strengthen democracy

Aug 29 (CT) 65th Anniversary of the SLFP this week is marked by a deep crisis within the party, its local organizations and policies. Crisis according to the Chinese tradition is not necessarily a bad thing. The Chinese character for crisis is composed of two separate characters meaning problems and prospects. Therefore, a crisis is a turning point for better or worse. In the case of the SLFP, while there are considerable problems, if these problems can be properly resolved, more..

Sri Lanka’s development dilemma & The dependency syndrome

Aug 29 (CT) Each time we visit Sri Lanka for holiday, it throws fresh insights about the place, people, systems and what it offers in comparison to other countries. We just returned after spending three weeks primarily in Kandy and a couple of days in Colombo. On the way back, spent three days in Singapore, which is a remarkably well-organised place though the currency is equivalent to Australian dollars. There don’t seem to be a national plan to improve national production. more..

Ceylon Tea in crisis

Aug 29 (SO) SL's world famous tea industry is nearing crisis point in terms of profitability. The tea sector, a major contributor to the economy, has fallen from the frying pan to the fire with a gloomy global market scenario that has resulted in the exports dwindling drastically over the years. In addition to the recent wage hike demand by trade unions, the plantation industry has been plunged into further difficulty with the ban on more..

A strong NO to Sinhala Only

Aug 29 (SO) Menika sat up and watched with great interest a part of Wednesday’s TV news on the channel she favours. There was Chandrika Kumaratunga, elegant in an orangy yellow sari, her trim hair distinctively streaked grey. Matching her elegance was her deeply reflective speech in BMICH at the soft launch of the website for a bilingual/trilingual resources pool. She was speaking as the Chairperson of the Office of National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR). more..