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Bond Scam gets murkier, MR to sue

Feb 25 (EN) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa vowed to sue the central bank and the finance ministry as a gazette emerged showing he created a 10 billion rupee bond whose sale has become the subject of several investigations. Addressing reporters at a temple ceremony in Horana, the former leader said his name had been used to carry out a major fraud and he intends to take legal action against more..

Public safety at sea

Feb 26 (SO) The boat tragedy that occurred in the seas off the Kalutara coast last Sunday draws attention to a number of aspects of public safety at sea. At a time when the country’s tourism industry is beginning to exploit the potentials of our coasts and seas, the tragedy must be seen as a powerful warning to get our acts together even as we seek to reap the benefits. Judicial proceedings are under way to ascertain the exact causes of death and injury and to pinpoint human culpability. more..

Lady in blue: The Game changer

Feb 26 (ST) My Dear Satellite, I haven’t written to you for some time now but I thought I should do so now because you seem to be in the news again, talking about our armed forces, what they have done and how they should be dealt with. Naturally, everybody is sitting up and taking notice and eyebrows are being raised everywhere. Satellite, it seems that as long as we had ex-Presidents from the Greens, they were happy to spend retirement away from the public eye. more..

FCID, completes 2 years of operations

Feb 26 (SO) Taking speedy action against those responsible for corruption, misuse, abuse of public assets and those who plundered public assets was the wish of the people of this country when they voted Maithripala Sirisena into power in Jan 2015 and subsequently, the present Yahapalana Govt in Aug 2015. The fulfilment of this pledge was the prime task entrusted on this Govt and establishment of FCID was the first step more..

Apocalypse around the corner?

Feb 26 (CT) The nerve agent that was used to kill Kim Jong-nam, half brother of North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-un, who has summarily killed several of his relations and top military men on mere suspicion of betrayal, is among the most deadly chemical weapons of mass destruction ever developed. Identified only as VX, the nerve agent kills in a couple of minutes. It's banned by the UN as a chemical weapon of mass destruction. Needless to say the killing has sent shockwaves more..

Corruption and the courts

Feb 26 (Island) We have today run three of the concluding paragraphs of the Indian Supreme Court judgment on the Sasikala case on our front page today as we believe that there are many things for us in Sri Lanka to learn about how India tackles corruption among politicians. There is no need to labour the point that corruption among politicians is as bad here as in India. India being a huge country, the scale of corruption there must necessarily be much greater than in this small island of ours. more..

'Attempt to topple govt this year'

Feb 26 (SL) Joint Opposition (JO) will face the next election under a new policy, JO member Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. Discussions are being held these days to draft a proper policy framework for the JO, said Nanayakkara and added that attempts are being made to topple the govt this year. Q: How do you see the situation in the country at present? A: In short, govt is currently unstable. They have gone from bad to worse. more..

War-ravaged house leased for a cause

Feb 26 (TT) "Happy to have helped an excellent cause. It has to be about Sri Lanka first, not Tamils or Sinhalese" That was a somewhat emotional Rajiv Radhakrishnan, a London-based financial consultant in his late 30s, who has leased his ancestral property in Jaffna to the Foundation of Goodness (FoG). FoG is the game-changing NGO set up by Muttiah Muralidharan and Kushil Gunasekera back in 1999. Rajiv's property, leased to FoG in 2016 for 10 years, is now a Village Heartbeat more..

Win-win solution for migrant worker issues

Feb 26 (ST) Last Sunday’s front page lead story in this newspaper on the risk to foreign employment due to the 2017 Budget by raising the minimum wage for skilled labour seems to have caught the eye of Parliament. The Minister in charge of Foreign Employment confirmed the fact that her ministry was rather perturbed that it had not been consulted, and wanted the proposal reversed. Foreign remittances of workers and others overseas have become the single largest foreign exchange earner more..

Face the nation

Jaishankar reads pulse of Tamil polity precisely!

Feb 26 (CT) Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has requested the TNA to strengthen its unity before finding solutions for the Tamil political issues. TNA representatives led by R. Sampanthan met Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar who was on a two-day visit to Colombo at the Indian High Commission last Sunday. Jaishankar's meeting with the TNA took place in the backdrop of TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran's return from Geneva where the UNHRC officials were urged by Sumanthiran more..

Good governance also means effective governance

Feb 26 (SL) The writ of any govt – good or bad – has to be effectively carried out. If these writs issued in the name of our sovereign power – the people – are not implemented, governing a country will not be possible. In this country today we have had a Good Governance govt – a Yahapalanaya Aanduwa – which is well and good. But being only good is not good enough. There must be governance as well with the effective implementation of its decisions as soon as possible. more..

What will be India’s next big step on SL?

Feb 26 (CT) Amidst continuous agitations over the continuity of SAITM, President Sirisena last week said he would take a decision on the issue regarding the private universities in the country, including the SAITM for the best interests and the productivity of the country. He said this during a meeting with SAITM Parents' Association and Dr. Neville Fernando, regarding the prevailing issues on private universities in the country more..

Jaishankar’s visit centers around Indian concerns

Feb 26 (SO) Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is no stranger to India’s strategic interests involving Sri Lanka and China. He served as the First Secretary and the political adviser to the Indian mission in Colombo between 1988 and 1990 – one of the most tumultuous times when it comes to Indo-Sri Lanka relations. When Jaishankar served in Colombo, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was in Colombo and they were facing resistance not only in the North, but also in the South. more..

Controversy over appointment of HC Judge: BASL President ties himself up in knots

Feb 26 (Island) Controversy over the appointment of Ramanathan Kannan a lawyer practicing in the private bar as a High Court judge continued to rage last week. Members of Judicial Services Association (JSA) carried out their threat to boycott BASL election that was to be held on Tuesday last week. Members of the lower judiciary were to act as presiding officers at the elections of the BASL and election could not be held without their participation and had to be postponed. more..

Angelo says his tendon is still sore

Feb 26 (ST) SL Test and ODI skipper Angelo Mathews will miss the forthcoming Test series against Bangladesh due to his hamstring injury. Two test matches will be played in Galle and Colombo but the national skipper will not be able to gain his full fitness before the start of the series, due to begin on March 15. In a vague media released SLC says “Accordingly it has been announced that Angleo will not be able to more..

Of meet-ups, start-ups and bootstraps

Feb 26 (ST) Confused by the heading? Well, this is the golden age of the millennials. Many moons ago while discussing small and medium scale businesses with a young entrepreneur, he referred to start-ups and a new ecosystem. Intrigued and pursuing further led me to one of the meet-ups (a regular meeting of people having the same interests) of the start-up community at a Colombo café, resulting in an energetic conversation on a new generation of entrepreneurs who are more..

A formidable Test Team in the offing

Feb 26 (SLC) The National Selections Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket is set to meet on Tuesday (28) to decide on a formidable team that would play the first two test matches against the Bangladesh tour of Sri Lanka 2017 which begins on March 7th. Accordingly it has been announced that Angleo Mathews will not be able to play the first two test matches. The first test match is scheduled to be held in Galle while the second is to be held at the P.Saravanamuttu Stadium. more..

Ford wants Malinga to return to Tests

Feb 26 (CT) Sri Lanka cricket coach Graham Ford is hopeful that the island's spearhead bowler Lasith Malinga will now return to Test matches too after his successful come back in the three match T20 series against Australia. Malinga who last played for Sri Lanka in the shortest format of the game in 2016 February in the Asia Cup, returned to the Sri Lanka team in the three match T20 series in Australia where SL emerged victorious. more..

A much needed series win

Feb 26 (Island) There was much relief among cricket enthusiasts after Sri Lanka secured a thrilling series win over Australia earlier this week. Sri Lankan cricket hit new lows during the tour of South Africa where they were whitewashed in both Test and ODI cricket. The success in Australia was a godsend and it helped to win back supporters who were turning away from the sport after some shocking performances in South Africa. Some observers have attempted to downgrade SL’s performance more..

New circular issued to allow player poaching

Feb 26 (CT) This is a million dollar question to sports loving public of Sri Lanka. To curb the school player poaching issue in Sri Lanka, Circular No. 34/ 2016 dated 9th Dec., 2016 was introduced by the Secretary of the Ministry of Education (MoE). This circular pertaining to School Sports will make all other circulars (like Circular No. 94/01 of 3/01/1994) issued by MoE Null and Void. The special feature of this latest circular is (Under Section 1.3.2) if any student joins a new School and more..

Corrupt politicians bankrupting SL: Lanka needs to exceed foreign borrowing limit

Feb 26 (ST) Sri Lanka is seeking US$3.9 billion from foreign borrowings for debt servicing (loan installments and interest) this year, more than double that of $1.82 billion in 2016. The country has no option other than to borrow externally for Balance of Payment (BoP) and fiscal support as it had been doing in the recent past,top Finance ministry official said. Cabinet has already given approval to limit the foreign borrowings to $3 billion for 2017. more..

Media sees the blues: Not a good big match build-up

Feb 26 (NS) Annual Battle of the Blues cricket match produces enough excitement on the field during the three days of cricket, but the press conference held in connection with this year’s event turned out to be a big bore. Media representatives assigned to cover the briefing on Feb 22 were kept waiting for over an hour at the Sports Ministry Auditorium with the organizer of the event caring little or nothing about the precious time invitees were wasting, being in their seats. more..

Are foreign coaches earning their keep?

Feb 26 (Island) After the debacle in South Africa, winning the T20 series against the virtual second string of Australia appears to be a ray of sunshine to SL cricket fans. However first 2 games were won in the last balls of each game proving the games went to the wire. Entertaining no doubt and refreshing watching SL winning games irrespective at whatever level the games are being played, especially after a long and a grueling tour. Do these wins portend whether SL cricket is now progressing more..

A tragedy that could have been averted

Feb 26 (CT) He was staring somewhere far, far away. It reminded us a person who is staring at the horizon when the sun is sinking into deep blue water. His gaze was empty and his face was blank. From time to time it wrenched with agony, which could not be explained with words. "God blessed me with everything, I asked. After my marriage I asked him for a son & a daughter. I did everything to make my family more..

Bad light saves day for Isipathana

Feb 26 (ST) Thurstan’s pair left arm spinner Naveen Gunawardena and Charana Nanayakkara shone in the drawn 54th Battle of the Brothers annual big match against traditional rivals Isipathana which concluded at the SSC ground yesterday. Naveen who ended with a five wicket haul in Isipathana’s first inning grabbed three more wickets to end with a match bag of eight wickets while Charana made twin half tons having rescued Thurstan with a 58 in the first inning and then followed it up with a 55 more..

Lions made to toil by triple-century stand

Feb 26 (CI) England Lions were put to the sword by an unbroken stand of 303 on the second day in Dambulla. Test opener Dimuth Karunaratne and 21-year-old Sadeera Samarawickrama gorged themselves during the latter two sessions to put SL A in control. Lions had extended their total to 353 and when SL A stumbled to 30 for 3 it looked a formidable score. But that changed dramatically as the day wore on, it was Samarawickrama who led the way to finish unbeaten on a career-best more..

Mangala to urge 24-month extension

Feb 26 (CT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera and National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne will leave for Geneva today, to urge the UNHRC to give Sri Lanka an extension of a further 18 to 24 months to implement the co-sponsored resolution. They will also call for financial support for the processes of this implementation. The govt which is alleged to have not drafted an action plan for US co-sponsored resolution, would face a more..

SLFP invites rebels for key meeting

Feb 26 (SL) SLFP has invited SLFP rebels for a key meeting on March 2 but the rebels are to issue an ultimatum to attend the meeting. SLFP will look to unite the party ahead of the next election and prevent the party from a wider split. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that all SLFP members have been invited for the meeting. Several SLFP members in the joint opposition said that they had received invitations for the meeting and would decide on the attendance after discussing more..

President lays foundation stone for new court complex in Polonnaruwa

Feb 26 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena today (25) laid the foundation stone for a new court complex to be built in Polonnaruwa at a cost of Rs. 382 millions. This new court complex will consist Magistrate Courts, District Courts, High Courts, official residencies of the Judges, archives, labour tribunals and the offices for the lawyers. Minister Vijayadasa Rajapaksha, Deputy Minister Dushmantha Mithrapala, Chief Minister of NCP Peshala Jayarathne CJ K. Sripavan, more..

Exposing Corruption: Unceremonious exit for Lanka Sathosa Chairman

Feb 26 (Island) In a bolt from the blue, the head of Lanka Sathosa, was sent packing last week over what was widely perceived as his firm stand against alleged irregularities in govt-owned consumer retail giant. It was an unceremonious exit for Dr. Rohantha Athukorala, respected professional, when he was told that his services were no longer required at the state-run institution, now at cross roads over a critical cash crunch. more..

Chief Justice K. Sripavan to retire on Feb 28

Feb 26 (DN) Chief Justice K.Sripavan will retire from service on Feb 28. The Supreme Court will have a ceremonial farewell on the same day. Justice Kanagasabapathy J. Sripavan was Deputy Solicitor General, a judge, President of Court of Appeal and puisne Justice of the Supreme Court before being appointed Chief Justice on Jan 30, 2015. He was educated at Hindu College, Jaffna between 1962 and 1972. He joined SL Law College in 1974 and passed out as an Attorney At law in 1976. more..

IMF demands sale of assets

Feb 26 (ST) Crucial discussions are under way with the IMF on measures needed to stave off an economic crisis — the result of issues arising from servicing foreign and local debts. The move comes ahead of an impending visit to SL by Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF. French lawyer and one-time politician is due to arrive in Colombo next Sunday. One of the contentious areas where the discussions have centred around is the sale of what the IMF describes as non-strategic assets. more..

Top CB official, Govt Printer to testify; vital details emerge

Feb 26 (ST) Govt Printer (GP) Gangani Liyanage and Central Bank (CB) Statistics Dept’s Additional Director Dr M.Z.M. Azim, who was its Debt Dept’s former Additional Superintendent, will appear before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) appointed by President Sirisena to probe irregularities in the issuance of Treasury Bonds (TB). Ms Liyanage will appear tomorrow while Dr Azim will appear on Tuesday. more..

President vests new swimming pool of Polonnaruwa Royal College with students

Feb 26 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena vested the newly built swimming pool of Royal College in Polonnaruwa with students today (25). President who participated in this opening ceremony as a past pupil of the college was warmly welcomed by the students. A guard of honor by the cadet corps of the schools was held for the President. President pinned the scout medals on eight boy scouts of the school at this occasion. He also presented gifts to the winners of inter-house athletic games. more..

Perpetual increases NDB stake during 4Q2016

Feb 26 (ST) Primary dealer Perpetual Treasuries has increased its stake in NDB during 4Q 2016 to 7,352,180 shares and now has 4.45% of bank – from 6,153,686 shares as at 30 Sept 2016. The company is owned by the family of Arjun Aloysius, son-in-law of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. According to published data, the other key shareholders at NDB include BoC, EPF, SLIC, Rusi Captain and related parties, Softlogic Holdings related parties, Dr Sena Yaddehige, etc. more..

Yahapalana Corruption: Cabinet shocked over cockpit deals by bankrupt SriLankan

Feb 26 (ST) In Dec 2013, when former President Rajapaksa chaired a weekly Cabinet meeting, his Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne sought approval for a Treasury guarantee for Srilankan Airlines. It was to obtain a loan of US$ 175 million from the Dubai-based Mashreq Bank for additional financing to fund the fleet replacement programme. He said that 13 aging wide bodied aircraft were being replaced with more..

Inept govt stuck between the legacies of 1956 and 1977

Feb 26 (Island) There is no good governance in Sri Lanka, only inept governance. But the alternative, i.e. bad governance, could be worse, as it has been. Last week, like every week for that matter, saw consequences of earlier bad governance getting worse under current govt incompetence. The one positive news in a long time was the arrests of the alleged kidnappers of journalist Keith Noyahr. His kidnapping was the result of bad govt gone arrogant. What will the current inept govt do more..

Making of a new constitution for Sri Lanka: Let wiser counsel prevail

Feb 26 (Island) The talking point throughout the country these days is about the making of a new constitution for SL. Principles of democracy as enunciated by USA & accepted in most democracies and relevant to constitution making, are as follows: On the surface, principles of majority rule and the protection of individual and minority rights would seem contradictory. In fact, however, these principles are twin pillars holding up very foundation of what is meant by democratic govt. more..

Japan keen to increase investments in SL

Feb 26 (SO) Japan is keen to increase its trade and investments with Sri Lanka and strengthen the good relations that was built several decades ago, Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Kenichi Suganuma said. He said there are many Japanese companies that are interested in setting up operations and forming joint ventures with Sri Lankan companies. “Many Japanese companies have shown interest in coming to Sri Lanka. more..