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Island of Refuge

Oct 1 (SO) When the mythological outcast, Prince Vijaya, and his band of fellow-exiles landed on the shores of this Thrice Blessed Isle, he was warmly welcomed by the inhabitants and given a home. Ever since that epoch-making moment, Sri Lankans have been welcoming of people from other lands. Too many! some short-sighted hotheads might cry only to be hushed by the voices of reason, of the rationality for which the Dhamma is renowned. Sri Lankans, inspired as they are, by many more..

Understanding third world conflicts

Oct 1 (SL) The attack on Rohingya refugees accommodated by the UNHCR in a house at Mt. Lavinia by a group of Sri Lankans led by saffron robes clad men is a matter for regret by all citizens and a cause for national concern. The monks have led the mob that crashed through the high gates of the compound and hurled abuse at these hapless people accusing them of killing Buddhist monks in the Rakhine state of Myanmar. This is typical of mob frenzy, abusing unknown and unheard of more..

When the sari becomes more important than education!

Oct 1 (SO) Those behind the World Record Saree Pota fiasco in Kandy may have possibly committed several punishable offences due to their use of schoolchildren during school hours, according to the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA). NCPA Chairperson Marini de Livera said that initial investigations on getting 250 schoolchildren to hold the train of a bride’s osariya during a wedding ceremony for a Guinness more..

IMF & Debt

Oct 1 (CT) IMF has suspended the release of its fourth tranche of SDR 119.894 million (US$ 163.49 m) of its 3-year SDR 1.1 billion ($ 1.5 bil) extended fund facility (EFF) with Govt of Sri SLanka (GoSL) signed up in June of last year. This was revealed by IMF's Team Leader to SL Jaewoo Lee in Colombo on Friday. The main cause was the mismanagement of GoSL debt. Jaewoo said that the very purpose that GoSL entered into an EFF with the IMF was debt management. more..

Straw in the wind

Oct 1 (Island) Last week’s substantial increase in the price of cooking gas is, no doubt, a straw in the wind. There is little doubt that prices of automotive fuel – petrol and diesel – will also rise sooner than later. As it is, both the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), monopoly importers and distributors of automotive fuel, are racking up huge losses given the gap between procurement and selling prices. It was reported that LIOC intends raising petrol more..

Vithya rape and murder judgement: Suspicion over Vijayakala’s actions

Oct 1 (SL) The judgement delivered last week into the rape and murder of Sivaloganathan Vithya raised suspicions over the actions of State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran. High Court Judge N. Illancheliyan, in his ruling, noted that Maheswaran had taken steps to secure the release of the main accused when he was captured by residents following the rape and murder. Illanchelliyan also said that Maheswaran more..

Instead of jiggery-pokery, fix the PC system

Oct 1 (ST) There is a pithy local saying nangi pennala akka dunna (showed the younger sister and palmed off the elder one) to describe what happened before an arranged marriage where the marriage broker or the prospective groom was conned and taken for a ride. Whether this is indicative of what the Govt did last week in passing the amendments to the Provincial Councils Bill is being hotly debated. Adamant as it was to put off scheduled PC elections due by more..

Now we think back

Oct 1 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I haven’t been writing to you for some time now but I thought I must do so now, especially because you somehow seem to find a way of being in the news even though you are not in power. When you hit the headlines, it is invariably linked to one court case or another, but that is a small price to pay! Now they tell me the courts have ruled that you are no longer the leader of the Blue Party – despite claims that Maithri took the leadership by force. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Second mega concrete pour competed at ITC’s Galle Face project

Oct 1 (Island) A large pour of 5,500 cu. meters of concrete had been done for the Hotel Tower raft at ITC One Colombo One project next to the Taj Samudra Hotel last Friday, the contractors said. "This concrete pour is the second largest in the history of Sri Lanka and the same team did the first one (6,500 cu.m- the largest concrete pour) in August 2017," they said. ITC One Colombo One project is a mixed use development project of two tall towers on the Galle Face road, more..

Eranda, Kalpani emerge Mini Marathon champions

Oct 1 (ST) JEranda Madusanka of President’s College Uva and R.D. Kalpani of Matara MMV emerged champions of the third stage Mini Marathon held at Matara yesterday. The event which was flagged off from the Uyanwatte Stadium saw Eranda reaching the winning post with a timing of 36.55.6  minutes while Kalpani finished the race with a timing of 43.49.3  minutes. Meanwhile in the 5km events of the two categories which were conducted concurrently saw Poorna Sandaman of more..

Creating the turf for President Maithri to be at the wicket till 2025

Oct 1 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena who went to Gemunupura Buddhist Centre in Ampara on Friday to present the Akthapathra to newly elected Mahanayake of the Udarata Amarapura Samagri Sangha Sabha, Most Ven. Girambe Mangala Nayaka Thera emphasized that the draft report for the new constitutional proposals in any way does not project a concept of a Federal State. President also emphasized that more..

The Weeratunga-Pelpita sil redi saga

Oct 1 (Island) The sil redi judgment against former presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga and former Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Director General Anusha Pelpita continues to make waves. Indeed the discussion of this judgment is fully justified. This writer cannot think of another judgment at the High Court level which is fraught with such serious implications for the way the most important institutions and the public service in this country functions. more..

Freshness of Europe

Oct 1 (ST) Kussi Amma Sera would have been overwhelmed! Visiting a local fruit, meat and vegetable market in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland, I was amazed at the freshness of produce. And I could hear Kussi Amma Sera, lurking in the background if she were around, whispering: Mahattayo, mewagey elavalu ha palathuru thiyanavanam lankawey, kochchara hondada. Straight from the farms, the tomatoes are firm and rounded, not mushy; the cabbage, lettuce more..

NOC Sri Lanka in tatters

Oct 1 (ST) The general membership of National Olympic Committee of SL (NOCSL) has united to fight the alleged repressive administration of Hemasiri Fernando and Maxwell de Silva. The duo—who are President and Secretary, respectively—has run institution with scant regard to the principles of good governance, transparency and accountability since 2012 and the membership now wants to end this dictatorial rule. more..

Why Sri Lanka should help Pakistan

Oct 1 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket next week will assess the security situation in Pakistan prior to the national cricket team’s scheduled visit to Lahore. Pakistan has seen little international cricket since the SL team bus came under a terrorist attack eight years ago. The ICC took a step towards bringing cricket back to the country when a World XI team toured Lahore for three T-20 Internationals last month. If the SL game takes place in Pakistan, it will be a massive boost to Pakistan Cricket Board more..

Statistical comparison of two cricketing icons

Oct 1 (Island) Statistics can be misleading. Some use it to their own advantage, just as a drunkard leans against the lamppost - not for illumination but for support. For instance on many an occasion some members of the media have attempted to compare the statistics of some outstanding modern-day batsmen with that of the legendary Bradman. When such writers were leaning against the lamppost for support the self-same modern-day batsmen merely scoffed at such futile efforts. more..

Cricket committee recommends sweeping changes to SLC governance

Oct 1 (ST) The report of a four-member committee appointed to make recommendations to improve the fortunes of cricket has advocated sweeping changes to the way Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is administered and the game is managed. The report’s 53 proposals will now be assessed by another five-member committee headed by former Sri Lanka Cricket President and respected businessman Hemaka Amarasuriya. more..

Shuttlers seek court redress

Oct 1 (ST) The long-awaited AGM of the SL Badminton Federation was put on hold on a court order. On Thursday four affiliate clubs met the press to explain as to why they had taken the matter to courts. AGM of the SL Badminton Federation was held on March 24, 2017 but soon after new office bearers took office Sports Minister made the election null and void citing that the election was held without Audited Account Statements–a mandatory requirement under the Sports Regulations. more..

Injured Mathews likely to miss second Test

Oct 1 (ST) Allrounder Angelo Mathews remains doubtful for the second Test against Pakistan in Dubai with the former skipper yet to complete his rehabilitation program. Mathews was ruled out of the first Test which is currently in progress in Abu Dhabi with a calf strain he sustained during training. However, he was expected to be available for the second test as it was only a minor strain. “I don’t think I can make it to the second Test,” Mathews said. “Last week wasn’t that great. more..

State Institutions continue to snub RTI

Oct 1 (SL) Over 100 complaints have been received by the Right To Information (RTI) Commission against several State institutions which have snubbed the RTI Act. RTI Commission member S. G Punchihewa said that information officers at several State institutions have disregarded the RTI Act when approached by the public for information. Punchihewa said that the RTI Commission will make inquiries over more..

It’s like playing inside an oven: Dickwella

Oct 1 (SO) SL’s wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella described the hot weather conditions at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi as “playing inside an oven” and said in the circumstances skipper Dinesh Chandimal’s knock of 155 not out was a commendable effort. “The climate is different and it’s so hot it’s like playing in an oven,” said Dickwella at the end of the third day of the first Test here on Saturday. “It is seaming hot in the middle and the wicket is different. more..

Decline in worker remittances

Oct 1 (SO) The market interest rates have adjusted upwards in response to the tight monetary policy stance which has been in place since 2015. There has been broad money growth and monetary expansion continued at high level, CB Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy said. The growth of private credit is on a declining trend and earnings from tourism and worker remittances continue to support the external current account, he said. Remittances reached US $ 3.9 billion last year. more..

Govt makes largest demand for estate lands

Oct 1 (ST) Key estate lands amounting to approximately 6120 hectares have been requested for acquisition, the largest extent requested from the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) for establishment of industrial zones under the BOI. Planters Association Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde highlighted this issue at the 163rd AGM where he stated that the govt had requested large extents of estate properties amounting to more..

Halloluwa’s resignation not yet accepted

Oct 1 (SL) Chairman of the state-owned Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Ltd, Thusitha Halloluwa, who tendered his resignation last week over a dispute with Minister of Agriculture Duminda Dissanayake, said that his resignation letter has not yet been accepted. Halloluwa tendered his resignation over alleged interference in his work and pressure to back corrupt officials.  Halloluwa said Colombo Commercial Fertilizer Ltd had been told to bear the cost of over Rs 1.5 million for morning meals more..

Luxury vehicle tax deadline ends Nov 30

Oct 1 (SO) The Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) has announced that the three-month grace period given to luxury vehicle owners to settle taxes will end on November 30. According to Department sources, no further extension will be provided and all luxury vehicle owners are advised to settle taxes prior to the deadline. By failing to do so they will face the possibility of paying the tax and an additional 50 percent fine, the Department said. In August the Ministry of Transport more..

Hambantota Port development stuck at Framework Agreement

Oct 1 (Island) Development of the Hambantota Port was stuck at the Framework Agreement stage, says Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang. Asked as to when development of the Hambantota Port would be completed, the Ambassador smiled and said in Colombo, last week No progress. When asked to explain what he meant, Yi said that what had been signed on July 29 this year was only the Framework Agreement more..

Walkers invests Rs.5 M on revamped booking site

Oct 1 (ST) Walkers Tours has revamped its booking website investing Rs.5 million to develop it to attract Sri Lankans to some of the best hotel deals in the island. The Walkers Tours website titled, considered to be Sri Lanka’s premier online travel brand, will serve to attract Sri Lankans to some of the best hotel deals investing approximately Rs.5 million in developing the product, Walkers Tours CEO Nalaka Amaratunga said. He noted that they had been able to attract about 50 hotels to more..

Six of 42 fishermen boats released by Sri Lankan navy brought back in Tamil Nadu

Oct 1 (PTI) Six of the 42 boats belonging to fishermen from Tamil Nadu, which were seized and subsequently released by SL navy, were brought back here today. On July 29, island nation had announced the release of 77 TN fishermen, who were arrested on charges of crossing the IMBL, and the 42 boats seized from them. Subsequently, the fishermen, who belonged to Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Nagapattinam, Karaikal districts, had arrived at Nagapattinam on Aug 4. more..

‘Sri Lanka can proceed on proposed ETCA at its own comfortable pace’

Oct 1 (Island) As SL’s biggest trading partner, India remains consistent in its position that the proposed Economic & Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) should proceed at a pace Colombo is comfortable with, sans any set targets for the signing of the bilateral pact, says Binoy George, Deputy Secretary (SL Desk), at Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. "We are content with following a time-line Sri Lanka more..

Tourist data doubtful: CCC

Oct 1 (CT) Substantial shortcomings in the data on tourist arrivals and tourism earnings/receipts, affecting the ability of government and industry alike to make strategic decisions, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce research revealed. "Industry players lack awareness and confidence in this data. The problematic data warrants an urgent review of, and improvement to, the methodologies employed to generate tourism data," it stated. SL's tourism industry is a mainstay of country's economy. more..

Second heart transplant recipient dead

Oct 1 (SO) 19-year-old girl, the beneficiary of the second heart transplant performed by Kandy hospital doctors, passed away around midday yesterday. The cause of her death has been reported as a bacterial infection. She was being treated at the ICU at the time of her death. The deceased Sachini Sewwandi from Aluthgama had a congenital defect which reduced her heart function drastically. At the time of her operation on Sept 26, her heart had only a 10% function rate, more..

Mihin Lanka liquidated, SriLankan floats fresh restructuring plan

Oct 1 (ST) Ten years after it was set up as a budget airline, Mihin Lanka is being liquidated. The Auditor General has closed its books and a final annual general meeting is to be held. Liquidation is a process by which a company’s existence is brought to an end. “Now we have a directive from the Govt to liquidate and we are doing that,” said Suren Ratwatte, CEO of SriLankan Airlines. “AG has closed the books. more..

HRC issues summons for urgent meeting on Rohingya incident

Oct 1 (SL) SL Human Rights Commission has called for an urgent meeting tomorrow with several Ministries to discuss the incident involving Rohingya refugees. Cultural Affaies Ministry, Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and the Ministry of Law and Order are among the institutions summoned for the meeting tomorrow. Police Department, Prisons Department and the local representatives of UNHCR have also been called for the meeting. more..

Elections Commission sidelined on PC elections amendment act

Oct 1 (SL) The Elections Commission has been sidelined when drafting the Provincial Councils Elections Amendment Act, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said. Deshapriya said that neither he nor the Commission was approached for advise when drafting the new Act. He said that since the new Act deals with elections the Elections Commission should have been approached for advise. Deshapriya said that several shortcomings were noted in the Act. more..

President consolidates position as SLFP leader ahead of local polls

Oct 1 (ST) With local govt polls now ahead, President Maithripala Sirisena has embarked on an ambitious project to consolidate his position as leader of the SLFP. Last Thursday, he took the unusual step of conducting one-on-one meetings with SLFP ministers, parliamentarians and chief ministers. The venue for the special event was the Cinnamon Hilltop at Kaluwella in Galle. There were no note takers, secretaries or other officials. more..

The attack on Rohingya

Oct 1 (Island) Not enough, one might say about the condemnations that followed the shameful mob-monk attack on SL’s Rohingya refugees who were under the protection of UNHCR in Colombo. It should not have happened in the first place. The fact it happened is a permanent shame and it cannot be washed away by any amount of condemnation. Police inaction showed that the police have learnt nothing and forgotten everything about their duty to protect the helpless regardless of their more..

Which travesty is worse?

Oct 1 (Island) The GMOA has done itself in, meaning committed hara kiri in the manner in which opinion of them by the general public has hit rock bottom. They are now thought of as killers, not healers; totally uncaring when caring for the sick is their duty; their prime and probably only concern seemingly being earning money and not spending their time and effort on the poorer segment of the population who go to govt clinics and hospitals. And this multi-pronged crime more..

Interview with Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena

Oct 1 (Island) Though the Right to Information spells power, the RTI Act has been viewed with much cynicism and suspicion. Thus it was struggling since 2003 and even before to make its entrance notes Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena. She, speaking to Island of the trials and triumphs of bringing RTI Act into Sri Lanka, is a senior lawyer and helped draft both the 2004 Freedom of Information Bill & 2016 RTI Act. more..

CEB owes CPC Rs. 46 billion: AG

Oct 1 (SO) The CEB has an aggregate of Rs. 46.4 billion to be paid to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, as of yesterday, claims the Auditor General’s Department. Auditor General, Gamini Wijesinghe said that the amount owed as a result of fuel usage, stands at Rs. 39.4 billion while the amounts owed due to power plant projects is another Rs. 7 billion. “Both these institutions should not be running at a loss. more..