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Death in the care of the State

Jul 1 (SO) How many people die while in police custody in this country? How many times have we read news reports of people dying or being killed while escaping or committing suicide while in the custody of our guardians of the Law? Readers will acknowledge that such reports are neither rare, nor are they reported with much prominence, being such regular and common occurrences. While the country yet awaits provision of accurate statistics of such custodial deaths, more..

Galle to Hambantotta

Jul 1 (CT) Govt of SL's decision to shift the Sri Lanka Navy’s Southern Command, currently stationed in Galle, to the Hambantota Port, is likely to neutralize its political detractors who harp on its recent long lease to the Chinese for US$ 1.1 billion to get over a debt crisis brought about by the previous Rajapaksa regime, as a sellout of the country’s sovereignty. This is on the assumption that the Chinese who currently operate the Port on a 99-year lease, have agreed to this arrangement. more..

'Supporting a Rajapaksa for president will be suicidal for Sri Lanka'

Jul 1 (SO) Refuting claims that Sri Lanka should exploit the situation created by the sudden departure of the US from the UNHRC, to take the country off HRC agenda, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said, it was easier said than done. ”We cannot escape the resolution..we have undertaken certain commitments and we should deliver on those commitments.. there will be follow up,” he said. As the former Human Rights Minister more..

Constitutional and legal deadlock over Provincial Councils

Jul 1 (Island) Last year, the govt amended the Provincial Councils Elections Law by Act No: 17 of 2017. As a result of this amendment, elections have not been held to the Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and North Central provinces in the belief that the old law has been superceded by the new law and the new law requires the delimitation of constituencies which process is not yet complete and therefore no election can be held. According to Article 154E of the Constitution, a Provincial Council shall, more..

National policy to prevent deaths by drowning

Jul 1 (ST) When you are ranked 12th from among 61 countries in the world for the number of citizens you lose to drowning every year, it is time to sit up and take notice. Sri Lanka has a problem with drowning and it needs to be tackled urgently at policy and implementation level. It just isn’t being done. It is widely recognised that road accident fatalities are high in SL. What is not known, or recognised, is that drowning comes at a close second. more..

'SLFP can form govt if all 96 MPs stick together'

Jul 1 (SO) UPFA MP and Former Minister Chandima Weerakkody, said the SLFP 16 member group has decided to work together with the Joint Opposition (JO) and participate in the JO Parliamentary Group meeting to be chaired by former President Rajapaksa tomorrow. He said none of the 54 members representing the JO in Parliament are members of Pohottuwa but that still they all are members of the SLFP led UPFA. more..

Feeling the blues

Jul 1 (ST) My dear Maithri, It has been some time since I wrote to you last, but I thought I must do so now because you seem to have lost the support of those 16 MPs who voted against the Green Man during the vote of no-confidence. Officially, they have now said they will all support Mahinda maama now. As a result, Maithri, you are left with just a two dozen Blue MPs supporting you and who knows how long that will last? After all, when the rats realise that the ship is sinking, they decide to more..

Winning at all costs

Jul 1 (ST) Though football is not as popular as cricket in Sri Lanka, many people have been watching the ongoing FIFA World Cup matches on television. World Cup fever seems to have even infected our very own Kussi Amma Sera, who a couple of days ago appeared shocked when she was briefly watching a match (along with us) saying: Mahattaya … ara balanna … boruwata wetuna, neda. (See, see … that man has fallen pretending that he is injured)? She was referring to more..

When will Sri Lanka face a Judgment day

New York Times recycling old, unproven allegations: Namal

Jul 1 (Island) The New York Times article titled How China got Sri Lanka to cough up a Port made waves in Sri Lanka the whole of last week, with it being reproduced in the local newspapers and websites and quoted and commented on in all TV news bulletins. This article elicited an infuriated response from the Rajapaksa camp. The first to respond was the former Central Bank Governor under the Rajapaksa govt who fired off an email to all media institutions saying that this article was more..

Gota for president?

Jul 1 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s name is being increasingly mentioned in various media reports, both in print and on television, as the most likely contender for the presidency from the Rajapaksa camp. Everybody knows that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, hobbled by the previous two-term limit he lifted by a constitutional amendment fared disastrously in a third term bid. But his successors, by another amendment, restored the old order. more..

Why MR smells an election in near future?

Jul 1 (CT) The 16 Govt members of the SLFP who walked away from the Govt with the intention of working as a separate group in the Opposition last week said they should no longer be addressed as the Group of 16 because they have decided to work together with the SLPP. UPFA MP W.D.J. Seneviratne said so, after meeting SLPP leaders including its Chairman G. L. Peiris and National Organizer Basil Rajapaksa. more..

Lakmal hails Rajitha and Kumara

Jul 1 (Island) The national cricket team returned home after a month long tour of the Caribbean having squared the three match series 1-1. Although the result was below expectations against a team placed ninth in ICC rankings, Sri Lanka were able to create history by becoming the first Asian nation to win a Test match in Barbados, a fortress of West Indian cricket that has produced the Three Ws, Sir Garry Sobers, Wesley Hall, Malcolm Marshall, Jeol Garner and a host of others. more..

More cricketers netted in for women’s team

Jul 1 (SO) Sri Lanka Cricket formed a 17 member, Under-23 Women’s Development Squad for a six-month training session, with the future in mind. Fifteen of the 17 members were selected based on performance shown in the recently concluded Under-23, 50 over Women’s Provincial Tournament while the other two were chosen from the Uva and Eastern provinces based on their potential. The chosen 17 members signed their agreements during an event held at SLC early this week. more..

Chandimal is no cheat

Jul 1 (Island) SL’s Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal has copped it all the whole of last week. He has been handed a hefty fine, suspended from the last Test against West Indies and condemned as a downright cheat. The testing time is not over for the 28-year-old who will face another trial on the 10th of July as ICC’s Judicial Commissioner would investigate whether the captain along with coach Chandika Hathurusingha and more..

Is this merely tip of the Cricket iceberg?

Jul 1 (Island) A few weeks ago, five of our most eminent former cricketers – Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Roshan Mahanama - made it quite plain that they would have nothing to do with the present cricket administration on the principle maybe that once bitten twice shy. These aforementioned cricketers, inter alia, have jointly played 561 Test matches, scored 33,151 runs, notched 96 centuries while more..

Sea horses bred in Ja-ela

Jul 1 (Island) SL’s leading ornamental fish exporter Aquamarines International (Pvt) Ltd., was established in 1963 and operates as a BOI enterprise. The company specializes in breeding of ornamental fish particularly varieties of tropical sea fish and invertebrates targeting Exports markets in the United States, Europe and Far East. Chairman and founder of the Company is Ananda Pathirana. He stated that throughout the Company’s existence, BOI had always been supportive and more..

Team of 11 for IAAF World Juniors

Jul 1 (CT) Athletics Association (AASL) has finalized a team of 11 athletes and 6 officials for the IAAF World Junior Athletic Championship to be held from 10 to 15 in Finland. The team includes Asian Junior 400m Gold medallist Aruna Darshana and Gold medal winning in men’s 4x400m relay team. Women’s team include Gold medallist Parami Marisstella and Bronze medal winning in 4x400m women’s relay team. more..

Hemaka distances himself from petition against Thilanga

Jul 1 (Island) One of the well respected former Presidents of Sri Lanka Cricket – Hemaka Amarasuriya claimed that his name had been used without his consent in a document that was circulated to the media as a petition to Sports Minister Faizer Mustapaha against the Executive Committee of Thilanga Sumathipala. While most Past Presidents of SLC since 1999 had signed the petition, in front of Amarasuriya’s name, it was written that he was out of the country more..

Pharmacy owners seek increase in profit margin

Jul 1 (CT) The All Island Private Pharmacy Owners’ Association (AIPPOA) Friday (29) said that it is scheduled to meet the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) to negotiate an increase in the profit margin to 20%. AIPPOA Chairman, Chandika Gankanda said that profit margins of private pharmacies had been severely affected with price reductions in 48 medicinal drug types in 2016. It reduced retail pharmacy profit margins to 12 to 15%, he added more..

High altitude training centre put on hold

Jul 1 (ST) The govt has put the multi-billion rupee high altitude training centre at the Nuwara Eliya Racecourse on hold over the financial viability of the project. A source from the PM’s office said that, while a high altitude training centre can be useful, govt is finding it difficult to accommodate the loans so priority has to be given to social infrastructure. The project which includes indoor and outdoor training facilities at an altitude of 1868m more..

Sri Lankans return with bagful of emotions

Jul 1 (SO) Sri Lanka is left with 10 days to learn and decide whether it is time to shed customary public emotions and pride itself in professionalism like the rest or risk being branded as a nation of cry babies as the ICC waits to pass final judgment on captain Dinesh Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusinghe and manager Asanka Gurusinha over the ignominious ball tampering saga. The SL team returned last morning after drawing the three-Test series 1-1 against the West Indies and more..

National security: Govt trying to hide actual situation: Weerasekara

Jul 1 (DM) Govt is hiding the real security situation in the country, retired army officer and former MP Sarath Weerasekara said. He said this while referring to the incident where uniforms, a flag, bombs, and several military equipment belonging to the LTTE were found at Oddusuddan recently. He said that the govt had not revealed the fact that 15KG clay-more mines had also been recovered and that it was a reporter named Tissa Perera who had exposed Oddusuddan incident. more..

Sri Lanka incurs loss in De La Rue Lanka money printing deal

Jul 1 (ST) SL Govt loses a colossal amount of money every year as the Central Bank (CB) is compelled to buy currency notes without competitive bidding from De La Rue Lanka Ltd at the price decided by the company itself. Raising fresh questions over the procurement of currency notes from De La Rue Lanka under a joint venture, it has come to light, that due to single source procurement, the price paid by the CB to the company is more..

Gotabaya gets an unusual compliment

Jul 1 (Hindu) It came as a surprise birthday blessing to SL’s former Defence Secretary, when an influential Buddhist monk recently said: Let Gotabaya Rajapaksa prove his critics right by becoming a real Hitler. Clearly, the priest, Ven. Endaruwe Upali, who represents the Kandy-based Asgiriya Chapter, one of the most conservative and influential Buddhist clergy establishments in SL, meant it as a compliment. Following adverse reactions to his comment, the monk issued more..

Cricket gets what it’s destined: Aravinda

Jul 1 (ST) In the situation where majority of top former stakeholders in Sri Lanka is pushing for cricket reforms which includes a proposal for a formulation of an interim committee, former SL captain Aravinda De Silva who is held in high esteem world over says Cricket gets what it’s destined. De Silva who also did not play ball with the present Sports Minister ‘s proposition that four other former top cricketers– Mahela, Mahanama, Sangakkara and Muralitharan be consultants more..

Bureaucratic red tape forces staggering 28% tax on EPF

Jul 1 (ST) Sri Lanka’s EPF is now compelled to pay a staggering 28% tax in accordance with a clause in the new Inland Revenue Act and also proposed in the 2017 budget as it has not been waived off by the govt, trade union leaders alleged. The 14% tax on income and 14% withholding tax have been imposed on EPF under this set up and it has to pay a colossal sum of Rs.30 billion for the tax assessment year ending March 31 2018, more..

Video: Wigneswaran should resign as Chief Minister: Thavarasa

Jul 1 (AD) Northern Provincial Council’s Leader of the Opposition, S. Thavarasa, says that Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran should resign in the wake of court order issued yesterday against the latter’s decision to sack a provincial minister. He stated that if Wigneswaran has any shame he should step down from his position like a gentleman. Appeal Court issued an injunction order yesterday against the decision taken by Chief Minister to remove P. Deniswaran from the position of more..

NY Times journalist explains report

Jul 1 (NR) The journalist who published a report in the New York Times stating that Former President MP Mahinda Rajapaksa obtained funds from China at the 2015 Presidential Election has explained the findings via Twitter. The main charge against the journalist over the past few days has been unilateral media reporting. However, rejecting the allegations, South Asia correspondent at The New York Times Maria Abi-Habib said on several occasions, various efforts were made to inquire Former Prez more..

Burton-Taylor yacht seized in Colombo

Jul 1 (ST) M.Y. Kalizma, the yacht gifted by actor Richard Burton to his wife and actress Elizabeth Taylor in 1967, has been seized in the Colombo Port by an insurance company that spent nearly US$ 100,000 to pay the crew who had been abandoned by the vessel owner since September last year. Action was filed by the insurance company Assuranceforeningen SKULD (Gjensidig) of Norway in Admiralty Court of SL to recover the money more..

Mahabodhi India delegation on Poson tour to Sri Lanka

Jul 1 (ST) A delegation of Buddhists from the Maha Bodhi Society of India (MBSI) visited Sri Lanka during the recent Poson season at the invitation of the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust. The delegation of more than fifty governing body members and their families was led by MBSI President Passang Dorji, a former Speaker of the Bhutan Parliament and General Secretary the Ven. P. Seewali Thera. During their week-long visit, they visited the Temple of the Tooth and had audiences with more..

Rosy says no to proposed new meeting hall for CMC members

Jul 1 (ST) The Colombo Municipal Council has turned down a proposal to build a new meeting hall for members. Mayor Rosy Senanayake at last week’s meeting said that the proposal to build a new meeting hall for the 119 councillors had been opposed by many members. “Spending Rs 220 million on a new meeting hall is too expensive as well as a difficult task,” she said adding that instead the existing hall would be renovated and seating would be provided to all 119 members. more..

MR to sue NY Times

Jul 1 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will be taking legal action against the New York Times, over a defamatory news report in the American newspaper, that he had solicited funds from a Chinese company for election purposes. “There isn’t an iota of truth in this massive defamatory report and I have filed litigation papers with my lawyers and will claim damages,” he said last night. more..

CTC launches fruit flavoured cigarette

Jul 1 (ST) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) has launched a new cigarette, which is a line extension of their regular Gold Leaf (GL) product, in a bid to attract new segments – possibly females, analysts say. It’s a red berry flavoured cigarette and was put to the market with the intention of injecting modernity into the brand and its GL product line, an analyst said. Over the past year, CTC has been experimenting with various line extensions, some of which joined the permanent GL portfolio more..

Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka breaks silence on New York Times report

Jul 1 (SL) The Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka today broke its silence over a New York Times report published recently which revealed that China had funded former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign in 2015. The Embassy said in a statement that it had noticed the New York Times’ article published on June 25, as well as the clarifications and responses by various parties from Sri Lanka, criticizing it full of political prejudice and completely inconsistent with the fact. more..

PC polls not likely until major elections are held

Jul 1 (ST) Provincial Councils Elections before the year ends, in the wake of the ruling coalition partners’ drubbing at the Feb 10 local polls, are turning out to be a distant dream. Though the official machinery is moving tardily towards such an event, there were a number of other factors that add to strong uncertainty. One was a new deadline placed by Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Govt, Faiszer Musthapha. more..

The NY Times exposé: Mahinda’s and Ranil’s Harbour cough-ups

Jul 1 (Island) We might as well call them harbour cock-ups in true British slang. How China Got Sri Lanka to cough up a Port is the title of a long New York Times feature article that first appeared online, in English and Chinese, on Monday, June 25 (a printed version followed on Tuesday, entitled: In Hock to China, Sri Lanka Gave Up Territory). Written by Maria Abi-Habib, NYT’s South Asia correspondent based in Delhi (with reporting contributions by Keith Bradsher and more..

Coughing up a Port!

Jul 1 (Island) Revelations that we in Sri Lanka suspected for long or knew about. I refer to the article by Maria Abi-Habib in the June 25, 2018 New York Times titled very succinctly How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough up a Port I received emailed not once but from three persons in the US and then listened to its exposé by the MTV Channel TVI on its English news broadcast at 9.00 pm on June 26. And now denials are flying around, with MP Namal Rajapaksa quoted in Daily Mirror of June 28 more..

Malaysian petroleum project: Angry Prez reprimands Ranatunga for delaying licences

Jul 1 (ST) Prez Sirisena strongly reprimanded Minister Arjuna Ranatunga at the weekly ministerial meeting for unduly delaying the issue of licences to a Malaysian firm for a project in SL. Kuala Lumpur-based Hirax Oil Sdn Bhd, manufacturers of petroleum derivatives including lubricants, had already set up a USD10 million production facility in Muthurajawela. This was in collaboration with the CPC which more..

Sri Lanka’s hotels sector has 100,000 jobs on offer, but there are no takers

Jul 1 (Island) The shocking revelation that 100,000 jobs were available in the hotels sector but youngsters were not interested in aspiring for employment in the trade, it was revealed at the Tourism Workforce Competitiveness Roadmap convened by the Private Sector Tourism Skills Committee (TSC) in Colombo last week. Although attendant skills, including languages, English and some Foreign languages were more..