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Boru Shoke

Dec 15 (Island) We run a reader’s letter today where a retired senior public servant has made the very pertinent point that public service jobs are not political largesse. His letter has been provoked by what he calls the "degrading, demeaning and disgusting" practice of politicians handing over letters of appointment to public service recruits, at ceremonies organized at taxpayer expense mainly to boost political egos. The writer, Mr. I.P.C. Mendis, says that this practice has gained ground over the last two decades more..

Bribery and corruption a way of life

Dec 15 (ST) Transparency International (TISL)’s local branch has done some work on bribery and corruption in this country and disclosed some of its not-so startling findings. It said that a quarter of the population accept bribery and corruption as facts of life. What is surprising is that the figure seems conservative. In recent election campaigns, both sides of the political divide hammered out the corruption card against the other pretending to be lily white themselves. more..

'Very contradictory statements with no substantial evidence'

Dec 15 (SO) Minister Ramesh Pathirana said the investigations have very clearly revealed that the Swiss embassy employee has made very contradictory statements with no substantial evidence. Minister said it is very clear there was an attempt to bring the Govt to disrepute in the international front without the knowledge of the Swiss Embassy. Once all the investigations are concluded, a firm comment can be made on this incident, he said. more..

Singing for his supper

Dec 15 (ST) My dear Cheerio Sirisena, I thought I should write to you firstly to find out how you are faring because it has been one month since you left the top job. I am pretty sure almost no one writes to you now, since you are not in the hot seat and not of use to anyone- which was also the case even when you were doing the top job. The other reason why I thought I should write to you was because of something that you said this week- that the blues should get together with the pohottuwa chaps more..

Tourism by the numbers

Dec 15 (ST) It was a splendid morning. The rays of the Thursday morning sun crept through the leaves of the margosa tree as the choon paan karaya in his three-wheeler went down the lane, with his noisy but catchy tune waking up the neighbourhood. The trio – Kussi Amma Sera, Mabel Rasthiyadu and Serapina – had purchased their share of loaves of bread and maalu paan from the choon paan karaya, and was seated under the margosa tree, chatting. Ada paththare kiyanawa jeevana viyadama balanna kamituvak more..


The Swiss fiasco

Dec 15 (Island) Swiss Embassy drama continues to dominate the news bulletins. With each passing day the drama surrounding the alleged abduction of a Swiss embassy local staffer is beginning to look more and more like the drama that we saw in the late 1990s in relation to the Commission to inquire into the deaths of Maj Gen Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Brigadier Vijaya Wimalaratne and others. For months, the principal witness of that inquiry, named Rohini Hathurusinghe who claimed to be the wife of a soldier more..

Why Sajith got heavily defeated at the Presidential polls

Dec 15 (SO) If one looks critically at some of the reasons for the UNP’s humiliating defeat at the Prez elections, as to why Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa reaped 6,924,225 votes (52.25%) of the votes and Sajith Premadasa, only 5,564,239 (41%) of the votes, one does not have to look far. Election results map, which was published in all newspapers, says it all. Prez Election results Map 2019, marked green, from Puttalam to the entirety of the Northern and Eastern Provinces and Nuwara Eliya District, more..

Maithri spearheads campaign to ensure 2/3rds majority for President Gotabaya

Dec 15 (CT) Gazette was issued by the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa setting out the subjects and functions allocated to Departments, Public Corporations, and Statutory Institutions coming under the 15 Cabinet Ministers who were appointed last month. According to the Gazette, 31 State institutions including the Police Dept, State Intelligence Service (SIS), Dept of Immigration and Emigration, Dept of Registration of Persons, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, more..

Rugby: Sri Lanka thrash Philippines to regain spot in Top Tier

Dec 15 (ST) After two seasons Sri Lanka will join the Top Tier of the Asia Rugby Under-19 Men’s Rugby Championship, after finishing off victorious in the Division I segment at the Yongchuan Sports Centre in Thailand yesterday. After having defeated China comprehensively by 39-14 on Wednesday in the Division I semi-final clash, Sri Lanka’s game against the Philippines Volcanoes was a one way traffic, as the Young Tuskers recorded a smashing 40-0 victory. Sri Lanka will now join more..

Hiruni climbs marathon’s Everest

Dec 15 (SO) For Hiruni Wijayaratne her native Sri Lanka must be a very small place to live now that she set a Himalayan record of beating a region of over 1.5 billion people by running the marathon and bagging the gold medal making her the first islander to do so at this month’s South Asian Games in Nepal. Unlike the rest of the sports that were contested at the Games that could have fallen below standards, a Marathon is a marathon and the 29-year old Hiruni covered the distance of more..

Mahela slams SLC for jam-packed limited over tournament schedule

Dec 15 (ST) Mahela Jayawardena launched a scathing attack on SLC after they announced a jam-packed schedule for the domestic ODI tournament – SLC Invitation limited over tournament which kicked off on Saturday. 25 teams in four groups will battle it out in 66 first round matches within ten days to decide the eight quarter finalists. The quarter-finals will be played on Dec 8 followed by the semi-finals and finals on Dec 29 and 31 respectively. more..

Overnight rain washes out play on day four

Dec 15 (CI) A scintillating onslaught from the weather overnight proved yet again to be the definitive performance in the Rawalpindi Test, which did not see a single ball bowled on day four before play was called off at noon. Frigid showers have been in outstanding form right through this Test, and the force with which they imposed themselves on a hapless outfield ensured that the turf was too sodden for play. The covers also showed signs of having endured a battering, with vast pools of water laying atop more..

LB Finance Mobile Wallet to drive cashless Sri Lanka vision

Dec 15 (TM) A decade or two ago, a cashless society sounded like something out of a science fiction novel, but today many major cities around the world have made the switch from using physical money to using smartphones to pay for their daily necessities. One of the biggest examples of this can be seen in countries like Sweden, where a nationwide survey showed that as of 2018, only 13% of Swedes reported using physical cash to pay for their transactions, and China, where most of more..

Sri Lanka bows out of SAG with Gold Medals and Dengue Cases!

Dec 15 (ST) This column stays with the SAG (South Asian Games) regional spectacle for the third time over the last few weeks because it mirrors what SL sports is all about. Talent abounds but our own fault lines render ineffective and indifferent results in the end. The incidence of dengue cases among our sportsmen and sportswomen brought to the surface what is endemic in all our sports administrations starting from the Ministry of Sports and meandering to all National Sports Associations more..

Masters’ athlete returns with three medals, misses a fourth

Dec 15 (SO) SL’s leading Masters athlete in the over-70 age category Irangani Karunaratne returned with three medals from the 21st Asia Masters Athletic Championship 2019, held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia recently. However she was deprived of her fourth medal when the organizers rescheduled the 100 metres race for 7 p.m. when the opening ceremony was taking place. Irangani said that she had entered the final in the 100m race and it was to be held around 1 p.m. but the organizers had rescheduled it. more..

Sri Lanka tourist earnings down 10% in Nov 2019

Dec 15 (EN) SL’s tourism revenues were estimated to have been down 10.5% from a year earlier to US$ 332 million in Nov 2019. The revenues which is an estimate is in line with the arrival fall of 9.5% in Nov. Sri Lanka’s tourism arrivals fell 70% in May 2019, after suicide bombings on Easter Sunday, but have been gradually recovering. Hotels have said they discounted prices to attract visitors. Up to Nov, tourism revenues were estimated to be US$ 3,183 million down 19.6% from a year earlier. more..

No action against Uber yet: CAA

Dec 15 (TM) Amidst the increasing number of complaints against Uber Sri Lanka on social media, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) said that they had not taken any legal action yet against the multinational ride-hailing service. However, responding to an inquiry made by us on whether there would be any legal action taken in the future, CAA Chairman Dr. N. Senaweera noted if the CAA receives any complaints directly, legal action could be taken as done in the past. more..

Customs high-tech scanning system probed

Dec 15 (ST) A deal between a foreign private company and the previous government to supply, install and implement a high-tech scanning system is to be reviewed following a high level investigation, Sri Lanka Customs sources said. This was the result of a request made by All Ceylon Custom Services Union in a letter to PM and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa urging him to revise the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Asia Pacific Rapsicon System Pte Ltd on 28-10-2016. more..

Sri Lanka to bring back bond, equity investors

Dec 15 (ST) The SL govt is looking at working with financial partners who had invested with them in bond and equity in the past prior to 2015. “We are looking at partners in the past that have invested in bond and equity (in Sri Lanka) and we will want to work with them again,” PM’s Economic Advisor Nivard Cabraal told the Business Times on Friday. He explained that once the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals have stabilised these investors would want to come back to the market. more..

Alleged hit-and-run was a simple motor accident, says Patali

Dec 15 (AD) Former Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has insisted that the alleged hit-and-run he is accused of is a simple accident, despite him being imposed an overseas travel ban. Addressing a media briefing held yesterday, he emphasized he was cleared of the accusations levelled at him following the investigations. Ranawaka further stated that the person who drove the vehicle at the time of the accident was imposed a fine of Rs 3,500 and that the hearing came to an end. more..

Sri Lankan group visits China on Advanced Media Talents Training program

Dec 15 (Island) A 19-member SL group of senior journalists, advertising and media managers and university lecturers participated in the Advanced Media Talents Training Program held at Chongqing Normal University (CNU) in China during Oct-Nov 2019. Speaking at the certificate awarding ceremony, CNU president, Meng Donfarg, said he was pleased that a group from the beautiful country of SL had come to China for the training program. The initiative, organized by the Chongqing Normal University, more..

Will get to the truth of white van drama: Defence Secretary

Dec 15 (AD) Defence Secretary, Major General Kamal Gunaratne has insisted that investigations are underway to uncover the truth behind the White Van drama, acted out by the henchmen of former Health Minister. “All of you can see the change in the country after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected Prez, since there no acts of revenge taking place,” Defence Secretary said. He also spoke of the accusations, criticisms and defamation levelled at the Prez during the election season. more..

Dengue cases soar, officials warn of new strain

Dec 15 (ST) Suspected dengue patients have been advised to seek treatment even after a day of fever, in view of the identification of a new strain of dengue. National Dengue Control Unit’s Director, Dr Anura Jayasekara said that the strain which was spreading this year was different from the strain which affected SL two years ago and therefore there were only mild differences in symptoms. He said suspected patients could get into a serious condition at a faster rate more..

German tourism promoter pledges to fund completion of offshore breakwater barrier at Marawila

Dec 15 (Island) The Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department will now be able to push ahead with the stalled offshore breakwater construction at Marawila, thanks to a German tourism promoter, who has agreed to fund the project. The construction of the offshore breakwater barrier on a section of the Marawila beach could not be completed by the Coast Conservation Department due to lack of funds in 2018. The gap left by the unfinished work resulted in sea erosion more..

SL to talk to Swiss authorities on extraditing IP Nishantha

Dec 15 (DM) Foreign Ministry is to begin talks soon with the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, seeking the extradition of Inspector Nishantha Silva, who is believed to have flown to Switzerland without prior notice,. He is believed to have fled the country last month after the transfer of former CID Director Shani Abeysekara and is said to be taking refuge in Switzerland with his family. The govt source said SL firmly believed in maintaining its strong relations with Switzerland but more..

Ten days before polls CEB took initiative for huge coal power plant

Dec 15 (ST) The CEB issued a letter of intent (LoI), just 10 days before the Presidential election, to the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to build a 300mw extension to the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai. The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) was not informed of the LoI despite the regulator’s approval being mandatory. And an extension to Lakvijaya is not in any of the CEB’s Long Term Generation Expansion Plans. more..

Indo-Lanka joint military exercise, Mitra Shakti, concludes at Aundh Military station

Dec 15 (HT) The 7th edition of the India-Sri Lanka joint training exercise, Mitra Shakti 2019, concluded on Saturday at the Aundh Military Station, Pune, with a joint culmination exercise. The exercise was witnessed by Major General Anil Kumar Kashid, general officer commanding, Shahbaaz Division, in the presence of senior army officers and defence officials of both the participating countries. The SL observer delegation was led by Major General HPNK Jayapathirane. more..

EU unveils seven projects to support human rights and civil society in SL

Dec 15 (AD) The European Union (EU) Delegation to SL and the Maldives has launched seven new projects to support human rights and civil society in Sri Lanka. These seven projects are funded under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Civil Society Organizations and Local Authorities (CSO/LA) thematic instrument, the EU said in a statement. The EU will channel approximately Rs. 813.7 million (EUR 4 million) to the several civil society organizations, more..

'Citizenship Act is not for Lankan Tamil refugees'

Dec 15 (CT) Sri Lanka's Deputy High Commissioner for Southern India V. Krishnamoorthy says that the Citizenship Amendment Act of India will have no impact on the Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees. He said that there are 3,815 Sri Lankan refugees in camps in India who have already indicated their interest and are actively preparing to return to Sri Lanka and awaiting the commencement of the ferry service in order to transport their accumulated household items along with them. more..

Video: Two persons who made white van allegations detained for questioning

Dec 15 (AD) The CID decided to detain the two individuals who had made controversial statements regarding “white vans” during a media briefing led by former Minister Rajitha Senaratne. The two suspects will accordingly be detained for 72 hours for further interrogation. It was also reported that they are to be produced before courts on coming Monday (16). These two suspects were arrested by the CID last night (13) at Mahara area. The CID had commenced an investigation into a media briefing more..

Prices of cement go down

Dec 15 (AD) The govt has decided to reduce the prices of locally manufactured cement. It is reported that the prices of cement manufactured in Sri Lanka and cement imported in bulk will be brought down starting from the next week. Accordingly, the price of a cement bag weighing 50kg has been slashed by Rs.100, State Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. The decision on cement price reduction has been taken owing to the recent cuts made to Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes. more..

The Swiss embassy saga takes a sour turn

Dec 15 (ST) Less than a handful of Sri Lankans have brought worldwide notoriety to their country but never before has one ended up bringing two nations towards an eyeball to eyeball confrontation. That dubious distinction could go to 34-year-old Garnier Banister Francis, Swiss Embassy’s Assistant Migration Officer. She claimed that she was abducted by five men who came in a white Toyota Corolla car on Monday, Nov 25 from outside the Embassy premises at more..

Uni education for all those who qualify at A/L

Dec 16 (CT) Undoubtedly, higher education is the only path to upward mobility for most of our youth. Thus, university admission has become extremely competitive in SL and it remains a very sensitive national issue for many decades. Only about 17% of those who qualify for university admission is admitted to state universities for free higher education leaving out over 80%. This means that a very large number of deserving students are denied admission to our universities every year. more..

Gotabaya, Hobbes & The Social contract

Dec 16 (CT) When Prez-elect Gotabaya Rajapaksa took the solemn oath to become the 7th Prez, the world watched. Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains many things to many. For the Western media he was a genocidal strongman coming from SL’s most prominent military family, whatever that may mean. For the garden variety Colombo-coffee-shop-liberal whose pen scribbles as fast as the greenbacks could flow, he is the quintessential War Criminal who never saw the insides of a court room from more..

SAG athletes neglected and let down

Dec 16 (SO) When the starting pistol went off the crowds roared loudly, cheering the athletes. It was a big game, a great opportunity to be a part of. The sportspersons had trained tirelessly for years to represent their countries and take home medals.The enthusiasm was loud and clear even from the hospital room where 25-year-old Nadeesha Ramanayaka lay with burning fever. The hospital was situated adjacent to the ground more..

A terminator here and a Punisher there

Dec 16 (ST) In Manila this week, there are chilling reminders of how a strongman President with a penchant for bad-mouthing those whom he dislikes and spearheading summary justice against alleged drug traffickers remains popular with his people despite all the hard evidence showing that the country has really not progressed under his rule. We like him. He is not politically correct says a well known businesswoman in Metro-Manila, He says things for what they are. more..

Britain gives thunderous roar for Brexit Boris, the Tory’s wild boy

Dec 16 (ST) Britain woke on Friday the 13th to a champagne breakfast in celebration of Boris Johnson’s magnificent triumph at Thursday’s elections as the British lion gave a resounding roar of approval to Boris and his Brexit campaign to quit the continent. Now no buts no ifs no maybes, we will get Brexit done, declared the jubilant Boris at the end of his victory speech, but before we get Brexit done, let’s first get breakfast done. It was the kind of riposte that has come to epitomise more..

Mrs World 2020: Caroline Jurie: Her Cinderella shoes…..

Dec 16 (SO) Poised to perfection in her stunning, glittery silver dress, Caroline Jurie brought back glory to the country when she became the second Sri Lankan woman to be crowned Mrs World 2020 last week. Fifty one from across the far corners of the world assembled last Saturday for the crowning of the new queen and by sheer commitment and determination Caroline Jurie was able to steal the limelight that evening, more..

Editorial: The Art Spring

Dec 16 (Island) Time was when Sri Lanka was known to the world as the Granary of the East. Political rodents have, under successive governments, emptied the granary and got fattened; grain now has to be imported. There have been numerous pledges to turn this country into various hubs, over the years, and they have all been reneged on. It is against this backdrop that the ongoing campaign by volunteer artists to beautify urban areas through mural painting should be more..