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Truth slides out

Feb 1 (CT) At a recent interview with the BBC Sinhala Service FB Live, TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran, fielding questions from Facebook followers, explained the reasons for the need of a new Constitution. He categorically assured that their proposals will further strengthen the President to keep the country indivisible. The TNA’s intentions are pure and to create a framework where all can be proud to call Sri Lanka as their country was basically his message. more..

Sri Lanka enjoying the best of both worlds

Feb 1 (CT) The end of 2018 was the end of 70 years of Independence from Britain in1948. Politically the last quarter of 2018 was so horrible that 2018 as a whole was dubbed as Annus Horibilis. The 70 years that ended in such a fashion is now behind us as the past and Sri Lanka can look to a dawn of a new era which we all hope will be the Golden Years for Sri Lanka and I say this will all sincerity that we are a Nation that deserves a period that is better than what we have gone through more..

What we saw at the launch of Hatch

Feb 1 (Roar) By now you know that Hatch, SL’s one-of-a-kind co-working space/incubator/accelerator has well hatched. And if you’re a regular reader of ours, you’d also know that a grand launch event took place over the course of two full days. Things kicked off with a series of presentations on “Who’s doing what for startups”, where the aim was to summarize and highlight the various initiatives that are in progress to help develop and more..

The days we screamed

Feb 1 (GV) Yes, we screamed. Mostly out of fear. At times, in joy when the opposing side faced more loss than us. Lives were taken for granted, numbers of the fallen mattered much more than lives saved, on both sides. There were arguments, hate speech even among friends. This emotion was reflected in the art scene as well. The exhibition The days we Screamed brings together paintings and artworks by then young artists who gave artistic expression to the period we lived through. more..

Warming up for the race!

Feb 1 (DN) The countdown in election year continues with the three major political parties fine-tuning their political strategies which they hope will hand them victory at the presidential elections which need to be held by the end of the year. For the ruling UNP, what is at stake is delivering on at least some of the promises it made four years ago. While there has been some discussion about the issue of who their candidate would be, that hasn’t become a contentious issue just yet. more..

PRECIFAC Report faults Gotabaya, 12 others

Feb 1 (SO) The govt stepped up its fight against corruption this week by securing wider powers for the CIABOC. Constantly criticized by Prez Sirisena for the delay in its enactment since first being presented to parliament in May last year, the Commissions of Inquiry (Amendment) Bill was finally debated and was unanimously approved by members representing all parties in parliament early this week. more..

School gates closed for some dwellers

Feb 1 (DN) According to documents at the Galle Municipal Council, they are shanty dwellers - though it is now politically true to call them low-income residents. And whether the categorisation likes it or not, they have children for whom they wish to ensure a sound education. There is nothing wrong with that. The government is bound to treat all children alike. Over three decades ago, the Galle Municipal Council provided them houses making them official residents of the area. more..

Edtorial: Thinking after leaping

Feb 1 (Island) Recent talks between President Maithripala Sirisena and Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong have resulted in a rethink of Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA). Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama has gone on record as saying that a committee will be appointed to re-examine the SLSFTA and effect changes thereto, if necessary. The govt has, true to form, put the cart before the horse, once again! more..

Dudley Sirisena

Parliament spreads deceitfulness not femocracy: Why?

Feb 1 (CT) It was fortunate, unlike at present, all communities, namely, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslims, Burgers and Malays had unitedly struggled for independence and for building up one nation. They had built up this common platform, separated by religion, culture, language etc. The party which brought them under one umbrella had been the UNP. It was ethnically a super mix. How did the deterioration between Sinhala-Tamil relations begin after the UNP govt headed by the first PM more..

Cabinet decision to divert Kuda Ganga to Hambantota – A flawed decision?

Feb 1 (Island) Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting held on 22.01.2019 has apparently granted approval for a project for preventing floods in the Ratnapura and Kalutara districts, and providing drinking water to the Hambantota district, by diverting Kuda Ganga, which is a tributary of the Kalu Ganga, as announced in the Cabinet Office website. The decision further says that a feasibility study has been carried out to implement the Kalu Ganga development project at an investment of more..

Malik says more big ticket investments due in 2019

Feb 1 (FT) Outlining major plans for 2019 and beyond, Minister Malik Samarawickrama yesterday said the Ministry is targeting key investments from manufacturing and services sectors to attract over $ 10 billion Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) over the next few years. The Minister stated two Singaporean firms have confirmed their interest to set up two oil refinery plants and a steel plant in Trincomalee, more..

An apolitical Constitutional Council full of political stooges

Feb 1 (Island) For nearly two decades, the view that appointments to high state positions should be made only on the recommendations of an apolitical vetting body styled the Constitutional Council has been propagated by certain interested parties. The need for some kind of a vetting process in making high state appointments became a matter for discussion because unsuitable appointments were in fact made at various times and certain parties were able to use that to propagate the view that more..

Snarling view of politicians in this land of ours

Feb 1 (Island) Headline in The Island of Thur 22 Jan: Chartered flights for MR: UL not paid Rs 122.3 mn. That sort of truancy in meeting one’s obligations and fulfilling them and being decent seems to be the normal behaviour of some politicians; the higher they are on the ladder of importance the bigger the debts they bear. Cassandra who never is in debt, returning even the smallest loan she has taken from a friend in an emergency vacuity of her purse, was shocked beyond words. more..

SL ports should evolve beyond transhipment

Feb 1 (FT) Sri Lanka’s ports should reduce dependency on Indian transhipment and become global maritime hubs, the National Policy for Maritime and Logistics Sectors has recommended, as it would improve their competitiveness. The recommendations were outlined in the final draft of the National Policy for Maritime and Logistics Sectors that was presented to Minister Sagala Ratnayaka by more..

SL play SA, Australia in WC warm-up games

Feb 1 (DN) The official warm-up fixtures to be played in the lead-up to the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales was announced yesterday. All ten competing nations will play two official warm-up fixtures ahead of the tournament, which will take place at four venues across England and Wales. Ticketing and broadcast information will be released in April. The fixtures will be held over five days between 24-28 May, and will be hosted at 4 of the official CWC19 Tournament Venues; more..

Fast bowlers’ injuries has let the team down says Chandimal

Feb 1 (Island) Skipper Dinesh Chandimal has admitted that losing three fast bowlers during the tour of Australia and possibly a fourth in former captain Suranga Lakmal was a bitter blow for his team. The tourists played the opening Test in Gabba without Nuwan Pradeep, who suffered a hamstring injury during the warm-up game in Hobart. After the second Test, both Lahiru Kumara (hamstring) and Dushmantha Chameera (ankle) were ruled out and the Sri Lankans were waiting the result of more..

More trouble as Lakmal suffers back strain ahead of second Test

Feb 1 (Island) Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia has gone from bad to worse with their former captain Suranga Lakmal skipping training on Thursday ahead of today’s second Test against Australia here at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. Lakmal, who came up with a lion-hearted effort at the Gabba last week picking up a five wicket haul was struggling to get up from the bed yesterday due to a back strain and was expected to go for more..

'Avishka & Kamindu are World Cup material'

Feb 1 (DN) Charith Senanayake, the former SL cricketer and manager of the national and ‘A’ teams has suggested that a one-day series be played between the SL side and the SL ‘A’ team prior to the World Cup in May. “I suggested this series on Facebook and there was a lot of positive response to it and everyone supported it,” he said. “I said that because at the moment I realize that some of the national players are not pulling their weight and some of them are not fit enough to be there. more..

ACE Healthcare manufacturing plant opens

Feb 1 (DN) The phase 1 of the ACE Healthcare manufacturing plant was opened on Jan 20, with the participation of Minister Rajitha Senaratne, Chairman of The State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation (SPMC) Dr Sayura Samarasundara, actress and queen of Sinhala cinema Malini Fonseka and special guests. ACE Healthcare Pvt Ltd is fully owned Sri Lankan company under the Alaris Group of companies. The Chairman of Alaris Group of Companies more..

Akila's action to be tested in Chennai

Feb 1 (CI) Akila Dananjaya is set to fly to Chennai on Friday morning to reassess his bowling action, as SLC looks to fast track his return to the international fold ahead of their tour of South Africa later this month. "Spinner Akila Dananjaya will fly to Chennai, India tomorrow (1) to reassess his bowling action," an SLC release confirmed. "The reassessment will take place at the Center for Sports Science of Sri Ramachandra Institute more..

'Await eIDs and ePassports this year'

Feb 1 (DM) Under the universal identity card scheme, an electronic Identity Card (eID) and an electronic Passport (ePassport) will be introduced this year, State Minister of Home Affairs J.C. Alawathuwala said. “We hope to combine the eID with the driving license as well,” he said and added that the eID was now being issued at Divisional Secretariats countrywide. The state minister said eIDs would be issued in collaboration with the Department of Registration of Persons. more..

AMW with Ceylinco General Insurance to protect 2 wheeler and 3 wheeler users

Feb 1 (Island) Associated Motorways (AMW), one of Sri Lanka’s leading companies offering world-class automotive brands, announced a new partnership with Ceylinco General Insurance that will enhance the safety of AMW customers by offering complimentary insurance cover to every customer who chooses to purchase AMW tyres for motorcycles, three wheelers and scooters. The partnership will enhance the safety provided by the new range of AMW tyres and look into more..

'Govt removed Customs DG for refusing to give duty concessions to its backers'

Feb 1 (CT) General Secretary of the SLFP, MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said, that the govt had removed the Director General of the SL Customs to pave the way for one its favourites, a retired Naval officer as the former Director General had refused to provide duty concessions to those close to the govt incluidng some companies. SL Customs had lost Rs 131 billion due to the improper tariffs and had lost another Rs 30 billion due to more..

Sigiriya Rock to be made no-polythene zone

Feb 1 (NR) The magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, will be made a no-polythene zone from the 1st of February. Accordingly, the use of polythene bags, lunch sheets, rigifoam boxes and other shopping bags, will be prohibited within the designated area surrounding the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Project Manager-Sigiriya, Major NAA Nishantha said visitors will also be restricted from taking several food items from next month. more..

False data and flawed claims: Anura Kumara

Feb 1 (DM) According to MP Dissanayake, the provincial GDP figures he uses are taken from the CBSL Annual Report. However, the provincial GDP share figures quoted by the MP are very different to those in CBSL Annual Report 2017, which contains the latest data according to latest data, share of GDP held by the Western Province is not 52%, but rather is 39.7%. Report indicates that collective share of GDP held by areas outside the Western Province is not 48%, but rather is 60.3%. more..

Honouring the Corrupt: Range honoured for reversing October coup

Feb 1 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has honoured Palitha Range Bandara for frustraing an attempt by the short-lived Sirisena-Rajapaksa administration to secure the support of UNP lawmakers by bribing them following the Oct. 26 constitutional coup. Jayasuriya, on Monday, paid a glowing tribute to MP Bandara at a felicitation ceremony organized by the Puttalam District Development Foundation, where more..

New Sri Lanka shipping policy sees lower dependence on Indian cargo

Feb 1 (EN) Sri Lanka’s new national policy for its maritime and logistics sectors foresees reduced dependence on Indian container transshipment cargo, Colombo port’s main business for years, given changes in shipping services and emerging competition from other ports. The final draft of the national policy that aligns the maritime and logistics sectors to reap better economic benefits was presented to Minister of Ports & Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka Thursday, a statement said. more..

Field Marshal Fonseka to boycott Independence Day celebration

Feb 1 (DM) It is reported that former Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka has decided not to attend the National Independence Day celebrations to be held at the Galle Face on Feb 4. When our paper inquired from the Field Marshal about why he was not attending this important event he said an invitation had not been received by him up to yesterday. He was of the view that if he does not receive due respect for the position he holds he will not participate at such an event. more..

Custom officers on indefinite strike against new DG appointment

Feb 1 (FT) An indefinite joint trade union action will be commenced today at all departments of SL Customs, to protest against a Cabinet decision to appoint a retired Navy personnel as the new Director General of the department. “Cabinet had decided to appoint a retired Navy officer as the new Director General of the department. We learn that this appointment has not been approved by President Sirisena. more..

WB assistance to improve drinking water supply and sanitation in Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (Island) The World Bank has agreed to extend further assistance to expand the Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project, which is currently being implemented in 7 districts, to many other districts. A delegation of World Bank from Washington led by special World Bank representative Takuya Kamata called on the Minister Rauff Hakeem and held discussions recently. During the discussion, the World Bank representative consented to grant further assistance to more..

Defining Sri Lanka as Republic of Sri Lanka is enough: Champika

Feb 1 (DM) It was sufficient to describe Sri Lanka as the Republic of Sri Lanka instead of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. “Some individuals attempt to create false assumptions that changing the name of Sri Lanka will lead to a crisis in terms of racism, ethnicity and separatism,” he said. “My party too is demanding that the name Sri Lanka should be changed to Republic of Sri Lanka." He said this would not lead to any problem unless more..

Emergency power purchase controversy: PUCSL writes to PSC Chair

Feb 1 (CT) Ceylon Today received a report that the Public Utilities Commission of SL (PUCSL) has written to the Chairman of the Procurement Standing Committee (PSC), appointed by the Cabinet, querying how the latter could have published a newspaper advertisement to purchase emergency power of 100 Mega Watts without the permission of PUCSL. Copy of the letter has also been sent to GM of CEB. more..

Man who foretold Prez's death: Court releases suspect

Feb 1 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratna today closed the case against a suspect who was charged with foretelling the President's death via social media. The Magistrate released the suspect from the case when the CID informed court that the Attorney General had informed the CID that they would not take further steps to investigate the allegations against the suspect Vijayamuni Vijith Rohana of Abeyratna Lane Boralesgamuwa. The suspect described himself as an astrologer more..

SL halts imports of a Baby Powder brand

Feb 1 (NR) Sri Lanka has halted imports of a brand of Baby Powder until the company proves its product is free from asbestos. Two govt officials and the product’s local distributor said that stocks of the product already in Sri Lanka can still be sold, while there will be no new imports of the powder talc, a popular healthcare product across Sri Lanka and much of Asia, until fresh test results are provided. Reuters in December reported that the US drugs & consumer products group knew for decades more..

Parliament Mafia: Another national govt?

Feb 1 (Island) A UNP-led national govt was likely to be set up next week, parliament sources said. The UNP sent a letter to Secretary General Dhammika Dassanayake, yesterday, informing its willingness to set up a national govt. The letter stated that the UNP would form a national govt with several parties that would uphold the principles of good governance. Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that UNP would accommodate more..

Tea stories which make us depressed

Feb 1 (DM) The breathtaking sceneries at tea estates would not be complete without the pluckers who know the art of choosing which two leaves and the bud should go into their baskets. These pluckers have for generations smiled for photographs, appeared in television commercials and given the inspiration to writers and poets to come out with creative pieces of writing. But what we see and hear about them isn’t anywhere close to the real lives they are forced to live in tiny ramshackle more..

Stooging in the name of democracy

Feb 1 (DM) On Tuesday last, when the Cabinet of Ministers met, Prez Sirisena had submitted a paper requesting Cabinet Approval to hold PC Elections to the dissolved councils before the end of May 2019. By end May, there would be eight PCs dissolved, with only Uva Province left till mid-September. Cabinet, consisting of only UNP Ministers, deferred President’s request till the next Cabinet Meeting and it would then be the subject of Minister Vajira Abeywardne as Local Govt and PCs Minister. more..

Who is afraid of Deshapriya?

Feb 1 (DM) The threat on Monday by Chairman of the Elections Commission (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya to resign if PC elections were not held before the Prez Election is an indication of his Commission’s helplessness. In a way, it also points to the degree of Independence of the Independent EC. EC Chief responding to journalists questioned them in return as to whom they were suggesting to bring to book for more..

Bumper paddy harvest but farmers left in the lurch

Feb 1 (ST) Fears of an escalation in rice prices as the Avurudu season approaches have been dispelled by the abundance of the Maha harvest this year, officials said. “Around 700,000 hectares of paddy fields have yielded a bountiful harvest this Maha season,” Duminda Priyadarshana, Senior Research Officer at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) said. more..