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Diplomacy in Geneva, duplicity in London

Mar 1 (CT) UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has bombastically declared, “In an ideal world, we should not need this Council. In an ideal world, states would meet the human rights obligations they have to their people. States and non-state actors would not abuse the vulnerable, persecute certain communities or silence those who speak out. In an ideal world, those who did such despicable things would face justice. more..

Muslim Politics: 3 routes to one destination

Mar 1 (CT) Muslim politics and politicians in post-independent Sri Lanka has been preoccupied with only one objective, and that is, to maximise benefits accrued to the community from govts in power. Unlike the Sinhalese majority, and within them the Buddhists, who assert that this country belongs only to them and that other communities are allowed to live here only at the behest of Sinhalese Buddhists (a self-destructive assertion that permits other communities to remain unpatriotic); more..

5 things to do in Batticaloa over the weekend

Mar 1 (Roar) The East Coast of Sri Lanka is where you’ll find Batticaloa, a place for many travellers from beach goers to adventure seekers, history buffs, and shopaholics. Initially known as Nagadiba and Mattakallappu, the Portuguese derived Batticaloa means Kingdom of Rice. Throughout history, the region as been the site of many wars; from the Mukkuva wars to the invasion of Kalinga Magha, struggles between more..

The language barrier

Mar 1 (GV) Sitting on Maatram Editor Selvaraja Rajasegar’s desk is a thick envelope containing details of elephant deaths on the railway track. The information took him over a month to receive, because he made the request in Tamil. The response, when it eventually came, was in English. This is not unusual – as someone who requests in Tamil, Maatram’s requests will often only be responded to in a month’s time, if at all. Vikalpa Editor Sampath Samarakoon meanwhile, more..

Candidacy question

Mar 1 (DN) Faced with the prospect of finding and fielding viable presidential candidates, major political parties now appear to be toying with the possibility of abolishing the Executive Presidency. This is the latest twist in the country’s political drama in what is likely to be an enthralling election year. It is now no secret that the three major political parties, ruling UNP led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, SLFP of which Prez Sirisena is the leader and the main opposition party, more..

ETI deal neither fully transparent nor legal

Mar 1 (CT) Secretary-General of National Economic Council (NEC), Professor Lalith Samarakoon claimed that the transaction between Edirisinghe Trust Investments and the foreign investor, Blue Summit Capital Management, is neither fully transparent nor legal. He added that further investigations are required in order to obtain more information which has not yet been made available to them, on the above deal. more..

Middle-Income Trap and Democratic Trap?

Mar 1 (CT) It has been said and empirically proved that it is extremely difficult for a developing country to move from a middle-income country status to high-income country status. This phenomenon is generally described as a middle-income trap and many Latin American countries have been cited as examples. Sri Lanka achieved middle-income country status and is strategising to break this trap and to reach the prestigious club of high-income countries in 2025. more..

Edtorial: Waiting for Godot

Mar 1 (Island) The yahapalana leaders seem to think that being popular among western nations is a measure of a govt’s success. Time was when President Maithripala Sirisena used to go on and on about what he called a gloveless handshake he had received from the Queen of the UK. Now, Minister Mangala Samaraweera tells us that the govt almost succeeded in having US President Barack Obama here, in 2016. Speaking at the opening of the US Corner in Matara, the other day, more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Ambatale stormwater pumping station: A project to free Colombo of floods

Mar 1 (DN) Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP) implemented under the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry is a development project funded by the World Bank and the Sri Lankan govt. The World Bank is providing a concessionary loan of US$ 213 million to the MCUDP, while SL govt is investing US$108 million. Foremost development objective of the MCUDP, which commenced in 2012, is to improve the drainage capacity of Metro Colombo area, more..

The Elections Commission: A madhouse within a madhouse

Mar 1 (Island) The 19th Amendment led to the setting up of the following independent Commissions with the stated objective of depoliticising the conduct of the day-to-day affairs of the govt. Election Commission, Public Service Commission, National Police Commission, Audit Service Commission, Human Rights Commission of SL, CIABOC, Finance Commission, Delimitation Commission, National Procurement Commission. Article 41B (6) of the present Constitution, as amended by the 19th more..

Finance Ministry fine-tunes populist Budget 2019

Mar 1 (ST) The Finance Ministry is now fine-tuning the upcoming budget 2019, the first by the UNF Govt following the breakaway of the coalition with the SLFP, to be presented in parliament on March 5 amidst falling revenue, mounting public debt and severe balance of payments difficulties. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told a forum that the upcoming budget 2019 will be important and interesting. more..

Complacent view mostly overseas via TV Channels

Mar 1 (Island) That’s what pertains with Cassandra and her beloved country as per news and political shenanigans – not much to report on locally, less to comment on. Thus Cass’ eye was trained overseas across the Indian Ocean to Kashmir and Jammu and then it had to move swiftly across to India, then Pakistan and again back to India, all via NDTV. Usually this TV Channel’s news programme has women announcers but yesterday and today there was a very competent male convener of more..

85th Battle of the Saints: Who will be the better Saint?

Mar 1 (DN) The 85th Battle of the Saints between St. Peter’s College and St. Joseph’s College will unfold with usual comradeship at P.Sara Oval today and tomorrow. Two days of exciting cricket can be expected from these two Catholic schools, even though St. Peter’s College has a slight edge due to their recent purple-patch leading up to the Big Match. Meanwhile St. Joseph’s will try hard to turn tables on the Peterites and bring a victory to the Darley Road school. more..

Zoysa to contest SLC dismissal

Mar 1 (CT) Former SL cricketer Nuwan Zoysa denied all allegations of corruption levelled against him by the ICC and protested his dismissal without a proper investigation by cricket’s governing body in Sri Lanka while announcing his intention to seek legal recourse by appealing his summary dismissal by SLC. Zoysa was charged with three counts of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. Owing to the seriousness of the charges, more..

Laws to curb match fixing: Sports Minister

Mar 1 (DN) Laws will be introduced soon to curb match fixing, Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Minister Harin Fernando said. Addressing the opening of new SLADA building in Colombo yesterday the Minister said that at the moment there is no law in Sri Lanka to punish for match fixing. “Now the Legal Draftsman has completed all laws. The law will be presented to Parliament soon. Sri Lanka will be the first country in the region to introduce the law,” he said. more..

Thilak Piyadigama takes over reins at SDB bank as new CEO

Mar 1 (Island) Veteran banker counting over 30 years of experience in the industry, Thilak Piyadigama takes over the reins of SDB bank as the new CEO with effect from March 01. He has held senior management positions in the banking and technology industries in Singapore, UAE, UK and SL working for Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Nations Trust Bank. Piyadigama previously served as the Chief Operating Officer of Nations Trust Bank, possesses professional experience more..

Get Facebook to cut hate speech, Samantha Power tells Sri Lanka

Mar 1 (EN) Former United States diplomat Samantha Power has urged Sri Lanka to get Facebook to crackdown on hate speech, partly thought to have fuelled anti-Muslim violence last year, and called for greater global regulation and fines on social media. “Govts like yours are going to have to insist that Facebook uphold its Community Standards for all of Sri Lanka’s national languages, or face serious repercussions,” she said. more..

Tug of War dropped from NSF

Mar 1 (CT) Tug of War, which had grown under the administrations of the two previous Ministers of Sports, Faiszer Mustapha and Dayasiri Jayasekara now shows signs of eclipse under the administration of incumbent Harin Fernando: Being unceremoniously dropped from the National Sports Festival (NSF). The decision was taken after a meeting with Provincial Sports Directors by the Director General of Sports and other officials of Dept of Sports Development who are the more..

NOC enters Digital age with new website

Mar 1 (CT) Addressing the modern day need of digitalising sports broadcasts and information, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) re-launched its website which now functions as a one stop solution for all Olympic sports information in the country, be it news, event results, interviews, athletes’ profiles, statistics, photos or videos. “Our athletes are not widely known in the country, unlike cricketers. Therefore, to attract sponsorship is very difficult. more..

SriLankan ordered costly VIP kit

Mar 1 (Island) SriLankan Airlines had requested Airbus a VIP kit in 2013 though it was earlier stated that it was Airbus’s idea to offer us the kit as a token of appreciation, PCoI was informed. Senior State Counsel Fazly Razik, who led the evidence presented the PCoI with a document, from Airbus which indicated that it was UL that had requested the VIP kit. "This shows that it was UL which requested a VIP kit and two VIP aircraft, more..

SLRA to launch Retail Academy

Mar 1 (CT) The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) announced via media release that it is planning to officially launch its Retail Academy, an institute that will provide professional qualifications in the field of retail. While the Retail Academy has informally been in operation since 2017, providing training courses and workshops thus far, SLRA stated it is looking to partner with State and non-State accredited institutes to formalise training models. more..

Maersk to increase container handling in SL

Mar 1 (CT) The world’s largest container shipping company, Maersk, has decided to expand its container handling in Sri Lanka in collaboration with their local business partner, South Asia Gateway Terminal Pvt Ltd, Maersk CEO, Soren Skou said yesterday. According to the Presidential Media Division, Maersk CEO, Skou called on President Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday and briefed the President on the expansion plans of Maersk’s container handling in Sri Lanka. more..

'Divestiture of SLIIT caused loss of Rs. 23 bn'

Mar 1 (Island) MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, yesterday, lodged a complaint with the CIABOC regarding what he called four major cases of corruption in the Higher Education and Education Ministries. He alleged that a loss amounting to Rs 23,000 mn had been caused to the state as the board of directors of the SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) had been allowed to take over that institution, more..

Cinnamon Life to redefine Colombo’s skyline soon

Mar 1 (FT) Cinnamon Life, the city’s most iconic mixed-use development, has completed 93% of its construction to date, and is ambitious to redefine both Colombo’s skyline, while offering the epitome of inspired living. Cinnamon Life will feature a five-star Cinnamon Hotel with 800 rooms, state-of-the-art 30-storey office tower, shopping and entertainment spaces, theatres, restaurants and premium residential apartments, which promises to offer exclusivity and luxury at every touch point. more..

‘Sri Lanka must implement economic reforms immediately’

Mar 1 (DN) Sri Lanka needs to implement much needed economic reforms at least for the next five years, particularly to address the issue concerning the debt burden, Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, from the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of Int'l Relations and Strategic Studies, Sri Lanka said. Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja made these views on the first day of the Asia Liberty Forum 2019, held at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo. The two-day forum is being organized by the Advocata Institute, Sri Lanka. more..

Eran questions President’s right to receive ministers asset declarations

Mar 1 (Island) State Minister Eran Wickremaratne, faulted longstanding current practice of cabinet ministers having to hand over their asset declarations to the President whereas the other members of parliament handed theirs to the Secretary General of Parliament. He alleged that it was a ruse for the President to keep the ministers under control. UNPer said so at a media conference called by the TISL more..

Starting political life in opposition benefited Mangala: President

Mar 1 (DM) The occasion the completion of 30 years in politics by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera was celebrated last afternoon at the BMICH. The event titled 30 years of daring to dream was attended by a large number of well-wishers, among them President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, foreign diplomats and a host of other invitees. more..

PCoI on Sri Lankan: Ravi K’s statement recorded

Mar 1 (Island) The police yesterday recorded a statement from Minister Ravi Karunanayake, in respect of allegations being investigated by PCoI on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka. The police unit, attached to the PCoI, questioned the Minister for several hours. Last week PCoI police unit recorded a statement from Minister Kabir Hashim, as well. Police, in August last year, recorded a statement from the wartime Defence Secretary and more..

Prez started to attack CC after aligning with MR: Anura Kumara

Mar 1 (DM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that Prez Sirisena did not have any issue with the Constitutional Council (CC) for the past three years and that he had started to criticise it only after he joined hands with the Rajapaksa faction. “The AG, Chief Justice, IGP and Parliament Secretary General were appointed by the President. He did not have any issue with the CC during the last three years. more..

PM to visit Tirumala

Mar 1 (DC) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will be offering prayers to Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala during his two-day visit to the temple city scheduled on March 2 and 3. In connection with the visit of the SL PM, sub-collector Mahesh Kumar along with SP K.K.N. Anbur-ajan inspected the arrangements being made at the airport on Thursday. The PM will arrive at the Chennai int'l airport on March 2 at about 3 pm and from there, the PM would reach Tirupati in a special flight by 4.30 pm. more..

Sri Lanka opens consulate office in Cyprus

Mar 1 (AD) Foreign Minister of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides and his Sri Lankan counterpart Tilak Marapana said on Thursday that the two countries were opening a new chapter in their bilateral cooperation, while inaugurating Sri Lanka’s consulate office in Nicosia, Cyprus. “After the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1963, our relations are growing steadily,” Christodoulides said in his address at the ceremony. In their meeting on Wednesday, more..

IMF agrees to extend Sri Lanka loan programme, disburse delayed tranche

Mar 1 (EN) Sri Lanka has reached a staff level agreement with the IMF to extend an existing agreement and complete a stalled review in May after a budget for 2019 is presented according to program targets. "The team reached understandings at the staff level with the SL authorities on the fifth review and their request to extend the EFF arrangement for an additional year with the remaining disbursements being more..

Prez can’t delay punishing PRECIFAC probe culprits: JVP

Mar 1 (CT) There’s no excuse for the President to delay punishing the culprits identified by the PCoI, and PRECIFAC, said JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. “The President has now said that he cannot punish the culprits of the CB Treasury Bonds scam because they’re part of the current Govt. But PRECIFAC found frauds committed by 33 people. These are the likes of Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and MP Wimal Weerawansa. more..

CA fixes order over the maintainability of Avant Garde case

Mar 1 (DM) The order on the revision application which raised the legal issue of the maintainability of the Avant Garde case, was fixed to be delivered on June 14, 2019, by the Court of Appeal yesterday. The Bench, comprising of Justice Achala Wengappully and Justice Arjuna Obeysekara, also extended the interim stay order, which prevented the Magistrate's Court from inquiring into the Avant Garde case until the pronouncement of the final decision over the revision application. more..

Samantha Power salutes Mangala and Sri Lanka’s defeat of antidemocratic forces

Mar 1 (FT) With democracy under threat around the world, former US Ambassador to the US Samantha Power yesterday called on SL to protect its democratic ideals and institutions, so that fostering unity, promoting equality, and improving development remain key priorities. Delivering a well-researched and eloquent speech at the ceremony to mark three decades since Minister Mangala Samaraweera entered politics at the BMICH, more..

Indo-Pak tensions from a SL perspective

Mar 1 (DM) Govt of SL showed its grave concerns about the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan and called for the two neighbouring nations to act in a manner that ensures security, peace and stability in the entire region. The strikes by the Indian Air Force on a so-called terrorist camp in Pakistan days ago highlight the Indian Govt’s readiness to showcase its military power in the Asian region and also its unhappiness about its neighbour doing little or nothing to curb terrorism in Asian region. more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa: Because why not?

Mar 1 (DM) Harim Peiris, in an article on Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential ambitions (Sinhala nationalist critique of democracy – a mistake), conflates the man’s candidacy with what he refers to as the new Sinhala nationalist political project, which he views as being disdainful of democracy and being buttressed by faith in a strongman. After a series of extrapolations, contentions, and conclusions about the Rajapaksas, he lays his argument bare for all to see, read & savour: more..

‘Challenge is to prevent the influx of drugs to the country’

Mar 1 (DM) Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva assumed office as the 23rd Commander of the SL Navy in January. Having joined as a Cadet Officer in 1984 he was commissioned as a Sub Lieutenant in Feb 1986. A recipient of the Weera Wickrama Vibhushanaya— third-highest military decoration awarded in SL for individual acts of gallantry and bravery—Vice Admiral De Silva is a veteran of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Diving. more..

Eateries endangering public health slip through legal loopholes

Mar 1 (ST) They hid a bin what would have been the night’s kottu roti – chopped bits of godamba roti in a polythene bag. Below what would have been a meal for a customer, lay rotten vegetables, pol kudu (waste of scraped coconut) rancid, stale meat, stinking carrots and peeled skin of onions. This is not a scene from a garbage dump or an uncleared drain. This was what was found in a restaurant at Bloemendhal, Colombo 13. more..