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Festina Lente!

Mar 16 (Island) Of late, Mangala Samaraweera has been in the news. That is not strange given the colourful character he is. In a parliament that is progressively getting stuffed with those who are boringly similar, it is not surprising those who dare to be different from the herd hardly get any noteworthy mention. Mangala does not fear to be different. And he does not make any bones about it. In one of the best speeches I have heard him make, President Maithiripala Sirisena spoke of Mangala more..

China-India tussle for Eastern Container Terminal

Mar 16 (ST) Colombo Port’s Eastern Container Terminal (ECT) development project has been stalled since 2016 due to inconsistent policy decisions taken by the govt from time to time amidst intervention of the President in awarding the contract to a suitable bidder among multiple consortiums who have made expressions of interest (EOI). Multiple consortiums representing India- Japan, China-Qatar -Iran along with more..

Recycling entrepreneur wins recognition as one of Asia’s greatest brands and leaders

Mar 16 (ST) Kalhari Enterprises and its Chairman/Managing Director – Kaushal Rajapaksa were recognised among Asia’s greatest brands and leaders at the Pride of Asia Series Awards and Business Summit, and Asia’s Greatest Brands and Leaders 2018 held at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Singapore, recently. The award follows closely on the heels of the Gold Award for recycled products won by the Kalhari Group at the National Chamber of Exporters Awards 2018. more..

Sri Lanka rated as one of the best mobile phone markets in South Asia

Mar 16 (Island) Sri Lanka is one of the best mobile markets in the region and an ideal place to introduce the latest innovative products, Chief Executive Officer, Vivo Mobile Lanka, Kevin Jiang said. "We have confidence in Sri Lanka because mobile phone penetration is greater than its population, and is quite an attractive market compared to other regional markets. SL's younger generation is technology savvy, which is the reason for mobile penetration to move up to that high level, more..

Sri Lanka to launch national action plan to combat bribery, corruption

Mar 16 (EN) Sri Lanka will launch a national action plan to combat bribery and corruption which will include changes in the law covering areas like asset declaration, election campaign finance and whistleblower provision. Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) was entrusted with the task of formulating the plan to be launched on 18th of March 2019 by President Maithripala Sirisena and other ministers. more..

Contempt allegation on Ramanayake: SC fixes to be mentioned on 12 June

Mar 16 (FT) Supreme Court on 7 March fixed to be mentioned on 12 June the contempt of Court on the alleged offence of Court against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake. The Bench comprised Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justices Prasanna Jayawardena and Vijith Malalgoda. The Rules were already read to the Accused Respondent Ranjan Ramanayake. He had pleaded not guilty. Attorney General on 30 July 2018 furnished the draft Rule against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake more..

Failure of all govts since independence to formulate a National Education Policy

Mar 16 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip and UPFA MP Mahinda Amaraweera, yesterday, said that all the governments which had ruled the country till now should be ashamed of the absence of a National Education Policy. Speaking during the committee stage debate on Appropriation Bill 2019 on Education and Higher Education Ministries, Amaraweera said the entire education system was in crisis at the moment because the country lacked a national policy on education. more..

Fresh UNP-SLFP deal disturbs UPFA

Mar 16 (Island) UNP and SLFP thwarted Prez Sirisena’s parliamentary group voting against 2nd reading of the budget 2019 and a division on the Prez’s Expenditure Heads on March 12, and 13, respectively. UNP-SLFP secret move deprived the UPFA of an opportunity to show its strength in parliament, UPFA MP Dilum Amunugama said. An irate Amunugama alleged that a section of SLFP group within UPFA, more..

No Lankans among Christchurch casualties

Mar 16 (DN) Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that there were no Sri Lankan casualties in the mass shooting incidents which took place at mosques in Christchurch ahead of Friday prayers yesterday. A gunman who opened fire at random killed 49 people, in what has been described as a terrorist attack. Whilst condemning the brazen attack, Foreign ministry officials said that no Sri Lankan casualties were reported from the incident. Four people were arrested by New Zealand Police, more..

Prez poll 2019: GR steps up his drive with public meeting in Badulla

Mar 16 (Island) As the only person who has so far sought SLPP nomination to contest 2019 presidential election, wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa will address a public rally in Badulla tomorrow (17). Among those scheduled to address the gathering expected to commence at 3pm at the Badulla Postal Auditorium are senior attorney-at-law Razik Zarook, one-time UN staffer Mohan Samaranayake, lecturer Madhavi Herath, Dr. Seetha Arambepola & Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

Madush, Udayanga, Mahendran not on INTERPOL Red Notice

Mar 16 (CT) The International Police (INTERPOL) have placed 14 Sri Lankans on the Red Notice but, the country’s most wanted underworld operative, known as Makandure Madush, is not on that list. The SL authorities have repeatedly requested the INTERPOL to assist in the investigations towards the arrest of Madush, who is wanted in the country for high profile criminal activities, including drug trafficking, murder, more..

TPA responds to TNA: No final decision on executive presidency

Mar 16 (Island) Responding to The Island front page story yesterday headlined "Sharp split in coalition against executive presidency, Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Vice President Arunachalam Aravindkumar said that the Central Committee of the alliance had yet not decided whether to support the abolishment of the Executive Presidency or not. Our report quoted Jafna District MP M. A. Sumanthiran as saying that the SLMC, ACMC and DPF had reneged on their promises to more..

More incarcerated because unable to pay fines: 2017 statistics

Mar 16 (CT) According to the Prison statistics for the year 2017, 57.9 per cent of convicts are imprisoned due to their inability to pay the fine imposed by Courts, Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Community-Based Corrections Lionel Kulatilake said yesterday (15). He said thus at the inauguration function for the community-based correctional programme targeting substance users (drugs and alcohol) in the Western and Eastern Provinces held in Colombo. more..

No PC polls this year: UNP

Mar 16 (Island) Deputy Minister Ashoka Abeysinghe said in Kandy, on Friday, that there would be no Provincial Councils elections this year and only a presidential election would be held. After calling on the prelate of Asgiriya most Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanaratna Thera, he told the media, that the UNP would field a common candidate from the UNF at the next presidential election. UNP-led govt during the past four years had done sufficient work to more..

I made no such statement: Karannagoda

Mar 16 (DN) Former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda referring to the Daily News page one article published on March 12 under the headline Abduction and killing of 11 youth - Unit was under my command, said there was no questioning by the CID on the matters referred to in the news item for him to admit or deny that there was a unit under his command or under his direct supervision like the one alluded to in the news item. He said the information contained in the article is false more..

Man involved in shooting SAITM CEO arrested

Mar 16 (DM) Underworld criminal Cheena earlier accused of having shot at SAITM CEO Dr. Sameera Senaratna and three others were arrested today in connection with the hijacking of a van at Ranala in Kaduwela. They were arrested by the Police Organized Crime Preventive Unit personnel on a tip off. Police said investigations had revealed that the gangsters were on their way to carry out a robbery when they were taken into custody. Suspects were produced before Kaduwela Magistrate today. more..

Govt-sponsored private schools: Don’t permit them to open branches: Bandula

Mar 16 (CT) Govt should not allow private schools to open branches as it would lead to a fee-levying system of education, UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena told Parliament yesterday. Participating in the Committee Stage Debate of the Appropriation Bill 2019, he claimed that the move to allow several selected private schools to set up a maximum of five branches island-wide was unfair as far as State schools. more..

New Zealand, terrorism & obstinate memory

Mar 16 (DM) There’s been an incident. That’s the polite way of putting it. New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern described it as a terrorist attack while Australian PM Scott Morrison said one of the suspected attackers, who was born in Australia was an extremist right-wing violent terrorist. The incident we are talking about saw over 40 people killed and more than 24 seriously wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch. First and foremost, we are as horror-stricken as Ms. Ardern. more..

Tuition: A bane or a spur?

Mar 16 (DM) Can good teaching in schools outwit the tutor’s hold on students of today? Ravi Nagahawatte’s thoughtful article motivated me to make these observations on WHY tuition is so popular and why so many students (even very bright ones) seem to need this special help. There are many reasons why children seek tuition and it is not always because there is a poor teacher in school. I can speak with a certain authority on behalf of private and international schools because more..

Girl in the garage

Mar 16 (ST) Standing at just 4’11, Thilini Gunasekera is used to being dismissed. It happened when she wanted to join the Air Force and study aeronautical engineering – she didn’t meet the height requirement. It happened again when she stepped into a classroom full of men to study how to become an automobile mechanic – except this time, Thilini wasn’t going anywhere. A tyre technician at DIMO, Thilini is one of only 4 women working more..

Eran reveals situation to be ashamed of

Mar 16 (Island) Youth came to meet politicians seeking jobs. It was a situation to be ashamed of. They were sometimes more qualified than the politicians. It was pathetic. "Hence, we need to develop the quality of education and children must be taught how to think and not what to think," State Minister Eran Wickramaratne told Parliament. He said, "We need to develop a curriculum that would develop a child’s head, heart and hands. more..

Acting appointment to CA: Lawyers for Democracy go to SC

Mar 16 (DM) Lawyers for Democracy filed a rights petition in the Supreme Court challenging the acting appointment made to the post of Court of Appeal President. Petitioners Lal Wijenayake, Sunil Jayaratne, Luxman Jothikumar and Namal Rajapakse allege that the 12th respondent Justice Deepali Wijesundera has been repeatedly and successively appointed as the Acting President of Court of Appeal from Jan 9, 2019 up to date. more..

'Teaching students from Grades 1-5 in English should stop'

Mar 16 (DM) National List MP Venerable Athuraliye Ratana Thera urged the govt to stop teaching school children from Grades one to five in the English medium. Speaking during the committee stage debate on the budget in Parliament, Thera said Sri Lanka is currently following a concept which is not followed in any other country of providing primary education in another language other than the child’s mother tongue. more..

Biodegradable polythene manufacturers say attempts to curb polythene use failing

Mar 16 (ST) Polythene manufacturers, complained that the govt’s drive to control the availability of banned lunch sheets and polythene bags has been a failure. Manufacturers and Recyclers Association claimed that, despite its members abiding by the govt rule and transitioning into the manufacturing of biodegradable lunch sheets, availability of the banned lunch sheets are dampening their sales. more..

Norway fund drops oil and gas production investments, holds onto Lanka assets

Mar 16 (ST) Investments in oil and gas exploration and production companies will be sold off over time by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, which ensures the well-being of Norwegians for generations to come. The fund has earned the world’s trust for its prudence and transparency and has a significant role in economic policy-making. Norway Finance Minister, Siv Jensen, announced the decision to divest oil and gas exploration more..

Treasury guarantees top Rs 1 trillion

Mar 16 (CT) The Treasury guarantees for the first time topped the Rs one trillion (T) mark, latest official documents showed. Treasury guarantees in the first 11 months of last year notched Rs 1.08 trillion, data found in the Govt’s Fiscal Management Report 2019 showed. These guarantees to banks, given on behalf of State-owned Enterprises (SOEs), help such SOEs to borrow from banks to meet their monetary needs. more..

Open prisons to rehabilitate drug abusers

Mar 16 (CT) In a bid to stem drug abusers from turning into criminals, Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale said they would be rehabilitated in Open Prisons rather than in closed Prisons. She claimed that offenders who were imprisoned for less than two years for petty crimes were corrupted inside prisons and subsequently look at society with hatred and frustration. more..

Backlash over Sri Lanka TV anchor justifying New Zealand massacre

Mar 16 (EN) An anchor for a television station in Sri Lanka has attempted to justify the massacre of 49 people in New Zealand by saying that it was retribution for exporting poison tainted milk powder to Sri Lanka. The social media posts of, Derana TV anchor Chapa Chapabandara on Facebook and Twitter has provoked angry reactions, including calls on the owners of his network to take him off the air for his offensive remarks. more..

Video: Milk powder prices increased under new formula

Mar 16 (AD) The prices of powdered milk have been increased according to the new milk food price formula, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said. Accordingly the price of a 1kg packet of milk powder has been increased by Rs 60 while the price of a 400g packet has been increased by Rs 25. The new price of a 1kg imported milk powder packet is Rs 920 and 400g packet is now Rs 370. The CAA has reportedly granted approval to companies for more..

Christchurch & our own national experience

Mar 17 (SO) Blood is being spilt with the claim of protecting one’s own flesh and blood. It happened last Friday in Christchurch, in usually quiet NZ; it has happened in this country in sustained internal conflict over decades; and, it has happened all over the world throughout human history. The gloom instilled by this litany is, however, dispelled by the bright success of societies in overcoming violence between communities, in managing conflict and, channelling social energies toward more..

Presidential Polls, Post Geneva

Mar 17 (CT) The international community (IC) has given the Ranil Wickremesinghe Govt another two years to get its act together vis-à-vis the implementation of the Geneva Resolution of 1 Oct 2015, which includes the commitment by Colombo to include foreign jurists to investigate alleged war crimes in relation to the island’s 26-year separatist war that concluded in May 2009. This is the second, two-year extension given to SL by the IC led by the UK and EU, its important markets. more..

Implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1: Progress report by Verite Research

Mar 17 (SO) Since the country’s pledge to certain commitments in the UNHCR resolution 30/1, adopted four years ago, only six out of 36 commitments on reconciliation, human rights and accountability have been fulfilled while most commitments contained in Resolution 30/1 saw no change in implementation status over the past years, a study by Colombo-based think-tank Verite Research, showed. more..

Mega show but CIABOC just an ornamental body

Mar 17 (ST) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) has planned an elaborate show with the grandiose title Warrant of Integrity tomorrow with the President as chief guest. Vvips are to take a pledge to eradicate all forms of bribery and corruption to ensure a better tomorrow for our future generations but the mega event comes in the backdrop of allegations that the Commission is both ineffective and plagued with political meddling. more..

Principals and Principles

Mar 17 (Island) On Feb 14, 17 representatives of various past students’ associations of leading schools wrote to the Secretary, Ministry of Education, intimating serious concerns regarding criteria adopted in the matter of selecting principals to such schools. A new marking scheme had been adopted which they argued could have dire consequences not just for the particular schools but education in general because it set a bad precedent. Of particular concern was more..

Antibiotic abuse on the Rise

Mar 17 (CT) Patients are expected to pay close attention and follow instructions when doctors prescribe antibiotics. Deputy Director General and the Focal Point for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance in SL, Dr. Hemantha Benaragama said recently that patients should follow the directions given by the doctor even if the illness for which it was prescribed subsides. Therefore, the entire course of the antibiotic should be taken. more..

Picking fights, crying foul

Mar 17 (ST) Aiyo Sirisena, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you want to run for the top job again and that you are still hopeful that the pohottuwa chaps will support your campaign just like the Greens did four years ago. Honestly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, but there are a few issues I wanted to clarify. I am aware that neither the Blues, the Greens or the pohottuwa chaps have formally declared their candidates for the big race yet but whenever more..

Abject capitulation in Geneva

Mar 17 (Island) The latest resolution in the UNHRC that is to be co-sponsored by SL has the following 31 countries as its sponsors: Britain, Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, NZ, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, SL, Sweden. This list tells a story that no person interested in SL more..


A debate that left JO members and UNP backbenchers red-faced

Mar 17 (ST) The actions of Prez Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe left sections of their own Parliamentary Groups humiliated during this week’s Budget debate. On Tuesday (12), Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and other leaders of the JO in the UPFA were left red-faced after a group of SLFP MPs failed to show up during the vote on the Budget’s second reading. The decision by SLFP to abstain came during a Parliamentary Group meeting held with Prez Sirisena earlier in the day. more..

Justice, between the Powerful and Powerless

Mar 17 (SO) The controversy over whether the former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda would be arrested captured public attention last week. The saga has left the citizen concerned about the independence of the judiciary, and its responsibility to protect powerless and helpless citizens when their rights are repeatedly violated. It also highlighted the need to emphasize the court’s obligation to safeguard the principle of equality before the law. more..