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Stinging defeat on 2 key ministries leaves govt with more egg on its face

Mar 31 (ST) The UNF Govt this week was left with egg on its face after suffering a stinging defeat to two key Ministries during the Committee Stage debate of Budget 2019 — not the first time during the past few months. The humiliating defeat of Expenditure Heads of the Ministry of Internal & Home Affairs and Provincial Councils & Local Govt and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development exposed an appalling level of complacency on the part of the UNF and more..

TNA repeating history

Mar 31 (ST) The call by a TNA legislator for foreign judges to sit on a war crimes court to prosecute, inter-alia, SL military officers and political leaders who gave leadership to the crushing of the LTTE in 2009, and a reported request for personal security for him and some of his party leaders — because they fear extremist elements in the North — must be read together. Both have a common thread. TNA, which for decades had a monopoly over the politics of the North is currently under pressure from more..

Public transport sector: Will the Budget offer some solution?

Mar 31 (CT) The Budget among its many proposals which have received mixed reactions seems to contain some valuable suggestions targeting much-needed modernisation of the public transport sector. It has clinically looked at the public transport sector identifying some of the main causes for its chaotic situation today. The approach has been to look at it from a long- term perspective rather than proposing some quick fixes. more..

A most wanted man

Mar 31 (ST) My dear Arjuna, I thought I must write to you because you seem to be always in the news, even when you are not in the country and nowhere to be found. You have even caused a dispute between our Paradise and the country which once wanted to be like us, but is the country that we want to be now – Singapore. It was only a few years ago that the signatures of you and your friend, Bond Ravi, were on currency notes that we all used. Bond Ravi hasn’t done so badly – he is back more..

Taking the icing off the cake

Mar 31 (Island) Events in parliament during the ongoing committee stage of the budget highlights many events that would attract public sympathy to the online effort that is being made by interested parties to strip MPs for the many lavish perquisites and privileges heaped on them with taxpayers’ funds. Last week saw the govt defeated on some expenditure heads due to insufficient govt MPs being present to see them through. Although it is traditional that matters such as insufficient more..


Bitter criticism of Sirisena at OPA seminar

Mar 31 (Island) Last Friday, Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) hosted a seminar on the present state of the constitutional reform process with Dr Jayampathy Wickremaratne, Professor G.L. Peiris and M.A. Sumanthiran as the main speakers. It was held on the very day that the present writer concluded a series of articles to The Island titled The Constitutional Madhouse. One of the points made by this writer in that concluding article was that this whole constitutional more..

Farewell, Lady of Camelot

Mar 31 (SO) The general election of 1970 reduced the UNP to 17 seats in Parliament and installed the SLFP led United Front in power with 135 seats. Gamini Dissanayake, aged 28, was one of the 17 to win a seat from the multi-member constituency of Nuwara Eliya- Maskeliya. Srima Dissanayake was in the visitors’ gallery when the new MPs were sworn in. She was in the Speaker’s gallery to listen to Gamini’s maiden speech. Gamini was unseated on an election petition and was reelected at more..

Concerns over US-SL SOFA agreement

Mar 31 (CT) In a dramatic turn of events, a last minute call for a division by the Opposition on Thursday saw the defeat of the Heads of Expenditure of two key ministries. Accordingly, the majority Heads of Expenditure of the Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Local Govt and Provincial Councils were defeated. A few Heads of Expenditure of the same ministry were passed without amendments. more..

Reflections of destiny and ecstasy

Mar 31 (SO) The 41st Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year contest’s most popular segment is in its final stages with heavy voting for the leading contestants. When the resounding success story of the Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year is talked about, one cannot forget the humble beginnings it had. Although the first formal event was held in Colombo’s Nawarangahala in 1979, the first-ever Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year was held more..

DS dominate drawn game against Mahanama

Mar 31 (ST) The 13th Battle of the Golds Big Match cricket encounter between D.S. Senanayake and Mahanama colleges ended in a tame draw at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo yesterday, with the former dominating play on both days. The Dons were 90 for 1 in their second innings, when the game came to an abrupt end earlier than scheduled. They were leading by 48 runs after the first innings of both sides had come to an end after the second session on the final day. more..

RTC season opener today

Mar 31 (ST) Two favourite runners have been forced to skip today’s RTC Spring and Summer Race day at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya, due to medical reasons, and their closest rivals will grab the opportunity to gain momentum and status. The two horses are tipped to miss the inaugural event hosted by the Royal Turf Club (RTC) after a brief break as the three-event season unfolds at the Racecourse in Nuwara Eliya from March 31. more..

Marvan on Mankading Buttler in 2014

Mar 31 (Island) There are certain places visiting teams would hate play overseas. As for Sri Lankans, they avoid Wanderes in Johannesburg like the plague as it always seams around there. So is Edgbaston in Birmingham where the seam bowlers come into the equation all the time. SL have played at Edgbaston on five times but won only once. That win came in 2014 in a bitterly contested ODI. These days teams tend to make most of the scheduling and invariably the hosts would want to play more..

SL favourites at New Zealand-Asia Cup

Mar 31 (ST) Sri Lanka Indoor Cricket team will leave for Singapore today to take part in the New Zealand-Asia Cup. The six nation tournament, a 16 overs per side will be held from April 3 to 6. Seven teams from six nations will lock horns at this event with the host nation Singapore fielding two teams. Other participating team will be from Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, UAE and New Zealand. A strong Sri Lankan contingent led by Kolitha Hapuarachchi with more than a decade of experience more..

Bankrupting SL: Govt pursues million-dollar project once again

Mar 31 (ST) Months after the project was put on hold over questions of financial viability, the Govt is once again pursuing the multi-million dollar proposed High Altitude Training Center in Nuwara Eliya. Last week, Cabinet gave the nod for the Finance Ministry to conduct negotiations with the Govt-owned People’s Bank to partly finance the project. The Export Financial Institute of the UK has agreed to provide necessary funds under more..

Accolade for Ministry of Crab

Mar 31 (SO) Ministry of Crab has again made its way to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants List for the 5th consecutive year. Sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, the award ceremony took place on March 26, at the Wynn Palace in Macau, where Ministry of Crab ranked No.35. Chef-restaurateur Dharshan Munidasa said, “We are honoured to be listed as one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for the fifth consecutive year. This is only possible because of the dedication & perseverance of my team. more..

Oil Refinery in H'tota: Malik to leave for Oman

Mar 31 (DM) Minister Malik Samarawickrema said he would be leaving for Oman on May 4th together with Petroleum Minister Kabir Hashim, for discussions with regard to the Hambantota Oil Refinery. Responding to a question raised by UPFA MP D.V. Chanaka, he told Parliament that they were leaving on a request made by Oman's Oil Minister. If the project was still under discussion, MP Chanaka questioned why the foundation stone was laid before it was finalised. more..

New unified employment law to be introduced soon

Mar 31 (ST) Govt will phase out the implementation of labour market reforms while pushing through a new unified employment law to gradually replace 28 archaic labour legislations currently in force, Labour and Trade Union Relations Ministry revealed. Wages Board Ordinance No.27 of 1941, the Factories Ordinance No.45 of 1942, Shop and Office Employees Act No.19 of 1954, Maternity Benefit Ordinance, and Factories Ordinance more..

Asian Chess Championship comes to SL

Mar 31 (SO) The Sri Lanka Chess Federation for the first time has got the opportunity of hosting the Asian Chess Championship 2019 at the Citrus Hotel in Waskaduwa from April 1 to 10. The Championship will be played in six age groups under-8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 for boys and girls. “The Championship comprises three events, Youth Championship five hours, Asian Youth Rapid Championship one hour and Asian Youth Blitz Chess Championship 10 minutes according to the age group,” more..

Another disgusted football promoter slams FFSL

Mar 31 (SO) Regional Development Chairman of the Football Federation of SL (FFSL) and president of the City League R. Puvanendran slammed FFSL administrators stating that football had taken a nose-dive due to their irresponsible and dictatorial ways. “We came together and established the current Committee because of the former president Ranjith Rodrigo’s dictatorship. We worked very hard to bring this Committee seeking good governance and transparency but the president of FFSL more..

Appointment of Royal College acting principal: Settlement reached in Court

Mar 31 (Island) A settlement was reached in the Court of Appeal on the appointment of an acting principal to Royal College, Colombo. When the application filed by the Royal College Union (RCU) was taken up for support on Thursday in the Court of Appeal before Justice Arjuna Obeyesekere, Senior Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, appearing for the Respondents, gave an undertaking to court more..

One million more women than men in SL

Mar 31 (Island) There are one million more women in SL than men. Representative percentage is 52% are women. However, irrespective of the numbers, women are still not leaders in their environment. Of relevance is that women are paid equal wages for equal work. There was now no discrimination, which in effect was not in conflict. Although such equality was of concurrent relevance, there yet was the overload that men did not quite accept gender equality professionally or domestically. more..

Dialog Axiata powers pilot mobile 5G service

Mar 31 (SO) For the first time in South Asia, Dialog Axiata PLC has successfully demonstrated a fully standards-based 5G mobile service, integrating 5G network infrastructure with a mobile 5G device. Dialog leveraged its Huawei RAN and core network with the most current Non-Standalone Architecture (Rel. 15, NSA) to power up the world’s fastest 5G mobile phone on its trial 5G transmission. This 5G mobile service pilot in a real-world setting further establishes Dialog’s readiness to deliver more..

Furnace oil purchase: Ravi snubs CPC

Mar 31 (CT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake is planning to purchase low cost furnace oil from the Indian Oil Company (IOC), instead of top quality furnace oil from the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), for furnace oil power plants belonging to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB). Since the CPC earns a big profit from selling furnace oil, if such a decision is made, it will face a severe crisis, a top official of the CPC said. more..

Udana picks himself for World Cup

Mar 31 (SO) If there is one Sri Lanka player who has picked himself for the upcoming World Cup in England, it is none other than the 31-year old Isuru Udana Tillekaratne who hails from a village in Balangoda. Udana’s performances with the bat and ball during the recently concluded five-match ODI series and T20 series in South Africa spoke volumes of the prowess of him while the rest failed to make any contributions. Could it now be that Sri Lanka has found a capable all-rounder in Udana more..

DFCC will bite the bullet says Chairman C.R. Jansz

Mar 31 (Island) DFCC Bank PLC will bite the bullet and proceed with its two for five rights issue despite the bank’s share declining below the Rs. 72 issue price, DFCC Chairman C.R. Jansz told shareholders at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on Thursday immediately after the bank’s AGM. Only one shareholder among nearly a 100 physically present recorded his objection to the resolution approving the rights issue although Mr. Ravi Thambiayah of the Renuka Hotels Group more..

Crisis over top tax post: Billions of rupees await collection

Mar 31 (ST) Private sector tax dues have exceeded fifty billion rupees and keep mounting due to a continuing legal dispute, Inland Revenue Department (IRD) officials said. It has been caused by companies challenging in court the legal authority of the IRD’s Acting Commissioner General to carry out tax collection responsibilities. Cases have been filed in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and Civil Appellate High Court seeking rulings. more..

Wimal blames Batagoda for power crisis

Mar 31 (DM) Power and Energy Ministry Secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda is the culprit behind the power crisis, UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa told Parliament. He said the crisis had been created by Dr. Batagoda so that the companies belonging to one of his associates could benefit it. The MP said Dr. Batagoda had prevented awarding a tender to a Chinese company which offered a lower price for emergency purchase to enable Agrico which belongs to one of his associates to benefit. more..

SLFP to decide Budget stance on Tuesday

Mar 31 (SO) Prez Sirisena will hold a crucial meeting with the SLFP Parliamentary group on Tuesday (2) to decide on the SLFP’s stance at the third reading of Budget 2019. SLFP MPs who are in Prez’s camp were absent at the time of voting during the second reading of the Budget. All other SLFP MPs in the JO voted against the Budget. A final decision will be taken at Tuesday’s meeting between the President and the SLFP Parliamentary group during the third reading vote of the Budget. more..

Sri Lanka mulls changes to electric car, carbon taxes

Mar 31 (EN) Sri Lanka is open to amending carbon taxes and import duties on electric vehicles, ministers have said. At a recent media briefing, reporters pointed out that electric cars now being imported start at around 110 kilowatts, whereas favourable import duties are for cars below 100 kilowatts. "We will look into it and adjust it if so," Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Sri Lanka imported record numbers of electric cars in 2015, but more..

Two Chinese plead not guilty to 80 charges of possessing insects

Mar 31 (Island) Two Chinese nationals pleaded not guilty to 80 charges brought against them by wildlife officers in relation to possessing 73 insects belonging to nine varieties at Horton Plains National Park. Two suspects, Hu Wei (33) and Yuan Feng (30) appeared before Nuwara Eliya Magistrate when the case resumed hearing on Thursday. After they pleaded not guilty to the charges, the Magistrate fixed the case for trial on April 9, and ordered 2 suspects to be remanded until then. more..

Lakmini Wijesundara crowned SAARC Woman Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018

Mar 31 (Island) Lakmini Wijesundara, Co-founder and CEO of IronOne Technologies and BoardPAC in Sri Lanka was chosen as the SAARC Woman Entrepreneur for the year 2018 from a pool of exemplary women entrepreneurs in the South Asian region at a glittering ceremony recently. Aspiring to create strong role models in South Asia with the belief that every woman has the ability to lead and create a positive change, the SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SCWEC) held more..

Final Budget vote -President summons SLFP MPs on Tuesday

Mar 31 (ST) With just six months to go for the presidential election, Prez Sirisena caused strong ripples in political circles this week by urging the Police, which comes under his purview, to step up investigations into the 4-year-old CB bond racket. This is after he found that Police action taken so far since the alleged offence was committed was slow moving. Action in respect of three persons produced in the Fort Magistrate’s Court more..

Does Gotabaya reflect Lanka’s alt-right?

Mar 31 (Island) "The attack did not happened because our country was safe harbour for hate, racism or extremism. We were chosen because we are none of these; because we stand for diversity, kindness, compassion and a home for those who share our values, a refuge for those who need it. These values will not and cannot be shaken. You may have chosen us but we reject you." New Zealand PM Jacinda Arden. The 28 year old white-supremacist Australian gunman Brenton more..

Games before UNHRC Resolution a last-minute bipartisan consensus

Mar 31 (Island) Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and members of his delegation deserve a big round of applause for their efforts during the recent 40th session of the UNHRC in Geneva to undo some of the past mistakes of the Yahapalana govt. It had unreservedly co-sponsoring the UNHRC 30/1 inclusive of parts inimical to the nation’s sovereignty. Unknown to many, this round of the Geneva project took off the ground during the visit to Sri Lanka by Mark Field MP, UK Minister for Asia & Pacific more..

UNHRC resolution: President blasts those who bypassed him

Mar 31 (ST) Prez Sirisena dropped a bombshell when he addressed a public meeting on Wednesday after declaring open a new building for the Meegahatenna Police Station in the Kalutara District. He said that he did not recognise the Sri Lanka resolution adopted by the UNHRC last week in Geneva. He has publicly declared that troops did not commit war crimes and it was the Tiger guerrillas who did so. He said that this resolution, more..

PC Election: Classic gordian knot, says Polls Commission

Mar 31 (SO) The Elections Commission is ready to hold Provincial Council elections if a court gives the green light or the Govt changes its laws as the current electoral system is deadlocked, Chairman of the Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday. The Supreme Court heard a petition filed by a group calling for an order to hold elections in six Provincial Councils whose tenure ended on Friday (29). The group Sathya Gaveshakayo filed more..

Fresh start for FCID as SDIG Ravi Seneviratne takes charge

Mar 31 (SO) The FCID the specialised police unit tasked with probing complex financial crime and money laundering got a new chief last week. Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne took over as FCID Chief last Monday (25), immediately setting a new precedent by refusing to allow his entry to be marked by ceremonies and rituals. SDIG Seneviratne, who also oversees the CID, has served as Acting SDIG of the FCID many times more..

Artificial rain: Contradictory data; experiment suspended

Mar 31 (ST) Rainfall data contradict early reports that the Govt’s artificial rainmaking experiment–which has since been suspended–was successful on the day it was carried out over the Maussakelle Reservoir in the Central Province. A CEB official was quoted as saying that it rained for around 45 minutes on Mar 22 after a SL Air Force plane flew 8,000 feet above reservoir and sprayed cloud-seeding chemicals into the sky. more..

Nurses unions warn of another strike on April 8

Mar 31 (ST) Nurses unions will meet next week to decide on further trade union action after failing to draw a favourable response from the Govt for some of their demands. The move comes after a two-day strike (27-28) by nurses crippled services at govt hospitals. Govt Nursing Officers’ Association president, Saman Rathnapriya, said a final decision on proposed strike on Apr 8 would be taken only after talks with other health sector unions more..