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Why have a public debate?

Nov 3 (SO) As the date for the presidential election approaches, there appears to be a great debate about a great debate: NDF candidate and Minister Sajith Premadasa has challenged his principal rival at the poll, SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, for a public debate. Unfortunately, Rajapaksa is not accepting the challenge. Election are all about democracy. In turn, democracy is all about disseminating different viewpoints, discussing them, debating their pros and cons and more..

Treachery, thy name is...

Nov 3 (CT) Chandrika Kumaratunga, the fourth Executive Prez of SL, the daughter of two SLFP PMs - one the founder of the party and the other the world's first female PM, has abandoned the party fostered by her illustrious parents, yet again. She joined the SLFP in the early 1970s, and in 1974 became an executive committee member of the party's women's league. In 1978 - a year after her mother was defeated at the 1977 General Election where SLFP was relegated to mere 8 seats more..

Can tea boost economy with a wage hike?

Nov 3 (CT) The time has come again to reveal the pathetic state of affairs looming around the plantation sector; unpredictable weather and work conditions, poor housing and education, low wages and poverty, while politicians are frantically crossing and switching sides to support the Prez candidate of their liking. However, the burning issue is will anyone get the overly due 1,000 rupee per day wage hike demanded more..

Ending university ragging

Nov 3 (Island) Quite apart from the lesser fry, neither of the two main contenders for the presidency at the election which is only days away, have responded up to yesterday to the recent letter written to them by Drs. Anula Wijesundere and Tara de Mel on behalf of the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) on the subject of university ragging. SLMA was established in 1887 and is considered to be the leading organization of the country’s medical profession. The letter highlights the well known more..

TNA agenda visible in UNF manifesto

Nov 3 (Island) UNF prez candidate Sajith Premadasa launched his election manifesto in Kandy on Thursday. It’s called Sri Lankawe idiri gamanata seemawak netha: Ekwa gamana yamu. Loosely translated this would mean "There are no limits to what Sri Lanka can achieve: Let’s go on this journey together". If there was one section of the population that was waiting eagerly for the launch of this manifesto other than the members of the UNF itself, it was the groups of political parties more..

Scandal & politics: Ravi W. imbroglio

Nov 3 (SO) Former FCID chief left the police in the wake of a Sunday Observer expose in Jan 2019 into allegations that the top cop had mishandled key investigations while he and his family were enriched under mysterious circumstances. This is the continuing saga and details about his family’s involvement with a financial scammer indicted for money laundering in the US and under investigation by Waidyalankara’s more..

Use and abuse of a mandate

Nov 3 (ST) The frontline presidential hopefuls have gone on an unabashed spree of promises. There’s not a passing day when promises are not tumbling out of their respective platforms. The range is wide. From free fertilizer for farmers matched the next day with free fertilizer for all agriculturists, to making devil dancing a part of the nation’s heritage — it’s from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous; some eclipsing the infamous promise of yesteryear to get rice even from the moon. more..

His days are numbered

Nov 3 (ST) Aiyo Sirisena, I thought of writing to you because this will probably be the last time we will write to you as the man in charge. Soon, you will be the retired big boss who promised so much and delivered so little. Now, your days are really numbered: thirteen more to go before you yourself have to go. Aiyo Sirisena, you are a living testament to the fact that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Four and a half years ago, you were a simple man who spent his entire life in politics, more..


Give, give and give…

Nov 3 (ST) The die is cast. Postal voting began this Thursday morning and the prez race is on in what is perceived as one of the closest elections in the country’s political history. Apart from two strong candidates, a third force is emerging with JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake, while in former Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake, the country has seen the coming together of civil society organisations, in putting forward a candidate. With these thoughts in the air, more..

Kelum invents fan controlling regulator

Nov 3 (DM) Kelum Perera, who graduated from the Dept of Physics and Electronics, University of Kelaniya, has invented a remote controlled regulator for ceiling fans. The device can be controlled using a mobile phone, thanks to the scientific research he has been engaged in since 2014. Perera, who did research in order to assemble a ceiling fan regulator for the first time, is presently pursuing his PhD in Kent State University in USA. Professor S.R.D. Kalingamudali of the Dept of Physics and more..

Prez to make a special statement in p'ment

Nov 3 (CT) Few weeks ago, on 15 Oct, Cabinet approved a proposal by Minister Mangala Samaraweera for Prez Maithripala Sirisena to retain his official residence, which he now occupies at Mahagamasekara Mawatha (formerly Pajet Road), Colombo 7, following the end of his term of office. Former Presidents are entitled to an official residence and security detail as well as a pension. He occupied this residence since 2015 and more..

SL set to send full side to Pakistan for Tests

Nov 3 (Island) Sri Lanka are set to send a full strength squad to Pakistan for the two match Test series in December, a board official said. Sri Lanka Cricket had initially wanted to play only one-day cricket in Pakistan due to security concerns but now have softened the stance and has managed to convince all players. The national cricket team played three ODIs and three T-20s in Pakistan last month and after the successful completion of this tour, Pakistan Cricket Board has convinced more..

Girls made for golf

Nov 3 (SO) Taniya Balasuriya can soon become a household name in the game of golf in Sri Lanka while she has made it a habit of winning in junior golf tournaments regularly for the past five years. When she started playing in a junior open golf tournament as a 12-year old, she had to compete among the boys too as the Golf Union did not conduct tournaments for boys and girls separately. Yet she would beat the boys and win tournaments in the early days and that was the time when more..

More troubles for Sri Lanka cricket

Nov 3 (ST) Sri Lankan cricket is in a full blown crisis. Just weeks after Sri Lanka acquired a false sense of satisfaction after beating and equally vulnerable Pakistan outfit in a three-match T20 series, there was belief back at home that our cricket is finally back on track. Experts were quick to credit the bold decisions taken by the national selectors to leave out some of the seniors and infuse young blood into the team. more..

SL wushuites get Iranian coach for SAG

Nov 3 (ST) Wushu Federation of SL has hired Iranian coach Abbas Sheibak to train SL athletes who will represent the country at the forthcoming 13th South Asian Games (SAG) to be held from Dec 1 to 10 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Coach Sheibak, will arrive in the island on November 9 and he will conduct a coaching camp until Nov 30. Coach Sheibak, a PHD holder in Sports Management, has vast experience as a Sanda Coach. He trained the Iran National Team, which won the overall more..

Akalanka sets new SL record, targets five SAG golds

Nov 3 (ST) Akalanka Peiris, who set a new Sri Lanka record in 50-metre backstroke in the current National C'ships, targets five gold medals at the forthcoming South Asian Games to be held in Dec 1 to 10 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Peiris, who also won the 100m gold medal yesterday at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium Pool, finished the 50m backstroke on Friday in 26.27 breaking the previous record of 26.33 set by himself last year. “I am really happy to break a SL record after a year’s hard work. more..

All-Island Schools Games 2019: Little Tharushi in a big show

Nov 3 (CT) Little runner from A. Rathnayaka CC Walala, Tharushi Karunarathne caught the attention of many, during the major schools championship this year, where she ran like there's no tomorrow; not even slowing down even when leading the race by a considerable distant and giving it all she had. And during the All-Island Schools Games which continued at the Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday. more..

South Africa beat England 32-12 to win Rugby World Cup

Nov 3 (AFP) South Africa overpowered England 32-12 with a brutally effective forward display to win their third World Cup in Yokohama on Saturday. The Springboks' victory was built on a colossal display by their powerhouse pack that allowed fly-half Handre Pollard to kick six penalties before Makazole Mapimpi's 66th-minute try — the first the Springboks had scored in a World Cup final — and another from fit-again fellow flyer Cheslin Kolbe put the result beyond doubt. more..

Advanced oil-water separator: Nanotech breakthrough will save billions

Nov 3 (ST) The Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), a pioneer in nano and advanced technology and research has developed an advanced oil-water separator to remove hazardous liquid waste from water, a cleanup process that could save billions of dollars to the economy, a top official of the Institute told the Business Observer on Friday. It is estimated that the cleanup costs for a medium-large oil spill could be between $2.4 billion and $9.4 billion. more..

Govt’s total public debt sky-high by 71%

Nov 3 (ST) SL govt’s total debt has skyrocketed to unmanageable proportions by an increase of 71% since the current administration came into power in 2015. The present administration has to borrow money since 2016 to repay the massive loans taken by the previous regime, Treasury accounts revealed. The most significant borrowing in 2013 was the US$ 750 million obtained from international markets more..

Are we finally done taxing Aunty Flo?

Nov 3 (RN) One of the most talked-about election promises this week has been Sajith Premadasa’s promise to distribute free sanitary hygiene products. Labelling himself as a #padman, Premadasa tweeted that “until sustainable cost-effective alternatives are found” he promises to provide sanitary hygiene products free of charge. Indeed, access to menstrual hygiene products is a serious problem in Sri Lanka, and has become a popular issue across political parties. more..

Apartment VAT exemption to benefit nobody?

Nov 3 (TM) The Govt’s recent decision to exempt apartment units that are under Rs. 25 million from value-added tax (VAT) would not benefit Sri Lanka’s property sector in any meaningful way, The Sunday Morning Business understands. According to Ministry of Finance sources, this is because all apartment units in a complex must be priced at or below Rs. 25 million to be eligible for this exemption, and even if one unit exceeds this threshold, the entire project becomes ineligible. more..

When Padman became a poll hashtag

Nov 3 (Hindu) What links an Akshay Kumar film, a prez hopeful and a now-popular hashtag in Sri Lanka? A promise to end period poverty. “I will wear the #padman label proudly,” Sajith Premadasa tweeted earlier this week, as he took on detractors who ridiculed him as “Pad Man” — referring to the 2018 Bollywood film on the subject — for promising free sanitary products to women who cannot afford them. more..

Vallibel Finance PBT grows by 17%: Races to Rs. 1.2 Billion in 06 months

Nov 3 (Island) Despite SL’s financial landscape being tormented by uncertain environmental conditions in a topsy-turvy first half, Vallibel Group’s name-bearing finance company has experienced smooth sailing as usual. Amidst many challenges, Vallibel Finance continued to set the bar high with profits before tax (PBT) reaching a record high of Rs. 1.2 billion for the first six months ending Sept 2019, increasing from Rs. 1.01 billion against the corresponding period of the previous year. more..

‘Increased technology use, a must, to face productivity challenges’

Nov 3 (SO) The increased use of technology is an absolute need to face the productivity challenges the country faces. Therefore, there should be a clear plan to increase ICT use, Chairman, Federation of Information Technology Industry SL (FITIS), Abbas Kamrudeen said. “By working in collaboration with the EDB as part of the national export strategy, we have built the brand IOI (Island of Ingenuity) which we will promote aggressively to create our own SL ICT and knowledge services brand,” he said. more..

Taiwan raises issues on Ceylon Tea

Nov 3 (ST) Just as Sri Lanka had eased its problems of residues in tea with Japan, Taiwan has now raised concerns over the maximum residue levels (MRL) found in Ceylon Tea. The glyphosate level recommended by Taiwan had been too high, some industry analysts observed noting that the MRL has not been adjusted with the data following some detections made with the shipments. The issue had arisen about 3-5 months back and more..

SL to regulate imports of taps, bath fittings

Nov 3 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning to bring regulations on water faucets and to improve quality, govt has said, though high import taxes in the country are encouraging the flow of low quality products including factory rejects. The Cabinet had approved proposal by the Minster of Urban Planning and Water Supply to develop a set of regulations are consulting state agencies and the public. Water Board has identified that there are many low quality bathroom fittings that result in leaks. more..

Ballot paper printing process concludes

Nov 3 (AD) Dept of Govt Printing has announced that printing the ballot papers for the Prez Election has concluded. Govt Printer Gangani Liyanage said the printed ballot papers are currently being scrutinized. Following the completion of the scrutinization process, the ballot papers will be taken to deliver the printed stocks of ballots papers to the Election Commission by next Tuesday, Govt Printer said further. It is reported that over 17 million ballot papers have been printed for Prez Election. more..

Over 3.5 m medical records online

Nov 3 (ST) Over 3.5 million medical records in more than 40 govt hospitals are now online making it easy and efficient for both doctors and patients to diagnose and receive treatment. The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex ICT institution of the Govt functioning under the Ministry of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology has given power to this project, named more..

Over 2,500 complaints received regarding prez poll: EC

Nov 3 (AD) The Election Commission (EC) says the total number of complaints it has received pertaining to the Prez Election has exceeded 2,500. Accordingly, EC has received 2,540 complaints on the attire-while 2,425 of this total concern violation of election laws. During the past 24 hours which ended at 4 pm last evening (1), the Election Commission has received 147 complaints. Meanwhile, Transparency International SL (TISL) has thus far received a total number of 79 complaints more..

LP gas shortage resulted in panic-buying mode: Litro

Nov 3 (AD) A shortage of Liquefied Petroleum (LP) gas is reported across the country for the past few days. Ada Derana reporters stated that most of the LP gas shops currently remain closed and the shortage has shown a considerable increase today. Litro Gas Lanka said “In the aftermath of the Saudi Aramco Drone attack that took place in September, there is an understandable shortage of LP gas in the market. Current status of the LPG shortage could be attributed to a number of convolving factors.” more..

Election Commission plunged in to crisis over ITN censorship

Nov 3 (EN) Election Commission plunged into crisis on Saturday after its Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya ordered a censorship of state-owned ITN television network without the consent of the other two members of the 3-man panel. Deshapriya shocked his fellow commissioners by firing a letter to ITN saying that they are prohibited from broadcasting any politically-oriented programs, interviews from Monday till results of the prez more..

Tanker coming today; LP gas shortage will end within two days

Nov 3 (ST) The severe domestic LP gas shortage currently affecting the country will come to an end within the next two days as a 3,500 metric tonne gas tanker is on its way to Colombo Port from Mumbai, the Govt says. The tanker is scheduled to reach the Colombo Port early today and the cylinder filling would be done throughout the day. The gas cylinders will be distributed to the agents directly from the port itself, according to Industries and Commerce Ministry Secretary Ranjith Asoka. more..

Poll Cards: Today is a special delivery day

Nov 3 (DM) Today (3) is a special delivery day for polling cards for those who have not received their cards by post, Deputy Postmaster General (Operations) D.A.R.K. Ranasinghe said. He said the distribution of polling cards for the 2019 presidential election was continuing from Oct 26 and would end on Nov 9. The DPMG requested voters who had not received their polling cards to stay indoors to receive their cards and said some 8,000 personnel had been assigned to deliver the polling cards. more..

Polls in Jaffna: It’s a fight between two devils

Nov 3 (ST) 35 may be in the fray for the prez election in this former war-torn northern peninsula but the voter interest is clearly between two – Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Sajith Premadasa. And funny enough, most refer to the duo by different demonic titles. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Achchakkara Pei (frightening devil). Sajith Premadasa is Verukkira Pei (hateful devil). Voters talk to each other about which devil is less dangerous more..

Class drivers and a Gotabhaya autocracy

Nov 3 (Island) At no time since 1848 in Europe has unrest, rebellion, street fighting and mob rule erupted as much as in 2019. This time it is worldwide – South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. I will work up a list half-way down this essay. Sri Lanka at this moment is quiet. That’s because a prez election is pending and it is also a periscope into the next general election. Unrest cannot breakout unless incited by the business, ex-military and political throng mobilising more..

Rajapaksa Authoritarianism and Premadasa Welfarism

Nov 3 (Island) The presidential election campaign is getting into its final two-week home stretch. The two leading candidates have released their manifestos and finalized their broad alliances. Chandrika Kumaratunga has formalized the trifurcation of the SLFP by pledging her support to Sajith Premadasa. Regardless of whatever electoral effect she may or may not have, she has given the patented SLFP a fighting chance to survive as a political entity after the presidential election. more..

Central Bank act to replace monetary law act

Nov 3 (TM) Monetary Law Act (MLA), which established SL’s monetary system and the CB in 1949, will soon be repealed and replaced by a new Central Bank Act, according to CB Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy. The new act will carry three main changes, one being that the CB’s existing Monetary Board which oversees the institution’s activities will be bifurcated or broken up into two separate boards, more..

Nightlife for Trinco harbour

Nov 3 (RN) The Trincomalee port is set to double its capacity with the installation of night navigation the SL Ports Authority said. Project was completed with One billion Yen assistance from Japan. “This enables the Trincomalee harbour to handle deep drafts and doubles its capacity. This also makes the port operational 24 hours,” Ports Minister Sagala Ratnayaka was quoted as saying by the communique. more..