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Alone in the line of fire

Sep 1 (SO) In the heat of a political campaign, the higher the stakes, the bolder the promises made by the contenders. Once the victor is elected and the dust settles, however, it falls on public servants of all stripes to see to the execution of these lofty goals. When it comes to development initiatives, ministry secretaries and public authority staff need to make the wheels turn. Promises on the world stage are left in the hands of foreign service officers to see that they are brought to reality and more..

Post-war security challenges

Sep 1 (CT) Sri Lanka could consider measures adopted by Singapore to work with various religious bodies to develop both print and online material to provide guidance in countering hard-line ideologies. This was proposed by Dr. Chulanee Attanayake, Visiting Research Fellow at Institute of South Asian Studies, National Uni, Singapore at the Colombo Defence Seminar - 2019 contributing to the topic Sri Lanka: Decade after 2019 under the sub topic Confronting Terrorism. more..

An endless wait: Hope springs eternal

Sep 1 (SO) As the Int'l Day of the Disappeared fell on August 30, Sri Lanka’s Office of Missing Persons (OMP) marked the Day in Colombo along with families of the disappeared. As scores of families from across the country attended the event held for the second consecutive year, it was evident that despite coming from different walks of life they had all shared the same fate of loss. The perpetrators of enforced disappearances more..

Treasury playing double game

Sep 1 (ST) With elections round the corner, Finance Ministry wants to play Santa Claus. Treasury’s latest proposal is to provide duty-free cars to senior public servants on retirement. When the Cabinet paper was first introduced in March this year, it was referred to the Public Administration Ministry which only expanded the ambit of the recipients. One can be excused if the famous quote of the late Singaporean PM Lee Kuan Yew that elections in SL is an auction of non-existent resources more..

Elephants stuck in the mud

Sep 1 (ST) My dear JR and Preme, I thought I should write to both of you now even though you are in the Land of Never Return. That is because JR, your nephew, and Preme, your son, are fighting with each other while the Green party that you both worked hard for continues to decline, facing poor prospects at yet another election. The reason is that they are both trying to contest the big race that is due in a few months. By the way, being in the Land of Never Return, I am not sure whether more..

Outrageous double murder in Waikkal

Sep 1 (CT) We were greeted by the anguished sounds of a wailing mother pleading with her two children to wake up, saying that their friends and relatives have come home to visit them but the pair lay motionless in their coffins, hapless victims of a murderous rage of an irate neighbour the previous day. It was just another normal day at the home of the Fernando's on Tuesday this week with 8-year-old Sahan playing with his favourite toy - a bus, more..

The case for a unity candidate

Sep 1 (SO) The searches for prez candidate in both major parties, this year, are marked by a curious insurgent phenomenon. The former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa was formally anointed as the SLPP prez hopeful on Aug 11, but for over a year, the Gotabaya faction of the SLPP has been mobilising support for his presidential bid. This faction organised at multiple levels, with powerful financial backers, a media powerhouse and Eliya & Viyathmaga more..

Prez Sirisena’s rapport with Sajith

Sep 1 (Island) We are now in the month of September and the prez election is almost upon us. The earliest date, on which the Elections Commission will be empowered to issue the Gazette notification calling for nominations for the prez election, will be the 9th Sept. According to the Constitution the latest date for holding a prez poll will be one month before the expiration of the term of the President in office. Since Prez Sirisena assumed office on the 9th Jan 2015, last date more..


For Sri Lanka, any budding insurgency must be nipped in the bud!

Sep 1 (DT) Relying on luck, however does not constitute policy, so said David Galula, a French specialist in counterinsurgency warfare. In the Asian sub-continent, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are two nations that have borne the brunt of insurgency and terrorism. Have both left too much to luck? Both have been surprised by devastating insurgencies and terrorism. Sri Lanka first, in the early part of 80s and then 90s. Pakistan second, from the beginning of the new millennium. more..

Next big limited-overs prize on Sri Lanka and New Zealand's radar as T20s begin

Sep 1 (CI) With the World Cup done and the Test Championship underway, both sides now switch focus to the next big limited-overs prize: the T20 World Cup, which is set to be contested at the end of next year. As with just about everything in these team's cricket at present, it is NZ who have the more stable platform upon which to build. They are resting regular captain Kane Williamson as well as pace spearhead Trent Boult for this series, and while SL have lost eight of their last nine T20 games, more..

Crisis deepens as PM Ranil clips wings of Sajith supporters

Sep 1 (CT) Last Thursday, Dy Leader of UNP Sajith Premadasa was at a religious ceremony at Sankhapala Temple in Embilipitiya when he received a telephone call from Temple Trees. It was around 6:30 p.m. when Minister was informed to immediately meet PM and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He excused himself from the event while expressing his regrets to chief incumbent of the Temple to rush back to more..

Dousing forest fires

Sep 1 (ST) Yearning for bakery paan (bread), and not for the sliced mass-produced kind, for breakfast this sunny Thursday morning, I walked down to the nearby tea kade to purchase two loaves. At the kade, a young chap was engaged in a lively conversation with the shopkeeper on recent forest fires. “You know, forests fires are not good for the environment and climate change,” he was heard saying. Walking back with the bread, I was intrigued by those remarks and how the environment more..

Mendis magic that humbled India

Sep 1 (Island) There’s no better feeling in sports than overcoming the older brother, whether you play sports in the garden or at the international level. Like New Zealanders take immense pride in doing well against Australia, the Canadians raise their performances when taking on United States. As for Sri Lankans, they desperately want their team to do well over India. A decade ago, one man had the wood over the Indians like no one had had before. Ajantha Mendis, the mystery spinner, more..

The Pallekele Triple Treat

Sep 1 (ST) The evidence is not conclusive, but Twenty20 cricket against New Zealand doesn’t seem to be the Sri Lankans’ Cup of Tea. Strange as it may seem for a country that produced a Master Blaster who revolutionised the shortened form of the game. Two games, in particular, confirm my contention. Go back to Auckland in Jan 2019. The Sri Lankans were defeated by the home team by 35 runs. Not an earth-shattering loss, more..

SB, Dilan to lose parliamentary seats?

Sep 1 (SO) MP S B Dissanayake and Dilan Perera will lose their parliamentary seats consequent to taking membership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), General Secretary of the SLFP Dayasiri Jayasekara said. “We will take action considering that they have abandoned the party. As they have taken the membership of another party, they would lose membership of our party. In that context they would lose their Parliamentary seats too,” he said, commenting on Dilan and S.B. more..

7s Rugby: Women do it better than Men

Sep 1 (ST) Admittedly, the Sri Lankan Men’s rugby team had an arduous mountain to climb and predictably had a barren day when the First Leg of the Asian Rugby Sevens got underway at Incheon in South Korea. The Men’s team led their Chinese counterparts 7-5 at the short whistle. Janidu Dilshan went over. However, the Chinese, who had in their ranks the eight-foot tall Gao Ming, made a better fist of things in the second half to add two more tries. Reeza Rafaideen went over in closing stages more..

Pakistan tour: SL cricketers still on the fence

Sep 1 (ST) Amidst fears that players will refuse to go for the scheduled limited-over series in Pakistan, a decade after the SL team was ambushed by gunmen, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will given them a thorough brief on security measures in place to woo them into honouring its commitment to a friendly neighbour nation. Sports Minister Harin Fernando on Friday told reporters that several players have voiced their concerns to him, more..

EU calls for minority protection in Sri Lanka, to work closely against terrorism

Sep 1 (EN) European Union has called for minority protection, addressing hate speech and an end to the death penalty as a delegation reviewed Sri Lanka's progress on basic freedoms given to the people, after regaining GSP+ benefits. "The EU welcomed progress made in protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country, and called for continuation and consolidation of these achievements in the future," statement from SL-EU joint working group more..

PM aims to build a country with skilled labour during next 10 years

Sep 1 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that skilled workers are required to modify the economy and to take the country forward. The Premier reiterated that his aim is to transform Sri Lanka into a country with skilled labour within the next ten years. He made these remarks addressing the event held yesterday to lay the foundation stone for the proposed National Institute of Technology in Narangalla, Kuliyapitiya. In countries like Japan and Korea, there are no unskilled workers, more..

Free visa repels western tourists

Sep 1 (TM) The recently launched free visa on arrival facility has resulted in tourist arrivals from western countries decreasing and only arrivals from Asian countries growing, leading to a month-over-month drop in overall arrivals in August. Under this facility, SL’s top two traditional tourism-generating countries – India and China – saw a month-over-month growth during August as they brought in 27,808 & 8,899 tourists more..

Samantha quits CIC; joins medical tech firm

Sep 1 (ST) Samantha Ranatunga, Managing Director/CEO of CIC Holdings, has retired from the CIC Group after 30 years of service and 10 years as its Managing Director/CEO. In addition to being a Director of Chemanex PLC and several other unquoted companies of the CIC Group, he was an Independent Director of Seylan Bank for nine years. He was also Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce from 2015 to 2017 and an active member of Chamber for more than a decade. more..

'Ranil should resign from UNP leadership'

Sep 1 (DM) Former Bar Association of SL President Upul Jayasuriya on behalf of United Lawyers Association urged PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to step down from the UNP leadership and make way for a new leader. He stressed that the UNP is one of the mainstream democratic parties was heading towards disintegration. “Although the UNP has had illustrious leaders since the independence era, the present leader, who has led the party for nearly quarter a century, had led it to the ground,” more..

Crisis at Osusala shops

Sep 1 (ST) State-owned pharmacy retailer – Osusala drug stores – is currently operating at a loss due to thin margins, market competition and rising inflation despite an increase in demand for medicines, latest official data showed. Some 19 out of the 37 Osusala stores were running at losses and some original drugs were no longer available at those outlets forcing patients to buy drugs from other pharmacies. more..

Video: Politicians & public servants must unite to build the country: President

Sep 1 (AD) Politicians and public servants must unite despite their differences to build the country, says President Maithripala Sirisena. The President stated this addressing an event held at Sri Indrarama Temple in Morawewa, Kantale. Speaking further he said, Sri Lanka was an agriculturally prosperous country with a glorious history. Prez pointed out that the country could be built on the basis of agriculture in the future as well. Although climate changes have become a challenge more..

Apparel industry confident of surpassing revenue targets

Sep 1 (SO) The apparel industry is heading towards becoming the key driver of economy and is set to surpass the target revenue mark for this year. The progress made by the industry so far is encouraging, Secretary General Joint Apparel Association Forum, Tuli Cooray said. “The first half recorded the highest earnings for the industry within the last five years surpassing the earnings of US $ 2,413m in 2016. With a dip in earnings of US $2,281m in 2017, it recorded $2,395m for 2018, $2,620m for '19. more..

Serious charges against 70 top public officials

Sep 1 (ST) About 70 top Govt officials, including district secretaries and divisional secretaries, are to be reported by the Home Affairs Ministry to the Public Administration Ministry over a range of charges, including sexual abuse, granting permits fraudulently to fell trees, sand mining and other malpractices. A senior official said the Home Affairs Ministry would make recommendations to remove the officials from existing positions more..

Aus, NZ to help SL economy recover from Easter attacks

Sep 1 (CT) The Sri Lanka-Australia-New Zealand Business Council (SLANZBC) held its 24th AGM recently, where Delano Dias was elected Council President for 2019/20. The AGM was held at the Cinnamon Grand, with High Commissioner for Australia in SL, David Holly, was the Chief Guest. SLANZBC's Outgoing President, Gerard Victoria pointed out that Sri Lanka's economy had seen its fair share of challenges over the last 12 months, but that the last yr had been successful overall. more..

Sri Lanka’s adventure tourism potential grossly unrealised: Che Adventure Park GM

Sep 1 (TM) As tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest revenue generators, it’s only natural that we look to explore all the avenues it has to offer. Currently, Sri Lanka mostly deals with largely generic tourism markets, with establishments of luxury hotels and low-budget hostels in popular tourist destinations. However, with the country’s diverse landscapes and increased connectivity, the possibility has arisen to create a whole new niche in tourism – adventure tourism. more..

Govt gets 33 Interpol reports on Easter Sunday attacks

Sep 1 (CT) Thirty-three reports, prepared by the INTERPOL Incident Response Team (IRT), consisting of findings of the investigations into the Easter Sunday terror attacks, were handed over to SL Govt during the recent visit of INTERPOL Secretary General Jurgen Stock, The INTERPOL Secretariat in France said. In effect, the 33 reports prepared with the assistance of SL Law enforcement authorities are based on more..

Using state resources for election propaganda a punishable offence: EC

Sep 1 (DM) Elections Commission (EC) reiterated that using state officials, state vehicles and equipment, and other state resources for election propaganda would be a punishable offence under the election law. EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya reminded all ministry secretaries, heads of departments, district secretaries, heads of statutory bodies, provincial secretaries and secretaries of local govt bodies, they must ensure that state resources like vehicles, equipment, more..

Tamil family’s supporters ridicule DFAT report they’ll be safe in Sri Lanka

Sep 1 (ND) The words I’m scared kept repeating in the background of a phone call to the Christmas Island detention centre. It was 2.45am on Saturday and four-year-old Kopika was crying hysterically. What’s happening? she yelled as her mum, Priya, tried consoling her. Their anguish could be heard thousands of kilometres away via a telephone line connecting Priya to a family friend in Queensland. The person on the other end was Angela Fredericks, who managed to make contact with SL family more..

Niqab gradually returns amid uncertainty, police action

Sep 1 (ST) Four women were detained in the Galle Face Green on Friday amidst growing confusion over use of the face veil after the State of Emergency lapsed last week. The women, family members of a leading businessman, were attired in the niqab which is a full face veil with an opening for the eyes. They were taken in by the Air Force and handed over to police. They were then searched by women police constables and more..

GCE O/L exams in Dec; presidential poll likely in Nov

Sep 1 (ST) Examinations Department has informed the National Election Commission that General Certificate of Education O/L exams are scheduled to be held from Dece 2 to 12. Commissioner General Sanath Pujitha said he had already informed the NEC on the exam schedule for which it was making arrangements. The move came as the NEC was preparing for the upcoming Prez election. NEC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said that the Commission was mandated to hold the prez more..

Prez accuses UNP of not doing enough for Tamils

Sep 1 (PTI) President Sirisena has accused PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's party of not doing enough to bring in a new Constitution to address the problems of the minority Tamil community in the country. Since President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe formed the coalition in 2015, an attempt was made to formulate a new Constitution to address the Tamil issue. "These gentlemen in the govt wasted the last 4 years trying to bring in a new constitution. They failed the Tamil people. more..

UNP crisis deepens; SLFP, SLPP wrap up new SLPEP Alliance

Sep 1 (ST) The crises for the UNP and the SLFP, two of the oldest parties in SL, have reached politically asphyxiating levels due to infighting as the tempo peaks over upcoming prez election. It comes when there is a strong likelihood that the PC elections would not be held immediately. This is on the basis of advice given to Prez Sirisena by his legal advisors. They say the conduct of these elections would require approval of P'ment, more..

Looming Rajapaksa vs Premadasa contest

Sep 1 (Island) It would be a mistake to dismiss Sri Lanka’s problems as pinpricks. At the same time, it might be useful to see them for what they are in comparison to everything that is going on elsewhere. From Brexit to Kashmir and slowdown of the Indian economy, Trump to Hong Kong, and Putin to Duterte, countries far and near are grappling with political tornados and economic uncertainties. Seen in a global perspective, we are dealing with tea-cup storms in Sri Lanka. more..

Hoologanism and witch-hunts are similar

Sep 1 (Island) Hooliganism can be defined as: "violent or rowdy behaviour by young troublemakers, typically in a gang" while witch-hunt is a "campaign directed against a person or group holding views considered unorthodox or a threat to society." Abstract thoughts while all else discuss prez candidates. You may well ask why these thoughts from Nan on this peaceful Sunday morning. We have heard the latter term- witch-hunt - used excessively by the previous Prez, more..

Sri Lankan party crasher and impostor rattles New York

Sep 1 (ST) When a young, up-and-coming actress met Priyantha De Silva at a party at The Plaza Hotel in 2017, she thought she’d hit the jackpot. De Silva told her he had been working in finance and used connections from that to fund the movies he produced. Swarthy and well-dressed, he invited her to the film premieres of her choosing. When the actress, who asked to remain anonymous, selected the movie Stockholm, more..

UN GSP group to raise Ukrainian captain's case

Sep 1 (CT) A United Nations (UN) GSP fact finding delegation that is currently in the country is to raise the issue of an Ukrainian ship captain who has been held in the country for nearly four years following a travel ban issued by the Court. This assurance was given to a delegation of local trade unions that met with the team on Wednesday this week, President of the National Union of Seafarers SL (NUSS) Palitha Atukorale said. more..