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Kelani Ganga basin in danger

Feb 1 (Island) The Kelani Ganga (River) basin is high in biodiversity and endemism, which includes some 60 freshwater fish species of them 30 are endemic. Urbanization related threats are severe in the middle and lower reaches of the river while agriculture and impoundments peril the river in upper reaches. The documentation of these threats dates back to 1980, but, SL govts, particularly the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) have failed to take decisive action to ensure more..

Is There Hope?

Feb 1 (CT) Sri Lankans have become sceptics and possibly harbor an irrational feeling of hopelessness. This is understandable, because hope has quickly changed to despair. We have long been betrayed by electoral promises, only to be shamelessly abandoned. This is one reason why we have changed our political choices regularly – and has little to do with claimed high levels of electoral maturity, but much to do with opportunism and selfish indulgence. We have been duped. more..

Govt proposes secretive private higher education push in the guise of free education

Feb 1 (CT) A three-pronged initiative is underway under the aegis of the newly-elected Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa to liberalise higher education by introducing private universities and restructuring State-led higher education under Rajapaksa’s manifesto – 2020-25 Vision for Prosperity Medium Term Development Strategy Framework. Minister Bandula Gunawardane has presented 3 separate cabinet memoranda more..

Literary Association Building Mistaken for Prabhakaran's Hideout!

Feb 1 (CT) In Oct 1995 a massive military operation code named, Operation Riviresa, was launched successfully to liberate Jaffna Peninsula from the grip of the LTTE. It was one of the biggest operations to be carried out by the Sri Lankan Security Forces after Operation Liberation which had come to a halt following the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987. LTTE which couldn't face the advancing troops of the Operation Liberation on Oct 1995 retreated from Jaffna to Vanni area. more..

Dengue kills yet more

Feb 1 (CT) The hard facts lending adequate substance to not exceed pre-emptive precautions in Sri Lanka by fear of an unwarranted break-out of the Chinese corona virus, tend to rest on no single death of corona virus having occurred anywhere outside China since the epidemic broke out in China over a month ago. But, while a massive foreign media onslaught caught on in SL and pushed our media also into knee-jerk alarm reactions, the bitter fact in SL is that our health authorities have more..

On the trail of an elusive wildcat

Feb 1 (SO) Images of a lone exotic wildcat received a lot of attention both from the media and the public over the past week. The bewilderment of this rare sighting led to the animal being dubbed as the once extinct black panther. This was followed by a series of memes, some profanely but rightfully asking to let the poor animal be. When the Sunday Observer contacted several environmentalists for an update on sighting, more..

Let’s dissolve Parliament and MPs

Feb 1 (SO) About 14 years ago, a young MP entertained a group of friends by doing excellent impressions of well-known and senior colleagues in Parliament. He had everyone in fits of laughter. Borrowing from the title of a cheap movie that nevertheless produced a few laughs, one of his friends said, You are a parliament joker! The funny guy didn’t skip a beat. He smiled and retorted: Why are you trying to devalue me? I don’t want to be a joker in Parliament, I want to be a joker for more..

A stroll through Colombo’s green lungs

Feb 1 (SO) Cinnamon Gardens, better known today by its postal code designation of Colombo-7, is Colombo’s most fashionable residential district. It takes its name from the aromatic spice that originally drew the Portuguese and the Dutch to Sri Lankan shores. At one time, this whole district was covered with spice plantations. No cinnamon is grown here today, but the name has struck. (An even earlier name for the area was Kumbi Kele, literally jungle of ants). more..


The Rejuvenation Of Ethnonationalism; Onrushing Stripping Of Human Dignity

Feb 1 (CT) The rejuvenation of far-right in the Western Hemisphere was contagious. Ethno-nationalist authoritarian-right are rampaging across the world. Dictatorial figures who have appalling past of advocating race supremacy, xenophobia are being elected. One democratic country after another comes in the hands of the proponents of ethno-nationalist cults which similarly emulate each other regardless of geographical and cultural factors. In the post-colonial nations and more..

Editorial: A monument to corruption

Feb 1 (Island) Ministry of Agriculture has been shifted back to its own Govijana Mandiraya, at long last. It is now where it should have been all these years. The privately owned building it occupied for the last several years may be considered a monument to corruption. Everybody knows that someone benefited from the questionable deal which led to the ministry being housed in that building, but nobody has been hauled up before court. more..

Hope and pray for better governance

Feb 1 (Island) The goals of progress that were the key expectations of the call and movement for freedom have been pushed aside as we approach the 72nd anniversary of Independence from colonial rule. The celebrations on Feb 4 will be hugely affected by the coronavirus that has begun straddling the world, and the call for face masks gets louder than for the reduction in food prices in SL. Is this new coronavirus a real threat more..

Give Malinga a break; He is one of the world’s best

Feb 1 (SO) The Sri Lankan cricketers and the team has got beat very badly. At times deservedly. But most of the time we need to be mindful of the glorious uncertainties that sports journalist Neville Cardus so wisely wrote about. Often times in the run up to a major tournament such beat up treatment is a good thing as cricket is not for the sissies but for those who can face the trials of pace and spin, swing and spin with an upstanding spine. And so as we criticize the leadership of more..

Negombo becomes third city to welcome Uber Eats

Feb 1 (CT) Uber Eats will soon begin operations in its third city - Negombo. With a global presence in more than 500 cities across the world, Uber Eats has grown and expanded to be a market leader in SL, where it collaborates with many delivery and restaurant partners to provide fast, affordable and convenient food delivery. By looking to partner with the best and most loved restaurants in Negombo, Uber Eats provides hungry customers with a tasty selection of dishes at their doorstep. more..

Pakistan pledges fullest support to intelligence sharing with Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (MoD) Pakistan assured its fullest support to SL to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and extremist activities through intelligence sharing. Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to SL, Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Muhammad Saad Khattak expressed Pakistan’s willingness to continue to support strengthening intelligence between the two nations to assist SL’s efforts to curb drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism related activities. more..

‘High costs a hindrance for school cricket progress’

Feb 1 (SO) The Under 19 inter school cricket competition commenced one and half months ago and has attracted over 160 teams from all parts of the country. They will be competing in three divisions as Division One, Two and Three according to the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association tournament secretary JAKS Indrajith said. “With the introduction of the Observer School Cricketer way back in the year 1979 more and more schools took to the sport even in rural areas which paved the way more..

Sri Lanka Technological Campus moves into spaces of IESL College of Engineering

Feb 1 (Island) In a recent development Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLTC) has acquired the spaces utilized by IESL College of Engineering located at Gregory’s Road, Colombo 07, to enhance the higher education opportunities for students to pursue their higher education aspirations. This move further expands its journey into higher education within the short span of SLTC’s existence. It is reported that the new arrangement includes the acquisition of existing faculty, more..

All ready for 72nd Independence Day celebrations

Feb 1 (FT) All arrangements have been made to celebrate the 72nd Independence Day at Independence Square under the theme A Secured Nation – A Prosperous Country. The event will be presided over by Prez Rajapaksa and PM Rajapaksa. An islandwide tree-planting program will also be held to celebrate Independence. State Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the event would be held in a manner that more..

Alarm over Chinese research ships in Indian Ocean Region

Feb 1 (Island) About four to six Chinese research vessels have been spotted in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) this month, while around 600 Chinese fishing boats are present in the IOR every year from 2015 till last year, Indian media reports said quoting govt officials. A news report published online by Times of India on its online edition said while the Chinese fishing boats indicate China’s growing footprint in the Indian Ocean Region, the research vessels have raised security concerns as more..

Kandy’s new terminus sends people buzzing from stand to stand

Feb 1 (ST) After a bus terminus with the capacity to accomadate 26 buses at a time and cost millions of rupees, was opened at Bogambara in Kandy, it was believed the chaotic traffic situation in Kandy would end. But now it is worse than ever. Bogambara bus terminus has only one exit, which creates a traffic block from Kandy town onwards. This in turn creates another block from D.S. Senanayake Street to the Goodshed bus stand and the Railway station junction. Cost of the project was Rs 16.9 mil. more..

Pay parking or the CMC will clamp your ride

Feb 1 (EN) If you find your parked car has its wheel clamped in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) area, that is because you have more than three unpaid parking late fee notices. The clamping is being done by powers granted to the CMC by the Western Provincial Council. In the extra-ordinary gazette notification No 2029/29 which was issued in 2017 under the Western Province Provincial Council states that the CMC has more..

'Coronavirus nothing new to worry'

Feb 1 (Island) There were no new developments with regard to the coronavirus, Dr. Deepa Gamage of the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Unit said, adding that they were continuously maintaining surveillance at the grassroots and at designated points of entry. WHO, on Thursday, announced a Public Health Emergency of International Concern to allow itself to assist countries which find it difficult to enhance their surveillance mechanisms due to various reasons. more..

President wants tourism sustained in the face of coronavirus spread

Feb 1 (EN) Prez Rajapaksa has highlighted the importance of sustaining the tourism industry in the face of the threat from the global spread of the novel coronavirus disease a press release from the Presidential Secretariat said. Rajapaksa’s instructions came after a meeting he held with Ministers and officials from the Ministries of Health, Foreign Relations, Tourism and Higher Education in Colombo yesterday. He also asked health authorities to seek a cure for the novel coronavirus more..

Virus alert: Biz sector watching economic impact

Feb 1 (DN) It is vital for SL’s business community to share information and coordinate strategies to respond to possible economic impacts of the global Coronavirus epidemic, business community leaders said. “We should exchange information as to how the virus threat affects business in each sector and arrive at possible solutions,” the National Chamber of Commerce of SL (NCCSL) said. more..

SSP Shani’s FR application on May 11

Feb 1 (Island) The fundamental rights violation application filed by the former Director of the CID, SSP Shani Abeysekera, will be next called in the Supreme Court, on May 11, 2020. The petitioner has challenged his recent appointment to the post of Additional Secretary to the DIG of the Southern range. He has said it was unfair and in violation of his right to be free from discrimination. Article 12(1) and 12(2) of the constitution have been breached by the Acting IGP and more..

36,000 fake masks seized from Pettah

Feb 1 (CT) Over 36,000 facemasks of an inferior quality were plucked out from the pavements in Pettah and adjoining areas following raids by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). Investigations revealed that the masks had been brought from neighbouring India in an airline passenger's hand luggage, Director of CAA, Asela Bandara said. Pavement hawkers were selling each mask for Rs 40. Investigators later revealed that the masks on sale had no filters & are therefore redundant. more..

Coronavirus: Hiding affected persons: PHIs threaten legal action

Feb 1 (CT) The Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL) yesterday warned that legal action would be instituted under the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance, No. 3 of 1897, against anyone hiding a person with symptoms of the coronavirus (n-Cov). Chairman of the Union, Upul Rohana told the Media they may even institute action against anyone failing to provide information. more..

Special compensation, posthumous promotion for Wildlife officer

Feb 1 (DN) Special compensation will be provided to the family of Wildlife Range Assistant, who had been killed in an elephant attack on Thursday in Kala-Oya, Wildlife Conservation Department Director General M.G.C. Sooriyabandara said. He said that he spoke to Minister S.M. Chandrasena to obtain the Cabinet approval to pay a special compensation to the family of Wildlife officer. He added that the officer would also be posthumously promoted as Wildlife Ranger in the Grade III. more..

No parachute display at simple Freedom Day ceremony; special focus on tree planting

Feb 1 (ST) This year’s Independence Day ceremony will not feature the usual parachute display and only a limited number of aircraft and tanks will be used in keeping with the President’s request for a simple ceremony. Freedom Day military and cultural parades will also be shortened. 72nd Independence Day will be held at the Independence Square in Colombo under the theme Surakshitha Deshayak, Saubhagyamath Ratak (a secure nation and a prosperous country) with Prez Rajapaksa more..

UNP questions transparency of EC apparatus over ICTA appointment

Feb 1 (Island) UNP questioned the inclusion of Dr. Sanjiva Weerawardena on the board of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) due to the affiliation of his Lanka Software Foundation with the Election Commission (EC) apparatus. Former SPC member Chathura Galappaththi said that though there was absolutely no issue with Dr. Weerawardena’s expertise in the field, UNP was seriously concerned more..

Army ready for war with Coronavirus

Feb 1 (Island) Army on the directions of the acting Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander, Lt Gen Shavendra Silva is ready to assist Sri Lankans arriving from China’s Wuhan Province quarantined for two weeks against Coronavirus. Army has put up two new dormitories inside the Diyatalawa Army Base Hospital premises. In line with the govt’s speedy preventive measures, being implemented as directed by Prez Rajapaksa, together with authorities in the Health Ministry and more..

New software to monitor tourists

Feb 1 (EN) New software has been introduced to especially monitor Chinese nationals who are visiting Sri Lanka, Health Services Director General Dr Anil Jasinghe said. He has informed the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Health, Human welfare and Social Empowerment that the software was introduced in order to prevent the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) being spread in the country. The software has been developed by a group of doctors in collaboration with ICTA Sri Lanka and more..

World Bank, Sri Lanka identify new areas of cooperation

Feb 1 (CT) World Bank and Sri Lanka yesterday identified several new areas of development cooperation in addition to World Bank-funded existing projects, including renewable energy, garbage disposal, watershed management, and developing spices for exports. The two sides had also discussed ways of easing traffic congestion and improving pedestrian and road safety. This understanding was reached during more..

Luxembourg keen to enhance economic engagement with Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (MFA) Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn met with the Minister of Foreign Relations Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry today for bilateral discussions. Luxembourg extended felicitations to the new Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Minister Asselborn, who is the longest serving Foreign Minister in Europe and Dean of the European Foreign Ministers’ corps, is the first European Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka since the election of the new President. more..

BIA battles on against coronavirus

Feb 1 (FT) Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. (AASL) yesterday confirmed that proactive measures have been stepped up to identify, create awareness and to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) within the airport premises. It was pointed out that all possible measures have been taken at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) with the support of the Tourism and Aviation Services Ministry in collaboration with the Health Ministry. more..

Only Chinese national tested positive

Feb 1 (DM) The 43-year-old female Chinese national who had been tested positive for the new coronavirus is still receiving treatment at the IDH, Angoda, Epidemiologist Dr. Sudath Samaraweera said. He said 16 other suspected individuals under surveillance had received their testing reports as negative to the new Coronavirus. The female patient who is in her forties had arrived in Sri Lanka on Jan 19 as a tourist. more..

A timeless commitment to journalism

Feb 2 (SO) The Sunday Observer turns 92 this week, with just eight more years to go until it reaches 100. This will be an exciting milestone for Lake House, which has two other newspapers that are already over 100 years old – the Dinamina and the Daily News. The Sunday Observer and indeed Lake House itself, owes its existence and enrichment to the trailblazer and doyen of the local publishing industry, the late D.R. Wijewardene, who was in the vanguard of more..

There is still hope…

Feb 2 (CT) In just two days time, SL will celebrate 72 years of Independence from British colonial rule. As usual, it is a time of reflection, on what we have gained and what we have lost during the long decades since 1948, and then a time to look forward, to see what is in store for us in the future. For the majority of the 72 years since Independence, our nation has been embroiled in civil unrest. Starting from the 1950s until April last year, thousands of people perished in riots, more..

'19A is a political conspiracy'

Feb 2 (CT) SLFP Chairman and former Prez Maithripala Sirisena, says all Bills tabled in Parliament were drafted by NGOs, who were behind Ranil Wickremesinghe. Q: How is retirement? A: Actually, only the Presidential term ended. I am not in a mood to retire. I have fewer responsibilities now. But I am still busy with day-to-day work. Q: You said during Prez Election that you would spend your time leisurely at home, more..

Brace for coronavirus economic impact

Feb 2 (TM) The deadly Wuhan coronavirus is threatening to spiral out of control with 27 countries affected so far, including SL. The WHO, under pressure over its delayed response, has declared the rapid spread of the deadly virus a public health emergency of international concern. As of Friday, according to statistics, 12,000 were infected and 259 deaths had been reported in China. Since the virus does not show symptoms for up to 14 days, health officials suspect the actual infected number more..