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Saving poor children

Aug 1 (Island) Police have had to go into overdrive to investigate Ishalini’s tragic end. The victim’s body was exhumed yesterday for a second postmortem by a team of forensic medical experts, and the public is eagerly awaiting their report. Investigators must pull out all the stops and get to the bottom of what actually happened to the girl. A separate investigation is called for to find out why the police did not launch a thorough investigation immediately after Ishalini’s admission to hospital. more..

More on Lorenz and Daya Sahabandu

Aug 1 (Island) On one of those boring lockdown days of early June, Lorenz Pereira lit up The Sunday Island with a highly entertaining piece in which he recalled what he termed as one of his most satisfying sporting achievements. That was the making of Daya Sahabandu the cricketer. Several generations have rolled by since Lorenz Pereira’s heyday in sport, and for the benefit of today’s man about town, a few paragraphs on Lorenz Pereira would not be out of place, more..

Sajith Premadasa helped Govt group reunite: Thevarapperuma

Aug 1 (SO) Prez Rajapaksa expressed the hope that more countries would be inspired by SL’s bold approach to sustainably transform its agricultural system to organic agriculture to ensure food security and nutrition for future generations. Prez was addressing the virtual session of the Pre-Summit of the UN Food System Summit on July 26. Pre-Summit took place in Rome from July 26–28 in partnership with the Govt of Italy. Prez Rajapaksa said, “The right to food is a fundamental more..

Mistaken identity and Lanka Chang gets a taste of northern anger

Aug 1 (ST) A protest aimed at the military based in the north, opposing the acquisition of private lands in extent of 617 acres, seemingly to extend a naval base in Vadduvaakal, Mullaithivu, took an ugly turn on Thursday when locals came to know that a foreigner also has ownership of 49 acres in that plot. The so-called foreigner turned out to be none other than Y.C. Chang, a former SL national rugby player and former President of more..

Series' chumminess quotient high as young Sri Lanka take advice from Dhawan, Dravid

Aug 1 (CI) Among the themes of India's tour of Sri Lanka was the chumminess of the two sides even in difficult bio-bubble situations. Hardik Pandya went viral in Sri Lanka when he was seen singing their national anthem. He had also given fellow seam-bowling allrounder Chamika Karunaratne - who describes Pandya as a role model - one of his bats. At another point in the series, India coach Rahul Dravid was seen having a brief conversation with Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka. more..

Yupun’s meteoric rise to 100m stardom

Aug 1 (ST) Like jumping straight to the last pages of a novel before reading the middle of the book, you already know how this story has ended. Like watching the last action sequence of a movie without enduring the throes of character build-up, you know if the protagonist has delivered or failed. By now, you will know if Yupun Abeykoon is the real deal, able to go toe-to-toe with the best of the world or if, like the majority of SL’s athletes who more..

Keeping an Even Keel

Aug 1 (Island) Having worked in the public service for 44 years, of which, 22 were spent working for four Presidents, retirement came almost imperceptibly in Nov 2005. In these reminiscences, I will endeavour to describe anecdotally (to sustain the reader’s interest), some of the more interesting episodes in my career in the public service from 1961 to 2005. I also propose to deal with the distinct and distinguishing personality traits of the Presidents, and Ministers I had the privilege more..

Govt fighting battles on many fronts

Aug 1 (TM) Amidst mounting pressure on the Govt led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa on all key sectors in the country, the Govt last week ensured repayment of an International Sovereign Bond (ISB) amounting to $ 1 billion that matured last Tuesday (27). Although the Govt managed to overcome the threat faced by SL of being downgraded by international rating agencies, the country is still not out of the woods in terms of the growing economic challenges. more..

Mathilda and Chopin

Aug 1 (ST) By today, SL born Swedish show-jumper Mathilda Karlsson has granted many firsts in equestrian sport, as much as she enjoys the present outcomes of it. Karlsson becomes SL’s first representation in Olympics, and at a time when none were in sight, she also was the first to qualify for the Tokyo Games. Since deciding to compete under the flag of her country of birth, when she had all the reasons to represent Sweden, more..

NDB posts solid performance in H1 2021 amidst the pandemic

Aug 1 (Island) National Development Bank, Sri Lanka’s fourth largest listed bank continued to demonstrate its resilience to external shocks and ability to deliver consistent results, as reflected in financial statements released to the Colombo Stock Exchange for the six months ended 30 June 2021, the bank said. The review period was marked by month long travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the third wave of the pandemic in Sri Lanka which affected business momentum. more..

Yevan David in Top 5 at European Karting Championship

Aug 1 (ST) Yevan Ranasinghe David, the 13-year-old Karting champion from Sri Lankam, continued his impressive performance following the successes he has had in Belgium and Germany. The FIA European Karting Championship Round 3, which was held this week in the South of Italy, attracted over 100 participants drawn from the best the world over. Yevan secured pole position in his group and third overall in qualifying and thereby being the first Sri Lankan to achieve this feat. more..

Olympian gymnast Milka aiming high

Aug 1 (ST) Milka Gehani de Silva, who took part in gymnastics at the Tokyo Olympics said that she would win a medal for the country at the upcoming Asian and Commonwealth Games. The experience at the Tokyo Olympics has been a turning point in her life. Being the first Sri Lankan representative at the Olympics in the Gymnastics sport, Milka expects to train in Japan until 2024. She added that she would make the best of more..

Pathetic Yupun cuts a sorry figure

Aug 1 (SO) SL’s Yupun Abeykoon was nowhere near his career best timing of 10.15 seconds and cut a sorry figure in finishing sixth in the men’s 100m heats at the XXX11 Olympic Games continued at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium here yesterday. Though the Lankan had a highly successful season in his lead up to the Olympic Games, clocking 10.15 last May and a wind-assisted 10.09 which was not counted a week later, he was completely off colour yesterday. Competing in heat 3 of the nine men’s 100m more..

Sri Lanka COVID vax research: Elderly at risk if second AstraZeneca jab delayed

Aug 1 (EN) Researchers in Sri Lanka have found that antibody levels created by the first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine drops in elderly people within 16 weeks if the second dose is not taken within that period. The finding raises concerns about adequate immunity in the elderly among 575,000 Sri Lankans who, after months of waiting, will finally get their second shot of AstraZeneca starting Sunday (02). A paper written by a team led by Prof Neelika Malavige, more..

Delta variant spread: Health authorities undecided

Aug 1 (TM) The health authorities are unable to confirm as to whether the spread of the virulent Indian B.1.617.2 Delta variant of Covid-19 is under control in Sri Lanka or not. This is despite the recent revelations highlighting that 20-30% of the Covid-19 infections in the Colombo District have been caused by the same strain, and that the said variant has now spread to all districts across the country. more..

Specialist team carries out 2nd postmortem on teen domestic worker’s remains

Aug 1 (AD) The court-appointed specialist medical team has conducted the second postmortem on the remains of the teenage domestic worker who had died while serving at the Rishad Bathiudeen household. The postmortem was carried out over a period of 9 hours from 8.30 am to 5.15 pm today (July 31) at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital. Dr. Jean Perera, Professor of Forensic Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Colombo, Dr. Sameera Gunawardena, more..

External cash flows worked out to repay forex loans in time: State Minister Cabraal

Aug 1 (SO) SL has worked out its external cash flows in such a manner that every forex loan repayment and interest payment will be made on time, through the careful management of its reserves and expected inflows and outflows, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. He said several Opposition groups have been speculating about SL’s Forex Reserve level and attempting to convey a status of instability. In that context, it must be stressed that what is most important is more..

Former Solicitor General was interdicted on distorted and doctored tape recording

Aug 1 (ST) The tape recording of a telephone conversation between former Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadipathi which resulted in the interdiction of the senior state prosecutor had been edited and doctored, an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has established. Ms. Wickramasinghe was interdicted and sent on compulsory leave by more..

Firms hire corporate spies to get necessary dollars

Aug 1 (ST) SL’s foreign exchange crisis has come to such a head that companies have resorted to employing banking espionage tactics to source scarce US dollars in the market. Some large manufacturing companies have hired employees to find out which banks have dollars that are required by these companies for that day/week transactions and approach them as soon as possible. “Basically, we have employed a permanent pusher who does the spy work for us finding out which more..

STF raid fuel pilferage racket at Central Expressway: 7 arrested with six vehicles

Aug 1 (DM) The STF raided a large scale fuel pilferage racket carried out at the Central Expressway which is currently under construction. The Gonahena Police Special Task Force raided the long-running racket to pilfer fuel from vehicles used for the expressway construction run by a Chinese company. Seven suspects have been arrested with a bowser filled with fuel along with five other vehicles at the Central Expressway entrance between Veyangoda and Wandurawa. more..

RTIC rules MPs’ edu qualifications must be disclosed, but no MP has given details

Aug 1 (ST) Parliamentary officials were this week instructed by the Right to Information Commission (RTIC) to divulge the educational qualifications of MPs whenever those details are received from them. None of the MPs requested to submit their qualifications had done so yet, the Commission was told. This followed an inquiry by the RTIC into an RTI application filed where senior officials had said Parliament does not possess this information more..

Swiss team of experts due today to study SL’s agricultural landscape

Aug 1 (Island) A renowned team of experts from Switzerland will arrive today (1) to study the country’s agriculture ecosystem. During the 10-day visit, they will meet with key industry stakeholders, visit various sites and facilities, and provide comprehensive training in composting and organic farming. The team will meet with senior members of the Ministry of Agriculture and related State Ministries, Department of Agriculture, Centre of Excellence for Organic Agriculture (CEOA), more..

NCCSL warns of fertiliser shortage snowballing into a national food crisis

Aug 1 (Island) National Christian Council of SL (NCCSL) expressed disappointment that in the present crisis in education, govt is focusing on a controversial single venture that undermines the University Act. Drawing attention to a national consensus on the principles of higher education and the continuing trend of militarization, NCCSL representatives on Friday said the proposed Kotelawala Defence Uni Bill has raised many matters of concern that at the very least more..

Teachers-principals strike continues

Aug 1 (TM) Stating that discussions with the respective authorities have failed to provide substantial solutions to their issues including the teacher-principal salary anomalies, trade unions have decided to continue their ongoing strike. With teachers withdrawing from online teaching on 12 July, the strike enters its 21st day today. Since then, the education sector processes appear to be at a standstill, as schools remain closed for more..

SriLankan Airlines seeks a new CEO

Aug 1 (ST) National carrier, SriLankan Airlines has begun an early search for a new CEO, placing an advertisement in a local newspaper and calling for applications for such a position. Current CEO Vipula Gunatilleka, who was appointed in August 2018, is due to relinquish duties by January 2020, sources at the national carrier said. Like most global airlines, the national carrier has been struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic with growing losses due to a lower passenger loads and fewer flights. more..

Bus fares to be doubled for unvaccinated passengers?

Aug 1 (AD) Bus fares will be doubled for passengers who have not obtained at least one dose of COVID vaccines, says the Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association. Its chairman, Gemunu Wijeratne stated this commenting on resumption of public transport services from tomorrow (1). Wijeratne noted that the passengers aged above 30 years should produce a copy of vaccination card when they enter a bus. If they fail to provide proof of vaccination, they will have to pay double the fees, he added. more..

UNHRC puts govt in a spot, diplomacy deficient

Aug 1 (ST) UNHRC is set to crack the whip on SL at its 48th sessions just six weeks ahead. It is not only on issues arising from the March sessions of the damning Resolution on SL caused by dismal diplomatic failures and a confrontational posture, particularly with western nations. Added to it is a part of the Resolution which empowered the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to consolidate, analyse and more..

Hundred victims here, thousand victims there, what does it matter to the state?

Aug 2 (ST) Amendments certified on the 15th of July 2021 to SL’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and to the Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are, to put it baldly, an insult to the hundreds if not thousands of victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents. These amendments could not be reflected upon at the time that they were brought by Govt before the House in these column spaces due to other pressing matters of public concern at the time. more..

Commercialising Education and the Great KDU Bailout

Aug 2 (DM) There is a common myth promoted by the ruling classes backed by finance capitalists that privatisation and commercialisation of state institutions lead to greater efficiency and better services. However, international evidence points to privatisation as the moment when there is great extraction of public wealth by the elite, and when commercialised enterprises fail, govts bail them out. John Kotelawala Defence Uni is an example of such gross mismanagement of public funds. more..

'Money printing is like drastic treatment to a major illness'

Aug 2 (DM) State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, in an interview, takes questions regarding the present foreign exchange crisis and allegations about money printing. Q: Now, the opposition politicians talk about a severe foreign exchange crisis. They said the foreign reserves had dropped to US$ 4 billion, and US$ 2 billion would be spent for debt servicing soon. What is left is a small amount then. How serious is the crisis? more..

A Sapphire cluster amidst politico-guru clusters & ministers’ Olympic cluster

Aug 2 (DM) Is the Sports Minister’s presence really necessary at the Tokyo Olympics in midst of a Dollar crisis? Who are the other three State ministers who joined him in the trip with little or no regard for the sufferings of the masses, and who funded them? Isn’t it unethical especially under prevailing catastrophic health and economic conditions?.. are pertinent questions. “If the Opposition brings 100 people we can bring 1,000 to the streets.” a nato minister boasts. more..

No respectable household employs minors as domestics

Aug 2 (CT) The tradition in SL society, throughout the ages, has been not to employ minor children as servants. If at all any underaged child was kept at a home, it was by way of helping an indigent family with too many children to bring up such a child, as a member of the host family, also providing uninterrupted education, short of resorting to formal legal adoption. Very young servants are uncomplaining workers and even if they resist can easily be forced to undergo chores which more..

'If State Intelligence needs Pegasus, Govt will take decision'

Aug 2 (CT) Life is made miserable for smartphone users when their devices are hacked via mobile apps; leaking photos, chats and information that then are used for nefarious activities. Even the Easter Sunday attacks on 21 April 2019 were planned using an app called Prima, investigations revealed. However, the one software which is dangerously intruding into the private lives of ordinary citizens is Pegasus, more..

Covid-19 and the vaccine wars

Aug 2 (DM) Covid-19 is short-form used to describe the dreaded pandemic, caused by a new strain of coronavirus, ‘CO’ standing for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Since it was first recognised in China in November 2019, in a brief 18-month period, the disease has spread like wildfire worldwide. At 31 July, 197,000,000 persons worldwide had contracted the disease. The World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on 11 March 2020. more..

Editorial: 1990 – Suwa Seriya’s success story

Aug 2 (Island) That perhaps is the country’s best known telephone number. Punch those four digits on any telephone and an ambulance will be at your door in less than 15 minutes, the average time of response. This is what the Suwa Seriya Ambulance Service, launched against a myriad of obstacles five years ago, has given the sick and injured free, gratis and for nothing rushing nearly a million people for hospital care since its innauguration. For many of them, this has been a life saver thanks to more..

රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ

Protest against plan to place universities in military jacket

Aug 2 (ST) Incredible, as it may seem, the present SLPP Govt has started stoning the same hornets’ nest lying in the Groves of Lanka’s Academe, not even three years after its predecessor, Yahapalana Administration, was left bitterly stung trying to pelt the same. Undeterred by the Yahapalana experience in 2018, which left the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration thoroughly sore after the presentation of a bill to extend the ambit of the Kotelawala Defence Uni stirred a vanguard of wasps to more..

The govt and its vaccination drive

Aug 2 (Island) Having shot itself in the foot, the government seems to be picking up. It may well be too little too late, but this is a silver lining: after dithering for too long on the vaccination front, we are leading the world with 300,000 jabs a day. If critics of this regime aren’t wholly taken in by the speed at which it’s inoculating the country, they are impressed. Its supporters, on the other hand, are jubilant. They have reason to be. For the first time in a long while, more..

SL Railway losses top Rs. 10 b mark in 2020

Aug 2 (FT) Sri Lanka Railway’s (SLR) losses have crossed the Rs. 10 billion mark in 2020, reflecting a worsening financial position, partly aggravated by lower revenue due to COVID-induced travel restrictions apart from longstanding efficiency issues. In the past five years, SLR has suffered a yearly increase in losses except in 2018. Last year SLR’s total revenue declined by 42.2% to Rs. 4.56 billion, largely driven by a 45.6% contraction more..

Commander's T20: Defending champions outclassed

Aug 2 (ST) Super Fashion Northern Warriors, led by Sri Lanka player Seekkuge Prasanna, pulled off an upset but convincing 61-run win over defending champions Dimo Southern Warriors, as the second Army Commander’s T20 cricket tournament, conducted by the ARMY Sports Committee got underway at the Army cricket ground in Dombagoda yesterday with an early upset. The match was expected to be a closely contested affair, but it turned to be a one-sided contest. more..