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African debacle: Lollipop cricketers can’t win matches

Jan 23 (ST) At the end of the third Test at Johannesburg, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews said, “I have been a part of many defeats as captain… yes… this is certainly the worst. We are extremely disappointed with the result. When it came to preparations, we did our best where, even in SL, we tried to prepare wickets with grass, because we expected to get wickets with lots of grass. Unfortunately, we could not handle it more..

The business of govt into the hands of these people

Jan 23 (Island) Dr. Leo Fernando has presented a preliminary case for the establishment of a second chamber of the Legislature in our country. There are useful second chambers in large states with federal constitutions. The second chamber in Britain that Dr. Fernando cites is a holdover from feudal times and its powers have been cut down step by step since the Liberal Party govt of Lord Asquith in 1910. The most recent rationalization of their legislature has been to take away most of judicial functions more..

GSP sour grapes: GL tries alchemy to turn Rajapaksa copper to gold

Jan 23 (ST) Poor Professor Peiris! Once he was the savant of property law churning out volume after volume on the land rights of the people. Now he is the servant of fallen politicians, porter of past president Rajapaksa, tasked to carry his bags whenever given a freebie to Bangkok. Last Sunday he was at it again, handling Rajapaksa luggage, this time trying to whitewash and iron the soiled and crumpled clothing in the ex-presidential backpack & have it customised for public presentation. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Editorial: Holding a tiger’s tail

Jan 23 (Island) It looks as if the SLFP had already launched its presidential election campaign while postponing LG polls it is scared of facing. Some SLFP members of yahapalana govt are floating the idea of nominating President Sirisena to seek a second term. A group of UPFA Provincial Chief Ministers had a meeting with former President Rajapaksa yesterday at the latter’s official residence in Colombo on what they described as the SLFP’s future electoral strategy among other things. more..

The story of the split self

Jan 23 (CT) Over three decades ago, sometime in the late Seventies, a young boy from a town UpNawth in Sri Lanka was preparing to go to university. Having worked very hard on his calculus for two years, he had gained admission to HillTop for four more years of further hard work that was going to be the gateway to a permanent job and marriage to a fat dowry. Just before his departure, the protective Tamil mother had called the young man aside and given him a well-rehearsed lecture: more..

'Sufficient progress to recommend GSP'

Jan 23 (SL) European Commission recently recommended that Sri Lanka be granted the GSP+ trade concession based on the progress seen on several areas. However concerns still remain in some areas which need to be addressed soon. EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Tung-Laď Margue said that if some EU member countries still have concerns on SL they can seek an extension of the period before Sri Lanka is granted GSP. more..

Neville Fernando on SAITM

Jan 23 (Island) Some thoughts on Cuba and SAITM by Shivanthi Ranasinghe Sunday Island. I am thankful to the Editor and Shivanthi for the above titled article for it gives the real story about SAITM which others have been distorting from 2009 to meet their own agendas. Shivanthi, daughter of a doctor in Kandy, interviewed me a few months ago and realized the importance of what I am doing. Most of those who write about SAITM do not know why I started SAITM without starting a casino. more..

Galle and the Literary Festival

Jan 23 (SO) Yes, this cat spent all of four days in Galle -11th to Saturday 14th - and enjoyed every moment of it. Hence, the malice in her eye is gone, the acid on her tongue replaced by sweet appreciation. It’s good to be benign and appreciative once in a while. She’s been to Galle for all eight literary festivals, originally called the Galle Literary Festival, but now, with an added name to it: Fairway GLF with Fairway Holdings sponsoring much of the festival. more..

Health impacts on drought stricken residents

Jan 23 (SO) As SL braces for a future of water shortages affecting over 600,000 people in almost all districts, health authorities have warned, the prolonged drought conditions could trigger several diseases among the target population. Affected areas include, Trinco, Kandy, Kalutara, Hambantota, Moneragala, Badulla, A'pura, Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa & Ratnapura, with residents struggling to cope with more..

Impact of buddhism, politics & corruption on the rule of law – Part II

Jan 23 (CT) The grotesque picture of Ampitiye Sumanarathana Thero must have truly embarrassed the decent Buddhists and the respected monks. He is attempting to assault a female police officer unashamedly looked on by the others. Substitute citizen Perera or Subramanian or Abdullah in place of the monk and imagine how the picture would then have looked like. Another instance of the Rule of Law becoming impotent when it relates to monks violating not only the law but, also, more..

A storm in that human rights action plan teacup

Jan 23 (ST) An unseemly and wholly unnecessary uproar arose this week over a proposed clause in Sri Lanka’s National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP, 2017-2021), which had apparently mentioned the need for a two-thirds majority in Parliament to pass a State of Emergency. Ministers loyal to President Maithripala Sirisena indulged in a frantic thumping of chests by insisting that the President had steadfastly intervened to remove that clause from the NHRAP. more..

To offset effects of drought: Uninterrupted power supply to cost Rs 50b

Dec 27 (SO) The Govt will have to bear an additional cost of Rs. 50 billion to ensure uniterrupted power supply to the country if the drought continues for another six months, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He said the Ministry could manage the situation without resorting to power cuts bearing the additional cost, to ensure uninterrupted power supply. Ministry has informed the Govt regarding the additional cost to be incurred more..

Monk’s petition on eve of bond debate in House

Dec 27 (ST) A Buddhist monk appointed by the Finance Ministry to the Lanka Hospitals’ (Apollo) Board of Directors has filed a fundamental rights (FR) petition challenging the report of the COPE on the bond issue — just days before Parliament debates the matter. The petitioner, Ven Thiniyawala Palitha Thera, is claiming that the COPE report is “littered with inconsistencies and/or contradictions and/or misrepresentations” more..

Project to develop 152 acres around Beira Lake to begin next month

Dec 27 (ST) Initial preparations for the development of 152 acres around the Beira Lake with mixed development projects and hotels, will get off the ground next month, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe said. He said the project will begin by clearing the waterways by blocking illegal water outlets and sewerage lines into the lake. In addition, around 800 families, more..

Suffocating oxygen controversy: Moves to procure at lowest price runs into a storm

Dec 27 (Island) Ongoing moves by the Health Ministry to procure medical oxygen and gases – a critical component for patient care - at the lowest price has raised eyebrows, with industry officials expressing fears that products purchased for a song could compromise safety and jeopardize lives. Unlike over-the-counter drugs for common minor ailments, medical gases with benchmark global quality standards have more..

CTF and Wijeyadasa R.’s lack of confidence

Dec 27 (CT) Minister in charge of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has declared that he has no confidence in the govt appointed Consultation Task Force (CTF) on Reconciliation Mechanisms appointed by the very govt in which he is a Minister. Rajapakshe’s decision to express his lack of confidence in an important Task Force nearly one year after its appointment and many moons of hard work culminating in the public release of more..

'I have a responsibility to correct this govt'

Dec 27 (CT) Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera says he has not quit the Govt. "I clearly told the media that I would not quit the Govt," he said. Q: Did you quit the Govt? A: How can I say I quit the Govt? In that press conference, I clearly said I would not quit the Govt. Why should I quit the Govt which we formed? We must do our duty by this Govt. Quitting the govt is not the solution. As an independent MP, I must have the right to more..

Tamil Diaspora lobbies against GSP plus

Dec 27 (CT) Several Tamil Diaspora organizations have made joint representations to political and diplomatic missions, including the EU Parliament, exerting pressure on them against restoring to Sri Lanka the GSP plus export facility unless the SL govt implements core international conventions which are a prerequisite to qualify for the restoration. Diaspora has through European Parliament Members called for a debate more..

Peace Airways to fly six A 380s from Mattala

Dec 27 (CT) Peace Airways, the airline of peace, will be operating six airbus 380s from Mattala shortly that will fly to China, Africa, Australia and Europe. There will be two A 380 aircraft coming almost immediately, followed by another two a year later and the remaining in another two years. All six flights will arrive at Mattala within the next two years. "We will be operating the six Peace Airways aircraft from Mattala while another six Boeing 787 more..

FCID to file further ‘B’ reports in courts against the renegade Wimal

Dec 27 (ST) The FCID is to file further ‘B’ reports in courts against the renegade Marxist Wimal Weerawansa for his alleged involvement into many other large scale scandalous corruptions that has cost the country millions of rupees during the Rajapaksa regime. Weerawansa who is now in remand prison for misusing public funds, was operating a small communication centre in Kadawatha and his family’s sole asset was more..

Sajith demands ministry’s full budgetary allocation

Dec 27 (ST) Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa, raised many an eyebrow at last Tuesday’s weekly ministerial meeting. He threatened to resign if a major grievance he faced was not rectified. His grievance – Parliament had allocated six billion rupees to his Ministry of Housing and Construction. However, the ministry had only received three billion rupees whilst two billion had been given to the Ministry of more..

Development journalism

Dec 27 (Island) Earlier this week I took part in a two-hour live TV programme on ITN, in Sinhala, around why a development project like the Moragahakanda Reservoir didn’t get much media coverage. The choice of a project to anchor the programme to was interesting. The foundation stone for the project was laid in January 2007 by the current President, who was then a Cabinet Minister under the govt of Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Sirisena is on record how after the inauguration of the project more..

Rathana Thero: Do not underestimate

Dec 27 (Island) Ven Athureliye Rathana Thero, quite silent and almost a non-factor in the public domain for almost a year, made the headlines of all national newspapers last week.  Rathana Thero goes independent or versions of this grabbed attention.  The truth is that Rathana Haamuduruwo had already been made independent.  He had been unceremoniously evicted from the JHU.  Although a national list MP of the UNP, it is no secret that he does not identify with that party.  more..

Constitutional reforms: UNP, SLFP poles apart

Jan 22 (ST) President has given the green light to SLFP ministers to convey their Jan 3 decisions on constitutional reforms to different sections of society. This is notwithstanding an earlier move to convene an SLFP Central Committee (CC) meeting where these decisions were to be endorsed. The fact that the ministers are going ahead first making their position publicly known, a party source said, would only mean that Sirisena, SLFP leader, more..

Yahapalana Corruption: Presidential concerns ignored, no brakes on tyre empire

Jan 22 (ST) Business tycoon Nandana Lokuwithana started clearing the 100-acre plot in the Wagawatte Industrial Zone in Horana this week, despite still not signing the lease agreement for the land with the BoI. Mr. Lokuwithana proposes to set up a tyre factory there with a US$ 75 million investment. However, the deal being negotiated for him by the Development Strategies Ministry has raised serious questions. Among other things, he is being allotted the sprawling property at rates more..

Minister vows to clean up Sri Lankan airlines

Jan 22 (EN) Minister Kabir Hashim vowed to clean up the mafia at Sri Lankan airlines and accused its chairman Ajith Dias of sweeping corruption of the previous regime under the carpet. He said he disagreed with Dias who had dismissed findings of a far reaching anti-corruption report that examined the corruption and irregularities under the former regime of President Rajapaksa. He said the Sri Lankan board had been appointed soon after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe took office and more..

Bond issues: AG hits out at Finance Minister

Jan 22 (ST) Auditor General has accused the Finance Minister of being impatient and unethical in seeking from him a report on the accounts of the Public Debt Department of CB on bond issues for eight years. Though the request did not fall within his scope, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe has said he nevertheless furnished the report for the period 2008-2016. Minister was not available for comment. more..

Undergrads kick out FUTA’s zero tolerance on ragging

Jan 22 (NS) The Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) have blamed student organizations including the Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) and the University administrations for keeping mum on ragging in State universities. In the latest incident, a 21-year-old second-year undergraduate of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Peradeniya who is the son of a High Court Judge, was assaulted last Wednesday by a group of third-year students. more..

President sends greetings to China for Lunar New Year

Jan 22 (Xinhua) President Maithripala Sirisena sent his greetings and good wishes to everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year in the People's Republic of China and around the world. In a letter, Sirisena said that 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations and the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Rice and Rubber pact between China and Sri Lanka. A number of events organised by the Chinese Embassy to celebrate Chinese New Year more..

President to act against coal head’s ouster

Jan 22 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to take action with regard to the recent removal of Chairman of the Lanka Coal Company (Private) Limited, Satendra Maithri Gunaratne and the Director Board of the Company by the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy. Gunaratne had met the President on January 18 to discuss the issues surrounding the decision to dissolve the Director Board. more..

River paddle boarder faced crocodile threat

Jan 22 (BBC) A paddle boarder faced man-eating crocodiles during his quest to travel from source to sea along the longest river in Sri Lanka. Kev Brady from Gloucester said he was terrified as he paddled more than 200 miles along the Mahaweli. He now aims to paddle the 800 miles around the coast of the island of SL. His previous feats include canoeing along the Mississippi and swimming the length of the River Severn. Mr Brady said he had suffered minor scratches and scrapes during the journey, more..

Economic Service Charge requires amending laws

Jan 22 (ST) Sri Lankan tax authorities along with the Finance Ministry have been caught napping once again; imposing the Economic Service Charge (ESC) without the mandatory, amending legislation in place. In a newspaper advertisement on Jan 16, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) directed that final date of payment for the ESC for the quarter ending Dece 31, 2016 is Jan 20 (Friday). Taxpayers were told to pay before January 20 as this day has been declared a half holiday for banks. more..

India tells Sri Lanka: You can take your Port and shove it

Jan 22 (Forbes) Last Wednesday, SL minister, Sarath Fonseka, said that terms were being discussed to give Sri Lanka’s northeastern Trincomalee port to India. SL PM Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly vouched for the veracity of the remarks on the sidelines of Davos. But by Friday India was denying them, stating that they had no interest in taking on a fledgling port that wouldn't be profitable for a very long time. more..

Video: English vet saving SL’s street dogs

Jan 22 (BBC) A vet has left behind her home in England to care for Sri Lanka’s street dogs. Janey Lowes from Barnard Castle, County Durham, has spent the past two years caring for the neglected animals. There are about three million street dogs on the island – about 60% of puppies born on the street do not survive to adulthood. The 28-year-old set up charity WECare Worldwide to raise money to buy the equipment needed to treat the animals and to set up her own clinic in Talalla. more..

Foreign exits pass Rs 75B mark

Jan 22 (CT) Foreign exits from the govt securities market (GSM) amounted to massive Rs 3,727.18 million in the week ended Wednesday (18), data showed. This takes such exits in the 14 weeks to Wednesday to Rs 75,932.25 million (23.97%) to Rs 240,791.12 million, down from the recent peak figure of Rs 316,722.89 million that it hit on 12 Oct, 2016. Such exits are led by a combination of Trumpism, followed closely by the Federal Reserve System's upward outlook on rates. more..

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