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Garbage sausages and dirty tricks of the Meethotamulla tragedy

Apr 23 (ST) The Meethotamulla Avurudu tragedy where a fire at the mountainous garbage dump snuffed out more than 30 lives and left several missing has laid bare some incredible stories. One such instance was how a food importer had dumped a large stock of outdated sausages there. A group picked up the stocks, washed them, re-packed them and sold them to smaller grocery outlets. There is little doubt they ended up on more..

Army accused of turning blind eye on Haiti rape

Apr 23 (SL) The Army came under fire last week over its alleged failure to deal with the soldiers accused of rape in Haiti. However the military insisted that all those accused and found guilty have been dealt with, including the contingent commander. Associated Press, in a detailed report revealed several incidents of rape involving SL peacekeepers in Haiti. while 134 SL peacekeepers had been accused in the report, more..

Unexpected rains prevent power shortfall

Apr 23 (SO) The unexpected rainfall last month and this month has somewhat mitigated the risk of the country facing an acute shortfall in power generation, and a series of emergency power purchases at prices ranging above 28 cents a unit has averted a possible crisis. Even though the Lakvijaya Power Plant at Norochcholai shut down one of its turbines due to a steam leak, the availability of emergency power meant more..

Meetotamulla and the Seeds of Things

Apr 23 (Island) In 1979, residents of Northwood Manor in Texas, USA, sought judicial intervention to prevent the creation of a garbage dump in their neighbourhood. The court agreed that the dump would do irreparable harm to the residents by affecting "the entire nature of the community, its land values, its tax base, its aesthetics, the health and safety of its inhabitants" However the residents were not granted relief they sought. more..

Magnus Carlsen not Mozart of chess

Apr 23 (Island) Some people’s minds are really weirdly wired; a gift that defies explanation. Ramanujan’s way with numbers bewildered his Cambridge mentors Godfrey Harold Hardy and John Edensor Littlewood, both outstanding mathematicians. The way theorems and theories of numbers, sometimes far ahead of their time, floated into his mind led some to suggest that The mind of god was speaking to the mind of young Sirinivasa. Magnus Carlsen, born in 1990, more..

M'mulla: Shameful failure, human tragedy

Apr 23 (Island) The shame of Meetotamulla is that for 40 years successive Sri Lankan govts have not been able to find a location for an engineered, or sanitary, landfill to deposit Colombo’s garbage. Its tragedy is that people had to die because a makeshift mountain of garbage came crashing down on their dwellings. The problem, in its simplest formulation, is that Colombo has no place to bury its garbage and nobody else wants to bury Colombo’s garbage in their backyard. more..

President upbeat despite setbacks and continuing UNP-SLFP disputes

Apr 23 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena was upbeat last Tuesday, despite the tragedy at Meethotamulla garbage dump a few days earlier. Speaking to SLFP Ministers and Chief Ministers of provinces, he made two significant points in a speech on plans for the party’s May Day rally. One: He declared that it was he who was responsible for ensuring that Galle Face Green was given to the Joint Opposition for its May Day. more..

Faizer denies claims that street dogs are to be killed

Apr 23 (SL) Minister Faizer Mustapha denied claims that there was a move to kill street dogs ahead of Vesak. He said that a social media campaign had been launched claiming that street dogs are to be killed. Activists disturbed by reports of attempts to kill street dogs have urged the public to take photographs of anyone seen rounding up dogs on the street. Mustapha insisted that the allegation that he was involved in moves to kill stray dogs is an attempt to create racial disharmony more..

When a trash mountain spelt tragedy

Apr 23 (Hindu) Residents of the Colombo neighbourhood of Meethotamula had little idea that the urban-waste monster in their backyard would choose the Sinhala and Tamil New Year’s Day to collapse. No tourist who has ever visited Colombo would associate the word garbage with the city. Possibly the cleanest capital city in south Asia, the sea-facing metropolis has for long been setting high benchmarks for the region. That is why last week’s garbage landslide near Colombo more..

Damning EU report puts GSP in doubt

Apr 23 (CT) The reinstating of the GSP+ to Sri Lanka was yesterday put in the balance following a damning report from a European Union delegation that was in the country last week. In addition to that, the EU delegation has demanded that 50% of the GSP+ trade concession benefits be handed over to the workers, before this facility is to be reinstated to Sri Lanka, an international trade union said yesterday. more..

Farmers urge COPE to probe Fund

Apr 23 (ST) The All-Island Federation of Farmers (AIFF) National Organiser Namal Karunaratne has called upon the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to investigate the misappropriation of the Crop & Loan Protection Fund meant to pay farmers for crop damage. He said the Plantation Tax Fund created in 2013, under the National Insurance Trust Fund, had been misappropriated. He added that the Fund which had not been used for years, had Rs 60 million, but only Rs 15 million remained now. more..

SLFP members warned on JO rally

Apr 23 (SL) SLFP has warned that action may be taken on SLFP members who attend the Joint Opposition May Day rally. UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said that the SLFP Central Committee will decide if any action must be taken on SLFP member who attend the JO May Day rally. JO is to stage its May Day rally at Galle Face green while the SLFP will hold it in Kandy. He said there was no decision on cancelling the membership of SLFP members who go on stage at JO rally. more..

2008 Haiti sex charge: Lankan contingent commander sacked; 5 discharged

Apr 23 (ST) Contingent Commander of SL Army’s peace keeping force in Haiti was sacked for bringing disrepute to the organisation whilst a Major and four soldiers were discharged for having consensual sexual relationships with females. The incident, a senior Army official who spoke on grounds of anonymity said, took place in 2008 and involved the sixth Sri Lankan Peace Keeping Battalion stationed in Haiti. more..

Germany calls for political will to implement Sri Lanka’s 2015 promises

Apr 23 (Island) Germany believes its time for urgent action to implement the changes promised by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt in 2015. The govt needed more focus and should  invest in political will to move forward with its announced reform agenda, the German Ambassador to SL Jorn Rohde said. "Its time for urgent action to implement the changes promised in 2015." Acknowledging that successful steps had been  taken with regard to the Office of Missing Persons, Right  to Information more..

Price hike: Indian builders plan to import cement from Sri Lanka, China

Apr 23 (ENS) In a bid to put an end to cartelisation by cement manufacturing companies in the State builders’ Joint Action Committee, which includes APREDA, CREDAI & CRBA, has decided to import cement from SL, China and Bangladesh in protest against the abnormal hike of cement prices by the manufacturers. Importing cement from the eastern countries will help in reducing the per bag price by about `30, which will eventually benefit consumers as construction prices will come down more..

Garbage Gazette violates FR: BASL to seek Supreme Court ruling

Apr 23 (CT) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has decided to take legal action against the Gazette (Extraordinary) issued on orders of President declaring the collection and disposal of garbage as an essential service. BASL says that public interest litigation will be initiated in Supreme Court alleging violation of fundamental rights by this Gazette notification. Secretary of BASL said, govt had no right to dump garbage wherever it wished, more..

Salvation Army Chief visits M'mulla survivors

Apr 23 (ST) Salvation Army’s global head, General André Cox, on Friday  met with survivors of the Meethotamulla rubbish dump collapse and gave encouragement to them and relief workers – including police, military and medical personnel. General Cox and a team of Salvation Army officers visited both the disaster site and a local school that has been turned into a temporary shelter for more than 200 people whose homes have been destroyed. more..

SL doctor killed in road mishap in London

Apr 23 (Island) Vice President of the Association of Professional Sri Lankans in the UK, Dr. Chesmal Siriwardhana was killed by a double-decker bus in Oxford Street in Central London around 2 am on Sunday, April 9. His body, lying in a morgue in London, will be flown to Sri Lanka to perform last rites after the postmortem. Dr. Siriwardhana, 38, was returning home to Greenwich after a night out when he was hit by the night bus N98. At the time of his death, he was serving as more..

RTI: President gives people access to Cabinet decisions

Apr 23 (ST) In a note presented by President Sirisena and approved by the Cabinet recently, the President has informed all Ministers that all Cabinet decisions and Memoranda not falling within excepted categories under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, No 12 of 2016, have to be made available to a citizen upon request. In terms of this note, the Cabinet has also been formally apprised of the appointment of an Information Officer (IO) more..

Galle Face Hotel to take part in wedding planners confab

Apr 23 (SO) One of the landmark hotels in Asia, Galle Face Hotel will be the only hotel from Sri Lanka at the Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress from the May 2-4 in Phuket, Thailand. The event is a luxury boutique congress which brings together high-end destination wedding planners under one roof to meet with a lavish spread of organisations that push the boundaries of industry excellence. From Greece to Mauritius to Florence, the DWP Congress has grown over more..

Stabilisation of embankment at Meetotamulla dump : Army to complete work before rains

Apr 23 (SO) The Army working on the Meetotamulla garbage dump site to stabilise its mbankment, is expected to complete its task before the onset of the rains to avoid further catastrophe, Landslide and Risk Management Division Head of National Building Research Organization (NBRO), R.M.S Bandara said. He said the Army had completed 90% of the soil stabilisation work at the site. Experts have warned the trash mountain could slide again if the area experiences heavy rain in coming days. more..

Committee recomends unchanged fines for five offences

Apr 23 (SO) Committee appointed to look into the revision of traffic fines, headed by Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, Nihal Somaweera will meet the Secretary to the President, P.B. Abeykoon this week to discuss the progress of the report submitted to the President. The report including the proposed amendments to existing traffic fines was submitted to President Sirisena recently. Final report was compiled by the committee following more..

Young girl working in restaurant dies of injuries sustained in service lift

Apr 23 (ST) A 16-year-old girl working at a restaurant in the Aluthgama area succumbed to injuries sustained in an accident that occurred while she was using the service elevator, a coroner’s court inquiry was told. On April 9, Jesudasan Chandani from Karawela, Welipanna was taking shorteats to the fourth floor of the restaurant when a bar in the service lift fell on to her neck, her brother, Prasanna Kumara, who also worked at the same restaurant  told court. more..

Bertie Wijesinha: Last of the Mohicans

Apr 23 (Island) It was US author James Fennimore Cooper (1789 – 1851) who wrote the Last of the Mohicans in 1826; A historical treatise referring to life in the American frontier during the 18th century. Cooper relates the tragic story of Hawkeye (nothing do with DRS!) growing up with the native American Mohican people – after his own parents were killed- and who were fast diminishing in numbers and hence the title of his book. Reginald Bertram Wijesinha (best known as Bertie), more..

'Sri Lanka must build on foreign reserves'

Apr 23 (SO) Sri Lanka’s economy could grow beyond 4.5% this year, the current projection for this year, IMF Mission Chief for Sri Lanka Jaewoo Lee said in Washington. The IMF initially forecast the economy to grow to 4.5% this year up from 4.4% last year. “We expect the economy to strengthen this year relative to 2016 which was a challenging year due to floods in the first half, followed by drought in the second,” more..

Presidential Sports Awards on May 19

Apr 23 (ST) Presidential Sports Awards 2016 conducted under the patronage of the Ministry of Sports and the Department of Sports Development will be held at the BMICH on May 19. At this gigantic ceremony, fifty three deserving sports personalities from all fields related to sport will be felicitated. Chairman of the project Saman Amarasinghe said “The Ministry has allocated a sum of rupees ten million for this year’s programme and we are hoping to build on the initial effort more..

King Murali to sit on ICC Hall of Fame throne

Apr 23 (NS) Cricket crazy Sri Lanka will warm up to the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy with the news that the island’s most celebrated spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is to be inducted into ICC’s Hall of Fame. Muralitharan, fondly known as Murali, will be inducted to ICC’s Hall of Fame along with  former Australia captain Karen Rolton, Arthur Morris of  Don Bradman’s invincibles and George Lohmann. The unassuming Muralitharan basked in glory during an illustrious career more..

Who created this bubble?

Apr 23 (ST) After reading our last week’s musings column where we wrote about the views of Sidath Wettimuny with regard to Sri Lanka cricket’s present status, someone called and said, You have stirred up a hornet’s nest. While parting with those sentiments he also added, “Why didn’t he come up with a solution? As it is, the situation looks rather glum. Yes, we appreciate his views. We still could say that even during those dark days more..

Kapugedera guides Kandy to easy win

Apr 23 (ST) Kandy skipper Chamara Kapugedera slammed a quick-fire unbeaten 105 in only 50 balls that included 14 boundaries and two sixes to guide his side to an easy 39 runs win over Dambulla in a second round match of the Super Provincial limited over tournament played under floodlights at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium yesterday. Kapugedera was also involved in two valuable partnerships. First was of 45 runs for the 5th wicket with Asalanka and other an unbroken 104 runs stand more..

Should Thirimanne make a comeback?

Apr 23 (Island) When former captain Arjuna Ranatunga met Bangladeshi journalists a fortnight ago in Colombo, he made some pertinent points while talking about the state of SL cricket. Ranatunga observed that Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal were the two best batsmen in the country. He added that when he was leading the side, he had backed several talented players despite very little return and was puzzled why that wasn’t happening at present. more..

Yahapalanaya caught in a mess of garbage

Apr 23 (CT) Much has been spoken about in the aftermath of the Avurudu tragedy that took place at Meethotamulla in which over 30 valuable human lives were officially lost, while few still remain missing. Like in any other incident or recent calamities, members of the tri-forces and relief workers rushed to the scene fulfilling their duties (they still are) while politicians from all corners continue to trade charges against each other. more..

Govt united to kick start economy

Apr 23 (SO) The IMF appears to be quite optimistic over the economic performance in Sri Lanka if the country makes necessary adjustments to project a sound economic outlook in the forthcoming years. The IMF Chief's willingness to visit Sri Lanka shows that the country is on the path to recovery from an abysmal past. The President, addressing media heads last week said, he along with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is pushing the country back to the path of economic recovery. more..

Sagala wins praise for braving Meetotamulla appearance

Apr 23 (Island) While the Meetotamulla tragedy drowned out all other news during and after Sinhala/Tamil new year, one person who seemed to earn some credit even in the eyes of detractors during this period was Minister Sagala Ratnayake who went to the site of the tragedy at least three times braving all the hostility and hooting and jeering by enraged residents. In fact, he was the only govt politician to be seen at the site until the PM turned up after his visit to Vietnam. more..


Stench of death

Apr 23 (ST) My dear residents of Meetotamulla, I am writing to you in shock and horror at a time when the entire country is talking about the disaster in your area and about how some of you had to pay with your lives because some people couldn’t get their act together and decide what to do with the tonnes of garbage produced in Colombo. It was only a few days ago that the entire country was celebrating the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. You would have done so too, not knowing that more..

Transparency vital in ties with India, China

Apr 23 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe leaves for New Delhi next week on what is a working visit with Indian leaders in the backdrop of some controversial issues in an otherwise seemingly friendly environment between the two countries. It is no secret that India entertained concerns over SL’s previous Administration cosying up to China a little more than India would have liked. Given the nature of the situation, however, the incumbent Govt in Colombo (which India was happy to see more..