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Fast in Kandy: A Feast for Fools

Jun 9 (SO) It was called a Fast unto death. It turned out to be a feast of fools. Feast of fools was a quasi-religious yearly event in medieval Europe. The purpose was to mock overbearing church dignitaries. Victor Hugo made it consequential in literature. In his Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo is crowned King of Fools in festivities of a feast of fools. The organized Buddhist church has now started issuing Fatwas in the form of Sangha Agnnas or edicts. It is time to take the bull more..

President demands PSC halted at Friday night surprise Cabinet meet

Jun 9 (CT) Ahead of Indian PM Narendra Modi’s short visit to Sri Lanka, Prez Sirisena on Friday evening called an urgent special Cabinet meeting, leaving every sensible citizen with bated breath as it was too soon to forget Prez Sirisena chose Fridays to give political surprises ever since the constitutional impasse on 26 Oct 2018. Prez Sirisena’s call for a special Cabinet meeting came at a time when a group of more..

'Sri Lanka lack situational awareness, energy & intent'

Jun 9 (ST) One-week into this World Cup and it’s already proving to be a fascinating tournament with plenty of fantastic cricket and also some unexpected results, Pakistan’s upset against tournament favourites England being the most eye-catching. Pakistan were trounced in their first game by the aggressive West Indians, but they were a completely different team at Trent Bridge against England, mixing energy and fight as they piled-up a big total and then bowled skilfully, especially more..

Rathana Thera’s fast and President Sirisena’s angst

Jun 9 (Island) It was obvious that the hunger strike started by Ven. Ahureliye Rathana Thera had not been well thought out or planned properly even by the Ven. monk himself. One day, we heard him speaking on the news channels giving the govt a 24 hour ultimatum to sack Minister Rishard Baithiudeen and Provincial Governors Azath Salley and M.L.A.M. Hisbulla and the next thing we knew was that he had started a hunger strike in the precincts of the Sri Dalada Maligawa. more..


A fast unlike no other

Jun 9 (ST) Athuraliye Rathana hamuduruwaney, I thought I must write to you since you are very much in the news these days, staging fasts unto death, and protesting against some governors and ministers continuing in office. You demanded that Aiyo Sirisena should sack them, and threatened to sacrifice your life if your demands were not met. I must say that all this came as somewhat of a surprise to us, hamuduruwaney. That is because, over the years, we have known you to be more..

Addressing the delicate Muslim issue

Jun 9 (ST) Not long after the heinous Easter Sunday bombings, this newspaper issued a word of caution to the authorities. In the pursuit of existing terrorist cadres and the sleepers, we warned, the tri-forces and police must heed the lessons of the past. They must refrain from breeding more terrorists in the process. This week, all Muslim ministers, State ministers and deputy ministers resigned from the govt along with two Muslim governors in response to a hunger strike by Ven Athuraliye Rathana more..

'Time for new Muslim leadership'

Jun 9 (CT) Athureliye Rathana Thera in a candid interview says that the fast he engaged in has awakened the people and that many were with him in his endeavour. However, Rathana Thera points out that Buddhists and Catholics have joined hands but that the Muslims were cornered because of ideological differences of 20 per cent of Muslims who were extremists and to fight this everyone should come together. more..

Achcharu country

Jun 9 (ST) Serapina comes dancing merrily into the compound and goes to the Margosa tree where her friends Kussi Amma Sera and Mabel Rasthiyadu are having their tea, singing Naana..…..Waana. Hearing the din, I look out of the window to find Serapina loudly humming the tune of a new song that is making waves on social media. Nana, nana, mehe ahanne nana; Wana, wana, yuddhe ayeth wana: Oona, oona sama thamai oona, she sings. This is the chorus and it means more..

Prez and his bans

Jun 9 (Island) Moratuwa exploded with rage on Friday. A large number of people took to the streets, condemning a govt decision to ban carpentry workshops and saw mills. Among them were many carpenters and owners and workers of furniture shops and saw mills, we are told. They fear that they will lose their means of livelihood in the event the proposed bans coming into effect. Prez Sirisena, on the World Environment day, which fell recently, declared that the best way to protect more..

Media: A circus ruining lives?

Jun 9 (SO) Media activists call for an independent regulator and proper inquiry by Editors’ Guild into news story that took Kurunegala and the country by storm. For advocates of ethical journalism and fact-based reporting, the story of Segu Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi, a doctor from Kurunegala is a cautionary tale. On May 23, a Sinhala language newspaper published a story that police investigations had been launched into more..

Playing pandu over lives lost!

Jun 9 (CT) President Sirisena called an emergency Cabinet meeting in which he had apparently asked the Govt to stop proceedings of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to probe and report to Parliament about the Easter Sunday terror attacks. According to the media reports published so far the Cabinet meeting was a heated affair and the atmosphere was far from being cordial. Amidst heated arguments between Prez Sirisena and UNP Cabinet Ministers, more..

Delhi’s southward pivot

Jun 9 (SO) Indian PM Narendra Modi’s flying visit to Colombo today may be the continuation of age-old South Asian geopolitical ritual, but the prioritization of The Maldives and Sri Lanka as his first foreign destinations after re-election to power may signify a new emphasis on the Indian Ocean and new maritime horizons for Delhi. Ever the pragmatist – unlike some of his culturally militant (and deviant) vote banks – Mr. Modi is known not to prevaricate when it comes to decisive action. more..

National Intelligence Chief resigns

Jun 8 (AD) The Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis has resigned from his post with immediate effect. Mendis, Director of SL’s Centre for National Intelligence under the Ministry of Defense, had served as DIG of the CID and was also head of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) from 2008 to 2009. The national intelligence chief’s resignation comes after testifying last week to parliamentary select committee more..

Forensic audits into securities scams, EPF

Jun 8 (EN) SL's central bank has begun multiple forensic audits into alleged securities scams in selling bonds and managing a 2.2 trillion rupee EPF of private workers, a top official said. "There are six forensic audits that we are conducting," Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "Five of them had started in April," he said. "Some of them will take about two to 3 months and the longest will take about 6-7 months." more..

Rajapaksa asks Lankan Muslims to stop Arabization of their culture

Jun 8 (NA) The Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Saturday called upon the island’s Muslim community to stop the Arabization of their culture and return to the traditional SL Muslim culture. Rajapaksa said this at a meeting with the nine Muslim leaders who had quit the Council of Ministers in protest against the persecution of their community following the April 21 suicide bombings carried out by Jehadi NTJ. more..

JVP demands more transparency on Presidential Commissions

Jun 8 (FT) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake criticised the Govt for its lack of transparency in not keeping Parliament informed on the progress of the Presidential Commission appointed to look into the Easter Sunday attacks, and requested clarification be given on whether the report will be tabled in Parliament. “Initially, it was held that the findings of the Committee will be made public within 2 weeks. more..

Sri Lanka interest subsidy arrears to commercial banks Rs. 33bn in 2018: AG

Jun 8 (EN) Sri Lanka had racked up a subsidy arrears of 33 billion rupees by the end of 2018 to state and private banks over above market interest promised by the govt to senior citizens, Auditor General has said. "The liability has not been revealed in the Financial Statements and it had not been revealed in the financial statements of the relevant institution too," the AG said. Any arrears do not get captured as spending in that year more..

Enhanced fines for speeding to curb accidents: Abeysinghe

Jun 8 (CT) State Minister Ashok Abeysinghe yesterday, told Parliament that drivers who exceed a speed limit by 50% will be fined Rs 25,000. Abeyinghe, opening the debate on the second reading of the Motor Traffic Amendment Bill said, “According to these Amendments, drivers who exceed a speed limit by 20%, will be fined between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000. The drivers who exceed a speed limit by more..

Medical fraternity divided over alleged unethical sterilizations at Kurunegala

Jun 8 (ST) Medical circles are abuzz with numerous stories doing the rounds of surreptitious and unethical sterilizations of mothers during Caesarean-sections (C-sections). While some Consultant Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (commonly called VOGs) said that such sterilizations could be performed by a skilled doctor, there was an outcry from others – both seniors and juniors – in this field that such action would not be more..

How Sri Lanka's arrack coconut spirit went upmarket

Jun 8 (BBC) Distilled from the sap of the coconut flower, Sri Lankan arrack has been a local favourite for centuries. But now its makers are trying to take the spirit global, writes the BBC's Ayeshea Perera. It's served in some of London's most fashionable restaurants, like Dishoom and Hoppers. And the late food and travel writer Anthony Bourdain described it as tasting like "a marriage of bourbon and rum, but with a stronger, more..

Mass resignation of nine govt ministers

Jun 8 (DM) The first few days of this month saw SL once again hurtling towards another orgy of anti-Muslim violence. Buddhist monk Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera who is also a MP was on a fast unto death in the vicinity of Dalada Maligawa hallowed by Buddhists in SL and abroad. His demand was that Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hizbullah and Western Province Governor more..

Delving into Sterilisation Story

Jun 8 (DM) This article is a direct translation from an interview with Professor Hemantha Senanayake, Head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Faculty of Medicine, Uni of Colombo appeared in Lankadeepa on June 04, 2019. "On a global scale regarding maternal healthcare, Sri Lanka is regarded as a forward-looking country. This achievement is not accidental and there are many reasons behind it. more..

Why Muslims are gelling during a crisis

Jun 8 (DM) If Ven. Gnanasara Thera boasted about priests in the island uniting in the face of meeting the challenge of extremists, he only has to look just a little far ahead to see another group working in similar solidarity. The Muslim politicians in Sri Lanka have come together in a move to protect their race and for this purpose they have tendered their resignations as state and Cabinet ministers. Muslims are largely traders and are a well-to-do community in the island. But after the April 21 massacre more..

Make the ocean great again: Bigger role by girls and women

Jun 8 (DM) Decades ago, the famous singing duo Nina and Frederik wrote an immortal song relating to the ocean. It goes like this, “Listen to the ocean, echoes of a million sea shells, forever it’s in motion, moving to a rhythmic, unwritten music that’s played eternally”. Words such as these revive memories of a beautiful ocean, especially for islands like Sri Lanka, as the United Nations’ today marks World Oceans Day, amid a warning by the General Assembly Prez, that decades of overuse more..

President demands suspension of PSC on terror attacks

Jun 8 (FT) In a rushed special Cabinet meeting lasting over an hour yesterday, President Maithripala Sirisena strongly opposed the Parliament Select Committee on the Easter Sunday attacks continuing its hearings, calling it a political witch hunt against him. An angry Sirisena accused some of the members of the PSC, MPs Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, and more..

PM discusses new counter terrorism law with UN

Jun 8 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday discussed with a top UN delegation, Sri Lanka’s plans to introduce a Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) in place of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). They agreed that Sri Lanka needed foreign assistance, and funds required for the project could be released from the Treasury. The UN delegation comprised Masood Karimipour (UNODC), Hanaa Singer (UN Resident Coordinator), Leila Ezzarqui, Adria De Landri, and Gita Sabharwal. more..

Batticaloa private campus project put on hold

Jun 8 (ST) A project to construct a private campus in a 20-acre Batticaloa land provided by the state to the Ameer Ali Foundation has been put on hold on a directive of District Secretary M. Udayakumar. He said the project had been put on hold following complaints that the land had been allocated for the campus despite the area’s people not having land for resettlement. In 2017, the land was allocated to the foundation headed by State Minister Ameer Ali to build a campus with foreign funding. more..

Govt defends ECT agreement with India, Japan

Jun 8 (FT) Govt yesterday told Parliament that ownership of the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port will be held by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), and that Japan and India would only collaborate to develop the terminal. According to the Govt, majority ownership of the ECT will remain with the SLPA. The proposed joint venture company will allow SLPA to own 51% of the stake, while the remainder will be more..

Emergency: Siddarthan defends TNA stand

Jun 8 (Island) TNA MP Dharmalingham Siddarthan said that the alliance was unhappy about the military adopting far harsher security measures in the Northern and Eastern areas in the wake of re-imposition of emergency regulations, hence the decision to call for a division. Vanni District MP representing the PLOTE said so when The Island sought an explanation from him as to why the TNA had voted against emergency against the backdrop of the NTJ suicide bombers more..

JVP worried over possible coffin shortage

Jun 8 (FT) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake cautioned President Maithripala Sirisena against banning timber mills, pointing out entrepreneurs engaged in small carpentry businesses would suffer, and the ban could even lead to a coffin shortage. Questioning the possible use of aluminium-based coffins and their linked health concerns, MP said: “We foresee a considerable health issue. We use wood coffins to bury the dead. I would like to know if it is safe to use aluminium coffins to bury, more..

Opposition demands halt to signing agreements with foreign countries in secret

Jun 8 (Island) SL’s agreements with foreign countries on matters related to the economy and national security should be presented to Parliament and approved by a two-thirds majority, the opposition demanded. MP Dinesh Gunwardena told parliament that the govt had signed an agreement to hand over a corridor from Trincomalee to the Colombo Port to the US without even informing it to Parliament. "The other thing is handing over terminals in more..

Dialog 5G Mobile service demonstrates South Asia’s fastest mobile speeds

Jun 8 (DN) Dialog Axiata, showcased download speeds in excess of 1.4Gbps using a commercial 5G mobile handset, highest speed that has been achieved via a mobile handset in South East Asia. Mobile 5G services were demonstrated on the 3.6Ghz trial spectrum that the TRC allocated for 5G pre-commercial trial. This announcement follows Dialog’s demonstration of a fully standards based 5G mobile service for the first time in South Asia in Mar 2019, and the first standards based 5G more..

Sri Lanka shares experience in addressing sexual and gender based violence

Jun 8 (MFA) Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana was in Oslo on 24 May 2019 to participate as a panellist at the international conference on Ending Sexual and Gender based Violence in Humanitarian Crises (SGBV). He was invited to the conference by the Govt of Norway. Speaking at the high level panel on Setting the Standards for Prevention of and Response to SGBV: progress in addressing operational challenges, chaired by UNFPA Executive Director Natalie Kanem, more..

JO questions bid to play down NTJ attacks on Tamils

Jun 8 (Island) JO MP Shehan Semasinghe says sufficient attention hadn’t been paid to the now proscribed National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) targeting the Tamil community in Easter attacks. Well over a month after the Easter Sunday carnage the govt was yet to give a breakdown of the victims as per the ethnicity, lawmaker Semasinghe said. He alleged that a deliberate attempt was being made to depict the April 21 bombing campaign more..

NES progress reviewed with core team

Jun 8 (DN) The Export Development Board (EDB) Advisory Committees of the focus sectors of the National Export Strategy, reported their sector progress, issues and targets for the year 2019 at the Core Team meeting chaired by Minister Malik Samarawickrama, on May 30, at the Ministry. National Export Strategy for Sri Lanka 2018-2022 was formulated under the guidance of the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade and with other Govt & private sector stakeholders more..