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Sri Lanka win first Test against Zimbabwe

Jan 24 (CI) Suranga Lakmal took down Zimbabwe's top three first thing in the morning, Lahiru Kumara blasted out the tail late in the day, and in between, SL's attack squeezed enough life out of a still-docile Harare surface to seize victory on day five. Zimbabwe scored enough runs to make Sri Lanka bat again, but the visiting openers needed only three overs to knock off the 14 runs required. Lakmal, who took 4 for 27, more..

Editorial: Obfuscation

Jan 24 (Island) So, the much-awaited forensic report on the Treasury bond issuances, from 2002 to 2015, has been tabled in Parliament and taken up for debate. But the question is whether it has yielded the desired results. The govt and Opposition MPs declared, in Parliament, on Wednesday, that the report had left them none the wiser. They claimed annexures thereto had been removed. The forensic audit report is likely to entail another protracted investigation. more..

MCC and poverty reduction: What is the Govt's take on it

Jan 24 (CT) The UNF candidate, Sajith Premadasa thinks that one of the reasons why he was defeated at the Prez Election on 16 Nov was due to the UNP leadership's commitment to the Millennium Corporation Compact (MCC) agreement with the United States, which was seen by the people as a betrayal of the country. If we inverse the link it might have worked as a contributory factor for his rival, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to get elected. So the issue now is what the new govt's position on MCC? more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Elephant Talk

Jan 24 (Island) Hundreds of quotations on cruelty to animals are Internet-available, voiced by persons ranging from Aristotle to Prophet Mohammed and Christ and to present day film stars. One of the most quoted is Mahatma Gandhi’s: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." And what about the Buddha’s compassion to animals? To him all sentient beings are equally deserving of mercy and benevolence and thus one of the 5 precepts more..

Why secularism is good for Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (Island) Secularism and nationalism are two terms which are deliberately misdefined by internal and external destabilizing agents in various forms in the current political context in Sri Lanka for confusing and misleading the largely monolingual Sinhala or Tamil speaking electorate. Properly understood, secularism will be found to be quite compatible with the country’s accommodating religious background, which is predominantly Buddhist and Hindu. more..

'My deal succeeded while theirs failed'

Jan 24 (CT) UNP MP Vajira Abeywardena admits that Ranjan's issue is a severe shortcoming where party discipline is concerned and that discipline in the UNP has eroded. Q: How do you see the difference between the then UNP and the now UNP? A: UNP continues to function as the main political party of the country because of the strength of the party constitution. Constitutions of the other parties are also designed according to this. more..

Tracking blueprints to unmask invasives

Jan 24 (CT) Invasive Alien Species (IAS) is recognised globally as a threat to Flora and Fauna, causing major disruptions in the ecosystem. United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recognises these invasive alien species as the 2nd largest threat to biodiversity and according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, IAS is identified as a major cause for the loss of ecology at an increasing trend. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more..

Sustaining state legitimacy also requires ethics

Jan 24 (CT) President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s image continues to rise amongst the general public due to the variety of manifestations of his commitment to get things done better to make life better for the people. His surprise visits to different state institutions, most recently to the Bandaranaike International Airport, where he has been scrutinizing their levels of efficiency and public service, would put public sector officials on the alert that their duties need to be taken seriously. more..

Derana Varuni’s TEA man appointed as Chairman SLT

Jan 24 (CT) Contrary to appointing people on meritocracy to top governmental positions, Prez Gotabaya Rajapaksa‘s buddy Dilith Jayaweera‘s Derana Group business partner Varuni Amunugama‘s husband Rohan Fernando has been appointed as the Chairman Sri Lanka Telecom. It can be confirmed that Rohan Fernando has absolutely no professional knowledge or experience in the Telecommunications business. more..

Be still and nourish freedom: A reflection

Jan 24 (GV) With Freedom (Independence) Day in sight we should be reflecting on how best our freedom gained, is to be consolidated and what new freedoms are to be secured. As change occurs, our perception of life grows and our understanding of ethics evolve, the human quest to stay free never ceases. Some educational institutions guide their students to review our Independence; the freedom it has brought us and the freedom we still lack. Civic and religious gatherings go a step further to more..

Contempt of litigants

Jan 24 (CT) Various News Items are appearing in all Medias with regard to the conduct of the Judiciary in general under the influence of politicians and their henchman. In the past, may be about 40 years ago, no influence would have been possible, which would have changed the course of Justice. There may have been a few, but to my knowledge it was not highlighted like today. I recollect an assault on Justice Neville Samarakone’s house for not complying with JR’s request allegedly to more..

CID grills Shani Abeysekara for over 5 hours

Jan 23 (AD) Former Director of the CID SSP Shani Abeysekara has left the CID after recording a statement for over 5 hours. Abeysekara arrived at the CID this morning to give a statement with regard to the probes carried out on Swiss Embassy staffer Garnia Bannister Francis. The CID had recently reported to the court that Inspector of Police (IP) Nishantha Silva had engaged in a telephone conversation with SSP Abeysekara for nearly 9 minutes before departing to Switzerland. more..

Bond scam Forensic Audit report held back on AG’s orders

Jan 23 (DM) The annexures of the Forensic Audit report conducted on the bond scam has been held back by Parliament following an order of the Attorney General, UNP MP Harsha de Silva told Parliament today. Dr. de Silva said this is situation had arisen despite the ruling given by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to release the report to all MPs. “ I understand that Central Bank had said in a letter not to release the annexures without the approval of the Attorney General,” the MP said. more..

Commercial Bank disputes Fitch’s latest rating decision

Jan 23 (AD) Commercial Bank of Ceylon is of the view that the decision by Fitch Ratings to revise its outlook from stable to negative is not justified. In a stock exchange filing today, the bank noted that Fitch Ratings Lanka has affirmed the National Long Term Rating of the Bank at AA (lka) whilst revising its outlook from stable to negative citing a negative outlook revision of the SL sovereign and the consequential deterioration of the operating environment and related risks. more..

CCD instructed to obtain warrant and arrest Judge Gihan Pilapitiya

Jan 23 (AD) Attorney General has instructed the Director of CCD to obtain a warrant and arrest interdicted HC Judge Gihan Pilapitiya and to produce him before court. The AG’s Coordinating Officer Nishara Jayaratne stated that the Attorney General directed the CCD to obtain a warrant and arrest the interdicted High Court Judge for conspiring to fabricate false evidence along with MP Ranjan Ramanayake. more..

Bribery DG resigns

Jan 23 (DM) Director-General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne has resigned from the post. He was appointed to the post, soon after the resignation of then-Director-General of the Commission Dilrukshi Dias Wickremesinghe in 2016. Mr. Jayamanne who worked at the Attorney General's Dept for more than 25 years, has been serving as an Additional Solicitor General when he was appointed for the post in 2016. more..

Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait facilitates return of 33 migrant workers

Jan 23 (CG) Sri Lanka Embassy in Kuwait, in coordination with the Kuwaiti authorities, facilitated the return of 33 migrant workers to SL from Kuwait. The Embassy arranged issuance of travel documents, and also obtained clearance from concerned Kuwaiti authorities for the workers to return to SL. Many of these migrant workers who faced difficulties at their workplaces were accommodated at the Safe House maintained by the Embassy, while some stayed at other places of their choice, more..

UNP hasn’t abandoned Ranjan; only questions his methods: Eran

Jan 23 (RN) UNP has not abandoned MP Ranjan Ramanayake in his supposed crusade against corruption but merely questions his methods, which will be the subject of an internal inquiry, UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne said. He said that Ramanayake will be provided an opportunity to let himself be heard. The actor-turned politician’s party membership was temporarily suspended last week following the scandal surrounding leaked more..

Man gives birth to baby boy at hospital in Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (NIA) A large crowd thronged to Matara Hospital recently after hearing the shocking news of a man who had given birth to a baby boy. The man sporting a beard had been from a village bordering Matara. After being admitted to the patient registration unit, the doctor who examined him initially had referred the patient to a male ward as he suffered birth pangs. Later, he had been transferred to the maternity ward by another doctor who was excited to examine the pregnant male. more..

Muthurajawela garbage dump FR to be heard in May

Jan 23 (NR) Supreme Court today determined dates to hear a Fundamental Rights petition filed by area residents against the disposal of garbage at the Muthurajawela Forest Reserve. The petitions will be heard from the 28 of May before a three member bench comprising judges Sisira de Abrew, Gamini Amarasekera and P Padman Surasena. The petitioners claim that garbage is being disposed while sand mining and landfilling is taking place. The attorney representing the CMC, more..

Income tax bonanza for sin industries

Jan 23 (DM) Tax changes included in the Inland Revenue (Amd) Bill propose to make major revisions to SL’s corporate tax structure and interestingly, to substantially reduce the income tax rate on the so-called sin industries. Amendments propose to reduce the corporate income tax rate on liquor, tobacco, betting and gaming to 28%, from April 1, 2020, from the current 40%. At the same time, standard tax rate on trading, banking, more..

Govt to take precautions to face country’s electricity shortage

Jan 23 (AD) Cabinet has given its approval to implement the projects agreed to be funded by the govt of India for solar power generation with the loan grant of USD 100 million as a precaution to face the shortage of electricity in the country. This was decided during the Cabinet meeting held yesterday. Due to the delays in implementing the electricity power plant projects planned, CEB has to encounter a bitter crisis says the govt. Hence, the Cabinet has taken the following decisions more..

Ex-Nikaweratiya zonal education director sentenced to 10 years RI over bribe

Jan 23 (AD) Former Zonal Education Director of Nikaweratiya has been sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court after she was found guilty of soliciting a bribe of Rs 200,000. The accused, Nisansala Swarnamali, resident of Nikaweratiya, was also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000. The court states that 2 more years would be added to the prison sentence if the defendant fails to pay the fine. The defendant was also imposed a penalty of Rs 200,000 with more..

Govt resorting to new tactics to intimidate media; Krishantha Cooray innocent: UNP

Jan 23 (EN) Refuting allegations that former Lake House chief Krishantha Cooray is linked to the Swiss embassy saga, the main opposition UNP said there is a conspiracy afoot to discredit Cooray and other media personnel not toeing the govt line. Speaking to reporters at the Opposition Leader’s Office this morning, UNP MPs Ajith P Perera and Eran Wickramaratne accused the govt of resorting to new tactics to intimidate the press. more..

Ranjan’s voice test postponed

Jan 23 (DM) The Nugegoda Magistrate's Court informed the Magazine Prison not to produce MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who is in remand custody, before the Govt Analyst for a voice test today but to produce on another date when informed by court. MP Ramanayake was to be presented before the Govt Analyst for a voice test today according to the earlier court instructions. The Govt Analyst commenced investigations into the leaked telephone recordings of Ramanayake early last week. more..

Hakeem facing threats due to baseless charges

Jan 23 (NR) MP Rauff Hakeem says he is facing threats to his life as a result of several media institutions releasing unconfirmed reports continuously pertaining to the Easter Sunday attacks. Raising a question in Parliament under Parliamentary privileges. He said several investigations are ongoing pertaining to the Easter Sunday attacks and those involved. MP said however based on the findings of the investigations thus far, no charges have been raised against more..

‘Agriculture Ministry to return to Govijana Mandiraya by month’s end’

Jan 23 (GDI) Agriculture Minister Chamal Rajapaksa affirmed that the Agriculture Ministry would be shifted by the end of the month from the DPJ building in Rajagiriya to its original building, Govijana Mandiraya. He said negotiations are under way with the owners of this building, and that legal provisions are being looked at to see if the owners of the building could be persuaded to end the lease and more..

Jaffna med student killed by her husband, police reveals

Jan 23 (AD) The reason behind the murder of the female medical student in Jaffna has been revealed to be a family dispute, stated the Police. A final year medical student (29) at the University of Jaffna was stabbed to death near the Pannai Lagoon in Jaffna, last afternoon. The murder suspect is the 30-year-old husband of the student who is serving as a soldier at the Paranthan Army Camp. Police had arrested the suspect immediately after the murder along with the murder weapon. more..

Dry weather worsens CEB’s financial woes

Jan 23 (Island) CEB burdened with a mountain of loans totaling more than Rs. 200 billion, was managing with a daily income of about Rs. 500-600 million, sources said. The daily electricity demand that was between 35 and 38 GWh had jumped to 44 to 45 GWh due to dry weather countrywide, sources said. "We have to cover up a deficit of 300MW," a senior Electrical Engineer said. "CEB has fuel stocks for two to three days and in case the CPC stopped fuel supply, we are in trouble," an official said. more..

Rishad Bathiudeen’s brother remanded

Jan 23 (AD) Former Northern Provincial Councilor Rifkan Bathiudeen has been remanded until the 06th of February, under the orders of the Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. Rifkan Bathiudeen, a brother MP Rishad Bathiudeen, was arrested by the CID over a forged land deal and was produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate today. Reportedly, Rifkan Bathiudeen had sold a 40-acre land more..

Sumathipala slams Ranjan’s match-fixing allegations

Jan 23 (DM) Refuting match-fixing allegations levelled by MP Ranjan Ramanayake, MP Thilanga Sumathipala told Parliament that none including the ICC made such remarks. “The ICC which has an office in Colombo had never levelled any match-fixing allegation against present cricketers. One should not use my name to sling mud,” he said, referring to claims made by MP Ramanayake that he had in his possession voice recordings which revealed match-fixing by MP Sumathipala more..

Ranjan still hasn’t tabled phone recordings at parliament: Deputy Speaker

Jan 23 (AD) UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake has, reportedly, not tabled any recordings of his phone conversations at the parliament as of yet. The Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri mentioned this today. On Tuesday, MP Ranjan Ramanayake, issuing a statement at the parliament on the matter of leaked phone recordings, stated that he will table the recording at the parliament. Meanwhile, MP Harsha de Silva, yesterday stated that Ramanayake has handed over 15,000 phone recordings more..

Upul Jayasuriya

Our heritage is Kandyan law; not Roman Dutch law as Rathana Thero thinks

Jan 23 (FT) There were four bills presented by private members to the Parliament on 8 Jan (one bill is to be presented) which were already advertised in the gazette. They were to repeal the Kandyan Marriage and Divorce Act No. 44 of 1952; to repeal the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act No. 13 of 1951; to amend the Marriages (General) Ordinance No. 19 of 1907; to amend the Marriages Registration Ordinance; and to introduce a minimum age of marriage in Sri Lanka. more..

Inflation & Polls

Jan 23 (CT) Islandwide inflation on the eve of an expected snap Parliamentary Poll rose to a 24-month high to 6.2% year-on-year (YoY) last month led by food inflation, data compiled by DCS which keeps abreast of such price movements showed. A figure higher than this last took place in Dec 2017, a figure of 7.3%, on the eve of the LG Polls of Feb 2018, then, too led by food inflation, where the main proponents were high rice and coconut prices, caused by a prolonged drought. more..