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Aloysius distillery: Finance Ministry asked to show cause

June 25 (ST) A Task Force, functioning under President Sirisena, has queried Finance Ministry on how approval was granted to establish an ethanol distillery in Batticaloa, contrary to govt policy. Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention (PTFDP) functions under the purview of President. PTFDP has asked Finance Ministry Secretary to explain how approval was granted to set up a new ethanol distillery in Kalkudah, Batticaloa, more..

Talks collapse, postal unions to strike from Tuesday

June 25 (ST) Postal trade unions have resolved to go ahead with a strike from Tuesday after talks with Posts Minister M.H.A Haleem failed yesterday. United Postal Trade Unions Front Chief Chinthaka Bandara said the minister was unable to give an assurance with regard to their demands which included abandoning the move to convert several old post office buildings into hotels, restoration of the old General Post Office (GPO) opposite President’s House in Fort and workers’ problems. more..

Combatting dengue: Control agent to be produced locally

June 25 (SO) National Dengue Control Unit, in partnership with a private institute, has stepped into produce locally, dengue vector control agent, Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis), to cut down the heavy costs involved in importing the dengue control spray from China. “We have asked Bio Power Lanka Ltd, to give us a time-frame when it can start producing the Bti to meet our demands,” Community Specialist at National Dengue Eradication Unit, Dr. Priscilla Samaraweera said. more..

Public anger mounting over dengue management: Poll

June 25 (ST) Unsurprisingly, a new poll on the dengue crisis that has engulfed the country, reveals mounting public anger against the Govt and local authorities for failing to contain the epidemic. With both public and private hospitals overflowing with patients and public concern over dengue at its peak, poll (conducted on email and on the street) saw dozens of those polled venting their anger and frustration with comments flowing. more..

Drought prevails over coconut triangle where monsoon has failed

June 25 (Island) Coconut plantations in Chilaw, Kurunegala and Puttalam districts are under severe stress due to extreme dry weather that has not eased despite recent rains in some parts of the country. "There has been no rain worth talking about and although the estates don’t look parched due to some drizzles and light rain that’s not worth talking about, the peak Vesak crop has been a fraction of that a year earlier," the head of a plantation management agency with a large portfolio of more..

Wijeyadasa’s hard hitting statement stuns diplomats

June 25 (SL) A statement made in Parliament last week by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe stunned western diplomats based in Colombo. In his statement Rajapakshe accused the former UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Mónica Pinto, of falling prey to NGOs when compiling a report on Sri Lanka. Rajapakshe told Parliament Mónica Pinto could not have compiled a full report on Sri Lanka after spending just a few days in the country. more..

AG to reject Finance Ministry report

June 25 (CT) Auditor General's Department is set to reject the 2016 Annual Report of the Ministry of Finance. They added that the 2016 annual report of the Ministry of Finance was a balance sheet which had nominal and false figures in terms of debit and credit. AG has declined to approve the report. AG had informed the Ministry that such a report will lead to the loss of people's trust in govt with regard to public finances. more..

Women's World Cup: NZ thrash Sri Lanka

June 25 (CI) New Zealand had never lost to Sri Lanka in nine previous ODI meetings. They had bowled Sri Lanka out for under 150 in eight of those games. For a while on Saturday in Bristol, they may have wondered if the tide had turned. Chamari Atapattu and Chamari Polgampola put together 92 for the second wicket as Sri Lanka progressed serenely to 141 for 1. Then, a moment of brilliance on the field from Suzie Bates - a tumbling catch low to her left to see off half-centurion Atapattu more..

Brighter or Darker skies over SriLankan?

June 25 (Island) A media release in Oct 2016 by Sri Lankan Airlines stated among other things, "The airline’s Group Loss stood at LKR 9.03 billion, which represents a 45% improvement for the 2015/16 financial year compared to the previous year" (2014/15). The annual report confirmed a Group Loss of LKR 9.5 billion, excluding a penalty charge of LKR 2.5 billion, paid for cancellation of one A350-800. The media release by the national carrier published by The Island last week more..

Playing Politics with Cricket: Shame on SLC

June 25 (Island) On Saturday, exactly at 1pm, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) confirmed what we all feared. They had parted ways with one of the best coaches in the world – Graham Ford. Given the national cricket team’s poor run in recent times, that has seen Sri Lanka slip down to number eight in ODI and T-20 cricket and number seven in Test cricket, SLC has faced intense criticism and the easiest thing in any sporting environment more..

SLC in deep slump once again

June 25 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is in a deep slump at the moment, where the National team has hit a new low ranking of 8th in the ICC men's ODI ranking, while they are looking for their 10th coach since 2011, with SLC confirming that Head Coach Graham Ford had resigned. A statement by SLC stated that, "This was a decision arrived at mutually after careful consideration and deliberation and we are both confident of its propriety." It is learnt that Ford had left about a week ago. more..

How to explore SL's southern coast in style

June 25 (CNN) One of the hottest destinations in Asia right now, Sri Lanka continues to make it onto an increasing number of international travelers' itineraries. But to make the most of it, you're going to have to let things go a little bit south. From untouched beaches to a UNESCO World Heritage site, leopard-spotting safaris to monkey-filled jungles, SL's southern coastline is home to tropical surrounds, colonial digs and a wealth of wildlife. Bear in mind weather varies dramatically more..

Is it enter Mr. Hathurusingha

June 25 (ST) SLC is reportedly in discussions with former national cricketer Chandika Hathurusingha to replace head coach Graham Ford. Fielding coach Nic Pothas has taken over during the interim. Ford left the team midway through his four-year contract after SL’s early exit from the ICC Champion’s Trophy. When he was handed a 45-months contract early last year, current SLC administrators had considered Ford to be more..

Tackling dengue: Unity in diversity

June 25 (ST) A powerful video doing the rounds in SL these days is a statement by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong denying accusations by his siblings over a house he inherited from their father, legendary Lee Kuan Yew. Praised by many Sri Lankans on the exemplary behaviour of a PM, video which has gone viral shows Lee announcing a parliamentary debate on the spat that has gone public. He says he sold the house and donated the money to charity only after first offering it to more..

Rotten eggs, Malinga-Dayasiri row and the likely humiliation

June 25 (ST) Much has been happening since the Lankans returned home after their incident-filled cricket excursion to Old Blighty. Now, those who are involved with the game of cricket are on their toes and, at the same time, are also looking over their shoulders to see if there are any disparaging tell-tale signs haunting them. So much so, they are even trying to change some age old adages or, even turn a blind eye to the obvious. In one instance, upon the return to Maitland Place, more..

'I regret introducing commercial whale watching'

June 25 (CT) Largest mammal on Earth is the Blue Whale which is measured over a hundred feet in length. To say that you have seen such an awe-inspiring creature, is satisfying enough, but to be the person who made it possible for all of us to see it as well, is an honour in itself. However, Ayesh Ranawake, who pioneered in introducing Commercial Whale Watching to SL, regrets his involvement in this very lucrative venture. more..

Part proceeds of loan transferred to CB

June 25 (CT) A large slice of the Treasury's recent raising of a US$ 400 million syndicated loan was transferred to Central Bank (CB) on Friday, which saw a surge in excess liquidity to the tune of Rs 24,456.26 million (US$ 159.48 m) as a result, interpretation of CBSL's daily open market operations, press releases showed. As CB deals in spot, conversions are based on the middle rate of spot as at Wednesday which was Rs 153.35 to the US$, according to market sources. more..

CID in devious bid to stifle the Media

June 25 (Island) A journalist attached to our sister paper the Divaina, Saman Gamage, has been noticed to appear in the Gampaha Magistrate’s court in relation to the case filed by the CID against Brigadier Devapriya Gunawardene and others over the Rathupaswela incident. The court had issued the notice on a request made by the CID. The latter has reported to courts that the issue of the Divaina of May 28, 2017, had carried an article by journalist Saman Gamage titled more..

TPC with hidden agenda: Seeks to weaken ITAK

June 25 (CT) Leader of ITAK Mavai Senathirajah says that Tamil People's Council (TPC) has a hidden agenda to weaken the Party. "Their attempts are not at all going to do any damage to ITAK. People in the North and East have placed their confidence on TNA leader R. Sampanthan." Q: From your position as the ITAK leader how do you see the crisis situation that flared up in the NPC? A: It is a very unfortunate thing that had thrown more..

Doctors run amok discarding sacred oath while SriLankan top brass grilled over losses

June 25 (SO) Elephants, they say, have a long memory. Not so, apparently, retired Army Officers. Last week, while a gaggle of ministers were grilling the Directors of Sri Lankan Airlines at a meeting convened at President´s office, one staffer overheard Minister Sarath Fonseka, plaintively asking who is this Sunil Peiris, I think there was a major in the Army by that name. The reason for that question became clearer as the meeting developed into a fracas of allegations more..

When land acquisition ignores citizens’ rights

June 25 (ST) From time to time, Govts in this country have embarked on aggressive land acquisition drives citing development requisites. But when it comes to compensating those who are forced to give up their homes and businesses, wheels grind very slowly indeed–or, for some, not at all. Under Land Acquisition Act, State can secure any private land, provided it is for public purpose. There has been a significant rise in Section 2 notices, informing landowners that their more..


A nasty spat

June 25 (ST) My dear Wiggie, I thought I should write to you when I heard that Sampanthan seeya and you were having a good old fashioned fight, bringing the North to a halt with a hartal. In a way, it was a surprise because it is not every day that we hear of protests in the North now, though there is plenty of that in the South. Things got so heated that Sampanthan seeya’s party – or at least, some in his party – submitted a motion of no-confidence against you, and you were faced with more..

BBS-Yahapalana link proved

June 25 (Island) The events that people saw unfolding last Wednesday proved beyond a shadow of doubt what this writer said in the last two columns – that the latest spate of anti-Muslim violence unleashed by the BBS has been orchestrated by elements within the yahapalana govt that are trying to win over a section of the Sinhala Buddhist vote which has been gravitating heavily to Joint Opposition. We pointed out that both Champika Ranawaka and President Sirisena more..

'TNA jittery over TPC'

June 25 (CT) Following the ruckus that took place in the NPC after 21 members brought in a No Faith Motion against NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran after he sent two ministers on compulsory leave on allegations of corruption, matter was settled by TNA Leader R. Sampanthan with the help of a Hindu priest and Bishop of Jaffna. CM said that it's too late for him to regret taking up the Chief Ministerial post & that he still belongs to TNA. more..

The plot thickens

June 25 (CT) Govt, according to information leaking out to the media from supposedly reliable top level insiders in the Govt, is set to continue in harness for another two years, up to the end of 2019 presumably. It's nothing short of being phenomenal that the partnership has survived two tumultuous years already in the face of what has unarguably been the most violent of all Oppositions in Parliament that this country has ever had, dwarfing in comparison the violent left-led Opposition more..

Mangala talks sense

June 25 (Island) A politician of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s seniority and experience would certainly not have been unaware that he would be walking on eggs when he made a parliamentary speech last week saying among other things that Poya Day ban on the sale of liquor and meat was foolish, impracticable and in any event was useless because people stocked-up the previous day. He also said that excessive taxation on so-called soft liquor, beer and wine, more..

'Transform estates into organic plantations'

June 25 (SO) The island’s tea industry should be transformed into an organic and sustainable industry from the present chemically-managed, orthodox industry, says, MP Ven. Athuraliye Ratana thera. Thera made these remarks following our lead story on June 18 on a possible relaxation of the ban on the herbicide glyphosate after a committee recommendation. He is of the view that the agriculture sector more..

Doctor politics and the need for speed

June 25 (SO) The govt sector doctors are, again, on strike. And, again, at short notice. This time, the GMOA says, the issue is both SAITM and last week’s clash between rioting student mobs and the police. Readers, especially, those needing medical attention, will want to know the reason for this wildcat strike by the country’s main cadre of medical professionals. As citizens, we need to understand the significance of such a strike action that has a national social impact, more..

Challenges before the national govt

June 25 (SL) Talks commenced last week between the UNP and SLFP in the Joint National Council of the two parties to renew for another period their memorandum of understanding reached two-and-a-half years ago for the formation of the National Govt. There will be a time lapse of six months in drawing up the MOU for the next two-and-a-half years which will be of much relevance to the progress of the country and the people. During these discussions there will be analyses of what has been done more..

Justice Minister denies govt taking decision to open bars on Poya days

June 24 (Island) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse said that some NGOs surviving on foreign dollars were obstructing the progress of communal and religious reconciliation. He made the observation fielding questions from journalists after calling on the Mahanayake Theras yesterday. Ethno-religious harmony was extremely important but certain NGOs and a section of the media were all out to prevent country from achieving it, more..

8 Indian fishermen arrested by SL Navy, Tamil Nadu govt fumes

June 24 (PTI) Eight TN fishermen were arrested today by the SL Navy for allegedly fishing in the territorial waters of the island country, drawing angry reaction from the state govt which termed it as an abduction. The fishermen from Nagapattinam were fishing near Paruthithurai when they were held by Lankan naval personnel who took them to Kangesanthurai port there. Incident comes two days after four fishermen from Pudukottai district and 17 from Karaikal region in Puducherry were more..

Dried up North and East crying out for water

June 24 (ST) Inland water sources have dried up, drinking water is scarce and crops have been destroyed in nine provinces where nearly 900,000 Sri Lankans are suffering due to the continuing drought. But disaster management officials say the drought in the nine provinces is not too serious. At least 844,669 people from 242,982 families in the North, East, North Central and North Western provinces have been badly affected by the lack of seasonal monsoon rains. more..

Doctors end strike after curse threat

June 24 (EN) Govt doctors called off their three-day work stoppage Saturday shortly after a consumer protection organization threatened to invoke the wrath of gods on them and socially ostracize the striking medical officers. GMOA said they decided to temporarily suspend the trade union action after continuing a strike across all state-sector hospitals for three straight days to protest private medical education. more..

Cap on credit card interest rates removed to curb personal loans

June 24 (Island) The CB has issued a directive to all commercial banks to the effect that the cap on credit card interest rates should be removed and instructed them to charge competitive interest rates with effect from June 26. The reason being to discourage the number of personal loans, CB Governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "All commercial banks could  charge a competitive interest rate on credit cards  to discourage unproductive short term personal loans or lending, which have increased more..

Govt to change route of Central Expressway project due to mountainous terrain

June 24 (ST) Govt has decided to alter its plans on the proposed Central Expressway project by changing the route due to the difficult terrain and issues over the tender, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said. The proposed expressway that was to be diverted from Pothuhera to Galagedara via Rambukkana will now pass through Kurunegala to Galagedara avoiding the Rambukkana area. One of the main reasons for the change was that the route through the Rambukkana area would have to more..