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Debt drives women to suicide in North & East

Mar 18 (SO) Exorbitant debts from loans provided by Microfinance institutions to failing businesses have pushed at least 170 people into suicide, islandwide, in the past year alone, with the highest suicide rates being reported among women, and area-wise in the Vavuniya, Jaffna and Batticaloa districts, Progressive Peasants’ Congress (PPC) shows. The suicide rates are just the tip of the iceberg of a much larger issue as more..

Heatwave and its ill-effects

Mar 18 (Island) Dept of Meteorology, issuing an Extreme Caution Heat advisory, has recently advised people, living in the Puttlam and Kurunegala districts of North-western province, to remain hydrated and take breaks while trying to stay in the shade as far as possible during the forthcoming few days. Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya, Trinco, A'pura, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala, Batticaloa, Ampara and Hambantota are the other districts that have been issued more..

Extensive public consultations a must on Sri Lanka’s counter-terror bill

Mar 18 (ST) In contrast to Colombo’s largely polarized sound and fury on the Counter-Terror Bill, it is refreshing to look at the manner in which South Africa has dealt with uncannily similar dilemmas of balancing national security imperatives and constitutional rights in bringing its counter-terror law into effect more than a decade ago. There are indeed, much in common between South Africa and SL in shared histories of horrific state violence. We have similar legacies of over-broad more..

Anura Kumara Disanayake

Edtorial: Red means danger

Mar 18 (Island) The Health Ministry has decided to introduce the Colour Code System (CCS) for packaged solid food items as well. At present, the CCS applies only to soft drinks. It will be mandatory for solid food manufacturers to indicate the sugar, salt and fat levels in their products from April, we are told. The govt is to be highly commended for this move, given the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the No. 1 killer in this country as well as elsewhere. more..

The web at 30

Mar 18 (Island) Our wait for a telephone was just a few years. At the time, in the early 90s, we knew of families who were on a waiting list for close upon a decade. I was at school when Sri Lanka Telecom had installed the rotary device. Like the first mobile phones from Motorola to hit Sri Lanka, the unit weighed about the same as and was more akin to gym equipment than anything remotely akin to what is today considered a phone. I was enthralled, and dialled, for no reason than to more..

The mass grave in Mannar: What further studies are needed?

Mar 18 (Island) When construction workers excavating the site of the Sathosa Store in Mannar unearthed skeletal remains in late 2013, they had accidentally found one of the largest mass graves in the country. Radio-carbon dating has now put the skeletal remains to the 15th -18th century. However, TNA and a number of NGOs have called for further radio-carbon dating. It is important to understand how this has acquired more..

Don’t open an old sore: Let’s just forget the whole war crime probe

Mar 18 (ST) This coming week, Lanka will make her biannual trek up the Calvary to the Swiss mountains carrying the cross on her back with a litany of war crimes, allegedly committed by her forces during the last years of the 30-year Eelam War, firmly nailed to it. When she finally reaches the Swiss slopes, she will face crucifixion by the western powers unless she can show she has atoned and paid the necessary penance. If she has fallen short in wearing the coarse cloth of the penitent but more..

Using the war to achieve their own agenda

Mar 18 (SO) Ten years after the end of the Eelam war, one of its key architects in its final phases, former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Karannagoda is being indicted in the Colombo High Court as a suspect in the alleged abduction and disappearance of eleven youth in 2008. Karannagoda filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court seeking to prevent his impending arrest. more..

Roads not taken and their destinations

Mar 18 (GV) On the night of Jan 2nd, 2006, five students were killed in Trincomalee. Shanmugarajah Gajendran, Lohitharaja Rohan, Thangathurai Sivanantha, Yogarajah Hemachandran and Manoharan Rajihar, all of them either engaged in or about to engage in higher studies, had gathered near the sea front to celebrate the New Year. A bomb was thrown at them from a passing three-wheeler, and the injured youth more..

Historic betrayal of SLMC & ACMC

Mar 18 (CT) It appears, according to a news report that the leaders of SLMC, ACMC and DPF during a meeting with Prez to discuss constitutional reforms have reneged on their promise to back the ongoing efforts to abolish the executive presidency. Unless these leaders prove the report wrong, their turncoat behaviour tantamount to a betrayal of historic proportion as far as the Muslim community is concerned. Muslim politicians, with rare exceptions, are best known for their opportunistic more..

Richard: Whose life guides my own

Mar 18 (CT) I never really knew my uncle Richard. I was five when he was murdered on Feb 18, 1990, and would have just entered kindergarten. The earliest reference of him came through a childhood incident that involved his mother, Manorani Saravanamuttu—Babbia Sinnamma to me. For a period after his death, Babbia Sinnamma lived in our house, in Colpetty. She had two Ridgebacks, a male and a female. The grumpy male was Porgy, and the sprightlier female, Bess; titular characters of more..

Gota 2020 gets MR’s blessing?

Mar 17 (SO) Reports surfaced this weekend that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had finally submitted an application to the US Embassy in Colombo to revoke his US citizenship earlier this month, making his entry into the 2019 presidential race almost certain, if he can renounce his dual citizenship status in time. The application was reportedly handed over on March 6. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s formal application to more..

Over 7,000 devotees at Katchchathivu feast

Mar 17 (ST) More than 7,000 Catholic devotees on both sides of the Palk Strait gathered at the Katchchathivu islet yesterday to celebrate the annul feast of St Anthony, considered by the faithful to be the guardian of fisherfolk communities on the oceans. The Feast High Mass was conducted in Tamil by by Rev Fr Joshep Lurduraj of India and in Sinhala by Rev Fr Robinson Wijesinghe. more..

Govt and Opposition MPs ask Speaker for formal inquiry into Ramanayake’s allegation

Mar 17 (Island) Both govt and opposition lawmakers requested the Speaker to conduct a formal inquiry as State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake’s allegation that 24 MPs and Ministers use cocaine has resurfaced, bringing into disrepute all 225 MPs. Raising a Point Order, UPFA MP, Dullas Alahapperuma said both the print and electronic media have once again reported State Minister’s claim that some MPs use cocaine. more..

Teacher unions demand less admin work, salary equity

Mar 17 (ST) Providing more quality time for teaching instead of overburdening teachers with unnecessary paper work was among the demands made by unions during this week’s token strike that crippled classrooms. Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secraetary Joseph Stalin said that education authorities demand reports on matters not related to teaching and that creates more administrative work for teachers. more..

No move to appoint acting principal for Royal College: PM

Mar 17 (Island) There is no move to appoint a very young and inexperienced principal with just two years service as Acting Principal of Royal College, PM Wickremesinghe said, amidst fears expressed by the Royal College Union (RCU) that such an appointment is on the cards. RCU last week resolved that it would pursue and implement every action necessary including legal recourse to resist such an attempt. more..

NPC orders reinstatement of top officer; probe on his explosive allegations

Mar 17 (ST) National Police Commission (NPC) has ordered the immediate re-instatement of an officer in charge of a specialized unit fighting crime and started investigations into explosive allegations he has made. The officer concerned had alleged that a senior, higher ranking officer, allegedly wanted him to kill a drug suspect arrested for a second time. When he had refused to carry out what he called an illegal order, more..

Development Technology and e-govt will soon be a reality: Minister

Mar 17 (Island) Minister Ajith P. Perera, said development technology and e-govt will soon be a reality in Parliament and govt departments. The future will be that delays and excuses for inefficiency will no longer be tangible escape bungs that stifle progress. Addressing a professional audience at CxO Forum in Colombo last week, he noted that different formats for official certificates could now be obtained digitally. more..

Final decision on Mannar mass grave site on March 22

Mar 17 (SO) Team of forensic investigators and representatives of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) are scheduled to meet with Mannar Magistrate on Friday (22), to take a final decision on the mass grave site at the Lanka Sathosa premises in Mannar, Chief Investigator & Consultant JMO Mannar, Dr. Saminda Rajapaksha, said. He reiterated that the radio carbon dating report would not be the final authority more..

Govt allocates Rs. 29 billion to resolve housing problem, says Sajith

Mar 17 (SO) Minister Sajith Premadasa said Rs. 29 billion has been allocated to resolve the housing problem of 356,540 families from 2015 to 2019 compared to Rs.5.6 billion from 2010 to 2014 to construct houses for 105,000 families. Minister participating in the Committee Stage debate on his Ministry in Parliament said the Govt has commenced a housing revolution covering the whole country. more..

March 12 Movement theorises archetype candidate

Mar 17 (CT) What makes an ideal President? This will be the question on the minds of more than 15 million voters who will go to polls this Nov, to elect the seventh Executive President of SL. The March 12 Movement recently held a public forum to debate the idea of the dream President. Among the essential criteria, the majority agreed on, were – education, ability to develop the country, someone who understands plight of the poor, more..

Will Marapana play Ace or Joker @ UNHRC

Mar 17 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena, known for changing his mind on crucial issues has done it again. His delegation comprising of former Ministers and UPFA MPs Sarath Amunugama and Mahinda Samarasinghe together with Dr. Suren Raghavan, Governor of Northern Province to attend the 40th session of the UNHRC in Geneva announced last week has now been scrapped. Their purported mission was to seek the possibility of withdrawing from the Geneva Resolution. more..

A budget whose policy side does not matter

Mar 17 (Island) "Our determination to pursue a liberal outward oriented economy is more steadfast than ever. . . We are creating a new breed of private enterprise, where success is through merit and the market operates on a rules-based level playing field. Sri Lanka needs a private sector free from the protectionist mind-set that continues to hold back our country’s development and modernization". MangalaSamaraweera, Budget Speech, March 2019. more..

President Sirisena’s new political challenges

Mar 17 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena left behind new political quagmires as he emplaned last Wednesday for the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The visit there was for the high-level segment of the fourth assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from March 11 to 15. This event is expressly for ministers or officials of the UN body which numbers 125. Sri Lanka is formally represented at the UNEP more..

1,790 arrested with drugs and illicit liquor

Mar 17 (AD) A total of 2,646 persons have been arrested during a special island-wide police operation to apprehend narcotics and illicit liquor. The police operation was carried out between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. yesterday (15) on the instructions of the IGP. During the operation, police have arrested 1,790 individuals on charges related to drugs and illicit liquor. In addition to this 623 suspects with pending warrants and another 101 connected to various crimes were arrested, police said. more..

Amunugama slams U.N. HIgh Commssioner’s report

Mar 17 (Island) The report of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, due to be discussed at the ongoing proceedings of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva was slammed by senior politician Sarath Amunugama as "an atrocious piece of writing containing lies, half lies and highly contestable statements" on the situation in Sri Lanka in the last few years. Amunugama, who has held senior cabinet appointments in UNP and UPFA govts, leaves for Geneva tonight more..

Rs. 2.3b to maintain CIABOC, but only 1 case involving more than Rs. 10m filed in court

Mar 17 (ST) In the last decade, the CIABOC has filed only one case in court where the alleged inducement was in excess of Rs 10 million. But the cost of maintaining the Commission over the same period has been more than Rs 2.3 billion, data obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) request shows. There have been no cases filed for the offence of corruption where the amount involved in alleged crime was more than Rs 25 million. more..

China bank approves $ 1b loan for expressway

Mar 17 (ST) After nearly four years of negotiations, Sri Lanka has obtained a US$ one billion (Rs 178 billion) loan from China Exim Bank for the construction of first stage of the Central Expressway project. The delay in completing negotiations for the loan is estimated to cost an additional Rs 12 billion, which includes escalation of the cost of building materials and currency fluctuations. The approval for the signing of the MoU between the China Exim Bank and the SL Govt came last week more..

Budget 2019: Tax experts welcome measures to support biz community

Mar 17 (SO) The 2019 Budget has shown some consistency in policy and incorporated proactive measures to support the business community which in turn could contribute to the Govt’s coffers to sustain social welfare services to the country, tax experts said. The reduction in the Economic Service Charge (ESC) rate from 0.5% to 0.25%, the 14% tax concession on income derived from exports and extending the word exports to entrepot trade, logistics services, freight forwarding, more..

'Fences mended between us and the Prez'

Mar 17 (Island) President Sirisena has agreed to forge ahead with the UNP govt as there is enormous potential for both sides to continue their political future as a single, united team, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that there was a move to defeat the expenditure votes of the President but it was averted in a last minute discussion. "If Prez wants to defeat us then we must act against it & defeat him. That is politics. more..

The enduring relevance of Tamil nationalism

Mar 17 (Hindu) For the first time since the end of the SL civil war in 2009, the political discourse in the State has been subsumed by the simple narrative of Hindutva vs secular parties for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, pushing aside the Tamil nationalist demands (and criticisms) that were raised during the last few elections. The unified call for the release of seven Tamils convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi Assassination case may still be heard in the State, but core demands like more..

Evolving Colombo with positive social and urban transformation

Mar 17 (SO) John Keells Properties is playing an informational role in driving a positive social and urban transformation, Head of John Keells Properties, Nayana Mawilmada said. John Keells Properties held an event promoting its Tri-Zen apartments at the Vauxhall Street block of land recently. The event featured a presentation by Mawilmada providing insight into property market trends in SL. The presentation focused on broader macro level figures on the Western Province. more..

Video: Two arrested in Ja-Ela identified as Bumma’s accomplices

Mar 17 (AD) The two persons arrested at Niwandama area in Ja-Ela with over 15 g of heroin have been identified to be the main accomplices of the organized drug smuggler Kennedy alias Bumma. One of the arrested suspect named Suminda Madushanka alias Sanka is connected the recent double murder which took place on the Hekitta Road in Wattala. On 13th Jan, a group who had arrived on a vehicle more..

Grand Opening of KOBE at the Waters Edge

Mar 17 (CT) Waters Edge opened its latest authentic Japanese Restaurant KOBE on the 15th of March 2019, the restaurant will feature an extensive Japanese food and beverage menu which will cater to all Japanese food enthusiasts in Sri Lanka. Waters Edge is renowned for its great food and calming ambiance, KOBE is yet another venture that will further enhance this feature making it the ultimate venue to taste authentic dishes from across the globe. more..

Sri Lanka pick 84 for World Cup

Mar 17 (SO) A total of 84 players including schoolboys have been picked by the national selectors to play in the SLC Inter-Provincial fifty-over cricket tournament to be played in Dambulla and Pallekele from April 4-11. This tournament will be used as the yardstick to pick the SL squad of 15 for the World Cup in England and also the SL captain for the mega event. The four players in line for the captaincy have been appointed to lead the four teams that will play in provincial tournament, more..