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Catch the corrupt by a system of whistleblowers

Feb 7 (CT) In a recent piece I wrote for the Colombo Telegraph under the caption, Look not for Honest Men; Look for Systems that Keep Persons Honest, I made the point that Sri Lankans have hitherto relied on appeals to persons in authority to be honest or for honest men, to be put in charge. This will not work in practical society. I like to repeat that a person clothed in power will tend to rob and steal. This is another version of Lord Acton’s famous dictum that more..

A Pardon, and a Penalty: A prelude to a populist?

Feb 7 (GV) As we reflect on SL’s 71st Independence Day, many things that have political currency come to mind. Free education and healthcare, a reduced cost of living, and anti-corruption are usually among these things. But there are some stranger things that can gain currency in this country. Although they are difficult to clearly see, we can observe their presence – like one observes a gentle wind in the rustling of leaves. The actions of politicians reveal what else has gained in political currency. more..

Marking Black January: The Sri Lankan media’s cry for justice

Feb 7 (SO) The word Freedom seems to be illusive. It is definitely relative. And now, Black January has come upon us. Journalists of SL commemorate it year after year, just as the country’s citizenry celebrate independence, or their illusion of freedom. Ten journalists were murdered between 2000 and 2009. Aiyathurai Nadesan, Bala Nadarajah Iyer, Dharmeratnam Sivaram, Lasantha Wickrametunge, Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, more..

Local experts find self-limiting gene to curb Sena

Feb 7 (DN) The Nano Technology Department of the Wayamba University and the Horizon Campus have identified a self-limiting gene to destroy the eggs of the Fall Armyworm (FAW) (Spodoptera frugiperda). They are working together to develop this gene in their own labs to find a permanent solution for the crisis. According to them, this can be applied to a large area like 10,000 -15,000 acres within one day using drones. They have already tested this gene on affected-fields in Ukraine more..

The public servant as an endangered species

Feb 7 (CT) The recent transfer of Customs Chief, Ms Charles stirred a hornet’s nest and led to Trade Union uproar, protesting against this officer’s transfer and replacement by a retired Naval Officer. The feeble and laughable reason by an important big-wig is that the retired Naval Officer was because a major duty for the Customs is to prevent smuggling, which is mainly by sea, the appointment of a man with Naval Experience is justifiable! It would be interesting to see how far this kite more..

'Present UNP has no future'

Feb 7 (CT) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says that it will not be possible to prevent the country from breaking up, if the powers of the Executive are diluted. Q: Does the country need a new Constitution? A: No clear answers are needed for that. We, ourselves criticised the powers of the Executive Presidency in the 1978 Constitution. That is true. However, by today govts have attached pieces to the Constitution on 19 occasions and more..

Mangala, Indrajit returning empty-handed?

Feb 7 (CT) This time they might have thought it was imperative to meet the boss in order to find a relief for the economy that was in a real crisis. The crisis has surfaced in the form of a crisis of debt repayment. How do we characterise it? Sometime back, when I was teaching at the University of Peradeniya, a group of young medical practitioners invited me to initiate a discussion on economic crisis. I began my talk posing them a question: “What is meant by crisis/critical condition more..

Ranjith Guneratne and policy formulation

Feb 7 (CT) I was sorry to hear last week of the death of Ranjith Guneratne, our Consul in Frankfurt. I had stayed with him in 2016 when I visited Mainz and Kaiserslautern Universities in connection with upgrading vocational training, and he and his wife were as hospitable as when I had visited Lebanon in 2012 on a private visit. He was Ambassador then, and they had me for meals at home as well as to the Independence Celebration at the Embassy, and had joined us when the Swiss Ambassador, more..

Palani Thigambaram

Edtorial: Napoleon of crime meets his Waterloo

Feb 7 (Island) The police used to blame most of the unsolved crimes on notorious criminal Makandure Madush so much so that we recently asked, in this space, whether he had become Sri Lanka’s Napoleon of Crime like Moriarty, the evil genius, troubling Sherlock Holmes. We argued that if Madush, living overseas, could be nabbed, the country’s frustratingly high crime rate would plummet overnight. The Napoleon of Crime has met his Waterloo, at long last. more..

The proposed national govt.

Feb 7 (Island) Proposed National Govt by UNP headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is the latest jiggery-pokery of our politicians. Those from both sides of the political divide have become masters at twisting facts to suit their political agenda. The Island in its editorial on Feb. 4 has explained this travesty in plain English. During a committee stage debate, the then subject minister had defined National Govt as a govt formed by political parties with the largest and 2nd largest number of elected members. more..

Video: A day in Saraswathi’s life

Feb 7 (GV) 38-year-old Saraswathi wakes at 5.30 am to send her children to school before she heads to work. In this video, produced by Selvaraja Rajasegar of Maatram, she readies her children for school, in doing so addressing issues highlighting the obstacles to education that the Malaiyaha Tamil community is faced with. Parents often find it difficult to provide the meals required for children under more..

SA women hand Sri Lanka a T20 whitewash

Feb 7 (CI) South Africa cruised to a 3-0 sweep in their T20I series against Sri Lanka with a 39-run win in the third match at SuperSport Park in Centurion. The hosts put in a complete performance with both bat and ball, running to 163 for 5 - the highest total of the series - after being put in to bat by Sri Lanka, and then sharing the wickets around with Sune Luus' all-round efforts winning her back-to-back Player-of-the-Match awards. Consistency in batting was a primary goal for South Africa more..

Gateway to host 19th ISAC

Feb 7 (CT) Gateway College has the proud privilege of being the Official Organiser of the 19th Int'l Schools Athletics Championship (ISAC) scheduled to be held from 15-17 Feb at the Sugathadasa Stadium. This is the tenth time the school is hosting the event. ISAC is brainchild of the late RIT Alles, founding father of Gateway College. It was first conducted at the Shalika Grounds, Narahenpita in 2001, and gradually developed over the years to be one of the biggest athletic championships more..

Murali is Mr. Cricket: Mike Hussey

Feb 7 (Island) No batsman in Test cricket played SL better than Australia’s Mike Hussey. Numbers prove it. His average of 110 against SL attacks is better than that of Brian Lara (86), Virat Kohli (77), Sunil Gavaskar (66), A.B. de Villiers (62) and Sachin Tendulkar (60). Hussey’s average against SL is the best by any Test cricketer. The Island caught up with the man who was nicknamed Mr. Cricket for his deep knowledge about the game. more..

Two to tango for Kishu Gomes

Feb 7 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to make the popular corporate personality Kishu Gomes the Chairman of both the SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and SL Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). Gomes was previously recommended to head only the SLTPB. However, sources said that PM had recommended one person to oversee the two organisations, which was the case several years ago before the Chairmanship was split. more..

'Leakage, archaic laws affect revenue targets'

Feb 7 (DN) Customs Director General P. S. M. Charles refuted allegations of any influences on her from Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera. She said that she was given the freedom to continue with her services in the Customs Department. Charles further said that although the Customs took a great effort to achieve its revenue target for 2018, it could reach only 87% due to many reasons of one being leakages within Sri Lanka Customs. more..

PM, Vasu clash over US ship

Feb 7 (Island) An argument broke out between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and UPFA MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara in Parliament over providing logistical support to the US navy ships operating in the Indian Ocean. The UPFA MP raised a question on an agreement signed between SL and the US Embassy in 2018, but the PM said that the pact MP Nanayakkara referred to had been signed in 1995. more..

Sadeera faces unfair axe without a game

Feb 7 (CT) Although SL selectors have made several changes to the Test team, following the debacle in Australia, the axing of Sadeera Samarawickrama has raised many eyebrows. Samarawickrama was called up for the Test team in October ahead of SL’s tour of New Zealand, and retained for the ODI series, as well as the series in Australia. However, he was not given a single game to prove himself in the XI throughout all 5 Tests (3 in NZ and 2 in Australia), or in ODI matches. more..

BoI signs agreements for four new ventures

Feb 7 (CT) The Board of Investment (BoI) signed agreements for four new projects recently. Company representatives inked the agreements with the BoI, which was represented by Director General, Champika Malalgoda. One of the agreements signed was with Arihara Lanka Dream Company (Private) Limited, to set up, construct and operate a 36-room hotel in Dambulla. When completed, it will create 80 employment opportunities with a total investment value of US$ 3.85 million. more..

Top official alleges Govt moves undermine SriLankan

Feb 7 (Island) Nimal Senanayake, Senior Manager–international relations of SriLankan, on Tuesday, warned of dire consequences if its rivals were allowed by the govt to engage in ground handling at the BIA and provide catering services. Senanayake said that the govt was now exploring the possibility of allowing competitors to handle those tasks. "Currently, SriLankan is the sole ground handler for all airlines operating to and out of BIA. more..

MMBL-Pathfinder Group JVs earn over $ 142 m in foreign exchange in 2018

Feb 7 (FT) During the 2018 calendar year, MMBL-Pathfinder Group-founded Joint Ventures earned foreign exchange of over $ 142 million. Key contributors for this turnover included MMBL Money Transfer Ltd. (agents for Western Union since 1995), a Joint Venture with Aitken Spence PLC and Intertek Lanka, a Joint Venture with global quality and safety solutions giant, Intertek Overseas Holdings Ltd. of the United Kingdom. Over the last five years, MMBL-Pathfinder has followed a strategy of more..

1683 leprosy patients from SL last year

Feb 7 (DN) A total of 1683 leprosy patients had been reported from Sri Lanka last year (2018), Leprosy Control Programme Director Dr.Champa J. Aluthweera said. According to Dr. Aluthweera, 41% of the new leprosy cases are from the Western Province and the percentage of patients who seek medical treatment after six months of appearing symptoms has gone up to 30 percent. She was addressing a health seminar held at Health Promotion Bureau in Colombo yesterday. more..

Govt to employ 20,000 graduates

Feb 7 (FT) Rejecting the Opposition charges for not taking action to reduce alleged high unemployment in the country, Govt yesterday held at Parliament that 20,000 graduates will be recruited under the Budget 2019. State Minister Niroshan Perera, shooting down the charges the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa floated in the House, held that the recruitment of graduates was planned in stages and the first phase employed 5,100 and more..

Conflicts’ resolution is indispensible for durable peace in SA region: Pak Envoy

Feb 7 (PHC) High Commission of Pakistan organized a seminar titled Prospects of Peace, Progress and Prosperity in South Asia at BMICH Colombo on 5th Feb. Various aspects of progress, development and resolution of conflicts in South Asian region were discussed during the Seminar. Eminent scholars, Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Khalid Jaffery, President, Centre for Global and Security Studies, Pakistan; Mr. Ameen Izzadeen, Editor, Int'l Desk, Wijeya Newspapers, more..

Sri Lankan Chevron unit wins three state lubricant tenders

Feb 7 (EN) The Sri Lankan unit of Chevron has won several tenders to supply lubricants to state-owned power stations and transport services, the cabinet office said. The Cabinet on Feb 5 approved Power and Renewable Minister Ravi Karunanayake's proposal to provide a 925,000 litre lubricant tender for barge-mounted power generators to Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc. The firm was also given a tender to supply 1.1 million litres of lubricants to the Sapugaskanda power station. more..

Sri Lanka plans customs cutter unit amid drug smuggling

Feb 7 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning to set up a marine customs enforcement unit to combat smuggling amid a rise in drug smuggling, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. "There has been a suggestion to set up a marine customs unit," he told reporters. "That will improve the customs service." SL has had sea based service until around the turn of the last century Director General of Customs P S M Charles said. more..

Independence Day, a black day for Tamils ​​and tea pickers

Feb 7 (AN) On the day that SL marked the 71st anniversary of its independence from British colonial rule, Tamils ​​and tea plantation workers held a black day protest. Both groups chose to boycott the festivities to complain that their demands have not been heard for far too long. Tamils ​​staged demonstrations against the constant discrimination that persists since the end of the civil war, whilst tea pickers want an increase in the minimum wage, which is no longer adequate to feed their more..

Govt allocates over half of expenditure for debt servicing this year

Feb 7 (DM) Govt has allocated over 50% of total expenditure for debt servicing in the Appropriation Bill 2019, amounting to Rs. 2.23 trillion, the highest ever debt servicing value in the country’s history. Accordingly, Rs 1.2 trillion and Rs. 930 million has been allocated for domestic debt servicing and foreign debt servicing this year. The govt estimated that the total expenditure will expand by 14.2% to Rs. 4.55 trillion this year, targeting a budget deficit of 4.8% of GDP and more..

Milk powder issue: Fonterra denies allegations

Feb 7 (DM) Fonterra Brands Lanka today denied allegations of its products containing any adulterants such as pork fat or palm oil. In a statement, Fonterra Brands Lanka said it was aware of misinformation that was recently shared in media reports quoting Parliament proceedings and said these claims are completely false. “All of our milk powder products are safe and contain only what is listed on the ingredients label. more..

New Acting Chairpersons for BOC and People’s Bank

Feb 7 (AD) New Acting Chairpersons have been appointed to the bank of Ceylon (BOC) and the People’s Bank, stated the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. Senior Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, A.R. Deshapriya has been appointed as the Acting Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon. A.M.P.M.B Atapattu, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, has been appointed the Acting Chairman of the People’s Bank. These appointments have been made by the Minister Mangala more..

Diplomatic passport holder among those nabbed with Madush

Feb 7 (Island) Among those, arrested with wanted SL underworld leader Makandure Madush, in a joint operation carried out by Dubai and Sri Lanka, was a diplomatic passport holder. A wanted SL underworld drug kingpin, Makandure Madush, was among several prominent figures arrested red-handed in a raid at a hotel in Dubai, the police have confirmed to Khaleej Times. Among the 20 suspects arrested was a visitor carrying a diplomatic passport and popular singer Amal Perera, according to sources. more..

President slams Constitutional Council

Feb 7 (FT) Refusing to back down on his stance to carry out the death penalty, Prez Sirisena yesterday criticised the Human Rights Commission of SL for what he termed as interference in Govt decisions to establish law and order, and the Constitutional Council for disregarding his recommendations on promotions of judges. Sirisena, addressing the Parliament, criticised the human rights institution for more..

'Take action against Madush in Dubai itself'

Feb 7 (DM) It would be better if action is taken against Makandure Madush and others in Dubai itself without bringing them back to Sri Lanka, JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa told Parliament today. “It is better to take action against Madush and others in Dubai itself without bringing them to Sri Lanka. They could always use loophole in Sri Lanka laws or obtain a presidential pardon,” Dr. Jayatissa said. “This is an idea expressed by many over social media these days,” he added. more..

March 12th Movement blasts move to increase portfolios

Feb 7 (CT) The March 12th Movement issuing a press release stated that recent reports published in the local press had indicated that the current regime is making attempts to increase the number of Cabinet Ministers under the ruse of forming a National Govt. Movement has stressed that there was no need to increase Cabinet posts to serve the public and has urged the public not to be duped by such rhetoric. The Movement has also urged PM Ranil Wickremesinghe not to further burden more..

Sweeping changes to Customs in coming months

Feb 7 (FT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera lauded reinstated Customs Director General P.S.M. Charles with praise yesterday, expressing full confidence in her abilities to bring the business mafia operating in the Port to book, with new systems set to be introduced in the Department. She is an iron lady, Minister Samaraweera said, praising Charles. “But I saw that even for her, who faced Prabhakaran fearlessly, the Mafia in more..

Act quickly to deactivate the drug barons

Feb 7 (DM) Sri Lanka is a country that’s blessed four times over with the hallowed teachings and tenets of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. But sadly though, these four major world religions have not had that much of an impact when it came to liberating this country from the clutches of narcotics. There have been several awareness programmes and anti-narcotic marches organised by religious leaders while Narcotic Bureau officials assisted by Police, STF and Navy personnel continue to more..

Honourable Speaker & Spirit of Democracy

Feb 7 (DM) The UNP has informed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya of the party’s intention to move a resolution on forming a National Govt. The UNP has in doing so identified a UNP-SLMC coalition as satisfying constitutional conditions for such an eventuality. SLMC has just one MP, Seyed Moulana, the others having contested under elephant symbol at the 2015 general elections. Two words. Hilarious and preposterous. Oh! There are another couple of words: expected and scandalous. more..

Across the border cooperation gives muscle to battle against drug trafficking

Feb 7 (ST) Strengthened intelligence sharing between SL law enforcement authorities and their overseas counterparts has contributed much towards recent successes against narcotics traffickers, senior law enforcement officials say. A spate of high profile detections appear to have also boosted public confidence in anti-narcotics operations, with a substantial increase in the number of tip-offs concerning drug trafficking. more..

MR kicks off free legal service for people subjected to political revenge

Feb 7 (FT) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday launched a new initiative to provide free legal assistance and advice for people who have allegedly been subject to political revenge and injustice, or accused of illegal activities and corruption from 2015. The free legal consultation service will be available on every Wednesday from 1pm to 5pm at the Opposition Leader’s office. more..