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Lust for power

Feb 8 (CT) President J.R. Jayewardene used to say: My first priority is jobs, my second priority is jobs and my third priority is also jobs. In keeping with this dictum, his nephew, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, since he assumed power, together with President Maithripala Sirisena, has increased the number of public sector jobs by 63,716 in the three-year period covering 2014, coinciding with the end of the tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in power, to 2017, according to latest Central Bank data, more..

Understanding SL through edu & agriculture

Feb 8 (FT) Sri Lanka is in a state of backwardness and confusion in terms of its knowledge on things as well as the way it thinks. This backwardness and confusion can be seen rooted even in accepted policies of far-reaching consequences – so much so that it has become a common characteristic and a general trend in almost all sectors. It can also be considered a topic that has not received due attention or been subjected to debate despite it being a significant factor which has adversely more..

Shamindra Ferdinando

Mangala urges CID to probe claims that one of his secretaries is among those arrested ...

Feb 8 (CT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera today requested the CID to launch an inquiry into allegations that one of his secretaries was among those arrested in Dubai, including underworld kingpin Makandure Madhush. Minister also stated that some had even alleged that he gave the so-called secretary a diplomatic passport. The Minister, in his letter to CID Director Ravi Seneviratne, stated that some politicians continue to make false allegations against him on this matter more..

Access Engineering net up 116.5% in Dec

Feb 8 (EN) SL construction firm Access Engineering Plc's net profits for the December 2018 quarter grew 116.5% to 659.3 million rupees from a year earlier on construction and property sales, the company said. Earnings per share for the quarter were 66 cents. The Access Engineering share was trading 20 cents higher at 14 rupees on Friday. Revenue for the quarter was up 15% to 7.9 billion rupees from a year earlier, while cost of sales grew 11.3% to 6.6 billion rupees, more..

SL watchdog rejects Sirisena’s fake claims

Feb 8 (EN) SL’s independent Human Rights Commission (HRC) expressed its deep concern over Prez’s allegations against it and issued a three-page rebuttal taking him head on. The HRC said Sirisena’s criticism that it called for a report on the deployment of STF at the Angunakolapellassa was unfounded as the move was well within the legal mandate of the commission tasked with ensuring the safety of prisoners. more..

'Vehicle permit issue will be resolved soon'

Feb 8 (DM) The issues faced by govt officials because of the suspension of vehicle permits will be resolved within the next three months, State Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. He told parliament that the issuance of vehicle permits were suspended as a practical measure to protect our foreign reserves. Responding to a question asked by JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake last week, the Minister said about 400 officials had already opened letters of credits and more..

Gamage to support National Govt proposal

Feb 8 (DN) Galle District MP Piyasena Gamage said he will support the proposal to set up a national govt brought in parliament by the UNP at voting time. Gamage said there were many other members in the SLFP who should be subjected to disciplinary inquiries before him. He challenged SLFP General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekara to conduct inquiries against such persons. Gamage said it was they who ensured SLFP victory when people like Jayasekara were jumping from one party to another. more..

Term of Presidential Commission on SriLankan extended

Feb 8 (AD) The tenure of Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing allegations of large scale frauds and malpractices in SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering Ltd and Mihin Lanka has been extended until 30th of May. The extraordinary gazette notification extending the commission’s official term was issued by Prez Sirisena yesterday. Commission was appointed to investigate alleged irregularities in connection more..

GMOF calls for reopening kidney racket probe

Feb 8 (Island) Govt Medical Officers Forum (GMOF) alleged that an investigation launched by the Health Ministry in 2016 into a largescale kidney racket in which two Sri Lankan doctors were involved had come to a halt. GMOF President Dr. Rukshan Bellana said that one of the doctors had gone mising and the other was moving freely. Dr. Bellana said that as the kidney transplants performed at the four private hospitals in SL had been suspended until the investigation into the racket was over, more..

Jetawana security guards hand in glove with unlicensed tour guides

Feb 8 (CT) Jetawana Museum security guards are not allowing licensed tour guides to enter the Museum premises with the intention of marketing unlicensed tour guides to conduct tours with tourists and obtain a commission thereby from illegal tour guides. Licensed tour guide Dharshana Dayananda claimed that two days ago security guards did not allow them to park their vehicle or to conduct tours by telling tourists that licensed tour guides were dangerous people & casting aspersions more..

Gnanasara Thero’s 6-month prison sentence suspended

Feb 8 (AD) The Homagama Magistrate’s Court has suspended the sentence of 6 months rigorous imprisonment imposed on Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, for threatening Sandya Eknaligoda, for 5 years. Gnanasara Thero had verbally abused and threatened Sandya Eknaligoda at the Homagama Court premises on January 25, 2016 while Homagama Police filed a case against the Thero charging him with more..

Thalata responds to Dayasiri over accusation regarding misleading House

Feb 8 (Island) Minister Thalata Atukorale, on Wednesday, told Parliament that she never mislead the House. She regretted being accused of doing so, he previous day, by SLFP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera. Responding to MP Jayasekera, Minister said that the incumbent govt would not grant pardons to the death row convicts the way the previous govts had done. Minister Atukorale said: "I was accused of misleading the House while I was not in the Chamber. more..

Video: Two foreigners busted with cocaine in Kandana

Feb 8 (AD) Two foreigners, who had been in possession of 90g 90mg of cocaine, have been arrested near the Kandana railway station. The officers attached to police crimes division of Western Province North had made the arrest in a raid launched last evening (07). The haul is, reportedly, worth over Rs 2.5 million. The arrested foreigners have been identified as Italian and Israeli nationals, who are staying in the country over tourist visa. The suspects are to be produced before more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa set to visit India

Feb 8 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa is set to visit India, his office has said. This will be Mr. Rajapaksa’s first overseas tour since being appointed as the Leader of the Opposition last month. He will leave Friday on an official tour to India, his office said. Mr. Rajapaksa is to deliver a lecture on SL-India relations in Bangalore, it said. His will be his second visit to India within 6 months. more..

18-hour water cut in parts of Colombo

Feb 8 (AD) An 18-hour water cut will be imposed for several areas in Colombo tomorrow due to essential maintenance work, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board stated. Accordingly, the water supply will be suspended in Colombo 01, 13, 14 & 15, starting from 9 p.m. tomorrow until 3 p.m. on Sunday. Furthermore, water will be supplied under low pressure for the areas surrounding Pettah, Colombo during the aforementioned time period. Meanwhile, a 24-hour water cut is to be more..

No diplomatic passport holder arrested with Madush: State Minister

Feb 8 (AD) A person holding a diplomatic passport has not been among the suspects arrested in Dubai along with the notorious drug kingpin Makandure Madush, says State Minister J.C. Alawathuwala. The State Minister made this comment responding a question raised by UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila during today’s Parliament session. Stating that foreign media had reported a diplomatic passport holder was also arrested with Madush, MP Gammanpila questioned the basis on which more..

House of Madush’s accomplice searched: live bullets, military equipments found

Feb 8 (DM) The Police had found live bullets and several military equipments including army uniforms when they carried out a search operation in the house of Anushka Kavishal alias Janga, an accomplice of underworld drug kingpin Makandure Madush in Talalla, today. Police said Janga was arrested in Dubai along with Makandure Madush on Tuesday. During the search operation, the Police had found nine army uniforms, more..

Parliament debates COPE Committee report

Feb 8 (NR) The report compiled by the COPE was taken up for debate in Parliament today. Speaking during the debate UPFA MP Jayantha Samaraweera said the COPE committee should be able to fix the image of Parliament that has deteriorated in the eyes of the public. MP noted Parliament is known in society as a place filled with rogues adding therefore MPs are prone to be named as thieves. He stressed the COPE should not become a body that just compiles reports and attends meetings and more..

A-9 road blocked at Dambulla due to protest

Feb 8 (AD) A-9 road has been completely blocked at Pannampitiya in Dambulla due to a protest. Several parents and students of Sri Maliyadeva Primary School, Pamapitiya had carried out the protest demanding a new teacher for Grade 5 class of the school. They said the teacher in charge of the school’s Grade 5 class had been transferred nearly two months ago. Although the zonal education office of Galewela has, reportedly, informed in writing that a new teacher has already been appointed more..

The Sri Lankan Rupee has bottomed

Feb 8 (LBO) As the year 2018 drew to a close, the Sri Lankan currency was under attack on several fronts. The trajectory and forecasts of U.S. federal reserve tightening were causing a major exodus from Sri Lanka’s capital markets. The trade deficit was unfavourable due to a credit boom, and GDP growth was sputtering for various reasons. With this problematic backdrop, a political inferno was also ignited. more..

SLPP has Rs.21 million in savings: Basil

Feb 8 (DM) Thanks to the contribution made by the SLPP local govt representatives and other party members, the party has Rs.21 million in its savings advised National Organiser Basil Rajapaksa to a group of SLPP local govt members at the party office in Battaramulla today. He said grand old parties went through troublesome periods but the SLPP was steering ahead smoothly with the contribution made by its members. “There were times when the UNP couldn't settle more..

Video: Indian passenger held at BIA with 1kg cocaine

Feb 8 (AD) An Indian national has been detained at the BIA along with 1kg 5g of cocaine. The officers of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) attached to the BIA had detained the suspect. The contraband was hidden inside a false bottom of the suspect’s luggage. The detainee had arrived at the BIA from Mumbai, India. Reportedly, the contraband is revealed to be worth over Rs 15 million. The suspect is to be produced before the Negombo Magistrate’s court today. more..

ATM skimming activities: Use EMV enabled payment cards: CB

Feb 8 (DM) While initiating several measures against automated teller machine (ATM) card skimming activities, the Central Bank requested that ATM users to use EMV enabled payment cards to enhance the security of customer funds and prevent fraudulent card transactions. EMV cards are smart cards (also known as chip cards or IC cards) and are a payment method based upon a technical standard for smart payment cards, more..

February 4: Day of taking stock of the country’s performance

Feb 9 (CT) On February 4th, the country celebrated 71 years of Sri Lanka’s independence. Freeing the country from foreign rule is of course an occasion to be jubilant. However, under the existing circumstance, the need of the hour is to do some stock taking and assess the country’s performance since independence to understand where we were during the time of independence, where we are today, who is responsible for the current mess and what needs to be done. more..

In pursuit Ravana’s language & His social order

Feb 9 (CT) This is a very complicated issue. The facts presented here are for readers to ascertain to clear the doubts about Ravana’s language and his social status. Though Ravana was a Hindu, there is a general impression among the Sinhala people that they were from Ravana’s descendants. However, the history of Buddhism in SL began with the arrival of Mahinda when he met King Devampiyatissa preaching non-violence. Buddhism saw its introduction in SL about 2,500 years back. more..

Sand-mining rocks Trinco

Feb 9 (SO) Over the years the Mahaweli river has faced the constant assault of sand racketeers as it coursed through the Trincomalee district on its final journey to the sea. Despite causing irreversible damage to the environment the illegal sand miners have only become more brazen in recent times, continuing unafraid and unabated in their illegal venture. A lucrative business for the powerful, more..

Don’t rock the boat!

Feb 9 (Island) Manuka Oval as a Test venue was blessed with a fairy tale beginning. Sri Lanka down by the head (in maritime parlance) before the Test, went into the match on a hiding to nothing. All three pace bowlers who bowled their hearts out at the Gabba were reported crook at various stages to the lead up, while the best of them all, couldn’t even get up from his bed, let alone play. Forced into a corner with their backs to the wall, SL began the Test match with a relative rookie pace attack more..

Former CJ in hot water?

Feb 9 (SO) History will be made this week, when Sarath Nanda Silva, the 41st Chief Justice of SL is set to appear before the Supreme Court, where a 3-judge bench will decide if a contempt of court case filed against the former head of the judiciary will go to trial. The case will be taken up on Thursday, Feb 7 and the Attorney General and the former Chief Justice have been noticed to appear before the SC. Counsel for the petitioners will make submissions on the contempt of court complaint, more..

March of the Mounties

Feb 9 (SO) Columns of horses marching in formation, are a spectacular sight we witness on Independence Day. How do these majestic animals and their robust riders prepare for the parade? Within the busy area of Mihindu Mawatha, Col 12, amidst the noise of traffic and the sweltering heat is a serene oasis, hidden from public view. It is a refreshing sanctuary which I visit often to find solace with many four legged friends - thoroughbred more..

When Feb 4 dawned 71 years ago

Feb 9 (ST) As church and temple bells pealed, guns boomed and ship sirens shrieked, 7.30 a.m. on the dot, a formally-dressed gentleman entered the august Audience Hall of Queen’s House in the Fort as Governor and exited a few minutes later as Governor-General (GG). This seven-minute ceremony — an oath taken before Chief Justice Sir John Howard heralded the birth of a free nation! It was Wednesday, Feb 4, 1948, 71 years ago when history was made at Queen’s House more..

Edtorial: An elevating moment

Feb 9 (Island) Several MPs went ballistic in Parliament, on Thursday. What was the cause of their consternation? Was it the unbearable suffering people undergo owing to the soaring cost of living, the increasing crime rate etc? No! Those honourable MPs had got stuck in an elevator for over 20 minutes, and the maintenance staff of Parliament had failed to respond to their calls for help immediately. They said they had nearly suffocated. (We thought all elevators were adequately more..


A Diagonal Journey across Sri Lanka with Sir Christopher Ondaatje

Feb 9 (SO) I first met Sir Christopher Ondaatje in 2004 when I was in London. He comes from the famous Ondaatje family (his brother Michael is the author of Running in the Family) and Christopher himself left Ceylon in 1947 to go to school in England, spent five years in the City of London and then went to Canada where he made a fortune – first in finance, and then in publishing. A lot has been written about Christopher and his business career in Canada. He is an enigmatic man. more..

The contrast: Who wants to be a millionaire?

Feb 9 (Island) Who wants to be a millionaire? Politicians of the modern era, of course. Sorry, I stand corrected: they want to be, not just millionaires but multi-millionaires, billionaires even. Unlike the politicians of the yesteryear who dedicated their lives for service, nowadays our politicians are all out to make millions and billions, at every possible juncture; be it by shady deals or collect rewards from various operatives for crossing the floor! They get elected, on a moral high ground, more..

A Call for National Disaster

Feb 9 (Island) It was Aristotle who said All Earthquakes and Disasters are warnings; there’s too much corruption in the world. We are on the road to show the truth of this thinking, especially with regard to a coming disaster. Ranil Wickremesinghe and the UNP are keen to show us that disaster is their path of politics today. It is a party that is united in paving the way for a National Disaster, in the name of what is claimed to be more..

Conflicting statements on Parliamentary brawl

Feb 9 (SO) The committee report on the Parliament brawl which was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Jan 22, continues to languish in the Speaker’s Office, only further delaying any possible action being taken against the offending MPs named therein. According to Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri, the report has not been forwarded to AG’s Department yet, as the Speaker wishes hold a meeting with the Secretary General of Parliament, Neil Iddawela, and committee members, more..

Lankan’s biggest surfing event ever scheduled for June

Feb 9 (ST) With the growing success of the Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka (SFSL), it will host the World’s most accomplished Surfers in a World Qualifying Series (WQS) competition this June at Arugam Bay. The SFSL is a member of the National Olympic Committee of SL and will play a big part in the proceedings. Altogether, 145 competitors and 105 officials from 22 countries such as US, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, NZ, Portugal, France, Japan and Indonesia, to name a few. more..

RPCs reject fresh revisions to new Collective Agreement

Feb 9 (FT) Plantation companies are opposed to further increases in plantation worker wages, which saw an increase in the basic wage just last month, despite several trade unions initiating fresh negotiations this week. “We are not prepared to consider any wage increases,” the Planters’ Association Secretary-General Lalith Obeyesekere said. “We have already taken a hit of Rs. 9 billion due to the increase, and more..

Policy implementation and proper regulation, the need of the hour in energy sector

Feb 9 (ST) While decision-making has become a challenging task when ministerial portfolios keeps changing time to time, the power and energy sector faces severe consequences moving forward. Sri Lanka is trying to go green but just like in Germany it necessarily takes policy implementation, proper regulation and infrastructure, German Ambassador, John Rohde said on the sidelines of the launch of Green Energy Champion 2019 held at the ambassador’s residence in Colombo. more..