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The role of the War Hero in post-conflict SL

Feb 11 (CT) As a law abiding, peace loving citizen of this country, I have been helplessly watching the ever increasing crime rate in the country and its drastic impact on society. In view of the widespread penetration of social media, people of this country had the horrible privilege of witnessing some of the most gruesome crimes being committed in broad daylight, most often by organized gangs who are fighting for supremacy in the underworld and in the ugly world of the narcotics trade. more..

Mistaken as wimpy (emerging popular leader)

Feb 11 (CT) Last year, assessing the possible outcomes of 2020 presidential election I was mistaken by identifying President Maithripala Sirisena as a wimpy politician. Since coming to power until October 2018, he was making feeble attempts to survive from political maneuvering of oligarchy leaders responsible for ruling and ruining the nation. According to Daily Mirror report of 8th September 2018, MS expressed his views about the oligarchs vying for power in 2020. more..

'Still no consensus between SLFP-SLPP'

Feb 11 (SO) Former Speaker and UPFA MP, Chamal Rajapaksa, commenting on the selection of the next Presidential Candidate said, no consensus has been reached yet between the SLFP and SLPP. He said what is critical at this juncture is to reinvigorate the two political parties and thereafter decide to join hands to form a broad political front. It is important for both parties to discuss on what grounds they would join more..

Then they told the President

Feb 11 (ST) As a schoolboy many, many moons ago, I remember reading a collection of essays by that superb American satirist and columnist Art Buchwald. It was titled Then I told the President. Having listened to President Sirisena’s Independence Day speech, one wonders whether there is any purpose in telling Sri Lanka’s current President anything, anything at all, unless it is about broken promises and insatiable thirst to sit in the presidential seat for another term. more..

Media and politics

Feb 11 (Island) A presentation of my doctoral research to colleagues at CPA afforded the chance to talk and think about what social media means for those not on and the least aware of it. Conversations and commentary over 2018 posit to social media powers, responsibilities and roles that grossly simplify more complex, dynamic relationships. For the readers of this newspaper, from a demographic who hears more about social media than actually uses it, it is important to understand how more..

Master criminal Madush caged at last

Feb 11 (CT) Notorious gang leader Makandure Madush, who has been dodging local authorities for a number of years, was finally arrested, at a Dubai hotel last week, along with a number of his associates. Madush had been linked to a number of high profile murders, assassination attempts, gang wars and involvement in the underworld-drug trade. He was notorious for running his criminal network from prison, and fled to more..

Team in fragile condition Handle with Care

Feb 11 (CT) In any sport, when a team is on a winning streak no one notices anything off kilter in its environment; but it’s the complete opposite when the losing begins. I believe the current scenario bugging the SL cricket scene stems mainly from this reality. I refuse to believe that everything was absolutely perfect when SL won the World Cup in 1996 or in the ensuing years when the Lankans touched great cricketing heights. What covered potential cracks that threatened to emerge were the results more..

Lessons to learn from Sri Lanka’s history

Feb 11 (ST) Outstanding English writer Aldous Huxley’s observations on the lessons of history will interest many Sri Lankans obsessed with their history—2,500 years or more. Huxley held: That men do not learn much from history is the most important lesson that history has to teach. We will attempt to consider this observation not by harking back to the distant past of those glorious days but to contemporary times. Just four years ago Mahinda Rajapaksa who ruled the country for a near more..

නිරෝෂන් ප්රේමරත්නට ඉන්න අරුම පුදුම යාලුවො

When the president unjustly and unsupportably lambasts

Feb 11 (ST) It is no matter for jest when the President of a country publicly singles out national oversight institutions for ferocious censure. And without a doubt, it is even worse when that institution happens to be a national human rights institution. By the very nature of the work that it does and the statutory mandate on which it is obliged to act, it is perhaps the most vulnerable of oversight agencies and needs support by the political constituency as well as by the public. more..

Edtorial: Pig’s fat in cow’s milk?

Feb 11 (Island) Dy Minister Buddhika Pathirana, on Friday, reiterated that imported milk powder was contaminated with pig fat among other things. He was responding to Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who had told the House that there was no truth in the claim that milk powder from a particular country was not fit for human consumption. Who is telling us the truth? Most people do not buy into govt claims, thanks to a huge trust deficit; they do not believe anything until it is officially denied. more..

Another legal battle looms

Feb 11 (ST) The tussle for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the country’s richest sports body, will take a fresh turn with two candidates poised to seek legal redress after their nominations were rejected by a 3-member Advisory Committee. Elections are scheduled for Feb 21. Mohan de Silva, who was expecting to succeed Thilanga Sumathipala at the helm, had his dreams shattered when the Advisory Committee appointed to hear polls-related more..

Singer revenue up by 13% to Rs. 44.5bn in first nine months of 2018/19

Feb 11 (Island) Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC recently announced its results for the first nine months of 2018/19. Revenue for the nine months amounted to Rs. 44.5 billion, a notable increase of 13% compared to the same period in the previous year. Excluding the impact of exchange loss of Rs. 355 million which arose from the dollar denominator supplier credits, Group net profit for the nine months was Rs. 608 million and profit before tax was Rs. 950 million. Group Earnings Before Interest, more..

Sri Lanka sets guaranteed prices for paddy ahead of 2019 harvest

Feb 11 (EN) Finance Ministry had allocated 5 billion rupees to buy rice at guaranteed prices from farmers ahead of the upcoming major harvest season, govt said. Under scheme operated by district secretaries, Samba rough rice (paddy) would be bought at 38 rupees a kilogram and Nadu and other varieties at 38 rupees a kilogram. The cabinet of ministers had approved the proposal by Minister Mangala Samaraweera to provide 5 billion rupees for paddy purchases. more..

CCC emerge Premier League champs, Saracens SC runner-up

Feb 11 (DN) Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) led by former Sri Lanka cap Ashan Priyanjan won the 2018-19 Premier League when they defeated NCC by five wickets at Colts grounds in the final match of the Super Eight concluded yesterday. Left with a target of 290 to chase CCC got their in 57.3 overs with Priyanjan and Wanindu Hasaranga finishing off the match for the Maitland Crescent club in style by indulging in an unbroken 68 runs more..

Mobitel broadens country’s electronic payments landscape

Feb 11 (Island) In an effort to drive digital and financial inclusion, Mobitel recently launched mCashQR, as an additional component to its mCash mobile app. By using a Quick Response (QR) code, users can make transactions with greater speed, ease and convenience. The mCash app allows customers to top up, withdraw mCash and send cash to other users as well as make bill payments and purchase goods and services. The QR function simplifies the overall user experience for more..

'Limited ambition hinders flow of private equity to local business'

Feb 11 (SO) Dr. Rasitha Wickramasinghe discusses private equity (PE), due diligence and challenges faced by Sri Lankan corporates in attracting PE funding. Q: Private equity is not very common in Sri Lanka, could you explain how a fund works? A: A private equity firm (or PE fund) is a pool of money set up to invest in companies. They raise money from limited partners (LPs) that can include endowments, pension funds, corporate funds, wealthy individuals, and funds of funds. more..

Excise seizes illegally stored liquor from French café owner

Feb 11 (SO) The hospitality sector has been rocked by the Excise Department’s raid last Wednesday of the Colombo-7 residence of a French restaurateur, and the seizure of several hundred bottles of foreign alcoholic beverages alleged to have been illegally stored there. Further investigations have revealed that the restaurateur, Jean-Charles Toussaint, had been deported from SL two years ago for violating immigration laws. more..

Economic sentiment improves in Jan: Survey

Feb 11 (FT) The latest LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence (BCI) poll reveals that sentiment surrounding the economy improved in January with 11% of respondents expecting it to get better in the next 12 months. One businessperson states that we expect some healthy and positive reforms by the Govt which will help drive the economy forward this year. However, the majority (58%) of respondents hold a negative outlook while 31% feel that conditions will remain the same. more..

Aitken Spence records significant growth

Feb 11 (FT) Aitken Spence has recorded impressive growth in financial results for the nine months ending on 31 Dec 2018 with a 21.3% year-on-year growth in profits-before-tax from Rs. 3.28 billion to Rs. 3.97 billion. Aitken Spence recorded an increase in revenue of 1.5% over the previous year, from Rs. 36.2 billion to Rs. 36.7 billion for the 9-month time period. Profits-before-tax increased by 52.9% from Rs.1.47 billion to Rs. 2.26 billion in the third quarter, over the previous year. more..

Dhammika Perera prescribes policy dose

Feb 11 (FT) A data-based approach to policymaking was advocated by well-known businessman Dhammika Perera to rapidly expand Sri Lanka’s economic growth, with special emphasis on education. Perera, speaking at an event organised by National Intellectuals Organisation (NIO), last week gave detailed ideas of what should be included in a national policy, which could be implemented by the Govt. more..

COPE proceedings opened to media

Feb 11 (FT) Media personnel will be allowed to observe Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) proceedings under special approval from the Speaker, the Govt confirmed the Parliament. COPE Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti believes such a move will enable the public to be aware of the difficulties COPE faces to summon retired public service officers to appear, conduct an inquiry, collect evidence and to reach a decision within a limited timeframe using insufficient resources. more..

Hemas operating profit soars 46%, bottom line up 19%

Feb 11 (FT) Hemas Holdings PLC has reported a consolidated revenue of Rs. 48 billion for the nine months ended 31 Dec 2018, up 37.8%, primarily driven by our acquisition of Atlas. Group operating profit stood at Rs. 4.3 billion, a growth of 45.8%. The profit attributable to equity holders of the parent at Rs. 2.5 billion was up 19.2%. Hemas delivered year-to-date organic revenue growth of 15.7% and a recurring organic operating profit growth of 2.6%, excluding Atlas performance and more..

Ratmalana Airport in over Rs.800 million upgrade

Feb 11 (ST) Ratmalana Airport will be handed over to civilian operations this month, establishing clear cut demarcations as per civil aviation requirements and after upgrading facilities with an investment of Rs.825 million. In two weeks’ time the Ratmalana Airport will be officially handed over by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the Airport and Aviation Services (AASL) allowing for clear demarcations between the civil & military more..

Video: No point forming national govt to increase minister posts: Harsha

Feb 11 (AD) There is no point in forming a national government to increase the number of ministerial posts, says Minister Harsha de Silva. It is more suitable if the rest resign from their posts and give their posts to those who want ministerial posts, he pointed out. He says is it is more suitable if any minister is willing to give up their post to other MP who wish for ministerial portfolios. However, he does not mean that a national govt should not be made, he said. more..

Nonexistence of pig fat in Halal certified milk powder: HAC

Feb 11 (FT) The recent controversy purporting the possible existence of pig fat amongst other adulterants in imported milk powder marketed in Sri Lanka, has seemingly caused a great deal of angst and distress amongst many consumers. A majority of these milk powder brands are certified by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Limited (HAC), SL. The HAC, through its process of pre and post certification audits, has verified the products in question, from the very source of origin more..

'JVP will field presidential candidate if 20-A falls through'

Feb 11 (Island) The JVP would be compelled to field its own presidential candidate if it failed to secure the passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, JVP politburo member and trade union wing leader KD Lalkantha said. Addressing a meeting, at Medawachchiya, on Friday, Lalkantha said: "We have not given up our struggle to get the 20th Amendment to the Constitution passed in Parliament. more..

Sunil Handunnetti: Quoted correctly, Interpreted wrong

Feb 11 (DM) On Oct 15, we reported the following claim made by MP Sunil Handunnetti: 74% of the population of Sri Lanka lives a rural lifestyle/in a rural setting. According to the data from the Department of Census and Statistics, the percentage of the population classified as living in the rural sector is 77.4%. Handunnetti seems to have quoted this statistic (approximately) correctly. Although his quotation of the data is correct, his interpretation is not. more..

Liquor licences online

Feb 11 (ST) The Excise Department will soon introduce an online scheme to issue new licences and also to renew licences to sell local and foreign liquor, a senior official said. The move will also enable people requiring permits to buy, transport and store stocks beyond the permissible quantity of 7.5 litres for functions. Scheme is being supported by a World Bank programme aimed at minimising the use of illicit liquor by streamlining the registration process and making the process easy. more..

Madush and group of 25: News freeze

Feb 11 (CT) The Police Media Unit has not been informed so far about legal procedure, which is supposed to have taken place in Dubai, with regard to notorious underworld drug kingpin Makandure Madush and the group arrested along with him. Several reports were circulated that Madush was expected to be produced before Dubai Courts on Sunday along with others who were arrested, by the Dubai Police on 4 Feb. more..

Video: Sudu Hakuru Sumith shot dead in Thanamalwila

Feb 11 (AD) A shooting incident in Thanamalwila town has killed one person and injured another. Reportedly, four gunmen who had arrived on 02 motorcycles had opened fire at around 12.20 pm this afternoon (10). A 42-year-old male has been killed in the shooting incident. A 22-year-old has been admitted to the Hambantota hospital over injuries. The deceased person is identified as Sudu Hakuru Sumith aka Wasantha, who has been considered the main suspect of a murder that took place more..

Bingiriya EPZ construction to commence in March

Feb 11 (DN) The construction of the Bingiriya Export Processing Zone (EPZ) would commence on March 4, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said that it would be the largest Export Processing Zone in SL, spanning over 600 acres of land and which would be much larger than the Katunayake and Biyagama Industrial Zones. The Bingiriya EPZ would be developed in three phases. First phase is to cost Rs.1.3 billion, while factories would be set up on 300 acres of land during the first phase. more..

Angoda Lokka nabbed in Dubai

Feb 11 (DN) Dubai Police yesterday had arrested drug smuggler Angoda Lokka, an associate of Makandure Madush who fled the scene when Dubai Police arrested Madush and another 16 suspects last Tuesday. He has been arrested by the police when he was hiding at another hotel in Dubai, STF said. The blood samples had revealed Angoda Lokka was under the influence of Hashish. more..

Asela Sampath resigns due to death threats

Feb 11 (AD) The Chairman of the Restaurant Owners’ Association of Sri Lanka Asela Sampath has resigned from his post as the chairman. Holding a press conference, he stated that he has resigned due to the death threats he had allegedly been receiving. He says that certain parties acted against him after his association, too, attempted to cut down the food prices following the decrease of food prices during the days Mahinda Rajapaksa held the premiership. more..

Sri Lanka to purchase Mi-17 Helicopters from Russia for UN missions

Feb 11 (SN) Sri Lanka is negotiating with Russia the purchase of a new batch of Russian Mi-17 helicopters, which the country will use in UN peacekeeping missions, SL Ambassador to Russia Dayan Jayatilleka said. He recalled that Mi-17s were on the agenda of a SL senior defence officials' visit to Moscow in early Sept 2018. While negotiations are underway, no specific document has been signed yet, and the number of helicopters that SL is going to purchase has not been defined, more..

SriLankan Airlines making mega deals sans tenders, AG clearance: COPE report

Feb 11 (EN) SriLankan Airlines has been run as a virtual private company, by passing state procurement processes, a parliamentary probe has revealed, though tens of billions of rupees of losses from the deals are then covered by tax payers. SriLankan Airlines had terminated leases for A350 aircraft with Aercap, a leasing company, extended a lease and procured new aircraft at the amde time without more..

Venezuela crisis and US interference in Latin America

Feb 11 (DM) Venezuela today is in the grip of a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The ‘Guardian’ reports that as many as three million of its people, a 10th of the population have fled the country. Its economy is shrinking fast and the IMF has predicted that hyperinflation could hit 10,000,000% this year. With food and medicine shortages widespread, there has been a surge in levels of malnutrition and the re-emergence of diseases such as malaria and diphtheria. more..

EC’s Advocacy for Non-violence: Fine-tuning the UN Programme

Feb 11 (DM) Article 3 of our Constitution declares our sovereignty: “In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of govt, fundamental rights and the franchise.” It provides in Article103(2) for an independent EC to oversee the exercise of our franchise: “The object of the Commission shall be to conduct free and fair elections and referenda.” It adds in Article104B (2) that “It shall be the duty of the Commission to more..

2 years on, RTI reaches out to the provinces

Feb 11 (ST) As Sri Lanka marked two years since the inception of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, on Feb 3, this year, the RTI Commission (RTIC) announced the commencement of public sittings and the hearing of appeals in the country’s provinces. On Jan 19, the RTIC held its first public sitting and hearing of appeals in Panama, Ampara, in the Eastern Province, attended by the District Secretary, Ampara, and the Divisional Secretaries of more..

Bio piracy on the rise in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (Island) Environmentalists warn of an increase in efforts to steal valuable genetic resources from SL. Commenting on the arrest of a group of Slovakians who made an abortive attempt to smuggle out insect samples from Sinharaja forest, environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said that bio piracy had been going on in Sri Lanka for decades. "There are many attempts at synthesizing medicines using compounds made from plants. more..