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CID and Navy lock horns over more murder suspects

Feb 17 (SO) Investigators of the CID are closing in on a former top aide of former Navy Commander, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in connection with the Navy abduction for ransom racket. According to sources, the aide, now a wanted suspect currently serving as a Chief Petty Officer in the Naval intelligence is believed to have been part of the abduction for ransom gang accused of kidnapping 11 youth from 2008-2009. more..

How Sri Lankans are getting into UK illegally revealed

Feb 17 (SKY) A SL community leader has told Sky News the vast majority of illegal immigrants arriving in Britain from the country are coming on fake passports. Ambihai Seevaratnam, who works in human rights and is chairperson of Croydon temple in south London, says it has become much more difficult to get visas to come to the UK and that Tamils fleeing SL are turning to agents to buy fake SL passports & fake visas. more..

Conflicting reports on Madush: CID officers fly to Dubai

Feb 17 (ST) Two senior CID officials will fly to Dubai on a fact-finding mission over the arrest of millionaire drug lord Makandure Madush. A senior Police official who did not want to be identified said the visit was strictly to determine facts since there had been a series of conflicting reports. The official made clear that so far Dubai authorities including the police had not conveyed anything officially to Sri Lanka Police. more..

Perfidious politics of Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

Feb 18 (CT) Inject truth to politics. Then you will not have any politics. The Nazi legal theorist Carl Schmitt stressed on the importance of rhetoric to create fear of imminent danger threatening the state. The first step in the process was to create open hostility to verifiable reality. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe in his exceptionally provocative denunciation of the constitutional council seems to follow that fascist logic. Schmitt the Nazi legal theorist argued that the way to destroy or undermine more..

Thoughts on constitutional crisis in SL

Feb 18 (CT) Constitution in which ever the part of the world, I don’t think would be in a crisis. After all it’s a piece of paper. It is those who seek to interpret and enforce or seek shelter under the constitution that will be in a crisis. Let me Quote from Dr BR Ambedkar the Chairman of the Constitutional drafting committee also known as the father of the Indian Constitution. “However good a constitution may be, if those who implement the constitution are not good it will prove to be bad, more..

Geneva session is our business

Feb 18 (CT) Lord Naseby’s three years of effort to unearth the truth as to what really took place during the last phase of the war against terrorism is very much in vain. On 23 Feb, UNHRC session is to start again in Geneva. Sri Lanka is again about to be hauled up in front of the world for alleged war crimes and for failing to take punitive action against those accused. Yet again, we will be treated like an errant schoolboy who had more..

That political football of CC

Feb 18 (ST) It is a matter for raucous entertainment when Sri Lanka’s opposition MPs, some with the proud boast of associating with known racketeers and jumping from one party to another while others are taped offering bribes to legislators to cross the floor, accuse the country’s Constitutional Council (CC) of being biased and corrupt. It is also no coincidence, as emphasised last week, that former President Rajapaksa and his salivating faithful, along with President Sirisena, more..

Edtorial: Dog fights and crocodile tears

Feb 18 (Island) Former President turned Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa wept buckets for the country, the other day. In an interview with The Hindu in India, he said that everything had ground to a halt, here, due to the ongoing power struggle between President Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He has sought to absolve himself of his share of the blame for the mess the country finds itself in. One cannot but agree with Rajapaksa that the country is not making any headway, more..

BASL Prez hopefuls outline their agendas

Feb 18 (SO) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will have its election to elect a new President. The two contenders are President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa and Senior Counsel Mahinda Lokuge. The Sunday Observer sought their plans and views on the Association. Q: What made you or why did you decide to contest the presidency? A: I have been in practice for 33 years. I have been in the private bar and more..

Gramasevakata Pissu: Political censorship and popular culture

Feb 18 (GV) Kopi Kade is arguably one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic television series, certainly its longest-running, having started out in the late 1980s and now numbering at over 1600 episodes. I remember watching Kopi Kade, seated at the foot of my father’s easy-chair, not understanding (as a nine, ten, eleven-year-old) the incisive commentary the show was making. Soon enough as a teen, I was glued to other forms of popular culture and left this one behind. At least, until a few days ago more..

Mahinda’s double speak north of the straits up the Indian way

Feb 18 (ST) Double speak, double talk, double tongued, double forked, call it what you will but former Prez Rajapaksa thought he could distort through words the facts of recent history, of which he was a chief protagonist and make the Indians doublethink on his personal role in the events that brought Indo-Lanka relations to its nadir during his ten-year rule. His blatant try to do a double somersault and reverse Indian hard feelings towards him for the pro-China and anti-Indian policy more..

මදුෂ්, කුඩු දේශපාලනය සහ මෛත්රී!!

Tabs, private schools and new engineering faculties

Feb 18 (DN) I have come across three noteworthy announcements made by the govt. The decision to give Tabs to students in schools. * Use a loan of $ 145 million acquired recently from ADB to establish Engineering Faculties of four existing universities. The decision to allow leading private schools to establish branches in areas outside Colombo. How many Tabs the govt can afford to give at this time when our country is having a forex problem and is struggling to pay back massive loans? more..

Requiring two-thirds majority for Parliament to dissolve itself

Feb 18 (Island) Under Article 70 (1) in the Constitution before the introduction of the 19th Amendment, Parliament could, at any time, pass a resolution by a simple majority requesting the President to dissolve Parliament. However, after Article 70(1) was amended Parliament cannot under any circumstances be dissolved until the lapse of four and a half years of its five year term unless Parliament requests the President to dissolve Parliament by a resolution passed by more..

'Wanted to compete every hour, every session'

Feb 18 (CI) Having come straight from a disastrous tour of Australia, following another very poor one of New Zealand, all Sri Lanka had aimed to do in Durban was compete. Where in Brisbane and Canberra, SL had virtually been played out of the game by the end of the second day, they were much more tenacious at Kingsmead. At 90 for 5 in the first innings, in response to South Africa's 235, SL were in danger of giving up a lead of more..

Minister brands badminton a family business

Feb 18 (SO) Minister of Sports Harin Fernando branded the Sri Lanka Badminton Association as a family business along with several other sports bodies in what some analysts say has been a long overdue public assessment of sports organisations in the country. But independent observers are skeptical and contend that nothing is likely to change given the numerous remarks and branding made by Minister Fernando’s predecessors. It is well known and spoken of in sporting circles more..

Kavindu and Shelinda hog the limelight

Feb 18 (ST) Kavindu Bandara of Lyceum, Wattala and Shelinda Jansen from Gateway, Colombo stole the limelight on the second day of the 19th Annual International Schools’ Athletics Championships (ISAC) which continued at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo. Bandara put up a splendid performance to set up a new meet record in the Under-20 Boys’ 200 metres while returning a time of 22.08 seconds. He shattered the previous record of 22.28s which was established by Hamzan Aroos more..

Kusal Perera bats with body, heart and soul in innings of a lifetime

Feb 18 (CI) That vein. The vein on Dale Steyn's forehead has come alive. He is mid-pitch, biceps taut, knees bent, fists clenched, face red, practically on fire, screaming. Mitchell Johnson had three furious seasons. James Anderson nicks entire top orders off. But let's not kid around. If there is a sight that has struck fear into the heart of the planet's batsmen in the last 15 years; if there is a vision that shakes them to their soul, it is this. Steyn. His vein. more..

Attack on MFCs and Govt’s knee-jerk response

Feb 18 (Island) Leading businessman, Dudley Sirisena (DS) President’s brother, at a recent meeting in Polonnaruwa is reported to have said that Micro Finance Companies (MFCs) are like leeches that suck blood of the poor people’s livelihood income, and consequently, the rural economy is in a serious state of indebtedness unable to repay their micro loans. This indebtedness malady is reported to be so critical that the vulnerable rural farming community, especially women who were more..

ICC Test Player Rankings: Perera advances 58 places after monumental effort

Feb 18 (DN) SL batsman Kusal Perera has advanced an astonishing 58 places in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings after a memorable performance helped his team score a thrilling one-wicket victory over South Africa in Durban. Perera’s gain is one of many from the first of two Tests between the two teams, even as Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins has overtaken Kagiso Rabada to take the top spot among bowlers without taking the field as the South Africa fast bowler more..

New measures to improve ease of doing business

Feb 18 (DN) Encouraged by last year’s success in advancing in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, the Govt is set on expediting the automation process aimed at improving systems in key institutions, to further improve the country’s ranking this year. “We have been able to jump 11 places last year, to reach 100 out of 199 places in 2018. I wish it was more, but this is still a huge improvement, this year we expect it to be more..

Court of Appeal to hear cricket elections appeals on Wednesday

Feb 18 (ST) The cricket elections scheduled for Feb 21 now hang in the balance after three candidates filed action in the Court of Appeal challenging the Sports Minister’s decision to appoint an Appeals Advisory Committee. The cases are fixed for Feb 20. Mohan de Silva and Ravin Wickremaratne have challenged the committee’s rejection of their nominations while Shammi Silva has challenged Jayantha Dharmadasa’s eligibility to contest election. more..

SLNS Sayurala plays its part at recently concluded exercise AMAN-19

Feb 18 (SLN) SL Navy Ship (SLNS) Sayurala left for Pakistan from the Colombo harbour on 2nd Feb to take part in the naval exercise AMAN 2019, the biennial exercise hosted by the Pakistan Navy. The multilateral naval exercise AMAN 2019 was held in Karachi, Pakistan from 8th to 13th Feb, with the participation of 44 countries along with a large number of ships and air craft belonging to them. The purpose of the exercise was to promote cooperation and interoperability between more..

Fall Armyworm will return: Agri Min DG

Feb 18 (CT) The Fall Armyworm (Sena Caterpillar) is impossible to eradicate and it will definitely come again in the next yala season, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, W.M.W. Weerakoon said. He said that the Fall Armyworm menace had lessened to a great extent, due to action taken. He said that no huge destruction had taken place to the corn harvest or any other crop due to the Fall Armyworm and more..

13th Colombo Big Data Meetup held

Feb 18 (CT) The Colombo Big Data Meetup community hosted industry professionals, big data enthusiasts, academics and students at the 13th Colombo Big Data Meetup held at the Virtusa auditorium, recently, a media release stated. The interactive sessions, powered by Virtusa, are aimed at apprising participants of the latest developments in Big Data tools and technologies. NorthBay Solutions Chief Technology Officer, Laxmikanth Malladi, who counts over 15 yrs’ experience more..

CTC net up 15%; says beedi boom amid tax hikes

Feb 18 (EN) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), a unit of British American Tobacco said net profits for the Dec 2018 quarter grew 15.7% to 5.2 billion rupees, despite a tax driven price increase in August reducing volumes. The firm reported earnings of 28.11 rupees per share for the quarter. In the year to December the firm reported earnings of 90.77 rupees on total profits of 17.04 billion rupees up from 14.5 billion rupees a year earlier. CTC said revenues with taxes grew 7.5% to 37.8 billion rupees, more..

Mannar mass grave: Carbon dating results to be released on Wednesday

Feb 18 (Island) The report on radiocarbon dating tests, conducted on the bone samples found in the mass grave in Mannar, has been received. It is to be submitted to Mannar Magistrate, on Wednesday. Florida-based Beta Analytic Radio Carbon dating lab, on Feb 16, issued its dating report on five of the six samples of bone fragments, retrieved from the Mannar grave. Skeletal remains of 323 persons had been unearthed from more..

Sampath Bank ups 2018 PBT by 10.5%

Feb 18 (FT) Sampath Bank has recorded a Profit before Tax (PBT) of Rs 18.3 b for the year ended 31 December 2018, up by 10.5% against Rs. 16.6 b earned in 2017 after making necessary adjustments as per the SLFRS 9 new accounting standard which required impairment provisioning to be shifted from the incurred credit loss method used previously to the more forward-looking Expected Credit Loss method (ECL), which has attracted higher impairment provisions. more..

Pension scheme for Professional drivers

Feb 18 (CT) Allianz Life Insurance Lanka, recently launched a special pension scheme to empower all self-employed professional drivers of the nation. This special scheme is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and was launched with the direction and support of the National Road Safety Council. The ceremony took place recently at Ragama with the presence of Minister of Arjuna Ranathunga along with members of the National Road Safety Council, and more than 400 professional drivers from more..

Free postal facility allowances doubled

Feb 18 (CT) An Extraordinary Gazette notification has been issued by Minister of Post M.H.A. Haleem increasing annual free postal facility allowance for MPs and for the members of Provincial Council. According to the Gazette notification, annual free postal facility given to the MPs has been increased to Rs 350,000 from Rs 175,000 while the free facility given for PC members has been increased from Rs 24,000 to Rs 48,000. more..

Lakdhanavi, too awarded 300 MW plant

Feb 18 (Island) Power, Energy and Business Development Ministry has strongly denied allegations that Chinese consortium was awarded the Kerawalapitiya tender. Ministry spokesman Sulakshana Jayawardena emphasized that GCL Windforce and RenewGen was a joint venture involving local company, Chinese and US firms. Therefore, there was absolutely no basis for claims a Chinese consortium had been given the Kerawalapitiya project. more..

Dialog Axiata profits wiped out in kitchen sink quarter

Feb 18 (EN) Dialog Axiata Plc reported losses of 2.5 billion rupees at company level and was barely in the black at group level as the firm threw in write-downs and on top of forex losses and a write back into the December quarter. The group reported earnings of 01 cent for the quarter, down from 39 cents a year earlier. For the year to December 2018 the group reported earnings of 92 cents per share, on total profits of 7.56 billion rupees, down from 11.04 billion a year earlier. more..

Customs apprehend 12 tons beedi leaves container: Main suspect given bail

Feb 18 (CT) The suspect who was allegedly the mastermind behind the attempted release of a 12-ton beedi leaves container, from the Customs last December, via forged documents, without paying the Duty, has been summoned to appear before the Aluthkade Magistrate’s Court, today. The suspect, named Nurdin Ahmed, had used forged documents, claiming that the container had women’s garments imported from more..

Probe into leopard’s death

Feb 18 (DN) The Wildlife and Conservation Department has commenced an investigation on the death of a leopard after its carcass was found in the Lindula, Hatton area last Saturday. The 4 feet 7 inch long leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) was found by Haggala Wildlife Department Range officials. The leopard caught in a trap was found dead by Wildlife officers. Two leopard deaths were reported during last month. The leopard was found dead on a tea estate around 7.30 a.m. last Saturday. more..

Work silently without boasting: PM

Feb 18 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said persons who can work properly and efficiently do not make a big voice unlike those who can’t work properly. PM made these remarks while participating in a religious ceremony at the Sedawatta Veheragoda Viharaya yesterday. PM opened several constructions put up from his personal funds at the temple including the golden fence, the Sangavasaya and the Dining Hall. PM laid the foundation the stone for Buddha Mandiraya, more..

Video: PM admits to Sri Lanka committing war crimes?

Feb 18 (AD) According to TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has made a statement that both parties had committed mistakes in the civil war. He made these comments addressing the youth conference of the ITAK party in Jaffna. He says that there were war crimes – international crimes – had happened during the war; especially towards the end of the war. However, in general, it is a well-known truth that more..

Ranjan challenged to name ministers taking cocaine

Feb 18 (Island) Minister Kabir Hashim has challenged UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake to name those who the latter has accused of using cocaine. Responding to a media query, over the weekend, following a public event, Hashim said that the party would take action if Ramanayake revealed the names. The MP made the latest allegation though PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had advised him to be cautious when addressing the media. Sources said PM had summoned Ramanayake following more..

Video: Bus hits transformer; four dead, many injured

Feb 18 (AD) Four people have been killed in a bus accident in Mahawewa area on the Chilaw-Puttalam main road while many others have been injured. A Colombo bound private bus from Vavuniya had veered off the road and collided with a transformer, according to the police. The injured persons have been admitted to Chilaw and Marawila hospitals for immediate treatment. Reason for the accident has not been identified yet. Marawila police are conducting further investigations on incident. more..

UPFA cites German envoy’s comments, urges Prez to scrap power deal with China

Feb 18 (Island) Alleging that the country would suffer a staggering loss amounting to Rs 90 bn in case the Consortium of GCL China Windforce and RenewGen was allowed to go ahead with the construction of 300 MW Combined Cycle Dual Fuel (Liquid Fuel/Natural Gas) Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya, SLFP-led UPFA, called for Prez Sirisena’s immediate intervention to scrap the deal. MP Bandula Gunawardena accused more..

Oh, the times we live!

Feb 18 (DM) On Friday, US President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency in the US. President is in search of a means to provide himself with funds to construct a 230-mile long wall between the US and Mexico. It is quite clear what he is trying to do. Just a few days ago, House of Representatives which is the legal body responsible for the allocation of funds to various programmes, refused to make a budgetary allocation of around $ 8 billion to him (Trump) to build a wall more..