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Video: Series loss a massive dent to our confidence: Faf du Plessis

Feb 24 (CI) India knocked over. Pakistan brushed aside. What were the odds of SL suffering the same fate? Very high. The fact that they'd been soundly thrashed in New Zealand and Australia leading into the tour made it that much more probable. However, South Africa failed to turn up, and their batting crumbled in four successive innings. This was a huge regret for Faf du Plessis, for whom the series loss - South Africa's first against a subcontinent side at home - was a bitter pill to swallow. more..

'We never expected to do it'

Feb 24 (CI) Sri Lanka have made history in South Africa, becoming only the third team overall - after England and Australia - and the first from Asia to breach the fortress in a Test series. It came against all calculations. After all, Sri Lanka have had very few reasons to cheer on the cricket field - or off it, for that matter - in recent months. Not to forget they had a new captain in the form of Dimuth Karunaratne for the series, more..

Ranil’s rainbow thinking

Feb 24 (CT) TNA Leader and former Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan has totally rejected the call made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe saying let us forget and forgive what had happened in the past. TNA Leader Sampanthan when he functioned as Leader of the Opposition did his part to protect PM Ranil Wickremesinghe from the adverse political situations in Parliament. PM Wickremesinghe escaped the no-confidence motion brought against him in Parliament and later in October more..

Murali the unparallel record setter

Feb 24 (SO) Muttiah Muralitharan needs no introduction. He is the world’s highest wicket taker in Test cricket. Apart from that unique feat, there are several other world records in Muralithran’s cupboard in a legendary career as an exemplary Sri Lanka cricketer. He first came to the limelight through the Observer Schoolboy Cricketer contest some 28 years ago. A highly successful bowler in school cricket at that time, Murali was adjudged Observer Schoolboy Cricketer in 1991 when more..

Sri Lanka rediscover the taste of freedom

Feb 24 (CI) If the players are good enough to play here and compete, that's what we're looking to do. - SL coach Chandika Hathurusingha, two days out from the series. Not they are good enough; if. Not win the series, or a Test; compete. We are very green, Hathurusingha says. The next day, new leader Dimuth Karunaratne speaks about finding a way to score runs against SA, in the pre-match press conference. more..

Video: Man clubbed to death inside a police station

Feb 24 (AD) An individual has been clubbed to death by another person using a metal rod inside the Diyabeduma Police Station in Polonnaruwa. Police said that the attack had been carried while a police officer was writing down the complaint regarding a personal dispute between the two individuals. The police emergency hotline service (119) had received a call at around 11.00 p.m. last night regarding a quarrel inside a house in the Attanakadawala area in Diyabeduma, Polonnaruwa. more..

Skipper Dias stars as Thurstan breaks 27-year winless streak

Feb 24 (ST) Thurstan College broke a 20-year-old stalemate after recording a convincing 10-wicket victory against traditional rivals Isipathana College at the 56th Battle of the Brothers, and claimed the Blackham Wijewardene Trophy, at the SSC grounds yesterday. The name of Thurstan skipper Sandaru Dias would go down in the history of this big match for leading his side with an imposing performance as a left-arm spinner by claiming a match bag of 10 wickets. Thurstan was left with a simple task more..

Govt mulls state banking sector reforms

Feb 24 (ST) With the current political instability and massive debt repayment taking its toll on the country’s coffers, Govt is planning to draw money into state-owned commercial banks by selling 10% of its shares to the public under a restructuring process. State-owned banks especially Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank will be allowed to raise capital via the equity market (Govt would continue to maintain its controlling stake), more..

The Chinese debt trap

Feb 24 (Island) Two Hong Kong based academics, Professor Barry Sautman of the Hong Kong Uni of Science and Technology and Prof. Yan Hairong from the Hong Kong Polytechnic Uni were in SL last week on a case study of SL as a prime example of a country caught in a Chinese debt trap. Since 2004, the duo had specialized in studying the economic relationship between China and Africa. Their special focus was on Zambia where China had heavy involvement in the mining industry more..

Kiriella guarantees no MPs are using cocaine

Feb 24 (AD) Minister Lakshman Kiriella says that he can responsibly guarantee that there are no MPs in the current Parliament who use cocaine. He was recently named as the head of a committee appointed by the UNP to inquire into allegations made by State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake. Ramanayake had alleged that several MPs and Ministers are using cocaine and that he could provide a list of names. He was summoned by the UNP committee to provide information. more..

Wanted: Manhunt for ex- Navy Chief

Feb 24 (SO) Former Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda’s passport was impounded by the Colombo Fort Magistrate last Friday, after the CID named him as the 14th suspect in the high profile abduction and murder of 11 young men in 2008-2009 and told Court that the Admiral was a flight risk. The CID told Court that the AG was planning to indict Karannagoda and 13 others on a slew of charges, more..

Rupee stabilises against US $

Feb 24 (ST) SL rupee was stable against the US currency this week being pegged at 179.60 per dollar on Friday. This was however a slightly higher rate for the dollar than Monday’s close of Rs. 178.60. Dealers said there was a shortage of liquidity in the market and noted that the Central Bank move on Friday to reduce interest rates is meant to improve liquidity. On Friday, Central Bank announced that the Monetary Board was of the view that some policy intervention by more..

Govt appoints Official Receiver

Feb 24 (SO) Govt has appointed SL’s first ever Official Receiver (OR), who serves as liquidator of last resort and regulator of insolvency proceedings, filling a longstanding gap in the corporate regulatory and legal framework. Official Receiver is empowered to carry out investigations into the affairs of bankrupt companies and could help unsecured creditors, such as employees and small businesses who are suppliers and also help depositors of finance companies recover their dues. more..

Madush's secret stash of M39s: VVIP a target?

Feb 24 (CT) Security Forces are currently conducting inquiries to ascertain whether noted underworld criminal Makandure Madush had sent several M-39 rifles to the country from overseas, with plans to assassinate VVIPs in Sri Lanka. M-39 Enhanced Marksman Rifles made in the US are some of the most advanced firearms in the world and are reportedly used by criminals for contract killings. more..

Video: Kanjipani Imran’ accomplice who shot Kudu Chuti arrested

Feb 24 (AD) STF personnel have arrested a suspect in connection with the shooting of a woman identified as Kudu Chuti at Melwatte in Maligawatte. The arrested suspect is identified as Mohamed Naufer Mohamed Ali, a 21-year-old resident of Laksanda Sevana Housing Complex at Salamulla in Kolonnawa. He was arrested by the STF last night (22) while 10 grams of heroin, 34,000 in cash and a mobile phone found in his possession were also taken into custody. more..

Sri Lanka supports peaceful resolution of all issues in region

Feb 24 (ARY) Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana has said that his country supported peaceful resolution of all the issues in the region and added that that conflicts and rising tension were not fruitful for anyone. Talking to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who telephoned his Sri Lankan counterpart, Tilak Marapana said that his country fully supported dialogues for regional peace and stability. He said that Sri Lanka supported peace efforts in the region. more..

Approval for TRC mechanism: Navi Pillay blasts Govt

Feb 24 (CT) Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay came strong on the current SL Govt for trying to seek Cabinet approval for a truth and reconciliation mechanism, when its leaders accepted to address justice and accountability in post-war Sri Lanka. "I am disappointed to learn that on the eve of the interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on SL in the UNHRC, the Govt of SL is resorting to more..

Dubai arrests: CID sleuth going to UAE

Feb 24 (ST) Defence Ministry has asked Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara to send a CID inspector to Dubai to obtain details regarding the arrest of 31 Sri Lankans, including underworld gang leader Makandure Madush. The decision was taken this week at a meeting at the Defence Ministry after the ministry turned down a Police proposal to send a team should be sent to Dubai. “The task of the officer will be to find out the specific charges, their involvement in other criminal activities and more..

SL’s unanswered human rights questions

Feb 24 (Hindu) It is that time of the year when SL’s war-hit north and east come under sharper focus. 40th session of the UNHRC will commence on Feb 25 and go on till March 22 in Geneva. A core group on SL, comprising Canada, Germany, Macedonia, Montenegro and the U.K., is expected to present a resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in SL. The group will continue to work in partnership with SL, in a bid to take forward joint resolution that SL co-sponsored in 2015. more..

Sri Lanka mulls withdrawing from UNHRC resolution

Feb 24 (ST) Sri Lanka is considering withdrawing its co-sponsorship of the US backed resolution at the UNHRC which wants the govt to address accountability issues, including alleged violations of human rights during the final phase of the military operations to defeat the LTTE. The council wants SL to set up a war crimes tribunal with international participation. “I would wish we can withdraw from it. Discussions are now on more..

Residents protest over double murder linked to Police

Feb 24 (NR) A group of Rathgama residents has launched a demonstration against the brutal killing of two businessmen purportedly by policemen. Police said protesters have blocked the Galle road in Rathgama effectively restricting the traffic flow. The group is demanding a prompt investigation into the killing of two businessmen. Police has reportedly abducted the two businessmen, who were kidnapped and murdered recently in Rathgama, Galle, in order to question the duo for more..

Sri Lanka’s largest heroin haul busted in Kollupitiya

Feb 24 (AD) STF and Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) have seized the largest stock of heroin ever seized in Sri Lanka yesterday. The police have seized 294 kg 490 g heroin in yesterday’s raid. Accordingly, two suspects and two vans were also taken into custody along with the heroin stock. They were apprehended in a raid jointly led by the STF and the PNB last evening at the car park of a supermarket in Kollupitiya. The heroin haul is estimated to be worth Rs 2945 million, more..

Abolition of executive presidency overshadows talk of a presidential poll

Feb 24 (ST) Prez Sirisena says that he will not call for a presidential election until he completes his full 5-year term. If he stands by this assertion, such polls will then be held at a date between Nov 8 & Dec 8, 2019. EC is constitutionally empowered to make preparations for a prez poll from October this year by calling for nominations. This is just eight months away. Yet, he has not given up hopes of becoming a prez candidate. more..

A new wealth

Feb 24 (Island) Over lunch with Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda last week, the conversation meandered into anecdotal capture of Sri Lanka’s new capitalism. We talked about snapshots of wealth and its generation, along with its public display through material goods, as distinct from even just a few years ago. Prof. Uyangoda spoke to what he thought were salient features of this new crass class, and their deep ties with higher echelons of political power. I shared a few stories with him, more..

The Good and the Great of Hulftsdorp

Feb 24 (Island) This is a charming little volume by Sriyan de Silva, which should be of interest, not only to lawyers, but also to others who have an interest in Sri Lanka’s judicial system. That judicial system has changed so much in the last 40 years that the present generation of lawyers, or at least many of them, might consider the stories in the volume somewhat strange. The way the law was practiced then might look as if it is an alien experience. The volume deals with events 50 or more yrs ago, more..

Maldives drifting away from China, and towards US

Feb 24 (ST) Maldives is apparently moving steadily away from China and heading towards the US – as symbolised in last week’s official visit by the Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid to Washington DC. Following the visit, US State Department issued a glowing report on the Maldives, “applauding its commitment to advance justice sector reform, good governance, rule of law, transparent public financial management, more..

Shelved no more: Status of public libraries in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (Roar) Down the road, around the corner with a petti kadei where people always flock for a tea and a wadei, is a rectangular building. Its two storeys—maroon and off-white—are unwashed and dirty. But once inside, you are in for a treat; there are rows and rows of books and publications—from translated novels to children's books to reference literature. This is the Kotahena Public Library. more..

Japanese experts study coastal erosion in SL

Feb 24 (ST) Teams of Japanese experts are conducting research on coastal erosion taking place in Sri Lanka, a senior official from the Department of Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management (DCCRM) said. He explained that engineers and professors attached to the Yokohama National University of Japan have initiated a series of experiments. Chief Engineer of the Coastal Development Unit, more..

Basil spurns Presidential candidacy

Feb 24 (SO) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa said he has no intention to be nominated as the next Presidential candidate and even if so, nominated he would reject it. The former Minister said, he has no hopes for such a position as he has greater responsibilities to be fulfilled and added that he has implicit faith in former Prez Rajapaksa to make the right decision at the appropriate time in nominating Presidential candidate. more..

Planters’ Association of Ceylon reiterates that Rs. 750 daily wage final

Feb 24 (Island) Planters’ Association of Ceylon says the new collective agreement between Regional Plantation Companies and estate sector trade unions is already binding. "It does not require any further action from any other stakeholders in order to proceed with the new wage among the RPC sector," Secretary General of the Planters’ Association, Lalith Obeyesekere said. "Therefore wages have already been paid to workers more..

Govt implements new law to confiscate trespassing Indian trawlers

Feb 24 (ST) The Fisheries Ministry has decided to fully enforce the Foreign Fishing Boats Act under which foreign vessels could be confiscated after being seized for illegal fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters, a senior official said. The move comes in the wake of Thursday’s landmark judgment which ordered the confiscation of a Indian trawler worth three million rupees. It was seized off Pooneryn in the Kilinochchi district. more..

MR sidelines TNA, nominates Douglas to CC

Feb 24 (SO) A major rift has emerged regarding the composition of the Constitutional Council with Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa insisting on appointing EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda as his nominee on the Council, sidelining the TNA which is the third largest party in the Legislature. Since Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ruled that MP Mahinda Rajapaksa will take over as Leader of the Opposition, more..

Will LNG tender land SL in a legal quagmire?

Feb 24 (CT) The path opened up for the whole world to see how corrupt the tender procedure adopted by the Sri Lanka Govt is. At a Media briefing held last Thursday, at the Ministry of Power, Energy and Business Development, regarding the Kerawalapitiya 300 MW Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Power Plant tender, it was quite clear how flawed the tender process was. Transparency requires, among other things, more..

INTERPOL rejects Udayanga’s application to quash red notice

Feb 24 (SO) INTERPOL has rejected a request by Sri Lanka’s former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga to have the red notice against him vacated, Sunday Observer learns. Weeratunga applied to INTERPOL last year, appealing to the international policing agency to remove the red notice against him on the basis that investigations against him conducted by the SL authorities were politically motivated. more..

Kantale sugar factory crisis: Indian investors take Govt to arbitration in Singapore

Feb 24 (ST) The Kantale sugar factory’s Indian investors, whose bribery complaint led to the arrest last year of Prez Sirisena’s Chief of Staff, have taken the SL Govt to arbitration in Singapore after it failed to transfer the lands and equipment necessary for the project to proceed. The former presidential chief of staff I.H.K. Mahanama and State Timber Corporation Chairman P. Dissanayake were caught by more..

All Nationalists say we are the oldest, biggest, finest, fastest or fattest

Feb 25 (CT) It must be an inferiority complex that drives people to declare Our culture is the oldest, or our ancient irrigation system the greatest, our this or our that, or whatever, is the best. The less a person’s achievements, the more likely to take refuge in a collective myth. Extremism is the theme of the rising global Alt-Right; narrow nationalism a sickness afflicting Sri Lanka. Such trends must be debunked. It’s fair before I debunk it that I tell you what the Out-of-India (OI) hypothesis more..

He comes from Jaffna: An insensitive caricature

Feb 25 (CT) It was in the 1960s that my parents took me to see the play at the then-new Veerasingham Hall in Jaffna. A key attraction was that producer Ernest MacIntyre and his sister Evelyn had been living within a hundred yards of our home down Chemmany Road with their aunt Mrs. Engineer Chinnappah nee MacIntyre, a former teacher at Chundikuli Girls’ College. I do not remember too much of the play from then except where Durai, the man from Jaffna, came to Colombo with more..

Sinharaja incident an attempt at bio-piracy?

Feb 25 (SO) In the wake of the recent bio theft attempt (the largest ever collection of animals and plants) from Sinharaja, questions remain as to the purpose of the theft. While the authorities have concluded investigations, experts express concern that the incident could be a possible instance of bio-piracy. As the investigation into the attempt unfolded, it was revealed that the plant and animal specimens were collected from more..

Coconut: Potential for a $ 1 b export industry

Feb 24 (SO) Coconut was at one time, the edible vegetable oil with a huge demand in the world market, for its taste, long shelf life and for other quality attributes. Coconut lost its popularity in 1960s because of the erroneous conception that consumption of coconut oil leads to heart diseases. Coconut oil is designated as a saturated fat along with animal fats without considering that coconut oil is a great source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCTs; 62-65%). MCTs are absorbed more..

Simply unbelievable results by a depleted unit

Feb 25 (CT) There are many unanswered questions pertaining to the Test match that is being played at the moment in my mind, at the time of writing this column. The first and the most important one is: Will SL be able to get the required one hundred and thirty seven more runs to create history? That will be the key going forward for the team. I am a firm believer that momentum and self-confidence are factors for any team and for Sri Lanka it couldn’t have been any different in the Test match. more..