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Incomplete Res 30/1: Is it mission impossible?

Feb 25 (CT) 40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will begin tomorrow (25) in Geneva and the review on Sri Lanka (GoSL) will be taken up on 20 March where the Core Group on Sri Lanka comprising the United Kingdom taking the lead along with Canada, Germany, Macedonia and Montenegro and ,as the UK will urge the support of the Council for the resolution once again. more..

19th Amendment, one more stage act in a long running political drama

Feb 25 (ST) The admixture of sanctimony and sheer hypocrisy in the condemnation of Constitutional Council (CC) and the 19th Amendment to the Constitution by Prez Sirisena and former Prez Rajapaksa in Parliament this week is unmistakable. Prez Sirisena’s likening of the 19th Amendment to a legitimate child born under his authority who was thereafter deformed and abused (presumably) by his warring erstwhile coalition partner, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP, is deplorable, more..

The irony of complaining against one’s own creation!

Feb 25 (SO) What is all this fuss about the Constitutional Council, then? No less a person than the first citizen of the country, President Sirisena, has complained time and again that the Constitutional Council has been politicised and has been rejecting the names of judges recommended by him to the higher courts. President renewed his complaint in Parliament on Thursday claiming that the Council had rejected the names of 14 judicial officers he sent to be appointed to more..

බුකි තිලංග ක්žරිකට්වලට ඇයි මේ තරම් කෑදරේ?

Rajitha digs the beedi, Maithri stubs the fag: So what’s Mangala’s preferred puff?

Feb 25 (ST) This week as Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera twiddles his fingers and scratches his head trying to figure out how to cook the books with projected estimates based on great expectations and to balance next month’s belated budget as far as possible, how he must wish he could tax the pants off the illegal billion buck drug trade. What a pity, he must muse this morning, it is all underground, beyond the reach of the Inland Revenue. more..

Wife of PS member arrested with firearm and weapons

Feb 24 (AD) STF has arrested the wife of a Pradeshiya Sabha member over the possession of a firearm and illegal knives. When officers of the STF conducted a search of the home of a Dehiowita Pradeshiya Sabha member based on a tip-off received by them, they had found a firearm, 9 live ammunition, a sword, 02 illegal knives, and a mobile phone at the place. The PS member had not been present in the house when the search was conducted and the 44-year-old wife of more..

Shammi is new SLC President but Thilanga will pull the strings

Feb 24 (ST) There weren’t many who were surprised by the results of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) election. A team backed by Thilanga Sumathipala was re-elected on Thursday to run cricket for the next two years, ending a months-long interim administration. The victory came despite multiple opposition attempts to knock Sumathipala’s gang out before the contest, thereby having themselves elected by default. more..

Editorial: Interval in hell

Feb 25 (Island) It is said that when the people fear govts, there is tyranny, and when govts fear the people, there is liberty. Originally, this saying was meant to justify the people’s right to take to arms, but it applies to the people’s franchise as well, for govts fear elections more than anything else, as is the case in this country. When politicians, both in and out of power, fear the prospect of having to face elections, they remember the need to look after the needs of electors. more..

Should we scrap Grade 5 Scholarship exam?

Feb 25 (Island) Once in a while, political leaders make pronouncements on certain issues that, while correct, don’t offer the correct solutions. Just the other day, for instance, the President is reported to have said he is agreeable to calls made by educationists to abolish the Grade Five Scholarship Exam. As was typical of such remarks, Mr Sirisena was absolutely right in his diagnosis of the problem; where he and the educationists fail, on the other hand, is the solution they proposed. more..

Oshada Fernando: Story of a soldier’s son

Feb 25 (Island) Cricket fans at home have little knowledge about this amazing new talent Oshada Fernando, who made his Test debut in South Africa. When the 26-year-old played an exquisite cover drive off Kagiso Rabada for four in Port Elizabeth even the great Hasim Amla from first slip was applauding. The magnificent Dale Steyn was the first to congratulate him when he scored the winning run. more..

The historic burdens of borrowing

Feb 25 (Island) Usvatte's superbly composed paper published on 20th Feb in the Island newspaper makes me happy about the level of academic and journalistic writing the SL news media can reach. Usvatte was the head of economic analysis in the UN in NY, and before that he was in perspective planning in the Planning Ministry with Dr Gamini Corea. I was his batch mate in Peradeniya University in the 1950s, and I am happy to have been a friend of his then as well as now. more..

Navy renders assistance for the conduct of Ironman 70.3

Feb 25 (SLN) The Ironman 70.3, long-distance triathlon race flagged off at the Galle Face Green under the patronage of the Minister John Amaratunga flanked by a host of state and private sector officials, today (24). The event was also attended by Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Director Sports, Commodore Jayantha Gamage and a group of Navy officers. Besides, 12 athletes also took part in this year’s event representing the SL Navy. more..

De Mel wanted Mendis and Lakmal dropped for second Test

Feb 25 (Island) There could have been chaos lead up to the second Test in Port Elizabeth if not for former Test opener Brendan Kuruppu, the selector on tour, as his colleagues in Colombo and particularly Chairman of Selectors Ashantha De Mel insisted on dropping both Kusal Mendis and Suranga Lakmal for the crucial game. Initially, all selectors, including Kuruppu had wanted to drop Mendis and Lakmal for the 2nd Test more..

One Transworks Square launches JW Marriott Hotel & Residences Tower

Feb 25 (FT) The One Transworks Square on Friday officially launched Phase Two of its high-end luxury development project with the launch of its second tower, JW Marriott Hotel & Residences. Comprising 256 highly modern hotel rooms, 206 residences and over 200,000 sq.ft. of banquet space at a height of 303 meters, the JW Marriott tower will accommodate all residence apartments in the upper floors from Levels 26 to 70. Each will vary from 1,235 to 2,730 sq. with the luxury duplex units more..

NDB deploys robotic processing technology for account opening and transactions

Feb 25 (ST) The NDB Bank (NDB) opened its first paperless branch last month in Colombo where it has deployed robotic process automation (RPA) at this branch for the account opening and transactions processing. Dimantha Seneviratne, Group CEO NDB, said this move signifies NDB’s transition into the digital age. The new branch is called NDB NEOS and it’s located opposite the World Trade Centre in Fort. Here, the physical presence of bank staff is coupled with a digitised experience. more..

Himasha dazzles: Sets new South Asian Record

Feb 25 (CT) Sprinter Himasha Eashan set the track on fire once again as he shattered his own Sri Lanka and South Asian 100m record clocking 10.22 seconds at the National Athletics Trials concluded at Sugathadasa Stadium yesterday. Coming into the last day of the trials, everybody’s eyes were on Eashan as his wind aided 10.11 seconds and 10.12 seconds in the heats and semi-finals was a clear reflection of what more..

India hands over 155 houses in Bridwell, Bogawantalawa, Hatton

Feb 25 (FT) In a special ceremony held on 24 Feb, at Bridwell Estate in Bogawantalawa, Hatton, 155 houses built under the Indian Housing Project were handed over to the beneficiaries jointly by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and High Commissioner of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu in the presence of Minister Palani Digambaram. Several Members of Parliament and Central Provincial Council, senior officials from Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT), Implementing Agency – SL Red Cross, more..

Minister of Ports and Shipping visits CINEC Campus

Feb 25 (CT) On the Invitation of Capt. Ajith Peiris, Executive Chairman of Ceyline Group and Chairman/President of CINEC Campus, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka visited the campus premises on 6 February 2019. Having been received by Capt. Ajith Peiris the Minister was accorded a ceremonial Officer Cadet Guard of Honour and received the Salute of an impressive march past. Minister was then conducted on a guided tour of the campus visiting Engineering/Electrical workshops, more..

CB puts ISBs first in quest for debt repayment funds

Feb 25 (FT) TCentral Bank has recalibrated its strategy to raise funds to repay debt, prioritising Int'l Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) over bilateral arrangements, but the secondary options include a $1.5 billion swap arrangement with People’s Bank of China. CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy explained that the decision to return to the market was motivated by yields reducing significantly in January, largely motivated by more..

Sampath Bank achieves PBT of Rs 18.3 bn for 2018, a growth of 10.5%

Feb 25 (Island) Sampath Bank recorded a Profit before Tax (PBT) of Rs 18.3 Bn for the year ended 31st December 2018, up by 10.5% against Rs 16.6 Bn 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..

Sri Lanka Embassy in Sweden relocates the Consular Section

Feb 24 (IL) Sri Lanka Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden redesigned its Consular Section to serve the public in a pleasant and customer-friendly environment ensuring effective service delivery. The Consular Section is now relocated from the first floor to the ground floor of the Embassy providing enhanced space for the visitors and facilitating easy access for the disabled persons. Given the huge potential for SL Tourism in Sweden, arrangements have been made to display large posters and more..

Hartal and protests in North today

Feb 25 (CT) A hartal is on in the Northern Province, today, in solidarity with demands of the relatives of missing persons. Relatives of missing persons are protesting in front of the Kandaswamy Kovil in Kilinochchi, today, commemorating their struggle of 700 days. All five districts of the Northern Province are set to observe the hartal following requests of relatives of missing persons. more..

Act now on Black Pepper racket

Feb 25 (Island) Mr. President, after almost the full term of the current Parliament and also your tenure of office over, there is a raucous noise about the existence of the Independent Commissions by politicians. This was a salutary step that got restored with the 19th Amendment. We watched helplessly the way the previous regime made appointments to the Public Service and to the Judiciary. It was a one-man decision and none dared to question with so many white vans around. more..

Twins who don’t know each other

Feb 25 (ST) The scene is Benjamin’s coffee shop located in the Covent Garden in London, not today or recently, but about 150 years ago. The fragrance of coffee aroma coming from the coffee shop was refreshing the whole area in the cold mornings. It was more than an invitation to the neighbours, the shopkeepers, the customers and the pedestrians in the whole shopping area to walk into Benjamin’s coffee shop. People used to gather at the coffee shop and not only get refreshed with more..

'Strong political will key to reform success'

Feb 25 (FT) In a hard-hitting critique of dragging labour reforms and burgeoning public sector wages, Non-Cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva warned Sri Lanka is sitting on a time bomb of public sector pensions, insisting that strong political will to reform was the only way to defuse it. Addressing the public seminar as the Chief Guest de Silva said the Govt has to pay Rs.1 trillion of Rs.1.5 trillion recurrent expenditure next year as more..

Mannar mass grave: Final carbon report expected shortly

Feb 25 (Island) The carbon dating report on the sixth and last bone sample, taken from the Mannar mass grave and sent to Beta Analytic radio carbon dating lab in Florida, is expected shortly. The lab would also send the originals of the five bone sample reports, sources said. Mannar JMO Dr. Saminda Rajapakshe, who is in charge of the excavations in the Mannar mass grave, last week, received the carbon dating reports on five of the six bone samples that he had submitted to the Beta more..

Eran lauds Bohras’ contribution to entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (Island) State Minister Eran Wickramaratne has lauded the Dawoodi Bohra community’s leadership in the development of entrepreneurship in the country. Inaugurating the Bohra Business Expo 2019 at the Hotel Sapphire on Saturday, the banker turned political leader said that the Dawoodi Bohras had been a big catalyst in the development of entrepreneurship in Sri Lanka. Wickramaratne said that entrepreneurship was the crying need of the hour given the parlous state of SL’s finances, more..

Gotabhaya underscores need for a stable govt

Feb 25 (Island) Wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Saturday alleged that the country was in dire straits today for want of political stability, consistency in respect of state policies, lack of transparency and weak decision making process. Rajapaksa told a gathering that a senior visiting foreign govt official whom he had an opportunity to meet recently in Colombo expressed serious concern over more..

Traffic OIC knocked down by hit-and-run Defender: Police looking for MP’s son

Feb 25 (Island) Police are looking for MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s son who allegedly fled after a Defender, he was travelling in, had knocked down Borella Traffic OIC around 4.30 am, in Colombo, yesterday. Borella Traffic OIC IP Ananda Sarathchandra was admitted to the National Hospital, Colombo with serious injuries. His condition was serious. The accident occurred on the Duplication Road. Police found the hit-and-run vehicle while it was parked in Pelawatte, more..

Protests against Sinharaja destruction

Feb 25 (CT) Protests were conducted in front of the World Bank in Colombo, Ministry of Environment and the Central Environment Authority on 20 Feb by a group of environmentalists, lawyers, uni teachers and nature lovers against the destruction of the Sinharaja world heritage site. Road construction work goes on inside the Sinharaja world heritage site in the Kudawa area. The project is funded by the World Bank and has been improperly planned by the local policy makers, both in Govt & in NGOs. more..

Sri Lanka's largest ever heroin detection

Feb 25 (CT) The country’s largest ever heroin detection, 294-plus kilograms, was made at the car park of an up market shopping mall, located along the Galle Road, between Bambalapitiya and Kollupitiya, on Saturday night, a senior Police officer said. He said that two suspects were taken into custody along with two vehicles in which the heroin was stashed. The seized heroin has a street value of Rs 2,945 million more..

From the LTTE to the KASHMIR issue

Feb 25 (DM) Tensions between South Asia’s super powers -- India and Pakistan -- are once again on the boil, after a car laden with explosives was detonated by a suicide bomber in Indian-occupied Kashmir, killing 40 Indian paramilitaries. Kashmir is occupied by both India and Pakistan, while a small portion of the territory is under Chinese control. The explosive-laden vehicle was driven by a member of the the Pakistan-based militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed the attack more..

A Tale of Two Diplomats

Feb 25 (DM) A Tale of Two Cities is a Charles Dickens fictional novel published in 1859 involving two cities, London and Paris during the period of the French Revolution. There is nothing fictional about the story involving two Sri Lankan Diplomats, one about to retire as SL’s High Commissioner (SLHC) to Australia, and concurrently accredited to Fiji, New Zealand, and Solomon Islands. Somasundaram Skandakumar was appointed in August 2015 and is getting ready to relinquish his post after more..

Unruly incidents in Parliament: CID summons three MPs

Feb 25 (ST) Three MPs have so far been summoned by the CID Headquarters, as part of its probe into the unruly incidents that took place in Parliament last November. UPFA MPs Prasanna Ranaweera told the Sunday Times that he, along with UPFA MP Niroshan Premarathna and UNP MP Ananda Aluthgamage (who has crossed over to the Opposition) have been summoned to the CID as part of its inquiry. more..

Pact with US inimical to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, national security: JVP

Feb 25 (Island) Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the USA would have an adverse impact on the country’s sovereignty and Parliament should be notified of such matters, says the JVP. On Friday, JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake told Parliament that on March 5th, 2007 the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) had been signed between the US and SL allowing US forces to utilise various facilities in Sri Lanka more..

'Buddhism facing severe threat'

Feb 25 (CT) Ven. Samantha Bhadra Thera said that it is not an offence to rear an elephant, but killing it an eating its meat. He said this at a religious ceremony held at the Alan Methini Aramaya recently. Several monks have stated their opinions on the ongoing case against Ven. Uduwe Dammaloka Thera, who is accused of illegally keeping an elephant calf in captivity. “The biggest lesson in the human life is accepting more..

Vehicle registrations recover in January

Feb 25 (EN) Sri Lanka's vehicles registrations recovered in Jan 2019 from a steep slump in Dec 2018, but were below last year’s levels, on supply shortages following higher standards imposed by govt, an analysis by an equities research house shows. There were 3,147 motor car registrations in Jan 2019, up from 2,669 units in Dec 2018 but significantly down from 5,318 units 12 months ago, report by JB Securities said. more..

Major shake-up at NPC

Feb 25 (CT) The National Police Commission (NPC) has been rocked by a major shake-up, with the removal of two senior members and a futile attempt to replace the Chairman, earlier this month. Former Senior DIG Anton Jeyanathan and DIG Frank Silva have been removed after serving a single term, although there is a provision that they could serve a longer period, according to NPC sources. They have been replaced by more..

Ranil can never win Prez polls: Wimal

Feb 25 (CT) NFF Leader and MP Wimal Weerawansa claimed that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is attempting to abolish the Executive Presidency in order to remain in office as the Premier for five years, as he knows that he can never win a presidential election, nor can he even obtain the candidacy. Weerawansa was speaking at a lecture, titled Ratata Mokada Venne (What is happening to the Country), held in Malabe. more..

Four Sri Lankans dead in accident in Oman

Feb 25 (MD) Sri Lankan expatriates in Oman are in a state of mourning after the death of four of their compatriots in a road accident in Jebel Akhdar on Saturday. Seven Sri Lankans - two adults and five children - were on a weekend trip when the mishap happened. The group comprised the father, mother and their three children along with two other children. Afaaf Zakee (Y4) and Nawal Zakee (Y9), students of SL School Muscat more..