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National freedom derives from Govt

Feb 3 (SO) Tomorrow, the modern SL nation completes seventy one years of statehood. As we proudly pause at attention for the anthem, we have a moment to reflect on the state of our nationhood. Since the arrival of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe National Govt in Jan 2015 and that first hope-filled Independence Day a few weeks later, how far has our national community journeyed in our pursuit of happiness? Political leaders of various ilk may wax eloquent about civilization and more..

Presidency Stakes

Feb 3 (CT) The Presidency candidacy stakes within the SLFP is similar to the Premier Stakes in the country 67 years ago, in 1952, after UNP Leader and Premier D.S. Senanayake, riding his horse at Galle Face, had a heart attack and died. The tussle for the Premiership was among the Leader of the House Sir John Kotelawala, D.S. Senanayake’s son, Agriculture Minister Dudley and Finance Minister J.R. Jayewardene. Dudley won the day. Applying it to current context, is SLFP’s Prez candidate more..

‘I hear the cries of Northern Tamils in their own language’

Feb 3 (SO) Dr. Suren Raghawan, the first ever Northern Province Tamil Governor, spells out his aims and objectives to serve the people in the region and build bridges not only to send the farming produce from the North over to the South, but bring together the youth of our divided nation. Q: You were appointed Northern Province Governor by the President 22 days ago, have you set your priorities and a team to execute your mandate? more..

PC Elections: How President Sirisena can break the deadlock

Feb 3 (Island) The provincial council elections or rather the lack of it has now become one of the main topics of discussion on the political platform. Last week, The Chairman of the Elections Commission declared that if the long delayed provincial council elections are not held before the next presidential election, he will resign from the Chairmanship of the Elections Commission. He stopped short of saying that he will resign from the Elections Commission altogether. more..

Independence Day: Work for one nation, not one party

Feb 3 (ST) There’s never a dearth of quibbling over nomenclatures – whether SL should be an Ekeeya Raajya — a Unitary State, or Orumithta Nadu, or whether tomorrow should be Independence Day, Freedom Day or National Day. Call it what one may, it is the day the nation celebrates the 71st year of regaining its freedom from 450 years of foreign rule. It is clearly a day to rejoice while remembering and reflecting on the great sacrifices made by the countless forebears of those alive today, more..

'I want to cut the Gordian knot in the Election system'

Feb 3 (CT) Chairman of Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya who gave the Govt an ultimatum to hold the Provincial Council (PC) Elections by August this year, says he will not even consider the Presidential Election prior to PC Elections and that he would step down. “These two elections should be held before December 2019 because according to the Elections Calendar, it’s PC Elections first followed by Prez Election,” more..

The Eran report

Feb 3 (Island) State Ministe Eran Wickremaratne was not expressing rocket science when he said last week that State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) need independent governance and fit and proper persons appointed to run them. He has also recommended linking with a strategic partner, preferably non-competitive, to bring SriLankan Airlines into which tax money of the Lankan people have long been poured as if into a bottomless pit. The national carrier has been searching for long for such more..

Rendezvous with tea

Feb 3 (ST) It was just two years ago that Sri Lanka celebrated the 150th year of tea after Scotsman James Taylor planted the first tea seedlings at Loolecondera estate in Galaha in 1867. There were year-long celebrations to mark the event, here and abroad. So tomorrow, when the country marks the 71st year of independence from British colonial rule, have workers on the plantations won their own independence from the current masters of the estates? These thoughts lingered on my mind more..


When those who should stay leave, and those who should leave, stay

Feb 3 (ST) My Dear Maco Mahinda, I thought I will write to you when I heard that you wanted to resign if provincial councils elections are not held by November this year. Although I am not sure why you said so, I was happy that at least someone has the courage to say they will resign if they can’t do what they are supposed to do. I am not sure whether you really wanted to resign, Mahinda, because the deadline you have set is in November and we all know that by then, not only elections for more..

Dimuth Karunaratne cleared to bat again after being discharged from hospital

Feb 3 (CI) Dimuth Karunaratne has been cleared to bat again after the fierce blow to the back of his head from a Pat Cummins short delivery which saw him stretchered off the field on the second day in Canberra and taken to hospital. Following assessments he was released on Saturday evening and then came through a concussion test before play resumed on Sunday.* "Dimuth will be at the ground and SLC has cleared him to bat. They have said said there are no concussion issues," more..

Did SLFP jump the gun by approving Maithri as Presidential candidate?

Feb 3 (CT) The proposal was read out by Dissanayake in the presence of the General Secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekara and Senior Vice Chairman Nimal Siripala de Silva and was seconded by former MP, Tissa Karalliyadde. Those who were present, at the electoral balamandala reorganising Convention, raised their hands in approval. Sirisena, who is the Seventh Executive President of Sri Lanka, came to power in Jan 2015, more..

Team environment awash with dirty linen

Feb 3 (CT) SL’s cricket team is divided; it has many factions; five seniors are vying to grab the captaincy for the World Cup; the coach is overpaid and is a Hitler. These are some of the internal sentiments associated with the current SL team at present. Whilst no one can verify these statements as the true goings on, on the field of play where the defeats have been embarrassing and some off the field happenings smacking of scandal haven’t exactly contributed to wellbeing of the team either. more..

Aiming for Andes heights

Feb 3 (ST) High-altitude training at sea level is not for the easily embarrassed. For the past few weeks, daybreak sees Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries rise and gather their gear before they head to the beach or to a park. Endurance training has them pitting their strength against the high waves or lifting 20-kg weights in each hand while wearing contraptions that stretch over most of their faces, leaving only their eyes peering out at you. No one can resist a double-take. more..

'SLC constitution will be changed'

Feb 3 (Island) Sports Minister Harin Fernando currently in Canberra watching the second Test between SL and Australia has confirmed that the constitution of SLC will undergo major changes shortly. Fernando admitted that there are too many votes at present to chose officials who will run the sport. "There is a good case study done by the Sidath Wettimuny committee and some of our respected former captains like Kumar more..

Rajapaksa hits 268 in 173 balls

Feb 3 (CT) Bhanuka Rajapaksa finally lived up to expectations when scoring a breathtaking double century for Burgher Recreation Club against SL Ports Authority Cricket Club in their Plate Championship game at Moors Sports Club Grounds yesterday. Rajapaksa made 268 runs in just 173 balls scoring one of the most remarkable innings of the season including 22 boundaries and 19 sixes as Ports Authority simply had no answers to his innings. more..

Rs. 6.5 billion Cinnamon Red Kandy to open by end-2020

Feb 3 (EN) Cinnamon Red Kandy, part of a hotel brand operated by John Keells Group, will open a 6.5 billion rupee lean luxury hotel in Kandy as a joint venture project by end-2020, the firm said. The opening of Cinnamon Red Kandy is set to coincide with the opening of the Colombo-Kandy highway, which would create more traffic for the hotel. "The hotel will be strategically located in proximity to the Kandy-Colombo highway and is well-positioned to cater to the demands of the new age traveller more..

Mathews ruled out of South Africa Tests; could return for ODIs

Feb 3 (ST) Angelo Mathews has been ruled out of the two-match Test series against South Africa later this month but could return for the limited over leg starting March 3. The Test series starts on February 13 in Durban. Mathews missed the limited-overs leg on the New Zealand series and the current two-match Test series in Australia after he sustained a grade two strain in his left hamstring during the second Test against NZ in December. more..

A series to savour for the Lankans gives a glimmer of hope for the passionate fans

Feb 3 (ST) During a time where the national cricket team’s struggle continues to win matches and more importantly to gel as a unit, it is heartening to see how the SL ‘A’ team performed in the recently concluded Unofficial ODI series against Ireland ‘A’. Throughout the series the SL ‘A’ batsmen scored runs consistently, which showed that they have understood their respective roles in the team. Opener Avishka Fernando has been an emerging player for SL in the last couple of years. more..

'Oct 26 political coup cost the country over Rs. 21 billion'

Feb 3 (Island) State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne, Guest of Honour at the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) AGM recently said the political coup of October 26 last year cost the country in excess of 21 billion rupees. Reflecting on current economic developments he said that considering some reparation action taken by the govt to correct the position of revenue which was 33% of GDP in 2008, this was drastically reduced to 12.6% of GDP by 2015. more..

Foolproof sticker for liquor bottles yet under review

Feb 3 (ST) The much-delayed, ambitious scheme of affixing foolproof stickers on legally manufactured liquor bottles is yet under review, following an attempt to hand over the contract to an Indian company, a top official said. The sticker system announced in the 2016 Budget was scheduled to be introduced with the view to controlling the illicit liquor circulation in the country and to control the leakages, he said. more..

Development can't be achieved by erecting cut-outs: PM

Feb 3 (DM) One should go into the field to develop the nation without depending on propaganda, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. The PM expressed this sentiment at a ceremony organized to distribute lands in Nikaweratiya last evening. “One cannot achieve development by erecting cut-outs and media campaigns. It can only be achieved by visiting the electorates,” he said. He said the govt had been able to bring about economic stability despite various difficulties. more..

Bringing down Sri Lankan UN Peacekeepers' remains delayed

Feb 3 (DM) The remains of the two SL Peacekeepers, Major H.W.D. Jayawickrama and Sergeant S.S Wijekumara, who were killed in Mali, would not be flown down to Sri Lanka on Saturday as earlier scheduled. Army Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said the process had been delayed due to flight delays. He said the flights carrying the remains of the two Peacekeepers, who were promoted posthumously from Captain and Corporal to their present ranks, would hopefully arrive more..

Development lottery luck by chance via mobile phones

Feb 3 (ST) Development Lotteries Board (DLB) is laying the tracks to build 21st century digital infrastructure to sell lottery tickets via mobile phones —just like the way it revolutionised the trade for the first time by introducing instant lottery for Sri Lankans in 1983. With DLB racking up Rs.16.5 billion in sales last year, the company is now ready to introduce a mobile application (mobile app) with the aim of increasing its lottery penetration more..

BMICH on Rs. 300 million upgrade

Feb 3 (ST) Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), country’s key conference and exhibition facility in Colombo, will undergo a Rs.300 million upgrade, its Director General Sunil Dissanayake said. He said that the money would be allocated for the upgrading of the facility including purchasing new equipment and refurbishing the centre during the course of this year. He noted that they would be replacing outdated equipment and that the entire facility will be re-carpeted. more..

Hemas opens 50th Piyawara pre-school

Feb 3 (CT) Hemas Outreach Foundation added the 50th Piyawara preschool to its national network in Siyambalewa, Anuradhapura, in support of the national agenda in developing Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) in Sri Lanka, a media release stated. Initiated in 2002, the Piyawara programme was launched in partnership with the Children’s Secretariat of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs. The programme aims to enrich the lives of underprivileged children in SL more..

Rajapaksa relative set for trial over money laundering in US

Feb 3 (EN) Former ambassador to Washington Jaliya Wickramasuriya, a close relative of former prez Rajapaksa, pleaded not guilty this week to charges of money laundering and other frauds setting the stage for a trial that is yet to be scheduled. Legal and diplomatic sources said Wickramasuriya’s date in the Washington District court coincided with a high profile case involving a former campaign adviser to Prez Trump more..

73 Indian arrested in Sri Lanka for violating visa norms

Feb 3 (PTI) 73 Indians have been arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities for violating visa norms this year, officials said on Saturday. A total of 49 Indian nationals were arrested on Saturday from a factory in Matugama, about 60 km from Colombo, the Immigration and Emigration Department officials said. They were staying beyond the visa term, they added. Last month, 24 Indians, who were employed in a factory at Ingiriya, were arrested for staying beyond their visa term, officials said. more..

Rupee appreciates 1.88% in January

Feb 3 (SO) The rupee appreciation during the past week will have a positive impact on the economy, an investment professional said. “The depreciation of the rupee was negative to the economy. Now there is a correction with regard to the over depreciation of the rupee. The over depreciation of the rupee compared with the index has come to an end, and this is a positive sign for the economy,” former President, Stock Brokers Association of Sri Lanka (SBAS), Ravi Abeysuriya said. more..

PM, top ministers to fast-track appointments

Feb 3 (ST) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will meet ruling UNF ministers today to fast-track stalled appointments to the directorates of state banks, corporations and statutory boards amidst confusion on these appointments in the wake of a Presidential directive for a Vetting Committee to certify the suitability of the nominees. More than a month after the Cabinet of Ministers was re-appointed following the post-Oct 26 more..

15 Facebook users hit by ransom demands

Feb 3 (DM) Computer Emergency Readiness Team and Coordination Centre (CERT|CC) had received complaints with regard to 15 incidents where ransoms were demanded via Facebook, Information Security Engineer Ravindu Meegasmulla said. He said people who hacked into Facebook accounts sent messages to their friends using the friend lists. “The hackers send messages to friends of the original profile owners to borrow a certain amount of money via the easy cash facility and more..

PNB officers to leave for Bangladesh

Feb 3 (DM) A team of the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) sleuths will leave for Bangladesh to question the five suspects arrested by the law enforcement officers in Bangladesh over their alleged involvement in the heroin haul seizure in SL. PNB Director T.C.A. Dhanapala said that a letter had been sent to the Police Headquarters requesting permission. Most likely three officers will leave to question the detained Bangladesh nationals, after the approval received from Foreign Ministry more..

Tamil political parties & Jaffna Uni Students reject Independence Day: It’s a Black Day

Feb 3 (CT) Former Northern Province Chief Minister C.V Wigneswaran's new political party, Tamil Makkal Koottani (TMK), has decided to give its fullest support to the Jaffna University Students Union’s protest, that is set to be staged on the 71st Independence Day, Monday. Calling it the Black Day the Students Union is gearing to hold a protests so that int'l community would hear their plea demanding justice that had been ignored. more..

Traffic snarls in Colombo: Military rehearsals called off on Friday

Feb 3 (Island) Military rehearsals at the Galle Face Green to mark SL’s 71st Independence Day were called off on Friday as the closure of a section of the Galle Road the previous day caused chaos on Colombo’s thoroughfares, with bumper-to-bumper traffic, which left motorists stranded for hours. "We canceled the rehearsals as we didn’t want to further inconvenience the public", says Brigadier Sumith Atapattu. He said the military parade at Galle Face was conducted only on Thursday morning more..

Kusal Perera forced to retire hurt after bounce blow

Feb 3 (CI) A day after Dimuth Karunaratne was stretchered off, Kusal Perera was also forced to retire hurt after sustaining a nasty blow to the side of the helmet in Canberra. Batting on 27 in the 53rd over, Kusal took his eyes off a Jhye Richardson bouncer, and essentially ducked into it - the ball hitting him flush on the side of the helmet, next to his right ear. Although Kusal remained upright, the side protector on his helmet disintegrated due to the force of the blow, and more..

No SLPP backing for Sirisena as presidential candidate

Feb 3 (ST) The prospects for President Maithripala Sirisena to become the joint candidate of SLFP and SLPP at this year’s presidential elections have faded. Even the chance that existed for a tie-up of the two sides in an electoral alliance evaporated this week. Ironic enough, that was even before Prez Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, the de facto leader of the SLPP were set to meet and discuss issues. more..

What millions were spent for our Caesars to be great?

Feb 3 (Island) It was Thomas Campbell who quoted What millions died that Caesar might be great. That was circa when all roads led to Rome. I plagiarized the line and modified it to give me a head start on the story I am writing. Hence we begin – what millions were spent for our Caesars to be great. A few days ago, on Jan 22 to be precise, I read something very disturbing in the Daily News and the Island. Both were reporting a senior manager of SriLankan Airlines, Sumudika Upatissa, more..

Feb 4: Sri Lanka’s moments and lapses over 71 Years

Feb 3 (Island) In Nov 2014, to mark its own eightieth anniversary, the British Council published a list of 80 greatest world moments over 80 years (1934-2014), based on a survey of 10,000 adults in ten countries in four continents (the five BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and five others – Egypt, Germany, Japan, UK and USA) and ranked by eminent experts in diverse fields from diverse countries. The list starts with the invention of the Worldwide Web in 1989 and more..

Palmyrah handicrafts empowers Vavuniya women

Feb 3 (CT) Sandarajah Nilanthi likes to tell people that the humble Palmyrah leaf took her around the world. The 41-year-old is the President of Aatral Arasi Palmyrah Crafts (AAPC), a producer group in Vavuniya. Nilanthi has represented the group at craft fairs in Pakistan in Nov 2016 and in India in Jan 2017, and their work has even been exhibited in the U.S.A. They have been recognised with several prizes, more..

Removal of Customs Chief: SLFP Gen. Sec. attacks Govt headed by his party leader

Feb 3 (ST) Gone are the days when the SLFP and UNP-led United National Front (UNF) functioned harmoniously as a Yahapalanaya or good governance govt. Now, the UNF is holding sway at governance. The SLFP, one time counterparts are fighting it out. Some want to join the UNF, either in the name of their own party or as independents. The idea is to get ministerial portfolios which go with perks and privileges. more..