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Regaining paradise with Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Feb 27 (SO) The beautification of Gotabaya Rajapaksa is on full throttle. The names of his front organisations are indicative of the guise he intends to adopt as a presidential contender: Light (Eliya) and Intellectual Path (Viyath Maga). In a recent interview, he is photographed with a laden bookshelf forming the background – the erudite leader ready to guide the country towards light along intellectual path. more..

The case for the Counter Terrorism Bill

Feb 27 (SO) I was just a toddler when a little-known militant group, the LTTE, issued a communique on April 25, 1978, boasting of having assassinated nearly a dozen predominantly Tamil political leaders and police officers, including the Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappah. As sectarian violence in the North continued to escalate, President Jayewardene and his Cabinet, in which my father served as Maheweli Development Minister, realized that the existing criminal laws were not up to the task of more..

Edtorial: Whistleblowers in danger

Feb 27 (Island) An attempt by the Treasury bond racketeers to exact revenge on the whistleblowers for having exposed them has failed. They tried to drag some Central Bank (CB) officials who testified against them, into the mire they find themselves in. The Attorney General’s Department has stood in their way. The argument that some CB officials should have prevented the then CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran from doing what he did is ludicrous, to say the least, in that the head of any more..

Sujeewa Senasinghe

Colvin: Supreme stateman, revolutionary and legal luminary

Feb 27 (CT) A meeting to mark the 30th Death Anniversary of Dr. Colvin R. de Silva will be held in the Agalawatte constituency that he represented in Parliament as a Minister, at 2 p.m. on 3 March 2019 at the Walallawita Pradeshiya Sabha Grounds. Among the speakers will be Mohan Samaranayake, Dinesh Gunawardena, Tissa Vitarana, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and D.E.W. Gunasekara. He is without a doubt one of the greatest intellectuals and political leaders in the history of Sri Lanka, more..

Rohan Karr to lead Dhammika Perera’s leisure business

Feb 27 (FT) Veteran and successful hotelier Rohan Karr is leaving the Cinnamon brand he built and joining business leader Dhammika Perera to lead the latter’s leisure sector. Rohan’s exit was announced yesterday and he will be joining the Board of diversified blue chip Hayleys Plc as an Executive Director as well as the Managing Director of leisure, hotels, travels and tours, from 1 June. He is expected to oversee the Hayleys aviation business as well later on. more..

Suicide among youth: What drives them to take their lives?

Feb 27 (SO) It is no secret that suicide is a major issue in Sri Lanka. Many efforts are made to reduce the rate of suicide in this island. However, a lack of understanding of the factors/reasons that compel people to embrace this as ultimate solution (regardless of the stigma and taboo it entails), together with a lack of data and research on the extent of the problem, has kept the problem unsolved. more..

Of President’s comments on CC and HRCSL

Feb 27 (Island) Prez Sirisena’s comments on the Constitutional Council (CC) and the Human Rights Commission of SL have elicited both supportive and negative responses from several quarters. This note is not on whether the President had grounds to say what he did or not. Instead, it is to set the record straight as far as the two institutions are concerned. In addition, since the CC and its offshoots, the Independent commissions, have been hailed as major achievements in support of more..

Eshan Pieris wins F3 Race in Malaysia

Feb 27 (Island) Eshan Pieris once again did Sri Lanka proud winning the final race in the inaugural Asian Winter Series (AWS) held this weekend at the Sepang International Circuit Malaysia. The win was even more impressive given that this was Eshan’s first season in the F3 category. Driving for Absolute Racing, Eshan got off to a great start qualifying second for the first race of the weekend. He kept up this great run by posting the fifth best time in the second qualifying session. more..

Batting Coach applauds Oshada Fernando’s adaptability

Feb 27 (Island) The adaptability of Oshada Fernando, who together with Kusal Mendis pulled off a stunning run chase in the second Test against South Africa here in Port Elizabeth, has impressed Batting Coach Jon Lewis. On Saturday, South Africa were going all out to maintain their unbeaten record at home against Asian nations, having gone into the second Test with a 0-1 deficit. As for SL, chasing a target of 197 more..

85th Battle of the Saints: Teams equally balanced, keen tussle on the cards

Feb 27 (ST) All roads for the young and old boys of the two premier Catholic schools in Colombo–St. Joseph’s and St. Peter’s will lead to the P. Sara Stadium as their two teams march on to the cricket field for annual Battle of the Saints encounter which is the 85th in the series on March 1 and 2. From the 84 encounters fought out for the Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc Memorial Trophy that have been played so far the Josephians lead the series with 12 wins with their last win being in 2008 more..

90th Battle of the Maroons: If history has its way then a draw seems inevitable

Feb 27 (ST) With a chain of drawn games in the background, the 90th Battle of the Maroons annual cricket encounter between Ananda and Nalanda will take place at the SSC Grounds next Saturday (2) and Sunday (3). Ananda’s last victory was in 2003, under the captaincy of Duminda Kularatne, while Nalanda tasted the sweetness of victory way back in 1953, the famous last ball, last man in and last run encounter. Nalanda was led by W. Wimalaratne Silva. more..

Video: Armoury of Southern Province SIU sealed over Rathgama murders

Feb 27 (AD) The armoury of the Southern Province Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has been sealed over the abduction and murder of the two businessmen in Rathgama area. SP Gayanga Marapana of Matara police division, stated that two police officers of Matara police station have been assigned for 24-hour special security of the sealed armoury. It was reported that no information on the use of firearms for more..

Dialog Finance seeks fin-tech tie up

Feb 27 (EN) Dialog Finance, the fin-tech unit of SL’s top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata, said it aims to partner with a digital finance service provider or a fin-tech expert to expand its fin-tech business. The intention f the finance company, formerly known as Colombo Trust Finance, was made known in a note to shareholders on its rights issue. Dialog Finance will make a rights issue of 19 million shares at 40 rupees each to raise 764 million rupees to increase its core capital more..

Bank can auction Bandula’s property: Court

Feb 27 (Island) Colombo Commercial High Court, yesterday, stated that Pan Asia Bank could publicly auction property owned by MP and former Minister Bandula Gunawardane at Jambugasmulla Road, Nugegoda if he did not pay back a bank loan and an overdraft, to the tune of Rs. 12 million. Pan Asia Bank has informed the Colombo Commercial High Court that Gunawardane and Alpha Digital (Pvt.) Ltd obtained loans and overdrafts from the bank, over a period of time. more..

Sri Lanka asks IMF for 1-yr loan extension, relax tight spending targets

Feb 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has asked the IMF to extend a $1.5 billion loan by another year and relax its tight spending targets ahead of key elections, two govt sources close to the negotiations told Reuters. The loan is crucial for Sri Lanka, which plans to sell up to $3 billion of bonds as early as next week and needs the IMF programme to continue to ensure more attractive borrowing terms. The global lender delayed discussions on more..

ODI side needs to ride on historic Test success

Feb 27 (DN) Whilst hailing the heroic exploits of our cricketers in sweeping the two-Test series 2-0 and creating history as the first Asian country to win a Test series in the rainbow nation, now it is upto the one-day team led by experienced campaigner Lasith Malinga to ride on that victory and secure a series win for Sri Lanka ahead of the upcoming World Cup. The one-day series starting on March 3 is important for both teams. South Africa smarting under a shock Test series defeat more..

Supreme Court overrules CPC preliminary objections

Feb 27 (FT) Justice Murdhu Fernando P.C. of the Supreme Court overruled the preliminary objection raised by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), that the Fundamental Rights application challenging the arbitrary non-promotion of Petitioners by the CPC has been filed out of time. President’s Counsel for the CPC alleged that the employees have failed to come to Court within the specified 30-day period. Respondents cited several judgments of the SC, where it had held that unless more..

Indecision over power purchase leaves bidders in limbo

Feb 27 (FT) Govt indecision on supplementary power purchases to meet the projected shortfall in electricity supply during the upcoming dry season has left bidders in the dark on the progress procurement. CEB has estimated a requirement to procure 170MW to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the coming dry months, as capacity in the hydroelectricity plants have dropped to an average of 45%, more..

Shammi Silva and delegation for ICC meeting

Feb 27 (CT) A delegation headed by the President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Shammi Silva, will leave for Dubai to attend a meeting at the ICC on 3 March. The newly appointed committee attends this meeting with several agendas to be addressed at the ICC: With SL currently in an observer status, after things fell into total disarray with the sidelining of the previous committee. The 9-month interim period has also pushed the progress of SLC like a rudderless boat without any strategic planning. more..

Expert coaching assistance for export SMEs

Feb 27 (Island) The International Trade Centre (ITC) headquartered in Geneva is currently implementing the EU–SL Trade-Related Assistance Project, which aims to increase the trade competitiveness of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) in regional and European Union (EU) markets. This 4-year EU-funded project supports improvement of SME export competitiveness and value addition in sectors with high potential for economic growth and development. more..

'Decided to accept ban for love of cricket'

Feb 27 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya insisted he had not engaged in any corrupt activity but chose to accept the two-year ban imposed on him by the ICC's anti-corruption unit because of his love for the game. The former Sri Lankan captain was banned for failing to co-operate with the ACU, a charge that was laid on him last October when he wouldn't hand over his mobile devices when he was asked for them. more..

Central Bank Bond scam 4 Years old today

Feb 27 (CT) With the alleged CB Treasury Bond scam completing four years today, the NFF is planning to hold a protest at 10 a.m. in front of the CBSL. Meanwhile, the JVP’s private sector trade union wing, the Inter -Company Employees’ Union, will hold a separate protest, in front of the Presidential Secretariat today afternoon at 3 p.m., demanding the release of the report of the Presidential Commission, which inquired and investigated the issuance of Treasury Bonds. more..

Veteran journalist Jayatilleke de Silva passes away

Feb 27 (Island) Veteran journalist, author, academic and educationist Jayatilleke de Silva (80) passed away yesterday after a brief illness. He was a former Chief Editor of the Daily News and Sunday Observer. Born in Ambalangoda in 1938, De Silva graduated from the Uni of Colombo. He entered the teaching profession and later became the Principal of the Deniyaya Central College. He then left teaching to pursue a full-time career in politics from the SL Communist Party and more..

Inordinate delay in debate on bond scams report: DEW slams parliament

Feb 27 (Island) General Secretary of the Communist Party D.E.W. Gunasekera, yesterday, said that Parliament’s failure to debate the PCoI report on treasury bond scams perpetrated in Feb 2015 and March 2016 couldn’t be justified under any circumstances. Prez Sirisena appointed a three-member commission, headed by SC judge K.T. Chitrasiri in January 2017 about seven months after he replaced Singaporean Arjuna Mahendran more..

Increasing exports can improve jobs, raise wages: WB / ILO report

Feb 27 (DN) Increasing exports can lead to better jobs and higher wages in Sri Lanka, including more formal jobs for women. Labor market policies can help different groups of workers to acquire the right skills and to ensure that the gains of more exports are shared more broadly across society. A new report, Exports to Jobs: Boosting the Gains from Trade in South Asia, launched yesterday in Colombo, shows that increasing exports would boost average wages. more..

Mobile laboratory to test drinking water quality

Feb 27 (FT) A World Bank funded, fully equipped water testing mobile laboratory, at a cost of 25 million has been handed over to the Department of National Community Water Supply, in the presence of Minister Rauff Hakeem on Friday, at its office in Thalawathugoda. The services of the mobile unit would be provided to all the districts on necessity and priority. This mobile laboratory has also been designed to carry out testing whenever natural disasters occurs in any part of the island. more..

SLPP tears into govt over new Counter Terrorism Bill

Feb 27 (Island) SLPP Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris, alleged that the proposed Counter Terrorism Bill would encourage those still pursuing a separatist agenda. Instead of countering the threat of terrorism, it would definitely facilitate the terrorism project, he said. Prof. Peiris regretted that the incumbent govt was purposely undermining national security. he said that the proposed Counter Terrorism Bill was being introduced in place of PTA more..

Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Defence ministry still to submit observations

Feb 27 (DM) The Defence Ministry, which comes under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena has further delayed its observations on the proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presented a Cabinet memorandum two weeks ago to set up such a mechanism with no criminal liability arising from any confessions made at the commission. The memorandum was deferred when the President sought time for the Defence Ministry to make its observations. more..

13 MPs mum in 2018

Feb 27 (DN) Thirteen MPs had not spoken during Parliamentary debates last year, a statistical analysis revealed. Twelve out of the thirteen MPs belonged to the UPFA. UNP MP Wasantha Senanayake is also in the list. The 12 UPFA MPs are Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Indika Bandaranayake, Tharanath Basnayake, Lakshman Seneviratne, Lakshman Wasantha Perera, Angajan Ramanathan, Lohan Ratwatte, Siripala Gamlath, Janaka Bandara Thennakoon, Arumugam Thondaman, more..

ETI deal likely to be scrapped

Feb 27 (CT) Prez Sirisena, at National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, blasted those involved in the selling of companies, belonging to EAP Holdings, for not conducting the transaction in a transparent manner and for failing to do any analysis in a proper manner. Prez also noted that it is not clear whether all three companies, which forwarded their applications to bid for the purchase of companies, under EAP, were given equal opportunities more..

Chained jumbos a tourist eyesore

Feb 27 (DM) Sri Lanka, which came under the spotlight for its human atrocities during the civil war, is now accused of being cruel to elephants. Opposition to how Sri Lanka treats domesticated elephants was aired in British Parliament by MP Dr. Rupa Hue recently. The MP wants the British Govt to take steps to discourage his countrymen from visiting Sri Lanka. There is a famous saying There is no smoke without fire. Sri Lanka does have a problem with elephants and more..

Cricket in the time of tweetstorms

Feb 27 (DM) Kusal Mendis is the prototype for a national cricket star in the making in the age of social media. When Mendis, the diminutive designated flag-bearer of the national cricket team hits the sweet spot, social media goes into top gear. When he fails, which he has shown the penchant of doing as often as he has smashed everything around in disdain, social media is on hyper-drive. Social media impact on the young cricketer is evident. “He was really feeling the pressure, more..

‘SLFP should take a hard and fast position’

Feb 27 (DM) UPFA MP Thilanga Sumathipala, airs his views on the present political scene. He spells out the SLFP policy on the presidential candidate. Sumathipala was in the core group of SLFP politicians who tried to form a new govt on October 26, 2018. Q: What is your assessment of the current political situation in the country? A: As far as the political stability of the country is concerned, it is destabilised. more..

Don’t let love disappear

Feb 27 (DM) W.P. Ariyasena was last seen on the evening of Dec 12, 1989. Caught between the violence of two forces of the Govt and rebels, Ariyasena was one among hundreds who never returned home during the reign of terror. “He left for the town, during the curfew, to bring home a bag of rice. He only wanted to feed our children. That was the last time I saw my husband” his wife, Charlotte Mangalika recalled. more..

Campaign against narcotics: Saudi religious leader pledges support

Feb 27 (Island) A visiting religious dignitary from Saudi Arabia, said here that peaceful co-existence with other communities was essential for the development of a nation. Dr Ahmed Hamad Jilan, Advisor, East Asian Nations for Muslim World League (MWL) in Makkah, was speaking to the press following his meeting with the Western Province Governor Azath Salley at the Governor’s office on Monday evening. more..

Foreign nationals attempt to smuggle rare insects foiled

Feb 27 (ST) Two Chinese nationals who were arrested while trying to smuggle 14 insects out of the Horton Plains National Park, were again remanded till 7 March, by the Nuwara Eliya Magistrate Pamoda Jayasekara. The suspects were identified as Hu Wei (33) and Yuan Lingfeng (30). They were arrested within the Horton Plains National Park on Feb 18 after Park Warden received a complaint that two Chinese nationals were more..

Bengal tigers now in Hambantota

Feb 27 (CT) Bengal Tiger Enclosure at the Safari Park, Hambantota, was opened by Minister John Amaratunga a few days ago. This Bengal Tiger Enclosure consists of nine acres and is the first zone to be opened at the Safari Park under Phase II of the project. “At present there are six Bengal Tigers, in the enclosure, of which three are male. Another male Bengal Tiger will be brought from Zoological Gardens Dehiwala in a few more..

SL to commence genetic bar-coding of plants

Feb 27 (CT) University of Sri J'pura (USJP) in collaboration with the National Sun Yat-sen Uni in Taiwan is to start the genetic bar-coding of herbal medicinal plants in Sri Lanka to authenticate these plants, said Professor Ranil de Silva of Faculty of Medical Sciences at USJP. He said discussions have already been had with Minister Rajitha Senaratne and that the latter’s response to this endeavour has been positive. more..

Free visa for tourists from selected countries

Feb 27 (AD) Sri Lanka plans to issue free visa for several selected countries in a bid to attract tourists while this proposal has received Cabinet approval. The govt says that it has been observed that there is a significant drop in tourist arrivals during the period from April to October compared to other months of the year. However, SL is planning on attracting more Buddhist tourists as there are a host of religious & cultural events more..