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Police Commission triggers questions over its independence

Feb 3 (Island) The promotion of six police officers involved in detecting the country’s biggest cash bribe has raised serious questions of probity and the President’s role in the Police Commission which is expected to be an independent institution. National Police Commission (NPC) wrote an unusual letter to IGP Pujith Jayasundara last week saying that President Sirisena approved the reward promotions, a move that shocked police hq. more..

Heartburn for former heart-throb Mahanama

Feb 3 (SO) Former SL captain and ex-ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama feels that there should be a balance in the number of matches a school team has to play during a season if the quality of the game is to be maintained. “I agree that we need to give more opportunities to outstation teams. But that should not be done at the expense of quality,” Mahanama said. Observer-Mobitel Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year is more..

Holding PC polls: Prez to seek SC opinion

Feb 3 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on holding the Provincial Council (PC) elections according to the previous system (Provincial Council Act No. 2 of 1988), a source close to the President said. President has decided to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on holding the PC election on the previous system, according to the Clause No.7 of Interpretation Ordinance, more..

Customs work-to-rule delays Rs 11 b revenue

Feb 3 (SO) The work-to-rule launched by SL Customs trade unions has resulted in a revenue delay of over Rs. 11 billion by yesterday evening, the Customs Department trade unions said. Protesting against the appointment of the new Customs Director General, retired Rear Admiral, Shamil Fernando, all three main trade unions at SL Customs, Custom Staff Officers’ Association, Customs Officers’ Union and more..

Mannar mass grave: Age of skeletal remains in two weeks

Feb 3 (SO) The age determination results of the sample skeletal remains excavated from the Mannar mass grave are expected to be revealed in two weeks. The sample remains were handed over to Beta Analytic Inc. in Florida, US, for radiocarbon dating tests by the lead forensic investigator and JMO Dr Saminda Rajapakse on Jan 25. “I handed over several skeletal samples found from the mass grave to more..

Reconciliation, development our priority, not division of country: PM

Feb 3 (Island) While critics of the govt have accused it of trying to divide the country by introducing a new Constitution, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that his administration was focused on achieving peace and reconciliation among the various communities and economic and social development within a United Sri Lanka. Addressing a ceremony to distribute land deeds to residents of Kurunegala more..

Cops in hot water over delays and inaction in probing attack on German-owned hotel

Feb 3 (Island) The National Police Commission (NPC) has decided to pursue disciplinary action against "responsible police officers", after an investigation revealed "delays, omissions and inaction" in probing the attack on a German-owned tourist hotel at Marawila in August 2018. A key investor in SL’s tourism sector, Dr. Dietmar Doering, complained to the NPC that the Marawila police failed to conduct an impartial inquiry into more..

'Ukraine govt said they never sold any MiG 27s to Sri Lanka'

Feb 3 (Island) The following is the speech made by senior journalist Iqbal Athas at the inauguration of the SL Center for Investigative journalism. He detailed his travails over the exposure of the MiG purchase deal for the SLAF. "I am proud to be associated with today’s inauguration of the SL Centre for Investigative Journalism. I thank your Board of Governors for honouring me by inviting me to deliver the keynote address. more..

Independence, Sovereignty & Emancipation

Feb 4 (DM) If Independence Day on Feb 4 is about a deeply political moment from our past, our current political moment is characterised by deep political divisions and disarray. Ethnic polarisation as well as class, gender and caste oppression are symptomatic of the divides in our society. Furthermore, not only is our representative politics in disarray with parliament pulled in different directions, even at the helm or state power, there is a chasm between the President and the PM. more..

Sri Lanka @ 71 adrift in a chaotic world

Feb 4 (DM) Today the country celebrates its 71 anniversary of independence at a time marred by internal political divisions and heading towards decisive elections which may yet not fix most of our system of governance that has metastasized, with the only hope of a complete makeover which is unimaginable at the current conjuncture. This column will focus on the greater challenges of a global system which is finally showing the symptoms of terminal decline that is bringing significant more..

Bonhomie among politicos at wedding draws mixed reactions

Feb 4 (SO) After political polarisation reached fever pitch during the-51-day political crisis late last year, images of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the man who usurped the office he held on Oct 26, 2018, former Prez Rajapaksa making nice at a wedding recently became the talk of the town. Former Prez’s youngest son Rohitha tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend, Tatyana Lee, at an idyllic function in Weeraketiya on Jan 24. more..

February 4: Independence Day to the Sinhalese & A Black Day to the Tamils

Feb 4 (CT) Sri Lanka has completed a postcolonial era of 70 years, after being freed from the fetters of the colonial rule and she is currently entering the 71st year. We Sri Lankans, who incessantly boast about SL’s achievement of independence are not in the least interested to recall the history of the past 71 years, during which the foundation had been laid for the never-ending ethnic conflict. It is, in fact, very unfortunate to note that the same day, which is the day of independence to more..


Feb 4 (Island) The lines snaked their way past and around the calm Buddha, who in Chinese before Tamil, greeted one to SL. The visa on arrival counter was clearly marked by a throng of very tired looking foreigners, some with families seated on the floor, because there’s no seating in that area. A man, magically and out of nowhere, appeared behind me, placing himself in front of a foreign couple without so much as a glance or apology. I introduced him to the concept of a line and the virtue of patience, more..

Disconnect between Parliament and People: A recipe for disaster

Feb 4 (Island) If the gulf between the people and Parliament widens, democracy in peril. It is not only in my Fair Isle that this disconnect is putting democracy under a cloud. This state of affairs was evident in the mother of parliaments recently when those who voted for Brexit were duped by the political class in Parliament who refused to deliver. Voters in Paris protest in the streets, wearing yellow vests while in the rarefied atmosphere of more..

Justice and people

Feb 4 (Island) In a democracy each one of the people is recognized as equal to any other in human dignity and therefore has equal honour and respect as citizens. One person could, through reason or reasonable attraction, persuade another to be of the same mind with him; if it is a just, upright and an inspiring mind, so much the better. Persuasion cannot be forced despotically on anyone by anyone else. Megalomaniacs often resort to trickery to create opinions favourable to themselves. more..

Edtorial: Independence and skullduggery

Feb 4 (Island) Independence Day is time for sober reflection. Considerable progress has been made in some sectors, such as education and health, since 1948 though much more remains to be done. Sadly, the same cannot be said of the others; the national economy is heavily dependent on foreign aid, and politics stinks to high heaven. The weakening of the rupee since 1948, bears testimony to the country’s poor economic performance over the last seven decades or so, under successive govts. more..

දුශිතයින්ගෙන් කීර්තිමත් රාජ්ය නිලධාරිනිය බේරා ගමු

Swarnamali recounts reading solidarity message at first Independence comm.

Feb 4 (Island) The day was Feb 4, 1949, the first commemoration of Independence at the Torrington Square. With synchronised grace, four athletes - Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher - handed over scrolls of solidarity from the four corners of Ceylon to four charming and self-conscious young ladies. Swarnamali Amarasuriya, Sirimani Ramachandran, Ayesha Zally and Phyllis de Kretser read those messages in their respective languages and handed them over to PM D.S. Senanayake to be more..

John Keells Group revenue increased by17%, profit to equity holders up by 7%

Feb 4 (Island) The revenue at Rs.36.55 billion for the third quarter of the financial year 2018/19 is a 17 per cent increase over the Rs.31.22 billion recorded in the previous financial year, a press release issued by John Keells Holdings (JKH) stated. The cumulative revenue for the first nine months of the financial year 2018/19 at Rs.99.28 billion is an increase of 13 per cent over the revenue of Rs.87.66 billion recorded in the same period of the previous financial year. more..

Solid food manufacturers to adopt colour coding

Feb 4 (CT) Confectioners and manufacturers of solid food items have pledged their support to back Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s bid to battle Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by implementing the colour coding system from 1 April. Producers of biscuits, baked goods and other solid foods had met the Minister Friday to discuss the issue and pledge their support. It had also been decided that the Ministry would collaborate more..

Sledging at its best in Canberra

Feb 4 (Island) Banter was at its best yesterday at the Manuka Oval during day three of the second Test match between Australia and SL. Since the Phil Hughes death after being struck by a bouncer during a Sheffield Shield match, head injuries are taken very seriously here in Australia but captain Tim Paine didn’t mind giving it to Dimuth Karunaratne. The SL opener who suffered concussion after being hit by a hostile Pat Cummins delivery on day two had to be rushed to the hospital. more..

Ninety Percent of Bars owned by Politicos

Feb 4 (CT) The above, an actual caption of an article that appeared on January 29 on the online version of the Daily Mirror. Reading the piece I couldn’t but feel a kind of irritability if not a spontaneous reaction of ill-feeling, perhaps a bout of bitter nausea. What has politics come to in this country? Distribution of liquor licenses and ownership of bars revolving round politicos? The most feculent precedent a governing administration can ever set. more..

Facebook party raided: 90 arrested with narcotics

Feb 4 (Island) The police, yesterday, arrested 90 people, including six women, with narcotics, in Hingurakgoda, at a party organised via Facebook. The party had been held in a local hotel at Hingurakgoda. The police seized Methamphetamine (Ice Meth), Opium, Kerala cannabis from the possession of the suspects. The suspects were of 19, 20, 25, 30, 35, 45 years of age. They were from Colombo, Dehiwela, more..

SLNS Sayurala leaves for Pakistan to take part in AMAN 2019

Feb 4 (SLN) Sri Lanka Naval Ship Sayurala left for Pakistan from the Colombo harbour today (2) to take part in the Naval Exercise AMAN 2019, the biennial exercise hosted by the Pakistan Navy. A customary farewell was given to the departing ship, in compliance with naval traditions. Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and Director General Operations, Rear Admiral Niraja Attygalle were also present on this occasion. more..

In dependence: Are we really free?

Feb 4 (FT) Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) became free from British colonial rule on 4 Feb 1948. Many opine that ours was more of an after effect of independence granted to India rather than a consequence of a struggle for independence. Be that as it may, we celebrate our 71st year of independence on 4 Feb 2019. Are we free of communal disharmony? Are we free from discrimination? Are we free from gender inequality? Are we free from poverty? more..

President pushes agrarianism

Feb 4 (EN) President Sirisena called to build an economy based on agriculture as the island commemorated gaining independence from the last Empire it was part of. "We are a people who established our own national identity from the beginning," Prez said in a statement. "Therefore on this auspicious occasion, I would like to emphasize that the time has come to build the economy of our country on the foundation of agriculture." more..

T20: SA Women beat Sri Lanka by 2 wickets

Feb 4 (CI) South Africa sealed the T20I series against Sri Lanka with a tight two-wicket win at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Sune Luus' 5 for 14 helped to bowl Sri Lanka out for 105 but South Africa stumbled through the latter stages of their own chase to find themselves 97 for 8. But the hosts held their nerve, with no. 6 Nadine de Klerk guiding the team home with an unbeaten 15. Captain Dane van Niekerk had once again set South Africa off to a rapid start, cutting and driving more..

Independence Message of the PM

Feb 4 (DN) Celebrating independence does not necessarily mean that it has been entirely achieved to the true sense of the word, states PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in a National Independece Day message. The message: Independence is fully realised only when all human beings in a nation achieve a state of environmental, economic, political, social and spiritual coexistence. This demands an organised programme and collective sacrifice. more..

Power Mafia: Power Ministry, PUCSL lock horns over emergency power purchases

Feb 4 (Island) A Power and Energy Ministry decision to call tenders for emergency power purchasing without approval from the Public Utilities Commission SL (PUCSL) amounts to violation of provisions of the Electricity Act, Chairman of PUCSL Saliya Mathew says. The ministry has called for bids to purchase 100MW of emergency power, terming it supplementary power, without obtaining prior approval from PUCSL. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom outsourcing faulted by parliament oversight committee

Feb 4 (EN) A parliamentary oversight committee has criticised Sri Lanka Telecom, the island’s main fixed line operator, for outsourcing services despite having a surplus of employees. The parliament COPE has rejected SLT’s explanation that outsourcing was resorted to, to prevent the collapse of consumer services during strikes. “(The) committee was of the opinion that such claims were not plausible,” said the COPE report the third session of the eighth Parliament. more..

Video: Mother confesses to murder of missing 4-year-old in Saliyawewa

Feb 4 (AD) Following the mother’s confession on the disappearance of the four-year-old girl in Saliyawewa, several teams of Navy and Police divers have commenced search operations in the Kala Oya in search of the child’s body. A 4-year-old girl from Neelabemma village in Salliyawewa, which borders Wilpattu National Park, was reported missing since 30th Jan. Police along with other security forces carried out search operations surrounding areas and within the Wilpattu more..

රේගු අධ්යක්ෂ ජනරාල්වරිය මාරු කරන්නෙ ...

545 inmates to receive Presidential Pardon

Feb 4 (NR) 545 prison inmates will be granted Presidential Pardon today in lieu of the 71st Independence Day. President Maithripala Sirisena approved the release of inmates issued prison sentences for minor offences. However Upuldeniya stated only 518 persons of the 545 inmates granted Presidential Pardon will be released from prisons tomorrow. The other 27 inmates will remain imprisoned as the offences they are charged with are severe. more..

Three Forces to fight Sena Caterpillar

Feb 4 (DM) Govt was planning to get the assistance of the three Armed Forces to eradicate the Sena Caterpillar menace, Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said. He reminded that the assistance of the Armed Forces had been useful in controlling the dengue epidemic as well. He said that the most affected area by the Sena caterpillar was Moneragala District, where 12,000 out of 52,000 hectares of maize cultivation had been destroyed due to the Fall Armyworm which is also called more..

No Presidential pardon for Gnanasara Thera

Feb 4 (CT) The much talked about prisoner, the General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera’s name is not included in the list of the prisoners who are to be pardoned today to mark Sri Lanka’s 71st National Day. According to Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms Thalatha Atukorale, President Maithripala Sirisena has pardoned 545 inmates of various prisons across the country. more..

Independence Message of the President

Feb 4 (DN) Sri Lanka, which had been under the British rule for 133 years gained independence on Feb 4th 1948. Each year, this day is celebrated with glory. Our prime objective should be to collectively commit ourselves to achieve the true meaning of the freedom we obtained with a new vision and renewed vigour, states Prez Sirisena in a National Independence Day message. The message: “Having gained independence from imperialist rulers, as a nation we expected a political more..

Be honest and tell you want more Ministers: MR

Feb 4 (DM) Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa called on the Govt to be honest and say that that it wanted to increase the number of Ministers without hoodwinking the people by talking about a National Govt. The former President who visited the Dalada Maligawa and the Malwatte and Asgiriya temples in Kandy told the media after these visits that the leaders of the Govt who trumpeted to limit the number of Ministers to 30 now attempt to increase the number according to their wishes. more..

Parliament Mafia: National Govt to unify all parties for development: Kiriella

Feb 4 (FT) Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella defended his party’s decision to form a national govt, insisting it was an effort to unify all parties focused on developing the country, strengthening democracy, and upholding the sovereignty of the people. He said establishing a national govt would give the opportunity for all parties that believe in fast-tracking development, fighting extremism, strengthening democracy more..

Four Maldivian drone operators arrested

Feb 4 (Island) Four Maldivians who had been videotaping restricted areas of the BIA, using a drone, were arrested on Saturday night by the Katana Police. The suspects had operated the drone from Daminnagahawatte, Katana. The suspects aged between 19 and 23 were to be produced before the Negombo magistrate Court. According to regulations on drone operations, one cannot fly drones over public gatherings, assemblies of people, or congested areas without permission from more..

Foreign reserves bleed by US$120.44 million

Feb 4 (CT) The country’s foreign reserves were punctured by US$ 120.44 million (Rs 21,613 million) on Friday due to Govt of Sri Lanka’s (GoSL’s) foreign debt servicing commitments. Further, GoSL’s face value money printing liabilities increased by 2.99% (Rs 8,659 million) to Rs 298,200.86 million; market’s net shortfall by 12.56% (Rs 12,954 million) to Rs 116,118 million and GoSL’s MP borrowing costs by 0.08% (Rs 8.75 million) to Rs 10,921.48 million, Friday over Thursday. more..