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Hunt for business tycoon cum cocaine baron

June 19 (SO) Teams of CID and Narcotics sleuths are now hunting for little-known business tycoon Selvarajah Jegatheeswaran, suspect co-conspirator in last week’s billion-rupee cocaine detection, Sri Lanka’s single largest ever drug bust. At stake is the location of dozens more cargo containers believed to have slipped through the Customs net into the country possibly carrying more of the expensive illegal stimulant drug. more..

First consignment of fish handed over after the ban lifted by EU

June 19 (GDI) First consignment of fish to be exported to the European Union was handed over to the European Union Ambassador in Sri Lanka David Daly at the Dikovita Fisheries Harbor on Friday (17). The European Union lifted its ban on Sri Lankan fish exports on Thursday (16). At this occasion Ambassador Daly officially announced the lifting of the ban on Sri Lankan fish exports to the European Union. more..

Yahapalana ethics observed? Minister’s company gets contracts for Rs. 3.6 b

June 16 (ST) Has a company associated with a UNF cabinet minister been awarded contracts for two road rehabilitation projects which will cost the taxpayer Rs 3.6 billion? Insiders say the company has been under the minister’s name. Since they began bidding for projects under the present Govt, the name has been changed and overall management responsibility placed with a member of his family. Insiders reveal that more..

Shielding a corrupt friend; disregarding the country

June 16 (Island) The name in the title notwithstanding, this article is not so much about an individual as it is about the politics and propriety of public institutions and the promise of good governance. The controversy over re-appointing the current governor of the Central Bank to a full six year term seems to be dividing the govt and the parliament right down the middle, even though the division is clearly along party lines. more..

The right to communicate

June 16 (Island) Ten years ago, a leading private telecom company cut off all call and data services for hundreds of thousands of families in the North and East. There was no big outcry. There was no judicial order or review of the suspension of these services. It just happened. Mobile telephony and data services were introduced to the North after the Ceasefire Agreement in 2002. On my first visit to Jaffna on the A9 in early 2002, singed and mostly topless Palmyra trees dotted the landscape. more..

Academic passivity in the face of criminal ragging

June 16 (Island) CIMOGG has constantly emphasized that it is the duty of the State to punish, without discrimination, citizens who commit criminal offences, subject to the general principle that all relevant steps are carried out in strict accordance with the law by duly authorised institutions and agents. This view is undoubtedly supported by all law-abiding citizens. Consequently, the public cannot understand why a situation has been permitted to develop in the universities, more..

More borrowing, more taxes; Govt struggles to overcome crisis

Oct 19 (ST) One of the biggest woes for the UNF Govt appears to be the never ending saga of imposing taxes, recognising thereafter that it had affected some sections of society and amending them. It began with the budget 2016 which Minister Ravi Karunanayake introduced in Parliament in November last year. The periodic revision of his revenue proposals came mainly from President and PM. more..

STF chief threatens journalists over cocaine detection

June 19 (ST) DIG Ranjith Perera, the head of the Police Department’s commando arm, the STF, on Friday publicly threatened to punish the media in the way they (STF) dealt with the criminal underworld. “Why isn’t anything being written against the Army, Navy or the Air Force? If you write against them, they will send a team and break your hands.” he said. “ We don’t do such things,” he added. The remarks came at a news conference he had called to speak on the detection of 80 kg of cocaine more..

President appoints committee

June 19 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena, at a discussion held on 17 June, at the Presidential Secretariat, appointed a special committee to provide relief to the people who were affected by the unexpected explosion at the Armoury in Salawa, Kosgama. President advised the committee to coordinate all relief measures, until normalcy returns to the lives of the affected people. He also instructed the officials not to make circulars obstacles to the process. more..

Simmering battle in hill country

June 19 (SO) A fresh political battle is simmering in the hill country with the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), a coalition partner of the National Unity Govt, threatening to take stern political action if the govt decides to offer ministerial portfolios to Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), led by Arumugam Thondaman. Leader of the National Union of Workers (NUW) a constituent party of TPA, more..

Ranil to Media: Stop playing same old tunes

June 19 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the media should stop playing the same old tunes to the detriment of peace and development. He said "I call upon the media to stop playing the same old tunes and assist the govt in achieving its goals of reconciliation, peace and economic development." Stressing that there was no time to be wasted on irrelevant issues, he emphasized that the focus should be on improving the lives of all Sri Lankans which Rajapaksa regime had failed more..

Why TNA is increasingly critical of govt

June 19 (Hindu) TNA, till recently seen as friendly towards Colombo, is now turning increasingly critical of Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt. After R. Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah, another prominent TNA leader, M.A. Sumanthiran, has raised criticism against the govt. Mr. Sumanthiran, who was in the U.S. early this week, told the Congressional caucus on ethnic and religious freedom in SL that the initial euphoria among Tamils was now turning into disappointment. more..

CID seeks details of SF’s security personnel in Lasantha’s murder probe

June 19 (SL) Despite last minute efforts by the hierarchy of the SL Army to prevent a motion being presented by the CID to the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court with regard to the case over the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Magistrate M. Sahabdeen last week granted the motion and gave several orders to the Army holding Army Commander responsible for the cooperation of Directorate of Military Intelligence more..

Only surviving officer narrates horrifying story

June 19 (CT) It was 11 June 1990. The Poson full moon Poya had dawned. The LTTE escorted 600 Police personnel, who had surrendered to them, into the jungle. There they hacked and shot them to death. That was 26 years ago, but it is unforgettable history written in cold blood. Three Police officers miraculously escaped this massacre. Shantha Ranaweera, a resident of Galgamuwa was then a Sub Inspector at the Kalmunai Police. "It was the time of peace talks between govt & LTTE. more..

FMM condemns STF DIG’s threats

June 19 (Island) Condemning STF Commandant, DIG Ranjith Perera’s threats and intimidation aimed at journalists at a news conference he called on June 17, Free Media Movement (FMM) said the government should conduct a full-scale investigation into this incident and initiate legal action. DIG had accused the media of slinging mud at the STF while working in collusion and being in the pocket of the mafia and the underworld and that he knew how to punish such journalists, more..

That sugar coated cocaine bust

June 19 (CT) For the first time in its history, Ministry of Finance has got a Drug Raiding Unit. It was opened by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, despite the fact that there are other govt bodies empowered to carry out the task, namely, SL Customs, Excise Department, Police Narcotics Bureau, etc. Minister manned the new unit with officers from the Police Narcotics Bureau and gave them powers to monitor Customs & Excise Depts, more..

COPE report on Bond sales before June 30

June 19 (SO) Parliamentary watchdog, Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) headed by Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunetti said that a report on the Treasury Bonds issue would be finalized and handed over to Parliament before June 30. He confirmed that the Auditor General's Department was in receipt of a dossier submitted by the Central Bank which contains important information relating to the Treasury Bond Sales. "We can confirm that we have received it," he said. more..

TNA goes to Geneva

June 19 (CT) The TNA has gone to the UNHRC, this time too, to inform the UN body of their distrust of the govt they voted to power because the trusted friend is now backtracking on the promises they made to the Tamils in the country as well as the international community. In this context, the recent visit of TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran to the US to speak at a Congressional Caucus briefing, was surprising as he was assisted by SL Ambassador to the US, Prasad Kariyawasam. more..

Harvard University’s CID to diagnose Sri Lanka’s economic growth ills

June 19 (ST) The deeply-indebted SL govt has been forced to seek foreign expertise to identify the most binding constraints that hamper economic growth at this specific point of time as it is necessary for the implementation of the 4-year economic development plan which is to be unveiled soon. In this backdrop, US based Harvard University’s Center for International Development (CID) has stepped in to carry out SL’s more..

Movie on slain Lankan TV anchor in Chennai HC mediation

June 19 (TOI) The release of Tamil feature film Porkalathil Oru Poo (A Flower in Battlefield) on the alleged rape and murder of a newsreader of LTTE-controlled television in Sri Lanka is still stuck in legal quagmire and the Madras high court has sought to refer it for mediation. It will be held on Monday. The K Ganeshan-directed film apparently deals with the life of a television journalist, Shoba alias Isaipriya, who anchored programmes on LTTE-run television in Sri Lanka. more..

CIC steps up agriculture, health care biz

June 19 (SO) CIC Holdings is working on joint ventures with Israel and Pakistan to strengthen two of the company’s main business sectors – agriculture and healthcare/pharmaceutical products. The company is investing Rs. 1 billion to launch the cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses using the latest technology. “The company is tying up with an Israeli partner to share the latest technologies in agriculture and have signed an agreement already,” MD/CEO, CIC, Samantha Ranatunga said. more..

Perera, Prasanna direct Ireland mauling

June 19 (CI) When he walked out as Sri Lanka's No. 3, his eighth batting position in 24 ODI innings, Seekkuge Prasanna had an ODI average of 9.19. No one would have imagined that he would come within one blow of breaking one of SL cricket's most cherished records. On April 2, 1996 in Singapore, Sri Lanka played their first match since the country's World Cup win, in Lahore. Liberated by the moment, Sanath Jayasuriya more..

No shortcuts to success: Roshan Mahanama

June 19 (SO) Former Sri Lanka captain and ICC Match Referee Roshan Mahanama urged schoolboy cricketers to work hard towards their targets in a disciplined manner, maintaining the high traditions of the game - instead of being remote-controlled. The two-time winner of the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award, said that schoolboy cricketers should be willing to make sacrifices and should not look for short cuts, if they are to progress further. more..

13-man Pathana stuns Thoras for league title

June 19 (SO) Isipathana College staged a spectacular brand of rugby despite being reduced to 13 players to down S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia by 28 points (3 tries, 2 conversions, 3 penalties) to 24 (4 tries, 2 conversions) to clinch the Singer inter-school ‘A’ Division league rugby tournament as unbeaten champions at the CR and FC grounds, Longden Place yesterday. Pathana led 20-12 at half time. This time around surprisingly it was their forwards who won the match for more..

East Container Terminal’s govt stake in the balance

June 19 (ST) Sri Lanka Ports Authority’s (SLPA) stake in the East Container Terminal (ECT) is to be reduced significantly (to 15%) despite Cabinet approval being given in February for a 51% stake. The previous announcement by Ports Ministry issued on Feb 16 stated that the Cabinet had approved to call for proposals for the development of the ECT with the SLPA owning a 51% stake and the rest to be handed over to more..

Ceylon Tobacco invests Rs. 500m over 10 years empowering rural poor

June 19 (Island) Ceylon Tobacco Company, one of the country’s richest and most efficient business conglomerates has invested Rs. 500 million over 10 years in a Sustainable Agricultural Development Program (SADP) to empower the rural poor by maximizing the potential of their home gardens. The program which notches its tenth anniversary this year involves no cash handouts whatever. It offers beneficiaries inputs of planting material and livestock (chickens and goats) and extensive advice to more..

Give England a taste of their own medicine

June 19 (Island) The scheduling of the three match Test series between SL and England raised many eyebrows and the touring batsmen became sitting ducks against England’s seam attack in the early summer up north of the country. England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as usual have been fantastic hosts, but the same could not be told of the scheduling of the series. Ideally, in May, venues like Lord’s and The Oval in London, Rose Bowl in Southampton or Cardiff in Wales in southern more..

Maithri caught between Ranil and SLFP

June 19 (CT) Ever since the 100-day trial period ended and UNP-SLFP joined hands to form a unity govt despite the fact that they stand poles apart when it comes to ideologies, policies and principles, each step President took was a test. A test of integrity, a test of trust, a test of patience, a test of strength and there were instances of litmus tests. Week before we saw govt facing a challenge of a no-confidence motion against its FM. more..

Of flagrant spending and good governance

June 19 (NS) Although there was a public outcry against it initially, the issue of importing vehicles for ministers seems to have died a natural death and swept off the front pages, especially after PM Ranil Wickremesinghe ordered that the imports be suspended until those affected by the recent floods, landslides and Kosgama blast were compensated. The chances are that once the public debate gives way to the next hot topic of the day, the imports will go ahead. more..

Actor Ranjan in COPE tug-of-war

June 19 (SO) The so-called Joint Opposition group formed by UPFA rebel MPs, made an interesting move last week when it nominated Mahindananda Aluthgamage as a member of the COPE committee inquiring into allegations of corruption levelled against State sector institutions. The rebel group’s move raised many an eyebrow last week, as Aluthgamage was at the receiving end of allegations of corrupt activites, in the recent past. Many observers believed that appointing more..

Today is Poson Full-moon Day: Dhamma is not for Learning

June 19 (DM) Poson Full-moon Day is significant to the Sri Lankans as the day on which the Arahat Mahinda, Emperor Asoka’s son, introduced Buddha Dhamma to the nation in the 3rd century B.C. Arhant Thero Mahinda converted the ruler, King Devanampiya Tissa to Buddha Dhamma, and set in motion a series of measures that made Sri Lanka the centre of Theravada Buddhism. Missaka Pavva Mihintale, where the historic more..

The wisdom of throwing Arjuna Mahendran to the wolves

June 19 (Island) As the end of June draws near, the question of extending the tenure of Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran has taken the political centre stage. Last Friday, an emergency meeting was held between the President and the PM and the pro-yahapalana NGOs to sort out the issue of the CB Governor’s reappointment. As we go to press, the matter still appears unresolved. Last week, NGOs in the yahapalana project were preparing to make an application for a writ of quo warranto more..

Marvellous Mihintale but not a UNESCO World Heritage Site

June 19 (Island) National and religious attention is on Mihintale on this 19th day of June – Poson Poya day. It was on such a day 236 years after the death of the Buddha in 306 BC, that a momentous meeting took place between Venerable Mahinda Thera, son of Emperor Dharma Ashoka of India and the king of Lanka – Devanampiya Tissa (307-287 BC). "Monks are we, O great King, disciples of the King of Truth. Out of compassion for you have we come from Jambudipa" said Thera Mahinda to King more..


A new minister

June 19 (ST) My dear Thonda, I wanted to write to you because you are in the news once again after a long period of silence when we didn’t even know whether you were in Parliament or not. Now we are told that you will soon join Maithri and surprise, surprise, will be sworn in as a Minister. So, congratulations are in order. It is not that I am surprised by all this. There were people who shouted themselves hoarse at Mahinda maama’s election rallies – like Dayasiri of hutan fame more..

Salawa: The fire and the people’s ire

June 19 (ST) The fire at the Salawa ammunition dump on June 5 was the most serious man-made disaster to occur in Sri Lanka since the end of the war in 2009. The raging inferno triggered off hours of explosions and heavy ammunition rained down on human settlements in mindboggling quantities. The damage was colossal. It is fortuitous that not more than one life, that of a soldier, was lost. As the fire broke out on a Sunday, activity in the camp was at a minimum. more..