Investigation into illegal landfill at Bellanwila wetland sanctuary View(s):The Attorney General has called on the Ratmalana Divisional Secretary to summon a meeting of all stakeholder institutions to prepare an investigation report pertaining to the illegal landfill of wetlands within the Attidiya-Bellanwila sanctuary. This land within the sanctuary had been set aside for water retention purposes so as to prevent flooding in the area. Other defendants in the case are Sajweewa Kumara, Chaturangi Costa, Nuwan De Silva and Jagath Pushpakumara, all of whom have been released on bail. Magistrate Chandima Liyanage has directed all landfilling in the area be stopped. The AGs directive to summon the meeting has gone out in keeping with the order of the Magistrate to submit an investigation report after obtaining the facts from the relevant government institutions by April 25.
SLADA desperate to eradicate doping from sports By Naushad Amit View(s): View(s):Sri Lanka Anti Doping Agency (SLADA) is eyeing at doubling its quota of awareness programmes for this year, after 2018 ended with nine athletes testing positive for using banned substances, a record high in numbers. In addition to the awareness programmes held through 2018, SLADA had conducted 276 doping tests in 17 sports and nine athletes tested positive for using banned substances. In 2017 five athletes tested positive for using banned substance. Interestingly SLADA also conducted six tests in 2018 on horses after races conducted by the Royal Turf Club and none tested positive. With the alarming outcomes, and despite their tireless efforts in 2018, SLADA targets 2019 to end without any positive reports from doping tests.
Banks to customers: Use SMS alerts to combat fraud View(s):To safeguard against frauds, all bank customers have been urged to subscribe to a mobile alert service. “All customers should subscribe to a Short Messaging Service (SMS) alerts by banks so that account holders are aware of all their transactions,” a senior industry official opined to the Business Times. Credit card skimming is where offenders use a small device to pilfer information in a credit or debit card transaction. Credit card skimmers are often placed over the card swipe machine on ATMs and the skimmers can be placed over almost any type of credit card reader. In order to strengthen the security of ATM transactions, customers are required to use EMV enabled payment cards.
Sports Ministry calls for report on ‘misuse of accreditation’ from NOC View(s):The Sports Ministry has called for a comprehensive report from the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka (NOC) about reports that it “misused accreditations” for last year’s Commonwealth Games. The complainant in his letter to the Sports Ministry, copied to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), alleged that accreditation was given by Maxwell de Silva, NOC Secretary General, “without the knowledge of any of the NOC Executive Committee members or approval”. “We facilitated them getting accredited to the Games but never released NOC funds for their travel and stay,” said NOC chief Suresh Subramaniam, maintaining that the Ministry has no right to question NOC decisions. “So far I have not received a note from the Ministry asking us to submit a report. “I am also explicitly requesting you to formally bring the ‘two instances of misuse of accreditation’ to the International Olympic Committee & Commonwealth Secretariat,” Usuph wrote.
Of a time gone by By Joshua Surendraraj The Mirror Magazine caught up with the cast of ‘He Comes From Jaffna’ as the production gets underway this week at the Lionel Wendt View(s): View(s):The decorated pathway through the Park Street Mews complex was graced by a fairly unusual sight recently. To put it simply, ‘Duraiswamipillai’(Durai) the comical lead of ‘He Comes from Jaffna,’ directed by Jith Peiris, had landed in Colombo once again. He wasn’t alone though and was followed around by the rest of the troupe, who were dressed to suit an era long gone. “Nice boy men,” he tells us as we talk about his character ‘Aru.’ Durai’s problem is that he’s very demanding. Portraying the character ‘Jaffna boy’ from the famed series has also enabled Danu to bring in certain words that is unique to a lad from the north.
Honourable Minister’s “dishonourable list” View(s):One morning I walked into the office room of the University Registrar – the highest administrative officer of a state university. “I mean, when we want to recruit non-executive level employees to the public sector institutions, they should come from the Minister’s list. This is our public sector, filled by employees from the Minister’s list. After spending the weekend, some of them leave home to come back for work on Monday; it paralyses public sector work on Mondays too. Even in the pace of policy reforms after 1977, there has been no serious attempt for public sector reforms.
Two years on, RTI reaches out to the provinces View(s):As Sri Lanka marked two years since the inception of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, on February 3, this year, the RTI Commission (RTIC) announced the commencement of public sittings and the hearing of appeals in the country’s provinces. In a media release, the RTIC said discussions conducted in Sinhala and Tamil focused on the successes and challenges of the RTI process, with villagers explaining how they had used the RTI Act to obtain relief for their communities. Volume II contains Reflections on Sri Lanka’s RTI Act and RTI regime written by eminent contributors in the fields of Law, the Media, the Public Service and academia. As the RTIC has been conscious of the need to enunciate RTI principles in the initial years of functioning, its decisions overwhelmingly reflect pro-public interest and information disclosure principles, it stressed. Furthermore, the enactment of new Laws that are deliberately placed beyond the scrutiny of the RTI regime remains of particular concern.
His own ‘recipe’ for the wilds By Kumudini Hettiarachchi There is no such thing as a right place and a right time, says award-winning wildlife photographer, Navy doctor Lalith Ekanayake View(s): View(s):Patiently, he “dug in” and waited in his vehicle. “This was very unusual,” says award-winning wildlife photographer Dr. Lalith Ekanayake who is also Surgeon Rear-Admiral of the Navy, instinctively “knowing” that something was about to happen. The photographic mantra of Dr. Ekanayake is that there “is no such thing as a right place and a right time”. Picking up another example, Dr. Ekanayake asks us what we would do if we saw a Grey-headed Fish Eagle devouring a fish. Taking wildlife photographs is now beyond simply recording a shot, it has become an art packed with creativity, adds Dr. Ekanayake.
Kandy barely survive glorious CR onslaught By Aubrey Kuruppu View(s): View(s):What a game – one of the best in recent times. The outsids handled the ball splendidly and they were able to find gaps in the CR defence at will. While Kandy added a sole penalty in the second half, CR manufactured twelve points to make it 31-26 with about ten minutes left. Kandy showed their intentions when winger Anuruddha Wilwara latched on to the ball after the backs had indulged in a bout of passing. Kandy showed championship calibre by holding on in the teeth of opposition to secure the win, with a bonus point, too.
In their second innings Bens were bowled out for 182 runs with Kanishka Maduwantha doing the damage with the ball, taking his second five wicket haul in the match (5 for 58). He took five for 29 in the first innings. A ton by Sohan Dilshan and a half ton by Ravishka Wijesiri enabled Lumbini MV to score a first innings win over Zahira in the match played at Maradana. The duo’s knocks helped Lumbini MV in reply to Zahira’s score of 158 resuming from their overnight score of 241 for 7 to end their innings making a formidable 253. Sri Dharmaloka MV Kelaniya recorded first innings win over P de S. Kularatne MV Ambalangoda in the match played at Rathgama while a knock of 95 by Dineth Gampola helped Sri Sumangala Panadura to take a first innings win over Debarawewa National School played at Debarawewa.
Lost in a cricket masquerade Are we really happy here with this lonely game we play? Lankan cricket now is lost in a masquerade. However, those who are answerable have to probe why Sri Lanka Cricket has been nose-diving since 2015. Unlike other countries’ cricket, Sri Lanka’s cricket thrived in Colombo and grew up to be a force to be reckoned with within a radius of about 50 kilometres. Is it true…our cricket is lost in a masquerade that is full of muppets?
Emulate two greats of your school: CP Governor tells Trinitians View(s):Pays tribute to the late Ministers Lakshman Kadirgamar and Gamini Dissanayake at school Prize GivingThe annual Prize Giving of Trinity College, Kandy was held on Friday with Central Province Governor Maithri Gunaratne as Chief Guest. He recalled serving as a junior lawyer under Mr. Kadirgamar for several years prior to entering politics. At the time Mr Kadirgamar became the country’s Foreign Minister, Sri Lanka’s international reputation was “down in the dumps,” but he was able to turn the tide around single-handedly, Mr Gunaratne stated. Reminiscing about the late Mr. Gamani Dissanayake, Mr Gunaratne recalled that it was Mr Dissanayake, who was then Opposition Leader, who invited him to join politics in 1994. He called on the students of Trinity to emulate these two illustrious products of their school and take up their mantle, in order to take their school and the country from strength to strength.
Lankan drug bust in Dubai: Madush’s rival gave tipoff and sent pictures here By Damith Wickremesekra View(s): View(s):Last week’s arrest in Dubai of a Sri Lankan millionaire drug lord Makandure Madush raised questions of his political links and plunged the issue in mystery — the result of conflicting claims locally. An investigation by the Sunday Times revealed that the raid was conducted entirely by the Dubai Police and none of their counterparts in Sri Lanka was involved. A Dubai-based newspaper reported that a Sri Lankan holding a diplomatic passport was among those were arrested. “My three children were in Sri Lanka and have not travelled abroad recently,” he told the Sunday Times. On top of that, the source said, relations between Sri Lanka and Dubai legal authorities have been strained after authorities in Colombo botched up attempts to seek the return of Udayanga Weeratunga.
She might well be called Checkpoint Charlie in the manner the crossing between Germany’s East and West border was known before the Berlin wall fell. And, exactly what are revenue targets to be achieved by any Director General of Customs? But as he himself admitted at a press conference held this week although the Customs Tax collection in 2018 had increased to Rs. He added that the custom tax revenue had only increased by 1.4 percent. This Wednesday, the Finance Minister was forced to reinstate Sarojini, Lanka’s ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ to stand vigil again at the Colombo Port.
Writing from a privileged position Trinidadian-British poet Vahni Capildeo talks to Adilah Ismail View(s): View(s):Vahni Capildeo’s poetry is dense. In Sri Lanka for the Fairway Galle Literary Festival recently, the Trinidadian-British poet spoke about poetry, language and influences. Why and how did you start writing poetry? I actually feel quite guilty about having had easy access, comparatively, to reading and writing because even if we went with ancestral language loss, it also went with privileged entry. This may sound like a naïve question but did your work there have any effect on the kind of writing you do?