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LATEST POSTS

Is the game worth the candle?

Cover Story
Vishvanath
The presidential race is hotting up with the major candidates going ahead full throttle. Two contestants, Gotabaya Rajapaka (SLPP) and Sajith Premadasa (NDF), are in the lead.  There are more than 30 also-rans in the contest. This is an election that the SLPP and the UNP are all out to win, given the very high stakes they have in it. The party that secures the presidency is most likely to win the general election to follow anytime soon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the media ...Continued

Aftermath of Baghdadi killing exposes US foreign policy limitations

Columns
Dissector
The recent killing by US special forces in Syria of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who came to be seen as the world’s most wanted man, is being claimed by President Donald Trump as a singular triumph for him and his administration. ‘This is the biggest there is…Osama bin Laden was big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Centre. Baghdadi is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country, Trump was quoted as exuberantly ...Continued

Where do Women Figure in the Presidential Manifestos?

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
Sajith Premadasa has made a promise that no other candidate contesting this presidential election has made.    At an event at the Sugathadasa Stadium recently, Premadasa signed a social contract with the women of Sri Lanka, promising equality to all women “in all domains of their lives, including equal treatment in private and public life…” While the New Democratic Front (NDF)  leader is yet to unveil his full manifesto in the contest for the presidency, his Women’s Charter deals fairly extensively with the issues women face, ...Continued

Infusing humanity into the sciences

Columns
HGS Prematunge
A couple of years ago 27-year-old Pramodh Senarath Yapa, a Sri Lankan-Canadian Ph.D. student in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at University of Alberta, Canada translated his jargon-ridden master’s thesis, titled ‘Non-Local Electrodynamics of Superconducting Wires: Implications for Flux Noise and Inductance’ to ‘Superconductivity: The Musical!’, a 11-minute self-explanatory video that won him the 2018 ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ contest. This stands testimony to the fact that Arts can fit snugly within STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). —————- Yapa is not the only success story with ...Continued

The Marshall wars

Columns
Spectator
When 55-year-old Alex Marshall was appointed the General Manager of the International Cricket Council’s Anti- Corruption Unit, two years ago, many believed he had reached the first stage of quietly getting into his life of retirement. In a hectic career spanning four decades as a police officer, Marshall had risen through the ranks at Scotland Yard and was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May, briefing them regularly on his efforts to keep Britain safe. A life-long cricket fan, ...Continued

Pathfinder National Security Strategy for Sri Lanka 2020

As It Happens
Pathfinder Foundation has prepared a national security strategy with a view to enabling Sri Lanka to meet present and future challenges. The document will be submitted to President, Prime Minister, Deputy Defense Minister and all Presidential Candidates. Full text of the document: PREFACE The Pathfinder Foundation’s interest in producing this document titled ‘The Pathfinder – National Security Strategy 2020 for Sri Lanka’ dates back to 2018 when the idea was first mooted by its founder, Milinda Moragoda soon after the Foundation developed and released ‘A Code ...Continued

A court order that everyone should read

Politics
Vishvanath
The order of the Court of Appeal on the Writ Application (No. 425/19) filed by Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara, seeking the grant of mandates in the nature of Writs of Certiorari and Prohibition in respect SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship is sure to go down in the annals of legal history as a path-breaking one. The Court of Appeal bench comprised Yasantha Kodagoda, P.C., President of the Court of Appeal, Mahinda Samayawardhena, Judge of the Court of Appeal Arjuna Obeyesekere, Judge ...Continued

Coronation of a New Czar in Madush’s Empire

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
Piliyandala, a populous suburb of Colombo, was full of hustle and bustle on 09 May 2017. It was around 8.45 pm, but the township was still congested, as usual. Thirteen armed Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officers were waiting, in three vehicles, in the area, for a signal to swing into action, having laid a trap to catch an elusive drug lord. The PNB leader, Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa and two other officers were travelling in a private car from Colombo, so as not to arouse anyone’s ...Continued

He fought fire with fire

Columns
Spectator
Cricket in Sri Lanka had made huge strides in the 1990s. One main reason for the steady climb was that captain Arjuna Ranatunga was willing to move away from Lord’s coaching manuals and back unconventional players to the hilt. The conventionalist frowned upon the new trend. But their running down was short lived as the results were stunning. Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling action would have been cast away anywhere else in the world as it didn’t fit the norms of the game or Sanath Jayasuriya’s batting ...Continued

The Criminal Mental and Physical Abuse in Our Universities Has...

Exposé
Aanya Wipulasena and Kshama Ranawana
You find them along pavements or near markets or even on trains, till in hand, raising funds to assist undergraduates and other students who cannot afford to even purchase an exercise book. However, the monies thus collected don’t actually go towards the purpose they tell you about, rather, it’s a ruse to raise money to build “thoran” (pandals) or even rent places to rag new batches of university students. For instance, one such Thorana had cost nearly Rs. 7 lakhs, a source who wished to ...Continued

Though Banned, Corporal Punishment Is Practiced Across Schools

Exposé
Kshama Ranawana
Around March this year, some parents of students of Royal College Primary contacted the Ministry of Education regarding certain abusive situations their children were being subjected to in school.    They were reaching out to the Ministry out of sheer frustration as no corrective action had been taken by the school authorities. Amongst the cases they highlighted was of a Grade 5 student who was injured when a musical instrument was thrown at him by one of the teachers.  The injury which damaged some nerves resulted ...Continued

Newspaper Circulation Figures, A Big Lie

Exposé
For the average reader, circulation or readership figures of newspapers or magazines are irrelevant.  For them, what matters most is content.  However, for those who must market the multitude of consumer goods, educational establishments, and whatever else needs promoted, circulation and readership numbers are critical. An industry that is supposed to report the truth has been living a lie for decades and have got away with it because neither the advertising industry nor the advertisers have joined together to demand for audited circulation numbers. In ...Continued

Ceylon Electricity Board Pays Billions To Private Power Suppliers Illegally...

Exposé
For the Deputy General Manager Energy Purchases of the Ceylon Electricity Board, (CEB) it is an interdiction order for his efforts to follow procedure and minimise unnecessary expenses.  For Aitken Spence, the parent company of Ace Power Embilipitya (Pvt.) it is a windfall that will boost its revenue in billions of rupees. Deputy General Manager, Energy Purchases, Sujeewa Abeywickrama was interdicted on July 2, 2018. The charges against him ranged from not carrying out assigned duties, not following directions given by the General Manager, to ...Continued

Is the game worth the candle?

Cover Story
Vishvanath
The presidential race is hotting up with the major candidates going ahead full throttle. Two contestants, Gotabaya Rajapaka (SLPP) and Sajith Premadasa (NDF), are in the lead.  There are more than 30 also-rans in the contest. This is an election that the SLPP and the UNP are all out to win, given the very high stakes they have in it. The party that secures the presidency is most likely to win the general election to follow anytime soon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the media ...Continued

Coronation of a New Czar in Madush’s Empire

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
Piliyandala, a populous suburb of Colombo, was full of hustle and bustle on 09 May 2017. It was around 8.45 pm, but the township was still congested, as usual. Thirteen armed Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) officers were waiting, in three vehicles, in the area, for a signal to swing into action, having laid a trap to catch an elusive drug lord. The PNB leader, Inspector Neomal Rangajeewa and two other officers were travelling in a private car from Colombo, so as not to arouse anyone’s ...Continued

Savagery At Madampitiya Graveyard: The Untold Story

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
It is popularly thought that the arrest of Sri Lanka’s ‘Napoleon of Crime’, Makandure Madush, and his confederates, last May, has helped contain the underworld. There has, in fact, been a decrease in the incidents of organised crime, during the last several months. But this let-up is deceptive, for criminal gangs, like some animals, opt for suspended animation, when the environment they operate in turns hostile. Hardcore criminals, caged in state pens continue to run their crime syndicates from their cells, with the help of ...Continued

Gang Rivalries get Red in Tooth and Claw: A Severed...

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
The media report, from time to time, underworld killings, but little known is the fact that most of them are interconnected and consequent to bloody turf wars. The Counterpoint, today, examines an incident where a gang left a severed head at Hulftsdorp. The victim was a member of Ranale Samaya’s gang. Today’s special report is based on information obtained from the police investigators who solved the crime. The spectacular attack on the Kalutara Prison bus and the elimination of Ranale Samaya and four of his ...Continued

An Epic Turf War That Led To The Kalutara Prison...

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishwanath
Pathiranage Aruna Damith Udayanga Pathirana, who came to be known as Ranale Samaya (incorrectly called Samayan), had a meteoric rise in the underworld thanks to several bloody turf wars that led to the physical elimination of crime czars such as Kaduwela Wasantha and Karate Dhammika. They died the way they had lived. They slew and were slain in the end. Most underworld characters do not live long, the only exception being Nawala Nihal, who was in his late 60s at the time of disappearance. He ...Continued

Underworld Zones In Colombo And Bloody Turf Wars

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
Elections are expected towards the end of the current year, and there is bound to be a spike in the incidents of violence as underworld characters, working for political parties, play a big role in electioneering. Sri Lanka’s political history is replete with bloody clashes during election campaigns and on polling days. The worst ever gang war in the post-war period occurred in October, 2011 on the day of local government elections, in Angoda, where two armed groups led by the then UPFA MP Duminda ...Continued

Cover Story
Hemantha Perera and Vishvanath
The Colombo city may be ageing, but the area it encompasses, save its poor quarters studded with slums and shanties, looks beautiful thanks to some gentrification projects carried out by successive governments. It is home to about 750,000 people and its transient population stands at about one million. In one waits in a chill-out joint or even in a busy street and watches the world go by, the city looks normal. The same goes for other towns and their sprawling conurbations. Looks, however, can be ...Continued

When A Presidential Dream Kept Parliament Open At Night

Cover Story
Hawk’s Eye
The Chamber of Parliament was kept open and fully lit till late on Monday night. It was an unusual sight and some staff members wondered what was going on. Before long, they realized that there was a photo shoot by a professional photographer and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, of all people, was taking part in it. Speaker Jayasuriya has earned a name for himself as a person who does not heed even the Presidents dictates, but, on Monday night, he meticulously followed the shutterbug’s instructions without ...Continued

Violence Is Violence, Offline Or Online!

Cover Story
Anupama Ranawana
“I will **** you up.” “We will teach you a lesson, low-caste b***h”. Hate, it’s online now. Hate, it’s in the memes on your phone. Hate, it’s in your Twitter notifications. Put yourself out there on social media, and someday, somehow, you’ll encounter a wall of hate. If you’re a woman, a person of colour or an LBT person, you are likely to see some choice language or graphics channelled your way.  Women, in South Asian countries in particular, experience significant cyber violence.  Such harassment ...Continued

A court order that everyone should read

Politics
Vishvanath
The order of the Court of Appeal on the Writ Application (No. 425/19) filed by Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara, seeking the grant of mandates in the nature of Writs of Certiorari and Prohibition in respect SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship is sure to go down in the annals of legal history as a path-breaking one. The Court of Appeal bench comprised Yasantha Kodagoda, P.C., President of the Court of Appeal, Mahinda Samayawardhena, Judge of the Court of Appeal Arjuna Obeyesekere, Judge ...Continued

Gong Sounds, Bout Begins

Politics
Vishavanath
The presidential race proper has commenced with the handing over of the nominations, on Monday, October 7. There are 35 candidates in the fray, but the competition will finally be between Gotabaya Rajapaska and Sajith Premadasa, representing the SLPP and the UNP-led NDF, respectively. The contest is bound to get red in tooth and claw within the next couple of weeks. Never have been there so many candidates vying for the presidency, in this country. The Election Commission (EC) is faced with unforeseen problems. The ...Continued

Bud And Bell Ready For Battle, Jumbos Lag Behind

Politics
Vishvanath
The date of the next presidential election is now known—Nov. 16, 2019. There isn’t much time left for the political to prepare for the grand contest. The SLPP has already launched its presidential election campaign with former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa as its candidate. So has the JVP-led alliance, which has named JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake as its contestant. The UNP is still dillydallying. Its Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa is in overdrive, campaigning hard, albeit without the consent of the party. There is no ...Continued

A Mini Presidential Election On The Cards

Politics
Vishvanath
So, it is now confirmed that the Provincial Council polls won’t precede the Presidential election. The Supreme Court has determined, in response to a reference from President Maithripala Sirisena, that he is not constitutionally empowered to order that the PC elections be conducted under the former electoral system or the new one because the delimitation review committee report is not yet ready. The review committee at issue is headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and it has not cared to review the delimitation report rejected ...Continued

Sajith Crosses The Rubicon; Ranil Makes Countermove; Gota Sprints In...

Politics
Vishvanath
Minister and Deputy UNP Leader Sajith Premadasa launched his presidential election campaign without the party’s official approval in a bid to make his candidacy a fait accompli. He and his loyalists including a considerable number of UNP MPs may have thought of checkmating Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had not been seen to be contemplating a counterattack, until recently. Sajith and his allies seem to have underestimated Wickremesinghe’s political acumen, resilience and remarkable ability to make countermoves. Premadasa is popular in the ...Continued

UNP’s Conflict Reaches Celestial Heights

Politics
Vishvanath
The country is poised on the threshold of a crucial phase in national politics, which is history in the making. The next presidential election is drawing near, and there is no way anyone can put it off. The National Election Commission will have to get ready for the grand contest, come Oct. 08; the election is likely to be held in early December. The party that secures the executive presidency will most probably be able to win both the parliamentary and Provincial Council elections, and ...Continued

Prez And PM In Cul-De-Sac

Politics
Vishvanath
The Jumbo party has finally decided to grapple with the elephant in the room. There are at least three presidential hopefuls within the UNP’s ranks including its leader and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. Ranil has not said anything officially about his desire to contest the presidential election though his loyalists insist that he is the party’s choice. The failed October constitutional coup may have a unifying effect on the UNP, but its unity seems to have dissipated. ...Continued

Has Sirisena Let The Genie Out Of The Bottle?

Politics
Vishvanath
The UNP has not decided on its presidential candidate yet though speculation is rife in political circles that it will be Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in keeping with the Sri Lankan tradition. Serving Prime Ministers have always contested presidential election in this country. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya are also grooming themselves. Sajith makes no bones about his desire to run for President. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the launch of Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s biography, Khema’s Boy, in Matara, ...Continued

President Sirisena’s Latest Volte-Face And Presidential Hopefuls

Politics
Vishvanath
Policies of the yahapalana government with President Maithripala Sirisena at the helm lack consistency, just like the performance of Sri Lanka’s national cricket team. It came to power, promising a crusade against bribery and corruption and abuse of power among other things. But, today, it is tainted and unpopular thanks to the Treasury bond scams and various corrupt deals such as the importation of sick milch cows from Australia. It undertook to liberate the country from the clutches of China, which it accused of having ...Continued

Aftermath of Baghdadi killing exposes US foreign policy limitations

Columns
Dissector
The recent killing by US special forces in Syria of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who came to be seen as the world’s most wanted man, is being claimed by President Donald Trump as a singular triumph for him and his administration. ‘This is the biggest there is…Osama bin Laden was big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Centre. Baghdadi is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country, Trump was quoted as exuberantly ...Continued

Where do Women Figure in the Presidential Manifestos?

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
Sajith Premadasa has made a promise that no other candidate contesting this presidential election has made.    At an event at the Sugathadasa Stadium recently, Premadasa signed a social contract with the women of Sri Lanka, promising equality to all women “in all domains of their lives, including equal treatment in private and public life…” While the New Democratic Front (NDF)  leader is yet to unveil his full manifesto in the contest for the presidency, his Women’s Charter deals fairly extensively with the issues women face, ...Continued

Infusing humanity into the sciences

Columns
HGS Prematunge
A couple of years ago 27-year-old Pramodh Senarath Yapa, a Sri Lankan-Canadian Ph.D. student in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics at University of Alberta, Canada translated his jargon-ridden master’s thesis, titled ‘Non-Local Electrodynamics of Superconducting Wires: Implications for Flux Noise and Inductance’ to ‘Superconductivity: The Musical!’, a 11-minute self-explanatory video that won him the 2018 ‘Dance Your Ph.D.’ contest. This stands testimony to the fact that Arts can fit snugly within STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). —————- Yapa is not the only success story with ...Continued

The Marshall wars

Columns
Spectator
When 55-year-old Alex Marshall was appointed the General Manager of the International Cricket Council’s Anti- Corruption Unit, two years ago, many believed he had reached the first stage of quietly getting into his life of retirement. In a hectic career spanning four decades as a police officer, Marshall had risen through the ranks at Scotland Yard and was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May, briefing them regularly on his efforts to keep Britain safe. A life-long cricket fan, ...Continued

Pathfinder National Security Strategy for Sri Lanka 2020

As It Happens
Pathfinder Foundation has prepared a national security strategy with a view to enabling Sri Lanka to meet present and future challenges. The document will be submitted to President, Prime Minister, Deputy Defense Minister and all Presidential Candidates. Full text of the document: PREFACE The Pathfinder Foundation’s interest in producing this document titled ‘The Pathfinder – National Security Strategy 2020 for Sri Lanka’ dates back to 2018 when the idea was first mooted by its founder, Milinda Moragoda soon after the Foundation developed and released ‘A Code ...Continued

He fought fire with fire

Columns
Spectator
Cricket in Sri Lanka had made huge strides in the 1990s. One main reason for the steady climb was that captain Arjuna Ranatunga was willing to move away from Lord’s coaching manuals and back unconventional players to the hilt. The conventionalist frowned upon the new trend. But their running down was short lived as the results were stunning. Muttiah Muralitharan’s bowling action would have been cast away anywhere else in the world as it didn’t fit the norms of the game or Sanath Jayasuriya’s batting ...Continued

It’s More Than Just Poisoning

Columns
Kshama Ranawana and Aanya Wipulasena
A few of weeks ago the nation was shocked to learn of the deaths of seven elephants, in one fell sweep as it were in the Habarana area.  One of the six cow elephants was pregnant. While poisoning has been confirmed as the cause of deaths, the government analyst’s’ report is awaited to ascertain the type of poison. Nor is it known how they were poisoned, says the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), Chandana Sooriyabandara. Three separate departments, the Government Analyst, ...Continued

A Truly Sri Lankan Anti-venom Serum In The Pipeline

Columns
Shakila Ifham
Sri Lanka will soon have an anti-venom serum produced locally to treat thousands of snake bite patients. The Indian Anti venom serum which is available in hospitals at present does not cover for hypnale envenoming. The first to propose the development of an anti- venom for Hypnale was Dr. Anslem de Silva, better known as Sri Lanka’s father of herpetologists, at the first World Health Organisation (WHO) International seminar on Epidemiology and Medical Treatment of Snake bites, held in Japan, August 1980.  Hypnale causes the highest ...Continued

It’s Not Ragging!

Columns
HGS Prematunge
Gone are the days when students are asked to profess their undying love with a flower, to a fellow university student. In a recent video of a raid on a ragging venue by academic staff of the Ruhuna University, girls are found traumatized and allegedly sexually harassed and partially stripped, covered in bedsheets. In another revealing video, Dharsha Udayanga exposes how he was sexually harassed, forced to perform sexual rituals on other batch mates, all in the guise of ragging. Privy to his plight, Dharsha’s ...Continued

COMIC STRIP - WASANTHA SIRIWARDENA

AS IT HAPPENS

COLUMNS

COLUMN OF THE WEEK

Will The Government Stem The Anti-Muslim Campaign?

Columns
Kshama Ranawana

Even as families of victims of the Easter Sunday terror gradually pick up the pieces of their lives, and attempt to make sense of that dastardly act, a more insidious campaign is taking hold of the country. Anti-Muslim rhetoric is not new in Sri Lanka, but the Easter Sunday bomb blasts carried out by members of extremist National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) has given it a new breath of life. The move to stifle Muslim owned businesses has been around for more than a decade, but ...Continued

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