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LATEST POSTS

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

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

Upcycling Minimises Waste

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
Upcycling, recycling, the new buzz words in recent years, though, in generations past, repurposing used and old products and clothes was a given. We grew up in times, when pages from text books were re-used by the corner stores to sell grocery items,  milk, oil, vinegar came in glass utensils,  old towels and unused extra fabric  were cut up for use in kitchens, to clean floors and furniture etc. and cooked food was wrapped in banana leaves and old newspapers.  As kids, we enjoyed reading ...Continued

Kardar Must Be Spinning In His Grave

Columns
Spectator
Sri Lanka’s premier players have pulled the plug on Pakistan’s efforts to bring international cricket back into that country after a decade of sporting isolation. Sri Lanka Cricket put on a strong front saying they were willing to send a second string team but used dillydallying tactics after the government warned of a possible terrorist attack during the tour. The government has not disclosed its intelligence source for authorities to figure out how credible the threat is. One understands the government’s concerns after fingers were ...Continued

Hong Kong Protesters’ Pro-West Slip Showing Amply

Columns
Dissector
While it is quite understandable that people anywhere should find enslaving chains of any kind intolerable, what progressive opinion would least expect are attempted tie-ups between such sections seeking emancipation and the former Western colonial powers. Unfortunately, this is happening right now in Hong Kong, a former British colony. The latest we hear is that Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are currently taking their cause to the British consulate in Hong Kong, even singing ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Rule Britannia’. This is no subconscious bias ...Continued

Global Educational Trends

Columns
HGS Prematunge
Today’s student population being technology savvy interact digitally with one another and with information, at an increasing ratel. This is what makes digital citizenship so imperative. Digital Citizenship is a prime example of the impact technology has made on human behaviour and interactions. The basic definition for a digital citizen is ‘someone who utilizes information technology in order to engage in society, politics, and government’. Educator Terry Heick defines digital citizenship as, ‘The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of ...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

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

Why Not Incorporate Mindfulness Into Sri Lankan Education?

Columns
HGS Prematunge
One of the most intriguing success stories behind the benefits of mindfulness is probably that of George Mumford. Mumford had been a star high school basketball player who’d subsequently developed a heroin addiction. But by the early 1980s, he’d embraced meditation and gotten clean. Mumford later taught meditation to prison inmates and other sporting giants like him, such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, who in turn became an outspoken adherent of meditation. But Mumford is by no means alone, famous practitioners include Oprah, Jerry ...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

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

Proliferation Of ‘Essay Mills’

Cover Story
HGS Prematunge
If one can buy over the counter academic writing packages, what would be the point of burning the midnight oil writing a paper on, say ‘The influence of political events on Shakespeare’ or crunching numbers on a public opinion survey of the credibility of science journalism. Seeking the help of academic writing services to get essays, papers and dissertation done is a fad fast catching up in the Sri Lankan academic services market, churning out anything from essays to PhD thesis for as little as ...Continued

Developing Clean Energy In Sri Lanka – Vacillating Policies Hinder...

Cover Story
Dr. Janaka Ratnasiri
In December 2015, the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Paris where the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change was adopted by all Nations. At this summit meeting, President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the conference said “the impact of climate change threatens our very survival. In Sri Lanka, the adverse impacts are already obvious” and further said “We have embarked on the challenging task of moving away from fossil fuel-based energy, towards renewable energy”. Realizing ...Continued

A Brief History Of No–Faith Motions

Cover Story
Hawk Eye
Two motions of no-confidence are currently before Parliament against Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and the government. The first one, signed by 64 opposition MPs, has been fixed for debate on June 18 and 19, but the Joint Opposition (JO), which submitted it has urged Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to advance it, given the severity of the charges contained therein. The second motion, signed by JVP MPs against the government, has entered the Order Book of Parliament, but no date has been fixed for a debate ...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

Political Pugilism: Feints And Uppercuts

Politics
Vishvanath
Both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe went overseas the other day, leaving a mega political issue unresolved at home. Their attitude to the serious problems the country is faced with can be considered cavalier. Their political differences which have spilled over into Parliament have rendered the Cabinet inoperative. The President has refused to summon Cabinet meetings in protest against the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on Easter attacks. His call for suspending the PSC on the grounds that the summoning of top military ...Continued

What’s Up Sirisena’s Sleeve?

Politics
Vishvanath
A president at the tail end of his or her term without much hope of being re-elected usually gets written off as a spent force in politics. But President Maithripala Sirisena has been a notable exception. He has been able to retain his grip on power to a considerable extent and hold his opponents at bay. The UNP may not have bargained for this kind of situation when it fielded him as the Common Candidate of the Opposition and threw in its lot with him. ...Continued

Upcycling Minimises Waste

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
Upcycling, recycling, the new buzz words in recent years, though, in generations past, repurposing used and old products and clothes was a given. We grew up in times, when pages from text books were re-used by the corner stores to sell grocery items,  milk, oil, vinegar came in glass utensils,  old towels and unused extra fabric  were cut up for use in kitchens, to clean floors and furniture etc. and cooked food was wrapped in banana leaves and old newspapers.  As kids, we enjoyed reading ...Continued

Kardar Must Be Spinning In His Grave

Columns
Spectator
Sri Lanka’s premier players have pulled the plug on Pakistan’s efforts to bring international cricket back into that country after a decade of sporting isolation. Sri Lanka Cricket put on a strong front saying they were willing to send a second string team but used dillydallying tactics after the government warned of a possible terrorist attack during the tour. The government has not disclosed its intelligence source for authorities to figure out how credible the threat is. One understands the government’s concerns after fingers were ...Continued

Hong Kong Protesters’ Pro-West Slip Showing Amply

Columns
Dissector
While it is quite understandable that people anywhere should find enslaving chains of any kind intolerable, what progressive opinion would least expect are attempted tie-ups between such sections seeking emancipation and the former Western colonial powers. Unfortunately, this is happening right now in Hong Kong, a former British colony. The latest we hear is that Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters are currently taking their cause to the British consulate in Hong Kong, even singing ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Rule Britannia’. This is no subconscious bias ...Continued

Global Educational Trends

Columns
HGS Prematunge
Today’s student population being technology savvy interact digitally with one another and with information, at an increasing ratel. This is what makes digital citizenship so imperative. Digital Citizenship is a prime example of the impact technology has made on human behaviour and interactions. The basic definition for a digital citizen is ‘someone who utilizes information technology in order to engage in society, politics, and government’. Educator Terry Heick defines digital citizenship as, ‘The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of ...Continued

Why Not Incorporate Mindfulness Into Sri Lankan Education?

Columns
HGS Prematunge
One of the most intriguing success stories behind the benefits of mindfulness is probably that of George Mumford. Mumford had been a star high school basketball player who’d subsequently developed a heroin addiction. But by the early 1980s, he’d embraced meditation and gotten clean. Mumford later taught meditation to prison inmates and other sporting giants like him, such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, who in turn became an outspoken adherent of meditation. But Mumford is by no means alone, famous practitioners include Oprah, Jerry ...Continued

The Rise And Fall Of Ajantha Mendis

Columns
Spectator
The Indians feared him like the plague. The South Africans had nightmares facing him. Lord’s even credited a new delivery to him that has now become the part of cricket’s lexicon. The carom ball proved to be the undoing of many famous batting line ups. The inventor of this deadly delivery announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last week. The likes of Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah, Muralitharan provided much joy to local cricket fans for well over a decade. Ajantha Mendis ...Continued

The JVP At A Crossroads: Bopage’s Critical View Of His...

Columns
Hawk’s Eye
Dr. Lional Bopage was in town, recently, to attend the launch of the Sinhala translation of his biography, Rebellion, Repression and the Struggle for Justice in Sri Lanka – The Lionel Bopage Story written by Michael Colin Cooke. Bopage is currently based in Australia and campaigns for social justice mainly through his writing. He turns 74 this year. Counterpoint met him in Colombo. Bopage got involved politics in his student days while attending Rahula College, Matara. He was among the students who experienced the change ...Continued

Non-traditional Security Inadequately Addressed In Southern ‘Conversations’

Columns
Dissector
Security is a many-dimensional thing but as far as ‘conversations’ in the global South go on this question, it is traditional security that is currently receiving the bulk of attention and not so much non-traditional security. However, the latter is as vital as the former, and no less an event than the Easter Sunday carnage, in Sri Lanka, proves the point. Some differentiations need to be made before proceeding with this commentary. Traditional security has essentially to do with external military threats faced by a ...Continued

The Long Wait for Truth and Justice

Columns
Kshama Ranawana
Nine hundred days and counting; that is how long families in the North and the East have been waiting patiently to hear news of their loved ones missing during and soon after the end of the thirty year conflict that pitched the Sri Lankan government forces against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, (LTTE), who were fighting for a separate State. For those in the rest of the country who have also lost loved ones during armed conflicts that flared up from time to time, ...Continued

The Chinese Funded Port City of Colombo

Photo Essay
Built on a large tract of land reclaimed from the sea, the Chinese funded Port City of Colombo is part...

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Dancing to Heal

Photo Essay
Sri Lankan lore has it that healing of mind and body can be achieved through dancing. The country's traditional forms...

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Magnificent Dalada Perahera

Photo Essay
Dalada Perahera, the most colourful of all Buddhist processions, in Sri Lanka, was held recently. Our shutterbug captured these magnificent...

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Cinnamon, The Most Valuable Spice

Photo Essay
Considered to be superior to the other variety called cassia, Ceylon cinnamon is known internationally for its unique quality, aroma,...

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Still Number 1 On Lonely Planet

Photo Essay
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, a major income generator is limping back to normalcy. Kishu Gomes, Chairman of the Sri Lanka...

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The Buddhist Convention of the Bodu Bala Sena

Photo Essay
The Bodu Bala Sena held its Sivu Hele Maha Samuluwa, (Buddhist Convention) at the Bogambara Grounds in Kandy on July...

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SF combatants showcase skills

Photo Essay
The latest passing out parade of the Sri Lanka Special Forces was held at the Maduru Oya SF training camp on...

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A Faith Strengthened

Photo Essay
St. Anthony's Kochchikade, was declared open after renovations following the April 21, Easter Sunday bomb blasts.  Here, the faithful gather...

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In Solidarity

Photo Essay
Muslims the world over will celebrate the feast of Eid-ul-Fitr in the first week of June this year.  It brings...

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COMIC STRIP - WASANTHA SIRIWARDENA

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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