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Continuing Corruption In The Energy Industry Keeps Electricity Rates High

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
Inordinate delays in implementing renewable energy projects, mostly because it is claimed that politicians and bureaucrats are demanding kickbacks from investors are costing the country billions of rupees.  This is despite the government’s stated commitment and policy to make the country “energy sufficient” by 2030. The situation resulted in a former minister of power and energy,  currently the Megapolis and Western Development Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka calling for a Presidential commission of inquiry   to investigate  the cause for the delays, economic cost to the government, ...Continued

Stool Pigeon Squeals; The Plot Thickens

Politics
Vishvanath
The government, troubled by a surfeit of issues, now has some more seemingly intractable ones to contend with. One of them has the potential to sour relations between the SLFP and the UNP further.   One may have expected the allegation that there was a plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be treated sceptically by one and all. The person who revealed the alleged plot is not a prominent figure with credibility. He is a police informant doubling ...Continued

DUMPED! – Lanka Cricket Plunges To New All-time Low

Columns
Dion Michael
Sri Lanka’s cricket plunged to an all-time low when the team was unceremoniously dumped from the Asia Cup tournament in just three days and after two big defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and newcomers Afghanistan. The heady night of 17 March 1996 when Sri Lanka was crowned World Champions remains a mere memory in the distance after the night of 17 September 2018 when the young Afghanistan team sent the Lankans crashing out of the Asia cup with an emphatic victory. The Asia Cup ...Continued

Prospects For Constitutional Reform Are Receding

Columns
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
On Tuesday 18th September, there was a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper, bottom right hand corner of page A4 quoting Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratna, that the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly will submit its report to the Assembly shortly.  Dr. Wickramaratna is also quoted as saying that the proposed constitutional reforms have not in any way weakened the unitary character of the state, nor paved the way for federalism or diluted the foremost status given to Buddhism.  The report referred to, is the composite report ...Continued

Shortage Of Trained Social Workers Impacts Interventions

Columns
Shamindrini Peiris
As far numbers go, the good news for Sri Lanka is that there has been an overall decline in the number of people taking their lives.  Of concern, are reports by Sumithrayo, which provides suicide intervention assistance amongst other services, that those attempting suicide is ten to twenty times more, and that this number is increasing. Even though the World Health Organization(WHO) places the age-standardised rate of suicide in Sri Lanka at 30.3 per 100,000 people, the Sumithrayo website states that the number of suicides ...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

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

Continuing Corruption In The Energy Industry Keeps Electricity Rates High

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana
Inordinate delays in implementing renewable energy projects, mostly because it is claimed that politicians and bureaucrats are demanding kickbacks from investors are costing the country billions of rupees.  This is despite the government’s stated commitment and policy to make the country “energy sufficient” by 2030. The situation resulted in a former minister of power and energy,  currently the Megapolis and Western Development Minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka calling for a Presidential commission of inquiry   to investigate  the cause for the delays, economic cost to the government, ...Continued

SriLankan Airlines Will Never Be Profitable

Cover Story
The controversial outgoing SriLankan airlines CEO, Suren Ratwatte had sent a note to the new Board, weeks after he was forced to resign. In the note, Captain Ratwatte reviews his turbulent period as CEO and the options the airline has in the future, which according to him are very bleak. During his tenure, members of the Board of Directors had zero experience running an airline. They were appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe on the basis of old personal friendships and political IOU’s. The Board ...Continued

The Kidney Disease Is Spreading

Cover Story
Aanya Wipulasena
The Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown Aetiology(CKDu) which has plagued the north central province for nearly twenty years is spreading to other areas as well. And yet, neither the medical profession nor other researchers have found conclusive evidence of the root cause for this illness. Professor Channa Jayasumana, Head of Pharmacology, Rajarata University says that there are an estimated 70,000 patients afflicted by CKDu. “Now the disease is detected in areas such as North Western Province, North Eastern Province and down South areas. Also, in ...Continued

At Last, CEB Power Purchases from Private Providers Under Scrutiny

Cover Story
Kshama Ranawana & Aanya Wipulasena
Officials of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have been asked to present themselves before the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) within a month, with supporting documents of the agreement entered into the purchase of power from private Power Producers, Counterpoint reliably learns. COPE Chairman, MP Sunil Handunetti confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation into the purchase of power.  He told Counterpoint that there was concern about partnering with Ace Power Embilipitya (Pvt.) Ltd. instead of first exploring other options, if there was a need ...Continued

Sri Lanka Needs Sound Naval Strategy As Power Rivalry Intensifies...

Cover Story
Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage
Geostrategic Focus on Sri Lanka In geostrategic terms, Sri Lanka has been in the limelight especially in the recent past. Caught up between major powers due to great rivalry in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is well within the spheres of influence of India, China and the USA. This strategic competition has resulted in a dilemma for Sri Lanka; the country is unable to make development decisions based purely on economic considerations. First, it has to pay attention to the strategic aspirations of major players. ...Continued

The Return of Mahinda Rajapaksa

Cover Story
Vishvanath
Power is like hell dust. It is highly addictive. As chasing the dragon is to a druggie, so is savouring power to an ambitious politician. Quitting it cold turkey, so to speak, is an extremely painful experience. Life became something like an aircraft in a tailspin for Mahinda Rajapaksa after his crushing defeat on Jan. 08, 2015. Everything suddenly became topsy-turvy and he lost bearings. It was days before he figured out what had hit him. An ignominious loss was not certainly something Mahinda had ...Continued

Stool Pigeon Squeals; The Plot Thickens

Politics
Vishvanath
The government, troubled by a surfeit of issues, now has some more seemingly intractable ones to contend with. One of them has the potential to sour relations between the SLFP and the UNP further.   One may have expected the allegation that there was a plot to assassinate President Maithripala Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to be treated sceptically by one and all. The person who revealed the alleged plot is not a prominent figure with credibility. He is a police informant doubling ...Continued

‘Occupy Colombo’ In The Offing?

Politics
Vishvanath
The Joint Opposition’s Janabalaya Colombata protest is just a foretaste of what to come. The ruling coalition did not expect the JO to stage such a successful rally. It had done everything in its power to sabotage the protest while claiming, in public, that it did not care a damn about the event. Private bus owners had been warned that if they released buses for transporting people for the protest, they would lose their route permits. Many bus operators fell in line, and an irate ...Continued

Presidency Vs Premiership – Perceptions, Ironies And ‘New Reality’

Politics
Vishvanath
The next presidential election is more than a year away, but things are already livening up on the political front with some potential candidates throwing their hats into the ring. The UNP, the SLFP and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have launched their polls campaigns. President Maithripala Sirisena has indicated his desire for contesting and the UNP is sure to field Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is being promoted as the SLPP candidate. But Sri Lankan politics is full of ...Continued

Will MR Cut The Gordian Knot?

Politics
Vishvanath
The SLFP is no stranger to dissention, conspiracies, revolts and breakaways. Its history has been replete with such instances. It suffered a debilitating split and lost the last presidential election in 2015 owing to a dispute over the premiership, which several key party notables had been eyeing. Maithripala Sirisena voted with his feet and went on to become the President. The SLFP-led UPFA failed to win the last general election, again due to a falling-off over premiership. President Sirisena refused to make his immediate predecessor ...Continued

Government Braces For Showdown; JO Limbers Up

Politics
Vishvanath
It looks as if the government had come to terms with the fact that it cannot go on postponing the provincial council polls till the cows come home. Both the UNP and the SLFP have gone into overdrive to impress the electorate with what they call mega development drives. Besides, everything is now in place to make the wheels of justice spin; the newly established High Courts will start trials against the grandees of the previous dispensation. President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ...Continued

Gota in MR’s Den and a Din Over a Wish

Politics
Vishvanath
Never a dull day in Sri Lanka! Some interesting issue crops up, almost daily, causing a sensation. The last two weeks have been of particular interest; we have witnessed a host of issues, the most important one being the passage of the much-delayed National Audit Bill (NAB). There was hardly any public debate on this vital law, which would have been put center stage and subjected to a lengthy public debate in any other country. The media apparently did not consider the NAB sexy enough ...Continued

DUMPED! – Lanka Cricket Plunges To New All-time Low

Columns
Dion Michael
Sri Lanka’s cricket plunged to an all-time low when the team was unceremoniously dumped from the Asia Cup tournament in just three days and after two big defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and newcomers Afghanistan. The heady night of 17 March 1996 when Sri Lanka was crowned World Champions remains a mere memory in the distance after the night of 17 September 2018 when the young Afghanistan team sent the Lankans crashing out of the Asia cup with an emphatic victory. The Asia Cup ...Continued

Prospects For Constitutional Reform Are Receding

Columns
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
On Tuesday 18th September, there was a report in the Daily Mirror newspaper, bottom right hand corner of page A4 quoting Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratna, that the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly will submit its report to the Assembly shortly.  Dr. Wickramaratna is also quoted as saying that the proposed constitutional reforms have not in any way weakened the unitary character of the state, nor paved the way for federalism or diluted the foremost status given to Buddhism.  The report referred to, is the composite report ...Continued

Shortage Of Trained Social Workers Impacts Interventions

Columns
Shamindrini Peiris
As far numbers go, the good news for Sri Lanka is that there has been an overall decline in the number of people taking their lives.  Of concern, are reports by Sumithrayo, which provides suicide intervention assistance amongst other services, that those attempting suicide is ten to twenty times more, and that this number is increasing. Even though the World Health Organization(WHO) places the age-standardised rate of suicide in Sri Lanka at 30.3 per 100,000 people, the Sumithrayo website states that the number of suicides ...Continued

Confident Lankans Seek More Asia Cup Glory

Columns
Dion Michael
A confident Sri Lankan cricket team will leave shortly for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) seeking to add more Asia Cup Silverware to their trophy cupboard. The Asia Cup cricket tournament 2018 is being held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 15-28 September, with the participation of six countries – India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Hong Kong – the winner of the qualifying tournament. The tournament will be the 14th edition of the Asia Cup and UAE play hosts for the third ...Continued

Why Former Presidents Cannot Run For Presidential Office Again

Columns
Asanga Welikala
There has recently been a flurry of comment and speculation about whether, due to a technical flaw in the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution (2015), former President Rajapaksa may actually be eligible to offer himself for election at the next presidential election, although it had so far been universally assumed that he was disqualified by virtue of having been twice elected previously to the presidency. A legal argument to this effect has most completely been made by the distinguished jurist, Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama. In his ...Continued

Three-Wheelers Need To Be Regulated

Columns
Shamindrini Peiris
One day, I was in a hurry to get home after visiting a patient at a leading private hospital down Kirimandala Mawatha and got into a three wheeler from the ‘hospital stand’. Preoccupied as I was with the condition of the patient and the other errands I had to run, it was only after I was almost halfway home that I realized that the meter was running at Rs 50 /- per km, more expensive than an AC cab with four wheels! All three wheelers ...Continued

COMIC STRIP - WASANTHA SIRIWARDENA

COLUMNS

COLUMN OF THE WEEK

DUMPED! – Lanka Cricket Plunges To New All-time Low

Columns
Dion Michael

Sri Lanka’s cricket plunged to an all-time low when the team was unceremoniously dumped from the Asia Cup tournament in just three days and after two big defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and newcomers Afghanistan. The heady night of 17 March 1996 when Sri Lanka was crowned World Champions remains a mere memory in the distance after the night of 17 September 2018 when the young Afghanistan team sent the Lankans crashing out of the Asia cup with an emphatic victory. The Asia Cup ...Continued

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