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Devoid of preconceptions and bias for and against



A Fresh Look at Solar Energy:

By Eng Parakrama Jayasinghe

The earth receives enough solar energy in one hour, adequate to meet the entire energy needs of the world for a year. In this equation Sri Lanka is placed in a most advantageous position being a tropical island with over 200 days of sunshine annually anywhere . Also the intensity of solar radiation as estimated by the NREL and published in the documents of the Sustainable Energy Authority show that the Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI) is over 1700 kWh/m2 over most of the country, except for some small segment of the hill country. The best areas can boast of over 1750 kWh/m2/year. This relates to a solar PV potential up to 1637 kWh/kWp in the best locations. ( See Those who have opted to install roof top solar PV, including me, which are not necessarily the optimal orientation can safely expect the generation to be 110 kWh/kW/month averaged over the year including the cloudy and rainy days.

So Sri Lanka is very well endowed with this bounty of nature!

But with all this energy year round why is solar energy is not being pursued diligently in Sri Lanka?

Even with the projected demand of 30,890 GWh in 2030, the area required, if we want to get this entire energy form the sun is only 390 square kilometers. Which is only 0.60 % of the total land area of the country. The DG of the SLSEA Dr. Asanka Rodrigo has calculated that this area amounts to only 10 % of the scrub lands, reported as 1.6 million ha by the Ministry of lands. But then no one is planning to get all our electricity from solar PV. The current annual electricity demand is 18542 GWH. Suppose we target a contribution of say 25% of this demand, the area requirement of only 53.5 square kilometers or 5350 ha.( Ref Draft LTEGP 2020-2039) Does not sound too daunting does it?

But the inescapable reality is that sun shines only during the day even if we are lucky to get 12 hours of it, the solar insolation varied during the sunshine hours. And there are cloudy days and even a passing cloud would reduce the intensity of energy received.

It is this none firm nature and the diurnal availability which has been the main disadvantage and the barrier for wider exploitation of this unenviable natural resource. Also the cost of solar PV was found prohibitive even 5-10 years ago.


Winds ( Solar?) of Change

But all that is in the past. Now solar energy is the cheapest source for power generation except perhaps wind power and major hydro. Solutions have been found to overcome the problem variability and diurnal nature, in many countries.

This is done in two ways, first by accepting the reality of variable nature and system of forecasting the weather patterns and also taking advantage of the wide distribution of the solar systems, particularly the roof top installations. Thus taken as a combined system and not as single installations, present a less formidable picture. Of course the utilities must be clever enough to factor in this diversity.

On the other hand the use of storage devices, particularly storage batteries has solved this problem entirely. The 100 MW battery installed by Tesla in Hornsdale south Australia initiated a revolution. Now other utilities are vying with each other to install larger and larger. That is of course except for Sri Lanka which opts to remain in the last century when it comes to the electricity sector.

But we in Sri Lanka has the largest battery already installed in the shape of major Hydro reservoirs supporting 1399 MW of power generation capacity. All we lack is the courage and are too backwards in our thinking to recognize this asset and its immense value in conjunction with the literally unlimited solar potential and also coupled with the wind resource.

So it is time to consider and how we can use this bounty to the maximum, and not looking for reasons why it cannot be done, when it is already proven it to be technically and commercially feasible.

So let us look at the often stated problems.

Lack of Adequate Land

As already shown we need only 0.6 % of the land area even if we depend 100% on solar in 2030. But a more pragmatic vison indicated that we need only 0.33 % of the land for us to elevate the contribution up to 25% by 2030. But even this extent of lands, need not be targeted as there are other options. What should be our target for 2030, if we are to strive to achieve the President’s goal of 80% RE by 2030? As a viable and eminently achievable target I suggest 5000 MW, which would yield 8760 GWH per year or 28% of the total energy demand of 30890 GWH. How much of this can come from solar roof tops? An estimate of 3000 MW has been suggested as shown below.

Total Number of bill paying consumers 6,350,000 ( CEB own statistics 2018)

Assume 20% would opt for roof top solar 1,250,000 consumers

Tottal Solar Capacity @ 3 kW 3,750 MW

So the land requirement is only for the balance 2000 MW of solar parks or only 109 Sq Km or 10900 ha.

The thousands of reservoirs and lagoons would eminently serve our space requirement for the solar parks, with the added advantage of improved conversion efficiency on one hand, and the reduction of evaporation loss of the reservoir water on the other.

Sri Lanka has 62500 ha of reservoir area and 161,500 ha of lagoons dotted all over the country. So even a significant proportion of the area required, can be considered to come from these water bodies making this question of land availability a storm in a tea cup.

How do we handle variability?

The first option is to live with it however, idiotic that may sound. So as mentioned earlier with adequate number of installations there is a certain fraction of firm power that would be available but of course during the sun shine hours. The engineers at CEB must work out how to handle this to the best advantage, which of course needs thinking big and planning big to consider a little more than the area covered by a distribution transformer. But also we have the advantage of 1340 MW of hydro power which could be kept entirely away from the grid during day time, as well as shutting down the diesel guzzlers for good. In case someone asks the question, recently South Australia managed the entire day time hours with only solar energy as shown below.

Is there any technical reason why we in Sri Lanka cannot do the same thing, perhaps with a battery/batteries only of adequate capacity to iron out the dips to be expected during the day and to manage the night peak as shown below. That’s the challenge we must accept.


Where are we now?

It is not all gloom and doom. Over the past few years many things have been moving forward albeit much too slowly for our liking. We have now over 250 MW of grid connected Solar PV roof top installations by about 25,000 consumers and the number is rising. Added to that are over 50 MW of solar parks already connected and hopefully, at least some out of the 300 MW of 1 MW scale solar parks already tendered for should get built.

Sri Lanka can be proud of being most innovative and progressive by the introduction of the net metering system further improved by the three systems under the Surya Bala Sangraamaya. This is the most important shift in policy which led to the exponential growth in the solar PV roof top , which brought in its wake, many more spin off benefits, too many to list here. Therefore Sri Lanka should salute those who had the courage to bring in this legislation, whoever wishes to take credit for it. It is the responsibility of those claiming parentage of this innovation to ensure it is not allowed to be sabotaged as unfortunately some people are trying , including those in authority who fail to appreciate its value and immense potential. It is sad to see propaganda based on entirely incorrect numbers perhaps purposely designed to deceive, being used in this disruptive campaigns.


What does the immediate future offer us?

If the present format of the Surya Bala Sangraamaya is allowed to continue as it should, including the tariff structure , a most ambitious and visionary program has been proposed by the State Minister to install 100,000 rooftop solar PV systems targeting the Samurdhi Recipients. The capacity of each is estimated to be about 5-6 kW under the Net Plus scheme. Leveraging on the ADB funded loan scheme and an attractive low interest rate of 4%, this project can be entirely funded by the loan scheme and has the greatest advantage of the loan installment payments being made from the monthly income of exporting the generated energy to the national grid. It is also expected that the consumer will have a surplus in excess of the normal Samurdhi payment he would have otherwise received from the government, which will now not be forthcoming. Once the loan is paid up the consumer will receive a very substantial monthly income way above the Rs 2,500, he would otherwise have received, and would also have the satisfaction of being a contributor to the national energy mix thus joining the growing band of ” Prosumers”

This is indeed a win-win opportunity where by the country will gain at least 500 MW addition to the grid, without any capital expenditure by the treasury and an added saving of Rs 3000 Million every year by offsetting the 100,000 Samurdhi payments. The CEB too will make a saving by the avoidance of equivalent amount of expensive oil based power generation. We only hope that the CEB will proactively work towards ensuring the success of this project without trotting out the usual slogans.

The most tantalizing target is the 1.4 Million Samurdhi recipients who can be up lifted from eternal poverty at no cost to the government.

The State Ministers programme deserves the proactive support of all concerned by removing any road blocks that could appear in implementing this courageous by daunting project.

The CEB must be congratulated for launching a similar innovative project in parallel to clear the way for local investors to implement 10,000 mini solar parks, targeting the 100 kW distribution transformers dotted round the country. A recent Cabinet decision has already approved the project with the identified 7000 transformers that could be used for this scheme. Thus the possibility of adding a further 1000 MW of Solar power to the grid is already on the cards with the blessing of the CEB who are best placed to ensure its success.


Therefore if the above two schemes are implemented, not deterred by any minor glitches which should be addressed proactively, Sri Lanka too can play catch me with our neighbours in the race for solar power.

Several other larger solar parks have been in the planning for some time. The 100 MW solar park in Siyambaladuwa is expected to be tendered for soon.


The major challenge ahead

Our energy future needs to be “Electrical”. Solar energy paves the way and could also become the most important player by democratising the electrical generation industry. Thus the future generators of the electricity will be the consumers themselves as ” Prosumers”

The most important nationwide impact it the indigenization of the energy industry both the resources as well as the owners and operators of the facilities. This has immense impacts on the balance of payments and long term energy security and in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

This note is designed only to highlight the great opportunity awaiting us, only if we have the courage and the vision to exploit same for Sri Lanka. The feasibility of doing so has been proven all over the world, even where the resource is much less pronounced. Do we as professionals accept this challenge to justify our claim for excellence and national service?


Playing politics with science!



It is obvious that the only way out of this disastrous pandemic is through science––the use of vaccines that have been introduced in double quick time due to scientific ingenuity. It is the duty of politicians to refrain from playing politics with science.


By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana

If you thought it was only our politicians who played politics with science, you thought wrong. Admittedly, ours are pretty bad as evident from the Dhammika peniya episode. We had our Health Minister freely advertising the concoction by ingesting it in her office and wasting the valuable time of academics by instructing them to test it for efficacy. Getting a pretty bad attack of Covid-19 demonstrated the idiocy of her action but she continues unashamedly to be our Minister of Health!

A Professor of Pharmacology turned politician did likewise. Forgetting what he taught his students, he supported the untested therapies, the explanation given by one of his colleagues being that he behaved as a politician, not a scientist! By implication, even scientists can forget science when they become politicians! Funnily, he was rewarded by being appointed the Acting Minister of Health the day the Health Minister was discharged from hospital, which was rather bizarre considering that during the Minister’s prolonged period of hospital-stay there was no acting appointment! Perhaps, fearing that he might take the bread out of her mouth, the Minister returned to office within a few days of discharge.

Although the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic was very effectively controlled, the loss of efficiency as regards the second wave was due no doubt to allowing non-scientific ideas to creep in. The refusal of permission for the burial of Covid-19 victims in spite of a group of top scientists recommending it, made us look foolish and turned international opinion against the country.

The clamour for vaccination is a welcome sign, more so because the UK is continually producing evidence for the extreme efficacy of vaccination.

The UK was the first country in the world to start vaccination and has already vaccinated more than 21 million of its 66 million population. It started with the Pfizer vaccine, closely followed by the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. EU, which was a late starter, was critical of the Oxford AZ vaccine. The French President Emmanuel Macron is obviously guilty of playing politics with science as he was one of the vaccine’s most vociferous critics, calling it “quasi-ineffective” for the elderly. As a result of political comments of this nature, more than half of EU countries limited the Oxford AZ vaccine to those under 65 years, in spite of the European Medicines Agency approving it for all age groups.

Another political appointee, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, had a public spat with AstraZeneca over gaining more of its vaccine doses and introduced a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland; she was forced to reverse her decision, quickly. She then suggested the UK had compromised on “safety and efficacy” by approving the jab so early, despite the EMA reaching the same conclusions as the UK’s internationally-respected MHRA, which approved the Oxford AZ vaccine for all ages. Millions of doses of Oxford AZ vaccine, which they obtained in spite of criticism, remain unused in France and Germany. Why did they not have the generosity to give these to struggling countries like Sri Lanka?

Data released by Public Health England (PHE) shows that both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among those 70 years and over. Since January, protection against symptomatic Covid-19, four weeks after the first dose, ranged between 57 and 61% for Pfizer and between 60 and 73% for the Oxford AZ vaccine.

In the over 80s, data suggest that a single dose of either vaccine is more than 80% effective in preventing hospitalisation, around 3 to 4 weeks after the jab. There is also evidence for 83% reduction in deaths from Covid-19 with the Pfizer vaccine and data for Oxford AZ vaccine is awaited.

European aversion to Oxford AZ vaccine is, no doubt, due to Brexit than to science. Very soon, all EU countries would be forced by science to allow all age groups to have the Oxford AZ vaccine which, by the way, is the cheapest vaccine that is easier to transport and store. Politicians who criticised Oxford AZ vaccine have had to eat humble pie but they will no doubt come out with some claim to justify their idiocy!

A Belgian minister, Budget State Secretary Eva De Bleeker, has angered vaccine manufacturers by revealing sensitive and confidential commercial information – the price that the EU has agreed to pay for the leading Covid-19 vaccines. Though her twitter message was deleted quickly, screenshots taken show that the EU agreed prices for the three vaccines used at present are as follows: Oxford/AstraZeneca: €$ 1.78, Pfizer/BioNTech : €$ 12 and Moderna: $18.

Moderna, a Bio-tech company, which has not been profitable so-far, is heading for wind-fall profits and the drug-giant Pfizer will get richer. No one seems to have followed the noble gesture of AstraZeneca, which agreed with the Oxford group to provide the vaccine on no-profit basis.

It is obvious that the only way out of this disastrous pandemic is through science––the use of vaccines that have been introduced in double quick time due to scientific ingenuity. It is the duty of politicians to refrain from playing politics with science.

As Dolly Parton sang with a rewrite of her famous song ‘Jolene’ whilst having her jab:

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, I’m begging of you, please don’t hesitate. Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, because once you’re dead, then that’s a bit too late.”


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Who wants to live forever?



The haunting lyrics of The Queen song and the almost plaintive tone in Freddie Mercury’s oh so unique voice, when he sang this song (particularly in his live performance at Wembley), echo through my mind these days. There are two main reasons why longevity is foremost these days.

The first, of course, being the pandemic that is among us. It may be the first time that the civilian population of the entire world is facing the possibility of sudden death, not from incoming fire or even suicide bombers but from an insidious, unseen, minute germ!

The second reason why the length of our lives and prolonging it for as long as we possibly can have been entering my thoughts, is when I see the scramble to get the anti-virus vaccine that I observe in the Pearl. Now, most of us are Buddhists and somewhere in those teachings is a belief that we come into this world with a certain amount of AYUSHA or length of life, and that when that is over the end happens and there is no choice. At least, that is the basic interpretation of undoubtedly very complex teaching.

If that is the case, why this scramble for the vaccine? Why are we using privileged positions (connections to rulers and politicians), connections to doctors, and even the Mayors of certain cities to short-circuit the waiting lists? Older people are complaining that they are being denied the vaccine, why? Those people have probably achieved all their objectives in life, completed successful lives, seen grandchildren or even great-grandchildren, why do they want to deny some young man or woman starting out on life with all those milestones to reach, the vaccine, particularly if they are devoted to the teachings of the Buddha.

Is it selfishness, greed, and avarice, things we should avoid according to these self-same teachings, or is it simply one-up-man-ship and the need to be able to boast that they got the vaccine when the “ordinary” man is still standing in queues and probably infecting each other due to the total chaos and non-observance of Covid protocols in these places of administering the vaccine? Think about it dear readers, especially those of you who have completed productive and useful lives, brought up “successful” children, and as is the way in our society provided them with houses, lands, dowries, and other ways of sustenance. Do we really need to join this scramble for the vaccine? Or, use our position of privilege to probably deny some younger person, with a life to live, the chance of getting it. Is it even our ego (something else we should control and make less significant in our lives and decisions) that allows us to justify our long existence in this world? They need my superior intellect, does this world and this society, therefore I must live as long as possible! Or, is it simply the basic animal instinct to live as long as possible, something that we as humans with our superior brains should be able to think around?

Here in Aotearoa, we have re-entered a level 3 lockdown in our most heavily populated city and a level 2 lockdown for the rest of our country. This has been due to certain non-observance of Covid protocols by people of a clearly identified community, living in a certain part of the city of sails, as Auckland is also known. This is the second time that the community, living in that part of the city has brought about an escalation of the pandemic and stricter lockdowns. It has brought more economic misery and spelled the end of the road to more businesses and enterprises. Now, in the Pearl, we may have resorted to attacking those communities and even rioting. All that seems to have happened here are of course the usual vitriolic racist attacks on the internet and a government decision to vaccinate those areas of the city first, in an attempt to control the pandemic. Wow! in the pearl either all these people would have been rounded up and locked up in a camp in the Vanni or locked down under strict curfew with the threat of being shot if violated. The jury with regard to if the Pearl alternative or the Aotearoa alternative of these should have been used is still out …

Maybe some readers are interested in the outcome of the threat that is looming over us from the upcoming United Nations action in Geneva? I have been trying to get some feedback from “intellectuals” currently living in the Pearl, but they seem distracted, and a feeling of helplessness seems to prevail. The incumbent Foreign Minister seems to think that a humble Indian Ocean Island with what strictly speaking, can be considered a failed or at least failing economy, can dictate terms to the UN, behaving like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Maybe our “new best friend” China, probably aided and abetted by Russia has lent strength to his arm.

Even a “victory’ for Lanka at the UNHCR to this resolution should not be cheered too vociferously, as the countries ranged against us will have long term plans. Every step of this government will be monitored closely. The loss of our garment exporting privileges to the first world could result along with other economic sanctions that would make the cost of living in the Pearl even higher.

One rather interesting possibility seems to be travel bans on certain individuals and freezing of their assets held abroad. Now that could be stimulating, especially if the numbers involved are made public! However, if that was the case, I believe the attempt to rectify the situation would have been given to a more competent person than “the bull in the china shop”!

I cannot resist putting this out dear readers and I apologise profusely in advance. What if someone like Ranil W, was in charge of foreign affairs? Do you think we would have had a more professional approach and had a better chance in dealing with the complicated nuances of handling UN diplomacy, in the long term? At least we may have not insulted and possibly humiliated the visiting PM of one of our allies, Imran Khan of Pakistan! On the other hand, Mr. Khan, you may rest assured that even if you had addressed our parliament, no member would have understood anything you said or even been able to decipher your immaculate Oxbridge accent. It is only those of us who have shut ourselves out mentally from the shenanigans or gone into voluntary exile who watch with dismay, who would have savoured your words and briefly wondered …what if … ?

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Thanks for quick vaccination; harmful dabblers in the occult should be severely dealt with



There has been much in the daily press on vaccination against Covid-19 in this fair isle of ours, or rather in Colombo and its suburbs

Let’s put aside complaints and say praise be!

Most of what was media-written was on the ensuing chaos of not knowing where to go for the jab; how to get a token; which age group will be given it (apart of course from VIPs and politicians who were close behind frontline health workers). Mercifully, the authorities righted the initial wrong of deciding on prioritizing the 30-65 age group and neglecting the over 65s, who were placed second in the priority list in more enlightened countries following WHO strictures. And so lots have got the jab and we anticipate a drastic drop in infection and Covid death rates. Cass contributed her fair share of criticism in this column but not stridently nor unreasonably. She had not seen the privileged list that passed off as Municipal workers on Tuesday 24 February at the Public Library, Colombo 7, arriving in Mercedes Benzes and SUVs. If she had, her ire would have emerged in pure vitriol! One friend said she enquired from several sophisticates in the queue how they got there, but received mumbled replies. So, a Rose by any other name, even Do-Gooder, smells as bad when it goes unjust! Things got much better and the service worked smoothly once the MOHs came into their own.

What Cass notes in summarizing the issue today is thanks and gratitude to the government and the Health Services particularly, for vaccinating so very many so quickly. People who wrote about this issue, Cass included, were all praise for the actual data takers and vaccine givers. In certain centres, the old and disabled were queued in a different line and vaccinated within an hour.

The gratitude Cass renders is because only part of the total amount of vaccine was gifted by India and the WHO. Our government booked early and paid for the rest, and of the Oxford kind. This vaccine is admittedly relatively cheaper, but it had to be paid for, which cost the government bore. We have to appreciate the massive organization entailed and excuse inevitable hiccups. This fact struck Cass as a feeling of much needed security and elimination of fear was felt, and all for free. Also when a friend in Melbourne wrote they were as yet awaiting vaccination.


Black Magic and witchcraft in Sri Lanka

If you thought as Cass did that we would never ever resemble a dark Congo tribe resorting to occult cures or a re-enactment of shades of supernatural superstitious beliefs in witchcraft as in Salem, Massachusetts, USA, in 1692 (where some young girls caught prancing naked cooked up lies about good women in the village being witches), you and Cass were both mistaken. We’ve had these in different styles right here in supposedly majority Buddhist Free Sri Lanka with other religions holding people together, in the 21st century with some of our own doing brilliantly well in advanced scientific disciplines all over the developed world. Cass, as you now know, was born and bred in the hills of Kandy with its most sacred Dalada Maligawa and picturesquely situated quaint temples in peaceful green valleys with the sound of evening pooja bells, joined by Kovil tinkles and Sunday sonorous Church gantara and the cry of the Muzeen. We never had a bali or thovil ceremony. If an inauspicious time descended on the village or a household, it was pirith chanted by Bhikkhus. So to Cass what has been happening very recently is even stranger than to those who have village cousins who dabble in mantra and kodivina with kattadiyas in action.

I refer here to the stupidly preposterous belief in Dhammika’s peniya as both a prophylactic and cure for pernicious Covid-19. Where is that charlatan veda – oops sorry- Kaliamma devala kapurala now? Safe with his ill-gotten gains, we suppose.

The latest voodoo story, but with such a tragic ending, is that of the 9-year-old Delgoda girl who suffered an emotional (rather than mental) aberration and was subject to exorcism by caning her mercilessly. The exorcist could not be a woman; she must certainly be a sadistic aberration herself. Can you believe that she applied oil on the girl and used the cane on her till the kid went unconscious? Was the cane an ordinary one? At first I could not believe the story read in the papers – how cane a person to death, but it was a child receiving the torture and who knows what sort of ‘weapon’ was used. The mother definitely must be punished more severely. Maternal love, even in the animal kingdom, will never allow harming an offspring, so how on earth did the mother watch all that caning. One shot would have torn Cass to the defence of her child, or for that matter any child, with talons extended and blood now not turned to milk as the Sinhala saying goes, but to vitriolic fury. The woman exorcist with supernatural powers and the mother are in police custody. Why doesn’t she do a Houdini and astound handsome Police high-up Ajit Rohana?

People claiming superhuman clairvoyance and divine power crop up everywhere. Cass accompanied a friend to consult a girl in the suburbs of Kandy to find out where her hub had ‘donated’ a fairly large sum of money. This girl had given clear directions to find a lost Persian cat to a third friend; hence the visit. She was a pretty, soft girl of around 18. Once Cass and the other entered the room, the girl changed, was in a near trance and speaking in an entirely different voice, pronounced the reason for seeking her help and said “Look for a man always dressed in long sleeves and thinning hair parted in the middle.” The friend was baffled and defeated by this long shot, but finally she met a man of this description – the father of a girl in her husband’s office. She did not ask for the money!

Such ‘powers’ are temporary; maybe like poltergeist manifestations in a teenager’s home. But going for cures to them is unthinkable. Buddhist bhikkhus and maybe bhikkhuunis, so also certain Christian priests (the bulk of lecherous Father Mathew intrudes here) do have powers of exorcism. A medical doctor is the best bet, in any case, including even mental upsets.


Short Takes

Imran Khan’s all too brief visit was a successful veni, vidi, vici in spite of being snubbed ungraciously over the address to Parliamentarians (what a weak, threadbare excuse was offered – C-19 precaution!) and missing out two of our cricket greats: Michael Tissera and Anura Tennakoon from the list of cricket folk to say Hi to the great Cricketer at lunch at Shangri La. What was the success apart from charming everyone and showing off what a Statesman can look like and carry himself off? Why – the Muslims of Sri Lanka conquered. Burial was theirs or so it seemed. But hold it, is it gazetted or is this ‘yes’ like the Prime Minister’s definite ‘can bury’ pronounced in Parliament and then brushed aside and explained by the Gaman as “he was merely expressing his thoughts.”

Main headline in The Island of Wednesday 3 March:” PCol report on Easter Sunday carnage: AG won’t be given ‘sensitive’ volumes.” Why on earth? Is it X-rated and the AG underage?

Picture on page I of same issue of Dr Rajitha Senaratne arriving at the Colombo High Court to appear in a case involving two persons who accused then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa of various crimes. We have long forgotten even a single word of what they said. They will not get off free is Cass’ bet unlike Aluthgamage, who emerged very recently from a court house free as a bird, accused of corruption, Cass recalls.

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