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Exploring Explosives’

June 9 (DN) Nearly 16 months after the new govt’s ascension to power, one can safely come to the conclusion that disasters – both natural and unnatural – pose the biggest challenge to the Sirisena – Wickremesinghe administration. It was just three weeks ago that the government grappled with a major natural disaster involving landslides and floods that rendered over 300,000 temporarily homeless. Nearly 90 people died due to landslides and floods, while hundreds sustained injuries. more..

Corruption plagues public service

June 9 (DN) The duty of the people appointed to the public service is to attend to the needs of the people in the country irrespective of whether they are the hoi polloi on the breadline, the petite bourgeoisie, the sandwich class or squeezed middle class, the middle class or the upper-class. As soon as they assume duties they become attendants deployed to provide a service. To render a service they must pay attention to the need of the people. It concisely means to apply one’s mind, consideration more..

Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe

Altair breaks new ground with live stream from construction site

June 9 (Island) Sri Lanka’s showpiece high rise project Altair has broken new ground in the local property development market by installing a 24-hour live stream from its construction site, enabling anyone to monitor progress. A new dimension in transparency, the live feed can be accessed via the Altair website from anywhere in the world. It provides a real-time view of construction work from five different angles, with the views switching every 12 seconds. more..

400 boxers from 125 schools for LV Jayaweera Boxing C'ships

June 9 (DN) Mahanama College, Colombo have made all arrangements to host the LV Jayaweera inter-school Boxing Championships which will be worked off from June 11 to 15 from 4pm to 9 pm. 43rd edition of the Sri Lanka Schools main boxing tournament will have a record number of boxers exceeding 400 from 125 schools across the island. The tournament will be conducted in 16 weight categories in five age groups upto Under-18. Seven new schools including S Thomas’ College, more..

How a boy from the Sri Lankan jungle formed the greatest punk band you’ve never heard

June 9 (FACT) Fronted by an intense singer with an oblique songbook and a mysterious past, Glorious Din were unlike any other group to emerge from San Francisco’s ‘80s underground. David Katz tells the story of Eric Cope, the chosen persona of a Joy Division-obsessed Sri Lankan boy who travelled halfway around the world to follow his punk dream. Early 1980s was an incredibly fertile time for underground music in San Francisco. more..

Can Sri Lanka avoid whitewash at Lord's?

June 9 (Island) Sri Lanka go into the third and final Test here at Lord's facing their first ever whitewash against England. The tourists lost the first Test by an innings and 88 runs at Leeds inside three days before going down by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street inside four days. Angelo Mathews' side will have to improve their game vastly to avoid making this Sri Lanka's worst tour of England. There are a few facts that are going in Sri Lanka's favour as the weather in England has improved more..

Colombo Port dresses up for CFW Swim

June 9 (FT) East Container Terminal (ECT) will be the hosting venue for the Colombo Fashion Week’s (CFW) Swim Week Colombo, as it aims to flaunt the facility’s geographical advantage to the world. Second instalment of CFW Swim is slated to be held from 24-26 June. The event is expected to attract an influential international audience and will be given coverage by int'l media. Thus this will subsequently be a platform for SL to sell its geographical positioning to attract fresh business. more..

Lord's factor offers beleaguered SL a boost

June 9 (CI) After a torrid tour of England's northern-most venues, Sri Lanka head south to their relative fortress at Lord's. Ever since Sidath Wettimuny and Duleep Mendis lit up their country's maiden visit in 1984 with a brace of epic hundreds, Sri Lanka have forged an unlikely fondness for the game's grandest venue. They haven't yet won in seven previous matches - but neither have they lost since 1991, and defiance that they showed more..

Many uses of going virgin

June 9 (NS) Coconut is a versatile perennial crop. Its usage in our daily food is remarkable. As Sri Lankans, we used to talk about the usefulness of coconut from our childhood, and every one of us has written several essays on the usefulness of coconut, during our school days. Coconut plantation in Sri Lanka goes back to the era of King Agbo II. As per the historic evidence, the first coconut plantation in Sri Lanka was established by King Agbo II in Anuradhapura. more..

My recipe for travel free SL: Let John do it

June 9 (Island) We say Sri Lanka is the Island Paradise, Small Miracle and even the Wonder of Asia. Is it really? I wouldn't think so. However, if we want to make Sri Lanka the Island Paradise, I, as the Street Walker, have my recipe for Sri Lanka. Let me start with my ingredients, the mixture and even the preparation. Tighten your seat belts. Here we go. Firstly, to improve the transport system the President of the Private Bus Owners Association and Chairman of Central Transport Board more..

Project to grow coconut in 80,000 acres in NE

June 9 (DN) In a bid to increase coconut cultivation, the Plantations Industries Ministry has undertaken a mammoth project to grow 80,000 acres of coconut only in the North East. Minister Navin Dissanayake said the total coconut production for 2015 was 3,056 million nuts. However the demand was much more and there is an urgent need for more coconuts. This demand is also from the industrial sector and also from companies more..

Thisara Perera relegated to SL ‘A’ squad

June 9 (DN) Thisara Perera who figured in the senior national squads for quite a while has been relegated to play in the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team to England. Perera, a hard hitting all-rounder failed to find a place in the senior ODI team named for England yesterday, but was included in the Sri Lanka ‘A’ ODI squad which is due to tour England later this month. Top order batsman Ashan Priyanjan will lead Sri Lanka ‘A’ teams. National selectors named two separate squads more..

Australian miner to drill for mineral

June 9 (DN) Australian miner Iluka Resources Ltd is expected to drill for mineral samples soon as it negotiates with the govt for a mining licence for ilmenite in Puttalam. “Iluka is currently assessing the development of a mineral sands deposit known as the Puttalam Quarry deposit,” the company said in its March quarterly production report. The company’s activities in Sri Lanka are preliminary and remain focused on “govt negotiations in relation to the legal and investment terms” more..

President’s House in Colombo open for public for the first time in history

June 9 (PMD) From today (8) the public, including the school children can view the President’s House in Colombo and the Gordon park. This initiative was implemented under the direction of President Sirisena and the public can visit to President’s House till June 14. The President’s House in Colombo, which was used by 29 governors and six Presidents for their official duties and for residential purposes will be open more..

Kosgama: 21 houses looted after residents fled to safety

June 9 (Island) Residents in and around the Army’s Central Armoury at Kosgama, which went up in flames last Sunday have complained that 21 houses were robbed after they had vacated them during devastating explosions there. "Door and windows of their houses had been broken open jewellery and cash removed by the time they returned the following day," police said. An organised gang had been spreading rumours about a bomb threat. They asked the public not to panic. more..

Cabinet approves fresh loan from China EXIM Bank

June 9 (FT) Cabinet approval has been given for the Govt to enter into a $ 90.5 million loan agreement with China’s EXIM Bank for funding consultancy services, including design renew and construction supervision of the $ 1.7 billion Southern Expressway extension which is also being funded by the same entity. Under a Cabinet paper submitted by Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Govt will enter into a framework agreement with Govt of China and into a loan agreement with China Exim Bank more..

Former JVP Minister castigates Rajapaksas over Thajudeen case, Kosgama fire

June 9 (Island) Convenor of First Front and former Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister (JVP) Chandrasena Wijesinghe said, it was wrong of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to have visited key suspect in the Wasim Thajudeen killing, retired senior DIG Anura Senanayake in remand prison. Wijesinghe said preliminary investigations had proved that Senanayake tampered with and distorted more..

Chinese tourist arrival up 31.5% in May

June 8 (Xinhua) Tourist arrival from China to Sri Lanka increased 31.5% in May, as China remained as second largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka, latest data released here on Wednesday showed. The number of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka increased 31.5% to 16,004 in May, which contributes to the rise of total tourist arrival to 125,044, up 10.1% compared to the same period last year, data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed. more..

Salawa arms, ammo stats not known

June 9 (CT) Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said that discussions are underway to shift the Salawa armoury out of the area subsequent to explosions which destroyed part of the armoury last Sunday. This statement was made at a media briefing held at the MOD Tuesday. He said that he is unable to comment on the nature and quantity of the arms and ammunition stored in the armoury and they will update more information about the incident later on. more..

Govt to import 42,000 MT of fertiliser

June 9 (FT) Bowing to public pressure, Cabinet gave the green light for Govt to import 42,000 metric tons of fertiliser to be distributed to farmers under a fair price. Decision was made under a proposal made by Minister Duminda Dissanayake to purchase 42,000 MT of fertiliser to be provided to farmers at a fair price as per recommendations made by Cabinet Appointed Special Standing Procurement Committee. more..

JO slams govt over vehicle allocation

June 9 (DM) Joint Opposition slammed the govt for seeking to spend Rs. 1.1 billion to purchase vehicles to 30 Cabinet and State Ministers. Former Minister G.L. Peiris said the Govt had mixed up its priorities by placing the privileges of the Ministers first instead of looking after the common man. “Govt should have spent the funds to uplift the livelihood of recent flood victims and the displaced residents of Kosgama. Members of the Govt are making the hay, while the sun shines. more..

Possible Court Martial if Salawa explosions intentional

June 9 (CT) A routine camp drill exercise conducted at the time of the massive ordnance explosions at the Salawa Army Camp last Sunday may have accounted for the fact that there was only one death and a few casualties in the incident, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said Tuesday. "A Court of Inquiry has been set up to inquire into the causes. Therefore, I can't say anything more. Let's wait till the investigation is over," he said at a media briefing. more..

GTF confident US won’t dilute Geneva resolution

June 9 (Island) Global Tamil Forum (GTF) yesterday declared that the US stand on a resolution unanimously adopted on Oct 1, last year at the UNHRC with the consent of Sri Lankan govt hadn’t been changed. UK based GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran said that the grouping hadn’t been told of the US changing its stance. Surendiran was responding to a query whether the GTF felt the US was taking a softer approach in respect of more..

Salawa Army Camp Fire: Govt assures protestors blocking road speedy relief

June 9 (Island) Amidst protests by Salawa residents against re-opening the Colombo-Avissawella road yesterday prior to cleaning the debris as a result of last Sunday’s fire at Salawa Army Camp in Kosgama, govt said steps had been taken to ensure that normalcy returned. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the govt was concerned about the welfare of the affected persons and would ensure that the houses damaged as a result of the fire that had erupted at the ammunition storage facility of more..

Biz confidence plummets in the face of higher VAT

June 9 (FT) The May LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) reflects a southbound trajectory, where the unique barometer of corporate sentiment dropped sharply to 141, and now lies well below its 12-month average (158), the latest edition of leading business magazine LMD reports. LMD quotes Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader, who says: “The BCI’s plunge of 13 points has largely come about as a result of the implementation of VAT amendments.” more..

Govt responds to rights watchdog on failure to consult victims on Missing Persons Office

June 9 (FT) Govt came out swinging against criticism by human rights groups on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) draft legislation that was gazetted this week, saying a critical press statement had failed to balance the need for action with deliberation on long-overdue reconciliation and accountability mechanisms and the need to urgently address issues pertaining to the families of the Missing. Secretariat for Coordinating more..

No civilians affected by chemicals during war: PM

June 9 (DM) There had been no reports to suggest that chemical emission from the weapons used during the war time, had got into the bodies of civilians, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament. PM who was responding to a question raised by TNA MP Sivashakthi Anandan said there had been no evidence to suggest, such a phenomenon had taken place. "It is common knowledge that civilians had suffered, especially during the final stages of the war, as a result more..

No risk of epidemics

June 9 (CT) Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Maheepala gave assurance that there was no danger of any diseases breaking out at any of the flood refugee welfare centres. Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Division Dr. Sarath Amunugama added that though there were no signs of any outbreak of any diseases, "we are constantly vigilant to ensure this does not happen". He said effective measures had been put in place to ensure safe levels of sanitation. more..

Editorial: Vili lajja!

June 9 (Island) No sooner had the exploding ordnance stopped raining on Kosgama and adjoining townships than the govt chose to shower expensive gifts on its MPs. People crying out for relief must have expected Parliament to get cracking to help them. Instead, a supplementary estimate to the tune of Rs. 1,175 million was presented to the House on Tuesday for purchasing 30 cars, of all things, for ministers! It was only recently that more..

Where are the people being driven?

June 9 (DM) In the aftermath of two disasters which have left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and without means of livelihood, it is essential for political leaders to avoid wasteful expenditure, luxuries or extravagance. We are happy that President Sirisena specially has committed himself to a simple and humble lifestyle as seen during his recent visit to Japan. Unlike leaders of the previous regime he flew on normal commercial airlines and saved millions of rupees in public money. more..

Yahapalanaya, its enemies & sympathizers

June 9 (DM) Yahapalanaya or good governance is no new concept. Its origins could be found in our ancient scriptures; its inherent qualities are still shaking the modern concepts of governance to their core and questioning their validity; its singular appeal to fair-play and justice is casting aside all mundane excuses of attempts at alternatives and when suppressed, its wailing had been echoing down the primeval caves to modern day corridors of power, burning for inevitable awakening and more..

'SLFP is split'

June 9 (CT) Minister S.B. Dissanayake concedes that his party, the SLFP, is split and Party seniors were making enormous efforts to smoothen out the issues which continue to threaten Party unity. He said that following "enormous success in the May Day rally, the tide had turned and several SLFPers who opposed the govt prior to that had now changed their minds. He added that more SLFP MPs who had throw in their lot with the JO more..

Vesak Celebrations in Berlin

June 9 (IL) Buddhism is growing in Germany and as a result the number of Buddhist places of worship, meditation centres and religious centres where people meet are on the rapid increase. There are around 700 Buddhist institutions representing all traditions of Buddhism in Germany, these figures could be higher as some groups shun publicity. In the capital city, Berlin, there are around 30–40 Buddhist temples and over 50 more..

Megapolis transport plan on fast track

June 9 (ST) With the number of people entering Colombo daily expected to rise by about one million in the next four years amid nightmares of mega-scale traffic snarls, transport plans befitting a megapolis have already been drawn up. Minister Champika Ranawaka, a Moratuwa University alumnus, said that high priority had been given to the project in view of the increasing vehicular traffic in the city. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket bowls out MR

June 9 (SL) A recent report submitted to the Sports Ministry about Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had made several startling revelations. SLC had no intention to construct an International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa but changed it’s mind after SLC Interim Committee Members headed by D.S. De Silva and Secretary Nishantha Ranatunge met former President and current Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Why did Wild Life Department chief resign?

June 9 (DM) Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya a leading environmental specialist in the South Asia Environment, Water Resources and Climate Change Unit at the World Bank office who was appointed as the Director General of Wild Life Conservation Department in April made a promise: “As an environmental professional, during my tenure as director general I will not violate the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance or do anything more..

World Bank predicts 5.3% growth for next 3 years

June 9 (GDI) In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank predicts Sri Lanka's economic growth will pick up to 5.3% in this year and in both 2017 and 2018 despite monetary and fiscal tightening. "Growth will be supported by infrastructure spending financed by sizable FDI flows as part of the govt's Port City and Western Province Megapolis initiatives. Also, recent policy measures to curb imports will more..

Video: Colombo-Awissawella Road blocked by area residents again

June 9 (AD) The Colombo-Awissawella Main Road has been blocked near the Salawa Army camp by area residents yet again, the Ada Derana reporter confirmed. The protestors are demanding the clearance of debris from their homes prior to opening the road. A tense situation was also erupted yesterday as residents of the area blocked the road for few hours demanding the immediate clearance of debris. more..

Modi and Sirisena will jointly open renovated Jaffna stadium

June 9 (ENS) Indian PM Narendra Modi and President President Maithripala Sirisena will jointly inaugurate the renovated Duraiappah Stadium in Jaffna through video conferencing on June 18. While Modi will speak from India, Sirisena will speak from Jaffna, where he would be the Chief Guest at the gala opening ceremony. A landmark in Jaffna town, the Duraiappah stadium has been renovated over the last two years by more..