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GTF too welcomes cancellation of Victory Day parade

May 18 (Island) Global Tamil Forum (GTF) too yesterday welcomed the govt decision to cancel Victory Day Parade. UK based GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran issued the following statement: "The govt is taking some of the steps recommended by the LLRC, which GTF welcomes, wholeheartedly. LLRC in this regard, said: "Given the traumatic nature of the long drawn out conflict and the massive toll in human life and property that it brought about, almost all the people who more..

Health Ministry launches special project to tackle diseases during floods, Vesak

May 18 (Island) A special programme had been launched to prevent the spread of water borne diseases and accidents during inclement weather and Vesak. Health Education Bureau Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Mahipala said there was a high risk of spreading skin diseases and lung infections among children and diarrhoea, rat fever, dengue and eye diseases among adults. He said the major reason for the spread of such diseases was contaminated water. more..

Unusual heat bakes SL's chicken industry

May 18 (Reuters) As noon-time temperatures began soaring in late March, Mohamed Nizam, a small-scale chicken seller, knew he was headed for trouble. Soon the mid-day heat was touching 40c, and Nizam told his workers to pour water on to the pavement in front of his shop in the Colombo suburb of Wattala in an effort to ward off the heat. "But nothing can keep that kind of heat from getting to chickens. It roasts them alive," more..

Sri Lanka to get 10MW solar power plant

May 18 (EN) A 10 megawatt solar power plant is to be built by Vydexa (Lanka) Power Corporation in Vavuniya district to meet growing demand for energy, a government spokesman said. The plant will be built with an investment of 14.5 million US dollars and will add 19 GWh (GigaWatt hours) to the national grid annually. The Cabinet has approved a proposal by Minister Malik Samarawickrama for the project which will generate electricity using solar photovoltaic cells. more..

Gunawardene appointed SL A coach; Dias to coach U-19s

May 18 (CI) Former Sri Lanka opener Avishka Gunawardene has been appointed coach of the Sri Lanka A team, while former senior team coach Roy Dias will take up a similar role with the Under-19 side. Both teams are scheduled to tour England in July, while the Sri Lanka U-19 team will also tour South Africa later. Gunawardene is part of Sri Lanka Cricket's coaching panel and, until recently, was assistant coach of the U-19 team. He played six Tests and 61 ODIs between 1998 and 2006, more..

Accountability can't be bartered for devolution or reconciliation: Wigneswaran

May 18 (ENS) Chief Minister of Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, said on Wednesday, that the Tamils cannot sacrifice their demand for accountability for war crimes whether for the sake of reconciliation with the Sinhalese or for devolution of power. Speaking to 1500 people at a solemn function to commemorate the dead at Mulliwaikkal, the scene of an alleged massacre during 2006-2009 Eelam War IV, more..

Wilpattu Park closed due to adverse weather

May 18 (DM) The Wilpattu National Park was closed today because the road network inside the park was underwater and impassable, Wildlife Conservation Department said. He said the park would remain closed till May 25. Wilpattu National Park has several waterfalls and tends to get flooded even during a mild to moderate rainfall. The bungalow reservations made by prospective visitors would be cancelled and alternate dates provided when the park is opened after May 25. more..

Shares edge up; block trades boost turnover

May 18 (Reuters) Shares edged up on Wednesday, led by large caps on strong buying by foreign investors, while some large block trades by high net worth and institutional investors boosted turnover to a near three-week high. Retail investors were waiting for cues from the ongoing release of March-quarter earnings, analysts said, while gains were capped on concerns over a govt move to increase the VAT and impose new taxes, which could hit the bottom line of many companies. more..

TNA denies undermining political rivals

May 18 (Island) The four-party TNA denied accusations that the coalition was undermining rival political outfits, including the newly formed DTNF particularly in the Northern Province. Dharmalingam Siddarthan, leader of DPLF (formerly PLOTE), a constituent party of the TNA emphasized that the TNA would always act responsibly. "We strongly believe that everyone has a say in a democratic set-up and we respect it, though more..

Selective VAT imposition

May 18 (CT) The increase of Value Added Tax (VAT) will not be imposed upon essential commodities, public education and transport facilities as well as electricity, UNP Gampaha District MP Kavinda Jayawardena declared with absolute resolution. Adding to this, he further elaborated; "All the essential commodities which include milk powder, fresh milk, rice, wheat flour, bread, potatoes, dhal, sprats, green peas, and sugar are excluded from this increased VAT. more..

'Upper limit for bank leasing to be imposed'

May 18 (LBO) Several changes to Sri Lanka’s financial services will be enacted soon such as leasing services offered by banks, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said, speaking at a forum in Colombo. A proposal in the budget that banks should stop leasing from June 1 will be modified, he said. “Finally, it is being settled. We are looking at an upper limit where anything below 5 to 7.5 million rupees cannot be done by banks and can be handed over to finance companies,” he said. more..

Sangakkara wins fan battle for ODI GOAT

May 18 (LBO) Impassioned Sri Lankan supporters push Kumar Sangakarra to the title ahead of India's Sachin Tendulkar. Kumar Sangakkara is the overwhelming fans' favourite for the crown of One-Day International Greatest of All Time after an exhaustive online polling process. Sangakkara's highly motivated and extremely passionate supporters delivered the title to the Sri Lankan star, more..

US Ambassador extends condolences to victims of floods and landslides

May 18 (USE) US Ambassador Atul Keshap today offering support to the govt expressed condolences to the victims of the floods and landslides. Statement: On behalf of the men and women of the Embassy of the United States of America, I extend our deepest condolences to the Govt of Sri Lanka and the families affected by the recent landslides and flooding in various parts of the Island. We stand in solidarity with the Govt of Sri Lanka and the victims as they mourn the loss of loved ones, more..

The minimum age of criminal responsibility to be increased

May 18 (AD) A proposal made Minister of Justice Wijayadasa Rajapaksa to amend the Penal Code for changing the minimum age for criminal responsibility has been approved by the Cabinet. Decisions taken by the cabinet of ministers at its meeting held yesterday said, “the Penal Code proclaims that nothing is an offence which is done by a child under eight years of age. However, internationally, the minimum age of criminal responsibility varies from ages twelve to fourteen. more..

President visits Aranayake landslide areas

May 18 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena made a sudden inspection tour to Aranayake, Elagapitiya area to inspect the relief measures provided for the displaced people in the area due to the landslide. President visited the landslide site and issued instructions to the security forces personnel who are deployed for the rescue mission to expedite the process. President also visited Rajagiriya Maha Vidyalaya, Dippitiya, more..

Presidential Sports Awards today

May 18 (CT) On the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena and under the guidance of Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, for the first time the Presidential Sports Awards Ceremony has been organized and will be held at the BMICH today. At this ceremony, Life Time Awards will be presented by the President to Sri Lankans who have made the most substantive contributions or achieve success in Sri Lankan sports for the current year. The awards are categorized as follows: more..

Let us honour and safeguard the hard-won peace: Gotabaya

May 18 (AD) Let us not forget that we owe an eternal debt of gratitude to every single member of the armed forces who lay down their lives, to those who lie disabled and helpless for the rest of their lives, said former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In a Facebook status update, in view of the War Hero Commemoration Day, Rajapaksa said “as we mark the 7th anniversary of victory over terrorism, I remember with deep appreciation, the immense sacrifices of the armed forces, more..

Sri Lanka reconciliation effort slammed on war anniversary

May 18 (AFP) Sri Lanka for the first time included minority Tamils in ceremonies Wednesday marking the anniversary of the end of its civil war, but a leading think-tank said moves towards reconciliation and accountability had stalled. Tamils living in the northern part of the island which saw most of the violence held public commemorations for the first time since the end in 2009 of decades-long conflict, after lifting of draconian restrictions more..

Eelam map used as victims of Mullivaikal were remembered in North

May 18 (CG) The Eelam map was used at some events held in the North today to commemorate the victims of Mullivaikal. Jaffna university students commemorated the massacre of Tamils in 2009 at a ceremony staged outside the university this morning by lighting candles near a map of Eelam. Jaffna university student’s union had invited the public to attend the ceremony. Jaffna university student’s union said the death of hundreds of Tamils during the final stages of the war in 2009 more..

Buddhist sacred bone relics from Pakistan to arrive in Sri Lanka for Vesak

May 18 (CG) In order to be part of the most important annual Vesak Buddhist Festival falling on 21st May 2016, the Government of Pakistan is providing the most sacred bone relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka for exposition throughout Sri Lanka. The exposition is being organized on the request of SL govt under the bilateral cooperation agreement in the field of Culture. The relics will be arriving in Sri Lanka for an extended period on the auspicious day of Vesak on 21st May 2016 more..

SL benefits from increased trade with India

May 18 (OBG) Thanks to close historical ties and geographic proximity, Sri Lanka stands to benefit from efforts to strengthen economic cooperation with India. With talks around an expanding free trade agreement (FTA) in the works, momentum appears to be on Sri Lanka’s side, particularly with a rebalancing of foreign policy following the election of President Sirisena early last year. Indo-Sri Lanka FTA (ISFTA) has been in effect since 2000, more..

Girl abducts boy; attempts forced marriage

May 18 (DM) A 25-year-old girl was arrested at Matara on charges of abducting a 23-year-old boy, who had broken up their love affair which had begun on Facebook. The girl and six men including an army soldier said to be a close relative of the girl had arrived in two three wheelers and abducted the boy while he was on his way to a Korean language tuition class with two of his friends. Police investigations have been launched on a complaint made by one of the boy’s friends. more..

Govt slams MR’s Uganda trip but defends paying for air ticket

May 18 (CG) Govt slammed the visit undertaken by former President Rajapaksa to Uganda recently but defended the decision to pay for his air ticket. Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said that Rajapaksa was in Uganda, a country accused of corruption, while President Sirisena was in London where he discussed ways of fighting corruption with world leaders. Former President Rajapaksa was in Uganda for the swearing-in ceremony of Yoweri Museveni in his fifth term as President. more..

Over 200 families feared buried by mudslides in Sri Lanka

May 18 (AP) A massive landslide triggered by torrential rains buried homes in three villages in the central hills of Sri Lanka, and more than 200 families were missing Wednesday and feared buried under the mud and debris, the Sri Lankan Red Cross said. Sixteen bodies have already been recovered and about 180 people have been rescued from the enormous piles of mud unleashed at around 5 p.m. Tuesday, more..

Involuntary disappearances: The North South divide

May 19 (GV) Disappearances, involuntary disappearances, are part of State terror in combating opposition a govt cannot cope with. Despite democratic traditions and social structures, involuntary disappearances occurred, and continue to occur, in Sri Lanka. In post war Sri Lanka, State security apparatus is solely held responsible for abductions and disappearances while during the war, LTTE was also held responsible for crimes including disappearances. more..

Diaspora participation in the transitional justice process

May 19 (GV) I gave my statement not only for what I hoped to achieve, but on behalf of the hundreds of people at home who could not raise these issues … I wanted the truth to be known to the UN and the powerful international community so that the coming generation of Tamils can live like any other community, with peace of mind, dignity and a feeling of belonging. In 2012, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) – a non-profit law and social justice organisation based in Australia more..

'UNPers voted President to office'

May 19 (CT) These training programmes have helped in evolving the public sector offices to be on par with developing world. For instance, as a result of the training departments like Motor Traffic, Pensions, Registration of Persons and Immigration and Emigration give 100 per cent digitalized service to the public. He once vehemently fought against his Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and was side-lined from the Party. more..

UNP Ambitions and Cynicism

May 19 (CT) What was clear from the manner in which Ranil Wickremesinghe and his chosen instrument, Jayampathy Wickremaratne, ignored the vast majority of pledges about reform in the Presidential manifesto was that introducing systemic change was not on their agenda. What concerned them rather was transferring Executive Power wholesale to the PM, to achieve which they engaged in various cynical subterfuges. So initially Jayampathy was put in charge of drafting more..

Paying for Rajapaksa’s sins

May 19 (SL) With the much-debated VAT hike taking effect early this month and UNF administration beginning its war against massive debt accumulated during the Rajapaksa regime; sections of the public are questioning as to why the general public have to be burdened with the sins committed by the Rajapaksas. On May two the VAT increase came into effect and concurrently the govt began its war against Rajapakasa regime debt trap, the Ministry of National Policy & Economics Affairs said. more..

Koothu to Kolam: An Island in Sound

May 19 (GV) Galle Music Festival is a showcase of culture and artistic identity from across the island, bringing performers from Northern tip, Southern belt, Eastern coast, Western metropolis & Central hills to a single stage. Diversity of local performers is given the spotlight, and the event is a celebration of the talents and traditions that have been passed down from one generation to the next, through conflict & poverty. more..

Domain Digitised

May 19 (DN) The recent news item that the govt was planning to introduce a new authority for the development of electronic media in SL is a welcome and timely initiative. This move should also be viewed in the context of legislative provisions required for digitising the existing analogue television, and possibly radio, in the very near future. Unlike analogue, a single digital channel, be it radio or television, can carry multiple programme channels from several content providers. more..

Let’s face the music!

May 19 (DN) “Though the Beatles and the Rolling Stones come to mind when I usually think about music, I think I still have a soft spot for the Blues. Sometimes I would just put on a CD and listen to the music for a few minutes. It touches me in a special way that nothing else can,” says Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther. His love for music is evident in how much he was looking forward to visiting the Galle Music Festival funded by the embassy. more..


SriLankan Cargo smashes record for cargo handling at BIA Cargo Centre

May 19 (LBO) SriLankan Cargo, the freight handling arm of state-owned SriLankan Airlines has set a record for the amount of tonnage handled during a single month reporting, 21,743 metric tonnes in March at BIA. SriLankan Airlines said the figure has surpassed the previous highest amount of 20,040 tonnes, achieved a year ago in March 2015. “This has exceeded the design capacity of the SriLankan Cargo Centre, which is 20,833 tonnes per month,” the Airline said. more..

Why I will never climb Sri Pada again

May 19 (Island) For whatever reason, I never wanted to climb Siri Pada better known as Samanala Kanda (Butterfly Mountain/Peak). I wouldn't call it Adams Peak because it was Robert Knox who called it that. Knox could have called it Butterfly Peak instead, because Adam was nowhere near this peak. I once went to climb it with three German and Danish friends and decided not to climb it when I saw the mayhem and commercial like activities at Nallathanni. more..

Mathews backs fearless youngsters to shine

May 19 (CI) Angelo Mathews and Rangana Herath are the only men on tour to have played more than 30 Tests, but it is two inexperienced players who have buoyed Sri Lanka ahead of the first Test. Both are young players who were picked on potential, despite modest first-class records. A former captain of Sri Lanka's Under-19 team, 21-year-old Kusal Mendis has been spoken of as a potential No. 3 for the series. more..

Editorial: Monday’s skit

May 19 (Island) We think we said something unfair in this space about eight years ago. Following the then Minister Mervyn Silva’s abortive foray into Rupavahini Corporation under the Rajapaksa govt, we had this to say on Jan. 05, 2008: "The Mervyn Silva fiasco harks back to days when Arachchi’s dog terrorised villagers. The animal would bark at and bite anyone at will, much to the resentment of the hapless people. However, the wrath of the public was directed not so much towards more..

Cook at ease and ready to complete circle

May 19 (CI) Turn back a year, to the two-Test series against New Zealand, with low expectations of a team rising from the fiasco that was the World Cup, and few would have foreseen the bright summer that captured the public's imagination and reinvigorated a young and exciting England side. Turn back another, and the knives were sharpening for whoever was left standing after an Ashes pasting that left the team in tatters and ended several careers. It seems astonishing, therefore, that England are more..

Ex-Minister, Chairman, CEO before PRECIFAC

May 19 (CT) Six persons including former Minister of Internal Air Services Priyankara Jayaratne and four high ranking officials of the former administration of SriLankan Airlines have been summoned to appear before the PRECIFAC today to give public statements relating to a financial irregularity of Rs 39 million which is alleged to have taken place at Sri Lankan Airlines Catering Services. more..

Elkaduwa Plantations reeks of malpractices, mismanagement

May 19 (ST) State-owned Regional Plantation Company (RPC) Elkaduwa Plantations that has wreaked havoc with numerous alleged malpractices and mismanagement is currently on a restructuring drive following the COPE calling for a full report on the issues. Disciplinary action has also been taken against several of its staff amidst litigation over money owed by a tea company and encroachment of property by villagers. Plantations company had been called before recently appointed COPE more..