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'Private sector pay hike from this month'

May 20 (Island) A salary hike for private sector employees made after 10 years would be paid with this month’s salary, Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations W.D.J. Seneviratne said yesterday. He said the UPFA government had in 2005 increased the salaries of private sector employees by Rs. 1,000 after passing a Special Act in Parliament. Minister Seneviratne was addressing the Young Entrepreneurs Chamber’s monthly meeting at Colombo Hilton. more..

Sri Lanka holds policy rate at 8%

May 20 (EN) Central bank said it is keeping unchanged at 8%, its Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR), the policy rate at which cash in injected to the banking system. The Central Bank Monetary Board also decided to maintain the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) unchanged at 6.5%. It said in its monthly monetary policy statement that growth of broad money ecelerated to 18.9% in Mar from 19.8% in Feb, more..

‘University system being upgraded to take an enhanced intake’

May 20 (Island) Sri Lanka’s state university system would be upgraded within the next five years enabling it to increase the annual intake to 35,000 by 2020, State Minister Mohan Lal Grero said. He said the ministry had paid its attention to explore the higher education opportunities, ensure the quality and standards of the university education, prepare graduates suitable for the job market and promote the research and development to enhance the state higher education sector. more..

Indian naval ships rush to Sri Lanka with relief materials

May 20 (Hindu) PM Narendra Modi assured Sri Lanka of all help in dealing with the devastation caused by cyclone 'Roanu' even as India is dispatching two Navy ships and an Air Force transport aircraft to Colombo with relief material to assist its southern neighbour. “We stand resolutely to help the Govt and people of SL. Assistance being rushed on emergency basis,” Mr. Modi tweeted. Defence Ministry sources said on Friday that two Naval ships, one Naval Off Shore Patrol more..

‘Ethnic, religious minorities in Sri Lanka still feel marginalised’

May 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious minorities including Tamils still feel marginalised, seven years after the end of the civil war with the LTTE, a senior American lawmaker has said as he appealed to the Lankan govt to take concrete steps to address their concerns. “The leaders of the new govt have made many ambitious promises to advance toward the goal of a stable and prosperous future for all. more..

Sri Lanka frees rapists, murderers to mark Buddhist holy day

May 20 (EN) Justice Ministry announced granting a presidential pardon and freeing condemned prisoners under a special presidential amnesty if they have reached the age of 70. The ministry said rapists and murderers will be given the amnesty without considering the severity of their crimes as long as they have reached 70 years of age by May 21, 2016. The ministry did not say how many prisoners would qualify under the bizarre amnesty, but a total of 540, which includes more..

US offers immediate assistance

May 20 (USE) To meet the urgent needs of victims of the ongoing landslides and flooding in various parts of Sri Lanka, the US Govt has provided US$ 50,000 for emergency humanitarian assistance. USAID is working closely with SL’s National Disaster Relief Services Center, the SL military and international aid partners to coordinate the donation of most urgently-needed items. The U.S. assistance will supply emergency non-food items such as blankets, mattresses, clothing, & hygiene kits. more..

Exhibition on Gandhara Art of Pakistan in SL

May 20 (PHC) Sri Lankan religious and political leaders welcomed the Holy Relics of Lord Buddha from Pakistan’s Gandhara region in an impressive ceremony last night at BIA at Katunayake. Ministers Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Senior Monks, high ranking government officials, religious scholars, as well as Deputy High Commissioner and officers of the High Commission of Pakistan received more..

Govt waives import duty on flood relief

May 20 (DM) Govt has decided to waive the import duty on the goods being sent to Sri Lanka as flood relief, Minister Ravi Karunanayake told Parliament today. "The Foreign Affairs Minister has briefed the heads of foreign missions who have pledged to provide immediate relief to the badly affected by the rains, floods and landslides. Therefore, all relief items being sent to the country will be free of duty," he said. The minister said a hotline will be set up soon so that those who wish to more..

No fuel shortage: CPC

May 20 (DM) There will be no fuel shortage in any part of the country, CPC Chairman T.G. Jayasinghe said. “Even the flood- affected areas will be provided with a sufficient stock petrol and diesel because the CPC has enough stocks in hand,” he said. Mr. Jayasinghe said the CPC will however not deliver fuel to filling stations in affected areas, mainly in Colombo and Sabaragamuwa until the situation eases. He said discussions were underway on carrying out the cleaning of CPC more..

Salley blames govt for taking calamity lightly

May 20 (Island) An outspoken politician alleged last evening that more lives could have been saved if the Govt did not take lightly the flood situation, which contributed to the confirmed deaths of 58 people and affected more than 420,000 in the country. “Compared to contribution made by the business community and the conscience stricken masses, govt did comparatively nothing to the more than 420,000 persons affected by floods,” more..

Bloemendhal Sanka surrenders

May 20 (DN) Notorious underworld gangster Sanka Shirantha alias Bloemendhal Sanka surrendered to the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) on Wednesday. TID sources said that he brought a revolver to the TID when he came to surrender as he was wanted by police over an attempt to shoot another underworld gangster Dematagoda Chaminda. The chief members of Sanka’s gang, Makilangamuwe Sanjeewa and Army Sampath were also arrested by the STF recently. more..

Video: This is why dogs are called man’s best friend

May 20 (DM) Another loyal dog that was looking for its owners was captured by cameras at the landslide site in Samassarakanda hill in Aranayake. In video footage, the dog was barking in a grieved voice and for its owner’s family members. However, our reporters said later, the dog was able to recognize its owners who were re-located at a camp in Aranayake. Another emotional story about a loyal dog that appeared to be looking for its master after the deadly landslide in Samassarakanda hill more..

Over 500,000 flee homes as Sri Lanka flood misery worsens

May 20 (AFP) Desperate Sri Lankans clambered onto rubber dinghies and makeshift rafts Friday to escape monster floods in Colombo as officials said half a million people had fled their homes across the island. The heaviest rains in a quarter of a century have pounded Sri Lanka since last weekend, triggering huge landslides that have buried some victims in up to 50 feet of mud. More than 60 people known to more..

Can we trust our leaders to fight corruption?

May 21 (CT) An increasingly common refrain one hears from the public these days is that whichever government comes to power, all are the same. This statement encapsulates a mix of resignation, disdain and hopelessness expressed in so many words. People are unhappy with the manner in which the investigations into corruption is being handled. Under normal circumstances, the people are resilient and will endure patiently until the next general elections to express their dismay. more..

Pay for the vices of the unwise

May 21 (CT) It is no exaggeration to say that the successive govts in the post independence era in Sri Lanka have contributed to the debt plight the islanders are made to bear with today. If one examines the statistics available at the Central bank and the ministry of Finance, that shall be proved beyond reasonable doubt. Once called the pearl of the Indian ocean, the old Ceylon was an epitome of economic success for many other countries and specially for the countries in the Asian region more..

Dengue on the rise

May 21 (SO) Despite recent interventions by Health Ministry resulting in a drastic drop in suspected dengue fever cases, the disease is still widely prevalent among all people. We asked experts from the National Dengue Control Board headed by Dr. Hasitha Tissera to explain why Health Ministry is wary about introducing the WHO endorsed Dengvaxia said to be the world’s first dengue vaccine and already licensed in more..

New approach needed for disaster readiness

May 21 (NS) Natural disasters come and go but the scars remain for the entire human memory. The Tsunami of Dec 2004 which killed over thirty thousand people was probably the worst such calamity in our country. Now we have just experienced one of the worst downfalls of rain resulting in floods and earth slips drowning and burying hundreds. Each of these has brought home to us the need for being more vigilant and prepared for future disasters. But the question is more..

Enforced disappearances in Sri Lanka: Legacy and ongoing challenges

May 21 (GV) Enforced disappearance of persons remains one of the widely known human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The machinery that had been set up during the past to perpetrate such incidents appears to have slowed down as a consequence to the passing of a Resolution at the UNHRC in Sept, 2015. However, this machinery could be switched on again if those in authority so desire. Dismantling this machinery and destroying the remains, is a challenge the govt has to face. more..

'Successive govts have cheated Tamil people'

May 21 (SL) TNA MP Annamalai Nadesu Sivasakthi, is of the view that the successive govts have cheated the Tamil people and only made use of them to gain votes. However he says that once they come to power, the govt simply ignores the plight of the Tamil people and forgets the promises made to them. He warned that Rajapaksa did the same and thought after winning the war that he would be able to run the country without more..

40th year of Vaddukoddai resolution

May 21 (CT) Opposition Leader and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan after attending the Kumbamela festival in Madhya Pradesh in India last week had categorically stated that the call for a separate State of Tamil Eelam was no more. Sampanthan though he entered deeply into Tamil politics with his entry into Parliament in 1977, was in the periphery of the TULF which had brought out the Vaddukoddai declaration in 1976 bringing the major political parties ITAK and ACTC under one umbrella. more..

Buddha’s path to good governance

May 21 (NS) Reports of two groups of second graders brawling, taking for example the recent fisticuff in our esteemed parliament was a wakeup call to the Sri Lankan public, if not the MPs. Nation thought it apt to take up the topic of good governance according to Buddha’s teachings with Ven.Mawarale Baddhiya Thera, Chief Incumbent of Arya Nikethanaya, Athurugiriya. Ample guidelines have been laid down in Buddhism for both imperial and republic governance. more..

Today is Vesak full moon day

May 21 (DM) Millions of world Buddhists annually celebrate the Vesak full moon day, which falls in the month of May. The devotees engage in the performance of meritorious activities and cultivate love and kindness towards all living beings. Meanwhile, mass meditation campaigns are also conducted to usher in universal peace and harmony. Vesak day signifies three supreme events of life Tathagata Gautama, the Buddha. more..

Purification of mind

May 21 (Island) An ancient maxim found in the Dhammapada sums up the practice of the Buddha’s teaching in three simple guidelines to training: to abstain from all evil, to cultivate good, and to purify one’s mind. These three principles form a graded sequence of steps progressing from the outward and preparatory to the inward and essential. Each step leads naturally into the one that follows it, and the culmination of the three in purification of mind makes it plain that the heart of Buddhist more..

Presidential Secretariat staff donates one-day salary to flood relief

May 21 (FT) Staff at the Presidential Secretariat and other institutions that come under its purview have decided to donate a one-day salary for the welfare of flood victims. A decision has also been made to cancel all Vesak-related activities including Bakthi Gee and Dansals organised by the Presidential Secretariat and all institutions under it. Funds allocated for these programs will instead be used to provide necessary facilities to flood victims in addition to donations by staff, more..

The future towards acclimatizing to climatic disasters

May 21 (NS) The rains that pelted down upon several parts of Sri Lanka last week, and the subsequent flash floods and landslides which killed scores and left hundreds homeless has posed a fresh challenge to Sri Lanka in terms of its readiness to tackle the unexpected wrath of mother nature. The rains which came as a blessing after months of drought in fact turned out to be quite deadly. Govt in fact had to cancel all more..

Protection through Satipatthana

May 21 (Island) Once the Buddha told his monks the following story (Satipatthana Samyutta, No. 19): There was once a pair of jugglers who performed their acrobatic feats on a bamboo pole. One day the master said to his apprentice: "Now get on my shoulders and climb up the bamboo pole." When the apprentice had done so, the master said: "Now protect me well and I shall protect you! By protecting and watching each other in that way, we shall be able to show our skill, make a good profit and more..

The Buddha’s concept of leadership

May 21 (Island) Vesak is celebrated as the beginning of a new era in human civilization. It is the day the world’s first human founder of a religion – Buddha - was born. Before the Buddha, and even after him, almost every religion was founded by either a prophet or an inspired teacher. Buddha, on the contrary, was purely human and claimed no divine authority. Yet he managed to provide an unsurpassingly great leadership to millions of followers on human leadership qualities. more..

The task gets trickier for Angelo

May 21 (CI) Sri Lanka hold the trophy between these two sides. Not because of a win over England earned in dust pits at Colombo and Galle, but one they claimed in early season England, at Headingley, with Yorkshire-coloured clouds. That was a spectacular effort. Yet, when they arrived this time, people were whispering about England going unbeaten during the entire summer. That was before Sri Lanka had even played a tour match. more..

Editorial: Lights and tears

May 21 (Island) Today is Vesak. An oft-heard lament is that the thrice blessed day has been vulgarised. It has also been commercialised beyond measure. There is a ubiquitous presence of vendors of beautiful Vesak lanterns and imported Halloween masks—of all things—which have replaced the traditional vesmoonu which were once popular among children. Entertainment has taken precedence over the spiritual aspects of Vesak and one wonders whether it has become a mega more..

IGP takes steps to protect flood victims

May 21 (CT) IGP Pujith Jayasundera has sent out an emergency order through a circular to all DIGs, DIGs in charge of Provinces and the STF, to take prompt measures to protect the belongings and other vital possessions of the people affected by the adverse weather condition from vandals and looters. The IGP has also instructed those in distress and affected by the adverse weather conditions to direct any complaints to the Active Operations Unit set up at the Police Department. more..

Sri Lanka's worst fears

May 21 (CI) "Will anybody stay to play?" In July 2014, when Mahela Jayawardene announced his retirement, Angelo Mathews found himself asking Jayawardene if he would stay. "I tried to convince him to continue," Mathews said at the time. "But his mind was made up." Much has been made of the runs and the experience Jayawardene took into retirement with him, but in his case, a keener loss was felt. more..

'Spectator interest decline due to poor school cricket standard'

May 21 (DN) World cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that the spectator interest in school cricket has declined due to poor standard of cricket dished out at inter-school matches at present. Ranatunga, who has won the prestigious Observer Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year award twice in 1980 and 1982, said the standard of local school cricket has dropped drastically, making a negative impact on the national pool. He urged that the country’s cricket authorities must more..

Sri Lankan overseas investments on hold to avoid BOP crisis: CB Governor

May 21 (EN) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said he was delaying giving approval to proposals for overseas investments by local firms to prevent a balance of payments crisis. Sri Lankan companies want to invest abroad because domestic returns were low, Mahendran said. The Central Bank wants to abolish the exchange control act, but liberalising capital outflows at this stage was too risky, Mahendran told a forum organised by the Shippers’ Academy Colombo. more..

Anderson banishes Headingley demons as England enforce follow-on

May 21 (CI) Like Sachin Tendulkar's Test record at Lord's, there has always been something incongruous about James Anderson's bowling statistics at Headingley. The Lancastrian-in-Yorkshire factor aside, it has never made much sense that the most skilful England bowler of his generation should find it so difficult to impose himself at the English venue most conducive to his talents. In 7 previous Tests at Headingley, more..

Beyonce's Ivy Park apparel has rigorous ethical program, retailer says

May 21 (Reuters) Ivy Park, the sportswear brand that is a joint venture between singer Beyonce and Topshop tycoon Philip Green, has defended itself against a Sun newspaper report that says its supplier in Sri Lanka uses sweatshop slaves to produce the clothing. Workers making some of the clothes at MAS Holdings in Sri Lanka earn just 4.30 pounds ($6.30) a day, the tabloid reported. Most of the poverty-stricken seamstresses are afraid to speak out for fear of losing their jobs, it said. more..

We've hated the place for 9 years: Anderson

May 21 (CI) James Anderson credited a change of ends for improving his modest record at Headingley. He came into this match averaging 41.36 from seven Tests at the ground. He had never taken more than three wickets in an innings. But, after a conversation with Stuart Broad, the pair decided to change the ends from which they normally bowl and soon reaped the rewards. With Anderson bowling from the Football Stand End, the pair took 9 for 37 between them as SL were bowled out for 91. more..

SLT rings for disaster affected

May 21 (FT) In the aftermath of floods and landslides that have left dozens dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, Minister Harin Fernando announced plans to support ongoing relief efforts. Under instructions from President and PM, SLT, together with Mobitel and several other organisations, have come forward to provide support for ongoing relief efforts in areas that have been battered by heavy rains, floods & landslides. more..

Secretary to the Ministry of Defence pays a visit to Naval Headquarters Operations Room

May 21 (SLN) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi paid an observational visit to the Navy’s Main Operations Room at the Naval Headquarters today (20). Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne gave a warm welcome upon his arrival. During the visit Secretary to the Ministry of Defence looked into the proceedings of the rescue missions and the relief operations carried out by the Navy. Subsequently Commander of the Navy conducted more..

Sri Lanka donates replica of avukana buddha statue to India

May 21 (TOI) The Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation (TSTDC), which has grand plans of developing and reconstructing Buddhist sites and monasteries in the state, has received a boost in the form of help from SL and China. The Sriparvatarama (Buddhavanam) heritage theme park being developed at Nagarjunasagar, which is slotted to be the first Buddhist theme park in the country, has received a 27-feet replica of Avukana Buddha statue from Sri Lanka. more..