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Police come down hard on looters in flood-hit areas

May 22 (SO) Police apprehended 15 persons from various flood-affected areas in the country for suspected looting and stealing valuables from houses evacuated by victims of the recent floods. Following a large number of complaints regarding looting and widespread burglary in areas hit by the recent floods, the police have stepped up action to apprehend those looting houses of flood victims. Authorities engaged in flood relief operations, found that many of the flood-affected victims were more..

Terror of new landslides as villagers dig with bare hands for loved ones

May 22 (ST) The weeping sound of an abandoned dog echoed through the mountains in Elangapitiya village in Aranayaka, where mud five feet deep covered three villages. A group of villagers who had fled to safety and returned to find their former homes had disappeared without trace started to dig into the mud with bare hands and sticks, hoping to find people buried alive in the place where the dog was barking. more..

The disaster and its aftermath

May 22 (Island) At a time of natural calamity, it behooves all of us to sink our various differences and close ranks to assist the disaster victims. Lankans, fortunately, have time and again demonstrated their ability to respond generously, nay magnificently, to the plight of fellow humans in distress; and this time it has been no different with various organizations and individuals coming to the fore to support the relief effort. The primary responsibility, no doubt, rests with govt and more..

Book Reviews: A long watch

May 22 (Island) A Long Watch: War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka is an unusual book for an avid reader on Sri Lanka’s conflict, or perhaps any violent, protracted war. Weiss, Harrison, Pratap, Balasingham, Tenduf-La and more recently Subramanian and Mohan have all written books on Sri Lanka’s war. From Amirthanayagam’s poetry to Munaweera’s beautifully evocative prose, I’ve read more books than I can fully remember or count on our conflict - from varied perspectives, more..

Special reports – Floods

May 22 (ST) Shrinking open spaces, illegal constructions, the lack of proper waste disposal and inefficient drainage systems contributed to the worst flooding in 27 years in Colombo and its suburbs. People filling up lowlands for construction and choked stormwater drains and other water conduits deepened the crisis. Clogged drainage and canals in and around the city are blocking the flow of water to the river & sea, more..

Secrets revealed: Why Uganda ignored present govt and invited Rajapaksa

May 22 (ST) With a free Business and First Class return ticket from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, former President Rajapaksa travelled to Uganda to receive a welcome afforded to heads of state and govt, it has now transpired. He was afforded all the courtesies extended to other heads of state and govt. Business Class ticket was from Colombo to Dubai and there onwards on First Class to Kampala (Uganda) for the inauguration more..

Virtual run on wholesale stores as demand for foodstuffs surge

May 22 (Island) With diverse corporates and organizations teaming up to distribute relief to victims of Sri Lanka worst natural disaster in decades, there is a virtual run on wholesale stores and supermarkets with a deluge of orders for substantial procurements of dry rations and packeted food commodities, market sources said. "We cannot simply cope with the demand for large-scale orders & are fast running out of stocks" more..

VATs and whatnots of increased hospital bills

May 22 (SL) The addition of Value Added Tax (VAT) to the service charge in two semi-government hospitals has come under fire as the government has failed to keep its promise of excluding the public health sector from VAT. President, ACNSU Gamini Kumarasinghe said members of the union do not condone the imposition of the tax as patients are adversely affected by increased hospital charges. more..

Busting of fake kachcheri at Hulftsdorp turning out NICs raises many questions

May 22 (ST) The recent uncovering of a large scale racket where fake birth certificates and National Identity Cards (NICs) were prepared, raise questions over the effectiveness of security measures in place to prevent forgeries of such important documents. Authorities say new security measures and stringent action against offenders are needed in order to eradicate such operations. more..

'Poor batting led to humiliating defeat'

May 22 (CI) A failure to leave the ball decisively paved the road to an embarrassing and humiliating innings-defeat at Headingley, captain Angelo Mathews said. Chasing England's 298 in the first innings, Sri Lanka collapsed to 91, then 119 following on. They batted for less than 73 overs in the match. Thirteen Sri Lanka dismissals were catches behind the wicket on the off side. "We were not decisive in leaving the ball," more..

Yahapalanaya: Unqualified MD at the helm

May 22 (SL) Continuous failure of the Managing Director of the SL Tourism Promotions Bureau over the past three month to sign her contract service agreement with the bureau has engendered much controversy amongst the employees. Once the service agreement is signed, the Managing Director has to submit her educational qualifications and service certificates which she has mentioned in her bio-data, more..

Corruption cases: No major indictments; blame game continues

May 22 (ST) Four cabinet ministers set out on a campaign last Tuesday to pressure the Govt to lay bare investigations so far into cases of bribery, corruption and other malpractices by those in the previous administration. However, their campaign ended before it really began. The rationale behind their efforts was to make clear that assurances given to the people during presidential election and parliamentary elections more..

Five-year Human Rights Action Plan being drawn up

May 22 (Island) With the current National Action Plan on Human Rights expiring by the end of this year, the govt is in the process of drawing up a fresh five year plan, well informed sources revealed. The Action Plan endorsed by the Cabinet on a proposal made by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, comes close on the heels of the recent 10-day official visit to Sri Lanka by two UN Experts on Human Rights and the Judiciary. more..

Kelani water to recede in four days

May 22 (SO) The Irrigation Department yesterday predicted that water levels of the Kelani river are expected to return to normal in four days, bringing a sense of relief to hundreds of thousands of flood-affected victims from the longest flood situation the country had experienced in decades. The extreme weather that prevailed for the past one week, left 375,604 people of 93,099 families affected across the country. more..

Over 1,200 families displaced in Hendala

May 22 (SO) The adverse weather that wreaked havoc over the week-end did not spare residents occupying low lying areas in Hendala, Wattala area with four deaths and over 1,000 displaced. Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Church Nayakakanda Rev. Fr. Ranjan Silva said around 1, 200 families in Avarakotuwa, Galaghaduwa, Elenegoda, Olandawatte, Bund Road, Ettanpolawatte, Bangalawatte and some areas in Palliyawatte have been affected by the inclement weather more..

Teenagers scuffle and olds hags start hyper-ventilating

May 22 (Island) By the way, there was a rugby match in Kandy last Saturday, May 14. The day after Friday the 13th. After the match, there was an awards ceremony. During the ceremony, one or both captains silently agreed to disagree and went for the one shield that was up for grabs. A scuffle ensured. One side had won the game two weeks prior and the other team had won two weeks later. So, the confusion is easily explained. Won 1, lost 1 in the case of School A; lost 1, won 1 for School B. more..

Over 250,000 displaced

Cyclone Roanu moving further away from SL

May 22 (Island) The Cyclonic storm ‘ROANU’ in the Bay of Bengal is now located about 1600km north-east of Kankasanturai. It is further moving away from the island and will cross South Bangladesh coast between Khepapupara and Cox’s Bazar close to Chittagong on Saturday evening, the Met. Department said. Strong windy conditions over the country and in the sea areas around the island will continue due to the meeting of wind feeding to the system, it predicted. more..

Australia provides relief assistance to SL

May 22 (Island) Australia is providing urgently needed assistance to Sri Lanka in response to recent flooding and landslides. The Australian Govt will contribute $500,000 to UNICEF for humanitarian assistance, including the provision of clean water and sanitation for children in shelters. The disaster has affected 22 of the country’s 25 districts. It has so far claimed over 50 lives and authorities hold grave concerns for nearly 150 people who remain missing. SL govt has opened 663 safety centres to more..

Health Ministry in emergency plan for flood victims

May 22 (SO) An emergency plan to assist flood victims facing health challenges due to the prevailing weather is now under way in 84 districts, Director General of Health Services, Dr P.G. Maheepala told the media at a special conference to address issues such as food safety, sanitation and accident prevention during the Vesak season. Outlining details of the plan, he said, “We have sent a Medical Officer of Health to each more..

Weather mayhems are so predictable, and the entire island seems so vulnerable

May 22 (Island) Floods and landslides have become more frequent than ever before. Our generation (post-war baby boomers) grew alongside a different rhythm of weather (not of heart) tragedies – 1947, 1957, 1964, 1978, 1986, and so on. Tsunami (2004) greeted the millennials and the weather gods have taken to more frequent devastations ever since. The odd thing about the current climate calamity is that it has struck virtually the entire island with the same intensity and at the same time. more..

UN, PM’s Office and Gangaramaya Temple mark Vesak in joint effort

May 22 (ST) United Nations will be taking part in this year’s Vesak celebrations in Sri Lanka by tying up with the National Vesak Festival organised jointly by the Gangaramaya Temple and the PM’s Office. The festival which began yesterday will continue until May 25 at the Gangaramaya Temple, Temple Trees, and nearby locations around the Beira Lake. UN’s Colombo office will have a stall at the location, where staff will educate the public regarding the recognition given to Vesak by the UN. more..

Yahapalanaya shielding the Corrupt: Full text of the controversial cabinet paper

May 22 (AM) The joint-Cabinet paper presented by four ministers seeking details of the ongoing corruption investigations had said, the battle against corruption itself was corrupt. Cabinet paper was presented by ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Champika Ranawaka, Sarath Fonseka and Arjuna Ranatunga. President Maithripala Sirisena, however, vetoed Cabinet paper last week, saying he would give a separate meeting more..

Colombo- Badulla train services resume

May 22 (ST) Train services on the Colombo – Badulla Main Line resumed yesterday after railway engineers carried out a repair on the line with difficulty following an earth slip close to Ihalakotte railway station on the Kadugannawa incline. The repair was effected on a length of more than 300 metres which was on a steep incline and was carried out in difficult terrain, according to a railwayman involved in the operation. He said the repair was carried out five hundred metres from more..

Reservoirs filled to 75%

May 22 (DM) Power and Energy Ministry said with the heavy rains that experienced in the country during last two weeks, many of the hydropower reservoirs had a water level of more than 75% making the way of giving uninterrupted power supply. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that more than 50% of the power supply in the country was being generated from hydropower at the moment. “Earlier this month many of the reservoirs did not have water, it was near ground level. more..

Seven MR stalwarts face indictment

May 22 (CT) AG's Department has decided to shortly indict in the Colombo High Court seven strongmen of the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime on charges specified in 53 files sent by the FCID to AG's Department for advice, Attorney General (AG) Jayantha Jayasuriya said. Investigations are underway with regard to 30 more files. Asked to elaborate, the AG said former Minister Basil Rajapaksa had been indicted on 2 counts of more..

Pakistan sends field hospital, relief items

May 22 (DM) Pakistan Govt has sent a 30 bed fully equipped modern field hospital and relief materials for the flood victims in Sri Lanka. Pakistan PM Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had directed the relevant authorities to make immediate arrangements for the provision of emergency relief to flood victims. The relief assistance includes a state of the art 30 bed field hospital which is equipped with operation theaters, x ray systems and Labs, as well as a variety of relief items including medicine, more..

Sri Lanka calls for bids for offshore petroleum surveys

May 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat (PRDS) has called for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for surveys to gather geophysical data in its search for offshore petroleum deposits. The PRDS, which regulates the upstream petroleum industry in Sri Lanka, has invited companies to do gravity and magnetic surveys over the offshore Mannar and Cauvery basins of Sri Lanka. The EOIs are for surveys on a multi-client basis in partnership with the PRDS. more..

Volunteers bring hope to trapped and starving animals

May 22 (ST) A small team of dedicated and courageous animal lovers are busy rescuing animals trapped by the floodwaters. Let by veterinarians from a privately-funded animal hospital and a group of employees from the Embark charity they have been strategically combing the flood-affected areas. Team began work on Wednesday in the Malwana area. By Friday, the volunteers had covered Kaduwela and Kotikawatta, rescuing more..

Eight die after inhaling poisonous gas

May 22 (SO) Recent media reports have highlighted a shocking incident of eight people suffering from the deadly effects of inhaling poisonous gas while cleaning a drinking water well at the Lunugala Maha Vidyalaya. Three of the men had entered the well allegedly operating a water pump fuelled by petrol or diesel to clean the contaminated water and had fallen unconscious. Five others who had come to help had immediately jumped into the well to rescue the three and also fallen unconscious. more..

Nathan Lyon to train under Murali

May 22 (CC) Australia‘s leading spinner in Tests, Nathan Lyon, is all set to reach Sri Lanka to get training from spin great Muttiah Muralitharan. Lyon is currently working to improve his skills with mentor John Davison along with Steven O’Keefe, who is expected to be a part of Australia’s squad for the upcoming Test series in Sri Lanka. Lyon first worked with Muralitharan in the year 2014 when the latter was appointed as Australia’s bowling coach and benefited by the experience, more..

Why President dodged Saudi Prince’s appointment?

May 22 (CT) In what seems like a result of another communication blunder by officials, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the richest person in Saudi Arabia ranked number 41 in the Forbes' list of world's richest people in 2016, has put off his planned visit to Sri Lanka. Prince Alwaleed was expected to arrive in Sri Lanka last week on a philanthropic mission, in his private jet which is commonly described as Palace in the Sky. more..

SL’s overseas missions make urgent appeal for funds for disaster victims

May 22 (ST) SL High Commission in London launched an urgent appeal on Friday for funds to help the victims of widespread landslides and floods which have claimed at least 64 lives and affected over 400,000 persons in several districts in the country. The appeal went out to the Sri Lankan community and others on a directive from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo. Foreign Ministry initiative came hard on the heels of an appeal to members of the Commonwealth on more..

Kelanimulla: Where the waves took everything away

May 22 (ST) Residents at Kelanimulla watched in horror as their homes were engulfed in water right before their eyes. Thousands were displaced, others sought refuge on rooftops or the top stories of their homes, awaiting rescue boats. In some homes only the rooftops were visible. Furniture and other belongings were gone with the waters. Some desperate people were even seen trying to cross the water despite the strong currents. Anthony Rupasinghe, a 48-year-old mason said more..

Minister urges public to stop filling, constructing in lowlands

May 22 (AD) Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says that one of the reasons the heavy rainfall caused so much damage was due to the fact that the lowlands in the Kelani valley have been filled and houses, buildings built there. “We see this as a main problem.” Lowlands exist to hold water and when that cannot be done it overflows. “We need a proper land management policy if not we will have a serious problem in the future,” more..

United States offers additional assistance to flood affected

May 22 (USE) Týhe US Govt will provide aný additional US$ 250,000 to support flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka. This is in addition to the previously announced US$ 50,000 that is supporting humanitarian assistance activities in the worst affected areas and a three-year program of US$1 million designed to provide safe, disaster-resilient, drinking water to populations who are highly vulnerable to flooding and droughts. The total amount of immediate and near-term relief more..

Flood-hit people in inaccessible areas blame Govt

May 22 (ST) Flood-affected people marooned in unreachable areas complain that flood aid is being distributed haphazardly and that the Government has failed to respond to the disaster with timely relief. These victims say aid and financial assistance are being handed out to displaced people sheltered in camps along the main roads, while destitute families and individuals in remote areas are neglected. 52-year old flood victim Seetha Padmini, a resident of Kelanimulla, said more..

President, PM, inaugurate exposition of holy relics from Pakistan

May 22 (PHC) President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickramasinghe inaugurated the exposition of the most Sacred Relics of Lord Buddha brought from Pakistan, in an impressive ceremony at Temple Trees last evening, for public exposition. A large number of senior Monks/religious scholars, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Ministers, high level govt officials, Secretary Heritage Pakistan Mohsin Haqqani, more..

Chinese FM expresses condolences over Sri Lanka flood disaster

May 22 (Xinhua) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday sent a message to his SL counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, extending condolences over the flash floods and landslides hitting the island country. In the message, Wang expressed deep sympathy to the Sri Lankan govt and people in the stricken area and conveyed profound condolences to the victims of the disaster. As China and Sri Lanka are traditional friendly neighbors, the Chinese people are deeply affected by more..

All schools to reopen tomorrow except 52 in Sabaragamuwa

May 22 (DM) All govt and semi-govt schools in the country will be re-opened from tomorrow except for 52 schools in the Sabaragamuwa Province. Education Ministry stated. Schools in the Sabaragamuwa Province were closed on May 18 & 19 due to bad weather conditions prevailing in that area. An Island-wide closure of all schools was announced on Thursday by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam owing to the unchanged bad weather. more..