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Watching Syria, seeing Sri Lanka 

Apr 15 (CT) It was not easy to watch the proceedings on Friday (7) at the UN Security Council’s emergency open session on Syria without thinking of Sri Lanka, although the actual circumstances of the UN’s engagement with the two countries are very different. Only one thing seemed alarmingly similar. It seemed like a set up. US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s dramatic gesture of holding up photographs of chemical-gassed children only served to bring to mind the now famous more..

Of ancient serpent worshippers and auspicious times

Apr 15 (Roar) The Sri Lankan New Year (Avurudu to the Sinhalese, Puthu Varudam to the Tamils) is perhaps the country’s biggest cultural celebration: a coming together of two different races and religions; the Sinhalese Buddhists and the Tamil Hindus, as they observe the spiritual customs and traditions of this two-day festival. There are varying religious observances in both the Sinhalese and Buddhist cultures, more..

Ravi Jayewardene: Pious son of a political giant

Apr 15 (CT) "I have no generation to save. I have no legacy to strengthen. My generation and legacy are the people," said Sri Lanka's first Executive President J.R. Jayewardene. This statement hints that politicians strengthening their families were common in those times too. The reason for the former President Jayewardene to express those views could be that his only son's unwillingness to enter politics. Ravi Jayewardene, the only son of former President Jayewardene who chose his more..

Four raban beats to play during Avurudu

Apr 15 (Roar) Sri Lankan avurudu celebrations are incomplete without music. The traditional banku (bench) rabana is a wide-topped drum with a membrane stretched tightly on top of a wooden cylinder, mounted on wooden trunks a few inches off the ground. The drum can be up to 48 inches in diameter and can be played by several people seated around it. The drum is played to a particular type of beat associated with a special system of poetry or raban pada. more..

'No personal grudge against President'

Apr 15 (CT) MP Udaya Gammanpila said, the economy of the country is on the verge of collapse as the inflation rates, interest rates as well as the rate of unemployment are rising sharply with the county's foreign reserves depleting rapidly. He arraigns the got, and says that it has fallen flat in restoring the economy and is embarked on a mud-slinging campaign against the former regime, to cover up their own incompetence. more..

Leaders: be aware and beware

Apr 15 (Island) Three recent news items over the radio and in the print media made this writer wonder if we in Sri Lanka are living inside a ticking time bomb. A Youth Politician affiliated to the SLFP, interviewed during a recent membership drive event and broadcast over the SLBC Swedeshiya Service made a shocking revelation. Asked for reasons for his involvement in grass root level politics and of his expectations, he stated he had three reasons; a) to secure employment more..

Abolish ETCA not CEPA

Apr 15 (Island) Indo-SL Economic and Technology Cooperation Framework Agreement or ETCA as it is more commonly known, is causing waves of controversy in SL. Island-wide protests have been initiated by diverse professional associations, political entities and businesses which from time to time have used ETCA for furthering their respective agendas. What really is ETCA? Interestingly ETCA is still an agreement in the making which is currently at stage of framework agreement (ETCFA). more..

Tharu samaga Avurudu

New year travellers warned to dangers of fever

Apr 15 (Island) National Coordinator Dengue Control Programme, Dr Hasitha Tissera warned the public to be cautious in view of the fast spreading fever. He said those with fever should not leave their homes to prevent the spread of the disease. Those who contracted fever while travelling should rush to the nearest hospital without trying to reach thier destinations and spreading the disease in the process. 30,000 dengue cases had been reported from the beginning of the year to date. more..

Sweet Avurudu talk

Apr 15 (NS) Effects of inflation are reflected in a Kevum, the traditional oil cake, literally. In the 1980s the people of Duva, a village off Kiribathgoda in Kelaniya, made sweetmeats to sell to the well-to-do of Colombo’s folks. A single Kevum was sold for as little as 30 cents and today Duwa villagers can fetch Rs. 20 for each of them. No Sinhala Avurudu  ceremonial table is complete without Kavum which has been deemed worthy of mention in 13th Century Buddhist texts such as more..

Easter’s Pledge of a New World

Apr 15 (Island) Easter is identified as the Christian festival par excellence. It celebrates the unique event of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the core and the crux of the Christian religion and Faith. History attests that he was condemned to death and crucified under Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor. However, the third day following, He had begun to show signs of life by appearing to his close disciples within locked doors, sharing meals more..

Journey towards the cross and beyond

Apr 15 (NS) Christians around the world are preparing to commemorate the crucifixion, death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ during the Holy Week. Holy Week is the period just before Easter Sunday and includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. The week follows the 40 days of lent observed to meditate on the Word of God and practise self-control. 40 days of self-restraint and meditation culminates in the Holy Week. more..

Is change there?

Apr 15 (CT) She spent a life of luxury and comfort in a large mansion. Even where power was concerned, in that country she was second to none. She ruled above everyone and believed that not even a crow could fly over her head. However, she could not maintain this authority of power and dictatorship throughout her life. She was accused of a number of things including bribery, corruption and misuse of power. In the first week of March, before a people's Court she was proven guilty. more..

Write to Reconcile: Words that help us remember

Apr 15 (ST) It is so easy to get so caught up in our routine day-to-day lives that we tend to forget, what things were like a few years ago. Back to a time where a split second decision aboard a bus and an unattended bag, may have saved the lives of many. It was a time, where people were eyed with caution just for being of a certain race. Time does heal even the most serious wounds, but would it be right to forget how we got those more..

Cop who got back vital part of his anatomy, thanks to docs , interdicted

Apr 15 (Island) The police constable a part of whose penis had to be re-attached by the doctors was recovering fast at the National Hospital. The victim was rushed to hospital recently when his paramour cut offa prt of his penis. He was transferred to Colombo from Minneriya hospital with the severed part of his penis and the doctors performed a successful surgery. The suspect woman is married with two children. Policeman, too, is married with two children. more..

More talks in pursuance of enhanced cooperation with Pretoria

Apr 15 (Island) Sri Lanka and South Africa are continuing talks meant to enhance bilateral cooperation in a range of sectors, including police. The following is the text of a statement issued by the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Colombo following the 6th Session of the Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Partnership Forum between Sri Lanka and South Africa held in Pretoria, South Africa on 07th April 2017: "The Partnership Forum between Sri Lanka and South Africa was established in 2003 more..

Irate CEB trade unions threaten all-out strike to win their demands

Apr 15 (Island) The entire country might face a blackout from next month as CEB trade unions have decided to go for an all-out strike anytime after May 01 demanding rectification of their salary anomalies. Insiders, however, said without the participation of its powerful Engineers’ Union it would be very difficult for all other unions to cripple the power supply. The decision to strike was taken yesterday at a meeting attended by more..

NFF leader calls on Anunayaka Thera

Apr 15 (Island) National Freedom Front (NFF) would extend unstinted support to any group determined to overthrow the incumbent govt to save the country said NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa MP addressing the media after calling on the Most Venerable Anunayake Thera of Malwatte Dr. Niyangoda Sri Vijithasiri Thera. He paid a courtesy call on prelate on Tuesday. MP expressed his appreciation of the Thera, who visited him during his fast at the National Hospital. more..

Negombo’s passion for Pasan

Apr 15 (NS) Ayi Ayi Yoo, wails Sunil and the entire room trembles into a melancholic silence allowing his piercingly sharp, hauntingly beautiful voice to do its magic. His voice can be best described as the musical equivalent of a cold, gloomy April night; the kind of voice that is ideal for Pasan – a type of elegy-like hymns sung during Lent. Believed to have derived from the word passion which refers to Jesus Christ’s suffering and death, Pasan are usually sung to remember, recollect and to repent for sins, more..

Dias and Weliamuna step down from TISL following RTI requests

Apr 15 (CT) Chairman of Transparency International, Sri Lanka (TISL) Lakshan Dias and prominent TISL Board Member, J.C. Weliamuna have both stepped down from their positions in the organization in the wake of several Right to Information (RTI) petitions being filed by trade unionists under the RTI Act asking for reports relating to alleged corruption and internal mismanagement at the organization. Official website of TISL indicates that a new Chairman, more..

Koha’s call overseas comes from another species

Apr 15 (ST) Koha or Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is considered the harbinger of Sinhala and Tamil New Year for its beautiful song aimed at attracting a mate. Its call can also be heard beyond SL’s shores. Koha’s call is heard even in Australia, reminding Sri Lankans who live there of Avurudu. One Sri Lankan who heard the bird sing, asked last year: “What on earth was a Koha doing in Sydney?” A search on the video sharing social media platform YouTube suggests Sydney Koha is different. more..

Be cautious when purchasing Avurudu sweets: CMC

Apr 15 (DM) Public Health Department of Colombo Municipality warned consumers to be cautious when purchasing sweetmeat during this Avurudu season. Colombo Central Medical Health Officer Dr. Subash Mendis said many bakeries and wayside boutiques sold sweets that were prepared at least two to three weeks prior to the festive season. “When the vendors fail to store sweets properly, they get infected with fungus. It is especially oily sweets like Kevum that could get infected. more..

Fighting each other with our money

Accidents down by 16%

Apr 15 (NR) Colombo National Hospital says the number of accidents reported during the festive period has decreased by 16% in comparison to last year. Deputy Director General of National Hospital Dr. Anil Jasinghe said 185 persons have been admitted to the accident ward of the hospital during the past 24 hours.72 patients are currently receiving in-house treatment. 48 individuals had met with road accidents while 38 individuals suffered injuries from domestic accidents. more..

New Year Message of the JVP

Apr 15 (LT) The New Year joyously celebrated by the Sinhalese and Tamil masses dawns on 14th April this year. We wish the majority of Sri Lankans who celebrate this cultural festival a Happy New Year. The New Year is linked to novelty in everything. According to astrology the sun moves from constellation of Pisces to that of Aries. However, the cultural festival that is linked to this belief is a social phenomenon that affects the lives of our people positively. more..

UN agrees to shut down Haiti peacekeeping mission

Apr 15 (AFP) United Nations Security Council agreed to shut down the peacekeeping mission in Haiti after 13 years and replace it with a smaller police-only force. Council unanimously adopted a resolution that will end the mission known as MINUSTAH by Oct 15. The decision provided a boost to the new US administration's hopes of cutting back its multi-billion dollar financial contribution to UN peacekeeping. more..

Met Deptartment warns of sudden roughness of sea areas

Apr 15 (AD) The Meteorology Department says that sudden roughness of the sea areas associated with sudden increase of wind speed (up to 70-80kmph) is possible in the deep and shallow sea areas off the coast extending from Colombo to Trincomalee via Galle, Hambantota and Batticaloa. This is due to the active cloudiness associated with a low level disturbance in the Bay of Bengal which is in the east of Sri Lanka, it said. Showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the sea area off more..

Prime Minister’s New Year message

Apr 15 (LT) Sinhala & Tamil New Year brings a message of prosperity and unity to the nation, acknowledging the role of the Sun in the agrarian society and its blessings towards a greater harvest. It is also an occasion that strengthen ties between the Sinhalese and the Tamils, one that unites them and fosters a great degree of fellowship amidst shared customs and a reverence towards nature and its elements that are significant towards sustainable prosperity. more..

PM to visit Vietnam

Apr 15 (EN) PM Ranil Wickramasighe will visit Vietnam for talks with Premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc in a bid to strengthen trade, economic and industrial relations. PM Wickramasinghe and Mrs Maithree Wickramasinghe will visit Vietnam from April 16 to 19, a statement said. Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, Harin Fernando, Mano Ganeshan and senior officials will be part of the delegation. more..

New Year Message of the President

Apr 15 (LT) “The customary rites and rituals attached with the Avurudda, based on the transition of the sun, depict the social connotation of the deep and subtle connection between man and nature in physical and spiritual facets since the origins of life on Planet Earth many ages ago, states President in his New Year Message. He states, Aluth Avurudda is a turning point of our lives as it resuscitates to serve as a catalyst to change our attitudes for bringing some fresh thinking. more..

Woman held on arrival from Sri Lanka

Apr 15 (Hindu) Marine Police of the Coastal Security Group (CSG) have arrested a Tamil woman, Thangam (28), who married a SL Tamil living in Colombo, after she clandestinely arrived here with her three children. The boatmen dropped Thangam, her two daughters, aged 5 and 4 years, and a son, aged two years, in the first islet in the Gulf of Mannar around 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday, stating that it was Dhanushkodi. As it was very dark, the woman and her children stayed where they were more..

SL set for tough talks with IMF over bailout

Apr 15 (EN) Sri Lanka is set for tough negotiations with the IMF later this month to secure the next tranche of a $1.5 billion bailout held up due to slower than expected progress in economic reforms. An IMF delegation concluded a visit to Colombo early last month without completing its review of Sri Lanka's economy, a condition to release the next tranche of the loan. The two sides were unable to agree on meeting some of the IMF conditions more..

Rajitha okays DNA treatment

Apr 15 (DN) Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had given approval to introduce a new treatment method which tests the DNA of patients and prescribe drugs based on the DNA. Minister had given approval for the new method based on the results of a research done by a team of American doctors. Initially, the new treatment method will be implemented for cancer patients and it is expected to increase their life expectancy by 84% by using the new method. more..

Coast Guard life savers rescues 2 foreigners and local

Apr 15 (SLN) SL Coast Guard life savers attached to the Life Saving Posts Mirissa and Hikkaduwa, yesterday (13) at two separate locations, rescued two foreigners and one Sri Lankan who were being dragged out by the waves and drowning at sea off Mirissa and Hikkaduwa beaches.  54 year old Iranian National, Mr Akbar Yolami and SL National, Mr. Huzefa a resident of Mount Lavinia were rescued while dragging away into the sea by the strong current off Mirissa beach more..

Meethotamulla garbage mountain buries 40 homes, kills six

Apr 15 (AFP) At least six people were killed and 10 others injured in Kolonnawa Friday after a massive rubbish dump buried an estimated 40 homes during the traditional new year. A 12-year-old boy and two teenaged girls died at the Colombo National hospital where 10 others were being treated after they were rescued. She said three other people who were pulled from the wreckage of homes were already dead by the time they more..

The Promise of Change

Apr 16 (SO) The formal New Year ceremonies may have largely ended last week, but the fireworks still get lit at some family evenings while loudspeakers broadcast fun and frolic at Avurudu festive events. The traditional New Year is the oldest and most widely celebrated Sri Lankan festival that marks a traditionally significant moment of seasonal change in our social life. The changes in the positions of the most visible heavenly bodies are interpreted in consonance with the coinciding more..

Fate of crossovers

Apr 16 (CT) Instability in political parties and govts stems from crossovers performed by elected MPs. Over the years since independence, instability in political parties and govts stems from crossovers by elected MPs. Since I started my journalistic career in 1953, I worked in the Guardian and Jathiya newspapers. Fortunately, I started my life as a journalist when I was assigned to be a Courts reporter to cover the Ranjani Taxi Cab and the Theja Goonewardena cases. more..

Christ preached the divine message of forgiveness and love

Apr 16 (SO) All over the world on Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection from death of Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus underwent two contradictory charges. They were religious charges under Annas and Caiaphas, and political charges under Pilate and Herod. It is popularly believed that these charges were brought about due to public misunderstanding of his preaching attitude and interest on a wide range of interest. more..

Confusion confounded, Lunacy, Idiocy, Hubris or WHAT?

Apr 16 (SO) Sad, sad it is that these are words coupled with the exotic term Yahapalanaya which translated reads righteous govt. Righteousness has disappeared in the opinion of many and the descriptive words in the title of this piece are coupled with the present govt. It is enough to drive citizens to clad themselves in sack cloth and ashes, not new clothes in the prescribed colour for the national New Year, and eat words of hope we joyfully bantered for a while instead of kavun more..

Right to protest Can the law decide?

Apr 16 (CT) The American Nobel laureate William Faulkner once said: "Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and against lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth." The essential humaneness of people regardless of their country of origin is part and parcel of their ability to act as beings of higher intellectual capacity. This includes the ability to analyze various situations and agree or disagree on more..