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Three-way battle for AASL presidency

Apr 18 (DN) The election for the presidency of Athletic Association of Sri Lanka (AASL) sees a three way battle among present head Sugath Thilakaratne, former president Maj. Gen Palitha Fernando and former vice president G.L.S. Perera. Former secretary Prema Pinnawala was elected uncontested for another term as secretary while Treasurer Shantha Kumara and Recorder Saman Kumara too elected uncontested. more..

Sanga’s 136 secures Surrey draw

Apr 18 (Island) Kumar Sangakkara continued his superb form for English country Surrey in enabling them to draw their First Class game against Lancashire at The Oval yesterday. Surrey were forced to follow on after they finished 151 runs being Lancashire’s first innings total of 470 all out. At 66 for two, and still 85 runs behind at the start of the final day yesterday, Surrey were struggling, but Sangakkara and Scott Borthwick smashed hundreds to secure a draw for London based county. more..

Prez visits Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya

Apr 18 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena worshipped the historical Nagadeepa Raja Maha Viharaya off Jaffna Peninsula today (17). He looked into the well-being of the Chief Incumbent of the temple Ven. Navandagala Padumakiththithissa Thero, and offered ata pirikara to him. The President who engaged in religious activities at the temple watched the museum in the temple premises. Chief Incumbent of the Ruwanveli Maha Seya Ven. Pallegama Hemarathana Thero also joined more..

'Players these days are lucky - they don't get chewed out like we used to'

Apr 18 (CI) Thilan Samaraweera talks about the Lahore attack, copping a earful from Ranatunga, and finishing with a higher Test average than Aravinda. Pakistan is a country that has imposed itself on my memory. I hit my first overseas Test hundred in Faisalabad at a time when people were saying I could only get runs at the SSC, so that was nice. That's the country where I got my two double-hundreds as well. more..

Country’s first national forest monitoring system platform

Apr 18 (Island) With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015 and the new agreement on climate change at COP21 in Paris, Sri Lanka received a much-needed push towards implementing its ambitious forest-centric development agenda. With the vision of Forests and beyond, sustaining life and livelihoods in a greener Sri Lanka, SL UN-REDD Programme, which is the UN collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation & forest Degradation more..

Meethotamulla Tragedy takes life of promising basketball player

Apr 18 (Island) Promising basketball player Ahmed Sajid is feared to be one of the several persons under the rubbles of the collapsed garbage dump at Meethotamulla. When the garbage dump collapsed on Friday, Sajid, his parents and his elder brother had got out of home. However, realizing that their grandmother was still at home, Sajid and his brother had gone back home, but never returned. With rescue missions carrying on, Ahmed’s coach Vinura Illangasinghe said there was little hope more..

Calculating GDP growth: A sorry attempt by some to mislead people with alternate facts

Apr 18 (FT) It is bad when small-time politicians make up stories to mislead village folk. It is far worse when those with professional qualifications fabricate stories to mislead a gullible nation. This short piece is to shed light and present the facts on a recent incident, actually two incidents, of the latter kind that received significant airtime particularly on social media. Recently, a former chairman of the SEC Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, more..

Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe cancels New Year celebrations

Apr 18 (Island) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe yesterday instructed his ministry officials to cancel their annual Sinhala-Tamil New year celebration and donate the monies allocated for the welfare of the victims of the Meethotamulla garbage dump disaster. The New Year Celebrations of the Ministry had been scheduled to be held on April 22 at the Shalika grounds, ministry sources said adding that officials welcomed the instructions of the minister and canceled the event. more..

Marrikar lashes out at CMC for Meethotamulla tragedy

Apr 18 (FT) While agreeing that some local govt politicians were engaged in the garbage business at the Meethotamulla waste dumping site, UNP MP S.M. Marrikkar lashed out at the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) for neglecting to find an alternative garbage dumping site. “The CMC is 90 % responsible for this calamity. We protested several times demanding to stop dumping Colombo’s garbage at this site as it was an impending danger that was waiting to strike. more..

'Report on fee hike for SL helpers misleading'

Apr 18 (AN) Reports of a hefty rise in recruitment fees for SL domestic helpers, including maids, are misleading, said SL Ambassador Azmi Thassim. “SL govt is not involved in the hike of recruitment fees because business transactions are done by private Saudi and SL agents,” he said. A report said SL recruitment offices have raised recruitment costs of domestic workers from $1,560 to $3,000, representing a 92% hike. more..

Pilleyan further remanded

Apr 18 (DN) The TMVP party leader and former Eastern Provincial Councillor Sivanesadurai Chandrakanthan alias Pilleyan including four suspects involved in the murder of Batticaloa District TNA MP late Joseph Pararajasingam have been further remanded till April 28. Batticaloa Acting Magistrate M. Rizvi made this order when the President TMVP party and former Eastern Provincial Councillor S Chandrakanthan, former National Coordinator TMVP party and more..

CBSL devalues spot by Rs 0.30

Apr 18 (CT) With depreciative pressure building up on the rupee, Central Bank yesterday sharply devalued the exchange rate (ER) vis-à-vis its administered benchmark spot rate by Rs 0.30 to Rs 151.90 to the US dollar yesterday. Spot rates are settled after two market days from the date of transaction. Nonetheless, the market's trading instrument, namely the two weeks' forwards, made a pyrrhic gain of Rs 0.10 to Rs 153.10 to the dollar on thin trades yesterday, more..

Sri Lankan govt selling the country: MR

Apr 18 (WION) Mahinda Rajapaksa was President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015. He is a human rights lawyer by profession, but has been the butt of  widespread outrage and criticism for alleged human rights violations by SL armed forces during the final stages of the 30-year long civil war against the armed separatist group, the LTTE, which invented the suicide bomb, forcibly recruited child soldiers and used civilians as human shields. more..

Protests, hooting greet Sagala

Apr 18 (CT) Minister Sagala Ratnayake was greeted by protests and hooting when he visited the site of Meethotamulla garbage dump disaster yesterday. IGP and Commander of SL Army accompanied the minister. The area visit was interrupted by the protests of the residents and therefore, the visitors were forced to leave the place. Residents stressed that they do not want to see any politician at the scene as the authorities did not take measures to prevent the tragedy. more..

Smuggler nabbed at BIA with 10 kilos of gold

Apr 18 (Island) Customs officers at the BIA yesterday nabbed a person who attempted to smuggle in gold jewellery worth around Rs. 70 million. Customs officials had inspected the person on suspicion and found gold jewellery weighing around ten kilos inside a false bottom of his travelling bag, Deputy Customs Director said. The smuggler had arrived in the early hours of yesterday from Dubai. There were gold chains, bangles, rings & pendants were among the items recovered. more..

Dumping garbage at Meethotumulla: CMC denies Champika’s claim

Apr 18 (DN) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Commissioner V.K. Anura denied that the UDA had asked the CMC to stop dumping garbage at Meethotumulla, despite the Minister in charge Champika Ranawaka stating so. “We were not asked to stop dumping garbage at Meethotumulla,” said Anura. Minister Ranawaka in a Cabinet paper submitted in February had stated that the UDA formally informed the CMC in Sept 2015 to stop dumping more..

Measures to prevent diseases in Meethotamulla

Apr 18 (DN) All measures have been taken to prevent an outbreak of diseases in Meethotamulla following Friday’s collapse of the garbage mountain, Consultant Virologist of the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry Dr. Samitha Ginige said. According to Dr. Ginige, steps have been taken to protect the displaced in the Meethotamulla tragedy who are now in welfare camps. They have been educated on personal hygiene. Steps have been taken to control flies and mosquitoes. more..

Video: Meethotamulla victims: No decision on compensation amount yet, says Anura

Apr 18 (DM) The govt has not yet decided on the final amount of compensation to be paid to the victims of the Meethotamulla garbage dump collapse, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said yesterday. Responding to a question, the minister clarified the sum of Rs.2.5 million for those whose properties were damaged and Rs.100,000 on behalf of the deceased were insurance benefits and not compensation. “This is a payment method of insurance for natural disasters. more..

Meethotamulla garbage dump may collapse again if it rains, expert warns

Apr 18 (Island) The Meethotamulla garbage dump is likely to crash again if heavy rains occur within the next few days, says Director of NBRO R.M.S. Bandara. Bandara said that there was a difference between a garbage dump crash and a landslide. "This is the first time we have seen a disaster of this nature here. Under the sheer weight of the garbage dump a lower layer of earth gave way, causing the collapse of the dump. more..

The garbage menace and its innocent victims

Apr 18 (DM) The collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump on Sinhala and Hindu New Year day on which Good Friday also fell was not a natural disaster, nor was it something unexpected. What neither the people nor the authorities knew was the date and the time of collapse of the 300 foot high mountain on the poor residents who are not responsible for the problem. Even a month ago residents demonstrated against the further heaping up of garbage in the area. more..

Where was the root of the problem?

Apr 18 (DM) Since independence, Sri Lanka has never planned for a long term. In that pervasive sense of short-termism, garbage was the least of the problems, as long as it could be dumped somewhere. One of those mammoth garbage mountains collapsed on the Avurudu eve burying an unknown number of residents and 150 houses in Meethotamulla. As of Sunday, death toll stood at 26 including seven children and many more remained unaccounted for. Anger was boiling over in more..

Meethotamulla tragedy

Apr 18 (DM) Meethotamulla residents who filed a fundamental rights petition last year stating that there were individuals and companies who were interested in purchasing the garbage for re-cycling at their own cost without harming the environment. Who held it back? Did politicians of past and present along with officials negotiate for higher commissions causing a delay in the progress? more..

Thirikkal racing still raises hackles

Apr 18 (ST) One year on and the battle to ban the thirikkal (hackery races), a sport held to celebrate National New Year, continues. While seasonal revellers make arrangements to have the thirikkal races, animal rights activists have once again raised their voices against the cruelty to the bull that pulls the cart during the races. Opposition from animal rights activists against holding the races has prompted cattle owners to approach more..

‘Beach parties harm environment, tourist industry’

Apr 18 (DN) Beach parties which continue late at night cause more harm than good to the tourist industry and the environment. They are held throughout a week on the Mirissa Beach which go on till dawn during the peak of the tourist season, Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) CEO Dr. Pradeep Kumara said. “Marine life is at risk due to the use of high powered laser beams & decibel music that resonate at night more..

Crackdown on Child labour Drive towards Child-Labour-Free status

Apr 18 (CT) Child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, dignity, and potential. The work involved is hazardous to their health, physical and mental development as a child and deprives them of the opportunity to attend school without interference. There are numerous factors that lead to child labour such as poverty, social attitudes, lack of access to quality education, social/economic exclusion, more..

Sri Lanka debate: Seeking to be the centre of Asia

Apr 18 (FT) The Sri Lanka debate by Euromoney in association with the Ministry of Finance, featured Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Board of Investment CEO Duminda Ariyasinghe, Colombo Stock Exchange Chairman and NDB Capital Holdings CEO Vajira Kulatilaka, Western Region Megapolis Planning Project Head of Investments Nayana Mawilmada, HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives Chief Executive Mark Prothero, more..

Ensuring witness protection New amendment a step forward?

Apr 18 (CT) Cabinet spokesman Minister Rajitha Senaratne said last week the government has decided to amend the Witness Protection Act, allowing witnesses to give evidence from outside the country, and the proposal was approved by the Cabinet. The amendments to Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act No. 4 of 2015, were presented to the Cabinet by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. more..

Regulating private hospitals to commence shortly

Apr 18 (DN) Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne hands over an award to a recipient while others look on. He said regulating private hospitals will commence after studying the report and formulating a plan and a system. The state rural hospital network will also be developed. He expressed those views addressing the gathering after handing over awards to hospital staff of the Ampara General Hospital during a ceremony. more..

‘Effective systems needed for data on missing persons’

Apr 18 (NR) Leader of the PHU MP Udaya Gammanpila says an effective system must be introduced in order to obtain data on missing persons. The MP made this statement in light of recent collapse of the garbage dump in Meethotamulla. He said efficient methods have become a necessity. MP Gammanpila said when facing such tragedies efficient methods to obtain statistics on missing persons must be utilised. more..

'No move to oust Weerawansa from NFF'

Apr 18 (AM) UPFA MP and NFF stalwart Weerakumara Dissanayake said there was no division in the party and there was no move to oust Weerawansa as the party leader.  He made this remark while responding to queries whether there would be a leadership change in NFF, as speculated by some websites.  "There's no issue in the party. We do not have differences of opinion and no one thinks Weerawansa should be removed more..

EU raises concerns over labour rights in SL

Apr 18 (CG) A European Union (EU) fact finding delegation has raised concerns over labour rights in SL ahead of a decision being taken on SL’s application for GSP+. Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union said that the EU delegation had met workers who faced labour rights violations, including harassment to trade unions, illegal dismissal of trade union leaders, sexual harassment more..

Reactive vs. Proactive

Apr 18 (CT) It has been three days since the Meethotamulla Garbage Mountain sank in, destroying an uncountable number of homes and lives trying to enjoy the coming of a New Year. By now of course, as any reactive government would do, our current administration has deployed excavation teams, search and rescue teams and countless number of volunteer workers to aid the displaced and the victims of this man-made disaster. Mind you, this is the third such incident more..

The politics of skin: A Velvety intervention

Apr 18 (CT) Prince Dutugemunu is said to have been close to two sisters, one fair and the other dark. They had duly been re-named Sudu (Fair One) and Kalu (Dark One). The dark one had spurned him and in the end the prince had fallen for the sister. When Kalu finally overcame her pride and expressed her feelings, it had been too late. The Prince, legend has it, had simply said manda Kalu pin nokale? (why did you not acquire enough merit?). more..

Parliament Mafia Vs Meethotamulla Victims

Sagala visits Meethotamulla area for second consecutive day despite hooters

Apr 18 (AM) Minster Sagala Ratnayaka visited the Meethotamulla area for the second consecutive day despite resistance shown by some angry residents hooting at the Minister. A group of enraged residents in the area hooted at the Minister and his group claiming politicians were responsible for the collapse of the garbage dump. Army Commander Lt. General Chrishantha de Silva and IGP Pujith Jayasundara also joined the Minister who looked into the grievances of the landslide victims.  more..

Quirky calendar for next year

Apr 18 (Island) Two months in the Poya calendar published by the govt for the year 2018 has two poya holidays each. According to the calendar the month of Feb would not have a single Poya Day while the months of Jan and Mar would have two Poya holidays. In the official calendar for year 2018 Jan 1 has been marked as the Duruthu Poya Day while Jan 31st has been marked as Navam Poya Day. Mar 1st has been marked as Medin Poya while Mar 31st has been marked as Bak Poya. more..

Labour dispute ends at SL port terminal

Apr 18 (EN) South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), a private container terminal  in Sri Lanka’s Port of Colombo, said it had ended a dispute with dock workers over bonus pay that had disrupted operations. “Following 13 days of operational disruption at its berth, team SAGT made a ground breaking deal that brought a mutually satisfactory end to the stand-off,” Erwin Haaze, SAGT chief executive, said in a statement. more..

CCEM directs FCID to probe only pre-2015 deals

Apr 18 (EN) The FCID is asked not to probe procurements after 2015 by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM). The move means that only procurements before 2015, which were under the Rajapaksa administration, would be probed, the Sunday Times reported. FCID has been told to direct all such investigation to the National Procurement Commission. At a recent discussion, it was noted that the FCID summoned public officers for investigations on procurement issues. more..

Got friendly with widow and then sexually abused her son

Apr 18 (Island) The residents of Hapugaspitiya, Gampola during the New Year festivities caught and beat a youth who had visited the home of a widow and sexually abused her 12-year-old son. Investigations have revealed that the suspect, a soldier, had started a relationship with the mother of the victim after the former gave her a missed call. The woman invited her new found lover to spend the Sinhala and Tamil New Year with her and arranged for him to stay the night in her son’s room. more..

Healing through harmonies in post-conflict Sri Lanka

Apr 18 (IT) Indhumadhi sits on a small wooden stool proudly displaying a photograph of her son pictured in his school orchestra. Beside her, at her home in Mullaitivu in northern Sri Lanka, a pair of crutches are propped up against a decaying brick wall. Indhumadhi, who is Tamil, lost her leg in a bomb blast during the 25-year Sri Lankan civil war between the govt and the militant Tamil Tigers. After her husband died more..