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Japan confers a prestigious decoration on Ms. Lalitha Rajapaksa

Apr 29 (Island) Today, Govt of Japan announced the conferment of The Order of the Rising Sun Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon upon Ms. Lalitha Rajapaksa, in recognition of her significant contribution to promoting Japanese culture and understanding of Japan in Sri Lanka. A congratulatory message was sent by Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japan, on 29th April upon the announcement stating "Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment more..

Sri Lankan geek’s guide to finding merchandise (and going broke)

Apr 29 (Roar) There was a time when being labelled a nerd meant you were the laughing stock at your school or your workplace. But the term has taken on a new meaning in recent times, and is often used in relation to pop culture and geekism in the modern era ‒ and being a nerd (or a geek) is now celebrated worldwide. Sri Lanka is no exception – we have our own comic con complete with dedicated (and talented!) cosplayers, our very own comic books, merchandise collectors, more..

Stones pelted at army bus during hartal

Apr 29 (Island) Mullaitivu police are inquiring into an incident where stones were thrown at a Vavuniya bound bus carrying army personnel during Thursday’s hartal in the Northern and eastern districts. Army Spokesman Brigadier Roshan Seneviratne confirmed the incident. A glass of the bus was broken but troops didn’t suffer injuries. War ravaged districts observed a shutdown after the Tamil and Muslim political parties held a protest demanding the release of military-held land. more..

JVP in talks with Communist Party: Two meet after many years

Apr 29 (CT) General Secretary of the SL Communist Party D.E.W. Gunasekera said, after many years, the JVP held a discussion with the Politburo of his party. The new Constitution, the new election system and the national problem had been subject to discussion on this occasion. Gunasekera said, since there are several problems in the country at present, the time has come for all leftist parties to get together and this year's May Day can be taken as an opportunity to do this. more..

Military to prepare emergency garbage disposal site

Apr 29 (EN) Sri Lanka's military is expected to help prepare a short term sanitary landfill in Muturagawela under the guidance of experts, as a short-term solution to disposing garbage in the capital Colombo. Sri Lanka Army Engineers and the Civil Defence Department will provide men and machinery to build the under advised by the Waste Management Research unit of the University of Peradeniya. Cabinet of Ministers had given approval for the proposal. more..

Initial crew get onboard SL Navy Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel in India

Apr 29 (SLN) Indian shipbuilding company, Goa Shipyard is currently at the completion stages of building two 105 m Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPV) for the mission requirements of the Sri Lanka Navy. Incidentally, the Sri Lanka Navy crew who are expected to steer one of the AOPVs, have reached India in view of acclimatizing to the state of the art facilities and technologies of the ship. The new AOPV is intended to conduct patrols, policing, search and rescue, more..

Railway jaywalkers call for protected pathways

Apr 29 (ST) The railway tracks in Colombo have become a convenient footpath for many workers whose places of employment lie in close proximity to railway stations. The majority of these persons are middle grade working class persons and teenagers who for the sake of convenience, risk their lives by using the rail tracks. It has been noticed that pedestrians also tend to use the yellow crossings on highways risking life and limb. Quite often groups of workers or teens can be seen more..

Sri Lanka feels the heat

Apr 29 (AJ) Over the past few weeks, temperatures across South Asia have steadily built up ahead of the summer rains. There has been much talk of the severe heat and, at times, drought conditions that have accompanied this pre-monsoon heat across India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka has suffered alongside them as the sweltering conditions have intensified. Temperatures in Colombo, have been running just above the April average of 31 degrees Celsius. more..

GSP+: economy + social gains

Apr 30 (SO) Economic development is the biggest gain being celebrated after the European Parliament last Thursday voted overwhelmingly to endorse the renewal of the GSP+ concessions facility for Sri Lanka’s vital trade with the lucrative European market. But, while govt and business celebrate, the ordinary citizen would be forgiven if she or he also celebrates the social and political gains built into the GSP linkage with Sri Lanka that is now set to resume after a lapse of six years. more..

May Days then and now

Apr 30 (Island) Time was when reporters covering the various May Day demonstrations and meetings in Colombo used to time how long it took a particular demonstration to pass a fixed point to get at least a rough idea of whose was longest. Admittedly this was not an accurate method of measurement; the JVP demonstration, for example, was more militarized than the others in those days and there were sections, separated from each other by a fair distance. more..

'SLFP keen to unite members while making changes'

Apr 30 (SL) The SLFP says despite some members being removed from organiser posts  in the party, the SLFP is still keen to unite all members. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake says party leader Maithripala Sirisena is keen to unite and form a strong SLFP. He says the President wants to unite the party for the benefit of the supporters and the people of this country. He made these comments in an interview. more..

PM's visit to India to open series of economic benefits

Apr 30 (SO) With the joint development of Trincomalee port high on the agenda, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi last week witnessed the signing of an MoU for cooperation in economic projects in Sri Lanka. MoU outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation in the near future, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry. Giving details of the MoU on Thursday, India´s External Affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay more..

May Day politics and worker issues

Apr 30 (ST) With May Day – the day marking solidarity with the workers of the world approaching, one might think the most important issues would be the cost of living; the wages and safety of workers; or their trade union rights. Wrong. The main issue at the highest political levels in the country is – can the JO fill up Galle Face Green for its May Day rally tomorrow. That politics has overwhelmed so many aspects of life, not just in SL but around the world too has become a fait accompli, more..

SL - Japan team fight garbage war

Apr 30 (SO) There are strong indications that the lives lost and tears shed at Meethotamulla would not be in vain. In spite of the despicable blame game, a genuine effort is being taken to help victims rise from the ashes. A comprehensive scientific study at the trash mountain was conducted within days by the state institutions led by a Japanese expert team. Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, in addition, more..

Changing boots

Apr 30 (ST) My dear Field Marshal, I really didn’t think I would have to write to you again so soon but here you are, in the news once again. The entire country is talking about a new appointment for you after Maithri is said to have suggested this. In keeping with the trend of this govt however, everyone is confused about it. To begin with, there is a major problem about this announcement: it was made by none other than Rajitha. Now, we know that Rajitha previously made more..

JO must show the way out

Apr 30 (SL) There will be much desperate prognostications thundered across Galle Face Green from the stage of the so called Joint Opposition tomorrow about burying the UNP-SLFP govt under the garbage of the Meetotamulla dump and their alleged misdemeanours in the past two years. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Joint Opposition (JO) leader, has pledged toppling this govt in January this year. Time and options it seems to be fast running out. more..

Vajira Abeywardena

1953 style Hartal on the horizon

Apr 30 (Island) Even the elders among us would have some difficulty in recalling a time when there was as much antagonism between a govt and the trade unions as we see today. May Day rallies tomorrow will be emotionally charged affairs given the tensions that have been unleashed. What we are seeing now is a case of the trade unions consciously bringing pressure on the govt on matters pertaining to state policy. The last trade union action that we experienced, CPC strike, more..

Mayday distress signal as Labour revels hijacked

Apr 30 (NS) Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! It is the word used around the world to make a distress call via radio communications. Mayday signals a life-threatening emergency, usually on a ship or a plane, although it may be used in a variety of other situations. Procedure calls for the mayday distress signal to be said three times in a row — Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! That is because it won’t be mistaken for another word or phrase that sounds similar under adverse or noisy conditions. more..

Will TUs make Maithri meet the same fate as SWRD?

Apr 30 (CT) President Sirisena appeared to have stirred the hornets' nest by suggesting a top military post to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka who is also a Cabinet minister. While factual clarity of this suggestion remain unconfirmed with various members of the same Cabinet issuing contradictory remarks, it is clear that Minister Rajitha Senaratne's official statement made in his capacity as Cabinet Spokesman led to all hell break loose. more..

Of politics, morals and conscience

Apr 30 (CT) We have consistently articulated the fact that an overwhelming percentage of the population in this country has, since the immediate post-independence period, been consistently inveigled by opportunistic politicians, as well as sections of the anti-establishment clergy, into apparently legitimate expressions of dissent, ostensibly in the exercise of democratic rights. We have also warned that dissent of late has had overt features in them which more..

Sanity prevails at ICC Boardroom

Apr 30 (Island) Finally the International Cricket Council has overwhelmingly voted against the Big Three concept and now an even playing field has been presented to all Full Members. When Big Three – India, England and Australia – high jacked control of the  ICC three years ago, claiming the three most powerful cricket nations needed to have a larger control over the governance, the rest of the world merely gave in. Only Pakistan fought a lone battle. more..

Chandimal century gives Colombo title

Apr 30 (ST) Dinesh Chandimal, the former Sri Lanka vice-captain led Colombo to the SLC Super Provincial 50-over title with a brilliant century that paved the way for their 137-run win over Galle in the final played under lights at the R Premadasa Stadium yesterday. On a slow paced wicket Chandimal got to terms with it superbly to carve out an unbeaten 113 off 116 balls inclusive of three sixes and 11 fours to enable Colombo more..

Anura Rohana wins PGTI Pune Open

Apr 30 (ST) Lankan golfer Anura Rohana — Silver Medalist in Seoul Asian Games 2002, continues to fly the national flag high, now on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI). Anura Rohana won the Pune Open 2017, at the Poona Club Golf Course, a significant event in the PGTI Calendar annually. Anura Rohana lying in joint 6th place after 3 rounds at 4 under par, fired a brilliant last round of 65 (6 under par) to come from behind and win the event by a clear 2 strokes from Khalin Joshi. more..

Japanese Belluna replaces James Packer in Colombo Crown

Apr 30 (ST) A Japanese firm will be taking over a prime block of land at D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha in Fort earlier earmarked for a mixed development project for Australian gaming tycoon James Packer’s US$ 400 Crown Colombo project. Asia Capital CEO Stephan Abeysinghe, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Marine Drive Hotel in Colombo this week, said that Asia Capital has joined hands with Japanese firm Belluna to invest around US$350-450 million in this mixed development project more..

Cultivation fund looted Compensation for farmers put on hold

Apr 30 (CT) The good governance govt is stuck in a pool of problems and struggling to set a firm foot on a solid surface. Apart from the most recent Meethotamulla New Year tragedy the authorities are also trying to manage a crisis situation relating to farmers who have been affected by the prevailing drought in most parts of the country. As of 21 February, 899,235 people of 228,906 families from more..

Sri Lankan tea prices rocket on short supply

Apr 30 (ST) The SL tea industry has seen an increase in the price of tea fetched at the auctions however owing to a short supply scenario amidst developments where regional plantation companies (RPCs) barring three, pick up a share of the Rs.1 billion loan to help pay wages to the workers. Figures indicate that the production has dropped over the years since 2013 when the industry had produced 340 million kg, sliding to 338 million kg in 2014 and 328.8 million kg in 2015. more..

Imported labour for construction industry

Apr 30 (SO) The govt needs to have an effective regulatory mechanism in place before entering into trade agreements. “ETCA will be a threat to the construction industry, if regulations to safeguard the industry are not passed, before the agreement is signed,” Chamber of Construction Industry President, Dr. Surath Wickramasinghe said. Move by the govt to import labour for the construction industry is a timely move. It is an appropriate measure and will ease labour shortage. more..

GSP+: First round win but issues ahead

Apr 30 (ST) The Sri Lanka Govt claimed victory on Friday after an unexpected resolution before the European Parliament objecting to the resumption of GSP+ concessions was defeated but issues loom ahead when eventually concessions are secured. While welcoming the pro-Sri Lanka vote in the European Parliament, Felix Fernando, Chairman – SLAEA, said the garments industry has a much bigger issue – labour shortage. more..

Rohini’s success story

Apr 30 (SO) World Masters Games gold medalist Rohini Jayawardena said she started playing badminton to kill time after dropping her only daughter at St. Bridget’s Convent Montessori a couple of decades ago. She said it was her late husband Kalika Jayawardena who had given her all encouragement at the early stages of her badminton career. “He fully supported me after I took to badminton to spend time after dropping my daughter a school in the mornings. more..

Exporters ready to expand with GSP+

Apr 30 (SO) The business community commended the govt’s efforts to regain the GSP+ facility which will ensure significant growth in export volumes and value in the next couple of years. “As exporters, we applaud the efforts by the govt and other related parties who worked towards the swing of the vote in our favour. We have achieved quite a lot and we need to do more to restore the facility. However, this situation is a positive outlook and we look forward to regaining the GSP+ facility soon,” more..

Intelligence on alert ahead of Modi’s visit

Apr 30 (SL) Intelligence agencies have been placed on alert ahead of the visit to Sri Lanka next month by Indian PM Narendra Modi. Sources said that Indian security agencies and Sri Lanka were closely coordinating security arrangements for Modi’s visit. Intelligence agencies have been alerted of moves by the joint opposition to stage mass protests in Colombo to disrupt Modi’s itinerary. Modi has confirmed he will visit SL more..

Economy: Game of snakes and ladders

Apr 30 (ST) Like a lifeline, the defeat of the anti-SL resolution at the European Parliament on Thursday is certain to be heralded as a victory for the govt. While govt politicians will gloat over the win, opposition politicians – who see danger lurking in everything that the govt does and often grabbing at straws – will come up with the good, the bad and the ugly side of the resolution. A typical to-and-fro argument would go like this: Govt: This proves we have the unconditional support of the EU. more..

JVP to hold key talks with MS, Ranil

Apr 30 (SL) The JVP is to hold key talks with President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on the proposed new Constitution. JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that the JVP political bureau had decided to take part in the talks with the govt. He said that the talks will mainly focus on a political solution for the ethnic issue which is to be devised through the new Constitution. Meanwhile, the TNA hopes to meet the JO to discuss the proposed new Constitution. more..

CEB chairman, engineers’ union wires cross forcing former’s resignation

Apr 30 (ST) Anura Wijepala resigned as Chairman of Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) last week, because he could not support the Engineers’ demand, accepted by the Power and Energy Ministry, to place the utility’s Internal Auditor (IA) under the purview of its General Manager (GM), instead of the Board of Directors. “It was against my conscience,” Mr Wijepala, an engineer and lecturer at the University of Moratuwa, said. more..

Govt says it will not treat stray dogs inhumanely

Apr 30 (NR) Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna says the government will not resort to any inhumane acts against stray dogs. When inquired by NewsRadio the Deputy Minister refuted certain rumours circulating pertaining to the charge. However he said the number of stray dogs roaming around Colombo and suburban areas is on the increase. Deputy Minister said a number of issues have arisen as a result of the increase in the number of stray dogs on the streets. more..

Exchange Control Amendment Bill: Speaker receives 3 petitions filed in SC

Apr 30 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced that he received copies of three petitions filed in the Supreme Courts challenging the constitutionality of the Exchange Control Amendment Bill. This Bill which seeks to repeal the present Act was presented to the House on April 7 this year. This legislation seeks to repeal the Act and introduce fresh provisions giving the responsibility of promoting and regulating foreign exchange as the agent of the govt. more..

Get rid of corrupt ministers before it's too late: Heated exchange on Cabinet reshuffle

Apr 30 (SL) A heated exchange of words ensued at the cabinet meeting last week when the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle was discussed. Some top govt Ministers warned that they will join the opposition if they are removed from their posts. Speculation of a cabinet reshuffle has been discussed over the past several weeks but the move has been postponed over various reasons. It was reported recently that some Ministries are to more..

No Indo-Sri Lanka agreements during Modi’s visit: President

Apr 30 (ITN) President Maithripala Sirisena says that Indian PM Narendra Modi will be in the country to attend International Wesak Day celebrations and will not sign any agreement during his visit. He said that propaganda conducted by certain media websites and social media networks in connection with the Indian PM’s visit are totally false. President said this while attending the centenary celebrations of Batticaloe, Oddamawali Maha Vidyalaya. President viewed the trade and educational exhibition more..

Houses built by MR regime distributed in Meethotamulla: JO

Apr 30 (DM) JO MP Dinesh Gunawardena said govt had distributed houses built by the previous regime to Meethotamulla victims even though former President Rajapaksa and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa were blamed for the disaster. He said the present govt had stopped the housing project initiated by the previous govt for the past two years and added that they should take the responsibility for it. Minister Champika Ranawaka responded saying housing project initiated by more..