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How Bangladesh has managed to contain the impact of natural disasters

June 6 (FT) Bangladesh has been one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, ravaged year after year by cyclones and floods. Since 1980, natural disasters have claimed over 200,000 lives and caused economic damage to the tune of over $ 17 billion. It is estimated that 14% of Bangladesh’s GDP is exposed to natural disasters, and 1.8 % of it is lost because of nature’s fury. Bangladesh is especially vulnerable to cyclones because of its location at the triangular-shaped head of the Bay of Bengal, more..

Changumi donates US $ 50,000 for flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka

June 6 (DM) South Korean Actress Lee Young-ae, popularly known as Changumi in Sri Lanka has donated around US $ 50,000 (Rs.7.6 million) to support flood relief efforts in Sri Lanka, a statement said. She has become a household name in Sri Lanka because of her role as Changumi in the tele-drama Sujatha Diyani serialized in Sri Lanka. Chairman of the Korea Foundation for Persons with Disabilities Lee Seong-gyu formally handed over Actress Lee Young-ae’s contribution more..

Works of Parliament Mafia

Sri Lanka gets $318mn Indian loan to modernise railways

June 6 (EN) Finance ministry signed an agreement with India’s Export- Import Bank for a loan of US$ 318 million to develop the railway sector and promote passenger and freight transportation. Govt of India has already provided US$966 million in four Lines of Credit for the development of Sri Lanka’s railway sector in through its Exim bank. These loans were used to improve the Southern and Northern railway lines and for the procurement of rolling stocks for the Sri Lanka Railways. more..

MoU signed for Polonnaruwa Kidney Hospital

June 6 (GDI) The MoU on building of the hospital in Polonnaruwa for kidney patients was signed today at the Presidential Secretariat, in the presence of President Sirisena. The hospital to be built is under a donation of the govt of China at a request of the President. Additional Secretary to Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Janaka Sri Chandraguptha signed for the Govt of Sri Lanka while the Economic and Commerce Advisor of the Chinese Embassy Yang Zuoyuan signed more..

Our racism, the dirt under our skin

June 6 (Roar) Before it was interrupted by Hurricane Mora, a campaign of baiting against Muslims was composing itself to cause serious harm. From Apr 16 to May 22, four petrol bombs were thrown at Muslim establishments and mosques, four Muslim-owned shops were set on fire, several properties were destroyed, and a few Muslims were bullied off their lands. The whole series of news items was in passive voice; more..

Flights to Qatar as usual: SriLankan

June 6 (DM) SriLankan Airlines would continue to operate its flights to Doha, Qatar as per schedule, a spokesman for SriLankan said. Several Middle Eastern countries suspended their flights to Qatar. “SriLankan will continue to operate flights to Doha as per schedule and at the same time we are closely monitoring the situation in the Gulf region,” he said. At present SriLankan operates daily flights to Doha. Airlines from UAE - including heavyweights Emirates and Etihad and national carriers of more..

Saudi-Qatar slapstick comedy show!

June 6 (CT) In what might just be yet another second going off in the Dooms Day clock, several Middle Eastern countries severed all diplomatic ties with Qatar, a prominent middle power in the sector, over what they called to be the continuous support for terrorism in the sector. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain yesterday broke off diplomatic relations and all land, sea and air contacts with fellow Gulf Arab State Qatar, in the region's most serious diplomatic crisis in years. more..

Taiwan, SL sign pact to boost collaboration

June 6 (TT) Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) inked a MoU with the Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka June 1 in Taipei City aimed at fostering economic exchanges, boosting trade and exploring investment opportunities between the two sides. The agreement was signed by TAITRA President and CEO Walter M.S. Yeh and FITIS Chairman Kithsiri Manchanayake more..

Fish perish in Nanthi kadal Lagoon

June 6 (CT) Thousands of fish species have perished in the Nanthi Kadal Lagoon owing to the prevailing drought in the area, the Ministry of Fisheries announced. Ministry added that Vattuwagal lagoon which is also connected to the Nanthi Kadal Lagoon is experiencing the same problem. On Sunday NARA commenced an investigation to ascertain the causes for the death of fish on the instructions by the Minister for Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera. more..

Our over rate against South Africa was pathetic: Mathews

June 6 (CB) Angelo Mathews has said that his team's over rate during their opening fixture of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 on Saturday was pathetic. SL took four hours and seven minutes to complete the 50 overs during the South African innings whereas the time allowed to complete an innings is 3.5 hours. Mathews didn't play the game due to a calf strain and Tharanga stepped in. Tharanga was suspended for 2 games and was heavily fined along with the rest of the team. more..

Sri Lanka to convene int'l donor conference for floods rebuilding

June 6 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena has said that he will convene an international donor conference to coordinate assistance for rebuilding the island nation's flood-hit areas. "We hope to be able to convene this international donor conference," Sirisena told a govt conference last night. He said that all international aid pledged so far would be used to rebuild the homes destroyed in the recent landslides and floods triggered by rains. more..

Lankan nabbed with gemstone valued at Rs.10mn at BIA

June 6 (DM) A 33-year-old man was arrested at the BIA this morning for attempting smuggle a rare gemstone worth Rs.10 million to Abu Dhabi, BIA Deputy Customs Director Parakrama Basnayake said. “The gemstone was found concealed in a purse inside his hand luggage. The customs officials had identified the precious stone as ‘natural vivid red ruby,", he said. The stone was confiscated and customs imposed a penalty of Rs. 100,000 on the suspect who was later released. more..

Petition filed challenging Code of Criminal Procedure bill withdrawn

June 6 (DN) Supreme Court allowed to withdraw a Special Determination petition today which was filed challenging the bill titled Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) (Ammended) following govt's decision to refrain from proceeding with the said bill in the Parliament. Former MP Somaweera Chandrasiri filed this petition seeking a declaration that this bill shall become law only through a two-third majority in Parliament and by the approval following a referendum. more..

March exports up 9.8%, trade gap widens

June 6 (EN) Sri Lanka’s exports rose 9.8% to US$ 1.04 billion in March 2017 from a year ago, reversing a two-month fall, crossing a billion dollars for the first time in two years but the trade gap widened. Imports in March rose 19.4% to US$ 1.87 billion from the year before mainly because of higher spending on fuel imports. “Deficit in the trade balance widened substantially to US$ 828 million in Mar 2017 from US$ 617 million in Mar 2016,” more..

Foreign Minister to meet Modi, Swaraj

June 6 (Hindu) Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake will meet PM Narendra Modi Tuesday. He is also scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar. The visit is aimed at taking ongoing bilateral negotiations between India and Sri Lanka forward, officials in Colombo said. This is Mr. Karunanayake’s first overseas visit after he assumed charge as Foreign Minister last month, following a major cabinet reshuffle. more..

Nimal calls for pruning perks to help victims

June 6 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said that the Ministers and MPs should forego the privileges enjoyed by them and help those affected by the natural disasters. On a visit to oversee Disaster Management operations in Bulathsinhala, Minister said not only the politicians, but even the bureaucrats should cut down on their perks in order to assist the flood victims. He said all affected families had been provided with dry rations and their wells and schools cleaned. more..

'SL workers not affected by Qatar isolation'

June 6 (PTI) Over 125,000 Sri Lankans working in Qatar will not be affected by severance of ties between five Arab nations and Qatar, SL's foreign employment minister said, underlining that the country has an independent stance over the situation. Saudi Arabia along with UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and the Maldives severed relations with Qatar yesterday, suspending all flights and giving Qataris 14 days to leave more..

LG Elections Musthapha & Deshapriya meet today

June 6 (CT) Minister Faiszer Musthapha and Chairman of Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya will meet today to discuss the possibility of holding the LG elections, which have been postponed for over a year. The meeting will be held at the Elections Secretariat and all matters related to holding the elections at the earliest will be discussed. Earlier yesterday, Musthapha said that they have finalized all the necessary legal documents needed to hold the elections. more..

No moves to bring about a meeting between President and MR: Welgama

June 6 (AM) JO MP Kumar Welgama denied reports that the MPs of the SLFP attempted to broker a truce between former President Rajapaksa and President Sirisena. MP further said that no meeting on such a topic would have taken place without his knowledge. He pointed out that after former President Rajapaksa, he was the senior-most Joint Opposition MP representing the SLFP. Be that as it may, political sources reveal that a meeting between former President Rajapaksa and more..

Young Sri Lanka must play with arrogance against India

June 6 (ICC) Sri Lanka go into its crucial do-or-die game against India with a few concerns having lost its opening match versus South Africa. Firstly, it has its stand-in captain Upul Tharanga suspended for the remaining Champions Trophy group stage matches for a serious over-rate offence and, then, it also has ongoing concerns about the fitness of Angelo Mathews. If Angelo, Sri Lanka’s best batsman and captain, more..

Speaker condoles with House on lives lost due to floods and landslides

June 6 (DN) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at the outset of Parliament sessions today expressed the condolences of the House on the lives lost at the recent landslide and flood disasters. Making a special announcement, Speaker drew the attention of the House to the need of a well-organized disaster management mechanism in the country to minimize the loss of lives and property damages in any future natural calamity. The Speaker also recalled with respect the sacrifice made by more..

Video: Govt attempts to fish in troubled waters: Bandula

June 6 (AD) There is a move to get the Cabinet nod to privatize the Mattala International Airport by granting 60% of its authority to India, Joint Opposition alleged.  MP Bandula Gunawardena also accused the govt of attempting to take advantage of the natural disaster situation in a bid to sell country’s resources. “The govt attempts to fish in troubled waters,” he added. “The transfer of key institution’s authority like this is a national crime,” Gunawardena said.  more..

Peradeniya University report on Meethotamulla complete

June 6 (DN) An expert team from tUni of Peradeniya handed over their 42-page report on the collapse of the Meethotamulla garbage dump to the police today. This was in accordance to an order from Hulftsdorp Magistrate’s Court asking the team to conduct an investigation into the matter. Vice Chancellor, Upul Dissanayake handed over the report to the police who will then submit it to courts. Police Environmental Protection Division is more..

Unauthorized constructions take toll on environment

June 7 (CT) Every year on 5 June, World Environment Day is celebrated all across the globe. Yet, Sri Lankan celebrations were marred by multiple environmental disasters that rendered thousands of people homeless. Inundations, landslides and garbage slips have been a frequent occurrence in recent times, and we have often inculpated the govt. Yet, where does culpability truly lie? Sri Lankans are known across the globe to be a very generous and hospitable people. more..

Indo-Chinese Aid: Compassionate reward or concealed warning from competing masters?

June 7 (CT) Shiploads of relief supplies coming at first from India immediately followed by China is a much wanted and timely help to the Sri Lankan victims of the latest natural disaster. However, the question must be raised whether the help is entirely altruistically motivated or tinged with a hidden price. In the geopolitics surrounding the Indian Ocean Sri Lanka is caught in a painful dilemma. Before the 1970s when India and China were not openly engaged in any regional power contest more..

Recent flooding, man made

June 7 (SO) The intense rainfall triggered by cyclone Mora is identified as the main cause for the recent major flooding that wreaked havoc in eight districts, but Irrigation Department has listed ten other causes that aggravated nature’s fury, in a report prepared after the disaster. The causes listed in the report are; blockade of waterways due to landslides (also related to the intense rainfall), illegal settlements along waterways, more..

Meteorologists’ forecasts ignored

June 7 (CT) During all of these disasters it was possible to see the extent of loving people whose hearts melt. Similarly it was possible to see within this country, while people in the country were victims of an extremely horrendous disaster, how some dastardly politicians, being greedy for political power, to fulfil their political requirements, to establish their power even through the disaster of floods, fought and struggled and carried out political atrocities amidst the floods, more..

SL’s social dichotomy & its micro-effects

June 7 (CT) In a desolate landscape, orphaned by any promise of rain or wind, in a still gloomy surrounding of trees and shrub, a lone farmer is tilling his land until sunset. Sunset in this arid zone is a spectacle of rioting colors, all the colors of the rainbow, from crimson red to violet and orange and blue, all dancing to a riotous order. But our farmer is woefully oblivious of that brilliant splendor. Far out on the horizon, a hazy column of clouds deters any human eye from seeing the fine line that more..

'Cabinet reshuffle: UNP has taken a big hit'

June 7 (CT) UNP General Secretary and Minister of State Enterprise Development, Kabir Hashim, said the Party has taken a big hit by the recent Cabinet reshuffle where UNP Ministers who worked hard for the Party have been overlooked. Here, in a candid and no-holds-barred interview, he talks to Ceylon Today on the current political landscape. Q: The Cabinet reshuffle was speculated for a long time. What was the real reason underlying it? more..

Editorial: Has Qatar got its just deserts?

June 7 (Island) London terror strikes seem to have jolted some countries in the Arab world into action against terrorism at long last. In what may be described as a well coordinated, stunning diplomatic offensive, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have severed their links with Qatar for destabilising the region by backing groups such as Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh. The Saudi Press Agency has gone to the extent of accusing Qatar of embracing multiple terrorist more..

As the drift turns swiftly

June 7 (DN) Newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake, barely two weeks into his job, is getting a sort of baptism of fire with several countries in the Middle East cutting off all ties and physical connections with the tiny country of Qatar, citing what they call its support for extremism and terrorism. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen cut ties with Qatar, claiming the energy-rich monarchy is undermining stability in the region by supporting the Iran-aligned militant groups. more..

Namal Rajapaksa

Task of new Finance Minister: Turning the tide of public displeasure

June 7 (DN) Following the Cabinet reshuffle, SL now has a new Minister of Finance. The reshuffle was timely, there is widespread disillusionment amongst the public who keep repeating that nothing seems to be happening. Govt now has the opportunity renew itself in the public eye, what should our new Minister of Finance do? The macroeconomic indicators are improving: govt revenues are up, expenditure is stable and the fiscal deficit targets look likely to be achieved for the current year. more..

Tourist arrivals dip in May

June 7 (FT) Tourist arrivals dipped by 2.5% to 121,891 in May, from an year earlier though cumulative figure for first five months gained. Data showed that the first five months’ tourist arrivals rose 4.8% to 887,093 compared to the same period last year, continuing the growth momentum established in 2010. Analysts said the slight decline in May was due to it being a traditional off-peak period and the adverse weather conditions that prevailed during the latter part of the month. more..

'We don't want to miss out on anyone'

June 7 (CI) Thilanga Sumathipala has been president of Sri Lanka Cricket since January 2016. He talks ESPNcricinfo through several of his board's decisions, his plans for Sri Lanka's domestic cricket, and the national team's prospects. Q: Why did the board scrap the zonal (provincial) tournaments that had been designed and scheduled by the previous administration for the 2016 season? A: I have no idea whatsoever about more..

Response to the Political Column of June 4

June 7 (Island) Mr. C.A. Chandraprema’s Political Column of June 4, is influenced by the commonly held belief that Article 4 is NOT an entrenched article because all published documents do not include Article 4 in the List of Entrenched Articles except the Hansard. In fact it was included as an entrenched article along with several others in the final reading of the Bill by R. Premadasa. This matter was brought to the attention of the public in my article to The Island more..

Resolute England march into semi-finals

June 7 (CI) This was not quite the contest which brought the Champions Trophy alive, alas, but England will not lose sleep over that. They became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals with a comfortable 87-win against New Zealand. A grimy Cardiff day during which persistent showers gradually gave way to howling winds demanded application and resolution and they were not found wanting. NZ were in the game as long as their captain Kane Williamson was at the crease, more..

Protect the environment to ensure sustainable growth

June 7 (WB) Malaka Rodrigo watched with relief as the flood waters receded from his home in Matara. This area doesn’t usually flood, he said ruefully. Typically, the bunds keep the waters of the nearby Nilwala River in check. But, this time, when the heavy rain pounded the island, the barriers were overwhelmed. Rodrigo remembers his childhood home being surrounded by a network of canals. more..

‘All MPs should join hands to assist flood victims’

June 7 (DN) "Disaster-stricken people can be provided with succour only if all elected representatives join hands to come to their assistance. It is because all parliamentarians were elected by the people to render some service to them," Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. Minister was addressing a meeting held at Walasmulla last week to mark the distribution of relief items to the displaced in the area, he said that the disaster had passed now leaving a trail of destruction more..